We Were Wrong (#668)

Mark Wingfield, a Baptist pastor from Texas, thinks the three most significant words for the church in 2019 just might be, "We Were Wrong." His column in the Baptist News Global designates seven areas where the church has been on the wrong side of issues that have caused great pain in our culture from racial discrimination, to sexual predators, to women's issues, even to putting more focus on numbers than people. It's an interesting article and gives Wayne and Brad an opportunity to discuss some of the hottest political issues of our day and how humility and owning our mistakes will go a long way to opening the door to those who have been alienated from God by the failures of Christianity.

Podcast Notes:
We Were Wrong by Mark Wingfield in the Baptist News Global
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  1. Clicking on the link “We Were Wrong by Mark Wingfield in the Baptist News Global” goes elsewhere to a NY TImes article on Heroin.

  2. Greetings sir,

    The first podcast notes link goes to a NY Times article as opposed to the one intended. I’m just calling your attention to it.

  3. I live in NZ and listen most weeks to your podcast.
    I like your comment, “how can we sit down together and fix these grievances”.
    For me, it hurts me constantly that the Church is not a place for us to run to but from.
    Social services and government agencies are inadequate and overworked because the Church, generally does not do its job.
    Bless you guys.
    I have been enjoying your podcasts for over 10 years now.

  4. I would like to start a conversation about how we use the bible in doctrine formation. the concern is how we pick and choose what we believe to be from god and what we discount as not being from god. i no longer trust my ability to discern god’s voice from the interpretive lens that is my own worldview (doctrinal paradigm) when reading the bible because when i read it i can actually feel my worldview accepting/disregarding/twisting passages to fit within my a priori accepted categories and truth scaffolding. for instance, in this podcast, an argument was made that paul wasn’t saying that women shouldn’t be in leadership positions over men because it doesn’t fit into our views, and yet homosexuality is sinful because it is clearly in black and white in the bible…this is not an attack on brad and wayne…all of us do this most times unaware that we are doing it. if this is the case, then why do we not base our doctrines and beliefs on deductions made from the nature of god as love instead of basing them on a book that is subject to our individual interpretive lenses?

  5. I’m really interested in the part of the conversation about love been the starting line, and asking about the barriers, how we read the Bible, and how we get stuck in performance. When you said “everything makes sense inside that reality, and nothing makes sense outside that reality”, I stopped the podcast for the rest of the day, listened to that part again, and wanted to comment and ask some questions about love, works & performance, how we read the Bible, and what “that reality” even is (and Kent, I can really relate to what you wrote!).

    I tried commenting yesterday, so you would have some idea where I’m at, but it didn’t come out right, I just don’t know how to explain without it getting too long. I guess what I really want to know is what do I do if I feel I can’t find my way to the starting line? My problem isn’t thinking that God doesn’t love me, it’s that I don’t really understand what love is. I try going to the Bible for answers, and I see performance everywhere: Even a few days ago I came away from reading Ephesians 5 feeling very dejected (even though it is really a great chapter that starts with “as children dearly loved”). Probably, in much my Christian background, I’ve been taught that love is something that it isn’t. How is God’s love different to relating to Him through works?

    Also, following from Kent’s comment: In my day-to-day relating to God, I don’t just want to relate to a god in my own mind, and I don’t want my Bible reading to be like that where I elevate some passages and dismiss others because it’s what I want to believe. For example, I need to know grace in this-or-that situation in my life is God’s idea, and not just something I’m presuming in my own mind.

  6. I think the comments in the podcast that seemed to indicate that someone who is not cys heterosexual is somehow broken is also wrong. I’ve been on an interesting journey with this issue. The interesting thing for queer Jesus followers is that point of conversion for then is not repentance but acceptance. I would recommend Solus Jesus by Emily Swan and Ken Wilson.

  7. I think if we would flip this list upside down and simply start with the first one. We would see awesome things begin to happen as we truly trust GOD!

