Hearthie is questioning when and where to call out Apostates. This is a good question, although I might merely think that because I ask it myself often enough (or something close to it, as you will see later). There are some things I feel pretty comfortable calling folks out on, but other matters less so. This post is going to be something of a stream of consciousness response- far less thought out than I normally go for. I don’t have the time for that, sadly, so I will For the sake of convenience, I am going to loosely follow the format of her post in my response.
I want to begin with this little snippet:
…the level of apostasy becomes absurd
The thing is, I’m not really sure there are “levels” of apostasy. To be an apostate means to leave the faith. From Merriam Webster:
1: renunciation of a religious faith
2: abandonment of a previous loyalty
Either you leave the faith, or you don’t. Perhaps you do it in secret, but still, you know in your heart that you are out. What I think that Hearthie is mostly talking about is heresy:
a belief or opinion that does not agree with the official belief or opinion of a particular religion
But on the other hand, perhaps we’re doing a disservice to the public by not calling out those who call themselves Christian while having no adherence to the Word whatsoever.
I think we often are. Our Lord and Savior told us that the Truth would set us free. It stands to reason that the opposite is the case, and lies therefore enslave us (to sin, I would imagine). They might not see their chains if someone else doesn’t point out to them where they are in error.
Is this a thing where some folks are gifted with the calling out, and some folks gifted with the chilling out – as parts of the body of Christ?
Yes, I think that correcting/rebuking others is a spiritual gift. At least, doing it effectively is. Not everyone is called to do it, at least regularly. We all still might have to do it from time to time.
Is there a line beyond which one cannot cross before every Christian should refuse fellowship and communion until repentance is reached?
Yes, there is. Several lines, actually. Although that is me speaking as a Catholic there (I imagine my Orthodox readers would mostly match up with me on them). Where those lines are is the subject of another post (or the comments).
Can we differentiate between the folks who are in grave error, and potentially apostate vs. those who are unquestionably out of the family?
Yes, I think we can. Some lines are so clear that there really isn’t any debate (denying the divinity of Jesus, for example).
Of course, many of us make small errors, perhaps even frequently. Often those are the easiest to correct, especially if done gently. This is where humility becomes so important, and why I think it is essential to having a strong spiritual life.
But these dudes are *still alive* so there’s still hope of their coming to repentance.
Yes, as long as they are alive there is hope for them. Even better, if they repent then they can also make this public and undo some of the damage they have done.
That’s all I have for now.