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Tag: Evangelicalism

Annihilationism: Feel-Good Doctrine for Nice Christians 

john lennon imagine

Many Christians — especially those of a liberal/progressive bent — now believe that non-Christians will be annihilated after death. Queasy over the notion of their “Loving” God eternally torturing unbelievers in hell, these Christians say that God will instead obliterate non-Christians, wiping them from the pages of human existence. Some Protestant Christians think unbelievers will be tortured for a certain amount of time, and then, having satisfied God’s torture-lust, will be burned up and remembered no more.

While it is certainly possible to selectively read and interpret the Bible and conclude that God will annihilate non-Christians, the historic Christian position remains God torturing conscious people for eternity. In recent years, thanks to authors such as Greg Boyd, Clark Pinnock, and John Stott, Evangelicals have become more sympathetic towards annihilationism. The question I want to raise in this post is WHY they have become more sympathetic to this view.

What causes staunch, Bible-believing Evangelicals to abandon the doctrine of endless punishment? Have they changed their view as a result of diligently studying the Bible? While I am sure that some Evangelicals have abandoned this doctrine for intellectual reasons, the real reason is more emotional in nature. By carefully examining increasing Evangelical support for same-sex marriage, I think we can understand why many Evangelicals no longer think non-believers will be eternally tortured in hell (actually the Lake of Fire). Younger Evangelicals — having watched their parents and grandparents turn Evangelicalism into one of the most hated American religions — want to put a kinder, gentler face on Christianity. Many of them — deeply affected by postmodern thinking — have moved leftward, away from the culture war and the endless battles over doctrine. No longer wanting to be viewed in a negative light, younger Evangelicals strive to be accepted by the world. More accepting of evolution and science, tolerant, temperate Evangelicals genuinely want to be liked by others — bristling when lumped in with culture warriors and Fundamentalists.

john piper annihilationism

These worldly Evangelicals know and associate with people older Evangelicals have, in times past, consigned to the flames of hell. It is hard for them to look at Lesbian Angela, Gay Harper, and Atheist Laura and think these friends of theirs will be endlessly tortured by God. As in the case of gays and same-sex marriage, once people actually meet and know people who are happy unbelievers, their viewpoint often changes as well. Their parents and grandparents — fearing contamination by the “world” — walled themselves off from the influences of non-Christians. Younger Evangelicals — often educated at secular colleges — are more comfortable among non-Christians. Once exposed to the “world,” it is unlikely they will return to the Fundamentalism of their Evangelical forefathers.

As atheists, should we be appreciative that some Evangelicals think God will annihilate us some day, and not endlessly torture us? Ponder for a moment the fact that many annhilationists think God will — for a time — torture unbelievers before turning them into ash heaps. How is this really any better than eternal hellfire and damnation? The fact remains that the Christian God will reward or punish people based on beliefs. Believe the right things and a home in heaven awaits. Believe the wrong things and God will erase your name from the book of the living. I get it…many Evangelicals are tired of being viewed as mean and hateful, and Liberal and Progressive Christians are weary of being lumped together with Fundamentalists. However, the fact remains that annihilation is a form of punishment reserved for those who are members of the wrong religious club. This means that good people will be burnt to a crisp for no other reason than that their God was some other deity but Jesus. Forgive me if I don’t find such beliefs “comforting.”

Here’s the good news. Many Christians, having tried on annihilationism for a time, eventually realize that it is just endless punishment-lite. Once annihilationism is abandoned, universalism awaits. All paths now lead to eternal bliss, so there is no need to evangelize or argue doctrine. Imagine a world without theocratic demands of fealty, arguments over theology, or threats of God’s judgment. Why, such a world would be heaven on earth — a heaven where even atheists are welcome.

A Devil Worshiper Might Live Near You or Sit Next to You at Work, warns Jennifer LeClaire

barack obama satan worshiper

Jennifer LeClaire, senior editor for CHARISMA Magazine, is a Charismatic Christian version of Joseph McCarthy — the noted Communist hunter of the 1950s. Everywhere LeClaire looks, she sees Satan and his demon worker bees. In a March 18, 2016 article published on Charisma’s “news” site, demonphobic LeClaire warns that Satanism is on the rise. LeClaire writes:

Satanism is rising—and rising rapidly. Beyond shows like Lucifer that paint the devil as simply misunderstood and the distribution of Satanic Temple materials in some schools and the Satanic black mass at an Oklahoma City civic center and the monument to Baphomet in Detroit—these are just a few recent examples—there are the senseless deaths of young men like Edwin Juarez Palma.

Police in Mexico arrested a trio of Satanists who allegedly killed a friend in the process of trying to morph him into a vampire. Palma, the victim, was reportedly strangled, beaten and slashed in the neck before he died. The Satanists wrapped his body in a plastic bag and ditched him.

“Police say Edwin, known as Piwa, was killed after being fooled into taking part in an initiation ceremony to become part of a satanic cult called the Sons of Baphomet 1,” the Daily Mail reports. “Instead, he was tortured after having his hands tied behind his back after one of the alleged killers persuaded the others their victim should be sacrificed so he could return to life as a vampire.”

Clearly, these kids are deceived at best and deluded at worst. Two of the suspected killers are 18 and the other one is 25. According to Encyclopedia Satanica, the average age of a Satanist is 25 and most are single male Caucasians. Satanists are politically diverse, work a range of occupations and come from Jewish, Catholic, Protestant or agnostic backgrounds. Most were involved in other religions before they converted to the literal dark side.

Who knows? A devil worshipper might live near you or sit next to you at work.

By the best statistics I can find, there were 50,000 Satanists in the world in 1990, according to the Ontario Consultants of Religious Tolerance, and that number rose to as many as 100,000 in 2006. Of course, that was a decade ago—and a lot has changed in a decade. More recently, the Catholic Church warned of the rise of Satanism and the occult. And God’s Ghostbusters reports there are more than 200,000 registered witches and up to 8 million who have not officially unveiled themselves.

Dark forces are also invading Christianity. Three out of every 10 teenagers have played the Ouija board, had their palms read, and eight out of 10 have read horoscopes, according to a Barna Study called “Teens and the Supernatural.” The survey reports 29 percent of Christian teens did not see anything wrong with it. Eighteen percent said they read horoscopes, but do not think it really predicts the future. And another 8 percent said they read it, but feel guilty about it.

Clearly, the prince of the power of the air is working overtime and seeing the fruits of his labors. Books and movies about boy wizards captured the attention of a generation and a fascination with vampires is ultimately what some believe led to Edwin Juarez Palma’s demise. (Palma had interest in vampires as a hobby, according to news reports, allowing an open door for the Satanists to deceive him.) We know that Satan disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14), but he’s really the father of lies (John 8:44) and he wants to take a [sic] many people to hell with him as he can. Palma was a victim of the devil’s empty words.

….

Got all that?

