Guilt by Association

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Justin Gatlin | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 24 2018 5:49 PM

Mark, how is the second definition substantially different from corporate responsibility? Everyone bears judicial guilt because of their association with someone else. 

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Mark Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 24 2018 7:11 PM

Justin Gatlin:

Mark, how is the second definition substantially different from corporate responsibility? Everyone bears judicial guilt because of their association with someone else. 

Guilt by association is not actual guilt. Corporate responsibility is. That is the fundamental difference.

Guilt by association is guilt ascribed by someone who does not actually know whether you are guilty or not but who assumes you are because of your associations (the example I gave concerning Jesus). So no actual guilt is borne in cases of guilt by association.

In corporate responsibility you are responsible along with others for the commission of a sin, even though you may not have committed the actual sin. The Bible has a number of examples (some you referred to) that illustrate this sort of shared responsibility and shared guilt and the circumstances under which it can occur. Is that more clear?

EDIT:

I should add that guilt by association is a figure of speech. By inadvertently taking it literally (as a truth statement about someone's guilt) rather than figuratively (a way to speak about the assumption of someone's guilt) you can make it to be virtually the same as corporate guilt (actual guilt due to one's association with a group), but that is a mistake in usage.

Pastor, North Park Baptist Church

Bridgeport, CT USA

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Bill Anderson | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 24 2018 8:22 PM

May I suggest that this thread is wading into the waters of discussing theological ideas and concepts that are prohibited in the forums. The biblical concept of guilt, as important as it is, is not a matter to be discussed here. However, I’d be interested in learning more ideas about how the OP and all of us can use Logos or perhaps resources made for Logos to answer this question.

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Mark Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 24 2018 8:46 PM

Bill Anderson:
I’d be interested in learning more ideas about how the OP and all of us can use Logos or perhaps resources made for Logos to answer this question.

I think once we define exactly what the OP was asking for we could do that. That's what some of this discussion has been about, at least my contribution to it.

Pastor, North Park Baptist Church

Bridgeport, CT USA

Posts 55
Vincent Gombert | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 24 2018 8:58 PM

Greetings All

Firstly, thanks to all for your input. I am interested in methods to obtain the following occurrences in Scripture:

1. Guilt by association, whereby guilt is ascribed to someone not because of any evidence but because of their association with an offender, or assumptions.

2. Corporate Guilt or Consequences that are brought about by the wrath of God as a result of someone associating with either sinners or those practicing false doctrine etc. Or a community that collectively receives the wrath of God as a result of one or more persons sin as in the case of Israel with Achan.

I hope I have explained this correctly. Thank you once again all who have contributed so far.

Posts 55
Vincent Gombert | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 24 2018 9:00 PM

So any search methods, or syntax or other would be appreciated. Examples given to date have been very useful.

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Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 26 2018 1:01 AM

Mark Smith:
Your's is an interesting question, but I'm afraid I have to disagree with almost all of the conclusions so far.

There were no conclusions, Mark, only suggestions of passages frequently associated with the notion of corporate guilt or guilt by association. What you propose is a narrower definition which may or may not correspond to what the OP had in mind.

Other possible biblical examples (again, depending on what criteria one uses) involve cases in which third parties are punished for what is ostensibly the sin of someone else. There are several such cases in David's story:

  • The death of his son by Bathsheba (though not guilty)
  • The death of Israelites because of David's census
  • The death of Saul's seven sons to appease the wrong against the Gibeonites

There is also the scare of the stone of witness of the Transjordan tribes.

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Vincent Gombert | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 26 2018 2:25 AM

Great Examples Francis. Thank you. Keep them coming. And also if anyone can think of a search criteria that will uncover examples like these you have given that would also be great. I know it is a difficult one, but sooner or later someone will come up with it. To date, I have not been able to think of anything. 

Posts 1033
Hamilton Ramos | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, May 2 2018 11:35 AM

Hello Vincent:

Your "guilt by association" concept search is most interesting. Yet can you give more context to the type you are looking for?

Is it in the context of exegesis, church history, biblical theology, systematic theology, or practical (application) theology?

In general I would go about researching the concept by using a collection where I can get explanation of the concept and hopefully reference  to the pertinent passages:

Then I would do a search using that collection as shown above in the right.

