Thursday, November 01, 2012

An Insatiable Need for Hatred


I am getting a little concerned. After this year’s election, where will the church turn for their insatiable need for and addiction to hatred? I mean this year’s election has provided a literal cornucopia of hatred. It has refreshed old and stagnant hatreds as well as offered new and fresh hatreds that are completely compatible with the old standards. This hatred has nourished the soul and fueled the spirit, and millions of conversations even in church hallways and parking lots have bolstered this hatred and reinforced it among the gatherings. Many sermons added to the ambiance of hatred as well.

But I began to be concerned about where will we satisfy our desire and addiction for hatred after the election. I mean this year has been such a gift for hatred almost to overflowing, and we have become so spoiled since hatred has become so accessible and available. But after the election we might have to find some new sources quickly before our reservoir of hatred begins to dissipate. Like a heroin addict, we would quickly begin to experience some painful withdrawal symptoms. What in the world would we talk about? Where could we direct our caustic verbiage? What could bring us together like hatred?

But then I received a sliver of hope. If President Obama is reelected, the hatred we now enjoy will not only continue, but there is a chance it could expand in scope and depth. I mean if we have been blessed with such hatred during the election, the hatred that could come forth from his reelection just might be overwhelming. Sermons for the next four years would have much spiritual meat laced with hatred, and Sunday morning fellowships would be filled with conversations about socialism, gas prices, healthcare, and all sorts of complaining and murmuring. Worry and doubt and uncertainty could be accentuated.

And at the heart of it all would be President Obama and the hordes of liberals riding in the night to bring down a nation. That, my friends, would generate so much hatred it would make the election year look like child’s play. The visceral hatred that a second term would bring would be mindboggling, and it could bring us all even closer together. And in that atmosphere we could pepper our conversations with words like “antichrist” and “unAmerican” and “socialist”. It would be a literal county fair of hatred!

Ok, I hope you recognize pointed satire. But in reality the evangelical church has become addicted to hatred and rarely loves sinners who exhibit attitudes and perspectives which are now irritants to the Biblamerican culture the church has created. The need to hate someone or some group has become almost insatiable. We must have a scapegoat; we must have a target; we must have an enemy. And in the motive for such hatred is the golden calf of nationalism which lives and breathes within the evangelical community. Professing believers by the millions pay homage to this golden idol and they rush with venom toward anyone who they believe might tarnish it. And hatred is at the center of their warfare.

Oh many believers will say they do not hate, but who are we kidding? That’s like a white supremist who says he doesn’t hate black people, he just wants them to leave the country. Let’s face it, the evangelical hatred is so profuse, so visceral, and so well practiced that to deny it is not only disingenuous, it indicates a spiritual blindness of epic proportions. And when hatred is not only practiced but embraced within a church, it ceases to have any semblance of divine blessing and power, and in many ways it ceases to be a Christian church.

Jude 20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,
21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

What does the Spirit mean when He says “keeping yourselves in the love of God”? Can it mean that we can keep ourselves being loved by God? Surely not. But then it must mean that we can keep our hearts and our spirits tethered to God’s love, which will always have a profound and observable affect on how we feel about others, how we treat others, how we see ourselves, and most importantly how we see Christ and His gospel mission. Sadly, this has become not only negotiable as a tenant of discipleship, it has become absent as a tangible element of Christ’s church. The church loves the country much more than they love Jesus. Christ is given a prominent place in our statements of faith, but He rarely is remarkably manifested in our lips and lives. Certain moral and economic issues now serve as Christ manifestations while the Sermon on the Mount exhortations have been ignored through systematic interpretive dilutions and a breathtaking refusal to institute literal and practical applications. In short, we have created and concocted another religion with a few shadows of the New Testament faith only observable through written creeds.

