The Mission of the Church: Justice, Part 7 (Conclusions)

Eucharist-Mission1

Christian mission through the government

So we no longer live in the Constantinian world in which government works with the church to direct society, and no matter how many books you buy and read arguing that the US is a “Christian nation,” this is not going to change anytime soon. But we do live in a democracy in which the church and Christians have considerable influence.

I believe part of the church’s mission is to speak up for the weak and vulnerable of society, and the more voiceless the person, the more important it is that the church speak for them. This makes abortion a particularly important issue for the church, as the unborn have no voice at all. But orphans, widows, the poor, immigrants, and many others marginalized by society should expect the church to speak up for their legitimate needs.

This must alway be done (1) in the name of Jesus and (2) for the sake of others. This is not at all about making the United States a nicer place for Christians to live — an entirely selfish motivation. It’s about speaking up for others — who may be Christians or not.

Part of it is Jesus’ call for his followers to be perfect as his Father is perfect. Part of it is love.

(Deut. 10:16-19 ESV)  16 Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn.  17 For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe.  18 He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing.  19 Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt. 

(Isa. 10:1-2 ESV)  Woe to those who decree iniquitous decrees, and the writers who keep writing oppression,  2 to turn aside the needy from justice and to rob the poor of my people of their right, that widows may be their spoil, and that they may make the fatherless their prey! 

(Ps. 94:20-21 ESV) 20 Can wicked rulers be allied with you, those who frame injustice by statute?  21 They band together against the life of the righteous and condemn the innocent to death.

(Jer. 29:7 ESV)  7 But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.

(Dan. 4:27 ESV) 27 “Therefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable to you: break off your sins by practicing righteousness, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the oppressed, that there may perhaps be a lengthening of your prosperity.” 

(Prov. 31:8-9 NET)  8 Open your mouth on behalf of those unable to speak, for the legal rights of all the dying.  9 Open your mouth, judge in righteousness, and plead the cause of the poor and needy. 

(Isa. 1:16-17 ESV)  16 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil,  17 learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.

(Jer. 22:3 ESV)  3 Thus says the LORD: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place.

On the other hand, I see a distinction between victimless crimes and crimes with victims — especially for those sins against society in general. When the church stands up for the oppressed, the church may make enemies of the oppressors, but the oppressed will hear the voice of God in what the church says. But when the church seeks to regulate consensual sexual behavior between adults through the government, we aren’t protecting people who cannot protect themselves. Rather, we’re judging those outside the church by the church’s standards in a way that simply doesn’t further the church’s mission.

First, it doesn’t work. Behaviors and culture aren’t changed by such laws. When the U.S. Supreme Court mandating gay marriage, it wasn’t to change culture but because culture had already changed. The church never found an effective argument to persuade a pagan culture why gay marriage is wrong. The usual argument was simply to refer to God’s plain teaching — but a paganized, secular culture doesn’t care about the Bible. It’s no wonder so few were persuaded.

Now, if we’ll pay close attention, I expect that over the next fews decades the societal cost of gay marriage will become apparent, and then we’ll have arguments to make to non-Christians. But not today.

This matters because it’s wrong for the church to use raw political power to impose laws on an unwilling, non-Christian public. Our weapons are persuasion, not raw power.

(2 Cor. 10:3-5 ESV)  3 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh.  4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.  5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ … .

Godless, secular people may well buy the Congress and pass laws that the people do not wish for, but the church cannot impose laws solely because the rules of a democracy give us enough votes or money to get what we want.

And this position meshes well with the passages previously cited. Rom 1:18 ff gives no justification for trying make bad people good through the laws of the government. In fact, God himself turns people over to being defeated by their own sins — homosexual conduct being Paul’s most prominent example.

Just so, 1 Cor 5:10-13 tells us not to judge outsiders. When our standards as Christians radically differ from society’s standards about how to live, and we impose our values on the rest by raw political power, the outsiders will certainly feel judged. And if we make them into criminals for it, we’ll have separated ourselves from them contrary to Paul’s teaching.

