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Profound Transformation - 3 of 3

When I was discussing this issue with one of my friends, she said "The danger with 'radical acceptance' is that it carries the risk of compromise." What she meant by that is that once we accept people the way they are - joining the church and belonging with whatever problems/sins/lifestyle choices they bring with them, there is a risk that we then tacitly accept those issues.

But God expects us to change to become more like Jesus - that's where the 'profound transformation' part of the phrase comes in…

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

Radical Acceptance - 2 of 3

Jon, our vicar, is infamous for his 'catch-phrases' - a recent example is 'radical acceptance; profound transformation.' Unless you've heard any of his sermons, that may not mean much, but we'll begin to 'unpack' what it means by looking at the 'radical acceptance' part.

In my previous post, I touched upon the church's problem with homosexuals. I realise, as I think about it, that this particular problem is just one symptom of a wider issue particularly prevalent in the 'evangelical wing' of the church. It is a problem connected with what I might call 'legalism', with our subconscious 'refusal' to think in a 'New Covenant' way, but rather to act like the Pharisees. We expect certain standards of behaviour from Christians. Some of them are linked to things we see in scripture (some aren't and are, when you analyse them, plainly ridiculous - I'm not going to consider the latter here!), and then seek to apply to everyone's lives.

In Jewish, Old Covenant, thought, in order to 'belong' you believe, obey and act. Believe in God. Obey the Scriptures. Do the right things (get circumcised and follow what the Law and the Prophets command, as interpreted by the rabbis). And we Christians can be very like that - we expect people to 'behave' in certain ways - even before they join us - so we place limits on what is minimum acceptable behaviour for a Christian. That attitude is quite judgemental. Remember what Jesus said about judgment:

Homosexuality and the Church - 1 of 3

I have been trying to write a post about my views on homosexuality, God, and the church for months and months. It is a terribly difficult subject, and one which gives rise to a lot of debate, dispute and even downright hatred. I did a fair bit of reading, in the bible and elsewhere, talked to some people, did a lot of thinking and praying, and I have to confess that in some ways I hadn't got a lot further forward in working my way through it.

Personally speaking, I've never really worried about this particular issue - because, as a monogamous heterosexual, it's just not an issue for me, but it is an issue, on many levels, for many people. There are those for whom it is a 'live' issue - homosexuals, politicians, church leaders, etc. And there are those for whom the church's traditional view is a stumbling block - something which they say prevents them from believing in the God of the Bible at all - which I find very sad. I have friends for whom it is an issue on several levels, so I really didn't think I should maintain my 'ostrich-like', head-in-the-sand, stance any longer. Hence my continuing to worry away at it, like the proverbial terrier with a rat.

Copyright Phil Hendry, 2016