So you can hate and condemn, but as long as you say you believe in the Trinity and the virgin birth and the inerrancy of Scripture you are following Jesus? Yes, that is not only the implication of the western evangelical church, that is the open standard. Love and compassion and grace and mercy and meekness are all electives and not requirements for true discipleship. And if you are pro-life and pro-traditional marriage you are almost an apostle! And part of being pro-life is that you are given license to hate those who are pro-choice, and part of being pro-traditional marriage is that your are given a license to hate gay people and their agenda. It is a wonderful, symbiotic relationship which cements people together through the power of the flesh.

So in the end believers call themselves conservative and Republicans or Democrats, and yes, even Americans rather than true yokefellows and followers of Jesus the Christ. It seems like a minor issue but the implications are profound and dramatic in practice. And through the years as the church became more invested in and absorbed by the nationalistic culture, and judgment, condemnation, and even hatred were invited into the assembly. Of course they entered under the guise of morality, democracy, and a love for the nation called America. And although that kind of love is spiritually incompatible with following Christ, the affection for the nation soon blurred any Scriptural teachings to the contrary.

And now, being fully patched into the fraternity of politics with all its fallen wrangling, the church soon learned the ways that always accompany such systems. And the deception was so deep and so strong, that even when asked about some obvious contradictions to New Testament teachings some evangelical leaders openly stated that those teachings must temporarily bow to the mission of saving a nation. Think about that. I really mean it, think about what these men are saying. And with that kind of compromise you have all kinds of conferences with special speakers from all kinds of theological persuasions and even cults with the only requirement being that they love America. Think about that as well.

And this year has exposed the hatred that was in the church with painful clarity. What used to be whispered is now shouted. What used to be limited is now expressed with few parameters. What used to be hidden is now paraded. What used to be rejected is now embraced. Hatred has found a home within the church. How sad, how tragic. And believers by the millions go about fueled by idolatry and hatred and seek to save a nation without saving souls. The words of Washington, Jefferson, and Madison are worth more than the words of Jesus. The cultural concept of God fearing morality has replaced the self denying and sacrificial love for sinners. We have become a political clique rather than a redemptive organism.

So have no fear, the hatred spicket remains wide open and the church continues to drink fully from its fountain. God loved the world and gave His only begotten Son while the church hates the world and gives them what for. And regardless of who is elected, the addiction to hatred must be satisfied. And no one hates a rock or a lake or a tree or a planet. So the church must make full use of the most obvious and accessible and fulfilling target of hatred, namely people. But please be aware of this uncomfortable fact. The people you hate were with Jesus as He died upon the cross, so when you hate them, you hate the cross. Perhaps even that does not matter anymore.


Anonymous said...

This is all so tragically true. I could never have believed how this attitude is right out front and center now, there's not a bit of shame, the hatred is so palpable, it scares me. When did this slow churning hatred plant it's seed in the church? Who let it in? Why is it now exposed? Why was it quashed in previous times? Why was it quashed during the Clinton years. I seem to recall pastors asking for prayer for those who govern over us then. During the Bush years, the church was always calling for individual repentance, and didn't seem to get involved in the politics, and always asking for prayers for the nation, the President, and America. There was no sense of hatred then. What has precipitated that hate against interest groups and politicians and half the population and certain aspects of sin now?

Another thing that has perplexed me about the church. What is it with the guns? I may be incorrect, but I thought I read somewhere recently about a baptist minister preaching a sermon on trying to prove that carrying arms is biblical.

What evil has infiltrated the church? There is no rationale with the leaders' thinking. They have absolutely become deluded. There's no watchmen in the watchtower, except a handful that write, but are barely audible under the hateful voices.

It's going to reap something awful, this hatred, and I can't imagine what this will result in. The youth pick this up from parents; what kind of witness will this be? It reduces one to tears. If faith and love have been reduced to fear and hate, in the Church, where is this thing going?

