You were involved in controversy when the Kentucky Baptist Convention rescinded your invitation to speak because of a controversial paragraph in your book 'A Generous Orthodoxy.' You said, in part, that making disciples doesn't necessarily "equal making adherents to the Christian religion." Did you think the dis-invitation was justified?Source, underlined emphasis mine.
When I go to speak somewhere, I'm a guest so I'm not offended if someone would invite me and then decide they would rather not have me. And [the Kentucky Baptist Convention] were very kind and polite in the way they did it.
When you wrote that paragraph, did you feel it would make waves or did it seem natural to write?
I knew it would be seen as controversial to some people. If they had asked me for further explanation, I would have told them that this is an especially important issue for Americans to think about right now. Since the invasion of Iraq, there are millions of Christians around the world who now are in danger. If they associate with a Christian religion, that makes them seem to be associated with the United States for a whole number of reasons. It becomes dangerous and impossible for people who want to follow Jesus in their lives to identify as Christians. Very often if youÂre in a Muslim country, and you identify as a Christian, youÂre set up for exclusion and bad treatment. In some cases, worse.
I'm going to put it quite simply and keep this short. Christianity does not equal the right to an easy life. If the apostles and countless others had been unwilling to die for the name of Christ, where would the church be today? Christ Himself told us that we very well might lose our families, possibly even our very lives for following Him. So, where do we come up with the excuse that it is ok to live and expect it not to be any more true for us. Jesus told the man on the shore to follow Him and let the dead bury their own. He's calling us to forsake what we once had if it keeps us from following Him! Why do we think this means our lives are going to be easy?
Yes, people die for the name of Christ. But you know what, He's worth it...isn't He? Yes, I'm speaking from a position where my life isn't in danger for Christ, but does that make what I'm saying any less true? Christ calls us to be separate from the world, from our old lives. And that means you must be willing to be associated as a follower of Chist. Yes, there are people who do many things which mar the title Christian, but does that give us license to abandon the path He has laid out? If anything it should make us passionate to reclaim the title, to show that those people don'necessarily represent all Christians, and in fact may not even truly represent Christ Himself.