“Set Mercy Loose”
Covenant Baptist Church, San Antonio
September 14, 2014
Kyndall Rae Rothaus
(To listen to the audio, click “play” button above. To download audio, click here.)
Let’s begin with what is infamously known as one of the “church discipline” passages of Scripture—the “if anyone sins against you” instructions—and let’s begin our interpretation by recognizing that the first order of business is discerning what a “sin against you” is. The church universal has gotten this woefully wrong on many occasions. Perhaps like me you’ve heard (or even witnessed) horror stories where unwed pregnant women are made to “confess” their sins before the whole church, where couples are made to give detailed accounts of their marriage problems or teenagers forced to admit to their wild parties. That is, this passage has been used as a tool to shame and humiliate and control.
I have also heard horror stories on the other extreme—where sin, that is, evil—is not taken seriously enough. I’ve heard about abused women being sent by their church back into dangerous homes. I’ve heard about church leaders covering up for priests who have molested children. I’ve heard about meddlers being allowed to destroy families and churches by stirring up lies and rumors. I’ve heard about pastors who have allowed known sex-offenders to work with the church’s children. It happens all the time that the most insidious and addictive behaviors of those in power go unconfronted and unmonitored and unaddressed—allowed to breed in secrecy—while the mistakes or mere quirks and differences of those on the fringe of a group get frowned upon, spat upon, made a spectacle of, and ostracized. Read more →