How Should The Church Hold Believers Accountable?

Q. I read your article yesterday on Rapture Ready entitled, “What Is Sin”. It was amazing! I agree with you 100%.

My question to you though is about churches in our times now. We appear to have become very tolerant of sin in people who call themselves Christians and members of our churches. I see so many who regularly attend but who continue to live in sin with boyfriends (for years and years and continue doing it). That is just one example but I think you know what I mean.

You are dead-on right about judging others but are we also supposed to hold one another accountable? I read an article on the Drudge Report tonight about a church in Jacksonville, Florida who are using 18:17 to announce the sins of a particular woman in their congregation to the entire church. It seems a bit rough to me because where does grace fall into any of this? I think there is a fine line between grace and tolerance. What I’m seeing more and more are congregations of people coming to play church and not devoting themselves to the obedience of Jesus Christ. (yes, believe me, no one knows better than me about the plank in my own eye).

I guess what I’m asking is how do we call our churches back to obedience? It seems to me that we have a form of Godliness but lack the power thereof. I fear for the church in these times. I’d be interested to know what you think about this. Thank you so much for your time and may God richly bless you!

A. Let me say first that if I understand the situation correctly, I don’t think the church in question is using Matt. 18 properly. It was meant as a remedy of last resort for a disagreement between two individuals. If they couldn’t settle the issue by other means they brought is before the church as a means of achieving resolution , not as public condemnation.

Two occasions where Jesus had a comment on brothers accusing brothers stand out in my mind. In one He said “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7), and in the other He said, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” (Matt. 7:3) Then He called them hypocrites. I think He was saying that we have our hands full just worrying about ourselves.

It’s up to the Pastor and elders to decide on confronting someone and always the goal has to be reconciliation. For the “rank-and-file” to start accusing each other is to invite the kind of divisiveness and condemnation for which the church is unfortunately already too well known.

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