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Tag: Salvation

Are You a Christian?

what is a christian

JC Ryle, a 19th century Anglican Bishop, wrote a tract about the marks of a Christian:

But still after every allowance, here we find boldly painted six marks of being born of God. Here is an inspired Apostle writing one of the last general epistles (1 John) to the Church of Christ, telling us that a man born of God, Does not commit sin, Believes that Jesus is the Christ, Does righteousness, Loves the brethren, Overcomes the world, and Keeps himself. I ask the reader to observe all this.

The Bible basis for what Ryle says is found in I John:

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.

Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.

For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.

If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.

Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.

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.

We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.

If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?

Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

Denominations, pastors, and individual Christians explain, or should I say explain away, these verses in a variety of ways. Some take the verses exactly as they are written, even though their lives are a direct contradiction to what the verses say. Others go to the Greek text and say that these verses say one thing in the English text but another thing in the Greek text. They do a lot of explaining to get away from what the English text clearly says. It seems to me that the writer of 1 John (and keep in mind some scholars think 1 John is a fraudulent text) is very clear. You SAY you are a Christian? Here is the standard to judge yourself by. Do you measure up? If not, you are NOT a Christian.

1 John contradicts other books of the Bible. 1 John and the book of James set a very different standard for what a Christian is than Paul does in his writings. Christians go to great lengths to harmonize, smooth over, and mediate the conflict, but since I am not a Christian I have no need to make everything “fit.”

I ask myself, if a person who had never had any contact with Christianity was stranded on an island and only had the book of 1 John to read, what conclusions would they come to? Would they say that salvation is by grace through faith, not of works lest any man should boast? I doubt it.

So much of what is called true, orthodox “Christianity” is actually someone’s interpretation of what the Bible says.  As the centuries click by, the interpretations become more complex and varied. It is almost impossible to get a Christian to see that what they call true, orthodox Christianity is actually a man-made religion, shaped and molded over centuries.  For the most part, modern Christianity is Paul’s version of Christianity and not Jesus’ version. I suspect the essence of the Judaistic Christianity of Jesus has been irretrievably lost.

Some may ask, since I am an atheist, why do I bother with matters concerning the Bible and Christianity? First of all, I like talking about these things. Second, our culture is deeply influenced and sometimes controlled by Christianity, and how Christians interpret the Bible affects our culture. Third, Christians tend to evangelize and preach at non-believers, so it is fair to hold them to the same standard they hold others to. Based on the verses above, it is quite evident that no Christian measures up to the Bible standard of what it means to be a Christian. Thus, no Christian is a true Christian.

I also know there are a lot of readers who are somewhere between leaving Christianity and agnosticism/atheism. They are still struggling with what they believe or don’t believe. Do they still believe the Bible, and if they do what parts? Do they believe Jesus existed at all? If they do, do they believe what the Bible says about him? Post like this one are meant to help them settle some of the issues they are struggling with.

For those of you who are or were a Christian, how did you or your pastor explain the 1 John verses mentioned above?

Repost, revised and corrected

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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Interpreting the Bible: One Book, Endless Interpretations

bono baptist church

Evangelicals would have you believe that the Bible is an inexhaustible book filled with the very words of God. Someone can read the Bible for fifty years and still not mine its depths. It’s the only book ever written that can never be fully understood, or so Evangelicals tell us. This is why no two Evangelicals can agree on exactly what the Bible says. As a Christian, I engaged in numerous discussions about a particular Bible text only to have my opponent say, well Brother, we’ll just have to agree to disagree. Each of us had a version of truth, each of us had proof that our interpretation was correct. If the Bible is what Evangelicals claim it is, shouldn’t truth be concise, clear, and easy to understand? Why all the disagreement and heated debate among Christians over what the Bible teaches? Doesn’t the Bible say that God is NOT the author of confusion? Yet, everywhere I look I see confusion.

