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Category: Evangelicalism

Does Evangelicalism Encourage Weakness and Passivity?

hopeless without God

Recently, Aliyah Burton, a homeschooled 14-year-old, wrote a guest post for the Lies Young Women Believe website. Titled, Does the Maker of the Stars Want to Use You, the post reveals a troubling aspect of Evangelical thinking about how to live life. Burton wrote:

My heart has been hurting a bit these days because I know I have so much inside of me that needs to change. I don’t know how God’s going to work it all out. Things like pride, resentment, and arrogance build up in me, reminding me I’m still so broken.

I have these conversations with God, telling Him I have nothing left that’s any good at all. I probably sound a little like this: “I gave you all I thought you wanted. . . . Wait, what was that? . . . You want everything? Even the worst parts?” I run and hide, sometimes, from the God who made me.

I still wonder about this: Does He really want to see my brokenness? Does He really want to do something with me? Have you ever felt like that?..

I read God’s Word because I know He’s not going to take my excuses for an answer. I know He’s going to keep reassuring me as He did to Jeremiah . . .

“I know you”

“I have still chosen you.”

“I’m the One who made you this way, don’t you think I know how to use you?”

The way he said it made me laugh, but this truth rang clear to me: God is in charge, not me. Yet my itty-bitty human brain seems to think the Maker of the stars needs my permission to work in and through me.

I read God’s Word because I need to be reminded that He wants to use me, even when it doesn’t feel like that could possibly be true…

My initial response was one of sadness. Here’s a bright 14-year-old girl and she has already lost her ability to think rationally. Not only has she surrendered her ability to reason and think, she thinks the Evangelical God talks to her.

Here’s a girl sitting in her bedroom sad over the fact that she is not the person God wants her to be. She is plagued by pride, resentment, and arrogance, knowing that these things are a reminder of how broken she is. Ponder this thought for a moment. Here’s a girl who already thinks she is broken. That’s what the Evangelical teaching on original sin does to a person. It makes them see themselves as broken and in need of repair. And who can repair them? No one but God. This girl has been taught that she is helpless and hopeless without God, unable to do anything on her own.

Does she really have a pride, resentment, and arrogance problem? Only she can answer that, but I suspect that her angst is fueled by the preaching and teaching at her church and her home school education. Minor character flaws are blown up into transgressions against a thrice-holy God. If she really does have a pride, resentment, and arrogance problem, then she need not passively, obediently wait for God to fix her.  She is not weak, nor broken, and it is within her power to change her ways. Prideful? Stop! Resentful? Stop! Arrogant? Stop!

Far too many Evangelicals go through life thinking they are helpless, broken people who need God’s help to do anything. This kind of thinking makes them weak and passive, always waiting for God to forgive them, deliver them, show them a better way, or give them strength. Instead of relying on self, they are taught to rely on a non-existent God who supposedly never leaves them or forsakes them and sticks closer to them than a brother. They are reminded that the Bible says:

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:5,6)

They are also reminded that Jesus said in John 15:5:

I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

Evangelicals are told, You can’t do ANYTHING without Jesus. He is your strength. The very breath you have comes from him. Don’t trust your own reasoning, don’t trust the reason of any mere human. Trust God, lay your life at his feet, and let him direct your life. Remember, Jesus said we are to deny self. We don’t matter. Jesus is the end all. Jesus taught us to pray, God’s will be done on earth as it is heaven. Not our will, but his.

This is why uncounted Evangelicals are waiting for God to change them, correct them, or show them what to do. Marriage problems? Out of work? Health problems? Job problems? Conflict with children, spouse, coworker, neighbor, or friend? Financial trouble? Just wait and let God show you the way. Just wait and God will return your phone call. Just wait and God will use his mighty wonder-working power to conform your life into the image he wants it to be. And while they are waiting, life continues to move forward. Waiting on God becomes an excuse, a way of sidestepping personal responsibility, a way of ignoring character flaws.

Every one of us are responsible for our own behavior. There’s no God fix coming for what ails us. If it is important to us to be good, to treat others with decency and respect, then we will do what’s necessary to make these things happen. I have little patience for the prayers of the helpless. They have been neutered by religious teachings that have robbed them of their will. Taught to deny self, they trust in a deity that has no power to help them. The only person that can change ME is the person staring at me in the mirror.

Note

I am not against waiting, thinking, or meditating before making a decision. Haste is just as bad as passivity. When I need to make a decision or change something in my life, I try to give the matter careful consideration. But, when I act, it is me acting, not some outside source of power. As a humanist, I recognize that the buck stops with me and my fellow Homo sapiens.

Songs of Sacrilege: Has Anybody Seen JC? by Jeff Ollerhead

This is the twenty-third installment in the Songs of Sacrilege series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a song that is irreverent towards religion, makes fun of religion, pokes fun at sincerely held religious beliefs, or challenges the firmly held religious beliefs of others, please leave the name the song in the comment section or send me an email.

Today’s Song of Sacrilege is Has Anybody Seen JC?, sung  by Jeff Ollerhead, a singer–songwriter from Liverpool, England. Best I can tell the lyrics are of unknown origin. The song has numerous verses as the lyrics below show.

Video Link

Lyrics

Chorus
Has anybody seen J C
J C, J C, J C, J C.
Not since Easter Sunday,
Riding on a Donkey.
Has anybody seen J C
J C, J C, J C, J C

Virgin born, head of thorn
Resurrects the dead at dawn

That J C, he’s divine
Changes water into wine.

Virgin Mary, She’s the most
She’s been fucked by the Holy Ghost

Cleans up temples it is said
Raises spastics from their bed

J C, He’s so cool
Boogies across my swimming pool

Took three loaves and five fish
Feed five thousand piece of piss

Lots of songs, raises cheers,
In the charts two thousand years

Holes in hands, Holes in Feet,
Carries his cross down the street,

Holy Ghost, He’s the most,
Gets them pissed on wine and toast,

Banished fear and gave us hope,
Went one better than the Pope,

Love he gave, faith he took,
Still the Worlds best selling book,

Save our souls, fun we poke,
Sorry God its just a joke.

