2 Samuel 16:9,11 - "Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over, I pray thee, and take off his head...let him alone, and let him curse; for the Lord hath bidden him."

Matthew 7:15 - “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.

Matthew 24:11 - “…and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.”

Monday, December 14, 2015

Faith in Christ - Merry Christmas

I heard a preacher say "Even if God did nothing more for you then create this world, and send his son to die for your sins, that ought to be enough for you to praise him, to worship him and to serve him. Amen?"  

I thought about that. Then I thought about it some more.  Then I realized that pretty much sums up my beliefs and my faith and 99% of what I have been blogging about since August. Nothing I can "attack" there. No arguments I can think of.  And since I do believe that God created this world, and I do believe that I am a sinner, and I have faith that Jesus was who he said he was, and I am trusting in him for my salvation...well then, it makes sense that I should worship him, praise him and serve him.

That is why I am not an atheist or a Deist.  That is why on occasion I get angry, or sad, or frustrated, or discouraged or fired up by those fundamentalist, extremist Christians that say I am not a Christian if I believe those things, but don't also believe every other thing their theological views say I should believe.

Or they tell me that they are "concerned" for my salvation if I am not buying everything else they try to add on to that simple message, no matter how I live my life.  Actions do NOT speak louder then beliefs in their world.  For example, the gospel says nothing about putting your faith in the Bible itself. My faith is not based on what is written in some ancient "sacred and holy" text. For example, I believe there are Jews because I have met some and have seen Israel in the news and seen pictures of the place. It is crazy to think that I believe there are Jews just because the Bible speaks of the Jews. Much of the Bible, thankfully, includes some verifiable people and places and history in the real world. I believe those parts not just because the Bible says it. Another example is this: I don't believe the Roman Empire existed and crucified people just because the Bible says so.  So I DON'T need a belief in the inerrancy of scripture to believe there were Jews under Roman rule and that they crucified people. I can believe that even if I were indeed an atheist.

And please consider this the very few of you who are fundamentalist zealots about your holy book: If the scriptures had been completely lost, but the stories of Christ had been passed down for centuries, I could have faith based on that and the Holy Spirit's work in my life and my grandparent's influence and my parent's influence, or because I heard Billy Graham preach or because a friend shared Christ with me. It's not just about believing a holy book. I never placed my faith in a book. I placed it in Jesus Christ.

As a matter of fact, I believed and put my faith in Christ long before I was even aware of what was in the book!  It was later that I learned what the book even said. So I can, and do have faith, without a total reliance on any holy book. Let that sink in brother. And more importantly, doesn't that PROVE that God is real better then religions arguing about which book is the truth?  My God gets his message to his people without the need for reliance on a holy book.  There should only be one religion since there is only one God and he calls his people. But when we rely on holy books, we get wars over whose book is the real truth.  Think about it.

But yet, atheists and fundamentalists will both continue to argue to me that it is impossible and illogical to believe in Jesus unless and except you believe in the inerrant Bible that tells you about him.  I get the philosophical arguments they make. I understand the logic. But it is a false and dangerous logic and a destructive philosophy. The same one the atheist uses to explain why they don't believe in God.  Both reason that you can't pick and choose to only believe in Christ if you don't believe everything else. To the atheist, that proves that the entire book is to be dismissed, not trusted and thrown out. But the fundamentalist makes the same argument to me. They tell me to throw the whole thing out if I find any part I don't believe.

Why has belief and adherence to an ancient holy text become more important then loving God and praising him for life, creation, and salvation?  Why are we more devoted to our beliefs, then we are to Jesus?  Why is what we believe "about" Jesus more important then the faith we have "in" Jesus? It's NOT. Unless, you are one of the few remaining fundamentalist that doggedly cling to this harmful view.  And the church and gospel continue to decline in number and influence. 

You do understand that, thankfully, you are in a very, very, very small percentage of the Christian world that holds to such cult like beliefs don't you?  I've said this before: you don't believe everything the Jews or Catholics or Protestants or Methodists or Baptists or non-denominational groups believe do you?  But you don't throw out everything they believe do you?  You pick and choose don't you?  I hope so.

So this Christmas, I am going to thank God for sending his son to die for my sins, I am going to accept through faith, the free gift of salvation he offers, and I am going to continue to try and serve Him (not the local 501(c)(3) or the guy they pay thousands of dollars and benefits to preach there) the best I can while loving and providing for my family and those in need with my time, talent and resources. And I am going to enjoy the Christmas decorations (both the secular and biblical ones), the Christmas songs and music (both secular and biblical) and spending time with friends and family during the holidays.  And if someone gives me a pair of shoes for my feet, or puts a roof over my head, I will thank them for that.  And I will thank God for his creation, love, and salvation. Amen.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Ken Ham - A sad, pathetic, pessimistic view of God's creation.

For those of you who are curious about why the transition of this blog from focusing on stomping, angry, charlatan millionaires who have hijacked the Christian faith, to being more of a focus on the laymen and pew sitters that empower them, Ken Ham gives a great illustration of what many fundamentalists have evolved into.  Angry, disrespectful, pessimistic extremists who are hypocritical at best, and delusional and dangerous at worst. They remind me of Islamic extremists who want to see Sharia law in the United States. It seems both Ken Ham and Jeremiah Wright disagree with some policies in our great country, and if they can't get their way, they criticize and say we get what we deserve. They want their religion to be the law.

Read Ken's full article here: Ken Ham's sad pathetic worldview of our great country in his own words

Many of you will agree with Ken and give him a hearty "A-Men." This blog post is not for you. Nothing will persuade you that you are misguided, misled and miserable.

I humbly suggest to you that Ken is preaching the exact same nonsense that Jeremiah Wright preached that made many Christians so angry. First, Ken says "Our ministry wants to respond to...the President."  I guess this is okay since he's not blogging about the President, who is "God's man" to lead this country since God is in control and gives power to those in authority.  These same folks hate bloggers who "attack" God's man (ie: some guy with a bible degree at your church), but love when one of their own attacks the President!

President Obama said, rightly I might add, that "freedom is more powerful than fear; that we have always met challenges—whether war or depression, natural disasters or terrorist attacks—by coming together around our common ideals as one nation, as one people. So long as we stay true to that tradition, I have no doubt America will prevail. Thank you. God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America." 

