In some of my conversations with Christians about theology I’m discovering believers who are far more gracious, inclusive, and compassionate than their beliefs.
A case in point: Baptists Today is currently running a series of articles on the topic, “Homosexuality and the Church.” People who have different perspectives have been assigned to present their point of view. The pastor who wrote the article for part 2 (November, vol. 27, no. 11 issue) set forth a theology of condemnation. The harsh, condemnatory language of the Bible was cited and argued that it is all applicable for today.
The reader was made to expect, based on the severe, wrathful, condemnatory language of the Bible cited, that the conclusion would be one of condemnation. And yet the author concludes (even though he has argued that the Bible, meaning God, condemns the homosexual with angry, vindictive language) that to fail to show compassion toward the homosexual is inexcusable. He even says: “The church should support legislation that would give homosexual persons equal rights in employment, housing, and public accommodations.”
Here is a situation where the pastor whose argument from the Bible is laced with condemnatory language is more gracious than his theology; the pastor shows more compassion and grace than the vindictive God he pictures and imagines God to be.
In my conversations with Christians I am seeing this again and again, namely, Christians more gracious and understanding than the God they profess to believe in and serve.
Amazing! Why not let go of a harsh, exclusive, judgmental theology? Otherwise, the gracious Christian who believes in such a God comes across as a much better person than the God he or she worships.