10 Ways To Determine If Your Christianity Has Been “Americanized”

10 Ways To Determine If Your Christianity Has Been “Americanized” July 21, 2015

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While the word “Christianity” ought refer to a single religion, the reality is that many cultures have succumbed to a process of syncretism where there are actually many, many forms of Christianity that look nothing like the original picture on the outside of the box. Pointing this out is painful for many, as it often pulls the rug out from some of our deeply held beliefs– things we thought were Christian beliefs and values, but ultimately turn out to be just cultural values and beliefs.

America is no different. The powerful influence of American culture has, for quite some time, seeped into the Christian faith to the point where we have an entirely new product. Instead of Christianity as it was passed onto the disciples and early church, we have a uniquely American version– and one we’d do well to dissect until we’ve found freedom from it, and freedom to return home to the life and message of Jesus.

Is the version of Christianity you’re living out the real-deal or is it the Americanized version? Here are ten ways you can tell– but there are undoubtedly many more:

1. If you look at the early Christians and are in disbelief over what you find. 

If your primary identity is legitimately that of a Christian, you’ll be open to learning about Christianity as it was taught and lived by the earliest Christians. However, from an American mindset, original Christianity and the first Christians appear nuts: they were universally nonviolent (against capital punishment, abortion, military service and killing in self-defense), rejected individual ownership of property in order to redistribute their wealth (Acts 2:44-45, Acts 4:35), and rejected any involvement with the government. When reading about them they seem rather un-American, and this will cause frustration or disbelief among those in Americanized Christianity.

2. Your chief concern with Muslims is how to defeat them instead of how to show them the love of Christ. 

The chief calling of a Christ-follower is to love others. Whether a neighbor across the street, or an enemy across the world, Christ’s command is abundantly clear: we are to love one another. If your initial posture toward Muslims is that of viewing them as a threat instead of viewing them as people Jesus has commanded we radically and self-sacrificially love, then your Christianity might be Americanized.

3. If you can recite more of the US Constitution and Bill of Rights than you can the Sermon on the Mount.

Love the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights because they set the foundation for our country? Well, did you know that the Sermon on the Mount serves the same function for the new, otherworldly Kingdom principles that Jesus followers are supposed to be living by? If you’re more familiar with America’s founding documents than you are the foundation of Jesus’s teachings, your Christianity might be Americanized.

4. If you’re going to spend more time focused on the presidential election than serving real people around you. 

Jesus calls us to get busy serving the least of these– to get our hands dirty, to embrace the position of “servant of everyone,” and to pour ourselves out as we endeavor to change the world right where we are. America on the other hand, invites us to view political power and force of government as the solution to the world’s problems, and that’s a tempting offer for both liberals and conservatives. If you’re more focused on what they could do than what you can do, your Christianity might be Americanized. (And here’s one similar: if you judge the heart of fellow Christians because you don’t like the political candidate they voted for, your Christianity might be Americanized.)

5. If you advocate cutting government programs for the poor but don’t actually tithe yourself.

An American value is small government and low tax rates, but a Christian value is the elimination of poverty– which is precisely why the early Christians shared their wealth instead of hoarding it. However, while many American Christians fight for lower taxes, the average American Christian doesn’t give money to charity. Where the early church shared everything, statistics show that Americanized Christians share almost nothing– less than 5% even tithe to their church. When we reject the Americanization of Christianity, we become focused on how to give more, not on how to give less.

6. If you say “we’re a nation of laws” in reference to immigrants faster than you quote what the Bible says about immigrants.

For a nation of immigrants, American culture has a shockingly hostile posture toward them. When this bleeds into our Christianity, we see Christians adopt a hostile posture as well– and that’s the last possible posture a Christian should have. The Bible has plenty to say on immigrants, and consistently lists them as one of the vulnerable groups of people God-followers care for. While the government has a right to determine who can come and who must go, the primary posture of a Christian is that of radical love towards immigrants of every type.

7. If you think Paul’s prohibition on female teachers is straightforward, but Jesus’s teaching on enemy love is somehow open to a thousand degrees of nuance. 

People often forget that Paul wrote letters to specific churches addressing specific problems that had a specific context. Yet, in a society that is still wrestling with patriarchy and sexism, we take Paul’s letter to a specific church and make it a blanket prohibition for all times and cultures. However, when we get to Jesus saying “love your enemy” and “do not respond to an evildoer with violence” we abandon that same hermeneutic and say, “Well, Jesus couldn’t have meant we’re not supposed to kill our enemies.” Why? It’s Americanization- we interpret scripture in a way that is consistent not with authorial intent, but our own culture.

8. If you only see sexuality in the admonition to be modest.

We are a society that sees sex in everything– and we see it in Paul’s admonitions for modesty as well. However, if you look closely you’ll see that Paul isn’t talking about sexual modesty, but is prohibiting Christians from flaunting their money with expensive clothing and jewelry. However, we don’t see that in the text because Americanized Christianity would reject the idea we aren’t supposed to own expensive and flashy things. So, we make the passages about sexual modesty so that we can enjoy our expensive and unnecessary toys without a guilty conscience– all the while policing women with yoga pants.

9. If you think defeating gay marriage is the most pressing issue of our time. 

Somewhere along the line, the Americanized version of Christianity taught us that defeating gay marriage was perhaps the most pressing issue of our time. Sadly, as Americans we’re taught to be self-centered and this is an incredibly self-centered view that completely ignores the global issues of our time. It is the mistaken identity that our issues are the issues. The most pressing issues of our time? Let’s start with the fact that 750 million people around the world don’t even have access to clean water or that 805 million people are chronically malnourished.

10. If your church honors soldiers more than the elderly woman who has been quietly teaching Sunday school for 30 years. 

Because of the blending of America and Christianity, many of our churches sure do love them a man or woman in uniform. Back in my military days I remember wearing my uniform to church when I came home on leave– you get treated like you’re the most important person in the room. But you know who is the most important person in the room? It’s the person who is not in the room at all– it’s that little old lady who has quietly and lovingly been teaching the kids about Jesus while the rest of the church forgets she even exists. Americanized Christianity loves to fawn over those who fought, but the Kingdom of God teaches us the real heroes are the ones who are quietly serving in our midst to the point we are almost unaware they’re even among us.

Is the version of Christianity you were taught the Americanized version? What has it been like for you to transition out of it? What else would you add to the list? I’d love to hear your stories.


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  • Chelsea

    Awesome post! #9 is a huge point because if your theology is focused solely on “rescuing” the “sanctity of marriage”, your whole theology crumbles. I’ve seen it in my 16 yr old niece. She is a part of a generation that is all about social justice and equality, but while she has been raised in a conservative church, she has turned her back on faith. She sees faith as something ugly. As something that’s hurtful. As something that’s exclusive. All because her pastor preaches on this subject all the time. This is a young woman that was practically a missionary at school, but not anymore. If the church focused on other topics like feeding the hungry and serving the widows, she’d be more excited about faith. Churches need to realize that the obsession of gay marriage is not only turning the LGBT community away, but also the members who love the LGBT community!

    Keep speaking the truth, Ben!

  • otrotierra

    Thank you Benjamin! When Jesus is offensive to U.S. Evangelicals, the problem truly is the Evangelicals, not Jesus who is literally The Word.

  • Traci Marusak-Kraus

    I absolutely love reading your posts! My journey as a Christian has been through so much and it really has unfolded by me meeting and marrying a transgender woman. I am an Evangelical (embarrassed at times to admit that for the obvious reasons that you stated in your post and then some!) And she is a Jew. I never had met someone trans before and me being an Evangelical is her one major prejudice. And yet we connected like nobody’s business! When I met her, I simply asked God to give me His eyes and His ears to see her as He does, little did I realize that that would open up the doors to “seeing” the LGBT community in ways I never had or never would have if I continued with the belief structure that I was brought up in. I truly believe that our meeting was a God thing. There is absolutely NO way the two of us would have even remotely been in the same circle otherwise. I have realized in many cases of where I judged ignorantly because of “my beliefs”. I know it was the holy spirit gently showing me where I had missed the mark. I have found the LGBT community to be more Christian in their love for all and their acceptance of all than those of us who call ourselves as such. I am a straight girl who fell in love with the heart and soul of my spouse Eva. I now experience the “stares” and the complete casting out of the flock by my former Christian friends as well as my parents. What breaks my heart is that they say they love me and my spouse Eva, but their position on not being a part of our lives and getting to know this wonderful person, only solidifies in Eva’s eyes how evil and ungodlike they are, because that is what she sees and that is what she experiences on the daily…..how on earth is she supposed to see the true nature of who Jesus is when my own parents condemn her and consider her an abomination…..thank you for writing what you write! It feeds this thirsty soul who will NEVER stop being an ambassador for Jesus….and not the Americanized one!

  • Jon-Michael Ivey

    I’m tempted to let the politicized conceptions of Christianity keep the term “Christian” and encourage the genuine followers of Jesus use “Chrestian” instead.

    The title “Christos” does properly refer to a human ruler who has been anointed in a ritual symbolizing that God endorses his authority to rule over others. Rulers since Constantine have been (falsely, imho) claiming such an ordination.

    The term “Chrestos” means good, kind, gentle, benevolent, helpful, or useful. It says more about Jesus’s actual character, and about what his followers are called to emulate.

    The term “Chrestianos” is actually attested earlier than “Christianos.” It is what the disciples came to be called at Antioch. Some later Patristic writers considered the term mistaken, yet also embraced it as an accurate description of that Christians should be.

  • If you believe you know why Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed, but you don’t know why some of the Corinthians became ill and fell asleep….

    If you can name all the Republican judges in your district, but you can’t name all the fruits of the Spirit…

    If you think the Gospel is “get saved and sin less….”

    If you have ever passed around “voter information” in your congregation…

    If you have ever demanded that America support Israel because of the Bible…

    If you think the process of “leading someone to Christ” culminates in a Sinner’s Prayer…

    If you have ever believed that a professional athlete’s conversion makes the Gospel more credible…

    If you have ever condemned rock or rap music for worldliness but continue to listen to country…

    If you have ever said the church stands or falls on inerrancy…

    If you have ever gotten excited about an “evangelistic event” because of its size…

    If you have ever wanted more conversions so we could change America into a more moral nation…

    If you believe America has ever been a moral nation…

    If you believe the Founding Fathers could have taught your Sunday School class…

    If you believe that American soldiers are worth your prayers in times of war but not Palestinian Christians…

    If you have ever explained the “camel through the eye of a needle” passage by saying the Eye of the Needle is an uncomfortable but completely passable gate in Jerusalem…

  • I like “people of the Way.”

  • Hannah

    11. If you confuse Jesus with Capt. America.

  • Leanne Zeck

    If “God helps those who help themselves” is your favorite Bible verse….

  • My son might. That’s his favorite superhero. My other son was asked to draw a picture of Jesus. So he drew a picture of Iron Man Jesus. (Iron Man is his favorite superhero.)

  • I’ve never heard of this idea of “Crestos.” Do you have any references for that? I like that idea.

  • otrotierra

    Jon-Michael, this is fascinating. Would love to know more about the etymology of “chrestianos.”

  • David Cohen

    Or worse, you think it actually is a Bible verse and not a later invention.

    Bill O’Reily, I’m looking at you!

  • David Cohen

    I’m only sorry I that I can only “like” this once

  • Mark Rich

    I like this post very much! I think it would help a lot of Christians to recognize that the apostle Paul did not write all 13 of those letters, but only seven. One of the hallmarks of the after-Paul letters is exactly the sexism (and the acceptance of slavery!) that Paul himself never accepted in following his radical Lord.

  • louismoreaugottschalk

    hi otrotierra! I seen your post on red letter Christian. some time ago I unsubscribed and recently I did a red letter Christians survey. do you know if they’ve changed their policy and have a moderator now?

  • Je’ Czaja

    PREACH IT BROTHER! :)

  • Christopher Keen

    Please give more supporting scriptures! I would really like learn more.

  • Robert Karma

    I just want to inject the historical context on the teachings of Jesus and Paul. They had the eschatological view of ethics, also known as Kingdom Ethics. The non-violent, turn the other cheek message of Jesus doesn’t make sense in how people should live in a normal, day to day manner. You’d quickly be exploited and abused if you tried to apply the teachings of Jesus (from his sermons) to your everyday life. What does make historical sense is the realization that Jesus and those who followed him believed they were living in the end times and that the Kingdom of God was about to be inaugurated. You would need to focus on the coming Kingdom rather than the mundane acts of life because time was short. Then turning the other cheek, being nonviolent, not engaging in political activities, not even marrying unless absolutely necessary makes perfect sense. If you thought you were going to die tomorrow you probably wouldn’t spend your time focusing on your retirement plans 20 years from now. Thus, the Kingdom Ethics made sense in the context of their time and place. The problem for the early Christian communities is that the Kingdom never came, there was no Second Coming. With the problem of the Delayed Parousia, you see how later Christian texts evolve to deal with this reality.

  • otrotierra

    RedLetterChristians has refused to moderate their comment section, and thus they’ve given control to nasty trolling that drives away guest contributors and commenters alike. It’s been at an all time low for several months.

  • Linda Hug

    http://www.mountainman.com.au/essenes/chrestians%20christians.htm

    Contains lots of documentation for Chrestions.

  • Linda Hug

    See my link above

  • Jon-Michael Ivey

    “Chrestos” is a fairly common Greek adjective, which would have been more familiar to most of the original readers of the gospel than the much less common word “Christ.” Jews familiar with the Septuagint would know what “Christos” meant, but that term was very rarely used by pagans.

    The epithet “Chrestianos” or “Christianos” was not originated by
    Christians, but given to them by those who would know the word chrestos
    better than christos.

    The only difference in the spelling between the words is having an eta instead of an iota. Those had very distinct sounds in Classical Greek, but were practically indistinguishable in the pronunciations of some dialects of Koine Greek. It would thus be really easy to mistake one for the other, and for a scribe to think one or the other was a misspelling of the other.

    “Chrestos” is found in several places in the bible: https://www.teknia.com/greek-dictionary/chrestos
    The abstract noun form “Chrestotes” is also found: https://www.teknia.com/greek-dictionary/chrestotes

    The earliest extra-biblical pagan references to Christ actually say
    “Chrest,” but modern scholars doubt those were actually meant to refer
    to Jesus. Many people (including Socrates) and gods (including YHVH) were called “Chrestos” by their followers.

    The bible and other early christian sources still do refer to Christ, with an iota, but the earliest manuscripts use “chrestianos” instead of “christianos.”

    The “-ianos” ending was a very common one in Koine Greek, although it was originally borrowed from the Latin “-anus” or “-ianus.” Adding this to any noun or adjective forms an adjective that means “pertaining to” that original word. When the original word refers to a person, the new adjective usually denotes his descendents or followers.

    “Christianos” would thus mean “followers of the Anointed,” while “Chrestianos” would mean “followers of the Good.”

    Several early church fathers make puns based on the similarity of the words. (I first came across it in Justin Martyr’s work, although I don;t recall whether it as the “First Apology” of the “Dialogue with Trypho.”) I think it was either Tertullian or Iranaeus who said that the pagan critics know so little about Christians that they cannot even get the proper name right, but that they still were giving a compliment when they tried to disparagingly call them “followers of the good.”

  • CroneEver

    On the other hand, it was exactly non-violent resistance, turning the other cheek, used by Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela that changed entire nations. And yes, each of them were exploited and abused – and ultimately successful in bringing about greater love and liberty for the people they represented.

    Personally, I think it’s important to remember that the time is indeed short – the end times comes for all of us, when we die, making how we live as incredibly important for us as it was in the days of Jesus and Paul. The time is always short. The Kingdom of God is at hand. The end times are only a breath away.

  • Salvador Torres

    The Kingdom never came? They thought the were in the last days? The Kingdom came when the Temple of Jerusalem was destroyed. The old system was destroyed, God came in judgment over that unbelieving generation. (Matthew 23-24) Paul, John, Peter and the writer of Hebrews said that they were in the last days, even the last hour. Revelation states those things were “at hand”… Jesus even said “I’m coming quickly”. How could the Holy Spirit be wrong or deceive them? I guess we are misinterpreting Scripture. Blessings.

  • Salvador Torres

    Totally right, about the camel… preachers want to make the rich comfortable in their churches…

  • Herm

    Life is an opportunity of transition we had no choice in but to begin the journey but all the responsibility to our choice immediately there after has been ours. This is true of every son, daughter, mother and father of mankind. This is true of every child raised in the community of their birth. This carnal body I was graced with to share and communicate through was Americanized from a carbon based lineage of DNA traceable back to a common mother in Africa. The spirit I am spawned in the image of gives each of us members individual choice and responsibility to the whole of our reach. I am not aware of such present in any other spirit of any other species of animal on this Earth other than Man.

    My family of mankind gave me the opportunity, as well as the best intentions of my privileged nation of birth, to move from totally self-centered to a certain realization that I, my carnal family, nation and species comparatively knows nothing of what there is to know of what influences each of our lives, individually and/or collectively. I am aware that none of us of mankind has earned anything that had not already been provided for by a Spirit of more capable and effective love than that of our species.

    The American (North, Central and South) cultures are as equally short sighted as any other culture on Earth. I was first taught by my parents to believe that I could earn anything I set my heart and mind to. It’s the America way (except for the dumb, poor or unfortunates in our nation). Fortunately (I really did luck out) I could understand enough as a child to learn to honestly lie to fit in to be allowed to pursue a quest for the truth. I learned that all written history is only chronicled through the eyes and heart of exceedingly limited authors of tinted vision with prejudice. In over seventy years I have watched the chronicled past revised so many times to match the needs of the story tellers I don’t trust the written word, any written word.

    Jesus I trust because I have exhausted all other possible living sources I can turn to to support me out of my ignorance. I don’t believe in Christ Jesus because of any written word although through the Bible, with many other substantiating Spirit inspired writings, I have been guided in to how to accept Jesus as my only trustworthy, faithful and eternal big Brother mentor. Once I gave up letting mankind lead and accepted God’s influence as true and trustworthy I have grown and transitioned out of a dependence on my sibling peer pressure into full love for both my family of Man and God. I have a Father in Heaven who can understand and share all infinitely better than my American fathers, my mortal parents, or most honestly me as a father to my children.

    “Yankee Ingenuity” is a sickening term to me now for I know America’s ingenuity is no more capable than any other human (individual, family or national) ingenuity of any other human being in this world. I know that the Book of Genesis is most enlightening when it tells me in no uncertain words that Man as one species of life was created in the image of the one responsible Creator God self-referred to in the plural at the beginning. The overall responsible God in Genesis later is at minimum expressed in a bonded form of a Son (both of Man and God) and a Father. The human family has at minimum been expressed in a bonded form of a son and a father. The Son of God said whoever does the will of His Father is His brother, sister and mother. John tells me that the Spirit of God in my heart and mind bonds me as a child of God. As a relative of God I can inherit the same eternal life as my Father if I can minimally love in the image of my Brother and Father. I know these things to be true because Jesus tells me but not because the Bible or any other human being says they are truth.

    Any espoused Christian who does not love all human beings as their family enough to die for them all is not a disciple of Rabbi Jesus. All in the USA who believe they can earn anything and amass a fortune at the cost of any other human being are not any a mother, sister or brother of Jesus our Christ. That’s the truth that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt in my heart and mind. This is the point I have transitioned to from the Americanized Christianity that all of us born citizens have had the privileged influence of, at one point or another in our childhood, within the USA rather than Pakistan … not of our choice. How can we expect to influence an Iranian born Muslim to accept the Spirit of Jesus when we’re not ready to die that (s)he might live as did Christ for us all of one Man in the image of God?

  • I am about 75% sympathetic with this. I do think you can’t separate the ethics of the New Testament from their apocalyptism and much of teachings are oriented around creating communities that will survive the coming wrath/deliverance. Although I also agree with Salvador, below (or above – I forget how comments get ordered).

    However, that doesn’t automatically make the ethics inappropriate for Christian communities existing in the world, today. We may have to transpose them in light of our own eschatological crises (and I would suggest a growing secularism and assimilation of nationalistic Christianity qualify), but what embodies Christ embodies Christ.

  • Blondenfab

    How do you past these verses? Leviticus 18:22 and Leviticus 20:13 and Romans 1:26-27 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-10? I am wondering what your take on these verses are?

  • Clay Tablet

    Benjamin Corey, you are freakin’ awesome. You’re actually writing about the things many of us are thinking. Well, things about which I think, but I’m fairly certain I’m not the only one.

    I especially appreciate your thoughts on radically loving Muslims, even those who proclaim themselves to be our enemies, as well as your thoughts about what the Bible has to say about the way we are to treat immigrants. It has been shocking to see people who claim Christianity as their religion and, at the same time, speak so awfully about immigrants- it’s heartbreaking to see people treated so poorly. Same goes for the poor and the sick- shocking poor-shaming and blaming by those specifically called to help the poor and the sick.

    I’m grateful for your voice- it makes me feel that my religion hasn’t been completely hijacked by political forces. Well done.

  • Guy Norred

    This is going in my reference file

  • Al Cruise

    If you belong to a denomination that has taught that people with dark skin have the mark of Cain and are not the same value as a white person.

  • DOKTAHJAN

    If you are more aware of the teachings of televangelists than you are of what the Bible actually says about any topic

  • Guy Norred

    Seeing with His eyes and hearing with His ears–love this!

  • Herm

    “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”” Matthew 28:18-20

    The Kingdom is here, right now. Is it that you are expecting to be ruled by a mighty King from God as did those who felt perfectly safe to crucify that impostor Christ who would not deny He was the Son of God? The problem for Constantinians and Americans is that they believe they’re in charge until Jesus returns to take over. Jesus is in charge. We are not slaves but have a choice of citizenship under Jesus rule or Caesar’s rule. Those who follow Jesus are easy to recognize because they are carrying their own cross that others might live.

    “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.” John 16:12-15

    “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

  • If the image of a flag draped over a cross doesn’t make you recoil in horror.

  • Charlotte O’Hara

    I believe that we should try to live like Jesus is coming back at any moment because that is what Jesus said in Matthew 24:36, “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

  • James Matthew

    I think by Robert’s context he was referring to the promises that Jesus was going to return within the lifetimes of those who heard his voice such as:

    Matthew 16:28
    “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

  • I’m actually going to be ripping that horrible interpretation of the Eye of the Needle to shreds when it comes around in the Lectionary; specifically asked the preacher (my wife) to let me preach on that Sunday.

  • Karen Gonzalez

    LOVE this! Preach it, brother!

  • James Matthew

    I think by Robert’s context he was referring to the promises that Jesus was going to return within the lifetimes of those who heard his voice such as:

    Matthew 16:28
    “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

  • Well, to start with, you take them in context, rather than acting Like Paul and Moses only ever wrote those few sentences. And you also want to take them in the original languages, since translations sometimes have an unfortunate way of making subtle (or sometimes not so subtle!) changes to the inspired text as originally written. Like, for example, 1 Corinthians 6 uses the Greek word μαλακοὶ (malakoi). This is a word that very clearly does not mean “homosexual,” and yet that’s how it ends up rendered in so many English Bibles. It actually means people who prefer an easy life to hard work.

  • Charlotte O’Hara

    I love the comment about Paul. I cringe whenever I hear someone say if you don’t work you don’t eat. Paul was addressing a specific problem that was occurring at the church in Thessalonia. I heard a sermon on this when I was young and these very pious people managed to convince themselves that praying was their work so they didn’t need to do anything else.

  • The context of the Olivet Discourse (Matt 24) is the coming destruction of Jerusalem, not the bodily return of Christ, so when he says “no man knows the hour” he was speaking regarding the advancing army of Rome. I have a chapter on this issue in my next book, but a little more info can be found here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/formerlyfundie/dont-worry-the-great-tribulation-was-in-the-past/

  • As I said above, this wasn’t his bodily return he was speaking of but the coming destruction of Jerusalem. He used symbolic language from the OT such as “riding on the clouds” which symbolize God coming in judgment against them (the same language was used to refer to God coming against Egypt as well)

  • John Lindsay Mayger

    Since God is a Trinity he has arranged everything of importance likewise. The bride of Christ, the church is Orthodox, Roman C & Protestants. The image of God Man is likewise a Trinity Man, Woman & Child/ren. It is the height blasphemy to make God in our image as an american.

  • Matt Jacobs

    Here’s one I see regularly: If you oppose the US government recognizing gay marriage, because it’s “not God’s will”, but also oppose aid programs for the poor, because “it’s the job of the churches, not the government,” then your Christianity might be Americanized.

  • I’ve been trying to find the verse (or verses) that says “do not respond to an evildoer with violence”. Could you help?

    And more additions to the list:

    If you believe America is some kind of second Israel.

    If you think being called on treating others horribly when it comes to religion and sexuality counts as persecution. (Bonus points for yelling about the First Amendment protecting your freedom of speech/religion.)

    If you think liberals and democrats can’t be Christians.

  • Matt Jacobs

    I’ve seen that statement made several times, and it always makes me cringe, because it’s so blatantly obvious it’s not at all what Paul was talking about.

  • Matt Jacobs

    “If you believe America is some kind of second Israel.”
    Either implied or explicit, this is a core belief of many Americanized Christians. They do this in the process of applying OT passages that were specifically about Israel to America, but can never really explain why they believe those scriptures apply.

  • James Matthew

    What was established at the fall of the Temple that was not established by Jesus in his ministry before?

    What changed for Christians like those converted by Paul – its not like they were going to Jerusalem on pilgrimage.

    Why would the fall of the Temple be a sign of a new kingdom of peace, the Romans committed genocide on Jews even those who didn’t oppose Jesus. The Temple falls 40 years after Jesus leaves.

    Destruction and genocide might clear a place but the slaughter isn’t the construction of something new.

    Why is that act the beginning of the kingdom of the son of Man?

  • Matthew 5:39 is the passage you’re looking for, but that entire part of the sermon lays out Jesus’s ethics on violence/enemy love. The word “resist” in v 39 is a difficult issue of translation because the Greek term in this case does not have a 1 to 1 counterpart in English, so resist is what a lot of folks go with. However, other scholars such as NT Wright feel the best translation is “do not respond to an evil person with violence” or “violence in-kind” which is what the Greek term is really getting at. I discuss this more in my video blog on nonviolence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xpdr1axWMUk

  • 8,9, and 10 are the biggest problems with American Christianity and the three that I see the most examples of in daily life.

  • Nothing was established– Jesus established his Kingdom while he was here. It’s often referred to as the “now but not yet” tension. The destruction of the temple was basically the end of the world to the Israelis, and is what the Bible often calls the “end of the age”.

  • fugazi71

    What about supporting theft of wealth through force or threat of force in order for a small portion of it to be redistributed to people of the government’s choosing? The sins of coveting and theft don’t just cease to exist once you enter a ballot box…

  • Hmmm. This gives me an idea. What if you responded that we’ll always have homosexuals with us?

  • Herm

    The Spiritual significance of the temple fell when the curtain before the Holy of Holies was torn …. the Temple was rebuilt three days after.

    Jesus offers peace to all who know Him today if we accept His Spirit in our heart and mind:

    “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

  • Jonathan G

    That’s basically been my journey (I’m 25 now). I like to say I’m a recovering former right-wing evangelical Christian, although I’m not sure what I really believe other than a basic rights-based version of the Golden Rule and Second Commandment.

    I have, however, been reading a bunch of other religions’ sacred writings and have been amazed at the parallels in many of the major tenets as regards treating others. Sadly, many of these traditions have been affected by cultural exclusionism and exceptionalism, that members of those faiths can’t see the same good tenets in their ‘rival’ faiths. I don’t know if I’ll ever figure it all out, but I’m trying to find a syncretic “Grand Unified Theory of Religion” that finds the ultimate Truth and common roots behind global faiths, mythology and possibly even scientific though.

  • Jeanne Fox

    Your Christianity has been Americanized if you believe God wants you to get rich.

  • Matt Jacobs

    “What about supporting theft of wealth through force or threat of force in order for a small portion of it to be redistributed to people of the government’s choosing?”
    What makes it “theft”? Just because you use the word doesn’t make it accurate. “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s” still applies, whether it’s an emperor or a representative democracy.

    What of redistribution? It’s a valid option that’s been advocated all the way back to Thomas Jefferson, no matter how scary you want to make it out to be.

    “The sins of coveting and theft don’t just cease to exist once you enter a ballot box…”
    Again, using words doesn’t make it true. The sin of lying doesn’t cease just because you’re misrepresenting political opinions.

    There are good economic reasons for redistributing downward: in particular, money redistributed to the poorest population does far more to stimulate the economy than money sitting in a bank account or gambled on Wall Street. Trying to pretend such arguments, and many others, don’t exist is dishonest.

  • Don Lowery

    If helping the poor is the job of the church…rather than the government because the church seems to have forgotten it’s their job…better start doing tithing like the LDS church…mandatory 10%. For that matter…since churches are more concerned with the accumulation of their toys…it’s about time to tax churches to the point of when the government started doing the churches job 50+ years ago at 90%. They want to play…they can pay for the privilege.

  • Matt Jacobs

    You know, I kind of hate the idea of taxing churches, but too many are playing politics these days, to the point where I’m leaning towards the argument that they should be taxed again.

  • Herm

    Lest we forget so soon there are recent survivors in America who in the deepest depth of grief did not react to an evil person with violence in-kind. Because of their rare and illogical American response a symbol of subjugating shame, too often saluted by Americanized Christians, fell. Those are true brothers, sisters and mothers of Christ who share allegiance to our living Lord with the entire world. From the love of God working from their hearts and minds we have learned more the power of forgiveness to overcome the endless cycle when carrying to wield the sword of retribution.

  • fugazi71

    Got it. Just your run of the mill socialist. Not an actual Christ follower. Thanks for clearing that up.

    “Take a fish from one man and give it to another. If he protests, take all of his fish.” #shitjesusneversaid

  • Matt Jacobs

    “Just your run of the mill socialist. Not an actual Christ follower. Thanks for clearing that up.”
    I see you decided to ignore the reminder that lying is a sin.

    “‘Take a fish from one man and give it to another. If he protests, take all of his fish.’ #shitjesusneversaid”
    Interesting that your best argument is to reference something Jesus didn’t say. Were you searching hard for scripture to support your viewpoint and just couldn’t find anything?

  • Don Lowery

    I do agree with you…especially when you notice the conditions I used for the churches to be taxed. If those can prove much of their “take” is being used to help those in their local community…their tax burden would be less than one which looks/operates like a Vegas casino. It’s these latter ones I would tax at 90+%.

  • Would you include in that the black churches from whose pulpits Democrat politicians campaign?

  • Herm

    #shitJesusdidsay:

    “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:25-34

  • Matt Jacobs

    Why wouldn’t I… wait… why are you specifically talking about “black churches”? Why would it matter what color they are?

  • Country music is different, because in it every good time has a price.

  • Eris, elder daughter of Nyx

    Luke 3:11

    John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.”

    #socialism

  • Matt Jacobs

    Right. That terrible interpretation completely ignores the following two verses ( https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+19%3A24-26&version=NRSV ). If it were at all possible, the disciples would not have been “greatly astounded”. Jesus was making a statement about wealth, but also about God’s power to save.

  • The apostles *agreed* to hold things in common. The millions of victims of socialism over the past century held things in common *at gunpoint*. When government is brought in to compel actions that properly belong to private conscience, the guns come out pretty quickly.

  • Yeah, I’ll definitely be including that when I preach about it. And I’ll also be mentioning how there’s zero evidence that such a gate ever existed; the first time it was even mentioned was in the writings of a 10th century German monk, if I recall correctly.

  • Matt Jacobs

    Interesting. I would not have expected that bizarre interpretation to even be that old.

  • I don’t think it gained traction until recently. I also can’t remember if that German monk was in the 10th century or like the 15th. But people have been twisting Jesus’ words since basically the moment they came out of his mouth.

  • Katherine Harms

    This list is just a bit too much. It’s full of truth that isn’t quite the truth, if you know what I mean.

  • Me

    Thank you!!!! #1 sums up the majority of
    arguments from republican Jesus camp. They don’t seem to have actually read the NT and don’t understand how anti-politics and anti-government Christianity actually is.

    I shudder when people say God bless America. They don’t get it.

  • Andrew Gilford

    You are correct!

  • otrotierra

    What part of Benjamin’s commentary “isn’t quite the truth”? In your next post here, please cite Benjamin line-by-line and word-for-word to prove your accusation.

  • Thank you for this, especially since some of my friends are very Americanized Christians who think they are God’s gift, but don’t seem to get it. But their sense of being right, can be a stumbling block to people like me who came out of that tradition. You pretty much nailed it with great clarity. Thank you for being there and stating these things. I’ve said this before, but feel like there is a real community here.

  • Man, that’s a brilliant counter-argument.

  • Eris, elder daughter of Nyx

    This isn’t against you in particular (I don’t know where you stand on it, you just made me think of it), but I always think it’s funny that so many people think that helping the poor is something that “properly belong to private conscience,” but making sure the gays can’t get married is 100% the government’s business. Oh, irony.

  • Herm

    Katherine, I don’t know what you mean and would be interested in how you see this article as not quite the truth. Please!

  • Charlotte O’Hara

    I learned something new today. Thank you, Benjamin. I work in emergency services so I always live as if this may be my last day. Our time on earth is so fleeting.

  • Jimmylee Smith

    well said. I would add, if you share hateful things on fb, but this article offends you, your christainity has been americanized.

  • Jimmylee Smith

    i think it is very important for christians to speak up against hate. many christians do not realize the name is now associated by most non christians with hate and intolerance and greed, no longer with the love that jesus taught.

  • Jimmylee Smith

    i see nothing but truth in what he said

  • Jimmylee Smith

    sadly, people are still looking for a physical kingdom on earth.

  • Ben, here’s one you’ll see constantly on Facebook: “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” When Ronald Reagan quoted from 2 Chronicles there was no doubt he saw America as a new type of Israel, set aside with a covenant relationship with God. The trouble is, America is not a theocracy, never has been. In early church typology it was Israel that was seen as a type or foreshadowing of the Christian church. Well meaning Christians, in ignorance of Biblically sound typology use this scripture to point fingers at American people and culture…if only America would turn from their wicked ways! Nonsense, “if my people (the Church), who are called by my name (Christian), and turn from THEIR wicked ways…” It’s not so much America needing to get right with God, but Christians. It is so much easier to put the blame on others.

  • Alexander Wright

    I am sorry, but I do not believe you have correctly pinpointed the word at issue here. It is not μαλακοὶ that means homosexual, but αρσενοκοίτης, which is a clear callback to the Septuagint phrasing of Leviticus 18:22. If you take the Levitical passage to prohibit homosexuality (as I think you should) then Paul is talking about the same thing in 1 Corinthians.

  • Alexander Wright

    Respectfully, the ultimate Truth behind global faiths is that God has graciously revealed Himself to us through the prophets and the eventual coming of Jesus. Other world religions have glimpsed a piece of this, but not the whole.

  • Alexander Wright

    I do not know what you mean.

  • Allan Smith

    While in the States this month I visited my home church on the July 4th weekend. A member of the worship team performed “My country tis of thee” – beautifully done, but I was shocked to see more people standing and raising their hands during that song than during the worship time.

  • Jonathan G

    That may in fact be true, as you and many traditional Christians believe, but how do you know that Christianity has not suffered from the same cultural drift and impurities that beset other religions?

    As the original article points out, the faith of Christ’s time was vastly different to that of today in many places; maybe aspects of the canon have changed from God’s intention, and the other parallel myth (using the term in it’s broader context of deep human/supernatural truth, rather than falsehood) are God’s way of providing checks and balances to the system, but most cultures have not had the eye to see it.

  • ER

    Thank you Mr. Corey for writing this and sharing it!!

  • Alexander Wright

    Well, the thing is, I’m not particularly interested in debating whether “Christianity [has] suffered from the same cultural drift” as other religions. Obviously the modern church is different from the early church, in many ways, most of them bad. But has Jesus changed? Were His words false? No, and no.

  • Maria Hawley-Hughes

    my Christianity isn’t Americanized yet which is strange considering it’s the only Christian church actually founded in America by Americans. Loved your article

  • wolfeevolution

    I once heard this as a helpful (if speculative) explanation for the otherwise-somewhat-weird verse, “To live is Christ; to die is gain.” Perhaps, “To live is a good thing; to die is gain.”

  • Robyn Bray

    So, you’re saying Jesus had no idea what he was saying, right?

  • TeacherGrant

    As a deconvert of nearly thirty years, I whole-heartedly concur.

  • TeacherGrant

    Your niece woke up and smelled the coffee. That’s hard for a child in a brainwashed fundamentalist household to do. Big props to her.

  • Fair point, but the Chronicles passage was not written to Christians; they didn’t exist at the time. So the ‘Called by My Name’ (Christian) bit can’t have meant Christians, at least not in its original context.

  • Excellent point :)

  • Yoda would be proud ;)

  • I’m curious why you think that denying the ‘gate’ interpretation of this passage is so important to sharing the good news.

    The context of the passage is Jesus telling a wealthy man “One thing you lack. Go, sell everything you have and give it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come and follow me.”

    The image of a camel having to unload all the stuff it is carrying may not be Jesus’ original one (although absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence), but it is still an image which is appropriate to that context.

    So why are you so determined to ‘rip it to shreds’, rather than simply saying this is probably not Jesus’ original meaning, but it does remind us that, whilst wealth, power and status are things which open doors in this world, in God’s Kingdom they are obstacles which get in the way (cf Mark 10:13-45); but all things are possible with God?

  • Leanne Zeck

    I also think you can add to the list: if you talk about the US Constitution in the same way you speak about the Bible–inspired, God given….I’ve heard people use those terms for the Constitution and I find it idolatrous.

  • Snom can speak for his own motives, but for me, the issue isn’t so much with the appropriateness of the metaphor as it is the reason people latch on to it.

    If a camel has to pass through an actual eye of a needle, this is impossible. It absolutely, 100% cannot happen. Being rich is completely prohibitive of entering the kingdom, just the same as the laundry list of other things that will keep you from entering the kingdom. There’s no wiggle room. It is only by a miraculous work of God that a rich man will get into the kingdom.

    But people like the gate thing, because now it’s just difficult, but not impossible. It leaves the door open to being rich “as long as I put God first.” It changes the locus from riches being a death sentence to riches being perfectly fine as long as you keep them in perspective. This is also generally the camp that likes to say things like, “Money isn’t the root of all evil, the LOVE of money is the root of all evil. Therefore, it’s fine to spend my life trying to get as much of it as possible, as long as I don’t LOVE it.”

    So, while the gate might be a workable metaphor to make the same point, I don’t want American Christians to have that out. The only possible reason to believe such a gate existed is to take the teeth out of Jesus’ statement.

  • Jon Berkowitz

    //” Your chief
    concern with Muslims is how to defeat them instead of how to show them the love
    of Christ. “//

    The love of Christ
    works only when the receiving entity is receptive and teachable.. We have an
    obligation to defend innocent life, both in the womb and out.

    //If your church
    honors soldiers more than the elderly woman who has been quietly teaching
    Sunday school for 30 years. “//

    Only the ignorant
    would try to make a comparison of the contributions of the soldier and a Sunday
    School teacher. Who but God could judge that?

    //”

    If you think defeating gay marriage is the most
    pressing issue of our time. //

    Given that marriage is ordained of God and God will not be mocked, I’d say gay
    unions are a very serious matter for all of society, up there with abortion-on-demand
    and homicide.

    //”
    If you only see sexuality in the admonition to be modest.

    We are a society
    that sees sex in everything– and we see it in Paul’s admonitions for
    modesty as well. However, if you look closely you’ll see that Paul isn’t
    talking about sexual modesty, but is prohibiting Christians from flaunting
    their money with expensive clothing and jewelry. However, we don’t see
    that in the text because Americanized Christianity would reject the idea
    we aren’t supposed to own expensive and flashy things.
    So, we make the passages about sexual modesty so that we can enjoy
    our expensive and unnecessary toys without a guilty conscience– all the while
    policing women with yoga pants.”//

    Only the sanctity of life is more
    important to the Lord than sexual purity.
    The sexual sins are second only to murder in degree of offense. The Lord’s Law of chastity is the most
    important law for a Christian to keep and the consequences for breaking this
    law are profound and far-reaching. In
    short, the integrity of society depends on how well people live this Law, both
    Christians and others as well.

  • This is great. Someone trying to be a faithful Christian talks about their struggles, community ostracism and how that affects perceptions of Christians, the importance of love governing the kingdom, and your response is that the Bible says that being trans is wrong.

    I’m going to add to the list:

    “If having a correct view of the sinfulness of homosexuality and transsexuality is more important to you than the reconciliation of all things to Christ, your Christianity might be Americanized.”

  • Good point. That’s why, when Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, he said, “The chastity one.”

    Thanks for proving the validity of Ben’s list.

  • jeffcook

    Come on!

  • LetsTalk

    “The love of Christ
    works only when the receiving entity is receptive and teachable.. We have an obligation to defend innocent life, both in the womb and out.”

    Odd. I don’t recall that standard being applied anywhere during Christ’s ministry. His love was given unconditionally and without regard to the actions or position of others.

    “Only the ignorant would try to make a comparison of the contributions of the soldier and a Sunday School teacher. Who but God could judge that?”

    1 Corinthians 12 would be a great place for you to start your bible study.

    “Given that marriage is ordained of God and God will not be mocked, I’d say gay unions are a very serious matter for all of society, up there with abortion-on-demand and homicide.”

    Why don’t you lay down your idol of religion and let God sort out his own priorities?

    “Only the sanctity of life is more important to the Lord than sexual purity.
    The sexual sins are second only to murder in degree of offense. The Lord’s Law of chastity is the most important law for a Christian to keep and the consequences for breaking this law are profound and far-reaching. In
    short, the integrity of society depends on how well people live this Law, both Christians and others as well”

    Your statements here are borderline heretical and completely unfounded.

    “There are six things the Lord hates,
    seven that are detestable to him:
    17 haughty eyes,
    a lying tongue,
    hands that shed innocent blood,
    18 a heart that devises wicked schemes,
    feet that are quick to rush into evil,
    19 a false witness who pours out lies
    and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.”

    Can you point out which of these are related to “sexual purity”?

    It would appear sir, that you are attempting to recreate God into your own image.

  • trevor s

    to add fuel to this article’s fire, the world at large is significantly affected by the Americanized view of things, including Christianity. this has been fostered by the satellite transmission of televised Christian television .. America takes its twisted brand of Christianity and merchandises it to the world .. I am one of the beneficiaries of that ..

  • Both words are taken to mean “homosexual” – depending on the English translation, they are either lumped together into one English word, or are kept separate and rendered as something like the “active” and “passive” partner.

    But neither word means “homosexual.” Firstly, it’s not at all clear that Paul is “calling back” to the Septuagint. That is a theory, but there is zero evidence supporting it. The mere existence of those two words side-by-side is no evidence of a connection, any more than there is a connection between butterflies and food fights. And if it were a clear callback, then αρσενοκοίτης would have been translated the same way throughout the history of the Church, but this is not the case. In the Reformation, for example, it was universally translated as “men who masturbate.”

    With hard-to-translate words like αρσενοκοίτης, a translator of ancient texts looks to the contexts in which it is used. Unfortunately for us, all of the writings contemporary to Paul use it in lists, but fortunately, all of those lists are grouped, like unto like. Do you know where αρσενοκοίτης falls in those lists? With the economic sins. The Sibylline Oracle, for example, places the verbal form (do not arsenokoitein) as an expansion on the command not to steal seeds or hoard grain. And the oracle does in fact have a section devoted to sexual sins, but αρσενοκοίτης shows up with the economic sins instead. Likewise the second century Acts of John, which places αρσενοκοίτης with sins of economic exploitation, while sexual sins are dealt with elsewhere.

    So where does Paul place it? Between “idolaters, adulterers, and μαλακοὶ” in the fore, and “thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, and robbers” immediately following. All people who use and abuse others in order to make their own lives easier.

  • Glenn Kay

    The author forgot….do you celebrate Christmas and Easter. The first century believers did not, they celebrated the Biblical holy days, such as Passover, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot.

  • Calm yourself; “rip to shreds” was hyperbole :-P

    What I’m going to be doing is guiding these congregations to look at how tempting it is to reframe Scripture in a way that keeps us from having to do the hard things that Jesus asks us to do. Because that’s ultimately what the “Needle Eye Gate” story boils down to; once the camel is unloaded and passed through the gate, you load it back up and you’re right on your way. It’s a token gesture, which means I’m afraid I have to disagree with you about it being appropriate to the context.

    As Phil says, it’s the difference between “all things are possible with God” and “this really isn’t all that bad.” It’s the difference between “the rich cannot enter the Kingdom, but through God even the impossible is possible” and “the rich need to pay lip service to God but then can keep doing what they were doing.” Ultimately, it’s the difference between a radical call from Jesus the Christ to change your life and follow him, and a toothless call from Jesus the pretty nice guy to think about God every once in a while.

    And a quick side note regarding your parenthetical; I hadn’t mentioned everything, because I wasn’t expecting to have to defend the fact that this gate never existed. The first time I ever even heard about this gate was from a respected archaeologist, who has been digging in and around Jerusalem for decades. Never, in all of his years, has he (or any of his colleagues) found even the slightest hint that such a gate ever existed. No physical evidence, nor any mention of it in any writings, including descriptions of the city. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, you are correct, but the burden of proof here should be on the people who claim that such a gate existed. And right now, all of the evidence is stacked against them.

    Lastly (and a bit out of place, though I couldn’t think of the best place to insert this into what I wrote above), this passage doesn’t show up in the Lectionary until October 11. So I’m giving myself plenty of time to ruminate on the passage and let the Holy Spirit move in me.

  • Herm

    Jon, thank you for such a good written portrayal of an Americanized Christian! Who is teaching your heart and mind? Just exactly who are you defending; yourself, God or your American Christian lessons? Love you! Sorry if you have been offended.

  • DK13

    So basically, anyone who disagrees with you about political issues is practicing a false Christianity. Gotcha, wow what an original thought.

  • James Matthew

    Your statement “The Spiritual significance of the temple fell when the curtain before the Holy of Holies was torn” is not supported by the Bible:

    The Apostles continue to attend rites there:
    Acts 2:46
    And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts

    When Paul’s loyalty is questioned James asks him to prove it by participating in a rite that ends at the Temple:
    Acts 21:18-26
    18 The next day Paul and the rest of us went to see James, and all the elders were present. 19 Paul greeted them and reported in detail what God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. 20 When they heard this, they praised God. Then they said to Paul…There are four men with us who have made a vow. 24 Take these men, join in their purification rites and pay their expenses, so that they can have their heads shaved. Then everyone will know there is no truth in these reports about you, but that you yourself are living in obedience to the law. …26 The next day Paul took the men and purified himself along with them. Then he went to the temple to give notice of the date when the days of purification would end and the offering would be made for each of them.

  • JesusToeChrist

    I saw nothing like that written. Instead it states that if you are in vehement opposition with everything taught by Jesus, then you are practicing an extremely false, blatantly obvious pseudo-Christianity. You stand corrected, nice try though.

  • Paul Julian Gould

    If your theology and eschatology is based on the fiction of Tim LaHaye and Frank Peretti, rather than the Bible itself…

  • Amen and amen. The reason the gate theory is problematic is less because of its historicity (though I strive to avoid misinformation at all times) and more because of how it gets used to give us an “out.” We American Christians (and I do mean all of us, myself included) have gotten far too good at the double-standard. Jesus’ hard teachings are cut-and-dry for other people, but nuanced for ourselves. Although it is not our works that save us, it’s constantly repeated throughout the Scriptures that becoming a follower of Christ cannot leave you unchanged. It’s simply not possible. Christ takes lordship over the entirety of your life, and in Christ there is a new creation. And because of that, we should always be wary of the temptation to rewrite what Jesus has said so that we might stagnate. And the greatest temptation of all is (once again) that double-standard, because then we can stagnate while pretending to care about becoming a new creation in Christ.

  • This is untrue: “rejected individual ownership of property in order to redistribute their wealth (Acts 2:44-45, Acts 4:35)”

    If you read these in context it is clear that individual ownership of property was still enshrined (Peter says it explicitly to Ananias and Saphira in Acts 5:4, “While you kept it wasn’t it your own? After it was sold, wasn’t it in your power?”). The correction in the passage is for lying to God not for keeping their property.

    Also Acts 2:46 talks about “their homes” a phrase which makes zero sense without individual ownership of property.

    Yes, there was generousness and the early church did not cling greedily to their own property, but it is an error to say that they rejected individual ownership of property. The teaching of scripture is to be a good steward of your property so you can use it to bless others when there is need.

  • HamburgerHelper

    Americanized? I read a list that basically sees the americanization of Christianity from a conservative/Republican point of view. Christianity has also been Americanized from a liberal point of view as well. It can work both ways.

  • Paul Julian Gould

    It seems that there are some here whose consciences have been poked, and “You’re wrong” is about the only reaction they have… Haven’t seen much aside from that, with one commenter only offering that “if one disagrees with you…” without bothering to articulate exacly why the disagreement…

  • “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.”

    It was more than generosity according to scripture– it was a refusal to view possessions as “mine.”

  • Jon-Michael Ivey

    That is very interesting and it makes sense, but I don’t think it is correct.

    Koine Greek is a declined language, where nouns and adjective change forms base on case, number, and gender. I just checked an interlinear of that verse, and found that “Christos” is in the nominative singular masculine form.

    In that form it has to be describing a person or at least a very specific object that is grammatically masculine. If it were being used more abstractly to mean “a good thing” then the grammatically neuter form would be used. Infinitives are always treated like neuters when used as nouns, so adjectives agreeing with them must be neuter too.

    The neuter and masculine would be identical in the genitive or dative cases, but are quite distinct in the nominative found here.

    While “Chreston” would make sense in this context, it seems less likely that that form would be hypercorrected to “Christos.”

    (I am much more familiar with Classical Latin than with Koine Greek, but am still fairly confident that the two languages are alike in this regard.)

  • In what ways?

    I ask because I’m genuinely curious. What you suggest sounds like it could be true in theory, but all I ever -see- are evangelical Christians in bed with Republicans.

  • Alexander Wright

    “Both words are taken to mean “homosexual” – depending on the English translation, they are either lumped together into one English word, or are kept separate and rendered as something like the “active” and “passive” partner.”

    This is flatly wrong. In the New American Standard translation, for instance, it is translated “nor effeminate, nor homosexuals.”

    “Firstly, it’s not at all clear that Paul is “calling back” to the Septuagint. That is a theory, but there is zero evidence supporting it.”

    Zero evidence? Arsenokoites is a neologism! There is no extant use of it prior to 1 Timothy and 1 Corinthians! And Paul was a scholar in the Septuagint tradition! You might not be persuaded, but it’s not intellectually honest to say there’s zero evidence of a connection between “αρσενοκοίτης” and “ἄρσενος οὐ κοιμηθήσῃ κοίτην.”

    ” And if it were a clear callback, then αρσενοκοίτης would have been translated the same way throughout the history of the Church, but this is not the case.”

    I don’t think that logically follows. Many of the words in the Bible have been translated different ways by different translators, for many different reasons – availability of texts, facility with language, political ideology, et cetera. Certainly if something had always been translated one way, that would be significant, but I do not believe the opposite to be true.

    “In the Reformation, for example, it was universally translated as “men who masturbate.””

    No, it was not. Martin Luther, for instance, translated it as “pedophiles.” The vulgate translated it as “pimps.” Where are you getting your facts?

    “The Sibylline Oracle, for example,” this is not contemporary to Paul. “Likewise the second century Acts of John,” this is also not contemporary to Paul.

