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Thread: Do we have room for overt sinners in our Churches?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Do we have room for overt sinners in our Churches?

    I borrowed this from Wayne in another thread, but when he asks it touched my heart. Do we really have room for the "overt" sinners in our churches, or do you have to meet some kind of standard before you are allowed in, much less welcomed? I know I've felt this judgment from others, what's your take? How do you guard against "looking down" on others with your own judgment? I find this to be extremely so for brothers and sisters whose marriage has failed.

    This helps me:Luk 18:10-14
    Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
    The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
    I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
    And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
    I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

    Lord, help me to remember what you have forgiven me of. Protect me in moments of my weakness when I may think too highly of myself. Amen

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

    Ickisrulz's Avatar
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    In your passage the publican was repentant. He went away forgiven and I think the assumption is that he will get his act together and live a life that is more pleasing to God.

    Paul really got on the Corinthians for not dealing with Christians who were openly sinful. The idea is that the local church should confront sin. This is far from being judgemental. When we realize that sin is damaging to the practitioner and those around him, we cannot simply ignore it. The 1st Century Church was not "live and let live" in respect to sin. Jesus wasn't either.

    The Church must be open for anyone to come hear the Gospel. This means rich or poor, "good people" or even the overtly sinful. But the disruptive should be shown the door.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    There is this from Jesus, Matt 9:13, Mark 2:17, and Luke 5:32. However, if there is a member defiantly sinning, there is also this, 1Corinthians Chapter 5, there is a point where one must draw the line for the good of the body (the church) and cut off the offending member. Mark 9:42-47, Matt 5:29-30, and Matt 18:7-11
    Last edited by claude; 07-12-2017 at 09:34 AM.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master



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    Paul is crystal clear on this
    Discuss with sinner
    Sinner has choice cease and desist or get kicked out
    No fellowship with determined sinners
    As for a non-Christian
    Let them come and see if they "get it"
    If they are truely Saved, then they will improve
    Like a law of physics
    Truely Born Again = continual striving to be a better person, and good church member for that matter
    You can't have scum polluting a Church
    Paul was crystal clear on this
    "Had his shooting been as good as his running, he might have given a better account of himself."
    James. C. Henderson

  5. #5
    Boolit Master



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    The distinction, for our churches is;
    A church member, or
    A church visitor.

    Card carrying members are not to go undisciplined with regard to continual conscious sin.

    Visitors should be welcomed/ministered to and, in His love, discipled in the expectations of Christian membership should they wish to join.

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  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    In your passage the publican was repentant. He went away forgiven and I think the assumption is that he will get his act together and live a life that is more pleasing to God.

    It is indeed an assumption that the publican stopped any thing he was doing, but he knew he was a sinner.

    if there is a member defiantly sinning
    As I understand the scriptures, all and any sin is done in defiance.

    I'm a little confused with a term I keep seeing thrown around. Truly saved, truly believe, truly repent, I'm of the understanding that ALL Christians are truly SINNERS even though saved??

    I'll add another question for this discussion. Does the Church you attend actively practice disfellowshipping or publicly baring someone from your fellowship. If so, who decides what sin fits into the category of scum polluting the church?

  7. #7
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thundarstick View Post
    I'll add another question for this discussion. Does the Church you attend actively practice disfellowshipping or publicly baring someone from your fellowship. If so, who decides what sin fits into the category of scum polluting the church?
    I knew of one instance where a family was asked to leave a church because the husband was chasing one of the member's wife.

    I saw the virtual destruction of a church when one man stole an other's wife and had a baby with her. This could have been avoided by the expulsion of this guy as he was a known problem (it was the same guy that had been thrown out of the church above).

    Today's Christian is more apt to understand "judge not" as meaning we ignore others' sins rather than trying to help each other remove sins while not condemning (that speck does need to be removed!). So I doubt many are actually confronted or asked to leave a fellowship.

    Obviously a church body cannot be on every member for every little infraction. But there are serious sins that can severely effect unity. Gossip, adultery and lying all come to mind.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    So is the answer NO in the church you attend, and no one because it's not practiced?

    I would also offer that gossips have destroyed far more fellowships than adulterers, but who knows.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thundarstick View Post
    So is the answer NO in the church you attend, and no one because it's not practiced?

    I would also offer that gossips have destroyed far more fellowships than adulterers, but who knows.
    Unless one is a pastor or deacon, we probably don't know all the goings on. I just gave my limited knowledge and opinion.

    I'll also add that "false teachers" were a known problem in the 1st Century Church. At that time they infiltrated congregations. I think today they set up their own churches where people go to them.
    Last edited by Ickisrulz; 07-12-2017 at 02:48 PM.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    remember.. if we close the door to the church to sinners.. NONE of us should be in there. Remember that.

    That 'white lie' you told last week... or ommission of fact that you left out of an explanation a month ago.

