“With One Voice”

Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 15:5-6).

A critic of one of my recent blogs remarked that I tend to speak of “the church” in terms of a singular, monolithic voice. The point is well taken. I recognize that the church often speaks with many voices, with positions that are conflicting. But I would suggest that the apostolic church spoke in a singular voice; and on certain core issues the Church continues to speak with one, authentic voice. With that said, not everyone who claims to speak in the name of Christ is an authentic voice (and that is true for those on the left and right!).

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Grace for Sexual Sin

I’ve learned some things about sin: (1) all have sinned; (2) we are often happy to talk about someone else’s sin; (3) those sins that directly affect us tend to get overlooked, or excused; and (4) eventually we stop talking about sin because we are uncomfortable with our sinfulness, and we don’t want to be accused of being judgmental toward others. This is especially true when it comes to sexual sin. However, the truth remains that sin is the condition of humanity – all of us. And, there is a remedy for sin.

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The President, Homosexuality, and the Log in our Eye

“For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:2-5).

OK, so the President supports homosexual marriage (no surprise here). All over the Internet I’ve read posts, blogs, articles, Facebook conversations, etc. of Christians tripping over themselves trying to be fair, sensitive, discerning, and tolerant. When the citizens of North Carolina voted overwhelmingly to reject homosexual marriage, some Christians suggested that because of an increasingly pluralistic society it is inappropriate to “coerce” through legislation a morality that is derived from our faith tradition. To that I would reply that the purpose of all legislation is to encourage or “coerce” civic morality, and civic morality should reflect the highest good.

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Miroslav Volf, A Public Faith: How Followers of Christ Should Serve the Common Good (Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2011). 175 pp.

The first election in which I voted was in 1980. The nation was suffering from what President Carter called a “malaise.” Many of the political class were suggesting that the nation’s troubles were so many and so deep that the office of the President was no longer useful. The Moral Majority was exercising its political muscle and its leaders were calling for “moral leadership.” Ronald Reagan was larger than life. He embraced the religious right and the religious right embraced him. I voted for Reagan in 1980, and again in 1984. I don’t regret it.

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Avoiding Toxic Leadership: Integrity and Accountability

One of the signs of toxic leadership is when the leader believes that his/her integrity is beyond scrutiny. In the church we see this all too often. In fact, the church is often a breeding ground for toxic leaders. I’m not just talking about false prophets, charlatans, and those guilty scandalous immorality. Sometimes the toxic leaders in our midst have a high moral standard, hold to doctrinal orthodoxy, and are sincere in their desire to faithfully serve Christ. The church is a fertile breeding ground for this type of toxic leadership because we tend to idolize leaders we respect and our respected leaders become too accustomed to our accolades. Also, we certainly don’t want to get the reputation of being a trouble-maker.

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