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June 11, 2019

Exception to Church Welcome

Harry M. Covert

Might as well bring up an old quote describing some churchgoers. It comes to mind after the shameful reporting from a northern Virginia assemblage where some public hackles popped up when The President of The United States dropped in for prayer.


The reference is this: “they may be Heavenly minded but they are no earthly good.”


Disgruntled attenders who apparently prefer to be called worshipers, fit the above mentioned tab at their McLean Bible Church in Vienna, Virginia. What person “of the cloth” would dare not welcome visitors to their sanctuary?


Better yet, what pastor or pastoress (my title for women preachers here) worth “their calling” would apologize to a single member of his or her congregation for such unconscionable conduct?


Apparently that’s the case from a supposedly Scripture-based Christian denomination on Sunday, June 2.


Mr. Trump was returning to the White House. Unexpectedly he stopped in to offer prayers for the Virginia Beach wholesale killings. He quite possibly was seeking blessings for his state visit to London, Ireland and France commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the Normandy landing.


He did not ask for any votes or pass out campaign literature. He bowed his head as the pastor prayed.


Results of the visit by the commander-in-chief and leader of the free world, naturally besotted the media. What a story for the news. An evangelical church, supposedly believers and teachers of the Gospel expressed offense at the prayer session with him. Oh, the pastor apologized. For what?


There are thousands, maybe more, of churches who would have gladly and joyfully welcomed the visit by a sitting president.


In fact it would be easy to name spiritual leaders around the country who would have gladly opened their doors for the arrival of such distinguished personage. And they would have promoted the appearance forever. Lots of sermon topics, Sunday School lessons.


How embarrassing for Christians in the pews and pastors in the pulpits to be a part of the denigration of the occasion. Churches spend great amounts of time wanting members and newcomers to attend their services. Their job is not to turn people away.


Perhaps, those given the responsibility to “reach the world,” preaching peace and love and such need a transfusion. Apparently their methods are missing the targets big time. Actually it’s rather obvious.


The Book, meaning the Bible to the unacquainted and unwashed, is quite clear to its readers and adherents: be kind to one another. Followers are told to let their lights so shine so others see their good works. There are many more. None stale either.


For such a church to embroil itself in disrespecting a president, a governor, a mayor, or to any and all in authority is despicable. Actually it is galling, really worrisome. The heathens and atheists appear to have finally reached their goal: invading and taking over the nation’s houses of worship?


Well, Billy Sunday, the great National League baseball player of the Chicago White Stockings, Pittsburgh Alleghenys and Philadelphia Phillies, had a pretty good description of some current churches sitters:


“Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than going to a garage makes you an automobile.”


Sunday was the leading Christian evangelist in early 1900s. He was known to open his sawdust tent meetings running up the aisles, sliding up to the pulpit. Always safe.


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