What would your church do...

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Mike McK, Oct 7, 2003.

  1. Mike McK

    Mike McK
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    If someone were to get up in front of your congregation to confess some besetting sin, such as "I'm struggling with alcoholism" or, "I have been having an affair" or "I've been struggling with homosexuality", etc, what would happen?

    Would people identify with their weakness? Would they be condemned? Would people rally around them?

    Would you be comfortable confessing your sins in front of your church?

    Since no body here knows your church, be honest.
     
  2. Jailminister

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    Honestly, it would depend on the sincerity of the confessor. If it is genuine then they would be accepted and encouraged. There would be for a time a watching and waiting period to see if they are real, but we have no problem with sincerity. We have had this happen before on a few occasions.
     
  3. Mike McK

    Mike McK
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    The assumption here is that they are sincere.
     
  4. Matt Black

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    At the risk of sounding terribly British and woolly, Mike, I'd have to say "it depends". Depends on the attitude of the person concerned ie: are they penitent (in which case usually help and support them) or defiant against God (in which case usually expel or at least suspend them from membership); depends on the natureand effect of the sin (and if it affects somone else) - if someone is confessing to being an alcoholic or a homosexual and being penitent about it, again I would hope the church would support them. However, if they were confessing to murder or child abuse, then the church would have a duty to inform the police (confidentiality notwithstanding) and probably suspend from membership, even if penitent.

    For instance, I know of a church where one of their married youth workers admitted to a sexual liason with an underage girl in the church's youth group, and this was announced at the church meeting. The elders informed the police and suspended the guy,who was penitent, from membership; at the next main church meeting he was formally expelled. However, the elders continued to meet regularly with the guy and his wife, helping them to rebuild their lives and their marriage, and indeed encouraged his friends within the church to do so; counselling was also offered to both. I do not know the outcome of the police investigation; I suspect he was charged and conviced of some kind of sex offence.

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  5. Mike McK

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    Matt,

    I don't mean discipline so much as I mean is your church a church where people can feel free to open up about their sins.

    How is that person recieved within the family? How do others identify with that person?
     
  6. Matt Black

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    Mike, in reality at our church, it would only really be the matters of 'big' discipline that would be dealt with at church meeting/ congregational level. Confession of sins/ weaknesses/ struggles tends to take place at housegroup/ Bible study group level. The extent to which this happens depends on the quality of relationships in those groups and tends to be more culture-dependent than anything to do with Christianity: don't forget, we're British, so there's all this stiff upper lip reserve nonsense. In my own particular group, we have grown increasingly closer over the last several months, so people have felt more able to say things like "I'm really angry with God at the moment", "I don't feel like a proper Christian", "I hate church", or "My prayer life is non-existent"; the response has invarialby been a collective sigh of relief from the rest of the group along the lines of "thank goodness for that, I thought I was the only one with 'issues'", followed by intense discussion and prayer for all of us.

    So, like I said, it still 'depends' ;)

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  7. Molly

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    I think this should be done with the elders,not in front of a church setting....and coming for help,to receive couselling and such...if they are repentant,then they would be fine and helped to be more godly. It would only need to come before the church if he was unrepentant and the elders would do that,not the person.

    I don't see the need to air dirty laundry. There is no benefit to the body.

    Molly
     
  8. Dr. Bob

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    I like "depends" too. I'm getting older.

    Depends - IF it is a societal sin (one which everyone relates with) like drinking, lust, lying, bankruptcy .. then I think folks would line up to pray and support and encourage. Good bonding.

    Depends - IF it is one of the big taboos like getting a divorce, child abuse, infidelity with the wife or daughter of a church member .. then I think the person would be villified and ostracized.

    And why not? Read Corinthians. Even with public confession, there are still questions of sincerety, repentance, changes instituted . .
     
  9. donnA

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    I think what your asking isn't what would your church offically do, like as in discipline, b ut what would the people do what would be their reactions. Indivduals, how would each person hande this. Each person, not the pastor or deacon.
    Is that what your asking?
    In my church, if they were sincere as you have said, then they would be loved,and supported in their battle to leave that sin behind, many would pray for them, talk with them, and send notes, whatever it took to show God's love and support them and God leads them out of the lifestyle that has been sin for them.
    We would not rally with the stones ready to fling them. We all sin, and some need to recognize even they sin, no need to bash people when they sin too. The bible teaches us to lovingly help lead them back to a relationship with God.
     
