It’s Okay To Speak Negatively About Christians

Why is it people think that saying something negative about a Christian is okay but not about other religions? What makes Christianity such a threat to people that they exclude those who believe in Jesus from the rules of decency and respect? In an article about Presidential Press Secretary, Sarah Sanders, we see a glimpses of this problem today:

“If someone says something about another faith, particularly liberals come to their defense in a raging motion, but if someone attacks a Christian, it’s perfectly fine. At some point we became a culture that said that was okay.” —Sarah Sanders

Its the message that Christianity holds as true that threatens the world and makes it a target for anger and ridicule. Jesus said that the reason people reject Him, has nothing to do with truth, it is because they love their sins, more than they love Him.

(Jesus Speaking:) And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. —John 3:19

I had the idea after I came into a new relationship with Jesus 42 years ago that everything was going to be awesome and I would be free of all difficulties. I never imagined that by my union with the Lord, many in the world would hate me. As I began to understand this truth and saw it exhibited in my life, I realized that Jesus knew what He was talking about in these from John 15:18-19.

“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”

You can join a church, a religion; become part of a spiritual movement, and find very little opposition from the world. Join yourself to Jesus and seek to make Him known to people, and you will find great opposition. This world does not love Christ and they never will. Jesus stands for absolutes that are grossly offensive to many people. Jesus claimed that He came into the world to save sinners. In order for anyone to become a follower of Jesus, first they must acknowledge that they are a sinner, and second, they must be willing to turn from those sins—to Jesus.

Admitting sin, is admitting faults. No person likes to admit that they have been wrong and needs to change the way that they live their life. A great majority of churches and religions in the world, do not make these strict demands upon their participants. In fact, many religions deny sin altogether, and most do not condemn those who sin and prevent them from obtaining eternal life. Only the Bible is so rigid in its demand that we cease from our sins, and turn to Jesus as our Savior. Then, we must choose to live our life for righteousness, not sin. We cannot claim to be a follower of Jesus and chose to abide in our old sins. The old life of self and sin and the new life of Jesus and righteousness, are mutually exclusive.

A person cannot continue to live in an adulterous life-style and be a true follower of Jesus. First a person must be willing to admit that adultery is a sin and be agreeable to cease from practicing it any longer. The evidence that defines a person who is truly saved, is observed by their willingness to turn from their former sins and commit them no more (John 8:10-11). Jesus was so adamant about the need for repentance before salvation is given to anyone, by Him that He said that unless we all repent of our sins, we will all likewise perish.

And Jesus answered and said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? 3 I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. —Luke 13:2-3

In the above text, Luke records an event that is otherwise unknown to us from anywhere else in the Bible. Apparently, Pontius Pilate had ordered the death of certain individuals who were attempting to offer sacrifices in Jerusalem. In the process, the tower at Siloam fell and many innocent people were killed. Jesus asks the question: Were these (innocent) people who died as a result of the tower’s fall worse sinners than any other people in Galilee? His answer is “No.” There was no connection between this accident that took place, which resulted in their death, and their own personal sins. This tower at Siloam may have been a part of the wall of Jerusalem, near the pool of Siloam. When it fell and killed many people, God was not personally targeting these individual persons for judgment. Their sins were no worse than any of the others in Israel, or any other person throughout the world.

Then, Jesus said, “but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” In other words, the real issue is not whether or not someone else’s sins are worse than yours; the facts are, we must all repent of our sins, or we will be perish, eternally.

We have this idea that some sins are worse than others. In this example of those who were killed by the collapse of the Tower of Siloam, Jesus taught that all sins are equal before God. All sins separate us from our Holy God. Jesus said that unless we all repent, will all perish (eternally).

Jesus describes this story of the tragic death of eighteen people as an example that all of us are equally guilty before God for our sins. Every one of us needs a Savior, and none of us are worthy of heaven by our own efforts. Only the blood that Jesus has shed for us on the cross is sufficient to pay for the sins of the whole world.

