Redeeming the Christian Faith

Redeeming the Christian Faith June 11, 2019

The Christian faith is about redemption – or at least, it is supposed to be. But in our era, the word Christian itself is in need of redemption. As Miguel De La Torre wrote recently, “We are a nation that has made humanitarian aid a crime, and has made fidelity to the Bible a felony.” But those who have done that have done so not thinking it is an attack on Christianity, but in the name of Christianity, thinking that they are defending it rather than tarnishing its witness.

What can be done? Damaris Zehner wrote recently about “Rebranding Christianity.” Here is an excerpt: “Christianity has become so odious to so many that even acts of mercy may be seen as manipulative or hypocritical. Instead let people know that we are good people, gentle, helpful, supportive, and quiet, only by the way we act; we can talk later.”

As my wife and I were talking about the mud-slinging that Christians have been engaging in, and how the insults and mischaracterizations shape popular perceptions of Christianity, I said that we need to provide an example of a different sort of Christianity than that. When she asked me how I thought we might do that, I suggested: by cleaning up after the mud-slingers!

If you are a Christian, or a member of another group whose reputation has suffered because there are highly visible people associated with that identity who speak hatefully and disrespectfully, what are your thoughts about how to redeem your identity, assuming of course that you think this is possible and worth doing?

Of related interest:

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Timothy Weston

    One of the issues with any religion is that it is guaranteed to become a tool of the rich and powerful. What can be done to take Christianity out of their hands?

    • swbarnes2

      That ship sailed in the time of Constantine the Great. If Christianity hadn’t become a tool of the powerful and a wielder of power, you wouldn’t be Christian.

    • Chuck Johnson

      The worship of any god involves obedience to a pyramid of authority.
      Christianity and all other supernatural religions are inherently systems of power and authority.

      The promotion of Christian philosophies would take Christianity out of their hands, but only if God and the supernatural were kept out of it.
      It’s possible that Gretta Vosper has achieved this.

    • Joan BlondeAle

      Literally nothing.

  • Individually, I’ve committed to offering people a different experience of Christians than they’d normally receive, both in terms of actions and content.

    One of the highest compliments I’ve ever gotten in my life, I got from one of my atheist friends who pulled me aside after a gathering of Christians and atheists to talk about various issues, and he said, “I think your version of Christianity is the only survivable one.”

    But recently, I’ve begun to wonder if my days are numbered in terms of even having the chance to offer someone that experience. In America, as soon as you say that you’re a Christian, everyone knows everything they need to know about you to decide they have better things to do with their time than make friends with you, and I completely understand that.

    I don’t know if the term can be rebranded. Maybe between Christendom and Trump there’s just too much baggage, now. I do think there’s a reformational force at work among Christianity in America, though, that could produce something new. Might have to call ourselves something different.

    • John MacDonald

      Phil said:

      Might have to call ourselves something different.

      Everybody loves baby emperor penguins. What is cuter than a baby emperor penguin? Instead of Christians, maybe you could call yourselves Penguinists! https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6dc8971f2b62ef56f54d81ffb96eec8a0e55391f58e9b722c17bef7727848467.jpg

    • Ocelot Aardvark

      That’s what happens when 81% of the members in today’s “Harlot of Babylon” fake-‘christian’ churches, go over to the Dark Side, and align themselves with TЯ卐m₽ >–> the Beast.

      Of course, that leaves 19% who did NOT. Thank God.

  • I rarely read any of the posts on the “progressive” Christian section of Patheos because I have found that most posts are attacking the evangelical side with straw men, ad hominems and other distortions of evangelicalism while evangelicals rarely attack “progressives.” Most evangelical posts are about how to be a better Christian or problems within the community. I’m really tired of the torrent of negativity coming from the left.

    • swbarnes2

      Piper says that women are penis homes. I’m sure you sincerely think that the world would be a better place with more Christians improving themselves by believing like he does.

    • Many people understand what is going on. The Left is frustrated because they cannot stop or control what they don’t like regardless of the consequences. Someday a Socialist may get elected and those on the Left will suddenly discover what it really means.

    • Joan BlondeAle

      We’re pretty sick of you, too.

  • Nick G

    With regret, I’m boycotting Patheos until the ridiculous filter is removed. I can’t be bothered guessing which perfectly innocuous words are on the forbidden list.

