Bryan Fisher wrote a wonderful faith-affirming post describing his own behavior when faced with the prospect of welcoming a public sinner into his church. Mind you, he wasn't laying a guilt trip on anyone--he was dealing with a rank hypocrite, someone who wanted to live his way, not God's way, yet expected a warm welcome in Church;
I distinctly remember the day a man, a friend and a fellow Christian, slipped into the back row of our church and sat through the service. I had been informed that he was leaving his wife and was already living with another woman. I sought him out after the service, and asked him if what I had heard was true. He admitted it was. I said to him, "Look, Don, I can't let you attend this church as if nothing is wrong. You are not welcome here until you go back to your wife and make things right. If you do that, you and your family will be welcome here, but that's something you must do first." I never saw him again. But he was confronted with his sin and my church family was protected from infection.
Will a pastor and a church who does this come under withering criticism from the world? Of course. I myself have been castigated in the national media for my effort to reel in a wayward wife and restore her to her husband and her young children. But what should matter more to us: what the world thinks, or what God thinks?
If you're in the business of being a Christian, you sometimes have to call people out in order to save their souls. In the Catholic Church we have something called "giving scandal"-- sins which cause grave harm to others. While we are very happy to chastize aborted women, how often do we identify and rebuke the men who are the cause of these tragedies? How many prominent Catholics have been married several times, conveniently attained anullments, and gone on to be spokesmen on Catholic television? Or the former Super-Catholic who embarrassed himself and the conservative cause by his lack of self control?
The beauty of literal-minded, plain-speaking Bible thumpers is that they really do believe it is up to them to rebuke sinners, and they take the definition of sin right out of the Bible. There's a poetry in that which eclipses all of the Catholic doubletalk about "stages on the journey" and "not judging". If you think your child will be damaged by watching a gay "married" couple on tv, what do you think it will do to your family when the widow lady who administers the Eucharist is having a hookup with the 66 year old divorced usher, or your best friend had an anullment because he read the right book, and he's trying his hand at a "blended family"?