On Gungor, doubt, and the new creation within us

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There’s a scandal brewing in the Christian music world.

Gungor, a musical duo consisting of the talented husband/wife team, Michael and Lisa Gungor, have been propelled into musical notoriety over the past few years due largely to the success of their single, “Beautiful Things.”

Over the past week or so, Gungor has come under fire for recent comments in which they wrote:

“If you try to find some value in them as stories, there will be some people that say that you aren’t a Christian anymore because you don’t believe the Bible is true or ‘authoritative.’ Even if you try to argue that you think there is a truth to the stories, just not in an historical sense; that doesn’t matter. To some people, you denying the ‘truth’ of a 6,000 year old earth with naked people in a garden eating an apple being responsible for the death of dinosaurs is the same thing as you nailing Jesus to the cross. You become part of ‘them.’ The deniers of God’s Word,” he said.

These comments, among others, have opened Gungor up to a barrage of criticism from those within the Christian community.

While some comments have been encouraging, many have been filled with criticism and hurt.

It’s easy to see where this hurt is coming from, too. After all, Gungor was to be “The One” who would lift Christian music out of the realm of cultural irrelevancy and into the difficult-to-achieve world relevance.

“Was” being the key word here.

For Gungor is quickly being pushed out the evangelical door.

Why?

Gungor is no longer invited to be part of the evangelical party due to their newly admitted (though, long-experienced) religious doubts.

Doubt? Doubt is something the church just can’t handle.

The unspoken reality is that we will gladly take adulterers, drunks, gluttons, and cheats…but we won’t accept the doubters (along with a few other groups…though, that’s a discussion for another day).

With all this out-the-door pushing, it’s no surprise people aren’t anxious to spend time with us.

Why is there no interest in the words we preach? Why do people run when they hear we’re people of faith? What is behind the cultural resistance to Christianity?

I would ask a different question:

What if nobody wants to hear about the Gospel because they believe there is no room for them? Or, if we make room, we’ll soon push them out because their journey towards faith looks different than our own?

What if the people around us have seen, far too often, what happens to those who fall out of step with the presiding theological majority? Maybe it leads them to ask, “If they’ll do that to one of their own…what would they do to me?”

There was a day, long ago, when Christ followers were once known as the people who ate with prostitutes, thieves, war-mongers, the theologically conservative, and theologically rebellious (Jewish versions of Che Guevara), and they all found a place at the table.

Their inability to understand the language Christ used (how many times they got it all wrong!), and their inability to succeed never damning them to the future others might think they deserved. This inclusion and welcoming of doubters created a table the world was climbing over themselves to join.

The church needs to rediscover Christ’s table. A table build on grace, and the centrality of Christ…not focused solely on theological discourse.

I would contend that rediscovering this table is imperative for the success of the Church moving forward.

Gone must be the days when we’ll #farewell after disagreements.

Gone must be the days when flipping tables is a viable response to anything other than injustice of the oppressed (and no, American Christians do not count as the “oppressed.”)

May we remember as the Community of Believers:

We proclaim Christ and the power of His resurrection.

We proclaim it is Christ’s death and subsequent resurrection, not our theological beliefs, that provides the forgiveness of sins.

We proclaim, just as God created a new world out of darkness, he’s also creating a new thing from the darkness within each of us.

We proclaim that the Bible, the inspired words of God, are perfect in all things dealing with Salvation. They give us a beautiful picture of who God is, and paints a beautiful picture of what God wants to do within us.

May we remember that the rest are non-essentials. Many of which we will most likely discover that we were wrong about anyways.

Finally, instead of focusing on the differences, may we find unity in the essentials.

And may we discover that, as we give grace in the non-essentials, and as we welcome the skeptics, people are willing to sit down and eat with us once more.

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