This is a continuing story of a confrontation I had with another brother. Before reading on you might want to read the previous two blogs. The next day I received another email:
Thanks, Wayne, for your prompt reply. As I said in my email, I would like to get together face to face, and can do that this Friday. I have to fly in and out of the Ontario airport, which I apologize isn’t very close to Ventura. Could you meet me Friday for dinner, say 5pm? I hope so, because you, godly relationships and the apostolic/prophetic foundations God is now laying for house churches in America are very important to me. Until then, I ask you to join me in prayerfully pondering and seeking God’s face on the meaning of Proverbs 10:19: “Where words are many, sin is not absent. A wise man holds his tongue.”
I responded the next day:
I do have a commitment on Friday afternoon, which would take significant effort to rearrange. Also the freeways are a nightmare in LA on Friday afternoons especially over the summer. It could take you as much as four hours to get out to Oxnard and three hours to get back to Ontario, so I don’t know if this would even work.
A day after I got this dismissive one-liner:
I assure you, I am not on some quest. I stated clearly what I meant. Clearly, you didn’t receive it. I still pray you may ponder what I said.
Convinced we were on a pretty destructive path here, I originally decided not to respond. Two days later, however, I thought our previous relationship merited a bit more on my part:
Even so, I wanted you to know the weight I have given your concerns. I have gone back to Scripture to reassess my thoughts and how I express them. I have shared this process openly with those I walk with closely in Christ and listened to their counsel. I have endeavored to engage a further dialog with you and you have chosen not to respond. I honestly don’t know what else I can do without betraying my conscience in this matter. I have never claimed to have a complete revelation of truth and am open to anyone God might use to help me see more clearly and live more authentically in his reality. If you are ever willing to continue that kind of conversation as a brother in Christ, I am more than willing to walk this out a bit further.
And you are not alone in your passion for true apostolic foundations of New Testament community to be laid faithfully our day, but I am certain this is not the way to get there. I think we both have far more to gain by working together as brothers than the current temper of this conversation allows.
The next day he wrote me this:
I am grateful to hear that you and those close to you have pondered my words. That is what a rebuke is meant to do. There was no accusation, ultimatum or threat from me (please reread my email). If you felt that, it came from somewhere else.
Your words about “impasse” bewilder me. I was willing to come to Southern California to talk face to face, out of love, relationship and commitment to Christ, you and the body of Christ. I thought you were blowing me off when you said you couldn’t drive across town after I offered to fly across the country…obviously, I misread you. I am more than willing still to do that.
I am more than willing to continue the conversation. We have miscommunicated somehow–I didn’t know we had reached an impasse. I sought to come face to face, and thought you were communicating that it wasn’t worth working out (I was coming across the country, and you communicated that it was too much work to drive across town to meet me). I am happy to keep the communication open…perhaps we could do it by phone?
To be clear, however, I wasn’t accusing, questing, giving ultimatums, or threatening. I was rebuking you–as a brother. I copied this only to (the magazine) because I was rebuking (the editor) for his equally “loose” approach to Scripture on the matter. Brother, your teaching on this matter is out of order (by Scripture), and by your own examples that you cite it reflects your life out of order. With whom do you gathering regularly so there is real accountability and support? It has to be more than driveway conversations at your convenience, when you are in town. Perhaps there is more, but your words are not pointing a reader in that direction…if my conclusions are inaccurate, perhaps you need a better editor to help you communicate more clearly?
I look forward to talking, but probably would be best until next week…
Again I wrestled with the wisdom of responding and three days later finally decided to make one more attempt to clarify what I thought was going on:
>>>>Your words about “impasse” bewilder me.
Nothing I have written to you in the past week have you responded to on the merits. When I wrote out a response to your concerns and your approach in dealing with me in such a nonrelational manner, you didn’t respond at all. I even offered to intervene if someone was misusing my words to be destructive in your community. You simply warned me (using Proverbs) that I risked sinning by using too many words. How can we not be at an impasse if you choose to ignore my responses?
You said: I was willing to come to Southern California to talk face to face, out of love, relationship and commitment to Christ, you and the body of Christ. I thought you were blowing me off when you said you couldn’t drive across town after I offered to fly across the country…
You didn’t offer to fly across the country. You said you were already coming to California and that you had six hours between something in Irvine and getting back to an airport in Ontario. You were asking me to cancel a commitment and spend all afternoon in Friday LA traffic to meet with you when I had grave what kind of meeting I was getting into. (Here’s what I wrote: “I do have a commitment on Friday afternoon which would take significant effort to rearrange. Also the freeways are a nightmare in LA on Friday afternoons especially over the summer. It could take you as much as four hours to get out to Oxnard and three hours to get back to Ontario, so I don’t know if this would even work.”) How is that blowing you off? Even at that I would have moved my commitment and driven across LA if you could have assured me this was the give-and-take of brothers and not a one-way conversation to accuse and rebuke me for something I think you’ve jumped to an erroneous conclusion about. (“I am not inclined toward a continuing email conversation, phone call or face to face meeting if you are on some kind of Inquisitional quest.”) You