May 262016
 

characters-redA pastor friend of mine recently observed that there is a lot of anger in America. Many Americans are deeply aggrieved by many issues, and their anger is palpable in current political discourse. I couldn’t catalogue all the grievances in a single article, but I can identify their root cause: sin.

When someone sins against me or someone I care about, that sin arouses my zeal for justice. If that zeal isn’t quickly satisfied, I get angry. Yes, I’m aware of Paul’s admonitions at the bottom of Romans Chapter 12 (e.g., “leave it to the wrath of God” (v. 19)) and of how God has appointed governing authorities to bear the sword on my behalf (Rom 13:4-5). However, God doesn’t work on my timetable nor does He weigh the scales of justice in accordance with my wishes. So, where can that leave me? Angry and in unbelief.

I’ve experienced my share of time absorbed by anger. Anger is debilitating, especially at night. Have you ever lay awake at night angry, dwelling on something or someone who has hurt you? Replaying grievances in your mind, how things might have played out differently, if…? Imagining revenge or justice on the offender? I’ve been there. My reward was a lot of missed sleep and self-inflicted separation from God.

Anger is a curse of the Law

Anger returns me to the curse of life under the Law, from which Christ died to set me free. In my unbelief, I reason that if God won’t fix the injustices which are vexing me, then I will judge them myself. I will deputize myself as God’s under-judge and vent my judgment in anger. I will usurp God’s role as judge and the role of the governing authorities who God has placed over me, because He or they are not getting the job done. Unchecked anger can lead to full blown rebellion against God.

I can read God’s Word about anger: “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.” (Eph 4:31) God’s Law is very good at telling me what I ought to do, and pointing out where I am failing to obey Him. The Law itself is spiritual, but I am flesh (Rom 7:14). As a result, the Law is the power of sin (1 Cor 15:56). Reading or memorizing more Law verses about anger will not help me.

Eventually I found freedom from anger in the Gospel. Freedom from anger is the fruit of freedom in Christ, a topic I wrote about in a prior article.

All sins committed by and against other people ultimately are sins committed against God.

God is not disinterested or aloof from injustice. Our sins against one another are sins against God. David illustrates this principle in his Psalm written after being confronted by Nathan for his adultery with Bathsheba and murder of Uriah:

“For I know my transgressions,

and my sin is ever before me.

Against you, you only, have I sinned

and done what is evil in your sight,

so that you may be justified in your words

and blameless in your judgment.” (Ps 51:4-5)

All sins committed by and against one another are going to be dealt with by God, one way or another, temporally and/or eternally.

 “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)

Jesus took away (i.e., took up on the cross) all the sins ever committed by every human being. “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:2)

Knowing that all sins, even the ones committed against me, are ultimately committed against God and that Jesus suffered and died for all of them, frees me from having to bear them myself. My indignation is no match for God’s, and my suffering does not compare with the suffering of Jesus for the very same sins. Jesus freed me from both the guilt and shame of my own sins and from bearing the sins of others committed against me.

“And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” (Mark 11:25)

Depending on the nature of the transgression and whether or not the offender is repentant, it is not always possible or advisable to attempt reconciliation with an offender. This is not an article about the complex (and important) topic of reconciliation. My sole motivation here is to shed light on the problem of anger and reflect on how the Gospel has helped me address anger in my life. According to Mark 11:25, if someone sins against us, we can forgive the sin directly to God. This may be all that is possible or advisable under the circumstances. However, this prayer is effective to release that sin into God’s hands for ultimate resolution and frees us from bearing it.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.” (Matt 5:43-45a)

All Christians share the vocation of a royal priesthood to the world, including unbelievers and our enemies. Unbelievers do not have access to God and are completely lost and children of wrath. But Christians, on the other hand, have access to God, as Father, and can call on Him in Christ’s name. Therefore, Christians intercede with God for their enemies, praying that God would be merciful to them, bless them with their daily needs, bring them to repentance, and save them through the power of the Gospel.

Perhaps the most vivid illustration of Christian intercession for his enemies was Stephen’s prayer made during his martyrdom: “And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’ And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” (Acts 7:60)

Freedom through Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer includes this petition: “your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matt 6:10) Jesus gave us this petition, so that we can pray to our Father for our fidelity to His will, but also against the many violations of His will that we see around us. For example, if someone attempts to redefine God’s created order regarding sex or marriage, Christians pray for God’s will to prevail. Similarly, if government fails to protect the citizens entrusted to it, Christians pray for God to enlighten our leaders, so His will for good government will prevail. By committing these matters into God’s care through prayer, trusting that He hears our prayers and is sovereign over His creation, we are set free to serve in our vocations in God’s grace free from anger.

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Eph 3:20-21)

  139 Responses to “Jean’s Gospel: Freedom From Anger”

  1. Let’s all pray for BG of CCV and his son. Son threatens people with a gun BG gave him and BG is an angry person among much more. He will stop at nothing to get what he wants.

  2. Jean – good job and I am glad that you continued with the theme that the gospel dispenses total freedom.
    A reminder that all sin is a breaking of the first commandment and that all other commandments are a commentary on the first.

  3. Thanks MLD.

  4. It is funny how not realizing how much we need the freedom of the gospel turns us always back to the law of bondage. I can use Janet’s comment above as the example (Janet, I mean nothing personal to you other than to use your words – and you will see how I apply it to all of us.)

    Janet is angry at BG and the whole CCV situation and I am sure that she has hung onto this anger for years and it has bound her in the law. She demands justice (all the things laid out in the article above.) And how similar is Janet (and all those who continue on in the BG / CCV saga) to BG himself when she states “He will stop at nothing to get what he wants.” and at the same time carrying on the crusade against BG “until she gets what she wants” – which in human terms we will call justice – but all the same ‘will not stop until she gets it’.

    We are all like this – we want what we want and we want it now – or we get angry. In the end, we are all bound, we all refuse the message of the gospel setting us free and therefore we all show that to this day, we, yes even us – we hate God (breaking the first commandment) and we show him no respect.

  5. Well written Jean – Good comments MLD.

    I don’t think about this often, so here come some of my questions as I’m processing the practical implications…no argument here, just questions.

    Is the alternative you guys are recommending to become a Christian “doormat”? Isn’t some anger righteous, and some cries for justice necessary?

    If we follow the thought of just “leaving them to God”, can we even demand to be treated fairly in business? Should we even lock our doors at night?

  6. Hi Josh,

    Thanks for the compliment and some good follow up questions.

    “Is the alternative you guys are recommending to become a Christian “doormat”?” I think we need to understand who it is that is being treated as a door mat. If Christ or His Word is being treated with disrespect, that may be attributed to his followers, but we should always remember that it’s Christ who’s being offended and disrespected, not us. That is a grave issue for them, not us. I don’t think Christians have the vocation to defend Christ’s honor or holiness or get angry about it in the public square.

    What we are called to do is pray “hallowed be your name”. In other words petition God that his name would be held holy among not only us but in the whole world. But God has placed Christ at is right hand and placed all things under His feet; not our feet. So, we can leave the defense of His holiness and honor to Him.