LeClaire warns readers that many Christian teenagers have “played the Ouija board, had their palms read” and have “read horoscopes.” Sadly, where most thinking people see entertainment, LeClaire sees dark forces out to steal the souls of unwitting people. Many readers of this blog can remember when they too thought that inanimate objects were demon-possessed and had the power to lead people into darkness. Who can forget the 1980s and all the hysteria over certain toys. Here is a video of Phil Phillips, author of Turmoil in the Toy Box, warning Christians about the demonic forces that lurk in toy boxes:

Video Link

The 1970s gave Evangelicalism the dangers of Satan-inspired rock music and backmasking. The 1980s and 1990s found Christians all worked up over the occult, Satanic human sacrifices, and ritual child abuse. Sadly, Evangelicals have a propensity for believing any explanation that helps them to understand what they perceive as the collapse of Christian America. Who and what gets the blame changes with time, but the perceived power behind it — Satan and his demons — remains the same. It is hard to believe — in the twenty-first century — that there are still people who think that the Devil and his minions lurk in the shadows, working to overthrow the Christian God.

church of satan

LeClaire thinks the increase of news stories about the Satanic Church is proof that Satanism is increasing. LeClaire seems ignorant of the fact that members of the Church of Satan do NOT worship Beelzebub. I wonder if demon hunter LeClaire has ever bothered to read the FAQ on the Church of Satan’s website? I doubt it. Had LeClaire read it, she would have found out:

Why do Satanists worship The Devil?

We don’t. Satanists are atheists. We see the universe as being indifferent to us, and so all morals and values are subjective human constructions.

Our position is to be self-centered, with ourselves being the most important person (the “God”) of our subjective universe, so we are sometimes said to worship ourselves. Our current High Priest Gilmore calls this the step moving from being an atheist to being an “I-Theist.”

Satan to us is a symbol of pride, liberty and individualism, and it serves as an external metaphorical projection of our highest personal potential. We do not believe in Satan as a being or person.

Do Satanists perform sacrifices?

No. We are atheists. The only people who perform sacrifices are those who believe in supernatural beings who would consider a sacrifice to be some form of payment for a request or form of worship. Since we do not believe in supernatural beings there is no reason for a Satanist to make a sacrifice of any sort.

Where would Christianity be without Satan? Created by God, Satan is Jehovah’s protagonist. Without Satan, how would Christians explain the existence of evil? Without the prince and power of the air, sin would lose much of its power. Without Lucifer, Evangelicals would lose the greatest excuse ever cooked up by religious fanatics — the devil made me do it!

Video Link

LeClaire thinks that much of the evil in the world can be attributed to Satan, demons, and their influence over people. As Joseph McCarthy did sixty years ago rooting out people he thought were Communists, LeClaire warns that Evangelicals could have neighbors or fellow employees who are devil worshipers. How will Christians know if Morningstar’s followers are nearby? LeClaire doesn’t say. Perhaps enlightened Evangelicals have some sort of spidey-like tingling that comes over them when Satanists are nearby. Or maybe the Holy Spirit warns Christians with some sort of radar-like beep that demons are near. I wish LeClaire would be clear. How can Christians KNOW when Satan and the Demonettes are playing nearby? From everything that I have read — reports of religious leaders committing horrible crimes — people have much more to fear if pastors, priests, and church leaders live nearby. Of course, LeClaire would respond by saying that predator preachers are under the influence of Satan and are being used by him to give Christianity a bad name. Funny how Le Claire and her fellow Evangelicals never become aware of Satan’s influence until AFTER a crime has been committed. I would think God would have some sort of advance warning signal set to alert Christians that certain pastors are under the influence of the Evil One. Surely God doesn’t want Christian children and teenagers raped, molested, or abused, right?

People need not fear Satan or God. Both are fictions of the human imagination. It is when we allow God, Satan, and their imaginary powers stand in for goodness and evil that we become deceived. As a humanist, I believe that the power to do good and evil rests solely with people. God and Satan become middlemen who rob humans of rewards for doing good and responsibility for doing bad. Once people break free of the Christian God and his sidekick Satan, they are then free to see and experience life as it is. Ouija boards? Horoscopes? Palm readings? Harry Potter? Wizards? Witches? Occult-themed movies? Harmless fun. I have yet to meet or know of person who was led over to the mythical dark side by Potter and his Hogwarts friends. To LeClaire and her fearful compatriots I say, SATAN IS NOT REAL! Repeat after me, SATAN IS NOT REAL! Yes, Satan has his own program on FOX, but the star of the show — Lucifer Morningstar — is actor Tom Ellis, not the mythical Bible character with the same name.

Of course, Fundamentalists such LeClaire will view this post as PROOF that Satan is real. Here’s Bruce Gerencser — once an Evangelical pastor — now saying that God and Satan are a myth. There is nothing I can do about such accusations. People prone to think inanimate objects have power and evil hides under every rock have lost the ability to think and reason. They will remain this way until they come to the place where they realize that they have built their entire lives on what Jon Stewart affectionately called: Bullshit Mountain.

Do Evangelicals Love and Accept People as They Are?

god use me to reach oneEvangelicals sincerely believe that they love and accept people as they are. Some will even say that they love everyone unconditionally. (Please see Does God Love Us Unconditionally?) With pious smiles on their faces, Evangelicals say, We love everyone, just like Jesus did. Jesus died on the cross for everyone, praise his holy name! Of course, Calvinists and Arminians have been fighting for hundreds of years over whether Jesus loves everyone. While I love poking holes in both warring parties’ arguments, I will leave the Calvinism vs. Arminianism atonement debate for another day. I am far more interested in dealing with the idea that Evangelicals, in general, love and accept people just as they are.

Evangelicals believe that everyone is marred and broken by sin. The solution to this brokenness is Jesus. When Evangelicals say they love and accept people as they are, what they mean is that they, for a time, will do so, but only if sinners eventually come around to their way of thinking. The goal is to bring marred, broken people to saving faith in Jesus Christ. Called by Christ to evangelize the world, Evangelicals desire to convert every boy, girl, man, and woman. Evangelicals accepting people as they are is but a means to an end — the salvation of sinners. So, when Evangelicals say they love drunks, drug addicts, prostitutes, adulterers, Catholics, Muslims, and atheists, their love is based on an ulterior motive — winning the lost to Jesus.

What happens if people do not want what Evangelicals are peddling — deliverance from sin and eternal life through Jesus Christ? Will Evangelicals still unconditionally love and accept these intransigent people as they are? Most Evangelicals will turn to prayer, hoping that God will give sinners eyes to see and ears to hear the glorious gospel of amazing grace. Their love and acceptance is ALWAYS based on changing people from who and what they are. Since Evangelicals believe they are the purveyors of the true Christian gospel, the end goal is to turn lost sinners into saved Evangelicals.

This is why I have long believed that Evangelicals do not love or accept people as they are. They can’t. As long as they are part of an exclusionary sect that divides the entire human race into two categories — saved and lost, Evangelicals will never accept, as they are, people who are different from them.

Evangelicals are taught to not associate with the world. This is why there is a sprawling Evangelical subculture that now offers separate Evangelicals Jesusfied versions of the goods and entertainments found in the world — the domain of the prince and power of the air, Satan. Things such as Christian rock music, Christian radio, Christian TV, Christian clothing, Christian dating services, Christian schools,Christian auto repair, Christian, home improvements, and Christian (fill in the blank) _________ are all meant to provide Evangelicals with things similar to what the world has to offer.

Evangelicals are commanded by God to come out from the world and be separate. Not wanting to be like the Amish or other separatist groups, Evangelicals diligently work to transform the world into the Kingdom of God. Once everyone — well almost everyone except those vile, heathen atheists — has bowed a knee to Jesus and joined Club Evangelical™ all will be well and Evangelicals can then truly love and accept people as they are — born again Christians. Woo Hoo! Everyone is playing for the same team now! Praise Jesus!

