The following was posted on Twitter by a pastor.
A tweet by a pastor:
“Jesus healed the centurion’s son and hung out with tax collectors.
He ate with prostitutes and comforted widows.
He came to save both the oppressed and the oppressor. The reality is they are both trapped in the same system of sin.
He came to seek and save ALL the lost.”
A tweet in response to the above was then posted:
“Truth. It’s hard for a lot of people to grasp, but Jesus loves everyone. Even those we tend to hate. They are damaged people too. None is perfect. Not one. And He desires all.”
I recently completed a pretty in-depth study of the common claim “God loves everyone.” The Bible provides a mountain of clear teaching which refutes such a claim. It is statements like these “tweets” being made by so-called pastors and professing Christians that are working to keep the oppressed in bondage to the wicked.
Is it really true the the oppressed and the oppressor are both “trapped in the same system of sin”? Does the Bible present the wicked as being simply “damaged people”? Yes, Jesus ate with tax-gatherers and sinners, but His response to his enemies such as the Pharisees was quite different. He said things like this to them:
Mat 21:31-32 Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you. (32) For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him.
So that pastor and his commenter are teaching a false gospel. They are oppressing the oppressed. They are warping and perverting the cross of Christ and they are giving evil a free hand to abuse and oppress and still enter heaven.
Pastor, you will give an account to Christ one day for your false and enslaving teaching.
Pastor Crippen’s Bible 11-part series titled “Does God Love Everyone?” can be found at our Youtube channel.
Why is it that the patriarchy teaches that there are basically 2 roles for women in the Bible….mother (widow) or prostitute?
I have heard patriarchal teachers say Jael, Bathsheba, Mary Magdalene, the woman at the well, and basically any woman interacting with Jesus were prostitutes.
Scripture does not define these women this way. It also does not define women in such limited roles, at all.
Bathsheba a prostitute! I haven’t heard that one before. I recently read a perspective that actually called what David did with Bathsheba rape. That surprised me too. As I read on it made sense though.
Yes, that whole attitude of all sexual sin being the responsibility of a woman is perturbing, at best. It reminds of a line from a very old story. “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” I suppose in that sense there is nothing new under the sun.
The biggest deceptions are rooted in partial truths. The truthful part makes it easier to swallow the lie if we are not diligent in evaluating and testing what is set before us.
The tweet shown above is a prime example of that. It may feel easier to agree with or ignore what’s being communicated, but when we take the time to trace where the statements made lead to, it doesn’t lead us to the truth found in scripture. It is a twisting of scripture that leads to believing a lie if not rejected.
Yes, Jesus healed the centurion’s son. Yes he hung out with – if by hung out with, you mean enjoyed a meal with – tax collectors and prostitutes. Yes, he comforted widows.
But the leap from those true statements to the statement that Jesus came to save the oppressor and the oppressed is wrong. He is sin leveling. In essence, he’s saying that someone who cheated on their 6th-grade history test is just as guilty in the eyes of God as someone who defrauds a widow out of her life savings. Yes, both are sinners by nature of being human, but to act as if the person whose sin was cheating on a test is carrying around the same amount of sin as the person who defrauded the widow, is dangerous and damaging, especially to the oppressed.
Those who shame the oppressed when they sin level are adding heavy burdens the oppressed aren’t designed to carry. That teaching crushes their spirit instead of easing their burden. When you sin level, you downplay the damage of sins like fraud, rape, adultery, abuse, and murder, adding to the injustice the oppressed are already experiencing.
God shows in both the Old and New Testaments that he draws near to, comforts and will fight for the oppressed. Psalm 34:18 says, “God is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit.” He doesn’t offer that same promise to the oppressors. In Psalm 5 David tells us that God destroys those who are liars and that God abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man. He offers punishment and curses to those who oppress others.
