Grace and Welcome to All

Christian College of Georgia is affiliated wit...

Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am a minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)–it’s OK… many people have never heard of it, too.

I could bore you with the history of the Disciples of Christ but in a nut shell it is the oldest Christian denomination founded on American soil and follows a few basic principles.

  • Ministry of All Believers
  • Open Communion to all who believe in Christ regardless of membership or affiliation
  • Freedom of Belief
  • Baptism by Immersion (but if you were sprinkled… that’s cool too)
  • Local Church Autonomy

You can read more about the Disciples by clicking here and watch a nice video by clicking here.

Every two years the denomination gets together for a conference of sorts called the General Assembly. It is a time of worship, reflection, sharing, learning and discussion. Every year ministries and groups with in the denomination go through a process of proposing resolutions before the Assembly. There is a lengthy process of discernment before the general board sets the agenda. In years past things have been debated ranging from immigration reform to moral injury study to how the church understands itself in the 21st century and everything in between.

This year one resolution in particular is generating a lot of buzz. It’s resolution 1327. You can read it in full here.

In a nutshell the resolution calls upon the church to be a place of grace and welcome to all people understanding that all our welcomed at the table of God and thus that radical grace is extended to all.

Some people believe that this resolution is over reaching with regards to how the church is structured. If the church is autonomous from the national church then who a church welcomes or not welcomes is up to them.  Some believe that it is a good resolution but fails to address certain issues that have been plaguing the DOC for many year.

But I think it goes deeper than that.

I believe that this resolution calls upon the church to be the church. In the church we have put up artificial barriers. We decide who is in and who is out, who has the power and who is a by standard. The church needs to step up to the plate and open its doors to all people from every walk of life and even differing sexual orientation. If the church is to have any relevance in the 21st century and beyond then it has to stop judging people first and then giving them a relationship. It works the other way around. People (especially those disenfranchised with the church) are not looking for a place for people think they are better than everyone else in the world all under the guise of religion. No, people are looking for something greater than themselves and for a community that does more than pay lip service to how all people “have fallen short of the Glory of God.”

After people are welcomed despite their faults (or perceived faults) then and only then can a congregation have conversations about sin, morality, interpretation and the authority of scripture or whatever. It’s about relationships first not judgment. Christ welcomed people from all walks of life and even had the audacity to call a Samaritan good (a big non-no in his time).

How can grace and welcome ever be a bad thing? In my opinion never.

Watch the video below; I believe it articulates the intent of the resolution well.

In Christ,

Rev. Evan