I recently read blog posts by a “Christian” minister who “hates” when people post the Scriptures: John 3:16, Romans 8:28, Proverbs 3:5, John 14:6 and James 1:2-3.
He feels that posting Scripture is offensive because:
- It provides unhealthy theological meanings, because it implies doctrinal certainty.
- It is an unintelligent behavior, because it squelches critical thinking and promotes blind faith.
- It hurts people, because it is exclusive.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.”
The blogger hates the posting of this favorite Sunday School memory verse because it naively implies the divinity of Jesus Christ, effectively rules out the all-inclusive doctrine of universalism, and suggests that Hell is a real place.
Furthermore, he accuses Christians of intentionally leaving out verse 17, “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”
However, our blogger stops at verse 17. This is convenient for him because verses 18-21 quote Jesus making exceptionally offensive exclusionary statements and condemning a whole lot of people. “He who believes in Him is not condemned. But he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the verdict, that light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that it may be revealed that his deeds have been done in God.”
We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
The blogger objects to the certainty of this verse, that people mistakenly believe God is so powerful, so wise, so benevolent that ALL things, including human suffering, achieve some greater good. Then he writes with certainty that people who believe that way are wrong. He paints a pathetic portrait of a weaker, more human God, struggling to help humanity, but without a sure hope or confidence of reward or redemption.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and lean not on your own understanding;
The blogger hates this Scripture because it reminds him of the slogan “Don’t be so open-minded that your brain falls out.” He then creates a straw-man who doesn’t want Christian lackeys (evangelicals) thinking for themselves. To him, evangelicals are close-minded haters of wisdom. The evangelicals that I know are critical thinkers who believe in a scholarly approach to hermeneutics.
Unfortunately for our blogger, he doesn’t understand the difference between God’s wisdom and human wisdom. Based upon Proverbs 3:13-18, he proposes that Christians who oppose abortion are “mysogynistic.” Perhaps that is why his rebuttal skips over verses 7-12:
“Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your body, and strength to your bones. …My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be weary of His correction; for whom the Lord loves He corrects, even as a father the son in whom he delights.”
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
Our blogger says that this Scripture is the top of his “Favorite Christian Quote Verse I hate” list because it is designed as a weapon against non-Christians. He says that Jesus really intended to tell Thomas, “For you, I am the way.” After all, the blogger points out, John 14 tells us there are many rooms in God’s house, therefore, there are many paths that all lead to the same God.
His antidote to the exclusiveness of 14:6 is the inclusiveness 10:16, “I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold.” which our blogger tells us the meaning: Jesus is not THE way, Jesus is one of the ways, to God.
So, if you are looking up John 10 to check up on this, maybe don’t read too much into verses 7-9 where Jesus makes exclusive claims to be the “door” of the sheep. Jesus calls everyone else thieves and robbers. And maybe de-contextualize verse 16 where Jesus says that the good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep, his sheep know his voice, then Jesus claims that he will lay his life down for his sheep, then the “other” sheep will also know His voice. Verses 1-6 clearly establish the exclusive premise that the sheep will not follow a stranger’s voice. Jesus makes it sound like He thinks He is the only Savior.
My brothers, count it all joy when you fall into diverse temptations, knowing that the trying of your faith develops patience.
Our “progressive Christian” blogger adds that the idea of people in trouble finding comfort in Bible verses makes him sick. Well, he says “throw up in my mouth.” because it promotes the idea of redemptive suffering. He says, “James is just wrong” because the best we can do is survive. Suffering makes no sense.
I’m not sure that the Bible promises to reward everyone for suffering. I do read many divine promises in Scripture where God rewards the faithful. One of my favorites is Second Corinthians 4:16-18:
For this reason we do not lose heart: Even though our outward man is perishing, yet our inward man is being renewed day by day. Our light affliction, which lasts but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
In my understanding, suffering makes sense in eternity not necessarily on earth during my lifetime, and the compensation for faith during suffering is only offered to faithful believers. Maybe that is just too exclusive and not “progressive” enough for some folks.
I followed the link to our blogger’s FaceBook page. Post upon post used sarcastic and offensive language to describe both conservative Christians and political Conservatives which he labelled as imperialist white supremacist capitalist heteropatriarchists. I may not know what that means, but our blogger’s mean-spirited intent is clear.
I am forced to conclude that our blogger only considers it wrong for conservatives to use communication that some consider offensive. For our blogger, the Golden Rule runs like a one-way street where the traffic exclusively gives right-of-way to subversionists.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the blogger also hates when those who disagree with his worldview quote Matthew 7:12, “treat others the way you want to be treated”, to demand equitable treatment from him.