Evangelicals forget that people such as myself — Evangelicals-turned-atheists — know the truth. Evangelicals not only don’t love and accept non-Evangelicals as they are, they also don’t accept fellow Evangelicals as they are. I monitor and read over 200 Evangelical blogs. Every day, this or that Evangelical is upset over what some other Evangelical preacher, church, or sect said or did. In particular, Evangelical discernment blogs — also known as keepers of the Book of Life — rail against other Evangelicals who have different beliefs, use the wrong Bible version, sing the wrong style of music, support the wrong ministries, or do anything else contrary to their narrowly defined version of the one true faith. Everywhere I look, I see Evangelicals fussing with each other. Acting like toddlers fighting over toys, Evangelicals seem oblivious to Jesus’ commands concerning love and unity.

I left the Christian church in 2008. Since my departure, countless Evangelicals have attempted to “love and accept me as I am.” When I point out to them that they do not really accept me as I am, these loving Evangelicals often get upset over me insinuating that their motives are not pure. It is not an insinuation, it is a fact. When Evangelicals want to befriend me, I immediately know that they have an ulterior motive. How could it be otherwise? What do I have in common with Evangelicals? This blog is a repudiation of everything Evangelicals hold dear. If Jesus is their friend, lover, and Savior, how could Evangelicals possibly be friends with someone who challenges their beliefs about Jesus? I am the ex-wife, the woman formerly married to the Evangelical bride’s new husband. I highly doubt the new wife is going to friend the ex-wife on Facebook or follow her on Pinterest.

The Bible is clear, I am an enemy of God. I am an apostate who tramples under the blood of Jesus. I spit in the face of God, wanting nothing to do with him. According to Hebrews 6:4-6 (edited for emphasis):

For it is impossible for Bruce who was once enlightened, and has tasted of the heavenly gift, and was made a partaker of the Holy Ghost, And has tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If Bruce shall fall away, to renew him again unto repentance; seeing that he crucifies to himself the Son of God afresh, and puts him to an open shame.

Hebrews 10:26,29 states:

For if Bruce sins wilfully after he has received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for his sins…Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall Bruce be thought worthy, he who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

To my fellow atheists and non-Evangelicals, I suggest that the next time Evangelicals come bearing gifts of love and acceptance you ask them, what do you REALLY want? Lurking behind every friendship request is the desire to see you saved and made a part of Club Evangelical™. But, Bruce, says an Evangelical, I really, really, really want to be friends with you. Why? Be honest. Why do you want to be my friend? Please tell me what we have in common? Are you willing to meet me at the Pub and fellowship over a few beers or shots of whiskey? Are you willing to skip church so you can attend a baseball game with me? Are you willing to never mention the name of Jesus or Christianity in my presence? Are your ears tough enough to weather my cursing and risqué jokes? Be honest. Isn’t the real objective to win me to Jesus; to recover me from the pit of sin?

I have two Evangelical friends (husband and wife) — members of the Church of the Nazarene. Our friendship dates back to the 1960s when the husband and I lived near each other and walked to elementary school together. Our friendship has gone through many phases over the years. I was, for a time, their pastor. When I deconverted in 2008, I wondered if our friendship would survive. It has, and here is how. We don’t talk about religion or atheism unless one of us asks a question. We focus on the things we have in common: family, children, marriage, chronic illness, chronic pain, love of off-road travel, and eating food at out-of-the-way places. My friends are willing to let me go to hell and I am willing to let them go to heaven. Each of us knows that the other has made an informed decision about God, Jesus, Christianity, and the Bible.

I have invested 50 years in this friendship and I don’t want to argue or debate it away. I deeply love my friends and would do anything for them. Well ALMOST anything — accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior excepted. I am sure my writing, at times, causes them pain. I am sure they wish I were still a Christian. But I am not, so there is no need to dwell on that which will never happen. Will our friendship last until the end — when death proves the reality of that which we believe to be true? I don’t know. I hope so. Members of their family have told them not to be my friend. I am a tool of Satan, one family member said, and Christians should never be friends with people such as myself.

I hope Evangelicals will ponder what I have written in this post. Enough of the warm, fuzzy, syrupy pronouncements of love and acceptance. Atheists and non-Christians see through Evangelical offers of unconditional love. Surely there are enough people to befriend at church. Why troll for friends who will never share your beliefs? Why seek friendships with people whose lives are diametrically opposed to all you hold dear. I can hear the wheels turning in Evangelical minds. Come on, spit it out. Be honest. You really don’t love and accept people as they are. Your motive — no matter how hard you try to hide it — is to save broken sinners such as Bruce. And it is for this reason, we can never be friends.

Songs of Sacrilege: Heresy by Nine Inch Nails

nine inch nails

This is the eighty-seventh 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 send me an email.

Today’s Song of Sacrilege is Heresy by Nine Inch Nails.

Video Link

Lyrics

He sewed his eyes shut because he is afraid to see
He tries to tell me what I put inside of me
He’s got the answers to ease my curiosity
He dreamed a god up and called it Christianity

Your god is dead and no one cares
If there is a hell I’ll see you there

He flexed his muscles to keep his flock of sheep in line
He made a virus that would kill off all the swine
His perfect kingdom of killing, suffering and pain
Demands devotion atrocities done in his name

Your god is dead and no one cares
If there is a hell I’ll see you there
Your god is dead and no one cares
If there is a hell I’ll see you there

Drowning in his own hypocrisy
And if there is a hell I’ll see you there
Burning with your god in humility
Will you die for this?

Door-to Door Soulwinning

lets go soulwinning
Jack Hyles, Let’s Go Soulwinning

Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) churches are known for being the Baptist version of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. IFB soulwinners fan out across their communities knocking on doors, hoping the people resting from a long, hard day at work will answer their knock and want to spend 10 minutes hearing their sales presentation. While the sales pitches vary from church to church, the goal is always the same — to induce sinners to accept Jesus as their Savior.

Church members are given specific instructions about how best to evangelize those who answer their doors. Members are told to never deviate from the script. Keep on message, says Pastor Gerencser. Don’t let the prospect for heaven ask questions. All they need to know is gospel. Here is the soulwinning method I taught countless church members:

Soulwinner: Hello. My name is Pastor Bruce Gerencser and this is (pointing to soulwinning partner) John Baptist. We are from Somerset Baptist Church and we are out today inviting people to church. Do you attend church anywhere?

Prospect: Well, yes I do. I attend the Methodist church in Somerset.

(Sometimes, at this point, the soulwinner might ask where the church is located or who the pastor is. If the prospect can’t answer these questions, it is evident that they don’t attend church regularly.)

Soulwinner: Why that’s great. We don’t want to take anyone away from their church home. (This, by the way, is a boldfaced lie. The goal is to take as many people as possible away from what is perceived as liberal, apostate churches.)

Soulwinner: Before we go, I would like to ask you a question. If you died today, would you go to heaven?

Prospect: I am a good person. I think I will go to heaven when I die. (The answer is meaningless. The soulwinner plans to share the gospel with the prospect regardless of how the question is answered.)

Soulwinner: Let me quickly show you how you can know for sure that you will go to heaven when you die. I promise this will only take a few minutes. (The soulwinner, before the prospect can answer, opens his King James Bible to Romans 3, preparing to read.)

