Are Christians hateful to those who don't accept the Bible's teachings for their way of life?

(Carson Weitnauer) #1

Hi friends,

I noticed today that this video of Ravi has been viewed over a million times!

I thought it might be helpful to everyone in the Connect family too. I’ve also written up a rough transcript of his points in case that is helpful to you.

The question:
How do you respond to nonbelievers who accuse Christians of being hateful to people who support lifestyles that are not according to the precepts of our faith?

Key points from Ravi’s answer:
It is an important question. It is a question our entire team is grappling with and thinking through.

Three kinds of answers:

  1. The sociological problem.
  2. The theological problem.
  3. The relational problem.

The sociological problem:
We talk about tolerance. But what kind of culture are we living in?

There are three cultures in relationship to absolutes:

  1. Theonomous. ‘God’s law.’ The law of God is embedded into our hearts and we think in the same categories. “These truths are self-evident.”
  2. Heteronomous. 'Another law.’ The leadership at the top of culture dictates the laws to the masses. Examples: Marxism, Islam.
  3. Autonomous. ‘Self law.’ Each individual dictates their own laws.

If we are in an autonomous culture, and I answer your question, are you going to give me the privilege of my autonomy too? Or are you going to switch to a heteronomous mode and dictate to me what I most believe? That is the sociological dilemma.

Autonomous cultures will have conflict because everyone has their own autonomy.

The theological problem:

A conversation with a journalist. She said, “I have a problem with Christianity. Christians are against racism, but they discriminate against homosexuals.”

Ravi’s response: In the first part of your question, you had an ‘ism’, but in the second part of the question, you particularize it with an individual. The reason we believe that discrimination ethnically is wrong is because the race and ethnicity of a person is sacred. You do not violate a person’s ethnicity and race. It is a sacred gift. And the reason we believe in an absoluteness to sexuality is because we believe sexuality is sacred as well. You will help me if you tell me why you treat race as sacred and desacralize sexuality.”

Marriage, as God has given it to us, is the most sacred relationship into which you will enter. In English, we have one word for love. In Greek, we have agape, phileo, storge, eros. Marriage is the only one that pulls these four loves together. The Bible describes marriage as like Christ’s relationship to the church. To take one behavior and make it look like it is aberrant is not right; all departures from this are not acceptable in the sight of God.

The theological position is a consummate relationship between a man and a woman in the procreative act and in the sacredness of paying each other the ultimate compliment of taking one another at their word.

The relational problem:

I accept people with a love and a genuineness of whatever their view is on anything. God gives you the most sacred gift of the prerogative of a choice. But God does not give you the privilege of determining a different outcome of what the choice will entail.

The Bible commands us to love those with whom we disagree. Only God can change the heart of a person. In a pluralistic society, let us be salt, let us be light, and let us learn to love one another. Let God be the judge.

(Melvin Greene) #2

I’ve watched this video several times. This is one of my favorites from his Q & A’s. I’ve always admired Ravi for his keen intellect and his humbleness and compassion for people.

It seems like in western societies we have adopted the belief that if you love someone you must accept their lifestyle choices. That is quite absurd. You love them for who they are as a human being made in the image of God. That doesn’t mean you have to agree with every belief and choice they make. If you truly love someone, you would want to confront them when they have made choices that are destructive and unhealthy, because you wouldn’t want to watch a loved one suffer because of their choices. The problem with people who have chosen to live a homosexual lifestyle is that they have taken that as their identity. So, when a Christian voices their opposition to that lifestyle, they see that as an attack on who they are, which is unfortunate. To be honest, there are Christians who do react harshly to someone living in a homosexual relationship. It seems that sexual sins in general are particularly upsetting to most Christians. At least that’s the way I see it.

(Keldon Scott) #3

I too have watched this video and have commended it to many others. I love the introductory part of it because it enables an open door to actual discussion before the various perspectives are described or explained. I opening the door to the autonomous approach the questioner gets to decide. It takes the pressure off the tender nature of the question itself to enable discussion.