Opinions on faith and life

Sin

2009-11-10

Many in the churches today seem to look at this title and say “What’s that?” And then they consult every authority but the Bible for an answer, especially the New Testament.

But it isn’t complicated or hidden. If you know the NT at all, you could define sin as whatever gets between you and God. We do live in “the age of grace” (and “grace” in the NT means favor given from the greater to the lesser), but as the apostle Paul strongly argued in Rom. 6:2, 7, this is no license to sin but freedom from sin. To slip and fall and get back up is typical, and God does understand and forgive (see my earlier article for detail on “kinds” of sin). But when we either refuse to give something up that God forbids, or to even call it sin, we have erected a barrier between ourselves and God.

So what does the NT call sin? Most people, even unbelievers, would agree that theft, murder, false witness, kidnapping, etc. are bad things, and that anyone who commits such acts must be punished. Yet some things, even some on that list, seem to be explained away when it suits people. For example, many “Christian” business owners have believed they could embezzle, defraud, cheat on taxes etc., because that’s “just business” and didn’t have anything to do with their faith. I personally witnessed both men and women in church engaging freely in gossip and slander while claiming what they were doing wasn’t it.

But we have to define sin by God’s standards, not our own. If God were to have said that it is a sin to stand on your head while chewing bubblegum and wearing orange shoes, it would be sin. If God were to have said that eating popcorn is a sin, it would be sin. The point is that it is God who makes the rules, not us, and not our personal views on what should or shouldn’t be wrong— or what does or doesn’t “cause harm” to another.

Has anyone stopped to ask what “harms” God? Doesn’t He matter? Isn’t Eph. 4:30 still in our Bibles?

The things I mentioned— murder, theft, etc.— also harm other people. But adding other “gods” to our faith doesn’t, yet it’s clearly a sin against God, even in the NT (Acts 4:12, John 3:14-21). And we also have scriptures such as Mark 7:21, Rom. 1:24-30, 1 Tim. 1:9-10, and Rev. 21:8 to give us more detail. The promiscuous cannot look down on the homosexual, the homosexual cannot look down on the embezzler, the embezzler cannot look down on the liar, etc. Yet none of them can excuse their own sin or call it acceptable in the sight of God.

Look at 1 Cor. 5, the whole chapter. A man is to be expelled from fellowship for living with his father’s wife— a sin the Christians there were proud of! Yet Paul tells THEM, these people who were approving and who had many sins of their own, to throw the man out. So much for the excuse that churches cannot judge anyone’s sin since we’re all sinners.

But how can we understand the precedent Paul is setting in this passage, since sinners were to disfellowship sinners? I think a clue is found in 1 Cor. 6:13, 18-20. Paul makes a distinction between sexual sin and all others. And yes, we’re talking ALL sexual sin, not just homosexuality. The man Paul had just wrote about before this was in a heterosexual relationship. So how likely would it be for Paul to condone a same-sex union? Didn’t the man and his step-mother love each other? Who were they hurting? Yet this was SIN, and it was not to be “tolerated”. Now of course Paul was not teaching that all the other sins were not to be “judged”; check 1 Cor. 5:12-13. But he was teaching that certain sins had to be dealt with more harshly than others.

Yes, it would be hypocritical for a church to exclude someone for unrepentant homosexuality but not for unrepentant heterosexual promiscuity. But this hardly means that neither should be excluded. Nor does it mean that all others have a license to sin.

We as Christians need to seriously examine our standing with God if we celebrate those things that God has told us grieve Him, directly or indirectly. It isn’t all about us and our “harmless” personal preferences, but God, holiness, and purity. We must put an end to the kind of hypocrisy that says it’s wrong to oppress women but not wrong to accept sexual sins, or that it’s wrong to “touch God’s anointed” but not wrong for “God’s anointed” to smash all dissent. Sin is sin is sin!

Deal with it.

37 Comments

Lin

Absolutely. I could not agree more. We have so dumbed down what is sin. 80 years ago an athiest would have been appalled at what Christians now wear to the beach. We see this dumbing down of sin everywhere. Now homosexuals have different ’brain wiring’ and cannot help it. It is natural.

