Inclusive church – handing out the arsenic

Do we believe the bible? Really? Paul is quite emphatic:

‘9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the … will inherit the kingdom of God.’ (1 Cor 6)

We lose sight of the statement because the list may or may not include gays, and so miss its real significance: some people aren’t going to ‘inherit the kingdom of God’.

We don’t want to hear this. We much prefer to believe in a god of love who’ll be letting everyone in in the end. I’D LOVE THAT TO BE TRUE.

But it isn’t the truth that Jesus came to bring us. It’s Him who tells us most about Hell, a place of wailing and gnashing of teeth. It’s Him who calls us to repentance, to live in obedience to what God requires. And when we fail to teach this, but claim, in effect, that we can get away with anything, we are handing out arsenic – i.e. a substance that will kill you in the long term, but actually tastes quite nice.

Vast swathes of the church have absorbed the liberal claim that ‘we need to tell people about the love of God first’. Well – the experiment has been conducted over the past 50 years or so – and the churches have emptied. So in a desperate attempt to claim to be relevant (aka fashionable / up to date) some in the church have developed the idea that gay relationships are OK. It’s a separate discussion as to why this isn’t true – though it’s worth being aware that Plato knew about people who were homosexual in their orientation, and the Code of Theodosius, one of the early Christian Roman Emperors, explicitly bans same sex marriages, so the church has addressed the issue already.

IT’S BECAUSE WE TRULY LOVE PEOPLE THAT WE ARE EXCLUSIVE. Giving a child just sweets and no vegetables is not loving, it’s child abuse. In the same way if we succumb to the pressure of the world to just proclaim the sweet stuff, we are abusing those who we are seeking to call to God.

And it’s worth considering why the Old Testament came first. Assuming that we are like Jesus and take it seriously, then if we only want to proclaim God’s love, He seems to have had a different priority; though God’s love is visible in the Old Testament, the first lesson that had to be learnt was that sin has consequences; whatever else Sodom is about, it’s primarily a demonstration that God will eventually punish sin.

‘Oh, but the God of the New Testament is different.’ This is, of course, rubbish – if you want to truly be a ‘New Testament Christian’, then you should only read the Old Testament, as they only had it. But there’s one passage that we seldom talk about that kills this argument entirely:

‘Then Herod went from Judea to Caesarea and stayed there. 20 He had been quarrelling with the people of Tyre and Sidon; they now joined together and sought an audience with him. After securing the support of Blastus, a trusted personal servant of the king, they asked for peace, because they depended on the king’s country for their food supply.

21 On the appointed day Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. 22 They shouted, ‘This is the voice of a god, not of a man.’ 23 Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died. (Acts 12)

This is the word of the Lord…

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