It’s been suggested by some that the letter from SGC Fairfax, currently affirmed by 16 churches, is divisive or an act of rebellion. I understand why some might say that, especially if they have been steeped in legacy SGM culture that values compliance and conformance in the name of loyalty and humility. Friends, this is not a healthy part of our church culture and I want to gently address the ill-founded view that the response letter from SGC Fairfax is rebellious. In the event that some of you hear that viewpoint bandied about in your local church, I want to equip you to address that with your local church brethren, including pastors if necessary.
First, let’s be clear on one thing – SGM is an organization that has NO formal authority over its associated local churches. Each church is autonomous – SGM cannot remove or discipline local pastors – it cannot exercise any form of governance over the local church. As a matter of principle, you cannot rebel against a body that has no authority over you. For instance, I cannot rebel against my local library – it has no authority over me even though I am a card carrying member. It is also why you will never hear of a 33 year old man rebelling against his parents – by the time you’re 33, you’re fully an adult and your parents do not have authority over you. Because SGM exercises no authority over local churches, it is impossible for any local church to rebel against it. Could local churches be disrespectful in their communications to SGM? Yes, absolutely! But please read the letter again and tell me that it is anything but kind, collegial and gracious.
Second, from my limited understanding, SGC Fairfax did not actively solicit other churches to participate. There was no organized methodology in play to gather a mob of signatures. Apparently, other churches heard of this letter and requested to affirm it. To be clear – even if any church sought to do so, it should be simply viewed as like minded churches offering an exhortation to slow down the process, wait for AoR report and discuss matters of church governance together. That cannot be conceived as rebellious by any objective observer.
Finally, let’s not forget one more thing – SGM Board asked for feedback regarding the proposed appointment of the new board. The letter is nothing more than grace filled feedback. It should be welcomed by humble Christian men with joy and gratitude. It is hoped by this member that such men exists on the current SGM Board.
Friends, we must get beyond this totalitarian mindset that seeks to marginalize alternative viewpoints as divisive, rebellious or slanderous. It is founded in poor handling and application of scripture. To be clear, I’m not for slander or rebellion but this gracious letter is not it. May we have more fruitful, brotherly dialogue about important matters that affect us all.