One of the reasons for the confusion is the Evangelical (and Baptist) doctrine of the priesthood of the believer. Unlike the Israelites of the Old Testament, Evangelicals don’t need Moses or a priest to go before God on their behalf. They can directly access God without going through a middleman. The same goes for the Bible. Since God himself, the Holy Spirit, lives inside every Christian, they have no need of a human to teach them what the Bible says. God is their teacher, and who better to teach a Christian what the Bible says than the author, right? Here’s what the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 2:12-16:

 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

According to this text, the Christian has received the Spirit of God and is taught by him. The reason someone like me, a natural man, can’t understand the Bible is because I don’t have the Holy Spirit living inside of me. Only the Christian can spiritually discern what is truth. In fact, the Christian has the mind of Christ, Christ being God, so this means that the Christian has the mind of God.  If this is so, why is there is there so much confusion about what to believe and what the Bible says about most anything?

Christian sects can’t even agree on the basics: salvation, baptism, and communion. Each sect thinks their interpretation is the one ordained by God and clearly taught in the Bible. Two thousand years of councils, decrees, confessions, and doctrinal statements reveal that Christians are incapable of coming to any common agreement on anything. Even the nature of Jesus and God are in dispute. Broaden the discussion to ecclesiology, eschatology, and pneumatology, throw in the endless debates over hermeneutics and orthopraxy, and you end up with endless versions of the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

The Bible says one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, One God. It also says that God’s chosen people are to be of one mind, dwell in unity, and love one another. Yet, everywhere I look, I see the opposite. Many Lords, many Faiths, many Baptisms, many Gods, many minds and disunity, dysfunction, disagreement, and internecine war with one another. Christians object when people like me point these things out. How dare I judge Christianity! All I am doing is using the same standard to judge Christianity and Christians use to judge my life and that of everyone else who is not a Christian. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, yes?

In 2003, I pastored Victory Baptist Church in Clare, Michigan. Victory, a Southern Baptist church, closed its doors a few years after I resigned. While many of the members were decent people, the church had a lot of dysfunction, thus qualifying it to be rescued by Bruce Gerencser. As I look back on the 25 years I spent in the ministry, I can now see that I was drawn to churches that I could either start from scratch or fix. Victory was a fixer-upper, a church I thought God and I could get back on track. Instead of fixing the church, it fixed me.

Victory had a traditional Sunday school, one that used quarterlies. I hated quarterlies, but I decided that I didn’t want the turmoil that would come from trying to change the Sunday school curriculum. One of the men in the church taught the adult class. Every week, the adults would get together and take turns reading the lesson and the appropriate verses. Then they would discuss what the lesson/verses meant to them. That’s right, each class member had his or her own opinion, and each opinion was given equal weight. It was like taking a test where there are no wrong answers.

One week, the lesson was on election. As a Calvinist, I had a good understanding of the various beliefs on election. It was quite interesting to hear the various ‘what it means to me’ interpretations of election. The Sunday school teacher, a man with no theological training outside of being able to read, said the word “election” in the Bible meant we get to choose. I tried to explain to him that no sect taught such a belief, but his mind was settled; election, like in voting for a president, meant each of us making a choice for God and Jesus.

Take the photograph at the top of this post. This photo was taken at a specific place on a certain date and time. It only has one meaning, yet using the ‘what it means to me’ approach someone might conclude that BONO, of U2 fame, started a Baptist church or there is a church named after him. Surely, every belief, every opinion should be given the same weight and respect, right? Of course not. The photo is of the sign for the Bono Baptist Church in Martin, Ohio, an unincorporated village in Ottawa County. The sign is located on State Route 2, across the road from I ‘Heart’ U, God sign I wrote about earlier today. I can vouch for the photo because I am the one who took it.

Now, multiply ‘what it means to me’ by the number of Christians and you end up with millions of Christianities. Catholics love to point out that this is a Protestant problem, but they have their own version of ‘what it means to me’. The pope, the vicar of Christ, God’s representative on earth, is quite clear about using birth control being a sin. Yet, most Catholic women, at one time or another, use birth control. The same could be said of a number of set-in-stone Catholic teachings. Both the Protestants and the Catholics have a paint-by-number Christianity that allows Christians to ignore the color guide and use whatever color fits their fancy.

