Can I share something with you that’s been bothering me recently?
I’ve always loved going to church. There’s nothing more energizing than an inspired worship service. Most of my friends are people I’ve met at church through small groups or serving together on ministry teams.
Studying the Bible is something I love, too. Even now, I find a couple of scriptures absolutely terrifying. No, it’s not the ones that talk about Hell being a place of torment and fire for all of eternity. Yes, those terrify me also, but that’s not what I’m talking about.
It’s the passages that talk about heaven—and who won’t be there—that haunt me.
Consider the story of the ten bridesmaids in Matthew 25. Five of the bridesmaids were applauded as being wise because they prepared by bringing enough oil for the entire event. The other five, however, weren’t on the premises when the groom arrived because they weren’t prepared and watching for him when he finally arrived.
Many Biblical scholars believe that the five bridesmaids who were locked out of the wedding present a strong warning that as much as 50% of the church may not make the cut at the time of the Lord’s return. 50%!
In the last ten years or so, I’ve noticed a new teaching permeating the church which I refer to as “The Love Gospel.” We are simply to love everyone, all the time. We must accept them and welcome them with open arms. If we are kind to those who don’t agree with us, they will come back to church and have the opportunity to hear the gospel. If we befriend them and invite them into our homes, they will eventually become followers of Jesus, just like us.
Most importantly, we’re to not offend anyone. We should avoid potentially inflammatory topics such as abortion, gay marriage, and anything remotely political in nature.
Don’t get me wrong, I wholeheartedly agree with the need to be kind and compassionate to everyone. I have had lots of friends who think and act differently than I do. As a family, we support struggling individuals with our time and resources, both in our local community and throughout the world. Our love for each other is, after all, the trademark of a true believer according to John 13:35.
But something isn’t adding up in my mind. Is it possible to be too nice, too kind, and too patient waiting for the right opportunity when an individual approaches us for a one-on-one, ready to repent of their sin and make different lifestyle choices? Is this what Jesus did?
If Jesus really was the tolerant, passive, mild-mannered gentlemen we would like to believe He was, would His own people have killed Him? If He loved everyone all the time and without judgment, why did they hunt him down like an animal? Asking for a friend.
Is it possible that Jesus wasn’t always “nice,” as some have presumed? He called out the church leaders as being white-washed tombs full of dead bones; He aggressively confronted temple vendors who were cheating and exploiting the poor and underprivileged; He disregarded virtue signalers who opposed Him healing a paraplegic because of their legalistic traditions.
The Son of God didn’t come to earth to lead a worship service; He came to lead his disciples into battle. In Matthew 10:16, He said to his followers, “Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves.” He warned they would be betrayed and persecuted. He told them to look out for those in authority who would try to kill them. Jesus trained and commissioned his early followers to be activists, not choir directors.
This begs the question… why were He and his followers so hated? Because they spoke the truth. Jesus said, “what I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs” (Matthew 10:27). Later in the same passage, Jesus boldly declares that they should not suppose that He came to earth to bring peace, but rather to bring a sword (verse 34). Say what? That doesn’t sound nice.
Personally, I think some in our churches have mistaken cowardice for kindness. Are we lulling people to sleep with a false sense of security when we should be shouting the truth from the mountain tops?
If we don’t educate people who attend our churches on Sundays by providing informed, compelling, yet tempered, arguments for the defense of human life, the protection of traditional marriage, and the need to advocate for traditional values in our political system, who else will? When the American church abdicates this responsibility, we leave the fate of our society in the hands of politicians. Just think about that.
No, we are not to make judgements about other people’s motives, particularly unbelievers, but the same is not true for the actions of those “inside the church.” Scripture advocates for a completely different mode of operation for us.
In the book of 1 Corinthians, Paul discusses a very delicate situation happening in one of the local churches: a man was having an affair with his stepmother! Paul’s response? He told the leaders of that church in no uncertain terms to confront the man and show him the door. This act of tough love was the only way Paul saw that the perpetrator could save his own soul.
He continues, “what business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside” (I Corinthians 5:12-13).
Yet some pastors (not all, of course), are telling us, believers in Jesus Christ, to stand down on the issues of abortion, gay marriage, and premarital sex. Just love everyone. Don’t judge. Don’t talk about sin or teach what the Bible says about the consequences of harming children or sexual immorality. If we’re accepting enough and not judgmental, they’ll eventually come around to our way of thinking.
But they haven’t. And—as always happens when evil is left unchecked—the crisis is escalating. Recently, we have discovered that in New York City and other places, sexual predators are being INVITED into public elementary schools for Drag Queen Story Hour. Teachers are talking to our first graders about choosing their own gender. Disney and other corporations are over-sexualizing our preschoolers through non-binary cartoon characters. We would be fired for saying these things in the office, but now third-grade teachers can talk to kids about sex. Should we stand down on these issues, too?
But maybe I’m just “too political.” I suppose I see the New World Order falling into alignment. I may be mistaken to believe that technology is currently being developed to track humanity using a chip placed under the skin. I could be delusional to think that our politicians (yes, in America) are introducing dangerous legislation—such as the Equality Act—that will weaponize law enforcement to send pastors to prison for speaking against sex trafficking, homosexuality, and other crimes against humanity in their own pulpits.
We may lose some people; we may offend some, and they may never come back to our church. Yes, we need to be kind. Yes, compassion should always be our first response. Yes, we need to love those who don’t agree with us. But don’t we have an obligation to tell them the truth?
As Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas once said, “You can be in the middle of a hurricane, or you can be on a calm day, north is still north.”
I fear we have sacrificed the truth on the altar of appeasement. Have we made the narrow path far too wide? Has our populist appeal to the masses led them down the wrong road? Is it possible that we could be showering lost people with gifts and buying them lattes, while the flood waters rise?
Paul assured us in 2 Timothy 4:3 that a time would come when people would reject sound teaching. Instead, they will look for teachers who will tell them whatever they want to hear because it doesn’t offend them. My spiritual GPS tells me that we’ve arrived.
And the most haunting scripture of all:
On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’ Matthew 7:22-24
To go back to my original question… are you a 50 percenter? I’m sure you’ve surely figured out that you are. We all are. Now it’s up to you now to choose which side you’re on.