    • John MacDonald
      • I asked about this, and it is something that Disqus implemented. Patheos is working on getting it changed. Having comments with typical porn spam words require approval before they appear makes sense. On sites that have nothing to do with religion, mentions of Islam might be most likely to be spammy hate speech. But on a religion site, we obviously need to be able to talk about Islam! I assure you that Patheos is working on this!

        • (And in case you’re wondering, yes, I did have to manually approve my own comment because it mentions…well, you know).

    • Ocelot Aardvark

      Use ASCII codes … Google them … Be Creative! 🙂

    • Good for you! Patheos can censor but they cannot hide behind thier bloggers. Have you noticed some blogs do not have a comments section?

  • James Elliott

    This short article is incredibly important to me. After a slow erosion, i finally (and publicly) dropped my identity as “Evangelical.” I’ve honestly grieved over that and sought to rediscover what my identity is within the Christian faith. But after prominent Evangelicals describe God as sending a mass murderer to kill innocent children because Americans dare to tolerate gays, or intentionally directs the paths of hurricanes because there is abortion, or that we should back a political leader who is obviously not Christian in behavior because it will achieve our agenda…the proverbial line is drawn in the sand. I agree with Zehner’s observation that we should, in response, work harder at being Christ’s followers ourselves. We aren’t called to be in line with worldly politics, or “right” with all our theological answers. We are called to follow and be light…water…bread to a world which craves an alternative. Maybe i’ll grow to be comfortable simply calling myself “Christian.” (?)

    • Ocelot Aardvark

      I too, have found it necessary to sever all ties with conservative, far-right-wing, ‘Evangelical’ churches,
      who have reinvented themselves as the “Harlot of Babylon” since 81% of their members went to the
      Dark Side back in 2016, when they aligned themselves with TЯ卐m₽ >–> the Beast.

  • Ocelot Aardvark

    Is there anyone more lawless than TЯ卐m₽?

    To any Evangelicals out there who still persist in hanging on to their hideous, Obscene-Orange-Idol …

    Consider the following passage of Scripture:

    2 Thessalonians 2:9-12:

    9) “The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie,

    10) and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.

    11) For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie

    12) and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.”
    ______________________________________________________________________________________

    The 3 R’s:

    It may already be too late for those who have aligned themselves with TЯ卐m₽ >–> the Beast.

    But Our Heavenly Father, in his infinite mercy, may give you one last chance to turn back from
    allowing the evil spirit of the Beast to replace the Holy Spirit of Christ in your heart, soul and mind;
    … and redeem yourself for committing Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit … the Unforgivable Sin:

    Renounce the Beast!
    Repent!
    Return to Christ!

    Otherwise, you’ll be cementing the Mark of the Beast in your own forehead, for all Eternity.
    Choose either Light and Life or Dark and Death …… Your choice, choose wisely.

    • President Trump is not the leader of any religious organization.
      Your comment is what the blog warns against. Where are your suggestions?

      • Ocelot Aardvark

        Me? I have no suggestions, but God does. Reread the Christ-Inspired, “3 R’s” portion of my comment.
        That’s all you need to know.

        I have nothing to do with your salvation or your damnation, which you’ll be responsible for by continuing to support and worship
        TЯ卐m₽ >–> the Beast.

        Furthermore, while your Obscene-Orange-Idol may not officially be “the leader of any religious organization” he is the so-called political ‘leader’ of the Free World, which mostly, is made up of Christian nations.

        And if you read the Scriptural descriptions of the Beast … (Daniel 7:25 and Revelation 13:1-9) you’ll find that the Beast is a political monster, NOT a religious one … also notice how closely those Scriptural descriptions fit the fraudulent, treacherous personality, and the wicked, blasphemous, unrepentant character of TЯ卐m₽.

        • I challenge you and anyone else, especially Evangelicals, who still support TЯ卐m₽ … whether, when they hear him speak, does he speak with the voice of our Good Shepherd? If not, then why are you still following the Beast? – John 10:27-30

  • James Elliott

    I think Zehner’s observation was perfect for our situation. For myself, when i am online (and always in the pulpit) i try to avoid direct references to political leaders and focus on what is the best, most appropriate, response we can have to what we observe around us. My struggle is not so much with the President, who has been pointed out as not being a religious leader, but with those who embrace any president as our means of national salvation. Ironically, the most Christ-like man we have had in Washington was not necessarily one of the best political leaders, and has not been embraced by Evangelicals. But the moment we begin to either condemn or condone political leaders we are on shaky ground. Our focus should be on Christ alone.

  • Ocelot Aardvark

    ___ Thank you Religion Prof. … for releasing my comment below. ____