So, when a Christian sect, pastor, priest, blogger, Bible college professor, or church member says THUS SAITH THE LORD, the BIBLE says, or THIS is THE truth, I hope they will forgive me for laughing. At best, Christianity is a religion based on personal interpretation and opinion, with each person, to quote the Bible, “being fully persuaded in their his own mind.” At worst, it is the faith of the uneducated who, thanks to tribal and cultural influence, mouth beliefs they have no intellectual ability or desire to defend.

Like my friend John Loftus at Debunking Christianity, I have come to the conclusion that every Christian sect and every interpretation of the Bible is correct. DING! DING! DING! They all win! The Bible, along with 2,000 years of Christian church history, can be used to prove almost any belief. Calvinists and Arminians have been squaring off and fighting for centuries, each believing that their interpretation is correct and God is on their side. And even here, there are uncounted shades of Calvinism and Arminianism, with each shade resolutely saying theirs is the right color. From the most ardent fundamentalist to the most liberal Christian, followers of Jesus use the Bible to prop up their beliefs. Yea! Go Team Jesus!

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Dear Evangelical: Tell Me the Truth, Am I Headed for Hell?

hell

Bruce: Five years ago, 152 Pakistanis were killed in a plane crash.

Evangelical: I hope they all knew the Lord.

Bruce: Why does that matter?

Evangelical: Well, if they didn’t know the Lord they probably went to hell.

Bruce: Probably?

Evangelical: Well…some of them might have trusted Jesus just before they died. I don’t know their hearts. God is the judge.

Bruce: It is likely the plane passengers were Muslim. Most likely the last word on their lips was ALLAH. Do Muslims go to heaven when they die?

Evangelical: Only if they believe in Jesus.

Bruce: Muslims do not believe Jesus is the way, truth and life.They do not believe salvation is found in Jesus Christ. So, did the Muslim plane passengers go to hell when they died?

Evangelical: I am not their judge. It’s between them and God.

A lot of Evangelicals are increasingly uncomfortable with what the Bible says about hell. According to inspired, inerrant Word of God,  all non-Christians go to hell when they die. They will be tormented day and night for eternity. All Muslims, Buddhists, agnostics, and atheists will burn forever because of their rejection of Jesus Christ. Many Evangelicals even add Catholics, liberal Protestants, and universalists to the thou shalt burn list.

Let me remind readers what the Bible says about hell (collated from several Christian websites):

  • A place of weeping and gnashing of teeth – “And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 25:30).
  • A place of darkness – “Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 22:13).
  • A place of torment – “And in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom” (Luke 16:23).
  • A place of sorrow – “The sorrows of hell compassed me about; the snares of death prevented me;” (2 Samuel 22:6).
  • A place of everlasting destruction – “Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;” (II Thessalonians 1:9).
  • A place where humans are tormented with fire and brimstone – “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 21:8).
  • A place where fire is not quenched – “Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:44).
  • A bottomless pit – “And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit” (Revelation 9:2).
  • A place of no rest – “And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name” (Revelation 14:11).
  • A lake of fire – “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death” (Revelation 20:14).
  • A place of hopeless of unsatisfied desires – “And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame ” (Luke 16:24). The rich man wanted water but could not get any.

The Bible, as interpreted through the lens of Evangelicalism, is very clear on the matter of hell and why people end up there after they die. Even those who have never heard about Jesus Christ will burn in hell forever. It’s their fault for not knowing, even though no one ever told them about Jesus.  According to the Calvinist, before God created the first human he decided where each of us would bunk when we die. The elect go to heaven, the non-elect go to hell.

According to the Evangelical score card, the overwhelming majority of people, past, present, and future, end up in hell when they die. This is God’s righteous judgment of those who did not repent of their sins and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Wait a minute, what about the people who lived before the birth of Christ?  Where did they go when they died? Let the explaining and theological gymnastics begin.

Yet, when it comes right down to it, when confronted face to face with someone such as I — a person who once professed Christ, who once preached the gospel of Christ — many Evangelicals have a hard time telling me I’m headed for hell. They convince themselves that I am just confused or backslidden. They are certain the Holy Spirit will straighten me out and in no time I will be back preaching at First Baptist Church of Somewhere.

