Updated on October 22, 2015
Updated on October 22, 2015
I saw this on Facebook today, and I bristled. I looked at it for several seconds and thought to myself,
Well that’s a hateful message! Hmmm… and I always thought I liked Tozer.
1. Exactly what Christian standards? and
2. Who on earth would want to go to hell?
If he’s talking about the Christian standards that involve following the example of Christ, as in sharing the love and grace of Jesus Christ, willingly keeping company with “sinners” just so that they would know what real love is like, then no, by all means, let’s not let down our standards. But if he’s talking about legalism, about rules and laws and standards that are meant to keep some people out while safely insulating those who are in, well then Mr. Tozer, I beg to disagree!
Our Christian standards are exactly the problem with many church people. Don’t we want to invite everyone in? Isn’t the point of the Gospel to love to the point of selflessness so that we become the hands and feet of Jesus in a lost world? Sadly we often miss the point.
Maybe Tozer was actually speaking to the Christian Club. You know, those of us who attend church, follow the rules, and belong to the church, but don’t really want to live out the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our world. Is that possible? I don’t know. I don’t have context to this quote or anything else to go by. I just know that it rubbed me the wrong way and I was not going to like it or share it or otherwise promote it as good on social media.
So let me ask you this:
Do you know anyone who willingly wants to GO TO HELL?
Hell, the lake of fire, the burning pit of flame and misery. I can’t imagine anyone in their right mind would WANT to go there. Would you? But all the time we damn people to go there.
“I hope she rots in hell for what she did!”
“There’s a special place in hell for people like him!”
“Go. To. Hell!”
I can admit that I have thought those things. I may have even verbalized them. But when I see them in the light of Christ’s sacrifice and love for us, I’m ashamed of myself.
Jesus didn’t tell the woman caught in adultery to go to hell. He stood by her and defended her to her accusers to the point they all walked away.
Jesus didn’t tell the tax collector that he would burn in hell for all the stealing, lying and oppressing he did. He invited himself to the man’s house for dinner and then asked him to be his disciple.
Jesus didn’t tell the thief hanging on the cross next to him that he would go to hell. He told him that very day he would be with him in paradise.
We’re not Jesus. We’re human beings with a sinful nature that we fight against and struggle with every day. But when we take the stand that our Christian standards are something to use to keep people out of our churches, well sir, we have crossed the line.
Jesus gave us one mission, and one mission only:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and love your neighbor as yourself.
So, unless I’m willing to look at myself and say “Gosh, welcome to my church, but I’m sorry to report you’re going to hell,” then we need to shut our mouths and simply carry out the message of The Gospel. Because, despite what a great theologian may have said, the only way we’ll point others toward Christ is through love that looks past their sin. Because,
Love Never Fails
This is the 23rd post in my series Love Never Fails for the Write 31 Days blogging challenge. You can click here to go to my introduction page and find links to all the posts in the series. Also, if you’d like to receive these posts directly in your inbox, just enter your email address in the bar to the right. I promise to never share your information.