    “So where does Paul place it? Between “idolaters, adulterers, and μαλακοὶ” in the fore,”

    At this point I know you are not arguing this in good faith. You started the list at ‘idolaters’? Really? I’m pretty sure the list in 1 Corinthians 6:9 actually starts with ‘fornicators.’ Why on Earth would you try such a clumsy truncation? Is it because starting with ‘fornicators’ would strain your already-tenuous interpretation of idolatry as an economic sin?

  • Nope- this wasn’t a political article. The word political refers to policies, and nowhere in this piece is any policy of the government endorsed or condemned. Therefore, no politics.

  • Yet surrounding verses show that they did not reject individual ownership of property. As I pointed out, Peter himself explicitly acknowledges individual ownership of property just a few verses later.

    You cannot consistently claim they rejected individual ownership of property based on this one verse alone when it is surrounded by verses that demonstrate otherwise.

  • Yes, forgive me, I wasn’t clear enough and should have said rather that many English translations (e.g. the NIV, the ESV) translate it as also meaning homosexual. And translating malakoi as “effeminate” masks the true meaning and subtly implies a connection, though that is admittedly due to cultural conceptions of “the effeminate gay.”

    Yes, zero evidence. And as support of that, I point to the fact that you yourself are offering no evidence of a connection; all you have to offer is “Paul was a Septuagint scholar” and “it uses the same words.” I say again, that’s not evidence. I never denied it being a neologism – and in fact, that makes it even more necessary that we do plenty of research to determine what it means, rather than assuming that its etymology is of necessity its definition.

    I misremembered when exactly it was universally translated as “those who masturbate.” Once again, forgive me. But still, the fact that Martin Luther translates it as pedophiles and the Vulgate translates it as pimps rather seems to underscore my point: this is hardly a clear and obvious connection to the Septuagint.

    I started with idolaters because I was originally not planning on writing out the whole passage, and then when I changed my mind I forgot to expand in both directions. But thank you for assuming the absolute worst right away. It really makes me think that you’re interested in having a constructive dialogue. Since you “know” I’m not arguing in good faith, I see no point in continuing this discussion. You can just go ahead and write me off, as you already have.

  • Callum Reavey

    Remind me, which one beat up Hitler? :)

  • jeffcook

    Uhhuhh – It’s a mistake to shoot at people who are on your side.

  • Alexander Wright

    I think “effeminate” is an appropriate translation for malakoi in that context, actually. It’s not just referring to the lazy, but also the vain and the cowardly. Those have traditionally been understood as ‘feminine’ vices, so someone who indulges in them is ‘effeminizing’ himself. And in that sense, we see a connection between pornoi, idolaters, adulterers, malakoi, and arsenokoitei: Paul is talking about people who all in some way are perverting themselves. Throwing away the natural and blessed gifts of sexuality, marriage, worship, or strength on perverted, fleshly ends.

  • lurkingwithintent

    If this is all you see, then expand your reading list. Read the positions of most mainline denominations on any issue and it will read like the position of the Democratic party: abortion, racism, sexism, the Affordable Care Act/healthcare, etc. I am not a conservative evangelical, but it shouldn’t be all that hard to find the truth of Hamburger Helpers statement. Aside from that, there is no church in this country that is not “Americanized,” since that is what happens when you live in America. Just as there are differences between Catholic churches in various countries. Most useless article on what could be a significant topic, because it doesn’t point out the fact that these things are true about most of the church, including the early church by the way. There is no “pure” or “golden” time of the church untouched by the surrounding culture.

  • DK13

    hmm, the article I read referred to positions on tax law and the size of government, immigration and marriage policy, attitudes toward the US Constitution and geopolitics. How are those not political issues?

  • Ah, words without a good one-to-one translation… the source of a great deal of grief for translators, scholars, preachers, and many others. Even when it’s something relatively benign, like πνεῦμα.

  • My wife and I are constantly struggling to temper the nationalism of our congregations in a way that won’t encourage them to push back against us. Things like allowing and even encouraging the handbells to play patriotic music on flag day, but nixing the procession of the American flag during the prelude. Don’t care if you did it last time Flag Day was on Sunday, that was in 2009, which was two pastors ago. And that guy basically stopped caring about ministry while he was here.

  • Herm

    James, I must respectfully disagree with you based on many years of Temple study. I am sorry that I can’t take the time at this moment to go through the entire biblical evidence that the Temple lost all significance when Jesus was anointed by our Father in the order of Melchizedek.

    A brief and surely imperfect synopsis off the top of my head goes like this: The Temple in its architecture was specifically designed to foretell the sacrifice our Father was to make of His perfect first born for the life of mankind created in God’s image. The divinely perfect first born sacrifice was performed at the beginning and culminated with the blood offering carried only by the high priest into the Holy of Holies. The Holy of Holies was where the high priest would communicate directly with God through the Holy Spirit. Jesus had the Holy Spirit with Him continuously after His baptism. Jesus is the High Priest, lives and shares as our only Rabbi directly with every heart and mind opened to the Spirit of Truth today.

    The Temple Paul met in, especially when in his attempt to appease James, Ananias and the Sadducee (the Pharisees, as was Paul, had no problem with the resurrection of the dead) by going through a cleansing rite with some of his converts had lost all Temple significance before God’s authority, not to the Jews separate from Jesus at that time.

    There is no Temple beyond the hearts and minds of Jesus’ students where the Holy Spirit resides now to communicate and bond in love us with God. Jesus’ eternal kingdom is not of this temporal world. The Temple He presides over is now eternal and is spiritual. His disciples today and in the day of the first apostles are not of this world for the heart and mind spoken of by Him is spiritual.

    I understand your concern but please understand that the apostles didn’t understand all the significance of the temple then. It is not said in the Bible that Jesus told Paul to go through the rite of purification and yet it is written that Jesus personally had Paul’s ear to tell him to do so as his High Priest if it was important. It did turn out that the rite of purification didn’t appease anyone and Paul, after two years of internment, was sent to Rome to carry the Word as Jesus promised in spite of the rite.

    Sorry this is so incomplete. Perhaps, although, your interest is peaked enough to study from a new perspective under the direction of the Holy Spirit. I am a poor teacher but, hopefully, a helpful fellow student. Love you!

  • FR

    I have found that traveling around the world has made me rethink how I
    am being taught “Christianity” in the US. When I have traveled, and met
    with pastors and other Christians in places like Kenya, Burundi, a
    female pastor in China, Indonesia, Romania, etc., their faith seems more
    “real” and less about self, and more about other. In the US, I have
    seen pastors from the pulpit, proclaim something is truth based on the
    politics of the day. When I worked at Biola university, I was asked what
    “themes” could we use for the “alumni magazine” ( I never graduated
    from Biola, so it was odd that I was asked to be on the editorial team).
    My response was, “Let’s write about whether evangelicals put their
    politics before their faith.” You could have heard a pin drop. I was
    then told, “This is a great topic, but we would lose many alumni if we
    did this.” Meaning, ” money is more important than really speaking the
    truth.”

  • It might help if you were to read the other things that Ben has written vis-a-vis the Bible and homosexuality before declaring that he’s “more ‘politely’ condemning [your] relationships as sinful abominations.” Here, he is speaking specifically against the notion that “gay marriage is the greatest evil of our time,” but the fact that he’s focusing on that particular aspect in this instance hardly means that he agrees with it being evil.

    Here, I’ve found the relevant tags for you so that it’s easier to find the articles:
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/formerlyfundie/tag/gay-christians/
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/formerlyfundie/tag/gay-marriage/
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/formerlyfundie/tag/homosexuality/

  • louismoreaugottschalk

    I shall share now what popped into my head when I read this;
    everybody knows the elephant is in the room except the elephant.

  • Ben: For the most part, I agree with you. When referring to scripture however, we need to read the whole thing in context; not piece meal it out. That’s where misinterpretations happen.

    We do need to stop placing value on culture, policies, etc and place it on what God’s word says. The human race is incredibly self centered and selfish.

  • HamburgerHelper

    Your comment sounds like the “I’m confused. I don’t know what you’re talking about” comment.

    I’m not trying to justify the conservative americanization of Christianity but simply making the observation that liberal expressions of American culture can do their share of interpreting the faith as well.

  • Guy Norred

    I was part of a discussion a bit ago in which the unanimous consensus was to remove the flag from the narthex (not even in the sanctuary itself) but we weren’t sure yet how to do it and minimize the controversy (probably shouldn’t even be saying this here….oh well).

  • Right, I know. And what you’re saying makes sense, but I personally don’t know of instances of that, and I was wondering if you could give me some examples of what you were thinking of when you said it. I’m not trying to argue the point – just understand it.

  • Well, ok, but there’s a difference between having the same position on an issue as a political party and actually identifying with that party.

    Like I said, I think it’s entirely possible that Americanization of Christianity can happen from a liberal angle – I just wondered what kinds of things HH was talking about.

  • It’s the American Christian way.

  • I think I’ve mentioned before on a blog we both frequent my preaching TA from seminary, who had something like that happen when he was pastoring a church. The flag got moved – not removed, just moved to a less prominent place – and all hell broke loose. So Mac put the flag back. And removed the Bible. Well, didn’t remove it, but hid it somewhere where nobody could see it. He told himself he’d put it back the moment someone noticed.

    Fast forward a few months, he’s leaving to pursue his ThD. And he mentions this event in his sermon. Everybody looks to the altar. The Bible is still not there. Nobody had noticed.

  • Paul Schlitz

    The 5% tithing figure is even worse when one considers that in the U.S. donations to churches are tax deductible. Without that tithing by U.S. evangelicals would undoubtedly be much lower.

  • louismoreaugottschalk

    I think that if one’s faith is not connected via the Holy Spirit to Jesus Christ himself and one is not in daily contact then one is possibly being led by one’s damaged and abused soul which
    has had its identity Formed & woven by the zeitgeist of
    good intentions, bad intentions, active addiction to people places and things one thinks one can control, following leaders who say they are covering one’s back & promising to
    have one’s best interests in their hearts while they’re picking one’s pockets.

  • Guy Norred

    I think I do remember that story. Interesting.

  • QED

  • HamburgerHelper

    Part of the points were made by lurkingwithintent below. My main point was to state the Americanization ran both ways.

  • It referenced them, but did not take a position on them. In fact, it ironically calls people OUT of the political sphere and invites them to focus on what the Bible says, if you look at what it is actually saying.

  • Paul Julian Gould

    Ben’s pretty extensive list does seem to be growing much larger, my friend…

    And, as you, and others who know me are aware, I don’t claim to be anything what a modern-day Christian would recognize, but in my own oeuvre (seldom articulated), I acknowledge the truth in your words.

  • Alexander Wright

    Easter has been celebrated by the Church for about 1800 years and change. I do not think that celebrating Easter is a hallmark of an “Americanized” Christianity.

  • So, you just wanted to assert something but have no actual instances of it happening?

  • Alexander Wright

    Your article here most certainly did take a position on immigration. I mean, I think it’s a correct one, in keeping with God’s repeated commands about the responsibility we have to the alien and sojourner, but I think DK13’s charge is well founded: you are saying that, in this area, people with wrong politics also have false Christianity.

  • So he did. I get it now. Good catch :)

  • Alexander Wright

    What evidence suggests this inference to you?

  • I assumed that you hadn’t read his other pieces because what you are accusing him of is so very different from the things that he has actually written over the course of his time as a writer. You say that he “consistently retreats to the appeal to de-prioritize the ‘sin’ [of] being gay,” and yet in the grand scheme of things that is just one of the many aspects of his stance.

    The way you are writing, it seems as though the only thing Ben has ever said is “yes, being gay is wrong, but it’s not worth focusing on. Everyone should just stop talking about it.” When in reality, what Ben has said is “being gay is not a sin and even if it was those who oppose it would still be wrong because of the way they’re treating others.”

    So, again, that’s why I assumed you hadn’t read anything else that Ben had written – because your complaint doesn’t line up with what is there.

  • DK13

    I am not sure who you think you are kidding here. You lay out a series of formulaic, predictable political positions in order to disagree with them (also formulaic and predictable) and call them heretical. In other words, exactly what I said in my first post. You are calling conservatives out of their political sphere and into yours. Yawn.

  • Paul Schlitz

    Alex I’ve served as a church treasurer and every year we had to distribute quarterly breakdowns of how much each person in the congregation has given. As of 1995 the IRS would no longer honor cancelled checks so the burden is on the local treasurer to document charitable donations. Believe me, if somebody doesn’t get a record of charitable contributions they were at my throat. One year our computer crashed and took all of the data and I had to reconstruct donations from carbons of deposit slips.

  • Hmm, its definitely not socialism, but can we call it theocracy if its voluntary? I’m not sure, but if yes, its certainly much different than what people tend to think of when they hear that word.

  • Indeed – a second century homily attributed to Melito of Sardis talks about it like an established tradition, and it was definitely established enough by 325 for it to be addressed at the first Council of Nicea and for them to lay down a couple rules regarding its timing. On the other hand, Socrates Scholasticus wrote that the Apostles didn’t celebrate Easter (or any other festival!), so Glenn’s right there, at least.

    Either way, Easter is definitely not a hallmark of an “Americanized” Christianity.

  • I can’t say a lot about American Christianity in the US; I started reading this post assuming it was about the stuff that crosses the Atlantic – some good, some decidedly unhelpful – but carried on reading because it was interesting.

    That said, though, it may be worth bearing in mind that Jesus did have wealthy followers, and that a distinctive feature of the early Church was its mix of wealthy and very poor (not that that always worked well). Being rich, for example the landowner Barnabas, could be an opportunity to bring blessing to others.

  • Jesse Fortner

    Thinking that “Giving to the poor” means using the government to make others give to the poor rather than doing it yourself. Embracing the American culture of sexual liberation and self-fulfillment at the expense of Biblical precepts.

  • louismoreaugottschalk

    thank you! your word is generally good and means a
    Lot to me. I always look forward to encountering you in these discussions.

  • Leanne Zeck

    I know liberal churches who honor soldiers, have flags in the sanctuary, sing patriotic hymns on or near American holidays. (#10)
    I know liberal churches who spend a lot of time on politics (#4). I know liberals who have only talked about modesty in a limited term as well…liberals have money and like to spend it as well. (#8)
    Perhaps, HamburgerHelper, you are being defensive for nothing…

  • Chimichanga Choochoo Train

    “they laid their stuff at the apostles feet and then it was distributed.”

    This isn’t any different than giving your tithe and offering in church. You give it to the local church, and the leadership of the church determines how to use it. Someone, comes to the pastor and asks if the church can help them with groceries or a tank of gas, and he gives them some money or a gift-card; this money came from the offering. Someone gives a special offering around Christmas time, and the leadership uses it to purchase Christmas hens for a few struggling families in the church.
    This is exactly the same thing, no difference.

  • Melissa Petersen

    I’d add “Do your opinions about your personal ‘gun rights’ supersede your neighbor’s ‘right to life’?”

  • Rick Pryce

    Easter is celebrated every Sunday. That’s why we worship “on the first day of the week,” when the women discovered that the tomb was empty. Just sayin’.

  • Chimichanga Choochoo Train

    This is going both ways, if someone disagrees with anything in this article i.e. Jimmylee’s and Herm’s responses to Katherine.

  • Rick Pryce

    If you see no problem with having an American flag in your sanctuary….

    If you sing the National Anthem on the Sunday closest to the 4th of July….

    If you insist that Jesus came to forgive “sins,” but see no connection to discussions of forgiving debts (the most recent example is Greece, but there are many more)….

  • Timothy Weston

    This makes for a very good follow-up to your Franklin Graham post. I encountered items on this list in my upbringing, which is why I left the evangelical movement last year. Today’s American strain of Christianity has turned God into a tribal god, Jesus into a war god, and the Gospel into a multilevel marketing scheme. It conveniently overlooks the very people that Jesus associated with and serves to use God to justify torture, wealth-hoarding, and antagonism against certain groups of people.

  • Steve W,

    These are good, but I’d like to add a few more:

    1.) If you believe advocating for higher tax rates excuses you from personally giving charitable contributions to help the poor.

    2.) If your views on human sexuality are defined more by Freud and Kinsey than scripture and church tradition.

    3.) If your vision of Kingdom economics relies on the coercive power of a secular government.

    4.) If you are more appalled by the treatment of unborn animals than you are of unborn humans.

    5.) If your understanding of Christianity ignores the theology and ethics of the majority world church.

    6.) If your church focuses more on racial reconciliation as a program than actually welcoming and developing relationships with people of other races.

    7.) If you define the word “love” as “acceptance of all lifestyles” in spite of the witness of scripture and the tradition of the church.

    8.) If you view belonging to a local church as an optional part of Christian life and practice.

    I’m sure you were planning on covering some of these in your next post…

  • Veritacity

    #11 If you post one-sided blogs criticizing your brother, but neglect to deal with the hypocrisy and shortcomings of your own progressive evangelical ‘version’ of American Christianity.
    Ben, I am sure that you choir will applaud this. But Nathanael-like integrity and self-critique it sorely lacks.
    PS – I do completely agree that we do have an (perhaps several) Americanized versions of Christianity that is mostly foreign to the Original Faith. I just like criticizing my own version the most.

  • louismoreaugottschalk

    I don’t define myself as a progressive Christian, evangelical or
    ‘Americanized’ Christian. I consider myself a marginalized person
    I can’t afford the brand name religions
    so I don’t necessarily have a horse in any of those races.
    but boy! following these blogs I get the chance to see what the gentry is doing.
    So veritacity could you say more about what you see as shortcomings of progressive Christians? this is educational for me!

  • Veritacity

    Good reply Loius. I have some conservative friends who would consider me a liberal (on some topics). I would likely be categorized by more progressives as being a conservative. So therefore, according to my critique, I would be much more comfortable in criticizing my own – conservative Christians rather than progressives. God bless :)

  • Well, the deity described in the Old Testament, especially the first six books, was plainly a war god. So if you believe that Jesus is “one in being with the Father”, that makes Jesus a war god as well.

  • rrhersh

    I so adore how whenever this passage comes up in discussion, Evangelicals suddenly fall in love with “interpreting” scripture rather than following its “plain meaning,” much less reading it “literally.”

  • I didn’t take a position– I said that the government has the right to do whatever the government wants to do (politics) but that our job is to welcome and love people. That’s not taking a position on a specific policy of the government.

  • The context shows they were people who were transformed by the gospel, and that they took property that was legitimately theirs and held it all as community property. The fact the context shows it was theirs to begin with and that the action was a voluntary action of being part of the church, doesn’t negate the fact that Acts shows they didn’t view their property as their own and distributed it to others as they had need.

  • Stanley Fletcher

    According to Paul Tillich, the secularization of religion is a major goal. The progressive/liberal community has assimilated Christian beliefs, while the conservative community continues to reject Christian beliefs.

  • Buhari

    you are worshipping an Americanized version of God when you are more upset about political positions…

  • Buhari

    Amazing… its like you were able to walk into my head and read everything i’ve been thinking since i moved to the US. I am always befuddled when i go visit “christian websites” and the posts and comments read more like the manifesto of the republican party, sprinkled with some white supremacist ideas. Garnished with a few bible verses here and there…

  • Ellen H.

    How do you know that people who advocate for more programs and benefits for the poor don’t give to the poor themselves? That’s assuming a lot. Do you feel the same way about corporate welfare?

  • Leanne Zeck

    I really don’t fit into the neat category of liberal or conservative, probably more progressive now. I use to be extremely conservative. I have found this list challenging to who I use to be but also to who I am now. I am not following where this doesn’t speak to progressives as well.

  • Ellen H.

    Actually the celebration of Christmas, Easter, and All Saints Day (preceded by All Hallow’s Eve) derived from the early church leaders coopting the festivals and celebrations of the other religions that were competing with Christianity. In fact Christmas wasn’t really celebrated widely in the U.S. until the 1840s or 1850s. However, I know the Roman Catholic and Episcopal churches observed Advent and Christmas as soon as they were established here. Other denominations may have, but I don’t know about them.

  • otrotierra

    You forget to include deep concern about Death Panels, BENGHAZI, and Obama’s invasion of Texas. Make sure to include all the scary boogeymen next time!

  • otrotierra

    No, Jesus never described himself as a war god. You’re thinking of Mars.

    I’ll stick with Jesus.

  • Steve W,

    Ahh yes, the classic left-wing attack strategy. Ignore actual arguments and use ad hominem attacks against your opponents. Well played!

    As I said above I actually agree with many (not all) of Ben’s points in his original post. I just happen to also think he forgot an entire wing of the political spectrum to challenge.

    If you disagree with any of my points above please let me know what you disagree with from a biblical standpoint. Otherwise you are no better than the right-wingers who constantly call those they disagree with socialists and communists.

  • So is it that you believe that Jesus and Yahweh are totally separate deities, and that Jesus is not the deity that ordered seven genocides and cultural annihilations:

    “When the LORD your God brings you into the land
    where you are entering to possess it, and clears away many nations
    before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the
    Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven
    nations greater and stronger than you, and when the LORD
    your God delivers them before you and you defeat them, then you shall
    utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them and show no
    favor to them. Furthermore,
    you shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give your daughters
    to their sons, nor shall you take their daughters for your sons. For they will turn your sons away from following Me to serve other gods; then the anger of the LORD will be kindled against you and He will quickly destroy you. But thus you shall do to them: you shall tear down their altars, and smash their sacred pillars, and hew down their Asherim, and burn their graven images with fire.” (Deu 7:1-5)

    Or is it that you missed this saying attributed directly to Jesus:

    “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (Mt. 10:34)

    Or do you not think that the Lamb in the 6th chapter of Revelations is a true vision of Jesus at some future time, as he opens the seals?

    Also, of course, as Judaism developed and Christianity spun off of it, Yahweh/Jesus was regarded in Trinitarian Christianity as a single deity. At least in the Roman Pantheon Mars is not the ruling deity, and other deities can rein him in – which is more than Christians can say for that guy who said he did not come to bring peace, but a sword.

    Another Americanization of Christianity: failing to read the entire Christian Bible, OT and NT, in context, and thinking that Yahweh/Jesus is not a war god (peace is to be achieved by killing off any who do not believe in Yahweh/Jesus, as clearly shown in Zechariah and all the lovely verses shown in context such as dashing infants to pieces, see http://biblehub.com/zechariah/14-2.htm )

  • In this we agree: YES they were people transformed by the gospel. And YES they were generous and shared as there was need.

    But … these same passages which show extreme selfless generosity ALSO show that private property was still in place (Acts 2:46 has reference to *their* homes; Acts 5:4 Peter explicitly endorses private ownership of property). So you go to far to say they “rejected individual ownership of property”.

    I know you’re trying to make a point that Christianity is radical, but you don’t need to go beyond the Bible to make that point … and when you go beyond you’ve gone into error.

  • Calling them into mine? Perhaps— I’m an Anabaptist. We don’t even believe in voting.

  • Veritacity

    Excellent blog link Micah.
    I stand corrected – God bless :)

  • otrotierra

    My silly examples are akin to the silliness of your list. Benjamin is responding to the dominant ideology of Megachurches, millionaire evangelicals, multi-million dollar evangelical media empires, and a significant number of evangelicals who are currently running for President of the U.S.

    Ben is responding to reality, not to the boogeyman political spectrum of your imagination that clearly has no influence on Americanized Christianity nor with Benjamin’s own personal positions.

  • Steve W,

    As per Ben’s definition, my examples aren’t political as they don’t actually promote any political policy.

    And they are all absolutely grounded in truth. For every multi-milliondollar megachurch you can cite, I can give you a Mainline church with millions in endowment funds. The idea that the only way for a church to be Americanized is from the right of the political spectrum is simply absurd. The left is just as good as the right at dragging Christians into their heresies.

    I can cite examples of every one of my points above. And yet once again you have yet to refute any of them. Care to try once more?

  • Steve W,

    Look up a book called “Who Really Cares” by Arthur Brooks. That will give you your answer.

  • Ellen H.

    That is one person’s opinion. I know a lot of people who advocate for better programs and benefits for the poor and donate money and items as well. Arthur Brooks is part of a conservative think tank, so his writing is going to be biased. Give me some statistics from a neutral source.

  • Steve W,

    It’s not opinion, it’s research. I’m betting you haven’t even read the book. It’s tough to criticize something you haven’t read. And if you’re looking for a neutral source, I have some news for you, there’s no such thing. All you can do is look at the evidence and make up your own mind. I encourage you to read something from someone you disagree with and draw your own conclusions.

  • Some of your points show an awful lot of faith in Greco-Roman theology.

  • Yes. Jesus and the Father are not the same being even under orthodox Trinitarianism, which, by the way, was not some original Christian view as it sprung off from Judaism. It remained hotly contested until Constantine put a stop to that.

    The Lamb in the 6th chapter of Revelation is not a vision of Jesus in our future time, but rather John’s future time in view of the coming destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman Empire.

    Jesus words that he came not to bring peace but a sword clearly does not refer to his military conquests because he had none.

    Another Americanization of Christianity: being familiar with what the Bible says, but interpreting it like a 21st century white guy instead of an ancient Near Eastern Jew.

  • Steve W,

    Well considering the New Testament was written in the Hellenistic period that would make sense, wouldn’t it?

    And actually most of my points are drawn from Majority World Christian theology more than anything.

  • JenellYB

    #2 views on sexuality defined by….. Freud (1852-1939) and Kinsey (1894-1956) ??????!! Are you serious?

  • Steve W,

    Of course I’m serious. They laid the foundations of the modern view of sexual identity and expression. Yes, others have expanded on and moved beyond their work in recent decades (especially during and following the sexual revolution), but you’d be hard pressed to find a sex researcher or therapist who wouldn’t say that the work of both men was foundational for their field.

    But the real question is, as a Christian, do you get your understanding of human sexuality from the witness of scripture and testimony of the historic Church, or from post-enlightenment, modernist thinkers?

  • So I take it you’ve read Tanakh in the Jewish Publication Society translation, and have read at least the Mishnah? Or are you an ancient Near Eastern Jew?

    And, of course, orthodox Trinitarianism – by your own logic – has to be one of the original Christian views. Otherwise it could not have been “hotly contested until Constantine put a stop to that.”

  • Steve W,

    Sure I can. Ready? Here goes:

    1.) Early Christians viewed charity as a personal and communal responsibility, not one that belonged to the State (of course that changed with Constantine but as this is an Anabaptist blog I won’t go there).

    2.) Early Christian views of sexuality were very much in line with the Jewish tradition from which Christianity came, and were directly opposed to the pagan liberality of the surrounding culture.

    3.) Early Christians opposed the idea of secular government as the means of God bringing his Kingdom on earth (again, until Constantine).

    4.) Early Christians considered human life as more significant in God’s created order than animal life. Animal life was valuable but not as valuable as human life.

    5.) Early Christian theology was developed by theologians on 3 different continents and represented people of tremendously varying ethnicities.

    6.) Early Christians believed that personal table fellowship was the main indicator of reconciliation.

    7.) Early Christians believed in a transforming love which led people become more Christ-like, hence their ethics were often more challenging than the surrounding culture.

    8.) Early Christians believed there was no salvation outside membership in the church and the taking of the sacraments.

    These are Early Christian beliefs, but unfortunately they have been abandoned by many (not all) Christians on the left. As I said before, I’m fine with Ben calling out Christians on the right, but to ignore the heresies of the left is give a free pass to a portion of Americanized Christianity that also needs a prophetic word.

  • JenellYB

    I think the term may be “communal,” to describe the church in those Acts references.

  • Alison Swihart

    I call it Americhristianicanity

  • Clema Burke

    Ben and all who have commented,
    This is deffinitely a thought provoking article, and most of us do need to step back and see if our brand of Christianity measures up to what the Bible teaches. If Christ is truly Lord in our lives, then we are required to line up every area of our lives to the standard that He has set. Anything less would indicate that He is not really our Lord, but rather a Guide or a Coach, or that nothing He says is absolute.
    With that being said, I must say that I do not agree with the entire article and/or with some of the things that certain points (may) imply by defualt. Maybe some of my deducted reasoning is not what was meant to be conveyed, and I would like to hear what you all have to say to my critiquing of some of the viewpoints in this article.
    》》before I start, I must say that many of the preceding comments are rather tactless or outright spiteful. I assume most of us reading this article consider ourselves to be Christians, and those that aren’t usually state so. Why is it that we can’t have a good debate without name calling and throwing darts at each other through the screen? Please don’t bother replying if that is what you’re going to do. I am simply stating my views, and if it offends you to the point of getting mad, then perphaps you should go pray before responding《《
    1. If you look at early Christians and are in disbelief at what you find. I agree with this statement 100%.
    …they were universally nonviolent (against capital punishment, abortion, military service and killing in self-defense), rejected individual ownership of property in order to redistribute their wealth (Acts 2:44-45, Acts 4:35
    It’s in this sentence that I have to disagree with some of the finer points of your conclusion.
    Military service: I understand that the early church members of whom we have a written account did not participate in war or take ups arms against other people. If this is all that you were trying to imply, then we can leave it at that. But if your saying that here and now, as Christians it is wrong for us to take up arms and violently resist evil people/groups/government, then I believe that you are wrong on this point.
    All thoughout the Old Testament God called upon His people to fight against evil, sometimes in ways that were very brutal by our standards today. When Jesus died, did it become OK for evil people to continue doing evil unchecked? Or the God of the OT is not the same God of the NT? Or is the only thing we’re allowed to do now is pray and hope they have a change of heart before they kill/rape/rob millions of people? Or perphaps it’s the job of a secular government and secular military to enforce biblical morals on evil people so that we don’t have to get blood on our hands.
    One of the main symbolic terms of the New Testament is that we are soldiers in a violent war against evil. Most of the time its refering to spiritual warfare, but to say that it doesn’t apply to physical war is to say that the spiritual realm does not affect the physical realm and vice versa. Why would Paul try to instill a military mindset into the readers of his letters if he was oposed to war? Read the book of Revelation: satan and his demons (spiritual) fight against Christian people (physical); Jesus (spititual) fights against satan (spiritual) and slaughters millions of evil men (physical) who were detemined to be evil to the end. I don’t know what your take is on the symbolisms in the book, but it’s obvious God is not against war, neither in the OT or NT. He would of coure rather that all men repent and follow Him, but death is the result if they do not, and a violent one at that when they go too far.
    We are of course human and can judge poorly, so we must be careful not to start shooting the minute a foreign group kicks someone in the face. But if they start a bloodbath and refuse to to be reasoned with, then violence is the only other way; but it is our duty not to act unjustly while we fight. If I honestly thought that all oppression of the weak by the strong could be stopped through diplomacy and/or prayer, then I would be against military service. Jesus said that peace makers are blessed. Would you not agree that there have been and will be times that the only way to make peace was/is to fight against and remove by force those creating chaos and oppression?
    But Rom 13 indicates that armed governments are instituted by God to keep evil in check. The question is though: would God rather have solid Christian Joe holding the sword (gun), who would probably use it as a last resort, or would He rather unsaved Bob, who spent last night in a strip joint and has hatred for anyone not on his side? If Bob gets saved, is he supposed to leave the military as soon as possible? We are commissioned to go into all the world (figuratively- that Christians need to be in/go to every part of society; or literally- Christians need to walk on every sq. Km of the earth’s surface while preaching); does that exclude the militaries of the world and their bases?
    》I have other comments and questions I could ask on this point and the other 9, but it’s late and this is already quite long. Thanks for taking the time to read my input. If you want to communicate on a 1on1 bases, then we can use email.
    -Clema-

  • Thorn

    Ben, several questions for you. 1. Can you recite the Sermon on the Mount? And if not should you be writing this blog then? 2. Do you know how to expound upon and cite references rather than just assume we should take your word for it? 5% really? 3. If it’s selfish to be doing other things like fighting against a national issue because there are other bigger global issues, are you not selfish for writing this entire blog about “americanized christianity”? 4. If we should all be getting our hands dirty, why are you wasting your time on a computer? 5. Speaking of flashy things like computers, which most of the world doesn’t own, should you sell yours? Is it not acceptable to buy one now? Should computer makers not make money from us so they can buy food to feed their own families and pay their workers? Or are you too busy writing a blog to shame the “yoga pants” off of “Americanized christians”? 6. Is it possible that the quiet old lady has actually been praised more than you or any other soldier, or do you typically go buy your limited personal experiences? Do you follow old ladies around to take count?

    Don’t get me wrong your point #2 is valid. As Christians it’s time we learn that we can never change culture with the sword, even when we think we have a valid reason under the nation we live in. We should be dropping bibles to them, and sending missionaries instead of bombs. Some do put patriotism over God. (Though you should do a better job if you are going to argue that the early church rejected self defense…because frankly..that’s terrible exegesis.)
    However the rest of your write up is a waste of time, for you ignore the other face of Americanized Christianity of which you are guilty of yourself. So don’t fall off the other end of the shelf as many do.

    Example in regards to point 1, Acts 2 cites Christians as meeting in their own homes. So does Peter in Acts 5 state that homes were owned. Thus they did not reject individual ownership of anything really, as you falsely state. Giving has always been on the grounds of a cheerful heart, not on guilt, force, requirement, or coercion. Seriously…don’t fall off the other end of the shelf.

  • Thorn

    11. Blogging on Americanize Christianity is Americanized Christianity.

  • Jesse Fortner

    I’m saying that if someone advocates for those programs and doesn’t give of themselves, that would be an example of Americanized-left Christianity. I don’t make claims about any particular individual.

    Do I feel what way about corporate welfare?

  • 207_808

    If you quote the old testament more than the new.

  • Brandon Roberts

    i think conservatized would be better but agree. even though i don’t share your religous beliefs myself i hate these idiots that make all you guys look like bigoted dumbasses as much as i hate the nonreligous people that harass religous people for making me and my fellow nonreligous people look bad

  • Brandon Roberts

    if the bible only applies when it discriminates against gay people

  • otrotierra

    Since Jesus never called himself a war god, that’s where the conversation begins and ends.

    I think Jesus is more interesting than Mars, so I’ll stick with Jesus.

  • Thomas Ophardt

    12. If your Christian flag looks like a reworked American flag, then your Christianity might be Americanized.

  • Ellen H.

    Do you have a problem with the government giving money to companies that already make a lot of money or companies that get excused from paying any taxes whatsoever.

  • Ellen H.

    You do realize statistics can be manipulated to prove anything you want to. Citing statistics is one of the most common fallacies. While I will look at statistics sometimes, I usually don’t trust them since those “samplings” of people could be purposely selected to get the responses the researcher wants.

  • Steve

    I can’t believe you even said the right and the left regarding Christianity. That tells me your Christianity is Americanized and political. I reject it completely. This is one of the main reasons that organized religion is declining in American. It is nothing but politics.

  • Steve

    I agree with you. The evangelical movement has gone off the rails in my opinion. It is all political now. It is a complete turn off to me and I don’t need them for my salvation.

  • Steve

    The fact that you are even discussing conservative or liberal in reference to Christianity is Americanized. It is disgusting.

  • iLibertarian

    Good response, only have an issue w/ #8: Being the church was through salvation not a means to it. The church was a body of believers before there was ever an institution to join. Faithfulness to the local body was taught and affirmed, not to any denomination.

  • Alexander Wright

    Disregarding the loaded language of somebody being “at your throat,” why shouldn’t they require you to fulfill your duty? Providing that record to them is your legal responsibility, just as getting it from you is theirs. You are drawing a harsh negative generalization of your brothers and sisters in Christ on the grounds that they insist you let them comply with the tax laws of our legitimate government.

  • Alexander Wright

    I don’t like guns much, but I also don’t think a rights-based discourse is particularly Christian.

  • Alexander Wright

    I guess my main objection to what you say, Clema, is this:
    “The question is though: would God rather have solid Christian Joe holding the sword (gun), who would probably use it as a last resort, or would He rather unsaved Bob, who spent last night in a strip joint and has hatred for anyone not on his side? ”

    I do not believe that this is an accurate picture of the armies of Christendom. I would say that, for starters, the past fifty years of warfare have been characterized by their shocking injustice, the general trend being that we are the strong, who are oppressing the weak by violence. Solid Christian Joe has been ordered by Solid Christian Politician Pete to go into every corner of the earth and kill the poor and hungry in the service of the Greater Good (which until recently was basically anti-Communism). I think that this is anathema to God.

  • I have read Mishnah and regularly consult Midrash as part of my studies. I learned my Hebrew from a rabbi. I occasionally dig into the Tanakh, but the Septuagint often derives from better texts. I also study inter-testamental literature which, by the by, contain plenty of Jewish apocalyptic which would help you understand the book of Revelation better.

    I never said traditional Trinitarianism wasn’t AN early church view. I said it wasn’t THE early church view. And in that view, Jesus and YHWH are not conflated. That’s modalism.

  • If the New Testament were written by Greco-Roman theologians, yes, it would make a lot of sense.

    I have no idea what you mean by Majority World Christian Theology. Most of your points sound an awful lot like White European Christian Theology.

  • Leanne Zeck

    By this statement, we could never hold each other accountable. Throughout Scripture, the prophets called the people of God back to the Covenant. Throughout the Old Testament and we see evidence of it in Revelation, where the People of God would assimilate practices of the culture around them, instead of being the Kingdom of God in the midst of those cultures. Were those prophets being part of that culture because they were calling the people out for their syncretism? No, they were being prophetic. We need to look at how we are blending our culture into the Gospel, creating our faith in our image rather than letting the Gospel change us into Christ’s image.

  • Ok. I’m not sure I’ve run across churches that teach those things, but I see where you’re coming from and those could be examples of a church joining itself with the American political Left.

  • When Steve W. says “early Christians,” he means Christians from the mid to late second century forward, not the original Christians like the apostles et al.

    At least, I hope that’s what he means, otherwise his list doesn’t make a lot of sense.

  • Leanne Zeck

    1. I think it is a valid question BLC asks when he says can you recite more of the constitution than the Sermon on the Mount….I don’t think he asked anyone to recite all of either. But I have been in discussions with my fellow Christians who recite the Constitution and when I have asked what do you do with the words of Jesus, they state the constitution bears more weight for them. That is an issue as a Christian. The words of Christ should bear more weight in our lives.
    And I appreciate a blog which calls me to check my citizenship. Which citizenship am I trying to live out–too often it is my American citizenship rather than my Kingdom citizenship. I am sorry that you didn’t find the blog helpful. But it has presented me with opportunity for self reflection. How will I face the coming electoral season–as a preacher, how am I framing the politics of the land in light of the Gospel?

  • Christopher Moore

    This is another over simplification of American Christianity. It doesn’t account for the background in which the church has come from at all. The first church was established in a pagan ruled time and place. Israel was operating under Roman rule and the church was just starting. Therefore they had no cultural or political pull or need to operate in politics or culture. When the religious people left England for the US they came for religious freedom. It was built into our government and Christians have always been a part of that. The culture and politics of the US has always been a concern of the Church in this country because this country was established to protect the religion the founders came to practice. That is why American Christianity bleeds into the political and fads of this country. It was established from the beginning. Had the church been born in this situation I imagine somethings politically would have been different.

  • Leanne Zeck

    The understanding that early Christians viewed charity as a personal and communal responsibility, not one belonging to the state—
    1. They didn’t live in full democracy. Not everyone’s voice counted. It was not a government by the people, for the people–which I think calls us to reflect our values in our governing. Now that doesn’t mean I think the way the governmental assistance is working the best way. But I want a government that takes ownership of those who are falling through the cracks, where are the laws being unjust and keeping people from rising above, and also making sure the greed aspect of our capitalistic economy doesn’t get out of hand.
    2. When you go to Amos and Isaiah–you will find that God does hold the government and kings accountable for their treatment of the poor–even the kings of countries that are not Israel. So i think there needs to be a balanced approach. It cannot be all the Church—because our government is to reflect our values in a democracy. And God also holds governments accountable for their treatment of the poor in Scripture.

  • Leanne Zeck

    I don’t think this blog is saying that our faith is not going to affect our politics. But it is saying don’t let politics affect our faith. There is a difference between using our faith to prop up our political views and having a faith that transforms us and our politics. The problem is we often use Scripture and faith as props and crutches rather than letting Scripture challenge even our core political and moral issues.

  • They absolutely had cultural and political pull. Why did the Romans crucify Jesus? It wasn’t because he was out forgiving sins.

    But they saw themselves as a counter-kingdom, called out of the kingdom of darkness (pagan nations) into the kingdom of light (God’s kingdom). Surely, in the NT, we read some prophetic voices against the other kingdoms, just like in the OT, but what we don’t see is assimilation.

  • Steve W,

    Ahh finally someone responds to my actual points! Much appreciated!

    And I actually fully agree with your thoughts on this. Certainly the government bears responsibility for the poor in our society. You’re absolutely right that it cannot all be the church. How the government address the issue of poverty is a multifaceted discussion.

    My biggest concern, as I mention in point 1, is about consistency. If someone wants to advocate for higher tax rates to provide services for the poor, I am fine with having that discussion. However if that person fails to show compassion for the poor through their own charitable giving and investment, I’m afraid I can’t take their arguments seriously. As with many things this is a case of putting your money where your mouth is.

  • Clema Burke

    I do agree with you that a lot of injustice has been committed by the armies of nations that consider themselves Christian. But just because we are culturally and generally considered to be Christian does not mean that we are. It would be quite a stretch to state that over the past centuries armies who have claimed to be fighting for Christ were composed of men whose only goal was to please Christ and establish His kingdom of peace in the region. If they pillage and murder just like other armies, then as a group it is an unsaved army. The way to do change that is for every individual soldier to become a ‘solid Christian Joe’ who won’t compromise by committing the every evil he is trying to stop. Currently, a large percentage of our armies and governments are made up of ‘Bob’, or those who fall in between, and that’s why injustice occurs. They are more concerned with establishing their nation’s superiority than helping the opprossed and making true peace. It shames me to refer to such armies and nations as Christendom.

  • Steve W,

    I certainly agree that denominational membership is not required for salvation. However my concern is that many people (especially progressive Christians) see involvement in a local church as optional in their faith. This would have been a foreign thought to the early Christians.

    As Cyprian said in the 3rd century “He can no longer have God for his Father, who has not the church for his mother.”

  • Alexander Wright

    Yeah, well, it shames me too, but the facts are what they are. I’m sure I’m not the only one who remembers various pundits saying that we need to “invade them, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity” on the eve of a catastrophic invasion that has displaced millions and killed hundreds of thousands for no good reason.

    And given that, I think you have to ask yourself at a certain point if you’re throwing good money after the bad. Like at what time do you say “Huh, well, the last eight hundred years of so-called Christian states at war have been characterized by rape, pillage, murder, and general atrocity writ large. Maybe this whole thing was a bad idea.” For me that time has long since come.

  • HamburgerHelper

    Oh No not that Benghazi thing again!

  • Leanne Zeck

    Well said. The political pull was not in the same manner that we have in our democracy now. Jesus and his followers were a subversive presence in the Empire–which we are still called to be today. No matter what system of governance or economics the Church finds itself, the Church should be subversive–speaking prophetically into the the places where injustice exists to bring forth justice.

  • Steve W,

    Here we go, it’s the old “everything was right until the apostles died and then the church just went to pot” argument.

    Fine, I’ll bite. Show me how any of the items on my list would not have squared with apostolic theology and I’ll be glad to discuss that with you. Otherwise your sweeping statements don’t really add much to the conversation.

  • plantman13

    As an athiest, I appreciate your article. christians have gotten way off track. It is not clear, however, which group of early christians you refer to as a baseline. As the new testament had not yet come out in paper-back, early christians were an even greater mish-mash of ideas and beliefs in the first century of the common era than now. This is why Paul wrote all those letters trying to impose his own personal interpretation on the crazy quilt. I have seen quite bizarre practices by individuals and groups trying to “get back” to what the early christians believed. The result has been layer after layer of fundamentalist add-on’s to a religion already overburdened with interpolation, contradiction and confusion. Your statement that the questionable words of Yeshua bar Yusef (we’re not even sure if he said any of them) should have greater weight than the Constitution is a major source of social unrest in our society. This gives license to fundamentalists everywhere to follow their own interpretation of a highly suspect document at the expense of the laws and traditions agreed upon by Americans for generations. I would contend it was christianity which destroyed the Roman empire (only took a little more than a hundred years after Constantine made it the official religion) and it will do the same to the USA. Yeshua was reported to say (maybe) render unto Ceasar what is Ceasar’s due. This implies obedience to the laws of the land. I see everything from racism to hate to murder justfied by the bible and you would give this horrible tract precedence over common sense. Clema Burke, in the post just below, speaks of stepping back and seeing if “our” brand of christianity measures up to what the bible teaches. Commit rape, incest, murder, genocide, bigotry, slavery, mysoginy and child abuse and you can’t go wrong.

  • HamburgerHelper

    I do stand by my prior statement that the Americanization of Christianity has come from the left and the right. Here in America the culture often trumps the faith.

  • Steve W,

    Ok you don’t like “right and left” how about “conservative and liberal” or “progressive and evangelical?” Though if labels are such an anathema to you I’m not sure why you’re reading a blog on the “Progressive” Christian Channel of Patheos called Formerly “Fundie.” Seems a bit inconsistent.

    Like it or not there are ideological movements that shape the way people think about things and interact with one another. I think all those movements should be open to critique, but people give themselves away when they point out the heresies of other movements while not acknowledging the heresies in their own.

    Once again I would be happy to have a conversation about what in my list you think is incorrect, but it seems no one wants to actually engage on that level.

  • Christopher Moore

    The Church was into the establishment of the kingdom of God through building of faith in Jesus. he Jewish community had political and cultural influence but that was not the church. Individuals influenced other individuals on the political scale such as the book of Luke but it was not the goal of the church. Sharing the gospel was the point. For America it was the goal of the Church to have influence but not to be ruled or to rule the country. Preservation of faith and religious freedom was paramount to Christians in this country. Establishment of faith and religious practice among the church was the focus of the early church. Their cultural pull came in the proclamation of the Gospel. We are entering such a stage now in this country. Our political and cultural pull is less and we must get back to the Gospel alone. We are not the established power anymore.

  • Steve W,

    Considering all the authors of the NT were Hellenized, I think it’s pretty safe to say they would have been influenced by at least some forms of Greco-Roman thought, wouldn’t you?

    And by Majority World Christian Theology, I mean the beliefs and practices of the majority of Christians in Asia, Africa, and South America. They would agree with every one of my statements above. Which ones do you disagree with?

  • Steve W,

    Again my encouragement is to read the book and decide for yourself. If you don’t want to support Arthur Brooks then buy the book used.

    I’ve found there are two types of people in the world: those who listen to and engage with arguments from people they disagree with, and those who dismiss people they disagree with without taking the time to hear what they have to say. The former are usually well rounded, empathetic individuals who add to important conversations. The latter are usually myopic ideologues who contribute very little.

  • Christopher Moore

    My point was to explain why Amercan Christians are so involved in politics. People have been led to believe that right wing politics represent Christianity by the media and by hot button subjects like abortion and gay marriage. However, I know just as many Christians who vote democrat and stand be hind the social agenda in that party. It is ingrained into us because it has always been that way in this county. Our politics and religion are deeply connected.

  • Leanne Zeck

    My statement that the words of Jesus Christ, as we have them to the best of the transmitting of them through the centuries, outweigh the Constitution–is not for the purpose of the American Government, but for the Christian. I believe the American Government has to keep the Constitution–that is what it was set up for and I do not believe any one religion should dictate in the governance of the US. But for Christians, we are not to be the voice of the US government but the voice of the Kingdom of God–as we have understood it through Jesus Christ. I would say the pauline scriptures as well as the Old Testament must be read in the light of the Gospels. Where there is question, Jesus wins….hence, when we look at the OT and find the destruction of entire races–we don’t say racism is ok but instead look to Jesus’ words–love your enemy, love your neighbor, the Good Samaritan Parable, etc–and we see racism doesn’t fit as well as many other things you have referenced.
    Yes, fundamentalism will take much out of context and distort things–in all religions and non religions (I have met atheists who are fundamentalists in their own world view) this is true. All ways of thinking have the possibility of becoming fundamentalistic and exclusive in their practice.

  • I wasn’t trying to imply everything went to pot. I was just trying to put your statements in the right historical context. Extra ecclesiam nulla salus, for example, would have been an impossible declaration in the first century.

  • gimpi1

    I think Christian churches have made the mistake of too closely identifying with governments or political movements in the past, and it has generally not worked out for them.

    During WWI, the Anglican Church tied itself to the patriotic movement and the British government, to the point that churches often served as military recruitment centers and alters were decked out with the Union Jack. Parishioners were enthusiastic about this blending at first. Then, as the war dragged on, as the casualties mounted up, as civilians began to feel real deprivation, people remembered the promises of God’s blessing on the war, the assurances of an easy victory because, “God is on our side.” Many of the British people turned away from the church that they felt mislead by, and they never looked back.

    I think many churches in the U.S. are making the same mistake. When you swear that God is supporting your candidacy and you lose, what do you say? (I’m looking at you, former governor Palin!) When you hang your moral authority on opposition to something – marriage-equity, civil-rights, gender-equality – and society decides that you’re wrong, you lose that moral authority. (I’m looking at you this time, Southern Baptists!) When you tie your religious convictions to a political group, and that group has goals that are often in opposition to the core beliefs of your religion, it’s often the core beliefs that get tossed out – not the power that your political alliance has brought you. People notice that, and it smacks of hypocrisy. (I’m looking at all of you, Franklin Graham, Pat Robertson, Christian Coalition, Focus on the Family, K-Street Lobbyists, et all.)

    I think Ben makes some good points about what the Christian Church might actually look like if people who claim its mantle actually followed its core tenants. It has seldom looked like that throughout history. I don’t know if it ever can. But, is it worth a try? Christians? You tell me…

  • But preservation of faith and religious freedom was not paramount to Christians in this country. Otherwise, what was the deal with “civilizing” the native Americans through conversion?

    I’d rather fight the Beast than ride the Beast.

  • Leanne Zeck

    I agree our politics and religion are deeply connected but I would not say the early church had no political pull. And I don’t think that this blog is denying the fact that politics and religion are often deeply connected no matter what culture we are in. But the point of the article is to ask us–are we being a voice for a political party and the system of governance we are in, or are we the voice of the Kingdom? And that is a right question to ask. While throughout American history, religion and politics have been connected, there has been a deepening of those connections in a very harmful way in the 50 or so years.

  • Clema Burke

    Again, the assumption is that the leaders and soldiers of these so called ‘Christian States’ were/are all Christian. If they pillage, rape, and murder just like everybody else, then as a whole they are not Christian. The Bible says that we will know people by their fruits. If, for example, ISIS were in the state next to you, being bad as can be, and they had your family, would you really just sit by if there was something you could do to stop them and save your family? Of course I would assume that you wouldn’t start raping and beheading people once you got into their camp. You would only fight until they were gone or unable to lift a finger, because we know they wouldn’t just surrender to reason. But then ‘Bob’ is also there fighting with you, but he’s killing even the wounded and throwing grenades into rooms that he knows has hostages within. Should we blame you for what Bob is doing? Should we leave ISIS to continue in another state because Bob is making you look bad? But you only had Joe fighting with you, then you wouldn’t have to worry about your side purposely committing atrocities.

  • gimpi1

    I know you weren’t talking to me, but I’m going to jump in here. You’ve stated your beliefs, and that’s fine, but you haven’t backed that up with anything. If you want to actually persuade others that you have a point, I, personally, need more than an assertion. Do you have evidence?

