‘All Are Welcome Here’

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'All Are Welcome Here'
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Looking at inclusion from God's perspective

I’ll admit, my jaw dropped slightly when I read this on a church website: “Christianity is our way to God, but it’s not the only way to God. God draws people in many ways, and He welcomes them all.” In a nutshell, this means that all religions, lifestyles and beliefs should be accepted and approved as true and moral. The formal term for this all-roads-lead-to-God approach is “religious pluralism,” which is part of what many refer to as progressive Christianity

The idea of a church welcoming everyone sounds good on the surface because imperfect people are invited to attend as they are, but if we dig a little deeper, we discover that “all are welcome here” doesn’t simply mean welcoming sinners into the church. It also means approving of their sin. It isn’t just about acknowledging the differing viewpoints of others; it’s about upholding all viewpoints as truth. 

“After all,” the argument goes, “every one of us is broken and messed up. Why should one messed-up person be able to tell another messed-up person that he or she is wrong?” For those who hold this view, any kind of exclusion feels harsh and cruel. 

Exclusive communities 

If you think about it, nearly every community is exclusive to some degree. It reminds me of the time I wanted to sing on my church’s worship team. I love music, but I forgot one important detail: I can’t sing. Sure, I can belt out my favorite songs while driving, but I have no concept of octaves or musical keys. In the end, the worship team decided to not give me a place onstage. I didn’t meet their qualifications, and I didn’t want to put in the work to learn. 

But when it comes to God, some may ask, “What’s wrong with including everyone?” That sounds like a valid question when we consider it from a human-centered point of view, but to arrive at the right answer, we need to look at the issue through a God-centered perspective

Our human filter can get distorted with partial truths and lies. One of the biggest lies people believe is that all views are true—even views that contradict each other. This leads to confusion because every perspective can’t be right. For example, if one church teaches that God welcomes everyone and accepts their sinful lifestyles, and another church teaches that God welcomes everyone but calls them to turn away from their sin, both views can’t be true. The only way to know what is actually true is to find out what God thinks about the issue. After all, as the One who created truth, His perspective is all that really matters. 

To better understand God’s perspective on inclusion, let’s rewind to the beginning of time, where the conversation should start. 

“In the beginning, God . . .” 

In the very first chapter of the Bible, we learn that God existed before the world began. With a word spoken into the void, He crafted the galaxies, the planets and the ground beneath our feet (Genesis 1). Then He designed people in His image, the pinnacle of His creation. Humanity was created for a single goal—to glorify God. He set standards for how humans should live because in His wisdom, He knew what would make His creation thrive. 

But humans rebelled against Him. We turned our backs on God and His standards and insisted on establishing our own. Because of our sin and rebellion, we were cut off from our Creator and have lived under the curse of death ever since. But God in His mercy paved a path for a restored relationship with Him. Amazingly, He set His plan of salvation in motion long before He made the world (1 Peter 1:18-21). 

In His wisdom, God established only one way for us to be forgiven and restored: through His Son, who gave His life on a cross to pay for our sins and bring us back to the Father (Romans 5:6-10). God also designed how His people should live and gave us His blueprint in the Bible. 

Now the choice is ours: Will we receive His gift of forgiveness and restoration or reject it? Will we obey His blueprint or rebel? 

God’s inclusive and exclusive plan 

Inclusion and exclusion are a part of everyday life. For example, societies seek to be inclusive over who can receive medical care but are strongly exclusive over who can give medical care. Can you imagine a world where anyone who wanted to be a doctor could immediately be given a position at a hospital? Or what if all parameters disappeared on who could become police officers, teachers and pilots? The same principle applies to the body of Christ. Becoming a part of the body of Christ comes with certain requirements: repentance, faith and belief in Christ. In short, it requires acceptance of the Gospel. 

The Gospel is a beautifully inclusive message. It’s the message of forgiveness that Jesus spoke to the woman caught in adultery—“Neither do I condemn you” (John 8:1-12). It’s echoed in the beloved words of John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” 

The Gospel also comes with radically exclusive requirements. It declares that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” and then announces the only remedy (Romans 3:21-26), shows us we’re sick and then points us to the Healer (Matthew 9:1-8). It proves we’re lost and that only Jesus can find us (Luke 19:10) and tells the woman caught in adultery to “go, and . . . sin no more” (John 8:11). 

