Sunday, October 14, 2007
WHAT DOES A HEALTHY CHURCH LOOK LIKE? (7: ACCEPTANCE)
Maude Flanders, a character in The Simpsons, was very devout. She had many positive qualities: faith, chastity, charity. Maude once attended a Bible camp to learn how to be more judgmental!
Here are some wise words from a Baptist pastor-friend, Nathan Nettleton: The Church is not called to tolerance, but to hospitality. Mere tolerance is far too gutless.
Jesus did not model or advocate tolerance of the strangers and outcasts. He welcomed them, accepted them, stood in solidarity with them. In a few cases we also have stories of him openly challenging them to change, but it would be pretty hard to find a story where that wasn't premised on the initial welcoming acceptance. More often it seems that he didn't have to voice the challenge at all, but that people began to change in response to experiencing in him, the overwhelming hospitality of God...
John Claypool used to say: 'With Jesus, acceptance preceded repentance, with the Pharisees - ancient and modern - it's the other way around.'