Inclusive Churches?
 

 

Does inclusive churches exist? Inclusive churches generally meant that they are welcoming to diverse theological faith outlooks from the conservatives to the liberals. In Singapore and Malaysia, such churches are very rare and of the 300,000 christians in Singapore, perhaps two or three churches are inclusive or 0.01%. Therefore, such churches are rare and unique and perhaps precious to the body of Christ as a whole by asking difficult questions outside the norm (not that they are any closer to God).

Does inclusive churches exist when the term "inclusive" in practise have meant inclusive of a more flamming liberal stance with a universalist view of religion and a metaphorical view of Christ. When one says they are inclusive, it reads inclusive of their liberal views and being rather antagonistic to the evangelicals, charismatics, and Pentecostals whom can be quite jarring for them.

Therefore "inclusivity" or Queer theology is a minomer and may be a delusion in one sense. A person would be rather unique if he/she enjoys every month the worship and preaching of a liberal setting the first week followed by an evangelical church the next, a charismatic church the third week and a Pentecostal church the last week. He would then be truly inclusive, or a miracle in the making.

In USA, as the Mainline churches (Congregationalists, the Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Methodists, Uniting church of Christ, American Baptists, the Christian Church) are declining and becoming more liberal. However, the Evangelical conservatives are growing. People are quiting the mainline churches because for the entire year, the minister didn't say the "words of Jesus", and didn't really believe in God. The Evangelicals go out and bring people in to to their faith whilsts the mainline churches are getting older with their young leaving them.

The Barna Research defines Evangelicals based on a 9-point definition

  • Satan is real

  • salvation is based on grace, not works

  • a personal responsibility to share their religious beliefs with others

  • faith in God as the top priority in their life

  • Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth

  • Bible is totally accurate in all of its teachings

  • Life has been greatly transformed by their faith

  • Must describe God as the all-knowing, all-powerful perfect deity that created the universe and still rules it.

  • Believe they will go to heaven because they confessed their sins and accepted Jesus. 

  Liberal Christianity is generally based on the following:-

  • Bible is not divinely inspired.

  • Humane teachings of Jesus ie love commandment of Jesus

  • Miracles and the supernatural are mere superstitions

  • Jesus' resurrection is merely metaphorical along with all other divine miracles.

  • Jesus is not of the divine

In the US, Liberal Christianity has made major inroads into the mainstream denominations at the same time provoking an opposite response into a more evangelical and miracle based Christianity resulted in the massive growth and rise of the mega churches. The Liberals and Evangelical Charismatics are getting further apart with the Charismatics gainning the upper hand in terms of growth.

In Singapore and Malaysia, the Evangelical Charismatics predominates despite the complaints from liberals that they are not thinking but sheepish. Yet, there are few takers for Liberation/Queer Theology except a few diehards compared to tens of thousands in the opposite camp.  Yet for all the progressive churches humanistic ideas, our Christian Faith is often stronger when we consider the faith experiences of others different from us however heretic it may seem.

Few are actually asking difficult questions. For example, when a dear friend in a big charismatic evangelical church was asked to preach about cults, he was reluctant. So too are most of us reluctant to study the ancient religious gods that the context of the bible was set upon where demons and angels are real and straight people avail themselves to have sex with demons to join themselves with the gods. It was never about homosexuality, nor that all sin are "equal" for it is the sin of worshipping ancient religious gods and not because they have same sex orientation.

Most are so adamant that homosexuality was a sin because the "bible says so", because we are afraid to ask further - why were the Jews so fervent in the law yet were exposing themselves and joining themselves in sex with the other gods! how can entire cities comes under spiritual control! and the giants spoken of in the ancient cultures may have been the inbreeding between mankind and the deities for whom was considered strange flesh distorting the image of God in mankind. Why were they seeking sex with the angels in Sodom when they can "enjoy" each other? Not believing in angels or the spritual realm doesn't mean they don't exist.

The Liberals and Evangelicals give each other very little space and often quick to criticise with flaiming thunder and hailstone. The issue here is being too quick to judge and condemn others different from ourselves hence taking the role of God which is a blasphemy. There are not too many liberals anyway nowadays, keeping in dialogue with themselves in the mountain closets whist the Charismatics conquer the world like the colonials of the past.

True inclusivity is not being welcoming to a diverse theological reflection but to reflect what the Christian faith means and works best for us in relationship with God. ie our approach should be inward, how the faith experiences of others may benefit our own walk with Christ rather than focusing on proving that the other is a heretic even if he/she was one.

True inclusivity is humility vary that Jesus made Himself of nothing when He came to die for us, and therefore being in the same mind be slow to raise the sword but be quick to see the goodness in others.

True inclusvisity is not being inclusive of all ways to heaven, but to focus on the Cross of Calvary and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. At the Cross, all is stripped away, our pride, our nakedness, our mere humanity. Everything is taken away and we begin to see what is important in our faith walk and to realise that there is no point proving the other person is wrong because they will have to bear the cross of judgement one day or another. Even if we were 99% right and others were 1%, we still have much to learn and have nothing to boast of but Christ.

   

   

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