Well, so is sin. Sin is natural as we are born in corrupted bodies that want to sin. And our only hope is a Savior who wants to transform us internally.

As to ’touch not thine anointed’... that is simply sanctified sin. As is comp doctrine.

Paula Fether

Yep. Now of course "revealing" is in the eye of the beholder to some degree, since some people are so weak they have to cover women from head to toe (and even then, such women get assaulted). But we sure have fallen a great distance.

Chris Ryan

I think you and I may have gone around on this before, but I disagree that the hermeneutical principle is expulsion for sexual sin. Yes, Paul doesn’t say to kick out every sinner, and yes it is sinners being commanded by a sinner to kick out another sinner. But I think that the operative difference here is that the whole church was proud of this sinner and thus the man had to be kicked out as a lesson to the whole church that sin like this is intolerable. It is not the type of sin that outrages Paul, but the acceptance of such sin. Paul’s paradigm isn’t meant for any sinner just because they don’t recognize their sin. Paul’s paradigm is that of the outsider looking in and offering the reproof the insiders are too blind to see.

You are right that we need to call sin sin. But I don’t think that the discipline you are advocating is the Biblical picture. You are advocating individual discipline using a passage that (if I am correct) talks about the need to discipline a church using an individual. The two are not the same.

Paula Fether

The sense I get of the whole passage is that it is in fact the type of sin that Paul is outraged about. The whole church was accepting quite a few sins, not just this one, and it is the comparison of THIS sin to something even pagans wouldn’t do that Paul specifies as the reason for the expulsion. Look again at his opening statement:

It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate: A man has his father’s wife.
The pride of the Corinthians is secondary to the type of sin.

Paula Fether

PS: It makes no sense whatsoever to throw out the individual if the only reason is that OTHER PEOPLE approve of the sin.

Chris Ryan

Paula,

It makes perfect sense in a dyadic culture. But it doesn’t take a dyadic culture to make sense of this, either. The man serves as an example to those who approve of his sin. His expulsions serves to chastise the whole church and remind it to be faithful. The whole church needs disciplined (trained to know that this behavior is wrong, because they apparently hadn’t figured that out before), but you can’t very well kick the whole church out of the church so you remove the individual who is actually sinning.

I agree that another operative principle is that pagans wouldn’t even approve of the sin, so in some way type does matter. But that "type" isn’t sexual sin, necessarily. How many times to churches hold up racists and sexists as epitomies of virtue? We should be calling for those men and women to be removed from their churches so that the whole church will learn that neither racism nor sexism are appropriate for Christians, and even pagans know such practices are inappropriate.

Paula Fether

Again, there is no sense in punishing everybody but the one actually sinning, and note the purpose for the expulsion: that HE would be "handed over to Satan", NOT the church. Read this carefully:

I have already passed judgment in the name of our Lord Jesus on the one who has been doing this. ... 5 hand this man over to Satan ... his spirit may be saved...
It is without a doubt the sinning man who is being punished, not the others. He obviously was among those who approved!

Kick out the one sinning to punish the rest??? I’m sorry Chris, but that’s just beyond ridiculous.

Chris Ryan

But that’s the problem. You are viewing this as punitive. And if you read this punitively, then yes, it is "beyond ridiculous." But church discipline shouldn’t be about punishment. That is a belief I should have probably made more explicit (though I tried when I defined discipline in my previous comment).

It should be about formation. It is about forming a church that advocates what is good and condemns what is bad. Yes, Paul is saying that this man’s in handed over to Satan. But the bride is Christ’s no matter how impure she is (think Gomer), she can’t be handed over. The man can, and he can be saved because the church will have learned the truth and can minister that truth to him. Formational, not punitive.

And there may be "no sense in punishing everybody," but everybody obviously needs an ethics lesson.

Chris Ryan

As an adendum: none of the translations I checked ever say this is for punishment. They all have Paul talking about a man’s soul moving from sinful to right with God. That is trans-formation.

