Yale University, an institution established three centuries ago for the training of Christian ministers, recently holds an annual “Sex Week” a celebratory study and discussion of every form of sexual depravity you can imagine. It’s been a yearly event on campus since 2002. Fornication, bestiality, homosexuality and all its various branches such as pedophilia, necrophilia and the like are all given time to be discussed and better understood as just mere life style choices that should be accepted. This isn’t happening just at Yale. Oh no my friend many colleges and universities are doing just the same thing year round.
When I think about this modern age, enlightened kind of stuff happening at our so called institutions of “higher learning” I recall the Apostle Paul’s calling for the implementation of discipline on the members of the early church in Corinth.
See, there was a male member of the church in Corinth who was sleeping with his mother in law. This relationship was flagrantly displayed so the entire congregation knew about it. When Paul learned of it he was so disturbed that he devoted a portion of a letter he wrote the church to the issue.
1 Corinthians 5, begins with his description of the central problem of the sinful relationship itself. It was so over the top that, as Paul wrote “…as is not even named among the Gentiles..1” Put into modern terms he was saying it was such a violation of Levitical law that it was one even the pagans saw as wrong. Yet, here was not only the congregation tolerating it but the church leadership as well! Paul claimed the church was “puffed up” or arrogant about dealing with it too.2
But Aren’t Christians Supposed to Forgive?
What, Paul didn’t forgive the church leadership for not speaking up it? He didn’t forgive the congregation for trying to be what we call today “progressive” in their thinking about it? Paul didn’t fall all over himself forgiving the man and the woman for the relationship? Geez, aren’t Christians supposed to automatically forgive someone who errs against them or Christ? That’s what we’re taught in the pulpits of America aren’t we? Paul wasn’t teaching any such thing and neither were other apostles. That’s because Christ didn’t teach it. Paul evidently would have none of that kind of thing in Corinth or anywhere else he went or wrote.
In fact he called on the church leadership to put the guy (evidently the mother in law was not a member of the church) out from the congregation. “…deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh..”3 All this meant was the church leadership was to physically expel the man, to bar him, to leave him to the Satan controlled world outside of the church membership and let him suffer the deceiver doing a number on him. Maybe after that he will see the error of his ways and repent which is what the rest of the passage in v. 5 means “…that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”
Paul understood that this man, whoever he was, may have accepted Christ as his personal savior but he was as spiritually lost as the most devote pagan. He needed to repent, and to demonstrate a “teshuvah” type repentance; the kind very well understood in Christ’s earthly walk and Paul’s missionary time. The formula for it goes like this:
Sin against the Lord or a person(s) + Teshuvah (repentance & a 180° change in conduct by the offender) + forgiveness from the offended = Reconciliation with Christ or an injured person(s).
He goes on in the rest of the message explaining through the use of an analogy to leavened and unleavened bread. He was saying it was just like putting a little bit of leaven into a lump of dough. It makes the entire loaf leavened. So it is with an entire congregation when a small amount of blatant, in-your-face type sin is tolerated to exist in it. It will ruin the entire congregation. “Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened.4”
Then he ends the entire discussion stating that though Christians are to go out among the un-forgiven sinners of this world that doesn’t mean they are to adopt their sinful ways. Nor are they to knowingly keep steady company with so called fellow “Believers” who have. Have you any openly known bank robbers, pedophiles, gossipers, thieves or rapists in your congregation or study group? Have you invited them over for dinner lately? Of course not.
Now this is tough stuff for a lot of Christians to understand. They’ve been trained, brain washed, or taught by their pastors, preachers, etc., to forgive immoral behavior by fellow members of the body and those outside of it anytime it pops up. Also, they’ve been taught that if they don’t their eternal salvation will be at stake. Yes, forgive at all times, in all places and circumstances. Whatever the sin is just forgive it and hope it goes away. Sorry, but they’re wrong because Paul wasn’t wrong! They’ve an argument with Christ’s teachings and the apostle’s actions.
As for Yale University what happened to when “academic freedom” referred to the pursuit of truth….rather than a justification for any and every desire of the flesh. Oh what a tangled web we weave….and how desperately we need the Savior to forgive us and then guide us in how to use our bodies and minds to His glory.
“The purpose for which Yale was founded is just as noble today as it was 300 years ago. So are we more enlightened today about sex, or were they? The answer to that question would be anybody’s guess….that is, if God had not already answered the question before we even asked it.5”
- I Corinthians 5:1.
- Id. :2.
- Ibid. :5
- Ibid. :7.
- Delzell, Dan, Pastor, Wellspring Lutheran Church, Papillion, Neb., Sex Week at Yale Leaves Students Guessing, The Christian Post, Feb. 5, 2013.