Faith Based on Love Not Fear (Joshua Tongol)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

My friend Joshua Tongol just made a new video on the critical difference between basing your faith on love instead of fear.

Really, really, good stuff. Give it a watch:



At 9:13 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

The new testament message is not based of Love it is based on Fear. Even the great Paul in one of the greatest chapters regarding the reconciliation and sharing the message of reconciliation couches the whole thing not just on Fear.. but Terror.

2 cor 5:11 "11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men;

The Greek word there is Phobos. Which we know is used to day to define a mental condition that underlies having an irrational out of control terror of something and phobia. The idea is "flee in terror" this idea is plastered all over the new testament from Mathew to Revelation. Do a word study on how many times this word is used and how and when its used. In this chapter on reconciliation alone Its used as the entire underpinning of the argument. Even though later in the same chapter paul says that Christ has reconciled the kosmos.. in effect that really means nothing. The internal conflicted contradictions in thought warring against itself is never mor4e clear than in this chapter.

Fortunately for mankind the real creator has nothing to do with a being called Yahweh.

At 1:11 PM, Anonymous Derek said...


You've left several comments now, and I appreciate that you've been through a hurtful experience with fundamentalism. I share your concerns with violence, and affirm that asking questions and challenging hurtful things is good. That's all very positive.

However what you are doing here is not good. Here you are on a blog that promotes thinking and asking questions, nonviolence, grace... and specifically a post about breaking away from fear, and you are trying your darnedest to invalidate it, to say "no that's not what Christianity is about, it's about fear and hurt!"

You are attacking people who really should be your allies, and in the process you are doing the very things that hurt you in the first place to us: you are being extremist and intolerant and judgmental.

The position you are taking is that the fundamentalists have got it right, and us progressive Christians who are focused on social justice and compassion have got it wrong. We have it wrong that fundies are right. I have news for you: fundamentalists are wrong. They misrepresent Jesus.

Again, I think we have a lot in common, but I'm going to lay it out for you: This is a no hate zone, and what you are doing is not cool. This is my blog and I get to make the rules, and my rule is I have zero patience for people being toxic. So pull it together and conduct yourself with respect and empathy or you'll find yourself banned from posting here.

At 5:11 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

You are reading what I am posting about ideas and personalizing into people. You are not what you believe you are you. What you think or believe can change but the essence of who you are as a person does not change.

Yes I am challenging what you may believe just as I have been challenged with what I believe. But I am only doing that by presenting a statement or idea that can be critiqued, examined, accepted or rejected. I am not a fundamentalist nor any kind of Christian in a classic sense any longer. I am a spiritualist who has a long history of teaching the bible.

The point is I agree with you in principle and philosophy all I am saying is you can no find our philosophy in the bible other than a random accidental verse.

The real value of real genuine Love is not that two walk together in agreement but that two can walk together in disagreement.

At 8:43 AM, Blogger Aceofspades said...

Hi Unknown

Perhaps there is a place for fear in Christianity, but I don't believe that this fear means what you think it does.

Personally, my fear of God is based on my love for God.

I fear God in the same way that a loving child might fear disappointing their parents.

I fear God because I realise that he has an enormously high standard for me and I want to live up to that as best I can because I love him.

I don't fear that God will strike me dead or send me to hell. I trust that he is good and kind and compassionate and loving and long suffering and merciful. But I do fear that I might take these things for granted.

God's compassion, love and mercy are not only present in "random accidental verses", but rather they are central to the character of Jesus and so too to the character of God.

At 11:45 AM, Blogger Samurai said...

Hi Derek,
I've been following your posts avidly since a year or two ago, and really enjoyed your book "Healing the Gospel." I'm looking forward to seeing many more works published. However, I must confess I haven't followed the responses and comments as closely.

It's for the latter reason that I hope you won't take the following comments as rebuke so much as an honest curiosity when I read your response to "Unknown." I don't know the history of what "Unknown" has been posting - perhaps some of it has been more polarizing or hurtful than the one above.

I realize one has to set healthy limits on certain situations, but your answer came across as unusually harsh on first pass and I'm wondering what's behind this uncharacteristically strong response. In particular, I was struck by your asking him/her to "pull it together and conduct yourself with respect and empathy or you'll find yourself banned."


At 10:07 PM, Anonymous Derek said...


