Bernie Is Right: Morality Is More Than Abortion & Gay Marriage

Bernie Is Right: Morality Is More Than Abortion & Gay Marriage September 15, 2015

Bernie Sanders at Liberty

I won’t be endorsing any candidates for president. Neither am I a member of any political party in the United States.

But I did watch Bernie Sander’s speech at Liberty University yesterday. I mean, a socialist Jew speaking in front of a room full of people who began the event by worshipping a socialist Jew? That was must-see-TV if you ask me. Even given my aversion to Christian involvement in politics, watching the speech was worth my time. (You can catch the full speech, here.)

Bernie immediately acknowledged he was speaking to an audience who likely held profound disagreements with him on some issues, but spent the thrust of his speech making a point that needs to be reiterated loud and clear across the fruited plains of American Christianity:

Morality is more than abortion and gay marriage.

Code-words such as “biblical morality” have been diluted in recent generations of American Christians to the point that almost everyone knows their new cultural meaning: such terms have become synonymous with being anti-gay marriage and anti-abortion, and little else.

And that’s a shame– because morality is so much more than one’s position on gay marriage or abortion.

I made the same point in my book, Undiluted: Rediscovering The Radical Message of Jesus:

“As a result of this blending of Jesus and culture, many of us have been left with a distorted view of Jesus and what it looks like to follow him. The message of the greatest teacher in all human history, the Son of God, the awaited Messiah, the Savior of humanity, had his message reduced to:

Don’t drink.

Don’t smoke.

Abortion is murder.

Gay marriage with destroy us.

Don’t forget to vote republican.” (Undiluted, page 19)

Bernie spoke prophetic words– not just to Liberty but to all of us– by reminding American Christianity of what it has long forgotten: biblical morality is so, so much more than what Americanized Christians have turned it into.

 As Bernie pointed out, while conservative Christians have been busy fighting abortion and gay marriage, the United States has become the richest country in history but who now can boast of having the highest child poverty rate in the industrialized world. While fighting to make abortion illegal, the political party supported by conservative Christians has been slashing funds that feed poor children and single moms– a version of morality that says “fetuses matter, but children do not.”

Politics aside, I share Bernie’s question: how in the world is that “biblical” morality? 

Sadly, it’s not.

True biblical morality doesn’t turn a blind-eye to human suffering, but takes self-sacrificial action.

True biblical morality doesn’t neglect the poor while allowing the rich to continue to amass wealth upon more wealth, but instead rejects and rebukes the evil of greed.

True biblical morality gives priority to the lowly, it welcomes the immigrant, it invites in the outcast, and offers them a seat of honor at our table.

True biblical morality is not marked with a concern of one’s self or their own individual rights, but is concerned with what is good and right for others to be more important.

True biblical morality is not concerned with the question, “How do I keep more?” but “How do I give more?”

True, comprehensive biblical morality includes so many things that all stand side-by-side as moral equals— and goes far beyond one’s opinion on abortion or gay marriage.

Let me be clear: Christian attitudes towards immigrants are every bit of a moral issue as abortion. Christian attitudes toward the poor and the sick are every bit of a moral issue as sexual ethics. Yet, somewhere along the way, people in power lied to you and told you that wasn’t the case.

Those religious leaders who have walked before us have distorted the meaning of biblical morality for their own political purposes and personal gain— and millions have blindly followed them (and made them rich) while ignoring the aspects of a biblical worldview that are actually discussed in Scripture. 

It’s time for that chapter in American Christian history, to end.

It’s time to reclaim a holistic understanding of biblical morality, instead of blindly following political and religious leaders who are content to allow children to go hungry, and refugees to perish, so long as they are able to hold onto their money and positions of power.

Please folks, take the blinders off. Stop blindly following. Stop buying everything so-called Christian politicians and leaders try to sell you without actually thinking for yourself.

Even if you’re unwilling to branch out and think bigger, at least know this: that feeling of moral disgust you have when you see two men getting a marriage license?

Yeah, that’s exactly how we feel when political leaders slash food stamps, refuse to help refugees, or drop bombs on people. It’s an offense to our biblical morality.

A Christian view of morality is more than abortion and gay marriage– and the republican party doesn’t have a monopoly on true, comprehensive biblical morality.

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  • You know, Benjamin, I take kind of a dark comfort in the fact that this version of Christianity is in its death throes in America. I’m both excited an apprehensive to see what an actual gospel of the kingdom could look like when its current cultural incarnation passes away.

  • Herm

    Lately it seems I’ve been drawn to gauge to whom I reach out to share my talents according to only Matthew 7:12 and 22:37-40. This article fits very comfortably! Thank you!!!

  • Falken

    Sanders is right. Biblical morality is far more than control, which is what anti gay rights and anti abortion amount to. It encompasses being truly pro life, caring more for the totality of the human experience than busy l just the unborn.

  • I agree with much of what you say. No doubt partially because I was a Friend/Anabaptist for 50 years, mission worker, elder, etc. in Anabaptist churches.

    However, would you not agree that the term “biblical morality” is very ambiguous if you look at the explicit texts of the Old Testament and the New Testament. They began giving me difficulty when I was only 11, and it got worse and worse the more I studied the Bible for years.

    For instance, consider Valerie Tarico’s article

    How would you answer such contrary evidence in the Bible to what you say is “true biblical morality”?

    I know how we did for many years, but since some of your views are very different from mine (such as on sex work), I am very interested in yours and other Christians’ explanations of the texts that nontheists such as Tarico bring up.

  • Timothy Weston

    I grew up in a church environment where abortion was the be-all and the end-all of issues. It also produced some serious cognitive dissonance in my head about why those politicians who were against abortion were also against anything that will improve the lives of people.

  • Well written as always, Ben.

    How ironic is it that a socialist Jew like Bernie Sanders goes into a hornets nest of right-wing fascism like Liberty University and calls them out on their hypocrisy. It’s amazing how badly these thumpers have distorted Christianity.

  • Herm

    Daniel, I can often times seem to share nonsense from my nontheist perspective. I am, although, fully trained and experienced theologically. As you bring up the credibility of your Anabaptist friend I would direct you to “The End of Religion” by Bruxy Cavey to make your own judgments, using the Bible in all the inspiration to Truth it can deliver.

    I will depend on the Spirit to guide the explanation to your “biblical morality” quandary you’re seeking to remedy. My credentials are no longer as an avowed Christian, for the authority of the designation has been usurped. I am a student (disciple) of the Rabbi Jesus and this will reflect the lessons He teaches me in answering you.

    First let us go to the greatest stumbling block present “Christian” teachers of the law deliver as justification for their self-promoting judgments of others; Matthew 5:17-20:

    “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”

    … and Matthew 13:52:

    “He said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.””

    … now contrast those two passages of Jesus speaking with His summation in Matthew 7:12 and 22:37-40:

    “”So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

    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.””

    Daniel, do you see the “biblical morality” intended by God in the beginning but was usurped and enhanced to their logic by zealous children going well overboard to please the Father in the Old Testament? Do you see anything in common with our zealous siblings of mankind claiming to be “Christian” teachers of the law including the New Testament?

    Wait, you say, I didn’t address “until everything is accomplished”. Well, when Jesus gave up His spirit on the cross just after saying, “It is finished” right then for three days “heaven and earth” disappeared for Jesus. This is the Jesus who the Father has given all authority over the earth as it now is in heaven. This is the Jesus noted as the Prince of Peace and not the God of war as God was thought to be in the Old Testament. This is the Jesus who teaches us the morality of loving our enemy as well as loving our merciful neighbor (of any faith) as ourselves.

    I ask that you do a little research to gather the entire context for each of the verses I shared along with inviting the Spirit of Truth to counsel you in the morality of God that They desire for us in Their image.

    Search, also, all things spiritual and of the Spirit to know that you have available to you the Spirit of Truth for all time in your heart and mind, He is the Gospel proclaimed, He is the only word of God to be trusted.

    Love where you are on the journey to the end of eternal life!

  • to_tell_the_truth

    Morality is ALL – and ONLY – about how we treat one another. If it is not as we, ourselves, would be treated, it is not moral.

  • to_tell_the_truth

    Re: ” The message of the greatest teacher in all human history, the Son of God, the awaited Messiah, the Savior of humanity, had his message reduced to:

    Don’t drink.

    Don’t smoke.

    Abortion is murder.

    Gay marriage with destroy us.

    Don’t forget to vote republican.”

    You forgot: Don’t dance. Don’t wear makeup. Don’t go to movies. Don’t divorce.

    ALL of those were ‘sins’ in the Pentecostal Church I grew up in.


  • to_tell_the_truth

    Re: “I mean, a socialist Jew speaking in front of a room full of people who began the event by worshipping a socialist Jew? That was must-see-TV if you ask me.”

    Ben, you ‘win the internet’ today with that line alone.

  • CroneEver

    Wonderful post!

  • to_tell_the_truth

    My main problem is when merchants running secular, for-profit businesses insert their version of “Biblical morality” into the business transaction.

    ‘I came to buy some flowers. If I’d wanted a sermon, I’d have gone to a church … my own!’

    And when civil servants who swore an oath to uphold and administer the secular, civil law (and to do so “without partiality”) impose their version of ‘Biblical morality’ onto (some of) their customers.

    ‘I came to get a civil marriage license. If I’d wanted a sermon, I’d have gone to a church … my own.’

  • to_tell_the_truth

    I wish Rod Dreher could/would read this. I’d love to hear his ‘thoughts’ on such a cogent piece.

  • Guy Norred

    If it should be concerned with control in ANY way, it is only the control of self.

  • Jon-Michael Ivey

    Bernie Sanders does not want to welcome immigrants though, because “that’s a Koch brothers proposal.” He prefer to pander to union workers here in America by promising to keep out competition from poorer countries. He is not as bad as Trump, but still worse than many Republicans on this issue.

  • chopin


  • It’s interesting to me that Valerie Tarico’s use of the Bible for morality is exactly the same as a Christian fundamentalist use of the Bible. The only difference is that Tarico’s conclusion is, “Clearly, this is absurd,” and the fundamentalist conclusion is, “Huh. I guess I -can’t- marry my cousin.”

    But I would say the same thing to her that I would say to them, and that is treating the Bible as a cohesive book of laws that dropped out of the sky is getting it wrong right out of the gates and conveniently eliminates a rather large amount of complexity that would prevent cooler heads from taking one bit from this book, one bit from this book, and producing “biblical morality.”

    Even within a single passage, a quote yanked out by its roots and held up as a moral requirement for Christianity covers over a ton of things we would need to even understand that passage in its original time and context, much less what (if any) bearing it has on Christian ethics today.

    The Bible is just not a timeless collection of moral directives, and to say otherwise is a staggering neglect of its actual historical development.

  • liberalinlove

    And don’t go with boys who do!

  • chopin

    yes isn’t it! so far I haven’t heard about the Church of
    gettting definition and discussion so well out here on ben’s
    blog. IMO he just needs to come out a little more boldly and that declaration might begin to
    look like :
    the Church of Antichrist is well established and among us…

  • liberalinlove

    I am wearied to the bone with “Christians” who will tell me that Jesus opposed theft, and communism and socialism and taxes and government. I am wearied of hearing that you can’t serve government and God because you can’t serve two masters. I am just sucked dry of anything logical or pertinent or righteous to say, to those who believe morality and righteousness is a private matter and has nothing to do with the gospel or a moral nation or even a humane one.
    So when I encounter these people, my pat answer will be a clear invitation for them to invite Jesus in so that he can change the hardness of their hearts into an image of himself.

  • Juliox

    Read up on what Bernie’s immigration policy ideas are instead of making up cr@p

  • Ron McPherson

    Preach it brother! I’ve taken two independent voter assessment surveys which includes a host of questions and issues. The results have both come back Sanders on mine. What would be interesting is to take these assessments and attempt to answer each question, not from any personal bias, but from a perspective which aligns as closely as possible to Jesus’ teachings from the Sermon on the Mount. I would be willing to bet a steak dinner that nary a Conservative Republican candidate would finish near the top of the list. And before anybody with GOP blood lines rakes me over the coals just know that I’ve personally voted Republican in my lifetime far more than Democrat. So this ain’t about political agendas for me.

  • Don Lowery

    The Bernie Sanders you’re hearing today is the same Bernie Sanders who was on the live AM morning talk show I used to produce over 10 years ago. Even though I’m a member of the teacher’s union and have loved the senator’s message for a long time…it makes very little sense to not like the man because you don’t like unions…but when you consider his overall message of hope…the senator is heads/tails above any of the Bend Over Party candidates…including Hillary Clinton.

  • Don Lowery

    If I know a particular business or public person claims they’re “christian” (I intentionally did not capitalize it)…I go out of my way to look for any other business. Many times use this label is used to show you what type of a person/business they actually are. Have been cheated and stolen from those who use this label too many times to trust they are moral/ethical.

  • Don Lowery

    Reminds me of the T-shirt/bumper sticker years ago…”Good girls go to heaven…bad girls go everywhere else.” ;)

  • seashell

    Can you briefly share where you see these death throes? I want to feel comfort, too!

  • Erin Knittle

    Yes yes yes!!! :D

  • seashell

    I’ll see your three yeses and raise them with capital letters:

    YES YES YES!!! :D

  • JP

    Of course morality is s more than just just abortion and gay “marriage”. Its also about lying, stealing, adultery etc. Makes one wonder where the candidates are in their personal lives.

  • TigiOma

    Unfortunately, I fear that in their death throes, that they will take as many with them as possible…

  • What the media seems to be missing is that he connected well with students by talking about issues they cared about, not just the same old divisive hot-button issues. The too-high interest rate on student loans and high tuition costs for college, for example. Young evangelicals are also more likely to follow the older stewardship model (it’s our responsibility to take care of the earth, as opposed to the dominionist view that the earth is ours to use up) when it comes to environmental issues. There is a lot of common ground here. Will he turn very many students into Democrats? Probably not. Will he have some allies on issues that are important to both him and those students? Absolutely.

  • And gluttony– let’s not forget about gluttony. I say it’s high time we take a look at their diets.

  • Yes! The latest Pew research on spirituality in America (where I’m from – if you’re in the UK, it’s already dead) shows that fundamentalism, and even just plain ol’ evangelicalism, is bleeding out the ears as far as church attendance. However, the percentages of people who are interested in talking about the Bible is increasing, as are those interested in spiritual things in general.

    It seems as though there is still a lively interest in spirituality in America and even in the Bible in specific, but the majority of us are coming to feel that the institutionalized churches by and large will not provide those things.

    In the UK, this process has largely run its course. Churches are skeletal remains, and in the wake of this devastation, new, organic groups are starting to emerge based around community, mutual care, doing good in the world, meaningful worship, and the interplay of of doubt and faith, questions and answers. Denominations that would have been at each others’ throats 20 years ago are brothers, now, united by common cause.

    I’d say America is roughly 10 years behind that. But the wingnuts won’t go without a fight. Christendom has held this country in its grip for a long time, and it will not go gently into that good night.

    But when it does – when the weird cultural amalgamation of American culture, a Westernized Jesus, football, guns, and the Republican Party is a dessicated wasteland, the mustard seed of the kingdom will start growing. Already, I’m having conversations with people about Jesus and the gospel that I never could have had years ago because of their pre-innoculation to the message of the kingdom thanks to the American church. But now, people have genuinely not heard what the American churches have to say, and you can actually start talking about the vibrant, spiritual heart of our communal faith and how that works itself out in love and our mission to be a blessing to all nations. It’s a much more compelling story.

  • seashell

    Thank you so much, Phil. I guess being here in the actual US makes it hard to put too much hope in what you are seeing. Since you have the advantage of an ocean between you and the wing-nuts, your vision is probably clearer than mine and I can take hope from that.

    What you are talking about, the organic communities formed of faith and love are the types of things I would love to see happening here and could motivate me to take a second look at the whole religion thing. The UK is lucky to have you and I hope you can keep us updated on how it’s working out for the good of all over there. Thanks, again. Carole

  • AnnieOly

    For an even more extreme cognitive dissonance experience, just think of how these same people fight tooth and nail against sex ed and contraception availability, the very tools that are most effective in preventing the need for abortion in the first place.

  • seashell

    Careful what you ask for! Lately he’s wandered into territory usually reserved for the unhinged. But, yes, it would be interesting, I think.

  • chopin

    addictions have way of morphing into other kinds of addictions. spiritual abuse is a major addiction. I feel that my life experiences have prepared me to speak to people and offer sanctuary to people who have been spiritually abused bc I suffered so much of it myself
    and i’ve been in recovery a long time.
    that’s how it rolls. it is however a progressive disease. what will fill the void? alcohol, drugs, child abuse, domestic violence, other cults, pornography… that’s my short list.

  • to_tell_the_truth

    Dang! I forgot to put Tattoos (and dating boys that had ’em).

  • Jeff Preuss

    I’ve voted Republican on occasion, even though I’m registered Democrat, though I truthfully align more along the middle.

    To me, it’s about the right candidate, and not a strict adherence to party lines. I think the world and our American society are simply not all “either or” so I, too, try to just vote for whom I think would best reflect Christ’s examples.

  • Popvaditecclesiae

    So now I get it. “Progressive Christianity” Take the CNN, NBC, CBS, and ABC narratives. Thrown in a little bit of the FOX hook, the “moderate” part. Mix it with a pinch of “niceties” from the New Testament. Consult that sweet grandfatherly god for some cosmic advice, and wha-la. You get your “Progressive Christianity” Every one coexists and we all meet in Heaven. Well, everyone except those evil fundamn-mentalists. They go to that hell that doesn’t exist. You know cause, the world would have peace and love. If it wasn’t for them.

  • Popvaditecclesiae

    Kim Davis is an elected official. Why does every one use this incorrect, “its her job” argument. She can be fired by her constituents at election time. She won’t, because she is doing what her constituents want. Thats how America works. Its a republic. Lots of elected officials have stood up to the courts and the government for their constituents. I wish more would. You can hate her all you want. Her constituents don’t.

