Unmasked Love

Romans 12:9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.

The word “dissimulation” used by the old King James Version means unfeigned, or sincere, without hypocrisy. In ancient times a hypocrite was an actor, someone who wore a mask to play a part in a play.

Like modern day actors, when they play a role, they’re only pretending. Whatever they say or do as that character doesn’t represent who they are or what they themselves believe. The Apostle Paul commands us to love genuinely, sincerely, not pretentiously, but truly, from the heart.

A common idea among Christians is that wearing a mask is a way we love our neighbor, to help protect them from COVID-19. And on some occasions, that may be true. However, I would argue since masks are completely ineffective at stopping the transmission of this, or any, virus (more on that later), that you are actually lying to your neighbor by wearing a mask.

Are we to love our neighbor as Christians? Yes, it is the second greatest commandment, only behind loving God. And part of love is that it rejoices with truth (1 Cor. 13:6). If your neighbor is fearful, inform him of the truth, and hopefully facts will inform his feelings. See the below studies and quotes regarding masks.

CDC Study: 85% of COVID-19 Patients “Always” or “Often” Wore Masks

Also see these mask facts

Mask Facts

One of note: A study done by the University of Illinois at Chicago concluded: “Wearing masks will not reduce SARS-CoV-2,” the virus that causes COVID-19.

Universal Masking in Hospitals in the COVID-19 Era | NEJM

From the article: “We know that wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection. Public health authorities define a significant exposure to Covid-19 as face-to-face contact within 6 feet with a patient with symptomatic Covid-19 that is sustained for at least a few minutes (and some say more than 10 minutes or even 30 minutes). The chance of catching Covid-19 from a passing interaction in a public space is therefore minimal. In many cases, the desire for widespread masking is a reflexive reaction to anxiety over the pandemic.”

I ask you, should Christians capitulate to anxiety and fear? What should be our response?

We know from Scripture that “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18) Therefore, if I love my neighbor, I will not do that which causes him to fear, but will allay those fears with truth.

From the New England Journal of Medicine article linked above:

“Masking all [symptomatic health care providers] providers might limit transmission from these sources by stopping asymptomatic and minimally symptomatic health care workers from spreading virus-laden oral and nasal droplets.

“What is clear, however, is that universal masking alone is not a panacea. A mask will not protect providers caring for a patient with active Covid-19 if it’s not accompanied by meticulous hand hygiene, eye protection, gloves, and a gown. A mask alone will not prevent health care workers with early Covid-19 from contaminating their hands and spreading the virus to patients and colleagues. Focusing on universal masking alone may, paradoxically, lead to more transmission of Covid-19 if it diverts attention from implementing more fundamental infection-control measures.

“It is also clear that masks serve symbolic roles. Masks are not only tools, they are also talismans that may help increase health care workers’ perceived sense of safety, well-being, and trust in their hospitals. Although such reactions may not be strictly logical, we are all subject to fear and anxiety, especially during times of crisis. One might argue that fear and anxiety are better countered with data and education than with a marginally beneficial mask, particularly in light of the worldwide mask shortage, but it is difficult to get clinicians to hear this message in the heat of the current crisis. Expanded masking protocols’ greatest contribution may be to reduce the transmission of anxiety, over and above whatever role they may play in reducing transmission of Covid-19. The potential value of universal masking in giving health care workers the confidence to absorb and implement the more foundational infection-prevention practices described above may be its greatest contribution.”

This says masks may reduce anxiety. But I thought they were a response to anxiety? If they make my neighbor feel better, shouldn’t I as a Christian love him enough to put one on? On one level, it makes sense that they would reduce anxiety. People feel anxious, they put on a mask, they feel less anxious. But have they actually done anything to protect them from COVID-19? The data suggest that they haven’t. Read the above quote again. You see words like “symbolic,” “talisman,” “may,” “perceived,” and “trust” (trust, like faith, is only as good as the object of that trust; if the object is untrustworthy, then that trust is worthless). So they may make the wearer feel better, but don’t offer any real protection. As Christians, we should be people of truth. To affirm someone in their mask-delusion is the equivalent of affirming a transgender that they are the gender they think they are, rather than the gender they were born as, something unthinkable for the Biblically minded Christian.

