Tag Archive: LGBTQ

Evangelicals and the Gay Closet: Is Ray Boltz Still a Christian?

ray boltz

Most Evangelicals believe that once a person is saved, he is always saved; that nothing can separate him from the love of God (Romans 8:31-39). This belief, of course, causes a real problem for Evangelicals when they hear about people who were once Evangelicals and lived according to Evangelical interpretations of the Bible, but no longer do so. I was a once-saved-always-saved Evangelical pastor for twenty- five years. My lifestyle was one of devotion to Jesus. The fruit of the Spirit was evident in my life (Galatians 5:22,23). No one, at the time, doubted I was a Christian. Today, I am an apostate; a false prophet; an atheist. My deconversion poses a real problem for Evangelicals. If I were truly saved, I am still saved. If I can’t fall from God’s grace, I still have it. No matter what I say or do, if Evangelicals are right, I am still a born-again Christian. Out of the will of God? Sure. Backslidden? Sure. Awaiting God’s chastisement? Sure. But, I’m still a Christian, nonetheless.

Of course, such thinking is unpalatable for many Evangelicals. They can’t bear to think that a blasphemer such as I am is still a Christian. They can’t stomach the thought of me being an atheist, yet still getting a mansion — albeit a much smaller one — in Heaven after I die. For these people, the answer to their queasiness is to say that I never was a Christian; that I was wolf in sheep’s clothing; that I was a Satanic angel of light. This line of thinking is ludicrous for the simple fact that everything I said and did from the age of fifteen to the age of fifty said to the world that I was an out and proud follower of Jesus Christ. And I was indeed. As a person who knew me quite well years ago said, “If Bruce wasn’t a Christian, nobody was!”

While queuing up some music to listen to today as I write, I came across several songs by Christian Contemporary Music (CCM) artist Ray Boltz. You might remember some of his signature songs: The Anchor Holds, Thank You, I Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb.

Video Link

Video Link

As a pastor, I found Boltz’s song, Thank You, quite helpful when I was doubting whether the work I was doing was making a difference. Boltz’s song reminded me that I would have to wait until I got to Heaven to see the fruit of my labor.

In 2005, Boltz retired from the Christian music industry and later divorced his wife. In 2008, Boltz came out of the closet and admitted he was gay. What follows is an interview Boltz gave about being gay and still being a Christian. Please take the time to listen to this video. Boltz is honest and open about his life, and is actually quite compassionate towards people who attack him for being gay.

Video Link

Boltz’s “testimony” poses a big problem for Evangelicals. Here’s a man who was loved, respected, and revered by Evangelicals, yet now he says he is gay. “How can this be?” Evangelicals wonder. “All those wonderful songs he wrote, yet he had “gay lust” in his heart the whole time! Stop! My head is hurting!” Evangelicals are forced to say either Boltz was never a Christian, or that he still is a Christian. Remember, most Evangelicals believe homosexuality to be a sign of a reprobate heart; that there is no such thing as a “gay” Christian; that there will be NO LGBTQ people in Heaven. This means, necessarily, that Boltz was NEVER a Christian — an absurd notion if there ever was one.

A 2018 Thought Co article titled, Christian Singer Ray Boltz Comes Out, Says He Lives a Normal Gay Life, details how many (most) Evangelicals view Boltz’s coming out:

Reactions from fans regarding Ray Boltz and this news has run the gamut of emotions. Some are heartbroken and feel like Boltz needs to pray harder and he will be cured of his homosexuality. Boltz did say in the article that he had been praying for change almost all of his life. “I basically lived an ‘ex-gay’ life—I read every book, I read all the scriptures they use, I did everything to try and change.”

Other fans view him as almost a victim of the devil’s lies, of society’s “everything’s good” attitude, of his own sin. Some fans look up to his decision to go public so that people can see that gay people can love and serve the Lord.

There are some that feel that his “giving in to the temptation of sin” and “succumbing to the homosexual lie” wipes out every shred of value that his music ever had in the world and that he should be “shunned from the body of Christ until he repents and changes his ways because he can not receive forgiveness until he actually repents from the sin.”

Boltz believes he is still a Christian, albeit one far from his Evangelical roots. He currently lives with his partner and attends a gay-affirming church in Florida.

Were you a Ray Boltz fan? Were you still a Christian when you heard about him saying he was gay? What was your response? Please share your thoughts in the comment section.

Note

Read Boltz’s New York Times interview about his post-Evangelical life.

About Bruce Gerencser

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

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

Thank you for reading this post. Please share your thoughts in the comment section. If you are a first-time commenter, please read the commenting policy before wowing readers with your words. All first-time comments are moderated. If you would like to contact Bruce directly, please use the contact form to do so.

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Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Liberals Determined to Impose Pagan Values on America

david lane

Fairness is no longer a worthy quality in America’s weaponized, politically correct culture, where U.S. Supreme Court Justices in 1963 established secularism by replacing God’s Holy Word with the mundane words of mortal man. Progressive liberals are dead set on imposing pagan moral viewpoints upon America. It is hard to avoid the feeling that profane public elementary, secondary and post-secondary education is taking America off the cliff.

Same-sex intercourse and marriage, abortion, transgender bathrooms, transgenderism, gender equality, evolutionary theory, assault on human sexuality and so on make up secularism’s inviolable sacraments. Secular media elites, for their part, seek to sway public opinion through primetime television and newspaper articles, as they exalt and normalize decadence in America.

— David Lane, Charisma News, Progressive Liberals Dead Set on Imposing Pagan Values Across America, March 11, 2019

David Lane is the founder of the American Renewal Project.

On the Road Looking for God’s True Church

road trip

As Polly and I travel the roads of northwest Ohio, southern Michigan, and northeast Indiana, we are always on the lookout for God’s True Church®. Here are a few of the churches we stumbled upon during our travels.

a rope of hope ministries leipsic ohio

A Rope of Hope Ministries, Leipsic, Ohio, Curtis Jackson, pastor. Jackson describes his vision for A Rope of Hope this way:

Pastor Curtis and prophetess Deborah Jackson mission and vision  is to love God, And to love others, and to magnify the name of Jesus Christ. The vision of our church is to glorify our God and Savior, Jesus Christ, to make true disciples throughout all the nations by means of missionary activity and support, to minister the ordinances, to edify believers, and to do all that is sovereignty possible and biblical permissible to magnify the name of Jesus.

abundant love church fort wayne indiana

Abundant Love Church, Fort Wayne, Indiana, G.L. Bush, Sr, pastor.  (Facebook) Abundant Love’s disaster of a website says:

The Abundant Love Ministries pray that our Members, Friends,  and Visitors are Anointed, Healthy, Wealthy, and more than Conquerors in every area of their lives.

Pastor Bush’s church bio page says:

After seeking the Lord for direction with much prayer and fasting, in November 1993, the Lord gave Pastor, Elder Gary L. Bush, Sr. the vision for a church in the Fort wayne area. The first initial meeting of the new church was on November 11, 1993.

After securing a building for worship, Pastor Bush, set the first service for a “Watch Night Worship” on December 31, 1993 and the Opening Service was announced and planned for January 2, 1994.

God began sending the “such as should be saved” into Abundant Love Church with signs and wonders of the Lord. The ministry began to grow and the Pastor formed the choir and named it the Abundant Voices of Love.

During these past twelve years the “Anointing of the Lord” has been removing burdens and destroying the yoke of sin our city.

We are Spirit Fed, Spirit Led and Spirit Bred! The Word of God is our foundation, strength, and standard of faith and practice.

archbold united methodist church archbold ohio

archbold united methodist church archbold ohio 2

Archbold United Methodist Church, Archbold, Ohio, Jim Nathan, pastor. (Facebook) According to the church’s website:

Archbold United Methodist Church is known for its welcoming hospitality, come as you are nature, offering opportunity to engage with others. We recognize our need as broken people to be in relationship with God and in relationship with each other. We believe in that living, active Spirit of God that guides, encourages,strengthens, protects and sustains us in the midst of all of the trials. We follow in the example of Christ, seeking to be His disciples as we reach out beyond the walls of the sanctuary in mission and ministry. We act as the hands and feet of Christ others might know that same saving grace through Jesus and that we might build the Kingdom of God in this place and in this time. We believe that the Bible contains all things necessary for our salvation and is a living book that has life and meaning for every context of time and place.

