How do Christians ignore John 3:17 so easily?

Some Christians have a tendency to act out or support laws against homosexuality, drugs, and abortions.  I find this troubling.

Even more troubling is that one of the most popular Biblical passages, John 3:16, is immediately followed by a passage that speaks against such condemnation.

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.  ~John 3:17 (KJV)

If Jesus wasn’t sent to condemn the world, why are many Christians so adamant on condemning others?  By doing so, they are demonstrating a great lack of faith in Jesus.

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24 Responses to How do Christians ignore John 3:17 so easily?

  1. Neil Rickert says:

    Loving people have a loving God;
    Judgmental people have a judgmental God;
    Angry people have an angry God.

    Pogo: “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”
    Me: We have found God, and he is our ego.

  2. Arkenaten says:

    Because what JC was preaching fell on deaf ears so Paul took up the mantle , kicked the Ebionites in the nuts, flipped the bird and said, ”Now, where were we?”

  3. Derek says:

    What was Jesus coming to save people from? Are you suggesting Christian’s should just be cool with whatever? And are you suggesting Jesus was cool with whatever? I think you’re misrepresenting this passage.

    • jasonjshaw says:

      Jesus wasn’t cool with whatever, but he was wise enough to not to turn to condemnation in hopes of changing things. It’s not that difficult of a concept, is it?

  4. Derek says:

    Define condemnation so I can prove you wrong plainly and simply.

    • jasonjshaw says:

      1 – the expression of very strong disapproval; censure
      2 – the action of condemning someone to a punishment

      And ah, one-upsmanship. Wanting to prove me wrong rather than help me understand? Seems a very un-Jesus-like approach. But go for it.

  5. Derek says:

    You are misrepresenting my God. It’s not about me, and if it becomes about me I will be the first to agree with you. Jesus didn’t prove people wrong? Read the Gospel. Is hell a punishment?

    • jasonjshaw says:

      Certainly not in a “I’ll shoot down your ideas” kind of way as you just did. Maybe you need to read the Bible more than I do.

      Hell seems to be a punishment, as I recall and upon a quick web search to confirm, Jesus doesn’t condemn anyone to Hell.

  6. Derek says:

    You don’t understand. Your ideas are lies, and I mean lies. You are purposefully misrepresenting clear ideas in the Bible to suit your own agenda, and when I call them out you get defensive (not in a convincing way, in an emotional way). I’m not even talking about whether or not the events in the Bible happened or not, I’m just talking about what is literally said in the pages.

    Off the top of my head, Jesus remarks about Judas: It would be better for him if he were never born. Or maybe a better one might be Matthew 7:22 where Jesus describes judgement day and rejects those who falsely claimed to know him (sending them to hell). If that’s not a condemnation, I don’t know what is. You are trying to make a Jesus you are comfortable with that you can get behind and support, but we have to go to him knowing he will accept us as we are: hopeless lawbreakers obsessed with being the kings of our own lives.

    • jasonjshaw says:

      Ah, well isn’t that quite the glaring Biblical contradiction. What is literally said about Jesus doesn’t even come close to matching some of Jesus’ actions.

      Well I guess you got me there.

      So, then, as a Christian, how do you know what parts to believe and what not to believe? With contradictions like that, Biblical morality must be rather subjective.

  7. Derek says:

    “Ah, well isn’t that quite the glaring Biblical contradiction. What is literally said about Jesus doesn’t even come close to matching some of Jesus’ actions.”

    It certainly contradicts with the idea of Jesus that you are obsessed with promoting. This speech, on the other hand, perfectly aligns with his actual mission. He came so we would not have to go to hell, but some people cannot accept His message.

    “So, then, as a Christian, how do you know what parts to believe and what not to believe? With contradictions like that, Biblical morality must be rather subjective.”

    There is no subjectivity in morality in the Bible. I don’t really understand your inference.

    • jasonjshaw says:

      The Bible states that Jesus was not sent to condemn. You illustrated with your examples, that Jesus condemned. Those are polar opposites. They do not align. Either one is true or the other is true. It is a contradiction.

  8. Derek says:

    No. Jesus came to save those who would believe in him (not to condemn us, though we deserve to be condemned). Not everyone believed in him then, and not everyone today believes in him today. Those people will be condemned as Jesus explains in the Bible. I hope you can see that in no way is this a contradiction. It simply doesn’t agree with your idea of who you want Jesus to be.

    • jasonjshaw says:

      So which is it then? Did Jesus condemn or didn’t he? You disagree with me in saying that Jesus didn’t condemn, but then you defend the passage that says he didn’t condemn. You can’t have it both ways.

  9. Derek says:

    You’ve reduced the argument to semantics which is fine, at least you’re being logical about it. Jesus’ mission was to save the world. He came to save those that would accept his message. Those that did not accept his message are condemned. The distinction here is that Jesus did not come to tell the world that they had messed up, which they had. He came to tell the world that He is the answer to their mistake, which He is. That’s what it means when it says he did not come to condemn the world. He was not here to condemn the world outright. Now, those that rejected Jesus then, and those that reject him now are condemned. If I’m being redundant, it’s only for clarity’s sake. My point which I’m frustrated to admit has left the focus of this conversation is this: Jesus took morality very seriously and He would not have approved of homosexuality, drug abuse, or abortion. He condemns those behaviors.

    On a side note, I do not approve of the way that I phrased my response to you, “Define condemn so I can prove you wrong”. While it was exactly what I meant to say, I don’t think the tone was appropriate or respectful and I apologize. If I offended you or aroused your anger I’m sincerely sorry.

    • jasonjshaw says:

      No worries, I can’t recall the last time anyone was able to offend me.

