10 Things I Hate About American Christians

Let me begin with a disclaimer – this should probably actually be titled “10 things I hate about narrow-minded, mean, divisive, holier-than-thou, American Christians.”  But that’s just not very catchy.  The disclaimer is to save my skin, and because every American Christian does not exhibit the traits I’m about to complain about.  There are plenty of genuinely wonderful, Christlike people leading and attending churches across the United States.  They love on people, help people, care for people, and do their best to make a difference in the world.  This is not directed at those people.

1. The teaching that if you just say a prayer, getting “saved” will make you RICH/HAPPY/YOUR ENTIRE LIFE WILL BE SUPERDUPERAWESOME!  (Otherwise known as Prosperity Theology)

Um.  Not so much.  In case you haven’t read the Bible, Jesus died a horrible agonizing death only reserved for slaves, pirates, and enemies of the state.  And for all of you who want to point out that he had to die as part of the divine plan to save us from our sins, let me ask this – what about the disciples?  They were all killed too, with the exception of John.(1)

Looks fun, right? Right?

Sure, it could be in God’s plans that you get rich, that nothing ever goes wrong in your life, and that you live happily ever after until you die.  Or, he could want you to give up your riches and go help malnourished babies in Libya.  He might want you to stop being materialistic and live a modest, quiet life, serving in your community.  There might be some pain and hard times in the plans for you.  God never promises that we’ll be “happy” or that we’ll have possessions.  He promises that he’ll never leave our sides.

Faith in Christ is not a “fix-it” pill.  It’s a process, and sometimes it’s really, really hard work.   Telling people otherwise isn’t just false advertising.  It’s a guaranteed recipe for failure when something goes wrong.

2.  Dress Code

We’ve all heard the phrase “Sunday best.”  Dressing up to go to church was a staple of American society for years.  It’s just what you did, and no one questioned it without negative repercussions.  My mother used to make me wear pantyhose and dresses, even to Wednesday night services.  We were going to the house of God, after all.  There’s a flaw in that logic that it took me years to uncover – the church building is not the house of god.  We are the house of God.

Which means God sees me all the time.
No matter what I’m wearing.
He sees me even if I’m not wearing anything.
He did create me, after all.  I doubt he’s offended if I, his perfect house that he created, walk into a building that man created, wearing a pair of jeans and a t-shirt.

Seem familiar?

What I am positive is offensive, however, is how people who don’t meet the dress code are still treated when they walk into some churches.  Those are his babies.  He created those people.  It might have taken a very long time and a very long list of circumstances for those people to set foot inside a church door.  They might have come looking for answers, or hope, or peace, or some story they didn’t quite believe about a God that might care about them.  Instead, they get talked about because their clothing doesn’t meet the status quo.

Grow up, people.  If a person wearing baggy pants won’t come in to your church  because all the men are wearing suits, check yourself.  If a girl with neon pink hair and combat boots won’t even look your way because every woman is in a dress and heels, check yourself.   Make it fit with the culture of your area – if your church is in a place where only business types gather, maybe a business dress is appropriate.  But you might want to preach a few sermons on how God wants to reach everyone, and then take a few field trips to the areas that aren’t so businessy.  After all, Jesus spent most of his time with the people who had nothing.

3. Fat Pastors

This is a touchy one.  Like, really touchy.  Weight is something we don’t talk about in church.  We’re not allowed to be addicted to alcohol, or cigarettes, or porn, or crude tv shows, because those things are all “bad.”  But we are allowed to be addicted to food, and no one says a word.  Having a youth event?  Pizza’s #1 on the menu.  Having a 4th of July barbeque?  Well…might as well eat a hot dog, a hamburger, and a sausage.  What better way to celebrate being American than stuffing our faces full of processed foods that have almost negative nutritional value?

I once had a (very large) church lady lecture me for ten minutes on the definite evils of the half glass of wine I was drinking, while stuffing her face with a large nugget meal from McDonalds.  Her argument?  My body was the temple of the Holy Spirit.  How could I be putting that crap into it?  I could’ve asked her the same question.

It's okay. My temple for God just has a little extra cushion!!

We eat and eat and eat and lie around and watch tv and never ever exercise.  And then we want God to just heal us when we have heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes, and a myriad of other ailments that we bring on ourselves?  Pastors, of all people, should take care of their temples.  They are the examples for the rest of us.  Somehow, pastors seem closer to God.  If it’s okay for the pastor to be fat, well, then it’s okay for me too.  God must not mind what I do with my body.

I think I’ll have another slice of that pizza.  Oh, and two scoops of ice cream.  With hot fudge on top.