I wonder where Archbold UMC stands on the LGBTQ issue that is currently vexing its denomination? If they welcome LGBTQ people as they are and treat them as equals, then the above statement carries weight. If not, then the statement is little more than subterfuge. As of the writing of this post, I know of only one area church that is open and affirming towards  LGBTQ people — St. John’s United Church of Christ, Defiance. Many local churches say “we love gay people, yes we do,” but their love is anything but. The goal is to evangelize LGBT people and cure them of their sexual deviancy.

bethel brethren church berne indiana

Bethel Brethren Church, Berne, Indiana, Joseph Nass, pastor.  (No web presence) Bethel Brethren is affiliated with the Charis Fellowship (formerly known as The Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches).

arcadia united methodist church arcadia ohio

Arcadia United Methodist Church, Arcadia, Ohio, Erma Metzger, pastor. (Facebook) Pastor Metzger posted the following on Facebook about the LGBT controversy:

Yesterday the General Conference of the United Methodist Church concluded with the approval of the Traditional Plan. This maintains a prohibition on LGBTQ clergy and prohibits same-sex unions from being conducted in UMC churches and strengthens penalties for offenders. There is still work to be done from a judicial/legislative perspective as parts of the plan are questioned to be unconstitutional. There will be a simulcast with our Bishop, Gregory Palmer, this Saturday, March 2 at 10am in The DOCK at St. Mark’s UMC in Findlay when he will address what this means for the church. There is a great deal still happening among church leaders to work through how our denomination will move forward. Some people today are very happy with the outcome – but many others certainly are not. While the conclusions of this Special General Conference were not what the council of bishops preferred, may not be what I had hoped for, and many clergy and lay people alike are hurting at this time – I want to make something absolutely clear. Arcadia UMC welcomes, includes, loves, values and cares for EVERYONE. That absolutely will not change. We are about Building God’s Family Through Faithful Christian Service – and that will continue. We will continue to offer grace and love, and make disciples of Jesus for the transformation of the world. Please be in prayer for all of those who are hurting, for our church as we move forward in ministry, and for the leaders of our denomination as they seek God’s guidance to faithfully lead us all. I love you all!

Pastor Metzger seems to say that LGBTQ people are welcome at Arcadia UMC. But, what if a gay couple wants a church wedding? Will Arcadia UMC and its pastor break canon law prohibiting such marriages? True justice demands such action.

 

 

Guest Post: #ExposeChristianSchools Part 2

exposechristianschools

Guest post by by ObstacleChick

In the wake of Karen Pence’s decision to accept a position at Immanuel Christian School in Springfield, Virginia, which requires parents of admitted students to sign a statement that they do not participate in or condone any sexual immorality, including homosexuality or bisexuality, ex-evangelical Chris Stroop created the social media hashtag #ExposeChristianSchools. Please see Part 1 for some of my experiences in a fundamentalist Christian school from 1981-1988.

After reading an article that Ms. Pence had accepted the position, I went to the school’s website to find out more about the school before jumping to conclusions, and I found that it is very similar to the fundamentalist Christian school I attended in the 1980s. While I am not surprised that Ms. Pence would support such a school, and I believe she has a right to teach wherever she wishes, I also believe that she should not act surprised or offended when other people call her out on teaching at a school that promotes bigotry against LGBTQ people.

One of my friends from the fundamentalist Christian school came out as gay after he left the school. Fortunately, his parents were very supportive of him. He and I have stayed in touch through the years because I was one of the few former classmates who did not treat him like a pariah due to admonishments from writings of ancient, ignorant people.

I noticed my friend shared the story of Ms. Pence’s acceptance of the job at Immanuel Christian School on his social media page with the comment, “I went to a private Christian school. I wish I had come out during my time there to shake things up.” It made me sad to read his comment, knowing that he would have either been silenced or expelled. Knowing full well that my post would probably upset former teachers and classmates, I posted my own #ExposeChristianSchools story. I believe it is important that people from my post-evangelical life understand what these schools are and that they may actually know someone who attended one of those schools. Also, I felt it was important for people from my past and present to realize that people can change their views.

Several friends from my post-evangelical days thanked me for posting and sharing the story. None of them knew my background with regard to religious indoctrination. Many commenters were members of my husband’s family or were former coworkers. I am sure they were shocked to find out I was raised that way, especially as I no longer hold the bigoted views espoused by these types of schools. Only one of my former classmates commented, and she thanked me for posting and admitted that she did not think about these things while growing up, is currently sending her children to this type of school, and struggles with the legalism.

My father-in-law, who attended Catholic schools through grade school and undergraduate university, was concerned that I was judging all Christian schools, so we had a telephone conversation and cleared things up. My brother and my former mathematics teacher, however, were not pleased with my assessment. I had already decided that if any of my teachers saw my post, I would not feel bad, as they must be held accountable for their complicity in such a system regardless of whether they were active perpetrators of abuse. While my former mathematics teacher is a nice lady who is in her early 90s, she still holds unapologetically to the abusive fundamentalist evangelical beliefs that I wish to expose. I thanked her for her response, but she did not apologize for being part of the system and I did not offer absolution.

My brother, about whom I have written before, stated unequivocally that he cannot understand how we were brought up in the same system yet have such completely divergent world views. He and my former mathematics teacher then proceeded to orgasm over each other’s conversion stories and how Jesus has saved them from their depravity. I let them have their little orgasmic bonding on my post, hoping that previous commenters would read what sounds to outsiders like ridiculous ranting and raving in order to solidify the points that I was trying to make. I won’t bore you all with the details of their stories, but suffice it to say theirs are typical tales of “I was a sinner and Jesus totally saved me glory hallelujah amen praise Jesus.” Evangelicals really have no idea how ridiculous their “testimonies” sound to those outside the system.

In any case, my husband and I were concerned that my brother would cut us off as we have feared, given my brother’s increasing zealotry. This particular interchange led me to realize that my brother is too far gone to have a rational discussion about religion, and I have determined not to bring it up to him anymore. If he wishes to persist in his beliefs, he will need to follow his own journey. My pointing out scientific and historical flaws in his beliefs has no impact on his desire for faith in ridiculous (and harmful) views. I commented a few days later on one of his few non-religious posts, and we had a nice banter back and forth, so he is not averse to banalities. I think he understands that my children and I are the only blood relatives with whom he has any type of relationship, and if he cuts us off, he will only have his wife’s family. They are definitely more Christian than we are, but even they do not seem to be participating in his hard-core fundamentalist zealotry. I don’t think he has any friends outside his Skype men’s prayer group.

In any case, I accomplished my goal of raising awareness about the abuses in fundamentalist Christian schools. And while I am not ready to be completely public about my atheism for fear of prompting my brother to sever ties, I will say that my name is Laura, and I #ExposeChristianSchools.

Please share your experiences with Christian schools in the comments. We would love to hear your stories.

Guest Post: #ExposeChristianSchools Part 1

exposechristianschools

#ExposeChristianSchools, created by ex-evangelical Chris Stroop, has been trending on social media since Second Lady Karen Pence accepted a position at Immanuel Christian School in Springfield, Virginia. Readily available on the school’s website is the agreement which parents of admitted students must sign. Included in the agreement is the paragraph as follows:

I understand the biblical role of Immanuel Christian School is to partner with families to encourage students to be imitators of Christ. This necessarily involves the school’s understanding and belief regarding biblical morality and standards of conduct. I understand that the school reserves the right, within its sole discretion, to refuse admission to an applicant or to discontinue enrollment of a student if the atmosphere or conduct within a particular home, the activities of a parent or guardian, or the activities of the student are counter to, or are in opposition to, the biblical lifestyle the school teaches. This includes, but is not limited to, contumacious behavior, divisive conduct, and participating in, supporting, or condoning sexual immorality, homosexual activity, or bi-sexual activity, promoting such practices, or being unable to support the moral principles of the school. (Lev. 20:13 and Romans 1:27). I acknowledge the importance of a family culture based on biblical principles and embrace biblical family values such as a healthy marriage between one man and one woman. My role as spiritual mentor to my children will be taken seriously.

As a parent of a student, one must sign an agreement that one does not even condone homosexual or bisexual activity upon threat of expulsion. Additionally, the school teaches creation mythology instead of evolution, and of course, the school teaches typical Evangelical doctrines regarding sin and salvation through grace, along with “the rapture” eschatology.

I attended a fundamentalist Christian school much like this in grades 5-12 (1981-1988). My mom and grandparents heard a rumor that students living in my district would be bused to a mostly-minority community, so they acted fast to enroll me in the private (almost completely white) Christian school. Entering the school, all students were subject to a gender-based dress code and a comprehensive code of conduct. Girls were to “appear as God made them — feminine” (yes, I distinctly remember that description from the student handbook). There were strict guidelines for skirt length and sleeve length, and when we entered 6th grade the female teachers taught us how to go through physical contortions in front of a mirror to determine whether our clothing would properly cover us if we bent over or reached over our heads. Girls’ dress code also allowed for pants/slacks/culottes to be worn to extracurricular activities such as ballgames (but we were never to wear jeans – somehow denim is fine in the form of skirt, dress, jumper, or jacket, but it transforms into pure evil if it is cut into the form of women’s pants). Boys’ dress code included strict guidelines for hair length including a diagram in the handbook and the requirement for a belt to be worn and shirt tucked in at all times. No one was allowed to wear anything with obscenities, racial slurs, or the American flag.