A couple more articles.

‘Masks Are Symbolic,’ say Dr Fauci and The New England Journal of Medicine (an opinion piece on the above NEJM article)

When Should A Mask Be Used | JAMA

“Face masks should be used only by individuals who have symptoms of respiratory infection such as coughing, sneezing, or, in some cases, fever. Face masks should also be worn by health care workers, by individuals who are taking care of or are in close contact with people who have respiratory infections, or otherwise as directed by a doctor. Face masks should not be worn by healthy individuals to protect themselves from acquiring respiratory infection because there is no evidence to suggest that face masks worn by healthy individuals are effective in preventing people from becoming ill. Face masks should be reserved for those who need them because masks can be in short supply during periods of widespread respiratory infection. Because N95 respirators require special fit testing, they are not recommended for use by the general public.”

So love your neighbor, and don’t wear your mask, but tell him the truth. Love your neighbor in sincerity and truth, without a mask.

Disclaimer: I acknowledge that there are some circumstances when masks should be worn, and some people who should wear them. But this post explains just one of many reasons why I am against forced mask wearing.

Ecclesiology and the Arrest of Pastor James Coates

by Pastor Mike Hovland I want to address something that has been on my heart this past week as I’ve seen many of the responses to the posts about James Coates’ imprisonment. Early on in this pandemic I saw a tweet on this website that went something like this “I wonder if the church of […]

Ecclesiology and the Arrest of Pastor James Coates

This is not referring to me, but I support Pastor James Coates 100%.

Atheists’ Memes Refuted: KKK

This one should have come with a “trigger warning!”


Really?? Does this one even need refuting? Does anyone seriously think the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) represents “Christian Values”? The KKK is associated with such values as white supremacism, slavery, cross-burning and hatred, NONE of which are sanctioned in Scripture. Yes, that’s right. Slavery, as it was practiced in America 200 years ago, is NOT condoned in Scripture. It would have been classified as man-stealing, which was forbidden and punishable by death under Old Testament Law. [1] [2]

Am I really supposed to believe the KKK is a Christian organization because a “Jesus Saves” banner appears in the background, and they use twist a few verses of Scripture? Jesus Himself said that many would do works “in His Name,” while not having a personal, saving relationship with Him. Jesus is clear that only by obedience to His commands can one claim a true relationship with Him. [3] And the values represented by the KKK are clearly not in obedience to the commands of Jesus, and therefore cannot rightly be termed “Christian Values.”

Many of the verses the KKK perverts to support their views of racial superiority are in the Old Testament. What they fail to take into account is that even Israel, God’s chosen nation, was not any better than any other group of people, as God specifically told them: 

6 For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. 7 The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: 8 But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.”

Deuteronomy 7: 6-8

This passage makes it abundantly clear that the Jews are not superior to any other group of people. And if God’s chosen people aren’t superior to others, what do other people groups have to brag about? The New Testament agrees that all people groups are equal in the sight of God. 

“God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth…giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us.”

Acts 17:24, 25b-27

As it relates to Christians, we are commanded to love our Brother or Sister, our neighbor [4] and even our enemy, [5] regardless of the color of their skin. A Christian who has had his heart changed and mind renewed knows that Jesus breaks down racial barriers. He exhibited outreach to Gentiles during His earthly ministry [6]; and His Apostles carry it on, as we see the progression of the Gospel going to the Gentiles in the book of Acts: from native Jews, to Greek-speaking Jews, to Samaritans, to Gentile proselytes to Judaism, to God-fearing Gentiles, then to pagan Gentiles. In short, the Gospel is for all; and in Christ, all barriers are torn down, including and especially racial barriers.

“Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.”

Ephesians 2:11-18

In heaven, we will not be separated by ethnicity, class, or anything else that currently divides us. But people of all colors will be around the throne of God worshipping Him forever.

