Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Was Job Wrong?

So...I've thought a LOT about Job. Like, a lot. And while I think I've thought a lot of right things about it, I've also thought a lot of wrong things.

The most recent example: It's obvious that Job's friends are wrong about God. At the very end, God says to the friends, "“My anger burns against you and against your two friends, for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has." He has them present a sacrifice, and Job must pray for them to be forgiven. They say a LOT of wrong things about God, and in the process they accuse Job - "a blameless and upright man" - of being wicked and sinful, utterly deserving of the tragedies that befall him.

But here's where I'm pretty sure I've gone wrong: I don't think Job has a lot of right knowledge about God either.

I think that the above verse, where God says that the friends "have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has", doesn't mean that Job has been 100% correct in everything that he says about God. And in fact, this is borne out in the fact that this vindication of Job comes on the heels of  four full chapters of God telling Job that Job doesn't really know what he's talking about.

In many important ways, Job's knowledge of God is exactly as wrong as that of his friends. In fact, that's precisely what causes him such distress: His theological system has no room for suffering that is not punishment. Again and again, he proclaims his innocence and protests the injustice of punishment without cause. Implicit in every complaint is his belief that bad things come directly from God as punishment for specific, personal sins: The same false belief that his friends present throughout the book.

Indeed, when Job utters his famous line at the very beginning - "The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord" - while he does not sin, I don't think he's 100% correct, least, not in what he means. The same goes for what he says in the next chapter: "Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” He does not sin, but I don't think that what he believes to be happening is what is actually happening. I don't think that the Lord has taken away, and I don't think that the Lord is sending evil - the text is quite clear that while God is allowing these things to happen, he is not their instigator.

So why is Job not sinning here? What sets him apart from his friends? How does he say anything that's right about God, to cause him to be praised in the last chapter?

It's not about knowledge. It's not about theology. It's about the relationship Job has with his God.

Job's false theology causes him incredible distress, as he searches in vain for a reason for divine punishment. His incorrect ideas about God causes him to bitterly lament that God punishes him without cause. In fact, his false theology almost drives him to despair of his very life.

And in all that suffering, it's his relationship with God that brings him back from the brink. It's the relationship that assures him that God is his redeemer, that God is his friend and ally, and that God will save him in the end. And I think that is what God praises in the end.

I don't know that I have a point here. It was just an interesting thought I had a few days ago. But I think there are a couple takeaways:

-Theology can bring life or death. Incorrect knowledge about God can bring terrible distress and confusion, while correct knowledge will greatly aid in bringing peace and understanding.

-However...relationship can either salve the wounds of poor theology, or nullify and deaden the benefits of good theology. A living relationship with the living God can bring peace, even without understanding, and hope even in the face of despair...but a lack of relationship will render meaningless the greatest theology in the world.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Who cares if God made you do it?

I got a Calvinist to say, essentially, "Who cares that God made you sin, he's God and he does what he wants." Those weren't the exact words, but if you read on, you will see that it IS the exact sentiment.

Context: For the first time ever on Tuesday, I twittered it up. I tweeted the first tweet that ever I twitted. And it was, predictably, on the subject of Calvinism.

The official Twitter for the Society of Evangelical Arminains (SEA) got into a Twitter spat with Reformed Pubcast (RP). Looking at the debate, I realized there were some things I wanted to say. So I revived my Twitter account that I had created back in 2012 (and never used once), and jumped into the fray. 

 The subject was on God's eternal decrees and how human free will fits into that. @ArminianSociety was maintaining that if God eternally and irresistibly decrees that we do something, it is just plain silly to talk of us doing that thing "freely" or of our own will. @reformedpubcast, of course, was having none of it. And thus was born my first tweet ever:

"God irresistibly ordains desires, acts disappointed when we follow them, then damns us for it. Calvinism!"

Honestly, I'm pretty proud of it. I like it. It's succinct, it's accurate, and I believe the worst that any Calvinist could say about it is quibble about "acting disappointed"...they would have to say that yes, God did irresistibly decree for us to sin and that from the beginning of creation he meant for us to sin in precisely that way, but he is still, in some sense, "disappointed" that we followed the decree that he irresistibly set for us. 