Paula Fether

You are viewing this as punitive.

Because that is what the context gives us. What part of "hand him over to Satan" ISN’T punitive?

But church discipline shouldn’t be about punishment... It should be about formation.

Says who? Didn’t Paul already give "formative" instructions to all the people, and continue to give them after this incident? Isn’t that what the bulk of his letters are about? And what about Heb. 12:7-11?

But the bride is Christ’s no matter how impure she is (think Gomer), she can’t be handed over. The man can...

You’re still arguing that the ONLY reason the man was kicked out was because there were too many other sinners, that the sins of the many have to be paid by the few. You’re saying that no local fellowship can be dissolved, even if they all were living in unrepentant sin, because "she can’t be handed over". You equate one local fellowship with the entire bride of Christ!

When does any NT writer ever map the church to Gomer? When does any NT writer negate the teaching of Jesus about the vine and the branches? Is Jesus obligated to call some unrepentant sinners "his bride" just because there are a lot of them? Quantity is never in the equation. Ever read about "remnants"? Or the few who find the narrow way?

... he can be saved because the church will have learned the truth and can minister that truth to him...

You made that up. Paul, on the other hand, said that being handed over to Satan is what would benefit the man. The benefit to the rest is that they will be willing to expel an unrepentant sinner and keep the fellowship pure, and later to accept him back if he repents. The latter does not negate the former, and being handed over to Satan is the very epitome of punishment, NOT "formation".

And there may be “no sense in punishing everybody,” but everybody obviously needs an ethics lesson.

Exactly. The CHURCH was not punished, but the MAN certainly was punished.

Paula Fether

Re. comment 9: Translations? You mean commentaries, and commentaries are opinions.

they all have Paul talking about a man’s soul moving from sinful to right with God. That is trans-formation.

Yes it is. But what CAUSED that transformation? The church telling him what lesson THEY learned? Where is any hint of this in scripture? No, what I read is that BEING HANDED OVER TO SATAN caused the man great sorrow. Check 2 Cor. 2:

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. 9 Another reason I wrote you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything.

Chris Ryan

No, I didn’t mean commentaries. I meant I read through several different translations to see if punitive language was used.

You said, "What part of ’hand him over to Satan’ ISN’T punitive?" I don’t know. What would Job say to that?

And you said that Paul has already given formative information to all the people and will do so later. I don’t see how that disqualifies this from being formative material. If anything, such an observation makes your position harder to explain: why would Paul be talking formation, switch to punitive matters, and then switch back? And I’m not seeing how Hebrews 12 is supposed to be read as punitive discipline and not formational discipline. The latter reading actually makes more sense. It’s not like we’re dealing with Deuteronomy where hardship meant God was cursing you or good times meant God was blessing you. Hardship doesn’t mean punishment. To the contrary, Hebrews 2 says that God uses hardship to reveal sonship. So, reading these two texts together, does this mean that the man we are handing over to Satan to be saved is being punished or does this mean he is being handed over to reveal that he is and was God’s son?

No, I am not suggesting that the man served to atone for the sins of the whole. That is punitive. But the man is not being punished. The church is not being punished. Both are being instructed that sin like this man was in is unacceptable. Visible removal is the symbolic act which serves to remind the whole church of that truth. As the church is reminded, the man is reminded (and perhaps more graphically so as he becomes the focal point of the symbolic act). As he is "handed over to Satan" he is instructed by the church (which both needs and carries out the act) that this sin is not acceptable.

Paula Fether

No, I didn’t mean commentaries. I meant I read through several different translations to see if punitive language was used. You are in fact interpreting. I checked three different commentaries to see if anybody takes the Greek there as non-punitive and so far I’ve seen no one say it isn’t. And of course you know that the context has to be considered.

As for Paul switching back and forth, do you deny that the bulk of all his writings is "formative"? Since it certainly is, and at times he even says that is his purpose, are you saying he can NEVER use punitive language or it makes him inconsistent?