    “Isn’t some anger righteous, and some cries for justice necessary?” Yes, God who is righteous, can have righteous anger. Cries for justice are appropriate. Again, Christians pray “your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Prayer, repentance, lament are all in view.

    In our vocations of citizen, Christians advocate for justice to fulfill the law of Christ to love our neighbor as our self.

    “If we follow the thought of just “leaving them to God”, can we even demand to be treated fairly in business? Should we even lock our doors at night?” These are temporal matters, citizenship matters, where (1) Christians participate as citizens for good government and a peaceful existence, and (2) I can lock my door without being angry.

  7. “Is the alternative you guys are recommending to become a Christian “doormat”?”

    This is the difficult part. What did Jesus say was the remedy when you face personal assault – when someone offends you by slapping you on the cheek? I don’t know, does that constitute being a doormat or is there some inner strength there by following Jesus?

    Josh, I know what you are saying and I say the same “I’m not going to put up with that crap – it’s time for a rumble (West Side Story style).” This is why Jean’s article is so important.

  8. I think this article is a good reminder for the freedom we have in the gospel and the unnecessary hindrance and damage we can bring upon ourselves (and others) by detrimentally holding onto and harboring anger.

    At the same time, I do have some similar questions or thoughts as Josh raised. I don’t think in and of itself it is wrong to be angry. It depends on circumstances and how you act on that anger.

    Jesus displayed anger at times. But even beyond God, Himself, I think that people are capable of being angry righteously. In the Psalms and other places in the OT, we see people expressing anger and we don’t necessarily see any condemnation for doing such. Paul tells the Ephesians to be angry and don’t sin, and don’t let the sun go down on your anger.

    Obviously anger can lead to sin. When we are angry we have to be careful how we handle it so that we don’t sin and let it control us and lose our freedom.

    I also believe God wants us to be concerned with justice on this earth. While recognizing that we can’t affect change without God allowing it to happen, I believe God uses people to bring about justice on this earth. And in some cases where God chooses to use someone to bring about justice, I think He may use anger to prompt people into action. Righteous anger, that is.

  9. anger is a complicated human response to an emotional upset. I have been taught that anger is not a primary emotion, but a default response to one of the primary emotions being ignored or untended. In other words, we get angry when we don’t acknowledge what the real ‘problem’ is. Perhaps Christians should not prohibit anger, or avoid anger, but seek to understand it and give attention to living more aware of what the real issues are. Americans are not very healthy emotionally–and one of the best ways for followers of Christ to be salt and light is to walk in liberty, forgiveness, mercy, grace, and love. Life is too short to be mad all the time–and it erodes our gospel message to be mastered by it.

  10. Good input fil.

  11. this is good food for ponders – good points being made
    this morning my reading time was in the 3rd chapter of L*mentations – written B.C. of course, but
    now i’m wondering… are mad and angry synonymous terms? maybe… but
    i think the Eph 4:31 reference is worth reading the whole 4th chapter … we so need the mind of Christ in order to process through our emotions – our reactions to the sin which permeates this planet now
    God, thankfully, is slow to anger… giving us time to pray, perhaps?

    there is a list that i carry in my mind of the years gone by now – injustices with consequences that have not been resolved and i am angry over these things and will be until the last day… but i see Christ on that cross and i know that God’s will must be and will be done – the Father does want to forgive and does forgive a penitent sinner… when i pray “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”… i have to throw in a footnote, i have to ask for strength and wisdom to STAND forgiven and forgiving, to not develop the mindset that a good Christian is a mindless, mute and impotent doormat

  12. Anger is an important topic. Humans get angry. Jesus got angry. Jesus did not sin when he got angry. We often times do. How many times have we made things worse in our relationships when we have chosen to sin while angry? Clinical depression runs inside my family which is what happens when anger is internalized instead of outwardly vented. Hence sucking it up and becoming a doormat leads to something else that is not good. Staying angry over time leads to bitterness which is a root which will defile many, including many others that are innocent. Having an actual relationship with God where we vent the anger to Him and release it with prayer works. I can personally testify to it. I wish there was more of that around and less bitter political involvement by Christians.

  13. I looked up the word, hate, in my concordance yesterday for a reason unrelated to this topic but was struck once more as to just how often Jesus says we are going to be hated in this world.

    We are to expect this hate from the world. It is going to happen. And there is no caveat as if only certain Christians can expect this. If you are a disciple of Christ, hate from the people of this world is going to happen.

    It lead me to question, why?

    If everything is left to God in prayer, if the public square is off limits – I find it hard to see what and why the disciples of Christ would be HATED (not just ignored or even mocked) – hated, by the unbelieving world.

    In the many questions we often ask about our witness, evangelism and churches, I wonder how many churches are preparing their congregations to be hated by the world – and to live in such a way that this hate does occur.

    Again, these are the clear words of Jesus – repeated – in the Gospels. Hated by the world.

  14. Mr. J,

    Great input. Since you are the 3rd person who used the term “doormat”, I want to clarify in case anyone misunderstood me (not that you did Mr. J) that the Gospel does not advocate “sucking it up” or repressing anger. That is what could happen if I wrote an article which consisted primarily of Law verses against anger, which readers may try real hard to obey, but would not actually free them of their anger, so it could be sucked up or repressed until it manifested itself at some future point in something even worse.

    The Gospel can free us from anger. I’m not advocating that we ignore evil, pretend we we’re not hurt when sinned against, or not be in favor of common sense criminal justice. Christians, of all people, see the world as it actually is. We understand the fallen nature of humanity. We are aware of the spiritual warfare that exists within and around us. Only children of the Enlightenment expect human nature to improve. Christians have no such delusions.

    But, Christians have been redeemed from Satan’s kingdom, set free from the sting of death, and have the promise of the resurrection. Why Did God’s plan include keeping us here after our rebirth, I suspect it is because He wants his Gospel spread around so that more people are redeemed through the same Gospel.

  15. Jean,

    Well done, as usual.

    It’s been an interesting ride for me since my heart stopped working properly.
    I have to make very judicious use of my emotions because anger and stress have an almost immediate debilitating effect on my health.

    i was used to being angry often and rage was sometimes a positive motivator.

    Now, I have to let a lot slide…and I have found that God resolves things better than I do and my personal witness and interactions have much benefitted from my illness.

    We’ll see if I can maintain such when I’m well again…

  16. “I find it hard to see what and why the disciples of Christ would be HATED (not just ignored or even mocked) – hated, by the unbelieving world.”

    The unbelieving world is under the dominion of Satan. Satan hates Christ and therefore His disciples.

    Case in point: Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead in John Chapter 11. Who in their right mind would think raising someone from the dead was wrong? Well, “So from that day on they made plans to put him to death.” Equally, head scratching, why still the unbelief? But that’s the mystery of the crux theologorum.

    I look at what Satan is doing within the UMC. That attack is being waged inside the denomination, not from without. I mention this because, the hate of Christ and his Church will come to us, and that I have no doubt. And it may come from where we least expect it.

    Paul warned: “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.” I believe that anger often gives the devil a toehold.

  17. Thank you Michael.

    It sounds like your health is improving, and that is a blessing to all of us here.

