Ask a Christian Pastor

Mike Clawson is a regular commenter on this blog. He wants to see equal rights for gay people, believes in Evolution, strongly advocates the separation of church and state, endorses humanist ideals, and doesn’t think the Bible should always be read literally.

All this may be unusual because he is a Christian pastor.

Though if you’ve seen what he’s written, you know his remarks are always respectful and knowledgeable. He gives praise to atheists who make good points, while rightfully pointing out when atheists make incorrect blanket statements about Christians. At the same time, he’ll be on the front lines telling Christian commenters not to preach on this site unless they genuinely want to have a dialogue.

So I thought it would be interesting to allow readers to ask Mike their hardest questions about faith or Christianity or church or anything else that’s relevant.

Please post your questions in the comment section. I’ll pick a handful of them that I’d like to see answered. And Mike will then provide us with his insight.

And please hold off discussion of the questions on this thread. Let’s wait till Mike answers; then people can weigh in with their thoughts.


[tags]atheist, atheism, Mike Clawson, Evolution, gay, separation of church and state, humanist, Bible, Christian, pastor[/tags]

  • Miko

    If the Bible shouldn’t be read literally, then how should it be read? If the literal Bible isn’t the underpinning of the Christian faith, then what is?

  • http://www.wayofthemind.org/ Pedro Timóteo

    My question:

    Mike, after reading a few posts in your blog, and especially some of your replies to other comments, I was tempted to invite you to Planet Atheism, because, except for one tiny little thing :) , you’d fit in there just fine… and, believe me, that’s a compliment. Because you both argue, and seem to think, much more like a secular humanist than like a typical “Christian”.

    Your blog seems to have a few fundamentalist commenters, and the way you argue against them is logical and rational. You don’t demonize atheists. You don’t believe in biblical inerrancy, nor in passing laws just because “the Bible says so.” You really seem to want to make the world a better place, instead of, as many Christians do, simply “save as many souls as possible”, because the world is the devil’s, it doesn’t matter, and Jesus is coming to end this “experiment” in a decade or so anyway.

    My question, then — and please treat it not as criticism of any kind, but simply as honest curiosity –, is this: why still believe? What reasons do you have to believe, when neither most Christians nor the Bible itself seem to agree with you, and you end up having to reject a lot from both? And have you never wondered if, somehow, the world doesn’t make more sense from a naturalistic point of view?

    Thanks for answering,
    Pedro

  • http://danharlow.com Dan Harlow

    Mike C.:

    Have you ever come into “conflict” with someone who is more fundamentalist than yourself? If so, what happened and how do you reconcile the fact that both of you believe in God, but choose to believe in a different way?

    Thank you Mike,
    Dan Harlow

  • Tommy Huntsman

    Jesus taught with parables. One of those talks about a man that planted good seed in his garden, but during the night someone planted tares (weeds) there also. When the garden grew and the servants saw the weeds they asked where they came from and what should be done. The farmer said that his enemies had planted them and they should let them grow with the good plants. This supports evolution. God created man, but humans evolved. Those that God created have a soul, those that evolved do not. Those that have a soul are called by God to choose Jesus as Lord, those that evolved are not called by God. They do not feel God working on their branches as He does in the lives of Christians. They can see God’s people worshipping God and some of them mimic what they see. This is false religion. They can see God working in other peoples lives and hear the testimonies of how God has changed their lives. They wonder why God doesn’t work in their lives like that. It is because they have no soul for God to talk to or to grow in His garden. But God is good and He will give a soul to anyone that will ask for one. Ask God a question and He will answer you. This is proof that He exists. If He was not here, He could not answer. The human that evolved and has no soul is not a lost person in danger of going to Hell. Only those that God has called and have rejected Jesus go to Hell. Dogs, cats, and other animals don’t go to Hell, so why would a soulless human go to Hell? If you don’t hear God calling you, then don’t worry about anything. Live your life and be happy. If you want to know God and live in Heaven with Him for eternity, ask Him to come into your life and be your God. He will give you a soul and begin to prune your branches and help you to know who He is. When you have a soul you will not sell it on EBAY.

