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Some people who call themselves Christians are not

Some people who say they are Christians are not. They do not profess a gospel of love, but of hate. They don't put into practice Jesus' words and have little to do with his church. They may call themselves Christians, but that does not make them followers of Jesus. He said, "Many …
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

Some people who say they are Christians are not. They do not profess a gospel of love, but of hate. They don't put into practice Jesus' words and have little to do with his church. They may call themselves Christians, but that does not make them followers of Jesus. He said, "Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord'…then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'

To be able to embrace grace, we have to be able to distinguish what grace is not. Grace is not hate. J. Lee Grady is a writer who calls 'em like he sees 'em. I agree with what he said on the subject:

Members of Jones’ tiny church, Dove World Outreach Center, often use megaphones to tell pedestrians they are going to hell. Last week, on the anniversary of 9/11, Jones admitted that he helped promote a low-budget film that mocked Islam. The violence that erupted in Egypt, Libya, Yemen and other countries caused the deaths of four Americans.

Jones insists that neither the film (which was produced by a Coptic Christian from California) nor his inflammatory comments about Islam caused last week’s violence. When The Daily Beast asked Jones if he felt he shared any responsibility for the deaths, Jones replied: “Absolutely not. We are here 1,000 miles away. Our actions pose absolutely no danger to their lifestyle. … What it does, of course, is insult them, but that’s what freedom of speech does.”

Since I have the same free speech rights, I’d like to stand on my cyber-soapbox and offer an alternative. I respect the Rev. Jones’ right to preach on a street corner, but he has a warped view of Jesus Christ if he thinks the best way to evangelize the world is to ridicule people or spew hate speech at them.

1. Real Christians don’t hate Muslims. I believe Jesus is the only way to salvation. As a Christian, I don’t believe there are multiple paths to heaven. But I’m not going to convince a Muslim of the uniqueness of Christ by denigrating Islam or mocking Muhammad. And the ugly history of the medieval Crusades proves you can’t force Christianity on Muslim cultures.

What God calls us to do is love Muslims, pray for them and show them the compassion of Christ. Ultimately we must trust the power of the Holy Spirit to open a Muslim’s heart so he or she can see how much Jesus loves them.

2. Real Christians don’t hate homosexuals. Any faithful reading of Scripture reveals that God’s original plan for sexuality is monogamous, heterosexual marriage. But we live in a broken world, and because of family breakdown, abuse and other factors, many people today have embraced homosexuality. Jesus doesn’t put gay people on a special naughty list. He offers everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation, an opportunity to take up His cross and follow Him on the pathway to discipleship.

Our job is to point the way to Christ, who has the power to conform our lives to His standards of holiness. But we won’t do that effectively by calling gay people “homos” or by screaming judgments at them. Love will require honest conversation, lots of sensitivity and Spirit-directed intercession.

3. Real Christians don’t hate President Obama. I still can’t believe that people from Terry Jones’ church (in the South!) hung an African-American doll on a gallows on church property. What were they thinking? No wonder local resident Larry Condra told the Gainesville Sun: “Jesus is cool, but some of his followers give me the creeps.”

You may completely disagree with President Obama’s policies on abortion, gay marriage, taxation and the national debt. I disagree with him on many issues, too. But he’s still my president, and my Bible commands me to pray for him. I don’t have to agree with his views on socialized medicine to show him the respect any civil leader deserves.

The apostle John’s first epistle gives clear New Testament guidelines on who is really a Christian. And one of his requirements is this: “Everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 John 4:7b-8, NASB). That tells me that a person who claims to be a Christian but whose life is characterized by hate speech might need to reevaluate whether he really knows God at all.

Comments (21)

  • Good word Seth. I’m in agreement with all of it and it’s very hard to hear sometime how the Savior is represented through His people. Even at time, our humanity comes out when looking down at other’s humanity. Without God’s grace we’re all in the same boat.

  • Good blog, something John Eldredge said in one of his sermons I watched recently was, “what makes Jesus upset? I have never read about him arguing at a pagan but he gets really fired up towards religious people.”

