- - Sunday, June 10, 2018

A bit of news you may have missed over the past couple weeks was that of about 2,000 high-profile Christian pastors and church elders who, on May 24, marched on the White House.

This event was done under the auspices of the “Reclaiming Jesus” movement. It was led by the likes of Bishop Michael Curry (of Royal Wedding fame), Jim Wallis of Sojourners Magazine and “Red Letter Christianity” proponent Tony Campolo.

There is so much wrong with “Reclaiming Jesus” that it would take pages to provide any meaningful critique. But, let’s at least acknowledge the tip of the iceberg.

The duplicity of this movement’s leaders is shameless. They celebrate exclusion in the name of inclusion. They model intolerance in the name of tolerance. They condemn the sexually immoral while defending sexual immorality. The social gospel is cheered while biblical orthodoxy stands silent. Government rather than God is their instrument of justice.

Pretending to be “feminists” they offend the female by denying the fact of the feminine. They actually claim that women are not a biological reality while pretending to be pro-women. These people scold the right for not defending the dignity of all human beings, but then they choose to say nearly nothing about the indignity of killing millions of human beings at the hand of their “choice.”

Leaders of the “Reclaiming Jesus” movement claim to be apolitical while showing themselves to be overtly partisan. “When politics undermines our theology,” they say, “we must examine [those] politics” and then they proceed to undergird their entire agenda with their politics. In the end, they are blatantly divisive while calling for unity.

The list could go on and on.

But perhaps the most concerning aspect of this movement is the fact that a number of self-defined “Bible believing evangelicals” have decided to march with those who insult God, insult His image, and insult all those created in His image with the ontologically and theologically flawed nomenclature of hyphenated-Christianity — of the so-called “gay-Christian.”

An insult to the image of God is an insult to the image of man and an insult to the image of man is an insult to the image of God. If we get the Imago Dei wrong the church will always be worshipping the created rather than the creator.

Christ is clear. Nowhere in all of scripture are we told to define a believer by his inclination to sin. To the contrary, Jesus tells us to “deny” ourselves and to confess our passions, hungers and proclivities, not sit around and affirm them.

I have fought this battle against “inclinations = identity” for 30 years in the halls of America’s universities. I have said over and over again that labels matter and if we accept this dumbing down of what it means to “be” human, we have no choice, legal or logically, but to then sanction the “behavior” that is now aligned with this new definition of what it means to “be.”

And here we are — evangelical church leaders are now marching with the likes of the “Reclaiming Jesus” movement and its “affirming” adherents.

Christ’s true church should have nothing to do with this. We are known by the company we keep. In fact, I’m sure you’ve heard it said that you eventually become the average of the five people with whom you spend the most time.

Perhaps we’d be wise to look over our shoulder and ask who’s walking beside us in this march for “Reclaiming Jesus.” With whom are we spending our time? Those who honor the whole council of scripture or those who dissect it and dispense with it piecemeal?

It is said wolves in sheep’s clothing are dangerous but wolves in shepherd’s clothing are downright deadly. It is a mistake to walk with wolves. It cannot end well for the sheep.

If you’re reading this and you are still eager to celebrate and affirm the hyphenated-Christianity, being promoted by “Reclaiming Jesus,” I have a question for you: Where does this slippery slide end? Will you next be marching with those who want to “flourish” as “adulterous-Christians?” How about those who “identify” as “incestuous-Christians?” How about those “attracted” to lies rather than truth?

Will the church now start celebrating “lying-Christians” and the “treasures, honor and glory” they will bring into the New Jerusalem? How about “hateful-Christians?” Do “greedy-Christians” and “covetous-Christians” also get official minority status and their own “affirming” workshops and conferences?

Apparently, all that Jesus-talk about “dying to self” and being “born again” is just idealistic claptrap and metaphor at best? Apparently when Christ told us that the ideas we hold in our heart make us culpable of the actual sin, he was just using instructional hyperbole? I’m just curious. My question for the “evangelical” leaders of “Reclaiming Jesus” and its hyphenated-Christianity: Where does this all end?

• Everett Piper, president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University, is the author of “Not A Day Care: The Devastating Consequences of Abandoning Truth” (Regnery 2017).

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