The Assertion That It’s Okay to Be Angry with God
Today’s evangelicals teach that it is okay to be angry with God.
In fact, those who admit being angry with God tend to be lauded for their transparency. In our psychologized times we view those who are angry with God as being genuine, while those who say they are not are angry with God are suspected of stuffing it—living in denial, and therefore being less spiritual.
Support for permission to be angry with God is found in the incident in which David manifested this attitude. Certainly if it was okay for David to be angry with God, we should have the same prerogative.
The Implications of Being Angry with God
In the previous post we noted that contemporary evangelicals have developed a Christianity on their terms. Neither salvation nor the relationship with God that follows salvation include any demands related to our lifestyle. God doesn’t even see our sin but only the righteousness of Christ, and beyond that we need not perform to be accepted by God.
This perspective coupled with the view that we have a right to be angry with God leads to the conclusion that we don’t have to perform to be accepted by God, but God has to perform to be accepted by us.
If this sounds like a stretch, I recall an incident in which a woman who was considered a spiritual leader announced that she was angry with God. I asked her thoughts regarding how God felt about her. Her response was, “Oh, He’s okay with me. The issue is how I feel about Him.”
On a radio program hosted by a very prominent evangelical, those brave and transparent individuals who confessed being angry with God were asked this follow-up question: “Have you forgiven Him?” I have heard this question more than once from multiple sources. Apparently it is part of contemporary evangelical culture.
This is a valid question for contemporary evangelicals who have invented a Christianity on their terms. When God fails to meet those terms, we should be angry. However, for our own psychological well-being we should consider forgiving Him.
This Doesn’t Come from Scripture
Of course, none of the above finds support in Scripture.
Using David’s example as justification is hardly warranted. The incident in which he was angry with God was not one of David’s finest moments and not meant for us to emulate. David also committed adultery and murder, an example which obviously we should not follow, demonstrating that not everything David did was meant as a pattern for us. His being angry with God appears to be another one of those incidents not to be imitated. Nonetheless, since we find little else in Scripture that provides us with the latitude to be angry with God, contemporary evangelicals tend to glom onto this incident for support.
Rather than teaching that it is okay to be angry with God, the Bible teaches the opposite. The complainers in the wilderness were unhappy with God, and in response God consigned them to die in the desert sand rather than entering the Promised Land. God no doubt maintains the same attitude towards modern-day complainers regarding His performance.
We noted in our previous post that the “Christianity on my terms” propagated by contemporary evangelicals does not find its source in Scripture but rather in our secular cultural cornerstone of unconditional acceptance, which now also dominates evangelical culture. Likewise the view that it is okay to be angry with God flows out of the evangelical belief in God’s unconditional acceptance.
Here is the link. Since everyone wants to be accepted unconditionally but few people are into extending unconditional acceptance, society has to choose who gets accepted and who does the accepting.
It turns out that those previously in authority such as parents and teachers are required to do the accepting, whereas those previously under their authority get to be accepted unconditionally. Unconditional acceptance in essence assigns authority, giving individuals the latitude to live as they choose. Therefore, this arrangement takes authority from those previously in authority and grants it to those previously under authority. In other words, in regard to authority, these roles have been reversed.
Since evangelicals have embraced unconditional acceptance as the centerpiece of their perspective, this also has led to role reversal as described in the process above. Historically God was viewed as being in authority and human beings were perceived to be under His authority. Now, since He is viewed as accepting us unconditionally those roles have been reversed so that He places no demands on us while we have a right to critique His performance and be angry when He does not measure up to our expectations.
In other words, contemporary evangelicals not only have devised a Christianity on their terms but also one with them in charge. The problem is, when the inmates take charge of the asylum it tends not to run smoothly.