8 Signs That You Might Be An Evangelical Reject

Evangelical Reject signs

It’s been 3.5 years since I originally coined the phrase “Evangelical Reject.” And a lot has happened in those years, in my life and in the culture of the church in America.

For one, when I originally wrote “You Might Be An Evangelical Reject If…,” the word “evangelical” still had authority as a label for millennials like myself. Many of us were desperately clinging to what we could to prove to our more “conservative” friends, church members, and family members that we were still passionate about Jesus. Often to no avail. We were Evangelical Rejects.

Despite affirming–

1) the centrality of the Scriptures for understanding God and life,
2) a belief in the efficacy of Christ’s death and resurrection for personal salvation,
3) a commitment to missional (oops…still a “cuss” word in some churches) living because of the teachings of Christ, and
4) the conviction that God transforms us into Christlikeness from the moment we accept God’s invitation of discipleship

–many folks who were/are wrestling with difficult questions about the bible and life in the world were essentially rejected as “heretics.”

Interestingly, heresy seems to historically mean a rejection of a central teaching of the church as embodied in the two Creeds (Apostles’ and Nicene), but has come to mean in certain (*not all*) evangelical communities ‘anything that doesn’t fit what we’ve believed during the past few generations.’ Quite unfortunate.

Most of us who were feeling the angst of rejection no longer cling to the label “evangelical.” If what I described above places me firmly in that “club” then count me in. But I’m no longer worried about descriptors. I simply want to follow the resurrected Jesus of history and the cosmos wherever he takes me and my community of friends. That is NOT a plea to “reject” the sorts of evangelicals who have rejected you: but to not allow that pain to define and stunt your spiritual growth.

If you are reading this article, it is highly likely that you’ve been reading my blog for some time. Perhaps you remember that original “reject” post and it spoke to you. Honored.

And others are reading about this “evangelical reject” idea for the first time but might also resonate. This post is especially for you. It seems to me that God is the God of the rejected…now that is affirming.

So, what I want to do for the remained of this post is remind folks that find themselves in difficult church, family, and friendship situations that they are not alone. We, Christians from all around the world, are with you: even when you feel alone.

Here are 8 signs that you might be an Evangelical Reject:

1) You are nuanced in your understanding of “heresy” while believing that Jesus Christ is the source of all Truth.

In other words, judging folks who are wrestling with difficult questions about God and the bible, or those who come to different conclusions is off the table. Of course, heresy is a real thing–truth exists–but the honest truth is that we can’t know truth with absolute certainty.

The only truth we can know, we grow to know, which is Jesus the Truth. But even here we see things like St. Paul: “Now we see a reflection in a mirror; then we will see face-to-face. Now I know partially, but then I will know completely in the same way that I have been completely known” (1 Cor. 13.12 CEB). Absolute certainty is a myth. Heresy matters, but it shouldn’t be defined by those who have “all the right answers.” Sure, if someone rejects the foundational statements of the Apostles’ Creed, this is technically heresy. For most Evangelical Rejects, that isn’t a big issue. It’s theological reflection and missional practice that gets us into trouble.

2) You can live in tension, not having every answer, but are enlivened by the mystery that emerges as you ask hard questions.

This second point connects with the first. Perhaps you used to think that all the answers about God and the world were a simple matter of research. You might have even thought that being a Christian, in the way that you were a Christian, was the only logical way to see the world. How could anyone be so ignorant? you exclaimed as you WROTE YOUR CLEAR RESPONSES TO FACEBOOK POSTS IN ALL CAPS TO PROVE HOW SMART YOU WERE.

But then something changed. You found yourself in love with Jesus in a new way. New questions rose up out of that relationship with the God of the universe and you realized just how small you actually are. The only response was to either give up on faith or live in tension. And in some odd way, the tension and the mystery actually fostered spiritual growth. This is a tell-tale sign of someone who might become an Evangelical Reject.

3) If you are a church leader, you’ve “parted ways” from a leadership position due to the questions you were asking.

This is the case over and over again. I have heard numerous stories, including my own, where young (usually, but not exclusively so) pastors/leaders have been forced out of a church setting for quietly pondering new things about God. One day, you were at a youth retreat and the next day, upon your return, you are summoned into the senior pastor’s office.

“Sooooo… we’re gonna have to let you go. We found these on your bookshelf and now realize that you are not compatible with “orthodox” Christianity.” (To which your eyes come up from the spot on the ground you were fixating on in nervousness to see books by N.T. Wright, Brian McLaren, Greg Boyd, Rob Bell, and Brennan Manning.) #EvangelicalReject

4) You have no problem simultaneously affirming biological evolution alongside an authoritative view of Genesis 1-11.

Many have been rejected over the conviction that the Bible doesn’t tell us “how the heavens go” but “how to get to heaven” (well, the renewed creation). For you, genre matters when approaching the Scriptures. The Bible didn’t fall out of the sky one day but is embedded with cultural and stylistic markers of any ancient book.

Yes, God was involved in the process, but you have no problem seeing that God accommodates for culture to teach them deeper truths–including in areas of science. So did God create the world? Yes! Does the Bible describe how this happened? Not really…especially not in a “literal” sense. Fighting the anti-evolution war is counter-productive and leads many young people to eventually reject God. Evangelical Rejects get this.

5) You hate culture wars and wish certain Christians would stop wasting their energy and giving God a bad name.

Chick Fil A. Atheism. Supreme Court rulings. Enough already–you shout! Let’s love our neighbors rather than defend some innate rights we think we should have. Let’s promote equality. Let’s create an alternative culture of inclusion and love. Let’s stop bickering. It’s mean. It’s judgmental. And it’s counter to God’s mission in the world to restore all things.

6) You think nationalism (specifically in the USA) is killing the church and her witness.

You might be like me, committed to Christian nonviolence. Jesus taught it. You follow Jesus. Makes sense. Well, not to the many Christians who believe that America is God’s gift to the world. Apparently we were founded on Christian values like slavery and genocide freedom and democracy. Christians that believe in the “myth of a Christian nation” (thanks Greg Boyd) continue to force Christ into the center of our public life and as a way to justify violent foreign policy. This Jesus is cool with bombing innocent people as long as the ends justify the means… especially Muslims in other countries.

And as patient as you want to be with these folks, you one day let this slip out: “This isn’t a Christian nation!” This, of course, was prompted with the uneasiness you’re recovering from after the church service happened to fall on July 4th. This day, having been given the same priority as Christmas, left you dumbfounded as videos of flags, bombers, and crosses celebrated nationalism rather than the unique Kingdom of God that transcends borders. You are done–and on the brink of rejection. Toppling over this sacred cow of conservative evangelicalism will make you an Evangelical Reject. Bringing up nationalism and/or nonviolence really ticks certain Christians off–that saddens me.

7) You tell your non-Christian friends as often as it comes up that “I’m not that kind of Christian.”

You already broke a cardinal rule of evangelical culture: you have non-Christian friends and your primary goal in life isn’t to merely convert them. In fact, your view is that you would still be friends with these “pagan” folks even if you knew that they would never assent to you belief system. And to these friends, you’re a radical. “You’re a Christian and you care about that…” Those kinds of comments warm your heart.

However, when asked about these friends that you hang out with, certain evangelical friends ask: “Have you talked with them about heaven and hell yet?” You try to respond honestly to which you get told that their eternal soul is in your hands if you do not walk them through the 4 Spiritual Laws or some other evangelism tract. Rejection from church friends may result. Bummer. Here you are trying to be a neighbor-lover through authentic friendships (meaning without a coercive agenda of conversionism) and you get scolded for it. And hey, it’s not like you don’t want your non-Christian friends to become followers of Jesus, but you know that this is only a possibility through being authentic, not a salesperson.

8) You think God’s primary posture toward the universe is love.

God became a human to die for the brokenness of the cosmos. That is a big deal. God doesn’t hate non-Christians. God is passionately “for” them. Loves them. And loves us all.

Here’s what is beautiful about the God I discover in the face of Jesus of Nazareth: he shows us what God is truly like. This Jesus taught virtues like generosity, justice, humility, nonviolence, and love. This is the sort of guy/God that Evangelical Rejects make it their goal to emulate, a “God [who] so loved the world that he gave…”

So, have you experienced rejection from segments of the church, your family, or your friends? Know that you are not alone. These 8 signs that you might be an Evangelical Reject are only a few. The bottom line is this:

How will you respond to rejection–like the Christ who was rejected to a Roman execution device or in anger?

These two can exist together to some extent, but my hope for all Evangelical Rejects is that we will choose the former and not the latter.

Any signs of your own to add?

5 Ways Christians Can Be Better Friends to LGBTQ Persons
Logos 7 is Here! Time to Nerd Out a Bit!
Paul’s “Problem” with Torah: Why Evangelicalism’s Law vs Grace Preaching Needs to be Reconsidered
The Sexual Exploitation of Young Girls & the Kingdom of Christ
  • revfish2

    I stopped calling myself an evangelical a long time ago. How about God/Jesus-follower? Constantly in motion, asking,”…….so where are we going now, why are we goi

  • revfish2

    …going there?”, and so many other assorted questions along the way. I think God loves our questions and engenders many of them. But to suggest that God would do this is so far-out for most people I encounter….we always want certainties instead of faith. Peace!

  • Sarah Boonstra-Boer

    This is actually the first time I’ve read your blog but I really liked what you said :) I have LOTS of other stuff going on but this certainly named a few things I’ve encountered :)

  • Eve Fisher

    I don’t know that I’ve ever been an evangelical per se, but I know that I’ve been an Evangelical Reject: my husband and I were once on vacation and asked to Bible study by a man who proceeded to try mightily to save us during it. We explained that we truly did believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, and eventually hit enough of his buzz words that he believed us. But instead of continuing with actually studying the Bible, which we were quite ready to do, he wrapped it up, and never spoke to us again, other than to say “hi” in passing. We both winced and laughed about it at the time: it stung a bit, but it wasn’t our problem.

    Hint to all evangelicals: if you want to “save someone’s soul”, but at the same time you have no interest in being friends or even acquaintances with them, and drop them quickly once they’re “saved”, people might suspect that you have an agenda that actually has nothing to do with them or their salvation, but more like notches on your own spiritual belt.

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/ Kurt Willems

      Well said Eve!

    • Amelia

      Eve, I can honestly say that I have been on both sides. The side of the nan of which you speak was in my younger days. The side you and your husband are on more recently. Thank you for saying this. Simply and well said.

    • Coral Gathman Cook

      …or gun…spiritual gun.

  • Kelly Boyer Sagert

    I have never labeled myself — or NOT labeled myself — as “evangelical,” but this list sure sounds just like me. So, before I’ve ever officially been evangelical, I am a reject.

  • Susie Caron

    I am guilty of all. I’ve actually said, “I’m a Christian but I am NOT evangelical. Now I know why.
    I am NOT alone? I AM an Evangelical Reject. That is the best news I’ve heard lately.
    Please Oh Lord, forgive my sins and the sins of all your ER’s. Please help us to not be Luke warm but to be on fire for Jesus, even if it’s just on the inside sometimes.
    Thank you Kurt Willems.

  • Randolph Bragg

    Heresy simply means “choice.” Evangelicals are anti-choice, in more ways than one.

  • Alan

    So do you think I can reject some of your beliefs and not reject you? You do know thatvi can actually totally disagree with you without rejectingvyou right? Or maybe itviz only you who is allowed to do that with your lost friends. ? What exactly would you say is the difference between you and your lost friends? And when do you finally get around to telling your lost friends of sin, separation, the sacrifice of Jesus and grace? I’m serious not sarcastic.
    Also I’m sure just possessing z book by bell Manning znx McLaren would not make you a geritic but they could not hold completely yo the creeds you mentikned , at least on truth.

    • Stuart Blessman

      No, you are just silly.

  • Alan

    “Absolute certainty is a myth”
    Really? Are you certain of that? So you do not know for absolute certainty that you are or will be saved? So you do not know for certain if Jesus is the Son of God? So you do not know for certain if Jesus really loves you or if God is really love?

    • Kevin Thomas

      If I am truly honest…Someday’s I don’t– I think Abba is okay with that because He created me and knows me intimately. I think He honors honesty. Certainty seeking faith can be idolatrous (trying to get life from something that can’t give it)….worshiping the answers versus Jesus. I think the challenge is to remain faithful to Christ in times of uncertainty.

      • Alan

        Thanks for your reply Kevin. How do you know there is a Jesus? How do you know to worship him? How do you know He desires your worship? How do you know what remaining faithful to Christ looks like?

        • Kevin Thomas

          It all starts with Jesus. What were His claims? What did others have to say about Him? I think CS Lewis’ liar lunatic, lord proposal is a strong one. Pascal’ wager makes sense to me. Probably the biggest variable to me coming back to faith after a 20 year hiatus was being loved back ino the Kingdom . There were individuals that sacrificially loved me with their time and energy and they were followers of Jesus. Of course the Holy Spirit draws us to Him. Scripture shows me the heart of God. But even with all of these things…there are days that I wonder if I am being bamboozled. In the end I have given my life to Jesus and have married Him. In spite of the periods of uncertainty I choose to live for Him. You see for me it’s about relationship…not a set of beliefs. I love theology…but it’s not what keeps me married to Him.

          • Alan

            I hear you Kevin. But how did you first know there was a Jesus and how do you know He will save you? I know the same way Jesus defeated Satan, “it is written” I just take God at his Word. Thanks for the chat brother.

          • Kevin Thomas

            I was told in Sunday school as a young child. The Holy Spirit gave me eyes to see as a child–I left (my choice) on a sabbatical so to speak because of what I saw as rampant hypocrisy and a lack of love. I Ultimately felt like I couldn’t perform well enough for Abba. The rest of my story is in my post above.

          • Arielle Jona’ Whitaker

            Good grief it was like I was reading my own biography.

    • Stuart Blessman

      It absolutely is. Otherwise there is no such thing as the Christian Faith, merely the Christian Fact.

      Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?

      or…

      Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.

      Which is Biblical?

      • Alan

        Stuart, I have believed and am believing on the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Are you saying that you do not have an absolute certainty that Jesus died on the cross? Or are you saying there are some absolutes in this Christian faith. Something doesn’t have to 100% mystery to have faith in it. How do you even know there is a Jesus?

        • Jeff Y

          The problem here, Alan, is first, on which truths (please do list them all) must we have absolute certainty? And, what about the man who said, “I do believe, help my unbelief?” is he lost? Second, God is true but we do not have certain knowledge about him or about Jesus (history is not certainty). And the knowledge we do have is incomplete. Faith is not certainty. It is trust with evidence but in light of uncertainty even as we wrestle with our uncertainties – as Jesus himself did (“My God, My God, why …”). As Peter Rollins puts it, “We have to hold our beliefs in open palms, not in closed fists.” It doesn’t mean we don’t hold them still. But we allow them to be questioned knowing that we may need to change them or nuance them differently.

      • RPlavo .

        And the Lord Jesus simply says: “Follow me”

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/ Kurt Willems

      We are approaching this from two very different philosophical understandings. I know you mean well… and in earlier years I would have responded similarly… but I do not believe that the human mind has the capacity to know something in its fullness… especially God. We know glimpses of God… but will only “know fully” in the resurrection. Absolute Truth/Objective knowledge is an invention of the Enlightenment and not a biblical concept.

      • Alan

        Seems if we actually use the Bible there are some absolute certain contained therein. I’m sure I don’t have to point them out to you. And “in earlier years” ? How old are you?
        I certainly don’t have everything nailed down and there certainly are great mysteries with God and scripture. But I believe the scriptures gives us some absolutes. To say there are no absolutes is really ignoring it.

      • Stuart Blessman

        Amen

      • John MacLean

        Hi Kurt, Thanks for your writing – just found your blog and read several posts and I resonate. Quick question / comment based your comment – What do you think is the kind of “knowing” in the “knowing fully” in I cor 13? Is it cognitive / propositional / Enlightenment knowing or personal, “face to face” knowing? I, perhaps owing to my perspective / bias as an educator, have come to disagree (I think) with the common evangelical thought that “when we get to heaven” everything will be answered and clear. How boring! I think that, based on the dialogic way God seems to be inclined to interact with us, and God’s lack of concern with immediately correcting some misunderstandings (e.g. ancient near-east cosmology), God might just respond to our questions with “A few others just asked me about that – why don’t you all go study that for a while and then we can discuss what you come up with. Oh, and you might want to talk to _______ – she wrote her dissertation on this topic.” Or maybe God will just respond to me this way 😉 Your thoughts?

