You said "Because he is persisting in his sin, he must be withdrawn from. For a church not to do so is to given permission to sin" in A man now attends church as a transgender female. Should he be withdrawn from? I think that is way off. That seems judgmental to me. God put us here not to judge but to love people and lovingly inform them that they will be judged at some point. The mentality you seem to be portraying is "Oh no he is a sinner stay away from him!" When in reality we should be saying "He is a sinner, we have to stay close to him and show the Lord's to him through us, and pray for him and he needs help." Withdrawing from him is not going to help him, it to me looks like being scared, not wanting to "catch his sin". Jesus went and sat with the sinners, talked with them, ate with them.
Answer:In this you are quite mistaken. In your own note you display a judgmental attitude, and are quite willing to condemn another person. "Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things" (Romans 2:1). Ironic, isn't it, that judgments cannot be avoided. "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment" (John 7:48). Without judgment you cannot make decisions in your life. Without judgment, you cannot recognize sin. Without judgment, you cannot help a person out of sin. "Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted" (Galatians 6:1). To wait until Judgment Day to say that a choice is wrong is to allow a person to go to Hell without a fight.
The Corinthians tried what you suggested. They allowed a man who was committing fornication with his step-mother to worship with them. I'm sure they were telling themselves that at least he was going to church and they could influence him to be better. But look at what Paul said:
"It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles -- that a man has his father's wife! And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you. For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner--not even to eat with such a person. For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore "put away from yourselves the evil person" (I Corinthians 5:1-13).
Withdrawing serves a number of purposes that I suspect you don't realize. See: Withdraw Yourselves.
Well, first of all I would like to say that I did not mean for that to come across as judgmental, just questioning. I have been working on having my tone (in text and voice) match what I am trying to say. (I will be using NIV translations for this as it is what I am familiar with.)
I think that Paul was more upset with the church for being almost proud about how accepting they were. "And you are proud! Shouldn't you rather have gone into mourning and have put out of your fellowship the man who has been doing this?" I think the main difference comes in is how you treat those people. Paul said here we they should have gone into a state of sadness over him and should have put him out of their fellowship.
I just moved but at the church where we used to go to the youth leader's sister was a lesbian. Are you saying that we shouldn't have let her come to church or any church activities, even if it was in an attempt to help? Paul also said here:
"I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people — not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. 'Expel the wicked person from among you.'"
He is saying not to associate yourself with people who claim to be Christians but stay in their sin. Which means that the youth leader's sister would have been fine to come to church and activities and we should let her and we should encourage her to and we should show her fellowship so that we can help her come to Christ.
I think the situation that you were addressing in the first article could lean either way because it was said he was a former minister, which means he might have still claimed to be a Christian or he might not and was trying to come to church to sort out his mind about what he had done.
While you took my point of "judgmental" as a negative, I would like to make it clear that it wasn't. I'm merely pointing out the inconsistency of your position. No one can take a position of not judging anyone.
Paul's rule in I Corinthians 5 is that people cannot be accepted as part of the church who are actively involved in sin. We all have to deal with worldly people in the world. For example, I buy food at times from a fast food restaurant whose manager happens to be a homosexual. My purchase of food there does not show support of his choices in life. How he lives his personal life is incidental to service he provides. We will have at work, school, and other places people who are committing adultery, living in fornication, liars, cheaters, etc. But my association with them is not based on who they are morally. But it changes when it comes to the church because it is the body of those saved. The church cannot be a beacon of light in a lost and dying world if it welcomes sinners as they are without any encouragement to change and improve.
Technically a Christian doesn't stop being a Christian. He might stop acting as a Christian, but he entered a covenant with God and covenants are a lifelong commitment. "And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother" (II Thessalonians 4:14-15). The goal of withdrawing is to get the person to stop sinning so he can be welcomed back into the church.
In the original case, we have a man rebelling against how God made him. While he is no longer in the leadership of that church, he is still attending it as a member. I know this because you can't withdraw from someone who is not in your fellowship. The situation requires withdrawal because there cannot be an acceptance of blatant, willful sin by the church. Nothing in the original note hinted that he was trying to sort himself out. His actions indicate that he was trying to force others to accept his decision to disguise himself as a female.
In your case of a sister of one of the leaders, who happened to be a lesbian, you talked about accepting her into the church's fellowship. That can't happen. A person who is living a sinful life has no common ground with members of the church. Yes, she should be talked to and kindly encouraged to change, but until she leaves her sins she just won't fit in with everyone else -- or, at least, she should not find herself fitting in with everyone. "Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people." Therefore "Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you." "I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the LORD Almighty." Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God" (II Corinthians 6:14-7:1).
When people are accepted while staying in sin, there is no motivation to change. They have the fellowship while living an ungodly life. All Christians sin, but the chief thing is that Christians are trying not to sin. People who think sin is acceptable have no common ties with people who battle sin. So we gently teach, we kindly encourage, but in the end there will always be a barrier between the Christian and those of the world due to the worldly person's choice to sin. "And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will" (II Timothy 2:24-26).