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July 31st, 2011
01:00 AM ET

Do you speak Christian?

Editor's note: Kirby Ferguson is a New York-based writer, filmmaker and speaker who created the web video series Everything is a Remix. His videos, like the one above, can be found on Vimeo, an online community where artists share their films.

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - Can you speak Christian?

Have you told anyone “I’m born again?” Have you “walked the aisle” to “pray the prayer?”

Did you ever “name and claim” something and, after getting it, announce, “I’m highly blessed and favored?”

Many Americans are bilingual. They speak a secular language of sports talk, celebrity gossip and current events. But mention religion and some become armchair preachers who pepper their conversations with popular Christian words and trendy theological phrases.

If this is you, some Christian pastors and scholars have some bad news: You may not know what you’re talking about. They say that many contemporary Christians have become pious parrots. They constantly repeat Christian phrases that they don’t understand or distort.

Marcus Borg, an Episcopal theologian, calls this practice “speaking Christian.” He says he heard so many people misusing terms such as “born again” and “salvation” that he wrote a book about the practice.

People who speak Christian aren’t just mangling religious terminology, he says. They’re also inventing counterfeit Christian terms such as “the rapture” as if they were a part of essential church teaching.

The rapture, a phrase used to describe the sudden transport of true Christians to heaven while the rest of humanity is left behind to suffer, actually contradicts historic Christian teaching, Borg says.

“The rapture is a recent invention. Nobody had thought of what is now known as the rapture until about 1850,” says Borg, canon theologian at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland, Oregon.

How politicians speak Christian

Speaking Christian isn’t confined to religion. It’s infiltrated politics.

Political candidates have to learn how to speak Christian to win elections, says Bill Leonard, a professor of church history at Wake Forest University’s School of Divinity in North Carolina.

One of our greatest presidents learned this early in his career. Abraham Lincoln was running for Congress when his opponent accused him of not being a Christian. Lincoln often referred to the Bible in his speeches, but he never joined a church or said he was born again like his congressional opponent, Leonard says.

"Lincoln was less specific about his own experience and, while he used biblical language, it was less distinctively Christian or conversionistic than many of the evangelical preachers thought it should be,” Leonard says.

Lincoln won that congressional election, but the accusation stuck with him until his death, Leonard says.

One recent president, though, knew how to speak Christian fluently.

During his 2003 State of the Union address, George W. Bush baffled some listeners when he declared that there was “wonder-working power” in the goodness of American people.

Evangelical ears, though, perked up at that phrase. It was an evangelical favorite, drawn from a popular 19th century revival hymn about the wonder-working power of Christ called “In the Precious Blood of the Lamb.”

Leonard says Bush was sending a coded message to evangelical voters: I’m one of you.

“The code says that one: I’m inside the community. And two: These are the linguistic ways that I show I believe what is required of me,” Leonard says.

Have you ‘named it and claimed it'?

Ordinary Christians do what Bush did all the time, Leonard says. They use coded Christian terms like verbal passports - flashing them gains you admittance to certain Christian communities.

Say you’ve met someone who is Pentecostal or charismatic, a group whose members believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as healing and speaking in tongues. If you want to signal to that person that you share their belief, you start talking about “receiving the baptism of the Holy Ghost” or getting the “second blessings,” Leonard says.

Translation: Getting a baptism by water or sprinkling isn’t enough for some Pentecostals and charismatics. A person needs a baptism “in the spirit” to validate their Christian credentials.

Or say you’ve been invited to a megachurch that proclaims the prosperity theology (God will bless the faithful with wealth and health). You may hear what sounds like a new language.

Prosperity Christians don’t say “I want that new Mercedes.” They say they are going to “believe for a new Mercedes.” They don’t say “I want a promotion.” They say I “name and claim” a promotion.

The rationale behind both phrases is that what one speaks aloud in faith will come to pass. The prosperity dialect has become so popular that Leonard has added his own wrinkle.

“I call it ‘name it, claim it, grab it and have it,’ ’’ he says with a chuckle.

Some forms of speaking Christian, though, can become obsolete through lack of use.

Few contemporary pastors use the language of damnation - “turn or burn,” converting “the pagans” or warning people they’re going to hit “hell wide open” - because it’s considered too polarizing, Leonard says. The language of “walking the aisle” is also fading, Leonard says.

Appalachian and Southern Christians often told stories about staggering into church and walking forward during the altar call to say the “sinner’s prayer” during revival services that would often last for several weeks.