Sounds good to me. Sounds positive and optimistic. Nothing offensive or inflammatory to Christians there. But Ken still wants to pop-off in his blog post (sorry, online article/newsletter)to take issue with what our President meant as "common ideals."  Ken said these ideals were built on the authority of the Word of God.  NOT TRUE. Jefferson and others were Deist, who fled England to GET AWAY FROM AUTHORITARIAN RELIGIOUS GOVERNMENT!  The common ideals are equal protection, due process, our Constitution and Bill of Rights. And freedom. Freedom from the state run Church of England and from the nationalistic Catholic Church. Freedom from religion in goverment.  These are NOT just fallible man's opinions!  But this type of thinking is exactly what the Muslim extremists would argue to you, Ken. This is what they would want.  They want Sharia law. They want their holy book to be above all other laws. Those are the foundations of their society. Not ours. And neither is the Bible.  We are a nation of laws. Kim Davis and the planned parenthood shooter, both put their religious convictions above the law.  You can't do that here. You CAN do that type of thing in Muslim countries who are controlled by religious leaders and their holy book is the law. You also can't discriminate here.  But that's a post for another day.

But no big deal, Ken is wrong and is hypocritical. So what?  The thing that is most disturbing to me and most indicative of where the fundamentalists Christian extremists have taken Christianity is that Ken (and those that "A-men" his nonsense) are sad, angry, miserable, pessimistic people with no hope and they don't even realize it.  Like Jeremiah Wright, Obama's pastor (yes, Obama attended a Protestant church for over 20 years with his family before becoming President) who proclaimed "God Damn America" and  "the chickens have come home to roost", Ken Ham is saying the exact same thing.  Read his article again carefully. How is this different than what Jeremiah Wright had to say? You fundies were outraged at Jeremiah Wright were you not?  But you A-men Ken Ham?

What am I referring to?  Ken says if “common ideals are not built on the authority of the Word of God, then the common ideals are just man’s fallible opinions—which, frankly, will mean that America will not prevail." What?!  The Constitution, Bill of Rights, equal protection, due process, discrimination laws, religious liberties, freedom of speech, right to bear arms, etc. are all just "man's fallible opinions?"

And what part of the "Word" does Ken want to see us build on? Stoning disobedient children?  Killing and raping other civilizations that God tells us to kill and rape? Women remaining silent and not wearing make-up or jewelry? No, Ken and his ilk are seeing a progressive culture, technology, medicine, science, human rights and quality of life that is getting better and better as the culture moves away from the dogmatic beliefs of the far Christian right wing extremists and their ancient Holy Book injustices.  So he ramps up the rhetoric. And his subscribers eat it up. Ironically, Ken wants to see us go backward to Biblical times, the same as the terrorists. And why do we blame Obama for doing nothing when Christians are beheaded and persecuted and not blame ourselves or blame God?  According to Ken, the chickens have come home to roost, and we deserve this and if we act better and believe better, God will help us. This is sick, sad thinking.

Ken goes on to declare: "A fallible human being like the President can claim all he wants that America will prevail, but there’s a God in heaven who is in absolute control of the affairs of the nations!" The President is optimistic, but Ken not so much.  Ken elaborates: "Sadly, our President, even though he stated last night that he wants God to bless America, will not acknowledge the Creator God of the Bible—in fact, he has done the opposite: actively supported the removal of the one true God from the public arena. His belief in this regard was seen, for instance, in the recent lighting of the national Christmas tree in Washington, DC, when the President began his speech by saying “happy holidays”—twice."  OH MY! Really Ken? That proves your accusations, great illustration to support your points, Ken. The faithful Christian husband and father (no hint of scandal in his personal and family life for 8 years of office) says "happy holidays" and Ken says that is why God allows terrorism all over the world.

Ken even tells us what "we all know:"  "While he may use the word Christmas on occasion, we all know that when the President says “happy holidays,” like in his speech, it’s largely a deliberate way to keep Christ out of Christmas.  Now, Christians should respect the office of the presidency and pray for our elected officials. But when their actions go contrary to the absolute authority of God’s Word, then we should say something." (On this I happen to agree with Ken. We should say something. Especially when men of gawd do those things.) What? What actions has the President done that are contrary to scripture.  And why is it that "we should say something" about this, but not when pastors actions (like adultery, child molestation, manipulating the gospel for personal gain, etc.) are contrary.  Then we are "taking up offenses" and should "let God handle it" right, Ken? 

Ken even drags faithful Christian wife and mother, Michelle Obama into it with these egregious and damning accusations against her: "Also at the Christmas tree lighting, the first lady, along with the Muppet character Miss Piggy, read a story from the children’s book A Visit from St. Nicholas—a story about Santa Claus."  Oh, the horror and blasphemy. She must be stopped. Great point, Ken. And way to follow that accusation with a plug for your own business interests: "At our Christmas Town program at the Creation Museum, we celebrate Christmas in the right way." Cha-Ching!

I could go on and on about all the nonsense, contradictions, hypocrisy and manipulation in Ken's short article, but I will end with this most scary worldview, shared by Jeremiah Wright in his "God Damn America" sermon.  Ken says emphatically and clearly: "Second, did God hear President Obama at the end of his speech when he said “God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America”? I suggest God did not. (He claims to know what God hears and cites Isaiah chapter 59) He then explains it this way: "God’s principles do not change. What he said to the rebellious Israelites, He also says to us today." There you have it. The owning of slaves, the treatment of women, the raping, the stoning all apply to us today. So, according to Ken our sin as a nation is great. Although there are churches on every corner in every town in every state. And tax exemptions given to all religious organizations. Ken still laments "the reminders of the Christian faith are being removed from this nationcrosses, Nativity scenes, and displays of the Ten Commandments are being taken down from public places. Also, prayer, the Bible, and the teaching of creation have been largely removed from public schools"  Oh my!  Seriously Ken? Is this all the proof you have to rally your troops to send in donations and support your business interests? Wait until they come for your tax exempt status, then tell us how persecuted you are. Or wait until we put prayer back in school and the Muslim, or Rabbi, or Priest or liberal protestant come in to pray.

And this quote sounds an awful lot like Jeremiah Wright's "chickens have come home to roost" sermon when Ken asks the rhetorical question: "How could God hear this plea when the iniquities of this nation and the President are so great?" He then answers it himself for his readers: "I humbly suggest that God “will not hear” the President when he asks for God’s blessing on this nation! How could God hear this plea when the iniquities of this nation and the President are so great?"

That is sick. That is hopeless. That is manipulative. That is defeatist. That is sad if it represents the thinking of Christians in this great country.  So what is Ken's advice on how to fix all this?  He states: "This nation as a whole, and the President in particular, needs to repent before the one true God and return to His Word as the absolute authority in ALL matters of life and conduct. The President can talk about the threat of continued terrorism all he wants. But unless this nation deals with gross sin that permeates the culture, I sadly predict that this nation will not see the end of terrible tragedies, like terrorism."  He quotes Jeremiah chapter 18, verses 5-10 as a reminder to us that God is in control of the nations.  This ought to terrify anyone that sees radical Islam as a threat.  Ken wants the same theocracy and adherence to a Holy Book to govern life and conduct. Stoning disobedient children? Killing and raping the people of other nations who God says to take their land? Scary, scary, scary. Maybe we can bring back the Inquisition and let Ken decide who to question and what questions to ask and what the right answers should be? Then God will bless our land, whatever that means.