For some people, particularly those who are Christian friends or former parishioners, the notion of Bruce Gerencser going to hell is quite preposterous. A few of my friends have told me they find my defection from Christianity quite unsettling. If I can fall away then anyone can fall away. If I am headed for hell, will they be next?

I’ve attended many funerals over the years. I have only been to one funeral where the preacher had guts enough to say that the deceased went to hell. In every other instance some anecdotal story was told to give the living the impression that the deceased was now in heaven with all his dead loved ones (please read Dear Pastor, Do You Believe in Hell?). No matter how vile or evil the person was, he went to heaven when he died. People can live most of their lives as  atheists, but because they asked Jesus into their heart as a child, they go to heaven when they die. What a sweet deal, right?

Do you believe the Bible is the Word of God? Do you believe it is truth? Do you believe that salvation is found only in Jesus Christ? Do you believe Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life?  If so, it’s time for you to be honest about what you believe. It’s time to speak the truth. It’s time to own what the Bible says.

If what the Bible says about salvation, heaven, and hell is true, then these claims are also true:

  • All Muslims are headed for hell
  • All Buddhists are headed for hell
  • All agnostics are headed for hell
  • All atheists are headed for hell
  • All who have not trusted Jesus Christ as their personal savior are headed for hell
  • All who reject the truth claims of the Bible are headed for hell
  • All Catholics are headed for hell
  • All liberal Protestants are headed for hell
  • All universalists are headed for hell
  • All homosexuals are headed for hell
  • Bruce, YOU are headed for hell

If you are not willing to consign to hell most of the billions of people who have lived on this earth, then it is time for you to stop saying you believe the Bible is truth; that you believe that Jesus is the only way of salvation. Just remember, once you admit that you only really believe certain parts of the Bible, you have started down a slippery slope that could lead you to where I am today. Then you too will be headed for hell, just like me.

I write this post as a challenge to my Christian readers, friends, and former parishioners. What do you really believe? Do you really think I’m headed for hell? Do you really believe God will fit me with a special fireproof body so he can torture me for eternity? Don’t try to evade the question by saying things like, I don’t know your heart or only God knows for sure. If one can know from the Bible what salvation is, then certainly it seems people should be able to know if they don’t have it. And if they don’t have salvation, they are certainly going to hell.

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Dear Neighbor, A Letter From An Evangelical Who Lives Near You

flags near Fort Wayne Indiana
I saw these flags near Fort Wayne, Indiana. I wonder how many people driving by will notice the Christian flag flying above the American flag?
Dear Neighbor,

I live two houses down from you, the red house with blue shutters and white trim. Though we have never met, I want to “share” a few things with you that will hopefully make us closer as neighbors. I really want to have a personal relationship with you, your wife, and those two darling kids I see playing in your yard, but there’s some things you need to understand first.

I am a born again Christian. This means that I have trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal savior. In humble obedience to the call of Jesus, after I was saved I was scripturally baptized by immersion. Through my baptism I told the world (well I really only told the two hundred Christians who were there that day) that I am a follower of Jesus. I am a member of  EXCITE® Church. We meet every Sunday at 11 A.M. over at Secular Nation High School.  We are really a Southern Baptist church, but we don’t use the word Baptist in our name because non-Christians have a negative opinion of Baptists.

I am a church deacon and my wife, Betty Lou is part of the worship team. Both of us also help with EXCITE® for Kids, a program meant to coerce little children into making a salvation decision. Our pastor told us that the younger a person is saved the more likely it is they will stay in church once they become an adult. We take him at his word and do all we can to make sure every child says the sinner’s prayer and asks Jesus into their heart before the age of ten.

Betty Lou and I, along with everyone in our church, believe that the Holy Christian Bible is a supernatural book inspired by God. There are no mistakes, errors, or contradictions in the Bible. Our pastor told us that the Bible is different from any other book ever written. God wrote the Bible, humans wrote every other book. It’s important you understand and believe this. If you don’t, the rest of my letter won’t make any sense to you.