“People ‘testified’ to holding on to the pew until their knuckles turned white, fighting salvation all the way,” Leonard says. “You were in the back of the church, and you fought being saved.”

Contemporary churchgoers, though, no longer have time to take that walk, Leonard says. They consider their lives too busy for long revival services and extended altar calls. Many churches are either jettisoning or streamlining the altar call, Leonard says.

“You got soccer, you got PTA, you got family responsibilities - the culture just won’t sustain it as it once did,” Leonard says.

Even some of the most basic religious words are in jeopardy because of overuse.

Calling yourself a Christian, for example, is no longer cool among evangelicals on college campuses, says Robert Crosby, a theology professor at Southeastern University in Florida.

“Fewer believers are referring to themselves these days as ‘Christian,’ ” Crosby says. “More are using terms such as ‘Christ follower.’ This is due to the fact that the more generic term, Christian, has come to be used within religious and even political ways to refer to a voting bloc.”

What’s at stake

Speaking Christian correctly may seem like it’s just a fuss over semantics, but it’s ultimately about something bigger: defining Christianity, says Borg, author of “Speaking Christian.”

Christians use common words and phrases in hymns, prayers and sermons “to connect their religion to their life in the world,” Borg says.

“Speaking Christian is an umbrella term for not only knowing the words, but understanding them,” Borg says. “It’s knowing the basic vocabulary, knowing the basic stories.”

When Christians forget what their words mean, they forget what their faith means, Borg says.

Consider the word “salvation.” Most Christians use the words "salvation" or "saved" to talk about being rescued from sin or going to heaven, Borg says.

Yet salvation in the Bible is seldom confined to an afterlife. Those characters in the Bible who invoked the word salvation used it to describe the passage from injustice to justice, like the Israelites’ liberation from Egyptian bondage, Borg says.

“The Bible knows that powerful and wealthy elites commonly structure the world in their own self-interest. Pharaoh and Herod and Caesar are still with us. From them we need to be saved,” Borg writes.

And when Christians forget what their faith means, they get duped by trendy terms such as the rapture that have little to do with historical Christianity, he says.

The rapture has become an accepted part of the Christian vocabulary with the publication of the megaselling “Left Behind” novels and a heavily publicized prediction earlier this year by a Christian radio broadcaster that the rapture would occur in May.

But the notion that Christians will abandon the Earth to meet Jesus in the clouds while others are left behind to suffer is not traditional Christian teaching, Borg says.

He says it was first proclaimed by John Nelson Darby, a 19th century British evangelist, who thought of it after reading a New Testament passage in the first book of Thessalonians that described true believers being “caught up in the clouds together” with Jesus.

Christianity’s focus has long been about ushering in God’s kingdom “on Earth, not just in heaven,” Borg says.

“Christianity’s goal is not to escape from this world. It loves this world and seeks to change it for the better,” he writes.

For now, though, Borg and others are also focusing on changing how Christians talk about their faith.

If you don’t want to speak Christian, they say, pay attention to how Christianity’s founder spoke. Jesus spoke in a way that drew people in, says Leonard, the Wake Forest professor.

“He used stories, parables and metaphors,” Leonard says. “He communicated in images that both the religious folks and nonreligious folks of his day understand.”

When Christians develop their own private language for one another, they forget how Jesus made faith accessible to ordinary people, he says.

“Speaking Christian can become a way of suggesting a kind of spiritual status that others don’t have,” he says. “It communicates a kind of spiritual elitism that holds the spiritually ‘unwashed’ at arm’s length."

By that time, they’ve reached the final stage of speaking Christian - they've become spiritual snobs.

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Baptist • Belief • Bible • Christianity • Church • Culture wars • Episcopal • Evangelical • Faith • Fundamentalism • Politics • Uncategorized

soundoff (3,878 Responses)
  1. Mel

    It doesn't matter what religion you follow, if any, just be tolerant of all peace-loving lifestyles and religions.
    Religions become intolerant when they try to "spread the word" that they are better than another person's beliefs.

    Frankly, I don't get the concept of "faith". It seems doublespeak for "self-imposed ignorance", but I don't intend to try to change someone just because I don't understand.

    July 31, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
  2. linda darbin

    Perhaps the author does not understand there are many doctrines in protestantism and as such many definitions of these common phrases. Frankly, the true believers are more into action than phrases. I rarely hear these terms spoken in my church or protestant Christian community. We simply believe, act on the Great Commission and watch to be ready as commanded.

    July 31, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
  3. Reality

    There were never any bodily resurrections and there will never be any bodily resurrections i.e. No Easter, no Christianity!!!

