I have the honor of speaking at Bartimaeus Baptist Temple again this Sunday. The subject on my heart is a difficult one. I keep asking the Lord if it’s the right one, and He has given me no leave to present any other. Thus I bring to you the question that I often wrestle with. How tolerant should a church be when it comes to obvious sin?
Our society is big on tolerance. In fact the word has grown to mean something far more when used by certain groups. We are expected not only to tolerate immorality but to embrace it. Our acceptance and approval is demanded. This attitude has crept into our churches. Some denominations are now openly accepting of gross immorality. Where do we think it will stop?
Maybe a better question is, “Where do we think it started?” What has set some churches on such a path? I think there are several answers to that question, but one answer must certainly be that we turned a blind eye to the sin in our own lives and in those of our congregation. Wishing to “hate the sin and love the sinner” and taking out of context Jesus’ admonition not to judge lest we be judged, we look the other way.
Surely we are to treat the sinner with love and compassion. Such are we all without the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. It would be contrary to God’s commandments and His very nature if we were to shun or exclude them. The sinner is welcome within the walls of the church, for therein he should find salvation.
But what happens when no transformation occurs and we continue to pretend there is no problem? What happens when someone new comes in and sees our tacit approval of sin? Might he or she be led into the same? Might we then participate in the harming of the one we would save? What of the unrepentant person? Are we not enabling them to continue, just as the spouse of an alcoholic will sometimes do from misguided love?
I would be delighted if you would join us this Sunday as we explore 1 Corinthians, Chapter 5.