American Christians, Liberals, Liberal Pet Groups, and Persecution

American Christians, Liberals, Liberal Pet Groups, and Persecution

(This post has been edited and updated, especially towards the bottom, to add more commentary or links)


For about the past year, I have thinking about blogging about this topic but put it off until now.

I have seen liberal Christians, ex-Christians, left wing Non-Christians, and moderately conservative Christians complain or mock American Christians who claim that American Christians are being persecuted in the United States due to being  Christian.

In the past, I’ve seen liberal Christian blogger RHE (Rachel Held Evans) comment on this subject on her blog, on her Twitter account, as well as the Liberal, quasi- Christian, Stephanie Drury bring this up on her (Link): “Stuff Christian Culture Likes” Facebook group from time to time.

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Above: Accurate Visual Representation of How Some Pro-LGBT Groups Treat Christians. (Artist Unknown.)

I’ve also seen moderately conservative Christians I am acquainted with discuss this in Tweets or on their blogs.

To reiterate a point I’ve made before, I do sometimes agree with SCCL’s Drury on some issues, and I even periodically Tweet her links to news stories I think she may want to share on her Twitter account or on her SCCL Facebook group.

However, I totally part ways with Drury on some topics – like this one.

The view of liberal Christians, ex-Christians, liberal Non-Christians, and even some moderately conservative Christians, is that American Christians are not under persecution in the U.S.A. for being Christian, or for practicing Christian beliefs.

I am not sure if the liberal or moderate conservative disagreement on this issue pertains to semantics (the terminology involved), or if they are actually blind and oblivious to the harassment that Christians, especially conservative, or traditional valued, Christians, face in American culture.

It is my position that American Christians do in fact face harassment – especially from the left wing – in the United States for being Christian, for wanting to practice their faith and carry it out in public, and for defending it in public.

If you are a liberal who objects to the term “persecution,” how about, instead, the words or phrases, “harassment,” “bullying,” “picking on,” “hounding,” or other terms?

I do not see American Christians getting a free pass in the United States to hold certain views or to practice their beliefs.

The left (and I’d include severe anti-theist atheists here, on this point, regardless of their political standing) insist that Christians keep their Christian faith walled off, private, and separate from all other areas of their lives.

Continue reading “American Christians, Liberals, Liberal Pet Groups, and Persecution”

On Not Filtering Every Choice Through the Bible

On Not Filtering Every Choice Through the Bible

This is one of those topics I’m working my way through right now. Maybe a year from now, my opinion will flip on it. But here is where I am now.

I was first made aware of this post from John Piper’s “Desiring God” web site via someone posting to SCCL Facebook group.

Here it is:

(Link):  How to Drink Orange Juice to the Glory of God by John Piper

Excerpts:

  • I said that one of my reasons for believing this comes from 1 Corinthians 10:31. “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” I asked, “Is it sin to disobey this Biblical commandment?” Yes.
  • …Some of you then asked the practical question: Well, how do you “eat and drink” to the glory of God? Say, orange juice for breakfast?
  • ….Orange juice was “created to be received with thanksgiving by those whobelieve the truth.” Therefore, unbelievers cannot use orange juice for the purpose God intended—namely, as an occasion for heartfelt gratitude to God from a truth heart of faith.
  • But believers can, and this is how they glorify God. Their drinking orange juice is “sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.”

Yes, it’s an entire post explaining why and how Christians may drink Orange Juice to the glory of God.

This is a part of Christianity that I am glad to leave behind. In my faith crisis of the last few years, there have been some advantages to ceasing turning to the Bible as an authority in decision-making in life in every area.

Continue reading “On Not Filtering Every Choice Through the Bible”

Unanswered Prayer and Diversity of Doctrine and Biblical Intepretation (podcasts)

Unanswered Prayer and Diversity of Doctrine (podcasts)

I was going over some of the other broadcasts of the Christian apologetics show “Unbelieveable” when I saw at least two topics that I’ve addressed on my own blog before.

A couple of problems I’ve been having with the Christian faith, among several, are unanswered prayer and the fact that Christians cannot agree on what the Bible says, how to implement what it says.

I wonder what the point is in having a book that is supposedly written by God, if those who say they believe in that book (and who say that they believe in that same God) never- the- less do not agree on what the book teaches, and that some of them use that book to justify abusing people (financially, sexually, emotionally, physically).

