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Topic 11: Accept sinning Christians?

Question: In ch. 8 of How People Grow, Cloud & Townsend begin with the story of Gary, who confessed to his small group about an affair with a married woman & was accepted by the group. Do you think the group acted biblically in accepting Gary? If the circumstances were different, say Gary didn’t confess, but instead one of the group members found out, should they have treated Gary differently? (Be sure to do more research into the issue. If the group cannot come to a consensus, feel free to have different group members each express their own opinions.)

Topic 11: Accepting Sinning Christians?

Acceptance: "taking to oneself" (definition given in "How People Grow" by Dr. Cloud and Dr. Townsend)

What is Acceptance, and why is it necessary in order for people to grow? -The Bible teaches that acceptance begins with God: "Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God" (Rom. 15:7). Christ's acceptance of us is the model for how we are to accept each other. (from "How People Grow" by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend)

When we sinned and fell from grace, acceptance posed a problem for God. His holy nature could not accept our sinfulness; yet his love kept him caring about us. (from "How People Grow" by Dr. Cloud and Dr. Townsend)

ACCEPTANCE INCREASES INITIATIVE AND RISK IN GROWTH. Acceptance often starts "movement" in someone's spiritual growth. In an environment of no condemnation, people are honest about issues they haven't felt safe to reveal before. When they find that it's okay to confess one problem, they fire up the backhoe and they dig deeper into the dark parts of their souls. As acceptance increases, so does confession, and with confession come intimacy and growth. ("How People Grow" by Dr. Cloud and Dr. Townsend)

-one of the most contriversal issues in accepting christians today would have to be gay christians. there isnt a more of an oxymoron than a gay christian. how could you say you are a christian and deliberatly go against what the bible teaches us. however as taboo as it seems people do it, and they have even started their own "community" on a website (www.gaychristian.net). in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 states "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." that states as plain as day that neither gays nor any other unsinful things will enter the kigdom of heaven. So in my opinion and from what the word says, everyone one sins so accepting a sinning christian is what god wants us to do. but god also wants us to lead people away from sin and closer to him. the word repent means to ask god for forgiveness and turn away from sin. if you are gay or you keep repeating the same sin over and over you have no clue to what the meaning of repent is. you cannot claim that you are saved if you continue to be homosexual and live a life of sinful nature

My opinion on accepting sinning christians is this: God tells us to love everyone. We need to leave the judgmental work to God, our father. (Mathew 7:1-3) says "Judge not,that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge,you will be judged;and with the measure you use,it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye,but do not consider the plank in your own eye?" As christians, we need to learn to accept the person but not to accept their sin. Homosexuality is an impure sin. It is continuing to live everyday in a sinful life without turning away from the sinful nature.

( The following has been posted by: Josh Corn )

Thruogh out history there have been some of the worst sins commited. Starting all the way back in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve took a bite of the forbidden fruit. They blatently disregarded Gods warning and fell into what we consider the first sin. God was so furious that, something he made, that he personally designed to be in his own likeliness, he banished them from the Garden. But did he stop loving them? Did God completely give up on them because of there sin? The answer is no he didn't. What we learn from this, is that it isn't fair to judge someone becaus of the sin. We are all siners in our own respect, but aren't there people who still love us?

The thing is, that God never gave up hope. He realized that we as human beings are not perfect, and that sin is going to creep into our lives wherever Satan can find room. But thats the glory of God for giving us free will. We have the choice wheather we sin or not. We know what God expects from us, and most people realize when they are being tempted by sin. And right there, at that moment, when Satan is trying his hardest to pull us into sin, is when we need to be accepted by other Christians the most, and not persecuted for our weakness. If God wanted us to be perfect he would have made us that way.

I believe it is our job as Christians to accept all those who have sinned, because we all have sinned our selves. Lets just think, if no one had accepted us when we have confessed about our sins, would there even be Christians? Would there just be God? What if God never forgave us for our sins, where would we be? We would still be stuck in the same old sins that we have done a thousand times before, and Satan would be in complete controll of our lives. The truth is though that God does care. God wnats us to want him. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16) God wants us to live with him forever, or else he would never have done anything to help us at all.

I believe we all need to be messengers like Jesus was. I believe that we need to spread the Gospel, and not just practice it. ... (more to be added here later)