  • Brandon Roberts

    morality isn’t always black and white but as for absoloute morality murder stealing lying adultery phsyical and emotional abuse are definitely the ones that we can all agree on. and bernie is right

  • chopin

    yeah you bout got it smiley. Now what?

  • to_tell_the_truth

    Re: “territory usually reserved for the unhinged”

    That seems to be his ‘forte’.


  • to_tell_the_truth

    We use the “it’s her job” argument because it IS her job to issue civil marriage licences, and she swore to do that job “without partiality” – just as the law requires.

    This ‘firing’ is merely not being re-elected, but citizens in her county should not be denied the secular civil services she swore to perform in the meantime.

    “what her constituents want” is moot to the law she swore to uphold.

    We do not “hate her”. We hate the fact that she refuses to do the very job she swore to do and that Kentucky taxpayers pay her to do..

  • Oh no, I’m in the US in the trenches with you. Wingnuttery all around.

    I just keep my fingers on the pulse of the situation in the UK because I think it’s our near future, from a religious perspective.

  • I say we go a step further. Evangelical denominations should not ordain gluttons.

    In other, unrelated news, I’m about finished with my Institute for Pastors Who Need to Find New Jobs.

  • Matthew

    I watched Bernie speaking at a rally in Portland, Oregon via YouTube. I was really captivated by what he said (especially about higher education), however I don´t think he would do well in a general election. Sadly, the U.S. is still miles away from embracing a real social democrat.

    That said, I suppose many people think Bernie wasted his time speaking at Liberty University … but I don´t think so. I mean many American evangelicals seem to be embracing Trump, yet Trump doesn´t exactly shine with all the values they expect a candidate to have.

    Maybe Bernie indeed won some new followers, despite his positions on abortion and same sex marriage (and the fact that I think he is an atheist).

  • Except it is also her job.

  • Matthew

    A voice from Europe says …

    Even European evangelicalism looks nothing like “American McChristianity Super-Sized” in terms of ideology and political involvement, however ugly church institutionalism and religion is still wide and deep over here. Very program and event oriented; very little real community.

    That said, I think even European Christians are left scratching their collective heads when they observe the behavior of some of their brethren across the ocean.

  • By no means did I mean to imply those churches no longer existed, but they are certainly way emptier now than they were 10 years ago. I admit I’m relying mostly on what missiologists in the UK are reporting.

  • Gabriel Cody

    While I whole heartedly agree with your assessment as well as much of Bernie’s points, I believe that this is a Christian problem not a government problem. I cannot take money from somebody else and force them to pay to remedy injustices in this country or the world. As a Jesus follower I try to live a life in which I sacrifice my desires (stuff, status, etc.) to pour into just causes throughout the world. Forcing someone else to do the same with the threat of violence (taxation) does not seem just.

  • I’m constantly amazed by people who seem to think that the only aspect to morality is (their version of) sexual morality. They often bring up the example of the fall of the Roman Empire. All that sexual misconduct!

    But what they don’t understand is that the sexual misconduct attributed to the late Roman Empire was actually a SYMPTOM of the immoral excesses that overtook the nobility. Those excesses had to do with selfishness and greed. It was corruption that took down the Roman Empire.

    A lot like what’s happening in America today.

  • seashell

    From the comments in this thread, I’d say we’re not alone in the trenches. How refreshing! I do feel some hope now.

  • Popvaditecclesiae

    “Progressive Christianity” is new to me. I discovered it about a year ago. I go to one of those evil mega churches in So Cal. I asked all my friends there about it. Non of them had heard of it. Talked to many of the 20 and 30 somethings about it. While that age group mostly agreed with it. They hadn’t really heard the name. Most of them like the concept, but aren’t really interested in exploring it. I just see it as the cowards way to getting along with the culture. I plan on staying engaged as I grow in the way I articulate my total and complete disagreement with it.

  • Guy Norred

    I have been quoting Ephesians 3:16-19

  • We already do that. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Unemployment. I don’t see anything wrong with citizens taking care of fellow citizens through taxes.

  • Grammar nazi here…it’s voila. Not wha-la. A lot of folks don’t know the spelling on that one.

  • Gabriel Cody

    Just because we already do it does not mean it’s the way it should be done. The church should not allow there to be anyone forgotten; no poor; no hungry. Much the way the early church was. Compassion and love for your fellow man is voluntary not by threat of violence if you don’t give what whoever is in charge thinks you should.

  • It’s more along the lines of following Jesus’s command to love first and foremost. All other commands come second to that one. So if your behavior isn’t showing love (or at the very least kindness or empathy), you are missing the mark. Also, what happens after death is only Christ’s purview. So it’s not something I concern myself much with. What we do here in this life is what matters. Are we showing love like Jesus did?

  • Oh, I agree! I just don’t see a problem with our government doing that also. It’s our elected representatives who make these decisions, so elect the ones that don’t support social programs if that’s what you prefer.

  • Gabriel Cody

    Unfortunately our government is majority rules so whatever the masses are told by the sponsors is how they will vote. The church has never and will never be in the majority in this country. Letting our government take over the process of helping others means that whoever they like gets helped and others are left to fend for themselves. Also any help they offer has to be taken from someone else with the threat of force.

  • Jeff Preuss

    No, they can ordain gluttons, but only if they admit their struggles with calorie-attraction (CA), submit to Bible-based counselling to suppress the CA, with a program “graduation” of sorts that is accompanied by a heartfelt promise to never overeat again.

    And then, when they’re caught on Dolly Madison, they can very publicly they are not perfect, yet God has forgiven them, and so should we.

    [Edit: changing so Dolly Madison doesn’t show as hyperlink. My work firewall has it blocked, so I don’t want anyone getting viruses from my comment…]

  • Trilemma

    Except lying is sometimes the morally right thing to do. Like when people hiding Jews lied to the Nazis about it.

  • chopin

    with respect, in your opinion
    what is cowardly about it?

  • chopin

    aw I thought the one creative thing about this post was he (she?)
    Spelled viola as wha-la! I’ll probably spell it that way in my posts
    if an opportunity comes up.

  • Great. Now I want Zingers.

  • Popvaditecclesiae

    Progressive Christianity embraces the Pop culture. Everything about it, is embraced by the cultural elite, the movies, the tv, the music, the pro athletes. Disagree and you are a homophobe, unenlightened, ignorant. A person to be ridiculed and laughed at. At the very least someone to marginalize. I have watched it happen over and over in my life. It takes courage to stand against the pop culture. It takes nothing, to figure out how to twist the bible, so you can be accepted by this culture.

  • Popvaditecclesiae

    Jesus loved the woman at the well. Yet, he told her she was in sin. He loved the woman about to be stoned. Yet, he told her she was in sin. It is love to tell someone they are in sin. Love is not nice. Love is a work of caring for others, when its hard, and not culturally acceptable. Jesus was standing against the pop culture of the time when he spoke to the women at the well. He stood against the pop culture, when he protected the other woman from being stoned. Those men where the cool, the elite of that culture.

  • Ron McPherson

    “She can be fired by her constituents at election time.”

    Which only rolls around every 4 years or so. Elected officials are held to a standard supported by their oath of office. Non-elected workers, government or otherwise, can be fired by their employer at any time. But elected offices obviously can’t work that way because the employers of office holders are their constituents. However, employers (voters) do not have the right to terminate their employees (elected officials) at any time (because we don’t hold elections every day). Thus, an oath of office is taken in order to hold them to a higher standard.

    “…she is doing what her constituents want. Thats how America works.”

    Actually, it’s not really how America works. if a million people do the wrong thing, that in itself still doesn’t make it right. A bloody war was fought 150 years ago over whether the government really possessed the right to govern, in spite of what a majority in any given locale of our nation might desire. So, it’s not about doing what her constituents want but rather abiding by the law that she swore to uphold. Think of it this way. What if her constituents were racists? Would that justify any discriminatory act on her part to not marry minorities? Of course not because we have laws to safeguard against such things.

  • Trilemma

    Christianity started out as Progressive Judaism and stood against the religious conservative (pop) culture of Jesus’ day. Progressive Christianity stands against the religious conservative (pop) culture of today. My guess is that you’re part of the religious pop culture of today.

  • Ron McPherson

    Same here. I’m all over the place in the voting booth.

  • Ron McPherson

    Now you’ve quit preaching and gone to meddling, ha!

  • Ron McPherson

    “You get your “Progressive Christianity” Every one coexists and we all meet in Heaven.”

    Though I don’t ascribe a label to myself (just try to follow Jesus though often don’t do a very good job of it), I believe your caricature is inaccurate. Not all progressives are Universalists (some yes, some no). By the way, I’ve had fundamentalists accuse me of being progressive and progressives accuse me of being fundamentalist. Thought I’d mention that so you wouldn’t think I’m trumpeting a cause here.


  • Ron McPherson

    I get what you’re saying but will offer something here. With respect to the adulteress on the verge of being stoned, I think the the thing that people miss is that Jesus, as the Son of God, had no logs in His eyes and thus, was imminently qualified to point out the specks in others. The would-be ‘stoners,’ however, pointed out her sin as well, but they were sinners just like her. In other words, they were hypocrites.

    Also, I would characterize Jesus as not so much standing against pop culture so much as standing against religiosity. I don’t see the Pharisees and scribes as being cool, but being holier than thou and self righteous. To me, this was the real issue. After all, Jesus was accused of associating with the gluttons, drunkards, and prostitutes (the dregs of society). So I don’t see Jesus’ actions so much as standing against pop culture, but rather taking a stand against legalistic conformity over love, compassion, and forgiveness.

  • SamHamilton

    I feel the same way. Our churches should be talking about poverty just as much as they talk about sexual morality, if not more so. But I’m always amazed that people who advocate non-violence are usually the same ones who immediately want to force others to, ultimately at the point of a gun, because that’s what the law does, to contribute money to solve the problem. There’s no love in that. Personally, I don’t have a problem with social welfare programs, but I’m not a pacifist either.

    I realize Mr. Corey’s comment about “socialist jews” was more tongue-in-cheek than serious, but that exposes a serious flaw in the thinking here. Jesus wasn’t a “socialist” in any modern definition of the word.

  • Ron McPherson

    And don’t forget Rahab lying to protect the Israelite spies. And she even made the hall of faith in Hebrews 11.

    And lying to my wife by telling her the dress doesn’t make her look fat is the morally right thing to do as well (and the safest).

  • SamHamilton

    The problem is our elected representatives represent us. We can’t wash our hands and say “Well, they’re the ones forcing other people to pay taxes, not me.” When Christians advocate for government solutions to poverty, the vast majority of the time they’re talking about the use of force – forcing people who don’t want to address the problem in this way to do so.

  • Ron McPherson

    But if we professed Christ followers took Jesus at His literal words to help the poor, the gov’t probably wouldn’t even need to step in. But seeing how we don’t, then the gov’t must do it.

  • Jeff Preuss

    “Jesus loved the woman at the well. Yet, he told her she was in sin.”

    You wanna try again? I find no point in the story in John 4 about Jesus telling the woman she is in sin. He is aware that she has been married five times, and that she is with someone not currently her husband, but at no time in that tale does He state these facts out to her as being “in sin.”

    And as for the woman presented to him to be stoned for adultery, FIRST Christ says, “Neither do I condemn you.”
    Perhaps you should focus more on that point since it is the crux of that story and the entire large-scale story of redemption our Savior presents.

  • SamHamilton

    Even if he doesn’t win followers, I’m hopeful that he’ll convince Christians that issues of poverty need to take higher priority than they do today. And I hope social conservatives are able to convince Sen. Sanders than abortion is wrong.

  • SamHamilton

    Rod Dreher wrote this a couple days ago on Sen. Sanders’ speech at Liberty.

    He wants to know where the conservative Bernie Sanders is. (i.e. someone who is pro-life and who wants to address the issue of poverty).

  • SamHamilton

    I think you’re missing Gabriel’s point. His point is that the way of Jesus does not involve forcing other people who don’t necessarily share our faith to do what Jesus tells us to do. Saying that using force is okay because we haven’t done a good enough job doesn’t make sense.

  • Ron McPherson

    are you defining force as taxes?

  • chopin

    I’m a little slow on the uptake I just now had to look up the definition for conflation.
    some good points are being made here but I’m not just sure how to articulate an argument. as the hackles rise on my neck
    I feel a strong hold and a wickedness in high places is at play here.
    I ask the Holy Spirit to help me sort through the confusion of high sounding moral positions that are rooted in greed, fear, corruption of the intention of words & the new speak of Antichrist. I am damn sick of these mind games!

  • chopin

    yikes! if she reads this, buddy, you are so outed!

  • chopin

    yes thank you! I think you just popped a ‘pop culture’ bubble! at least, I thought I heard it pop! I guess it’s important to get our definitions correct about ‘pop culture’ then maybe we can get on to something a little more pertinent
    like ‘structural violence’ in regard to marginalized people who will be summarily cut off if being taxed is conflated with ‘socialism’ and socialism is defined as the ‘sin’ of helping helping poor people survive.

  • Ron McPherson

    Yielding to the Spirit is good advice we all should heed. If we paused long enough to consult Him (especially me)before posting , our words would be more seasoned with grace instead of trying to win a point.

  • Ron McPherson

    Haha, yes. I know she follows Ben Corey on twitter but geez, I didn’t think about the blog. Gulp

  • Rozelynde

    Can anyone clear this up for me? I’ve heard Jesus referred to in different manners. They are a prophet, the son of god, and god himself. Which is it?
    As to his mother, I’ve read that the original use of the term for virgin simply meant unmarried, but once it was accepted that women shouldn’t have sex before marriage that being unmarried and sexually untried came to mean the same thing. So, was his mother simply unmarried or was she “sexually innocent?”
    Also, if she had to be sexually innocent for Jesus to be born pure, then wouldn’t she and her mother, grandmother, and so on have to have been born of pure women. Not trying to be rude here, but you don’t get clean water from a muddy cup, so was she also a virgin birth?
    Which brings up one more question. Why were women thought of as pure until they had sex with men and then seem to be considered unclean? Did people think of sex as passing some taint that men had?
    I’ve tried asking different preachers some of these questions and all they do is pray for me. Is there anyone that can seriously answer?

  • chopin

    too right!

  • Brandon Roberts

    yeah i wasn’t counting instances where you have to lie to protect others or steal to provide for your family (perhaps i should’ve been more clear)

  • Matthew

    No problem Phil.

    I was speaking of mainly evangelical-style churches here in Europe. Although they tend to have much more attendance than your more liberal (by American standards) churches, and although they are not always similar to American evangelicalism in ideology or political involvement, they still for the most part project an institutional and religious image that mirrors much of what I have seen and experienced in the U.S. :-(

  • Adam “Giauz” Birkholtz

    How is this different from what churches do? Isn’t being an unrepentent non-tither a reason Jesus would torture someone in hell? Also, churches are plenty inefficient at helping people. These social programs that help so many today did not change hands in management from the church to every single USA citizen. People who complain about taxes that go to social welfare come off to me as saying, “We would give money to the poor instead of buying new cell phones and taking expensive vacations to see our far away relatives if only we were not giving money to the poor.”

  • Adam “Giauz” Birkholtz

    Vesting women with the responsibility over their own autonomy that we as society have thought we are oh so good at being responsible with is not wrong. Women are people not community property used to make people and more community property.

  • Gabriel Cody

    Taxes ARE forced. Give us your money and we will spend it as we see fit or we will take your property and/or lock you in a cage and if you resist we will use force up to and including taking your life. Taxes are theft using the threat of violence; we have the guns, give us your money.

  • Adam “Giauz” Birkholtz

    Are you writing about church tithes?

  • Gabriel Cody

    It’s not about efficiency, it’s about force. The threat of violence to an individual to take his property and use as you see fit. Using the threat of violence to force someone else to do the right thing is not the right thing to do. Serving your fellow man out of obligation or force is meaningless. It’s a heart issue. I pay my taxes (to keep from going to jail) but I still give as much and spend as much time as I can helping others. I do this because Jesus is in me, not because I’m being forced to. That is being a Jesus follower, not giving the bare minimum because I’m forced to or even because I’m supposed to (Pharisees).

  • Gabriel Cody

    I have not been referring to tithes. Tithes are also voluntary and should be given joyfully and not out of obligation.

  • Adam “Giauz” Birkholtz

    “Serving your fellow man out of obligation or force is meaningless.”

    When has a person who can now get food for their children or go to the hospital and not suffer crushing debt or a person who cannot work can eat and live (as well as provide for the rest of their family) ever said such nonsense? Yes, it is about efficiency. Providing for people is too important to leave it up to “how giving do I feel today?” so people like you can show how charitable among Christians you are. Yes, giving under obligation does have meaning (the Bible even has Jesus coercing people to give or he will take everything from them), just not the self-aggrandizing meaning you find so important.

  • Adam “Giauz” Birkholtz

    Not out of obligation… but that doesn’t mean not giving won’t make Jesus take everything away from you and worse- Jesus might be into torture (he’s apparently more frightening than any rapist or Hitler who can only destroy men’s bodies).

  • Trilemma

    I don’t think you can get agreement on absolute or objective morality. Morality is relative to the situation, even when it comes to premeditated murder. If Dietrich Bonhoeffer had succeeded in murdering Adolf Hitler, would that have been morally wrong? Some days I think yes and on others I think not.

  • Trilemma

    Taxes are not theft. Taxation without representation is theft. Yes, taxes are forced, but that doesn’t make them theft any more than being forced to drive my car on a road instead of where I want is kidnapping.

  • Investigator

    I have never heard conservative Christianity described as “pop” culture.

    Are you seriously suggesting that conservative/evangelical Christians, who take the Bible seriously, more closely resemble the culture of Hollywood and the liberal elites of the political correct crowd than do the “progressive Christians”? Are conservative Christians “popular” in American society?
    Is not the author of this blog continually taking conservative Christians to task and NOT those who attack the Christian faith?