In Matthew 23 he warns the Pharisees – the primary spiritual oppressors of Jesus’s day who were in opposition to his ministry and message – that if they do not repent, they will be destroyed. How did they oppress the people? They hindered others from entering God’s kingdom by placing huge man-made burdens on them and calling it of God. They manipulated the parameters of what is considered a commitment to God in order to ensnare others and give themselves loopholes to not have to follow through on. They focused on applying their laws on minuscule things like tithing herbs but neglected faithfulness to God, mercy, and justice. They focused all their energy on what the exterior of their lives reflect, and did not submit to God and ask him to cleanse their hearts and minds, all the while teaching others to do as they do. Their kind killed the prophets of old and are who had Jesus put to death. They are idolators who worship self and power and will do whatever means necessary to keep both. Anyone who opposes their message is a threat.
Jesus came and died to save his elect – not the whole world – and to redeem them from their sin. He did not die for “everyone.” He didn’t die for Hitler, Judas, Stalin, Nero, the Pharisees, or any of the other wicked leaders who have ruled nations over the centuries. He did not die for the serial rapist, the verbally abusive narcissist, the con man or woman, or the pedophile who’s preying on kids in your midst. Anyone who believes that is deceived. That is Universalism, not Christianity. If everyone is saved, then we Jesus wouldn’t have had to come and die as a sin offering in our place. God redeems those whom he elected before the foundations of the world were created.
Whether the intent behind this tweet and its response was to cause harm or not I do not know. I hope not. But I do know, that as a pastor, the words he uses carry a greater spiritual weight than if a layperson had tweeted it. They have the power to lead those they shepherd and influence astray. The message he’s communicating, if believed, will lead others astray. It is foolishness that ultimately leads to destruction. It is a false gospel as is the belief that Jesus will save ALL that are lost.
This false gospel deceives oppressors – cough abusers – into believing that they are saved when in actuality they are not. Can an oppressor be saved? If they place their faith in Christ and GENUINELY repent. But practically speaking, it is highly unlikely – like 99.9999% unlikely – because the cost required to genuinely repent is higher than what they are willing to give. I can’t remember ever seeing any oppressors genuinely repent in my life. It didn’t happen with any of my oppressive and abusive family members. It didn’t happen with those in the church who oppressed and abused me. I haven’t seen any displays of genuine repentance happen within the visible church either in more than 3 decades. Lots of false repentance in order to get what they want most. Their power, position, and control back with no regard for their victims. Anytime an oppressor who claims to be a Christian is exposed, they double down on their insistence that they are the innocent party. They do not genuinely repent because of what it will cost them.
BTW, how repentance is communicated in most churches nowadays is not genuine repentance. It’s a false repentance designed to get the oppressor what they want most – control and admiration of others. In the New Testament, in Jesus’s, Paul’s, and the apostle John’s ministries, they repeatedly instruct us about who is and is not a Christian. Oppressors are not Christians. They are of their father the devil. False repentance is one of the weapons they use to keep their victims enslaved.
How do you know if an oppressor’s repentance is genuine? They permanently change their behavior. They will admit and own their oppressive behavior. They apologize to their victims giving specifics of what they are guilty of. A vague apology is another form of manipulation. If they are a public figure their apology must be public as well, not just in private. They will not seek retribution against the oppressed for exposing their wicked behavior. They will not shift the blame for their actions to others, including the victims. They do whatever is required in order to restore those they oppressed including but not limited to making financial restitution for the damage they have caused. They abide by whatever decisions the appressed deem necessary in order for them to feel safe – even if that means they can no longer be a part of their current church family. They will voluntarily turn themselves over to the authorities if they have broken the law. When was the last time you saw this kind of repentance take place in your life?
While salvation is a gift God extends to everyone, not everyone will choose it. Those who die while being unrepentant of their sin will not be saved. Those who love themselves and stubbornly demand their own way will not be saved. Those who look great on the outside but are oppressors behind closed doors will not be saved. Salvation requires a person to believe that the only way to be made right with God is through placing their faith in Christ. That his perfect sacrifice paid the debt the sinner could not pay, and that in exchange for their faith in him, they are committed to living a life that honors him by obeying his commands given in scripture. It’s that faith that triggers their heart to be reborn. What does salvation look like? The sinner must humble himself or herself before God, repent of his or her sin, ask God to regenerate his or her heart, and commit to being obedient to the commands given in scripture for the remainder of his or her life. It is a daily dying to our selfish sinful nature that wants what is evil and pursuing a relationship with God so that we may become spiritually mature, being able to discern between good and evil.
