Over 7,000 Pastors Admit They Don’t Follow Jesus

Over 7,000 Pastors Admit They Don’t Follow Jesus September 13, 2018
Image: Pixabay

 

Over 4,400 pastors signed John MacArthur’s “Anti-Social Justice Proclamation” a few weeks ago. Over 7,000 have now added their names to that statement, making it crystal clear that they do not follow Jesus in any way, shape or form.

One of the most troubling statements they all agreed to was this:

“We emphatically deny that lectures on social issues (or activism aimed at reshaping the wider culture) are as vital to the life and health of the church as the preaching of the gospel and the exposition of Scripture.”

If that isn’t sad, I don’t know what is.

Not only is it disappointing to read the news that 7,000 Christian Pastors don’t follow Jesus, it’s even more disappointing to find out that none of them are ashamed to admit it in public.

Maybe none of them have ever read that Jesus was born into poverty. Or that Jesus blessed the poor. Or that gave warnings to the rich. Or that Jesus cautioned us about the evils of wealth. Or that Jesus equated our love for him with our love for the poor.

Maybe those 7,000 pastors – who claim they believe it’s more important to “exposit scripture” than to waste time preaching about God’s heart for the poor – never actually got around to expositing those verses where Paul told us that Peter, James and John only had one requirement before sending him and Barnabus out as the very first church-planting missionaries to the Gentiles: “To remember the poor” (Gal. 2:10) and they probably also didn’t notice that Paul’s response to that single requirement was this: “It was the very thing I was eager to do.”

It’s hard to imagine the Gospel that Jesus, and the Apostles preached without any mention of the poor. But, I suppose that’s the price we have to pay for living in the world’s most powerful Empire. See, when the Gospel first arrived it was preached to the poor, and the sick, and the outcasts. The people in power resisted it. The weak embraced it.

Soon, the same people who hated Jesus were persecuting the rest of His followers. That went on for 400 years until something horrible happened: The Empire co-opted the faith and soon the Gospel was for the conquerors, not the losers; it was for the rich and the powerful, not the poor and the weak.

Over time the idea of nationalizing Christianity and manipulating Christian citizens took on enormous momentum. Eventually, it was hard to separate nationalism and patriotism from religion and faith.

And now, in broad daylight, thousands of Christian pastors are proud to publically proclaim that they have no time to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom that Jesus taught. They have no interest in showing any concern for the poor, the orphan, the widow, and the outcast. They’d rather preach sermons about the Bible (while conveniently ignoring all of the hundreds of verses about caring for the poor, the orphan and the widow).

So, I guess we won’t have to listen to any more sermons about verses like these:

“By this we know what love is: Jesus laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone with earthly possessions sees his brother in need, but withholds his compassion from him, how can the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us love not in word and speech, but in action and truth” (1 John 3:17)

“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’  “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’” (Matt. 25:44-45)

“Sell your possessions, and give alms to the poor. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys” (Luke 12:33)

He has filled the hungry with good thingsAnd sent away the rich empty-handed.” (Luke 1:53)

“Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? (James 2:5)

I could go on, but hopefully you get the point. A Gospel without reference to God’s heart for the poor – and God’s insistence that we love them as He loves them – is no Gospel worth preaching, or listening to.

Now, I would urge Christians who attend churches like those being led by these 7,000 pastors to leave them as quickly as possible, but I don’t need to. That’s already happening. In fact, more young people are leaving the Christian church than are coming in to the faith. So, very soon, those sorts of Churches will be very dead and gone. Halleluiah!

Until then, I guess the rest of us will just have to keep wandering around in this desert of faith waiting for those churches to die. Maybe then we can enter the promised land where the Good News of the Kingdom is freely spoken – and put into practice – and those who are poor will know without a doubt that they are treasured by God, seen by God, and most of all loved by God and by the people of God.

Jesus wouldn’t recognize the Gospel being preached by people like John MacArthur and his 7,000 disciples. Maybe what they should be most concerned with is that Jesus might not recognize them when he sees them face-to-face one day.

**

Keith Giles is a former pastor who left the pulpit 11 years ago to start a church that gives away 100% of the offering to the poor in their community.

His new book Jesus Unbound: Liberating the Word of God from the Bible”, is available now on Amazon and features a Foreword by author Brian Zahnd.

He is also the author of the Amazon best-seller, “Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb”.

Keith also co-hosts the Heretic Happy Hour Podcast on iTunes and Podbean. He and his wife live in Orange, CA with their two sons.

BONUS: Unlock exclusive content including blog articles, short stories, music, podcasts, videos and more on my Patreon page.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Matthew

    Maybe Isaiah and some of the other prophets
    need to visit these pastors and churches?

    Hold up … wait a minute … we know what usually
    happens to such prophets.

  • Timothy Weston

    On abortion: “Our most vulnerable, the unborn, must be protected at all costs and we must put in leaders who will protect them”
    On marriage equality: “It’s against God and nature.”
    On anything else: “You’re getting too political, the church needs to be focused on saving souls.”

