Countering the 'Christians'

By Tom Ehrich
Posted May 2, 2012

[Religion News Service] I have been a Christian my entire life, never more fervently than in recent years, and yet I cringe when I hear politicians and public figures announce their Christian faith.

Hold on to your wallet. Even more, hold on to your freedoms and rights as a citizen. Because the so-called “Christian moral agenda” threatens to marginalize, deprive and denigrate many Americans for failing to be “right,” as the Christian right defines “right.”

Homosexuals — off the bus. Women wanting to control their bodies — off the bus. Liberals offering different solutions to a nation’s pressing problems — off the bus. Dark-skinned immigrants, preachers speaking truth to power, anyone questioning big banking, big oil or big business, compassionate feeders of the hungry, hospitals serving all who are sick, educators aiming to raise up all children, environmentalists, scientists — all of you, off the bus.

No respect for you, no dignity, no freedom to act independently. Showy followers of a Savior who said, “Don’t be afraid,” make fear their weapon. They reverse everything Jesus stood for — radical inclusion, justice for all, food for the hungry, respect for outcasts, challenge to the wealthy.

Instead of the actual Gospel, they substitute a fear-driven secular agenda grounded in right opinion, harsh judgment and intolerance, and they call it “Christian.”

Never mind that Jesus said nothing about any item on their political agenda. Like recent presidential candidates, they just make it up. Maybe they find a few obscure biblical citations to justify their views. Mostly they just baptize their prejudices.

No wonder people have come to see “Christians” as “harsh, judgmental, intolerant, argumentative, and angry,” as a recent nationwide survey found. Who would want to affiliate with so much negative energy? As Jesus himself showed, God is about loving humanity, not denouncing people for failing some religious litmus test.

Think about it: if Jesus had applied to his followers the same tests right-wing Christians favor, he would have been accompanied by a small cadre of wealthy white men, and not Thomas, not the fishermen, not Bartimaeus, not Mary Magdalene, not any of the women.

Indeed, Jesus himself wouldn’t have stayed around — not with his penchant for self-examination, questioning, accepting, loving, serving, and staying on the move. No cathedrals and repurposed basketball arenas for him. No prosperity Gospels. No shouting down the divergent.

What right-wing Christians have done to the Gospel in America is both shameful and dangerous. It feels like the late Middle Ages all over again, when Christian hierarchs nearly destroyed Europe with their wars and support of repressive governments.

I think it is time for serious Christians to separate themselves from this right-wing agenda. Those who send missionaries to impoverished lands, those who send emergency-response teams to disaster zones, those who care about children and families, decency and respect, those who seek the Word that Jesus actually lived — they need to turn away from freedom deniers and repression seekers.

I had the privilege this year of evaluating magazines for an Evangelical Press Association contest. I found it profoundly moving. The story of the Salvation Army’s role in 9/11 won my top prize. While politicians and prelates were preening and shouting, the Salvation Army was feeding 40,000 a day, sitting with families, ministering to emergency responders, and all without a shred of bombast, blaming or delicious rage.

Their quiet servanthood spoke of America at its best.

— Tom Ehrich is a writer, church consultant and Episcopal priest based in New York. He is the author of “Just Wondering, Jesus”and founder of the Church Wellness Project. His website is Follow Tom on Twitter @tomehrich.

Statements and opinions expressed in the commentaries herein, are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Episcopal News Service or the Episcopal Church.

Comments (56)

  1. Jason Brinn says:

    I fail to see your point as there are not any clear, specific citations. Generally speaking, YES we should as followers of Christ be understanding, compassionate and helpful to the world – he did die for them. However, Christ did not come to this world to exchange YHWH’s law for compassion itself. At the end of the day I see the conservative right as trying to uphold laws that fall in line with the ones YHWH gave. This does not in my mind take anything away from being compassionate or the like, yet shows true compassion.

    I can feel for the non-believers I just can’t absolve their actions nor ignore as in condonement their cry for space to act against the very laws our creator sustains. Which party did Christ embody as he turned out the money changers? Just curious.