4. LGBT

LGBT – or just “those people” in most Christian circles.  For those of you who don’t know, LGBT stands for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender community.  Fundamentally, LGBT people think they should be given the same rights that people in heterosexual relationships are given, and would like to be recognized as human beings.  Also, they’ve adopted the entire color spectrum (the rainbow).

Now, I am not here to start a debate about whether being LGBT is right or wrong, whether people who have those tendencies should remain celibate, what the Bible says regarding the issues, etc.  If you’re looking for a fight, go somewhere else (if you’re looking for honest, humble dialogue about LGBT issues, check out http://gcnjustin.tumblr.com/).  I’m simply here to complain about how the church treats LGBT persons.  Most of the time there’s little to no dialogue, and an enormous amount of judgement.

I have a happily married straight friend who recently walked into a church hand in hand with a friend of hers as part of a research project.  The two girls went in, sat down in the back row, and were not very politely asked to leave within 5 minutes.  5 minutes!  For all the drivel the church puts out about how Jesus loves everyone, he sure seems awfully picky.  It feels like Jesus doesn’t love those people, and won’t until they stop what they’re doing.  Everyone can come as they are…except LGBT persons.  And if we do let them in the building, God forbid they don’t give up their lifestyle immediately.  After all, we can’t have “those people” around our children.

Those people?  Those people are God’s children.  He created them.  He loves them.  He probably gets really pissed off when people hurt them using his name.  Sure, they have sin.  So does everyone.  Beating someone over the head with a metaphorical Bible is never a good way to save a soul.  If I walked into a church and someone told me to leave because I had pre-marital sex or told a lie or stole something, I would probably never go to another church.  Stop being sin snobs.  Try actually having a conversation for a change.  You might realize that the LGBT community is made up of people, not sins.

5. No Care for the Environment

Now I sound like a tree-hugging, whale-saving, hybrid-driving hippy, right?  I wonder why that has such a bad name.  Is it because saving trees and whales and fossil fuel is inherently wrong?  Or is it just because it’s inconvenient for us, and it’s too much work, so we don’t want to bother.  If we were going to save the Amazon rainforest, we’d have to stop eating so much McDonalds, since it’s getting chopped down for farmland.  If we were going to save energy, we’d have to turn up the air a few degrees in our houses and open the windows.  Maybe we’d have to take showers instead of baths, and drive cars that got better gas mileage.  Maybe we wouldn’t use so much disposable dishware and plastic bottles that end up in landfills, never to decompose.

None of this matters though, right?  I mean, we’re all just going to die and go to heaven, and if it does matter, it’s only because our kids live here.  Wrong.  We’re not “going.”  Heaven is coming here.  The Bible doesn’t say that God is going to “make all new things.”  It says he’s going to “make all things new.”  Which means that all the things will still be there, and that they will be the building blocks for the new heavens and the new earth.

Don't lie. You'd totally take your kids for a swim here.

In Genesis 1, right after God created humanity, he blessed it, and told it to “rule over the earth.”  Another way to say that is to “be responsible” for the earth.  Be responsible.  Drinking water from a different plastic bottle that you don’t recycle every day isn’t responsible.  Driving a vehicle that guzzles gas short distances when you could ride your bike or walk isn’t responsible.  Throwing things that could be recycled or given to thrift stores away isn’t responsible.

It’s convenient, but it isn’t responsible.  Let’s stop pretending we care about the environment just because we bought a trendy reusable sports bottle.  Yes, every little bit counts.  But it’s not enough.  In the words of a famous superhero, “With great power comes great responsibility.”  Step up, Christians.  Stop and plant some roses before there aren’t any for you to smell.

6. Women aren’t Allowed to Minister

Now, this isn’t always true.  Some churches and denominations have women pastors on staff; some even have a few women leading congregations.  As a general rule, however, the church is a male-dominated society.  There are all kinds of debates about this – whether the Bible allows for women in leadership, whether women should be silent, whether women can minister, but can’t be the “head” pastor.  I am not going to list those debates here.  There is plenty of literature on the matter.  Educate yourselves.

My point is simply that the church is just one more place where women have been oppressed throughout the centuries.  Even in churches that say they allow women in leadership, there can be little opportunity to minister.  If women are allowed to minister, it is usually only to children, other women, or as part of a husband-wife team.  And why is that?  Because we are only capable of being a “helper”?

We have something to say, but our lips have been closed by oppression.

The holy community of God’s believers should not be just another place where women feel oppressed and marginalized.  We have a voice.  A strong voice.  There are more women than men in churches across America.  Don’t believe me?  Look it up.  We have an enormous pool of talent, experience, and resource in the women in our churches.  It’s wasted, because no one bothers to fight the status quo.

7. “Jesus is American!”

