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God's Not Mad at You
“What about shunning in the church?”

“What about shunning in the church?”

APRIL 30, 2021

/ Programs / Key Life / “What about shunning in the church?”

Steve Brown:
What about shunning in the church? The answer to that and other questions on Key Life.

Matthew Porter:
This is Key Life, dedicated to the message that the only people who get any better are those who know that if they don’t get any better, God will still love them, anyway. That teaching raises a lot of questions. So here’s author and seminary professor Steve Brown, along with Pete Alwinson from ForgeBibleStudy.com with answers to the Bible, that’ll make you free.

Steve Brown:
Thanks Matthew. Hi Pete.

Pete Alwinson:
Hey man. Is that that game they got in the Olympics, where they’ve got that big round thing on the ice.

Steve Brown:
And I think.

Pete Alwinson:
Oh, that’s curling.

Steve Brown:
That’s a little bit different, but maybe, I mean, there may be some connections. We’ll pursue that in detail. As we answer that question, when we get to it. By the way, that’s Pete Alwinson, as you know, he comes in on Fridays, and we answer questions and we’ve done it for years and years and years. And if you want to know something about Pete, go to ForgeTruth.com. I got an email just this week from somebody that said, I did what you said, and it was cool.

Pete Alwinson:
Good. Good.

Steve Brown:
Go to ForgeTruth.com. By the way, in the not terribly distant future, Pete’s book, Like Father, Like Son, is going to be an audio version and we’ll let you know when that’s coming out. By the way, we love to get your questions. You can ask a question anytime you want, by picking up the phone and calling 1-800-KEY-LIFE, and then you mash the button, they tell you to mash and you record your question. And sometimes we even put your voice on the air. So anytime you’ve got a question, dial 1-800-KEY-LIFE, ask it, and we’ll get to it. Or you can send your question to

Key Life Network

P.O. Box 5000

Maitland, Florida 32794

In Canada, it’s

Key Life Canada
P.O. Box 28060
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 6J8

Or you can email us it’s Steve@keylife.org. And if you can help us financially, please do. We’ll rise up and call you blessed, and be as faithful with your gift, as you were in the giving of it. And if you can’t, we understand, say a prayer for this ministry. But we would appreciate your help. We’d rather have the money, than the prayers, but listen, no I’m kidding. Pete, before I say anything else, I’m going to have to apologize for, do pray for us, and then we’ll get through these questions.

Pete Alwinson:
Alright, let’s do that. Father, thank you for your grace and mercy to us. We come to you at the end of the week as your children. And just so thankful that we belong to you, that you first came after us, that you take us as we are, just as we are. But you love us too much to leave us that way. So your grace, redeems us and then continues to transform us. And we’re so thankful for the joy that we have and for the work that you’re doing in our lives. Lord, we need you though in every way, and in many ways, in our key relationships, with our view of money, with our view of government, with our view of life, we ask for your power and your grace to flow into us, to make us like Jesus. And then Lord, we pray for our pastors, teachers, worship directors, leaders, priests, all those that will stand before us and draw us into your presence this weekend. And we ask for a great time of worship. Thank you for the opportunity to come back into your presence. And we ask that you would give them grace and grace for us now too, as we ask and answer these questions, we ask for your wisdom, be with your people, we thank you for your grace. In Jesus’ Holy name. Amen.

Steve Brown:
Amen, Pete, this first question is an email. What do you think of the practice of shunning in the church?

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah, fascinating, you know, it, it really flows from the whole issue of church discipline, but you have a story about that, don’t you?

Steve Brown:
Well, we used to do a talk show here that was on a number of stations, pretty edgy. And it lasted about a year. It was a morning show and we had a young man here who was a rock musician, Aaron Weiderspahn.

Pete Alwinson:
I remember Aaron. Yeah.

Steve Brown:
And I loved him a lot, but we almost lost him, because when he was in college, he and some friends went out drinking and they got caught. And, he was shunned, by the faculty and by the students, whenever he would walk down the sidewalk, they would turn their back to him.

Pete Alwinson:
Oh my goodness.

Steve Brown:
And he said, Steve, I’ll never forget this. I didn’t, I understood that, I deserved it. I didn’t mind that, but a lot of those who were doing the same thing I was doing, but didn’t get caught shunned me too. And he said, I almost left the Christian faith over that. So you gotta be careful. There is a time of breaking fellowship, I guess.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah, you know, Matthew 18, but it’s the last step really.

Steve Brown:
Oh man. It’s gotta be somebody who’s become a Satanist and making an obscene gesture to Jesus.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s right.

Steve Brown:
And who’s, but there is a place for that sometimes, when you say, I can’t be your friend anymore. I wish it could, but I just can’t walk with you anymore.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s right.

Steve Brown:
Have you ever said that to anybody?

Pete Alwinson:
No, I think it’s happened de facto, you know, they just, they just sort of as a pastor for so many years, you know, they, they just left. They decided I’m not going to follow Jesus.

Steve Brown:
Yeah.

Pete Alwinson:
And, and they’re gone and they’re out of your life, and life goes on. It, it is sad to have to go to those, those steps of intentionally cutting off fellowship though. And it should be rare.

Steve Brown:
Oh, I think once or maybe twice in all the years I was in pastoral ministry, I had to sit down with somebody and say, look, I can’t be your friend anymore. I just can’t. And I love you. And I love you deeply. But you can’t be my friend either, because we’re walking in ways that we just can’t. So shunning can be a part of discipline, but as you said, it’s got to be very rare. And if it happens often in the church, because somebody parted their hair wrong or believed in the rapture wrong or had a doctrine wrong. No, I don’t believe in shunning.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s right. And, and, and also, Steve, you know, what we often see, is that that’s put into place when somebody messes up one time and they’re, and they’re repentant. You know, like, like a friend, Aaron, like he was probably repentant. He got caught.

