Article - Is It Wrong To "Mark/Note" Christian Individuals And Congregations Of The Lord's People? (part 2)
The Bible also teaches that we should mark unfaithful Christians and churches so that we will know the type of behavior NOT to follow (Romans 16:17-18). Paul “marked” Hymenaues, Alexander, Philetus, Demas, Alexander, etc. for their unfaithfulness (1 Timothy 1:18-20; 2 Timothy 2:17-18; 4:10, 14). John “marked” Diotrephes for his unfaithfulness (3 John 1:9-10). Jude spoke of false teachers “who long ago were marked out for this condemnation” (Jude 1:4). 2 Thessalonians 3:14 commands Christians to “note those” who no longer are obeying the truth. When Paul marked individuals and congregations, he knew Christians throughout the age would be reading his letters and learning the intended lessons (Galatians 1:2, 6-10; 3:1; Colossians 4:16). There were times when “generalizations” were made about a congregation or group of people. Paul quoted one of the Cretan’s own prophets who said Cretans were “liars, evil beasts, and lazy gluttons” and then confirmed that his testimony was true (Titus 1:12-13). In Asia, seven congregations were noted (two being faithful, five being unfaithful, Revelation 2-3). Again, we see a “generalization” in Revelation 3:1. The church at Sardis as a whole was considered a dead church and was marked by Jesus as such; however, Revelation 3:4 states that there were a few who were still faithful. Marking an entire congregation does not pass reflection on the faithful few of their church. Instead, it reminds them to remain faithful. There are several reasons why noting the unfaithful must be done: (1) To warn/protect those who may be unaware (Romans 16:17-18; Colossians 1:28). If you knew there was a serial killer on the loose near your home, would you not call/warn your family? How much more important is it to warn your spiritual family when a spiritual serial killer is on the loose? Members in your congregation need to be aware of the surrounding congregations and their faithfulness or lack thereof; (2) To shame the one who has erred away in hopes he will come back to the fold (2 Thessalonians 3:14-15); (3) To follow the biblical command of defending the truth and exposing error (Ephesians 5:11; Philippians 1:17; Jude 3); (4) It reinforces what the pattern is NOT.
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