Sometimes I read an article that is not just dumb, but it is dangerously dumb. Such was an article sent to me this weekend.
Sometimes I think, we as Christians, want to gather around the campfire, hug each other, and sing Kumbaya, rather than standing passionately for that in which we believe. It is amazing that a person can judge a man’s demeanor by what he writes on his Blog. He can be called an “angry bird” by someone who has apparently judged his motives and his spirit. I speak the truth and I speak it straight. Does that mean I am angry? Sometimes I am. Most of the time I am not.
I write usually while sitting in my study thinking about what is happening in churches across this country. I am attacked, hated, slandered, vilified, lied about and treated with genuine contempt by many other Christians. Some of the most hateful things spoken to me come from the “angry bird man’s” followers. It is interesting that I take a firm position that has not changed in all these years yet I am the angry one, not those who attack me? If maintaining a position makes me an “Angry Bird” then count me in.
Maybe we need more Angry Birds in the pulpits of our country. There was a day when a man that took a strong stand was not called angry, but courageous. I speak what I believe and I answer honestly those who reply in a decent manner. Yet, a man like me is considered an Angry Bird. Why? Because they don’t like what I have to say. They are moving fundamentalism to the left and they want me to just let it happen. I refuse to let it happen! (By the way, I am certain if you asked him and he was honest, he would admit I am one of those to whom he is referring. In this case I don’t mind wearing the shoe if it fits.)
When a preacher asserts that we are not to be angry at each other, he is deceiving himself, and those to whom he speaks. I get angry when I see Christians behaving like the world. I get angry when I see standards being attacked and called legalism. It’s interesting that they they call us Angry Birds because we take a stand for the standards in which we have believed for our entire ministry.
I get angry when soul winning is replaced by lifestyle evangelism. I get angry when heroes of the faith are minimized by the criticisms of a modern generation of independent Baptist preachers. I get angry when homosexuality is allowed to be practiced in churches across America. I get angry when topical preaching is ridiculed by the same men who say we shouldn’t get angry. I get angry when men who turned on my hero Jack Hyles are invited to “honor” him at a homecoming conference at my Alma Mater. I get angry when men refuse to clarify their position on the King James Bible issue. I get angry when we are told to unite with people who have a different mission mindset than we do.
It was anger that caused men like Jack Hyles, Lee Roberson, Joe Boyd, Lester Roloff and John Rice to be kicked out of their local Baptist Associations. It was anger that caused John Rice to separate himself from Billy Graham when Billy Graham was cooperating with heretics. It was anger that led Jack Hyles to be excommunicated from the American Baptist Convention in Hammond, Indiana.
It was anger that led to many of the denomination breakaways by great men of the past. It was anger that caused men in history to take a position against their own because their own had strayed from their original positions. When Dr. John R Rice was Editor of the Sword of the Lord it was called an angry paper, because Dr. Rice was a fighter. He was angry.
But you say, “Dr. Gray the Bible says to be angry and sin not.” Did you ever notice that people who compromise like to emphasize the end of that passage more than the beginning? Let’s start from the context of the statement which is a command to be angry. It did not say sin not by not being angry. The command is to be angry. Perhaps the sin is not showing the anger in any way at all. Am I sinning if I overreact, or am I also sinning if I don’t react at all? It goes on to say let not the sun go down on your wrath. In other words act upon your anger immediately. Don’t put it off till tomorrow and seethe over it. Do something about it.
Again we go back to the premise which is a command to be angry. The idea was not to avoid sinning by never being angry, it is being angry and avoiding sinning. Pacifists love the not sinning part but ignore the be angry part. They ignore the part that says not to let the sun go down on your wrath because they think that means to get rid of your wrath entirely. Well, God has wrath and he cannot sin. What it really means is deal with the issue and move on.
So, when the Bible tells us to not make friendship with an angry man is the Bible contradicting itself? It commands us to be angry and then tells us not to be friends with an angry man. No, the Bible is telling us not to be friends with someone who is filled with anger. You hang around Bob Gray for just a little while and you’ll know that Bob Gray is a happy man. I laugh a lot. I smile a lot. I play a lot. It just so happens that there are some things that I contend for. They do not make up my life. Ask my wife if Bob Gray is a happy man or an angry man, and I’m sure she’ll tell you that Bob Gray is one of the least angry men she knows. I love life and I live it without being filled with anger.
The Bible says that an angry man stirs up strife. Does that mean that anyone who contends for the faith is an angry man? So, are we not to contend for what we believe is truth if it causes strife? Strife is a part of life, however it is speaking of one being angry just for the sake of being angry. We are commanded to be angry, so therefore we are to be angry, but not for the purpose of causing strife. Strife will come when you’re angry, but it is not the goal.
