To Whom It May Concern:
I want to start off by saying I agree with you. This is not a hateful letter, nor a letter full of condemnation. I agree that homosexuality is wrong – it is very present in the Bible that the Lord does not agree with homosexuality. The only thing I don’t necessarily agree with is your approach.
Before I begin, let me preface this by saying that I am not a Biblical scholar. I did not go to years of seminary. I have only been actively reading my Bible daily for about 2 years now. I don’t know everything and I don’t have all the answers. I’m just a 26 year old college graduate who grew up in church from birth but only became a Christian exactly 2 years ago today. What I do know is that your God and my God are very different and I’m just not sure why.
It seems as if you have a very angry God. As it turns out, I viewed God the exact same way until about 2 years ago. I hated being forced to go to church and having my mom’s beliefs forced on me. This, in turn, gave me an angry view of God. I saw God as someone who was ready to punish all those who didn’t follow all his “rules” and send them to hell without a second thought about them. After running from the Lord for quite some time and engaging in some activities I am not proud of, I decided to come home and give my life to Jesus. I heard the gospel preached at my church and I realized that just like the prodigal son in Luke 15, the Lord REJOICED when the sinner repented and turned from his ways.
I’m sure you’re thinking, “Well, that’s exactly what we are trying to accomplish – to make sinners repent” … and to be honest, I get it. I admire you guys for your passion. I admire you guys that you are bold. The concern I have comes in by the matter in which you are bold. Let’s look at it this way – if someone wants you to come try a new restaurant, would you be more likely to go if the approach was “HEY! I know you know NOTHING about this new place, but if you don’t try it out, there’s something REALLY wrong with you and bad things will happen to you” or would you be more likely to come if the approach was “Hey, there’s this new restaurant. I know you have never had that kind of food before, but would you be willing to try it out if we went together?” One is essentially a demand followed by a condemning statement. The other is a friendly and open invitation. Unfortunately, churches operate the same way. They offer demands and then condemn rather than seem very friendly and inviting. Many churches throw religious doctrine (which many unchurched people do not even understand) and then finish by saying that if you don’t do x, y, and z you will most certainly go to hell. By the grace of God, I go to a church that operates with an open door policy – we have people who have been Christians all their lives. We have people who aren’t Christians at all. We have single mothers. And yes, we have homosexuals. And they are all welcome. You’re probably asking why and I can gladly tell you:
Jesus came to save the sick. The lost. The oppressed. The condemned. Jesus is the cornerstone of the church and therefore the church should operate in the same way. The church is here to save the sick. The lost. The oppressed. The condemned. But instead, many times they are very sadly the ones to cast the first stone. This was every church I had been in my whole life – and here’s the kicker: that is the very reason I left the church. Let me explain. When I was “away” from my church family, I knew everything I was doing was wrong. But I didn’t care. I also knew that if I came back, all I would feel is glares and have people talking behind my back. So for almost 10 years I ran and stayed far away. The thing my church has taught me, however, is that you can run from God, but you can’t outrun God and as much as you guys may disagree (and I fully respect that), not one person can outsin the grace of God. So, yes, even the homosexuals can NOT outsin the grace that was promised to us all throughout the story of redemption through Jesus.
What is wrong with gay people? Nothing. They just sin differently than you. What do you have in common with a gay person? God loves them just as much as you. The ground is level at the foot of the cross. In fact, I have a gay father in law (well, 2 actually since he has a partner). I do not agree with their lifestyle and I pray they will realize they aren’t living up to their full potential in the Lord but I love and respect them as people because they too are God’s children. God is sad they aren’t living fully alive lives but he loves them regardless. Just as he loves the boyfriend and girlfriend living together outside of marriage. Just as he loves the person who commits incest. Just as he loves the convicted murderer. Just as he loves the woman who had 3 abortions. Just as he loves you and me.
One other thing I have noticed is certain terminology that is used within your church that I have never heard in my church experience. “Hate”. “Punish”. Statements about God being “pissed off”. To be honest, if God were human, he most certainly would be pissed off. He most certainly would want punishment for those that break his commands. But, again, we are not God. We can not possibly think the way God thinks and therefore, we must believe – and try to understand – his thoughts are not our thoughts. Contrary to what most Christians believe, God does have a breaking point. There is a point where he allows a sinner’s heart to be hardened and therefore allow the person to have their destiny in hell. The way you guys seem to portray this, however, God is READY and WAITING to punish those who rebuke him. For those like myself on the outside of your church, it seems you teach God WANTS them to go to hell. If we are all reading from the same Bible which I assume we are, the exact opposite can only be concluded from the mouth of our Savior himself. 2 Peter 3:9 says “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” When we suffer, the Lord suffers as well. We are his children. I know many of you have children and it breaks your heart when they do something you know will harm them long term. As our finite minds can in no way understand an infinite God, we can still understand that the love from a heavenly father to his children far surpasses any love we can possess for our earthly children.