“After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb’…And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? And whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. ANd he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.”

Revelation 7:9-10, 13-15

There will be no ghettos in heaven! [7]

I’ll leave you with a few more Scriptures.

We love him, because he first loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

1 John 4:19-21

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:28

Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.

Colossians 3:11

Every life matters!


[1] Deuteronomy 24:7

[2] For more on slavery in the Bible, see this link. https://carm.org/slavery

[3] See Matthew 7:15-27

[4] Matthew 19:19 and 22:39

[5] Matthew 5:44

[6] Luke 4:24-27, Mark 7:26

[7] I mean “ghetto” in its classic, non-disparaging meaning of an area consisting of predominantly one ethnicity, NOT in its slang or offensive usage.

Who Can Stand?

The sixth chapter of Revelation ends with a very poignant question. In the end, it’s the only question that really matters. “Who shall be able to stand” on the Great Day of God’s Wrath? It will be too late for the ones who ask this question because they did not repent before the Day of the Lord (see vs. 15-16).1 But if you’re reading this, then it’s not too late for you.

Who can stand before God? Who will be acquitted on that final day and be worthy of entering the Kingdom of God? These are age old questions, questions which Scripture both asks and answers.

Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour. In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the Lord. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not. He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved.

Psalm 15

Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah.

Psalm 24:3-6

So, according to these passages, in order to enter the Kingdom of God, we must speak the truth, not just with our mouths, but in our heart; we must have clean hands and a pure heart. We must honor the righteous and hate the wicked. To sum them up, we must love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and love our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:30-31). In other words, we must be perfect in thought, word and deed at all times. Keep in mind that one mishap means that you’re not perfect and don’t live up to the standard. And if you’ve broken one commandment, then you’ve broken them all (James 2:10-11). There’s no “I’ll do better next time,” or “I’ll make it up to them.” You can’t undo what has been done, and there are no second chances. And since every sin is ultimately against an infinitely holy and just God, every sin must be, and will be, paid for. “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). “The soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Exodus 18:20). So since none of us are perfect, “for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), we are in a dilemma.

But God, while being holy and just, is also merciful and gracious, and does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 33:11). 

And the Lord passed by before him [Moses], and proclaimed, “The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.”

Exodus 34:6-7

But how can God “forgive iniquity, transgression and sin” but at the same time not clear the guilty? That’s the beauty of the Gospel. In it “the righteousness of God is revealed” (Romans 1:17). How? If we’re all guilty, but God forgives us, doesn’t that make God unjust, and by His own definition, abominable? No. In the Gospel, God takes the sins of the repentant and transfers them to Christ. So when Jesus died, He experienced the penalty due to the sinner (Rom. 6:23). The other side of the Gospel is that God takes the perfect righteousness of Christ, attained by His sinless life, and imputes it to the sinner. How is this done? By faith. Now, God sees the Believer as if he lived Christ’s perfect life and never sinned.

The seventh chapter of Revelation then introduces us to two groups of people.2  The first group is found in verses 4-8, the 144,000. They will be able to stand because they are sealed by an angel. The second group is seen in verses 9-17. This innumerable multitude is able to stand before the throne of God because they have “washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (v. 14). In other words, they have put their faith in Jesus’ atoning sacrifice for their sins, and have been credited with His righteousness. That, and that alone, is what gives them the ability to stand before God’s throne.

Since none of us meets God’s requirements for entering into His Kingdom, i.e. perfection, He must grant it. As Richard Sibbes wrote, “God knoweth we have nothing of ourselves, therefore in the covenant of grace he requireth no more than he giveth, and giveth what he requireth, and accepteth what he giveth.”


1 Other Scriptures proving that this is the Day of the Lord: Matt. 24:29, Joel 2:31, Isaiah 2:17-21; 13:9-13; 34:1-8, Amos 5:18-20
2 Some teach that it is the same group pictured twice, but I do believe they are 2 distinct groups.