        • http://patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/ Kurt Willems

          I certainly think when creation is restored, that we will know more than we do now. Insofar that Truth is a person, it seems that we will have a deep relational knowing–not an Enlightenment style base of downloaded information per se. Great observation and thanks for reading the blog!!!
          Peace.

          KURT WILLEMS
          http://kurtwillems.com
          http://facebook.com/kurtwillems
          http://twitter.com/kurtwillems

    • Ken

      I think you are somewhat missing Kurt’s point Alan. Truth (as in “Jesus the Truth”) is not synonymous with or dependent on a fallible individual’s certainty. Truth (Jesus) just is. One’s journey to Jesus is a constant for the duration of his/her life and filled with many pitfalls. Ergo, yes, absolute certainty is a myth.

      • http://engagetheculture.org/ Mike D’Virgilio

        If I could jump in here . . . . (great conversation, btw) I think we’re getting hung up on the word “certainty” which is not helpful. All of our knowledge is limited and proximate, and we can only know based on probability. So we can be sure or certain of things beyond a reasonable doubt, but we cannot be sure or certain beyond all doubt. That is just a fact of our existence as finite creatures, and one that Christians of all people should embrace.

        We are always put on the defensive by the atheist, agnostic or skeptic as if only we have the burden of proof. In the Reason for God. Tim Keller points out that all doubts are really a set of alternative beliefs. Everyone begins with certain philosophical assumptions that are not provable. In fact the concept of proof regarding metaphysical or religious ideas is not helpful. Evidence beyond a reasonable doubt is, whether that evidence is reason (e.g. would the disciples make up an Isaiah 53 Messiah who then bodily raised from the dead, then die for it? Uh, not likely), or historical validity (the historicity of the person of Christ and the confidence we can have that the words of the New Testament were written pretty much as we read them today), or empirical, measurable facts (e.g. archaeological findings that confirm Luke’s geographical depictions in Acts).

        I’m as certain as a person can be about the veracity of the Christian message, as I’ve staked my life on it, but I can imagine that the moment I cross the river and open my eyes on the other side I’m going to shout, “It’s actually real!!!!).

    • Julie

      Where is the element of faith in all that certainty?

  • Andrea

    *wasting, not “waisting”

  • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

    I was proselytized to in a hotel lobby by two nice men who sat down next to me while I was eating my breakfast. I assured these nice men that I had already accepted Jesus. Seeing my wedding ring, they asked “What about your family? What about your wife…is she saved?” I answered “I don’t have a wife, and my husband’s Jewish.”

    They looked at each other, stood up from the table, and, without another word, sat down at the next table with their backs to me. I guess I’m not only an evangelical reject, I guess I’m beyond the pale.

    • Julie

      Wow.

    • Jimmy Nelson

      So much for a religion that preaches love. Jerks.

      • Billy Gee

        Doncha be stoopin to their level now Jimmieboy

    • T.J.

      Call me a skeptic, but I think Ford made that up. So easy to lie on the internet. Gays have an agenda too, and maligning Christians is helpful to their politics. History is full of Christians being demonized (Rome, Dark Ages, Church believed the world was flat, etc. . . all untrue). The gays are not the first to play this game. If Rome couldn’t destroy the church, I doubt the gays will be successful in stopping the Christian movement. God is with His people.

      • T.J.

        “Burning Rome”

      • $13056761

        Why so defensive? Evangelicals aren’t even nice to ex-gays, why would they be nice to him?

        • T.J.

          I just don’t buy it Sweetwater. Many of my interactions are around very conservative Christians. The ones I know go out of their way to be kind to gays. We do this to try to overcome the stereotype. That said, we believe homosexuality is sin, just as adultery and premarital sex is sin. God has a plan for sex. Life is better when a man and woman marry and produce children. Monogamy is not natural to anyone. Yet self restraint through obedience to God eliminates STDs and embraces the differences between gender. Both the Bible and biological science agree that gender is significant. God made the genders different so that we complete each other. This is why homosexual, on average, have more sexual partners that heterosexuals. They may enjoy the sex, but the relationships are not very compatible. There are deeper joys in life than sex, and a normal family is one of them. Christians do not support homosexuality and other sinful relationships because we believe there is a better way to live. God has a good plan for all.

          • rrhersh

            I have no difficulty believing the story. Here is another one for you. Last summer a couple of kids from the local Independent Baptist wanna-be megachurch were making the rounds of my neighborhood, inviting families to vacation bible school. (I assume that there were adults lurking in the background somewhere, but I didn’t see them. I also assume that they were targeting houses with kids toys in the yard.) As it happens, my kids had already been to VBS that summer. Usually they go to the Methodist church, but there had been a scheduling conflict, so that year they went to the Catholic church. So I thanked the kids and explained that they had already been. (I saw no need to also explain that under no circumstances would I send them to an Independent Baptist church.) They asked where, suggesting another local wanna-be megachurch. I then told them no, it was at the Catholic church. At that their eyes widened, and they rapidly backed away before turning and fleeing. It was no different from if I had said it had been the First Church of Satan.

          • http://patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/ Kurt Willems
          • T.J.

            rrhersh, I don’t mean to sound smug, but give a little grace to a couple of kids. The Catholics Church probably does look a little strange to them. The habbitual rituals and images found in your church can be hard to understand. Evangelicals have similar examples that can look odd to outsiders. The awkward moment may be because they didn’t know what to say. I admire the kids for knocking on doors. They probably had a few doors slamed in their faces. Do you think they would be right to castigate all atheists, Mormons, or Shriners because one member of their group is upset that someone is selling religion on their door step? I find it unfortunate that you are trying to show the intolerance of evangelicals by failing to give grace to two kids. Do you find this ironic? I do.

          • rrhersh

            I very much doubt that they had any first-hand experience with the rituals and images found in a Catholic church. Even if they had, they would have to be taught to have that reaction. Their being taught to react that way to Catholicism is the point.
            Also, I didn’t say I am Catholic. Indeed, the more plausible, though incorrect, conclusion from my comment would be that I am Methodist.

          • T.J.

            Sorry I made you a Catholic. I assumed, incorrectly, that you were offended by their response to Catholicism and that you took it personally as a Catholic. I have been an evangelical all my life. I have never, not a single time, seen kids taught to hate Catholics. In fact, Catholicism is rarely covered because the main focus is Bible study. While I incorrectly assumed that you are Catholic, I think you may be incorrectly assuming that these kids hate Catholics. Young people, who are naturally insecure, may not have known what to say. My father used to tell my sister that when the football team huddles on the field you think they are talking about you. Everytime we have a negative interaction with another person does not always mean we or our beliefs are the cause. Other motives besides hate can explain the behavior of these young people. I’m a fan of innocent until proven guilty. Again, I find it odd that I as the evangelical am advising a less judgmental spirit.

          • rrhersh

            I wasn’t offended. I thought it hysterical. These budding evangelists had been taught their script. It took into account the possibility that the target kids had already been to VBS that summer. They specifically named a competing church as a possibility. In retrospect, I am curious what their script called for had I agreed that was where my kids had gone. But I went off script, and threw them for a loop. Perhaps it wasn’t because I named the Catholic church. Perhaps their script only included the local Evangelical churches and they would have had the same reaction had I named the Methodist church. But the reaction they gave is not that typically evoked by Methodism.
            Oh, and my wife teaches high school social studies. This sometimes includes comparative religion. She regularly has nice upper middle class white kids who are flabbergasted at the idea that Catholics are Christians. It isn’t so much that the kids hate Catholics. It is just that it never entered their worldview to include Catholicism in Christendom.

          • John

            @T.J.: “I have been an evangelical all my life. I have never, not a single time, seen kids taught to hate Catholics.”

            I have. I was. Not “hate”, but a deep mistrust was definitely strongly communicated to me as a youngster (not by my parents, but by others in my church and Christian school). How many times I’ve heard some variation of, “well, some Catholics are Christians but the Catholic Church is not…” I cannot count. Also, I was taught all the various lies/myths that come with that–and I would argue that perpetuating lies about somebody/some people group is a form of hate:

            (1.) they added books to the Bible (incorrect, Luther removed them/downplayed the ones he didn’t like), (2.) they pray to the Saints in the sense that they think the Saints have the power to grant prayer requests (false, they ask the Saints to intercede for them just as they would any other Christian–“the prayer of a righteous man availeth much”), (3.) they believe that everything the pope says must be true (false again, the Catholic Church even says there may be popes in hell and notes some particularly bad ones; the theology of infallibility is far more nuanced), (4.) they don’t believe you are saved by Christ’s blood (still false, it is by the faith of Christ that any are saved)…

            I could go on, but I’ll stop. The point is just that I was definitely explicitly taught to mistrust anything Catholic by various people in my evangelical Church and school growing up. So maybe that wasn’t your experience, that is great, but it does happen. In my case it sort of backfired because when I started learning what the Catholic Church actually teaches, I got more and more interested and am now Catholic myself.

          • Mark

            “well, some Catholics are Christians but the Catholic Church is not…”
            That is true! But it is true of any church! You can replace the word, “Catholic” with any church denomination or non-denomination. Even some of those “evangelicals”, may not really be Christians. Even the best of churches may not have more than 50% that are really Christians.
            Christianity is not a church, it is not a denomination, it is not even a religion. Christianity is a personal walk with God made possible through the love He showed us through Jesus Christ.
            And that is the misconception the church-goers and non-Christians have. Even this article expounds on those misconceptions. Just because someone says they are a Christian and can even say the right buzz words, doesn’t make them a Christian unless they have that personal walk and love for God. In fact, I would say that most, if not all, of the misconceptions of Christians are brought about because of people who are not Christians but think they are and on some kind of mission.
            The true Church is made up of Christians, period.
            They love God, they hate sin, they love people because God loved people. They work on removing their own sin from their lives because God hates sin. And they want to try to please God, whom they love. They are not perfect and know that. But they also want others to know of the love of Christ so that they too can share in His blessings and become Christians.

          • bobmead1960

            Often we make mountains out of mole hills. Sounds like a lot of “over reading” into this brief interaction. But still Catholicism is not of God, it is a man based religion using Jesus as their center point. And often not even Him but rather Mary. Catholicism is built on the church having the power to dispense grace and nobody but God can do that.

          • Donna Smith

            Bob–what is the pillar and foundation of truth? Look it up.

          • Donna Smith

            This is true–only God gives grace. He uses people though–he prefers to work through his people, actually. It teaches us, hopefully, to love one another.

          • $13056761

            If you haven’t been on the receiving end of the invective, you really can’t understand. You have no idea the nasty, vicious comments that I have heard over the years. The number of Christians that I have met who say vicious things and then insist that they’re only speaking the truth is appalling. Using Jesus as your excuse for being nasty is wrong. Calling someone a sodomite in a vicious way and the saying you’re only speaking the truth is unjustifiable. Having been out of the gay life for twenty years , my own sister still has to remind me that it’s “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” at every conceivable opportunity. Even YOU had to take the time to explain to me “God’s purpose for the different genders” as if I somehow didn’t know. You haven’t been there; you do not know.

          • Julie

            Yes, I’ve seen it several times. The ol’ “truth in love” and
            verses pulled out of context to justify their abusive language. It is definitely appalling.

          • T.J.

            Disagreement is not the same thing as being mean. Speaking the truth in love is important. Did people feel loved as Jesus cracked a whip in the temple? The word of God is sharper than a two edged sword. The question you need to ask yourself is this. Are you wounded by the truth or someone being mean? If someone is rude then shame on them. Yet if someone wounds you with truth, your problem is not with them but reality. I’m glad you agree that “God’s purpose for the different genders” statement. Am I being mean because I state the truth? Judgment is standing above another and believing oneself to be better and capable of judgment. Yet if I tell a thief that stealing is wrong, I am not in judgment. I simply state the truth. Truth is not judgment. Judgment has a verdict. As stated earlier, the church is to judge our own. . . in harmony with the Holy Spirit, but the world is God’s to judge alone. Calling homosexuality sinful is truth. Calling stealing sin is truth. Looking down on others who struggle with sins is judgment. I hope you can see the difference. We are all sinners in need of grace. This too is truth.

          • Julie

            I hope you’re absolutely certain that the homosexual, monogamous unions we see today are the same thing Paul was talking about when he used the endlessly controversial word “arsenokoites.” If not, you’re not only being untruthful but hurting many lives.

          • $13056761

            If I were just wounded by the truth of sin, I obviously would not be a celibate ex-gay. I’m taking about those who say vile things to be hateful…For example, telling someone lovingly that homosexuality is an affront to God and needs to be repented of, — I have no problem hearing that. Watching Christians lambaste Ellen Degeneris, pronouncing her name “degenerate” and claiming that they are speaking the truth in love, is vile. There is nothing loving about making gay jokes that just push people away.

          • Yale St.Clair

            I hope you are not setting a precedent by allowing people to tell you that homosexuality is an affront to God. I for one, would not accept such language aimed at me.

          • $13056761

            Well, I think the Bible is pretty clear that it is. I find it interesting that Paul’s contemporaries universally understood him to be condemning acts of homosexuality, as did the Church Father’s and every generation after them. And now, our suddenly enlightened society “discovers” that they were all wrong. Clearly Moderns understand Koine better than Paul’s contemporaries for whom it was their native tongue.

          • Yale St.Clair

            That’s just not true. Paul is talking about sexual promiscuity at pagan temples where people would pay to have sex with prostitutes. Church father’s, ie, the Catholic church did not correctly translate the word that Paul uses. You don’t really know what Paul’s contemporaries thought about it. Also, if you are going to start preaching Paul then you had better be telling women to be silent in the church and for young people not to get married, just as Paul taught. Look, if you want to regress yourself back 100 years, go ahead, but don’t drag the rest of us with you.

          • $13056761

            Would you please be so kind as to cite the contemporaries of Paul, who were native speakers of Koine Greek, that understood him to be talking about temple promiscuity and not a covenant relationship? Please, show me where the gay covenant marriages were in Paul’s day and the bishops that sanctioned them.

          • Julie

            Wait a minute, I thought you were the one who made a claim as to what his contemporaries thought. How about you cite his contemporaries that understood him to be talking about covenant relationships?

          • $13056761

            I think you misunderstand the point of my comment. I am asking them to prove, by citation, that the Catholic Church “mistranslated” aresenkoites and that the Church fathers sanctioned gay covenant relationships. There is no contradiction in my comments.

          • Julie

            I didn’t say there was a contradiction in your comment. You said that Paul’s contemporaries universally understood him to be condemning acts of homosexuality. Prove it. Prove that Paul’s “contemporaries” condemned monogamous, covenant same-sex relationships. Of course, maybe you could also demonstrate how Paul’s contemporaries approved of slavery, and I suppose that would mean that slavery should never have been abolished?

          • Yale St.Clair

            Julie is eating your lunch SweetWaterGringo. I think you need for these things you are espousing to be true to rationalize your own “ex-gay” beliefs. There is no such thing as ex-gay. Just like there is no such thing as ex-white or ex-Asian. You either are or you are not. You either were never gay or you are lying to yourself now. Exodus International finally admitted all of this.

          • Julie

            I don’t see how you could possibly claim that Paul’s contemporaries understood him to be condemning homosexuality as seen in the monogamous, covenant relationships of today. And “universally” no less. What an astonishing assertion.

            Leviticus says that Israelite men were not to penetrate one another as they would would a female. That’s about as far as one can go with the Old Testament. As far as the New Testament, Paul condemns the vice “arsenokoites,” the meaning of which remains disputed, but it is believed by many to relate to acts of exploitation and domination. And, lastly, Paul condemns the act of an exchange motivated by burning, unbridled lust.

            Nothing in the texts suggests anything at all about loving, committed same-sex relationships.

