Wednesday, November 07, 2007

First a Bigot, Now an Anti-Semite

Earlier this year I commented on the ominous overtones of Mitt Romney’s characterization of Al Sharpton’s insinuation that Mormons do not believe in the true God. In case you forgot, or never heard, Romney, a Mormon running for President, described Sharpton’s remarks as a “comment which could be described as a bigoted comment.”1 In other words, Romney’s own statement, as a presidential candidate and not as a common citizen, sets a precedent to refer to anyone as a bigoted for making any theological statements regarding God.

I was, and still am, very concerned over the societal impact of this thought that our post-modern society seams ready to accept with open arms. As a Christian, I am convinced, based on the Scriptures, that if you don’t believe in Jesus as He is revealed in the bible, you don’t believe in the true God. And therefore anytime I might refer to someone who doesn’t esteem the biblical Christ, the eternal Son of God and the second Person of the Triune Godhead, as believing in a false god or false Christ, as being wrong, I will be considered guilty of being a bigot.

I had never before seen the qualification of bigotry being assigned to someone’s religious and theological convictions before. Furthermore, it is absolutely illogical and ludicrous to do so because anyone calling me a bigot would be condemning themselves as one to. They would be telling me that my views of God and salvation are wrong while claiming that my doing the exact same thing to someone else’s belief is bigoted.

Just when I thought that it couldn’t get more surreal than to defend something Al Sharpton said about God, I now find myself defending Ann Coulter too. Now, for the record, from what I understand from hearing both of these political figures talk about their faith, I don’t know if either of them are saved but I do know that Sharpton seems caught up in the trends of the social gospel (and I really don’t have any clue as to his working theology) and Coulter is, well, “Mel Gibson-ish” in her soteriology.

When “The Passion of the Christ” came out, Director Mel Gibson was interviewed by Diane Sawyer, and one of the questions she asked revolved around Gibson’s theology of who will be saved by God and brought to heaven.

DIANE SAWYER (ABC NEWS) -- "... when we talked with Gibson and his actors, we wondered, does his traditionalist view bar the door to Heaven for Jews, Protestants, Muslims?

MEL GIBSON -- "That's not the case at all. Absolutely not. It is possible for people who are not even Christian to get into the Kingdom of Heaven. It's just easier for -and I have to say that because that's what I believe."

DIANE SAWYER -- "You have the nonstop ticket?"

MEL GIBSON -- "Well, yeah, I'm saying it's an easier ride where I am because it's like -I have to believe that."

Now even for a Roman Catholic to say this is sort of a thing is shocking. The Roman Catholic Church, as I understand it, has always held the stance of “Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus.” “Outside the [Roman] Church there is no salvation.” So for Mel Gibson to say that he simply has an “easier ride” to heaven or a “non-stop ticket” but practitioners of other religions can and will get there is simply shocking. And like Mr. Gibson, Ms. Coulter holds to a similar idea too, namely that at least Jews can get to heaven by following the laws of the Old Testament. Both incarnations of this inclusive theology of salvation are heretically wrong, and the New Testament is clear that only by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ with a trust in Him alone and a turning from is one saved.

My defense of Ms. Coulter is not for her faulty and heretical theology, but it is over the accusation that holding such a belief is anti-Semitic. When interviewed by Alan Colmes on the Fox News Channel, Alan accused her of using classic anti-Semitic language for stating her flawed theology. She then fired back a provocative question asking if Mr. Colmes was indicating that if one is “to be a Christian is anti-Semitic?” Mr. Colmes responded by saying no, but then went on to give his understanding, as a Jewish man, of what anti-Semitism is.
“To say that your religion is somehow superior and that you have to be perfected in order to be of the right religion. That somehow those who do not believe what you believe are somehow lesser than you. That is the implication, and that is classic anti-Semitism.”2

In other words, no-one can say to anyone, especially a Jew, that Christ is the only way of salvation before God without being an anti-Semite. Also, no one can say that any man needs to be perfected to be in the presence of God. He grossly misunderstands Christian doctrine (which is not surprising since his opponent in this debate doesn’t understand Christian doctrine either) by characterizing those who preach the gospel message as believing that others are “lesser” than them. Perhaps he is thinking of the way that Jews were treated in the Nazi regime as being “less than” human and worthy only of extermination. That kind of an understanding about any race, ethnicity, or religion that leads to torture and death is as contrary to Christian doctrine as it would be to posit that Jesus isn’t the eternal Son of God and the only way of salvation!

Leaving aside Ms. Coulter’s theology, isn’t it shockingly illuminating to understand that preaching the gospel to a Jew and saying that only those who have been “perfected” in Christ (i.e. imputed with the righteousness of Christ on the basis of faith) will be saved is considered anti-Semitic. Being called anti-Semitic is on the level of being called a bigot or possibly even a pedophile in our culture insofar as much as all of these “classes” of individuals are seen as the scumiest of the scum, and they are deeply despised by the populous. Once Christians are universally hailed as being anti-Semitic because we preach Christ crucified, and we are universally hailed as being bigoted because we hold to the conviction that there is only one God, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ as He is revealed in the pages of the Bible, and once we are universally hailed as spouting hate speech because we preach what the Bible says about sin, from pride to homosexuality, the doors of persecution will have been flung wide open and the desire to carry out persecution will have been engrained in the minds of the self-styled “righteous” oppressors of an intolerant and hateful Christianity.

We must not be deaf and dumb to what is happening in our free society. The secular toleration of the gospel is waning, and their hatred for God is waxing. This gurgling up of derision for the doctrines of Christ by the fallen world is nothing new; it was the reason that Christ Himself was killed by sinful men. The grace of God has suspended forceful cultural opposition to the gospel for quite some time in our land, but perhaps this is an indication that He is removing some of His protection from us because we have compromised and adulterated His gospel in our society.

May God grant us grace and strength to preach the gospel in truth with conviction whether we face name calling, imprisonment, or torture and death. May we glorify God with our faithfulness. And may we follow and serve God with the single minded purpose of glorifying God. “May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of His suffering!”3

1 (emphasis mine)

2 Alan Colmes, “Hannity & Colmes” 10/30/07

3 Paris Reidhead, “Ten Shekels and a Shirt”

No comments:

Copyright © 2005-2010 Eric Johnson