Today’s excerpt is long, but it speaks for itself. What could be the thought pattern behind this behavior? Is the senior minister the keeper of his brother, the victim here? I’m just asking.
From the book:
“The topic for Wingfield’s May 31 sermon was part of a series called ‘Path to Restoration.’ This one had to do with sibling rivalries. I paraphrase, ‘How do we keep from allowing sin and division from coming in the door? How can we recognize it and address it before it does damage? We let it in to our own lives, not realizing that sin will divide and bring disunity. We can’t control what everybody else does, right? But we can control what we let into our own lives. We can guard the door of our own church family, of our own marriage, and of our own relationships with our kids, and we say anger, jealousy, and competition and hate—I’m not letting it in my door. I will not let it master me. I’m going to love. I’m going to be my brother’s keeper.’
This paraphrase of the sermon, taken out of context of the greater picture, seems innocuous enough. However, one glaring point is left out, and I noticed it as I watched the sermon on Vimeo. Steve is the biblical shepherd of a flock of believers. It is his responsibility to protect his flock. In the sermon, he inferred that the dissenters who received orders of protection were the ‘sin’ that he and the elders were keeping from the doors of the church. I found it ironic that he was about ten years too late in keeping the sin from the flock. He allowed Brandon through the gate to begin with, which was reasonable, because Brandon passed the scrutiny of a security check at the time. On the other hand, once Steve got the information from the three informants, Steve allowed the threat to the church back through the doors multiple times. Brandon was even allowed to lead VBS. Steve not only let Brandon to enter the FCCF facility, he also sent him to other churches, along with a personal recommendation. This is unconscionable. Steve began the story in the middle, where he could avoid culpability for letting the wolf into the pen repeatedly.” (https://vimeo.com/129790372)
(Taylor, Joy S., A View from the Pews — The Inside Story of a Broken Church, 2022, Lily of the Valley Publishing, Santa Claus IN, p. 108.)
A View from the Pews is available on Amazon in print and ebook format, as well as part of the Kindle Unlimited program. Choose your preferred method, and read the rest of the story.