Ken, seriously, maybe you have this all wrong.  First, maybe we are blessed by God. Gas prices are low. Unemployment is low. Churches are tax exempt. Freedom of religion is protected. It's a great, great, awesome country.  Equal rights have never been more available to more classes of people. But if you disagree, and think this country is in bad shape because they took down the Jewish law from the courthouse, maybe God is punishing our country and bringing disaster upon us because of all the abuse done by the clergy and religious men and churches who have done nothing but build more buildings and careers and then suddenly want to blame everybody but themselves for society's ills.  Maybe as was said to David by the prophet: YOU ARE THAT MAN! Fundies need to stop blaming everybody and everything else, and look in the mirror. Look in the churches. Then and only then, will God bless the USA.  Can I get an "A-men?"  No?  Okay. Peace.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Christmas - Real or False? Which do you prefer?

As we come to Christmas, I have to admit it is my favorite time of year.  But like our faith and religious preferences, do we love this time of year because of what Christmas really means, or merely because of what we believe about Christmas?  Are our myths and legends and traditions more important to us then what really happened?  Or an even deeper question here: Can we do both? Can we appreciate, enjoy, and even love the parts we KNOW are not true, while also having a deep conviction and faith over the parts that we believe really, truly did happen?  Can we pick and choose? Must we pick and choose since we KNOW parts are not accurate? Let's not throw the whole story and message out over a few details.  Enjoy the season!  

Look at the picture at the left.  I love the beautiful decorated tree. And the stockings hung by the fire. The lighted garland and the gifts under the tree.  I love the Santa Claus myth.  In the song "Here Comes Santa Claus" we sing:   
"He doesn't care if you're a rich or poor boy, He loves you just the same."

Other songs talk of him seeing us when we're sleeping. Knowing when we are awake. Telling us to be good. And despite his origins in the real life Saint Nicholas, we know that he doesn't exist as he was presented to us as children. We added to his legend. Made him magic, and he was a man giving us what we want (usually toys!). We made him omniscient and omnipresent to see us at all times.  We made sure that he "loves us all the same."  We wanted our little ones to believe in him as long as possible. To keep their innocence.  We even got mad at parents or other kids who taught their kids that Santa wasn't real. It was beautiful and fun while it lasted. But our kids grew up. They begin to ask questions.  They begin to "know" that he couldn't visit every house. That those toys came from mom and dad and were not magically delivered or made by elves. We stopped telling Santa what we wanted and stopped thanking him for our gifts.  But we still played along for awhile after that didn't we.  We wanted the toys to keep coming. We didn't want to upset or disappoint mom and dad. And then we didn't want to spoil it for the younger kids that were still believers. And if a blogger told the truth about Santa, we would try and keep our kids from reading that blog and condemn that blogger to hell. We might even call the Sheriff on him and ban him from church. (Sorry, I couldn't resist that one.)

I can still love many of the Christmas songs that don't sing of Jesus even though I know they are singing about stuff that never happened. (I love Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph!) 

But I am not here to talk about the "worldy" celebration of Christmas. I want to talk about the "real" Christmas. The one you see presented in your very own church every year. What we religious people like to call "the reason for the season." 

Again, it's a beautiful story. But again, much additional nonsense that never actually happened has been told to us.  You do know that all historians and theologians agree that Jesus was not born on December 25th, correct? And that the three wise men or three kings, or whoever they were, did NOT show up at the manger?  I could go on and on here, but you can quickly research all that is inaccurate about our church Christmas presentations. But your church still likes to depict this correct?  Even though they KNOW it's false, they still include it right?  They even have the kids come and meet Santa in the lobby now don't they. This never happened when I was a kid, or even 20 years ago.  But, thankfully, the truth is not in the details, since none of us know those details for sure. The truth is in the bigger picture. That a savior was born.  So enjoy your Christmas, even if you don't believe all the details. And enjoy having Santa at your church, even if it confuses the kids later. I'm not going to get all tore up over that.  Churches do this type of stuff all the time. It's fun. It's entertaining and it ministers to families.  

The point is that whatever actually happened, we are all thrilled that in the fullness of time, God sent forth his son.  That is indeed Good News for all the people. And that in the city of David, Bethlehem, a savior was born, who was and is, Christ the Lord.  We know the rest of the story.  Can you believe it?  Do you believe it?  I encourage you to enjoy the story. Enjoy the holiday.  Don't let red cups at Starbucks, or holiday trees, or people saying "happy holidays" get you all tore up.      
I hope you can find hope and peace in the story.  There is so much more to the story and how it ends up. Peace. At Christmas. Merry Christmas! 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Vain Religious Arguments About Religion - Who Cares About the Gospel!

Let me be clear. No one lives forever. No one has eternal life. Period.  Let that sink in. Is there any statement more obvious, and less subject to argumentation than that one?  How do I know? The same way every other human that ever lived knows. Everyone dies.  Now, let the theologians jump in and the apologists' name calling begin. Let them explain how they do in fact have eternal life and you can have it too. But no matter what they argue, You are still going to die no matter what you believe.  Deal with it.  Look, since that argument is no longer open to debate, theologians and religious people have to start the explanations about their holy book and what they believe and have faith in.  It's the same thing they do when I say God doesn't provide shoes to us, or houses to live in. So obvious a statement of fact, except for hypothetical religious beliefs and theological mumbo jumbo. And did Jesus say, "this is sort of like my body" take thee and eat of it? Do you believe you are actually eating his body. Does the Bible say its his body or not?  The Catholics can explain how and why it is.  The Protestant (you and me) says, I'm not buying it. But must we throw out everything else the Catholic believes?  Of. Course. Not.

Now, I understand that EVERY single world religion will be quick to explain that you only get eternal life AFTER you are dead. None are crazy enough to say that you get it now. I get that. I can, and do, have hope and faith that it is true, DESPITE every single piece of evidence in the entire world from the beginning of time to now does not support it. I CAN and DO still have faith that it will be true when I die. I can't disprove that it happens, I can't see that it doesn't happen, so I can honestly choose to have faith and hope that it will happen. I can't, on the other hand, have faith and hope that donkeys or trees talk or reason or that the sun can stand still while it circles the earth.  Question: Does he give us eternal life here? No.  You zealots, if alive at the time of Christ, would have argued with Jesus that the Bible clearly said he gives eternal life and it means what it says.  But when people all around us started dying and kept dying for centuries, even the most devout religious nut jobs of every religion knew they had to quickly change the theology and dogma to fit reality.  That is all I am also doing. I've changed my dogmatic beliefs based on reality and what I see God doing and what I see God not doing. 