I don’t actually know anyone who would say that phrase outright, but too many live as though they believe it.  “God bless America!”  “God’s on our side!”  “America’s a Christian nation!”

…Yeah….right.

Last time I checked, the only nation God was ever on the side of was ancient Israel, and that was only when they were following his express commands to a T.  When they weren’t, he let all kinds of terrible things happen to them.  America definitely isn’t Israel.  And it definitely isn’t a Christian nation.  No, that’s not because they took prayer out of schools, or the 10 commandments out of courtrooms.  It’s because the people who make up the nation aren’t Christian.  Like, at all.  I know that may come as a shock to some of you, but it’s true.  America doesn’t really care about Jesus, except as a trendy wardrobe item or a laughable badly drawn adult cartoon.

Jesus' heart is red, white, and blue! YEAH!!!!

Stop pretending that Jesus is a blond haired, blue eyed, pageant king wearing a white bathrobe and a blue beauty sash. Stop pretending that Jesus hates gays, muslims, liberals, and those people who just stay on government disability and never get a job.  Stop pretending that Jesus would support blowing up the world if it’s in America’s best interests.  Jesus is NOT American.

In case you missed it, Jesus is a little more global than 1 continent with severe ego issues.  He looked like an Arab.  And he hung out with the people that the church rejected – like the gays, the people with a different religion, the liberals, and the poor.   In fact, you probably wouldn’t want to hang out with Jesus, if he just showed up on your doorstep.  Think about that, before you go saluting God and country.

8. You don’t believe in Hell

What?!  That’s outrageous!  Of course you believe in hell.  You talk about it all the time!  Those sinner people will burn there and stuff, if they don’t get saved.

You don’t believe that.  You don’t really believe that.  If you really thought that there was a literal place of terrible agony and eternal pain where nearly all of the world was going to go once they died, you would do something about it.  If you believed that your unsaved mother was going to get thrown into a lake of fire that burned so incredibly hot that you couldn’t see the flame (think the part of the flame closest to the wick) for eternity with no hope of escape, ever, you would try to save her from it.

Oooooooh this place looks awesome!!!

So make up your mind.  Either you believe it enough to try and actually save people from it, or you don’t.  If you don’t (which, clearly, you don’t), then stop talking about it.  Make it one of those parts in the Bible that never gets brought up, like all of the sex references in the Song of Solomon.  “What?” you say!  “We can’t just take out part of the Bible!”

If you don’t believe it, what’s the point?

 9. Donating.  Not Doing.

We’ve all seen the videos that missionaries bring in of starving children in faraway places.  Pregnant mothers that have no shelter or water.  Girls kidnapped and forced into the sex trade, boys carting around guns at 7 years old.  It tugs at our heartstrings.  Makes us weepy.  Makes us feel guilty, even, since we have so much.  So we get out our checkbooks and write a nice sum and send them on their way, able to feed 2 more children for a year.

Meanwhile, we don’t actually ever do anything.  It’s easy to ignore the starving babies in Rwanda – they’re super far away.  But what about the homeless people right down the street?  What about the pregnant women in your community that can’t afford proper nutrition during the 9 months before they give birth?  What about the fathers that can just barely afford the rent for their families, and the mothers that have to take their children back-to-school shopping at the Salvation Army?

Are you the Good Samaritan? Or are you just going to walk by on the other side of the street?

You could help.  But helping isn’t as easy as writing a check and sending someone else on their way.  You have to actually do something.  And that just isn’t pleasant, now is it.  Again, you probably wouldn’t really want to hang out with Jesus.  Because he’d be doing something.  Not sitting on the couch, or in a church pew.

10.  Use your brains!

Of all the things I hate, this one bothers me the most.  American Christians don’t use their brains.  You don’t think.  You just take what people tell you (so long as it fits in your comfortable lifestyle) and absorb it.  Never questioning, never analyzing.  And then the thoughts are left to stew in the cauldron of your brain, never seasoned with new knowledge, until someone challenges you.  Then the brittle beliefs bubble up and out into the air.  To everyone else, they’re stale, not defensible.

It is not enough for a Christian to go to work, come home, eat, watch tv, and go to sleep.  You have to expand your horizons.  You have to learn, think, grow, challenge, expand.  God created your mind.  Don’t let it stagnate into a puddle of disgusting putrid mush.  No one wants to listen to that.

Trust me.  You’re not just making yourself look dumb.  You’re making God look dumb.  You’re his ambassador.  Sounds cheesy, but it’s true.  Ambassadors are not supposed to be stupid.  So turn off the reality television and learn something, will you?

____________________________________

1: John died of natural causes.

