Vol. 2, No. 10 – 2017
I went back (along with my fellow servants); God revealed to me that I should go. Galatians 2:1-5
It is some 14 years since Paul’s miraculous conversion on the road to Damascus (of course all conversions are miraculous!). He and his associates do not go to offer confrontation, but go for consultation.
It is said that independence must not be sectarian, nor schismatic.
The annoyance now for the leader, Paul, is sinister activity of false teaching and teachers that just reiterate what they hear (they drank the Kool-Aid of liberalism of the day). It seemed that wherever he traveled on his missionary journey to build ministries and churches, false teaching dogged his steps. The intent of false teachers is to pervert (prostitute) the messenger and the message; also, to come against authority.
Paul is not like your ordinary peacekeeper. He is a peacemaker; however, he does not shudder to confront lack of truthfulness. When that happens, he goes directly to the heart of the problem. Sadly, we have leaders today that become milk toast, when they should aggressively challenge the false with truth. It is not always easy; however, Scripture guides the leader into right decisions and right approaches, if one would simply listen to what God has said.
While Paul did not lean toward being reluctant, that is not to say that inwardly he felt in turmoil. He did not want to say too much, because he did not want to give the appearance of being antagonistic to the leaders in Jerusalem.
He was already a great peacemaker, giving authority its due respect (should leaders be so given to this approach). He travels to Jerusalem to speak (actually talk) with them (talking is two-way; speaking is generally one-way). Paul keeps his lines of communication open. He recognizes the position and authority of other leaders. Together they are all being following leaders.
How often do churches, institutions, governments, and businesses (and people) split because this lesson is not learned? Perhaps you have been a part of a schism in your life experience. The open door of relationships and communication is extremely important in leadership. Deliberate effort must be made to be trusting (setting aside the penchant for continuous suspicion); being constructive, and not looking for things to be critical of (such that gives opportunity for judgmental and contentious debate). Often we take offense when no offense was intended! (That bit of wisdom was uttered by God’s special servant, now with the Lord, in one of our Deacon meetings years ago. Thank you David Daniel Washburn!)
Interestingly, Paul demonstrates that making concessions in the areas that do not offend Scripture, there is a provision for concession, and provision for expedience–as long as one holds to the truth. Paul does not rock the boat; he considers that he is one among many leaders.
Peacemaking often involves pressure and understanding; and it is often weighty. There is nothing wrong with conciliation; however, conciliation at the expense of an important biblical truth and conviction does nothing but erode spiritual power, credibility, and integrity; it also demeans God’s truth.
Paul stands firm. Could we not learn from his approach? No where in the passage does he back away from biblical truth. How quickly might we choose to live our lives in the same manner.
I talked with the leaders . . . I wanted them to understand what (I was doing), I wanted to make sure they did not disagree (with God’s truth) or my ministry would have been useless. Galatians 2:2