After the Pope’s recent remarks about salvation this quote was a nice counterpoint.
Jesus is not our example. We cannot imitate Him because no one is good except God.
Jesus Christ is not just a prototype, example, or even the first Christian. He did more than open up a path that we can follow into the consummation. Rather, he is the only victor over sin and death, the only human being who secured the beginning of the new creation. We share in it because we are united to him, not because we cooperate in a process of grace-empowered deification. We will be everything he is in his humanity because he has done everything for us in our humanity.
As citizens, we ought to insist that the President stand up to his “base” and articulate a vision of a healthy pluralism in the public square. Notice that the problem is not that this evangelical wants to “impose his religion” on the rest of society. The problem is not that he wants to exclude homosexuals or others from the public square or of their civil rights. The problem is that he won’t say that they can go to heaven without repentance. That’s not a civil issue, but a religious test of orthodoxy.
Note, this now doesn’t simply exclude harsh and intemperate statements or even activism. Simply holding the view held by every Roman pontiff and by every congregation and synagogue in the world until very recent days is enough to make one “radioactive” in public.
It turns out we’re circling around to where we should have been all along: with the understanding that religious liberty isn’t ‘toleration’ and separation of church and state isn’t secularism.
Due to a message of mine that has surfaced from 15-20 years ago, it is likely that my participation, and the prayer I would offer, will be dwarfed by those seeking to make their agenda the focal point of the inauguration. Clearly, speaking on this issue has not been in the range of my priorities in the past fifteen years. Instead, my aim has been to call people to ultimate significance as we make much of Jesus Christ.
He concludes his blog post with a very gracious and Christian statement
The issue of homosexuality (which a particular message of mine some 20 years ago addressed) is one of the most difficult our nation will navigate. However, individuals’ rights of freedom, and the collective right to hold differing views on any subject is a critical balance we, as a people, must recover and preserve.
As a pastor, my mission is to love people, and lead them well, while lifting up the name of Jesus above anything else. I’m confident that anyone who knows me or has listened to the multitude of messages I have given in the last decade would most likely conclude that I am not easily characterized as being opposed to people—any people. Rather, I am constantly seeking to understand where all people are coming from and how to best serve them as I point them to Jesus.