Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
Jude 1:3-4 (ESV)
Jude’s command “to contend earnestly for the faith” is not merely being neglected in the contemporary church; it is often greeted with outright scorn. These days anyone who calls for biblical discernment or speaks out plainly against a popular perversion of sound doctrine is as likely as the false teachers themselves to incur the disapproval of other Christians.
Biblical truth cuts.
The whole, undiluted Gospel that we as Christians are charged to proclaim to a fallen, God-hating world will inspire discomfort, disdain and, more often than not, open repudiation and persecution from those who choose rebellion in response to God’s command to repent.
This is not merely a matter of high probability.
It’s not a maybe kind of thing.
It’s a certain kind.
As in 100%.
And when you think about it, it’s little things like this that go a long way toward explaining how and why it is that Jesus’ original followers tended to find themselves living anything but “their best lives now” when they were on this earth and how their stays here also had a weird, not-so-coincidental way of ending at the business end of a crucifix, blade’s edge, or lion’s jaw.
These things also go a long way toward explaining why so many contemporary preachers, teachers and professing followers of Christ don’t tend to express much of the same martyrdom-inspiring Gospel that defined the proclamations of the New Testament church, but that’s a blog for another day…
The point for today is this: The fallen world in which we live simply hates vocal Christians.
And that hatred has now become commonplace within the professing church in America.
Bummer, I know, but true nonetheless, so we have to deal. But before any biblical Christians even begin to let that get ‘em down, however, we all need to remember that our peace, happiness and joy is not diminished when we suffer persecution as a result of our obedience to God’s command that we each know and defend His truth. Nope; far from it! The opportunity to suffer such things for such a cause as His is itself a great and wonderful blessing. It is a source of peace, joy and happiness for His obedient children.
That’s how good our God is! He takes the temporal trash the world would heap upon us as we go about the business of proclaiming His truth and transforms it into eternal wealth credited to our account.
So do keep that in mind…we really do win here in every way that matters, even when it feels quite different from our currently flawed and fallen perspectives on this side of eternity.
Now, back to the “this world will hate us” deal…
One of the most pervasive forms of persecution that an American Christian will face is that we will be branded unloving. This is going to happen to each and every one of us who dares to enter the culture war on the side of biblical Christianity. Think of it as an entry-level, guaranteed taste of persecution that will become a very normal part of our everyday lives on this earth.
And yes, this will often even be an experience that many of us will come to know from within the professing church.
In this culture, even more so than most that have preceded it, any claim to exclusive and essential truth is viewed as inherently unloving. We really do need to understand and accept that fact right out of the gate. The more we understand the necessity of conflict between biblical truth and its anti-Christian counterfeits, and the more we understand the difference between biblical love and anti-Christian perversions of the concept, the more easily we will shrug off the automatic, ever-present attack of the enemy.
Our desire to be liked and avoid discomfort at all costs has resulted in the catastrophic compromise of the truth that we have been charged to defend. The professing church’s abandonment of biblical fidelity and submission to Scriptural standards of doctrinal purity and theologically sound leadership has left its gates open. Consequently, the enemies of biblical truth are pouring right in, happily high-fiving welcoming hands as they go about their natural business of trampling the truths for which the martyrs gave their lives.
Wolf after wolf stroll right on into the professing church, “lovingly” coddled and left free to satisfy their appetite for sheep meat.
And what happens when anyone with a shred of biblical discernment does say something – anything – the least little bit critical of these ravaging packs of Bible-repudiating counter-Christians wandering through the gates, seeking biblical truths, doctrines and dogmas to corrupt?
Well, they get “the tag”.
You know, the unloving tag.
Or maybe the intolerant tag.
Or the legalist tag.
You get the point: It’s all the same – the intent of these tags, that is. Anyone clinging to Scriptural truth over the feelings, urges, preferences and comfort of those not so keen on that whole “submitting to biblical truth in all things” deal is branded, at the very least, unloving, intolerant and legalistic.
Ironically, this tagging and branding of the defenders of biblical truth almost always comes by way of one who is very much stating their own opinion, proclaiming their own standard, defining their own dogma and drawing their own truth-defining line in the sand…all while usually blaming the biblical Christian for his obsession with opinions, standards, dogma and truth.
Nah, not really.
It’s entirely predictable. Par for the course, really. Hypocrisy is the name of the game where these “you’re only tolerant if you agree with me” folks are concerned. You see, these “forces of tolerance” cannot tolerate dissent. In order for you to qualify as tolerant, loving, kind and good in their little counter-Christian bubble world, you must embrace their definitions, standards, and, yes…their dogma.
This counter-Christian progressive dogma is largely built around the fundamental perversion of the very concept of love.
The reconstructed “love” concept lies at the root of this whole mess. Where any proclamation of exclusive (e.g. biblically submissive) truth is automatically deemed unloving, unkind, narrow-minded and/or legalistic, the correction or rebuke of another’s position on any matter is doubly offensive. Being wrong is one thing, but claiming to know what wrong looks like is another, and as for claiming that another is wrong…well…that’s heresy! You just don’t do that sort of thing.
Unless you’re pointing out that the historic, orthodox, biblically-based Christian position on an issue is wrong, of course.
Yeah, that’s the one thing you are free to tag as “wrong”.
But that’s the only one.
Everything else must be respected…all in the name of “love”.
While such demonstrations of biblical love as proclaiming the exclusivity of the Gospel or rebuking a false teacher are now painted as decidedly unloving acts, the use of this new love as a tool to promote all things “progressive” – even, and especially, when they flagrantly contradict biblical Christian principles – is simply wonderful.
That’s what the new love is for, after all: The promotion of universal peace, happiness, comfort, self-exaltation, self-fulfillment and self-acceptance. When those are the principles to which the term is attached, then “love” may be used freely and without fear of condemnation from the “forces of tolerance”.
Love has been liberated.
Love is now free.
And isn’t free love the best kind?
It can now take flight…and fly it has.
Just like “God”, “truth”, and “Jesus”, “love” can now mean whatever you want it to.
You know, like the “L” in NAMBLA.
Isn’t it great!
See how beautiful love can be when we unchain it from its narrow, legalistic, biblical restraints?
And who can argue?
Moreover, who dares argue?
Really now, you wouldn’t want to judge…
Remember: Judging is bad.
And very unloving.
See the problem?
When we refuse to test all things in light of the perfect revealed truth of Scripture, all bets are off. All standards collapse. All restraint and definition is lost, and all real hope right along with it.
God gave us His perfect truth to seek out and explore, not to dismiss and ignore.
He gave us His perfect Word to guide us toward Him through submission to its revelation, not to play with it Tinker-Toy-style in order to accommodate our personal pet views, desires, and traditions.
He gave us His Gospel to proclaim, not to edit.
These are not mere options for the biblically submissive Christian.
They are life.
And we will be hated for them.
Copyright 2010 S.A. Buss – Feel free to re-post this piece, but only with the copyright included and a link to Fire Breathing Christian whenever possible. Thank you!