Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Trigger Alert: Hate Speech

Christianitity is indeed a religion of love. And without love, we are nothing (1 Cor. 13:2). If we do not love, we do not know God, for God is love (1 John 4:8). That's his nature. And so those born of God love even as he loves (1 John 4:7). 

But Christianity is also a religion that requires the follower of Christ to hate. That's right. Love hates. Love for God and love for people necessitate hating certain things. The Christian must hate—and, specifically, hate what God hates, and hate it as God hates it. For example, see Rom. 12:9; Heb. 1:9; Jude 23; Rev. 2:6; Ps. 97:10; Prov. 6:16-19. 

But be prepared if you hate what God hates and how God hates, and you express that hatred. Even many (and I mean many) professing Christians will label you as unkind, harsh, uncharitable. If you say you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, that's hate speech, man. And you'll hear it, yes, even from those within the visible church. It's your lot in postmodern America where a certain sort of tolerance reigns supreme. And this postmodern notion of tolerance has many (and again I mean many) professing Christian churches by the throat. 

So if you hate what God hates and how God hates, and you express that hatred, be prepared to have that expressed hatred labeled hate speech, harsh, unkind, unloving, critical, judgmental, uncharitable. 

However, if you are a Bible-believing and Bible-driven Christian, that is to say, if you follow Christ, there will be some things you simply find intolerable. And you'll rightly abhor those things. And though that ought to be praised as godliness, don't hold your breath for that praise. Instead, brace yourself in faith and love for all manner of accusations of unChristlikeness. (Precious few minding Jesus' holy hatred of what God hates.)

Christianity is a relgion of affirmations and denials. Always has been. If everything is affirmed, then the faith once for all delivered to the saints is effectively denied. Let me say it again. If we affirm everything, then we deny the faith. There must be some doctrines and practices that we deny, or we shall have nothing at all to affirm and confess.

So a concluding biblical exhortation and question. First, the exhortation: "Love without hypocrisy. Hate what is evil; hold fast to what is good" (Rom. 12:9). And, second, in addition to the good liturgical question—what do you believe?—it seems salutary and biblical also to ask: Christian, what do you hate?

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