You would think if God wrote a book (through men or otherwise) that he would make all of that book’s points abundantly clear so that his followers would not mess things up and get into prolonged disagreements about what the book means or how to carry out that book’s teachings.

I also note that Christians who defend prayer try to “explain away” what the biblical text says about prayer.

Jesus does in fact say in one or more of the Gospels that what ever you ask for in his name he will do – but as quasi-Christians like myself point out to the true believers, many times, your prayers will go unanswered, to which they reply, well, Jesus did not REALLY mean to say that whatever you ask for in his name will come to pass.

Here are the links to the podcasts:

(Link):  Does prayer make sense? David Wilkinson vs Ed Atkinson – PODCAST

(Link):   Can Christianity be true if Christians can’t agree on doctrine? Andrew Whyte vs Nabeel Qureshi – PODCAST

The ex-Christian guy who is on that show who argues that the conflicting interpretations of the faith and the Bible are problematic for Christianity, or may imply that Christianity is false, has a You Tube channel where he makes videos on this topic. Here it is:

After listening to both those podcasts a couple of days ago, I was not completely satisfied with the responses given to the skeptics by the Christians.

It seems to me that some Christians really under-estimate how damaging some of these particular doubts or criticisms of the faith really are.

Despite that, both shows were still interesting to listen to, and I related to what the ex-Christians or the skeptics were saying.

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Here are previous posts I’ve blogged about these subjects before:

Diversity of Interpretation:

(Link): Christians Who Can’t Agree on Who The Old Testament Is For and When or If It Applies

(Link): More Musings about Applicability of the Old Testament, Via One Man’s Testimony About Jeremiah 29:11

(Link): Christians Once Again Trying to Explain Who The Bible’s Promises Are For – TGC Article

(Link): Pat Robertson Contradicts Himself On Healing and God’s Will

Unanswered Prayer:

(Link): Critique of Pastor Groeschel’s “I Want to Believe But…” Sermon Series

(Link):  How to Deal with Unanswered Prayers via Pastor Bil Cornelius 

(Link): Christian Viewer Expresses Disappointment in God, Wants To Know Why, In Spite of Years of Service, God is Not Helping Him

(Link): Joanne The Widow Lady Wants to Know Why God Didn’t Answer Her Prayer to Keep her Husband With Her

(Link):   When All We Hear from God is Silence by Diane Markins

(Link):   Gordon Robertson’s Quasi Insensitive or Lacking Advice to Cancer Patient / Unanswered Prayer / Christians should just sometimes admit They Do Not Know

(Link): Blaming the Christian for His or Her Own Problem or Unanswered Prayer / Christian Codependency

(Link): On Prayer and Christ’s Comment to Grant You Anything You Ask in His Name

(Link): Gary Habermas joins Janet to discuss dealing with doubt in the Christian life (Re: Unanswered Prayer)

(Link):  When you show God you don’t want it, that’s when God will give it to you – according to Joel Osteen – I disagree

Additional:

(Link):  Gallup: Record Low 24% Believe Bible Is Literal Word of God (May 2017)

Patriarchy vs. Single Women in the Bible by B. and T. Jennings

Patriarchy vs. Single Women in the Bible by B. and T. Jennings

(Link): Patriarchy vs. Single Women in the Bible by B. and T. Jennings

This page I am linking to and excerpting below is critiquing one that was arguing that single women should stay at home.

The authors are addressing the author of the other page, a woman who explains she is still living at home and not going to college because she believed she was following biblical teachings for women.

Excerpts:

  • A response to an article regarding the reasons as to why a young Christian girl was not in college, but instead was staying under her father till marriage

Continue reading “Patriarchy vs. Single Women in the Bible by B. and T. Jennings”

A Response To J D Hall’s Vomit-tastic Post about Village Church’s Handling of Certain Members, Covenants, and Marriages

A Response To J D Hall’s Vomit-tastic Post about Village Church’s Handling of Certain Members, Covenants, and Marriages 

Before we get to the post by J D Hall:

Background:

  • The Village Church (TVC) of Texas has placed Karen, who was once a member of theirs, under church discipline because she did not, according to them, abide by the church covenant she signed.
  • Instead of conferring with the church on what to do, Karen, on her own, sought an annulment from the state of Texas, once she discovered her then-spouse, Jordan, was a pedophile.
  • Karen said she spent about 50 days conferring with other Christians (not from the TVC), and in prayer, mulling over what to do, before seeking the annulment.
  • This action of hers has ticked off TVC leadership, because Karen did not get their permission to get the annulment.
  • Matt Chandler is the lead preacher of TVC.

