Tag Archive: Romans 1

What Evangelicals Mean When They Use the Word “God”

god

When engaging Evangelicals in discussions, it is important to get them to define what they mean when they use the word “God.” On Sundays, Evangelicals are quite specific: God is the Christian deity; the God of the Bible; the Father, Son (Jesus), and Holy Ghost. All other Gods are false Gods. If Evangelicals are true to their faith, they will admit that they believe there is only one path to Heaven — theirs. Not the Catholic road; not the Muslim road, not the Jewish road; theirs. In their minds, True Christianity® is rooted in the merit and work of Jesus Christ on the cross and his resurrection from the dead three days later. For Evangelicals, God, Christianity, and salvation are clearly defined in the Bible. People who disagree with them are either lost or being led astray by heretical beliefs. In recent years, some Evangelicals have lurched towards the liberal fringe of Evangelicalism, believing that many of the beliefs once held dear by God’s chosen ones are no longer essential doctrines of the faith. Roman Catholics, Mormons, and Seventh Day Adventists are now considered “Christian,” whereas just a few decades ago every Evangelical considered these sects cults or false religions. God surely works in mysterious ways, does he not? What’s next, rock music in worship services? I digress . . .

Engage Evangelicals on matters of church and state and you will find that they quickly lose their particularity about God. Pursue discussions about prayer in public schools, the National Day of Prayer, teaching creationism in science classes, or posting the Ten Commandments of the walls or grounds of government buildings, to name a few, and you will find Evangelicals have abandoned or muted their strict, absolute definition of the word God. All of a sudden, God is a generic being, a deity found in all religions. These hypocrites value political power more than they do standing true to their beliefs. As we have learned with the part Evangelicals played in the election of pussy-grabber-in-chief Donald Trump, they are willing to wholesale abandon their beliefs and practices if, in doing so, they gain political power. Following the plan set forth in the late 1970s by Jerry Falwell, one of the founders of the Moral Majority, these cultural warriors are willing to sell their souls to the Devil if it means outlawing abortion, abolishing same-sex marriage, and stuffing LGBTQ people back into the dark recesses of closets. It seems, at least for many Evangelicals, situational ethics and morality — wherein the end justifies the means — are now the rule, and not the exception. There was a time when Evangelical resolutely stood upon the teachings of the Christian Bible. Today, many of them are only concerned with power and control. As a young pastor in the 1970s, I didn’t know one Evangelical pastor who didn’t believe in the strict separation of church and state. My God, we were Baptists — the original separatists. The pastors I knew wanted nothing to do with government. Today? These same men, with straight faces, say that there is no such thing as church/state separation, and if anything, our founding fathers only wanted to keep the government from establishing a state church.

Evangelicals may attempt to appeal to a generic God when engaging in public square discussions and debates, but don’t let them pull the proverbial wool over your eyes. When they write or say the word “God” they are ALWAYS, WITHOUT EXCEPTION, speaking of the Evangelical version of the Christian deity; the God ensconced in the pages of the Protestant Bible. Let me be blunt, Evangelicals who appeal to a generic God are being dishonest. They don’t believe this God exists.

Engage Evangelicals on the “God of Creation” and you will often find that they will begin by appealing to a generic, universal understanding of who and what God is. Often, they will cough up Romans 1:17-20 and Romans 2:11-16:

For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.

….

For there is no respect of persons with God. For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

According to Evangelical apologists, there is no such thing as an “atheist.” According to their interpretation of Romans 1 and Romans 2, “God” reveals himself to everyone through creation and he gives to everyone a BIOS of sorts; a conscience; a base moral code. These “truths” are found in most religions, Evangelicals say, especially in the text-based Abrahamic religions. Evangelicals want to leave people with the impression that the concept of God is a universal truth. However, when pressed — well, backed into a corner by a bold atheist — Evangelicals will grudgingly admit that there really is only one God — theirs. Poof! And just like that their generic, universal deity goes up in smoke. When Evangelicals speak of a Creator God or a God who gives everyone a moral and ethical compass, they are talking about a very particular God — theirs. Mark it down, when Evangelicals use the word “God” they are NEVER referring to a generic deity — even if their lying lips suggest otherwise.

