The word “inclusion” is being used in different ways by the churches and has become a fashionable buzz word to describe congregations that are welcoming to everyone.
If being an “inclusive” church means to simply allow all people to come and hear the gospel of Jesus without compromising any of the Biblical teachings – then that is a great policy to have. This view of inclusiveness is commendable.
Sadly “inclusion” is being used by many churches to alter certain long-standing teachings on marriage, sexuality and gender in order to bring people in and make them feel good. Some churches in their quest to be more “inclusive” are allowing gay clergy. Other churches are changing the words of Scripture in order to be more inclusive. Gender neutral terms are being used in reference to God in the interest of becoming more sensitive to all genders.
This is a growing trend that is sweeping Christianity. It starts with nice clichés such as “toleration,” “non-discriminatory” and “equality” and ends with changes in our view of God or attempts to dilute His truth and make it more compatible with our ever-changing culture.
Examples of extreme views of inclusiveness is when everything is welcome regardless of the circumstances and nothing is ever rejected. All lifestyles and all people are embraced. No one is excluded. Come as you are and stay as you are. No questions, no judgments, no statement of beliefs, no church discipline, no membership rules, no compliance to some moral code, no negative sermons, no renouncing of sinful lifestyles, no one being harassed for sin and no talk of holiness, righteousness or repentance. In this new inclusive church movement a lovey-dovey environment is created where people are told how wonderful everyone is just the way they are, as they burn incense, chant positive messages and do eastern-type meditations.
The “inclusive” church movement is the latest trend in Christianity and has been growing and becoming more popular among the churches. It has just recently found its way into some Adventist congregations. We are not in any way implying that the following list of Adventist churches are burning incense or participating in eastern-meditation, but these SDA Churches have adopted “welcoming statements” that are considered “inclusive” and that are in harmony with the 5-points that make us a “welcoming church.” This new “welcoming church project” has the support of the North American Division of SDAs and of the Trans-European Division of SDAs.
Point #4 in becoming a “welcoming church” states the following:
Do your church leaders agree that in the eyes of God your LGBT+ friends are equal in value to straight, cisgender people? Ask an LGBT+ person, “Are we a welcoming church?”
The very fact that they are using the word “cisgender” to identify straight men and women shows that this document is gender neutral and politically correct. In the politically correct “inclusive” vocabulary of our culture the opposite of cisgender (straight male of female) is transgender. So if you recognize “cis” you are also recognizing “trans.” It’s a catch 22.
The second and more concerning point in this “new welcoming statement project” is the fact that some in Adventism would have us ask the world (LGBT community) if we are a welcoming church.
Why not ask God? Do we ask the world what day is the Sabbath? No, we ask God. Do we ask the world if the moral law is still binding? Do we ask the world if there is a sanctuary in heaven? Of course not. And we have actually been told not to evaluate (measure) the church’s position by the opinions of men:
“The church cannot measure herself by the world nor by the opinion of men nor by what she once was. Her faith and her position in the world as they now are must be compared with what they would have been if her course had been continually onward and upward. The church will be weighed in the balances of the sanctuary. If her moral character and spiritual state do not correspond with the benefits and blessings God has conferred upon her, she will be found wanting” (Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 83).
We can never be satisfied with the world giving us a pat on the back saying, “What a good people you are.” We don’t take polls or look at the latest trends to decide what is our best course of action. And do we really need a new welcoming statement to identify the Remnant Church of prophecy? Hasn’t God already pointed out the distinguishing features and identifying marks of His people? It is found at the conclusion of the work of the Three Angels’ Message:
“Here is the patience of the saints here are they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” Revelation 14:12.
What’s wrong with this divinely inspired description of the Remnant Church? But some would have this verse changed to a much more culturally sensitive description. Why? Because not everyone is keeping the commandments of God and we cannot discriminate; they must feel welcome. Some would have this verse read this way:
“Here is the ‘diversity’ of the saints. Here are those who are ‘inclusive’ and ‘non-judgmental.'”
OK, you might think this is a bit of an exaggeration, but sadly we are not too far away from this because these are the words (diversity, inclusion, non-judgmental) that many false shepherds are using to lead people into perdition. These are the words that many false teachers use to keep people trapped into a sinful lifestyle. These are the words that are driving the “inclusion movement” into a shamefully lost condition.
Where is the inclusive church movement heading? Well, if the Protestant churches are any indication, the final and ultimate aim is full inclusion of all people regardless of gender or sexual orientation into both the ministry and membership.