top of page

To Confront or Not Confront - That is the Question.

This past weekend was tough and thought provoking to say the least. I had to deal with several issues all related to faith and, when one deals with matters of faith and it involves people, inevitably there will be some form of conflict.

Confronting someone over a moral matter is never easy and is especially hard when that person is someone you genuinely care for and love. This individual is not only beloved, but in human terms, is a genuinely "good person". They are kind, considerate, hospitable, and generous with all they possess. And, while I had to deeply wound this person, my motivation for doing so was multi-fold.

Firstly, I was motivated by love The bible says,

"The slap of a friend can be trusted to help you, but the kisses of an enemy are nothing but lies" Prov 27:6 NCV

While this individual claims to be a Christian and attends a local church periodically, they manifest no biblical fruit in their life (emphasis on biblical fruit versus a human definition of good deeds).

The true born-again believer increasingly displays spiritual fruit in their lives. This fruit bearing process is called sanctification. Sanctification is the theological term used to describe the conformity of a born-again Christian to the character of Christ.

Sanctification will drive the believer to crave and to understand the Word of God (1Peter 2:2). It will create an appetite for Christian fellowship (Acts 4). Sanctification creates a delighted heart in publicly identifying with Christ through baptism and in lifestyle. Sanctification creates "bible thumpers"...thumping all unsaved with their 20 pound bibles and littering mailboxes and plastic pumpkins meant for candy with "gospel tracks". Sanctification quickens the heart when a star athlete boldly credits Christ for their success. Sanctification causes worry and weeping over lost souls - leading one to feverishly plead - wounding if necessary - that unbelievers receive God's gracious gift of salvation.

To be sanctified is to demonstrate the active work of the Holy Spirit in a convert's life. The Spirit of Christ works to birth "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control" (Gal 5:22-23) in a believer. Conversely, the believer is to actively reject the "fruit of the flesh" in their lives which is noted as by-product of the sinful nature (immoral ways, filthy thoughts, and shameful deeds, worship of idols, practice of witchcraft, hate of others, hard to get along with, jealousy, rage, selfishness, argumentative, trouble maker, being envious, getting drunk, carry on at wild parties, etc. - Gal 5:19-21). According to St. Paul, people exhibiting these characteristics as a lifestyle, will not enter the Kingdom of God.

Is it even right for a Christian to confront people who identify with the Christian faith, yet demonstrate none of the intrinsic characteristics consistent with a regenerated life?

Believers are also commanded to change their thinking processes as well as their ethics (Rom 12:1-2, 1Cor 2:16). No longer are they to think and act like the world, but their standard becomes God and His Law. Perhaps, the clearest and most precise sermon I heard on this topic came from the late Dr. James Montgomery Boice and his exposition on Romans 12:2. Romans 12:2 notes the following:

"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect."

In this verse, Dr. Boice focuses on the word "world" which in Koine Greek could have several definitions. Ordinarily, we associate the English word "world" with kosmos (the created world or the ordered thing), but that's not the word St. Paul was inspired to use. Rather, he used the word "aion" which means the ages or the present age. St. Paul was specifically commanding believers to reject the "Zeitgeist" of their time...they were to reject the "the general intellectual, moral, and cultural climate of an era". The believer is not to adopt the popular thinking of their time. To do so is to subordinate the norms God has required of His people to popular thinking. For example, a believer living in the 60's could not affirm and comply with the "free love" movement because that would have been antithetical to God's ethic for marriage and personal purity. A modern day believer rejects abortion because he maintains a loftier ethical perspective on life that is greater than personal choice, a super-natural ethic, which limits the definition and cessation of life to God alone (and not the government, a law or a person). Thinking otherwise by a believer, is not only a violation of God's Law and a demonstration of not loving Christ (John 14:15), it's tantamount to spiritual treason given a believer's citizenship in the Kingdom.

So, leaving this loved one of mine in a state of confusion - believing they're heaven bound - when they demonstrate no biblical fruit, is to hate them. It's an act of ultimate cruelty. It's to rob them of the precious time needed to really consider their state, repent, and seek the forgiveness they so desperately need.

But, is it even right for a Christian to confront people who identify with the Christian faith, yet demonstrate none of the intrinsic characteristics consistent with a regenerated life? Are Christians supposed to judge at all? Shouldn't it be sufficient that they "confess" Christ outwardly even though there may be evidence of an inward change? In 1 Corinthians 5:11-13, St. Paul dealing with a myriad of issues within the Church of Corinth, stated the following:

"I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves."

In the verses above, St. Paul commands the Corinthian believers not only to reject a "so-called" brother (a person who attends Church and "bears" the name of Christ, but whose conduct is contrary to the Christian tradition), but commands them to judge these people accordingly.

Which leads me to the second reason I confronted my friend. "So-called brothers" tarnish the witness of Christ and the Church through their non-biblical behavior, They are the tares amongst the wheat or the goats amongst the sheep. They deter people from entering the Kingdom of God through their sinful behavior as people mistake them for bona-fide Christians. As Jesus told the scribes and Pharisees, "you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in" (Matt 23:13). These "so-called" brethren are likened to Ananias and Sapphira who lied and were judged by the Spirit (Acts 5). St. John calls "so-called brothers" liars because they "say they have fellowship with God, but live life in darkness" (1 John 1:6).

Being deluded into thinking one is saved was a problem in Paul's day. Today, this is an even greater threat to the Church because salvation has been reduced to "believe in Christ and you're saved - period". Yet, the bible knows no simple formula. True regeneration is not only marked by sanctification, it is marked by transformation. Gone are the days when pastors required a tangible outward demonstration of a Holy Spirit filled life before being called a believer. No wonder Paul constantly exhorts believers to "examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves." (2Cor 13:5)

Believers are called to judge such "so-called" brother and we're to bring them under the judgement of the Church - which includes excommunication if unrepentant (Deut. 19:19, 21:21) - in order to maintain the purity and faithful witness of the Church to the world. In Paul's mind, there simply was no question that believers were to judge for he states "do you not judge those who are within the Church?". The Corinthians were derelict in their duties to exercise discipline.

The common myth that unbelievers consistently hurl at Christians is that we're not supposed to judge and, to some degree, they're correct. We're not to judge unbelievers that are outside of the Church but to those claiming to be believers - those who affix themselves to the Church of our Lord while living like Hell - those Paul commands we judge.

So, for all "so-called brothers", the choices are clear, make your salvation certain by calling on the name of our Lord and demonstrate your genuine conversion through a changed - repentant heart and lifestyle or please stop calling yourself a Christian and I promise to abide by the commandment to not judge outsiders.


Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page