A Response to Peter Olsen’s Poor Exegesis of Matthew 25 Against Franklin Graham
Pastor Peter, you said in your very rude and arrogant open letter to Pastor Franklin Graham recently, “As I am sure you know, God does not consult with us small church pastors on weighty issues of that kind. So, it was kind of you to leak this classified intelligence to all of us who are evidently a good deal further away from the divine pipeline.” Really, according to Scripture, God is sovereign and establishes and removes every leader who ever sits in any position of power, so I am surprised that you wouldn’t understand when Pastor Graham makes a statement that God put Trump there.
So, let me see if I have this figured out correctly: God doesn’t give a flying fruitcake if we deprive twenty million people, most of them poor, of access to health care. Nor is God particularly concerned about how men treat women in the workplace, how people of color are treated in the real estate market, how the hungry and homeless are cared for (or not), but God flips out if we bake a cake for a same-sex couple to celebrate their wedding? I have to be honest with you, Frank. I’m just not seeing it. Not in the Bible, not in the realm of rational common sense.
“Here’s the thing, Frank,” you disrespectfully continued, “Obey them that have rule over you, and submit yourselves unto them for they watch over your souls, as they that must give an account, that they may do it with joy and not with grief, for that is unprofitable for you.”
You proceeded into what must be the most unbiblical example of exegesis to support your disrespect of a recognized minister in good standing.
You stated: At the last judgment, Jesus doesn’t ask anyone about who they voted for. Really? Luke 8:17 say’s For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither anything hid, that shall not be known and come abroad.
In Luke 12:2–3 Jesus say’s “Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 3 Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.” You continued your rant by saying God does not care “how many times they have been divorced.” Well honestly Malachi 2:16: would refute that “I hate divorce, says the LORD God of Israel.” Jesus said Matthew 19:6 “So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore, what God has joined together, let man not separate.”
Then you proved that you are a small-town pastor who is particularly proud of your biblical ignorance and false understanding of the Word of God. Make no mistake I am a small-town pastor and I love my fellow pastors. Most of us, however, do not revel in being Biblically ignorant as you appear to.
You actually sought to defend the notion that, as you said, God would not judge them based upon, “what their sexual history or orientation is or for whom they did or did not bake wedding cakes.”
Sir, do you realize that God will judge every thought Word and Deed every intention of the heart? (1 Corinthians 4:5) God said through Paul that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
1 Corinthians 6:9–10 warns, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?” He made it clear, “Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”
So, you want to give a free pass on Judgment Day to those whom God will not grant eternal life? Seriously, how can you possibly call that Christian love?
Sir, God does indeed care for the poor and those who have medical needs and those who are lost in sin, and He commands all His ambassadors to tell the whole truth about His wrath and justice and His kind Grace through Jesus Christ His Son who commands every man everywhere to repent and they will be washed clean from their sin and called the children of God. God also calls upon the Body of Christ to care for the poor and needy and to feed them. We are told to love our enemies and do good to those who mistreat us and pray for those who persecute us. A properly balanced Biblical view would lead you to love them enough to feed them and to share the law of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ with them. It’s too bad you don’t love God enough to obediently speak truthfully about the whole counsel of God in all matters, and you would forbid others, like Pastor Graham, from doing so as well.
You said, “His sole concern is for how we treated the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the imprisoned, those deemed “least” among us.” These people you are referring to here are the persecuted Church–that is who Jesus speaks of in Matthew 25. They were those who were mistreated, naked, beaten and imprisoned for the Name of Jesus Christ and the proclamation of His Gospel.
You continued to say “No, I didn’t get that from any private chat with God. We small church pastors have to rely on the Bible for our intel. I got this stuff from the Gospel of Matthew, 25th Chapter to be precise. As I said, that, too, is in the Bible. (It’s a great book, Frank. You should read it sometime.)”
Sir, your arrogance is astounding, and to think you believe that you are speaking on God’s behalf in your rebuke of Pastor Graham whom you, in my opinion, accused of not reading the Bible. It is glaringly clear that you do not understand the words you are reading. Matthew 25 has a lot to say and you have miserably failed in your pathetic attempt to eisegete this text to fit your narrative.
Let’s compare your attempt with a Biblical one.
First off Matthew 25:1-13 deals with true and false conversion. Those who are truly the bride of Christ and those who are not prepared even though they appear to be a part of the visible church. They are found out in the end and cast out.
Verses 14-30 Deal with three men who were given responsibility and proved themselves to their master, one man proved that he was not a faithful slave and his wickedness exposed that he truly was a false servant which was cast out.
Now, for the main text and reason for the parables in verses 1-30. Jesus makes it clear that He spoke all this to teach that there is indeed a coming judgment when He will separate the sheep from the goats, the true people of God from the false converts.
According to vs 34-40 Jesus makes it clear that His sheep are those who loved and served their fellow Christian family, they fed the people of God, gave them clothing and water and even visited them in prison. The sheep were confused and Jesus made His warning of the coming judgment clear when He said in Matthew 25:37–40, “Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'”
Jesus said they did this to His brothers and therefore it was accounted as if they had done it to Him.
Jesus warns of the fate of the goats in Matthew 25:41–46 “Then he will say to those on his left,
‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.
Sir, there are literally millions of false converts that believe that they are going to spend eternity with God based upon the false teaching of wolves like you and those who teach your social gospel of salvation by effort and work. All those Goats that Jesus warned about truly thought Jesus was their “Lord” and confessed that they worked hard and long doing great deeds for Him, yet they did not truly love the people of God enough to care for their needs during their times of persecution.
Nor did they love God enough to proclaim the gospel to every creature.
Your treatment of a respected minister of the God’s word is contemptible, at best. Romans 13:7 says, “Render, therefore to all their due, tribute to whom tribute is due, custom to whom custom, fear to whom fear, and honor to whom honor,” and Hebrews 5:4 says, “No man takes this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God.” To my knowledge, he has never been disqualified from ministry. Pastor Franklin Graham has made mistakes and we do call him on those. But sir, your mistake is the complete abandonment of truth and you have chosen not to tell the lost about the only way of salvation and hope for the lost, and you need to repent of this wickedness, and I pray that you will today.
[Contributed by Justin Pierce]