    To wit:

    Saving Christians from the Infamous Resurrection Con:

    From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

    Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

    To wit;

    From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

    "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
    Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

    Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

    Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

    The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

    Only Luke's Gospel records it. The Assumption ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

    "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."
    http://eternal-word.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2HEAVN.HTM

    With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

    An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,

    p.4

    "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

    p.168. by Ted Peters:

    Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

    So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

    July 31, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
    • GIJoe

      Aw geeeezzzzz – a sermon a really don't care to read. Try brevity. It works much better.

      July 31, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
    • AK

      Disciples stole his body. While being guarded by Roman infantry. Men who, if they fell asleep or otherwise shirked guard duty, were burned alive in their own armor. Rii-iiight.

      Do these eminent theorists have anything to add about the numerous post mortem sightings of Jesus not confined to the Apostles? I suppose they do – it's easy when you weren't there but are being paid to theorize, and preach to the faithful.

      Nope, I wasn't there either. So I don't know. I know what I believe. And I suppose that same formula works for you too.

      July 31, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
    • GIJoe

      Words written by mostly by male humans to try to control the masses - kinda like the letter Jeffs received (in prison) from God. Yeah right...............

      July 31, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
    • Anon

      It's just an ancient telephone game gone horribly out of control.

      July 31, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
    • JSBryan

      1. If the apostles stole the body, why would they be willing to die for something they knew a lie?
      2. It's not a telephone game. There are hundreds of manuscripts dating back to 200 years or so after the death of the last apostle. Manuscripts that a person would be killed for owning. Again why die for something you know a lie?
      3. Theologians, philosophers, and even historians have millions of different opinions; I could easily find one to support my own. Doing so does not prove a thing.
      4. Science is just as suspect. Doctors change their opinions on what is good or bad for our bodies every year. Placing you trust in science is like trusting a god that changes his mind every second. Butter's bad for me.... wait no it's good. Coffee's bad for me... wait no is good. Chocolate is bad for me... wait no it's good. If they can't even figure out our own bodies, are really ready to place your soul in their hands?

      Now have fun twisting my words around to hide from the truth.

      July 31, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
    • Charge Nurse Betty

      JSBryan
      So you're going to just pray, and NOT call 911 when you have your heart attack. Right.

      July 31, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
    • Reality

      o Saw this on another blog:

      From the Philadelphia Inquirer's report on Cardinal Bevilacqua's testimony to a grand jury investigating the pedophilia coverup in the Philadelphia Archdiocese during the Cardinal's tenure:

      "Bevilacqua insisted he needed "evidence in order to ask someone to step down."

      And not just any evidence. Anonymous reports, Bevilacqua said, had "no value at all to me."

      "Secondhand information," he added, lacked credibility.

      That puzzled the jurors, who then asked Bevilacqua if he believed in the Gospels.

      "Yes," assured the cardinal.

      "But," Spade pressed, "it's the jurors' understanding that the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were written many years after the actual events," by those not present at the time.

      "Yes," Bevilacqua agreed.

      So, using the cleric's own logic, wouldn't that make the Gospels "secondhand information"?

      ---–

      July 31, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
    • Reality

      o
      From Father Ray Brown's 878-paged, An Introduction to the New Testament, Doubleday, New York, 1996, p. 172, (with Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur (with regard to Matthew's Gospel)

      Date: 80-90 AD,give or take a decade

      "Author by traditional (2nd century) attribution. Matthew a tax collector among the Twelve, wrote either the Gospel or a collection of the Lord's sayings in Aramaic. Some who reject this picture allow that something written by Matthew may have made its way into the present Gospel.

      Author detectable from contents: A Greek-speaker, who knew Aramaic or Hebrew or both and was not an eyewitness of Jesus' ministry, drew on Mark and a collection of sayings of the Lord (Q) as well as on other available traditions oral or written. Probably a Jewish Christian.

      Locale Involved: Probably the Antioch region

      Unity and Integrity: No major reason to think of more than one author or sizable additions to what he wrote."

      As per Crossan and many contemporary biblical scholars:

      " THIRD STRATUM [80-120 AD]

      22. Gospel of Matthew [Matt]. Written around 90 CE and possibly at Syrian Antioch, it used, apart from other data, the Gospel of Mark and the Sayings Gospel Q for its pre-passion narrative, and the Gospel of Mark and the Cross Gospel for its passion and resurrection account (Crossan, 1988)."

