Evangelicals & the issue of Hatred
It seems like we are confronted almost daily with a ever increasing act of pure evil committed by some individual or group of individuals. The question of the particular causes of evil will have to be for another day.
Today I just want to spend a few moment speaking to the Evangelical community and implore my fellow brothers and sisters to not fall prey to the insidious attitude of hatred towards any fellow human beings, even when we passionately disagree with their worldview.
One of the most recent examples of hatred was the individual who sent to pipe bombs to various Democratic aligned citizens. Now, thankfully no one was injured. It is not known if this was by design of the perpetrator or simply due to his incompetent. This along with many other attempts are regulated by the common grace God graciously provides to His creation though many choose to live in open and hostile rebellion to His Lordship.
While I have much to disagree with the likes of the Maxine Walters and President Barack Obamas of the world I will never resort to wishing them ill or any harm. There are countless names I could add to this list. I could probably add every member of those who ascribe to the Democratic Party worldview. Yet, every member of the Democratic Party is a person created in the image of God with all the dignity and worth of every human being who has lived, is living now and will ever live.
Unlike the men who crafted the Declaration of Independence I actually believe the words penned in this majestic document. I believe the words articulated in this lofty document find their genesis and source from none other than the throne-room of Heaven itself. I am not a theoretical Evangelical.
I believe proper orthodoxy necessarily leads to proper orthopraxy. In other words, genuine truth (right belief) necessarily translates to the proper corresponding human action (right actions). How can one claim to love God who is Holy but we have not yet seen and yet hate his brother who he sees? I don’t care what you claim to believe in your grandiose creeds I am ultimately concerned with your deeds. In that regards I am a Missouri believer, you know “show me.”
I was dismayed but not really surprised to see posting of caricatures mocking the danger associated with pipe bombs sent to Congresswoman Walter and former President Obama. While I vehemently disagree with many of the policies advocated by these two I do not take the threats against their lives lightly. That is not the charitable or honorable thing to do.
There are legitimate platforms and times when we can express our varying opinions and belief but the Christian is commanded to be people of the light, never of darkness. We are called by God to be people of peace, never of conflict or ill. We are commanded by our Savior to be people of hope, never to be people of despair.
One of the reasons I ultimately decided to pursue my doctorate at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) was because of a full page ad placed in one of the local papers of Louisville, Kentucky which is home to SBTS. The president of SBTS is Dr. Albert Mohler and he is a well-known conservative yet he took the time and expense to acknowledge the historical nature of the election of Barack Obama. Anyone who knows anything about the politics of Dr. Mohler would readily know he did not vote nor support the political worldview of the President Obama but Dr. Mohler did what every grounded Evangelical is commanded to do. That is to display love for all of God’s creature and especially to those of the household of faith.
Dr. Mohler spoke eloquently and glowingly about the historical nature of what the election of President Barack Obama meant regarding race. He spoke about the perceived intellect and family values he understood President Obama to exhibit. He asked God to bless his administration and the family of President Obama all the while you understood he vehemently disagreed with the political worldview of the President. He understood an Evangelical need not “demonize” those who he had disagreement with, even when those disagreements are profound and substantive. I knew from the moment I read that ad that SBTS was a place I wanted to attend and matriculate in my academic pursuit after the things of God.
I do not wish or covet ills towards any person as I do not believe that is consistent with the proper Evangelical worldview. Yet, one might ask how an Evangelical might make sense of the Imprecatory Psalms found in the Holy Writ . An imprecatory Psalm is those Psalms that invoke judgment, calamity, or curses, upon one’s enemies or those perceived as the enemies of God by the Psalmist.
Many, if not all, of these type of Psalms were written by King David. Many scholars take the position (and which I concur) that David writes as the appointed King of Israel and not as an individual citizen. The government is “deputized” by God to enact justice or wrath upon the wayward but never the individual.
It breaks my heart when I see postings on social media that spews hatred, however mild or subtle that it may be. Making light of President Obama receiving a pipe bomb is out of bounds for any decent person, let alone who carries the title: Evangelical. I am not a prude or want to be viewed as a fudgy-dudgy but I believe some attempts at humor are out of bounds at all times in all places and in all ways.
I am all for vigorous debates and do not want to subscribe to a state of political correctness to the point there can never be public disagreement yet as Evangelicals we must always seek to season our speech with salt.
I close by reminding my fellow Evangelicals we are commanded by Holy Scriptures to be the watchman. When we see someone commit a sinful act we must advise them of their folly. When we do the “blood” is not on our hands if they refuse to repent but our hands are sullied with the blood if we refuse to confront their action.
I do not allow people to voice hatred or prejudice of any kind in my presence without push back. This is not because I am more virtuous than the average person or because I am extremely courageous. It is because I am called by my Savior to be light shining amongst the darkness. I do so with “feets of clay” but I do so with fear and trembling. I would rather expose myself to conflict with mere mortals than the creator of the Universe.
Evil will not decrease. In fact, the Bible reveals it will increase and increase exponentially. It will increase in both quality and quantity, in size and scope. Part of the reason, a large portion of the reason I believe is intentionally designed by God to bring us to a point of despair.
While evil is decreed by God, the perpetrators of the evil are still accountable and will face a day of reckoning. That is the Christian answer to the problem of evil. Evangelicals are called to let evil “have its day in court” Yet it is to be done in spite of our best intentions and NEVER because of us.
I hate evil. First my very own evil and then the evil of others. I thank God Christ has died for all the evil that will take place in time and space that is committed by me. I implore any reader who has not seriously considered the truth claims of one, Jesus Christ of Nazareth to do so before it is too late.
Again, I welcome your feedback and comments. Until then keep your hand to the plow!