God Hates the Sin AND Hates the Sinner AND Loves the Sinner -David Platt

God hates the sin and hates the sinner and loves the sinner

David Platt recently argued that God hates the sin and hates the sinner and loves the sinner. Scripture clearly teaches both. Reject the cliche’ that God only “hates the sin and loves the sinner.” Our sins cannot be separated from us. Jesus didn’t just die for my sins; He died for me! 

5 The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers. 6 You destroy those who speak lies; the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man (Psalms 5:5-6).

5 The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence (Psalms 11:5).

16 There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, 19 a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers (Proverbs 6:16-19).

36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him (John 3:36).

D. A. Carson has argued similar truths as well.

What are your thoughts?

This article was originally posted at my site. I’m married with three children, an SBC pastor, a PhD student at SBTS, and an average Southern Baptist. I’ve authored two books. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and YouTube.

Comments

  1. says

    Jared,

    When Bryant Wright was President of the SBC he was honored by the Univ. of South Carolina – he graduated from that institution. The homosexual community was outraged. Bryant then sent a letter to the State Newspaper and The Baptist Courier stating that God loves the sinner but hates the sin. Partially true which makes it totally false.

    I wrote a letter to the Editor of the Courier and simply quoted the passages that David Platt and D.A. Carson cited. The hate mail that flooded in aimed at me was voluminous (from supposed Christians I might add) which shows the paucity of awareness of what the text actually teaches on this topic. This is not an opinion, mine or anyone else. It is the word of God forever settled in heaven and unchanging.

    It is not loving to distort the clear expressions of the text in an attempt to placate the culture. Let God be TRUE and every man a liar but the text clearly says what it says and it is my glorious tasks as a Pastor/Exegete to irenically, accurately and with the utmost compassion declare TRUTH in the marketplace. God will save some for which I rejoice.

    Thanks for posting this timely declaration by Platt and Carson.

    In Grace,
    Tom Fillinger
    IgniteUS, Inc.
    info@igniteus.net

  2. Frank L. says

    I look for this “shock jock” approach to theology to end up in a free for all on Voices.

    For one, the word, “hate,” when God is used as the subject has a completely different meaning than what humanity means by it.

    I’ll be looking for the verse, “hate your neighbor neighbor as yourself.” Or, the “for God so hated the world, ” or “we hate because God first hated us.”

    I’m going to meditate a little more on Platt’s article, but my first read is that he is the “King of Hyperbole.” I have trouble following him for any significant distance.

    This one is going to take a little more chewing for me.

    • Frank L. says

      Well, I guess in the spirit of David Platt I will say he is absolutely right and absolutely wrong.

      • Bob B. says

        I think the true King of hyperbole is Jesus:

        “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even HIS OWN LIFE, he CANNOT be my disciple.”

        There are some tensions involved in following Jesus that can only be explained via hyperbolic statements. That’s why it relies on faith.

        • Frank L. says

          Bob,

          That’s my point: Jesus used the word, “hate,” but did not mean hate in the sense that we commonly use it. We know this from the parallel passages.

          I think it would be wise to explain the hyperbole in the Bible rather than seek to perpetuate error. It just seems careless to preach the way Platt does on a regular basis.

          It seems, then, disingenuous when he acts surprised that people misunderstand him. When we are known for being “misunderstood,” I think we as preachers might want to reevaluate our approach.

          And, I’m not against preaching the hard sayings of the Bible–I do it probably more than I should. If you read some of those Psalms (all of them perhaps) you will notice that they may begin with a prophetic spanking but they end with a Divine hug.

          • says

            Frank, you said:

            Jesus used the word, “hate,” but did not mean hate in the sense that we commonly use it. We know this from the parallel passages.

            Sorry man, but that’s an inaccurate statement when you actually look at the root words in the Greek and Hebrew. The Hebrew word for hate (used in Psalm 11:5) is almost always the word sane and in its normal usage and the vast majority of the times it is used in the Old Testament, it pretty much means exactly what we mean when we say the word “hate”.

            Futhermore, sane is almost always translated miseo in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, which was the majority text in the days of Jesus and Paul. The Apostles universally record Jesus’ words in the text using the Greek term miseo and again, the vast majority of the time there is no question that Jesus is speaking of “hatred” in the same sense in which we use it. Some examples of this include:

            Luke 6:22 – “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man!”

            John 3:20 – “For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.”

            John 15:18 – “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.”

            I could go on and on. There are only a couple of passages where there is any debate as to whether Jesus was being hyperbolic when he uses the term hate, but the reality is that the vast majority of the time when the Bible says “hate” it means “hate”, so to say that “we know” Jesus didn’t mean “hate” when he said the word “hate” because of “the parallel passages” is simply inaccurate and directly out of line with the majority usage of these terms.

            You can certainly hold to your interpretation if you want and deny Platt’s and Carson’s (among others’), but you do so in the face of a mountain of evidence to the contrary. In Biblical interpretation, it’s always best to apply Occam’s Razor and recognize that sometimes the most likely reading might not be in line with our own personal theology, but that doesn’t make those who hold to such a view in “perpetual error.” Perhaps we are the ones who need to re-examine our view in light of the textual evidence instead of those with whom we disagree.

          • Frank L. says

            D.R. you said, “””In Biblical interpretation, it’s always best to apply Occam’s Razor and recognize that sometimes the most likely reading might not be in line with our own personal theology, but that doesn’t make those who hold to such a view in “perpetual error.” “”””

            Coming from a background in Chemistry and quantum physics I find it interesting that you would apply Occam’s Razor to support your view, but deny a major tenet of Biblical hermeneutics.

            I was taught to allow Scripture to interpret Scripture. One principle that was drummed into me at a Baptist college and two Baptist seminaries was this: interpret unclear or ambiguous passages in light of clear passages.

            You preach hate in Luke but deny the Lord’s own interpretation in Matthew.

            You can continue to preach Platt and Occam. I’ll go with what Jesus said.

            Your view reminds me of the images seen under an electron microscope with thousands of times modification. The images of seemingly normal things become grotesque and unrecognizable under such a highly magnified view of such a tiny spec of reality.

            So, sorry man. If you do not want to take Jesus’ own interpretation of His own words and prefer Platt who misapplies a text from Psalms by lifting it out of the context of the entire poem, then that is your choice.

            I’m going with what Jesus said.

          • Frank L. says

            D.R.

            Just to throw something out from a linguistic point of view: there is not such thing as “a” definition for a foreign word–Greek, Hebrew, or Tibetan.

            Words have a range of meanings and context is everything. For example, when I tell someone I love ice-cream and someone else I love my wife, it is the same word with totally different contexts.

            This is especially true when using the figure of speech commonly referred to as hyperbole.

          • says

            Frank,

            First, Occam’s Razor doesn’t contradict the rule of Biblical Hermeneutics that Scripture must be used to interpret Scripture – Occam’s Razor illuminates that rule. The simplest explanation is the one that is most normal in Biblical languages and in the text. If the text normally teaches A, then when we encounter an issue where it appears not to teach A, then we must interpret it in light of A, but only when we have clearly established A to be true in light of the whole of Scripture.

            So, in this scenario, the normal usage of the word “hate” is indeed hate. Scripture has clearly used the words sine and miseo to mean “hate” in the normal sense, just as we do. So when we encounter that word in the text, the simplest definition is indeed “hate”, therefore we must have clear evidence to interpret it differently than that. So then, Occam’s Razor works in tandem, not opposition to the Rule of Biblical Hermeneutics.

            (By the way, there’s no need to get dramatic about “preaching Platt and Occam” – the idea that God truly does hate is no new teaching. Case in point – J. VERNON MCGEE: “If you think God is just lovey-dovey, you had better read this (Ps.11:5) and some of the other Psalms again. GOD HATES THE WICKED who hold onto their wickedness… I do not think God loves the devil, I think He hates him, and HE HATES THOSE WHO HAVE NO INTENTION OF TURNING TO GOD. Frankly, I do not like this distinction that I hear today, that ‘God loves the sinner, but hates the sin.’ God has loved you so much that He gave His Son to die for you, but if you persist in your sin, and continue in that sin, you are the enemy of God. And God is your enemy.” [Psalms, Vol.1, p.72] – here is a link to a number of folks throughout the centuries who have taken God at His word that He indeed does hate the wicked – and notice they span quite a bit in regard to theological perspective. So Platt and all of us who agree with him are in pretty good company with Jesus).

            Now, as to your statement, “You preach hate in Luke but deny the Lord’s own interpretation in Matthew,” I love to discuss that with you. Why don’t you offer your understanding of these two passages and I will offer mine? I think this would be most profitable for us and anyone else reading it.

            Finally, I agree that words have a range of meaning, but those ranges are determined by the core meaning of the word, not the other way around. We all know what “love” and “hate” mean normally, which is why these statements are so shocking, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t true and it doesn’t mean they are necessarily hyperbolic. In fact, I would argue that Jesus isn’t being hyperbolic as much as He is speaking in terms of degrees – much like you were doing in your above illustration. Here is what you said:

            1) I love ice-cream
            2) I love my wife

            The context may be different, but the word means the same thing. What is the actual difference? Are you simply being hyperbolic and don’t really mean that you love ice cream, but that you are indifferent to it? No, of course not! You love ice cream. However, we all know that you love your wife more than ice cream. So what are we talking about here – hyperbole or degree? Certainly, we are speaking of degree.

            You love ice cream, but not to the degree that you love your wife. So when the Psalmist speaks of God’s hatred, it is real. God hates and in particular God hates the wicked (men and women). So the question is not does the word “hate” actually mean “hate”, but rather to what degree does God hate? Certainly God doesn’t hate to the degree that He refuses to also offer common grace to the wicked and even have a general love for them. The same is true of God’s love. His love for His creatures is not on the level of degree that He has for His own Son, own Spirit, or His own Glory. He loves Himself more than any other Being because He is the epitome of love in and of Himself. To love anyone or anything as much ore more than Himself is to sin. And, not only does He have a higher degree of love for the Son and the Spirit, but He also has a higher degree of love for His own children than He does for the children of the devil. He makes this clear over and over again in Scripture – His electing love is greater than His common love.

            And because we are made in His image, we exhibit degrees of love as well, and we all understand that. We don’t say that Jesus didn’t mean “love” when He said “love your enemies”, but we certainly would be lying if we thought we could truly love our enemies as much as our spouses or children. Even God does not do that, which is why He clearly states in His Word that He hates the wicked.

            Hope that was helpful and I look forward to your interpretation of Jesus’ words in Matthew and Luke.

          • Frank L. says

            D.R.

            No interpretation needed. Jesus clearly says that “hating your father and mother” in Luke, means “loving anyone more than we love Him.”

            What’s to interpret. Jesus is not suggesting we have malice toward our mother and father, and in so doing commit murder.

            Your statement that “loving ice-cream and loving your wife” as the words meaning the same thing is simply not an accurate understanding of how language works.

            I don’t deny that the Bible uses the word, “hate” with God as the referent. I deny that “hate” with God as a referent means the same thing as “hate” with me as a referent.

            In the former hate arises out of virtue, in the latter it arises out of failure. In the former there is no malice but only justice, and in the latter there is malice.

            As I said, I’m not a fan of Platt. I’m not a fan of his style of preaching. I understand his premise, but don’t care much for his methods.

            Since we have significantly different approaches to biblical hermeneutics, we are not going to agree. Someone mentioned a grammatico-historical hermeneutic. Is that the hermeneutic to which you subscribe?

            Therein may be our difference in conclusions, which are really a difference in emphasis. For, I do not deny that the Scriptures clearly state that God hates various things. So, I don’t disagree with that conclusion. I disagree with the emphasis and the unclear, incomplete presentation of Holy hatred that allows for unnecessary confusion.

          • says

            Frank,

            Why not post those Scripture passages side-by-side for us so we can examine and compare them instead of speaking in general terms? I’d like to know exactly which Scripture verses you are comparing to one another.

            As for my hermeneutical view – yes, for the past 500 years the Church has held strongly to the historical-grammatical view of Scripture. I think it’s a bit much to suggest that one of us doesn’t hold to that view or that we have vastly different views of Scripture interpretation. I certainly would hope not. It seems to me to come down to an issue between us of how we APPLY the historical-grammatical method properly. Certainly, I don’t think you go far enough in applying it consistently and I am guessing you think I go too far in doing so.

            Still, I am more interested in you posting the two passages you keep referring to so we can examine those properly.

  3. Christiane says

    I can find much biblical evidence that Our Lord Himself teaches that God loves sinners, not sin.

    What I cannot find and need your help with,
    are the biblical passages where Our Lord teaches that God hates sinners.

    Are there any teachings of Our Lord that specifically address God’s hatred for people who sin?

  4. Jim G. says

    My thoughts…

    Jared, haven’t you and I been down this road before?

    Platt and Carson are both wrong in saying that God hates the sinner. A God who both loves and hates equally is not the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    In deference to my overly-exegetical friend Tom above, this is Hermeneutics 101. We cannot just throw out Hebrew poetry and wisdom language as posted above without looking at figurative language being employed. John 3 has nothing to do with hate, but wrath. Wrath is not hate, not even close.

    Please take the time to properly interpret these passages in light of Christ. Jesus is the rule for interpreting the OT. Does Jesus hate the sinner? Can you think of one place?

    Jim G.

    • Frank L. says

      Jim,

      The thought comes to me: if God hates and loves at the same time, that would make them appear to be “equal virtues.” It seems clear that Platt is NOT saying, “love overcame hatred at the cross.” Indeed, he cannot say that because you would have God overcoming Himself.

      It was not “love and hate” coming together at the cross, but evil and love, and love wins.

      I get what Platt is trying to say, but wonder why he doesn’t just say it in a straight-forward way. By the time he beats around the bush, the bush has died for lack of water.

      He also uses “hate” in an equivocal way. God hating a sinner in the O.T. passages Platt quotes is nothing like any “hatred” we can understand in any human way.

      He did, if you notice, at one point refer to “Holy Hatred.” This is necessary if one is going to attribute a human failing, hatred, to an Almighty God.

      Again, I get what Platt is trying to say, at least somewhat, but think it can be said better and more Biblically in a straightforward way.

    • says

      It is very telling when the majority of the quotes come from the wisdom literature. Poetic language, even Biblical poetry, should be read with something less than “literalistic” eyes.

      I’m not entering into whether Platt is correct (I feel the conviction of the Spirit to search the Scriptures to know more certainly). But I don’t find myself persuaded by merely wisdom language.

      • says

        The same “wisdom” literature quoted by Paul to make a point?

        “What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; as it is written,

        “There is none righteous, not even one;
        There is none who understands,
        There is none who seeks for God;
        All have turned aside, together they have become useless;
        There is none who does good,
        There is not even one.”
        “Their throat is an open grave,
        With their tongues they keep deceiving,”
        “The poison of asps is under their lips”;
        “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness”;
        “Their feet are swift to shed blood,
        Destruction and misery are in their paths,
        And the path of peace they have not known.”
        “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Romans 3:9-18 NASB

        What exactly was Paul’s point in using this literature predominantly from the Psalms (14:1-3; 53:1-3; 5:9; 140:3; 10:7; 36:1) – with one thrown in shared by Isaiah the prophet for good measure (“their feet….” 59:7).

        Surely the inspired writer of the New Testament was familiar with your rules about how to use poetic or wisdom literature less literally. Was he? I kind of suspect that Paul was not bogged down with your interpretive lens as it went to applying the Scripture – even if it was not from the Torah, but merely from the Writings. As he said, “All Scripture is God breathed…..”. And in that he was not referring to his own, but that Jewish Tanak which contained in total the complete Revelation of the Word to the time it was written – and still has the same meaning today as it had then.

        Rob

    • Adam G. in NC says

      “Wrath is not hate, not even close.”
      They may not be the same thing, but putting them against each other is also not entirely accurate. Wrath would be better described as a result of hatred. I dont see how else it could even be called “wrath”.

      I think the problem is assigning the way humans apply hatred to God’s use of it. When we hate sinners, we are deserving of the same and this makes our use of it unfair, improper and sinfully self-righteous. When God hates, he is the perfect judge and perfectly self-righteous.

    • Jim G. says

      Adam,

      I too am in NC – Charlotte, to be exact.

      I did not put wrath and hate against each other. They just are not the same thing.

      Wrath is God’s disposition toward those who do not receive his love. It is not hatred.

      My issue with the biblical texts that ascribe hatred to God is that, if taken literally, do great damage to the God revealed in Jesus Christ.

