Christian Values "Discrimination"

Discussion in '2006 Archive' started by mnw, Dec 14, 2006.

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  1. mnw

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    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/6178871.stm

    Background:

    http://www.christian.org.uk/pressreleases/2006/december_05_2006.htm

    This is bad news for Northern Ireland, and eventually, the whole of the UK.

    This took place in the county where I live and pastor. There is the potential that churches, as of 1st January, could be prosecuted by homosexuals if a church refuses them membership on grounds of their sexuality.

    All I can say is if they come to my church and want membership, they had better get their lawyers ready!

    Please pray as this situation has great potential to cause problems for Christian businesses and churches.
     
  2. jonathanbensaul

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    With that attitude towards unbelievers, how can they possibly be saved? Were you perfect the first time you walked into a church?

    You ignore what the Lord said" he that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out" GJ 6:37 AV
     
  3. Martin

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    ==Lost people are not saved by the church "looking the other way" or putting a stamp of approval on sinful behavior. Lost people are bought to Christ via the power of the Holy Spirit and the Gospel, not via compromise. Any church that "knowingly" admits a person who is openly living in a lifestyle that Scritpure condemns is not being a witness to the lost world(Titus 1:16, 1Cor 6:9-10, Gal 5:19-21, Rev 21:8,27, 1Cor 5).

    ==Of course that verse, John 6:37, requires (a) that they are coming to Christ and that (b) they are repentant. The verse says nothing about unrepentant sinners
     
  4. mnw

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    I don't have the energy or inclination to deal with this.

    Essentially this man's liberty to keep sin from being exposed, in his own home, to his children is being removed.

    His freedom is being removed by the government.

    Now, any sinner is welcome to come to church, hear the Gospel, and discuss matters with us. But, I am not going to let certain practicing sinners live alongside my family or needlessly expose my family to sin.

    Nuff said.
     
  5. carpro

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    He didn't say they could not attend. He said they could not join.

    I am assuming that he means without a public profession of faith and repentance from sin, including homosexuality ("be saved"). True repentance would only come by giving up that sinful lifestyle.
     
  6. The Galatian

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    Churches are not for the perfect. They are for sinners who are in need of God. Any church has the right, IMO, to refuse membership to anyone, but they certainly aren't doing God's will, if they do.
     
  7. mnw

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    Let me get this straight. You would allow a practicising homosexual who has no recognition that what he is doing is sin be a member in your church? Then you would allow that same person a say and a vote on what your children are taught in Sunday School?

    What if a person made pornographic films? What if they had no problems with doing drugs? Could they be members in your local church also?

    I must stress, attendance is one thing, but membership of the local church is not to be taken lightly. Membership in the local church is not salvation and it is not an automatic right. Membership in the local church is not an evangelistic tool.

    I would argue that membership in the local church is not for sinners who need God but repentent sinners who have already turned to God for salvation and are showing fruits demonstrating that repentance.

    I am amazed. This man's religious liberties are being eroded and all some people can do here is worry about those poor, old homosexuals!

    I don't want to get into the whole homosexual debate on this thread, it is news and not debate, so, just consider this man who is standing up for his wife and family at the expense of his business and, now, probably his political career.

    If there were more men like him perhaps we wouldn't have the problems we do with homosexuals.
     
  8. Not_hard_to_find

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    For attendance, most assuredly. But not for membership. Our congregation membership is based on a public profession of faith in Jesus as our Lord and Savior -- it is not automatic. Members have a vote in the way the congregation is governed. They have a voice in the direction we take. We understand others do not.

    Our church is open for anyone to attend. For any length of time. Membership is not a prerequisite.
     
  9. The Galatian

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    Um, yes, at least in theory. I don't know if there are any, but they are welcome. I don't remember Jesus saying that sinners couldn't come hear Him unless they had already repented. My understanding is He wanted unrepented sinners to hear Him.

    Would I elect such a person to the board? No.

    I'd say such a person really needed to be in church and to hear the Gospel. I think Jesus would agree. It's not supposed to be a social club for the "good people." I tend to lean to the notion that it's for sinners.

    So does God. He is most concerned about the sinners. Have you read of the Prodigal Son?

    I don't either. Let's just use "sinner."

    Sometimes, doing what Jesus wants is also rewarding in worldly ways, yes. But that's not why you should do it.

    Hmm... if we threw all the liars out of church, we wouldn't have the problems we do with lying? Sounds rather unlikely to me. In fact, I think it would be counter-productive.
     