(At this point, the soulwinner should ask if they can come into the home. If the prospect says no, then the soulwinner should continue sharing the gospel on the porch.)

Soulwinner: The Word of God says in Romans 3:23, For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. This means that all of us, you, me, everyone is a sinner. Do you understand what it means to be a sinner?

Prospect: Sin is doing bad things.

Soulwinner: That’s right. (The soulwinner might list a few small and big sins to emphasize the fact that we are all sinners)

Soulwinner: The Bible also says in Romans 6:23, For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. The just payment for our sins is death.

Soulwinner: The last part of Romans 6:23 says, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. The bad news is that the wages (payment) of sin is death. We all will someday physically die. And if we don’t know Jesus as our Savior, we will also spiritually die. This spiritual death means that those who haven’t accepted Jesus as their personal savior will spend eternity in hell. The good news is…you don’t have to go to hell when you die. God gives us eternal life in heaven if we put our faith and trust in Jesus. Wouldn’t you like escape hell and go to heaven when you die?

Prospect: Uh, sure.

Soulwinner: That’s great. The Bible says in Romans 10:9: That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. This verse says that if we will confess with our mouths and believe that Jesus died for our sins on the cross and rose from the dead three days later, God will save us.

Soulwinner: What is your first name, sir.

Prospect: Horace.

Soulwinner: Horace, the Bible says that if Horace shalt confess with his mouth the Lord Jesus, and if Horace will believe in his heart that God hath raised Jesus from the dead, Horace will be saved.

Soulwinner: Horace, would you like to be saved? Would you like to know for certain that your sins are forgiven and that you will go to heaven when you die?

Prospect: Yes. (If the prospect is the least bit hesitant, the soulwinner should stress the fact that none of us knows when we die. It could be today!)

Soulwinner: The Bible says in Romans 10:13: For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. That whosoever includes you, me, and everyone. All you have to do, Horace, is pray and ask Jesus to save you. Are you willing to ask Jesus to save you?

Prospect: Yes, but I am not very good at praying.

Soulwinner: Don’t worry, Horace. I am going to say a prayer, What I want you to do is repeat this prayer.

Prospect: Okay.

Soulwinner: Dear Lord Jesus.

Prospect: Dear Lord Jesus.

Soulwinner: I know that I have sinned and I deserve to go to hell when I die.

Prospect: I know that I am a sinner and I deserve to go to hell when I die.

Soulwinner: But I also know Jesus died on the cross for my sins so I don’t have to go to hell when I die.

Prospect: But I also know Jesus died on the cross for my sins so I don’t have to go to hell when I die.

Soulwinner: Right now, I put my faith and trust in Jesus and ask him to forgive me and save me from my sins.

Prospect: Right now, I put my faith and trust in Jesus and ask him to forgive me and save me from my sins.

Soulwinner: Thank you, Jesus for saving me and giving me eternal life.

Prospect: Thank you, Jesus for saving me and giving me eternal life.

Soulwinner: In Jesus’ wonderful name, Amen.

Prospect: In Jesus’ wonderful name, Amen.

(Once the now-saved prospect says Amen, both soulwinners, with raised voices, say AMEN!)

Soulwinner: Horace, based on the authority of the Word of God, you are now a Christian. The Bible says in Romans 8:38,39: For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. God says, Horace, that no one can take away your salvation. Isn’t that wonderful?

(At this point, the new Christian is given literature that tells him he needs to find a good church to attend — that good church being Somerset Baptist Church, read the Bible every day, pray every day, and tell others about what Jesus has done for them.)

Scores of Americans have, at one time or the other, been accosted by Jesus-peddling IFB soulwinners hoping to sell them the truncated, bankrupt Fundamentalist Baptist gospel. There are numerous versions of this approach. I used what is called the Romans Road. Some churches use John’s Road — from the gospel of John — or church surveys. Southern Baptists popularized the use of surveys. The goal is to identify people who can easily be persuaded to buy siding/windows/driveway sealing/vacuum cleaners/magazines/steak knives/insurance/Jesus.

The goal is to win as many souls as possible. It doesn’t matter that most of the souls won to Jesus will NEVER darken the doors of an IFB church, never be baptized, or do any of the things “good” Christians are supposed to do. All that matters is that sinners prayed the prayer and asked Jesus to save them. This approach is focused on quantity not quality. IFB soulwinners only concern themselves with preaching their version of the gospel to as many people as possible. It is up to God to make the new Christians into the people he wants them to be.

[signoff]

Why Do Communities Continue To Ask Pastors for Support When Tragedy Strikes?

why

Let a tornado or flood devastate a community, and local pastors are often the first ones called to help the community understand the devastation and destruction. Let a student shoot up the local high school, and local pastors are called upon to help students cope with the senseless violence. Let a school bus carrying high school athletes veer off the road, resulting in the death of several notable students, and local pastors are asked to come to the school and console and support grieving students. No one bothers to ask: WHY should pastors be called for support when tragedy strikes? What possibly could pastors offer people other than a shoulder to cry upon?

In rural Northwest Ohio, the place of my birth and current residence, Evangelical pastors are routinely called upon to give help when tragedy strikes. I have to ask, what could Evangelical pastors possibly say that would help anyone make sense of tragedy? These men of God literally have nothing to offer but meaningless clichés:

  • God knows…
  • God has a perfect plan.
  • God never gives us more than we can bear.
  • God will take this tragedy and turn it into something good.
  • God loves us and only wants what is best for us.
  • Just trust God and you will get through this.
  • All things work together for good for those who love God.

Overcome by grief. people rarely challenge these false claims:

  • If God knows, why did he let it happen?
  • How could God’s perfect plan include wiping out our town?
  • How could God possibly take the death of __________ and turn into good? Wouldn’t “good” have been letting ________ live?
  • How could God really love us and let this happen?

When confronted with such questions, Evangelicals pastors respond with more clichés such as just trust God or just believe. Why don’t these pastors tell grieving people the truth: shit happens and often we don’t know why things happen like they do? Instead of sheltering people from the harsh realities of life, perhaps it is better if they hear the truth: life is hard and cruel and sometimes good people die. Instead of portraying tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, and floods as acts of God, how about telling people the real reason such things happen? It is science, not Christianity that provides the answer to WHY these things happen. When a student murders his fellow classmates, perhaps it is better to focus on the senselessness of gun violence. Anything but giving students empty non-answers. Perhaps what pastors really need to do is put an arm around those feeling loss and love them. Forget the sermonizing and just love those who are hurting. Imagine how people might respond if pastors said, I don’t know. But Evangelical pastors will NEVER do this. They are expected to have answers — and they arrogantly think they do — and to provide help to those who are grieving. Speaking the truth is NOT in their repertoire. For them, every answer begins and ends with God and the Bible.

I would like to see communities STOP calling on pastors for help when tragedy strikes. First, many pastors have very little professional counselor training. Just because a person is a pastor doesn’t mean that he is qualified to counsel people. In fact, it is safe to say that MOST Evangelical pastors have no business counseling people (outside of giving spiritual advice). Taking several “Biblical” counseling courses does not a counselor make. Communities and schools would be better served if they turned to secular counselors or religious leaders with extensive counseling training for help. People are best helped when they are gently brought face to face with the realities of life, senseless death, and natural disasters.