Socially Acceptable Sins

Today, a great majority of people in the world do not feel that it is wrong for two unmarried persons who love each other, to be in a sexual relationship. In times, past, a majority of people believed that a sexual relationship between unmarried persons, was sinful. This change in opinion is due to evolving ideas about human sexuality and the belief that people should have the freedom to live their lives as they see fit, without interference from anyone else.

What is interesting regarding this subject is that God is the originator of all laws concerning sexual relationships and His word on this subject has not changed.

God is defined as “God,” specifically because He is perfect in every regard. This means that everything He has said is the truth and it is impossible that He could ever lie. If God could lie, then He would not be perfect, meaning that He is not God.

Because what God has already said is perfect, it does not need to be changed, updated, or altered to accommodate changing opinions of people.

We cannot live in adultery, fornication, sodomy, or as a lesbian or bisexual, and follow Jesus. These are sins that must be ended in order to receive forgiveness from the Lord. We cannot expect God to forgive our sins if we are not willing to turn from them. Sexual sins are used in this example because they are so prevalent today and have become socially acceptable.

Forty years ago, eighty percent of the population believed that sex outside of marriage or between same-sex couples, was sinful. Today eighty percent of the population think that these practices are okay, because they are so common.

If we believe that the sexual relationships mentioned above, are not sinful, we must answer what the basis of our assertion is. Do any one of us have the moral authority to set rules which govern the lives of human beings? How can imperfect people establish laws for themselves. Only God has the right and ability to establish truly righteous standards that govern all human life. As Creator, this is His right. Since God is perfect, this enables Him to establish laws that are also perfect.

The primary reason that people object to any law, is because it prohibits them from doing the things they want to do. The fact remains that the laws for all relationships between human beings, have already been defined by God and they are perfect and therefore, do not need to be changed to accommodate persons who do not happen to like them.
What is often forgotten is that God has not changed His mind about sexual sin. He said that sex outside of marriage and between people of the same-sex, is wrong—from the moment that He created us, and this law has not changed.[⁠1]

God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? —Numbers 23:19 (ESV)

Because the true followers of Jesus, are duty-bound to tell other people that these practices are sinful, we are held as intolerant, bigoted, hateful, and extreme. In truth, all that we are saying is what God has already said and He has not changed His opinion, regarding these practices.

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, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 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

And as such were some of you…

There are many of us who have turned from our sins, to Jesus, who were formerly in one of the categories listed above in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. Again, not that any of the above listed sins are worse than any others; sexual sins are listed in bold because they are the practices that people believe are acceptable today.

Our attitude about these things should have changed when were turned from our own life-style of sin—to Jesus for our salvation. Now, we no longer live our lives as we formerly had. We have ceased from these former sins and seek to live our lives in purity and truth.
Any person can begin a new life with Jesus, at any time. What we have done in our past does not have to define who we are in the future. Perhaps we have said and done things that we are ashamed of; all of this can be erased in a moment. All we must do is come to Jesus in sincere sorrow and ask Him to forgive us and erase our past, and He will.

We must tell people about sin and salvation

Jesus said: “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.  But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates Me hates My Father also. If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father. But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’

Not everyone who hears this Good News will turn from their sins to Jesus and be saved. A great majority of the world does not like this message and will never believe it.
Jesus said that because they would not keep His word concerning these things—necessary for salvation, they will also, not keep our word—when we tell people what God requires. Jesus said:

If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.

