Lately, I have had continuing conversations with friends around the Church, so I thought that I would share those thoughts here.
First, I am from a small Dutch Christian Reformed pocket in West Michigan. This has shaped a large part of who I am, my views on things, and my stance on the Church, which has been very passive until recently. I have mentioned in previous posts my frustrations surrounding the Church over the last couple of months and I lost it when the Trump Administration signed the ‘Muslim Ban’. Friends, this is not okay. This is not the Gospel. This is not Jesus.
The other day, a friend of mine sent me an article on why millennials are leaving the church and I said to him that I think the Church is preaching their own gospel, not the one with Jesus in it.
Jesus intentionally sought out the orphan, widow, prostitute, sick, elderly, children, women, foreigner and alien, the mentally ill, the homosexual, trans, deaf, mute, and blind- basically anyone that society decided was unimportant and invaluable, Jesus was with them. He corrected the Pharisees, and the teachers of the Law because they didn’t get it. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Jesus came to abolish the Law. And we can rejoice in that!
When we follow the law of the Church, we aren’t mirroring Jesus. We’re preaching nit-picky, unimportant, small rules that make Christianity more about words and works than grace and salvation. When Jesus came to earth, the rules were over. It’s wrong for us to put them ahead of God’s grace and mercy. We are cheating others from hearing the Truth and giving them a watered down version of the Lord.
What part of “Love God and love your neighbor” are we missing? How do we manage to get that wrong every time? I know the answer is sin and brokenness, but that’s a reason, not an excuse. There’s a difference and we don’t get to take the easy way out. As people who claim Christ, we don’t get to look the other way and hope someone else takes over. YOU AND I- WE ARE THE SOMEONE ELSE. We get the honor, privilege, and responsibility of bearing Jesus’ name.
Over the last couple of months, the Church has made a lot of people angry, confused, and sad. And that’s because they preach what they want to hear, not what is true. The truth is not always easy to hear and we don’t get to pick and choose which truth we get. When you choose the gospel of Jesus Christ, you choose the immigrant, refugee, LGBT+, woman, children, elderly, physically and mentally ill, and people of color in your own country and worldwide. You can’t change it and you can’t deny it. You love- unashamedly, willingly, and wholeheartedly. It’s that simple.
So you tell me, are we preaching the gospel of the Church or the gospel of Jesus Christ?