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Pause for thought

Who's included?

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It seems that every few years businesses and institutions feel compelled to implement the latest popular theme for productivity, management style or political correctness. 

Sometimes these changes are initiated by changes to laws and sometimes to forestall negative public sentiment. The most recent of these pressures has been to form departments whose mission is to ensure that everyone has equal opportunity to participate, that all shades of opinion and belief are represented and no particular group is unfairly favored or discriminated against. Usually these departments, or teams, or task forces gather under the umbrella title of “DEI", standing for Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity. 

Of course there seem to be as many definitions of what these terms should mean as there are personnel implementing them, but from a Christian and Biblical point of view God has already laid out for us how we should act in order to be righteous. Given my space constraints I will treat each term in a different column, but in this column I would like to look at what the Bible says about inclusivity.

Sometimes on the internet, authors who are writing longer pieces will provide their readers with a main point to contemplate if the reader finds the rest too long or they don’t want to read! You may see this as “TL;DR” meaning: “too long, didn’t read” - and here is the salient TL;DR for this column: 

Every single human being, without exception or qualification, is a soul for whom Jesus died! We must act accordingly.

I can make that statement boldly because there is a plethora of scriptures to back it up. For example: 

For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world, that He [even] gave His [One and] only begotten Son, so that whoever believes and trusts in Him [as Savior] shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge and condemn the world [that is, to initiate the final judgment of the world], but that the world might be saved through Him. John 3:16-17 Amplified Bible That “whoever” is all-encompassing leaving no room for anyone to say that they are disqualified for any reason - except perhaps, for not really believing that Jesus meant what He said! And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among people by which we must be saved [for God has provided the world no alternative for salvation]. Acts 4:12 Amplified Bible

For indeed Christ died for sins once for all, the Just and Righteous for the unjust and unrighteous [the Innocent for the guilty] so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the Spirit 1 Peter 3:18 Amplified Bible

Please believe me that there are many other scriptures adding weight to this notion that every single human being who lived, lives, or will live is covered by this astounding insurance plan guaranteed by God Himself.

The flip-side of that is that if we start making judgements about who is or is not worthy of God’s love and affection, we are arguing with God (and you know who wins that argument!)

So, as Christians imitating Christ no one is beyond consideration for hearing or accepting the gospel and it is our mission to preach that gospel “to every living creature”.

However, there is further guidance for the health of the body of Christ — the “church”.  When salvation is accepted, when an individual encounters Christ, a change occurs.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life].  2 Corinthians 5:17 Amplified Bible

If this change does not occur it is because the individual has not accepted the offered gift of salvation. While we are not judges of our fellow humans we are expected to examine their lives for evidence of the fruit of the Spirit.

So, for example, the thief, the swindler, the wife-beater, the glutton, the rapist, the sex-trafficker, the prostitute, the child molester, the pedophile, the murderer, et al., are not excluded from the opportunity to be included or accepted in our fellowship, but we are to expect that their lives will be changed by their encounter with Christ. We are called to accept sinners, but we are not called to endorse their sin or, far worse, promote it! In fact we are called to expel it!

God alone sits in judgment on those who are outside [the faith]. Remove the wicked one from among you [expel him from your church]. 1 Corinthians 5:13 Amplified Bible

Here is where the world system comes into conflict with scripture. 

“Inclusivity" for the Christian means that we are not to exclude anyone for any reason from the opportunity of salvation. 

Health and hygiene for the church means we must guard against the infiltration of sin. 

There is a balance to be found here which is only possible by constantly seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit and Scripture. The world would have us “go along to get along” and be accepting and tolerant of blatant sin in the name of inclusivity — but the scripture is quite explicit about how this works in God’s plan of salvation.

We have to keep the temple clean:

Consecrate yourselves now and consecrate the temple of the Lord, the God of your ancestors. Remove all defilement from the sanctuary. 2 Chronicles 29:5

So we are to:

"Rescue the perishing, Care for the dying, Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave; Weep o’er the erring one, lift up the fallen, Tell them of Jesus the mighty to save." - Fanny Crosby

The Lord does not delay [as though He were unable to act] and is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is [extraordinarily] patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9 Amplified Bible.

As the founder of The Salvation Army — William Booth — famously said, “Go for souls, and go for the worst!”

Blessings on you and yours, Jim Black

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