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Friday, February 4, 2022

A Good Shepherd?

In the Gospel of John, Christ refers to himself as the "Good Shepherd" who gives his life for his sheep (John 10:11, 14-15). Moreover, when he made that reference, he knew that David had once declared that the Lord was his shepherd, and that Ezekiel had prophesied that the Lord would one day raise up a shepherd for his people. Indeed, the care and concern that a good shepherd exhibited for his flock was the exact model that Christ exemplified and held up as the standard for the people who would be leaders within his Church.

Likewise, in the first epistle attributed to Peter, we read: "And now, a word to you who are elders in the churches. I, too, am an elder and a witness to the sufferings of Christ. And I, too, will share in his glory when he is revealed to the whole world. As a fellow elder, I appeal to you: Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example. And when the Great Shepherd appears, you will receive a crown of never-ending glory and honor." --I Peter 5:1-4

Leaders in Christ's Church were also expected to be people who were filled with the Holy Spirit. What are the fruits or evidence of that Spirit? Paul wrote to the Christians of Galatia that the Holy Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). He also wrote to Timothy that a sound mind was a feature of having God's Spirit (II Timothy 1:7, and that leaders in God's Church must exercise self-control, be gentle, and NOT be quarrelsome (I Timothy 3:1-3). In his first letter to the saints at Corinth, Paul wrote that "Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance." (I Corinthians 13:4-7)

In light of these Scriptures, I would like for my readers to evaluate a letter that was sent to me by a minister of the Church of God International. In the way of background, this letter was written in response to three of my most recent posts regarding that organization and the messaging of its ministers. What follows is the complete text of the email I received from Pastor Bill Watson of Ohio:

Lonnie,

I'm really sorry you have fallen prey to the Devil's work of "accusing

the brethren" because this is exactly what you're doing (Rev. 12:10).

Your dissonance is nauseous already and sadly, should be recognizable to

you. But, your blinded by your own "projections" that you continue to

"spin" to justify your meaningless accomplishments and to appease your

own insecurities--so sad! You're only embarrassing yourself by these

misappropriated ramblings and rants, for years now. It's unfortunate you

don't see yourself because what you're doing is such a waste of time ans

so self-destructive.

Frankly, with all the education you have, you'd think you would be more

productive in your life, but you continue to mindlessly, ridicule and

criticize a work of God. Let me suggest you go back to working at a fast

food restaurant and at least do something more worthwhile. Because you

obviously have too much time on your hands. Watching you waste your life

in this self-deprecating behavior is pathetic––you really are showing

serious signs of obsessive mental and emotional trauma. Perhaps, you

should get some therapy? It may be you're suffering from some PTS

syndrome and don't realize it. But, your "obsession" with dogging us

(CGI) and me in particular, choosing to "rag" on anything and everything

is really sick and unstable. Get some professional help Lonnie.

So, please stop sending me these accusation and false narratives––you're

just wasting your time because from here on out I won't be responding,

lest I stoop to your level. I'll follow my Lord's advice and not waste

my time (Matt. 7:6). And all the reason since an individual of your

mind-set is not ready to receive truth about yourself. You are very

confused Lonnie––such a wandering spirit (Jude :12-13).

I'll continue to pray you will see the accusers of the brethren (which

you are participating in) is from the devil and you need, for your own

sake and peace of mind, let it go––whatever "it " is that is triggering

you to act with such offensive hostility––you really are filled with a

lot of animosity. It "oozes" out in your writing, like pus from a

spiritually infected spirit. As a matter of fact, you are hurting your

health and this tension you carry, over the long run, can hurt you

physically.

Stop the "wandering" Lonnie and focus on something more positive and be

a force for God that you can be, "if" you will forgive and let your past

go!

I pray God will recover you from the hostility you harbor (2 Tim

2:24-26).


In Christ's Service,


...Bill

What do you think? Does that kind of language reflect the standards of the Good Shepherd for his ministry?

Please contrast the above email with my reaction to it:

I wanted all of you to see Bill's reaction to my articles before I offered any comments of my own. This was my dad's "best" friend? His response represents a classic Armstrongist reaction to any criticism of them or their teachings - completely reject that the criticism has ANY merit and attack the person who promulgated it as a tool of Satan (an "accuser of the brethren"). Notice also that he goes on to attack me personally and suggest that I am mentally unstable/unbalanced, and that I am wasting my precious time. Honestly, I must say that I found his response to be very amusing (I am well beyond being hurt by, or working up any anger over, this kind of stuff).

Obviously, I will NOT be personally responding to Bill's letter - it doesn't deserve one. I continue to hope that he will eventually connect the dots and realize that my posts would end immediately if he would simply stick to his commission as a minister of Jesus Christ and stop talking about his views regarding Covid-19 public health measures, the ongoing culture wars in the United States, and his conservative political views. I, of course, will continue to insist that the pulpit (or other church platforms) is/are not appropriate forums for the expression of such opinions. In the meantime, I will continue to take care of Darlene, our home together, my other writing projects, and our projects to enhance our enjoyment of our children and grandchildren (In other words, I have plenty of things to keep me happy and busy).


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