It seems that every week we hear news of another church “coming out” in favor accepting the LGBT community as members and no longer calling them to repentance and faith in Christ. Due to cultural pressure, yet in Jesus name, a lot of churches are abandoning the Bible’s teaching on sexuality. This truly is unfortunate for the Kingdom of God, the individuals not being called to repentance and faith, and the church that is now out of step with Scriptures teaching.
When churches do this the world applauds them and evangelical churches bemoan the continuing trend of congregations caving to cultural pressure. This is the church that I would call the unfaithful-rejected church. They are seen as “no longer” being biblically faithful and they are rejected because of it.
The problem is, there is a type of unfaithfulness that is commonly accepted within the American Church that is just as harmful. I recall a pastor once saying something to the effect of, “A lot of pastors get ripped for going too far, but no one seems to ever get ripped for not going far enough.” Every time a church “comes out” in approval of the LGBT lifestyle you have the multitude of churches condemning the move, just as the Bible does.
The problem with the multitude of churches? Most of those churches aren’t reaching lost people. They are also unfaithful, yet accepted. How do I know this? Every statistic about the state of the church says something to the effect of 80% of churches are plateaued or declining. It is easy to simply “remain faithful to the Bible,” especially when you aren’t reaching any lost people and your church has had the same 100 people for the last 20 years. Absolutely, it is disobedience to reject the clear teachings of Scripture.
But, we must come to terms with the reality that it is no more faithful to be a church that is content being the same 100 people for decades.
It is easy for these churches to be filled with self-righteousness as they sit in their ivory towers of judgement, over and away from all the lost people. Should we not be as upset with and as full of angst with the masses of churches that clearly have an against the culture posture? Why do we only ever get upset with the churches that succumb to cultural pressure and fall in love with the culture?
We all need to embrace a redemptive posture towards culture.
We must both hold faithful to biblical teaching and love our neighbor enough to have a redemptive posture towards our communities in a way that leads us to “become all things to all people” so that some might be saved.
A good start would be for all of us to point out the elephant in the room and own that 80% of our churches are in no better shape than the ones that abandon biblical teaching. A biblical standard of sexuality is a test of evangelical authenticity, so is a faithfulness to the biblical mandate of mission. Does Jesus not make the case that the older brother was in fact further from the Father than the younger one (at minimum, at least as lost)? He absolutely does.
We need to stop accepting one type of unfaithfulness, while condemning the other. The life of the old brother might look more righteous than the younger brother, but Jesus was quick to help us see with new eyes. It is just as unfaithful for churches to deny the gospel with their culture as it is when they deny the gospel with their statement of faith.