    1. Michael Charles says:

      Indeed Jesus DID come to this world to exchange the Pharisees version of the law for compassion. He was very clear about that. All we see in the current “Christian right” is a modern day version of the Pharisees and little to do with the teachings of Christ.

      1. Drea Hendrix says:

        I agree. Jesus showed the Pharisees countless examples of how the law cannot “save” us. In fact, He says that relying on law as a path to righteousness denies His power. This applies to more than salvation; Jesus’s living example of how to live in this world shows us that a change of heart is more important than policy.

        If policy was all-important, why did He not position himself to be on the council or part of the Roman ruling class? Why didn’t He wage a political campaign to force “right-minded” policies? Isn’t the political life EXACTLY what He wants us to leave to “Caeser”?

    2. Thomas Austin says:

      Christ did not come to exchange YHWH’s law for compassion itself, true. He came to remind us that YHWH’s law IS compassion itself.

      “37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40 ESV)

      Refusing to treat non-believers as second-class citizens is not ignoring their sins. Did Jesus ignore their sins when he ate with them? The law ordered that a woman caught in adultery should be stoned to death. Jesus did not uphold that law when he refused to do it because there was a greater divine law: compassion.

      If they will offend the Lord, then let the Lord deal with them.

      “10 And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. 11 Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.” (Revelation 22:10-11)

      “1 Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:1-6)

      The Lord will judge the wicked, and if we try to judge the wicked by abusing them and constantly restricting them through the legal channels of this world, then we try to do God’s job for Him, acting as if He will not act against those who offend Him. Are we God that we can manipulate people’s lives through codes and congressional sanctions? By trying to force people to live righteous lives through human laws, all we do is force them away from God in anger and injury, or force them into a false worship of Him that has nothing to do with faith, but only fear.

    3. larry beshears says:

      @ Jason, Jesus DID come to replace YHWH’s laws and you are incorrect. Jesus quoted that He was the law and that He taught love, compassion, caring & serving for others. Here’s a story I like to tell: Many call themselves Christians, much like the story I like to tell about being a fan of football, but not a player of football. Same goes for Christians. Christians are in the stands watching, cheering, proud to be connected, but never really participating in the actual game. There is a much smaller population than those who label themselves Christian. They are the BELIEVERS of Jesus Christ. Just like the Christians that claim to be Christians, these attend church, work in the church, and spend time maintaining the church. They are the ones that believe and participate in everything up to the point of the bruising confrontations down on the field. But did you know that even fewer people could rightly be called “FOLLOWERS”? These are the folks who passionately pursue the Lord’s will in all things. These are the people that don’t just label themselves as fans as long as the team is winning, or go to the games believing from the bleachers that the team will win; No, they are part of the team on the playing field, taking the bumps, the bruises, the pain & suffering, going nose to nose with the enemy. They are the FOLLOWERS! There is a huge different in calling yourself a Christian, and being a Follower of Christ.

    4. Deirdre McMurtry says:

      You don’t need to absolve the actions of non-believers. You’re not God. You haven’t been granted that authority. To claim otherwise is BLASPHEMY.

  2. Christopher L. Webber says:

    I’ve been waiting for someone to say this! Not sure what Jason is talking about when he “can’t absolve (non-believers) actions.” I’m not aware of “non-believers” trying to cut funding for schools and medical care for those in need. Even the death penalty and gun for everybody laws seem to come from the same far right side of the political equation as those who wear their “Christian” faith ion their sleeves. My Christian faith is rational and compassionate. I wish the “Christian” politicians had some of those qualities.

  3. Richard Angelo says:

    What does he mean by ” non believers’ actions”? Is he assuming that women are non believers? That gay people are non believers? That people of color and people who may not be Republican/Conservatives are non believers? way wrong sir! Jesus said he came that we might have abundant life!! He also went against many of the stated laws and rule sof his time in order to preach the kingdom of God and here and now!

