Dove Award winning Christian artist Michael Gungor has been the subject of criticism from the Christian community when Gungor rejected a literal interpretation of Genesis. Now he calls for unity after being branded as a heretic by fans and critics alike.
Though the band has had released songs that explored themes related to spirituality and Christianity, they have refused to be a labelled a "Christian" band because of the connotations often associated to being a Christian act. Nevertheless, their songs have been embraced by Christian radio, churches and Christians over the years. Songs such as "Beautiful Things," "I Am Mountain," "Dry Bones," "Say So" and "The Earth is Yours" are some of their most memorable songs that have brought hope to many who have listened to them.
Michael Gungor is also the son of a preacher. Earlier this year, he rattled the Christian community when he revealed that he and his wife, Lisa, don't literally believe in stories from the Bible on such topics as creation and the flood, a departure from orthodox Christian doctrine.
In an op-ed published under the headline "Wrestling With Faith and Doubt" published in the November/December issue of Relevant magazine, however, Gungor explained that not all his critics disagreed with his views. "... I do not have a problem with Christians disagreeing with me about how I read Genesis. I don't even have a problem with them getting angry and passionate about their opinion. The real problem begins when we start throwing around words that are intended to break unity, loaded words like 'apostate,' 'heretic,' 'false teacher,' and so on," he said.
"All effective groups contain both diversity and unity. In fact, it is arguable that without diversity, there is no unity (only a much less effective uniformity). ... Without unity, the group is doomed to failure. A house divided against itself cannot stand, after all," he charged.
"In modern Christendom, I'm afraid we too often let our friction veer into blatant and hateful division. In the last few months, I personally have been called a heretic, a blasphemer, a twofold son of hell and a fool that is leading thousands to hell, in which I happen to have a special spot reserved for me," he continued.
"Why? Essentially because I (like a lot of Christians), believe evolution is the means by which God created us. And I'm certainly not the first or the only Christian to receive the brunt of this sort of evangelical fervor for saying so," he explained.
He then questioned whether the Christian church was honoring its command as the Body of Christ.
"Many of us would say our endgame is to draw people to Jesus. However, some might respond to that with questions about 'which Jesus, exactly' or 'what specifically about Jesus' do we hold as the most important endgame?'" he asked.
"We can find Jesus' answer in Matthew 26: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments," he ended.