Exploring the result allows you to see different angles, so you can dig deeper:

This is  an interesting concept, but without a context, one can only reflect on the many ramifications possible:

Related to unfaithfulness?...  belonging to any organization that does not have Jesus Christ as Head would put you into a "guilt by association" status? Maybe, but what if you do not know that the organization actually proclaims Christ in lip service, but the actions are far from the Character and nature of God?

If you do not do due diligence to see into that, does that make you guilty by association due to negligence?

Being part of a non Godly system, makes one a guilty by association person? e.g. structural evil (as in savage uncontrolled capitalism, exploiting countries and persons, for the middleman greed, etc.)

How about guilty by association with certain sins: one person may not commit adultery physically (as in actual event), but Jesus said that if one covets a woman in the mind, amounts to the same as physical adultery...

finally, there is a variation of the theme: "guilty by lack of association with"

1. The theological virtues: Love, hope, faith...  if you do not have them being an active part in your life, does that mean that you are guilty by not having them associated to your living?

What about the weightier matters of the law: love of God Romans 5:5, justice, mercy, compassion, etc. if they are missing, are you guilty by not having association to them and their effects in conduct, belief and action?

To ponder: according to Stephen the deacon in the book of Acts, failure of the religious persons that persecuted him was due to "them always resisting the Holy Spirit", so they seem to be guilty of "Lack of association with the Holy Spirit", and that led them to all kind of wrong actions, including misrepresentation, slander, and even murder.

1Jn 3:12  We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother's righteous.

So it seems that if one associates with the motives, worldview, ideology, lifestyle, and spirit of Cain, one would be guilty by association with what he represents and values: the counter values that God displays in nature and character.

Then for more biblical input, you can look in Revelation the messages to the churches, and many wrong associations are depicted there.

Do you believe in the priesthood of all believers? well, the Nicolaitans did not, so you can study that to not associate with their ideology / doctrine.

Note that in Laodicea, lack of association with Jesus Christ, produced a situation in which Jesus is out knocking to enter... (in the mind, lifestyle, worldview, actions, beliefs, etc. of a person).

Hope this helps.

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DMB | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, May 2 2018 1:28 PM

Hamilton Ramos:

Related to unfaithfulness?...  belonging to any organization that does not have Jesus Christ as Head would put you into a "guilt by association" status? Maybe, but what if you do not know that the organization actually proclaims Christ in lip service, but the actions are far from the Character and nature of God?

Wow. Might be dangerous to go to church. Especially in western Turkey in the early years.

The OP could also consider the opposite: saved by association (pastoral writer).

"God will save his fallen angels and their broken wings He'll mend."

Posts 55
Vincent Gombert | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, May 10 2018 6:34 PM

Thank you for your contribution and I apologise for the delayed response. The reason I am asking about this, is recently I was privy to a particular issue. Without getting into details it involved a congregation that accepted two members that were and still are acting against the commandments of Christ. As a concerned friend I raised this with members of the congregation who believe their walk in Christ is all about love and felt they are not responsible for the presence or fellowship of the two new members. Hence my question of "Guilt my association" or as I am leaning more towards "Consequences by association". I hope this gives a brief background into the reason for my question. So any input by anyone is welcome and appreciated.

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Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 11 2018 4:30 AM

Wow, Vincent, this is a hard but sadly all too common one. The Scriptures do not directly address this. There is the case of the unrepentant sinner excommunicated by the church in Matthew 18 and 1 Corinthians 5, but what to do when the church will not excommunicate? Are the leaders now also committing their own sin of disobedience by ignoring what Christ commands? If so, can the reverse situation of Matthew 18 be prescribed (a person withdraws from fellowship when a church will not discipline)? Or is one to stay, and having made every effort to communicate on the issues, leave the matter between the leaders and God? Is the responsibility of a congregant different here than that of a person in leadership?

For my part, I do not believe that fellowship is to be maintained at all cost in the name of love. One aspect of the ministry of Jesus that is rarely spoken about is that it remained connected but independent from the religious institutions of Israel which clearly He disapproved (hypocrites, faithless, unbelieving, evil generation, etc). So He attended synagogues and spoke in the Temple but did not "submit" or associate with the priests, Levites, and recognised religious authorities such as teachers of the Law and rabbis. The synagogue and Temple were mostly evangelistic venues: His "Church" was with His disciples wherever they happened to be. 