  • a breath of fresh air….we need much more of this grace here in our W. Michigan “churched” culture. I’ve found this area to be a difficult mission field but one that God has called me to.

  • Heavenly, a beautifully worded heart felt admonition of true love for the Father’s Kingdom. We all need to be more loving! Thank-you Jesus for that Grace to love one another! We need to honor that love, We should be bridging relationships between churches not demolishing them. Great article.

  • Thank you so much for this post. I am so frustrated by the Hate being spewed by my fellow Christians I have become discouraged. A book I recently discovered has encouraged me though. In his book Lawrence Goudge proposes that the Jewish followers of Jesus wanted social justice for the world. I have discovered a new book that shows how this social justice message was covered up by His Gentile followers. The church has blinkered its past. It’s no secret that Jesus strove to bring in the kingdom of justice here on earth and his followers implemented it in the communal society we read about in Acts 2:44-47. The church’s dirty secret is that the Jewish followers of Jesus continued to hold his vision dear, later influencing such sects as the Bogomils and even, according to their own oral traditions, the Doukhobors. After exterminating the Jewish followers of Jesus, the church’s historians buried this history of justice-seeking but an author by the name of Lawrence Goudge has exhumed their story and presented it in ‘Cover-Up: How the Church Silenced Jesus’s True Heirs.’ This book does the world a great service by illuminating for the first time this vital part of the history of social justice. I found it at http://tinyurl.com/69cazll.

  • Great word Seth!!!Oh Father God that we may know and exhibit your LOVE even as You remove hate from our hearts. Amen

  • Amen, Seth! The verse you quoted early your post nails it, and I like what is said by Jesus right before that verse:

    “A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.”

    Paul also uses the same analogy in 1 Cor. 13 speaking of people who excel in spiritual gifts but not in love. Hey church, let us all yearn to love more than be right!

  • Amen Glenn!

    Oh for a world where His body loves first.

    I have a particular love for those people discussed in point 1.

    It breaks my heart over and over at how ignorant and backwards some people are.

    What Muslims need is to see and feel His love, not hear condemnation and ridicule. Jesus saved the judgement for those that claimed to know God, not for the lost. Why can’t we follow his example?

  • I don’t believe I’m about to tell you this, but here goes…..when I heard what Terry Jones in Florida had done, I said to God….”so do you have a spare lightening bolt up there you could toss his way?”. As soon as I finished the thought that little voice I know so well said ” so death by lightening is different than hanging?”

    Ouch! In my sarcasm it was a fairly light hearted comment….that just happened to wish someone dead! I was arrested by the spirit in a way that showed i was as capable of idiocracy as mr jones. We all fall into the trap, sometimes blatantly and other times in more subtle ways. the condition of this world will not change until the human condition does.

    You are right Seth. Love is the answer and God never said love would be easy. I love your blogs!

  • Thank you. This was my first time to visit your blog, the first blog post I read. I almost dropped the laptop off my lap but controlled myself from jumping up and shouting YES!!

  • I have a question. As a former Christian who stumbled on your blog today. I am very curious as to why many Christians don’t believe in socialized medicine? Is that not what Jesus would have wanted and provided for everyone? I have yet to read or hear a dignified response on this topic. Will you enlighten me?

  • Going on Sue’s tangent… Can someone be a “former Christian”? Does that mean the complete and utter rejection of the Holy Spirit and thus the unpardonable sin? Or is it once sealed by the Spirit, always sealed? Can one loose their salvation… Or was one simply not saved in the first place?

  • Good question, Jay. I personally don’t think you can lose your salvation.

    If someone wants to respond to her question about Jesus providing socialized medicine, feel free to post your comment.