    The whole “saving souls” dodge means accepting things as they are and they should not be changed. Only those who benefit from privilege will stick to that.

  • philliardbmt

    Agreed! I can’t imagine a pastor who would agree with a doctrine such as this. I know preaching salvation is primary, but being a Christian doesn’t end there. Something must happen after that, and that “something” is to love god and love our neighbors–with more than words.

  • Jesse Toler

    They aren’t opposed to charity, just not the racialized Gospel of George Soror.

  • Timothy Weston

    You are right in that they are not opposed to charity: They just don’t want to do it. Also, what is wrong with confronting systemic inequality? Do you feel too fragile when someone of a darker skin tone starts to become too close to you in societal standing?

  • airstart

    This is a crock of you know what. So typical of a bunch of “PATHEOS” heathens. You guys go ahead and spend all your do-gooder effort on social justice issues, since you don’t believe the Gospel any way. You’ve missed the whole purpose of the great commission. God certainly had it right when He said “my people parish for lack of knowledge”.

  • Elgin

    As the author of the book, What is Wrong with Social Justice (https://www.amazon.com/Wrong-Social-Justice-Elgin-Hushbeck/dp/1631990837), while I am not surprised by Giles’ general attitude, I was a bit surprised by his arrogance and tone. It is one thing to disagree with each other as we all follow Jesus imperfectly and struggle to do his will, but Giles equates following the teachings of Social Justice with following Jesus. Yet Social Justice is first and foremost a political and economic movement. Not everyone in the Social Justice movement is even seeking to follows Jesus.

    I have no problems with people saying what they believe the following means, or even saying that I am wrong. But for me, for someone to say that people must agree with them on politics and economics or you are not following Jesus is a classic example of breaking the second commandment, i,e., using the name of God to support one’s own positions. Granted, there is too much of this on all sides. I can disagree with someone, without calling into question their faith.

    To justify his claim Giles further equate Social Justice with mere concern for the poor and then assumes that since these pastors reject Social Justice they therefore cannot have a concern for the poor. In doing so he freely distorts many, if not all, of their positions, showing that he has little concern for truth when it comes to advancing his agenda.

    As for me, I will continue to reject much the current Social Justice movement, and I will still be concerned for the poor as I seek to follow Jesus to the best of my understanding. Still, I will not conflate my politics and economics views with following Jesus and then assume that those who disagree with on Social Justice are not following Him.

  • TinnyWhistler

    “my people parish for lack of knowledge”
    I’d HOPE they attend the local parish if they lack knowledge about God…isn’t that what it’s there for?

  • Starla Anne Lowry

    How many of those pastors knew what they were signing? I could not understand the statement that you gave.

  • Robert Hunt

    Or it could be that precisely because we’re in the midst of an Empire “social activism” is simply playing into the hands of the principalities and powers of this world. (I’m thinking of the critique Hauerwas might make.) Get serious. I don’t agree with MacArthur or his agenda, but who appointed you the arbiter of who and who is not a true follower of Jesus? MacArthur and his crowd would argue, do in fact, that you aren’t a true follower of Jesus. And so we go on throwing stones in our increasingly broken houses.

  • Jonathan M

    Great News the Messiah has come back in the form of a blog writer named Keith Giles. It has to be the Messiah cause only Jesus could judge 7000 pastors through his own eyes! What a joke this website is in regards to being a Christian site. Once again this is a leftist ideological website disguised as a Christian site to bash the fundamentals of Christianity.

  • Jonathan M

    Seriously Keith, who the hell do you think you are to judge 7000 in Jesus’s name. So you’re God now and you know the heart of all men? FUBAR!!

  • Ya know more than, Jonathan…you really do appear a tad sad in your life…no reason here to attack as ya did; there are some great points taken here.
    Now, if ya want to lash back at me, fine, no bother, but what ever level ya want to take it, this ol’ redneck West Texan will gladly accommodate.

    Ya might want to begin working on ways to rub off a bit of that hate you’re harboring, just saying…

  • Rudy Schellekens

    The problem lies in balance, action.
    Just maybe the need to ACT is greater than the need to PREACH social dogma.
    Just wondering. The focal point in preaching, the message is Christ and him crucified. Teaching how to live our lives follows that message.
    Our teaching should be focused in being imitators of God. And when we imitate God, our actions will be obvious.

  • Jonathan M

    Did you read the article. The author condemned 7000 plus preachers?? You’re nothing but a total hypocrite. I remember debating with you and you were coming to the defense of others, but someone attacks 7000 plus people you don’t like and I am the mean guy for pointing it out. Dude you’re an embarrassment to Texas and I have no desire to debate with you because I have already seen that you have no desire to bring glory to the Kingdom you just care about you ideology period. Funny how you have no problem condemning and saying nasty stuff about Trump supporters. Does God give you a pass on them since you view them not worthy.

  • Nimblewill

    This sounds just like evangelicals who say that people have turned their back’s Christ when they walk away from church.

  • LuckyTN

    After reading the comments, I have to wonder how many people actually read and focus on Jesus’ teachings? Try turning yourself off and Jesus on.