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22 thoughts on “10 Things I Hate About American Christians

  1. I agree with much of what you said here. Loved number 1. Like 5, 7, 8, 9, and 10.

    1. On what to expect as a Christian:

    2 Timothy 3:12-17 (NKJV)
    12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
    13 But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.
    14 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them,
    15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
    16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
    17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

    2. On dress code:

    WWJD….Jesus wore nice clothes…..they were nice enough that the Romans wanted to gamble over them(John 19:23-25). Agree that we should not turn away people because of their clothing but we teach that we give our best to God. If your best does not include a suit or dress then so be it. Just give your best when you come to church. Its not the building…its the ecclessia….in greek…the gathering of people for a purpose…we come to worship God with all our hearts and with our best to give God our best…its not a social club but a worship and teaching event. But I agree we should not judge others for wearing X. But we should teach everyone to give their best. Remember the Mt. Sinai incident where the people were to take a bath and wash their clothes before God showed up 3 days later (Ex 19:10,11). God is a Holy God and He deserves our best. The priests garments were to be beautiful (Ex 28:2,40). We are kings and priests if we are a christian (Rev 1:6). When we get to heaven we will be clothed in fine linen…beautiful clothes…if we don’t like it here then we won’t like it there either (Rev 19:8, 14).

    3. On fat pastors.

    Regarding fat pastors. Agree to some extent. But think about this. A pastor is invited to all kinds of events where there is food. And sister so and so or brother so and so made this and they will be offended if the pastor doesn’t eat it. Pastors are constantly having food pushed at them.

    I don’t agree with the teachings of the church on alcohol either. Jesus drank (Matthew 11:19). Jesus spoke of the vineyard and the making of wine (Matthew 20). The Bible says a little wine should be taken for the stomachs sake (1 Tim 5:23). Wine in the Bible did have alcohol in it which is contrary to what some teach. Recall Noah got drunk from his own vineyard (Gen 9:21). Lot got drunk and lay with his own daughters (Gen 19:32). Boaz got well drunk before Ruth came and uncovered his skirt and lay at his feet (Ruth 3:7). When Jesus turned water into wine everyone was already well drunk (John 2:10). But doctrines of men (Matthew 15:9) have over turned this idea because of the widespread abuse of alcohol. Men beating their wives and children because they are drunkards is not good…and this I think is the primary reason the church frowns on alcohol. But we should certainly teach the distinction and not make doctrines of men (Romans 14:21).

    4. On LGBT:

    There is no scripture that says Jesus hung out with homosexuals. But I agree we should love the sinner and hate the sin (John 3:16…whosoever including homosexuals but they must repent Mark 1:15, John 5:14, John 8:11). Paul does make reference that some did turn from homosexuality to Christ (1 Cor 6:11). But make no mistake about it… you have to turn to Christ and stop sinning.

    1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (NKJV)
    9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites,
    10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.
    11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

    When I read scriptures there are plenty of references to people kissing each other. Men kissed each other (Romans 16:16, 1 Cor 16:20) Men hugged each other etc. But to lay with the same sex in the fashion of a marriage bed is an abomination to God (Lev 20:13). God does not change (Malachi 3:6). Yet even when we were in this condition he still loved us and wants us to repent (Romans 5:8). This does not mean you can’t have affection for the person of the same sex. King David loved Jonathan. He said Johnathan’s love surpassed that of women (2 Samuel 1:26) There is plenty of David’s life that was exposed for the whole world to see (2 Samuel 12:12) and there was plenty of opportunity for the Bible to say King David layed with Jonathan…but the Bible does not say so…why? Because David loved another man but didn’t have sex with Him…there’s a difference…He kissed him but that was a common culural practice of that day. So I think a clear distinction should be made. I don’t think two women holding hands is a reason to kick someone out of church service.

    We should be affectionate one to another (Romans 12:10) but not grotesque….the Spirit of Christ will help us know the difference.

    Remember Paul’s comment that a little leaven leavens the whole lump (1 Cor 5:6, Galations 5:9)? The comment was concerning sin as leaven is a type of sin and will spread like leaven in a batch of dough if not addressed. If the church does not address sin then it will get out of hand. And it is in the Bible that the wicked that refuse to repent should be put out of the ecclesia…assembly of believers. It’s Biblical.

    1 Corinthians 5:9-13 (NKJV)
    9 I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people.
    10 Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.
    11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner–not even to eat with such a person.
    12 For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside?
    13 But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.”

