Unconditional Acceptance   2 comments


photo du temple de la fondation protestante Jo...

photo du temple de la fondation protestante John Bost (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I read a variety of things for my daily morning devotions.  In one of my sources today, there was a discussion about a ministry in France that was begun by Pastor Jean-Antoine Bost in 1844.  It was a ministry to the handicapped, mentally ill, and elderly people who could not look out for themselves.  I found a quote to be extremely moving to me this morning:

“It serves the wider community as a witness to Christ‘s unconditional acceptance and to his gospel, which knows no frontiers.  From the beginning, John Bost wanted residents to be received in an open environment ‘without walls or fences,’ as evidence that we are all, handicapped or healthy, children of the Father.”

WOW!!!!!

This caused me to think about what it might be like if this was the attitude that existed in the congregations of the Jesus’ church.  I think that there are some significant phrases in this quote that should be noted.

“serves the wider community as a witness”

We often try to present the church as an institution that witnesses to Christ in the community.  In fact, this seems to be God‘s intention in the establishment of the church.  I think that many congregations nobly try to profess this.  I believe that some congregations have successful lived this out.  However, I would unfortunately have to say that many of the congregations in existence today have lost sight of this calling.  Some place in the history of the congregation, and maybe the church as a whole, a shift occurred that caused the ministry of the congregation to be focused upon the people who were on the role books and not the wider community that needed to see the witness to Christ.  It is time to make a shift back toward this type of witness.

“Christ’s unconditional acceptance”

I think that this speaks clearly to the type of witness to which the church has been called.  It points out that the words are not what we need to focus upon.  Instead we are to demonstrate the unconditional acceptance that Christ lived out while on earth (and still lives out each and every day now).  What if in the wider community the church demonstrated an unconditional acceptance?  Many congregations say that they are welcoming but when put into practice we find that they are not accepting until the person(s) has made changes to conform to the prescribed behaviors and choices.  That is not unconditional acceptance.  I am not advocating that all actions are acceptable within the context of the Gospel.  However, I am advocating that all individuals are acceptable within the context of the Gospel.  Behaviors and choices do not change because someone says that they must; behaviors and choices change because a person through a relationship with Christ desires to change behaviors and choices.

“received in an open environment ‘without walls or fences,’ as evidence that we are all, handicapped or healthy, children of the Father”

Here is what and why.  The congregation is called to create an open environment to show that we are all children of the Father.  This has to be intentional.  There should be a removal of labels within this environment except for the label “child of the Father.”  The church should strive to work within the community to push towards this type of environment not only within the walls of the church but also in the culture of the community.  People should experience this acceptance and destroying of labels which is an element of the new life that Jesus came to offer.  Paul tells us in his letter to the church in Galatia that the labels of society have melted away under Jesus’ new kingdom.  No longer will there be Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female because Paul tells us that we are all one in Christ.  Those were the labels of Paul’s time, today we have labels that we place on people which have been washed away by the new attitude in Christ.  We are all one!

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2 responses to “Unconditional Acceptance

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  1. How are things in your church?

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