      See Crossan's complete list of scriptural references at
      http://www.faithfutures.org/Jesus/Crossan1.rtf

      For another list of early Christian doc-uments and the date of publication, see: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/

      From this reference:

      "It is also the consensus position that the evangelist was not the apostle Matthew. Such an idea is based on the second century statements of Papias and Irenaeus. As quoted by Eusebius in Hist. Eccl. 3.39, Papias states: "Matthew put together the oracles [of the Lord] in the Hebrew language, and each one interpreted them as best he could." In Adv. Haer. 3.1.1, Irenaeus says: "Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome and laying the foundations of the church." We know that Irenaeus had read Papias, and it is most likely that Irenaeus was guided by the statement he found there. That statement in Papias itself is considered to be unfounded because the Gospel of Matthew was written in Greek and relied largely upon Mark, not the author's first-hand experience."

      The referenced lists have rather extensive review links. Interesting information if you have time to read it all.

      With respect to John's Gospel and John' epistles, again from Professor/Father Raymond Brown in his book, An Introduction to the New Testament, John's Gospel, Date- 80-110 CE, Traditional Attribution, (2nd Century), St. John, one of the Twelve,

      Author Detectable from the Contents, One who regards himself in the tradition of the disciple.

      First Epistle of John, Authenticity- Certainly by a writer in the Johannine tradition, probably NOT by the one responsible for most of the Gospel.

      From Professor Bruce Chilton in his book, Rabbi Jesus,

      "Conventionally, scholarship has accorded priority to the first three gospels in historical work on Jesus, putting progressively less credence in works of late date. John's Gospel for example is routinely dismissed as a source......
      From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_John#Authorship

      "Since "the higher criticism" of the 19th century, some historians have largely rejected the gospel of John as a reliable source of information about the historical Jesus.[3][4] "[M]ost commentators regard the work as anonymous,"[5] and date it to 90-100."

      "The authorship has been disputed since at least the second century, with mainstream Christianity believing that the author is John the Apostle, son of Zebedee. Modern experts usually consider the author to be an unknown non-eyewitness, though many apologetic Christian scholars still hold to the conservative Johannine view that ascribes authorship to John the Apostle."

      See also http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/1john.html

      July 31, 2011 at 11:25 pm |
  4. Ms. J

    What a bogus article! I've been attending Christian church for most of my life and do not hear the phrases iin here. Sounds like the author is just trying to take another whack at Christianity. Swing and I miss, I say.

    July 31, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
    • Gil

      Maybe you should get out once in a while. some of them old churches get pretty moldy.

      July 31, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
    • Lin

      Wow, you've never heard the terminology Mr. Borg cites? I think his observations are valid; I am not an evangelical Christian but I have, at one point or another, heard ALL of these terms and practices he describes from friends, acquaintances, and commentators on boards like this one who are 'born again.'

      July 31, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  5. Cyphonix

    Belief is the psychological state in which an individual holds a proposition or premise to be true. Hence the name of this blog. It's silly how people who have NO belief whatsoever, try to comment and make sense of something they do not possess. I'm sure there a blogs for atheist, and non believers, God haters, etc. They are just not significant enough or relevant to humanity to have their own blog on CNN.com, or any other major news organization in the world for that matter. So, FYI: you can't argue about something you don't have clue as to what it is in the first place!

    July 31, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
    • Veritas

      It is indeed a "psychological state"...

      July 31, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
    • Demon Advance

      The powers that be will always cater to the ignorant masses. That's just good business.

      That said, I often say, "Take this, and eat it."

      Am I speaking Christian?

      July 31, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
    • Veritas

      Sadly, most things in this world caters to the masses: greasy fast food, dumbed down movies, stupid reality shows on TV, tabloid magazines, etc...and religion. The latter delusion has kept the masses in control for over 2,000 years.

      July 31, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
    • Charge Nurse Betty

      Wrong.
      Many of us USED to be belivers. The question is why do you NEED to hold the proposition. That is the psychological question here. You assume a lack of belief implies one hates god. Since it does not exist, it makes no sence to hate it. Some of us are just curious about figuring out the motivation for that "psychological state". And BTW, what exactly does "significant" mean ? Care to quote us some statistics ?

      July 31, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
    • MShawn

      65% of all statistics are untrue or misleading.

      July 31, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
    • I_get_it

      Cyphonix,

      Rational thinkers need to keep an eye on you folks so that you don't try to turn our country into a theocracy.

