The following are extractions from the ‘‘Form of Ordination of the Ministers of
God’s Word” “….. What this holy office enjoins . . . . . .”
“First, that they faithfully explain to the flock the word of the Lord, revealed by the writings of the prophets and apostles; and apply the same as well in general as in particular, to the edification of the hearers, instructing, admonishing, comforting and reproving, according to everyone’s need . . .”
To which the candidate for the ministry of the Word promises at the end of the ceremony in front of the whole church . . . .” “Yes, truly, with all mv heart,” Pages 67 and 68 in back of the Psalter,
I am a member of the flock of Christ and desire an explanation of God’s Word which the ministers are in duty bound to give as they promised God when they were ordained. Please explain these three sets of verses, extracted from the Bible and answer the questions attached to the close of this article.
a. Ill John vs. 9-10
“I wrote unto the church but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the pre-eminence among them, receiveth us not. Wherefore if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content there with, neither doth lie himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would and casteth them out of the church.” In these verses John is writing to Gaius his well-beloved repeating a bad report he had listened to. Is he “gossiping.” If not, why not?
b. I Corinthians chapter 5 verses 1-4
“It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.
And ye are pulled up and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.
For I verily as absent in the body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though 1 were present concerning him that hath so done this deed.”
So writes St. Paul to the Corinthians. He has heard a terrible report about a brother in the church. Was he listening to “gossip”? Is he spreading “gossip”? If not, why not? Notice he was not present to personally witness this deed.
c. I Samuel Chapter 2 verses 22-24
“Now Eli was very old and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And he said unto them, Why do ye such things? for I hear of your evil doings by all this people. Nay my sons for it is no good report [evil report – brackets — my words] that I hear: ye make all the Lord’s people to transgress.”
In I Samuel Chapter 3 verse 13 God tells Samuel concerning Eli, “For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth, because his sous made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.”
In these verses Eli hears an evil report about his sons but does not remove them from the ministry. Were the people “gossips”? Was Eli listening to “gossip”? God was right in saying Eli should have taken action on the basis of these evil reports but Eli, unlike the apostle Paul did nothing, therefore both Eli and his sons die on the same day (I Samuel chapter 4 verses 17-I8), and the glory of God departs from Israel (1 Samuel, chapter 4 verse 22).
Now in the Standard Bearer Rev. M. Schipper uses the word “gossip” in the February 1, 1968 issue on page 196 and Rev. Heys uses the word gossip 11 different times — three times in the April 1. .1968 issue of the Standard Bearer, pages 299-300, one time in the March 15, 1968 issue, page 276, and seven times in the April 15, 1968 issue, pages 322 and 323. Besides this, student Richard Moore has used it once in the Beacon Lights, February 196S issue (page 1) of his editorial. How many more times this word has been used in various articles 1 do not know.
Since both Rev. Heys and Rev. Schipper and student Richard Moore have used this word in public and said that listening to gossip is wrong, what would they say Eli, the priest, St. Paul and St. John were doing in the above three sets of scripture verses? How would you explain this? Please tell our readers what definition our denomination attaches to the word “gossip.” Please explain what you mean by the word “gossip” when you designate it as being evil.
Would the above ministers and seminarian be willing to write some articles for the Beacon Lights on the word gossip and also allow our readers to reply to them in the same magazine. Since you continue to use the word “gossip” in public, please explain and answer these questions in public for the edification of all the flock of Christ as you promise in your ordination vows.