Love God. Hate Sin. and the Social Gospel

Right now, I'm reading the book "The God Who Shows Himself" by Carl F.H. Henry. I hope to be reading quite a bit of his stuff throughout this year, so if you don't know who he is I'll write more about that at a later date. I'm only about a fourth of the way through this book, but I've already found many "gems" which will probably make it into my blog. I not only enjoy most of the subject matter he writes about, even when I don't care about the subject matter, I like the way he writes. So you can probably expect to hear much about him and his writing over the coming year. 

Anyway, on to the point at hand. In the first chapter, I noticed a rather interesting remark that fits in with the "Love God. Hate Sin." revolution. Check it out:

Strong love is impossible without also strong hate. Not to hate evil, therefore, means being a traitor to God and to virtue. It must be indicated, however, that Christianity's context of hate is never ultimately anti-anyone or anything. Whatever hate the Christian religion sanctions simply reflects love for God and man, and consequent disapproval of whatever refuses to be pro-God and pro-neighbor.

What is interesting about this quote is that the context is concerning social responsibility: why and how Christians ought to be concerned with social justice and caring for the less fortunate. Henry reveals that the motivation for social responsibility is neighbor love, agape love. During the day in which he was writing (the 1960's), however, the so-called "social gospel" was rampant. The social gospel focused only on social justice and caring for the less fortunate and tended to neglect the true good news of salvation for sinners. Furthermore, the social gospel also tended to be morally liberal, ignoring areas of Scripture where godly lifestyles are outlined. Writing in this context, his point is that in order for us to properly care for the less fortunate of society as God desires, we must have the proper love: a strong agape love. In order for us to have this strong love, we must also have strong hate: hatred of evil or sin. The social gospel, then, falls short because it does not hate sin. And because it does not hate sin, it does not have the love it needs to carry it over time. 
So there you have it. Even for us to genuinely care for the less fortunate and to be socially responsible, we must love God and hate sin. I'm telling you, it affects every aspect of our lives.
Love God. Hate Sin.
  • Josh Via

    Love it, Smooth. Gotta love ole Carl F. H. Henry. By the way, a little-known fact about him is that his initials stand for Carl Freakin’-Hawesome Henry.