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Is Speaking the Truth “Hateful and Evil”?

Updated: Dec 5, 2023

Speaking the truth though it may be sharp, is "hateful and evil" is the type of slander commonly heard among man-centred, Biblically illiterate haters of the truth, which to a large degree includes professing Christians. It isn’t easy to reprove, though that should never be an excuse if we strive after obedience to God’s Word. But it’s not always easy because I know my own shortcomings and peoples vile abhorrence of it. My desire however is to be obedient to Scripture and to please my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Who’s servant I am (Gal 1:10), but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to be bold and confident in my dealings. I will because the indwelling Spirit of God produces boldness. But of course people don’t like it. Scorners actually hate it and despise it and will smear you for it (Pr 15:12). They walk by their feelings and emotions which is the flesh rather than by Scripture. They profess Christ but their misplaced affections reveal they don’t possess Him.

Nothing I expose or write or rebuke over false doctrine, corruption of Scripture or other sin, is done for personal gratification. It does have at least a trifold purpose:

1. Obedience to God’s Word (Jn 2:3-5; Jn 14:15-24) by appearing and standing for the truth (Pr 31:8-9; Ju 1:3; I Cor 16:13; Ezk 3:17; Mk 13:34), and exposing dangerous error and teachers thereof (Rom 16:17; Eph 5:6-11; Gal 1:6-9; 2:4-5; Phil 3:18-19; 2 Tim 3:5-9; 4:2-4; 2 Jn 1:9-11), which is extremely important and necessary in our day of massive confusion.

2. Provide instruction to those erring from the truth and under the Devils snare, if God perhaps gives repentance to the acknowledging of the truth (Tim 2:15-26).

3. Reasoning, debating, persuasion, and reproof to deliver those under the influence of error or other sin from inevitable destruction and death. “If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?” (Pr 24:11-12). “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (Jn 15:13).

Yes this applies to any situation where error is accepted, tolerated, or embraced (2 Cor 11:4), including public ministries available on the web. Huge leavening occurs when a mere man is put above Gods Word regardless of his error and perversion of Scripture, or the “divers and strange doctrines” (Heb 13:9) he pounds from the pulpit, pen or radio, and sin is listened to or promoted. Instead of hating “every false way” (Ps 119:128) they hate the man exposing the error and sin. Go figure. It fits the age we live in. Being exposed to this, I reprove it in obedience to Gods Word, which is very clear that no lie or error or other sin is left unexposed (1 Cor 5:6; Gal 5:9). The typical knee jerk reaction is hatred, diatribe and personal attack, or some other logical fallacy, since the motive must undoubtedly be wrong (judging motives is evil: Jam 4), or the method must be wrong (a major straw man and smokescreen). Ungodly behaviour as such is often acquired from the words and example of the man in the pulpit (also by manipulation and corruption of Scripture, e.g. Eph 4:15).

This evil behaviour brings great reproach to the name of Christ, which only worsens in malicious slandering towards the obedient and godly. They don’t like error or sin reproved or exposed, even though Scripture demands it: Lev 19:17; Ze 8:16; Ps 50:21-23; 58:1; 141:5; Pr 12:1; 13:1; 15:5, 31; 17:10; 24:23-25; 28:23; Rom 16:17; Ti 1:12-13; 2:15; 2 Tim 4:2-4; etc. Just because people don’t like it doesn’t mean we stop “earnestly contending for the faith” (Ju 1:3), reproving error and liars. Error or sin must never be tolerated.

But not all personal attacks demand a response. Some do: “Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit” (Pr 26:5), while others don’t: “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.” (Pr 26:4). “Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured.” (Pr 13:18). People that hate reproof, rebuke, correction, testing, examining, judging, and warning, have a serious heart problem, and James 3:14-15 warns, “But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.”