    In your vocation, you are continually exposed to a lot of really ugly stuff. I can’t imagine how many bars of soap you must go through in a given week, to wash it off and keep it from getting into your pours. 🙂

  18. this is a great examination of our response to wrongs – whether to ourselves or to others

    i would posit that we can be angry – perhaps, should be angry – at many events that transpire in this world

    usually, not always but usually, those roots of bitterness spoken of are the result of putting ourselves, people we love or the event above the mind and heart of God …
    IMX what we must do is gain enough understanding/wisdom of God and His character to trust that He sees and that it is His battle

    there is a difference between (ahem) turning and churning (turning to God to handle as He sees fit and stewing alone or worst of all participating in group stewing) … sorry 🙂

  19. Jean,

    I’m actually deteriorating, which is a good thing.
    They don’t do the surgery until it’s riskier to not do it than do it.

    I have had to step back from a lot of stuff because I can’t fight the battle to the end right now.

    Yes, I am exposed to more dirt than I have soap for… 🙂

  20. #15- Michael, do you know how privileged we who visit your website are? thank you, for being so open and taking us along on your own faith journey

    Jean, “…..because, the hate of Christ and his Church will come to us, and that I have no doubt.” prayer continues – it must continue – we need to build a wall around Michael

  21. The unbelieving world has always hated the church whether it had a voice in the public square or not.

    The question before the house is do they hate us today because of our faith or because of political positions that may or may not fall under the umbrella of Christendom…

  22. Em,

    Thanks…it’s just where the journey has led.
    Hopefully, I can drag a couple helpful articles out of the affliction. 🙂

  23. I will say that Jean and Kevin and MLD have really helped me keep this going and I appreciate it more than they know.

  24. “The question before the house is do they hate us today because of our faith or because of political positions that may or may not fall under the umbrella of Christendom…”

    Why would they hate Christians for their political position as half the Christians are liberal politically. Besides the mainline, you have the black churches, the Hispanic churches etc

  25. MLD,

    I think evangelicalism is noted for it’s conservatism and conservative activism.

    The only ones who hate liberal Christians are conservative ones… 🙂

  26. I think Christians are hated for the faith – for the proclamation that Jesus is the only way. This gets obscured by the political shenanigans but when Christians stand up for the gospel, people are agitated.

  27. MLD,

    I hear a lot of political proclamations…and a lot of law….(thou shalt not bugger thy neighbor)…but how much Gospel do we proclaim?

  28. Think about it…when Greg Laurie or the Graham clan do a crusade,how much push back do they get?

    Very little…

  29. “I hear a lot of political proclamations…and a lot of law….(thou shalt not bugger thy neighbor)…but how much Gospel do we proclaim?”

    Michael,
    We need to do a better job of both receiving it and giving it away. Thanks for providing a forum to discuss it.

  30. Enough that I hear a 100 times to 1 people say “I am not a Christian because the religion is too exclusive” vs “I am not a Christian because Jerry Falwell ruined it for me.”

    To everyone, what are you hearing on the street when you ask someone “why are you not a Christian?”

  31. Jean,

    Back to the article…

    There is a huge amount of anger in this political season.
    I sinfully succumbed to it myself the other night.
    How can we…how should we respond to this anger…do we have a Gospel response?

  32. Most of what I hear, MLD is that their is too much evidence for evolution.

    Michael, I think the Gospel response is to proclaim that God is in control, and then behave as if we believe that.

  33. MLD,

    I actually have some folks pretty close to me that I’m able to dialog with because I don’t tow the political and scientific lines of most evangelicals.

    Your mileage may vary…

  34. Michael,

    “How can we…how should we respond to this anger…do we have a Gospel response?”

    These are two questions. I will think more about the second one, but here’s a quick thought on the 1st one:

    In my opinion, there are a lot more good things happening in the world around us, if we only look, than bad things. But, we are tempted to gravitate our attention to the bad things. MLD the other night said he doesn’t follow much of the primary politics, so there’s an example of intentionally staying away from something he cannot impact that will only agitate him if he dwells in it.

    Some of us probably have our favorite pig pen to muck around in which feeds an appetite for gossip, slander or scandal, but which probably dirties and agitates us as well.

    Before you know it, you think the sky is falling (and your hair is on fire).

    So, I guess I would say, let’s not go looking for all the bad stuff, where we can’t really do anything about it, and let’s look at all the good things around us.

  35. “Michael, I think the Gospel response is to proclaim that God is in control, and then behave as if we believe that.”

    I think Josh is on the right track. It leads me to a thought I had earlier that in an era when the American landscape is becoming increasingly secular (and dark), I think it will become increasingly crucial to the survival of our individual faith and the purity of the Word in us, that we are all members of faithful church communities where the Word is faithfully taught the Gospel purely proclaimed, and the body supports one another through every trial.

  36. “I think it will become increasingly crucial to the survival of our individual faith and the purity of the Word in us, that we are all members of faithful church communities where the Word is faithfully taught the Gospel purely proclaimed, and the body supports one another through every trial.”

    I think you’re absolutely right…

  37. I think the Gospels are pretty clear that the words (truth) Jesus spoke is what got Him enemies, made Him hated, and led to His death.

    See John 10:30-33

    I also think it is clear that the miracles of healing, raising the dead, authenticated His words as being from God.

    See Matthew 9:2-6

    Lazarus was mentioned, yet the text says in chapter 11 verse 45 that they did not want to kill him because of the miracle but because the result of the miracle was people believing on Jesus. See chapter 12 of John as well (17-19)

    The point is that we are called to speak the truth in love. The “in love” part can be a challenge but ignoring the “truth” part of the equation is a grave error and certainly not what Jesus modelled for us. For fun, look up in John how many times Jesus uses “love” and how many times He uses “truth”

    There must be a balance. Jesus showed love in His miracles. It led to great crowds.

    He spoke truth, it led to hatred and His death.

  38. Steve,
    Don’t confuse the audience. Jesus spoke the truth to the religious.

    Paul’s comment would be more apropos:

    “For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?”
    1 Corinthians 5:12

    Think about it for a minute… can the unregenerate understand the spiritual? The Bible answers no.

    But, what does this have to do with anger?

  39. FWIW – quick count on John’s use of ‘love’ = 22 x … and ‘truth’ = 27 x … KJV
    and the whole of the Bible in that translation has 235 = ‘truth’ and 310 = ‘love’ 🙂
    but that’s just how many times those two words show up and may or may not tell us very much

    i thought pastor Steve’s point was that God’s truth, spoken in love or not, will produce anger in some hearers and make enemies for the one who speaks … and all who look like him, too, perhaps

    sometimes it is enough for it to be known that one is a Christian evangelical or Orthodox or whatever version (well, maybe not Christian Science) for one to be considered an enemy of world progress and individual comfort

  40. “i thought pastor Steve’s point was that God’s truth, spoken in love or not, will produce anger in some hearers and make enemies for the one who speaks … and all who look like him, too, perhaps”

    If that was the point, then it is not the article topic, but does represent a real problem. Jesus said as much, so no epiphany there.

    But, are Christians hated for preaching Christ crucified for the forgiveness of sins, or for trying to be culture’s moral police (and hypocrites at that)?

