Bulletin for 3-12-23
Birthdays and Anniversaries
3-6 Gladys Ramirez
3-8 Dena Weeks
Stacey Esner has a severely sprained ankle
Chaney Reames is undergoing extensive dental work.
Paul Tyler has a bad sort Parkinson’s. Got stem cell treatments. Pray for their success.
Bill Grubbs recovering from back injury.
Shirley Weeks, Steve’s mom, continues to have trouble.
Teresa Weeks, Steve’s sister, having age related issues. She has Down’s Syndrome.
Sarah, Chris Girvin’s sister, on hospice care
Robert and Sue Waller, health issues
Darla Nitti, Wendi’s mom, good report
Leta, has a recurring cancer, prayer request from her granddaughter via our website.
Tammy Jones, Weeks’ neighbor, kidney failure/dialysis
To accept or not to accept
Both scripture and American society promote and value acceptance. Yet they both recognize that certain principles should override acceptance. Acceptance is not always the right response.
So why do scripture and society sometimes collide over when acceptance is appropriate? And when culture prescribes acceptance but Christianity does not, does this make Christianity hateful? Or vice versa?
Since some people might doubt whether Christianity values acceptance, a brief review is in order. Through Christ crucified God exemplified his concern for inclusion, unity and acceptance. Through the gospel God reaches out to all people inviting everyone into one unified body where acceptance of one another is to be the order of the day.
Whatever social barriers and divisions that might exist in society are eliminated. Male and female, Jew and Gentile, slave and free, urbanite and hillbilly all have the same status in Christ (Colossians 3:11). Unity and acceptance flourish in Christ.
In the first century when differences of opinion arose on dietary habits causing a rift in social interactions, Paul insisted Christians welcome one another. He commanded those strong in faith to accept the weaker because “God has accepted him” (Romans 14:1,3; 15:1).
Therefore Paul could conclude, “Accept one another as Christ has accepted you, to God’s glory” (Romans 15:7). Christians bring glory to God if they will accept one another!
In his letter to Philemon, once again Paul promoted the principle of acceptance. Regarding Philemon’s runaway slave, Paul insisted that this master should “accept him as you would accept me” (Philemon 17).
Scripture repeatedly promotes acceptance and the healing of relationships. Inclusion and unity are valued. Christianity does not promote hateful actions either toward those within the body of Christ or outside. Jesus taught the second highest command is to love others as one loves oneself. This even includes one’s enemies! Christianity is not the way of hate.
Yet, this does not mean that acceptance is always the rule. Some principles should be valued higher and thus override tolerance and acceptance. Not everything is to be condoned.
Paul chided the Corinthian church for their pride in embracing an immoral man whose immorality exceeded even what Gentiles permitted (1 Corinthians 5:1-2). Paul’s prescription? Expel the evil influence from among them. It would corrupt others.
Paul counseled the church to avoid associating with any Christian entrenched in unrepentant sinful ways such as immorality, greed or being a swindler (1 Corinthians 5:9-11). Similarly other scriptures prohibit socializing with Christians whose unrepentant behavior reveals a rejection of God’s ways (2 Thessalonians 3:6,14,15; Romans 16:17; Matthew 18:17).
To seek someone’s repentance through withdrawing fellowship does not legitimize malicious activities. Christians are to seek everyone’s wellbeing. For those within Christ, the loving response for those in danger includes withdrawing fellowship to teach them where their path leads.
Switching to our society for a moment, it also values inclusion, tolerance and acceptance. Yet it recognizes some principles trump these values. Acceptance is not the highest value.
Our culture does not accept abusing the weak, nor violence, nor crime, etc. It recognizes it is not loving to condone an abuser – even though he or she might claim, ” this is who I am”. According to our culture, acceptance is not always the right response.
If both scripture and culture promote inclusion and acceptance, why do they sometimes clash? The reason is simple. Scripture and culture are built upon two different standards.
Humanity constructs its short or long lists of what is acceptable. Such lists will vary over time and from culture to culture.
Conversely, Christianity is built upon the standard of God’s final judgment. When God’s word reveals something is destructive and will be condemned, the loving response is to encourage repentance. Otherwise, that person will face the eternal consequences of God’s judgment.
Furthermore, ungodly behaviors are not private. They have a corrosive influence upon the community. Sin matters.
Everyone, whether secularist or Christian, agrees that when a building is on fire the loving response is to try to rescue those inside. The difference between culture and scripture is that sometimes culture does not recognize when God says the house is on fire.
Christianity is not hateful when it refuses to condone what the world might consider acceptable. The question of acceptability is a question about standards and whether those standards are reliable. World history has repeatedly revealed that culture is not a reliable basis for determining what is acceptable. God’s word might not always be popular, but it has endured the test of time.
Barry Newton, link to original article