  10. mnw

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    Galatian, you just don't seem to be accepting the distinction almost everyone else here has made between membership and attendance. Anyone is welcome to attend church and hear the Gospel, but only those who have made a profession of faith and shown fruits of that repentance are eligible for membership.

    My angle, as far as the Sunday School comment, is that any member in the churches I am involved with, with our form of church government, has a voice as far as teachers is concerned.

    Yes, I have read it. And as I remember the Prodigal Son was not looking to prosecute anyone for taking a Biblical stand. In fact, in the Bible version I use, the Prodigal Son came repenting, not boasting of his sin.

    I think you misread the situation. The guy is not getting any reward but is losing probably his business and his career.

    Who said anything about throwing anyone out of church?

    Now, if there were a habitual liar in church, depending on the situation, they would be limited in their areas of service and could eventually, in some extreme cases, be candidates for church discipline as an absolute last resort.

    Let's try this again.

    1. Anyone is welcome to come and hear the Gospel.

    2. Only those with clear professions of faith and showing fruits demonstrating that repentance are eligable for membership.
     
  11. hillclimber1

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    This is a serious question, not just of you Galation.

    Is not the church, where folks gather for 3 sessions or so a week, the place for believers to assemble together? And to bring new converts in from the cold? Or are we to treat the church assembly as a place to bring the unsaved, perhaps in the hopes that the pastor will miraculously speak just the right sermon to bring our friend into the Body of Christ? I was raised to bring new converts, not the unsaved.
     
  12. hillclimber1

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    I'm certainly not saying the unsaved can't come. Just that the church, where we assemble as a body is primarily for believers fellowship.
     
  13. Alcott

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    Then Jesus must not have inspired Paul to write in I Corinthians 5, about the man who "had his father's wife," that he should be expelled from fellowship. Where did that command come from then?
     
  14. The Galatian

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    Maybe because Jesus didn't, either.

    A little too modern for me. I think He had it right.

    So, only those without sin get to do this? Or do you figure the sins you don't do are worse than the ones you do?

    So, by applying for "membership", homosexual are "prosecuting you for taking a Biblical stand?" I don't think so. Remember, I said that IMO any church that wants to exclude any sort of sinners is legally entitled to do so. They just aren't doing what Jesus expects of them.
    Sometimes, not following God's way has consequences. I'm sorry for him, but he did have a choice.
    Barbarian considers:
    Hmm... if we threw all the liars out of church, we wouldn't have the problems we do with lying? Sounds rather unlikely to me. In fact, I think it would be counter-productive.
    Because homosexuality is worse than other sins, right?
    Good idea.
    I understand how you do things in your church. But since Jesus made no such distinctions, I won't, either.
     
  15. mnw

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    Okay, so, anyone can just jump into your pulpit and start preaching and teaching?

    None of us are perfect. But, some believers are mature and maturing. Now, any individual who actively lives the homosexual life style is neither mature nor maturing. As such, they rule themselves out.

    If a homosexual applied for membership in our church that would not be persecution. They would be refused membership. If they then prosecuted us then yes, they would be prosecuting us for taking a Biblical stand against their lifestyle.

    Well, no. He took a stand against sin. He did not want sodomites in his home and around his family.

    Not necessarily. But it is still a sin. God calls it, and other sins, abomination.

    Would you have argued with John the Baptist when he demanded the Pharisees bring forth fruit meet for repentance before he baptised them?

    Would you condemn Jesus for requiring the rich young ruler to give away all his goods or others to leave their families? Because Christ did require all these things of certain individuals. He did so because He knew there was a difference between actions and words.

    Just as you would not allow any individual to come off the street, jump into the pulpit and preach/teach at your church neither do we accept membership from just any one just because they express an interest.

    Would you be condemning this man if he had turned away two drug addicts who wanted to smoke their dope when they stayed in his home?

    Would you condemn this man if a paedophile wanted to rent a room in his home?

    You seem to berate us for differing certain sins but you do just the same, if you are honest.

    Certain sins may or may not be worse than others. But anyone who is unrepentent or performs sins with damaging repercussions for those around them WILL be treated differently and rightly so.
     
  16. annsni

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    I agree with the others - there is a HUGE difference between a person coming into the church to attend and someone who becomes a member of a church. In our church, you must attend a new member's class (or meet with a pastor), have a profession of faith and have been baptised as a believer. Also, we HAVE removed those from membership who started living a life outside of Scripture and did not accept the requirements of the church discipline. We DO look to restore a person to fellowship with the Body of Christ in a Biblical way, but if they do not agree to that, then they are removed from fellowship for 2 reasons - to "Give them over to Satan" to save their soul (2 Cor. 5:4-5) and to protect the spiritual heath of the fellowship (1 Cor. 5:6-8).