  41. I don’t even know what it means to say he spoke truth to the religious….The woman at the well? The disciples that went away in John chapter 6 (and the fisherman who stayed faithful). When He healed the paralytic and forgave his sins it was in a crowd of people.

    I don’t know too many people who identify as atheists. Certainly nobody in Congress. Are they then religious? Can we speak to Muslims or other religious groups.

    I don’t know what being culture’s moral police means except I know that Jean would not include the Christians who fought to end slavery or those who fought for equal civil rights in the 60s as such….Likewise those who abuse the poor, pervert justice….I guess it is a selective sort of thing….

    Speak the truth in love seems pretty straightforward. As do the texts I referenced in my opening post and in this followup.

    Sure, somebody can say “This is what Steve meant…and then proceed to light all that straw on fire….”

    Jesus was not hated for His miracles. He was hated for speaking the truth. He said His disciples will be hated….

    Nobody hates Christians simply for their faith in Christ.

    They hate them when they say YOU need Christ also or else you will be damned. That you are a sinner in need for forgiveness. That your religion is false and leading you to hell. That there is no other Name given under heaven whereby we must be saved.

    And they don’t care if we say that in our inner circles of Sunday services or even large crusades. They care when you go out into the world, in the world’s media, on the world’s stage, in the world’s newsrooms, political houses, schools and courts.

  42. Well I agree with Steve and I said it above, people hate Jesus and people hate Christians and people hate Christianity because of its exclusive stance.

  43. Ephesians says for us to “be angry and sin not.” Jesus got angry. Literally. It just needs to be properly channeled. And I am absolutely no expert on that.

  44. The question is can we be angry and not sin? We all justify ourselves differently – I was angry and I did this and this, but I was justified because…”

    I think our freedom in the gospel comes in at not needing to justify it – confess it and receive the absolution. Out of the 1,000s of times I have been angry in my life, if I had a Jesus view of them, I was probably justified, let’s see – probably never – because there was probably another route to take.

    But I said in my first post this morning – we all actually hate God and that’s why we continually sin and break the first commandment. Now there is one that needs justifying.

    BTW – I get angry at least 70 times a year just listening to the Dodgers games. 😉

  45. Jesus was angry that people were not receiving access to worshipping God freely. It wasn’t because His feelings were hurt or he was simply, personally offended. My anger should not be centered around my well being or lack thereof. (Although too often it is).

  46. There its going to be supernatural enmity between believers and unbelievers.
    That’s a given.

    However…

    I do believe a large part of the enmity in culture is because of our constant wailing on the law without finishing the statement with the Gospel.

    In addition we’ve made side issues like creation, evolution, and the age of the earth barriers to people hearing the Gospel.

    Evangelicalism is also associated with right wing politics and leaves the rest of political spectrum in danger of hellfire.

    This says nothing of our rank and oft publicized hypocrisy in breaking the same laws we vociferously promote.

    In short, we’ve given the world a lot of reasons other than the exclusive truth claims of Jesus to hate us.

  47. Michael. I could not agree more.

  48. Furthermore…

    If you’re stumping for a strip club owner who runs casinos for a living and makes lewd comments about women,minorities, and the disabled, you have pretty much admitted that your goal is power, not a more moral land.

    That makes me angry and I’m glad Jean pointed the way forward. 🙂

  49. We haven’t touched yet being angry over what makes God angry…that is a whole ‘nother can of worms…

  50. Yep.

  51. I wish I’d read this a couple of days ago…would have saved me from making an ass of myself.
    That’s another story for another time…

  52. “I don’t know what being culture’s moral police means except I know that Jean would not include the Christians who fought to end slavery or those who fought for equal civil rights in the 60s as such….Likewise those who abuse the poor, pervert justice….I guess it is a selective sort of thing….”

    I encourage everyone (myself included) to engage in these discussions by addressing issues in rem and not ad hominem. I think more people would thereby participate. Just a plea.

    Steve, those issues you listed, which are all very good, why are they not issues that Christians cannot raise in their service to their neighbor as citizens with the right to vote and lobby? Why did you bear false witness about me?

    Is the pulpit about Christ or is it a lecture hall for the moral depravity of society?

  53. How about those who are drawn to Christianity by their conservative politics?
    I changed my party affiliation in 1979 to vote for Reagan. Now perhaps I was blinded by Reagan’s Americanism but I bought into the Christian Right and then I became one.

    I have since taken my foot off the pedal quite a bit, but Cal Thomas and others were a great lure. So what about those drawn into the fold of conservative evangelicalism – obviously it is not a barrier there. It works the same on both sides.

  54. MLD,

    I can only speak of close friends and family…whom such has been a barrier to.

    One is always asking me if I’m “really” a Christian…

  55. Is the pulpit about Christ or is it a lecture hall for the moral depravity of society?
    ———————————————————————–
    How silly.

    Is Christianity about Sunday morning for an hour…or about 24/7 in all aspects of life.

    See…two can play that silly game.

  56. We can be angry and be right in that anger. It’s not only possible, it is righteous.

  57. Well many ask me if I am a real Christian because I am not Bernie Sanders. 🙂

    It’s not the politics – your family and friends are just like mine – they use the political stuff as an excuse to stay away – they use evolution,abortion – you name it because they hate Jesus — but they are afraid to say it – so they say the other.

    My advise, don’t let them get away – ask them this “If I could prove that Christianity were true, would you become a Christian.” When they say no, be done with them because they are not seeking after truth — they have their own agenda.

    Try it with your next hardcore unbelieving relative.

  58. MLD,

    Quite honestly, if Jesus hadn’t drafted me I would have never signed up for what is passed off as Christianity in this country.

    I completely understand why they would have issues, because I do too.

    What I love about the Lutherans is that they keep the main thing the only thing…and let people do with the other stuff on their own.

  59. MLD,

    Christianity should be a beacon of hope in a lost world. A place of refuge for the lost and the helpless, where the Gospel is preached and sinners are ransomed from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of the Son, in whom there is redemption, the forgiveness of sins. The issue is, what is the beacon giving off that attracts people? There are false beacons and true beacons of light.

    Today, preachers of glory are attracting people with the latest fads, appealing to emotional gratification, promising social justice, promising liberation, promising prosperity, and now we even have one promising to make America great again.

    The other day, we saw preachers that promise a meet and greet with a member of the rock band Korn. Where will it end?

  60. When I ask people why they aren’t Christians, here are some of the answers I’ve gotten:

    1. They don’t believe in a God who would send people to hell.
    2. They think science (evolution in particular) has disproved the need for God.
    3. They think the Bible is outdated and therefore, who knows what God is really like.
    4. If God is like the God of the Calvinists, they don’t want anything to do with Him.

    I think most people realize that not all Christians are right-wing fundamentalists. If that’s all there was to it, there are plenty of liberal “churches” where they might find fellow travelers but these churches are dying. Nope, they just don’t want to be under the thumb of a God of any kind, loving darkness better than light.

