Why is it that some Christ-followers are forever giving the Christian faith a bad name?
Here’s the latest.
A representative of Boone’s Camp Event Hall in Mississippi recently turned down a couple who wanted to get married at this venue with the explanation, “We don’t do mixed-race weddings because of our Christian belief.”
Really? Can we just call it what it is…stupid, ignorant, embarrassing, damaging to the reputation of Christ?
The Bible says nothing directly or indirectly prohibiting people of different races from getting married. There is no such commandment, nor are there any passages that could remotely be interpreted in that direction.
While the hall owners said they had previously been taught “interracial marriage was against the teaching of the Bible,” they eventually recognized their disturbing mistake and privately apologized to the engaged couple.
Of course, this unbiblical view on marriage was shared with the Twitter world, and the reputational damage was done. No wonder Christians are viewed as insensitive, intolerant bigots.
I get angry when I read about such nonsense. What is it with some Christians? Why do they say and believe things that have no compelling basis in Scripture?
Here’s another example closer to home, this time from pastors and lay leaders praying in public. How many times have I heard someone carelessly pray the following, “Father, thank you, for dying on the cross for our sins.”
Really? Is our view of the Trinity so muddled? When did God the Father die between two thieves on Golgotha? Wasn’t it the incarnate second person of the Trinity, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shed his blood for the sins of the whole world? (1 Corinthians 15:3)
I get it that some confused saint might think interracial marriage offended God. But could we at least not confuse God the Father with God the Son!
And then, what about those deeply held theological truths that our forefathers’ embedded generations ago in denominational statements of faith. For example, the doctrine of “premillennial rapturism” was once sacrosanct. Christ would return with his previously raptured saints and inaugurate a literal thousand-year reign here on earth.
But then some biblical scholars woke up to the reality that this version of premillennialism is a rather recent addition to Christian thought from the mid-19th Century and is not robustly supported by Scripture. And voila, church leaders excise the questionable doctrine from their statement of faith, recognizing that what once was taken as gospel truth in fact was little more than a fringe group’s interpretation of Scripture.
Strange, isn’t it, how time has an inevitable way of calling out our once immutable, but now questionable convictions. There are sobering lessons about dogmatism here for all of us.
And then, of course, what about those icons of Christian prophecy who with utter confidence predict the end of the world, only to be overtaken by the sands of time?
What better example is there of this tendency to twist Scripture to fit our fallible notions than the discredited prophetic utterances of Hal Lindsay in his once bestseller, “The Late Great Planet Earth,” who declared that Christ would return in the 1980s. Oops.
What’s the takeaway of all this? None of us is immune from distorted news and views, whether the “fake news” of media cycles or dangerously distorted interpretations of Scripture. All the more reason then why we as Christian leaders in our businesses, our families and in our faith, communities need to “major on the majors.”
Let’s not get sidelined by questionable theological convictions and crazy notions tacked on to God’s Word. Instead, in my humble opinion, we would do well to let the time-tested convictions of Christian orthodoxy guide our living. Simply defined, “orthodoxy” refers to:
“What Christians have always believed, everywhere, at all times.”
These common beliefs are the essentials of the Christian faith. They are clear in Scripture, articulated in The Creed, supersede denominational distinctives, and have been given voice by Christians everywhere down through the centuries.
It’s when we depart from these essentials and are tempted to differentiate ourselves and judge others, that we end up declaring such nonsense as God is against interracial marriage.
Please, God, spare us from distorting your Word, walling off others, and leading your followers to unwittingly embrace the Christian version of fake news.
For the sake of orthodoxy and the name of Christ,