Have you been criticized? Congratulations! Maybe you have some convictions? Jesus advised, “Woe unto you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets” (Luke 6:26).
Should we be superficial? No. Hypocritical? Never. Have convictions? Absolutely. Hyperbolic? Sometimes. The Lord was, and so was Paul. Nothing is more crucial than living with doctrinal conviction and standing on moral absolutes.
More than 2,000,000 articles were accessed on this site in 2004. One type of criticism was echoed by Ray S. in the following statement: “Your article does not display Christian love.” Characteristically, he did not indicate one substantive point with which he disagreed. He simply did not like the moral emphasis in the article, Baseball, Apple Pie, and Persecution.
Similarly, Rachel R. used language too coarse to repeat in response to, Are You Homophobic? She “showed the love” when she wrote:
“Real loving attitude. . . It’s disappointing to see that instead of teaching love and acceptance you (very sneakily) teach hate and opposition under the GUISE of love. Why don’t you turn your attention to people who are REALLY out to do harm in the world like child molesters, abusive/alcoholic/neglectful parents . . . God knows I met plenty of them in my years of going to church. [Expletive], you’re probably one of them. To be on such a mission of hate, something must be terribly wrong in your own life. If you all would just STOP with these inane teachings there would be so much more peace on this earth which is what God really wants.”
A professor at a Christian university, Jim S., rebuked Wayne Jackson for a book review article that exposed the false teaching of “no eternal punishment for the wicked.” He described Jackson as “tacky,” “immature,” “a smart-alek,” “petty,” “vindictive,” and “extremely jealous” of the author being reviewed. Can’t you just feel the love?
A Societal Symptom
Our society is infected with the idea that one cannot speak with moral authority by standing on moral absolutes. Many in the church have contracted the same spiritual disease.
By such twisted reasoning, Elijah was negligent for not converting of the prophets of Baal. I suppose he should have enrolled them in a “Yahweh Sensitivity Training” course, rather than slaying the 450 idolaters.
Did Jesus isolate the Pharisees because he said, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves” (Matthew 23:15). Was Paul petty and vindictive when he identified certain Jews as the dogs, evildoers, and mutilators? Maybe the apostle was responsible for his own persecution!
Where is the love? It was the love of souls that moved the prophets of old to tell the truth. It was objective spiritual insight—that moral decay and doctrinal error can cause a person to end up in hell—that moved the Lord and his inspired apostles to advocate for truth and expose error. The most “unloving” thing would be to cave into this biblical erosion by compromising doctrinal absolutes. Allowing sinners to remain lost, and making them feel secure, is a most unloving disposition. Likewise, it is unloving and unfaithful to remain silent as error is taught to our brethren.
We will not waver because of the superficial critics who value “tolerance” over truth.