  61. What is lost on those continuing to bring politics into this (which I will only do as of now) is that for our nation’s history there was routinely written into controversial legislation various religious exception clauses – these were fully BIPARTISAN measures – and recognized that the 1st Amendment did not only speak to one hour on Sunday (or Saturday, or Friday depending on your religion). See the Hyde Amendment

    An even more telling example – Religious Freedom restoration Act of 1993 – When Clinton was President and the Congress was ruled by Dems in both Houses) I think it was unanimous in the House and a couple Senators opposed.

    Legislation is never about legislating what took place inside the halls of a worship house for an hour…but about life as an American. Taxpayers, businessmen, citizens.

    And it is this religious exception aspect that is now lost more and more. Just today, TODAY, another example concerning pharmacists hit the fan – the religious freedom they have enjoyed their entire professional lives as Americans living under the Constitution – attacked, with hopes of removal.

    And instantly there are the chorus of voices that say, well pharmacists don’t have religious protection. Or cake makers, photographers, Little Sisters of the Poor, Hobby Lobby et al.

    Truly we are the frog in the slowly boiling pot of water….

  62. Liberal churches are dying because they have forsaken the Gospel, not because of politics.

  63. “We can be angry and be right in that anger. It’s not only possible, it is righteous.”

    You can do this only if you are in unbelief.

    One other thing that the Bible teaches is that we Christians have no righteousness of our own. All of our righteousness before God is reckoned to us by the blood of Christ. Without the covering of the blood of the spotless Lamb, we are filthy damned beings.

    So, I would caution my fellow Christians against trying to wield your own righteousness.

  64. The local Unitarian/ Universalist “church” is a hub for various environmental and social justice issues, some of which I might like to help with but I just cannot bring myself to set foot in their building.

  65. Why do you say we can only be angry and sin not if we are in unbelief?

    Jesus was angry. Paul tells us to be angry and sin not.

    I’m not saying I have this down, I just read the Bible and from cover to cover find that there is definitely a “righteous” anger.

  66. If you are saying that any time we are angry about something we are in unbelief, I would strongly object.

  67. When I am angry at those that have betrayed little ones and placed them into sexual slavery, that is not sin.

  68. “Why do you say we can only be angry and sin not if we are in unbelief?”

    Xenia, I’m responding to you to.

    Costco,

    Look at the whole passage:

    “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.”

    Let’s say you are angry and somehow don’t sin, did you release your anger before sundown? And what about the warning about giving an opportunity to the devil. Do you want to play with fire?

    And then there’s verse 31. What do you think about verse 31?

    Finally, are you Jesus Christ, the only man who was not born with Adam’s fallen nature?
    We absolutely cannot claim his right to righteous indignation. He is the God-man. He is the only righteous person.

  69. The folks who (ahem) “protested” in New Mexico earlier in the week, who identified with some sort of anti-capitalist, socialist organization (Party for Socialism and Liberation) – they met the night before to organize at the United Methodist Church. I saw the flyers online.

    Let me know when you see people trashing cop cars at a Hillary rally that organized at First Baptist Evangelical the night before…..

    America very much has a religious left too….

  70. Jean.

    Anger with malice is wrong.

    But we simply interpret the text differently.

    And now, I’m angry! 🙂

  71. Steve,

    That was true for some of the protestors, not all.
    we have no idea what the number was.
    A lot of different groups rent space in UMC churches because UMC churches are all broke.

  72. “The folks who (ahem) “protested” in New Mexico earlier in the week, who identified with some sort of anti-capitalist, socialist organization (Party for Socialism and Liberation) – they met the night before to organize at the United Methodist Church. I saw the flyers online.

    Let me know when you see people trashing cop cars at a Hillary rally that organized at First Baptist Evangelical the night before….
    America very much has a religious left too….”

    This is what the Reformers referred to as “sophistry” (i.e., the use of reasoning or arguments that sound correct but are actually false).

    The question is not where some idiots organized their protests (and I’m assuming illegal tactics), the question is, did they protest in the name of Christ? I seriously doubt it. And even if they did, they would have been false prophets, who should be widely condemned.

    But when a Planned Parenthood Clinic is attacked by illegal means, do the CCs come out and condemn their breaking of the law?

  73. I have to leave this conversation as I’m about to lose my temper.

    Excellent discussion, lots to ponder even if there are points of disagreement.

  74. #40-“But, are Christians hated for preaching Christ crucified for the forgiveness of sins, or for trying to be culture’s moral police (and hypocrites at that)?”
    both? that’s how it looks from over here

    #41-“Sure, somebody can say “This is what Steve meant…and then proceed to light all that straw on fire….”

    Jesus was not hated for His miracles. He was hated for speaking the truth. He said His disciples will be hated….”
    i think – dunno – that Jesus WAS hated for His miracles by the religious leadership – those miracles drew attention and authority away from them (didn’t they declare that Jesus must be in league with the devil?)

    #46 – amen … collective navel gazing can be good

    #60-“I think most people realize that not all Christians are right-wing fundamentalists. If that’s all there was to it, there are plenty of liberal “churches” where they might find fellow travelers but these churches are dying. Nope, they just don’t want to be under the thumb of a God of any kind, loving darkness better than light.” so sad, but sadly so true

    #63-“You can do this only if you are in unbelief.” i must disagree with this assertion regarding anger … experience speaking, perhaps we need to see anger as a noun and not a verb? … i don’t see how a Christian can not be angry, but the anger is a part of a viewpoint and not a state of mind nor, obviously, a call to retribution or even high blood pressure … if you can’t be angry without sin, then perhaps one shouldn’t entertain anger – rather let it fall under the “judge not” category? dunno
    #-65 and 66 get it – probably better than i do IMNSHO 🙂

    well, one man’s sophistry may be another man’s truth text … lol

    i did not realize how wordy i was going to get – sorry bout that

  75. “I have to leave this conversation as I’m about to lose my temper.”

    Now that’s irony right there 😉

  76. The more I think about the excuses we make for why people don’t believe – or to be specific, we allow people to say they don’t believe because of conservative evangelical politics just feeds into the hand of Satan. People do not believe in Jesus or want to be Christians because the devil has convinced them that God is not good or the word is not true or at least sufficient.

    When we make it man created disbelief we deny the truth and say “Christians, we could fill the kingdom if you just improved your behavior or politics (just feel the Bern) – but let me ask you, who were the first unbelievers – Eve and Adam – what political view made them unbelievers? What bad behavior in God’s garden made them unbelievers?

    People hate God because of the evil one, the enemy and not ever and I mean never because The Donald is an ass — which he is.

  77. Amen, MLD @76.

    John 3:19-20 seems clear enough to me. I think Jesus can have the final word on this for me…

  78. I’m simply grateful that our God is sovereign and has a purpose and a plan. There is not one thing ANYONE can or will do to alter it.

  79. So never lose your “temper” over child molestation (for example)? Okay, you hold on to your tenets and I’ll hold to mine.

  80. Check out calvarychapelabuse.com

  81. MLD,

    “When we make it man created disbelief we deny the truth and say “Christians, we could fill the kingdom if you just improved your behavior or politics (just feel the Bern) – but let me ask you, who were the first unbelievers – Eve and Adam – what political view made them unbelievers? What bad behavior in God’s garden made them unbelievers?”