So, go ahead and explain again using your holy book how that means you can be CERTAIN that you will have eternal life only after you die first, and ONLY if you give intellectual assent to the CORRECT set of facts. And this applies to those that die of cancer and other diseases.  Explain to all of us that they will be healed in heaven, not here, IF they get there by believing the correct set of facts.

But why get mad at me when I point out that we don't have eternal life here and that he doesn't heal us from autism, downs syndrome, alzheimer's and most cancers here?  He doesn't. So what? Why does that bother some of you so much? Do you want to keep lying about God?

Why can't you just love and trust him for what we know he does, and not for what we hypothetically argue that he could or would do except for his "morally defensible reasons?"

Whose morals? Yours, or the Muslim terrorists? They have good reason for Jihad. Christians had good reasons for the crusades. Religious leaders had, and still have it seems, good morally sufficient reasons for covering up sexual abuses in the church.  

So, for those of you who wish me to debate my "theology", I say no thanks. I'm not interested in arguing with you anymore than I am in going over to a Muslim website and debating the Muslim on their beliefs. I also am not interested in debating the Catholic apologist or going to a Catholic person's website and arguing about the many things we disagree on.  I am not interested in going to a Jehovah Witnesses' website and trying to persuade them where they are wrong.  And I don't wish to debate the Jewish rabbis or Jewish adherents about whose God is real and who is going to hell and who isn't based on their beliefs.  Why? Because all of those folks can give reasons that seem perfectly sufficient to them, but certainly not to anyone other than those that already agree with them.  I know the readers of this blog don't agree with them.

So now you know how I feel about you.  The same as you feel about the Catholics and Jews.  Some are great people, sincere people, loving people, devoted religious people, but they are wrong on some things. And I certainly believe SOME of what the Jews and Catholics believe, but not ALL. And so do YOU. Yet you insist that I must believe it all and can't pick and choose which parts I believe. Yet you do the exact same thing when it comes to Catholics and Jews. Right? Don't keep reading so fast...Right?  Amen? Amen!

So I will continue to post from time to time on the nonsense I see in what used to be my personal belief system before it was hijacked by far right, fundamentalist wackos.  Not to convince them that I am right and they are wrong, since that is impossible when debating ANY religious beliefs, but mainly just to point out where the charlatans have led us astray and how ridiculous some of their tertiary beliefs are. Only cults so strongly accuse others that you "hate God" and "hate the Bible" just because you disagree with them on some application of the scriptures. You don't hate the Catholic church or Jews do you, just because you disagree with them on some things about God and salvation and the Bible?  Only cults will tell you that you will burn in hell even if you are trusting Christ for salvation if you don't also believe in their theological reasonings.  Are you a cult member? Only cult members will insist that you cannot believe ANY part of their religious beliefs unless you believe ALL of them.  Are you a cult member or not?

I assume the Methodist, Presbyterian, Catholic, Jew, moderate Baptist, non-denominational Christians, et al, would all simply try and find where we agree, (like trusting in Christ for salvation for example), and not try to convince me that I should not, and can not, trust in Christ unless I also believe every single other thing they believe in.  No, only religious nut jobs and fanatics would hold to such a view.  

And for some reason, it seems those are the ones that read and then respond so ugly to my observations.  It just reinforces to me that what I am blogging about is oh so true. And sad. They have reasons and explanations why God blesses them with shoes, while allowing innocent children to be raped and Christians to be beheaded. It all makes sense to them.  They quickly then try to ask you to prove your beliefs and defend your views, because they know no amount of arguing will change the reality of their beliefs in the real life arena of public discourse and in real life applications. They know "proving" any of our views on spiritual matters is impossible, since they get asked to prove their views all the time and simply can't do it. I can "prove" that everyone dies. And that God is not healing autism or alzheimers or putting shoes on my feet or a roof over my head.

So, here's an idea: You fundamentalist religious nut jobs that want to lecture me and scold me on your beliefs, why not go over to the local hospital and tell it to those doctors who have invested their lives in practicing medicine to actually help heal people.  Better yet, explain it to their dying patients. Show them your shoes and pictures of your house. Tell them how God is the great physician and healer.  That he is "good, all the time" and "has a plan for their lives" and is "in control." And that by his stripes they are healed. Go debate them. Go over to the universities physics and biology and chemistry departments and lecture those scientists and their students on how things work.  Pray for healing of autism and alzheimers and never give a penny to those scientists and doctors who are striving to find cures.  Give money to your local church instead and not to any of the above places because the only thing that really matters is whether or not people believe exactly like you do. I mean God has a reason for not providing a cure so why pray and try to find one? He is in control. Pray for fire to come down out of heaven and consume wet timber.  It happened before, right, so God "could" do it again, amen?  Let's go out into the woods and debate if he will do it or not. We both know he won't. So, I'll continue to point out that God doesn't do those kinds of things.  He doesn't provide shoes. He doesn't give any of us a roof over our heads.

But did he send his son to die for my sins?  I CAN AND DO actually have faith that he did.  And that makes me a Christian. Or as one "man of God" put it:  "HA!"

Happy Holidays.  More real life observations coming this Season.  (Please don't boycott my blog because I used the word "holiday" instead of Christmas there.)

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


Readers, I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving and that you are able to spend time with people that you love and for whom you are indeed thankful.  As we get time off work, and many will gather together to "give thanks" this month, let's be sure to show our gratitude and appreciation to those that indeed are due our thanks.  And let's make sure we consider what it is we truly should be thankful to others for and not just give shallow thanks for the fruits of our labor.

For example, I get a sick, almost sad feeling in my gut when I hear Christians thanking the Creator of the Universe, for material blessings they possess.  "Thank you God for this Grammy Award." "Praise Jesus for my new car." "First and Foremost I want to thank the Lord Jesus Christ for allowing me to succeed at football." This type of shallow showing of gratitude to the Creator God totally disregards those who actually made their possessions possible, while also neglecting those that do not have those blessings.  

Let me explain.  Why should a Christian be thankful to God for "shoes on my feet" and a "roof overhead" when millions of people are homeless, barefoot and starving all over this country and all over this world.  Pretty shallow isn't it? Pastors like to say if God doesn't punish America for its sins, he owes an apology to Sodom and Gomorrah.  Exactly. It applies here too. If God is giving Americans shoes and shelter and financial and material wealth and blessing their health, he owes a huge apology to all those children in the cancer wards all over the world, and to all those starving children.  Shouldn't we be praying for those with Downs Syndrome and Autism and Alzheimer's and their caregivers?  Why "pray for them" when God knows about it already and has chosen not to help?  It makes no sense.  And those little children whose daddy or pastor will sexually abuse them tonight, should they be thankful for God's protection and provisions?  Do we ignore reality and then sincerely be thankful for our shoes and roof over our head?  This is really sick, shallow Christianity.

