Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Hypocrisy of Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church (and Many of Their Litigants)

Before I share my thoughts on this situation, let me say without hesitation or reservation that any church that practices racism is without question, guilty of covenant breaking and egregious sin before a holy God. There is no place for racism in any form in the Christian community. At the core of racism are hate and pride. To hold such a view of our fellow man is violently incongruent with the Christian ethic. To say I love Jesus and to hate your brother makes one a liar of the first order. The hypocrites in this situation will say they love people of different races from their own. They will piously explain that they are taking this stand for all sorts of irrational reasons. I know, I have probably heard of them. I grew up 60 miles or so from this little town. I have heard every argument imaginable to justify this ignorant and hateful position. That being said, I want to use this case to illustrate the hypocrisy that is taking place in churches and Christian conversations all over the country as a result of this situation.

Many, many Christians are simply stunned by the actions of this tiny group of people (40 approximately). And they should be. Outrage is a proper response. However, what is it that makes racism wicked? The problem I have with many in the Christian community is that they will never get to the crux of the sin itself. That is unfortunate because this is an excellent opportunity to shine the light of God’s righteous character onto our own lives and churches and see where it is we are playing the fool as well. Somewhere, there is a man or a woman who divorced their spouse for what they think was justifiable reasons. It could be that he drank too much or she spent too much. It could be that they fought all the time and neither of them was happy. It could be that they just “fell out of love.” They attend church every Sunday and Wednesday and even Sunday school as well. His friends, Christian friends support him or her Christian friends support her. They all come together and sing kum ba yah every week and everything is just fine. They will read this story in the news and respond with outrage the same as most other decent folks have. They will criticize this church, and their criticism will probably be right, or at least mostly right. Their pastor and leaders will do the same thing. Everyone will be so “terribly disturbed” by the actions of this church. How dare they decide to bring such hate into the church? This thinking is certainly justified according to Scripture’s teaching on love and unity.

Others are going to gather in churches all over the country and criticize this act by this small church, all the while endorsing same-sex marriage. They will contend that the homosexual decision is based on genetics, that God made it so, and therefore they should be allowed to share their love with whomever they please. They will gather together, man with man, woman with woman, and they will criticize the actions of this small church, probably for days and even weeks on end. And they are right to do so. This small church has no defense for its egregious actions.
Still others will gather together and join in condemning this church, but then will go home to their “significant other.” They live with someone outside the bonds of marriage and attend church just the same. They think that because they “feel” love for God that this equals love for God. They may even have children together. They will rail against this small church and condemn each and every member as a hypocrite. They might be right! Certainly I could never remain in a church that engaged in such hate. Everyone there has a responsibility to stand up for the truth and love of God. To remain and do nothing is just as scandalous as those who are pushing the item of hate through to a vote.

Then, there is yet one more group. This group knows about the practicing homosexuals in their congregation. They know of folks who are living together; they know of folks who are guilty of malicious gossip and slander and they do absolutely nothing to confront the sin that is right in front of their face. They too will go to church and, criticize this little church. They will talk about how hateful it is to take up such a policy and think in such terms. They will even voice their opinion in Sunday school and at bible study. But, when the chance comes for them to be devoted to Christ, they scurry away, hiding in the crevices under the guise of keeping their nose out of the matter. They are cowards. They are hypocrites. They speak out openly about matters that even the world can agree is wrong, but when it comes time to actually make a real difference in their own community by doing the right thing, they abandon ship like a weak, pathetic, unbelieving wretch without even the slightest backbone whatsoever. They are much like a person whose feet have left the deck of the ship in abandonment, yet before his feet can hit the water he speaks of his love and devotion to the ship and crew and passengers. No one takes him seriously.

Racism is wrong because it violates the nature and character of God. Racism is not wrong because it is racism. It is only wrong in the context of the Christian worldview. Could an atheist ever argue, with any rational compunction whatever, that racism is wrong? How? We are all accidents without value or purpose. In what sense could an atheist ever give a persuasive argument that anything is wrong, let alone racism? The Christian worldview can condemn racism in the strongest of terms and it does. Racism is wrong for the very reasons these other sins are wrong: they violate the character and nature of the holy God. I have news for those who divorce without biblical grounds, those who make the choice to practice homosexuality, abortion, malicious gossip, sexual promiscuity, all the while claiming to know and love God: YOU are Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church. You are no different than the church that excludes interracial couples from her membership! I know, you think that you are different. You feel like you are different. You are NO different. You violently break the covenant of the same God they break. You break it in one point, they break it is another point. So what! You are a covenant breaker no different from them. You practice your sin and love it! But to you, your sin is respectable and theirs is not! So that is alright. I have shocking news for you: no sin is respectable. All covenant-breakers will pay their due. You are either in covenant under Christ or you are in covenant under Adam. Those who practice sin are in covenant under Adam. You do not know God and are still in darkness. You are a dressed up moralist who has stamped Jesus on your own set of rules and because you attend service each week, you think this makes you a Christian. Just as Nathan the prophet said to David about the cruelty that he had engaged in: YOU ARE THE MAN! You who are invovled in a church where these various sins are winked at or tolerated, God says to you: YOU ARE THAT CHURCH! So too, think about the vile behavior of racism in a supposedly Christian church. It turns your stomach, doesn’t it! In the same way, those who practice illicit divorce, adultery, sexual immorality, homosexuality, abortion, lying, slander, and those who tolerate those who do these things, you turn God’s stomach. If you want to talk about anything in Church as a result of this incident, talk about that.

1 comment:

  1. In one church I pastored I was preaching through the book of Acts and came to the section on Peter's vision and God sending him to the Gentiles. I spoke of the sin of racism as people nodded their heads and said amen. I then pointed out that it was easy for them to agree since we were a rural church in an area with almost no minorities. I said "but what if someone came in with dirty clothes (this was back in the day when men wore suits and women wore dresses to church) unkempt hair, didn't smell good?" The looks on their faces gave them away--they would have a problem with that, though they would try to act as if they didn't. We all are guilty of breaking God's holy law and must turn to Jesus for redemption. To judge this other church, though they are in the wrong, while ignoring our own flaws is indeed hypocrisy.
    Terry Reed
    Small Church Tools


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