I was getting really tired of the whole discussion over homosexual "marriage," what position the church should take on it, and the various positions individual Christians -- as well as the leadership in the churches -- should take on it.
Then Erick promoted this diary and I got inspired to clarify a few points that I hear made repeatedly in this discussion.
Sometimes reading the comments -- especially by "low-information Christians," sends me over the edge because they are laced with ignorance and half-truths that result in an anomaly that seems ever-present in the church that I like to call "sloppy agape and greasy grace."
To clarify the truth about how the church is to deal with sin in the church and to correct the notion that "God loves everyone and demands holiness from no one," let me refer you to 1 Corinthians 5:1-6 for starters: (This is the apostle Paul writing.)
It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate: A man is sleeping with his father’s wife. 2) And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have gone into mourning and have put out of your fellowship the man who has been doing this? 3) For my part, even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. As one who is present with you in this way, I have already passed judgment in the name of our Lord Jesus on the one who has been doing this. 4) So when you are assembled and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, 5) hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.
6) Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough?
We see clearly in these passages that the apostle Paul is 1) passing judgment on someone in the church; 2) rebuking the Corinthian believers for tolerating sin in their midst; 3) telling them how to deal with it to protect the integrity of the church which included turning the offender over to Satan for the destruction of his flesh.
Wow. Paul was sure an unloving, judgmental Christian, wasn't he?
This same chapter goes on in verses 9-11 to take up a few more sins that are not to be tolerated in the church:
I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people 10) not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11) But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.12) What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. Expel the wicked person from among you.
Do homosexuals fall into the category of sexually immoral people? Yes, of course they do.
I understand that debating the issue of same-sex marriage is a separate issue from how sin in the church is to be dealt with. But for the purposes of this diary, I wanted to make clear that the notion that God is loving, accepts everyone no matter what they do, and therefore we should never judge Christians (including active homosexuals who claim God accepts them as is), is patently false doctrine that you will not find in the New Testament scriptures.
Just for closure and to show you how God clearly works through tough love, I have included the conclusion of the previous matter where Paul advised the Corinthians to turn the man involved in sexual sin over to Satan. In 2 Corinthians chapter 2, we see that the believers followed Paul's advice and the discipline worked resulting in the man ending the destructive relationship and being received back into fellowship:
If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you to some extent—not to put it too severely. 6) The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient. 7) Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8) I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him.
Unconditional love is a mushy, worldly, new age concept that you will not find consistent with true Christianity. We are given many examples of the kind of fruit that a person should have in their life if they have truly become a Christian. First and foremost among these is the concept of repentance from sin and dead works.
Have a great weekend.
The Watercooler is always an open thread.