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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 • Faith • Fundamentalism • Politics • Uncategorized

soundoff (3,878 Responses)
  1. Richard S Kaiser

    Christian Phraseologies have marred and nicked aplenty; The Relativism of Judeo-Christendom. Such Christians of "Mimic" just like a parrot does is resoundingly similar to Atheism's Sqwauks and saber-rattling escapades. Two branches on opposite sides of a tree laddled with so many variables and lineages. The cessation principle to relent and decrease the Hey here and/or lo looky see this thingamabob; Does deflate the Actual Messages Christ Jesus mentioned and was written upon in the KJVB and the many "revisioned" Gospels.

    To "Live Like a Christian" sends chills down the spines of the common Atheist, even though many self-professing christians no little about the "Real Messages" of Christ Jesus. The Clergy of many diluted manmade churches' mainstreamed perceptions are but, "Legalisms" massaging those who want to feel good for the Moment. The RCC, Mother of all Christendom has done Her very best to send out upon the Lands; The Mixing of her Faith and the Faiths she seeks to convert and make them somewhat less a Paganism at least in Her Eyes which is the Papacy. In "My" Opining and/or Opinion; The Manmade Churches of Today's Timidries are but Iconographic ensembles in Spirit Only.

    Luke 17:21, “Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within/Inside you.”

    1 Corinthians 6:20, “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify the God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."

    Therefore, ALL people of this Age of a Generation will Soon be Ending. What will be next is upon the shoulders of the upcoming Virtuosos within the Schooled and/or Educated Chasms of Individualized Mental Aberrations seeking a way out, yet there is none. One lives in the Moments and dies Upon the Inbetween. :-(

    August 1, 2011 at 9:31 am |
  2. Barnacle Bill

    Do you speak tooth fairy?
    How about Klingonese?
    Perhaps you speak the binary language of moisture evaporators?

    All equally as plausible as the tenet of speaking to god.

    August 1, 2011 at 9:30 am |
    • Calikem

      Well said!!!

      August 1, 2011 at 9:35 am |
    • Xyzzy

      Actually... I do. The binary language of moisture evaporators, that is.

      August 1, 2011 at 9:36 am |
    • Richard S Kaiser

      If One had a BB, Barnacle Bill for every time someone speaks another language other than their own, I would not be able to shoot but a handful of times @ the target! Quirpy pessimism concludes audasciousness wouldn't you agree BB?

      Love a Child of Otherlies,
      Find commonalities.
      Hate Not other folk's dreams,
      Eyes do foretell in their gleams.
      careful where one does Trod
      By GOD, Of God, man-god.

      August 1, 2011 at 9:49 am |
  3. Barbara

    Next report, possibly the writer would include Christian people of our faith, John Stott, Paul Tripp, Alistair Begg, Charles Spurgeon, Jonnie Erickson Tada, Sinclair Ferguson, Tim Keller, Levi Lusko, all Christian leaders and teachers of faith and living , who speak through scripture and from minisrty of the pulpit

    August 1, 2011 at 9:21 am |
    • Richard S Kaiser

      Hello Barbara,

      Are you saying all these people are Chrsitian? :-)

      August 1, 2011 at 9:38 am |
    • The Jackdaw

      Up next, an interview with the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

      August 1, 2011 at 9:46 am |
    • William Demuth

      Don't forget Manson and Hitler andTorquemada!

      August 1, 2011 at 10:25 am |
  4. Tonic

    Christianity = The belief that a cosmic Jewish zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree...

    August 1, 2011 at 9:15 am |
    • William Demuth

      Plus the whole mom was a virgin because dad was gay and I can accept the idea she was riding a Roman Baloney Pony concept.

      August 1, 2011 at 9:17 am |
    • Joxer the Mighty

      Ahh, the clasics. Make fun of what you don't understand or don't believe.

      August 1, 2011 at 9:29 am |
    • Kyle

      No Respect.

      August 1, 2011 at 9:31 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @Tonic

      You make the same assertions like Alfred Rosenberg, who was Hitler's antichristian high priest and finally got a death sentence at Nuremberg by American judges.

      I am reading Rosenberg's satanic book: "Der Mythos des 20. Jahrhunderts" (available in English?), which is full of antichristian statements.

      August 1, 2011 at 9:35 am |
    • William Demuth

      Respect?

      When the Nazi's were gassing, or the Puritans burning did they show respect?

      Did the killer in Norway, or the loons in Jonestown, or the wackos in Waco show respect?

      Then why should I? Either hold the lunatics in your cult accountable, or I WILL.

