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Vieraskieliset / In-english

The situation in North American Zion was discussed at the beginning of the meetings of the sister organizations.

Vieraskieliset / In-english
30.9.2022 14.00

Juttua muokattu:

30.9. 10:50
2022093010502620220930140000

Har­ri Vä­hä­jylk­kä

Eng­lish: Sam Roi­ko

Ou­lu

The an­ti­ci­pa­ted mee­ting of the sis­ter or­ga­ni­za­ti­ons oc­cur­red af­ter a pau­se due to CO­VID. Rep­re­sen­ta­ti­ves of three cent­ral or­ga­ni­za­ti­ons of our Chris­ti­a­ni­ty, SRK, LLC and SFC, gat­he­red for about a week-long coo­pe­ra­ti­ve work mee­ting in Ou­lu. The re­gu­lar­ly sche­du­led mee­tings had been pau­sed due to the co­ro­na­vi­rus pan­de­mic. At the joint mee­ting, the joys and sor­rows of the work of Chris­ti­a­ni­ty were sha­red. A cent­ral to­pic in the dis­cus­si­ons was the di­vi­si­on that has hap­pe­ned in the midst of North Ame­ri­can Zion, which has re­sul­ted in a he­re­sy.

Ear­ly on Mon­day mor­ning, the cof­fee tab­le at the SRK of­fi­ce was bust­ling with ac­ti­vi­ty. Be­lie­ving friends gree­ted one anot­her in three lan­gu­a­ges; some had not seen each ot­her for a long time, and some had ne­ver met face to face. There have been re­ti­re­ments and per­son­nel chan­ges in sis­ter or­ga­ni­za­ti­ons. Ho­we­ver, du­ring CO­VID, con­tact was main­tai­ned through many mes­sa­ges, e-mails and re­mo­te mee­tings.

Gree­tings con­tai­ned joys and sor­rows

Mon­day’s dis­cus­si­ons fo­cu­sed lar­ge­ly on the si­tu­a­ti­on in the Zion of North Ame­ri­ca. The rep­re­sen­ta­ti­ves of the LLC’s ad­mi­nist­ra­ti­on and of­fi­ce spoke about the events of the last few ye­ars and al­so of very re­cent hap­pe­nings in North Ame­ri­ca. Their gree­tings con­tai­ned joy that God has bles­sed the work and pro­tec­ted His obe­dient child­ren in faith. Me­anw­hi­le, sor­row was felt be­cau­se many signs were evi­dent which de­monst­ra­te that the long-stan­ding di­vi­si­on has re­sul­ted in a he­re­sy.

Rep­re­sen­ta­ti­ves of the Fin­nish and Swe­dish sis­ter or­ga­ni­za­ti­ons re­la­ted gree­tings from their own count­ries. These gree­tings no­ted that the si­tu­a­ti­on in North Ame­ri­ca and its dif­fi­cul­ty have al­so been evi­dent in va­ri­ous con­tacts and dis­cus­si­ons in Fin­land and Swe­den. They brought up that in this week's joint mee­ting, it is ne­ces­sa­ry to al­so talk about dif­fi­cul­ties and the spi­ri­tu­al bat­t­le. These are part of the life of God's cong­re­ga­ti­on; God's cong­re­ga­ti­on is al­so a bat­t­ling cong­re­ga­ti­on. Mee­ting rep­re­sen­ta­ti­ves of the dif­fe­rent count­ries no­ted that it is im­por­tant to share this mat­ter with be­lie­vers – It is ne­ces­sa­ry to re­ve­al what the si­tu­a­ti­on is and what ty­pes of is­su­es are be­hind the sor­row­ful si­tu­a­ti­on, many sta­ted. God's gra­ci­ous and cal­ling na­tu­re was spo­ken of in the dis­cus­si­ons. It was sta­ted that ack­now­ledg­ment of a dif­fi­cult si­tu­a­ti­on, even a he­re­sy, is not harsh­ness, but al­so through this God cal­ls those who have gone ast­ray (1 Cor. 11:19). Re­pen­tan­ce is God's work from be­gin­ning to end, and through it one can re­turn to God's king­dom.

