There is a big difference between being beyond inclusion and unconditional or universal inclusion! In many discussions and/0r debates about hospitality, inclusion and exclusion, people miss this difference.
Being beyond inclusion
The message of Jesus was that NOBODY was beyond inclusion. The dominant world view in his day was that certain people could never be included through no fault of their own. There was a dividing wall that forever kept some people out. What Jesus did, in knocking down the dividing wall, was make it possible for “those people” to actually come in.
But their “coming in” was not without condition.
In order to enter in, they had to submit their lives to the rule and reign of Jesus – i.e. they had to enter in to the kingdom of God. That does not imply that they have to live under Jesus’ reign and rule perfectly, but there was (and is) an expectation of surrender to the way of Jesus, by the power of the Spirit. There was also an expectation of continued surrender to the way of Jesus, through which transformation by the Spirit is accomplished.
What many are calling for today is not breaking down the dividing walls. They are calling for unconditional inclusion. This means that people are included period. There is no expectation of surrender to the way of Jesus. There is no expectation of transformation into the image of Jesus by the Spirit. Unconditional inclusion is all the grace, none of the following. It’s an appealing idea – I’m ok, you’re ok, we’re all loved by Jesus equally, and so on – but it eventually collapses on itself.
The only way for unconditional inclusion to work is for there to be no distinctions at all. Without any distinctions at all, there is no difference between the church and the world. Ultimately, there is no distinction between good and evil, God and the devil.
Exclusion is the opposite of inclusion. Both camps agree that exclusion is not the way of Jesus. However, unconditional inclusion is not the solution that Jesus holds forth. The solution Jesus holds out is the view that nobody is ever beyond inclusion.
This is the only space possible where we can both hold forth the teaching of Jesus as a rule of faith for the church while at the same time welcoming any and all people who would come, imperfect as they are.
In my understanding, it is impossible to enter into the kingdom of God without complete surrender. That doesn’t mean complete perfection. It does mean being completely willing to allow the Spirit to transform you which will also look more and more like Jesus over time.