  4. Rev. June Johnson says:

    As a priest, I cringe with you. Those whom I call “public” Christians – so sure that they have the full word of God safely entrusted to themselves for themselves and all others – often make me wish I could go under another banner and still follow Jesus. Your phrase “baptizing their own prejudices” seems so fitting. Someone once wrote “beware of any God who hates the same people that you hate.” There is such finger-pointing and labeling that I fear the Holy Spirit would not be good enough for some. As a thoughtful, intelligent, seeking Christian and a woman, I certainly do feel pushed off the bus.

    1. Dale McKinzie says:

      Bravo Rev Johnson!

  5. Please. When the Christian left stops thinking that only its views are Christian and stops calling people who disagree with it bigots or worse, I’ll take Ehrich’s views seriously. Not before.

    1. Lori Cole says:

      “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”

    2. John Mandeville says:

      Chris Johnson, I am not longer a Christian so cannot be accused of being a hypocrite. The issue with the majority of so-called fundamentalists and evangelicals is they completely ignore Christ’s message as delivered in the New Testatment. They, indeed, ignore the “fundamentals” of His message and allow their own bigotries, misogynistic and misonthropic points of view to dominate their lives. One claiming to be Christian must, in fact, obey Christ’s teachings. The right wing extremists do not, therefore, it is they who are the hypocrites when they claim to be Christian believers. Go ahead an try to convince me otherwise. I am all ears.

    3. Janette Kline says:

      I think you should ask yourself who is excluding who. I am a strong Christian but because of my political leanings to the left I have been told that I must not really be a Christian. I think that is sad that one’s personal political beleifs should divide the Church the way it appears to be doing. Why do I have to vote republican to be taken seriously? I found Tom Ehrich’s article to be truthful and in line with my beliefs as to how God wants me to live out my faith. Thank you for writing it.

  6. Bo Wooden says:

    I often hear Christians called intolerant. Christ was intolerant in that he didn’t tolerate sin, but neither did he condemn. John 8:3-11 is probably the best known chapter and verses where a woman is accused of adultery and they said to Jesus that she must be stoned in accordance with the Law of Moses. He said that “If anyone is without sin cast the first stone.” After the crowd left he asked where her accusers were and if anyone had condemned her. She said no one and Christ responded that he doesn’t condemn her either and tells her to go and sin no more. He called her actions for what they were, sin. In no way was he tolerant of what she did. We certainly can’t beat up on people for being different.

    Regarding women and their own bodies, fetuses are their own being. I make no apologies for defending what God has created. Do women have a choice, absolutely. I would hate to stand before Christ and have to answer why I didn’t stand up for the unborn. I don’t think the answer that women have a right to choose would make it. It doesn’t explain why I chose not to stand up for what’s right.

    1. Brian Chace says:

      One of the most difficult things for us human beings to grasp is the concept of “both.and” rather than “either/or”. Yes, God created fetuses, and God also created women. We need to care about both. When Jesus was asked to define “neighbor”, his answer, given in one of his best known parables, was: anyone who needs our help. I think it would be difficult to refute the fact that Jesus was inclusionary, not exclusionary. When picking sides, perhaps the best side is the middle.

  7. Lynn Ronkainen says:

    Thanks Tom, for your hard hitting, on the mark comments about the state of what often passes for Christian wittness alive and ‘well’ in our country today. Sometimes I just take on being painted by the ‘broad brush’, because to the painter, it doesn’t really matter who I am. Kind of like turning the other cheek, I keep about the work I know makes a difference.

  8. Timothy D. MacLam says:

    Fr. Ehrich,

    Amen and Amen.

    You have summed up the “Christianizing” of American politics most eloquently. I think some of the resistance to wearing of faith on one’s faith on one’s sleeve began with President Jimmy Carter’s declarations about his being a born-again Christian. I cringed back then. Time proved Mr. Carter to be a man of deep and abiding faith, using his status as a former president to work tirelessly for peace and justice.