On the Road Looking for God’s True Church

As Polly and I travel the roads of Northwest Ohio and Southeast Indiana, we are always on the lookout for God’s True Church®. Here are a few of the churches we stumbled upon in recent months.

zion lutheran church defiance ohio

Zion’s Lutheran Church, Defiance, Ohio, Timothy Reynolds, pastor. Zion’s Lutheran is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Tim is a friend of mine, so I won’t be too snarky about his church’s sign. While the message certainly reflects orthodox Christian belief concerning sin, my first impression was to say, no the heart of sin is RELIGION. Remove religion — specifically Christianity — from the human experience and the notion of original sin and the need for redemption go away. Mankind is no longer viewed as broken and in need of fixing. While the concepts of evil and bad behavior would remain, I suspect our “sin” lists would become much smaller.

the gathering place defiance ohio the gathering place defiance ohio the gathering place defiance ohio the gathering place defiance ohio the gathering place defiance ohio

The Gathering Place, Defiance, Ohio, Richard Buttermore, pastor. The Gathering Place is a nondenominational church. According to its website, The Gathering place is:

a place for Christian believers to who want to experience the presence of God and mature in their faith and relationship with the creator. What is taught here are promises God has given to us and the walk of life required to reap these promises. We are not here to pass judgement on others about what they have done in the past but to help one another progress towards a better life through Jesus. Everyone is on a different page in their walk with Christ and here we gather to have fellowship amongst other believers where we can come for healing in the physical and the mental aspects of our lives. It is through the power of Jesus who spoke it from the beginning in which we are capable of doing these things so come check out what God is doing here in Defiance.

It is is only March, but I was tempted to give The Gathering Place the Stupidest Church Sign of the Year Award®. I decided to wait. We plan to go a lot of traveling this year, so we could yet stumble upon church signs that would knock The Gathering Place off the Stupid Church Sign Leaderboard.

One side of The Gathering Place’s marquee says, Be an Organ Donor, Give Your Heart to God. So, according to the sign, when people become Christians they give their the blood pumping organ in the upper left side of their chests to God. If we take this literally, how is the Christian God any different from the God of South American tribes centuries ago? Tribal priests would cut the hearts out of people and offer them to their God.  If people literally give their hearts to the Christian God, doesn’t that mean they will  be d-e-a-d after doing so? Perhaps The Gathering Place means for the sign message to be taken in a Biblical or metaphorical sense. But even here, the sign distorts what the Bible actually says about the heart. The Biblical heart is not the blood pumping organ that is central to our existence. A careful study of the word heart reveals that the word means mind or the seat of human will. Proverbs 23:7 says, For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.

There are Christians who will dig their literalist heels in on this matter and refuse to accept that the word heart does not mean the organ. I have one question for them. If a Christian has a heart transplant, does that mean he loses his salvation and has to get saved all over again?

The other side of The Gathering Place marquee says, One Nation Under Me, God. Meant to be a statement affirming Christian nationalism, my dirty, carnal, atheistic mind thought, so…God likes to be in top?

Bruce, You Are Doing an Awesome Job, Says One Fundamentalist Christian

curiosity

Readers might be surprised to learn that I am frequently contacted by Evangelicals who think I am still a Christian. They send me their prayer requests, ask for donations, ask for church recommendations, or have some pressing theological question they would like me to answer. Several Evangelicals have even wanted me to help them get the victory over sexual sin! Showing an utter lack of curiosity (Please see Curiosity, A Missing Evangelical Trait.) they assume I am a member of the Jesus Club™. Imagine their surprise when they find out I am a God-hating, baby-eating, Satan-worshiping, sin-loving atheist. One woman sent me a long email about how wonderful she thought I was — a true brother in Christ. And then, less than a day later, she sent me another email expressing her dismay over me being an atheist. The cognitive dissonance this caused her was so overwhelming that she didn’t know what to do. Surely an atheist couldn’t say or write anything that would “speak to her soul,” yet that is exactly what my writing did for her.

I am always amused when Evangelicals suggest that now that I am an atheist I no longer understand the Bible or Evangelical Christianity. They assume that the moment I said I no longer believe, God sent a supernatural vacuüm cleaner to earth and sucked five decades of knowledge out of my brain. After all the BIBLE says, But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. Now that I am a “natural” man, I no longer understand the Bible. This argument is so absurd that I don’t even try to respond. I know what I know, regardless of my “spiritual” condition.

Just this week I received an email from an Evangelical praising me for showing the vileness of the song My Church. The letter writer wrote, with a subject of Great Job!:

You probably don’t need to hear this, but I just this week heard the “My Church” song and was disgusted. I wanted to look up the lyrics to talk about in a lesson at church and found your sight[sic]. What you are doing is awesome.

A short while later, the letter writer, after checking out my awesome Christian blog, sent me this:

I just emailed you and I’m sorry for wasting your time. At a glance I thought you were someone who loved God and saw things the same way I do. I am not going to say things you already know, nor come to a level that some on your pages have as far as trying to belittle your opinion. Those actions are not very Christian, but at the same time i felt I needed to let you know that after reviewing your blog I see I was hasty in my earlier email and hope the furthest away from you continuing in this work. Though your desire is for this to not happen; I do pray that God will help you in health but more importantly find your way to him.

And…just like that I went from AWESOME to a bad man in need of salvation.

Note:

I am an expert at post tagging. Each day, upwards of twenty-five percent of my blog traffic comes from search engines. Most of these searches are performed by Christians. Each day hundreds of people come to this site thinking they are reading the writing of a brother in the Lord. Thanks to every post being appropriately and religiously tagged, my writing is usually well-ranked by Google and Bing. Of course, subject matter helps. When Evangelicals want to know if it is a sin for a man to have long hair, they usually end up at this site. And that is good, right? Knowledge is the only cure for Fundamentalism.

The Isaiah 53:5 Project Shows Evidence for God by Quoting the Bible

evidence for god

Every day, without fail, I spend time reading numerous Evangelical Christian blogs and websites. Doing so allows me to stay informed about what goes on in the insane asylum. One such blog is the Isaiah 53:5 Project — a site I have used as blog fodder numerous times before. Today, a man by the name of James wrote a post titled, Not Enough Evidence God. (link no longer active) I thought, oh boy, this ought to be good.

James starts out by saying that this post is a repost of one of the blog’s most-read articles. He goes on to say “If you think there is no evidence to support Christianity, you may want to think again. I thought, okay, James is going to present evidence that supports the existence of the Christian God. Perhaps he is even going to present evidence to support a virgin having a baby, dead people coming back to life, and a man walking through walls. Sadly, James left me quite disappointed. No cigarette after reading this post.

James quotes 19th-century atheist Bertrand Russell’s response to the question, What will you say some day when God asks you, why didn’t you believe in me? Russell replied: “I would say, ‘Not enough evidence, God! Not enough evidence!’” Again, James raises the issue of evidence. I thought, here it comes. Finally, an Evangelical is going to give the evidences for the existence of the Evangelical version of the Christian God. Once again, James leaves me disappointed.

According to James, Russell’s answer is, and I quote, “loaded with problems.” I thought, okay, loaded with problems. James is now going to unpack his powerful arsenal of proofs and slay the mighty dragon of atheism. My body tingled with excitement as I pondered what was coming next. I thought, oh how I want to be a Christian again. Finally, someone is going to give me sufficient reasons to believe the Christian narrative. And, just like that, James, ever the tease, left me, yet again, disappointed.