Predictably, that got no reaction save a "like" and retweet from SEA. But a few minutes later, another opportunity presented itself. RP steadfastly maintained that "we do what we want most", and that because we're following our desires, we are culpable for our sins (even though God is the one who irresistibly determined those desires). So I tweeted again:

"Be right back, I meticulously conditioned my son to disobey me, now I gotta go punish him for it. Justice!"

Again, I like this tweet. I think it is completely 100% accurate. I do not think that any honest Calvinist, taking into account the doctrine of meticulous providence and that God ordained the Fall and our sinful actions from the very beginning of creation, could find fault with the facts conveyed by the tweet. Still, his reaction did surprise me - and this is where it gets really interesting.

Note that he did NOT tweet, "Calvinists don't believe that."

He did NOT say, "You're misrepresenting our beliefs."

He didn't say anything of the sort. Instead, he tweeted back, ""Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?" -Romans 9:20 // Take it up with Paul"

So I say to him, in essence, "In Calvinist doctrine, God conditions us to sin and then punishes us for doing what he conditioned us to do."

And instead of disputing ANY of that, he merely responds, "Take it up with Paul." He GRANTS the premise, he merely maintains that it is a biblical stance. 

And you know what? I could actually almost respect that ... if it weren't for one thing. Does it strike anyone else as pretty dishonest when RP spent so long talking about our freedom, and how it really does matter that we choose to sin, and how our culpability is found in following our desires when none of that really matters, and "God made you do it but he can do that because he's God" really is the heart of the argument? 

Isn't that pretty dishonest? That's how it strikes me. This is at the core of Calvinism, but it's an ugly, ugly core, so they do their darndest to lead people away from it with detours and shallow arguments that even they have to abandon when pressed. How is this anything less than intentional deception? When you pretend to care about human freedom, but you know that your theology is perfectly fine with getting rid of it and replacing it with "God conditioned you to sin and you're guilty for following that conditioning"? That's why I can't respect his admission at the end; it's because it was preceded by nigh-endless double-talk and obfuscation.

Oh, and by the way, this is an unbelievably easy claim to refute. All you have to do is look at the context, which  is 100% in favor of the Arminian interpretation (which, by the way, is why no aspect of determinism or unconditional election surfaced for the first three hundred years of the Church). All you have to do is look at where Paul is pulling from - Jeremiah 18:6-10 - and see where else Paul used vessel language - 2 Timothy 2:21 - and it's easy to see that this passage has nothing to do with Calvinism or unconditional individual election. 

Anyway, that was a fun venture into the land of tweets. It's not any day you'll get a Calvinist to flat out admit that God makes people sin, but then say, "Take it up with Paul". Good day!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

On Mother's Day

I've written about my dad before, and anyone who knows my family knows that I got my creative bent from him. But I don't think I've written as much about my mom yet, and given Mother's Day, I think now might be a good time to do so.

If my dad taught me how to make and create and work, my mom taught me how to think, how to stretch myself and grow intellectually. She taught me how to explore new ideas, see things from new perspectives, and a whole lot more.

She fed my love of reading from a very early age, and I cannot recall a time I wanted a particular book and did not receive it. And this was not merely a matter of monetary expenditure: Every new book also guaranteed me coming into her office, giggling and insisting that she listen to me read a portion of my new book to her. This would happen multiple times per book, and looking back, I marvel at her patience in listening to out-of-context passages from random books and sharing in my enjoyment of them.

She encouraged me to pursue my interests, but she also insisted that I do my best in things that did NOT interest me. If she knew that I was capable of performing better in a class or subject, she made sure that I did perform better. She held me up to the standard of what she knew I was capable of, and showed me how to push myself even when the rewards are not apparent. At the same time, though, she did not encourage "busy-work", which I appreciate still.

And of course, one of the things that has most impacted me was her insistence that of all the colleges in all the world, Biola was the place for me. And when we randomly heard about Torrey at a college fair, holy CRAP was she excited. She was more excited than I was by far...and that was because she understood far better than I did how perfect it was for me. She saw a program seemingly tailor-made for someone like me, and she hounded me and made me see what she saw. And when I was rejected the first time, she refused to let me give up, and forced me to pursue all avenues, calling the office every day until they accepted me (out of sheer annoyance, I'm sure).