Hardcore Evangelical apologists often use the idea of a generic God as a way to hook naïve people, drawing them into discussions that always lead to the man, the myth, the legend, Jesus Christ. I have found that one of the best ways to attack such an approach is to grant their premise: Fine, I readily admit that there is a Creator God, a deistic God who created the universe and endowed humans with a moral/ethical code. Now, please show me how you get from the concept of A GOD to THE GOD; from the generic Creator God to the Evangelical God. And please show me this bridge without using presuppositions or making appeals to the Bible. End of discussion, every time.

Much to the dismay of hardcore atheists, I am quite happy to admit that it is possible (not probable) that a God of some sort created the universe. I don’t believe this to be true, but I am willing to grant its possibility. However, I have yet to see an Evangelical argument that gets me from this to this God being the God of the Bible.

The next time you have an Evangelical try to engage you with generic God arguments, don’t believe one word of what they are saying. Evangelicals have never believed in a non-proprietary definition of the word “God.” In their minds, there is one God, and Jesus is his name. Well, that and God, the Father, and God, the Holy Spirit. I’ll leave that mess to another day.

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.

Donations are always appreciated. Donations on a monthly basis can be made through Patreon. One-time donations can be made through PayPal.

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Atheists KNOW the Evangelical God Exists

there is no such thing as an atheist

 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;  Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse (Romans 1:19,20)

According to verses 19 and 20, who knows God exists? That’s right, everybody. So, on the basis of the Word of God, there are no atheists; there are only people who suppress the truth that they know about God in their unrighteousness. In other words, they don’t want God to exist so they can live however they wish.

….

Many professing atheists will say there is not enough evidence to conclude the existence of God, or that God has not proven Himself to them. But the Bible says there is more than enough evidence to prove God’s existence (again, see vs. 19-20). He has demonstrated Himself through creation and the conscience. The problem is not a lack of evidence, but an unwillingness to believe. Notice the underlined portions and see that professing atheists willfully reject the truth they know about God and will therefore experience God’s judgment unless they repent. Moreover, they hate God (Romans 1:30). They may deny it, but it’s true. Many professing atheists are “former” Christians and began to profess atheism either after a tragedy they experienced, or in rebellion against their parents/the Church [It is evident Jimmy doesn’t know any ex-Evangelicals who are now atheists]. This is evidence of their hatred toward God.

Many professing atheists say, “If God were to show me a sign, I would believe.” However, that is also false. Many people saw the signs, wonders, and miracles Jesus performed while He walked the earth, yet not everyone believed on Him. This is further support for my claim that it’s not a problem of evidence for the supposed atheist. It’s merely a ploy to mask their unwillingness to believe.  If God showed them a sign, they would find a way to explain it away. Because they don’t want to acknowledge and submit to the God they know exists.

….

So, while progressing atheists claim to not believe in the existence of God, God says in His Word that atheists don’t exist. “Let God be true, but every man a liar.” Hence, Christian, next time you are in a discussion with someone and they claim to be an atheist, don’t believe them.

— Jimmy, Gpluslighthouse: Valiant for Truth, God Doesn’t Believe in Atheists, August 14, 2018

Will Murderous Evangelical Pastor Christopher Gattis Go to Heaven When He Dies?

christopher gattis

As the Black Collar Crime series has shown, Evangelical pastors can and do commit all sorts of crimes, including — in the case of Missouri-Synod Lutheran pastor Christopher Gattis — murder. Gattis stands accused of murdering his wife, stepdaughter, and the stepdaughter’s boyfriend on Thanksgiving Day.

Gattis worked for and was a member of a church that believes “the Bible to be the inspired and inerrant Word of God and the only revelation on both beliefs and practice.”  Lutherans believe people must persevere until the end to be saved (as do Calvinists). The difference between Lutherans and Calvinists, according to Douglas Sweeney, chair of the church history and history of Christian thought department and director of the Jonathan Edwards Center at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, is that Lutherans believe:

….the elect will certainly persevere in faith. God is not impotent to carry out his decrees respecting salvation. But not everyone who is born again is among God’s elect. It is possible for regenerated people to apostatize. So perseverance is largely a matter of walking in step with the Spirit, persevering, and encouraging other people to do the same.

According to Sweeney, Martin Luther believed that there were sins that could result in people losing their faith. Luther wrote:

“it is necessary to know and teach that when holy people—aside from the fact that they still have and feel original sin and also daily repent of it and struggle against it—somehow fall into a public sin (such as David, who fell into adultery, murder, and blasphemy against god), at that point faith and the Spirit have departed.” Luther, Smalcald Articles (1537), 3.3

None of us can know Christopher Gattis’ “heart.” For the purpose of this post, I am going to assume that he was a good Missouri-Synod Christian who loved Jesus, and the moment he committed the very public sin of homicide, the Spirit of God took flight from his soul and Gattis is now a sinner in need of conversion.

