It’s official: summer is here and it’s heating up out there. As I sat in my garden sipping coffee this morning, I heard a buzz. Coffee break over. Time to tackle my first nasty buzz word in this summer blog series.
Diversity is a very hot and complicated issue. The general meaning of the word from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/diversity:
- the quality or state of having many different forms, types, ideas, etc.
- the state of having people who are different races or who have different cultures in a group or organization
- the condition of having or being composed of differing elements : variety; especially : the inclusion of different types of people (as people of different races or cultures) in a group or organization <programs intended to promote diversity in schools>
- an instance of being composed of differing elements or qualities : an instance of being diverse <a diversity of opinion>
As you can see, there is diversity in the definition of diversity. Therefore, I will tackle diversity in three different posts and maybe, a concluding fourth post. First, what diversity in the church is NOT (this post). Second, we’ll discuss racial and cultural diversity. And last, we’ll explore diversity of backgrounds and social status in the church.
Diversity is a good thing. God created diversity. “Diversity was God’s idea” as it says in this article What does the Bible say about diversity? The article also says,
People, God’s final creation, are diverse, too. He did not create us as clones or robots. He created two different genders (Mark 10:6). The creation of male and female is diversity at its most basic—the sexes are very different, yet complementary.
That’s gender diversity as God created it: male and female.Two distinct genders. Period.
I know, I said I didn’t want to deal with diversity with regard to gender but I feel I must.
Diversity is so tied to this LGBT transgender thing, which is why I hate this particular buzz word when I hear it in Christian circles. So let me offer a quote from a dead (but very much alive) man, Hugh Martin from The Abiding Presence.
“All diversities that are not of Christ’s own prior creation must unquestionably disappear.”
Now I’m sure Hugh Martin was not addressing coed bathrooms when he penned these words in 1860. But I think it is a perfect chastisement for this perverse generation who now attempt to ‘create’ other genders. We can’t have a church with one bathroom for all.
I’m sure all in the Reformed Christian camp would agree that diversities of sexual orientation, transgender or gender confusion do NOT get assimilated into the Body of Christ, the true church. It is …“false, factitious, of man’s formation” – as Hugh Martin says. It gets rebuked. Lovingly, of course. No true Christian can cling to or continue to practice pet sins.
So our challenge as the Body of Christ is to declare His Word; define sin as He clearly does. Yes, accept all with love. Never forget Rosaria Butterfield’s testimony. A lesbian activist transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit, she is now the wife of Reformed Presbyterian Pastor Kent Butterfield. Bear in mind that it was a friend’s love, kindness, patience and prayer that lead to Rosaria’s conversion. Here is her testimony:
If you don’t have time to view the entire video, read her testimony here:
So when that gender-confused person walks into our church building, he/she will get a dose of Truth. Should he/she be moved to stay, be convicted, quickened by the Spirit and enabled to believe, that confusion will fade. That sinner will repent. We would all rejoice with the saints in heaven at such a manifestation of God’s grace! All sinners are welcome. So let them in, let them hear the gospel and pray they do not remain enslaved by their sin.
Here is what happens when we let the LGBT brand of diversity into the church. I once attended this ELCA Lutheran Church, in my quest to find gospel truth after coming out of Pentecostalism. I thought that a church built on reformer Martin Luther’s legacy would be a good place. I left that church when the denomination began their discussion on homosexuality. They’ve gone even further into apostasy since then, along with other mainline Protestant denominations. Read their Who is Welcome page here:
We extend a special welcome to those who are single, married, divorced, straight, gay, filthy rich, dirt poor, or no habla Ingles. We extend a special welcome to those who are crying newborns, skinny as a rail, or could afford to lose a few pounds.
We welcome you if you can sing like Bocelli or can’t carry a note in a bucket. You’re welcome here if you’re “just browsing”, just woke up, or just got out of jail. We don’t care if you are more Lutheran than Martin Luther himself or haven’t been to church since little Joey’s baptism or Sally’s wedding.
We extend a special welcome to those who are over 60 but not grown up yet, and to teenagers who are growing up way too fast. We welcome soccer moms, NASCAR dads, starving artists, retired farmers, hedge fund managers, tree-huggers, latte-sippers, vegetarians, computer nerds and junk-food eaters.
We welcome those who are in recovery, or still addicted – some fo us have also been there. We welcome you if you’re having problems, or you’re down in the dumps, or if you don’t like “organized religion” – we’ve been there too. We welcome you if you are “spiritual” but not “religious” and if you are curious whether it’s possible to be both at once.