I owe a lot to my mom. When I look at the stained glass panels on my bookshelves, I know that I owe them to my dad. But when I look at the books on those bookshelves, and the ideas and thoughts they represent, the discussions and papers and blogs...I know that I owe them to my mom. She is the reason I attended Biola and Torrey, and she is responsible (for good or ill) for who I am because of Torrey.

So...thanks, mom. And happy Mother's Day!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Dear Calvinists...

Dear Calvinists,

Hey! How's it going? I've been thinking about you lately, and it crossed my mind that you don't really seem to get us...Arminians, I mean. I've seen so many interactions between Calvinists and Arminians, and it often takes a VERY long time for the Calvinist to actually address what bothers the Arminian, if it even happens at all!

So I thought I would take just a couple minutes to talk about where we are coming from, and talk about what generally bothers us about how you guys get down.

And honestly, the biggest thing that bothers us is that you seem really inconsistent. See, Calvinists (can I call you Cal?), you guys are all about God's glory. That's the thing you constantly proclaim, and it's even sometimes a weapon that you use against us (but that's a different talk). When it comes to salvation and even the general ordering of the universe, you guys are very clear: God runs the show. In fact, you guys get really, really upset when Arminians (or any non-Calvinists, really) imply that salvation involves any kind of free decision on our part. For God to be glorified, and for God to truly be sovereign, God must be the ultimate (and therefore only true) cause of everything.

Like I said, you guys are VERY clear when it comes to that. And believe me when I say that while I completely disagree with your conclusion, I am 100% behind your desire to give God all the glory!

But here's the thing that bothers us, Cal. It's that you will go straight from praising God for being the sole cause of our salvation, and for being absolutely sovereign in meticulously ordering the saying that each reprobate is the sole cause of their damnation, by virtue of their sin, their rejoicing in wickedness, etc.

That's where we get confused, guys. That's honestly where we lose you. It really does seem as though you're talking out of both sides of your mouth here. And there are two big parts to this:

First, we can't really see how this works. When you look at the big picture, isn't God the ultimate cause of everything about the reprobate? Isn't he the one who ordained the Fall? Isn't he the one who determined that the reprobate would have the desires that they do? Isn't he the one who determined that the reprobate would act on those sinful desires? And didn't he do all of this unconditinally. in his unwavering sovereignty? In short, isn't he the sole true cause of everything that makes the reprobate...well, reprobate? And isn't he the ultimate cause of their damnation in hell for all eternity?

That's the first thing that bothers us. And we honestly don't understand at all how you can justify ignoring this and trying to act as though the sins were committed without the unconditional decree of God. And that actually brings me to the second thing that bothers us:

If you guys are all about God's glory, why stop with glorifying God for monergistically saving people? Why not praise God for monergistically damning people as well? After all, isn't that just as glorifying to God in your system? Why do you pretend to give human beings the ability to deny God's will and do things he doesn't wish them to do? Why not extol the greatness of God's power as he raises up the reprobate, causes their sin, and then oh-so-justly damns them for it? Why retreat to the very Arminian-sounding answer of "because of their sin", when you can simply say "Praise God for creating these reprobate to sin and be damned!"? When you praise God for saving the Elect, why aren't you just as loud in praising him for damning everyone else?

Anyway, Cal, thanks for listening. I know this got a little long, but I hope it makes sense. So next time you're talking with an Arminian, maybe we can skip the whole "So God shouldn't punish sin?" bit, and maybe even the "He doesn't have to save anyone!" bit, and get straight to the point.

Is God ultimately the sole reason for the sinfulness of the reprobate? Didn't he desire their damnation and work to accomplish it from the very moment he decided to create them? It really seems that you should answer "Yes!" to both of those, and when you don't, it really seems as though you're being a little underhanded.

Just a heads up!


Monday, February 29, 2016

Alcohol and Silly Arguments

Out of every theological argument and discussion that I've ever been a part of, there's one that stands preeminent when it comes to exaggeration, non-sequiturs, and twisted Scripture: Whether alcohol is appropriate for a Christian to consume in moderation.