Rom 13:4-5, however, approves of secular government executing God’s wrath against those who commit crimes, but Rom 12:19 prohibits the church from doing this.

(Rom. 12:19-21 ESV)  19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”  20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”  21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. 

Protecting the weak and oppressed is overcoming evil with good. But seeking to criminalize the private sex lives of non-Christians is private vengeance, because society as a whole does not agree that there is anything wrong with homosexual activity.

And so, in a democracy some issues arise that Paul does not directly address, but the principles seem clear enough. When our worldview overlaps with the worldview of the secular society in which we live, we may act through government to provide just and righteous laws that society as whole will see as just and righteous. But when our worldviews separate us from society as a whole, we are not called to impose our worldview on an unwilling minority. Not only does that make the church look evil to the world, but it just doesn’t work. We should stop tilting at windmills. But when there are people being oppressed and who cannot adequately speak for themselves — such as the unborn — it becomes incumbent on the church to speak for them even when the views are unpopular.

Therefore, the church should have been far more outspoken for the sake of slaves, women, the illegitimate, blacks, and gays — and many other groups that society has rejected with the church’s acquiescence — indeed, we were so acquiescent that we wouldn’t even tell our own members that it’s wrong to hate these people.

Profile photo of Jay Guin

About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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19 Responses to The Mission of the Church: Justice, Part 7 (Conclusions)

  1. John says:

    Jay, I so much appreciate your courage in these two paragraphs:

    “I believe part of the church’s mission is to speak up for the weak and vulnerable of society, and the more voiceless the person, the more important it is that the church speak for them. This makes abortion a particularly important issue for the church, as the unborn have no voice at all. But orphans, widows, the poor, immigrants, and many others marginalized by society should expect the church to speak up for their legitimate needs.

    This must alway be done (1) in the name of Jesus and (2) for the sake of others. This is not at all about making the United States a nicer place for Christians to live — an entirely selfish motivation. It’s about speaking up for others — who may be Christians or not.”

    However, what I would like to point out is, over all in the CoC, even among some progressives, it is usually those on the Left who are pressured to do their works in the name of Jesus, while the Right is given a pass, as wells as complimented for love of county. Their beliefs in the ease of going to war, for capital punishment, the limiting, even the dismantling of medicaid (without any thought of how they will themselves will be taken care of in their old age), the limiting of voting rights for minorities, etc;, are defended solely in the name of “patriotism”. Seldom do you here them defended though the name of Jesus; oh, they may use selected NT proof texts; but the awkwardness they feel in defending them through the PERSON of Jesus is so obvious.

    The human relations problem that the progressive CoC has is its acceptance of the Right Wing as family with convictions; maybe sometimes as “embarrassing cousins”, but family just the same; while the convictions of those on the Left are doubted and easily waved off.

  2. Dwight says:

    It depends on what you mean as “church”. I believe it is the responsibility of each person to affect another person in a good way, but not the responsibility of the group or assembly to affect the external world or society. As Jay noted pressure put on society by a “church” group will not change people, but reaching out to others will. We have to take people one-on-one as individuals. We shouldn’t take on a gay group or the gay movement, but a person who doesn’t know Christ, who might be homosexual.
    But then again, unless Christians speak up, changes will happen, that will erode the senses of many people who are only listening to one point or aspect or one message.
    The “church”, even the conservative, has been changed from external/internal pressure before…the Temperance movement. And it can and is happening again. The people therefore must stand strong in God’s word against sin and even while this might be done from love, this will often cause those who sin to reject them. Even those people who preach generally against homosexuality and reach out to help any and everybody are called bigots by those who dislike the message of God.

  3. buckeyechuck says:

    Jay said, “Therefore, the church should have been far more outspoken for the sake of slaves, women, the illegitimate, blacks, and gays — and many other groups that society has rejected with the church’s acquiescence — indeed, we were so acquiescent that we wouldn’t even tell our own members that it’s wrong to hate these people.”

    To me, this is the most profound statement of the entire series. We have to be honest that some of the issues on the list I can tolerate, perhaps even wholeheartedly agree. But, some of the others, not so much. Yet, therein is the real issue. Do Christians derive the larger basis of their belief system from Scripture, or does it come primarily from our society, culture, family, politics or church traditions?