Faith is another topic that's been quashed and isn't demonstrated by church leaders anymore. Faith in God alone, and not in leaders. They seem to be saying faith alone is not cool anymore, it's for the weak-minded, the Church doesn't want the feeble and the weak, they want Joel's Army, they want energetic fighters, warriors who stand up against the hordes of socialists who will ruin their precious lifestyle. They want holiness priests to whip certain sinners out of the temple. They do not want to "touch" the unclean thing, because those within the church feel so pure, it will taint them. And they want a 10-foot cone of purity surrounding them. No liberals, pro-lifers, gays, minorities, feminists, are allowed in. They keep guard at the doors of the church to prevent anyone from entering in, because these sinners will spread their unclean germs and ruin their perfect utopia on earth.

This concerns me too.

Terry said...

If Romney should win and Republicans take the house and senate, here is what happens:
Tea-vangelicals will gloat for about a week. Then they will hold all the senators and congressmen's feet to the fire... no new taxes of any kind whatsoever, only tax cuts. The budget deficit will be balanced by reducing entitlements, while at the same time we increase military spending. Any Republican who even looks across the aisle and considers compromise will be punished.
Be prepared to hear the phrase RINO thrown around quite a lot. Republicans looking to negotiate will become the new focus of hatred.

Terry said...

I hope that didn't come off as cynical. I feel a twinge of guilt for using the term "tea-vangelical".

Although a citizen of heaven, while here on earth I would prefer living in a country that balances it's budget, doesn't go over fiscal cliffs, etc. I believe it would take both sides compromising (a combination of tax increases and spending cuts) to avert certain disaster. Is it unspiritual to want public leaders to make responsible decisions?

I hear nothing but ramped up idealism on either side, and fear it will only get uglier. It might get especially interesting if Romney really is the moderate everyone said he was 6 months ago.

Rick Frueh said...

Politics is the pathway away from Christ.

Terry said...

Thanks Rick. I forget I'm living in Babylon from time to time. (And I'm the guy who thinks the USA is the White Horse in Revelation 6)

michael said...

There is a caution in my spirit when reading that, Rick.

I would comment on two things.

One, is about the gift of Eternal Life. John writes:

Joh 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

Eternal Life is an interesting subject to those of us in the temporal world. Eternal Life has that reality added to is, "eternal" which is other worldly or not of this world but comes before the creation of this world.

Knowing God or His Son is a work of the Holy Spirit. Jesus in Matthew's record reveals a mystery about Eternal Life in the sense that it takes both God, the only True God and Jesus in concert with each other through the Holy Spirit to come into Eternal Life (Matthew 11: 25-30). The Apostle Peter writes about the sancification work of the Holy Spirit ( 1 Peter 1:2 ).

Love has mutli-layers in nature and in super-nature once we are born again. I won't go into that other than to say studying these five Greek words can bring one into an insight into the four loves and how they work through the natural man. The Greek words are [bios] where we get the word biology; [sarcs] or flesh; [soma] or body; [psuche]or soul; and [pneuma]or spirit. There are incidents in the New Testament where each of these Words is used to help us understand how the Love of God works contrary to the love of man, that love that produces such hatred that you write about above!

The second thing is how and what Jesus ends His great Priestly Prayer, John 17:

Joh 17:25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me.
Joh 17:26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them."

Nowhere in those Words should anyone come away with the idea that the Love of God is man generated or comes from him naturally. No, the "love" Jesus is praying about is a part of the Eternal Nature of God Who Himself brings about His Eternal Purpose of Eternal Redemption through His Elect in this dead world; the only True God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit saving the sheep of the Kingdom of God on earth.

One final admission about this can be understood when reading in the Greek that conversation Jesus had with Peter at John 21. Jesus asked Peter "three" questions. Peter answers each question with the same answer. One need only look at the two Greek words for love used in that after breakfast conversation between Jesus and Peter. Also one only go through the book of Acts and Peter's two epistles to see that the Greek word for love/phileo Peter uses thereafter that breakfast meeting are never used by Peter again.

Why is that?

I propose to say the reason Peter never again uses that Greek word "phileo" and is understood looking at each other time Peter is associated with God's Love writing about it is because after Act's two after the Spirit was poured out on them all their understanding was now governed by the Holy Spirit not their human spirit.