    People hate God because of the evil one, the enemy and not ever and I mean never because The Donald is an ass — which he is.”

    Your statement is correct in a narrow sense, but would be very incorrect if read without clarification.

    You are correct in two things (1) Man is responsible for his own unbelief; he can’t blame anyone else, and (2) Satan does work against the proclamation of the Gospel.

    However, to illustrate where the statement would be in error I will turn to the 1st petition of the Lord’s Prayer: “Hallowed be thy name.”

    What does this mean? God’s name is certainly holy in itself, but we pray in this petition that it may be kept holy among us also.

    How is God’s name kept holy” God’s name is kept holy when the Word of God is taught in its truth and purity, and we, as the children of God, also lead holy lives according to it. Help us do this, dear Father in heaven! But anyone who teaches or lives contrary to God’s Word profanes the name of God among us. Protect us from this, heavenly Father!

    Adam and Eve were deceived by a false teaching which led them to despise God’s Word. Today, many churches don’t teach God’s Word in its truth and purity, many rarely preach the Gospel, and they have redefined holy living to a half dozen pop Christian virtues. So, “yes” the devil is at work, but not only on the mind of the listeners, but on the mind of the preachers and teachers who are not delivering Christ’s gifts to the listeners.

  82. “So never lose your “temper” over child molestation (for example)? Okay, you hold on to your tenets and I’ll hold to mine.”

    CC,

    Have you created a virtue of temper-losing? Isn’t self-control a fruit of the Spirit? Doesn’t the Bible teach self-control?

    But, I am not going to convince you, apparently. I will just say, stay in God’s Word, let’s keep the dialogue open, and we’ll grow in grace.

  83. Jean,
    “Your statement is correct in a narrow sense, but would be very incorrect if read without clarification.”

    I go only for the narrow sense in most of my comments. I was trying to make the point (so this may be the clarification) that we think an unbeliever is swayed towards continual hatred of God because of the actions of Christians, as if my farting in public or any of my other bad behaviors or Trump as a candidate is what keeps an individual out of the kingdom. All we need to do is look at ourselves and ask why even as Christians we continually break the 1st commandment and as Christians even show our hate for God as we place ourselves in the place of God … just as the unbeliever. Donald Trump’s candidacy has nothing to do with my move away from God anymore than it does with the unbeliever.

    Let’s review, what is the 1st commandment? “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me.”

  84. One can be angry without losing one’s temper. That takes real self control.

    Motives matter. Why does a situation makes us angry? Is it self-serving or is it because of something that makes God angry? If we have the mind of Christ, we can be angry over an injustice and sin not. It is probably that spark of anger that moves us to work to correct evil situations.

  85. I think this is so funny and proves the point of Jean’s article. The gospel has freed us to not be angry and look how everyone is holding on to their ‘right’ to be angry.

    LOL – case closed. 🙂

  86. I don’t see people holding on to the right to be angry. I see people asking if sometimes God wants them to be angry.

  87. If you look at at a terrible case of injustice and are not angry about it, I worry about you.

    Anger doesn’t mean hysterics, bad tempers or denying God. It can be an emotional reaction to evil that results in doing something to alleviate the problem.

  88. Let’s say a man punches my wife. Does God want me to be angry? If God wants me to be angry over a situation, and I am not, is that sin?

  89. Well don’t think that I don’t get angry — but I do have the right .. in my own mind.

  90. I get angry in all kinds of sinful ways, everyday. No question.

    The question remains, is there any kind of anger that is not sinful?

  91. “Let’s say a man punches my wife. Does God want me to be angry? If God wants me to be angry over a situation, and I am not, is that sin?”

    My article is about the freedom offered to Christians by the Gospel. However, everyone keeps asking for Law answers. People want to be ruled by Moses, instead of set free by Christ. Why?

  92. Jean, It is because the distinctions are not as clean and easy as you would say. I am asking answers to clarify what it is that we are talking about.

    I guess if forced to stop asking questions, I’d just have to say I disagree with your article. That some things should make us angry. That some kinds of anger are godly and righteous.

    I ask questions because I’d rather clarify what it is that we are talking about rather than draw a line down the middle and go to battle.

  93. I also have not seen people here for the most part arguing for their “right” to be angry.

    But I do see people saying that it is a natural human emotion (natural does not make it wrong or right, just that it “is”) that can become wrong or right depending on how it is handled. And that God may even want us to become angry sometimes at things that make Him angry in order to use that anger to prompt us into action to try to right a wrong.

    Now, I have no intention to open a can of worms and the comparison is far from perfect, but I see some parallels between this issue and the drinking issue I wrote about a few weeks back. Drinking, in and of itself is not necessarily wrong, but it can very easily become wrong if not handled properly. Those who want to condemn drinking in any and all situations as being wrong and sinful, I believe are in the wrong. Same for those who want to condemn any and all anger as being wrong and sinful. I believe they are going too far, too. Even to the extent that we are giving up our “freedom” in Christ any time we become angry. Again, I think that is going too far.

  94. Maybe we are free in Christ to be angry?

  95. Josh,

    Some additional thoughts about anger:

    (1) Anger has physiological effects on a person.
    (2) Anger has psychological effects on a person.
    (2) Anger has emotional effects on a person.
    (3) The Bible says not to let the sun go down on your anger and put it away.

    Anger doesn’t solve problems.
    Anger doesn’t give clarity of thought.
    Anger doesn’t persuade.
    Anger doesn’t heal.

    So, why do you think God wants you to be angry?

    The fact is, we are all sinners and do get angry. But we have forgiveness in the Gospel.

    But, in the examples that Xenia and you gave, when you encounter an injustice or other evil and you have some positive thing you can do about it (e.g., vote, defend the victim from immediate harm, offer financial aid to a poor person, be a big brother to an at risk child, etc.), an initial spark of anger which is then directed in a positive direction, is good. Maybe that is what Paul meant when he said be angry but do not sin. He certainly did not mean marinade in your anger.

  96. “an initial spark of anger which is then directed in a positive direction, is good. Maybe that is what Paul meant when he said be angry but do not sin. He certainly did not mean marinade in your anger.”

    Well then, we do agree after all. Good response!

  97. However the interpretation, Jesus commended the church in Ephesus for hating the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which deeds He also hates…

    Hating the same deeds (not the people) that the Lord hates…

    (I know…. throwing that pesky Scripture into the mix…..)

  98. “(I know…. throwing that pesky Scripture into the mix…..)”

    Of course Steve. You’re the only one here who reads and understands Scripture. Boy are we lucky that grace us with your interpretive skills.

  99. And I love the sophistry once again. Conflating the words hate and anger.

  100. Does hating = anger?

    I hate homosexuality but I am not angry with homosexuality.
    I hate sin, the flesh and devil but I am not angry with sin, flesh and the devil.

  101. Jean, I try to back up these points with a Scripture or two. Usually the Scripture is ignored or dismissed away in order to just argue further…

    I don’t think it is too much of a stretch in this conversation to “conflate” the two. They are certainly kissing cousins at minimum, right?

    Jesus was hated by His enemies. They got angry at Him. Did they hate Him and not get angry? Did they get angry but not hate Him?

