Sunday, October 10, 2010

The So-Called Gospel of Inclusion

If you went to church this morning, think about the message you heard. If it was mainly about "including" outcasts, then make note of that and pay attention for the next few Sundays.

If you are in a church where the main message is regularly about who we include or exclude, you may be in a church that is proclaiming a "Gospel" of inclusion.   A so-called gospel of inclusion makes people feel good, but that's not what the Gospel of Jesus Christ is for.  The Christian message is one of being healed and saved and transformed, being made new, being "born again" through God's Work in your and my life.  The Gospel of God is about dying to our sinful selves through repentance and being raised up to a new life through faith.  God "includes" us all, but when we are welcomed by God we are changed!  God never leaves us as we are.

This is one of the key issues in the life of the church.  For more, read Scott Grorud's 2008 speech "Wresting the Wheel from God: Theological Roots of the Current Crisis in Christianity."  (Click the title for the article.  The colored words in this blog are links.)
Galatians 1
6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are confusing you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angelb from heaven should proclaim to you a gospel contrary to what we proclaimed to you, let that one be accursed! 9 As we have said before, so now I repeat, if anyone proclaims to you a gospel contrary to what you received, let that one be accursed!
10 Am I now seeking human approval, or God’s approval? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still pleasing people, I would not be a servantc of Christ.
P.S. This morning I heard a very good sermon--it was NOT simply based on human inclusion! I'm thankful for that. At the moment, as I get bikes ready for a pleasant fall outing on the Luce Line trail, I'm listening to a message from Paul Hinkley. It was given at August 2010 theological conference sponsored by Lutheran CORE. You can listen to the message entitled Authority in the Church: A Plea for Critical Dogmatics by clicking that link. The introduction to his lecture subtitled "A Spiritual Battle."  It's a lecture, not a sermon, so be prepared for some deep thoughts--but very good stuff.

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