      My task as a theologian is to construct doctrines based on the whole counsel of Scripture. If we read “God is love” in 1 John, and God hates the wicked in Psalm 5, we have two choices. We can let the two statements stand together equally or let one be seen in the light of the other. While option A may seem more appealing initially, we must ask if any other core beliefs about God are impacted by letting the two statements stand equally. In my opinion, there is damage to the doctrine of God’s love (which is the motivation for sending Christ) by saying he hates the wicked (in the literal interpretation of the way it is written), not the least of which are texts such as John 3:16 and Romans 5:8.

      I choose to deal with this difficulty by letting the broad view of God’s love shape the way I see hate in the text. I do this for three reasons.

      First, the language used in poetry and wisdom literature (at least what is cited in Jared’s post) is already figurative. The texts are dripping with figures of speech that were never meant to be taken exclusively at face value by the original audience or by us. Antithesis, symbolism, meiosis, personification, and other demonstrable figures are present in these texts. Any responsible interpretation of such texts must take these figures into account to grasp their full meaning.

      Second, the presence of the figures in these texts allow me to interpret them in light of the more straightforward, non-figurative didactic texts such as John 3:16, 1 John 4:8, and so on. While I do not discount the figurative texts, the presence of known figures of speech tells me there is something more going on from the (divine and human) author than just the face value of the text itself. It is the task of responsible hermeneutics to find out just what is going on and incorporate it into the full interpretation of the text.

      Third, and most importantly, Jesus is the full and final revelation of who God is. Everything said in the wisdom literature must be interpreted in light of him and his mission. We read the OT through the lens of Jesus, not the other way around. If God’s hatred of the sinner is not compatible with Jesus’ (who IS God) love for the sinner, then Jesus is the standard by which we must measure, not the wisdom literature.

      This is a hermeneutics issue, and hermeneutics, as much as we do not like to admit it, is informed by theology.

      Jim G.

  5. says

    One of the most interesting things about God’s hatred for the sinner is His treatment of the same. Take, for example, His saying, “Esau have I hated,” (Roms.9:13, taken from Malachi). I used it as the third point in a sermon on that text, titled, The Hardest Text in the Bible, and my theme was that the text was an invitation (borrowing from Dr. Eusden’s intro. to his translation of William Ames, Marrow of Divinity) in which we are invited to receive 1. God who does not think like we do. In other words, He just lets it all hang out. He boldly says He loves Jacob and hates Esau. God shares His thoughts even when they seem so repulsive. 2. God who does not love like we do. That He should love Jacob is the great mystery, for that fellow is thoroughly despicable in so many of his ways. He never becomes anything until God does some changing in his personality, making him a prince. 3. God who does not act like we do. I put His act in at this point, for while He is said to hate Esau His treatment of that individual could be summed up thusly, “With an enemy like that, who needs any friends?” God made Esau the first born. Second, God gave him many opportunities. third, God gave him more than enough. Esau said, “I have enough.” Then Jacob pressed him and he took Jacob’s gifts, earning the title as the one man who had more than enough. I preached that sermon in a preaching class under Dr. Theodore Adams at SEBTS, and I used it in revivals and have had conversions as a result.

      • John Wylie says

        I also appreciated Platt’s sermon. I’m not always the biggest fan of Platt, but he got it right here. Just because we cannot quite understand what we perceive to be a paradox doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

  6. Adam G. in NC says

    If God doesnt hate sinners then he wouldnt have created Hell. Sin does not endure eternal torment in Hell, sinners do (insert New Testament caveat here).

    • Greg Harvey says

      41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

  7. Andrew Barker says

    This is the sort of nonsense I come to expect from people who have nothing better to do than try and find some ‘fresh’ or ‘new’ revelation from God’s word.

    It stems from a refusal to understand the English language and the use of hyperbole and other terms which are not meant to be taken literally. What’s more, I would hazzard a guess that those who promote such views are well aware of what they are doing and as such are being somewhat disingenuous, are they not?

    • says

      “It stems from a refusal to understand the English language and the use of hyperbole and other terms which are not meant to be taken literally.”

      Fail to understand? Like Jonathan Edwards? He failed to understand the “English language and the use of hyperbole and other terms which are not meant to be taken literally?”

      I think not. The fact that God hates sinners and his wrath burns hot towards them is a hard pill to swallow for sure. But it is entirely biblical.

      • says

        I think three men can be in the same sin and God hates the one who is defying Him and not the others who are sin sick of it or fell into it and really don’t know it is wrong because they have been lied to.

      • John Wylie says

        Exactly right Les. The whole dismissal of these texts because the lion’s share come from the poetical books is quite alarming. The vast majority of what we know about God comes from the poetical books. And to dismiss all those passages as hyperbolic or symbolic is mind boggling. I would dare say if the sermon was on God’s love of the righteous and Platt drew all of his texts from the poetical books there would be no charge of misinterpretation and misunderstanding of genre.

        This is nothing more than an attempt at explaining away what the Bible clearly teaches, because the message is offensive or upsets our theological applecart.

      • Andrew Barker says

        I see you still like to quote the ‘greats’ in support of your argument Les. This is hardly nuanced stuff is it, but some people just love to paint God in a certain way. I suppose God showing his love towards sinners will do nothing to disuade you from your line of ‘thought’. Plenty of Bible verses to support that assumption. But of course God hates sinners, because God is hate. What a wonderful gospel you preach Les. Entirely biblical of course …. Biblical my foot!

        • says

          Andrew, there is no need for hostility and insult. Discuss the topic. Do so forcefully, if you wish. But leave the pejoratives behind, okay?

          • Andrew Barker says

            Well I’m not sure I can see the hostility in my comments unless you term a leg pull for Les as hostile. But the whole topic is really a nonsense isn’t it. God hates and doesn’t hate the sinner? What kind of message is that? If the message was along the lines of God’s love for everyone should not be taken as a license for doing what you like, then we’re talking the same language. But stating it the way it was stated deserves a certain amount of opprobium. You and I can probably read this and think, I kind of know what the guy is trying to say, but when it comes down to the wire, it doesn’t really stack up does it. Or maybe you do believe that God does both love and hate the same sinner at the same time?

          • says

            Andrew,

            I think what some of us are saying, at least what I’m saying, is that yes God can and does hate all sinners in their unredeemed state. His wrath abides on us all. But, He has set His peculiar or special love on the elect from the foundation of the world. So it can be said that the elect are hated and loved at the same time until such time they are born again. Then the redeemed are no longer in a state deserving His wrath and hate. Saving grace and mercy.

            The non elect on the other hand, are also loved, though not in the same peculiar way and are loved in a sense and hated as rebellious sinners. Not saving grace and justice.

        • says

          Yes Andrew, the “greats” as you call them have much to contribute. But as others here have indicated, God’s hatred for sinners is entirely biblical no matter how much you may want to deny it.

          Yes, some DO like to paint God in a certain way.

          “I suppose God showing his love towards sinners will do nothing to disuade you from your line of ‘thought’. Plenty of Bible verses to support that assumption.”

          Why would it? I believe God does show His love towards sinners. Sure, there are plenty of verses which teach that. Thats what Platt rightly said: God hates the sinner and loves the sinner.

          And yes, the gospel is wonderful…the one I preach. Jesus came to save sinners. Amen!

  8. William Thornton says

    Why mess with Platt? Jonathan Edwards was so much better:

    “The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked: his wrath towards you burns like fire; he looks upon you as worthy of nothing else, but to be cast into the fire; he is of purer eyes than to bear to have you in his sight; you are ten thousand times more abominable in his eyes, than the most hateful venomous serpent is in ours.”

    The New Calvinists have this fascination, reverence actually, for 17th and 18th century preaching.

  9. says

    As stated,consider context of poetic literature. But also consider three types of sin avon, patah, chataah. One is plain intentional wicked defiance of God. Another is mistaken or without intent to sin. Another is giving in to weak flesh nature but your heart is desiring not to. Be hates the wicked intentions and those are entwined in the person.

  10. says

    This is, as has been pointed out, bad hermeneutics. When the Psalmist was writing ‘God hates sinners’ he was not referring to sinners in the way we do post Romans. Who were the ‘sinners’? In most cases it was those who opposed the Psalmist (usually David)! Sinners did not describe everyone as Romans 3 would later do- it described those opposed to God and His people. Those verses are still applicable to those who oppose God and His people. But Jesus describes how God ‘feels’ about His errant creation much better when He says, ‘How long have I longed to gather you in my arms as a hen gathers its chicks…’
    This is dangerous ground. The Koran declares that man is a ‘dirty fluid’ and deserves nothing. Secular Humanists declare that we are base animals deserving nothing. Only Jesus declares that we are the sons of God and confirms our value with His own blood. Any economist can tell you that an object is worth what someone will pay for it. God gave his Son. Sinners? Oh yes. Unworthy? A hundred times over. I understand the message that Dr. Platt is getting at but it is a dangerous game to devalue that for which God gave so much.

  11. John Wylie says

    J. VERNON MCGEE: “ If you think God is just lovey-dovey, you had better read this (Ps.11:5) and some of the other Psalms again. GOD HATES THE WICKED who hold onto their wickedness… I do not think God loves the devil, I think He hates him, and HE HATES THOSE WHO HAVE NO INTENTION OF TURNING TO GOD. Frankly, I do not like this distinction that I hear today, that ‘God loves the sinner, but hates the sin.’ God has loved you so much that He gave His Son to die for you, but if you persist in your sin, and continue in that sin, you are the enemy of God. And God is your enemy.” (Psalms, Vol.1, p.72)

    Some other notables who concurred with Dr. McGee’s assessment would be: Augustine, Matthew Henry, John Wesley, F. Delitzsch, Charles Spurgeon, and A.H. Strong.

  12. Adam G. in NC says

    “Any economist can tell you that an object is worth what someone will pay for it.”
    I dont think you can logically compare economics to grace without undercutting its “freeness”.

    Also, comparing this to the Koran and secular humanism is also kind of a stretch. Humanism is usually defined as humanity being the applicable center and measure of a problem. This sounds very similar to much of the objections to Platt’s statement.

    • says

      All comparisons break down at some point. But the point about economics was value. Some (not neccessarily David Platt, but I don’t know) use these verses to try and ‘prove’ that we have no value. They go so far in trying to debase us and somehow make grace more gracious that they overlook the fact that God created us in His image. That it is He that is seeking us (yes, because we have rebelled and declared ourselves his enemy). God does hate the wicked because they destroy the image of God He created in themselves and others and they oppose His redemptive plans and purposes. That should be hated. Too often, these verses are used in the same way the Koran speaks- and the same way that Humanism speaks, to devalue man and deny his God created image. God does not apply grace by ‘overlooking’ sin and wickedness. The work of His Son undoes the works of the evil one and makes us His children. We, you and I, are of eternal value and worth because He made us to be that. We must love each other appropriately and teach others to value life as Jesus has valued us. Shouting about God hating the wicked and misusing the term like this post has done does not do this.

      • Adam G. in NC says

        I dont think this denies God’s image. The fact that we do carry his image, but profane it makes us even MORE worthy of his hatred and wrath. Does Platt or Carson argue against loving each other? If so, I missed that.

  13. Bob Browning says

    As someone who was actually a member at Brook Hills (where David Platt pastors) for the past two years, let me make a few comments.

    It is no secret that David shares a great affection for God’s sovereignty over all things. However, if you stop and listen to a year’s worth of his preaching you will find that he is even more obsessed with the love God has shown through Christ.

    I feel compelled to point this out, not to offer David a defense, but rather to point out that these doctrines don’t exist in a vacuum. Without the righteous hatred of God remaining on sinful human beings, what could possibly justify the horror of the cross?

    That said, I appreciate much of the discussion here, especially some who have suggested that maybe some better wording on David’s part would help clear things up. There is definitely some truth to that. However, I respectfully submit that if you have a problem with a one-liner from ANY pastor, it would behoove you to go listen to the whole sermon that produced that statement. And then, if that sermon was part of a series, maybe you should listen to the whole series before casting judgment on whether that pastor has been really clear. It’s totally baffling to me how we can be so good at exegesis for a sermon, but when we listen to another brother’s sermon we simply pull out one statement, forget about the context, forget about any tensions he was carefully balancing, and run with it like this is the whole truth and nothing but the truth. And then, we are surprised when not everyone agrees with it.

    May the Lord grant us grace, patience, and wisdom to carefully wrestle with such deep discussions.

    Grace and Peace,

    -Bob Browning

    • Doug Hibbard says

      I think this is a danger in the tweet-age: too often one-liners get plucked out, whether of sermons or blog posts or books, even, and we lose the context.

      Now, some people need to be clearer–but we owe it to the person to gather the context.

  14. says

    And then we have agreement from a seemingly odd place.

    God is not angry merely against the sin abstracted from the sinner, but against the sinner himself. Some persons have labored hard to set up this ridiculous and absurd abstraction, and would fain make it appear that God is angry at the sin yet not at the sinner. He hates the theft, but loves the thief. He abhors adultery, but is pleased with the adulterer. Now this is supreme non-sense. The sin has not moral character apart from the sinner. The act is nothing apart from the actor. The very thing that God hates and disapproves is not the mere event–the thing done in distinction from the doer; but it is the doer himself. It grieves and displeases Him that a rational moral agent, under His government, should array himself against his own God and Father, against all that is right and just in the universe. This is the thing that offends God. The sinner himself is the direct and the only object of His anger. – Charles Finney.

    • Jim G. says

      Mark,

      Anger is one thing. Hate is another. I can be angry at you and still love you. I cannot hate you and still love you. No one is arguing against anger here. Hatred though…

      Jim G.

        • Jim G. says

          Sorry for being unclear.

          The way I read your quote here, Finney is speaking primarily about God’s anger (he does use hate once). God’s anger is not in question in Jared’s OP. What is in question is whether God hates the sinner. I think Finney is making a case that God is angry with the sinner. I can agree with both you and him. I cannot agree that God hates the sinner.

          My point is that God can be angry and still love. But if God hates, can he love (in the normal way we understand hate)?

          Jim G.

          Jim G.

          • says

            Jim,

            It is very frustrating to post such a full quote and have you seemingly look right past what you are objecting to.

            Finney wrote the following (emphasis added).

            The very thing that God hates and disapproves is not the mere event–the thing done in distinction from the doer; but it is the doer himself.

            Finney is not making a distinction between the action and the person of what God hates and disapproves. He is stating God hates both the action and the sinner.

          • Jim G. says

            Hi Mark,

            I’m sorry to be a source of frustration to you. I thought his primary concern was anger, not hate. Even still, I don’t think we (you, me, Jared, Platt, Finney, or whoever) can say that God hates in the usual sense of the word hate. I really did not mean to frustrate you.

            Jim G.

          • says

            Of course Mark what Jim and others are doing is just a form of deconstructionism – a post modern practice. “Hate” does not mean “hate” -it means something else. Finney does not really mean “hate” – regardless if he defines “hate” in the quote to mean, well, “hate.” I hate it when these discussions turn upon the meaning of the language, and debate then centers upon “meaning” and intent of simple words be they English, Greek, or Hebrew. If I questioned a speaker’s meaning and intent to their face, they would object. Yet these same speakers have no qualms of doing the same with Scripture or dead guys. It kind of reminds me of a certain politician who wanted to question the meaning of the what word, “is” is.

            Rob

          • Jim G. says

            Rob,

            If I’m postmodern, then so is Calvin, Augustine, and everyone else who has tried to harmonize Scripture when two extremes clash. Will you accuse Calvin of being postmodern or employing deconstructionism when he uses sovereignty as a controlling paradigm in order to say that God is accommodating in his language when he says he repents? Calvin saw that a meticulously sovereign God can’t repent, at least not in the way “repent” is ordinarily used in language, so he did not allow “repent” to mean “repent.” Instead, he said that God is merely accommodating to the level of our understanding. Calvin rejected the plain meaning of “repent.” Do you “hate” what he did as well?

            How is what he did any different than what I am doing? He said “repent” could not mean “repent” in the ordinary sense. I am saying “hate” cannot mean “hate” in the ordinary sense, because my controlling paradigm is that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself. You can criticize my controlling paradigm if you want, but you should not be criticizing how I apply it. I am doing so consistently and in a manner consonant with every theologian in the history of Christianity. They do this because they have recognized that if everything in Scripture is taken at purely face value, doctrines break down and inconsistencies arise we cannot live with (and by this I mean that the inconsistencies are not merely personally uncomfortable – rather they lead to a genuine contradiction as a good and necessary consequence).

            All theological discussions turn upon the meaning of language because that is all we have to work with.

            Jim G.

          • says

            My argument Jim is that often the interpretive lens (paradigm if you will) of our “theologies” often stands in stark contradiction to the simple words of Scripture. So which comes first – the clear Scriptural meaning, or the interpretation? We all have these interpretive lenses which we pick and choose which is clear and which needs “interpretation.” My argument with you (and it is glad to see you have picked and chosen your own dead theological greats) is that in this case I don’t see why your over analyzing the word “hate” in relation to God and sinners.