We had a strict code of conduct that allowed the school to suspend or expel students for activities outside the school. Students could be suspended or expelled for having sex, for smoking, for drinking alcohol, for profane language, and for playing rock music on school grounds. There was a year when anyone caught going to the roller-skating rink would be suspended. During my tenure at the school, three boys were expelled for attending a party that served alcohol. A girl overheard the boys talking about it and turned them in. Naturally, we were in a culture that encouraged us to report behavior of other students to the administrators. Additionally, two girls were expelled for getting pregnant. One would think that pro-lifers would commend the girls for giving birth to their babies, but for some reason the administration thought that the correct course of action was to expel the girls. I suppose they wanted to remove the quite-visible reminder that the girls had participated in sexual activity.

To be fair, I was never told that I could not excel academically or take a class because I was female. It was clear that females were not allowed to preach, but we had a female high school principal. However, there were other things that we learned about being female. First, of course, was the emphasis on the dress code as described previously. Girls were sent home from school if their skirts were too short, too tight, or if their shirt was “too revealing” in some way. When I was in 6th grade, our health and physical education teacher taught us that the “perfect female form” had the dimensions of equal measurements of bust and hips with waist measuring ten inches less. Homework required that we take our measurements, and the next day she asked girls to raise their hands who had the “perfect female form” measurements. Three girls raised their hands — we all knew they were liars, but I remember feeling like a loser because at age twelve I had nowhere near the “perfect female form.” My entire life, I never had those measurements, though I have always been fit and active except while pregnant and postpartum. Those measurement parameters and their association with the “perfect female form” have stuck in my mind my entire life though.

Another traumatizing moment at school was in preparation for our senior class trip to Florida. Girls were allowed to bring one-piece swimwear on the trip, but we were only allowed to bring pieces approved by female faculty. I will never forget having to put on my two one-piece swimsuits while my female teachers examined them to determine if they were modest enough. They approved both suits, wrote down their descriptions which would be available to the female chaperones, and they told me I looked good. There are few incidents in my life that were as mortifying as this. I do not know what the requirements were for boys’ swimwear.

Our school had a culture of pointing out misbehavior/sin. Among students, people would comment upon other students’ failings “in a spirit of love” but really, we all knew it was just an opportunity for people to judge others and to highlight things they didn’t like to other students. As teachers were the authorities and in charge of correcting misbehavior, they were allowed to point out misbehavior at any time. There was a lot of watching, observing, and judging going on. Faculty sometimes even tried to prevent dating situations from occurring. One of my friends was a PK — preacher’s kid — whose father was friends with the headmaster of the school. The headmaster did not approve of my friend’s boyfriend (also a student at the school), so he approached my friend’s father who broke up the relationship.

Yet there was, of course, rampant hypocrisy. Teachers as part of their employment contract were not allowed to attend movie theaters. It was explained that observing students would not know whether a teacher was entering or exiting a rated-R movie, so in order to protect the testimony of the teacher, the teacher could not attend the movie theater. However, all the young teachers had memberships to the local video store, and they openly discussed movies with students. I never understood how it was acceptable for the teacher to rent movies from the video store, as by the same reasoning that students would not know whether a teacher was attending a rated-R movie, how could we know whether the teacher was renting a pornographic film? Additionally, I always found it odd that two female students married teachers from the school and wondered if any dating was going on while the girls were students.

Students were told that we received the best academic education available, but I learned when I went to a top ranked secular university that this was not necessarily the case. (One could argue that my education was good enough to gain admission to a top ranked secular school.) Of course, as a fundamentalist Christian school whose statement of beliefs included inerrant, inspired, and literalist view of the Bible, evolution was not taught in science courses. Our science textbooks were from Bob Jones University Press, and they included some odd rebuttals of evolution. One of the main rebuttals was that radiocarbon dating was contaminated and inaccurate on the magnitude of millions of degrees of error. The curriculum taught that the earth was only 6,000-10,000 years old and that God had created the earth with the appearance of age. Fossils existed due to upheavals that occurred during (the story of) Noah’s Worldwide Flood. I remember the explanation that spontaneous generation of life does not occur because rotten meat that produced maggots and flies meant that flies laid eggs in the meat, not that the rotting meat generated flies; therefore, evolution is false. It’s a fair analysis that flies lay eggs in rotting meat, but it has nothing to do with spontaneous generation of life – it just means that ignorant people who thought that rotting meat gave rise to maggots and flies had no understanding of the reproduction and gestation of flies. As for mathematics, our course path was a year behind the honors track at public or private secular schools, so those of us who were “advanced” students were a year behind other top students. History courses were taught from a Christian inclination, and I do not remember much mention of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. or of the civil rights movement. Our foreign language curriculum was not very rigorous, and I was required to repeat basic French in college in order to fulfill the foreign language requirement. What the school considered Advanced Placement courses were not the true Advanced Placement courses one finds in other schools in which an AP exam is administered for which one can earn college credit. On the positive side, our writing skills were impeccable as the school focused on constructing proper paragraphs and essays. My college literature professor pulled me aside after our first composition and asked me if I was sandbagging his course because my writing skills were beyond the level of other students in the class. I told him I was not offered another option and explained I had attended a private Christian school. I think he felt sorry for me as he allowed me to take a leadership role in the class.

Many of my teachers were kind, compassionate people who were dedicated to educating students. However, most newer, younger teachers did not last long at the school due to the low pay and the heavy course load — each middle school and high school teacher was required to teach a minimum of four individual classes, each with a separate course prep. The shortest tenure I recall is 5 weeks; a couple of teachers lasted through the first half of the year; the majority quit after the first year. The teachers who made it past the first two years generally stayed for a long time. Male teachers were required to prepare and preach sermons on chapel days (Tuesdays and Thursdays) in addition to teaching courses. A few teachers coached sports or drove school buses in order to make a little extra money, and all had summer jobs. The teachers chose life in a Christian school whereas most of the students did not — our parents and guardians chose for us.

Stay tuned for more about #ExposeChristianSchools.

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Michelle Lesley Says It’s a Sin to Attend a Gay Wedding

michelle lesley

Sexuality in Western culture is a mess. Within the last hundred years or so, we’ve devolved from a society that had, broadly speaking, a general understanding of, and compliance with, the Bible’s parameters for sex to today’s sexual mores that barely stop short of child molestation and bestiality, and permits – even encourages – nearly every other form of perversion.

It can be difficult to know how to approach these issues which have been suddenly thrust upon us, and with which the average person – Christian or not – has very little experience. How are Christians to think about, believe, and address these issues in our families, churches, and communities? Do we just go with the “live and let live” flow of modern society? No. As with every other issue in life, our thinking, our words, and our actions must be shaped by and in submission to the authority of Scripture. Not public opinion. Not political agendas. Not our own personal feelings, opinions, and experiences. Scripture.

The Bible makes sexuality and gender identity very simple for us. God created two sexes of people– male and female¹. God created marriage to be between one man and one woman. God created human sexuality and confined its use to a man and a woman who are married to each other. Every form of gender identity or human sexuality that falls outside these parameters is sin.

….

Christians should not attend same sex weddings (or receptions, showers, bachelor parties, housewarmings, etc.) for any reason. (When it becomes legal, this will also apply to plural marriages and other unbiblical forms of “marriage”.) Regardless of your motives for attending, it appears to others and to the same sex couple as though you approve of their sin.

Often, the reason Christians will give for feeling they should attend a same sex wedding is that they are afraid declining to attend will cause the couple to cut off the relationship with them, closing the door to any future opportunity to share the gospel. But if you’re close enough to the couple to be invited to the wedding, shouldn’t you have already shared the gospel with them? Do you not trust that God can save someone, either immediately or in the future, from one instance of sharing the gospel? This person’s salvation does not rest on your shoulders. It can only be accomplished by the Holy Spirit, and only in His timing. And whether you have or haven’t yet shared the gospel with the couple, what could your attendance at the wedding accomplish other than creating confusion? How can you support their “marriage” by attending the wedding and then turn around later and tell them they need to repent of this sin?