    The self–proclaimed Christians of the radical right, to the contrary, have not shown the goodwill, charity, compassion of those or “quiet servanthood [that] spoke of America at its best.” The COMPENDIUM OF THE SOCIAL DOCTRINE OF THE CHURCH, perhaps the finest teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, is ignored by extremist politicians who identify as Roman Catholics. Those same politicians are generally well educated, but thumb their noses at this teaching, which brings the Gospel to life, and delineates our responsibilities to “the least of us” in painfully clear terms. The Gospel of our Lord in Holy Scripture seems to make all self-proclaimed Christians among these politicians uncomfortable, defensive, and more committed to hardness of heart.

    One of the most important things we must struggle to preserve is the ABSOLUTE separation of Church and State. None of should fear being subject to the theological tyranny of the intolerant, or to be made to conform to another’s faith by law.

    I too, am a priest, albeit a very discouraged one. Nonetheless I will redouble my efforts in prayer for these same men and women who would be glad never to hear from me again. We must continue to “fight the good fight,” and pray for the genuine conversions of these hard-hearted “Christian” politicians.

    Almighty God, who hast created us in thine own image:
    Grant us grace fearlessly to contend against evil and to make
    no peace with oppression; and, that we may reverently use
    our freedom, help us to employ it in the maintenance of
    justice in our communities and among the nations, to the
    glory of thy holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who
    liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God,
    now and for ever. Amen. (BCP)

    (The Most Rev.) Timothy D. MacLam

  9. Angie Forde says:

    I think it is too easy to blame those considered “Right-Wing” for everything that goes wrong, or makes us cringe. However, Jesus said something very instructive about motes and beams. We need to examine where and why we are not living up to the example set by the Salvation Armies of the world. If we do what God asks of us, people will very soon see the difference and reject the imitation for the genuine.

  10. Thomas Andrew says:

    I hear you Mr. Erhlich…except I can assure you that the Left – especially in the Episcopal Church – has done more to shove traditional Christians off the bus. Y’all have made it abundantly clear that the Episcopal Church Does NOT Welcome Me!

    1. Dale McKinzie says:

      Thomas, as an Episcopalian by choice rather than birth, I have always felt that the Episcopal Church is open and welcoming to ALL, even Traditionalists. As my pastor used to say “All may, some do, none must.”

  11. John Paddock says:

    Thanks, Tom.

    I hear Chris Johnson’s criticism quite frequently that the religious left is intolerant or think that they are on God’s side. My experience is quite different. Most religious left folk I know leave room for divergent ideas and opinions. What they condemn are religious bullies; they are intolerant only of the intolerant who are ready to beat up the other kids on the playground.

    The Rev. John Paddock

  12. Harry Coverston says:

    “Y’all have made it abundantly clear that the Episcopal Church Does NOT Welcome Me!”

    I can see how those on the right might feel that way. But feelings alone do not facts make. The reality is that when more liberal approaches are taken to belonging, to participation, to engagement, there tends to be room for everyone regardless of their feelings about any given aspect of our common life together. But that is rarely true when the right controls. The right is happy to use the power of the institution to punish those who do not agree. Women are seen as unfit for leadership. Gays and lesbians are seen as unworthy of respect, much less first class citizenship. Catholic worship often gives way to evangelical feel-good pietism and critical theology is repressed, replaced by varying degrees of fundamentalism. Social justice becomes a dirty word. To make matters worse, this abuse of power is often attempted to be legitimated through demonization of its victims. Assessments of sinfulness conveniently fit the prejudices of the power holders and animate the sermons from the pulpit. Ideological litmus tests become the gatekeepers to leadership roles in the church.

    The truth is, while conservatives are often uncomfortable in situations where they are out of control, they rarely have to worry about their place at the table when liberals run the show. And that is rarely, if ever, the case in reverse. No doubt, liberal-led organizations are way too lacking in definition, structure and punishment for conservatives to feel comfortable. But the chances that conservatives would be unwelcome, much less barred from full participation in the life of the church, simply are infinitesimal in those situations.