Using murderous, adulterous David as an example, Luther believed that when King David publicly sinned against God, faith and the Holy Spirit departed. Gattis, much like David, had a record of misconduct. In 2010 he was accused of public intoxication, and in 2012 he was charged with assault and battery.  Kevin Defford, his victim in the assault, said the following to the NBC-12:

“He was on edge that day, was my thinking,” says Kevin Defford, who is the victim in the 2012 case.

Defford was delivering samples of a newspaper with his son and tossed one onto Christopher Gattis’ driveway.

“On the way up, he had come from his driveway and was standing in the middle of the road,” said Defford.

He says Christopher Gattis threw the paper at his face and started yelling, even going as far as to pull out a box cutter.

“The fact that he pulled the box cutter, it had me thinking about my son at that point, and that’s why the police were called,” says Defford. “But again, it seemed like he was on edge that day when I met him.”

Christopher Gattis was found guilty, but the charge was dismissed once Christopher Gattis paid restitution. Now knowing this man is connected to a triple murder has Defford shaken.

“Now it makes me wonder a little more um, what might have been,” he said.

blood of jesus

It seems that Gattis has had several bouts of faithlessness. The good news is that if Gattis repents — telling God, my bad, Jesus. I promise never to kill anyone again — he can, once again, become a man after God’s own heart. No sin — no matter how perverse, vile, disgusting, or evil — is beyond the forgiving power of the miraculous blood of Jesus. For Gattis, restoration is but a prayer away.

Or is it?

Evangelicals love to talk about how bad they were before they became new creations in Christ Jesus. As anyone who has sat through a Baptist testimony time can attest, wild claims of depravity are quite common. The greater the sin, the greater the grace needed to save sinners from their sins. Over the course of the fifty years I spent in the Christian church, I never heard believers minimize their sinfulness. Oh no, the bigger the sinner, the better. This is why the history of Evangelicalism is filled with stories about people who were once witches, Satanists, and mob hit men before J-e-s-u-s saved them. Such people regale congregations with stories of murder, sexual abuse, demonic possession, sacrificing infants to Satan, and all sorts of perversion. Yet, Jesus somehow, some way, reached down into their wretched souls and saved them. (Of course, many of these wild testimonies are lies straight from the mythical pit of hell.)

Murderers present a real conundrum for Evangelicals. They know that David was a murderer, yet God forgave him, and he was considered not only a man after God’s own heart, but also a relative of Jesus. Evangelicals read and hear stories about murderers whose lives were transformed by the mighty working power of the triune God. This must mean, then, that murderers can be saved too, that even killing your family or strafing innocent men, women and children with weaponized drones is within the purview of Jesus, the savior of humankind. But, is it really? What does the Bible say on the matter?

Revelation 21:8 states:

But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

Revelation 22:14,15 adds:

Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.  For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. [OMG! all dogs go to hell!]

The writer of First John said:

Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. (1 John 3:15)

Speaking of reprobates — those beyond the grace of God — the Apostle Paul said:

For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. (Romans 1:26-32)

Paul emphatically states in Galatians 5:19-21 that murderers shall not inherit the Kingdom of God:

 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Did Christopher Gattis, by murdering his family, cross a line of no return? Has his nonrefundable ticket for the Lake of Fire been punched? Or, is there still hope for Gattis; that if he really, really, really says he is s-o-r-r-y that God will say to him, aw shucks, Chris, I forgive you. The Bible is incoherent on this matter, as it is with virtually every other theological, cultural, and social issue Christians say the Bible addresses. God said it, and that settles it, right?

Of course, there is no God, so flesh-and-blood humans are left with the unenviable task of trying to figure out why Gattis picked up a gun and murdered those closest to him. Was he mentally ill? Was he under the influence of drugs or alcohol? Did he shoot them in a fit of rage? If so, what caused him to be so angry? So many questions, and regardless of the answers, Gattis, if convicted, should spend the rest of his life in prison (and I know some readers think this is a death-penalty-worthy crime).

I grieve for those left behind in the wake of Gattis homicidal rage. And for those who attempt to paper over this tragedy with God, prayer, and faith? Child, please. Stop excusing bad behavior with nonsensical theological arguments and clichés. What’s next? — God needed more good angels so he used Christopher Gattis to send his family to heaven; that God always works things out according to his purpose and plan? Enough, already. (Please read Sutherland Springs Massacre: God Answered the Victims Prayers by Allowing Them to be Murdered.)

