Liberated from hate: my brother Ryan’s testimony

I pray a lot for the college kids from our church. In addition to the concern that they will fall away from the faith, I worry about whether they will fall in with the wrong crowd of Christians. Every year, aggressively friendly campus fellowship groups storm the dorms to meet the kids who signed their clipboards at the activity fair. And many times, the result is four years of beautiful friendship and spiritual growth. But it can go very wrong as my brother Ryan Kuramitsu shares in his testimony about a Christian group whose zeal for God’s hate is a textbook case of what I’m calling the theology of the total depravity of everyone else.I asked permission to share the following excerpt, but please visit his site to read the original post and offer encouragement. (Note: I am aware there’s more than one side to every story, the same Christian organization is not the same on different campuses, etc.)

I trusted this man.

Over the past 2 years I had trusted him and loved him and told him all of my secrets all in the name of him teaching me to become a better Christian.

He was speaking to me about a “dangerous” blog I’d shared a link to a couple of weeks ago.

“Hey, look at me,” he cut in.  ”Look me in the eyes, Ryan.  I want you to know how seriously I mean this.”  He drew breath.  ”I hate Red Letter Christians.  I hate Red Letter Christians.  I HATE Red Letter Christians!” he spat.

You shouldn’t hate others, I remember saying.

“God does not hate anyone,” I said, “so neither do we,” somehow feeling surreal that I was even having this conversation.

“You do not understand the gospel if you don’t think God hates us.”

Huh?

“Ryan,” he shook his head and looked me in the eyes, “God absolutely hates you.”

I glanced down, uncomfortable.

“God does not hate anyone.”

“See, this is exactly what I’m talking about,” he said, smiling, pulling up Chapter 2 from the book of Revelation on his iPhone.  ”You really need to submit to the scriptures more.  God loves you but he also hates you.  And it is right for him to hate and kill and to tell us to hate or kill whoever he wants!”

I glanced at the words on the phone he handed me, a sentence from the final book of the Bible:

But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

“Do you see?  God hates you.”

“You mean love the sinner, hate the sin,” I tried, feeling like I now was beginning to understand his point.

“No.  Not just your sin.  You.  God hates sinners with a righteous fire.  What’s more, he commands us to hate people who believe the wrong things.  Like the Nicolaitans.”

Like Red Letter Christians.

I sat still, for I had never heard such anger in my friend’s voice.

Images of my atheist, Jewish, Greek Orthodox, Liberal Christian, and Muslim friends flashed before my eyes.  Not only, was I being told, did God hate them, but also that he commanded me to hate them as well.

“God does not hate anyone, and we are not supposed to hate people either.  Maybe their sins, but not them,” I said, surer now.  ”Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.  You can’t hate people and call yourself a Christian.  That’s the point of Christianity.”

My friend told me I was being “unsubmissive to authority” and “selective in my scriptural interpretation.”

The conversation ended with him pleading with me to “re-submit to his authority in my life” and to commit to meeting with Cru staff and leaders 4 times a week, reading nothing but my Bible for the next 16 weeks, and not posting on my blog, Facebook, or Twitter until summertime.

It wasn’t until then, that I felt the tentacles of control and indoctrination wrap even tighter around my heart, that I knew I had to leave Cru for good.

You know what, as long as I have your attention, let me clear something up.

Just in case you actually may believe the garbage my friend was selling:

God does not hate you.

God does not hate anyone.

I believe in a God who forsook heaven, a God who so loved the world he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him shall never perish, but inherit eternal life; my God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.

God does not hate you, Jesus will never ask you to hate anyone, and He will not actively torture you if you do not follow Him.

This was the last straw.

Looking back, it scares me how close I was to becoming an agent of such hate myself.

  • http://gravatar.com/sherwood8028 sherwood8028

    I have a problem with this conversation…. dating back to Genesis, third chapter. The two are naked and confess it to God. “Who told you that….?” They were naked and that was their problem. This guy wants you to believe that God hates you. WHO TOLD HIM THAT? Hate is a sin. Jesus – the Son of God, who was present in the beginning, died on the cross to atone for sin – for the sins of the whole world, dating back to Genesis 1 and continuing to the moment when you are reading this. I don’t have to remind you of that fact, but as long as we are going around, talking about this and that, it behooves us to ask – whenever anything is said that sounds even a bit suspicious, …”who told you that?”

    Somehow, we seem to be forgetting that a couple of hundred of years ago – as our country was coming into existence as a nation, people believed in God. Read the sermons being preached in those days and you will realize how true that is.
    But nowadays, we seem to find more and more “preachers” saying anything that apparently comes to mind and more often than not, they are loathe to explain their thoughts from a Biblical context. It is no wonder that a youngster comes along and wants us to believe, God hates. God hates sin, but not the sinner. There is a difference. And it depends on us who do believe, to take a stand against such as this.

  • http://wideopenground.com Lana

    The even crazier people will say tehy have to hate people because God does. I’m always like, eh, what?

    • Morgan Guyton

      It’s very convenient to make my hate into solidarity with a hateful God.

  • http://politicaljesus.com/ RodTRDH–@ politicaljesus.com

    Wow, all of this was started after a convo about the Red Letter Christians. Wow. So sad.

  • http://twitter.com/donovanmoore Donovan Moore (@donovanmoore)

    I was brought up in a fundamentalist Christian church. My pastor, among other crazy things taught that the world was 10,000 years old and God was going to send me to hell if I didn’t walk on egg shells all the time. Looking back, I’m glad about the 10,000 year thing because that being so crazy it was then easy to leave the church since all credibility was lost. Great article.

  • Matt Purdum

    Jesus was unsubmissive to authority. Anybody who grew up when Nixon and J. Edgar Hoover ran the country who ISN’T suspicious of authority is just a stupid sheep.

  • Pingback: Fundamentalism vs. reality: How fundie faith destroys itself

  • Pingback: 25 other blogs you need to check out and vote up!!! | Mercy not Sacrifice