    1. Jason Brinn says:

      This is to everyone: We are called to be salt, we are called to be in the world not of it. Lukewarm religiosity will not find its way to Heaven. Maybe we should all re-read John and simply take it for what it says. Yes, I love the brethren but that doesn’t mean looking the other way with a smile while they ignorantly plunge into Hell. Jesus said go and sin no more – not go and do as you feel, it’s your choice, everything is cool brother. I stand on the word of YHWH the word that was made flesh – I will love them as he did – and he, Jesus, has a lot to say about the actions of those whose choices you all seem to defiantly want to protect just to seem….nice?!?

      1. Jabril Faraj says:

        I hate when people say stuff like “I will love THEM as he did”…what gives you the right to say that? I believe Paul said “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” ALL, as in you and I, as well! And it is not for us to judge either…Paul also said in Romans 14:13, “Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.” Jesus was without blame, without blemish, and this was what allowed him to say “go and sin no more”…because he was without sin.

        I fear those who claim to follow Christ put too many stumbling blocks in our brothers’ ways and then claim a fictitious moral superiority. Again it is written in Romans 3:

        “‘There is no one righteous, not even one;
        11 there is no one who understands;
        there is no one who seeks God.
        12 All have turned away,
        they have together become worthless;
        there is no one who does good,
        not even one.’
        13 ‘Their throats are open graves;
        their tongues practice deceit.’
        ‘The poison of vipers is on their lips.’
        14 ‘Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.’
        15 ‘Their feet are swift to shed blood;
        16 ruin and misery mark their ways,
        17 and the way of peace they do not know.’
        18 ‘There is no fear of God before their eyes.'”

        Therefore, go and live your life in love, compassion and empathy for your fellow man. Show rather than tell. Demonstrate rather than remonstrate. Do not legislate morality but inspire it through right living.

  13. The Rev. Teresa T. Bowden says:

    Thank you, thank you, and blessings to Tom Ehrich for expressing the way I, and many others, feel. Your article hit the nail on the head so beautifully, eloquently and succinctly. I was beginning to think these people had not read the same Gospels I have. What about Jesus saying that within the 2 commandments of Love God and love you neighbor as yourself lie all the laws and the prophets. Doesn’t that mean we are to live by the words and example of Jesus Christ not the laws of the Old Testament?

    1. Jason Brinn says:

      Again – to everyone: There seems to be some fundamental mistakes made as to why, how and who our Christ actually was. Someone here quoted the passages where Jesus rebuked the men accusing the woman in adultery (John 8:7). Unfortunately, this is too often misunderstood as an admonishment of judging others and this is not the case. Jesus was speaking to the heart of those men who really didn’t care about her and instead were simply trying to trick him. Also, he upholds the Mosaic law (the requirement of two witnesses to condemn) by his actions not to mention HE being the son of God had the right and power to forgive sin. We do NOT have the ability to forgive sin. We are called to judge others and reprimand one another as to the law of the covenant we live by. We are to be salt. We are to protect (shamar), keep the commandments and be a light.

      Jesus called us to love, not to forgive sins people – we can NOT do that. Let me be blunt, did Jesus condemn homosexuality? YES. Jesus was born under, lived under and upheld the Mosaic laws. What did the Mosaic laws say about homosexuality? What did Jesus say about those laws? Please read and pray about the following verses as they are where I draw my comments from and are the word we as believers profess to follow (Matt. 19:4, John 5:46-47, Gal. 4:4, Lev. 18:22, Deut. 23:17, John 16:12-15, Rom. 1:26-27, 1 Cor. 6:9-10).

      Now consider this, if we act as if in agreement of peoples sin’s how will they know they need a savior? Jesus can save homosexuals, abortionist and anyone who will call on his name, however, they need to know that they in fact NEED to call on his name and as long as we smile in the name of being nice and do not tell them about their sin then we might as well push them into Hell while we do it.

      1. Bix Ruecking says:

        Dude. JC loved all people – the 1% money changers not withstanding ; that’s why he came. Follow his example and leave the judgement to the BIG MAN UPSTAIRS. You’ll lose your anger and anxiety, sleep better and may find a little peace as well as a few friends. If you seek heaven you gotta realize the folks you’ll meet there are not like you. The BIG MAN gave us brains and reason for the purpose of using them. Dude, you are not off to a good start.