  • http://gaynews.n3.net Patrick Townson

    I do not know what you think a ‘Christian’ should think or act like; there are as many varieties as Heinz has catsup. Most of us who are Christians have gotten really tired of the fundmentalist Christians trying to speak for all of us and trying to have some sort of monopoly on Christendom.

    I am a gay Episcopalian, and proud of both facets in my life. It is really annoying to me to read remarks saying ‘gay people say thus and so’ and Christians say the opposite. I am almost as equipped to speak for all Christians as I am to speak for all gay people … in other words not very much in either case.

    Oh, I know the fundamentalists claim the literal truth of the Bible, but they do not observe it, only those parts with which they culturally agree. For instance, I laugh when I read about the conservative Anglicans (they used to be Episcopalians until they decided to go their own way) who are so fond of quoting all the dire things about homosexuals in the Bible, yet so many of their churches are run by female priests, something Saint Paul would totally disagree with . Yet when you ask them, why do you ignore St. Paul’s admonition against women instructing men in church and you ignore the Levitical teachings about the clothes you wear and the food you eat, yet if a man or a woman is gay, by God, then they are damned to hell … they just look at you with a blank look on their faces, or maybe they mutter some nonsense about the ‘cultural times of the Bible’; yet you ask them about ‘why then isn’t homosexuality a cultural matter?’ they just spout more nonsense.

    PAT

  • The Unbrainwashed

    Hemant:

    Just a brief comment regarding your post, specifically that comment that “Mike… believes in evolution.” I get somewhat peeved when atheists use the term belief in front of evolution. The concept does not apply. Belief connotates faith and evolution is supported by verifiable evidence. The correct word is acceptance.

    Oh yea and I’d like to commend you on your frequent updates. I probably check your website 10 times a day and I’m always pleasently surprised to see an update. I also do enjoy the approach you take. Sometimes it’s a good relief from the atheism that I generally espouse in discussion, which closely resembles the atheism of Harris and Dawkins.

  • Mriana

    Can we wait until we see how he responds to questions before we ask him a question? I like to see how a minister answers others before I ask something. I was like that with Richard Price (Bible Geek) and others too before I asked them anything, so it’s nothing personal. I like to see their perspective first. That and I’m looking over his site too to find his perspective.

  • http://rpkthoughts.blogspot.com Robert

    How prevalent is Mike’s Emerging Church View or Congverging Church View when compared to the majority of other fundamentalist denominations? And is this “style” of belief gaining ground or is it simply that middle ground between religious and non-religious? Is this a sort of “on the fence” type stance for those that are not ready to accept there is no god?

  • http://friendlyatheist.com FriendlyAtheist

    The Unbrainwashed– In retrospect, you’re right. I’d have been better off saying Mike “understands how Evolution works” Or something that’s better-worded. It didn’t even strike me that the “belief” word choice would be odd, but it does bother me now… Thanks for bringing it up, though.

  • http://www.skepchick.org writerdd

    What can liberal Christians do to stand up to fundamentalist extremists and the religious right, and to help assuage the fears of atheists who think that all religious people are superstitious nuts who base their decisions on irrational faith rather than on reason and facts? How can Christians who are not extremists and Biblical literalists get more media exposure to help show that Jerry Fallwell and James Dobson are not representative of the average religious person in America?

    Sorry, I guess that’s two questions.

  • Tommy Huntsman

    Religious people try to reach up to God. They do not know who God is. They are trying to make some rational sense about things they do not understand. Christianity is God reaching down to people. He shows them who He is. He guides their lives. Because of false religions there is confusion. God has answered all the confusion. His answer is Jesus. You find Him in the Bible. If you don’t understand it, ask God. He will reach down from heaven and help you understand.

  • Richard Wade

    Of the eleven comments above this one, (not counting Hemant’s) only four contain actual questions addressed to Mike. Get with the program, guys. Hemant wants questions.

    Specifically, Tommy, a question has a question mark at the end. Do your preaching on some of the other posts here.

    I’ve already asked my “tough” questions to Mike on his blog, and he’s answered them graciously. He already knows how much I admire and support what he is doing.

