The Forgiveness Gospel

The Forgiveness Gospel is closely related to the Gospel of Being Nice, in which “Christ-likeness” is defined as “never saying anything that might hurt another person’s feelings or make them uncomfortable.” At one point, when I referred to several instances of Christ himself not only not being nice, but calling people names and telling them that they were the spawn of Satan, the immediate response was “Are you claiming the authority of Christ?” So I guess it’s not important to be Christ-like after all, just Nice and Inoffensive.

The current example of this may be found in the comments to Dalrock’s post Trapped, which is part of a valuable series in which a woman is voluntarily using her life to illustrate Churchianity, aka “cultural Christianity.” By their fruits, shall we know them – and as far as an outsider can tell, this woman is no Christian, for all she claims that she is. The fruit she is currently bearing is rotten to the core.

Now, Dalrock has not been flinging petty insults at this woman, or saying anything in a way that is gratuitously cruel. He’s merely been pointing out the uncomfortable fact that this woman is everything that is wrong with modern Churchianity’s (feminist) take on Christianity’s requirements for married women.

This made commenter innocentbystanderboston acquire a feelbad-mindhurt on behalf of Jenny, who probably doesn’t even read Dalrock’s posts. Why is meanieface Dalrock still talking about poor, poor Jenny and callously pointing out every figleaf justification and poking holes in the poor dear’s rationalizations for divorcing her husband for no good reason and putting her two daughters through the hell of divorce? And then spouting her justifications online so that other, similarly-inclined women can take heart and go through their own family-destroying frivolous divorces? Shouldn’t we forgiiiiiiiiiiive her already?

And apparently, by “forgive,” innocentbystanderboston means “ignore ongoing, unrepentant sin.”

Newsflash, people. GOD HIMSELF does not ignore the unrepentant sinner. During Communion, every week, my pastor has a mini-sermon on this topic, pointing out that if you were to take Communion while treasuring sin in your heart, GOD WILL PASS JUDGEMENT UPON YOU. And in fact, in 1 Corinthians 11, the Apostle Paul says this:

For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment. Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world.

So, you want to tell me again how the most important thing for Christians to do is to “forgive” unrepentant sinners and sweep their offenses under the rug, telling them “It’ll all be okay!” Because from where I’m looking, it sure looks like ignoring sin has a high likelihood of resulting in DEATH. Is ignoring behavior that leads to death a “loving” thing to do? If you see someone acting in a lethally dangerous manner while pooh-poohing the idea that what she’s doing is at all risky, is NOT shouting “Stop that right now or else something terrible will befall you!” the “loving” thing to do? What if the person engaged in the potentially lethal act is actively encouraging others to follow in her footsteps?

“Forgiveness” has nothing to do with it. Warning people that, hey, there’s a lethal pit trap full of spikes over there in that pretty garden underneath those shiny-looking apples might make them uncomfortable, but it’s not more loving to keep the warning to yourself. And yes, if there’s somebody standing next to the tree talking about how awesome those apples taste and the pit trap doesn’t exist and anyway it doesn’t have any spikes in it, don’t worry… yeah, there’s going to be a confrontation between you.

There’s a reason that the phrase “forgive and forget” exists. It’s because forgiveness does NOT mean ignoring or forgetting about sin. God forgives repentant sinners because Christ took the punishment in our stead – the punishment still happened. In Christianity, there is NO “get out of consequences free” card. The Consequences just happened to Someone else instead.

And that Someone made it a habit to go to the dregs of society, to the sinners who knew they were sinners, who had broken and contrite spirits. To the religious leaders, who were so confident of their interpretations of the Law and their own justifications and their own righteousness, He said – you’re the spawn of Satan. (And that made them really, really, really mad. Funny, how being “Christ-like” might mean not getting along with everyone.)

As far as “forgiving” the unfaithful wife, who encourages other women to also be unfaithful… well, it’s pretty obvious to me that what the Forgiveness Gospel of Niceness means is “ignore ongoing sin.” Actual forgiveness is something that no one other than the woman’s husband, children, and God can give her. I suppose the rest of us can “forgive” her for contributing to the ruin of marriage by taking care not to nurture any kind of hatred for her in our hearts, and praying that she will find her way back to the fold – but that does NOT mean that we stop saying “This woman is sinning, unrepentant, in danger of Hell and setting a stumbling block in front of young women by her very public example of frivolous divorce.” There are plenty of false teachers and wolves in sheep’s clothing who have rallied to her side, filling her ears with sweet-sounding words and lulling others into sleep.

Of course the call to awaken is uncomfortable. What kind of weirdo likes being jarred out of a sweet dream by an alarm clock?

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