UPDATE In response to this article, JD responded over at Pulpit & Pen, with an article entitled "On Morons and Middle Fingers." Even though he didn't link to my article, I'm linking to his. Maybe it'll help his Alexa rankings that he seems to care so much about. Now, this article that he wrote was more of an attack piece against Brannon Howse and I than it was a clarification or apology. I don't even know what Brannon had to do with anything, as this was posted on my website, and was only posted on WorldView Weekend's website quite a while after this was already making its rounds. But one other thing that I wanted to point out. I'm thankful that Jordan clarified that this was in response to someone flipping him off. Doesn't make it any better, but it gives us context for why he said it. However, JD can try to minimize what he meant when he said that God will raise His middle finger on judgment day. If you look up the term in Urban Dictionary, you will see two definitions... one is the definition that JD cites, which is the ancient use of the middle finger in war. The second definition is the one that is used in modern times. When the man walking by flipped off JD, he was using it as a sexually explicit vulgar insult. So when JD responds by saying that God would do that to him on judgment day, I'm sorry, but the reality is that defames the character of God. Here's the thing. I'm glad that JD realized that he shouldn't have said it. I'm thankful that he realizes his mistake. But I also want to clarify that when we are proclaiming the Gospel, we need to make sure that we aren't (even unintentionally) compromising the Gospel by saying something out of anger or something that's simply not true. When preaching the Gospel, we should be exhibiting the fruit of the spirit. "Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control." I did not see any of those fruit exhibited in the video of JD proclaiming the Gospel. The fruit of the Spirit is exactly that... the fruit of the Holy Spirit indwelling you. When you are coming across as hateful and say something as absurd and blasphemous as "God will raise his middle finger to you," there's a disconnect between your message and your behavior that potentially invalidates your message. Let's remember, the ends don't justify the means. I want the Gospel preached. But the fruit of the Spirit should be exemplified in our preaching of the Gospel. We shouldn't be preaching the Gospel in anger or hatred, but in love and compassion and a desire to see those hearing this amazing message come to repent and place their faith in Jesus Christ. That's the whole point of proclaiming the Gospel. The Gospel needs to be proclaimed to people everywhere. The people of the world are lost and are destined for eternal punishment for their sins. So we, as Christians, are called by God to preach the Gospel to the world.
The Gospel that needs to be proclaimed is this: We are all sinners, every single one of us. The punishment for our sin is eternal punishment in hell. Because of our sin, that is what we deserve and we can do nothing to save ourselves. Once you break one of God’s commands, you’ve broken the entire law and are no longer able to avoid judgment on your own. However, because God loves us, He sent His only Son, Jesus, to earth to live a sinless and perfect life so that He could be the perfect sacrifice to pay the penalty for our sins by dying on the cross and then 3 days later raise from the dead, ultimately conquering death. Because Jesus paid the penalty for our sins, we can receive eternal life simply by repenting of our sins and placing our faith in Him. When we do this, we can receive salvation and spend eternity with Him in Heaven. This is the Good News that needs to be preached to the ends of the earth.
Every time I see someone participating in some form of Gospel proclamation, I am thankful that they are taking that step to be obedient to God’s command to preach the Gospel. Even when someone comes across as harsh, I’m thankful that they are at least stepping out of their comfort zone to do what they can so that no one can claim that they haven’t heard the good news of the Gospel.
Street evangelism gets a bad rap, even though their are some great evangelists that do it right. I’ve seen many great videos of Todd Friel preaching the Gospel. He does a good job of being firm in the truth, but being humble in realizing that we are the same as the lost… we are sinners not deserving eternal life and are only saved by the grace of God. I’ve seen many other great street evangelists.
However, there are those Westborough Baptist-type “preachers” who preach fire and brimstone to the extreme. Now, I think that the church needs more fire and brimstone. The church needs to preach hell and sin. But at the same time, I recently saw a video of a pastor preaching “the Gospel” who definitely crossed the line.
