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« Academics Are Secondary to Soul Development | Main | Is It Possible to Decide Not to Sin? »

September 13, 2014


People form opinions about other people based on their own biases. It is natural for someone who knows nothing but hate to judge others as being hateful. It’s natural for greedy people to assume that money motivates everyone. Or as with Freud asserting that sex and aggression motivates everyone.

The Scriptures support them in their views, calling it the “flesh”, or our sinful nature.

And the Scriptures further state the flesh still taints Christians even though they are no longer under the overwhelming power of it.

So there might be a little truth to their charges about Christians being intolerant and hateful. But, as Christians oppose sin in their own lives, it requires opposing sin in the lives of others, because it is a sin not to try to reach them.

We also, instead of not just sinning, try to put good works in the forefront, doing to others as we would have them do to us. This alone produces much of the friction misinterpreted as “hate”, when it is “love” they oppose.

Great care must be taken to understand the nature of "Christian hatred." In other circumstances, as exercised by others, it would best as taken as "righteous indignation."

In understanding "Christian hatred," it must focus on the object, which is more conceptual than personal, Two Scriptural points:

You who love the Lord, hate evil.
He preserves the souls of his saints.
He delivers them out of the hand of the wicked. (Ps. 97: 10)

Hate evil, love good,
And establish justice in the courts. (Amos 5: 15a)

Consider the object is conceptual (sin) and not personal (sinner). Often the problem is the cultural milieu that has slipped, reversing the moral poles. Much of the work of the Old Testament prophets was that of addressing this flipping of the culture, such as in Micah:

I said,
“Please listen, you heads of Jacob,
And rulers of the house of Israel:
Isn’t it for you to know justice?
You who hate the good,
And love the evil;
Who tear off their skin,
And their flesh from off their bones. (Micah 3: 1,2).

Enlightening in Amy's post is the remark of Pliny where the complaint of the Christian's refusal of doing homage to the gods as a disincentive to the economy. Too many times I hear of the dire consequences of snubbing the dollar power of the LGBT. Well, for the same principles of the conscience, the confessing Christian refused to burn the incense on the Roman imperial altar. The culture is not authoritative to the Christian. On this point, Rob Bell is just flat out wrong.

A fair-minded person would at least inquire what it is with the prevailing culture that prompts such resistance to the latest trend in post-modern thought. It would lead to a proper frame of what motivates the Christian, rather than a simplistic reduction to any disagreement as motivated by "hate."

Two New Testament citations to show that there is consistency in the Christian addressing the culture:

If you were of the world, the world would love its own. But because you are not of the world, since I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. (John 15: 19) The world should not expect a Christian to alter his/her convictions with the cultural whim du jour. But, the culture should not be threatened by this ...

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who mistreat you and persecute you, that you may be children of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust. (Mt. 5: 43-45)

Two direct commands of Christ. How is one to compel a person against his/her deepest held commitments?

The issue is at the heart of the gospel proclamation. While a healthy measure of understanding must be made by believers that unbelievers are blind to sin in its full definition as a transgression against God, it must nevertheless be brought to light as the fundamental need of fallen people for a divine savior.

It is therefore out of grave concern for the eternal condition of the unbeliever that the believer points this out. Nevertheless, inasmuch as the unbeliever is blind to sin, (s)he is likewise typically blind to the love that motivates the believer in pointing it out. It is precisely God who is hated by the unbeliever and as those called to serve him as proclaimers of his revealed truth, unbelievers hate believers as well as God. But because sin is uncomfortable to face, unbelievers accuse believers of precisely what they themselves are guilty of. But we have been warned of this in scripture and should expect no less. The fact that we must endure being falsely called "intolerant" and "haters" for simply proclaiming what we believe is part of what we are called to suffer in this world.

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