No Man’s Land – Part 2 – On Post Evangelicals or Ex Christians or Liberal Christians Ignorantly Hopping Aboard Belief Sets They Once Rejected
✹ What follows is actually the heart of my “No Man’s Land” view. This is what prompted me to write it: ✹
✹ TAKING THE OPPOSITE POSITION OF WHAT YOU USED TO BELIEVE BUT NOW HATE – DUE TO EMOTIONAL REASONS OR A KNEE JERK RESPONSE OR FROM SPITE – IS JUST AS WRONG AND MISTAKEN ✹
As to the forums and blogs by ex Christians, liberal Christians, self identifying post-evangelicals, or those still Christian who expose spiritual abuse…
I notice a number of the regular visitors to these sites – the ones who left an abusive or legalistic church or denomination – simply now operate in the reverse in their thinking, which is, IMO, just as bad or wrong as the thinking they are leaving.
There are different types of ex-Christians one must take into consideration when discussing this topic, so I shall present some sketches of them first.
IFBs (Independent Fundamentalist Baptists)
For example, there are ex IFBs (Independent Fundamentalist Baptists).
IFB preachers and churches are ridiculously legalistic. They make up rules that are not in the Bible, or twist or exaggerate the rules already there to the point those rules then become unbiblical.
IFBs are the contemporary, American versions of the Bible’s Pharisees: nit picky, anal retentive, legalists who make up man-made rules but insist they are “biblical” and thus binding on all believers.
IFBs concoct man-made traditions they expect all IFB members to adhere to, just like the Roman Catholic hierarchy does towards Roman Catholic members.
For example, IFB churches are legalistic about secular entertainment and clothing and physical appearance.
IFB churches teach their congregations that women should not wear pants but only skirts. And the skirts should be only so many inches above or below the knee.
According to IFBs, men should not have hair that touches the back shirt collar – not a mullet to be found in IFB, which may be a good thing. Secular music and television is sinful and should always be avoided.
IFBs have other legalistic rules for just about every aspect of life.
IFBs are vehemently anti-Roman Catholicism as well as anti-Calvinism.
Many IFB churches are “King James Version Only.” That is, IFBs seriously think that the KJV Bible version is the only “true” Bible that Christians should read or can trust.
IFB KJV Onlyists refer to other Bible versions, such as the NKJV, NIV, NASB, etc, as being “per-versions” that were supposedly corrupted by Roman Catholics, New Agers, Satan, and who knows.
IFBs believe in separation, even sometimes over secondary- type positions. They are very anti-ecumenicalism.
IFBs are into gender complementarianism, though they perhaps do not use that phrase to describe their views on marriage and gender roles.
IFBs believe that women should not be preachers, and that a husband is the “head of the household” and marriage and that the wife should submit to the husband in all situations.
Even though the Southern Baptist denomination is quite conservative in many regards, in theology and religious practice, they are not considered conservative enough by IFB standards, who consider SBs heretics.
It is to laugh. You have to be into wing-nut land before the IFBs will possibly even begin to consider you orthodox or conservative.
IFBs are sola sciptura, though I don’t think they use that term to describe their views (I am unsure).
IFBs show little interest or respect for early church fathers and patrisitic writings, arguments, and views.
As far as IFB prophecy views (eschatology), I am fairly sure they are pre-tribuation rapture, dispensationalist, and futurist.
As far as the eternal security of the believer, I think IFBs believe in OSAS, Once Saved, Always Saved.
IFBs do not support homosexuality or homosexual marriage.
IFBs are biblical inerrantists, and biblical literalists.
They tend to be YEC (Young Earth Creationists).
SOUTHERN BAPTIST / CONSERVATIVE NON DENOMINATIONAL
Next up, there are people who used to belong to Southern Baptist or NDC (non-denominational, conservative) churches or denominations.
In some of those churches, they espouse strong anti-Roman Catholic views (though not usually as strong or vitriolic as IFBs).
Southern Baptists, and many other NDC (non denominational, conservative) churches support gender complementarianism (as described above).
SB and NDC churches do not usually support homosexuality or homosexual marriage.
Some Southern Baptists are Calvinists, but for many years, they were neither particularly Calvinist or Arminian.
Some individual members may have been either one, but everyone had a “live and let live” attitude about it.
It’s only been the last several years or more that Neo Calvinists have been trying to take over SBC and SB universities and cram Calvinism down everyone’s throats.
Most Southern Baptists, and many in conservative non denoms, believe in sola scriptura, are biblical inerrantists, and biblical literalists.
I’d say there’s a sizable portion of SBs and NDC members, who are YEC (Youth Earth Creationists), though you may find some who believe in “theistic evolution” and/or that the earth is millions of years old.
Many SBs and conservative non denoms are futurist, dispensationalist, pre millennial, pre trib rapture in regards to prophecy.
I’d say that many SB and NDCs are not keen on ecumenalicism, but perhaps not as strict or as strongly opposed about this as IFBs are.
