Worshipping The god of Inclusiveness
This is the the third part of a three part post. I've been talking about how the United Methodist Church not believing in the inerrant and infallibility of the Bible has let to a practice of using changing human culture as the basis to interpret scripture, and this has led to the separation of love from obedience (to God).
This brings us to the final point, the heresy that is driving United Methodists away from God. The worshipping of the god of inclusiveness. Everything I've observed in the United Methodist Church, and in the articles in the Progressive Christian Magazine, and in talking with practicing United Methodists... their beliefs and how they live out their faith is based not on the Bible, but on inclusiveness.
Love is defined not as obedience to God, but as inclusiveness.
Inclusiveness is the god of the United Methodist Church (or at least the god of many of the churches within the UMC).
In an article ("Blaming Our Ugliness on God") in the current issue of Progressive Christian Magazine, the Rev. Scott Campbell states: "The religious right has been on a campaign to belittle and ridicule the notion of inclusiveness, insisting that inclusion is not a doctrine, as if somehow that makes it less worthy or less linked to Christ."
Let's see if I understand the last part of what he is saying... if inclusion is not a doctrine taught by the Bible, we should still link the doctrine of inclusion to Christ. He is saying that our own human ideas are in authority over God. If we think it is a good idea, then we can make it a part of Christ. We decide what Christ's message is, instead of believing the Bible. This is what is called making god in your own image.
Looking over my past six posts we can see that the foundational doctrine that is driving un-Biblical practices in the United Methodist Church is the doctrine of inclusiveness. Everything is filtered through the doctrine of inclusiveness. Inclusiveness trumps everything else, including the Bible, the church's own Book of Discipline, the teaching of Martin Luther and John Wesley... everything.
What does the Bible say about inclusiveness? To start I researched (in the KJV) the words: include, inclusive and inclusiveness. None of those words are ever used in the Bible... anywhere. The Bible never talks about inclusiveness. It's a big book, with lots of words. But these words are never used.
Of course, that doesn't mean the principle of inclusiveness isn't taught in the Bible. So let's find out. Does the Bible teach the principle of inclusiveness?
Acts 4:12 says: "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."
So salvation is very exclusive. It is through Jesus Christ alone.
In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus says:
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. " (Matthew 7:21)
The kingdom of heaven is very exclusive. Only those who obey God will enter the kingdom.
We saw in a previous post that the Lord's Supper is very exclusive. It is for believers only, and only those believers who are coming to the table in a worthy manner. (1 Corinthians 11:26-29)
Sin cuts us off from God. Isaiah 59:2 tells us: "Your iniquities have separated you from your God." Our sin divides humanity into two groups, those who are separated from God and believers who are no longer condemned by their sin (Romans 8:1) and thus have Jesus Christ living in them (Galatians 2:20). Each group is exclusive of the other. You can not be in both groups, and you must be in one or the other. They are exclusive.
God excludes some people from certain activities. Women may not teach men (1 Timothy 2:12). Only believers may be in ministry (1 Timothy 3:1-13, Titus 1:6-9). Those who embrace sin are not believers (Acts 3:19, 26:20, Luke 13:3).
Christianity is not inclusive. God has set boundaries and limits.
There is one aspect of Christianity that is inclusive. Salvation through God's grace is available to all. It does not matter where you live, what culture you are in, who you are, or how much you have opposed God (sinned) in the past. Everyone who repents (turns away from sinning) and trust Jesus Christ as their Savior is saved.
What principle about inclusiveness do we get from the Bible? Salvation is open to all (the opportunity is inclusive), but only those who repent and trust Christ are saved (salvation is very exclusive). That's it.
If there is a doctrine of inclusiveness, that doctrine is that we (believers) should be sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-3) with everyone... no exceptions. Are you doing that? Or are you instead worshipping the false "god" of inclusiveness and spending your time making sinners feel good about their sin? That's all that worldly inclusiveness accomplishes. It is a very unloving attitude to have.
If you truly love your neighbor, show that love by warning them about sin and eternal hell.
The Prince of Preachers, Charles Spurgeon said: "Have you no wish for other to be saved? Then you are not saved yourself. Be sure of that."
Jonathan Edwards said: "The only way we can know whether we are sinning is by knowing His Moral Law."
George Whitefield said: - "First, then, before you can speak peace to your hearts, you must be made to see, made to feel, made to weep over, made to bewail, your actual transgressions against the Law of God."
The Bible says: "But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murders, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars--their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death." (Revelation 21:8)
"How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? " - Romans 15:14
Christians need to go out and tell people, tell all the nations of the world, the good news about sin and Jesus Christ. That is practicing inclusiveness!