A reader writes … sick to his stomach

A reader writes …

The church that [I attend] has decided to plant a new church. Against my recommendations, they bought a building, and have hired a young guy w/ zero pastoral experience. I decided to get to know this guy and visited his office on Tuesday. As always, the first thing I did was look over his bookshelves. I noticed three of your books on the shelf and started to say, “Hey! This is my dear friend Brian…” but then he interrupted that by saying, “Yea, after he denied original sin, the virgin birth, and said he accepts gay people I was like, ‘well that’s enough, he’s no longer a Christian…'” – you’d think I’d get used to that type of thing, but it makes me sick to my stomach. I didn’t yell or anything, I just smiled and invited him into a conversation about judging people so harshly and that maybe someone could remain a Christian even if he doesn’t line up theologically with one’s personal doctrines.

Of course I have a bias towards church planters, having been one myself. I hope this fellow will read my upcoming book. He’ll find out that in Chapter 19 I note a beautiful way of holding the doctrine of the virgin birth and that Chapter 13 is devoted to the topic of original sin. And regarding gay people, if he rejects everyone who seeks to accept everyone, I guess I’ll have to be rejected by him, but considering Luke 15:2, I might be in good company.
I hope you’ll keep reaching out to him and building a relationship. Many of us can remember saying exactly these sorts of things when we were young and either insecure or overly confident, trying hard to prove ourselves as legit members of the righteous inner circle, etc., etc. Life has a way of humbling us, you know? Especially if there are patient and mature friends around – like you.