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Evangelicals and Their Use of the Word “God”

one true god

Repost from 2015-2016. Edited, updated, and corrected.

When Evangelicals speak of “God,” they often do so in ways that give people the impression that God is a generic deity who is the same regardless of the name of the sect. When it suits Evangelicals, they will appeal to the deities of other sects as proof that their God exists.

Evangelicals point to supposed universal moral traits in the various world religions as proof of the existence of God. They also point to the various creation myths and flood myths found in many sects, and suggest that the universality of these stories is more proof for the existence of God.

Don’t be misled by the subterfuge of Evangelicals. While they may speak of God in generic ways and appeal to other religions as proof that God exists, they really don’t believe this. Don’t listen to their public talking points, points used when they want to convince the public that they really are nice people who just want to get along with everyone.

Go to your local Evangelical church and listen to the preaching. Behind closed church doors, Evangelical pastors no longer have to play nice. These so-called men of God are free to say what they really think about the gods of other religions. I can tell you what you won’t hear. You won’t hear about a generic God, or the universal commonalities the religions of the world have, Oh, no. What you will hear is that all other gods but the Evangelical Christian God are no God at all.

There is some movement within Evangelicalism to be more inclusive when it comes to other sects, but at the heart of Evangelical belief is the notion that there is one God: a triune being, revealed to humankind in the 66 books of the Protestant Christian Bible. For Evangelicals, there is no other God but this God.

The Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists, Quakers, Unitarian Universalists, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Roman Catholics, and Greek Orthodox all, according to Evangelical apologists, worship false gods. Some Evangelicals even suggest that unless a sect holds to a certain soteriology, they too are worshiping a false God. Calvinists often make this claim about Arminians. Believe in free-will? Believe you can lose your salvation? You aren’t a Christian, according to many Calvinists.

In the days of the Roman Empire, Christians were considered atheists. Why were they considered atheists? The Romans had a plethora of gods, and they worshiped all of them. The Christians would have none of this. They were monotheists (actually polytheists), rejecting all other gods but theirs. Are not modern-day Evangelicals atheists; rejecting all other gods but the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost?

Ask Evangelicals: do all roads lead to Heaven? and they will emphatically say no. According to Evangelical orthodoxy, there is one road that leads to Heaven and life eternal, and that road is the road bought and paid for by and through of the blood of Jesus, his death on the cross, and his resurrection from the dead three days later.

This road is a straight and narrow road that few people travel. Most of humanity — past and present — will not go to the Evangelical Heaven when they die. Billions and billions of people will go to Hell (The Lake of Fire) when they die and be tortured for all eternity by the loving, kind Christian God.

Most Evangelicals are quite Fundamentalist when it comes to God. And those Evangelicals who are not? They most likely are not really Evangelicals. An increasing number of Evangelicals, influenced by the emerging church and liberal/progressive politics, are becoming more inclusive in their view of other sects. It is not uncommon to hear Evangelicals say that while Catholics, Mormons, and Seventh Day Adventists, to name a few, are heterodox, they are still Christian sects. While this is good news as far as inclusiveness is concerned, such beliefs are betrayals of core Evangelical dogma.

Evangelicals who are more inclusive have one foot in the Evangelical church and the other foot in the liberal/progressive church. I suspect inclusivists will, in time, leave Evangelicalism altogether and join up with liberal/progressive Christian sects or completely leave Christianity. Countless on-fire-for-Jesus Evangelicals have walked away from Christianity and embraced atheism, agnosticism, or other forms of unbelief. The number of defections grows daily.

Are you a member of a non-Evangelical religious sect? The next time you have a discussion with an Evangelical about God, just remember he thinks your God is no God at all. Don’t be tricked into thinking that their use of the word God includes your God. It doesn’t.

This is why Evangelicals are so evangelistic. Since they worship the one, true, and living God, members of every other sect but theirs are soulwinning targets. They believe every human being needs to know, in a personal, salvific way, the Evangelical Christian God. A refusal to do so means spending eternity in the Lake of Fire.

If you happen to be an Evangelical and are reading this post, please explain to me why you do not call yourself an atheist? The ONLY difference between you and atheists such as I and many of the readers of this blog is that we have one less god on our NO GOD LIST than you do. You think every other god but your God is a false god. Please be honest enough to admit this. Please boldly tell non-Evangelicals — billions and billions of loving, caring, thoughtful people — that they are going to Hell after they die, and will be tortured by your God for all eternity unless they start worshiping Jesus.

No well, only God knows who is going to Heaven or Hell, cop-out allowed. This is not what Evangelical pastors preach on Sundays. Their sermons make it very clear who is and isn’t worshiping the true God. If this is your belief, then why not proudly own it? Why not proudly wear a button that says, My God is the only true and living God or God chose me but not you!

And if this is not what you believe, then why are you still sitting in the pew at the local Evangelical church? Are you not condoning their exclusivism and bigotry by continuing to attend an Evangelical church? Why not join up with people who share your theological, political, and social views?

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen 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.

You can contact Bruce via email, Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.

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14 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Zoe

    Great post. I hear evangelicals sounding more and more inclusive and on a few occasions I’ve piped up to say, “You think your God is the Muslim God? I’ve got news for you.” They think they are a head of the game because at least the Muslim believes in a God. Same thing as you mention with other Christians. The evangelical God is going to toast those other Christians for an eternity. Not at all inclusive.

