Just Terrifgggkkkk . . .

When it comes to our interactions with unbelievers, we have two scriptural requirements we have to keep in mind. We have to do both of these things at the same time, which presents a monumental challenge to the tidy-minded. The question is this — do we share table companionship with unbelievers and sinners? This question is an urgent one because of the current full court press coming from the totalitolerance brigade. And the answer of course is that we certainly may, and we must not.

And behold, Levi threw a bash . . .
And behold, Levi threw a bash . . .

It is comparable to those two verses in Proverbs that are side by side:

“Answer not a fool according to his folly, Lest thou also be like unto him. Answer a fool according to his folly, Lest he be wise in his own conceit” (Prov. 26:4–5).

Do not get down on a fool’s level because you don’t want to become a fool yourself. Make sure you answer a fool at that level lest he walk away thinking he won the exchange. But when do you do which? You measure by the result. Did you become like him and feel like you had to go home and take a shower? Did he walk away with his chest puffed out and his chin up? You measure by the result. We not only measure false teachers by their fruit, we must also measure false tactics by their fruit.

This is why wise Christian bakers will never bake a cake for a homosexual wedding reception, and they should always bake a cake for a homosexual’s birthday party. This is why families must not attend a homosexual wedding reception, and why they certainly should attend a homosexual’s birthday party — the one that the evangelical baker made a cake for.

This is because the Bible teaches us that it is possible to partake of sins that you yourself are not committing. And the Bible also teaches us that such partaking is not created by the mere fact of your physical presence.

Here are some instances of the first category:

“for he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds” (2 John 11).

“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them” (Ephesians 5:11).

“Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure” (1 Tim. 5:22).

“and others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh” (Jude 23).

So then, believers may not give aid and comfort to unbelievers who are in hot pursuit of their sin. We can give this false comfort to false teachers by hosting them, we become partakers of sexual immorality by failing to reprove it, we can partake of other men’s sins by agreeing to ordain them when we know better, and by trying to evangelize people without hating their corruptions.

But then, on the other hand . . .

“The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children” (Matt 11:19).

“If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake” (1 Cor. 10:27).

“I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world” (1 Cor. 5:9–10).

So then, taking Scripture with Scripture, we can plainly see that there is a type of interaction with sinners that is not only permissible, but considered as a general pattern in the church, is actually required. In other words, it ought to be normal. There are other instances when Christians should have nothing to do with it.

Use biblically informed wisdom to tell the difference. What is the context? What is being declared by the event? Because homosexual activists have not been shy or reticent about what they are up to, we are in a position to know. They have told the whole world what it all means. They are demanding that our entire culture normalize their sexual perversion, and give it all the honors that God first gave to the man and woman in the garden. Moreover, they want any expression of scriptural disapproval to be automatically categorized as either hate or fear. When they have made it mean that, as they have, you cannot participate on their terms.

To use my favorite illustration of this principle, if there are twelve clowns cavorting about in the circus ring, and you jump down there and start quoting Isaiah 40, to the audience you are just the thirteenth clown. We may not allow our presence to become a partaking. Have they in fact successfully determined the meaning of the broader context? If they have — and they have — then we must not partake.

When the sackbut sounded, Shadrach did not have the option of pretending that he had dropped a quarter and was just down on his knees looking for it. An Israelite man dancing around the golden calf could not defend himself to the Levite who had a sword pointed at his throat by saying, “Oh, I was not worshiping. I just heard the band was really hot, and I love to dance. The bass player is just terrifgggkkkk . . .”

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Keith LaMothe
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Keith LaMothe

> An Israelite man dancing around the golden calf could not defend himself to the Levite who had a sword pointed at his throat by saying, “Oh, I was not worshiping. I just heard the band was really hot, and I love to dance. The bass player is just terrifgggkkkk . . .”

Man, I told them we shouldn’t go to that kind of party.

What a pain in the neck…

Stephen Willcox
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Stephen Willcox

excellent

AMA
Guest
AMA

“When the sackbut sounded, Shadrach did not have the option of pretending that he had dropped a quarter and was just down on his knees looking for it.”

Doug, you’re the Ansel Adams of mental pictures.

