BLOG site of Amy R. Maxwell

I am the wife of B.J. Maxwell (married August of 1997) and mother of our four adopted children.
I am blessed with the awesome privilege to care for & love my husband, invest in & love our children, and keep our home.
May I steward these gifts well, for the glory and praise of Christ Jesus our precious Lord & Savior!

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus . . . sweetest name I know!

Saturday, July 08, 2017

My Secret Life as a Pastor's Wife, Part 2

As I mentioned previously, it is my desire (in these posts) to bring glory to Christ’s bride, shame on those wolves who seek to devour God’s people, and encouragement to those pastors and wives who labor rigorously for those they love & serve.

This next part is hard to write. I have no desire to call out anyone by name or even hurt brothers and sisters in Christ who need grace, love, and forgiveness as much as I do.

Sin happens.
Even in the church.

There are two basic categories of folks: wolves and sheep. Throughout Scripture God’s people are referred to as “sheep” and God as “the great Shepherd”. So who is the natural enemy of the sheep? A wolf, of course! He is the one who comes to “snatch and carry away” the sheep (John 10:12).

Joe Carter (Gospel Coalition) writes,

“Wolves often look like sheep, so to spot a wolf we can often look at what values and qualities are esteemed by a particular religious community. In Jesus’s day outward religiosity was prized, so the wolves looked like legalists. And in the early post-apostolic age, secret knowledge was valued, so wolves took the form of learned Gnostics. The values of the evangelical community in America today are diverse, so it’s not surprising we have a broad diversity in the species of wolves we encounter.”

So, who are wolves and who are sheep? This is a fundamental question to ask, especially for pastors. (We must seek the Holy Spirit for discernment.)

In John Calvin’s sermon (“Ravening Wolves Who Wreak Havoc”) he says,

It is not without good cause that God strongly exhorts those whose duty it is to preach the Word not to seek grace and favour in the eyes of men. He expects them to close their eyes to human opinions, so that they are not turned to one side or the other, or prevented from properly fulfilling their office. Indeed, we know it to be impossible for us to fulfil our office properly unless we fix our eyes upon God and turn our eyes away from men; for we can easily become corrupted if we do otherwise, and it takes very little to turn us one way or another. Yet the most important loyalty required of those who have the responsibility of preaching the Word of God is that they be not tempted, either through ambition or avarice, to speak to please and satisfy men. They must not be afraid of perils or dangers. For experience shows that, as soon as a man fears for his own skin, or else has an eye to his own profit, he will change in a moment of time.

It is true that those who seek to please men in this way are not demonstrating at that moment that they are evil or enemies of the truth; as indeed, our Lord Jesus shows in the tenth chapter of John’s Gospel, where he makes a distinction between the hirelings and the wolves (John 10:12). Having spoken of good and faithful shepherds, who seek the common well-being of the flock, he says that there are ravening wolves, or thieves, who seek only to plunder everything, thereby wreaking havoc and confusion. These are people who fight openly with God, and strive and struggle to overturn pure gospel doctrine.”

I really love this quote from Calvin! A FANTASTIC exhortation for pastors but also a reminder for all of us that there is a real enemy against the church. And, that enemy may very well be within the walls of that (my) church. Their goal: to wreak havoc & confusion.

If you were to ask a pastor to share his war story (actually you should really ask his WIFE), I think most folks would be shocked at how poorly we treat our pastors, fellow heirs in Christ.

Let’s see, our family has been:
- called “heretics” and “satan worshippers”
- physically threatened
- accused of marital infidelity
- accused of drug addiction
- fired
- slandered & gossiped about
- harassed
- permanently UN-friended
All from fellow church "members".

Many of these are laughable (if you know our family), but this list, unfortunately, could go on and on, and many pastors can relate to most if not all.

Why put yourself, let alone your family, through this?

Because the Gospel is precious.
Because grace abounds.
Because we ALL sin and we ALL need forgiveness.
Because Christ’s bride is GLORIOUS and worth fighting for. Christ fought and died for her.

 God has called sinful men to proclaim a perfect Savior to sinful people.

We all must labor diligently TOGETHER to protect the purity of Christ's bride, the Church. This is not the sole responsibility of the pastor(s). It takes courage, prayer, GRACE, and love.

We are to call out the wolves, WHILE loving the sheep. We are also called to love and pray for our pastors. These men labor tirelessly on behalf of your souls.

Grace, grace, grace.
Did I mention GRACE?

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