Saturday, June 02, 2007

Anger and Sin

As most of you can tell from my series "Fanmail from the Mandatory Marriage Movement," The folks from the Mandatory Marriage Movement are some of the nastiest people I have ever dealt with. The sad thing is, these people try to defend their nastiness. This is expecially true of the more cultic forms of this movement.

A case in point is the fast-becoming-cultic website The Gift of Singleness. I have been going there to gather research, because it seems like every time Debbie Maken breathes, these folks are there to write about it. Hence, there are a whole lot of links where I can write down what these folks say right from the horse's mouth.

Anyway, something that has puzzled me as I have been writing is the fact that these folks seem to have something up every day. It is like a mantra. Today's post was on "Righteous Anger." One of the most amazing statements I have ever heard is found here:

So, next time someone tries to criticise you for being angry, maybe the correct response is to be glad, say thank you, and tell them how pleased you are not to have a lukewarm response to injustice, false teaching and the leading astray of the Body of Christ.

However, how did the apostle Paul say to handle injustice and false teaching? He says it here:

2 Timothy 2:24-26 And the Lord's bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, 25 with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.

So, apparently, the apostle Paul told Timothy to react in a totally different manner to "false teaching, injustice, and the leading astray of the body of Christ."

There does need to be anger against many of the things that go on today. The problem is with the way the Mandatory Marriage advocates are using their anger. Notice, what "Captain Sensible" says in his post:

But it's also important to acknowledge that it is one of the attributes of God, Who hates injustice. Anger is a Godly motivator to bring about change. Anger itself is neither good nor bad, but can be used as a force for both.

Here is where the Mandatory Marriage advocates get it totally wrong about anger. While it is true that anger needs to exist against the injustices of the world, it is not true that anger needs to be used to bring about change. Change can only come by the Holy Spirit turning the hearts of people so that they believe truth. Righteous anger is a Godly response to something ungodly that is happening in the world. However, nowhere does the Bible present anger as a means of bringing about change.

Also, the Bible regulates anger and tells us what kind of anger is righteous, and what kind of anger is sinful. In the charter verse for righteous anger, we are told some interesting things about this anger:

Ephesians 4:26-32 Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and do not give the devil an opportunity. 28 Let him who steals steal no longer; but rather let him labor, performing with his own hands what is good, in order that he may have something to share with him who has need. 29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

Now, let me ask you if shaming single men, and calling them names like "immature Children" is "kind and tender-hearted." Is it really edifying to engage in such behavior? Not only that, but the Bible says not to "let the sun go down on your anger." We have tried to get these folks to dialogue about this issue in a fair, scholarly manner so that we can deal with their concerns. They refuse. People should be willing to work through the issues if a situation that causes anger comes into the body of Christ, and "not let the sun go down on their anger." However, when we put our arguments out there, all we get is a "you're speaking out of both sides of our mouths" without any proof offered at all.

Indeed, what this passage teaches us is that, even when we are angry, we have no right to act in an unchristian manner. That means, of course, that, while tough love is sometimes needed, it is still tough love not tough hate. Thus, for Captain Sensible to compare what the mandatory marriage movement is doing to Jesus clearing the temple, the condemnation of the false teaching and hypocracy of the Pharasees, as well as the false teaching of the Judiazers is to compare apples and oranges. Why? Because in none of these instances did Jesus or Paul ever try to figure out motives, nor did they every try to set up extrabiblical standards, and then force them upon others. Jesus and Paul were more than willing to listen to objections, and to reason with those who disagreed with them, while the mandatory marriage movement seems to be unwilling to do that.

Not only that, but is it really righteous anger when you cannot answer charges that you yourself are sinning in your anger because you are "loathing" singleness? If these folks are in sin [and I have heard no response to Matthew 6:25-34], then they are not engaging in righteous anger, but rather, anger out of an idolatrious attitude. This is a serious objection these folks must answer, or otherwise they cannot claim to have "righteous anger."

In fact, because one of the fruits of the spirit is self control, for a person to have this kind out of control rage against single men is to totally violate they way the Bible says a Christian should act. We must remain in control in our anger, and not allow our anger to become out of control so that we run off into irrational emotionalism.

Also, any kind of abusive language and behavior could be justified by the arguments from the mandatory marriage movement. Imagine if I started saying that we should make women give up all their possessions, and make all of it the property of men. Then we start shaming those women who do not comply, and call them "little children." We start saying that they are sinning, and call pastors to preach sermons that make them start squirming in their seats for the "shame" that is rightfully theirs because they have not given up their possessions to the men. Then, when someone confronts us on it, and tells us that we are wrong for such anger, we can just say say thank you, and tell them how pleased we are not to have a lukewarm response to injustice, false teaching and the leading astray of the Body of Christ.

The reality is that the Bible has given us standards to recognize what is righteous anger, and what is sinful anger. I can only hope that people will use discernment, and see that the anger that is given by these folks is an anger that does not come from God, but from their own idolatrious views of marriage.

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