I am sure that the first question is not whether or not Christian’s should hate anyone but rather, what in the world is a reprobate? That’s a valid question. A reprobate is a person with a lack of morals and principles. The reason why you don’t know what a reprobate is, is because no one uses that word on modern English or in modern Bible translations. Only the KJVO movement and a few other rare groups still use that terminology.
Now for the second question which is why we are all here; should Christian’s hate the reprobates? I feel slightly silly for having to make an article on this topic because it seems to obvious to most Christians. However, a few pastors and churches (namely Steven Anderson and Westboro Baptist Church) have continued to spread a message of hate throughout the internet and radio waves. Thus, I do not intend to answer a question that is burning in the hearts of many Christians. I intend to write a simple article in the defense of loving people, not hating them. First, let us look at the verses that get used by Steven Anderson and others like him to demonstrate why they think we should hate others. To be fair to Steven, I did not personally hear him say that this is the list that proves we should hate people. One of his followers used it as the proof.
[Posted Monday, October 15, 2012, on Steven Anderson’s blog. You can also watch his hateful preaching on youtube.]
I will post my reply to each passage below the quotes from Steven’s website.
22 Verses on God’s Hatred for Evil People
Psalm 5:5 The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.
Psalm 5:6 Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing: the LORD will abhor the bloody and deceitful man.
Psalm 11:5 The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.
Psalm 26:5 I have hated the congregation of evil doers; and will not sit with the wicked.
Psalm 31:6 I have hated them that regard lying vanities: but I trust in the LORD.
Psalm 10:3 For the wicked boasteth of his heart’s desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom the LORD abhorreth.
Psalm 53:5 There were they in great fear, where no fear was: for God hath scattered the bones of him that encampeth against thee: thou hast put them to shame, because God hath despised them.
Proverbs 6:16 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
Proverbs 6:17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
Proverbs 6:18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
Proverbs 6:19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
Proverbs 22:14 The mouth of strange women is a deep pit: he that is abhorred of the LORD shall fall therein.
Psalm 139:21 Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee?
Psalm 139:22 I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.
I would first point out that nearly this entire list comes from Psalms or Proverbs. I only point that out in order to say that these are the words of a Psalmist or wisdom writer, not the words from God’s mouth through a prophet. While I realize that most people would consider every word of the Bible to be direct from God’s mouth, I would disagree. The Bible contains many instances where an author or a scribe speaks for themselves and the historical books of the OT contain all kinds of contradictions. Thus, I just want to draw a distinction between who is speaking in these passages. They are not God’s words. They are the words (though inspired) of a Psalmist, a wisdom writer, and a human being.
Leviticus 20:23 And ye shall not walk in the manners of the nation, which I cast out before you: for they committed all these things, and therefore I abhorred them.
Leviticus 26:30 And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your images, and cast your carcases upon the carcases of your idols, and my soul shall abhor you.
Deuteronomy 32:19 And when the LORD saw it, he abhorred them, because of the provoking of his sons, and of his daughters.
The Torah contains many commands for the Israelites. There are hundreds of rules and regulations for behavior, eating, living, cleanliness, and even economics. Yet not once did God ever command the Israelites to hate. Yes, He did make some laws that made it mandatory to execute people for certain reasons but even then there was no implication that such a person should be hated. Now, one could infer that if we are to kill someone that we should also hate them. But I would disagree. The hatred in man’s heart is not righteous and pure like God’s. In fact, Jeremiah wrote, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?“Our hatred leads to death and violence and war. The hatred of God leads to justice.
Zechariah 11:8 Three shepherds also I cut off in one month; and my soul lothed them, and their soul also abhorred me.
Hosea 9:15 All their wickedness is in Gilgal: for there I hated them: for the wickedness of their doings I will drive them out of mine house, I will love them no more: all their princes are revolters.
Malachi 1:2 I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob’s brother? saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob,
Malachi 1:3 And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.
God’s words through the prophets show a powerful rebuke of the people who rebelled against Him. It should come as no surprise that those who rebelled against God and those who hated God were met with the righteous and perfect anger and judgement of God. Once again, I would like to point out that the king of the universe is allowed to abhor anyone or anything He wants. He is perfect in righteousness. Furthermore, none of these prophets or oracles call on anyone of God’s people to hate anyone else. Though, it could be implied, I would suggest that it’s ill-advised to try to be God.
Romans 9:13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.
God will do as He pleases. This is the essence behind Paul’s words in Romans 9:13. God chooses who He chooses to show mercy on and He chooses when not to and it’s not our job to question it. That being said, this passage still does not command Christians to hate anyone.
To tell people to hate others, one has to ignore a plethora of commands by Jesus and Paul to do otherwise
While there are no commands in the Bible to hate people, there are a lot of passages that tell us to love one another and everyone else.
1 John 4:7-8 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
1 John 3:15-16 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.
John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
1 Peter 4:8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.
1 Corinthians 16:14 Let all that you do be done in love.
Luke 6:27 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either.”
1 Thessalonians 3:12 And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you,
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness
John 15:12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”
Ephesians 5:1-5 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
Matthew 5:44-45“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”
In order to simplify the response I will compose a list of points deprived from the passages listed. However, I would first point out that I included only NT passages because we are people of the new covenant. As people who are of the law of grace we are commanded to behave in certain ways. God does not change but His directions for mankind over the ages have. The most current and relevant directions for God’s people are contained in the NT.
- As messengers of the gospel of grace we must operate in the same grace that God showed us. The greatest hinderance of the gospel is people who claim to follow Jesus yet they refuse to obey His commands. He commanded us to love even our enemies. You better believe that if we are to love our enemies we must also love sinners. (John 13:34-35, Luke 6:27, Matthew 5:44-45, Ephesians 5:1-5)
- If God is love then His people have His Spirit living inside them then they should exhibit the same love (1 John 4:7-8).
- Our hatred of others is partial and imperfect. We end up hating people and pushing them further from the Lord rather then showing them the grace of the gospel. John wrote to His followers and took it a step further by stating that “anyone who hates his brother is a murderer.” While it’s safe to say that this is more of a hyperbole than a fact, it’s also safe to say that the premise of this passage is that hate leads sin and sometimes murder. (1 John 3:15-16)
- The Spirit that leads us and guides us in truth is evident by our fruit. What are the fruits of the Spirit? They are not hatred. They are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness. (Galatians 5:22)
- Jesus commanded us to. This is the easiest one on the list. For not other reason than Jesus told us to, we should love others as Jesus loved us. (John 15:12, Luke 6:27, Matthew 5:44-45) If we believe that our wisdom is greater than Jesus’ then we are making a huge mistake.
I would like to end on a non-biblical word of wisdom. This is not necessarily found in scripture but I think most people know it’s true. Hate pollutes the heart and mind. Those who hate others live a life that is short and full of fighting. Their bodies and minds bear the burden of living a life that is full of poison and evil. Does that mean we have to approve of sin? Of course not. But I think most parents would agree that it’s possible to love their children even if they sin. Likewise, we are called to abhor sin, not the sinner.
[Featured image from www.marykatebrogan.com]