Restore: Galatians 6.1 VOTD

“Brothers and sisters, if a person is discovered in some sin, you who are spiritual restore such a person in a spirit of gentleness. Pay close attention to yourselves, so that you are not tempted too.”

Galatians 6.1

“Some sin” is general, for all types of sins may overtake saints. No one is immune from any type of sin. The “spiritual” are the disciples in general. Correction is not the exclusive work of preachers or elders. Everyone must take heed; everyone must see to his brother.

Describe how the spirit of gentleness would approach a brother in sin.

#church-discipline #correction #VOTD

Why Ridgedale church of Christ Is Getting Slammed

In the greatest sermon ever preached, Jesus wrote, “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Mat. 5:12-13).  Persecution takes many forms, but if you want to see one form of it simply go to Ridgedale’s Facebook page and look at the dozens of examples of tolerance from broad-minded people as they help that congregation face what the world thinks of them.

An article by Kevin Hardy in today’s Times Free Press online (http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2013/aug/21/repent-or-leave/), which reflects some basic ignorance of what the Bible teaches about church discipline, unleashed a firestorm of hateful response by readers who are on Facebook and who in turn posted their remarks on the aforementioned page.  My prediction is that things will get worse before they get better for the good people at Ridgedale.  Understanding that we do not have all the facts of the case and would not expect a person in the world to give them to us, what we should do is focus on what is alleged.  A professed lesbian’s family that attended Ridgedale was approached by church leaders after the woman’s mother publicly supported her daughter as she sought same-sex benefits from the city of Collegedale.  As the family’s support of their daughter was public, the church felt compelled by scriptural mandate to ask the family to repent or be subject to church discipline.  The family publicly made their exit and a congregational matter is now being splashed across news outlets.  But, why is this congregation facing such an outcry and disapproval?  The answer will differ from individual to individual, but here are some broad reasons evidenced from people’s responses.

Ridgedale is getting slammed because of the cultural sickness of subjectivity.   One woman writes, “I think the decision makers of this church will one day pay for their sins…” Another woman writes, “I think the Cooper’s will be far better off without a church who punish’s them for not turning their back on their child….” Another puts it, “In my world, my God accepts, doesn’t judge and loves all his children!” Still another says, “Wow! I guess we know different Gods. My God offers unconditional love and tells me not to judge others….” (misspellings and grammatical errors made by the original writers). Others’ subjectivity is more subtly expressed, but here is the common thread.  People think they get to co-opt God and make Him over in their image.

Ridgedale is getting slammed because of society’s warped view of tolerance.  Certainly, so many who commented on that page are not tolerant of anyone who interprets Scripture literally.  They are not tolerant of this congregation’s autonomy. They are not tolerant of the view that homosexuality is a sin.  It is abundantly clear from the comments.  You will read such slurs as “bigot,” “hoping the church burns in hell,” “Scumbag Church,” “group of horrible people,” and more.  This is dripping with irony.

Ridgedale is getting slammed because the average person does not know the Bible.   People speak of God loving unconditionally, Jesus accepting everyone, and that one’s sexuality does not matter.  There is a famine of hearing the words of the Lord in our land (cf. Amos 8:11). Such lack of knowledge will destroy a people (Hosea 4:6).  God’s unconditional love does not mean unconditional acceptance if someone lives in rebellion to His will.  Jesus will not accept everyone.  To the majority, He will say, “Depart from Me” (see Mat. 7:13-14, 21-23).  Apparently, one’s sexuality does matter (see 1 Cor. 6:9-11). But people are grossly uninformed about the only book that reveals the heart and mind of God.

Please pray for Ridgedale.  Encourage them and show them love.  The detractors are popular and validated by a world separated from God.  Let us have the courage to stand by God’s people who are willing to stand up for His will. – Neal Pollard

Neal Pollard preaches for the Bear Valley church of Christ in Denver, Colorado. His blog can be viewed by clicking here.

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#bible-ignorance, #church-discipline, #controversy, #criticism, #current-events, #homosexuality, #news, #tolerance

Nothing more compassionate than church discipline

When another Christian falls into obvious sin, an admonition is imperative, because God’s Word demands it. The practice of discipline in the community of faith begins with friends who are close to one another. Words of admonition and reproach must be risked when a lapse from God’s Word in doctrine or life endangers a community that lives together, and with it the whole community of faith. Nothing can be more cruel than that leniency which abandons others to their sin. Nothing can be more compassionate than that severe reprimand which calls another Christian in one’s community back from the path of sin. When we allow nothing but God’s Word to stand between us, judging and helping, it is a service of mercy, an ultimate offer of genuine community. Then it is not we who are judging; God alone judges, and God’s judgment is helpful and healing. —Dietrich Bonhoeffer

"My friends, if anyone is detected in a transgression, you who have received the Spirit should restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness." —Galatians 6:1

#church-discipline, #compassion, #confrontation, #judgment, #leniency

Counter-cultural Christians

Some won’t like my FMag article today, since I name names—something I do rarely. This is happening near us, so we’ve taken care to warn the faithful. Names are not the big issue, truth is. But Jesus did not separate the fruit from the wolves. On the contrary, by what they do and say, you will know who they are.

• Remember that the most dangerous threats to the saints appear as the most benign and attractive friends. This is true in morals and doctrine.

• On the road, I saw gas prices for $2.98 in N. Little Rock yesterday, on the other side of the highway from me. I bought it for $3.03. May it fall even more!

• Why are there not more alternatives for inexpensive housing? Even with housing prices in the tank, the dream of owning one’s own home seems even more distant. In the race for status and size, housing construction has become the most expensive item in the family budget.

• Christians avoid being swept along by social and cultural values. They are, ought to be, the ultimate adversaries to cultural currents that reflect materialism and other godless attitudes. They seek alternatives that glorify God, permit their full attention to his mission in the world, and allow them to express godliness in every movement.

• There is a point beyond which we can keep saying that Christians ought to do this or that while admitting that they don’t. If they don’t follow the Lord, they aren’t his followers. How long have we preached about the necessity of obedience? That translates beyond baptism into the daily cross-bearing of the disciple. And if they don’t? Discipline is the Lord’s solution. When was the last time your congregation disciplined someone? Someone once called it the forgotten commandment. Now, perhaps it might best be styled the snubbed commandment.

• TV commercial for Hebrew National hotdogs says, “O. M. G.” This from Jews who used to think God’s name so holy that they wouldn’t speak it on their lips? Let us be sure we speak the name of the Lord always with reverence.

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#church-discipline, #counter-culture, #godliness, #holiness