          • $13056761

            For the overwhelming part of Christian history, his contemporaries and otherwise have never disputed that acts of homosexuality were regarded as sinful. “Aresenkoites” disputed? I’m sorry, but it literally mean “man bedder” (arsen = man, koit(os) = bed, “-es” = plural masculine agent ending). Do you honestly think there were no “covenant relationships” between men back then? The insistence that the Lord does not condemn homosexual acts if done in a covenant relationship is, I’m afraid, legalistic trickery. It is simply human beings trying to get around the dictate of God so that they can have their way.

          • Julie

            For the overwhelming part of Christian history, his contemporaries and otherwise have never disputed that acts of homosexuality were regarded as sinful.

            And those acts never disputed as sinful are never written about in the context of monogamous, covenant relationships. Paul and his contemporaries wrote about these acts in the context of excessive lust, pagan worship, pederasty, prostitution, and promiscuity.

            “Aresenkoites” disputed? I’m sorry, but it literally mean “man bedder” (arsen = man, koit(os) = bed, “-es” = plural masculine agent ending).

            And ladybug literally means “lady bug.” A bug with impeccable manners? A compound word does not always equal the sum of its parts. Arsenokoites was never used to refer to men in monogamous, covenant relationships.

            Do you honestly think there were no “covenant relationships” between men back then?

            So this is about speculation? I thought this was about what the Bible says or doesn’t say?

            The insistence that the Lord…

            Jesus is completely silent on the issue.

          • $13056761

            Jesus upheld the Law. He was not silent. He also told the adulteress to “sin no more.” He offers grace and forgiveness, but does make excuses for it.

          • Julie

            Of course Jesus was not okay with the same-sex sex seen in pagan worship, pederasty, prostitution, and with promiscuous married men who wanted something extra on the side.

          • Julie

            Oh, I know Jesus did not make excuses for the sin of
            same-sex sex acts in pagan worship, pederasty, prostitution, and promiscuity.

          • $13056761

            Nowhere does the Bible or any of the Apostles, Church Fathers, early creed or council ever sanction homosexual relationships. Period. That is why the Chruch has held onto the belief for so long. We are commanded by God not to conform to the world. Just because people are becoming more accepting of homosexuality, does not mean that God suddenly approves.

          • Julie

            Nowhere does the Bible or any of the Apostles, Church Fathers, early creed or council ever sanction homosexual relationships. Period. That is why the Chruch has held onto the belief for so long.

            I agree that it’s been held onto because of tradition rather
            than what the Bible says or doesn’t say.

            We are commanded by God not to conform to the world.

            It seems to me that holding onto tradition can be a type of conforming to the world rather than being transformed by the renewal of our mind by Christ. It is only then that we may discern what is the will of God.

            Just because people are becoming more accepting of homosexuality, does not mean that God suddenly approves.

            Just because people became more accepting of abolitionism does not mean that God suddenly approved of it. Hmm…

          • bongorocks

            I’m a none church going christian ,simply because going to a church or joining a religion, that’s all I would have achieved in life is, A church ,and plenty of friends but only as long as I totally agreed with what that religion thought that is.
            I’ve attended many different religions in the past and they are all the same,do what we say and do, or get out. So I got out each time .
            I’ve learnt more about God and the bible by listening to all religions and by studying the bible ,than if I would have done if i would have joined some religion. Because all religions have some truths and plenty of crap . So the trick is to believe what the bible say, and try to pick what truth you can from each religion. All that you will find in every religion is a lot of hypocrites.
            Humans are not allowed to judge others,because the first Adam failed and we all have inherited his genes, so we too have all failed that’s why the second Adam was crucified because he didn’t fail, he was the only one who defeated Satan not us so he is the only one that is allowed to judge.
            What all believers need to understand is that the battle between God and Satan isn’t over yet. Satan is still desperately trying to destroy God’s creation and plan,and us humans are Satan biggest treat.And we are his main target.
            All religions are deceitful and Jesus warned us about them.Matt,24:5
            What the real plan of God is for all humanity is something that only very only few people understand that truth. Because not many believe what God say in the bible, they choose to believe what Men say in churches instead.

      • Julie

        Ford is Christian.

        • T.J.

          Hi Julie, I think it is important to understand how individualistic our Western Culture has become these days. Many now believe that a man can say “I’m really a woman.” Do we realize how crazy this is? Its as if biology doesn’t matter. We cannot will ourselves a new gender any more that I can will myself into a bird. The root of all of this is idolatry of self. I can be and do whatever I wish. Yet there are limits to what we can choose and be, and biology is one of our many limitations. This type of thinking pertains to your “Ford is Christian” comment. Can Ford simply declare that he is a Christian? Doesn’t he have to meet the definition of a Christian to make such a declaration? Christians have believe for 2000 years that God inspired the Bible. Before this, the Jews believed God communicated His words perfectly through prophets. Belief in the Holy Scriptures written by the prophets has been a bedrock belief of Christianity. 1 Cor. 6:9-11 says very clearly that unrepentant homosexuals, among others, will not enter heaven. Can Ford with his individualism declare that he is a Christian in spite of this? Can a man declare he is a woman or a woman say she is a man? Can a man declare himself a bird? How far can we reasonably take free will? It seems to me that our culture has entered the absurd. If Ford is to be a Christian, he must meet the standards. Being in a gay marriage shows a lack of repentance. The Bible says that all Christians must repent.

          • http://patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/ Kurt Willems

            You seem pretty preoccupied by sexuality. Odd….

            Peace.

            KURT WILLEMS
            http://kurtwillems.com
            http://facebook.com/kurtwillems
            http://twitter.com/kurtwillems

          • Julie

            The definition of a Christian is one who belongs to Christ, and you don’t get to decide who belongs to Christ and who doesn’t. Ford and Christ are the only two who know his heart. If Ford says he’s a Christian, I take him at his word. That’s what people do. Having said that, I’ve also had the pleasure of reading his blog and discussing various things with him, and the privilege of having a window into a small portion of his life where it is evident he as a loving, caring man who gives glory to God through Christ Jesus, his Savior.

            A recent quote I read:

            “The scandal [of the story of the woman taken in adultery] is not that Jesus told her to ‘go and sin no more.’ The scandal was that Jesus was going against thousands of years of traditional interpretation of scripture. Jesus was showing us a new way of looking at scripture. Jesus was showing us a hermeneutic of compassion…”

            If we’re not interpreting Scripture in a way that humanizes people, we’re not interpreting Scripture the way Jesus does.

          • T.J.

            How does your definition of compassion compare to Jesus words in Luke 13:27? How would Jesus interpret 1 Cor. 6:9-11? Jesus also believed the Bible/law (Matthew 5:18). Forgiveness is freely given to the repentant. Do you think Jesus’ reaction would be the same if the woman remained in adultery? Which is worse, being stoned to death or hell? The unrepentant are sent to the flames by Jesus. You act as if Jesus never conducts the great judgment where the “sheep and the goats” are forever separated. Gay marriage is remaining in homosexuality. Where is repentance? Jesus believes in hell, and therefore righteous judgment. Shouldn’t his people also believe in these things?
            1 Cor. 5:12 commands that Christians judge one another. Those who belong to the church. If we did not do this, hypocrisy would run amuck. Allow me to give an absurd example. If Hitler wanted to join your church would you all allow it? Of coarse not! The fruit of his life says he is not saved. Now if he publically repented and abandoned his murderous ways, even he would be allowed in. Unrepentant people are fooling themselves if they believe judgment is not coming from God. Those who fail to warn others of the Great Day do not truly love. 2 Cor. 5:11 is helpful here. Do you believe in hell? If so, and the Bible is very clear on the matter. . . as is Christ, how are you helping others by refusing to warn people about sin? The wages of sin is death. Who stands around and passively watches suicide? I simply do not understand those who act as if God has no standards. God would not be good without righteous judgment. To watch evil without judgment is to enable wickedness. God sets all things right at the great judgment. Sin will come to an end through the righteous hand of God.

          • Julie

            How does your definition of compassion compare to Jesus words in Luke 13:27?

            His compassion is enough to keep sin/destruction out of the kingdom of God, and that interpretation leaves a lot of room for God to do whatever an infinitely patient and infinitely resourceful God needs to do in order to bring the unrepentant to Him.

            How would Jesus interpret 1 Cor. 6:9-11?

            Whatever it is, his interpretation would not dehumanize
            people.

            Jesus’ reaction would be the same if the woman remained in adultery?

            He said those words while she was an adulteress—that’s why they wanted to stone her.

            Which is worse, being stoned to death or hell?

            Are you saying she wouldn’t have gone to hell after she had been mercilessly stoned to death?

            The unrepentant are sent to the flames by Jesus.

            Not the Christ Jesus as presented in the Gospel accounts.

            You act as if Jesus never conducts the great judgment where the “sheep and the goats” are forever separated.

            That language was used for the coming judgment upon unbelieving Israel and those who neglected the needs of the remnant during the time of persecution.

            Gay marriage is remaining in homosexuality.

            Arsenokoites in the NT is unrelated to the monogamous,
            covenant relationships we see today.

            1 Cor. 5:12 commands that Christians judge one another.

            The Apostle Paul is writing to a community of believers who are accountable to one another. Ford is not accountable to you.

            If Hitler wanted to join your church would you all allow it?

            Why wouldn’t I? I’d want him to experience the love of
            Christ so his life could be transformed.

            how are you helping others by refusing to warn people about sin?

            I don’t need to warn strangers of their supposed sin, as if
            I have been given the permission and privilege to see into their lives and their heart and thus have the authority to speak into their lives.

          • T.J.

            Hi Julie,

            Sorry that I have not been able to comment for a while. Here is where I get confused a bit. You argue that Jesus is the criteria by which we should interpret the scriptures. Yet I ask you how Jesus would interpret 1 Cor. 6:9-11, and you do not know. The Bible says we have the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16). Doesn’t this mean you should have an answer? If you do not have an answer, do you have the mind of Christ? Jesus is very clear that He sends unrepentant sinners to hell. So while Jesus may not have brought judgment to the adulterous woman immediately, there is a future judgment. . . see Revelation. The Gospels are clear about these things:

            Christ believed the scriptures: Matthew 5:17-20

            Christ believed in hell: Matthew 18:8

            Christ required endurance/perseverance for salvation. Those who quit will not enter heaven: Matthew 24:10-13

            Christ said he is the only way to God: John 14:6

            I know liberals want to exalt Christ’s words and demote the rest of the Bible, but Christ never wrote anything. We rely on the same inspiration of God in the Gospels and epistles. The concept of we interpret the scriptures by Jesus means, just as you said, we don’t really know what God says or wants. This begs a deeper question, how can liberals who undermine the Bible claim knowledge of the Divine? Since they cannot truly know, they undermine their ability to know God. At the end of the day these people place their faith in their own opinions. If religion does not give solid knowledge and truth, there is nothing to ones place faith in. For how can we trust in a God who is ultimately unknowable?

          • Julie

            You argue that Jesus is the criteria by which we should interpret the scriptures. Yet I ask you how Jesus would interpret 1 Cor. 6:9-11, and you do not know.

            I didn’t say I didn’t know. I said, “Whatever it is, his interpretation would not dehumanize people.” Two things, this verse says nothing about married gay men and it says nothing about hell.

            The Bible says we have the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16).

            If this were saying that you and I have the mind of Christ, then why don’t we agree? Why are there hundreds of interpretations? It would appear Christ can’t make up his mind. Fortunately, that is not what Paul is saying.

            The Apostle Paul was talking about himself and the apostles. He says his apostolic authority rests not on human wisdom or ability (1 Cor. 2:1-5). He says that his apostolic authority rested on the fact that the wisdom of which they (he & the other apostles) spoke was received from God (1 Cor. 2:6-7). He says that this wisdom they’re sharing with the Corinthians could not have been known beforehand by natural means (1 Cor. 2:8-9). He says that the Holy Spirit, who knows the mind of God, revealed this wisdom to them (again, he & the other apostles) (1 Cor. 2:10-11). He says that he & the other apostles have received the Spirit of God so that they may know and speak the wisdom of God to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 2:12-13). He says that a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God (1 Cor. 2:14). But the Apostle Paul is not a natural man—a man without the gift of the revelation of the Spirit. He says that such a man cannot be judged by anyone, for who can know the mind of the Lord and instruct him (1 Cor. 2:15-16).

            Paul & the other apostles have access to the thoughts of God that are freely given to them through the gift of revelation. The Corinthians are in no position to judge Paul, because he speaks the very thoughts and words of Christ as a spiritual man—a man who has been endowed with the gift of revelation by the Spirit.

            Jesus is very clear that He sends unrepentant sinners to hell.

            That’s inaccurate and misleading.

            Christ believed in hell: Matthew 18:8

            Jesus’ language is consistent with the language of OT
            prophets who gave the picture of the fate of the wicked as one of destruction. Annihilationism is a common view derived from this, which I don’t rule out altogether. But since there are other Scriptures that support universal
            redemption, I hold onto the view lightly in hopes that an infinitely intelligent and resourceful God may not have to resort to the things a man with finite intelligence and finite resourcefulness must resort to with their own wicked.

            Christ required endurance/perseverance for salvation. Those who quit will not enter heaven: Matthew 24:10-13

            Matthew 24:22 gives us the context for the word “saved” in verse 13. The tribulation they would endure would be so great that had it not been cut short, no life would have been left.

            Christ said he is the only way to God: John 14:6

            Indeed, it is through Christ Jesus the hearts of men will be judged (Rom. 2:16).

            I know liberals want to exalt Christ’s words and demote the rest of the Bible, but Christ never wrote anything.

            Quite a sweeping statement there. I’m not sure what makes you think I demote the Bible when I suggest our interpretations should never dehumanize other human beings.

          • netprophet

            If someone who is a Mormon or a JW says, “I am a Christian” do you take them at their “word”?

          • Julie

            Yes. Why wouldn’t I? Am I God that I would know their heart?

            What you’re really asking is if we get to determine if someone is saved or not. You don’t get to make that decision.That’s not our job.

          • parishioner

            see Kurt’s post above about what constitutes heresy. there is such a thing as unsound doctrine, and you should be motivated by love to help the genuinely confused or misled. jw’s and Mormons declare themselves Christians largely because that’s what they’re told they are. this isn’t about claiming to know one’s heart, since you are correct in that only Jesus can separate the sheep from the goats. it is about listening to someone’s proclamation of “faith.”

            I was in a campus bible study once when a seeker declared, “I don’t know what the big deal is. if I get to heaven and find out that Jesus was just an alcoholic, I’ll still have faith in him.” this person was a professing christian. it is not condemning nor inappropriate to discuss with someone like this was exactly what they have faith in Jesus for, if they see him as a potentially dead alcoholic rather than a living savior.

            jw’s and Mormons have equally false ideas about jesus. knowing the truth is a privilege and responsibility, and we’re specifically told to be prepared to give reason for the hope that we have, and to do so with gentleness and respect.

            what is your hope in Jesus, Julie? are you prepared to share it? how do you prepare?

        • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

          Thank you. You are very appreciated!

      • guest

        That uneasy feeling you’re experiencing is called cognitive dissonance. You can resolve it by calling Ford a liar, or you could accept that some Christians really do act in such a hurtful way to other human beings.

    • $13056761

      Even for those of us who choose celibacy, the Evangelical crowd isn’t so nice. If you don’t prove “that you have changed,” many will treat you as a pariah.

      • bongorocks

        Getting married is a blessing from God, Mary the mother of Jesus was married to Joseph, and after she had Jesus Mary and Joseph went on and had a normal marriage just like every one else The gospels reveal that Mary had four boys and at least two daughter by Joseph . Joseph never touched Mary sexually until after Jesus was born. Jesus had half borthers and sisters. There is nothing wrong if people chose to remain single and never get married. But Celibacy as in the catholic church is an insult to God. And it even goes as far as calling God himself a sinner.

        • $13056761

          Paul was celibate as unto God. It’s not a sin to be celibate, only if you’re Catholic? The Reformation was centuries ago. Let it go.

          • Donna Smith

            Amen! Those attracted to the same sex who want to be faithful to Christ should have the single life available as an honorable path. And there are others–priests, some regular heterosexual laypeople, who also choose this path–it was very common in my grandparents’ generation. Contraceptive availability has kind of skewed our perspective.