    1 Corinthians 5:1-8 (NKJV)
    1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles–that a man has his father’s wife!
    2 And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you.
    3 For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed.
    4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
    5 deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
    6 Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?
    7 Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.
    8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

    5. On care for the environment I agree. Revelation 11:18

    6. On women and ministering:

    Regarding women. What you laid out there as women teaching kids and women and within a husband or wife team is biblical. And I will go further and say that a woman teaching under the authority of a man is biblical. This should not be looked at as a bad thing. All of us have a place and responsibility. All of us are bound in some way and can only go so far (Job 38:11…the waves referred to here were certainly a metaphor for Job…Job could only go as far as God purposed for him). Remember Korah of the Kohathites (Numbers 16). It wasn’t enough for him that God gave him responsibilty to carry the furniture of the tabernacle (Numbers 16:9,10)

    Numbers 16:9-10 (NKJV)
    9 Is it a small thing to you that the God of Israel has separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to Himself, to do the work of the tabernacle of the LORD, and to stand before the congregation to serve them;
    10 and that He has brought you near to Himself, you and all your brethren, the sons of Levi, with you? And are you seeking the priesthood also?

    …no he wouldn’t be satisfied unless he could have Aaron’s office as priest. Korah although a Godly man was out of order. Note that many of Korah’s children wrote psalms that are in the book of psalms (Psalms 42, 44, 45, 46, 47, 49, 84, 85, 87, 88). Being confined to a place is not a bad thing. In Christ there is neither male nor female…etc. etc. On the appointed day we all will receive our reward from him and certain authority from him. If he can’t trust us to take our place and fill our positions here then how can he expect us to on that day? I have the utmost respect for women. A woman is different than a man….not inferior…but has a different role to play…I didn’t make it that way…God did. It’s not out of disrepect. I think God tries us in ways to prove whether we will be obedient to his word. A woman is not inferior to a man put she is definitely different and does play a different role designed by God. Women like men need to do what God designed them to do…when we want to do otherwise then are we not acting like Satan who wanted to exalt himself? Said in love and in the utmost respect for women.

    1 Timothy 2:11-14 (NKJV)
    11 Let a woman learn in silence with all submission.
    12 And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.
    13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve.
    14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.

    These verses should not be offensive. We are to work as Jesus would have us work in the place where he has put us and not strive so hard to be somewhere he hasn’t put us.

    But consider that the woman at the well was one of the first women preachers…

    John 4:28-30 (NKJV)
    28 The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men,
    29 “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?”
    30 Then they went out of the city and came to Him.

    John 4:38 (NKJV)
    38 I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.”

    The others that have labored clearly indicated the work of this woman telling about what Jesus did.

    Mary Magdalene was the first to go tell of the resurrection.

    But if you go and read the book of numbers and draw out the assembly and note the divisions and order. God is a God of order. If we will keep his order then we will work like we are supposed to work and not be people of confusion.

    7. Regarding Jesus being American. Agree in a way. Jesus is every person that you look at on planet earth. We are all sons of Adam. Jesus is The Son of Adam.

    I think every Christian should go back and read the story of Ishmael and Hagar. God heard Hagar’s prayer. God heard Ishmael’s prayer. God loved them and promised to make Ishmael’s name great. God was true to his promise. This tells me that God is no respector of persons (Acts 10:34)

    Acts 10:34-35 (KJV)
    34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
    35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.

    Also see 2 Chronicles 16:9

    8. On Hell…Jesus spoke about it I believe it….but no one wants to hear this. I ask God to open and reveal opportunities knowing that a word spoken in season will bring about fruit.

    Proverbs 15:23

    Matthew 5:22, 29, 30, Matthew 10:28, Luke 12:5, Luke 16:23, Rev 20:14,15

    9. Donating and not doing. Agree to some extent. Recall the position that you are in. Some work for major corporations that tie up a lot of their time…all they might be able to do is donate. Some are old, sick, and stiff and some will not give them opportunity because they are afraid they will not be faithful due to their illness.

    As a teenager I went to San Luis Port a si Mexico and Quito Ecuador in missions with AIM back in the 80’s. I am amazed today that we have these folks crossing our borders but we want to change our laws to afflict them for wanting better lives. We are happy to send them some missionaries or send them some money but we don’t want them coming over here.

    10. On using our brains. We need to read the Bible. Go back to the Bible and read it over and over again…until we understand the message.

    The church is headed toward Apostacy. This does not happen all at once but is a slow erosion as doctrines of demons creep into the church and gullible folks who are not versed in the Word of God are swallowed up with lies.

    Hosea 4:6-7 (KJV)
    6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.
    7 As they were increased, so they sinned against me: therefore will I change their glory into shame.

    Jesus will one day say to a bunch of Jesus proclaiming people…depart from me you who practiced lawlessness (Matthew 7:23)

    Matthew 7:22-27 (NKJV)
    22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’
    23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
    24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:
    25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
    26 But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand:
    27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”

    All said in Love.

    Liked your article..

    The greatest commandment is to Love the Lord Your God with all Your heart soul and mind…and the second…your neighbor as yourself. On these hang all the law and the prophets….and the walk of the Christian (Mattew 22:40).

