Some Things You Should Know About That Couple You Unwelcomed From Your Church

Some Things You Should Know About That Couple You Unwelcomed From Your Church August 9, 2017

Unwelcome Mat

So you’re a Christian church goer.

The sign on your church says “all are welcome” and you take great pride in telling people about your church, and inviting them to attend.

When they arrive, you have greeters and hospitality teams who run right up to them, making sure they know the sign was right– they are welcome.

You say you welcome all, and you do.

And yet, with all the great pride you take in welcoming everyone, you have overlooked a tragic flaw:

You welcome everyone, yes, but once you get to know them, you also unwelcome some. 

You find ways to make it clear that all are welcome to come, but not all are welcome to stay

Maybe it’s was because you found out they had some differing beliefs than yours, and you either didn’t know how to embrace the tension of being in relationship and worshiping with people who thought differently than you, or you just didn’t want to. Perhaps something about them rubbed you the wrong way; maybe they just didn’t seem to fit with the group as it was before they were joined, or maybe there was subtle conflict that you didn’t work to resolve.

So, you unwelcomed them.

Maybe you weren’t as direct as walking them to the door and asking them to leave, but there are a thousand different ways to flash a bat-signal to someone and say:

You’re no longer welcome in this group.

And so, eventually they picked up what you were laying down. Eventually the discomfort grew too much, the progressive rejection stung more and more, and they left your church– just as you secretly wished they would, even if you didn’t admit it to yourself.

Life went on, and you were right back to celebrating the fact that your church means it when they say, “all are welcome” as if you actually meant what it should mean.

The fact that you don’t lose any sleep at night is probably because you don’t know the rest of their story, and I for one certainly don’t expect you to.

They just left. They were unwelcomed. They disappeared, just the way you wanted them to.

But I wonder how you’d feel and sleep if you were to know their full story? Let me tell you about those people you unwelcomed from your church:

You should know they had years and years of church trauma before they ever walked through your “all are welcome” sign. In fact, the first time they attended your church they nearly had a panic attack in the parking lot, but they knew they had to push through it. They knew they had to try again– they just had to.

You should know they were absolutely desperate for friends– they really didn’t have any– and they were so hopeful in you. The way you welcomed them gave them hope for the first time in years; they were so effing scared to embrace it, but they did. Because of that, they pushed through their resistance, their wounds, and their inner walls, and began to believe that maybe this was the positive turning point in life they had been waiting for.

While you grew to have issues with some of their differing beliefs, you should know that before they ever attended your church, they already knew you wouldn’t agree on everything– and they were okay with that. They were okay with you. And when you welcomed them and became friends with them, they thought that you were okay with them, too.

You should know that after years of sadness and pain, their faith was withering. On day 1 at your church, they had already felt like they might be at the end of a journey, instead of at the beginning of one– but they didn’t want to give up.  Not yet. They were desperate to experience the love of Jesus, desperate to find even a sliver of something to hold on to– and you were that hope.

And then, you unwelcomed them.

You should know that out of all of their church trauma, this one was the most devastating. The others hurt, yes, but this one came after deliberately taking a massive, vulnerable risk that required them to let their guard down even when they didn’t feel completely safe doing so.

You should know that neither one of them attend Church, have a supportive Christian community, or even close, intimate Christian friendships, because they literally don’t have what it takes to risk and try again.

You should know that right after you unwelcomed them, they experienced a tragic life event where having Christian community would have been a life saver. Instead, they grieved alone in the dark corners of their house, and no one saw or cared about how lonely and hurting they were. No one ever checked in on them during their time of need– your “hospitality” team was too busy shaking hands under the “all are welcome” banner.

You should know that they didn’t have what it took to hold their faith together. They didn’t stop believing entirely, but they stopped practicing in any meaningful way– not by choice, but by brokenness and pure emotional exhaustion. In fact, a full six months had gone by before they even realized that they had stopped praying a long time ago.

Oh– and you should probably know that they didn’t stay together. They tried as best they could, and knew that having supportive Christian community could have changed everything, but after you unwelcomed them, what was left of their marriage just fell apart piece by piece. There wasn’t any singular event to blame it on– it was just death by a thousand cuts, and your unwelcoming of them was one of the bigger ones.

The day that they worked up the courage to walk through your “all are welcome” sign, they knew they needed you even if it was hard to admit out loud to themselves. They knew that if their story could find healing, that somehow, someway, you would play a part in it.

You should know that you gave them their last sliver of hope, and they nervously held onto it– until you yanked it out of their hands.

How will the rest of their stories be written?

Who knows.

But you should know that they are unlikely to ever try another church again.

And if they did, instead of an “all are welcome” sign, they’d be searching for one that read, “no one unwelcomed.”

Of all the things you should know about unwelcoming people from church, here’s what you should know the most:

Sometimes when you unwelcome people from your church or Christian community, it’s a bigger deal than you think.


unafraid 300Dr. Benjamin L. Corey is a public theologian and cultural anthropologist who is a two-time graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary with graduate degrees in the fields of Theology and International Culture, and holds a doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary. He is also the author of the new book, Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith, which is available wherever good books are sold. www.Unafraid-book.com. 

Be sure to check out his new blog, right here, and follow on Facebook:

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Todd Trevett

    Church trauma? Been there. Several times. I’m there now. I’m done. Thanks for this…

  • Cathryn Wright

    Sorry to hear this. I have experienced this too. Please keep trying. No one is perfect and few churches are always welcoming places as they are run by imperfect people like us! Todd, I pray you find a place that feels right and where people listen to the prompting of The Holy Spirit to know how to welcome you and offer you the fellowship you desire.

  • Todd Trevett

    Hi Catherine…Thanks!

  • americanwoman343

    I would really like to know what “unwelcoming” looks like. I am being serious. I’m the pastor. I don’t know if this is happening or not, but I sure hope not.

  • NTSue

    Me too. Specifics, please. Example: Couple attends, we visit at coffee, good vibes. Send personal note during week. They return. Another coffee visit with invitation to join choir or other activity. They disappear. Personal letter receives no response. Were we just not the right place for them? Did something happen that we who have pondered this did not see?

  • CroneEver

    Here’s an example. Almost 40 years ago, My husband and I were in North Carolina, went to a Baptist church, everyone was VERY welcoming, friendly, inviting us to join them at coffee, etc. Now my husband and I were both graduate students in 2 different states, and I was the one living in NC. Some weekends, he couldn’t make it. One weekend, he had to leave early, so I went to church, and I was feeling sad about it, but no one noticed. In fact, without him people weren’t as friendly. And they got less so. No one called. No one invited me to anything. When I showed up, they’d say hi, shake my hand, and then ignore me. That was when I noticed that this was a couples’ church. If you were a couple, they’d be friendly. But if you were sitting by yourself, they weren’t. They no longer included you. And I know it wasn’t me, because I had lots of friends on campus. But in this church, if my husband wasn’t there, I didn’t exist. So we quit going. Now, we’re both still Christians, and we still go to church, so it isn’t as sad as what Ben presented. But it was sad enough to me at the time, sitting there, longing for someone to talk to in a church setting, and no one was there.

