By R. W. McAlister
I’ve been a Christian for nearly 30 years and have preached in some capacity or other since June of 2002, and I’ve seen, heard, and observed some results of sin that have been most disturbing. Such experiences underscore the need to sound the alarm about the danger of sin.
Indeed, many preachers are confronted with serious matters of sin while working with the local church. Suddenly they or the elders inform him, “Don’t say anything about the adultery, social drinking, the use of drugs and tobacco, apostate members, etc., and in time it’ll go away” (thankfully, my elders have never told me that).
Those who hold to the idea of ignoring sin or burying one’s head in the sand must be ignorant of the teaching of the Bible. In II Tim 4:2, the Bible says, "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine" and I Tim. 5:20 teaches, "Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear." The idea being that public sinners must be rebuked publicly because their sin has been committed before the eyes of others, or at least others have heard about it, so their reproof must also be public. Public rebuke is designed for the good of others, that they may fear and be advised not to behave as the one being rebuked, as well as for the good of the party who is rebuked, because we hope that person will see the error of his or her ways and that his or her Christian family cares about that person’s soul.
This isn’t necessarily the job of only the minister, but multiple preachers who have tried to address sin publicly or privately have faced the dilemma of being silenced by elders or other brethren. To keep quiet about sin in all of its forms won’t make you become a stronger minister or church member. All too often, influential brethren try to quiet preachers and others from spotlighting sin (Psalm 119:105). When we hear something being taught, we need to always ask the question, “Is this the doctrine of God or Satan?” You don’t have to be Solomon to figure it out – all you need is sound Bible knowledge. God’s real servants must never close their mouths when Satan spouts error as Gospel (Gal. 1:8-9). May we be so bold.
- R. W. McAlister preaches for the Anna Church of Christ in Anna, IL.He may be contacted through the congregation's website.