I just got the latest Covenant Network newsletter yesterday, which included the note that they will no longer be sending their publication to every pastor in the PC(USA), but only to those who pay for it. (For those not familiar with the Presbyterian Church (USA) and its internecine strife, the Covenant Network is one of the affinity groups working for the ordination of self-affirmed practicing homosexuals.) I can’t say as I’ll miss it all that much; maybe I should, for a number of reasons, but I won’t. The smug “we’re on the right side of history” tone annoys me no end, especially when married to the low-quality theology and exegesis I so often find in their work.
Now, some might read that and think I fault them primarily because of their advocacy of homosexuality, but that’s really not the case. There are much deeper issues here, a point signaled by the slogan printed across the front of every CovNet publication: Toward a Church as Generous and Just as God’s Grace. Anyone see a problem with that? For my part, I see two. The first is minor: while we want the church to look as much like God as possible, it is simply beyond human capacity for the church to be as generous as God’s grace. Aim high, sure, but the fact that they so blithely take aim at an impossibility suggests to me that they don’t realize it’s impossible. That in turn suggests that their doctrine of God isn’t high enough by a long shot.
The greater problem is that word “just.” Who in the world ever said, or thought, that God’s grace is just? The very idea is ludicrous. Justice is all about what we earn; God’s grace is all about what he gives us that we have not earned and could never even begin to hope to earn. Confusing the two, as CovNet evidently does, is a major theological error, a fundamental misunderstanding of who God is and who we are (and pretty much everything in between). Attempts to set aside the Scriptural witness on homosexuality are symptoms; this kind of thinking is the true disease. Christianity isn’t about our rights, or what we deserve; it’s about the fact that all we deserve is Hell, and God gives us his kingdom anyway. Maranatha–come, Lord Jesus!