Are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse Riding Now?

Plagues of locusts, volcanoes, deadly hornets, and the Rona. Current events headlines read like the Book of Revelation, and some are exclaiming, This is it, the Apocalypse! (to quote Imagine Dragons). But is it in actuality? Are we living in the days when we can expect to see the Second Coming of Jesus Christ?

Four characters associated with the Book of Revelation are colloquially called the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. They appear in Revelation chapter 6 as Jesus opens the first four Seals of a scroll many scholars believe to be the title deed to the earth. The Horsemen represent conquest, war, famine and death. But are they riding now? Are we living in apocalyptic times?

By Biblical definition, we’ve been living in the last days since Jesus’ first advent.

“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds” (i.e. the ages)…

~Hebrews 1:1-2 (italics added for emphasis)

In his famous Olivet Discourse, Jesus gave His Apostles signs to look for as His Second Coming drew closer. Interestingly, the signs He gave line up with the Four Horsemen.(1) The false Christs Jesus predicted (v. 5) coincide with the white horse rider – he mimics Jesus, Who when He returns will be riding a white horse (see Rev. 19:11-13). Jesus prophesied of wars and rumors of wars, and the rider on the red horse takes peace from the earth. In Matthew 24:7 Jesus mentions famines, and the third seal depicts famine conditions where a man will work all day and only be able to buy enough food to feed himself. All of these result in Death, the rider on the pale green horse. 

“All these are the beginning of sorrows,” Jesus says (Matt. 24:8). The word “sorrows” means birth pangs, the pain a woman endures before and during childbirth. What Jesus is saying is that these events will happen until His Second Coming, and as the time for His return gets closer, they will increase in both frequency and intensity, just like a woman’s contractions before she gives birth.

So are the happenings listed in the beginning signs of Jesus’ soon return? Yes and no. They are, because Jesus said they would happen until He returns. But we should also expect them to get worse. As Jesus continued in His discourse, He described a time so bad that it would be like no time before, and there will never be another like it (v. 21). So cataclysmic would that time period be, that if Jesus Himself had not cut them short, no one would be left alive (v. 22).

How should we respond? That depends on who you are. If you are a Christian reading this, then your duty is two-fold. First, we are to continue to preach the Gospel to the lost. Jesus said the end would not come until the “gospel of the kingdom [would] be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations” (Matt. 24:14). Second, we are to live Godly lives as we await Christ’s Coming. Peter writes in his second epistle,

“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.”

~2 Peter 3:10-14

Since we know that this world is temporary and is going to end, we should live for that which is permanent: the Kingdom of God in the new heavens and the new earth where the righteous will dwell forever.

But if you are not a Christian and reading this, how should you respond? In regards to the new heaven and earth, the Apostle John writes, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth…But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:1, 8) I guarantee you fall somewhere on this list. You may not have murdered someone – although, 1 John 3:15 says that if you hate someone you’re guilty of murder – but I guarantee you’ve told a lie. If you’re not a Christian, then you’re an idolater, worshipping a false god, whether it be yourself, or any other object of worship that isn’t the Biblical God. And since you’re guilty, you’re deserving of eternal punishment. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Death and hell are what each of us deserves due to our sin, but God is merciful and provided a Savior, His Son our Lord Jesus Christ. He lived a perfect life never sinning, so when He died on the Cross, it was a substitutionary death on behalf of everyone who would ever believe in Him. Jesus, as a willing sacrifice, received the just penalty for our sin, and then He rose from the dead forever defeating sin, death, hell and Satan. What’s required of us is to repent of our sins, and place our trust in Him. If we do that, not only do our sins get imputed to Christ, but His righteousness is imputed to us. This means that God can now allow us into His heaven because He now sees us as if we lived Christ’s sinless life. So repent of your sins and trust Christ alone to be your Savior.

“God…commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.”

~Acts 17:30-31


1 As we would expect since the central Character is the same in both passages: Jesus is the One speaking in Matt. 24 and He’s opening the Seals in Revelation; and since all of Scripture ultimately has one Author, the Holy Spirit.

