Readers Forum

Rethink "Hate Theology"

This "hate theology" just does not hold water biblically (see "If the Bible Is Really True, You Could Be in Big Trouble," December issue, page 18). The answer to the question, "Does the God of the Bible love the drunken bum in the alley?" is YES! Just like He loves you and me when we fail or make bad choices. God IS lovePERIOD! 

Why would He hate that sinner and not hate us? God hates sin and desperately wants us to respond to His love and guidance, but He loves unconditionally. This is not to say that He saves unconditionally. God takes "no pleasure in the death of the wicked" (Ezek. 33:11). But we know that God is just and those that fail to repent will perishand it will break God's heart.

We are so good at separating our sin (light stuff) from everyone else's sin (the "really bad" stuff). This is where we stray: sin is sin. Without the blood of Jesus we are all lost. There is none righteous—no not one.

With God, love and blessing go together in Scripture. I believe that the passages brother Filicchia cites (Psalm 5:5; 11:5; and Hosea 9:15) are understandable when you see that, because of their continuing in sin God (just) was no longer able to bless and protect them. They would be punished for their sin.

Proverbs 6:16-19 gives the six "things" (not groups of people) that the Lord hates.

Jesus said "Love your enemies." How do we do that???

My guess is that in the Hebrew, as in the Koine Greek, the word for hate may also entail "having no regard for" as it does in Luke 14:26. None of this negates telling those who are clearly lost in sin of their impending doom. But, it also demands we rethink this "hate theology."

Michael Lum

 Disagrees on "Values"

I am a pastor in one of the historic Peace Churches, the Church of the Brethren.  We believe that "all war is sin" and oppose war in all cases. I read Pastor Jack Graham's article "Vote Your Values, Not Political Parties," in the September, 2004, issue of Pulpit Helps. For many years Brethren were taught not to vote at all because it was thought voting would make us a party to the violence employed by the state. Brethren do vote these days. We hope that when voting they are voting their Christian values, not party politics.

But many Brethren would not confine their evaluation of a candidate to his or her position on same-sex marriage and abortion. Brethren would weigh these issues, but they would also weigh whether or not the candidate opposed the death penalty, opposed war, and showed concern for the poor and the environment. Brethren would see these issues as being every bit as important in determining whether a candidate was sensitive to Christian values as their position on abortion and same-sex marriage.

My objection to pastor Graham's comments concerns his celebration of pastoral battlefield participation during the American Revolution. We would see this as a betrayal of Christ who expected His followers to "love their enemies."

I recognize that our position is a minority position in Christianity at present. Butthose who knew Jesus best, the apostles, founded a church that largely did not participate in the military. The world desperately needs a powerful witness against violence of all kinds. Who better to fulfill that role than the Christian church, whose Founder taught loving enemies?

Pastor Jeffrey O. Copp
Richland, Pennsylvania

Editor's question: Are all values morally equivalent?

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