As a Baptist, I believe that Jesus Christ is God, that He rose from death, and that everything the Bible says is true. My preference for decentralized government that enforces traditional morality renders me a social conservative.
Also, I’m in my late twenties. That means I’m a “millennial.”
I know what you’re thinking. What’s it like to be a freak?
Honestly? I feel like an old man in my own generation. I find myself shaking my head at the beliefs and behavior of young people I don’t identify with, and longing for the good ol’ days when sound doctrine and morals ruled the culture-days which my better judgment tells me never existed.
The clash between my convictions and those of the culture is most apparent on social issues. If people like Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC’s Morning Joe are to be believed, the mere fact that I believe homosexuality to be immoral makes me a bigot.
I am not surprised that someone outside the faith perceives me in a negative light. However, such sentiments are no longer confined to the unchurched world.
For example, prior the U.S. Supreme Court’s Windsor decision, which struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), I reached out to an old classmate, urging prayers for the Justices, that they would make the right decision, as well as for homosexuals, that they would come to know the love of God.
She responded by saying, “Jesus loves everyone,” before calling me hateful and de-friending me on Facebook.
In grad school, I encountered other spiritual heartaches. While at Regent University, I had a classmate who described herself as radically pro-life. She also said she drove women to get abortions. When asked about this, she said that God told her to love people, not to judge them.
To say that I was shocked that a self-described, pro-life Christian helped abort children is an understatement.
As disturbing as these two examples are, given that they came from believers, they are iconic of the millennial generation’s fundamental misunderstanding of Jesus. They seem to think Jesus’s command to “love” is something they are free to interpret. For them, the concept of love and judgement are mutually exclusive; we must affirm or accommodate evil in order to be loving.
However, scripture shows us that this is not what Jesus meant. Jesus judged the Pharisees as hypocrites, blind guides and broods of vipers (Matt 23). In the opening chapters of the book of Romans, Christ uses Paul to condemn all of mankind for violating his standards of conduct, as revealed in his law (Romans 3:23). In John 10:30 Christ claimed to be the God of the Old Testament. That means all of God’s dialogue and actions were said and performed by Christ. God the Father judged people on a regular basis, sometimes fatally, and yet God is love (I John 4:7-8). Apparently, the mind of God does not see a conflict between love and judgement.
Finally, Christ said that man’s primary duty was to love him and that this was demonstrated by obeying to his commandments (Matt 22:36-38, John 14:15, 23) It is therefore impossible to say that “love” necessitates the affirmation or accommodating of evil.
It is disheartening to see the Body of Christ fall prey to such an elementary mistake that has such lethal consequences for life and marriage. Such basic blunders on the part of the Church seem to validate the observation of New York Times columnist Ross Douthat, whose book Bad Religion: How we Became a Nation of Heretics, warned that the chief problem with the nation “isn’t too much religion, or too little of it. It’s bad religion: the slow-motion collapse of traditional Christianity and the rise of a variety of destructive pseudo-Christianities [sic] in its pace.”
Until this is fixed, we can expect these catastrophic mistakes to continue, thus further damaging our ability to fulfil our duty to proclaim God’s wisdom “to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places” (Eph 3:10 NASB).