Dangerous Cliques: The Good Ol’ Boys Club

A friend posted something I wrote several years ago dealing with dangerous cliques in the church. The first installment was about the Domineering Old Lady Club. The point is that in Christ, we are not to form cliques in the church. Peter found this out the hard way when he tried to form the Jewish Lunch Club, by eating solely with Jews and excluding the Gentiles. The Apostle Paul came down rather hard on Peter for doing so, telling him that he was acting more in accordance with being a Gentile, than a true Jew since he was in direct contrast with the gospel.

This is why cliques are so dangerous. Here is what I wrote in the first post:

The very idea of a clique is antithetical to the gospel. The gospel is not only intended to bring men into a right relationship with the Father by dealing with our sin against Him, but also meant to bring people together united in Christ’s blood. Cliques in the church like the one Peter was joining undermine the gospel for at the heart of the clique is pride and a belief that while we are all saved by grace, some are not worthy of the fellowship that was purchased by the blood of Christ.This very attitude needs to be confronted and dealt with because it also grieves the Holy Spirit.

If we are all justified by the same Christ, where is there room for a clique in the body of Christ? I began thinking about this when I was preaching that it is Jesus Christ who establishes His church and the gates of Hades will not stand against it. The church belongs to Christ, not to men and their cliques. As those called to be faithful, we must fight against the temptation to join cliques and to ignore them in the body of Christ. They are there, and like Paul, we must stand against them.

So in view of this, I want to continue the series with the Good Ol’ Boys Club. The GOBC is just as insidious as the DOLC because the goal of the club is the integrity of the club, not what the Bible says or doesn’t say. For the member of the GOBC, all is good no matter what is done because you are a part of the GOBC.

To enter into the GOBC, you just have to exist in the church for a long time with the other GOBCs. Christianity really isn’t all that important to you. You exist simply by being there for long periods of time and looking the other way when Joe Bob, or Jim Bob act indiscriminately. In fact, the unforgivable sin for members of the GOBC is for someone, especially the preacher, to point out the sin of those inside the GOBC. It’s OK for the preacher to talk about how sinful other people are, like those others across town, or on the wrong side of the tracks. But to mention sin inside the GOBC will get a preacher hypothetically tarred and feathered and realistically, fired.

For the GOBC, there really are no rules, other than the one just mentioned. When they get into power in the church, bylaws, constitutions and even the Bible are tossed aside for expediency. Those things are just formalities for show. In fact, the entire church is just their for show. It’s only purpose is to serve as a sanctified Rotary club, or VFW chapter. The concern isn’t Biblical truth, but Gawd, Country, apple pie and living the good ol’ boy lifestyle. That lifestyle is really hard to see because it changes from culture to culture, but you know it when you see it, and know when you are not a part of it.

If there is actual faith of any kind, found in the GOBC, it’s not open for criticism, rebuke or any such nonsense. It’s always a private matter between the members of the GOBC and Gawd. In other words, “we don’t talk about any of that stuff. Ain’t nobody’s business.”

The worst thing that can happen in a GOBC church is for them to mistakenly hire a pastor that… actually believes in Christ and His word. These two just don’t mix at all and is the reason why the average tenure of pastors in evangelicalism is about 2.5 years (and that is a generous estimate).

It is because of the existence of this club that so many emergent churches have popped up on the scene in the last 10 years. The emergent proponents are seeking a more genuine and authentic Christianity. The sad reality is that the emergents are just a more trendy version of the GOBC. Eventually, there will be another movement come along to replace the emergents, seen as the GOBC in another 25 years, and the process will all start over again.

The only hope for such a church is really the gospel. Only through the gospel can the church be saved from the church for the church. I know, sounds convoluted. But Protestants have always believed in a mixture of wheat and tares in the church and know that when cliques like the GOBC come to power, the only hope or solution is that the gospel is continually preached to them. Yes, that means a lot of preachers will come and go. But the we should not quit trying to reach the GOBC for the gospel. They need to hear it, and by God’s grace, some of them finally do.

It is then their eyes are opened and they find themselves on the outside of the GOBC by God’s grace. They usually leave the GOBC run church and look for one that has more wheat than tares. Yes, the process starts all over again, but God is good in that His grace continues to raise up plenty of wheat for the harvest. We need simply be faithful in feeding those who do have ears to hear.


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