Additionally, attending the wedding sends the message to your children, family, church, friends, co-workers and others that you approve of the sin of homosexuality. We all have people watching us to see whether we stand with Christ or with the world. It’s imperative that we set a godly example.

Yes, if you decline to attend the wedding, you might lose your relationship with that homosexual friend or loved one. But Christ calls us to separate ourselves from the world and be loyal to Him even if it costs us everythingincluding those we love the most.

— michelle Lesley, Discipleship for Christian Women, Throwback Thursday ~ Basic Training: Homosexuality, Gender Identity, and Other Sexual Immorality, January 24, 2019

Donald Trump Lies to Evangelicals and They Love It

evangelicals and donald trump

Monday, August 27, 2018, President Donald Trump and more than one hundred Evangelical leaders met together to fawn over each other. Drunk with political power — having unprecedented access to the White House — Evangelical leaders have lost their ability to speak truth to power. Concerned more with being the power behind the king than they are advancing the kingdom of the King of Kings, Evangelicals have turned themselves into just another political action committee within God’s Only Party — albeit a PAC with tremendous (and vicious) power. These so-called servants of the most high God assure Americans that despite his immorality, vulgarity, and criminal behavior, President Trump is really a great guy, a Christian even!

What follows is a live transcript of lying President Trump telling white, aging Evangelicals what they wanted to hear: you are special and I will do everything in my power to protect your favored status; but only if you keep Republicans in power come November.

State Dining Room

6:54 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  What a nice group.  Thank you very much.  Please.

Melania and I are thrilled to welcome you.  And these are very special friends of mine, Evangelical pastors and leaders from all across the nation.  We welcome you to the White House. It’s a special place.  It’s a place we love.  We’re having a lot of fun, we’re having a lot of success.

Today we reached the highest level in the history of the stock market.  We broke 26,000 — (applause) — so I assume you have some stock.  And I view that differently.  We’re respected all over the world again, and it means jobs.  So it’s a lot of good things happening.

Of course, these Evangelical leaders own stocks. Many of them, following in the footsteps of Jesus, are millionaires, having made their millions ginning up paranoia and fear.

Lie #1 — We’re respected all over the world again, and it means jobs.

The President thinks the rest of the world didn’t respect the United States before he was elected. Trump thinks by bullying the heads of other countries on the world stage, he can engender respect. Nothing could be farther from the truth. What Trump sees as respect is actually fear; fear of what this nut-job is going to do next.

I also want to thank a family of faith that is truly a blessing to our nation.  I want to thank Vice President Mike Pence and Karen Pence.  Where are you, Mike?  (Applause.)  Thank you.  Thank you, Mike.

And our incredible First Lady for hosting this evening.  Thank you.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

America is a nation of believers.  And tonight we’re joined by faith leaders from across the country who believe in the dignity of life, the glory of God, and the power of prayer.  Everybody agree with that?

Lie #2 — America is a nation of believers.

No, it’s not. While it is certainly true that most Americans are Christian — at least in name — Trump seems willfully ignorant of the fact that not only is there great diversity among people who claim the Christian moniker, but tens of millions of Americans are non-Christians, unbelievers, NONES, atheists, agnostics, and humanists, to name a few.

President Trump has made no effort to engage any other religious group besides Evangelicals. In his mind, Evangelicals are a voter bloc that can be manipulated and used for political gain.  End of story. When they no longer deliver votes and metaphorically allow Trump to carnally lie with them, he will drop them faster than he did Stormy Daniels.

AUDIENCE:  Yes!  (Applause.)

The sound of a hundred Evangelicals having orgasms at the same time.

THE PRESIDENT:  If you didn’t, we’d have a big story, wouldn’t we?  (Laughter.)

I want to say a special thank you to Paula White, Alveda King, Franklin Graham, Jerry Falwell, Darrell Scott, Robert Jeffress, Ralph Reed, Tony Perkins, Lester Warner, and everyone here tonight.  So many great, great leaders.  Incredible leaders.  I know you, I watch you, I see you.  Yours are the words we want to hear.

I also understand that tonight is the 58th wedding anniversary.  So we have a very big wedding — where is he?  Dr. James and Shirley Dobson.  Where are they?  (Applause.)  Where are they?  That’s great.  Congratulations.  That’s something.

MRS. DOBSON:  Thank you for throwing a party of us tonight.  (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT:  That’s right.  This is a party for you.  We can look at it that way, actually.  (Laughter.)  Thank you.  Congratulations.

We’re also joined by Secretary Alex Azar, Secretary Ben Carson –- hello, Ben –- (applause) — and Ambassador Sam Brownback.  (Applause.)

Before going any further, I want to extend our prayers and condolences to the victims of the tragic shooting in Jacksonville, Florida.  That was a terrible thing indeed.  And how it happens, nobody really knows.  But they’ve done an incredible job down in Jacksonville, as they always do in Florida and throughout the country.  But condolences.

Lie #3 And how it happens [mass shootings], nobody really knows.

Yes, we do know. Guns, President Trump, guns. Want to reduce the number of mass shootings in this country? Support strict gun control laws. Stop supporting the violent policies of the NRA and second amendment extremists. One need only to look to Great Britain, Canada, or Australia to see how best to regulate firearms.

Also, our hearts and prayers are going to the family of Senator John McCain.  There’s going to be a lot of activity over the next number of days.  And we very much appreciate everything that Senator McCain has done for our country.  So thank you very much.  (Applause.)

Lie #4 — And we very much appreciate everything that Senator McCain has done for our country. 

Then-candidate Trump mocked and ridiculed John McCain during the 2016 presidential campaign, saying McCain was a loser for getting captured during the Vietnam War.

Look at Trump’s childish behavior after McCain’s death: a refusal to release a statement about the senator’s death; a refusal to fly flags at half-staff.

We’re here this evening to celebrate America’s heritage of faith, family, and freedom.  As you know, in recent years, the government tried to undermine religious freedom.  But the attacks on communities of faith are over.  We’ve ended it.  We’ve ended it.  (Applause.)  Unlike some before us, we are protecting your religious liberty.

Lie #5 — As you know, in recent years, the government tried to undermine religious freedom.

There is no evidence for the oft-told Evangelical lie that American Christians are under attack and liberals want to restrict freedom of worship.

Lie #6 — But the attacks on communities of faith are over.  We’ve ended it.  We’ve ended it.  We’ve ended it.  Unlike some before us, we are protecting your religious liberty.

What are the real issues here? Evangelicals felt they were losing their hold on the collective scrotum of the American people. Voyeurs, they are, Evangelicals are obsessed with who is having sex with whom, when, where, and how. LGBTQ people asserting their constitutional rights has led to culture war skirmishes, but there has been no restriction of religious freedom as a result. Evangelical pastors will NEVER be required to marry same-sex couples, yet these same pastors continue to put the fear of gays in people, warning them if the Democrats (or any party but Trump’s party) regain political control, they will be forced to marry gay couples, and preaching against homosexuality will land them in jail.

In the last 18 months alone, we have stopped the Johnson Amendment from interfering with your First Amendment rights.  (Applause.)  A big deal.  It’s a big deal.

Lie #7 — We have stopped the Johnson Amendment from interfering with your First Amendment rights.

The Johnson Amendment is still in effect, even though it is rarely enforced. Trump has no power to repeal the Johnson Amendment. I can count on one hand the churches and parachurch groups that have lost their tax exemption over politicking.

I actually support the repeal of the Johnson Amendment. You can read my thoughts on the subject here: The Johnson Amendment: I Agree With Donald Trump.  Basically, I support its repeal. At the same time, the clergy housing allowance should be repealed, churches should be taxed like any other business, and religious institutions should be required to file annual tax returns.

We’ve taken action to defend the religious conscience of doctors, nurses, teachers, students, preachers, faith groups, and religious employers.

We sent the entire executive branch guidance on protecting religious liberty.  Big deal.  Brought the Faith and Opportunity Initiative to the White House.

Reinstated the Mexico City Policy we first put into place.  And if you know, if you study it –- and most of you know about this –- first under President Ronald Reagan, not since then –- the Mexico City Policy.  (Applause.)

We proposed regulations to prevent Title 10 taxpayer funding from subsidizing abortion.  I was the first President to stand in the Rose Garden to address the March for Life.  First one.  (Applause.)

My administration has strongly spoken out against religious persecution around the world, including the persecution of Christians.  All over the world, what’s going on.  (Applause.)  And for that, we’ve become not only a strong voice but a very, very powerful force.  We’re stopping a lot of bad things from happening.

We brought home hostages from North Korea, including an American pastor.  And we’re fighting to release Pastor Brunson from Turkey.  (Applause.)  And we’ve made (inaudible).