    Jesus said if you love me you will keep my commandments (John 14:21).

    • I appreciate the time you took to form your response more than you know. I never mean to just complain about the status quo (hence my blogs about other things) and never promote dialogue or discussion.

      Thank you for all of the scriptures!! I clearly was much too lazy to include references 🙂

      Your points re: dress code have given me food for thought. I agree with much of what you said overall, and am glad you took the time to share.

    • WOW! It took me longer to read your reply than to read the actual post! So, just… wow! Anyway, you sure have some points (and I did like some) and loads of Bible verses… but there are really wonderful Biblical scholars that have written extensively on these issues and it would be really great if you’d investigate those. I would start with John Dominic Crossan. Or (and this is better) enroll in your local University and take all of their undergraduate Religious Studies courses. That would help broaden your understanding substantially.

      • Gina, do you need a Biblical Scholar to translate the Bible for you? William Tyndale, John Hus, and Martin Luther, and many others have done quite an amazing job bringing us the word. Many of them were burned at the stake so you and I could read God’s word for ourselves. Trust me. Today’s Bible Scholars would not like me very much. You can go to my web page or facebook me to see my credentials…not that they mean much. I would rather boast in Christ and his cross alone. I’m nothing without Him. Will check out your reference.

        • Check out the work of the Biblical Scholars ONLY if you want the truth and do not fear a challenge to your beliefs. Yes, I appreciate their work and since most of the authorship of the Bible is in question and archaeological evidence is the only authentic, unbiased source available to untangling the true authorship and intent of the individual books… and the fact that most of what is written is allegorical for the purpose of imparting spiritual truth, but not historical fact…. well, yes, I do listen (with great interest) to those scholars who have devoted their lives to the study. I simply suggest further study to you because many of the verses you cited are out of context and were attributed to other authors for the purpose of controlling the church body. Crossan has recently put out a wonderful work on the Pauline letters and many books about the Gospels that would shed light on the verses you quoted, which is why I suggested him to you. Untangling all of those quotes would be a monumental task and not fit for this forum, but I can assure you, they have been addressed and unpacked in depth in the Religious Studies classes I recommended and in the works of many modern Biblical scholars. I DID say that I liked some of your points. I do take issue with others, but since I am not interested in writing a book about it, I just suggest you delve into the many, many books some very good scholars have already done. Again, ONLY if you are trying to get at the truth. That is really all I am interested in. I have nothing against you, and I am not trying to anger you (though it seems I have), I am just trying to broaden your views a bit and help you to see that the verses you quoted are not reason to exclude people from unbiased (gender or orientation in particular) equality in the church. There are many interpretations of those verses out there. Good luck to you.

          • Gina….no you have not offended me. I looked up your reference who is an archaeologist. Archaeology is NOT a science. I am a Chemical Engineer and I know full well the scientific method. Archaeology can not satisfy this method. Ya know there is a hill on the back of my property that use to be full of arrow heads. An archaeologist could full well go out there and suggest that Native Americans didn’t exist here…because many excavators have collected all the arrow heads.

            A Biblical Scholar is someone who studies the Bible and believes that it is the infallible word of God. I would like to know the university you attend that teaches this as I would like to write a letter to the Dean of your school. Not about you but about heaping up teachers that really aren’t teachers.

            I agree that the Bible was changed by those like Jerome who locked it up in Latin. The modern scholar takes a majority text view which includes the works of Jerome and others that put the authority of the Pope over the Bible. Martin Luther and others went back to the critical documents that were accepted at the time before these guys had a chance to mess it all up. So I prefer a critical text.

            But I am with the Assemblies of God. We believe that the gospel is the infallible word of God. This is where we differ.

            Said in love and not to offend. If you don’t believe the Bible is the infallible Word of God then you can believe what you want.

            I choose the works of the Godly men who had the knowledge of God who wanted to leave their children and their children’s children the truth. They were burned alive and torched in heinous ways by the church because they wanted you and I to know the truth.

            But consider these scriptures:

            1 Timothy 6:20-21 (KJV)
            20 O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:
            21 Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.

            False science is archaeology, evolution, etc. They attempt to use the scientific method but fail because no one can go back to the past to observe what actually happened. This is why gravity is a law and Evolution is a Theory. We can observe gravity…we can’t observe Evolution or Archaeology.

            Please understand I say this in love as I feel for you and others like you that have been brain washed by modern scholars. I was in that position at one time until God worked a miracle in front of me that caused me to lose all doubt. So please don’t take what I said as an insult because I was there once.