  • Investigator

    “…I guess it’s important to get our definitions correct about ‘pop culture’ …”

    I would agree whole heartedly, but you’re not getting it from Trilemma.

  • Investigator

    “Isn’t being an unrepentent non-tither a reason Jesus would torture someone in hell?”

    Tithing has nothing to do with an individual’s eternal destination.

  • Adam “Giauz” Birkholtz

    Feeding, clothing, and caring for people does according to a lot of (non-prosperity gospel) Christian’s theology. It is also a point for some self-aware large fancy churches to let people know that their tithes are not simply paying for the huge electric bill and the preacher’s new Cadillac.

  • Andrew Barloq

    Sounds like you have crappy preachers. I’m not qualified to respond to all of these questions, but I’ll try to answer where I can and hopefully give you some direction.

    In orthodox Christian belief systems, Jesus is seen as a prophet, the son of God AND God himself. It’s a bit confusing, but to put it simply, Jesus is God’s incarnate form, but still a part of God as a whole. Ben can probably give you a clearer answer than me, but that’s the jist of it.

    I have also heard that Jesus may not have been born of a “virgin” as we would currently understand it, although I’m sure this isn’t an entirely agreed upon interpretation. However, whether or not Mary was a virgin in our understanding, this is really only an issue amongst staunch traditionalists and Biblical literalists, both of whom have a stake in the “virgin birth” narrative and whose understanding of Christianity would probably shatter if they were forced to reevaluate something so trivial. Nothing says that Mary had to be pure in order for Jesus to be pure as well, this was likely made up by someone trying to police womens’ sexual agency. It also is rather heretical – Jesus was only able to be pure by human means? And are women also somehow “sinless” until they lose their virginity? Yeah, there is an unfortunate legacy of sexism against women in the church, so you have to be sure to question things like this and confront negative attitudes within the church which conform to culture and not the message of Jesus.

    Thanks for posting and seeking answers though! Hopefully I have helped your on your journey at least a little bit though!

  • gimpi1

    The problem I see with that is that it simply doesn’t work. No society has ever taken care of the elderly, disabled and impoverished with voluntary charity. Those that try (usually because the country is too poor or underdeveloped to do anything else) have crippled and elderly beggars living under bridges and doorways everywhere. If you look around the world, those countries with a decent safety-net have much better standards of living for everyone. We are far too rich a nation to use inability to take care of our own as an excuse.

    I think the idea of exclusively caring for people through private charity is kind of like the idea of communism. It sounds good, plays out well in thought-experiments, but never works out in real life.

    I realize you might have found that last sentence offensive. If so, I apologize, but that’s really what I see. I think if you look around the world, you may, too.

  • gimpi1

    Taxes are a necessary part of any modern society. Roads, military defense, policing and a justice system, infrastructure, education, care of the elderly and disabled are all things that individuals and families simply can’t do on their own. As part of a society, we pay into a pool to do those things. We have elected representatives who we vote for to represent us in making decisions about taxes. Is the system perfect? No. Is it a whole lot better than the anarchy you seem to prefer. Oh, heck, yes!

  • Investigator

    “Code-words such as “biblical morality” have been diluted in recent generations of American Christians to the point that almost everyone knows their new cultural meaning: such terms have become synonymous with being anti-gay marriage and anti-abortion, and little else.”

    And whose fault is this?

    “While fighting to make abortion illegal, the political party supported by conservative Christians has been slashing funds that feed poor children and single moms– a version of morality that says “fetuses matter, but children do not.”

    The party progressives support is not only in favor of murdering the pre-born and selling off their body parts like so much cargo, they also confiscate monies from those opposed to such horrors.

    Homosexuality is condemned in scripture; are you suggesting that taking the Bible seriously on this is not part of Biblical morality? Do you object to this Biblical truth?

    “How do I keep more?” but “How do I give more?”

    Who gives more of their time and money than Christians? Multiple millions have selflessly served in the Salvation Army and theirs is essentially a vow of poverty. What of the Christian organizations like World Vision, OM, Youth With a Mission, and Samaritan’s Purse whose director you seem to continually find fault with? Is it not insulting to say such things to people who have dedicated their lives to serving their fellow man?

    “…people in power lied to you and told you that wasn’t the case.”

    Says who? I’m not sure where you fellowship but perhaps you need to get out more.

    “Stop buying everything so-called Christian politicians and leaders try to sell you without actually thinking for yourself.”

    So they should belly up to your money changing table instead?

    The church’s focus on marriage and family dwarfs the issue of homosexuality. Go into any Christian book store or CBD catalogue and count the number of books and tapes devoted to marriage and family. Now, see if you can find any books documenting the Bible’s condemnation of homosexuality. It is the same with sermons in conservative churches, very little on abortion and homosexuality unless the verses prohibiting a gay lifestyle come up.

    If and when groups of people begin attacking marriage and begin promoting divorce and the divorced lifestyle calling those who oppose divorce “haters”, then conservative Christians will come to the defense of marriage and you’ll have one more reason to complain about Christians.

  • Investigator

    “I’m constantly amazed by people who seem to think that the only aspect to morality is (their version of) sexual morality.”

    So who are these people? Your description certainly doesn’t apply to those in any of the churches I’ve attended. What do you base your statement on?

  • Investigator

    Was Jesus wrong when he drove out the money changers?

    Was he wrong to call the Pharisees hypocrites, particularly in Matt chap. 23 with the seven woes?

  • :D It drives me crazy for some reason!

  • Investigator

    “…and calls them out on their hypocrisy.”

    What is their hypocrisy? Where are these University students being hypocritical? Is referring to their school as a hornet’s nest of “right-wing fascism” the progressive Christian’s version of “love thy neighbor”?

  • Why do you place yourself in the position of Christ when it comes to other people’s sin? In each case, Jesus spoke personally and alone with these women. He did not invite his disciples nor any other person to take part in speaking with these women about their sin. He is still perfectly capable of reaching people regarding changing their ways. If we just love people unconditionally, He will take care of the rest. It NEVER works well to have one sinful person point out another sinful person’s shortcomings.

  • I’m not seeing the connection here…a little more detail about what you are addressing?

  • Investigator

    “…I would direct you to “The End of Religion” by Bruxy Cavey to make your own judgments…”

    I thought you didn’t need books, or the Bible?

  • Investigator

    “…is far more than control, which is what anti gay rights and anti abortion amount to.”

    What says control like murdering the unborn? Control is then selling off the fetuses like auto parts.

  • Herm


    You wrote, “Can anyone clear this up for me? I’ve heard Jesus referred to in different manners. They are a prophet, the son of god, and god himself. Which is it?”

    Yes, Jesus could clear that up for you but it appears you have been inundated and overwhelmed by those sanctimonious “oh, so zealously religious” pointing to their right when Jesus is really just out of sight and a little bit more to your left … yeah, keep looking a tiny bit further … a little bit more … yup, now look in and up. He has been there all along, right there, in your heart and mind.

    You missed a few of mankind’s references pointing to Jesus of which I will share His designations of authority as I know them , all tested: Lord, Son of Man, only begotten Son of God, the Word, High Priest, Brother of His Students, Christ/Messiah (the anointed one), and Rabbi (teacher). In addition to those titles I personally find Him, since I have come to know Him when I chose to be accepted as a little child of God myself, my really nice and most loving mature big brother who is fun to play with as I learn and grow from His and my Father’s omniscient presence in my heart and mind. I found that the only place I can HEAR the Truth that works that all willing will continue to grow is in my HEARt.

    So far I have learned and tested this that seems to have the best results for all when I, in everything, do to all others as I would have all others do to me. The next lesson required that I actually knew God as a plurality of Family nurturing relationship available to even me. I now love the Lord my God with all my heart, all my soul, all my strength and all my mind which is infinitely less than God loves me. I can no longer help but to love my merciful neighbor, you, equally as much as I love myself. When that came together in the Spirit of divine family support I found I really did love even my enemy with all I can muster which is pitifully less than my Father loves us all.

    I have already shared for too long in what I am sure you find at best a cool fantasy delivered by an insane. As you have obviously been hurt by those who meant perfectly well but only shared the theology, dogma, and rituals of their traditional mortal families who died before them as the gospel from a god of wrath your heart and mind are injured. God is real, more real than the physical we both share. God can heal if you in private alone with only Them direct your asking, seeking and knocking through your heart and mind. I promise you that you will be answered.

    As to tainted, if we understand the excrement of a newborn baby as tainted then we are all tainted. Each and every one of us of mankind is different from any of mankind today, before today and after today for all time. All of Man was created equal by the spiritual breath and love of God with an immature free will in the image of the will of God. As individuals we don’t know shit because all we know is what we can see from this planet and even then we have to more interpret than actually know. I do know that no matter what a fellow of mankind’s gender, sexual preference, spiritual beliefs, age, nationality, and intellectual prowess if they are merciful to all then, and only then, are they neighbors to all deserving of as much love as I can acknowledge for myself. I do know that life is purely, without exception, an opportunity we each have the option to build from, or to squander, what we have been given (not earned), no matter whether relatively great or meager, to the degree that from all our actions and/or inactions of choice we are held responsible even if only by our own personal judgment for ourselves.

    I choose to love you and try to help you to find all the best for you that you, or we if you allow me, can.

    Thank you for caring to reach out!

  • Herm

    I used the Bible for you and will for others to point to the only Spirit of Truth you resist in favor of your religious traditions of mankind. I share with everyone through every medium I have been abundantly graced with to utilize in the love of God and my siblings of Man.

    As seems to be a self-centered habit of yours you once again thought wrong.

    If God were real for you then Their relationship would have been acknowledged by you. The Bible points to God as well as do many other sacred books written by the hand of Man. The Bible points to the Holy Spirit as no other sacred book written by the hand of Man. Until you accept Him in your heart and mind you will continue to try to justify your worth as a brilliant, less than 120 year old, with all the answers others of mankind have to date been incapable of comprehending.

    You know nothing and heated debate will not correct that, only highlight it more. I know nothing, relative to what I have a hint of as to what there is to know (an eternity’s worth), and rely on a very real God, not a subject of debate, to nurture me for as long as it takes. All I can do for you and others is point to my source for the peace and joy of life continuing who you clearly do not know. I so wish you did.

    We need people with the daring to be willing to vulnerably speak with all knowing pride from a sandy foundation of ignorance apparently, I’m guessing now, because they must believe they have nothing else to lose. Think how much more you could be an asset to mankind and God if you had Jesus teaching you in your heart and mind today.

    Jesus would no longer be a theory for you to defend but a relationship you could share.

    If the Bible is your only credential please use it in these studies. I will respond in kind.

  • Trilemma

    I was responding to a false analogy Popvaditecclesiae made. Popvaditecclesiae said that Jesus fighting the pop culture of his day is like conservative Christianity fighting the pop culture of today. The culture Jesus stood up to was conservative Judaism. If conservative Judaism was the pop culture of Jesus’s day then conservative Christianity is the pop culture of today. The belief that same sex marriage is a sin is the popular belief in Christianity. That’s why politicians are pandering to it. The belief that abortion should be outlawed is another pop belief. So yes, conservative Christianity has been the pop culture of Christianity. Christianity started out as a sect of Judaism just as Progressive Christianity can be viewed as a sect of Christianity today. Jesus going against the conservative religious leaders of his day is the same as progressive Christians going against the conservative religious leaders of today. Franklin Graham and Albert Mohler are today’s versions of Caiaphas.

  • Falken

    So is blatantly lying for Jesus. Your unbiblical point being?

  • chopin

    why are you so defensive buddy!?
    live and let live!

  • chopin

    sweetheart your churches are your churches & I have some news for you;
    you are not God and you’re not even sitting at his right hand!
    none of us are ever likely to see the inside of your personal churches. a hallmark of Christian cults is tunnel vision and
    That one judges others by ones own standards to exclude what one is fearing might
    toxify one & pollute the group. why would you choose to post on a progressive Christian blog? something is rattling inside yourself amiright? IMO that anger you just displyed on this public forum
    is an important indicator that you are coming to terms with some grief issues that have surfaced. The Quakers say there is ‘that of God’ in everyone. IMO ‘that of God’ is a kind of universal GPS system trying to find common ground of Earth to unify perfectly with others. perhaps
    your personal GPS system is picking up on fact that your perception of
    entitlement is an attribute of spiritual and religious addiction, that you are becoming
    mentally imbalanced and inappropriate and this is what is causing you and others harm.

  • liberalinlove

    This is a favorite with me also.
    To also mention to those who are antagonistic to anything Christian, atheists or otherwise, My prayer is also that they may experience the height and breadth and depth of God’s love.

  • Guy Norred

    One day we all will. :-)

  • liberalinlove

    My favorite verse is the one in Ezekiel 16:48- about the sins of Sodom. It really does agree with what you are saying.
    …48″As I live,” declares the Lord GOD, “Sodom, your sister and her daughters have not done as you and your daughters have done. 49″Behold,
    this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had
    arrogance, abundant food and careless ease, but she did not help the
    poor and needy. 50″Thus they were haughty and committed abominations before Me. Therefore I removed them when I saw it.…

  • Rozelynde

    While I appreciate your answer and respect your relationship to Jesus, that didn’t answer my questions.
    For the first question, I wasn’t looking for more titles, but .. When I was younger people spoke of Jesus as the son of god. Now I hear people talk about him as if he was god incarnate. A few others believe he was a human man with a very strong connection to his beliefs. I really just wanted some clarification there.
    You skipped my next question.
    For the last question, if I’m understanding you correctly, then you are saying sex causes people to be impure because it produces children. So the Bible passage that says go forth and multiply is actually telling people to go forth and become unclean?

  • liberalinlove

    I’ve wondered about my involvement with setting the record straight with political issues. I started out getting all these viral e-mails from “Christians” about our current president etc. and fact checked everyone and discovered that every one was taken out of context and rearranged to fit an idea. It made me wonder what other issues were not factual in the political arena. I started to realize my perceptions were skewed.

    Now I think I’m addicted to setting the record straight, because nothing frustrates me more than being lied to. It isn’t about how I vote or how I want others to vote it is about people who call themselves Christians and who have no qualms about bearing false witness. It is, at this point, a clear addiction, which has evolved to replace my fundamental/pentecostal up bringing. I have to pray God gives me balance as it could easily take over and disrupt my life.

  • Brandon Roberts

    that’s not what i meant by murder i meant killing innocent people who have done nothing to deserve it. murdering hitler would obviously be a morally right thing to do (or at least grey) let’s say i kill an innocent child just because i felt like killing and that child would grow up to be a great doctor and cure many diseases that would obviously be morally wrong but if i kill a burglar to protect my family or a serial killer obviously that’s grey.

  • SamHamilton

    I agree completely with what you’re saying, except when it comes to the other human being’s life that is growing in the womb. I believe that that human being also deserves some level of protection.

  • liberalinlove

    You are paying for prisons. It would be cheaper if you would choose to invest in people!

  • liberalinlove

    Can you please give me an example in scripture where Jesus said governments should not govern people in such a way, (including collection of taxes) to take care of issues the government deems important.

    It looks to me like the entire old testament is full of examples of nations punished because they did not take care of their poor. How do you suppose a nation can be held responsible?

  • liberalinlove

    Actually the idea of investing in others is a sowing and reaping principle. I believe when nations sow into their people, they reap a better nation!
    Or in non-biblical terms, when people have food, shelter, medical, and education, they can often turn around and contribute to their own well-being as well as others. The idea that any of us are free to live without contributions is like a 2 year old child that refuses to share. By the time that child reaches a certain age, he is left friendless or becomes a bully.
    When scripture tells us the earth belongs to the Lord and everything in it, it really does take a lot of hubris to say what is mine is mine and governing authorities, which scripture also says are of the Lord, cannot exercise the right to tax.

  • SamHamilton

    All law involves force, ultimately backed up by men and women with guns. This includes laws requiring people to pay taxes. I’m not arguing that’s wrong…but I don’t believe all violence is unjust either.

  • SamHamilton

    There are no such statements of Jesus. However, as noted quite frequently on this blog and others, Jesus often gives us admonitions against violence. Law, at its heart, is backed up by people with guns and, at least, the threat of violence, if not actual violence. See what happens if you stop obeying the law.

    I’m not a pacifist, so I don’t have a problem with the law being backed up by violence. I think order is important and that justice can actually be done by just laws being enforced with force. But it makes me wonder why more pacifists aren’t bothered by the weapons and threats of violence backing up our just laws.

    I do not think all people living within a nation (in the modern concept of a political jurisdiction ruled over by a government) will be punished collectively by God. Or do you think God has favor for some people because they reside within one political jurisdiction compared to people who reside in another?

  • SamHamilton

    Gabriel appears to making the argument from the position of someone who believes that forcing people to do things with the threat of violence is not the way of Jesus. If you don’t have a problem with using force backed up by violence to get people to do the things collectively that we can’t do on our own, your argument is valid – there’s nothing wrong with forcing people to pay taxes to accomplish certain goals that a certain percentage of our society has deemed worthy. But if you believe that force backed up by violence is not the way of Jesus, then the current system should concern you.

  • Kate Johnson

    Homosexuality is mentioned in the Bible 8 times. Sex of any kind at all is mentioned less than 40 times. You know what’s mentioned over 2500 times? MONEY, and how what you do with it reveals the truth or fiction of your faith. While the actual persecuted church passes the test of physical persecution 90% of the time, the self proclaimed American “Chick fil a”persecuted church fails the test of prosperity 90% of the time. You want everyone to focus on gays and abortion so they don’t see the mammon worship, greed, gluttony, selfishness and lack of obedience across the board that’s rampant in the church today. 50% divorce rate, less than 14% tithing. Maybe we need to remember the actual “sin of Sodom”, “‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.” Ezk 16:49 There’s so many things within the church today that have rotted at the foundations in the pursuit of trying to make the world a more comfortable place for us to live in. I can’t find any scripture that says we should be doing that. Maybe we need to get the log out of our own eye and quit living self indulgent disobedient lives before we worry about what anyone else is doing. Maybe then people won’t be leaving the church in droves and the church won’t be mostly failing to influence our culture in any positive way that draws people to the grace of God. We all need to clean up our own acts and get busy with living the sacrificial love walk that Jesus demands of us instead of trying to “sanitize the world for our protection”. .