We’ve recognized the capital of Israel and opened the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.  (Applause.)

We’re restoring opportunity for all Americans.  African American, Hispanic American, Asian American unemployment have all recently achieved their lowest rates ever recorded in the history of our country.  (Applause.)  And women’s unemployment recently achieved its lowest rate in 65 years.  (Applause.)

Very important to me, youth unemployment has reached its lowest rate in nearly 50 years.  And unemployment for Americans without a high school diploma –- think of that — has reached its lowest rate ever.  (Applause.)

We’re advancing prison reform to give former inmates a second chance.  And these incredible unemployment numbers are probably the greatest thing that ever happened to people getting out and wanting a second, and sometimes a third, chance.  But they’d come out of prison, and they were not hired, and bad things would happen, and they’d go back.  Now they’re coming out of prison, they’re getting jobs.  We’re working with them.  And they are very, very thankful.

I’ll tell you who else is thankful: the employers.  I have a friend who hired numerous people coming out of prison — something he never thought he’d do — and in a way, he was forced to do it, frankly.  He was forced to do it by the fact that he couldn’t get people; he needed people.  The numbers are so low in that community.  He is so happy.  He’s hired some people that he said he hopes he never loses them.  They’re happy, and he is thrilled.  So that’s a great story.  A great story.  (Applause.)

Every day, we’re standing for religious believers, because we know that faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, are the center of American life.  (Applause.)  And we know that freedom is a gift from our Creator.

Lie #8 — We know that freedom is a gift from our Creator.

Without government, we would not have freedom for one and all. Without government, raw power and wealth controls who has “freedom.” It also can be argued that certain forms of religious expression result in loss of freedom. The Evangelicals who dined with Trump are, for the most part, theocrats. What do we know about theocracies? Freedoms are lost and people die.

Here in the State Dining Room, carved into this fireplace, is the famous prayer of John Adams.  It says, “I pray Heaven to bestow the best of Blessings on this House.”  And that’s really what it is.  This is an incredible house.  Means so much.  It means so much to our country.  It means so much to the world.  And it means, really, so much to religion and to Christians.  So it’s an honor to have you.

Lie #9 Trumps half-quote of John Adams

Here’s the complete quote:

I Pray Heaven To Bestow The Best Of Blessings On This House And All that shall hereafter Inhabit it. May none but Honest and Wise Men ever rule under This Roof.

“May none but HONEST and WISE men rule under This Roof.” Indeed.

Together, we will uplift our nation in prayer, defend the sanctity of life, and forever proudly remain one nation under God.  (Applause.)

So thank you again to all of my friends and faith leaders for being here tonight.  You are really special people.  The support you’ve given me has been incredible.  But I really don’t feel guilty because I have given you a lot back, just about everything I promised.  (Applause.)  And as one of our great pastors just said, “Actually, you’ve given us much more, sir, than you promised.”  And I think that’s true, in many respects.  (Applause.)

And now I would like to ask a tremendous friend of all of ours, Pastor Paula White, to come up and bless our meal.  Paula, please.  (Applause.)

I have nothing more to add. Evangelical love for Trump sickens me, and I would have felt this way back in the days when I was a Bible-preaching culture warrior. Character matters. Honesty matters. Morality matters. Decency matters. President Trump has none of these things, having bought the undying allegiance of Evangelicals by throwing them a few faux jewels. These stupid men (and women) are so enamored with their own self-importance and power that they cannot see that they are being played and used for political and material gain. One day, they will awake only to find their bed empty.

 

 

The Infamous Fundamentalist Susan-Anne White Has Given Up on Blogging

susan ann white quits blogging

Susan-Anne White, an aging British Fundamentalist politician and blogger, has decided to hang up the spurs she uses to ride homosexuals bareback. No longer will she bless the world with her anti-LGBTQ and anti-abortion screeds. No longer will she parade before all the world her bigotry and hatred for anything and everything that doesn’t align with her narrow Evangelical worldview. Susan-Anne — dare I be so familiar? she hates it when I am — has been featured several times on this site, and she has graced us with her comments on more than one occasion.  Please check out Susan-Anne White Thinks I’m a Despicable, Obnoxious, Militant, Hateful AtheistBritish Fundamentalist Susan-Anne White’s List of Politically Correct Words, and The BRCA1 and BRCA2 Gene: Susan-Anne White Condemns Women Who Have Preemptive Surgery.

For those of you who are not familiar with White, here is what Wikipedia has to say about her:

Susan-Anne White (born 21 April 1959, Belfast, Northern Ireland) is a Christian activist in County Tyrone. She stood for election to the local council in the Fermanagh and Omagh District Council election, 2014 and only got 67 votes. She contested the West Tyrone constituency in the 2015 General Election, but came ninth out of nine candidates with 166 votes, behind Cannabis Is Safer Than Alcohol.

Originally from Newtownabbey, she moved to Trillick in 1997. Her campaign is based on 10 principles drawn up by Dr Alan Clifford, a Norwich based minister whose anti-gay and anti-Islam rants have led to police investigations in the past.

She has aroused attention because of her strong and isolating views. She describes herself as biblically correct, not politically correct.

She says she would “recriminalise homosexuality”, given the chance and claims that gay people “are not born that way, they are out to recruit. We are in danger. One demand after another.” She is opposed to the idea of gay people being allowed to donate blood. She would also make adultery a criminal offence, and is critical of rock music because “The lyrics are promoting immorality, the noise is deafening, and they also promote anarchy.”

Her 2015 manifesto promises to “oppose the global warming fanatics and their pseudo science” and “restore the concept of a family wage with the father as the breadwinner.” She told the Belfast Telegraph: “I don’t consider myself extreme – not at all. “It is society that has moved. Not so far in the past, most people would have shared my views.My views are extreme because society has moved away from God’s principles.” She opposes feminism “with all her might”, and says it is to blame for the recession. “They [feminists] are responsible for the economy – they destroyed the whole concept of a family wage with the father as the bread-winner and the stay-at-home mother. Women feel they have to be out in the workforce.”

On 25 October 2017, White appeared on Nolan Live in which she expressed her opinion regarding abortion laws in Northern Ireland. White was criticised in the press following her appearance, with the BBC also facing criticism for giving her a platform.

In 2015, White released her Manifesto — a statement of religious and political beliefs :

susan-anne-white-manifesto

Here’s the text of her Biblically Correct, NOT Politically Correct Manifesto:

  • Close Marie Stopes Abortion clinic
  • Oppose the extension of the 1967 Abortion Act to Northern Ireland
  • Remove state-sponsored amoral sex education from schools
  • Restore corporal punishment to schools
  • Uphold parental rights to discipline children, including the right to smack
  • Raise the age of consent to 18
  • Make it an offense for doctors to give contraceptives to underage children
  • Oppose the LGBT agenda, while showing compassion to those who struggle with gender confusion
  • Oppose the redefinition of marriage
  • Ban gay pride parades and recriminalise homosexuality
  • Stop the state funding of LGBT organisations
  • Make adultery a punishable offense
  • Abolish the Equality Commission NI and the Human Rights Commissions NI and give all the money they receive to the NHS.
  • Oppose feminism and restore dignity to the stay at home mother
  • Restore the concept of a family wage with the father as the breadwinner
  • Oppose the legalisation of dangerous drugs
  • Protest the NHS and increase funding by abolishing unnecessary and money wasting bureaucrats and quangos
  • Withdraw from money wasting and decadent Europe
  • Oppose the global warming fanatics and their pseudo-science
  • Imprison those found guilty of animal cruelty including those involved in dog fights
  • Install CCTV in all abattoirs
  • Ban halal slaughter
  • Oppose the Islamisation of British culture- no more mosques and no more extensions
  • Restore capital punishment for murder, including terrorist murder

White and I do agree on animal cruelty. Woo Hoo!

Susan-Anne White, a True Christian, So True She Can’t Find Any Church Pure Enough For Her

In 2016, White shared her thoughts with The Newsletter — a British (Northern Island) publication. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

An evangelical Christian, self-styled moral crusader and would-be politician, Susan-Anne White is on a mission to stem what she sees as the polluted tide of the permissive society.

Mrs White became a target of ridicule when she stood as an independent candidate in the recent Assembly elections with a manifesto which featured pledges to jail gay people and adulterers, oppose abortion, uphold parents’ rights to smack their children and abolish the Equality Commission and the Human Rights Commission.

It also reflected her opposition to sex education in schools, the ‘Islamification of British culture’, the LGBT agenda and her support for the reintroduction of capital punishment for murder.

