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The theology of diversity and inclusiveness?

The woman caught in adultery by Geurcino (1591-1666) credit: Wikipedia/Public Domain

I was a bit stunned after reading a report on CBN that a psychic had been hired to minister at a church in Atlanta Georgia. The woman functions as a medium and claims to consult with the dead.

On the surface, this would seem little different than a United Church in Canada hiring an atheist to pastor one of its churches in Toronto, Ontario.

Except there is one big difference.

The United Church is a Liberal denomination that no longer embraces the fundamentals of the Christian faith. Many congregations have become little more than social clubs. Though the denomination initially challenged her hiring, in the name of “diversity” it eventually relented and allowed the atheist to continue as pastor.

However, if you read the theological beliefs of The Vision Church of Atlanta who hired this psychic, they look evangelical. They believe in the deity of Christ and that Jesus died and physically rose again from the dead for the sins of the world. They believe a person is justified by their faith in Christ and that water baptism is for believers after conversion. They believe that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is a second work of grace, and they even believe in the spiritual gifts.

And perhaps not surprising the psychic looks upon her ability as a gift from God. Though, it is not one of the spiritual gifts listed in the Bible, according to CBN the psychic uses James 1:17, that states: “Every good and perfect gift is from above” to justify her gift because it can be used to confirm that loved ones are in heaven.

Yet, this contradicts the Bible where several times it warns people about consulting the dead through a medium or a spiritist:

“Let no one be found among you who … practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you. You must be blameless before the LORD your God.” (Deuteronomy 18:10-13, NIV)

This issue even ended up being one of the reasons that God judged King Saul:

“Saul died because he was unfaithful to the LORD; he did not keep the word of the LORD and even consulted a medium for guidance, and did not inquire of the LORD. So the LORD put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse.” (1 Chronicles 10:13-14, NIV)

The incident involved the witch of Endor who Saul visited, so she would consult the deceased prophet Samuel about an upcoming battle with the Philistines. Equally bizarre was that it appears that the witch actually conjured up the spirit of Samuel who immediately condemned Saul for what he had done (1 Samuel 28:1-25).

Some question if it was actually Samuel or not, but as the spirit came out of the ground, the witch was totally shocked about what was taking place. This obviously was not how things went in the past when she consulted the dead.

So how does The Vision Church of Atlanta justify hiring a medium? I am not completely sure, but under their “About” link, the church also has a section called “Our Theological Distinctives” where it talks about being “intentionally diverse” and “radically inclusive:”

To be intentionally diverse and radically inclusive, is to be intentional welcoming and accepting of all persons;

Now as believers we can agree with most of these statements. We are to be accepting of people no matter who they are or what they do.

But sometimes, the terms inclusiveness and diversity are used to filter and interpret scripture. Since Jesus wants us to be accepting of all people, does this require a total acceptance of their lifestyle as well?

When the scribes and pharisees caught a woman in adultery and dragged her before Christ asking if she should be stoned, it is obvious that Jesus accepted the woman just as she was and even convinced the pharisees to let her go (John 8:1-11).

After the pharisees and scribes departed, Jesus asked the woman if there was anyone left to condemn her.  She answered “No one” and then Jesus said “Neither do I condemn you;” (John 8:11 NKJV).

This is the attitude that believers should have. We are not to have a condemning and judging spirit that implies a level of spiritual superiority.

But notice that Jesus didn’t stop there, the Lord continued encouraging her to:

go and sin no more.” (John 8: 11 NKJV)


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