Cancer is one nasty bug.
Of course you can’t even really call it a bug. Unlike most diseases that are caused by bacteria or viruses, cancer doesn’t come from without. The fact is this sickness that some call the most dangerous illness to face human humanity comes from within. It is our own bodies turning against us.
If you do a little research on cancer, you’ll find out that at first it doesn’t really seem like a big deal. All it takes is a cell, one single cell, the smallest unit in the body, deciding that it’s going to do its own thing. That cell decides it wants to grow at its own pace, so it takes over one of the cells around it. Then more cells are taken over, and the process continues. These renegade cells begin not only consuming the good cells, but also taking resources that those good cells need. The rebels continue to grow and grow, going from microscopic entities to tumors that can be as large as a softball, sometimes even larger. Those tumors, in turn, can be lethal, not to mention the fact that the cancerous cells are slowly eating the body alive. That’s what the most dangerous disease facing our bodies is, that’s cancer.
In my opinion, it’s also the most dangerous thing facing the body.
Oh sure, we’ve got the enemy that prowls about like a lion, seeking whom he may devour. But what kills more people annually, cancer or lions? Please don’t misunderstand me; Satan is a very powerful enemy, and I don’t think we take him seriously enough. BUT, what we take even less seriously is something far more insidious than an external attacker. It is members of the body refusing to take orders from the Head. Instead the renegades do their own thing.
Let’s face it: this is a rampant problem. Everywhere you turn, Christians (or at least people who call themselves Christians) are “doing their own thing,” not taking God’s will or Scripture into account in the least. They seep into churches, infect others with their ways, and consume resources that the body needs to do its true work. I think it’s pretty obvious that this is undeniably sin. Not only is it sin, it is the cancer of the church. And it’s spreading astronomically, mostly unchallenged at that.
So what do we do about it? Paul doles out some pretty powerful punches. “Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning. (1Tim. 5:20)” “Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned. (Titus 3:10-11)” Jesus himself addressed what to do with such people in Matt. 18:15-17:
If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED. "If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.
Well, why don’t we do that in our churches then?
Honestly, I don’t think there’s a good answer to that question. It is no secret that church discipline is by far and large a joke. Sins are spreading like gangrene, as Paul put it, but corporately we’re not doing much about it. Sure, if someone has an affair we’ll kick them out of the church, but what about the “factious man”? What about the habitual liars? What about the stabbing gossipers? What about the boasting proud? What about the man-pleasers who place the rich and nice looking at the head of the proverbial table? We won’t even bring their sins to their attention, much less get to the disassociation phase after multiple warnings. So the cancer grows, and grows, and grows, choking the life out of the church.
What are we going to do about it? I suppose that’s up to us, isn’t it? Here’s a novel idea: why don’t we try doing what the Bible says, just for once? Who knows, it might just take care of the problem.