Critique of Pastor Groeschel’s “I Want to Believe But…” Sermon Series (Re: Unanswered Prayer, etc)

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

Christian Post recently published this summary of Groeschel’s sermons, and I take strong issue with it, which I will explain below the long excerpts from the page – but if I didn’t blog my criticisms of this guy’s sermon, I was going to go nuts -several of his points or assumptions annoyed me up the wall:

(Link): God Is Not Your Puppet, Says Pastor Craig Groeschel by A. Kumar

Here are some excerpts from that page, and I will comment on this below the excerpts, which is pretty long, so please bear with me:

Pastor Craig Groeschel, senior pastor of Life.Church, has started a new series, “I Want to Believe, But…,” to address difficulties some have in believing in God.

In the series’ first sermon on Sunday, the megachurch pastor dealt with the notion that God should give us exactly what we want and when we want it.
“God is too big to be a puppet of mine,” he stressed.

Some believe in God and others don’t, but there’s “a newer category of people that are saying, ‘I wanna believe in God but I’m struggling to,'” the popular pastor said as he introduced the (Link): series to the congregation on Sunday, the 21st anniversary of the church.

Continue reading “Critique of Pastor Groeschel’s “I Want to Believe But…” Sermon Series (Re: Unanswered Prayer, etc)”

One Foot in Christianity, One Foot in Agnosticism – In a Faith Crisis

One Foot in Christianity, One Foot in Agnosticism  – In a Faith Crisis

November 2016. (There is a moderate amount of swear words in the post below)

Some of the points in the post, in brief (the long explanation is below):

  • I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior before I was ten years old
  • I have read the entire Bible.
  • I spent many years reading books ABOUT the Bible (e.g., books about its formation and history)
  • I spent years reading Christian apologetic literature
    – so do NOT tell me that I “do not understand Christianity” or that I was “never a REAL Christian to start with”
  • I currently have doubts about the Christian faith and/or aspects of the Bible
  • I have not rejected Jesus Christ Himself
    (he’s pretty much Christianity’s only good feature or selling point, as far as I can see at this point)
  • I am not an atheist
  • I am not a Charismatic
  • I am not a “Word of Faither”
  • I was brought up under conservative, Southern Baptist and evangelical teachings and churches
  • Even though conservative Christians claim to believe in the Bible, they
    • cannot agree on what the Bible means or how to apply it – this is a huge problem as I see it in the faith
    • they diminish the role of the Holy Spirit or deny Him and that He can work for Christians today, because they are “hyper sola scriptura” and have reduced the Trinity to “Father, Son, and Holy Bible,” (this is also problematic),
      they usually do this because they are hyper-cessationist and paranoid or hateful of Charismatic teachings or practices
    • they teach that most to all of the biblical promises are not for Christians today but are only for the Jews of 5,000 years ago, there-by teaching that the Bible is NOT relevant for people today  (this is also problematic)
  • If you are a Christian, do not act like a smug dick about any of this and immediately disregard any points I have to make about God, the Bible, or other topics, because in your view, I am a “Non-Christian who was ‘never’ really saved” -not to mention, that is not even true.
    I was in fact “truly” saved, and I am / was, a “real” Christian.
  • No, I don’t want to enumerate a detailed list of reasons why I have doubts about God, the Bible, or the faith.If I were to provide such a list or explanation, your average Christian would only want to debate each and every point to argue me back into fully believing. (A witnessing tip to Christians: doing that sort of thing is NOT an effective way of “winning back a lost sheep to Jesus.”)

DETAILED EXPLANATION

I find that people who are both Christian and Non-Christian (and several other categories of people I bump into on Twitter and other sites) get frustrated when they cannot easily box me in.

People seem to be more comfortable with labels, but I’m not sure what label I would give myself these days.

I have briefly tried to explain my current religious beliefs on my Twitter bio, and I explain them a little more on my blog’s “About” page and have mentioned them in a post or two over the course of the last few years I’ve been blogging here.

Here is my background:

I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior prior to turning the age of ten.

That means: I believed that Jesus took my sins upon himself, he was without sin, he paid the price for my sins, and was raised from the dead three days after having been crucified – and if I believe in all that, if I put “saving faith in” Jesus (as opposed to mere intellectual assent), my sins have been forgiven by God, and I go to heaven when I die.

I read the entire Bible through when I was 18 years old, and afterwards, I read a lot of the Bible in the years after. Prior to that age, I had read portions of the Bible when younger.

Continue reading “One Foot in Christianity, One Foot in Agnosticism – In a Faith Crisis”

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”

Celibate Christian Woman Asks Christian Host Why God Will Not Send Her a Husband

Celibate Christian Woman Asks Christian Host Why God Will Not Send Her a Husband

A couple of days ago, I saw this episode of The 700 Club.

A celibate Christian woman wrote Pat Robertson this question –

And her question is one all Christians avoid: they just scream at a 20 year old today to MARRY NOW NOW NOW!

They have no advice and no encouragement to give any adult over 35 who wants to be married but still finds him or herself single.

The usual Christian response is just to shame this lady for supposedly not having done enough to marry when younger, in spite of not knowing her background, or what she did to try to marry – Christians just arrogantly ASSUME if you are not married past a certain age, it is all your fault, and there were no mitigating circumstances.

So here’s her question to Pat, host of The 700 Club:

  • Dear Pat,
  • The Bible says that it’s better to marry than to burn with lust, but what about someone like me who can’t find someone to marry?

Continue reading “Celibate Christian Woman Asks Christian Host Why God Will Not Send Her a Husband”

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 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.

—–

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):   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