The past few weeks we overviewed scriptural methods to recognize true and un-true believers (tares) within the church. Why is helping tares towards salvation so important? Bringing them lovingly to Christ is vital for the church for two reasons:
- Salvation in Christ is essential for the individual for eternal life.
- Salvation for the unbelieving church member is important for the local church. A congregation needs active members to be effective, so they help and don’t hinder the advance of the gospel and affecting society for good.
We’ll deal with salvation in upcoming blogs but let’s consider today the influence of the unbelieving church member inside the local church.
Scripture stresses the importance of unity in the church (Ephesians 4:1-7). Unfortunately, churches sometimes can be a place of discord with angry splits between groups. No one knows all the reasons for disunity in churches, either on the personal or global level. The causes are probably multiple.
However, an unbelieving church member may pursue an agenda that can be distracting to church unity either by wasting people’s time for their disruptive purposes or a deeper discord leading potentially to division. Although I don’t know that this question has been researched specifically I believe generally a tare could negatively influence the church in several ways, by:
- Building a power base by which they can control a portion of the church ministry
- Seeking attention for their emotional pain or desires – While appropriate biblically (Galatians 6:2) this situation can become draining if the tare is not willing to change to conform to scriptural wisdom, or is solely interested in soaking up people’s attention.
- Living a passive Christian life – Even if the tare is not overtly disruptive they can have a negative influence by merely talking continuously about subjects that are non-biblical, or not encouraging others to seek scripture or act in godly ways. Otherwise, they hide the truth by their words and actions.
For the church to function productively and for individual Christians to attain the greatest benefit from body life, the effect of tares and other unbiblical agendas must be limited. How to do this?
- Recognize who tares are (please read the prior blog).
- As we discussed before, bringing them salvation this is the best solution!
- Expect tares to conform their life to the Bible. If they do not, then members and leadership should consider:
- Limiting social and fellowship time with them.
- Refraining from giving them spiritual or non-spiritual leadership positions from which they might build their expectations that they could influence the church.
- Consider corrective biblical action (by the church leaders) if the tare is clearly disruptive to body life (e.g., Matthew 18:15-20, 2 Corinthians 2:5-11).
The health of the modern church is vital! Each member should be a functioning, growing Christian who facilitates fruitful and positive teaching, praise, prayer and fellowship and enables the church to have a positive impact on their community. Don’t allow the agenda of a limited few, who refuse to come to Christ or be obedient to Scripture, to diminish the progress of Christ’s church!
Next week we will begin talking about methods to bring salvation to tares. Please come back and join us then.