Criticizing Christians for Being ‘Less than Loving’ Means Criticizing Jesus for the Same Thing
“The enemies of the truth are always awfully nice.”
“Truth is the strong compost in which beauty may sometimes germinate.”
Christopher Morley (1890-1957)
President Obama said the following during an Easter Prayer Breakfast at the White House:
“On Easter, I do reflect on the fact that as a Christian, I am supposed to love. And I have to say that sometimes when I listen to less than loving expressions by Christians, I get concerned. But that’s a topic for another day.”
There’s no doubt that some Christians can be unloving. This is true of everybody. Al Sharpton attended the event, and he certainly has been “less-than-loving” in his actions and words.
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But that’s a topic for another day.
During the Prayer Breakfast, President Obama did not say a single word about Christians who have been murdered by Muslims for refusing to deny their faith and convert to a false religion. This seems to be a whole lot more “unloving” than not baking a cake for a same-sex wedding.
Like what’s happening among radical Muslims, the secular religion of our day is a false religion that is being forced on Christians because of their faith. If Christians give into what is thought to be a just a little “pinch of incense”1 to a false god or religion, the demand will be for bigger pinches.
President Obama most likely had the events of Indiana on his mind when he chastised Christians who stand up for their religious beliefs by opposing same-sex sexuality to be “unloving.”
Is standing up for righteousness “unloving”? In fact, people should be praised for willing to lose everything for the simple act of refusing to bake a cake or cater an event for something they cannot support. How easy it would have been to compromise; it’s only flour, sugar, butter, and water.
If Christians are labeled as “unloving” for standing up for righteousness, then what does this say about Jesus? Jesus said, “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also” (John 15:20).
To criticize Christians on this issue is to criticize Jesus.
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And what is that “word” that is to be kept? On the marriage issue, it’s quite simple:
“And [Jesus] answered and said, ‘Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE [Gen. 1:27; 5:2], and said, “FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH” [Gen. 2:24; Eph. 5:31]? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate’” (Matt. 19:4-6).
God has “joined together” “male and female,” not “male and male” or “female and female.” So if the President is going to chastise Christians for being “unloving” in this regard, then he must chastise Jesus who is the source for setting the parameters of these “unloving” actions.
Jesus dealt with a number of sexual cases. There was the Samaritan woman who had “five husbands,” and the man she was living with when she met Jesus was not her husband (John 4:16-18).
Instead of trying to defend her lifestyle, she embraces Jesus’ message and admits her sin. The same is true of the woman caught in the act of adultery. Jesus admonished her to “sin no more” (John 8:11).
Same-sex advocates are pushing for the condemnation of Christians who describe homosexuality as a “sin.” They must condemn Jesus as well.
I doubt that Jesus would have turned water into wine (John 2:1-12) for either woman if they had attempted to justify their sinful sexual acts and called for a rewriting or a reinterpretation of the law.
To attack Christians on the issue of same-sex marriage is to condemn Jesus. Given today’s definition of “loving,” Jesus would have been condemned as “unloving” for cleansing the temple and describing some of those who opposed Him as sons of the devil: John 8:44. George Grant writes, “On almost every page of the New Testament, we find Jesus offending someone. When He wasn’t confronting the scribes and the Pharisees, He was rebuking the promiscuous and the perverse.”2
Additionally, the argument that Jesus never said anything about same-sex relationships fails to take into account how marriage and sexual relationships are defined in the Bible and how the New Testament is written against the definitional backdrop of the Old Testament, which He endorsed and referenced numerous times. In addition to saying that Jesus did not say anything specifically about same-sex relationships, He didn’t say anything about rape, tripping blind people and cursing the deaf (Lev. 19:14), incest, bestiality, and a whole lot more. He didn’t have to since he came to “fulfill the law . . . not abolish it” (Matt. 5:17), and “fulfill” can’t mean “abolish.”
Part of that law included (1) the definition of marriage of being between a male and a female (see above), (2) the explicit condemnation of same-sex relationships (Lev. 18:22; 20:13), without negating (3) loving one’s neighbor as yourself (Lev. 19:18).
In the final analysis, opposing same-sex relationships is the loving thing to do since the way we show our love toward God and our neighbors is to keep God’s commandments: “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him” (John 14:21; also v. 23; Rom. 13:8-10; 1 Tim. 1:8-11; 1 John 2:3; 5:2; 2 John 6; Rev. 12:17; 14:12).
Here’s what we have today: “So the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus” (Rev. 12:17).
- Polycarp, who lived between AD 70 and 155, “was arrested on the charge of being a Christian — a member of a politically dangerous cult whose rapid growth needed to be stopped. Amidst an angry mob, the Roman proconsul took pity on such a gentle old man and urged Polycarp to proclaim, ‘Caesar is Lord.’ If only Polycarp would make this declaration and offer a small pinch of incense to Caesar’s statue he would escape torture and death. To this Polycarp responded, ‘Eighty-six years I have served Christ, and He never did me any wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?’ Steadfast in his stand for Christ, Polycarp refused to compromise his beliefs, and thus, was burned alive at the stake.” [↩]
- George Grant, The Micah Mandate: Balancing the Christian Life (Nashville: Cumberland House, 1999), 85.) Consider these comments from philosopher Michael Bauman, Professor of Theology and Culture and Director of Christian Studies at Hillsdale College:
“At various times, and when the situation demanded, Jesus publicly denounced sinners as snakes, dogs, foxes, hypocrites, fouled tombs, and dirty dishes. He actually referred to one of His chief disciples as Satan. So that His hearers would not miss the point, He sometimes referred to the objects of His most intense ridicule both by name and by position, and often face to face. . . . Christ did not affirm sinners; He affirmed the repentant. Others He often addressed with the most withering invective. God incarnate did not avoid using words and tactics that His listeners found deeply offensive. He well understood that sometimes it is wrong to be nice.” ((Quoted in Grant, The Micah Mandate, 85. [↩]