    I hate sin (in my life – see Rom 7) and in the world (i.e. the lives of others). I get angry at sin. I can’t hate people though….(and I obviously don’t hate myself – nobody does). I think that is sort of one of the points of this article..no?

    But, no, they do not “equate”. Fair enough…I’ll move on.

  102. Example – When Jean dismissed my Scriptural reference with his “religious” excuse I pointed to other Scripture examples to challenge it. That was ignored….Common.

  103. “…when you encounter an injustice or other evil and you have some positive thing you can do about it (e.g., vote, defend the victim from immediate harm, offer financial aid to a poor person, be a big brother to an at risk child, etc.), an initial spark of anger which is then directed in a positive direction, is good.” <<<

    Ah, Jean, I think we are now on the same page.

    I completely agree that there is a type of anger that is corrosive, pointless, harmful, and all the other adjectives you offered. Holding grudges would be a good example of "bad" anger.

  104. “Example – When Jean dismissed my Scriptural reference with his “religious” excuse I pointed to other Scripture examples to challenge it. That was ignored….Common.”

    Steve,
    I don’t have the responsibility to correct every ignorant thing you write. I saw your comment and it didn’t merit my time. I don’t insist on the final word. If someone is sincerely interested, I make extra efforts. If someone wants to play exegetical jiu jitsu, I’m not going to play.

  105. The only person in my life right now that I have been angry with recently is the wastrel crack addict who lives us the street who (it has been reported) steals water and electricity from the neighbors because his water and power have been turned off. That’s not what had me so angry. He also terrorizes the elderly widow who has the misfortune of living right next to him. I was only marginally aware of the problem until June sat me down and told me all that she has had to endure from this guy over the past years. Then I was angry. But what can I do other than keep an eye out for her (the rest of the neighborhood is united in this) and pray for her safety and to be as good a friend to her as I can be. We also pray for offender. Once I embarked upon this plan of action, the anger dissolved.

  106. This is why I usually refuse to duel scriptures with people. Jean quoted 13 texts in the article and some how he is dismissive of scriptures.

    I personally think scripture quoting is over rated – in the end you must do something with those scripture – you can’t just drop them on the table and leave. I am more of the spirit of the scripture than the letter of the scripture. In the past 10 yrs I hardly remember any of the addresses and am happy to follow the flow of the writer to the Hebrews where (and I can’t tell you where) he says a couple of times “it is written somewhere.”

  107. So you could say I hate the situation the man has put my elderly neighbor (and the rest of us) in but I do not hate the man himself. I think we can hate a sinful situation without hating the person who caused it. Sure, we might feel an initial spark of hatred for a person but we shouldn’t fan the flame so the spark ignites into a fire, even a smoldering fire which is what resentment and grudge-holding is all about. I believe I am pretty much expected by God to love the crack addict up the street and I do this by being as pleasant as I can be around him and pray for his salvation and well-being. Since I love this man, I want to see him reconciled with God and with the rest of us and to see him in good mental and physical health and to get on his feet financially. Therefore, when he clogs up the sidewalk with his endless yard sales (who knows where he gets his merchandise) I do not complain or call the cops. If he threatens June, I will intervene and call the cops. I don’t dwell on his sins; I wish him the best.

    So there’s hatred of a situation, which I think can be quite godly.

    If there’s hatred of a person, that’s never godly.

    Anger towards a person and a situation may be godly; depending on the situation but must never be cherished to one’s bosom or you will end up a miserable old man or woman.

  108. Having adopted two daughters from Africa, I am continually angry about the sex slavery that takes place there. I don’t regret that. And if God corrects me for that when I stand before Him, so be it. The key for me is to not retain that anger toward those doing the slave trading. But to let it go in the hand of the Lord before the sun sets, day by day. Or at least I should do that. That is but one small example of what it means to be angry and sin not. For a person NOT to be angry, given all the facts, about this exploitation of children IS a sin. That’s my opinion.

  109. I first mentioned “hate” back in post 13. (Well, Jean first cited a verse with “hate” in it in the article but that aside…)

    Yesterday, “hate” was engaged immediately by Jean, MLD, and Michael.

    Today – it is somehow totally unrelated.

    Because Jean engaged my “hate” comment with what I think is an erroneous interpretation about Lazarus, I engaged further at post 37 with Scripture to make that point (and to refute Jean)

    Now somehow that is “dueling Scripture” – and also off limits because the opening article (which I was not addressing but rather Jean’s comment) had lots of Scripture.

    My point is part of a larger, consistent narrative throughout the comment thread that Jesus was hated (people got angry) with Him for His words, not His miracles. I believe the same is true today – our words of exclusivity as to the Gospel, and words affirming that the Bible calls some actions, sinful, is what brings hate. Not our prayers, not our church services.

    Comment threads are organic and take on a life of their own.

    People started talking about child molesters and such…

    Now it seems like people are settling into the old chestnut “hate the sin, not the sinner”

    No argument here. Be angry at the sin, not the sinner….is that a totally different thing?

  110. Steve,
    I think your post at 13 yesterday was a different context than your post earlier today.

    Yesterday it was in the context of why we as Christians are hated. And I agreed 100% with your comment – we are hated for the faith and not because of Donald Trump.

    Today it seemed that you were equating to why we hate and anger. So, same word different context.

    My point about dueling scriptures is everyone has their favorites. I prefer to talk about what scripture (big picture) means and not hang on every word.

    Now a change because I always wanted to engage this comment (not your use here Steve)

    “hate the sin, not the sinner” – how do we do that. God in the end throws both the sinner and his sin into hell.

  111. “’hate the sin, not the sinner’ – how do we do that. God in the end throws both the sinner and his sin into hell.”

    I think a more useful slogan would be:

    Love the sinner, hate your own sin!

  112. I prefer to talk about what scripture (big picture) means and not hang on every word.
    ———————————————————-
    I’m with you there.

    Aren’t we hated though for hating what the world loves? I’m not sure the context is that different. MLD, you and I agree that the exclusive claims of Jesus Christ (repeated by us, His followers) is what the world hates. So the world hates the messenger of those claims.

    However, we make those claims in the context of the world’s values and belief system. The world might say all religions lead to God – we say, no. I hate (am angry) at idolatry, at false religions that lead people to hell etc. If I speak against such things with the exclusive claims of Jesus – I will be hated in return. Not when I speak them in my church service – but when a pastor goes on Larry King, Good Morning America, Jimmy Fallon and says so

    That’s why today it so often comes down to homosexuality. Is there a secular audience in America you can imagine doing a lengthy interview with as a pastor and not being asked by Katie Couric etc about homosexuality (or I guess now it might be the transgender thing). It is practically the kneejerk, put you on the spot, marginalize the fundamentalist, opening salvo. (Like when abortion discussions OPEN with “what about rape and incest”)

    No matter how much love, compassion, grace we show the world (and the homosexual) – no matter how we frame the issue in a broader context of sexual sin as a whole, we end up in one of two camps.

    All those churches and Christians who say God is cool with homosexual activity (celebrated by the media of the world) – and those who would say, no. Now we are back to the whole sin/sinner dichotomy and the world saying you can’t love the sinner if you hate his/her “identity.

