Monday, 23 October 2017

Surprised? Maybe Not.

I was involved recently in a discussion with several younger leaders in a Christian ministry. The question was raised, "Should people in common-law relationships be allowed to sleep together at a retreat where both Christians and non-Christians are gathered as part of a process exploring the Christian faith.

I was rather taken aback at the response on the part of some: "It's part of today's culture; it's the way things are today, so we should allow it." To be fair, these people might have sincere motives for this thought - not wanting to turn anyone away from their investigation of Christianity, or not wanting to be considered puritanical, but I think there needs to be more to the conversation than pure, instant compromise.

I tried to say that at least there should be a conversation. Of course it's not an easy question to answer, and we Christians are not here to judge those outside the church, but I still think it's a more nuanced issue than merely deserves a flat out unconsidered answer.

I indicated that my response would be to at least have a conversation with such a couple to gauge what they might think of the following line of thought:
You probably know what the traditional Christian position is on sex outside of marriage. I'm not here to judge your arrangement, but I think there are things that need to be considered. There are guests among us who are searching to see if Christianity is true. I think they may be looking to see if we who are Christians are sincere in our own faith. So, bottom line is that they may, I repeat, "MAY," see us as hypocritical if we allow unmarried couples to room together. I repeat, I'm not here to judge your living arrangement. We're more than halfway through our course and I haven't yet, have I?
There is a passage of Scripture that I think, in a way, addresses this issue. It is Romans chapter 14. Granted, this chapter is speaking to those within the church, but I think there is a place for us to be considerate of other people's consciences. So I'm just afraid your rooming together might cause some other guests to, what we call, stumble. I'm not talking about those who are already Christians. I can handle them, but I'm thinking of those who may be seeking and who may be put off by seeing what they might see as hypocrisy among us. 
So I'm wondering if you would mind, just for this weekend, having separate rooms - men with men, women with women?
That might be how my conversation might have gone. I have no idea how it would turn out, but I think it deserved a conversation. I'd be interested in any thoughts.

Take Care

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