Kind reader, I have opened the comments on this entry because I’d like your input on something that has long vexed me: What does the Christian do when invited to a funeral or wedding where the pastor is a woman or a known heretic? How about a non-Christian funeral or wedding?
I have traditionally attended heterodox religious events as long as the church nominally holds to Christian creeds. The Unitarian church is out. A Methodist service “pastored” by a woman with two last names or an Episcopal service led by John Spong are in. At the Catholic church I may join in with agreeable parts of the service and remain silent during the rest. If a woman or blatant heretic is officiating at a liberal Protestant church, I don’t participate other than sitting or standing with the congregation so as not to be an eyesore (in the case of the pastorette, no matter what her beliefs, non-participation is an unobtrusive way of not recognizing her authority).
In light of 1 Cor 10:20-22, though, is this too arbitrary or liberal?
20 No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. 22 Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?
The great Charles Hodge comments on v20:
It was of great importance for the Corinthians to know that it did not depend on their intention whether they came into communion with devils…but [instead] what they did… A man need not intend to burn himself when he puts his hand into the fire; or to pollute his soul when he frequents the haunts of vice. The effect is altogether independent of the intention… This principle applies with all its force to compliance with religious rites of the heathen at the present day. Those who in pagan countries join in the religious rites of the heathen, are just as much guilty of idolatry, and are just as certainly brought into fellowship with devils, as the nominal Christians of Corinth, who, althought hey knew that an idol was nothing… yet frequented the heathen feasts. The same principle also applies to the compliance of Protestants in the religious observances of Papists. Whatever their intention may be, they worship the host if they bow down to it with the crowd who intend to adore it. By the force of the act we become one with those in whose worship we join.
Of course, our intention when attending these events is to mourn with those who mourn and celebrate with those who celebrate. However, in doing so do we commit idolatry and fellowship with devils despite our intentions? Note: I will remove comments supporting feminism or other heresies.