  • Kate Johnson

    Sadly, I’m completely unsurprised by this. There are always Pharisees, and they never fail to reveal themselves, with their fear based thinking, and us vs them mentality. That’s why we have to be led by Christ, not people.

  • Jessica

    The church is divided because we need both. We need to read the Word and also be able to apply with Love

  • Pastor Craig

    Feel free to correct me if I am wrong (no doubt someone will). Social Justice is a pursuit for equality whereas Social Activism is tipping the scales toward the oppressed; in this case, based on race, gender, sexual identity (and I would like to throw in political affiliation too). To hire someone, vote for someone or admit someone to college just because of their race is racist (think affirmative action); to do the same based on gender is sexist etc. These policies are, what I call, social activism and are offensive to me.

    To hire someone based on merit, with no regard to race, gender or gender identity is, to me social justice.

    Unfortunately, today’s progressives would call my definition and execution of “social justice” offensive because, to them, social justice means social activism on steroids. To today’s progressives, treating people as equal is called Nazi-ism; to show favor to their protected group is racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic etc. By their standards, the only way to treat anyone in these protected groups is elevate them to exalted status and shower them with gold and jewels and rewards (you must hire them, you can’t fire them, you can’t arrest them, you must vote for them, etc).

    I am in total support of equality (my definition of social justice). I object to, and would sign my name to a letter saying as much, elevating any group to an honored or privileged status based on any external quality or label-du jour.

    “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” M.L. King. I guess MLK is out because he supported equality!

  • John C Holbert

    I find this to be true in so many ways! I have spent 50 years in churches as pastor and as preacher and as hearer, and even in so-called progressive places, the good news for the poor is too seldom heard.Thanks for this, and anyone who imagines that social justice is not at the very heart of the Bible is reading a very different Bible than I am.

  • BScriviner

    Oh, look, yet another so-called Christian perverting the Word of God.

  • BScriviner

    Wow. Sad.

  • Jonathan M

    I presume you are referring to the author of this ideological blog?

  • AWRM

    I just can’t understand it… how they could be so far off the mark?!

    You say SOME of the other prophets? First of all, Jeremiah would get all… well… “Jeremiah” on them. Followed by Ezekiel, Habakkuk, Amos, Joel, micah, hosea… they all went berzerk ranting at the phoney faith of the comfortable, highly esteemed and powerful religious people of their day. The parallels of the pre Babylonian Israelites and our current day church is very disturbing to me. Israel rejected the prophets and got a free trip to Babylon. We’ve rejected the words of the very Son of God… I shudder to think what lies ahead. Something “exceptional”, I suspect…

    It is so craaaazy! I actually can’t imagine that these people read the book they thump so loudly and so publicly. Lots of show and no substance… where have we seen that before?

  • SD Powell

    Should women be protected?

  • Apparently He does cowpunch…apparently he does…

    But besides that, how does the author, in your terms, condemn the 7000 preachers…do ya mean to jail, Hell, or to eternal damnation? How did he attack them…with grandpa Wilbert’s butcher knife, or did he simply express the fact that over 7,000 pastors signed onto John Macarthur’s divisive rhetoric then relayed his thoughts about it…

  • Helping the poor is probably the most important part of the gospel. Jesus said people will see our good works and glorify God because of them. It is wonderful God is glorified in lifting people up and helping our neighbors in any way we can. They will ask why we are doing this and we can point to Jesus, our example.

    In my opinion, the New Testament is clear about a Christian’s duty to government. We are to obey the laws unless the law asks us to worship anything or anyone other than our God; or if it asks us to do evil. There was only one true Theocracy in history, the Jewish Nation.

    God has not asked the United States to be a theocracy. Jesus never told Rome what they should be doing. Neither did the Apostles. Should they have? Should they have denounced the government for its cruelty, licentiousness and idolatry? Did God want them to do that? In a word, no.

    The Republicans broke the law of the land by not allowing President Obama choose a person for the Supreme Court. They want to change laws to go along with their theology. They want to force their morals on everyone in the country. They point to the founding fathers, who were mostly Deists. How about the Pilgrims who persecuted the Quakers and later those who burned witches? Not a good record for theocracy and religious governance.

  • Jonathan B. Smith

    Thank you for stating so eloquently what I was thinking.

  • Jonathan B. Smith

    Zactly! This dude is a Marxist-minded leftist who preaches a collectivist gospel. There is no repentance, no call to reject sin. The social justice movement seeks to amass worldly power, and there is no exhortation to make Christ Lord and Savior.

    Sad that Giles has rejected the true Gospel assuming that he accepted it at one time.

  • Timothy Weston

    Protected? In what way? Does that “protection” mean making their reproductive decisions for them?

  • Elgin

    While I agreed with much of what you say, I would differ on a few points. While we should help the poor, that is not, I believe, the most important part of the Gospel. I would also say that our duty does not end with the poor, although because of their need, they are a major focus. We are to care for those in prison, the sick, widows, our neighbors, in short everyone, even those we disagree with.

