Ask Your Preacher
How do you feel about letting the Pastor know that some people he has in leadership - worship leading and youth group - are drinking alcohol on the side while posting their publicly drunken pictures on the internet? Would it be wrong to bring this to his attention? I might add that this couple is in the "Pastor’s clique." This has been something breaking my soul, knowing that these people have been on stage lifting their hands, praising God on Sunday, and teaching impressionable teens who have access to these pictures -- then they are in bars and at parties on Saturday night. Am I sinning knowing it's happening and saying nothing? Pastors shouldn't even have "circles or cliques", right? Please pray and help. I am broken.
Sincerely, Caught In The Middle
Dear Caught In The Middle,
Yes, you must say something about it. For the sake of addressing the main purpose of your question and not getting distracted, we aren’t going to deal with the issue that your congregation is led by a single pastor, but we recommend you read “Elders” to better understand the problem of a congregation being led by one man. After that, ask your pastor where in the Bible he can find an example of a congregation being led by a single pastor.
Back to the topic, though. Your specific question dealt with whether or not to say something when you know someone else is sinning. If you know there is sin in your congregation, you must address it. Paul condemned the Corinthians because they allowed someone to flagrantly live a life of sin and remain amongst them (1 Cor 5:1-2). God tells us that if our brother sins, we must confront him privately (Matt 18:15). If that doesn’t work, bring one or two others with you and confront him again (Matt 18:16). If that still doesn’t work – bring it to the leadership of the congregation, and if he still won’t repent, then the congregation is to withdraw from him (Matt 18:17). You have a responsibility to make the sin known for the sake of the person’s soul and for the sake of the spiritual health of the others that they influence.
Some sins we commit when we act the wrong way, and sometimes we sin because we failed to act. If you know someone is openly sinning (and especially if you have evidence, like in your case), you must act. God requires it of you, and if the congregation won’t act as God intends… I recommend reading “Finding A Church”.
5 minutes a day 5 days a week All the New Testament in a year
I was watching a special on Michael Jackson this weekend which prompts my question: is plastic surgery wrong? Obviously, Michael Jackson appears to have had way beyond what most of us would consider a normal nip or tuck, but when does the pursuit of vanity become sinful? What about changing your hair color, wearing makeup, or even getting braces to make your smile more pleasing?
Sincerely, Flummoxed Fashionista
Dear Flummoxed Fashionista,
It isn’t inherently wrong for a christian to change their appearance for beauty’s sake, but we do need to be careful. See the post “The 411 On The Bling Bling” for more details on the subject of wearing jewelry. Plastic surgery is a more extreme version of makeup or jewelry. It is precisely its extreme nature that should make christians wary of using it. Makeup and jewelry are intended to enhance someone’s natural appearance, while surgery is intended to permanently alter it.
Vanity is a sin. We are not supposed to glory in appearances (2 Cor 5:12). The most vivid Biblical example of the folly of vanity is Absalom who died because of his love of his beautiful hair (2 Sam 14:25-26, 2 Sam 18:9-14). Furthermore, we are supposed to be content with what God provides us with (Php 4:11), and that includes the body He has given us. Plastic surgery (if done for purely cosmetic reasons and not medical ones) smacks of being discontent with what God has designed. The more superficial our world becomes, the more christians need to remember what is truly important… not the outward flesh, but the inward man (2 Cor 4:16).
While visiting a congregation in Hawaii, they announced having a birthday lunch celebration in their building after services. They invited visitors. We chose not to take part in this. Is having lunch in the church building right or wrong?
Sincerely, It’s Not My Birthday
Dear It’s Not My Birthday,
It’s wrong unless having the lunch is specifically a part of something the church is meant to focus on… and celebrating birthdays isn’t something the church is meant to focus on. The work of a congregation is a very important subject because what a congregation does tells you what is important to them. Most of us have seen churches that are merely social organizations. These groups talk about Jesus, but they are really only interested in having fun and making people feel good. Christ’s church needs to do what Christ wants it to do. It isn’t about what makes us happy, but about what makes Him happy. We are here to do God’s work (Jhn 4:34). If we want to be God’s church, we need to be busy doing what His church did in the Bible. That means we only spend the church’s time, money (the building is part of the church’s money), and effort on things that we can read about the church doing in the Bible. There are only four things we see the church of Jesus Christ doing.
- Caring for needy christians. The church has the right and responsibility to spend its time and money to help take care of christians that are suffering financially (Acts 4:35, Acts 6:1, Acts 11:28-30).
- Teach christians. Any congregation that belongs to Jesus has to teach christians about God’s Word, so they will grow and mature in Christ (Eph 4:11-13, 1 Cor 4:17, Acts 15:35). They also have the right to support preachers and elders who are dedicating themselves to teaching (1 Tim 5:17-18).
- Preaching to the lost. Perhaps the greatest responsibility of a congregation is to bring the gospel to those who are dead in their sins (Acts 11:26). The church is supposed to preach to the lost because mankind will go to hell without the Bible’s saving words (Rom 1:16).
- Worship God. The church is supposed to assemble together (Heb 10:25) and worship God. They do this by singing (Col 3:16), praying (Acts 12:5), studying (Acts 2:42), taking the Lord’s Supper on Sunday (Acts 20:7), and taking up a collection on Sunday (1 Cor 16:1).
This is the stuff that Jesus wants His church to be doing. If we aren’t doing that (or if we are doing stuff other than that) – we are no longer His church. His church does what He wants, not what it wants. Everything a church does needs to somehow be specifically involved in furthering one of those four tasks. A church-sponsored birthday party doesn’t fit into those categories. Birthday parties are great, but they aren’t what Jesus’ church is here for.
5 minutes a day 5 days a week All the New Testament in a year