Here again you seem to argue that quantity rules, regardless of context. And I showed both in 1 Cor. 5 and 2 Cor 2 that punishment of the man is clearly indicated, along with corrective teaching of the rest of the local church. I did say that the lesson for the church was "formative", but that this in no way allows us to dismiss the expulsion of the man as anything but punishment.

You keep repeating your assertion but ignore both contexts. Explain how handing over to Satan is not punishment, and that Paul’s expressed punitive language in 2 Cor. 2 doesn’t amount to punishment terminology.

Or to put it another way, what WOULD it take to qualify something as punitive?

I think you have decided a priori that punishment is not taught in the NT, and then interpret even explicit punitive contexts accordingly.

Paula Fether

And let me ask you: Would you call the sudden death of Ananias and Sapphira "formative" for them? Certainly it was for the church, but what about this couple?

Lin

Ah, Paula, you beat me to it! I was thinking of A&S as I was reading the comments.

Chris, I think you ARE making a presupposition and reading it into the Word.

"But church discipline shouldn’t be about punishment. That is a belief I should have probably made more explicit (though I tried when I defined discipline in my previous comment)."

Gee Chris, Paul’s words are to ’turn him over to Satan so he can be saved’. Now, that is kicking him out of church. So he can be saved. If that is not punishment, I do not know what is.

"It should be about formation. It is about forming a church that advocates what is good and condemns what is bad. Yes, Paul is saying that this man’s in handed over to Satan. But the bride is Christ’s no matter how impure she is (think Gomer), she can’t be handed over. The man can, and he can be saved because the church will have learned the truth and can minister that truth to him. "

But Chris, she is not Christ’s Bride if she continually revels in willfull blatent sin while knowing the truth. They DO know the truth. That was the whole point and Paula pointed it out that Paul said, even pagans would not tolerate.

Paul was advising them to kick the guy out so that 1) He could be saved and 2) The church could be pure.

It is ironic that to save the man he had to be kicked out. That is the lesson for us. Don’t allow such blantent willfull sin to continue in the church.

What ARE they teaching in seminary these days???

Chris Ryan

Lin, This isn’t a "seminary" thing. So the anti-educational rhetoric doesn’t fly. I have yet to be in a class over Pauline letters in seminary.

Secondly, you assume that they knew what this guy was doing was wrong. In textual context that isn’t the picture: they were bragging about the guy. In historical context that isn’t the picture: roman elitest ethics did express that something like this would be acceptable, so if these people are still caught up with all things high-society roman (which there is a lot of throughout the Corinthian letters), they could very well not understand that this guy was wrong. They could believe that ethic despite what the vast majority of pagans could recognize, and did recognize, as wrong. The Corinthian church bent on climbing the roman cultural ladder didn’t know the truth (though they should have been able to look around them and figure it out), Paul was telling them.

And again I ask, why *must* turning a man over to Satan be viewed as punishment when we also have the story of Job, who was placed in Satan’s hands almost as a reward for faithfulness?

And if the absolute purity of the bride is so vividly in Paul’s mind here, then why is it only this sin that requires removal from fellowship?

Paula Fether

I think they’re teaching that church discipline is just... intolerant. So there must be a way to explain that Paul didn’t want us to follow his example, even though he said we should. ;-)

Chris Ryan

Paula,

It only took me one commentary to find it saying Paul isn’t being punitive. Beacon Bible Series, I Corinthians Commentary by Donald Metz. I got lucky. It was the series my grandparents got me so that I would have at least one commentary on every book of the Bible. Otherwise, this was going to require a trip to the library.

He acknowledgs that some have read this all punitively but that he prefers a different route. "Others interpret this action as simply placing the offender outside the bounds of the church, where Satan rules." Then he quotes Farrar, "He was for a time separated from spiritual influences, as was... handed over to Satan." Then continues, "The sentence of Paul is remedial rather than punitive."

