Devotional article for The Greybull Standard

and The Republican Rustler

An exclusive faith ...

There has to be room for all of us. That is only common sense; it is something that seems obviously good and right; it is what Theology would refer to as "natural law".

And obviously human behaviour must be regulated, so as to make sure that there is room for all of us. That is why constitutions in Democratic societies all over the world prohibit the majority from depriving minorities of the right to live and pursue what they believe as good and right - provided these minorities behave, and do not deprive others of their right to live and let live. It is only common sense, and obviously good and right, and natural law. One might even call it inclusiveness, if so inclined.

In recent years, though, it has become increasingly common to demand that there should be no room for some of us; that those who hold unpopular beliefs must be excluded from public life in the very name of inclusiveness.

Surprisingly many fail to observe the irony in this: that such inclusivenessis really not inclusiveat all, and not all that different from the tyranny we have been taught belong to former ages - although perhaps a bit more despicable because of the obvious hypocrisy involved.

It should come as no surprise that the modern inclusiveness oppressors have the Christian faith in particular as their target. For although the Christian faith is so inclusivein how it teaches Christians to treat others, including those who believe differently, the Christian faith is also in its very nature exclusive, namely in that Christians actually think that what they believe is true - which is exactly what the modern inclusiveness ideology will not allow.

For the modern oppressive inclusiveness is not about regulating behaviour; it is about judging what is in our hearts and minds, and what we are not allowed to believe.

The Christian faith could also be said to be inclusive in that it offers itself to all. "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus."

But with that, the Christian faith is also very nature exclusivein that it acknowledges only one God, and sets its hope only to His tremendous goodness.

The only God that is real, and not a figment of human fantasies, He had His Son suffer for the salvation of sinners. And He offers full forgiveness for all sin, freely and for nothing, out of His goodness and mercy alone. And forgiveness for sin is what we need, for we all have sinned, and are all under judgement and damnation, for God alone is God, and we are not, and we owe Him, and it is evil of us that we fail to love Him and do His will. The forgiveness of sins He offers to us all is the only means by which any of us can escape eternal death and damnation and have eternal life. And to reject His love and remain in disobedience and defiance is to remain under His judgement.

This is the Christian faith. All Christians believe this; whoever does not believe it, whatever he or she believes instead is not the Christian faith.

And as such, the modern ideology of inclusiveness must naturally be hostile to the Christian faith; and Christians might just as well be prepared to be excluded from public life, and from society altogether, as the ideology of inclusiveness becomes ever more influential.

It remains to be seen how much influence the ideology of oppressive inclusiveness will have in legislation and culture, and for how long. Movements come and go, but the Church of Christ remains, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail over it. Such is His promise. And His Christians have nothing to fear, no matter what might fall upon us, or upon our loved ones. The Kingdom ours remaineth. And in the end, and when it all comes down to it, nothing else matters.

Pastor Jais H. Tinglund

Grace Lutheran Church, Greybull/Zion Lutheran Church, Emblem