            Let me tell you how sweet it is to finally embrace the Scriptures without doubt. There is hope for us when we do this. The other so called scholars are working for Satan to damage this hope. Satan is going about like a roaring lion to seek whom he may devour. My prayer is that he will not take you through philosophy and empty deceit and doctrines of men.

            Anyway…just came across this site and saw what was written. There was a lot I agreed with but other things that did not line up with scripture. Again you have to believe in God’s word. I didn’t totally believe it myself at one time. The Holy Spirit got hold of me and when that happened all doubts came crumbling down.

            I pray you can get to this point. If you don’t your life will be a pure misery as you will doubt God and the truth of His word. This is a terrible place to be. I say this because I’ve been there and I have been set free. For me there is no return.

            I believe in God…the most High…creator of Heaven and Earth that cared about you and me so much that he saw fit that His word would come to us so we could read and understand.

            The people during the time in the book of Judges failed to teach their children the word. As a result everyone did what was right in their own eyes.

            So know that I will pray for you and ask the Holy Spirit to move on you in a powerful way extinguishing all doubt. Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus…Just to take Him at His Word. If we doubt His word then we doubt Jesus.

            I did look up your reference. I see where he believes Jesus was an illiterate Jew and follower of John the Baptist….this is His Theory…can’t be proven. I don’t believe Jesus was an illiterate. I just pray you can get their too.

            This is not about biting and devouring each other and I truly hope you don’t think this of me. The Holy Spirit checked me about your reply and so I listened to him and responded to You. When you responded that you don’t believe the Bible is infallible then it all made sense. Contact me when the Holy Spirit has taken care of this. For I believe He is working on You. He will indeed lead us into all truth…said in Love.

            I understand where you are coming from but I can never convince you of anything if you don’t believe the Bible.

            Again said in love,

            Chris

            Do tell what university you go to. I would like to have a conversation with the Dean by letter. These guys are wrecking more and more lives. This is a tragedy.

            • Well thank you for the prayers. I appreciate that. I think you don’t know where I am coming from on some of the points we’re debating here.
              A few things:
              1. What I have told you is not unique and is accepted as fact in the academic world.
              I took my Religious Studies courses at my State University and took some more later at a Jesuit University. The curriculum is standardized across the country, so it is the same thing taught at all State Universities in the US. They cannot be accredited if they don’t teach factual information.

              2. I believe the Bible
              I just don’t believe it literally.

              3. John Dominic Crossan was a Catholic Priest, not an Archaeologist. So, I don’t know who you looked up, but it wasn’t the same man.

              Here is a youtube link for Crossan. http://youtu.be/6f0ZHaoSnf0
              John Shelby Spong is an Episcopal Bishop and here is his explanation of this same discussion we are having.
              http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-shelby-spong/why-i-wrote-re-claiming-t_b_1007399.html

              I have no doubt that our beliefs are very different, but as you can see there are many ways to interpret the Bible. I believe in Jesus and I do believe in the spiritual truths of the Bible, in light of the factual knowledge that I have learned. I believe that if you are seeking to know Jesus earnestly (and not just to back up some doctrine) then you have to really look into these things and not be afraid that what you find might contradict what you believe. I had to decide that it was more important for me to know the truth (in order to actually understand Jesus) than to hold tight to my belief system in the face of the facts. That is to say, was I worshipping my beliefs or Jesus Christ? If I was worshipping Jesus Christ, I have nothing to fear from the truth. If I was worshipping my belief system, then, I would have much to fear from learning about these things.

                • Gina, thank you for your links. I have read them and listened to the youtube videos. I’m not afraid to delve into studies contrary to what I believe. I’m not afraid of what I might find.

                  I’m not a homophobe or someone who thinks he can rule over women. I love all people…just Jesus has asked us to repent (Mark 1:15).

                  I appreciate your responses.

                  Ya know I hate to label people with titles. I just want to say that I am Christ’s. He is my title. And I am so ready to see Him and so ready for His return. Out of love for humanity I want others to be ready to meet Him too. So my motive is Love and not fear. I’m sincere in my beliefs. John 3:16 is my favorite verse and it refers to whosoever would believe would have eternal life.

                  That being said. I think my label from some academics would be that of a literal-ist. I believe the Bible to be literally true. I believe that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were eye witness testimonies of the life of Jesus Christ. I believe Jesus literally hung on a cross and literally rose from the dead. I believe he literally appeared to 500 witnesses at once (1 Corinthians 15:6) but that not all of them left us eye witness testimonies. I believe that the Romans initially tried to stamp out Christianity and they destroyed much. I believe Jesus is literally seated at the right hand of God the Father and that He will one day literally return to earth to judge the world. I believe there was a literal Adam and Eve. I believe there was a literal Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Their tombs are still with us to this day in Hebron in the cave of Machpelah. I believe that they will literally one day rise from the dead and come out of those tombs (1 Corinthians 15, Matthew 8:11) just like Jesus did…if they haven’t already (Matthew 27:53, Jude 9, Matthew 17:3). But they will literally one day appear to all of us…even those who don’t believe (Luke 16:23).

