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Friday, April 28, 2006

God Does, In Fact, Reject People

Maybe you've seen the latest television ad for the United Church of Christ. If not, go here. The UCC is one of the most liberal denominations in America and also one of the fastest shrinking. If they are not growing numerically, it's not for lack of being inclusive.

On the one hand, I see their point. God loves all people. He desires all to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth. The Church must reach out to the marginalized and downtrodden. That's a good message.

However, there is a problem. In this new ad - a parody of snobby churches - homeless people, handicapped people, racial minorities and a single mom with a fussy baby are all, literally, bounced out of the church, presumably for being undesirable. There is also a flagrantly gay couple who get the boot.

The implication is that the UCC - unlike us meanies - is godlike because . . . (drumroll) "God Doesn't Reject People" and neither do they.

But they're comparing apples to oranges. Truly God is not a respecter of persons and he does not favor or disfavor people on the basis of race, gender or class. But the implication that sin does not alienate us from the Father is quite untrue.

The Scriptures are actually pretty clear that on the Day of Judgment, God will reject those who dwell in their sins.

Jesus will say,"Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels (Mt.25)."

"Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!' (Mt.7)"

"Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God (1Cor.6)."

Call me goofy, but I think the words "depart from me," and "away from me" qualify as words of rejection.

Why is this a problem? Because it is unloving to give people false hope. In fact, the false hope that God will accept you and receive you even though you remain in sin (the flagrant gay couple) is the ultimate cruelty. It could mean the difference btwn heaven and hell. We can't pronounce absolution where there is no repentance.

We must preach the cross of Jesus Christ. And we must preach it in the sense of propitiation. Your sins are forgiven BECAUSE Jesus turned aside the wrath of God by his own sacrificial death. Saving faith necessarily includes repentance. The words of Jesus above suggest the only alternative.

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organshoes said...

The ad also bumfuzzles me by having homeless and gay equally rejected--as if it were indeed mere snobbery going on; senses and sensibilities offended, and not the implications of actual sin.
As if the 'guilty' churches only judge on desirability, and not on the basis of outward sinfulness.
And as if Jesus--the Jesus of the ad--accepts the poor and homeless, and the actively homosexual, in the exact same way, while the snobby church rejects them in exactly the same way.
And as if the church views sin from its own idea of what's contemptible, and not the Lord's.

Bob Waters said...

The ad is, of course, despicable in its dishonesty. Yet when considered from the standpoint of objective justification, it gives the correct answer to the question it asks. It just isn't asking the question it thinks its asking.

Does God reject people? No. Do people reject God? Yes. And that includes several classes of people the UCC and other liberal churches lie to by telling them that they're doing anything other than rejecting God by
making choices He's made clear have exactly that significance.

CRB said...

I recall Dr Korby having commented
on sin: "The pope doesn't know what
sin is". Judging from the UCC ads,
the dear Dr. could also include this "church" body, couldn't he?!

Orycteropus Afer said...

... and apply the other half Aardie here.

New Curriculum at Concordia Theological Seminary