A God of Love or Judgement?

A God of Love or Judgement?

Have Christians de-emphasized the POWER & JUDGEMENT of God and overemphasized the LOVE & FORGIVENESS of God?

“We may not be certain that it was fear of the Jews’ God that led to the Gentile conversions, but there can be little question that these conversions were a positive outcome. Pagans became followers of the true God. In modern Western society, unfortunately, the trend is the opposite: Christianity is in decline, while paganism, humanism, and atheism are on the rise. Perhaps part of the reason is because we Christians have de-emphasized the power and judgment of God and overemphasized the love and forgiveness of God. The idea of a God who judges sin and holds people accountable for their actions has become passé, and “There is no fear of God in this place” (Gen 20:11). Perhaps our ineffectiveness in evangelizing the modern West can be attributed in part to the fact that we seem to have embraced a God who does not scare anyone. – Anthony Tomasino [1]

Do we so loathe the notion of instilling fear in our friends—or perhaps so fear their response when we speak of holy things—that we completely mitigate the character and demands of a just and holy God? He is not fearful of men. Nor should we be, but instead fearful of truth, fearful of a holy God, fearful of a jealous God who demands a response from those who are called by His name and those yet to know Him.

For the believer, the problem is that our motivation seems to be fear of what others will say or do rather than fear of the One who made us.

We have reduced the full character of God to a tolerant, nice, compassionate, altruistic, non-judgmental “loving” appeal to those apart from God, a message that is not a complete picture of the nature of God who purchased the redemption that we—and they—must have.

Language is important. The past few decades have seen many well-meaning Christians, with seemingly good motives, peer into the cultural soup and try to, with smooth words and subtle language, love sick people to health.

Tozer wrote of the need to return to a “gentle dogmatism.” If correct, how are we to be truthful and clear, yet gentle like our Savior? How are we to be gentle, yet dogmatically clear about the truth?

Blurring the focus of gender? Describing our nature using sanctified not-really-all-that-sinful language, apart from Fallen Adam?

We have not fallen into this suddenly, but eased into it over many years. While the arguments against the faith have often been delivered stridently—the gender wars, the inclusive language, and the quest for identity apart from male and female, even our altruistic response which reaches for the heights of international justice, the end of slave trafficking, the care for orphans—all noble and good—has too often been delivered apart from clarion voices, crystal clear writers, and courageous men and women who confound the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

We have pandered too much, thinking we’d be heard, all the while unwittingly selling our souls to the cultural currents. When, in our lifetime, did we ever envision that we would be the only group, the only religion, the only faith one could attack, vilify, dismiss, call into question, or simply disregard as being myth, wrought with error, misogynistic—or that Hail Mary of liberal theologians—”too Pauline” without consequence?

Yet we insist on embracing ill-defined, gospel deficient, community improvement efforts.

May I gently, yet insistently, call you to question your altruism?

Perhaps the believer, while not entrusted with results, has been entrusted with faithfulness to Jesus Christ and His Church.

Align your theology with the crisp question: Have our well-meaning attempts at inclusive, non-judgmental language, loving people, embracing sinners, and polishing the idols of personal rights redirected our mission from making disciples of all nations to pleasing all nations?

[1] Anthony Tomasino, Esther: Evangelical Exegetical Commentary, ed. H. Wayne House and William Barrick, Evangelical Exegetical Commentary (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, n.d.), 373.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Michael Easley

About Michael Easley

Michael is husband to one, dad to four, and host of Michael Easley inContext.

Share This