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Confused about this action by the church

(30 Posts)
Restorer Sat 04-May-13 19:42:09

I am a fairly regular attender at Church

The church requires members (I am not one) to make a promise about clean living and serving God.

One of the members is a young man who does loads of volunteering for them, particularly with young people, but also shopping/driving for the elderly in the congregation, does more than his share of the labouring for any job required on the building etc.

He is now living with his fiancée outside marriage. The church have rescinded his membership, but are still happy for him to be active in their youth group etc. Once they are married he can remake his promise.

I don't understand. Surely they either want him in or they don't. How does God feel about it? Does his sin, negate or invalidate all his good works? It seems hypocritical to me to strike him off, but still accept all his help.

This is very much a mainstream Christian church BTW. I've tried to be vague so as not to disclose those involved and so I haven't used the official terms for the proceedings, which would make it obvious.

Restorer Sat 04-May-13 20:37:38


Anthracite Sat 04-May-13 20:42:27

My church is CofE and we don't allow anyone in areas of leadership who are shacking up.

We do pray for discipleship, however, and don't censor the electoral roll. These people need the church and the support of a Christian community.

Restorer Sat 04-May-13 20:44:32

Oh, I absolutely get why he was struck off. I don't understand why, once they'd done that he was still allowed/encouraged to do all this work with the young people.

MTSCostcoChickenFan Sat 04-May-13 20:46:11

I was watching all that stuff about the new pope a few months back. All that pomp and wealth in a world with so much poverty.

I'm relying on my school days RE here but didn't Jesus talk about the man with two shirts giving one to the man who has none. Well, on that day there were a lot of men at the Vatican and they don't look as if they were lacking in shirts.

My point? Why are you so surprised at the church's hypocrisy ?

MTSCostcoChickenFan Sat 04-May-13 20:46:57

.. didn't look ...

Anthracite Sat 04-May-13 20:48:37

What do you mean by struck off? What mainstream denomination are we talking about?

For my CofE church, we would not bar their enrollement on the electoral roll or deny communion.

We would not allow them to take part in children's work or adult education. Mission to non-Christians woulda probably be OK as they would be surrounded by other members of church family for support and encouragement. Everyone is at a different point on their journey.

LaurieFairyCake Sat 04-May-13 20:55:29

Well I think they're wrong but I'm a liberal Christian. There's no biblical reason for it. It's no sex before love, not no sex before marriage.

Restorer Sat 04-May-13 20:56:20

I can't say what denomination Anthracite - I don't want to give too much away, as it's not my story.

It's mainstream enough to be registered as a charity and a recognisable name to most in the UK. Struck off is not the official term, but it means he's been removed from the register.

Startail Sat 04-May-13 20:59:18

Would you want to be the person who told the young people their activities were cancelled because their leader was 'living in sin'.

They'd fall about laughing

alpinemeadow Sat 04-May-13 21:01:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Restorer Sat 04-May-13 21:07:08

No, Startail, but then I wouldn't have struck off a committed Christian, doing fantastic work for God and the church because he was living with a lovely woman with whom he is very much in love and will be marrying in a few months time.

Anthracite Sat 04-May-13 21:10:55

I don't think it would be something regularly exercised by a vicar or PCC. I don't know what it takes to be excommunicated in the CofE, as everyone who lives in a parish (ie everyone) is entitled to be a member.

But being on the electoral roll and taking communion are fairly extensive rights. Being part of church leadership or representation is different. There are responsibilities and an expectation not to be 'feral'.

What is stopping the couple in the OP's post from getting married?

Restorer Sat 04-May-13 21:21:11

A big wedding is in the planning process - it takes time! They will be married in a few months time. They are living together because they are originally from opposite ends of the country, she got a job close to where he lives and works, so she moved into what will be their marital home, rather than spend money they don't have on renting separately.

Anthracite Sat 04-May-13 21:21:50

Are they sleeping together?

Restorer Sat 04-May-13 21:23:12

I wouldn't dream of asking Anthracite, but I imagine someone in the church has asked before taking the decision and that he wasn't able to assure them that they weren't

Anthracite Sat 04-May-13 21:24:52

Is it a lot to ask for them to not be involved in church leadership/representation until they have their own house in order?

This is really a no-brainer.

Restorer Sat 04-May-13 21:26:36

But they haven't asked him not to be involved. They are happy for him to still be running the youth group etc (there's no-one else willing) but he can't be on the register and will have to re-make his promise after the wedding.

Uppermid Sat 04-May-13 21:29:49

Religion, hypocritical? And you're surprised

Anthracite Sat 04-May-13 21:31:04

Well, we wouldn't have him anywhere near our youth group but would allow him on our electoral roll.

I take it this 'church' is not CofE?

weblette Sat 04-May-13 22:18:06

'Shacked up'? What century are you living in Anthracite, you're certainly a few decades out at least.

If you want to understand why people are leaving religion in droves, your posts are all the explanation needed.

Startail Sat 04-May-13 22:29:14

Utterly hypocritical, but the church is.

My DSIL was allowed to marry her divorced BF in church (proper service not a blessing) even though their relationship was the 'cause' of said divorce.

He's a committed Christian and so is she (whole family have had church roles over the years).

DMIL rolled her eyes that they bent the rules without even blushing.

I should add DSIL is a really nice and truly good person who works in palliative care. If you are allowed to be hypocritical I couldn't thing of a more worthy recipient, but still.

Restorer Sun 05-May-13 07:37:10

A truly decent person whose relationship was the cause if another's divorce?

Not being whiter than white myself, i have often wondered whether it's possible to be basically good at the same time as doing something really bad.

Im not going back for a while. This is a lovely couple, he is doing amazing work for the church and they are complete ly committed to each other, yet the church behaves like this. If he was single but promiscuous with no public acknowledgement of it, they'd turn a blind eye.

I don't was my children taught such lack of compassion ir double standards-i don't think thats what Jesus taught, so why does the church?

Anthracite Sun 05-May-13 07:45:16

Weblette, there is no reason for the church to conform to the ways of the world. It is meant to conform to the ways of God, although fallible of course as it is made up of people.

Anthracite Sun 05-May-13 07:48:16


Many bishops allow second marriages in their dioceses.

If they do, it is up to the incumbent (not PCC) to decide on a case by case basis to marry a divorcée. The vicar probably did not bend the rules.

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