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Dear Christians, What Really Matters?

what really matters

When it comes to matters of Christian faith, who decides what is orthodox and what is not? Who is the final authority?

Is God the final authority? Which God?

Is the Bible the final authority? Which Bible? Which Translation?

Is the Pope the final authority?

Is the denomination the final authority?

Is the Church the final authority?

Is the pastor the final authority?

Perhaps, in classic Protestant, priesthood-of-the-believer fashion, the individual Christian is the final authority?

No two churches agree on what constitutes orthodoxy.

No two denominations agree on what constitutes orthodoxy.

Certainly, no two Christians agree on anything.

Disagreement, debate, disunity, and internecine warfare are common everyday experiences in Christendom.

Yet, atheists, agnostics, and other unbelievers are told that unless they embrace the God of the Christian faith they will surely die in their sins and spend eternity in the Lake of Fire.

Perhaps the Christian community would be better served if they stopped evangelizing, stopped debating non-believers, and instead diligently worked at getting their house in order.

Outside of the promise of a future home in Heaven, what does Christianity offer anyone in THIS life? Why would anyone want to become a Christian?

Christians want unbelievers to accept that they speak for God. They want unbelievers to accept that their Church has the truth, direct from God’s Holy Word. They want unbelievers to accept that their God is the ruler of all things, the giver and taker of life, he who holds the universe in the palm of his hand.

Yet, what do unbelievers see?

They see a Christianity that is hopelessly mired in endless argument, disagreement, and debate; unable to even agree on basic matters such as salvation, baptism, and communion. They see a Christianity that says, with great self-assurance, that unless you are like us you will go to hell and burn forever. They see a Christianity, particularly in the United States, that does not take seriously the teachings of the Christ they say they follow. They see a Christianity enamored with power, money, buildings, and self-importance.

What unbelievers really want to know is WHY would anyone want to become a Christian? Unbelievers are not interested in doctrine. They are not interested in whose church is the “right” one. They are not interested in your peculiar beliefs or practices. What unbelievers want to see is that “people matter.” That’s it. That people matter. Not for the sake of their money or power, but simply because they are fellow citizens of Planet Earth.

I vaguely remember reading somewhere that all the commands of the Bible can be summed up in two statements:

  • Love God
  • Love your fellow Man

Where can one find such a Christianity?

About Bruce Gerencser

Bruce Gerencser, 61, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 40 years. He and his wife have six grown children and twelve grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

Bruce is a local photography business owner, operating Defiance County Photo out of his home. If you live in Northwest Ohio and would like to hire Bruce, please email him.

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    Love God. Love your fellow man. Yet these Christians would call their harassing of non-believers to be love. I seem to remember many fundies claiming that their judgmental preaching was love. And they claim to follow God, and yet so many of them are worshiping Trump. They are all in and I’ve seen gooey memes equating Trump with Jesus. Pretty sick.

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    I know a few mainline progressive Christians who follow the concepts of loving God and loving fellow man. These are folks who do community service, who support candidates that support the rights and well-being of their fellow humans. Most evangelicals support controlling the morality allowed in their community, state, and nation. I see a handful of evangelicals who are uncomfortable right now and are laying low. I know 2 who are speaking out against sexual abuse and some of the morality shaming, but they are being shunned by some members of their churches and haven’t figured out that their values conflict too much with their churchmates.

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    I still believe that religion doesn’t make good people. Good people will be good with or without religion. Bad people will be bad with or without religion. Not to say that religion doesn’t teach some shitty things but people twist things to their whims.

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    Adam Eran

    Oy! There’s lots of agreement between denominations that, for one example, salvation by works (deserving salvation by doing good deeds) is heterodox, and salvation by grace (salvation is a gift, not something earned) is orthodox. There’s wisdom in that position, too.

    Meanwhile, I prefer the “Great Commandments” as “great observations.” How can you love your neighbor if you don’t love yourself? And that thing you love with all your heart mind and soul…that’s your God. It could be the Oakland Raiders, or Jehovah. Whether that God exists or not, the devotional tendency of humanity definitely does.

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Bruce Gerencser