It’s an eyebrow-raising list which many found outmoded and inflammatory; at the time social media went into overdrive, portraying Mrs White as a meddling, narrow-minded, Bible-thumping, battle-axe. I was intrigued to meet this seemingly formidable lady and she agreed on certain provisos: that I would ‘‘dress modestly’’ for the interview (make-up and revealing clothes are major bugbears); I would not paint her as a ‘‘figure of fun’’; and she wanted assurances that I was not out to promote a feminist agenda (the name of this section, ‘Woman to Woman’, caused her some concern).

Dressed demurely in a floaty, ankle-grazing skirt, Mrs White, 57, welcomed me into her modest Trillick home with tea and biscuits. She lives on a small farm with her husband Francis, a helpmate in her campaigns, and 17-year-old daughter Abigail, who is home-schooled and passes the time doing jigsaw puzzles and drawings of Disney characters.

….

The White’s lead a modest, quiet life, with no television, only a screen for DVDs, and no alcohol. Sundays are sacrosanct, although they rarely attend a church, preferring instead to listen to sermons on the internet. ‘‘Once strong Bible-believing churches are more often than not going the way of the world, they are watering down the message to please people, not to cause offence, they are so afraid today of telling it like it is because of hate crimes laws,’’ she says. ‘‘If I was worried about people’s delicate sensibilities I would never open my mouth.’’

Of the Catholic church, and others, she is unequivocal.

‘‘I do not consider it a Christian church and yet it was the church I was born into. But I am not singling out the Catholic church, there are many so-called Christian sects or denominations, but they are not Christian, because they have deviated from the Bible. Mormonism is not a Christian church, they are a cult. Jehovah’s Witnesses are not Christians, the Seventh Day Adventists are not Christians.’’

….

‘‘For people to treat me as some dimwit and to laugh and mock and think they are going to get some collateral out of me by poking fun at me, I feel righteous anger at that, because I am no fool.

‘‘I believe I’m in a war, a spiritual war and I believe there are enemies out there, they are enemies of God and because I’m on the Lord’s side they are my enemies also.’’

Mrs White said she would ‘‘recriminalise homosexuality tomorrow’’ if she had the power, adding her stance is quite soft compared to some.

‘‘I can point you to pastors and ministers in the United States of America who are calling for the death penalty.’’

Is that something she would like to see?

‘‘No, but it actually was a death penalty offence. In the Old Testament under the law of Moses adulterers were executed and homosexuals were executed.

‘‘I wouldn’t call for their execution, but I would call for their imprisonment,’’ she says firmly.

Mrs White does not believe someone is born gay, but that people are ‘brainwashed’ or ‘recruited’ into homosexuality, or have even been ‘‘molested as children’’.

‘‘I don’t like that word ‘gay’. To me gay means happy. They have hijacked that lovely word; they have ruined language.

‘‘Behind closed doors they are killing each other…..the sexual proclivities of homosexuals is so abhorrent and damaging to the human body that it hardly bears description. Sodomy is such an unnatural act, the body was not made for sodomy.’’

Despite these fervent views, she says she does not hate homosexuals.

‘‘No, I don’t hate them, I pity them. I know they hate me. I actually have tremendous compassion for them, especially the young ones caught up in that lifestyle.’’

You can read the entire article here.

White has what I call the “Elijah Syndrome.” I mentioned her in a 2016 post titled Evangelical Preachers and the Elijah Syndrome:

Every time I think of this story [ 1 Kings 19] I am reminded of the fact that a lot of Evangelical preachers see themselves as some sort of modern-day Elijah. And like Elijah, each thinks he is the one remaining prophet in the community standing up for God, the Bible, and Evangelical morality. Such preachers delude themselves into thinking that they alone are standing true, that they alone are preaching the right message. Some of these preachers, men such as Robert Lyte and AW Pink, think that the Christian church is so morally compromised that they can no longer in good conscience be a part of it (Susan-Anne White would another example of this, even though she doesn’t claim to be a preacher).

Video Link

Please do take the time to watch the video. It’s only 3 minutes long, and it perfectly explains what I write next.

Much like twentieth century Evangelical preacher A.W. Pink who secluded himself in a coastal British community because he couldn’t find a church pure enough for him, White rarely attends church, finding fault with the lot of them. White will go to her grave believing that she was right; that she was a standard bearer for Jesus; that her beliefs constitute THE way, THE truth, and THE life. I truly feel sorry for her, missing out on so much of what life has to offer; missing out on befriending wonderful LGBTQ people; missing out on the wonders and pleasures of life, all because she thinks an ancient religious text (the Bible) and a little voice in her head (the Holy Spirit) tell her not to.

White started blogging in 2012.  In a July 7, 2018 post, White said she was ending her blogging career:

We are closing our blog with immediate effect.

We will, from now on, watch with aching hearts God giving society over and giving it up to vile affections.

Society is doomed and divine judgement is sure.

We will no longer “cast our pearls before swine.”

We trust our labours in the Lord were not in vain.

We will now take our leave.

White has given up, choosing instead to stand on the sidelines and watch as God judges a world given over to vile affections. (Romans 1) According to White, people such as myself are swine and she refuses any longer to cast her wisdom-filled blog posts our way. White hopes that her “labours in the Lord” were not in vain. This is what Evangelical preachers and Christian zealots say when their works have had no effect. Well, Praise Jesus, God’s keeping record, and come judgment day he will reward me for faithfully preaching hate and bigotry. Countless Evangelical Christians wrongly believe that their God is going to reward them for being nasty, judgmental people. Look at me Lord, I stood true as rail for your Word and your cause. And Jesus will say to them on that day (Matthew 25:31-46):

When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

The late Keith Green said it best in his song Matthew 25:

Video Link

Bruce, aren’t you an atheist? You don’t believe there is a God, judgment, or afterlife. No, I don’t. But, White does, and I want her to think about her life from a Christian perspective and how she has wasted it hating and trying to harm people different from her. White wasn’t born this way; her religion turned her into what she is today. All too soon, White will go the way of all men, joining atheists, LGBTQ people, Catholics, Episcopalians, liberal Christians, abortionists, and Muslims in the dirt of the earth, serving up food for the worms that will slowly eat her body. Left behind will be White’s nineteen-year-old daughter. She has, I am sure, been deeply affected by her parent’s violent Christian Fundamentalism. It’s not too late to keep her from turning into her mother. If Susan-Anne would only repent and change her ways, she could put an end to her abominable legacy — much as my wife and I did when we left Christianity. The Evangelical curse was broken, and now our children free. To Susan-Anne I say, think of your daughter and set her free.

It is only in this life we can effect change. Once we die there are no second chances, no do-overs. There’s no God, no afterlife, no eternal rewards in Heaven or judgment in Hell; just eternal, endless death and nothingness. White admits her words and behavior have not elicited societal change. Perhaps there’s a messaging problem. Maybe, just maybe, White is worshiping the wrong God. I understand her not wanting to be an atheist like me, but there’s all sorts of Christianities out there that promote love, kindness, decency, and respect. Susan-Anne, for the sake of your daughter, please change your ways.

About Bruce Gerencser

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

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

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Pastor Brian Tome: God Knows What You Are Going Through, He Lost His Son

brian tome

I was listening to the Bill Cunningham show on WLW-700 on my way home from my doctor’s appointment today. Cunningham had as his guest Brian Tome, pastor of Crossroads Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cunningham and Tome were discussing the untimely deaths of children, young adults, and family members. Tome, evidently, was brought on the show to give advice on handling such deaths. What he did, instead, was spend the time throwing up cheap, worn-out Evangelical clichés. On one hand, Tome went out of his way to say, hey, I am just a regular guy who is looking for answers to questions concerning life and death. On the other hand, he was the typical preacher, ever ready to give an answer when he should have, instead, kept his damn mouth shut.

According to Christianity Today, Crossroads is the fastest growing church in the United States with fourteen restaurants –uh, I mean locations – and thirty-eight thousand attendees. Crossroads is using the franchise model to build its brand:

Like about a third of US megachurches, Crossroads relies on technology and resources to support church growth beyond physical buildings. Leaders see Crossroads Anywhere—groups that gather in homes to view the weekend service together—as a crucial part of the church’s future.

At least 38 groups meet together for Crossroads Anywhere in far-flung cities like Seattle, Los Angeles, and Houston. The church spends over $100,000 a month to keep the app’s digital infrastructure running.

The Crossroads Anywhere app also acts as a data-driven feasibility study for possible new campuses. If more than 100 people are convening in a certain location, Crossroads evaluates if it should begin providing on-location resources in that region.

In January, the newest Crossroads campus opened in one of the outlying Cincinnati regions where the staff had seen growing interest—and 8,000 people showed up the first weekend.

