Today, the Purposeful Association of Not So Intimidating EvangelicalS (PANSIES) announced that they have rejected the authority of the scriptures in which Jesus uses offensive name-calling when dealing with his religious detractors.

Reverend N.O. Courage, President of PANSIES, told the press, “In light of the recent offensive gesture of Pastor Terry Jones in Florida, who threatened to burn Korans, we wanted to let the world know that as Christians, we reject all kinds of offensive speech or actions, and contend that Jesus would never do such a thing.”

When asked about the scriptures where Jesus called the Pharisees snakes, liars, hypocrites, and murderers, Courage replied meekly, “well, he could do that because he was Jesus, but we’re not supposed to follow him in *everything* he did.”

Theologian and PANSIES member Dr. Idi Ot recently published a paper in the Journal of Open-minded Koinonian Evangelicals in which he outlined the case for what he calls ‘Christian civility” (see Christian Civility in an age of Tolerance, JOKE, August 2010, pp.105-106).

Both Paul the Apostle and Saint Peter adjure us to defend the faith with meekness, kindness and humility. Nowhere do we see them write or say anything offensive, except possibly in Paul’s condemnation of homosexuality in Romans 1.

Further, the offensive prophetic acts in the Old Testament like Elijah’s mocking of the God of Baal are not prescriptive for us, they were just for the state of Israel during that time. The role of the rebuking prophet is gone now, and we just have the gospel of grace to preach.

Christian free speech advocates, however, contend that symbolic protest is a valid and valuable form of speech which the Christian tradition does not invalidate.

Reverend Ki Kass, of Feisty Inerrant Reformed Evangelicals (FIRE) told us

“Christians aren’t just supposed to be kind, they’re supposed to be true. This milk-toast, never-rebuking, nicey-nice religion is fine for women and liberals, but for real men, holy warfare includes some ideological saber rattling, some strong rebukes, and calls to repentance and faith towards God. And certainly, those who breathe out murder at such a simple symbolic protest should be called to repent of the murder in their hearts.”

In the end, we have to decide – are we trying to reach people with the gospel through kindness alone, or is there a place for rebuke, protest, and symbolic disagreement, even mockery of fools? Your theology will decide.