Men's Meme - June 6, 2010...Tink's Rant

I haven't written in quite a while. But this one's really interesting to me b/c I have similar questions that I can't answer.

Here's a link to the topic. There's too much to copy to this post.

Here's the gist:
Are there certain folks that should not be allowed into a church because of their sinful behavior?

I expect that there are some folks that are non-church goers or have been turned off by this exact behavior that will have one opinion and then there may be church goers that will have another. I want to hear them all. I want a lively discussion! What do you all think?

My Response:
I actually do think there are people who shouldn't be allowed in a church due to their behavior. I am thinking of pedophiles. However, I should temper that by saying that the church I grew up in had an individual who was gay and worked in the children's program. The individual was confronted and removed from the ministry (not the church). After a period of time and counseling, the person said that things weren't going to change (unrepentant) so the individual was asked not to return to the church for the safety of the children. It was sad because that was a friend of mine, but it was done in a biblical way. Obviously, there's a ton of background that I won't go into, but suffice it to say that this was repetitive, sinful behavior that can't be tolerated and it threatened the kids.

So do I think that homosexuals, or any other person for that matter, shouldn't be allowed in church? NO! That's sanctimonious and ridiculous. The instance above was a specific situation of repeated, unrepentant behavior. And I think that holds for any sin. I don't like sin lists. They tend to imply that a murderer is worse than another person. But Jesus said that if you are angry with someone without cause, you are in danger of the same judgment Matt 5:21-22. All have sinned and missed the mark, Rom 3:23. And forgiveness is available to "whosoever shall believe in Him." John 3:16.

Here's what I think question is/should long does the church tolerate the behavior? Forgiveness just keeps on a-comin', which is good, because we all fall and some of us fall for the same thing over and over again. The point is that there must be evidence of repentance and effort to grow in Christ. If that's not the case, certainly the person isn't fit for ministry in the church. You can read First and Second Timothy for behavior and qualifications for those who serve.
I have heard a lot recently about the "new Christianity" where showing love to everyone is the main focus. What I haven't seen is a direct answer from these people about their stand on sin and how it is to be dealt with in the church. You just get, "We just love everyone. We want people to know they are welcome."
I don't see that as new, really. That's what Jesus did. I would point out the woman at the well and especially the woman caught in adultery as relevant to this discussion. When Jesus met the woman at the well, he was treating her with respect just by talking to her. In that culture, a Jew wouldn't have spoken to a Samaritan. In fact, they would not have gone that route to get to Galilee, they would have gone around Samaria. In Mark 7:24-30, Jesus goes all the way out to Tyre and Sidon to heal the Syrophenician woman's daughter. His life was lived loving everyone, not just his friends or just Jews.
The woman caught in the act of adultery in John 8:1-11 offers, I think, a good answer to the question about whether certain people should be in the church and what it means to love others as it relates to this "new" Christianity. This woman was clearly caught in sin. Jesus doesn't really say much during this interaction. The Scribes and Pharisees want to stone her and they wanted Jesus to sanction it. Rather He asked them, in so many words, what gave them the right to judge and execute her? Then in Jn 8:11, He tells the woman that He doesn't condemn her and that she is to go and sin no more. In my opinion that is what's lacking in many churches and relationships today. The willingness to tell someone to stop sinning (in humility) and then of course the maturity of the person on the receiving end to appreciate the rebuke and learn/repent/grow from the situation. It's an extremely difficult thing to do well. And I have found that if you are going to be that kind of Christian, you will lose a lot of friends. But if God is telling you to warn that person, you need to do it.

I could go on and on as usual, but I will just net out my feelings on this. I think anyone should be welcome in church (Jesus came to heal the sick, not the well). However, if a person is living in open, unrepentant sin, it must be dealt with. Read 1 Cor 5:1-13. But be careful. Certainly Paul talks about removing the person living in sin, but the idea is to restore the person. What's at issue is living in sin and not being repentant. When there's repentance there must be restoration. And don't we owe it to people to lead them to repentance and a closer relationship with their Savior?

Thanks for visiting.
Let me know what you think.

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