J C stands five foot nine,
Plays scrum half for Palestine.

Arms out wide, feet are tied,
It’s hard to boogie when your crucified.

Songs of Sacrilege: My Head Hurts, My Feet Stink, and I Don’t Love Jesus by Jimmy Buffett

This is the twenty-first installment in the Songs of Sacrilege series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a song that is irreverent towards religion, makes fun of religion, pokes fun at sincerely held religious beliefs, or challenges the firmly held religious beliefs of others, please leave the name the song in the comment section or send me an email.

Today’s Song of Sacrilege is My Head Hurts, My Feet Stink, and I Don’t Love Jesus by Jimmy Buffett, an American singer–songwriter.

Video Link

Lyrics

Chorus
My head hurts, my feet stink, and I don’t love Jesus.
It’s that kind of mornin’,
really was that kind of night.
Tryin’ to tell myself that my
condition is improvin’ and if I don’t
die by Thursday I’ll be roarin’ Friday night.

Went down to the snake pit,
to drink a little beer.
Listened to the juke box,
oh, it’s comin’ in clear.
All of a sudden I wasn’t alone
pickin’ country music with old Joe Bones.
Duval Street was rockin’,
my eyes they started poppin’!
Because there she sat at the corner of the bar,
as I broke another string on my old guitar.
Someone call a cab.
Lady won’t you pay my tab?

Chorus

Got to get a little orange juice,
And a Darvon for my head.
I can’t spend all day,
Baby, layin’ in bed.
I’m goin’ down to Fausto’s
to get some chocolate milk.
Can’t spend my life in your sheets of silk
I’ve got to find my way
Crawl out and greet the day.

Chorus

Songs of Sacrilege: Jesus Saves by Slayer

This is the twenty-first installment in the Songs of Sacrilege series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a song that is irreverent towards religion, makes fun of religion, pokes fun at sincerely held religious beliefs, or challenges the firmly held religious beliefs of others, please leave the name the song in the comment section or send me an email.

Today’s Song of Sacrilege is Jesus Saves by Slayer, an American thrash metal band from Huntington Park, California.

Video Link

Lyrics

You go to the church, you kiss the cross
You will be saved at any cost
You have your own reality
Christianity

You spend your life just kissing ass
A trait that’s grown as time has passed
You think the world will end today
You praise the Lord, it’s all you say

Jesus saves, listen to you pray
You think you’ll see the pearly gates
When death takes you away

For all respect you cannot lust
In an invisible man you place your trust
Indirect dependency
Eternal attempt at amnesty

He will decide who lives and dies
Depopulate Satan’s rise
You will be an accessory
Irreverence and blasphemy

Jesus saves, no need to pray
The gates of pearl have turned to gold
It seems you’ve lost your way

Jesus saves, no words of praise
No promised land to take you to
There is no other way

You Never Were a Christian

daniel finke

One of the ways that Evangelicals dismiss my life and current beliefs is to say that I never was a Christian, I was a false Christian, or I was Christian in name only.

I thought Christians have been given a spirit of discernment. I thought Christians are filled with Holy Spirit. I thought the Holy Spirit is their teacher and guide. I thought the Bible gives Christians everything they need to know concerning life and godliness. If these things are true, how is it then that NO ONE, not one single person, ever suggested that I was not a real Christian until I openly said I was an agnostic? I was part of the Christian church for fifty years. I preached my first sermon at age fifteen and for the next thirty-five years I was a committed, devoted follower of Jesus. I spent twenty-five years in the ministry, pastoring churches and helping thousands of people. I prayed, read and studied the Bible, witnessed, tithed, attended public worship services, and tried to pattern my life according to the teachings of the Bible and the life of Jesus. I sacrificed my life for the sake of the gospel. I willingly lived a life of self-denial, accepting poverty wages so churches could have a full time pastor. This was my life, yet according to some Christians, it was all a charade, a game, or the work of a man inspired by Satan and possessed by demons

A pastor on Facebook said that he could discern the true Christian from the false Christian. I replied that I did not believe he had any such gift. I told him my family and I could put on our Sunday best and come to his church and I could preach for his congregation and EVERYONE would think the Gerencsers are a wonderful Christian family. Perhaps my older children could come along with us and bring their guitars so we could lead the church in a divine, inspiring time of praise and worship. I bet people would even remark that they “felt” God’s presence and that the Gerencsers are a godly example of how a family should be.

I’ve been telling my story online for more than seven years. Uncounted Christians have told me that I never was a Christian. Some of these deniers were close friends and colleagues in the ministry. Why do they say I never was a Christian?  By saying this, they are able to ignore the glaring truth that they have no discernment and that the Holy Spirit did not warn them I was a sheep in wolf clothing. This also allows them to avoid the hard theological questions that arise when trying to square my life with their beliefs.

It’s easy to say, in hindsight, I never was a Christian. Why is it no one spotted my deception while I was their pastor? Was I just a great con artist, an Elmer Gantry? Think about this for a moment. For twenty-five years, I was able to successfully con seven churches, thousands of people, and dozens of colleagues in the ministry. Does anyone really think I could pull this off if I were not a Christian?