CHARISMATIC / PENTECOSTAL / WORD OF FAITH
I don’t often see ex Christians in this bunch on blogs for church abuse survivors. They only turn up every so often.
They’re essentially the same as the SBs and NDCs I described above, except they put more emphasis on the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of Christians, and some of their churches allow women to be preachers.
While they claim to be sola scriptura, Pentecostals, Charismatics, and Word of Faith proponents so stretch and exaggerate the claims of the Holy Spirit’s working in the lives of the believer, that they end up nullifying or contradicting the Bible’s teachings on some issues.
THE COMMON THREADS AMONG ALL THESE GROUPS
Most of the groups above share similar beliefs:
Most of them believe in, teach, and defend…
✹ HOW THIS ALL PLAYS OUT IN POST EVANGELICAL, LIBERAL CHRISTIAN, OR SPIRITUAL ABUSE BLOGS AND FORUMS ✹
What one typically sees when visiting spiritual abuse sites, ex Christian sites, or liberal Christian sites, by folks proclaiming themselves fed up with Christianity, who now say they are ex Christian, or who have left Southern Baptist or IFB churches, for some Reformed branch or who dropped out of church altogether, is a total rejection of most everything you see on the list above.
I myself stopped being a gender complementarian while I was still a Southern Baptist, conservative Christian.
I realized the errors of the “biblical womanhood” (gender complementarianism) position while still a full-fledged believer, and after thoroughly examining the Bible on that topic, so I’m not going to discuss that too much.
I am just saying in my particular case, my rejection of the gender complementarian view did not come about after I started having doubts about the faith altogether, but before.
But many of the ex Christians or the denomination jumpers (say, for example, guys who have left the IFB denomination for, I don’t know, Lutheran or Presbyterian churches) automatically, defacto become anti- everything their former church taught, just because they were burned and feel hurt by their former pastor, denom, or church.
This is something that annoys me to no end. It smacks of stupidity to me.
And it’s hypocritical. It’s the same error they made before, but in a different direction.
Here’s a run down of what I see frequently.
★ -MISTAKE 1.- RE SCIENCE, DARWINISM, OLD EARTH, YEC, ETC
Your YEC (Young Earth Creationism) – bashers will mock and ridicule YEC and those who adhere to YEC on these ex Christian, ex IFB, liberal Christian, post evangelical, or spiritual abuse recovery forums or blogs.
Because their former church or denomination once taught YEC, after leaving said group, they felt compelled to go read a mountain of books and blogs by Christian and atheist authors about darwinian evolution, and so forth, and now claim that YEC is a bunch of bunk.
They now tout the wonders of secular scientific positions (including an embrace of old earth and/or darwinian macro evolution) and write off and depict YEC-ers and Christians who don’t buy into macro evolution, as being anti-science dim wits.
★ -MISTAKE 2- NEW FOUND LOVE OF ATHEISTS OR ATHEISM
Sometimes atheists make a fair point here or there about Christianity, or other subjects. But you still have to use your critical thinking skills when you read their material. Having said that…
On a similar vein to the issue I was discussing before this section, you have your ex-Christians who were so emotionally wounded by their previous church, preacher, or some Christian layperson at their church, they went out after a few weeks or months and joined pro-atheist boards whole hog and now delight in the irrational, anti Christian bigoted rantings of Richard Dawkins, or own a whole library of Christopher Hitchens books.
These guys – the ex-Christians who now think atheism is so swell – seem to me to be un-critically accepting of the atheist and/or old earth/evolution positions, out of spite or hatred, not out of a serious reflection of all the positions out there.
They will deny that is so, but yes, that’s what they’ve done.
They left the faith out of hate, hurt, or disappointment, and seek to find other reasons to tack on, to make it seem more legitimate.
★ -MISTAKE 3- NEW FOUND LOVE, APPRECIATION FOR, AND ACCEPTANCE OR DEFENSE OF ROMAN CATHOLICISM and/or CALVINISM
You have your former IFBs who are now either agnostic, atheist, or more likely, now members of a Protestant denomination – such as Presbyterian, Lutheran, maybe Methodist.
They went from a rabidly anti-Roman Catholic, vehemently anti-Calvinism background to now embracing Calvinism and are now completely accepting of Roman Catholicism.
You will see ex-IFBs warmly embrace any self-professing Roman Catholic who drops by their ex IFB forums to say how ignorant the IFBs are for being anti-Roman Catholicism.
These ex IFBs will trip all over themselves to prove to visiting Roman Catholics how cool they are now by refusing to disagree with Roman Catholicism or condemn RCism on any point. They want to be seen as “down with Roman Catholicism.”
(Note: some of my dearest friends over my life have been Roman Catholics, but liking a Roman Catholic person on a personal level does not mean one has to agree with the teachings of their church – and their church is in deep error on many, many a theological point, of which I will only discuss a few below.)
Roman Catholicism is not biblical Christianity, as their church does not believe that salvation is by faith alone.
Nor does the RC support sola scriptura.
