Sometimes the silence is deafening and here in the pew it has become to quite. I do believe that as christians we need to express our real sentiments on the subject of religion more often than we do. My dictionary defines religion as “a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices or a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith.” Saw a church sign some time ago “you have tried religion, now try Christ.” Truth is I have always considered religion and faith to be two entirely different things. Continuing the written definition as given are these added points. “ Archaic, scrupulous conformity, conscientiousness to the point of being very careful about doing what you are supposed to do and wishing to do what is right, to do one’s work or duty well and throughly.”
Religion is ever-changing, evolving and is to some degree shaped by the need to remain relevant to the ever-changing social conscience of society. The church and its desire to stay relevant has given over to a careless practice of inclusiveness. This has promoted a reckless and dangerous acceptance of once questionable behaviors that have challenged our discipline to scripture and God’s will in our lives. To some folks questioning being inclusive is not correct and in some ways stifles the growth of the church. To others the gospel of inclusion is simply the old heresy of universalism. I won’t take up space with the definition of such but you will find it in the dictionary. I try in my writings not to overburden you with scripture, however I do encourage you to know what is contained in God’s word. You must know and believe in your heart having studied, prayed and sought the guidance of the Holy Spirit that which is expected of you for salvation. What? We don’t like being held responsible for our actions but the truth is that in conjunction with salvation is repentance and that friends is scriptural correct. Call it hard-line, unreasonable or old fashion but salvation is offered to all and repentance is expected of all. To repent is to turn from those things that separate us from God. To be a person of the Way we must follow the teachings of Christ. I worry about this silence in the pew. Silence, the complete absence of sound. I would ask, has the need for inclusiveness driven by the need to be relevant brought acceptance of such behaviors of these days to be the new norm? Has God rethought this or have we simply rethought the scripture to meet todays changing norms as if it will not affect us or our church. Is the continuing tolerance of abortion simply because we have given it a new definition and it is now not an act that God would find abominable but a right that through its inclusion in the laws of the land is now acceptable? Then there is the same-gender issue that all denominations are struggling with under the banner of inclusiveness. The church becoming involved in social issues that drain its resources and lessen its ability to do the ministry it is called to do. God said we are to be Holy, as He is Holy. How is it that those things which are in conflict with God’s word have now become acceptable under this gospel of inclusion and the re-writing of scripture to fit the ever-growing number of societal changes becoming a daily practice? I just listed two of the many issues that confront Christians today and I did that for a reason.
That old saying between a rock and a hard place could become a Christian mantra if we let it. God, through His Son our Lord and savior has removed the rock but the way is still hard. The message and the forgiveness of sin through the blood of Christ is for all people. There are no prerequisites as to with whom, where or how the message is shared and the old hate the sin and love the sinner does not convey the urgency of salvation and repentance. I believe that God will judge the sin. We are to love the sinner and bring them to the foot of the cross so that they receive salvation and repent of their sin. Sin is anything that separates us from God, not just the two that have become the golden idols on societies altar of causes, we are all sinners. At the top of todays’ agenda of social change are, abortion which involves the interruption of the process of creation as God intended it to be and the other, same-gender life style is clearly and abomination in God’s eyes.One of the largest denominations in the world lists seven deadly sins that if left unchecked will result in a host of other sins. Proverbs 6: 16-19 lists seven things that are detestable to God. When was the last time you ever heard these addressed from the Pulpit? The omission of what is sin from the conversation allows for the unacceptable to become acceptable. When I was growing up my parents never said anything about race or the injustice of segregation. The result of which was that the unacceptable became acceptable. The absence of civility in our conversations about the issues of the day seems to me has left only the screamers and agenda driven people at the table. As trite as it may sound
Matthew 22: 37-40
………..’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
The silence in the pew is a reflection of the silence in the Pulpit. Love God first, with all your heart, then you neighbor and do not allow the gospel of inclusion to rewrite the Scripture.
Life is Good