  10. Mike McK

    Mike McK
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    I think what your asking isn't what would your church offically do, like as in discipline, b ut what would the people do what would be their reactions. Indivduals, how would each person hande this. Each person, not the pastor or deacon.
    Is that what your asking?
    In my church, if they were sincere as you have said, then they would be loved,and supported in their battle to leave that sin behind, many would pray for them, talk with them, and send notes, whatever it took to show God's love and support them and God leads them out of the lifestyle that has been sin for them.
    We would not rally with the stones ready to fling them. We all sin, and some need to recognize even they sin, no need to bash people when they sin too. The bible teaches us to lovingly help lead them back to a relationship with God.
    </font>[/QUOTE]Right, Donna, ths is more or less what I'm getting at.
     
  11. Terry_Herrington

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    I honestly don't know what would happen. I believe that if the churches, in general(and I really mean the people), were living the way we should live, perhaps this would be something most could deal with Scriptural. But, since in our day and time, people are members of one church today and then members of another church tomorrow, I'm not sure this would be wise, at least concerning certain sins.

    In the past, at the workplace, I've seen people who were best of friends one day become the worst of enemies the next. Then, things that were spoken in privacy have become methods of getting even. I know that the Church should be different, but sometimes we are not.

    Good question Mike. [​IMG]
     
  12. Wisdom Seeker

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    Testimony's like this happen at our church sometimes. I think our church is pretty good at treating people with Christian love and compassion, instead of anger and condemnation. Our Pastor preaches that we should hate the sin, but never the sinner. And how this is a good testimony for Christ. And even though he preaches hard on sin, he reminds us that it's the sin that should make us angry, not the sinner, never the sinner.

    If I was asked to speak about my past sins, and how God forgave me in front of my congregation of 5,000.....here are 3 reasons why this is a moot question when applied to me personally: #1 I'm painfully shy. #2 woman are rarely asked to give testimony in front of the entire congregation. #3 I've been forgiven by God. I don't need to talk about it with men.
     
  13. BevR

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    At the end of our Sunday Worship, we have a communal time of Celebrations and Concerns. I think that if someone expressed that they were struggling with some personal "demon" our congregation would be very supportive and compassionate. We have lots of social workers and therapists that routinely help connect people with resources in the community as well as providing positive role models.

    I must say, though that we do have several openly gay members, including one couple who has just celebrated their 30th anniversary together. I believe that these individuals provide a positive and loving role model for anyone struggling with their sexuality.

    Beverly
     
  14. David Mark

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    Are there any reporters and media types in this "congregation"?

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Matt Black

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    I agree with Molly that there are some things that are best kept confidential at eldership/ pastor level....at least initially; most things pretty much inevitably leak out, so if it something like an affair or a divorce,usually there will need to be some kind of church-wide announcement in due course, if nothing else to quell the rumour mill.

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  16. I Am Blessed 24

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    Yes, we have all sinned.

    Absolutely not. The purpose of confession is for restoration.

    Yes, and we would pray for them to be free of their respective sin and extend the hand of fellowship.

    Very. I have done it. &lt;gasp&gt;

    We have a very loving, forgiving church. There is nothing worse than being out of fellowship with God; but being out of fellowship with brothers and sisters in the Lord comes in second.

    [​IMG]
    ┬žue
     
  17. Living by Faith

    Living by Faith
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    Hi
    This has happened several times when the Holy Spirit has come down on someone in our church or at another's revival meeting. They ask forgiveness and are forgiven and we pray for them to make them stronger and to strentghen them. God does the rest.
    See ya,
    Jeanne [​IMG]
     
  18. BevR

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    I'm afraid I don't understand your question, David Mark. Nor do I understand the significance of referring to the members of my church in quotations. Please explain.

    Beverly
     
  19. dianetavegia

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    Beverly, Just because a persons post falls directly under yours does not mean they are responding to your post. I know you're kind of new at this and wanted to make sure you understood.

    David Mark is not 'baiting' you. In fact, I read his reply as tho he is asking the original poster was there persons in the hypothetical 'congregation' that would be quick to report such confessions via the media, etc. That might change the answer considerably. One would not want a person to confess before a congregation and then have their heartfelt repentence belittled in the local paper. Even us fundies have some heart! [​IMG]


    Diane
     
  20. I Am Blessed 24

    I Am Blessed 24
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    Sounds to me like someone is trying to "bait the fundies"... [​IMG]
     

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