One thing that has become increasingly evident throughout the Church (“body of Christ”) for years now is the act of being loving, and the lack of it.
For about 3-4 years of my Christian walk I believed I was a Reformist. I read, studied and watched so much content from ministries like Wretched Radio, Apologia, Alpha & Omega and Living Waters to name a few. To me they knew what they were doing and saying.
I’m not going to say their theology is wrong. I read the Institutes of Christian Religion by John Calvin and it has some pretty legitimate truths to it. It is very anti-Roman Catholic which makes sense as Calvin was that camp’s hero to continue what Martin Luther started. However, the landscape of then and now has changed. Instead of the Church being the oppressor, we have become the oppressed and unfortunately we played a huge role in it being so.
One thing though that those ministries I mentioned earlier tell their audience is that they are being loving. Before continuing this thought, however, I would like to say that each one I mentioned does have some valid claims to that statement. For example, Jeff Durbin and Apologia adopt babies before they can be aborted from mothers who decide they’d rather adopt their child compared to going through with a devastating procedure.
But it’s hard to say they are being loving when they stare you in the eyes and say you’re going to hell because of your sins.
If you look at Jesus’s ministry in the 4 gospels, there’s no instance where Christ told a non-leader that they are going to hell because they’re sinners. I would argue as well the same for leaders, but he was more brash towards them and rightfully so. Even to those deemed worthless to slaves, Jesus touched and gave them love. So then if we are called to be like Christ why do we tell homosexuals, abortionists, murderers, etc… that they are going to hell? Did Jesus not ask God to forgive those who were nailing his wrists and feet to the cross?
I’m not saying homosexuality, murder, rape, etc.. is not a sin. But Jesus says it best:
“Judge not, that you be not judged.
For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.
Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?
Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye?
You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
“Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.Matthew 7:1-6
This isn’t me lavishing about anything Paul said either, as great a contributor he was to the Church. But we should look first to Christ on all things, and treat the epistles as supportive text not primary or authoritative.
We are all born of sin since Adam & Eve ate the apple. That’s plain as day and is why we need a savior. But what people seem to forget is that the only difference between a believer and non-believer is Christ. So then why are we sitting there telling people they’re going to hell if we’re not willing to say that about ourselves? When we do this we’re no longer being servants but playing God. We’re condemning people for things we have no authority or right to.
Should we let sin run rampant? Not at all, we’re meant to help combat sin. However, we’re meant to do it through love and compassion for the lost, not telling them “you’re going to hell unless you obey me”. This fake “I’m just like you” attitude that these messengers bring needs to stop.
Because of this God has led me away from being able to call myself a Reformist. Instead I simply say I’m a Christian. My label shouldn’t define me, my actions and expressions of love should. But as humans prefer to categorize things (I’m just as guilty) if anything but Christ is what I put in front of others, then I’m not glorifying God but whatever idolatry it is.