Optional page text here. The Beast's Lair: The Church and Moralizing

Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Church and Moralizing

Allow me to take a quick break from my Disney vacation entries to quickly comment on an article I just read concerning the words of a Minnesota pastor.

Apparently, Greg Boyd, pastor of Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, MN has lost over 1000 church members for firmly letting his congregation know that his sermons are not going to be political in nature, nor are they, or the church, going to rally behind moralizing issues. Boyd has gone on record saying that the church should "give up moralizing on sexual issues, stop claiming America as a 'Christian nation', and stop glorifying American military campaigns." Basically, Boyd is saying that the Church has no business dealing with issues of politics and needs to stay clear of aligning the church and it's purpose with that of American issues.

I agree, in part, with his comments. It does seem that we have confused the cross, and the point of Christ's ministry, with a set of morality rules. It is an interesting parallel that I sometimes get told how great of a job I am doing in youth ministry because the students behave so well during church. What? Are my church members judging my ministry and it's purpose on how well the teenagers sit in a church service? Or are they judging it on how aware they are of their relationship with God, and if they are glorifying Him with their lives. The Bible is not a morality book folks. True, we find through it's message a path we should take and paths we should not. But the message is all about Christ, His blood which saves us, and our worship of Him with our lives.

Boyd says that he was sitting in a "megachurch" during the 4th of July service and at the end of the service, a video was played of American fighter jets flying over the cross. He said “I thought to myself, ‘What just happened? Fighter jets mixed up with the cross?’” Interesting to think about.

Back to Universal Studios. We just ordered room service. See you tomorrow.


Blogger Frank said...

In Lutheran circles, this seperation between Christ's Church and the world is called the doctrine of the two kingdoms. Pastor Boyd is right about the proper seperation and so are you! Great post!

July 30, 2006 8:27 PM  
Blogger Pastor Scott Stiegemeyer said...

Very interesting post. I like what you wrote very much. I haven't read about Pastor Boyd, but he may really be on to something.

Certainly the Bible teaches us how to live holy lives. And certainly it is God's will for His children to lead holy lives. And the Christian Church will, at times, proclaim messages that overlap with current events or social issues.

But you are abso-tively correct that the Bible is not just a book of do's and don'ts It's firstly a book about Jesus and His saving work for humanity. That should always be our central focus.

I personally squirm a little when churches are so quick to adopt secular holidays like 4th of July, Mother's Day, Veteran's Day but ignore historic Christian holy days such as Epiphany, Ascension Day or the season of Lent. But that's another topic.

There is something a bit off about too much blending of Christian teaching with politics and current events. Yes, as I said, the bible does address many issues that happen to show up in the daily papers and the church must teach clearly the whole counsel of God.

But I do not believe the church is the proper place to display the American flag or sing the national anthem or anything like that. God is not (gasp!) an American. Nations rise and fall and ours will be no exception. America is not the new Israel (the church is). We are not the chosen nation (the church is).

Revelation talks about heaven being filled with people from every tribe, nation and tongue. Which flag do they salute in their sanctuary? Whose anthem do they sing in worship? Wouldn't it be great if the church on earth would better reflect the church in heaven?

July 31, 2006 2:42 PM  
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March 05, 2007 6:00 AM  

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