I recently led a seminar at the Evangelists’ Conference on ‘communities of grace’. The talk I think will be available online. In the meantime I’ll blog some of the content. Here’s how I introduced the topic.
According to 1 Corinthians 1:26-31 God chooses the poor, the broken, the messy, the marginalised. And he does so to demonstrate that salvation is all of his grace. No-one in heaven will be able to say, ‘God saved me because of my intellect or my wealth or my nobility.’
The problem is that this is not a description of conservative evangelicals in the UK. We are predominantly middle-class. The leaders of our churches are predominantly middle-class graduates. The leaders of our movement are predominantly ex-public school. We are the strong, the wise, the noble.
So what’s gone wrong? Could it be that we’ve not truly understand the grace of God or that we don’t truly live the grace of God?
Someone wrote an email to me last week. The email said that in evangelical churches people struggling with depression are regarded as lesser Christians; they are stigmatized. It was written by someone who is a staff member at a prominent evangelical church. In other words, this is our sort of church.
Will a person suffering with depression feel like they belong in your church? I think it will depend on your view of grace.