  2. Avatar
    Tige Gibson

    This is an instance of something I’ve called semantic musical chairs. When a word has multiple definitions, someone who runs into a contradiction will switch on the fly to a different entry in the dictionary and back again to evade the problem.

    This is often used with the word death, which within doctrine has many meanings. As long as you just use the word death without qualification, you could be talking about spiritual death in one paragraph, switch to physical death to discuss something inconvenient, then switch back to spiritual death again to continue arguing, all the while just using the word death, but with the context only vaguely suggesting something strange just happened, most people just don’t catch on.

    Also, using the generic/civil god allows Christians to assume all the philosophical arguments which apply to a generic god apply to the specific interpretation of Christian God they believe.

    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser

      Peter pretty well summed up how Anglicans would be viewed. I considered them watered downed Catholics. Not that I knew many Anglicans. There was no need to know any. Just judge them according to the appropriate stereotype. 🙂 Fortunately I grew up (matured) and later in life accepted people at face value. If someone said, I am a Christian, that was good enough for me.

  3. Avatar
    Peter

    Generally Anglicans were seen by the more evangelical folk to be a bit like Catholics, that is either cultural Christians or religious [note in evangelical circles ‘religious’ is a major insult and is code for believing in ritual over relationship].

    In reality the Anglican Church is a very broad church and has it own evangelical wing that tends to look askance on the more liberal parts of the Anglican church. The big demarcation at present is over the issue of homosexuality with the liberal Anglicans preaching tolerance and acceptance and the evangelical Anglicans saying this is a bridge too far.

  4. Avatar
    J.D. Matthews

    I can tell you how Church of Christ members view Anglicans. And Baptists, Catholics, Methodists, Church of God, Presbyterian, etc.

    One word:

    Non-Christian.

  5. Avatar
    Ian

    I attended a church that considered every other church that didn’t hold to Sovereign Grace as not true churches.

    Sovereign Grace (SG) was just a Baptist spin on Calvinism, because no Baptist could be considered part of a Reform church. The SG churches I was in picked up the booklet The Trail of Blood and used it to prove that they came from the church started by Jesus himself. Inside the realm of our branch of SG, it started becoming very exclusive. Unless you were someone that the church liked, then you were given a pass and excuses were made for why you were OK.

    The song Our God is an Awesome God was about the mean-spirited, vengeful, all-consuming, judging God who had a plan to let Adam and Eve eat the fruit so all could spiritually die, just so he could send his son to be brutally and unjustly murdered, so that a very small percentage of the human race he chose for salvation could be redeemed, the rest of humanity would go to Hell (ultimately ending up in the Lake of Fire being eternally tormented) because they weren’t chosen for salvation. The best part about the story is that God has no culpability in people going to Hell. Adam made the choice for all humanity, so he doomed us all. God calls every man/woman, but we are spiritually dead, so we can’t respond to the call of salvation. Mercifully, he chose some to have a new spiritual life, the rest are screwed because of one bad deed committed 4,000 years ago. That is the awesome God Calvinistic/Socereign Grace Christians worship. Somehow, I don’t think Rich Mullins had that God in mind when he wrote the song.

    The God of the IFB crowd is similar, but he allows people to make the choice, so his church building can be filled and his pastors can own nice things.

  6. Avatar
    ObstacleChick

    My brother believes that gods of other religions are Real Live Actual Demons and that those who worship those gods are demon-worshipping minions who are deceived by The Great Satan.

    I don’t understand how Christians who believe in Satan and a plethora of angels and demons aren’t polytheistic…..I know they claim that a those supposedly supernatural invisible beings are inferior to the Real Live Triune God, but it seems like a Big God surrounded by a bunch of Demigod scenario….

  7. Avatar
    Yulya Sevelova

    I look at all the different churches and sects, and think about what a sorry mess it all is. When I think of the time and money wasted on these places, it feels like such a bloody farce. I’m glad I don’t bother with church anymore.

  8. Avatar
    Ami

    My mom is very vocal about other religions.
    If you say the word Mormon, for example, she will exclaim, “That’s a cult!”
    You can substitute Catholic or Muslim or Buddhist or whatever… you’ll get the same vehement response.

    I once told her the only reason she’s not a Muslim is that she wasn’t born in the Middle East.

    You’d have thought I suggested she was consorting with demons or some other horrible thing.
    She’s actually still pissed off that I said it.

  9. Avatar
    MJ Lisbeth

    Hmm…I wonder whether Rosser Reeves was one of the founders of Evangelical Christianity.

    He was a pioneer in television advertising who founded the Ted Bates Agency. What he is most known for today, though, is inventing the “unique selling proposition.” It’s the notion that what you’re selling offers something that no other product or service in your category offers–which, of course, is the reason why you “must” buy it.

    That sounds an awful like what Evangelicals (and, really, just about every other church) say about their god.

    The notion that those who don’t believe as you do are atheists long predates Christianity. Atheism was one of the charges against Socrates in his trial. What he actually did, as I understand it, was to urge his students not to accept the deities of Hellenic mythology just because they were taught to believe in them. That is what Socrates himself did: He did not accept the common belief of his society “just because.”

  10. Avatar
    Dave

    Growing up evangelical I had already disqualified all other religions by the time I deconverted. At least I didn’t have to bother sorting through other religious options and I could easily conclude that all religion was unproven and not worth my time

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Bruce Gerencser