Monday, April 1, 2013

Controversy: Freedom, Tolerance, & the Church

I'm not a person big on getting involved in political issues or controversial issues. But in light of the recent news with the Supreme Court and gay marriage, I do have a few reflections.

We have the freedom to disagree with another. Yet, my freedom to disagree with another (even when I do it respectfully) is now being labeled as "intolerant" and "bigoted" by those who disagree with me. Isn't that contradictory? Wouldn't that then mean by their own logic that those who then disagree with me for disagreeing with them are also being "intolerant" and "bigoted"? But I'm not sure if the majority of people see this fallacy in their logic. Why can't we simply just disagree with each other, and agree to disagree? Why does there have to be negative and divisive labeling? (That was meant to be rhetorical. I'm fully aware sin is at the root of it all).

You know what makes this worse, we in the Church do this to one another (and have been for centuries). Think about this: WHAT IF those outside the Church are simply following the example we in the Church have set---name calling, mocking, sometimes voilent, selfish agendas, labeling one another when we disagree with each other, etc. (And we do this beyond the essentials, so don't attempt to use that defense). WHAT IF the hatred we receive from those outside the Church is not solely rooted in our stance for God's Truth in His Word, but also in our example of operating in "bigotry" and being "intolerant" to one another in the Church (in the name of defending "truth"). I'm not agreeing with it, I'm simply stating a reality: Our hands are not clean in creating the current negative perception of the Church or about Christians. (Again, I am speaking apart from us being condemned/hated for our stance for the Truth in God's Word like Jesus stated we would).

Yes, we can continue to respectfully disagree with others, present our cases on why, argue for what we think is best, and so on because we have the freedom to do so. But if we aren't going to take that same intense approach we have towards "righting" those things going on outside the Church to work on our own home issues in the Church, then we have to admit and accept responsibility for our own hypocrisy and Phariseeism of focusing only on the outside of the cup while neglecting to clean the inside first (cf. Matt. 23:25-28). Again, I'm not saying we can't or we shouldn't speak up or speak out or stand up, I'm just doing my part of holding us accountable to not forget to practice in the Church what we preach to those outside the Church.

"For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?" -1Pet. 4:17