Roman Catholics believe that the Pope’s ex cathedra statements, magesterium’s biblical interpretations, and (Roman Catholic) church Tradition are on equal level of authority as the Bible.
And that is false; their Pope’s official decrees and their Tradition and so forth have zero authority on or over Christians, and are not on an equal- or- superior level to the Bible. Roman Catholics are in complete error for rejecting sola scriptura.
But these ex IFBs are so keen to distance themselves from what they now perceive as their hill-billy, backwards, ignorant, judgmental, former IFB brethern, they feel the need to denounce the IFB position on Roman Catholicism as being wrong-headed, mean, uneducated, and again, ignorant.
The Roman Catholic church used to burn Anabaptists at the stake (as did the Protestants) for merely being Anabaptists.
The Roman Catholic church, IIRC, killed folks for refusing to convert to Catholicism.
The Roman Catholic Church burned people at the stake for translating the Bible into the common language of the people ((Link): one example).
The Roman Catholic Church does not like biblical interpretation on the personal level but insists all Catholics go by what the magisterium tells them it means.
The Roman Catholic Church pronounces damnation on anyone who believes in sola fide (ie, salvation is by faith alone – not by faith plus works, faith by Roman Catholic membership, faith plus anything else). See this link.
One could go on listing other theological errors and heresy in Roman Catholicism and the hierarchy’s atrocious abuse of people, from the Inquisitions, to cover up of child sex abuse by priests, but I don’t care to get into all that.
While I don’t agree with all of historic Protestant theology or practices (such as murdering Anabaptists), they none- the- less had some damn good reasons for protesting the RCC.
So why are so many current day Protestants, such as ex IFBs, so keen on being so accepting of Roman Catholicism? It’s very strange.
You left one denomination that taught error on some subjects, by embracing the direct opposite error that they were actually correct to oppose to start with.
The IFB is totally correct in their rejection of Roman Catholicism.
That IFBs are too legalistic does not suddenly make every single other position they hold incorrect.
CALVINISM / TULIP / REFORMED
Next up we have Calvinism.
I am neither Calvinism or Arminian, a statement which confuses the hell out of Calvinists, by the way.
So myopic are most Calvinists, they cannot conceive of how a Christian can be something other than Calvinist or Arminian.
Some Christians make a distinction between regular Calvinism and something called Neo Calvinism, which is sometimes referred to as YRR (Young Restless and Reformed).
Most – not all but most – regular Calvinists are arrogant, intellectually prideful, egotistical jerks.
Your Neo Calvinsts (YRR) are the same as the regular Calvinists, but on steroids.
They are 100 times more arrogant, more rude, more egotistical, and even more enamored of reading patristic writings (and making sure you know it), bragging about knowing koine Greek, than even your average, every day Calvinist.
Calvinism is not biblical. It’s a bunch of hooey.
Calvinism and TULIP is a demonic, incorrect, Satanic set of doctrines, dreamed up by the murderous John Calvin (link – or look up the name “Michael Servetus”).
But Christians who left churches or denominations that were anti- Calvinism, such as IFB, who go to a different denomination, they tend to become Calvinist.
Geeze freaking Louise.
★ THROWING THE BABY OUT WITH THE BATH WATER
Just because you were hurt by your former church or “Sister Sue” or “Brother Bart” at your old church, or you remain angry with them, and decided to switch to another denomination, does not automatically mean you should
- 1. reject every thing your former church taught
2. accept and agree with everything taught at your new church or denomination.
Calvinism still remains incorrect, even though your old church hated it.
Roman Catholicism, homosexuality, etc, still remain incorrect, even if your old church condemned or disagreed with such things.
Your old church may have been filled with jerks or legalists, and some of their doctrine may have been wrong on one topic or another, but their jerkiness, or incorrect view on Topic Z, does not automatically make Calvinism, Roman Catholicism, or Old Age of the Earth views any more acceptable, biblical, true, or correct.
It’s so annoying to be on these blogs or forums for recovering wounded sheep (or ex Christians who are now atheist) to see them joyfully embracing stuff like Calvinism, homosexuality, Roman Catholicism, and so forth.
They rightfully recognized these things were in error in the past, but now, as a big “middle finger,” or “F. You!” to their former lives or churches, they proudly wave the banner of opposing social or religious views, whatever they may be. And it’s just as ignorant.
As a disclaimer: I am more respectful of a situation where a person honestly wrestled with a position for many years and don’t act like jackasses about their new position now.
For example: you used to be a Young Earth Creationist but are now into “theistic evolution” after investing years of study.
And, now that you don’t agree with YEC, you don’t go about blogs calling those who are still YECs “big idiots who are anti science.” You don’t have an attitude about it.
I may not agree with you still, but I at least find your position and manner of handling the topic more tolerable.
– See Part 3 –
(Link): Part 3 – No Man’s Land – Part 3 – Liberal Christians, Post Evangelicals, and Ex-Christians Mocking Biblical Literalism, Inerrancy / Also: Christians Worshipping Hurting People’s Feelings