Should Christians Separate Themselves From Sinners

flagNot too long ago I wrote an article concerning the homosexual couple who were attempting to force a baker to make them a wedding cake, which she declined because of her faith.  My argument then was that she owned a bakery that catered to the public and unless she was refused to make cakes for the rest of the world’s sinners,  I didn’t then and still don’t think that she could use her conscience rights to refuse.    I ended my argument with “Even Jesus ate with sinners” which I might add has come back to haunt me, even from my own family.

Joe Cartel at the Gospel  coalition  is upset with that argument because, to him it’s only partially true.  He asks that ‘since Jesus ate with sinners, do I have to eat at the strip club’s buffet?  My answer would be no but if you are strong in your Christian faith does it really matter where you eat?   Just the simple act of saying grace over your food at a strip club buffet might well serve as a godly example to someone else.

“Jesus is always immanent in spirit everywhere in the world. There are no hidden places in which sin and evil is being committed where Jesus in not present with the unredeemed.  So too should we be present with Jesus—in spirit—through prayer for unrepentant sinners.  Spiritual presence, however, is not usually what is meant. The argument implies that since Jesus was physically present with sinners, that we should also be physically present with the unrepentant. For several reasons, this claim is much more problematic.”

Cartel says that there “is no place in Scripture  that says Jesus was uncritically present when sin was occurring or when an action that mocked God was taking place.  In fact, in the most famous example of Jesus being in the presence of an act where sin was taking place and God was being mocked—a scene recorded in all four Gospels—he made a whip of cords and drove sinners from the temple.   Do we really think this same Jesus would “bake a cake” to celebrate a sinful union he himself considered an “abomination” (Lev. 20:13)?”

He believes that it is our culture that has conditioned us to believe that “loving our neighbor” requires accepting them as they are.   Personally, I don’t think it’s so much the culture as the teaching of the Social Gospel that is so prevalent in our Churches who are telling us that we must be tolerant of sin.  According to Cartel “Paul makes it clear that if the person engaged in sin is a believer we shouldn’t even eat with them.”

Cartel quotes 1 Corinthians Chapter 5 several times in his article to advance his views.  Paul was admonishing the Church in Corinthians for their division, for allowing  lawsuits between believers, sexual sins, disorderly worship, and overall spiritual immaturity to enter into that Church.  He wrote it to confront and correct those Christians within the Church, warning them not to be conformed to the world around them, but rather, to live as godly examples, reflecting  moral values in the midst of an immoral society, which I might add still applies today, although ignored by most.

As for whether or not Christ would have baked that wedding cake, I really don’t know.  I do know that in John 2 Christ attended a wedding feast with his mother and turned water into wine, his very first miracle.  Are we to believe that everyone at that wedding feast  followed the Ten Commandments and God?  I didn’t read that Christ admonished sinners at the festival not to drink his wine or that he felt uneasy being around sinners.

As a Christian I do not condone same-sex marriage or the homosexual lifestyle but  I do not accept that  baking a wedding  cake or selling flowers for a homosexual wedding  is a sin, nor is it  condoning that lifestyle.   Like Christ, I can tell them that their lifestyle is a sin but I cannot force them to repent or change their ways.  That is their decision.  God does not hold me responsible for the sins committed by others.   And, I draw the line at participating in any sin, homosexual or otherwise.

Do I believe that everyone should have the right to serve or not serve anyone they choose within their own business?    In a perfect world yes, but then again, in a perfect world we would not be confronted with such choices.   There are laws on the books that prohibit discrimination and if you refuse  to serve someone because you don’t like their looks, the color of their skin, their lifestyle choices, the way they dress, their religious beliefs or lack thereof  be prepared to lose that business.

If you are going to base your business on conscience rights can you draw the line at refusing homosexuals?  Aren’t you being  hypocritical if you don’t  also refuse service to adulterers,  thieves, those that don’t honor their parents, those who lie,  those who covet,  those who take God’s name in vain, those that worship idols, or those who don’t accept Christ as their savior?

No, I didn’t exactly win the discussion with my family either but it made for an interesting debate.

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