    7. We were wrong to put our hope in politics.

  8. I am picking up on a brief comment by Brad about the church playing defense. I wrote a parable about this 20 years ago, “The Football Team Who Played Defense.” Reproduced below:
    Earl Rodd

    The Football Team Who Played Defense

    A parable of the political arena

    A football team saw that as many aspects of the game changed over the years, they were no longer competitive. Their opponents scored an increasing number of points in ever less time. What was to be done? The point scoring must be slowed. The answer was defense! The team searched for the finest defensive coaches. They held seminars with invited guests who were experts on defense in the modern football era. Massive fund raising was conducted to tell supporters of the need to contribute to the expense of establishing a first rate defense and decrying the evils of rapid scoring by opponents. Players were trained from young ages to be first rate defensive players. The value of defense was emphasized to all the teams’ supporters.

    The team was able to counter the rapid rate of scoring by opponents. Newsletters to supporters hailed the improvement even while calling for the need to further reduce opponent’s scoring.

    Years grew into decades. The team’s defense was second to none. Defense was so successful that no one remembered that there was another part of the game called offense. When the other team relinquished possession, the team simply handed the ball back, or in an exciting victory, punted, pushing the opponent far down the field. If an opponent fumbled, they rejoiced, then punted and shouted loudly about how the opponent had been set back. When a pass was intercepted, the player who intercepted the pass raised his arms in victory. His picture was snapped for future newsletters. The team’s fan’s cheered as the opponent was suddenly and totally stopped. The team’s goal line defense became nearly legendary. Time after time, the opponent was forced to settle for a field goal. This showed the value of defense while providing a reason to ask supporters for more help since points were still being scored, even if slowly.

    As the opponent developed new, sometimes deceptive, methods of playing offense, the team, with a legion of scouts and analysts, worked tirelessly to develop strategies of defending against them.

    In many games, the opponent was held to less than 10 points. Often, the opponent was held to a scoreless tie! Team publications hailed the triumph of offense. A few dissenters quietly reminded supporters that they never won a game and usually lost, but their voice was lost in the noise of defense seminars and newsletters on defense.

    Who is the defense? Who is the opponent? Who has the better strategy?

    In the “Parable of the Defense”, the football team with the great defense is the Christian right in the political arena. The second aspect of the parable which is important is that, because many politicians treat serious matters of state as a high school “game”, the football parable becomes all too appropriate. The Bible calls it war – a war in which our weapons are not carnal, but powerful to the pulling down of strongholds!

  9. While I’ve heard only the podcast, not read the article which is discussed, I found the “We were wrong” items to fall prey to the very thing they seemed to want to correct which is a one dimensional view of each issue. Examples:

    1. Glib talk about “not shaming” homosexuality etc. fails to consider the very real dilemma of how to work with people in a constructive way without exposing children to an environment in which a sinful behavior pattern is modeled as something not sinful. Of course, modeling shaming and shunning is not what we want either. I’m not saying any simplistic approach is right, but in an environment where there is such a huge political component of trying to use the power of government to force Christians to change doctrine, we can’t just ignore than pressure.
    2. Regarding the story of one group whose mission is only stopping abortions, not supporting women who have had abortions, I don’t see this as something wrong. Everyone has their own calling and has to make decisions of what to do with their limited resources. I don’t fault at all your co-author’s being up-front with them about believing that she thought that post-abortion support was a critical part of Christian response. We don’t have the whole conversation but I suspect she made it clear that she thought this was an important part of “pregnancy support” which she must do to be faithful to her own conscience. And I agree with her. The local pregnancy support center I support has post-abortion support as a major part of its services. But I don’t think it is “wrong” for a small group to focus on only one aspect of larger picture. We don’t make this demand on other charities that focus on one narrow are of specialty.

    In general I found the podcast became “church bashing” without much positive to offer. What would be most helpful is to hear positive examples of people dealing with the hostile pressures to compromise on Truth while avoiding the pitfalls of various forms of dehumanizing people with challenging life circumstances.
    If I look over the past century of American church life, I would say that on balance compromising has been the bigger problem than dehumanizing, not that that justifies dehumanizing and maybe failure to deal with hard issues in ways that open doors has been a factor in eventual compromises.

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