            You WILL have to concede that your re-interpretation of Finney was off the mark – Finney’s sayings are not scripture, and surely he is not subject to the same rules as you apply to Scripture is he? Otherwise, I am extremely happy that you agree with me in all points that I have raised, and you have conceded the field – for Jim, that is how I interpret you :-).

            Rob

          • Jim G. says

            Hi Rob,

            Confusing me with Bill Clinton – that, my friend, was uncalled for. He was trying to weasel his way out of his affair with Monica. I’m at least trying to be up front and honest with what I’m doing. It’s the task of theology.

            Let me ask you a question, do you love Jesus? I’m sure the answer is yes. Do you hate your wife and children? Brother, sister? Parents? If yes, then you are being consistent with the “clear” meaning of Scripture. If no, then you are doing exactly what I am doing.

            Jim G.

          • says

            Jim – I am glad you agree with me that Bill Clinton was attempting to weasel out of accountability by delving into changing the meaning of simple words – in this case the word “is.” Most who work with attempting to deconstruct words and their meaning are also attempting to skirt the simple meaning of words, for they lead to uncomfortable conclusions. It is gratifying to know we are on the same side here, and we fully agree on this issue.

            Rob

          • John Wylie says

            I will say this in Jim’s defense, and I know he doesn’t need my endorsement, over the years he has always served as a reliably orthodox voice on this blog. Sometimes he makes the smoke come out of my ears as I work trying to digest precisely what he is saying because I lack his articulation.

  15. says

    I agree with and appreciate what Bob has said here. But I have two concerns that remain.
    One, I still don’t think that ‘wicked’ has been appropriately defined as the psalmist was using the term. That’s pretty important!
    Two, no matter how much we preach the Gospel humanity is made up of beat up and abused people. They have been told repeatedly that they are not eternal, they don’t matter, they are not valued, they are not loved. Yes, God hates the wicked in the way the psalmist meant it but we need to be careful in teaching this that we don’t confirm the lies that the enemy has used to enslave mankind. Let’s be about seeing people set free. As we teach this let us encourage our hearers that God is opposed to those who oppress them, that in His great love and mercy He has valued us as His children when all else only seek to use us for their own purposes and then throw us away. Let us – please- sound different than the voices of oppression and destruction.
    Btw, That starts with me loving and valuing David Platt and his good ministry.

    • says

      Of course Strider this would be correct if you had the proper assumption of Anthropology. By Scripture the enemy has not had to utilize lies about humanity that we did not already believe ourselves. The overwhelming issue of humanity is not poor self-esteem but a bloated one – no matter where we live, our socioeconomic conditions, or whatever pretenses of victim-hood be it real or perceived. Adam and Eve were not condemned from the garden because of Satan’s lies – they were cast out because they disobeyed God’s direct command. To fail humanity in preaching this truth is heretical – and certainly not the way our spiritual forbears witnessed the truth to those who lived in the past – a past that was full and present with people who lived in tough and squalid conditions – which did not deter those who preached to them the Gospel of Jesus Christ in truth and love.

      • cb scott says

        “The overwhelming issue of humanity is not poor self-esteem but a bloated one – no matter where we live, our socioeconomic conditions, or whatever pretenses of victim-hood be it real or perceived. Adam and Eve were not condemned from the garden because of Satan’s lies – they were cast out because they disobeyed God’s direct command.”

        As usual, a guy just most often has to say, “Yep” when Rob Ayers makes a comment.

      • says

        Hey Rob! It has been a while. I think this is a common misconception and one that evoked me to comment in the first place. We are believing their press and it is not true. The world does not have a bloated self-esteem but like the bully in the schoolyard they bluster and fuss but in the end they are trying unsuccessfully to cover their own insecurities. The proof is in the actions. Man debases himself daily proving he does not value himself as God’s children. Most ministers today are convinced that we must ‘convince’ the sinner he is lost, that he is sinful, or in this case that God ‘hates’ him. The reality is that most people already believe this and are looking earnestly for voices to confirm their person-hood. But when they listen to the average Baptist Preacher they hear the same thing that they have heard their whole lives. “You are worthless, you are nothing, you are on your own.’ The Gospel is good news because it refutes these lies. Again, the proof of what I am saying is in their behavior. They debase themselves and see no reason why not to murder the unborn- they are just valueless blobs that get in our way so why not? Inflated value? No, they value neither mankind nor their own person at all. Don’t believe the bluster, they don’t.

  16. Adam G. in NC says

    I do think Platt would have been a little clearer by saying that “God hates the sin AND hates the sinner BUT loves his SHEEP.”

  17. volfan007 says

    I think Platt does go overboard on some things…I’ve heard him say some things that were just way over the top…like: sinners prayer and asking Jesus into your heart being easy believism; and unless your Church is going on a mission trip to reach out to an unreached people group, then you’re not a NT Church; and there’s been a few other things that he just goes to the extreme about; but, he got this one right. God loves sinners, in the sense of providing salvation for all…He loved us enough to make salvation available for all. But, God does hate the wicked….He hates the wickedness they do…He hates the attitudes they have….He hates the way they live…He hates their rebellion….so, yes, God does love sinners, but He also hates sinners….both are true.

    Also, it’s not wrong to say that God loves sinners and hates their sin. It’s not a wrong thing to say….

    David

  18. William Thornton says

    I’ve had a moment of inspiration triggered by Platt and Jonathan Edwards. A new witnessing plan (LifeWay, NAMB or Jared Moore Vanity Press could publish it). Here’s the executive summary:

    “God loathes you and has a wonderful plan for your life!”

    “His plan is that you bust hell wide open and fry like a sausage.”

    “Now, He may love you but I don’t know that and nothing you can do can affect whether he does or not.”

    “If He does love you then you need not worry about anything. It’s all taken care of.”

    Hmmm, might need some work on a marketing plan.

    Call this caricaturish if you will. I think I’m getting the essential elements correct, according to some of the brethren.

    • Frank L. says

      William,

      Looking at the amount of empty pew per SBC church, maybe that’s not far off from what we actually practice.

    • says

      No, here’s what is better, and something like I have used many times:

      “God created you in His image. however, because you are a son of Adam, you were born a sinner and guilty before God. and, as soon as you were old enough, you added to that sin and guilt with your own sin and rebellion. As a consequence, God has stored up aweful wrath in anger against you. God loathes you and has a terrible plan for your life!”
      “His plan is that you will spend eternity in torment because of your rebellion against Him and His law.
      “Now, though you are a sinner in rebellion to God, He offers you a way out. He sent His Son to forgive sinners just like you and me. If you will repent of your sins and place your faith in Jesus to save you from your sins, God will save you.

      A condensed version for sure, but you get the gist.

      • says

        And Andrew, you said in reply to me? or William?, “Funniest comment I’ve seen for a good while …. and how apt!”

        Which comment do you find funny?

        • Andrew Barker says

          If I have to explain the joke, it will kill it but William should go into production and sells T-shirts at the next convention! Just my opinion of course! :)

          • volfan007 says

            I agree….William Thornton’s comment was just plain funny.

            I used to have a Seminary Prof, who used to say,”They’ll go to Hell and fry like a sausage.” His name is Dr. David Skinner. Great man, and a great preacher and teacher. I thoroughly enjoyed his classes at Mid America.

            David

  19. says

    My Thoughts? : The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence (Psalms 11:5).

    William Thornton, funny but wholly innaccurate. Nobody here said that. No reformed teacher I know said that. Not even Finney the Heretic said that.

  20. says

    My Thoughts? : The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence (Psalms 11:5).

    William Thornton, funny but wholly inaccurate. Nobody here said that. No reformed teacher I know said that. Not even Finney the Heretic said that.

    • William Thornton says

      Well, no, my caricature is not wholly inaccurate. The subject is God hates the sinner and hell is involved. And God is sovereign in salvation, right? So, it is all taken care of.

      Which of these is inaccurate?

      The sausage was my own similee, I admit that, but if hell is a place of torment and there are flames, sausage would fry, right?

      I’m in the moment here on my vision and think I am at least owed the Bill Bright tract award.

      • says

        William,

        The issue is not, as you stated that, “Well, no, my caricature is not wholly inaccurate.” The problem is that your caricature is not holy accurate. ;)

  21. says

    Did anyone read Leviticus lately:

    ““But if you will not listen to me and will not do all these commandments, 15 if you spurn my statutes, and if your soul abhors my rules, so that you will not do all my commandments, but qbreak my covenant, 16 then I will do this to you: I will visit you with panic, with rwasting disease and fever that consume the eyes and make the heart ache. And syou shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. 17 I will tset my face against you, and uyou shall be struck down before your enemies. vThose who hate you shall rule over you, and wyou shall flee when none pursues you. 18 And if in spite of this you will not listen to me, then I will discipline you again xsevenfold for your sins, 19 and I will break ythe pride of your power, and I zwill make your heavens like iron and your earth like bronze. 20 And ayour strength shall be spent in vain, for byour land shall not yield its increase, and the trees of the land shall not yield their fruit.
    21 c“Then if you walk contrary to me and will not listen to me, I will continue striking you, sevenfold for your sins. 22 And dI will let loose the wild beasts against you, which shall bereave you of your children and destroy your livestock and make you few in number, so that eyour roads shall be deserted.
    23 “And fif by this discipline you are not turned to me cbut walk contrary to me, 24 gthen I also will walk contrary to you, and I myself will strike you sevenfold for your sins. 25 And hI will bring a sword upon you, that shall execute vengeance for the covenant. And if you gather within your cities, iI will send pestilence among you, and you shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy. 26 jWhen I break your supply2 of bread, ten women shall bake your bread in a single oven and shall dole out your bread again by weight, and kyou shall eat and not be satisfied.
    27 “But lif in spite of this you will not listen to me, but walk contrary to me, 28 then I will walk contrary to you min fury, and I myself will discipline you xsevenfold for your sins. 29 nYou shall eat the flesh of your sons, and you shall eat the flesh of your daughters. 30 And oI will destroy your high places and cut down your incense altars and pcast your dead bodies upon the dead bodies of your idols, and my soul will abhor you. 31 And I will qlay your cities waste and will rmake your sanctuaries desolate, and sI will not smell your pleasing aromas. 32 And tI myself will devastate the land, so that your enemies who settle in it shall be uappalled at it. 33 And vI will scatter you among the nations, and I will unsheathe the sword after you, and your land shall be a desolation, and your cities shall be a waste.”

    Notice verse 30…”and my soul will abhor you.”

    Pretty graphic language for covenant breakers.

        • Andrew Barker says

          Les, when you cut and paste perhaps consider using a version which is not annotated?

      • says

        Andrew, I see now on the spell checker comment.

        But do you not have anything of substance to say about the Leviticus passage? Almost everyone here is just ignoring it, but I can see why.

        You referred to “hyperbole” earlier. Do you read the above Leviticus passage as hyperbole as well?

        Les

        • John Wylie says

          Les yes the Leviticus passage is revealing as well as the passages in the prophets that deal with this subject. But even if the concept was solely found in the poetical books it wouldn’t make it any less true. I’m shocked quite frankly at the dismissive attitude that several commenters have made toward the poetic passages. We get more theology from the Psalms than we do any other book and if we relegate it all to hyperbolic or symbolic language then it casts a shadow of doubt on a lot of things we believe about God.

          I had a younger preacher friend who was a bit enamored with intellectualism tell me one time, “You know the Psalms are not a theology textbook, it is a hymnbook.” And my answer was “Ok? But wouldn’t the fact that it is a book of the worship of God indicate what it is saying about Him is true?” Yes there is some hyperbolic language and some symbolic language employed in the Psalms, but we don’t dismiss everything from the Psalms as simply being hyperbolic.

          • John Wylie says

            And I would add further that I highly doubt that any of the commenters who have claimed that these are hyperbolic passages have actually during the course of this conversation read them all in their context and can conclusively demonstrate that is the case in every instance.

            What we are seeing here is something we are all guilty of from time to time and that is paradigm driven hermeneutics. We need to just let the Bible say what it says and we need to allow the Scriptures to upset our theological applecart.

    • Debbie Kaufman says

      Which is why Christ had to come and be the perfect sacrifice. He did what we could not do. Keep the Law, which says if you break one Law, you break them all.

      • volfan007 says

        In fact, Debbie, we all believe that Christ came to be the perfect sacrifice. We ALL believe that Christ did what we could not do. We ALL believe that everyone has broken the law, except Christ….He kept everyone of them.

        So, what’s your point?

        David

  22. says

    Jim,

    It seems that Finney in context is not separating God’s anger from His hate. He uses several words to relay his idea.

    It is also clear (not that you stated it) that Finney is not YRR. :)

    • Jim G. says

      I see what you are saying, Mark. I read him as saying much more about anger than hate.

      Finney is YRR, without a shadow of a doubt (Yonder Removed to his Respite).

      Jim G.

  23. Greg Harvey says

    After reading Jared’s blog onGod hating sin and hating the sinner and loving the sinner, it got me thinking…

    My scientific background causes me to think funny thoughts. Some of you might enjoy this one (though it is a headscratcher for others). There is an ambivalence expressed by God–or more precisely a bivalence–with respect to sinners that is caught in the blog title. Without responding specifically to the blog itself, it somewhat reminds me of the Schrödinger’s Cat thought experiment and the subsequent paradox that results from it.

    Now for those who might find my comments frustrating to follow, let me first say that this is an analogy that is not “of high fidelity”. So you can’t walk backwards through the analogy to the situation itself and draw conclusions. So I’m offering no conclusions per se regarding the paradox. Just some observations.

    The basic framework of the thought experiment is that the proverbial cat is placed in a box with a single atom of a material with a known half-life and a detector determines if the atom actually decayed and emitted expected radiation. If the decay is detected, the detector causes a fatal dose of a toxic gas to be released into the box. (This could be reframed in a less harmful way, but this is the original framing of the thought experiment. Trust me that no actual cats were experimented on in this thought-only experiment.)

    The question is when does the cat actually die? One line of reasoning is that observation collapses the wave function leading to the decay and until that observation occurs via the opening of the box, the cat is in a state of limbo. Another line of reasoning–called the many-worlds thesis–proposes that at least both occurrences exist in some reality.

    I mention the many-worlds thesis for a specific reason: in all honesty, what is shrouded in deep mystery is exactly how God interacts with the potential believer prior to the profession of faith and God’s acceptance of that profession. Now we have some HINTS and from those hints we derive different soteriologies. But the profession (and acceptance of it) is the equivalent of the observation event: it is a profound moment and only God truly knows what has happened in the mind, spirit, and will of the new believer.

    Prior to that event–the profession of faith–the purpose of God’s abhorration of sin and of the sinner seems to be to convey the deep seriousness of the inherent characteristic that we believe is best described as holiness in the Bible. Another inherent characteristic that emanates from that holiness is his righteousness. Now I could be convinced (in other words, let’s not argue about this) that righteousness precedes holiness and both characteristics are so irretrievably linked that one depends on the other.

    But in my warped way of thinking, the holiness of God interacted with a completely different characteristic–love–in order to create the plan of salvation. We have every reason to believe from the Bible that the event that activated the plan of salvation–even if it were conjectured prior to this event–was the sin of Adam (and Eve).

    We might not find agreement on exactly when God holds us accountable for our individual sin (meaning the nature, not necessarily the first sin that results from that nature though we do know Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount holds us accountable not just for ACTIONS but also for THOUGHTS). We know that without the Law there is no penalty for sin (though we also know from Romans 1 that there are inherent consequences for every sin and in aggregate Romans 1 speaks of God giving “those” over to depravity.)

    We also know from Romans that “all have sinned”. (For those playing Greek at home, that’s a 2nd Aorist Active 3rd person plural which means it’s essentially intransitive which means we don’t act on something else and nothing else acts on us in “missing”/”sinning”. The aorist tense provides a framing that doesn’t specifically set a time for the action. Almost like the combination of “happens”, “has happened”, and “will happen” depending on which of the “all” you’re currently referring to.)

