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Sunday, January 12, 2003

Edifier du Jour-1 Corinthians 5:9-13
9 I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; 10 I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. 11 But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler--not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? 13 But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES.
The part that hit me in this passage when Eileen and I were reading it last night was Paul's ranking of greedy people (NIV's take on covetous) in the list of excommunicable offenses. We're quick to expel the sexually immoral or the thief or even the substance abuser, but what about greed? In the Prosperity Gospel crowd, you'd expect them to channel Gordon Gecko and say "greed is good" for the emphasis on worldly goods. It isn't just the charismatics, either; churches that implicitly equate material possessions as a sign of God blessing ones life make poor people out to be lousy believers. When's the last time a pastor called out a church member for buying a luxury car or an overly plush house? This isn't to say everyone has to live in tin shacks and drive Yugos to church, but we do a lousy job at screening for covetousness. Also, while writing this, the word excommunicate hit home as it applies to this passage. Ex-commune-icate; to kick out of the community. Not just the church, but the community of believers; the church member was not even to have a meal with the bad boy.

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