Wednesday, November 9, 2011

P4E.218 An Open Letter to the Church at Large - Part 2

From Part 1:
"First of all, I am nobody. I have no credentials. I have no theology degree. I don't claim to be a prophet of God. I do not claim this to be a "prophetic utterance." I don't claim that God "told me" to say these things. I'm just a guy who is (hopefully humbly) pursuing Christ in his own way. I do recognize that people distinguish between the "church" and the "Church," but for my purposes, they are one and the same and what I have to say goes for both. This is certainly meant to be more than a friendly nudge, more than a good-natured poke. It's meant to be a hard jab in the ribs or a kick in head of the Church. I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore."

You, the Church, have been sidetracked. Let me give you an example. I heard a well known pastor of a church on the radio today. He was talking about children. How Jesus told his disciples that they should let the children come to him and not keep them from Him. How, in those times, children were considered insignificant, but that Jesus said that we must become like children to enter the kingdom of God. So far, so good. Then, the sermon took a 90 degree turn and became sidetracked. The pastor turned it into a rant about abortion.

Now, I am not making a case to justify abortion. I have been an admirer of, and even personally met, Francis Schaeffer before he passed. I understand and  can even agree with points of the stand he took against abortion in his book "How Shall We Then Live?" What I am saying is that the abortion issue is sidetracking the Church. More accurately, the Church is skewed in its response to the abortion issue. What right or reason does the Church have to judge the world? Even Christ Himself said that He did not come to judge the world, but to save it. Christ had every right and opportunity to judge the Samaritan woman at the well a liar, the woman dragged before Him by the Pharisees an adulteress, Matthew a turn-coat tax-gatherer, and the men who hung next to Him on the cross thieves and murderers. But, He didn't.  He didn't minimize their sins, but He didn't berate them or accuse them or condemn them. Instead, He showed them sympathy, compassion and forgiveness. He took them in and made them His own.

Why is the Church not following Christ's lead? Every reasonable reading of the Scriptures would tell us that we  should not judge. That we should show compassion to those in need. That we should feel sympathy and empathy for those who find themselves in difficult circumstances. That we should forgive. Instead, the Church cries, "Murder!" and hurls insults and accusations and judges the world.

The Church is sideways to the very world that it should be intent on saving.  It has lost its way.  Only in this way could a pastor take a lesson that could and should be about becoming innocent, vulnerable, harmless, naive, small and insignificant and turn it into an angry, hostile, confrontational, belligerent rant about how bad the world is. Wake up, Church, before it's too late! Because you must remember, Christ reserved His ire for those who claimed to represent God, but did so poorly. To those who made rules and purposefully misrepresented Him; To those who used God's Word to bludgeon each other and the world; To those who sought to create a clique to separate and lord themselves over the rest; It is they that Christ condemned most harshly.  So, wake up do not repeat the past!

More to follow...

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