      July 31, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
    • MShawn

      My favorite "rational" thinkers were Lenin, Mao and Hitler. Without a belief in God and that all are children of God, they do arrive at some rational decisions..... self determination is contrary to what is effecient, weak consume more than they produce and the strong taking what they want is just survival of the fitest.

      July 31, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
    • Charge Nurse Betty

      @Shaun
      It's not our fault that YOU picked those three authors. Maybe they're not OUR favorites. Your assumption that without belief in god(s) we are left to individualism is illogical. Actually ethics can just as easily be based on what is good for the group, in all it's diversity.

      July 31, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
    • MShawn

      You put so much trust in humanity... what is best for the group. I'm sure they truely believed they were doing what is best for the group. And do you agree that what they accomplished could not have been done with out the help of "normal" people.

      July 31, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
    • Cyphonix

      @ Demon Advance, so Obama was a good choice after all, according to you. I beg to differ.

      July 31, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
    • Charge Nurse Betty

      ". what is best for the group" is what is written in the law, not YOUR opinion of what is written in an ancient book.

      July 31, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
  6. CSX

    Your ignorance is huge. Rapture is backed up by vereses of something that Jesus and others said was going to happen.
    I say unto to you, thou must ber born again. Jesus said, that settles. it.

    July 31, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
    • Veritas

      Mentally ill religious people like you are scary...

      July 31, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
    • nope

      Except Jesus was just a talking head who pretended to be divine, his word has about as much authority as the drycleaner down the street, except that the drycleaner is actually wise.

      July 31, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
    • Mental Masterbator

      Jesus said, that settles it.
      ......boy that felt good.

      July 31, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
    • AvdBerg

      CSX, bad enough that you were born once. But you can learn from my website here http://gaychristian101.com

      July 31, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
  7. Preacher

    Thank you for sharing what so many of us have known for so long. Yes, the New Testament does speak of the "coming of the Son of Man," "meeting Jesus in the clouds," God's coming happening "like a thief in the night," and "we shall all be changed." However, the particular formulation of understanding that somehow links all these passages together into one "truth" statement frequently associated with the "rapture" was not evident in Christian community until about 160years ago. Sounds like "false teaching" to me.

    July 31, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
  8. pat

    Regardless if someone believes the bible is a divinely inspired text, everyone should agree on the fact that it is humans who are interpreting these words for their own benefit and gain. Each offshoot of christianity has taken the form of a book they believe to be inspired by a divine figure, and spun the words to fit their own concept of what their religion should be. Consider all of the silly interpretations we try to apply to the bible to exclude those who are different from us, to create prophecies for those who are seen as special (followers of christ), and yet we quickly forgive the same book for some of its horrendous claims towards treating others within their community. Similarly to the article, and how George W. Bush used his presumably Evangelical faith to benefit his campaign, every interpretation of the bible has been used to the advantage of those who will benefit the most within the congregations walls. We fall on the old intentionality fallacy when we presume to know what the original text was meant to say. Also, with the continuation of myths that flow into belief, to actually consider an "original" source is impossible. We recycle language, and themes like aluminum cans.

    July 31, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
  9. GLMcColm

    After claiming and naming something and getting it, it's a sign that "I’m highly blessed and favored," presumably by the Spirit in the Sky, as one "Never been a sinner I never sinned...". Now, what did Proverbs say about the proud and haughty...?

    July 31, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
  10. Christian101

    It seems that CNN (or more accurately, their religion writers) are overwhelmingly negative when it comes to anything remotely religious? How about some positive stories or stories that encourage? There is enough negativity in the world. How about we start making it a little better place, religious or not?

    July 31, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
    • AvdBerg

      You'll appreciate my website http://gaychristian101.com

      July 31, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
  11. megachurch

    "The rationale behind both phrases is that what one speaks aloud in faith will come to pass. "
    Sympathetic magic anyone?

    July 31, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
  12. ddsstyle

    god hates us all. seriously, christians as a group are the most hypocritical people I have ever met. of course you can find good ones, just like cops. but the majority are a joke. but hey whatever helps you sleep at night...

    July 31, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
  13. Mel

    IN the movie, "The Ruling Class", a analyst asks a crazy-acting Peter O'Toole, who ties himself regularly to a cross and claims he is Christ, "How do you know you are Christ." Peter O'Toole responds, "Every night, alone at my beside, when II say my prayers to Jesus, I find I am talking to myself."

    July 31, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
    • Keller56

      @ Mel. Ha ha that is awesome. I wonder if one talks to an imaginary spouse that they are indeed their own wife or husband?

