Monday, June 30, 2014

When Anger Should Be

I'll agree that Jesus treated (and continues to treat) broken sinners with the utmost compassion. His hauntingly tender Parable of the Prodigal Son (which I'd like you to read before you continue with my post) conveys His eagerness to forgive those who come to Him in humility. Yet this same Jesus twice overturned tables in the Temple (John 2:13-17, Matthew 21:12-13) and pronounced merciless judgements on the scribes and Pharisees (Matthew 21:11-36).

Time doesn't permit me to cite all His warnings of eternal damnation for those who  reject Him, or His warnings to those who defiantly disobey Him. Neither have I time to show you passages that demonstrate His  contempt for religious hypocrisy. But Jesus was anything but gentle with those who ignored, misused and/or perverted God's Word in favor of their own agenda.

As in all generations, the 21st Century professing  church teems with deviations from sound doctrine.  Many people  believe these false teachings have increased over the past two decades because evangelicals, although once known for fidelity to Scripture,  now increasingly  compromise those very Scriptures with political correctness.

And yes, that sort of  compromise angers me! Self-focused anger, which arises from wounded pride and selfish impatience, of course dishonors the Lord. And I can even pervert righteous indignation when I presume to  control sinners by throwing temper tantrums (James 1:20 cautions that human anger doesn't accomplish God's righteousness). Yet we should feel a certain anger and revulsion, first at our own sin, and secondly at the sin that  pollutes the  body of Christ and assaults the authority of the Bible.

So if my harshness toward the things that fly in the face of sound doctrine offends you, I hope you'll ask yourself why you don't feel angry when sin contaminates the visible church. I'll keep examining my anger, asking the Holy Spirit to expose any  misuse of righteous indignation, but I'd invite those who  believe that anger toward false teaching has no place in Christian conversation to read the scathing words of 2 Peter. Perhaps there's room for both gentleness and godly anger.

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