      I agree that Jesus took morality seriously, but I am very skeptical that Jesus would have condemned homosexuality, drug abuse, or abortion. Instead, his interest would be to save people from such behaviours (loving homosexuality likely being an exception).

      For example, I highly doubt Jesus condemning the prostitutes he spoke with would have changed their tune at all. Bringing connection and understanding to them is what more likely would have been the catalyst for them rising up out of their ways. Feel free to correct me if the Bible contradicts this.

      That being said, why should those with substance, lust, or other poor choice issues be treated so harshly? It makes no sense aside from those who come down on them seeking to have control over them. That is not loving and creates more problems than it solves. I also don’t see how Jesus would approve of such behaviour.

      Also, I wonder if part of the problem in this understanding is that you are meshing Jesus with the Father? If Jesus is suggesting that people will be condemned, Jesus isn’t the one condemning. That is a job left up to the Father, at least that is how I understood it before you shared the examples of Jesus’ condemnation.

      I also suspect it may be due to the embellishment tendencies of the writer of the Gospel of John – a generalization that sounds wonderful and inspiring though not necessarily true.

  10. Derek says:

    I don’t completely disagree with your interpretation here. The problem is the ambiguity of your concept of condemnation. Jesus does love homosexuals, drug abusers, murderers and so on; he died for them and desperately wants to save them. He is not okay with these behaviors, however, which is why people need saving in the first place. They (and we) have disconnected from a loving God through their immorality (breaking his law). Jesus does condemn these behaviors.

    As far as your Jesus vs. God on who is actually condemning, I don’t disagree with you there either, but I would say Jesus, at least affirms what God will do, so it depends on where you want to draw the line on who is exactly condemning. Matthew 10:15, “Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.”

    The two times in John where Jesus speaks to immoral women, to be sure, he does not condemn them and say, “you screwed up and it’s too late”. He does, however, tell them to STOP sinning sexually. He condemns the behavior of sinning, but he was here to save us from those sins.

    • jasonjshaw says:

      And I can understand speaking out about such troubled behaviour. The post though is about imposing laws against such actions.

      Not once that I can recall did Jesus focus on imposing worldly preventative measures in attempt to prevent sin from occurring. That is the issue I have a problem with Christians supporting and find it very much at odds with Jesus’ direction.

  11. Derek says:

    That’s an interesting idea. I’ve heard this discussed among Christians and I find it very interesting. I think laws against immoral behavior are a clear position as to the moral quality of an action. I would say that is why Christians are in favor of laws that enforce the moral stance of God. I don’t think Jesus was opposed to this idea at all. Jesus would certainly agree that Christians are fighting a losing battle as His kingdom is not of this world, but that doesn’t mean we should sit back and watch the world indulge itself in all kinds of immorality. We should standup for what we know to be right and good as Christ did. The issue is a little more complicated given the context of laws for a nation, but I think the same concepts hold true.

    • jasonjshaw says:

      I guess it does depend on the scope of the laws. For the laws to fall in line with the idea of saving people, the consequences of breaking the laws should not be focused on locking people away. That doesn’t help the people with the problems. The focus should be of connecting people with help and better understanding the trouble of their ways. If Christians supporting such laws had a more humanity-minded approach like this, it actually might be better embraced by more of the general public as well, and would actually likely help in saving people from such troubled behaviours.

      The USA’s “war on drugs” for example is an approach that has proven to be wasteful, ineffective, and harmful to people. More compassionate approaches, where allowed, seem to actually be much more successful in at least helping those in need of help.

      Spain, for example, didn’t see a rise in drug use after legalizing personal amounts of all drugs. But, they shifted their emphasis from enforcement to counselling, so those who are in trouble with drugs are being helped rather than hidden away. So overall, the impact is much more positive.

  12. Derek says:

    I completely agree that we should be focused on saving people. It, however, seems contradictory to allow a behavior, and then focus your energy on saving people from that behavior. Doesn’t it make more sense to say something is wrong, have consequences for doing it, and then help the ones that struggle? A war on drugs, or any moral edict on behavior for that matter is inherently a losing battle, but that doesn’t negate the need to fight it. You keep suggesting the USA is a Christian bastion and I really could not disagree more. While there are many Christians, Christianity is not really viewed positively here. Like all civilizations we are heading towards relativism. I absolutely agree with you that Christians should spend more time reaching out to these people, but I would also say many already do.

    • jasonjshaw says:

      Making something wrong with punishments does not tend to help the situation. It actually has a worse effect, it pushes those with the problems into hiding. It makes people less willing to seek help for their problems in fear of punishment. Totally an unloving approach. It is also why organized crime flourishes with things that are demonized through law. They are given ample opportunity to disconnect from society and form their own underground society, which I’m sure you’ll agree is not a good thing to have occurring.

      Also, loving one’s neighbour as oneself comes into play when it comes to dealing with those with troubled ways. Personally, I would rather receive help and understanding for my troubled ways than be locked up in a cage. It would more often than not be hypocritical to support such punishment if one believes in the second most important point Jesus made in the Bible.

      As for the US connection with Christianity, I did see some statistics recently that do indicate that more and more Christians are going secular at a significant rate and that it is a trend that will likely continue in North America.

      It definitely doesn’t help matters that there seems to be a lot of ignorant viewpoints put forth by American Christian organizations that are clearly out of line with reality. Passive-aggressive behaviour by Christians that tends to wind up in the news definitely doesn’t help the cause either.

  13. Derek says:

    There are a lot of things I want to respond to but I’ll leave it at this: is there a moral code for behavior?

  14. jasonjshaw says:

    I would say yes, there is a general moral code for behaviour. Not so much one that is clearly definable, but one that kicks in when there are significant imbalances in the wellbeing of a community.

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