Bumper Sticker Christianity

One of my pet peeves is people who post trite little “Christian” sayings as their Facebook status or on Twitter. They sound really good and they’ll get about 100 “likes” from all their like-minded friends, but most of the time they’re not defensible from scripture and as a result they do little more than lead empty-headed people in the wrong direction.

The other day someone said, “You can’t be like Jesus and hate politicians”. First, there are two ways to take that. The wrong way is: “Jesus hates politicians, and there’s no way you can be like him in your hatred of politicians.” The right way is: “You can’t uphold the biblical mandate to be Christ-like while claiming to hate politicians”.

The implication is that Jesus doesn’t hate anybody, therefore if we hate politicians, we’re not Christ-like.

First, I don’t think there are many people who truly hate anyone, let alone politicians. Real hatred wishes the worst for people and would rather see them dead. While I have a long list of politicians whose policies I hate, I don’t think there are any people I truly hate.

But second, and more important, the fact of the matter is that God does hate some people. I’ll vamp for a minute while you think about that. Who does God hate? There are plenty of verses that tell us that God loves everyone, but there’s at least one verse where God talks about people he hates.

Give up? How about Proverbs 6:16-19

16There are six things the LORD hates,
seven that are detestable to him: 17haughty eyes,
a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, 18a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, 19a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.

So I responded that I only hate the wicked schemers and the ones who stir up conflict. My friend reminded me that Proverbs 6 puts judging in God’s hands, which is true, but it wasn’t the question. The question is, can we hate and be Christ-like. My argument was simple:

God hates schemers and conflict-stirrers; I hate schemers and conflict-stirrers; therefore I am like God; Jesus is God; therefore I am like Jesus. QED.

My point isn’t so much that God hates people so we should too, but rather that we need to think before we toss out nice-sounding trivialities as if they are scripture. Christianity isn’t that simple. It requires some thought and can’t be reduced to a bumper sticker.

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2 Responses to “Bumper Sticker Christianity”

  1. Steve Berrian says:

    Craig – I believe you have misunderstood the meaning of Pr. 6:16-19. Although people are ultimately responsible for their lives, there is a difference between sinful people and sinful actions. The passage claims God hates these “things” because of what they do to us, not the people themselves. All people are creations of God. He is not willing that ANY should perish. Romans 5:8 tells us that God shows His love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Jesus Christ died for us. It is not consistent that God would provide the choice of salvation to people He hates. The whole point of free will and salvation is that we would voluntarily forsake these things God hates and return to fellowship with Him. If there are people that refuse to make that choice, they will suffer the consequences of their actions, but it will be a matter of God’s justice and righteousness, not hate.
    Steve in California

    • Craig says:

      The passage says that God hates six things. The sixth “thing” is a person, not a thing. It says God detests seven things. The seventh thing is a person. So there are people God hates (false witnesses) and people God detests (those who spread strife).

      I agree that a person’s eventual condemnation is the result of God’s justice and righteousness. I’m just saying that this passage describes five “things” and two types of people that God hates.

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