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Evangelicals & Nice

A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory (Matthew 12:20)

But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me (Luke 19:27)

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous, saying, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets. ’Thus, you witness against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers. You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell (Matthew 23:29-33)

Leo Durocher to Mel Ott: “Nice Guys Finish Last”

Christians today hold firmly to the 11th Commandment, and the 11th Commandment is, “Thou Shalt Be Nice,” and we don’t hold to the other ten.” (Voddie Baucham)

Honestly, from a faith perspective, I do always say, ‘Jesus, you just narrowed it down to things: Love God and love each other.’ I mean, hey—that’s pretty simple.

Contemporary Christian artist Amy Grant

Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for[a] his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die for his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul.

Ezekiel 3:17-19

But if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, that person shall die in his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul. Ezekiel 33:9

Suppose you happen to outlive me and are so gracious as to attend my homegoing service. In that case, I am confident you will not hear anything closely resembling the following said at any point during the service: that Ricky Kyles sure was a nice guy, and I am perfectly okay with that reality.

Our culture is replete with Evangelicals who grant far too much attention and space to being considered nice when the Bible demonstrates convincingly that being nice is not an inherent necessary Evangelical attribute.

Now let me make it abundantly clear that I am not at all advocating that Evangelicals should be jerks, quarrelsome, ill-tempered, unfriendly, or destructive neighbors. Evangelicals should be the best neighbors any neighborhood would desire. I trust those I have lived in close proximity would say Ricky Kyles is a person who would be one of the first to lend a hand when it was necessary.

I submit that due to the Feminization of our culture in general, and Evangelicalism in particular, society has made niceness sacrosanct. So much so that I include the wisdom of Dr. Voddie Baucham. Granted, it is said with a wee bit of hyperbole, but I believe Dr. Baucham is spot-on; the Evangelical Church has elevated niceness to the status of the Eleventh Commandment.

When Jesus Christ, who lived in time and space, sinlessly and flawlessly, addressed scribes and Pharisees as hypocrites, what reasonable person would place that temperament in the nice column?

When Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Trinity, went through the Temple and vigorously and might I add violently expelled the moneychangers, I don’t believe a straggler would have passed by the Temple that day and casually quip, “That Jesus fella is sure one nice guy!”

What nice person links to a parable where their character is associated with someone who would say, But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me?

Yes, Evangelicals laud the God-Man Jesus Christ for being considered so tender that a bruised reed He would not crush, but that famous and altogether 100% actual declaration about the gentle nature of the Church’s Holy Potentate does not begin to tell the whole story.

The whole story is there are times when Evangelicals must put on their big boy and big girl pants and courageously and unapologetically speak God’s Truth into the public square, even when doing so would have the culture regard Evangelicals as failing to be, you guessed it: Nice.

All of these preliminary musings so I can now direct your attention to Contemporary Christian artist Amy Grant. Grant made news recently when she presumably valued being nice over being a Truth Conveyor, an Ezekiel Watchman. Grant, seemingly without the ability to blush (see Jeremiah 6:15), brazenly took to social media to declare her support for a family member participating in a same-sex marriage ceremony.

I used the term same-sex marriage only to highlight my thesis and press my case. Same-sex marriage is not a real thing because marriage can only be defined by its source. Marriage is a politico in that marriage is not a human invention. Marriage derives its existence and definition from the institution of Almighty God.

Grant, in her zeal to be considered nice, foolishly (remember I care not the least with being regarded as nice), and biblically illiterately, justifies her decision to support her niece’s wedding (remember, whatever society seeks to allege taking place in this scenario will never be a marriage in God’s eye) with references to narrowing her actions down to loving God and loving neighbor.

No Evangelical, seeking to be faithful to the Word of God, can, in good conscience, attend a marriage ceremony that makes a mockery of the divine institution of marriage, period, full-stop, end of story. I am not talking theoretically. I have a first cousin who married, according to the laws of the United States, another person of the same sex. All those who know me knew there was no chance whatsoever I would attend such a blasphemous event. Not because I am above the fray, so to speak.

On the contrary, I confess again, and often I am a rank, wretched sinner, but I do not sin casually or recklessly, and I certainly do not sin publicly. My sin is grievous, and I am deftly ashamed of my repeated failures to live according to God's perfect precepts. I sin, but I abhor my sin. Same-sex marriage is not the unpardonable sin but make no mistake; it is a tragic sin. A sin, like all other sins, that demands repentance, not celebration.

In fact, when it comes to expressing love, the Evangelical’s highest calling is to love God. Jesus Christ indicates our love for Him must, when placed in the context of loving our neighbors must, look like hate.

If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:26

One day, Amy Grant will stand before her Creator and be Weighed and Found Wanting for her blatant disobedience. I make this statement with no sense of spiritual or moral superiority despite the pushback an opinion like mines is sure to garner in today’s very liberal embrace of all things God-glorifying.

If we endorse or condone Grant’s orthodoxy and orthopraxy, you and I will also be Weighed and Found Wanting.[1]

If you and I bend the knee to the culture so they will regard you as nice, then you and I are chasing Fool’s Gold. It will end in God’s condemnation, not commendation.

If you look the other way and do not call sin when it rears its ugly head for what it is, then you are not denying yourself and picking up your cross to follow Jesus Christ. Amy Grant makes a mockery of the Word of God when she believes she loves God by attending the alleged nuptials of her niece.

I submit the Evangelical Church is insipid principally because far too many Evangelical males are caught in their feelings. We care more about what others think of us than we care about being God’s Salt and Light. Instead of warning our family and friends, we cede into the background and refuse to take a stand.

So, while I do not hold out much hope that anyone will rise to speak at my homegoing and wax poetically about Ricky being nice, I do trust someone will proudly reflect that Ricky was never afraid to stand for God’s Truth, even when it cost him the scorn of his peers, his fraternity brothers, his loved ones, his whomever.

If you care more about not rocking the boat, you need to take a step back and perform an honest soul evaluation. You may not be safe, even said more directly, you may not be saved!

God-fearing Evangelicals do not aim to be obstinate or cantankerous neighbors; we seek to be good neighbors but never at the expense of compromising our Gospel witness. Maybe Leo Durocher was inadvertently onto something: Nice Guys, do Finish Last!

I want to encourage you to prayerfully consider subscribing to my blog site and spread the word to your family and friends, especially if you find my blog posts God-glorifying. I will enter full-time retirement on May 31st, Lord willing. It is my desire to be a full-time blogger and Youtube Video Influencer as my post-vocational passion and pursuit.

I want to use my gifts and calling in this manner as my means to finish my fourth-quarter strong for Jesus Christ. I so ache to live in such a manner that I might hear Jesus Christ greet me on the other side of the veil with three simple words, "Ricky, Well Done!" Now, that is something I want to hear when I encounter my human dismay. Being nice, not so much!

As always, keep your hands to the plow and seek to serve for an Audience of One.

With fear and trembling,

Ricky Kyles DEd.Min

[1] Orthopraxy is correct conduct, both ethical and liturgical, as opposed to faith or grace. Orthopraxy is in contrast with orthodoxy, which emphasizes correct belief.

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