  • Robert

    Going into a church to “find friends” is mistake number one.
    Go into a church to serve….not to be served. Then…who cares what some socially inept evangelical “Judeo-Christian” thinks of you.
    People are weird…me included…
    Deal with it….

  • Don Lowery

    Moved to another state and started attending a local church. Even got a job at one of their ministries where I was working many Sunday mornings…so many times I couldn’t attend…but no one would contact me during the week to check on me. When that job fell apart and the transmission on my vehicle blew up…not one of the church members (except for the interim pastor who’s not there anymore) checked on me or did anything to contact me. Going up to today…I work at a major grocery story where I see many of them and NOT ONE of them will stop and say hi. Have seen others from other churches and they are just as bad. I’m too old and way too tired to keep hoping that people who claim to love their god and will reach out beyond themselves will change. This being the case…it is not going to ever matter! I’m going to die alone and I don’t care what the afterlife holds…as long as I’ll find the peace I’ll never find in this life. Those like myself is what the American church has created. They should be very proud of themselves.

  • Ama Nazra

    Been there too many times, and only recently too. Went to the main church in our region. Walked through the door. No welcomers bothered to speak to me. I am not even sure who they were, except their names were listed on the leaflet for the day’s service. Many people looked at me then deliberately turned their backs. I’ve done nothing wrong. I don’t know most of them. I was hurt that those few I did recognise didn’t bother to come and say hello, or even smile. After the service, I waited in the hall for 10 minutes, while others wandered around me chatting and getting their morning tea. It was as if I wasn’t there. I came away feeling empty.

    Thankfully, the next week, I returned to my small church congregation in our little country town, was met with joy, as I am each fortnight, as are all our newcomers … we are a loving group, and after 20 years outside of churches, after so many ‘ignores’ or ‘rejects’ over those years, it felt like coming Home to walk in the first time, a bit over a year ago. Yes, I think differently to many of them, but they accept my ‘weirdness’ (my word, not theirs), and they still Love me. And I am a ‘stranger’ in this town, only been here five years, you have to be born here to belong .. but thankfully those with that attitude, although most of them were born here, don’t go to my church.

    God bless all who look for God in empty buildings full of people who call themselves Christians. I think they’ve forgotten what Jesus said. “Love each other as I have loved you”.

    Day by Day,
    Love & Peace
    Ama

  • Jeanne Fox

    Back in the 1950s, my mom visited a church in Ohio (she didn’t say which one), and the people there stared at her as if to say, “What are you doing here?” She didn’t go back there. They didn’t unwelcome her. They didn’t bother to welcome her in the first place.

    Mom did eventually go to church with some friends a few years before she died.

  • Newton Finn

    I pray and hope and believe (sometimes needing help for my unbelief, like that father who came to Jesus with his son dying of convulsions) that no one ever dies alone…or lives alone. That even when we cannot connect with it, or no longer want to connect with it, there is a spiritual presence that abides with us and offers companionship, guidance, strength, and healing. Some process theologians refer to this abiding presence as the call of Abba, the God in whom Jesus put his trust even in the face of torture and death. May Abba hold you in his arms, Don, as He has held me, like a mother holds a child, for some six decades of living on the edge between faith and despair. And yes, the American church, and the church in general, lost Abba when it divorced Him to marry empire. But He is still there and always will be, as the empires rise and fall.

    https://www.amazon.com/Life-Truth-synoptic-gospel-Theophilus-ebook/dp/B00NIZOJ4C

  • Bob Shoemaker

    What a depressing Christian bludgeoning site. So many Christian bashing articles and so many willing to bash Christians and their churches.

  • Brian

    Have you read any of Benjamin’s articles? He’s about as close to true Jesus-follower as they come – and he speaks from personal experience. The point of Christianity is not to puff itself up but to speak truth in love. The reality is that many Christians have experienced this – and instead of pretending it doesn’t happen and saying something impressive about welcoming, the reality of the pain dished out and dissonance on display should be called out. If you truly love someone, something, or some institution, you will call out both the good and the bad.

  • Linda Coleman Allen

    A very well written article. Your words are so true. I don’t attend church for this very reason. You can’t be different or ask too many questions.

  • Brian

    Imagine a parched traveler in the desert, desperate for a drink of water, who stumbles upon a group of people seated around a well full of fresh water. Instead of expecting this person to serve each of those seated around the well, true humility and love would see those seated around the well to get up and minister to the traveler. The folks Benjamin is speaking about are that traveler – they are too beaten down to care much for orthopraxy in the sense to which you speak (which, I would say, in a vacuum, is correct). We must understand where people are coming from before we open our mouths and preach expectations.

  • Brian

    I would say that’s probably just a family that didn’t feel like they clicked, due to no fault of your own. But what Benjamin is speaking about is more of a social engineering experiment. It can range from stonewalling (i.e. yes, they’re welcome in church and to volunteer, but we’re not going to invite them into our personal social circles and do life with them) to the extreme of “shunning” (i.e. calling them out in the middle of the service and physically everyone turning their backs on them until the family leaves the building). I’ve been a part of both sides – on the receiving end most recently. Often the pastor is the least aware of it all, in part because the families feel ashamed.

  • Brian

    I feel there is a large chunk of Christians who feel disenfranchised in this way in large part because they fall somewhere outside of traditional denominations. Too liberal for fundamental churches, but too fundamental for liberal churches. It’s fine to disagree (I went to a church where very few of us agreed on much more than the basics) but for whatever reason, many American churches have got it in their collective minds that somehow total and perfect harmony in theology and personal morality is a requirement for fellowship. It sucks, plain and simple. And we wonder why there are so many echo chambers…
    Thank you for this article, Benjamin. My family prays for yours every day. Be well.

  • Mr Sir

    This exact thing happened to my wife and I. Once the church members knew what town we were from, everything turned cold. We were in the very next (not so pretty) town. I honestly felt we were from “the wrong side of the tracks.” That hit us hard. It was like being back in the cliques of high school.

  • Mark1115

    Well, I can tell you one way it looks.

    My husband and I walked away from a “progressive” and supposedly inclusive Christian church, after five years of faithful attendance, participation in the choir, and my husband spending 3 years on the board, because the ‘progressive’ was a fraud. We kept giving them opportunities to improve, explaining kindly why there was need to be better toward couples like us, they kept insisting nothing was wrong. There was no interest from the staff in actually being welcoming to GLBTQ people, instead the culture was ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’. When the church hired a couple of additional clergy who adamantly refused to treat same-sex couples as equal to mixed-sex couples, we knew we were no actually welcome. Oh, welcome to put money in the offering, welcome to work, not welcome as equals. The back of the bus, separate but equal, don’t ask don’t tell attitude from the clergy and congregational president made it clear that we were not really welcome. “All are welcome” is empty noise unless it is lived fully, especially by the staff and clergy.

    No wonder that while three of the clergy had adult gay sons, none of those sons – all in committed relationships – have as of now ever asked their fathers to officiate at their weddings.