    As for your last paragraph, you are factually wrong. The President did nominate Merrick Garland, as was his right under the Constitution. The Senate, however also has a Constitutional role and given that it was the last year of Obama’s second term, choose not to consider the issue until after the election, thereby giving the people a voice in the process. You may not like what they did, but they were within their right under the Constitution to do so. As it turns out, the people did have a say given that surveys have shown that the Supreme Court was a significant factor in people’s voting for Trump.

    As for changing the laws to match their theology, this is also factually wrong. There are currently two competing views of the Constitution with each having many subfamilies of views. There are those who believe that the Constitution is to be understood as it was written, i.e., Originalists, and those believe the role of a Judge is to interpret the Constitution in light of the changing nature of society, i.e., the Living Constitution. The conflict is over legal theory, not theology and this is what has caused the growing political fights over Judges that Senator Kennedy launched in his floor speech against Bork in the 1980s

    The Left has counted on Liberal Judges to mandate much of their agenda that they could not get passed, or did not want to wait to get passed, into law in the normal fashion. The current uproar is because for the first time since the 1930s, it looks like there will be a majority of Originalists on the court and this puts much of the Left’s political agenda, which is rooted in the view of a living Constitution rather than the Constitution, at risk.

    You can certainly point to examples of intolerance and even evil committed by Christians in the past and sadly they are all too easy to find. But Christians or even the right are hardly the only source of such things. All have sinned and fallen short and thus such behavior is hardly confined merely to the right.

    In the modern era, it has been the Left, with their speech codes, Political Correctness, and censorship that has been forcing their view of morality on everyone. It is the Left that has tried to use the power of the state to force their version of morality on charity groups like the Little Sisters or the Poor. So maybe you should consider the beam before the splinter.

    Instead of demonizing those you disagree with, perhaps you should actually listen to them, rather than just accepting the hate-filled falsehoods spread about them. And yes, this is advice I frequently give to my friends on the right as well. Both sides need to attack less and listen more.

  • This entire document tremors with defensive anxiety over status loss in our society. It is sad, really.

  • Well, the church for the past 1500 years has not suffered for a “lack of knowledge.” Once the church began to collude with the “principalities and powers” of Rome following the Council of Nicaea, the die was cast. Faith became increasingly defined as intellectual assent to doctrinal statements designed to empower those entrenched in power positions, rather than simple faith in the work of Christ. Faith has come to mean Belief in those statements and has enabled all sorts of atrocities in the name of Christ. S. Baptists and their history of social injustices and the exploitation of people of color is one such example. Calvinism at its finest. The point is, doctrinal purity played little role advancing the Kingdom in society at large, conservative evangelicals preferring to “separate” themselves from what they saw as the evils of society in general, but refusing to acknowledge the enemy within.
    Conservative evangelicals are their own worst enemies as over the last century they have increasingly shown their hand as being at core, racist and xenophobic. The current interest in social justice, intersectionality and female empowerment is an indictment on conservatism in general. But rather than see it as an opportunity for authentic soul searching, men like MacArthur are threatened by it. They see it as threatening to the fortresses they have built, the books they’ve written, the flocks they’ve led and the theologies of complacency they so dearly cling to.
    Thank God this way of “doing church” is dying!

  • Keith, thanks for your thoughts. MacArthur brings to mind Paul’s warning in Ephesians about wrestling with “Principalities and Powers.” He is a man who has invested his life building an edifice to conservative, patriarchal and Calvinist doctrine. He has an invested, conflict of interest in maintaining that legacy. If one seriously believes that their doctrinal stance is based on an accurate assessment of an inerrant scripture, then there is no reason or cause for reassessment. It has long been my belief, and I would agree with Roger E. Olson on this, that classic reformed evangelicalism is not “reformable,” largely due to its assimilation of inerrancy for itself and its doctrinal positions. (see “Reformed and Always Reforming”)
    Intersectionality, radical feminism and social justice are, for MacArthur, competing ideologies that threaten the false narrative that he has built for himself. He may be sincere, but he is sincerely wrong. Nor does he recognize his perch built on White privilege, that in a position of privilege he believes he is best fit to lead the narrative on women, race, sexual minorities and poverty and the social interplay that leads to exploitation and marginalization.

  • M Diaz

    “Maybe none of them have ever read that Jesus was born into poverty. Or that Jesus blessed the poor.“

    Gee, let’s cherry pick the good bits from the Bible we like to keep it relevant and then whine about those who cherry pick the bits we don’t like…

    my goodness!!!
    Really? It is no secret Jesus resorted to hostility (condemnation and recieve God’s wrath in John 3) towards those who rejected him like a typical insecure bully…

  • Mary Lewis

    This is an example of how the scriptures are misinterpreted. You stated this question was sent out to Pastors, and they agreed.
    “We emphatically deny that lectures on social issues (or activism aimed at reshaping the wider culture) are as vital to the life and health of the church as the preaching of the gospel and the exposition of Scripture.”

    What I see is pastors agreeing that lectures on social issues are not as vital to the health of the church as preaching the gospel. They are putting the gospel first. How can you interpret the question and answer as denial of Jesus Christ?

