Obviously, those who would suggest the liberalization of the biblical standard are ignoring the clear teaching of Scripture, conforming to the values of the world, and yielding to the desires of the flesh. As Jesus said, “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).
The church’s responsibility.
Just as I said to this letter writer, I say to all church leaders: The church has a responsibility to practice discipline in regard to flagrant, known sin.
This is especially true for those in leadership. We are to gently confront believers who are known to be living in sin and encourage them to repent.
In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus cautioned us not to attempt to remove a speck from someone else’s eye without first examining ourselves to make sure there is not a log protruding from our own. Later, He explained that if the person living in sin doesn’t repent, then the believer is to take two or three others to confront again. If the backslider still refuses to change, the issue is to be taken to the church (Matthew 19:16-17).
The shepherds of the flock are then to confront in love and encourage restoration to Christ. If the offender still refuses to repent, he/she is to be treated as an unbeliever.
The Apostle Paul instructed the Corinthian church to remove from their fellowship a man who persisted in living in incest, warning, “With such a man do not even eat” (1 Corinthians 5:11). Now, I know such measures sound harsh in an era of super-tolerance, but I’ve seen them work very effectively—often in the first stages.
God designed the church to consist of people who are “called out” from the world. We are to live separate and holy lives. Unless we practice some measure of church discipline, the church is in danger of simply reflecting its culture rather than transforming it.
In Matthew 5:13, Jesus said if salt loses its saltiness, it is good for nothing except to be cast out and trodden under men’s feet. This is the present-day danger all church leaders face.
May we have courage to point others to the truth instead of settling for the path of least resistance.