Sheila and I are doing a series on Paul’s letter to the Romans in November and December, and we are currently working our way through the book, chapter by chapter, talking about it on or semi-daily walks.
I have heard it said that Romans was received amidst great controversy and that – whenever it is properly preached or taught – it will always create a stir. Now, I’m beginning to see why its true.
The reason? Romans tells Christians that they are supposed to be living in an open, diverse community. It is wrong, he says, to separate yourself from other believers based on ethnicity, culture, etc. Instead, all believers are to be “welcomed” or “accepted” within each Christian community.
That message applies to formal, institutional exclusion for sure. But I think that it is also applicable to the creation of a church culture/environment that is equally effective in getting across the message that “your type isn’t welcome here.”