So beware of men like this pastor whose false gospel message may sound warm and fuzzy at first, but will ultimately destroy you. Be diligent in seeking the truth. Test what you see being said by your own pastors, and those you follow online. Don’t blindly accept what others tell you without doing your own homework, lest you find yourself too far down the broad path and miss the opportunity of inheriting eternal life.
Wonderful Essay Lynn. In all my decades as a pastor I have NEVER had a single one of tgese abusers/narcissists/revilers that I had to rebuke come back and say “I am so sorry for what I did and for the grief I caused. I don’t deserve forgiveness but I just wanted to tell you I was wrong and I hate what I did”.
NEVER. Not one.
To be fair, the apostle Matthew/Levi was a tax collector, and so was Zaccheus. Tax collectors did have a reputation for oppression in those days. So maybe the”an abuser can never ever ever change” idea might be a little bit off? I mean, both of them obviously did. But it was real, true, Spirit-induced heart change; they were not hardened abusers who were past changing. And yes, Jesus did love them, but that does not mean he loves all abusers (nor does he love anyone who persists in unrepentant sin and rebellion). Does that make sense, or am I off base?
R – an abuser is far different than Zaccheus or Matthew. Far different. Abusers never change. They have no conscience. They thrive on power and control. They often parade as fine, holy saints or noble fine people who are the envy of others. Matthew and Zaccheus were what they were. No disguise. No evil charade.
I will write a post soon in which I believe your questions will be answered even more. I will show that Paul was not an abuser and though that may sound surprising, I can show you it is true.
I am so thankful for this series: “Does God Love Everyone” ….. I grew up in the church and the idea that God loves “loves everyone,” even Hitler, never sat well with me, but could not articulate why. Understanding that a true God of Justice would not love everyone makes a lot more sense as that is not true Justice.
I also noticed this type of lie / thinking is promoted in secular circles that I noticed with my High School students, who are secular…. It is a very culturally American style of thinking on many levels…..but that is another topic.
I have also been wondering of late about Job 42, the part when Job prayed for his friends who gave ungodly advice and comments and that after Job prayed for his friends his fortunes were restored. I was wondering what exactly he prayed about for them, as I have similar friends / family who have said the same things Job’s friends said to him, but am having trouble finding it within me to pray for them….. but recently this verse has been nagging at me, especially after a friend again made a “Job-friend’s-like comment to me in passing the other day.
I did not know what to do with it – it made me upset afterwards when I was later processing her visit and part of me is confused as to whether or not I should continue to distance myself emotionally from her, or start to pray for her as Job did for his friends in Job 42. and if I pray, then what do I pray, b/c I don’t really have a good attitude about it and instead prefer the Jeremiah verses 9there are at least 3) that tell us: do not even pray for these people…. I still struggle in deciding which category my friend falls under: the appearance of godliness category or the Jobs friends category…..
I could not find any resources that seemed like a realistic and practical application of that passage in Job 42….
Job 42 shows us a couple of things to be considered as we ponder it’s practical application of our lives. First we see Job’s repentance for his presumption about God and his lack of knowledge. Like Job, we too will be called to repent from our own presumptions we make about God at different points in our lives. An example could be repenting of the belief that God loves everyone.
Next God speaks to three of Job’s friends rebuking them for their mischaracterization of Him and of Job. This is done for a couple of reasons. It is to correct their wrong thinking about who God is and it is to vindicate Job. Job’s trial was not a result of his sin, and his friend’s assumptions that it was, maligned both God’s character and Job’s. God seeks to correct their assumptions and uses Job as a mediator between God and his friends. God commands Job’s friends to make a burnt offering sacrifice for their sins, and to have Job pray in their behalf. This is a type and shadow of Christ. Job is the Christ figure in this story, not us. Can we identify with Job and his struggles? Of course. I know I do.
Notice that all three friends of Job do exactly as God commanded them to. They didn’t complain, make excuses, or try and shift responsibility to someone else. They obeyed God. Then Job also obeyed God and prayed for his friends.
