Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Psalm 119, The Hate Psalm, and the Practice of Contemporary Christianity

You have biblical love chapters, 1 Corinthians 13 and 1 John 4.  For every biblical love, there is a biblical hate, as in you cannot love health without hating disease.  This got my attention recently as we have been singing through Psalm 119 in our psalters in our Sunday evening service.  The hate came to my attention, so I went home and looked it up.

I did a search on all the times the Bible (KJV) uses the two successive words, "I hate."  Sixteen times you read, "I hate," in the Bible, and four of those are in Psalm 119.
Psalm 119:104, "Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way."
Psalm 119:113, "SAMECH. I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love."
Psalm 119:128, "Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way."
Psalm 119:163, "I hate and abhor lying: but thy law do I love."
You get the same results by looking up the Hebrew word translated, "I hate," saneh.  Psalm 119 is better known as the Word of God Psalm.  It seems that you cannot really love the Word of God without hating what contradicts the Word of God, so it is also the Hate Psalm.  I could ask, "Why is there not more hatred today?"  There is not enough hatred.

It seems that today people feel somewhat proud of their acceptance of something less than scriptural. They, you know, wouldn't do it themselves, but they aren't going to hate it when someone else does it. This is very large of them.  People like to hear it.  It sounds right to them, to keep acceptance of what they do, even if they know that you wouldn't believe it or practice it yourself.

When we look at just the four verses, you see hatred of (1) every false way, (2) vain thoughts, (3) every false way, and (4) lying.  "Every false way" pretty much covers everything that is unscriptural, whether in belief or practice.  If you hate every false way, it means that you aren't being neutral about beliefs and practices that contradict scripture.

Contemporary Christianity doesn't hate every false way.  Contemporary Christianity tries to find common ground by minimizing the differences.  It is a negotiation.  You do your best to ignore false ways for the purpose of the greater cause, getting along.  It isn't biblical unity.  It is capitulation based upon conventional wisdom.

I observe several reasons why the false way isn't hated in evangelicalism and fundamentalism.  One, they aren't sure of the true way.  They are unsure of the Words of God.  You will hear prominent, conservative theologians in evangelicalism say in the same speech or sermon, that the Bible "is without error" and "there are very few errors" in the Bible.  Two, they see the Bible as very often too difficult to understand.  They can't say it is clear enough to require agreement, except on a very few doctrines and practices.  Three, they see the true church, the body of Christ, as all believers, and God doesn't want any schism in the body.  To avoid schisms, only a few teachings that stray from scripture can be hated.  Most false teaching and practice can be accepted in order to associate and cooperate. If they confined themselves to only the text of scripture, they would see the true church as local only and, thus, avoid schisms in the body, while maintaining purity or scriptural unity. Four, there is such rampant lack of conversion among professing Christians, that this results in massive amounts of unbelief.  Five, men are exalted above God.  The psalmist hates the false way because it offends God by conflicting with His Word.  The contemporary Christian doesn't hate the false way so as not to offend men.

You can't love truth if you don't hate error.  You can't love goodness if you don't hate evil.  You can't love beauty if you don't hate ugliness.  You can't have both.  They are mutually exclusive.  God does not deny Himself and this is His world.

1 comment:

Kent Brandenburg said...

Maybe I was wrong above? I'm just saying that this post should be of great concern either way, either because it is so bad, or because if it is true, then things are really bad out there. The neutrality even manifests itself in a lack of admittance.