    But here’s the interesting question that the thought experiment creates in me: we know that sin is what causes the abhoration (condition of being abhorred). But when, precisely, does love take over in this verse:

    Romans 5:8 (KJV) “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

    Well, first, “were” isn’t in the Greek. And the word translated “yet” has a connotation in English in some cases of a future occurrence, but that also isn’t in the Greek. The “verb” of the genitive clause “while we were yet sinners” is “onton” which is the verb participle of “to be” (i.e. “being”) but it is present tense and passive (as well as voiceless, plural, and due to the personal pronoun “hemon” essentially first person plural). That verb participle conveys status or “state” (think the state of the cat prior to the box opening). Finally, the adverb “eti” is more like “still” suggesting continuation than “yet” (which actually, also suggests continuation, but has the unfortunate future event overtone) I would probably write the phrase:

    “still in the state of being sinners”

    But note that it isn’t a time restricted state in that it isn’t NECESSARY that pre-birth that this verse be viewed as conveying sin on new babies (I’m throwing a bone to the age of accountability crowd, it doesn’t strengthen the extra-biblical argumentation, but it certainly doesn’t disagree with it, either.) But then we get to the meat of the issue. The active verb of the sentence is “died”. The subject–the actor–is Christ. The tense though is 2nd Aorist which means the verb is intransitive and is purely the action of the subject. And yet there is a genitive clause (which is to say it indicates the object of some action) that benefits from the action.

    What is the benefit? I’m glad you asked (and this is very much to the point of Ken Hamrick’s post and even differentiates between justification–the judicial result–and “what happens next”):

    “9Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.”

    The term justified can be roughly compared to setting a wall exactly perpendicular to its floor (or even more precisely, relying on a plumb bob at the end of a plumb line–think Amos 7:7–to set the wall exactly opposite the gravity gradient which maximizes its stability in a consistent gravity field which the earth mostly is. If you’ve ever been to Casa Magnetica at the original Six Flags Over Texas, you know walls do not have to be perpendicular to floors, but to stay standing load bearing walls must be perpendicular to gravity.) I say “roughly compared” because Scripture does exactly that but we view “justification” as a spiritual term and not just a physical reality term (i.e. not a “right angle” or “not perpendicular” physically). But the key is that “justification” includes–in my opinion and not specifically due to JUST this verse but based on the hermeneutic of the whole counsel of the word of God interpreting each specific passage–both imputation of righteousness AND sanctification. Which is to say there is an act on us that results in a change initiated by Christ’s death and consonant (ignoring soteriological disagreements) with our profession of faith.

    But look at that last phrase and now connect it to the beginning of v8. God commends his love to us by Christ dying so that we are saved from the “orges” (i.e. “wrath” or perhaps with a bit more precision a “swelling” that results in an “outpouring” that “settles indignation”).

    One thing Hebrew and Greek share is a conveyance of intensity in the verb itself. So the word “shall” that is rendered in English is actually part of the verb. But the phrase “shall be saved” is very interesting. First, it’s in 1st person plural so the subject–usually the actor–of the verb is “we”. But it’s in future tense and also is (meaning the action happens towards the subject but is not caused by the subject) passive in addition to being in the intensive voice.

    So even though the verse is written after the cross and after the resurrection, the wrath we’re being saved from isn’t now but in the future. God’s love is “type-ified” by Christ dying while “we” (I’m going to return to this in a moment, but for the moment let’s just assume the global Bride of all time including believers in the hall of faith “looking forward” to Christ Jesus…we need to tease that apart a little but I’ll explain why it’s ok for the moment to view it this way) were in the state of being sinners resulting in both justification and–and watch out…here it comes–salvation specifically from wrath.

    Whoa…did you see that? We speak of salvation from sin. And you could argue this verse supports that via the reference to justification and therefore alludes to sanctification (as noted earlier). But the verse is much more precise as to what we’re saved from: God’s wrath.

    Now since I threw a bone to the “age of accountability” believers, pardon me while I throw one to the “limited atonement” crowd. If atonement is solely the act of justification and salvation from wrath–note precisely how my protasis is constructed (thanks Bart!!)–then it is precisely limited. Christ died with sufficient sacrifice for all that sinned. We do not see any indication in Scripture that the invitation or the quality of the sacrifice is inadequate. But only those that qualify for these two verses actually receive the benefit of atonement. Only they benefit from propitiation. I realize this isn’t the only historical interpretation of it and I note Bart’s extended analysis of why the propitiation itself shouldn’t be viewed as limited, but for me I really don’t see the problem with admitting that the only ones that benefit receive that benefit because of successful faith. But I digress and this isn’t the primary topic and I’m not going to respond to comments on it at all.

    But here’s are the key things I extracted from my “theology thought experiment” based on Jared’s blog:

    1. While we were yet sinners is a 2nd aorist, active participle essentially conveying–and agreeing with–the thought that all have sinned (Romans 3:23).

    2. God’s love is “commended to us” (“substantiated” might be another good rendering in English) specifically via Christ’s death occurring “after sin” had been accomplished as our current state. (This is rich: as long as you don’t fall for the brain twister, it is as if Christ died individually for each of us with all of us–past, present, and future–being in the state of sinning.)

    3. The death of Christ has two primary benefits for us (presumably those believing though these verses don’t directly address any limitations on audience): justification (which implies both imputation of righteousness and sanctification) AND salvation from wrath.

    Now I said I’d tease apart the time sensation of “while we were yet sinners”. Strictly speaking Paul is writing from the 1st century and–given the claims of Hebrews 11–he seems to address the entire (mathematical use of the term here) “set” of redeemed and delivered people who put trust/faith in God. So he could be using language that sweeps broadly but is designed to be primarily in the reference frame of listeners in the first century. This is the most obvious interpretation and application of this verse. Let’s not be distracted by others (please).

    But going back to the Schrödinger’s Cat thought experiment:

    It is almost as if the point of view of time immemorial–or “human history” as it were from the perspective of these two verses–starts with sin (Romans starts earlier of course), then moves to Christ’s death, results in immediate justification but future “salvation” from wrath. You could argue that since that plan was put in place prophetically by God when he prophesied against the serpent–and we also know from Jesus’s comment in Matthew 25:41 that hell was prepared for the devil and the fallen angels (thanks Adam G for kicking the neuron that made me look that up) and we presume that they had already fallen before Adam and Eve were created.

    So you could think of the “theology thought experiment” as being framed like this:

    1. God puts humanity in a box.

    2. The radioactive substance is in essence free will: i.e. to choose to obey or sin.

    3. The box was opened via the combination of Satan’s temptation and Adam and Eve’s response.

    4. The detector (by the way, the “promise” that God made to Adam and Eve is in the “hithpael” which is both intense AND reflexive meaning that Adam and Eve essentially caused themselves the result) was “if you eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil you shall surely [cause yourselves to] die

    5. But God essentially knew the result of the experiment was Satan’s dominion over God’s creation–at least on “adamah/eretz”–and since he knew Satan and the fallen angels had already successfully triggered their own demise, he wanted to make sure that these creatures that were made a little lower than the angels weren’t doomed to the same punishment designed for the Usurper and his ilk.

    Now look especially at the phrase “you shall [cause yourself to] surely die”. That is the both the detector of the state of “while we were yet sinners” and the vessel of the poison gas itself. And here’s the point I’ve been making all along: as Rob Zinn OFTEN said from the pulpit, God cannot tolerate sin. If he did, then he’d have to apologize to the people of Sodom and Gomorrah (before the written Law by the way) for wiping them out if not also to the pre-flood crowd he drowned.

    But those in Christ Jesus are justified and SHALL BE SAVED from wrath. So our sole concern as believers is–again borrowing from Rob’s preaching–to live as Kids of the King ought to live. That is an aspirational calling and not one specifically tied to merely abiding by a list of sins. It isn’t that the list of sins–let’s write it more broadly as all of God’s commandments to us–have gone “inactive”. But with the freedom–found in justification but also in being freed of the slavery of sin–comes both an opportunity and an obligation.

    The opportunity is since we’re no longer “entangled” in sin, we choose–as free will as any most expansive description of human free will–when we sin and when we do not sin. That leaves the substance of sin in our lives requiring exegesis of the specific, individual behavior that leads to sin. We need to spend the time understanding why we act the way we act. We can no longer–in Flip Wilson terms–say “the devil made me do it.” But the emphasis of Hebrews 12:5-12 isn’t first and foremost on “not sinning”. It’s first and foremost on fulfilling our destiny (and destination) as sons (and daughters) of God. The sin is indication that something is wrong relationally. But it is very precisely a symptom and not a cause.

    We must address the cause and not just address the symptom. And in Christ Jesus the cause is the weakness of our will. We have “all the tools in the toolbox” (if not the entire tool factory) in the New Testament to not sin. We have the Holy Spirit as a seal confirming the completion of our perfection to the “eikon” of Christ Jesus. We have the armor of God. We have prayer. We have the assembling of ourselves together. But the thing we lack is a willingness to do serious business with God about our “want to”…our will.

    Now I’m going to flatter Debbie Kaufman a little bit. In my opinion this is at the heart of what she’s trying to write. God’s discipline is MUCH WORSE than a caning. He lovingly calls us to fit in and fill out the robes of the children of the King. When we don’t do that, his disappointment with us–and his correction of us–is like Solomon writing Proverbs to his son. It is as gentle as the kindness that leads us to repentance. And in that gentleness is the worst thing of all: the rejection of wrath in favor of firm correction.

    Now we sometimes perceive it as a great weight. I’ve shared the intense struggle my wife and I had going through many years of deep and distressing financial difficulty. I’ll ‘fess up: I caused myself SOME of that distress. But not all suffering is necessarily discipline of the shortcomings (though the writer of Hebrews use of “suffering” in that passage is specific to the kind of discipline that results from–at least in that passage–sin). Some of it is preparation for the longterm as well.

    I believe our primary focus should be on that picture of “fitting in and filling out our robes”. Secondarily we need to teach believers to guard their hearts against sin. But WE need to do that with an eye to what Jared is talking about and especially to those two verses. God’s love is great for us. And when we properly respond out of great, responsive love for him, then he is best able to put us in situations where we glorify and exalt him, lifting up Jesus Christ and drawing others to him.

    Now for me, this finds a simple expression: “There but for the grace of God go I.” But that expression primarily has to do with my pre-salvation sin metastasizing into the worst human behavior. Or the full realization of depravity if you will. Fortuitously God can halt the metastasization sin into depravity in a couple of ways: one is salvation. Another is death. And that pretty much reflects his method after salvation for dealing with continuing sin: correction (including allowing consequences to accumulate and letting us bear the weight of our choices) and death.

    If we sin, we distract others from God. Clearly not a great thing. And Paul’s warning regarding “everything is permitted but not everything is beneficial; everything is permitted but I will not be subjugated” reminds us of the previous entanglement of sin.

    I’ll conclude this comment with one final thought from the “thought experiment” regarding the cat:

    “In quantum computing the phrase “cat state” often refers to the special entanglement of qubits wherein the qubits are in an equal superposition of all being 0 and all being 1″

    In the analogy, we suffer the problem that while we are justified, we still on occasion choose sin and are entangled between the benefits of justification and deliverance and the consequences of our sin. Almost like those qubits…which is why Paul commends us:

    Philippians 2:12 (HCSB): “12 So then, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence, but now even more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. ”

    I apologize to Jared for inserting this into his comment stream. If he or Dave feel it is too inappropriate to endure, please, please feel free to remove it. But since it was triggered by Jared’s blog and this discussion that followed, I thought it wouldn’t be completely inappropriate to post it.

    P.S. Yes, Joe, I used “greg.w.h” but I normally signed my name Greg Harvey at the end of each post. I figured removing the indirection here would make sense.

  24. says

    What most folks do not seem to realize is that God’s hate can serve as a therapeutic paradox, that is, it can accomplish the exact opposite of what it seems to inculcate. Bro. Barker should notice how our Lord said to the woman of Canaan, “It is not meet to cast the children’s bread to dogs.”
    And she agreed with him, “Truth, Lord.” Then she argues with Son of God Himself, “But even the dogs eat of the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”(Mt.`14:21-28). Notice her argument is saying that she agrees with him: she is the equivalent of a dog, an unclean animal, even an image of reprobation, and yet, like the dog, she is willing and even eager for a few crumbs. And here she pays the Lord Jesus Christ the greatest of compliments, namely, by implying that even a mere crumb of His mercy and grace will more than suffice to meet her needs, to answer her request. At that point Jesus commends her for her “great faith,” His words. What the dear brother fails to perceive is that man is in such a wretched state that He is said in Scripture to be made to be taken and destroyed ( I don’t have the reference at hand, and my concordance is in one of hundreds of boxes, waiting to be found and unpacked). The truth of the matter is that man is a mad monster, only the monstrosity is hid beneath a fair exterior until it is aggravated, like the serpent or viper that suddenly strikes. Ecclesiates 9:3 speaks of the madnesss in the heart, a heart full of evil. It is from this source that the child can murder the parent, the parent the child, the sibling the sibling, a family member another family member, a neighbor another neighbor, etc. We see madness and evil at its darkest nadir in the adult that sexually abuses a child and even murders the child to cover their evil. The total depravity of man is identified by our Lord in speaking of what comes out of the heart, and He even called His own disciples evil (Mt. 15:19; Lk.11:13).

    It is easier to justify what God should and even must hate the sinner who does such despicable evils as murder, thievery, rape, sexual abuse of children, and so on, than it is to justify why He should love even in one sinner. And yet God can and does send ministers with hard messages, messages the very opposite of what one would expect. Take, for example, Jonah’s message to Nineveh. He does say a single word about mercy. He simply declares the harsh word of judgment, “Forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.” I have heard preachers say, “But would, if you repent, God will forgive you.” Reading what Jonah said about the Ninevites in chapter four and how God had to argue with him even for the sake of the children, I seriously doubt that he said any such thing. In fact, it is obvious that he did not, and God used a preacher who did not want to see any converts to convert a great city. God uses strange instruments to accomplish His purposes. The fact that He would have ever used me is a matter of wonder, and I dare say that the same is true for every one that reads these words who seeks to serve the Lord. Many do lack insights into God’s word, insights that come only from the Spirit’s teaching in conjunction with events in our life that help us to grasp what He is imparting to us. Like old John Newton, “that saved a wretch like me.” Imagine, if you will, a slave ship captain who likely took his fill of the flesh as some sources do imply and yet that fellow sailing into Charleston Harbor with a load of slaves will be converted and write one of the greatest hymns in the Christian Faith. Now that is Amazing Grace to me, indeed.

  25. Andrew Barker says

    Well that is a nicely worded and reasoned reply Dr. W and I don’really have too many issues with it. However, there are a couple of comments I would make. Firstly it’s quite a bold move to say that God’s hate is a paradox, therapeutic or otherwise. I’d prefer chapter and verse before I go along with that concept. Then there is the wider point which is being made by quite a few of the other contributors which I think is more telling. There is a definite tendancy to promote the idea that God hates unregenerate me, but loves regenerate me. The Caananite women is a good example because Jesus’ dealings with her have nothing to do with how much or little he loves or hates her. They are about the reason for his being there. Jonah preached that God would destroy Nineveh, but God didn’t, much to Jonah’s annoyance. Did God suddenly go from hating the city to loving it? I think not. It’s a bad road to go down, this idea that God’s attitude towards me is governed by what ‘I’ do. Quite why God has anything to do with any of us is of course a complete mystery. But trying to pin God down to hating and loving the sinner at the same is no mystery but serves only to demonstrate our lack of understanding of who God really is.

    • John Wylie says

      But Andrew the problem is that all we have to go by are the Holy Scriptures and the truth is that they teach that God hates and loves the sinner. It has been my experience as a pastor that we as human beings tend to reject what we do not understand. The idea of God’s hatred and love of the sinner is indeed what we would call a paradox humanly speaking. Just because we don’t understand it does not make it any less true.

      • Andrew Barker says

        John I have no problem with going along with scripture and what is taught there. I can accept that people not only reject ideas which they can’t understand but that they also construct paradoxes where in reality there is nothing of the kind. Rather than questioning their own thinking and accepting they may be wrong, they try to rationalize the situation by appealing to either mystery or labeling it as a paradox.

        What is also true, is that people love to read into passages things which are not there, when it is convenient for them to do so, especially when it fits in with their overall theological approach. So I ask myself the question, what is the true motive or purpose behind such an article as this? Is it really to rectify some major flaw in Christian teaching which has been present in the Church for many years? Is it really the case that nobody has addressed this issue before and are we really having our souls enlightened by this fresh revelation?

        What the authors of this piece are trying to say is that God really does hate sinners, yes he does! They quote scripture in an effort to prove this. But I have seen no evidence that they have stepped back and questioned their own interpretation of this by looking at the nature and character of God with regard to hate. Putting it simply, if God hates sinners, then hate has to be part of God’s eternal nature just as much as God is love. Moreover, we are made in God’s image, so I guess that means we have to hate sinners as well? But I can find no reference to the fact that God is hate, or indeed anything remotely similar to this. I would suggest that God’s hatred of sin is a consequence of his holiness, not the other way round.

