I was a high school debater for four years (we won States three times — for other debate geeks out there, I did 2-person policy debate, and had no patience for LD or Speech). One of the basic principles of debate is the idea of “burden of proof” or “presumption”. In other words, whose burden is it to prove something?
The general principle is that the person/team asserting something are the one’s that must prove it.
In Christianity today (and for the last 2000 years!) about inclusion and exclusion. That is, who gets included at the Great Banquet Table and who gets left out (or left behind)? Who is in? Who is out?
The irony is that while Jesus’ mission was one of RADICAL INCLUSIVITY, his followers have spent the better part of 2000 years debating WHO CAN WE EXCLUDE FROM THE KINGDOM?
Given that Jesus modeled, taught and lived an ethic of including all (see Luke 14, for example), I believe that the burden of proof is on those who want to exclude anybody.
I don’t know about you, but I want as many people at the Banquet as possible — I believe Jesus’ heart is to include as many as possible. Our job, as his followers, is to try and include as many as possible within our sphere of influence.
To those that want to exclude, the burden of proof is on you — not the other way around. The presumption is that someone is included — you need to make a compelling argument for exclusion.
So you want to exclude gays? Or people with different theology than yours?
The burden of proof is on you. Not the other way around.
Want to exclude women from leadership? The burden of proof is on you.
Want to exclude anyone from His Banquet Table? The burden of proof is on you.