You Will Be Hated

“I think the Romans had the right idea: Christians SHOULD be fed to the lions. They are whiny hypocritical *******s… I think we should kill every last Christian in a very gruesome way. How brilliant would it be to kill a Christian… and every Christian in the world would go to hell. We’d get every bible in the world and beat some Christians senseless with their beloved book… we will burn churches, raze them to the ground and pretty much destroy everything Christian. It will be like the Holocaust, except on a world wide scale and we wont kill Jews. Kill the ****ing hypocritical scum of the earth *******izing Christian race!” -Anonymous
“You are the one we despise, Day in day out your words compromise lives, I will love watching you die…Kill the christian, Kill the christian, Kill the christian” -Deicide lyrics  

The first quote above, I found at an online petition website. The site was asking for anyone to sign the petition who was in favor of killing off Christians. Interestingly, the petition was categorized under Civil & Human Rights. 

 

In American society the petition seems a bit extreme and will not likely become a “movement.” However, it may not be far off that we are arrested for “hate crimes” simply because we preach and teach a Christ honoring, biblical worldview. Furthermore, the pathos of both quotes is indicative of the mindset of those who have persecuted the Christians for centuries worldwide. Something which exists to this day. According to an article in the The Christian Post, millions of Christians will be persecuted in 2008. The article states that,

In moderate countries such as Egypt and Turkey, Christians still suffer from kidnapping, forced conversion to Islam, imprisonment, destruction of churches, execution, rape of Christian girls, torture, and discrimination in education, employment, housing and legal system… Meanwhile, in communist regimes such as China, Cuba, and North Korea, believers face a more systemic form of persecution that involves house arrest, interrogation, fines, and imprisonment. But in North Korea, which remains arguably the world’s worst persecutor of Christians, believers are imprisoned in special labor camps, brutally tortured and even publicly executed. “Pressures include an absolute ban on owning a Bible, assembling to pray or to read the Scriptures, and evangelism – even of one’s own children,” said Tim Peters of Helping Hands Korea… Peters added, “Being discovered as a member of the underground church inside North Korea can result in one’s entire family being sent to a prison camp, and even torture and summary execution in extreme cases.”

Jesus said that his followers would be hated for his name sake. The level of persecution described above is not yet come to America. However, the condescension and mockery of Christians is common place in our culture, especially in the popular media. It is interesting how the media often portrays Christians as legalistic, narrow-minded jerks, or brainless bumbling idiots. It seems that  nowadays the only group allowed to be verbally attacked is the Christians. If you can’t see this, you may very well be clueless or just prejudiced yourself.  What I find most intriguing is that this harrasment often comes from a people who don’t know very much about philosophy or history. Most people these days are characterized by what philosopher JP Moreland has written extensively on and has called the “empty self.”  Our culture is full of people that derive their philosophy of life from the popular media- news shows like “Good Morning America”, talk shows like “Oprah”, sitcoms like “Scrubbs,” etc.

Now I admit that there are Christians who are legalistic jerks who practice hypocricy. Indeed, we are all this way on one level or another at one time or another. Also, contemporary Christianity has become very mindless as it tends to imitate and be influenced by the secular culture rather than by Christ. In the church today, there seems to be a lack of thoughtful and authentic apprenticeship to Jesus Christ as was typical of Christians in earlier years. It does not seem to be the norm for Christians in our contemporary society to make an effort to become more brilliant in their intellectual life while simultaneously seeking to grow in their affections and relationships. Many Christians look no different than the secular culture they are in and this has contributed to our loss of saltiness. In this post I will not make the case for the importance of a balanced and integrated disciplship that seeks to love Jesus Christ from the whole person- mind, soul, heart, and strength. Rather, I want to point out that the the reason Christians are so disliked, is not primarily because they can sometimes be hypocrits- but simply because they follow Christ. 

You might protest that it is too strong to accuse those in our American society of being “haters” who simply don’t “like” Christians. However, I don’t think “hate” is too strong. It may be candy coated with political correctness, yet it is a matter of historical fact that Jesus himself was hated so much that he was crucified. “Crucify Him” the crowd yelled! From the beginning, the prediction of Christ that his followers would be hated for his name sake until His return has been fulfilled century after century. It started with his disciples: everyone of them (except possibly John) was murdered for their faith in Jesus Christ. E.g. Peter was crucified upside down because he wouldn’t stop preaching the cross and resurrection of Jesus. The “hatred” toward Christians in every generation has resulted in the murder of thousands upon thousands of Christians since Christ first told His disciples to go and make disciples. As we progress closer and closer to the culmination of “his”story and the eventual return of Christ, the hatred toward Christians will only grow.