If you blew your offering money in a football pool or online betting, you’re welcome here. We welcome you work too hard, or don’t work at all. We welcome you if you have a PhD, but are working at Trader Joe’s, or if you can’t spel reel gud, and the job you have is killing you. We welcome you if you only came to church because Grandma is in town and wanted to go to church and you didn’t want to disappoint her.
We welcome those who are inked, pierced or both. We offer a special welcome to those who could use a prayer right now. We welcome those who had religion shoved down their throats as kids, or by someone in the office after they grew up. We welcome you if you wound up here by mistake, thinking this was the Catholic Church (it’s just North on Deer Park Avenue, but since you’re here already, you might as well stay for the service. We welcome Catholics too!)
We welcome tourists, seekers, doubters and everybody on the edge of faith, which includes, well, pretty much all of us. Bottom line: WE WELCOME YOU! And we welcome you because we know that no matter who you are Jesus welcomes you. Oh, and also because we know that when we receive the welcome that Jesus offers, everything begins to change for the better and keeps changing as long as we do and as long as we welcome others in His name too!
(adapted from one used by Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Daytona Beach, FL)
How Rome has crept back in to the church Luther founded! (This cute, tolerant piece of Madison Avenue wit came from an RCC). Now, you might say, surely all diversities of sinners are welcome. Yes, provided they get the gospel message — the remedy for their sin. Provided they understand their need for Jesus Christ as Saviour, not another Love Guru Jesus who welcomes come-as-you-are unrepentant sinners. I couldn’t find the gospel message on their website. I did not see a statement of faith, creeds or confessions either. I did not see any mention of God’s grace toward sinners. I did not see Sola Scriptura, or any of the great Reformation standards. I hardly saw the name of Jesus, and when I did, he didn’t appear to be the One I know. They did, however, boast about their diversity:
In this, we find a wonderful diversity in our congregation. We are firmly rooted in the foundation of our tradition, blessed by many member who have been raised at Ascension. We also have new members, who come with a fresh perspective and understanding. We are moved by either traditional or contemporary worship styles. We are comprised of “traditional” families, and also much more. We are young adults, divorcees, single parents, same-sex couples, and other ethnicities. We are from a variety of economic and social stations. We are, in all our diversity, the church.[emphases mine]
No, you’re NOT! This is not the Body of Christ at all. How Martin Luther would vomit at the sight of this! I sat in this church for ten years, before the Lord plucked me out of it. While they are proud of their all-inclusiveness, tolerance and diversity, it is grievous to the Holy Spirit. This is not real love; not the love of Christ. This acceptance accepts sin. God does not; God is a holy God who cannot look upon it. They’re allowed to cling to their sin, er, their ‘diversities’ while they are perishing. This fake love sends people to hell. Clearly, they are apostate. They are looking to please men, uh, er, I mean people, by appealing to itching ears.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers;- 2 Timothy 4:3
They are not looking to Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6). Their aim is to get connected. From their home page:
This is a place where you can connect.
Connect with God through inspiring and enlightening worship and study.
Connect with other Christians through fellowship and support groups.
Connect with the world through service to our local, regional, and global communities. [note: good works without the true gospel=dung – added by me].
As you browse the site, open your heart and mind for ways God may be inviting you to deepen your relationships. We hope you’ll connect with us! [buzz words and troubling phrases-emphases mine]
Where is Jesus Christ? They threw him out! Where is the gospel? Their process of ‘vision Discernment’ concluded with the theme of connection (if only they had some spiritual discernment). Connect. Connect with who? Doesn’t sound like the God of the Bible. Connect. Buzz. Enlightening. Scary Buzz. Support groups. Psychobabble Buzz. Connect with the world? Well, only by going into all the world like this:
“Go therefore[a] and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.” — the real Jesus in Matthew 28: 19, 20
I think I’m done with this rant.
It’s going to be a long, hot summer. Time to throw a bucket of ice water over my head.
You can probably see why I dislike the word diversity when I hear it in Reformed Christian circles. Because the cultural buzz of the day is all about sexual diversity. Homosexual, transsexual, pan-sexual, bisexual, I’ve heard it all. I even saw an article about people having ecosex — sex with the ocean. Come quickly, Lord Jesus!
Granted, the ELCA had long ago departed from any semblance to reformed theology. What a pity. Jesus said,
Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. – Revelation 2:5
The candlesticks represent churches. The ELCA candle has been snuffed.
Silence…no more buzzing.