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What tasted honey returned putrified.
What slid down cream has come up hell.
Sickness heaved the vile to the ground,
And there it rancors; sludge and smell.
I could limp away, the better for the lesson.
I could stop and stay, disgusted by the memory.
I should turn my eyes to tables righteous laden
And never wish the sin that caused the wretch in me.
But back to the waste I return –
Back to the gagging, sour fog.
I extend my tongue to sample the sick.
I choke it down – for I am the dog.
Has the intense anti-Christian vitriol spewed out by the culture ever made you wonder?
Are Christians really that bad?
Is our sincere love for the Creator of the universe and subsequent love for all of His creation so deplorable that we’re deserving of absolute detestation?
If we evermind God’s word, this question need not go unanswered. AMBrewster read a post by Doug Wilson that encouraged him to write this short piece about the real reason the unsaved culture hates Christians. Please click here to read “Why Does the World Hate Us?
If you haven’t noticed, abortion has kinda been a big focus recently.
YouTube videos and even motion pictures have been trying to prove to everyone that it’s a wonderful, liberating “procedure.”
But those of us who know God’s Word realize that everyone who says that is a liar.
AMBrewster wrote an article called Gendercide in 2012 addressing not only the issue of abortion, but a then new fad of aborting only the babies with the “wrong” sex.
In an effort to decide whether or not God is a jerk, we’ve looked at who God claims to be, what He claims to do, and observed some of the world events that lead us to believe God isn’t who He said He is (a.k.a.: Jerk).
You should probably catch up with all of that from Part 1 if you didn’t already read it.
So, continuing on, let’s see if we can reconcile God’s truth-claims with our experiences.
What Do His Claims Mean?
Let us start by assuming that everything listed in Part 1 is completely true. Does it logically follow that . . .
. . . a holy being would not be able to tolerate anything that is not in line with His character (sin)?
. . . an immutable being would never change His mind concerning His stance on sin?
. . . a righteous being could not simply overlook the sin He’s cast judgment on?
. . . a loving being would only ever want what’s truly best for us; a.k.a. not to sin (whether we understand His design or not), and would be able to provide a perfect substitutionary sacrifice to simultaneously appease His righteousness and proclaim us justified?
. . . an omnipotent being is 100% capable of accomplishing exactly what we need for life and meting out judgment when we reject Him?
. . . an omniscient being would know exactly what needs to be done to accomplish His perfect will and our best interest?
. . . a sovereign being must needs be involved in our lives?
If we put it all together, doesn’t it logically follow that a holy, immutable, righteous, loving, omnipotent, omniscient, & sovereign being would forever hate sin, and not only be compelled to judge it in perfect wisdom but also be capable of judging it as He is all powerful and in control of everything, and yet simultaneously provide the perfect way to be justly forgiven for our sins in a way we could never earn because He loves us?
If you remove any one of these truth-claims about God, then we can easily see how He may accidentally or purposefully let the ball drop. But assuming He is who He says He is, some of the things we think are out of line with His character are actually a necessity of His character.
What About His Exclusivity?
Let’s use yesterday’s first two critiques of God. Some say He’s a jerk because . . .
If everything we saw above is true, God by necessity must be consumed with His own will and jealously passionate about it being accomplished above everything else (man’s plan and aspirations included). This is necessarily true because . . .
. . . if God chose to tolerate sin because man thought He should, He would cease to be holy.
. . . if God changed His mind about sin to accept a person into heaven who rejected Him as savior, He would cease to be immutable.
. . . if God simply overlooked our sin because He loves us, He would cease to be just.
. . . if God allowed things to happen that were not in our best interest because we didn’t think losing our house in a tornado could possibly be good, He would cease to be loving.
. . . if God were unable to bring about His will, He would cease to be all powerful.
. . . if God didn’t know what was best to accomplish His plans, He would cease to be all knowing.
. . . if God walked away from His creation, He would cease to be preeminent.
If any of that happened, or if God made some other plan (i.e.; man’s plan) a higher priority than His own . . . He would cease to be God. You see, God is the only one in the cosmos Who can be jealous for His plan, for it is His plan alone that matters. He can be angry when He does not receive the worship that is due Him because man has no higher calling than to worship God. He is the only one who can rightfully define terms as they are His to define. It really is all about God. If God were all about anything other than Himself, He could not biblically nor logically be God. Whatever God makes more important that His own will becomes God.
Let’s test this premise: If someone lives a moral life, constantly doing good for his fellow man, but dies without believing in God, is God a jerk for sending him to hell?