        The Bible clearly shows that God hates sin in every shape and form. But how does He deal with it? Ultimately, He deals with sin by an act of love in sending Jesus. The message of the Gospel is one of transformation taking place because His love has shined in our hearts. There have been more than enough efforts over the past few years to re-write John 3:16 but I’ve never seen anybody going so far as to re-translate it as “for God so hated sinners …!”

        To actually ‘teach’ that God hates sinners simply demonstrates a lack of breadth and true understanding of who God is. It focuses in on a narrow point of scripture to the exclusion of all others and ultimately it could be deeply damaging to some who hear this sort of message. People need to hear the message that they are sinners who need to repent. They don’t need to be taught half truths.

        • says

          Dear Brother Barker: I was listening yesterday to a message on Ephs.1:4, and he cited Dr. J.I. Packer’s work on Evangelism and The Sovereignty of God, specifically with reference to the paradox of Divine Sovereignty and Human Responsibility. Packer is a D.Phil. from Oxford Univ., a former contributing editor for Christianity Today. He says that such is a paradox and that tensions are involved. Dr. Truett spoke of Calvinism as putting the crown of responsibility upon man’s head in his message at the Centennial Celebration of Spurgeon’s Birth at the Royal Albert Music Hall, where he was introduced the Prime Minister of the British Empire. As a student of Intellectual History for many years (I have a Master’s in that field and am listed in the International Who’s Who of Intellectuals, Vol.III. Cambridge, Eng.: International Biographical Centre, 1980) I consider that the paradox and the two apparently contradictory points of Divine Sovereignty and Human Responsibility are most suggestive of a paradox that creates a tension in the mind, one that an individual believer finds to be liberating, enabling him or her to be balanced, flexible, creative, constant, and magnetic. This, in short, is the secret of the effect of Christian teachings on the believer which helps that believer to cope with situations in this world. Sometimes a situation calls for dealing from the perspective of the Sovereignty of God and at other times, the situation must be dealt with from the perspective of Human Responsibility. Now, a believer does not have to be an intellectual to come to know and practice in way like that indicated, but the beliefs will move the believer to an intellectual consideration of truths and how they apply. God is so rational that He actually has the Apostle Paul use a form of the word logical in Romans 12:1, reasonable, rational, even logical service. Indeed, the first requirement of the Christian Faith is for a change of mind, metanous, repentance, based upon reflection. Now the intellectual does not shut out the emotional, On the contrary, it enhances the feeling aspect, because thought puts emotion on a sound basis which, in turn, is the best high, feeling good when things are thoughtfully and practically right.

    • Adam G. in NC says

      I would think that knowing Platt and Carson’s theology, the elect (regardless of if they are regenerate or unregenerate at the time) ultimately enjoy a different relationship with God than the reprobate.

  26. Rick Patrick says

    We must admit the existence of language stating God hates sinners, but this poetic language can and should be interpreted as hyperbole, as many have pointed out.

    The notion that God’s sentiment toward the lost world is somehow split between both love and hatred is radical, dangerous and wrong. It makes God almost schizophrenic.

    The belief that “God so loved the world” is rendered questionable by the idea that He also hated the world at the same time.

    Consider the implication of this view relative to God’s command that we are to love our enemies. Would God ask humans to love and not hate lost sinners while choosing to both love and hate them Himself? This would result in men loving sinners more than God. Does God really call men to be more loving than He is?

    Carson and Platt are not infallible. They are fine brothers and good men, but have probably missed a question or two on Jeopardy before.

    God loved sinners enough to send His Son to die for us. If He truly hated sinners, in any normal sense of that word, He would not have bothered to sacrifice His Son.

    God demonstrates His love for us in this, that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

    • says

      Rick,

      Appreciate your measured words here. Two questions come to mind.

      1. Would you consider the Leviticus passage I quoted above to be hyperbole? If not, how would those words fit into this discussion, esp in light of verse 30?

      2. You said, “Consider the implication of this view relative to God’s command that we are to love our enemies. Would God ask humans to love and not hate lost sinners while choosing to both love and hate them Himself? This would result in men loving sinners more than God. Does God really call men to be more loving than He is?”

      Could it be that the kind of love and hate displayed by God be of a different nature than what we are able, and even permitted in regards to hate, to display? In other words, can God’s hate for sinners (resulting in eternal damnation for those who never profess faith) be because we have all offended God in his holiness? That cannot happen in the same way to us by our enemies.

      Appreciate any thoughts you may have.

      Les

      • Rick Patrick says

        1. Regarding the Leviticus passage, I would view these words as part of God’s judgment and wrath toward sin, with the logic that the Lord disciplines those He loves. Picture the earthly father who cries while spanking the child he dearly loves. He does not hate that child. He hates what the child did.

        2. You make a fine point about the difference between God’s love and ours. My preference, however, would be for us to labor long and hard at disabusing people of the notion of God’s literal hatred for sinners themselves. When Jesus said, “This is my Body/Blood…” we quickly move away from a literal interpretation in favor of a symbolic or metaphorical one. Jesus is a Friend of sinners. I don’t think He’s the kind of Friend that literally hates them. I think we are more accurate to the entire biblical text when we interpret such passages to mean that God hates the bad things we do.

        Thanks for the exchange. Have a blessed day.

        • says

          Rick,

          You said, “Picture the earthly father who cries while spanking the child he dearly loves. He does not hate that child. He hates what the child did.”

          The problem with employing this illustration is that those who are without Christ are not God’s children. Jesus makes this clear to the unbelieving Jews in John 8:44 when He said to them, “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires.” John also makes this clear in 1 John 3:8-10 when he says:

          Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. 10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.

          So, you cannot compare an earthly father and child metaphor since God does not consider all to be His own children.

    • Dale B says

      Rick;
      Just because, “It will preach”; does not confer the status of ‘Inspired Scripture’. (My observation.)
      A layman finds it a bit disingenuous to hear folks deny that Scripture says God hates (some) ‘sinners’ and then when Scripture is provided; to simply declare it as ‘hyperbole’. And which ‘definitive’ Scripture stated precisely, that “God hated sin but loved the sinner”?
      The hyperbole argument comes dangerously close to the fallacious, “The Bible ‘contains’ truth” heresy that forced the CR.
      It gives me no pleasure to disagree with you. When you and Platt disagree, I’m with you about 99% of the time.
      Dale

  27. scottshaffer says

    The following explanation is given at apologeticspress.org:

    How, then, can one reconcile the verses that seem to suggest that God hates sinners, but loves them at the same time? One of the most plausible solutions is that the Bible writers are using a figure of speech called metonymy when they write that God hates sinners. Metonymy is defined as: “A figure by which one name or noun is used instead of another, to which it stands in a certain relation” (Bullinger, 1898, p. 538). Bullinger further explains that metonymy can be “of cause,” when the person acting can be put in place of the thing that is done (p. 539). For instance, in Luke 16:29, the text says: “They have Moses and the prophets, let them hear them.” In reality, they did not have “Moses” or the “prophets,” but they did have their writings. The name Moses is a metonymy that stood for his writings, since he was the cause of the writings. In modern times, that would be like saying, “I hate Shakespeare.” Would the person who said that mean that he hated Shakespeare’s personality? No. We understand he would be saying he does not like the writings of Shakespeare, with no comment on the playwright’s personality.

    If we apply that same figure of speech to the passages about God “hating sinners,” we can see that the sinner is put in place of the sin. Thus, when God says He hates “a false witness who speaks lies” (Proverbs 6:19), if metonymy is being used, then God hates the lies, and the one who is doing the lying (the cause) is put in place of the lies (the effect). It is interesting to see how clear this feature can be in other contexts. For instance, Proverbs 6:17 says that God hates “a lying tongue.” Does that mean that God hates a physical tongue, made of muscle and body tissue? No. It means God hates the sin that a tongue can perform. In the same context, we learn that God hates “feet that are swift in running to evil” (6:18). Again, does that mean that God hates physical feet? No. It simply means that God hates the sin that those feet can perform. It is interesting that while few, if any, would suggest that God hates physical tongues or actual feet, they would insist that God hates actual sinners and not the sin done by them.

    When studying the Bible, it is very important to keep in mind that the Bible writers often used figures of speech. When we look at the idea that God hates sin, but loves sinners, the figure of speech known as metonymy clears up the confusion. Just as God does not hate physical feet or tongues, He does not hate sinners. These nouns are put in the place of the things they cause—sin.

    • Frank L. says

      Scott,

      thanks. Figures of speech are some of the toughest literary devices to grasp, and even moreso in Biblical literature. Metonymy has always been one of the toughest for me.

    • says

      Here is an explanation at thirdmill.com:

      God loves everyone in some sense. But his love for the reprobate is not absolute. Rather, it is mixed with hatred. According to Scripture, God both loves and hates at the same time, though clearly in different senses. Certainly in some texts “hate” is used in a rhetorical/hyperbolic sense (e.g., Luke 14:26). But this is not usually what it means.

      There are quite a number of passages in Scripture that say that God hates sinners, and there are good reasons, both literary and theological, that we interpret them to mean that he actually does despise sinners. Let’s consider Psalm 5:4-6 first, where David wrote:
      “For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness; No evil dwells with You. The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes; You hate all who do iniquity. You destroy those who speak falsehood; The LORD abhors the man of bloodshed and deceit.”
      Many commentators have suggested that God’s “hatred” here ought simply to be understood in contrast to his love. In other words, his hatred is simply a hyperbolic way of speaking of the absence of love. The problem is that the text itself does not suggest this meaning, and this meaning is not intuitive based on the content of the passage. Rather, it seems to me to be an entirely arbitrary suggestion that we take “hate” here in the same way it is used in Luke 14:26.

      In passages such as Psalm 5; we don’t simply have a random occurrence of “hate,” or a mere poetic parallel, or an obviously hyperbolic use. What we have is a statement of hatred coupled with a description of what that hatred entails. In Psalm 5; in addition to hating and abhorring the wicked, God “destroys” them; they cannot stand in his presence. Now, unless we want to argue that being “destroyed” is simply being “not blessed,” we’ve got a problem saying that God doesn’t feel actual hatred toward these individuals. Sure, we could take the entire section as a rhetorical construct, but the fact remains that God actually will punish these sinners eternally in hell for their transgressions. He himself will subject them to torments because he is so angry with them. That’s not merely motivated by an absence of love, and it certainly is not consistent with love acting on its own.

      Besides, Luke 14:26 comes to us with the prior understanding that God doesn’t really want us to hate our parents (Exod 20:12). But Psalm 5:4-6 comes to us with the prior understanding that God actually does punish sinners in hell. Luke 14:26 works as a rhetorical device specifically because we know the statement is preposterous if interpreted simply. The same is not true of Psalm 5:4-6. On the contrary, we know that it speaks the truth about the fate of the wicked. As a result, we ought to expect it to speak the truth about the reason for the fate of the wicked, namely God’s hatred.

      Or consider Psalm 11:5-7
      “The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked, And the one who loves violence His soul hates. Upon the wicked He will rain snares; Fire and brimstone and burning wind will be the portion of their cup. For the Lord is righteous, He loves righteousness; The upright will behold His face.”
      Here God rains fire and brimstone on those he hates, and the reason he does so is that he is righteous. In other words, it is a praiseworthy quality in God that causes him to hate and to punish evildoers. Again, we don’t have a rhetorical parallel; we have a purposeful description of a true threat.

      Or Proverbs 6:16-19
      “There are six things which the Lord hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that run rapidly to evil, A false witness who utters lies, And one who spreads strife among brothers.”
      Here we are told that God hates various things, some of which are sins, some of which are sinners. If God doesn’t hate the sinners in the list, then he also doesn’t hate the sins in the list. Presumably we can all agree that he hates the sins, so that we should also agree that he hates the sinners.

      Perhaps the granddaddy of all passages describing God’s hatred is Leviticus 26. In Leviticus 26:30, we are told that God’s soul abhors those who continually break his covenant. Moreover, this is not a poetic passage; it is a description of the terms of the covenant. According to Leviticus 26:28-39, the covenant curses that will fall on those he hates include:
      “I will act with wrathful hostility against you.”

      “You will eat the flesh of your sons and the flesh of your daughters you will eat.”

      “I then will destroy your high places, and cut down your incense altars, and heap your remains on the remains of your idols.”

      “I will lay waste your cities as well and will make your sanctuaries desolate.”

      “You … I will scatter among the nations and will draw out a sword after you.”

      “As for those of you who may be left, I will also bring weakness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies. And the sound of a driven leaf will chase them, and even when no one is pursuing they will flee as though from the sword, and they will fall.”

      “You will perish among the nations, and your enemies’ land will consume you.”

      “Those of you who may be left will rot away because of their iniquity in the lands of your enemies.”
      If that isn’t a description of pure hatred, I don’t know what is. And in fact, we know this isn’t hyperbolic language because God did all these things to his people when they rebelled against him, and the Old Testament contains the record of it. Moreover, when Jesus returns, God will do even worse to those in hell.

      Nevertheless, there are many commentators who argue that God hates no one. I just happen to think they’re wrong on this one. And frankly, I’m not sure why we should want to think that God hates no one. After all, what kind of God sends people to hell when the underlying emotion he feels for them is love or apathy? I don’t want that kind of love, and I don’t believe that apathy takes such strong measures to obliterate those it supposedly “doesn’t love.”

      Now, I should add that one reason many people try to argue that God doesn’t hate anyone is their desire to defend God as non-capricious and non-malicious. Insofar as hatred is evil, God does not hate. He does not hate randomly or impulsively (i.e., he is not capricious); and he does not hate with evil motivation (i.e., he is not malicious). His hatred is earned by those he hates. It is his righteous response to their own evil. If we have to find another word for that than “hatred,” that’s okay, as long as we don’t deny that he can’t stand these people, that he doesn’t want them in his presence, and that he wants to hurt them extremely badly, causing them immense and everlasting pain. Personally, I think “hatred” is a pretty good summary of God’s feelings about them, but I am certainly open to other words if they do a better job avoiding implications of caprice and malice.

      The problem this creates, of course, is that we have to say that God both hates and loves sinners. But as I implied at the beginning of this answer, that really isn’t a problem. It is no contradiction to say that God hates them in one sense and loves them in another sense.

      In fact, if we think about it, we can all come up with examples from our own lives of things we both love and hate. I hate getting shots because they scare me and they hurt, but I love what they do for my immune system. It is harder when we apply this idea to people, but not impossible. For instance, we are supposed to love our enemies, but most of us also hate them. We are capable of experiencing of a mixture of love and hate toward them, such as patience and longsuffering one the one hand, and a desire for God to bring just retribution on the other (Rev 6:10).

    • says

      Scott,

      There is one huge, glaring problem with applying metonymy to Psalm 11:5 – it forces the text to lose its basic structure and the writer to appear cloudy in his wording. Here is the text:

      The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.

      The two words in opposition here are “righteous” and “wicked”. In order for “wicked” to stand for sin, given clear usage here of Hebrew parallelism, “righteous” must also stand for “righteousness.” But that wouldn’t make sense. God doesn’t test righeousness, He tests “the righteous” – actual people. Thus, in the second half of that verse, it would not make sense to say that God hates “wicked deeds” because it would destroy the parallelism clearly being communicated by the author.

      Secondly, the author employs another form of Hebrew parallelism in the third part of that verse when he says, “and the one who loves violence.” Here the author is restating who the wicked are – “the one(s) who loves violence.” Clearly, he is referring to a person and not a thing here.

      Finally, the context itself demands a personal referent for “wicked” and not an impersonal one. Look at the verses above and below:

      The Lord is in his holy temple;
      the Lord’s throne is in heaven;
      his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man.
      The Lord tests the righteous,
      but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.
      Let him rain coals on the wicked;
      fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup.

      Who is God testing in v.4? “The children of man” – clearly His children, who in the next verse the author calls “the righteous.” Repetition of the word “tests” clearly indicates that the author is speaking of the same person or persons in two different ways. But in each case, it only makes sense in context if the author is referring to a person, not an idea or act like “righteousness”.

      Then look below v.5 to v.6 – again we see parallelism (and chiastic structure as well). God is not raining coals on “sin.” Fire and sulfur and a scorching wind is not going to be the portion of “sin’s” cup, but rather these will be the portion of the cup of “the one who loves violence,” or “the wicked” (man or woman).

      So clearly metonymy cannot explain this verse and to suggest the author is employing it is to completely obliterate the entire structure of the Psalm.

      • says

        DR

        Would it not be fair to say that God hates what the wicked person is doing as opposed to hating the person? I understand your reference to parallelism but to me the real issue is WHY God loves one and WHY God “hates” the other and it is fair to me at least to say that the qualifying factor is WHAT the two are doing and what characterizes their respective lives.