Once we know what we must do, we are accountable to God for our response. Because Jesus has come into the world and fully explained what God commands all persons to do, we can never offer an excuse for not believing. In Luke chapter 16, notice what the man in hell said to the Lord:

“For I have five brothers, and I want him to warn them so they don’t end up in this place of torment”

Jesus said:

“Moses and the prophets have warned them. Your brothers can read what they wrote.’30 “The rich man replied, ‘No, Father Abraham! But if someone is sent to them from the dead, then they will repent of their sins and turn to God.’ 31 “But Abraham said, ‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they won’t listen even if someone rises from the dead.’” —Luke 16:28-31 (NLT

Jesus said that after someone has died, it is too late to help them. If we are serious about our relationship with Him, then we must tell people the truth. When Jesus came to earth, He emphasized two things: repentance and mercy. Those who are seeking mercy for their sins, shall have it; predicated upon their willingness to “go and sin no more.” Jesus was not afraid to tell us the truth about our sins, because knowledge of the truth is what enables a person to make an informed decision. We should not be afraid to tell people that if they do not repent from their sins, they cannot be saved.⁠[2]

Jesus said that this message is an offense to the world and they will hate you because you deliver it to them. Jesus said that because most people did not listen to Him, most will not listen to us. This fact should not prevent us from speaking what is true, so that perhaps a few might listen and be saved.

The Promise of Persecution

How many people today, do you suppose that you could convince to follow Jesus, if you told them that as a result of their decision, people will hate them? Jesus reminds the believers of that time that the Jews will “put you out of the synagogue and seek to kill you as service to God.” The reason that Jesus told them this, was so that when it did happen, these believers would not be taken by surprise and think that God had abandoned them. When we examine the record of secular history, we find that there is a stunning record of this very thing happening to the early Christian church, and lasting for a period of about 250 years after Jesus resurrection.

The Persecution of Early Christians by the Romans

One of the most compelling pieces of evidence from secular history that serves to validate the presence of Jesus Christ, on earth, dying on a cross, and resurrected from the dead; is the persecution of the early followers of Jesus, by the Roman government.
The Romans were very tolerant of every religion except Christianity. The Roman Emperors determined that Christianity was a terrible “superstition,” in which its followers believed in the impossible; their leader had risen from the dead.⁠[3]

“The Roman Empire was generally quite tolerant in its treatment of other religions. The imperial policy was generally one of incorporation – the local gods of a newly conquered area were simply added to the Roman pantheon and often given Roman names. Even the Jews, with their one god, were generally tolerated. So why the persecution of Christians?”

“In order to understand the Roman distrust of Christianity, one must understand the Roman view of religion. For the Romans, religion was first and foremost a social activity that promoted unity and loyalty to the state – a religious attitude the Romans called pietas, or piety. Cicero wrote that if piety in the Roman sense were to disappear, social unity and justice would perish along with it.”

The early Roman writers viewed Christianity not as another kind of piety, but as a “superstition.” Pliny, a Roman governor writing circa 110 AD, called Christianity a “superstition taken to extravagant lengths.” Similarly, the Roman historian Tacitus called it “a deadly superstition,” and the historian Suetonius called Christians “a class of persons given to a new and mischievous superstition.“⁠[4] —Persecution in the early church

The “mischievous superstition,” that Tacitus, Pliny, and Suetonius refers to, was the firm belief by the followers of Jesus that He had risen from the dead.

This fact of Christianity made it impossible for the Roman Emperors to accept Christianity as a conventional religion. No other leader amongst any other religion had ever claimed to rise from he dead. We should understand at the onset that Christianity is far different from all other religions. The central and most crucial part of Christianity is the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Without the Resurrection, Christianity would have ceased to exist before it began.

It was because Christians believed in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ that ten Roman Emperors gave their orders to execute any Christian who would not repent of their Christianity and worship a Roman god.[⁠5]

Since Christians maintained such a firm belief the Jesus had risen from the dead, because it is firmly established in their scriptures, they would not deny Jesus.