  • gimpi1

    As I said up-thread, I’m all about outcomes. When I look around the world, I see societies that provide a basic governmental safety net are happier, longer-lived, healthier and more secure than those that don’t.

    Also, If we’re going to use force to enforce laws such as those against things like theft, fraud, assault, and other crimes, and to enforce regulations like those against poison in food or polluting the air or water, and to prevent other nations from attacking us, I don’t have a problem with force (in the sense of rule of law) being used to collect taxes. Since we live in a representative democracy, we can’t claim we aren’t represented. Do we all get our way all the time? No, that’s not what representation means.

    I’ve gone round with Gabriel before, and he seems to be a bit of an anarchist. I’m enough of a student of history to understand just how dangerous anarchy is.

  • Kate Johnson

    Amen Carolyn!! They forget the actual sin of Sodom, “”‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. Ezk 16:49.

  • Dennis Wilson

    Show me a hungry child and I will show you a neglectful parent. I wish this writer had addressed the failure of some parents to feed their children.

  • Kate Johnson

    You are on the “money” gimp1 (sorry for the pun). In the Americian Christian church today, only about 14% actually tithe 10% (Barna study). It’s interesting that a belief system that says there is none righteous wants to let the welfare of “the least of these” rest in the hands of people that are currently failing to even do the minimum. Perhaps the tax exemption of a church should be based on what percentage of it’s funds return to the community? Though that’s rough because with the tithe so low many churches these days are barely able to keep their doors open and pay their staff. So forgive me if I refuse to indulge the pretty fantasy that people, and that includes the church, will just do the right thing if we just let them keep their taxes. Seems to me they’d just grow to fit their tanks, and get a better car, or a bigger house and let the infrastructure rot and the poor go hungry. That’s what they’re doing right now. The people in Jesus’ time had to pay taxes too, and I believe he said, “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s (like mammon) and to God’s the things that are God’s (like your tithe). Not that this is anything but a hypothetical discussion since I’m still convinced we can’t escape death or taxes. : )

  • Herm


    We are on different wavelengths here. My first totally failed attempt to answer all your questions took a lot of space and time. I am not sure I can answer better in any less space and/or time.

    Jesus is referred to in ALL those different manners, including the additional I offered, depending wholly on the relationship each has with Jesus. In fact, He can relate to each of us perfectly well as we are individually ready from each capacity. Mohammed, Gandhi, the Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa and Benjamin L. Corey (people I respect) all relate to Jesus differently and each productively and constructively. If you are interested I can delve into this much further.

    I cannot delve too much further into the life of Jesus’ mother because very little is known. Biblically she was a good woman related to John the Baptist’s mother, both impressed with the Spirit of God to bring into the world the fulfillment of the prophesy found in the divine design of the Tabernacle with its Levite keepers. Jesus honored His carnal mother and no biblical mention of her carnal husband, by name, is mentioned after Jesus’ birth. The reference to her virginity is only to reference she did not lie with any male of mankind to conceive Jesus. As Jesus did not come to judge as the promised Messiah I am not sure why we are at all concerned to judge just how the biology works here. I am sure that any creator God (the architect) has no problem understanding the intricacies of physics and biology we are not yet privy to. Suffice it to say that by the fruit of one’s efforts we know them as potentially destructive or we can welcome them as constructive and productive in our lives. She was productive enough to bring into this world a body that could communicate the value of tolerance, mercy and sacrificing for even our enemy dispelling the fabricated myth that our Father was a vengeful warlord out to get His due. Why would any of us think we are capable of judging God for Their methods as muddying anyone?

    I guess I used a bad analogy with the “excrement of a newborn baby”. Apparently you do find such tainted which I do not in any way. Sex is not tainted by either male or female except to those who mistakenly find natural carnal life, with all that is necessary to propagate the species of mankind to keep it as a body in the image of God alive, tainted.

    We aren’t grown up to understand all the ins and outs of life physical, mental, social or spiritual. None of us knows it all though too many seemed to feel they must give that impression to defend themselves by controlling others who know they’re ignorant. I only know what little is necessary for me to get by daily. My relationship with God that you so graciously show respect, thank you, is what gives me the peace and joy to know I will be fed all that I need to survive and more so that I can share with those hungry who don’t trust God.

    You don’t write as though you study the Bible in any form. You don’t speak has though you have a direct relationship with God. You have expressed your questions as derived from hearsay. Very tolerant and merciful people who read what I write know what I am about to share with you. This is cut and pasted to help you see why I might begin to divest myself of the character of God chronicled in the Old Testament and go directly to ask, seek and knock (as you are doing here) directly to God to call in the promise Jesus made that God would not leave us orphans to fend for ourselves:

    “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12

    “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 22:37-40

    ““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.” John 16:12-13

    Rozelynde, do you think you are ready to bear more? Does this help answer your questions at all?

    I will continue to try to answer as you ask. I leave you here with my testimony that God is the most divine of all families ever and we each have the opportunity to become a little child in the family of God. We have to come to Jesus as little inquisitive children humbly accepting that we cannot possibly fend for ourselves alone and that we need Their nurture to live more than our mere maximum of 120 yearly revolutions around our little sun. Otherwise, we’ll be too hung up in our theories to do more than pray for you in your ignorance, no greater than mine. Love you!

  • SamHamilton

    I think we’re in general agreement. I believe that laws and government can be instruments of justice and that force and violence used to back up these laws can be justly used. I don’t think force and violence are inherently wrong. I don’t have a problem with using force to collect taxes. I think representative democracy is the best form of government that we’re aware of, and while not perfect, works pretty well.

    However, plenty of Christians disagree with the above statement. I’d be interested in hearing how someone who thinks that using force and violence is always wrong responds to Gabriel’s argument. I think he makes a good point – if one thinks followers of Jesus should foreswear violence completely, how does one support government using that violence to enforce the law, even just laws, and forcing people to do its will.

  • Kate Johnson

    “34 “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in;36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink?38 And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39 When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’
    41 “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; 43 I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ 44 Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not [e]take care of You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” Matthew 25:34-46
    Are you sure about that?
    Is a faith that has no action attached to it a saving faith?

  • cken

    One of the things you are suggesting is the Bible encourages one to be homophobic. I would suggest all Christians pick and choose which parts of the bible to follow and which to ignore. For example no christian follows all of Leviticus and almost none follow 1 Corinthians Chapters 7,11,& 14. So what makes one verse in Leviticus and one diatribe from Paul more righteous than any other writings I mentioned above.

  • Kirk T.

    When a parent fails to feed her children, that is both a personal failure and a social failure. That failed parent will never learn how to be a responsible parent without both direct intervention and loving support from the surrounding community. The first step in addressing a problem is to call attention to it. The next step is to mobilize the community to do something about the problem. After that, invite the neglectful parent to become a part of the solution. Finally, be prepared to stay engaged for the long term.

  • Dennis Wilson

    Did you see your suggestions in the article? You seem to be agreeing with my comment.

  • Kate Johnson

    You seriously believe if people didn’t have to pay taxes they would suddenly rise up and take care of all the poor and elderly instead of getting a bigger car or saving for their own retirement since there would be no Social Security? That more people would be helped in that way? Sounds good, but it would certainly require non-fallen people to pull it off. What Utopian government has ever existed where everybody cooperatively gave their money to build roads and help the poor? Has there ever been a government on earth that didn’t require taxes? In Rome the taxes were taken to pay the army, build roads and enrich Rome and it’s elite. At least some of our taxes actually go to helping people, unlike in Jesus’ time and he still said to “give it up”.

  • Kate Johnson

    Dietrich Bonhoeffer never tried to kill Hitler, though he was quite vocal about his disdain for him, one of the things that led to his death.

  • Rozelynde

    You wrote..”You don’t write as though you study the Bible in any form. You don’t speak has though you have a direct relationship with God.” I did read the Bible when I was much younger, but it made no sense to me. Just one part says an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a life for a life and another says turn the other cheek. I’ve heard people say that the Old Testament no longer applies, but why is it part of the Bible then? As I said, just an example.
    So, you are correct in assuming I have no relationship to god. I don’t understand how anyone could when no one can even seem to interpret the Bible the same. (Yes, I do get a lot of “Bible study” from religious folks commenting on message boards.After seeing how they react to others, I thank you for speaking to me from a position of common decency.) People making their own interpretation I see as no different than making of themselves a god.
    I guess I was looking for something more clear cut and logical than spiritual. Whether I choose to have a relationship with god or not, I’m still surrounded by people of faith. I thought I’d try to reach out one more time and try for an understanding.
    Thank you for trying. Thank you for taking the time. Peace to you.

  • Herm

    Thank you for your love and decency.

    Spiritual is God. Physical is the shell of Man carrying the image of God within. “Clear cut” answers for all might take an eternity of adventure in sharing to actually come to fruition. Take a chance and confront God directly and personally. What could it hurt?

    Love you and, yes, peace to you, also, with maybe a smidgen more of joy to savor.

  • Ron McPherson

    Nailed it!!

  • Trilemma

    True. But he was allegedly associated with the plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler. Same moral dilemma.

  • Kate Johnson

    Wow, that has not been my experience at all! I don’t particularly associate myself with that movement, but the folks I’ve talked to that do are mostly interested in social justice and helping the least of these, instead of getting all involved in politics and trying to make the world not be the world. I think they kind of run the gambit in terms of how theologically conservative they are, though I’ve never heard one twist the Bible. I wonder if we are talking about two different things? If you mean that casual association with Christianity that requires nothing as far as behavior, and more of a “get out of jail free card”, and that’s what you mean by progressive Christianity, then I’d have to agree. But I don’t think they are one and the same.

    We have to be careful as we “stand against” our culture, and ask ourselves what we hope to accomplish? Our mission here is not to try to get our culture to conform to our idea of morality so we are more comfortable living here. Our mission here is to show the world that God is loving and merciful and wants to heal them. To be the hands and feet of Christ to the broken and the suffering. To be the first to give up “our rights” in the example of Jesus. To look passed the sin that disgusts and see a person that also needs mercy. If it’s not God’s will that any should perish, then it shouldn’t be ours either. We have no time for ivory towers and insular little cliques. We have to be out there with the lost, loving them while they are yet sinners. Loving them to the cross.

  • Ron McPherson

    “…if one thinks followers of Jesus should foreswear violence completely,
    how does one support government using that violence to enforce the law,
    even just laws, and forcing people to do its will.”

    I can only answer for myself, but I don’t consider all force to necessarily be violent (i.e. they’re not always synonymous). Sending someone to jail for not paying taxes, to me, is not violent. Shooting them would be. For me, that’s the distinction, at least with respect to taxes. No one gets the electric chair for tax evasion.

  • Investigator

    I agree, live and let live…so why is the author continually attacking conservative Christians?

  • Investigator

    How many times does homosexuality need to be condemned in scripture before you’ll take it seriously?

    How many millions of children need to be butchered by the abortion mills and their body parts sold off for profit before Christian compassion kicks in?

    “While the actual persecuted church passes…fails the test of prosperity 90% of the time”

    Where did you get the above figures?

    “You want everyone to focus on gays and abortion…”

    No, not at all. I want Christians to focus on making disciples as Christ commanded in the Great Commission. However, when society begins to embrace a culture of death and not just tolerate but promote lifestyles anathema to Biblical teaching, as salt and light, Christians must speak up. We’d much prefer speaking and focusing on other issues, it is the libertine society and those who go along with it that compel us to speak out.

    Divorce is a problem and by the shear volume of books, tapes, and sermons on marriage and family, you can see the church is addressing it. The good news is that the divorce rate is no where near the 50% figure (a common misconception) and divorce is certainly less common among church goers. See here:

    From the above: “The Good News About Marriage also reveals the divorce rate among those active in their church is 27 to 50 percent lower than among non-churchgoers. Feldhahn’s hope is that once people learn the truth that they will spread it far and wide.”

    We can either tear the church down by complaining about its imperfections, or encourage it through prayer, Bible study, sound teaching, and actually DOING the work Christ called us to.

    “Maybe then people won’t be leaving the church in droves and the church won’t be mostly failing to influence our culture in any positive way that draws people to the grace of God.”

    And which churches are experiencing this diaspora? It is precisely those who have abandoned sound Christian doctrine and have gone liberal. Christians will fail to influence the culture to the extent they simply embrace the culture and abandon the command to be the salt and light of the earth.

    “…sacrificial love walk…”

    It is no sacrifice to go along with and promote political correctness, and it is no help to the church to continually disparage it in an insulting and arrogant fashion.

  • That’s one of the more screwed up things I’ve seen on the internet in a while. I’d invite you to go volunteer at a local food pantry to learn a bit about food insecurity in America.

  • Dennis Wilson

    They have food stamps, free school lunches, they have money for alcohol, tobacco, and drugs but not money to feed their children?
    How many children do you contend are going hungry in America? Why aren’t you calling for authorities to force parents to feed their children if things are so dire?


  • chopin

    I guess from your kneejerk reactivity you would see ben’s critique as an attack (a threat even). You see thru a victims lens IMO. things are not well w your soul. Sad! )*=

  • chopin

    this issue seems to be at the top of your list of resentments. Why?

  • Adam “Giauz” Birkholtz

    “When scripture tells us the earth belongs to the Lord and everything in it, it really does take a lot of hubris to say what is mine is mine and governing authorities, which scripture also says are of the Lord, cannot exercise the right to tax.”

    Yeah, something about this sentence doesn’t feel right. Perhaps you should explain how a deity, which never asserts that it owns anything, explains why you don’t have to contribute to the number of services we do for each other, an effort greater than what we could make separately and have never made separately before the social programs we help pay for.

  • Adam “Giauz” Birkholtz

    More so than another human who would also die without consensual withdrawal of some of one’s bodily autonomy? No, decisions to say, “No, you are not a person. You finish that child and/or future non-person for us”, to the pregnant woman who does not want to continue a pregnancy is a perpetuation of this underlying mentality for the next children.

  • Jeff Preuss

    “I guess I was looking for something more clear cut and logical than spiritual.”

    Honestly, I tried to type out an explanation to you earlier, but I felt my answer got too wordy and fell short of really clarifying anything, so I’ll just try to echo Herm a bit and say: not every person, or even every Christian sees/perceives Jesus to be exactly the same. Some see Him as wholly distinct from God, even though He is also holy, and some see Him as just another facet of God.

    What I mean to say is there are no perfectly clear-cut explanations of just who and what Jesus is, at least not an explanation upon which everyone can agree. That’s the tricky notion of faith, especially one hingeing so strongly upon words written thousands of years ago, and translated many times since. Those words are open to interpretation.

    Even if you don’t believe in the divinity of Christ (which I do), there are many who likewise don’t, yet see Him as an example of goodness, kindness, love, etc. And, even if He was simply a human, there are lessons we could learn from Him.

    It’s hard to apply the logical filter to something spiritual (even supernatural) because, on the surface, it just doesn’t make logical sense.

    At the very best, in answering your questions, we might solely be able to explain our faith, and how it lives in our lives, even if that never becomes how you see it.

    By all means, continue to ask questions. Dialogue is important. We all learn from it.

  • gimpi1

    I think what you describe is a perfect example of why any idea – taken to its extreme – is disastrous. You could reach the conclusion that any societal group has to be entirely voluntary and that any cohesive action towards societal goals is wrong. However, that pretty much makes society itself impossible.

    The idea of mostly allowing people to live as they see fit with a minimum of societal control is a good one. However, taken to extreme, it leads to disease (no vaccinations, no quarantines, no medical research, no medical facilities requiring large investments) poverty, (no infrastructure, no R & D, little start-up capital) and violence (no police force, no military, no justice system). We know this by looking at failed states all over the world. Somalia, anyone?

    For me, my measure is harm versus help. I want to see people mostly have good lives. I want the best possible outcomes for the most possible people. That requires a stable society, with a good safety net and a reasonably equitable allocation of resources as well as the ability to both enforce laws that prevent people from harming each other and defend the society against dangers. There’s simply no way to do that without taxing citizens of that society. As long as there is representation in the tax-levying bodies, I think it’s both fair and reasonable.

    If Christianity – taken to it’s extreme – won’t allow that, it’s a darn good thing that this is a secular republic, isn’t it?

  • Kate Johnson

    First, I don’t advocate anything you accuse me of advocating and find your assumptions telling. I was simply saying that what I’ve seen in the folks that are rabid about “other people’s sin” and trying to force the world to not be the world, a completely pointless endeavor, is a seeming blindness to the failures we are having within the church. From your post it seems that you have have decided that instead of loving sinners. while they are yet sinners, like Jesus did with us, that they need to clean up their act so you can be more comfortable living in the world without exposure to their “icky sin” that you find particularly distasteful. Are you an equal opportunity judger? Are you just a repulsed by gluttons and mammon worshipers? Have you started campaigns to force fat people to go on diets?Are you speaking out against Wall St? Please don’t repeat the oft quoted never true “love the sinner, hate the sin”. Love is an action word. What loving things have you done for these sinners?

