Tag Archive: True Church

I’m not THAT Kind of Christian

catholic one true church

This post is primarily about Protestant Christianity — and yes, Baptists and Campbellites are Protestants. I will leave it to Catholic and Orthodox Christians to duke it out over which sect is the rock upon which Jesus built his church. (Matthew 16:18)

Over the past decade, I have learned many things I didn’t know before about the monolith we call Christianity. Generally, most people believe that Christianity is one religion with a plethora of expressions. However, I have learned that there are numerous Christianities and Jesuses, with every sect, church, clergyperson, and congregant believing that their flavor of Christianity and their vision of Jesus is the right one. While it seems that Christianity is a big tent, a closer look reveals countless pup tents within, and never-ending arguing, fussing, and fighting over which pup tent is the One True Tent®. The Bible says of Christianity: one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, but the internecine wars continually fought by Christians show that the faithful can’t even agree on the basics. Of course, the way the various parties settle the disputes is by saying that every brand but theirs is false Christianity. Long-time readers will likely remember this or that Christian objecting to my caricature of Christianity by saying, I’M NOT THAT KIND OF CHRISTIAN! Usually, they go on to accuse me of all sorts of ulterior motives such as I hate God/Christianity or got hurt in some way back in my Christian days, and I am now trying to settle the score. When I ask them to give evidence for their beliefs and practices being Christian orthodoxy and orthopraxy, most often they present a honey wagon (manure spreader for you city slickers) full of Bible verses, HIS-story lessons, doctrinal treatises, quotes from authors, and personal anecdotes. In doing so, all they do is prove, at least to me, that Christianity is a quagmire of conflicting, contradictory beliefs and practices. Yet, it is we unbelievers who are to blame for our lack of recognizing and understanding the ONE TRUE FAITH®! If we would just ignore all the competing Christianities and Jesuses and accept their Christianity and Jesus as the one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, we too could have our sins forgiven, and be guaranteed a home in their God’s Heaven after we die.

As I wander in and out of big tent Christianity, I have noticed that there are three general banners under which the various sects/pastors/congregants pitch their tents: Evangelical, Progressive, and Liberal. Ask the tent-dwellers to define these banners — well, good luck with that. As with everything in Christianity, definitions abound. This post is my attempt to define these three groups, knowing that the moment I do, offended self-righteous Christians are going to vehemently object and say, I’M NOT THAT KIND OF CHRISTIAN! Of course, I am deaf to such objections, so here we go.

Evangelical

Generally, Evangelicals believe the Protestant Bible is the inspired, inerrant, and infallible Word of God; God is a triune being; and Jesus is the virgin-born son of God who came to earth, lived a sinless life, died on a Roman cross, resurrected from the dead three days later, ascended back to Heaven, and is seated at the right hand of his Father, awaiting the day when he will return to earth to judge the living and the dead, and make a new Heaven and Earth. (And yes, I am aware of the differences between Calvinists, Arminians, Oneness Pentecostals, Charismatics, Holiness sects, et al.)

Generally, Evangelicals believe all humans are born sinners and in need of redemption; that salvation and the forgiveness of sins comes through Jesus Christ alone; that all other religions are false; that non-Christians go to Hell (the Lake of Fire) when they die, and Christians to Heaven (God’s Eternal Kingdom).  (Again, I am aware of the disputes among Evangelicals about what constitutes salvation and whether human instrumentality plays any part.)

I have long argued that Evangelicals are inherently Fundamentalist. (Please see Are Evangelicals Fundamentalists?) Christians who are on the far left end of the Evangelical spectrum object to the Fundamentalist label, but what they really need to do is admit that they are no longer theologically Evangelical; that their beliefs and practices fall under the Progressive or Liberal Christian banner.

Progressive

Generally, Progressive Christians and Evangelicals have similar core beliefs. Progressives tend to reject creationism, choosing instead to embrace theistic evolution. Progressives also tend to ridicule Evangelicals as anti-intellectual Bible thumpers. Ironically, many Progressives are former Evangelicals, or as the joke goes, Evangelicals who can read. Progressives also tend to be more liberal politically and socially, though I recently ran into a few so-called Progressives on Twitter who are ardent supporters of Donald Trump.

