Nowadays you don't have to be on the internet long before you read or see an article talking about how bad the God of the Bible is, or about a person who liked Christianity, until they read the Bible. To me this seems to be the biggest complaint against Christianity these days. People accuse God of being a megalomaniac, and psychopath, and just a big bully. This use to surprise and shock me. I would keep thinking, "How can these people hate God?" The answer is thy read the Bible. What is important to understand is that unbelievers living in America, do not express problems they have with Christians. It's true that you will hear the, "church is full of nothing but hypocrites" , but for the most part I think people have begun to realize that these people exist in all cultures and sub-cultures. No the big issue for most unbelievers today is they have a problem with Christians who take the Bible seriously, and hold to a traditional and I would argue accurate, interpretation of scripture. The important question for believers to ask is why? The answer I think lies in that fact that Christians believe scripture is the word of God, and thus by reading scripture you get a picture of who God is. Yes God is a person, in fact God is three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God has thoughts and feelings on issues, God cares for His creation. The problem is that many unbelievers have found that they do not like the God of the Bible, and this leads them to say things like, "I don't like your God, he supports slavery" or "Your God is cruel, I don't think god has a problem with I'm doing, my god is all about love." I touched on this in blog post titled, "Build a god Workshop, however for this post I want to concentrate on the unbeliever's relationship with God, and I want to point out that people stating how much they hate God is actually a good thing. So to recap, people hate God when they read the Bible because the Bible shows who God is, it demonstrates the persons of God, and shows that God has thoughts and feelings about things. This paints a picture of God, and the problem is that many times people do not like the God that is presented in the Bible. Why is this a good thing? Well it's a good thing, because reassures us of the truth of scripture because scripture speaks about this very thing. Scripture tells us that those who are unbelievers hate God. Let's take the Pharisees, whom Jesus often called out. They encountered the God and they hated him, even to the point of plotting his death. They loved god, the problem is that the god they liked and worshiped and thought they saw in the scriptures, was not actually God. I am not saying that the Old Testament didn't teach about the true God, because Jesus makes it clear that it did, I'm saying that it was the unbelief of the Pharisees to reject this true when they encountered him. This is true for people today, and this further explains why people go to Hell. Hell is not only the justice of God, but it is also a compassion on God's part. Imagine these people who hate God, and then imagine that they had to be with this God for all eternity. If you ask them, they wouldn't want that, again because they hate God. That is what Hell is. It is total separation from God, and thus God is truly giving these people over to their desires and eternally removing them from his presences. This is both justice and a kindness, and it easier to see when unbelievers are so vocal in their hatred, as before when they proclaimed to love God, but hated the church, and thus were "turned off to Christianity" because Christians were mean to them. Some churches in an effort to grow their numbers have tried to cover up God, or not preach on these texts which are difficult, and so many unbelievers think they are believers, but when they come to a teaching or a passage they don't like they either seek to deny it, rewrite it, ignore it, or abandon the faith altogether. A good way of explaining what I mean is when John Piper was discussing what one needed to believe in order to be saved. He said that you don't have to believe in the Holy Spirit at first in order to be saved, but when you hear about the Holy Spirit a believer will accept as truth. Now am I saying that you have believe every doctrine in order to call yourself a Christian? No I am not. There some Lutherans wit whom I disagree about what God has done in baptism and the Lord's supper, and yet I do not doubt their belief in God, and I do not think they doubt mine, because we have unity on the doctrines the reflect the character and nature of God. I don't want to down the play the importance of the doctrines of baptism and the Lord's supper, but I want to state that while we disagree, we still understand the character of God as it is shown in scripture, and have unity on that. So what do believers do when see that people hate Christianity and hate the God of the Bible? Well we shouldn't be surprised because scripture tells us that they will. We shouldn't take it personally because scripture also makes it clear that it is not us whom they hate, but God. We should be excited. The gospel is for unbelievers just like it is for believers, and so we see all these unbelievers and see that the harvest is ready. We love them. I don't mean love in accepting their sinful behavior, but we do not disconnect from the word, or ignore, or bad mouth or swear at unbelievers. We are respectful of them, help them in need, and when they ask honest questions, we seek to answer them. We pray, at the end of it all it is going to take an act of God to change the hearts of those who hate him. That is why praying for the lost is so important. If you know an unbeliever you should be praying that God will save them. You can lead them to Christ, but only God can save them. This why we shouldn't worry if there are those who don't like church. If they don't like then they don't like, but this does not mean that we should change the way we do things in a way that offend God just to appease the one that already hates God. We keep preaching Christ and him crucified. This is tough because we know that there are those who are going to hate us because they really hate God, however there are those in the world that need to be lead to Christ and God has called his church to do. Yes we will face a lot of rejection, and yes we will be scorned by people in society, but this where getting a thick skin and a love for God becomes really important, because as believers we should be more concerned with how God sees us rather than how other people do. Finally we repent. We need to repent of thinking that we are superior to them because of faith in God, because just like only God can save them, only God could save you. If it had not been for the grace of God, you would hate God to, therefore we should not boast in anything except Jesus Christ and him crucified for the forgiveness of sins. What do you think? If you are a unbeliever, do you hate the God that is presented in the scriptures? Do you think that I am being unfair in what I've said here? Believers what has your expirence been with those who do not believe, and what do think the church should be doing? Comment below and let me know. and as always thanks for stopping by.
Here you can read various thoughts and discussions that come from the mind of our Pastor