To expand beyond the Midwest, Crossroads will rely upon technology to liberate where brick and mortar have limited. Consistent with a business startup mentality, Tome stated, “No matter how big one building is, it is still too small for the growth that God wants for his church.”

Jenn Sperry, whose team oversees media at Crossroads, said the staff had always sensed that the church was growing beyond regional borders. But starting last summer, Crossroads team members were asked to use new language when speaking of the church to communicate a more unlimited scope. Sperry’s department, for instance, has been recast as a “national team.”

Early on in the job, Sperry watched the speed of change going on, caught her breath, and asked her supervisor, “Is it always going to be this way?” At a church like Crossroads, the answer is almost always yes. The fast-paced environment shattered her expectations that working at a church could be boring.

“It’s invigorating and also frustrating to be in an environment of change all the time,” Tome acknowledged.

The rate of growth and change can also create trepidation and questions for church members. One longtime member who worships and serves at the original Crossroads campus in Oakley, a neighborhood of young professionals near the city center, heard whispers of concern after the national announcement was made.

“People hear this declaration of Crossroads becoming a national church, and they wonder, ‘What does that mean for us? Do we lose our identity?’ ” said Marie, who asked to only be identified by her first name. She had her own questions, too. “If God has placed this on the hearts of our leaders, then we must trust what God is doing.”

….

Where is all of this growth coming from? Are thousands of sinners finding salvation through the evangelistic efforts of the church? Of course not. Most new church growth comes from pilfering congregants from other churches. In Cincinnati, there are countless hamburger joints, each offering up its distinctive burgers. What happens when a new hamburger joint comes to town? People flock to the new place looking for something new and different. That’s what we do as Americans. We want diversity and choice. Religious hucksters such as Tome tap into that “need” with their new, exciting churches. Tired of their own places of worship, people seek out new adventures and experiences. Off to Crossroads they go, leaving McDonald’s and Wendy’s to die.

A glimpse of  Crossroads’ website reveals a sneaky Evangelical church that goes out of its way to position itself as not-one-of-those-churches. Crossroads advertises itself as a church for people who don’t like church; a church that doesn’t care what you believe; a church that is cool, relevant, and oh-so-hip; a church that has an awesome band. However, their beliefs are typical of Fundamentalist churches (see Are Evangelicals Fundamentalists?), despite how the church hides them at the bottom of a colander filled with word-salad.

Here are two things that sum up, for me anyway, the essence of Crossroads’ beliefs and ministry methodology. These statements are found on a page titled, Seven Hills We Die On:

  • Crossroads is a place for people on every part of the spiritual journey, from those just investigating whether there is a God to those who have made following Christ the priority of their life. The Bible presents a dangerous message of life change. We don’t assume everyone believes, or even knows the Bible, but we do assume everyone who comes through our doors is open to exploring it. We believe the Bible is God’s inerrant truth and it’s the foundation to everything we do.
  • We don’t expect anyone who walks into Crossroads to be a committed Christ-follower, but we do expect everyone who is around our community for any length of time to be growing. We expect every person to be moving closer to reflecting the complete image of Christ in every area of life. This is a safe place for everyone. But safe doesn’t mean comfortable. The answers aren’t always comfortable. In fact, we often grow only when we are pushed out of our comfort zone.

All that talk about believing whatever ever you want? Well, that’s fine when you walk in the front door for the first time, but if you stick around, Tome and the two hundred Crossroads paid staff members expect you to grow into their version of what it means to be a Christian. On the FAQ page, Crossroads answers the question, is this place a cult? Here’s their response:

Great question. After all, it’s full of people singing songs and drinking the same beloved liquid (in this case, great coffee). Plus, numerous guitars and people dressed comfortably. But seriously. No. Cults tell you what to believe, take away your freedoms and forbid you to leave. Here, you’re welcome no matter what you believe, and we want you to experience freedom (including the freedom to leave whenever you want). If that still isn’t enough for you, then the answer is “Fine, we’re a cult.” But we’re rubber and you’re glue.

god knowsThe church would have you believe that its pastors and teachers don’t tell people what to believe. R-i-g-h-t. Of course they do. That’s why Tome preaches on Sundays. Here’s truth! Believe, lest you perish in your sins and go to hell. Why not admit this? Crossroads’ statement of faith claims that the Bible is inspired and inerrant. This is an objective — albeit false – “truth” claim. Could Joe Blow become involved in the teaching ministry at Crossroads and teach people that the Bible is just another book, and is not, as the church’s statement of faith states, a timeless book different from and superior to all the books ever written? Of course not. Tome and his church have all sort of objective, non-negotiable beliefs. Why not lay all the cards on the table for visitors?  Why not tell them what the church really believes and what will be expected of them? Surely, Tome has nothing to hide, right?

Preachers like Tome are professional bullshitters. They cover their bullshit with a patina of religious words, but underneath it all you will find generic Evangelical beliefs. Such men hide their true beliefs because they are offensive, and if their churches are going to continue to grow numerically and generate larger offerings, new people must not get a whiff of their bullshit until they have been thoroughly courted, fucked, and married.

I am not the only one who sees through Tome’s loving and accepting shtick. At one time, Crossroads was known for being welcoming to gays and lesbians. Remember, the church likely IS welcoming when people come through the front door. But, once embraced by the church and immersed in its teachings, attendees are expected to embrace the church’s beliefs and practices. In 2004, a gay man who was also a volunteer youth leader became engaged to another man. Once it became known that this man was engaged, according to City Beat, he was forced to resign. Here’s an excerpt from the City Beat article:

Leaders at Crossroads found out about Jones’ sexual orientation after a member of his Bible study group told others what Jones thought had been communicated in confidence. When leaders ousted him, Jones asked for a written explanation. They talked to him over the phone but refused his request for something in writing.

“I almost feel it’s because they’re afraid to have a written policy stating anything that would stop someone from coming in and giving them money,” Jones says.

As the church’s pastor, Tome says he can’t talk about the particulars of any dealings with individuals in his church. But he said Crossroads communicates openly and directly about the issue of homosexuality.

In a Sunday message last year, Tome addressed homosexuality in response to the many questions he’d received about the issue.

“You cannot say the Bible supports homosexuality,” he said. “It does not.”

Still, almost a year later, many homosexuals continue to attend the church.

“We would believe that homosexual sex is just as wrong as two people not married having sex,” Tome says.

He admits that he has looked at Internet pornography, which he considers just as wrong as homosexuality.

“(Homosexuals) should not be singled out as committing the capital ‘S’ sin here at the church,” he says.

There is a reason the church doesn’t want a written policy on homosexuality, according to Tome.

“The church in America, and might I also say Cincinnati, is pretty much irrelevant, and it’s because we make things like sexuality our rallying issue,” he says. “The church is not supposed to be God’s political weather vane.”

Gays ‘very confused’
The Bible speaks to particular sins in a manner that doesn’t require additional written doctrine, Tome says. He interprets passages such as 1 Corinthians 6: 9-10 to clearly indicate that homosexuality, even within the confines of marriage, displeases God.

“Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God,” the passage says.

Jones, however, differs in his interpretation. He says the reference is to homosexuality associated with male prostitution, not to homosexuality within marriage.

Jones suspects that Crossroads isn’t just interested in what the Bible says. He thinks discrimination and stereotypes play a role.

When Crossroads let him go, he asked, “Is it because you want to protect the children from me?”

Jones says the response was, ” ‘We’re sorry you interpret it that way … We need to put the child first and err on the side of the child.’ I asked them, ‘What are you protecting them from?’ ”

Jones is a doctoral candidate in child and adolescent psychology at Xavier University.

But Tome says Crossroads doesn’t advocate the false stereotype of homosexuals as pedophiles.

“We would not say that homosexuals are pedophiles,” he says. “We would not say that and we would not say homosexuals cannot be around kids in any way shape or form. That has not been the way we practice.”

Tome says an abstinent homosexual Christian who slips up sometimes but is trying to abstain is welcome to teach at the church, but that someone who believes homosexuality is not a sin would be asked to serve in some other role.

….

Sadly, way too many LGBTQ people get sucked into Evangelical churches through believing a particular church’s marketing slogans. And believe me, Tome sees himself as an entrepreneur, a seller of the greatest story ever told. LGBTQ people hear Tome and his church say, you are WELCOME here. Come as you are. Believe what you want. We won’t judge you. And these things might be true — for a time – but the longer LGBTQ people are in the church the more likely it is that they will face pressure to conform. And if they refuse? Why, they are free to leave. No harm, no foul, except to the LBGTQ people who thought that Tome and Crossroads really loved and accepted them as they are. Sorry folks, no matter how an Evangelical church markets itself, the Bible will have the final say.