“Hateful and evil” is the false accusation (Isa 5:20) that flows from this mentality almost incessantly by fakes more interested in appeasing and exalting the man in the pulpit and tickling each other’s ears with slander and gossip, then loving the Lord by abiding in His Word. Instead of repenting of their error or sin, they cast invective lies and bitter, envious and strife-full ad-hominem attacks and logical fallacies, followed by slandering and smearing to make themselves feel better, since truth they can’t handle. But they act the fool (“Fools make a mock at sin” Pr 14:9) and what does Scripture say about fools? God warns: “Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off” (Ps 101:5a).

Not only is the pulpit used for advancing error, false doctrine and Scripture corruption, but also sinful slandering and personal attack. People have accused me, but I’m still waiting for actual proof of anything I’ve said as wrong. But this is very typical in our day of evil. The Pharisees were also religious liars. Satan is a liar and happens to be the prince of this world, so we can expect there to be lies everywhere. That's why one can’t be naive. Naive simple-minded feelings-based people follow error (Pr 14:15), and react by their flesh because that is the only thing they’ve likely ever known (1 Cor 2:14). They will reap folly (Pr 14:18). Don’t deceive yourself. If you are guilty, your actions will reflect an unregenerate estate (Pr 14:5). I won’t sugar coat this as many do.

What occurred when anyone criticized the Pharisees, exposing their fraudulence? They got treated in an unBiblical manner. There was no Biblical, godly way they handled their critics. In the case of Jesus, they wanted to kill Him, just to shut Him up. I've experienced basically the same type of behaviour from people, minus the murder. I point out particular disobedience, error or sin that they like to do but don't want to hear about, so they mock, slander, marginalize and malign. The ears keep hot with the mockery, lying, slandering, and then comes the cold shoulder treatment. Ghosting. Pretending the person doesn’t exist, even though you are in their very company. How shameful! This is what ungodly people do to protect their lies and spew their hatred to him that dares expose it and stand for the truth. In this way they behave just like the lost religious Pharisees.

What it reveals is very serious issues and underlying man-centredness (not God-centred). Pastors in this environment lead by example and typically reflect the character of one Diotrephes, warned of here: “I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church. Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.” (3 Jn 1:9-11). And like Diotrephes, they will malign and slander and then cast out.

Attacking with prevarication and then cutting off or just simply cutting off is also popular. Most are “implacable” (Rom 1:31) even though they hypocritically call out for the congregation to forgive and reconcile. They call for the congregation to leave the gift at the alter while they themselves have never done that. The people go into silence and ignoring mode, playing the “victim” instead of dealing with their error/sin and ungodly behaviour, heeding their lessons well from the man in the pulpit, who pushes this contrary to Scripture (e.g. Lev 5:1; Pr 22:20-21; 1 Pet 3:15; Lk 17:3). They all become guilty of the same fallacy because they didn’t righteously judge (Jn 7:24). Though the silence is deafening to reproof and correction and instruction (2 Tim 3:16-17), they’re never silent behind the scenes. Their untamed tongue gets quite busy in their duplicity; slandering, talebearing, smearing and playing the “victim.” But it’s evil and not of God, and the Bible demands separation from those guilty of these sins (Pr 20:19).

Why does someone remain “implacable’ (Rom 1:31) in rebellion against God and His Word? He's a lover of his own self (2 Tim 3:2). His lust or love for himself and/or the world supersedes his love for God. He doesn't want to be hemmed in or held back from anything that he wants or likes. So he is unthankful to the reproof and admonishment, which indicates what about his nature according to Pr 9:8? “Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.” The “wise man” is saved while the scorner is a false professor (Ps 1:1; Pr 13:1; etc). The scorner mocks, derides, and scoffs at rebuke, either ignoring or personally attacking the reprover, then maliciously slanders and talebears.

None of this is new under the sun. But let me give some advice. If you don’t agree with someone, including what I write here, you need to learn to deal with facts, Gods truth and disagreement in a godly and Biblical manner. This is very important. If you’re unable to and can only resort to unbiblical and ungodly personal attacks and logical fallacies (i.e. lying, bearing false witness), let me give further advice. Be quiet and don’t make a fool of yourself, not to the rebuke or behind the scenes, just repent of your sin or error and reconcile. And stop embracing and promoting sin and false teachings including those by Reg Kelly. Stop exalting men above God’s Word. Get into the Bible and obey it alone. Love God and the truth, rather than man (Gal 1:10).