        • Donna Smith

          The gospel doesn’t show she had these children by Joseph. That’s a conclusion or interpretation. Catholics believe that these are extended family members (not unusual in that culture) or children of Joseph by a former marriage. Jesus left the care of his mother to John, not a family member. Anyway, just wanted to clarify. Single life can be blessed, and is a path some are called to.

          • bongorocks

            Please stop being so ignorant and so naive . The bible is the word of almighty God himself. Marriage was ordained by God himself. The first marriage that ever took place was in the garden of Eden, when God joined Adam and Eve together himself then he blessed them and told them to multiply.The catholic church don’t believe the word of God,and the pope doesn’t have a clue what God is all about and what God’s plan is for mankind. All of the children that Mary had after she had Jesus were so all fathered by Joseph, because Joseph and Mary were man and wife . The gospels make that fact very very clear. The catholic version that Jesus half brothers were Joseph children from another marriage is because the Catholic is in denial.If they were from another marriage they wouldn’t be described as Jesus half brothers and sisters.
            The Catholic Church don’t even believe in the Adam and Eve biblical story. Cardinal George Pell said that himself on Q&A a couple of years ago that’s how biblical ignorant the catholic church really is.
            The catholic church believe that the original sin is the act of sex when a woman get pregnant. that means that the catholic church is accusing God of being a sinner.
            The original sin means the first sin that was ever committed ,and that sin took place when Eve and then Adam ate from the forbidden fruit that God commanded not to eat from or even touch it.
            The catholic religion is full of lies and myths.

          • Donna Smith

            Well, I believe in Adam and Eve as the first parents. And I believe marriage is a great blessing from God. And original sin is the act of disobedience. Not anything to do with sex. Anyway–God bless you! Seek the truth and be kind.

          • bongorocks

            I said, that the catholic church consider the original sin to be sex in marriage which is what the catholic baptism to babies is based on. I know, I was a catholic myself once now I’m nothing. but a bible reader.
            That’s exactly what i said, that the original sin was disobedience . Adam and Eve were the first original humans to have disobey God.
            I advise you to seek the truth dear. I already have found the truth,
            Why do the catholic church consider sex in marriage as being a sinful , which is the reason why the catholic priests are not allowed to get married. Yet the catholic church covered up all that padaphelia for decades until they couldn’t cover it up any longer othewise it will still be going on. The damage the catholic church did to all of those children is an abomination to the face of God. And you tell me to seek the truth. ?

          • Donna Smith

            Absolutely true that those sins against children are an abomination. But it’s not true that the Catholic church teaches that sex in marriage is a sin–in fact, it is a *good*. Check out Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. Sex in marriage is good! Whether Joseph and Mary had children after Jesus is something we just disagree on but I don’t mean to have it cause an argument. I will keep seeking the truth, as we all should–no disrespect intended.

          • bongorocks

            I never said that the catholic church teaches that sex in marriage is sin. I said, or what i meant to say was, that the Catholic church believes that when a baby is born, that he or she has the original sin passed on to them by their it’s parents at conception .So tell me then , why are the catholic priest not allowed to get married, ? Simply because in the eyes of the catholic church sex is not for priests,
            However if you are happy as a catholic good luck. you will need plenty of it.
            I suggest to you to start learning what the bible teaches about God ,and not what any religion teaches . If you are interested Let me know, and I will send you the name of a religion that is the best in bible teaching. That religion is on channel 4 ME on Saturday and Sunday mornings. I’m not trying to convert you personally I don’t care what anybody believes . I listen to all religions and follow none. and i am also not a member of any religion.It’s up to you If you really want to find out what God is all about,and what is plan is for mankind .
            I think that you are a very good person that’s why I like to help you.

          • Donna Smith

            Thank you Bongorocks; I do appreciate it and sense your caring. We do believe in original sin, that’s true. Catholic priests’ celibacy is a long-standing custom in the west but not a doctrine. Eastern catholic married men can become priests, though not bishops, and there are converts, particularly former Episcopal priests and Lutheran ministers, who have come into the priesthood as married men. But celibacy is the norm. I’m in two Lifeway bible studies now–in fact–one of them in online and I need to go now! God bless you in your journey too.

          • bongorocks

            There are many bible studies in the world and 99.9%are all misleading. However good luck with your bible studies, Hey.. ,I hope that you’re not a catholic Nun, after all I told you. But I stand by everything I said.

          • Donna Smith

            No, no–not a nun :) God bless you on your journey!

          • Laurence Charles Ringo

            With all due respect to you,”bongorocks”,you sound extremely arrogant and judgmental,uncharitable and mean-spirited.Your certainty about…”99.9% of Bibles being misleading”…is based on what,exactly? You need to dial your rhetoric back and seek to be more like Christ as opposed to simply sounding like some type of pseudo – theological know-it-all.That kind of approach is simply off-putting, and I sincerely hope that you DON’T come off like that in actually witnessing to people.

          • bongorocks

            I don’t men to offend anyone sorry if I’ve offended you. But the whole world is being deceived by false religions. In Matt 24, The first sign of the times that Jesus gave was .about religion deceptions .Jesus warned in Matt 24:4, 5. Take heed that no one deceive you. For many will come in my name preaching about Christ and will deceive the many……Notice he said the many will be deceived, not just a few.
            Then in the book of revelation 6 :V 2. Again It says…. And behold a white horse :and he that sat on him had a BOW ;and a crown was given unto him and he went forth conquering,and to conquer .
            This white horse rider is a false Christ, conquering the world with false religions and deceiving the whole world. It is the same warning as in Matt 24.V5.
            The real Jesus Christ also rides a white horse, both of the real Christ, and the false Christ of rev 6:V2 Looks almost identical the only difference is that The real Christ is holding a sword in his hands ,but the false Christ of RevV6:2 is holding a Bow and not a sword….. The sword symbolise the word of God as being a two edge sword which cuts both ways…. The bow doesn’t.
            I”m not being judgmental at all ,I’m only saying what the bible is saying. personally I listen to all religions and follow none,. Some religions believe that the false Christ in Rev 6:2 is the real Christ.
            The four horsemen of the apocolyps,are exactly the same signs of the times as the ones in Matt 24. The first sign in Matt 24, is a warning about false religions. As is the first horseman in Rev6:2
            Actually The bible says that Satan has deceived the whole world, and not just 99.9% So is the bible arrogant and judgmental as well.?
            According to the bible I think that I was being too generous ,I should have said 100% not 99.9%
            Also I don’t witness to anybody just in case I’ll be spreading lies around like the J W do.

          • Laurence Charles Ringo

            What you just claimed Catholics believe is a…”conclusion or interpretation”…as well,so your point is…what,Ms.Smith?

          • Donna Smith

            Good point Mr. Ringo–you’re right.

    • bobmead1960

      What does your statement “accept Jesus” mean? If you would please elaborate for me.

  • Randolph Bragg

    I’d guess this is just a “I’m a True Christian®” puff-piece, appealing to the wording in Psalm 118:22. Each of the 41,000 sects of Christianity are pretty sure they’re the only ones who got Jesus right.

  • http://www.DovesNest.net Jon Stanton

    I find myself in the “reject” camp more and more these days…and quite honestly, it’s painful. It was a lot easier to think I had all of the answers, God created the earth in 7 days, sinners (including me) go to hell unless they “legitimately” repent and legitimately “turn from their wicked ways,” and to know for sure that heaven and Jesus, as described on the flannelgraph board in Sunday School class (my fellow “Gen Xers” will know what a flannelgraph is…) was final truth and there was no need to question. Now, I question a lot, and find limbo is an uncomfortable space. Personally, I blame Richard Rohr and his “container theory,” but at the same time, I’d rather be uncomfortable and loving than comfortable and judging. Or, at least that’s what I tell myself during the moments when I wonder if I’ll ever feel grounded and stable again! Good blog, Kurt. Thanks for sharing and writing it!

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/ Kurt Willems

      Jon, I pray that God’s mercy and joy are yours during this time. I’m encouraged by your comment even though I sense a lot of angst. You’re not alone in the journey!
      Peace.

      KURT WILLEMS
      http://kurtwillems.com
      http://facebook.com/kurtwillems
      http://twitter.com/kurtwillems

    • T.J.

      Sorry to hear this Jon. May I suggest that you read different types of books. Sometimes people tend to read books from one perspective. I had to read so many liberal books in my conservative education. I was helped by reading both sides, and it made me a stronger conservative. People accuse conservative schools of not teaching both sides. My experience was quite the opposite. Friends who went to liberal schools never read conservative books. If all we hear is one side of the argument, we tend to agree with that side. Conservative teaching as a child should be followed by conservative adult teaching. If this does not happen, conservative religion begins to look childish. Bible believers have some wonderful thinkers and writers. Their perspective should be considered. Just a thought.

      • Ken Steckert

        TJ – I am not so sure it is as simple as “liberal/conservative.” What are CS Lewis and Bonhoeffer? I hear/read them quotes … liberally … by people labeled both “liberal” and “conservative.” I agree with you about reading different perspectives. I have read several books by Roman Catholics the last few years; not sure where they would fit on the lib/cons line. But definitely different than evangelical. While I have a much different understanding of Mary than they do, I have no “problem” with them believing as they do. We are on a walk of faith together and I seek to be an encouragement to them to follow Jesus with no concern about our differences of beliefs. The same is true for my “conservative evangelical” friends and “evangelical reject” friends.

        • T.J.

          Hello Ken, I agree with much of what you say. Please allow me to make one point that will demonstrate where we disagree. There are many issues that the Bible does not definatively address. On these matter a multitude of opinions abound. That said, there are things that the Bible speaks about very clearly. Your example of Mary is a good one. Christians should not pray to the dead (Mary or the saints). Such actions create a medium out of our Savior’s mother. Tolerance can be a cover for a lack of love. If I believe someone is in error, shouldn’t I loving attempt to correct? What kind of friend refuses to help his buddy correct an error that hinders the soul? Either Mary should or should not be the recipiant of prayers. I believe that sometimes tolerance is a cover for a lack of love. Love graciously confronts error witht he hope of correction. Love hopes all things (1 Cor. 13:7). . . which is to have hope that the beloved can grow in grace. It is the unloving friend or parent who fails to correct. If someone disagrees with what I believe is true, I am not angry that the person disagrees with me. My heart is pulled because the person has not experienced the fullness of grace. By the way, I hope that others who see error in me will bring the fullness of grace to my life by rebuke. This is the beauty of chruch. Sinners equipping one another by the grace of Christ. Error matters. Truth is revealed by God. If we believe these things, we exhort, rebuke, and encourage one another. So. . . I am not angry that the Catholics pray to Mary, but when talking with Catholics I try to gently rebuke in the love of Christ. I hope this helps you understand why evangelicals confront what they believe is error. This million dollar question is what does God say. Answers are found in the Holy Spirit and the book He inspired: the Holy Bible.

          • CrossedtheTiber

            I think that you may be confusing the veneration of the Saints with a very different and evil practice called necromancy. If you study Church history you will understand better the Scriptural reasons for asking the Saints to pray to God on our behalf. Because our Christian brothers and sisters who are gone from this earth are alive in heaven, they are still part of the Body of Christ. They still have a job to do in heaven, which is to pray for us on earth (Rev 8:3-4) and to cheer us on in this race (Hebrews 12:1). Christians, since the beginning of the Church, have always believed in going to the Saints with our prayer requests, of course in addition to going directly to God with our prayers. It is very similar to asking our brothers and sisters on earth to pray for us, although because they are already perfected in heaven and do not have the worries and distractions of life on earth, their prayers are even more effective (James 5:16)

          • Ken Steckert

            Near the end of the book Isaiah, the prophet, speaking for God, writes, “to this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of heart, and who trembles at My word.” One of the things that comes clear to me in the teachings of Jesus, especially among the religious scholars of his day, is that this condition of the heart is what matters most. Invoking God’s name was not the key, but rather coming with a humble heart. So if one invokes the name of Mary (and the Roman Catholics I personally know will also use the name of Jesus and God as well in these prayers) with a humble heart before God, I think God is not so concerned with Mary’s name being used. For the one who comes to God in the name of Jesus with confidence in their theological rightness seem to me less likely to have a favorable response from God as I understand Jesus.

            “Error matters.” Michael Servetus denied the Trinity among other things, was declared a heretic and burned at the stake. While John Calvin did not approve of the cruel method of death he did approve of death for Servetus’ beliefs. Which error bothers you more – that of Servetus’ belief or Calvin’s lack of love. I fail to see how Calvin followed Jesus’ teaching in this event to love as Jesus loved, and I find Jesus teaching far more about loving by laying down our lives than about erroneous beliefs.

    • $13056761

      May I recommend “Dark Night of the Soul” by John of the Cross? I know he was Catholic (EEK!), but he clearly knew Jesus and the suffering that came from being rejected by your coreligionists.

  • Bruce

    “Progressive” (read “liberal”) Christian writers who seem to hate the US, and denigrate her Christian foundations kinda make me tired all over. Many of us believe God has blessed the US and actually authored her exceptionalism…since His Son is the living fabric of everything that is made. Perhaps you might be happier living somewhere else. There are lots of options…brother, feel free to immigrate at your earliest convenience. Really. Let’s just have a St. Paul and John Mark moment here. It’s OK if you book. In fact, it would be awesome.

    Oh, and if you’re really gonna cite the Bible as a source for complete non-violence, guess you’d better toss out a great deal of the Old Testament, as well as Jesus injunction to his followers to “buy a sword” and his pleasure at the faith of the centurion. So…if you’re hoping the Scripture would support your assertion…not so much.

    Culture wars? Doesn’t your Bible document the function of the prophet? Some folks are actually CALLED to pronounce “thou art the man.” That’s kinda that whole “Salt and Light” thing…you know…we weren’t told to be “Sugar and Light”–that would actually be more like artificial sweetener, not Bibilical Christianity.

    Ah, that Scripture. The original “inconvenient Truth.”

    Seriously, enjoy your Constitutional Free Speech here in the Land of the Free, while you convince yourself that our history is not really our history…and the Bible somehow doesn’t universally apply to God’s peeps. Go ahead and try to put God in whatever paradigm fits your worldview, if you think that’s the Way.

    But it isn’t.

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/ Kurt Willems

      Would comment… But you prob all wouldn’t listen to an opposing view. If you are interested, start by reading Greg Boyd “The myth of a christian nation”
      Peace.

      KURT WILLEMS
      http://kurtwillems.com
      http://facebook.com/kurtwillems
      http://twitter.com/kurtwillems

      • Bruce

        No need, brother. Been a student of history all my life…and served in her uniform for many years. Perhaps you will gain perspective as you gain a few years and gray hairs.

      • netprophet

        Thanks for the suggestion. Will add to the long list. Thomas Kidd provides compelling evidence that our founding was a coalition of rationalists, evangelicals (“New light Presbyterians e.g.) and old light Puritans, Baptists, Quakers, Anglicans, Congregationalists, a few deists all of whom rallied around the idea of religious liberty and a rejection of a national Christian sect. As I said previously, the separation of powers was rooted in a common understanding of the sinfulness of man, the fear of tyranny of the majority was what created the Senate and the House structure. An example of the fight against the British crown comes from James Otis – §No legislative supreme or subordinate has the right to render itself arbitrary with decree. It is bound to dispense justice by known settled rules and by duly authorized judges. These are their bounds which by God and nature are fixed.” That represents what nearly every founder believed in timeless truth about the nature of man – his nature and truth was fixed and objective. Slavery was not outlawed at the founding largely because S Carolina and Georgia would have never joined and signed the Declaration or the Constitution. By 1800 most states had outlawed slavery and its on-going defenders (see John C. Calhoun) believed slavery was a moral good because the black man was inferior due to evolution. The Declaration mentions God 4 times and Lincoln and the Founders all believed in the intimate linkage between it and the Constitution Lincoln referring to the frame of gold as the Declaration advancing “liberty for all” around a painting of sliver representing the Constitution and quoting Proverbs 25:11. Pretty difficult to escape at least some scriptural foundations to our founding. Sadly, the advance of evolution not just in biology but in history and sociology spawned the rise of progressivism (Wilson, FDR, LBJ and Obama) based on the unbiblical idea that truth is historically contingent.

    • Kevin Thomas

      You sound really angry…not hearing a lot of joy and peace in your words.

      • Bruce

        As much as in any prophetic utterance, Kevin.

