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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Changing My Mind on Insurance

Before continuing with this account (begun in the previous post) I want to make very clear that what I express here, on how I came to my own conviction is not intended at all to be a judgment or criticism of anyone who does not share the same. I do not criticise or refuse to have fellowship with others for not sharing my conviction in this or similar matters. I simply share this account and the subsequent events to encourage anyone who has come, through study of the scriptures, to a personal conviction before the Lord on any matter which may not be shared by others and in which obedience to the Lord may cost them dearly. The most important thing for any of us is obedience to the counsel of John 2:5, “Whatsoever He saith unto you do it.”
I was certain at the outset that scripture would clearly support my own position that good stewardship of resources the Lord had committed to us definitely included good insurance coverage. But the more I searched scripture, the more uncertain I became on that point! In fact, after almost two weeks of personal study of every scripture that I thought could be related to the subject, I came to believe that I had been wrong and must change my view!
It now seemed clear to me that…
- My lip service to trust in the Lord would actually be denied if I could not trust him to protect
the building, or to replace it if He allowed it to be destroyed. (Proverbs 3:5,6) Up to this point, I had been trusting in the insurance company and the combined pool of funds of many policy holders for the security of the building. I had thus far failed to place my trust in the Lord to protect what I acknowledged to be His property!!
-Our insurance premiums went into a common fund which was used for the protection, restoration, or replacement of many businesses which were characterized by ungodly practices: i.e. bars, brothels, breweries, abortion clinics, and even false religions! Thus I came to believe that if I chose to continue to do so, I would be unequally yoked together with unbelievers contrary to II Cor.6:14.
- While I claimed to believe that the Lord's work should be done in the Lord's way and that I
should never appeal to unbelievers for funds (Philippians 4:6,7) , if the building was ever destroyed and I with others claimed insurance on it, I would actually be depending on premiums paid in part by owners of bars, brothels, breweries, abortion clinics and supporters of false religions to rebuild that building!!! This would again demonstrate that I was, in fact, unequally yoked together with unbelievers.
Most of the congregation had opposed insurance from the start. (I had simply come to agree with them as a personal conviction of my own resulting from my study of the scriptures.) So when the matter came to a vote in our next congregation business meeting, the congregation voted to discontinue paying insurance on the building. As a result, the mission board chose to insure the building with mission funds!
I knew I could not hold to one view of insurance for church matters and another view relative to my own personal matters! So our own life insurance policies were cancelled and I appealed to the mission headquarters regarding our group health insurance with Blue Cross/ Blue Shield. As an entire mission organization, we were paying out hundreds of thousands of dollars annually and rarely claimed any major medical expenses in return!!! The greatest benefit in recent years had been $60,000 which had been paid for one missionary’s surgery! So it seemed to me that we were needlessly pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars down a “black hole”. I was sure we could never stand before the Lord and demonstrate that such waste had really been “good stewardship” of resources which He had committed to our trust!
So I suggested that, in place of a group plan with “Blue”, we could simply establish a fund, within the mission itself, to which each missionary would contribute. When a certain established maximum amount was reached, the fund could be capped and no more payments be made into it until some medical expense had to be paid. Then contributions could resume to replenish the fund and nothing would be lost. But this suggestion was flatly rejected and our mandatory participation in the group health plan was still required. Because of my changed convictions regarding insurance on the church building and our mission’s group health insurance plan, I knew that I was “in hot water” with the organization. But another matter was soon to be brought to my attention, on another subject altogether, which would ultimately make it impossible for me to remain in my current position as pastor in that congregation or a missionary with that mission. God was about to use another Christian to challenge my thinking regarding our whole ministry of church planting! (I must close for now to continue in yet another post.)
BTW, your comments, questions, or other perspectives on this subject are welcomed and encouraged below or in personal emails or conversations.

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