topics worth the tussle #1: on slaughter & staggering toward it

Today’s post starts an occasional series on “Topics Worth the Tussle” for college ministers to consider. They’ll be some passages and biblical topics that seem, at times, to be overlooked or undertaught – but that have a particular importance for college students. And yes, it’s likely you, your students, or both will have to struggle a little bit with these tricky topics.

Whether you teach on these, use ’em in small groups, or just wrestle with how well your students practice these principles, hopefully they are indeed worth the tussle… for you and your students!

My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins. (James 5:19-20 NIV 2010)

Rescue those being led away to death;
hold back those staggering toward slaughter.
If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,”
does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who guards your life know it?
Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done? (Prov. 24:11-12 NIV 2010)

If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. Do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother. (II Thess. 3:14-15 ESV)

I recently heard a college minister deliver a message on the use and abuse of the tongue, springboarding from James 3 to discuss several ways college students need to think about what they say.

I so appreciated that he included in his message the clear biblical call to confront their friends as needed. Throughout Scripture, confrontation – including even varying “degrees” of confrontation and separation – is revealed as a required part of true community. Wow.

So if we want to assess the “community” angle of our campus ministries, one question we should ask is, “How ready, willing, and able are our students to confront sin in others’ lives?”

It’s definitely a touchy subject. But I think it’s worth the tussle – and a community that does this well is bound to be a pretty strong college ministry indeed.


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