    So here’s my three-pronged question: Building on the questions that Dan Harlow and writerdd asked about liberal Christians standing up to the fundies, etc., a. How many pastors are there in the U.S. like you, b. How can non believers work with you to help you counter the extremists and Biblical literalists, and c. How high a priority is that particular issue in your church or congregation?

  • http://crazyrainbowunderwear.blogspot.com yinyang

    To piggyback Miko, I ask this: if the Bible isn’t the literal word of God, do you believe it was inspired by God? If so, are there any parts you believe weren’t? Which ones, and how can you tell?

    I also second Pedro’s questions.

  • http://dubitoergo.blogspot.com Tom Foss

    I’m curious as to how you defend a non-literalist position against literalist Christians. See, I’m inclined to think that liberal Christian beliefs are far more in the spirit of the ideals and teachings and philosophies that we’d consider to be “Christ-like” than the beliefs and doctrines of the literalist conservative fundamentalists, but they tend to have the textual support to back up whatever backwards, bigoted beliefs they want.

    So, for instance, I think my Lutheran college was behaving in a very Christ-like fashion when they drafted an official policy accepting and welcoming GLBT students to have the same rights and abilities as any other students, and justified it with Galatians 3:28 (There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus), but how does that outweigh all the junk from Leviticus and Deuteronomy and Paul?

    A second, somewhat related question: I’ve noticed that a lot of conservative Christians spend the bulk of their time quoting Paul and the OT, and very little quoting Jesus. Now, I understand Paul’s importance to the church, but shouldn’t people put a little more stock in what Jesus (supposedly) said, rather than what was said by someone who only met him in a vision? Especially when it comes to places where Paul’s words directly contradict Jesus’s (Mat. 7:1 vs. 1 Cor. 2:15, for instance)? I’ll often hear that “all the parts of the Bible are equally important,” or something along those lines, but I’ve only ever seen one person’s words in red. It seems a little disingenuous to say that Paul’s writings are equal to Jesus’s teachings in a religion based on the latter.

  • http://emergingpensees.blogspot.com/ Mike C

    Great questions so far guys. Keep ‘em coming! I’m looking forward to taking a stab at a few of them.

    BTW Unbrainwashed & Hemant, in technical philosophical parlance the word “belief” is perfectly acceptable to use in front of “Evolution”. In philosophical terms “belief” simply means the “affirmation of the truth of a proposition”. I affirm the truth of Evolution, therefore I believe in Evolution.

    But if you don’t like the religious connotations of “belief”, “accepts” would be fine too. :)

  • miller

    MikeC, I love your comments on this blog.

    I couldn’t decide whether to ask a theoretical question or a practical one, so I’ll ask one of each.

    The word “faith” is used to mean many different things. Which kinds of faith do you think are good or bad to have?

    What do you think the atheist movement gets wrong?

  • S.G.E.W.

    A quick, and easy (?) question:

    Do you believe in the literal, physiological ressurection of Jeshua ben Joseph? Specifically, did he lose all bodily functions (no heartbeat, no neurological activity, etc.) for several days and then regain full functionality?

    If so: how can this be rationally explained in any way?

    If not: what’s the effective difference between you and an agnostic?

    Surface questions, I realize, but it’s always stumped me.

  • http://www.skepchick.org writerdd

    I have one more question. Do you believe that we atheists are going to burn in hell forever? Or, as Hemant asks in his book, do you believe that we are “lost” souls that need to be “saved”?

  • The Unbrainwashed

    MikeC:

    Do you actually believe that a dead Jew came back to life 2000 years ago to save us?

  • Darryl

    Mike,

    Why is the activity of the god in whom you believe never detected by any but the faithful when the stories of the Bible portray the opposite?

