Oh, did I type that outloud?
The churches of today have replaced God’s love with a false god of niceness. He will never interfere with our free will. He never wants to hurt anyone’s feelings. He doesn’t like it when we argue. He doesn’t really care about what we believe; He just wants us to play nice together.
And so goes the theology of niceness.
But then something happens that niceness just can’t explain. A bomber sets off bombs in the middle of a huge crowd; a man goes to trial and the horrific details of his abomination of abortion comes to light. When those sort of things happen niceness just doesn’t cover it.
We tend to say mindless platitudes like “God hates sin, but loves the sinner,” or “repentance is when you final realize just how much God loves you.” That theology is nice, but it has no power in the face of great wickedness.
What power does it have when you have a mad man blowing up three year children? What power does it have when a man walks into a movie theater and opens fire? What power does it have when men fly airplanes into buildings?
How does niceness explain men like Kermit Gosnell and Adolf Hilter? Monsters so horrific that many of us can not even image it.
When the poor are oppressed, when children are abused and slaughtered; when sexual assault happens on five year old girls; when theft, torture, murder, pain, and suffering are common – there’s something within man that cries out for justice. There’s something in man that completely rejects the niceness of the hollow-headed spewers of lying vanity. And then the world asks us, “Where is your God?”
When we rejected imprecatory psalms, when we lied about the justice of God, we robbed also ourselves of the power of the gospel. And we gave up any hope of offering a meaningful answer to a world torn by hatred, and sin, and tremendous wickedness.
The above quote is by Ps Sam Powell and is from his sermon Sanctification Through Suffering – 1 Peter 4:1-7. Sam is the pastor of First Reformed Church, Yuba City, California. His weekly sermons can be found on sermonaudio.com. You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter.
We’ve featured things by Ps Sam Powell before on this blog and we value him as a colleague in the battle to expose and prevent domestic abuse in Christian circles.