AMA
Guest
AMA

Also, might I be assuming too much to think this might be a veiled response to the Karen Swallow Prior kerfuffle?

bethyada
Member

This is because the Bible teaches us that it is possible to partake of sins that you yourself are not committing. And the Bible also teaches us that such partaking is not created by the mere fact of your physical presence. I think the distinction is best made by whether what we do is part of the sin or not. Are we facillitating a sin, or are we interacting with a sinner. I am not certain the answer a fool proverb is really parallel. So your cake for wedding or cake for birthday example is good because trying to marry… Read more »

carole
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carole

I have found this day to day to be pretty difficult. It is difficult,I think to honestly be friends with someone who is actively and proudly, participating in a sinful lifestyle now that I have been saved. Either, I listen to stories happily and positively which means encouragingly or I don’t. What homosexually active man wants a bible believing Christian at his birthday party….unless ultimately that Christian is willing to play along and be “cool” which becomes tempting? Do others find this difficult?

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I think what usually happens, when there are good will and love on both sides, is a kind of truce. I think this is much easier between relatives than between friends. Your loved one knows how you feel, and takes care not to tell you stories and details that will pain your conscience. But you are right that it is difficult. I, like many women, seem to invite startling confidences from people I don’t know very well. Abortions and affairs have been confided to me at coffee mornings. When there is only a very casual relationship (or perhaps none), what… Read more »

carole
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carole

Yes, me too, Jill. I dread getting my hair cut! This is the kind of thing of which I am thinking (I reworded that sentence for you, btw.) One minute you’re snapping photos of your four year old trying not to kick someone in karate class, the next thing you know, the two father family is inviting you over for a birthday party. It isn’t going to end well, why begin this relationship. Particularly, because I do think I am vulnerable to being cool shamed. I feel compelled to drop Jesus’ name immediately in the conversation so they know what… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I know exactly what you mean. I found children’s birthday parties particularly trying, and I am so glad I don’t have to attend them anymore! One of the class moms once confided to me that she had had an elective abortion at 6 months. I told her I was so sorry, and she replied, “If I’m not sorry, why should you be?” I told her I thought it troubled her more than she realized or she wouldn’t be confiding it to strangers. I tried to be gentle but I wanted to run away! When people know you are Catholic, they… Read more »

Ian Miller
Member

Yes. I was involved in an online community for a few years, and was one of the only conservatives, and probably the only vocal conservative. A new member was chatting with me, found out I was conservative, and then spent the next hour telling me about her abortion and (I think) trying to get me to say it was a good choice. (Though I should say I’m a Baptist, not a Catholic. Different set of assumptions people make about me.)

carole
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carole

Jill,
Once Pastor Wilson mentioned how some Christians are behaving as if, “yes the Bible says homosexuality is a sin, but golly, we sure wish it didn’t say that…” This is exactly what I don’t want to be like regarding anything the Word teaches, but it does seems like a lot of folks expect us to be.

That way, they can understand us. :)

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Well, there are lots of things I would love to do if God hadn’t said they are sinful! So that doesn’t trouble me too much, if I can switch it over to things I personally might struggle with. But I do understand your point. It would be a finer thing to love the rule rather than to be kind of sorry it’s there.

PerfectHold
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PerfectHold

The best friendship is going to be one that fears for their soul and empathizes with their situation.

I’m going to hurt their feelings and engender anger when I decline to attend the coming ceremony, and do so lovingly telling why.
But the Christian neighbor to my right will either attend quietly or skip out of town.
While the Christian on the left is going online to get a minister’s license so he can conduct the thing.
True story.

D Glover
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D Glover

Hi Carole, have you read Rosaria Butterfield’s book, Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert? It speaks to the intentional Christian kindness shown to her by a pastor and his family and the way God used that to draw her to Christ. That might be helpful.

carole
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carole

Thank you very much. I will order it.

Ian Miller
Member

It is an excellent book. :)

katie
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katie

Carole, I was just going to suggest you find Rosaria’s talks on youtube. Look up her Q&A segments, she addresses friendships with unbelievers many times (although you might have to listen to quite a few as I went through every one I could find and can’t be more specific. They are all excellent).

carole
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carole

Thank you, katie. I will.

timothy
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timothy

Integrity in my being is very important; I get frustrated with myself when I pretend to feel something I do not and that “faking it to be sociable’ rarely happens anymore. I have found that people appreciate it. Some do not. When in the presence of somebody who is laughing and joking about sin, I do not laugh along, rather I frown. When I sense or learn that somebody is a homosexual, I feel deep sadness and though I do try to hide it in casual social scenes where nobody (including me) wants to get to know anybody else, it… Read more »

carole
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carole

Thanks, timothy. Your integrity is greatly appreciated over here.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