    Jesus made a central point of his ministry to reach out to the rejected, the oppressed, the unloved and those that were actually guilty of sin. But, his love and his active approach to them was not dependent on how well they followed the Scriptures or their mature faith. It was based on their need and being created in the image of God. The basis of judgment described in the Parable of the Goats and Sheep from Matthew 25 will go far in understanding what we should act. My childhood church to this day refuses to physically assist anyone in need or who asks for help who is not a member of that church of Christ congregation.

    Could we in the church become better societal activists by practicing the Golden Rule from Matthew 7 by seeking the best for others? I know we may disagree what defines that and how to go about it, but couldn’t we at least discuss how we are going to do it and not whether we are going to help? Could we practice kindness to those we don’t feel comfortable with, don’t like and even see as an abomination? Couldn’t we at least start by telling our members that it is wrong to hate these people?

  4. laymond says:

    “This makes abortion a particularly important issue for the church, as the unborn have no voice at all.”
    Is a fetus a person before they are born of woman, and is a person a Christian before they are born of baptism.

  5. Dwight says:

    Buckeye, we do this in our congregation, for the most part, or at least promote this. Strangely though, sometimes we are more kind to and willing to discuss and are more patient with those we don’t know, then to those we do that are within our walls.

  6. laymond says:

    Questions; If a person is placed on machines to keep their body alive, is it murder to unplug the machine ?
    If God had decided to abort Adam before he was given the breath of life, would that be killing a human.?
    Does a fetus have a spirit, and soul?
    I don’t know that abortion is a priority of the church. I know for certain it is not a judgment to be made by “the church”

  7. buckeyechuck says:

    Jay said, “I believe part of the church’s mission is to speak up for the weak and vulnerable of society, and the more voiceless the person, the more important it is that the church speak for them. This makes abortion a particularly important issue for the church, as the unborn have no voice at all.”

    Laymond, I am convinced that If Jesus were on earth today, his first priority would be to address the 52+ million babies that have been aborted since 1973 just in the U.S. Whether the “church” should be making judgments on any issue at all is the point of this entire series on “The Mission of the Church: Justice.”

    My voice would urge the church to oppose abortion in any way possible with our votes, our money and our voices, not for the primary purpose of judging those involved, but to rescue the suffering babies.

  8. laymond says:

    buckeyechuck, what in scripture suggests to you that Jesus’ priorities, would be in the unborn.

  9. Larry Cheek says:

    Laymond,
    You are a Bible student and have a need to ask such a question. I give Buckeyechuck the opportunity to show you first. Just thought it important to verify that evidence is available.

  10. laymond says:

    Larry, are you saying there is a great amount of discussion in the mountain side sermon about the unborn fetus . Or anywhere else in the bible. As a student of the bible I am one who sees what is actually written, and not what I think should be written. I don’t read in order to judge the book or the writers, or the subject, I read to simply inform myself of things I don’t know. and I will be waiting with bated breath to read where Jesus’ top priority was “the unborn fetus” or the dead for that matter. “let the dead, bury the dead” .

  11. buckeyechuck says:

    Jay’s series is titled “The Mission of the Church: Justice.” One could choose any of a plethora of issues to debate and argue the merits for or against. To be fair to Jay’s posts here, I won’t play the game of chasing arguments down rabbit holes for the sake of diversion. If anyone wants to argue that abortion is sanctioned, approved and blessed by God, then let THEM argue that point. Anyone who is willing to study the nature of God throughout the entire Bible from Genesis through Revelation surely is able to see what the nature of God is regarding the killing of innocent human life of any age.

    Jay has posted previously about abortion and rather than introduce any new information and since this is his discussion, I will re-post his points and you can debate him if you would like, but I will not participate in being distracted from the central point of the church promoting “Justice.”