Logically, no. It would be inconsistent with His holy, just, immutable character to simply give someone a pass because they weren’t as bad as someone else. The subjectivity of that scenario would actually be extremely jerkish to those of us who disagree with his criteria. He’s especially not a jerk in this situation because He clearly stated the guidelines for a relationship with Him, and did the humanly-impossible to provide us a way to have that relationship with Him (the sacrificial death of Jesus).
Conclusion: If God is who He says He is, He cannot be considered a jerk for requiring faith in Him alone as the only way to a relationship with Him (salvation).
But what about that issue of evil and pain in the world? That’s still pretty lame, right?
What About Sin and Suffering?
Again, assuming that God is who He says He is, is the “problem of sin and suffering” really a problem? The people who invented football designed rules for how it would be played. They paid referees to enforce the rules. When players broke the rules, there were consequences. No one struggles with this illustration.
The very first rule laid out in Scripture is that Adam and Eve not eat of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. What happened? They ate. Evil is now in the world by hereditary right. So, how many of you would be happy if the ref decided to let the other team keep the touchdown they scored while their player was clearly out of bounds? How’s that sitting with you?
Evil is a consequence of sin. Suffering and death are consequences of sin. Both of these realities are explained in the first few chapters of Genesis.
“If God made some other plan (i.e.; man’s plan) a higher priority than His own . . . He would cease to be God. You see, God is the only one in the cosmos Who can be jealous for His plan for it is His plan alone that matters.”
His justice requires that the consequence of sin stand, but His love allows that He provide a righteous substitute for the punishment we deserve.
Let me quickly address the concept of bad things happening to “good” people. Given God’s definitions of sin/holiness/evil/good, can someone who rejects God’s perfect truth be good? The biblical answer is, “No.” Isaiah 64:6 tells us that our best good is the same as soiled menstrual rags. Eww. Philippians 2:13 tells us we need God Himself to do (and even desire to do) good as He’s defined it. Furthermore, if I reject and rebel against the only perfectly good being in the universe . . . can I really say I’m good?
Conclusion: God is not a jerk because He allows sin and suffering in the world. It is an unfortunate reality that is consistent with His nature. We are not good, and therefore deserve the consequences of our sin. And if we are going to critique His truth claims, we cannot conveniently neglect how extremely loving He is to make provision for our salvation even though we have done nothing to deserve it!
We men mess-up every day. We selfishly work all day to fulfill our own desire, all the while ignoring God’ truth and love, and then we get mad at Him when bad things happen to us, or we’re incensed when someone suggests we’re making bad choices by rejecting God. How dare He give us the punishment we deserve for rebelling against His revealed truth?!
Is God a jerk?
When we take Him at His Word we see that His expectations and our experiences are both perfectly consistent with His nature.
But have we truly concluded this mined this question for all of its worth?
I’m going to publish Part 3 tomorrow where I hope to address any comments you may leave which challenge my conclusions. I’d love to have you join tomorrow!
Is God a jerk?
Continue to Part 3
I like to deal with issues that are applicable to the culture we live in. For this reason I take the occasional cue from what others are writing about. When we’re all discussing it, it’s probably worth discussing.
I was in a singles’ group once that was going to cover “current cultural issues.” Most of the topics were met with confused looks from the singles because not one of us had an issue with any of the “issues.” But when we were allowed to express our own ideas about issues we faced every day, we had more than enough fodder for the discussion.
David Crabb has once again put his finger on an important cultural issue in many churches in his article entitled Forbidding What God Allows. The title is extremely clear and the topic necessary.
David’s key idea can be summed up in the following quote:
“When I allow what God prohibits, I am setting myself up as god–as the lawgiver. My rule is supreme. On the same token, when I prohibit what God allows, I am not ‘erring on the side of caution,’ but am actually setting myself up as god–as the lawgiver. My rule is supreme. If I cannot prove that God prohibits something, then I should simply acknowledge it. I might have an entire list of reasons I believe a certain course of action to be best, but far better to use words like ‘wisdom’ and ‘prudence,’ rather than absolute moral terms (e.g. ‘sinful’).”
A perfect New Testament example of this is when Jesus Christ was condemned by the Pharisees for “working” on the Sabbath (this happened frequently). First, we must recognize that Jesus never sinned. He was incapable of breaking the Sabbath. Second, we have to understand that the “laws” He was breaking had been instituted by men, not God. Therefore, the religious leaders of that day were telling God Himself that He was breaking His own law. They set themselves up “as god – as the lawgiver. [Their] rule [was] supreme.”
What’s the application for us?