    The problem is when I take my religious convictions outside the walls of the church into society in some manner (the schools, the workplace) and I repeat those convictions there – tends to end badly these days.

    Then, when some of us do not wish to see our brethren persecuted for their convictions (which convictions we share), the claim is that we are being political in speaking in support of our cake baking friends, our friends who don’t want to buy people’s contraception devices….and then we are blamed as a big reason for why sinners stay away from Christ – too political.

    Quite a vicious circle…wears me out just typing it…much less living it.

    So we are back to the big picture – which is, speak the truth in love. THAT is the daily challenge, at least for me. And nobody did that more perfectly than Jesus, and we know what happened to Him.

  113. Love the sinner, hate your own sin!

    very good

  114. Steve, I think we are hated most for not saying “Caesar is king.” Caesar today representing ‘the world system’ whatever that is.

    But I have trained myself to accept that all that we call unholy, is just natural day to day life of the secular man.
    Transgenders – well, why not if you hate God?

  115. “Is there a secular audience in America you can imagine doing a lengthy interview with as a pastor and not being asked by Katie Couric etc about homosexuality (or I guess now it might be the transgender thing). It is practically the kneejerk, put you on the spot, marginalize the fundamentalist, opening salvo. (Like when abortion discussions OPEN with “what about rape and incest”)”

    This is a difficult position to be in. What can happen is that the only message that is given is the Law. Thou shalt not…. It doesn’t matter how you dress it up, it’s still the law. It reduces Christianity to a moral code.

    If a pastor is going to interviewed by secular media, they should be prepared to present both Law and Gospel, if asked. I’m not saying the pastor wouldn’t be hated by someone, but on the other hand he preached the Word faithfully and someone else might have listened and believed. In any case, a pastor should plan his venue and not be suckered into a bad situation.

  116. Jean,

    I contend that all the political crap has done just as you say…only the Law is given and the Gospel is reduced to a table of moral expectations.

    I believe Paul said the when the Law is preached it excites the sin being taught on…

  117. As for all these people hating God…”such were some of you”…

  118. Here’s a short video (5 minutes) of how a pastor can speak truth in love to Congress when pressed by secularism impinging religious freedom. Note that this was not a case of looking for a fight.

    http://youtu.be/527spTZiwBU

  119. not too far thru today’s comments, but two words keep cropping up that bother me: “want” and “right” … God wants me to be angry? that is a strange turn of phrase and completely negates His will that our conduct be spiritual fruits … we are not O.T.
    FWIW – i’m absolutely sure that anger can be a fruit of the Spirit, it can be channeled to healing and only God knows what else… be angry and sin not is easy to understand… perhaps you deserve a punch in the nose for your conduct? if i do so, i have sinned… course, if i’m a policeman and you’re resisting arrest…. there’s always, almost always, the exception … get understanding and get wisdom… God has a huge supply of both
    do i have the right to be angry? what the heck is that? i know my rights and one of them is anger? … is that like the right to food and clothing? … should i be discontented if i’m not angry? hmmm

  120. Em, I was asking if God ever wants me to be angry. I take it that you are saying, no – God never wants us to be angry?

  121. #’112 & 114
    we get very convoluted here at times… am i to love the sinner and hate my own sin?
    that is strange… hate crack and perverted sex and man’s inhumanity to man – hate the condition of the planet…
    why not love mankind as Christ did and hate the condition that put Him on the cross? sin is sin is sin … we are corrupted with it … know that you are a sinner, yes, but if you dwell on your sinful condition, you will end up as distorted as the person who claims to to be sinless
    i think you can rest assured that, if as a child of God, you need correcting, it will come 🙂

  122. Josh, i was objecting to the use of the term “wants” … it may be just regional – dunno – if it sounded like i was against righteous anger then it is a semantic mishap on my part 🙂
    FWIW – i wouldn’t see God as “wanting” us to be angry, so much as i would see Him approving of anger as a response to evil
    for sure, God doesn’t “want” us to ignore, approve or enable evil

  123. I find this thread topic to be off putting. I don’t think anyone should ever tell anyone else they “shouldn’t” feel a certain way. People get angry. It’s a fact. It’s a God given emotion. There’s things to get angry about.

    To help someone deal with anger is one thing. To tell them they are “sinning” or that by reading scripture they “should” be freed from anger, comes across as arrogant to me.

  124. I’m sorry you feel that way London. I don’t know if we can distinguish anger as God given to human nature, or if anger is an inherited fallen emotion. Interesting ponder though.

  125. how odd to apologize for the way someone else feels.

  126. Why don’t people believe?

    “It’s wrong to assume objections to Christianity stem from doubt. They instead “spring from insubordination, the dislike of obedience. . . .” – Søren Kierkegaard

    I’m with Kierkegaard. Despite what people SAY, the real reason they don’t believe is because they don’t want to. If there’s a God, then that means I must be accountable to that God. If there is no God, then I am my own god. I call the shots, I do what I want.

  127. first definition of Sorry

    feeling regret, compunction, sympathy, pity, etc.:
    to be sorry to leave one’s friends; to be sorry for a remark; to be sorry for someone in trouble.

    not really defined as apologizing

  128. Why does man live on “every word that comes from the mouth of God”?

    https://thefirstpremise.wordpress.com/2016/05/27/bread-from-beggars-hands-may-27-2016/

  129. Jean – Donovan Riley gets it right again.

    I like to tell people that we don’t interpret scripture – but scripture interprets us. (not my own because I am a thief and will steal anyone’s quotes – I just don’t know who I stole that one from.)

  130. “So the Lord dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth. And from there the Lord dispersed them over the face of all the earth.”

  131. Jean are you saying that man can’t build a stairway to heaven? 🙂

    the “i’m sorry about your feelings” dialog reminds of a time (not too long ago) that someone whose job it was to carry through on something didn’t do so, simply because they could get away with it, causing me more than a little trouble at a very bad time… their sweet, rather pious they thought, Christian response began, “I’m sorry if you felt rushed…” they got a firm response from me, to the affect, “no, i didn’t feel rushed; i was rushed; you made it necessary for me to go to extreme exhaustion to make up for what you didn’t do” – there was more, i’m afraid i sinned

  132. London…I’m with you. Per your #124.

  133. …and your #126 lol

  134. “Jean are you saying that man can’t build a stairway to heaven? ”

    Actually, no. I was reminded today, by my own failures to communicate what I intended to be a word of freedom, that even amongst the community of Christ that our language is still confused. I am in a period of repentance.

  135. Jean. I greatly respect you and your heart. You just won me over, bro.

  136. CC, I will try to be more sensitive to the circumstances of others.

    I’m proud to be counted with you.

  137. Writing an authoritative thread in an open forum at PP on “Freedom From Anger” takes guts 😉

  138. #s 131 & 135 … i knew you were referring to the confusion of languages, Jean … i was just feeling perverse – i apologize – the point you were making should not be lost…
    and it is an interesting ponder… hmmm… does God want us a bit confused? a bit off? maybe so, when we think we think so well that we don’t need him?

    like so many threads on the PhxP these days, you’ve given us another very constructive topic to sort out – thank you

    God keep

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