Others had to do with widespread apostasy in biblical history, notably Elijah and Elisha and (one would assume) the school of prophets associated with them. Even Isaiah spoke of a remnant and of disciples which were part of it while the generalised situation was likened to Sodom and Gomorrah while "trampling" the courts of the Temple and multiplying sacrifices.

This can sound like, or evoke fears of, sectarianism and self-righteousness. These are, to be sure, real dangers. But it does not follow that it is always preferable to remain in fellowship. The believers of the letters to Revelation were evidently in close contact with the Jewish communities, but it is unlikely that the author would entertain the possibility that they should attend a "synagogue of Satan."

You know best what your church is like. Are they others who know the church and can give you counsel? May the Lord give you guidance. 

Posts 1033
Hamilton Ramos | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, May 12 2018 6:06 AM

Hi Vincent: It is good to see that you are a concerned Christian. I am not an expert, but have seen my share of situations.

First of all, remember that the only sin that will not be pardoned is the "blasphemy against the Holy Spirit"

Then we get into some areas: unrepentance, leadership misconduct, appropriate systems, etc.

Much of what you can do depends on what kind of denomination / tradition you are member of.

As far as resources that can guide you in certain ways:

Resources will allow you what underlying issues are at stake, and ways in which different groups have gone about solving them.

In your library you can also search for certain formal ways to deal with the issue (which by the way some traditions reject considering them institutionalized revenge):

If your system allows, and you can organize a formal committee, just make sure that you have people with experience in due process (legal type), if possible ethicists, theologians, or mediators.

If you cannot get any of such volunteer professionals, just remind members that final objective is restorative justice (sinners repenting and changing their ways, negligent leaders to understand that better filtering methods for membership is needed, etc.).

Remember:

Object: what actually was done...  Accepting non repentant sinners in Church (although most of us  were so at one time), allowing them to continue even if not desiring to change, etc.

Intent: what is the leaders reason for letting them in? to try to save them? or were they unaware of what problems the persons had?, or are they part of a collusion against the Kingdom to infiltrate tares with an occult agenda?

situation: duress... were leaders pressured into accepting the persons? did they take a pragmatic approach, in which the physical benefits in their opinion outweight the spiritual ones?

A lot of prayer and fasting is needed by the investigating committee.

Now going back to context, different groups approach the subject different...

I have seen in Charismatic groups, their desire to deal with the root cause of the problem.

They allege that in the Bible it shows that before Mary could become a true disciple, unclean spirits had to be expelled Mar 16:9.

Accordingly they have deliverance ministries, with people having gifts of discernment of spirits, that can see through persons that come with ungodly ulterior motives.

Of course if your tradition rejects supernatural dimension work, and the like this would not be an option.

Curiously enough, where there is power of the Holy Spirit for real, persons that (for lack of other categorization) can be considered tares, tend to stay away.

Work with what you have, with love for God and His Kingdom, and He will be pleased. Just remember that sometimes the worst sinners become the best Christians after metanoia happens through the Holy Spirit.

Hope this helps.

Posts 653
Alex Scott | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, May 13 2018 5:27 AM

Vincent Gombert:

Thank you for your contribution and I apologise for the delayed response. The reason I am asking about this, is recently I was privy to a particular issue. Without getting into details it involved a congregation that accepted two members that were and still are acting against the commandments of Christ. As a concerned friend I raised this with members of the congregation who believe their walk in Christ is all about love and felt they are not responsible for the presence or fellowship of the two new members. Hence my question of "Guilt my association" or as I am leaning more towards "Consequences by association". I hope this gives a brief background into the reason for my question. So any input by anyone is welcome and appreciated.

Two things come to mind, both from 1 Corinthians 5.  One is removal from the congregation (a leadership responsibility surely) and the second is not to associate with such a person (an individual responsibility?).  I either case, the goal to keep in mind is restoring the individual.  No fellowship with fellow believers would be intolerable for a true believer.  Unfortunately in today's world it would mean just going down to the next church to avoid the consequences.

Longtime Logos user (more than $30,000 in purchases) - now a second class user because I won't pay them more every month or year.

Posts 55
Vincent Gombert | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, May 13 2018 9:53 PM

Thank you Hamilton for your detailed reply. I am compiling all the information as I receive. 

Posts 55
Vincent Gombert | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, May 13 2018 9:54 PM

Thank you Alex.

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