Michael Riley reminds us here that when we preach, it must apply. It’s too easy to teach about things our students, children, counselees, and congregations don’t struggle with. This method is helpful, edifying, and useful for warning, but we CANNOT avoid dealing with the real-life issues that the people around us are dealing with. When we do that, we give a false sense of security. “I’m okay because I don’t believe in transubstantiation.” or “I’m glad we don’t have that kind of music in our church.” But are you preaching about gossip, lust, gluttony, disbelief, anger, hurtful sarcasm, laziness, spiritual apathy and the plethora of other ignored sins? #Balance in Preaching
“Cassandra was that unfortunate woman who was cursed with an ability to foretell the future accurately, while at the same time never having her predictions believed. There is a sense in which that particular curse is a type for our times.”
Doug Wilson’s insights into the Christian’s “prophetic curse” are remarkably accurate. Every pastor, parent, counselor, teacher, and loving friend who has ever tried to warn someone about the consequences of their sin will understand what Doug is saying.
“The same thing happens to individuals. When someone starts making stupid and inexplicable choices, you can describe for him where it is all going to end up. Those concerns will just be taken as further proof of your lack of compassion. And the problem is, when it ends up right where you said, and he comes out of the closet (say), the chances are excellent that no one will say, “Whoa, boy, did you call that.” No, the more undeniably right you were, the more insufferable it will be for them, and the more bluntly it will be insulted.”
Christ tells us in John 15:18 “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.” The problem is, I don’t think we often ask the deeper question here . . . why did the world hate Christ in the first place? The answer is simple: He told the truth.
Christ told the truth about everything! He told them Who He was. He told them what He came to do. He told them about sin, righteousness, and judgement. And because He warned them, because He offered them a way to escape the ends of their sin . . . they hated Him. It doesn’t make sense to the believer, but it doesn’t make the reality any less real.
Therefore, since sinful man hates truth, if not for the grace of God, they will hate it when we share God’s truth with them as well. Of course, that doesn’t remove our responsibility to share God’s truth. Romans 10:14 states, “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?” Our simple mission is to do what Christ did.
We must share God’s truth.
We do not change people. We do not make people believe. We tell the truth, and if they hate us, we know it’s because they hate God and His truth.
Read Doug Wilson’s blog post here at The Cassandra Effect.
LifeNews.com posted an article by Steven Ertelt about sex-selective, late-term abortions. The original article can be read here: Planned Parenthood Encourages Woman to Get Sex-Selection Abortion.
Let me be clear about this. It won’t take long. It won’t be difficult to understand. Murder is a sin.
The act of murder is defined by most dictionaries as “The unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another.” By this definition, abortion is not murder as long as it’s legal. But, at Taking Back the Bible, man’s definitions just aren’t good enough. In biblical terms, murder is defined as “Taking the life of an innocent individual.” Exodus 20:13 and Deuteronomy 5:17 both prohibit murder. The Hebrew word רָצַח (ratsach) has always been understood to mean the purposeful or accidental taking of someone’s life for “personal or selfish gain” (Tyndale Bible Dictionary).
But the crux of the abortion argument always seems to be whether or not the “thing” being aborted can in fact be considered alive. Many scientists, doctors, and pro-choice advocates skirt the issue with imposing medical terminology or philanthropic straw men, and often they outright lie about the realities of life. But according to God’s perfect Word, we are living sinners at the moment of conception (Psalm 51:5). There was also a steep penalty for hurting a pregnant woman so that her child would die (Exodus 21:22-25). I’ve barely scratched the top of this topic in biblical terms. The Bible is explicitly clear on this issue!
This particular variation on abortion (sex-specific gendercide) simply reveals how base and twisted abortion advocates are becoming. Not only is it okay to kill a baby because it’s a bad time to be pregnant, but now I don’t have to like its sex. What next? “Well, ma’am, genetically we can tell that your son will have brown hair.” “Oh, that’s too bad. I prefer red. I think I’ll have an abortion and try for red next time.” Beliefs concerning human rights deteriorate as the culture moves farther and farther away from God and His precepts.
God’s Word is sufficient for this situation. How can a atheistic doctor tell us whether or not God hates abortion? If you are a Christian who supports the abortion (for any reason), you need to go to Wal-Mart, buy a white T-shirt and a black magic marker, and write on the shirt,
“I Don’t Read My Bible.”
Or, if you read It and ignore It, you may write,
“I Don’t Believe My Bible.”
Abortion is murder. Let’s Take Back God’s Word from those who ignore It or deliberately twist It.
Now, I know perfectly well that this post was short, not-so-sweet, and to the point. But for those of you who are still grappling with this question, for those of you who have had an abortion, or for those of you who belive you are in a moral dilemma . . . we want to help.
We would love to meet with you or communicate with you via E-mail and help you see the wondrous hope God has for those who have already had an abortion. We can discuss why you really need to carry your baby to term. We can find God’s answers to your questions together. There are answers.
Please contact us at Counselor@EvermindMinistries.com