Welcoming you to go to hell

Saturday night it was pretty cool in our area for the middle of summer.  Sunday morning very early when I entered the church it was warm inside.  I typically turn the air conditioner on.  Instead, I opened all the doors (8 doors in all, and it was so early that the flies were not awake yet) and put a fan in one of them.  Within 30 minutes the temperature in the church had dropped about 10 degrees.  I then closed the doors and turned the AC units on so they would kick on as people entered and the sun warmed things up.  I do not tell you this to brag and on the other hand, I hope nobody thinks I have lost it.  When I walked around looking at all the doors open, a lot went through my mind.  I took the picture planning to blog today about being good stewards, not unnecessarily running the AC units when nature could do the work.  I hate wasting electricity and resources.  That is even the direction I was heading as I initially titled today’s post, “Taking care of what you have”.

But seeing the picture as I am writing, what comes to mind is about a church “open door” policy.  The only people I can think of that I would have concerns about in our church are sexual predators.  Whatever your sin, whatever your offense, whatever your crime… You are welcome in the church I pastor.  I remember Adam Hamilton from Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas relaying a story in a sermon years ago that best exemplifies my understanding of an inclusive church and ministry. I will never forget it. He said that he and his youth pastor were at a bar about 10 p.m. having a meeting, quick to point out they had ordered soft drinks and appetizers. Hamilton had his Church of the Resurrection t-shirt on. The waitress sat down at their table and said she had been a Wiccan witch the last eight years and it was not working out so well for her. She wanted to know if his church (not knowing he was the pastor) would let someone who had been a Wiccan witch for the last eight years attend. I think I remember his exact words. He said, “I can tell you unequivocally, you would be welcome at our church.” In the sermon, he told the congregation that he didn’t want to appear melodramatic, but if she would not be welcome there then he did not want to be their pastor.

Hamilton would surely not welcome her to the church and affirm her belief in and practice of witchcraft!  God’s Word would have Hamilton lovingly tell her to repent, turn to Jesus, and allow the Holy Spirit to help her give up her sinful ways.  And we read that God’s grace is sufficient to cover us as we try and fall short.  I take umbrage (offense) when anyone says another church welcomes certain people as if the church I pastor does not.  The error in thinking often occurs when we confuse the words “welcoming” and “affirming”.  We welcome everyone. Jesus welcomed everyone.  He also told people to quit sinning.  If a church welcomes someone and does not tell them that Jesus wants them to quit sinning, they are false teachers welcoming a person to go straight to hell.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.” ~ Matthew 23:15

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This entry was posted in Obstacles, Opportunity, Walking the Walk and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Welcoming you to go to hell

  1. I like your comparison of welcoming and affirming people, I never thought of that.

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