If people oppose a position, they should do so by the authority of Scripture. But they don’t because they can’t since their defence is egregious and selfish. Hence why scripture really has no true authority in such institutions, though they may claim that, noted in many other ways, e.g. false doctrine, corrupted scripture interpretation, unBiblical church structure, lording authority, leavening error and sin — many spiritual strongholds.

Are there grounds for going on the offence? Yes. All the pieces of spiritual armour of Eph 6 are offensive. They are not meant for retreat, but for battle. “The sword of the Spirit . . . is the Word of God" (Eph 6:17). Spiritual warfare applies spiritual weaponry, not carnal weaponry.

Oddly, the same people who exhibit ridicule and spite towards the one fighting spiritual warfare, have no protest against dangerous doctrinal error, horrible corruption of Scripture in the form of eisegesis, false division, allegoricalism and wresting which is an “error of the wicked” (2 Pet 3:16-17) and unbeknownst to the Holy Spirit’s teaching, propagating things so far removed from Scriptural truth that it resembles something closer to play-doh. They have issue with the reprover, when they ought to have issue with the error. Is 5:20 nails it: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”

People come up with all sorts of excuses to disobey while slandering obedience as “hateful and evil,” the mantra typically heard in neo-evangelical type settings, but also others. In Scripture we note those with a pretence of religion and belief were dealt with sharply and “harshly” when they corrupted scripture, embraced or promoted error or sin. Paul or Peter or Christ or any other Bible preachers didn’t mince any words. The Bible is loaded with examples and if you crack the cover of your Bible you can see that for yourself (e.g. Mat 23; Ac 13:10; 1 Tim 1:18-20; etc). Jesus exposed heretics before them (Lk 12). Paul did as well, reproving Peter before an entire church (Gal 2:11-14) and Peter loved him for it (2 Pet 3:16a). But that’s not the love we see today, but rather detestation and discrediting. Ungodly hate which reveals itself by evil slandering, gossiping, talebearing, smearing and malice.

Paul said “Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works:” (2 Tim 4:14). I concur with Paul, just the name change. But false charges on speaking the truth comes as no surprise since people said the same about Paul, Jesus, and others. Repeatedly Paul speaks about the attacks on him even by the very churches he started. Jesus consistently heard that people were offended at Him. It makes no difference how long suffering or forebearing one is, the hate will keep rolling (2 Cor 12:15), many times simply hidden under a shroud of fakeness and pretence.

Pride is a major cause of all this and those that are dominated by pride have nothing to hang their hat on concerning salvation (Ps 101:5; 119:21). “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” (Jam 4:6). This is referring to salvation, and those truly converted continue walking by humbleness, not pride. “Thou hast rebuked the proud that are cursed, which do err from thy commandments.” (Ps 119:21). What I see is a lot of proud, partial, hypocritical and evil judgment. That is abundantly evident considering Gods Word isn’t opened to prove or disprove anything. That’s not just proud and man-centred, but religious Phariseeism. Rejecting Gods truth for something else is evil.

People that do this are simply carnal warriors fighting with carnal weaponry. They reject warnings from one that cares, from a faithful watchman (Ezk 3:17; Mk 13:34; Ju 1:3), so leaven has free reign to keep growing while the ship keeps sinking and individuals shipwreck, not repenting or turning from error or sin but instead proudly and joyfully throwing the warning watchman overboard while the whole vessel submerges, all the while rearranging the chairs on the ship deck to the tune “Nearer my God to Thee.” Rejecting God’s truth for man’s words or ways, is repulsive and deadly. Man’s experience and opinions becomes the rule, not God’s Word. This is completely reversing Rom 3:4, “let God be true, but every man a liar.”