        • Kevin Thomas

          So u are a prophet….I see. Well…be careful, you know what often happened to prophets….psssst they lost their heads.

    • Stuart Blessman

      May the peace of Christ be with you.

      • Bruce

        U2!

    • Eris, elder daughter of Nyx

      Then I assume that you must also believe that God has similarly blessed other countries and authored their exceptionalism, because His Son is living in in the fabric of everything that is made? For example, Canadian exceptionalism, Greek exceptionalism, etc etc? Or maybe you’d prefer to provide the examples?

    • Alicia Hager

      God has authored our exceptionalism? What exceptionalism? You state that you’re a student of history and have served our nation, thank you for that. But we’ve our fair share of shameful behavior and statistics. The US was founded on some form of Christianity, but certainly not as we’d recognize it today, show me where all the Puritans live. Lastly, suggesting that someone who is wrestling with how to believe and act on those beliefs as an adult is so completely wrong as to call for that person to just get out of your country is not not the sort of love we are called to.

    • Ken

      Nice troll Bruce.

  • David Austin

    I shared your article with several Gay church leaders in the UK – here are 2 responses :

    (1) Hi David. I’ve now read This excellent article – thanks. However I think points 5, 4 & to some extent 3 speak of the scene in the USA not the UK. The UK shares 1 & 2, to be sure. But our politicians have to keep quiet about being a Christian in this country; being an evangelical would lose them far more votes than they would ever gain. The author needs to read Roy Clements’ excellent articles, “Why I am still an evangelical Christian” – talks given at Courage and the recent Evangelical Fellowship EF/Affirm conference. The two articles are on both the website and Affirm. If you wanted to check out the links maybe you could refer Him to them explaining something of Roy’s exceptional credentials as an expository Bible teacher and evangelical (though excommunicated from the Baptist Church because he is gay). God bless. Jx

    (2) Fascinating. While not an evangelical myself, I think it is ‘Evangelical Rejects’ who are keeping evangelicalism alive as an intellectually and spiritually credible movement.

  • RT

    I know that this is not directly on point, but one thing I notice is that there are so many Christians who seem to have lost their humor as well as their joy. Why do so many choose to stand in the shadow of grace instead of its light ? Why do so many of us seem to believe that we are commanded to be the moral police instead of fixing our own hearts ? Why do so many claim the gift of eternal life which was given to us out of love and yet choose to hate ? Why do so many of us choose to sit and complain about the condition of the world and yet do not work to change it ?
    We need to love more, laugh more, and help each other more.

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/ Kurt Willems
    • Lisa Hoffermen

      RT, thanks for the points you made. These are excellent questions that some of us need to ask ourselves.
      And true kudos to you for helping me find a way to say something I have felt but could not put into words. When you said, “Why do so many choose to stand in the shadow of grace instead of it’s light?” it clicked. This is such a simple, yet elegant way of saying it. I hope you do not mind if I borrow this as well as the questions you asked, Be blessed.

    • $13056761

      It’s because most Evangelicals are caught up in the Culture War. They have become so paranoid that they are losing the fight that they feel they have to attack everything that contradicts their beliefs. If they’d read Revelations, they’d see it doesn’t go that well for the church for a while, but we do win in the end.

    • http://www.4hisglory.us Shay Malone

      I think that is very much on point. Humans are distracted and defined by the things they want. Christians should be transformed to be defined by God’s character but that is not the overwhelming majority :-(

  • Matt Woodling

    These are very reasonable, cogent thoughts. Bravo! (I’m not being sarcastic. Really, good for you).

    However…

    I don’t know how you can be so reasonable and not at least consider the possibility (extremely likely, in my mind, given that those who grow up in Indonesia are Muslim, those who grow up in China are mostly not religious, those who grow up in the U.S. are mostly whatever their ancestors brought from the old country) that God (in its thousands of forms and contradictory teachings) is a creation of people, created to try to explain all those vexing questions that are important to all of us like “how did we get here?”, “how should I live?”, “what should I create to tell that bunch over there how to live?”,”what happens when we die?”, “what the f**k is that loud noise coming from the sky?”. It makes so much more sense to me, and to use reason in every other part of your life and not seriously ask this question seems dishonest.

  • opinionguru

    The best lie is mostly comprised of truth. 98% truth is till a lie. This is a liberal’s version of Christianity. This is nothing new. I will forget that I read this before entering the ‘post/button… I strongly suggest others do as well.

  • ChuckQueen101

    Keep growing, expanding, questioning and perhaps you will simply get rid of the idea of “heresy’ all together and develop a more “nuanced” view of Jesus, who images/incarnates/embodies God (the Divine, the Really Real, etc.), the Source of all truth, love, compassion, etc.

  • Bershawn300

    You’d make a good Catholic! Come on board, the water is fine…many of these reasons touch on why I became a Jesus-loving, Bible-believing Catholic.

    • EmGem

      I converted from Evangelicalism to traditional Catholicism a few years ago, and my relationship with Jesus Christ is so much richer and stronger. I’ve fallen in love with Him in new ways. Second-best decision I’ve ever made, after deciding to follow Him in the first place.

  • Tim Felten

    Kurt, thanks so much for this post. It’s good to know I’m not alone. (Which is easy to feel in the bile belt–oh, I mean the “Bible belt” 😉 ) Your post especially resonates with me having grown up (off and on) as a pk. I first “faced-off” with evangelicalism some years back and, as a result, lost my position at a Christian camp when I began to question my faith heritage. Got some heat at “my dad’s church” where I was also leading worship. Our discomfort with the church grew as we observed the strong fundamentalism quickly destroying the church. Eventually my wife and I decided to leave. My dad told me he would of let me go anyway…because of my eschatology??! (If only he knew me now!) To make a long story short, my wife and I (more so myself) have gotten heat from both sides of our fundamentalist families. I think some of them may be settling down somewhat, but I was told directly by more than one family member (with reference to voting for marriage equality) that they thought I’ve turned away from Jesus, that I’m not leading my family right or even as questioning whether I’m actually a part of God’s family. (Which is interesting because these days I don’t think I’ve ever been so in love with Christ.) Anyway, from one evangelical reject to another, thanks for being in our corner.

    • Lisa Hoffermen

      Some good pints here Tim. While we may all follow the same son of God but do it in s different way.

  • Bill

    Sounds about like me now

  • BornagainDan

    Thanks for sharing. I believe some of the points Kurt brings to the table walks a very narrow line bordering on Christian lunacy. We will never live transformed lives if we take the wide path of tolerating sin amongst ourselves (followers of Christ). If that’s what you want to do, be a Buddhist. Sure, it sounds very loving to embrace everyone just as they are; it is and we should. But to let someone continue to walk in their sinful patterns after they have decided to follow Christ is a complete abrogation from what Christ taught and demonstrated, and as we learn in the process of being cleansed of our own sin, we discover that the most loving thing we can do is to liberate people from sin because it destroys them. If allowing people to continue in their sinful ways was how Christ wanted us to be, Paul would never have had to write to the Corinthians. No, we are not in any way shape or form to be given to condemning anyone for their sin, but we need to encourage one another to stop sinning so they can begin to experience living life without creating regrets. Finally, we should not be mamby pamby about what sin is. If it’s defined in the Bible as sin, we need to avoid it like the plague and encourage others God brings into our lives to do likewise, but first and foremost, be a great example for them of what it means to love God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind, and loving your neighbor as yourself.

  • from Orlando

    To give myself the title ‘Evangelical Reject’ is to embrace the notion that my identity is determined by what has been done to me or how others view me. It is subtle, but the author attempts to identify Jesus as “the Rejected” and then identify herself and invite others to join her in that identity with Jesus.
    He means well, calling us to respond as Jesus did to that rejection, with love. I would suggest that’s just not possible as long as I would give myself that name (or give Jesus that name).
    Jesus is not “The Rejected”, he is “The Lover, the Forgiver of the Rejecter”. Why could he? Only because he KNEW his name wasn’t “Reject”.
    Neither is ours. And know matter how true that name may seem to us today, Jesus desperately wants to whisper something entirely different into our ears. When I know who I am, I no longer need to run from or distance myself from those who would or did tell me I am less than they think I should be. I no longer need to respond to rejection with rejection and judgment with judgment. I don’t think the author is there yet. Neither am I. I don’t want her or any one of us to stop moving in that direction just because we can find plenty of company by agreeing with a compelling lie.

    • from Orlando

      My apologies, there are some gender problems with my original post. Here’s corrected text:

      To give myself the title ‘Evangelical Reject’ is to embrace the notion that my identity is determined by what has been done to me or how others view me. It is subtle, but the author attempts to identify Jesus as “the Rejected” and then identify himself and invite others to join him in that identity with Jesus.
      He means well, calling us to respond as Jesus did to that rejection, with love. I would suggest that’s just not possible as long as I would give myself that name (or give Jesus that name).
      Jesus is not “The Rejected”, he is “The Lover, the Forgiver of the Rejecter”. Why could he? Only because he KNEW his name wasn’t “The Rejected”.
      Neither is ours. And know matter how true that name may seem to us today, Jesus desperately wants to whisper something entirely different into our ears. When I know who I am, I no longer need to run from or distance myself from those who would or did tell me I am less than they think I should be. I no longer need to respond to rejection with rejection and judgment with judgment. I don’t think the author is there yet. Neither am I. I don’t want him or any one of us to stop moving in that direction just because we can find plenty of company by agreeing with a compelling lie.

    • Ken

      Not to quibble Orlando, but…scripture is quite clear that Jesus WAS rejected…hence, you know, his execution?

  • http://www.sbethcaplin.com/ Beth Caplin Stoneburner

    Yep, I definitely see myself in these signs. Here’s my biggest struggle: that God would put the task of warning others about hell when it’s not our job, nor is it always possible, to convince people to believe something. Until I can wrap my head around how that works, I’m not exactly “equipped” to evangelize. Who wants to hear a message from someone who doesn’t quite get what she’s saying, but is obligated to share it anyway?

    • W Kumar

      I have faced this as well. I went to Bible college years ago and, during my time as a “missionary” on a secular campus, I found that I had trouble trying to evangelize those I met. It wasn’t that I doubted what I said. The problem was trying to make it sound like I believed my own words. Even now, as I share the gospel with friends, I find that I am often not sure if I believe everything that I say.

      • http://www.4hisglory.us Shay Malone

        I don’t think you should try to share something you don’t believe. What do you believe? What is your Good News?

    • CrossedtheTiber

      One thing that helps me is knowing that no one is actually capable of converting another person. It is always the work of the Holy Spirit. So we are responsible to know our faith to the best of our ability, follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, and pray… a lot. :)

      • http://www.sbethcaplin.com/ Beth Caplin Stoneburner

        Except there’s too many questions about my faith that have a wide variety of answers, or no real answers at all. So that’s not very helpful.

        • CrossedtheTiber

          I understand completely. I’m really sorry for not only being unhelpful but sounding trite and preachy. I re-read my comment and realized I should have kept it to myself. I guess I only said it because I always felt this enormous weight when considering the same things that you were saying. Then someone told me that it was impossible for me to convert someone, that that was the work of the Holy Spirit, and it helped dissuade a lot of my anxiety. But that comment was completely not helpful and again I’m truly sorry.

          • http://www.sbethcaplin.com/ Beth Caplin Stoneburner

            No worries. My faith-related anxiety has made me a tad bitter.

          • CrossedtheTiber

            I’ve been there. I think for me the bitter taste is just now finally starting to leave, but it’s taken over a decade. I hope that you find the answers you’re looking for.

    • http://eleemacfall.liberty.me/ Edward Lee MacFall

      Just remember that the gospel is good news. Telling someone “you’re going to go to hell unless you follow the Four Spiritual Laws” is not good news; it’s an attempt to manipulate through fear. The Good News is that Jesus is Lord and that God raised Him from the dead. He has all authority in heaven and on earth, and we’re offering amnesty to a world in rebellion against him, for all who will accept his life-giving and healing reign from now on. The threat of hell should not be used as leverage. Hell is the natural consequence of rejecting the reign of Christ. Those who are not saved already have a taste of it. If what we offer isn’t an antidote to what they already know, we’re doing it wrong.

      • http://www.sbethcaplin.com/ Beth Caplin Stoneburner

        “Hell is the natural consequence of rejecting the reign of Christ. Those who are not saved already have a taste of it.”

        Yeah, that’s a joke. No bad experience on earth compares to burning for eternity. Sorry.

      • Brian K

        The gospel is good news.
        The gospel implies that you’re going to hell if you reject Christ.
        Telling someone you’re going to hell if you reject Christ is bad news.

        Systems…failing….

        • Julie

          It doesn’t imply that. People imply that.

          • Brian K

            So I’ll go to heaven even if I don’t believe in Jesus?

          • Julie

            Mental assent (i.e. acceptance of a theological proposition of Jesus) is without value if one does not belong to Christ (i.e. possessing an inward reality of being in relationship to God). Similarly, inward reality of belonging to Christ by being in relationship to God (i.e. through witness of creation and enlightenment through the Spirit) is of value even if there is no mental assent of some theological proposition of Jesus presented to you. (cf. Romans 2).

          • Brian K

            What the huh? Which one keeps me out of the lake of fire?

          • Julie

            Jesus.

          • Brian K

            According to gospel?

          • Julie

            I don’t know what you’re asking here.

          • Brian K

            I’m asking if the gospel says I go to hell if I reject Jesus.

          • Julie

            No, it doesn’t.

          • Brian K

            But you just said he keeps me out of fire lake.

          • Julie

            Well, sure, God is the one who would “keep you out of the lake of fire” if that were a literal place you could possibly go. Look, people want to make this all out to be black and white, but it’s not. The Bible is an ancient, albeit inspired by God, book. The OT references to the wicked perishing from the earth has little to do with the afterlife and more to do with the adage throughout the Scriptures of reaping what you sow. The NT references to being cast into darkness and cast outside the kingdom have little to do with our modern understanding of “fire and brimstone hell” and more to do with impending judgment upon a nation that was determined to have its own way by means of violence rather than by means of peace through a Messiah they considered weak and useless according to their idea of how to create a God-centered government.

            Brian, bottom line: Being a member of the kingdom is living a kingdom way of life. When one lives this way, it’s a Spirit-inspired reality, whether one realizes it’s inspired by God or not (this is, of course, my view according to Scripture and experience). When one doesn’t live this way (i.e. a life of violence and hate and discord with man and nature), one is resisting the leading of the Spirit and ignoring their God-given conscience. Those in alignment with the kingdom way of life (i.e. by caring for and loving others, nature, creation, which can only happen by way of embracing the love of God) will find themselves continuing to live in the kingdom they sought to live out in the first place. It’s that simple. Those who don’t may find themselves outside of the kingdom when it’s brought to full fruition, because the kingdom is about peace. If you’re about hatred and violence, you are a threat to the peace within the kingdom. I don’t necessarily think God will exterminate trouble makers, because that’s what someone with a limited amount of patience and resources does. That’s what a finite being would do. So, I imagine/hope (I could be wrong, but Scripture can be used to support it), all human beings created in the image of God will be reconciled to Him by their own free will, for who can resist God for an eternity?

          • Brian K

            I think I’m understanding what your implying. Not sure what a “relationship with God” entails though. I’m an atheist, so it sounds like I’m still pretty hosed.

          • Julie

            I have to run…movie night with the family, but you are not “hosed” just because you remain intellectually unconvinced there is an infinitely loving being who created you. If life in the kingdom were simply about intellect, we’d all be hosed. I’ll come back tomorrow, if you want, and try to expand on how I perceive the “relationship” thing.

          • Brian K

            I think I get where you’re coming from. I considered myself a liberal Christian of a similar vein for about a year when de-converting, but ultimately trying to hold on to it despite having no sense of a diety got too stressful and depressing. I found far more peace in just abandoning Christianity in total.

          • Julie

            Hey, Brian. Well, now I’m off to lunch, so I can’t respond in detail. The “relationship” thing is different for everyone. For some, the idea doesn’t resonate or fit their experience with being a Christ follower. I’m not sure what you mean by “having no sense of a deity.” Does that mean you couldn’t sense God? Just curious about that.