As to transitions, I don’t deny that Paul could be punitive anywhere he felt the need to be. But you seemed to suggest that the fact that there was other formative material around made it less likely this was formative. I responded that it makes the reading smoother if Paul is operating with one purpose throughout the entire section. It would be up to you to explain why the switch.

How did you show that I Cor 5 "clearly" has punitive purposes in mind? By citing that the man is handed over to Satan? Because if that is your "clear" explanation, I again ask what do you do with Job? II Cor 2 does have a clear punitive message. I can’t argue that away. But I’ll look at the context wherein Paul is discussing the sorrowful letter and the commentary (this time by Frank Carver) and say that it is possible, even probable, that the person being addressed was a ring-leader of the anti-Paul faction and not the incestuous man. So Paul can talk punitively, but we are dealing with seperate situations: one was punitive and the other was not.

As to Ananias and Sapphira, there is little doubt that they were punished. But there nobody was expressing hope for the salvation of their souls, either. The significant difference: they knew they were lying. Neither the man nor the church really understood that this man was sinning.

Paula Fether

Do people brag about something common? No.

Chris, you have yet to deal with 2 Cor. 2, Ananias and Sapphira, and we could add 1 Cor. 11:29-32. And Job is OT, which obviously has nothing to do with church discipline.

Are we not to follow Paul’s examples? Is it wrong to expel anyone at all from fellowship, in spite of Paul telling people to do exactly that? Regardless of theories on why, the fact remains that Paul commanded the Corinthians to expel the man. Do you deny this?

Chris Ryan

Paula,

Just wondering: where you working on your comment while I was posting mine or do you still think I have not dealt with any of the aforementioned texts?

Paula Fether

Otherwise, this was going to require a trip to the library

I use free online commentaries besides the one printed copy I have.

He acknowledgs that some have read this all punitively but that he prefers a different route

Which shows that there is disagreement among scholars.

“Others interpret this action as simply placing the offender outside the bounds of the church, where Satan rules.” Then he quotes Farrar, “He was for a time separated from spiritual influences, as was… handed over to Satan.” Then continues, “The sentence of Paul is remedial rather than punitive.”

The first two statements admit that the man was to be expelled for the purpose of being put into Satan’s hands. How can he turn around and label those points non-punitive? Of course the hope of Paul, and the eventual reality, was for the man to repent. But this does not, as I’ve stated several times, mean he wasn’t punished.

But you seemed to suggest that the fact that there was other formative material around made it less likely this was formative. I responded that it makes the reading smoother if Paul is operating with one purpose throughout the entire section. It would be up to you to explain why the switch.

Smoother? This is not the only incident where people have been punished for sin, as I just commented before. If "smoothness" trumps context then I guess we’re wasting our time trying to communicate. The fact is that Paul prefaces this command with the fact that this sin was reported to him (why, if they didn’t know it was wrong, as you allege?), and that he would be with them in spirit as they formally threw the man out. And he follows the command with telling them that we ARE to JUDGE those inside the church. Judge.

it is possible, even probable, that the person being addressed was a ring-leader of the anti-Paul faction and not the incestuous man. So Paul can talk punitively, but we are dealing with seperate situations: one was punitive and the other was not.

Whether or not they refer to the same incident, the fact is, and you admit this, that Paul could and did "talk punitively", which supports my argument. Punishment does happen, and churches are charged with expelling unrepentant sinners. That is the point of my post and the question you keep pushing aisde to haggle over what we call it.

As to Ananias and Sapphira, there is little doubt that they were punished. But there nobody was expressing hope for the salvation of their souls, either. The significant difference: they knew they were lying. Neither the man nor the church really understood that this man was sinning.

So you’re calling A and S lost because they lied to the Holy Spirit? Nobody in scripture calls them lost. Are you also calling the people who were weak, sick, or dead in Corinth lost? And how can you call their deliberate sin different from the man expelled for incest when you know no such thing for a fact? I think there’s plenty of support for the fact that the people all knew it was wrong, as did the man.

And yes, we cross-posted.

