Post-modern USA culture demands we be tolerant and inclusive.
Everyone is to be embraced and celebrated no matter how deviant or socially inappropriate. The same cultural pressure is growing inside Christian circles from Christian sociologists, Christian psychologists and well-meaning Christian social workers and pastors, who love and care about people.
They are calling for the church to be more inclusive and tolerant of behavior and social norms that have historically and theologically been considered sin.
What is to be the church’s response?
The church is not a concept of man or a human institution. It is God’s design and God is building it.
Jesus said, “Upon this rock I will build my church…”
Therefore, when discovering how the church should respond to cultural pressure and societal norms the leaders of the church do not look to social engineering and new concepts of psychology and psychiatry, but the to the one who designed the church and who is the builder and the very foundation of the church.
When Jesus told His disciples, “Upon this rock I will build my church…” to what rock was He referring?
The Apostle Paul answered that question in his first letter to the believers at Corinth. “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:11).
There is an unalterable measure of exclusivity when considering the church.
Jesus Christ is the only foundation upon which the church can be built.
The Apostle Peter wrote, “Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, ‘Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.’ Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, ‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone,’ and ‘A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense’ They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed” (1Peter 2:4-8 NKJV).
The Apostle Peter is pointing out two points of exclusivity.
1. Jesus Christ is the only cornerstone upon which the church can be built.
2. All who are true members of His church are obedient to Word of Jesus Christ not to the teaching and philosophy of men.
When a new scientific or medical principle is contrary to the principles and precepts of Jesus Christ’s Word the principle of science and medicine must be rejected.
When culture and society adopt a new standard of behavior that is not in harmony with the principles and precepts of the Jesus Christ, the new standard of behavior must be rejected.
The Word of God is always to be obeyed over the new concepts of science and medicine.
The Word of God is always to be the standard of behavior that is obeyed over the culture and ways of men.
That is why these two points of exclusivity are always points of stumbling. They have been for centuries. Mankind is always seeking ways to compromise and be disobedient to “the word to which they also were appointed.”
The world is ever demanding the church compromise and embrace their perception of God and their standard of behavior.
“There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Ephesians 4:4-6 NKJV).
There is only one Lord and that is the Lord Jesus Christ who has revealed Himself in the Holy Bible.
It does not matter that a Presbyterian Church in Portland, Oregon has begun to include Allah and Muslim practices in their church services or that a Mormon talk show host is misleading many across the nation by portraying himself to be Christian.
Jesus Christ said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6 NKJV).
The writer of Hebrews declared, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines…” (Hebrews 13:8-9 NKJV).
Someone is not a Christian simply because they declare themselves to be so or because they attend a Sunday church service conducted by an organization that declares it is Christian.
If they are not honoring Jesus Christ as the only Redeemer of mankind, the only Savior of the World, the Only Begotten Son of God; if they are not accurately teaching and being obedient to God’s Word, they are not Christian.
They may portray themselves as Christian and they may say they are Christian but they are not Christian.
The Holy Bible is extremely clear who is and who is not Christian.
It is inclusive in as much as “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9 NKJV).
But all who come to salvation and repentance must come through the only “Way” that is provided that will call them “out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
They must come through the only “Truth” that will set them free from the slavery of sin and make them holy and the royal priesthood unto God.
They must come through the only source of “Life” that brings them mercy and grace and is eternal. It is the only source of “Life” that will redeem them, adopt them into the family of God and make them the people of God.
Yes, this inclusive in that everyone who makes the choice to follow the Lord Jesus Christ and surrender their will to Him and to obey His Word is included.
It is also exclusive in that no other religion in history of the human race is Truth.
Jesus Christ is the only Savior and Redeemer of mankind. “Nor is there salvation in any other, for no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
In our head-long pursuit to be relevant and to contextualize the Gospel, driving to be successful and contemporary, we are giving in to the cultural pressure to be tolerant and inclusive.
We are compromising holiness, giving way to seducing spirits, and teaching the doctrine of men.
God’s Word does not embrace same-sex relationships and marriage no matter how much we may allow modern day theologians to rewrite the texts.
God’s Word does not accept “hooking up” on Friday and Saturday night and then worship God as if they were part of the “royal priest and a holy nation.”
Holiness is still God’s standard for His people.
God’s Word still declares the priesthood and kings should not be deceived by strong drink and wine. Every truly born again son and daughter of God are “kings and priests to His God and Father.”
We have forgotten the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Chief Cornerstone, one Foundation and the Builder of the church.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Matthew 7:21-23 NKJV).
Yes, this is exclusive because the Lord insists that all those who are inclusive in His church be obedient to His Word.