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Monday, June 7, 2010

An Open Letter to Tim of Families Again

Men's Monday Meme

I really like The Men's Monday Meme that appears each week at Families Again. I feel sympathy for Tim, as it seems that very few people participate each week. No one hardly ever participates in my Things Fortnightly. Perhaps a week from Thursday, he'd like to give it a go (Subtlety has never been my strong suit.)

I don't always know how to set up my answers. Should I just have you click here to read Tim's article? Should I spend a few paragraphs explaining it? The main point of this week's rant (his words not mine) was that churches seem to judge some sins and turn a blind eye to others. His questions for any men to answer this week were:

What do you think about my above rant? Am I being to harsh on churches and Christians? Are there certain folks that should not be allowed into a church because of their sinful behavior?

As you may have surmised by the title, I have decided to answers Tim's questions directly this week.

Dear Tim,

Thanks for mentioning me in your post last week. There have been a few of your meme's I have wanted to participate in over the past few weeks. I just have not had the time or could not find the words to express my feelings appropriately.

This week's post really got me to thinking. It made me think of my college years in the late 80's early '90s. At the time, homosexuality was much less accepted even by the non Christian public than it is now. Each year on our campus the Gay Student group would participate in an event called Denim days. You were supposed to signify your acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle by wearing jeans. I always thought this was a bit of a trick since jeans were (and probably still are) the clothing of choice on a college campus. It would be like telling a group of motorists to signify their support of a tax hike by having air in their tires. In order to "speak against" homosexuality many people had to plan their attire in advance.

This was a very emotional time on campus and many unchristian and hypocritical things were voiced or acted out against homosexuals. At the time, I wrote many op-ed pieces for the campus newspaper. I decided to write a piece that pointed out the hypocrisy of using the Bible to condemn one sexual sin when a vast amount of students were practicing other more conventional ones. I argued that all sex outside marriage between and a woman was sin and not just the same sex ones.

In my article I did speak out against homosexuality, but since I also spoke out against other sexual acts and hypocrisy, many in the homosexual movement embraced my article. I was even asked to read it at a campus gathering on the issue.

So, Tim, I must say that I understand and agree with your rant. We can't pick and choose what sins are horrible and what sins are just bad. Now I Corinthians 6:18 does say: Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. (NIV) However, I think that is a reason to flee from sexual sins, not a reason to say that those sins should be considered better or worse when compared to other sins.

After all. all have sinned (Romans 3:23) and not everyone has sinned sexually. The result of any sin is death (Romans 6:23) and Jesus died to forgive sins (1 Corinthians 15:3). He didn't have to die twice for the sexual sinners and only once for the liars.

In answer to your question as to whether you were being too harsh. I think only you can answer that question. If handled improperly, blogging could become a platform for the kind of gossiping you and scripture rightfully condemn. Personally, it doesn't sound to me like you were gossiping, because a) you didn't name names and b) you gave general examples. However, If there are specific people in your church who are committing the sin of gossiping, have you brought it to their attention following the scriptural model?

I will answer your question as to whether there are certain folks that should not be allowed into a church because of their sinful behavior once I've made a distinction. The church is not a building, the church is a body of believers. I Corinthians 5:9-13 says

9I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12For what have I to do with judging outsiders?Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13God judges those outside."Purge the evil person from among you."

Too often we judge those outside of the church. It is those that claim to be believers and continue in sin that we are to remove from the body, not from the building. The purpose of this removal is always repentance. Earlier I referenced the Biblical model of addressing sin to a believer. As I am sure you know, it is found in Matthew 18:15-17. In the NIV it reads like this:

15"If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. 16But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.
17If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

I think Biblical discipline intertwines Matt 18:15-17 and I Corinthians 5:9-13. Such a model was used at a church I was a member of a few years before I got married. At the time, I was involved in sins that no one at the church was aware of. When the church followed this scriptural method on a friend of mine involved in a similar pattern of sins, it was the first step God used in bringing me to repentance, restoration and eventually marriage as the forces of darkness were using my sinful pattern of behavior make me feel unworthy of God and marriage. I left the state to court my wife prior to finding out what happened to my friend. But the process of expelling an immoral believer had a profound impact on the spiritual life of myself and many others in my church. More so than gossiping or judgemental hypocrisy ever could.

Thanks Tim for bringing up such an important topic and reminding me of the power a Biblical acting church can have on a believer in persistent sin.

Dave (Home School Dad)

Next Time: Good Help and a Good Book is hard to find.

1 comment:

  1. Well said! I remember those college days...


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