Chris Ryan

Paula, sorry that I got things all in a tizzy, and there is so much that I would like to say in resonse to your two previous comments to me. But I just got asked to preach in view of a call this Sunday, so the remainder of my week just got booked in doing the preparation for that. I regretfully have to step out of the conversation, though it has been a very interesting back and forth. Maybe we’ll pick it up again another time.

Paula Fether

No prob.

Lin

"Secondly, you assume that they knew what this guy was doing was wrong."

Chris, Paul pointed out that even Pagans would not tolerate such a thing. So, if Pagans know it is bad, professing Christians don’t?

I have also heard some say it was not punitive because they think the same guy was referred to in 2 Corin as saved. And Paul telling them to forigive him and let him back in. Which they do not see as punative but restorative. I can agree with that.

"By citing that the man is handed over to Satan? Because if that is your “clear” explanation, I again ask what do you do with Job?"

Job was a righteous man. No matter what God allowed to be thrown at him, he was still righteous. You are comparing apples to oranges. In other words, Job was not sleeping with his step mom and God told Satan he could do whatever he wanted to him except kill him. Satan did not own Job. Satan owns the man in the Corinthian church who is committing incest. Only by acknowledging that FACT and turning him over to Satan does the man have any chance to be saved.

There is no salvation without repentance. And one cannot live in willfull continual sin knowing truth and be saved. (Hebrews 10:26-31)

BEING IN THE CHURCH was not helping him to repent. Perhaps the Corinthians thought like you and decided to ignore it thinking he would hear the Word and someday be transformed. But in the meantime, they were too proud to confront him and they did not mourn his sin. Fortuantly, someone in the church decided to ask Paul.

Lin

Sorry for all the misspellings, it is late

Paula Fether

Good point about Job. In both his case and the sinning man in 1 Cor. 5, scripture explicitly states WHY the person was in the hands of Satan. Job was handed to Satan for the purpose of proving a point, while the other man was handed to Satan because of unrepentant sin. We can’t ignore the glaring difference while only looking at the similarity.

And none of this negates the teaching and example of Paul that a church must expel anyone living in unrepentant sin. WHY this principle exists is a completely different issue.

Greg Anderson

Can somebody please explain to me what it means to expel an unrepentant sinner from the eklesia (called out ones), and hand the guy over to Satan?

Is this a decision which should be handed down by a governing body in the church, and if so, how is that decision reached?

Grant it, the poor horn-dog Paul speaks of in Corinth was practicing something considered egregious even by pagan standards, but still, how can we guard against shunning persons for lesser offences?

Lastly, if the guy gets sick while under the depredations of Satan, would I be in a state of sin and considered an accessory to his crimes if I extended compassion and made sure he was fed and looked after?

This is not funny, nor is it an attempt to play Clarence Darrow. Whole families were evicted in the dead of winter in puritan Massachusetts (1600’s) for any offense the theocracy deemed fitting based on their readings of Paul’s epistles.

Paula Fether

Hi Greg,

I think it means to not allow them in the fellowship or consider them a believer. Certainly we would then relate to that person as we would any other unbeliever.

But as for who makes the decision, Paul had the entire congregation involved. No elders-only, no tribunal, just a group of believers having to tell an unrepentant sinner they are considered lost.

That said, I think what the puritans did was first of all to mix "church and state" and then to decide for themselves what sin was. And again, if we would not throw an unbeliever to die of exposure, we would not do that to the expelled sinner either. At the same time, neither would we make them part of the fellowship.

This is why we MUST know what scripture says as opposed to what people might interpret it to say, and err on the side of compassion. But when someone who calls himself a believer, to use Paul’s terms, wallows in something that is so blatantly against God, we cannot call them believers.

Hope that helps!

Lin

Look at Paul’s list in 1 Corin 5 that he writes concerning sins that means we should not call them brothers. Why a list?

But the same kind of list is in Galatians and Revelation telling us we will not gain eternal life if we doing those things even if we professed Christ and claim we are saved! It would mean we are not saved. Living that way while professing Christ would blaspheme His Holy Name! This is serious business and if we do not tell the truth about it we are in danger of being assessories to not only twisting the Word but helping someone into hell!

