top of page

Thou Shalt Be Nice!

Is the Eleventh Commandment of 

Evangelicalism Killing the Church?

By Richard Allen – June 3, 2024

Let me begin by giving credit to Pastor Voddie Baucham. It was he who coined the phrase criticizing the modern church: Thou Shalt Be Nice.”  In fact, he called this all-encompassing phrase: “the Eleventh Commandment of Evangelicals,” which by obeying – Christians get to ignore the other Ten!  Sadly, this is true of most of today’s Evangelical Churches here in western nations, who seem to have lost their way – or more importantly, “Lost the Gospel.”  Just so I’m not misunderstood, I am not arguing for being harsh, or preaching a “hellfire and damnation gospel message.” No, but like many other Christians who follow current events – especially those involving the church - I am alarmed at how far reaching this Eleventh Commandment of Evangelicals has watered down the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our modern age!  I’m also in agreement with the emphasis, rightly given in the New Testament Scriptures to be “winsome,” that is, to “adorn the Gospel of Jesus Christ by godly and virtuous behavior” (Titus 2:10).  But I do fear that we often take being winsome too far. The same Scriptures which encourage the “servant of the Lord to be gentle, not striving” also commended John the Baptist’s righteous denunciation of evil, and Jesus’ own "turning over the moneychangers’ tables as the zeal for God’s house consumed Him.” We are to make the gospel attractive by godly living, but we are nowhere given license to compromise for the sake of being agreeable and / or kind.

So, here’s the situation that prompted me to write this Blog. In February of this year, a noted Evangelical Leader, Pastor Alistair Begg from Parkside Church in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, gave advice to a grandmother – inquiring whether she should attend the wedding of a Grandson who was marrying a “transgender woman,” that is a biological man? Pastor Begg surprised her with his answer. Here’s writer, Jason Jimenez commenting online in The Washington Times:

“Some time has passed since controversial advice resurfaced from popular preacher Alistair Begg on his radio program, “Truth for Life.” The controversy revolves around Pastor Begg shocking a grandmother with the advice to not only attend her grandson’s transgender wedding but also to buy them a gift. To reinforce the grandmother attending the trans wedding, Pastor Begg prefaced it by saying, ‘Well, here’s the thing: Your love for them may catch them off guard, but your absence will simply reinforce the fact that they said, these people are what I always thought: judgmental, critical, unprepared to countenance anything ’” []

Needless to say, there has been a furor in the Evangelical community over Begg’s non-Biblical advice. He was cancelled from speaking at the 2024 Shepherd’s Conference run by another Evangelical Pastor, John MacArthur. And several Christian networks have cancelled his very popular “Truth for Life” broadcast as well. But for this week’s Blog – rather than enter the fray over his cancellation or the response of Christians both for and against Begg’s advice – rather let me speak to the underlying “cause” that exists in the present-day Evangelical Church that has allowed us to drift so far from godliness. It’s the reason that men and women have always drifted away from the faith: “Persecution because of the Word!”

This phrase was first mentioned by Jesus in the Parable of the Soils in Matthew 13. Here’s Jesus’ teaching from the Easy English Translation on the “shallow-hearted hearer” in Matthew 13:

“But they are like plants that have not grown down well into the soil. So, they only believe for a short time. They may have problems. Or other people may do bad things to them, because they obey God's message. When that happens, these people soon stop believing.

In this passage Jesus nails down the reason for “compromising with the world” or disobeying the  message of the gospel: Other people might say or do bad things to me because I obeyed Jesus’ words. The world is always clamoring to “mold us into conformity to its standards,” and any time a real believer chooses “non-conformance” and follows Jesus, there will be trouble. Jesus warned His disciples: “Woe to you when people speak well of you, for so they spoke well of the false prophets” (Luke 6:26).

But this desire to be liked and accepted by everyone – in fact to be loved – is a major reason for men to compromise their faith. Again, while Jesus was also “gentle and merciful” to broken sinners, He was often abrasive in His speech, and denounced falsehood, especially religious hypocrisy! So, what is happening to Evangelicals today?  To hear many of them talk, God just isn’t that concerned with sin. Their simple answer is: With the coming of Jesus Christ, God is able to show that He loves everybody, that everyone is accepted! Thou shalt be nice!