The Gospel clearly says that there is only one way to be saved: through faith in Jesus (Acts 4:12). When we look at the world from God’s perspective, we realize that He is inclusive and exclusive. He wants to heal, transform and restore everyone. But He also desires that we have willing hearts to pursue life in a way that reflects His standards. 

The Gospel changes our perspective 

My own life has been radically changed by the Gospel. Even though I’ve always been a “good Christian girl” on the surface, I now realize that I desperately need God to change not only my exterior actions but also my heart. His love overhauled my life by stripping away my squeaky-clean appearance and revealing the truth underneath—a sinner in need of a Savior. He’s continually transforming the way I think, talk and approach my family and friends. Day by day, He gives me a clearer understanding of my purpose in life. 

So how does the Gospel change our perspective? While many people say, “Everyone has a seat at the table, and many roads lead there,” the Gospel says, “All are welcome at the table, but there’s only one way to get there—and that way is Jesus.” 

Do we truly believe this? If we do, it changes how we interact with the people around us. 

You may be wondering, Are we supposed to exclude people who aren’t Christians or those who say they are Christians but believe that God accepts sinful lifestyles? Those are hard questions that we can answer only by looking to the example of Christ. Throughout the New Testament accounts about Jesus, we see Him engaging with people others rebuffed. The Samaritan woman. The hated tax collectors. The prostitutes, the lepers and even the demon possessed. He touched them, ate with them and spoke to them when others steered clear. But in every instance, the people Jesus interacted with walked away changed. 

Jesus’ Impact

Jesus wasn’t shy about exposing their sin or speaking words that can seem a little harsh to us. He loved people enough to draw near to them, but His love went even deeper than that: He loved them enough to point out the sins that were destroying them and show them the truth that could transform their lives. His love didn’t validate their lifestyles; it completely overhauled them. 

While the Gospel invites everyone to “come as you are,” it doesn’t settle for anyone staying that way. Today we often hear a false message of love that tells us, “You’re OK the way you are.” But the Gospel of love tells us the truth: “You’re not OK as you are, but Jesus can heal and transform you.” 

Will we be bold enough to choose this kind of love in a culture that settles for wishy-washy compromise? Be brave enough to speak the truth in love and say, “No, there’s only one way to God, and it’s Jesus”? Or will we be loving enough to not only open our arms and hearts to those who other people reject but also point them to the open arms of Jesus spread wide on a cross? 

By God’s grace, I will. Will you? 

A Quick Check 

Let’s go deeper! How does progressive Christianity compare to a biblical worldview? Answer the questions as you learn more about what God has to say through the Bible. Briefly journal your thoughts. 

1. A social media post says, “God loves you in your brokenness.” Is this a reflection of progressive Christianity or from a biblical worldview? 

A. progressive Christianity

B. biblical worldview 

Read what the Bible says: Romans 3:23-24 and Romans 3:9-12. 

2. A billboard says, “You are acceptable to God no matter what you do.” Is this a reflection of progressive Christianity or from a biblical worldview? 

A. progressive Christianity

B. biblical worldview 

Read what the Bible says: Romans 6:1-6. 

3. Is the statement “Everyone has a seat at the table” a reflection of progressive Christianity or from a biblical worldview? 

A. progressive Christianity

B. biblical worldview 

Read what the Bible says: 1 Timothy 2:3-5 and 1 John 2:3-6. 

Think: How can I prioritize the Gospel in my relationships with love?

Answers: 

1. (B); We’re all broken people, yet God loves all of humanity and wants each of us to turn to Him in our brokenness and find His healing. We don’t have to be perfect when we come to Jesus. 

2. (A); God doesn’t accept sinful behavior, but He is ready to forgive when we ask. 

3. Either (A) or (B); If this statement means that God accepts sinful decisions and lifestyles, then this is progressive Christianity, and the answer is (A). If this means that God allows all to come to His table through faith in Jesus, no matter their race, background, sex or socioeconomic status, then this is a biblical worldview, and the answer is (B). 

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Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage.

Love in Every Season: Understanding the Four Stages of a Healthy Relationship

Every relationship goes through four life-changing seasons: Spring. Summer. Fall. Winter. Each season plays an important role in taking your relationship to the next level. And depending on how you navigate each season, your relationship will either flourish and grow, or it will slowly die. Whether you’re single, dating, engaged or married, join licensed professional counselor and relationship expert, Debra Fileta as she takes you on an eye-opening psychological and spiritual journey through the four seasons that she has observed in every healthy relationship.

