In my last post I noted how the dismissal of biblical social ethics regarding gender, sexuality, and religious pluralism is often a result of ignorance.
Leavers too often believe the media/cultural hype about the Bible and the “institutional church.” Thus, there is a bandwagon effect of rejecting parts or all of Christianity.
But another group of critics is more well-informed: students of the Bible who understand its teachings, and simply disagree.
One student, Sean, typifies. He grew up in the church, went on missions trips, witnessed to his friends. He was “on fire” for Christ.
But in college, his growing concern for fairness and inclusion led him to reject the conservative faith of his upbringing and embrace a more progressive position. He still believed in God, but he abandoned the teachings of the Bible regarding gender and sexuality.
But it didn’t stop there. It couldn’t. His new principle of evaluating the Bible through the lens of contemporary justice/inclusivism led him to deny the exclusive claims of Jesus regarding salvation.
And in order to maintain that position, he had to reject the literal resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Traditional Easter was replaced in his thinking by a metaphorical Easter – the universal human principle of rising above life’s hardships.
The new Sean is part compassion, part anger. Don’t ask for biblical support of his current way of doing religion, because he’s no longer making a biblical argument.
The standard for his emerging beliefs is a mix of secular culture and humanism. His memory of Christian discipleship has shifted from receiving God’s unmerited grace through faith, to “being a good person.”
Furthermore, Jesus’ death on a cross for the sins of the world is unnecessary and irrelevant.
In my next post I’ll share my response to Sean.