Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Sanctification

More Conversations with Bob. Hottest thing on the Net!

John

Thanks for the last word. I want to correct one thing you said about my last post. Maybe I wasn’t clear.

The Moderator, Joan Gray, wrote in her letter that she was concerned about “Jesus and” heresy.” She says:

Refusing people membership in the church for reasons not related to profession of faith in Jesus as savior is forbidden by the constitution of the church. And:

I believe that the idea that we need anything but Jesus to be saved and therefore a member in the body of Christ is a form of works righteousness and should be repudiated by all right thinking Christians.

I took these two sentences out of context but think they reflect what the Moderator had to say. To read the full letter go to the link above.

I am not convinced that I disagree with the Moderator. To call Jesus savior is to know that one has to repent of sin. But notice I did not say in my last post that one had to change their life or give up all sin before they became members of the congregation.

In a New Member’s class I would make it clear to all that being a member of a congregation includes the hard work of seeking sanctification. But I would not single out individuals or individual sins in a New Member’s class. That is why I said: “So I would seek a commitment from each couple to change their living situation.”

In an ideal situation in a congregation all members in a congregation would be members of small groups for Bible study, prayer and to talk in the group about their lives. That conversation about their lives would include, after the group had established trust, the things they need to change in their lives. Again, in an ideal situation I would have a particular group for those who need to work on sexual sin. This would include a variety of people like those who have sexual addictions, including those who commit serial adultery, those who use pornography, and also those involved in sexual relationships that are sinful like a couple who lives together outside of the bonds of marriage, whether heterosexual or homosexual. Personally I suspect that there are a whole lot more people out there in the Church who are addicted to pornography than any of the other people I mentioned. The last figure I saw was about 60% of men in America are addicted to internet pornography and that the figure in the Church is about the same. The number of women addicted to pornography is also rising quickly.

Please note that I think all members of a congregation need to work on sanctification, through the power of the Holy Spirit. I’m not saying that a homosexual couple can’t join the congregation but rather that I would want that couple to understand that I want them to work on changing their lives, like all Christians, including the sin of homosexual sexual behavior.

Clearly we disagree about whether homosexual sexual behavior in a committed loving relationship is sinful or not.

But let’s move on to other things. How about one of the passages I gave you, one for Paul?

Grace and Peace

Bob

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