How a Former Abortion Doctor Became Pro-Life

As an abortion doctor at Planned Parenthood, Dr. Patti Giebink believed she was helping women. Later, she began reading scripture and God gradually changed her heart on the abortion issue. Patti tells the story of her long journey from abortion doctor to pro-life and encourages listeners to share the message of life with compassion.

Headshot image of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Dr. Patti Giebink

Mrs. Patti Giebink

Dr. Patti Giebink is an OB-GYN who serves on the board of the Alpha Center, a well-known pregnancy center located in Sioux Falls, S.D. She also travels intermittently to work in mission hospitals in Pakistan and other countries. After completing her medical training, Dr. Giebink worked for Planned Parenthood from 1995-1997, during which she was the only abortion-provider in the state of South Dakota. She eventually experienced a radical change of heart on the issue of abortion after receiving God’s grace, forgiveness, and love, and she is now a passionate advocate for the pro-life movement.

Cover image of the book "Unexpected Choice: An Abortion Doctor’s Journey to Pro-Life"

Unexpected Choice: An Abortion Doctor’s Journey to Pro-Life

Unexpected Choice is told from the perspective of a doctor who actually performed abortions through Planned Parenthood. The book chronicles her journey from being a pro-choice physician to someone speaking on behalf of the pro-life movement.

Giving up Sugar, Tasting God's Goodness

As a latchkey kid, Wendy Speake turned to sugar for comfort. Every Friday, she would pedal to the candy show and use her allowance to fill her bag with candy. And one day, when she was older and a mom of three young boys, she came to realize that she was still “pedaling” away from her stress and using sugar as comfort, instead of turning to Jesus. She was joyless, worn out, tired, and in need of a change. In this interview, Wendy will challenge Christians to take 40 days to focus on fasting from something they turn to instead of Jesus for comfort. She invited people to break free from a dependence on sugar and taste the goodness of God.

Author Wendy Speake smiling as she holds up her book "The 40-Day Social Media Fast"

Mrs. Wendy Speake

With a background in Hollywood as a trained actress, Wendy Speake ministers to women as a bible teacher by applying the power of drama, poetry and comedy to the study of Scripture and real-life application of biblical truths. She has co-authored two books with Amber Lia titled Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses and their latest, Parenting Scripts: When What You’re Saying Isn’t Working, Say Something New. Wendy is also the co-author (with Kelli Stuart) of Life Creative: Inspiration for Today’s Renaissance Mom.

Cover image of the book "The 40-Day Sugar Fast"

The 40-Day Sugar Fast: Where Physical Detox Meets Spiritual Transformation

Welcome to the 40-Day Sugar Fast, a fast that begins with us giving Jesus our sugar and ends with Jesus giving us himself–the only thing that can ever truly satisfy our soul’s deep hunger. On this 40-day journey you’ll learn how to stop fixating on food and other things you use to fill the voids in life and instead fix your eyes on Christ. Anyone who runs to sugar for comfort or a reward, who eats mindlessly or out of boredom, who feels physically and spiritually lethargic, or who struggles with self-control will discover here not only freedom from their cravings but an entirely new appetite for the good things God has for us.

Understanding the Root of Your Child's Misbehavior - Part 1

Often, children act out because they are used to getting attention through bad behavior. Dr. Kevin Leman offers advice to help parents transform their child’s behavior. He discusses the benefits of allowing your kids to learn from real-life consequences and describes the importance of understanding your child’s temperament based on his birth order.

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman is an internationally known family psychologist and an award-winning, New York Times best-selling author. He is also a popular public speaker and media personality who has made countless guest appearances on numerous radio and TV programs. Dr. Leman has written more than 50 books including The Birth Order BookHave a New Kid by Friday and Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours.

Bundle of Why Your Kids Misbehave

Why Your Kids Misbehave and What to Do about It

Tantrums. Talking back. Throwing toys or food. Meltdowns. Slamming doors. Kids know just how to push your buttons. You’ve tried all sorts of methods, but nothing seems to work. In this book, Dr. Kevin Leman reveals exactly why kids misbehave and how you can turn that behavior around with practical, no-nonsense strategies that really work . . . and are a long-term win for both of you.

Understanding the Root of Your Child's Misbehavior - Part 2

Often, children act out because they are used to getting attention through bad behavior. Dr. Kevin Leman offers advice to help parents transform their child’s behavior. He discusses the benefits of allowing your kids to learn from real-life consequences and describes the importance of understanding your child’s temperament based on his birth order.