  • Herm

    When led purely by the Holy Spirit, each united with one another as one body of Christ’s disciples, they did not claim ownership of their own volition. We are Americanized, Romanized and aggrandized when we exercise our free will (given us each in the image of our Lord and Father) to lead ourselves to profit individually at the cost of the whole. As fledgling little children of God ownership on this Earth is only an allowance graced us each purely at the behest of our Father in Heaven to teach us responsibility. A cheerful heart is one filled with the Spirit of God bonded with the whole of God rather than self (as we were when that was all we knew at birth). We give to strengthen the whole of Man in the image of God in the example of our Rabbi. God gave us absolutely everything we have, we have earned nothing.

    “Peter said to her, “How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord?”

    “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need. Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”), sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.” Acts 4:31-37

    “Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet. Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.” When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. Then some young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him. About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?” “Yes,” she said, “that is the price.” Peter said to her, “How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.” At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.” Acts 5:1-11

  • Ellen H.

    So my actual life experiences should be ignored because you have read a book? I will ad it to my ever-growing list, but as a Christian I will continue to give my church my 10% tithe, continue to contribute to the missions here, and continue to advocate for the disenfranchised.

  • Sure, they’d have been influenced, but they aren’t Greco-Roman theologians. They are Jewish followers of Christ in a Greco-Roman world. There is a world of difference in the paradigms of Paul and, say, Irenaeus.

    Most of your statements wouldn’t make sense in any country outside of Western Christendom. Believers in China, Africa, etc. – many of them did not come to Christ by joining a church. As churches become planted and more established, that may change, but the whole idea of joining an instutional Church who is the sole source of grace and sacrament is a Western thing and makes sense within Christendom, but not so much in areas where the kingdom exists as tiny clusters of individuals who may or may not even be able to assemble.

    Obviously, also, neither the original Christians nor Karamojan Christians are influenced by Freud or Kinsey and the sexual ethics in some of those countries are a whole different ball game.

    Abortion furor is almost exclusively American.

    Many churches in emerging countries have little or no contact with historical theology or theology as a worldwide activity.

    I’m not sure how many churches in, say, China focus on racial reconciliation.

    Furor over homosexuality is almost exclusively American. Sorry, America and Muslim theocracies. Basically, nations that treat the Koran as politically formative or treat the Bible like the Koran.

    It just boggles my mind that, say, familiarity with the Nicene Creed is “worldwide” to you.

  • Alexander Wright

    “You would only fight until they were gone or unable to lift a finger, because we know they wouldn’t just surrender to reason.”

    I mean, do we know that? Isn’t that the whole point of this discussion? You are saying that, from noble motives like the defense or rescue of my captured family, I would charge into an ISIS camp and kill everyone I met there because I assume that they’re all savage psycho killers who can’t be reasoned with or saved. Well I don’t think that would be a very Christian attitude or behavior of me. Maybe, if I was likely to act like that, it would be a good idea for me not to put myself in a position where I might do it. Fleeing temptation, if you will.

  • Steve

    I came across the article on facebook and I read it. I do that a lot. I personally have been very concerned about the political nature of the evangelical movement in the United States. I don’t like it. I don’t go to Church to talk politics. But if you are evangelical, you can hardly attend a Church without having politics thrown in your face. I attended Church while visiting Europe recently. It is different than in America. Not near as political. Not as much infighting. It felt different. I read the article because I do believe there is an Americanization of religion. I think evangelicals have hijacked the gospel and turned it into mega churches with ministers that are more concerned about the money than the religion. I don’t know, I am fed up with religion and your message hit a nerve. You reduced faith to a political statement. The author of the article did as well and I certainly don’t agree with a lot of it. But your message is no better. It is just the other end of the political spectrum. Religion is not and should not be political. That is my opinion.

  • gimpi1

    Warning: derailment alert!

    OK, I’m a woman and I’m neither vain or cowardly. I don’t know many women who are. Certainly these things are no more feminine than masculine. Where the heck did that nonsense beam in from? A vain or cowardly man is not feminine, anymore than a modest or brave woman is masculine. That’s just stupid. If that’s the basis of your argument, you don’t have one.

    End derailment alert.

  • Alexander Wright

    That is why I put ‘feminine’ in scare quotes. I’m not saying that they actually are feminine vices, but that they have been traditionally associated with femininity. A cowardly or vain man has been traditionally called names like “sissy,” “pussy,” “queen,” or “bitch,” to indicate that by abandoning traditional masculine virtue he has taken on the inappropriate garb of a woman.

    So I’m not saying that translating malakoi (squishy, malleable) as ‘effeminate’ is conveying a deep scriptural truth, but rather that it is conveying how Paul and other first century Mediterraneans might have thought about it.

  • Paul Schlitz

    I think the difference between politicized Christians on the left and on the right is that politicized Christians on the right become much more reliable foot soldiers for the extreme wing of the Republican Party than politicized Christian Democrats do. The test is campaign contributions. I vote very reliably Democratic but I haven’t made a political contribution since 1974 ($20 to Ted Venetoulis running as a reform candidate for Baltimore County Executive during the Democratic primary). My reasoning is that my local church needs the money much more than any Democratic candidate no matter how compelling. I wonder if our rightist brethren have the same conviction.

  • Alexander Wright

    How could I possibly convince you that God sent His Son to earth to pay the price for the sins of us all, and that believing in Him and repenting of your sins will bring you to new life, life eternal with God? Surely only the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit could do that. So I won’t be trying to argue you into heaven, no.

  • gimpi1

    Well, OK then… though, from my perspective as an outside to your faith, the whole idea that this person thought that such vices were associated women leads me to dismiss much of everything else they thought. Poisoned fruit and all that… I mean if Paul and other first century Mediterraneans were wrong about that – and they were – what else were the wrong about?

    That said, it doesn’t really matter to me. Because I don’t regard the Bible as inerrant, I look at Paul’s sexism, acceptance of slavery and injustice and dismiss it. I don’t have to defend the indefensible.

  • Alexander Wright

    “When you hang your moral authority on opposition to something – marriage-equity, civil-rights, gender-equality – and society decides that you’re wrong, you lose that moral authority. ”

    I mean, do you? Obviously you lose the respect of society at large for your moral stance, but if that’s the case then you never really had moral authority, right? That’s kind of what ‘authority’ means.

    So I think your implied inference that Christian churches should stop opining about moral issues lest the broader culture lose respect for their beliefs is not well founded. They should only do that if their goal is to be recognized by contemporary society as being well-positioned politically.

    Personally, I think a better goal for the Church would be to show Christ’s radical and uncompromising love, truth, and justice to a corrupt and fallen society. Not canny political positioning.

  • Alexander Wright

    They were probably wrong about a lot of things. I bet they thought the sun revolved around the earth, for instance.

  • gimpi1

    Well, you could try presenting archeological evidence that your interpretation of the Bible is accurate. You could offer the evidence you’ve seen that the prophets that you spoke of actually existed and said what you think they said. You could do what Ben has done, and offer evidence of what the early Christian church believed and did. You could describe your own search, the books you read and tools you used to lead you to your current conclusions.

    But if you don’t want to, that’s fine.

  • Alexander Wright

    What on Earth would offering evidence of what the early Christian church believed and did have to do with this? How would that lead you to believing that God sent Jesus to die and rise again to save us from sin and death? I really do not understand.

  • John Carter

    Seems like a lot of people have bought into a sort of Zionism in America for Christians: Manifest Destiny.

  • chrijeff

    “The chief calling of a Christ-follower is to love others. Whether a neighbor across the street, or an enemy across the world, Christ’s command is abundantly clear: we are to love one another.”

    The problem with this–and this *may* be another way in which Christianity is Americanized; it’s up to you, Mr. Corey, to decide–is that when an American sees the word “love,” he thinks “passionate emotional attachment,” which may or may not be what Jesus meant (it probably isn’t). And then he says, “But most of humanity isn’t lovable at all.”

  • Steve

    I have read the book. Yes, religious people give more to Charity – their Church – not the poor. That book is nonsense. The logic and research are flawed. It is simply garbage.

  • gimpi1

    Well, I’m in my mid-50s. I remember the Civil and Voting Rights movements pretty clearly. I also remember Christians being strongly divided about those movements. Progressive Christians and Jews were in there with the Freedom Riders. Conservative Christians were vowing “segregation now, segregation forever.” They couldn’t see past their societal biases, and they worked darn hard to enshrine those biases in Biblical terms. And, yes, they were wrong. They lost moral authority.

    I see the current dust-up over marriage-equity and the larger gay-right issue the same way. To me it’s a matter of justice. And the people who are mostly arguing scripture are mostly arguing against what looks more and more like simple fairness to me. I think they will lose moral authority again, as more and more people come to that viewpoint.

    You can argue that the conservative church is right, even if the positions it espouses lead to unfairness. A few people still argue that regarding white supremacy. It’s a tough sell.

    The canny political positioning that I see is the church denying the need to care for the environment or being upset about tax-rates, not because of any actual religious beliefs, but because the church feels like it has more power with certain people in authority, and it’s totally willing to compromise what should be core principles – much more important than all the sex-stuff that usually draws attention – to get and keep that power.

    I think that’s what Ben is writing about when he discusses Americanized Christianity, and I think he has a point.

  • gimpi1

    Well, for instance, if you had information that they had insights that other groups didn’t, that would be, well, interesting.

    Did they pick up on moral issues that other groups didn’t see? Were they more consistent, less prone to hypocrisy, more generous than the society around them? Did they have any insights into physical reality that might mean they were in contact with some higher being? That’s what I mean.

    I just can’t will myself to believe something that there’s no evidence for. But, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. That’s one reason I lurk here. I’ve picked up a few tantalizing hints – from Ben and some of his commentariat. I was just wondering what led you to your beliefs, if you had any evidence or information that I hadn’t run across yet. But if you don’t want to share it, that’s fine.

  • Alexander Wright

    My argument is that if they think they are right, whatever their position on whatever issue, concerns about what might happen to their ‘moral authority’ are craven and unworthy. What kind of believer in the Almighty would wring her hands about whether the mass secular culture agreed with her moral convictions? How can a man walk in the power of the Holy Spirit but also trim his sails to fit the changing winds of political approval?

    I think that’s what Ben is writing about – the compulsive need for mainstream cultural and political acceptance. The idea that, if we don’t make sure to include some weasel language about how of course we don’t support illegal immigrants, only law abiding ones who came here legally, blah blah blah, well, then we might lose support of conservative Republicans. The idea that taking a stance of “the death penalty is wrong, but so is abortion” might compromise our political reach, so we’d better not do it. I think that’s the sort of politicized, Americanized Christianity that he’s speaking out against. One that’s more concerned with a consistent political strategy than with the truth of Scripture.

  • gimpi1

    Well, if they were wrong about lots of things, doesn’t that ever make you wonder about the things they wrote?

    I don’t mean the scientific stuff specifically, though isolated people in the ancient world figured out some things – like the earth being a globe – and then the information was lost. I mean, if they thought just over half the human race were stupid, cowardly, vain and basically just a “weak vessel” that was only good for breeding, what else did they think about other people that was awful, and how did it shape their writings? You can believe they were inspired and still understand that they were people who put their own biases into things, and perhaps couldn’t see past them.

  • Alexander Wright

    It’s actually a common misconception that the earth being a globe was ever ‘lost.’ Actually, any culture that lived near a large body of water would have known this – the masts of a ship come over the horizon before the body of a ship. Columbus was mocked at the court of Isabella not because he thought the world was round, but because he had drastically miscalculated its circumference.

  • gimpi1

    OK, I get what you’re saying, and I agree – with a big caveat. The thing is, people can think they’re right, and still be totally wrong.

    I would cite segregation, again. I know people who backed segregation for religious reasons – they were Mormon, and at that point, the Mormon church believed in separation of races and, essentially, white supremacy. (The Mormon Church has pulled away from that somewhat.) The people I’m thinking of were “nice people.” They sincerely though they were right. One still does. But, because of their beliefs, they strongly supported an actively evil system that caused great harm. They were wrong, they caused harm, and all the scripture, all the sincerity, all the conviction in the world won’t change that.

    But it was all but impossible for them to see the harm they were causing because they couched everything in religious belief. They couldn’t change, since that would be challenging the beliefs of their church. It left scars, on them, on the family, on society as a whole.

    So, yes, speak up for what you believe. But, always remember that you might be wrong. You might be blinded by a part of your culture or beliefs that is so much a part of your worldview that you don’t see it clearly anymore. Speak kindly, remember that people who disagree are people, and be willing to learn. I try to do this, and I recommend it highly.

  • gimpi1

    You’re right, that the information of the earth’s shape has been long known and not lost – among the intelligentsia. Among the common-folk, belief in a flat earth with a dome or “firmament” above it was common until pretty recently.

  • Alexander Wright

    I fully agree that love, charity, and a willingness to be rebuked or corrected from places where you may be in error are a vital part of standing for Christ. I simply disagree with you that my reason for acting and thinking this should have anything to do with my church’s perceived moral authority. Rather, I should do this because it is the command of my Lord, whom I love.

  • Leanne Zeck

    I don’t think anyone would argue that here. I find this blog to be challenging to who I was–when I was part of the conservative camp, and who I am today–I am somewhat on the progressive side but don’t completely fit there either….

  • gimpi1

    That’s fine. I don’t have the relationship you describe, so I don’t really understand it. It may be like trying to explain your marriage to someone who never married. After my husband and I married, I tried to explain how our relationship was different to an unmarried friend, and I just couldn’t find the right words… not something that happens to me often, I assure you.

    However, it really doesn’t hurt to consider how you present yourself – if you want people to understand your viewpoint. A group that comes across as hypocritical, mean or unjust is going to drive people away. I guess I’m thinking like a P.R. person… I’ve done that kind of work.

  • Chimichanga Choochoo Train

    Please expound. Honestly, I’m not being argumentative. If I’ve misundertstood something, I always want to know. I, for one, am one who agrees with this article, as a whole. I’m always in search of the truth and correcting my own misunderstandings.
    To me, I thought I was reading it literally…I didn’t realize there was any interpretation to be made. Most churches today, don’t have what we would call “Apostles” but we do still bring our tithe and offering to the local church, and it is distributed from there. I wasn’t trying to interpret anything. I just see this as the modern application of the same principle.
    Again, I am truly not trying to argue. If I’ve misunderstood, I want to know.

  • The previous post was “Important Lessons We Can All Learn From Franklin Graham” This is a very, very short post.

  • gimpi1

    Most of Western Europe, Canada, Japan and several other nations might disagree with your calling them “victims.”

    Or are you confusing socialism with something else?

  • gimpi1

    Let it go, Ben. Uhhuhh is just too angry to reason with. Some people wouldn’t know an ally if they walked up and hugged them…

  • Chimichanga Choochoo Train

    For an artcile about the state of the church and how she should be more Christ-like, the commenters are not showing that. I think whether you agree with this article or not, we can all agree that the church has not reached perfection yet, and there is still more we can do. The evidence of that being that there are still people on earth who do not follow Christ. Let’s not bicker, and fight, and divide. Let’s unite together, as one body, to reach the lost. Let’s focus on Jesus Christ, the one and only thing that can unite us, not on all the petty things we disagree about. Legalism and Pharisaism works both ways, and it’s not pretty, in either case. We’ve been bickering and fighting over mute points for the better part of the past 2,000 years and it hasn’t really gotten us anywhere. Let’s come together, people.

  • Chimichanga Choochoo Train

    I generally vote republican, and have NEVER given money to a politician. They’re all dirty, every single one. And they’re already filthy rich, every single one. There is really no difference between left and right, dem or rep. Not one single politician ever follows thru on their campaign platform. And they all just do the same things as their predecessors. Obama just built on what Bush did, Bush just built on what Clinton did, and so on down the line. No difference. What do they need my money for? Like you said, my church needs it more, and so does my family.

  • Steve W,

    It might not have been stated, but it was certainly implied. As you yourself noted, the early Christian theologians were from the Jewish tradition. Just like it would have been impossible to call oneself Jewish without participating in the temple and synagogue system in the first century, so it would have been impossible to call oneself a Christian without participating in the community of God called the church, yes including the sacraments of communion and baptism. That’s why Paul’s letters are so centered on ecclesiology.

    The point is that the current post-modern, progressive trend of viewing Christianity as a purely individual expression would have been completely foreign to 1st century Christians, whether or not they could have expressed it as Extra ecclesial null sales or not.

  • Steve W,

    I don’t deny your life experiences, but simply consider them limited as I do my own life experiences. I am sincerely glad that you live up to your calling through your tithing and giving to the poor and disenfranchised. I wish all Christians, on both sides of the political spectrum, would do the same.

  • AliciaAMG

    Not very fair, in my mind, the whole article. Apparently, not knowing Christians like me and mine, I guess. In reality, loving your enemy could possibly mean killing them if they are about to kill your children. In that way, you prevent them from committing a mortal sin and they might actually make it to Purgatory by the skin of their teeth. And the gay marriage thing is very, very important, for the sake of the souls involved. It seems as if, to the author, earthly materialistic considerations have greater importance than eternal ones, while it is not as if we Christians in American aren’t busily providing food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty etc. etc. One can actually be concerned about several important things at the same time, you know.

  • Leanne Zeck

    What you see as bickering and dividing, some see as healthy wrestling with our beliefs and doctrines. I think our discussions become unhealthy when we dismiss each other and do not listen for the reason of disagreement. When we decide the person who disagrees with us are not Christian or farewell the other, we are working against the faith. But when we discuss in healthy manner the differences, we show the world how unity does not have to mean we are clones. I think this is where sanctification of our minds comes in. As iron sharpens iron—it is in the wrestling with these things that we are able to work out how our beliefs affect us and those around us.

  • Steve W,

    It’s not about joining an institutional church, but the vast majority of non-western Christians would view belonging to and participating in a Christian community, including the sacraments of baptism and communion, as essential to their faith. That’s why in a country like China so many Christians risk persecution to meet in underground churches. It is essential to their faith.

    Most non-western Christians are severely conservative in their sexual ethics, whether or not they interact with Freud and Kinsey (those were just examples of Western sexual thought). And the harshest rules on homosexuality occur in African churches not American ones. This is why the African Anglican church broke communion with the Episcopal Church over the ordination of a gay bishop.

    You would be hard pressed to find any church in the majority Christian world that would agree with abortion on demand. This is especially true in Asian countries where sex selective abortion has taken a severe toll on whole communities.

    In non-western countries, reconciliation as a whole is almost exclusively viewed as requiring a personal level of reconciliation even if there are institutional changes that need to be made as well. In other words if you won’t sit down at a table with someone or welcome them into your home, you are not reconciled regardless of what policies you advocate for.

    And actually while it’s not ubiquitous to all communities, the nicene creed (or at least the Apostle’s creed) would be easily recognized and affirmed in most Christian churches. Look up the Cape Town Commitment that was formulated and signed by a majority of non-western Christians if you want to get a sense of what Majority World Christian Theology looks like.

  • Steve W,

    I actually agree with you on the politicization of the church. As I mentioned elsewhere, I agree with most (not all) of Ben’s points above. However, Christian politicization is not just an evangelical or fundamentalist thing. Progressives have been quickly catching up in merging their theology with state sponsored politics. I simply believe that if we are going to call out one side for their syncretism with politics we should do so with the other side as well.

    Both ends of the political spectrum are calling for allegiance to Caesar. A prophetic voice is needed to call all Christians back to allegiance to Christ.

  • Steve W,

    You mean they give to churches that run food banks, homeless shelters, crisis pregnancy centers, after school tutoring sessions, ESL programs, Anti-human trafficking groups, etc. etc.?

    The fact is most local churches help the poor of their communities in substantial ways. So yes I think those donations should be counted as well.

  • Clema Burke

    As I tried to make a distinction before, it is Bob who would charge in and kill everyone without a thought. Joe would use as much caution and restraint as possible. But at some point it comes to shoot the terrorist or let him go on killing.

    We have to judge people rightly, and sometimes such judgment means life or death. If they see you coming and lay down their weapons or they stop fighting when all hope is lost, then great, the best outcome. But when they start strapping bombs to themselves, it’s rather obvious that they’d rather die than surrender. And if the news is even remotely accurate, then yes, they are all savage psycho killers who DON’T WANT to be reasoned with.

    The Bible says that when the just are in power the wicked submit Prv112:7, 14:9, 21:12, 21:15, 28:12 (my own paraphrase). We are to establish justice Amo5:15, and evildoers are to be punished. Its’ s rather hard to force stubbornly wicked people to submit if they choose to resist and we don’t have the ability to force them to submit.

  • Kaci K.

    I would like to add #11. IF your church spends more time, money and effort sending missionaries to preach to brown people in third world countries than they do serving the poor and homeless in their own community, your Christianity has been Americanized.

  • Kaci K.

    “And the gay marriage thing is very, very important, for the sake of the souls involved.” Um, WHOSE souls? The people getting gay-married? ‘Cause guess what, they don’t share your beliefs that their souls are damned for loving someone of the same sex. And the fantastic part of this country is you don’t get force them to live according to YOUR beliefs. You want to believe they are going to hell? Fine. Believe that all you want. But plenty of other people don’t believe that and they get to live their lives with the same civil rights as others without you sticking your nose in it.

  • 12b. If you think Christianity should have a flag….

  • rrhersh

    This partly is a comment on how Evangelicals selectively interpret scripture to reach the desired conclusion. I endlessly hear about how we should not “interpret” scripture, but rather take its “plain meaning.” Yet when Acts 2:44-45 comes up, the spinning begins.

    We are assured that what is described there isn’t socialism. Well, I actually agree. It is communism. How can I say this? Easy: Here is the scriptural text (KJV):

    “And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need”

    Here is one definition of communism, from Merriam Webster:

    “a system in which goods are owned in common and are available to all as needed”

    Property is held in common, and distributed according to need. That, my friend, is the definition of communism.

    The underlying problem is the Evangelical tendency to take snippets of text as normative. This can be very comfortable if you get to choose the snippet. It can be very uncomfortable indeed if someone else gets to choose.

    This is aggravated by the particular tendency of Evangelicals to declare New Testament-era church governance as normative for Christian churches for all times and places (invariably followed by the delighted conclusion that the speaker’s own church is the one that successfully recreates the New Testament-era model). So the observation that the earliest Christian church followed a model unacceptable in our own time and place simply demands push-back.

    A better conclusion would be that taking snippets of scripture that happen to appear to support your desired conclusion is not sound exegesis. Also that we need not organize ourselves exactly the same way as did the early church. The same underlying principles manifest themselves differently in different cultural contexts.

    Personally, I suspect that Christian communism lasted about to the Thursday after Pentecost. Fallen humanity is not wired correctly for communism to work on any but a small scale. The following chapter of Acts show this playing out.

  • Leanne Zeck

    I am not sure I would consider someone killing me so I didn’t commit a mortal sin very loving. And I am not sure trying to do the work of the Holy Spirit without the Divine Love, Knowledge and Grace which the Spirit has, is considered very loving either. I know some homosexuals who are followers of Christ. They are seeking Christ with all their hearts. I worship with them, because when we are community as the Body of Christ and enter the Presence of God–I believe there, we find the Holy Spirit works in all of us to create us in the image of Christ. I will never take it upon myself to tell anyone where they need to be holier. But I will be in relationship with them to see where the Spirit of God takes us both in our journey towards reflecting the glory of the Risen Christ.

  • rrhersh

    “In reality, loving your enemy could possibly mean killing them…”
    The Inquisition used the same logic, with torture of and theft from the victim added for good measure.

  • Herm

    There is only one way disciples (students) of Christ come together, only One!
    The way to and for the lost is led by the Guide who knows the Way. To think we can reach the lost focusing on Jesus Christ is mislead in an Americanized way. The lost may be us without the Spirit of One God in our hearts and minds. Children of Man now children of God are blessed and beloved little children needing parental oversight to find their way. There is no other way through the eye of the needle.

    “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.” Acts 4:31-32

  • otrotierra

    Benghazi is a fun one. But the new favorite is “Planned Parenthood Selling Baby Organs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Because the Greatest Commandment is just too demanding, telling lies and bearing false witness is the new evangelical funtime.

  • Chimichanga Choochoo Train

    Oh, I agree fully with having healthy conversation and “wrestling with our beliefs and doctrines…”; “working out our salvation with fear and trembling,” as it were. But all I see is, “I agree 100% with this article, and if you disagree with anything this great prophet has said, you must be an Americanized right-wing republican nutcase.” Or the opposite, “I completely disagree with this article, and if you agree with anything in it, you must be a ‘merica-hatin’ left-wing, democrat, commy.” (Please catch the exaggeration.)
    But seriously, I see very little healthy conversation going on here. 99% of what is being said is, “You’re wrong, snide remark.” “No, you’re wrong, snide remark.”

  • Herm

    Alicia, it is your Americanized logic speaking if you honestly believe you can save your enemy by killing them. To be a disciple of Jesus the Christ clearly means to follow His lead.

    “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26-27

  • Chimichanga Choochoo Train

    Are you agreeing with me or disagreeing…we seem to be saying the same thing…but the way you said “To think we can reach the lost focusing on Jesus Christ is mislead in an Americanized way,” seems to me that you think we’re not. If you’re filled with the Spirit, you will be focussed on Christ, and telling others about Him. The reason the Spirit was sent to the church, was to empower us to point others to Christ.

    “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere–in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8 NLT

  • otrotierra

    No Alicia, Jesus is not asking you to murder your neighbors.

    Although you may be comforted by so many U.S. Evangelicals who likewise invest their energy in justifying murder from Ferguson to Baghdad, I can ensure you it has nothing to do with what Jesus actually said and did in history.

    No thanks, I’l stick with Jesus.

  • otrotierra

    One reason this works so well for U.S. Evangelicals is that the church body is guaranteed not to come into contact with actual brown people, since the brown people are “over there” somewhere else far away.

    Engaging brown people across the street and down the road is too difficult and challenging. Such engagement quickly reveals the limits and failures of White, Anglo-centric, First World, Western privilege.

  • I agree on that last bit.

  • Chimichanga Choochoo Train

    “Personally, I suspect that Christian communism lasted about to the Thursday after Pentecost”…ummmm…yeah. Ananias and Sapphira, much? hahaha. Also, we know it didn’t last long, because after Stephen was stoned, a great persecution broke out in Jerusalem, and the church was dispersed. I, for one, think that was partly God’s doing…”Hello???? I told you to go into the world, people!!! Don’t just sit here in Jerusalem, soaking it all in! GET OUTTA HERE AND TELL SOMEBODY ABOUT ME!!!”

    But, seriously, I agree with everything you said, and if I’m not mistaken, I think we’re saying the same thing. Giving offering to the local church for dispersion is just modern-day practice of the same principle. Also, just because that’s what the early church did, doesn’t mean they were correct in doing so. There is no record of Christ giving a command for them to organize that way. They may have been saved, they may have been filled with theSpirit, but they were still human. The
    Bible simply records that that is what they did. It doesn’t necessarily endorse their
    actions. And, what’s funny, is I think
    that almost fits into the “Americanized” church better than we think. “Let’s just sit here in the church-house,
    stuck in our tightly knit little church community (or, commune), and if someone
    wants in, they can come to us. But, let’s not
    go out and tell people about the Gospel, or live in the real world, where we’ll
    actually have to put our beliefs into practice.
    Let’s just stay here, where its safe, and warm, and cozy.”

    Are we not in agreement? Or is this just one of those cases, in which we’re going back and forth like, “I agree with you, but I can’t just say that. I have to say the same thing you said, but in a different way.” I get in trouble with my wife, doing this same thing, all the time, haha.

  • Herm

    I know what you are saying and I do disagree. Jesus is my Brother, High Priest, Rabbi, and Lord but neither His, our Father’s and/or my focus is on Him. All three of us rely on the Holy Spirit to bond us together that we are not separated from one another in heart and mind. I am the least capable and the most easily lost in this family. I still am allowed to be me and to grow through my errors by voicing my honest opinion before God and Man alike. I am being taught to be focused on the entire body of Man in the image of God trusting in the Spirit to know how to in everything do to all others what I would have all others do to me. I would have you honestly disagree with me that I become stronger in the Truth even in our bickering. Love you, thanks!

  • Denzel Washington is… The Purgatorizer in –

    Purgatorizer: Express Delivery

  • Herm

    The most segregated public buildings in the United States of America are those built to house “our kind of Christians”.

  • Jesse Fortner

    I believe that the state is nothing more than a gang of legitimized criminals, taxes are their plunder, and any person or firm which receives any funding from them -especially corporations- are recipients of stolen goods. So I do have a problem with it, but not specifically because of the corporations.

  • rrhersh

    The impulse is the same, but the execution is barely a shadow. We have gone from holding everything in common and people taking what they need, to handing out a chicken a Christmas. This is thin gruel.
    But this isn’t the disagreement. We are fallen humanity. The model of giving to the church, the church covering its own expenses first, and handing out what scraps are left over simply is inadequate. My (urban) church passes out sack lunches to people who come to the door. This is a godly ministry, but also pathetically inadequate. So what is the solution? I don’t know the complete solution, but a societal safety net is a partial solution. Yet how many Christians do we see, including commenting on this post, howling at the idea of the government providing this safety net? The very same people are eager for the government to impose on everyone what they see as Christian morality. We see this right now with gay marriage. Yet the government feeding the poor is an outrage. Why the difference?

  • ALL YOU NEED TO DO IS READ THE BIBLE IF YOU BELIEVE IN OUR LORD GOD.

  • Guy Norred

    You might also consider turning off your caps lock.

  • David Matthew Graef

    I agree with a lot of what is said, with the exception of the examples given for number one. They “…rejected individual ownership of property in order to redistribute their wealth (Acts 2:44-45, Acts 4:35)”??? The Bible says “They sold their possessions…” How could they sell “their” possessions if they did not believe in possessions at all? It goes on to explain that they distributed their gifts according to people’s need. That’s NOT abolition of property! It’s using one man’s excess to help another man’s need. They NEVER distributed everything so that everyone had equal, they distributed so that everyone had their needs met. One is community; the other communism. BIG difference! And “against military service???” Notice there is no Scriptural reference for that one! Outside the narrative portions of the New Testament (Matthew through Acts), every mention of the word soldier is positive! Look for yourself. (Philippians 2:25, 2 Timothy 2:3-4, and Philemon 1:2.) In fact, they use it as an analogy for Christians. It seems the author is quick to recognize the influences of Old America, while injecting the influences of the New America.

  • Clema Burke

    -plantman13
    I find that most people who read the Bible and claim that it is full of contradictions fail to see the heart of the matter. it is generaly agreed that the original texts of the Bible are mimillenniums and centures old. I would go out on a limb to say that any argument to discredit them would have to be applied against other non-biblical written text of similar age.

    Another mistake is that your trying to apply the morals and laws of this generation to those that preceeded us, when it is those very morals that have come to shape our society today. If a thousand years from now it becomes legal to marry your dog, would it be fair for that generation to cast ours as uncivilized control freaks because we don’t allow it?

    Societies change, and things that were OK back then are not not now, and things that were bad then are OK now. Do you assume that if God is real, when he stepped in the scene he would have turned that society on it’s head by redifining every thing at once? Or perphaps he took the culture as it was and worked with it, and as they grew they changed little by little?

    When Jesus came, he revealed what remained unknown about God and his ultimate desire for humans. The God of the OT is the same God of the NT, and he has not changed. It is our understanding of him that has been renewed. His ultimate purpose has never changed or evolved.

    So certain things of the OT seem to contradict the NT. Could it be that God did not institute or like some of these practices, as they already existed, but rather he set some rules to govern them until his ultimate plan could be realized at the propper time.

  • Jerry P.

    It’s Christians like you that make gay atheists like me loathe Christianity. What a vile god you worship.

  • Chimichanga Choochoo Train

    Oh, absolutely. I
    didn’t mean to indicate that it was a perfect execution, by any means. The difference here is that the early church
    didn’t have a “church-house” costing millions, or even hundreds of dollars,
    with running water and plumbing, and air conditioning, and electricity. They met in each other’s homes and gathered
    together wherever they could find enough room.
    They didn’t have nearly the expenses that we have, but are you willing
    to give all that up? I know I can’t say that I am.

    And I’ll say this. I
    don’t know that the early church was so much “organized” in that way, so much
    as people were so full of the love of God that this was just everyone’s natural
    tendency, every-ONE, on an individual basis.
    I think we have relied too much on the government, and they’ve done a
    horrible job. I mean, just look at the
    foster care system. It sucks. And we’ve also relied too much on the
    church. The church was not commanded to
    care for the orphan and widow, no. The
    Christian was commanded to care for the orphan and widow. It has be on an individual basis.

    I may complain that my city, or my church, doesn’t do enough
    to care for the needy, but when was the last time “I” went and emptied my bank
    account at McDonald’s and then took it down to the park and gave it all away to
    the homeless folks. And then loaded as
    many as could fit into my car and let them sleep in my home on a cold winter
    night. Peter and John didn’t go to the church and ask for money for the lame
    man. THEY met his need, on their
    own.

    The rallying cry should not be, “Where is the real church?” It should be, “Where is the real Christian?” Jesus didn’t call my church to care for the
    needy, he calls me to. We shouldn’t be
    waiting for others to join us, we should do it, simply because that’s what we
    are called to do, individually. And,
    maybe, if we start, others will follow.

  • Robert Karma

    Jesus knew exactly what he was saying. He had an Apocalyptic worldview which was common among the Jews of his time. This is why there were so many Messiahs recorded during that period of history. When times are tough, a powerless, oppressed minority will try to find ways to address their situation. The belief that the end of days was upon them made sense as it felt that way to them. Jesus was in error and the end of days did not occur. It was left to those who came after Jesus to define what Christianity meant to them which gave us a plethora of interpretations.

  • louismoreaugottschalk

    Dean I just noticed this is the first comment you’ve ever posted under this name on discus. congratulations you’ve broken through a barrier I’m sure! could i know a little more about you? there is truly more one needs to do to know the Lord IMO. he’s my friend and dear companion. he never leaves me or forsake me. I sometimes feel he is speaking to me thru the Bible directly. other people here have relationships with Lord that are dear and precious to them. I hope to hear more what you have to say. god bless you today!

  • Robert Karma

    The problem is that you cannot realistically live in such a manner unless you become a non-materialist communist ascetic. This is why we see Christians pick what they like out of the Bible and ignore the rest. It is rare to find any Christian who embraces the whole Bible because much of it is abhorrent to the modern psyche as well as having to deal with the many contradictions found in the texts.

  • Robert Karma

    That’s the interpretation that Christian writers made after they realized that Jesus was not returning to inaugurate a worldly Kingdom. They had to evolve their explanation and make it a “spiritual kingdom” which wasn’t satisfactory but it sufficed as they had nothing else. They put of the Second Coming to sometime in the future, maybe tomorrow, maybe 10,000 years from now. It is clear the first generation of Christians fully expected a Second Coming to inaugurate the Kingdom of God on Earth in a physical manner.

  • Robert Karma

    Interesting take Phil. I have found that the blessing/curse of religious texts is how easy it is for the believer to interpret them through their specific situation, time and place. This syncretism is fascinating to see evolve over the centuries.

  • Robert Karma

    Many thought the destruction of Jerusalem was the final sign of the End Times but the Second Coming never occurred. The many Christianities of the late 1st through the 3rd centuries came to different conclusions on why events played out the way they did. When you read about the heated (and at times deadly) debates between the various Bishops at the Council of Nicaea on the nature of Christ, you see that there wasn’t a consensus on the meaning of Christianity. Constantine had to impose his authority on the Bishops to get them to the conclusion he felt worked best. ” When Constantine became the first Christian leader of the Roman Empire in the 4th century, his vast territory was populated by a hodgepodge of beliefs and religions.

    Within his own young religion, there was also dissent, with one major question threatening to cleave the popular cult — as it was at the time — into warring factions: Was Jesus divine, and how? It’s hard to imagine riots in the streets, pamphlet wars and vicious rhetoric spawned by such a question, but that was the nature of things in A.D. 325, when Constantine was forced to take action to quell the controversy. That summer, 318 bishops from across the empire were invited to the Turkish town of Nicea, where Constantine had a vacation house, in an attempt to find common ground on what historians now refer to as the Arian Controversy. It was the first ever worldwide gathering of the Church. The Christianity we know today is a result of what those men agreed upon over that sticky month, including the timing of the religion’s most important holiday, Easter, which celebrates Jesus rising from the dead.” – http://www.livescience.com/2410-council-nicea-changed-world.html

  • Mark

    This article could be written for any country in the world by just changing to cultural references. Christianity is inner-cultural and well as multi-cultural. It is based in love, but this article is based in the interpretation of the author. He is making vague generalizations about Christians in America. For one thing, the CHURCH (body of believers) is separate from the church (some building people meet in on Sunday). Just because someone goes to church, it doesn’t mean they are part of the CHURCH.

  • louismoreaugottschalk

    alicia you seem to have dropped a bomb here on in the blogosphere! I noted that this is only the third comment you’ve ever made on discus. I’m wondering how you found Corey’s blog and why you would write commentary that seemed so diametrically opposed to anything going on here.

  • Robert Karma

    It’s easy to say that the non-violent resistance used by Gandhi, Mandela, King, etc., were successful but in hindsight it isn’t that easy to make that claim. King is the most obvious example since he was a Christian minister. When King was assassinated in 1968 he was under intense pressure to evolve his methods. Many in the African-American community felt the non-violent protest had not accomplished what had been promised. You see the birth of many more radical groups and critics of King, like Malcolm X. We still have a serious issue of racism and the oppression of minorities in America. Gandhi & King were assassinated and Mandela spent 27 years in prison. India has been at serious odds with Pakistan since they were granted their freedom from Great Britain. South Africa has been the most successful of these three examples even though poverty and racism are still a serious concern there.

  • Leanne Zeck

    Since I have been in many discussions in this thread, I guess I owe you an apology if that is how you have heard the discussions I have had with people. I have disagreed with people and been disagreed with…and I don’t feel anyone has given a snide remark towards me in disagreeing with me. But since you have heard that, I am sorry for my part. To me what I have observed and taken part in has sounded and felt civil and like wrestling with our beliefs. Now I have no control over everyone commenting so I can’t say how others have acted or treated others. But it seems to me that your initial post almost seeks to shut down conversation. I am wondering though what would be a better way to encourage healthy dialogue. I am not sure if your message is heard in such a generalized manner.

  • What did USSR stand for?

  • Chimichanga Choochoo Train

    I wasn’t it to make anyone feel bad. And I didn’t make any mental notes of who was doing what, so I honestly have no idea if I even read anything you posted, or how I might have felt about it. I just know that I’ve see more than a few examples of what I described above. I’m just saying, let’s keep it civil folks. If there’s more civility going on than what I have personally witnessed, then great! I’m glad.

  • gimpi1

    United Soviet Socialist Republic… what’s your point? Sweden, Iceland and Japan have no more in common with the Soviet Union because the word “Socialism” was in it’s name anymore than the Republican party has anything in common with it because the word “Republic” was in its name.

  • Mark

    It seems like the author is putting his views of what Jesus would do to make his points. Jesus would hate acts of sin (its why He turned over the money changer tables in the Temple), but love the sinner (when He forgave the adulterous woman). In both cases, He rebukes the sinners, even telling the woman to, “go and sin no more”.
    Jesus would love the Word of God and want us to obey that Word to show our love for God.

    Jesus also loved God primarily, and loved people secondarily.

    Since Jesus is like this, would He be for or against anything written in this article?
    If you love God, you love His Word and His people, but you are against sin and evil.
    In America, we tend to publicize our hatred towards sin and evil more than we should, but we do have the right to do that in this country. That right was not around during Jesus and His disciples time and they did suffer for what they said and did.
    We should as Believers work more on our love for God and act according to that love in our actions, our political stance and our voting, because God did give us this country and these laws that allowed us to do that.

  • Chimichanga Choochoo Train

    This is a vast generalization. I go to a mostly republican, conservative evangelical church in the south. We have never sent a missions group overseas, but we do have a combined English speaking/Spanish speaking congregation, and its pretty close to a 50/50 mixture. We are a small, traditional church, and our pastor is an old white guy, who still wears a full suit and tie to every service and has a thick southern drawl. Neither he, nor any of
    the more lightly toned folks of our church, have any problems with “brown” people, as you so eloquently put it, and count them as our closest friends and brothers. We embrace one another, we
    pray together, we worship together. We are one. We do not see, or hear, any difference.

  • Chimichanga Choochoo Train

    Purgatory??? Mortal sin??? The only options are heaven or hell, and there is no sin one can commit that God will not forgive, but without asking God’s forgiveness, stealing bubble gum from the grocery store will send you to hell. Sin is sin, plain and simple. You miss it by a mile, or you miss it by an inch, you’ve still missed the mark.

  • WHY?

  • Chimichanga Choochoo Train

    So what you are saying is, that we disagree, in the fact
    that I said to focus on Jesus, and you said to focus on the Spirit? Ok ,well, I do disagree, to some extent, just
    for the mere fact that I think you are making a moot point. “Focus on Jesus,” “Focus on the Spirit”…what’s
    the difference? We are both saying “Focus
    on God.” The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
    together, are ONE. Together they are
    Jehovah, or Yaweh, or YHWH. Were it not
    for the Son, we could not come to the Father.
    And were it not for the Spirit, we could not come to the Son. But, also, notice, that it was the Father who
    sent both the Son AND the Spirit.

  • Chimichanga Choochoo Train

    Pretty sure that was Leanne’s point…it didn’t need to be stated…

  • Chimichanga Choochoo Train

    What???? I have never heard of this…that’s just nuts…how do they explain the fact that all but Seth’s descendants were destroyed in the flood. All races, no matter the tone (because ALL humans have brown skin of lighter and darker tones), were descended from Adam, thru Seth, thru Noah. There are no living descendants of Cain or Abel, or any of their other unmentioned siblings.

  • Sammy

    This author is a reductionist! This is the second time I came across his articles, and both of them proved him to be a reductionist thinker (the same as fundamentalists, only on a different extreme). Most of the 10 items are committed by Christians around the world. To guilt trip Americans for those sins proves himself very ignorant about Christianity outside of the U.S. These are not American version of Christianity, but the 16th Century European version of Christianity that has been adapted around the world.

  • otrotierra

    Wow, did you survey all 2.4 billion Christians around the world to confirm your ridiculous claim? Speaking for 2.4 billion people sure seems reductionist of you, doesn’t it?

  • Gillian Trewinnard

    This is so true Leanne. Christian faith is not a-political. Jesus preached ‘the kingdom of God’ – not a political entity you could vote for, but a way of living that invited all people to share in the feast of God’s creation, not just the privileged elites of the day. That is the gospel and it’s still entirely relevant today and always has been. Our goal as Christians is not to save ‘souls’ or overcome other religions, but to actively participate in the creation of a new kingdom of justice and peace here and now, on the earth – real people, with enough to eat, with somewhere to live, with a chance to engage in life fully.
    I must say, i post this with some trepidation Leanne after viewing some of the comments by others above. I thought the original article thought-provoking, not totally rigorous, but definitely worth a discussion. However, when I saw the comments, I was dismayed at the antagonism and defensiveness shown by many.

  • otrotierra

    What Jesus actually said is far more interesting.

  • Lisa Claypool Wilson

    Check the family! Is there a golden-child? Is there a scapegoat? Confusion? Chaos? Slander? Triangulation? There’s a narcissist in the family web, wolf-in-sheeps-clothing, hypocrite, anti-Christ! When image is more important than character! Learn about narcissistic personality disorder, sociopathy and psychopathy. Jezebel was a malignant narc. DOn’t tolerate her!

  • CroneEver

    It was successful in that India was freed from British rule; that the Civil Rights Acts were passed and blacks were finally admitted to full citizenship in law; and black South Africans were given their country back. Yes, there have been problems since. Yes, the devil works very hard to ruin every victory. Yes, humans are human beings. But the truth is, non-violence works, and it works deeper, more profoundly, than violence does, simply because every person killed is another extension of the bloodfeud that will never end until violence ends.

  • Leanne Zeck

    how arrogant would it be for an American to speak into another nation’s church about their short comings! When outsiders critique us, we dismiss them for not knowing us or what we are going through, etc. We really can only speak into our own culture with integrity.

  • Thorn

    In order to be able to sell one’s property, one must have owned said property. Hence, individual ownership. Barnabas can’t sell if he doesn’t own. Barnabas sells “A” field…not necessarily all of his fields. There is no condemnation in either passage for having owned possessions or being wealthy. My point was simply that Acts has nothing to do with any sort of rejection of individual ownership or wealth.
    Read the parable of the talents in Matthew 25. Being successful and increasing with what you have been charged with on an individual basis is praised. It is not at the cost of others, but to the benefit of others. Burying your gifts, talents, time, money, possessions is what is condemned for it does not benefit anyone.
    Are there those who benefit at the expense of others? Sure. Are there those who the Spirit is convicting to give more? Sure. But is wealth evil? No.
    It’s okay to have a business, be successful, and increase in wealth. You can’t get there without benefiting others. It means you’ve created jobs, other goods, and sit in a position from which you can continually bless and provide for others simply in general and hopefully in other areas like your christian community/church.
    We should honestly quit judging others who have more than us, or who we think have too expensive or flashy things. The reality is that, in order to obtain such things, someone built and sold such things. Those people need to eat too. It’s called an economy.

  • otrotierra

    No Mark, Jesus never taught “love the sinner, hate the sin.” Whoever told you that was lying to you.

    It’s best to stick with what Jesus actually said and did.

  • Leanne Zeck

    It is not about rights. Any right I have in the US bows to my citizenship in the Kingdom. My rights stop when they are in conflict with Christ’s commands to love God and love neighbor and love enemy. When exercising my rights doesn’t look like what Jesus did, then I cannot exercise my rights.

  • And all who believed were together and had all things in common; and they sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need.

    Now the company of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things which he possessed was his own, but they had everything in common. And with great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet; and distribution was made to each as any had need.

    Jesus, that Commie Socialist.

  • nashbash

    It seems that you have a disdain for America. Many grew up in an America where it was possible to love both America and Jesus. This has changed….but it doesn’t negate the fact that generations of people still live in America who know that it can be done — loving both. Let’s go easy on them. Your writings seem more against America and Americans than for Christ and His people.

  • Thorn

    Of course. I was just curious if he could. And yes, I’m sure there are those who feel the constitution bears more weight and that’s a shame. Especially since it’s been dead for quite some time anyway. Christ’s words should always bear weight and shape our world view.
    Which mean’s they trump Ben’s too.

    I’ll give another example, Ben asserts that the goal of Christianity (or a goal) is to end poverty. That’s false. Where does it ever say we will end poverty or try to? The poor will always exist on this earth. It’s impossible to end it. The goal isn’t to end it, but to love your neighbor as yourself. To have a generous heart not just with physical means but with the gospel especially. To walk an extra mile when someone is in need of your cloak.
    We are to do these things because we are called to, charged to, commanded as God lays it upon us, but not because it will ever end poverty.

  • nashbash

    it’s quite clear in scripture that we should hate sin and love people. hopefully, people know their scripture well enough to know that the phrase isn’t present in the Bible….but the idea certainly is.

  • nashbash

    exactly.

  • Martha Anne Underwood

    I agree with what Mr. Corey has said in his article except for one thing. I don’t think God meant for us not to get into government. He did say give to Cesar what is his and to God what is God’s. We who are Christians need to put God first and our involvement in politics second.

  • nashbash

    this is not true either. everyone is trying to separate the Christian walk into segments. Following Christ is all of the above. Of course, we should tell unreached lands about the Amazing News of Christ. And of course, we should feed those in our backyards/communities. Be careful not to highlight one over the other. I used to do that too. It’s easy to do when you’re passionate. But it is appropriate to state that you feel that people have a wealthy dutiful attitude…so they go to other lands and help people…but won’t even feed someone in America. But even if you say that, you should be specific with your references….because there are tons of Christians and churches pulling off both in a great way.

  • nashbash

    i like the fact that Alicia is on here. we should all consider each other’s points.

  • Robert Karma

    The problem is that when you look at the history of Christianity, you see a lot of violence and oppression in the name of furthering the cause of the faith. There are rare occasions where the Christian faith had a positive impact. The adherence to any ideology that makes ultimate truth claims, be it Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Mormonism, Scientology, Communism, etc., leads to intolerance, oppression and violence. We have a strong secular Constitutional Republic that has the Separation Between Church and State to protect Freedom of Conscience for American citizens. This has provided the freedom for people to follow whatever worldview they desire without fear of coercion from the government. When a religion has political control, it has a negative impact on such freedoms and civil liberties.

  • nashbash

    we don’t always have the opportunity to ask for forgiveness. that’s why it’s so wonderful and amazing and sure that Jesus died for our sins — past, present, and future. knowing that amazing fact is what keeps us not wanting to be near sing…and it’s what secures the deal for every follower of Jesus.

  • Thorn

    I agree Leanne, but his write up is shoddy. Poor exegesis, poor reference. Not on everything he says, but a good bit. Am I not to hold him accountable? Is it not fair to ask if he’ll be giving away his computer or at least writing on more important global issues?

    I think the biggest issue I have with this is judging other people’s charity. The only people who take the time to stop and judge what other christians are or aren’t doing are usually the one’s who aren’t busy enough about their own charity. The most generous people, aren’t stopping to condemn others as their too busy being generous or too busy generating benefits to an economic community all around. The right hand needs to quit asking what the left hand is doing, and worry about itself.
    And yes, I’m here responding, but it’s Ben’s argument that we should be about global issues and not lesser. It’s Ben’s perception of what is “flashy”, and not Jesus’.

  • Guy Norred

    It all comes back to that definition thing. I hate sin–and hate its presence in my life–a presence I think is (I hope only) nearly constant–a presence I am aware of in myself but since I am not God and cannot see into the hearts of my brothers and sisters cannot possibly be as aware of it in their lives. I think this may have been what Paul meant when he said he was chief among sinners–from our own perspective we each are. All of that said, it is rather rare that I sin by failing to abide by a list of do’s or don’ts

  • Peter Bateman Mockridge

    If the American flag is up on the podium, if most of your tithe is used to support the church, . . . .

  • Herm

    How did you grow up as a child of Man? Did you earn anything or was it provided for you? Did you share any part of your allowance with your siblings? Did your parents suggest sharing or did they teach what was yours was yours?

    “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.” Acts 4:31-32

    “He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” John 1:11-13

    “Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”Luke 14:25-27

    “He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”” Matthew 12:48-50

    Thorn, your logic is Americanized following your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life—but it is not following Christ Jesus. I don’t see the cross you bear as a brother/sister of Jesus in what you share. Tell me, what did Jesus own but the talents given to Him by our Father and of those what did He not share for any of for us, beloved neighbor and/or enemy?

    An economy is not children using an allowance that none have earned and which will certainly be taken back when no longer necessary … dust to dust … ashes to ashes.

    Wealth is not evil. Collaterally acquired wealth from jobs created still only temporarily benefit a few and does not the whole of mankind. Mankind was created in the image of God and not a few special men and women. Wealth is is what our one God gave us all as one Man. The wealth Jesus spoke of can only be banked in Heaven today and no temporal carnal wealth can be taken with us.

    Your logic fails when considered in the eternal and only the Spirit of Truth in our hearts and minds can teach the logic necessary to inherit (not earn), with specific stipulations, eternal life.

    I love your concern but I read your carnal upbringing in most of what you say flatly as though it’s the only way that makes sense. Thank you, although, for caring to get me in the way that makes most sense to you. Read what Jesus says in company with the Spirit and petition Jesus to answer all that you, not your community of birth, might question. It really works for truth you can trust and then you’ll know to pick up your cross because to do so works for the most in the longest run.

