We were the first to Zoom into Darcy’s church class. I am an admin for the church account, so we got the meeting started. I left Darcy at the computer to text her teachers — one had an emergency, another was racing home (safely using voice to text… so I only partially understood the messages!). I came back to find Darcy, with admin power, letting her friends into the meeting. They were happily chatting and soon the teacher arrived. Darcy told me after the class it was fun to be the admin and let others into the meeting.

Then a sly smile, “I could mute them too!”

My alma mater, Southwest Baptist University, has been enmeshed in a fight with the Missouri Baptist Convention (SBC state convention). Long story short, a professor was fired by SBU for recording other professors and trying to get them removed over theology. The MBC, agreeing with the fired professor’s theology (maybe not tactics — though some hint the convention was behind the tactics), tightened the reigns on the religion department. Most recently they have added three creedal statements that professors must affirm.

A Christian University certainly has a right and need to have religion professors affirm core beliefs. But when others become gatekeepers – in this case, the Convention – the goal of the university, educating students, is often lost. Instead orthodoxy becomes determinative and baggage of belief is added. With the added burden, honest Christian reflection is not only missed, but soon shamed.

Just like Darcy on zoom, the wrong gatekeepers seek to determine admittance and mute those deemed outsiders.

This is true of the whole church. When humans become the gatekeepers difference is excluded. But there is only One gatekeeper. When we talk about right belief – orthodoxy – there is only one belief, the Gate. Jesus. We seek to know him and bring others to him. There is no need to add “and” to Jesus… nor should we, in fear, mute those Jesus swings open to save!

I hope you join us this Sunday in person or online at 10:30. Prepare your hearts by reading John 10. Remember we are the sheep, so let’s follow!

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