In the past several months, I wrote several blogs near the end of the series, The Parable of the Soils which dealt with the misinterpretation and misuse of John 3:16 – “For God so loved the World . . . . !” (see Blogs from February 4th and 25th). The irony is, that what John 3:16 is really teaching, many Evangelicals do not accept: “That God Loves all kinds of men and women, not showing partiality to Jew or Gentile, Male of Female, Slave or Free!”  At the same time, they readily accept that God loves every man woman and child in the world – which is not taught anywhere in the rest of Scripture. In fact, several places in God’s Word teach that God is angry with the unrighteous, and hates those who sin (see Psalm 5:4-6, Romans 1:18; John 3:36). Yet, the “John 3:16 Love God” has become the universal “Father” and “Idol” that most worship: A kindly old grandfather who indulges us while we remain in our sin, and would never reject anyone – much less send them to hell. If I may be so bold, I’d say that the false lens of John 3:16 is the One-Verse-Theology that many unbelievers use to give comfort to all their fears about God!  They’re counting on the fact that “God Loves Me!” Several generations of Church members have been inundated with this false understanding of the John 3:16 Love God, so it’s no surprise that the basis for the new Evangelical approach to living for Jesus is: “Thou Shalt Be Nice!”

At the heart of our "being nice" is the desire to be liked, loved and thought well of. The Old

Theology of being Salt and Light, that is a preservative against corruption, and light exposing darkness, are metaphors that don’t work for modern Christians. With our Advanced Science and Learning, we have to “Be Nice” to everyone, especially because “it gives us more comfort and makes our lives easier!”  And that’s at the heart of this compromise. On the other hand, Speaking the Truth In Love (Ephesians 4:15) – brings us into conflict over sin – and some may even get angry with us, or think us bigoted or intolerant. The sad truth is, we live in an age which is “totally intolerant” . . . . Of The Truth!  We compromise, just like Pastor Alistair Begg did, so we can be thought of as “Nice.”  How ironic that another Evangelical Pastor, one whom many consider the most loving, caring and passionate preacher of the Gospel, John Piper – delivered the most loving and Biblical response to Alistair Begg, telling him that the advice he gave to this concerned grandmother was not being loving or showing genuine concern for her grandson by going to the Transgender wedding it was hateful! Here’s Piper’s 5-Point response to Pastor Begg on why a Christian should not attend a Transgender or Gay Wedding:

  1. It’s not a wedding. Because it’s not a marriage and therefore attending it as a wedding is to be false. And everyone there is being false. There is no such thing as a “same-sex” wedding. God has defined marriage as a covenantal union between a man and a wife.

  2. This union, if you can dare to call it that, is not being joined in heaven. Jesus has said, ‘What God has joined together – let no man separate.’ This is what makes weddings awesome, they’re not human accomplishments.

  3. This blessing of this event would be “hateful,” it would be hateful for me to do it. Because it would be confirming a life and a lifestyle that will lead to hell. The Apostle Paul says: “Don’t be deceived, neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters, nor adulterers or men who practice homosexuality or thieves or greedy or drunkards or revilers or swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” They won’t, so to celebrate this lifestyle is to celebrate the destruction of human beings, and that’s hateful. It would be like gathering to celebrate theft, gathering to celebrate drunkenness, gathering to celebrate swindling, lets all have a meeting and celebrate greed. Let’s all have a meeting to celebrate adultery. Anybody who joins to celebrate sin – is sinning.

  4. This ceremony will defile the drama of Christ and the Church. God designed marriage to display Christ’s covenant to His Bride, the Church. To celebrate a bride-less union as marriage, is to distort and deface the parable of the most beautiful act in the world.

  5. I wouldn’t go because the weight of sorrow and love and revulsion would probably overwhelm me. I don’t think I probably could get through this ceremony []

What an amazing response. The irony is that Alistair Begg’s rationalization for going to the Transgender / Gay wedding was “your love for them may catch them off guard.” In Piper’s Biblical response it turns out that going would be the most hateful thing a Christian could do for a family member caught in sin. Just imagine having a best friend who had committed adultery with another man or woman, broke up their marriage, and then asked you to stand up as their “Best Man?”  Would you be able to disregard that man’s spouse and betrayed children?  Would you think attending as Best Man – your act of love in affirming their parent’s betrayal of them and their mother or father – was really loving? In our age of “Thou Shalt Be Nice,” most people choose the easy road, the pleasant road where every-one likes you and doesn’t think of you as judgmental.  To the contrary, God has called us to “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15), caring for another's soul more than caring for personal comfort and ease.

May God help us to reject “Thou Shalt Be Nice” as the all-encompassing commandment, and show true love toward God and our fellow man!

Soli Deo Gloria!

4,242 views2 comments

Recent Posts

See All


Accepting GOD ALMIGHTY AS THE ONE AND ONLY SOVEREIGN AND THE LAW AS THE ONLY LOVE there is IS loving your fellow men, whether he or others understand/accept it at the time is IRRELEVANT!


"... who seem to have lost their way – or more importantly, “Lost the Gospel.” "

THE WAY THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE ... following the gospel of THE SYNAGOGUE OF SATAN one cannot but loose THE LORD JESUS CHRIST along the way, grain by grain, sin by sin, ....

bottom of page