    Jay said, “God’s love for innocent life is so great that we are surely called to save lives not only of our own members’ unborn children, but of others as well. But as the problem is ultimately about a lack of respect for life, being pushed by the media and much of the government, it’d be hard to change the outcome even if we could scrape enough support together to change the laws of this state.” http://oneinjesus.info/2008/10/faith-lessons-by-ray-vander-laan-on-baal-worship-and-abortion/

  12. laymond says:

    “Laymond, I am convinced that If Jesus were on earth today, his first priority would be to address the 52+ million babies that have been aborted since 1973 just in the U.S.”

    This is the statement that instigated the discussion about abortion, between us, And I was curious as to what scripture “convinced” you of Jesus first priority. I have never read where Jesus addressed the flood that caused the death of nearly the whole world, not the atrocities of war aimed at killing a whole nation. So I was just wondering what it was that changed his earthly priority. In your opinion.

    But just like so many others who have so many opinions, and make statements that can’t be backed by scripture, you chose to fold your tent and lean on another man’s opinion. That is your right, but it is also my right to question you about where your faulty opinions came from. If it offends your morals just say so, there are many things in the bible that offend me, but I don’t try to re-write the bible, I just chalk it up to the fact that I am not God, and his ways are not my ways. So I just have to accept his ways as supreme and live with my ignorance and moral offence .

    Sometimes I have to go back to what he told Job, to bring myself back to knowing just who God is.

  13. laymond says:

    Larry Cheek says:

    June 28, 2016 at 12:05 am

    Laymond,
    You are a Bible student and have a need to ask such a question. I give Buckeyechuck the opportunity to show you first. Just thought it important to verify that evidence is available.

    Larry, how much longer are you going to give buck before you step in and give me the benefit of your wisdom?

  14. Larry Cheek says:

    Laymond,
    I respect Buckeyechuck’s comment that this is apart from the post’s directive, but I contemplated that your comment indicated that life starts only at birth, and that Jesus should not be concerned with a fetus in the womb. Therefore, it is an important part of any Christian’s concepts to understand what men of God understood prior to our modern concepts. We even understand that God spoke of his activity within the womb.
    Your comment,“buckeyechuck, what in scripture suggests to you that Jesus’ priorities, would be in the unborn.”
    These verses each speak of activity within the womb. God tells Job that the spirit comes to the bones within the womb. After reading these verses could you provide us with text that would suggest that within the womb the fetus is only a glob of flesh?
    Jdg 13:3-7 ESV And the angel of the LORD appeared to the woman and said to her, “Behold, you are barren and have not borne children, but you shall conceive and bear a son. (4) Therefore be careful and drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, (5) for behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. No razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb, and he shall begin to save Israel from the hand of the Philistines.” (6) Then the woman came and told her husband, “A man of God came to me, and his appearance was like the appearance of the angel of God, very awesome. I did not ask him where he was from, and he did not tell me his name, (7) but he said to me, ‘Behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. So then drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.'”

    Job 3:1 ESV After this Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth.
    Job 3:11 ESV “Why did I not die at birth, come out from the womb and expire?
    Job 3:16 ESV Or why was I not as a hidden stillborn child, as infants who never see the light?
    Job understood that he was alive prior to his birth.
    Job 10:18-19 ESV “Why did you bring me out from the womb? Would that I had died before any eye had seen me (19) and were as though I had not been, carried from the womb to the grave.

    Job 31:15-18 ESV Did not he who made me in the womb make him? And did not one fashion us in the womb? (16) “If I have withheld anything that the poor desired, or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail, (17) or have eaten my morsel alone, and the fatherless has not eaten of it (18) (for from my youth the fatherless grew up with me as with a father, and from my mother’s womb I guided the widow),
    He guided a widow form the womb!
    Psa 22:10 ESV On you was I cast from my birth, and from my mother’s womb you have been my God.

    Psa 58:3 ESV The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray from birth, speaking lies.

    Psa 71:5-6 ESV For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O LORD, from my youth. (6) Upon you I have leaned from before my birth; you are he who took me from my mother’s womb. My praise is continually of you.

    Psa 139:13-15 ESV For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. (14) I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. (15) My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

    Ecc 11:5 ESV As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.