Repent, America (America Bless God)

I came up with this a few years ago, and shared it on the soon-to-be-defunct Google+ :(. With the advancing of the abortion agenda in states like New York, Virginia and Vermont, it came back to my mind. America, as a nation, needs to repent of this – and other – wicked agendas and turn to God, or face His judgment. I, as a Christian living in America, don’t want God to judge the US, but His holiness demands so unless she repents. We sing “God Bless America,” but what does that mean? One of the Biblical definitions of bless is to turn one from their sin (Acts 3:26). So if that is what is meant by “God bless America,” then I sing that wholeheartedly. But if bless means ‘to prosper,’ then how can I pray that God prosper America while she promotes wickedness? So, for your consideration, I present a re-arrangement of “God Bless America” titled “Repent, America (America Bless God) to the original tune.

We see storm clouds gath’ring across the sea

Let us entreat the God Who saves, full of mercy

Let us plead that from His judgment will us spare

As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer


Repent, America

Seek forgiveness from Above

Turn back to Him, pray to Him

For bless’d is the nation whose God is the Lord

From the White House, to street corners

To the pulpits, repent all!

Repent, America, Why will ye die?

Repent, America, Turn and Live!


America bless God

Turn from your sin

Stand up for Him, implore Him

For forgiveness only He can accord

From the mountains, to the prairies

To the oceans, white with foam

America bless God, Behold the Lamb

America bless God, Look and be saved!

Have Mercy on Those Who Doubt…

Stop for a moment. What comes to your mind when you think of 1 Peter 3:15?
What about Jude 22?
You may not be familiar with the reference, so here is the whole context, Jude 22-23:
And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.
Jude 1:22‭-‬23 NKJV
It can be very easy for us as believers to point out error and those actively following and pursuing false teaching. But it can be just as easy, unfortunately, to not display mercy to those who doubt or are confused because of their encounters with false teaching.
My friend Jimmy, who often teaches at my church, pointed out that the “distinguishing” in verse 22 according to the Greek has to do with discerning by the power of the Holy Spirit between those who are falling into deception and those who are deliberately embracing it or even teaching it. Listen to the entire question and answer session on Jude he facilitated here: https://soundcloud.com/jimmy-coates-4/jude-q-a
Many believers know others who are reading or listening to something spiritually questionable to some extent. For some, the knee-jerk reaction is to leap on the person supposedly involved with the false teaching. But is this what Jesus commanded?
For many of those involved in “discernment” ministry, the modus operandi is to magnify error, followed by contesting individuals directly or indirectly, then finding out about friends, colleagues, or contacts who agree with the doctrine in question, then severing relations with said people after engaging in argument concerning said controversy.
Instead of becoming spiritual vigilantes against people that veer or could veer into false teaching, would it consume less energy and be more Christlike if we extended mercy to those who are struggling with their faith? Would there be little to no need to form discernment ministries if we as individual Christians exercised not only our Holy Spirit-granted personal discernment but also mercy toward others?
Having discernment does not just mean to be wise regarding doctrine and its source. Having discernment means to judge ourselves truly (1 Cor. 11:31) before we judge the faults of others and extend mercy based on the grace that we have been given. Knowledge will nearly always puff up, but love will always edify. And believers need to continually bear each other’s burdens to fulfill the law of Christ…with mercy.
Originally posted on The Middle of Everywhere. Reposted here with permission.

God Doesn’t Believe in Atheists

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. ~Romans 1:18-32

According to verses 19 and 20, who knows God exists? That’s right, everybody. So, on the basis of the Word of God, there are no atheists; there are only people who suppress the truth that they know about God in their unrighteousness. In other words, they don’t want God to exist so they can live however they wish.

The following from Voddie Baucham will help frame our discussion.

