Are We Still One Faith?

Growing up, I thought I would have the hardest time in life with people who weren’t religious. Hypothetical kids at school who bullied people for being Christians or angry adults who went grocery shopping on Sunday mornings and screamed “Happy Holidays” each Christmas.

But two years ago, after the 2016 election, I realized my most prevalent antagonists were people who also sang “How Great Thou Art” on Sundays. My people, (white) Evangelicals, had overwhelmingly claimed a leader greatly opposed to most all of my religious convictions, and some of the president’s greatest supporters (of him or his worldview) used the term Christian as a label, just like me.

Jerry Falwell, Jr.

Mike Huckabee.

Franklin Graham.

James Dobson.

Robert Jeffress.

Eric Metaxas.

John Macarthur.

They’re mostly white, male, and wealthy, and they supported him then and support him now.

 

They want to make America a great Christian nation again.

I believe America was only ever great for white men who owned land.

They want America to close its borders to refugees and immigrants from “undesirable” locations.

I believe my Savior came from one of those places. (“Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” John 1:46.)

They believe sexuality is ruining America and the #metoo movement is taking down “good” men.

I believe shame is not befitting any conversation regarding sexuality or sexual abuse and women were created to be heard (and not just “listened to”).

They believe social justice is the new heresy.

I believe social justice is part of the fabric of Christian life, an example of what James meant when he said, “I will show you my faith by my works” (James 2:18b).

They believe people of color are blindly playing the “race card” to get sympathy.

I believe white supremacy founded this country and is still at the wheel, conveniently hiding behind our (private) prison system and drug laws.

The list continues.

The value of peaceful protests.

Life after birth.

The second amendment.

Earth care.

 

Can the same church stand opposed on so many issues but ignore them on Sundays in the name of “differences”? Where does one faith end and another faith altogether begin?

Are we still one faith?

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I am still proudly Evangelical, and I have no plans on leaving. I believe other things, too.

I believe God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit are the answers to all of life. Full stop.

I believe that in God “we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).

I believe that it’s through faith we are saved, and our good works are proof of that salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9 and James 2:18).

I believe in the church, the Body of Christ, which offers the greatest hope for the world (Matthew 5:14-16).

I believe sin is real, and I don’t believe “goodness” is a scale humans or popular culture can dictate. I rely on the community of God and the Bible for that (Hebrews 4:12).

But what community, what church?

James writes, “With [our tongue] we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing” (3:9-10a). Blessing and cursing—oil and water—they don’t mix. My body cannot hold both, it will eventually give way to one or the other.

But what about the church, the Body of Christ?

Paul writes in Ephesians, “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (4:4-6).

Can one body, one church, offer both blessings and curses?

I wish I could continue chalking up these serious disagreements to “differences” and get on with it. But to ignore these differing beliefs now in the name of uniformity, to put on a brave face for the rest of the world, would only be to promote a false peace, a shoddy prop on a stage, waiting for the next gust of wind to knock it down.

Are we still one faith?

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Jesus said in Matthew 5:13, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.”

I’ve heard people claim I’m at risk of losing my saltiness. That I—and others with my beliefs—am giving it up for the world’s agenda. That we are one step away from throwing out the Gospel and being trampled underfoot by the rest of the world.

But I have the same concern for the president’s Christian support system.

For Jerry Falwell, Jr,

Mike Huckabee,

Franklin Graham,

James Dobson,

Robert Jeffress,

Eric Metaxas,

and John Macarthur.

I fear they lost their saltiness long ago when they wedded power and privilege over witness and truth. Self-preservation guised as Christian morality.

Are we still one faith?

*                      *                      *

But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.

 

-Ephesians 5:13-14

 

I believe camels can go through the eyes of needles because all things are possible for God (Matthew 19:23-26). I believe even salt which has lost its saltiness can be brought back to life. I believe anyone asleep can wake up. And I believe anything exposed by the light can live in the light too.

Redemption is real and possible, even for the president’s powerful supporters, even for the president himself. The image of God may be dormant, but it still sits in the eyes of each human.

But justice is still justice, and injustice needs to be exposed by the light. I can’t continue “agreeing to disagree” or remaining silent to avoid controversy. But I can pray and speak with kindness and truth, hoping the darkness will soon become light.