by Zach Terry

The Epistle of Jude: A Call to Contention
Zach Terry

Introduction: There is nothing more spiritually and emotionally taxing to the minister of the Gospel than a contentious Church. As a matter of fact much of our time is given to keeping people out of fights.

Illustration: Church Fights

It is one small letter but it is causing big problems for one congregation in the northwest Louisiana town of Bossier City. The issue has divided both the congregation and the elders of Westminster Presbyterian Church so deeply that the almost half of the church's membership including 3 elders and the associate pastor recently split to form a new congregation in town.

The controversy, which has been growing for almost 5 years now, all centers around the pronunciation of the Hebrew letter 'waw' or 'vav.' Many in the realms of scholarship insist that the letter is to be pronounced 'vav,' making a 'v' sound when it appears in Hebrew words. Others, though, insist that the letter is to be pronounced 'waw,' making a 'w' sound. So then, depending on what stance one takes one could say, for example, ''Bar-mitsvah'' or ''Bar-mitswah.''

''We had hoped it wouldn't come to this.'' Said the church's pastor, Michael French. ''But we've got to be firm in what we stand for. The letter is pronounced 'waw' with a 'w' and that's all there is to it. We're not going to budge on this issue.''

''I must agree with our pastor.'' said 80-year-old Mildred Wilson, a life-long member of the congregation. ''There's already one 'v' in the Hebrew alphabet, why in the world would you need another?

The final split in the congregation occurred this past Sunday when those who support the 'v' pronunciation wrote a letter to the pastor, remaining elders and the congregation expressing their desire to withdraw and form a new congregation.

''We are deeply saddened that this matter has come to this point, but we must stand firm and we must be unwaivering in what what we believe is right and tru ...

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