You can read additional reporting of this situation here (additional material is at the bottom of this post):

Here is the page I am responding to:

(Link, off site): A Rational Response to the Criticism of Village Church  by  J D Hall, Pulpit and Pen blog

The covenant that Hall is so rigorously defending – TVC’s membership covenant – here does not even mention annulments.

As Karen explains (off site Link, Source):

  • …it is worth noting here that although The Village Church claims [in their e-mail] that “We see an annulment as a subcategory of what Scripture defines as a divorce in Mark 10:9” …, this cannot be found anywhere in their Membership Covenant or Bylaws.
  • In signing their Membership Covenant shortly after my 24th birthday, I had agreed to nothing in regards to the possibility of annulment should I come to realize that my marriage had been a complete sham from the beginning.
  • There is a vast difference between a divorce and a marriage that is voided on the grounds of fraud, and I had no way of knowing that the leadership of The Village Church would respond to it in this fashion.

Continue reading “A Response To J D Hall’s Vomit-tastic Post about Village Church’s Handling of Certain Members, Covenants, and Marriages”

Christians Once Again Trying to Explain Who The Bible’s Promises Are For – TGC Article

Christians Once Again Trying to Explain Who The Bible’s Promises Are For – TGC Article

Christians can’t seem to agree on when or if the promises in the Bible – especially Old Testament ones – apply to Christians today.

Here is another example of writers on another Christian site attempting to explain which promises are meant for Christians today and which are not:

(Link): Which Promises Are For Me? on The Gospel Coalition site, written by Jen Wilkin

I have more comments below this.

Excerpts:

  • Not many things are more comforting than a promise made and kept. And not many things are more hurtful than a promise broken. Knowing we worship a God who keeps his promises is a source of deep joy. But misapplied, this knowledge can also lead us to treasure-hunt Scripture for promises in problematic ways.
  • How can we know which promises are for us? How can we lay claim to the promises of the Bible without overstepping their application? Here are some common pitfalls to keep in mind as you study.
  • Common Mistakes

    Confusing a promise with a principle. Promises are always fulfilled 100 percent of the time. Principles state general truths.

  • The book of Proverbs is often mistaken for a book of promises, when in fact it is a book of principles. The principle of “train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6) is generally true and wise to heed. But it is not a guarantee that every child raised with godly instruction will become a believer in Jesus.
  • Ignoring the context. We often apply a promise to ourselves before considering its original audience or its historical, cultural, or textual context. In some cases, a promise was made to a specific person for a specific reason and has no further application beyond its immediate context. In other cases, the application can only be properly made after the promise is understood in its original context.
  • God’s promise to Abram of land and offspring (Gen. 12:1–3) cannot be taken to mean God will give me a house or children. It can, however, be applied to mean he will give me a spiritual inheritance through Christ.
  • Overlooking the “if.” Promises that contain an “If” require some form of obedience before we can expect them to come to pass in our lives. They are conditional.
  • Limiting a promise to your own understanding. Even when we rightly recognize a promise as intended for us, we often impose our own understanding of exactly how it will be fulfilled. Or we are tempted to impose our own timeline on its fulfillment.
  • Yes, God does have a plan to prosper you and not to harm you (Jer. 29:11), but as in the case of the people to whom those words were originally written, that “you” is more likely a collective reference to the body of believers, and that plan may play out across centuries in ways we can’t possibly predict.
  • To recognize this intent does not diminish the beauty of the promise at all. It actually enhances it.
  • Do your homework. Before you write it on a note card for your fridge, before you post it on Instagram or shop for it on a coffee mug or declare it your life verse, make a thorough study of where your promise lives in Scripture and in biblical history. Make sure it’s a general promise, not a specific promise to someone else or just a general principle to observe. Check for any “ifs” that might change its application.

The page goes on and on like that; click the link at top if you’re interested in seeing the full article.

Perhaps some Christians needed to be made aware of these things, but I’m over 40 years of age, have been a Christian since before I hit age ten, have read the entire Bible as well as many books about Christian theology and apologetics.

I don’t think I really need a basic primer on these things at this stage.

I find a lot of the points in the article are rather basic and based on common sense.

