Should leaders be rebuked for sinning?
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Should leaders be rebuked for sinning? Why did the Apostle Paul oppose Peter to his face in front of everyone?
14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews? NKJV
Paul said that when he saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the Gospel, he corrected Peter in front of everyone. Are we straightforward about the faith today when we tell people that they cannot stop sinning? Read the passage of scripture below concerning the elders who are to be rebuked in front of all.
1 Timothy 5:19-21
19 Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses. 20 Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear. 21 I charge you before God and the Lord Jesus Christ and the elect angels that you observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing with partiality. NKJV
Those who are not straightforward about the truth need to be corrected and elders who are caught sinning need to be corrected. Read the next passage of scripture.
5 For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you – 6 if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination. 7 For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, 8 but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, 9 holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict. NKJV
There it is again. Is there anyone left out there who holds to the teachings of God? If there isn’t a church left on earth that teaches Christians to stop sinning according to what is written in the Bible, how can we expect the elders to stop sinning? If the elders (heads, leaders) don’t stop sinning, what can we expect them to teach the people?
Now you can see why the verses on stopping sin and avoided in churches today. So we have to come up with good sounding excuses as to why we don’t pay any attention to certain parts of the Bible, but that same Bible says to give no heed (pay no attention) to those who reject or turn away from the truth (Titus 1:14), and withdraw from them (1 Timothy 6:3-5, Romans 16:17-18).
13 This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, 14 not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth. 15 To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled. 16 They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work. NKJV
1 Timothy 6:3-5
3 If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, 4 he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, 5 useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself. NKJV
Therefore, when you hear follow me as I follow Christ, make sure that person is following Christ because those who follow Christ do not walk in darkness. We can’t walk in darkness and say that this is where Jesus led me. That too is blasphemy.
Some will say, “That’s negative and not in line with the Jesus I know” Let me ask you this. Would you say that Jesus loved to the Pharisees who spoke in direct opposition to the faith? Love does not delight in sin (1 Corinthians 13:5-6). Like the Pharisees, those who claim to know the right path, but lead people astray need to be corrected.
Those who say they know the way and yet lead other astray are in danger of becoming blind and their sin remaining (John 9:39-41). So, is it a negative thing to not correct those who are blind or just allow someone to burn in hell? Read the following verses concerning the purpose of rebuking someone in accordance with what is written in the Bible.
8 Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you; Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you. 9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; Teach a just man, and he will increase in learning. NKJV
32 He who disdains instruction despises his own soul, But he who heeds rebuke gets understanding. NKJV
10 Rebuke is more effective for a wise man Than a hundred blows on a fool. NKJV
5 Open rebuke is better Than love carefully concealed. NKJV
After reading those verses, should we consider a rebuke to be negative? Would you say that Paul cared about Peter and those he was teaching when he opposed him to his face in front of everyone (Galatians 2:14, above)? It’s very easy to make a judgment call according to the world’s standards because that’s how we were raised. Jesus said that we should not judge by appearance, but according to righteousness (John 7:24).
I’m not saying that everyone needs to be rebuked sharply. No, some can simply be shown a verse and they will change their mind. Others need a little nudge, and still some need to be rebuked sharply (Jude 1:22-23, Titus 1:13, 2:15, 1 Timothy 5:20). A rebuke is only negative to those who have no desire to live for what is right (righteousness).
9 The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, But He loves him who follows righteousness. 10 Harsh discipline is for him who forsakes the way, And he who hates correction will die. NKJV
Those who have been teaching Christians that they cannot stop sinning need to repent of their blasphemy against the Word of God, Who is Spirit (John 6:63). I don’t mean that in an ugly way, but false teachers need to be corrected, unless they purposely want to be false teachers. People who teach that we cannot stop sinning, lead millions astray and they will pay the penalty for rejecting what their own Bible clearly says if they do not repent.