Here’s the truth, like it or not: I was a Christian and now I am not. I don’t care how you square this with your theology, you know and I know that I was a true-blue, washed-in-the-blood, sanctified, Holy-Ghost-filled, Bible-believing, sin-hating Christian. Jesus was my one and only, the passion and love of my life. I was willing to die for him if need be. If I wasn’t a Christian then nobody is.

bruce gerencser 1991
Bruce Gerencser, 1991, Somerset Baptist Academy. Surely everyone can see from this picture that I was a real Christian. 🙂

I am sure someone will ask why this matters to me? If God doesn’t exist and the Bible is fairy tale, why should I care whether someone thinks I was a Christian? Imagine, for a moment, that you were a star baseball player in high school. At age eighteen, you were signed to a minor league contract by the New York Yankees. You worked your way through the Yankees minor league system, finally making it to the major leagues at age twenty-three. For the next fifteen years, you played outfield for the Yankees. At the age of thirty-eight you retired. Fast forward to age sixty. You are having a discussion with someone and they tell you that you never were a baseball player. You may have had a ball glove, a bat, and a uniform, but you never were a “real” baseball player! Would you be offended by this? Would it be OK for someone to dismiss your life on the baseball diamond? Of course not. The fact that you were a baseball player from the time you were a child to age thirty-eight was a very important and real experience for you. Tens of thousands of people KNOW you played baseball, yet there are a handful of deniers who are sure you never, ever played the game. While fans are certainly free to discuss and debate how good a player you were, how well you played the game, or if your play helped the Yankees win, but saying you never were a player is irrational.

Yet, this is exactly what some Christians do. They deny I was ever what I said I was. They take a knife to my life and cut huge portions of it away and toss it in the garbage. While this might help them avoid the hard questions my life requires them to answer, the evidence for me having once been a Christian is overwhelming, making their denial  ludicrous and irrational. I wonder if the real issue for deniers is that my shocking deconversion forces them to consider that they too could fall from grace, that they too could one day be numbered among the godless.

021916

Same-Sex Marriage: The Sky is Falling and God is Going to Kill Us All

gay marriage

As regular readers know, I read and monitor a number of right-wing Christian websites and blogs. Some days, it is hard to do. Of late, the hysteria over same-sex marriage has resulted in uncounted Bible thumpers making pronouncements of doom and judgment.  Filled with homophobic rage and bigotry, these false prophets are doing all they can to cause the faithful to fear. The gays are coming, the Gays are coming, these modern-day revolutionaries cry out, ignorant of the fact that the gays have always been among us. The only difference now is that gays no longer fear what the religious-right can do to then. Out of the closet they came and they have no intentions of returning.

The real issues aren’t homosexuality or same-sex marriage. Evangelicals, Mormons, and conservative Catholics are losing their seat at the head of the cultural table and they don’t like it. Relegated to the back of the room, little more than an afterthought, they whine, scream, and complain that nobody is paying attention to them. They blame secularism, atheism, and liberal Christianity for the rise of homosexuality in America, but the real blame rests on their shoulders. Thirty or so years ago, the religious-right traded piety and holiness for political power. Instead of being the salt of the earth and the light of the world, they decided to wage a war against any and all who oppose their morals, ethics, and beliefs. Instead of being counter cultural, the religious right decided to assault their fellow citizens and force them to believe in their God and obey the teachings of the Christian Bible. What is now happening is that secularists, atheists, humanists, liberal Christians, and even Evangelicals and Catholics, are pushing back, realizing that if the religious-right gets their way on same-sex marriage they will not be satisfied until the Bible is enshrined as law and the Christian flag flies of the U.S. Capitol. In others words, theocracy is their goal.

What follows is a handful of the hysterical statements made by those warning that God’s judgment is coming if the Supreme Court legalizes same-sex marriage. Enjoy!

Fox News commentator Todd Starnes, speaking at Germantown Baptist Church, Memphis, Tennessee:

“I believe there is a war on religious liberty in the United States of America. And this war is not targeting people of the Muslim faith, it’s not targeting people of the Jewish faith or the Hindu faith or the Buddhist faith. This war on religious liberty is targeting people of the Christian faith.”

Former candidate for President Alan Keyes:

“The United States Supreme Court may presently make a decision discarding marriage as an unalienable (natural) right. By defect of reason and respect for the Constitution, the decision will return the people of this country to the condition of constantly impending war characteristic of the human condition when and wherever the just premises of government are abandoned.

A decision degrading the natural right of marriage, endowed by the Creator, to the status of a fiat right, fabricated by government, will be unconstitutional on the face of it, because it disparages an antecedent right, retained by the people, which disparagement is explicitly prohibited by the U.S. Constitution’s Ninth amendment. Under present circumstances, the decision will also invite conflict on account of the openly flaunted prejudice of two of the justices participating in it..

…If the United States Supreme Court presumes to impose any redefinition of marriage on the states, respectively, or the people, without addressing the issue of unalienable right it involves, with reasoning that respects God-endowed right (which is the logic by which the American people asserted, and still claim to possess and exercise, sovereign authority over themselves), the Court’s decision will be an attack on the very foundation of constitutional government, of by and for the people of the United States. It will be a high crime and misdemeanor that effectively dissolves the just bonds of government between and among the states, and among the individuals who compose the people of the United States. It will therefore be just cause for war.

Like the Dred Scott decision that heralded the onset of the first Civil War, the Court’s action will bring the nation to the brink, whence “nothing but confusion and disorder will follow. …” If the justices do not tread carefully, their temerity could very well set in motion the death throes of what is still supposed to be their country. “Forbid it, Almighty God!”

Evangelical broadcaster Rick Wiles:

“Now the communists rule this nation and everywhere communism takes control, they go after the churches and they kill the pastors and they demolish the church buildings and they reeducate the church children. That’s what’s coming to America. It’s already started.”

“We are at the end of the road as a nation. If the Supreme Court dares to defy Almighty God one more time, I’m telling you it will be the last time.”

“I believe I am speaking under the unction of the Holy Spirit. I’m telling you there will be swift, sudden and devastating consequences for the United States of America. America will be brought to its knees, there will be pain and suffering at a level we’ve never seen in this country. The word that I hear in my spirit is ‘fire.’ I do not know if it refers to riots or looting or war on American soil or a fireball from space. I simply know that a sweeping, consuming fire will come across the United States of America and this country will be charred and burned.”