The di­vi­si­on has de­ve­lo­ped over a long pe­ri­od of time

LLC rep­re­sen­ta­ti­ves desc­ri­bed the backg­round of the cur­rent si­tu­a­ti­on. The si­tu­a­ti­on has not de­ve­lo­ped over­night but rat­her over the cour­se of many ye­ars. Qu­es­ti­ons of faith, doct­ri­ne and life have been dis­cus­sed in one-on-one vi­sits, and more bro­ad­ly wit­hin in­di­vi­du­al cong­re­ga­ti­ons, for examp­le at cong­re­ga­ti­on dis­cus­si­on eve­nings. Re­gi­o­nal and con­ti­nent-wide dis­cus­si­ons have al­so been con­ve­ned so that mat­ters could be ca­red for. The most re­cent con­ti­nent-wide gat­he­ring was held on May 7–8, 2021. At that mee­ting, there was con­cern exp­res­sed that a dif­fe­rent un­ders­tan­ding of the doct­ri­ne of the cong­re­ga­ti­on exis­ted in the midst of the be­lie­vers of North Ame­ri­ca. It was al­so open­ly ack­now­led­ged on both si­des that there were two groups wit­hin North Ame­ri­can Zion and that we can­not con­ti­nue as a di­vi­ded flock.

Dis­cus­si­ons on Doct­ri­ne

Dis­cus­si­ons of doct­ri­nal qu­es­ti­ons have ta­ken place among cong­re­ga­ti­on spe­a­kers, bo­ard mem­bers and cong­re­ga­ti­on mem­bers in North Ame­ri­ca for ne­ar­ly 10 ye­ars. The mat­ters have al­so been dis­cus­sed at the lar­ge LLC ser­vi­ce events and ot­her gat­he­rings. Dis­cus­si­ons have al­so been ar­ran­ged at lo­cal cong­re­ga­ti­on events. Ho­we­ver, the end re­sult of the dis­cus­si­ons has been that the mu­tu­al un­ders­tan­ding and love of be­lie­vers has not re­tur­ned but rat­her that the di­vi­si­on has dee­pe­ned and be­co­me stron­ger.

At the mee­ting of the sis­ter or­ga­ni­za­ti­ons, qu­es­ti­ons aro­se con­cer­ning what kinds of mat­ters have been dis­cus­sed among be­lie­vers in North Ame­ri­ca over the ye­ars, and where have dif­fe­rent un­ders­tan­dings been ob­ser­ved. Ot­hers wan­ted to know what signs and fruits of di­vi­si­on have be­co­me ap­pa­rent. LLC rep­re­sen­ta­ti­ves sha­red that over the ye­ars there have been many dis­cus­si­ons on va­ri­ous doct­ri­nal qu­es­ti­ons. Dis­cus­si­ons have ta­ken place re­gar­ding jus­ti­fi­ca­ti­on, the po­si­ti­on and sig­ni­fi­can­ce of God's Word, the re­la­ti­ons­hip bet­ween the writ­ten Word of God and the Word of God pre­ac­hed by the Holy Spi­rit, the re­la­ti­ons­hip bet­ween God's Word and the cong­re­ga­ti­on, the of­fi­ce of the Holy Spi­rit, and, in con­nec­ti­on with that, the es­sen­ce of the cong­re­ga­ti­on and its sig­ni­fi­can­ce and duty, for­gi­ve­ness of sins, con­fes­si­on, and ser­vants of the cong­re­ga­ti­on.

Mee­ting par­ti­ci­pants had ex­pe­rien­ced that to some ex­tent, doct­ri­nal mat­ters have al­so been exa­mi­ned as if they were di­a­met­ri­cal­ly op­po­sed. For examp­le, dis­cus­si­on speec­hes brought out how the per­fect righ­te­ous­ness pre­pa­red by Christ and the grace ow­ned by faith seem to have cast their sha­dow on the im­por­tan­ce of watch­ful­ness, the en­de­a­vor and con­fes­si­on. Rep­re­sen­ta­ti­ves of the North Ame­ri­can cent­ral or­ga­ni­za­ti­on said that in doct­ri­nal dis­cus­si­ons there have not al­wa­ys been big dif­fe­ren­ces. Ho­we­ver, this has not re­mo­ved di­vi­si­on nor res­to­red uni­ty of faith.

LLC rep­re­sen­ta­ti­ves felt that in the cur­rent si­tu­a­ti­on the stron­gest di­sag­ree­ment bet­ween the two par­ties was the pers­pec­ti­ve of God's cong­re­ga­ti­on and the work of the Holy Spi­rit in the cong­re­ga­ti­on. Dis­cus­si­on par­ti­ci­pants no­ted that the po­wer of God's Holy Spi­rit al­wa­ys af­fects both in the pre­ac­hing of God's king­dom and in its gos­pel. If some hear the gra­ci­ous voi­ce of the gos­pel in a ser­mon and ot­hers hear the de­mand of the law in the same ser­mon, it can­not be that the he­arts of the lis­te­ners are in the same con­di­ti­on. And if the gos­pel of for­gi­ve­ness brings joy, pe­a­ce and free­dom to some, but does not free ot­hers from bur­dens, a cri­ti­cal mind, and ac­cu­sa­ti­ons, the fault is not in the li­ving gos­pel, but in the he­art of the lis­te­ner. In the dis­cus­si­on it was brought out that the view of some is that in North Ame­ri­ca, in LLC cong­re­ga­ti­ons, the law is pre­ac­hed to the be­lie­vers, while in Fin­land grace is pre­ac­hed. The mee­ting rep­re­sen­ta­ti­ves did not ag­ree with this ob­ser­va­ti­on.