    Do you actually think the world was less sinful when Jesus was here? You think they weren’t sacrificing their children to idols and practicing homosexuality? Can you possibly be that naive? So why didn’t Jesus spend all his time, like the zealots of his day wanted him to, speaking against Rome and the excesses of his day? Why were the people he was the most angry with, not those in sexual sin, but the Pharisees who had a completely deluded belief in their own righteousness and showed no mercy to the lost or struggling. You know you’re complaining that I was holding the church accountable, but the Bible says that’s who we’re supposed to be holding accountable, not the world that doesn’t know him. All I heard you do is make excuses and be defensive. Perhaps it’s because like the Pharisees of old you see yourself as superior to the lost, they’re judge, not their savior. Well, you go right on ahead and judge the world, and ignore your own sin to your peril. I plan to continue to tell a fallen world that God loves them and wants to heal them, and examine my own heart and behavior with a seriously questioning eye. To be the hands and feet of my beloved merciful savior to the hurting and broken. I plan to forgive my debtors as I have been forgiven. I plan to do the work I was told to do on behalf of the least of these and not waste my time trying to force the world to not be the world for my personal comfort. I guess in the end, we’ll see who is actually doing the work they were called to.

  • Popvaditecclesiae

    I volunteered once a month for 10 years at a feed the homeless place. We fed approx 100 people on Sunday afternoons. At first it was great. I felt oh so wonderful about how I was doing this great thing. Until I got to know the people. Most of them are selfish drug/alcohol addicts. They are abusive to their children and only care about doing what it takes to get their next high. Talk to any police officer anywhere. These people abuse their children and do heinous things to each other all the time. Its their choice to be who and where they are. Enabling them is sin.

  • Popvaditecclesiae

    Ben, I really cant let you slide on this one. You need to spend more time at homeless places. It takes time doing this to get the truth. I still do this a couple times a year with some people at my church. Who need to get their I did a good deed for God feeling. They never see the truth, cause that only comes with time. After you have done it 10 or 20 times over a year or so. Really get to know the people and the ones that run the shelter. You will know the truth. That you dont know this only proves to me you havent really spent the time. Or worse. Well Ill save that one.

  • Herm

    Gabriel, I’m really having a difficult problem with the sense that you believe anything is your money. Look up talents and realize, please, all talents are from the master and will be returned at the master’s discretion. Every talent is a loan that we may learn how to invest wisely.

    If you are a citizen of the USA what have you earned that was not facilitated by the public highways, schools, regulated public utilities, national immunization plans and getting lead out of our paints? A nation works to support its own, all its own, or it is a serfdom of have’s and have not’s with the wealthy paying out their “hard earned” money for protective armies and castles to keep the riff-raff out of their serene environment.

    If you truly believe the kingdom of God comes without taxation, and you “earned” anything without God’s continued support, you don’t know the rudiments of Their grace to have benevolently loaned us all the talents we have to support all who are in Their image. Human life is purely an opportunity to live in the image of God, to value relationships, to savor adventure and to mature into the family of God of which we had no choice at the beginning.

    Physical taxes are only in the image of the spiritual taxes our spirits owed to God and God’s. Both should be paid fully before going back to worship our divine, loving, and dictating Benefactor.

  • S. Bold

    A few things:

    Jesus is a monarchist, not a socialist. It’s the Kingdom of God, not the Socialist Republic of God.

    People often makes the mistake of thinking that government activity is the ONLY way to express compassion, that is, if someone is against a government program to help the poor, then that person does not want to help the poor (or more often, that person hates the poor). This is clearly a false premise but many hold to it. I personally am against many government programs that intend to help the poor (but very often seem to make things worse) and I work in a private Christian charity that helps those who can not help themselves.

    It’s surprising that many on the left are statists. 60s radicalism was all about getting rid of statism. Now, those on the left often seem to be enamored of government power and using the power of the state to force a world view on others.

  • Investigator

    Now it is you who seem angry and defensive. I am fine, I just feel compelled to come to the defense of my Christian brothers and sisters who seem to consistently be the target of this blogger.

  • Investigator

    Well said, well said.

  • Popvaditecclesiae

    Kate, you fail to see Investigators point. Sin is sin. Just because you want to be cool with the trends of modern western culture. You twist his points and the bible to meet those needs. We are all sinners. Every day we struggle to be obedient to God. Thats how we show we love him. Telling someone they are in sin is an act of love. It is not condemnation. I always feel loved when someone challenges me about sin in my life. I hope you have people in your life that challenge you about your sins.

  • Popvaditecclesiae

    Yes, we have all nailed Jesus to the cross with our sin.

  • Popvaditecclesiae

    DUUUUUDE! I have never read anything you have written that doesnt make me feel like we are 12 and on the junior high playground. Write something specific and make a point. Have a take. Other than every one you disagree with is just not as smart as you.

  • Popvaditecclesiae

    Chopes, bra, just stayin on your playground level with the “DUUUDE”

  • Ron McPherson


  • Kate Johnson

    First I must say that I never said I supported gay marriage or abortion. I’m just agreeing with the fact that there’s more to Christian morality than those two things and it seems like so much focus on those things has allowed other, more important things to slide in the church. Of course the idea that non-saved people are going to receive correction as love is delusional so I must assume you’re speaking about within the church. It’s interesting that you say you take correction as love, but when I question the intense focus on trying to conform the world to our imagine, instead of conforming ourselves to Christ’s, I’m met with hostility. If you show God your love for him by YOUR obedience I applaud you, but if you think trying to force unbelievers to be obedient so the world is more comfortable for you, when we struggle everyday with sin and we have the Holy Spirit, is loving God, I think based on Jesus’ behavior while he was here that you are wrong. But this has deteriorated and I won’t continue it. I could easily be making false assumptions about you as you have about me being “cool with the trends of modern western culture”. So my apologies to you and Investigator if that is true. I certainly don’t want to stir up division, we don’t need any more of that, just challenge us to face our own failings and be more humble, less quick to pick up those rocks. (I’m older now, so I guess I’d better leave first) Of course I need that lesson myself too. God bless you my friends and may our merciful God show us all where we are in error and increase our love for him and others.

  • chopin

    with respect what you have in common with homeless, drug addicted, child abusing addicts is religious addiction. it’s so sad! )*=
    but you would not choose to be control freaks. there are underlying circumstances, such as childhood trauma, being raised by traumatized/addict caretakers, growing up w or being exposed to hyper religious addicts,
    reasons and even wisdom why you are the way you are & neither you nor they can help it. it is sin IMO (the sin is one’s pattern; denial, indifference, arrogance, thinking only in terms of black and white, lack of empathy) IMO addicts only judge other addicts (the blind leading the blind). one’s pathetic obsession with control through the use of substances, neglect or violence is a defense against true intimacy and loving others. when one is an active addict all one’s energies and resources go into ‘protecting supply.’ the hideous thing about alcohol and religious addiction is it’s a disease that tells you you don’t have a disease.

  • Herm

    Bullshit, sin is without a shadow of a doubt, in the Bible and directly from the Holy Spirit, a separation from God and the Father’s will. Which was the greatest sin; the one that Caiaphas and the Pharisees accused Jesus of or that they crucified Jesus because they didn’t recognize the true Spirit of God? If we can do as Jesus commissioned as His disciples then and only then will others not sin for they will know the Spirit of God. Indulging a self anointed superior mantel of judging another’s separation from God is not appreciated by God any more than any of the other judges, juries and executioners of crucifixion. If Jesus didn’t walk this earth to judge what gives us any right to do so? At least Caiaphas and supporters had the Moses Seat at that time and now the throne is occupied by the true Judge. Read your Bible for much more than the traditions of religion direct you to. You’re truly blind trying to direct both the sighted and the blind to what neither you or Investigator can see. The only fully sighted vision can come from the counsel of the Spirit of Truth in your heart and mind. Continue as a disciple, minion and defender of Investigator along with your Bible interpretations if you will but that is really separate from the Holy Spirit. You cannot serve two teachers as your Lord.

    “I always feel loved when someone challenges me about sin in my life.”

  • Ron McPherson

    “Kate, you fail to see Investigators point…Just because you want to be cool with the trends of modern western culture.”

    Interesting how folks have different perspectives. My impression is that some are are actually missing Kate’s points. I’m seriously not trying to be argumentative here, but some of the rebuttals to her comments don’t seem particularly germane to the main points of her argument. In reading her comments I think of Jesus’ admonition to the religious, “I desire compassion and not sacrifice (Matthew 9:13).” At least that’s what I’m hearing. Admittedly the truth of some of her comments stings a bit, but I’m also reminded of Paul’s words when he said to the Galatians, “So have I become your enemy by telling you the truth (Galatians 4:16)?” By the way, I’m preaching to myself here as well.


  • Ron McPherson

    I love your heart and perspectives you’ve shared with the rest of us. Just oozing with Jesus if you ask me. God bless. By the way, you should write a book : )

  • Herm


    ***a system of society or group living in which there is no private property

    ***a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done

    “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

    Mankind, according to Genesis 1, is one in the image of one God. Jesus is in the Father and the Father in Jesus by Way of the Holy Spirit, one God. Nothing is Jesus’ that is not the Father’s and nothing is the Father’s that is not Jesus’, nothing. The image of God is not complete until we realize we have nothing without God’s intervention daily to accept Their will that we unite in actual love for each other.

    Jesus advocates a kingdom on earth as it is in heaven where the good of ALL is supplied by an abundance of resources administrated by our most divine Lord God, now Jesus. God is the creator of all we know and are held responsible to, including our species in the image of Them. God can and will take back all the talents we do not invest wisely. Nothing is our private property.

  • chopin

    well, you know,
    the dude abides XD!

  • chopin

    yes religious addicts will come to the defence of other religious addicts bc the most important thing to you is that you won’t be challenged to give up your addiction. Yeah?

  • Herm

    By what authority?

  • Herm

    “Its their choice to be who and where they are. Enabling them is sin.”

    I am sure glad Jesus didn’t take your stance. “Forgive them Father for they know not what they do”!!!

  • Investigator

    Kate, it is you who are making assumptions about me, remember this?
    “You want everyone to focus on gays and abortion…”
    and apparently you ignored my response. However, if I have painted with a broad brush and included you in those who support and promote homosexuality, I apologize.

    So let me repeat, Christians should not focus on homosexuality to the exclusion of other Biblical truths but neither should they cease being salt and light by embracing an unBiblical view of homosexuality, or ANYTHING else.

    I was a missionary for a short time and my endeavors were not to instruct people on the proper views of homosexuality but to share Christ with a lost and dying world. I understand your point of not trying to clean up sinners so that they are presentable (prior to salvation) to me or the church…and I agree with you. I agree not just out of theory but by personal experience because growing up unchurched, I too, was unpresentable.

    However, that is not what I am saying or communicating and I believe the author of the article and perhaps others on this site, mistakenly believe that because some Christians are vocal in their support of Biblical values, and in this case the prohibition of homosexuality, that this must be their only issue and indeed their major focus. This is a false premise as I was demonstrating when I cited the lack of sermons, books, tapes, teachings, on homosexuality but the mountain of material on just marriage and family.

    I repeat, advocating for or against some Biblical truth or prohibition, does not mean, ipso facto, it is the only issue one is concerned with or the most important to an individual. What is in the news or culture or what a church is experiencing often dictates the subject matter of sermons. My purpose here is to counter these false charges against the church AND to stand for Biblical truth. People fail to communicate when they assume disagreement means hate. I disagree with liberal democrats, it doesn’t mean I hate or fear them.

    Jesus loves all sinners, including homosexuals, fornicators, liars, drug abusers, idolaters, etc. You may take exception to the phrase “love the sinner, hate the sin”, but it is certainly true of God. He extends his hand in love to a lost world and ALL who surrender to his Lordship are saved. It must be emphasized that surrendering to his Lordship necessarily means repentance.
    Hopefully, we can agree to reach out together, to this lost and dying world and help some from going to a Christ-less grave.

  • Kevin Osborne

    “How many times does homosexuality need to be condemned in scripture before you’ll take it seriously?”

    Uh, 69?

  • Investigator

    What exactly are you complaining about? I’m not even sure what your point is but your words are, forgive me, cultish.

  • Investigator

    Look back through some of his recent articles. Mike Huckabee’s wrong, Franklin Graham is wrong, Kim Davis, falsely claiming the Church is only focused on the morality of homosexuality and abortion, Christians supposedly getting their Biblical views from Fox news…an utterly repugnant article.
    However, I can applaud and endorse his latest on the five things Christians should keep in mind this election season.

  • Kate Johnson

    Again my apologies for misunderstanding. Ironically I think we are actually in “violent agreement”. : ) Nothing trumps the love for the brethren though, so please forgive it’s lack in anything I said, it was not my intention to be disrespectful to a community to which I owe my continued existence. So God bless you my friend, let us go out and love and serve the Lord together!

  • Herm

    You don’t see that the problem you are having is that you are taking it upon your self to defend and protect your conservative, fundamentalist brothers and sisters without any credentials to do so. You are not claiming any authorization by God, certainly no Bible references, and yet you castigate people solely by your own logic and interpretation of God’s will. The first disciples of Christ Jesus were considered “cultish” by the prevailing Jewish religious authorities. So what exactly is your point, authority and credentials?

  • Investigator

    “…I have some news for you;you are not God and you’re not even sitting at his right hand!”

    Why would you think this is news to me?

    “why would you choose to post on a progressive Christian blog?”

    Do you fear the free market place of ideas? Are you threatened by being challenged by those who would present Biblical truth? To answer your question, I am concerned with those who while professing faith in our savior and Lord Christ Jesus, attack his Church for its stance on Biblical truth.

    My words and views are based on scripture, but they are mine alone and you are free to accept or reject them. Truth is offensive, so if you find yourself getting angry, perhaps it is time to step back and take stock of your spiritual condition…it is a process that applies to me as well.

  • Investigator

    Kate, this is my local church body:

    My local church body has missionaries in many countries, has done work in Africa, and even has folks who risk their lives in North Korea so that they can build play ground equipment for children. My church is NOT a mega church.

    I’ve personally sponsored children in foreign lands for almost 35 years and I’ve already mentioned that I served as a Christian missionary for a time…eight months, an endeavor funded wholly from my own savings.

    I’m not looking for a pat on the back, I just want you to know that I take helping my fellow man seriously. I also wish to add that my local church is not unique and that there are hundreds, nay thousands, of ministries to meet every conceivable need. We may bemoan the fact that the church doesn’t do enough, but (I’m not accusing you of this) to write as if the only thing the church is interested in is attacking homosexuals, is to promote a falsehood.

  • Investigator

    “…does according to a lot of (non-prosperity gospel) Christian’s theology.”

    Not in any conservative Christian circles I am aware of. If you find congregations that you feel do, you can direct your responses to them. One’s eternal destination is determined by only one thing…what one does with Christ’s offer of salvation.

  • Investigator

    You are exactly 100% correct!
    The liberal church is more interested in getting along with the culture than obeying Christ’s mandate to “make disciples.”

    Getting along with the culture doesn’t require one to gather together with other believers, reach out to the lost, or stand for truth in the face opposition. Hence, why the liberal churches decline while those who are faithful to God’s word continue to grow.

  • Always amusing when conservatives throw out the word “statist” as a pejorative.

    “Let’s have the government regulate abortion!”
    “Let’s use the force of government to keep people from getting married!”
    “Let’s use the force of government to wage war and control other nations!”

    Person B comes along and says, “maybe there’s more to morality than these things?”

    “Ahahhhh!! You’re a statist.”

  • Investigator

    “If you mean that casual association with Christianity that requires nothing…”

    I believe we’re beginning to communicate. The phrase, “progressive Christian” is a new one for me. I’ve always referred to them as liberal Christians who do away with hell, the preaching of the cross, Biblical inerrancy, replacing it with a social gospel that requires nothing of them beyond that necessary to assuage their guilt.

    There have always been liberal professors whose lifework consists of attacking the Bible and the church and diminishing the need for repentance.

    I get and agree, as stated earlier, with your position that we don’t clean up sinners for salvation; we reach out to the lost where they are at. I understand your point about not trying to change the culture to fit our ideas of morality and to some extent I agree. However, assuming you are an American, consider that we are citizens of our country as well as of heaven. As American citizens, we have a right and a duty to use our voice to help steer the direction of our country. Although our citizenship is in heaven and comes first, we can do both.

    What our nation tolerates in this generation, will become the norm in the next. Should we ignore our nation’s “sloughing toward Gommorah” the work of communicating the gospel will be that much harder.

  • Investigator

    Sorry, my point is that loving your neighbor as yourself doesn’t mean never communicating hard truth. Discipline and correction and rebuke, are also part of becoming a disciple of the master.

  • Investigator

    No, Jesus said to the Pharisees “You have a fine way of setting aside THE COMMANDS OF GOD in order to observe your own traditions.” (MK 7:9) He then gives the example of the Pharisees contradicting what Moses had said in Exodus.
    Today, we have liberal Christians, progressives if you wish, setting aside the commands of God for the new traditions or culture of our country. Popsicle’s analogy was correct.

  • Investigator

    By the authority of the US Constitution that guarantees free speech.
    Do you need authority to ask me that question?
    Do you think I need your permission to comment?

  • Investigator

    “…you won’t be challenged to give up your addiction.”

    Well, thus far, certainly not from you.

  • Investigator

    I’ve answered your question once already but I’ll indulge you yet again.

    As a member of the body of Christ, one who comes under the shed blood of Jesus, I need NO credentials beyond that supplied by the redemption through the Holy Spirit. Since you failed to clarify your question with regard to what credentials you’re referring to, I cannot go beyond what I’ve stated.

    As 1 Cor. 12:26 states, if one part of the body suffers, the rest of the body suffers with it. Paul stated in Phil. 1:16 that he was set for the defense of the Gospel and Jude 3 says “earnestly contend for the faith.” In that spirit and with those commands and examples, I come to the defense of the body. So, whose counsel should I heed, yours or the Apostle Paul and Jude?

    “The first disciples of Christ Jesus were considered “cultish” by the prevailing Jewish religious authorities.”

    It was the Pharisees who asked of Jesus the same question you ask me, “what authority do you have” and it was the Pharisees who questioned the disciples along the same lines and ordered them not to speak, an idea you seem to be suggesting for me. In addition, Jesus and the disciples appealed to the scriptures and the disciples were careful to record the ministry of Jesus, a recording you have suggested is not necessary (you said we don’t need the Bible). You sound more like a Spiritualist than a Christian but I leave that for you to clarify.