    Those are OVERT sins. Sin is sin. And it's ALL been forgiven.. already.. If we want it.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master



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    I will assume that we all have Bibles.
    Paul's orders on this issue are crystal clear and unambiguous.
    As usual, it is hard to tell if some here are trolling or just never read Paul's Letters
    If there is a church member engaged in sin, like sleeping with their father's wife, the pastor/elders are to try and get them to repent. If they do not repent they are to be expelled from the church and no future fellowship is allowed. Real simple deal, but the pot-stirrers love to makes stuff up. Another useless thread designed to cause discord and dissension. The O/P could have made a useful thread, such as "Why is it important to dismiss church members who refuse to give up an egerious sin?"
    Paul has made all this so very easy. Want an answer, check with Paul.
    Last edited by jmort; 07-12-2017 at 04:24 PM.
    "Had his shooting been as good as his running, he might have given a better account of himself."
    James. C. Henderson

  12. #12
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    In answer to the OP's essential question, my own personal answer is "YES!" Casting out members for their behavior appeals to our tendency towards judgmentalism, but being judgmental is something that Christ often warned us about. So for me, if for nobody else, my answer can only be "Yes!" It's rare, but I've seen folks who've almost flaunted (or so it seemed to me at that time) their "sins" by being in church and prominent in it. But later on, they finally humbled themselves, and became good champions for the Lord. It seems to take a while for some Christians to mature. And who among us knows enough to separate those who'll eventually repent, and those who won't? If you think you can tell who's going to be saved eventually and those who will never repent, you surely think a whole LOT more of yourself than I do of my own self! If someone will continually expose themselves to the Word, and gather with mature Christians, who among us can turn such a soul out, effectively casting them "upon the rocks?" Where in the Bible can you find a defense of such action?

    I can't and don't set myself up as the greatest interpreter of the Bible, but .... I cannot see turning someone AWAY from Christ and the benefits of His church, providing only that they simply WANT to be there. Who among us can look into their minds and read them, and know what their true inner purposes are in doing what they do? I think Christ warned us not to ever be so haughty as to truly believe we fully "understand" another. So .... this is MY view, and you're entitled to yours. But we ALL must be VERY careful that we're truly looking for the Truth, and not simple rationales to justify (or attempt to) what we simply WANT to do, and feel some compulsion to do. We are very willful creatures, and easily fool our own selves at times. At least when we have someone in church we know doesn't do what seems clearly to be what they're supposed to, as Christians, we DO at least have some empathy with them, and compassion for them. In that, they serve a good purpose for the mature Christians there. And who knows how they'll end up if we simply support the good within them? I don't. I doubt very seriously any of us CAN. But again, that's just me. YMMV, and likely does?

  13. #13
    Boolit Master



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    ^^^
    Where do people get this nonsense??? Just make it up. Play pretend. Apparently some want to disregard parts of the Bible for various reasons. Again I ask, how many pages are left in your Bible? Mine is intact. Let me see, should I listen to Paul, or someone ignorant as to basic Bible truth???

    15 “And if your brother sins, go and reprove him in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. 16 “But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. 17 “And if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax-gatherer. 18 “Truly I say to you, whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19 “Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. 20 “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst” (Matthew 18:15-20; see also Galatians 6:1-2; 2 Thessalonians 3:6, 14-15; Titus 3:10-11)."

    "3 For I, on my part, though absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged him who has so committed this, as though I were present. 4 In the name of our Lord Jesus, when you are assembled, and I with you in spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5 I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus."

    (5:9-13)

    "9 I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; 10 I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters; for then you would have to go out of the world. 11 But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he should be an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler— not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? 13 But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves (1 Corinthians 5:9-13)."

    1 Corinthians 5English Standard Version (ESV)

    Sexual Immorality Defiles the Church
    5 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father's wife. 2 And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.

    3 For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. 4 When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5 you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.[a]

    6 Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

    9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not 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. 11 But 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. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church[b] whom you are to judge? 13 God judges[c] those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”
    Last edited by jmort; 07-12-2017 at 05:05 PM.
    "Had his shooting been as good as his running, he might have given a better account of himself."
    James. C. Henderson

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Is it useless that we discuss these things? If I think I have all the answers down, it's it discord to discuss anything here?

    I'm going to share this story.

    The church my wife grew up in publicly disfellowshiped her when she was in her early 30s. The reason? She had lost a job and took one in a convenient store that sold alcohol and required her to work some Sundays. Do you think any of those church leaders offered her a good paying job, no Sundays and no beer selling? I bet I don't even have to give you the answer, but NO! This was the church she was born into, raised in, and her parents attended till they passed and she has never darkened the door of a church again! So if you want to consider this a troll, so be it! I see churches exclude re married couples, "because you have to assume they are adulterers"! I could go on and on about other disfellowshipping I've witnessed and never once have I seen it do anything except break people and churches! I know I'm a sinner and in my life Ive found that as soon as one sin is beaten back, another steps up to replace it. I'm still not getting straight up and down answers, I know the scriptures allow for it, but does your church DO IT, and who decides, and for what sins?

    I'm of the understanding that the theology form is to discuss theological issues and the chapel not so much.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by Soundguy View Post
    remember.. if we close the door to the church to sinners.. NONE of us should be in there. Remember that.

