Matthew R. Perry

No Matter Who You Are (Did the United Church of Christ Get It Right?)

In Church Life, Culture, Worship on April 24, 2006 at 1:51 pm

Last night on TBS, my wife and I saw a commercial that caught our attention.  It opened in a cathedral sanctuary where people were coming in to sit for a worship service.  Suddenly, a mom is pictured holding a crying baby, followed a someone pushing a button that triggered an ejection seat in the pew that sent them flying out of there. 

Next, a gay couple sits down.  Ejection seat.  Then a homeless person, a man with a walker, and the list went on. 

Then it stated:  no matter who you are or where you are on life's journey, you're welcome here:  The United Church of Christ.

So let me get this straight:  a homosexual couple is now classified in the same arena as a single mom, an old man in a walker, a homeless person, etc.  I guess all of these now are classified as outcasts and oppressed in a 'traditional' type of church, yes? 

Friends, I agree that Jesus Christ always talked with the outcasts of society.  He spoke with the blind, the lame, the sick — and even healed such!  These people did not choose their situation.  But there are those who have lifestyles they have chosen who want to be lumped in with these other who are in situations they have not.

But in John 7:53-8:11 with the woman caught in a situation she chose — adultery — He told the Pharisees, "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her" (John 8:7, ESV).  They quote this along with Matthew 7:1, "Judge not, lest you be judged." 

But yet they seem to miss what else Jesus said.  He told the woman, "Woman, where are they?  Has no one condemned you?"  She said, No one, Lord."  And Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you.  Go, from now on and sin no more."

Again, where's the focus for many?  That Jesus didn't condemn her.  The reason, I believe, is that the Pharisees did not offer the opportunity to repent.  They just took her with the intent of pronouncing a sentence and then punishing her.  No repentence!  No offer of God's mercy and forgiveness!  Just sheer condemnation.

But Jesus grants us that opportunity to repent — and that must be the message of the church.  "Go, from now on and sin no more."  From this point on, live for Me!  Love Me by obeying Me.

With the blind, the lame, and the sick, there was no sin to turn from!  But with other lifestyles that the Bible does speak of as sin, there is something to turn from and Someone to turn to! 

What kind of love would we be displaying as a true church if we did not tell folks of God's will and way and purpose?  If we did not preach, "Strive for holiness, without which no one will see the Lord" (Hebrews 12:14), then we would have as Cole Porter said a society where "anything goes."

Love your people — preach as Jesus preached in Mark 1:14-15:

Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel."

This is preaching as Jesus preached.  Turn!  Trust!

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  1. why do you think that gays and single mothers are sinners and unholy? your logic doesn’t make sense.

  2. I should have added about the logic of those in the homosexual lifestyle who simply believe they should be included in the same category as single moms. Scripture is clear from Romans 1:18-32 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 that those in this lifestyle will not inherit the Kingdom of God and need to repent from this lifestyle and turn to Christ. I will amend this to make it more clear.

  3. Matt,

    I just saw this commercial while visiting one of my church members in the hospital. It was shown twice during my visit!

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