I have found many Progressives to be every bit as insufferable as Evangelical zealots. While they distance themselves from the social Fundamentalism of Evangelicals, theologically their beliefs are, in the main, every bit as Fundamentalist. It is not hard to prove my contention. Just ask a self-labeled Progressive if all religions lead to Heaven and if atheists will go to Heaven when they die. Honest Progressives will answer NO to both questions. Unfortunately, many Progressives genuinely want to be viewed as friendly people, so they will refuse to answer the questions, saying, “Only God knows for sure.”

Liberal

Generally, Liberal Christians have a reductionist view of the Bible, rejecting many (most) of the beliefs Evangelicals and Progressives hold dear. (Please see Is Liberal Christianity the Answer for Disaffected Evangelicals?)  Evangelicals believe that Liberal Christians are outside of the One True Faith®, as do many Progressives. In their minds, Liberals have given away too much to be still considered Christians. Liberals tend to promote works-based salvation and or preach what is commonly called the social gospel. Liberals focus on people and the present instead of personal salvation and the future.

Under these three banners, you will find countless sub-categories of Christians, proving that there is no such thing as singular Christianity. What would help is if all the Christian sects of the world would get together and come up with a biology-like system of identification for Christianity: kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species. That would put an end, then, to followers of Jesus saying to me, I’M NOT THAT KIND OF CHRISTIAN! Every Christian could have a religion identity card of sorts they could show when questioned about their faith. Oh wait, that wouldn’t work, would it? Christianity is a relationship, not a religion! Or so countless Christians say, thus proving yet again that whatever Christianity might have been died over 1,900 years ago, and lies buried in the same grave as a dead Jewish man named Jesus.

About Bruce Gerencser

Bruce Gerencser, 62, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 41 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.

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Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Catholics T.J. Lang and Michael Voris Say Protestantism Leads to Atheism

chick tract on catholic church

In a post titled, Does Protestantism Ultimately Lead to Atheism? T.J. Lang asserts that Protestantism leads to immoral, Satanic atheism:

The Lutheran Church he founded remained the state Church of Sweden until 2000 and was the only church allowed in the country until the middle of the 19th century. Even today, it is funded by and considered a “department” of the Swedish secular government. In fact, Catholicism was illegal in Sweden for more than a quarter of a century. At times, the death penalty was invoked for the “crime” of being or becoming Catholic. It was only dropped in 1873.

Roughly 2 percent of the population of Sweden are Catholics and Orthodox, and they are almost entirely immigrants. Given that Sweden has been influenced by only the Lutheran faith for almost 500 years, the state of Christianity in Sweden should be an indication of whether Protestantism, or more specifically, the first version of Protestantism – Lutheranism — has had a positive impact on Christianity.

Statistics regarding the state of the Christian church in Sweden are, to say the least, shocking. Today, 61 percent of Swedes officially belong to the Lutheran Church, down from 95 percent in 1972. Both statistics are misleadingly high, in part because anyone born before the year 2000 was automatically enrolled in the state church regardless of religious belief or practice. For the vast majority, membership is merely a formality and doesn’t mean much in their lives. In the 1990s, 15 percent of Swedes claimed a belief in a personal God and only 19 percent believed in an afterlife.

According to various studies, between 46–85 percent of Swedes now consider themselves “irreligious,” meaning that in their lives there is an “absence of religion, indifference to religion or hostility to religion.” According to a Zuckerman poll, the same figures for a few “Catholic countries” are as follows: Portugal: 4–9 percent, Greece (Eastern Orthodox): 16 percent, Italy: 6–15 percent. These statistics are contrasted with that of Germany, the home of Luther’s Reformation, at 41–49 percent, and the United States at 3–9 percent.

