Yesterday I dealt with a protest from a Roman Catholic who objected to my frequently exposing and opposing the Church of Rome. Another correspondent had much of the same concern. He left a brief message on our web page to ask when there is so much hope in the gospels why do I preach hate?
Now I must confess that this sort of mindset really concerns me. To many people there is no place in the gospel ministry to expose and condemn even the most egregious departures from the truth as it is in Jesus. To condemn anything as unbiblical or antichristian is, in their eyes, to "preach hate."
Now let me ask a question or two. Did the Lord Jesus Christ preach hate when He excoriated the Pharisees? He called them "hypocrites" and asked them "How can ye escape the damnation of hell?" Was that hateful? Or was it a ministry of truth by which he warned souls who were in danger of being subverted by those false teachers? Did John the Baptist preach hate when he addressed the religious leaders as a "generation of vipers?" Did Paul the Apostle preach hate when he confronted Bar-Jesus, Elymas, the false prophet who had a hold over the Roman deputy Sergius Paulus, addressing him thus: "O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness?"
According to our politically correct age all these would be examples of preaching hate. But that is ludicrous. In every case the exposing and opposing of false doctrine and those who promote it or evil men who would corrupt the morals of God's people is an essential part of a faithful ministry. Christian love must commence with a love for God and His truth. Only then may it be genuinely exercised toward our fellow man. It would be hateful and despicable to be censuring and condemning on a narrow denominational basis, saying in effect that if you don't agree with me in all my points of view you must be condemned. But to say, "I love God and His Son supremely; I love the gospel He has revealed in Christ; I love the souls of men; I love the Church of God which Christ has purchased with His own blood; therefore I am bound to expose and oppose every perversion of the gospel and every religious movement that is an insult to God and that is blinding and destructive to the souls of men"-I repeat, to say this is not narrow-mindedness but Christ-mindedness.
The Apostles actually named men whom they opposed (e.g. Paul; John). They were right. You cannot allow false prophets and false teachers to roam unhindered in the Church. So again I make it clear that I cannot just sit back and say nothing as Rome continues her assault on God's truth and her deception of the souls of men.So if I have been critical of Rome, it's because fidelity to the gospel demanded it. If that offends you, I am sorry-not sorry that I have stood for God's truth but sorry for you that you are more concerned about offending the pope and his friends than Jesus Christ and His faithful people. As Luther said, "Here I stand; I can do no other; so help me God."