An open letter to all.
Regarding the protest of President Trump’s rally in Tulsa that Mary Jo started.
If you think it important enough to call to state that what she did was unchristian but do not have the courage to give your name and not have your phone number blocked, then I have neither the time or inclination to listen to anything you have to say.
Furthermore, just because we are both followers of Christ does not give you the right to correct my or her actions. You don’t know us, and we don’t know you. And as Paul says in Romans 14:5, “Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.”
Regarding the specific charge that what Mary Jo did was unchristian, I am thinking you mean to make unchristian and unChristlike synonymous. But are they? Mary Jo, in a public forum, protested the actions of President Trump when he scheduled his first Covid-19 rally for Juneteenth and near the site of the deadliest race massacre in the history of this country which happened in Tulsa in 1921 because his actions showed that he didn’t care about a marginalized segment of our country, those who are black.
What did Jesus do? He spoke up for those of the community who had been marginalized by the religious leadership, the religious moralists of the day, better known as the Pharisees. That’s what Christlike behavior looks like, advocating for those who have been marginalized by those in leadership.
That is exactly what Mary Jo did in starting this protest. She called attention to the actions of a leader of this country who showed, has shown, and most likely will continue to show that he really does not care about those parts of our communities who have been marginalized.
Furthermore, the man whom you support as president is a man who has been accused by multiple women of sexual assault, uses crass language on Twitter, and has no problem whatsoever calling names and using derisive language toward those who disagree with him. And this is the man you support as a follower of Jesus.
I am of the opinion that you should be placed in the same group as the Pharisees for you are truly religious moralists and make excuses and justifications of behaviors that God finds abhorrent, all because you agree politically.
You can make the claim of “unchristian” all you want, but that still won’t make you right. Calling attention to the plight of the marginalized has been something God has been concerned about for a long time, even before Christ came on the scene.
You answer to your master, whoever’s that may be; we will answer to God, for He truly is our Master and we serve him, not you.
From Pastor Jim –
In our series, “Why are Churches Divided?” we have looked at one reason – the quest for doctrinal purity. This coming Saturday we will dive into the next way churches are divided – racial lines. In the days between now and Saturday, I would encourage you to reflect on a quote from the Apostle Paul and a quote from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Paul in wrote in Galatians 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Gentile . . . for you are all one in Christ.” In 1963, Dr. King said, “It is appalling that the most segregated hour of Christian America is 11 o’clock on Sunday morning.” Additionally, consider this finding from the 2012 National Congregations Study: 80% of churches have a single racial or ethnic group that comprises at least 80% of the congregation and, as such, are considered homogeneous.
When I was growing up, my family was part of an independent conservative Baptist congregation. Even though there were other congregations in my hometown – other Baptists, Methodist, Lutheran, Catholic, etc. – we did not associate with any of them; we stood separate from all others. The thinking/attitude was that our congregation alone held the truth and all others, while maybe not hypocrites, were teaching error. And because of the need to remain theologically pure, we needed to remain separate from them, or else we might fall into doctrinal error.
The principle behind that type of attitude is that our interpretation of Scripture must be the right one. To say differently or say that someone else’s interpretation has merit is akin to saying that we are wrong and in error. Above all else, we must stay theologically and doctrinally pure.
This is exactly the issue Paul is addressing in I Corinthians 1:11-13a – “I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you. Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, ‘I am of Paul,’ and ‘I am of Apollos,’ and ‘I am of Cephas,’ and ‘I am of Christ.’ Has Christ been divided?”
By listing the groups that were formed because of the quarrels, it is apparent that Paul is saying that these quarrels causing disunity are of a theological nature. Paul, Apollos, and Peter all taught theology and there were some apparent differences between them, but none strayed from the foundation of the gospel – Christ crucified, resurrected, and salvation through him. But people were divided over the various teachers. And Paul said stop it!
There are going to be theological differences among the people of God, but that should not stop us from coming together as the whole people of God in a community. A desire for full doctrinal purity before fellowshipping with another church in town is misguided Don’t give Christ a black eye because you think you and your church alone holds the truth.
There is little doubt that the followers of Christ are not united. They are fractured into so many different parts that it would not be surprising to find the symbol of a cross next to the definition of disunity in Webster’s dictionary. The followers of Christ are the poster children for what it means to be divided. And this is in direct contradiction of what Jesus prayed in the upper room on the night he was betrayed.
But why are His followers so divided? There are many reasons. Over the next few weeks I will be discussing some of the different reasons in greater detail.
Here is the first: the quest for doctrinal purity.
We’ll talk more on Saturday.