        Otherwise one is forced to say God’s love for one is not based on righteousness or wickedness but solely according to His Own choosing.

        That is NOT what the texts you highlight at all.

        • says

          Bob,

          The problem with your assessment is that you are separating the person from their actions in a way that God does not. Clearly, we know that out of “what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.” The heart refers to the very nature of the person who acts. And so to separate the action from the heart of the one who does it is again to treat someone in a way that God does not.

          Now, that may very well mess up your theology and cause you to have to reconsider God’s election, but that’s the nature of exegesis. We must conform our theology to the text, not the text to our theology. What might mess you up even more is what I posted above regarding Jesus’ words in John 8 and John’s words in 1 John 3 – that there are some that God does not consider His children, but rather He considers to be children of the devil.

          In particular, v.10 of 1 John 3 seems to speak in polar opposite ways to how you are speaking. John says there:

          By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.

          Here, John is not saying that the actions of the wicked cause them to be the children of the devil, but rather that the actions of the wicked REVEAL that they are the children of the devil. The same is true of Jesus’ words in John 8:39-47:

          They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works Abraham did, 40 but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. 41 You are doing the works your father did.” They said to him, “We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father—even God.” 42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. 43 Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. 46 Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? 47 Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”

          Notice in each case where Jesus gives a cause and an effect is that the CAUSE is rooted in who they are (children of the devil), and the result is their unbelief and their wicked deeds. The order is reversed from what you seem to claim. Jesus says the reason why these people don’t believe is because they are by nature children of the devil. You say they are children of the devil because they don’t believe. Jesus tells us that the RESULTS of a wicked heart are unbelief and evil deeds, but you say they are the CAUSE. In fact, that last question by Jesus in v.46 and the answer He gives in v.47 are pretty revealing: Why don’t these Jews not believe Him? Jesus says it is because they are not of God.

          Now, you deal with the implications of all that on your own. It doesn’t change the point that God doesn’t separate sin from the sinner like you seem to be trying to do here. The sentence, “God hates the sin, but loves the sinner” simply isn’t found in the Bible.

        • says

          DR

          Thanks for the response, afraid what you have written does not affect my position on election.

          In all fairness, if you look at the texts you cite, I follow the fact that those who do not believe are “children of the devil” and we can play with that meaning BUT… that still does not substantiate your contention that God does not still love these individuals. You are making that assumption. So don’t be so quick to dismiss me on an exegetical argument here.

          Consider the following in Jesus statement you quote..

          “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. 43 Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word.”

          Notice something interesting here… you seem to indicate that they did not believe “because you are of your father the Devil” which Jesus does say… but notice what I believe to be the key to that statement, you do not understand what I say because you “cannot bear to hear My word.” Their refusal to “hear His Word” I believe is the cause of their being of their father the devil and not being of God.

          You see Jesus knows WHO He is; there is no confusion or question there. So, He is basically saying in this text… If you were of God, (the Scribes and Pharisees WERE the religious leaders and teachers of the Law in Israel) THEN you would hear Me and receive My Word.

          So, I would beg to differ with you in your argument concerning cause and effect as you present it. Unfortunately this particular text is a lot like the BF&M it allows both arguments… kind of proves God must have a sense of humor as I see it; because I am confident that He KNEW we would be having these kind of conversations 2000 years after Jesus spoke these words.

  28. says

    I actually took the time to listen to Platt’s message. A couple of comments caught my ear. First of all he made the following statement: “Does God hate the sin and love the sinner: well in a sense He does. Does God hate the sinner as well, YES.” He goes on, “We are all sinners with a deep sinful nature and a Holy God is dead set against sin and is also dead set against sinners. His HOLY HATE and His HOLY WRATH is due us.”

    What I am most afraid of is this idea that the sinners God hates with a Holy Hate are those people out there and never is a reference to me and my four. God’s wrath is always reserved for them; THEY deserve God’s wrath.

    I do not believe it is accurate to say “God hates sinners” and I am adamantly confident that it is wrong to say God has a “Holy Hate” for anyone. What is correct is to say God hates it when individuals are enslaved to their sin and refuse to turn to Him. This does not however mean that God HATES that individual.

    Did Jesus hate Judas? I do not see that in the Scriptures. Jesus offered Judas the opportunity to repent and I fully believe he could have. He did not do so. Is that because God did not give Judas the grace to repent? No; it was because Judas set out to do what was in his plans to do. Could God have stopped him from doing what he did, absolutely! God has given us all the choice to choose; we did not have a choice in the matter and we did not have a choice in the matter when it came to the consequences of the choices we make. God set those as well.

    So does God hate sin; we all agree that the answer to that question is yes. Does God hate sinners? I believe He hates what sin is doing to those individuals and if He indeed did not love them He would not care. I believe God loves everyone.

    Platt concluded this clip with the appeal to “trust Christ” so that your sins will be removed. By trusting Christ, God has chosen not to hold any of your sins against you…”

    Why does Platt make this statement, because Jesus died on the cross in “your place” and He took the crushing of God’s Holy wrath for “you.” He paid the penalty for “you”.

    Sadly here is the underlying fact that guides Platt’s theology: God died for “you” who are the elect. Those who are not the elect God hates with a “Holy Hate.” He abhors them.

    God loves me and He loves you. Every person I have ever heard try to make this case is ALWAYS on the LOVED side and is NEVER on the HATED side. Those who are hated are always those folk over there.

    So sad.

    • says

      Bob, you said, “God loves me and He loves you. Every person I have ever heard try to make this case is ALWAYS on the LOVED side and is NEVER on the HATED side. Those who are hated are always those folk over there.”

      You clearly have not read “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” or pretty much any other Puritan for quite some time. The Puritans were very clear that God’s wrath was universal and the only way to avoid it was to be granted the righteousness of Christ through repentance and faith. And then they proceeded often to challenge each person to examine their heart to determine whether they were found exhibiting the righteousness of Christ or not. Those who did not were admonished to flee the wrath that was to come (as Randall noted below).

      • says

        Here is what I find kind of amusing in your reply. You hail Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God but detest an evangelistic invitation today on the grounds that it might manipulate someone to make a false profession of faith in Christ. Brother one could EASILY make the argument that there is NOTHING more manipulative that that sermon (and others like em.)

        Now for the record, I do not have a problem with those kinds of messages but then again I am not calvinistic in the slightest degree… and so to “challenge each person to examine their heart to determine whether they were found exhibiting the righteousness of Christ or not. Those who did not were admonished to flee the wrath that was to come” I would add by “repenting of your sin and by faith trusting in God’s provisions settled at the empty tomb and His promises as delivered by the convicting and convincing work of the Holy Spirit… let him who is thirsty COME! AMEN.

        Seems to me there is no reference to fleeing the wrath IF And ONLY IF JESUS HAS HAND PICKED YOU FOR GLORY. Otherwise there is no need to flee…

        Don’t add up there brother.

  29. Randall Cofield says

    Well, I think we can see from this thread why the “Gospel” of our day is “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life”….rather than “flee from the wrath to come”….

    • volfan007 says

      So, Randall, it should be “God hates you, and might have a wonderful plan for your life…..depending on whether you’re the Elect, or not?” lol

      Or, maybe we should approach people with the probing question of: “Would you like to see if you’re one of the Elect, or not?” Instead of calling your witness training “Evangelism Explosion,” you could call it “Election Detection.”

      Just sayin’

      David ;)

      • John Wylie says

        Vol,

        I am a nonCalvinist but did you know that Evangelism Explosion was created by a Calvinist?

      • Randall Cofield says

        David,

        Such comedic flippancy and intentional (?) caricature are hardly becoming when the issue is rightly proclaiming the Gospel…

        • says

          Randall,

          I will bite… so you believe saying “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life” would not fall under “rightly proclaiming the gospel?”

          While I am sure David was trying to be humorous, I actually prefer what he said to what you said. His statement concerning God’s plans for individuals whether they are the elect or not are actually correct given the tenets of calvinism. (not necessarily the position of calvinists, There seems to be a difference at times!)

          Unfortunately the only reason that I could see how his comments could be considered as “hardly becoming” is because you have no credible retort to his statement.

          That is what is so sad.

    • says

      Randall,

      In all due respect sir, both statements can be complimentary and are in fact not contradictory at all… the first is most assuredly true of Jeremiah 29:11 is wrong; and “fleeing from the wrath to come” is actually Scripturally correct as well… the real problem as I said in my response to DR is “fleeing the wrath to come” is technically impossible in the calvinist system because for the elect there is no wrath to flee… there is NEVER a moment in the life of an elect person (according to calvinsm) that he or she is ever in danger of hell’s fire… that is reserved for the poor damned souls that are NOT THE ELECT.

      So the whole notion of :fleeing the wrath to come” is an empty statement in that those who are in danger of the wrath have no avenue to escape it and those who are elect are NEVER in danger of “the danger to come.”

      Consistency has its benefits don’t you think?

  30. says

    Dear Bob: Obviously we are wrestling with truths too deep for us to comprehend. It reminds me of the dream I had after the murder of my mother, two half-sisters by my step-father, followed by his setting the house on fire and committing suicide. At least that is what the law said. Anyway in the dream which several months after the tragedy (the latter was in Oct. 1972 and the former sometime in the Spring of 73, if my memory is correct) my wife and I were standing in a semicircle of people around Jesus (who appeared like he was the beardless youth in the temple at the age of His Bar Mitzvah, when He had the exchange with the temple priests and scribes), and we were telling Him about our tragedies (like the loss of my family). Then He told us how He saw them, and we were laughing, a happy, healthy laughter, like we had heard the only thing that could make sense in a case like that. Then I thought, “This is the Lord! What am I doing standing here, talking to Him.” With that thought, I dove at His feet and woke up, an awakening I truly regret to this day. The strange part about the whole deal is that though Jesus said something, I don’t know what it was He said about the tragedies. I do know this from Holy Scripture: The worst evil the world has ever seen or performed, was the crucifixion of our Lord and Savior, and They did to Him what God determined before to be done as we are told in Acts 4. Out of that most terrible of all evils comes our salvation. If it is true of that, then the tragedies that happen to us must also have a result that far exceeds our understanding and expectations. One of the reasons I hold to Sovereign Grace or Calvinism (though I care little for that term) is because it explored and explores the great deeps of theology, never explaining them away, trying to take them in the light of what God intended. I can add other tragedies to the loss of my family, like the lost of my family as a three year old child, due to divorce, and winding up with neither mother nor father in the picture, but grand parents who filled in for the absent parents. This was followed by the long years in the cotton fields of Arkansas, a child working full time from sunup to sunset like an adult, who was expected by age 10 or 11 to perform like an adult. There is more that could be added, like my first church and following the firing of a minister for pedophilia and the division in the church and more. My life is not in the sunset. I have not much further to go. I feel both assurance and fear, assurance of being accepted by His grace alone and fear for it is a Holy God with whom we have to do and we are so deceptive even to ourselves. As my text at my last church was, “My times are in His hands,” so I trust that the past 16, nearly 17, years will not have gone for nothing though they have been empty, lonely, non-productive years as far as I can tell. I have experienced the prejudices of the younger against the elderly whereas it use to be otherwise. Our educational institutions are now firmly in control of the state (and ultimately of the Federal Government), and they are being taught that they are the wards of that institution, that the claims of the state come before that of the parents, etc. This is the result of secularism, humanism, false philosophies, and other evils. Our only solution is a Third Great Awakening for which I try to pray everyday and have for nearly 40 years and this for the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Just think of Heaven coming down and glory flooding the land and every soul feeling the presence of such convicting power. Surely, the stone shall become a great mountain and fill the whole earth.

    • volfan007 says

      Brother, that’s a sobering and terrible story about your family. Unreal. God bless you.

      Also, again I tell you that I’m joining you in praying for a Great Awakening.

      David

      • says

        Thank you, David, for your prayers. If I could, I would enlist everyone reading and writing on this blog in prayer for a Third Great Awakening for the rest of their lives. I had the privilege of preaching the funeral of a great Tennessean, my grandmother who raised me. One of the reasons for my quick mind, willingness to do years of research, and to hang in there, when everything seems against me, is due to that woman’s influence on my life.

          • volfan007 says

            That’s my neck of the woods, Dr. Willingham. I live fairly close to Dyersburg….My mother is from the Bootheel of MO….across the river from Dyersburg…

            David

          • says

            Dear David, if you have any Craigs, Beasleys or Jacksons in your family tree, we are probably related. Those were the names Grandma use to mention to me in my childhood. She moved from a place close to Dyersburg in 1900 as a child of eight years, going from Tennessee to Southeast Missouri and Northeast Arkansas to live and labor in the cotton fields for the rest of her life. When I came from South Carolina (where I was teaching history at SC State) in May of 1972 to preach her funeral, I had the opportunity to set on the Mississippi river bank, waiting several hours for the Cottonwood Point Ferry, the same ferry point at which she had crossed in 1900. And I thought about all that she had told me, about a young horse that jumped off the ferry and swam back to the Tennessee side and they never went back to get it. She talked about the trip in a covered wagon, about camping out at night, about hearing the wolves howl, the panthers scream, and the bears growl. She never dreamed that 72 years later her grandson that she had raised would come by that way (providential, I think so), to preach her funeral. My grandfather who died in 1968 was from Southern Illinois, he traveled by train to Cairo and then up the Mississippi to a place where there was a bridge and crossed over, heading for Southeast Missouri where one of his brothers lived and had a farm. I was then living in Ashland, Kt., and I recapped his trip, too, coming down to just below Cairo, where I crossed over the Ohio, and headed for the bridge that crossed the Mississippi (not as far north as the one on which he crossed) and I drove through Southeast Missouri to Northeast Arkansas to preach his funeral. Strange is it not. From Bro. Ben Stratton, I learned one of the reasons for people pouring into that area of the country back then (it was a great swamp area). He said the government sold the land for $2.00 an acre while the land in the states surrounding that region was going for 4-6.00 and acre. Just yesterday a cousin told me how she rode with one her daughters to Arkansas to visit Grandpa and Grandma’s graves. God bless, I really must close.

          • volfan007 says

            I’m not related to any of those folks, Dr. Willingham. But, one thing you’ll find interesting, is that my relatives were the first white men to settle into the Mid South area. Joseph and Francois LeSieur came down the MS River from Canada, and set up a trading post with the Indians….this later became New Madrid, MO. I am a descendant of the LeSieur’s.

            My TN side came from my Dad. His family would come to the Bootheel every year from the hills of Middle TN to pick cotton. One year, my Grandmother stayed in the Bootheel, instead of going back to the hills of TN. And, my Mom and Dad met, and the rest is history….so, you could say that I’m a product of cotton! lol

            David

          • says

            David: I am happy to say we are not far removed from each other. There was a Willingham with William the Conqueror from Normandy France. I have seen that name LaSieur before. Interesting. I can hardly forget going up and down those long rows of cotton, either chopping or picking. Then I left the farm in 54 and Arkansas in 55, never to return except for brief visits. The last time, 2003, I went to Greenbriar to preach my Dad’s funeral and I thought about going up to Piggott and Clay County, but time and other situations forbid the effort…though I still wish I had. Doesn’t look like I will ever get back now.

    • says

      Dr. Willingham,

      Thanks for the story. If it is true that we are “Obviously we are wrestling with truths too deep for us to comprehend” then you and are both wasting our time doing what we are doing… so I will respectfully disagree. I could be playing golf and would be if I believe what you are saying. But that is just me.

      You wrote, “One of the reasons I hold to Sovereign Grace or Calvinism (though I care little for that term) is because it explored and explores the great deeps of theology, never explaining them away, trying to take them in the light of what God intended.” My problem is not the fact that it does not try to explain the difficult aspects in the Bible but that it over explains them in concepts that are “extra-Biblical” and I understand you do not see it that way. Just thought I would throw that in there.

      Now to your final comment about a Third Great Awakening… you wrote, “Just think of Heaven coming down and glory flooding the land and every soul feeling the presence of such convicting power.” I join you in welcoming such an awakening.

      My question is this: What good would it be for “ever soul to fell the presence of such convicting power?”

      With respect to this “convicting power”, I believe that along with the proclamation of the gospel in SOME FORM, it is the means God uses to bring the lost person to a decision of “what am I going to do with this One who is called the Christ?”

      However, what good is it for “every soul to fell the presence of such convicting power” if the only ones who CAN or WILL respond to God are those who are effectually called and they ARE SAVED AT THAT POINT because they have been “born again” or regenerated from the dead, deaf eared and dead hearted condition that they were formerly in…

      and those souls that are not effectually called or regenerated cannot benefit from the presence of such convicting power…

      In a very real sense, I cannot see the benefit of such an outpouring in a Sovereign Grace system. Such an out pouring of God would indeed be a great blessing to me… and to the world as I see it and God’s purpose as I believe it to be… but not if I were a Calvinist who believed that the elect have no fears and the non-elect have no hope.

