It doesn’t usually take long for an evangelical to proclaim condemnation for the nation when a tragic senseless act of violence befalls one of our communities. When I see Christians, like Jerry Newcombe, speak so insensitively while the nation is grieving, I can’t help but to shake my head. Just a week prior to the movie theater massacre, Margie Phelps was said to have arranged for a picket line at the funeral of Sly Stalone’s son. It’s not surprising anymore to see people use their religious platforms to condemn the world based on the actions of others. It happens when there are natural disasters too, like how Pat Robertson condemned the people in Haiti after their country suffered a tragic earthquake.
It seems to be that leaders like these are following an Old Covenant type of prophetic leading and completely missing the glorious New Covenant that Jesus ushered in through his spiritual Kingdom arriving here on earth.
Luke 17:20 “And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: 21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” KJV
It’s a popular tactic that many religious leaders use and it keeps the people paralyzed in fear and in bondage to their teachings. Sadly, they think this is the way of Christ although Jesus never used insensitive remarks when people suffered from tragedy. When Lazarus died, he wept. His own parable of the prodigal son shows the compassion of God towards both sons, the prodigal and the self righteous. He didn’t condemn either one. This is the kind of spirituality that many of us see coming through the words in the Bible, but some of our own brothers and sisters disagree.
Where is the platform where New Covenant teachers proclaim the goodness of God? They’re growing an audience that have a collective voice that cries out for grace. Teachers like John Lynch, Jeremy Dalton, Darin Hufford, Rachel Held Evans, Bob Adams, and myself are speaking up on a daily basis, joined by many more as they comment and share links among Facebook and Twitter.
The Barna Group conducts studies about the statistics among churches and how the attendance is waning in the congregations of America and we wonder why, when some Christians gather people to collect money in support of extinguishing marriage equality, prohibit equal rights for children, and raise money for a parent’s ‘right’ to beat their children. There are two very real perspectives of Christianity, communities of condemnation and communities of grace. I wish it were not so, but such is the way of humanity when they live in days of old rather than in the New Covenant of grace.
So when religious leaders stand up and insensitively preach condemnation to a suffering community, just say as Bob Adams says, “That’s not my God” and extend love to others. Spewing hate on wounded people is not going to win a heart over to the Lord. Even Paul told the Romans that it’s the kindness of God that leads us to change our minds.
It grieves my soul to see so many Christians blaming people for their god’s actions towards them. In a crowd of 100+ people, 12 die from bullet wounds, several others hospitalized. So only the Christians suffered from one man’s actions and the non Christians in the crowd are suffering God’s wrath? So that means the shooter carried out God’s wrath on the people, but the devil used the same man to carry out suffering on the Christians? Do you see why I can’t help but to shake my head when I see this kind of mentality being preached as ‘the word of God’?
I pray that religious leaders can learn some compassion for others and how to refrain from using insensitive words while people are suffering, because damning people to hell while they bury their loved ones is not the way of Christ.
If you have a blog, Facebook page, Twitter account or other means to share the love and kindness of God, please do so faithfully. We don’t need condemning leaders being the only ones who speak about God. The world needs to hear that God loves them. Love is how we grow.