“Life may change radically in 60 days. I’m talking about the fast-moving, radical homosexual movement that has captured control of the American political system, the corporate world, the news media, the entertainment industry and the educational system. This is a takeover and it is anti-God, it is anti-Christ. The same-sex marriage case before the U.S. Supreme Court is not about same-sex marriage, it is about the criminalization and the elimination of biblical Christianity in the United States of America.”

“Brace for impact if it goes against God’s divine order of marriage…”

Institute on the Constitution leader Michael Peroutka:

…Now to attempt to change that which is eternal and forever fixed by the Creator is to do nothing less than make the claim that you are God. This is very wrong and very dangerous, and the Supreme Court of these United States is now considering taking this very same dangerous step.

While there are many conclusions that can be drawn as we witness this cultural degradation, one comes most immediately to my mind. When a culture discards the Word of God as the standard for what is right and what is wrong, and relegates these determinations to fallen men, the results are as predictable as they are terrible.

In the time of the founding of America, when a Biblical worldview was predominant in the American people, this connection between following the commandments and peaceable existence was clearly known, easily understood and evidentially experienced in the American culture. Undoubtedly, living prosperously by living righteously is what Jefferson meant when he used the phrase “pursuit of happiness”.

Psalm Two warns that when the judges and the rulers of the earth throw off God’s law and take it upon themselves to make their own rules for right and wrong, they will be dashed to pieces like a rod of iron striking a clay pot.

Regrettably we seem to be setting ourselves up for this very lesson. Unless our government officials start obeying God and stop “playing god,” this is a lesson we will experience fully…

Liberty Counsel chairman Matt Staver  “urged the owners of an Oregon bakery who were fined for violating the state’s non-discrimination law when they denied service to a gay customer to refuse to pay the fine in an act of civil disobedience against an “unjust law.”:

“If the government wants to come in and put Rosa Parks on the back of the bus, Rosa Parks shouldn’t move to the back of the bus. If they are wanting to take Christians and put you on the back of the bus because of your faith, you shouldn’t voluntarily walk to the back of the bus.”

“There is nothing historically or throughout our long history of Judeo-Christianity that says that someone who’s got dark skin can’t marry someone who’s got white skin or lighter color skin. That’s never been rooted in our history, that’s never been rooted in natural law, that’s never been rooted in millennia of human history. Marriage is objectively, to use a philosophical term, ontologically, the union of a man and a woman. If you can’t get that right, good grief, how can you be a judge on any court?”

Rick Joyner, executive director of Morningstar Ministries:

The “abomination of desolation” that was prophesied by Daniel, Jesus, and the first century apostles could have been translated “the abomination that desolates.” Because homosexuality is referred to as an abomination in Scripture, and its impact on Western culture is so quickly and profoundly desolating the moral fabric of Western civilization, it is to be expected that many will start to consider this “the abomination that desolates.”

Who could have dreamed just two decades ago that we would have major cities celebrating “Days of Decadence” with all manner of perversions being performed and flaunted openly in our streets? Who would have thought that such a moral and religious nation could fall so quickly to the ultimate national depravity spoken of in Isaiah 5—calling what God calls “good,” “evil,” and what God calls “evil,” “good,” while the dishonorable are honored and the honorable are dishonored? Is that not precisely what has happened to America in just the last generation?

The meltdown of morality in our military could be happening even faster. Just a few years ago, the U.S. military was such a bastion of morality and integrity that adultery was considered grounds for dismissal because one’s vows had been broken. “Don’t ask, don’t tell” was the handwriting on the wall that a devastating change was coming. But who could have foreseen the pace of the desolation of our military since homosexuality was openly allowed in the ranks? It moved quickly from everyone having to accept it, to everyone having to celebrate it if you expected any further promotions, to now being forced out if you do not celebrate it.

Christians are now openly discriminated against, if not persecuted, in the U.S. military. Not only are some of the best and brightest leaving the military, they are no longer choosing it as a possible career.

The same is taking place throughout government services on all levels, as well as corporations, education, and the media, as was once the case for a long time in arts and entertainment. Now, with a single Supreme Court decision it could be that Christians, Muslims, and Jews that honor their books as the word of God will not be able to “buy, sell, or trade” in America without the constant threat of losing your business, or your position and livelihood, because of an offended homosexual.

Even if this is not “the mark of the beast,” it will be for those who are now losing what they, in some cases, have given their lives to build, because they would not compromise their religious convictions in order to buy, sell, or trade. If the Supreme Court decision falls the way it is expected to, we can be sure that very soon every Christian in America will have to make a similar choice between obeying the Word of God or this beast.

Matt Staver, Rick Santorum, Kenneth Blackwell, Steve Deace, Bradlee Dean, John Eidsmoe, Joseph Farah, E.W. Jackson, Rods Parsley, Paige Patterson, Andrew Sandlin, Ed Young, Larry Tomczak, Jerry Prevo, Janet Porter, Tim Lee, Richard Land, Peter LaBarbera, Phil Burress, William Boykin, Robert Jeffress, Tim Wildmon, Don Wildmon, Mike Huckabee, Franklin Graham, Harry Jackson, James Dobson, and a cast of thousands, signed the Pledge in Solidarity to Defend Marriage:

We stand together in defense of marriage and the family and society founded upon them. While we come from a variety of communities and hold differing faith perspectives, we are united in our common affirmation of marriage.

On the matter of marriage, we stand in solidarity. We affirm that marriage and family have been inscribed by the Divine Architect into the order of Creation. Marriage is ontologically between one man and one woman, ordered toward the union of the spouses, open to children and formative of family. Family is the first vital cell of society, the first government, and the first mediating institution of our social order. The future of a free and healthy society passes through marriage and the family.

