Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Is Our Church Open?

Galatians 3:26-29

26 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

112015 Ray McDonaldThis was such a radical idea in the day that Paul lived.  The Jewish Church was not very open to people who were different than them or didn’t follow their rules.  Peter and some of the other disciples even wanted the Gentiles who came to Christ to become Jewish before they could become Christians.  Just like this picture of a cat and a dog sleeping together – some thought Paul was crazy to suggest what God gave him to write – You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

When Paul wrote in his Epistle (letter) to the churches in Galatia the words of today’s Scripture lesson – I would imagine that eyes rolled – some argued and some jumped ship.  No difference between Jew and Greek (Gentile = anyone not Jewish) – are you kidding me?  No difference between slaves (different type of slaves than early America but slaves none-the-less) and free – what is this radical religion you are writing about Paul?  No male or female – now you’re really stepping in it Paul.  There are differences for a reason.  I can hear some people saying separate but equal under their breath.

catanddogasleepFor Paul to suggest that all who come to Christ are the same – no matter their station in the society they lived – was radical!  It was life changing for those who were in a lesser station and it was challenging to-say-the-least for those who were in a higher station in life.  Some people had worked hard for their station in life after all.  To say that our social and religious stations had little meaning to Christ – that He sees us all the same when we come to Him – is radical to-say-the-least.

Yet some 2,000 years later – has the Christian church put these words from God through Paul into practice?  I would say – some – but not fully – not nearly enough.  Instead of giving my thoughts on how we are not fully complying with this word of truth in the church today – I would love to hear from our readers first.  Where can the church in general – or our church in particular – be more faithful to this passage from Galatians?  How can we more faithfully follow this teaching in a community made up of a mixture of people – male & female – many difference hues of color – and economically mixed among other differences?  Can we realize that all people are the same in Christ while keeping certain stations in the church?  Do we fall back on the safe statement that we cannot be all things to all people (a good statement by the way) or do we get down and get dirty trying to present Christ to ALL people?  Is it more important to save our station in the church than to reach another soul for Jesus?  Are there intentional things we should do to reflect this Scripture more fully?

I await your thoughts.  I know this post may or may not be as controversial as some of my posts that cause great discussion – but I think it is significant.  I encourage you to engage in the discussion.  How can we be a more open church?  How can we invite all people into the family at First Church (or in your church)?

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

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February 20, 2016 - Posted by | Bring, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , ,

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