Communicating as Christians
The Prevention of Gossip
A Manual for Church Members
The church is built by God with people on the basis of a confession, a conversion, and a confidence (Matt. 16:16-18). The confession, the foundation, the solid rock is “thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Scripture describes the church as a body (Eph. 1:22, 23); a bride (Eph. 5:22-32); and a building (Eph. 2:20-22)—each having members with different functions needed to support the whole in its mission. Membership in a church means we will be closely associated with other members of God’s family.
Much of the teaching in the epistles of the New Testament concerns the relationship of Christians with fellow Christians. The stress of the personal relationships between Christians is because the church is a New Testament community. One of the things that impressed the first-century world with the church was the members’ love toward one another. They were a testimony to something dynamic and much better than what the world had to offer. A church which is obedient to God will demonstrate God’s power for a harmonious fellowship to the community and to the world.
All our preaching of faith will not convince the world of the love and forgiveness of God if not exhibited in the life of the church. The scourge from communicating outside God’s protective doctrine is a serious blemish over our witness—a major crisis in churches today! Communication is not just a means to an end. It is the end in itself. The ultimate aim for the Christian is to please God through the development of His gift of love and the practice of Biblical principles in our daily walk. We glorify God or we do Satan’s work by the way we communicate!
Our relationship with God (vertical) must be right. Being a Christian also means that my relationship with others (horizontal) has to be made right (Mark 12:30,31; Luke 10:27). Am I in the process of loving my neighbor as myself? A key to acceptance of this principle in my relationship of love and not being judgmental toward others is to understand God’s love and forgiveness for me! Oh wretched sinner that I AM—saved from an eternity in Hell by the blood of Christ.
Security of the believer is not a license to sow discord and defile the temple.We must bring closely into our teaching and practice the Bible doctrine on communications and discipline! There should be no misunderstanding in our churches as to what God’s standards are; and there should be now hesitancy in applying God’s procedure (Matthew 18) to rebels who are unrepentant and given over to the old nature. One church member doing Satan’s work (Rev. 12:10b) can undo all the work and prayers that other Christians have accomplished over years of dedicated service.
Church debt in relation to giving (tithe) has a bearing upon discipline and the spiritual health of the church. The freedom to discipline wayward members should not be compromised by excessive debt and the fear of lost revenue. This then becomes the basis for control by rebels who can operate and gossip without fear of removal. Failure to discipline and preserve the purity of the church for any reason, including the fear of lost revenues, undermines the church at its very core! The benefit of a beautiful edifice (church and parsonage) is shallow in comparison to the testimony of the church members in their behavior toward one another and their adherence to Bible doctrine. Keeping church debt at a level where discipline can be exercised and the loss of revenue will not cause financial collapse is important.
Communication problems (pride and perception) came with the fall of man. Studies suggest that only 7% of an idea is communicated totally by the words we use. Approximately 38% of perception is believed to be a product of the inference on words from voice inflection, pitch and tone; 55% facial and body expression, dress, and appearance. The way we dress, what we eat and where we seek our entertainment are influential in communications.
How we describe an idea we wish to communicate to another is the product of our experiences and prejudices and, to an extent, human misconception. A husband and wife can live together for fifty years, making their backgrounds about as similar as they could be for that length of time. Still, they are not always sending and receiving the same message. What does the receiver of our message perceive from what we say? He or she is from a different set of experiences, human prejudices and misconceptions. Because of this, the sender and receiver of a message can have a serious problem, sometimes not even knowing that it exists. Misunderstanding what another intended is a very significant cause of problems between people.
We are in a fight against sin and in direct opposition to Satan. John 8:44 describes Satan as “a liar and the father of it.” Satan’s gospel is pride, humanism, carnality, wickedness and infidelity to God’s authority. In Revelation 12:9, Satan is clearly exposed as the deceiver of the whole world. In communications, the tragedy of this universe is the subject of Jesus’ prayer in John 17:25, “O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee…” Satan’s biggest crime has been to deceive the world about the faultless reputation of our perfect God. Communicating simply must be done God’s way according to God’s blueprint!
This booklet includes a partial list of scripture and commentary of God’s standards for communicating and discipline. “Communicating as Christians” is intended to be used with the “Congregational Harmony” booklet and “The Laymen’s Letter.” All church members should be familiar with the Bible doctrine for church discipline and communications. A thorough review in new-member classes as well as periodically from the pulpit or mid-week Bible study is suggested.
This booklet is dedicated to the strengthening of our churches, our families, and the nation for the glory of God.