Even under her “Do Your Homework” section, I’m sorry, but Christians to this day still debate and fuss over if Jeremiah 29.11 is for believers only today (she mentions that passage in her article).

She seems to feel that Jer 29.11 is for ancient Israelites only, but I still find other Christians who believe it’s equally applicable to Christians in America in 2015.

Her article only adds to the confusion, in my view. That Christians have to keep explaining and teaching which biblical promises and verses apply to whom does not clarify the situation, but piles on.

I can guarantee you if Christians of other denominations read this page (I refer again to (Link): Which Promises Are For Me? ) that this lady wrote, they will each have their own particular objections or areas of disagreement.

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Related Posts:

(Link):  Christians Who Can’t Agree on Who The Old Testament Is For and When or If It Applies

(Link):  Gallup: Record Low 24% Believe Bible Is Literal Word of God (May 2017)

(Link): More Musings about Applicability of the Old Testament, Via One Man’s Testimony About Jeremiah 29:11

(Link):   Does God’s Plan to Do You No Harm, Prosper You, And Give You Hope and A Future Involve You Dying In a Fiery Plane Crash? Regarding Jeremiah 29:11 and Its Application

(Link): Christians Who Take the Bible Literally Cannot Agree On Much of Anything 

(Link): Sometimes the Bible is Clear – Regarding Rachel Held Evan’s Post

Christians Who Take the Bible Literally Cannot Agree On Much of Anything

Christians Who Take the Bible Literally Cannot Agree On Much of Anything 

This is a page that touches on a topic I’ve brought up on my blog a time or two.

(Link):  Unpublished: Being Biblical Means Being Doctrinally Tolerant

The author of that ‘Unpublished’ page mentions Roman Catholicism.

As much as I consider the constant Protestant and Baptist disagreement over certain things in the Bible problematic, I don’t think the solution is becoming Roman Catholic and accepting that their Pope’s ex cathedra statements or their Magisterium is the answer.

Catholics, for one, get all sorts of things wrong – they believe that Mary was bodily assumed into Heaven; they believe that praying to or for the dead is acceptable; they believe in the perpetual virginity of Mary; they believe in Transubstantiation; they reject that salvation is by faith alone – all sorts of wrong things.

Then Roman Catholics tack on 3 or 4 books (called the Apocrypha) to the Jewish and Protestant canon to “prove” to the Protestants that yes, they have “biblical” support for some of their weird doctrines.

Although the Vatican tells Catholics that birth control is wrong and bad, and that pro-life is the way to go, I have seen many news reports that American Roman Catholic women get abortions and use birth control.

Several years ago, I even saw websites by American Roman Catholics who say they support the legalization of abortion. Catholics are not in unity – not even in doctrine, so I do wish they’d stop lobbing this accusation at Protestants, as though the RC is any better.

Their Pope and Magisterium can sit there all day long and claim that the official Roman Catholic stance on Topic X is “blah blah whatever,” but that doesn’t mean the rank and file Catholics are going to agree with it, or follow that doctrine or rule. Because sometimes they don’t.

I do by and large still believe the Bible should be taken literally – as opposed to the liberal Christians who treat the Bible with extreme skepticism or who act like it’s okay to treat the Bible as though it’s silly putty and warp it any way they want – but I do acknowledge some of the points raised in this page:

(Link):  Unpublished: Being Biblical Means Being Doctrinally Tolerant

Excerpts:

  • People who claim to literally interpret the inspired and inerrant Word of God do not agree on what the bible says.
  • Christian Smith calls this “pervasive interpretive pluralism.” And this pervasive interpretive pluralism isn’t just found among progressives and liberals. It is found among evangelicals and fundamentalists, among the very people who claim that they are reading the bible very, very literally.
  • Pervasive interpretive pluralism exists among biblical literalists.
  • Which brings us to the problem at the heart of Protestantism.
  • The problem at the heart of Protestantism is that the bible is unable to produce consensus. This isn’t a theological claim. This is an empirical fact.
  • Sola scriptura produces pluralism. The “bible alone” creates doctrinal diversity. Biblical literalism proliferates churches.
  • The alternative is to be delusional, pretending that opening the bible brings everyone to a consensus. Unfortunately, that just doesn’t happen.

