Why I love my church....



Last night I watched as Glenn Beck (a Mormon) opened for our own Pastor Robert Morris on the last night of our "First Under God" Conference. Gateway is an evangelical, non-denominational church but make no mistake--while the slogan is "we're all about people," we're also all about truth too. Week after week Pastor Robert preaches challenging sermons, the first to draw a line in the sand.

And yet Pastor Robert chose a self proclaimed Mormon to speak at our pulpit, a pulpit that has 20,000 members in our regular weekend services, at a conference that had even more viewers through live broadcasting and DayStar TV. And if there was any question about his affiliation, his speech confirmed that with references to the Mormon tabernacle choir and his baptism into the Mormon church.

It wasn't an hour later that the criticisms hit twitter, facebook, and the local water cooler. Questions flooded in from concerned members and viewers alike. Is Glenn Beck really a Christian? Was his speech sincere? Is the Jesus he knows, the same one we believe in? What is Gateway's affiliation with the Mormon Church? Is Gateway endorsing the Mormon Church? What kind of message does this send about absolute truth? What message did Mormons who came to hear Glenn Beck come away with?

Valid concerns, all of them. But really, not the point.

What we witnessed last night is something rare in our world. So rare in fact, that when we do see it, we don't always recognize what it is. Two men stood in front of us of differing viewpoints, calling themselves friends devoid of any ulterior motives other than love. Because of this love and respect, they can disagree and still come away feeling that same brotherly love they started out with.

People are no longer taught how to lovingly disagree with others while holding their own beliefs true. Others go the opposite direction, confusing tolerance with love and grace. What we see in the media and even in our own churches is division and judgment. The church itself has split off into hundreds of denominations, disagreeing on doctrines both big and small, all in the name of being 'right'. It is a rare person now that can do what they have done, who can have friends of differing viewpoints and faiths, and still show them love, respect, and honor.

We need to recognize that hearts will not be won for Christ through legalistic debate, condemnation, or hate. No, hearts are only won through sharing the love and grace Christ has for us with each another.

Last night one man invited another, giving him the highest honor he could, to speak to his congregation. He did so knowing full well that he would be scrutinized, but I can only fathom a guess, that he believed that his friend's soul was worth it. This other man accepted that honor, and in doing so knew I'm sure of the criticism he would receive on the other end. What both men did, that is radical grace and love.

Who can know a man's heart? Who can see behind the scenes to conversations held in private? Who can say who knows our Lord or not? And in embracing a man in love are we condoning a whole sect? These are questions to me, better left to God. Our job is simply to show His love and through it, the truth.

That's what happened last night. It doesn't mean anyone bent the truth, crossed a line, or decided to endorse a whole other faith. It means we believe in the love and grace we've been shown so much, that we're committed to showing it to others.

In our church, all are welcome.

And that's exactly why I love it.

Comments

  1. wow...so very, very well put!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Does no one see a problem here? Its one thing to love others of a different faith (as we should) but it is quite a different matter when you bring a representitive of a demonic influenced cult/religion (make no mistake, it is) with a specific agengenda to manipulate and deceive God's people and place them in God's house saying "go Jesus"... really..??? Lets check ourselves, before we wreck ourselves...

    ReplyDelete
  3. "Does no one see a problem here? Its one thing to love others of a different faith (as we should) but it is quite a different matter when you bring a representitive of a demonic influenced cult/religion (make no mistake, it is) with a specific agengenda to manipulate and deceive God's people and place them in God's house saying "go Jesus"... really..??? Lets check ourselves, before we wreck ourselves... "

    John, I have to respect your concerns, but there is one point I cannot agree with.....that Glenn Beck is a a "representative of a demonic cult." Yes, he is right this second a professing Mormon, but he is also just a man and while Mormonism itself may have an agenda, that doesn't necessarily mean Glenn shares it. Who can judge a man's heart but God? Jesus called us to love our enemies as well as our friends. Our Pastor has said many times that he is speaking with Glenn on the "condition of his soul." Glenn is seeking truth, he just hasn't quite reached it yet, but with Robert Morris, James Robison and David Barton mentoring him, surrounded by Christians, I can safely say he has the tools to find truth.

    He did not get up and preach to our congregation last Wednesday. He simply told us all where he was spiritually. I'm okay with that because I was once "seeking truth" and it took me a long time to find Jesus and moreover to know him like I do now. And it was through the love of others that I found Him, not through legalistic debate. Glenn needs love and grace, and what better way to show him that than to honor where he is and to continue to love and pray for him daily....

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Alex, thank you for your respectful feedback.
    Fundementaly your point(s) are well taken, with some clarification.

    Most important; you have to agree that Jesus CLEARLY told us that we can 'not' serve two masters, we will love the one and hate the other. While the context of that particular passage was addressing materialism I'm pretty confident it also apply to our faith as well. I am not assuming or judging anyone's heart (I hope not!) but I do inturpit scripture very litteral.