  • MacArthur comes from a long Christian pedigree of White males that claim the exclusive right for themselves to determine what is best for women and people of color. Those before him stoned the “prophets” like Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King while years later paying lip service to the “sacrifices” those men and women payed in seeking social justice. Their forefathers stoned the prophets while their children build monuments to them, except in the South where good Christians would prefer statues to Confederate generals.
    MacArthur’s resistance to social justice is not surprising when you look into his alma mater, Bob Jones University.
    As was true of many Christian colleges and universities, Bob Jones was founded on segregationist principals, to uphold and strengthen White superiority, and separate Whites from undesirable “lesser” races. Following the Civil Rights Act of 1964, there was an explosion of private Christian schools, to avoid their precious White children from having to rub elbows with Black children.
    In the late 70’s Bob Jones risked losing government funding as a non-profit because of their segregationist policies against Blacks. A war ensued which Bob Jones eventually lost. When racism became an ugly word in society, conservative evangelicals were hard pressed to find a cause to rally their base to fight President Carter’s bid for a second term. They found it in abortion. Suddenly they had a cause that didn’t scream, “I am a racist!” Instead they began a concerted attack on women.
    It is from this Petri dish of latent racism and sexual repression of women that MacArthur arose.

  • Gregory Miller

    I didn’t sign John M.’s proclamation. But to say that those who did, “do not follow Jesus in any way, shape or form” is pure idiocy.

    Extremists like you kill your own credibility by painting with brooms and lacking much of anything that resembles thoughtfulness or sound, logical, sane reasoning.

    And your attempt to speak for Jesus is simply absurd.

  • Gregory, perfect example of White privilege “snowflakes.” When pushed back, conservative Whites get all incensed. MacArthur has been anything but shy in his incessant attacks on Pentecostals, Charismatics, Catholics, the Jesus Movement of the 70’s, the Women’s Movement, psychiatry in general, his disavowal of anything but young earth creationism. Anything that threatens or is contrary to his personal beliefs is “a threat to the Gospel.” It’s his “go to” defense.
    It is my belief that if one is going to attack others for their beliefs then they should not be all… “you can’t hit me back.” Bullies always can dish it out but seldom can take it in return.

  • SD Powell

    You know exactly what I mean. A pregnant woman is the only one capable of making a decision about an abortion. She does not need religious views inflicted on her that she doesn’t even follow. Abortions have occurred for centuries. Millions of living, breathing women who had friends and family who loved them died before Roe v. Wade. It is exceptionally arrogant that men actually think they have a say in this matter. Women will never again tolerate being subjugated by law based on religious zealotry.

  • Timothy Weston

    Thank you! I was not sure where you were coming from in your initial reply. My view is this: The decision about abortion should be up to the one who is pregnant and it should be made available safely without delay. I have seen “protection of women” as an excuse to take away that decision.

  • Mikkal VanPelt

    Yep. There’s nothing like actually quoting the words of a person to show that said person didn’t really mean what he said. So like quoting Cheebus kills his credibility. Can you say “hypocrite”?

  • Jonathan M

    Listen dude. I know you think you’re cool because you write blogs that maybe a 100 people read, but if you’re not smart enough to figure out what I’m talking about you’re not smart enough to debate. The fact is this author claimed that 7000 pastors who have dedicated their lives to serving Jesus didnt follow him. It’s funny that your leftist side cries anytime Trump or anyone says anything rude yet this person said 7000 who have dedicated their lives to something didn’t mean it. Wow what hypocrisy again and again from you. The irony is if this was a right winged article bashing abortion doctors because they dont hold up to their oath you would have your panties, yes I said panties, in a wad!

  • TxNetCop

    The Social Justice Movement was not born in heaven…that does not mean I am not a believer and follower of our risen Lord and Savior. The Social Justice movement seems to be from hell…

  • Marianne Aldrich

    “tipping the scales toward the oppressed”.

    So was Jesus being fair and balanced when he told the parable of everyone getting paid the same, whether they came to work at the beginning of the day or only toward the end?

    Equity, not equality, is the message of the gospels.

  • Joao Gemal

    This is, at the botton of the question, what is happenning, futher their social justice. There’s a person very well known that did the same, expending money with perfum while there are poors outside there. By the way his name is ( or was )Judas.

  • Marianne Aldrich

    So on the one hand the secular side of me completely agrees and is furious and disgusted with this so-called proclamation and how thoroughly it betrays the values I learned at the knees of my Christian grandmothers (one Catholic, one Methodist). But on the other hand, with the remnant Christianity that I can still lay claim too, I don’t see a blanket angry condemnation of 7000 people as having much truck with “turn the other cheek” or “judge not, lest ye be judged”. It’s true, they seemingly are not respecting those foundational tenets of Christianity either, when they issue such a statement – far less so in my personal opinion. But I believe it is *imperative* for progressive Christians to model the behavior we know is right, and demolish beliefs and actions as ungodly (to the best of our understanding), *not* other people. No one knows the truest measure of a person but God. We can reject their choices, reject their theology, reject the harm they do to others – but at the point where we reject *them* as people this categorically and unblinkingly, we are ourselves in error. (As I said, it’s an error I am prone to myself.) It seems clear to me that you are a deeply loving person in general, and that you can more clearly distinguish between your entirely reasonable wrath at this statement, and the people themselves, who will remain children of God no matter how much evil they wreak in the world. (And I say that as someone who has been the direct recipient of a significant amount of such evil….)