      July 31, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
  14. Hank

    Still amazes me how people are so willing to follow an idea, a religion, a dude telling fairy tales from a stage, rather than the things that they see before them every day, and in doing so, tie everyday natural occurrences into evidence for the validity of their fairy tales.
    Fine if you want to do it, but I wish y'all could keep it to yourselves and knock off the "Climate Change is a Hoax", "Gay is a Choice, and a Sin", "Condoms are Evil", "Government is the Devil", "America is a Christian Nation" nonsense that affects the rest of our daily lives.
    There is no God, and America was founded by equally deluded Deists, not Christians. Get over yourselves.

    July 31, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
  15. Severinus

    Interesting. As someone who was raised Catholic I had never heard a word of this "language." Much of it is the exact opposite of what we were taught. Praying for a new Mercedes would be considered a Cardinal sin – (Greed anyone?). I knew Protestantism was different, but wow. The book of Job clearly shows that God does not always bless the faithful. For people who never tire of quoting individual Bible passages they sure have missed out on its meaning.

    July 31, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
    • Rinsewind

      I noticed this as well. Apparently talking "Christian" means using evangelical Protestant vocabulary.

      July 31, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
  16. Monica

    Well, at least Borg has gotten something right.

    He said:: "Christianity’s focus has long been about ushering in God’s kingdom “on Earth, not just in heaven,” Borg says. “Christianity’s goal is not to escape from this world. It loves this world and seeks to change it for the better,” he writes.

    Someone finally understands what the Lord's Prayer means!

    Matthew 6: 9,10
    “YOU must pray, then, this way: “‘Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified. 10 Let your kingdom come. Let your WILL take place, AS IN HEAVEN , ALSO UPON EARTH.

    What is heaven like? Its peaceful. So God's will is for the same peace in heaven to be brought down here to earth. How? By God's Kingdom or government being brought down to the earth. How? Daniel 2:44 says, "And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be brought to ruin. And the kingdom itself will not be passed on to any other people. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it itself will stand to times indefinite;"

    By getting rid of the governments of the earth and ushering in his Kingdom.

    July 31, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
    • Monica

      I don't believe in hell-fire. I believe when we die we just cease to exist. I don't believe that there is a spirit that lives on after we die. I don't believe there is an afterlife. We are just dead.

      That is what the Bible teaches.
      Ecclesiastes 9: 5,6,9,10 says, " 5 For the living are conscious that they will die; but as for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all, neither do they anymore have wages, because the remembrance of them has been forgotten. 6 Also, their love and their hate and their jealousy have already perished, and they have no portion anymore to time indefinite in anything that has to be done under the sun. 9 See life with the wife whom you love all the days of your vain life that He has given you under the sun, all the days of your vanity, for that is your portion in life and in your hard work with which you are working hard under the sun. 10 All that your hand finds to do, do with your very power, for there is no work nor devising nor knowledge nor wisdom in She´ol, the place to which you are going."

      The common belief is that hell is a place of fiery torment. But actually if you so some research on Hell, Sheol, Hades it is just simply the grave. Check the scriptures that use these words across translations. Some use the word grave.

      July 31, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
    • Monica

      Oh, I see that you retracted your comment BEN! It magically disappeared. That will teach you not to assume what other people believe when you don't know them. Thanks!

      July 31, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
    • eric calderone

      RE: xoxox. Salvation when used in the sense of Justification, meaning one has pleased God by one's immediate behavior or actions,certainly can, and usually is, lost. One regains justification when one repents.This is an on-going process which only ends with one's temporal death. It is then that God passes Judgment on one's life record. That decision is final. The term salvation is more appropriately used in this sense because we are talking about a finality: the decision whether one will attain eternal life.

      Salvation being based on one's life record necessarily is based on faith and good works, because that comprises how we live our lives. Faith alone in the sense of belief alone does NOT save. James points this out. Such a faith is a dead faith.

