But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil. -- 1Peter 3:14-17 (ESV)
It is an embarrassment to Christ that this even needs to be said. Our job as representatives for Jesus is to show His love to the lost. A love so grand that He died for their sins, while they were yet sinners. The Gospel does require balance between the impending wrath of God and the joyful salvation He offers. Discernment ministries spend so much time writing about people who deny the lost the truth about His wrath that we forget sometimes there are those actively denying His love to the lost as well. This is just the end result beloved of the purpose driven train that treats people as inconsequential. Just numbers that can be "blessedly subtracted" from your congregation. It is the end result of NAR dominionism which teaches Christians to hate the very people who need the Gospel the most. How insidious a plan from the devil that Christians would hate the lost. Many will read that and say, not me. Yes you. Disdain for the lost is just as damaging as hate. Revulsion is just as damaging as hate. Insisting on Christian behavior before salvation, which is what the NAR demands, is just as damaging as hate.
What do the key scriptures today teach us our role should be? That we should expect to suffer for righteousness sake and be blessed because of it. To have no fear nor be troubled by those who do not yet understand God. remember the bible refers to them as blind and some Christians want to push them over a cliff. The things of God are foolishness to them yet we get so offended when they refuse to believe in the God we believe in. We are supposed to be prepared to give an answer for why we hope, not why we hate. Because God knows how narcissistic and evil we are by nature He even says to provide that hope with gentleness and respect. So I ask you if the following is gentle or respectful and keep in mind it was said by a pastor:
"She is a witch, she is a jezebel, she is a God-hating whore of Zionism. I hope that God breaks her teeth out and she dies. She is a wicked person and she is like the perfect representation of religious Judaism," -- Pastor Adam Fannin
This scourge of the church Fannin was accosting is none other than liberal comedienne Sarah Silverman. I do not defend Silverman's comedy, which has a decided anti-religion slant at times. My role does not require me to judge her comedy. It is irrelevant to the fact that she is not saved and therefore needs the Gospel of Jesus Christ -- not the venom of pastors who do not understand their role. In my old work office we had a case manager who wore Jesus on her sleeve. She had a peer who hated God and constantly tired to get the Christian case manager in trouble. The Christian radio was too loud, she was proselytizing, complaints even to Human Resources. No matter what though the Christian remained Christian. No back biting, no snarky comments or anger -- just the love of Christ. Two years later when her life fell apart the attacker turned to her Christian peer who showed her nothing but love in the face of hate and as a result she was led to Christ. Don't tell me it cannot happen. Do we have faith in the Gospel at all?
Fannin was fired from the pastoral role he was holding when these comments were originally made. Not because of the comments but because his church found him to be a "liar, a railer and super-selfish." Because they knew he was a railer, the new pastor at his old church said he was not surprised that he was railing against Silverman. As for the actress, she recently stated that if she is found murdered to start with Fannin and she is right. Inciting violence is not a Christian nor a pastoral value. At his new church, Fannin has now doubled down on his insanity:
"If she doesn't repent of promoting child molestation, if she doesn't repent of joking about murdering the Messiah, God will force her to bow at the feet of the men of this church one day. She will bow down and God will judge her, He who calls her to bow, and she will be judged in Hell," - Adam Fannin
Once again, a strange method for evangelism. His current pastor says that Fannin is a liar and deceiver who has no power or authority from God. While he is right, the damage is done. Not only to Silverman but to anyone watching this debacle unfold where the Christian pastor calls the unsaved comedienne a whore who God will make bow before the men of his church. Not the most Jesus-centric message. I will not even address the jokes that were behind these accusations because they were in fact jokes. Probably in very poor taste but remember the things of God being foolishness and all.
The Apostle Paul wrote three quarters of the New Testament and evangelized the entire known world. Before that however he was Saul and he terrorized the church. Not with jokes but with actual murder, including presiding over the stoning of the first martyr, Steven. When Jesus finally knocked him off his high horse he blinded him and led him to a man named Ananias. When God first told Ananias these things were to come to pass, he was less than thrilled:
But Ananias answered, "Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name." But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name." -- Acts 9:13-16 (ESV)
Beloved, our job is not to judge those on the outside of salvation. Adam Fannin is not fit for the office he holds. He is the end result of false teachings that convince Christians that they are somehow superior to the very people they should be showing the greatest humility towards. The thief on the cross came to salvation at the last second. Jesus tells a powerful parable about this in the Gospel of Matthew. A man hires people to work in his vineyard at the start of the day. He then hires more people at varying times of the day but pays everyone the same wage regardless of how long they worked. Those that worked longer grumbled that it wasn't fair, to which the owner (who is God) replied:
But he replied to one of them, 'Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?' So the last will be first, and the first last." -- Matthew 20:13-16 (ESV)
Let God be God. Those in the world have enough facing them when Christ returns. We gave up our right to take offense when we came to the cross. When those driving the stakes in mocked Jesus He did not lash out. He asked God to forgive them. If someone truly mocked God we ought to be praying the same. Father forgive them for they know not what they do. Fannin was right that we all will face judgment, but he just seemed to have forgotten that will include him as well. Every careless word the bible says we will be held to account for. I will show Adam the grace and mercy he did not show Sarah Silverman and just pray for him.