Christian Behavior?

How do Christians behave? Also, what is a Christian?
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I bet you’re thinking the answer is someone who believes in Jesus. You would be correct. Maybe the question would be served up like – What does it mean to believe in Jesus? Now, Dr. Masaki would probably say, “You ask the wrong question.” So how does someone know that another person is a Christian?

Can a Christian go to church every Sunday, attend Bible study on Sunday and Wednesday and maybe even attend a midweek worship service and still condone, support, vote for, and defend abortion, gay rights, same-sex marriages, or even living together?

I say no. Why? By definition of true discipleship in the Bible, you cannot faithfully say I believe and at the same time willfully reject the Lord and His teachings. St. Paul calls this being stiff-necked, or in more modern terms, unrepentant. Unrepentant sinners are eventually removed from the Church because of their perpetual sinful lifestyle.

Consider for a moment the Christian who says with their mouth, I believe in Jesus, and then teaches that your life is all about good moral living. Your life is yours. Be good. Be kind. Oh, and by the way, no worries because everyone is going to heaven. God loves all people so just be good and stay out of trouble.

I say no. Why? The Christian is a sinner who knows both the Law of God and is in need of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You cannot be a Christian and reject the Law of God. The Church calls these kinds of people Antinomians. Without the Law of God, the sinner cannot know their sin. Without sin, what need is there for the Gospel? None.

Finally, can a Christian forsake the hearing of the Word of God and the reception of the Lord’s Supper and still be called a Christian? This question deals with those people who only like to come to church on Easter Sunday or maybe Christmas Day and Easter Sunday. This question deals with those people who say – I believe in Jesus as my Lord and Savior and remain at home on Sunday mornings and say – I don’t need to go to Church. I say my prayers. I read my Bible. I don’t need organized religion.

Examining these last two thoughts, I would like to tackle the last one first with the words of the Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison. While visiting a member in his first parish, then Pastor Harrison asked the man, “Why don’t I see you in church?” The farmer replied, “When I hear the bells ring, I stop the tractor and pray with the church. I worship God while I’m working the fields.” Harrison replied, “I don’t recall anywhere in the Bible where God said He would meet you on the seat of your John Deere tractor.”

Christ doesn’t meet us on our terms or our turf. He is with us in His House, in His Word, in His Sacraments, in the preaching of His Name about his redeeming work. Christ is in His Father’s House being about the Father’s work. Preaching the kingdom of God to the world.

As for the once or twice a year visitor who comes to church on Christmas and/or Easter, and claiming membership in the congregation, well, they need to study the Bible and their catechism for a few minutes to learn that they aren’t fooling anyone but themselves. Martin Luther addressed this issue and would dare not even call these folks Christian because of their neglect to hear the Word of God and to receive the Lord’s Supper. I agree.

Let us always remember these types of people, ourselves, our neighbors, and even our enemies in prayer asking The Lord for His mercy at all times. Kyrie Eleison.

Peace.

+ Pastor Wurst


Comments

Christian Behavior? — 18 Comments

  1. Nice article Pastor Wurst. It seems there are far fewer Real Christians™ than I thought. Also, judging from the criteria above, the Westboro Baptist Church could teach us a thing or two about true discipleship.

  2. From the main post: “I don’t recall anywhere in the Bible where God said He would meet you on the seat of your John Deere tractor.”

    For that matter, I don’t recall anywhere in the Bible where God said He would not meet someone on the seat of his John Deere tractor.

    Psalm 139 comes to mind:

    7 Where shall I go from your Spirit?
    Or where shall I flee from your presence?
    8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
    If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
    9 If I take the wings of the morning
    and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
    10 even there your hand shall lead me,
    and your right hand shall hold me.

    Also James 4
    8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.

    Romans 10
    8 The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart.

    Acts 7
    48 Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made by hands, as the prophet says,
    49 “‘Heaven is my throne,
    and the earth is my footstool.
    What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord….