So...can a Christian drink alcohol?*

I will say this right at the beginning: There are legitimate cultural contexts and situations that impact when and where it is appropriate for a Christian to consume alcohol: As just one example, if one is literally incapable of drinking moderately, or around someone incapable of drinking moderately, Scripture and Christian charity demand that we abstain. One can think of other instances, where drinking alcohol would have a direct and immediate negative impact on ourselves or others, where it would be inappropriate - and indeed sinful - for a Christian to drink.

This is not a post about those situations, though...largely because it's very rare for a Christian NOT to be aware of those situations (and those that are not aware, or deliberately ignore them, are beyond help anyway). This is a post about Biblical arguments against all alcohol usage, used by certain teetotalers to say that consumption of alcohol is an inherent evil, apart from any cultural considerations. There are a few that pop up very frequently that are incredibly weak, and I'm going to go through the weakest and silliest here:

"The word for 'wine' used in the Bible can mean everything from unfermented grape juice, to the fermented stuff we generally refer to as wine. The wine that Jesus consumed was "new wine", or unfermented grape juice."

This argument pops up everywhere alcohol is mentioned on the internet. I'm not going to go into the word studies that disprove this theory - that has already been done by people better qualified than me. No, I'm going to take more of a "common sense" approach, just a few arguments that have occurred to me over the past year or so.

1: Jesus references fermentation as a common cultural practice, and explicitly contrasts old and new wine, with old wine elevated and preferred over new.

This is funny, because the passage in question is actually often used by teetotalers to demonstrate the difference between new (unfermented) wine and old wine. It appears in all 3 synoptics, but you'll only ever see teetotalers use the passage from Matthew or Mark (we'll see why in a moment). Jesus is discussing why his disciples don't fast like John's disciples do, and he tells them that nobody fasts when the bridegroom (Jesus himself) is with them, but that they'll fast when he is taken away. Then he says two things: "No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch tears away from the garment, and a worse tear is made. Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.”

Teetotalers will point to this passage as proof that "new wine" is non-alcoholic: It is put into new wineskins, so that it can expand as it ferments. This is missing the point on two levels:

First, the "new wine" is put into new wineskins so that it will continue to ferment safely without being lost. This is not somehow meant to prevent fermentation or keep it as grape juice: This process (which Jesus refers to as a commonplace thing) is meant to ensure that more fermented wine is available to drink, instead of it being lost! In other words, this fermentation is a good, desirable thing, rather than it being lost due to the bursting of the wineskin.

And second, Jesus (and everyone else) prefers the old stuff!

Luke 5:37-39: "And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine desires new, for he says, ‘The old is good.’”"

So: After going to all that trouble to convince themselves that Jesus was a lover only of grape juice, you can imagine the consternation that would greet this verse. Here, Jesus explicitly sets the two side-by-side: New wine, which may very well be unfermented or just beginning to ferment, and old wine, which literally has to be fermented given the climate Jesus is in. Grape juice cannot get "old" and remain grape juice without modern pasteurization techniques. Jesus sets the two side by side, and essentially says, "New wine? Grape juice? No thanks...I'll stick with the old wine." Jesus explicitly says that no one prefers new wine after tasting old wine (which sinks another silly teetotaler argument, that wine is just super gross and that when the master of the feast declared Jesus wine "the best", he must be referring to good ol' grape juice.) Old wine - real, fermented wine - is much to be preferred over new wine, from the mouth of Jesus himself!

I think that this argument, by itself, is enough to convince any intellectually honest person of the silliness of this. But there's at least one more BIG one:

2: The Lord's Supper was understood from the very beginning of the NT church to involve alcoholic wine.

We don't even need to look to the gospels for these...instead, we just look to Paul's early letters, the first NT documents to be written! We just need to look to 1 Corinthians 11:17-22:

"But in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse. For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part, for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized. When you come together, it is not the Lord's supper that you eat. For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, another gets drunk. What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, I will not."

He is speaking to one of the very first NT churches as they attempt to celebrate the Lord's Supper. They aren't doing it very well, because when they come together, they do not share and eat communally, but each eats what he has: The rich get full and drunk, while the poor go hungry. They get drunk, meaning that they're bringing real, alcoholic wine to the Lord's Supper: Indeed, wine strong enough to get someone drunk during the course of a meal.

