Does God hate people? Liberal and progressive Christians say, ABSOLUTELY NOT! GOD LOVES EVERYONE! Much like their Evangelical brethren, they appeal to the Bible (and personal feelings) to prove their beliefs. In their minds, the essence of God is his love for his creation. Personally, I like this flavor of Christianity. Loving self and others is a good thing. The problem with it and all other peculiar interpretations of the Bible that it is come to by ignoring what other verses say. The Bible is a hopelessly contradictory book, and it can be used to prove almost anything. Take Tim Conway, pastor of Grace Community Church in San Antonio, Texas. I was Tim’s pastor for a time in the 1990s. He is a diehard, fire-breathing Fundamentalist Calvinist. Tim reads the same the Bible as liberals and progressives do and concludes that God not only hates sin, he hates those who do it. I will let Tim share with you his view on the matter. The video is short, so I hope you will take the time to watch it.
If you read the comments on this video, you will see that Christians are quite divided over Tim’s hate message. And that is the point of this post. The Bible is inexhaustible to the degree that it can be used as proof for countless competing beliefs. This alone is proof enough for the bankruptcy of Christianity. If Christians can’t even agree on the basics: salvation, baptism, communion, and can’t agree on whether God hates or loves sinners, why should unbelievers bother to give Christianity a moment’s notice? The Bible says that there is ONE Lord, ONE Faith, and ONE Baptism, yet thousands of Christian sects, each differing with the other, suggest otherwise.
About Bruce Gerencser
Bruce Gerencser, 61, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 40 years. He and his wife have six grown children and twelve grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.
Bruce is a local photography business owner, operating Defiance County Photo out of his home. If you live in Northwest Ohio and would like to hire Bruce, please email him.
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A common cliché used by Christians when expressing their objection to a particular human behavior is I hate the sin but love the sinner.
The reason Christians use this cliché is that they want to be on God’s side and the sinner’s side at the same time. Most Christians want to be liked and respected, yet they know the Bible says some pretty harsh things about non-Christians and the sins they commit. What’s a believer to do? Why, come up with a catchy cliché that absolutely goes against the teachings of the Bible.
Here’s the problem with hate the sin but love the sinner thinking. According to the Bible, you know the book that Evangelicals swear by, God doesn’t think this way. Here’s what the Bible says about God and how he views sin and the sinner:
God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day. (Psalm 7:11)
The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth (Psalm 11:5)
Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre. Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows (Psalm 45:6,7)
Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; suddenly shall he be broken without remedy. These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,(Proverbs 6:15-17)
I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies. (Amos 5:2)
And let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbor; and love no false oath: for all these are things that I hate, saith the LORD. (Zechariah 8:17)
I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob’s brother? saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob, And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness. (Malachi 1:2,3)
As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. (Romans 9:13)
For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: (divorce) for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously. (Malachi 2:16)
Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate. (Revelation 2:5,6)
The Bible seems quite clear. God not only hates sin, but he also hates those who do it. According to old-fashioned substitutionary atonement Evangelicalism, God would even hate the Christian if it weren’t for Jesus standing between God and the Christian. Look at what God did to Jesus on the cross. It is hard not to conclude that God really has a problem with anger. He beat his son to death, not for his own sin, but for the sins of others. Talk about taking the whole sin and sinner thing seriously.
Ponder the message of the book of Revelation. What’s the central theme of the book? The rapture? The second coming? What does the writer of Revelation spend most of his time writing about? God’s wrath. God’s judgment. God does some pretty sick stuff to the humans who are alive when Jesus comes back to earth. And when God is all done opening books and seals and turning angry angels loose to afflict the human race, what does he do? He sends all the non-Christians to the Lake of Fire to be tormented day and night for all eternity. This sure makes me want to break out in song and sing, Our God is an Awesome God.
I used to explain God’s view of sin and sinner this way:
Imagine you are taking a walk in the woods and come upon a skunk. Before you can run, the skunk raises its tail and sprays you. Do you at that moment say, I love the skunk but hate his smell? Of course not. The skunk is directly connected to the smell. No skunk, no smell.
So it is with sinners and their sin. Sin is what sinners do. You can no more disconnect a sinner from their sin than you can a skunk from their smell.
I should note in passing that most of the God hates talk is found in the Old Testament. Christianity would be better served if it jettisoned the Old Testament and the book of Revelation. And getting rid of Paul’s writings might not be a bad idea either. As long as these books remain in the Bible, Christians will continue to have a hard time explaining to non-Christians that God really loves them and has a wonderful plan for their life.
Thou shalt not plant thee a grove of any trees near unto the altar of the LORD thy God, which thou shalt make thee. Neither shalt thou set thee up any image; which the LORD thy God hateth. Deuteronomy 16:21,22
For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee. The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity. Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing: the LORD will abhor the bloody and deceitful man. Psalm 5:4-6
Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre. Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. Psalm 45:6.7
Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; suddenly shall he be broken without remedy. These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren. Proverbs 6:16-19
Shall not the day of the LORD be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it? I hate, I despiseyour feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies. Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts. Amos 5:20-22
The Lord GOD hath sworn by himself, saith the LORD the God of hosts, I abhor the excellency of Jacob, and hate his palaces: therefore will I deliver up the city with all that is therein. Amos 6:8
I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob’s brother? saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob, And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness. Malachi 1:2,3
And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth. For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously. Malachi 2:15,16
Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. Revelation 2:5-7
God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day. Psalm 7:11
When God heard this, he was wroth, and greatly abhorred Israel: Psalm 78:59
Does God hate? The Bible is clear, God hates.
But, but, but, the Bible says God is God of love! Yep, and it also says he is a God of hate. Deal with it, or as many Christians do, explain it away.
But, but, but, God hates the sin, but loves the sinner! Still trying to use that lame, worn out, unsupportable cliché? Sin is what sinners do, right? When Jesus died on the cross did he die for sin or sinners? Cue “When He was on the Cross I was on His Mind.” (YouTube video of song) Sinners sin, and God is angry with all the workers of iniquity. According to Psalm 7:11, God is angry with the wicked every day.
Christians have several choices:
Own what the Bible says.
Explain it away using big important sounding theological terms.
Make some Old Covenant/New Covenant defense for God.
Argue that God went to rehab, took an anger management class and he is much nicer now.
Ignore what the Bible says and just keep living for Jesus.
Use Hebrew, Greek and Latin, along with West Virginian and Calvinese, to explain that the word hate doesn’t meant hate.
Use the same scissors that Thomas Jefferson used to cut up the Bible and make it palatable. Just get rid of all those pesky hate verses.
I am a Bible believer. When the Bible says God hates, who am I to suggest otherwise?
The God hates verses make me wonder if the Christian God exists at all. If God really exists, he would have blown up this whole planet by now. We ARE a vile, nasty, wicked, sinful, depraved, dead in trespasses and sin, Barack Obama supporting, gay-loving people. We deserveGod’s hate. Ex-preachers like me really deserve God’s hate. We know better, yet we trample under the blood of Jesus anyway. Yet, here we are, untouched by the hand of the Almighty. Perhaps when NASCAR is over God will have more time to take care of us sinners. That is unless Tim Tebow makes the Philadelphia Eagles roster. Then God will be tied up all winter guiding Tebow’s errant passes into the hands of Philadelphia receivers.