I’ve been doing a study on the Trinity in Scripture, but I decided to give a brief interruption tonight. Besides, I love John 1:14 and my time is limited tonight and I want to be sure I can give that verse a lot of attention.
Tonight’s blog is based on a conversation I had with a friend from Bible College that I spoke to online last night. I read something he wrote about how his church did not want to preach good conservative values because it would drive people away. He told of a pastor who had a stripper come forward to receive Christ, but he didn’t tell her to stop what she was doing. After all, that’s how she feeds her family.
Some of us might think that is noble. The pastor’s intentions are good, but good intentions are not enough. When we are judging an action, we cannot look at an intention alone. Now there does have to be a good intention for a good act, but we must ask if this act is helping this woman to become more like Christ.
Now I will say that when we call something a sin, there is a loving way to do it and unloving way to do it and the way to do it will depend on the situation. Sometimes, you will have to be point-blank blunt. Sometimes you won’t. I’d guess that this time a kinder approach would have worked best. If someone has just given their life to Christ though, they should have some idea of how seriously Christ takes sin.
Now some of you are thinking, “Yeah. But that’s her job and she does have to feed her family. What’s she going to do?” Did anyone stop to think that maybe the church could help out actually? Maybe someone from the church could offer to look after the kids. Someone else could help train this woman in how to go out and get a job or else teach her some skill so that she can get a job. In the long-term, someone could find a decent man she can marry who will help provide for her and raise her children.
Wouldn’t any of these be better answers?
I know some of us could say that there are government programs, but you know what? I’m sick of having the state do the work the church should be doing. We offer to help the downtrodden when they want salvation, but when it comes to their physical needs, we pass them off to the state. Didn’t James say something in chapter 2 about addressing someone’s spiritual needs but not addressing their physical needs? Of course, I’m not against getting people to come to Christ, but that’s just the beginning of a long journey. (One that should continue into discipleship and not just having them be converted and that’s the end of it. That’d be like getting the lady to say “I do,” kissing the bride, and then going off on your way.
Also, this kind of idea leads to an entitlement society I fear that thinks the world owes everything to them. Note that I’m specific. I think we should help this woman, but it should not be a hand-out. It should be a hand-up. We want her to achieve so much that when someone else comes in in the same situation, she’s able to be the helper this time.
We do this with our children after all. Why do parents help their children? So they can keep helping them? No. They help them so they will reach a point where they are no longer dependent on the parents for help.
What this pastor did was not showing love. To not help someone out of doing what is immoral is not love. Sin keeps us from being who we were meant to be in Christ. If something is keeping me from being who I was meant to be in Christ, how is it love to allow me to continue in that?
If we treat sin lightly in the church, we are treating the cross lightly as well. If we treat that lightly, then we are treating the whole of Christianity. We are lowering the sacrifice of Christ and by implication, we are lowering him. Sin is serious business. Sometimes we think we feel too guilty today. If we compared to a preacher like Jonathan Edwards, he said the problem was we don’t feel guilty enough. We don’t treat the holiness of God seriously and we end up making our sin a trifle.
I’m not saying we should walk around in guilt constantly, but we should come to realize the gravity of sin and see it for what it is. Divine treason against the one who is goodness and love in his very nature. Every time we sin, we are claiming that our way is better than his and by implication, we are claiming that he is not who he says he is and that frankly, we ought to be in his place.
Maybe someday pastors will wake up. I don’t think that would just change the church, but it’d change America. I do believe that we have produced a generation that doesn’t know how to think, but frankly, they stopped thinking because the church stopped thinking first. Of course, I’m not saying there are no thinkers in the church. I’m in the church and I’d consider myself a thinker. I’m saying that by and large, the church has become shallow and does not take the search for truth seriously any more. Why should we be surprised when the world follows suit?
What do we need? We need the gospel. We need to realize sin is sin, Christ is Christ, the cross is the cross, and God is God. We need to return to true Christianity. I’m convinced this could change our country. If we don’t, I am quite sure our society in America will fall. That won’t mean the end of the gospel of course. It’ll keep going. The gospel doesn’t need America. America needs the gospel.
In giving the gospel and helping sinners both spiritually and financially, we are showing true love. Let us not lower down the principles of the gospel and call it love. It is anything but love.