Blogger Matt Walsh has been taking some heat these days. Or, to be more accurate, Matt takes heat every day. Matt stands strong on important issues, and Matt does not mince words. In response to the sorts of comments he gets on his blog, he has written a provocatively-titled article: “Jesus didn’t care about being nice or tolerant, and neither should you.” He begins,
“There is no shortage of heresies these days.
“If you want to adopt some blasphemous, perverted, fun house mirror reflection of Christianity, you will find a veritable buffet of options. You can sift through all the variants and build your own little pet version of the Faith. It’s Ice Cream Social Christianity: make your own sundae! (Or Sunday, as it were.)
“And, of all the heretical choices, probably the most common — and possibly the most damaging — is what I’ve come to call the Nice Doctrine.
“The propagators of the Nice Doctrine can be seen and heard from anytime any Christian takes any bold stance on any cultural issue, or uses harsh language of any kind, or condemns any sinful act, or fights against evil with any force or conviction at all. As soon as he or she stands and says ‘This is wrong, and I will not compromise,’ the heretics swoop in with their trusty mantras.
“They insist that Jesus was a nice man, and that He never would have done anything to upset people. They say that He came down from Heaven to preach tolerance and acceptance, and He wouldn’t have used words that might lead to hurt feelings. They confidently sermonize about a meek and mild Messiah who was born into this Earthly realm on a mission to spark a constructive dialogue.
“The believers in Nice Jesus are usually ignorant of Scripture, but they do know that He was ‘friends with prostitutes,’ and once said something about how, like, we shouldn’t get too ticked off about stuff, or whatever. In their minds, he’s essentially a supernatural Cheech Marin.”
While The Matt Walsh Blog and Mormon Coffee differ significantly on topics discussed, we share common exposure to propagators of the Nice Doctrine. That’s why I think Matt’s comments in this particular article would be of interest to the Mormon Coffee community. That, and the fact that later this week Christians all over the world remember and contemplate the crucifixion of Jesus, which was preceded by some of His less-than-nice behavior.
Matt Walsh writes about the Jesus he finds in the Bible:
“I read of a strong, manly, stern, and bold Savior. Compassionate, yes. Forgiving, of course. Loving, always loving. But not particularly nice.
“He condemned. He denounced. He caused trouble. He disrupted the established order.
“On one occasion — or at least one recorded occasion — He used violence. This Jesus saw the money changers in the temple and how did He respond? He wasn’t polite about it. I’d even say He was downright intolerant. He fashioned a whip (this is what the lawyers would call ‘premeditation’) and physically drove the merchants away. He turned over tables and shouted. He caused a scene. [John 2:15]
“Assault with a deadly weapon. Vandalism. Disturbing the peace. Worse still, intolerance.
“In two words: not nice…
“Jesus deliberately did and said things that He knew would upset people. He stirred up division and controversy. He provoked. He didn’t have to break from established customs, but He did. He didn’t have to heal that man’s hand on the Sabbath, knowing how it would disturb others and cause them immense irritation, but He did, and He did so with ‘anger’ [Mark 3:5]. He could have gone with the flow a little bit. He could have chilled out and let bygones be bygones, but He didn’t. He could have been diplomatic, but He wasn’t.
“He could have told everyone to relax, but instead He made them uncomfortable. He could have put them at ease, but He chose to put them on edge.”
And by putting them on edge, He made enemies. Yet He didn’t flinch, even though He knew His enemies would put Him to death. Death on a cross. For them. For the sake of – and because of love for — His enemies.
Now, as Matt Walsh notes, Jesus is God and we are not. Jesus has more street cred than we do. So shouldn’t we be nicer than Jesus was? Shouldn’t we avoid confrontation and dispute, and be willing to just agree to disagree? In Matt’s words,
“[W]e are called to be like Christ, which begs the question: what is Christ like?
“Well, He is, among other things, uncompromising. He is intolerant of evil. He is disruptive. He is sometimes harsh. He is sometimes impolite. He is sometimes angry.
“He is always loving.”
So must we be always loving.
Love has many faces. It is loving to comfort; it is also loving to challenge. It is loving to encourage; and it is loving to pull the rug out from under someone who is complacently living a lie while heading for a Christ-less eternity.
Jesus’ love compelled Him to both tenderness and aggressive confrontation. So too, as the Bible says, Christ’s love compels us (2 Corinthians 5:14), His people:
“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:20)
Why? Because the day of God’s wrath is coming. We’ve seen Jesus angry, and we’ve seen the earth quake at His death; but honestly, we ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
When Jesus returns He will have a sickle in His hand to reap grapes of wrath. A sharp sword will proceed out of His mouth to strike the nations. And when the winepress of the wrath of God is trampled, blood will flow from it for miles. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life will be cast into the lake of fire (see Revelation chapters 14, 19 and 20).
When Jesus returns, He’s not going to be nice.
Does it offend you, Mormon friends, to be shown that you are following a false prophet? Does it upset you when we demonstrate that your church is not the kingdom of God on earth as it claims? Does it hurt your feelings when we point out that the Bible says all your so-called works of righteousness are but filthy rags before our holy God? Or when we warn you that the Christ of Mormonism is a “different Jesus”? Or when we proclaim that your only eternal hope is to trust in the true Christ, and to trust in Him alone? So be it. It may not sound especially nice, but we implore you on behalf of Christ: Be reconciled to God.