Guest essay by R. J. Rushdoony
In these days, when men are making a cure-all of love and demand total love of all things, the words of Scripture are a refreshing and healthy antidote. Jesus Christ, in speaking to the church of Ephesus, commended them because they hated what He hated: “But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate” (Rev. 2:6). There are many such declarations in Scripture: all assume the necessity for hating as a part of the privilege of love. If we love that which is good, we will hate that which is evil. If we love and honor the joys and sanctity of marriage and family life, we will hate everything that works to destroy it. If we love our Christian faith and heritage, we will hate the anti-Christian forces that wage war against us. And if we love our country, we will hate those who subvert it, wage war against it, or seek to destroy it.
Love and hate are different sides of the same coin. Those who claim to be above hate are also beyond love. They do not feel strongly enough about anything to love it and hate its opposite. Such people are emotionally and intellectually sterile.
The love-mongers, who preach endlessly about loving everything and “love” as a way of salvation, are really not talking about love. They are asking for the toleration of evil. Anyone who asks us to love unrepentant criminals, subversives, hoodlums, rioters, and ungodly and anti-Christian persons is asking us to tolerate these people and to allow them to have their way. They are asking us to tolerate evil, to give it freedom to destroy us, and to destroy our Christian law and order. Anyone who asks us to tolerate evil is actually asking us to love evil and to hate good, but they are not honest enough to say so. For example, one writer who recently wrote a book pleading for love and toleration for homosexuals, child molesters, and every other kind of pervert, spoke of the Bible and Christianity with savage hatred, and said, of Christian morality, “To be chaste is no longer praiseworthy; rather, it is something unnatural, and therefore almost intolerable.”
Such people pretend to be against hate, but they are simply preaching the love of evil, and the hatred of all that which is holy and good. Their purpose is to convert you from the love of God to the love of evil.
Hate Conquers All
Two incidents have come to my attention today. Both happened this week. An attempt by someone, who has a large and urgently needed sales check due from a federal agency, to ask why payment was delayed week after week, was met with almost snarling irritability.
In the second incident, a young working mother had another employee explode in a tantrum which disrupted work and left her greatly upset. The disrupting young woman just returned after a long sick leave for mental problems; she was sent home to “recuperate” after her outburst, but those who suffered from her wild tantrum had to go on working. They were told to overlook the “sick” woman’s conduct because she has “mental problems.” More accurately, she has sinful problems.
In these and other cases, people who complain are told that they are unloving, and that where people have personality problems, love conquers all. In practice, what this love religion adds up to is a very different conclusion: hate conquers all. The unlimited tolerance and indulgence given by unions, employers, and federal agencies to hateful and incompetent people is not love but hate. When the young woman was sent home after her outrageous behavior, foul language, and refusal to work, the only love shown was for her; in practice, management was showing hatred for all the faithful employees. They received no time off, no sick leave for being nasty, and no consideration.
“Love conquers all” is a disguised way of saying instead that hate must triumph and must conquer. The Bible tells us that “God is love,” and this means that it is the love and grace of God revealed in Jesus Christ and His atonement which alone saves us. Humanistic love can save no man, change no sinner, nor alter any man’s status before God. When we afﬁrm humanistic love, we are denying God’s salvation and offering a man-made plan of salvation which only gives a seal of approval to hate. Godly love does not condone or coddle evil; humanistic love does. As a result, wherever humanism talks about love, the end result is that hate conquers all.
How to Love Your Neighbor
A great many preachers have been working a Bible verse overtime these days, as they plead for the grape “strikers” in Delano, the people of Africa, India, Watts, and other points to the left. This much-abused text is Leviticus 19:18: “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” If these men are right in their interpretation of the Bible, we had better line up with them. If not, they should be put in their place, as perverters of Scripture.
Now, what does the Bible say about loving our neighbor? First of all, Moses made it clear that it included all men, foreigners, and enemies, and he made it clear that it included any visiting Egyptians in Palestine, even though they were the Israelites’ recent oppressors (Lev. 19:33–34). We are therefore duty-bound to love our enemies; but what does it mean to love them?
Jesus Christ, and Saint Paul as well, both deﬁned the meaning of love in the Biblical sense: it is the keeping of the second table of the Ten Commandments (Matt. 19:18–19; Rom. 13:8–10). Let us analyze what this means. First, “Thou shalt not kill”: my neighbor’s life is God-given, and it cannot be taken apart from God’s law; for capital crimes and in lawful warfare I must therefore respect every man’s right to life. Second, “Thou shalt not commit adultery”: I must respect the God-given sanctity of my neighbor’s home. Third, “Thou shalt not steal”: I must respect property as a God- given condition of human life, and I must not violate this right. Fourth, “Thou shalt not bear false witness”: I must respect my neighbor’s and enemy’s God-given rights not only in word and deed, but in thought as well. In short, as Paul said, “Love is the fulﬁlling of the law” (Rom. 13:10). If we respect all men’s rights to life, home, property, and reputation in word, deed, and thought, we keep this law. We may dislike some men, but if we respect these God-given rights, we keep the law.
This verse, then, is no justiﬁcation for socialism, for any violation of property rights, for enforced sharing, or for welfarism. Instead, it is the only sound foundation for social order and for civil liberties.
The false preaching of this verse, and others as well, has led to the disintegration of Christian standards and of social order. It has been used to justify all kinds of civil disorder and revolutionary activity. But the Bible is emphatic: “Love is the fulﬁlling of the law,” God’s law, and godly obedience to human authorities, not disobedience and lawlessness. Our answer to such men should be blunt: “I love my neighbor; I respect his right to life, home, property, and reputation in word, thought, and deed. Why don’t you?” If the subversion of our country is an important matter, and treason a capital offense, what shall we call subversion of God’s Word and treason to His holy order?
This article is a collection of three devotionals—Numbers 5 through 7—from A Word in Season, Volume 6, published by Chalcedon Foundation
The late Rev. R.J. Rushdoony (1916-2001) was the founder of Chalcedon and a leading theologian, church-state expert, and author of numerous works on the application of Biblical Law to society.
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