5) Who did Jesus die for? Not the family church
This one is hard because I used to believe Jesus died for the family church. But after a few years in full-time ministry, I see the dangers. Here are a few.
1. Keeping everyone happy is given priority over challenging people to walk in the radical footsteps of Jesus. Keep the peace. Everyone should be happy. Cater to every complaint and disgruntled member. If someone leaves the church, you might as well roundhouse kick the leaders in the baby makers. It’s that big of a deal.
2. There’s no place for hard questions. This would violate point 1. Families want to remain happy and peaceful. So, any church gathering becomes a “no hard questions” zone.
3. Secrets are often buried because the family name must be protected. The reputation is given high value. So, if someone commits a sin that might bring shame on the name of the church, this person is asked to bury it.
4. Outsiders aren’t accepted easily. If you’re born into the family, you’re accepted without hesitation. If not, the process for becoming part of the family is extremely difficult.
It’s not that churches can’t value a family environment. But churches can’t value a family environment more than personal transformation, restoring hope to the surrounding community, and equipping people for ministry, among other things.
6) Who did Jesus die for? Not the fighting church.
Fighting churches get one thing right. They realize they are in a war. But these churches fight the wrong enemy. The church’s fight isn’t against homosexuals. It’s not against the Supreme Court or the President. It’s not against atheists, agnostics or Muslims. The church’s fight is against Satan.
But don’t say this to fighting churches. They will get defensive and…you guessed it…start a fight.
Fighting churches operate out of fear, and their primary weapon is manipulation. They indoctrinate their members, convincing them that everyone outside of their group, including other Christians, are wrong and misguided. And heaven forbid you decide to leave a fighting church. If you do, make sure you’re chinstrap is buckled. You’re now on the “other team.” And fighting churches aren’t scared to run over your name and reputation.
This was partly my story. I wasn’t taught a message of love and acceptance. I was taught a message of exclusion. My group was right. Everyone else was wrong. And I was armed with a lot of Scriptures to back up my convictions. You didn’t want to debate me. You would lose. Plain and simple.
But, while I debated other Christians and tried to convert people from other denominations, bitterness and pride built up in my heart.
You see, many churches would rather be right than righteous. They would rather convince than convert. They would rather learn doctrine than love people.
The church should be more concerned with loving people than convincing people.