Paul rebukes them, not for drinking wine, but for getting drunk. He doesn't have anything negative to say about the wine itself, merely the fact that they are getting drunk while their poorer brethren go hungry. And where did they learn about the wine? From Paul himself, who says, "For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you..." They are getting their information on the Lord's Supper from Paul; They are drinking wine at the Lord's Supper, which Paul does not rebuke; Paul mentions "the cup" several times, including warnings not to "eat and drink without discerning." It would be ludicrously irresponsible of Paul to not speak against the wine if that was even the slightest problem. When you put all of these together, it becomes inescapable that from the time of Paul himself, ever since there was a visible church, alcoholic wine was used to celebrate the Lord's Supper.

This is another knock-out punch. To avoid this hurdle, a teetotaler would have to say that Paul himself got it wrong, and that from the very beginning, churches were celebrating the Lord's Supper wrongfully, using wine when they should have used grape juice. In fact, they would have to say that nearly all Christians, in nearly all places and at nearly all times, have gotten it wrong, because...

3: Teetotalism is an extremely niche viewpoint, occupying a very small chronological, denominational, and geographical portion of the Church. 

I hesitate to include this last one, simply because in my experience, many outspoken teetotalers will have no hesitation in declaring every other Christian throughout history to be sinfully wrong on this one (or simply non-Christian in the case of Catholics). When you look at the worldwide Church, teetotalism has only ever been a thing for the past 200 years or so, only in the US and (briefly) England, and only in certain Protestant/Evangelical denominations. At no other time in history has alcohol consumption been regarded as a universal sin.

This is not the knock-out punch that the other two are: It's possible for people to be wrong on something, and it's possible for a great deal of people to be wrong for a very long time. But...if your viewpoint simply did not exist for the first 1700-1800 years of church history, and remains incredibly denominationally and geographically restricted have to ask yourself if maybe, just maybe, your belief is more cultural than biblical. If nobody else, including the native Greek speakers who brought the Church together, had the thought that alcohol was evil and that Christians should only drink grape juice, then is it really a plausible explanation?

Anyway, it's good to get this all written down. I doubt it'll be seen by many people, and to my knowledge I don't know any people who believe that no Christian should consume alcohol - and if they do, it's for cultural and not Biblical reasons. But here is my point:

The Church is not served by falsehood, or legalism, or poor exegesis, and alcohol brings out all three. Given our fallen world, there are times where it is sinful to consume alcohol: indeed, there are some people who lack the self control to ever drink without sin. But given proper use and moderation, alcohol is a good thing, a gift from God that gladdens the hearts of men.

*Many teetotalers will shift the conversation from "can a Christian drink alcohol" to "should a Christian drink alcohol," and ask what good it is...whether it will edify the believer, bring them closer to Christ, etc. The meaninglessness of such a question is revealed when applied to literally any other common part of everyday life in the US. Surely eating food at a restaurant will not "bring you closer to Christ." For that matter, neither will adding seasoning to food instead of simply eating it plain. In fact, if that is the thing that drives your dining choices, you'd be better off just eating plain bread and drinking water, for surely eating more than that is not "edifying" in the sense this question demands. Alcohol (a light-weight rum and dr pepper, in my case) is simply one aspect of God's creation that believers are encouraged to enjoy in moderation, and in that enjoyment, we glorify and give thanks to God.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Death and Life and Nana

At 7:15 this morning, my grandmother Nana died. We knew it was coming: She had been deteriorating for some time, and after breaking her hip a week or so ago, we knew it couldn't be far off. And in the day or two leading up to it, as friends and family offered their support, prayers, and encouragement on Facebook, one comment in particular stood out to me:

"We will all miss her until we see her again."

I don't think I can say it any better than that. Of course I will miss her. I miss her now, and I am sure I will miss her more the next time we head into Shafter and realize that she is not there for us to visit. I will miss her breakfasts, and her amazing waffles and crisp bacon. I will miss her roast chicken dinners, and the days when the Mulligans would gather for family dinner with her and Papa (and I will miss the extra chicken legs and toast that she prepared for me without fail). Nana was the sweetest, kindest grandmother a boy could ask for: The world has not seen her equal, and we will miss her.


