You read that headline right. I came across this story of this “church” and do not have much to say other than this country needs a lot of prayer. The “pastor” is himself disqualified from leading any flock under the banner of our Lord’s name for the simple reason that he is living in unrepentant sin, yet he is also encouraging this woman to continue in unrepentant sin as well. The most baffling part of the story, however, are the words of the pastor to his congregation (watch video here):
“Listen Pharisees, unless you’re offering her a job that supersedes the salary she makes while dancing, shut the hell up!”
What he is essentially saying is that following Jesus should not require any sacrifice. The fact of the matter is, the Bible says plainly, “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:10). Furthermore, our Lord admonishes us to “count the cost” of following Him; following the Lord will require sacrifice (Luke 14:26-28). No one can follow the Lord and continue living in unrepentant sin; if one loves their paycheck too much to give it up to follow Jesus, they cannot be saved.
We are certainly saved by grace through faith, but faith should have an outward expression. Peter had to have faith to step out of the boat and walk to the Lord atop the roaring waters and in the same way, it always will take some level of faith for any sinner to walk to Jesus (Matthew 14:29). The message of the gospel to this woman which she desperately needs to hear is, “Step out of the boat; trust Jesus to take care of your needs.” Jesus says in Matthew 6:31, 33,
Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? … But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
What she needs is faith in Jesus, time everyday in His Word, and a Bible-believing church to help support her walk with Him. Yet, apart from faith in Him, the latter two will be useless. True believers may begin to sink just like Peter, but true believers will always remember the Lord and cry out, “Lord, save me.” All it takes to be saved is faith the size of a mustard seed; faith to say, “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief” (Mark 9:24). Yet, faith must be present to start the walk to Jesus. If someone is living in unrepentant sin, the question that must be asked then is the same question which Jesus asked of His disciples in their fear of drowning, “Where is your faith?” (Luke 8:25). Faith may or may not be present in such an instance, but the point is, they need to exercise their faith, turning from sin and to the Lord no matter the cost.
The postmodern age that we live in has become so characterized by tolerance and inclusion that many people even in churches (such as this one) have come to see repentance as the opposite of salvation by grace through faith. As such, it has become all the more difficult for true believers to live out their faith without appearing bigoted in the eyes of the world. People tend to think that if they are called to change the way they live their lives that they are being told a law. Yet, this is a faulty understanding of repentance; repentance is the outworking of faith. It is faith in action. We may fall short of exercising our faith, but faith should be a constant characteristic that continues to grow throughout a Christian’s life from the time they first believe to when they pass on to be with the Lord.
The best thing that Christians can do in the midst of this ungodly culture is to pray – pray in their homes, pray on the job, and offer to pray for everyone we come across everyday. We need to be known once again in this nation as people of prayer; in response to confrontations and accusations of bigotry, we need to simply start praying for people – pray for their family life, sorrows they are going through, and their state before the Lord.