      August 2, 2011 at 8:46 pm |
  17. xoxox

    Salvation, like many other concepts in the bible cannot be summerized into a two minute video essay. While it is true that salvation is an experience one can have in this life, the bible clearly points to a progression of the work of salvation in this life, toward the consummation of the redemptive work upon the coming of Christ our Lord. For the scripture says when we see Him we shall be like Him. This is the journey of every true believer: to be conformed to the image of Jesus the Messiah. It is why He came: to bring many sons to glory. To use the metaphor of the seed, each seed produces after its own kind- apple seed make apple trees, which make apples. Jesus typified Himself to a corn of wheat sown into the midst of the world to die and produce others like Him. That same seed abides in each true believer, producing the nature and likeness of Jesus the Son of God. Yet, as stated previously, that process will never be fulfilled in THIS lifetime. Christian are commanded to live according to the Word of God. Yes. However, due to the fallen nature of our current bodies, we cannot fully experience all liberty of the new life. We, as the old hymn goes, have " a foretaste of glory divine". Each Christian is on a path to Christ. It's different for each because some desire to scacrifice more of themselves than others. Lay down your old life for the newness of life. That's the promise. This article treats many as if they're fools; not knowing the "meaning" of words? That's absurd. To believe means to adhere to all that is written in the word of God. Simply because this person does not believe, does not make the bible, ofrparts of the bible ,untrue. Funny, he's seems unwilling to believe Jesus walked on water, but wonder if he's willing to believe that we all came from some big bang. Absurdity

    July 31, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
    • eric calderone

      Salvation is used in the bible in basically 2 different ways. This should not be surprising because the bible was not written as a textbook, applying consistency and technicality in how it used terms; moreover, we are talking about a number of different writers. Salvation can mean the final judgment delivered by GOD when one's temporal life is over, that judgment is based on the whole life record.Or, 2. it can be used interchangeably with justification, meaning GOD is temporarily pleased with someone based on their recent behavior. One can lose this type of salvation or justification if one subsequently exercises behavior which displeases GOD.

      July 31, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      Speaking of absurdity ....
      I just read 15 lines of it.
      And as for your "means to adhere to all that is written in the word of God. Simply because this person does not believe, does not make the bible, or parts of the bible ,untrue."
      -- Mathew spends his ENTIRE first chapter setting up the lineage of Yeshua in the Davidic line through Josef, then asserts he was NOT the father; Mark, (11) says the overturning of the tables of the money changers happened at the end of the ministry, John, (2) at the beginning; the women, when arriving at the tomb, viewing the "resurrection" see one man (Mark), two men, (Luke), an angel, (Matthew); John 2 says he did the first sign, then many signs, then the second sign, (huh?) ; farewell discourse: John 13:36 Pete says to Yeshua, "Lord, where are you going?", a few verses later Thomas says "We do not know where you are going", then a few minutes later Yeshua says to them "Now I am going to the one who sent me, yet none of you asks me, 'Where are you going?' "(VERY short attention span ??). Now THAT is absurdity.

      July 31, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @xoxox

      You Said: "Simply because this person does not believe, does not make the bible, or parts of the bible ,untrue."

      Nor does believing in them make them necessarily 'true.'

      Regards,

      Peace...

      July 31, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
    • xoxox

      Salvation cannot be lost and gained again, over and over and over – for it is not based on the works. It is not founded on the fickleness of the human heart, but on the sacrifice of Jesus. Those that come to faith in Christ receive the benefits of His obedience to the will of God. Now, this does not mean that we can or should live in any manner we wish. On the contrary, when someone receives the gift of salvation (accompanied by the Holy Spirit) we receive the enablement to live the life required of us. To suggest that one can fall in and out of salvation tell me you don't understand what the His birth, life, death, burial and, most importantly, His ressurection. For without His resurrection we have no future – no hope. Jesus is able to keep us (His sheep) from falling from grace. This is not to be construed with make a mistake or sin. For His blood was for all sin, past, present and future. If you confess you sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

      July 31, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
    • xoxox

      @Buck Ball
      You are lining up these scriptures in a disingenuous manner. And, if you understood Jewish tradition, you'd understand that legally, Joseph was Jesus' father. Mary, when questioning Jesus after His disappearance at the age of twelve, reffered to Joseph as Jesus' father. This was common at that time. It was accepted as legal and the cultural norm at that time. When one studies the bible, one must study the culture and norms of that period to comprehend and get a more precise picture. Now, one can look at the discrepancies that you have pointed out in a negative light. But, the fact that there are different accounts of certain events speaks to the bibles authenticity and not its illegitamacy. It shows that there was no collusion when penning those events. Yet, the continuity of scripture far out weighs anything that one can use to discredit the bible. The fact is that Jesus fulfilled every single prophecy that law and prophets recorded hudreds and even thousands of years before His advent is astronomically incalculable. So, while you are right that there are differences in the accounts of events you mention, it actually is normal. It's no different today.

