Obama’s church and the Lord’s

Since Obama’s church is getting scrutinized, a number of brotherhood writers are addressing the difference between the United Church of Christ and the churches of Christ.

Today, Neal Pollard has written also about Obama’s church in his Daily Bread email. Here’s his text, with his permission, and with my paragraph divisions.

WHEN ‘UNITED’ MAKES THE WRONG KIND OF DIFFERENCE
Neal Pollard

Neva Morgan handed me a clipping from the editorial section of Rocky Mountain News (3/18/08) that requires further attention. She was concerned about the message it sent, as am I.

The caption over this reader’s response was, “What is Obama’s faith?”

The reader, hearing the venomous racism and hateful rhetoric, only knew that Mr. Obama was associated with the “Church of Christ.” He is no doubt far from alone in thinking that this church and preacher are a part of those of us in churches of Christ.

In fact, Mr. Obama is a member of Trinity United Church Of Christ in Chicago, Illinois. To learn more about them, one must spend a little time on their official web site (which one can easily find by one of the search engines).

While one can find many other matters of great concern, a sampling of matters which one will not find in “mainstream churches of Christ” include the sanctioning of gay marriage (the UCC has a wing called “LGBT Ministries” that advocates such; one may also recall the TV ad campaign, God Is Stillspeaking, clearly implying the inclusion of gay, lesbian, and transgender members), women pastors, a strong “ecumenical commitment” (i.e., unity in diversity without respect to clear teachings of scripture which it is felt can be interpreted any number of ways without severing fellowship), and a page on God’s plan of salvation that says nothing of any involvement by man at all in response to God’s grace.

Many, many other clear differences could be cited, but such is unnecessary.

Unity is precious in God’s sight (cf. Psalm 133). Jesus prayed and died for it (John 17). The apostles urged and preached it (1 Cor. 1; Eph. 4). Yet, unity and union are two distinctly different commodities.

Union, in New Testament times, would have embraced the Judaisers, the Gnostics, and others who sought to change the doctrine of Christ. True unity means standing together upon the foundation of God’s Word.

While we are to love and reach out to everyone wrestling with sin, we cannot embrace and include in fellowship any who impenitently practice sin (sexual or otherwise). Neither can we allow those whom God restricts to serve in positions of leadership about which God has spoken (cf. 1 Tim. 2:8-15).

Ecumenism is a compromise God does not permit, if we are to trust His Word (cf. Gal. 1:6-9; 2 John 9-11). And, yes, the Bible stresses the impossibility of our salvation without God’s grace, but it equally stresses an obedient faith response to a God willing to give so much to provide salvation. To do less than He commands is to flout and reject that grace (cf. Rom. 6:1-8, 17).

For these and many other reasons, churches of Christ and the United Church Of Christ denomination are about as far apart from each other as daylight is from darkness.

We must unashamedly continue to lovingly, but forthrightly, live and teach what the Bible says. That will definitely make the differences clear.

What do you think?