    2. Bix Ruecking says:

      Yes it does. God doesn’t need us to express our faith in public.

  14. Rev. Paddock, I’ll believe that you actually mean that when folks like you stop calling folks like me bigots just because we hold to the traditional Christian view that homosexual activity is a sin.

    1. Troy Preuss says:

      Christopher you are right it is a sin as far as the old Testament part of the Bible is concerned, but remember we live under the New Covenant because Jesus died on the cross for all our sins, everyone’s, not just a select few like minded people but anyone who wants forgiveness of their sins anyone who asks in Jesus’s name for forgiveness. Do you get sinners to come to church by judging them, spitting on them, chastising them, embarrassing them, stoning them, or do you get them to go to church by talking to them, helping them, praying with them, and for them loving them like your brother, or sister. You see Christopher this is the difference between your version of being a Christian, and the Bible’s version of being a Christian, Christopher, let God be the judge, and worry about your own salvation, and do the job that God has intended for everyone, and that is to bring his children, all of them, Christopher, back to the House Of God!!!

  15. Brad Howard says:


    Finally, someone articulating what many of us have been feeling. In the Pacific Northwest, for example, 70% of the population is unchurched. Because we don’t speak up– and out– the only “Christian” voices they here are those of the haters.

    Thank you!

  16. Todd S. Jenkins says:

    Good word. Too often it seems that our nation’s churches are populated with either sheep who believe everything they’re told by right-wing agenda-driven theocrats, or cowards who are afraid to confront their spiritual and political leaders about policies that are clearly anti-Biblical. Those who hate, who denigrate the poor, who glorify guns and bombs over love and charity, have no Christ in them and should be silenced as voices of the faith community. There are pastors out there who should be permanently removed from their positions because they tout the gospel of hate and violence. Until their agendas and livelihoods are destroyed, the church has little hope of becoming relevant to society again.

  17. Delight Craft says:

    He told us that what is IN OUR HEART is important….this is what will be judged by our Lord God. I agree essentially with the viewpoints expressed in Tom Ehrich’s “Countering the Christians” article. I have long pondered why many of the professed conservative “right”wing Christians don’t seem to have taken the “red words” found in the New Testament, attributed as the words and teaching of Jesus the Christ, to heart and live by them.

    I have listened to the various “politicians” of our day….many have convinced me that they are the “extremists” right here in our own “land of the free”. To my mind and heart the LOUDLY EXPRESSIVE “right” are fear based believers who want to deny and control ALL who are not like and in agreement with their thinking! They offer up in their loud voices, condemnation rather than love, compassion, and righteous action that would benefit all persons in our country! They present themselves and seem to follow the line of action the Pharisees of the Old Testament rather than the “way to LIFE eternal”, taught by the Christian sect’s namesake, Jesus the Christ.

    I simply need to trust that “we” are all in the midst of transforming times and events that will lead us to living the Truth and Light that He manifested in the world for us….arriving at the place of ONENESS. In fact, I “see” that all the major religions and their beliefs…and not so major beliefs… all reflect “mankind” in its attempt to understand this life and this world in the context of that ultimate ONENESS. Whether “we” see that possibility clearly or dimly…….

    I can even laugh at the ABSURDITY of human thinking/behavior at times…..when I really would prefer to be applauding our triumphs over the pettiness and negativity that we all to often perpetuate. Just adding my ” 2cents”…to the pot! SMILES

  18. Dave Wells says:

    O Lord, I thank you that I am not like others, like these conservative so-called Christians who really despise You. I thank you that I am tolerant, open-minded, open to the New Thing that the Spirit is doing today – not like those hateful bigoted Pharisees who hold to Scripture and Tradition, who just want to meddle into people’s private lives. I thank You Lord that I care for the poor, the outcast, the marginalized – I thank You, Lord, that I love EVERYONE (except those whom You despise and teach me to despise). I thank You for making me the wonderful, caring, loving person I am. Amen.

