Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Discrimination in the Church

"Circumcision is no longer a hot topic for the church, but the deeper issue here is still relevant. Paul regarded circumcision as a synecdoche for the entire law (see Phil. 3:2-9); it represented law-keeping in general. Thus the apostle was fighting for something fundamental to Christianity at all times and in all places: What does it take to become a first-class member of God's family? Is it simply a matter of faith in Christ, or is there something else, too?

The answer is that there are no second-class Christians. How could there be? Every Christian is saved exactly the same way: by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. Therefore, there can be no discrimination in the church. The church cannot exclude people from salvation on the basis of race, gender, class, age, or anything else. The church cannot even discriminate on the basis of relative righteousness. Christians have a way of ranking sins. If someone is struggling with pride and lust, that's okay. Who isn't? But someone who is battling with depression, or whose marriage is falling apart or who is tempted to commit homosexual sins, or who is addicted to drugs had better keep quiet. Otherwise people will know that he or she does not really belong in the church.

This seems to be the way some Christians think, but it is not the way God thinks. Christians have different gifts, of course. We have different backgrounds. We have different cultures, in some cases. We have different ministries and callings, so there is order in the church. We have different trials and temptations. But there is no difference in our standing before God. And if there is no difference in our standing before God, there should be no differences in our standing with one another." --Phil Ryken, Galatians, p.44

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"The Voyages..." Forays into Biblical studies, Biblical exegesis, theology, exposition, life, and occasionally some Star Trek...