Pastor Mark’s Blog


            The word “love” is thrown about a lot these days.  Just this past week it was the word on many a card, boxes of candy, and attached to many roses on Valentine’s Day.  But just as “love” has been cheapened by this commercialization, it has also been victimized by its overuse in literature and verbal exchanges throughout time, being stripped of its true meaning.  It has been romanticized, sexualized, politicized, mythologized, and philosophized. For most it doesn’t appear to transcend the domain of Harlequin novels or the poetry of Keats and Lord Byron.  It is used as a cursory goodbye by many.  “Love” has lost its impact through overuse and vain repetition without real meaning and understanding.  Religion is not exempt. 

            In the Christian domain it is suffering a great deal, today.  There are two loves that I want to address in this regards – God’s love and our love for God.  First, let it be stated boldly and without reservation, the Bible tells us that “God is love” (I John 4:8) and “God is holy” (I Peter 1:15). God’s nature or essence is primarily one of love and holiness.  Directly, God is a personal being who deeply cares for and desires the well-being of His creation. And so “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Thus, love is not just His essence but His energy in reaching out to others.  And it is sacrificial.  Most are very comfortable with this insight about God’s love.  But there is one caveat that must be acknowledged.  For “whom the Lord loves He chastens and scourges every child whom He receives” (Hebrews 12:6).  Like any good father who wants the best for his children that he loves, there will be discipline, reproving, and even punishment when that child is wayward and disobeys.  Adding to John 3:16 above, we might say, “And God so loves you that He will rebuke you, discipline you, and even punish you because He is love and He loves you!” His love is not a blanket of unconditional acceptance and pabulum of tolerance for the disobedient. He would not be a fit or loving Father who ignored or looked the other way when we disparage and disobey His precepts for godliness.  In love He must reprove, rebuke, and even punish when we indulge in lying, hate, bigotry, greed, drunkenness, adultery, fornication, sexual licentiousness, and…you get the picture. God hates it when we thwart the precepts of His Holy Word – and we can’t be selective.  Love hates sin – all sin – for the sake of the sinner and the good of the saint. 

            Second, you are to love God “with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment” (Matthew 22:37, 38).  And then, out a genuine love for God you can “love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mt. 22:39).  BUT – and you knew this was coming – we cannot begin to claim that we love God unless we obey His Word and follow His precepts for godly living.  Jesus said, “He who knows my commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him…” (John 14:21). 

You see, when you take these two important nuanced accouterments about God’s love and our love for God, it is obvious that love is not a cheap sentiment to absolve or excuse or even elevate sin about reproach. Love is not a penknife to cut out those teachings we don’t like.  Love requires sacrificial obedience to God’s total revelation in His Word, and this Biblical, Divine love holds us accountable to the Truth that is God’s. 

“Is God Guilty of Hate Speech?”


Before I answer, let me raise an issue that might well get the God of the Bible canceled and stigmatized as a “hater”.  Of course, He is already getting “canceled” on a regular basis by our secular, “woke”, progressive culture.  But nonetheless, recent developments and an event that will soon encroach upon our own town is at hand, and God will not likely escape the indictment of “hate speech”.  For example, this October our town, with the blessings of the Chamber of Commerce and others, will celebrate “LGBT History Month” at the Performing Arts Center with the presentation of the “Rocky Horror Show”. Simply, this October there will be a celebration of the LGBTQIA+ communities though the 50th anniversary presentation of the “Rocky Horror Show” which is a musical about fluid sexualities and liberated identities.  This musical has been a favorite of the LGBT community as it utilizes glam rock and kitsch portrayals of Horror B movie themes from the 40’s to the 70’s.  “Pride Month” in June is about the ongoing fight for rights and protest.  But “LGBT History Month” (recognized by the NEA in 1995) promotes the belief that “queer history is to be shared, taught, and celebrated” as a significant movement that has contributed to the welfare of our nation.  Simply, there is a concerted effort through our local arts community, the Mountain Theatre Company, and leaders in our town to normalize what God opposes – and this is where the Lord’s “hate speech” is engaged.  

“Hate Speech” is defined as “any form of expression through which speakers intend to vilify, humiliate, or incite hatred against a group or persons on the basis of race, religion, skin color, sexual identity, ethnicity, disability, or national origin.” This has been the working definition from our universities all the way to the Supreme Court, but nonetheless protected by the First Amendment.  Based on that definition, God is guilty of hate speech but with one caveat.  First, God vilifies those of the LGBT community.  In His Holy Word He speaks ill of and slanders such sexual practices and lifestyles.  He calls them defiled, unholy, abominations, shameful, reprobates that have no place in His kingdom (Gen. 19; Lev. 18:22; 20:13; Rom. 1:24-32; I Cor. 6:9-11, 17-20, 7:1-2; I Tim. 1:8-11; Jude 1:5-8). Now that’s hate speech!  Second, God humiliates them in demanding they humble themselves, acknowledge their sins and seek His forgiveness.  No words of tolerance or inclusiveness or acceptance.  They – and all sinners including myself – must bow and seek forgiveness (Matt. 4:17; Acts 17:30; Rom. 2:4; 3:23-26; 6:23; II Tim. 2:22-26; I Peter 1:13-21; 4:1-6; II Peter 2 & 3).  Simply, we have no righteousness or goodness in ourselves (Rom. 3:21-26) and we need God and not the god of self.  But the third phrase is the caveat – “incite hatred.”  Throughout His Word God speaks of His lovingkindness, His love for the lost, and His desire that none should perish in eternal judgment.  God doesn’t incite hatred, but rather warns and pleads for people to turn to Him before time expires and receive His love in Jesus Christ (Jn. 3:16; I Jn. 3).  

It is this love that inspires and invigorates me to preach the Word – to declare, “Thus saith the Lord.”  God doesn’t incite me to hatred, but a hatred of the sin and sinful lifestyles that are destroying people’s lives.  Nonetheless, based on the overall definition of “hate speech”, God is guilty!  He vilifies in His descriptions and humiliates sinners in calling on them to humble themselves and repent, but for the good of their eternal souls!  I too, am guilty of “hate speech” as delineated above.  I blend my voice with God’s through His Word in vilifying and calling people to repentance instead of celebrating their reprobation and abominations.  I cry out to the LGBT community and our community leaders who promote these aberrations of God’s Word and nature itself, and to turn from their sins and turn to the Lord! He doesn’t hate YOU and nor do I, but He does hate your sin and your celebration of these lascivious behaviors – and He says so.  God is guilty of “hate speech,” but God is also guilty of caring for all people’s souls!  (II Peter 3:9) 


-Dr. Mark Ford and the Membership of First Baptist Church, September 10, 2023