If there is one kind of email I can count on almost every week, it is an email from a Christian determined to explain to me that their version/flavor of Christianity is different from the Christianity I write about on The Way Forward. They go to great lengths to convince me they or their denomination/church/pastor is real they deal, true blue, just like Jesus Christianity. They are certain that if I would just take a look at their brand of Christianity, that I would see that the Christianity I was a part of in the past was a corrupt, broken, or bastardized version of Christianity. They hope by exposing me to brand 10,200 of the faith once delivered to the saints, that I will see that their version of Jesus is THE way, truth, and life. They think if I will just catch a glimpse of their Jesus, if I would taste and see that he is good, that my blinders would fall off and I would be gloriously and wonderfully saved. (and, of course, become a member of their brand of Christianity)
I have found it quite easy to disabuse these people of their notions by asking a few questions:
- Do you believe the Bible is a supernatural book, a divine book, an inspired book, or the Word of God?
- Do you believe there is one, true, living God?
- Do you believe Jesus was divine, the son of God, worked miracles, died on the cross, rose again from the dead, and ascended back to heaven?
- Do you believe in sin and redemption?
- Do you believe a person must be saved from their sins in order to go to heaven?
- Do you believe that a person who is not saved from the sins will go to hell when they die. (or be annihilated)
Of course, the email writers will answer all six questions in the affirmative. YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! pause for a moment, avert eyes, screw up face to show pain, y-e-s. The reality of hell, where the worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched, and God sending people to this burning Lake of Fire, troubles most Christians, save the Calvinist, Fundamentalist Baptist, or Evangelical.
If they answered these six questions with a YES, I point out to them that they are not, in the main, any different from any other Christian. They can change the name of the door to True Faith Church, Living Word Church, or the Remnant Church, but they are no different that First Baptist or St Peter’s up the street from them.
While there are certainly differences between individual Christians, things like temperament and what they emphasize, at the end of the proverbial day, it is One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism. After 50 years in the Christian church, 25 years as an Evangelical pastor, and visiting well over a hundred churches, I doubt there is a Christianity out there that I don’t know about.
I need to be clear, I have weighed ALL Christianities in the balance and found them wanting. I have concluded that the Christian God does not exist and he/she/it is the creation of humans Lest someone think there is a small glimmer of hope for me, let me answer the six questions I listed above:
- I do not think the Bible is a supernatural book. I do not think it is the Word of God. I do not think it gives us everything that pertains to life and godliness. I do not think it words or message are in any way inspired. The Bible is just a book, like any other book I can buy at Amazon.com. While it may contain moral and ethical teachings I agree with, I do not consult it when determining how to live my life. Outside of consulting it for a blog post, I have not read the Bible in six years.
- I do not think the Christian God exists, either bodily or spiritually.
- I do not think Jesus was divine or a miracle worker. He was a man who lived 2,000 years ago. He lived, died, was buried, end of story.
- I do not accept the teaching’s of the Bible and Christianity on sin and redemption. (see the previous three answers)
- I do not think there is an afterlife or a heaven.
- I do not think there is an afterlife or a hell.
This is Bruce Gerencser’s faith once delivered to those who can read.
Extra credit bonus points if you can find all the Bible verse references in this post.
And yes, I am quite familiar with ANY form/version/flavor of Christianity you are going to mention in your comment. If you feel the urge, you know like you have a Christian weak bladder, it is evident you TOTALLY missed the gist of this post.
That said, I do enjoy talking about religion, Christianity, and the Bible. After all, it is what I know best. But remember, this is an intellectual exercise for me. There is zero chance of me becoming a Christian again. Even if Jesus personally appeared to me, I would assume that I had overdosed on narcotics. I write because I have a story to tell and I hope to be a help to those who are considering leaving Christianity or have already left. So many sinners that are dead in trespass and sin, behold He Cometh, why waste your time on a person who has done despite to the spirit of grace and trampled under the blood of the covenant? I am an apostate, a man God has given over to a reprobate mind. I am a man who has tasted the good word of God and the powers of the world to come, and fallen away. It is impossible to renew me again unto repentance. Thus saith the Lord.