      August 1, 2011 at 9:35 am |
    • Kyle

      @william, Tolerance is a great thing. You should embrace it. Those terrible things happened because people did NOT embrace tolerance. If you dont, then you are no different from them.

      August 1, 2011 at 9:39 am |
    • William Demuth

      Kyle

      Yours is the theory of a sheep.

      Fight fire with fire. Death to the zealots.

      They very future of our world requires we cut out the cancer before it spreads.

      August 1, 2011 at 9:47 am |
    • Josh

      This is a misunderstanding of the Trinity. Jesus IS NOT the Father. Jesus IS God. The Father IS God. They each have a distinct personhood, but are both devine. This is a mystery, but not a logical contradiction. A logical contradiction would be that Jesus IS God and Jesus IS NOT God.

      August 1, 2011 at 9:56 am |
    • Kyle

      @william,

      Yours sounds like the theory of a terrorist. Someone should lock you up and throw away the key.

      August 1, 2011 at 10:13 am |
  5. Mher

    Another ignorant article misrepresenting Christianity...
    So many wrong infos in the video, pure horror...
    Jehovah's witnesses are NOT Christian...
    Even if the English words "Beloved" & "Believe" derive from the same root word, it is imperative to read the Bible & understand the meaning of the words written in the ORIGINAL LANGUAGE... In Hebrew, for instance, the words beloved & believe do NOT derive from the same root word...
    Better get all your infos right before writing a book mister...

    August 1, 2011 at 9:14 am |
    • Kyle

      Thank You! Sometimes I feel that ignorance is taking over the world.

      August 1, 2011 at 9:28 am |
    • Joxer the Mighty

      And who are you to judge Jehovah's Witnesses?

      August 1, 2011 at 9:31 am |
    • Kyle

      @Joxer, Who is judging. Mher was just pointing out that there is a fundamental difference of beliefs from Jehova's witnesses and Modern Christians. No judgement there.

      August 1, 2011 at 9:33 am |
    • Kindness

      Jehovah's Witnesses follow Jesus Christ as their leader which makes us Christian.

      August 1, 2011 at 9:43 am |
    • Joxer the Mighty

      So because they don't believe Jesus is God, that makes them non-Christians? Will they go to hell then?

      August 1, 2011 at 10:13 am |
  6. Herb

    Maybe a bit of an anti-Christian blog, but there is some truth to it. He got the wrong doctrine when he said that the teaching of the Rapture is recent. It has been around since the early church fathers. Seventh Day Adventists was founded in 1848 based on a failed prediction of the rapture. So the doctrine was well established by then. "Name it and claim it" however has no scriptural base and is a phenomenon of the last 40 years or so.

    August 1, 2011 at 9:12 am |
    • William Demuth

      So Herb

      1848 was the dawn of the Church?

      I thought it started with Zoroastor six thousand years before Christ. (or did you just steal that religion?)

      August 1, 2011 at 9:15 am |
  7. The Jackdaw

    For the first time, The Jackdaw says that this is a good article in the Belief Blog.

    “ Christians have become pious parrots. They constantly repeat Christian phrases that they don’t understand or distort.”

    “When Christians forget what their words mean, they forget what their faith means.”

    Have I not been saying this all along? Christianity has become a joke that its followers do not even understand. Christianity has become little more than a progress halting social club where the entrance fee is your own ignorance.

    The bible needs to be read for its poetry, not its prose. It is intended to be understood as a metaphor, not to be taken literally.

    If you want to be able to eek the value of the bible from its pages, people should study Buddhism prior and simultaneously. Those Christians who fear the influence of other religions can take heart in that Buddhism can be understood as a philosophy, not a religion. Once you do this, you can begin to understand the Gospel according to Thomas, which was only rediscovered in 1945 after its banishment by the illustrious Catholic Church, along with the rest of the Gnostic Gospels. These texts have much more to offer than the sterilized texts that Rome approved.
    Still, people need to keep in mind that this metaphor is created by mankind. Deity will not smite you for your shortcomings, nor is he watching over you to protect you. All consequences are natural consequences. The goal of all religions is to make the world a better place. As the author of this article says: “ ‘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.”
    This is the simple truth of all religions. There must be more tolerance, rationality and intelligence. Religion should give you clues to lead a better life, not an excuse to feel better than your fellow man because you have convinced yourself that you are going to a mythical place that does not exist.

    August 1, 2011 at 9:11 am |
  8. William Demuth

    I am reminded of the Church Lady from Saturday Night Live.