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman is an internationally known family psychologist and an award-winning, New York Times best-selling author. He is also a popular public speaker and media personality who has made countless guest appearances on numerous radio and TV programs. Dr. Leman has written more than 50 books including The Birth Order BookHave a New Kid by Friday and Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours.

Bundle of Why Your Kids Misbehave

Why Your Kids Misbehave and What to Do about It

Tantrums. Talking back. Throwing toys or food. Meltdowns. Slamming doors. Kids know just how to push your buttons. You’ve tried all sorts of methods, but nothing seems to work. In this book, Dr. Kevin Leman reveals exactly why kids misbehave and how you can turn that behavior around with practical, no-nonsense strategies that really work . . . and are a long-term win for both of you.

Loving Your Spouse Through the Seasons of Marriage - Part 2

Debra Fileta has identified the four seasons of marriage that correspond with our natural seasons – spring (new life and new love), summer (things get hot!), fall (showing our true colors), and winter (long days ahead). In this interview, she will help couples better understand the four seasons of healthy relationships, what to expect during each one, and how to carefully navigate them for a stronger marriage.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage.

Love in Every Season: Understanding the Four Stages of a Healthy Relationship

Every relationship goes through four life-changing seasons: Spring. Summer. Fall. Winter. Each season plays an important role in taking your relationship to the next level. And depending on how you navigate each season, your relationship will either flourish and grow, or it will slowly die. Whether you’re single, dating, engaged or married, join licensed professional counselor and relationship expert, Debra Fileta as she takes you on an eye-opening psychological and spiritual journey through the four seasons that she has observed in every healthy relationship.

Reconciling Faith and Science in a Medical Crisis

Dr. Lee Warren is a neurosurgeon who has faced many heavy challenges in his life – from serving in the Iraq War to removing deadly brain tumors to experiencing the loss of a teenage son. He’ll share about his difficult quest to find answers to some of life’s toughest questions, while holding onto his faith in God and the sure hope of heaven

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Dr. W. Lee Warren

Dr. Lee Warren

W. Lee Warren, M.D., is a brain surgeon , inventor, Iraq War veteran, and author of I’ve Seen the End of You: A Neurosurgeon’s Look at Faith, Doubt, and the Things We Think We Know, winner of the Christian Book Award®. His previous book, No Place to Hide, was included on the 2015 U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff’s Recommended Reading List. Dr. Warren has appeared on The 700 Club and the CBS Evening News, and his writings have been featured in Guideposts magazine. His Dr. Lee Warren Podcast, which is heard in more than 60 countries, helps listeners use the power of neuroscience, faith, and common sense to change their lives.

Cover image of Dr. Lee Warren's book "I've Seen the End of You"

I've Seen the End of You: A Neurosurgeon's Look at Faith, Doubt, and the Things We Think We Know

This gripping inspirational memoir grapples with the tension between faith and science—and between death and hope—as a seasoned neurosurgeon faces insurmountable odds and grief both in the office and at home.

Praying Scripture Over Your Child’s Life - Part 1

Jodie Berndt loves to pray for her children. She’s been doing that for the past thirty years. Now she helps other parents to talk to God, asking for the salvation of their kids, and for wisdom, self-discipline, purpose, a future and much more. She offers fun and practical encouragement that moms and dads can put to work immediately in their daily lives as they prepare their children for a life in Christ.

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt is a public speaker, a Bible teacher, and the the author of 10 books. Find out more about Jodie and get some free resources (including printable prayer cards and calendars) at her website, jodieberndt.com.

Cover image of Jodie Berndt's book "Praying the Scriptures for Your Children"

Praying the Scriptures Over Your Children

You will discover how using the Bible to shape your desires and requests opens the door to God’s provision—and frees us from things like worry and fear in our parenting! This expanded edition of the bestseller features updated content on issues like technology and identity, and comes with new material designed to invite children into the family prayer circle. Purchase now and receive 10% off your product.

Mothers and Sons: Being a Godly Influence - Part 1

Rhonda Stoppe describes her early motherhood challenges of raising a son, which was intimidating to her. She found help through group of older women mentors. She urges moms to see their role as ministry in shaping sons to be good and godly men. Rhonda outlines several practical suggestions to moms about spiritual training, how to communicate with boys, and supporting the father-son relationship as a wife.

Headshot of Rhonda Stoppe

Rhonda Stoppe

Drawing upon 35 years of experience as a mentor, pastor’s wife, and homeschool mom, Rhonda Stoppe offers encouragement and guidance to women as an author and public speaker. She is popularly known as the “No Regrets Woman,” as she is especially passionate about helping women live life without regrets. Rhonda’s books include Moms Raising Sons to Be MenReal Life Romance, and The Marriage Mentor, which she co-authored with her husband, Steve.

