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The news recently had a case of a pastor and two deacons who beat up the pastor's nephew and the nephew's boyfriend on church property in order to prevent the homosexual couple from entering. This pastor may or may not preach love (we're not told) but his actions demonstrate that hatred is what is in his heart. According my understanding of Matthew 18:16-20, church members should now approach this minister, and the deacons, and probably ask them to leave. If the church doesn't do that, then it would imply the members agree with this pastor.

Besides the several NT verses from Jesus about loving others, here is one from the same OT book often quoted to attack homosexuality:

Leviticus 19:18: Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.

It would appear that this pastor may be case study for this principle:

Matthew 7:15: “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.”

It would seem that churches like this are damaging the body of Christ, as this minister will attract people that want to feel righteous about hatred toward others. Like a poison, it continues to spread to the world-wide church. Unfortunately this is not an isolated phenomena, but in many countries we can find examples where ministers are preaching and practicing such hatred, and so the members act on this, in the name of Christ.

  • Given the damaging/contrary witness this provides for the Gospel of love we claim to represent and...
  • Given the no-action tacit approval this church has shown towards the actions of it's leaders and...
  • Since we are all brothers and sisters in Christ and thus one Church under God...

Should all the members of this church be treated as we would treat tax collectors or lepers (ostracized)? Can/should church discipline be extended to an entire church by the larger body of Christ?

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Being the son of the pastor, he should've known toting his boyfriend to church might have been a bit provocative. Like driving into the ghetto in the General Lee and tooting your Dixie horn. –  The Preacher Oct 4 '11 at 23:43
    
@ThePreacher - True, but, the pastor should be able to lean on Christ to give him the love he needs to demonstrate. I keep thinking about how Jesus healed the ear of the soldier that was arresting him. –  James Black Oct 5 '11 at 0:43
    
In the interest of trying to save this question from getting closed (it's collecting votes but I think it's interesting) I am going to make a major edit. Feel free to revert or change it when I'm done. Mainly, I would suggest moving a lot of the content you posted to an answer of your own and keep the question itself as focused as possible. –  Caleb Oct 7 '11 at 10:04
    
<removed comments> Some obsolete discussion about an earlier version of the question and some off-topic remarks were removed. Please keep comments for mini-meta discussions of the question, and take the general banter to chat. Thanks. –  Caleb Oct 7 '11 at 21:35
    
@Caleb - Thank you for your changes. I will consider writing an answer to my own question. –  James Black Oct 8 '11 at 1:26

2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

In the words of Jesus:

Matthew 18:15-17 (NIV)
15 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

So, if they won't listen to your reproach, just treat them like any other pagan:

That is, pray for them and love them like you love everyone else.

Matthew 5:43-48 (NIV)
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

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But, what do you do when the church seems to be in agreement with the action? Should people treat them differently, realizing that when Matt was written tax collectors were shunned by society? Should anything this pastor, or the deacons, teach be given any weight by any Christians striving to be like Christ? –  James Black Oct 4 '11 at 15:50
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(1) Jesus regularly dined with tax collectors and sinners. Jesus did not shun them. (2) If you're having problems with a church that you're in, change churches. (3) Revelations 2:5 shows that an entire church can be cast away. Don't be part of that--treat them like the pagans: love them and pray for them. –  Richard Oct 4 '11 at 15:54
    
You can love and pray for them, but as I stated in updating my answer, they are leading people away from Christ by their teachings, which is the real danger here. It took me a while to understand why the article bothered me, but that is the root cause, the deliberate twisting of Jesus' teachings to do evil, wrapped in self-righteousness, and that people will believe that they are correct. –  James Black Oct 4 '11 at 19:52
    
That's why I mentioned the first verse. Try to lead those going astray back towards the right path. If it doesn't work, start praying for them. (I feel like I'm repeating myself.) –  Richard Oct 4 '11 at 19:57
    
But if we are praying, but people are still being led astray, thinking he is teaching God's word, then people are still being led astray, which is why I mentioned the example of the fig tree. Jesus didn't just pray from the Jewish leaders but confronted them, for example. –  James Black Oct 4 '11 at 21:08

Leviticus 19:18: Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.

It would appear that this pastor may be an example of this quote:

Matthew 7:15: “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.”

We should always be Jesus like in our actions towards sinners. It makes it difficult if the person is a pastor but studying theology or working at a church does not make one a good Christian.

The church should allow a minister to do such things. It is very Un-Christian and sends a very bad message to unbelievers and skeptics alike.

We are after all wanting a higher moral standard from ministers than is the norm

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I edited the quote. If I did it wrong, feel free to roll back. Also, did you mean "The church should not allow a minister to do such things."? –  a_hardin Oct 4 '11 at 17:51
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" and sends a very bad message to unbelievers and skeptics alike." - it sends a very bad message to believers too... –  Marc Gravell Oct 4 '11 at 19:08
    
I expect that showing love should be the normative standard expected, actually, even to those that hate you, but in this case the hate was shown toward someone that wasn't expecting it. I expect ministers and deacons to have a good relationship with God, so that they can help us find our way, but this person's relationship appears to be with someone other than Jesus, it appears. –  James Black Oct 4 '11 at 19:54
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Man, I wish I could vote this one up more than once, particularly for "studying theology or working at a church does not make one a good Christian." –  David Stratton Oct 5 '11 at 3:54

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