    There is nothing wrong at all in befriending, loving, mentoring people of other faiths, its our job! The fact is Mr Beck has not publicly denounced his 15 yr involvement in what we as born again believers consider to be a very spititualy dangerous demonic driven cult. There is a very real danger in welcoming that into our home.

    There are many scriptures that speak to the dangers of allowing the presence of evil/unrepented sin into the body/house of God. I'm just shocked that our Church seems to deviate from those scriptual warnings.

    Now that I think about it, this 'event' almost seems like a feesability study of a sort. I sure hope we don't go down the Rick Warren road... (thinking out loud)

    Sorry, there are just so many possible implications with this. I now the Church is a place for the lost, as it needs to be, but i simply see nowhere in scripture where ceremoniously standing up a person of another faith in the house of God is demonstrated (pre repentant). I sure hope I am (and many others) are wrong and we see the scriptural precautions come back into play.

    Thanks for entertaining my rebuttal. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi John, I'll address your comments by paragraph:

    "Most important; you have to agree that Jesus CLEARLY told us that we can 'not' serve two masters, we will love the one and hate the other. While the context of that particular passage was addressing materialism I'm pretty confident it also apply to our faith as well. I am not assuming or judging anyone's heart (I hope not!) but I do interpret scripture very literal."

    I'm not sure that having someone of another faith get up and speak about his heart is serving two masters. I'd be worried if Pastor Robert had Glenn Beck speak on a normal weekend service to preach or teach, sure, but this conference was about bringing God back into the government and nation and in this area Glenn has a vested interest, so he is a likely partnership.

    "There is nothing wrong at all in befriending, loving, mentoring people of other faiths, its our job! The fact is Mr Beck has not publicly denounced his 15 yr involvement in what we as born again believers consider to be a very spititualy dangerous demonic driven cult. There is a very real danger in welcoming that into our home."

    I would say we need to welcome anyone into our home, from a demonic background or not, and treat them with love. Should we have given him a platform to speak? Not sure, and frankly not something we can do anything about now. I trust our leadership. Gateway has Robert, a host of elders and deacons, and a senior team staff and it's hard for me to believe that everyone of them made a wrong decision. If there's one thing Gateway does well it's church government. Furthermore, worrying about what others will think of us doing that is called "the fear of man," something we are warned against. If in loving on a man, he comes to Christ, to me it's worth the scrutiny.

    Remember that Christ was balked at for associating with tax collections and adulterers. He was called a drunkard and a glutton just for being around people like that, and yet he welcomed them with open arms.

    We also need to temper this with the fact that Pastor Robert has been open with us in our services, letting us know that he and Glenn are speaking about his faith, that he's asking questions, so it isn't like Glenn is not seeking. But until he has an encounter with God you cannot expect him to renounce Mormonism. Once he does, I'm sure he will, just as I renounced my old life and associations.

    "Sorry, there are just so many possible implications with this. I now the Church is a place for the lost, as it needs to be, but i simply see nowhere in scripture where ceremoniously standing up a person of another faith in the house of God is demonstrated (pre repentant). I sure hope I am (and many others) are wrong and we see the scriptural precautions come back into play.

    Thanks for entertaining my rebuttal. :-)"

    I would encourage you to really pray about if you have trust in what Gateway is about. Implications to me have the same meaning as assumptions, and you know what assumptions do...they make a...well you know the rest.

    I think if you are worried, your point of action would be to address a letter to our elders and Pastor Robert. But I don't think debating about whether we should have had Glenn speak is relevant now, because it's already happened. All we can do is move forward, and that's what I was trying to do in this post.

    Frankly I'm proud to be in a church that let's anyone in and welcomes everyone. Now, if we start to see unbelievers preaching on Sundays....I might have a different opinion, but I'm fairly certain we won't see that.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Yes, that was unfortunately the response I was afraid of getting back. Thank you for sharing 'your' thoughts and opinions on this matter. Sadly, many do not see the eschatological warning signs clearly laid out for us in scripture.

    Quoting Pastor Robert; " Should we bring all things to 'Him' in prayer? Absolutely! But some things don't need to be prayed about, like, should I read the Bible? We're told to". (Paraphrase)

    Same situation here.. we are told to look for such things and either deal with them or run. I'm just suggesting we consider the implications (FAR from an assumption).

    We can agree to disagree. Sorry if I waisted space on here. I would like to recommend another blog if anyone is interested in what others think about this:
    http://beforeallicando.wordpress.com/2012/01/05/premature-platform/

    Ezekiel 33:6
    But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, so that the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any one of them, that person is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at the watchman's hand.

    ReplyDelete
  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular Posts