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Where Judgement Must Began

The modern American gospel of abject tolerance, sad to say, has writhed its way into most Protestant churches, resulting in scandalous lives which shame the name of Christ. While many in the Protestant camp rightly challenge the doctrinal deficiencies of the Roman Catholic church, at least the Roman Catholic church has recently demonstrated its desire for Christian principle by harnessing wayward members, particularly by putting out from its midst those who practice or advocate abortion.

To name just a few examples, the Roman Catholic church has, in recent years, excommunicated a director of Planned Parenthood in Providence, Rhode Island, as well as an abortuary director and abortion-performing obstetrician in Corpus Christi, Texas. And just a while ago, Cardinal O'Connor, the Archbishop of New York, warned Roman Catholic politicians that they will be excommunicated if they continue to support "abortion rights." O'Connor quite clearly had politicians such as Mario "I-am-personally-pro-life-but-publicly-pro-choice" Cuomo in mind when he issued his stern warning.

Predictably, pro-death Catholics (oxymoron?) have decried the Catholic church's ultimatums which, quite frankly, haven't left them too much room to backpedal. Having found themselves against one wall, they have appealed to yet another wall, the wall of separation between church and state. Such appeals to the separation of church and state, however, are misleading, since Scripture itself teaches that the keys (the church) and the sword (the state) belong to two distinct and separate institutions.

Most pro-death pundits, however, mean something completely different when they speak of the separation of church and state: the separation of God from politics. Implicit in this pro-death drivel is the assumption that politics is a religiously neutral something. Contrary to this naive myth of neutrality, politics is ultimately and inescapably religious. Since Christ is Lord of all, His Lordship, by definition, is total. The Lordship of Christ knows no sacred-secular distinction. Hence, the Catholic Church is well within its rights to challenge those within its fold to choose this day whom they will serve, and by doing so, it in no way commingles the institutions of church and state.

Even more distressing than this separation rhetoric is the way some Protestant churches conveniently ignore Scripture's explicit commands to discipline those who continue to sin in an unabated and unrepentant fashion. It's as if such churches take scissors to Biblical passages which offend their modern American sense of libertine tolerance.

Isn't it time that Protestant churches learn that it is God who dictates what He will and will not tolerate? Isn't it time that Protestant churches shed the easy-believism that has wreaked havoc in the church and defamed the name of Christ? Isn't it time that Protestant churches improve on the Catholic cue and begin to discipline those in their midst who refuse to repent of sins like abortion?

It's time for Protestant churches to realize that judgment must begin in the household of God.


7-16-96 tew
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