  • Since no one else responded to the question on socialized medicine I will explain my reasons here. Note: this is my view, my words, my thoughts.
    First, there is a vast difference between socialized medicine and all people having access to health care. I would love for everyone to have health care, really, I would. My issue is with the government being the body that the health care goes through.
    This is not an extensive explanation,it is my view.
    As a RN: government involvement increases the bureaucracy and red tape and channels precious resources into paperwork and regulations and away from care. Then they hire more people to process the paperwork. There is great room for abuse, just as I write this there is news on about the multimillions in MCR fraud. When I contact Blue Cross, for ex., I speak to a real person, less papers and regs, less room for abuse.
    In countries with socialized systems there is a generally long wait for care, even in good systems. A recent Canadian article said the average wait for a specialist is 7.5 weeks. My friends father worked in Detroit, lived with her in Canada. He had heart attack,went to Canada hosp.ER; had to wait so long to get care that my friend, Grace, through him in the car, over the bridge, and had him in hospital in the states quicker then he would have been treated. Check around. In Germany and other social systems you will learn that people sit and wait and wait for care.
    As a new nurse I was on a unit that provided abortions. I don’t want my money to pay for abortions, the “products of conception” that were put in buckets after the “termination of pregnancy” had fingers and toes.
    My friends daughter has bleeding disorder. As “charity care” from Catholic hospital she was given state of the art care, her life saved on multiple occasions by charity. She was provided with MCD, a social system, and now has a choice of very few doctors.
    My issues are many. The government demands privacy info act and then uses SS number as primary identifier for care and plasters it all over the place.

    Do I have all the answers? NO. I am having a hard time buying all my meds at this time, but I do believe that having a government control all my care, as well as others, is not the answer. Do I believe you can be a Christian and want socialized system? YES. As far as what Jesus would do, all I can do is point to some Bible example..think good Samaritan who paid for care of stranger, and a live vibrant church who were sharing and healing!

  • This is a really great post…I know I posted a comment preivously, but I just wanted to say thanks again for this timely reminder.

  • Sorry to throw water on the fire, but this article is one giant “straw man”, nonsense.
    1. No Christians claim to hate muslims. Real Christians hate islam – learn the difference. Just like real Christians hate NAZIsm, communism, fascism. islam ,NAZIsm, communism, fascism all take away human freedom and the ability for people to exercise their free will.
    2. No Christians claim to hate homosexuals. Real Christians hate sinful/homosexual behavior – learn the difference. Homosexuals have the choice to do their behavior, just like all people have the choice each day to commit or not to commit sins. (wether the were “born that way” is irrelevant) The Lord makes it clear that homosexuality is an abomination, and a sin. You claim to be a Christian, then you know they will get punished for their behavior. You do them no favors by not telling them.
    3. No Christians hate obama. Real Christians, hate his behavior, real Christians understand he is destroying this country. Real Christians pay attention to his words and actions. Real Christians don’t tolerate lie after lie.

  • The interesting thing is that you don’t have to convince a Muslim to love Jesus – they already revere him and the Final Testament (the Quran) tells many stories about Jesus and how he was one of God’s beloved prophets.

    Muslims believe that God is the only way to salvation – not Jesus nor Mohammed. But the Muslim equivalent of the Christians you speak of above – if I may call them the hypocrites so we have them all lumped together where I think they belong – make the same mistake as many Christians: they try to create an intercessor between Human and God by way of a preferred prophet.

    It is clearly stated in the Quran that God has instructed us to create no other gods beside or before Him, confirming the First Commandment. Regardless, each side feels compelled to rationalize this by focusing on their preferred prophet rather than God.

    The Quran also tells us that God commanded us to make no distinction amongst His prophets, lest we commit idolatry.

    I share my beliefs in a spirit of respect and not to dispute with anyone. I identify myself as a monotheist, a daughter of Abraham, and study the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Final Testament: the three sacred books of the descendants of Abraham: Jews, Christians, and Muslims.

    I encourage you to read the Quran, I like Rashad Khalifa’s translation since it is the only Quran that was translated directly into English from a person whose native tongue is Arabic. This to me ensures nothing lost in translation, from one edition to the next.

    The story in the Quran describing the birth of Jesus gives me the chills and brings me to tears because it is so incredible.

    We need to stop pigeon-holing everyone who doesn’t agree wholdheartedly with our beliefs and trust that only God knows what is in the hearts of each – not us. None of us are that powerful and to divide people is to fall into Satan’s cunning traps of sullying God’s unity.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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