These paragraphs were taken from a church’s web page. Read them, and then I want us to think about how a “church” like this is fertile soil for the wicked, including abusers:
Our Core Beliefs: If you were to ask 10 different people at Our Savior’s Church their individual beliefs about heaven, sin, free will, or any other theological issue, you would probably get 10 unique answers! Nevertheless, there are certain core beliefs which we share that define who we are and who we understand God to be. A good way of explaining these core beliefs lies in the name of our national church body.
We believe in the transforming power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and understand forgiveness and faith as radical gifts from God that are given no matter who we are or what we do.
We are “church.” That is, every member is bound together in the Body of Christ, gifted by the Holy Spirit, and empowered to be a doer of the Gospel.
We life, work, and serve our American context knowing what we do here also impacts the world.
Now, think carefully about these words. Let me translate them for you:
You can be a member of this church and believe anything you want about any theological issue. That is, you can be a member if you hold to our core beliefs, which is headed up by the insistence that God grants us forgiveness no matter who we are or what we do.
Notice that last phrase is in the present tense. It isn’t, “God will grant us forgiveness no matter what we have done.” Nope. These words are quite intentional. No matter who you are or what you do now, God forgives you. Notice there is not mention at all of repentance. I can assure you that even though these words include “the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” if you would pin these people down with precision, you would find out that their idea of the gospel of Jesus Christ is in fact, another gospel.
Why does this all promote evil and abuse in a local church? Because it creates a climate in which evil is excused. It permits people to be called Christians when in fact they are not new creations through faith alone in Christ alone, and then protects them should they ever be confronted with their sin. The confronter will be the bad guy.
This, in fact, is what God’s Word has to say about such a place:
Galatians 1:8-9 ESV But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. (9) As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.