Exponential 08: Avoiding Cultural Landmines (John Burke)

John is the senior pastor at Gateway Church in Austin, Texas, and is the author of No Perfect People Allowed

We live in a culture only intolerant of intolerance

The two greatest tolerance litmus questions in our culture today are…

1.  What about other world religions?

2.  What about homosexuality?

Our answers will help or hinder a person’s journey.  We need to put our best foot forward.  The best foot of the church is always grace.  People resonate with grace.  In fact, tolerance is a cheap substitute for grace.  People naturally get Romans 7:14-15, but do not naturally get Romans 8:1.

If you found a priceless piece of art, that happened to be covered in mud, you wouldn’t treat that art like mud, and you wouldn’t try to take that mud off yourself.  You would take it to a master cleaner and trust him to do the work.  This is how we need to view people…as priceless, but with some “mud” that only God can remove.

How long does your community put up with mud in people’s lives?

Question 1: What about world religions?

The real question is: Isn’t believing there is one way just arrogant, just like in the middle ages, or in extremist religions?

Humility is the best answer.

All religions agree on the idea of moral law.  They do not all speak about forgiveness and grace when those laws are broken.  God addresses all nations, removes all barriers, but that of free will through Christ.  Grace differentiates.

Question 2: What does the Bible say about Sexual Orientation?

The gay issue is not just and issue for gays

There is a tension for the church: everyone matters to God, and the Bible has clear things to say on this matter

The question is not will you let gay people in your church, but will your let them talk about it?

Is gay orientation a sin? No more than orientation to alcohol, lying or gossip

We need to welcome gay people…see them as priceless

Create communities of grace

Be patient, be their friends

They are not only gay!  They are human beings.  Allowing them to define themselves solely by their orientation leads to slavery

Emphasize willingness

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