  • Guy Norred

    Actually, change that. Sin may happen when we fail to abide by a list of do’s or don’ts but it isn’t through failing the list that we sin.

  • Herm

    Robert, what are your sources?

  • No Tony, it was not, nor was it written to America. My point was if one is to make a typological connection to this passage, and I think one can, then follow the lead of the early church and use Israel as a type of the Church, not America. This is not set in stone, but a valid teaching method used throughout Church history. We look for promises in the Old Testament that were given to the Jews, and reapply them to us as grafted into the Jewish tree. There is a continuity here, even though we aren’t Jewish. Last I checked America was not mentioned in Scripture. God bless.

  • Al Cruise

    Yes, this is very true, it was taught in a southern conservative protestant University right into this century. It was used to keep black men out of the pulpit in most southern conservative protestant churches right up to the 1960’s. They also taught that a black person was only worth 5/8th’s of a white person. When examined closely, the southern protestant Church is the primary root cause of the racism that exists in america today.

  • Herm

    If we are siblings of Jesus who are we focusing on if only on God? Did not Jesus first have the Holy Spirit come to Him at His baptism before the Father said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:17

    The Holy Spirit is most important for children of God to bond together. The Holy Spirit is not God but the connection to the family of God. I do not focus on one but on the whole family as one. My family focuses on mankind who They feel responsible to as Their creations in greater need than They.

    God was first with eons of uninterrupted experience before mankind in Their image. God is the standard for those of mankind with each member having less than 120 years to know anything. I take the familial lead of God as Their little child and I stumble as any child barely learning to walk. All that I am asked to do to continue to grow in the Family is summed up in Luke 10:27 and Matthew 7:12.

    I disagree with you because you’re trying to tell us to come together as though you’re on the outside looking in. With the Holy Spirit resident in your heart and mind without ceasing you would be on the inside looking out already knowing the togetherness of Christ’s disciples.

    Our Father in Heaven, His Son (our residing Lord) and all children of God forever on are one and united now by the Holy Spirit tying all of each of our hearts and minds together. I know this but I’m such a little child incapable of being the Teacher. I’m just not capable of the right words without the Holy Spirit to tell me in the moment necessary. I am no more important to the entire family of God than you. Love you! Thanks for questioning!

  • Now care to explain away this part?

    Now the company of those who believed were
    of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things which he
    possessed was his own, but they had everything in common.

  • Herm

    “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26-27

  • Leanne Zeck

    You really are using the Scripture that the poor will always be among us to say we are not to work to end poverty? The context of that Scripture reference by Christ is found in the Old Testament. The fact is israel was instructed to care for the poor and the marginalized. The farmers were instructed to leave good crops behind for the poor to pick up. The nation of Israel time and time again in the Old Testament is rebuked for not caring for the orphans and the widows, because the poor were going hungry when the rich were well cared for. The poor will always be among us because they will flock to the people of God because they know there is mercy there and poverty does not exist in the Kingdom because we care for each other. Yes, we are to work towards ending poverty. And because we are working to stop poverty, the poor will flock to us to be cared for from all over.

  • jrb16915

    I think Christians of all creeds have far more common beliefs than different beliefs, this syncretism problem is a protestant problem more than it is a Christian problem. The vast majority of the worlds Christians are baptized in the Catholic Churches or the Orthodox Churches. And the theologies and moral values taught to those 1.4 Billion Christians are remarkably consistent across national borders. In fact for the most part they line up quite nicely with the items the author lists in this article as being more “Christian” and less nationalistic.

  • Leanne Zeck

    I didn’t say you cannot disagree with him or hold him accountable. But your statement is not holding him accountable. It is a shoddy argument. It doesn’t make sense. You yourself would be guilty of Americanized Christianity because you are commenting on a blog about Americanized Christianity by the logic you are using.
    And I am not sure what you consider to be condemning. No where did he say those who are guilty of any of these things on the list are not Christian or not loving God or not going to heaven. He has just said these are some things that we need to be aware of because they are compromises to the Gospel of Christ. These are places we have married our culture with the Gospel, making the Gospel less effective in our lives.

  • Joe

    Number 1 is almost completely false.

    Early Christians did not reject individual ownership of
    property.

    The Apostle Peter clearly states (Acts 5:4) that property
    belonged to the owners as was theirs to do with as they wished. The fact that
    many chose to give up their property and live a in a semi-communal lifestyle
    does not mean that the practice was universal or commanded. This type of living
    was only practiced by the church in Jerusalem for a very short time period. In all of Paul’s letters never once does he mention or command communistic living in the church and no other church is ever described as having such an arrangement. Materialism is clearly rejected by Christian teachings; communism is not endorsed and certainly not commanded.

    Military service was not prohibited. One of the earliest
    converts of Jesus was a Roman centurion (soldier) (Mt. 8:5-13). The very first
    Gentile convert made by Peter was a centurion (Acts chapter 10).

    Paul does not object to the death penalty but appears to
    support it (Acts 25:11; Romans 13:4).

    There is no biblical teaching regarding killing in self-defense. Pacifism is immoral. Do you really believe that God commands that you stand idly by as your wife and children are raped? I think not. That would be an immoral command. What Christians should not do is retaliate when suffering for the name of Christ or repay evil for evil but that is not the same thing as defending one’s life.

    Abortion has always been opposed by the church.

  • Don Fawcett

    The comment on primitive Christians totally rejecting private ownership of land in this article is rooted in terrible biblical interpretation. I agree with Joe in much of his critique.

  • otrotierra

    What you report is very interesting. The demographic you describe, a near 50/50 mix of English/Spanish speakers, is likely not representative of the average evangelical congregation. Though if it were (and it could be some day in the future as long as neither Donald Trump nor Mike Huckabee represent the future of “American” Christianity) imagine how transformative that would be.

    I’m curious if the 50/50 mix of the total body at your church is also represented on staff (pastoral staff, music ministry, and other leadership positions even if volunteer, speaking roles at all events & functions)?

  • Little Sir

    All I’m hearing is a ton of excuses to continue on with your smallmindedness.

  • jrb16915

    Today’s Good News is that God’s existence (or lack thereof) in no way depends on your lack of belief, or my belief.

  • otrotierra

    No, Jesus never said “hate sin and love people.”

    No thanks, I’ll stick with what Jesus actually said, no matter how unpopular it is among U.S. Evangelicals.

  • jrb16915

    1 Corinthians 3:10-15

  • louismoreaugottschalk

    wowza! I’ve been saying this for a few years now on the blogs. people say love the sinner hate the sin, isn’t narcissistic personality disorder really what they’re talking about as well as
    Other things like addiction, childhood sexual abuse & groupthink?
    these can be identified, understood by everyone not just psychiatrist and therapist. they run, like programs installed in a computer, the human psyche, repeating cycles of tragic consequences thru out ages and generations. nothing changes if nothing changes. hate the sin love the sinner? no ‘forgive them father for they know not what they do’ Jesus does know what they do
    and why they do it!

  • nashbash

    hi again, which part of what I mentioned are you disagreeing with, otrotierra? i too said that Jesus didn’t say that phrase.

  • nashbash

    yep.

  • nashbash

    yep

  • David Matthew Graef

    Sure. Well, I won’t attempt to explain it “away,” just simply explain it. I don’t believe one should interpret Acts 2:44 in a way that contradicts Acts 2:45. If you interpret Acts 2:44 to mean the abolition of property, then the rest of the context makes no sense at all. How can you give away your property, if property does not exist? The command not to steal would be null and void as well. But taken in context, it is an expression of the spiritual unity between them. They sold what they owned (which implies that some level of the concept of private property remained in tact.) so that they could make sure everyone’s needs were met. Isn’t that how Luke himself explained in verse 45 what he meant in verse 44? “45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.” Now, I know you quote Acts 4:32 in your question, but I interpret that the same way as I do Acts 2. No one “said” that anything he possessed was his own. I agree with that. Even in that sentence, it implies that they still “possessed” something. But again, in context, it says, “34 Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, 35 and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.”

    Once again, they are still called “possessors” so Luke is not referring to a total abolition of property, but twice in the same verse it says that they gave until everyone’s needs were met.

    Please understand that I am not arguing for stinginess. I am simply saying that we should not push biblical community to the point of communism (which is the total abolition of private property.) That is a New American concept, which is just as flawed as the old one. When we start adding our list of things we don’t like to the list, we are committing the same crime for which we are accusing. Were the early New Testament Christians against capital punishment? Were they really anti-military? Or is that a modern day sentiment that the author is injecting into the text. I oppose injecting anything into the text. We should always seek to exegete the Scripture, not twist it to push our own agenda.

  • Well, one difference: it wasn’t a tithe. It was everything.

  • Theodore Harvey

    I’m usually sympathetic to articles critical of the Americanization of Christianity, but the problem with this article is that the writer implicitly condemns most of historic European Christianity too. (Was the faith of the Crusaders “Americanized”?) I wonder if he’s ever even encountered a Christian who was definitely not an Americanist, but not a pacifist either. As a High Church Anglican monarchist who wears black on July 4 and doesn’t vote, no one could accuse me of #3, #4 or #10, but that doesn’t mean I think the Gospel commands Europeans to surrender what’s left of their culture.

  • Eris, elder daughter of Nyx

    I’m kind of amused by part of your post because most people nowadays wouldn’t consider “money changing” a sin. Mwahaha.

    Plus the fun thing about the woman caught in adultery is that (while many people seem to forget it) what he first said was “Then neither do I judge you.” So while he did say “Go and sin no more” (something he could have said to anyone, including the people who had been prepared to judge her and had just walked away), he didn’t judge her for her supposed sinning. Isn’t that neat? And the glorious thing is that he didn’t even ask her if she repented first! He just went out and straight didn’t judge her. Stunning! Flabbergasting! Astonishing! Can you imagine if we tried to pull that nowadays? If we caught someone in a sexual “sin” (say, homosexuality?) and said, “Well, I don’t judge you; you don’t even have to repent or say you aren’t going to do it again, I just don’t judge you.” Hysteria. Mass freak out. In our culture, you repent, then you receive forgiveness. In the story of the woman caught in adultery? Jesus didn’t even forgive; he just didn’t judge.

  • RonnyTX

    Great blog post and that’s putting it mildly! :-)

  • Alicia

    To me this was too focused on the rightward perversions of the gospel and left out too many of the mainline dumbing down and capitalism-friendly-ization (um, sorry) of the gospel. Even those who don’t think that gay marriage is the number one issue are often happily oblivious to the economic justice aspect of the bible.

  • The Bible says “They sold their possessions…” How could they sell “their” possessions if they did not believe in possessions at all?

    The same way that a former slaveholder might free “his” slaves when he came to abhor slavery in all of its forms.

  • The early church definitely prohibited military service. Military service, political office, and acting. Being a teacher was also prohibited unless someone taught children, but if someone was a teacher prior to their conversion, that was permitted.

    The fact that people who were in the military believed in Jesus does not mean Jesus condoned killing -or- military service anymore than the fact that prostitutes believed in Jesus meant that Jesus condoned prostitution.

  • SgtPOG

    Haha, you still mad about the French Revolution too? Fist bump!

  • SgtPOG

    Americanized Christians don’t follow the early Church, they follow the Bible.
    Wait, what?
    Yeah.

  • Theodore Harvey

    Of course! That one’s even worse. And they have the nerve to celebrate it on my birthday. Vive le Roi!

  • SgtPOG

    I will also bring these points up at the Bernie Sanders rally tomorrow.

  • SgtPOG

    I grew up secular and liberal but became a hipster fundie (Think PNW Mark Driscoll) and recently moved to the Bible belt, and love it. The hypocritical embarrassing sins of Christians beats rampant hedonistic Godlessness any day.

  • Eris, elder daughter of Nyx

    But Mark Driscoll is so terrible to women. :-(

  • SgtPOG

    Christians are allowed to keep the parts of their culture that do not conflict with the precepts of God and The Way. Muslims keep their daggers, Sikhs keep their beards, Gentiles keep their foreskins and diets, Messianic Jews can even keep their favorite OT laws.

  • SgtPOG

    Because he favors them and never criticized them or holds them accountable?

    https://dalrock.wordpress.com/2015/01/27/driscoll-where-do-baby-mamas-come-from/

  • SgtPOG

    Let’s talk about Oliver Cromwell! Derail the whole thread! GO GO GO

  • I can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic or not.

  • Eris, elder daughter of Nyx
  • Herm

    Where do you find the “idea”?

  • Theodore Harvey

    The most evil Englishman in history, almost certainly burning in hell.

  • Rich Shockey

    It may be a little hard to see, but I did have your post in mind when I argue that part of what was at hand in Jesus calling Peter “Satan” was that Peter may have confused his patriotism and religion, too. http://bit.ly/1TSunU6

  • Herm

    Ownership does not mean something is mine. Ownership means only that I have responsibility for something because it is in my name. Nothing you or I have responsibility for of this Earth is ours to keep. Everything of Earth in our name, that we are claiming responsibility for today can and will be taken away from each of us. Every thing we have is loaned to us as a tool to learn from from They who created it and us. I am graced with much wealth but the Holy Spirit makes it very clear that only the responsibility for each possession is mine. All that I am responsible to is gifted to me to benefit mankind as one entity in the image of the one entity we know as God our creator.

    “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21

    You are not the only of mankind twisting the written words to match their own individual spirit in disregard of the Word of Truth available directly from the Spirit of God in yours and their heart and mind.

    “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Luke 11:9-10

  • Joe

    The Bible clearly condemns things like prostitution but makes no mention of military service. If the authors of the Bible wanted to make clear that military service was immoral and that Christians could not take part in such institutions then the story of the centurion in the book of Matthew and Peter’s conversion of the centurion in Acts would have been perfect places for the authors to make clear that these people must leave their posts to become Christians. Yet no such indication is made or implied. This means that military service was unimportant to Jesus and unimportant to his disciples.

  • Joe

    #6 is another blatant misrepresentation of what the Bible actually says.

    The Bible discusses the treatment of the sojourner which is by definition a person who stays in a land for a temporary amount of time. These verses are not about permanent immigrants. Furthermore, there was no such thing as nation states at the time the command was written. And even if there were the author of this article would have us believe that the Bible requires a nation to accept every person that illegally enters which is preposterous.

    It’s asinine to think that the Bible, the vast majority of which deals with the nation of Israel and how its borders were routinely violated and conquered by neighbors, would somehow advocate and command as a matter of national policy a system of unfettered immigration.

    Perhaps the author of the article should tell the illegals to obey the Bible’s clear command to obey the laws of the land in which the live and self-deport.

  • That interpretation is fucking amazing.

  • Scott Lane

    Having left Christianity for other reasons, I left the Republican party for the above reasons. I know many fine Christians and call them my friends but all too many have no idea about Christianity other than what Bill O’Reilly or their friends at the bar have to say. Too many pastors and preachers have never studied at seminary and instead feel they can interpret by themselves without ever understanding the context or languages used.
    Christianity today is nothing like the first century Christians. Christianity today is just a brand with a mascot that you cheer on from the sidelines with the bluster of a “Manchester” fan in riot.

  • Brett Yarberry

    Only #3 applies to me, because of schools once every year, for a week or more at a time, during History/Social Studies etc., have you memorize what is in the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The Sermon on the Mount typically only is preached on for 1 or 2 sermons a year. That is 5+ hours on the Constitution/Bill of Rights, while only .75-1.5 hours on the Sermon on the Mount. I feel that the amount of emphasis on the Constitution & Bill of Rights is a little overboard. However, I still view it as extreme to “Love” the constitution, with it being a physical object. It seems sort of like treating it as an Idol.

  • RonnyTX

    I’m 60 years old now and in my lifetime,I’ve had some legally born here neighbors,that I might wish would self-deport. :-) I also have two neighbors, that I know of personally,that are not here legally;but their children were born here,so they’re here legally. To me,all of these people are welcome here. Hey,the Dad of the bunch,several years ago,he helped me and another guy,build my oldest sisters house. Lately and after a storm,my sister hired the same guy,to help put the roof back on one of her barns. He,I and one of his sons did that. Plus,he and his kids sometimes go fishing in Sis’s pasture pond. Sis gives the family eggs from her chickens. After she started doing that, the guy started bringing a sack of chicken feed down here,now and then. Recently,Sis got herself a new freezer and gave this family her old one. By US standards,these people are poor;but they work hard and don’t bother other people. So why would I want them,my neighbors,to self deport? So what,if the parents aren’t here legally? I mean,that’s by man made laws and the much greater law,is the one of Jesus Christ and he simply tells me,that I am to love my neighbor as I love myself.

  • Fair enough, and thanks for explaining that to me. Bless you too :)

  • Leanne Zeck

    I’ve learned that when I get defensive, its often because I feel threatened–which can be conviction. So if I get defensive, I ask myself where is this challenging me and possibly being used the Spirit to convict me. I have to admit, I use to accuse people of condemnation when I felt convicted before and so I think I understand the antagonism and defensiveness. Its much easier to be defensive than to ask if the Holy Spirit is convicting us.

  • Susan P.

    Where does the bible prohibit military service, political office, and acting? I’ve read the whole thing cover to cover and cannot recall any prohibitions on military service, political office, or acting. Or teaching. Please enlighten me.

  • Mike Blackadder

    You’re right Phil, but you have to consider the circumstances that informed this prohibition. First, the act of joining the Roman military required declaring allegiance to Roman gods, and committing to the worldview implied in service to those false gods. Second, the early church consisted of a small group of outcasts quite outside the realm of political power or responsibility. In the more modern circumstance of Christian nations a military effort is conceivably in service to peace, not to Roman gods, and we are not commanded to step aside so evil men can prey on women and children or commit genocide against Jews, Armenians, the weak and powerless.

  • Jesus commanded that his disciples “love their enemies.” The purpose of a military is to kill enemies, which is by definition, anti-Christ since it’s the polar opposite of what Jesus commanded. Matthew 5 pretty much covers it.

  • Well, when I was in the military, I swore an oath to the Constitution, and in SERE training, I was taught that it was essential to believe that all of America’s causes are just. Civil religion gods come in more subtle forms these days.

    Now, I’m not arguing that Christians shouldn’t be in the military, but it’s not a given. I think what Ben is getting at is how easily Christianity in America venerates the military.

  • Word/thing fallacy– just because the word isn’t there doesn’t mean the thing is not. It would be impossible to obey the teachings and example of Jesus while killing enemies since it is the opposite of what Jesus taught and how he lived.

  • If you read what I wrote, I said these were prohibitions in the early church. They saw those prohibitions as a logical outworking of belonging to the kingdom of God.

    There is no command, “Thou shalt not be in the military,” but there are also no commands about helping old ladies across the street. The Church through the Spirit is in a constant process of trying to consistently embody the kingdom of God in their time and place, and that’s how the early church did it.

  • Did Jesus ask the Samaritan woman to leave the man she was shacking up with? Don’t you think if the authors of the Bible wanted to make clear that serial adultery was immoral, that story would have been the perfect place to do it?

    OR would you say the focus of the story was on someone having faith in Jesus who, by natural circumstances, should not have? And the practical fallout of that decision just wasn’t important to the point the author was trying to make?

  • Obscurely

    N.T. Wright once summed up the political aspect of the Gospel for the early church in these words, and I think they express the thrust of this post — “If Jesus is Lord, Caesar is NOT.”

  • Chimichanga Choochoo Train

    Again, this is a vast generalization. Please find my reply to otrotierra’s comment about Evangelical churches and their relation to “brown” people.

  • RoscoeT

    Do you own a house? If so, have you called in the struggling immigrants, legal or otherwise, to come in and live in your guest room, in the basement, or on the floor of the living room and to help themselves to the kitchen and to your wallet? Or if you live in an apartment, have you called the homeless immigrants to come sleep on the floor in your apartment? Are you sharing EVERYTHING with them? If you haven’t, then you are hoarding and holding on to private property and in violation of your own teaching and what you claim was the early church’s. Theory can be wonderful, but putting it into practice is a different thing.

  • Mark

    It was not “money changing” that Jesus was angry about. It was about stealing in the House of God. The Pharisees were making people exchange their money at very high rates (thus stealing from them) to buy the sacrifices in the Temple. That is why Jesus got so mad about it.
    Of course Jesus is not the One who will judge. And neither should we. He will be the advocate to Believers when God judges all people. And all people will be judged. Those who believed in Him have already had their sins paid for by His death and resurrection. Those who do not believe, He will not know them (see Revelation).
    So Jesus told the woman to, “go and sin no more”, meaning He expected her to repent and work on not having adulterous relationships.
    The thing this author does is concentrate on the second commandment (“Love your neighbor as yourself:), while not even looking at the first and greatest (“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”). And what does Jesus say about love? John 15:10 – “If you keep My commands, you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commands and remain in His love.” So loving God means keeping His commands (obedience).
    And what should we follow? The two commands above, the ten commandments and also avoid unwholesome talk, cursing, sexual sins, sins against your body and against others.

  • nashbash

    For the sin part…..God is perfect and without sin; He wants the best for his creation and his created beings. Sin (the opposing of God) would not be best for us. He mentions that He even “hates” divorce in Malachi….so we know He does “hate” things opposed to the best that He has for his people. He mentioned that He gave a certificate of divorce just because of the hardness of man’s heart in that area.

    And He mentions in Romans how because man was so sinful, He literally gave us over to our own lusts/impurity.

    So it would be hard for Him to love something that is anti-Him, sin.

    For the “love people” part, He definitely shows that He loves people….1) they are His own amazing and beautiful creation, and 2) He literally sent His Son from heaven to earth to die for his very created people who are trapped in sin.

    That’s what I was referring to. What were you referring to….or what did you think I was referring to?
    .
    .
    .
    Below is the part in Romans I was talking about:
    .
    For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

    Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity,

  • Mark

    Never said the saying, “love the sinner, hate the sin”, is in the Bible. But if you look at the examples I gave above, you will see His actions lead to such a saying.
    If you don’t think so, then please let us know what you think the examples I gave in my original statement mean.
    I guess I could have said, “Aggressively go after removing sin when you see it” (like Jesus did), and if you don’t see it then, “Don’t judge them, but let them know not to do that sin again” (like Jesus did), but “love the sinner, hate the sin” seems to sum it up better and nicer.

  • RoscoeT

    You mourn the birth of America every 4th of July? and you are an American citizen? and you are a monarchist? That means you want to live in a country ruled by a King with absolute rule? Am I misunderstanding what you are saying, or are you joking, or it that what you really believe? If you hadn’t said that you don’t vote, I would have guessed that you are a bitter Englishman, still mad about us sending you packing in the revolutionary war, or is that why you don’t vote, because you are not a citizen of the USA?

  • Robert Karma

    Part III: How Jesus Became God – “The Jesus-movement was soon to be in trouble. The problem was not that the disciples frequently met resistance from the religious establishment: That, in fact, was grist for their mill. The threat of excommunication from the synagogue, the martyrdom of some believers and the forced emigration of others, even the start of the Zealot uprising in 66 C.E. that would end in the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem four years later–all such problems fit the apocalyptic program. They were the eschatological woes that signaled the imminent end of the world that the disciples so earnestly awaited. Jesus had predicted:

    When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel, before the Son of Man comes. (Matthew 10:23)

    The serious problem, rather, was the lengthening of the supposedly brief interval between Jesus’ hidden vindication at his death and his public reappearance in glory. Not only was the parousia being progressively delayed, but within thirty years of Jesus’ death the founders of this eschatological movement within Judaism would begin dying off, with no return of Jesus yet insight. This state of affairs occasioned major adjustments in the way the movement looked at history and how it evaluated Jesus himself. The clue to understanding the progressive enhancement of Jesus’ status from failed prophet to divine savior lies in the early believers’ response to this “problem of the interval.”

    The period that we now consider stretches from the first years of the Jesus-movement, through the composition of Saint Paul’s epistles (about 50-55 C.E.) up to the writing of the Synoptic Gospels (about 70-85 C.E.). Our focus is on the Hellenistic Jewish Christians who began spreading the message beyond the geographical confines of Palestine and the religious limits of Judaism. The development of christology during this period is rich and very complex, but some general lines can be discerned: (1) a gradual deemphasizing of eschatology;[7] (2) a heightening of Jesus’ status during the so-called interval;[8] and (3) the “backward migration” of Jesus’ messianic status, first from the parousia to the resurrection, then back to his baptism, and then even further back to his conception.[9] Whereas the Aramaic-speaking Jews hoped Jesus would become the messiah at the end of the world, the Hellenistic Jewish converts came to believe that he had already been constituted the messiah from his mother’s womb. The Jesus-movement, which originally looked forward, now started glancing over its shoulder to what was believed to have occurred in the past and was now a cosmic fact: that Jesus was already the Lord and Christ, the messianic Son of God.

    Properly speaking, Christianity begins with these Hellenistic Jewish believers. They were the first to introduce Jesus into the Western world with the Greek title christos, thus earning themselves the name “Christians” (Acts 11:26). More important, the changes they wrought in the movement’s theology elevated Jesus to an intermediate christological plateau, from which he would later be launched to the heights of divinity.

    The Aramaic-speaking believers, for all their “liberalism” vis-à-vis the religious establishment, were rather conservative in comparison with Hellenistic Jewish Christians. The Palestianian Jewish members of the Jesus-movement regularly visited the Temple, obeyed the Mosaic Law (even if in a different spirit from that of some of the Pharisees), and looked forward to the coming apocalyptic end. On the other hand, the Greek-speaking converts, who breathed the cosmopolitan air of Hellenism, were more liberal when it came to the minutiae of the Law and the Temple cults (even though they were quite strict about the Ten Commandments), and were less interested in eschatology and futuristic messianism than their Aramaic-speaking colleagues. The Hellenistic Jewish Christians also took it upon themselves to widen the circle of evangelization to include Gentiles as well as Jews, and in so doing they liberalized some of the strictures, particularly regarding observance of the Law, that more conservative Jewish believers imposed on converts to the movement. As a consequence, the Hellenistic Jewish Christians soon found themselves in conflict not only with their conservative Aramaic-speaking colleagues but also with the religious establishment in Jerusalem, which began persecuting them in the early thirties (Acts 8:1). Within a very few years after Jesus’ death many of them left Palestine for the Diaspora, taking with them a new ferment of ideas about who Jesus was and what he was currently doing in heaven.

    At first, the Hellenistic Jewish Christians merely translated from Aramaic into Greek the christological titles that expressed the early Church’s understanding of Jesus. For example, they rendered the Aramaic masiah (“anointed one”) and mare (“lord”) with, respectively, the Greek words christos and kyrios. But pressured by the continuing delay of the parousia, they then took a momentous step and revised their notions of Jesus’ status during the ever-lengthening interval. They began a process within christology which would continue for the rest of the century until Jesus would be recognized as the equal of God himself.

    That process consisted in enhancing Jesus’ status prior to the parousia. This enhancement, which was begun by the Hellenistic Jewish Christians and continued by their Gentile converts, moved in the opposite direction from the Christology of the first believers. The original impulse of the church had been to augment Jesus’ status in a forward direction, toward the future parousia, when he would be revealed as God’s chosen messianic son. However, the Hellenistic Jewish believers began enhancing Jesus’ status in a backward direction. They disconnected the “christological moment” (the point where, according to faith, Jesus became the chosen one of God) from the parousia and began edging it backward toward earlier moments: first to Jesus’ resurrection, then to his baptism in the Jordan, and finally to the very moment of his conception. The third group of early believers, the Gentile Christians, would later take the climactic step and declare that their savior had preexisted in heaven as God’s divine Son before he became incarnate as Jesus.

    This “backward migration” of christology brought about a major change in the church’s vision of history. The Hellenistic Jews took the first step by toning down the eschatological thrust of the original believers and pushing Jesus’ “christological moment” back through his resurrection to the beginning of his earthly life. But by the end of the century the Gentile Christians went further and formulated a cosmic view of history controlled by their vision of Jesus. Their savior had existed in heaven as God’s divine Word–his instrument of creation and revelation–even before the beginning of the world; he had become incarnate as a human being and had suffered and died for the sins of mankind; and at his resurrection he had been exalted to heaven, where he now reigns in glory until the end of the world.

    The present section focuses on what the chart designates as Stage Two of christology and salvation history, that is, the period of the backward enhancement of Jesus’ christological status, first from the future parousia to the resurrection; then further back to his baptism in the Jordan; and finally back to the very moment of his conception. Later we shall consider Stage Three of the christological progression: how the Gentile Christians came to interpret Jesus as divine.

    THE RESURRECTION: JESUS EXALTED AS LORD

    Whereas the Aramaic-speaking believers thought Jesus had only been designated to be the future messiah, the Hellenistic Jewish Christians believed that he had already been enthroned as Christ and Lord from the time he was raised from the dead. Instead of a brief and temporary “assumption” into a heavenly limbo of inactivity with the promise of an imminent return, Jesus was now thought to be already “exalted” (enthroned) and ruling at his Father’s right hand even before the parousia. The church took two psalms which celebrated the royal coronation of a past Davidic king and interpreted them as applying to Jesus, who they now thought was reigning alongside his Father. Note the following excerpts from two sermons, one attributed to Simon Peter, the other to Paul, which use those psalms:

    Acts 2:32-35:

    This Jesus God raised up, and of that we are all witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured it out, as you see and hear. … For David himself says:

    __The Lord [Yahweh] said to my Lord [Jesus]: “Sit at my right hand, till I make thy enemies a footstool for thy feet.” [Psalm 110:1]

    Acts 13:32-33:

    We bring you the good news that what God promised to our fathers he has fulfilled to us their children, as it is written in the second psalm,

    “Thou art my son, this day I have begotten thee.” [Psalm 2:7]

    Now thought to be ruling as the Christ and “Son of God” (God’s chosen one, not his ontological son), Jesus becomes the functional equivalent of God himself.[10] That is, without yet sharing the nature of God, Jesus is now seen as carrying out functions previously attributed to his Father. Jesus pours out the eschatological Spirit upon those who are to be saved; in fact, he becomes a “life-giving spirit” (I Corinthians 15:45). He receives power from his Father and is made the Lord of the living and the dead (Romans 1:4, 14:9). Above all, he becomes the Savior through whom God reconciles the world to himself. “Jesus … delivers us from the wrath to come” insofar as he “gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age” (I Thessalonians 1:10; Galatians 1:54).

    The idea of Jesus as the Savior who atoned for the sins of the world (which is a commonplace among Christians today) was far from obvious to the early church. In fact, it took some years before Christians settled on the now normative interpretation of Jesus’ death as an expiatory sacrifice for sin. To begin with, Jesus in fact was not condemned to death by the Sanhedrin for claiming to be the messiah. (That claim was from Mark, not Jesus.) Not only did he refuse to advance that claim, but many men before and after him did claim to be the messiah without having any trouble with the Sanhedrin. The most plausible reason that history can currently give for the condemnation of Jesus was that he was perceived as defying the authority of the religious establishment.

    However, in a first effort to give a theological meaning to Jesus’ death, his disciples interpreted the crucified Jesus as a martyred prophet who had been rejected by men but glorified by God.[11] Although this early interpretation is quite simple when compared with later understandings of Jesus’ death, it did bring together into one christological evaluation the heretofore separate themes of (1) the Jewish saint or holy person as God’s suffering servant and (2) the coming Son of Man. In support of this schema of rejection and glorification, the church applied to Jesus the words of the psalmist:

    The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. (Psalm 118:22f.)

    At a second stage of reflection the church enhanced this interpretation by providing the crucifixion with an apocalyptic meaning that changed it from a historical accident into an eschatological inevitability. According to this view, in the days of eschatological woe before the final end, Jesus, like all just and God-fearing Jews, was bound to undergo suffering at the hands of sinners, but with the assurance that God would not forever abandon him to death.

    Only at a third stage–perhaps before mid-century–did Hellenistic Jewish Christians begin to think of Jesus’ death as a vicarious atonement for the sins of mankind. For those believers, and especially for Saint Paul, Jesus’ death and resurrection took on a transcendent and cosmic significance. It was God’s universal saving act, his transformation of the very being of the world, the apocalyptic beginning of a “new creation” (II Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:16). With Jesus’ death and resurrection God’s will to save all mankind, which was understood to have been his purpose from the beginning of the world, was seen as becoming a cosmic force now operating through the mediation of the exalted and enthroned messiah.

    Jesus himself was that force personified, the human (yet somehow suprahuman) Lord and Christ who was no longer merely the prophetic locus of the coming of the kingdom nor the apocalyptic focus of the disciples’ preaching. Jesus as Lord, Christ, and Savior was now the content of the Hellenistic Jewish Gospel. In one sense this Gospel continued the central theme of Jesus’ own message–the fact that God had given himself over to be henceforth present among mankind–but on the other hand it changed Jesus’ preaching in a fundamental way. Henceforth the God-for-man whom Jesus had proclaimed would be understood as God-in-Jesus saving the entire world. In the words of Saint Paul, “God was in Christ reconciling the cosmos to himself’ (II Corinthians 5:19).

    This Hellenistic Jewish “enthronement christology,” which took the resurrection as the moment when Jesus became Lord and Savior, marked Christianity’s first important step beyond its original Jewish roots. The earlier “parousia christology” had merely refocused Judaism’s expectations by giving the coming Son of Man a known and recognizable face, that of Jesus of Nazareth. This first Jewish christology did not claim that Jesus was now operating with God’s power; during the interval it awarded him only the proleptic role of messiah-designate. But the Hellenistic Jewish Christians pulled that future role, and the titles that went with it, back into the present. Jesus, now enthroned in heaven, was already functioning with the power he would later exercise in the sight of all at the future parousia. That is, the Hellenistic Jewish Christians made up for the delay in Jesus’ future coming by enhancing his present powers. If the first disciples exchanged an earthly present-future for an apocalyptic future, this second wave of believers began dissolving the apocalyptic future into a heavenly present. The parousia slipped into the penumbra of the Church’s concern, and Christianity slowly changed from a movement focused on the future to a religion centered on a present redeemer.” – The First Coming: How the Kingdom of God Became Christianity (1986–electronic edition 2000) by Thomas Sheehan http://www.amazon.com/The-First-Coming-Kingdom-Christianity/dp/0394511980

  • Chimichanga Choochoo Train

    well, we are a small-ish church, less than 200 on our best day, and in a low-income area, so the only one on “staff” as far as paid, is the pastor. Everything else is volunteer, but yes, all are equally included. Our Sunday morning praise & worship/music is mainly led in English, but we’ll work in a song or 2 that has been translated into Spanish, as a lot of modern worship music has been, and sing it in both. And then our Sunday evening service, music and order of service and everything, is led in Spanish and translated for the Engish-speakers. Sermons for either service, depending on who is preaching, are translated into Spanish or English. I am the youth pastor and as far as the youth go, we encourage equal invovlement from all, and most of our musicians on our youth praise team come from Spanish speaking families, although the kids speak more English than Spanish in most cases.

    i would agree with you, that it is not typical, although,
    I also think it’s a generalization to think that Evangelical = white. A big chunk of the denominations that are called Evangelical are Pentecostal organizations, and Pentecostals have historically
    been racially diverse. The event that most people consider the culmination and beginning of modern Pentecost, the
    Azusa Street revival, began with an African American preacher of a “mixed” church in Los Angeles, in 1906. In our small-ish town (60,000 inhabitants), I think there are more Spanish-speaking
    Pentecostal churches, than there are English-speaking. And I’ve been told that Pentecostalism is second only to Catholicism in Latin America, as far as Christian churches go. But I can say for sure, that we have set a precedent, in our community, at least, for combining and essentially becoming a bi-lingual church. It had actually been prophesied, on many different occasions, by different guest speakers, that God was going to do something new in our church that would cause the other churches in our town to perk up their ears and say, “Hey, what’s going on over here?” It has been a process, years in the making, but every step has been exciting and we have felt God’s presence with us every step of the way. We may not be perfect, and we may just be a small country church, but it ain’t the first time God used a bunch of country folks who just wanted to be used by Him. “Utterly amazed, they asked: ‘Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans (uneducated country folk)? Then how is it that…we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues?’” –Acts 2:7-11

  • crockett66

    Well if you’re going to go that far, what about the believers who rant on about the confederate flag and how “offensive” it is but say nothing, NOTHING about the unborn? I see articles like this and I’m like, why don’t you just leave America. It’s obvious you’re not happy here. Give me a break!!!!!

  • Robert Karma

    How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish The New Testament Canon: Its Making and Meaning by Harry Gamble; Preacher from Galilee by Bart D. Ehrman; Paul and Jesus: How the Apostle Transformed Christianity by James D. Tabor; When Jesus Became God: The Struggle to Define Christianity during the Last Days of Rome by Richard E. Rubenstein; Jesus Wars: How Four Patriarchs, Three Queens, and Two Emperors Decided What Christians Would Believe for the Next 1,500 years by John Philip Jenkins; From Jesus to Christianity: How Four Generations of Visionaries & Storytellers Created the New Testament and Christian Faith & Scripting Jesus: The Gospels in Rewrite by L. Michael White; From Jesus to Christ: The Origins of the New Testament Images of Christ & Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews: A Jewish Life and the Emergence of Christianity by Paula Fredriksen; Jesus the Jew by Geza Vermes; A Myth of Innocence: Mark and Christian Origins (Foundations & Facets) by Burton Mack. These are some of the books I have in my personal collection on Christianity that address the issue of the Delayed Parousia as the authors discuss how the Christian religion formed and evolved. I think you will enjoy reading them as they will give you the historical perspective on the founding of the Christian faith.

  • CroneEver

    I totally agree that theocracies of any kind have always been a problem, with perhaps the one exception of Ashoka Maurya’s. But that has nothing to do with the practice and practicality of non-violence, other than it increases the risks of being hurt/killed in the process.

  • Theodore Harvey

    Yes, I am unfortunately a U.S. citizen, born in Michigan and living in Texas, though I wish I had been born in Britain or Canada and dream of immigrating someday. I never said that the monarchy should be “absolute,” though I would prefer it to have more power than most of today’s monarchies do. By the way the rebels would have been unlikely to win the Revolutionary War without substantial French and Spanish help; Americans like to forget that.

  • RoscoeT

    but you don’t see that America is moving swiftly towards monarchy, with Obama becoming more and more like a king every day with his use of executive orders and his bypassing of congress in such things as creating treaties with other countries? And don’t you see that here in America we have royal families that pass on power down to themselves – mainly the Clinton and the Bush families? Why do you want to leave when we are fast becoming a nation of kings and queens? (and peasants)

  • Theodore Harvey

    It’s not the same thing at all. If you can’t see the difference between Obama and Queen Elizabeth II I can’t help you.

  • Carl Friesen

    As Christ said in the Parable of the unjust Steward: “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon Luke 16:13 (NKJV)”
    Choose wisely.

  • RoscoeT

    Obama’s a little taller, skin’s a little darker. The Queen’s probably a little bit better basketball player than Obama. She probably hasn’t smoked as much pot as he has either.

    So is it the pomp and circumstance, the royal displays, the ceremony, etc that you like? The humongous palaces they they have? The hundreds of servants? If it is ruling power, they are both the same.

    Also, I am sorry to hear that Canada and Great Britain have rejected your efforts to immigrate into their countries. You sound like a decent guy, its not right that they should let all the Muslims immigrate into their countries but not a decent loyalist like you.

  • Eris, elder daughter of Nyx

    It was not “money changing” that Jesus was angry about. It was about stealing in the House of God. The Pharisees were making people exchange their money at very high rates (thus stealing from them) to buy the sacrifices in the Temple. That is why Jesus got so mad about it.

    Ah, but lots of people would say that what the money changers were doing still wasn’t a sin! Capitalism and all that. If people didn’t like the high rates the money changers were charging, why didn’t the people just go somewhere else? After all, those money changers should have had the freedom to run their businesses the way they wanted to, yes? Mwahaha!

    Of course Jesus is not the One who will judge. And neither should we.

    Then let’s not judge!

    He will be the advocate to Believers when God judges all people. And all people will be judged. Those who believed in Him have already had their sins paid for by His death and resurrection. Those who do not believe, He will not know them (see Revelation). So Jesus told the woman to, “go and sin no more”, meaning He expected her to repent and work on not having adulterous relationships.

    The thing this author does is concentrate on the second commandment (“Love your neighbor as yourself:), while not even looking at the first and greatest (“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”). And what does Jesus say about love? John 15:10 – “If you keep My commands, you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commands and remain in His love.” So loving God means keeping His commands (obedience).
    And what should we follow? The two commands above, the ten commandments and also avoid unwholesome talk, cursing, sexual sins, sins against your body and against others.The thing this author does is concentrate on the second commandment (“Love your neighbor as yourself:), while not even looking at the first and greatest (“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”). And what does Jesus say about love? John 15:10 – “If you keep My commands, you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commands and remain in His love.” So loving God means keeping His commands (obedience).
    And what should we follow? The two commands above, the ten commandments and also avoid unwholesome talk, cursing, sexual sins, sins against your body and against others.

    Oh, pssh. All believers are sinners. None of us, including the woman, are going to “Sin no more.” Jesus had to be aware of that, yes? Pretending otherwise is silly. None of us measure up. Isn’t that the point? I mean, honestly, do you think that you have avoided “unwholesome talk, cursing, sins against others,” etc? I’m going to guess not. And to be honest, I’m going to guess that there are areas that you don’t even try to live up to what the Bible says, and you think that’s fine (examples: Luke 3:11 John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.”; Matthew 5:42 “Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you”). My guess is there are places that you don’t live up and make excuses for not living up (after all, you are human), which I’m okay with. But if you do that, then you have to accept it in others. You have to accept that other people are a work in progress, too. Don’t be expecting that they live by all your interpretation of Biblical standards while you don’t.

    And if we’re talking about love, if the only way we can love God is by keeping His commandments, then (once again) none of us love him because none of us keep them all. So clearly that couldn’t possibly be what He meant.

    I myself prefer:
    Matthew 9:13 “But go and learn what this means: ‘I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT SACRIFICE,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

    Jesus didn’t go to and eat with those who kept God’s commandments. He didn’t demand that they repent before he came to them. Instead, he went to the sinners, not the righteous. He desired compassion, not sacrifice.

  • Sarah Cochran

    One of the questions might have been – Do you have an American flag in the front of your church, visible during worship?

  • Carl Friesen

    “We should as Believers work more on our love for God and act according to that love in our actions, our political stance and our voting, because God did give us this country and these laws that allowed us to do that.”

    I think this comment perfectly illustrates the point the Author of this article was trying to make about christianity being Americanized. I could almost agree with you if the above sentence ended before the word “because”.
    Since there is no State Religion, we cannot say they that God gave us this country and these laws. This statement is more true of Old Testament Judaism than Modern Christianity.

  • Robert Karma
  • RonnyTX

    Amen! :-)

  • RonnyTX

    Nope,he’s still in his grave and there’s no Jesus Christ created hell of eternal torment,for him or anyone else to go to. :-)

  • RonnyTX

    You’re right. And I never got anyone in various Christian groups to even reply,much less answer this question of mine. That is,as a Christian,a believer in and follower of Jesus Christ,how am I go to war with my enemies,do my best to kill them before they kill me and at one and the same time,love them as Jesus Christ tells me I am to do?

  • RonnyTX

    Which Bible? For there are many translations of such;but as far as I can see,none of them agree on how it all should be translated. But we can see how the living Word of God,Jesus Christ is translated and that in one word. And that Word is love. So then,God/Jesus Christ is love and to be a believer in and follower of Jesus Christ,then as best we can see how, we are simply to love all people. We are to love them and treat them,as we see Jesus Christ treating people. And to put it quite simply,that is with love. And yes,that is with tough love at times too. Like when he came down so hard and heavy on the religious folks of his day. The ones who thought they were better than,all those horrible sinners out there.

  • Eris, elder daughter of Nyx

    I’ve often wondered if the Bible has become the Golden Calf of the modern age. If, rather than sticking to the spirit of Jesus’s commandments (the Great Commandment, Love our enemies, etc), we’ve become Pharisees, clutching at the letter and forgetting what is important.

    Matthew 2:23 One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. 24 The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”

    25 He answered, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? 26 In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.”

    27 Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

    And remember, breaking the Sabbath was no small matter back in those days; it was one of those things that could get you stoned to death.

  • louismoreaugottschalk

    IMO if one is sharing oneself,
    that is, one’s innermost identy of
    who one is in Christ, that the Holy Spirit has transformed,
    it’s then that Holy Spirit is present in all one’s relationships.
    empathy is expressed and manifested in the relationship
    w another human being when one would do for the other
    just as one would wish to be done by if one was suffering their circumstance.
    IMO there is no one-size-fits-all response.
    all depends on the moment when one intuitively feels called personally to engage.
    to do a specific work for specific person in front of one
    is dependent upon whom the Lord puts
    in front of one
    and one knows intuitively they are there by divine appointment.
    when one has received an assignment from the Holy Spirit: that is a very great moment!
    the most joy I have ever felt is the willingness that God has given me to have a relationship with another human being who needs
    encouragement and resources from the Holy Spirit through my hands and heart.

  • louismoreaugottschalk

    yes! I think that provides a frame for one’s reality.

  • Herm

    Thank you for taking your time to explain your logic that “hate sin and love people” is in any way an idea of the Bible. I ask that you take the study I am presenting to you understanding that I am not the teacher but am a fellow student. I ask, also, that you ask the Spirit of Truth to guide you through this. This is most important to understanding the Americanization of Christianity as a distinct separation from the once carnal children of Man and now the children of God as presented in the New Testament Bible. As you study do not fear for the wrath of God was demonstrated best by His Son on the cross for us, first for the Jews and then for us descendants of gentiles who did not have the Holy Spirit in their Holy of Holies. Now all of Man’s receptive hearts and minds are the Holy of Holies of our God’s temple.

    I begin with “hate” and will move to “love” and then to “sin”.

    “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26

    “hate” as written here is from a primary misos (hatred); to detest (especially to persecute); by extension to love less :- hate (-ful).

    “He answered, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”” Luke 10:27

    “love” as written here is perhaps from agan (much) [or compare (`agab)]; to love (in a social or moral sense) :- (be-) love (-ed). Compare (phileo).

    “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” Matthew 5:43-45

    … again “love” as written here is perhaps from agan (much) [or compare (`agab)]; to love (in a social or moral sense) :- (be-) love (-ed). Compare (phileo).

    “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Matthew 12:30-31

    “sin” as written here is from (hamartano); sin (properly abstract) :- offence, sin (-ful).

    “blasphemy” as written here is from (blasphemos); vilification (especially against God) :- blasphemy, evil speaking, railing.

    For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

    Matthew 6:14-15 (NIV2011)

    “sin” as written here is from (parapipto); a side-slip (lapse or deviation), i.e. (unintentional) error or (willful) transgression :- fall, fault, offence, sin, trespass.

    ——- All definitions taken from Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary. ——

    “After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith.” Acts 15:7-9

    “No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.” Romans 2:29

    “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” Matthew 3:11

    “The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” John 1:9-13

    “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.” John 16:12-15

    “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.” Acts 4:31-32

    “Peter said to her, “How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.”” Acts 5:9

    “Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.” Matthew 12:32

    “But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.” Romans 2:8

    If your heart and mind is actually filled with the Holy Spirit can you offend or trespass against God, or your fellow Christians now of one heart and one mind, when you know to test that Spirit you will die then, according to scripture? If we must hate people close to us, yes even ourselves, to be students of Christ how can you say our Rabbi doesn’t hate the same spirit which is those people? To be reborn into the family of God as God’s children we must be filled with the Holy Spirit and the spirit of self-seeking rejecters of truth following the path of destruction must be totally rejected for there is no room in our hearts and minds. Ananias and Sapphira maintained space for their personal self-seeking. To God we are no more than spirit which are They, Father and Son and the rest of God’s children filled with the very same Spirit as are They. Attempting to separate a hated spirit from a person is impossible for the Architect made mankind in Their image. God’s image is eternally spiritual, not carnal.

    I apologize for the length of this response to you but it is incomplete. I would highly suggest you do a concordance search for every time the word “spirit” and “Spirit” are used in the Bible. I will leave you with this:

    “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” Romans 8:14-17

    Love you and pray you can now see why it is impossible to hate the sin and love the sinner.

  • Guy Norred

    Well I certainly think it is often an idol. I also found it interestingly considered the third member of the Trinity instead of the Holy Spirit which I think is a very apt description of how it is often treated.

  • Mark

    You might want to look at Romans 13 about God’s role in any government. For God established them all, and Believers are subject to their authority. Thus God did establish this country and the laws that those who have authority over us make.

  • oregondarlene

    Well said.

  • Little Sir

    To be fair, though, Captain America does stand on the side of good even when it goes against the American government’s interests (Civil War, for instance).

    Sorry. Got my comic book geek on there.

  • Mark

    “If people didn’t like the high rates the money changers were charging, why didn’t the people just go somewhere else? After all, those money changers should have had the freedom to run their businesses the way they wanted to, yes?”

    No they couldn’t and no they wouldn’t. The Pharisees were controlling what kind of money you could use and where you could get it (only at Temple money changers). Thus, more of a monopoly than capitalism.

    I said, “meaning He expected her to repent and work on not having adulterous relationships”
    Notice I didn’t say, “repent and don’t have adulterous relationships”, because I know that for the Believer, forgiveness and repentance in our own life is a continual, lifetime battle.
    You are right that Jesus desired compassion and not sacrifice. But He also commanded us to love God by our obedience to Him (John 14, 15).

  • PlatypusPond

    There are three ways of reducing abortion that have been shown to work in country after country after country, and one that’s been very ineffective in country after country after country. The effective ones are 1) Proper sex education, 2) Easy access to contracetives and 3) Help for the poorest families, so that an extra kid doesn’t mean that the older ones go hungry. Most right wing Christians oppose all three. The really ineffective way to reduce abortion is to make it illegal, because most women don’t have an abortion unless they’re deperate enough to to have an illegal one if necessary. Most right wing Christians are all for it, although it kills a lot of women, so “pro life” seems like a very strange name to me.

  • Little Sir

    Yes, a lot of black people are Evangelicals. It doesn’t change the fact that a lot of Evangelical churches historically weren’t kind to black people – see: The KKK’s relationship with their local churches. The generalization isn’t that vast when it was exceptionally common right up through the Civil Rights era.

  • Little Sir

    That’s because it is. Ironically, because of the First Amendment, it’s also not even remotely close to being Constitutional either – the Constitution is designed to be pretty darned secular. It’s very confusing to hear people make this argument, because it doesn’t make much sense.

  • Little Sir

    Actually, Americans AGREE to be taxed. It’s written into our laws. That’s a thing we do. So.

    I mean, if you don’t like that, you can find a country that doesn’t participate in taxation to run its government, and best of luck to you.

  • Little Sir

    I’m still trying to figure out where Matt said to take everything from anyone. He said to redistribute the wealth…do you think that means taking everything from the rich so they’re poor and giving it to the poor so they’re rich? Because that’s not how reading comprehension works.

  • Stacey (the kids’ Aunt Tasty)

    My tiny opinion: IT IS THE GOLDEN CALF. Oy.

  • Little Sir

    “I’m a Jewish atheist”

    Explain this please. You’re not the first to say this. Culturally Jewish and spiritually atheist, or does this mean something else?

  • Stacey (the kids’ Aunt Tasty)

    The minute we clear out those planks in our eyes, we should definitely go for the sawdust in the eyes of other. The very first second we’ve got ourselves under control, for sure!

  • Little Sir

    Except that all those donations do is knock a couple of bucks off their taxes for the year. They’re at his throat, likely flipping out (I’ve been in a similar position), because they aren’t getting this NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW, and it strongly implies the only reason they donated in the first place was for the tax breaks.

