Monday, April 4, 2005

The kind of tolerance Christ provides

As expected, commentators are explaining how the next Pope will need to get "up to date with abortion, female ordination, divorce and gay rights..." The Catholic Church and conservative/evangelical denominations will continue to face pressure to be more tolerant and accepting of "fringe" groups. These groups have it exactly backwards.

The groups crying for tolerance fail to understand the tolerance that the cross does offer. Jesus doesn't care what nationality we are. He doesn't care if we're Samaritan or Jew, Greek or Roman, African or Asian. He doesn't care if we're a centurian or tax collector, murderer or adultress, leper or father. All were capable of receiving His blessing, and only three requirements were made:

  • People coming to Jesus had to have faith. "Your faith has made you clean." "I have seen no faith like this in all of Israel."

  • Sin was to be abandoned in repentance. "Go and sin no more."

  • Love God, and in loving God, obey His will.

    No other requirements were made. No physical alterations were required, and no special dietary laws instituted. Faith in Jesus is a simple calling. It was a calling impossible for human wills, which is why Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to us, and why we gather as a church to strengthen each other. Jesus calls these three demands a "yoke", which means that they are work, but then says "My yoke is light". Since humans need guidelines, the Scriptures provide guidance in implementing God's will, but these are nothing more than an expression of the three points above.

    Jesus WANTS homosexuals and lesbians in His church, just like He wants pornography addicts, drunkards, gluttons, prostitutes, adulters, theives, murders, wife beaters, and all other sinners in His church. God desires that all live, and that none die in the second death. He just makes the 3 demands: have faith, abandon sin, and love Him. He tolerates all people, but has no tolerance of sin.

    So long as special groups want Christ to accept their failure to do one (or more) of these three demands, it isn't God's intolerance or the Church's intolerance that seperates them from Christ, it's their intolerance of Christ.

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