Marriage as existing solely between one man and one woman precedes civil government. Though affirmed, fulfilled, and elevated by faith, the truth that marriage can exist only between one man and one woman is not based on religion or revelation alone, but on the Natural Law, written on the human heart and discernible through the exercise of reason. It is part of the natural created order. The Natural Law is what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., referred to as a higher law or a just law in his famous Letter from Birmingham Jail.

Marriage is the preeminent and the most fundamental of all human social institutions. Civil institutions do not create marriage nor can they manufacture a right to marry for those who are incapable of marriage. Society begins with marriage and the family.

We pledge to stand together to defend  marriage for what it is, a bond between one man and one woman, intended for life, and open to the gift of children.

The institutions of civil government should defend marriage and not seek to undermine it. Government has long regulated marriage for the true common good. Examples, such as the age of consent, demonstrate such a proper regulation to ensure the free and voluntary basis of the marriage bond. Redefining the very institution of marriage is improper and outside the authority of the State. No civil institution, including the United States Supreme Court or any court, has authority to redefine marriage.

As citizens united together, we will not stand by while the destruction of the institution of marriage unfolds in this nation we love. The effort to redefine marriage threatens the essential foundation of the family.

Experience and history have shown us that if the government redefines marriage to grant a legal equivalency to same-sex couples, that same government will then enforce such an action with the police power of the State. This will bring about an inevitable collision with religious freedom and conscience rights. The precedent established will leave no room for any limitation on what can constitute such a redefined notion of marriage or human sexuality. We cannot and will not allow this to occur on our watch. Religious freedom is the first freedom in the American experiment for good reason.

Conferring a moral and legal equivalency to any relationship other than marriage between a man and a woman, by legislative or judicial fiat, sends the message that children do not need a mother and a father. As a policy matter, such unions convey the message that moms and dads are completely irrelevant to the well-being of children. Such a policy statement is unconscionable and destructive. Authorizing the legal equivalency of marriage to same-sex couples undermines the fundamental rights of children and threatens their security, stability, and future.

Neither the United States Supreme Court nor any court has authority to redefine marriage and thereby weaken both the family and society. Unlike the Legislative Branch that has the power of the purse and the Executive Branch which has the figurative power of the sword, the Judicial Branch has neither. It must depend upon the Executive Branch for the enforcement of its decisions.

As the Supreme Court acknowledged in the 1992 decision of Planned Parenthood v. Casey, its power rests solely upon the legitimacy of its decisions in the eyes of the people. If the decisions of the Court are not based on the Constitution and reason, and especially if they are contrary to the natural created order, then the people will lose confidence in the Court as an objective arbiter of the law. If the people lose respect for the Court, the Court’s authority will be diminished.

The Supreme Court was wrong when it denied Dred Scott his rights and said, “blacks are inferior human beings.” And the Court was wrong when Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote in Buck v. Bell, “three generations of imbeciles are enough,” thus upholding Virginia’s eugenics law that permitted forced sterilization. Shamefully, that decision was cited during the Nuremburg trials to support the Nazi eugenic holocaust.

In these earlier cases, the definition of “human” was at issue. Now the definition of “marriage” is at issue. The Constitution does not grant a right to redefine marriage — which is nonsensical since marriage intrinsically involves a man and a woman. Nor does the Constitution prohibit states from affirming the natural created order of male and female joined together in marriage.

We will view any decision by the Supreme Court or any court the same way history views the Dred Scott and Buck v. Bell decisions. Our highest respect for the rule of law requires that we not respect an unjust law that directly conflicts with higher law. A decision purporting to redefine marriage flies in the face of the Constitution and is contrary to the natural created order. As people of faith we pledge obedience to our Creator when the State directly conflicts with higher law. We respectfully warn the Supreme Court not to cross this line.

We stand united together in defense of marriage. Make no mistake about our resolve. While there are many things we can endure, redefining marriage is so fundamental to the natural order and the common good that this is the line we must draw and one we cannot and will not cross.

Rabbi Jonathan Cohn:

 It is April 29, 2015. Two hundred and twenty six years ago this day, George Washington readied himself for the first ever presidential inauguration, to take place the following day, the day America as we know it came into existence, with a president’s hand resting on the Word of God. That day would conclude with America’s first government gathering in prayer to dedicate the nation’s future into God’s hands.

A century and a half earlier, another seminal event took place on the same day. On April 29, 1607, the voyagers of the Susan Constant, the Discovery, and the Godspeed, gathered together in prayer at Cape Henry to set a wooden cross in the sands of Virginia Beach, and dedicate the new civilization to the will and purposes of God.

America’s biblical foundation would be reaffirmed over and over again by its forefathers, from the Pilgrims of the Mayflower, to the Puritans of Massachusetts Bay, to the leaders of the first American colonies who declared publicly and in writing that the new commonwealth had come into existence solely for the glory and purposes of God.

No historian can rewrite that. No president can expunge it. And if a thousand angels swore on a thousand bibles that this was not the case, it would in no way alter the fact – that this American civilization was conceived, established, dedicated, and founded on a biblical cornerstone; America was brought into existence for the will and purposes of God.

On this night, over two hundred years ago, George Washington held in his hand the first ever presidential address. In that address was a prophetic warning: It was this:”the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself hath ordained.” In other words, if America should ever turn away from God and His ways, if it should ever disregard His eternal rules of order and right, then His blessings, the smiles of Heaven, would be removed from the land.

It was an ancient warning. It had been given in Hebrew words by the prophets to the kingdom of Israel. But Israel turned away from God and disregarded His eternal rules of order and right.

They drove God out of their government, out of their public squares, out of their culture, and out of the lives of their children. They worshiped idols and served other gods. They celebrated immorality and persecuted the righteous. They lifted up their children on the altars of foreign gods. And the blessings of God were removed from the land and replaced with judgment.

