OK, we’ll get to the kibitzing in a minute.
Part 2, Section 3A (Values), of the GCC Book of Faith and Order (Constitution) says this regarding Biblical authority:
Grace Covenant Church commits itself to conforming to the full authority of the Scriptures which alone are sufficient for life and godliness. It seeks to submit itself to the proclamation of the whole counsel of God, to the regular exposition of biblical passages, and to the truths it proclaims.
This is not a quote from Scripture but a quote about Scripture and an important one. Can we take a minute to pick it apart together? Good. Let’s just pull out some of the ‘C’ words.
Let’s start with Grace Covenant Church. That is, all the members who are members. Redundant, I know, but necessary to emphasize because all of us members have made an oath to God and each other and the centerpiece of that oath is Scripture. “I thought it was Jesus?” you might say. Good point but where do we learn about Jesus? Only from the special revelation of Scripture. When you say “I love Jesus”, from time to time I must ask which Jesus? The Jesus of the Bible.
This is what all we members did. We committed. To commit means “to give in trust, to consign for preservation, to pledge oneself to a position on an issue or question, to bind or obligate oneself, to entrust, especially for safe keeping.” YES, YES! This is what we all did!
We said, and I quote again, not Scripture but the oath we made. These are snippets of our commitment. We said we are committed to: the consistent proclamation and application of God’s word; to follow the Scriptures in the governance of the home; to submit to the elders in matters clearly expressed in Scripture.
This is what we ALL said not just the elders and other church leaders…ALL OF US!
Now to really quote Scripture. Romans 8:29 points out something true about all believers.
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
Conforming to the image of Jesus and conforming to the full authority of the Scriptures are one and the same thing. Jesus is the Living Word and to be like Him we must conform to the written word in all things. Our commitment to one another to do this is simply what God has ALREADY predestined us to do. Wild, huh?
When I hear the word counsel I think of things like admonition, advice, caution, consideration, warning, instruction, direction and of course, kibitz. When we became Christians, we did so because we responded to the counsel of the Scriptures. James 1:18-22 says this:
Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
According to James we were 1) born of the word of God; 2) are to be humbly receiving that word continually as a mark of being born of the word; and 3) are to be doers of the word, again as a mark of being born of the word.
So, are we kibitzing one another? To kibitz simply means to give counsel or advice but more as a meddler than a friend. It originated as a description of someone looking over the shoulder of a player in a card game and offering unsolicited ‘advice’. To counsel with the word of God is not kibitzing. It involves love. Love for God, love for His word and love for our fellow believer. And as such, it is welcomed, solicited or not.
Church, commit, conform, counsel. These are all indispensable aspects of our promise to encourage one another and to stir one another up to love and good deeds.
When it comes to the GCC family I echo the Apostle Paul’s words to the Thessalonians:
And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers. (1 Thess 2:13)
Will you kibitz today or will you counsel from the word of God?