Until we see her again. Until we see her, shining like the sun, young and strong and full of life and laughter, in body as well as spirit. And so we are comforted even in our grief.

For we know she serves a Lord who came to destroy the one who held the power of death; We know she serves a Lord who was dead and is alive; We know she serves a Lord who holds the key to Death and Hades and sets the captives free. And we know that all those who believe in that Lord are saved.

And so we know that she is with Him today in Paradise. She does not live on "in our hearts"...such a great soul could hardly reside in such a cramped and fickle place. Nor does she live on merely in our memories: No, her dwelling is far grander than anything we could imagine. She really lives, and she really is there in Paradise.

We will all miss her until we see her again. But we will see her again, and every tear will be wiped away.

And I cannot think of anything more to say.

Friday, February 12, 2016

A Crisis in Calvinism

ADDED: I've gotten a handful of hits recently from "Contemporary Calvinist," who calls my post a "straw man." Welcome! To Calvinist readers, I just have one request: Please comment and let me know in what way I have straw-manned Calvinist doctrine. I understand that no Calvinist will actually speak like this, but please inform me what aspect of doctrine I have mis-represented. I would LOVE to know how my Calvinist brothers and sisters are able to avoid what I see as the logical and inescapable conclusions of Calvinism. Please enlighten me!

Brothers (and wives of brothers who are hearing this through your husbands), there is a crisis in Christianity. This crisis threatens all true believers - both five-point Calvinists and those who, in their devotion, hold to 6 or even 7 points! It is a crisis greater than "Christian" contemporary music, greater than "Christian" rap, greater even then "Christians" consuming a moderate amount of alcohol and enjoying it.

Yes, it is a crisis greater even than those, for there are many within our ranks who are defying the will of God himself!* You gasp, but it is true, brothers. Just the other day, in a good, God-honoring church, I heard the pastor speak of the unsaved souls perishing in poverty-stricken, unreached parts of the world. He drew attention to the people dying in inner-city slums, without ever hearing the glorious gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. And would you believe what he said? He lamented that fact! He dared to express sadness at the fate of these unsaved rebels, these totally depraved sinners, these reprobate!

This is absurd, my brethren! For we all know that as these sinners go down to the fiery hell which awaits them, God is glorified by their damnation! Indeed, we know that God planned their damnation - each and every one of them! - from before the foundations of the world! We know that through God's perfect plan, he brought them into existence for the sole purpose of having them starve, fight amongst one another, murder and be murdered in turn, before all die and are damned for eternity - all for his own glory!

God finds glory and pleasure in doing this, my brothers, so should we not find pleasure in witnessing it? Shall we not give glory to God as we witness these starving reprobate children, these ignorant reprobate adults, dying without hope? Shall we not rejoice with the death of each one, as their screams of everlasting agony brings a smile to our Savior's face, as our Lord's perfect will is accomplished?

And yet this man-idolizing, God-denying sadness has infected the true Church! I have even heard none other than John Piper and John MacArthur, as God-fearing Johns as I've ever known, imply that sometimes things happen which were not the perfect, inexorable, inescapable, unconditional will of God! These are undeniably true men of God (unless of course they leave the faith, in which case they were never saved to begin with), and yet they, too, are watering down the glorious truth of God's glorious plan! They talk of people dying "without the Gospel," fulfilling God's perfect plan for their lives, and then lead their followers astray by again lamenting that fact!

This is indeed a crisis, brothers. God does not desire all to be saved, and neither should we! I ask you:

Who are YOU, oh man, to desire the reprobate to be saved?

Who are YOU, oh man, to be saddened by their just and glorious fate in the fires of hell?

Who are YOU, oh man, to steal God's glory by loving those that the Lord hated since before the beginning of the world?

We are not to be like some in the world, my brethren, showing love and compassion to our enemies. Far from it! We are to be like God: Glorying in the demise of those we hate. And is not THAT the heart of the Gospel?

*Of course, not really defying, mind you, and technically they had no chance to do otherwise, but...look, it's too complicated to explain right, and who are you, oh man, to talk back to me - I mean, to God. Shut up and stop asking questions. What are you, an Arminian?