1) He supports abortion rights, thus violating one of the explicit teachings of his own church.
2) He cannot escape this simply by saying, "I'm personally opposed to abortion" while voting to support abortion rights.
3) To openly reject a central teaching of your own church while claiming to be in communion with the church is hypocrisy.
4) Since communion belongs to the church (as a "sacrament" or an "ordinance"), it is proper for church leaders both to instruct the church regarding the seriousness of communion and to offer appropriate warnings to those who reject central teachings of the church.
5) There is an important distinction between private disagreement and public disagreement over central teachings because the latter impacts the church as a whole.
6) Self-examination is always the first step before receiving communion, but that does not mean the individual is the sole judge of his fitness to receive communion.
7) Since spiritual leaders will one day give an account for those under their care, they must challenge those who openly flout the church's teachings, lest they (the leaders) sin against the Lord by taking lightly what God takes seriously.
8) Public dissent ultimately calls for some form of public rebuke.
9) God can use this sort of "tough love" to win back the erring brother.
10) Politics aside, if John Kerry were refused communion, it would likely send a healthy wake-up call throughout the church--Catholic and otherwise--that doctrine is not negotiable, and that the church really means what its says.
To sign up for Pastor Ray's free weekly sermon email list, click here .You can find his daily weblog, online sermons, travel schedule, and other resources at www.keepbelieving.com. You can write Pastor Ray at email@example.com.
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About Dr. Ray Pritchard
Dr. Ray Pritchard is the president of Keep Believing Ministries, in Internet-based ministry serving Christians in 225 countries. He is the author of 27 books, including Stealth Attack, Fire and Rain, Credo, The Healing Power of Forgiveness, An Anchor for the Soul and Why Did This Happen to Me? Ray and Marlene, his wife of 37 years, have three sons-Josh, Mark and Nick, two daughters-in-law--Leah and Vanessa, and two grandsons--Knox and Eli. His hobbies include biking, surfing the Internet, and anything related to the Civil War.
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