The truth is, the very article that was written about anger caused strife. It was negative in its tone. It was accusatory in its tone. Sounds to me like it was written to divide Christians from other Christians. I was attacked almost immediately by his followers who wanted to stick this article into my face. So, if we use his logic, we should avoid him. How silly. Truth causes strife, my friends. Strife surrounded our Lord, but our Lord never sought to stir up strife. There’s so much nonsense being taught in the name of unity. When are we going to learn to discern what the scripture truly says rather than pulling a verse out of context like this particular writer did.
We need anger. Great wars are won by angry men. Ronald Reagan in anger said, “Tear down that wall.” Patrick Henry said, “Give me liberty or give me death.” We could go on and on with such examples. We celebrate Veterans Day tomorrow. We celebrate people who gave their lives for causes that were fueled by anger against injustice and evil. God help us to stop being so afraid of anger, and be more afraid of error.
The Bible is filled with men who stood against their own in anger. Paul and Barnabas became angry with one another. Paul took an angry position against Peter. Jesus was angry when he said to Peter, “Get behind me Satan.” The Bible says to “Be angry…” and it NEVER excludes it being with one of our own. In fact the Bible speaks of taking positions against our own when they are wrong. Beware of those who are never angry, for they don’t care for their beliefs enough to get angry when those beliefs are violated.
What men of this ilk are saying is that we are not to be angry about the changes they are leading us too, but they can be angry at us for speaking up against where they are heading. They tell you not to listen to us while they demean the very ones they tell others not to listen to. When I cease to tell the truth, then stop listening to me. The fact that we stay angry at those who attempt to steer us away from truth, is what keeps us from steering too far away. Is the issue the emotion or the truth? People who hold dear to their hearts truth will be emotional about those who twist truth.
Academically there is usually a class average of “C”. The reason is because there are certain number of “A’s” and a certain number of “F’s.” If we want the class average to be higher then we need more “A’s” and less “F’s.” When great men of the past were producing more “A’s” our average was high as a movement. Have you listened to some of their sermons lately. Compare them to the weak sermonettes for Christianettes of our day.
When I read some of these neo-fundamentalist books and cover up the author’s name, I would think I was reading Rick Warren or Joel Osteen. We now have a watered-down, milk-toast, and white-gloved type of fundamentalists who criticize those who produced “A’s”. They work harder at discrediting them than endorsing them. Then we wonder why the class average is so low.
We have some who are capturing the imagination of our youth by saying disparaging things about the outspoken Angry Birds. This reminds me of the Rodney King “Why can’t we just all get along?” By the way I am not conditioned to find an issue over which to be angry, but I most certainly am conditioned to see one that is there.
Years ago there was a preacher who was known for his angry challenges towards preachers who were compromising. Quite frankly the man was despised by many. There were times when I even wondered if the positions he took were too strong and too unkind. Dr. Hyles was asked about this particular pastor, and he said, “We need men like him. They keep us in check. They pull us back from leaning away from the truth. They are the ones that stop us from compromising. While I may not always like their disposition I am more concerned that they are taking a strong position. We need them. They kept us straight.” Dr. Hyles understood that there are times when we must be angry with our own.
I love my sons but when they disobeyed me I became angry, not to hurt them, but for their good. I loved my people when I was a pastor, but when they did something that was wrong I lovingly showed anger. Anger is a tool of warning. Anger is a method to avoid compromise. I cannot believe that any man of God would dare question the anger of other men of God over issues that they deem to be important.
We don’t value anger in our preachers, but we want it in our politicians. I am an American! Barack Obama and the liberal Democrats are Americans. Am I supposed to not be angry with them because they are “one of our own”? I am angry at them. They may be my fellow Americans, but I am angry at their positions. I am angry at their compromise. I am angry at the stand for abortion. I want to put my vote behind angry politicians who will take a stand against them. I believe in anger. If that makes me an Angry Bird then so be it.
Angry Birds unite. I would rather be an angry bird than a cowardly chicken. I would rather be an angry bird than a compromising peacock. The unity talk is a disguise for the fact that these people don’t want anyone questioning the direction in which they are going. I got news for you. I’m questioning it.
I question the compromising of standards. I question the compromising of the music in our churches. I question the doing away with the choir and emulating the Emerging Church crowd with a simulated Worship Team concept. I question the compromising of our preaching. I question the attacking and using stylistic terms to describe sermons. I question the back room scandalization of Jack Hyles and other great men while publicly and hypocritically endorsing them. I question the lack of aggressive soul winning. It is time for some anger in our pulpits.
Bob Gray Sr.