Consider some Biblical examples of reproof, rebuke, dealing with error and sin, and then understand that to be consistent you must also smear the apostles Paul, Peter and John and the Lord Jesus Christ with “hateful and evil” speaking.

1. Apostle Paul. He said the professing believers at Crete were “liars, evil beasts and slow bellies. This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith” (Ti 1:12-13). Ouch. I guess Paul is “hateful and evil”? How about when he said to a false believer: “O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?” (Ac 13:10). More ouch.

How “unloving” and “hateful” and “evil” was Paul when he labelled followers or teachers of error as “grievous wolves,” “ungodly,” liars,” “evil beasts,” “beasts,” “slow bellies,” “child[ren] of the devil,” “enemy of all righteousness,” “blind,” ministers of satan, “dogs,” “antichrists,” “vain talkers,” “deceivers,” unruly,” “wicked,” “enemies of the cross,” “evil men and seducers,” etc (Ac 13:8-12; 20:29; Ti 1:10-12; 1 Cor 15:32; 2 Cor 11:12-15; etc). He denounced people for less than the error and corruption of Scripture we’ve been exposed to in recent times. He warned just a “little leaven” will “leaventh the whole lump” (Gal 5:9). Paul didn’t warn in generalities either. In 1 and 2 Tim alone, ten times he names compromisers and promoters of error by their name (1 Tim 1:20; 2 Tim 1:15; 2:17; 3:8; 4:10, 14).

2. Apostle Peter. He referred to false teachers “as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;” (2 Pe 2:12). Did you notice that? He called them “natural brute beasts” that are “made to be taken and destroyed.” Verse 22 he calls them “dogs” and “pigs” just like Jesus did (Matt 7:6). In Acts 8 he very sharply reproves a man professing to be saved, who had been immersed and continued in Philips ministry (v 13), of his lost estate, saying he had “neither part nor lot in this matter” obviously concerning salvation because his “heart is not right in the sight of God,” but “in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity,” and commanded him to repent of his wickedness, and pray to God for forgiveness (vv 20-23).

3. Apostle John. Will you also charge “the apostle of love,” with “hateful and evil” speech? He called false teachers “evil” and of the devil, their teachings the “doctrines of devils,” false professors as “children of the devil” and of “that wicked one,” etc (1 Jn 3:10-12; 4:1-5; 2 Jn 1:9-11; 3 Jn 1:9-11; etc). He also called out a false teacher and false pastor (by name) in 3 John for being evil by speaking malicious words against them and casting people out of church that he didn’t like, all of which sealed his unsaved estate, “he that doeth evil hath not seen God” (vv 9-11). John exhorted “Beloved” Gaius to “follow not that which is evil, but that which is good” (v 11) and to follow after another man (v 12).

4. The Lord Jesus Christ, God the Son. Jesus called Peter the Devil, for saying something contrary to Gods Word (Mt 16:23), so is that “hateful and evil”? What about His fiery and “hateful” indictment on the false believers in Matt 23? He called them “vipers,” “children of the devil,” “fools,” “whited sepulchres,” “hypocrites,” etc, all of which would be “harsh” indictments to some. In Jn 8:30-31 Jesus sharply reproved false “believers” to be “of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” (Jn 8:44).

In Matt 19 Jesus refers to an unforgiving man as a ”wicked servant” (v. 32) who was inciting God’s wrath and judgment (vv 34-35). He called Gentiles “dogs” (Matt 15:26), saying it’s not Gods will to take the Word of God “and cast it to dogs.” In Matt 7 he speaks of false believers/teachers as “dogs” and “swine” (v. 6) and warned of these “wolves . . . in sheep’s clothing” (v. 15), “corrupt trees” (vv. 15-20). In Matt 16 He called false believers/teachers “wicked and adulterous” (v. 4) and warned His disciples to “beware of [their] leaven” (v. 11). But that was only for Jesus, I can hear the naysayers cry. Jesus said, “It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord” (Matt 10:25a). That means do as the Master.

