Jesus Didn’t Die to Start a Chapter of the Jaycees

Here’s the thing about the World Vision hoo-ha and all the other recent collisions between the old school mores of conservative Christians and the new, free-to-be-you-and-me mores of everybody else: The reason we keep having these collisions is because a growing and vocal segment of the population — both Christian and non-Christian — is basically denying the traditional role of the church as an arbiter of ethics. If not outright denying it, they’re not interested in granting the kind of authority to traditional teachings on such matters that they’ve had for the last few thousand years, give or take.

In the World Vision case in particular, even the people who were ostensibly neutral were saying, “So what if World Vision wants to endorse gay marriage? It’s silly for conservative to make a stink over that and interfere with their charitable work, because that’s the important thing. Jesus would want everyone to stop complaining and just get along!”

And that all sounds really nice and accepting and tolerant and everything. But if the church isn’t the source of standards for ethics — including sexual ethics — then we’re just the Jaycees or the Elks Lodge — a social club that sometimes does some nice charitable work in the community.

If the church isn’t calling people to holiness and away from sin, if they’re not calling people to God and away from themselves, then we’re not doing the mission that Christ called us to do. Failing that is denying the fullness of God’s glory to the very people we’re claiming to serve.

Charity is a good thing; an important thing. But it’s not the most important work of the body of Christ. Not by a long shot. Compromising holiness for charity is a bad compromise.

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