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So what should Christians feel or do about those who, based on anti-Biblical ideas, promote, encourage, or condone immoral acts such as sexual immorality (in its many flavors), unethical business practices, gluttony, or false teaching? A case can be made for toleration in the greater church community for a period of time, but that time needs to be limited.

In His letter to the church in Thyatira (Revelation 2:18), Christ commended the brethren there for some things, but then He took them to task:

“I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess; she teaches and seduces my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed to idols. And I gave her time that she should repent, yet she had no inclination to repent of her fornication. Behold, I will throw her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her — into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he who searches the mind and heart: and I will deal with each one of you according to your works.” (paraphrase)

There was, within the church of Thyatira, an influential woman who is called Jezebel. The choice of the epithet, Jezebel, suggests she was similar in character and teaching to the ancient queen who corrupted Israel (1 Kings 16:29; 2 Kings 9:30). This “prophetess” doubtless claimed to teach with divine authority and was persistently seducing and teaching Christians to commit fornication and perform pagan rituals.

Despite her wicked behavior, the Lord gave her time to repent, but she ignored His patience. Judgment was now imminent.

Of more importance to our discussion, Christ strongly rebuked the brethren in Thyatira because they continued to tolerate (apheis — present tense) her false teaching.  Shouldn’t we learn something from this inspired narrative?

What can we learn?

There were those of the ancient church who, by their misguided teaching, promoted adultery and idol worship. There are those in the modern churches who are doing the same thing. The glaring example from this series are the anti-Biblical doctrines regarding divorce and remarriage that actually encourage Christians to continue in adulterous arrangements.

How long can the church go on tolerating compromising views such as these? The debate among modern churches has been going on for decades, but many congregations show no sign of changing their corrupted views and some churches are openly moving in a direction that wholly rejects the Biblical teaching on morality.  Should other Christians ignore their corrupting influence forever?


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