  • Stacey (the kids’ Aunt Tasty)

    Are you SURE about that Beast thing???

    [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJuhNpWMfdE] ;-)

  • Little Sir

    Yeah, there was nothing vague about what he was saying. He’s not talking about the Church, either – in fact, that was his whole point, that an awful lot of people claiming to be members of the Church are actually exhibiting the behaviors above. He’s differentiating between actual Christians and the ones who show up to Church on Sunday, get in their hour, and then go back to being a self-righteous d-bag – in other words, the hypocrites, of which there are MANY these days.

  • Alexander Wright

    Haven’t you contradicted yourself? ‘All’ the donations are worth is a ‘couple of bucks’ off their taxes, but this measly pittance, far less than the amount they gave, was the only reason they gave anything (as opposed to the 95% of other people who gave even less)? I have to say that your hypothesis seems unlikely.

  • Little Sir

    Then you’re clearly unfamiliar with wealthy white “Christians” who use their “piety” as a means to show off how “pious” they are to their neighbors while using their donations to benefit from tax breaks.

    You also apparently missed the part where they’re going ballistic over it. You don’t go ballistic over a donation report – one that needs to be accurate TO THE PENNY, THANK YOU VERY MUCH, I’VE BEEN PAYING ATTENTION TO WHAT I’VE BEEN GIVING YOU – if you’re actually donating for the good of others. The point being made here is that they’re donating for the wrong reasons. Sorry that went over your head?

  • Eris, elder daughter of Nyx

    No they couldn’t and no they wouldn’t. The Pharisees were controlling what kind of money you could use and where you could get it (only at Temple money changers). Thus, more of a monopoly than capitalism.

    Sorry that I wasn’t clearer: I was actually taking a swipe at unrestrained capitalism, which inevitably turns into a monopoly. I’m sure they couldn’t go elsewhere; that’s the point. It’s why people need protections in any capitalistic system, protections that probably hadn’t developed very strongly yet and that those money changers surely weren’t obeying.

    I said, “meaning He expected her to repent and work on not having adulterous relationships”Notice I didn’t say, “repent and don’t have adulterous relationships”, because I know that for the Believer, forgiveness and repentance in our own life is a continual, lifetime battle.

    Yeah, I don’t see that as what happened at all. But I’ve already explained what I think happened, so unless you want me to do it again, I’ll refrain.

    You are right that Jesus desired compassion and not sacrifice. But He also commanded us to love God by our obedience to Him (John 14, 15).

    Which kind of undercuts your point that he was specifically speaking to adultery and supports my interpretation that he was speaking broadly; he could very well have been saying, “I don’t judge you in regard to this specific sin; go and love/obey God broadly.” He didn’t have to be speaking about adultery at all.

  • Herm

    Thank you Robert for caring to share Professor Sheehan with us. He and I agree that all testament to God is tainted with human bias and ignorance. As we agree so is his, mine and yours. Jesus could care less how He might be represented but to ignore the present day testable message throughout the Gospels and New Testament regarding the Holy Spirit is unforgivable.

    It is misleading to imply a longer period of time than it was for the assumed timing for writing of Paul’s epistles and the writing of the Gospels. Paul’s letters began 17 years (using professor Sheehan’s timeline) and culminated 22 years after the death of Jesus. The Gospels (same timeline) were only 37 to 52 years after by two authors who claim to have known Jesus on Earth and one of those claiming to have continued a communicative relationship unto the end of his writing down and sharing with seven churches his living revelations then. And in between is the resulting chronices of a very diligent researcher, still having witnesses alive having had personal involvement with Jesus to testify, Dr. Luke.

    Hindsight is not 20/20. In the past seventy years I have seen history that I personally lived revised to fit the message to the author’s or patron’s needs hundreds of times. Thomas Sheehan is no different and substantiates his works through writings of his choice over a span of thousands of years.

    This I share with you as you seem too care to know the truth though seeming to have easily accepted the Thomas gospel over the Matthew, Mark, Luke and John gospels.

    God is real. God is spiritual. Spiritual is the only reality of life that has no beginning and has no end. We, as one living body of mankind, is in the image of the one living body of God. We have choice and responsibility to that choice. We each have an immature spirit in God’s image that is yet incapable of working outside the protective womb of the carnal. When our carnal shell dies we can no longer communicate or be communicated with. We are dead to any ability to choose or be responsible. We know nothing.

    We were not left orphans by Jesus who said we, too, could each be spiritual children of God like Him and even still function even more productively as carnal children of Man.

    My source? The Spirit of God I have been born into. The very same once in the Holy of Holies and had alighted on Jesus at His baptism administered by John the Baptist.

    It is not where or what Jesus is that is of most importance. It is not any obsession on carnality or self serving wealth that is of any value. It is asking, seeking and knocking directly with God that is of most importance to each of us. To do so requires the humility to admit for certain that we are each totally incapable of understanding any of Heaven, Hell and all too ignorant of the little bitty world we live in to be in control of anything to guarantee its survival.

    Right now, the world is in control even in all its chaos from the free choice influences of mankind. Right now there is a kingdom being administrated and each of us has the ability to accept its rule. The Holy Spirit can make this known as truth to your spiritual heart and mind if you choose. It is the best I can do by testifying this is so in my life as did the chroniclers of the Gospels tainted only by their inabilities to understand the reality of spiritual, carnal, Heaven, Hell and our Earth.

    It is important, also, to interject as I end that though each document in the New Testament was written in close proximity to the timeline of Professor Sheehan the most influential period dictating Christianity today was under Constantine’s sponsorship when the New Testament was compiled.

    Thank you Robert for your time. You are loved.

    “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” John 3:8

  • Alexander Wright

    I guess I am unfamiliar with those wealthy white Christians, then. I’m also unfamiliar with the mathematics or tax structure that would allow someone to “benefit” from charitable giving tax breaks.

    I mean, if I make a hundred thousand dollars, and give ten thousand of it to the church, the end result is that I have to pay taxes on only ninety thousand of it. But that’s correct, right? I haven’t actually spent the ten thousand I gave to church. I’d have more money if I hadn’t given the ten thousand to the church, and paid taxes on it.

  • Alexander Wright

    To your second paragraph, well, I certainly agree that if these people were fully mature and spiritually perfect Christians, they wouldn’t get angry about it. But I know how I would feel if my own church told me “Yeah, uh, we know you gave that money to us, but we simply didn’t bother to keep track of it. Would you mind terribly if you also paid taxes on it because we didn’t want to obey the law?”

    I wouldn’t be thrilled. Not because I’d given that money out of ‘expectation of a tax benefit’ or whatever – that’s impossible, charitable giving is a deduction, not a benefit – but because the church had utterly failed in its stewardship.

  • Joe

    You have to look at the cultural context. In the context of first century Judaism it was known by all that sex outside of marriage is immoral. Thus, there was no need to make such a point.

    You’d have to demonstrate that the same was true for military service. Since you have failed to do so, my argument stands.

  • Joe

    It comes down to how enemy is defined. Just as there are shades of meaning in the Greek for the word love there are also shades of meaning for the word enemy.

    Let me demonstrate how your argument leads to contradiction if Jesus really was teaching strict pacifism.

    Jesus commands to love your neighbor and your enemies.

    Suppose a man witnesses his neighbor being violently assaulted and robbed. He is compelled by the teaching of Jesus to love his neighbor and come to his aid. Yet, if your interpretation is correct, he is also compelled by Jesus to love his enemies and do nothing. No matter what he does, he violates Jesus’ teachings.

  • Um, no. Please demonstrate that, for Jews in Samaria, everyone already believed sex outside of marriage was immoral. Especially since there are no commandments about it in the Torah.

    Your “argument” is an argument from silence. The Bible doesn’t mention my elbow, therefore my elbow does not exist. Jesus never told centurions to leave the military (if that were even an option for them), therefore being a Roman soldier must have been cool with him.

  • Susan P.

    That’s sort of my point. It’s not in the bible. Why should we emulate the early church as though they were somehow not affected by their culture as we are by ours. I’m sure that much of what Jesus said was as counter cultural for their culture as it is for ours. The Galatians were falling away from the reality of the grace of the gospel within just a few years of their salvation, as an example; that is why Paul wrote the book of Galatians to them, to get them back on track. I think it is important for people from all cultures and all times to refer back only to the bible for prescriptives.

  • Susan P.

    It is truly a conundrum. . . when people asked Jesus “what then shall we do?” in response to Jesus’ rebuke in Luke 3, he said

    “And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.” Tax collectors also came to be baptized and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Collect no more than you are authorized to do.” Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.”

    Notably, he did not say to soldiers that they should leave their positions.

    And yet he did say that his disciples should love their enemies. It’s a curious thing. He was directly asked by soldiers what to do and he told them not to cheat or complain, but NOT not to be a soldier.

  • Joe

    All laws are man-made. If we do as you suggest then we should all break laws with which we disagree. The facts are that illegal immigration has a significant negative and deadly impact on the American people.

    Illegal immigrants cost taxpayers $100 billion dollars annually. Which means that illegals are stealing your money and my money.

    Illegal immigration drives down the wages of the working poor.

    A GAO report stated that illegals have committed 70,000 sexual assaults and rapes and 25,000 murders.

    The virus that you’ve probably been reading about that has been paralyzing children across the country was brought in by illegals.

    In your version of loving your illegal alien neighbor, you show contempt for the law and hate for your neighbor who is a citizen. Compassion for the illegal is cruelty to the citizen.

    Talk to the family of the Kathryn Steinle. She was murdered by an illegal immigrant. Talk to the 25,000 other families and see what they think of your version of love.

  • Of course, there was no Bible when Jesus and Paul were doing their work, nor was there one for quite some time afterward. The early church moved forward on letters, apostolic teaching being passed around, traditions conveyed from person to person, and the activity of the Holy Spirit.

    They saw their view of the military as an outworking of their new life in Jesus and new membership in his kingdom. These are decisions the church has to make throughout her history.

    Should Chinese churches register with the government, knowing that it will incur greater scrutiny and perhaps even regulation as to what they can and cannot say? Should they register and speak against their own government, anyway? Should they stay underground? The Bible does not directly tell us what to do in that situation. The church has to decide the course of action they think is most consistent with being conformed to the image of Jesus in their society facing their eschatological crises.

    Now, you and your church may decide that the Bible is indifferent to military service, but the early church did not feel that way and they did so on the basis of their new faith.

  • Eris, elder daughter of Nyx

    In the context of first century Judaism, it was known by all that sex outside of marriage was punishable by stoning to death. Jesus turned everything on it’s head when he threw that out the window. Instead, he set a new precedent: judge not. He could have set any standard he wanted, but he set “judge not” as the standard. Even he, the Son of God, said, “Then neither do I judge you.” He, who was without sin, chose not to judge her. He changed everything.

  • Obscurely

    YES, as a pastor that’s something that irks me, but it’s not a hill worthy dying on with the veterans and patriots in our fellowship — but at least I moved Old Glory away from her place of honor and authority behind my pulpit …

  • Joe

    The authors of the New Testament believed it to be the case and so did the audience to whom they wrote and that is all that matters. It doesn’t matter what the Jews in Samaria believed (though I think it is obvious that practicing Jews were prohibited from sex outside of marriage) because they were not the audience to whom the Gospels were written. The apostolic teaching represented in the NT clearly states that sex outside of marriage (i.e. sexual immorality) is prohibited, therefore; there would be no need to expound the story.

    Plus, an argument from silence or absence can be a powerful argument if you would expect to have evidence for a specific claim, given other certain facts, but do not find such evidence.

  • Robert Karma

    Herm, thank you for your kind reply. There is no evidence for any of the supernatural assertions made by the New Testament, the Old Testament, the Qu’ran, the Upanishads, Dianetics, the Book for Mormon, etc., other than the anecdotal stories of belief that these claims are true by those who follow those religions.

    We know that there was no authors named Matthew, Mark, Luke or John as they are pseudonymous writings like the rest of the NT except for a few letters by Paul. I had to take classes as an undergrad and as a graduate student to learn about the History of Christianity. I am not able to communicate my knowledge to you in a post. I can point you in the right direction to current scholarship on the Bible and Christianity but you’ll have to explore and read to discover the history for yourself. I have no interest in converting you from your faith. My intent was to point out what we know from history versus faith-based claims made over the centuries for Christianity. If you are serious about learning the Historians’ perspective, then read the excellent article, “Why Scholars Doubt the Traditional Authors of the Gospels” at https://adversusapologetica.wordpress.com/2013/12/17/why-scholars-doubt-the-traditional-authors-of-the-gospels/.

    I would ask you to consider why you believe the supernatural claims of the Bible but not any of the plethora of Holy Texts written throughout history. Why do you not accept the faith-based claims for Zeus, Ra, Zoroaster, Mithra, Anubis, Sol Invictus, etc.? What would your current faith be if you had been born in Saudi Arabia, China, Tibet, Uganda, Indonesia, etc., versus the United States? Just some questions to ponder over the coming weekend. Live Long and Prosper!

  • That makes no sense. The Bible didn’t drop out of the sky. If the encounter between Jesus and woman at the well happened, on what basis would Jesus assume that the woman knew she shouldn’t be doing that and would stop, AND on what basis would you know that’s why Jesus didn’t say anything?

    Now, if you’re suggesting that the story is a fabrication by a New Testament author who made it up to make a point, then your argument works, but I didn’t get that vibe from you. Let me know.

  • Alex Adkins

    5. Christians should reject the idea that govt can tax them into tithing obedience. Not tithing is simply sin. It has no relation to taxation, govt redistribution schemes or anything else. It doesnt matter how much you support welfare programs as a political policy, if you dont voluntarily and cheerfully give, then you are sinning. If you vote to use force to take money from someone and give to someone else because you think they need to be forced into obedience also, you have completely missed the point of the tithe anyway.

  • otrotierra

    I think I’ll stick to what Jesus taught.

  • You are correct– it does depend on how enemy is defined, most especially in the Greek and in the historical context. Thankfully, I’ve already done that, here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/formerlyfundie/who-jesus-talked-about-when-he-talked-about-enemies/

    And your hypothetical is incorrect. I have stood between one who was was being assaulted violently, and one who was doing the assaulting, and never once in all those times have I been forced to violate Jesus’s teaching. Jesus never said to “do nothing” he just said “do not respond to an evildoer with violence in kind.” That’s not do-nothingism. When my wife and daughter faced the end of a weapon many, many times, I never “did nothing”– because I loved them. I also loved my own child, who happened to have chronic, homicidal behavior, which meant I wasn’t going to kill her, because love doesn’t kill. Thus, love forced me to find a “third way.” But, it involves creativity and the willingness to die.

    But also just a quick clarification: this isn’t my interpretation. It’s the interpretation that every Christian leader held for the first three centuries of Christianity and I’m just continuing that tradition.

  • RonnyTX

    Alex,how can not tithing be a sin in the church age,when there is nowhere in the New Testament,where we’re told we are to tithe?

  • Joe

    What I am saying is that the Gospels and NT, though inspired by God, were written by human authors with a specific purpose in mind and directed to a specific audience. And the inclusion and exclusion of certain actions and saying of Jesus served the purpose the author had in conveying his message and reaching his audience. Not every thing Jesus said and did was recorded by any of the Gospels (John 21:25).

    For example, Matthew audience is clearly Jewish. Mark and Luke wrote to a Roman audience. John’s audience is probably more Jewish than Roman.

    So if the audience already believed that adultery or promiscuity is wrong then there was no need for the author to include anything Jesus might have said to her regarding the immorality of her actions.

    Contrary to that, military service was not considered immoral by Greek, Roman and Jewish culture therefore, it would have been necessary for the Gospel and NT writers to directly correct their thinking by communicating the immorality of military service by including something about it in their writings. Since no such prohibition exists, it is at least logically consistent to think that they did not consider military service a problem.

    My point boils down to this: The Gospel of Christ was so counter-cultural and revolutionary to the 1st century mind that it demanded a change in the way people thought and behaved. People had to be taught this new way.

    The NT explicitly condemns actions that the Roman people at the time thought were normal wholesome behaviors, like sexual pagan worship ceremonies, homosexual behavior, etc. Since the NT goes to such great lengths to specifically name and condemn culturally acceptable practices that are in reality immoral then why isn’t military service explicitly mentioned on the list of the condemned practices? How would these new Christians know that the culturally accepted practice of military service was in fact immoral? They would need to be told. Yet we have no record of any such command. I would expect such a prohibition to be specifically mentioned because it would have been so counter-intuitive to the people at the time.

  • RonnyTX

    Scott:
    Too many pastors and preachers have never studied at seminary and instead feel they can interpret by themselves without ever understanding the context or languages used.

    Ronny to Scott:
    Scott,I have to wonder how much studying is done in seminaries and how much is just denominational teachings passed down from one generation to the next? And the trouble is,a good many denominational teachings are simply wrong and not of/from Jesus Christ.

  • RonnyTX

    No Joe,my love for my two neighbors who happen to be here illegally,is not hate for my neighbor(s) who were born here. For I love both.

    And yes,I say the Christian should break man made laws, that instruct us to do different,from what Jesus Christ modeled for us and teaches us to do. So,I simply love both my neighbors who are here legally and those who aren’t. And the two I speak of personally,who aren’t,they work hard to support their kids. And since their kids were born here, they are legal US citizens. Now why would I want to turn their parents into the law,have them deported and in that way, be the cause of a family being broke apart?

    And thinking of some of my ancestors and some other peoples as well,that came here from Europe. I could easily say they came here illegally. And way too many stole land from the Native American Indians. And when the Indians fought back,they killed as many of them as they could. Now I don’t see anything of Jesus Christ in that;but what I do see,is thievery and murder. Well,I can sort of look at all sides,since I’m part white,Native American Indian and black. And what some did to others,simply was wrong and not of Jesus Christ. And so much was done,that was the very opposite of Christian.

  • crockett66

    My point is regarding this guys blog is that if he’s making a list about Christianity being Americanized, why stop at 10? I mean if he thinks he knows so much, then add to the list.

  • Eris, elder daughter of Nyx

    Probably because he didn’t want to go on forever.

  • Eris, elder daughter of Nyx
  • Joe

    I read the link you posted and I looked up the Greek on my own as well. The argument you present is powerful but I think that there is at least one priviso to it. I am not convinced that Jesus’ command is meant to be applied to governing authorities like the military or police. I think Romans 13:1-4 clearly indicates this.

    I also think history teaches us this as well. When I look at history I see how violence initiated by governments has saved civilization time and time again. It was the Maccabean violent revolt that repelled Antiochus Epiphanies, saved the Jewish people and set the state for Christ’s first coming. It was the Christian defense of Europe that kept all of Christendom from falling to Islam. It is the threat of violence that keeps Islam from taking over the world now. It was violence that stopped Hitler and saved the Jews from extinction. The just use of violence is what keeps the innocent safe from criminals.

    I can’t see Jesus teaching the opposite of what common sense clearly indicates; there is a just use of violence.

    I’m interested in learning more about what the early church fathers wrote and believed concerning this issue. I’ve read the first century fathers from Clement of Rome through Irenaeus and I don’t recall any of them addressing this issue.

    Can you provide me with the references of which church leaders wrote about this? I have all the writing of the early church fathers up to the 4th century so I just need to know who wrote what and in what chapter of which book/letter they wrote it in. That would be much appreciated.

  • Joe

    If you think that Christians should break manmade laws then you are disobeying God (see Romans 13:1-5, 1 Peter 13-14, Matthew 22:20-21).

    If it was wrong for the Europeans to come to America and dispossess the Indians of their land then isn’t it also wrong for illegal immigrants to come to American and dispossess the American people of their culture, money and safety?

  • Obscurely

    Actually, based on Jesus’ praise for the widow who gave the only two mites she had, we could infer that we should all give until it hurts? … although I would add the caveat that donations to secular charities could also be included in calculating the tithe …

  • Obscurely

    To privilege the “citizen” over other legitimately human beings is un-Biblical and un-Christian — we could add that bias to Ben’s list?

  • Obscurely

    There are also no biblical commands against abusing drugs or molesting children, but we can use our “God given” reason to figure out those are sins too …

  • Obscurely

    So you reject Augustine’s ‘just war’ theory that prevails in much of the church? … C.S. Lewis also embraced it in reference to Nazi Germany …

  • Obscurely

    Jesus never told anybody to release their slaves either — does that mean he condones slavery? … not stirring the pot here, just wondering out loud …

  • Obscurely

    Jesus never told anybody to release their slaves either — does that mean he condones slavery? … not stirring the pot here, just thinking out loud …

  • Obscurely

    Maybe since most if not all first century Jews considered Roman soldiers to be agents of evil, the same assumption holds?

  • Christopher Moore

    If I were an adulterous man but poor would that mean that I am in adultery because of my riches? Money or riches is not the root of all evil in all situations. I believe the interpretation of the verse does not account for that and that is why people latch on to the love of money and all kinds of evil. The later is more a truth.

  • If I were to take off my Christian hat, Just War theory would be a good set of principles that if followed, would make war rare. For example, the wars we’ve fought in my lifetime wouldn’t have happened, because none of them meet Augustine’s requirements.

    However, Augustine was specifically referring to the government in that theory, and the government can do whatever the government wants to do. When it came to the individual Christian using violence, Augustine rejected it on the grounds that it was inconsistent with following Jesus. He wrote that if personally attacked, one had a moral obligation to turn the other cheek and love their enemy. In regards to defending someone who was being attacked, he conceded that a Christian could do so but only if they did not kill the attacker (thus, Augustine would be anti-gun and in favor of non-lethal means).

  • Obscurely

    I don’t doubt your knowledge of Augustine’s corpus, I’m just surprised that so many theologians and Christian scholars holding the ‘just war’ view don’t understand that he wasn’t talking about Christians!

  • Obscurely

    But since the police must sometimes use lethal force, are Christian constables disobeying Jesus too? (thinking out loud again)

  • The Patristics answered yes to that- they forbade even serving as a magistrate since doing so would require them to condemn some to death which was something they found utterly incompatible with being a Christian. Augustine’s era and post-Constantine in general, marks a shift in these views where justification of violence was ultimately adopted. This largely stems from the fact that Christians after AD302 got a taste of power, and had to revise Christian theology to justify holding onto that power.

  • James Matthew

    The apostles continue to attend Temple rites proving it remained Holy in the eyes of YHWH.

    To prove himself to Jesus’ brother and the other apostles who personally met Jesus, Paul joins Christian disciples who are making a Nazarite vow ( as laid out in Numbers 6:1–21) which includes several offerings at the Temple. The apostles not only are associating with people who hold the Temple is sacred and its rites holy, but they demand in the name of the Church that Paul prove himself loyal to the Church by doing so as well. Which he does.

    Your claim that it became valueless is at odds with the Apostles themselves who knew Jesus and what he had done for them.

    If Paul thought it went against the truth of Jesus he would not have submitted to them – Just as he does not submit to the idea that converts must be circumcised or keep Kosher. Paul’s actions do not support your position that the Temple and its rites no longer had value.

  • Obscurely

    If only John Calvin had followed the Patristics counsel and spared his friend Servetus …

  • Obscurely

    Just to be clear, you’re saying then that Christians should not serve in the police or judiciary?

  • I’m saying that this was the universal position of the early Christians, up until sometime around AD 302. My personal opinion is that I don’t see how a Christian could serve in a occupation that would require killing people and still be faithful to Christ’s commands to love enemies and to refrain from responding violently.

  • Mike Blackadder

    I can agree with that point.

  • RonnyTX

    I like that. :-) Because yes,the poor widow gave all she had. So that’s 100%. Then when John the Baptist did some preaching,he said such things as,if you have two coats, etc,give one to someone who has none. So that’s a 50% tithe. But I’ve never heard any preacher or layman say,that we should give like that. No,I think what a lot of preachers want,is just plenty to pay for fancy church buildings,their salaries and programs they want. So you have the preacher and a few higher up in the local church and they have to have so much cash,to get what they want. Hence,some preachers preach a lot on tithing.

    Now this part is just a part that sometimes bugs me. :-) But when I see a church building,where the main part is way too high and I wonder,how could people be so foolish? What I mean is,don’t they get how much extra it costs,to heat and cool that wasted space?! Stuff like that just bugs me,when I think about how wasted money like that,could actually be going to help people who are in need. But it seems that to far to many,a fancy church building,comes ahead of things like that.

  • I don’t understand your example.

  • Exactly.

    I’d even take it a step further and say that the basis of New Testament ethics (according to the New Testament) is Christ working through the Holy Spirit in the community as opposed to a list of regulations.

  • Why isn’t registering at the guilds condemned? Why isn’t the Roman occupation of Israel condemned? Why doesn’t Jesus say to the centurion, “Now get your troops out of Jerusalem!”

    Why isn’t the arrest, trial, or crucifixion of Christ condemned? Why isn’t the release of Barrabas condemned?

    I think you’re making a rather lot of assumptions.

  • That’s how I see it. The Old Covenant law was to give 10%. The New Covenant law is to give sacrificially.

  • Scott Lane

    Ronny, it’s really dependant on the seminary one attends. I agree many of the ones now days are really run from a biased point of view but they still run the gamut of absolutely biased as in Liberty University to a predominately academic Yale Divinity School.

    I know my father attended Golden Gate Baptist Seminary first and found them too liberal for his taste and then moved to Criswell and finally Southwestern for his post graduate work.

    I know he biasly chose what fit his perspective, but in the process, he was taught and in turn I was taught how to research for original intent and context.

    Yes, he is still what I would consider biased but knowing what pistos and other Koine or Hebrew words meant, really changes the perspective from what most uneducated / interpret it by the seat of your pants Holy Spirit feeling pastors come up with.

    I will admit that he still holds to his “Trail of Blood” Southern Baptist pedigree as if no one really questioned it’s claims. It was one of the Criswell denominational spins.

  • kaydenpat

    The confederate flag is offensive to many people, so I don’t get why you put the word offensive in quotes. If you support the confederate flag then you need to leave this country. That flag represents treason since its creators were fighting against and trying to leave the United States of America.

    Give me a break!!!!!

  • kaydenpat

    It’s his blog. He can write whatever he likes.

  • kaydenpat

    President Obama has issued less Executive Order than Bush or Reagan and much less than many presidents.

    http://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/every-presidents-executive-actions-in-one-chart/

    To say that President Obama who was elected twice is a king is ridiculous. You Rightwingers always say silly things which are patently untrue.

    Have you heard of the Commandment against bearing false witness?

  • kaydenpat

    No they’re not the same. President Obama was elected twice. Queen Elizabeth wasn’t elected. Even a child could tell the difference between them.

    I grew up in Canada. That country doesn’t need any silly people emigrating there. They could tell you the difference between a President and a Queen.

  • And because this is the premise of my next book and I don’t want to give it all away for free…

  • CroneEver

    Interesting article, but limited by a very narrow definition of “Non-violent Resistance”. Dr. Hardiman says the problem with applying that term to anything pre-modernity is that “such protests did not give rise to a politics of non-violence that was rooted in a stated method, theory and vocabulary that served to link up protests from all over India…nor was there a global dialogue on such a strategy.” If that’s what it takes, there wasn’t a politics of ANYTHING prior to the 19th century. And yet there have been a variety of politics [Legalism, Divine Right, and democracy, all leap to mind] prior to the 19th century and without a global dialogue on strategy. I find it a narrow article, with almost no historical/global references to anything but India and Gandhi, (and, for some reason, Marx) but of course, his specialty is Subaltern Studies.

    Sometimes the best way to find examples of nonviolence is to look at the studies that have been done on violence, simply because infinitely more work has been done on war than peace, violence than nonviolence. Steven Pinker’s “The Better Angels of our Nature”, and Karen Armstrong’s “Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence” are helpful in winkling out the existence of nonviolence in pre-modern times. And no example of nonviolence as a continuing historical practice and presence would be complete without a study of the Quakers, the Amish, the Baha’i, Jainism, and most schools of Buddhism.

  • Joe

    It’s racist to say that there is something inherently wrong with a majority white church.

  • Joe

    It’s like throwing your pearls before swine, isn’t it. Most of these posters indicate by their posts that they know nothing of Christ or Christianity.

    They want Christian love without Christian ethics. They want a Christ that never opposes evil. They want sexual liberation and not self-denial or self-control.

    The Bible warns against such people.

  • Love is the Christian ethic. Matthew 22:37-39.

  • crockett66

    *rolls eyes*

  • Joe

    True love warns the evil doers to repent and turn to Christ because the wrath of God will come (Matthew 4:7, Colossians 3:5-6)

    True love exposes evil (Ephesians 5:11)

    True love for Christ crucifies the flesh with its passions (Galatians 5:24)

  • Joe

    That’s a nonsensical statement. By your logic we should let everyone who wants to live here to do so. But doing so would destroy the country and the very reason why people want to come.

    I’m not required to bankrupt my family to help my neighbor. This nation is not required to bankrupt itself by allowing everyone in. That would be cruelty to those who live here.

  • Joe

    #9 is just laughable because it assumes that only one issue can be dealt with at a time.

    I highly doubt the author would scold the homosexuals for wasting some much time and money to redefine marriage when so many people are without clean water and adequate food.

  • Joe

    It means that Jesus apparently wasn’t too concerned about slavery. Even Paul tells slaves to obey their masters even if they are cruel (Ephesians 6:5, Colossians 3:22).

    It seems to me that Jesus and Paul were more concerned with how a person acted in whatever circumstance he finds himself than the circumstance itself.

  • Joe

    It means that Jesus apparently wasn’t too concerned about slavery. Even Paul tells slaves to obey and do right by their masters even if they are cruel (Ephesians 6:5, Colossians 3:22).

    It seems to me that Jesus and Paul were more concerned with how a person acted in whatever circumstance he finds himself than the circumstance itself.

  • Ryan

    This has always been a passion of mine: discovering how we as Americans are able to distort our religion to fit the model for American Culture. It amazes me how willing and able American Christians are to abandon crucial theological points in order to preserve sacred American Culture. All this said I believe the Holy Spirit is at work in the US but there is much work to be done. God Bless

  • Joe

    That’s a home run answer Susan!

  • Damocles_Aurelius

    Are you done looking your nose down at everyone?

  • Damocles_Aurelius

    The self-righteousness oozing out of this article makes the whole thing reek of Pharisaism, even the few (VERY few) parts he got right.

  • Joe

    Actually the states that left the Union had every right to do so.

    The North started the war by refusing to remove Union troops from Fort Sumter in South Carolina which was a state within the newly formed Confederate country. So the Confederacy attacked Fort Sumter to protect their new nation.

    This is reminiscent of the Founding Father’s forming a new country and then fighting the British to kick them out.

    Plus the War of Secession (aka Civil War) was about a lot more than slavery, a lot more. Thus, the symbol of the Confederacy (the flag) is about much, much more than slavery.

    Not taking sides. Just a little history lesson.

  • Joe

    Dr. Bernard Nathanson, former director of the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (now known as the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League – – NARAL). In his classic 1979 book Aborting America, Dr. Nathanson wrote, “How many deaths were we talking about when abortion was illegal? In NARAL, we generally emphasized the frame of the individual case, not the mass statistics, but when we spoke of the latter it was always 5,000 to 10,000 deaths a year. I confess that I knew that the figures were totally false and I suppose that others did too if they stopped to think of it. But in the ‘morality’ of our revolution, it was a useful figure, widely accepted, so why go out of our way to correct it with honest statistics? The overriding concern was to get the laws eliminated, and anything within reason that had to be done was permissible.”

    The real number of women who died from illegal abortions in 1950 was 300 by 1965 is was under 200. This was before Roe v Wade.

  • Corrine Bock Loyola

    Bogus. Go back and read your bible. You missed some things. Your communist ideology is not espoused by the bible, ever.

  • Chad Eric Donley

    Outside of erroneously interpreting Acts 2 and 4 to mean “rejected individual ownership of property in order to redistribute their wealth”; you provide no Scriptures to support any of your argument. I don’t necessarily disagree with all of you points (most of them but not all), but how about a few Scriptures to back up and validate your arguments?

  • thatonedude1010

    I see lots of hit dogs hollering…

  • Since Jesus never said to breathe, I assume you don’t do that, either. :)

  • Not exactly– it’s John the Baptist talking, not Jesus, so she doesn’t even have the cast of characters right. Additionally, the soldiers were required to sacrifice to idols as part of their jobs. By this argumentation, the fact that John didn’t rebuke their idolatry means that God is affirming of idolatry. It’s an argument of John’s silence instead of arguing from what Jesus said.

  • Malinna

    I agree with your list, (even though I can’t say that I live it all), and am (naively) surprised at all the negativity in response. Two things I hope you add in your book–the presence and prominence of the American flag in churches, and more importantly, our need to “protect” ourselves from those around us rather than love them. Hand gun carrying Christians drive me crazy! Let the comments begin…

  • Robert Karma

    This is an interesting dissertation, “Non-violence in the Civil Rights Movement in the United States of America” from a student in Berlin. “Non-violent protesters were able to achieve their objectives through non-violent protest, particularly at the beginning of the movement, like the Montgomery Boycott, the sit-ins and Freedom Rides. Yet the movement stopped short of realizing political objectives like better housing conditions and economic improvement. Non-violent protest ceased to have the same coercing effect that it had earlier in the movement, which was due to the movement’s shift to more complex objectives. The shift towards economic issues, for example, singled out the federal power structure as the opponent. As McAdam writes, activists began to blame the political and economic elite of the country instead of local sheriffs or restaurant owners. This shift of focus posed a greater threat to the federal government than the objectives of the movement in the earlier phase. The Poor People Campaign was directly aimed at the federal government, which did not bend to coercion like southern politicians or businessmen. To Fairclough, the period after 1965 was decisive in the history of SCLC, which lost much of its effectiveness. The movement faced serious obstacles to non-violence after the Voting Rights Act such as Black Power, riots, and the Vietnam War. The escalation of the Vietnam War made it particularly difficult for Americans to endorse non-violent protest in America. The war, particularly anti-war demonstrations, overshadowed African-American protest. It was for these and other reasons that the movement could not maintain the level of influence over public opinion that it had achieved up until the Voting Rights Act. The radicalization of militants had its toll on public opinion as well. When non-violence declined in the movement, White support also started to dwindle. It is possible that non-violent direct action had simply exhausted its possibilities. Rustin wrote in 1965 that the movement should turn political and seek to achieve political change through lobbying politicians and allies. The movement already achieved the passage of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, which provided the basic framework for political change. At that point, many liberals and the federal government believed that civil rights activists had already achieved all of their objectives through non-violence. The success of non-violent protest particularly depends on the political and cultural environment of a conflict. Political repression may obstruct the effectiveness of non-violent protest or nonviolent protesters may simply not have the possibility to apply effective non-violent protest. The main actors of a resistance movement might also discard non-violence as an option. If non-violent principles do not coincide with the cultural or religious beliefs of the protesters; if there are no political channels to influence public opinion or the federal government, which enable non-violent protesters to realize crucial concessions; or if protesters do not have the economic power to launch effective boycotts or stage non-violent protest, non-violence will fail. Although the aforementioned factors contributed to the success of non-violent protest during the civil rights movement from 1955-1968, the absence of one of these factors does not necessarily mean that non-violent protest will fail. Gandhi’s non-violent movement, for example, achieved political gains without relying mainly on arousing British public opinion to sympathize with his movement. The presence of all of these factors in a particular conflict is a rarity. In the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, for example, these factors are missing. The Palestinian resistance organizations have not yet seriously embraced non-violent as a protest strategy and have adopted a militant resistance, like HAMAS. Palestinian violent resistance leaves no room for sympathy on behalf of the international community, let alone Israelis. Palestinian non-violent actions have not also brought about substantial political changes, like staging an effective boycott or causing Israeli or international public opinion to force the Israeli government to stop settlement activities or concede occupied territories, for example.” – http://www.diss.fu-berlin.de/diss/servlets/MCRFileNodeServlet/FUDISS_derivate_000000005337/Non-violence.pdf

  • otrotierra

    No Steward, Jesus not saying anything about breathing does not justify your blatant idolatry.

    No thanks, I’ll stick with what Jesus actually said.

  • Herm

    I so much wanted to respond immediately with why you would think, after all that I’ve written just in this blog, that I have not considered the ghetto I was assigned to by birth as a biasing influence over my perception of reality. I wanted to inundate you by dazzling with over 50 years of study, accreditation, licenses and accomplishments. Instead I have pondered as you assigned me the questions I have long since answered but could not resist a review. Secular academia granted me a minor from my studies of world religions 46 years ago. I have not stopped studying. My major was clinical psychology which has helped to understand even further supernatural claims of all texts that have graced my purview.

    Thank you for speaking down to me for I needed to release some self serving ego that apparently has been festering under the guise of sustaining my self worth. Let’s begin with this direct statement so you might better consider the source. While traveling the world in my 20’s it became obvious that if I had a choice of which ghetto of unique social values and customs I was born into I would today be Japanese residing in and producing from Japan. I would have happily began my spiritual journey as a studied Buddhist.

    I am today, not a Christian for that is a designation assigned by outsiders who do not understand the relationship I have as a student of the personality assigned the moniker, again by outsiders, of Jesus Christ. My horizons have grown from the simplest and most comforting womb of my mother to now functioning and relating as a child learning in an environment with no beginning and no end. The more I learn teaches me how little I know. I try but am not great at reaching back to help my siblings of both Man and God to, also, be able to learn more to comprehend how little they know. My carnal body will shortly wear completely out before I can get much better at nurture but I will use to the best of my limited ability my remaining time trying while learning more. If I have learned nothing more in my formal training and training formally it is that the teacher always learns more than their pupils. If it were any other way I would not hope for an eternal life of growth for my spirit.

    Just as outsiders misrepresent the Spirit of Jesus by assigning names and social formulas so too do literary anthropologists misrepresent all “faith-based claims” from students and teachers of our human past. They weren’t there and the truth of that period cannot be retrieved from the outside. All names assigned to what we read have no significance but the spirit of what has been written does. Is Robert Karma really a male or is she really Roberta and Karma is a pseudonym to hint that (s)he is focused on his/her fate in future existences?

    I was never whether Paul, Matthew, Mark, Luke, James, Mary, Thomas, Seth, Valintinus, Baruch, Justin, Enoch, Moses, David, or any other considered chronicler was right, wrong or that was even their given name that gives credence. Any value from any writing of the past is the spirit each of us can glean to productively apply to our lives in our moment of presence to actively be responsible to our judgments and decisions.

    I love how critics of the Bible first point out that it is highly likely it was reverse engineered. Their proof is derived from a process of reverse engineering. Same with the critics of the Qur’an, Gita, Analects and Tipitaka. In every case critics who dispel or advocates who abuse writings of spiritual study do so from the outside never relating directly with the actual spirit documented.

    I advocate using the Bible as a source of study because within I have found and applied tested truth that works in my life and productively for those I know to love. The Bible is an excellent source to understand the dynamic between the carnal spirit of mankind, who is temporal, and the eternal reality of life progressing through layers of ever learning in relationship not impeded by time dictated by revolving planets, suns and moons, or any of the other dimensions we only need as tools to mature beyond our physicality into full time spirituality. The Bible is not a handbook of dictates. The Bible is an expose of reasoning Man evolving out of self, through physical, to spiritual awareness with influence. It shows in depth the flaws and strengths of each spiritual journey of those who penned an entry, no matter their name. The Christ Jesus never penned an entry.

    From beginning to end of the presently compiled “Christian” Bible it is purely a very honest and not too flattering progress of mankind learning to relate to and accept a Spirit of Truth, love, forgiveness, charity, and humility.

    This is why I needed to know what your source was that enabled you to tell us: “The non-violent, turn the other cheek message of Jesus doesn’t make sense in how people should live in a normal, day to day manner. You’d quickly be exploited and abused if you tried to apply the teachings of Jesus (from his sermons) to your everyday life.” How quickly were we, the USA, exploited by our invasion of Iraq and from our retaliation in Afghanistan? How were the church family who, directly from the teachings of Jesus, forgave Dylann Roof exploited? Just a couple questions to ponder over the next week.

    God bless you and, yes, live long and prosper, even unto an eternity of learning and loving all whom we learn with.

  • And given the myriad beliefs of Christianity before 325 CE – as pointed out by Phil – how do you know what Jesus actually said?

    In the accepted gospels, he exhibits the personality of a war deity.

  • Buhari

    Which parts? You didn’t expatiate.

  • Buhari

    Communist ideology? How so? Where the apostles also communist ideologists? As this blog has shown, many are simply cultural Christians who absolutely have zero intention of living the bible life.

  • Buhari

    You can’t be a pastor if you pander to patriots in your church more than you fear the lord.

  • Herm

    Steward, I cannot agree with your assigning Jesus in any way to a role as a god of war. He was clearly not a king in the example of David or Solomon. The contrast between the God of the Old Testament and the God, Father and Son, of the New Testament is clear that God never was a God of retaliation and/or retribution, no more so than truly and divinely loving parents are to their children who reap their wrath.

    Just one of your mistaken examples was trying to use Matthew 10:34 to justify your position shows you have not digested the whole Bible as a disciple of Jesus.

    “Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” Revelation 19:15-16

  • Buhari

    Ok so I guess Germans can fly the swastika and tell any German Jew who finds it “offensive” to leave Germany right?

  • Herm

    Revisionist history taught differently in every state of the Union.

  • Obscurely

    I appreciate your realism — but as a pastor preaching the Gospel I’m obliged to undermine the “us versus them” mentality wherever I find it, if only to prepare the way for the day when the good of the whole human race will be our focus, and not just one country or class …

  • Obscurely

    Yes, you’ve got it! … it’s the spirit in which we confront our oppression that can change the oppression — that’s what Dr. King taught us with his non-violent movement for civil rights …

  • Obscurely

    I’m guessing the Lord probably wants veterans and patriots in church rather than out of it? … and who knows, maybe I’ll be able to cook that particular frog s-l-o-o-o-w-l-y so it doesn’t jump out of the pan? ;)

  • Herm,

    The entire first chapter of the Gospel of Matthew is about Jesus’ right to the kingship of Israel and Judea, to be ‘the anointed one’ (Hb. Mosiach, Gk. and Lt. Christe, Eng. Christ) in the line of David the King.

    And “never was”? Please. Find some descendants who survived the fall of Jericho to explain that one.

    Also, your quote from Revelations actually justifies my characterization as a war deity. It doesn’t say he shall rule with a feather scepter :)

  • Hotsawse

    How to tell when you have your priorities out of whack: you spend time writing smug articles like this, bashing other Christians, instead of promoting the Gospel.

  • Hotsawse

    A pastor who chooses the screen name ObscurelyAgnostic. What’s the matter, was “Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing” already taken?

  • Eris, elder daughter of Nyx

    Ah, but you assume this isn’t promoting the Gospel. To some of us, it is. ^_^

  • Clay Tablet

    And there it is- America, love it or leave it. If I hadn’t encountered so much of this knee-jerk, reactionary, short cut to thinking while protesting the Iraq War, I would be surprised by it. What’s that saying about patriotism being the last refuge of scoundrels?

    Has the thought never occurred to you that maybe, just maybe, people who disagree with and protest American policies love our country and wish to make it better? On that same token, has it never occurred to you that people who see the ways in which the Church in America has gone very, very awry wish to make it better? Or is criticism and dissent of either not allowed? Because last time I checked, the right to protest, assemble, to speak freely, and to right wrongs are the things that make this country great. Or is blind jingoism preferred?

    As an aside, if I had to choose who I thought was the happier person, I would pick the author of this thoughtful article, not the person who is screeching “just leave” at people with whom they disagree.

  • Herm

    Where exactly do you read where Jesus said He had anything to do with the fall of Jericho?

    Just how perfect was David the King?

    Read Matthew again asking who was the Father of Jesus (Joseph?), Son of Man/Son of God?

    Revelation 19:15-16 speaks of exactly the only sword Jesus brought and has uses. Do you not think Jesus could now send more than 12 legions of angels immediately?

    Jesus spoke in no other way than loving our neighbor, siblings, father and our enemies, without exception. We can’t even become His students, filled with the Spirit of Truth as our family of God’s Advocate, until we despise the traditions of mankind and pick up our own cross exactly in the same Spirit as He set the example. The only treasure worth dying for can only be stored in Heaven and none on Earth are worth killing for. All carnal treasures, including all families of Man, are temporary gifts on loan from our Creator to learned and evolve from into an eternal relationship as children of God.

    “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” Luke 6:27-36

    These are not words from a god of war but is a cutting sword from the mouth of the Lord empowered with all authority by the Father over all Heaven and Earth today!

    Love your sincere efforts to be righteous before the Lord but they are Constantinized/Americanized and not at all of Christ Jesus. The sword and the cross may resemble each other in shape but they are polar opposites in spirit.

    May you, from these your honest efforts, find the only sustainable peace possible with your heart and mind one with all of God bonded with the Holy Spirit in love. amen

  • RoscoeT

    #11 – You spend more time reading self-righteous religious internet blogs than you do the Bible.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    It seems to me that this article ironically reflects many of the typical assumptions and presuppositions of liberal American Christianity!

  • Clay Tablet

    Red-baiting? So predictable. This is 2015, not 1950. We’re not scared off by McCarthy-ite tactics any more.

  • louismoreaugottschalk

    is that a good or a bad thing or an indifferent thing to you?

  • louismoreaugottschalk

    if you were ben Corey how would you do it different?

  • louismoreaugottschalk

    what should ben have included that’s missing in your opinion?

  • louismoreaugottschalk

    cool down boy!
    I think something really triggered you!

  • louismoreaugottschalk

    geez!
    don’t think Ben meant to snub anybody or put anybody down.
    I’d be interested to know why you are taking this so personally!
    IMO you are projecting some of your own s*** on ben.
    be honest and tell us what’s really going on with you!

  • louismoreaugottschalk

    have you ever heard of the Stockholm Syndrome?

  • Andre Villeneuve

    More ironic than good or bad.

  • Ryan

    Yes but I’m not sure I see the connection.

  • louismoreaugottschalk

    Joe you need to take a chill pill!
    has anybody ever mention to you that you might be paranoid?
    by bringing your concerns here on this blog you are exposing your
    rancid prejudices and festering assumptions.
    Sad! )=

  • louismoreaugottschalk

    you are our beloved obscure agnostic pastor.
    I would defend your life with my own!

  • Ignatz

    The fact is that we are a nation that loudly yells “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!” while actually worshiping Mammon. It seems that that’s almost the very definition of being an antichrist.

    It’s not a coincidence our one national expression of religion – “In God We Trust” – is on the MONEY. Because money IS the god we trust.

  • Ignatz

    “He who has two coats should give one to the man who has none.” That’s not 10%. That’s 50%.

    “Sell everything you own and give it to the poor.” That’s 100%.

    Be ye perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect.

  • RonnyTX

    Joe,the two illegal immigrants I’ve been talking about,they haven’t dispossessed me or anyone else of our culture, money or safety. They work to support their family and every time they buy gas,groceries or whatever,they are paying their taxes.

    And thinking about the scriptures you quote and how you read/see those. Well,by your own reasoning,the guys who started this country,the US,they would to of had to be sinning,when they rebelled against the government they had. Same with the Southern guys,who started the Civil War.

  • So you agree it’s also wrong to refuse to bake LGBTQ individuals wedding cakes then, no?

  • Obscurely

    Thank you, brother!

  • Joe

    You’re just plain wrong. Let me list the laws they are breaking and the effects.

    1) Being in the country illegally

    2) Working in the country illegally; which means they are either
    2a) working under a false social security or tax ID number which is identity theft and/or fraud (both felonies); or
    2b) They are getting paid under the table which is tax evasion (another felony)
    2c) If a citizen did these things they’d be arrested and imprisoned, which means that laws are being enforced inequitably, this is a threat to any society

    3) The jobs these two illegals currently occupy would belong to citizens, so they are stealing jobs

    4) There are people who are waiting years to immigrate legally. Illegals jump the line and make it harder for people who play by the rules

    5) 75% of illegals are on some form of government assistance

    The list just goes on and on. Whether you recognize it our not, illegals are disrespecting our laws, our culture and our society.

    P.S. I don’t care whether the rebellion that started this country or the Civil War was morally acceptable. It’s in the past and I wasn’t alive then; so I really don’t care.

  • Joe

    Let me ask you, do you support prosecuting those who refuse to bake a cake for a homosexual “wedding”? If so, do you support deporting those who have broken our immigration laws? If not, why do you support upholding one law while ignoring the other?

    Let me ask you a couple of other questions.
    Homosexual behavior, immoral or not?
    Sex outside of marriage, immoral or not?
    Is cross-dressing immoral?
    Is faith in Jesus Christ the only means of salvation?
    Is hell real and is it an eternal punishment?

    To answer your question, the Christian certainly has the right to refuse to comply with engaging in any ceremony that conflicts with his obedience to God (Acts 5:29). Just like their 1st century Christian brothers that refused to have any part in pagan religious ceremonies.The illegal immigrant can hardly make the claim that he is in another country illegally out of obedience to God.

  • Joe

    I could just as easily say that you calling me rancidity prejudiced is a demonstration of your own rancid prejudices and festering assumptions.

    Please, contribute something worthwhile like an argument or an idea and stop resorting to name-calling and accusations.

  • Joe

    It is not an “us vs them” mentality. It is about finding the best way to help and love your neighbor. The best way to help poor countries is not to transplant all of their citizens here or transfer our wealth there. It is to teach them the principles at that make a nation wealthy and the primary principle that makes a nation wealthy is the rule of law.

    It’s kind of like the maxim, Give a man a fish and you’ve fed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you’ve fed him for life.

  • Ryan

    The way I see it is there are two people in the Church: Those who choose to focus on bringing outsiders in, and those who disciple other Christians. Mr. Corey is obviously the ladder. His place in the ministry is guiding and helping other Christians see where they have fallen. There is nothing inherently bad about it so long as the critique is respectful which I believe in this case it is. Mr. Corey is dusting off the gospel, bringing up parts of it we often ignore. No bashing in this article.

  • What about those who died from societal rejection due to rape, incest, or single motherhood? Obviously, there is no way to account for those, because those women die ALONE!
    Maybe you can consider women who died from being rejected the option of abortion as an EMERGENCY PROCEDURE!

  • Buhari

    I agree that the lord wants veterans and patriots in church, BUT only if they are truly saved. God is not interested in lukewarm, idol worshipping Patriots and veterans wasting their time warming church pews. Unlike us, he is not interested in church size. Paul and the other apostles did not waste time calling out unscriptural practices in the church.

  • Acts 2:44-45: “And all who believed were together and had all things in common; and they sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need.” Acts 4:32: “Now the company of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things which he possessed was his own, but they had everything in common.”

  • Obscurely

    OK, now we’re getting on the same page! … I agree that opening our borders may not be the best practical solution for humanity … as long as America is actually DOING the things you mentioned (teaching the Third World to fish/loving our neighbors in ACTION, and not just as window dressing), then we’re going in the right moral direction — but biblically speaking, loving our neighbors IS going to result in some degree of wealth redistribution …

  • Obscurely

    But didn’t Paul spend a LOT of time in his letters correcting the practices of the churches he founded?? … I certainly use Paul that way in my own preaching and teaching! ;)

  • Jonathan

    Hmm. Funny. I have the same problem with the Gospel Coalition.

    Thing is, “smug articles like this” are drawing attention to issues the American church continues to ignore, despite the fact that they’re issues the church desparately needs to face and address. And that is promoting the Gospel, if not necessarily your comfortable and safe version of it.

  • mintap

    correction: 9. If you think deconstructing marriage is the most pressing issue of our time.

    Think of all our African and Asian brothers and sisters. Many of them see the desire to normalize homosexuality and deconstruct the family as a ridiculous American (Western) addition to Christianity.

