Do Church ‘Reparations’ Include the Gospel?

Posted on August 6, 2020


By David Ettinger

An ‘Activism’ Church
New York City-based Middle Collegiate Church will give $200,000 to “help with housing and anti-racism programs, which the church views as being an act of reparations.”[1]

According to Rev. Jacqui Lewis: “Amid grotesque, systemic racism and police brutality, God demands we educate and act to build an anti-racist world. … When the federal government is putting millions of people in our community in risk of eviction, God demands we provide people with money so they can stay in their homes.”[2]

Lewis further explained that “these donations should be seen ‘through a broader lens of reparations,’ as her church benefitted ‘greatly from wealth that was created through both the enslavement of black people and the theft of Lenape land.’”[3]

According to the Middle Collegiate Church website: “We are on-your-feet worship and take-it-to-the-streets activism. We feed the hungry and work for a living wage; we fight for LGBTQ equality and march for racial/ethnic justice. … We aim to heal the soul and the world by dismantling racist, classist, sexist, and homophobic systems of oppression.”[4]

The website also states: “Following in the way of Jesus, who taught us to love God with everything we have, and to love our neighbor as we love, we do love out loud as we work for justice. At Black Lives Matter protests, LGBQTIA+ rallies, the Women’s March, Climate Change events, and activism around gun violence, prison reform and a living wage, we are there.”

Reaching Out … But With What?
Under the heading “What We Believe” on the church’s website, we read: “We believe in the power of Love. Period. Through Love, we are each created in God’s image and filled with the Divine Spark. No matter whom we love, no matter how we look, no matter where we are on our journey, God’s imprint is in every person of every race/ethnicity, every gender, and every sexual orientation.”

And finally on their website, we read: “You are welcome here at Middle Church, just as you are as you come through the door. You were awesomely and wonderfully made, in God’s image; God’s love is manifest in you! Because we know there is more than one path to God, Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, atheists, and Christians of all stripes make their way to our sanctuary to experience how #LoveTransforms. Every ethnicity and race, millennials and boomers, trans and gay, singles and families, all call Middle home.”

This is definitely what you would call a “Social Justice” church in that it engages in human works in the name of God. Middle Church does reach out to all people … but with what? What is the message of this church? Is it biblical? Does it acknowledge the Bible as God’s true Word? Does it call sin what the Bible calls sin?

Apparently not.

What’s Missing
Helping others practially – caring for the sick, feeding the hungry, comforting the hurting – is a biblical mandate. James wrote: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” I imagine that the looking after orphans and widows includes other acts of Christian compassion.

However, note James’ warning about not being polluted by the world. Part of this would include not calling “good” what God calls sin. Fighting ethnic racism and sexual-orientation “racism” are NOT the same thing. All Christians should be disgusted by ethnic racism; there is no such thing as skin color when it comes to Christ’s death on the cross.

However, regarding areas of “sexual orientation,” the Bible is clear. Homosexuality is called sin in several passages of the Bible (Leviticus 18:22, 20:13; Romans 1:24-28; 1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Timothy 1:10). Notice, too, how these last two verses include the terms “sexually immoral.” This includes all forms of sexual deviance, which speaks directly to those of the LGBQ community.

By all means, all of these “communities” need to hear the Gospel, and believers in the Lord Jesus Christ should be actively reaching out to them. And yes, there should be a message that God loves them and accepts them as His created beings.

However, their sin is not to be accepted, tolerated, and welcomed. Sharing Christ with any sinner involves the concept of sin, the specific sins of individuals, and the communicating of the uncompromised truth that all sin needs to be repented of. Yes, as a created being of Christ, you are loved and accepted, but not your behavior … not your blatant sin as CLEARLY identified in the Bible.  

The message of the cross is that all people are born sinners, are therefore separated from God and destined for eternal damnation, but can have forgiveness of sins and therefore eternal life with Christ if they repent of their sin (both the sin of rejecting Christ, and then their sinful lifestyles) and accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

And by the way, there is NOT “more than one path to God” – Christ is the ONLY way (John 14:6; Acts 4:12).

This is NOT the message of Middle Collegiate Church. They don’t tell people about their sin; the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the reason for His life, death, and resurrection; and do not preach a turning away from sin and surrendering one’s life to Christ. Instead, they “preach” a nebulous God of their own creation – forged in their own image – and their message is that no matter how you live and what you believe, you are just fine with God.

Yes, some of their works are to be commended, but their overall message is one which will only lead their congregants into the pit of Hell, not the glories of Heaven. May God open the eyes of these well-meaning but terribly delusional “social warriors” that they may clearly see the true Jesus Christ and thereby preach a true Gospel!


[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.