          • Brian K

            Just that some of the basic premises of Christianity don’t feel true to me, like the existence of a personal god, being “born into sin”, the concept of the prophet, etc.

          • Julie

            Oh, okay. I’ve had to work through some of those things myself. For example, I don’t buy into the concept that we inherit a “sin gene” passed down from tainted Adam or that prophets are fortune tellers, as if the future is pre-written history. I’ve had to work through a lot of things, actually. For
            me, though, the existence of a Creator has always rung true. The story of Jesus especially resonates with me, and I’m persuaded that the portrait of Jesus given in the gospel accounts is the most historically probable understanding available, so that helps. Anyway, thanks for sharing.

          • Brian K

            I can give a good example from that series on Hell you posted in a different converstion. It ends on this note:

            “This is the paradox of the final fate of the wicked. They will face judgment, and it will not be revoked. But it will yet be characterized by God’s mercy and love.”

            To me, it’s just a lot more likely that such a belif results from a mythology that isn’t internally consistent. I don’t see any more reason to accept such a self contradictory ancient text than I do to believe in Isis or Gilgamesh.

            Being raised Christian, I tried like hell to hang on to it in some capacity. It’s not like I was eager to abandon the conrnerstone of my identity, and risk the ostracization of my entire extended family. But trying to consciously convince myself of things that it’s not in my nature to believe was the source of an ugly depressive episode, and I just had to give it up.

            So anyway, to sumarize, I guess I was feeling a touch defensive in our back and forth. I hope you didn’t feel under attack. I can see how you’d be eager to share a belief system that you find beautiful. To me it’s toxic.

          • Julie

            You didn’t sound inappropriately defensive—you were simply defending your view. Nothing wrong with that. I didn’t feel attacked at all. I do think the Jesus story is beautiful. Like I said it resonates with something in me, personally. And although I am persuaded it’s grounded in history, I recognize it bears the resemblance to certain myths. But I also believe that it bears that resemblance not because it is a myth but because it shares with them something other myths share with each other: they express our deepest longings and the hope that these longings will be satisfied. Our myths and legends express shared dreams. If we’re wired for God, as the OT suggests, then we should expect to find echoes of the Jesus story expressed in myths and legends. In other words, “we should expect to find in the imagination of pagan myth makers a glimpse of the theme we believe to be the very plot of the whole cosmic story—the theme of incarnation, death, and rebirth” (C.S. Lewis). The reason many initially believe the Jesus story is because it fulfills the shared intuitions and longings of the heart: perfect love. Now, it seems nature tends not to produce beings who long for things nature itself cannot supply. We become hungry because there is food. We become thirsty because there is water. We have sex drives because there is sex. And so on. Human desires and drives seem to point to realities that fulfill them. So, what realities do our mythmaking intuitions about longing for perfect love point to? The only perfect love I’ve found that satisfies that longing is found within the Greatest Love Story ever told. (paraphrased from Greg Boyd’s, Lord or Legend?)

          • http://patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/ Kurt Willems

            Thanks for modeling a kind and thoughtful exchange–something that is too rare on blogs like mine :-)
            Peace.

            KURT WILLEMS
            http://kurtwillems.com
            http://facebook.com/kurtwillems
            http://twitter.com/kurtwillems

          • Julie

            You’re quite welcome.

          • Janice Brantner

            I’m reading this blog late but I want to thank you for every word you wrote here, which is exactly what I would have wished to say but wouldn’t have done it so well. I was cheering every time you responded. People are so confused. :-(

          • Julie

            Thank you for your encouraging words! I appreciate it!

        • http://www.4hisglory.us Shay Malone

          My understanding is the Good News is that despite being completely unworthy of a relationship with God (having rejected him and hurt other people), He still loves you and wants to reconcile with you. The Good News is that that option is available. Without Jesus, it would not be available and there would be, upon death, eternal separation from God.

          God is love. Every good gift is from God. Therefore, without being reconciled to God, after death there would be no love and no goodness.

          • Brian K

            Loves us so much he’s only going to send 70% of humanity to hell, not all of us.

          • http://www.4hisglory.us Shay Malone

            Loves you so much that if you had been the only man on Earth, He would have let you kill Him to give you the chance to right all your wrongs. Loves you so much that He’ll forgive your deepest, darkest wrong. Loves us all so much that He desires that 100% of people would accept His offer.

            The idea that God is sending people to Hell is analogous to taking a class, not studying or doing the work and then blaming the teacher for failing you. You cannot accept that you have free will and then be upset that God doesn’t make you love Him.

          • Brian K

            More like a teacher enrolling you in a class against your will and saying they’ll set you on fire if you fail. But don’t worry, the teacher loves you, and wants you to pass.

          • http://www.4hisglory.us Shay Malone

            I get that feeling. I used to wonder why God created us. Then I wondered about free will. I still don’t fully understand it. But keeping with the class analogy, the first class had everything and was passing with flying colors. They had one rule and another teacher convinced them to break it. Everybody moved to the second teacher’s class. There was some kindness, but mostly bullying and competition and fighting. The first teacher kept teaching and some heard and went to the first class where they learned about more about kindness and loving. They told the students about the first class. Some changed classes, some didn’t. The second class didn’t require much of them but it also didn’t help them grow. Often the second class was upset because they thought the first class was self righteous and overbearing. And sometimes that was true.

            Anyway, all that to say I’m here. I can either be pissed that I’m not automatically worthy of a relationship with my Creator or I can be grateful that He made sure I had the chance to be worthy. I choose grateful. I believe God loves everyone and desires to be in relationship with them. I don’t understand why Satan was allowed to corrupt perfection but my kid doesn’t understand a lot of why I do what I do. So I don’t understand but I accept that Father knows best.

          • Brian K

            Think about how horrifying what you’re saying is. Imagine a new father holding his baby and saying “you weren’t born worthy of a relationship with me, but I love you anyway”. That isn’t “love” by any recognizable definition of the word. You’ve created a self contradictory diety before we even get to the question of why it remains invisible and demands we believe it exists anyway. Your narrative isn’t a healthy one.

          • http://www.4hisglory.us Shay Malone

            The fact that the baby was born into a family is proof of love. The father is to nurture, love and teach the child love. When the child becomes mature and reasoning, they can continue the love relationship or walk away from it. Without the father, the child would have become ill and possibly die.

          • Brian K

            Eh? You appear to be deviating from my point: If someone tells you they love you despite the fact that you’re not worthy of it, that’s not love, it’s abuse.

          • http://www.4hisglory.us Shay Malone

            Not deviating at all. If someone loves you and is willing to forgive you despite how you mistreat them without debasing who they are, that’s the highest form of love. It’s not you as a person that’s unworthy. It’s the thoughts and behaviors that come from a broken heart. You have lied, deceived and manipulated. Your heart has rejected God. He will not abide with those who’ve refused Him. There is no true love or goodness apart from Him.

          • Brian K

            I’m not unworthy, but I’m broken? You’re just exchanging words to say the exact same thing.

          • http://www.4hisglory.us Shay Malone

            Not at all. Your inherent value as a person (worth) does not change based on your expressed actions (wholeness/brokenness). A mass murderer is still as equally as valuable in their humanity as Mother Teresa. But their actions result in a different standard of relationship and consequences.

          • Brian K

            Oh, so it’s about actions. So salvation can be achieved through works?

          • http://www.4hisglory.us Shay Malone

            It’s about the heart. Your heart is either towards God or against God. When your heart turns toward God, you’re able to learn about and practice true love.

          • Brian K

            Your cliches are deeply insulting. I am an atheist. My heart is not against God, I just see no evidence for his existence. And I am perfectly capable of love.

          • http://www.4hisglory.us Shay Malone

            I’m sorry you’re insulted. That wasn’t my intent. But if God is real and has shown Himself through creation and those who believe in Him, you are denying His revelation. You are capable of a type of love just because you’re a person. Because everyone is created in the image of God we possess a semblance of his qualities. But His love, true love, is an entirely different thing. His love keeps reaching out and rescuing, know that many will never accept it. Imagine loving someone who, every time you told them you loved them, told you you didn’t. Who blamed you for everything that went wrong. Who lied on you repeatedly. Who cursed you. Hated you. Abused your children.

            Not just you, but this is how we treat God day in and day out. And we still get offered unconditional love. If you truly want to know God. Ask Him. Find a church that exemplifies Acts 2. Read the Bible and ask Him to help you see.

            If not, if you’re confident in your belief, keep doing what you’re doing. You’re still 100% valuable even if we disagree. Not that you need my confirmation of that but, I’m just saying I don’t hold anything against you. Sigh. It’s hard to explain without sounding condescending. Sorry. Peace and blessings to you sir.

          • Brian K

            Several more unfounded assumptions here. I don’t blame God for anything, I don’t curse him, hate him, or abuse any other people. I have read much of the Bible, and prayed desperately the whole time. I simply don’t see any evidence that the god of the Bible exists, or is even a logically consistent concept. I mean, someone telling you that they love you, but they will set you on fire if you don’t love them back, is clearly using a strange definition of the word “love”.

            If explaining a concept without sounding condescending is so difficult, it may be a sign to examine if the concept is worth spreading in the first place.

          • http://www.4hisglory.us Shay Malone

            I agreed to disagree. I know God is real. I attempted to explain, in my limited human way, what God says about how we think and act. I believe because I know it’s true. I’ve disobeyed God, mistreated Him, hurt other people (and still do) and hurt myself. I’ve never met anyone who hasn’t.

            I believe that He created earth and animals and people. The complexity of life forms is amazing. The fact that the ecosystem design supports life is incredible. The functioning of the body is astounding. And people. We’re designed to be loved by other people. And when we are, it’s the most beautiful thing in the world. And I believe that’s God. I believe the Bible and He says He is love.

            We all get to choose what we believe. You choose what you want as do I. I’m not trying to talk you out of yours so much as trying to help you see my perspective. And now I’m done.

          • Brian K

            OK. I’ll close by offering this video by another blogger here. Good future reference for when you’re talking to atheists. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/excommunications/2014/11/what-atheists-wish-christians-knew-about-them-video/

          • http://www.4hisglory.us Shay Malone

            Thank you for sharing.

          • gimpi1

            I’ve never felt belief is a choice. I “believe” those things that have been, to my satisfaction, proven by the preponderance of the evidence. The evidence for Biblical Christianity is – to my knowledge – not convincing. I can’t simply choose to believe something that does not have sufficient evidence. That would be like claiming to love someone I’ve never met.

            There’s a name for doing that. Faking it. I assume any God would not want me to fake it.

            I can’t choose to believe. For me, belief comes from knowledge, not choice.

          • Julie

            Have you ever believed that perfect love existed? When you were little? Or younger? Or even now? What’s your idea of a grand gesture of self-sacrificial love? There are plenty of fairytales and love stories throughout every culture. The love stories that move us most deeply are those where the lover would move heaven and earth for his beloved. He’d give up all he has, even his own life, for his beloved. Why have such love stories always existed? Because they speak to something inherent within all of us, a shared longing for perfect love. Why do we share the need for food or water or sex? Because we share human desires and drives. Through shared human intuitions about love, we’ve created these fantastic love stories in every culture. Now, it seems to me that nature tends not to produce beings who long for things nature itself cannot supply. We become hungry because there is food. We become thirsty because there is water. We have sex drives because there is sex. What realities do these intuitions of longing for perfect love point to? We have this shared longing because there is a reality that fulfills it. I believe food and water exist not just because I’ve seen food and water but because nature would not give me the desire for such things if nature did not also provide realities to fulfill those desires. I believe perfect love exists not just because I’ve seen glimpses of it but because nature would not give me the longing for it if nature did not also provide a reality to fulfill that desire. The Jesus story fulfills that longing where other experiences of love fall short.

            Although I’m also persuaded that the Jesus story is grounded in history, my belief in the Greatest Love Story ever told is based on the knowledge that nature provides realities that fulfill our desires, drives, and longings so we can fully thrive.

            My belief comes from knowledge.

          • gimpi1

            Actually, no, I’ve never looked for perfect love. In fact, “The perfect is the enemy of the good,” is one of my favorite quotes. I regard perfectionism as destructive. It often stops people from appreciating the good things in their life, because they aren’t perfect.

            We may get hungry or thirsty, but there’s no one “perfect’ food or drink. Food, drink, sex, these are all survival issues. We have these drives to keep us alive, and make us perpetuate the species. I don’t see anything supernatural there.

            As to perfect love as sacrifice, I admit that confuses me. If you focus on Jesus, OK, but what about God the Father? Isn’t that aspect of the Godhead the one demanding the sacrifice? How is that loving? God can’t forgive sin without sacrifice? I can… am I capable of that, but God isn’t?

            There’s some basis for a historical Jesus, but not enough to find it compelling for me. Do you have any references on the historical reality of Jesus as a person that really work for you?

          • Julie

            By “perfect” I mean “complete.”

            And, yes, God can forgive sin without sacrifice. We see God forgiving sin quite often in Scripture without sacrifice. We see Jesus proclaiming to several people, “Your sins are forgiven” long before he went to the cross. Sacrifice was the sign of a repentant heart.

            I am not without doubt. What is faith without doubt? We Christians are asked to believe some incredible things—the Creator of all became a human, ran around healing the sick, died on a Roman cross and then rose from the dead. Really? What could possibly persuade one to believe that this actually
            took place?

            To explain why I’ve become persuaded would take a small book. (FYI, there are books that speak of the historical reliability of the Gospel accounts, as you probably know). This type of venue isn’t really a place that allows for that. My faith, as I’ve hinted at above, is not entirely based on historical evidence. The Jesus story rings true to me; it speaks to something within me, a longing I know is meant to be fulfilled. I believe it’s a longing we all share, even if that longing has been long forgotten as the overwhelming hardships of this world push it to the recesses of our heart. It becomes a distant, faint memory or it’s chalked up to be a fairytale someone once told us or it’s simply rejected outright as being irrational and impractical, even boring.

            My faith is partially based on this deep intuitive awareness that I think we all share, or, at least, have shared at one time or another. But it’s also partially based on historical evidence. As you say, there’s some basis for a historical Jesus, and that’s enough for me. I am not saying that the historical evidence proves with absolute certainty that the Gospels’ portrait of Jesus is historically accurate. I am only saying that the evidence demonstrates that it is more probable than not that the Gospels’ portrait of Jesus is grounded in history. That, along with how the story rings true with my soul, persuades me that I can put my faith in the Jesus as portrayed by the Gospel accounts.

          • Janice Brantner

            The fire is a metaphor. It’s so sad that most Christians don’t see this. What the Bible actually does teach is that God loves everyone and he will eventually make things so clear that there will be no doubt of his meaning. And it’s all good.

          • Brian K

            Implicit in your statement is that things are not clear as they stand now. I have no problem with your brand of Christianity if you’re not promoting toxic narratives (“turn or burn”, etc). But you still can’t offer any reason to accept the Bible’s supernatural claims as true.

          • Janice Brantner

            No. It’s not my style to try to convince people of those things. But I read a really interesting book recently by Greg Boyd. It’s called Letters from a Skeptic. The skeptic was his dad, who was not a believer, and they wrote letters back and forth with Greg trying to convince his dad to be “saved”. I don’t agree with his point that if you don’t accept Christ in this life you’re lost forever, but the first part of the book is excellent on why we believe the Bible to be true – except for the parts that are symbolic. But there is a lot that is reliable history and Greg explains why.

    • Ken Steckert

      I am curious about your understanding “that God would put the task or warning others about hell” to us. The only time I see Jesus warning people about hell is to the religious people – people who think they have eternal life because they have the right beliefs – and it was not for them to warn “sinners,” or those outside the church, about hell, but for people like me to consider my own plight – have I missed that love was the foundation of the law as the “evangelicals” of Jesus’ day did? The preoccupation of feeling the need to warn others about hell seems a very westernized thought to me, and not something I find in Jesus or any of the teachings in the Bible before or after Jesus. When did Jesus confront “sinners” such as prostitutes and tax collectors who were far from honest, about specific sins? I do not find a single time, but with the religious people, more than once.

      • http://www.sbethcaplin.com/ Beth Caplin Stoneburner

        Because Christians have an obligation to fulfill the Great Commission and tell others about Jesus. And what incentive is there to tell others about Jesus that is greater than the possibility of going to hell? You can’t deny that that’s a very strong factor.