      July 31, 2011 at 9:24 pm |
    • xoxox

      @Peace2all

      Nor does it make it necessarily true that you even exist. In other words, the very same method in which one comes to accept your existence, is the same that applies to Jesus and the bible. You have absolutely no recollection of the day in which you were born. All you Believe is what you were told and what was recorded by those who witnessed your birth. It is easier to discount the bible because is happened so many years ago. But if I asked you to tell me who was the first president of the United States, you'd say George Washington. Yet, you've never met him. You believe it because of men and women who knew him recorded what they heard and saw. It is no different with the bible. Historians have never said that the persons that wrote their accounts where deceivers. Its the atheists and unbelievers that says that. On what basis is still a mystery.

      July 31, 2011 at 9:39 pm |
    • i_wonder

      xoxox,

      It is not the historical figures from the Bible that non-believers dispute, it is the supernatural beings and events, and the myths and legends attributed to these people which have grown so widespread. That George Washington, or any other historical person, was born at such and such place in such and such year can be fairly well doc.umented. The stories about Mr. Washington chopping down the cherry tree, or tossing a coin across the Potomac river, or that he had wooden teeth... not so much... in fact, not at all.

      July 31, 2011 at 10:52 pm |
    • Richard S Kaiser

      @ xoxoox and all

      you my friend may be but a felonious victim of grasping the fundmentalsms of phraseologies. I too do love to flirt around!

      Heregoes; Did not Christ Jesus be crucified between 2 others and one asked to be remembered and He(Christ Jesus) said something to the effect, "Today you will be with me in Paradise" Redemption my dear XoXox; Has been a no brainer for those who truly believe they will have "Life and have it (Key words coming up) MORE ABUNDANTLY!

      Consider this, "If one has grain more abundantly is such a grain going to be forever? If one as cattle more abundantly does it mean cattle will be forever?

      The point I am trying to make xoxox is this,,,,,,,,,,, Christ Jesus has created the ways and means for all people and animals and all life to live and die in a grand scheme forever and ever until the sun no longer shines! Kapeesh? :-)

      August 2, 2011 at 9:02 pm |
  18. Richard S Kaiser

    Of GOD and By God we of Manliness are gods! As a goddess of a Goddess and God they come from GOD's Will and Breathe of Life which did move upon the waters! When the End of our Age Comes, what will Be? WWW-3 and then what? Pick up the pieces and follow who? :-(

    July 31, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
    • Charge Nurse Betty

      Of GODDESS and by Goddess we of womanliness are not gods because there is Only That Which Is, and therefore Natural, and Not supernatural, as the electron goeth Not around backwards. When the End of our Age Comes, (and that could be WW-3), but then it would Prove He was not in Charge. "Pick up the pieces and follow who?" Why Follow anyone, why Not just Go Our Merry way, and Never Mind the clap trap ?

      July 31, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
    • Richard S Kaiser

      Charge Nurse Betty
      Charge Nurse Betty wrote me this, “Of GODDESS and by Goddess we of womanliness are not gods because there is Only That Which Is, and therefore Natural, and Not supernatural, as the electron goeth Not around backwards. When the End of our Age Comes, (and that could be WW-3), but then it would Prove He was not in Charge. "Pick up the pieces and follow who?" Why Follow anyone, why Not just Go Our Merry way, and Never Mind the clap trap ? On July 31, 2011 at 3:48 pm

      Sorry Betty Boop for not responding any earlier. I was out to launch so to type! :-)

      My Bad BB! I have written many variations of the sameness theme so let me rewrite it once and quite possibly for all times (I doubt that LoL)

      Of GOD was all CREATION’s Celestialness established and By the Gods was such a mission carried out but somewhere along the way, these Gods of GOD did find GOD’s Creations of Life upon a placed called Earth and saw that men’s daughters were of Fairness and they did seduce them and these maidens did create the monsters we know of as being the Dinosaurs! (Did you ever hear of the tales of Lilith, the supposed 1st meet/mate/wife of Adam?

      Therefore; Of GOD, By Gods men are “as” gods and likewise of the GODDESS, by the Goddesses are women but “as” goddesses! Food for thought that’s all! :-)

      August 2, 2011 at 9:15 pm |
  19. regis990

    "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." – Mahatma Gandhi

    July 31, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
  20. Luposian

    "I am Marcus of Borg... resistance is futile... you will be assimilated and believe all that I write concerning Christianity... er, "'speaking Christian'."

    Good thing I'm a more knowledgeable, practicing born-again Christian than the people he references in his article.

    July 31, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
    • AvdBerg

      Too bad you were even born once. But here it is all explained http://gaychristian101.com. Marcus Bachmann loves you.

      July 31, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.