JD Hall is a pastor that many of us know. Many of you know that I’ve had a few run ins with him over the last year or so. He’s famous (or infamous) for being the pastor that reportedly bullied a pastor’s kid leading up to his suicide. He also attacked Janet Mefferd and her husband, claiming that all men have thoughts & desires to rape women. Now, I don’t know about you, but if you claim that all men have thoughts of rape, that would include the person making that claim. That is concerning to hear from a pastor… I can honestly attest that I’ve never had a thought so dark and twisted as that.
Now, those issues are JD crossing the line in his view of people. Assuming the worst in people because of his view of human depravity. This video, however, takes the cake.
Recently, JD was out performing street evangelism. As happens with many self-promoting street evangelists, he had someone filming his preaching. During this “Gospel proclamation,” he spent his time talking down to his audience. This is the kind of attitude that comes across as “I’m better than you.” But even this isn’t my main critique.
My main critique is when he told someone in the audience that on judgment day, “God will lift His middle finger to you.” Here’s that clip.
This is utterly blasphemous! The fact that this came out of the mouth of a pastor that many within the Reformed camp looks up to and are friends with us even more shocking. Not only is this factually untrue, but this is slanderous to God and an attack on the character of God.
First of all, God is a spirit. So if we are going to get technical with it, God will not physically life His middle finger.
Secondly, and more importantly, God is not a God of vulgarity. Raising your middle finger towards someone is a sexually explicit insult which, literally means “f*** you.” I’m sorry that I had to even write that bleeped out, but it’s important that you understand the definition in order to see why this made me so upset to hear this coming from a pastor. Why would a pastor believe that God would ever say that to someone? That is not only vulgar, but it is sexually explicit vulgarity that has no place coming from a Christian and will never come from God.
Ezekiel 18:32 says, “For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God.”
People will go to hell. That is a fact. It does not bring me any pleasure to state that fact. As Romans 6:23 states, “For the wages of sin is death…” This is a truth that needs to be proclaimed and shouted from the mountain tops.
However, God is not going to lift His middle finger towards anyone on judgment day. He will judge righteously. He will either rule that you get what you deserve, which is eternal punishment (which is actually what we all deserve), or he will rule that you get what you don’t deserve because of the sacrifice of Jesus. That’s it. God isn’t going to taunt the sinner as He condemns them to hell for their sins. He isn’t going to flip the bird and yell an expletive as you leave His presence forever.
JD Hall needs to repent not only from his attitude in his street evangelism, but of his defamation of the character of God. God is just. But he’s not vulgar. The fact that this video was posted 9 months ago and no one has made any issue over this is appalling. How does nobody think that this was wrong? Just the other day, Phil Johnson listed JD Hall as one of the main podcasts he listens to. I remember when Phil publicly took on Mark Driscoll for his vulgar language and blaspheming God… Where’s the call for JD to repent?
After his multiple major issues, I pray that JD will repent of this. His bullying tactics, his claims of all men fantasizing about rape, and now defaming the character of God are enough to make me question whether this man should be in any form of public ministry. We don’t need pastors acting like this, making claims about God that are not true, defaming the character of God. We need pastors who will faithfully proclaim the Gospel in humility and love.
I pray for repentance. If there is no repentance, I pray that those around him will lovingly call him to either repent or step down from ministry. There’s a lot of men that speak with him on a regular basis. There’s a lot of pastors who run in his circle. Where’s the accountability? Where’s the mentorship? Where’s the public denouncement of this type of vulgar defaming of God’s character?
But the ultimate reason for pointing out this error has nothing to do with JD Hall himself. I want to caution other street evangelists that this is not the way to do things. This is not how to preach the Gospel. Telling the lost world that God will flip them off on judgment day only defames the character of God to the world. Our message of the Gospel is enough to turn off the world, we don't have to make it worse by this kind of vulgar blasphemus lies about our Holy God.
The Gospel needs to be proclaimed. However, this is not the way to do it. Saying that God will lift his middle finger to you is blasphemous. End of story.