    That 'white lie' you told last week... or ommission of fact that you left out of an explanation a month ago.

    Those are OVERT sins. Sin is sin. And it's ALL been forgiven.. already.. If we want it.
    Simple pure logic.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master



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    ^^^
    I remember a movie entitled Dumb and Dumber.
    No sin is not generic. The consequence is, but not the sin itself. Paul made it clear that the guy "dating" his father's wife was in a distinct class of sins, not even the heathens approved of such a sin as he stated. The childlike logic, all sins are the same, is the reason the discourse in this forum is primitive. I realize not all are gifted mentally, but all are able to purchase a Bible. I guess the sub-forum would be better titled, theads by members who are clueless about simple, fundamental Bible knowledge, or people who have no idea what the Bible says.
    "Had his shooting been as good as his running, he might have given a better account of himself."
    James. C. Henderson

  17. #17
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thundarstick View Post
    Is it useless that we discuss these things? If I think I have all the answers down, it's it discord to discuss anything here?

    I'm going to share this story.

    The church my wife grew up in publicly disfellowshiped her when she was in her early 30s. The reason? She had lost a job and took one in a convenient store that sold alcohol and required her to work some Sundays. Do you think any of those church leaders offered her a good paying job, no Sundays and no beer selling? I bet I don't even have to give you the answer, but NO! This was the church she was born into, raised in, and her parents attended till they passed and she has never darkened the door of a church again! So if you want to consider this a troll, so be it! I see churches exclude re married couples, "because you have to assume they are adulterers"! I could go on and on about other disfellowshipping I've witnessed and never once have I seen it do anything except break people and churches! I know I'm a sinner and in my life Ive found that as soon as one sin is beaten back, another steps up to replace it. I'm still not getting straight up and down answers, I know the scriptures allow for it, but does your church DO IT, and who decides, and for what sins?

    I'm of the understanding that the theology form is to discuss theological issues and the chapel not so much.
    I thought I was pretty clear in my responses. But I'll be more clear. I have never attended a church that threw someone out that I know of. I also acknowledge that showing someone the door or confronting grievous sin is a biblical idea and absolutely necessary at times.

    I am of the opinion that your wife was treated poorly in the story you posted. Working on a Sunday or working in a business that sells alcohol would not be anything a church should address publicly or severely. Those are the types of issues that should be left up to the individual Christian to decide on their own. I would not belong to such a church.

    We have been around and around on this forum arguing if one sin is worse than another. My reading of the Bible tells me is that all sin is bad...but some sins are much, much worse. Like I said above, a church can ignore most of the sins if its members but there are some that are so potentially damaging they have to be rooted out. We enumerated some of these above.

    There is a general lack of biblical knowledge in Christendom and that is where these problems come from.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackwater View Post
    Casting out members for their behavior appeals to our tendency towards judgmentalism...
    I am not sure I agree with you on this. Most people avoid conflict at all costs. I think the natural human reaction is to avoid confronting the problem (sin)...but then talking about the person behind their back in disapproval.

    Edit: Unless it's a mob that is.
    Last edited by Ickisrulz; 07-12-2017 at 07:33 PM.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    I know at least one Lutheran church that belongs to a different synod than most around here and at church league softball games they won't pray with the others because it is wrong to fellowship with unbelievers. As much as some try to avoid confrontation others delight in being smug and putting others in their place.

    Since the church of the first century how many times has the "body" divided itself on matters of dogma? Most often driven by people who were 100% certain of the rightness of their interpretation of scripture. We can't really know with perfect knowledge, can only strive toward better understanding or knowledge. So yes I think this conversation is worthwhile, and know it can only be fruitful if all participants are willing to accept that not everyone subscribes to exactly their division of the "body" of the church. Heck get right down to it even within a congregation not always going to get unanimous agreement.

    In my crankier moments I would think one doesn't need to kick someone out of a church for behaving immorally toward married members, one just has to let them know how much time your going to have to spend asking forgiveness for the butt whupping going to be delivered if they don't see the error of their ways. Don't have to kick someone out over disregarding civilized behavior, administering the correction their daddy should have to learn them right from wrong with interest on account of them being adults now is another option.

    When it comes down to it we spend a lot of time and energy trying to deal with just 7 or 8 of the 10 commandments for ourselves, let alone trying to make sure others do it to our satisfaction. If it isn't worth fighting someone over it probably isn't worth getting too upset trying to correct them.
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  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    Mat 13:24-30
    Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field.
    But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away.
    When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also
    “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’
    “ ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them
    “ ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them.
    Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’ ”

    Perhaps I'm wrong, but I was taught this parable is the answer to most church problems. I'm in agreement that there are severe instances that it may be warranted but not required. Many of the churches in these parts practiced this 40 years ago, but I don't know of a single church that practices disfellowship today. As in my wife's case it destroys, not saves, in most cases.

    In today's legal environment I'm not sure a congregation could bar someone with out risking a law suit.

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