    ——

    On the other hand, the Third Commandment, Hebrews 10:25, Ps. 150:1, Luke 22:19, etc. are quite clear.

  3. Can a Christian go to church every Sunday, attend Bible study on Sunday and Wednesday and maybe even attend a midweek worship service and still condone, support, vote for, and defend abortion, gay rights, same-sex marriages, or even living together?

    I say no.

    On what, then, does salvation depend? Are those who believe in Jesus and are baptized but vote for abortion rights and gay rights, say, separated from God and headed for hell?

    Do you examine adult baptismal candidates regarding their position on these issues before you baptize them as Christians? Catechumens, before you confirm them? New member candidates before you accept them? Would you administer a Christian burial for a parishioner who was “pro-choice”?

  4. Can a person be a glutton and overeat almost every day and be a Christian? Are they unrepentant if they keep doing it?

  5. @Carl H #3

    Carl – Thank you for your responses. The simple answer to your questions is NO, I would not commune them nor comfirm them if I new about it. The long answer is the difficulty of the situation is that the pastors don’t know what the people believe in their hearts. They don’t know how they vote. Sinners are good at deception.

    However, the good news in the long version is that if these types of problems were divulged to the pastors, the people could get help and overcome these temptations and sins.

  6. @Lifelong Lutheran #4

    Hello Lifelong Lutheran – thank you for your inquiry. Gluttony is a sin. Does that mean that all overweight people or obese people are gluttons? No. Some have disease that cause the obesity. Maybe medication is causing the obesity.

    Now, as you point out so clearly, a Christian who is obese because of overeating is a sinner living unrepentant. Do they need help? Have they talked to the pastor or sought out a doctor for help to stop the overeating? Only they can answer those questions.

    The thing is Christians behave badly daily. They are no different than any other sinner. However, Christians know the difference but try to muddle through life lying about their conditions, viewpoints, attitudes, and behaviors. They are simply denying their sins. As long as the pastor doesn’t know, what can happen to me?

    Maybe the more appropriate response is, I can do what I want because who does the pastor think he is? He can’t do anything to me? Do you see where twisting or ignoring the Scriptures takes you?

  7. “Would any pastor commune a member if they were pro-choice or pro-gay rights?”

    This is a question I’m afraid to answer because it would be self-incriminating. I suspect it’s a similar deal with any other pastor with a conscience. Many of us have Democrats in our congregations and continue to commune them. The cold hard fact is that every single one of them is uniquely legally guilty of actively supporting the exact same atrocities as Kermit Gosnell. They have pledged their hearts behind a party that has butchered ten times more human beings than the NAZIs under Hitler.

    Nonetheless, we trust that our Lord works even in the lowliest of criminals, the chief of sinners, to bring them to repentance and faith. It is to be hoped that the Lord will continue to smash and demolish the remnants of that old heart of stone with his law, simultaneous to his sustenance of the new heart of flesh. “Lord I believe, help me in my unbelief.” We have the example of folks like Bonhoeffer and Sasse who ministered to Christians who were officially members of the NAZI party for reasons of convenience, weakness, self-preservation etc. Many of these sheep later came to rebuke and defy their old evil masters.

    May our gracious Lord, who judges based on his own imputed blood and righteousness, not political membership, grant grace to those in darkness. Lord, have mercy.

  8. Many of us have Democrats in our congregations and continue to commune them. The cold hard fact is that every single one of them is uniquely legally guilty of actively supporting the exact same atrocities as Kermit Gosnell. They have pledged their hearts behind a party that has butchered ten times more human beings than the NAZIs under Hitler.

    Would it be possible to obtain a list of all of the Democrats belonging to a congregation by consulting a voting registry? If so, this might be helpful in order to bring them to repentence. Perhaps, the Pastor could give his Democratic members counsel with idea that they denounce their political affiliation or be removed from the church.
    I mean if in fact “that every single one of them is uniquely legally guilty of actively supporting the exact same atrocities as Kermit Gosnell” then I don’t see how we can wink at such capital crimes while attending to the dear care and tender preservation of our confessions.