    Will we try another church? Maybe, in a while. There’s other churches that say they are progressive and inclusive in the area. But why take the chance?

  • Mark1115

    That is one of the least realistic accounts of church, one of the last Biblical, I’ve encountered in years.

  • Scott Harrison

    There was a time in South Africa when being black meant you could not attend the “white churches” of certain Christian denominations. A ‘parable’ was going round at the time about Jesus, who on coming to such a church, found an old African man sitting outside. He asked why the man wasn’t inside with the congregation, and the old man replied, “I have been coming here every Sunday for the past twenty years, but they won’t let me in.” Jesus nodded knowingly. “Take courage,” said Jesus, ” I’ve been coming here for the past forty years and they won’t let me in either.”

  • Herm

    Bob, read Matthew 18:15-19. Note the discipline of working with members, brethren, who sin. There is no such admonition from the mouth of our Lord Jesus, the Christ, for how to deal with non-members who sin except to be prepared to die on the cross, you carry for them, that they might live. While you are there, notice that the worst action to take is to treat the member as a pagan, heathen, tax collector, and/or publican. Methinks you are incorrectly critical, especially for this article, as sin is the transgression of in everything do to others as you would have others do to you.

  • Icefishinglady

    I had a similar experience after having been widowed. At a time when I needed a church family the most, it was as though I had somehow become invisible.

  • Bob, this is not about “bashing” christians or church – it’s about exposing the rot in the institution which is causing not just pain, but discredit to the name of Jesus. If we can’t even love those in our own religious communities, we are failing, big time!

  • americanwoman343

    I wonder if they knew they were doing that.

  • Thank you for that closing line. Hope exists, praise Jesus. :)

  • Bashing Christians!? The emotions I get from reading this are sadness and conviction, which incidentally, are the same feelings I get from reading much of ‘what Jesus said’, particularly the Sermon on the Mount: don’t read that if all you’re looking for is church back-patting and encouragement. Jesus also gave a LOT of encouragement to his followers, but not after pointing out to them how he SO wished to see their hearts change. May reading this blog lead to that same heart change that Jesus desires for us. It speaks not to ‘others’ but to me! If a church or a body of believers need a rebuke, then that may well be directly from the heavenly throne, just like it was when the Ephesian church received it (Rev. 2:1-7)

  • Don’t worry. The prophets were ‘weird’ so you’re in good company!

  • A visitor to a church will hopefully be shown the way, which is the Way of Jesus, which IS to serve, yes! Therefore all those who have been there for some time have already learnt to be servants, and will serve the visitor, offer comfort, support and refreshment, physically and spiritually. THEN the new member of that church family will follow their EXAMPLE and become another servant for the next influx of seeking people! If the example is not being shown, how would they ever learn that their search to ‘find friends’ was actually wrong?

    But that’s ok, we’ll just say that they were a snowflake for expecting anything from a body of Jesus followers.

  • Sometimes judgment does come upon a church for wrong attitudes…

    A pastor I know was looking for a building for their new growing church in a European city I shall not name. They found an old church building for sale and approached the elders. They asked why it was being sold. The elder said it was ‘Ichabod’ (the glory has departed) over the door. They had planned a ‘mission’ to reach out to the community and invite people in, but one elder leading a group towards a very low-class housing estate stopped, telling the group “No! We don’t want those people in our church!”

    The elder told how, since that day, not one visitor crossed the door of their church! It just dwindled in numbers and died.

  • Do I understand you to say that churches that freeze people out are typical examples of Christians and their churches?

  • Yes. The best way to begin a relationship with a church is not to care about the people. Thanks for the insight.

  • Questioning

    Sadly, lots of churches are just places where folks go to get their “feel good” on for the week. Social clubs masquerading as churches behind some preaching, singing, and wobbly teaching. Bring the money, talk the talk, fit in, or be cast out. Been there, done it, and decided to go over the wall on my own. I can only imagine the wagging tongues and shaking of heads that prompted. :>)

  • Tim

    What is unfortunate is that Christians have brought it on themselves. If they were behaving like Christians, sites like this wouldn’t be necessary.
    But then, the prophets in the Old Testament weren’t popular for telling the uncomfortable truth either.

  • Tim

    No one expects a patient to go into a hospital to serve other patients; at least not until they themselves are well enough to do so.

  • CroneEver

    Been there, done that. Too many times.

  • Matthew

    Been there too. I talked the tribal language. Went to the meetings. Served in the food pantry. Attended seminary.
    I don´t think I ever really experienced the kind of tragedy Dr. Corey is speaking about in this article, but I do know
    all the programs, all the events, all the ministries, and all the sermons never amounted to any real, lasting relationships —
    at least not the kind I see reported among Christians in the New Testament. I emphasize “lasting” relationships because
    along the way I did get help from some folks and I did meet some nice people, but as soon as I started to move in another
    direction theologically, the relationships went away. I´m just as responsible for this as they are I suppose — think Dr. Corey´s
    post about ghosting.

    My wife and I were away for a few days this week at a pilgrim´s hostel. We had private access to a really cool
    medieval church. We shared so much with God and each other. It was really great. Miles away from what I
    have (or actually haven´t) experienced in church over the years since coming to faith.

  • Matthew

    Is anybody else disappointed with the new “look and feel” of the Patheos website?
    I used to be able to see the most recent comments on Dr. Corey´s blog. No more.
    Am I missing something??

  • OutsideLookingIn

    This is the back end of the old “bait and switch” of Christianity. Before you’re a Christian, you hear: “Come to Jesus. He will satisfy your needs and fill you with joy.” After you’re a Christian, it’s: “So, you’re overworked in ministry, upset because of ill treatment, unhappy in all you do? So what? Jesus called us put others before ourselves. Get back to work.”

  • theprozacqueen

    I’ve heard variations of that (replace “African” with homeless, gay, immigrant etc)…all too true either way.
    :(

    For what it’s worth to him, I love Ben’s work and find much of it inspirational.

  • Scott Harrison

    Just a thought at this point. The Greek word for church is Ekklesia – an assembly of believers (rather than the building, the pews, the altar) and therefore this site itself may be regarded as an extension of the church, albeit a cyber-assembly…

  • Bob Shoemaker

    When Christ said this, what do you think he meant?

    Hebrews 3:13
    13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called today, lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

  • Bob Shoemaker

    What people perceive about other people isn’t necessarily true. Bashing a church just because they didn’t notice you doesn’t make it a bad church. When people depend on people they’re always disappointed but when we depend on our God He will meet all your needs. Where in the bible does it say other people can be depended on to meet your needs. Another thought is not all churches are God honoring churches nor are they Christian churches because they allowed the world into their church as in the 5 of the seven churches in Revelations dd.

  • Bob Shoemaker

    The bible doesn’t support sites like this now does it? Christ tells us the love and forgive one another and most if not all the articles don’t teach that virtue.

  • Bob Shoemaker

    No you are mistaken.