  • Tommy Huntsman

    You are right Mr. Wade. I apologize to everyone. I was not trying to preach. I was trying to be funny. I read a news story on the internet about a guy that sold his soul on Ebay and I got curious as to what was going on. I also want to apologize for any mis-understanding in anything I wrote. I believe that the bible is a book that begins with “In the beginning God created”. If you can’t believe that part then the rest is history. But the Bible begins with “For God so loved the WORLD”. Until you know God and His Love for everyone, then the rest doesn’t make sense. I believe that the Blood of Jesus is sufficient for all sin. He died for everyone and all people have a chance to share in His Righteousness. God’s people are a chosen people. We are chosen when we raise our hands and ask God to choose us. He says that He will choose all that ask Him. That includes ALL people regardless of anything else they may choose. He knows us and He knew us and He chooses us because He Loves us. Jesus is the savior of all. I again apologize for my intrusion in to what I now understand is a serious discussion with a minister. I am sure he has a much better understanding of the things everyone is trying to understand about reality. My jokes have no place here. I saw where it said that this minister believed and/or accepted evolution and I also believe that science is true in that. The blind cave fish evolved, so why not other things? Everyone believes in gravity, but who wants to believe that God made it all happen? The Bible tells of Spiritual things and It is the truth. It is the word of God. The Living Word of God. God is Love. From God we get Love. We share His Love with our family and in our local church. If you are told anything other than Jesus Christ is God in the flesh and died on the cross for all the people in the WORLD, then it is a false belief. Ask God a question. Don’t tell anyone the question. Wait for God to answer. He will answer you. You will find His answer has already been written in the Bible. He knew you would ask. He will give you the understanding when you ask Him for it. You will know the answer comes from God from the seed He has planted in your heart. The scripture that you just don’t seem to forget. Then God opens your eyes and you experience Jesus in your life just as sure as you experience gravity. I hope I have not offended anyone. I will do a little more research into what I am looking at on the internet and try to mind my own business from now on. God is at work in everyones life. To see where He is working you have to look backwards at the things He has done. My apologies to everyone and especially to Mr. Wade and to the Minister that everyone is talking to.
    Regards, Tommy

  • http://prosthesis.blogspot.com macht

    Regarding “belief” – I agree with Mike that all it really refers to is “affirmation.” And changing it to “understands” changes the meaning of what you are trying to say, since it is possible both to understand something without affirming its truth and to affirm somethings truth without understanding it.

  • http://gaynews.n3.net Patrick Townson

    writerdd said,

    May 12, 2007 at 3:45 pm

    What can liberal Christians do to stand up to fundamentalist extremists and the religious right, and to help assuage the fears of atheists who think that all religious people are superstitious nuts who base their decisions on irrational faith rather than on reason and facts? How can Christians who are not extremists and Biblical literalists get more media exposure to help show that Jerry Fallwell and James Dobson are not representative of the average religious person in America?

    What you do is just keep on witnessing to them.

    I have a couple of young Mormon missionaries who come around here to my house every week or two. I had a ‘bible-thumping’ fundamentalist come around a couple times. Many of these people fully expect you to be hostile to them. The Mormons and the bible-thumpers always witness to me; I witness right back to them, and not in the hostile way they sometimes start out. I invite them to sit at my table and share a meal. I treat them with dignity like the human beings they are. I do not treat them as lesser beings, just as different beings.

    Do any of you remember the late Madalyn E. Murray O’Hare, American Athiest, and frankly, a sort of radical one at that? A few years before she passed away, she was invited to preachat the Chicago Temple, First United Methodist Church in Chicago. The church people invited her to come and share with them her philosophy about things; they said they were frankly curious about the athiest ‘lifestyle’, etc. (Probably the fact that they gave her a generous honorarium also induced her to be there.)

    They did not damn her to Hell when she was there; they simply listened to her and showed her some Christian love. MEMO later said she was quite impressed speaking with them and she gave them a sort of back-handed compliment in her own way.

    She said (and I quote as best I can remember over the years) I want to say one thing for you Christians … back in the sixties, when I and other athiests decided to ‘kill God’, things in the USA were entirely different than now. None of us in the movement in those days even began to dream of how rough, how awful, how dreadful the schools would become. Everywhere we (athiests) went, ‘God’ and religion were being shoved down everyone’s throat. But the children were very nice and polite.