  • ” they do not follow Jesus in any way, shape or form.”
    these shock-jock fallacies of exaggeration had me opping out of the rest of the article. boring.

  • oh wait, i saw this crazy line, too:
    “”..deny lectures on social issues. are as vital ..as the preaching of the gospel and the exposition of Scripture.” If that isn’t sad, I don’t know what is.”
    why would anyone put a man written lecture above scripture?
    what’s sad is the lack of logical argumenttation (making a valid and potentiall sound point) this author puts forward which reifies the bigotry agais the ‘social left’ as being incoherently judgmental and mean.

  • Elgin

    While I agreed with much of what you say, I would differ on a few points. While we should help the poor, that is not, I believe, the most important part of the Gospel. I would also say that our duty does not end with the poor, although because of their need, they are a major focus. We are to care for those in prison, the sick, widows, our neighbors, in short everyone, even those we disagree with.

    As for your last paragraph, you are factually wrong. The President did nominate Merrick Garland, as was his right under the Constitution. The Senate, however also has a Constitutional role and given that it was the last year of Obama’s second term, choose not to consider the issue until after the election, thereby giving the people a voice in the process. You may not like what they did, but they were within their right under the Constitution to do so. As it turns out, the people did have a say given that surveys have shown that the Supreme Court was a significant factor in people’s voting for Trump.

    As for changing the laws to match their theology, this is also factually wrong. There are currently two competing views of the Constitution with each having many subfamilies of views. There are those who believe that the Constitution is to be understood as it was written, i.e., Originalists, and those believe the role of a Judge is to interpret the Constitution in light of the changing nature of society, i.e., the Living Constitution. The conflict is over legal theory, not theology and this is what has caused the growing political fights over Judges that Senator Kennedy launched in his floor speech against Bork in the 1980s.

    The Left has counted on Liberal Judges to mandate much of their agenda that they could not get passed, or did not want to wait to get passed, into law in the normal fashion. The current uproar is because for the first time since the 1930s, it looks like there will be a majority of Originalists on the court and this puts much of the Left’s political agenda, which is rooted in the view of a living Constitution rather than the Constitution, at risk.
    You can certainly point to examples of intolerance and even evil committed by Christians in the past and sadly they are all too easy to find. But Christians or even the right are hardly the only source of such things. All have sinned and fallen short and thus such behavior is hardly confined merely to the right.

    In the modern era, it has been the Left, with their speech codes, Political Correctness, and censorship that has been forcing their view of morality on everyone. It is the Left that has tried to use the power of the state to force their version of morality on charity groups like the Little Sisters or the Poor. So maybe you should consider the beam before the splinter.

    Instead of demonizing those you disagree with, perhaps you should actually listen to them, rather than just accepting the hate-filled falsehoods spread about them. And yes, this is advice I frequently give to my friends on the right as well. Both sides need to attack less and listen more.

  • Alonzo

    It is quite apparent that Kieth Giles does not know how to read the Bible in context. It is also apparent that he imposes his own ideological interpretation onto the Bible and ignores biblical theology altogether. Giles creates a false dichotomy by placing social justice and McArthur opposite one another arbitrarily and then cherry picks biblical passages to support his faulty reasoning. The next time Giles writes an article, perhaps he should read the Bible without ignoring what it says. His approach is flat out wrong, because he totally ignores the authors’ intent in his citations and establishes his own philosophy around faulty reasoning for engaging in personal attack on a class of Christians. Bad form.

  • M Opinero

    Jesus responded to Judas and defended Mary’s actions because he is being prepared for his burial. This is the only instance it happened in the entire bible narrative. Whose burial are these people preparing now?

  • Elgin

    I am not sure what you are trying to say with the sentence, “This is, at the botton of the question, what is happenning, futher their social justice.”

  • Pastor Craig

    Are you suggesting that we should have a law that required everyone to get paid the same amount regardless of what they do? (if you are, please let me know because I would love to expound on this topic)

    I thought this parable was about how God chooses his elect. The parable starts with “For the kingdom of Heaven is like…” The moral being that He is as likely to choose a murderer who has a “come-to-Jesus” experience and seeks forgiveness over an upstanding, generous, virtuous person who doesn’t believe in Him.

    If, however, you believe that the parable is about economics, then the moral is that the landowner (business owner) has the right to pay the workers as they see fit; and if you get paid less than the person sitting next to you doing the same job, too bad, mind your own business.

    Just a thought.

    Definition of equity by Merriam-Webster: justice according to natural law or right; specifically freedom from bias or favoritism.
    Definition of equality by Merriam-Webster: the quality or state of being equal.