For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,  —1 Corinthians 15:3-4

And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty.  —1 Corinthians 15:14

History records that early Christians were persecuted and killed, by the Roman government, for a period of 250 years.[⁠6] Beginning with Nero in 54 A.D., and ending with Diocletian in 313 A.D.[⁠7]

  • Nero (54-68): Paul beheaded; Peter crucified upside down
  • Domitian (95-96): John exiled to Patmos, writes the Book of Revelation.
  • Trajan (104-117): Ignatius burned at the stake.
  • Marcus Aurelius (161-180): Polycarp martyred.
  • Septimus Severus (200-211): Executed Irenaeus.
  • Maximinus (235-237): He killed Ursula and Hippolytus.
  • Decius (249-251);
  • Valerian (257-260);
  • Aurelian (270-275);
  • Diocletian (303-313) Killed more Christians than all before him.

The most reliable source for the true facts of this persecution of Christians, is from Foxes Book of Martyrs: During this period of history, John Foxe estimated that five million Christians were killed for simply believing in Jesus as their Savior.[⁠8]

It is interesting that Jesus spoke to the church at Smyrna in the Book of Revelation, chapter 2, and told them that they would suffer through “ten days” of persecution and to be faithful, even in their death…

And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write, ‘These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life: “I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. Revelation 2:8-10

These “ten days,” appear to be a prophetic prediction by Jesus of the ten Roman Emperors who killed such a great number of Christians.

All ten of these Roman Emperors recorded their view of Christianity, in the records of the Roman Senate Archives.⁠[9] Under Emperor Decius, Christians arrested, could purchase a “libelous,” which proved that they had converted from Christianity, without actually denying Jesus and worshipping a Roman god. This was accomplished by paying a fee to a Roman official to obtain the certificate.

Early followers of Jesus were brutally executed for simply believing that He had risen from the dead.

The only reason that the Roman Government viewed Christianity as such a great threat, when all other religions were not regarded as dangerous, is due to the primary claim of its leader, and the belief of its followers; that Jesus Christ had not only died on a Roman cross, but that He had risen from the dead.

This stunning reality is recorded in the pages of Roman antiquity and is undeniable, empirical evidence of his existence in history. Jesus crucifixion, is recorded in the Roman archives, and the fact of His resurrection is evidenced by the strong stance that His followers took when confronted with death, rather than deny Him.

There is no doubt that John’s letter to the seven churches, from the Book of Revelation, chapter 2:8-10, was read to those suffering under persecution. The letter that was written to the church at Smyrna, was specifically intended for those who would suffer under these brutal Roman Emperors.

…you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. Revelation 2:8-10

The early christians were encouraged to stand fast in their commitment to Jesus and not fear death, because they had confidence that Jesus would also raise them from the dead.
Jesus said:

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26

Today, those who believe in Jesus are under attack by those who do not want to hear the message of repentance from sin. They want to continue in their chosen lifestyle and care not for what comes after this world. The presence of persecution is an indicator that we are doing what we should. If there is no opposition from the world regarding how we live our lives, we must ask ourselves if we are really living for Jesus. People who are living in a manner to pleas Jesus will always create a firestorm because those who are not saved will see their pure manner of living and clean words. They will hear us say that repentance is necessary for salvation. They will see us stand up in opposition to abortion, same-sex relationships, and immorality.

Jesus didn’t condemn people for their sins when He came the first time because the whole world was already under the condemnation of God. The world needed a Savior and this is why Jesus came and died on the cross. Jesus also did not condone sin and we see this with the woman caught in the act of adultery. He told her that she should “go and sin no more.”

There is no Salvation without Repentance and as the followers of Jesus we must tell people the truth. We cannot give someone the idea that God does not care about how they live and all they must do is come to Jesus and He will accept them. This message has been taught in churches for the past twenty years and the results have been seen in the homosexual community forming their own churches. They believe that they are saved and on their way to heaven because God accepts their same-sex relationships as holy and blessed. This has happened because Jesus church stopped teaching repentance before salvation and acceptance by God to anyone who comes to Jesus.