    Now look at the kids today, and look at the television and the movies! There is no denying the influence the church and religion had — still has — in American life. Our mistake as athiests was in assuming things would just stay that way, with or without their belief in a ‘God’. We just assumed things in America would stay as they were. In that respect, we were quite wrong. We killed God but gave the young people no alternative in which to believe. Shame on us, perhaps.

    In the latter part of the sermon that day, there was a one on one interview with the pastor there at the time and Dr. O’hare. It was quite an interesting morning.

    PAT

  • http://gaynews.n3.net Patrick Townson

    Tom Foss said,

    May 12, 2007 at 4:55 pm

    I’m curious as to how you defend a non-literalist position against literalist Christians.

    Very simple, although many of the more conservative Christians will not accept the answer. You ask the person if they believe everything in tbe Bible. They of course say they do … then you say (picking one of Jesus’ parables) was a true story also.? And they reply, ” well no, that was a parable.” Ah, so not everything in the Bible is true? And you go on to explain that the Bible is a literary work — a very good literary work in fact, with poetry, (Song of Solomon) in it, parables, smart teachings (Book of Proverbs), songs (Psalms) and history.

    When they talk about the world was created in seven days, you say, “no it was not; the parable goes, it was actually created in SIX days, and God rested on the seventh day” but I then remind them of one of King David’s songs (I think Psalm 89 but correct me as needed) where David is praising God and says “Oh God, a thousand ages in your sight is like an evening … “, in other words have you ever worked with a crew of builders who after many hours of hard labor decide “well, let’s call it a day …” so to God who always has been and always will be, he works at shaping the world for several eons and then decides “lets call it a day”. And I ask them which creation story is correct, the version in Genesis Chapter 1 or the version in Genesis Chapter 2? And I tell them that purely IMO, I believe the world is still in the process of being created. And on and on it goes like that. Eventually the missionaries shake hands with me and say “Gee Mr. Townson it was really nice chatting with you.” And maybe I load them up with cans of cola or a sandwhich to eat while they are here, because you know how we are to treat strangers in our midst.
    If they are hungry, feed them; naked, clothe them, etc. When I say witness to them I mean just that. Never slam the door in their faces or be rude. That’s what they expect you to do, so that they can be ‘martyrs’.

    PAT

  • Raro

    Hi, I’ve been reading this blog and the comments for a while (and love the site, keep up the good work Hemant), but I saw this and wanted to know what Mike’s views would be (or anyone else’s here for that matter). I apologize in advance if this is a bit rambling, I usually like to think out my forum posts a bit better, but I’m in an internet cafe in a foreign country with crap computers, so it’s going to be a little rushed.

    I’m wondering what your views on marriage are between an atheist and a Christian? Obviously I’m not talking about marriage between a hard core right wing religious fundamentalist and a militant atheist, but I’m curious if you think it would be possible for a moderate from each side to a have a successful marriage. If so, what problems do you think there would be, and how would you suggest resolving them? Or do you think that it would just simply not be possible over the long-term for a person with a god belief and a person with a lack of one to be together? Also, if you think marriage could work, how do you think the issue of child raising should be addressed? That one has me stumped personally, as I’m not sure how the Christian partner’s desire to bring up their child exposed to the Christian faith could reconciled with the atheist partner’s desire to raise them without faith.

  • http://bjornisageek.blogspot.com Bjorn Watland

    Mike,

    Do you feel the focus on the afterlife is too prevalent in sects of Christianity? Should the focus of a church be to support humanist ethics, using scripture as a guide? What of people who are not of the Book? Should they be converted, or if someone lives a noble life, following good ethics, is that better then conversion?

  • EnoNomi

    Responding to the line …and doesn’t think the Bible should always be read literally… as well as a few other commenters on this blog, my question to Pastor Mike is, do you think the Bible could stand to be re-edited to reflect the more humanist and modern beliefs held by many Christians (such as yourself?) Considering it was the Roman Catholic Church the decided the original makeup of what to include and exclude from the Bible, liberal Christian groups shouldn’t feel the need to keep it any more than they need to take direction from Rome.

    It would certainly give us “angry atheists” less fodder to use and more of a common ground to stand on.