    An evil judgemental witch who used her indoctrination as a basis for judging others

    A comedy gem!

    August 1, 2011 at 9:10 am |
  9. Atheistscholar

    Uh, Christianity's founder was Paul, NOT Jeebus. Minor point, I know.... Sorry if somebody's already pointed this out.

    August 1, 2011 at 9:09 am |
    • Susan

      Please to spell the name correctly. It is abused enough. And a little respect please...

      August 1, 2011 at 9:17 am |
    • Charge Nurse Betty

      Yeshua bar Josef

      August 1, 2011 at 9:22 am |
    • William Demuth

      Susan

      No. Hows about you grow up and put the Broze Age superstions back in the bronze Age?

      August 1, 2011 at 9:32 am |
  10. gogogopher

    I love the Bible story how JESUS KILLED 42 CHILDREN with two female bears in 2nd Kings. Jesus is God, correct? "I and the Father are One"... "The Word was God".... "Alpha and Omega"..... And so on... Yes, Jesus was God in Old Testament days too folks...

    So a group of kids.... children (Hewbrew word for Children is correct).... 12 and under.... (a Hebrew boy turned into a man at 13.... still does) laugh at a bald headed man.... they were not mocking God.... they laughed at a bald headed man... The Bible does not say these children knew this man was a prophet....

    So the prophet prays.... and Jesus sends two bears outta da woods to maul 42 children.... Jesus is mercy? love? has little children sitting on his lap? Nope. Can you imagine the slow deaths some of the kids had? And some were ripped to shreds.... and the families of these children..... all killed in a crazy, violent manner with wild animals... bears... geez....

    By a show of hands, how many folks really Jesus would kill children with bears? Myth, story...fable.

    August 1, 2011 at 9:05 am |
    • Kyle

      This post really shows your biblical ignorance. God in the Old Testament was not known for "mercy" and "love" as he is known for in the New Testament. 42 children? what about the entire global population. Ever heard of "the Flood"? Christians believe both in the God of the Old Testament AND the God of the New Testament. Same God, but the difference is Jesus Christ. You are just pointing out something that educated Christians already know.

      August 1, 2011 at 9:14 am |
    • Susan

      Can tell this argument is between a couple of young ones! It restores my faith in the future that such concerns are discussed. Keep on reading that book, it has an amazing way of sticking with you over time. Often, stories in there begin to make so much sense. Oh, and don't forget that Elijah had to go through some pretty nasty treatment from the top political leaders of the day. Again, you might be judging what you really can't know all about.

      August 1, 2011 at 9:21 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      God is allowed to kill, whom ever he wants to kill, because God, who has given the life, is also allowed to take it away.

      God is the highest majesty of the universe. He has not to reason his deeds. We must accept, what he does, without scrutinising.

      Furthermore the kids commited a heavy crime, because they mocked the prophet of Israel. It is a difference, whether someone mocks a ordinary man or a majesty. By God's Spirit Elisa was a majesty. The kids should have considered that (2 Kings 2: 23-25).

      August 1, 2011 at 9:23 am |
    • Josh

      This incident has long been misunderstood because the Hebrew word "naar" was translated "little boys." That these characteristic juvenile delinquents were old enough to be fully accountable is obvious from the use of the word elsewhere. For example, it was used by David of his son Solomon and translated "young and inexperienced," when Solomon was a father (I Chron. 22:5; cf. I Kings 14:21 and II Chron. 9:30 ). It was used of Joseph when he was seventeen (Gen. 37:2). In fact, not less than seventy times in the King James Version this word "naar" is translated "young man" or "young men."

      August 1, 2011 at 9:42 am |
    • gogogopher

      So the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament are different? Wow. Christians don't even know their own God!!!!!!

      Jesus was God and is God.... he killed children. The 3 n 1 God..... right? Alpha and Omega.... know what that means....?
      "In the BEGINNING..... THE WORD WAS GOD....." Not clear enough for you? "I and the Father are one?"

      Jesus=child killer.... loved virgin sacrifice..... that's in the Bible...

      August 1, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
  11. Jimi

    Just another poor lost soul trying to water down the Gospel of Jesus Christ, so it will fit his life style. Just another example of false doctrine and teaching that the world tries to justify. All they are doing is fulfilling prophecy which was spoken thousands of years ago. God's will shall be done, regardless of how you try to twist or spin the truth. Resistance is futile, your no match for the all powerful, mighty God. Repent while you still have time. What's true is not new and what's new is not true. Don't trade the truth for a lie. God bless you all.