After James’ coitus-like build-up, I was expecting a rousing defense of Christianity. Instead, James showed that he was a virgin and in but a few moments the deed was done. The only evidence James gave for the existence of the Christian God was the tired, worn out Evangelical trope, the Bible says __________. That’s right — for all his talk about evidence, James gives none. Lest you doubt that I am accurately reporting James’ magnum opus, here is exactly what he had to say:

Problem number one is what God Himself has to say. I don’t think He minces any words here. [emphasis added]

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”

– Romans 1:20

…without excuse

…without excuse

…without excuse

Let that sink in a minute then ask yourself if Russell is making the arrogant mistake of blaming his lack of belief on the failure of a divine being who can do no wrong and gave humanity no excuse.

Are you making the same mistake Russell did? If so, how do you think the conversation at judgment will go?

You: “Not enough evidence, God! Not enough evidence!”

God: “…without excuse.”

Seems fairly cut and dry to me.

“Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.”

– Proverbs 26:12

That’s it. According to James, the Bible says God reveals himself through creation, and that by looking at creation, humans know that God exists. Those who look at creation and do not see God are deliberately ignoring what is plain for all to see. Thus, those who refuse to acknowledge God are without excuse. As I read this, I thought, That’s it, James? Come on, surely you have more evidence for God than this?

I wonder if James has ever had someone actually challenge his beliefs? According to a comment he left on his post, James was, at one time, an atheist (a claim I would love to see him support). (Please read, Dear Christians: The Word “Atheist” is Not Shorthand for Your Lives Before Jesus and I Was an Atheist Like You Before I Found Jesus.) James’ one-point evidence for the existence of the Evangelical God can be easily and quickly refuted.

When someone uses Romans 1:18-21 as “proof” for the existence of God, I quickly grant them their assertion. Fine, I say. I accept your claim that creation reveals to everyone the existence of God. Usually, Evangelicals are taken aback when I do this, but they fail to see that what I am really doing is setting a trap.

After I admit that someone could look at creation and conclude God exists, I then ask, which God? The Evangelical usually quickly responds with, why the one true God, the Christian God. I then ask them, what is there in creation that tells anyone that the Christian God created everything? What proof is there for the God of the Christian Bible being the creator God? What is the bridge that gets us from creation revealing that there is A GOD to that God being THE GOD of Evangelical Christianity? There is nothing in the universe that shows the Evangelical God created everything. At best, creation testifies to there being some sort of deistic God. When I look at the stars at night, I can easily understand how someone might conclude that a deity of some sort created the universe. However, I see no evidence in the sky that tells that this God is the Evangelical God.

Eventually, Evangelicals will finally say, the Bible says ________________. And just like that we are right back to where we started. James’ non-evidence evidence falls flat on its face because the real issue is not what the universe tells us, but whether the Bible is what Evangelicals claim it is. I have long argued that the best way to disabuse Evangelicals of their Fundamentalists beliefs is to attack the foundation of those beliefs — the Bible. And not just the Bible, but their interpretation of the Biblical text. The goal should be to convince Evangelicals that the Bible is not what they think it is. Specifically, Evangelicals need to be shown that the Bible is NOT an inspired, inerrant, infallible text.

The biggest problem is that Evangelicals have been brainwashed into rejecting out of hand any claim that casts doubt on the veracity and authority of the Bible. When the mythical Satan tempted the mythical Adam and Eve in the mythical Garden of Eden, he said to them, Yea, hath God said (Yes, even Satan uses King James English)? Evangelicals see challenges to the accuracy and truthfulness of the Bible as modern-day equivalents of Yea, hath God said? Thus, it becomes very difficult to breach the inerrancy wall that surrounds Evangelical minds. Not impossible, but hard. This is why when Evangelicals attempt to argue with me about something I wrote, I ask them, have you ever read any of Dr. Bart Ehrman’s books? (Please check out our bookstore for a list of Ehrman’s books.) I have yet to have an Evangelical answer yes. Often, they will say they have read reviews of his books or Dr. so-and-so’s take-down of the agnostic Bart Ehrman’s books. When pressed to read several of Ehrman’s books, most Evangelicals reply, I don’t need to. I have the Bible. And therein lies the problem. Until Evangelicals are willing to at least entertain thoughts of the Bible not being what they claim it is, there is no hope for them. If Evangelicals are willing to honestly and studiously read Ehrman’s books, I am confident that they will be disabused of the notion that the Bible is an inspired, inerrant, infallible text. Until the Jameses of the world are willing to wrestle with the history, nature, and complexity of the Biblical text, there is little hope of delivering them from their Fundamentalist beliefs. While I think someone can remain a Christian after reading Ehrman’s books, it is impossible for them to remain an Evangelical. The evidence provided by Ehrman is so overwhelming that those saying they are still Evangelical after reading his books are living in a state of denial.

Pastor Jack Wellman Says Atheists Secretly Know God Exists

atheism

According to Jack Wellman, pastor of Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane, Kansas, atheists “secretly” know God exists. Wellman writes:

They might not publically acknowledge their fear of God’s judgment because of their pride and their love of sin but deep down inside, they know God exists. They are simply suppressing that knowledge (Rom 1:18). I remember an unbeliever sitting next to me on a jet and we were circling the airport and waiting to land because there were tornadoes nearby and the storms had large hail as well as severe wind shear. As the jet kept circling, other planes began to circle around the airport too, waiting for the tornado warnings to expire. The longer we were in flight, the more other jets were in the area and the lighter our jet became (using up fuel), the more it was tossed right and left and up and down. After this experience, the man next to me asked me about God. I sensed his fear of dying made him fear God’s judgment, knowing that he was living a sinful life (as he acknowledge to me). Unbelievers can only have “a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries” (Heb 10:27) in near-death experiences and that’s the only fear of God they will ever know unless they repent. In the back of their minds they know that “our ‘God is a consuming fire’” (Heb 12:29) and that after death, they will be judged (Heb 9:27).

Imagine, for a moment, if atheists told Christians that believers know deep down that there is no God. Why, there would be outrage. How dare atheists invalidate their personal experiences! How dare atheists suggest that Christians do not know what they believe! Yet, Evangelicals routinely tell atheists that their unbelief is a charade; that atheists deep down (deep down where?) know that God exists. Atheists are rightly offended over such dismissals of their beliefs and personal experiences. If Christians can know in whom they have believed (2 Timothy 1:12), then atheists can certainly know in whom they have NOT believed.

I am an atheist because I do not think there is sufficient evidence for the existence of gods. I am not suppressing knowledge that tells me Jack Wellman’s version of God exists. How can Wellman possibly know that the creator God is Jehovah/Jesus — his preferred deity? What in the natural world screams to all who dare to listen that the Evangelical God created the universe 6,020 years ago? Evangelicals such as Wellman believe the Evangelical God exists because the Bible says he exists. Based on this presupposition, Evangelicals then interpret scientific data so it lines up with what God’s inspired, inerrant, infallible word says. Wellman, typical of most Evangelicals, closes his mind to anything that contradicts his Fundamentalist worldview. Such people are not seekers of truth. They think they have found the truth and have no need to consider any data that contradicts their version of truth. I can tell Wellman this much: provide evidence for the existence of the God of the Bible and I will believe. It really is that simple.