Many of the Christians reading this post have experienced this growth of disdain in your own lives. Maybe your family or friends several years back admired your decision to become “religious.” After some time the admiration moved to tolerance, from tolerance to spite, and from spite to hatred. Currently in our culture we are closer to spite than hate. Our culture is becoming one in which “good is evil and evil is good.” It is simply a matter of time, however, until our American culture (like so many others throughout history and throughout the world even in our own day) hates the Christians to the point of putting them to death. We know that at some point, the world will become as wicked as it was in the days of Noah, when the world was full of so much wickedness that God preserved only one righteous remnant (Noah’s family) while eliminating the rest of civilization by means of a worldwide flood. An example of such utter wickedness in our contemporay culture includes the extermination and murder of unborn babies in the womb (and some partially born). This action is the result of a secular culture denying the reality of God. There is a battle raging between the worldview which admits God’s revelation and the one that spits on it. As Christ predicted, the world will continue to disintegrate ethically as it becomes more and more alienated from its Creator. Those who follow God and stand up for His reality will undoubtedly be hated and the persecution will continue to increase just as Jesus predicted. If you are a Christ follower, however, you should be encouraged in spite of the systematic torture and murder of your brothers and sisters in Christ. Why? for one, they have gone on to receive their reward! and second, statistically, their persecution and the increase of persecution worldwide, has caused and will continue to cause dynamic growth and vitality in the church!

But why are we hated so? I want to be briefly answer this question. The main reason people hate Christ’s followers is because the world hates Christ’s teachings. This is interesting because many people who hate Christians say that they like Jesus. Almost nobody these days thinks Jesus was a bad guy. People tend to think Jesus was a good teacher and a good man until they find out what he really taught. When they find out what he taught, they either repent and follow him as their King, or they simply deny that Jesus (whom they thought they knew) could be so “intolerant.” Thus, they accuse His followers of misinterpreting Him and invent their own view of Jesus to suit their own desires- consistent with their worldview. As has been the case for centuries, those who evangelically hold to the Christian worldview and follow Christ with passion do not fit well into a cultural milue that is dominated by relativistic and pluralistic philosophies. The Christians get persecuted because they do not and will not reinvent the difficult teachings of their Teacher.

What are the claims of the Christian worldview that cause non-christians to “hate” Christ and His people? Here are a few:

  • Jesus Christ claimed to be the one, true, and “only” God, the “only” way of salvation.
  • Followers of Christ are exclusivist because Truth is exclusive and Jesus is the personification of Truth.
  • There is ultimatly only one “Way” to know God- that is through Jesus.
  • There is only one true faith and every non-Christian religion is false- and must be, as all non-christian worldviews are logically self-refutting.
  • There is only one true God and every religion that does not worship Jesus as God is false idolatry, and sets itself up against Yahweh, objective truth, reasonable thinking, and ultimate reality.
  • Jesus claimed to be the only “Life” and that only He could forgive a person’s sin and keep them from going to eternal separation from God in hell.

People hate Christians because they hate Christ’s teaching about reality. The claim of Jesus Christ to be the  God of all the peoples and nations of the world in the midst of their idolatry is infuriating to those outside of the Truth. The idea that one day the sheep will be separated from the goats or that every knee shall bow to Jesus will obviously cause the goats and servants of the Devil to be upset- especially if they think they are neither. Indeed the Bible says that the “way of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing.” That there is a “way that seems right to a man but in the end is death.” This kind of theology really pisses off people influenced by the post-modern, anti-christian culture. It really irks the non-christian world to hear that although they might have had a wonderful religious upbringing it was futile if it did not lead to acknowledging Christ as their Lord. It irks an unredeemed person who might think they have a close relationship with god, to learn that their faith is false unless their God is Jesus. And even more infuriating to unbelievers is the thought that unless they are submitting their life to Jesus Christ alone, that they are ultimately worshipping demons- even Satan disguises himslef as an angel of light. I totally get how infuriating this would be from the outside. To think that the worldview I adopted as my own could be false would be hard to take unless I genuinely wanted to be a clear and critical thinker- willing to adjust my beliefs to conform more with true reality. In true reality, not all worldviews can be true- especially if they are contradictory. And when examined, all non-christian worldviews are internally and externally incoherent and contradictory. The most interesting thing in all of this is that the Christian worldview is the only worldview that is completely reasonable- being internally and externally consistent with the way things really are. Chrisitanity is the only “Reasonable Faith” that does not crumble when put to the tests of rationality and applicability. All non-christian worldviews fail both tests, and are thereby false. This conclusion can easily be demonstrated. To many this must be very upsetting, to others it is frightening. Yet to some, it is exciting. Why? because there is real hope! There is a point to life! There is an answer to the mindless despair that pervades a world withou God. The only hope, only purpose, and the only life is Jesus Christ!

Although the tone of this post has been somewhat somber. It is because I have not emphasized the extreme and radical love that Jesus has for his sheep. I realize that those who have not yet or maybe never will come to love their Creator and accept His provision for their sinfullness to save them from His just wrath- will hate the people of God who glory in His grace alone. However, my prayer is that God’s Spirit would move on the hearts of the readers of this post and prick their minds. For those of you who have not trusted Jesus Christ, the Saviour, to take away your sins and transfer you out of your present position in the realm of darkness into the Kingdom of His marvelous light, I encourage you to repent and give your life to the living God.

For the Christians,  I urge you to boast in nothing but the cross of Jesus and to be not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation. Remember our Lord’s words when He said, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Do not, however, let your own sin be a cause of stumbling to others. The cross is enough of a stumbling block to non-christians. Do not walk in pride. Rather, always remember that your salvation is not because of anything you did or could do, but because of Yahweh’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone! Be diligent to be a good ambassador of the King as you obey His command to “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

 

On Christ the solid Rock I Stand

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.

Refrain

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness seems to hide His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

Refrain

His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.

Refrain

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh may I then in Him be found.
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.

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