    Not sure I get your point, help me out! Tipping the scales toward the oppressed is “bias or favoritism” and thus not equity (or equality).

  • james warren

    Today’s Christians would rather worship Christ instead of following Jesus.

    Jesus’ parables [and he was remembered as someone who “taught ALL in parables”] overturned and dislocated the conventional wisdom of his day.

    Jesus was disturbing–then as now.

    “The Father makes his sun to shine on the evil and the good and lets the rain fall on both the righteous and the unrighteous.”
    “Why do you call ME good? Only God is good.”
    “Go and learn what this means: [God] desires mercy and NOT sacrifice.”
    “Pray to the Father in secret.”
    “Love your enemies.”

  • james warren

    Salvation is all about transformation in THIS life.
    Jesus did not announce himself as a blood sacrifice for sin.
    In his own words, he came to call people to repentance and to preach the Kingdom of God ON EARTH in parables.

  • james warren

    “Without God, we cannot. Without us, God will not.”

  • james warren

    Jesus had nothing for the Gentiles. His message was to the House of Israel. He referred to Gentiles as “dogs” and mocked their praying style. His program was to send his followers to knock on peasant households and share food and do some healing.

    The so-called “Great Commission” is recorded only in Matthew’s gospel and is the first time anywhere in the gospel tradition that the risen Christ is said to have spoken any words.

    Any words attributed to the exalted Jesus are the product of the early church. No one, anywhere, at any time do people who are dead speak after they are dead.

    Matthew is the second gospel to be written. Note that in the first gospel, Mark (written in the early 70’s CE.), there is no narrative of the risen Christ ever appearing to anyone at any time and thus there is no opportunity for Jesus to be allowed to speak.

    According to the translation in the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, the words of the “Great Commission” are, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel.”

    What do these words mean? First, let me state what they do not mean.

    They are not a challenge to become missionaries in order to evangelize the world and thus to make converts of all people to the Christian religion. That is a dreadful misconception based on the imperialism of Christianity that developed after Christianity became the established religion of the empire in the Fourth century CE.

    When Matthew’s gospel was written, the followers of Jesus were still members of the synagogue. The Christian community did not separate itself from the synagogue until about the year 88 C.E. which would have been within a decade after Matthew’s gospel was written.

  • james warren

    What specific knowledge are we talking about here?
    A focused look at Christian history tells us that everyone believes differently about who God is and what he wants.

    For me, Jesus is the “norm” of the Bible, and it is the God of Jesus that matters:

    Full of grace, mercy, justice, compassion, nonviolent, anti-tribal, and present in the corrupt and the unclean.

  • james warren

    I am a hypocrite.
    You are a hypocrite.
    We are all hypocrites.

    Jesus asked us to pay attention to the giant timbers in our own eyes before we deem to point out the tiny speck of sawdust in our neighbor’s.

    Hypocrisy is as new as today’s politics and as old as the Bible.

  • james warren

    Unfortunately, we have to be led by people’s interpretations of Jesus.

  • james warren

    Let’s get one thing straight.

    We ALL cherry-pick. We only have a limited lifetime to harvest those cherries we need from an infinite cherry orchard.

    Our personal thoughts, emotions, beliefs and character have to be picked.

    Everyone has their own unique bowl of cherries.

  • james warren

    Logic and rationality are not the ways we can express the passion and character of the God of Jesus.

    That’s why all of the world’s major faiths use the language of metaphor when articulating the divine.

  • james warren

    Sermon on the Mount shows careful readers a truly revolutionary set of teachings about poverty, debt, and other economic issues.

    It includes the Beatitudes, the Lord’s Prayer, the choice between honoring God and Mammon [Money & wealth] and God’s provision for the material needs of the people.

    The first main teaching in the Sermon on the Mount is the Beatitudes. Similar to how the phrase “the poor are with you always” has been used to justify poverty, the presence of “blessed are the poor in spirit” in the first Beatitude in Matthew (as opposed to Luke’s Sermon on the Plain, where he speaks simply of the “poor”) has often been used to spiritualize the gospel and claim that Jesus is not concerned with material/economic issues.

    Jesus was disturbing. He still is. People tend to domesticate his preaching so that they will remain comfortable and secure.

  • Thousands do chief and no I don’t think that, but I do know that I realize more substantive material than what your opinionated rhetoric could ever deliver…now back to the article, there was no condemnation…just pointing out what occurred as viewed from his lens.

    Perhaps one day, we might really have a debate in person eye-to-eye…perhaps wed both be a bit more mannerly…behave yourself ya here and lets truly debate.