        • Ken Steckert

          What I see in Jesus is that the incentive to tell others about God is that Life is found there. I do not see where Jesus had a preoccupation with “getting people out of hell,” especially the westernized version of hell we have today.

    • Julie

      God did not give us that task. The Good News is actually good. There is a righteous King, this is his world, and he is coming back to put things right. That’s good news. His ways (i.e. love others) are good. We can’t be absolutely certain what happens to the rebellions (those who hate others, and, in essence, reject the King and his ways), but if the King is a perfectly righteous and good King, then he will do what is right with the rebellious.

      • http://www.sbethcaplin.com/ Beth Caplin Stoneburner

        So where does hell fit in to that picture?

        • Julie

          Hell is not part of the Gospel/Good News.

          But the topic of hell, for those with questions, is up for interpretation. The OT speaks of the WICKED being annihilated. It gives the picture of an unproductive seed being unable to produce life. That still leaves A LOT of room for God to do whatever God wants to do postmortem with that unproductive seed.

          The NT speaks of those in the nation of Israel who reject Messiah as being “cast OUTSIDE the kingdom of God.” That leaves room for an interpretation that God keeps
          sin/destruction outside the kingdom but God will allow unlimited time for repentance for those cast outside.

          • http://www.sbethcaplin.com/ Beth Caplin Stoneburner

            I’m really not trying to be argumentative here. I’m a Christian myself, albeit a struggling one, and Hell has become a big stumbling block for me after my nonbelieving father passed away. Forgive me for coming across as harsh, I’m just having such a hard time with this right now :/

          • Julie

            You’re not coming across harsh. Hell is a stumbling block
            for most Christians. It’s a deeply misunderstood concept.

            Check out this four-part series, “The Problem with Hell”: http://www.redtheology.com/2013/07/the-problem-with-hell-01.html

          • Ken Steckert

            Julie – thanks for the link. Very good and succinct.

          • http://patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/ Kurt Willems

            I’m so sorry to hear about your dad. God is merciful beyond our comprehension. An eternal tormenting hell isn’t part of the story. God will do well by dad–I’m confident of this!
            Peace.

            KURT WILLEMS
            http://kurtwillems.com
            http://facebook.com/kurtwillems
            http://twitter.com/kurtwillems

      • gimpi1

        Yeah, as an American, I can’t get my head around the idea that rebelling against a King is automatically bad…

        Also, the idea that hating others is the rebellion you speak about… how does that fit in with the hate so many Evangelical Christians seem to have for our current President, Charles Darwin, any Democrat, gay people, what have you? Is that rebellion?

        • Julie

          Yeah, as an American, I can’t get my head around the idea that rebelling against a King is automatically bad…

          Well, rebelling against an unrighteous king would not be bad. Rebelling against a righteous king would mean you’re promoting unrighteousness. That’s bad for everyone.

          Also, the idea that hating others is the rebellion you speak about… how does that fit in with the hate so many Evangelical Christians seem to have for our current President, Charles Darwin, any Democrat, gay people, what have you? Is that rebellion?

          Yes, that is rebellion. Hating others is rebelling against the King who asks us to show grace and mercy toward all people.

          • gimpi1

            Righteousness and unrighteousness tend to be in the eye of the beholder, don’t they?

            Many people in the colonies regarded our rebellion as wrong. We laud our founders as patriots, but if we’d lost the war, they would have been executed as traitors. I think it’s hard to make the call as to what constitutes justified rebellion. You seem to feel we’ll all just know that “this is it” and I can’t see that.

            Heck, I can’t get any three office-mates to agree on pizza toppings for the afternoon meeting. Do you really expect all honest, good-willed people to agree on a leader?

          • Julie

            Yes, if they’re honest, good-willed people, I do believe that when face-to-face with perfect righteousness, they will recognize it and embrace it.

          • gimpi1

            So, is perfect righteousness condemning of gay people or does it embrace them? Does perfect righteousness accept women living independent lives without male authority? Does it condemn people who use birth-control? Women who have had abortions? People raised in different faith-systems?

            You get where I’m going here. Few Christians agree on the questions I’ve raised. And then there’s all those nice people who aren’t Christian. I just don’t even see you and I (and I think we have more in common than not) agreeing on what makes a “righteous” leader. Or on all honest good-willed people recognizing righteousness. But that’s OK. I don’t expect agreement. Frankly, I’d find it boring.

          • Julie

            So, is perfect righteousness condemning of gay people or does it embrace them? Does perfect righteousness accept women living independent lives without male authority? Does it condemn people who use birth-control? Women who have had abortions? People raised in different faith-systems?

            Perfect righteousness is about righting wrongs. It’s about righting situations where wrong has been done. Much wrong has been done in the name of religion.

            And then there’s all those nice people who aren’t Christian.

            The Apostle Paul wrote (latter half of Romans 2) that those who are within the covenant of God come into that covenant not by a label but by that which is of the heart. It is not by circumcision, water baptism, church membership, or even verbal proclamation (i.e. mental assent of some theological proposition) that assures one is within the covenant family of God; it is something far beyond that, a spiritual reality about which only God knows is genuine, and it originates with God, as all good does, and it springs from one’s heart.

            I just don’t even see you and I (and I think we have more in common than not) agreeing on what makes a “righteous” leader. Or on all honest good-willed people recognizing righteousness. But that’s OK. I don’t expect agreement. Frankly, I’d find it boring.

            I don’t think that those who are oppressed and abused by the powers of evil would find God’s righting of wrongs (i.e. righteousness) “boring.”

  • Chris Dagostino

    I’ll add another one: You no longer view your God-given sex drive as a constant source of struggle.

  • Dagen

    I fear I irrevocably crossed the line into “reject” status when I questioned our actions in Syria, Russia, and other nations. Apparently, even though we lament abortion and say our nation abandoned God, it’s verboten to question our military, business conglomerates, or State Dept. This raises a deeper issue – is Evangelicalism actually an organic, natural faith community that arose from gospel convictions? Or is it an astro-turfed creation, designed and steered by powerful interests? (It was a California oil tycoon, Lyman Stuart, who published “The Fundamentals,” after all…and Billy Graham owed his ascendancy to William Randolph Hearst. By the 80s, Pat Robertson was running for president and the secretive Council For National Policy brought TV evangelists together with Oil and Banking barons.) If the latter, then is there any reason to stay in it?

  • Jordan Mark Leland

    I really appreciated many parts of this article! I think these are some great topics that need to be brought up and talked through to a point of true understanding of one another as Christians. I would say my biggest concern with this article is the idea of labeling ourselves as “Evangelical Rejects.” That is just another label that will come and go. And while it is clever and clearly conveys where you do NOT fit in concerning Christian circles, I don’t think we want to spend our time fighting to re-label ourselves as anything but real, true, genuine Christ-followers. So keep raising questions, and seeking to live more and more like our Messiah each and every day. Just be aware of the battles you are choosing to pick when adopting a label that is anything other than “disciple of Jesus Christ.”

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/ Kurt Willems

      To be clear, I don’t want to create a new label in any definitive sense. I don’t want folks to say when asked
      “What kind of Christian are you?”

      “I’m an Evangelical Reject.”

      It’s fine if some do, but this term is meant to describe an experience more than an identity. I came up with the term and I’ve never said to someone in real life that “I identify as a Christian, specifically an Evangelical Reject.” If some do, that is fine, but it really isn’t the point of the article. :-)
      Peace.

      KURT WILLEMS
      http://kurtwillems.com
      http://facebook.com/kurtwillems
      http://twitter.com/kurtwillems

  • Lisa Hoffermen

    Kurt, thanks for this. This is great !

  • http://example.com/ SwiperTheFox

    I’m not sure how to respond to this essay personally. But I have to say that it’s a very interesting reflection of a bunch of good points, and thanks for writing it. This is well worth reading.

  • Dan Whitmarsh

    A subset of point 3: “As a church leader, you’ve mourned the losses of people who became upset and left because they didn’t like the authors you mentioned, the buzzwords you don’t say, the trigger words you do say, the questions you ask, your unwillingness to preach against certain people groups, your willingness to be friends with people from outside the tribe, your criticism of Fox News. . .”

    • Ken

      Amen!

  • http://theremonstrant.blogspot.com/ J.D. Gallé

    Allow me to offer a few reflections on three of the “eight signs” listed in the article above:

    (6) Conflating Christianity with nationalism does not comport well with New Testament teachings and tends toward idolatry. E.g., neither the United States of America as a nation, nor its military strength have anything to do with Christ and him crucified, his teachings, the resurrection, the establishment of the kingdom of heaven/God, etc. In this I am essentially in agreement with open theist/Anabaptist Gregory A. Boyd’s assessment in The Myth of a Christian Nation: How the Quest for Political Power Is Destroying the Church (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2005).

    (7) I have found no evidence for belief in the doctrine of the immortality of the soul in Scripture and see final annihilation as the fate of the finally unrepentant best attested to by the scriptural authors.

    (8) Believing that God truly loves all of humankind (at least in a truly saving sense) is impossible to maintain for strict or high Calvinists, who, interestingly, occupy a major sector of evangelical theology in the twenty-first century. In conservative evangelicalism high Calvinism is propagated by such luminaries as John MacArthur Jr., D.A. Carson, John Piper, and R.C. Sproul Sr. Strict Calvinism is a theology which maintains that Christ died with a saving intent exclusively for an unconditionally prechosen group of humanity (limited/definite atonement). The rest of humankind is said to be “passed over” by God. This is the doctrine of double predestination. High Calvinists maintain that God has exhaustively determined all things, including human and angelic sin. Despite this, creatures are held responsible for their “rebellion” against the creator and God cannot rightly be blamed for the entrance of sin into the world or called the author of sin (see the Westminster Confession of Faith, 3.1). In Calvinism it is for God’s glory that a portion of humankind was created in order to be finally damned.

    With this in mind, one can only hope for more strong proponents of classical Arminianism to arise within conservative evangelical/Protestant ranks.

  • Alicia Hager
  • DC Rambler

    From what I see, most Christians are no longer on a quest to convert the lost into their club.. Quite the opposite.. It seems that they have taken on the fervor reserved for college football fans and their loud, chanting boasts for their team mixed with their boos for the ” other ” has turned droves away from the original message of love and inclusion.
    What is really sad is, they don’t seem to care ! They really don’t want most of us hanging out at their tailgate parties and most certainly don’t want us sitting next to them during the big game..
    The good news is while these folks are busy high-fiving each other, the rest of us can find our own truths without being told that we are doing it wrong.. DC

  • Dirtbeard

    i really resinate with these (not totally, but significantly). there seems to be a blurring of some characteristics between “mainline” evangelicals and the “fundamentalist” subset.

  • Ken

    Thanks Kurt. Definitely a breath of fresh air in the often staleness of the American Evangelical experience. Having grown up in a Baptist denomination I often refer to myself as a “recovering Baptist” but your term Evangelical Reject is a better descriptor. I have resigned myself to living largely on the margin of the evangelical world that I live in. Thanks again.

  • http://GracefullyTrans.wordpress.com/ Brettany Renée Blatchley

    “Any signs of your own to add?”

    Yes, you may be an Evangelical Reject if: you love and respect a group of (Evangelical) rejected people the way Jesus would love them.

    Our leadership demanded that I stop ministering among our transgender population, and seethed over the fact that I would refer to them by their prefered pronouns. They said I had no business being among them. When I said God led me there, in part because *I am transgender*, they then said I “an addict can’t minister to addicts” and they rejected me.

  • God Heals

    Your are not rejects. You are on the road, beginning your journey, to the Apostolic Churches of either the Latin (RCC) or Eastern (Orthodox) Rites. Be encouraged and strong along your path.

  • Michael Kenny

    The term ‘evangelical’ is meaningless … let’s discuss that — when did people stop being ‘Protestants’ ? mmm

  • Nathanael Fuller

    Wow, I am feeling very unoriginal. I have felt this way on all 8 points for quite some time. I am OK not understanding every little thing or not having a quick draw “fact” to throw at someone if we are disagreeing on the issue of faith. I would rather do as so many great men and women have done for the last 2000 years; sit, be still and let God be God. I don’t win souls, He does. My job is to be sincere and open to those in my little world. I have seen God do amazing things with broken tools such as myself and I think the old methods of romans road + altar calls is obsolete to the point of cruelty. Be vulnerable to people. Its ok not to know all the answers

  • $13056761

    “This day, having been given the same priority as Christmas, left you
    dumbfounded as videos of flags, bombers, and crosses celebrated
    nationalism rather than the unique Kingdom of God that transcends
    borders.”

    This totally resonates with me. I have grown so weary of Christian nationalism and American exceptionalism, I could puke. The absolute pigheadedness of people who just do not want to hear that America isn’t anymore special than all the other nations that Jesus wants to join to himself makes me nuts.

  • John Hutchinson

    I have had just too long a experience with Christianity and Christian circles to believe that this op-ed is anything but dishonest screed. That such fish swim in the Evangelical pond, I have no doubt. But in my experiences, it has been much more varied. And those who are like that are easily put in their place.

  • Veritas

    This idea of having all the answers and poring over scripture to find them, of there being one understanding seems to be a well known heresy itself: Gnosticism.
    The full revelation of Truth is not the scriptures as above quoted of St Paul,and also Hebrews chapter 1, but is The Word of God, the person, Jesus…. Our relationship and encounter with Him is the way to God. Your description of being a reject is why we, as Christians have become so fractured, instead of unified as Jesus prayed.
    It may help to understand human nature and see that many are very tied to there routines and need order and can be rigid in their habits and beliefs, straying outside these make s them anxious and is scary, for the world can be a scary place. Have mercy on them, and don’t feel so hurt by it. It is simply fear,it is why Christ said so often “be not afraid”

    • netprophet

      But God’s revelation is in the person of Christ and in the Word; the scriptures themselves.

  • David

    I long ago came to grips with the fact that I am an ‘evangelical reject’. This was recently validated when I returned from Palestine last month. I went over there with a Christian human rights group. What I saw, what I encountered first hand was deeply troubling. I had an inkling what the situation was but until one actually is there they cannot fathom the depth of despair and oppression of the Palestinian people. For several days we were tear gassed and subjected to flash bang grenades as we escorted children, as young as eight, to school.

    Since returning home I have been trying to explain what I saw and what I experienced. Mostly this is greeted, especially by certain Christians, with indifference and disdain. They have bought into the narrative painted by the media (and their pastors) that “Palestinians = Terrorists”. Nothing could be further from the truth. I found the Palestinian people to be well educated, peace loving, family oriented and generous. On the other hand, I witnessed Israeli settlers in Hebron (while surrounded by dozens of Israeli soldiers of course) spitting on Palestinian shopkeepers and children during their weekly tour of the old city.

    Many of the items on your list are exactly where I’m at. Most of them in fact. I’ve come to the conclusion that most American Christians are afflicted with the kind of nationalism that blinds them to what is happening in the rest of the world. They are perfectly willing to dispatch their military to kill people in sovereign nations by the millions and spend their money watching movies like “American Sniper” but have no clue who Rachel Corrie or Tom Fox were.

    http://thirdway.crosstherubicon.us

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002671136814 James Adams

    Wow you believe in evolution and consider yourself intelligent?Evolution is total junk and ever Darwin rejected it within a short time.I can almost believe many of the worlds peoples are akin to apes but that’s insulting the animal.You are absurd to even suggest evolution,even the leftists who push it to confuse the youth know its discredited.Where have you been???How about your next article being called:You know you’re a Logic Reject when.

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/ Kurt Willems

      ^Silliest comment of the day. No time to engage beyond that.

      • gimpi1

        Yes, indeed. James wins the coveted “Stupidest comment of the month” award, since this is a month old, and I’ve not seen anything this stupid since he posted it.