Let me ask you this. Has God commanded your friends in question to ask you to pray on their behalf for God to spare them from the punishment their wicked words or actions deserve? Have they sought you out for forgiveness for the harm they’ve inflicted on you? If not, then trying to pray the same type of prayer that Job did over his friends isn’t possible. You shouldn’t seek restoration in relationships with unrepentant people. Job’s friends had to demonstrate their repentance by taking action first before Job prayed for them. Otherwise, they would have been left to suffer for their sin of maligning God and Job’s characters.
If you want to pray for the friends in your own life, pray that God would open their eyes to the way they are harming you and maligning God’s character and they would repent. If you don’t, then let them be. It’s up to God to convict them of their sin and deal with the choices they make as a result of that conviction, not you. If they never feel convicted of their sin, then I would question the sincerity of their faith in Christ and let the relationship go until that evidence shows up. Remaining in that kind of relationship will only bring you more heartache and grief.
I hope this helps.
Great stuff!! Thank you.
It does!!! Thank you so much Lynn!!! I am so glad I finally put this question out there. What a blessing your response is. Sincerely, lg
You’re welcome. 😊
When we take a look at the Old Testament, we must remember it’s purpose is to point us to Christ. One of the ways the Bible does this is with types and shadows of Christ.
Some examples of types and shadows of Christ are:
The story of Job.
Moses with the bronze serpent.
Joseph being sold into slavery in Egypt.
David when he kills Goliath.
Jonah in the belly of the whale.
Be careful when reading scripture to try and make it formulaic to fit what your going through. We can glean comfort knowing we are not alone, but just because we may be suffering in what feels like a similar fashion to Bible character, doesn’t mean that God will solve your issues in the same way he did theirs. Perfect resolution won’t happen this side of eternity.
Fortunately we are not alone. He promises to never leave us, forsake and to provide a way for his children when they are in need.
I would say that Jesus did hang out with sinners, but with those who WANTED him, who knew their guilt and humbled themselves. “God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble.” So self righteous sinners who hated him and rejected him and preferred their sin, Jesus also rejected them. He did not love them but avoided them and warned others about them.
Also, I really appreciate pastor Crippen calling out that tweet as a false gospel! I was just listening to a sermon by Martin Lloyd Jones on true conversion and he made a point that Jesus made it difficult for people to follow him. He told them hard truths they didn’t want to hear because he didn’t want false followers. 👌 As it should be!
Exactly! Sadly there is such a lack of discernment between the repentant, genuinely remorseful sinners who still have a conscious of their sin and guilt, and the uncorrigible, impenitent sinners whose conscience is seared and who go on seeking control, power, self-gratification, etc. over others.
Today’s pastors don’t follow Jesus’ example/teaching of rejecting and denouncing the latter to acknowledge and protect the former.
Claims like this one from Twitter are very common in Christian circles. If I propose an opposing view at my church, I would be perceived as unforgiving, or even bitter and resentful. They think that we become more Christ-like or reach the height of sainthood when we love the unlovable (in this case, the abuser).
I started to listen to “Does God Love Everyone?” series on SermonAudio, starting with Episode 33. To be honest, it is triggering due to my own experience in the church, but I hope to get through all the sermons.
After I read this post I was reminded later about the parable of the 10 virgins. I love this illustration. All ten had lamps, but half did not prepare with enough oil. So, they sought out those were prepared to help them, but it was too late. They had full expected to enter into the kingdom, but half of them were not able to.
The “pastor’s” post is an attempt to water down the deep-seated evil in the choices of oppressors – which in itself also rooted in satan’s deception. His post is spiritual abuse in a very obvious, primitive form.
When I see posts like that, and there are plenty, I can’t help but wonder if that pastor is more than just a spiritual abuser – the equalizing and deflecting approach he is using is a very common tactic in professing “Christians” that are actually covert, physical, etc. abusers as well. Blaming and deflecting oppression on Christ will never be acceptable, the “pastor’s” stance is excusing abusiveness and feeding into it – and has no business in any Christ-following church leadership role, particularly as a pastor.