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.

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.

Donations are always appreciated. Donations on a monthly basis can be made through Patreon. One-time donations can be made through PayPal.

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.

Three Failed Ways Evangelicals Deal with Gay Church Members

homosexuals must repent

First Conservative Baptist Church, Jacksonville, Florida. Gene Youngblood, pastor.

According to the dictionary, a homosexual is someone who is attracted to a person of the same sex. Homosexuality is the sexual attraction to (or sexual relations with) the same-sex. Evangelicals believe that all each of us is born a heterosexual male or female. In accordance with this errant understanding of human sexuality, they refuse to accept that anyone is born homosexual. They believe gays choose to be homosexual and engage in same-sex sexual behavior. According to their interpretation of the Bible, homosexuality, the engaging in sexual relations with a person of the same-sex, is a sin.

Some Evangelicals think a person can be attracted to the same sex and not commit sin. It is the act of homosexual sex that is the sin. If people who are attracted to others of the same gender abstain from same-sex sexual behavior,  it is possible for them to be considered Christian. However, anyone who engages in habitual homosexual sex is not a Christian. Since anal and oral intercourse are usually the way gays engage in sex, shouldn’t these very same practices among Evangelical heterosexuals land them in the same hell as the homosexual? Further, if homosexual sex is just one of many sexual behaviors that God condemns, why is it that the sins of adultery, fornication, and masturbation among Evangelicals are rarely treated identically to same-sex sexual behavior?

According to the Evangelical Christian interpretation of Romans 1, many (most, all) homosexuals have been given over by God to a reprobate mind. Reprobates are people such as myself who have crossed the line of no return when it comes to God’s mercy and grace. Reprobates are beyond redemption and will certainly burn in hell for all eternity.

To a large degree, Evangelicals are a sect of sexually repressed people. Evangelical church-goers spend their lives being told what they can and can’t do sexually (and the “can’s” and “cant’s” vary from church to church, pastor to pastor). The blazing red line in the sand is this: heterosexual sexual intercourse between a husband and his wife is the only permissible form of sex (preferably in the missionary position and for the purpose of procreation). Attempts to spice up one’s sex life is often met with condemnation and judgement. When Evangelical husbands or wives ask their spouse to engage in sexual behavior that is considered kinky, they expose themselves to accusations of having watched pornography. After all, where would an Evangelical get the notion to engage in kinky sex without having been exposed to it elsewhere?

This is the world Evangelicals live in.

Back in the R-E-A-L world, we know that people are sexual creatures. We have a natural desire for sexual intimacy. We also know that there are numerous sexual orientations, including heterosexuality, homosexuality, and bisexuality. While we readily admit that environmental factors certainly affect our sexual desires, we also know that most of us are born with a certain sexual identity. I am heterosexual because I was born this way, and so it is for the homosexual.

It is a common occurrence these days to hear of an Evangelical who has been outed as a homosexual. Homosexual Evangelical preachers, evangelists, college professors, and para-church leaders, among others, are regularly exposed and either end up repenting of their sin or leaving Evangelicalism. Many Evangelical homosexuals spend their lives in the closet, secretly indulging their nature, all the while living their lives as a “normal” heterosexuals. Often they marry someone of the opposite sex, hoping this will “cure” them of their attraction towards the same-sex. They will engage in heterosexual sex, father or birth children,outwardly doing all the things heterosexuals are supposed to do. But inwardly they battle with who and what they really are. Frequently they are depressed, desperately struggling to maintain their Evangelical façade. Some even consider suicide, a sin only slightly less heinous to Evangelicals than homosexuality.

I suppose marrying away the gay works for some, but more often than not, this approach fails miserably. The homosexual feels trapped in a marital relationship that is not open and honest. Sometimes the spouse understands the dilemma and turns a blind eye to liaisons with people of the same sex. Sometimes the sexual hypocrisy reaches such a point that it results in divorce. Imagine the pain and suffering inflicted on heterosexual spouses, knowing that their significant other desires a man or a woman and not them. Envision the pain, agony, and confusion children go through when they discover one parent or the other is not heterosexual. The family and spouse have been indoctrinated with the Evangelical view of homosexuality that says such behavior is abhorrent and vile. Is it any wonder that mom or dad coming out of the closet often causes huge rifts? These fissures frequently cause irreparable damage to family relationships.