      Confusing to me. Maybe I need a dream or two.

      • says

        Bob: Your answer was kind and thoughtful. As to the coming down of the Holy Spirit in great convicting power, Heaven falling down upon us, so to speak, I think of that in conjunction with the preaching of the word which follows the earnest praying for such a visitation. You might find interesting and helpful, George W. Truett’s sermon for Centennial of Spurgeon’s birth, preached at Royal Albert Hall in 1934, where he was introduced by the Prime Minister of the British Empire (yep, they had one then, and they still do but it is more hidden). In that message in which he says a lot of good things about Spurgeon, he specifically notes that Calvinism presses down the crown of responsibility on the head of every man. Yes, Sovereignty establishes responsibility; He, the Sovereign, seeks to communicate responsibility to human beings with doctrines that seem so opposite to our way of thinking. Just think of this: Why was it the Sovereign Grace folks who started the Great Century of Missions and enjoyed the blessings of the Great Awakenings which preceded that great event, the threat to the hold a certain group has on the world and one which they sought to ameliorate by infiltrating their minions into the camps and dividing them by theology and later by eschatology. We don’t realize it, but we are manipulated by theology and eschatology, writings about which are designed to get us to do things that others desire. Don’t you think it strange that after 50 years Catholics and Baptists are on the same side on a number of issues. I can remember them threatening my church members with physical violence for the latter’s protest and vote against a school bus bill that would have given the former the right to have their children hauled by the public buses to their private schools. The members of a nearby church actually threatened my members with the threat of beating them up, physical violence. That is not something I am likely to forget.

        And you ought to know that the Puritans found that they were being infiltrated by Catholics during the Cromwell period, Catholics who were being trained to do so in a particular college in France, the same claim made by Chic publications across the past 40 years. Have you ever studied the Molinists and the Ameraldyn (sp?) movements or how the Roman Catholics really go after the Calvinists?

        As to the future and a 1000 generations, that is based upon passages such as the promises to the Patriarchs of the seed being more numerous than the stars of Heaven or the sand by the sea shore. And then there is the statement in I Chron.16:15 regard God’s covenant and a thousand generations, allowing just 20 yrs per generation and one has 20,000 years, lengthening the generations, something indicated in Scripture, could bring one up to 900,000 years. And the promises of the earth being full of His knowledge and glory as we sing in the old hymn to that effect is based upon Isa.11:9 and Hab.2:14. Then there is the prayers of Spurgeon for every soul in the world, the first one in Evening by Evening for Aug.6 was based upon Ps.73:19. The other was for Dec. 24. Anyway the fall of the Spirit in convicting power upon the masses is something that has happened before, and I think that is what we want to see the fall of the Holy Spirit upon the whole earth. I must close. God bless you in your labors with such a vision of the possibilities of God. Note: you never set out to do practically anything without a plan. God always has a plan, and His plans include the contingencies that we cannot anticipate, try as we might. His plan like Himself is perfect. He takes the worst and turns it into a means to the very best, the cross to the crown idea, and the one which makes our worst miseries to become meaningful and useful to God and His kingdom. These forbidding looking truths are really the most exciting, engaging, endearing, enchanting, expressive, attractive, appealing, axioms of atonement, abundance, authority, and assurance.

  31. says

    Have any of you fellows given thought to the reality of the Bible being inspired by omniscience and that such wisdom might be, indeed, must be reflected in its teachings which means, to say the least, that the profundity thereof is of such a nature that it would seem nonsensical to us? Yes, even the Book’s perspicuity, its clarity, if you please, is of such a depth that we cannot not grasp the implications, and yet we must concede that God is communicating with man and that, hence, His message has a good purpose of letting us know what He is like and how His worst thoughts can result in our good, and even in the good of all men. Some folks get all bent out of shape about limited atonement, never realizing that it is taught be everyone, including the universalist whose doctrine cannot get everyone saved in this life )thus, limited in its power) and the general atonement follower who limits the atonement by saying that faith is the deciding fzctor, and the Calvinist also limits it by the purpose of God. However, on the latter, especially the Sovereign Grace believers who have come to understand that particular redemption will result in more conversions in the long run, try a thousand generations in which every soul on earth is saved along with the multitudes on a million billion planets for the next 20,000-1,000,000 years. So the reprobation image of the dog won the lady of Canaan the highest commendation from our Lord which was given also to another person, the commendation, “great faith.” The darkened, depraved, diabolic woman of Canaan became a devoted follower of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, the answer to all of her problems and needs, and that by acceptance of His calling her a “dog.” Talk about an insulting term, except He did use the diminutive, “little dogs,” the kind tolerated even in the house of a Jew for the sake of the children, and the kind she would have known even as a Canaanite. Besides she represents the election of grace as did the woman of Sidon and Tyre to whom Elijah ministered as Elisha did for the Leper of Syria, Naaman.(Lk.4) Jesus spoke the same way to His fellow Nazarites as He had spoken to the woman of Sidon and Tyre or Canaan. Surely, had the Nazarites responded as she did, they would be in Heaven now. God’s opposites are His best and greatest offerings of grace, the cross is the crown, the wounds are the marks of honor, the hate is a love boundless and indescribable. The folks who follow a general atonement are too limited in their vision. The Calvinist can see a whole world of elect people even on a multitude of planets as did John Owen in His Death of Death in The Death of Christ as indicated by one of the fathers of missions, a five point Calvinist, Andrew Fuller, who makes particular references to Owen’s mention of other worlds in his The Gospel Worthy of All Acceptation. And Remember Fuller is the fellow who held the rope as Carey went down to India, believing the same doctrines. Rev. Luther Rice also held the same teachings and chaired the committee of Sandy Creek Association in 1816 which made sure a Sovereign Grace view was included. And by the way that year Mt. Pisgah church had messengers at the Assn. They are the church from which Matthew Tyson Yates, the first missionary to China, came forth. Their articles of faith adopted when they were organized in 1814 makes reference to Christ dying for the church and no one else. So it could follow that Yates expects to win Chinese with the message of a particular redemption. Like I say every one of the TULIP acrostic truths are invitations to be saved and trust the Lord Jesus Christ as likewise with Predestination and Reprobation. They are therapeutic paradoxes. Even Dr. Paige Patterson in his blog on Election published last fall by SBC Today pointed out that Election, regardless of how one believes it, has as its aim the bringing into our lives a sense of humility. Not a one of us, even the most gung ho Traditionalists (and I know some who are my friends. My recent pastor is one of the signers of the Traditionalist statement), can go against the need for humility, our pressing need for it. Dr. Patterson’s article, as I tried to point out in my blog for SBC Today, put both the Traditionalists and the Calvinists on the same side in unity and amity, while the Statement on Calvinism by the Committee pointed out that theological debate can prove to be healthy for our denomination and that no one should feel afraid to get up and preach his convictions, be they Traditionalist or Calvinist. I think that we are getting ready or, rather, we are being prepared for a Third Great Awakening, the likes of which have never been seen upon this earth, a growing sense of care and concern for every soul upon the earth. The wisest man I ever met once asked me, “Have you ever thought about the fact that at any one time every last soul on earth could be the elect of God?” I answered, “No.”

    How could I? My eschatology would not allow such a things. Then my eschatology changed, when I read Jonah a little more closely. I also stumbled across Spurgeon’s prayers in Evening By Evening for the whole world and every soul upon it, Aug.6 and Dec. 24. Brethren, you will run into situations in which you must stress man’s responsibility, and then the greatest Calvinists will sound like Arminians. You will also run into times, when you must sound the note of God’s Sovereignty. Then you who lean more to the Arminian side will sound like Calvinists. Dr. Patterson in his article on Election made statements that any Calvinist worth his salt could wish he had said it. In fact, the Calvinists could not have said such things any better. Dr. Patterson actually sets up the situation so that the Calvinists and the Traditionalists can work together in amity and unity, allowing for each to preach according to his own understanding of the Gospel. And I will even be so bold as to say, that we will come to recognize that women can preach too and that they also can summarize the deep things of God.

    I always want to roll on the floor with laughter, like I did when my sister spilled a whole jar of Southern Maple Syrup on her head, when I think of a woman who preached Sovereign Grace and established a church in one our resort areas, and gave it to Southern Baptists. They immediately told her that it would never be recognized or acknowledged that she had founded that church. Knowing that humble American native woman as I did as well as others who went forth for Christ as Lottie Moon did and who answered when asked if she had been ordained, answered, “No, but I was foreordained.”

      • says

        Yep, Southern Maple Syrup. I suspect it was a corn syrup, being a golden color with some Maple flavor added. I mentioned this in a sermon in my son’s country church, and some folks said it is still available in this area. When I can, I plan to go looking for it.

  32. Bill Mac says

    What purpose does it serve to preach or teach God’s hate for sinners? Seriously, even supposing it to be true in the sense that it is being trotted out here (which I don’t believe). Every bad thing that happens on the planet now is being blamed on God, or shown as proof that He doesn’t exist. And now we’re going to explain to the world that it is because God hates us? Sorry, not us, but non-Christians? And then we’ll try to backpedal and explain that God loves them too. Good luck with that strategy.

    And what purpose does it serve to preach to Christians that God hates the unbeliever? Could it not confuse those Christians who don’t hate sinners (hopefully most of us) into thinking they should? Could it not reinforce hatred of sinners in those that already do (sorry, but you know that some do)?

    Do you realize how many people are teetering on the edge of sanity and/or self destruction in the world today? And we come along and tell them their Creator hates them? Do you think saying “oh by the way, He loves you too” is going to rescue the situation? Is Westboro Baptist getting it half-right?

        • says

          Having given some thought to this matter of God’s hatred of the sinner being proclaimed to the sinner, I would suggest that the reason is the sinners need to hear how terrible his or her sin is. Many do not take sin seriously. Even more count it as small and can hardly bear the thought that God might punish the sinner for such evil sins for all eternity, and yet such is what God has said in His Word. Evidently, He thought that His hating the sinner important enough to make a statement on it in His written word. Sometimes the shock of such teaching will reach some sinners, when the most loving statements fall on deaf ears, like the appeal to a poisonous viper. Therapeutic paradoxes are a well-known therapeutic technique in some counseling therapies, e.g, logotherapy. Surely God can use such approaches in His word, too. After all, He is smarter than we are, by far. Give Him credit. Don’t sell His word short. He uses the word hate as in Esau have I hated and God hates all workers of iniquity. When one has finished denying the fact of such hate, one still has the task of explaining how such statements are in Scripture and what they mean and what practical purposes they might serve.

        • Bill Mac says

          The scriptures also command us to hate our family does it not? If we’re going to go with the “plain meaning” of the word hate, let’s be consistent.

        • says

          Dr. Willingham,

          I believe the Scriptures are clear… God hates workers of iniquity, the person whose master is his sin. While you are right, we cannot fathom all that this statement says, I do believe the underlying thought is that God hates the Sin and the sinner BUT STILL LOVES THE PERSON.

          The underlying theological implication here has to do with unconditional election. God loves the elect. God hates the non-elect. This is the choice that sets the stage for the sinner and the saint. Those that God hates are those who are not the elect.

          Those that God loves, are the elect. Platt does not come out and make that statement but I believe it is an underlying aspect.

          Come on… Dr. Willingham… why did you make the following statement? That sounds more like something I would say than you.

          “Sometimes the shock of such teaching will reach some sinners, when the most loving statements fall on deaf ears, like the appeal to a poisonous viper.”

          If I had made that statement here is what someone WOULD HAVE WRITTEN: God’s call to conversion is efficacious. He does not shock to reach sinners; He does not need appeal to reach sinners. He simply speaks and the lost person is “born again.”

          • says

            Dear Bob: Yes, I believe in unconditional election, but that does not mean in the regeneration-conversion process that God works the same in every individual. Sometimes, He does deal rather harshly with some folks, and, on the other hand, he deals rather gently with others. You might want to read John Macarthur on Ephs. 1:4. I head his radio address on that yesterday, and it was really good, He cited J.I. Packer about the tension involved in paradoxes, antinomies, etc. In any case, you might also want to read Paige Patterson’s comments on election last Fall on SBC Today along with my comments on SBC Today in May of this year in which I pointed out that his comments put us all on the same side about election, Patterson’s Points…is the way my title of the issue begins. Patterson points out that election, regardless of how we view is intended to produce humility. Every Calvinist believes that, and I suppose every Traditionalist, must now believe the same as Patterson sets the tone for a new view of the whole set-to. You can even google to get that item as I did it the other day. Don’t have time today as I have other things to do. My wife was taken to the hospital yesterday, and I have to go see her today. God bless you Bob, Have a great day…Note that the Statement on Calvinism points out that theological debate can be healthy, and that every one has the freedom to preach his views without the others treating him with disrespect. You have mine as a dear brother in Christ. After all, I once stood where you stood, and, while my prayer is that you might come to appreciate where I stand, I will seek to do my dead level best to treat you with respect while you work your way through it…and if you cannot I will still regard you as a brother and a fellow minister. There must be religious liberty in this issue for many reasons. God bless you Bob and have a great day.

          • says

            Well, Bob, I wrote you a reply and my computer ate it or someone didn’t like it…I am very tired. Took my wife to the hospital yesterday. Have to back this afternoon to visit her. Hope to have her back home in a few days. This is the second time in two months. In between I was in the hospital. Answer to your comment Bob: God deals with different individuals in different ways in the regeneration-conversion process. Some He speaks to rather sternly. Some very gently. I had some other good answers, but I am so tired already and I hope this dumb computer does not eat this one, Remember us in prayer today. I remember you and CB quite frequently in my prayers. Remember the work of the Calvinism by the Committee called for the treatment of every one with respect, that theological debate can be a good and beneficial thing for us, if done with respect, and that everyone must have the freedom to preach his convictions. I respect you, Bob, as I once stood where you now stand. I hope one day you can see where I stand and desire to stand there likewise. However, if that is not to be, I will still treat you with respect and believe you want to serve and honor our Lord Jesus Christ who also loved sinners and, no doubt, saved some He hated (wonder what some will say about that heresy). I heard Spurgeon is supposed to have said, “May God elect some more.” I can appreciate that. After all, we want so many in Heaven that even God would not want to count them though He knows every one of them by name and every thing about that individual and every individual in detail. God bless you, Bob, and have a great day. And remember me as I got to see my wife this afternoon with our son.

          • says

            Dr. Willingham,

            I will certainly add your wife to my prayer list and your family as well. I certainly hope she is able to come back home soon. Thank you for the graciousness in your response. My question was not meant to be critical at all… is it not true that effectual call is just that… effectual? I have heard it explained like Jesus calling Lazarus out of the tomb… there is no differentiation in that…. He calls the unregenerate opens his eyes.

            That was what I was alluding to in your repeated comment about God working differently in different people. If they are all dead, looks to me it is life they need and there is one way for God to bring that life and it is His life-giving voice… COME FORTH and walla the lost person is no longer lost.

            Again. look forward to hearing that your wife is home.

        • Don Johnson says

          Bill Mac,

          Interesting that no one will answer your Westboro Baptist question. I assume from their silence they in agreement with Westboro, but are afraid to publicly acknowledge such.

          • volfan007 says

            Don,

            You might be right. And, I’m not saying that all Reformed Churches are like Westboro, but Westboro is Reformed. They are a Calvinist Church. AGAIN, I am not saying that all Reformed, Calvinist Churches are like Westboro….but, let’s answer Bill Mac’s question answered, too….especially from some of you, who love Piper so much

            David

          • Bill Mac says

            Don,

            I doubt they are in agreement with Westboro. I just don’t think they’ve thought through the implications of preaching and teaching God’s hatred of sinners. Frankly I think this is done for a type of “shock jock” effect. I’m a Calvinist and I want no part of this. I’m not preaching or teaching God’s hatred of sinners. I’ll take my chances on judgement day.

            But you’re right, they cannot disagree with Westboro, not fully anyway. The best they can do is claim that Westboro is only telling half the story.

            If God hates sinners, why shouldn’t we hate them too?

          • Bill Mac says

            Why will no one answer this? If God hates, and hate means hate, then why shouldn’t we hate sinners? And our family?

            Did Jesus hate the rich young ruler who wilfully rebelled against him? Did he hate Pilate? Or those who crucified him? Were they not wicked and in rebellion?

          • parsonsmike says

            God hates sinners but loves His elect.
            We are sinners and are saved only by the grace and mercy of God.
            We still sin and EARN eternal condemnation even after we are saved for every sin earns that.
            So we are in a different place than God.