  • Bob Shoemaker

    I don’t need a heart change because I hold no ill will against those that can’t read my mind nor against them if they don’t call me after they read my mind. You see I depend on the living God to meet my needs not other sinful men such as myself.

  • Scott Harrison

    In my twenties I went to the ecumenical monastic community of Taizé in France. Incredible example of openness to people of diverse beliefs (Catholics, Protestants, atheists, seekers and cynics). Brother Roger, the founder of the community, simply delighted in engaging with those who came, embracing the diverse people as bearers of the image of Christ. Through prayer and listening, authentic mutual acceptance, contemplation and plainsong, the eucharist, through silence and fellowship, through openness to diverse experience, the place represents for me still a remarkable picture of how the church – the gathering of Christians – can achieve beautiful things.

  • Ama Nazra

    Yes, but preferably without the goatskins. LOL
    Thanks, Tim. :-)

  • Bob, let me reiterate, this has nothing to do with “bashing” anyone, or anything. To continue to respond to someone’s pain and vulnerability with unfounded accusations – not to mention the trivialising and dismissal of that pain – only serves to demonstrate the failure to love the author was addressing.

    As far as what it “says in the bible”, Jesus’s own words were that we would be identified as his disciples by our *love* for one another. If we are identified instead, by the way we *fail to love* others then, as I intimated, we have a problem. (And remember, Jesus himself saw nothing wrong in publicly denouncing the failures of the religious in his day.)

  • Bob Shoemaker

    Let me reiterate I understand your problem but you ignore what I am pointing out and that is when people lean on their own understanding they tend to create their own hurts and insecurities. It’s not the churches or a particular persons fault that another persons feelings are hurt because they kept their problem to themselves instead of reaching out and then put that responsibility on others that have their own problems and responsibilities. What you are implying is a liberal standard and mindset being forced on the innocent and that is it’s always somebody elses fault that your needs weren’t met. Now please explain how would one know that another is hurting unless it was expressed and that is what makes this article unbiblical. My days a numbered because I have one kidney that is working at 40% and I have prostate cancer and not one person comes up to me and asks how am I doing because I chose to keep it to myself and yes i affects me greatly. Like my mother I will eventually lose my battle to cancer but I hold no one responsible for not noticing my fear and sadness over my future because I turned all my cares over to Christ.

    1 Peter 5:7

    7 Cast all your care on him: for he careth for you.

    Again the bible never commands us to depend on others to comfort us.

  • Bob, I am genuinely sorry to hear of your ill-health – that cannot be an easy reality to be facing. I can only imagine how confronting it must be, and I extend my sympathy to you.

    I’m not sure why you say that ‘leaning on our own understanding’ leads to creating our own hurts, nor do I see how that relates to what the author shared. This is not about people failing to notice that someone is hurting, it is about people choosing to inflict psychological harm on others. Those who choose to treat others this way *are* responsible for their actions. The author was actively and deliberately shunned by people who had once been his close friends. Sadly, this happens in churches all the time. It is wrong and unloving, and no amount of victim-blaming will change that fact.

    I’m not sure why you seem to use the word “liberal” in a derogatory and dismissive manner, but as it means, “willing to respect or accept behaviour or opinions different from one’s own”, I am more than happy for my standard to be described in such a way. Although I am not forcing it on anyone – innocent or otherwise!

    And I’m sorry to contradict you but the bible does, quite explicitly, call on us to comfort others. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4) We have received comfort and now we are to offer that same comfort. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask that those who call themselves christians take this call seriously.

    [Incidentally, you ask me to explain how we can know someone is hurting unless it is “expressed”. Firstly, hurt is expressed in many ways, and is not limited to someone specifically saying the words, “I am hurting”. If we can’t see that someone close to us is hurting, we are sadly lacking in humanity. Secondly, as christians, we are called into loving relationship with our brothers and sisters. To be completely oblivious to, and unconcerned for, the feelings of others means we are seriously failing in that call.]

  • Brian

    We aren’t called to be yes men to each other. While we are certainly not supposed to be negative Nancies all the time, we are supposed to help each other (whether through words of comfort or of warning). Would you say this verse condemns those who call out the sin of a loved one in order to bring them closer to God? Would you say that the spiritual gift of prophecy (in the sense of calling out truth, not future-telling) no longer has a place in the church?

  • Bob Shoemaker

    But again just about every response I get is from those that expect others to be mind readers. The fact is church is a learning center not a country club. Perhaps many on here need to learn the definition of fellowship? BTW the church was rebuked for acting as a country club when they were supposed to be remembering Christ through communion. Christ also threw the money changers out of the temple for dishonoring the sacrificial offering.

  • I truly have no idea how or why you have this mindset. It is totally alien to me. I have no knowledge of you in any personal way, of course, but only from what you’re saying, I’d conclude that you are simply sociopathic! You may well not be, but that statement would be typical of that personality type. We ALL need heart change, continually, since we will not attain perfection this side of heaven. Saying you DON’T need it is very worrying, but I suppose my opinion on that holds no sway for you, since you are totally self-reliant (except for your God). I’m saying this is my conjecture since I am stopping myself from judging, and based on one reply is very shaky.

    It is this very same ‘anti-liberal, snowflake-calling conservatism’ that is alien to the faith I live and the Lord I know. Self-sufficiency is held up as a virtue, but it was a sin for Abel way back at the start!

  • Then how does this article bash Christians and their churches if most Christians and their churches aren’t like this?

  • WashieWash

    There’s a church near me with a banner that reads “Taizé” and I never knew what it meant. Thanks!

  • Scott Harrison

    “Continuing the pilgrimage of trust on earth, which brings together young people from many countries, we understand ever more deeply this reality: all humans make up one single family and God lives in every human being, without exception.”-brother Alois of Taizé

  • Bob Shoemaker

    So you think you know about Christians and then call me a sociopathic because you have a ax to grind. So says the fool that started the argument. BTW you calling me a sociopathic and then claim not to judge makes you a liar doesn’t it. The answer is rhetorical.

  • Bob Shoemaker

    You would not comprehend the answer as all those who have already presented foolish unfounded arguments.

  • Bob Shoemaker

    The fact is your so preoccupied in defending this man who wrote the article you still haven’t answered my question “How does one know another is hurting if they keep it to themselves?” Which again I ask who do you know that is a mind reader?

  • Umm… actually, Bob, I have answered your question…

  • Bob Shoemaker

    Umm….no you didn’t……..answer my question. But you did do everything but address it. Now please be specific on how one knows another has a problem if nothing is said?

  • Right. Yes. Clearly the problem is your staggering intellect.

  • Hahaha! Nicely played Bob! Anyone who wants to, can see my answer.

    So now I’m officially calling off feeding time under the bridge ;)

  • Haha! The only thing that I’m finding staggering right now, is this guy’s capacity to troll!

  • Bob Shoemaker

    You should answer my question instead of using the liberal propaganda that you answered my question when you didn’t.. So tell me why you liberal faux christians deflect and blame others for your perceived notions that biblical Christians can read minds?