Faith cre­a­tes uni­ty, sin bre­aks it

In their speec­hes, the mee­ting at­ten­dees brought out the fact that uni­ty bet­ween be­lie­vers is born of God's Holy Spi­rit. This uni­ty can­not be ac­hie­ved or main­tai­ned by man. Sin, me­anw­hi­le, bre­aks this uni­ty. True uni­ty can on­ly be ac­hie­ved by mu­tu­al faith and the Holy Spi­rit. That uni­ty and al­so the ot­her fruits of the Holy Spi­rit are lost if li­ving faith is ex­tin­guis­hed. The works of the flesh rep­la­ce them, one of which is he­re­sy, as Paul wri­tes to the Ga­la­ti­ans (Gal. 5:19–21). God's grace al­so be­longs to those who have fal­len in­to the sin of he­re­sy.

Ack­now­led­ging the exis­ten­ce of a he­re­sy does not mean that God's grace has en­ded. Those who have fal­len in­to he­re­sy are cal­led un­to re­pen­tan­ce. Re­pen­tan­ce and per­so­nal­ly ow­ning the for­gi­ve­ness of sins re­news love and res­to­res a li­ving uni­ty with God, His king­dom, and the ot­her child­ren of God. There is joy on earth and in he­a­ven over eve­ry one who re­pents (Luke 15:10).

There is se­cu­ri­ty in God

The rep­re­sen­ta­ti­ves of Fin­land, Swe­den, and North Ame­ri­ca re­la­ted in their speec­hes how the con­tacts with ot­her be­lie­vers have brought joy even in the midst of dif­fi­cult ti­mes. In va­ri­ous dis­cus­si­ons with the LLC, a con­nec­ti­on and com­mon un­ders­tan­ding that is cre­a­ted by the same faith and the Holy Spi­rit have been felt. There has been no doubt that we be­lie­ve exact­ly the same way. In Fin­land and Swe­den, the un­ders­tan­ding has re­mai­ned that the cong­re­ga­ti­on of God is al­so pre­sent among be­lie­vers in North Ame­ri­ca. God Him­self ca­res for His cong­re­ga­ti­on even du­ring ti­mes of spi­ri­tu­al bat­t­le.

The dis­cus­si­on cul­mi­na­ted in this, that the es­sen­ce of God's king­dom and the foun­da­ti­on of faith will ne­ver chan­ge. The mys­te­ry of faith is still ow­ned with the faith of a child. Je­sus set a small child as an examp­le of faith to His dis­cip­les, who were con­si­de­ring their own po­si­ti­on and com­pe­ting for a place. God's child­ren still do not need to fear, even though they may en­coun­ter dif­fe­rent mes­sa­ges and ac­cu­sa­ti­ons. God ca­res for each of His child­ren and ru­les His own king­dom.

For­ma­ti­on of he­re­sy

– A he­re­sy al­wa­ys grows wit­hin the cong­re­ga­ti­on of God. There co­mes a frac­tu­re in the love among God’s child­ren. The in­ter­nal uni­ty of faith and spi­rit bre­aks. An ”in­ner circ­le” or a “group wit­hin a group” is for­med, which has a tight mu­tu­al uni­ty, which al­so be­gins to se­pa­ra­te from the cong­re­ga­ti­on of God.

– Un­ders­tan­dings of faith chan­ge. Some fall away from the foun­da­ti­on of the righ­te­ous­ness of faith to be un­der the law wit­hout re­a­li­zing it. They drift away from the free­dom of the child­ren of God in­to the bon­da­ge of tra­di­ti­ons, the let­ter of the law and ru­les. In this phase the fruit of he­re­sy be­co­mes more cle­ar­ly evi­dent.

– When the se­pa­ra­ti­on from the love of the child­ren of God has ta­ken place, a bat­t­le ari­ses against it. The al­te­red un­ders­tan­ding of faith and doct­ri­ne rai­ses war against the cong­re­ga­ti­on of God. In this way a group that has in­ter­nal­ly se­pa­ra­ted al­so se­pa­ra­tes out­ward­ly.

Re­fe­ren­ce: pre­sen­ta­ti­on kept by Ju­ha­ni Ul­jas in 1998.

3.12.2022

Hän hankkii sorretuille oikeuden, hän opettaa köyhille tiensä. Ps. 25:9

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