Tweets of the Day

The case for “hate”

“Hate” is just about the only sin left standing in the 21st century; we can do anything but hate. In fact, to say anything is wrong is to hate, and to be called a “hater” is the ultimate insult. New “hate-crime” laws in Europe are targetting anyone who makes anyone feel hated (regardless of whether they were hated or not).

We used to hear teenagers respond to parental correction with, “I hate you, I hate you, I hate you!” and laugh: “It’ll pass.” Now mature adults respond to any moral disagreement with, “You hate me, you hate me, you hate me!” and we fear we are on the way to prison, or at least to losing our jobs or businesses.

Chicken burgers are transformed into hate-burgers by expressions of support for biblical marriage. Call someone a “hater,” and you don’t need to even listen to their views, no matter how reasonably or calmly stated.

Standing up for hate
Well, I’m going to stand up for “hate.” In fact, I want to see a revival of hate in our churches and in our society. I’m not talking about the sinful hate that attacks people with vicious words or wicked actions. I’m talking about holy hate, the kind of hate we find commanded and commended in the Bible (Ps. 97:10), the hate that loathes and opposes anything that dishonors God and harms humanity.

“But Jesus loved everybody!”
Yes, Jesus loved every single one of his neighbors, perfectly. But He also hated sin with perfect hatred. So much so that such hate was one of the proofs of His divinity (Heb. 1:9). It was His holy hate of Pharisaical double standards that put a whip in His hand to drive conmen out of the Temple. It was His holy hate of sin that propelled Him to Calvary’s cross to save sinners. It was His holy hate of the Devil that inspired Him to defeat and destroy him.

It was the hate of tyrannical slavery that mobilized Wilberforce and other abolitionists. It was the hate of enslaving and dehumanizing false religion that motivated William Carey, Adoniram Judson, and many other missionaries to give their lives for the salvation of faraway nations. It was the hate of Nazi principles and practice that motivated Churchill, Roosevelt and millions of soldiers. It was the hate of sinful discrimination and prejudice that empowered the civil rights movement.

It’s the hate of sexual abuse that campaigns against the international sex trade in young boys and girls. It’s the hate of alcoholism and drug addiction that calls thousands of Christians to seek out the perishing on our cities’ streets and in homeless shelters. It’s the hate of baby-slaughter that lines the sidewalks of abortion clinics with loving pro-life counselors. It’s the hate of drunk driving’s massive human and financial cost ($132 billion in the US every year) that propels MADD.

What hatred was made for
In They don’t make hate like they used to, Lars Walker refers to C. S. Lewis’s space novel, Perelandra, where the hero, Ransom, makes a moral decision to use his fists to fight a demonic spirit that had possessed a man:

Then an experience that perhaps no good man can ever have in our world came over him – a torrent of perfectly unmixed and lawful hatred. The energy of hating, never before felt without some guilt, without some dim knowledge that he was failing fully to distinguish the sinner from the sin, rose in his arms and legs till he felt that they were pillars of burning blood….It is perhaps difficult to understand why this filled Ransom not with horror but with a kind of joy. The joy came from finding at last what hatred was made for.

Yes, hatred has a moral purpose. In fact, without it, we are quite simply no longer moral. Morality requires not just a love for what’s right but a hatred for what’s wrong. We cannot love anything without hating its opposite. We cannot love our neighbor without hating what harms him or our society.

The big question
That being so, the big question is not whether moral hatred is right. The question is: “What is moral? How are we to decide what is wrong? What are we to hate?”

The alternatives are certainly becoming clearer: Jesus’ biblical values or Rahm Emmanuel’s “Chicago values?”

Tomorrow we will look at how Christians are to hate (and here it is).

Check out

Cleaning the Crib
A lot of pastors will identify with this.

The Tough Decisions Surrounding Moral Failure
Four phases of handling moral failure in leaders.

New Credo Magazine: Old Princeton
This has got to be the most beautifully produced Christian magazine on the web. Great content too.

Plain Preaching: Puritan Evangelism
Joel Beeke with three lessons from the Puritans for today’s preachers.

Legalism or obedience
Fred Zaspel: “Find a Christian who is careful to obey God in everything, and we won’t have to look far to find another Christian to call him a legalist. What do we make of this?”

Disability and the Gospel
Kara Dedert continues her summary and review of Disability and the Gospel.

Tweets of the Day

Children’s Bible Reading Plan

This week’s morning and evening reading plan in Word and pdf.

This week’s single reading plan for morning or evening in Word and pdf.

If you want to start at the beginning, this is the first 12 months of the children’s Morning and Evening Bible reading plan in Word and pdf.

And here’s the first 12 months of the Morning or Evening Bible reading plan in Word and pdf.

And here’s an explanation of the plan.

Romney VP Pick: 3 Big Questions Answered

Must confess I was surprised, happily surprised, by Mitt Romney’s pick of Paul Ryan. It provides good answers to three huge questions:

1. How much does he want it?
It’s been worrying to see Romney so defensively weak while being pummeled by Obama’s negative ads about him and his business record. There comes a time when you have to stop smiling and start snarling. Is this just going to be another half-hearted McCain-type effort? When’s he going to put on the gloves, never mind take them off again? You can’t win this thing without wanting it more than your opponent. The Ryan pick shows that Romney wants it big, and is prepared to fight big for it; not an ugly Chris Christie slugfest, but an ideological fight about the fundamental principles and future direction of the country.

2. Why does he want it?
If he had picked Portman or some other boring grey suit, we could only conclude that he was playing safe, hoping to win by “not being Obama,” and then managing American decline in a more competent way than Obama. In other words, he wanted it more for his C.V. than for the country, more for himself than for the rest of us. The Ryan pick shows that Romney’s not in this just to get the Oval Office, but to get the country back on track.

3. What will he do with it?
This was the question that niggled most conservatives deep in their hearts. Is he just going to re-arrange the deck chairs in a nicer pattern, or is he going to repair, rebuild, and re-launch the ship? Is he going to kick the can down the road again, or is he going to change the game? Does he have the guts, the determination, the courage to do what so desperately needs to be done?

The Ryan pick demonstrates that Romney is not only in it to win it in 2012, but to win for future generations too. It offers a clear choice for America’s future – An entitlement society or a responsible society. And BTW, as Ryan’s budget demonstrates, “responsible” includes caring for the weak, the elderly, and the poor, but in a way that also secures a hopeful future for our young.

Bonus: And check Denny Burk’s analysis of Paul Ryan’s record on social issues for further encouragement. Time to add Paul and his family to our prayers. They’re about to be “Palined.”