    Isa 44:2 ESV Thus says the LORD who made you, who formed you from the womb and will help you: Fear not, O Jacob my servant, Jeshurun whom I have chosen.

    Isa 44:24 ESV Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb: “I am the LORD, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself,

    Isa 46:3-5 ESV “Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been borne by me from before your birth, carried from the womb; (4) even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save. (5) “To whom will you liken me and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be alike?

    Isa 49:1 ESV Listen to me, O coastlands, and give attention, you peoples from afar. The LORD called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he named my name.

    Isa 49:5 ESV And now the LORD says, he who formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him; and that Israel might be gathered to him— for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD, and my God has become my strength—

    Isa 66:9 ESV Shall I bring to the point of birth and not cause to bring forth?” says the LORD; “shall I, who cause to bring forth, shut the womb?” says your God.

    Jer 1:4-5 ESV Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying, (5) “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

    Jer 20:18 ESV Why did I come out from the womb to see toil and sorrow, and spend my days in shame?

    Luk 1:15-16 ESV for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. (16) And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God,

    Luk 1:44 ESV For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.

  15. buckeyechuck says:

    Laymond, I won’t debate such a simple and basic issue as abortion beyond this comment. You can also see the points well made by Larry Cheek. It’s as simple as this… Of course, there is no such verse in Scripture that expressly says that abortion is murder. Would you agree there are many issues not specifically named in the Scriptures that we can still determine are against the nature of God? One such observation would be that there is no explicit verse in the Scriptures that calls euthanasia, the voluntary or involuntary ending of a post-birth human life, murder. Would you also argue that if Scriptures are silent on these exact terms used in the modern world, that they cannot be condemned as murder and sin that would garner Jesus’ opposition?

    A few of Scriptures to consider are listed below. They are certainly not all the Bible has to say on the matter, but surely they should be sufficient to categorize abortion as murder.

    Genesis 1:27 “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”

    It’s an important basis from which to proceed to determine that all mankind, all, are created in the image of God, both the born and the unborn.

    Matthew 1:23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.”

    Was Jesus only a fetus prior to his physical birth? Or was he God’s son prior to his birth?

    Luke 1:15 “For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb.”

    Can a “fetus” still in the womb that is filled with the Holy Spirit as John the Baptist was possibly be “aborted” with God’s blessing? If not, then why would not Jesus consider this a murder? As the facts demonstrate, 52+ million murders since 1973 would unquestionably be considered the greatest known genocide/murder that has ever taken place since the creation of the earth? Just to put the 52+ million deaths by abortion in perspective, the total American deaths resulting from all wars since the founding of the U.S. are estimated at 1.1 million.

    Would Jesus be indifferent to this murder of such a scale, or would he more likely as demonstrated by his actions in the Gospels champion their defenseless cause?

    Can any Scriptural texts be produced that would indicate otherwise?

  16. laymond says:

    Larry, this is the statement I questioned the reason for. “Laymond, I am convinced that If Jesus were on earth today, his first priority would be to address the 52+ million babies that have been aborted since 1973 just in the U.S.”

    “his first priority would be”

    And this is the simple question I asked that he never answered. and neither did you.
    “buckeyechuck, what in scripture suggests to you that Jesus’ priorities, would be in the unborn.”

    In other words what would place the concerns of the fetus, over the concerns of the sick and starving, dying children over the world. some dying in great pain. And we are talking about Jesus here.

  17. laymond says:

    Exo 21:22 the argument here is whether or not the child is dead, as miscarriage, or the child was just prematurely born as not fully developed. If the child or mother was not injured, what loss had the husband suffered, I believe it was said to be an accident.

  18. Jeremy says:

    Jay, you make some very excellent points in this post.

    When we try to write our view of scripture into law, how is this different from Muslims wanting to create laws based on Sharia? I see a lot of Facebook posts condemning any part of implementing Sharia law into the US law code (and I’d agree with that view), but if we try to regulate what happens between the sheets for non-Christians, is that not the same thing?

    I wholeheartedly agree that as Christians, we are called to serve our “enemies”. Jesus picked up Malchus’ ear and healed him just as he was being arrested. Jesus ate (“fellowshipped”) with the tax collectors, the prostitutes, the “sinners”, and as such he was condemned and looked down upon by the established religious community.

