Much closer to reality is the supreme elevation of the qualities of warmth and nonjudgmental acceptance. Love the sinner has evolved to mean don't actually tell them they are a sinner. We'll leave that up to God. And so, a growing number of self-identified Bible-believing churches will not only welcome, but then go on to baptize, and happily serve Communion to unmarried couples living together, sexually active single teens, wiccans, and practicing homosexuals.
How is this framed to fit into Christianity? Many keep insisting that true grace means these people, who do believe in Jesus, should first be saved and then they will figure out they need to change their lives somewhere down the line. Justification is offered first and then sanctification will automatically follow some time later. Forgiveness and inclusion in the church is what we offer. We are happy to leave the changing part up to the Holy Spirit. It avoids so many negative labels and awkward moments. And, as far as attracting people is concerned, it works. It's a beautiful, affirming, and culturally welcomed version of Christianity that bears little resemblance to what was practiced in the ancient church.
Of course, this does pose an inescapable scenario. A person is told they are a Christian and welcomed into the church. They are a participating part of the church. And so, at what point in time or in their increasing levels of church participation do we honestly picture someone is going to say, "Okay, John, before we go on, we need to talk about your continued involvement in _____." Whatever expectations we have for acceptance can hardly be revised or changed later for continued acceptance. We all know that just isn't going to happen.
It is still true that if you ask many evangelical pastors, "Do you believe practicing homosexuality is a sin?" the majority will probably still say they do. Now, ask them (or ask ourselves) if they are willing to clearly say that in their Sunday morning sermon at least once this coming year? I believe a number will say something other than yes.
In a pagan culture, the early church, in addition to asking about belief in Jesus, directly required potential converts publicly acknowledge repentance from sin and renounce the works of the Devil prior to baptizing them. Leaving out the first word of Acts 2:38 kind of misses the whole point of conversion and replaces it with warm accepting inclusion. Yes, the apostolic church was made up of people whose past lives included all manner of immoralities, idolatrous lives, violence, and sexual perversions. But, the idea they would have baptized a person involved in those things without first telling them they needed to stop is absurd.
"Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession.... Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost Of Discipleship