There have been some of you who have responded on a number of issues:
1. Ranking sins
I hope it is clear now that I don’t believe in ranking sins. The comments I have made to date have been either tongue in cheek or to spur you to think on the issues. Paul is making his point somewhat ironically. His comments are meant to draw attention to the fact of the pettiness among the Corinthian church on matters of disunity and a spirit of factionalism while ignoring the issue of incest. I think many of Paul’s comments are designed to make the Corinthians wake up to the bigger picture.
2. Abandoning church because we must have nothing to do with sinners
I’ve got news for you, we are all sinners saved by grace. Paul’s lists should show us that. That is his point in what he is saying to the Corinthians. Some of you may think Paul (and I) are being overly judgemental about hypocrites in the church and separating from them. The problem is we can’t judge because unlike God we don’t see the inner man, we just see the outward things. Yes there is tension in Scripture between truth and grace, law and grace, sin and grace, everything and grace. While it is true God’s grace is extended to all there are still occasions where His wrath bursts forth or comes to the fore. There are many examples of that in the Bible. We need to hold to both concepts – grace and judgement. But ultimately God is the one who judges justly, not us.
3. Expelling the sinner
Somehow this is an abhorrent thought. I won’t deal with it here. We will look at that idea in a separate Gem.
Hang in there with me. Give me a little space to play the advocate card at times. [notice I didn’t say “the devil’s advocate”]. I like the fact that I am testing these thoughts and studies out on you first before they are published in a book. So don’t be afraid to interact with me and tell me how it comes across from your point of view. Ian, isn’t it time that you moved off this subject of sin? Haven’t we dealt with this now?
Why? Is it getting uncomfortable?
If God says two things that appear contradictory, both are true. The problem is you trying to fit God into your theological box.Rick Warren