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Why Political Speech Is Inappropriate from the Pulpit!

For years now, I have been criticizing the preaching of politics from the pulpit. Why? What's so wrong with talking about issues and can...

Thursday, June 8, 2023

Accuser OR Advocate?

In God's role as Chief Adjudicator, Scripture makes a sharp distinction between those who accuse others and those who advocate on their behalf. Of course, those same scriptures present Satan as the principal accuser, and Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit as the principal advocates. Get the message? Accuser = bad, and Advocate = good! Indeed, this theme runs throughout the Bible - Don't think so?

In Genesis, we are informed that Satan accused God of lying. In the book of Job, we read that Satan accused God of protecting the title character and suggested that Job would turn on God if He withdrew His protection of him. Finally, in the book of Revelation, Satan is referred to as "the accuser of our brethren...which accused them before our God day and night." (12:10)

In the Gospel of John, the Holy Spirit is referred to by Christ as a "Comforter/Helper/Advocate" or "parakletos" in the original Greek (14:16, 26,15:26, and 16:7).  According to Strong's and Blue Letter Bible, this word means "1) one who pleads another's cause before a judge, a pleader, counsel for defense, legal assistant; an advocate" and "2) universally, one who pleads another's cause with one, an intercessor." Interestingly, in the First Epistle of John, this same word is translated into English as "advocate." We read there: "My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." (2:1, ESV) Also, in Paul's Epistle to the Romans, we read: "Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God." (8:26-27, ESV) And, a little later, "Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us." (Verse 34) Moreover, in the Epistle to the Hebrews we are informed that Christ lives to make intercession for those who are his (7:25).

Now, obviously, there is a difference between accusing someone of wrongdoing and pointing out behaviors and/or teachings which inflict hurt or harm on others. For instance, Christ confronted hypocrisy and superficiality among the religious leaders of his day. In similar fashion, Paul and the other apostles were quick to point out behaviors and heretical teachings which threatened the wider community of believers. Even so, Christ and his apostles were about teaching others about God's Kingdom, and how to be a part of that through him - NOT accusing people of wrongdoing!

Hence, since Satan was preoccupied with accusation, and Christ and the Holy Spirit were focused on advocacy, should Christian's want to be accusers or advocates? Indeed, doesn't Scripture suggest that we should be interceding/praying to God for each other? (See Matthew 5:44, James 5:16, Ephesians 6:18, I Thessalonians 5:25, I Timothy 2:1) What about you? Are you an accuser of others or an advocate for them?

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