But that's not even the worst part about this "shallow" giving of thanks to God for shoes and shelter and health and food.  The real delusion is that God didn't give you any of those things anyway.  You worked and earned the money. You worked hard. For long hours. Day after day. Year after year. Laboring. To earn money to buy shoes for yourself.  To provide a roof over your head. To pay for your education. To provide these needs to loved ones that relied on you. So if you want to be thankful for your shoes, thank your boss for the job.  Did you thank your boss for hiring you? Or did you just praise Jesus for your paycheck?  Be grateful you made the decision to go to work instead of commit a crime. Take responsibility not just for your failings and screw-ups, but for your successes too.  If God can get the credit for everything we ever did right, then why doesn't he get any blame for anything that is wrong? It's our fault when we fail, it's his blessings when we succeed?  Tell that to the kids and their parents in the cancer wards; and to starving, abused and neglected children everywhere. God loves them alright, but helping that nice man score a touchdown, or getting the nice singer a Grammy is more important.  They even point up to the sky to let everyone know what God is doing for them.

And what about your career?  Why thank the Creator, when you likely got that job because of the education and degree you earned at college.  I'm thankful to the University of Florida for my degree that allowed me to earn money to buy shoes for me and my family and put a very nice roof over their heads. We never were short on food due to the salary I was able to earn after graduation.
Thank you to my professors. Go Gators!  But I don't thank God for my degree. I know how much it cost me financially (years and years of student loan debt to be repaid) and mentally (hours and hours for years and years of studying) and sacrificially (over 16 years in school to get a graduate degree). So when I graduated, I appreciated people congratulating me and not giving all thanks and credit to God. And how offensive to think God cares about me getting my diploma and intervenes to help to make it happen, while the child gets abducted and the Christian gets beheaded?

And thank you to my mom and dad. They cared for me the best they could under their circumstances. They provided food and shelter and shoes and love. I'm not going to insult my dad and God by thanking God for something my dad labored hard to provide me.  Who am I kidding? They both know who provided the shoes. I know the sacrifices my mom made for my benefit.

And thank you to the USA! They provide social security and disability payments to the sick and elderly. They provide food to the poor, a free education, police protection, parks, roads, hospitals, health care, national defense, and on and on.  And thank you to our veterans on this Veterans Day! They are the ones we should be thanking for our freedom. Not God.  You need only watch a video of Christians getting their heads chopped off to know what God is doing in that regard.  Nothing. Right? Or am I missing something?

Now, I am thankful to the Creator for his creation, the sunrise and sunset, the birds and animals and trees and ocean and mountains and the life he created here.  But I just can't thank him for my shoes and roof over my head when I know he didn't provide that to me anyway, and I know he isn't concerned with that when millions of his children are barefoot, homeless, being abused, starving, in poverty, work in sweatshops, are pawns in sex trafficking and are dying all over the globe.  It's shallow. It's insincere. And it's not real.  So I encourage you to give thanks to those that have invested their time, money, emotions and lives in you. Your mom and dad, friends, doctors, nurses, teachers, spouses, and children.  That will be a great encouragement to them on this Thanksgiving.  Don't patronize the Creator God by thanking him for your shoes while turning a blind and delusional eye to all those that don't have the health and wealth you created for yourself.  Yes, ours is a great country with much to be thankful for.  None of which was provided by the supernatural hand of God, but by the innovation, creativity, hard work, love and service of those that toiled and made it happen before us.  Be thankful you were born here and not in Ethiopia.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Jeff Schreve, Senior Salesman at FBC Texarkana - Delivers Most Complete Sermon Full of Tithing Nonsense WD Has Heard

Weekly I receive tips from church members around the country about some pastor preaching on storehouse tithing or some other nonsense.

This week I heard about Jeff Schreve, pastor First Baptist Church Texarkana (TX), who preached a manipulative sermon on storehouse tithing entitled...get ready for this..."How to Get Right With God". Yes, his sermon was to tell his members that if they want to have a right relationship with God, they MUST immediately begin to give 10% of all their gross income to the church - no middle ground, they must get to 10% right away to stop robbing God and to start trusting God so they can establish a right relationship with Him.

I've heard about Jeff Schreve a number of years ago, when there was some turmoil in his church and a family had contacted me, but I have never done a post on him. Members were fed up with his arrogance and self-promotion and had to hit the road. FBC Texarkana has a weekly attendance of about 1600 according to Lifeway, and as I posted a few weeks ago here, this means Jeff earns somewhere around $140,000 from his church, and that doesn't count his speaking gigs as his star continues to rise in the SBC. He has a weekly radio and TV show called "From His Heart", that his website says reaches over 149 countries, and broadcast on over 600 radio outlets in the United States.

I'm going to do another post soon about the specifics of his tithing sermon, as it really was the most complete compilation of tithing lies and manipulations that I've heard. It is an encyclopedia of all the tricks I've heard pastors pull to get people to fork over 10% of their gross income. In one 45-minute sermon he throws them all out at his congregation hoping at least one of them will stick.

I've watched some of Schreve's sermons before going back a few years, and I've always thought there was something creepy about him. The best way to sum it up is that he comes across as someone who is trying to sell you something that he himself doesn't believe in. I mean Gaines, Noble, Young, Furtick, they do seem to actually believe what they dish out. I don't think any of them would pass a lie detector if questioned about whether they believed their own B.S., especially on tithing, but they are at least good liars. Schreve is not.

Then as I read Schreve's bio, I read that before he became a pastor, he spent 12 years as a salesman - in waste management and waste treatment. Now it makes sense: Jeff was a salesman. A salesman of garbage, and chemicals to treat industrial waste. My initial observations make sense - he DOES come across as a phony salesman, because he was one and knows the trade.

Sunday Schreve reverted back to his salesman days - he was selling an industrial-size batch of toxic waste - and he did a horrible job, and I don't think he fooled his congregation. Very unconvincing performance.

In this sermon he is nervous, gets lost several times in his sermon notes, jumping around and moving back to make sure he covers all of his manipulations, and tries to pull off at least two instances of emotional pleas and fake crying. It is awful. Schreve can't fake it. His attempt to appear emotional and weeping is embarrassing to watch.

Two specifics I did want to mention about his sermon:

- Schreve pulled a trick from Perry Noble's playbook, doing the old "Parable of the Greedy Christian" routine using Skittles. The point of the object lesson is that if you are a "greedy" Christian and don't tithe, you won't get any blessings (Skittles) from God, but if you set aside your first 10% of your income each month and give it to "God" (i.e. Jeff's church), then you will get all of God's blessings, as Jeff pours the entire pitcher of Skittles into the tither's empty cup, and none go in the non-tither's. Poor non-tither. He get's nothing but God "releasing the devourer" to gobble up his resources. Sick stuff.