    1. Carlen Pumphery says:

      Amen! Yes, it is possible to be a Pharisee-Pharisee. “Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” Eternal life is found by dropping our self-righteousness (left-leaning, as well as right-leaning) and love of sin…not by being philanthropists. Many people forget that Jesus’ enemies were both lefties AND righties. The Pharisees (right-wing religious figures) and Sadducees (letf-wing leaders) both wanted His blood.

  19. (The Rt. Rev.) Douglas E. Theuner says:

    TOM: GO!!!!!!! Glad to see that Dennis Drainville has become a fan of yours, as am I. What shall we “non-Christian” Christians call ourselves, so that we need not “cringe”?

  20. Troy Preuss says:

    I was raised as a Pentecostal, and no offense, but i think the Church has lost its way totally. The very things that i was raised to believe don’t seem to be what the Christians of the day believe. I have stayed away from Church for years because of this. Judging, greedy, hateful, slothful, sin of pride, lying. All these things that we don’t want our children to become. So tell me why I should take my children to Church, other than to use the people of the Church as an example of what I don’t want my children to become. I know that is horrible to say, but by many postings of people on this page, and on several other pages saying how they are Christians which means Christlike, and yet they go totally against what Jesus taught us. To love our brothers and sisters, to help the poor and needy, don’t judge, there are several others that I could bring up. The job of the church years ago was to invite sinners to join them, and now the message is to judge and chastise sinners, instead of talking, and praying for, and with sinners. I am not saying any of this to offend anyone, but in my opinion i can’t think of a time like today when Faith has been in such a short supply, nor can I remember a time when the people of the Church have been so unwilling to reach out to the people who need faith, and God’s love more than anything else right now. What does it say in the Bible about a people divided, and a church built on a bad foundation. It can not stand, and where are we at today? Can you see why you can’t get the sinners to come back to church? I hate to say this, but in some ways the sinners have become the saints while the Saints have become the sinners. This is just my opinion I believe the church needs to rededicate itself to God, and do the work that God wants us all to do Love one another, help one another, pray for one another, and for our own salvation, bring his children back to the house of God. These are the jobs of the Christian, and these are the jobs that are being neglected.

  21. E. Klapp says:

    I could not agree with you more Brad. There are some very fundamental issues with how the Church is represented in today’s society. While I entirely accept the concept and need of admonishing others, there is a great difference between admonishment that begins from the love which Jesus portrayed and that which originates from a coercive and condescending basis. To believe that it is your duty to use whatever means necessary to bring someone to Jesus, including the legislating of morality, may very well put you in direct opposition to God’s plan of man’s free will. This gift was given so that anyone who comes to God, by accepting Jesus as Saviour, makes that decision themselves. Is there an argument in that for being pro-choice? I think there is. Who am I to decide that a poor choice anyone is currently making isn’t something God has planned for that individual’s path towards salvation. While it IS my job to inform, educate and encourage that individual about the nature of the decisions they may be making, it is NOT my prerogative to judge the entirety of the individual based on those decisions.

  22. Alan Finks says:

    I find Mr. Brinn’s comments to be very scary. My belief is we should love everyone and let God do the judging. If we show love and understanding to those that are different from us we setting the example that Jesus wanted us to do. Throwing some one we disagree with or feel is sinning under the bus is (in my mind) a sin itself. I do not believe that hate and intolerance are virtues, but in the end I concede God will make these judgements.

  23. E. Klapp says:

    I could not agree with you more Brad. There are some very fundamental issues with how the Church is represented in today’s society. While I entirely accept the concept and need of admonishing others, there is a great difference between admonishment that begins from the love which Jesus portrayed and that which originates from a coercive and condenscending basis. To believe that it is your duty to use whatever means necessary to bring someone to Jesus, including the legislating of morality, may very well put you in direct opposition to God’s plan of man’s free will. This gift was given so that anyone who comes to God, by accepting Jesus as Saviour, makes that decision themselves. Is there an argument in that for being pro-choice? I think there is. Who am I to decide that a poor choice anyone is currently making isn’t something God has planned for that individual’s path towards salvation. Who better to counsel a prisoner than someone who has been in prison. While it IS my job to inform, educate and encourage that individual about the nature of the decisions they may be making, it is NOT my perogative to judge the entirity of the individual based on those decisions.