“Three phrases in this paragraph support Paul’s conclusion that people are “without excuse” in terms of general revelation. First, the phrase, “is plain to them,” reminds us that the knowledge of God we receive from general revelation does not require unusual effort. The second phrase, “God has shown it to them,” reminds us that general revelation is not hidden or secret. The third phrase, “have been clearly perceived,” reminds us that general revelation (Rom. 1:18-31) cannot be missed by accident. Doing so requires suppression.

Put these three together and we see that God has provided a means of knowing about him that requires no special effort, is not hidden, and cannot be missed unless, of course, we want to miss it. And that is why those who “miss it” are said to be “without excuse.” Thus, the spiral begins when men reject God’s general revelation. Consequently, they continue downward and refuse to honor the God they know.” [1]

Many professing atheists will say there is not enough evidence to conclude the existence of God, or that God has not proven Himself to them. But the Bible says there is more than enough evidence to prove God’s existence (again, see vs. 19-20). He has demonstrated Himself through creation and the conscience. The problem is not a lack of evidence, but an unwillingness to believe. Notice the underlined portions and see that professing atheists willfully reject the truth they know about God and will therefore experience God’s judgment unless they repent. Moreover, they hate God (v. 30). They may deny it, but it’s true. Many professing atheists are “former” [2] Christians and began to profess atheism either after a tragedy they experienced, or in rebellion against their parents/the Church. This is evidence of their hatred toward God.

Many professing atheists say, “If God were to show me a sign, I would believe.” However, that is also false. Many people saw the signs, wonders, and miracles Jesus performed while He walked the earth, yet not everyone believed on Him. [3] This is further support for my claim that it’s not a problem of evidence for the supposed atheist. It’s merely a ploy to mask their unwillingness to believe. [4] If God showed them a sign, they would find a way to explain it away. Because they don’t want to acknowledge and submit to the God they know exists.

Incidentally, verses 19-20 also answer another common question. That is, what of the person deep in the jungle who has never heard of the Name of Jesus? Will God send them to hell, holding them accountable for what they don’t know? This is usually brought up by unbelievers in the context of questioning God’s justice. As if God would be unjust if He were to send them to hell. But according to these verses, we see God’s revelation is universal in creation; God has revealed Himself to everybody everywhere. While this revelation is not enough to save anyone, it is enough to damn them, “so that they are without excuse.” So God would be just in condemning them if they don’t acknowledge God’s revelation in creation. If, however, they go the opposite direction of the downward spiral seen in verses 21-32 and acknowledge God, then God will providentially get the Gospel to them. Moreover, as the Apostle Paul goes on to elaborate in this letter to the Romans, everybody is under sin. Therefore, God would be just in condemning them to hell, whether they heard the Gospel or not. But let’s delve deeper, and see if that’s what God will do.

In His Olivet Discourse, Jesus said, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come,” [5] in answering His disciples’ questions about the end of the age. In other words, Jesus will not come back until everyone has heard the Gospel. Whether from a person, or even an angel, [6] everyone will have the Gospel preached to them; no one will be able to say they didn’t know, or had never heard. How do I know Jesus’ words apply to everyone – that everyone will hear the Gospel? Revelation 5:9 records a song sung by those who are “redeemed…out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.” People from every clan, language, people group and ethnicity will be in heaven, so God obviously gets the Gospel to them, and some of them believe. Rather than smear God for not saving everybody, let’s praise Him for saving anybody!

So, while progressing atheists claim to not believe in the existence of God, God says in His Word that atheists don’t exist. “Let God be true, but every man a liar.” [7] Hence, Christian, next time you are in a discussion with someone and they claim to be an atheist, don’t believe them.

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[1] Voddie Baucham, Expository Apologetics, p. 51, italics in original

[2] 1 John 2:19 clearly states that there is no such thing as a “former” Christian. If they professed faith and no longer hold to that profession, then they never truly believed.

[3] His own disciples didn’t even believe He rose from the dead when He was standing right in front of them!

[4] They also have an inability to believe, since Ephesians 2:8 says faith is granted as a gift from God.

[5] Matthew 24:13-14

[6] See Revelation 14:6-7

[7] Romans 3:4