- Jeff wanted to make sure his non-tithing members know they MUST give at the 10% level, and giving any percentage less than 10% is to give God "dog food", or a mangled and deformed sacrifice. Schreve also  said a member increasing their giving slowly over time, from 4% to 6% giving, is equivalent to Schreve telling the congregation that he is slowly going to decrease his level of stealing from the church this year over last.

Think about it: in that congregation that day, who in the church is the biggest TAKER of money from the church given for ministry and to spread the gospel? It is Schreve, without question. He is taking, taking, and taking. A hard working member working 50 or 60 hours per week comes to church to give as generously as they can, and they sit there and take that arrogant ass telling them they are robbing God. No, they are GIVING. Jeff is TAKING. Jeff Schreve, you are a taker. Jeff, you conveniently left out of your sermon that Malachi was addressing pastors like you who were robbing God. Minor detail.

Watching the video of this sermon is painful. There are many crowd shots showing men, sitting there, listening to Jeff's horse manure sales pitch. These are probably hard-working men, who have careers and love their wives, and provide very well for their children's needs, paying for their schooling, and sacrificing every thing for the benefit of their families. And they sit there and let this con artist tell them for 45-minutes they are criminals - worse than criminals - because they don't fork over 10% of their income to Jeff's church.

Men of Jeff's church, man-up. Get out of Jeff's church. If you are the spiritual leader of your home, then why do you expose them to a salesman pitching you and your family a bunch of manure? If Schreve will sell you this to get his hands on your wallet, you really can't trust his next sermon. Or his next one, or his next one. Does a salesman just lie to one customer and not to the next one? You know the answer. With so many options of churches, you can move to a new one.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Don't Be Mad at Creflo, His Tweet was Directed at His Mega Church Buddies

There is a firestorm on social media over the following Creflo "Benjamin" Dollar Tweet, that is now deleted from Twitter.

It is quite obvious to me that the "us" he was referring to as laying claim to financial prosperity - was he and his fellow mega church pastors.

Look at the data I posted here this week on mega church pastors in the SBC whose churches are larger than 1000 in size. They are pulling well into the six figures, not including all the benefits and honorarium for speaking gigs, writing books, jobs for family, and so on.

So yes, for these pastors, Jesus absolutely did bleed and die for the purpose of the PASTORS' financial prosperity.

Jesus sure didn't die for the prosperity of their pew sitters. If Jesus died for Creflo's and the other mega pastors' financial gain, then it stands to reason that Jesus also died to turn the pew sitters over to spiritual abuse at the hands of these charlatans.

When will people wake up? Maybe they aren't asleep, just brain dead.

And never forget peeps, in Malachi 3 those versus your man of God uses to tell you that you must tithe or you're robbing God - Malachi was addressing that entire chapter to the religious leaders, not to the common folk.Your man of God is the one who is robbing God.

Don't believe me? Look it up. Take it up wit da book. These charlatans know this, they just hope you keep taking their word for it.

Monday, October 5, 2015

SBC Mega Church Compensation for Sr. Pastors - As Malachi Said in Mal 3:10, the Pastors are Robbing God, Not the Pew Sitters

In 2014 Lifeway published pastoral compensation data they collected from SBC churches, and Lifeway has provided a searchable database to access the data. Here is the link to the database search tool.

I decided to look at compensation for pastors of churches with an average attendance of 1000 or more. For a list of these churches, look here.at Thom Rainer's blog. There are about 575 SBC churches that range between 1000 and 27,000 in weekly attendance. Perry Noble is #1 on the list.

In Lifeway's study, there were 139 churches of the 575 who reported their Senior Pastor's Salary/Housing and Benefits data. Not a bad sample size. According to Lifeway's data, average compensation for pastors whose churches are 1000 or higher is $142,575 in salary/housing, and $31,495 in benefits.

Those aren't typos. Yes, can you imagine, $31,495 in benefits? Let's assume average health insurance is about $10,000 annually, and the churches are paying all of it. That leaves nearly $20,000 MORE - life insurance, retirement, etc.

Now you know why your pastors are focused on "growth" of their churches. They know that growth in noses, means growth in their nickels.

I decided to slice this up a bit by making multiple quires on the Lifeway data. My results are below. The search engine won't give you data unless there are a minimum number of churches in the search criteria selected, so when I got above churches with average attendance, I had to do some conservative estimates based on a calculated "Salary/person attending", and those estimates are shaded, and I made the very, very conservative assumption that the largest of the churches are contributing only $60,000 to the senior pastors benefits, when we know it would be much higher based on the upward trend.

However, notice that most of the money is this set of data is in the churches between 1000 and 5000 in size. More churches of that size, and these guys are raking in a hefty compensation package.

That should make most SBC members angry. They listen to many of these pastors tell them they must fork over 10% of their gross income to avoid the cursings of God - yet these pastors are pulling down six-figures, and a huge benefit package on top of that, not to mention their extra perks they get from speaking gigs, book deals, holy land trips. Oh, and not to mention sweet jobs for family members, as nepotism is rampant in these larger SBC churches. Oh, and not to mention again, the free use of church media and advertising resources for their personal benefit - some so brazen as to actually use their church's TV air time to peddle their Holy Land trips and European cruises.

But look, the Watchdog has calmed down a bit after I've pointed out some of the dangers of fundamentalism over the past month or so. I do want to point to a silver lining inside of this data. Yes, I want to show the positive. This data presents an OPPORTUNITY.

This is where the IMB annual $21 million short-fall is. These pastors, and their sycophant church trustees have taken money that could go to missions. "That's wrought!!!" as the country-boy pew sitter with his southern drawl exclaims when he hears truth.

Just how much money would be available to go to the IMB to close the shortfall? Well, let's shoot for the $21 million needed to close the annual budget gap. That is a good target to shoot for, since most of the hot-shot mega church pastors or retired mega church pastors are the ones calling for pew sitters to give more money to close the gap!! These are the guys whose salaries and benefits are represented in these numbers, for crying out loud!

So here is the plan: if these pastors gave up 15% of their compensation and housing, and they agreed to cap their benefits package to a "measly" $18,000 per year, churches the size of 1000 or more alone could close the IMB gap.

Short version: hey pastors, we've already given the money for missions. YOU HAVE TAKEN IT FOR YOURSELVES.

If these pastors would agree to do this - I'm sorry, let me rephrase that: I mean if the trustees would decide to do this and let their pastor know God told them to do it - here is how much money would be saved: $21,000,000. Wouldn't affect the operations of the church, any building programs, other staffer' salaries.

It will ONLY affect the pastor.