The Living Church, an independent Anglican organization, reports that only about 400,000 of the 6.6 million Swedes attend church on a monthly basis (6 percent), and only 15 percent of the members of the church say they believe in Jesus Christ. It is not insignificant that an equal number of Swedes are stated atheists: “Of the 3,384 churches in Sweden only 500 or so are used, at most, once a month.”

Fifty-five percent of children born in Sweden today are born out of wedlock as compared to 9 percent in Greece, an Eastern Orthodox country, which was never really infected with Protestantism or influenced by “salvation by faith alone.” Of course, this has a tremendous impact on the percentage of children reared in single-parent families. Twenty-two percent of children in Sweden are in single-parent situations, whereas in Italy, it’s only 10 percent.

According to an article in the Weekly Standard, “A majority of children in Sweden and Norway are born out of wedlock. … Not coincidentally, these countries have had something close to full gay marriage for a decade or more. Same-sex marriage has locked in and reinforced an existing Scandinavian trend toward the separation of marriage and parenthood.”

Of course, Sweden isn’t the only country that has been influenced by Protestantism or more specifically, the original Protestantism — Lutheranism. As such, it would be instructive to determine how Christianity in general and Christian moral values are faring in those countries.

Obviously, these statistics show that the greater the influence of Protestantism, the weaker the belief in God and the less the importance of religion in general. Other country by country statistics on issues such as abortion rates, marriage rates, cohabitation rates and divorce rates are all pretty shocking in the countries the are strongly Protestant. Obviously, Satan is having his greatest successes in the predominantly Protestant countries, and in fact, specifically in the Lutheran countries.

Video Link

In a video transcript titled, Donald Trump and Atheists, Michael Voris had this to say:

The entire American electorate is in massive flux and about to undergo the most significant change in the country’s history.

If current trends hold or even accelerate by just a little, this may very well be the last election where a majority of voters will be white Christians — if not this election, certainly 2020. This is due to two large factors: the decline of the Protestant majority and the rise of the religiously unaffiliated, also known as “nones.”

The nones, at least many of them, while claiming to be “spiritual” are functionally and in practice atheists. They are a-theist not so much in their cores but in their lives, where it really matters after all. We have said at various times that Protestantism leads to atheism, and here are reports back from the political front lines proving the truth of that statement.

Up until about the past 10 years, the bulk of the decline among white Protestants was largely among more liberal mainline Protestants, like Methodists, Episcopalians or Presbyterians. Since the re-election of Ronald Reagan in 1988, their numbers have been cut nearly in half to just 14 percent of the overall population.

But more surprising, in the last 10 years, there has also been a notable decline among the more conservative branch of white Protestantism —Evangelicals. Since the end of Ronald Reagan’s last term in 1988, they have dropped from 22 percent to just 17 percent. Add both those Protestant camps together and you get just 31 percent of the electorate.

What’s driving the decline over the past generation? The rise of the younger generation, 34 percent of which identify as unbelievers — not affiliated with any religious body at all.

It doesn’t take a genius to look at the numbers here. A larger percentage of millennials — 34 percent — are unaffiliated with any religion than the the overall percentage of white Protestants — 31 percent — relative to the population. All this volatile mixture needs is a little more time, perhaps one more election cycle, before white Protestant voters lose their majority status. And then, by the time, today’s millennials are in their forties, they will be the majority — and you need to stop and think about that for a moment.

What is looming just over the horizon, politically and culturally speaking, is a nation where Christians are the minority, and cultural atheists are the majority. And this is owing precisely to the Protestant ethos of the rule of the exaltation of the individual. All of Protestantism is built on this principle — the principle of individual interpretation of Scripture, of individual personal relationship with Jesus, unmediated by the Church.

Protestantism eventually gives way to atheism, because philosophically, it is atheism. What, after all, is atheism? It is a-theism, no God. What does Protestantism, with its me-centered theology, produce? That you become your own God. You determine your morality. You determine the meaning of Scripture. You determine your own theology. There is no longer room for God, because the individual assumes the throne — kind of the working definition of atheism.

….

Video Link

Both of these excerpts are from the Church Militant website