  9. @Jason Harris #7: “Many of us have Democrats in our congregations and continue to commune them. The cold hard fact is that every single one of them is uniquely legally guilty of actively supporting the exact same atrocities as Kermit Gosnell. They have pledged their hearts behind a party that has butchered ten times more human beings than the NAZIs under Hitler.”

    Insofar as Democrat members of the congregation publicly remain unrepentant in their support of and loyalty to an organization of lies, perversion, and genocidal murdering treason, a pastor who knowingly communes such unrepentant members is allowing such members to sin against the body and blood of Christ, possibly even to the point of their eternal damnation.

    The pastor and congregation should employ Matthew 18 in prayerfully seeking to bring these Democrats to change their heart in true repentance. A continued hardening of their hearts following such efforts at seeking repentance would then lead to their excommunication from the body of Christ.

  10. @Jason Harris #7 : “We have the example of folks like Bonhoeffer and Sasse who ministered to Christians who were officially members of the NAZI party for reasons of convenience, weakness, self-preservation etc.”

    The heteropraxis of communing publicly unrepentant sinners was wrong then and it is still wrong today.

  11. #4 Kitty :Nice article Pastor Wurst. It seems there are far fewer Real Christians™ than I thought. Also, judging from the criteria above, the Westboro Baptist Church could teach us a thing or two about true discipleship.

    This isn’t the first time this apostate and troll (kitty) has compared Confessional Lutherans to the Westboro cult: http://steadfastlutherans.org/?p=27772&cpage=2#comment-812256

    She was asked to apologize then, and did, but apologies from apostates are never genuine (look at David Benke).

    She has also blasphemously claimed that God supports abortion and sodomy: http://steadfastlutherans.org/?p=28567#comment-819829

    This is kitty’s god: http://www.alittleleaven.com/2009/01/gene-robinson-invocs-a-demon-god-named-god-of-our-many-understandings.html

  12. @Nicholas #14
    From what I’ve gathered on the comments section, it seems as though a few comment posters aren’t interested in learning or understanding the meaning behind the theology on these BJS posts. Many people have tried to diplomatically engage a dialog with these sorts which end up perpetuating more negative posts from them. It goes on like a Ping Pong match, benefiting no one. The BSJ crowd wants to help and explain, but those certain posters refuse to listen. They have seen/heard the truth and refuse it and argue about it.

    I’m all for having an open comment section as it has been a place to learn from each other or critique any errors in a message that has been posted. But in this case, I almost think the best approach is for us to not respond to the continual attacks from certain people in the forum who seem to enjoy taking stabs. It’s distracting from the real questions and dialog that are beneficial to those who frequent this site.

    Just a thought…maybe I’m wrong on this one.

  13. @ralph #15
    I have a problem because so many of the LCMS pastors ARE weak in this way and don’t want to “rock the boat” with members for a multitude of reasons. It’s so bad now that I can’t find a good LCMS church within a two hour radius and settle for the best of the bunch. I’m frustrated beyond belief.

    I believe that if a pastor calls certain unrepentant members in for a private Matthew 18 talk (ex: cohabitating couple) and first and foremost expresses his great concern for them and takes them through the proper passages–this sends a great message of love to those who are entrenched in their sin. Maybe they truly haven’t “gotten” it or have a misconception. They might leave, hate it, etc., but the pastor has acted out in love toward his lost sheep in attempt to bring them to repentance. To do so otherwise, I believe is neglect of duty.

    I realize that pastors are sinful human beings as well in need of forgiveness, but this stuff is not just an occasional occurrence, it’s rampant.

    What can we do to encourage these pastors?

  14. get the faithful with Biblical spine back into the LCMS-those who rock boats to save souls and are not ashamed of Jesus and His Word-unlike many of the 37

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