The underlying message is that Jesus loves. It is unbiblical to have hate in your heart and serve Jesus at the same time. This is because Jesus did not and does not hate anyone in his perfect nature. He doesn’t know the word hate. There are some churches that seem to be afraid of the word “Jesus”. They talk about God all day long but the word “Jesus” is not part of their vocabulary. The entire Old Testament points to Jesus. Jesus is the one who died for our sins. In order to be saved we must confess with our mouths that JESUS is Lord and believe that God raised him from the dead. Again, with no condemnation just simply curiosity, Jesus does not seem to be mentioned often in association with your church.
You guys are well known (and dare I say highly disliked) because of your pickets on funerals and controversial statements on many public issues, most recently the shooting in Connecticut. I would like to ask that you look at this objectively. If these were your children bleeding and dead right around the time of year in which we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, would you be rallying together to picket your own child’s funeral? I would certainly hope not. However, let me say this – I read from your website that your belief is that God sent that shooter to that school. As controversial as this may sound, I understand how you may say that. Everything in the world as we know it is caused by God or allowed by God. Everything. This includes the happiness and the tragedies. How are we to expect to be able to call out to God in the midst of tragedy when every other day we do everything we can to push him away? Again, the issue isn’t necessarily with your belief system, it is with your delivery of your beliefs.
To be honest, it was very hard for me to visit your church website godhatesfags.com; mainly because the Lord’s name is right next to the word ‘hate’. No part of me wants this letter to be legalistic or “Bible beating” but if we are Christians, our ultimate law comes from the Bible. 1 John 4:8 specifically says “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love”. It doesn’t get much simpler than that. If God is love, then He must be everything described in 1 Corinthians 13. Replace the word “Love” with “God”:
God is patient, God is kind. God does not envy, God does not boast, God is not proud. God does not dishonor others, God is not self-seeking, God is not easily angered, God keeps no record of wrongs. God does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. God always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
After reading that, there is no way that you can say God can hate ANYONE. That is sound biblical truth.
Our lives are our testimony. Other people are supposed to see the joy of Christ through our lives and ultimately ask what it is that makes us happy. This then gives us a chance to share the gospel with them. We should constantly be aware of how others view our lives and testimony. Do they see God’s greatness, grace, and love or do they see his wrath and harsh “unfair” laws? Since you guys are Christ followers, I must ask as a believer – where is your joy? Where is your hope? Where is your love? Some people think that if they give their lives to Christ, they will be missing out on so much because of legalistic “restrictions”. While you should definitely have a fear of God, it should be a reverend fear because of his holiness and power. Sometimes unfortunately I feel the approach of your church creates a genuine fear of God that is highly unbiblical. This is not the same thing. We serve a God of justice and peace and his justice will ultimately prevail. While it is imperative we hold each other accountable, we need someone who we can trust to help guide and correct our sinful actions. If someone doesn’t trust you, they more than likely aren’t going to listen to you screaming and shouting at them. No one has ever repented of their sins and received Christ because someone shouted or nagged them to church.
The Bible teaches us tolerance. Jesus was called “friend of sinners” for a reason. He had no phobia of sinners. He touched the untouchable. He healed those no one else could. He hung out with tax collectors, hookers, and drunks. If our goal is to be more and more like Jesus every day, we must be the body of Christ and function together. It is perfectly okay to oppose things and not agree with them but if we are to gain people on our sides, we should act the way Jesus did to gain his followers including you and me – by treating others how they want to be treated, giving them the grace God grants us new every morning. We should not be calling each other names like fags and pimps just for shock value. The Sermon on the Mount gives us an obligation as Christ followers to take his word into ALL nations. There is nothing in that passage that says “…and condemn every sinner while you’re at it”. The judgment is God’s part. We can only share his word – his LOVING word – and let any man who has ears hear.
Unfortunately, it is not left up to us to choose which part of the bible we want to live by. Christians can’t believe in salvation through Jesus and not believe that you should not have sex before marriage. BOTH are in the Bible. You either believe all or nothing. In the same way, we should not just be targeting specific groups like the Islam, our troops, or homosexuals. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 6: 9-10 that “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” Notice all the many times the word “nor” was used? The Lord wanted to be sure that we knew that just because someone has a different sin issue, one is not greater. None of these can inherit the kingdom of God. However, He created us anyway knowing we would fall short of this daily, which we do.
Revelation is the end of the Bible, but it’s not the end of our story. It’s not the end of Jesus’s story. The world desperately needs a savior. What the world does NOT need is any more people condemning one another. It is very important to turn from sin and repent. But we must love people where they are – like Jesus did. He loved the filthy, dirty person. He loved the prostitute, the adulterer, and the sodomite. He met them where they were and cleaned up their mess. This is why the story of salvation is so beautiful. Jesus took our sin – ALL of our sin. He became sin as he died on the cross so we would have life forever with him. THAT is the God I serve. THAT is the message I want my life to reflect. Because THAT is the message that eternally changed my life. And it could do the same for everyone – our troops fighting overseas included, the Islam, and homosexual included.