Continue reading “Christians Who Take the Bible Literally Cannot Agree On Much of Anything”

Does God’s Plan to Do You No Harm, Prosper You, And Give You Hope and A Future Involve You Dying In a Fiery Plane Crash? Regarding Jeremiah 29:11 and Its Application

Does God’s Plan to Do You No Harm, Prosper You, And Give You Hope and A Future Involve You Dying In a Fiery Plane Crash? Regarding Jeremiah 29:11

I tweeted this a moment ago:

That being Twitter, I could not fully express what I was trying to get at, not in Twitter’s 140 character limit.

I saw a news story about a well known preacher who died in a plane crash the other day, and that prompted me to think about these things.

This is something I wonder about. I sometimes wonder how much, if at all, Old Testament principles or verses can or do apply to Christians today. I also wonder, given that so many Christians like to quote Jer 29.11,

  • 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

I am open to either side of this debate.

I’ve heard (camp 1) Christians argue that the OT is not for Christians today, and other Christians (camp 2) say no, the OT is for today, too, or at least parts of it are. But I think I fall more a little more into camp 2 than camp 1 (at least currently. I may change my mind in the future).

It makes no sense to me Christians who argue that OT is not applicable for Christians today, that all its promises and morals and rules solely fall to Israel of 5,000 years ago.

Yes, I realize that the dietary portion of the Law is done and over, since God showed Peter a vision of a blanket of pork chops and ham sandwiches in the New Testament and said, “Eat, Peter.” The sacrifice of Jesus Christ made the necessity of sheep, goat, and bull sacrifices null and void, obviously.

~But that’s about it. I don’t see how or why all the other OT promises and principles become null and void, like stealing remains a sin, God says in the OT he will stand by a believer, etc.

See also (Link):  Christians Who Can’t Agree on Who The Old Testament Is For and When or If It Applies

However. The Prosperity Gospel heretics on TBN and other religious networks regularly quote Jer 29:11 at Christian viewers, as though it’s a promise God makes to every last person watching, and that it’s a promise intended for every point in life, no matter what.

But what if you are a Christian who develops cancer, gets into a car wreck and dies, your spouse leaves you, or you’re past 35 and wanting to get married but still find yourself single, or, what if you get laid off from your job and have a hard time financially?

Are we supposed to assume that it’s God’s plan of hope, joy, and prosperity to inflict a Christian with cancer, or to allow their marriage to dissolve, or to keep them single indefinitely against their wishes?

How is getting cancer, dying in a fiery plane crash, and so on, a “plan of hope” or a future of any kind?

I can tell you right now that your average Calvinist idiot (I really detest Calvinism and find most of its adherents rude or condescending) will respond “God is sovereign” and “God still gets the glory in all these negative situations,” and your average, non-Calvinists will trot out cliches such as Romans 8:28, or another one (about suffering making you stronger or “more Christ-like”) but no, sorry, those responses do not fly.

There is nothing glorious about someone being laid off from the job, being single when they want marriage, becoming paralyzed from a horse fall, dying in a fiery plane crash, or getting mugged by a robber.

At this stage in my life, I quite frankly don’t give a hoot about “God’s glory” or adding to it.

I was at a blog some time ago where there was a post by a woman like me who explained she was still a virgin past 40 and wanting to get married. And the doofus Christian guy who owned the blog, who excuses fornication, blurted out that, “Well, if you are still abstaining sexually that is wonderful, as it goes to God’s glory.” No, buddy, women like me don’t want “God’s glory” or to contribute to it, we want a spouse and we want to get laid.

Anyway… I do wonder how or why Christians continue to drag that bit from Jeremiah out when it’s obvious that not all Christians have futures at all (they die young), nor do they have hope or prosperity.

———————–

BTW update in this post:

Dude ( John Morgan ) Who Stalked Me Online Has Set His Blog to Private – Yet Again

———————–

October 6, 2015  Update.

And I just saw this in my Twitter feed, via Crosswalk:

(Link): Stop Taking Jeremiah 29:11 Out of Context!

See? Christians are still debating if Jer 29.11 is applicable for Christians today or not. I can guarantee you that in several months time, there will either be a Christian on TV or in a blog post arguing the opposite of this Cross walk page – that Jer 29.11 is in fact applicable for believers today.

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Related post:

(Link): More Musings about Applicability of the Old Testament, Via One Man’s Testimony About Jeremiah 29:11

(Link): Christians Who Take the Bible Literally Cannot Agree On Much of Anything 

(Link): Christians Once Again Trying to Explain Who The Bible’s Promises Are For – TGC Article