    The more multicultural among us see the universal that everyone originates through the complementary male-female union and we reject syncretistic trends like gay marriage, transgenderism, and abortion.

  • mintap

    Or worse a confederate flag, or even worse than that a rainbow flag!

  • mintap

    Not the homosexuals, the “allies”. These are the people that probably have much better things to do that are wasting their time.

    The upside is that such people wasting their time may actually be better for society, the church and the kingdom of God. For example, while these people were busy in the LGBT marketing campaign, society has made great strides in protecting the lives of the unborn.

  • Buhari

    True. But Paul did not pander to the whims of members of his churches who deliberately chose to indulge in idolatry. Paul would have removed the flag forthwith regardless of who got offended and chose to leave. I feel we spend too much time trying too hard not to offend people at the expense of the Lord.

  • Thorn

    I said “And yes, I am here responding”… I preempted your your claim that I’m guilty of the same Leanne. It’s only on Ben’s logic, not mine though. He’s the one arguing global issues are more important. It’s his subjectivity. That’s the hypocrisy in it.

    You can’t on the one hand argue that we should only be spending our time on global issues while not recognizing that your own blog points are hardly a global issue. Right? How is pointing out that he’s undermining his own points by the logic he uses, not making sense to you?

    It’s fair as a Christian to spend time on ANY issue, global or otherwise though. It’s fair for a Christian to only spend time on 1 issue if they want or multiple issues instead. It’s fine if a Christian wants to catch a movie. Quit being the charity police and start getting your own hands dirty.

  • Thorn

    I’m not arguing to stop caring for the poor. Ending poverty isn’t the goal though. Meeting the needs of poverty is, because there will always be orphans and widows on this Earth as you rightly state. There is a difference there. I don’t find it as subtle as you may though, as a poor choice of goal leads to bad policy, decision making, and often times worse poverty than before if “end poverty” is the goal. We think if there’s just a little more money, or if we force everyone to pitch in, or if the rich are taxed heavier, poverty will end. But that’s a false ideal built on a false goal.

    You would have done better to argue that simply because it may not be attainable doesn’t mean we don’t strive for it, which is true, but setting the ending of poverty as a goal isn’t something any more accomplishable than one can save one’s self though we may strive for holiness.
    The point of holiness was never to save ourselves anymore than the point of charity is to end all poverty.

  • RonnyTX

    Joe to Benjamin:
    Is faith in Jesus Christ the only means of salvation?

    Ronny to Joe:
    To be saved/born of God,God has to let the lost person know they are lost. That they are not in a right relationship with God. Then it is the goodness of God,that brings that person to repentance. Then,God takes us on to faith in Jesus Christ. Or as the scripture so well puts it;”8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his (God’s)

    workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:8-10 So we see from all of this,that our being saved/born of God,is all of God and that from start to finish. And as I like to put it,what God has done for one and for some,before all is said and done,God will do the same,for every person. :-)

    Joe to Benjamin:
    Is hell real and is it an eternal punishment?

    Ronny to Joe:
    No,there is no such thing as a Jesus Christ created hell of eternal torment. And hell was not in the Bible,as it was written in the origional languages. The teaching and believing about hell,that came from pagan/man made religion. From there,it got passed down into Roman Catholicism and then on,to most all of Protestantism. Now I expect you believe otherwise,just as I once did. And why did I once believe in a Jesus Christ created hell of eternal torment? Because I was taught to believe that,in the local church I grew up in,from infancy. But Joe,the truth is, more than a few things we’re taught in our local churches,are not true,not of God/Jesus Christ. A good article link below, about the teaching of hell. And that webpage,has a lot of good articles on such.

    http://www.tentmaker.org/FAQ/DoesJesusREALLYLoveLittleChildren.html

  • Eris, elder daughter of Nyx

    Ending poverty isn’t the goal though. Meeting the needs of poverty is, because there will always be orphans and widows on this Earth as you rightly state.

    I’m not sure you understand what “poverty” is. If everyone is having all their basic needs met, poverty has been ended, even if orphans and widows still exist. I.e., if an orphan and a widow are having their basic needs met, they may still be an orphan and a widow, but they aren’t in poverty. That’s why ending poverty is indeed the goal.

  • Alexander Wright

    The Confederacy didn’t just secede from the Union, it declared war on and attacked the North. That’s what makes them traitors: they were Americans, who attacked and tried to defeat America, in order to preserve and enshrine a noxious slaveholding aristocracy.

  • Alexander Wright

    I question your historical expertise if you don’t know that it was Fort Sumter or that the word is “Secession.” I also question your intellectual honesty if your position is “The North started the war, because the Confederacy attacked them.”

  • Thorn

    Honestly Herm, you’re a bit over dramatic. Of course we haven’t earned anything from the perspective of God. All things come from Him. It’s all his money, as all are my possessions. You misstep greatly if you think I was saying anything otherwise. I was originally countering Ben’s assertion that the early church rejected individual ownership.

    To give an example, Barnabas has all of his fields by the grace of God. Barnabas though “OWNS” his property both from the concept of practical temporal earth regulations and laws in the country he was apart of and on the ultimate scale of God’s providence in which he has entrusted a portion of the earth to Barnabas for his stewardship.
    Barnabas from his cheerful heart sells a field (a portion of what he has) and donates the money to the church. Many others were doing likewise.

    No where in any of those passages is Barnabas told he can’t keep the rest of what he still owns, from either the earthly or God perspectives. He still “owns” the rest of his possessions as much as we would consider owning our house or car on a practical level.

    I was merely rejecting Ben’s assertion that the early church rejected individual ownership simply because there are passages regarding mass outpourings of community charity.

    They didn’t reject individual ownership. They didn’t even condemn it. They simply embraced charity esp to those in their new christian community.

    My point on the talents and economy isn’t that God isn’t the Master. In fact he is, and thus all the more reason why using what he has given us both wisely and generously is important rather than acting unwisely and harboring it instead.

    We should be living like all our possessions are His. But at the same time, between each other, having individual ownership is an okay distinction. It was Barnabas’s portion from which Barnabas gave. He didn’t make demands of say Matthew as if Matthew’s possessions were his.

    Have you been so Americanized that you jump to assume I don’t recognize God is the ultimate provider simply because I’m rejecting Ben’s assertion?

  • trinielf

    Actually the more multicultural and educated among us see that same-sex marriage is not new and it has been practiced by many peoples in many cultures. We are actually enforcing Abrahamic colonialism by insisting it MUST conform to one cultural standard.

    We also acknowledge that reproduction, while being a primary outcome of sex is not the sole purpose of sex. Even animals know this. Sexual contact is used for showing affection, stress release, bond building, pleasure and many other uses. Particularly among mammals with high intelligence and more complex social structures.

    In addition, ensuring ALL HUMANS REPRODUCE is NOT A PRESSING ISSUE AT THIS JUNCTURE. We are 7 BILLION. Today 10,000 babies will be born and most of them into poverty, starvation, inhumane conditions. Most were accidents. Many will be unwanted and thrown away. Many will be born to women with no support system or to couples who have no intention or means of being parents. This is all happening in a wider context of the planet running out of clean air, water, food etc.

    We also acknowledge that gender is COMPLEX and not a simplistic binary. The factors that determine gender are many and subject to lots of variation.

  • Obscurely

    Actually, Paul’s ‘weaker brother’ argument applies here — if your weaker brother would be offended by removing the flag (which means nothing to the stronger brother and so can’t give offense), then you should love him by not only keeping the flag but also revering it (on some visible level) WITH him (like not eating meat from animals sacrificed to idols?)

  • Buhari

    I disagree and I think it is instructive to read that passage in its entirety. Paul FIRST made clear that eating stuff offered unto idols is not wrong and has no spiritual consequence to the believer… Since to such a person, it is just meat aka food. The only reason he abstains is so as not to give room for those who are weaker in faith and thus unable to understand this an opportunity to be offended or question their own faith. 1 Corinthians 10:31 puts things in perspective. If you are disposed to eat meat by invitation from a gentile that you cannot refuse, eat to the glory of God.

    The flag on the other hand is an object that you know your brother reveres.. That is idol worship and is not to be placed on the same pedestal as merely eating meat. Can you revere the flag to the glory of God? It is your place to remove it if you are in the position of of spiritual authority as God holds you responsible for their faith.

  • I think this discussion has moved from the Americanization of Christianity to the Hellenization of Christianity. “Standard” Christianity, both Eastern Orthodox and Roman-based, accepts the Creed of Nicaea. Both the 325 CE and the 381 CE version say that Jesus is indistinguishable from the Father and that through Jesus all things were made.

    If you disagree with that, OK. But that’s a different discussion than the Americanization of Christianity. Perhaps you prefer the views of Arius over those of Augustine, or even persons farther back whose views were not accepted in 325 or 381. Not 1776. :)

  • Obscurely

    JESUS, that’s a LOT of responsibility for a God who sounds kind of like an A-hole maybe? where is your God’s GRACE????

  • Obscurely

    But how do we avoid an ugly “Elysium” scenario where the privileged can sequester themselves from “lower” human suffering?

  • Obscurely

    It’s on the money because we couldn’t put it on the flag? (money being a symbol of the Republic)

  • Obscurely

    Dewd, “let your YES be YES” ;)

  • Obscurely

    “Nice work if you can get it!!” ;D

  • Obscurely

    I disagree, brother — I found this post firmly within the prophetic office of those the church depends on to speak truth to power, including ESPECIALLY to the church …

  • Obscurely

    YES, Ben serves the church as one of its prophets, those who are appointed (and anointed) to remind the church of its divine purpose and destiny …

  • plantman13

    I agree with you. The language in which the bible is written is nothing like today’s and the concepts are foreign.Take, for instance, the term “son of god.” This term is one of the titles of the king of ancient Israel. With the geneological chart at the beginning of Matthew proving descent of Yeshua from the house of David, it implies Yeshua is worthy of this title. In those days, the king was considered the son of god because he was the only person besides the high priest allowed to enter the holy of holies and commune directly with the diety. Later interpolators have twisted this to mean some sort of kinship with god. In particular it is an immitation of the Julius Ceasar myth, who was considered a descendant of Venus. Many of the biblical claims are attempts to equate Yeshua with Ceasar.(The star of Bethlehem is another fine example.) But you don’t know that and neither do most of self-called religious “scholars.” Now it becomes clear why the Romans were so concerned about this guy as he may have had a pretention to the throne.
    I would contend it is the other way around when accusing somebody of projecting modern concepts onto ancient events. Abortion is a great example. There was abortion in the ancient middle east. Worse yet was the practice of exposure wherein viable, living infants were left on a hillside outside of town to perish. This was a common practice and every town had such a hill with no penalty for anyone making use of it. Yeshua (jesus to you) said NOTHING about this despite its occuance within mere yards of his presence. YHWH in the old testament said NOTHING about this. Yet it has become a big religious issue. A large billboard outside my town reads, “You call it abortion…God calls it Murder!!!” No he did not. He didn’t say a peep, not even about exposing real babies to a lingering painful death. But then, he is quite selective in which children he chooses to love and which ones he does not.
    Your point about what marriage practices may or may not occur at some future date is a straw man argument. Similar claims were made about allowing interracial marriage and we have yet to see men marrying monkeys. (and if they did…so what?) Murder is murder…rape is rape…theft is theft…and I can find no instance of these things being somehow thought of differently in the past.
    Your third and fourth paragraphs are confusing. YHWH is eternal and without beginning. Where was he until he decided to step in the scene? The same with “when jesus came.” So you’re telling me it was OK for god to misrepresent himself for thousands of years and condemn people to burning hell under the aegis of “free will?” How is will free if one does not have all the information? These days we call that a “sting operation.”
    The last paragraph is really interesting. Whenever religious people find themselves painted into an intellectual corner, they usually counter with the statement…we can never know the mind of god. But here you speculate wildly about that very nature and his ultimate plan. Actually, I would contend one does not need to compare NT to OT to find contradiction and error. You can stick entirely to the New Testament and still find plenty of contradiction…like what time of day the crucifixion took place (kind of big). There is so much more but I don’t have the time.
    Clema, I’m not sure what kind of educational background you have but I suspect you are not really into history (non-religious reality) or physics or biology. That’s OK. We don’t all have to be professors to make a point. I’m just saying that while you may think you have soundly and completely refuted me, you haven’t even scratched me.
    Another problem with this statement of god coming on the scene at a later date (although the bible has him present from the beginning) is it violates the basic concept of what god is supposed to be. He is supposed to be (and this is agreed by all major religious sects with a central single diety) all knowing (omniscient), all-powerful (omnipotent) and perfectly good (righteous). If YHWH has set secret parameters for salvation that nobody knows until his “son” makes it clear thousands of years later, then he is a liar by omission. (Yeshua said he supported the OT 100%) If he created the world like the bible says but left evidence for the truth of evolution and no evidence for the truth of a magical occurance, then he is an outright liar. Who does YHWH need to impress that he would withhold certain important information while counterfeting other info? Of course, nobody. So this being, YHWH, is not god. It may be an alien with great technology or a fairy tale…but not god.
    Please do not take my comments as being angry or made in a mean spirit. I am not and they are not. I enjoy this back-and-forth debate. It is fun and I thank you for the opportunity to discuss these issues and ideas.

  • Buhari

    Hebrews 13:17. You either want to obey God in all things or not. Grace is not an excuse to indulge sin so we don’t offend the carnal feelings of the lukewarm. If you are not able to sacrifice your patriotism on the altar of Christ then I wonder how you can claim to die to self… A requirement for anyone who considers him/herself a servant of the lord. Imagine if God told us to sacrifice our only child like he told Abraham? As ben has consistently said here, the American Christianity has become one of cultural convenience.

  • plantman13

    The statement about “multiculturalism” linked to the rejection of syncretistic trends seems self-contradictory. Our Asian and African brothers and sisters are presently under propagandistic assault by American fundamentalist “preachers” who, having failed to propagate the religion of exclusion and discrimination in the US, have shifted their efforts to less intellectually sophisticated people. Follow the money and lets see which televangelist is at the bottom of the pile. Honoring the humanity of our gay brothers and sisters has nothing to do with christianity and the family is still going strong. Gays have married in Canada for years and that society has yet to “deconstruct” marriage. What does it matter to you who goes to bed with whom? Sounds like an unnatural preoccupation with sex. (You sure like the word “syncretistic”. Just learn that one and trying to get the feel of using it over and over?) Christianity is the poster child for religious syncretism and always has been.

  • mintap

    Those are very American/western views that come right out of the deconstructionist monoculture in the queer theory departments. Walk into any African church or Chinese house church, or any Latin American community or Muslim community, unless they have been influenced (“colonized”)by the American/western views you are touting, they will all be less aligned with such deconstruction and simply see the reality of how central the male-female union is to our existence, society, bond-building, pleasure, and beauty.

    There are universals that we can see across a wide variety of cultures (and times). We are all human beings. This is one world, one love; every single one of us is the product of the male-female union. I travel a lot and have gotten out of the American/western bubble. Doing this can add a lot to one’s perspective.

  • trinielf

    We avoid it by stopping the early signs of it which are happening right now.

    Education, health care, nutrition are BASIC HUMAN NEEDS and therefore BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS. We have to make an ethical decision that these are not “for profit”
    Those who seek gain exorbitant profit and exclude others from having equal access need to be dealt with.

    That’s one aspect. There is another which we are proving we aren’t adult enough to speak honestly about and that is regulation of reproduction.

    I have witnessed in my own lifetime entire communities sink into social decline because of the WRONG people having children TOO SOON. I help design corporate social programs for youth born to parents who are unable to parent. I see dysfunction passed on from generation to generation and how it amalgamates into a holy shit storm that keeps an entire society down. It is not just me. Many great minds have been speaking about it. The great Oscar Brown Jr. a poet and true artist did this poem about the epidemic of Children having Children.

    And the “children” in question are not always teen pregnancies. Many are adults with immature, “childish” emotional, intellectual development. They have little sense of responsibility, prioritization, impulse control cannot mentor anyone, cannot even sustain healthy relationships or provide financially yet are shitting out baby after baby. We see the actual QUALITY of human being start to de-evolve over time thanks to poor parenting which unleashes humans who lack basic empathy (because they were never properly socialized from infancy) and self-control, totally devoid of intellectual mastery over their primal anger, need for dominance and their acquisitiveness.

    The time has come to discuss the importance of QUALITY of parent and its impacts on wider society vs. the outmoded, religious imperialist, reproduction/fertility worshipping cults that focused on QUANTITY of souls being born.

    The job of being the primary determiner of another human being’s emotional, mental, social development is perhaps the most important job in the world. I don’t think merely having ovaries and sperm qualifies one for it. We actually demand more evidence of competency for someone to drive a car or adopt a dog than we do for someone to become a parent, unless they are becoming adoptive parents, then they are put through a rigorous screening.

  • mintap

    There are a lot of Christians in Africa, Asia and Latin America! Comparatively the amount of missionaries from the “West” is just a drop in the bucket. And the resources are minimal at best. What resources for propaganda are even available? Point to one example of such propaganda? How would it compare to the distribution of Lady GaGa’s “Born that Way” or other Western promotion of sexual deconstructionism?

    And did you really just call Asians and Africans less intellectually sophisticated?!? Yikes! Please clarify some on this.

  • trinielf

    Native American tribal peoples have had same sex marriage for centuries. Many African and Asian cultures have also had far more sophisticated understanding of gender in their indigenous spirituality and culture. Many had special third and fourth gender categories to refer to the anomalies born into their society who exhibited traits of both or the opposite gender. Cultures that honored Gods and Goddesses including hermaphrodite deities and had various spirits, ancestral spirits and some concept of reincarnation in their spiritual traditions tend to have an easier time with nature’s gender complexity and human sexuality. They tend to have erotic art and literature and sexuality as spirituality as well.

    Male-female union is not seen only as a reproductive thing but in the esoteric sense as well. A man possessing female spirit within him and a woman possessing male spirit with her is just as essential to society, bond-building, pleasure and beauty. The more mystical aspect of Judiasm Kabbalah recognizes this as well. Not everyone needs a physical relationship with the opposite gender to be complete, some are already so and walk the gender unified path or Ishvarah.

    Cultures with a male-only, bachelor, virgin God, squeamishness about sex as impure tend to treat with human sexuality and gender in a way that is counter to the reality of nature. They usually do so for their own imperial ends, herding men and women into a narrow binary that could never capture the fullest diversity of the human being and will always exclude a large number who cannot and do not want to fit into that narrow mold. This includes not just LGBT people but also many heterosexuals who are not conventional either.

    It has always been about controlling human sexuality for the benefit of the power structure, not about what is actually beneficial to the INDIVIDUAL human and THEIR unique circumstances.

  • trinielf

    Here is that powerful poem about Children making Children https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5lIeU3P9gs

  • pearl mcelheran

    Has your Christianity been Westernized? would be a better title for most of these points. Some points, such as the Presidential election, have been tailored to the United States; but most of the other points apply equally to the western world. not just the U.S.

  • mintap

    A bunch of the tribes including the largest ones have laws that set apart the male-female union to align with human nature. They do not have marriage deconstructionism now and they have not had it for centuries.

    Cherokee:
    https://cherokee.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=267141&GUID=CCCC7596-00D0-4E39-BE7B-217F65670783&Options=&Search=&FullText=1

    Chickasaw:
    https://www.chickasaw.net/Documents/Long-Term/Chickasaw-Code/Title-06.aspx

    Cheyenne:
    http://www.indianlaw.mt.gov/content/northerncheyenne/codes/2008_updated_law_and_order_code/title_viii.pdf

    And It is interesting that you are framing it in terms of “power structure”. That is right out of deconstructionist theory where they say it is not only about the INDIVIDUAL and their circumstances:

    “It becomes a question for ethics, I think, not only when we ask the personal question, what makes my own life bearable, but when we ask, from a position of power, and from the point of view of distributive justice, what makes, or ought to make, the lives of others bearable?”

    -Judith Butler

    It is about promoting one narrow view, in a colonialist way, using the positions of power, in the Court, in the legislature, in foreign relations, money, business, and in the media to “distribute” what those in power think is “bearable”.

  • trinielf

    What makes everyone’s life bearable is freedom, equality of everyone’s humanity. Everyone deserves love and family and a place in the society to which they contribute. Single out one group for special persecution, exclusion and discrimination and you create suffering and discord.

    The only thing threatened by allowing LGBT people their freedom, equality, family life and place in society is the supremacist ideology of certain absolutist, colonialist religious people who believe ALL must conform to THEIR religious views on the matter, when in fact the only people who must conform to their views is THEM.

  • Joe

    Thanks for correcting me I’ll edit my post. I was desperately searching for the correct spelling of secession rather than succession but I couldn’t find it on my stupid digital dictionary.

    I’m sure you’ve never made mistakes in the spellings of homophones or very similar sounding words. ;)

    As for intellectual honesty, if you refuse to leave my house then it’s your fault if you get attacked and drug out.

  • Obscurely

    There’s a LOT of sacrifice and death in your Gospel — where is the freedom and LIFE?

  • Müntzer

    I disagree.
    I don’t know how far you span ‘Western’ but where i live
    (Germany) a large part of the social nets against poverty, unemployment
    and homelessness are understood at least in part as motivated by
    Christianity and are often defended by the churches based on the bible.
    Same
    goes for the call right about now to accept more refugees; the churches
    (meaning the two big ones: the EKD (Protestant Church of Germany) and
    the German catholics represented by their bishops) are heavily invested
    in calling for support and help from their members and are part of
    organizing relief programms (collect clothes, organizing sponsorships
    and ‘godparent’-programm) and at times even providing church asylum to
    refugess or asylum seekers who have been denied residency and are to be
    reported.
    Overall i find both the EKD and the German Catholics
    decidedly more peaceful; both have a long history intertwined with the
    pacifist movement (demonstrations against the atomic armament were a
    topic the churches addressed and helped organized) and of supporting
    conscientious objectors.
    While the catholics are still holding strong
    against gay marriage, the EKD is paying spousal benefits to homosexual
    lifepartners of their pastors.
    All in all German churches tend to be
    markedly more liberal. Even our most conservative voices are markedly
    saner and more loving than the apex of insanity the US has to provide.
    The
    ‘prosperity gospel’ and other neo-calvinist abominations are a
    topic/problem in the Netherlands but hardly anywhere else on the
    continent.
    There is a marked border between Western and American christianity.
    In pretty much all 10 points.
    And it does not really matter if you look at Spain or Germany or Italy or Sweden.
    The differences change, but differences remain.

  • Müntzer

    But what if that which makes your life bearable makes mine unbearable?
    The dangerous thing about legislating social mores is that once that is done, it cannot be undone.
    Yes, it makes for faster change if you do not have convince people, but are able to force ‘bad people’ to be ‘nice’.
    But once that is done, once it is established that the law can wedge into the interaction between to people things get ugly.
    It is bad enough with laws regulating insults:
    The insult is, obviously, in the eye of the beholder and intent and inflection are not objectivly fixed.
    If you have a judge who has a good head on his neck it will end with both parties being able to save face and the judge being more or less being misused as a substitute for grown-up behavior and self-reflection of the people involved.
    If it goes badly,the court battles are potentialy endless with appeals and counter-appeals, higher courts sending back judgements to the lower courts, etc.
    A waste of time and money for everyone concerned and it is save to assume that the parties involved won’t see much in the way of personal growth from the proceedings.

  • Buhari

    The foundation of our gospel is the death and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. If you think the gospel is all about convenience then you’re in the wrong faith. Christ said we would be persecuted for His name’s sake…. He asked us to carry out cross, deny ourselves to follow Him – Luke 9:23. Paul said he had to die daily to self….

    If you cannot sacrifice a flag and a few hurt feelings for the sake of the gospel… It is no surprise the American church is so weak, ineffective and lacking the Holy Spirit.

  • Müntzer

    America has a strange melange;
    Seperation of church and state but the state is also a kind of quasi religion with its own set of holy books (constitution and declaration of independence) with their whole plethora of apocrypha (basically anything any founding father has ever written, said or had attributed to him) and a college of priests versed in the scripture interpreting the law for the laity (the supreme court).
    And that strange a-religious religion is merged and warped with and by special brands of christianity that had fled Europe because they had been persecuted there, often because they were so radical as to threaten existing order and peace itself.
    It is an explosive mix.

  • mintap

    Freedom for whom? Equality of whose humanity? Everyone? Really? Even the unborn, even children, those whose humanity always originates through one mother and one father? So that means if we really want freedom for them too we oppose abortion and we oppose normalizing family arrangements that are not one mother and one father. (Why else do you think conservatives promote these?)

    Or do you mean no freedom for the weakest and most innocent amongst us and only freedom for adults and even the freedom to deconstruct to such a degree that essential freedoms of weaker humans are entirely removed?

    The only thing threatened by allowing the unborn and children their freedom, equality, family life and place in society is the supremacist ideology of certain absolutist, colonialist religious people who believe ALL must conform to THEIR religious views on the matter, when in fact the only people who must conform to their views is THEM.

  • pearl mcelheran

    I’m glad to hear this about your churches in Germany. Perhaps I was thinking more about Western governments than Western churches. It seems to be that the governments in Europe have grown increasingly conservative – hostile to immigrants and to social programs.

    My church (Episcopal) and those we have concourse with – Presbyterian, Lutheran (but not the Missouri Synod branch), United Church of Christ, et al. endorse and are active in all the things you ascribe to your German church(es). These are all mainline churches in the United States.

    The fundamentalist religious right, of course, is another matter; but I’m not sure that they should be thought of as defining “religion in America.” Not sure at all.

  • Clema Burke

    -Plantman
    Thanks for the reply. Your remarks are very sound intellectually, and i wouldnt assume that a cuple of paragraphs would stump you :). I find that most people who strongly (and carefully) oppose a viewpoint are usually well educated in it, often more than me.

    My comment about God stepping into the scene was not to imply that he had a beginning or that he wasnt always there. I was saying is that he chose specific times and specific people/groups to manifest himself to in specific ways. The rules he gave to Noah werent given to Adam; the laws given to Moses weren’t given to Abraham; Abraham was chosen, but his father and brothers were not; Abraham married his 1/2 sister yet God chose him and her, but this is forbidden later on in the Law; sacrifices were instituted as a form of worship that pleases God, but later he says that they are not what he truely desires; the life/crucifiction of the Messiah was prophesied, but those weren’t clear enough for the experts of the day to recognize him when he came. Why didnt God just reveal everything to everyone at once and get everyone on the same page from the beginning? I dont know for sure; there are theological explanations for this, and you probably know most of them. WHich is correct, if any?

    You contend that it’s not just that God only revealed a little at a time, but that is what he did, so it is our understanding of what is just that must be altered. It is when people believe God and therefore obey that makes them just before God, not just the actual obeying of a bunch of rules alone. I can follow a set of instuctions without believing that the promised end result will actually occur. We only have to believe and obey what we know, the unkown cannot be held against us. God promised Abraham a future,and gave him some instructions to go along with the promise; Abraham believed and obeyed, so he was justified. Later on, a bunch more rules that were necessary to govern and enable the promise were revealed, and so this new generation was accountable to these as well. After Jesus died and rose again, the scene was prepared for the promise to be realized, so some of the previous rules were no longer needed to ‘set the stage’.

    I was not speculating about the God’s ultimate plan; I am not one of those people who would say we can’t know the mind of God. The Bible makes it clear that all we have to do to know is ask and search it out. The only people who would use the ‘can’t know what God’s gonna do’ line are those that don’t want to admit that they don’t know yet. I will admit that I don’t know much as to why God did some things, or what his plans are on a day-to-day, people-by-people, event-by-event level. But it’s not his fault that I don’t know much, it’s my lack of seeking and asking. As to his ULTIMATE plan, and plans for some specific or general situations, well, these are revealed in the Bible. That is why we must seek it out. If you’ve studied the Bible as much as I think you have, I’m sure you are able to come up with something that you think is his ultimate plan, the theme that runs through the entire Bible.

    Not to be picking on the random example you gave, but I do not understand the inconsistancy that you find in it. A quick search of the gosples shows that Jesus was crucified at 9am (3rd hr, Mark 15), Matthew and Luke indicate that he was crucified before noon (darkness came at 6th hr, so it was before noon that he was crucified). John does not give any timestamps of the event.

    If you meant on what day he was crucified, then I understand. ‘the day before the sababath (fri), rose on sunday, does not equal 3 days and 3 nights dead’. The misunderstanding is that the sabbath was Satuday. But the sabbath was a day (or year) of rest and could land on any day of the week, depending on the celebration/feast that was about to take place; every Saturday just happened to be a sabbath in this sense. So in the week that Jesus was crucified, thursday would (could) have been a sabbath day too because it was the 1st day of a feast (Exodus12; -12:16- Lev23:4-7)
    If He was buried before 6pm on Wed (the start of Passover and sabbath), then he could have risen Sat night to equal 3 days and 3 nights. And they found the tomb empty the next day. Tell me what you think about this theory Or if there’s inconsistencies in it.

    As to people being sons of God, I do not understand your argument. The NT defines our relationship with God and Jesus, setting God as our father and Jesus as our elder brother with whom we share an inheritance. If we have been adopted into God’s family, and it is our goal to be like Jesus, who is the Son of God, what is wrong with claiming kinship with God? Even in the OT God refers to his people as his children. Yes we don’t have all the power, glory, and the atributes of his deity, but just the fact that we are made in his image and he loves us is enough.

    It’s true that we taken this culture and applied to the past, whever that was convenient for our cause. But specifically with abortion, that could be seen as inductive reasoning. If God is so aware of people even while they’re in the womb, and has plans laid out for them already, even naming some before birth, it would indicate that he sees them as important; a distinct, living individual from the mother with a future Just like those already born.

    If a culture recognizes a newborn as a person with the right to live, then the ever present social norms of taking care of one’s family and strangers would have protected the child from being left out to die, which could also have been seen a murder by negligence, so protection for newborns is in he Bible. Either way, married people usually wanted kids back in those days, so abortion would not have been common thing. Most of those that deliberately had abortions would have been trying to hide something they did. So if people back then obeyed God’s laws and the heart of the law, then ‘don’t leave your baby on a hill to die’ would have been summed up in ‘do not murder, love your neighbor as yourself’. Thats what I think.

  • Obscurely

    Well OK then!! ;)

  • Alexander Wright

    Well, that’s what I meant by my skepticism. Fort Sumter did not belong to South Carolina. It was the property of the federal government of the United States, the land having been explicitly ceded to it by an act of the South Carolina legislature in 1836. This wasn’t the Union “refusing to leave [South Carolina’s] house.” This was an act of plunder, theft, and violent aggression.

  • Müntzer

    I think you main-stream christians need a decent PR-Agency.
    Because by the noise you are 10% and the loony fringe are 90%.

  • pearl mcelheran

    It has ever been thus. The outrageous loony crowd creates headlines. Unfortunately.

  • Müntzer

    But why can’t you?
    I mean that less acusatory and more as a state of affairs that needs to be seriously investigated and its root causes addressed.

  • Robert Karma

    Awesome and articulate response Herm! (Seriously) It’s hard to read whether someone is being serious or snarky when posting, especially when dealing with emotional volatile subjects like supernatural beliefs. So I am glad you were inspired to pen an impassioned response that clarified your iconoclastic and heterodox take on Christianity. You would not be considered a “Christian” by the vast majority of Christianity. If I were suggest a category, I would say you are spiritual but not dogmatic. If the rest of your theistic brethren were like you, I’d say we would have a much more peaceful and productive world.

    You asked, “This is why I needed to know what your source was that enabled you to tell us: “The non-violent, turn the other cheek message of Jesus doesn’t make sense in how people should live in a normal, day to day manner. You’d quickly be exploited and abused if you tried to apply the teachings of Jesus (from his sermons) to your everyday life.” How quickly were we, the USA, exploited by our invasion of Iraq and from our retaliation in Afghanistan? How were the church family who, directly from the teachings of Jesus, forgave Dylann Roof exploited? Just a couple questions to ponder over the next week.” My source was my years of study in college and on my own of the Christian faith. (I could list several books if you are interested in reading more about the scholarship on early Christianity) In the classes I took as an undergrad and as a grad student, we discussed the practicality of living like there would be no tomorrow. You cherry pick examples you believe will buttress your worldview. I’m not sure what you’re getting at with your mention of Iraq and Afghanistan. When it comes to the oppression of African-Americans in the history of our country, we can say that the people impacted by the atrocity committed by Dylan Roof felt that the only choice they had was to proclaim their forgiveness because their experience has taught them that Black Americans expressing anger, frustration or demanding justice are viewed in a negative light by our society (in general) and that this approach of forgiveness would ameliorate their grief over the tragic loss of their loved ones as well as reflect their belief in the healing power of following this interpretation of the teachings of Jesus.

    When we look at the ethics espoused by the collection of writings known as the New Testament we find that there are a plethora of interpretations on what exactly Jesus was trying to communicate. Jesus first became a follower of John the Baptist who was an eschatological Jewish prophet. Jesus then moved on, collected his own group of followers and saw his own ministry as being the proclamation of the kingdom which he regarded as the next final step in God’s plan of redemption. Clearly he saw himself as engaged in the final act of history. Eschatology and apocalyptic beliefs were dominant features of Jewish thought in the time of Jesus which is why we saw so much unrest and the rise of numerous Messiahs.

    Mark 1:14-15 “Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” Then we find this reported in Luke 17:22-26 “And He said to the disciples, “The days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. They will say to you, ‘Look there! Look here!’ Do not go away, and do not run after them. For just like the lightning, when it flashes out of one part of the sky, shines to the other part of the sky, so will the Son of Man be in His day.”” Luke 14:26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” Luke 18:22-30 “When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “There is still one thing lacking. Sell all that you own and distribute the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” But when he heard this, he became sad; for he was very rich. Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” He replied, “What is impossible for mortals is possible for God.” Then Peter said, “Look, we have left our homes and followed you.” And he said to them, “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not get back very much more in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.”

    Paul was hearing concerns that the faithful were dying but Christ hadn’t returned. Paul tried to allay their concerns writing in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died. For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died. For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.” Paul again discussing what was to come in 1 Corinthians 15:50-58 “What I am saying, brothers and sisters, is this: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”

    I could go on and on and on but since we have just this one brief period of sentience, I will put an end to this discussion as soon as possible. I clearly remember going to church in my youth and hearing the Gospel preached that the hour was near for the return of Christ. We were told we were living in the End Times because of the “signs” foretold and we should have our souls prepared to meet Jesus in the Second Coming. It’s clear that those living in the time of Jesus and Paul believed that Christ would return in their lifetimes. 2 Peter 3:10: “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and the works that are upon it will be burned up.” Jesus had fired up these eschatological expectations. Matthew 24:32-36 “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. “But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son,but only the Father.” Matthew 16:28 “There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” Mark 9:1 “He also said to them, “Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come in power.”” Matthew 10:23 “When they persecute you in one town, flee to another. Amen, I say to you, you will not finish the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.” Philippians 4:5 “Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near.” Hebrews 1:1-2 “Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds.” Hebrews 10:36-38 “For you need endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. For yet “in a very little while, the one who is coming will come and will not delay; but my righteous one will live by faith. My soul takes no pleasure in anyone who shrinks back.”” James 5:8 “You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near.” 1 Peter 4:7 “The end of all things is near; therefore be serious and discipline yourselves for the sake of your prayers.” (The best way to convince a person that the Bible is a book of myths is to have them actually read it from cover to cover and seriously contemplate what it claims as truth.)

    So this eschatological expectation was the foundation of the ethics of Jesus to practice non-violence, be of the world but not in it, don’t worry about money or where your next meal is coming from, don’t engage in political issues, etc., etc., etc. because these things distract you from the imminent Coming of the Kingdom of God. When you take these Kingdom Ethics out of their eschatological context you lose the meaning for those who believed in this promise in 1st Century Judea and where the faithful had spread their testimony.

    Christian Apologists had to come to terms with the Delayed Parousia and much ink has been spilled in an attempt to explain it away my claiming Jesus and Paul meant something completely different and metaphorical. Christians over the centuries have interpreted the teachings of the Bible in the context of their place, time and position in society. So there are as many Christianities as there are Christians.

    What is all comes down to Herm is that theists (of all faiths) have no evidence for any of their supernatural claims. I certainly will defend your right to believe as your conscience leads you but that doesn’t mean I won’t be critical of faith-based claims about alleged supernatural beings like gods, demons, angels, fairies, the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, etc. You can base your philosophy of life on a belief in these things but that doesn’t make them real. I have no issue with you believing in such things as long as you respect my right to follow the dictate of my conscience and not use the power of the government to promote your faith-based beliefs. I respect you as a human being Herm but I certainly don’t respect a belief in a supernatural myth no matter how wonderful and beneficial you believe it to be for you.

    I think we have come to the end of this journey. I’m sure I haven’t changed your mind about your supernatural worldview, after all, what could an arrogant jerk like me know? As for me, you have provided no evidence for the existence of the supernatural. I hear the same thing I hear from all theists, which are statements of faith and anecdotal tales about having possession of an ultimate truth. This means atheism is the only logical conclusion to draw from the historical record. Could there be something out there that exists on a higher level of reality? Sure, it is possible. That’s one of the reasons why I believe the exploration of the Cosmos is so important to our species. If we have a future in this universe, it lies out there in space. We will bring many of our myth stories with us as we travel the stars but our progeny will view them as we now view the myth tales of Ancient Greece. Wonderful stories that tell us about the world the authors inhabited but nothing based on actual supernatural entities.

    Happy Trails Herm before we segue into the Problem of Evil and how Free Will is an illusion if you claim an all-powerful deity ; )

  • TsukiNaito

    Homophobia/transphobia in places like Africa and Asia are a result of European colonization. India being the best example, where conservative Hindus claim that homosexuality is a Western import and “unIndian.” When, in fact, Hindu scriptures contain ample amounts of same-sex relationships and transgender characters (and all these writings are *le gasp!* thousands of years old! Could it mean that homosexuality and gender fluidity are not modern trends, but, gasp!, basic facts about the human species?!). Such things were considered normal, healthy, and even encouraged in Indian culture until the British Raj, when the British Empire criminalized homosexuality and pressured Indian men to reject traits that the Western Brits considered to feminine in order to get governmental positions. The same cultural shifts come with Christian missions throughout the world. Like, yes, the Native Americans who had long treated gay and transgender people as divine until the encroachment of mission schools on their children that caused a savage change in their culture. Christianity did this to itself in fact, as we now have evidence that the early Christians performed same-sex marriages.

    History is simply notbon your side.

  • TsukiNaito

    History is simply not on your side. It suggests that homophobia is an export of Europe, not that homosexuality is an export of the West. This “marriage deconstruction” concept you have fabricated and keep throwing around is the new thing, the new BS, not sexual orientation or gender fluidity.

    (The edit option for comments on this website could use some work, by the way. You can’t scroll.)

  • mintap

    Calling Africans and Asians “h***phobic/t****phobic” is looking down on them, and trying to impose your subjective values onto them. Such terms are filled with microaggressions, and those who use them reveal their prejudice.

    But you do make a valid point that sexual deconstruction is nothing new. People have rejected universals of human nature as long as there has been human nature. However, what is a current trend is the tyrannical form of trying to impose it onto everyone and normalize it in law. As with all forms of tyranny, noble people often stand up to defend freedom against it.

    And here is some solid peer-reviewed history for you regarding Christian missions:

    “Conversionary Protestants were a crucial catalyst initiating the development and spread of religious liberty, mass education, mass printing, newspapers, voluntary organizations, and colonial reforms, thereby creating the conditions that made stable democracy more likely.”
    http://www.academia.edu/2128659/The_Missionary_Roots_of_Liberal_Democracy

  • mintap

    Define “h***phobia”.

    Doesn’t everyone everywhere know that the male-female union is set apart, that every single person originates through it? Would you classify the simply recognition of this universal fact as “h***phobia”?

  • TsukiNaito

    Ah, addressing the existence of homo/transphobia and oppression in a place is oppressive and sexual activity is connected to democracy. -_- Thank you for letting me know how badly I blew your argument out of the water.

  • TsukiNaito

    And, uh, yes Christian missions spread printing and education… the only fact in your arguments is an irrelevant one?

  • TsukiNaito

    Homophobia is the hatred, violence, disgust, and oppression toward/of people who are attracted to, and fall in love with, the same sex through no fault of their own.

    As for someone who holds the opinion that heterosexual relationships are set apart, if they make no move to hurt others they are not homophobic. You are entitled to your opinion, but just because it’s your opinion does not make it fact. Especially as it is extremely unfactual and unsupported. As for the fact straight people make babies, duh. But not every couple has to make babies and a fulfilling relationship does not need a reproductive, or even sexual, component to be valid. This is a weak argument made by people scrambling for excuses.

  • TsukiNaito

    If you’re trying to make it appear LGBT allies are oppressing you and make a matyr out of yourself it’s a losing battle.

  • mintap

    I love people of the same sex. I even express this love though close physical contact (hugs). Is it “h***phobia” when people show hatred to me? Can I claim victim status as well?

    I do not merely hold the opinion that heterosexual relationships are set apart; Nature has tangibly set them apart entirely independent of any opinion of mine. (see: science)

    What would you define as “hurt”? Is having an institution (like marriage) that aligns with the union Nature has set apart hurting anyone who freely chooses to not enter such an arrangement?

  • TsukiNaito

    That comment was both sad and laughable. You are truly pitiful.

    But as much as I would love to go on about how science is not on your side either, how gay monkeys (and thousands of other animal) take care of their nieces and nephews, I realize it changes nothing in your thick akull. And the other half of me finds it hard to grace your pitiable response with an answer, and wants to let you go on screaming at your computer alone. But I will say this.

    What is hurt? Hurt is my friends living in fear of their families finding out they are LGBT and being cast out, rejected, left on the street alone and forgotten. Hurt is people all over the world being beaten and jailed, and killed for falling in love with someone, for becoming a part of something more than themselves. The people doing these things to them do not know Jesus. They NEED Jesus. Half of LGBT people have him, but their oppressors know nothing of his love. Just their own selfish agendas. You need Jesus, people like you need to know his radical love and what it does for the world.

  • SamHamilton

    Good list. I’d add:

    “If you’re more interested in asserting rights rather than accepting responsibilities to others.”

    “If you say God helps those who help themselves.”

    “If you think abortion on demand is a human right.”

    “If you think God, primarily, wants us to be happy.”

  • SamHamilton

    Decent point. The amount of energy spent by some Christians to legalize gay marriage and attacking those who disagree would make me think it was a priority of Jesus rather than an outgrowth of a individual rights-centric western worldview. That’s not an argument against gay marriage, but it is an argument about the amount of time and ink spent advocating for it.

  • SamHamilton

    Good thoughts. Thanks. There’s a difference between welcoming the stranger and throwing open political borders for whoever wants to cross.

  • SamHamilton

    Alex’s point is we’re instructed to give. Whether that’s the base of 10% of something higher is something we each have to think about.

  • SamHamilton

    The church I used to attend had American flag in the front of the sanctuary off to the side. What’s the problem? It just sits there. It’s basically just saying we’re a congregation that meets in the U.S. It doesn’t conflict with anything Jesus taught.

  • pearl mcelheran
  • mintap

    Hurt is ignoring the sins of LGBT. Convincing people their sins are normal and nothing to repent from is the deepest hurt you can do to them. Turning them away from the Gospel and Jesus’ righteousness has eternal ramifications. If anything should be called “h***phobia,” enabling such deconstruction should. There is nothing laughable about such loss.

  • mintap

    On the upside, so-called Christians devoting so much energy towards marketing for same-sex marriage keeps them busy. What damage could they do to society if they directed their abuses of Scripture in other directions? Think about the progress made at changing public opinion on abortion and the increased protection of the lives of the unborn. Think about the progress made simply at spreading the gospel in China, Africa, Latin American during this time as well. There is much to be hopeful about. Pride comes before fall. And the heavier they are the harder they fall. That give a new meaning to “gay pride”!

  • Thorn

    Poverty has ended if basic needs are met? By your definition the USA has ended poverty in this country then. Basic needs are readily available to everyone.
    But your picking on words here, rather than grasping the point of my saying orphans/widows. There will always be another poor, another in need, another widow. You can’t end poverty for simple practical reasons even of having actual economies. The line will just always shift to what we view as poor and needy tomorrow. If you end it today, the bar will just be raised tomorrow. If it ends today, someone new is born or added to the population tomorrow.

    Deuteronomy 15: For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’

    God never calls us to serve the needy because it will end poverty. He says it won’t end. He calls us to serve entirely because it won’t end though. If you make ending poverty the goal of a society much less Christianity it will lead you to concoct impractical and unwise policies as if you could establish some sort of earthly utopia. It may also leave you discouraged and disgruntled that it never ceases.

  • mintap

    Freedom of association is already available for love. I use it all the time to commit to those I love, even those of the same sex. I even use my freedom of association to engage in close physical contact with those I love (i.e., hugs).

    The state doesn’t know enough about people to know if they marry for procreation or not. They are not the thought police or the sperm carriers. The best the state can do is simply use public information to regulate the institution and have policy that sets apart whatever arrangement every single person originates through.

    Decades of social science tell us that mothering and fathering is different and that children fare the best when raised by their biological mother and father. And the scary thing for sexual and family deconstructionists is that every thing points to this trend continuing to appear in future social science data. As more and more alternative family arrangements start to become the subject of study, it will only become clearer. No amount of marketing can counter such scientific progress. The question is how much will be enough to convince the most zealous believers?

    And you have a nice story there about the West exporting “h***phobia” (derogatory slur) to the East, but how did that happen? Name specific people that have done that. What resources have been dedicated to that? Can you point to specific materials in Chinese that have been written by someone from the West that you would deem as “h***phobia”?

  • mintap

    I just looked up one of these organizations to see their position and the American College of Pediatricians specifically says, “there is sound evidence that children exposed to the homosexual lifestyle may be at increased risk for emotional, mental, and even physical harm.” Now lets see if you backtrack on your blanket false statement that you led with, or maybe instead you will resort to trying to claim that the one I happened to look up doesn’t qualify as a legitimate organization (or “true Scotsman”).

  • Tim Hartman

    If you think that Social Justice is the true thrust of Christianity.

  • otrotierra

    Where did Ben say that? Quote directly from Ben, line by line and word for word. Show us, Tim.

  • otrotierra

    You sure enjoy ranting about “liberal Christians,”yet such expressions and identities appear nowhere in Benjamin’s writing, and certainly nowhere in the teachings of Jesus.

    You’re having a conversation with yourself, all by yourself.

  • Tim Hartman

    I wasn’t quoting him. I was adding to the list. I’m not even implying that he is a liberal. What I AM implying is there are all kinds of political theories that get into the church that don’t belong there. Both sides do it, and both sides are wrong. The church is about the supremacy of Christ over all things. If He is Lord, than all the other stuff is secondary. That includes capitalism, communism, socialism, conservationism, libertarianism..any freakin’ ‘ism’ you can come up with.

  • otrotierra

    Then what’s your source from dominant, mainstream American Christianity? References, please.

  • Tim Hartman

    I really have no idea what you’re talking about. All I know is Jesus. Jesus makes me want to be light, to reflect light..and if people see that light, and they ask me about that light, I tell them where it is comes from. Politics is about what you can get, and who you can control…all politics. That’s why Jesus didn’t care about movements or governments. He cared about changing lives. Government doesn’t care about who you are, only how you can be used, or contained. So, I’m on Jesus’ side. He is that true bridge from man to God. That’s what’s important. Everything else is fluid and ever changing, but Christ never changes. Governments, and theories, and movements always change. So, you can keep all of that. I just want something a little more….permanent.

  • Tim Hartman

    If you put anything above the Lordship of Christ. Your heterosexuality, your homosexuality, your sexual orientation, your family, your job, your love of animals, music, money, your pain, your sadness, your politics, your love of…anything. Then you are not walking in Jesus’ footsteps.

  • Tim Hartman

    One more thing. Politics is about divisions. Christianity is about leveling the playing field. We are all the same in God’s sight. If you find yourself fighting for one group over another for political purposes, you are an Americanized Christian.

  • mintap

    Of course the studies show loving parents are better. But there is not jut only one criteria measured. They also show that having a mother and father is better. And also that having ones biological parents is better. This is like 50 years of studies confirming all three of these points. You are narrowing in on the first and neglecting the other two. We have all indication that future studies will continue to make these three points clear. That is the pattern we’ve seen.

    Of course many missionaries would teach about family. Are you really calling teaching about family “h***phobic”? What is not “h***phobic”?

    And there is a strong LGBT lobby and highly funded marketing campaign that is a dangerous political movement. A problem is that many people have trouble distinguishing the entirely valid political fight against this lobby compared to people committing suicide or murdering each other because they self-identify as homosexual. The later may well be classified as “h***phobia” if such a term wasn’t already a loaded term full of microagressions and bigotry. But the former is a way to lead in the fight against tyranny, judicial activism, violations of free speech, religious liberty, and societal flourishing.

  • mintap

    The ACP is a major association. They have members (practicing pediatricians) in nearly all the states and multiple countries. They cite solid peer-reviewed studies in their positions. This is more than some of the other associations are able to do. There are surveys of the literature that the APA cites for its position demonstrating the political bias of such an organization.
    See this one which found that “strong assertions, including those made by the APA, were not empirically warranted.”
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0049089X12000580

  • mintap

    The point is that no studies are fully representative, but we see a pattern that as more comprehensive studies come out it becomes more clear that the biological mother-father arrangement is the best for children on multiple measures. We simply need to follow the science. Many people do have a zealous faith in radical gender indistinguishability and people are free to believe that for personal matters, but public policy should be based on solid science and not such faith positions. This goes for policy of professional associations as well. Many of them have political agendas that place up barriers to following the most valid science. They become less relevant as they do this. But scientific progress will continue even if there are hold outs; it will only become more clear and such hold outs only less relevant.

  • mintap

    “From advertisements in gay publications, 55 gay or bisexual men were recruited”

    There is a clear sampling bias right there. Such studies are invalid.

    I grant that you can find many such studies, LGBT lobbyists have funds to hire such results, but quantity ≠ quality. The studies that have followed the best social science practices have found that children fare best with a mother and father:

    For example, studies with a “large, random sample” find that “numerous, consistent differences, especially between the children of women who have had a lesbian relationship and those with still-married (heterosexual) biological parents.”
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0049089X12000610

    As well there are many other studies that point to the importance of fathering or mothering. Here is one:
    http://cercor.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2013/11/24/cercor.bht310.abstract

    More and more studies like this will pile up. The question is how much data will it take to convince the “true believers” that children matter and that their family arrangement that they all originate through matters.

  • mintap

    “Research among children raised by homosexual parents involves methodological issues”
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22381718

    Again quantity ≠ quality

  • mintap

    To be valid, such studies need to follow best social science practice. Here is another one that unlike the studies you are pointing to uses a “large random sample” and it was found that “Children living with gay and lesbian families in 2006 were about 65 % as likely to graduate compared to children living in opposite sex marriage families.”

    This is what we find when we don’t get the survey responses from advertisements in gay-friendly magazines or in gay activist community centers. Here see this to see why the studies you seem to be appealing to are invalid:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sampling_bias

  • mintap

    The Court was not operating on such data. The ruling does not appeal to it but instead appeals to unmeasurable qualities like the “spirituality” (Justice Kennedy’s word) of the same-sex pair bond.

    When we follow the science we’ll simply set apart the arrangement that every single child originates through. When we follow the lobbyists and the marketing campaigns, then we miss the science. This goes for professional organizations as well.

