My good friend John Thweatt is a pastor in Pell City, Alabama. He recently wrote about his decision to reach out to a registered sex-offender who had moved into his neighborhood. He writes:
Either the Gospel is the “power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes” or it isn’t. If I truly believed that the Gospel could not change anyone…if I truly believed that a living person sinned themselves beyond the reach of God then I would have to stop preaching. I believe in the power of the Gospel and I believe God can change anyone. If I believe that then I must also live that.
Now let me say, being Gospel centered and Grace giving does not mean being stupid! Grace loves a kleptomaniac—stupid is leaving your family heirloom in the room with them. Grace loves the alcoholic—stupid is sending them a bottle of wine for Christmas. Grace feeds a junkie—stupid is giving them money for food right outside of a crack house. Grace loves a registered sex offender—stupid would be inviting him over to baby sit your daughter. Have I made my point?
At FBC we are going to welcome anyone who wants to come to hear the Gospel preached. We want anyone to come to hear the Word preached and to sing and worship with us. We want anyone to come and attend our Small Groups and to hear the Word taught. We want anyone and everyone to come because we know the Great Physician is here for the sick and the needy. That doesn’t mean certain sins will not have consequences.
Read the rest here.
Not only should we believe that the gospel can change anyone, we should not be ashamed of it and tell it to everyone!!!
One cannot get more ‘lost’ than ‘lost’. Jesus can save anyone. Our Lord will save those who repent from their sin and commit themselves to a Holy life led by His Holy Spirit.
The point of the article is well taken. But I differ in the details.
Why would a repentant pedophile want to be around children all ‘dolled-up’ for a public worship service? The children are the spark to the temptation to sin sexually.
A repentant swindler ought never expect they will be around church funds. A repentant alcoholic ought never expect they will be around the mall-church’s pub. A repentant rapist ought never expect they will be around the teen girl’s camp cabin.
There are consequences to sin. Ministry to those who repent is called for indeed. But don’t risk children.
The parents in your congregation will…not…agree.
And if one hides it from the parents……..
I have great admiration for this pastor’s boldness. The single best place for any RSO is in the local church, under the care and discipleship of the pastors and elders. Should he volunteer in the children’s ministry? Nope. Nor should the disgraced CPA be doing the church’s books. But let them come, all of them. Bravo Pastor Thweatt.