  • nonce

    New here, with a simple question that may have been already answered but which is a major sticking-point for me when it comes to faith.

    Do you think that faith, religion and the church can be understood apart from the social and economic forces that shape and are shaped by them?

    By this I mean it’s hard for me to accept that religion isn’t fully understanbale apart from the cultures that sustain it. An example of this would be the high incidence of Catholicism in Central/Latin America in poor populations that exemplify a theology that places emphasis on preparing for the afterlife instead of effecting social change, as well as the vast difference, even within the US, between Latino and Anglo “styles” of Catholicism. (Another example would be 19th c. theological tension between American Jews of differing classes and ethnicities.)

  • nonce

    I mean “IS fully understandable,” sorry.

  • http://bjornisageek.blogspot.com Bjorn Watland

    EnoNomi,

    I spoke with some Mormons last night, and commented about that very thing. I said there are great humanist parables in the Bible, but it’s buried among God smoting everything. Why should villages be burned to the ground because God commands it? If you don’t like it, you’d often ignore it. But, I think it should just be taken out. People say, read the Bible, but what kind of life lesson is to be gained by learning that Lot’s daughters get their dad drunk, have sex with him, and go off to happily start two tribes of Isreal? Just cut it out!

  • http://prosthesis.blogspot.com macht

    Here’s a question for Mike: You’ve been referred to a few times in the questions as a “liberal Christian.” Would you describe yourself as a “liberal Christian?”

  • EnoNomi

    Bjorn,

    After finishing season one of Big Love, I would love to have a discussion with some Mormons. I’m sitting with a plate of cookies and decaffenated tea just hoping my doorbell will ring…

    As an Atheist I encourage people to read the Bible too, did you know it said [insert horrible thing here] ? I heard that Thomas Jefferson re-edited the bible, I must find his copy.

  • Ron

    Mike:
    Hemant talks about your church in his book. As I remember, he talked more about what happened there (actions, words, compassion, offering support, etc.) than what you and your parishioners believe. Could you comment on the relative importance of belief versus how a person lives his/her life, from a Christian perspective?

  • http://bjornisageek.blogspot.com Bjorn Watland

    EnoNomi,

    You’re referring to the Jefferson Bible. I saw it at a book store once, and thought of picking up a copy. He wanted to separate “the diamond from the dung hill,” or take the supernatural out of the New Testament. You can find the text at an awful AngelFire site.

    One interesting note about the Jefferson Bible, no resurrection, or ascent into heaven. Some people hate this idea, others like the stripped down version, focusing on morals, rather then the supernatural.

    If you order a Book of Mormon, you’ll get Mormons with it. What is interesting, is that I can be critical of ridiculous parts of the Bible, like Noah running around naked and drunk when the flood ends, but they take it as truth. I can say to them, com on, were there really flying fiery serpents? Their answer, “was it in the book? Then, yes there were.”
    .

  • http://bannons.blogspot.com Elizabeth

    So I’m new here after Hemant’s interview on Point of Inquiry. Great stuff!

    In regards to the Jeffersonian Bible, he was Unitarian, which many fundamentalist Christians today would reject. His Unitarian beliefs helped inspire his editing of the bible.

    And for Mike: I’m an agnostic Christian. I don’t believe in God as used in traditional definitions, or most definitions actually, but I believe there is power in the words that are attributed to Jesus and goodness to be found in the scripture. I am married to a philosopher and theologian who is on track to be ordained UCC. For me, words are very important and much of the misunderstanding of the differing views of Christianity come from opposing viewholders assuming that they are all using the same definitions. My question, then, is how do you define God?

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  • Tommy Huntsman

    I didn’t think I had any questions, but after a little thought I had these.

    1. Are Pastors called by the Word of God?
    2. are all pastors called by the Word of God?
    3. what are the pastors responsibilties in the Word of God?
    4. how does the Word of God convict Christians to become christians?
    5. does the Word of God convict an atheist? how so?
    6. if Jesus is not the Resurrected Lord, does God make a new one for each generation, so that we always have Jesus with us as the bible says, giving Him eternal life in this way?
    7. could you be that Jesus today?
    These are just a few questions that I am struggling with. They may not be as hard as some of the others, but they would help me alot in knowing how the Word of God has corrupted the lives of so many.