It is easy to understand, then, why many Evangelical closeted gays remain safely hidden in the darkened back of the closet. Loving their family more than life itself, they willingly hide who and what they really are. While I personally experience physical pain, I can only imagine the emotional and mental suffering endured by those forced to live a lie because the Evangelical God hates homosexuals,

Sometimes, Evangelicals who struggle with homosexuality are told they just need to pray. When they are tempted with same-sex sexual desires, they are told to pray away the gay. If they will just pray hard enough, have enough faith, and trust that God will not give them more than they can bear, they will surely be delivered from their same-sex attraction. And if they still have this attraction? It’s is their fault. They didn’t pray hard enough, have enough faith, or really believe that God would deliver them. No matter what, it’s their fault.

Imagine the same scenario for a heterosexual. We know that the majority of Evangelicals engage in premarital sex. Most Evangelical heterosexuals are not virgins when they walk down the aisle at the local Baptist church. Add to this number those who masturbate and it is clear very few Evangelicals actually keep the Bible’s puritanical, anti-human sexuality code. Imagine two Evangelical young adults, let call them Nathan and Abigail, regularly dating.  Over time, they become more physical with one another. Soon they find themselves rounding third and heading for home. What should they do? Pray? Have faith? Trust that God will provide them a way of escape (remember, masturbation is NOT a way of escape)?

It is likely that Nathan and Abigail will slide right into home. They will feel guilty afterward, promising God they will never, ever do it again. And then, just like a man who has a chocolate shake for the first time at Dairy Queen, who forever after yearns for a chocolate shake every time he passes a DQ, Nathan and Abigail want to have sex every time they engage in sexual intimacy. Once a person experiences sexual intercourse for the first time, there’s no going back.

Do you think fornicators Nathan and Abigail will be treated the same as two homosexuals when their sexual activity is exposed? Of course not.  All of the older adults at the local Baptist church understand youthful temptation and desire. They likely know from firsthand experience the guilt Nathan and Abigail are experiencing. As heterosexuals, they understand how such things happen. However, when it comes to two homosexuals sliding into home, they cannot begin to fathom such a thing. In their eyes, homosexuality is the one sin that is above every other transgression of God’s law.

Sometimes, Evangelical churches and pastors reluctantly admit that some church member are attracted to people of the same-sex. They might even grudgingly admit these people were born that way.  But, make no mistake about it, born this way or not, their homosexuality is condemned by the Bible, and such conduct is never permissible. God creates us with desires for the same-sex person, and then tells us we can’t act on them? Strange way to go about things, don’t you think? Evangelical homosexuals are told that they must live a sexually celibate life. They are never permitted to love someone, to know what it is to find sexual fulfillment in the embrace of their significant other. They must forsake what is essential to human nature and live like a celibate priest, all the while foregoing masturbatory relief (and we all know how well that works).

Evangelical homosexuals rightly consider marry away the gay, pray away the gay, and forced celibacy teachings to be an offensive denial of who and what they are. While many Evangelical homosexuals have strong faith in the Christian God and desire to worship him, they are usually forced to leave the church. The good news is that there are liberal and progressive Christian churches who will gladly accept them as they are.

It’s in the Bible: Who Won’t be in Heaven

stairway to heaven

Evangelicals believe the Bible is the inspired, inerrant Word of God. It is not a truth, it is THE truth. Who created the universe? The Bible has the answer. Who is God? The Bible has the answer. What is sin? The Bible has the answer. What happens after we die? The Bible has the answer. Is there a heaven and a hell? The Bible has the answer. What must a person do to be forgiven by God and delivered from sin? The Bible has the answer. As the old junior church classic goes:

The B-i-b-l-e, yes that’s the book for me

I stand alone on the Word of God

The B-i-b-l-e

BIBLE

If every person who has ever lived, past present and future, ends up after death in either heaven or hell, it’s very important for us to know exactly what God’s Word has to say on the matter. Are there certain sins that will keep a person out of heaven and guarantee them a bunk in hell with Christopher Hitchens? (Read Christopher Hitchens is in Hell.)  It’s at this point that many Evangelicals begin to play dumb, suggesting that it is up to God to judge someone. But wait a minute, isn’t the Bible the Word of God? Aren’t its words so clear that even a child can understand them? If the most important decision people will ever make is to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, shouldn’t the prospective Christians be able to go to the Bible and find out exactly what sins keep a person out of heaven?

