Saturday, April 12, 2014

big tent evangelicalism

One of the things that has happened to evangelicalism over the last couple of decades is it has become increasingly narrow. Andy Holt in venn magazine issues a call for Big Tent Evangelicalism
I long for a big tent Church. What good does it do any of us to break off into like-minded sub groups, perpetuating the us-vs-them mentality?
Jesus was called a “friend of sinners.” Do you know what that means? It means that he was kind to the broken. It means that the wounded and hurting, the outcasts and the rejects were drawn to him. Do you know what all of these people have? They have baggage. They have stuff that makes them hard to love. 
Jesus is still drawing these kinds of people to himself. Do you know who they are? They’re you and me. If you have come to Jesus, it’s because you’re broken, you have baggage, and you have stuff about you that can, sometimes, make it hard for others to love you. And that’s okay! Because we’re all in the same boat. Whether we admit it or not, we are all the tax collectors, the prostitutes, the Samaritan woman, the frightened Pharisee, the impetuous Zealot. We are all the “sinners.”
Jesus had a big tent. The Samaritan woman had almost everything wrong about theology and the Scriptures, but there was room for her. Nicodemus had all the right answers, but was too afraid to openly follow Jesus until after the crucifixion. There was room for him. Martha was a Type A who knew what her place in life was, and there was room for her. Mary dared to sit at Jesus’ feet like one of the disciples – like one of the men – and there was room for her. James and John were audacious enough to ask to sit at Jesus’ right and left when he came in glory, and there was room for them. The lot didn’t fall to Barsabbas to replace Judas, but there was still room for him. There was room for Paul and Peter and Apollos and Junia and Priscilla and Timothy and Titus. There was room for the Roman centurion and for the confessing thief.
Maybe I'm a slow learner, or a dreamer, but we still don't get the explosive nature of God's Kingdom. When you bring people together - sinners, redeemed sinners - they start to let their brokenness show and things can explode. It is grace that keeps us all together. It is the Spirit of the living God that keeps the kingdom from blowing up. But, sadly, we prefer our own way(s) and so we push away anyone who dares to disagree. 
Apart from listening to the Spirit and walking with the Spirit we are not living in this much needed grace.

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