JM Ballister, an Evangelical Christian who either deleted his email account or blocked me (coward), sent me the following email. My response is indented and italicized.
Judas betrayed Jesus Christ for 30 pieces of silver.
Ballister begins his missive by telling me that Judas, a disciple of Christ, betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver.
Judas is the betrayer of Jesus — worse than Hitler, in the minds of Evangelicals. I wonder if Ballister and his fellow Christians have bothered to look at the contradictions in the Biblical text on how/where Judas killed himself and what, exactly, the thirty pieces of silver were used for? Contradictions abound. So why should we trust anything the Bible says about Judas — or anything else, for that matter? If an inerrant book has one error, it is no longer inerrant.
The Bible calls Judas the “son of perdition.” Judas didn’t “choose” to betray Jesus. God chose him from before the foundation of the world to be the man who would betray the Son of God. Judas never had a chance to be saved. In fact, he couldn’t be saved. It would have been better if he had never been born. You see, Ballister forgets that I have actually read the Bible numerous times; that I spent thousands and thousands of hours studying the Word of God. I KNOW the story of Judas.
What did you and every other “former Christian” betray him for?
I can’t speak for other atheists, but I know exactly what I “betrayed” Jesus for: reason, skepticism, rationalism, science, freedom, and sleeping in on Sundays.
There is no such thing as a Christian “turned atheist”.
Memo to Evangelicals: just because you say something doesn’t make it so. Ballister denies what is right in front of him: an increasing number of devout Evangelical Christians are leaving the church and embracing atheism, agnosticism, Christian liberalism, or numbering themselves with those who are indifferent towards organized religion. We exist, and no amount of posturing and denial will change this fact.
Sadly they were never born again spiritually.
Ballister has a theological dilemma on his hands. He sees droves of committed followers of Jesus Christ exiting the church stage left — Christ-loving, sanctified, Holy Spirit-filled people — and he is befuddled by their departures. How can these things be? True Christian® Ballister says to himself. Unable to fit these people into his once-saved-always-saved theological box, Ballister concludes these Judases must never have been saved. Using the No True Scotsman Fallacy, Ballister dismisses out of hand millions of former Christians, labeling them liars and deceivers.
I was in the Christian church for fifty years. I pastored Evangelical churches in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan for twenty-five years. Think, for a moment, about how many Christians I came in contact with. Thousands, including Evangelicals pastors, professors, evangelists, and missionaries. Some of these clerics were personal friends. Yet, not one of them EVER said that they thought I was unsaved. Not one. Either I was a master deceiver, tricking thousands of people into believing I was a God-called, born-again preacher of the gospel, or Ballister is full of shit. My money is on the latter.
Just like Judas.
Here’s the problem with Ballister’s Judas illustration: Judas was pre-ordained by God to betray Jesus. Therefore, Judas could not be saved. He was a reprobate from the beginning. Thus, if Evangelicals-turned-atheists are Judases, it is impossible for us to be saved. Thus, the blame for our unbelief rests on God — he made us this way. God chose to withhold his grace from us. Why? Who knows, but Ballister is blaming the wrong people. Evangelicals-turned-atheists are heathens today because, from before the foundation of the world, God determined they would be atheists. Perhaps Ballister should be emailing Jesus, and not me. Oh wait, Jesus is dead or has a Juno account.
Jesus loves you he never stopped and is waiting for you and many others here to come to him in true salvation
What a pathetic God Ballister serves. Jesus lurks in the shadows, helpless to save atheists and agnostics unless we come running to him. He could call out to us, but he says nothing. He could come running to us and miraculously save us from the wrath to come, but he has no legs. Everything an omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent God should be able to do, Jesus is helpless to do. How can it be said that Jesus loves us and has a wonderful plan for our lives, yet he either cannot or refuses to use his magical powers to bring us to saving faith? Instead, Jesus sends Christian Assholes like JM Ballister. Do better, Jesus, do better.
Saved by Reason,
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.
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