“Is Elton John a sinner?”
Yes, and so am I.
And so are you, the pope, and all the previous popes, all my pastors throughout my life, Buddha, Confucius, Mohammed, Moses, the Jewish Patriarchs, and everyone’s sweet old grandma, too. And particularly the folk at Brill Publishing who charge those outrageous prices for their books.
Just to make things perfectly clear, so also is the person everyone who reads this sees in the mirror in the morning.
My warrant for this?
Rom 3:23-24 NET. for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (24) But they are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
Are we Christians judgmental? It’s certainly true we are told,
Mat 7:1-2 NET. “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. (2) For by the standard you judge you will be judged, and the measure you use will be the measure you receive.
But we are also told,
Mat 10:16 NET. “I am sending you out like sheep surrounded by wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.
This order I take to mean we are indeed forced to judge in order to be wise, to understand. But to be innocent as doves I also take to mean we are to do as little harm as possible.
Also, frankly, this politically correct notion that one should never object to anything another does that does not harm another is in actual fact demanding silent license to do many bad things. It’s a sort of emotional blackmail when used in families, where it works out to “if you love me you’ll support me whatever I do”. This is a rather juvenile argument grown ups find fallacious and refuse to be suckered by. Christians of all people should be grown ups. We deal in eternal life and death.
To be a Christian is not an easy thing, actually, because Jesus’ commandments often force us to walk a thin line between competing agendas. But silence is not an option for Christians, for Jesus also said,
Mat 10:27-28 NET. What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light, and what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the housetops. (28) Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Instead, fear the one who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
I know many think that speaking out against someone else is inherently damaging to reputations or freedom, but let’s be honest. The true scenario all too often is actually,
“So and so said X about such and such.”
“Yeah, but So and so is a nut. Consider the source.”
All too often I find that people are not worried about their freedom in these complaints about other’s speech or opinions, but rather their freedom from defending their actions, or worse, a freedom to be offended. There has been, nor ever will be, a right to freedom from offense, and if I as a Christian, am expected to defend what I say and do, I don’t see that non-Christians should be able to avoid the same treatment. Just because life isn’t fair doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive to make it as fair as we can.
Finally, if all this does not fit the image of peace promotion you imagine is the goal of Christianity, well, Jesus also denied that He would be a bringer of peace:
Mat 10:34-36 NET. “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace but a sword. (35) For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, (36) and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.
In short, if something about Christianity causes you grief, things are going about as they should.