            Now let us look at the love of God.
            1. God foreknew all things.
            2. God knew before creation who would go to Heaven/Hell.
            3. God knew that either…
            a] He wasn’t going to save those ending in Hell [Reformed]
            b] He wasn’t going to be able to save those who freely chose against Him [all else]
            4.Therefore God knew that He was going to send certain people He knew to Hell.
            5. God created anyway.
            6. How can one say He loves those knowing their destiny was everlasting hell and he wouldn’t or couldn’t save them?

          • parsonsmike says

            Don,

            If love is doing the greatest good for the one beloved, how does creating a soul knowing its eternal destiny is the lake of fire, love?

          • Don Johnson says

            Mike,

            “Or where did I go wrong?” Well, to start with, since we are living under the new covenant maybe you could show me all the places in the NT where God or Christ is said to hate sinners? Also, where we are commanded to hate sinners so we may be perfect like our Father in Heaven?

          • Bill Mac says

            Mike,

            So God created people so He would have someone to hate? Or did He hate them from all eternity?

          • Bill Mac says

            “we are in a different place than God”

            I assume you meant this as an answer to why we shouldn’t hate sinners? But if that is true, why are we obligated to love sinners?

          • parsonsmike says

            Don,
            I didn’t say we are to hate sinners.
            To use the truth that we are to be perfect like God to mean we are to be like Him in any and every way is absurd.
            God is just when he hates. He is holy and righteous in ALL He does.
            We deserve to be hated. We are not ALWAYS right in what we do, we miss the mark, we sin.
            We therefore are not just to hate others.

            And are you going to comment on the love of God as i asked?

          • Don Johnson says

            Mike,

            You didn’t give me any scripture references. Why?

            Where does it say God created us?

            Does God love you or hate you?

            How long has He loved or hated you?

          • parsonsmike says

            Bill,
            Where are you disagreeing with my pattern of thoughts?
            Based on what I said, how do you justify God loving those He creates knowing they will go to Hell and either he can’t or won’t save them?

            But as to your questions to me, I will not avoid them:
            we read:
            What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth.” So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.

            You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?” On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.

            Now God might have other reasons both stated and left unstated, but this I do see in His Word. That He “God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.”

            As to your other question, why are we obligated to love sinners, I refer you to the golden rule: because Bill, you want to be loved.

          • Jim G. says

            Mike,

            “Where did I go wrong?”

            You go wrong in your application of divine foreknowledge.

            Foreknowledge is not something that should be applied so loosely. The reason I say this is that you are using it to your advantage without acknowledging all the nasty side effects. For example, I can construct an argument that is as logically tight as yours that would argue that because God foreknew all of my individual sins and yet (presumably) did nothing to prevent them (as he could have done), he shares in some of the blame for their occurrence. Now, before you jump on me, we agree that such an argument is just plain silly, but it is as logical and tight as yours. Applying exhaustive divine foreknowledge as some sort of metaphysical “get out of jail free” card is not a proper way to do theology, because using it as a first premise is not sound theological argumentation. It can lead to something we agree is absurd. In my opinion, it is a truth to be affirmed and then left to mystery, because we do not understand it, and any application thereof beyond the scant references in Scripture can lead to theological problems elsewhere. Appeals to foreknowledge are as tricky as appeals to omnipresence.

            The outcome of your argument is a direct contradiction of Scripture on two counts, both having to do with the life of Jesus (who, by the way, should be our hermeneutical key in sorting through such utter foolishness as God’s literal hatred of humans created in his image). Your argument directly contradicts the affirmation of divine love for the unregenerate in both the rich young ruler and for all of Jerusalem in Matthew 23. We know that the latter, as history unfolds, would remain obstinate until the end, yet divine love was present to reconcile at the first blush of repentance.

            In Jesus Christ, God demonstrates his love for a wayward man who ends up rejecting him, and for a wayward people that continued to reject him until today. In Jesus Christ, who is the full and final revelation of God, we see love and not hatred.

            Jim G.

          • Debbie Kaufman says

            ParsonMike: Hell is a place of justice. The Bible says, God takes no pleasure in sending people to hell, but because of his justice, and some’s refusal to believe in Jesus Christ, he has to send them to hell. It’s not because God hates them.

          • Debbie Kaufman says

            A good example of how God loves even sinners, is the story of the wealthy man who when approaching Christ asked what he must do to obtain eternal life. Christ replied for the young man to sell all of his possessions and follow Him. The young man could not do this. (Mark 10:23-31).

            Christ was not full of hate for this young man. He was sorrowful in his attitude. The young man was sorrowful he couldn’t do this to obtain eternal life. It was a sad story, not a hate filled one on Christ’s part. Again, Christ says earlier in scripture when you see Christ, you see the Father. Christ is God.

          • Debbie Kaufman says

            There is also the story in scripture of Christ healing the soldiers ear after Peter cuts it off with his sword. Do you think the soldier was a born again Christian? I don’t. He was a sinner. Yet Christ loved him.

          • parsonsmike says

            There are different degrees or types of love.
            To all God loves in a temporal way for they are part of His creation.
            But he doesn’t save all.

            Jim G., in reference to your idea of salvation at first blush of repentance, i reply that any and all such repentance starts with God moving in the heart of the sinner and leads her into or grants him repentance. There is no blush of repentance of the non-elect since none of them get saved.

            As to your scenario of starting with foreknowledge, why is God to blame for the actions of free agents? Don’t you think God knows about our sins ahead of time? If He did not, why did He plan on sending the Son to die for sin? Now God has a plan and he works it out in and through history and within and based on that plan and of course His ability to see all things present and future, he makes choices. So Yes God sees the sins of men before they do them, and No he is not partly to blame for them. And yes he prevents some things and doesn’t prevent other things.
            But given my definition of love [do you disagree with it], i ask how is it love that God creates those he knows he will condemn and yet we still say that He loves them? That God does create with that knowledge some might reject, do you? Otherwise it seems a valid question.

            As men we are to love others as best we can even as Jesus loved others when he was physically on earth. In that sense we continue His work. But as i said, there are varying degrees or types of love. We don’t save people. God through the life and sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus saves by bringing them to repentance and faith. As a man Jesus saved no one while on earth, but as the risen savior and the declared Son of God with all power, He saves all those who trusted in God’s Word and who will trust in Himself, the Living Word.

            So yes, Jim and Debbie, Jesus loved the rich young ruler, and we should love others a s well. But I am defining one kind of love and you are looking at a different kind or degree of love. Maybe later the man got saved or maybe not. If God had mercy on him then God loves and loved him with an everlasting love.

            And Debbie, the same with the soldier whose ear was restored. It was an act of love but in and of itself it was not an act of saving love, though it might have been a precursor to it.

          • Jim G. says

            Mike,

            I did not see your definition of love, though I looked back through the comments, I must have missed it. What is it?

            Simple question: when Jesus loved the rich young ruler, is that not God loving him? Related simple question: who is the “I” in Matt 23:37-39?

            Jim G.

  33. says

    Thank you Bob for your prayers. Our son brought his mother home today. So she was in just for an over night and some magnesium which gave her her strength back. I a tired, I have been commenting on some other blogs before your comment came through. Perhaps in a couple of days, I will be able to get back to comment on it. God bless, and have a great day this coming Sunday.

  34. says

    O the depths of the mysteries of God. They are past finding out. As to the tensions in theology, they are designed to make us balanced, flexible, creative, constant, and magnetic, able to cope with whatever situations arise. As to God’s hate, none can deny that the statements are in the Bible…or that HE COMMANDS US TO HATE, but then we run into a paradox. He says Hate your wives in comparison of our Love to Him, and He also says we are to love our wives as ourselves. There is also the grief of God at the perishing of the sinner. He might laugh the sinners to scorn for their rebellious efforts to unseat Him from His position of authority, but our Lord’s weeping over Jerusalem terrible calamity that was coming some 40 years later is proof positive that He cares. And then there is the issue of How HE TREATED ESAU, AFTER SAYING HE HATED HIM. Talk about doing Esau good. He made him the first born, and in that day and time that was the epitome, the apex, the best of the best, for the first born became the leader, the priest, etc., of the family. He also gave that man more than enough, for he said he had enough and Jacob pressed more on him and he took it….Hence, he had more than enough. But what was Esau’s response to God’s good treatment: He sold the birth right for a mess of pottage, he married females outside the acceptable realms of marriage for that particular family in those days. He is also called a profane man, one who tramples spiritual values underfoot. It would appear that God can make a decision, and the reality confirms the rightness of His decision. Not a single person will go to Hell who did not earn every bit of it by the heinous sins freely done. He will do it though God puts obstacles in His way and seeks to hinder him in his doing of such terrible evils. God may laugh in the day of their calamity, but he also has no pleasure in the death of the wicked….as He plainly says. Calvinists that I know have preached sermons like, “Ten Things a Sinner can do to be saved,” and it was preached by one of the leading Sovereign Grace preachers in a resurgence that grew out of the Rolfe Barnard effort which the Library of Bob Jones University will tell you without their knowing that the ultimate origin was the class of W,T. Conner at SWBTS in which Rolfe was a student and from which he took a deep commitment to Sovereign Grace, a factor in our theology which alone can explain the First and Second Great Awakenings and the launching of the Great Century of Missions.

    There is the reality of the Sovereign Grace Theology being abused by people, used to pound people into submission, not knowing the winsomeness of such a balanced, flexible, creative, constant, and magnetic teachings. If we only knew the nature of the tensions of our biblical beliefs and how they were designed to fit the reality of our fallen nature and produce the effect of our conversion, making our salvation knowledgeable to us, setting us free, giving us compassion for other sinners, and an understanding and insight into the lost condition of others to the point that we would care to the point of self-sacrifice, like the Scotch Presbyterian who went to the South Sea Islands and whose wife died and he had stand guard over her grave to keep the natives from digging her up and eating her. He stayed there until the cannibals were Christians, and in World War II our soldiers and sailors and other military personnel, when shot down, would want to land on an island where the missionaries had been so the could be the guests at dinner instead of being the dinner. Imagine that!

    • says

      Today, I believe the Third Great Awakening is nearer than every before. It is tied up with the agony of our Lord’s prayers in the garden and on the cross. I pray that a spirit of agonizing prayer for such a visitation as another Great Awakening will come upon the ministers of the Southern Baptist Convention and other denominations as well, for the pleading of God’s promises must be done in a spirit of agonizing desire for the reality being sought, for the blessing desired. How many of you are willing to pray and agonize in prayer until the blessing comes?

  35. parsonsmike says

    Jim G.
    It was at #156:
    If love is doing the greatest good for the one beloved, how does creating a soul knowing its eternal destiny is the lake of fire, love?

    Love is doing the greatest good for the one beloved.

    It doesn’t matter, in one sense, if we see the rich young ruler as loved by God or Jesus, it wasn’t the type of love that saves. I agree it was love but it left him in his sins and rebellion.

    As to the Matthew verse, it is love that a good and just ruler wants his subjects to walk in obedience and wishes them not to be rebellious as to incur judgment. But God chooses to save or not. To have mercy or harden. And we all deserve to be hardened but some of us receive mercy unto salvation. That is saving love and the love that does the greatest good for the one beloved. And that kind of love God does not have for all.

    • Christiane says

      “And that kind of love God does not have for all.”

      this only works if you buy into five-point Calvinism . . . which is a man-made thought system, not a revelation from Jesus Christ Himself

      • says

        Really, Christiane: Even Augustine held to this theological system. In fact, many credit him, wrongfully I think, with having introduced such theology to the Western World. He certainly did advance and popularize it.

      • parsonsmike says

        Christiane,
        Jesus is the Living Word. The Bible is the Word of God in print, not that the Kingdom of God consists in words but in power. But the Word is not like the things of earth which wither and fade, the Word stands forever.

        And this Word is Jesus. He is the Word made flesh. So just because an idea or truth is not written in red in our red-letter Bibles as the words of Jesus, does not mean that the truths found in the Word are not of Jesus.

        And you don’t have to buy into 5 point Calvinism to establish these truths from the Word:

        1] God foreknows all things, including who will live to Heaven and who will suffer in Hell.
        2] God knew this before creation, before He created.
        3] And whether you believe salvation is wholly of God [monegrism: 5-point-C] or that God saves only those who by His grace also choose Him [synergism: non-5-point-C] God EITHER doesn’t choose to save some or can not save some due to the hardness of their hearts, God knows these things before He created.
        4] And God created anyway.

    • Jim G. says

      Thanks Mike. I see it both here and at 156 (now). I don’t know how I missed it, but I did. Thanks for restating.

      It’s a bad definition of love. It is circular. It “defines” by assuming the definition (“the one beloved”). As long as you define love like this, your theology will make sense.

      You are allowing your assumptions to gloss over how you read Matthew 23. It is an awful lot more than Jesus merely “wanting” Jerusalem to obey him. He stated in “plain” words that he wanted to gather them together as a hen gathers her chicks, but THEY would not. Missing that is a love that desires to save is tragic.

      By the way, don’t you see that if God has varying levels of love in the economy, how does he not have varying levels of love immanently? Would that not imply that there is some indifference between Father and Son? You need to be very careful to think through the implications of such ideas.

      Jim G.

      • parsonsmike says

        Jim G.,
        Tis not circular for love has an object: the beloved, the one loved.
        Love is just not floating in the air and happens to land here or there. God could love all the same or some but however you put it, there must be an object of that love.

        As to the last question, I suppose man can do what God can not? Or does not a man love his wife more than her sister?

        • Don Johnson says

          Mike,

          With regards to your different types of love, being a love that saves and one does not save. Are we to assume if your wife and sister were both drowning, that you have a saving love for your wife and would help save her. As for your sister, you love her, but just not enough to help save her. Is this how you view God’s “types” of love?

          • parsonsmike says

            Don,
            You are asking if I could only save one?
            Or are you saying that God can not save all?
            If the latter, did He know that before He created?

            I am saying that saving love saves because it is the Almighty God who saves.
            He saves those He loves and loves those He saves.

            You might say He loves all and saves some.
            You might say that He saves some because only some want to be saved.

            I would say that all who want to be saved do so want because God moved in their hearts thus they have no reason to boast as opposed to God not bringing them to want Him and leaving room for boasting.

            But either way, God knew those who were going to Hell and created anyway: The way I see it, He does not love them savingly and never did. Love being foremost composed of action: doing the best for the one loved.

            In that vein, is a short life on earth followed by eternal Hell better than no existence at all?
            Maybe you see it differently than I, but I say, no it is not.

        • Parsonsmike says

          Don,
          Already answered that. Just because one doesn’t love another to the same degree as someone else doesn’t mean one doesn’t love that another at all.

          • Don Johnson says

            Mike,

            If one makes no effort to save someone when they had the means to do so, means they did not love that person. Please explain what kind of love a person has for one who is drowning, yet will not throw the person a lifesaver. Does the person love the drowning individual, but just not enough to try and save them?

  36. says

    RE: God’s hate of sinners. Clearly, the bible says, God hates all workers of iniquity. It also says, “Esau have I hated.” How do we deal with these verses. Personal, as a Sovereign Grace believer or a Calvinist, I believe they are invitations to be saved, invitations that are therapeutic paradoxes, designed to produce a tension in the sinner about whether he shall be saved or not, a tension that leaves him or her feeling really down due to the conviction of being a sinner. The folks at Westboro got carried away with the hate aspect and what it meant and how it is applied. Consider how God treated Esau. He treated him with love. There is also the contrast of hate your wives, your own lives also, and yet we are told to love our wives, and it is stated that we are to love others as we love ourselves. A teenager once said to a fellow that she wanted to talk to him about salvation. He said he would do it after school hours (he was a teacher in a high school in Indianapolis, I believe). She turned away as she spoke to him then she told him that though she did not believe in God (she was a practicing atheist), that she felt so much conviction about her sinfulness, that she was a sinner, and that she was in fear of the judgment. The man spoke a few minutes more, and she came to faith in Christ, being delivered from her conviction and fear into the peace of Christ. All of mankind stands under the judgment of God for their sins right now. I know when I was converted that I felt a burden lifted off of my heart, a burden that up till then I did not know I had. Yet that weight rested upon me and life was not right; it never is until that burden of God’s wrath is removed. There is as Eccles.9:3 points out such a madness in man, and when he dies that madness is still in him, the madness of sin, the madness and enmity against God. Like a mess of copperheads or rattlesnakes or water mocassins, young or old, new born or dying of age, they are as deadly to man as man would be to God, and yet it is precisely these with whom God chose to deal, choosing many to be saved, a many that is more numerous than the stars of heaven and the sand by the sea shore which cannot be numbered for number.

    Westboro’s problem is a preoccupation with hate coupled with a failure to see God’s redemptive power working even through and with His hate to accomplish His work of love.