How should a church respond to those who are struggling with sin or who are in error regarding the faith? Paul’s letters to Titus and Timothy speak of a need to clearly confront sin and error, but also talk about the importance of being gentle and patient.
A common complaint against churches and Christians is that they are angry and too argumentative. What are the negative effects of such an impression?
Study the scriptures below considering these two questions:
1/ Do they emphasize the strong, forceful response to sin and error or do they emphasize the compassionate, patient response?
2/ Also, consider if the immediate context might suggest why one attitude is emphasized over the other.
- 1 Timothy 3:3 (an elder must be….) not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous.
- 1 Timothy 6:12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
- 1 Timothy 1:18 This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare.
- 2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all long suffering and teaching.
- 2 Timothy 2:24 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth.
- Titus 1:13 This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith.
Consider Titus 3:1-7.
- What attitude does it say we should have?
- What is the reason given for why we should show all humility to all men?
- In light of these passages how would you respond to the following question? Is Lakeshore a “gay-friendly” church? (This is quite common — we need to be ready with a good answer.)
What other scriptures come to mind when pondering these questions?