Knight said:Nicer Than God - By Bob Enyart
Christians today are nicer than God.
Or at least they are trying to be so. In the Church there is a standard of niceness that Jesus failed to reach while on earth. Comparing God's attitude and behavior with that of the Church today shows that believers are far more polite, tolerant, understanding and respectful to the wicked than God is.
The Church is also less offensive, rude and sarcastic than God's men in the Bible were. And no Christian would ever be caught dead mocking the wicked, as God's men in the Bible sometimes did.
Bob Enyart Live is an occasionally harsh, always confrontational, news-talk show. The program does not cater to what Christians expect, but to what non-Christians will listen to. And it turns out that non-Christians will listen to straight talk, including appropriate harshness and offensiveness. Yes, sometimes the show is intentionally offensive. But then, so was Jesus.
Jesus was offensive. Most people were offended by him. The proof for John the Baptist that Jesus was the Christ was that the blind see, the lame walk and the majority are "offended" by Him (Mat. 11:2-19). As Jesus said, "Blessed is he who is not offended because of Me" (Mat. 11:6; Luke 7:23). In Galilee, Jesus did not plead with his neighbors to understand Him when "they were offended at Him" (Mat. 13:57; Mark 6:3). If unbelievers are offended, so be it (cf. Luke 14:3-4; John 5:8-16). "Shake off the dust from your feet" (Mat. 10:14). But alas, that is no longer a Christian attitude.
Christ's apostles asked Him, "Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard [Your] saying?" (Mat. 15:12). What is the accepted Christian response today after an offense is taken? Quick, apologize! Ask for forgiveness! Tell them you are sorry. How did Jesus respond? He said to ignore the complaints of the unbelievers: "Let them alone. They are blind," (Mat. 15:14). Today, many Christians condemn Christ's attitude as unloving.
Jesus promised his followers, "you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake. And then many will be offended" (Mat. 24:9-10). When a Canadian started his call with a vicious, "Bob, I hate you..." The immediate and (super-) natural response was "Cool. Great! Because Jesus taught that 'if they hated Me, they will hate you'" (see John 15:18-19; 17:14; Mat. 10:22; Luke 21:17). Today Christians think if the world hates them, they have failed. The reverse should be true. It is not that a Christian wants to be hated; it is simply an occupational hazard.
Jesus is the Rock. Most believers are unaware, however, that Jesus used this metaphor to issue a graphic threat against the unrepentant. For Christ said that on whom that Rock "falls, it will grind him to powder" (Mat. 21:44; Luke 20:18). Even the Father said that the Son is the "rock of offense" (Isa. 8:14; Rom. 9:33; 1 Pet. 2:8). Offending unbelievers is Christlike in the deepest sense.
God utterly forbid drinking blood (Lev. 3:17; 17:14). Israelites, from priests, to Pharisees, to average citizens, were at least superficially obsessed with "keeping the law." Thus when Jesus said whoever "drinks My blood has eternal life," (John 6:54) He was being extremely offensive, and intentionally so. Further, He made no effort whatsoever to clarify Himself. Rather, He let the offense work its ministry. Jesus knew He even offended His own followers. As He said to "His disciples" immediately afterward, "does this offend you?" (John 6:61).
Bob Enyart Live 'turns off' some believers, but more non-believers 'turn it on' than any other Christian show in a recent Nielsen ratings report. Why are so many folks, including unbelievers, tuning in to a show that some have called rude? Perhaps it is because the loving but mushy, "Brother, bless you for calling," is missing from the program. Many Christians expect that approach, which is an absolute turn off to 95% of the population. That surely is one reason heathens do not listen to Christians. There is only so much niceness a person can stand. And all along, everyone thought the unbelievers were tuning out because they were unspiritual. But it turns out that many tune out Christians because we are unspiritual, or overly spiritual.
Nielsen TV ratings for July 1996 show that Bob Enyart Live is able to draw a larger audience than NBC's Conan O'Brien on at least a couple nights each week. Nielsen compiled this data from the Notre Dame TV market in South Bend, Indiana which is one of the top 100 markets in America. At times, the program also outperformed Tom Snyder on CBS. The show also did well against Entertainment Tonight and Fox's Northern Exposure and Married with Children, and it blew away Masterpiece Theater on PBS.
Being rough with the wicked does not automatically turn off unbelievers. An Indianapolis Star columnist, Steve Hall, wrote (Dec. 1, 1994): "But he's cheerful. Oddly, despite the rigidity of his views, Enyart does not come across as a dour, puritanical type." A harsh style is difficult for more sensitive Christians to appreciate. However the biblical approach to communicating with the world includes not only compassion, but harshness as well.