Would you say Jesus acted “hateful and evil” when He made a whip and whipped false believers/teachers out of the temple, who had made His house a house of merchandise and den of thieves (Jn 2)? God’s Word demands sharp reproof of error, evil and sin (Ti 1:9-16). Jesus had righteous anger towards sin and error. Most don’t, and they don’t really care. They are to busy looking after number 1—self—and building coalitions and friendships to further their materialistic wealth and bank accounts. Was Jesus not concerned about “winning them over to Christ” (apparently that requires a specific type of speech and trumps contending for the faith)? How about His continual provocation of conflict (Mt 12:20-24; Mk 3; Lk 6:1-5, 6-11; 13:10-17; 14:1-7)? Was He not concerned about what people might think, how “hateful” His speech and actions were?

People “were offended” (Matt 15:12) vehemently, even plotting His death, we certainly know that. They didn’t like His speech. Yes Jesus was long-suffering and gracious but He also and always reproved, even sharply and “harshly” those with pretence of faith when they didn’t repent. Jesus consistently exposed errors of professing believers/teachers (e.g. Pharisees, scribes, elders, chief priests—the Temple leaders) producing false accusations of hateful and offensive words, even doing the work of the devil, but was He? Do you want to smear God the Son with the same false charge?! The Bible is full of insensitive, harsh and sharp reproof but ironically most false accusations, such as “hateful and evil,” are precisely of that very nature. Unfounded and malicious.

And the list could go on and on, Jude, Stephen, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel and Amos one of my favourites. He was “just” a simple believer but a fiery man for the Lord who held nothing back in reproving error or sin. Consider his “hateful and evil” words in Am 4:1, “Hear this word, ye kine of Bashan, that are in the mountain of Samaria, which oppress the poor, which crush the needy, which say to their masters, Bring, and let us drink.” The word “kine” means cows. Amos called the people of Bashan “cows.” Neither Amos or any other Bible preacher would’ve put up with the error and heresy that gets pounded from pulpits today. I don’t either. I appropriate my God-given authority (Mk 13:34; Ti 2:15). So “These things [I] speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority” and “Let no man despise [me].” (Ti 2:15). I’m happy to be part of the club of truth. I’m in very good company and happy to continue the work of “so great a cloud of witnesses,” (Heb 12:1) that came before me.

These examples (among many more) hurt the one who corrupts Scripture, essentially denying truth and replacing it with his own depraved version, a figment of his imagination. Instead of believing what Scripture says, people reject Gods truth (thus “subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself” Ti 3:10-11) and find ungodly excuse for their rebellion. I.e. ‘Are you an apostle?’ Wow, is that the best straw man compromisers can come up with? Paul said the truly saved will follow him in all his words and ways (1 Cor 4:16-17; 11:1) and no that doesn’t include apostolic signs since they’ve passed away (1 Cor 13). We are commanded to reprove, rebuke and exhort and the Bible gives us many examples of that for a purpose. But “scoffers [mockers], walking after their own lusts” (2 Pet 3:3) don’t like it.

Like God (2 Ch 19:7; 2 Pet 1:17), all preachers (De 1:17; 1 Tim 5:20) and wise men—which are the saved (Pr 24:23; Jam 2:1-9), I am to display no respect of persons. God commands this, for partiality is sinful and compromise (Jam 2; Pr 28:21). A man that wilfully preaches error and exercises partiality, shouldn’t be in the ministry. Compromising partial preachers shouldn’t preach. He should expect public exposure, especially if his teachings are public. He might not like that but God does (Rom 16:17; Ze 8:16; Am 5:15; 2 Tim 3:5-9). The only standard for preaching is “sound doctrine” (Ti 2:1) and “no other doctrine” (1 Tim 1:3). “Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.” (Pr 13:13).

Rom 16:17-18, “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark [expose] them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them [separate from them]. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple [false professing believers: Ps 19:7; 116:6; 119:130; Pr 1:20-32; 7:7; 8:5; 9:4; 14:15, 18].”
Pr 14:16, “A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident.”

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