  • Bob Shoemaker

    Seems to be confusing you at this point…..Because you already assumed something I said that I didn’t say even after I said you were mistaken. You would first have to know how to identify a Christian and then a Christian church to judge the article. The problem is no one can go to that “church” or any church that is being maligned to see if the opinion is true or not? You see I made the same mistake and listened to rumors about the church I now attend and with several other couples I questioned the Pastor on the rumors I heard about the church and him personally and I found out they were lies and propaganda started by the retired Pastor that caused no less than 5 splits in that church. So I believe little that’s printed in the media especially about Christians. So clearly the problem is propaganda.

  • Bob Shoemaker

    And you claim to be a Christian? Thank you for clearing the air you’re anything but a Christian.

  • Bob Shoemaker

    John 3:3
    3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily verily I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

  • Bob Shoemaker

    James 2:19

    Thou believest that there is one God: thou doest well: the devils also believe it, and tremble.

  • Scott Harrison

    “To be a Christian does not mean to be religious in a particular way, to make something of oneself (a sinner, a penitent, or a saint) on the basis of some method or other, but to be a man—not a type of man, but the man that Christ creates in us. It is not the religious act that makes the Christian, but participation in the sufferings of God in the secular life.” –Dietrich Bonhoeffer

  • Scott Harrison

    Born again, or born from above?

    Fundamentalism can be so oppressive Bob!

    “Born from above”: the words of Jesus of Nazareth, as recorded in the Gospel of John (circa 90-110 AD).

    These words appear only once in the Gospels.

    Though refuted by calvinists, fundamentalists and inerrantists, the original Greek text is ambiguous here: modern scholars favour the translation born from above over born again, although the original text actually permits both. The ambiguity also lies in the exegesis, in the reading of the context.

    The Gospel of John was popular amongst early gnostic christians and for this reason was very nearly excluded from the canon (2nd Century). Iraneus sought to rid christianity of what he considered to be non-canonical gospels (including the Gospel of the Nazarenes, the Gospel of the Ebionites, the Gospel of the Hebrews, the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Peter, the Gospel of Judas, the Diatessaron and others). There was a strong lobby in the Roman church to have the gospel of John excluded; had this consensus prevailed, we may never have known about John 3:3-5 and being “born again“.

  • What you said was:

    What a depressing Christian bludgeoning site. So many Christian bashing articles and so many willing to bash Christians and their churches.

    This article is criticizing churches that shut people out or otherwise make them feel unwelcome. I am surprised that anyone objects to such a criticism, but you do, evidently, and I’m trying to understand why.

    Either some Christian churches do this and fall under the article’s critique, or no Christian churches do this (or genuinely Christian, as you seem to imply) and the article critiques nothing. Either way, Christian churches are not being bashed, so what’s your point?

    I think the author just probably hit a nerve regarding how you and your church treat people, and this is how you’re choosing to handle it. If the article correctly captured an issue, then it’s not bashing anyone. If the article describes no one, it still isn’t bashing anyone. But you’re upset about being bashed. Why is this?

  • Scott Harrison

    … but there is surely a difference Bob, between “the devils believing that there is one God” – a sort of intellectual assent on their part – and the belief, the faith (Greek ‘pistis’) – that Jesus Christ by the Holy spirit creates in the heart of men and women? The latter includes surely the idea of surrender, love, dependence, trust. The thief on the cross sort of thing. We need to be careful of bibliolatry – cautious not to fetishize the text (which, in essence, is what the Pharisees tended to do. Blessings, s

  • Bob Shoemaker

    The verse is quoted directly from the bible that’s where your problem lies. There is no debate on what that verse means to those that follow Christ. Your argument is moot because Christ Himself preserved His word despite your argument.

  • Bob Shoemaker

    Yes and not one church was pointed out in the article was it? So your opinion on the matter is moot.

    Matthew 18:16

    But if he hear thee not, take yet with thee one or two, that by the mouth of two or three witnesses, every word may be confirmed.

    Something the “christian” neglected to do.

  • Mary Lee

    Benjamin Corey, as I read this, I was hoping to find some definitions around the ways we can “unwelcome” people–and the the contrasting descriptions of how we can make sure they stay welcomed. Just how do we make it clear that someone is not welcome? It seems to me that the people in their comfortable little groups are not likely giving any thought to this at all. As you say, they are sleeping very well at night, and have no idea what these “unwelcomed” people are going through. I’ve been a believer and regular church attender since a young child, but just as the people you’ve described in your article, I’ve had to push myself and be very vulnerable. I served in so many way in so many churches, and yet today, at 70 years old, I have no real friends. I have been, and remain uninvited. The marriage eventually failed. It’s more than I can bear sometimes, now, to sit in church alone. No one cares why. They don’t want to know. It’s not pretty, so if they do learn why they will likely slap some verse on me, implying that I was just not spiritual enough, thus bringing the problems on myself. Sadly, the church is no different from the world in this way. It is much more like that high school clique than what the scriptures tell us to be. Thank God that He Himself is faithful! His people, called by His name, often do not represent Him well.

  • Scott Harrison

    hmmm… except that the “Bible” came into existence over time, after much thoughtful redaction, careful and not-so-careful translation, extensive debate and much prayerful consideration – and requires exegesis and hermeneutic insight if we are to do the texts justice). This isn’t to say that it isn’t God’s word, but to assert that it is not a sort of magical book (again, fundamentalists fetishize the text). I read recently, “It may surprise people to know that it’s really not until the year 367 that we have a list of New Testament books that conforms exactly to the list of the twenty-seven books we would call the New Testament today. So throughout the second and third centuries there was quite a lot of fighting about which ones are in and which ones not”. Looks like we will continue to differ, but I wish you well, and despite our different views, good will in Christ, Scott

  • Bob Shoemaker

    Really you believe man of his own volition assembled “God’s word” you’re kidding right?

  • Scott Harrison

    I wonder sometimes (I’m just exploring this idea) if our failure to accept each other “warts and all” isn’t evidence in a way of a certain privilege we have in the West – the privilege of not facing persecution. I was briefly involved with an ecumenical mission to the arab world (based in the Lavant) where – especially in some of the Gulf states – being openly Christian could get you expelled or worse. This seemed to focus the attention of the missionaries on mutual support, authentic relationships as believers in Jesus and encouragement – a shared purpose – rather than the infighting, doctrinal nitpicking and bigotry which so easily corrodes community. I pray to God that it will not take persecution for us to love and respect and welcome eachother as sinners in need of grace – in spite of our differences. I challenge myself on this too, as even on this blog I’m tempted to squabble rather than to seek Christ in my fellow bloggers!

  • Bob Shoemaker

    Proverbs 18:24
    24 A man that hath friends, ought to show himself friendly: for a friend is nearer than a brother.

