I received this message from a self-described pastor a few days ago:
Hi Matt, I’m a pastor and I have to say I’ve read your work for a while and I find it very troubling. There is no tolerance, inclusiveness, or love in your writings. It’s hateful towards the LGBTQ community and others who don’t share your views about gay rights, reproductive rights or many other issues. Matt churches should be focusing on how to welcome people in, whether they happen to be gay, trans, feminist or any other group you denigrate. “Christians” like you and all the rest on the far right have pushed these people away for so long. Matt no matter what you or your ilk say in your backwardness and bigotry, Christians in a committed same-sex relationship and others in the LGBTQ community are following God’s design for their lives. That’s the message the church needs to spread. God is love. Love is love! Your message of hatred and exclusion should be left in the dark ages where it belongs. You should be ashamed. I will pray for you.
Hi, pastor. Three things:
One: These aren’t “my views” about gay rights and “reproductive rights,” as you refer to them. I am merely agreeing with the One who has already made His position on these subjects known.
Two: It’s not the church’s job to make us comfortable, pastor. Its job is to help to make us holy.
Yes, it should welcome all. In fact it should not only welcome but actively seek those who are lost. It should venture into the world, find the wandering sheep, and guide them back into the fold. But what it cannot do, pastor, is welcome our sin.
It should welcome the penitent thief, as Christ did, but it should not and cannot welcome his thievery. Remember, only one of the thieves crucified next to Christ was invited into paradise. The one who renounced his crimes was promised Heaven. The other, who clung to his wickedness even up until the moment of death, was not offered an invitation. I wonder, if you were there on Calvary that day, would you have lectured Christ for not being sufficiently inclusive?
You say we should welcome homosexuals and “transgenders” and people who are pro-abortion and anyone else who commits one of our culture’s trendy sins, but what you really seem to mean is that we should welcome the acts of fornication, sodomy, self-mutilation, child murder, etc. These acts are “God’s design for their lives,” you say. And I’m afraid it is on this point that you stumble headfirst into heresy.
It’s true that the church should be like the father in Christ’s parable, running to greet the son who’d squandered his inheritance on booze and prostitutes, eager to embrace and forgive him. But note how the father didn’t go out, find his son at the brothel, and say, “Son, why don’t you come and fornicate and get drunk at home? No need to change your lifestyle at all. Just come home and do whatever you want. Don’t let me cramp your style, son. Here, need some more money?”
That’s because the rebellious young man had to abandon his sin, seek forgiveness, and surrender to the will of his father. Notice that when he came home he said, “I have sinned against you and against heaven. I am not worthy to be called your son.” Now notice that he did not say, “I’ve had a lot of debauched, drunken sex and I’m proud of it. In fact, I plan to get back at it tomorrow. I’m not sorry, I won’t change, and you just need to shut up and accept it, pops. By the way, I have some hookers coming over later. Please show them to my room. Thanks.”
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