Stott's reading this morning is Mark 2:13-17. In his comments, he defines "sinners":
"Sinners" in this context were not just those who were disobedient to God's moral law (like all of us) but those who, whether through ignorance or intent, did not live according to the traditions of the scribes. Both groups were shunned by all respectable people, who would neither give hospitality to them nor receive hospitality from them, fearing ceremonial contamination. But Jesus deliberately and freely fraternized with them, having no such fears.
Does this cut against the idea of a church program that soaks up all of one's spare time? When does a Christian get the opportunity to " deliberately and freely fraternize with them," if every free moment (even our Valentine's Day dinner) is within church walls?
We don't deny hospitality to "sinners." But they must walk through our doors to receive it. I don't think that's nearly enough. I believe we fear a sort of contamination from people our middle-class culture would consider "unclean."
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