  • chopin


  • Kevin Osborne

    You are very creative, chopin.

    I could do that in my sleep.
    The music, not so much.

  • chopin

    BTW have you ever watch the British series ‘lovejoy’?
    it came out in the late 80’s early 90’s. really good IMO.
    sup on YouTube right now.

  • Kevin Osborne

    No, thank you very much. I am looking for something and will give it a shot.

  • Investigator

    “…when conservatives throw out the word “statist” as a pejorative.”

    When the shoe fits, liberals wear it.

    No, let’s have the state protect the lives of those who have no voices…the unborn. Let’s prevent the butchers from murdering them and selling their bodies for profit like auto parts.

    Let’s prevent the state from forcing me to recognize unions that are prohibited by scripture and whose successes will lead others, polygamists, to follow in their footsteps.

    Let’s ensure the politicians we elect do what is necessary to protect the nation so that we can have these disagreements.

    Person B for Bernie comes along and while fantasizing about rape, asks if there is more to morality than not murdering the unborn or forcing others to recognize unions anathema to the creator.

    Yes, there IS more to morality; there is honesty, being faithful to one’s spouse (a tall order for homosexuals), feeding the hungry and clothing the naked, visiting widows and orphans in distress, and fulfilling the great commission, actions the church is engaged in and focused on, but are still criticized by bloggers for protecting the unborn, standing up for Biblical truth, and not doing enough.

  • Investigator

    And Acts 5:1-11 demonstrates that even within Christ’s church, socialism didn’t work. It sure isn’t going to work with the unchurched and unrepentant.

  • Investigator

    “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.”
    2Thes. 3:10

    Jesus’ words were in the context of those who were killing him, and he forgave them. It had nothing to do with those who refuse to work.

  • Investigator

    “…one diatribe from Paul more righteous…”

    Why would you refer to Paul’s words as a diatribe? Is it because it conflicts with your current views?

  • Investigator


  • Popvaditecclesiae

    I respect that you are making a point. Thank you.
    I am not sure what you mean by a religious addict. Please define it for me. I have never heard the term.

  • Popvaditecclesiae

    Before you leave, just one question. I promise not to respond to the answer. Was the hostility you felt because of my “cool with … culture” statement. Im just trying to grow in this back and forth discussion on the internet thingy.

  • Popvaditecclesiae

    CHOPES, BRA!!! I seen you, you RRIIIP! Now we are out at Pipe. Another playground with bigger bullies. Doing something they think is super cool. Yet Its really no different than playing a pre school game of tiddle winks.

  • chopin

    I appreciate your contributions to the discussions as it gives me a rich opportunity to get somethings articulated that I haven’t been able to say. Please forgive my harshness. I am an addict of multiple substances & behaviors. I’ve been in recovery more than 10 yrs. That doesn’t mean I am always on my game tho! It is such an overwhelming question you ask me: to define religious addiction. I simply don’t know where to begin and regret now that I may have muddied the water for you w my all too evident anger and passion. when I encounter the challenges of a public forum to communicate a point or position as if it were a popularity contest or a sports competion I know I am falling far short of speaking the truth in love! So anyhoo I thot i’d direct your attention to a website that I, just now, discovered that gives the most essential attributes of religion addiction w the least amout of fuss. You might first look at;

    Symptoms of religious addiction , lexpages

  • Kate Johnson

    You know I actually felt more hostility from Investigator, but I think we were talking past each other. I think the hardest thing about discussions on the internet is our tendency to assume things about people. In this case, I think we all did that. The best part of this discussion for me was the realization that in my desire to challenge us, I let my love for the brethren be diminished and needed to repent of that. Life is incredibly hard and complicated, and we all are made stupid by sin in different ways. My desire is to let mercy be at the forefront, and as a flawed human I have mixed results in that. Thankfully the God we serve is more pure and merciful than we, and the Spirit continues to instruct our hearts.

  • chopin

    w respect what does CHOPES BRA mean? iI looked it up on ‘urban dictionary’
    that gave a definition as a mexican w black blood, or it can mean embarrassing or shaming someone. You have a couple of ways of communicating almost like a dr.jeckly/mr.hyde persona. It’s very interesting! it almost seems you been drinking &/or smoking that whaky tabacy!
    I am a night person. It’s almost 4am here inna pacific northwest. Have you ever watched ‘lovejoy’?

  • aservant

    Well done.

  • Investigator

    Go to the liberal churches of America and view the empty pews as Christians who put a premium on Biblical authority flee to non-denominational congregations. It is comforting to see brothers and sisters standing for truth.

  • Investigator

    “…institutionalized churches by and large will not provide those things.”

    Precisely because they have abandoned their first love and embraced an anti-Christian society.

  • Investigator

    “So is blatantly lying for Jesus.”

    There is no need for confessions in an open forum such as this.

    “Your unbiblical point being?”

    You need spell check and its spelled Biblical perspective.

  • Investigator

    “Our churches should be talking about poverty just as much as they talk about sexual morality, if not more so. ”

    They do.

  • np_2007

    “If you do this to the least of those – you do it to me” Matt 25:41‎
    Jesus was NEVER a “monarchist”. How many forget the incident at the temple when Jesus overthrew the ‘money changers’. OR in another… it’s hard for a rich man to inherit the Kingdom. Many try to take the legend of the Holy Grail and turn it into all sorts of blood-line pseudo-stories. Be careful he who tries to change the words of the Bible, it will backlash on him (Rev/Apoc 22:18-19)

  • np_2007

    Yes – but governments —when they have integrity— and are managed & elected by ALL the people, they do it more efficiently. It is difficult for churches/ecclesiastic institutions to carry the burden alone. (!)

  • I’d say impossible.

  • np_2007

    Right!. And he also quoted the Pope. Notice how the MSM left that particular part out of their nauseating reports the past week.

  • Thanks!

    Jesus was (and is) God. He has the right to discipline, correct and rebuke. And he’s really good at doing it appropriately and in the best interest of the people on the receiving end. So, I believe we are to leave that to him. Our focus should be to do as he commanded us and love.

    Now, that is how Christ is leading me. He may be leading you differently. But I don’t think any of us can fail by putting love first.

  • It’s probably got more to do with what they reject than anything else. People aren’t leaving churches in droves becomes of their overwhelming openness.

  • Falken

    Actually, I don’t. See, this whole “anti-abortion” viewpoint isn’t Biblical as it’s neither supported by the Bible – save for taking scripture grossly out of context – nor does it hail from Biblical times. In fact, it’s younger than the Happy Meal. You’re blatantly lying for Jesus with an unbiblical point.

  • Investigator

    Government = waste, fraud, inefficiency, and bureaucratic bungling. Just look at the Veteran’s hospital fiasco.

    The Salvation Army and World Vision are huge operations yet they operate efficiently and do so because Christian men and women in these organizations feel a duty to be good stewards of what God has entrusted them with.

  • Investigator

    “They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and KING OF KINGS…” Rev 17:14

    “On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS and Lord of Lords.” Rev 19:16

    “Blessed is the KING of Israel” John 12:13

    Your words: “Be careful he who tries to change the words of the Bible, it will backlash on him”

    That is a wise warning for us all.

  • Kevin Osborne

    “I think the real message of Jesus was to love others, all others, and not to judge.”

    I am not a Christian, but that path leads to freedom, which was Jesus’ intention IMO.

  • Kevin Osborne

    No one expects a balanced budget. OR THE SPANISH INQUISITION!

  • cken

    OK maybe diatribe was too strong a word. I should have said Paul’s opinion. Paul wrote many letters some of which are in the Bible. Sometimes he was very profound and insightful. Generally, however, Christians, regardless of denomination, only follow those writings of Paul with which they agree.

  • Investigator

    “…only follow those writings of Paul with which they agree.”

    I understand, those are called liberal Christians.

  • Adam “Giauz” Birkholtz

    I’m sure some Catholics would like to direct you to Jesus’s only church, where accepting the “offer” isn’t enough (accompanied by chapters and verses and a library of “Christian philosophy”).

  • Kevin Osborne

    Just a joke, like any expectations of fiscal sanity in the upper reaches.

  • cken

    No that is true of the conservative Christians also.

  • Herm

    Investigator, you make me proud. Thank you for finally using some authority with credentials. It is not easy to adjust a self-anointed Pharisaical attitude of “my word is good enough” to “let’s appeal to the Bible’s words”.

    Sorry, your argument is lame in using Ananias and Sapphira as an example of whether God’s spirit of government works or not. If their two broken hearted deaths prove socialism doesn’t work then our number of incarcerated, number of executions, number of mass murders and child starvation (mostly churched Christians) alone proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that a democratic republic with a capitalistic economy (where 1% have 75% of the nation’s pie that is not shared) are absolutely satanic (Luke 16:14, 15).

    The remaining three of your recent arguments to me are as easily refuted but at the very least you are beginning to use references to back up your attacks rather than just telling others they are sinners. I can’t thank you enough for that.

    From your presumed perch of perfection sitting in judgment as an avowed conservative fundamentalist evangelic christian I would appreciate it very much if, using your Bible or any other mutually sound reference, that we could together expand on three similar thoughts commanded by Jesus; Luke 10:25-37, Matthew 7:12 and Matthew 22:37-40. Could you humor me just a little so that maybe I can grow a little gleaning from your superior understanding of God’s will for me, please?

    Love, Herm

  • Herm

    What about the following do you not understand?

    ““When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

    “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

    “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.’ “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

    “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

    “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

    “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”” Matthew 25:31-46

    “On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.” John 14:20

  • Herm

    S. Bold,

    You do not understand that God is at minimum a Father, an only begotten Son of Man (now Lord with all authority over heaven and earth), a Holy Spirit and by our count innumerable children of God (sisters and brothers of Christ as His disciples). We as only students of Jesus the Messiah are in the Spirit of Truth as one with God bound by love for all to do for my neighbor what I would have my neighbor for me before my neighbor does for me in the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven, us inside each other as one. Jesus leads because He follows the call of love so strong that He would die for those who know not what they do. God is socialism to its purest and divine form negating any need of laws and commands beyond Matthew 7:12, Matthew 22:37-40. The prerequisite for inheriting eternal life is summed up in totality by Luke 10:27. The prerequisite for becoming a student (disciple) of the Messiah Jesus is summed up in totality by Luke 14:26, 27. Anything less is sin when defined as a separation from the will of God.

    Nothing but God as one whole kingdom in one another defines socialism better – a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.

    “On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.” John 14:20

    “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 1:12-13

    “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

    “Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”” Genesis 1:26

  • Herm

    “No, let’s have the state protect the lives of those who have no voices…the unborn.”

    No disciple of the Messiah has been commanded to “protect the lives of those who have no voices…the unborn.” You show that as different to me in the words of Jesus Christ. Religiously that is the Vatican speaking to populate their nation and not God’s directive. That is your logic speaking and not from the Spirit of Truth. Projecting on your logic we must legislate all propagation of the species of mankind to insure that the most pure in the image of God could possibly be born, who have yet any voice because they haven’t even been conceived in thought yet. Adolf Hitler led a similar plan.

    Your arguments against homosexuality do not abide the commands by our Lord to love your merciful neighbor as yourself and in everything do first to all others as you would have others do to you. Show me any other instruction by Jesus that you know that condemns homosexuals anymore than you.

    Careful, your Pharisaical self-indulgence is showing through as religious sanctimonious baloney not at all from the Spirit of Christ and/or our Father.

  • Herm

    It is the conservative house of representatives who deny sufficient funding to take care of the veterans as promised. It was not some socialist plot that created the government “waste, fraud, inefficiency, and bureaucratic bungling” that strangles our nation’s social growth today. Historically we were the most agreeably socialist and simultaneously the most capitalistic productive for all in the 1950’s while the extremely wealthy were taxed 75% of their annual profits.

    Christian men and women historically have supported crusades of rape and pillage, dehumanizing slavery, witch burning/drowning, genocide of judged pagan cultures (including by the beheading traditions extended by ISIS) and have over all been highly exclusive stewards of the world our Father causes the rain to fall on and the sun to shine down on all those in God’s image, righteous or unrighteous.

    I think you need to investigate your own planks before you rip out another’s splinter.

  • Investigator

    I understand these scriptures fine and YOU reinforce the point I was making. S Bold spoke the truth when he said Jesus was a Monarchist, np_2007 was denying this truth so I quoted some scriptures that demonstrate Jesus is King, not some socialist.
    What your point was in listing these verses I don’t know, I rarely understand your point as it usually sounds like, forgive me, Spiritualist psycho babble. However, you quoted further scriptures that demonstrate CHRIST is KING, not some leader of a socialist movement.

  • Herm

    “On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.” John 14:20

    A King that by his own undeniable example would suffer an agonizing death for His constituents before asking them carry their cross to suffer an agonizing death for those who do not know what they are doing. This is not the definition of a monarchy as you present it. Your definition is what inspired Judas to betray the authority of Jesus to the authority of Caiaphas and the Pharisees.

    You do not know the Spirit sufficiently to judge “Spiritualist psycho babble”. You’re still arguing the same arguments put forth by the Pharisees and teachers of the law that could justify crucifying the Son of God in God’s name under a plaque reading “King of the Jews”.

  • S. Bold

    Jesus is a KING. That’s my point. He did not endorse any particular secular governmental system, but He Himself is a King, a monarchist. Those of us who follow Jesus are in His Kingdom, not His socialist republic. If anything, Jesus is a pure monarchist, for He is the king of all.

    He calls people to enter into a Kingdom, where the rules of the game are VERY different from the rules of this world. I imagine that you and I agree on that. As believers we must follow Christ, for He has authority.

    I do not forget the things you mentioned. It is surely wrong to turn the temple into a place for taking the money from the poor (through money-changing systems); it surely is difficult for a rich man to enter the Kingdom, and we should surely love and bless others in every way possible. Yet, those are not exclusively socialist thoughts.

    I’m in full-time Christian ministry, poor by many of the world’s standards and spend my time helping those who can’t help themselves. I serve in areas of the world where socialism held the ground for generations, and the results that I see are destructive to the human spirit.

    Not that I’m defending capitalism, don’t think I’m saying that. I don’t think this is an either/or discussion.

    All the best to you –

  • Herm

    Socialism is not capitalism nor communism. You are relating to states embracing a destructive communism in which less than 1% of each nation decided and ruled who profited by how much. The USA has become an oligarchy parading unregulated capitalism to justify 1% holding 75% and increasing of the profit at the cost of the remaining 99%. Over 1/2 of the more wealthy western nations are democratic social welfare states resembling more the Spirit of Acts 4:31-37.

    During the time of Jesus on earth as a Son of Man there were no distinctive governing bodies of communist, socialist, democracies or really even republics as we know relative to today. There were kingdoms and empires. The Israelites had no king until they demanded such a governing body in addition to Moses and the tribe of Levi governing their worship.

    King David was considered possibly the only good king and he was an adulterer and a murderer. Not too many kingdoms to judge Jesus’ rule by. Are children of God inheritors of the kingdom as well as eternal life?

    As a full-time Christian minister you should know that no one will inherit eternal life except those who actually love. The relationship we have in God as little children of God is bound and governed solely by love.

    As quoted in “Breaking the Rules: Trading Performance for Intimacy with God” by Fil Anderson and “The End of Religion” by Bruxy Cavey you might consider what Robert Bilmont observes “As long as a relationship is ruled by love, the rule of law is obsolete.”

    I am not questioning your relationship with Christ. I am questioning your understanding of the relationship we have as little children of God with our Lord and Brother in God. If you would like Bible references I would be happy to provide them for you.

    Love you! Thank you for your service!

  • Investigator

    “It is the conservative house of representatives…”

    And who are they? The government! It is irrelevant which party is at fault, the fact is as I stated, the government = waste, fraud, inefficiency, and bureaucratic bungling. Since you mentioned it, Obama, upon taking office, claimed he would fix this long standing problem…he didn’t and it only grew worse; so bad that while his administrators lied about services rendered, received bonuses based upon these lies, Veterans were dying.

    Christians have a far better track record of administering to the poor than does the government and they often give what the government won’t…the gospel.

  • Investigator

    “Christian men and women historically have supported…”

    It is convenient for enemies of the church to find nothing Christian about our Founding Fathers (I’m answering a broader issue as you didn’t address the FFs) and indeed falsely claim they were deists and agnostics, and atheists (because the FFs are universally admired) but accept without question that all the crusaders were Christian simply because there was little else available to Europeans of the 12th century.

    Conveniently forgotten by enemies of the church, is that the Holy Land, Islands of the Mediterranean, and North Africa were lands that were Christian, part of the Byzantine empire. This was the situation before the Muslim conquest (involving rape and pillage) of these lands in the 7th century. Because Muslim Turks (11th century) began robbing and murdering pilgrims on the way to Jerusalem, and at the invitation of Alexus, emperor of the Byzantine empire whose capital was being threatened by these Turks, crusaders traveled east to do battle with these foes. Although theirs was a warrior culture and they suffered tremendous hardship, AND the Muslims did not surrender, the massacres that followed were a terrible stain on the Christian faith.

    In 1999, to mark the 900th anniversary of the taking of the Holy Land, hundreds of Protestants marched from Germany to the Holy Land to apologize for the crusades. Needless to say, there was no reciprocal march from Muslims to apologize for their taking of the Holy Land from Christians in the first place. Indeed, they are proud of their accomplishments and waste not a tear on the thousands their ancestors murdered. Likewise, there has been no apologies from atheists for the multiple millions murdered during the 20th century alone…numbers that dwarf any figures for the crusades.

    Dehumanizing slavery? Slavery has been practiced by most peoples since time began. However, it was the Christians who ended this practice in their lands (see Bishop Wilberforce of England). Interestingly, slavery is still alive and well today, practiced in parts of Muslim Africa, and in Muslim lands in the middle east (do liberal Christians speak out against this slavery?).

