“What do I do about mean people in the church?”
SEPTEMBER 24, 2021
Steve Brown: What do I do about mean people in the church? Let’s talk, on Key Life.
Matthew Porter: Welcome to Key Life. Our host and teacher is Steve Brown. He’s no guru, but he does have honest answers to honest questions about the Bible. God’s grace changes everything, how we love, work, live, lead, marry, parent, evangelize, purchase and worship. So, here’s Steve and Pete Alwinson from ForgeBibleStudy.com with street smart Bible teaching for real life.
Steve Brown: Thank you Matthew. Hi, Pete.
Pete Alwinson: How you doing man?
Steve Brown: I’m doing really good. And better since you’re sitting here. I just want you to know that. By the way, Pete’s new book. Well, actually it’s an old book, like Father, Like Son has been completed in the audio version and very soon it will be released and we’ll give you some information on it. So, for those of you, who do better by listening than you do by reading. This’ll be a great gift for you and for you to give to your friends, but I’ll give you some information on it. As you know, Pete comes in on Fridays and we answer questions and it’s one of the most fun times that we have. You can ask a question by calling 1-800-KEY-LIFE, 24 7, just pick up the phone, give a call, hit the right button and record your question. And often your voice will be on our phone lines on the air. Or you can send your question to
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Pete Alwinson: That’s a great idea. Let’s pray. Father, Father, thank you that we can come to you and call you that. Thank you that Lord Jesus, you made it possible for us to bow the knee, to know that we can be forgiven, by just coming to you with the burden of our sin and repenting of it and trusting in you Jesus alone for our salvation. So, we reaffirm that right now that you are our savior Lord Jesus, that we trust in your work and your work alone. And Lord, we pray that that grace that we’ve found in Christ would just energize us and give us the love and the power to be what you want us to be in this world. We want to grow up spiritually. So, forgive us our sins, Lord and continue to conform us to the image of your glorious name. Lord, we pray for our pastors and teachers and priests and worship directors and all those that are going to be working together to bring us into your presence this week-end. We just ask for them to understand that grace and feel the grace, it doesn’t have to be perfect, but that it can be a time of leading us into the presence of the one true Holy God. So, we ask for your blessing for them. And even now in this time of Q&A, we pray in Jesus name. Amen.
Steve Brown: Amen. Pete, this is an e-mail and is pretty angry. Some of the nastiest, most hateful people I’ve ever met, have been in the church. Church family is expected to put up with and absolved behavior from total strangers, that would not be tolerated anywhere else outside of the church, because hurt people, hurt others. And some of the kindest people I’ve ever known are reprobate sinners outside the church, who are supposed to be the first ones in line for the gates of hell. Why does God allow this in his home?
Pete Alwinson: Yeah, that’s a really deep question. And, I guess my experience in the church. The analysis of this probably go on for an hour.
Steve Brown: Yeah. We could talk forever. Yeah.
Pete Alwinson: But I would say some of the nastiest people I have met have not been in the church. Now, I have seen people, and you and I have both been in the church for a long time.
Steve Brown: Forever.
Pete Alwinson: Yeah. And we’ve seen people at their worst. It’s sort of like one reason why I didn’t want to become a medical doctor is cause you’re always dealing with sick people.
Steve Brown: Yeah.
Pete Alwinson: But as a pastor, it’s often the same thing.
Steve Brown: Oh yeah. In fact, that is what the church is.
Pete Alwinson: Yeah.
Steve Brown: You know, you get these studies they’re just as mean as the pagans are, their divorce rate is just as high as unbelievers, and you want to go, duh, it’s the only organization in the world where you have to be unqualified before you can join.
Pete Alwinson: That’s right.
Steve Brown: But, go ahead.
Pete Alwinson: Well, your point is well taken. And so, the church is a spiritual hospital, that we’re sick people all congregated in one place. We’re sinners saved by grace. Yes. Most of us, but Jesus said, Hey, there are terrors among the weak. So, the church is not filled with totally christian people. And so, there is that too, but doggone it we’re sinners and we need Jesus.
Steve Brown: And I just want to say, that’s not, you said, it’s not my experience. It’s not mine either. Some of the kindest, most gentle, loving, forgiving people, I hear it all the time. Gloria Gaither corrected me one time, I had just met a number of gay people. And they were giving their stories about how they’d been hurt in the church. And I was quite angry cause it had been recent. And Gloria said, Steve, that’s not my experience. And as soon as she said it, I realized what she was saying. The most loving people toward gay and lesbian, trans-gendered people are people in the church. And I mean talking about 90%, and if you only see that 10% who are mean as snakes and I’m meaner than they are, so they don’t bother me. But they’re 10%, but 90% of the people will make cookies for you, when somebody dies, they’ll fix your meal. If you’re in trouble, they’ll help you financially. They’ll give you, it just goes on and on.
Pete Alwinson: If you want to talk to somebody after church, there are people that will stay talk to you.