I can already hear the arguments from the cuff-linked church trustees: "We might lose our pastor, he might go to another church if we cut tens of thousands of dollars from his package. He's our draw, he's our money-maker. People come to hear HIM. He is wanting more money, not less."

Really? I thought God "called" these men. Who calls them, God or money? Don't these guys want the rest of the world to hear about Jesus? Don't their wives  - helping them spend the cash - want people in Europe and Africa and South America to hear about Jesus?

So come on, messengers to the 2016 SBC Annual Meeting - pass a resolution calling on church trustees of large churches to scale back their pastors' compensation package.

The problem is not with the pew sitter. It is with the mega church pastors who are taking the money that the pew sitters are giving, and spending it on themselves.

And by the way, your seminarian won't tell you this: Malachi was not talking to people in the assembly - the "pew sitter" if you will -  about robbing God. No, actually he was talking to the priests. He was talking to the pastors. He was talking to YOUR pastor, perhaps. And your pastor KNOWS this, but figures you are too stupid to look it up yourself,

But don't take my word for it.

Don't argue with the blogger, brother.

"Take it up wit da book."

Monday, September 21, 2015

Why Our Kids Are Leaving Church Behind: The Architect of Disbelief

It is amazing to me how delusional, or how manipulative, or how hyprocritical many pastors can be. Delusional if they really truly believe what they are saying. Manipulative if they know it's not true. Hypocritical if their own kids have blatant sin and moral failures in their lives that are kept secret or are minimized.  These guys have more money then ever before to preach the gospel. They have more avenues by which to share the gospel then ever before. They have more celebrity status then ever before. They have more congregants then ever before. They take more Holy Land trips then ever before. They cruise more European rivers with members of their congregations then ever before. They stomp and yell and criticize their congregants more than ever before. They blame politicians and judges more then ever before.  They have more paid associates and ministers on staff then ever before. They have bigger buildings then ever before. And then they blame mom and dad when our kids decide it just doesn't mean that much anymore.  They blame the loving mom and dad who took them to church all their lives. Sunday morning. Sunday night. Wednesday night. Awana. Choir. Youth camp. Christian schools. These stomping pompous asses are too arrogant and narcissistic to look in the mirror and think, "what have I done? Why are we losing these precious young people?'  No, they don't even consider that it is THEM, that have lost not only these kids, but they have lost the faithful parents too. And what about their own kids?  Do they blame themselves for their own kids' beliefs and actions? 

How is it that supposedly God "called" these guys to lead these churches and yet they still are losing this generation as the church declines in number, conviction, baptisms, and influence in society. Doesn't God say something about once something loses its saltiness it is to be thrown out?  Maybe its time to throw out these pastors and the system they have exploited for decades. It's lost its saltiness. Maybe its time to proclaim to these arrogant jerks that "You are that man!" when it comes to placing blame on why our children leave the church as soon as they get a chance.  You see, some studies report that it takes less then a semester away from the cult-like environment of the fundamentalist church, for our children to realize that they don't believe it all.  They find themselves respecting other religions and beliefs. They realize they have love and respect for homosexual friends.  They realize that good decent people, like many of their friends, can partake in many of the "forbidden" fruits and find them not to be the destructive vice, or basis for going to hell, that they were raised to believe.  So like they did with Santa Claus, they begin to question what they were told. This is okay. This is healthy.  Whatever religion they were taught should be able to stand up to public scrutiny. It's ideas should win the day in the arena of public discourse. But when it doesn't, the best we can hope for is that they don't throw it all out. That they won't  suddenly believe none of it. That they might hold dear those teachings of Jesus about love and serving and helping others.

So what do these pastors do when faced with the crop that THEIR seeds of leadership have sown? Encourage mom and dad? Remind mom and dad of all they did and how they did the best they could? Remind them of scripture about God's promises that those kids will return to the Lord if they were raised up in the Lord?  ABSOLUTELY NOT! These pompous asses don't know when to quit.  They actually pile on mom and dad and tell them "The reason your beautiful young adult child drops out of church at eighteen years old or when they go off to college is because you criticized ME! You didn't raise them in the church, you raised them in an atmosphere of criticism of the pastor and church all their lives. NO WONDER they quit coming.!"  "If you, mom and dad, are not committed, then don't be surprised if they aren't committed."  Boy, this would be terrible if it were true.  But it is exponentially more harmful and terrible if it is not true. Hear me: It's not true. It's a lie. And maybe pastor, you were way too easy to criticize because you were a liar and manipulator and exploiter of the gullible, humble, helpless sheep that want to love Jesus and serve him and trusted you with the Word. Know this about me: With all the criticism I have directed at charlatan preachers, I would never, ever blame them or their wife if one or more of their children cheated on their wife, or knocked up someone else, or had any number of other moral and/or legal failures. Or worse to the fundamentalist, if one of their children became a Democrat. Or didn't believe it all. Or agreed that all citizens have a right to marry, even those with same sex partners.

So what is the motive of these charlatans when it comes to beating up mom and dad when their kids are already hurting them by their decisions? Other then the obvious love of money and desire to feel important and respected with a college degree in bible, some of these pastors want the remaining pew sitters to feel guilty for questioning his operations that have led to the demise of the church and its role in society. He wants to make the connection between losing the next generation and mom and dad not being supportive enough. Mom and Dad not being good enough. He wants the faithful members that have stuck with him to feel that somehow had they given more money, given more time, given more respect to the preacher and everything he says, then little Sally and little Jonny would still be in church.  This is HOGWASH and breaks my heart.  But I and millions of others left this abusive environment a long time ago, so the brunt of this beating rests on the poor gullible faithful families that stayed. And they have to listen to this? Come on pastor, have some compassion for these nice folks. Don't blame them. They have suffered enough.  Does your manipulation have no bounds? What, you need more money? You need more commitment from the ones that stayed with you? Your cute little slogan of "All In" didn't work?

The camera pans the congregations of these TV charlatans and I see faithful moms and dads suffering over their kids' decisions, and then I see a pile of guilt layed on top.  "Honey, if we give more money, and volunteer more time, then our kids will see our level of commitment and so they will stay committed when they get older.  We must do it for our kids."

That, my friends, is guilting people and manipulating people.  And it makes me sick. And it makes me sad.

I wish it was just one or two mega pastors that teach this.  But with the internet and sites like Sermons.com, (see below)even the smaller congregations are plagiarizing whatever topics are put out there and you hear lazy preachers simply preaching on whatever topic they see online or hear some other preacher ranting about.

