image Tim Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, in his book The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism addressed the common complaint that churches are too exclusive, responds by saying that community can’t be completely inclusive.  If they were they would no longer be a community:

Any 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.  We cannot consider a group exclusive simply because it has standards for its members.  Is there then no way to judge whether a community is open and caring rather than narrow and oppressive?  Yes, there is.  Here is a far better set of tests: Which community has beliefs that lead its members to treat persons in other communities with love and respect – to serve them and meet their needs?  Which community’s beliefs lead it to demonize and attack those who violate their boundaries rather than treating them with kindness, humility, and winsomeness?  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, (p. 40).

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