  • Scott Harrison

    Not “man of his own volition”, for certainly the Word of God is inspired, but yes – there was an oral tradition (both in the Old and the New Testaments) which was then written down by scribes and altered by redactors, translators of Hebrew and Greek and Latin and Aramaic … human beings who were deeply devout …. read about Saint Iraneus (180AD) and the Council of Nicea (AD 325) and the way the New Testament was formed. Its fascinating, a wonderful history! Yes there were Bibles printed with errors, different translations, and scholars continue to examine the ancient texts even today. The beautiful King James Version from which you quoted has itself been revised in order to clarify meaning … but this for me shows the wonder and profound nature of the Bible, how God’s word continues through the centuries …

  • Bob Shoemaker

    Again you labor yourself that man had something to do with preserving God’s word when it was by the will God only HIS word is preserved. Point being God’s word existed before man was used again through God’s will to put it into one book.

  • Scott Harrison

    One last thought and I’ll stop hogging the blog. To Benjamin’s article above, I think of Jesus’ words: “… I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink…” we should not turn each other away…

  • Scott Harrison

    I do see your point there Bob. And in the first chapter of John, the evangelist asserts that the Word (logos)- Christ – was there before the foundation of the world (before ink and parchment and scribes!).

  • I refer you to the answer I gave 6 comments above :)

  • Deanna Deville

    I’m sorry, Mary. For I truly understand, as I’ve lived it too.

    I hope you eventually find a ‘not unwelcoming’ church. I have been fortunate to find a not unwelcoming church at a First Christian Church (Disciples in Christ); and at UCC.

    Perhaps you can find a better church. I hope you’ll continue to try. I wish you well.

  • Mary Lee

    Thank you, Deanna. I’ve just started a new one. We will see.

  • Bob Shoemaker

    Yes we all must humble ourselves before our precious Savior to realize the gravity of the love He has for us sinners who deserve no less than hell but through His grace and longsuffering we get what we don’t deserve….heaven.

  • Bob Shoemaker

    So you think you’re a mind reader….who’s have thunk.

  • jekylldoc

    “There is no debate on what that verse means to those that follow Christ.”

    And if you don’t agree, it’s Hell for you, creep. The topic here was unwelcoming . . .

  • jekylldoc

    Love this.

  • jekylldoc

    Still processing it. But I guess it’s not really my call. I mean, the only thing I really mind is the ads, but I have a pretty good idea how many interesting comments (or posts) I would see if it was all done on a pay-for-membership basis.

  • jekylldoc

    I found myself asking “How do I need to change so that this kind of behavior is no longer natural?” It’s not an easy question to answer, but I think when I had those “mountaintop” experiences when the love of God just filled my heart to overflowing, the question would not have applied. It’s a simple observation Ben made, with profound implications.

  • Appreciate your thoughts, jekylldoc. I suspect it’s a work of a lifetime to get to the place where that love of God flows unhindered.

  • Scott Harrison

    I am not defending the cruelty, the indifference or the subtle –
    or crass – ways in which people are “othered” because of their religious views, their race, their gender, their appearance. God is Love, and a neglect of loving-kindness towards one another always constitutes a failure on our part to live the Gospel (where is the Good News if we are unloved and ignored?). But within this experience we may encounter Christ who was rejected even by those closest to Him, and who cried out, “Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabachthani”. In the most desolate places of our hearts we encounter the Rejected One. He is closest to us at this point of crisis, when others have failed us or condemn us.

  • Bob Shoemaker

    Yes all Christian bashers make that silly asinine claim…..

  • So, you’re saying you’d prefer it if Ben called out specific churches by name and publicly accused them. You’d rather he did that, rather than address the problem generally and allowing the audience to decide if their church needs to become better about it.

    You feel Ben’s non-specific, generic approach is “bashing Christians,” but you would greatly prefer him to specifically list all the churches he feels is doing this. This, in your mind, is not bashing Christians.

    Well, I’ll give you credit for one thing, you were totally right about me being unable to comprehend your answer. I was not anticipating such a conglomeration of self-contradicting non sequiturs.

  • Matthew

    Thanks. I basically got used to the ads, but I´m a little sad that they took away the ability to see recent comments.

  • Bob Shoemaker

    To be a Christian is to not spread rumors nor discredit a brother or sister without discovering said problem this is what the bible says…

    Mat 18: 15 – 17
    15 ¶ Moreover, if thy brother trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he hear thee, thou hast won thy brother.
    16 But if he hear thee not, take yet with thee one or two, that by the mouth of two or three witnesses, every word may be confirmed.
    17 And if he refuse to hear them, tell it unto the Church: and if he refuse to hear the Church also, let him be unto thee as an heathen man, and a Publican.

    And as I continually point out the author of the article has not followed the bible he professes to believe. But in fact makes accusations that are perceived by a person not 2 or 3 witnesses.

    So how does a church address it’s problem when 1 person keeps the offense and their problem to themselves.

    BTW I don’t need your permission or opinion to point out how people point out problems and don’t handle the situation biblically but in fact exacerbate the problem and then have those like you whine all the more about something you don’t comprehend nor does the foolish author. But thank you for chiming in to prove my point.

  • Mary Lee

    Scott, I didn’t say what I did in order to whine and complain and invite judgement. Of course God is love, and Christ’s rejection is greater than ours could ever be. Going to Him for healing from these hurts is a privilege that He Himself purchased for us on the Cross. He’s been faithful to me personally in spite of the things I shared. He’s even used them for my good when the enemy meant them for evil.

    But, if I am understanding the author’s purpose correctly, this article is not about healing from our hurts. It’s about each of us, as the body of Christ, asking ourselves individually if we are reaching out to our brothers and sisters as He would have us to. It’s not even about our church leadership, because no matter how wonderful they are, that has nothing to do with whether or not individuals within the body are acting as Christ would act toward one another. Scripture is full of instructions about hospitality. We could start with the parable of the Good Samaritan. If our “social circle” is a comfortable little group we happen to go to church with and we are not reaching out to offer hospitality to other believers outside of those preferences, then we are missing something about how we should then live.

  • BTW I don’t need your permission or opinion to point out how people point out problems and don’t handle the situation biblically

    Your lack of self awareness is truly staggering.

    “I can’t believe Ben brought up a problem in Christianity in public! That’s not biblical! I’m going to prove it by accusing him publicly! I’m… wait a minute….”

    Ben has two or three witnesses. Several people in the comments here have attested to their experiences in some Christian churches. There is a huge amount of witnesses to this phenomenon. I’m sorry Ben’s lack of bringing up specific judicial charges against specific congregations in a blog post was not to your liking.

    You do sound biblical. Specifically, you sound like the group in the gospels that was always accusing people of sins they themselves were guilty of while also trumpeting in public about their own righteousness. Seems like Jesus had an opinion or two about them. Oh, yes, what was it?

    “On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.’”

    You make Jesus look bad.

  • Scott Harrison

    I do agree, and forgive me if my own response was somewhat off the mark or misunderstood you. Inevitably we (I) bring our own issues along with us to a forum and my own experience of rejection (and indifference) coloured my response. The good Samaritan is possibly my favourite parable) and, I admit, an example I have too often failed to emulate!) – as the Samaritans were kinda persona non grata amongst the religious in-crowd of the day. All the best, Scott

  • Bob Shoemaker

    Again many people make accusations but the fact is none have named one church that was guilty. Ben is just another Joel Olsteen and his blind followers…..you know like you.

