The Gospel Is Hate Speech.

savedThey, whomever “they” are, need:

To be Restored

To be Reconciled

To be Saved

To be Healed

To Hear The Good News

To be at Peace

To be Sought Out

To be Set Free

To be given Hope

And…

“To be Delivered from their Sin.”

“They,” those that are without Christ, the lost, or those who have not been translated from the Kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of light (Colossians 1:13), according to Christians, need all of those things.  The problem is that assuming any particular sub-set or group needs those things and expressing the same, may be considered anti-social or culturally unacceptable.

This is no where better demonstrated than in recent events regarding homosexuality.  Ed Stetzer recently had this to say:

“We must realize that believing what the Bible says about sexuality will increasingly put us at odds with our culture. Pressure will continue to mount to accept a worldview rooted in cultural acceptance rather than biblical revelation. And we must prepare ourselves for the day when acceptance will not be enough—affirmation may be demanded to be a part of society.  You can check out that whole article here. 

Affirmation may be demanded to be a part of society

As a Christian people, our words are falling under ever intensifying scrutiny.  Like Ed said above, acceptance will not be enough.  Homosexuality is just one of the many culturally accepted norms that is thought by Christians to oppose biblical revelation.  The day Ed speaks of is already here. Affirmation will be demanded by words that Christians will not be willing to give and by the imposed avoidance of words that are intrinsic to Christian belief.  The next logical step is to excise those words which stand in opposition to modern culturally accepted norms, abolish them, and classify them as Hate Speech.”  

“They,” not just homosexuals, but all those who find the Christian message offensive, do not need, do not want, and are offended when others say that “they” are a people who need:

Restoration – Reconciliation – To be saved – Healing -Good News -Peace -To be Sought out -To be set free -Hope -To be delivered from their sin.

And so, Christian people are faced with a challenge.  Is it possible to communicate the gospel, to make disciples, and to truly love God and our neighbors without the words we’re used to using?  Should we change our language and speak with a more diplomatic dialect?  Should we, in a sense, become all things to all people to win some and keep the conversation open (1 Corinthians 9:22), or should we just keep using the Bible’s God-breathed vocabulary and Spirit appointed venues and suffer the consequences.  

My wife recently had this to say:

“I love with a Christ-centered worldview, which is pretty hard to separate from myself, who I am, and how I live. My agenda is always going to be to love and honor Christ and to love my neighbor as myself. But if my neighbor expects that I can love him or her and they allow it only by calling me to separate myself from the very foundation of who I am, which drives me to think, speak and act in a way contradictory to a secular worldview or one without Christ, then my neighbor is asking me to do the very thing he hates — to be disingenuous.”

My wife speaks to this issue with distinct clarity.  We as believers, Christians, are incapable of cleaving Christ’s words from our relationship to Him.  Jesus said we are to Abide in Him and have His words abide in us. (John 15:7)  If we say to any people group that they need: 

Restoration – Reconciliation – To be saved – Healing – Good News -Peace -To be Sought out -To be set free -Hope -And To be delivered from their sin,

then we are, in essence, saying passively and by necessary consequence, “they” are:

In disrepair – unreconciled – lost – sick – harbingers of bad news – anxious – in hiding – trapped – hopeless – and captive.

There’s no excuse for the horrendous manners in which the gospel has been presented by angry people over the ages and likewise the pressure, manipulation, and sheer idiocy, but where are the Voltaires of the day?  Where are those who, like him, would say, “I do not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”  Where are the Orwells who warn through sarcasm when in 1984 he said, It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words.”

Must Christians be forced into calling that which is evil good and that which is good evil? (Isaiah 5:20) (Malachi 2:17)  Must they “affirm” as Ed says, that which is in direct opposition to their world view?  Must Christians become “disingenuous” as Claudia says, just to dialogue?  A few questions:

Is it possible to communicate the gospel without our favorite gospel words?

Should we just toss the use of words all together and preach the gospel through our actions alone?

How do you personally point to Christ without pointing at others?

 

0 thoughts on “The Gospel Is Hate Speech.

  1. Amy says:

    “I do not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” – We want others to say that, but do we? “We” have the million moms/dads type organizations that target establishments that promote or financially support causes we take issue with, but in the wake of Dan Cathy’s support of marriage and the subsequent call to boycot Chic-Fil-A, Christians were crying persecution. Do we persecute others when we boycot them? Is it an infringement to our freedom for people to disagree with us? For us to no longer be in the majority and enjoy the biases and perks of being the majority?

    When the church was established, it thrived under much worse conditions than we have. Jesus didn’t fix the political system in order for that to happen. Homosexuality was rampant. Regard for human life – especially Christian life – was poor.

    If I’m honest, I don’t like not being the majority. I’ve voluntarily put myself in forums where Christians are the minority, and it’s shocking to realize what the backlash may be like socially. But my take on the Bible is that the focus on repentance is toward those who believe first. And, frankly, we as a collective have been too focused on getting “them” to repent.

    When Israel was taken into captivity, it was never because the other nations were evil. It’s because Israel forsook her God. It was to free Israel from false belief and distrust and disobedience. I think that’s still true. So, will we focus on our legal rights or on our dependence on God? Is our outrage really over offending God or not being able to proclaim the Gospel, or that it may now have consequences we’ve not had in a while? WBC (Westboro Baptist Church) and others of their ilk, are guilty of hate speech, imo. And where the church has been silent about that and other abuses, we are remiss. Maybe when we care more for how the lost are hurt by such charlatans than about how limiting their damage may also make our call more challenging, the lost will actually listen to us. But as long as we come across defending our right to tell people they’re going to hell, we at least look like our freedom to bully is more important than our freedom in Christ. I’m not sure that’s the gospel at all.

  2. Carlos says:

    Hi Miguel,

    You ask if it is possible to share the Gospel with less culturally offensive terminology.

    May I say that Jesus Christ would have likely cared less?

    What was uppermost in His heart was speaking the truth as His Father gave it to Him.

    There is simply no way to share the Gospel as it was meant to be shared without causing some offense. Without upsetting somebody. Perhaps even at the loss of jobs, prestige, and relationships that we hold dear.

    That’s just the way it is and there is nothing we can do about it (assuming we are acting in love and not foolishly).

    The quicker we accept the fact that we will suffer in this life to do what Jesus did and to share the message of reconciliation with others – the better we will be able to do whatever God calls us to to.

    Carlos

  3. Eli says:

    hmm if we want to use Jesus as an example it may pay to study his words during his ministry and see just what sort of controversy and offence he stirred up.Which type of people tended to be offended and put off by what he said. What types of sins did he seem to target.

    Suppose for a minute that other people hold to their beliefs and convictions at least as much as we do… we should tread carefully if we want to be heard yet so do they.
    If we start with the false premise that the ‘other’ is primarily identified by such negative terms as Lost, Worldly, Sick, Trapped, Hopeless we will get our approach wrong from the get go.
    First the love because people are people and worthy of love then yes engage those other aspects… and in the process discover just because we may be attempting to follow christ and they are not, does not mean there are aspects of their lives that are less lost, sick, broken and worldly than ours.

    Unlike Jesus we cannot engage the other from a place of pure authority, authenticity and faith… which is mind blowing to think as perfect as he was, he came in relative weakness. Jesus never needed to apologize unlike us and so we should be careful in what manner we try to imitate him.

    Anyways I think part of the problem is we try to market ourselves to those who aren’t aware of their need because we want financial viability, increase and validity… plus we major on all sorts of side issues. The gay marriage debate is a saddening example of masses of christians getting swept up in missing the forest for the trees.

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