Too many ignore Hebrews 10:26-31. Hebrews also tells us that that without Holiness, we will not see God. This is serious stuff. We have dumbed down sin to the point we do not recognize it. And we have allowed those who have used their power to control others to keep us from confronting sin because it might look mean. But if we belong to Him, we confront in love with tears in our eyes.

Greg, The counsel was given to the whole church to deal with this person. And Paula’s answer is right. Treating him as an unbeliever belonging to Satan means we would treat him like any unbeliever we know. With love and compassion..praying for his deliverance from sin. But not as a believer in the Body of Christ.

Paula Fether

I saw a statement recently that raises another point on this issue.

Some say that fellowship shouldn’t exclude those who have a less than perfect understanding of scripture, which I completely agree with. Neither should such imperfection keep one from salvation, since it is by faith alone in Jesus alone.

But what happens when people apply this principle to blatant sin?

Sure, when we’re newly saved, we don’t know much. But if the new believer is practicing a particular sin, can we just brush it off as "imperfection", or must we confront them and, if they refuse to give it up, expel them?

Of course there is a place for personal convictions, such as on fashion, music, Bible versions, diet, etc. But NOT on sin! If we know, for example, that homosexuality is sin, can we leave it to personal conviction? I think scripture clearly says no.

There’s a link here called Responding to Pro-Gay Theology which is by a former gay activist. Those who think that as long as the relationship is loving and faithful it’s okay, should read that, because it deals with the argument that Paul couldn’t have had a loving same-sex relationship between equals in mind. (Besides, this is the same Paul who said that in Christ "there is no... for you are all one".)

If we fellowship with (i.e., call brothers and sisters) people who disagree with God’s clear statements about sin, we corrupt the Body and betray our Savior. If we would not expel the practicing homosexual who has been told that God calls it sin, then neither can we expel the practicing pedophile (there are some who consider themselves to be in a loving, faithful relationship). If the ONLY criterion for calling something "sin" is whether it harms a person, then we might as well throw the NT out and each go our own way.

Joe Blackmon

Paula,

Chris has said that he would allow an openly homosexual couple to become a member of a church if he was the pastor. There is no resoning with him about the issue of homosexuals in the church. I have a suspicion as to the root of that but it’s pure speculation. I appreciate your strong stand on this issue even if you are an e-gal. :-)

Lydia

I once unknowingly attended an openly homosexual baptist church for a wedding. I had NO idea it had changed so drastically since I had been in that beautiful old church as a child.

What blew my mind were all the posters for events about those mean fundies who hate us and how to be politically involved for homosexual rights, etc.

The point being...They are just as political and as mean as everyone else! They have an agenda, too.

Paula Fether

Tanx Joe! :-)

I really would like to know why it’s apparently okay to "hurt" God but not other people, yet I won’t hold my breath for an answer. That seems to be the fall-back argument when all the rest have failed: they define sin as only that which does not harm another person. And those who would agree to such a definition tend to be the ones who’d dearly love to see harm come to people like us. But I’m not allowed to say that. ;-)

Joe Blackmon

Paula,

I know you dit’nt!! :-P

Paula Fether

Sorry Lydia, didn’t see your post till just now. :-)

Ain’t that the truth? I’ve got several rants around here over many years on that very observation. The people who scream the loudest about how mean we are, will not hesitate to eviscerate us and laugh about it among themselves. The hypocrisy of the whole thing is just... I dunno... a train wreck I keep staring at in disbelief.

truthseeker

Lots of good comments here; the one that jumps out at me is the fact that people often are so concerned about not hurting others yet they don’t realize or don’t care that they are grieving or hurting God in the process. So true. They likely think God thinks as they do on the particular matter and therefore would not be hurt by their choices and actions.

Paula Fether

Yep. And when they argue, "Paul couldn’t have had ______ in mind when he wrote...", they’re saying the Holy Spirit did not inspire him to write. And then we can just throw out any part of the Bible we want.