Exhort One Another
The beatings continue
Over the years I’ve contemplated the theology of Mike Reid and his thought process. I’ve wondered if he’s just a two or three-trick pony, or if he believes these theological positions are what’s best. Best for whom is another question. I suspect, he believes they are best for him. Allow me to explain the tricks and then why I say, “best for him.”
In the years of studying this place, post departure, and the years being directly involved, it comes down to a few things that he pushes hard on.
A hierarchy is one of the most important topics to get right in authoritarian and abusive churches. It must be established that “me boss, you not,” or the whole cookie can crumble. You begin by invoking biblical authority as the basis of your teaching. The Scriptures teach submission to government, submission to parents for children, and naturally, submission to the leaders of the church, pounding home Hebrews 13:17 and teaching on it consistently.
Teaching the importance of mortifying the flesh, striving for holiness, and purging as much sin from your life as possible is also a necessity. All Christians are simultaneously sinners and saints, but pushing the slant toward the sinful nature helps keep the congregation in doubt about the validity of their conversion. Stressing that the better place to be in your positional salvation is to be higher up the ladder than you were yesterday, last week, last month, or last year. If you aren’t then there is probably something wrong with your sanctification process, and the elders will need to intervene.
3. Challenging Each Other
Stirring one another up…. Is an important element to keeping the congregation on edge. Did you notice I stopped short? Stirring one another up to what? The Scripture verse says to love and good works. But at Grace Fellowship it simply becomes stirring one another up. They need to be watching their brothers and sisters for sin in their life. It’s one of the important elements of the Christian life. Be your brother’s keeper. The effect of this type of stirring is extreme withdrawal and caution around everyone. The last thing you want is brother or sister so-and-so saying, “I would have you consider…..” Sheep beating is not only for the pastors but also for the other congregants, nobody is left out of the fun.
I could say much more, but you don’t have to believe me. Please listen to this 12-or-so-minute clip. Note: they removed the sermon and it is available now here: pre-sermon, full clip This is Mike’s “pre-sermon” and it is meant to “exhort” the congregation. Apparently, they haven’t been doing enough of this stuff lately. Not only is the congregation “encouraged” he pulls a classy move and berates his in-laws. His father-in-law must be putting on some weight. Whatever happened to honoring your parents/inlaws in this case? (Eph. 6:2, Ex. 20:12) Does he think more highly of himself than them? (Rom. 12:3, Phil. 2:3) Did he speak words of edification on their behalf, or was he simply using his "bully pulpit" to further his agenda? (Ecc. 3:3, 1 Cor. 10:23). I know where I stand on the issue. I wonder if the congregation will stir him up and call him out on this sinful manner of communication, doubtful as it's usually a rules for thee scenario.
Who is all this best for? Does it change someone’s salvation if they are saved? Does striving for holiness improve their position? My suspicion is that it is best for Mike to keep them on edge and to keep him ruling with fear and intimidation. They don’t need the Holy Spirit to convict them, all they need is Mike, the other pastors, and the congregation. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?