It is two and half thousand years later, and America has made the same mistake. We, too, have turned away from God. We, too, have driven Him out of our government, out of our public squares, out of our culture, and out of the lives of our children. We too have profaned the sacred and sanctified the profane. And we, too, have killed our most innocent, over fifty five million of our unborn children, and our collective hands are covered with blood. What we were warned never to do, we now have done.

And now we gather in the city named after the one who gave that prophetic warning. And yesterday, in this city, in the building that sits across from this hill, the justices of the Supreme Court took up their places on the bench to decide whether America should strike down the biblical and historic definition of marriage. The very fact that such an event took place is, in itself, a sign that the America of Washington’s warning is here and the day of which he warned is now.

We have become a civilization in spiritual schizophrenia, a nation at war against its own foundations. The Supreme Court opens its sessions with the words: “God save the United States and this Honorable Court.” But if then this honorable court should overrule the word of God and strike down the eternal rules of order and right that Heaven itself hath ordained, how then will God save it?

Supreme Court Justices, can you judge the ways of God? Can you, with manmade verdicts, overrule the eternal laws of God? There is another court, and there is another judge. And before Him, all men and all judges will give account. If a nation’s high court should pass judgment on the Almighty, should you then be surprised if the Almighty should pass judgment on that court and that nation.

In the Book of Jeremiah, it is written: “Has a nation ever exchanged its gods… Yet my people have exchanged their glory for that which cannot help them.” Let us not pretend as to what we are now doing. We are doing exactly that which Israel did on the altars of Baal. We are exchanging our God for idols, our light for darkness, and our glory for that which cannot save us. Are we ready to risk that which comes on the other side of that exchange, the day when the blessings of Heaven are removed from the land?

We began with a word from the president of our nation’s first days. So I now speak a word to the president of our nation’s most recent days. Each time I have spoken here, I have asked a question. Now I will answer it. “Mr. President, with all respect that is due, ‘What happens if one assumes the presidency by placing his left hand on the Word of God, and then, with his right hand, enacts laws that war against the very same Word of God on which he laid his hand? Such an act invokes the judgment of the Almighty.

To swear an oath on the Word of God in which it is written “Defend the weak” and “Do not murder,” and to then to not defend the weak, to not protect the unborn from harm, but, instead, to advance their murder, is to invoke the judgment of the Almighty.

To swear an oath on the Word of God, in which it is written, “Do not cause your brother to stumble,” and then to seek to force those who uphold the Word of God to transgress the Word of God, by partaking in the killing of the unborn and the celebration of sin, is to invoke the judgment of the Almighty.

And to swear an oath on the Word of God, in which it is written, ‘Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people,” and then to take part in leading a nation away from “the eternal rules of order and right that Heaven itself hath ordained,” and against the very Word of God on which you laid your hand to swear that oath, is to invoke the judgment of the Almighty.

When the leaders of ancient Israel turned away from God, when they abolished His precepts, and broke His covenant, they did so in the shadow of Moses, whose voice cried out to them in warning.

“Mr. President, when you address the nation from this house, look up. Look up above the Senators and Representatives, above the Supreme Court Justices, and above the invited guests – and you will see a face – the only full visage on that wall – looking back at you. It is the face of Moses.

And if that face could speak, it would say this: “No king can overrule the laws of God, no order can annul the order of God, and no judgment of man can stand against the judgments of God. Invoke not His judgment. But choose life. And lead in the way of repentance. Invoke the grace of God, that He might have mercy on this land.”

We have come to a most critical moment. As Elijah stood on top of Mount Carmel and cried out to Israel in its hour of decision, in between two altars and two gods, his voice now cries out to America and says to us, “Choose you this day whom you will serve.” Seventy years ago, the Chaplain of the United States Senate, cried out in the same voice, and said to this nation, “If the Lord be God, then follow Him! But if Baal, then follow him… and go to hell!”

Tonight, America stands at the crossroads.  And as Elijah came to the summit of Mount Carmel to make a declaration, we have come this night to Capitol Hill to declare… that our God… is not Baal. Our God… is not Molech. Our God… is not government. Our God… is not money. Our God… is not power. Our God… is not pleasure. Our God… is not political correctness or any other manmade thing.

We have come to this hill to declare… that there is only one God – And He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He is the God of Israel and of all nations. And He alone is the Rock upon which this nation has come into existence.

And from this high place we make this declaration: We will not bow down our knees to Baal. We will not bow down our knees to political correctness. We will not bow down our knees to a morality that is as shifting as wind swept sand. We will not bow down our knees to the laws and precepts of rebellion or to the sacred cows of moral apostasy. We will not bow down our knees to the idols of man. We will not bow down to Baal.

We will bow down our knees only… to the Lord our God, come what may, and we will have no other gods before Him.

For some trust in chariots, and some trust in princes, some trust in supreme courts, and some trust in white houses, some trust in governments, and some trust in wall streets, some trust in powers, and some trust in idols.

But we will trust in the name of the Lord our God, in the name above all names, above all kings, and above all powers. We will trust in the only name given by which we can be saved.

We will trust in the name of Yeshua Ha Mashiach, Jesus the Messiah, the King of all kings, the Lord of all lords, the Judge of all judges, the Light of this World, the Glory of Israel, the foundation stone upon which this nation came into existence, and the only answer, the only chance, and the only hope America has, that it might once again shine with the light of the fire of the presence of the glory of the Living God … and not … go to hell!

The Homophobic Hysteria of Tim Wildmon and the American Family Association

gay marriage an abomination

Think for a moment about the history of the United States. Make a list of the Top Ten events in our history. My list would include:

  1. Revolutionary War
  2. Civil War
  3. World War 1
  4. World War II
  5. Civil Rights struggle
  6. Women gaining the right to vote
  7. Dropping nuclear weapons on Japan
  8. Vietnam War
  9. Watergate
  10. Assassinations of John Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, and Martin Luther King

This reflects the period of history I grew up in. I could easily expand this list to a Top 25 list, and add events like The Great Depression, a black man being elected President, the various economic bubbles and collapses that have plagued our capitalistic system of economics, race riots, or the Cold War. Those of us who know the history of our Republic have no problem coming up with a long list of historic events, many of which altered our nation forever.