                  We live in an electronic age and if anything this age proves to us the existence of the unseen world. I can’t see wind. I can’t see the waves sent from one cell phone to another cell phone half way around the world. I can’t see how videos make it to my television but they do. There is an unseen world that our eyes are not capable of seeing yet. But one day our eyes will be opened and we will truly be able to see (2 Kings 6:16-17…I believe that event was literal too….1 John 3:2).

                  So because we lack the ability to observe the unseen world then science and academia can only make 1/2 conclusions because they can’t yet see everything.

                  I believe Revelation is a literal document too. This does not mean I don’t believe in Metaphors…just that the whole of the document speaks to an event yet to be fulfilled in history….the future Day of the Lord.

                  If you will check out the Magdalen document at Oxford and the work that Theide has done…he has taken the fragments from Matthew and dated them to the eye witness period. Theide is a scholar of ancient papyrus. His dating would be objected by other academics. I’m not saying that he is right only saying that these Academics don’t agree with each other.

                  So I’m not afraid to hear them…just only they don’t agree with each other….so I find myself wasting time reading this man’s opinion and that man’s opinion when I should consider that the papyrus, the dead sea scrolls, and others prove the validity of the Bible and that one loving generation past down to the next loving generation the unadulterated word of God. When people tried to change it then loving fathers like John Hus, Tyndale and Martin Luther were willing to die to preserve it. I’m amazed at how the core message of the Bible has not changed through all of this.

                  1 Corinthians 15:34 says that some do not have the knowledge of God. So its not out of fear that I do not delve into academia…I want to hear from Godly men and not all the arguing and disagreements with this scholar and that scholar. I find that kind of study drives me to insanity…because I don’t like what I hear?…no, because no one agrees with each other and no consistent basis can be found to support the arguments.

                  The Bible is accepted on faith. I don’t believe it is blind faith because there are academics that have proven the likelihood (from today’s vantage point) that the Bible is a factual document and the gospels are eye witness testimony. We do know that some manuscripts were trash…scribal errors and some of what we have dug up is the trash pile. So just because we find an ancient document does not mean that it was meant to be included in the Bible.

                  But we have a Bible and I think that the best Bible Scholar makes a practice of reading the Bible every day. There is so much to be found on those pages that apply to daily living and how to draw closer to God. I find in those pages more information everyday on how I can be pleasing to the God who loved me so much that he sent Christ..even when I was still a sinner.

                  I want to please God. I want everyone else to please God and find favor with him too. My motive is pure love of God and love for others.

                  So with all that said I have really enjoyed the opportunity to speak with you. If you ever want to hear what a literalist believes or want a different opinion then contact me. I will be happy to speak with anyone.

                  Again…enjoyed speaking with you.

                  Hannah, sorry I got off topic. Enjoyed reading your article. The church has always been the battle ground. Not everything that happens there is of God. Satan is still at work and we have this evidence in history. One thing that was amazing to me is that when I heard as a child that the Bible was burned by men I had no idea that it was burned by the Church. Not everyone that goes to church is of God. Some are impostors and the love of God is not displayed as it should be displayed. I hope everyone that has read my posts sees that I truly love God and love everyone else.

                  But I do believe that the Bible is literally true and that we as Christians should walk as Jesus walked. Jesus loved sinners but asked us to go and sin no more. I can’t judge someone else’s sin…because I’m a sinner just like everyone else and I am working out my own salvation with fear and trembling (Phillipians 2:12, 1 John 3:8).

                  Love in Christ, Chris

  2. I so agree with so much of what you shared … except one. Just because all human beings are made in the image of God does not mean all are God’s children. He made everyone, in His image – yes – but this does not make everyone His children. Jesus taught that only those who are born again are God’s children. Remember how Jesus accused the Pharisees of being children of the devil?? We must extend kindness and compassion to everyone because they are made in the image of God, that they MIGHT become children of God. :o)

  3. To the author: have you ever considered checking out the Episcopal Church? My downtown St. Louis Cathedral would have everything you are looking for in a church.

    • I have, and if I were in St. Louis I most certainly would be there in a heartbeat!! I’m in Tampa, FL. Currently my husband and I attend a non-denominational church (Relevant in Ybor City, FL) that gets super involved in the community. I’m content here for now.

      One of the best church experiences of my life was in a Lutheran church. I love the variety of the Christian tradition 🙂

  4. Pingback: Siegmund christ | Mygeneticherit

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