Free will is the liberty God gives us to make wrong decisions, the ability to trade in our robes of righteousness for rags of wickedness, if we so choose; but our human nature is inherently depraved gearing us toward taking wrong directions (Rom.7:14). David quotes, “surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me”. (Psalms 51:5) Without freewill, we would neither sin nor want to; and with it we are given the opportunity to receive, experience, and make complete real love. The existence of free will and man’s sinful behavior permit the survival of sin, while simultaneously nurturing and fulfilling our desire for true intimacy with each other and our Creator, the living God. Does God or should we accept sinning Christians? Let us narrow that vague question down. Does God accept sin, or unrepentant Christians? The answer is indeed no. God created man in His image in order that mankind would be like Him. “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matt. 5:48) But He gives man the full ability to choose is own direction and path. But sin sprouted in us from the very creation. It became our weakened nature state in which the self is estranged from God (Webster’s New Dictionary). And the cost of that is spiritual death, eternal separation of God. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom6:23). God cannot accept sin because of his holy nature. “For, I am the Lord your God. You shall therefore consecrate yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy”. (Leviticus 11:44) God’s holiness is incomparable. It is the ultimate opposite of sin. For example, when Moses went to get the Ten Commandments upon Mount Sinai, the mountain becomes holy because God has appeared there. Anyone or any animal that touches or gets close to that place will be put to death. (Exodus19-20) That is how holy and separated God is from sin. So, can God ever recognize and accept sin? The answer is no. When God appeared to Moses in the burning bush, God stopped him from coming any closer, “do not come any closer” God said,” Take off your sandals for the place you are standing is holy ground”. (Exodus 3) We cannot stand near the holy nature of God because He is set apart from sin, which is the very nature of man. In the book of Genesis, God created everything and said it is good. But when it comes to man he said it is very good. God is satisfied and loves His creation. God creates man perfect and with characteristics of love, reasoning, and common sense, which distinguish man from animal. Man was righteous and was able to come to the Lord’s holy presence. (Genesis 3:8) As soon as we set astray from God’s rules, we sin. And we can no longer come to his presence with sin within us; because God is holy and set apart from sin. So God does not accept sin, therefore we should not let sin reign in our bodies. Scripture states that the cost of sin is death, which is eternal separation of the living God, but the free gift is salvation by grace through Jesus Christ. (Rom. 6:23). God has an undeniable love for man. It is because of his love we are made holy through Jesus Christ. It is He who then intercedes on our behalf before a holy and just God. God does not tolerate the sin but he shows compassion, love, and mercy to us. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”(Romans 5:8) God knows there is no way we can consecrate our life to Him without sinning. For God so love the world so much that he give his only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”(John3:16).God does not accept sin so he sent Jesus as an ultimate sacrifice. The blood of Jesus covers our sin so we can be righteous and stand before a Holy Lord. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteous of God”. (2Cor.5:21)Through Jesus we are saved and made righteous if we believe and are baptized, which is the sign of conversion, in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. What is salvation? It is deliverance from danger, evil, and the imminent separation of God from His people. Some people feel that once you believe and are baptized, then you are saved. Salvation is not a one-time event. I truly think that salvation is a continuous process. We are subject to sin. When we Christians sin we repent, and ask God to forgive, which is a sign of accepting God’s gift of salvation. (Rom10:9). Jesus says, “Unless you repent, you too will all perish”. (Luke13:3) So how then we should treat sinning Christians from a biblical perspective? The Bible strongly commands that we should not pass judgment on any one nor point fingers, because we are no different than them. “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” (Rom. We all fail sometimes. If some one claims to be righteous, he is deceiving himself. No man walking on this earth’s surface is perfect. But we should discern our fellow friends in love and forgive them of their faults if they humble themselves and repent as the Lord commands us. “Prudence must be exercised in the proceedings, lest we do more harm than good…we should deal humbly even when we deal sharply.”( Richard Baxter ,Puritan),We are to keep each other accountable and help them steer from sin. How then we should treat unrepentant Christians? We are the church, not the building in which we are meeting. We represent Christ. In ch. 8 of How People Grow, Cloud & Townsend begin with the story of Gary, who confessed to his small group about an affair with a married woman & was accepted by the group. Do you think the group acted biblically in accepting Gary? If the circumstances were different, say Gary didn’t confess, but instead one of the group members found out, should they have treated Gary differently? It is more than perfect to accept Gary if he confesses and repents.Scriptures say to forgive our brothers of their sins if they confess and repent. If the circumstanses were diferent, and Gary did not confess, should the church react diferently? I would say yes indeed. “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you.If he listens to you,you have won your brother over.But if he will not listen ,take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses’If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church,treat him as you would treat a pagan taxcollector.(Matthew18:15-16).Gary should be suspended from the group leadership and study the bible more diligently. Bad company can corrupt good moral character.Every religious group has the potential to be like a target to its non bealivers.The world fixes his eyes on our failers to descredite us. For example, one Sonday afternoon, in November 24, 2006 a pastor was preaching to my hometown , Port-De-Paix along with some other leaders. On the night before, one of the leaders had an affair with a woman. A young man yelled these words which captured my mind,”You hypocrites you are preaching the message you called good news to people and you are not obeying it. So do not expect us to do so.You people and this church are an abobination. “How vain it is to sit down and write when you have not stood up to live.” (Henry David Thoreau) The bible says that we should be carefull not to be a stumbling block to others. On this same note, God will not accept such mediocracy. Jesus in Revelation speaking to church in Laodicea said these words, “So because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” (3:16) This young man did not distsnguish the preacher from the others. The preacher’s guilt brought shame to the church as a whole. The accusing words of that man crumbled the influence of the entire church. Bad company can put the word of God at risk of public scrutiny. Because we represent the church and God we should therefore be a reflection of, not only His grace, but also His justice. Written by Samuel Pierre