But it also makes me praise Jesus when my own kids question "the church", and when they laugh at the pompous ass stomping around on the stage, and when they get involved in charities and non-profits and begin to love and help hurting people, and when they stay faithful to their spouse, and when they love and provide for their own children, and give their time, talents and energies to organizations that actually help people. All people.  Even the Muslim and homosexual people. It is then that I am glad I provided leadership to my family and will rejoice pastor, when they don't give their loyalty, devotion, time and talent to some millionaire man of God and his 501(c)(3) business.

The young people get it pastor. You aren't fooling them. They left, or will as soon as they can. But please leave alone the few good folks that stayed with you. Quit blaming them. Give them a break. Have you no shame.  Stop it!

So Christian mom and dad, don't listen to that manipulative, arrogant, and narcissistic millionaire seminarian up on the platform.  If you really want to see your kids stay true to the values you taught them, then stand up and be a man or woman of faith and conviction and walk out of that church and take your kids with you.  Then explain to them how God has called you to discern wisdom and lead your family in spiritual matters. Take it up with the book. Read them the verses that say to kill homosexuals and tell them they shouldn't believe that and not to practice that. Teach them to invest their incomes in things that will make a difference, and not in another new building for a 501(c)(3), or another pastor's vacation bonus.  You won't lose them that way.  But if you leave them there listening to, and respecting, and believing that delusional or manipulative or hypocritical seminarian up on stage, you will lose them for sure. Let them know you don't agree with that jerk up there.  Get out a dictionary and read to them the definitions of pompous. And the definition of charlatan.  And read those verses about wolves in sheep's clothing. And let the Holy Spirit guide their conclusions about YOUR pastor. Yeah, him. If the shoe fits...

On your way out, let that "man of God" know that if he represents God and the church, then you are delighted your kids won't be sticking around once they are adults.  And you, mom and dad, don't let him guilt you into taking the blame for his failures.  While he was building new buildings, and hiring his family, and taking vacations, and traveling the country to speak, and stomping around, and criticizing our courts and our country, he was turning your kids away from what you tried to raise them to believe. You were doing all you could to teach them about Jesus and to model that love.

He, your pompous ass pastor, NOT you, is the Architect of Disbelief.

Please get yourselves and your kids out of there.  He's now blaming you! And if your kids trust him, they will blame you, too!  And while you struggle with this, he will just leave for another tour of the Holy Land and take another cruise. He is the Architect of Disbelief. Shame on him. Get out of there.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

"God Said it, That Settles It!"

Leviticus 20:1, 13: The Lord said to Moses... If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.

Some Christians love to quote the old phrase "God said it, I believe it, That settles it!"  Usually followed by the proud question "Amen?"  You may have even seen this on a bumper sticker.  Now, they cleverly update this proud saying by omitting the middle portion.  They say it doesn't matter whether you or I believe it or not, because if God said it, then that settles it whether we believe it or not. They prefer: "God said it, That settles it!" It's a nice little phrase, but unfortunately, none of the phrase is true.  For one, God didn't "say it."  What they mean is, "it is written in some ancient texts, by someone we don't know who actually wrote it, and I trust what has been passed down, and personally have faith that God inspired someone to write it and that it was accurately re-written and transcribed and recorded and then later translated correctly over thousands of years into many languages. And most importantly, I personally like that verse and want to follow it so I don't argue about it's context or applicability to the Jews, or to an ancient culture, like I do the verses I don't like and never would follow."  Either way, God never said it to me. Or to anyone I have ever known.

In our justice system, this type of utterance would be deemed "hearsay."  It would be excluded from evidence of every court in the land due to it being inherently unreliable.

Imagine if every court allowed people to testify what someone else said to someone else about a crime they allege we committed.  "Bob told me that Jim stole the money."  And I believe Bob would never lie, so it has to be true.  Well, folks, our courts would require Bob to come in to court and tell us what Jim did and what he saw. And even then, we could cross examine Bob as to his memory and most importantly, as to his credibility.  Jim would be available to give his side of the story.  So, we can't even know the premise is true that God said it.  And even if God did say it to a bronze age Jewish man, he didn't say it to YOU, therefore, it's only a revelation from God to him. It's not a revelation of God to you. We call that hearsay.  It's unreliable. Therefore, it's not allowed into evidence and it's not sufficient for rendering a verdict.

The "I Believe it" part is equally ridiculous.  We say we believe much of the nonsense I have previously posted about in my recent posts simply because "God said it and he is inerrant and infallible."  We don't believe in talking serpents or talking donkeys. We don't believe in the sun revolving around our earth.  We don't believe in stoning our disobedient children.  We don't believe women should remain silent.  We don't believe in raping a woman and if she is not a virgin, stoning her. We don't get outraged at the adulterer, but instead we choose to get all tore up about gays. Which hurts the institution of marriage more: Adultery or same sex marriage?  I could go on and on.  But I do agree that this middle part of the phrase is not needed, because whether you or I believe it or not, does not make it true. Amen?

Finally, "That settles it!"  Really? Do a little research on that "settled" viewpoint. Or just listen to any preacher anywhere, any time, on any subject of faith and then listen to another view. You will find literally hundreds of other preachers that disagree with him. That's why we have so many denominations and so many fights within denominations.  And even if God did miraculously appear to you (by way of talking animal or burning bush or ancient text) and actually did tell you to kill your child, would you do it? If he told you to kill an abortion doctor would you do it?  If he told you to kill Muslims would you do it? If he told you to fly planes into buildings would you do it?  

So allow me to rephrase the slogan:

God Didn't Say It to Me, I don't believe it just because you tell me to, and even if God did happen to say it,  nothing is settled.  Amen?

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Once Saved Always Saved and Predestination

More from the inerrant, infallible Word of God.
This time we will discuss the many clear scriptures that teach us about the doctrine of "once saved always saved", which means once you are saved, no matter what you do, you still go to heaven. (That really stinks as a doctrine doesn't it? Saved people can do whatever they want.) We will then compare that doctrine to the other view which is you can lose your salvation. (This also stinks doesn't it, since you can't ever be sure that you haven't done anything to cause you to lose the "eternal" salvation you thought you had received by grace.) I can tell you that the Catholic church, for example, teaches the latter, which if you think about it, keeps a lot of it's people feeling guilty and doing all they can to make sure they are in good standing with the requirements.  It would seem to me to be much easier to manipulate people who are constantly worrying about losing their eternal life.  But on the other hand, can a person "do whatever they want" and still go to heaven if they were saved earlier in their life?  So let's see what the Scripture says and determine once and for all what God's word teaches.

After that, we will delve into discussing the clear verses on the doctrine of predestination, (the "elect") which is a hot topic in Southern Baptist circles. (See Calvinism vs Arminianism)

Just kidding.  Even I don't have to tell Charlatans and Fundies that they could be wrong on their dogmatic views of these two scriptural "truths" that are contained within the pages of the god-breathed and profitable for teaching, Holy Bible.  They have each other to do that.