by Whit Sasser
Sentry Magazine, December 2001
Was Jesus sinning when He ate with unfaithful Jewish brethren? Evidently, some thought so (Matthew 11:19), but you and I know it wasn't true; for Jesus did not sin in anything He did while on the earth (Hebrews 4:15).
Did Jesus sin when He ate the "Lord's Supper" with a member of His congregation who was a known thief and soon to be a traitor (Matthew 26:20-25)? Was He guilty for associating with a known hypocrite and showing him hospitality by washing his feet (John 13:11-12)?
Were the few brethren of the Sardis church (Revelation 3:4), who had not been stained by the sin of the majority of the members, guilty of sin for being a member of the Sardis church? Were the few acceptable members guilty of some wrong for being a part of a dead church (Revelation 3:1)?
When a sister in Christ is "disfellowshipped", but attends services regularly, eats the Lord's Supper, shares in the work of the church through her contributions, sings, prays, and studies with the faithful saints, are the faithful church members guilty of sin by associating with her in the services? This is not hypothetical, but a real-life situation, known firsthand.
Do parables such as the tares and wheat and/or the dragnet, wherein good and bad are temporarily mixed together, have any bearing on this (Matthew 13:24-52)?
May a sound evangelist preach in a denominational church, thus having an association with them, but not be guilty of sin? Is he automatically guilty of endorsing their sin, condoning their false doctrines, or participating in their error when he does?
May a faithful saint attend a denominational funeral or wedding, thus having an association with them, but not be guilty of promoting false doctrine in doing so?
I realize that the Scripture teaches to me to not associate with some who are walking immorally, or are being divisive, or are espousing false doctrine, or are walking disorderly, but my question is: am I automatically guilty by association with anyone not in step with God? It seems some think so.