Creating Their Own Christianity, part 2
Christianity should be a humble faith
There was an article in one of the online Christian newspapers recently. Its headline read, “SBTC ousts church because pastor committed sex offense before conversion”. Sometimes people, even Christians, let a little power and authority go to their heads and they forget who creates the rules for the Christian faith.
Too often there are those believers who do not want to be seen as associating with sin or those who have or are committing sin. They think the answer to the issue is separating themselves as far as they can from those who commit violations against God’s instructions.
This can cause a lot of problems in the church as well as lose many members, preachers and missionaries who let evil win a battle or two. There are many former christian leader websites describing those sad events.
Part of the problem
One of the issues in the story mentioned above and in general is the pursuit to appease people, especially those who do not believe in Jesus. The Southern Baptist Convention has created a rule that bars churches from membership in the Convention if there is a senior pastor convicted of a sexual sin.
There is more to that rule but that is enough to make the point. The church that was ousted had a senior pastor who was convicted of a specific sexual prior to his conversion. Jesus had redeemed him and made him clean once again.
Needless to say this rule is not founded on biblical teaching and the assessment of discipline, expulsion of the church, was wrong.
Violating God’s word
While it is necessary for the church to address sexual sins, they cannot do so in a manner that has them ignoring God’s word and sinning in the process. This Convention violates all the verses on forgiveness, on the ones where God says that what he has cleaned we are not allowed to call it unclean and so on.
There is no scripture providing any divine foundation for the rule the Convention has created.The rule leads members to commit sin, become self righteous and ignore the needs of those who need to be forgiven of their sins.
The actions of the Southern Baptist Convention puts their denomination in a very precarious position. How can they minister to sinners, if those sinners will be punished for pre-conversion sins and have it held over their heads when they try grow in their Christian faith and follow God’s leading?
The danger of creating one’s own Christianity is that content flies in the face of the message of the Bible. It sends out a negative message to all people and tells them that they are not going to get relief if they go to church.
Humans are God’s steward of the church
This is something that both God and Jesus have done. God appointed the sons of Levi to be his OT priests and Jesus appointed his disciples to watch over their churches. Neither did God or Jesus grant permission to those stewards to change their rules.
In fact, Jesus took the Pharisees and other Hebrew religious leaders to task for creating far more rules than God gave to Moses at Sinai. Adding human rules is not permitted for modern church leaders either.
This is what has taken place as the Southern Baptist Convention seeks to please both God and man. They have added a rule, although well intention, that is not divinely ordained and hurts the faith and believers at the same time.
As we look at Jesus’ example, he was a friend to sinners and even appointed terrible sinners to be ministers for his church. We, like that pastor in the article, point to Paul as a prime example.
If both God and Jesus acted like the Southern Baptist Convention, then where would the church be today? Jesus holds out his hands and says, come unto me a ye who are heavy burdened... and I will give you rest.
How can believers and unbelievers find rest in the church when it is operating against the will of God and creating rules that have nothing to do with either God or Jesus?
The church is to follow Jesus
That was the call Jesus made to all his disciples. He said ‘Come and follow me...’ Paul extends that invitation to all believers when he wrote, be like me as I am like Jesus (paraphrased).
The church is not to follow the Pharisees or their legalistic example. Instead, the church is to follow Christ and obey his rules over the ideas and rules of man. it should be said that obeying Jesus’ instructions and commands is not being legalistic but being obedient.
There is nothing obedient to Jesus in that rule created by the SBTC. It merely placates sinful humans who are not as graceful or merciful as God.
The Church needs to be the leader
As stewards of the faith, the church should be the leaders in the right way to go. It should not be following sinful man and create rules that are not founded on the bible or the teachings of God.
The church cannot be the light to the world if it makes rules that are sinful and have nothing to do with Christ and his ways. As stewards, the church and its leaders are not to try to impress God in how holy they can be, but show the same grace and mercy that God has shown them when they were redeemed of their sins.
The Church is not greater than God and should not be making rules that inflict damage upon God’s people and creation. Nor should they be setting the example of how unforgiving the church can be when certain sins are committed.
Including those sins that were done when the person was an unbeliever or fallen Christian. The church needs to be the leaders in the ways of Christ, and not an extension of law enforcement or the legal system.
If God has made these sinners, and fallen people clean, then the church cannot say other wise and create rules that keep these people in their sins. God forgets his creation’s sins when they truthfully repent of them. The church cannot do any different.
Some final words
There is another article that talks about the SBC thinking about creating a registry for church sexual offenders. This also flies in the face of what Jesus taught about forgiveness and bringing people into the church.
It is wrong and the church needs to get back to true biblical teaching and stop creating their own Christianity. Their version is far from God’s.
© 2019 David Thiessen