    The tyranny is in deconstructing marriage and family, an institution that has the purpose of securing the rights of children. The tyranny is against children and results in violating their natural rights. Every single child originates through the male-female union. Banning states from setting apart such a union is a direct attack on every child.

    Democrats like George Wallace are much like the Democrats today. They reject Natural Rights and think the subjective opinion of the elite should take priority. Also note that the people behind “God Hates F*gs” are also Democrats.

  • mintap

    Yes, the courts did highly rely on that study, but it is simply another highly flawed and therefore inconclusive study. See:

    “Re-examination of the data finds that 27 of the 44 cases are misidentified heterosexual parents.”

    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2589129

  • mintap

    “prospective lesbian mothers were recruited via
    announcements distributed at lesbian events, in women’s bookstores, and in lesbian newspapers throughout metropolitan Boston, Washington DC, and
    the San Francisco Bay Area.”

    Sampling bias

  • mintap

    Regnerus’ work is nothing insignificant. It is some of the best research we have. This is why the political activists are the most against it. They don’t actually want quality research, they want their position forced.

    “The attack on Regnerus, however, is so starved for actual evidence of significant mistakes in the study’s methods and analysis that it has long since moved on to the search for unseemly motives, conspiracies, and deception.”
    http://www.nas.org/articles/the_campaign_to_discredit_regnerus_and_the_assault_on_peer_review

    Some people are “true believers” and are not impressed by where the science actually leads. But for those there is still hope, the more and more evidence that piles up, and as more and more of the faulty studies are dismissed, it will become harder and harder for them to be so zealous.

    Here’s more:

    “Emotional problems were over twice as prevalent for children with same-sex parents than for children with opposite-sex parents.”
    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2500537

    “Children living with gay and lesbian families in 2006 were about 65 % as likely to graduate compared to children living in opposite sex marriage families.”
    http://www.terpconnect.umd.edu/~pnc/allen-ss-grad.pdf

  • mintap

    No emotive response needed. It’s simply that non-random sampling skews results.

  • Little Sir

    Gotcha.

  • carolgardner

    You just described social justice with your sentence about a level playing field.

  • Tim Hartman

    God’s ‘leveling the playing field’ is completely different from political ‘leveling the playing field’. God levels the playing field by loving us all equally. Offering salvation through Jesus. Politics levels the playing field by force of government outcomes. Two completely different things. Social Justice is a political paradigm that has nothing to do with the work of the church. I totally believe that if we as a church are waiting for the government to level the playing field, we will be waiting a very long time. As a good example of this, the Government has spent trillions on eradicating the percentage of those in poverty since the 1960’s. Do you know, after spending trillions, how much the percentage has changed? Not one percent. We will succeed in helping people far more if we make disciples. That, after all, is the best and most permanent way to bring people out of despair.

  • mintap

    Right direction for what? There are many directions that are right in different ways. Maybe try some of these:

    Probably the best resource out there (e.g., most reasonable, “only using the resources of human reason alone”, objective, bias free, and legally accurate) is “What is Marriage”:
    http://www.amazon.com/What-Is-Marriage-Woman-Defense/dp/1594036225

    Here is the original paper that it is based on from the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy:
    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1722155%20%20

    Look up any debates or talks by Ryan Anderson:
    a short CNN clip (see for yourself if you think he is reasonable):
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrk1R-3X9Hc
    a longer talk at Stanford:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWIhZ5xJJaQ
    another one:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=946hbHPRM18

    And here is the statement issued to the Supreme Court by the American College of Pediatricians:
    http://www.supremecourt.gov/ObergefellHodges/AmicusBriefs/14-556_American_College_of_Pediatricians.pdf

    “All but a handful of the studies cited in support [of same-sex marriage] draw on small, non-random samples which cannot be extrapolated to the same-sex population at large. This limitation is repeatedly acknowledged in scientific meetings and journals, but ignored when asserted as settled findings in public or judicial advocacy.
    Of the several dozen extant studies on same-sex parenting in the past two decades, only eight have used a random sample large enough to find evidence of lower well-being for children with same-sex parents if it exists. Of these eight, the four most recent studies, by Dr. Mark Regnerus, Dr. Douglas Allen and two by Dr. Paul Sullins, report substantial and pertinent negative outcomes for children with same-sex parents.”

    Is this the kind of direction you are asking about?

  • John Sears

    Ben, I appreciated the heart of the article that ungodly things from our culture can shape our Christianity into something distinctly not Christian. I too think we can fool ourselves into thinking that being “American” is being christian.

    I did think one idea you suggested in point one was stated in too strong of language. You said “The early Christians rejected anything to do with government.” You then left that hanging and it was confusing to me.

    The conclusion I came to reading that statement is that in order to be truly Christian one must reject anything to do with government. (I’m not saying that’s what you meant, but based on the altruistic language I could see others coming to this conclusion.) I’m curious. What did you mean by that particular statement? Should Christians avoid politics, voting, running for public office, paying taxes, etc? Or did you mean it as an example of how early Christians saw God’s kingdom as the solution to the world’s problems, not government. Thanks for clarifying.

    God bless.

  • Tim Hartman

    That’s what I meant. Vote. Pay taxes. But we live at a time where people supplant their faith in God with what the government can supply. That is simply idolatry.

  • Italiamike

    And the same you damned fool in regard to doctors who support the gay agenda. You have just made a moot point

  • Italiamike

    The homosexual will NEVER be truly accepted 100%

  • Jan Fearing

    I appreciate this message – thank you Benjamin Corey. I was the person you are speaking about here. Then 3 years ago it was like God gave me a love potion to drink for Syria – that’s right – Syria. After spending 3 years and almost 2,000 hours now not only researching, but more importantly reaching out to people in that country and others in the Middle East, I realized that I had made an idol out of my patriotism and conservatism. (BTW – President Assad IS the good guy in Syria and we are supporting terrorists covertly and overtly to overthrow a quite legitimate, positive, and popular leader.) Not only do Americans not have the FIRST clue about the region and the people there – Muslims, Christians, and many other faiths – that ignorance and total lack of compassion is greatly responsible for so much of the death and destruction that has gone on and is going on. The conservative Christians in America love war and money and talk a lot about national ‘interests’ as the justification for shredding entire nations. It’s weird – it is ungodly. I am so glad Jesus woke me up to what you are talking about …

  • esbee

    Well, we live where we live. Christians in other parts of the world are certainly different from us because they face different issues. Their cultures will certainly flavor their choices, such as beer drinking in Germany, attending pubs in England, carrying rifles to defend yourself from bear attacks if you live in wilderness areas around the world. And we are certainly different from Christians in other countries. Worldwide, the only constant is Christ in our life. Of course, the Christians in communist or Muslim countries have it the worst because they face death every day for breaking the law by becoming Christians. Oh wait, breaking the law because of choosing Christ over a godless govt. hmmmm!

  • Autismmomx4

    Matthew 25:31-46

  • Tim Hartman

    Yes, that’s right. Live Matthew 25:31-46. He is calling you to do it. Jesus is saying take what I give you and share with those in need. But many people think that we should do the job by giving to the government. A government that wastes as much as the poor gets. That is not being a good steward of what God gives you. You help the poor. You take care of the widows. You clothe the naked and give water to the thirsty. That’s how people see who Jesus is. But people who want to rely on the government doing it will only be sharing the ‘greatness’ of government. And even then it will be handled poorly. Social justice is is NOT Christianity.

  • Scott Lane

    I think I might actually like your preaching… Still we don’t Really know what his words were.

  • Brian Johnson

    Not too bad, but you present a typical false belief when you say the early church rejected private ownership of property. In Acts 4 (and tangentially in Acts 5 with Ananias and Sapphira), it was not a rejection of private property on display; it was generosity OF private property that was on display. In addition, this chapter in the book of Acts was one small period of time, it is not representative of the larger era known as “The Early Church”. The legitimacy of private property and the good stewardship of it is a theme that pops up in many places in the Bible.

  • This Americanized version of “Christianity” has cost many a soul a relationship with the Lord. Awesome post, Ben!

  • SpanishMN

    Wayne Grudem just preached on this at Bethlehem Baptist Church, Mineapolis, Oct. 17, and concurs with Brian Johnson…generosity, private property, etc.

  • homeschool mama

    There are many synods of the Lutheran church that you do not have concourse with….like the other big snyod WELS and almost all the others due to the Episcopal’s endorsement and acceptance of sin (homosexuality).

  • homeschool mama

    No every child needs a mother and a father…. not just two parents, but two parents of the opposite sex. In my years of teaching I have seen the devastation that loosing a parent causes, whether the loss comes from death or abandonment after a divorce.
    Just because someone doesn’t think homosexuality is natural or normal doesn’t make them a “homophobe”. Believe it or not, most Christians who think that homosexuality is a sin, still love the person.

  • Bones

    You don’t have to be married to raise kids.
    Neither do you have to be heterosexual.

  • Bones

    Read Ched Myers Binding the Strongman: A Political Reading of Mark’s Story of Jesus.

    Jesus was a political figure and the gospel was indeed political.

    The Romans didn’t kill Jesus because of religion.

    So the old faith v works, individualism v community and social justice v dogma chestnuts are still in play.

  • Bones

    So MLK should have just sat around praying waiting for Jesus to bring equality. And the African churches should have done nothing while their people were systematically treated as inferiors in their own land. In fact Desmond Tutu would say it was Christ who compelled him to speak out against apartheid.
    Christians have been at the forefront of social and political movements primarily through non-violent activism.
    I suppose in your world, that’s not important.

  • Bones

    So while you pray, those of us in the real world will get on with living and being the Gospel.
    Thankfully not of all of us have such a shallow individualistic view of the gospel.
    There were plenty of those sorts who did nothing about slavery.
    Not their problem.

  • Bones

    What is the gospel?

    I’d say this.

    ““The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
    Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor.
    He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives,
    And recovery of sight to the blind,
    To set free those who are oppressed,
    19 To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.””
    Setting free the oppressed sounds like politics and social justice to me.
    I would say if you’re not interested in that, then you don’t have the Spirit of the Lord.

  • Tim Hartman

    The Romans killed Jesus because they were manipulated into doing it. Their impressions of him and the Jewish leader’s impressions of him were completely wrong. A political ‘use’ of Jesus is completely misguided and doesn’t serve His Kingdom. It only serves those who want him for their political advantage.

  • Bones

    The kingdom of heaven is political.
    You are reading the gospel like a westerner only interested in individual salvation.

    Now that I read it it’s staggering that people believe that.

    If the Romans really knew who Jesus was they wouldn’t have executed him.

    Sure……

  • Tim Hartman

    It is not an individualistic view of the Gospel. It is a body- centric view of the Gospel. If we the church do his will, people are helped and saved. And ‘we’ are Jesus’ body. Governments are not Jesus’ body. Politics, again, is not the tool Jesus gave us to win others to him. The church is.

  • Bones

    No, you are reading it from an individualistic evangelical point of view which is very American.
    History’s full of those types who did nothing but allow evil and suffering.

  • Bones

    Jesus didn’t give us the Spirit to ‘ win’ others.
    If that’s what your Christianity is about then it’s pretty shallow.

  • Bones

    You forgot Calvinism, Evangelism, Trinitarianism, Fundamentalism, Biblicalism, Methodism, Catholicism, Pentecostalism…….

  • Bones

    You do give to the government.
    It’s called taxes and Christ said something about that. And your comments about the government wasting money ARE political and shows which camp you’re in.
    You cannot have Christianity without social justice.
    That is wanting the king without the kingdom.

  • Tim Hartman

    I think that’s very important. You aren’t quite getting what I’m saying. I’m saying don’t allow the work of Government to be the excuse not to act. I see this tendency on both sides, And it is an insidious excuse to lay down and miss the power of what Christ can do to improve people’s lives.

  • Tim Hartman

    I’m sorry. But you can’t make a case for your anger from the very words and actions of Christ.

  • Bones

    That’s not what you’re saying.
    You’re saying don’t get involved with social justice.
    That doesn’t work in the real world.

  • Tim Hartman

    Yes. Exactly. Every one of the things listed are things you and the church are called to do. In the name of Christ. Not in the name of some government or politician.

  • Bones

    I’m not angry. I know Christians from many different countries and met Desmond Tutu on a few occasions.
    You can’t see past what you’ve been taught.
    American Evangelism is a very individualistic phenomena.

  • Tim Hartman

    Shallow?..to bring and save the lost? To find that one lamb out of many that has strayed from God? To be His face and hands to the poor and hungry and lost? I’m sorry if you think that’s ‘shallow’ because that is what we are called to do.

  • Bones

    So you don’t think the government should provide universal heath care or welfare for the poor?
    Christians should be doing that….

  • Bones

    It is pretty shallow.
    It’s more concerned about numbers and ‘winning’ people than actual human beings and what they’re going through.
    It’s actually to make you feel better.

  • Tim Hartman

    I really don’t understand your anger. I do give to the government. Everything that is asked of me, but I know that what I give is not going to be used wisely. So, I find ways to give beyond that. To the church, to those in need, to any that ask of me. That is what Christ demands. But I will not leave the work of Christ to any government, because they aren’t doing God’s work, and wont do it as well as I can from person to person.

  • Tim Hartman

    Of course he gave us the Spirit to seek and save the lost. Read the great Commission. What is our number one job from Christ? Make disciples….period. I choose to try and do what Jesus asked us to do.

  • Bones

    Why do you think people are angry with you?
    I know in my country, there is no way Christians or churches could provide universal health care and welfare for the poor.
    It’s an American thing that doesn’t like their government doing that.

  • Bones

    We make disciples by freeing the oppressed, setting the captives free, proclaiming the year of the Lord’s favour yada yada yada
    It actually has little to do with personal witnessing and asking people if they have Jesus in their heart.
    Once again.. That’s American.

  • Tim Hartman

    How wonderful! What a great experience. I might even agree with you to some extent, but I don’t care for the titles we put on things beyond Jesus’ own words. I only read what Jesus said and try and do it. That means treating everyone fairly, with love, and letting them see who Jesus is. That’s my world. You go fight the big fights. That’s great! But I choose to share Jesus, because that’s what he told me to do, and I see so much more benefit of that than anything in the world.

  • Tim Hartman

    I can’t care about that. If that is what the Government tries to do, fine. But they have a really terrible record of getting any of that done. I can only care about the people I know. Universal health-care won’t bring one person into heaven. That’s the most important thing. Now, if I help make disciples by feeding the poor, or helping get people off of drugs, or helping people find work, then I’ve done the work of the Kingdom.

  • Thank’s Ben. The political and national liberation of the church is one that really needs to be heard.

  • Tim Hartman

    It’s exactly what I’m saying. “Social Justice” is often an excuse to not do what we are called to do. You deny that we are to make disciples..that this is just a western construct to avoid ‘social justice’, but it’s the most basic job we are told to do.

  • Tim Hartman

    I don’t care about numbers, I care about people that I know. That’s the only REAL influence I have. That’s the only real influence you have.

  • Bones

    I don’t think you understand what a disciple is.
    Discipleship is not about getting people to heaven.
    It’s about bringing God’s Kingdom on earth.
    And that is social justice.

  • Tim Hartman

    Find Jesus. Read what he said. Be honest about your own “Social Justice” point of view…and the possibility that you are limiting the Power of Jesus by making Social Justice your only Gospel. I see both of our viewpoints in Christ, but you seem to be limited to one point of view. It’s very narrow.

  • Bones

    Actually I care about the people I don’t know as well.
    We should be striving to make a better society which reflects the kingdom of God. That’s a society without oppression.

  • Tim Hartman

    Because the outcomes of the Government are very poor. We are terrible at helping people find work. We are terrible at managing the resources we are given. So much waste! We are told by scripture to be good stewards of what God has given us, and our Government is a terrible administrator of those resources. That’s why.

  • Bones

    I’ve preached at evangelistic crusades, so I don’t need to ‘find’ Jesus.
    We all need to understand Jesus better and how that relates to the cultures we live in. Your view is actually very narrow.

  • Tim Hartman

    No. That’s not what we are called to do. We are called to bring others into the Kingdom of God, The Church. There should be Social Justice there, and there certainly will be Social Justice in the Kingdom into eternity.

  • Bones

    No, we bring the Kingdom of God to people.
    It’s already here….
    And the kingdom of God is not the Church.

  • Tim Hartman

    Yeeesh! I’m afraid you have to ignore a great deal of scripture to make that point. Which proves to me that you don’t really care about the Gospel as much as you care about the political. Thanks. I can leave this conversation now with a clear understanding of where you are coming from.

  • Tim Hartman

    Again, political over spiritual.

  • Tim Hartman

    No, I think you do. Because you don’t seem to care about what he said over what you want.

  • Bones

    The king AND the kingdom.

  • Tim Hartman

    Absolutely! I agree with those additions to the list.

  • Bones

    There is no way you can get from the gospels that the kingdom of God is the church. You obviously haven’t studied. I recommend reading some commentaries on the gospels.

  • Tim Hartman

    I’m happy just to read the Gospels, thanks.

  • Bones

    Well I don’t think you do.
    Otherwise you’d be asking why do most Christians have different ideas about discipleship than you.
    Maybe you have it wrong?

  • Bones

    Reading does not equal understanding.

    And that’s quite a prideful and unteachable attitude. Like you’re not willing to listen to others because they might threaten your beliefs.

  • Tim Hartman

    But His Kingdom, not yours.

  • Tim Hartman

    Probably. I’m never that certain. So I read what Jesus said, and try and do it. That’s all I got. When you stray out of those lines, you risk becoming your own Gospel.

  • Herm

    “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.” John 16:12-15

    After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. Acts 4:31

  • Bones

    The kingdom is the reign of God. That is not a church. So it’s not your kingdom.
    It’s a kingdom of justice and equality.

  • Tim Hartman

    Reading others opinions over Jesus’ isn’t understanding either. It’s misguidance.

  • Tim Hartman

    It sounds like it, but it is not it. It is a political construct that is quite beyond Christianity, and sees itself as more important than the total saving Grace of Christ.
    .

  • Bones

    You read Jesus from your own western understanding no doubt influenced by your church….
    Maybe the lines aren’t so clear….

  • Bones

    Good night, Herm.
    I’m going to bed.
    It’s 1am.

  • Tim Hartman

    Yup! The Holy Spirit and the Word. They got ya covered!

  • Bones

    And you don’t have an opinion?

  • Herm

    Cheers!

  • Tim Hartman

    I just take Him at His word. Jesus was pretty clear about things. It’s our tendency to think we are smarter than Jesus that gets us into trouble.

  • Bones

    Actually it’s our tendency to think that we can work out Jesus on our own….

  • Tim Hartman

    Okay. I rely a lot on Paul, Peter John…etc. as well.

  • Bones

    Sure you do…
    I’m not that arrogant.

  • Tim Hartman

    Fascinating how you dismiss my ‘Western’ understanding, when all I’m saying is read Jesus’ words and act on them. It’s not “Western’. It’s just reading and doing. Seems very uncomplicated and true to the Gospels.

  • Tim Hartman

    Glad to hear it.

  • Herm

    Tim, you are spouting traditions of interpretation and not from the counsel of the Holy Spirit. Jesus worked for thirty years before beginning His ministry. Jesus and the 12 disciples worked wherever they went to maintain real life. Disciple means student and not apostle which means missionary. Jesus church is held by those whelmed by the Holy Spirit in the temple of their hearts and minds. The kingdom of God is just that, an empire administrated today by our Lord on earth as it is in heaven. We, today mortally alive, serve one master who teaches us to honor our responsibilities to Man and God. There is more but you first have to understand that every time the word of God is mentioned in the New Testament He is mentioned as present when the New Testament hadn’t even been written yet. The word of God is the Holy Spirit only who speaks only what the Word (Jesus) and the Father say. This comes directly from the word of God, no interpretation.

  • Tim Hartman

    I disagree with none of that. Cheers! As long as what we do is does not circumvent or disagree with what Jesus has told us to do.

  • Herm

    Then why do you insist on not getting involved when from the Bible (which is not the word of God written or otherwise) has chronicled Jesus saying that when you do to the least of these you do to Him?

  • Herm

    It is not what Jesus told us to do 1,982 years ago that counts, which has not changed in spirit, but what is Jesus telling you in the Spirit of truth to do today? Does the love and doing to others in all the commands of Jesus pertain to doing real work and putting out real effort to help all of mankind, even the enemy you are told to love, in all the world today? Jesus did not call us to exclude anyone but by our example in love make students (disciples) of His as the Teacher.

  • Tim Hartman

    What makes you think I’m not involved? That’s a terrible assumption on your part. I just don’t care for the titles that we put on our actions. I just act. I do good for the sake of Christ….period. Every other name is superfluous. I’m for Social Justice for Christ! I’m for conservatism for Christ! I’m for communism or socialism for Christ! No. I’m for Christ. We have these ridiculous arguments about what strain we are from. ALL these names do is create more divisions. Look how angry Bones is, because the name ‘Social Justice’ is far more important than the name of Christ.

  • Tim Hartman

    I really don’t know where you and I disagree, except that you want me to make ‘Social Justice’ the main thrust of my mission and ministry? No. I make Christ the main thrust of my mission and ministry. And that includes working to make sure all are seen as equals. The we care for the poor and sick and lonely and weak…..and that His name is above all in all that I do.

  • Herm

    Tim, I am not certain where you are coming from because you have associated the kingdom of God and Jesus’ church on earth one and the same. You criticize Bones for ignoring “a great deal of scripture” when scriptures clearly separate the two as one a place of worship and one an empire. You take the phrase “Social Justice” and imply that we must wait for the kingdom to be established on earth before we act through all means possible, including actively in civil governing of ourselves (mankind) led by the Spirit, to strive for “Social Justice”.

    Jesus isn’t the focus. Christ is the Word, the Rabbi, the High Priest, the Son of Man, the Son of God and is the reigning Lord with all authority over heaven and on earth today but He is not the “main thrust”. The “main thrust” is learning better every day as a little child of God how to love all of God’s creation as an integral part as much as He does. For us who trust wholeheartedly in His sense of social justice we despise the influence of carnal family traditions and we pick up our cross prepared to die that our enemy might one day learn to live. The focus there was on our enemy in love.

    In Jesus example we serve all in the only working value system subscribed to by the will of our Father, actual sympathetic, empathetic and woeful love for all of mankind and God. Jesus sits on a throne along side our Father now established in the hearts and minds of His disciples. Both trees are there, also, of the knowledge of good and evil as well as of life. In Jesus example, as children of God, within a carnal body we must do real work and influence in carnal ways as well as spiritual ways (children of Man and children of God) the social justice of love. All the law and the prophets are contained within Matthew 7:12 and 22:37-40 that works for good carnally and spiritually.

    In my heart and mind “Social Justice is the true thrust of Christianity” by whatever loving means made available by our serving Lord even to employing the cross or a government of the people, by the people and for the people that others might live. Otherwise we are pretty much in agreement. Thank you!

    Love you!

  • Tim Hartman

    Love you, too! I just see the mission of the church as bigger. Social Justice seems to me to be an end unto itself, and one based on government outcomes. And Government outcomes are always inadequate, because they come from a political place rather than a place of Grace. We can change the Laws, but hearts cannot be changed by anyone other than the Holy Spirit. History is full of these terrible turns when we try to make things better by force of Government, when change of hearts is what is really needed. We make people better by introducing them to Christ and their lives are transformed. That is ultimate Social Justice.

  • siklopz

    you seem to ignore the fact that Muslim countries are not godless. in fact, they are frequently more religious than the US. further, Sharia Law is very similar to fundamentalist, Old Testament Christianity, a fact that few American Christians wish to acknowledge.

  • Herm

    Grace is “the free and unmerited favor of God” while political is relating to the government or the public affairs of an empire (kingdom). Laws in civil governing are established and changed by the insistence of influence from the hearts and minds of the constituents. As we introduce the Spirit of love overflowing from our hearts and minds so do we influence the laws of our nation and our world. In the USA this is understood by speaking out and at the ballot box politically. To do neither as God’s children influences no other to witness and understand the depth of concern for real life God has for all of us, good and/or evil. In the USA, as a democratic republic, we are more the government when active than when under the rule of Caesar. We have a Lord we represent who has authority over all while still caring for and knowing of the well being of the least among us.

    We have the Advocate who publicly supports or recommends a particular cause or policy by the grace of God politically. This appears to be where we are hung up in that I understand all resources can be used to maintain as much social justice as possible step by step and you seem to say that once an all others are introduced to Christ our job for social justice is done.

    Little children, as are we in God, are learning through first childish ways to grow into better ways. There is no magic to getting stronger, wiser and exercising better judgment than laboriously working our way through. If this struggle doesn’t appeal then perhaps an eternal life of one adventure in struggle, to the next, to the next without end is not so welcoming after all. Otherwise, if all is accomplished to our perfection by some incantation then count me out for I find no appeal to playing a harp on a cloud for the rest of eternity or, worse, kneeling in songs of praise to my Lord God forever more. I want to continue to grow up in familial relationship as a child of God struggling, learning, experiencing and savoring all the infinite adventures there are to share without end.

    Politics, down and dirty work, struggle, pain, scars and nearly anything else people tend to shy away from are not in and of themselves evil. Adults of Man grow to learn that each is necessary to life but children of mankind seek only instant gratification. We make each of those discomforts evil when we don’t want to be responsible to serve others through struggle so we as children do choose to only be served (Matthew 7:12). Jesus shied away from none of those during His dusty, struggling, painful walk on earth and He has the scars to prove it.

    I’m not waiting for the “ultimate Social Justice”. I’m loving all of life right now as a spiritual citizen first of the kingdom of God, on earth and heaven, responsibly working to love all others while influencing the laws of my nation and world that my carnal body must live within influential.

    Do you understand why I and Bones might disagree with you by suggesting that our responsibilities to Jesus are fulfilled by your statement of, “We make people better by introducing them to Christ and their lives are transformed”?

    We introduce people to the real living Christ when we work within the constraints of this earth and mankind according to the commands of Jesus. When it is obvious by the results (fruits) of His solutions to social justice on earth, that any other tried system by their results of Man does not, then people’s lives are transformed. As a harsh example of getting involved in the example of Jesus, the really hard one most professed Christians hesitate at, is confronting the political state of ISIS according to the commands of Jesus carrying only our cross and no sword. That’s real life and His solution, though agonizingly painful, it is proven to work to bring peace and joy while any other solution of mankind pits us against them over and over and over again without end. Not getting involved because it is political only continues those childish political systems of mankind that work only for a few from the top down rather than the many from the bottom up.

    Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. John 14:11-12

  • Darren Cohen

    But when you let your culture overwhelm the teachings of Christ to the point where all your political policies are opposite everything he said are you really following him? Saying Jesus a lot doesn’t make you a follower of Christ. Getting angry a lot and writing Jesus on your protest signs doesn’t make you a follower of Christ.

  • Darren Cohen

    “President Assad IS the good guy in Syria”

    I guess if brutally crushing all dissent is your idea of a good guy, then yes, Assad is a real peach.

  • It’s interesting that the article pretty much only went after the “Conservative” cliches of the Western church and none of the liberal ones? Interesting.

    “1. If you look at the early Christians and are in disbelief over what you find.”

    Yes, a lot of Western Christians would be in disbelief that people who were converting in Paul’s day were leaving lives of sexual “liberty” [doing whatever they wanted sexually with any number of adults/non adults consenting/not consenting] to lives of heterosexual monogamy. Not really a thought system affirmed in the West now. If anything, many Christians are countering Paul and encouraging a theology that returns people to what they were doing PRE-Christian influence in Corinth, Rome etc.

    “2. Your chief concern with Muslims is how to defeat them instead of how to show them the love of Christ.” Seems like the West is actually bending over backwards to accommodate Muslims.

    “3. If you can recite more of the US Constitution and Bill of Rights than you can the Sermon on the Mount.” When you realize that the foundation of the USA was based on Judeo Christian principles, does that help?

    “4. If you’re going to spend more time focused on the presidential election than serving real people around you.”
    Is this just directed at the polisci nerds? I feel like most Christians in general couldn’t care less about current events or politics.

    “5. If you advocate cutting government programs for the poor but don’t actually tithe yourself.” Interesting that those who advocate for LESS big gov intrusion are the ones who give more to charity, isn’t it?

    “6. If you say “we’re a nation of laws” in reference to immigrants faster than you quote what the Bible says about immigrants.” Seems rather specific.

    “7. If you think Paul’s prohibition on female teachers is straightforward, but Jesus’s teaching on enemy love is somehow open to a thousand degrees of nuance.” The only enemies you can hate are BIGOTS!

    “8. If you only see sexuality in the admonition to be modest.” Wasn’t a lot of Paul’s writing re: conduct in church and clothing because women with new found freedom in Christ were not covering their hair, etc which was tantamount to someone walking into church in a bikini and light up heels in our day? Freedom in Christ should be tempered with a desire to not distract our neighbor during a church service right?

    “9. If you think defeating gay marriage is the most pressing issue of our time.” Well, a lot of people do think that pretending a father/mother doesn’t matter or that a man is actually a woman MIGHT have a rather large impact on society.

    “10. If your church honors soldiers more than the elderly woman who has been quietly teaching Sunday school for 30 years.” Yes, elderly people in general seem to be ignored by our culture. But most of them would probably espouse orthodox theology and probably not be big fans of the Westernization of our theology either.

  • Tim Hartman

    But Jesus himself never utters the words Social Justice. He just leads us to walk in his footsteps. You are looking for a construct that doesn’t include Christ’s body, the Church, so I can never line myself with your points of view. Sorry.

  • Chris Allen

    I have a question for the author:

    You said, “An American value is small government and low tax rates, but a Christian value is the elimination of poverty– which is precisely why the early Christians shared their wealth instead of hoarding it. However, while many American Christians fight for lower taxes, the average American Christian doesn’t give money to charity. ”

    My question: when did low tax rates trump helping the needy, as both American *and* Christian values for government? There’s an inference here that this giving and caring should only be done at the individual level, and I’ve seen plenty of places where this is said outright.

    So tell me something: if a government does the same kind of good that an individual does, why are we chastising government for doing so? Do you think it matters to a hungry child or a sick elderly person whether the aid they receive comes from an individual, a charity, or a government program? Should they refuse the aid if it comes from the latter? Can their stomach or their broken hip tell if the aid they received comes from a person or a government?

    This is what baffles me about American politics, modern style: so many put the donor above the recipient, when it’s the recipient that matters. So many want to say our government is wrong for what, in an individual Christian, would be seen by Christians as Christian values and Christian care. Is it because culturally we are so set upon casting government as the villain, that we must *shape* it to be so, even when it’s actually right?

    In the end, government is *supposed* to be participatory—it’s supposed to be US. As members of this country, we are supposed to participate in the system, to do our homework, and to work together to elect people who will represent us and work together to make this country a better place… yet we have so many who refuse to do so, and who want to cast government as the ultimate villain—yet we ourselves create that role. We can do better.

    And one of the ways we start is to acknowledge that in some ways, government (all of us acting together) *does* have more power than an individual or a group, in that government can ensure the needy are helped *despite* the fact that not everyone gives to charity, not everyone is willing to help the needy, that some despise the needy, and/or that some would separate the needy into “sheep” and “goats” by their *own* definition, and then use that to refuse to help those they label “goats.”

    The point is, absolutely we need individuals to be giving and loving, to care—but we also need government to help the needy, because the amount and aid from individuals may go up and down, while government can and should keep it steady. After all, if one month your charitable group can feed 500 people, and the next month only 400, that’s 100 people going hungry… but if government allots to feed 500 people and we prioritize that in how government funds are spent, those 500 people will be fed *every* month.

    Part of our problem is that those who make wealth a virtue and poverty a sin, have carried those warped values to state legislatures and to Congress, and they are busily underfunding and cutting those very programs (which are called a “safety net” for a *reason*). At the same time, they are promoting war, funding products of the industrial military complex rather than caring for our soldiers and veterans, giving more tax breaks to the wealthiest, and continuing corporate welfare. In essence, they are *subverting* the system by which we prioritize how government funds (which we all contribute to via taxes) are spent. From a Christian viewpoint, they’re making our government *less* in line with Christian values… because they’re removing that aid and safety net for thousands of people, some of whom will die without it, and all of whom will suffer greater hardship as their support is reduced if it’s not cut outright.

    By all means, give as an individual; give as a church—but don’t villainize and undervalue the role of, and value in, government’s ability to aid the needy.

    (And by the way: small government and low tax rates weren’t always American values… they’ve simply become what we embrace as values as the rhetoric has driven us to do. I can remember when American values were caring about your neighbor, having compassion for the poor, the sick, the elderly, the children, when it was considered honorable and good for our taxes to help those people. We didn’t worry about “small government,” we wanted *good* government… and the difference is telling.)

  • Chris Allen

    Another point for those who want to cut government aid to the needy:

    If charitable concerns did a better job of helping the needy, there would be fewer needy that they cannot help that government *must* help instead. So if you want to reduce the amount of government’s role in helping the needy, step up to the plate and get more people to do likewise, so that fewer people *need* government aid. THAT is the way to reduce the people on government aid, NOT doing it as we have been doing: simply chopping them off the lists, or reducing the amount of aid that every gets, so that everyone goes hungry etc. part of the time, or people aren’t getting enough aid to actually function in their lives.

    Doing the latter is basically like taking people’s refrigerators and stoves, and giving them iceboxes and fireplaces instead… without giving them ice or firewood deliveries. Refrigerator/freezers are vital for helping to store and maintain foods: they let people buy things like meat on sale and not have it go bad, ditto for things like fresh vegetables. They also allow families to cook a big meal (say, a huge pot of vegetable soup) and then store leftovers to be eaten over the next few days, or frozen to eat next week. And of course we need stoves to cook food. Yes you *can* cook over a fireplace (I’ve done it), but it requires fuel, it is far more labor and time intensive, and far harder to maintain proper cooking temperatures and consistency in the food.

    There are people out there who insist that if a poor person owns a refrigerator/freezer or a stove, that they “aren’t poor.” Hogwash. Or if a family owns a computer (a vital tool now for homework, for job searches, for doing jobs from home, for contacting doctors, for keeping up with family, etc.), that inherently “they aren’t poor”—when you have no idea if they saved pennies to buy it, if they worked extra hours to get the money for it, if their kid did odd jobs to earn for it, or if a kind relative or charity *gave* it to them.

    I’m tired of seeing poor and working poor demonized by people with no real knowledge of or empathy for those poor people’s lives. I’m tired of seeing our culture judge people on stereotypes. I’m tired of how we’ve come, as a society, to demonize the poor. I’m tired of how children are treated as parental appendages rather than people in their own right who deserve decent food, decent shelter, decent medical care, and decent education *regardless* of whatever besetting sin you may think their parent has that the parent ‘should be punished for’.” I’m tired of seeing our society write those children off as collateral damage, or as a “punishment” on their parent/s. I’m tired of seeing people disregard our elderly, our veterans, our children, our poor, our disabled. I’m tired of seeing these people undervalued and “othered” into “not worthy human beings.”

    And I’m especially tired of seeing people who claim to be Christians who do this stuff… because it absolutely does not match up with what the Bible says that Jesus said and directed his followers to do; it does not match up with his example of love.

    Somehow, I don’t think Jesus would be very concerned about whether a child’s meals come from a charity or from a government program—I think he’d be focused on the fact that this child is getting *fed*, and be happy about that.

  • Oh boy. If I had a dollar for every time I heard about making America a “moral nation again”, I’d be a millionaire by now.

    Ironically, America IS a moral nation! Just not of THEIR morality…

  • Herm

    Tim, I am not trying to get you to accept my points. I already shared that when whelmed (baptized) by the Holy Spirit your heart and mind is the temple of Christ’s church. You do not need to please me or any church. Jesus does not need you to please Him as He will do just fine eternally without you. Jesus is the king who serves and that is what He is trying to do for His students (disciples). All that is done by the grace of God is for our benefit and not God’s. We are the ones in need not God. What in the following is not regarding Social Justice?

    But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. Matthew 5:44-45

    “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:9-12

    “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40

    “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:37-40

  • Stephknce

    Dr. Kevin M. Kruse, a Princeton historian, wrote an excellent book on how business hijacked the american evangelicals in his “One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America”.
    _____

    We’re often told that the United States is, was, and always has been a Christian nation. But in One Nation Under God, historian Kevin M. Kruse reveals that the idea of “Christian America” is an invention—and a relatively recent one at that.

    As Kruse argues, the belief that America is fundamentally and formally a Christian nation originated in the 1930s when businessmen enlisted religious activists in their fight against FDR’s New Deal. Corporations from General Motors to Hilton Hotels bankrolled conservative clergymen, encouraging them to attack the New Deal as a program of “pagan statism” that perverted the central principle of Christianity: the sanctity and salvation of the individual. Their campaign for “freedom under God” culminated in the election of their close ally Dwight Eisenhower in 1952.

    But this apparent triumph had an ironic twist. In Eisenhower’s hands, a religious movement born in opposition to the government was transformed into one that fused faith and the federal government as never before. During the 1950s, Eisenhower revolutionized the role of religion in American political culture, inventing new traditions from inaugural prayers to the National Prayer Breakfast. Meanwhile, Congress added the phrase “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance and made “In God We Trust” the country’s first official motto. With private groups joining in, church membership soared to an all-time high of 69%. For the first time, Americans began to think of their country as an officially Christian nation.

    During this moment, virtually all Americans—across the religious and political spectrum—believed that their country was “one nation under God.” But as Americans moved from broad generalities to the details of issues such as school prayer, cracks began to appear. Religious leaders rejected this “lowest common denomination” public religion, leaving conservative political activists to champion it alone. In Richard Nixon’s hands, a politics that conflated piety and patriotism became sole property of the right.

    Provocative and authoritative, One Nation Under God reveals how the unholy alliance of money, religion, and politics created a false origin story that continues to define and divide American politics to this day.

  • Stephknce

    In the early 1960s a California bank paid Reverend RJ Rushdoony to equate winner- take- all -capitalism with Christianity. The coming decades would yield infinitely thicker literary works lavishly funded by Bircher sugardaddies, but in these 7 1/2 pages Rushdoony reveals the essence of Dominionism –an ultra- capitalist America governed by righteous oligarchs under Mosaic Law.

    http://chalcedon.edu/research/books/christianity-and-capitalism-2/

  • Guy Norred

    Interesting

  • Jan Fearing

    You don’t understand the reality of the Syrian war. it did not start in 2011 – it started in the mid 2000s when Bush, Abrams, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz et all decided to take assad out because he wouldn’t ‘behave’. he wouldn’t help us invade Iraq ‘ said it would end in a quagmire with the region worse off. he wouldn’t hand over the Golan to israel or end his support for the resistance against Israeli occupation. he would not sever ties with Iran that were decades old – not to mention Iran’s comoetition with Qatar for gas pipeline route deals from the massive south pars gas field. Qatar became very involved helping the Muslim Bro mafia take over secular Syria. The Sauds, those pillars of human rights and liberty wanted Assad gone because they could not tolerate a successful secular Arab country that was turning people away, particularly Sunnis, from their grotesque and twisted wahhabism. look up the 7 countries in 5 years plan that was revealed by Gen Wesley Clark at the time. Erdogan in Turkey is the Muslim Bro godfather in his new 1500 room palace trying to make himself the new sultan. Look up the Oded Yinon plan for Israel to shred Iraq and Syria as a safety buffer – the Zionists don’t care how many Arab Christians are beheaded or how many Yazidi girls are raped and enslaved. The precious US backed ‘freedom and democracy rebels’ have ALL targetted Christians and Alawites for slaughter or dislocation. You are drinking the coolaid and not asking the most basic questions like why oh why are we so concerned about ‘freedom and democracy ‘ in Syria – while we support the hideous regime of the Sauds who are preparing to both crucify AND behead 2 men for partcipating in anti- government protests. wake up…

  • Mr_Bob_Colorado

    The condescension is dripping in this article. While I agree with a lot (actually most) of what is said, saying that the early church agreed on that list of things is just not true… and yes I have studied the early church. Quite a few of those issues will always and have always been debated, even in the earliest of church history. To impune those who happen to believe otherwise, for instance in the possibility of a “just war” is transparent to your own bias. You could have hit many of these out of the park but your own bias which showed up in #1 made it difficult to read.

  • Snooterpoot

    What utter nonsense. Using your logic a child is better off in an abusive or neglectful home with opposite sex parents than in a loving stable home with same sex parents.

    I am so tired of some Christians using the “hate the sin, love the sinner” canard. People like you use that as an excuse for your antipathy toward people who are LGBT. You do not love us. You cannot truthfully say that you love someone when you think the essence of their being -the need for love, companionship and intimacy – is sinful. You fool only yourselves.

    Homosexuality is natural and normal for us. It’s not for you or anyone else to say otherwise.

  • breed7

    When will people finally become smart enough to realize that belief in an animal-sacrifice-demanding, petulant, vindictive, invisible magic fairy man in the sky is no different than belief in the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy? Religion was how the cavemen explained the world, yet there are still people who are so unintelligent that they think these ancient myths are real. Humanity is doomed to keep repeating its mistakes — killing millions in the name of their gods — until people finally become smart enough to drop the belief in imaginary deities.

  • Voice of Truth

    When will those who believe in Evolutionism realize that believing that NOTHING can create EVERYTHING with no cause or purpose is totally against the law of physics.

    Evolution is a fairy tale of LONG AGO AND FAR AWAY for those who want to ignore and hate God.
    You can believe against all the laws of Physics that NOTHING created everything, and you came from a ROCK, but it’s still a fairy tale. Not science, not logic or common sense as they would like to pretend.

    The LAWS of physics that make the BIG BANG totally impossible.

    1. The Law of Cause and Effect. Everything happens for a Reason.

    2. 1st Law of thermodynamics.

    Sorry, the laws of science and physics make the BIG BANG Impossible.

    So go ahead, believe in your silly fairy tale of LONG AGO and FAR AWAY we came from NOTHING! But that makes you a fool.

  • Darren Cohen

    None of that explains how a brutal authoritarian dictator is a ‘good guy’ in your eyes. You accuse me of drinking the Kool Aid, yet you know nothing about my positions except that I don’t accept that a brutal dictator is a good guy. I think it’s you that’s drinking the Kool Aid.

  • breed7

    Honey, EVERYONE with an average or above-average IQ knows that evolution is sound science. Only the most unintelligent of the unintelligent believe that a magic fairy man in the sky created everything 6,000 years ago. My of truly are too dumb to be allowed to vote, since you lack the ability to distinguish between your fairy tales and reality.

  • Tim Hartman

    You are misinterpreting the Church. It is Christ’s Body, not ‘a place of worship’. It is the outward manifestation of His Kingdom on earth. Nothing political there. Sorry.

  • Tim Hartman

    All of those quotes are our mission as the Body of Christ. ‘Social Justice’ is just another political term to force outcomes that have nothing to do with God’s Grace, but everything to do with political control. Stick to the work of Christ, leave your political mantra at the door, and we will be on the exact same page.

  • seashell

    “If Christ were here now there is one thing he would not be — a Christian.” ~ Mark Twain

    Chris – I agree with everything you wrote, even as an atheist. As for the author, Ben Corey, I’m pretty sure he agrees as well. See a later post he wrote, Bernie Is Right: Morality Is More Than Abortion & Gay Marriage.

  • Jan Fearing

    well thanks for calling me on my inappropriate accusation. i do apologize. let me just say that for over 3 years i have tracked the Syrian war – for many hours each day both in research and talking with many many friends there. You call Assad a brutal authoritarian dictator – they call him their president. I’m not a weirdo just someone who thought the arab ‘spring’ was fishy so i looked into it – and fell in love with Syria.- i’m the childrens minister at our church – and daughter or a WWII vet who taught all his kids to be patriots but ones who watched our government like hawks. If you were to grant me one favor – its a lot to ask actually i understand – but if you were to give me your top 3 or 5 crimes you think Assad is guilty of – i think i could show you a decent defense of those. but if you don’t want to that’s ok of course. But the reality is that in context of the region, in context of the conflicts on his borders, in context of what he was focusing on – secular education, health care, economy, opening up to touris, etc; in context to the open hositlity of the Muslim Bros and the west to overthrow him…i sthand by my thesis. In Syria, in context, Assad is the good guy in Syria. thanks

  • kevin72132003

    I don’t get the idea that the “average” American Christians doesn’t give to charity. Its true that the average American Christian probably doesn’t tithe but that is substantially different than saying they don’t give to charity.

  • Herm

    Tim, do you really believe the Messiah’s efforts walking this earth were not intended to influence “Social Justice” for all, right up to giving up His spirit of the cross? Do you really believe we are not to, in His example, make an effort to influence social justice on this earth?

    Why are you so insistent to make the word “political” out to be something Jesus had no intentional influence over when that is the whole reason for why He was crucified? Jesus was politicking the entire time of His three year ministry.

    POLITICKING

    noun

    1. activity undertaken for political reasons or ends, as campaigning for votes before an election, making speeches, etc., or otherwise promoting oneself or one’s policies.

    Look closely at the accepted definitions of political. Note that all ministerial efforts of Christianity are of a spiritual nation (as is, also, the Jewish nation and the Muslim nation) within a carnal nation of which both we, being carnal and spiritual, influence politically for good or for evil.

    POLITICAL

    adjective

    1. of or relating to the government or the public affairs of a country. as in: “a period of political and economic stability”

    synonyms: governmental, government, constitutional, ministerial, parliamentary, diplomatic, legislative, administrative, bureaucratic;

    2. of or relating to the ideas or strategies of a particular party or group in politics. as in: “a decision taken for purely political reasons”

    synonyms: politically active, party;

    3. interested in or active in politics.

    POLITIC

    adjective

    1. (of an action) seeming sensible and judicious under the circumstances.

    synonyms: wise, prudent, sensible, judicious, canny, sagacious, shrewd, astute;

    Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.” He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. So from that day on they plotted to take his life. John 11:49-53

    The church of our High Priest Jesus is a gathering just like this blog within which we gather in His name:

    CHURCH in the New Testament:

    Greek Strong’s Number: 1577

    Greek Word: ἐκκλησία

    Transliteration: ekklēsia

    Phonetic Pronunciation: ek-klay-see’-ah

    Root: from a compound of and a derivative of

    Cross Reference: TDNT – 3:501,394

    Part of Speech: n f

    Vine’s Words: Assembly, Congregation

    English Words used in KJV:

    church 115

    assembly 3

    [Total Count: 118]

    from a compound of (ek) and a derivative of (kaleo); a calling out, i.e. (concretely) a popular meeting, especially a religious congregation (Jewish synagogue, or Christian community of members on earth or saints in heaven or both) :- assembly, church.

    Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary.

    “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector. “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:15-20

    Tim, you and I have apparently have two different senses of the body of Christ on earth. The coordinated body of Jesus’ disciples requires Jesus to be the active and only spiritual Teacher, High Priest and Lord. We all are still subject to Caesar’s influence and Caesar remains subject to our influence.

    I do not in any way consider the majority of those desiring to profess their membership as Christians to know the Lord as their leading head and heart in His body of influence. They do not accept Matthew 14:26, 27 and they have known by their fruit not been whelmed (baptized) forever on by the Holy Spirit in their heart and mind to become one in all of God and all of God one in them.

    The following scripture best, as I sense it to actually be, describes what it is to be in the body (family) of God continually influenced by our Brother the Lord and our Father as one.

    “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” John 14:15-21

    Read in Counsel 2 Corinthians 12:1-10 while understanding that Paul is speaking of a carnal body.

    Disciples of Jesus are taught to be pragmatically constructive, productive and fruitful in all we do carnally and spiritually as students of Christ aided by His example on this earth. This means it is not whether we get involved in politics (within the family, church, community, nation or world of our influence), for we must, but by how and by what influential spirit is our guide.

    My heart and mind insists that if I can influence my church’s, community’s, family’s, nation’s or world’s agreed upon legislation that better facilitates and regulates the health of mankind spiritually, mentally and physically I must. I trust wholeheartedly that I will be given the mechanisms necessary to do so by God as was so for Jesus. Jesus tells me to trust in Him to lead in all cases, carnal and spiritual, even in the most frightening political situations as was chronicled in Mark 13:11. I trust my carnal and spiritual life to the heart, mind and hands of my Messiah in all things on earth and in heaven. We share a yoke and it is truly light.

    I am carnally and spiritually active in all things that promote social justice on earth as it is in heaven. I believe you are trying to live in the spiritual separate from the carnal, at minimum in your vocabulary. We are not physically and spiritually separate as long as our individual and unique spirits walk this earth in an influential carnal body as did Jesus, Son of Man and Son of God. We only have chronicled in writing the witness of Jesus’ three year ministry. Jesus lived, perfectly we are told, a normal life of influence for thirty years prior to His ministerial walk led by the Dove. In His walk He still had to perform all the carnal necessities to survive including gleaning food (manna) illegally on the Sabbath (oh, so political of Him).

    I do so love you! I do so hope this helps you to see why both Bones and I feel you might just be missing the mark ever so slightly fearing political as not able to be performed by the grace of God through us.

    Blessings already are upon you and me as we grow together into the body of God today as very little children!

  • Craig M.

    A kindergartner can tell you that a big explosion will kill those in its path not create life. It take years of schooling to get that student to believe life came from a really big explosion.
    Never mind that we experience seeing life created on a daily basis. No one has ever once seen life created from an explosion… not one single form of life! In our lifetime many of us have seen some really big explosions. Guess what… the bigger the explosion the more lives are lost.
    When I was a young child our dog got pregnant. I never once questioned if the dog was going to have puppies. I never thought to myself hey maybe the babies will be some new species.
    It takes years of schooling to undo basic scientific observation.

  • Byron Schlomach

    The biggest givers to charity are religious conservatives. Nobody generally “demonizes the poor.” There IS, on the conservative side, a good deal of discernment, though. To deny that there are social pathologies that arise from sin is to deny many of Jesus’ teachings. Conservatives are actually anxious to help those who are poor due to no fault of their own. Conservatives prove that by their actions and through the use of their own money rather than using accusing rhetoric and taking others’ money. What conservatives cannot abide, should not abide, and have every right to protest, is when others, in the name of helping the poor, use other peoples’ forcibly-taken money to subsidize lifestyles conservatives find abhorrent, that hurt the individuals supposedly helped, and that ultimately pull down society.

    If you can’t tell the difference, that’s your problem. Why don’t you pull the log out of your own eye before you go around finding splinters in others?

  • Onos

    “an animal-sacrifice-demanding, petulant, vindictive, invisible magic fairy man in the sky”

    Well come now, that’s a loaded statement at best and does not accurately portray what I believe to say the least.

    What if I told you I do not believe in that exactly, but rather I believe in a reason for existence that is outside of myself, and in a cause which has given all things their ability to exist instead of not? Let’s start the debate there.

  • Onos

    “When will those who believe in Evolutionism realize that believing that NOTHING can create EVERYTHING with no cause or purpose is totally against the law of physics.”

    Well you see, the issue is I believe in Evolution. (not the ism part). And I also believe “nihil fit ex nihilo.” Also “cause” in the philosophical sense as you’re using it is independent of the law of physics.

    “Evolution is a fairy tale of LONG AGO AND FAR AWAY for those who want to ignore and hate God.”

    Well again, I believe evolution most likely happened, and I love God. So I guess I’m an exception again.

    Questions for you:

    What if the Big Bang has a reason behind it (God ordered it), and it is not used as a reason in and of itself? Is it still wrong to believe?

  • Bones

    Are your taxes taken by force?

    Gee the US sounds bad.

    As Halder Camara said “when I ask why are they hungry. They call me a communist.”

    Its a shame governments have to govern for ALL their citizens and not just the conservatives.

  • Bones

    Evolution is a fact. Not a belief.

