Tag Archives: Matthew 10:34

Bad Theology

I enjoy a good Facebook debate. The problem is that it invariably devolves into refutation of bad doctrine and sloppy hermeneutics. I’m sure you have encountered the “do not judge” canard. People like to stop at Matthew 7:1 and ignore the rest of the chapter which actually teaches us to rightly judge.

There was a guy today who said he is loving and tolerant of everyone, “just as Jesus was tolerant of the prostitute who was about to be stoned.” Mind you, this was a professing Christian.  He not only attempted to pummel scripture so that he could make his point for homosexual marriage, but he completely got it wrong.  This guy was so far off base, he could have better supported his position by vaguely referencing The Cat in the Hat.  We can clearly see that the woman in John 8 was an adulteress, not a prostitute.  Further, he asserts that Jesus is tolerant.  I suppose that depends on how carefully you read the Bible.

He and I would be in agreement that Jesus loves prostitutes, tax collectors, and other sinners.  As a matter of fact, he loves sinners so much that he died while we were still his enemies. (Romans 5:10)  Is Jesus tolerant of their sin?  Moreover, is Jesus tolerant of your sin?

Do we take the Bible at face value or do we rely on our own understanding?  If we believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God, then we can take it seriously and the entire book is about HIM.  If you cannot see his handiwork in the Old Testament, then maybe you need to look closer.  Isaac is a picture of Jesus.  Jonah is a picture of Jesus.  Moses’ brazen serpent in the wilderness is a picture of Jesus.  Boaz, the kinsman redeemer, is a picture of Jesus.  Noah’s Ark is a picture of Jesus.  Even the manna is a picture of Jesus.

Do you think that the God of the universe went to these great lengths so that sin may abound? (Romans 5:20)  Absolutely not.  Jesus is most intolerant in regard to sin.  His word was and is divisive, not harmonious.  Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. (Matthew 10:34)  Jesus came here ready for battle.  This was not a literal sword that we might imagine.  The sword is Jesus’ word.  You see this referenced again in Revelation 19:15. 

Jesus gets even more radical when he says, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. (John 14:15)  That sounds demanding; he said that we must obey him.  When we actively pursue sin and licentiousness, is that obeying Jesus?  Is that loving Him?  If you were to have an extramarital affair, is that a manifestation of your love for your spouse?  Paul writes the church in Corinth and says, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)  Those verses encompass all of us, yet the believer is sanctified.  Why would we cling to our sin that separates us from our Redeemer?

Bad theology is deadly.  The poor soul I had a dialogue with on Facebook is utterly confused as to what the Bible says, yet when he is challenged with scripture (like so many others), he bristles and rejects the truth.  He champions the wrong Jesus as his is absent from the Bible.  I believe that sound doctrine is fundamental for the Christian.  Without it, we are tossed about while we grasp at worldly constructs of love, tolerance, and acceptance when the Bible teaches of sin, righteousness, and judgment.

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Did Jesus Come to Bring Peace?

Some people say that Jesus was a great teacher. Others say that he came to demonstrate love. These are true, but what did Jesus say? He stated, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (Matthew 10:34 ESV) Isn’t this contradictory? What does this mean?

This certainly doesn’t sound like Joel Osteen’s namby pamby Jesus. The kind of sniveling god that wants our attention so badly, he grants us our best life now to buy our affection. I don’t know about you, but I have numerous difficulties in my life. I deal with chronic pain and will likely never see a pain-free day the remainder of my life. I’m not whining. I’m just stating a fact.

Everyday, people deal with suffering and loss. What about their best life? Is the six year old girl with leukemia living her best life now? I digress, but Osteen is selling people a false Jesus. Jesus is less concerned with your material wealth or physical health or comfort than he is with your soul. Jesus did not come to bring peace, but division. (Luke 12:51)

What is the cause of this division, anyway? Jesus once said, “Whoever hates me hates my Father as well.” (John 15:23 NIV) He said that after he told the disciples that the world will hate them. That really is the crux of the matter. Either you love Jesus and are in opposition to the world, or you belong to the world and hate Jesus.

I once belonged to the world. I was a pseudo-Christian, where I outwardly professed my faith (rather meekly in mixed company), but I lived as an atheist. Jesus had no impact on my life. As a matter of fact, I ridiculed real believers and denigrated God if it meant ratings. (I was a disc jockey at a rock station.) I clearly remember what I was like. I thought I could just wear the moniker and continue business as usual.

John 9:39 resonates with me. “Jesus said, ‘For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.'” I now realize that I was blind most of my life. I can also see many that profess their sight, when, in reality, they cannot. I’m reminded of the episode of House M.D. where Foreman contracts some crazy disease where he goes blind but his brain thinks he can see. Many think that they can see, but all they see is a poor facsimile of Jesus. Most notably, it’s Prosperity Jesus.

The whole idea of the cross seems ridiculous to unbelievers. 1 Corinthians 1:18 states, “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” This is something I can’t explain. I remember I mentally “accepted” Jesus, but my heart was dead. Only after I was broken both physically and spiritually could I understand what it meant to be saved. It is transformative. Jesus came not to bring peace, but to give life.