    Planks and splinters, the common defense for those who wish to excuse their inhumane practices like the murdering of the unborn and the selling for profit of their body parts.

  • Investigator

    “No disciple of the Messiah has been commanded to “protect the lives of those who have no voices…the unborn.”

    Wow, and no disciple was commanded not to torture his family…somethings are just self evident. However, consider the following:

    “They mingled with the nations and learned their works…They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons, and they shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and their daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, desecrating the land with bloodshed” (Psalm 106:35, 37-38).

    This sin of child-sacrifice, in fact, is mentioned as one of the major reasons that the Kingdom of Israel was destroyed by the Assyrians and the people taken into exile. “They mutilated their sons and daughters by fire…till the Lord, in his great anger against Israel, put them away out of his sight” (2 Kings 17:17-18).

    The prophet Amos condemns the Ammonites “because they ripped open expectant mothers in Gilead” (Amos 1:13).

    The phrase “conceived and bore” is used repeatedly (see Genesis 4:1,17) and the individual has the same identity before as after birth. “In sin my mother conceived me,” the repentant psalmist says in Psalm 51:7. The same word is used for the child before and after birth (Brephos, that is, “infant,” is used in Luke 1:41 and Luke 18:15.)

    God knows the preborn child. “You knit me in my mother’s womb . . . nor was my frame unknown to you when I was made in secret” (Psalm 139:13,15). God also helps and calls the preborn child. “You have been my guide since I was first formed . . . from my mother’s womb you are my God” (Psalm 22:10-11). “God… from my mother’s womb had set me apart and called me through his grace” (Paul to the Galatians 1:15).

    “Truly children are a gift from the Lord; the fruit of the womb is a reward” (Psalm 127:3).

    Herm, I am not now nor have I ever been Catholic. I do admire the Catholic Church’s heroic stance against the butchers of the unborn…people without love or common decency.

    “That is your logic speaking and not from the Spirit of Truth.”

    Sometimes the mind of the Lord is beyond logic, but never illogical. I am beginning to understand that you may be led by A spirit, but I doubt it is THE HOLY SPIRIT. Your words are illogical.

    “…to insure that the most pure in the image of God could possibly be born…Adolf Hitler led a similar plan.”

    I am staggered by your lapse of historical understanding, and it is illustrative that you fail to see how your statement precisely applies to those who promote abortion.

    Margarete Sanger was founder of Planned Parenthood, America’s principle abortion mill. Her eugenics program was a model for Adolf Hitler. See here:

    Sanger was a proponent of negative eugenics, which aims to improve human hereditary traits through social intervention by reducing the reproduction of those who were considered unfit.[89]

    Sanger’s other colleagues included avowed and sophisticated racists. One, Lothrop Stoddard, was a Harvard graduate and the author of The Rising Tide of Color against White Supremacy. Stoddard was something of a Nazi enthusiast who described the eugenic practices of the Third Reich as “scientific” and “humanitarian.” And Dr. Harry Laughlin, another Sanger associate and board member for her group, spoke of purifying America’s human “breeding stock” and purging America’s “bad strains.” These “strains” included the “shiftless, ignorant, and worthless class of antisocial whites of the South.”

    Sanger advocated the mandatory sterilization of the insane and feebleminded. See here:

    My statements about homosexuality come directly from scripture, if you don’t like them, take it up with the Lord.

    Also, many attempt to marginalize those who defend the Bible’s condemnation of homosexuality by falsely accusing them of hating homosexuals; nothing could be further from the truth. There are Christian ministries that reach out to homosexuals, prostitutes, drug abusers, bikers, gangs, you name it, and some Christian is ministering to them.

    See Romans Chap. 1:18 to the end of the chapter.

    “Careful, your Pharisaical self-indulgence is showing through as religious sanctimonious baloney not at all from the Spirit of Christ and/or our Father.”

    Is the above your idea of “do first to all others as you would have others do to you.”?

  • Herm

    “It is convenient for enemies of the church to find nothing Christian about our Founding Fathers (I’m answering a broader issue as you didn’t address the FFs) and indeed falsely claim they were deists and agnostics, and atheists (because the FFs are universally admired) but accept without question that all the crusaders were Christian simply because there was little else available to Europeans of the 12th century.”

    I have only one Father. You seem to find great pride in an extremely fragmented religion who usurp the authority of one Teacher, one Father, one Instructor and now one Lord God given full authority over heaven and earth by the Father. Why do you give credit and authority to mankind who no longer, according to the Bible, have the authority of the Moses seat?

    Jesus is enough. Jesus is risen. Jesus is the Lord. Jesus has active disciples working very hard to make more disciples under only the tutelage of Jesus.

    Jesus is the High Priest and His church is not a religion of theory, pulpits, buildings, alters, crosses and any physical property founded by mankind. Religion’s accouterments of their own idolatry.

    “Founding fathers” is a pride of mankind who don’t know the Father of God.

  • Herm

    The “Gospel” means the good news and the track record of “Christianity” is not all that good of good news to the majority of the world.

  • SamHamilton

    Of course not. But if you stop paying your taxes, eventually men and women with guns will show up at your house. If you resist arrest, they will use violence against you. I’m not arguing that it’s impossible to enforce laws non-violently, but we don’t do that in this country.

  • SamHamilton


  • SamHamilton

    This is like the “ticking time bomb scenario” of the abortion debate. Remember back when we were debating whether our intelligence agencies should be allowed to torture terrorist suspects? People in favor of torture argued that we should allow torture in all situations because in some small percentage of situations there might be a ticking time bomb that the suspect might know about. That’s what your argument sounds like – we need to deny the rights of the unborn in all situations because in some small number of pregnancies the mother’s life might be in danger.

  • SamHamilton

    As I said, I think we’re in general agreement on this. Neither of us have a problem with using force and/or violence to enforce just laws.

    But a Christian who believes in non-violence in all instances can’t use the “harm vs. help” logic, because it doesn’t matter how much good an act of violence would do; it’s still wrong.

    Keep in mind, it’s not just laws requiring us to pay taxes, but most every law on the books that is backed up by violence or the threat of violence. How does a strict pacifist prevent Somalia? I don’t know…

  • Popvaditecclesiae

    I went to the Religious addiction site. I have none of the symptoms. I disagree with my Pastor all the time. He likes to be seeker friendly. Kinda like you progressives. I left the Catholic Church when I was 30. Because its traditions and sacraments didnt match well with the book of Acts. I was a sincere and devout Catholic. I believe I will see many Catholics in heaven. So I am in no way against them. I just say all that to point out my lack of addiction to religion. I am, however, totally all in with Jesus. I need him and want fellowship with him. If thats an addiction. Then, please more of it.

  • Popvaditecclesiae

    Hawaiian pigeon. A language invented by the Hawaiian , Philippine, Japanese and White children of pineapple and cane workers in turn of the century Hawaii. So they could communicate with each other. Their parents where all very racist towards each other. Yet the kids where all thrown together at school and became one through the years. Now it is used by local Hawaiians in an extremely racist and bullying way. I call them Aloha hypocrites. I use it whenever I think someone is being a bully.

  • chopin


  • Adam “Giauz” Birkholtz

    Wrong. Whether the pregnant woman’s life is in danger is irrelevant. If she does not want to continue a pregnancy, she should not be punished for ending the pregnancy as if she is not a person but some disobedient property of her community refusing to work for them. The “unborn” has the same right to life as any other person who would die without some consensual giving up of bodily autonomy (such as people’s organs that the owners are still using)- none.

  • SamHamilton

    I assumed your comment about “another human who would also die” was a reference to the mother’s life being in danger should she continue the pregnancy. If that’s not what you were referring to, then you can disregard my comment.

    I’ve heard your argument a hundred times. It’s not going to convince anyone that believes that the unborn child has some sort of inherent dignity, as opposed to being the property of the mother. You can repeat it over and over again, but at its heart, it’s incredibly indifferent to the human life that was voluntarily created.

  • gimpi1

    Except, as I understand it, the “ticking time-bomb” scenario doesn’t work. Torture extracts “information,” true, but that “information” is often false or misleading. By the time it’s vetted, your bomb has blown. People simply don’t tell the truth under torture. Want evidence? Remember the witch-hunts? Hundreds of thousands (possibly millions) of people confessed to flying, turning into animals, all sorts of things that never happened! I don’t know how anyone with any knowledge of history can support the use of torture. Morality aside, it simply is the most unreliable means of getting information.

    However, women die from pregnancy-induced conditions every day, all over the world. It’s less common in the developed world, but it happens. There are also things such as birth-defects that are incompatible with life.

    Wether or not you accept abortion on demand, the medical need for abortions to save the lives and future health of women is quite real. This simply can’t be cast as a all-or-nothing issue in medical reality.

  • gimpi1

    Except for the part where you vote for representatives who decide what tasks the government will take on and how to fund them, and you can vote for someone else if you don’t like the priorities of your representative. I’ve never heard about armed robbers taking a vote…

  • gimpi1

    I think Ben, the host of this blog, copes with it by adopting the “not of this world” idea, that the Christian church is not a ruling body to establish laws over society. We have a secular government that does that. He does not advocate a “dominionist” type of Christianity where the Church is the State. Nor does he advocate Christians refusing to cooperate with any government. Two spheres, I think that’s how many view it.

    Christians on Ben’s Blog? Have I understood this?

  • gimpi1

    I, personally, recognize a difference between “force” and “violence.” I view force as the means of protecting or securing. We use force to arrest and confine people who attack or abuse or steal. We (ideally) use force to defend our country. Force can be positive or negative, depending on the goal of the individual or group using it. It also doesn’t have to involve weapons or threat. Social-pressure can be an act of force. For example, many Scandinavian countries use societal pressure to prevent the sort of greed we often see in the U.S. Overconsumption and conspicuous displays of wealth are looked down on, so you don’t see the the huge wage-gap that has shown up in the U.S. in the last 30 years or so. That societal pressure is an example of force.

    Violence, on the other hand, is negative. Violence is used to dominate, violate or steal. Violence is used to cause harm, not to protect from harm. Violence can, but does not have to be a use of force. One can do violence to someone through an act of fraud, or by using economic power. An interesting book on this is, “Confessions of an Economic Hit-Man,” which detailed the manipulation of countries in South America for the benefit of the U.S. Our manipulation of “Banana Republics” to enrich U.S. corporations is an example of violence.

    To put it simply, I can use force to prevent someone from engaging in a violent act or protect them from harm. I can use violence to hurt them. And neither actually requires a weapon, though they are often part of the picture.

  • gimpi1

    And, when we go to war, many people who don’t want the country to take that action, either because they are pacifist or because they think war is the wrong solution to the specific situation in question, have to pay taxes to support that war. That’s simply part of living in a society. People seem to have confused a representational government with always getting your way.

  • SamHamilton

    That’s exactly right. I can’t always get my way, but I’m still forced to pay taxes to support policies I don’t like. I don’t have a problem with that. But if I’m opposed to violence, yet I support backing up our laws with violence, I can’t claim clean hands by saying “my reps did that, not me.”

  • gimpi1

    He’s not attacking it, he’s disagreeing with it. You think your version is correct, he thinks his is. That’s not an attack. If I may ask, why do you think it is?

  • Adam “Giauz” Birkholtz

    A person dying without a transplant cannot compel anyone to to take another person’s organs or blood against their will. Are the dying people the property of the living because they cannot control other people’s bodies? Also, we pro-choicers would like to keep the creation of people voluntary as said creation occurs over roughly nine months of a woman’s life. To say that the person who has to undergo great physical sometimes deadly lengthy feats to create people not have full body autonomy and the right to not create people at any time in the process is to own them.

  • SamHamilton

    I don’t know if I agree with these descriptions entirely. It sounds like you’re saying that if someone had shot Dylan Roof to protect the lives of the people in the church in Charleston, that person would not have been acting violently. If so, I think you’re redefined violence significantly. But it’s one way to get out of the moral quandary I’ve described.

    I agree that force isn’t inherently violent. A society can force people to do things they might not normally do without using violence. Force doesn’t always entail violence. I could imagine a scenario where, for example, polluters, instead of facing fines and imprisonment by the government, would face social pressure and boycotts to change their ways. Or the government could pass “laws” that are more like guidelines, but ultimately aren’t backed up by criminal sanctions. That’s non-violent force. But in reality, once you get the government involved, at least in our country, and I’d suspect most other countries, that implies at least the threat of violence, which I think a strict Christian pacifist would oppose.

  • SamHamilton

    Thanks, this is helpful. I’ll look forward to others’ thoughts on this.

  • gimpi1

    That might be the only difference we have; I think you can, because this is a secular society that no religion can claim to rule over. We don’t force people to fight, even in the event of a draft, we have Objector status. However, we tax and use the tax-monies for societal goals.

    I see it as similar to conservative Christians expecting a secular society to reflect their values on things like marriage equity or birth control. Their views are their own, and they have full rights to them, but there’s no reason to have them reflected in law unless a case can be made for preventing harm. We live by our own beliefs, we only use force when we must intervene to prevent harm.

    However, I’m neither a Christian or a pacifist, so I might not understand their perspective on this.

  • SamHamilton

    It’s not a perfect analogy, but I think you get my point – people want to legalize something that is disrespectful of human life in all scenarios because they think it might be necessary in a small percentage of cases to achieve what they consider to be a positive outcome.

  • gimpi1

    Or a disaster has (large-scale or personal) has happened. For example, my mother was a polio-survivor who was partially paralyzed. When my father was in a horrific industrial accident (a drill-bit performed an accidental pre-frontal lobotomy) we were pretty darn destitute. One can hardly expect a toddler and two disabled people to be fully self-sufficient.

    Natural disasters, diseases, accidents, wars and civil strife all leave people in dire straights. Do you regard these things as not really happening or somehow the fault of those that suffer them?

  • I’d check this out from Bruxy:

    While I don’t agree with everything he says in the video, he presents something many Christian pacifists affirm: the government and the Christian have completely different roles. So, to get to your point, a strict Christian pacifist could still affirm the government has a right to use violence, while believing the Church is to be a testimony to nonviolence.

  • gimpi1

    I posted this upthread, describing my life:

    For example, my mother was a polio-survivor who was partially paralyzed. When my father was in a horrific industrial accident (a drill-bit performed an accidental pre-frontal lobotomy) we were pretty darn destitute.

    Which were we? Selfish drug/alcohol addicts? Abusive? Was it my parents choice? Would it have been a sin to help us? What would you have done about my parents, my sister and myself?

    Perhaps people regarded it as so… my family never got much private help, but Social Security Disability, Worker’s Compensation and other programs kept us going.

  • Trilemma

    And today conservative Christianity honors its members who enlist in the military. Even having them kneel in front of the congregation so the deacons and church can pray over them like they were sending out a missionary. By endorsing America’s wars, they put aside the command to love our enemies.

    Conservative Christianity has become very patriotic and puts aside the admonishment that they can’t serve two masters.

    Conservative Christianity opposes various social programs that help the poor and illegal immigrants thereby putting aside the commands to love our neighbor and to help the least of these. Christians would rather spend their money on themselves rather than helping others. For example, it costs about $5000.00 to sponsor a child from infant to teenager. Joel Osteen’s church meets in a renovated sports arena. Those renovations cost $75,000,000, or about 15,000 children’s lives.

  • gimpi1

    I must have explained myself poorly. No, someone shooting Dylan Roof to protect the people he was targeting would, in my view be an entirely justified act of force, not violence.

  • gimpi1

    I understand what you’re saying… however, I don’t share their views for the most part. In general, I don’t see the abortion debate that way, but that’s just me. I’m a woman. I understand how common miscarriages are. I understand how potentially dangerous some conditions of pregnancy can be, and how a pregnancy can devastate a woman’s life. Those issues are often missing from the abortion debate.

    To me, the commonness of miscarriage means that potential life is not the same as a living being. To me, the dangers mean we have to understand that potential must sometimes be sacrificed. To me, our unwillingness to help pregnant women without the resources to raise a child means that, as a society, we don’t want to make sacrifices that we demand of others. To me, the self-righteousness of some people when talking about unwanted pregnancy means that they care much more about controlling and shaming women than fetal potential.

    But that’s just my subjective view.

  • Herm

    “My statements about homosexuality come directly from scripture, if you don’t like them, take it up with the Lord.”

    I have taken it up with my Lord Jesus and the scripture you interpret as anti-homosexual did not come from Him nor our Father. All that they wrote in stone is what we know as the Decalogue. The Decalogue and all the Prophets since are summed up in Matthew 7:12. To inherit eternal life as a child of God hangs entirely on what is written in Matthew 22:37-40. You cannot love your neighbor as yourself without knowing just who your neighbor is. Your neighbor is the one who shows you mercy no matter their religious faith or sexual propensity. That is scripture that was inspired by the true Spirit of God. The God of the cross and not the God of the sword.

    Jesus, in the Gospels, broke many of the Levite laws and misrepresentations of the will of our Father.

    “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:20

    Regarding your crusade I honor and value the empathy you demonstrate to save the voiceless unborn. I do not abide by the zealousness of Pastor Childress’ campaign to denigrate all who are lovingly sincere in their efforts to value all life, including the mother’s and the father’s. I know real life under God is as our nation’s forefathers declared as justification for independence “that all men” AND WOMEN “are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”.

    Margaret Sanger wrote: “We hold that children should be

    Conceived in love;

    Born of the mother’s conscious desire;

    And only begotten under conditions which render possible the heritage of health.”

    The Christian Old and New Testament as canonized is clearly devoid of any equal influence of females to state their rights under God as were the males anointed all influence of scripture from their perspective. God is male and female and disciples of the Messiah are equally sisters and brothers in relationship as little children of God.