    You don’t go around saying I believe in gravity or 2+2=4.

  • Guy Norred

    Oh, but I don’t believe in gravity.

  • “I know this defies the law of gravity, but I never studied law!” — Bugs Bunny

  • Snooterpoot

    … use other peoples’ forcibly-taken money to subsidize lifestyles conservatives find abhorrent..

    What a crock of manure. “Forcibly” taking your money? Subsidise “lifestyles” conservatives find abhorrent?

    Byron, there is nothing Christ-like in that at all. You get to decide which poor people are worthy of assistance? That’s disgusting and totally opposite of what Jesus told us.

    Who are you to judge “lifestyles?” And kindly explain which “lifestyles” that conservatives find abhorrent.

    As far as forcibly taking your money, let me suggest that you and your ilk keep it, as long as you don’t drive on our roads, use our law enforcement agencies or fire and rescue services, fly in airplanes (those air traffic controllers are paid with your forcibly taken money), eat federally inspected meat, take medication that has been tested and approved by the FDA, use our national or state parks, use taxpayer funded utilities…

    People like you want the services the government provides, but you don’t want to pay for them. That’s not conservative; that’s greedy.

  • “Are your taxes taken by force?” Yes.

    May I choose not to pay my taxes? No. If I fail to pay my taxes, then big men with guns come to my house, take me to jail, and then forcibly take that money from my banker or sell what stuff I have to collect said taxes. If I don’t yield to the state’s inherent threat of force, then yes, my taxes are taken by force.

    Mao was quite observant when he noted that “Political power grows out of the barrel of the gun”, even for a democratic republic like the US. This isn’t even a bad thing: God commands governments to protect the just and punish the unjust, and they need the power that is symbolized in the sword and the gun to do so.

    Even Paul accepted that principle. He tells us that God gave the state the sword. Christians who ignored laws (especially taxes) because Caesar was evil were wrong.

  • Do not speak to me about the FDA; the FDA almost bankrupted us. My son has Familial Mediterranean Fever, and to control it he had to take colchicine every day. When he started, WalMart had the medicine for $4 a month. Then the FDA let a company run one study that “proved” a 2000 year old drug was “safe”, and then take it single-source. That bottle went up to $375 a month after our insurance discounts. We almost booked a trip to Mexico to get cheap pills; we finally had to buy medicine from Canada. I still feel sorry for the gout sufferers who had to choose between eating in agony and skipping meals to get their pills. [And before you ask, Number One Son finally quit growing, so he could quit taking the colchicine to stop the autoimmune attacks.]

    Now, they’re trying to kill AIDS patients by allowing a drug maker to do the same to one of the anti-parasitic drugs needed for AIDS patients.

    And yes, it is VERY Christian to discriminate on our giving. Paul says that a person who doesn’t help their own family isn’t a Christian, no matter their good works to others. Paul also says that anyone who doesn’t work when they are able is to be allowed to starve.

    It’s easy to call people greedy. It makes you feel superior. It doesn’t make you Christ-like, it makes you a Pharisee. Get over yourself. Some of us ‘Conservatives’ have had to make the choice between food, medicine, bills, and giving, and it burns us to see good people broken to pay for war machines we don’t need, luxuries in Washington, and yes, lazy bums who Paul would kick to the curb.

    I am lucky to have used credit to bridge the gap myself (I should have it paid sometime before I die), but I’ve had to watch friends who should be helped themselves have their tax money stolen and wasted. It does make me mad.

  • “BTW – President Assad IS the good guy in Syria and we are supporting terrorists covertly and overtly to overthrow a quite legitimate, positive, and popular leader.”

    No, Assad is a tinpot dictator who murdered, raped, and put down all who disagreed with him with vicious intent. He absolutely, positively is NOT the good guy here.

    That doesn’t mean that his opponents are the good guys either. In fact, most of them (especially ISIS) are worse. It was foolish of the US to basically start the French Revolution mark 2 in Syria without any sign of a humane player in the mix.

    I’m quite sympathetic to the Kurds, at least they’re just trying to live. There are no other clean hands there, and any choices we make there are RealPolitik, and just make us dirty.

  • Snooterpoot

    The FDA has no control over drug pricing. You were gouged by a greedy business, not by the US government.

    You are entitled to your own opinions. You are not entitled to your own facts.

  • KIZMET

    I am not an American but I do have an American based NFP organisation and just from day to day interactions, perhaps 1% if that of self-identifying Christians who have been through our doors have left any “donation”, despite having received a service. My NFP is to feed, house and help retrain those requiring it on a secular level. Of course there is no expectation for anyone to even give a “tip” when eating a meal, or even to PAY for it at all, but.. really.. not even a tip when they are heeled to do so. Perhaps they just see NFP as “different” to charity. Still no excuse really is it?

  • KIZMET

    Perhaps you can explain to me what you believe Evolutionism (sic)to BE in the first place? I am not a sciency type so please feel free to clue me up on this. I will say though as a religious scholar, I like people to cite their points in an area I am foreign to, so that I may be able to learn more about their position. TY. BTW while you are here, please explain how your chosen God (please confirm the one in which you believe personally) came to be and HOW? I have explored god models myself going back to the lovely Numma who dates back to now 32000BCE and there is still no sciency explanation as to her. So thank you in advance. You could well be a breakthrough I need so I can finally write my book regarding religions through the mlllennia. Look forward to it. :D

  • James Baresel

    Someone showed me a copy of this. I could give an extended critique but would just like to mention one thing. The idea that poverty is a more serious evil than gay “marriage” is absurd. The very fact of people living in poverty is sin. It may be the result of sin and it may be that the extent to which such sin is widespread is a greater problem than the extent of gay “marriage”. But poverty is not necessarily a result of sin, so that taken in itself not only is widespread poverty less of a concern than gay “marriage” but a single lie, being a single minor sin, would be a far greater problem than even 99% of the world’s population starving to death IF such starvation was the result of factors outside human control rather than a result of sin. This writer shows a preoccupation with material well being as opposed to moral good, a preoccupation which is itself quite “Americanized”.

  • Bones

    News Flash.

    I pay taxes too. And we’re taxed more over here. But I don’t mind as we have free universal healthcare and a generous welfare system for the poor, sick and elderly.

    I like contributing to that.

    Paying taxes is your contribution to society just like the Old Testament tithe.

  • Bones

    Move to Australia, dude.

    That’s all free.

    But yeah our taxes are higher……

  • Bones

    “use other peoples’ forcibly-taken money to subsidize lifestyles conservatives find abhorrent, that hurt the individuals supposedly helped, and that ultimately pull down society.”

    Does the US subsidise the Klan?

    I must be missing something about the US.

  • Go read about the Unapproved Drugs Initiative (2006), and the Orphan Drug Act. URL Pharma was given single-source control of colchicine by the FDA, and the other makers of colchicine were ordered out of the market. Medicaid costs for Colchicine went up from $1 million to $50 million, and Medicare and private patient costs went up in a similar manner.

    Like I said, it’s easy to spout platitudes. Facts are harder.

  • Snooterpoot

    Nice try. The Unapproved Drugs Initiative was to remove unapproved drugs from the marketplace.

    From the FDA website:

    Drugs with potential safety risks

    Drugs that lack evidence of effectiveness

    Health fraud drugs

    Drugs that present direct challenges to the new drug approval and OTC drug monograph systems

    Unapproved new drugs that are also violative of the Act in other ways

    Drugs that are reformulated to evade an FDA enforcement action

    See? I do research when provided a direction in which to go. You wanted to give your son drugs that were not approved for whatever reason? And you blame the U.S. government for trying to protect people from drugs that are potentially harmful or life threatening?

    From Medpage Today:

    WASHINGTON — The FDA has warned manufacturers, marketers, and distributors of single-ingredient oral colchicine products to stop distribution of the unapproved drugs.

    There is only one such product — Colcrys — that’s been approved by the FDA. The agency approved Colcrys for treatment of acute gout flares in August of 2009.

    Despite the fact that colchicine has been used for some 200 years for treatment of gout and familial Mediterranean fever, the unapproved products ordered off the market on Thursday are not considered generic drugs and have not been evaluated by the FDA, the agency said in a statement.

    The FDA statement noted that Colcrys has “important safety data and recommendations on drug interactions and dosing not available with unapproved products.”

    Colcrys manufacturer Mutual Pharmaceutical/URL Pharma had set up a patient assistance program and copay assistance program to keep the treatment affordable for patients with and without insurance or for those on Medicare, and will keep the programs open at least until the FDA approves a generic form of the drug, the FDA statement said.

    The agency ordered the companies stop manufacturing within 45 days and cease shipping within 90, an FDA statement said.

    “It is a priority for the FDA to get unapproved medications, such as older versions of single ingredient oral colchicine, either updated to conform to FDA’s current approval standards or off the market,” said Deborah M. Autor, of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

    Did you take advantage of the patient assistance program or copay assistance program to help you pay for the drug?

    I don’t mean to be insensitive here; it sounds like Familial Mediterranean Fever is a horrible debilitating disease. But blanket statements like the one you made raise red flags for me.

    And, again, it wasn’t the government who set the price for this drug. You were gouged by a greedy pharmaceutical company, just like the greedy little bastard who rose the price of Daraprim 5000%. Don’t you think that if the government had any authority they would have prevented this? In fact, there is legislation currently introduced in Congress that would give the authority to the government to prevent this.

    BTW, this greedy little bastard has met his comeuppance, as there is a compounding company that will offer the drug for $1 per pill. I don’t think there is a more hated individual in this country right now than Martin Shkreli, and rightly so.

    Regarding the Orphan Drug Act, the NIH web site says:

    Pharmaceutical research in the United States relies on both government funding for the basic science behind drug development and private investment, which finances the majority of clinical research and manufacturing process.2 The revenue potential of a drug in treating a particular disease can influence for-profit manufacturers’ willingness to devote necessary resources to its development. If a disease affects a limited number of patients and does not allow recovery of private research investment, then therapeutic products for that condition may be developed slowly or not at all. In the United States, Congress passed the Orphan Drug Act in 1983 to provide incentives for industry investment in treatments for such rare conditions.3

    So, it looks to me like your complaint about this Act is unfounded.

    Now, as to your comment about Paul. It might surprise you, but Paul was not Jesus. Given a choice as to which of the two to follow, I’ll choose Jesus. Jesus didn’t say anything about “lazy bums,” which is a sweeping generalization on your part about people who receive public assistance. Many people who receive TANF or SNAP benefits are the working poor – you know, those people who don’t deserve an increase in the minimum wage, according to our Members of Congress who are paid, at the least, $174,000 per year.

    The trickle down economics scam has trickled down manure to middle and lower paid workers, while the very wealthy laugh because the GOP has used wedge issues to get the people who are most affected economically to vote against their own best interests.

    So, don’t go preaching to me about “lazy bums” until you can find at least one time when Jesus used that as a qualifier to aid the poor.

    Where did I say that everyone has to contribute to charities? Nice try at a straw man, Kentucky. I didn’t say, imply or infer that.

    You are the first conservative I have ever seen who disagrees with profligate spending on defense. If there is even a substantial minority of you who disapprove of this spending you should find someone who will speak loudly for you, because all I hear from conservatives is we need to spend more on defense, because they’re coming to get us!

    Again, I object to your description of taxes as being money that is forcibly taken from you. As I said, if you and your ilk want to keep all of your money, and the government says you can do that, then quit using the resources that we all paid for with our taxes. “Forcibly taken” is bullscat. Taxes are the price we pay for an orderly society that benefits the whole, rather than just the individual.

  • Snooterpoot

    Nobody generally “demonizes the poor.”

    Bullscat. It happens every day. “Lazy bums.” “People are homeless because they want to be homeless.” “Women should keep their legs together if they don’t want brats for me to feed.” “Why aren’t they looking for jobs?” (ignoring the fact that a large percentage of people who receive TANF or SNAP benefits are working. They just don’t get paid enough to live without assistance.)

    I hear this every day, and I don’t hear it from liberals.

    Go ask any charity that assists the poor if they receive adequate donations to achieve their missions, then get back to us.

    Call me sanctimonious if you want to. I only speak the truth. Am I angry? You bet! It’s just intolerable that we have people living like this, with so many people simply ignoring or, worse, scorning them.

  • Jeff Preuss

    I frankly don’t get the notion that taxation is “forced.” A large part of our founding fathers’ intent was to create the US since we were previously dealing with taxation without representation, paying taxes to Mother England without being able to have any voice in her Parliament.

    Are there ANY countries which operate without any taxes on their populace?

    The “logical” extension that the expectation to pay said taxes as a citizen of the country is under threat of violence certainly seems to skew toward the paranoid.

  • Bones

    “Are there ANY countries which operate without any taxes on their populace?”

    The Gulf States – Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, UAE, Kuwait.

  • Snooterpoot

    The “logical” extension that the expectation to pay said taxes as a citizen of the country is under threat of violence certainly seems to skew toward the paranoid.

    And skews toward the greedy as well.

  • Guy Norred
  • Snooterpoot

    Excellent read, Guy. Thank you for the link.

  • Guy Norred

    Cool! I thought you might appreciate it.

  • breed7

    There’s nothing to debate. You cannot distinguish between fantasy and reality. I might as well debate a two-year-old about the existence of the Easter Bunny.

  • Onos

    Well that’s a very closed minded way of looking at the world. I would much rather be a two year old who believes in the Easter bunny rather than a sour adult who claims not to believe in philosophy or theology.

    What about this reality: whenever we reason about the “why” behind something, whether we debate an ethical question, another’s true motive, or even the future of science and possibilities of what might happen, are we debating fantasy or reality?

  • breed7

    Honey, I know you’re not educated, but you’re making an utter fool of yourself. Science does not require a “why” to be valid. Facts are facts. We don’t need to know “why” to observe the facts of gravity or magnetism. Only someone with no understanding of reality needs a “why.”

  • Bones
  • LadySunami

    A kindergartener can also tell you that said explosion kills those in its path because there are actually things in its path. An explosion with nothing in its path destroys nothing. There was nothing in the path of the Big Bang because everything was the singularity that exploded.

    Nobody claims the Big Bang created life anyway… It was simply the start of this present universe. Life did not come to be in this universe until billions of years later, and there were no explosions involved.

    I’m glad you never thought “hey maybe the babies will be some new species” because that’s not how evolution works. You don’t get a whole new species in a single generation, that’s just absurd. It takes countless successive generations with no genetic overlap between them to turn one species into two. At no point is there a child of a different species then its mother because of the gradual nature of the change. There might be a child that is a different species from its great-x1000-grandmother though, or that is a different species from a cousin that shares that same great-x1000-grandmother but no relation since.

  • LadySunami

    Sounds to me like your problem is with asshole pharmaceutical companies, not the FDA. There is a major problem with pharmaceutical companies abusing patents and exclusivity, but any attempts to deal with such abuses by modifying exclusivity and patent law are blocked thanks in part to lobbyists hired by said pharmaceutical companies.

  • Onos

    So ethics do not matter? The concept of the future does not matter? The reason for action does not matter? Well if that is the case then quite obviously science does not matter.

    Truly even Nietzsche has more agreeable ideas than you do. The question of “why” is the quintessential question of human existence. To ask anything less is to become less than human in humanity’s most esoteric conviction.

    Define for me reality without giving me a why. Give to me a reason for caring about gravity or magnetism without breaching the limits of science. I tell you, it is impossible.

    You may call me a fool, perhaps I am one, however I may still consider myself a lover of the questions of life. You are even worse, you rule that there are no more questions to ask outside of the physical, therefore you reject your own ability to reason on the most important level.

  • breed7

    You are unable to tell whether or not Harry Potter is fiction. Your “questions” are pointless. You believe in the reality of a fantasy world. You think an invisible magic fairy man in the sky provides reasons for things.

    You are a fool.

    You don’t have the faintest understanding of science. You are SO uneducated — or unintelligent — that you don’t even grasp the most basic tenets of science.

    There is — and never has been — one iota of evidence that anything in the universe has had a “why” outside of the purely physical. People like you are the reason this country is fallong farther and farther behind in education, science, medicine, and everything else.

    Keep believing in the Easter Bunny. Just quit complaining as the rest of the world leaves you behind with the other toddlers.

  • Onos

    It really is interesting how desperately you must convince yourself that I am uneducated and have no scientific knowledge. Perhaps you believe I am a fundamentalist? Or maybe you believe having a knowledge of science and believing in a “prime mover” is incompatible. In that case you’re completely wrong.

    I believe evolution most accurately describes how the present world came to be. I think astronomy and astrophysics are the most interesting fields of science and I go out of my way to stay updated in those fields.

    Unfortunately my belief in God is not a god of the gaps. Ever heard of the guy who originated the theory of the expansion of the universe? He believed in God. How about you read up on a few of these guys: http://www.catholic.com/magazine/articles/fathers-of-science

    You attribute to me many features which simply are not true. It comes from this close mindedness which refuses to acknowledge one can be a man of science and one of religion. I hope that one day you will stop making assumptions about your fellowman and perhaps actually adopt the mindset that maybe it is possible to ask the question of “how” (science) along with the question of “why” (faith). They pair quite nicely

    http://time.com/4050465/pope-francis-us-visit-science-faith/

  • Nixon is Lord

    Church is boring.

  • Nixon is Lord

    And what evidence would you, could you, produce for this that we could test for ourselves?

  • mang YOU are boring! Do you have any hobbies or pets?

  • Nixon is Lord

    I collect cat paw prints.

  • Peter Dale

    I submit you have things exactly backwards. Your comments merely substantiate Benjamin Corey’s argument.

  • Jon Berkowitz

    Thank you for your response. I understand the nature of God in my small way from the teachings of my church. Because the procreative power is so sacred, serious are the sins that cause its perversion. Before the “Six things” you listed came the ten Commandments, one of which is “Do not commit Adultery.” Latter-Day revelation from divinely-ordained prophets clarifies it with the injunction, “… nor anything like unto it.” The ten commandments are one of the few parts of the OT law that we still have in force today, despite the fact that we are today invited to live a higher law, the Law of the Gospel. Because populating the earth was a commandment from the Garden of Eden before The Fall, it is indeed one of the most fundamental of commandments man has ever received. But to have peace and safety it must be done the Lord’s way because obedience to the Law of Chastity carries with it great blessings and serious consequences for disobeying it.
    Disobedience from the Lord’s standard for sexual purity has taken down even whole civilizations. It is indeed the most important commandment to obey second only to the Sanctity of Life.

  • Jon Berkowitz

    It’s not the riches themselves that would/would not be prohibitive to entering the Kingdom of God, but rather the rich man’s perspective on his riches. Indeed, the scripture reads, “The love of money is the root of all evil,” not “Money is the root of all evil,” as some have mistakenly supposed.

  • Jon Berkowitz

    Though was are saved by faith, we prove our faith by our works. Our works qualify us for the grace which saves.

  • Bones

    You mean like the rich man and Lazarus.

    There is an indictment on US capitalism.

  • Bones

    Gee it’s annoying putting up with Joyce Meyer pleading for donations when she and all her family lives in mansions with gold toilets aND private jet planes.

  • I’m not sure you read what I said.

  • TeDeumLaudamus

    We should honor the long and diligent service of holy people who practice their faith essentially in secret, but there is nothing wrong at all about honoring soldiers when they show up on occasion, as they choose to put their whole lives at risk for strangers. A comparison should not even be made between them. To say that honoring a soldier over a Sunday School teacher shows an Americanized Christianity over “real-deal” Christianity is not accurate but a false comparison.

    In point of fact, the bigger battle is that Americans have tended to make our faith into some kind of therapeutic milieu with a behavior code for being “nice” rather than a living faith in a living Savior actively involved in every area of our lives.

  • mspeabooks

    “It is a cultural norm in the twenty-first century American economy to “get yours while you can” or “strike while the iron is hot.” It is foolish to miss a good opportunity to make money or better one’s position.

    The commands of Jesus to “love your enemies” and “turn the other cheek” seem to embody the traits of the meek. They are very different from the values exhibited in our rush-hour traffic, the principles of our unabashed free market economy, and the monetary value our society places on certain professions. ”

    Excerpt From: Mike Stair. “Be Attitudinal.” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/fBu8y.l

  • Jim Manning

    If you look a little more closely at the actual history of Halloween, you will find it to have more Christian roots than pagan. CHRISTMAS, on the other hand, has more pagan roots than Christian. Wanna talk about Christians shunning Christmas?

  • cam

    You left off that Americanized Christianity (also westernized Christianity) for the most part denies the power gifts of the Holy Spirit. Jesus commissioned us to heal the sick, raise the dead, and cast out demons. But the American church isn’t big on that, and the ones who do believe in and operate in the gifts of the Spirit are often demonized as heretics.

  • Timothy Weston

    Casting out demons is something that has to be taken on faith. In Jesus’ day, mental illness and the symptoms of lead poisoning were attributed to demon possession. Also, I hear of healing and raising the dead, which can be verified and documented. Where is the documentation when they happen today? Rev. Corey was talking about a Christianity that has been hijacked by American nationalism.

  • Sherlang

    I know this is a super small part of the article, but I’ve really been struggling with the women in ministry part. I fully support women in ministry, but I have a hard time defending it to the people around me. I’m a baptist from Texas, so most of my friends think women need to shut up in church and submit. However, I’m still working on a good scripture defense for my view. When I try to research it, all I find for those who support women in ministry just seem to hastily say, “Oh that verse is out of context and was for it’s time” and then run like mad from the issue. So I would love some help, especially with the verses in Timothy.

  • LarryW

    Sorry, but your angry rhetoric says “Pretend Christian” quite loudly. :(

  • LarryW

    Wow, you actually think that where you live gives you the right to alter how to be a Christian??? SAD!

  • Scott

    Ha… well, there you go. Much of Paul is ignored – why? Well, that is something you’ll need to wrestle with. Taken literally

  • Scott

    It’s obvious you’ve not been around the American church much… nor anywhere beyond your blinders. Still waiting to see any of it.

  • Scott

    “The idea that poverty is a more serious evil than gay “marriage” is absurd. ” – I quit reading your nonsense after that. A Pharisee you are – dead men’s bones.

  • Scott

    Yep.

  • Scott

    The fact you brought up the word ‘tithe’ speaks volumes. That has nothing to do with Christianity.

  • Scott

    sigh… tired old cliches – strawmen mostly. I can believe in evolution and god… it’s only your tweaking the definitions and meanings to suit your purposes that cause problems. evolution is seen in the fossil records, etc. – it’s you that has the problem reconciling your overly literal beliefs with the scientific evidence. they’re not mutually exclusive – even though you try and make them.

  • Scott

    Wow… are you really that stupid?

  • Greg

    Follow this facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/2204593138/
    You will find many posts that link to and reference the vast body of solid, scholarly and theological writings that make up the strong biblical case for women in ministry.

  • Bruce Chowning

    Romans 14: 5-10

    One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since she gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. 8 For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. 9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

    10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God
    Bottom line here is that we all have the right to celebrate what we will…as we will while we give honor to God. It isn’t for you to tell a fellow believer how he should celebrate which holidays or not to celebrate them. You will find a reiteration of this admonition in Col 2:16-18

  • Bruce Chowning

    Giving of ones income has always been a part of faith in God. Jesus preached on it, Paul preached on it….others did as well. Whether you give 10% or not isn’t the issue. If you give what God says, you do well. If you are stingy, you will limit God’s blessing. If that’s cool with you, it’s cool with me. As for me and my house. we give joyfully.

  • Bruce Chowning

    I’m smart enough to know that I am a sinner saved by the grace of the person of Jesus who came for the sole reason of paying the sacrifice for my evil. I have tried to dismiss Jesus and toss his story out as fable but there is too much evidence for an honest person to do that. So here I sit, believing that Jesus is the Messiah and that he loves me. I’m sorry that you reject your Creator.

  • Dick Silk

    Although there have been countless false Christians out there who have occasionally harmed others, likewise, there have been many false Muslims out there who have occasionally helped others. If you think that by being loving and sympathetic to Muslims that they are NOT going to kill you, you’re a special kind of stupid.

  • So how many of the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world have actually tried to kill you, and how did you manage to hide from all of them?

  • ghormax

    That is so bigoted that you have to be a false Christian!

  • Guy Norred

    Even if your characterization of Islam is accurate, our call to follow Christ’s commandments, and to pick up our cross and follow Him, even if that cross is a literal one, is unaffected.

  • Dick Silk

    Christ’s *command* is to Love God, our neighbor, and our enemy. Basically, to emit positive energy. Eventually, the negative (karmic, if you will) ground of Islam will be so strong that it will “positively draw” the release of atomic energy.

  • Dick Silk

    Bigotry requires intolerance of another’s beliefs. Understanding the function and purpose of Islam is not bigotry, sorry. Please gain a proper understanding of your adjectives in order to use them properly. Your intolerance of my opinion is, ironically, bigotry on *your* part.

  • Dick Silk

    Every Muslim practicing, believing in, and supporting Islam is practicing, believing in, and supporting global genocide. The shahada (a pillar of Islam) requires jihad until there are none left upon the face of the Earth who are *not* Muslim. That is by definition a religion of genocide.

  • Dick Silk

    Who are we to limit from whom (or by whom) the Word of God may be spoken? To issue any such limitation would be to assume the omnipotence and omniscience of God.

  • Dick Silk

    I consider that bit about picking up one’s cross to be an invitation. Whether that invitation had an expiration / RSVP date on it or not is not explicitly specified.

  • Georgia Carter

    And are American Christians any different. The leaders of the Christian right want to make Christianity the only religion of this nation and punish or kill anyone who doesn’t agree. The problem is not Muslims it’s religion. All religions are about what a person must do to get to heaven (or whatever they call it), they all believe they have the only way and they are willing to kill to keep their religion safe. Christianity is about what Christ has done and about His followers living as He did by serving all humans of all faiths, sexualities, countries, genders, and races without condemnation or judgment and to love them unconditionally as He loves us.

  • Georgia Carter

    The real problem here isn’t between American Christianity and Christianity, it’s between Christian religion and Christianity. Americans, starting with the Puritans, have always been practitioners of Christian religion and not Christianity. Yes there were a few mixed in, but not as many as you would think. Right of the Puritans were willing to fight and even kill the Catholics, Baptists and Anglicans coming to American and the fight as to whose religion was right was on. Each American religion had it’s own set of rules how one has to live, to tithe, to study, to go to church and to work their was into heaven. Each American religion insisted they have the only way to God. Christians on the other hand are followers of Jesus. Jesus has done it all on the cross for us and we are saved by faith alone through grace. Not of works. We live as Jesus lived while He was on earth because He loves us and we love Him, not to obtain salvation. We were given that the minute we believed. To be a Christian is to serve all humankind without judgment and condemnation and to love everyone unconditionally as Jesus loves us. Christian religion has done more to destroy Christianity than any Muslim has. And Satan sets back and laughs his ass off.

  • Dick Silk

    As to any religion (or denomination) being closer to God than any other — keep in mind that the shortest distance between *ANY* two points (such as “God and Man”) is zero.

  • Dick Silk

    The leaders of the Christian right, as you call it, only want freedom of Religion with no laws (such as the seriously un-constitutional Johnson Amendment) infringing upon freedom of speech / freedom of religion.

    And you are also mistaken in another area — the problem is not Muslims, but Islam itself, the ideological pesticide of genocide.

  • Dick Silk

    Any idea starting with “follow” is in direct conflict with the First Commandment.

  • breed7

    Please provide verifiable evidence that your imaginary friend is real. No one in the entire history of humanity has ever done that, but I’m sure you you can.

    By the way, Scientologists have the same amount of evidence. So do the Hindu, Buddhists, and the Heaven’s Gate folks. If your deity is real,miso must theirs be, since they have equal evidence.

  • Adrian

    When Jesus taught a religion of peace, it’s pretty hard to justify the de facto worship we show to the military. No one asked them to serve, and they’re largely fighting for a lie — for the profits of those who make the weapons, not for anyone’s freedom. Those who quietly, peacefully live out Christ-like ideals do indeed deserve greater adulation.

  • Adrian

    Jesus spoke out against views exactly like this 2,000 years ago.

  • Adrian

    Calling a fact of science a “fairy tale” — that’s what we call projection. First off, quantum physics does indeed show that something can come from nothing. Second, if you don’t believe something can come from nothing, then explain God.

  • Georgia Carter

    In that case why is Franklin Graham on a 50 state tour preaching for people to vote Trump and to make Christian religion the only religion of the United States? He is also preaching that anyone who believes in any other religion is to be locked up. He is supported by his sister, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell Jr., James Dobson. No, they want you and every America to follow their religious rules. And remember it was the religious leaders who had Jesus put to death on the cross because He refused to get involved in politics, commanded people to love their enemies, taught then not to judge and not to fear those who took their lives.

  • Georgia Carter

    Any religion, Christian religion included is against Christianity because religion teaches what you must do. The focus is on you, how you behave, who you love, what other do. Christianity is all about what Jesus did. It’s not about us. It’s all about Jesus. Christian religion is no different that Muslim religion except for the God they pray to. Otherwise they insist you follow their rules to live or you don’t get saved. Christianity is following Jesus. Jesus lives in us and works through us, we have no need of the law or the commandments. As Paul said Romans 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. And swe are not under the 10 commandments. 2 Cor. 3:3 being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. We are under Jesus.

  • dc

    The people living in poverty are not sinners. Poverty is not the result of sin. The people who allow them to live in poverty without helping them materially and spiritually are the sinners. It is always within human control to help them. And no quote marks are necessary around the term marriage when referring to any two people who love each other. And the writer is criticizing those who are preoccupied with material well being rather than moral good.

  • dc

    Well said. God gave us minds and souls. He wants us to use them both.

  • BrotherRog

    Good stuff, with one error: Paul did *not* prohibit women teachers. He lauded several of them and considered one of them an apostle.

    Roger Wolsey, author, “Kissing Fish: christianity for people who don’t like christianity”

  • ghormax

    You demonstrate absolutely zero understanding of Islam or Christianity for that matter! I’d bet one million on that you are a Drumpf supporter.

  • buricco

    They want “freedom of religion for me and not for thee”.

  • buricco

    I have said for years that we need to take Christ *out* of Christmas. Go ahead and celebrate it for what it is – a winter solstice festival (and there is another name for it still current in the English language, “Yule”), but don’t try to claim it has anything to do with Christ.

  • LiteralStrawMan

    nope

  • LiteralStrawMan

    Out of curiosity buddy, if this were the case, if every Muslim actually wanted to kill us, what would our response as Christians be to them?

  • LiteralStrawMan

    oh good, the evangelical atheist is here, “rejoice in the good news of nothing!”

  • LiteralStrawMan

    please friend, don’t confuse us with the idea that evolution and intelligent design are mutually exclusive, many people of faith believe in evolution as well as intelligent design

  • LiteralStrawMan

    DID SOMEONE SAY STRAWMAN?!

  • LiteralStrawMan

    Sounds like some Nazi level logic here

  • Bruce Chowning

    By the way, Scientologists have the same amount of evidence. So do the Hindu, Buddhists, and the Heaven’s Gate folks.

    Ah….so you admit that there is evidence.
    So the problem here isn’t that I don’t have evidence. It is that you just don’t believe the evidence. In this case, I can not help you.

    Btw….I have no evidence of an imaginary friend. Jesus was a real person. There are very few…I said very few reliable historians today that doubt the historicity of Jesus. Sooooo…if you don’t believe secular historians, why would you trust me?

  • Dick Silk

    You are clearly a dhimmi democrat. Any religion (such as Islam) that practices taqiyya (deception) in order to survive is nothing more than the survival of deception — all Islam does is perpetuate deception. Enjoy your empty meal.

  • Dick Silk

    LOL! You must be a democrat or a troll — Islam is the pesticide of genocide, and your denial will do absolutely nothing to invalidate that fact.

  • Dick Silk

    Islam is not a religion — it is a death cult with the core pillar (shahada) focusing on the genocide of all non-Muslims. Sorry, but I prefer NOT to include the cyanide with my well-water.

  • Dick Silk

    There are always a few nut trees in most every field. I have never heard of this Franklin Graham clown, but if he’s having fun, what the heck? I sincerely doubt he will ever corner a majority. I have deep concerns whenever *anyone* tries to declare “this is God’s way” — who are we to declare what God *is* or is *not*? What arrogance?! And although the Jews pushed for the death of Christ, it was the Romans who authorized it, so — blame the Italians.

  • Dick Silk

    Israelites are (literally, via translation) “God Wrestlers.”

  • Dick Silk

    If you know anyone who can lay on hands and heal a brain injury, send them my way! :-)

  • buricco

    You think I was talking about *Islam* as an example of a religious group they’d go after?

    Heh. Try United Methodists.

  • Dick Silk

    Oh LORDY, Georgia!! You could not be *more* misinformed!!

    Christianity is about one’s relationship with God — an internal relationship of the Love of God within one’s eternal soul.

    Islam is the *externalization* of personal responsibility, literally, a complete emptying of all decision making, consequence, sin, or guilt. Do as Allah commands, submit to the will of Allah, etc. and there is no relationship of love, only of submission. Islam = -1/X.

    Jesus is about Love your enemy (send + energy to a – negative ground.) This produces the current that lights the stars and powers the Universe.

    Islam is about “kill the kafir” (enemy) which is an ever-increasing negative ground of death / karma.

    Islam contains sanctioned “taqiyya” (look it up) which is divine deception in order to further the spread of Islam. Any ideology that relies upon deception in order to survive is nothing more than the survival of deception. And if you want to get all angels and demons about it, deception is the attributed strength of Satan, thus, Islam is pure satanic evil.

    I apologize for having to leave without giving you the full illumination, but I find myself growing weary from / short of patience regarding the stupidity and ignorance of libtards.

    Please feel free to learn more about the differences between Islam and Christianity at facebook.com/Christ1islam —

  • Dick Silk

    By the way, Hillary is in bed SO DEEP with Islam she is practically the Great Whore of Babylon.

  • Bones

    Look a Trump supporter.

    Moron alert!

  • Bones

    Funny because you have a lot in common with the islamit’s cultists you hate.

    Right wing fundamentalists hate each other and everyone.

  • Bones

    The one decieved is you.

  • Bones

    No.
    You’re opinion is bigoted and based on irrationality and misinformation.

  • Bones

    My country has the largest muslim country in the world as our neighbour.

    You are talking out of your arse.

  • Bones

    Nope.

    You lie.

  • Bones

    Wrong again….

    If you want to bring out the nutjobs mention Islam or homosexuality.

  • Bones

    You obviously need it.

  • Bones

    This is complete and utter deception.

    You just need to get to know some Muslims to know how completely false it is.

    The same crap used to be said about Catholics.

    Why do Christians lie about others?

  • Patricia Besseling Holgate

    Georgia Carter, your points are strong and valid. Religion as such, in any form and with any name, is the problem. What Jesus-followers are called to is a relationship with the living God, not a set of rules and commandments, and also good relationships with other people. That is both simple and extremely hard to do, but is what Jesus requires of us. We are not called to condemn others at all.

  • LiteralStrawMan

    “Islam is the pesticide of genocide”
    so it stops genocide? great! sounds like we need more of it.
    Again friend, you avoided my question, if this is true, if Muslims actually want to kill everyone who isn’t Muslim, what should the Christian response be?

  • LiteralStrawMan

    I’m pretty sure the Great Whore of Babylon is the church that has sided with the empire.

  • Bones

    Actually it’s Imperial Rome – the city on seven hills.

  • DailyAlice

    Has a Muslim tried to kill you?

  • DailyAlice

    You will never understand religionists by taking everything in their holy book literally. Certainly your can never understand Christianity by taking parts of the bible literally. Judge people by their actions. Do not assume enmity on the part of large groups.

  • DailyAlice

    Anyone who says Islam is not a religion is someone to be ignored. Like someone who claims that Roman Catholicism is not Christian. Which I have heard.

  • DailyAlice

    Again, judge by actions. My sister was one of the first women ordained in our denomination. She has had a longer parish-based pastorate than any other to date. She is a good person, an inspired preacher, and a refuge for those who desperately needs support. The church needed her badly. I also knew a greatly talented teacher and administrator forced to abandon her vocation as a nun by foolish suppression. The Roman church lost a great representative in her.

  • DailyAlice

    And your opinion of megachurches who pay their leaders big bucks? Christ was not big on wealth. I was stung a bit by the objection to fancy personal display. I love dressing up. OTOH, most of my wardrobe is second-hand, and my very purchases aid the poor.

  • DailyAlice

    Then you have not found the right church. Or possibly you have bad taste in music and literature. Personally, I find sports boring. Yet the fuel our very economy.

  • DailyAlice

    Poverty is not a sin, but it is definitely the result of sin. It is the result of a cultural norm that celebrates selfishness, which is the culture we inhabit. As for gay marriage–where’s the sin in that? It’s simply a wish by homosexuals to regularize and honor their love commitments. As homosexuality is not voluntary but natural to the minority, I cannot consider it a sin. And there is no indication that Christ did so.

  • DailyAlice

    Halloween is a harmless cultural celebration preceding All Souls’ Day, which we observe in our church with great solemnity. Frankly, as a wine drinker but an opponent of school prayer, I am finding your post very confusing.

  • DailyAlice

    It is a celebration of Christ’s birth, admittedly borrowed as to timing and tradition from centuries of winter celebrations dating from the pagan. But that does not make it less of a Christian holiday. Many non-Christians enjoy its merriment and gift-giving and it has become an American national holiday (?). But our holidays are what we make of them.

  • DailyAlice

    Again, what are you talking about?

  • DailyAlice

    It is not a scientific thesis. Go play with some minerals or something.

  • DailyAlice

    Then explain love. Explain kindness. Explain why one person sacrifices himself for another. There are many things we know to exist that cannot be examined in laboratories.

  • DailyAlice

    Harry Potter is definitely fiction and not particularly good fiction. There are better examples of the intertwining of the natural with the unexplainable. But I’m a believer in literature, which makes it easier for me to appreciate the bible.

  • DailyAlice

    Oh, as a Christian I’m pretty sure that evolution is the way to go. I have no argument with science. Which just proves that Christians differ dramatically. I can think of those I could consider heretics. The term “prosperity theology,” which this piece is dancing around, comes to mind.

  • DailyAlice

    Many people of faith believe in evolution period.

  • DailyAlice

    I love quantum physics. Parallel universes, whoopee!

  • Shayna

    “Better to remain silent & thought a fool, then to speak & remove all doubt”.

  • LiteralStrawMan

    which was an empire, so yes

  • LiteralStrawMan

    I normally go with the liberation theology’s interpretation though, so that’s why I put it that way

  • Georgia Carter

    Amen!

  • Eileen Meyers

    I was raised Baptist and married into the Free Methodist Church (which I love) and have gone through this struggle as well. The Junia Project has a lot of scriptural research that would be helpful for you. In particular, they have a couple of articles regarding the Timothy passages.

  • Georgia Carter

    You are missing the point. I didn’t say Christianity and Islam were the same. I said Christian Religion and Islam Religion were the same. Religion is a set of rules one must follow to get to heaven/or whatever you call it. My point was that the problem is religion, whether it be Christian or Islam, is what most Americans practice. If you had taken the time to read what I posted you would see that I stated Christianity is what Jesus has done and is doing through us. It is not about us.

  • Georgia Carter

    Franklin Graham is Billy Graham’s son. I suppose you’ve never heard of Billy Graham either??? He also inherited the magazine Christianity Today. He is very big with evangelicals, especially those who support Trump. And just so you know, almost all the Christian things protestants do today comes from the Catholic church and the pagan religions they adopted into Christianity such as church buildings, choirs, pulpits, tithing and so on. The early church from Christs time to 250 didn’t even use the cross as a Christian symbol.

  • Sarah Flood

    I don’t know. I wish I did.

    I think sometimes if we don’t make the other guy out to be as bad as possible, we get the insecure feeling that they may be onto something or that we don’t have the corner on truth. Humans, as my priest said this morning, like to see a clear good guy and villain. Anything else leaves them unsatisfied.

    As if zero truth existed before Christ.

  • Sarah Flood

    So your argument is that No True Christian would ever harm somebody, and No True Muslim would ever do anything good for anyone ever.

    Just so we’re clear.

  • Bones

    At least liberation theology is close to the mark.

  • Bones

    It”s about demonizing those we don’t know or are different eg Catholics, Jews, Muslims…

    Christians are great at it because they believe these people serve a real demon and are the enemy.

  • Sarah Flood

    I’m curious; when you’re in a store and you ask where something is, and the associate says, “Follow me; I’ll show you,” what do you do?

    I imagine “Follow Detour” signs are also a sticking point.

  • Sarah Flood

    My understanding is that, culturally, women were SO oppressed that when they were suddenly given equality in the church, they weren’t handling it in an appropriate manner (speaking over people; asking questions at inappropriate times, etc.) because they weren’t used to cultural discussion/lecture norms. It was becoming a point of embarrassment and disharmony in the church. So Paul was basically saying, “Look, women need to keep silent because this is getting disorderly, and if they have questions, they need to ask at home.”

    It’s in the same category as women needing to cover their heads (which was culturally appropriate). One can quite easily see it as a quick fix that Paul never meant to be an eternal injunction on all churches everywhere, just a stopgap until the church could deal with it more thoroughly (say, by figuring out exactly what a woman’s role was… something Jesus never explicitly dealt with and which, therefore, would have to be extrapolated by the church fathers).

    And then, of course, the church took it as an eternal injunction on all churches everywhere, and here we are.

  • I simply don’t understand what thet means. Please could you elucidate.

  • Dick Silk

    The Pope recently pulled some idiotic maneuver (sorry, I can’t recall the exact news article) that has me on the lookout for further evidence that the Catholic Church is also in that “Great Whore of Babylon” category.

  • Dick Silk

    “Love thine enemy” is the process of emanating positive energy into a negative ground. I am certain that — given time and the build up of Islam’s negative karma — nuclear detonation will positively wipe Islam off the ideological map. That is, we shall love our enemy by totally, positively radiating them with the power of our nuclear love.

  • Dick Silk

    While there have been countless false Christians who have occasionally harmed others, likewise, there are many false Muslims who have occasionally helped others. Do not focus on the people — focus on the *IDEOLOGY!* The ideology of Christ is Eternal Life. The ideology of Muhammad’s Islam is certain death.

  • Dick Silk

    Thank you for narrowing your scope of definition. A religion is simply a set of rules for living one’s life. The simplest religion I’ve been able to distill is that “One heartbeat always follows another.” That which encourages another heartbeat is encouraged, while that which discourages another heartbeat is discouraged.

    So — if you’re implying that all religions are simply wrappers, well, perhaps you’re correct — but what is important are the ideas they contain *within* those wrappers. The ideas wrapped in Christianity are positive in nature, resulting in the spread of illumination. The ideas wrapped in Islam are negative in nature, resulting in the spreading extinction of illumination. The more you study history, the more you will see the truth of these contrary wrappers.

  • Dick Silk

    Do not allow yourself to get weighed down by the merits (or demerits) of individuals. Focus on the ideology the people are *trying* to follow. For example, I may not be able to follow *all* of the math behind Einstein’s theories of relativity, but the equations are proven true regardless of whether or not a mathematician of lesser quality is able to work the problem correctly.

    While there have been countless false Christians who have occasionally harmed others, likewise, there have been many false Muslims who have occasionally helped others.

  • Dick Silk

    Like Michelangelo explained regarding sculpting David out of a block of marble: the figure was already there — all he had to do was release it from the excess marble surrounding it. Christ helped us to see truth for what it is, minus all the hocus pocus of the Pharisees.

    I somewhat empathized with the rest of your post — I am one of “those people who…” take any idea apart and analyze it down to its core in order to see if the idea has a constructive merit or a destructive merit. *Nearly every* Word spoken by Christ has a positive basis. Something like 75% of Muhammad’s ideas are destructive.

  • Dick Silk

    Actually, Christianity teaches us to love our enemies. Pick your enemy — define it — then determine how best you may convert your hatred or fear of that enemy into love for it. THAT is what Christianity is all about.

  • Dick Silk

    No true Muslim would ever regard any non-Muslim as an equal. Islam is a greater genocidal, fascist force than Nazi German *ever* was!

  • Dick Silk

    Imagine, if you will, a human being composed of various emotions: love, hate, envy, jealousy, bravery, you name it — that smorgasbord of emotion can confuse a person and cause turmoil, or worse, cause that human to do something really stupid.

    Now imagine, if you can, a human being completely centered on loving — no hatred, no envy, lust, jealousy, greed — only the positive emanation of Love. This would be Christ.

    Now imagine, if you can, a human being completely centered on lust, sexual desire, greed, murder, hatred, racism, narcissism, deceit, misogyny, bestiality, necrophilia, pedophilia, death — that would be Muhammad.

    Now, finally, imagine what would happen if Jesus cast all the demons out of Muhammad — but that’s not going to happen that easily — Muhammad has something like 1.x billion followers. So what do you think it will take for Christianity to throw out Islam? Hmmmm…

  • LiteralStrawMan

    Brother, I’m going to have to rebuke you there. Whatever it is your pushing isn’t Christianity, you’re pushing some Christian/Veidic/nonsense that isn’t about love at all and is entirely about a western/colonialized understanding of karma. You can’t love your enemy while simultaneously crossing your fingers for the day they destroy themselves, that’s not love, that’s just poorly disguised hate.

  • LiteralStrawMan

    It must be nice to live with a version of Christianity where you never have to examine yourself.

  • Dick Silk

    Why don’t you try being specifically descriptive instead of vaguely deceptive?

  • LiteralStrawMan

    while also hoping desperately for that day when they get themselves killed- because that’s apparently what love is

  • Dick Silk

    Been there, done that, saw Muhammad leading the way with all of Islam following blindly behind him. Want a T-Shirt?

  • Dick Silk

    Good thing this isn’t an audible forum :-)

  • Dick Silk

    When I examined myself, I discovered that I am here and now as a result of *everything* that has happened before, during, and after the Big Bang — as well as everything that did *not* happen. What did you find?

  • Dick Silk

    And apparently, you’re a really poor judge of character.

  • Dick Silk

    Possibly good point, followed by another possibly good point, followed by relatively good advice followed by a fairly interesting thought. However, keep in mind, that words *are* actions, and that any assumption is a risk.

  • LiteralStrawMan

    That when I try to say I love someone while hoping for their destruction, I’m not actually loving them.

  • Dick Silk

    Destroying themselves is built into their Islamic religion — the duality of the entire ideology is what causes one Muslim faction to turn against another in an ever growing quest for “ultimate power.”

    You seem to have misunderstood the pesticide of genocide: the ideology of Islam is the pesticide used upon all non-Muslims in a genocidal fashion. It is understandable that on occasion, rather precise ideas have to be “unpacked” for greater clarity and context.

    Nothing to rebuke — Earth, the ground itself, provides the negative charge that draws the positively charged lightning out of the clouds to strike the Earth, filling it with positively charged energy. Islam is creating the negative ground that will draw the nukes into it, and *BOOM!* We all get to witness the nuclear thunder.

  • Dick Silk

    What if “death” is one’s enemy? Should we not love our own deaths as our eventual gateway back to Oneness with God?

  • Dick Silk

    Ever chatted with a Muslim from the Middle East? They fully believe what Islam teaches — that separating a Jew’s soul from his body is doing him a favor by sending his soul “back to Allah.” So by their very own Islamic ideology, Muslims are doing unto others as they wish to have others do unto them.

  • LiteralStrawMan

    wowee, that’s some terrible theology pal

  • Dick Silk

    On a simpler level — loving someone changes them. Death is the ultimate (final) form of change. So yes, you can love your enemy to death.

  • LiteralStrawMan

    I bet you’ve had a lot of great conversations with Muslims then

  • Dick Silk

    Enough.

  • Bones

    Nope.

    You’re an extremist

  • Bones

    Nope.

  • Bones

    The only deception going on is with your paranoid hysterical ramblings.

  • Bones

    Aaah so you define who your enemy is based on your own opinion.

    Muslims aren’t my enemy.

    No matter how much you try to demonize them.

    Many are better human beings than yourself.

  • Bones

    You are a false Christian and a liar who bears false witness.

  • Bones

    Aaah so you continue to piss on Muslim’s like Captain Humayun Khan who sacrificed thselves for your country while you jack off to your hatred behind a computer.

    Your ideology shows you for the hateful bigot that you are.

  • Bones

    Faces of the American Muslims who died fighting for their country after 9/11 revealed as fallen soldier’s father tells Trump: ‘You have sacrificed nothing and no-one’

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news

  • Dick Silk

    Actually, you are not *too* far off base there — but an extremist in the sense that I take any idea (or action) to its fullest length. For instance: The Christian principle of “love your enemy,” if practiced fully to its “extreme,” would result in a world of total love, and no enemies left — The Big Bang, if you will: Creation.

    Whereas, if you take Islam’s principle of “kill your enemy” to its “extreme,” then you have to consider that every person is his or her own worst enemy — and eventually — no one would be left alive.

    So yes, I’ll acknowledge that “extremist” fits — in a sense.

  • Dick Silk

    Look in the mirror.

  • Dick Silk

    If you refuse to clarify, you will continue to live in obfuscation and occlusion.

  • Dick Silk

    That so-called “American Muslim” is something of an expert professional in Sharia law. Learning to spot deception is easy: just look for a Muslim.

  • Dick Silk

    Your immaturity is showing. Cowards use avatars to hide their faces and pseudonyms to hide their identity. You have nothing of value to offer.

  • Dick Silk

    Islam is a political system more than a religion. Roman Catholicism is Roman Catholicism *based* upon Christianity, just as Protestantism and Mormonism and 7th Day Adventists and Nazarenes and Jehovah’s Witnesses are all *based* upon Christianity. Scientology is based upon science fiction.

  • Dick Silk

    Says the mystery creature hiding behind a false name and a false photo. “You lie” saith the liar — LOL! is nothing throwing nothing supposed to have some type of actual effect? I think not.

  • Dick Silk

    First, “Detour” signs are suggestions *unless* you are actually on a path that requires a detour. Further, one does not *have* to follow a detour — one can always turn around and go some entirely other direction.

    Second: when I ask someone where something is in a store, and they take me to that object, they are following my request. I am not following their command. Subtle difference, but thanks for bringing that up.

  • Bones

    You lie and bear false witness about others including fallen countrymen.

    You’re a disgusting ungrateful lying prick.

  • Bones

    You’re the immature one who paints whole people as evil to puff themselves up.

    I’m pretty sure your real name is Dick Head.

  • Bones

    That doesn’t even make sense.

    Neither do you know what sharia law is.

  • Dick Silk

    You were 100% correct, by the way, when you started out stating (referring to your own comment, that) “This is complete and utter deception.” That’s a great way to start out, by telling everyone you’re telling them a lie, and then getting them to think that you’re telling them the truth. *Beautiful!* Cheers on *that* one!!

  • Bones

    You live in a twisted hateful fantasy world.

  • Dick Silk

    I live in the truth — you seem to live in cowardice and anonymity. Enjoy!

  • Bones

    Just wondering, does this lying and demonising whole groups of people like the Nazis did make you feel better?

  • Bones

    The makes no sense.

    And no, lying about your neighbour isn’t love.

    It shows you as a hateful bigot.

    Welcome to Dick’s World where hate= love.

  • Dick Silk

    Don’t worry, coward-hiding-behind-a-pseudonym — I don’t hate you. Hate is far too strong an emotion to waste on someone you don’t care about.

  • Dick Silk

    Indeed! I’m running on only half my brain, which is why it only takes me half the time to peg a troll (such as yourself) whenever such is encountered.

  • Bones

    You’re the one trolling moron.

    It doesn’t take much to see how false people like yourself are.