Throughout this blog I have mentioned time and again how I have observed a huge departure in Evangelicalism from the Gospel of Grace. I do not say this as an outsider, I say this as one involved in some form of ministry in “church” for a long time. And I have felt the sting and pain of rejection from people who claim to love Jesus. My criticisms are not meant to cast dispersion on the church, but to call people into freedom,grace and the unconditional love of God found in the Gospel so that they can bring the Kingdom of God into their churches and denominations.
Having said that, one might ask “according to you what should the evangelical church in America today look like?”
Here is my humble vision…
First, remove or resist the temptation to put an American flag in the sanctuary, in Sunday School rooms, or even on a flagpole in front of the building. Stop preaching patriotism as the twin sister of the Christian faith. We are not American Christians, and while feeling patriotic toward ones country is good, it does not belong in the church. We are children of the King of Heaven and it is to Him and to the spread of His Kingdom that we pledge allegience. Keeping with this same thought, remove from hymnals songs that reference America, thus insinuating that God has a special place in His heart for “America the Beautiful”. And finally, do not give over the pulpit to ANY politician for any reason. Do not distribute voter guides in the church, and do not promote a political party or politician from the pulpit.
Next, stop picketing gay pride parades, abortion clinics, porn shops and stop burning Korans. Stop boycotts of Disney, Home Depot, and other organizations that choose to support the civil rights of a minority group. In fact stop picketing and boycotting all together. All they do is cause people to get a false idea of what the Christian faith is about.
Stop hating people in the LGBT community and pretending to love them by saying that you are only speaking the truth in love. You are lying. In the same vein, stop saying love the sinner hate, hate the sin. I have met very, very few Christians adhering to that phrase befriending someone gay and loving them unconditionally. Hateful rhetoric does not promote love. And if you are a pastor who believes that being gay is a sin, and you just have to preach it from your pulpit, then you had better preach just as passionately about obesity(gluttony), prayer groups (gossip factories), defenders of the “truth” (legalists) and a multitude of other acceptable sins.
Next seek to have Christian television shut down. if there is one vehicle that has done great damage to the Gospel, it is this. Most of it promotes a things contradictory to Scripture. We cannot speak good things into our lives, we cannot think only positive thoughts and have great health. We cannot give money to a wolf in sheep’s clothing and get a blessing or a miracle. Many a person has walked away from God because they did not receive what these “leaders” of the faith had promised.
So what is left? Unconditional love, mercy, grace, forgiveness, honesty, openness.
Imagine with me for a moment walking into a place were the people are honest about themselves to themselves and to others. A place where people do not wear masks and pretend to be something that they are not. Where the needs of others come before our wants or comfort. A place where we welcome everyone and love them unconditionally. A place that reaches out the surrounding community and across the world meeting physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of people without the agenda of winning souls (which is the job of the Holy Spirit), but the agenda of bringing to them a little glimpe of Kingdom of God which is peace, justice, and love.
Perhaps we can do more than imagine, maybe we can rise up and see it take place in our lifetime.
That is my prayer