  • Bob Shoemaker

    Like Ben you comprehend little about a persons perception concerning reality.

  • So, nobody should ever write that pornography is a problem in the church without accusing specific churches in public, right?

  • Bob Shoemaker

    Whats sad is you don’t know the difference between perceptions and wickedness.

  • So, Ben isn’t obligated to follow Matthew 18 if wickedness isn’t involved?

    You are so full of it, Bob. Just admit that you are arbitrarily coming up with complaints. Your “system” makes no sense whatsoever.

    I’m sure you haven’t had time to iron out all the kinks since you are probably busy meeting with Ben privately about his sin as Matthew 18 requires you. Obviously, if you publicly accuse him of something in comments, that means you first went to him and… or wait, is this “wickedness,” and that makes it ok?

    Sorry, I’m having trouble with all the arbitrary violence you’ve done to Jesus’ words to justify your own failings.

  • Bob Shoemaker

    Thank you for proving my point and still not getting it.

  • Bob Shoemaker

    Yes Ben should have done his research and called these churches and ask them if this was a problem in their church to KNOW how to address the problem and suggest a resolution instead of assuming what the problem was.

  • You know, people will sometimes come through here and say things like, “You’re just twisting the Scriptures to justify your desire to sin.”

    I always thought that was a last ditch thing to say. You know, sort of the equivalent of, “Oh yeah? Well, your FACE is stupid!” It’s the kind of thing someone says in a discussion about the meaning of the Scriptures when they can’t actually argue the points being presented. I’d never really run across anyone, even people with whom I totally disagreed, who actually seemed to be twisting the Scriptures so that they would be free to sin.

    Until you came along.

    You, on the other hand, before my very eyes, sliced, diced, and manipulated the words of Jesus so that you could sin right in front of us. And you used the Bible to help you do it. Everyone else, according to you, is sinning if they dare to make a general point about negative things in Christianity we could all learn from and watch out for. by contrast, YOU are doing God’s holy work by publicly bashing those same people who you don’t even know, much less have spoken with according to the “biblical” standards you hypocritically profess. Oh, because that’s addressing wickedness. Everyone else is a rumor monger, gossip, and slanderer. Oh, but not you. Matthew 18 doesn’t apply to you, because you are pointing out wickedness – the extreme wickedness of describing Christian churches as less than perfect – and therefore are free to say whatever you want however you want.

    Bravo, sir. Bra-vo. You have done something I thought was just a rhetorical boogeyman. Now, when people say things like, “You’re just manipulating the Scriptures so you can sin all you want,” I can say, “No, I only know one person like that. He’s Bob Shoemaker and will probably drop in to tell you that you are unbiblically slandering him and then proceed to tell you that you are a terrible Christian basher who is going to Hell.”

    Well, enjoy your time in Westboro Baptist or whatever church full of hypocritical, deceptive, fake disciples you come from. If you’re going to do Satan’s work, you could at the very least try to be smart about it.

  • When did you call Ben to discuss this article with him before making your comment?

  • Bob Shoemaker

    I surprised you even know Jesus exists let alone acknowledge Him.

  • Bob Shoemaker

    You can’t come up with anything original eh? Just your usual nonsense….

  • Sure. Jesus is my Lord, and the gospels are largely responsible for how I can spot a whitewashed tomb. You are a representative of a group of people that has existed for literally millennia, to wit, people who have used religion as a mechanism to condemn others and present themselves as righteous while engaging in the same behaviors they judge everyone else for. They also use the Scriptures to do it.

    You might want to consider if that’s the group you’d like to be associated with, because if you have actually read the gospels beyond a snippet of Matthew 18, you probably know things do not turn out well for that group.

  • Yes. Asking people to be consistent with the standards by which they judge others probably does seem repetitive after a while.

  • Flip me!! I go out of my way to make it clear that I am not going to pronounce a judgment on you from one statement, but simply to say that such a statement might easily lead to a conclusion, and you say that I AM judging you, and YOU say that I have an axe to grind!? You know me no better than I know you, yet here we are on social media with you falsely saying:

    1. I called you sociopathic
    2. I have an axe to grind
    3. I’m a fool
    4. I started the argument
    5. I’m judging you
    6. I’m a liar
    7. Your answer was rhetorical

    LOL

    Grace be with you, brother.

  • Ron McPherson

    LOL!!!!

  • Ron McPherson

    Ya know what Phil? I’m enjoying this. And ya wanna know why? Ok, I’ll tell ya. A bunch of us for a solid month at the Christian Taliban article had to suffer through Bob’s bewildering inconsistency. I’m glad you’re getting to experience a dose of this, because conversing (I use the term loosely) with Bob ended up almost costing me a bundle in psychological services. On top of that, the whole right side of my face now breaks into an uncontrollable twitch every time I so much as hear the name “Bob” or “Bill” (sometimes he’s Bill Mackenzie). Just know that if the twitch is still here a month from now, I’m sending you and Ben the bill.

  • Ron McPherson

    I have found it impossible to dialogue with him. On another thread he repeatedly charged me as being dishonest when I would use his very own words to counter an existing point he would be making at that time. He just resorts to name calling when he can’t logically counter something. To him, one that seriously challenges his statements must not be a true Christian. He repeatedly called me an atheist, even though I acknowledged throughout I affirm Jesus as my Lord and Savior. My feelings alternated between anger, pity, and concern throughout. You won’t get anywhere with him. No amount of logic, scripture, or sound reasoning will work. Others have tried in vain as well. I actually believe he is genuinely blind to the problem.

  • Ron McPherson

    “…you liberal faux christians…”

    You may as well join the club, the rest of us that Bob has branded ; )

  • apoxbeonyou

    I don’t read the comments on the Patheos website itself because the ads are too intrusive. I read the article on Patheos and the comments on Disqus. But both of them have the ability to sort by ‘newest’, ‘best’ or ‘oldest’ comments.

  • apoxbeonyou

    Depends on the church. At my church there are people who question EVERYTHING (myself included). Things that have been brought up, in church, during Q&A’s:
    -Divinity of Christ
    -Christ as myth/hero/legend or Christ as real person
    -All Christians are really agnostics
    -Anything regarded as ‘doctrine’ (or heresy, for that matter) to anyone, anywhere
    I left my last church for the sole reason that when I asked questions, I was rebuffed by ‘we can’t really know God’ and ‘stop intellectualizing it’. If I can’t ask questions (for the sake of knowledge, not argument) then I’ll find somewhere else to go :)

  • apoxbeonyou

    Guilty conscience?

  • apoxbeonyou

    Yep. I blocked him about a year ago, but I still like reading responses to his anorexic hermeneutic.

  • Ron McPherson

    I think a lot of folks somehow almost believe that the bible sort of fell out of the heavens and landed in our laps. I definitely believe the bible to be inspired for sure, but I’m convinced the majority of folks are clueless as to how it came into existence, at least in its present form as we know it today. Plus, folks make claims upon it that, ironically, the bible never makes upon itself.