    There is a very serious division within the Body of Christ today which involves two entirely different views of where the Church is and where it is going. Today’s neoconservative Christian’s view of the world is rooted in the concepts best described as dominionism and objectivism. Domionism is a belief that our secular government should be controlled by Christians and based on a conservative Christian interpretation of biblical law. Objectivism is a philosophy which is best described by its founder, Ayn Rand – “I am done with the monster of ‘We,’ the word of serfdom, of plunder,of misery, falsehood and shame. And now I see the free face of god, and I raise this god over the earth, this god whom men have sought since men came into being, this god who will grant them joy and peace and pride. This god, this one word: ‘I’.” While
    this ‘philosophy’ has been heavily debunked , it remains the solid foundation of the political neoconservative movement which is eagerly embraced by the vast majority of ‘conservative’ Christians today. Do you see the conflict here? Objectivism, just as its author, is atheistic. What this means is that many of today’s conservative Christians are unknowingly embracing an atheistic political view of the world. They then add in the domionistic ideal of a theocratic state and justify it all with the Word. I think my question is this. Is it possible to please God by using His Word to justify a godless philosophical/political view of the world? I think not. The other side of the division in the Church today believes, as I do, that it is our duty to help ‘guide’ individuals to Jesus instead of ‘forcing’ nations to involuntarily conform to the idea. You tell me – which one of these things sounds more like what Jesus taught?

    I do not believe the Word tells us that it is our job to create His Kingdom for Him. I believe it says that Jesus will create His Kingdom when He returns.

  24. Jason Brinn says:

    Matthew 7:6 “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.”

    Simply – WOW. I knew we were in a sore state but I would have never guessed this. Please brethren let us use the word and not each others fantasies. Are some of you, most of you (teachers as well??) stating as if from the Bible that Jesus instructed us NOT to judge one another? Jesus DID instruct us to judge one another as he showed us the true pattern and even made the sacrifice for those outside it to have a way if they but choose and change their ways!

    Jesus was saying in “judge not” from Mat 7:1-5 that you should not judge others in something that you yourself have wrong – not that you should never do so. What about Mat 7:15 “Beware of false prophets”, Mat 7:16 “you shall know them by their fruits”, John 7:24 “do not judge according to appearance, but judge righteous judgement”, Phil 3:15-17 “Therefore let us, as many are mature, have this mind, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule let us be of the same mind. Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern”, 2 Tim 4:10, 2 Tim 2:17, Mat 3:7.

    Sure there are some things we are instructed NOT to judge one another in such as “food, drink festivals, new moons or Sabbaths” (Col 2:16) but overall we are called to judge less not we be deceived! Paul instructed Titus (and us) clearly about this in Titus 1:13 saying “Wherefore rebuke them sharply that they may be sound in the faith.”

    All of you should question your “teachers” and leaders with the word of God and demand an answer from the word of God. If they continue to give you such comments as these with no biblical standing then do what the word of God instructs in such cases; 2 John 10-11: “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed. For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.”

    Brethren and those who seek to make God in their own image I give you the word of God for you to accept or deny – not my opinion – hear ye the word of God:

    1 Thess 5:21-22 “Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.”

    1 John 4:1-3 “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of god; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.”

    1. Troy Preuss says:

      Matthew are you saying you have never sinned?

      1. Carlen Pumphery says:

        He’s not saying that he has never sinned. The apostles who wrote the passages which he cited are not directing these commands to sinless people. Therefore, Matt’s sinfulness or sinlessness is irrelevant. If he is someone who has been saved by the grace of God in Christ alone, (not trusting in his own works in the least degree) the Biblical commands which he posted are applicable.

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