When Christianity is reduced to sentimentality, the Church neglects its duty to God. Surrendering to the world, apologising for what it believes, desperate to prove itself “kind”, the Church soon falls into decay.
Some will say that such an approach is merely love for our enemies. But consider what “love” means. It is seeking someone’s good in accordance with God’s laws. Therefore, if someone is promoting heresy and leading others on the road to perdition, we would seek their good by pointing out their errors, rather than allowing them to lead others into sin. So if we would love our enemies we will be busy and unpopular.
It is only possible to preserve a sentimental attitude towards the enemies of the Lord Jesus Christ if we make sure we do not meet them. Consider this barb from English Traits:
The doctrine of the Old Testament is the religion of England. The first leaf of the New Testament it does not open. … They are neither transcendentalists nor Christians.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Emerson was profoundly offensive. He did not mince his words or spare the feelings of my ancestors. Much more importantly, he promoted a false Gospel and despised the Truth. Should I idolise such a man? Never. He was the kin in spite and subversion to Ambrose Bierce:
CHRISTIAN, n. One who believes that the New Testament is a divinely inspired book admirably suited to the spiritual needs of his neighbour. One who follows the teachings of Christ in so far as they are not inconsistent with a life of sin.
CLERGYMAN, n. A man who undertakes the management of our spiritual affairs as a method of bettering his temporal ones.
RELIGION, n. A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable.
In my current writing I am removing idols and identifying the all-too-acceptable faces of heresy in the last 200 years of the Church - not only in England but also in the USA. As I pursue research for my tenth chapter, I searched in vain for any evidence of someone criticising my latest idol. Surely someone must have rejected her in print? Surely a minister has pointed out her errors? But no. Alas. I must start at the beginning and build the arguments from scratch, work out where to place the tent peg and, like Jael, bide my time.
The tone and the iconoclastic ends in my writing are not acceptable to Christians today. (The novelty is highlighted by the ridiculous number of reads on my Voskamp posts.) But I cannot play the sentimental game any longer, whereby people say, “let’s pretend we can all get on in the world and influence our non-Christian neighbours by smiling when they spit on us”. When they spit on us, they spit on the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. If we do not care to defend His glory, if we cannot bear to be bold for His sake, then pray - why are we called Christians?