T. PIERCE BROWN
A few days ago I decided that I needed to get connected to the internet so I could conduct more Bible studies using e-mail. I got connected, and slowly learned a little about how to use e-mail. Since I had at one time 3000 Bible students inAfrica, it seemed logical to get connected to wbs@Bible.acu.edu. Since I have been writing articles for gospel papers and discussing Bible themes for 50 years, it seemed logical to get connected with a Gospel Advocate discussion group at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Having been a member of the Lord’s church for over 60 years, I thought I knew answers to a lot of questions. I discovered that I did not even know all the proper the questions, much less the answers. So I am asking help from those brilliant Bible scholars who have the proper connections, as well as the answers. Here are some of my problems: First, before I got connected to internet, I was out from time to time doing personal evangelism and trying to win another soul for the Lord. Now I barely have time to read all the correspondence that is going on between all these brilliant and scholarly brethren. My first question is: Is this similar to what happened to the house of Stephanus as recorded in 1 Cor. 16:15 where they “addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,” or is this a different or more dangerous kind of addiction?
Second, all of you who have gained some special insight into the grace of God that none of the old generation of preachers even suspected, will the grace of God automatically take care of any failure I have to put first things first, or can I just repent of it and keep on doing whatever I want to do?
Third, I have moved my computer into my bedroom, seldom seeing my wife except for meals, for I am writing in the morning, reading in the afternoon, and meditating on what I have written or read at night. My third question is: Is it possible that such an affair with a computer is very closely related to “spiritual adultery” and could be grounds for divorce? Is looking on a computer and lusting after a CD-ROM a sin? I have lived with the same precious woman for more than 51 years, and she apparently has never seriously considered divorce until now. It is possible that she may not now be considering it, but all the counsel I have given others over the years seems next to impossible to apply to myself. Can any of you brethren who understand Greek, Hebrew and syllogistic reasoning, and even know how to “surf the net” give me any insights into the answer to this problem?
A related problem is: If I have so adulterated our relationship that she has a right to divorce me, do I need to repent of my sin (in case I have any), and change any action or relationship, or can I just repent and continue my affair with the same computer, or maybe even add a CD-ROM? My “traditional” response to the definition of repentance is that it means “a change of mind,” as a result of Godly sorrow, but if it is the kind of repentance that God accepts, it necessarily involves changing one’s actions or state if that action or state is wrong. Are all actions that involve computers and e-mail, actions that merely involve cultural changes about which the Word of God has no answers? Does 2 Thess.2:15which teaches that we should hold fast the traditions we have been taught have anything to do with us today, or are we to look with disgust or suspicion on anything “traditional?”
So, maybe the bottom line question is, If I have to give up my time with e-mail because my wife wants me to vacuum the floor or help her hang out the wash, am I justified in letting her know in no uncertain terms that “it is not fitting for me to leave the word of God to serve tables,” following the Apostolic example, or may I as a Christian husband yield to her wishes and compromise without encouraging her to disobey Ephesians 5:22?
If any of you fail to teach what is the absolute truth on these matters, should the rest of us mark and avoid you as false teachers, consigning you to the Stygian pits of darkness for eternity, or must we leave all final judgment to God?