Cover image of Rhonda Stoppe's book "Moms Raising Sons to be Men"

Moms Raising Sons to Be Men

Mothers of boys have the special calling to shape future men of God. Popular speaker Rhonda Stoppe, mom to two sons, knows this opportunity is a challenge, a joy, and probably the most important work of a woman’s life. Drawing from years of experience, this inspirational resource will revive the faithfulness and fortitude a woman needs to partner with God as they shape the character and heart of a future godly man.

Identifying Triggers in Your Marriage Part 1

They were both convinced they had married the wrong person. From almost the very beginning of their marriage, Amber and Guy Lia experienced various tensions and personality clashes related to house cleaning, backseat driving, workaholism, and intimacy. In this two-day Focus on the Family broadcast, Amber and Guy discuss how they bravely faced the triggers head-on, and committed to working on their own relationships with Jesus. As you listen to the Lia’s story, you’ll feel hope that you, too, can see real marriage transformation!

Headshot of Guy and Amber Lia

Mr. and Mrs. Guy and Amber Lia and Mrs. Jean Daly

Amber Lia is a work-at-home mom, blogger, public speaker, and co-author of two best-selling books. Her husband, Guy, is a former TV, feature film, and VFX development and production executive who has worked on popular TV shows and films. Guy and Amber own Storehouse Media Group, a faith- and family-friendly TV and film production company based in Los Angeles,

Cover image of the book "Marriage Triggers" by Guy and Amber Lia

Marriage Triggers: How You and Your Spouse Can Exchange Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses

A husband-wife team offers practical advice for married couples to end the cycle of reactionary arguments by examining the most common issues that trigger disagreements and apply God’s Word to radically transform relationships.

What to Do When You're Not Okay - Part 1

Life can be pretty stressful. Between work, relationships, and other obligations, the pressure builds, and we lose sight of who we are. Counselor Debra Fileta helps you better understand your emotions, assess your mental, physical, and spiritual health, and intentionally pursue a path to wellbeing. In dealing with anxiety, depression, and panic attacks, Debra understands the importance of self-examination as well as the benefits of seeking professional help. She offers biblically-based advice, tools, and encouragement to help you get on a path toward healing and wholeness.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Mrs. Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage. Debra resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, John, and their four children.

Are You Really Okay?

Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are

In Are You Really OK? author and licensed counselor Debra Fileta challenges you to get real with who you are and how you’re doing spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically so you can recognize where you need growth and healing.

Navigating a Toxic Culture with Your Daughter - Part 1

As a pediatrician, Dr. Meg Meeker has seen thousands of girls come through her office through the years. They struggle with eating issues, sexual identity, social media…and many other challenges in this toxic culture. Dr. Meeker will encourage parents to invest love and time in their daughters and develop their character to give them the best opportunity for a bright future, all rooted in a spiritual foundation. The discussion also includes healthy feminism vs. toxic feminism

Mrs. Meg Meeker

Dr. Meg Meeker is a pediatrician who is widely recognized as one of the country’s leading authorities on parenting, teens and children’s health. With appearances on numerous nationally syndicated radio and TV programs, her popularity as a an expert on key issues confronting families has created a strong following across America. Her work with countless families over the years served as the inspiration behind her best-selling books which include Strong Fathers, Strong DaughtersStrong Mothers, Strong Sons and The Ten Habits of Happy Mothers

Cover image of Dr. Meg Meeker's book "Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture"

Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture: 11 Steps to Keep Her Happy, Healthy, and Safe

Meg Meeker has been a pediatrician for more than thirty years, is a mother and a grandmother, and has seen it all. She knows what makes for strong, happy, healthy young women–and what puts our daughters at risk. Combining that experience with her famous common sense, she explains the eleven steps that will help your daughter–whether she’s a toddler or a troubled teen–to achieve her full human potential.

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Newest Release - Episode 1: The Truth About Life!

In this episode, we will tackle tough questions like, “When does life begin?” and “What does the Bible
say about Life?” You’ll discover and understand the stages of pre-born life and that babies are more than
just a clump of cells!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Thank you for committing to pray for the pre-born!

Sign up below for your free seven-day prayer guide. This daily guide will help give direction to your prayers for the pro-life movement. We will be praying with you!