    August 1, 2011 at 9:04 am |
    • Adelina and Bonnie sitting in a tree

      Now God is the BORG?

      August 1, 2011 at 9:06 am |
    • Rick

      Only slaves need salvation. Get off your knees

      August 1, 2011 at 10:25 am |
  12. SRV

    Another misleading article toward the Christian Belief. If you are gonna dispute the Bible I suggest you use scripture to back it up, not just another misinformed scholar. Try studying the word first.

    August 1, 2011 at 9:01 am |
    • C. Smith

      But that means WORK. And THINKING! And all that exposure to a religion's true beliefs may be CONTAGIOUS!

      August 1, 2011 at 9:03 am |
    • Adelina and Bonnie sitting in a tree

      C. Smith

      Of course its contagious, its a gad damn disease.

      If you hop arond with trollops, you get VD.

      If you let a cult member infect you with lies you become born again and brain dead.

      August 1, 2011 at 9:08 am |
  13. JJ

    Speak "Christian"? LMAO!!!! LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 1, 2011 at 8:59 am |
    • C. Smith

      Yeah, I call it 'Churchian', because Christ had nothing to do with those beliefs.

      August 1, 2011 at 9:04 am |
  14. Adelina and Bonnie sitting in a tree

    Standard Cult Procedure.

    Obfuscate and redefine language.

    1894 revisited.

    We need these wackos to fade away, or we need to proactively fade them.

    They are a risk to rationality and modernity and they have got to go.

    August 1, 2011 at 8:56 am |
  15. Wallace

    Meh. Same ignorance; different flag. Has there been a terrorist yet that hasn't been motivated by religion? The various religions all point fingers at each other, or at the atheists/ Agnostics and make their accusations of uncleanness. And THAT'S the common thread, folks. Religion requires blind faith, total unquestioning devotion, and a willingness to sacrifice one's life, to one degree or another, for the false promise of "paradise", once you're dead and unable to experience or enjoy it. Of course faith is required, for the "God" they all claim to be "loving" and "merciful" simply either doesn't exist, or doesn't really give a flying fark, so your promised reward has to exist somewhere that can't be put to the test.

    August 1, 2011 at 8:48 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @Wallace

      You make the same assertions like Alfred Rosenberg, who was Hitler's antichristian high priest and finally got a death sentence at Nuremberg by American judges.

      August 1, 2011 at 8:56 am |
    • petercha

      What about atheism, Wallace? Stalin, Mao Tse Tung, Pot Pol, etc., were self-proclaimed atheists and yet they killed many, many millions of people. You point the finger at religion, but atheism is hard clean, either.

      August 1, 2011 at 8:59 am |
    • Rick

      petercha: all those you mentioned were "self described" atheists, just like fred phelps is a "self described" christian. those "atheists" you speak of defined the state as god, with them at the head of it

      August 1, 2011 at 10:30 am |
  16. CW

    Humm,

    I don't believe in "name it and claim it"...Jesus never said in the Bible that he would gves us our "wants" but he said that he would provide for our every "need". As far as speaking christian....I do believe in saying that "one is saved"...I further believe in saying "turn or burn".....it is the truth...read the bible folks.

    @ Apocatequil,

    You are definetly not funny....as matter of fact....your comment doesn't speak christian beliefs at all....go back to trolling.

    August 1, 2011 at 8:45 am |
    • Adelina and Bonnie sitting in a tree

      You do understand Christ is a fictional character don't you?

      Like Barney, or the Incredible Hulk?

      August 1, 2011 at 9:00 am |
    • C. Smith

      Adelina and Bonnie sitting in a tree:
      Actually, very few historians today question whether Jesus was a real figure or not. There's plenty of evidence that He was. One nice thing about the Romans is that they kept EXCELLENT records. The part most historians question is whether or not He was divine.

      August 1, 2011 at 9:07 am |
    • William Demuth

      Smith

      You are a LIAR.

      MANY believe he is a complete fabriction.

      Just because Christians believe DOES NOT mean the others do.

      I suppose he was also a white man with bluse eyes?

      You wouldn't admit reality if it fell on your head.

      August 1, 2011 at 9:13 am |
  17. kevin

    I don't know who this guy is, but he is right almost right and problably more right then all those denominations and groups.
    Anyone who sits back and sees the big picture of all these religions must conclude to the following question:
    How is it that there is 1 bible yet so many different kinds of interpretations by so many churches? How is that Jesus left one body of believers you could say one church collectively when leaving this earth and right now there are thousands of christian churches. