We all gathered in a large hut with no walls and a straw roof. This was the third or fourth sermon of the day. The uncomfortable benches and the proliferation of mosquitoes due to a slight rain kept me fully awake despite the fact that I don´t understand the Curripaco language. Knowing that “whites” were joining them for the conference, they started their messages in Spanish, but then gradually turned to their language. I had a translator, but she often went her way to do something else. That meant I missed most of the things the preachers from different Indigenous villages said.
Suddenly, one of the elders in the hut stood up and started to talk to the preacher. Others joined him. I had no clue of what they said, but seeing the angry faces of some of the men and my husband´s worried expression, I knew this was important.
My husband indicated from other side of the hut: “They´re removing him from the pulpit.” Wait, what? I looked for my translator, but she was nowhere to be seen. He was right. Some minutes later, the preacher was escorted out of the hut and they went on with the program.
During the evening meal, the pastor from the village we were staying at told us what happened, “He said things that are not true. The Bible doesn´t teach that.” Of course, I know enough of the Indigenous culture to know that was all the explanation we were going to get while I was present. He would later explain the details to my husband and ask for his opinion in a pastor´s meeting.
The older men in the Curripaco villages know the Bible very well and they can tell when someone is wandering from the truth. But the younger generations don’t. That´s why they ask all the time for missionaries to come to their villages and teach them, so all of them can recognize bad doctrine before people hear it and get confused.
Sometimes I wish we “whites” had the guts these fellow brothers in the jungle have to stand up and say, “You´re not preaching God´s truth, please, leave the platform!”
This was exactly what Micah was doing in his rebuke to the false prophets on today´s verses. He was telling them to leave the platform because they were not preaching God´s truth, they were telling the people, especially the corrupt governors and rulers of the time, what they wanted to hear. They prophesied happy days to fill their stomachs while the truth was that judgment and exile were around the corner because of constant, unrepentant sin.
People didn´t want to hear about sin.
People don´t want to hear about sin today, either. How many of our modern churches have stopped preaching about sin so they don’t make people uncomfortable? In many churches, people get shallow messages Sunday after Sunday without hearing words like “sin,” “confession,” or “repentance.” The Gospel is good news and encourages people, yes. However, it´s also the truth of a righteous God and sin needs to be addressed in order to help us live accordingly to His Word.
When we take from the Bible only the verses we like and let aside those which deal with our sin, we are missing a huge part. God´s Word is truth that changes our hearts and aligns our lives with His.
I want God´s truth to make me feel uncomfortable. I want it to be the mirror I look onto. I want it to change my heart in order to change my life. Let´s be women of the Word and not be afraid of speaking God´s truth in love.
Content in His service,
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Edurne, I appreciated your comments about the reading. However, your “story” about the conference and the actions of the elders just really struck a nerve and most likely kept me from concentrating on your statements about Micah. The story reminded me of discussions in our Wednesday night Ladies’ class about the congregations we grew up in. Congregations led by God-fearing, God-loving men who were relaying what they had been taught. There was no room for questions or doubt. I feel the men in your story were the same. You don’t say how long ago this happened, I can only hope and pray it was quite a few years ago and not something lately.
I totally get that there are those who are “false” teachers, however, there are times when those who are labeled “false” or “heretic” are actually coming from a Spirit-filled heart, from petitioning God for guidance of interpretation, studying historical accountings, languages, etc. I have no idea what the man was teaching but God and the Word contained within the Bible speaks differently to each of us, with much of our interpretation and discernment biased by our own lives. The Bible is not a “black and white” static book, it is filled with lots of “gray” areas. It is alive and active. Jesus, himself, was seen as a false prophet, as a heretic, as a blasphemer because he dared to go against the Pharisees, Sadducees, the Temple Priests, the people who “knew” the Torah front and back and the long list of rules and laws imposed over hundreds of years. I’m not saying the man removed was right or wrong, I’m just saying we need to be careful and we need to understand as time marches on our God opens the doors to information that may lead us to understand Scripture better or differently or deeper than we understood before. Knowing the words well but being closed to discussion regarding interpretation, in my humble opinion, is dangerous.
My fear is that the older men may not have taken the time to understand fully what the man was saying and in their haste to remove him did not allow those in attendance to hear and discern or discuss for themselves…and maybe their culture was not at the point where that was wise.
I will let the “sleeping dog lie” regarding the whole statement that the pastor they were staying with would not explain the decision in front of you (being a woman) or the fact they did not explain to the people gathered in the audience why they were removing the person. Lack of honest communication is one of my biggest pet peeves with church leadership.
If this comment is not allowed, please delete it, but I could not with a good conscious not speak up for those who currently are being labeled as false teachers because what they are saying doesn’t jive with what has been taught for hundreds of years.
Thank you so much for your comment and for speaking up! I´m sorry if the story was disturbing, that was not the intention at all.
I couldn´t explain to the detail everything that happened that day because I´d need more than a blog post for that! But I´d love to try to answer to your concerns 🙂
The man who was preaching that day was not a pastor. During the Conferences, most of the villages from a specific area send people from their villages to the location where they gather for 5 days. In those 5 days, all the villages have the opportunity to share testimonies and songs and to preach and teach. It´s mostly pastors who do that, but, sometimes, they´re not. This man was from a village that was attending the conference for the first time because, until that moment (it was August 2015), there was not church at their village. So nobody really knew him.
He was removed from the pulpit because he was doubting the divinity of Jesus. He was saying that Jesus was was not God. It was not a minor thing, it was clear that he was wrong. The day went on because they have a tight program but, after dinner, the pastors and elders from the villages and my husband had a meeting. In that meeting they talked with this man and, after listening to him, they had another meeting to decide how to proceed.
After talking to him, they found out that this man´s village had got a visit from Jehovah Witnesses. He was teaching what he learnt from them, that Jesus is not God, that He was created. Now, it may sound weird to you that coming from a JW environment he attended a Christian conference, but you have to understand the Indigenous culture – which, again, I could not explain in a blog post 🙂 He attended the conference because he didn´t know the difference and the conference is a major event for all the villages of the area.
In that meeting with this man, he was exposed to the truth of the Bible and, as far as I know, there´s no a church yet at his village, but they haven´t received JW there again either – you need permission from a village´s captain in order to enter a village.
You assumed that the congregation didn´t receive any information regarding what happened and that was not the case – my bad for not following up the story. The next day in the morning, the host of the conference explained what had happened during their meeting and my husband was in charge that day to teach the Bible and talk about who Jesus is and how the incarnate Jesus was the sum total of the nature, being, and attributes of God in bodily form. This man was also there, he wasn´t excluded of the conference and stayed until the end.
They wouldn´t talk in front of me when they were talking about the issue and discussing how to proceed. But once they took their decisions, everything was explained to the congregation, men and women alike. And trust me, when they explain something…they explain it for hours! 🙂
Again, my apologies for not explaining the events better. Maybe I shouldn´t have used that story but it really impacted me. Something you have to take into account is that the new generations, in general, don´t know the Bible. We may go to a village with a church and a pastor and they gather every Sunday and go to the conferences and everything, but most of the younger generation take this as something they do and we have to start from the beginning and evangelizing them. That´s why the elders, those who know the Bible – but haven´t been able in most cases to pass the Gospel to the next generation, again the culture has a lot to do here and it´s a different story 😉 – are so careful. That´s also the reason why this man didn´t see a difference between the JW doctrine and the Gospel, because he didn´t know the BIble.
I hope all this explains a little what I wrote in the post and, once again, my apologies for not being more specific. I didn´t realize there was a lot of context to explain for the story to have sense.
I really appreciate your concern and the fact that you made questions that required further clarification. If you need me to explain anything else, please, feel free to leave another comment.
Thank you Edurne for clarifying. I am always excited to read your blog posts. Just like the stories of the Bible, there is a lot of context needed to help us understand. Thank you for your reply. Blessings and love sweet sister.
Amen, amen and amen! We can not on,y hear about the good stuff. We must also hear about the bad. I pray that all preacher take the word and allow the spirit to move them. As that spirit moves then we all get from the verses just want God wants! Ladies I love the discussion between the two of you. This is what we need! Talk about it bring it out and look at it together so we have a clear understanding.
Totally agree!! Open discussions are good for everybody! Blessings 🙂
We can go to church and try to live the life that Christ has called us to. However, we do not hear that sin is sin and that God hates sin. We have sugar coated the gospel so much that people are afraid to stand up and proclaim the word of God. I hear those around me using foul language and telling nasty jokes. Which I tell them please do not say things like that around me and their response is that Jesus knows them and he’s ok with the way they talk. I disagree with them because God’s word says to be separate from the world and do not allow their way of life to affect mine. I am not saying I am perfect but I do try to allow the Holy Spirit in me to fill me and those around me to see that He lives in me.