  • netprophet

    Sadly, the reason you and many others might feel they are an “evangelical reject” is you have lost your first love. We were once in bondage and God’s wrath was against us. Straight from the Word. No mention of that in this article – no mention of regeneration and becoming a new creation being bought off the slave block by Christ’s shed blood. Just the same old postmodernist, emerging church gibberish and watered down foolishness and falsehood. When you say we cannot know truth in absolute certainty, sure. Only God is absolute and infinite. But we can know him (John 17:3) and we can know that He is truth, so can know the Truth only because he is absolutely certain and he states that he is truth dozens of times in scripture. Scripture is revealed not just in the person of Jesus but also in propositions many of which Jesus quoted. You can wax eloquent about how this is and never was a “Christian nation” (and was founded with the sleight of hand references to slavery and genocide), without defining what you mean by it. But, please take the time to read Thomas Kidd’s “God of Liberty” and “Vindicating the Founders” by Thomas G. West and you will come up with a very different perspective than what you describe above particularly on the impact of evangelical thought on our founding documents and advancement of the abolition movement. The bottom line is this nation’s Declaration and Constitution and governmental structure would have never been developed with a nation of non-Christians, Hindus, Muslims, New Agers, Buddhists or Humanists. Principles such as the separation of powers, being made in the image of God who grants us our rights can only come from a biblical worldview. Finally, you may say the Bible does not teach “how the heavens go” but it is clear they don’t go by way of mindless purposeless molecular collisions. And no amount of baptizing evolution by calling it “theistic” necessarily makes it theistic because there is no evidence of a supernatural intervention to create one species out of another. We humans may not know truth with absolute certainty (as only God can), but we can know True truth (as Francis Schaeffer described God’s truth), and He has given us his Word to know and pursue God’s truth. It is only because of his grace and mercy that He has revealed himself and His Word to me and in that I can be absolutely certain.

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/ Kurt Willems

      You clearly didn’t read this part of the article:

      “1) the centrality of the Scriptures for understanding God and life, 2) a belief in the efficacy of Christ’s death and resurrection for personal salvation, 3) a commitment to missional (oops…still a “cuss” word in some churches) living because of the teachings of Christ, and 4) the conviction that God transforms us into Christlikeness from the moment we accept God’s invitation of discipleship”
      Peace.

      KURT WILLEMS
      http://kurtwillems.com
      http://facebook.com/kurtwillems
      http://twitter.com/kurtwillems

      • netprophet

        Hi Kurt
        Yes I clearly did. In fact I read the entire article. I have first knowledge about myself as do you about yourself……And, there are two Commissions articulated in the scriptures – the Great Commission (Matthew 28 and Acts 17 e.g.) and the Cultural Commission – redeeming the world for Christ found from Genesis to Revelation. I think Truett Cathy was very missional – read about his relationship with a homosexual man he witnessed to and discussed his beliefs with during his last years. Also, check out Rosario Butterfield’s “Secrets of an Unexpected Convert” if you have not – a former lesbian professor turned evangelical Christian, now married with 4 children.

    • Julie

      Translation: “If you are no longer Evangelical, you’ve lost your first love.” Who, exactly, is my first love? Evangelicalism or Jesus?

      • netprophet

        Hi Julie,

        Yes, Jesus Christ and his truth as revealed in the scriptures. John 18:37 – ….”the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

        • Julie

          Is Evangelicalism my first love or is Jesus my first love?

  • Jessica G

    I finally reset my disqus password (after like two years of not remembering it) and just wanted to affirm you and your blog: thanks for what you do, and what you write. It’s very encouraging to me, who only recently started questioning my fundamental beliefs and am on a new crazy adventure on what I believe about God. Inside my heart for so long, I felt a tug every time it seemed God was leaving someone out just because they are a certain way or don’t believe the exact right thing. i don’t think He is that way anymore, this is mostly based on praying and stuff, but my whole world is having upheaval. Bible the literal word of God? What if it isn’t? Was there an actual Noah’s ark? To baptize babies or not? Honestly I’m beginning to think that God doesn’t really care too much about these details, except as how they effect us or others. People are really starting to think I’m crazy because I’m like evangelizing for this new God I know to current Christians, but I’m like “He’s so much better than you think! Give Him a chance! Question your beliefs: He won’t die or be any less powerful because you’re on a fence about a few issues!”
    Long story long, you minister to me and my messed up, rejected evangelical spirit today and for that I’m grateful.
    Peace be with you:)

  • Guest

    Kurt Willems,

    Saying you are an “Evangelical Reject” is a misnomer and an appeal to emotion.

    I think you maybe were an evangelical and now you are not or maybe never were, either way why try to change or take over the term? It’s like Mormons wanting to be called Christians, pretty soon terms and names are so broad they mean nothing e.g., who has a clear definition of evangelical anymore, maybe that is what you are after.

    Sounds more like Evangelicals are the ones being rejected.

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/ Kurt Willems

      I think what you think is incorrect and inconsistent with the definition of evangelical and my personal narrative in Christ…
      Peace.

      KURT WILLEMS
      http://kurtwillems.com
      http://facebook.com/kurtwillems
      http://twitter.com/kurtwillems

      • Guest

        I don’t know what your definition of evangelical is and the meaning has become cloudy, if you do have one, according to your article, it wouldn’t necessarily be true…

        If you don’t believe what evangelicals do your not rejected just have different beliefs.

        I could say I am a Progressive Reject but that would be an appeal to emotion, a logical fallacy, rather than a solid point based on facts or reason.

        • http://patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/ Kurt Willems

          The historical definition of evangelical is fourfold: a commitment to the Bible as central to one’s faith, a commitment to the cross and i’s atoning power for salvation, a commitment missions, and a commitment to the transformed life in the Spirit. I mention all of these in the beginning of this article and I stand by that definition. This describes me. I’m an evangelical—and then some :-)
          Peace.

          KURT WILLEMS
          http://kurtwillems.com
          http://facebook.com/kurtwillems
          http://twitter.com/kurtwillems

          • Guest

            By “a commitment to the Bible as central to one’s faith” do you mean the bible is inerrant?

          • http://patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/ Kurt Willems

            Evangelicals have always had a view that spans from infallible rule for life and faith to inerrancy…there’s a spectrum. Inerrancy is NOT characteristic of all evangelicalism–yet it is for ALL forms of fundamentalism. There is a historical difference.
            Peace.

            KURT WILLEMS
            http://kurtwillems.com
            http://facebook.com/kurtwillems
            http://twitter.com/kurtwillems

          • Guest

            The foundational doctrine of evangelicalism is the innerancy of scripture as in –

            “the bible alone, and the bible in it’s entirety, is the Word of God written and is therefore inerrant in the autographs”.

            And

            The triune sovereign God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

            And

            Man was originally created innocent but through Adam’s transgression sin entered the human race.

            And

            The substitutionary atonement of redemption in Christ Jesus.

            And……

            Fundamentalism had to do more with separation, basically evangelicals believed the same things as fundamentals but practiced separation from those who compromised innerancy…..

            That is the fundamentals separated.

          • http://patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/ Kurt Willems

            See the book “Across the Spectrum: Issues in Evangelical Theology.” Many evangelicals and evangelical denom’s hold to infallibly and not inerrancy. For a church to join the “National Association of Evangelicals” it need affirm the following: “We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God.” Notice that they intentionally do not use “inerrancy.” It is only evangelicals who feel the sting need to force the inerrancy agenda that claim it is fundamental to evangelical theology. That assumption is simply not true. See: http://www.nae.net/about-us/statement-of-faith
            Peace.

            KURT WILLEMS
            http://kurtwillems.com
            http://facebook.com/kurtwillems
            http://twitter.com/kurtwillems

          • Guest

            From The Evangelical Theological Society –

            Doctrinal Basis

            “The Bible alone, and the Bible in its entirety, is the Word of God written and is therefore inerrant in the autographs. God is a Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, each an uncreated person, one in essence, equal in power and glory.”
            http://www.etsjets.org/about

          • http://patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/ Kurt Willems

            Fair enough but still not universally evangelical.

            Peace.

            KURT WILLEMS
            http://kurtwillems.com
            http://facebook.com/kurtwillems
            http://twitter.com/kurtwillems

          • Guest

            Kurt Willems,

            You already stated you could not really know what is true, but do you believe in inerrancy?

          • http://patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/ Kurt Willems

            Bowing out as it seems you have a bone to pick… This convo will not end until you “win.” I now out.
            Peace.

            KURT WILLEMS
            http://kurtwillems.com
            http://facebook.com/kurtwillems
            http://twitter.com/kurtwillems

          • Guest

            Kurt,

            Not to beat a dead horse…the following is from the site you used for proof…, seems they do believe in inerrancy. Maybe they are using the term inerrant and infallible interchangeably.

            Our Doctrinal Core

            ….”The Bible is the inerrant Word of God and therefore sufficient for all Christian life.”

            ….”If a person believes these five truths, we can warmly embrace them as part of the family of God. If a person departs from any of these five, it is difficult to understand them as a fellow believer. Theologians love to explore more, and such pursuits are worthy of their efforts. But as evangelicals, these are the doctrines we really need to know. And know well.”

            http://www.nae.net/resources/nae-newsletter/winter-201415/1223-our-doctrinal-core

            Anyway I think you can see my point in the comment above – “Fundamentalism had to do more with separation, basically evangelicals believed the same things as fundamentals but practiced separation from those who compromised innerancy…..”

  • Tim Dolan

    My history is in traditional conservative traditional churches. Recently, we have been attending a church whose emphasis is on reaching people, and is not divisive or argumentative with people about doctrinal issues. That is a very understandable position for a church trying to reach people with the message of Christ! I applaud it! But this blog brings up a question: Is progressive Christianity really just liberal Christianity. One point in the blog brings up a big red flag! I quote: “You have no problem simultaneously affirming biological evolution alongside an authoritative view of Genesis 1-11.”Read more: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/2015/01/05/8-signs-reject/#ixzz3PCt3Fln1 Basically, the writer says the Bible doesn’t say how God created. That is a monstrous misleading of people! It says God created out of nothing, and that they were created by the power of His very spoken Word. The Bible categorically denies biological evolution, no question about it. So at the least, I must say, the writer needs to study the Bible before making false claims. The sentiment is good.

  • SWNID

    I guess I qualify as an evangelical reject. But I can’t recall ever being rejected by evangelicals. Not once. Differed with, but not rejected.

    I guess I’ve always been connected to patient evangelicals.

    I’ve always thought that my experience was common. Maybe not.

  • bongorocks

    Islam is based on the Quran, but the bible and the Quran contradict one another in many different ways. So I’ve proved to myself that the bible was inspired by God, and the Quran was inspired by Satan.
    Here are some facts.
    The bible was the only book that was Quoted from space to the whole world by the American Astronauts ,and not the quran.
    The bible was also written long before the quran,
    I was the Christians who were the once that landed on the moon and not the muslums, so the Christians were the only once who have really ascended to heaven and not muhammed, and we can prove it.
    So if the muslums want the rest of the world to believe that when they blow themselves up they go strait to paradise, then the muslums need to ascend to Mars Before the Christians ascend to heaven for the second time.
    But they need to build a rocket for that job and not bombs.

  • bobmead1960

    Your thoughts, concepts and statements are almost all wrong. You state there is no absolute truth and point to Christ, I guess as, absolute truth. So my one question is “How can you spend eternity with God?” What are His requirements? Good day

  • http://theoperspectives.blogspot.com/ James Goetz

    First, I initially felt awkward after believing in a theistic big bang. A few years later, I initially felt awkward after believing in theistic evolution. Despite those beliefs, the Assemblies of God granted me ministry credentials. Seven years later, I resigned because I began to believe in the possibility of postmortem conversions and evil angels converting back to good angels. Several years later, I felt awkward when I initially believed that same-sex marriage is compatible with the New Testament.

  • gimpi1

    “Fighting the anti-evolution war is counter-productive and leads many young people to eventually reject God.”

    I wish I could tattoo this on Ken Ham’s forehead.

    This article has many good points about the creepy merger of Evangelical Christianity and conservative Republicanism, but the line about the nonsense of creationism is the best point, in my opinion. It’s one thing that keeps me outside. I can’t (and don’t want to) turn off my brain or un-learn what I’ve learned about geology, biology and cosmology.

  • http://www.dalemelchin.com Dale Melchin

    Here’s a sign: you leave evangelicalism all together and become Eastern Orthodox because you still believe in Truth, that it can be known and known with certainty, yet embrace mystery. Try that one on for size. 😉

  • Uber Genie

    Now were getting somewhere! I do my outreach in bars and cigar smoke shops. One friend who recently converted to Christianity was an atheist for the past decade. He thought I was an atheist as well because I defended him against evangelicals spouting the four spiritual laws, more than once. After 8 months we were able to go to dinner and he asked about my journey as an atheist. You should have seen his face when I told him I was an”recovering fundamentalist, and I had to smoke and drink every damn day! When he asked why I defended his views instead of my fellow Christians, I asked a simple question, “Did any of those Christians give damn one about him as a person?” He said, “No way.” I told him I cared about him and didn’t want to see him abused. That led to him asking really good questions. Questions I have worked through both intellectually and spiritually. The Holy Spirit does the rest. He will cause them to jump in the boat so to speak. If , and only if you are authentic.

    Most evangelical pastors in the US are women trapped in men’s bodies. Not trying to demean women here. Women try to conform to culture from the age of three onward. This is helpful for creating society inside and outside home. But they are not generally explorers or warriors. Men are. If you want to expand the Kingdom of God by conquering the Kingdom of Satan, well you better look to men generally. Or men trapped in women’s bodies. The majority of pastors I have met while traveling and speaking around the country are focused on fitting in with a culture of their creation. They don’t explore, they keep boundaries. They don’t attack enemy strongholds, bind up the weak, or preach the gospel to the poor. They hold Sunday tea parties around doll houses and pretend they are the church. Boundary-keepers are the opposite of Jesus and his apostles. Who are the boundary keepers in Jesus day? The religious leaders.

    I have had several successful ministries to teens, non-believers, college kids, and international students destroyed by pharisaical pastors. Concerned with people’s dress, smoking in public, even demanding absolute agreement about minor theological points, in violation of the scriptures they represent.

    Insecure, jealous, demanding all the attention. How are they not little girls? Evangelicalism may have been co-opted but why not lead a revolution?

    How do you respond to rejection? Praise God that he has delivered you. Shake off whatever insecurity and conformity remains. Pull up your big-boy pants and start loving like a disciple.

    Pull the best and brightest out of your church and make every man, woman and and child take an oath to never to follow a pastor over Christ. Never to be a people pleaser as opposed to a Christ follower. Get those who are tired of check-boxing Christianity once a week and form Home groups and small groups. Learn authenticity. Learn from each other. Learn from the Holy Spirit. Soon they will influence neighbors, friends, fellow workers, family. Even influence people in bars and smoke shops. And beware the leaven of the Pharasees.

  • The Bohemian

    I grew up in evangelical churches in the 50s and 60s. I attended evangelical churches, and still do. Evangelicalism meant something different before the 80s. I always considered myself one until fairly recently – at this time I don’t think I want to be associated with the label Evangelical because I think people have so politicized the term that it no longer means what it used to. However, I could have checked a lot of those 8 Signs You Might Be an Evangelical Reject even back in the late 70s and early 80s. Sigh.

  • http://textsincontext.wordpress.com Michael Snow

    I would add “evangelical sites delete your links to evangelical quotes.” Thanks, Kurt for your ‘like’ on a comment at Faith Bible Ministries Blog.
    I wouldn’t have known they deleted the quotes link, otherwise. A week or so ago it was the delete and ban at Gospel Coalition on facebook for Spurgeon’s quotes (the article was on pacifism!). It is hard to get much exposure for what he said about war and Christians. https://spurgeonwarquotes.wordpress.com/

    I would have emailed you but your contact link does not show an address and brings up something on my computer that I do not know how to use. (I’m geekless.)

  • http://stephenmatlock.com/ stephen matlock

    This is an old post but it came up today.

    I think I fit into these definitions/affirmations (except of course I’m not a millennial), but I don’t say “I’m not that kind of Christian.” I don’t know that there are kinds of Christians.

    I’m not trying to be cute — as far as I can tell, there is very little in Scripture to tell us what a Christian is except what people call us who watch us. If we look like we’re acting like Christ, then people call us that.

    So I leave it to that: “This is what I do, in my attempts to follow Jesus, and I believe in him as both my Lord and Savior.”

  • Coral Gathman Cook

    I had a pastor call me a “bitc_” because he disagreed with me on the way I prayed. Needless to say, I no longer attend that church.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X