    We cannot legislate people into morality and assume that they will begin caring about Jesus. That’s just not how this works. People will not say: “Oh, there’s now a law against XYZ? Maybe I was wrong all along! Tell me more about this Jesus guy, where he spoke out so eloquently against XYZ!”

    The Holy Spirit, however, does have the job of convicting people’s hearts. If people are not following in Jesus, they will never be guided or convicted by the Holy Spirit. And here’s the kicker: Jesus did not put a requirement to believe certain things in order to be his disciple. Jesus called his disciples by saying, “Come, follow me” not “Well, stop stealing from your fellow Jews first!” or “You should get your temper in line” or any number of the character flaws of the first disciples. There wasn’t a pre-requisite.

    Jesus hung out with the outcasts of his society, and was ridiculed for it. If he came back today, who would most need his message? Who are the sick who need the doctor? Who are the outcasts of the 21st century United States?

    In my very humble opinion, and in no particular order:

    The poor, the homeless, those in need of mental care, the gay, lesbian, and transgender community, single parents, parents of special needs children, parolees, refugees, immigrants (both legal and illegal)… I could go on. I’m sure you can add a few as well.

    If the church of today made serving those groups a priority, what would we look like to our culture? It doesn’t matter if we agree or disagree with them, their views, what they have done, or where they have come from. But, by serving them, we show them Jesus. And in turn, they might want to submit their lives to Jesus. Wouldn’t that be a joy? And, I would guess, through that, we would win over the hearts of so many others in the cause of Christ. After that, after relationship, then we let the Holy Spirit do its work in convicting the hearts of those who need it.

    Someone came up with this idea of “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” And I hate it. It’s so condescending. It sounds like *they alone* are “the sinner”, when in fact, we all are. We all fall short. And “hate the sin” is problematic when we label people by their sin. We are directly judging them to be of type XYZ sinner before we even know their name! We also classify and prioritize different groups of sinners. Gays are worse than gluttons, and lesbians are worse than liars. Instead of judging the outcasts, let’s do what Jesus did. Let’s show them all the love of Jesus. I digress.

    I feel like so many Christians are fighting to inject morality back into our law code, rather than looking at the fields that are full and ripe for the harvest.

  19. Dwight says:

    I think the thought of “Love the sinner, hate the sin” is spot on. But we should never be so arrogant to think we are not or were not in that place ourselves and that we should see sin and hate it and repel it within ourselves.

    I do think there is a difference between overt and in-your-face-sin as opposed to a personal sin. One you are ashamed of and on some level no-better and don’t want it to be public (there is usually some level of guilt involved) , but the other is an all out rebellion where you don’t care what anybody thinks, especially God. Homosexuality has moved into the latter, where they are “proud” to be in a situation that is against God’s explicit will.

    And while Jesus ate with sinners, to put the Jews in perspective, they were all sinners compared to Jesus. But while he ate with publicans, lawyers, we don’t hear of him eating with prostitutes, murderers, homosexuals, etc. The law was pretty specific in regards to these sins. And within Jesus teachings was the urge to change from these sins and an expectation of change. He taught against adultery and many Jews were offended by this and didn’t want to hear it.

    And what is wrong with interjecting morality, that is God’s morality, back into the law code. The Jews lived by God’s law, which included laws on morality. I don’t think anyone would reject a law on murder, which is a moral law, God’s moral law. Now, this shouldn’t be the aim of a saint, in that we should effect the people first, but let’s say we do this, then this should eventually, naturally work its way into the law code.

    God hates all sins, but not all sins were equal. Many sins had the death penalty assigned them and many didn’t. Gluttony and drunkenness wasn’t really a sin (within the Law), but rather a disgrace. Now having said that seven of the things God said he hated none of them were homosexuality or even murder, but were inter-relational discord with other people based on selfishness.
    We could argue that murder is no different than lying as well, but not too many people would see them as being equal. Even among the homosexuals, they see incest as being different than homosexuality, even though God condemned the equally.

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