Will such evidence be forthcoming? Of course not. Wellman knows that most Christians-turned-atheists have already critically examined the evidence for the Christian God and found it wanting. What new evidence could possibly be forthcoming? In Luke 16 — the story of the rich man and Lazarus — Abraham tells the rich man — who is in hell — that unless his topside brothers listen to Moses and the prophets, they too will end up in hell. In other words, unless unbelievers heed what the Bible says they will go to hell when they die (technically they will go to the grave, not hell, and await Judgment Day). According to the Bible, God is not planning on sending a sign so people will believe (which is interesting since many Evangelicals keep saying God is giving America signs concerning his disfavor and coming judgment). God gave the world the Bible, end of story. Believe what it says or go to hell. That is, IF you can believe it, since salvation requires God giving the sinner the power to believe. No one, according to Arminians and Calvinists, believes unto salvation until God gives them eyes to see and ears to hear.

Wellman and his fellow Evangelicals refuse to accept that many atheists are quite knowledgeable about the Bible. After all, I was an Evangelical pastor for 25 years. Raised in an Evangelical home and trained at an Evangelical college, I know the Bible inside and out. I carefully weighed the Evangelical God and his errant, internally contradictory Bible on the scale of reason and found them wanting. If Wellman wants to bring atheists to the light then I suggest he do something other than quote Bible verses and make false assertions about unbelievers.

Speaking of false assertions, Wellman states that atheists do not “publically acknowledge their fear of God’s judgment because of their pride and their love of sin.” Pride? Really? What does pride have to do with atheism? Does Wellman really think atheists refuse to acknowledge the existence of the Christian God because they are too proud to do so? I assume he thinks atheists are too proud to admit they are wrong. Here’s the problem with such an argument: for atheists who were once Evangelicals, pride would have kept us in the fold. However, putting great value on truth, Evangelicals-turned-atheists refused to let cultural or family pride get in the way of their examination of Christianity. If anything, it is Evangelicals who have a pride problem. Tens of millions of Evangelical are little more than cultural Christians. It is pride (and fear) that keeps cultural Christians in the fold. If they were honest, cultural Christians would admit that they too see little evidence for the existence of the Christian God. Their lives are living proof that many Evangelicals are, in fact, atheists or agnostics. The Jack Wellmans of the church are the minority.

Wellman also states that atheists refuse to acknowledge the Evangelical God because of their “love of sin.” Countless Evangelical preachers — regurgitators of unverifiable nonsense — make the claim that atheists have secrets; that atheists are actually licentious, vile sinners. Can atheists behave badly? Absolutely. But, based on daily news headlines, it seems that it is Evangelicals that have a sin problem. Atheists, refusing to be bound by an irrelevant ancient religious text, are often quite open about their “sins.” Evangelicals, on the other hand, are taught to hide their sins under the mythical blood of Jesus. Just pray and ask for forgiveness, Evangelicals are told by preachers, and your sin debt will be wiped clean. What a way to avoid accountability for bad behavior. No need to air one’s dirty laundry. Just pray and move on to the next sin-filled night. Who is being more honest? Atheists who say, this is how we live our lives or Evangelicals who hide and obfuscate who they really are, pretending to be some sort of saints? Give me honest atheists every time.

Nothing I write in this post will crack Wellman’s cement-filled head. Now in the sunset years of life, Wellman has too much invested to walk away. In the not-too-distant future, the Evangelical God will either rapture Wellman away or call him home to be with Jesus. Or so Wellman thinks. Oh how I wish that Christians, immediately after death, could come back to life long enough to tell us that there is NOTHING that lies beyond the grave. Or at the very least, tell us that it was Wakan Tanka and not the Evangelical God who met them when they crossed to the other side. Since no one, including Jesus, comes back to life after dying, Evangelicals will continue to believe that a sweet payoff awaits them after death.

[signoff]

 

Peter LaBarbera Saw Two Gay Men Kissing and He Liked It

porno-pete

Last week, the National Football League (NFL) held its annual scouting combine. Eli Apple, an Ohio State standout, attended the event, which is meant to showcase the talents of NFL hopefuls. During one of the interview sessions, Atlanta Falcons secondary coach Marquand Manuel asked Apple, “Do you like men?” Manuel’s question caused quite an uproar, resulting in the Atlanta Falcons coaching staff being required to take an NFL-approved social training class. Atlanta coach Dan Quinn said Manuel received additional training. Most people think that a player’s sexuality is irrelevant. All that should matter is what players do while on the playing field.

Peter LaBarbera, chief homophobe for Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, wants to know who is doing the counseling. One News Now reports LaBarbera saying:

“First of all, who are the counselors? Are they bringing in people from groups like GLAAD, which is a homosexual activist group — which is bigoted against Christians? Are they bringing in anti-Christian homosexual activists to be their so-called advisors?”

First, why would it matter whether a counselor holds a negative view of   Christianity (actually Evangelical Christianity)? Isn’t the ONLY issue the fact that a person’s sexual identity and preferences are out of bounds and have no bearing on whether a player is NFL material? LaBarbera needs to understand that people of his ilk are no longer in control of our culture’s understanding of human sexuality. Most Americans now know at least one person who is gay. They are no longer willing to damn to hell friends, family, and work colleagues who just so happen to be gay. As with many former homophobes, my view of homosexuality changed once I met and befriended someone who batted from the wrong side of the plate.

Second, I am convinced that those who scream the loudest about the sin of homosexuality often are closeted gays themselves. In the same One News Now article, LaBarbera stated:

“I saw — I think it was a hockey game — where they had the kissing cam, and it was two guys kissing. And our kids are there. Do we want our sons and daughters to think it’s okay for two people of the same sex to kiss? It’s not okay! It’s immoral! It’s wrong!”

I wonder, is LaBarbera really “offended” by two men kissing, or does their kiss cause some sort of sexual stirring — one that must be suppressed lest the true Peter LaBarbera be forced out of the closet? My money is on the latter. Every time I see a picture of LaBarbera I think, this guy is a closeted gay.

peter labarbera

Here’s to hoping that contumacious LaBarbera will have a Ted Haggard moment. The Evangelical closet is chock-full of gays — male and female. Those who take the high moral road often drive off a cliff, crashing and bursting into flames, exposing for all to see their lies and hypocrisy. When these crashes happen, the world rightly laughs and ridicules the fallen saints—not because of their religion, but because they dared to think that they were morally superior to the unwashed, uncircumcised Philistines of the world.

For readers who might not be familiar with LaBarbera, here is a partial list of things he has said about gays:

“Only a decaying society pretends that homosexual relationships are morally equivalent to normal, male-female couples.”

“God detests homosexual practice and so we should expect that, since this is a sin movement, we should expect that they lie and are often nasty.”

It’s almost as if homosexual sodomy was created to spread disease.”

“My test is [to] substitute another sexual sin and see if it makes sense. Would we be talking about a survey of porn-using Christians or incestuous Christians? That sounds stark, but that’s, I believe, the appropriate biblical analogy.”

“I think there are Christians who struggle with the sin of homosexuality — but proud homosexual Christians? That’s an oxymoron to me in the same way as I would say proud adulterous Christians,” he adds. “And so, I think we have to be very careful because I see the tactic of the Emergent Church and the Christian left is to start talking more and more about ‘gay Christians,’ and what they end up doing is demonizing the so-called ‘Religious Right’ and saying that the Religious Right is all wrong in the way it has talked about homosexuality.”

