This brief article is not intended to be a detailed compendium of rules for the conduct between patriarchal families since such a project would never succeed. Though we in our own communities (Chavurat Bekorot) have very precisely defined rules, this is only workable if families consent by covenant to operate under such strictures. It therefore becomes more difficult in this broad-based 'church', which is a ministry (2001) rather than an Order per se, to lay down rules since not everybody will necessarily accept them.
We have always operated "by the Spirit" in this fellowship and have believed that those who naturally belong to this Spirit will automatically gel together in Christ. We know that in practice, of course, that it is very na´ve to suppose that disputes will not occasionally arise, and whilst for the most part we have solved these amicably and in true charity, occasionally it does not work out that way, as has happened recently. It is then that certain standards of behaviour need to be set down.
Rule #1. Make as little public as you can. Yah'shua (Jesus) taught in no uncertain terms that if two brothers have a dispute, the two should solve it between themselves. If they can't, they are to find two or more witnesses and appeal to an arbitrator. If this fails, it must be judged by the Church/Assembly:
In other words, disputes between believers are always to be resolved internally, and never in public. Two Christians/Messianics going to the secular courts is considered an abomination.
"Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that 'by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.' And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church (congregation). But if he refuses even to hear the church (congregation), let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector" (Matthew 18:15-17, NKJV).
Now part of the problem is that most of us belong to different churches/assemblies and denominations, a situation which did not exist when Yah'shua (Jesus) made His statement above. The fact that we are a cyber-community for the most part makes long-distance resolution of problems difficult but not impossible. Because of these limitations, we are forced to work through intermediaries.
This ministry used to have a counsel of Patriarchs (2001) If, in the past, there was a dispute, a member from this Counsel whould be asked to arbitrate, beginning with the most senior members. At the time of writing (2001), there were four. All belonged to different denominations and assemblies.
For ministers and Elders rather special rules apply as we see:
These are, of course, understood to be verbal accusations. Written material, which is much more profuse these days than in the past, makes facts more easily establishable (though remembering forging documents is also possible). But the point is one should never accuse a minister with the same kind of attitude as one who does not have such a high and holy calling, inasmuch as he has greater accountability anyway as well as the fact that he may be a shepherd of many. Accusations made against those with high callings should be mediated by those with similar or higher callings. As I am a Pastor I would therefore call upon someone responsible for a flock like myself to be a mediator and not someone with no ministerial responsibilities (a mistake I have once before made).
"Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses" (1 Timothy 5:19, NKJV)
"Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger as sisters, with all purity" (1 Timothy 5:1-2, NKJV)
Rule #2. Disputes between different genders in families should be presided over and mediated, in the first instance, by the patriarchs in those families. If a patriarch is unable to do this, he ought not to be calling himself a patriarch at all.
Thus if a woman accuses a man who is not her husband, she should make her accusation through her husband.
And if a man accuses a woman not his wife, he should make his accusation though her husband.
If a woman accuses a woman of another family, both husbands should be alerted and resolve the matter between them. It is up to them whether they allow their wives to correspond with each other. If tempers have cooled, the latter ought to be encouraged. If not, the men ought to resolve it between themselves.
Disputes between patriarchs should be resolved between patriarchs and their wives should not be brought in save privately as counsellors, at their discretion.
If patriarchs cannot resolve such disputes between themselves, then they must call upon an intermediary.
Rule #3. Never ever go public. Discussing cases in general terms is permissible so long as names are not used or obvious links to persons intimated. And do not spread involvement with others unnecessarily. Do not permit the recruitment of carnal alliances but always appeal to the Word, the Spirit, and to intermediaries committed to both.
Rule #4. Seek resolution through repentance and reconcilliation to the truth. Never compromise the truth, expose all falseness and wickedness in an edifying, pastoral manner (Ephesians 5:11). Do not discuss issues until tempers have quietened and contentiousness has ceased (Proverbs 17:1). Rebuke overt evil (Jude 1:9; Titus 1:13; 2:15; 2 Timothy 4:2; 1 Timothy 5:20), remembering that as we judge, so we ourselves will be judged (Luke 6:37). "Judge righteous judgment" (John 4:24, KJV).
Rule #5. When all has been resolved and forgiven, forget and move on, learning the lessons (Luke 6:37b).
Rule #6. If one or more of the parties will not reconcile or be truthful, shake the dust off your feet as a witness against them and move on (Luke 9:5). Do not cultivate war but ignore the evil one, placing them in Yahweh's hands.
Conclusion. Remember, we are accountable, both in heaven and on earth.
The reconcilliation of Jacob and Esau