  • Bob Shoemaker

    So you can be honest a say that you judged me by the fact you did call me a sociopathic and then have the audacity to call me brother? You mince words and then deny what you said by saying “I’d conclude that you are simply sociopathic!” and then covering yourself with “You may well not be,” I believe James 1:8

    A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. covers your double mindedness and points out your error in thought.

  • Bob Shoemaker

    And now we come in full circle with now your perception that is based on assumption as Ben’s is. And yes I’ve been consistent on my point and all you do is deflect and whine.

  • Bob Shoemaker

    I forgive you for assuming you’re making a biblical judgment while kicking against the goads.

  • Haha! Thanks for the welcoming party, Ron :)

  • It’s not an assumption. You are demanding that Ben follow Matthew 18, and you are refusing to do so yourself, right here in these comments for all to see.

  • If you knew Jesus at all, I would probably appreciate that.

  • Bob Shoemaker

    What? Another original thought….say it isn’t so.

  • Matthew

    Thanks wullaj. What I´m referring to is the ability in the old format to be able to see the most recent comments across different articles. That was very useful for me.

  • apoxbeonyou

    Ah. I don’t think I ever knew that existed.

  • Thanks, Ron. I had already decided to not debate any further with him. I find that online debates tend to eat up my life a lot lol. If it’s going nowhere, it’s worthless. Only this week a good friend shared a piece from a ‘spiritual’ site. It’s not Christian, but the spirituality in it is in line with so much of what I think Jesus wants us to do, live, believe, feel, think…
    http://theunboundedspirit.com/how-not-to-be-offended/

  • Wow! It was Jesus who wrote the epistle to the Hebrews!? We debated that one at Bible college. Nice to get an answer. Thanks.

  • Bob Shoemaker

    Where did I say Jesus “wrote this” and you lost that debate obviously.

  • Bob, you do yourself an injustice, my brother! You say you are a ‘sinner’, and maybe such you were, but you are now a new creation! How amazing is that? :)

  • Bob Shoemaker

    Yes I am a new creation but I’m still a flawed sinner and only by God’s grace does He keep His wrath from me. The bible does say this……1 John 1
    6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not truly.

    7 But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

    8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and truth is not in us.

    9 If we acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just, to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

    10 If we say, we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

  • I love those verses :) Do you not think, though, that you can indeed say you have sinned, and that you still sin, but you are no longer a sinner? Is it being a sinner that makes you sin, or is it the sin that defines you as a sinner?

  • Another way of looking at it is this: While in Rom 5:8 it says that ‘while we were still sinners, Christ died for us’, does that infer that now that Christ has died for us, we are no longer sinners? I think that’s quite an interesting idea.

  • Bob Shoemaker

    Christ died for our sins past present and future and yes we all still sin but have a advocate in Christ. There s only one that is sinless and is Christ only. So if you break any laws in the bible you sinned but they no longer keep you out of Christ’s heaven because they are payed for by the blood of an innocent man.

  • Nice one. Thanks Bob :)

  • Bob Shoemaker

    Really….. you certainly didn’t get that heresy from the bible. Christ suffered and died fom my sins and the price is paid in full and no one is required to “participate in the sufferings of God” because that is at the least anti-Biblical. But just so you know all Christians are Saints.

  • Nancy Brookhart

    Help me with a definition of “unwelcome.” What does it look like? Some examples, please.

  • Clayton Gafne Jaymes

    It would seem that you are taking it upon yourself to believe that the ‘you are welcome’ also implies you are welcome to come and preach differing views that contradict what we teach here. ‘you are welcome’ can simply mean you are free to come visit and learn our things according ot the Bible. That means that even those who don’ tagree but want to hear are free to come in an dhave a seat so long as they don’t mean to rock the boat.

    And interestingly enough you didn’t mention what brought on this ‘church trauma’ from the other churches the individual/s were at. But you did manage to mention they had differing views and things like this. And who did you so slyly put the blame on in the end? That’s right, he church. No man, it isn’t the church in those instances. It is the ppl living in opposition t Scripture that want righteous ppl to accept what is wrong. But of course you didn’t really share those points so this ultimately is a matter of emotion beating pl into a false responsibility and guilt of something they aren’t even responsible for.

  • JD

    Seems to me you are the very person Ben just described that unwelcomed the couple. I’m sure as hell would not feel welcomed in your church after what you just posted.

  • Lynn Wineland

    We’re not real regular attenders, but have starting attending a church of the denomination where my wife was the minister for numerous years. We will continue to go, and may become involved. But, this group is not friendly. We know some people who go there, but there is only ONE PERSON who we didn’t know before who I chats with us whenever we walk in. When there is the time of “passing the peace” or welcoming those sitting around you, I honestly think we are looked upon as just another couple that can boost that church financially. We also go to a Humanist congregation and those people go out of their way to know you. One of their couples even invited us out to eat one evening. It’ll probably be a cold day before we find good friends in the CHURCH.

  • Tom

    With the title, it says Couple. What about the single individual? I have never been married and I have gone to church by myself for many decades. It’s very much the same treatment I get when I try churches out. There were times when I settled for a while in a church and never made any connections.
    I admit that I have social anxiety among having depression and anxiety. So it isn’t easy for me to warm up to strangers. So that puts me in a disadvantage.
    I’ve been a the hunt for a good church for a number of years and still looking.

  • Brandon Roberts

    good article

  • cvryder2000

    When you sign up to join in on activities and nobody calls you, or if you show up and basically nobody acknowledges you because it’s an “in group” thing. Or you go to coffee hour after church and nobody speaks to you. Every single one of these things happened to me in the last 5 years.

  • cvryder2000

    HAhahahahahahahaha! You are just SUCH a couch case, Bob. Why don’t you go find yourself a therapist? Or is it just cheaper to harass the good writers here?

  • cvryder2000

    Twit.

  • Bob Shoemaker

    This post is 2 years old and here you are making a jackass out of yourself just like your ilks did. I’m just going to block you because I’ll not waste my time on faux christians.

  • Bob Shoemaker

    Proverbs 14 :
    7 Depart from the foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.
    8 The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way: but the foolishness of the fools is deceit.
    9 The fool maketh a mock of sin: but among the righteous there is favor.
    12There is a way that seemeth right to a man: but the issues thereof are the ways of death.
    16 A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil, but a fool rageth, and is careless.
    17 He that is hasty to anger, commiteth folly, and a busybody is hated.
    18 The foolish do inherit folly: but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.
    19 The evil shall bow before the good, and the wicked at the gates of the righteous.
    23 In all labor there is abundance: but the talk of the lips bringeth only want.
    24 The crown of the wise is their riches, and the folly of fools is foolishness.

  • cvryder2000

    Keep it up, Bob. You’re nothing but a tiny little man shouting on a big rock. Ridiculosity at it’s worst. And you ain’t no prophet, either, let alone wise. You’re just a crank.

  • Bob Shoemaker

    Problem solved you’re blocked.

  • cvryder2000

    HAHAHA so are you.