The Bible says that every person must accept Jesus as their personal savior. If they do so they will go to heaven when they die and if they don’t they will go to hell. Every human must make a choice to accept or reject Jesus Christ. So, I ask you dear neighbor, have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal savior?

I don’t know what your religious beliefs are. Are you a born-again Christian?  You need to understand that there is one true God and religion, my God and my religion. And I don’t really have a religion like Catholics, Mormons, Buddhists, and Atheists do. I have a relationship. Me and Jesus are tight. We’re brothers, yet he is also my father. It’s complicated and I really don’t understand it, but it is in the Bible and if it’s in the Bible that means it is 100% God-certified true.

If you are not a born-again Christian then I hope you will fall on your knees right now and pray the following prayer:

Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. In Your Name.  Amen.

Did you pray this prayer? Did you really, really, really, really, really mean it?

If so, congratulations!! You are now a born-again Christian and will go to heaven when you die. Isn’t that awesome?

Now that we have that out-of-the-way, you need to know some others things that will help you as a new Christian:

  • Be baptized by immersion as soon as possible (hint, hint at EXCITE® Church)
  • Join a Bible believing, Bible preaching church (hint, hint EXCITE® Church)
  • Start reading the Bible every day (start with the book of John)
  • Pray every day

I probably shouldn’t be telling you this next one since Pastor Amos likes to spring it on new members, but I just know you’ll be excited about this, so I thought I’d tell you. Jesus gave his all so you could be saved and the least you can do is give back to him a portion of your income as proof that you really, really love Jesus. Now, Jesus really doesn’t need this money, but his churches do, so when you come to EXCITE® Church on Sunday, please drop at least 10% of your gross income into the offering plate. I promise if you do this God will open up the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing. And if you want an even bigger blessing, give more money.  Pastor Amos likes to say, you can’t out give God!

I should probably also tell you that true Christians, also known as the people who are members of EXCITE® Church,  love what God loves and hate what God hates. At EXCITE® Church, Pastor Amos lets us know every Sunday who is on the Official Hate List. Currently, the Top Ten spots on the hate list are held by:

  1. The U.S. Supreme Court for legalizing same-sex marriage
  2. Barack Hussein Obama
  3. Homosexuals
  4. Abortionists
  5. Barack Hussein Obama
  6. Atheists
  7. Hollywood, except when they make a movie starring Kirk Cameron or Stephen Baldwin
  8. Barack Hussein Obama
  9. Demoncrats (Did ya catch that DEMON-crats? Ha! Ha!)
  10. Those who engage in any form of sex except heterosexual intercourse between a man and woman who are married to each other

If by some small chance you decided to NOT pray the sinner’s prayer, then I need to tell you that you are the enemy of God and are headed for hell. If you refuse this wonderful offer of salvation and die,  then God will have no recourse but to equip you with a fireproof body and torture you in hell for all eternity. Surely, you don’t want to spend eternity being burned by fire and having worms infest your body?

And if you don’t pray the sinners prayer and become an awesome Christian just like me, then we can’t be friends and our children can’t play with each other. The Bible commands us to avoid people like you, lest you rub off on us and we commit sin. I really want to be friends with you and your family, but you must become a Christian first. If you don’t, then I will have to shun and look down on you like I do Atheists, Catholics, Muslims, Mormons, Buddhists, Liberal Protestants, Humanists, Secularists, Barack Obama, Democrats and….well everyone who doesn’t believe like I do.

Perhaps you drove by my house the other day and saw my flag pole, you know the one with the American flag and Christian flag. Now, I know that no flag should fly above the Stars and Stripes, but since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Sodomites can legally be married, I thought it important to remind everyone about who this Country REALLY belongs to.

I hope you prayed the sinner’s prayer. I just know that you want your sins forgiven and you want a home in heaven where you can spend eternity with people who think just like me. Would that be awesome? No one in their right mind would refuse such an awesome soul-saving, sin-forgiving deal, right?

Saved by the precious blood of Jesus,

Archie S. Sanctimonious

Bruce Gerencser