Would you exclude a repentant evil-doer from church?

What would you do if?

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Would you exclude a repentant evil-doer from church?

Post #1

Post by davidwr »

Would you allow a seemingly-repentant ex-con to join your church? Assume by all outward appearances he "found Jesus" or, if he was a Christian before, re-dedicated his life to Jesus shortly after being arrested and everyone who has known him since would stake their reputation on him.

If you did let him join, would you take any special precautions on the grounds that you aren't 100% confident of his genuine repentance or you aren't 100% confident of his ability to never hurt anyone again?

Part I:

A. What if his crime was minor and had no particular individual victim, like drug possession, DWI without any other drivers on the road except the cop, low-dollar tax evasion, prostitution one-self, etc.?

B. What if his crime was something small but which actually hurt an individual victim, like petty burglary, and he's paroled after a few months?

C. What if it was more serious and had a particular victim, like assault, and he's just been paroled after a few years?

D. What if it was a big-time with a particular victim, like rape, murder, aggravated child abuse, etc. and he's just been paroled after a decade or two?

E. What if his crime was big-time but it had no particular victim, such as high treason that didn't result in any individual getting hurt, attempted terrorism, or 6-figure tax evasion, and he's getting out of prison after a decade or more?

Part II:

Same cases, but assume the crimes happened when he was in his early 20s, he's now in his 50s, and he's been free, law-abiding, and as far as anyone can tell, genuinely repentant for at least 15 years.

Part III:

Similar to part II but even though he's 100% guilty, because of a legal loophole all charges are dropped and his arrest record is sealed and he later changed his name to thwart newspaper searches. It's been 15 years since he dedicated or re-dedicated his life to Jesus but less than 16 since he was caught. He came to you, the minister, voluntarily, knowing he could have kept silent and his past would very likely never come to light.

Part IV:

Same as part III but he was arrested less than 2 years ago and the charges were dismissed with prejudice in the last year. Yes, this means I'm asking about the would-be terrorist who until less than 2 years ago was bent on destroying America but who claims he's totally a different person now and is willing to own up to his past when he could hide it.

Followup questions:

About how big is your church? If you impose any restrictions, would they include some level of publicity about his past?

What made you answer the way you did to each of these questions / what logical arguments would you use to support your answers if someone disagreed with you but was open to changing his mind?

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Re: Would you exclude a repentant evil-doer from church?

Post #2

Post by Adstar »

If one believes Jesus and accepts His atonement for their salvation then they are part of the Boby of Christ.

It is not up to us to accept or reject a member. It is up to God to accept or reject a person.

So what i am saying is that most of your questions are irrelevant, to me at lest.

All Praise The Ancient OF Days

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Post #3

Post by bjs »

Pretty much straight through my answer is “Yes, that person would be welcome at much church. No matter the size of the church, no matter the crime, anyone who is repentant is welcome to come and worship.�

I would probably not put someone in a position where they are likely to be tempted to repeat the same sin. Someone convicted of grand larceny would not be allowed to be the church treasurer; someone who committed a crime involving a child would not be a part of the children’s ministry. However, they would be welcome to worship and welcome to participate in other kinds of leadership.

My reason is the command of my Lord. Jesus said, "Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.� I have plenty of sins for which I need forgiveness. To whatever degree I wish to receive mercy I need to extend mercy.
Understand that you might believe. Believe that you might understand. –Augustine of Hippo

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Post #4

Post by stlekee »

Background checks and lie detector tests for everyone. Then they can sit in the back of the church.

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