    Sexual propagation of the species is not a necessary function in God’s family that their animal species might survive. Gender is a spectrum between 100% feminine to 100% masculine and no one human being ever has occupied the very same point of gender trait within as another. There are more masculine males and more feminine (effeminate) males in this world we were graced by God. There are more feminine females and there are more masculine (butch) females in this world we were graced by God. I have yet to meet a male who is obviously 100% masculine nor a female who is 100% feminine. I have met others of mankind who were physically both male and female. I have met married heterosexual couples who one or both were unable to conceive children. Normal male and female bodies both contain the hormones that in different degrees form a female or a male. To actually consummate sex between a male and female the considered male hormone, testosterone, has to elevate in both partners female and male. The rest of the animal world on this earth has the same physical sexual traits as humans including homosexual. These are facts that God knew long before us and highlight the ignorance of much of scripture you, in its entirety, hang the law and the Prophets of God on.

    Most of the conservative fundamentalist evangelical christian religious ignore the facts as did the church ignore to silence Galileo. Mankind in the Fertile Crescent (reasonably close to the Garden of Eden) began farming (Cain) and ranching (Able) about 9,000 years ago. The Jewish calendar begins one year before “the Creation” as related in the Torah and today figures to 5,775 or 5,776 years ago, depending on the Jewish authority you consult. These are facts Jesus knew through the Spirit’s (the Dove) omniscience one with the Father during His entire three year ministry and did not refute in the four witnessing Gospels.

    The life we have been graced in the image of God is not simple and is not even close to the binary black and white regulations, in the name of your god, you try so insistently to encourage all sinning others to accept. Life is precious but only God is equipped to determine life and death appropriately of Their children and not their little children who know no more than they can eek out of their limited perspective from this earth. Parents are the first who, in the image of our Creator, must decide whether their child lives or dies. We as little children of God can support the parents that the most will live but we cannot, from the outside, legislate through civil law or religious law the triage of deciding who lives and who does not. We cannot tell sexually active couples they cannot use contraceptives because it is against the will of God for it is not, the rhythm method never worked except to populate the church.

    Women, homosexuals, Blacks, Native Americans, Pagans, Wiccans, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Atheists and Agnostics (all who have been killed by the sword of christians) deserve to know the love of God equally with Christians. Then they too can take it up directly with the Lord in their hearts and minds.

    My statements about homosexuality and abortion come directly from the Lord, if you don’t like them, take it up with the Lord.

    No, this is not my idea of “do first to all others as you would have others do to you” it is the command of our Lord Jesus.

  • gimpi1

    Well, I’m in favor of many governmental programs because, when I look around the world, I see that places that have a good safety-net in place, people are healthier, happier and more secure. When I see places that don’t, people are sicker, more depressed and society in general displays more disfunction in the form of crime, addiction and abuse.

    I posted this upthread:

    For example, my mother was a polio-survivor who was partially paralyzed. When my father was in a horrific industrial accident (a drill-bit performed an accidental pre-frontal lobotomy) we were pretty darn destitute.

    No church could have helped my family as individuals. The need to raise two children and take care of two profoundly disabled people for decades is not something that a small group of people can take on. But, because of Social Security Disability, Worker’s Compensation and some other programs, my family survived, and with some dignity and happiness.

    My sister and I are professionals, both middle-class, and both contributing to society. Without the programs I mentioned, we wouldn’t be. I want more success-stories like us.

  • gimpi1

    The thing is, those are simply your beliefs. They have no reason to be inshrined in law. Laws exist to provide for societal benefits or prevent us from harming each other. They don’t exist for you to impose your beliefs on those that don’t share them, any more than they should be able to impose your beliefs on you.

  • gimpi1

    I think it was a Monty Python joke. They did several skits with “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition” as a theme.

  • SamHamilton

    I’m certainly not saying there aren’t other reasons for keeping abortion legal, I’m just relating what the argument that “abortion on demand should be legal so that mothers whose lives are threatened by continuing a pregnancy don’t die” sounds like to pro-lifers.

  • SamHamilton

    That’s what I assumed you were saying (perhaps I didn’t explain myself well!). I think that’s a pretty significant redefinition of violence, but one way out of the moral quandary.

  • SamHamilton

    I get where you’re coming from, but I think Christians, at least those who oppose gay marriage and birth control, would argue there is harm in allowing those things. I’ve yet to meet anyone who thinks something is a good influence, but wants to ban it anyway.

  • gimpi1

    I’m sure you’re right, that’s exactly how many of my arguments would sound to many pro-life folks. Just the way many of their arguments such as; “How dare women have sex! Slutty sluts should suffer” and the ever-popular, “If you value your life over your 2-week pregnancy, you’re a war-criminal!” sound to me.

  • SamHamilton

    Thanks for the link Mr. Corey. I’ll check it out and get back with my thoughts.

  • gimpi1

    To me, that’s where proof comes in. I might think there’s harm in, oh, say, non-organic foods, but if I can’t present evidence of actual harm, we don’t ban them. It’s true that many people want to ban or regulate things that don’t hurt anyone in any measurable way. Generally, I don’t support that. One of my mantras is, “You follow your beliefs. You only write laws based on what you can prove.”

    Someone can believe that it causes harm to allow two women to marry or a married couple to use birth-control, but if they can’t present actual evidence of harm, it’s not a matter for the law. (And, no, in my view neither Bible-verses or vague threats to the soul constitute evidence of harm.)

  • SamHamilton

    I can imagine! Haha.

    By the way, I’ve enjoyed conversing with you about this and non-violence. It’s rare to find someone who can discuss these issues without resorting to name-calling, rudeness, sarcasm, personal insults, accusing someone else of not following Jesus, etc. Thanks for that!

  • SamHamilton

    Again, thanks for posting the video. I watched it. I’m somewhat familiar with this theory, but rarely have I seen it given as an example of what Christian pacifists believe. It’s usually those who are arguing that violence can be used justly who reference the theological argument presented in the video.

    Honestly, it brings up more questions that it answers in my mind. A couple thoughts…

    1) According to this theory, it would have been morally wrong for a parishioner of the AME church in Charleston to use violence to stop Dylann Roof, but if an agent of the government had been present, it would be his or her moral duty to use violence (assuming non-violent means weren’t likely to be successful) to stop Roof. Logically, this makes no sense to me. It seems like a cop-out. “I’m not allowed to use violence because Jesus said not to, but I’m going to employ these people over here to do violence on my behalf.” I can’t think of another scenario where culpability would be removed like this. It’s like hiring a hit man. I’ve read blog post after blog post from progressive Christians criticizing other Christians for owning guns for self-defense purposes as if they’re the problems with gun violence in our society. Yet those Christian pacifists rely on government agents with guns to protect them. It smacks of hypocrisy.

    2) It leaves a huge loophole for state-sponsored war, which I always assumed pacifists opposed or at least claimed to oppose based on Jesus’ teachings. When I’ve been in discussions with pacifists, there is never any nuance about war. The belief is “war is wrong.” Christian pacifists consistently talk about beating swords into plowshares. There’s never any discussion of whether a particular war is legitimately fought or meets the criteria for a state to use violence as part of its mandate from God. If a government can justly go to war (not that every war is just), it makes no sense to criticize a Christian for arguing for a government to use military force by saying that that Christian is betraying the way of Jesus. The debate should be about whether a particular military action is just, rather than about non-violence in general. But that’s not the debate pacifists have.

    3) The only Biblical justification of this theory is that section of Romans (at least that’s mentioned in this video). I have a very high view of the Epistles, but I can’t tell you how many times I or others have quoted the Epistles (or the Old Testament) on just use of violence and been told “I don’t follow Paul (or such and such OT figure), I follow Jesus and Jesus said turn the other cheek/put away your sword/etc.” Yet, the theory in the video is that Jesus actually isn’t talking about society at large, but just to His followers specifically when He tells Peter to put away the sword and turn the other cheek. I’ve made a similar argument on this very blog and been told by multiple commenters that I’m wrong – Jesus’ command is to everyone in all circumstances, not just to Peter!

    4) Does this mean it’s morally just for a non-Christian, non-government agent to use violence?

    5) Then there’s the issue of whether or not a Christian can serve in government, which the man on the video mentions, but says “is another question.”

    Bottom line for me is this: If this is the/a Christian pacifist defense of government sponsored violence or threat of violence, I think it 1) leaves a huge loophole for military violence that I’ve never heard a pacifist admit exists; 2) should make Christian pacifists a whole lot less, shall I say…“fundamentalist” about their beliefs about non-violence; 3) conveniently sanctions the use of the threat of violence or actual violence in the name of all the public policy goals (not all of which I’m opposed to) of using government to create a more just society, which most pacifists seem to support.

    Wow…my comment is long. Sorry. I don’t mean for you to have to respond to any or all of it. Just throwing it out there for the discussion…

  • All your questions are good, and fair. It’s hard for me to answer them, because I am not of the same position as Bruxy, as I am opposed to state violence also and believe in speaking against it (which he seems to be against in the video). I was just trying to point out, in response to your original comment, that some pacifists do leave the door open.

    However, certainly Romans seems to give governments the right to exist and to protect their people by force, so there is huge tension in our position. What we all remain convinced of is that Jesus followers are universally called to enemy love.

    Also is important to note there is a difference between pacifism as a political position and Christian pacifism, which is where some things get fuzzy.

    Oh, one other thought: you note that you’ve seen a lot of posts from progressive Christians criticizing Christians who use violence– I’d argue this really isn’t a progressive position at all, but an Anabaptist position. Political progressivism/liberalism is just as violent as conservatism (see Obama, a very violent president). Those progressive Christians who speak against it often do because of Anabaptist leanings– I don’t see it as a general value of progressive Christianity at large, which is a big umbrella that includes some of us Anabaptist/Mennonite types. Just FWIW.

  • wolfeevolution

    Let’s not forget the Hebrew midwives of Exodus 1! Amazingly their choice to lie and save Hebrew lives was deemed important enough that their names got recorded in the story.

  • np_2007

    Be careful if you’re associating “Kings” or “Kingdom” with monarchies. Jesus IS King but only in the Kingdom…
    ( which is to be established in the future-NO ONE knows the exact time ) …of His/Our Father (God Head) in Heaven.

    There is an interesting passage in Acts 1:6-7 in reference to “kingdoms” and many would-be evangelical temple builders:

    “[The Apostles] asked him [Jesus], ‘Lord, will you at this time restore the KINGDOM to Israel?’
    Re replied:
    “It does NOT BELONG to YOU to get knowledge of the times of [restoring Israel] which the Father has placed IN HIS OWN JURISDICTION.” ~ Acts 1:6-7

    Kings and/or Kingdoms of THIS world are therefore to be dealt with v-e-r-y delicately and quite different of which the Messiah spoke of. Hence my apprehension of the words ‘kingdoms’, ‘kings’, or ‘monarchies’.

  • np_2007

    Pope Francis recently said it quite good:P “Emphasize people, not ideologies”.

  • gimpi1

    Thank you. I’ve enjoyed it, too. It’s nice to be able to discuss things without being told you’re a communist, or a fascist, or — best of all, a communist fascist…

    (Apparently, some people don’t understand the concept of mutually-exclusive:-)

  • SamHamilton

    Thanks for the reminder about progressives as compared to pacifist Christians as compared to political pacifism. There are important differences.

    I wish Christian pacifists would acknowledge the tension (to me, tension implies a decent amount of grey area) you mention a little more often and be a little less dogmatic and more nuanced. Again, thanks for responding.

  • There is a LOT of tension if the question is, “what is the role of government?” or, “is it permissible for the government to use violence?”

    However, if the question is, “is a Jesus follower permitted to use violence against an enemy?” I feel like there’s no tension– Jesus seemed to make that as black and white as you can possibly make it, which is why we come across as so dogmatic about it.

  • SamHamilton

    But let’s leave aside the whole “enemy” bit, because that implies personal animosity, hate and possibly the desire for vengeance or retribution for past wrongs. What if the question was “Is a Jesus follower permitted to use violence to prevent injustice?” We’re back to my point #1 from above using the Charleston church shooting. Again, don’t feel like you have to have answers to these questions…I’m trying to work it out in my own head too.

  • Investigator

    Tell that to the hundreds of millions of people Christians have fed and clothed through organizations like the Salvation Army, OM, World Vision, and Samaritan’s Purse, the director of whom has come under fire on this blog site.

  • Herm

    ““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

    The Mafia, the KKK, the Taliban, Islam, Buddhism, Hindi, Stalin, Hitler, ISIS, and thousands more, both good and evil, organizations have clothed, fed, built homes, built schools and nurture the needy for over hundreds of millions of people. Some proselytizing, some because it made them feel good and some because it was the right thing to do for those they could empathize with.

    So what exactly is your point?

  • to_tell_the_truth

    I won’t presume to speak for all “liberal churches”, but mine had plateaud at around the 400 member mark until we began a program to support and shelter gay refugees fleeing anti-gay terrorism in (mostly) African countries. Since then (about 3 years ago) we’ve shot up to about the 700+ mark.

    As opposed to “empty pews”, we sometimes have to get there about 40 minutes ahead of time to get a seat, and then it’s in the balcony.

    I think we’ve grown so because it’s what Jesus taught us to do – feed the hungry,clothe the naked, visit the sick and imprisoned, and welcome the stranger.

    So, in a way (though not the way you intended, apparently), yes it IS “comforting to see brothers and sisters standing for truth.”

  • Bill

    I am so glad you posted this. I am sick of so called Christians cutting the safety net. Show me God helps those who help themselves in the Bible and we can talk

  • Bill

    Democratic socialism is capitalism with a safety net. think sweden not ussr

  • Andrew Napolitano of Fox News wrote,

    Pope Francis is popular on the world stage, and the crowds love him. But if he fails in his basic duties as the pope, if his concern is more for secular than sacred, if he aids the political agenda of the atheistic left, he is a false prophet leading his flock to a dangerous place, where there is more central planning and less personal liberty.

    What does Napolitano believe Catholicism should be?

    The essence of capitalism goes to the core of Catholic teaching: the personal freedom of every person. Capitalism is freedom to risk, freedom to work, freedom to save, freedom to retain the fruits of one’s labors, freedom to own property and freedom to give to charity.

    That’s western Christianity for ya.

  • Hey, if individual charities and such want to take up the slack, they’re fully empowered to do so.

    They don’t. They can’t.

  • The Salvation Army, who routinely loses hundreds of thousands of dollars (and a few million on more than one occasion) and has been charged with fraudulent behavior several times? Not a good one for that list, to say the least.

  • Ironically, he was also standing against religious conservatives by doing so, taking a liberal view of scripture.

  • Are conservative Christians “popular” in American society?

    In 2005, 48% of the US identified as an evangelical Christian. I’d call that reasonably popular.

  • So when someone is breaking the law, their victims should wait as much as four years and then hope the majority of others don’t decide to give them a pass?

  • Don’t forget evil music!

  • to_tell_the_truth

    That falls under ‘dancing’.


  • Reminds me of a joke I’ve usually seen attributed to baptists:

    Why is sex outside marriage forbidden?

    Because it might lead to drinking and dancing.

  • Investigator

    “I’d call that reasonably popular.”

    Don’t confuse the number of Christians in America with how “popular” they are in America…that is two different things.

  • You suggest that conservative Christians don’t like each other or themselves? I mean, I sometimes think that must be the case, but if you’re arguing it…

  • Investigator

    60 minutes once did an expose on the Salvation Army…they could find NOTHING wrong with them, and 60 minutes usually finds something wrong with everyone it investigates.

    Here is a quote from an article that is actually critical of the Salvation Army though not for mishandling funds:

    “But the Salvation Army, largely through its association with Christmas music and shopping, enjoys widespread good favor. In The Chronicle of Philanthropy‘s ranking of “The Charities Americans Like Most And Least” it scores in the top group, with organizations like the Shriners and Red Cross.”

    From the Salvation Army website:

    How many people are in The Salvation Army?
    There are currently well over 1 million soldiers of God within The Salvation Army worldwide. This includes volunteers, officers, and employees; and this number is growing. Please see our international statistics for more detailed information. Literally thousands of people participate in The Salvation Army’s good deeds in the Eastern Territory alone.

    The typical salary for a Salvation Army Officer ranges from $32,452-$35,555, with an average salary of $34,003.

    Check out these salaries for other “secular” charities from snopes (I don’t like snopes but it was the first one to pop up)

    From the above site you’ll find the UNICEF CEO making 1.2 million a year plus a lot of goodies. Compare that to 35K a year for the Salvation Army. Red Cross CEO, 651K plus expenses and so on down the line. Next, check out how much of every dollar actually goes to charity…pathetic for the above, wonderful for the Salvation Army.

    The Salvation Army is one of the world’s largest providers of social aid[citation needed], with expenditures including operating costs of $2.6 billion in 2004, helping more than 32 million people in the U.S. alone. In addition to community centers and disaster relief, the organization does work in refugee camps, especially among displaced people in Africa. The Salvation Army has received an A- rating from the American Institute of Philanthropy.

    If the standard is absolute perfection, you’ll be sorely disappointed in the SA. Like ALL other charities, it is man made and staffed by imperfect people…but they have done a better job than most and have fed and clothed hundreds of millions of people during their history. They do admirable work and deserve our support.

  • Adam Gadomski

    Jesus was a socialist? Unless by “socialist”, you mean, “Jesus advocated for helping the poor”, I don’t see how that’s possible to deduce, historically. I mean, where did Jesus say, “Give all of your money to corrupt politicians, so that THEY can give that money to the poor, because we can totes legit trust them.”?

  • cas

    he was all for paying his taxes, also he benefited from some socialist practises. When he got into trouble for walking through the field picking wheat it was the outer edges which the land owner was not allowed to reap and instead had to leave for the poor. Deuteronomy might not be the sexiest part of the bible but you can see the slightly socialist framework that Jesus already lived in and he was encouraging people to give and help MORE.

  • Adam Gadomski

    Yes. Jesus was against committing illegal acts.

    Notice that Jesus never advocated for RAISING taxes.

    And if your view of socialism is “anything less than Randian-libertarianism is socialism”, then this is going to be a useless and time-wasting conversation.