    That is entirely Biblical.
     
  17. The Galatian

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    Barbarian on why churches shouldn't limit member ship to non-sinners:
    Maybe because Jesus didn't, either.

    You let any member jump into your pulpit and start preaching and teaching? Amazing.

    Barbarian on the delicate matter of determining whose sin is worse:
    So, only those without sin get to do this? Or do you figure the sins you don't do are worse than the ones you do?

    So, you're saying that any person who is actively sinning is ruled out? Or are you still grading whose sins are bad enough to count?

    Barbarian asks:
    So, by applying for "membership", homosexual are "prosecuting you for taking a Biblical stand?" I don't think so. Remember, I said that IMO any church that wants to exclude any sort of sinners is legally entitled to do so. They just aren't doing what Jesus expects of them.

    Remember, it's not a Biblical stand. Jesus made no such rules for His followers.

    Barbarian on the consequences of not doing as Jesus showed us:
    Sometimes, not following God's way has consequences. I'm sorry for him, but he did have a choice.

    Jesus took a lot of heat for associating with sinners, too. Comes with the territory. But sometimes, not following Him has consequences.

    It's just that this particular sin disqualifies one for membership in your church, while others don't?

    Suppose you have person who comes to your church and says "I'm gay. Always have been. Can't seem to change, no matter how hard I try. Because I think it's a sin to have sex outside of a man and woman in marriage, I am, and will remain celebate."

    Assume no amount of therapy or prayer changes him. Would you admit him?

    Barbarian observes:
    I understand how you do things in your church. But since Jesus made no such distinctions, I won't, either.

    Nope. But of course, he didn't insist that they had to be free of any particular sin.

    Nope. Do you require that of members? If not, why not?

    I'm surprised that you would allow any member to do that. I guess if my church allowed any member to commandeer the pulpit at will, we might be more careful, too.

    I suppose our church would expell any homosexuals who wanted to have sex in our church. But that's not been a problem. Far as I know, none of them (if there are any) ever expressed any desire to do so.

    Pedophiles represent a serious danger to children, and certainly should be restricted and kept away from children for that reason. But homosexuality is neither criminal nor a threat to children.

    I think, if you're honest with yourself, you'll see you were dodging the central question. A homosexual who merely wants to be a member of your church, is none of the things you suggested.

    So, if the homosexual says he's repentant, and trying to change, and doesn't try to have sex around the rest of you, he can be a member?
     
    #17 The Galatian, Dec 16, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 16, 2006
  18. mnw

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    You keep saying this, but, did Jesus make demands upon the life of an individual? Absolutely.

    First of all, I did not mention membership in this section. Second of all, you see the little twisty mark at the end of the sentence, it means its a question, not a statement.

    The point is this, if you make criteria for those who take leadership why not have criteria for those who make up a visible part of the body?

     
  19. The Galatian

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    Barbarian observes:
    Barbarian on why churches shouldn't limit member ship to non-sinners:
    Maybe because Jesus didn't, either.


    I'm sort of impressed with His way.

    On all sinners. His way differs from yours primarily in not making some sins different.


    Barbarian observes:
    You let any member jump into your pulpit and start preaching and teaching? Amazing.


    Well, since you said that in response to my observation that anyone can become a member of our church, I assumed you meant it.

    Jesus didn't do it. Not Biblical.

    Barbarian on the delicate matter of determining whose sin is worse:
    So, only those without sin get to do this? Or do you figure the sins you don't do are worse than the ones you do?

    So, you're saying that any person who is actively sinning is ruled out? Or are you still grading whose sins are bad enough to count?

    I agree, that a person who is committing crimes needs to be removed from society, as is a person who is harming others against their will. Not because they are sinners, but because they are criminals. But that doesn't apply to our conversation, of course.


    Barbarian asks:
    So, by applying for "membership", homosexual are "prosecuting you for taking a Biblical stand?" I don't think so. Remember, I said that IMO any church that wants to exclude any sort of sinners is legally entitled to do so. They just aren't doing what Jesus expects of them.

    Remember, it's not a Biblical stand. Jesus made no such rules for His followers.

    Indeed. We all persist in sin. But He didn't say we couldn't be members of His church thereby.

    Such as touching the flesh of a swine. Do you like bacon?


    Barbarian on the consequences of not doing as Jesus showed us:
    Sometimes, not following God's way has consequences. I'm sorry for him, but he did have a choice.

