An open message from John Natiw and the elders.
To all students and those interested in the Michigan Bible School:
May 12, 2010
Over the past two weeks, I have had the opportunity to re-examine some of my decisions as it relates to my playing music in public. I've been playing music in one form or another (publicly or otherwise) for most of my life. In recent years, music has become another way for me to help provide for my family, but, after careful reflection, discussion and thought, I realize I have made some poor decisions and put myself in sinful situations. I do repent of the sinful activity I have engaged in. I will be moving forward with a more vigilant attitude in choosing venues to play. My thanks go out to the elders at West for being patient as I considered the matter and to George for his friendship and the many discussions we have had over the past two weeks.
My hope and prayer is that Charles and I will be able to talk sometime and come to a united understanding on the matter. Also, I hope that the elders at West, George and area brethren will continue to support the congregation at West and the Michigan Bible School. In the near future I intend to continue to study this matter and possibly compose a thorough treatment of the subject, which may be helpful in answering questions for brethren who are either playing music publicly or simply have interest in the matter.
May 5, 2010
Over the past month, the elders of the Church of Christ – West have been studying, meeting, given to much prayer, and mediation regarding this matter. While we do not completely agree on all of the points that have been made, know that the elders do not condone nor would we ever allow sin to propagate either in the congregation or the programs we oversee. On May 5, 2010, during our mid-week service, John publicly repented to the congregation, asking for forgiveness and prayers on his behalf. We commend John for seeing the sin that he allowed to take hold in his life and then for the repentance of that sin.
We ask that each of you also forgive John and keep him in your prayers as he continues to work on this matter. In Psalms 86:5 we read:
For you, Lord, are good and ready to forgive, and abundant in mercy to all who call upon you.
In Jeremiah 31:34 we read:
For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.
Christ taught about forgiveness a number of times but we should all remember the following that is found in Matthew 6:14-15:
For if you forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your father forgive your trespasses.
Christ also taught that forgiveness is not just a one time option but is as many as needed. Luke 17:3,4 states:
Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you saying, ‘I repent’, you shall forgive him.
Perhaps the greatest thing about being a child of God is that we can ask for forgiveness and He will forgive. We, members of His body, have the knowledge that it is the blood of Christ that continually cleanses us of all sin—all we need do is repent (Acts 8:22). Remember, Romans 3:23 states that “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”.
Please continue to keep Brother John, the elders, the congregation, and the school in your prayers so that we can continue to do the work that has been set before us.
In His Servie,
Jim Litton, Chris Hadley, and Luther King
May 5, 2010