In the wake of the Bruce Jenner controversy, I saw many professing "Christians" comment to other "Christians" who disagree—with Bruce Jenner, how the media and society has portrayed it, and what the Bible has to say about it—with the (now) old catchphrases, "God loves and accepts everyone", and, "This is why Christians are considered intolerant now, because they hold to narrow-minded principles in an out-dated book", and, "Jesus taught love not division". When these things are written by unbelievers, that's to be expected. Apostle John writes, "the world does not know us, because it did not know Him" (1Jn. 3:1b, NKJV). But to see comments like these from professing "Christians" always lead me to question, at worst, are they truly born-again, or at best, are they that benighted. There is simply no way a biblically-grounded born-again disciple of Jesus can utter statements like these from their heart. But the problem goes much deeper.
Far too many people (professing "Christians" and non-Christians alike) are reinterpreting God's "love" to include tolerance and acceptance for everyone and everything. Thus they strip "love" from the biblical God and plain reality, and make "love" an illogical, subjective, humanistic, fanciful "idea" which imposes unrealistic expectations that benefits whomever determines the definition and context of the "idea of love" at that time. It is commonplace now to hold this "idea of love" worldview and interpretation. And by commonplace I mean there has been a normalizing of desensitization toward this hazardous view and interpretation. This commonplace has also crept into the church pews and pulpits, small groups, bible studies, and Christian colleges, bookstores, and blogosphere. In North America and Europe this commonplace now sits proudly in the front row and publicly speaks as if it's a member of the Church. It is a ravenous wolf dressed in sheepskin.
The "idea of love" has no fundamental point. It's a formless "idea" able to be configured to the liken of whomever. In contrast, the fundamental point of knowing and understanding God's love is His unchanging Scripture properly interpreted (because we all know Scripture can be interpreted to say and affirm anything). In Scripture we see God's love is unconditional and has been demonstrated on all mankind in the life, death, and resurrection of His Son, Jesus. But we also see in Scripture God's love is holy and not tolerant and accepting of everyone or everything. Here are 3 examples:
1. God hates sin.
"There are six things the Lord hates—–no, seven things He detests: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent, a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong, a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord [among brethren]." (Prov. 6:16-19, NLT)
"You must not worship the Lord your God the way the other nations worship their gods, for they perform for their gods every detestable act that the Lord hates. They even burn their sons and daughters as sacrifices to their gods." (Deut. 12:31, NLT)
2. God hates the wicked.
"God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day." (Ps. 7:11, NKJV)
"The Lord tests the righteous, but His soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence." (Ps. 11:5, ESV)
3. God's special love is only bestowed on His children—which means there is partiality with God's love.
"See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!" (1Jn. 3:1a, NIV)
Also in Scripture, we, the people of God, are told that if we "love" and revere God we are to "hate" evil. This is clearly not teaching tolerance and acceptance of everyone or everything.
"You who love the Lord, hate evil!" (Ps. 97:10, NKJV).
"The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil." (Prov. 8:13, ESV).
We see God's love (and teaching) in Scripture stands in direct opposition to this reinterpretation of His "love". It's one or the other, God's love as revealed in Scripture or God's "love" as reinterpreted in the "idea of love".
In addition, the reality of "authentic love" between humans must too display partiality at times; it cannot logically and realistically be tolerant and accepting of everyone and everything. An example of this is a man whom genuinely loves his wife and children will not choose the life of another over his wife and children. Even more, a man whom genuinely loves his wife and children will defend their life, if need be, to the point of death of himself or another. Or, a parent whom genuinely loves their children will not be tolerant and accepting of someone molesting or abusing their children. When people with "authentic love" for another have a choice to make, more times than not, they logically and instinctively will choose the one whom they love more over the one whom they least love. This indicates the reality of "authentic love" as not being absolutely tolerant and accepting of everyone and everything.
Those who hold to the "idea of love" are living an illusion. That "love" that supposedly is tolerant and accepting of everyone and everything is a fantasy. It's not real. It can never be real. Those who demand the biblical God and others to hold to this "idea of love" are delusional and self-refuting, because (i)their belief is "firmly maintained despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality or rational argument"*, and (ii)they themselves are not being tolerant or accepting of the biblical God or others who disagree with their "idea of love".
In no way am I saying that as Christians we are not to "love" others. Loving others is a direct command from Jesus (Matt. 22:36-40). We obey our Lord, no matter what. However, loving others in a subjective, humanistic fashion is not the "love" Scripture teaches. The "love" Scripture teaches is patient, kind, gentle, humble, unselfish, hopeful, and many other favorable virtues (1Cor. 13:3-8). Yet, the "love" Scripture teaches also does not rejoice in/with sin but rejoices in the truth, does not behave rudely, does not love this world nor the things of this world, hates evil, and much more (1Cor. 13:3-8, 1Jn. 2:15). Scripture teaches believers a balanced, holy love (like that of their Savior & God), not a subjective, humanistic "idea" (like that of the world). So yes, we as believers are to love others, but in accordance with all of Scripture not only the virtues some deem favorable because they're more likable to others, but also the virtues that may/will pit us against the world as well.
When I started writing this it was suppose to be a tweet. After I realized it was more than 140 characters, I said it'll be a Facebook post. But, once I saw I had multiple paragraphs I decided to post it as a blog article. This has nothing to do with Bruce Jenner. It was the comments from professing "Christians" in defense of Mr. Jenner that were the tipping point and ushered me to write. This is about the poisonous and deadly deception of viewing and interpreting God's holy love as revealed in His holy Word through the lenses of this illogical, subjective, humanistic, fanciful "idea of love". This is about how this "idea of love" is not even in touch with reality and an innumerable amount of people across generations and countries are dismally lost in it's illusion. If you are a professing "Christian" and you continue in this deception you may prove yourself not truly one of His regenerate children (e.g. 2Thess. 2:10-12), and if you die in that state of deception you will find out firsthand how God's holy love is not what you thought when you experience the hell for those He hates (Prov. 16:4-5, 1Thess. 1:6-9). Please hear my heart, my previous sentence is not from a harsh place (though I'm sure it may have been received as such). As Apostle Paul writes in 2Thess. 3:15, "do not count [them] as an enemy, but warn [them] as [brethren]" (NKJV). I am simply pointing out another biblical reality that opposes this "idea of love": "Those who refuse to embrace the Word of Truth have not been saved by the truth and are furthering their own deception."**
My hope and prayer is if any of this is true in your life you come to repentance and escape the snare of the enemy. You cannot hold to two opposing beliefs, for in your heart you will uphold one and reject the other (e.g. Matt. 6:24).
*1. Dictionary. Version 2.2.1. Apple Inc
**2. Quote from sermon, "Trick, Cheat, Deceit, or the Word pt. 6"
June 5, 2015