If repentance from sin is not longer required by God we must ask ourselves why God sent John the Baptist ahead of Jesus by six months? His entire message was “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.” Jesus made it clear that “unless we all repent we will all be lost.” God is ready to accept any sinner and grant forgiveness and eternal life if they are willing to turn away from their old sins and turn to Jesus.

It is for this reason that people today feel free to say negative comments about Christians and mock our message of repentance. Thy accept other religions because they accept people in their sins and do not require them to change their behavior. This is a fundamental and important principle of Christianity that set it apart from all religions of the world. You must first repent before you can be saved.

How incredible that Jesus would warn the early believers in His church that they were going to suffer through a long period of brutality—simply for teaching repentance from sin and believing in His resurrection.

How many of us today are be willing to endure hostility upon ourselves, our lives, and our families, just because we love and believe in Jesus as our Savior?

The issues of sin and social acceptance of sin, were not the subjects of great importance during this period of church history. People were more concerned with just staying alive because they believed in Jesus. Perhaps we should all take a long look at our own life and see what needs to change so that we might be a more effective follower of Jesus. Perhaps we should not be so timid in telling people the whole gospel that includes a mandatory need for repentance, before Salvation is given.


NOTES:
[1] Matthew 19:8-9 (NKJV) 8 Jesus said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.”
[2] I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. —Luke 13:2-3
[3 ]Robert L. Wilkin, “The Piety of the Persecutors.” Christian History, Issue 27 (Vol. XI, No. 3), p. 18, 19
[4] 1.Everett Ferguson, “Did You Know?” Christian History, Issue 27 (Vol. XI, No. 3), inside cover.
2.Robert L. Wilkin, “The Piety of the Persecutors.” Christian History, Issue 27 (Vol. XI, No. 3), p. 18.
3.1.Persecution in the Early Church, religion facts.com, March 17, 2015
[5] 1.Persecution in the Early Church, religion facts.com, March 17, 2015
2.“The Roman Empire was generally quite tolerant in its treatment of other religions. The imperial policy was generally one of incorporation – the local gods of a newly conquered area were simply added to the Roman pantheon and often given Roman names. Even the Jews, with their one god, were generally tolerated. So why the persecution of Christians?
In order to understand the Roman distrust of Christianity, one must understand the Roman view of religion. For the Romans, religion was first and foremost a social activity that promoted unity and loyalty to the state – a religious attitude the Romans called pietas, or piety. Cicero wrote that if piety in the Roman sense were to disappear, social unity and justice would perish along with it.
The early Roman writers viewed Christianity not as another kind of pietas, piety, but as a superstition, “superstition.” Pliny, a Roman governor writing circa 110 AD, called Christianity a “superstition taken to extravagant lengths.” Similarly, the Roman historian Tacitus called it “a deadly superstition,” and the historian Suetonius called Christians “a class of persons given to a new and mischievous superstition.” {9} In this context, the word “superstition” has a slightly different connotation than it has today: for the Romans, it designated something foreign and different – in a negative sense. Religious beliefs were valid only in so far as it could be shown to be old and in line with ancient customs; new and innovative teachings were regarded with distrust.”
[6] Maurice M. Hassatt, “Martyr.” The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. IX, Robert Appleton Company, 1910
[7] Mark Galli, “The Persecuting Emperors.” Christian History, Issue 27 (Vol. XI, No. 3), p. 20.
[8] 1.Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, Publisher: ReadHowYouWant, December 19, 2011, ISBN: 1459633199, Kindle Edition
2.Chuck Smith, “The Tribulation and the Church,” The Word For Today, Publishers, August 5, 2011, Kindle Edition.
[9] 1.The Annals: The Reigns of Tiberius, Claudius, and Nero by Cornelius Tacitus and J. C. Yardley ISBN 0-19-282421-X Oxford pages 2-27.
2.”Tacitus and the Writing of History,” by Ronald H. Martin 1981 ISBN 0-520-04427-4, pages 104–105.

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