Here’s another great point to ponder from Keller. He’s answering objections that Christianity is intolerant and exclusive. Critics say “human communities should instead be completely inclusive, open to all on the basis of our common humanity.”
However, argues Keller, “the idea of a totally inclusive community…is an illusion.” “Every account of justice and reason is embedded in a set of some particular beliefs about the meaning of human life that is not shared with everyone. …Every human community holds in common some beliefs that necessarily create boundaries, including some people and excluding others from its circle.”
Keller then gives an illustration of a board member of a local Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Community Center becoming a Christian who believes homosexuality is a sin. Another illustration: a board member of the Alliance Against Same-Sex Marriage becomes convicted that same-sex marriage is OK. “No matter how personally gracious and flexible the members of each group are,” a day will come when they can no longer serve in their positions because of their beliefs. “Neither community is being ‘narrow’ – they are just being communities.”
“A community that did not hold its members accountable for specific beliefs and practices would have no corporate identity and would not really be a community at all.” How can we judge then if a community is narrow minded or open and caring? By several things: 1) which community has beliefs that lead its members to love, respect, and serve peoples of other communities instead of hatred and violence? 2) Which community treats others with kindness and humility rather than demonizing attacks?
“We should criticize Christians when they are condemning and ungracious to unbelievers. But we should not criticize churches when they maintain standards for membership in accord with their beliefs. Every community must do the same.”