Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Offensive “Us - Them” Distinction

The central message of the Gospel is that we are sinners who must be forgiven and “born again” from above. Those who are born again become “new creations,” have passed from death into life, and are no longer of this world (John 15-17). This means that we are different from others. We are God’s redeemed – the Body of Christ – and have become “one with Him in Spirit” (1 Cor. 6:17).

Understandably, the Gospel is offensive. It claims that Christians are a distinct and special people, but this is the Gospel, and any attempt to modify this teaching undermines the Gospel. However, many who call themselves Postmodern or Progressive “Christians” have rejected this critical distinction.

For example, a manager of a “Christian” Evolutionist Facebook group wrote:

  • This group is unusual because we can all come together without having an us-them mentality. We're proud of that.

For Mystics, Emergents, Progressives, and “Christian” Evolutionists, this distinction is offensive. It separates people. It seems that, for them, removing such distinctions is to make a more peaceful world. However, for the Christian, peace is a matter of loving others despite the unavoidable distinctions. (Somehow, my wife and I are able to love each other despite our many differences!)

I responded:

  • What then do you make of the many verses that claim a sharp distinction between believers and those who aren't, for instance 2 Corinthians 6:14-16: “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God.”

What a set of politically incorrect verses! Of course, the world regards such beliefs as the height of arrogance and not the grace of God.

I did not receive a response – not from anyone. Perhaps, though, it might make them wonder whether they can consistently call themselves “Christian.” Of course, they hate me, as Jesus had promised (John 15:18-20). But I ask myself, “How can I best love them? Through pleasantries or prophetic warnings? Through enabling them to have a false sense of security or through exposing them to the painful, revealing light?

There is a radical distinction between the children of the light - those who come to the light - and the children of darkness, who detest the light and will avoid it at all costs, even by destroying the lamps of that light (John 16:1-3).

The Apostle Paul put it this way:

  • For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. (2 Cor. 2:15-16)

Consequently, for some, the light carries a nauseating stench of death. However, this evil response often disguises itself in the garments of righteousness (2 Cor. 11:14-15).

One Progressive “Christian” Facebook group rejected my concern for our persecuted Christian brethren:

  • We are called to love all people, not just Christians!

This reminded me of the synagogue ruler who had criticized Jesus because He had healed on the Sabbath rather than on one of the six other days (Luke 13). Of course, he justified his criticism by an appeal to the Law of Moses, making his evil sound righteous.

Yes, we are called to love all, but sincere love must begin with our own household:

  • Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. (Gal. 6:10)

Why? This is the best way to love the world! How do we love our children? By starting with loving our wives! This is entirely consistent with Jesus’ prayer:

  • “My prayer is… that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (John 17:20-23)

Loving the brethren is our primary vocation! Sadly, the church is plagued with all kinds of problems. Nevertheless, the greatest gift we can give others is to show them the reality of Jesus. We are to do this by loving our brethren before anyone else! Our mandate is to maintain the unity of Christ’s Church (Eph. 4:1-5) not the non-existent “unity” of all humanity!

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