Steve Brown:
He was.

Pete Alwinson:
He was sorry. Well, that’s, if that’s the case, the Bible’s unifying teaching is, forgive.

Steve Brown:
Yeah.

Pete Alwinson:
You don’t discipline somebody was shunning, after they’ve repented.

Steve Brown:
No, we don’t punish.

Pete Alwinson:
No.

Steve Brown:
Discipline is only, only for non repentance.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s right.

Steve Brown:
And, or if we disciplined for sin.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah.

Steve Brown:
We, there wouldn’t be anybody left, except me and you. And I worry about you.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s so true.

Steve Brown:
But you know, we live in a culture that cuts no slack for anybody.

Pete Alwinson:
It’s gotten worse, hasn’t it.

Steve Brown:
It’s scary.

Pete Alwinson:
In the public sector, we see now in the public realm, one party turning on his own party members.

Steve Brown:
All the time.

Pete Alwinson:
Because there is no tolerance for stepping out of line.

Steve Brown:
Ever.

Pete Alwinson:
But in the gospel, we have it in the body of Christ. And we have that, it’s just the, the, the, the unrepentant persistent sin that would get that third level of discipline.

Steve Brown:
Oh, that’s so true. And, you know, if in our culture, as we have moved away from our belief in the Christian faith, with atonement and repentance and forgiveness being at the center, if you don’t have that, then you have no option.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s right.

Steve Brown:
But self-righteousness and canceling people when they get out of line or do something you don’t like, and there is no forgiveness.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s right.

Steve Brown:
And it’s pretty scary.

Pete Alwinson:
It is. It is.

Steve Brown:
Alright, boy, that went in different directions. What does the Bible teach about interracial dating and marriage?

Pete Alwinson:
Well, as far as we know some Biblical characters, married interracially, so. And it’s never condemned.

Steve Brown:
Well, and it’s even affirmed if you read numbers 12.

Pete Alwinson:
Ok. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Steve Brown:
That’s the story. I don’t remember all the, you know, I’m old. I just don’t. Back in the days when I was a navigator, I could give you the verse and the chapter and then quote it from memory. But you know, at my age, I don’t have to do that anymore, but in Numbers 12, Moses marries a Cushite woman, which would be of African descent. And, and Aaron and their sister criticized and God gave him leprosy.

Pete Alwinson:
How about that?

Steve Brown:
Yeah. And the word for leprosy means white. So, it was kind of God saying, so you want to be white, I’m going to make you really white. And then, then they pray for her, and she gets well. But that’s as close as anything in Scripture speaks to the issue.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s right.

Steve Brown:
And when it does, it’s very negative for those who were negative about it.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s right. And so where the Bible is very clear, is we need to marry, Christians need to marry somebody in the faith. Now that’s pretty clear.

Steve Brown:
Yeah. That’s different.

Pete Alwinson:
Israelites needed to marry Israelites. And I don’t think that really applied back in that time for Moses yet, but it was, it was given, at that time,

Steve Brown:
It was.

Pete Alwinson:
those principles.

Steve Brown:
That’s true.

Pete Alwinson:
And certainly in II Corinthians 6, we see what has light with darkness. And so, but that is a bigger issue today than the interracial issue, I think, as Christians often marrying outside the faith.

Steve Brown:
And when they do, it’s almost always tragic, because you see either the faith has given up or the husband or the wife has given up. And, it’s really sad. And so again, God’s word is wise. It’s not trying to keep you from having fun or to keep you from, it’s trying to keep you from being hurt.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s right. Given the guard rails of a good life.

Steve Brown:
Yeah. But on the interracial marriage, and that question, not a thing.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah.

Steve Brown:
And the Scriptures simply do not forbid that, I don’t care what anybody tells you about that. What does, this is an email too, what does, we may not have, yeah, we can say a word on it. What does praying without ceasing mean?

Pete Alwinson:
You know, I think it means, to start your day in a relationship with the Lord. Remember you’re his beloved daughter or son, and then just keep up the dialogue through the day. How about you? What do you think?

Steve Brown:
Well, I’m going to say something that’ll sound really spiritual. I pray without ceasing. And I didn’t know I did it. I don’t think when the Scripture says pray without ceasing. I don’t think there are five things you do to make sure that you’re praying without ceasing. I don’t think it’s anything you can do. I think it happens, you know, it’s surprising to me. I’ll be driving down the street and there’ll be a pretty girl. And I’ll say, Lord she’s really pretty. And then I realized, I’m praying, and that conversation is going on all the time.

Pete Alwinson:
It’s keeping the conversation. Yeah.

Steve Brown:
Or that guy, that bumper sticker is, and I found myself

Pete Alwinson:
I like that.

Steve Brown:
doing that a lot and realized that I was being faithful to the Scripture. How about that sports fans?

Pete Alwinson:
That’s great. That’s great. It’s enjoying being his son or daughter.

Steve Brown:
That’s right. That’s right.

Pete Alwinson:
And doing life with him.

Steve Brown:
And being aware that that’s not something you just do for five minutes, it’s who you are and how you’re defined all the time.

Pete Alwinson:
Yup.

Steve Brown:
So, don’t try to do anything, just see what God does. Tell him. You’d like to be in a relationship with him, that goes a little bit deeper. We got to go.

Pete Alwinson:
I’m like that. Alright.

Steve Brown:
Key Life is a listener supported production of Key Life Network. .

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