Tome made several absurd statements during his time on Bill Cunningham’s show. First, Tome said, “We have to have an answer for pain and suffering.” Both my wife and I said, “why?” Why do we have to have an answer for pain and suffering? Is it not sufficient to say, shit happens? Tome is looking for answers where there are none. Tome and Cunningham, a vulgar, right-wing Catholic and political extremist, want to “see” God in the midst of pain and suffering. However, as many ex-Christians have found out, God is nowhere to be found.

Second, Tome said, “God knows what you are going through, he lost his son.” Polly and I both were shocked that the good pastor let this nonsense slip from his lips. How could God, the father, know what we are going through? He has never been human. He’s never experienced pain and suffering. According to orthodox Christianity, pain and suffering are the consequences of humanity’s fall into sin. God’s never sinned, Evangelicals say — though the Bible reveals a deity who has little regard for his own moral commands — so how is it possible for him to “know” pain and suffering?

Did God, the father, really lose his son? In what way was Jesus “lost?” According to the Bible, Jesus spent a long weekend in Hell preaching to sinners. I am sure his father knew exactly where he was. Oh, what great pain and suffering God faced when his son was on a forty-eight to seventy-two-hour vacation in Cancun! Is God’s “suffering” over the “loss” of his son comparable in any way to the pain and agony faced by countless humans, day in and day out? Of course not.

God, the father, is a work of fiction. The fact that the pain and suffering exist in the world — both for humans and animals — suggests that God is not the kind of deity Evangelicals claim he is. Would an all-powerful God of love ignore pain and suffering when it was in his power to put an end to it? What better way to show your love, mercy, and kindness than to alleviate pain and suffering. Instead, God does nothing, suggesting that either he doesn’t care or he doesn’t exist. My money is on the latter.

Jesus, on the other hand, was very much a flesh and-blood human being. Not a God, Jesus was the son of Mary and an unknown man. Jesus had the same wants, needs, passions, and desires, as the rest of us. Ask yourself, did Jesus masturbate? Is the Pope Catholic? Of course Jesus masturbated! He did all the things that were common to man. Why? Because he was human. Thus, when Jesus got himself crossways with the Roman government and the local Jewish community, he experienced great pain and suffering. Why? Because he was human. And then, when he body couldn’t take any more pounding, he died. Why? Because he was human.

Tome should immediately, without delay, put away the vacuous cliché, God knows what you are going through, he lost his son. Saying this makes light of human pain and suffering. It’s the equivalent of saying, Hey, suck it up. God suffered loss too when Jesus didn’t come home one weekend. He knows what you are going throughGod made it to the other side and you will too! 

Oh, how I wish I could “suffer” as Jesus supposedly did two thousand years ago. I would gladly trade a long weekend of pain and suffering for my current experiences with chronic pain and illness. I have met countless chronic pain sufferers over the years. I have also known people who have gone through great heartache and tragedy. In every way, the suffering faced by these people far eclipsed that of the man, the myth, the legend, Jesus, the Christ. Tome wants to believe that his God is an ever-present reality, a deity who understands — yet, does nothing for — their pain. Why bother with such a God?  Why waste your energy worshiping and serving a heartless, helpless God who cannot or will not do what supposedly is in his power to do? No thanks. I much prefer humanism’s view of pain and suffering; that such things are common to man; and all any of us can do is love and support one another.

There Are So Many Gays in the Olympics Now

gay olympians

My wife and her mother talk via telephone every Sunday evening around 9:00 PM. One recent topic of discussion was the Winter Olympics. Polly and her Mom both shared what events they liked watching. Polly’s mom, a devout Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) Christian, shared one observation that left Polly and me laughing when she told me what her mom had said. There sure are a lot of gays in the Olympics now, Mom said, with, I am sure, a shaking of her head a low sounding, umm hmm — the sound she makes when something or someone doesn’t meet her approval.

Polly said nothing. She could have, of course, told her mom that there have always been gay athletes in the Olympics. Gays, gays, gays, everywhere gays, but for most of Mom’s life, they quietly hid in dark closets, so she didn’t see them. Out of sight, out of mind. Now that closet doors have been flung open, Fundamentalists are forced to see and engage people who are considered by them to be abominable reprobates. I have no doubt that Fundamentalists wish that gays would stop flaunting their sexuality — you know like heterosexuals flaunt theirs.

Mom’s youngest brother died of a viral heart disease at age fifty-one. Art was a wonderful man, a pacifist who refused to carry a gun during the Vietnam War. He was a telecommunications operator. Art lived in Michigan, hours away from his Fundamentalist family. When he traveled to Ohio to visit on holidays, he would attend church with the family at the Newark Baptist Temple. I never heard Art talk about God, Jesus, the Bible, or Christianity. He supposedly made a profession of faith as a boy, but I doubt that Art attended church other than when he was visiting his Fundamentalist family. After Art died, it was left to his two preacher’s-wife sisters to settle his estate and take care of his personal property. There were things “found” at his apartment that still can’t be talked about to this day. I’ve thought, over the years, surely everyone knew Art was gay. The first time I met Art was Thanksgiving 1976. I knew immediately that Art was “different” from the rest of us fine upstanding Christians. It’s too bad he died so young. I suspect he would have found today’s societal openness towards gays liberating. I would love to have had an opportunity to talk to him about life as a gay man in a Fundamentalist Baptist family.

I don’t fault my mother-in-law for being homophobic. She was raised in a Fundamentalist Christian home where human sexuality was defined by the Bible. Gay people were disgusting, vile cretins in need of old-fashioned Baptist salvation. Getting saved turned sinners into saints, homosexuals into heterosexuals. This is how I was raised too. From my elementary school years forward, I heard pastors, youth directors, and Sunday school teachers say that God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah over the sin of ho-mo-sex-u-al-ity (shout the word loudly, enunciating each syllable while pounding on the pulpit). Gay people were viewed as sexual predators. No child was safe when near homosexuals. Church was considered a safe haven because there supposedly weren’t any gays in IFB churches.

I didn’t personally know a gay person until high school. I knew a lot of people who were called queers and faggots, but these slurs were often hurled towards boys who refused to participate in gym or who acted in ways deemed unmanly. They may or may not have been gay. In ninth grade, my gym teacher decided to teach us how to square dance. My pastor got wind of this and made a fuss. Dancing? In school? This resulted in me sitting on the sidelines while everyone else, save two other boys, learned to do-si-do and swing their partner round and round. The other two boys? Yeah….the two “queers” who refused to participate in gym. I was thoroughly embarrassed by having to sit with these boys. (Please read Good Baptist Boys Don’t Dance.)

I am sure my mother-in-law, along with her fellow Christians, is upset and alarmed over how out-in-the-open gay people are these days. Why, there’s even gays kissing on TV! Umm hmm. What Fundamentalists fail to understand is that there have always been gay people. Religious oppression kept them from openly expressing their sexuality. Now, LGBTQ people are out of the closet and openly living their lives as they see fit. Their openness scares the Jesus right out of Fundamentalists. They genuinely believe that homosexuality is a sin above all sins, and that societies which endorse and support such behavior will be judged and destroyed by God. This is why Fundamentalists opposed same-sex marriage and continue to threaten boycotts of companies that support the “gay agenda” or the “gay lifestyle.”  The problem now, of course, is that anti-gay Fundamentalists make up a small and shrinking percentage of Americans and tend to live in southern or rural communities. They no longer have the political power necessary to turn back the Sodomite horde. As the United States becomes more inclusive and tolerant, Fundamentalists are forced to admit that Christianity no longer rules the roost; that even some Evangelicals now think it is okay for people to be gay; that come the next Olympics there will be gay athletes. Umm  hmm…..

About Bruce Gerencser

Bruce Gerencser, 60, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 39 years. He and his wife have six grown children and eleven grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

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

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The Sounds of Fundamentalism: Anonymous Fundamentalist Spends Eight Minutes Talking About Sodomite Sex

sodomites

This is the one hundred and sixty-ninth installment in The Sounds of Fundamentalism series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a video clip that shows the crazy, cantankerous, or contradictory side of Evangelical Christianity, please send me an email with the name or link to the video. Please do not leave suggestions in the comment section.  Let’s have some fun!

Today’s Sound of Fundamentalism is a video clip of an anti-gay rant by an anonymous Fundamentalist Christian who operates the God, Guns, and Glory blog. It comes as no surprise that this man is a huge Steven Anderson fan. I suspect that this man, along with Anderson, is suppressing his true sexual nature by railing against LGBTQ people.

Video Link