Tim Wildmon and the American Family Association think none of the above events are more important than the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court decision same-sex marriage. The Court will begin hearing arguments tomorrow and will likely render a decision sometime in June. Many of us are hopeful that the Court will rule in favor of same-sex marriage, invalidating every state marriage law that treats homosexuals as second-class citizens. It seems that the Court is leaning in that direction.

Here’s what Wildmon had to say in an action alert released today:

Tomorrow, April 28, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments for and against redefining marriage in America. The very institution of God’s design for marriage as only between one man and one woman is on trial.

As hard as it is to believe, nine people will decide if our nation will honor God and obey Him, or turn its back on the most fundamental building block of society and on God himself.

This will be the most important decision in the history of America.

I’m urging you to do just one thing…Pray.

Here is a link to four prayers to help your prayer time.

Please, for the sake of our nation, Pray.

Let Wildmon’s words sink in, “This will be the most important decision in the history of America.” While I think the issue of same-sex marriage is very important and a step towards the United States becoming a fairer and more just society, if the Court rules against same-sex marriage, it’s not the end of the world. Yes, it will hurt gay friends of mine, many of whom are married. While they will be crushed over the decision, their lives will go on. The decision will let us know that we still have a lot of work to do to ensure fairness and justice for all. But, for Wildmon and other Evangelicals like him? This is the final curtain call for conservative/Evangelical/fundamentalist Christianity. This will mean that the millions of prayers uttered by anti-gay Christians to their anti-gay God will have failed. This will mean that what people like them think and believe about morality doesn’t matter, not that it should have ever mattered. If they are not uttering it now, they will afterwards: we are living in a post-Christian nation.

Even so come quickly Lord Secularism.

anti-gay marriage

Tony Miano Rejoices Over Earthquake in Nepal

tony miano
Tony Miano Preaching in the UK
Who is Tony Miano, you ask? Miano describes himself this way:

…a retired, twenty-year veteran of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (1987-2007). During his time in law enforcement, Tony served as a gang investigator, field training officer, drug recognition expert, and a DUI enforcement specialist. Tony’s law enforcement experience includes three days of chaos, during the 1992 Los Angeles riots, as well as being on duty only a few miles away from the epicenter when the 1994 Northridge Earthquake devastated the greater Los Angeles area. During his career, Tony received more than 60 commendations and citations for meritorious service, arrests, criminal investigations, critical decision-making, and community service…

…From 2008 to mid-2012, Tony served as Living Waters’ Director of the Ambassadors’ Alliance, as well as the Director of Conferences and Special Projects. Tony’s service with Living Waters included the supervision of 20 Ambassador’s Academies (the ministry’s 3 1/2-day evangelism training program), conferences, State Representative system, and large-scale evangelism projects.  Tony also wrote and co-hosted almost 400 episodes of Living Waters’ live, web-based program, “On the Box, with Ray Comfort.”

Tony has authored the books “Take Up The Shield (Genesis Publishing Group, 2005) and“Should She Preach? – Biblical Evangelism for Women” (One Million Tracts, 2013).

Tony is a prolific writer, having maintained several personal blogs, as well as writing for several other ministry blogs, websites, and newsletters. Currently, Tony’s writing is featured on the Cross Encounters blog (www.CrossEncounters.us).

Tony has preached in many churches across the United States and in Canada.  He has served as the keynote speaker at several different conferences.  He is committed to expository preaching.  He frequently addresses topics such as biblical evangelism, spiritual growth and personal holiness, as well as the person and work of Jesus Christ.

Presently, Tony is serving the Lord as an itinerant preacher and open-air evangelist.

Like the banana man Ray Comfort, Miano is known for antagonizing and attacking anyone who doesn’t worship his version of the Christian God. Our paths briefly crossed paths a few years ago on Twitter. I found him to be an asshole then and he is an asshole now. I wouldn’t have been friends with him when I was a Christian street preacher. Like Comfort, Miano has a devoted flock of followers. They adore his in your face style, imagining that Jesus, Peter, James, John, and Paul were itinerant street preachers just like Brother Miano.

In a recent post titled Debating Dillahunty-A Review, Miano had this to say about atheist Matt Dillahunty:

No, I don’t hate Matt Dillahunty. I pity him. I pity him the way I pity every human being who denies the God they know exists (Romans 1:18-25). I pity Matt and people like him because the Dillahunty Delusion (an all-too-common malady) is simply a byproduct of an absurd worldview (one that searches for coherence and meaning without God), which is born out of a love of self, a love of sin, and a hatred of God (Romans 1:31-32).

I think it would be safe to say that Miano’s view of Matt is how he views all atheists.

somali child
In Tony Miano’s World, What This Child Needs is Jesus
Like many of his ilk who only care whether or not someone embraces their version of Jesus, Miano has little compassion for those who are suffering. Miana is a Calvinist, so any suffering in the world is according to God’s sovereign, unchangeable plan. No need to embrace the suffering of others. Just get them saved so they avoid the REAL suffering to come.

As many of you know, a massive earthquake hit Nepal, killing thousands and injuring thousands more. A compassionate, kind, loving human would attempt to empathize with the Nepalese and their horrific loss of life and home. Not Miano. Here’s what he had to say on Twitter:

miano twitter nepal

Most of the retweets were from people who condemned Miano’s tweet, but 96 people thought that tweet was wonderful. Some of those who clicked favorite were the same who condemned Miano’s tweet, but there were some Christians who thought Miano’s tweet reflected their view. People like Jessica Lam, Seth Dunn, and Kevin McDonald, and a host of other Christians who don’t want others to know their name. Like the raised hand and the unspoken prayer request, these Christians want Brother Miano to know that they support and approve of his tweet about Nepal.