    Jesus took a lot of heat for associating with sinners, too. Comes with the territory. But sometimes, not following Him has consequences.
    I think by now even you see it.


    :
    Suppose you have person who comes to your church and says "I'm gay. Always have been. Can't seem to change, no matter how hard I try. Because I think it's a sin to have sex outside of a man and woman in marriage, I am, and will remain celebate."

    Assume no amount of therapy or prayer changes him. Would you admit him?

    So, if a person came and said "I'm a sinner, always have been..." no problem, but one sin is different?


    Barbarian observes:
    I understand how you do things in your church. But since Jesus made no such distinctions, I won't, either.

    Nope. But of course, he didn't insist that they had to be free of any particular sin.

    See above. I'm just going with His way. If you want to call it "rhetoric", I'm puzzled.

    Nope. Do you require that of members? If not, why not?
    It would seem that would apply to us all, not just homosexuals.


    Barbarian observes:
    I'm surprised that you would allow any member to do that. I guess if my church allowed any member to commandeer the pulpit at will, we might be more careful, too.

    Well, I did say that we let anyone become a member, and then you asked if we let them jump into the pulpit and begin preaching and teaching. Have you decided that wasn't what you wanted to say, after all?

    Texans are friendlier than most, but that's not why we do it. Jesus was a companion to sinners and we feel that we can do no less. Indeed, we realize we all are sinners, and should not feel superior in any way to other sinners.


    Barbarian observes:
    I suppose our church would expell any homosexuals who wanted to have sex in our church. But that's not been a problem. Far as I know, none of them (if there are any) ever expressed any desire to do so.


    True of any sin, of course. We don't make distinctions about acceptable sin and unacceptable sin.


    Barbarian observes:
    Pedophiles represent a serious danger to children, and certainly should be restricted and kept away from children for that reason. But homosexuality is neither criminal nor a threat to children.

    Homosexuality is not a sin. Acting on it is a sin. We all have inclinations to sin in various ways. We are blameless unless we give in to the inclination.

    Your perfect right. It's just not the way Jesus did it.

    :
    Barbarian observes:
    I think, if you're honest with yourself, you'll see you were dodging the central question. A homosexual who merely wants to be a member of your church, is none of the things you suggested.

    Why is one sort of sinner different for you than other sorts?


    So, if the homosexual says he's repentant, and trying to change, and doesn't try to have sex around the rest of you, he can be a member?

    Well, then you've made a reasonable accomodation to what Jesus wants.
     
  20. annsni

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    You have to understand that there is a large difference between those who Jesus preached to and those within a membership of the church. I would hope and pray that all churches have outreaches and ways to reach ALL peoples outside of the fellowship - but there ARE Biblical standards to be in a fellowship. When Paul talks of tossing out the man who was committing a grave sin in 1 Corinthians 5, he says in vs. 2 "Let him who has done this be removed from among you" - Well, Jesus didn't do this, so should we disregard this part of the Word of God? What about when Jesus Himself in Matt. 18 says, after trying to restore a brother and he doesn't listen, then we are to "And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector". I think there ARE differences and we need to be careful what is allowed in a church because when you allow sins to occur, then others feel that it's OK to sin like that. I know of a situation where a man cheated on his wife and even took the girlfriend to church!! No one said anything to the man and this continued on. Soon, the wife left, walked away from the Lord, and others came out as cheating on their spouses and the church suffered greatly from this. However, in our church, we had a man cheat on his wife, was confronted by his wife, then one of the pastors and finally a number of pastors. He did not feel that he did anything wrong (sick) and he was removed from membership at the church. His wife continues on at the church and is being ministered to through her divorce (he decided to divorce her). The congregation knows what happened and all know that there are serious consequences to something like that. And it is not only sexual sins that we will do this with. We've had other issues that have been dealt with in similar ways - all with the hope that there will be restoration with the person some day. In some cases there have been, in other cases, we haven't seen it.

    Again, 1 Corinthians 5 is a very clear picture of our response to an open sin in the congregation. Paul says in verses 9-13, "I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people-- 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. 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. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. "Purge the evil person from among you."

    If someone is in a church membership, he/she has given their testimony of a walk with the Lord and therefore are a brother/sister in Christ. Paul is QUITE clear that we are to not associate with a brother who is sexually immoral, greedy, idolater, reviler, drunkard or swindler - to not even eat with them! I'd say this is quite clear and something, if we would heed it, that would cause the church to grow stronger and not become the weak, lukewarm church that we see so often in this world.

    Ann
     
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