Steve Brown: Yeah, exactly. So, you know, you, I don’t know what church you’ve been going to, but if I were you, I’d find another one pretty fast. And then, on the flip side, everybody says, well, pagans are a lot nicer than, no they’re not. They’re the meanest bunch. I mean, we live in a hateful society and people who aren’t believers, are some of the meanest people I’ve ever. You go on social media and see what you see. And personally, I think it comes from a political position that is hateful and unforgiving, a canceled culture. We don’t have canceled culture very much in the church.
Pete Alwinson: No, we’re supposed to listen to each other, at least.
Steve Brown: We’ll let anybody in, you know, so yeah, I get what you’re saying. And sometimes there are people like that in the church. But if the church is a healthy church, they’ll get fixed.
Pete Alwinson: That’s a good point. And sometimes, if somebody brings up their hurt, their pain at the wrong time, to the wrong person, in the wrong context.
Steve Brown: That’s right.
Pete Alwinson: I mean, you know, they might get a negative response, but it’s not that they don’t care. It’s just that right now the church service is about ready to begin. I can’t talk to you about that right now, but maybe right after, you know, and that seems to hurt, I don’t know.
Steve Brown: We’ll find another church.
Pete Alwinson: Yeah.
Steve Brown: I just don’t think that is the natural position of the people of God.
Pete Alwinson: I agree.
Steve Brown: But I understand, you got hurt. And make an obscene gesture and find another church.
Pete Alwinson: Steve.
Steve Brown: Well, that’s a joke.
Pete Alwinson: Okay.
Steve Brown: Okay. I didn’t really mean that, sort of. Steve frequently says, this is an e-mail, I’m paraphrasing here, when in doubt, or if you want to know what God is like, look at Jesus. Recently, I’ve been trying to do that, by reading the gospels, but it seems like Jesus preaches works, not grace. Even telling them to go and sin no more. How does one merge the teaching of Jesus with the grace-filled Episitles?
Pete Alwinson: Oh, that’s a great question.
Steve Brown: Yeah, but I want to say, are you kidding? Are you reading a different Bible? Jesus was called a drunk, a wine bibber and a sinner. You know why? Cause that’s where he hung out.
Pete Alwinson: Yeah.
Steve Brown: He said he came for the sick people, not the well people, what are you reading? And when he says don’t go and sin no more. Your mother says that too, but she loves you and forgives you. If I were you I’d go back, I’m on a soap box, aren’t I?
Pete Alwinson: That’s good. No, you’re gonna go, let it go. Preach it.
Steve Brown: Yeah. But listen, the, the, the gospel is the story of Jesus, the doctrinal propositional truth that references what Jesus is all about is the Epistles. And you can’t separate those, but they do not contradict Paul.
Pete Alwinson: That’s right. That’s it. And that’s a very important principle of interpretation of how we understand the Bible, that the Epistles build on the message and clarify the message of the Gospels. But, you know, Jesus is hard on the hypocrites.
Steve Brown: Oh, oh, you don’t, read Matthew 23. That sounds like you don’t want to be around Jesus, when he gets off on the whitewashed tombs, I mean, that is pretty scary.
Pete Alwinson: That’s right. So, those who were playing a religious game or a political game are the ones that he’s the hardest on. And he goes after those hypocrites and rightly so, I think even a lot today, we’re afraid to go after those people.
Steve Brown: I know. And you know, we’re called to have the fruit of the spirit.
Pete Alwinson: Right.
Steve Brown: But that doesn’t mean you compromise truth.
Pete Alwinson: That’s right.
Steve Brown: Evil is still evil. Good is still good. Hypocrisy and self-righteousness is still something that isn’t pleasing to God and we can’t afford to compromise one truth.
Pete Alwinson: That’s right. So, reread Jesus and build your model of relating to people based on him. And you’ll be alright.
Steve Brown: Yeah. Go find some drunks, I mean, if you want to do it the way Jesus did it.
Pete Alwinson: Jesus was always going out there and hanging out with people.
Steve Brown: And forgiving people.
Pete Alwinson: And forgiving.
Steve Brown: And in fact, his teaching on it forgiving because it references who God is,
Pete Alwinson: Right.
Steve Brown: is some of it clearest, most profound teaching ever taught. In fact it’s one of the unique things about the Christian faith.
Pete Alwinson: Go read the Sermon on the Mount once, one more time.
Steve Brown: That’s right. That’s right. But he doesn’t compromise truth and we shouldn’t either.
Pete Alwinson: Right.
Steve Brown: And it’s a temptation sometimes, isn’t it?
Pete Alwinson: Boy, it really is because our culture doesn’t want to hear really what Christians have to say today.
Steve Brown: It’s true.
Pete Alwinson: And, um, and so we really are fighting upstream. We’re the true radicals, I think now in American culture.
Steve Brown: And, don’t misread Jesus there. I think you ought to go back and do it one more time.
Pete Alwinson: Amen.
Steve Brown: And say, Jesus, do you forgive me? And he will say, what do you think I was doing there? Of course you’re forgiven and you’re loved. Hey, Key Life is listener supported production of Key Life Network.