And your zeal, Timothy. It took me a while to appreciate you—but now I do.

bethyada
Member

Hi Carole, Do you find the distinguishing whether or not you are facilitating sin difficult? or being friendly with people whose sin is so much part of their life it make you feel a little unclean? It sounds like the later? I am forced to be in situations that means I can be exposed to some pretty unsavory stuff. Most of it doesn’t worry me; bad language other than blasphemy doesn’t disturb me. I do not wish to listen to, for any length of time, excessive detail from gay men about their exploits, and frankly this seems demonic. Previously I… Read more »

carole
Guest
carole

I hope that’s not what it is. I came from a background and town that was very rough, and I contributed a good deal of that roughness. So, there is little that shocks me too, unfortunately. Once the Pastor wrote how men don’t need to have been with the hell’s angels to have important testimonies. I feel like it is the opposite with women. Can we still be important to the community when we were? For me, I think it is something like I am tricking folks if I socialize with them. I should mention we live in an area… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I don’t find it easy at all. I have a lot of gay neighbors and acquaintances (as well as some young friends) and they make it easy by never referring to anything very personal. We have good neighborly relationships rather than friendships. But people candidly admitting to abortions tears me apart because I don’t feel I can be silent. Yet, if they are not religious, it’s hard to know where to begin. Sometimes, as Timothy said, a sad silence works best. Because of my own situation, I think, I am really easily upset by admissions of casual adultery. Why people… Read more »

timothy
Guest
timothy

I have found a lot of people are ‘sort of’ seeking my approval. One naturally wants to please, but our sanctification makes us unable to give it. I am under the impression that they sense Christ in us and that is why they seek the approval from us.

carole
Guest
carole

I agree with timothy. Plus, there is something open and loving about you Jill that comes through even across the internet: I think I would tell you everything over our first cup of coffee! LOL. I sometimes forget that I am not having a private conversation with you here. You are both trustworthy, maybe that’s what it is as well.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

You are so kind, Carole! I wish we could have a cup of coffee, and then I wouldn’t be tempted to keep hijacking the thread to talk to you.

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

“… do we share table companionship with unbelievers and sinners”

Most don’t even share it with believers.

Even officially, at THE table, there be denominations like the PCA that restrict Table fellowship only to the subcategory of believers they authorize through the gate.
(If the person isn’t a communicant member in good standing of an evangelical church, or has not been admitted to the table by the session, they are to be excluded.)

Until we get Table fellowship right, how well will our other table fellowships do?

ashv
Guest
ashv

What, in your opinion, does getting Table fellowship right look like?

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

Hi ashv

A local assembly of believers loving each other and coming together to worship and petition Him is the ground.

If God has given such an assembly the gift of a pastor, that pastor should oversee that the machinations of this group are done Biblically.

Are you zeroing in on something specific?

ashv
Guest
ashv

OK. What about the PCA’s standards do you regard as unbiblical?

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

Would you deem unbiblical, standards that do not allow a session to recognize as members those who are? Would you deem unbiblical, standards that inform a pastor he is not responsible to feed some of the sheep among him? Relative to the question at hand, the PCA standards labor under an old and false assumption that membership is established by taking an oath administered by the session. A family can regularly attend for YEARS at a PCA body, biblically consider themselves members, recognizing and honoring the folks and pastor there, be of good character — yet denied Table fellowship and… Read more »

ashv
Guest
ashv

OK thanks.

Matt Bell
Member

So why doesn’t that family pursue membership?

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

Hi invisiblegardner,

I don’t know why the elders don’t recognize that when a family has been made members in Christ, He also makes them members in the family of God.

And when members of the family come together, meet to worship and fellowship, they ought to be received and invited to His table.

The pursuing of membership is what Christ did on the cross.
He was successful.
The session refuses to recognize it.

D Glover
Guest
D Glover

Doug, this is one of the best, most practical, most everyday applicable things I’ve ever seen written on this subject. Despite what the cultural accommodators say about “interpretive nuance” – typically used by them to explain why the Bible isn’t really saying what its really saying – this is nuance rightly applied. The example of birthday parties vs. wedding receptions is very appropriate and is a real-life example from our family’s experience.
Also, you could easily have titled the post, “totalitolerance brigade”. That is classic. Spell check must hate you.