"Unknown" had posted multiple comments here, so it would be important to have read them all to get the full context. I can see how reading just this one in isolation you might not see the toxicity that I was seeing.

Generally my comment policy is quite similar to that of Rachel Held Evans:
"Comment Policy: Please stay positive with your comments. If your comment is rude, it gets deleted. If it is critical, please make it constructive. If you are constantly negative or a general ass, troll, or hater, you will get banned. The definition of terms is left solely up to us."

In this case, I did not feel it was appropriate to delete the posts, however I did want to make it very clear that I expect this to be a safe space where people show respect to each other. As I myself write for some major outlets (Washington Post, Huffington Post, etc.) and so I see how out of hand and ugly comments sections can get firsthand. Sometimes folks from there spill over to here, and so I need to make clear that the rules here are very different.

I suppose I could have said it more nicely. I guess I was triggered a bit. But I do stand by the content of what I said, and the desire to keep this blog space civil and constructive.

At 5:39 AM, Blogger Samurai said...

Thank you for the helpful response (and the time you took to write one!). Folks tend to get rougher on blogs, where they can hide behind the screen and not have to look the other person in the eye. So I totally get what you're saying.

At 10:33 AM, Blogger said...

Unknown are your initials AVDM? Just curious.

At 9:46 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Would I still follow God if there was no hell or punishment of any kind for not following God?

Absolutely yes!

I truly believe and hope that God can and will make me clean. I want to be clean.
He can and will make me clean in three ways:
a- The dirt from within that I produce myself will be removed
b- The dirt from outside that gets on me will be washed off and I will be shielded from it
c- The dirt others throw on me will be cleaned off and the dirt throwers will be brought to justice and made to stop.
Association with God is good for me. I like being clean and he can make me clean.

If there was no hell or punishment, would I still help and love others? Without hell would I still strive to do good?

Absolutely yes!

I like helping other people. It is better than hurting them or passively watching them suffer. It is more pleasant to love than to hate or be apathetic. I like doing good as well. Quite simply doing good is better than doing bad.

Would I love God (do good to him and act for his benefit) if there was no hell or punishment?

Absolutely Yes!

A reasonable response to someone who loves you, who has done good to you and has acted for your benefit is to love them back. Why not? There is no reason to return evil for good. It is not rational to hate someone who does you good. What thinking person does that? It’s like biting the hand that feeds you. It makes no sense to be unthankful when someone has acted on your behalf and in your best interest.

The 2 Corinthians passage that ‘Unknown’ mentioned (2 Cor. 5:11) "Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men” does not teach a fear based faith. Later in the same chapter Paul states “For the love of Christ compels us” (vs. 14). Paul is clearly motivated by love, it “compels” him. Compels him to do what? “that those [of us] who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” (vs. 15). Paul is compelled to ‘live’ a certain way because of love not because of fear. Paul’s life, the way he lived it was based on love, not fear.

By contrast “knowing the terror of the lord” was a motivating factor for Paul to “persuade men”.

But what of this Terror? Consider if you had done everything possible to help someone to get clean, become healthy, become wealthy and be wise. Imagine that you had paid a great price to ensure that this person would be completely taken care of in every possible way imaginable. No detail of life was left out. No area of existence wasn’t benefited by this person you sought to help. Your help was truly holistic. And remember you brought all this benefit to this person you were helping at an incredibly great cost. The cost perhaps was your own well-being and life.

Now imagine this person not only rejecting all this kindness but also hating you for attempting to benefit them. In return to your kindness they gave you the big “FU”. When you gave the hungry person food they just stepped on it and then punched you in the face. Would you not be furious? Would not terror then come from you for such a rejection? Surely it would. Surely this would be right. Surely this is who God is. Read Isaiah 5.

At 11:29 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Proverbs and the end of Eccles make the best case for the prominent place of fearing God. For a long time I tried to get someone who could make it make sense. Not fear, more like reverence or respect, smart people say. Like a mighty king or police, right. Well that didn't do it for me. Charismatics tried to talking about the nearness of God's presence. As in you feel God is close by, He loves you, you don't want to hurt Him or strain the relationship. Sorta good right? Then Jim Wilder talked about fear maps and I was like I get it. It was like God was saying if you want to live by fear pay attention to God who is the most scary and you will find out He loves you and isn't wanting you to live afraid but by faith trusting His goodness.

At 10:23 PM, Anonymous Derek said...

I have not heard of "fear maps." Can you say more?


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