The Bible sometimes ministers through ridicule, humor, sarcasm and even mocking. For example, God mocked the Midianites when He defeated them after sending a nightmare to them that they were being attacked by a loaf of bread (Jud. 7:13-14). Elijah, just prior to executing 450 prophets of Baal, "mocked them" as the Bible says, telling them to yell louder to their god so that Baal could hear their prayers since he was either on a trip, sleeping or in the restroom (Hebrew, "private place," 1 Ki. 18:27; and 2 Ki. 6:8-20).
When the Ad Council airs anti-drug public service announcements (PSAs) that mock "pot heads on Jeopardy" who cannot even remember their names, they are not motivated out of hatred, but out of love. Ridicule can and does save lives. "Why do you think they call it dope?" Ad Council spots run on Christian stations and get no criticism for being unloving or unkind. Why is it that Christians never rise up against the effort to stigmatize drug users? If a pagan brings peer pressure against "pot heads," that is accepted. Let a believer, however, use mockery to stigmatize fornication or sodomy, and the Church rises in condemnation. God, however, does not condemn those who "rebuke the wicked" (see Prov. 24:25).
God mocked Jeroboam, who "stretched out his hand from the altar" and ordered the prophet arrested. "Then his hand, which he stretched out toward him, withered, so that he could not pull it back to himself" (1 Ki. 13:4). God mocked the Philistines when they found Dagon their god "fallen on its face before the ark of the Lord. So they took Dagon and set it in its place again" (1 Sam. 5:3). The next morning they found Dagon toppled again, but this time he had lost his head (1 Sam. 5:4). God mocked the idolaters who cut down a branch, and with half of it they make a god to worship and with the other half, they make a fire to cook lunch (Is. 44:14-17). Another carves an idol of stone and says to it "wake up" (Hab. 2:18-19).
When a harsh word is needed God uses a harsh word. This is true in the Old and New Testaments. Herod beheaded John the Baptist for "rebuking" the king for "all the evils which Herod had done" (Luke 3:19) and for condemning the tetrarch for incestuous adultery (Mat. 14:3-4; Mark 6:17-18; Lev. 18:16; 20:21) with "Herodias, his brother Philip's wife" (Luke 3:19). Jesus warned of "the leaven of Herod" (Mark 8:15). When notified that "Herod wants to kill You," (Luke 13:31), Christ responded without respect, "Go, tell that fox, 'I cast out demons'"" (Luke 13:32).
The especially harsh term hypocrite is used in the Gospels twenty-three times. Christ often insulted the scribes, Pharisees and lawyers. He even called the Pharisees blind guides (Mat. 23:16, 24) and sons of hell (Mat. 23:15). Jesus spoke unkind words unacceptable today. He said to Peter "Get behind me, Satan" (Mat. 16:23). He told the Pharisees "You are of your father the devil" (John 8:44), and made a whip and cleared "thieves" from the temple (Mat. 21:12-13; Mark 11:15-17; Luke 19:45-46; John 2:14:15).
Gentiles (as symbols of the godless) and sodomites are called "dogs" in the Bible (Mat. 7:6; 15:26; Deut. 23:17-18; Ps. 22:16; 59:5-6; Phil. 3:2; Rev. 22:15). And Jesus was harsh (not only to the Pharisees, as some believers wrongly assume but) to all the unrepentant (see His use of "hypocrite"). Jesus instructs Christians to not "cast your pearls before swine" (Mat. 7:6). Yet the silly dilemma now is, "Who could Christ possibly have meant by that, for we are too loving, tolerant, polite and respectful to refer to any human being by that mean-spirited term."
In the King James Version, the seductive women among the people of God are worse than "whores" (Ezek. 16:33). That crude term appears in the Bible dozens of times. The men who use those women are "whoremongers" (1 Tim. 1:10; Heb. 13:4; Rev. 21:8; 22:15), which is the most raw term in the English language to describe promiscuous men. God describes other sinners in terms of filthy excrement (Isa. 64:6) and even worse (2 Ki. 18:27; Isa. 36:12). Sinners truly are repulsive, regardless of how men may try to sanitize them.
The Bible does not say, "Hate the sin, love the sinner." It says, "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he" (Prov. 23:7). And that God hates "all workers of iniquity" (Ps 5:5). "The Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man" (Ps 5:6). Also "the wicked and the one who loves violence [God] hates." (Ps 11:5). Further, "The face of the Lord is against those who do evil" (Ps 34:16). God "loves righteousness and hate
wickedness (Ps. 45:7).