Miano is followed by thousands of like-minded churches, parachurch ministries, and Christians. I looked in vain for one tweet that rebuked Miano. I wonder how they would respond if I tweeted this after a natural disaster leveled their home and church and killed their children:

Ha! Ha! Ha! You Christians in Toledo,Ohio got exactly what you deserved. Repent of your stupid beliefs. I hope that none of your churches are rebuilt! #mygodrulz

I can only imagine how Christians would respond to me, and rightly so. Why are Christians silent when people like Tony Miano, Franklin Graham, Pat Robertson, James Dobson, Ray Comfort, John Piper, Al Mohler, and a host of other miscreants, use the suffering and loss of others to remind them of their need to repent and believe in Jesus?

Why I Hate Jesus

american jesus 2

I don’t hate the flesh and blood Jesus who walked the dusty roads of Palestine, nor do I hate the Jesus found in the pages of the Bible. These Jesuses are relics of the past. I’ll leave it to historians to argue and debate whether these Jesuses were real or fiction. Over the centuries, Christians have created many Jesuses in their own image. This is the essence of Christianity, an ever-evolving religion bearing little resemblance to what it was even a century ago.

The Jesus I hate is the modern, Western Jesus, the American Jesus, the Jesus who has been a part of my life for almost fifty-eight years. The Jesuses of bygone eras have no power to harm me, but the modern Jesus – the Jesus of the three hundred thousand Christian churches that populate every community in America – he has the power to affect my life, hurt my family, and destroy my country.  And I, with a vengeance, hate him.

Over the years, I have had a number of people write me about how the modern Jesus was ruining their marriage. In many instances, the married couple started out in life as believers, and somewhere along the road of life one of them stopped believing. The still-believing spouse can’t or won’t understand why the other spouse no longer believes. They make it clear that Jesus is still very important to them and if forced to choose between their spouse and family, they would choose Jesus. Simply put, they love Jesus more than they love their families.

Sadly, these types of marriages usually fail. A husband or a wife simply cannot compete with Jesus. He is the perfect lover and perfect friend, one who is always there for the believing spouse. This Jesus hears the prayers of the believing spouse and answers them. This Jesus is the BFF of the believing spouse. This Jesus says to the believer, you must choose, me or your spouse. It is this Jesus I hate.

This Jesus cares nothing for the poor, the hungry, or the sick. This Jesus has no interest in poor immigrants or unwed mothers. This Jesus cares for Tim Tebow more than he does a starving girl in Ethiopia. He cares more about who wins a Grammy or ACM Award than he does poverty-stricken Africa having food and clean water. It is this Jesus I hate.

This Jesus is on the side of the culture warriors. This Jesus hates homosexuals and demands they be treated as second class citizens. This Jesus, no matter the circumstance, demands that a woman carry her fetus to term. Child of a rapist, afflicted with a serious birth defect, the product of incest or a one night stand?  It matters not. This Jesus is pro-life. Yet, this same Jesus supports the incarceration of poor young men of color, often for no other crime than trying to survive. This Jesus is so pro-life he encourages American presidents and politicians to slaughter innocent men, women, and children. This Jesus demands certain criminals be put to death by the state, even though the state has legally murdered innocent people. It is this Jesus I hate.

This Jesus drives fancy cars, has palaces and cathedrals, and followers who spare no expense to make his house the best mansion in town. This Jesus loves Rolexes, Lear jets, and expensive suits. This Jesus sees the multitude and turns his back on them, only concerned with those who say and believe “the right things.” It is this Jesus I hate.

This Jesus owns condominiums constructed just for those who believe in him. When they die, he gives them the keys. But, for the rest of humanity, billions of people, this Jesus says no keys for you. I have a special Hitler-like plan for you. To the ovens you go, only unlike the Jews, I plan to give you a special body that allows me to torture you with fire and brimstone forever. It is this Jesus I hate.

It is this Jesus who looks at Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Atheists, Agnostics, Deists, Universalists, Secularists, Humanists, and Skeptics, and says to them before you were born I made sure you could never be in the group that gets the condominiums when they die. This Jesus says, and it is your fault, sinner man. It is this Jesus who made sure billions of people were born into cultures that worshiped other Gods. It is this Jesus who then says it is their fault they were born at the wrong place, at the wrong time. Too bad, this Jesus says, burn forever in the Lake of Fire. It is this Jesus I hate.

This Jesus divides families, friends, communities, and nations. This Jesus is the means to an end. This Jesus is all about money, power and control. This Jesus subjugates women, tells widows it’s their fault, and ignores the cry of orphans. Everywhere one looks, this Jesus hurts, afflicts, and kills those we love. It is this Jesus I hate. What I can’t understand is why anyone loves this Jesus? Like a clown on a parade route, he throws a few candies towards those who worship him, promising them that a huge pile of candy awaits them when they die. He lets his followers hunger, thirst, and die, yet he tells them it is for their good, that he loves them and has a wonderful plan for their life. This Jesus is all talk, promising the moon and delivering a piece of gravel. Why can’t his followers see this?

Fear me, he tells his followers. I have the keys to life and death. I have the power to make you happy and I have the power to destroy your life. I have the power to take your children, health, and livelihood. I can do these things because I am the biggest, baddest Jesus ever. Fear me and oppress women, immigrants, orphans, homosexuals, and atheists. Refuse my demand and I will rain my judgment down upon your head. But, know that I love you and only want is best for you and yours. It is this Jesus I hate.

Perhaps there is a Jesus somewhere that I could respect, a Jesus who might merit my devotion. For now, all I see is a Jesus who is worthy of derision, mockery, and hate. Yes, hate. It is this Jesus I hate. When the Jesus who genuinely loves humanity and cares for the least of these shows up, let me know. In the meantime, I hate Jesus.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 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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Bruce Gerencser