“And have you considered the likelihood that some of the homosexuals will request sex-change procedures? I know for a fact that a significant percentage of my Law School class was undergoing sex-change therapy or surgery.”

“During my enlisted service, homosexuals seemed to be a clumsy lot. They had a tendency to repeatedly fall headfirst down an engineroom ladder. Some were even known to trip on deck and “fall” overboard.”

“If we get to pick and choose which laws we uphold, which laws are next on the line to ignore? Carnal Knowledge? I would think a service man or woman who has sex with a minor (Carnal Knowledge) could perform military duties as well, if not better, than a homosexual.”

“This is what’s going to happen all across the country the more homosexuality is promoted by the armed services. I would venture to say that someday, we’ll see servicemen marching in uniform in a sexual sin parade like what we saw here in San Diego. So the fact is homosexuality, in other words sin, does not stay in its closet; it always wants to boast and be prideful.”

Let me conclude this post with a video of Dan Savage’s masterful four minute take down of LaBarbera —  also known as Porno Pete.

Video Link

 

 

On the Road Looking for God’s True Church

As Polly and I travel the roads of Northwest Ohio and Southeast Indiana, we are always on the lookout for God’s True Church®. Here are a few of the churches we stumbled upon in recent months.

green chapel redeemed church wolcottville indiana

Green Chapel Redeemed Church, Wolcottville, Indiana, Melvin Heiniger, pastor.

The front page of Green Chapel’s website has a NOTE FROM THE PASTOR:

Hello to all and much love. My name is Melvin Heiniger and I am the pastor at Green Chapel Redeemed Church. Thank you so much for taking 5 minutes to visit our website. I truly believe that every individual must evaluate their life. and make one very important decision . What will happen to me when I pass from this life? Will I go to a place called Heaven, or wind up in a place called hell where there awaits only suffering and pain. Some may say that if we do good things, we will go to heaven. According to the Bible, That is not so.

Romans 3:23 states, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

1 John 1:8-9 says, “if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I guess now we know that we all make mistakes.

Now for the Great news! John 3:16  says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth  in him, should not perish but have everlasting life.” Wow… isn’t it nice to know we don’t have to worry anymore!  Romans 10:13  says “for whosoever shall call upon the name of the lord, shall be saved.”  That “Whosoever” means YOU!!

I must ask, do you know Jesus as your Lord and savior? If not, do you want to? Is something inside of you saying “this feels right?” I hope you will say this little prayer with me and accept Jesus!

Just say, Jesus, I repent of my sins and make you my lord. I believe you came and died for me. Then arose that I could make Heaven my home. Help me be what you have called me to be!!!
Congratulations. You are now a Christian!

Welcome to the family of God! Please feel free to call and share your life changing experience with me! God bless and keep you!

Good news! I prayed the prayer and I am now a — drum roll, please — Christian!

Green Chapel has a youth program called Juveniles for Jesus. Hey, I just report what I see.

lakeview united methodist church

Lakeview United Methodist Church, somewhere on a back road in Northeast Indiana, Michael Lamarr, pastor.

The church does not have a website. I have awarded Lakeview the Crooked Lettering of the Year Award, given to the church that can’t be bothered to cash in a certificate of deposit to pay for a professionally lettered sign.

lick creek church of the brethren bryan ohio

Lick Creek Church of the Brethren, Bryan, Ohio, Dr. Nancy Berkheiser, interim pastor. Organized in 1853 — the first church organization in Williams County — Lick Creek is known for “steak suppers, homemade ice cream and made from scratch apple dumplings.”

According to the church’s website, Lick Creek “follows the teaching of Jesus.” The church’s mission is to “provide spiritual direction, unity and purpose to all people by continuing the work of Jesus Christ peacefully, simply, together.”

If I were asked to give advice to this church, I would tell them…immediately, without delay, gather up the book the stupid sign message came from and burn it. Baseball bears no resemblance to Lent and Easter. In the future, THINK before putting a lame message on the sign. Hint: 99.99 percent of church sign messages are lame.  Don’t make it easy for unbelievers to make fun of your sign. Will the Lick Creek church listen? Of course not. Putting stupid ass messages and clichés on church signs is the in thing to do.

movement church findlay ohio

Movement Church, Glenwood Middle School, Findlay, Ohio, Eric Ferguson, lead pastor. Movement Church is a cool, hip Evangelical church for millennials (based on photos on the church’s website). According to Movement’s website, the church is:

  • We are about restoration
  • We are about relationships
  • We are real
  • We keep it simple
  • We take action
  • We always look outward
  • We are generous
  • We are about multiplication

According to a 2015 Findlay Family news article, Movement Church is:

a place for people to learn more about God, no matter what stage he or she is at in seeking God. The church places a strong emphasis on connecting to the community with outreach and volunteer projects.

Movement Church, similar to countless other Evangelical churches established over the past two decades, wants to put a friendly face on Christianity. However, as country folks will tell you, you can’t turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse, and Movement Church — based on their doctrinal statement — is no different theologically than nearby Fundamentalist churches Trinity Baptist Church and Calvary Baptist Church. Behind the nice smiles and promises of kindness and servanthood lies commitment to the inerrancy of scripture and the eternal damnation of all those who refuse to join the movement.

faith baptist church ottawa ohio

Faith Baptist Church, Ottawa, Ohio. No pastor name or website available.

faith of the apostles church paw paw michigan

Faith of the Apostles Church, Paw Paw, Michigan, David Harn, pastor. Faith of the Apostles periodically has a service called Jammin for Jesus — a diverse worship experience you won’t want to miss. According the church’s website, Faith of the Apostles members believe:

  • WE BELIEVE the Bible to be the infallible Word of God.
  • WE BELIEVE in JESUS ONLY, the visible expression of the invisible God.
  • WE BELIEVE in one God whose Name is JESUS, who is Father in Creation, Son in Redemption and Holy Ghost the Comforter.
  • WE BELIEVE in water baptism by immersion in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.
  • WE BELIEVE in receiving the Holy Ghost evidenced by speaking in other tongues as on the day of Pentecost.
  • WE BELIEVE in living a Holy and Sanctified life apart from which one cannot please God.
  • WE BELIEVE in the Rapture, when our Lord Jesus Christ will appear to catch away His Church.
  • WE BELIEVE in the Resurrection of the dead and the Final Judgment wherein all who were not in the first resurrection will be judged according to the deeds done in the body.
  • WE BELIEVE in a real HEAVEN with Eternal Life and a real HELL with Eternal Damnation.

Based on their statement of beliefs, I suspect Faith of the Apostles is some sort of Jesus-only apostolic or Pentecostal church.

redeemer covenant church arlington ohio

Redeemer Covenant Church, Arlington, Ohio, Caleb Hackworth, pastor. Redeemer is a Reformed (Calvinistic) Baptist church affiliated with FIRE — Fellowship of Independent Reformed Evangelicals. Buzz words abound: Reformed, Baptistic, Congregational, Integrated Family Worship, Word of God Preached with Authority —  Producing Real Worship and Community. The church is currently studying the Westminster Shorter Catechism. Redeemer is also a part of the Northwest Ohio Reformation Society and the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. Put it all together and what you end up with is a Calvinistic, Independent, theologically Fundamentalist Baptist church.