(Updated June 30, 2008 – check below)
“we are here to defeat destroy you and uplift truth”
That’s what Johnny Robertson said on June 11, 2008 right here.
Now, for those of us who spend time on this blog, this is a little bit of old news. However, it’s really been eating at me these last 24 hours or so. Forget all of our differences, just for a moment, but I want all of you (especially those of you know and listen to Johnny Robertson) to think about those words. “Defeat”? Okay. “Uplift truth”? Amen. But “Destroy“?
I challenge each and every hyperconservative church of Christ person who frequents this blog to find me one example of New Testament authorization for Johnny Robertson’s wish to destroy persons who disagree with his doctrine. Is that really “what the Bible says”?
Let’s look at a few examples of the proper use of the word “destroy” in the NT.
“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” Matthew 5:17
“For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save [them].” Luke 9:56
“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly.” John 10:10
Now, there are other passages that talk about God destroying the wicked, but it’s not the job of God’s followers.
Let’s look at a couple of more points.
Jesus – Did Jesus seek to destroy his enemies?
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. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. Luke 6:27-31
What about the writers of the New Testament?
Paul (Saul) – (Acts 9) Now, certainly Saul tried to destroy his enemies, but that was prior to his being saved. I think that truth says so, so very much. (I’ve said before that Johnny reminds me of a Saul who needs to become a Paul, and this incident just confirms the truth of that statement.) After his conversion, what sorts of things did Paul say about how a believer should treat his or her enemy?
Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary,
“if your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink;
for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:17-21, ESV
And what about Peter?
Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 1 Peter 3:9
Now, I know that this is difficult to do. It’s not easy being a Christian and truly living and loving in a Christlike manner. We all make mistakes, and certainly on the internet we all say things we later regret.
Johnny, I would like to extend you the opportunity to make amends for this inflammatory comment. Perhaps you would like to clarify what you meant. Perhaps you would like to apologize if you recognize in hindsight that it was out of line and not a fitting comment for a person who calls himself a follower of Christ. If you apologize, I will not mention it again on this blog. It will be forgotten – “as far as the east is from the west” – at least by me. With others? I cannot say. The damage is probably already done. But a little humility can go a long way.
Conversely, if you stand by that statement, if it is truly your desire to “destroy” those who disagree with you, then it will come back around to you. Just like you take statements from people and broadcast them again and again in an attempt to engrain them into the psyche of your viewers, your comment will return again and again, here and other other places. This won’t be out of spite, or a desire to be vindictive, it will be so that people will know what you truly stand for, if that is indeed your true feelings regarding those you consider to be “unbelievers”.
The ball is in your court.
Update: As of the first of July, we have still not received any sort of retraction or apology from Johnny Robertson. He made some half-hearted attempts to justify his words, but he didn’t come close to saying that his words were wrong or that he was sorry for misspeaking. His lack of humility on this subject speaks volumes, IMO. 1 Peter 5:5 tells us that followers of Christ are to be “clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” Johnny, don’t be proud. You can still apologize, and my guarantee to forget the offense stands.
“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matt. 6:12, 14-15)