My conclusion, then, is that Jesus does not expect us to “withdraw” like hermits from all those we deem unrighteous or immoral. Rather, in his own spirit of gentleness, meekness, self-control, and (most importantly) love, we CREATE a relationship before we CONFRONT error. Perhaps if we spent as much time creating relationships as we did confronting sin, we’d learn the true fence of fellowship: a spirit that says, “I’m not entirely OK with everything I perceive you to stand for, but I do love you in Christ, and I’d love to have an awkward conversation with you in order to bring glory to God.”
There will be times when we see things differently and we will have to continue to reason together to “discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2). But when we disagree, we MUST NOT condemn one another:
“Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand” (Romans 14:4).
There are certain behaviors – which if we persist in them – we are explicitly told will eternally separate us from God. There are other behaviors which mature Christian reasoning will lead us to understand are not the Lord’s will. So let us be mature in deciding how to conduct ourselves and how to edify our brothers and sisters in Christ.
What Jesus inaugurated with his life, death, and resurrection wasn’t a new order of business, but one of the oldest kind, one that harkens back to the perfection of Eden when men and women dwelt in perfect harmony with one another. And in that place we are given a glimpse of God’s plan for men and women all along—equal, but created with beautiful differences (Gen. 1:26-27). Jesus didn’t eradicate these differences, instead he gave a new plan for them, one that exalted the goodness of his Father’s design in both men and women. He kept qualified men in leadership positions, while also showing that women have much to offer in his kingdom work. He removed the oppression that women (and even some men) face by tearing down the false barriers of classism, sexism, and racism that have plagued us for so long.
What we are seeing in America now is not merely deep sexual confusion about one’s identity, but that confusion is just exacerbated by the American myth that you can be whatever you want to be. You can choose your sex, or your gender identity, or who can be your sexual partner. Somehow some forms of modern counseling and psychology have gone off the rails and affirmed even the wildest fantasies and delusions of people who really needed to be given, in a loving way, a reality check, not a blank check saying ‘be whatever your wildest dreams tell you you can be’.
In other words, it is possible (and perhaps even likely) that some of the earliest copies of the New Testament we posses may have been copied directly from one of the autographs. And, if not the autographs, they may have been copied from a manuscript that was directly copied from the autographs. Either way, this makes the gap between our copies and the autographs shrink down to a rather negligible size.
So no more three points and a take home. No more self-help. No more marriage and parenting advice. No more anger management pointers. We don’t need you to be our therapist, we need you to be our church. We need you to show us how to be the hands and feet of Christ, to struggle with us in making it more on earth as it is in heaven.
I asked our church to open their homes to someone within our congregation who is different from them—a person or family living at a different stage of life, or of different politics or race, or any of the thousand ways difference blooms in the garden of community. We do this because we believe there is healing in knowing.
We do not have more atheists in America. We have more honest atheists in America. Again, that’s good news. The gospel comes to sinners, not to the righteous. It is easier to speak a gospel to the lost than it is to speak a gospel to the kind-of-saved. And what those honest atheists grapple with, is what every sinner grapples with, burdened consciences that point to judgment. Our calling is to bear witness.
Among the findings of the 54-page study was that, thanks to our desire to always be connected, people can multi-task like never before. However, our attention spans have fallen from an average of 12 seconds in the year 2000 to just eight seconds today. A goldfish is believed to have a nine-second attention span on average, the study says.
In a new paper, the lab group describes “perytons,” transient signals that look similar to the astrophysical pulses as detected through cold plasma. Mysteriously, these signals usually seemed to be picked up around lunchtime. Sadly, these weren’t coming from aliens hoping to break bread with us. The radio pulses were generated by the microwave in the staff kitchen.