I wish I could say that I wasn't surprised by the response to Derek Webb's interview in the Huffington Post; that I knew he was being subversive or saying provocative things, and that he's asking for trouble. I wish I could say that he was asking for it.
But that's not the case. I was taken off guard by the criticism. Is it really that "inflammatory" as one person called it? What's so inflammatory about loving people ABOVE their current faith status? Are you really going to preach that Jesus meets us where you are, and refuse to meet people where they are, as Jesus would?
The interview was called a "dangerously anti-Christian, anti-Gospel, let's-love-everybody worldview" by @mississippimama on twitter. When it's actually closer to the gospel than most would think. When someone, even an artist, puts love/relationships/understanding above religious ideology, what does that mean? Most of Derek's critics obviously believe that this makes your faith weak, that you've compromised God's standard for the sake of being accepted by the world. I say, your faith is stronger, because you know that God's "got this," and you can concentrate on loving, building relationships, and understanding those around you, knowing their heart. How are you honoring Jesus by grasping your bible and saying, "God's word says homosexuality is wrong," when you have not loved your neighbor AS YOURSELF. This is why Derek would say, "Christians can stop pretending that they're so different." This may get you worked up, but you know it in your heart to be true. But if this is how we respond, we need to stop pointing that self-righteous finger and look within. Does a faith in God prevent you from loving some people, and finding common ground with them? Trust me, I have way more in common with a struggling individual, than a supposed righteous one.
Now, we can argue alot of doctrinal points, but that would only prove the point of self-righteousness. The greater point is this, you're putting the Church above the King(dom).
Frank Turk said this:
"To that end, Jesus died to make the believers into the Church, right? Jesus didn't die so that we can make a moral equation up which makes Islam and Hinduism and Judaism and then the social/religious agnostics who come 'round about Him as "believers" into a happy mixed family. Jesus died so that the believers can be called out from death into life, and called out from the world to the household of God, and called out of sin and into salvation."
Really? Jesus died to complete a work that began centuries earlier, that which Isreal had longed for. But he began a new work, the work of redeeming the rest of mankind THROUGH the church. He didn't die to call us out of the world, but breathe his life into us, and then for us to go into all nations... Frank's statement makes so much of us (the church), and so little of everyone else. Everyone.
Regardless of your belief of unconditional election, his statements are bloated and dangerously conceited. He goes on to say that "making allowance for the sins of others so that we can "love them" is unloving because it is spiritually deadly. It completely squashes the actual Gospel in place of a new kind of legalism... we are in fact seeking out all the ways we can allow all the things we ought not to do. It's a legalism of tolerance."
Loving someone unconditionally is not allowing the things we ought not do; we have no control over the actions of others. It's saying, "my love, God's love, is greater than your struggle, circumstance, or beliefs."
One of my biggest principles for years has been this... How can we hold a non-believer to a believer's standard? If they are not in Christ, what does it matter if they give up a sinful action? Do you expect someone to find Jesus because you brought to their attention that God doesn't approve of their lifestyle, and they better repent? Love God, Love your neighbor as yourself. Why are we not getting this?
The exaltation of social justice above the Kingdom, is no more or less dangerous than exalting the church above the King. It's true that we all need to check ourselves.
As for theologians sitting comfortably in your knowledge - Your arrogant faith may get you into heaven, but you're missing it all around you down here.
Love God, Love All, repeat as necessary.