Well, the Evangelical says…really it’s only the sin of unbelief that sends a person to hell. Really? Is that what the inspired, inerrant, authoritative Word of God says? Shouldn’t everything, especially those issues that have eternal import, be judged by the Holy Bible? Surely God is clear on this matter, yes?

Many Evangelicals genuinely want to be thought of as nice people. They want to be respected and thought well of. So, when confronted with those who reject Jesus and live in a way that is contrary to the teachings of the Bible, they often refuse to say, as Jesus didexcept ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Many of the people who once called me pastor or preacher have a hard time believing and saying, Bruce Gerencser, you are headed for hell. They cannot fathom that the man who once preached to them the unsearchable riches of Christ and pointed them to the Jesus and his saving grace is now an atheist headed for hell. Some even go so far as to say that I am still a Christian.

The Bible has several lists of sins that will keep a person out of heaven and earn them a lifetime room in hell. Let’s take a look at what GOD says about the matter.

Revelation 21:8

But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

This passage says the following people will go to hell after they die:

  • Fearful (cowardly)
  • Unbelieving
  • Abominable
  • Murderers
  • Whoremongers (sexually immoral)
  • Sorcerers (magic)
  • Idolaters
  • Liars

1 Corinthians 6:9,10

 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

This passage says the following people will go to hell after they die:

  • Unrighteous
  • Fornicators
  • Idolaters
  • Adulterers
  • Effeminate
  • Abusers of themselves with mankind
  • Thieves
  • Covetous
  • Drunkards
  • Revilers
  • Extortioners

Galatians 5:19-21

 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,  envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

This passage says the following sins will guarantee a person a bunk in hell after they die:

  • Adultery
  • Fornication
  • Uncleanness
  • Lasciviousness (wantonness, sensuality)
  • Idolatry
  • Witchcraft (drug use)
  • Hatred
  • Variance (quarrelsome, contentious)
  • Emulations (envy, jealousy)
  • Wrath
  • Strife
  • Seditions (dissension, division)
  • Heresies
  • Envyings
  • Murders
  • Drunkenness
  • Revellings (partying, rioting)
  • And such like (covering anything else we later make a sin)

Ephesians 5:5

For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

This passage says the following people will go to hell after they die:

  • Whoremonger
  • Unclean person (impure, lewd, demonic)
  • Covetous man who is an idolater

Romans 1:26-32

For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

This passage deals with those whom God has given over to a reprobate mind. Most Evangelicals believe a reprobate is a person who cannot be saved, a person whom God has turned his back on. The reprobate, thanks to a hard heart, is guaranteed a bunk in hell.  What sins are the mark of a reprobate:

  • Vile affections (homosexuality)
  • Filled with unrightousness
  • Fornication
  • Wickedness
  • Covetousness
  • Maliciousness
  • Envy
  • Murder
  • Debate
  • Deceit

They are whisperers, backbiters, and haters of God, who are:

  • Despiteful
  • Proud
  • Boasters
  • Inventors of evil things
  • Disobedient to parents
  • Without understanding
  • Covenantbreakers
  • Without natural affection
  • Implacable
  • Unmerciful

Reprobates not only do these things, they take pleasure in doing so. They sin with gusto!

The Bible is quite clear about who won’t be in heaven. Evangelicals don’t need to play dumb or stammer. All they need to do is point people to these verses. God has spoken! And why they are at it, they might want to re-read these passages. If we take God at his word, it seems quite clear that there will be NO Evangelicals in heaven. Think about all the Christians you know and the people you once attended church with. Think of the men who were once your pastor. Think about your Christian family. Aren’t all of them mentioned in one of these five Scripture passages?

Besides, the Bible says in 1 John 3:8,9:

He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

The next time you come in contact with an Evangelical zealot, ask them if they have sinned. If they say YES, then quote the Good Book, telling them that:

  • Anyone who commits sins is of the devil
  • Whoever is born of God does not commit sin

If they have sinned then that means they are of the devil, are not a child of God, and are headed to hell like the rest of us unwashed, uncircumcised Philistines.

Just remember, it’s in the B-i-b-l-e.

Notes

Evangelicals have all kinds of explanations and justifications for why these verses don’t mean what say. Be prepared to be taken on a wild goose chase, with discussions meant to explain away or obfuscate the clear, unadulterated meaning of the Bible.

Evangelical preoccupation with sex?  As you can see from these verses, it started with a single man named Paul some 1,900 years ago.

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