Friday, October 16, 2015

Getting Booted from Redeemer Presbyterian’s Facebook Page

I was recently banned from the Redeemer Facebook page, “Redeemer Presbyterian Church, NYC,” for posting this:

In this essay I explored what Christian love should look like in terms of the refugees from the Middle East. I argued that Christian love requires discernment and preference for our brethren in Christ. The Apostle Paul was quite clear about our responsibilities in situations like this.

  • Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers (Galatians 6:10).
While we are to help everyone as we are able, the Bible teaches that our first obligation is to our brethren in Christ, as it also is to our immediate biological family. In the essay, I also wrote about the well-founded dangers posed by Islamic refugees.

The first respondent answered:

  • "Honestly, man, I don't know what you're trying to do here on Redeemer's webpage, but stop. Your exegesis is terrible. Your points are quite hateful. And your insistence on othering people is destructive."
The two other respondents called upon the administrator to remove my post. However, not only were the posts removed, but I was removed as well. Someone at Redeemer decided that I was no longer welcome on their page. If I had expressed myself in an unloving or unbiblical manner, I could better understand the response. If the subject was of minor importance, I might be more sympathetic towards these Grand Inquisitors. However, this issue represents a matter of absolutely prime importance—the genocide, kidnapping, and sex-slavery of tens of thousands of innocent Christians.

If we are right to shut our ears to their cries, then the churches in Germany were totally guiltless for turning their backs on the extermination of millions. Instead, this warning against the very evident and proven dangers of Islam was indicted as “quite hateful.”

I asked this respondent if his criticism would also apply to warnings about Hitler in 1932. However, he failed to answer, leaving me with the impression that the respondents believe that exposing Hitler is totally legitimate while exposing Islam is not, even when it is costing our brethren everything.

The respondent also charged that my “insistence on othering people is destructive." What does it mean to “other” people? Based upon what is currently embraced by seeker-sensitive churches, it means that it is wrong and unchristian to make the us/them distinction. Even worse, when we distinguish ourselves from others by making this distinction, we establish a basis for hate and marginalization.

However, this distinction is inseparable from Scripture. It’s even a distinction that Jesus routinely made:

  • And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says: “‘“You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive.” (Matthew 13:10-14)
  • “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’” (Matthew 25:40)
  • “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you… If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” (John 15:12, 18-19)
We are a new creation by the mercy of God. Paul explained what this meant:

  • Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people." (2 Corinthians 6:14-16)
While it doesn’t seem that Redeemer has much use for such distinctions, Redeemer exercises a great deal of its own “othering.” When they appoint pastors, deacons, elders, committee heads, and teachers, they are “othering,” by setting some to have authority over others – a stratified structure.

When members are excommunicated from the Redeemer page for no other reason than for expressing a politically incorrect opinion, they too have been “othered.” Yet, my “othering” jihadists and caliphatists, is denigrated as “destructive” and “hateful.” Perhaps instead it is these Redeemer respondents who have been hateful to me.

Why then has it become impermissible to expose the victimization of our brethren? Why mustn’t we mention our overriding responsibility for our own household of faith? Hate has this become “hate” speech, even among the Church of Christ? Instead, we are mandated to show the world our love for the brethren, as Jesus prayed:

  • "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (John 17:20-23)
You may call this “favoritism,” but this is the very demonstration of favoritism Jesus advanced to reconcile the world:

  • "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:34-35)
While we are to love all, we are also to demonstrate a distinctive love for our brethren in Christ. Even non-Christians are incredulous of the churches’ silence – a silence that has allowed the genocide to flourish.

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