There are six things "the Lord hates," including "a heart that devises wicked plans" a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren" (Prov. 6:16-19). And God reminds us "All their wickedness is in Gilgal, for there I hated them. Because of the evil of their deeds I will drive them from My house; I will love them no more" (Ho 9:13). As Moses wrote of God, "if you do not obey Me... My soul shall abhor you" (Lev. 26:27-30).
Even in the New Testament, Paul wrote, "Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil" (Rom. 12:9) introducing the concept of hypocritical love. What is hypocritical love? "Should you" love those who hate the Lord? Therefore the wrath of the Lord is upon you" (2 Chr. 19:2). Warning the wicked of the coming judgment is harsh, but is a necessary component of acceptable love. A love that is not hypocritical rebukes and condemns, and then points the way to God.
God uses different methods to communicate the Gospel to people at different depths of depravity. At times, a Christian can pray with an unbeliever. At other times, a believer might ridicule the unrepentant in hopes of waking him up. Painful communication though is in no way reserved just for non-Christians.
Paul uses dripping sarcasm telling the Corinthians that they do not need his counsel because they are full, rich, wise, strong and distinguished. They are even like kings, and all that without Paul's help (1 Cor. 4:8, 10). Sarcasm stigmatizes destructive behavior and prods people toward righteousness (1 Cor. 4:14). Paul also fell short of today's compassionate Christianity when he wrote that the government should minister terror, wrath and vengeance against the evildoer and that the sword should be used against them (Rom. 13:3-4). The Apostle also erred by today's standards calling unbelievers fools (Rom. 1:22) and the Galatians fools (Gal. 3:1, 3). Incidentally, Jesus also called men fools (Mat. 23:17, 19; 25:2-8; Luke 11:40; 12:20) when appropriate but never "without a cause" (Mat. 5:22) according to His teaching. As King David wrote, "The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God.'" (Ps. 53:1). Thus, atheists are fools and it is cruel to withhold this knowledge from them.
Christians enjoy quoting, "No weapon formed against you shall prosper." However many shudder at the rest of the verse. For thus says the Lord, "Every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn" (Isa. 54:17). Jesus taught that human beings will condemn the wicked. "The men of Nineveh will rise in the judgment with this generation and condemn it" (Mat. 12:41). Jesus said, "For God so loved the world." Then two verses later He added, "but he who does not believe is condemned already" (John 3:18). By today's Christian standard, no unbeliever would know that he is condemned, because most believers will not communicate this vital truth. John 3:16 is nice. John 3:18 is not nice.
Some have called Bob Enyart Live rude. Jesus was rude. He was asked a question that goes to the very heart of His ministry. "Who gave you this authority?" (Mat. 21:23). Within the answer to that question lies eternal life, yet Christ was not inclined to answer them. Rather, He asked them a question, which they failed to answer (Mat. 21:24-27). Therefore He said to them that neither would He answer their question (Mat. 21:27; see also Luke 22:67 and John 12:34-36).
When people misunderstood Jesus He often made no effort to explain Himself. Quite to the contrary, He often purposely let His hearers misconstrue His words (John 2:18-22). Jesus let people walk away in unbelief without running after them. The Bible does not record Him as saying, "I'm sorry, did you misunderstand me?" He is the "stumbling block," and if men wanted to stumble, He let them. For those who want to hang themselves, He invites them (Rev. 22:11). Jesus made the rope available. He is that rope (Rom. 9:33).
Jesus was a man, not a girl. Christianity today has been emasculated. Men and women are different and they communicate differently. Women are softer and nicer than men, and thank God that they are. However, men are not supposed to be women. Today, Christian ministers are expected to behave like women. That foolishness is a death sentence for many unbelievers. Strength, confidence, conviction and tough love appeal to those who are searching. Thus Jesus is a beacon to real seekers. But for those wanting to get lost, Christ is like a street sign that has been reversed by a troublemaker.
Today we are way nicer than God. It is tragic. This spiritual plateau that the Church has reached conveniently reduces the chances for confrontation. Nice people rarely rebuke, judge, confront, accuse or condemn. Nice people have less stress. It seems the only ones that Christians are quick to judge and condemn are fellow believers who judge and condemn the wicked. Go figure.
Bob Enyart's the man!
I totally agree with everything he had to say in this article.