    Now pray tell; where did the author of this article actually condemn those poor 7,000 wretched souls…

  • airstart

    You are so misguided, my friend. Jesus’ ministry was to the Jews, because that was His mission given to him by His Father,our God.
    You’ve obviously just read excerpts, bits and pieces from the Bible, and now you try to pass yourself off as an expert. Typical for atheists . Sound bites, out if context snippets, and hear say from other Biblically illiterate atheists. is the norm for you folks.
    If you actually read the book of Acts, you’ll see that the resurrected Jesus appointed Saul of Tarsus, later known as Paul, as the Apostle to the Gentiles, while Peter, the leader of the disciples during Jesus’ ministry was sent to some Gentile people in Israel, as a result of a vision.
    If you’re going to dispute with a savvy Christian about the Bible, you should actually read it.
    Mark’s gospel may have been complete by 45 AD, and the other two synoptics were probably written and in circulation among the believers by 70 AD. John’s Gospel was probably written last of the 4. Paul’s letters had to be all written before 67 AD since Paul was beheaded by Nero about then.
    Since your obvious anti-Christian or probable atheistic worldview and your ignorance of Biblical Christianity is so pervasive, it probably doesn’t matter what I say anyway, but God is real and Jesus Christ, His Son loves you enough to die and raise again so you could avoid hell but it’s your choice, not mine. I’ve given you the truth.

  • airstart

    You continue to use the term “conservative evangelicals” like it was a social disease. Social justice is not included in the Biblical teaching , it’s an invention of the liberal Church, mostly Catholic, or main stream Protestantism. The ones that are most misguided of all. Their doctrines are predominantly preterism, amillennial, and replacement theology. and are entirely unbiblical. Jesus never taught social justice, He and the Apostles were pro charity, (especially in the early Church) but the social justice the liberals speak of, actually have nothing to do with Jesus’ teachings.
    Apart from winning converts, teaching and rescuing babies or lost souls, and praying for sick and infirm, the 1st / 2nd century Church “were” the poor and outcasts.
    If it weren’t for the Evangelical community, the Biblical truths would be lost to the Biblically illiterate, misguided liberal Christianity.
    Not that the Evangelicals are squeaky clean, but how many Baptists have you ever heard about who murder Catholics, Armenians, misguided liberal Christians, Emergent Church idiots, or even Protestants that believe they’re establishing some sort of pervasive millennial Kingdom by their social justice activities??

  • airstart

    You’re correct, however, the number of Parishes or Churches, that actually impart true knowledge, are dwindling. If you go to a prosperity gospel church like Joel Osteen’s or Kenneth Copeland, what you’ll hear is not related to the true Gospel. If you go to most mainstream protestant churches, you’ll hear the power of positive thinking taught, with a liberal dose of social justice, and a Catholic Mass you’ll get a Jesus cracker, a shot of wine to wash it down, and a lecture on the catechism.

  • jekylldoc

    I have to ask myself why a person who follows Jesus is bothering to oppose (not absent themselves from, but oppose) social justice. I am not going to read your book to find out what your answer is, but really, a proud declaration “We are against Social Justice”? What Christianity could possibly be motivating this?

    On the contrary, the obvious answer is a long history of racism disguising itself as Christianity in the United States of America. Speaking of using the name of God to support one’s own interests, standing in the community, and ultimately, oppression of others.

  • Jesus began his public ministry by quoting from the prophet Isaiah. “The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim deliverance to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to release the oppressed.” …”Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”… From the very onset Jesus identifies with the prophetic voice that is concerned with the poor, the disabled, the broken and the marginalized. The “Day of the Lord,” the coming Kingdom the prophets spoke of was not a day of Wrath (Jesus purposefully leaves that part of Isaiah out), but a day of Justice, a time when the world is made right and the physical as well as spiritual needs of all are met.
    You have brought up a lot of side issues unrelated to “social justice,” amillennialism, preterism, and replacement theology. I will not bother addressing them.

    Seriously, was the Early Church in a position economically or politically to to lobby the Roman government for social justice and equality? The fact that they were not only proves that they were not in a position to do much about it. Charity was indeed, the best a beleaguered, persecuted and poor community could muster up. No, what the real issue here is, not, what can the church do to elevate world hunger, income equality, etc., but what is the role responsible government is to play in social issues. The core issue for conservative evangelicals is a resentment of the government requiring more than simple charity to elevate human suffering. It is why most evangelicals I have encountered are Libertarians.

    Neither capitalism or democratic socialism are “Christian” systems. They are simply political ideals attempting to solve real world problems. The problem with “charity,” is that it cannot possibly meet the needs of the world’s poor, sick and economically exploited. The government is much better equipped than the church to meet those needs. The problem with capitalism is that it is basically exploitative. It leads to great wealth for a minute few, based on the sweat of a great many. In 1929 it failed and failed badly. Socialism bailed America out. Now, if conservative Christians were content with saying we will stick to a salvation message and leave social justice to the government all would be peachy. But that is not what they want. They wish to impede the government’s “intrusion” into this area, viewing it as “theft” of their pocketbooks. They are satisfied with putting a bandaid on these issues via charities. It is a me-first mentality.

    Your subsequent comments on “Baptists” reveal a total ignorance of how the church has contributed to social injustice. Read Mark Noll’s “The Civil War as Theological Crisis,” then tell me how evangelicalism isn’t a part of the problem and still is not.

  • TinnyWhistler

    How grateful we are that you and your church have figured it out.