One day, a long-time, very wealthy church member approached a new pastor and asked: “Pastor, are we going to be the kind of church that welcomes and accepts those people?
By “those” people, I am sure he was referring to people of color, people who do not speak English, people from other faiths, poor people, people covered with tattoos, undocumented people, mentally-ill people, LGBTQ people, people with police records or anyone who does not look like or think like him.
The new pastor answered, “Of course we are going to be that kind of church.”
The wealthy man replied, “I suggest that you do everything in your power to prevent that from happening, or I am going to take my family and my money and find another church!”
The new pastor responded: “Well, you are in luck. Because you will not have to search very long to find another church where you will be more comfortable.”
The sad truth is that there are more churches that practice an exclusivity that is anti-Christ than there are churches that practice an inclusivity that is Christ-like.
Which begs the question: “Can a church practice exclusivity and continue to be a church?”
Of course, the answer is “no.” Churches that do not love and welcome all people in the name of Christ are not churches at all, but are only the worst kind of club.