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  • http://www.themorphememan.com M_James

    Mike,
    In your response to if you take the Bible literally, you state that you believe it’s inspired by God, not his literal dictation.

    My question to you would be: Do you believe any part of the Bible is late Christian interpolation? Do you believe there are parts that are not divinely inspired?

    Secondly, what critieria do you use to decide if a book of the Bible is divinely inspired? Do you believe other non-canonical books are inspired also? Or do you believe that the various scholars that put together the Bible over hundreds of years, ending with the Ecumenical council, were inspired by God to put the book together in the manner we have it today?

    Lastly, do you believe all the books attributed to Paul were actually written by Paul? If so, what are your sources and reasoning for this belief.

    Thanks!

    Michael

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  • Patti

    Without intending to sound like a Christian fundamentalist, I have difficulty with anyone who is liberal with the subject of God. It invites too much speculation that doesn’t need to be there. You either believe or don’t believe, and we can’t be half-hearted about the application of the Bible.

    There are many sayings in the Bible that show God’s position on things such as adultery, homosexuality and other controversial issues. These are points of view that are not negotiable, therefore, cannot be compromised. By watering these principles down, we are trying to force other believers to accept that everything goes, even though this goes against everything that is stated clearly.

    It’s all there clearly stated in the Bible, and sometimes it will offend people. It really depends on how clear our consciences are – we cannot change the Bible to ease our consciences. We’re not allowed to change one word, to either add or subtract.

  • sharon payne

    I sinned and preached and tried to get out of it and thought that now I don’t have to preach and a cloud come over me and felt the Lord leave me and
    another spirit come in and now I have schizophrenia can I be heal? this been going on for 4 years

  • sharon payne

    can schizophrenia be heal?

  • Richard Wade

    Sharon,
    Have you been to a psychiatrist?

  • JB

    Hi, my name is J.B. The reason why I am here is because I may have some questions about if it’s right or wrong in-front of god. First of all I recently became a true believer of god. I praise the lord everyday. I have my girlfriend and we both have 2 kids. Now I have repented with god and try to walk in Jesus steps everyday. I have worked so much in myself. I almost stop using bad works. Sometimes they slip. I have kind of disassociated from the world outside the church. I stop hanging out, stop drinking, stop smoking. But I’m having problem with a more intamite situation. Since me and my girlfriend are not married. And we see that’s wrong infront of god’s I eyes. We have been obstaining from having sex. I truthfully am dying here. I feel like masturbating some times but I don’t know if that is also a sin! Is it yes or no? Can you define the word adultery for me? And can you give me some examples of how do we commit them without knowing. It is one of the ten commandments. Yes pastor I’m planning to marry my wife soon. We are going to speak to our pastor about it shortly. I know that this is merly a small battle. From the ones to come. I

  • Mriana

    Oh my! What church to you attend that you are loaded so heavily with guilt? I know it’s not Episcopalian, that is for sure!

    Mike, I do hope you can give this man some great counsel, since he has asked you so nicely. Not sure if he’s for real or not though.

  • Angie Aldana

    On my way home from getting my boys (8 and 5) from school, I saw a man sitting at a corner. He did not look well. I pulled over and asked my boys to wait in the car. I asked the man if he needed help and he looked disoriented. I offered to make a phone call for him but he said no. He got up and stumbled away. I then drove a nearby fire station and told my story to the fire fighters on duty. They said they would look into it.

    In this day and age, I don’t know if it was safe to go up to a stranger. I didn’t think of possible consequences, I just know I couldn’t drive away after seeing how bad this man looked. I now wonder if I did enough. My boys asked about what happened. I just told them to never walk away from someone that looks like he’s in danger or sick. I feel very sad and needed to ask about this. Could I be teaching my boys wrong?

    Sincerely,
    Angie Aldana

  • Mike Linton

    why do so many people reject the loving provision of god?

  • Isaiah

    Is it okay to become obsessed with the holy spirit?


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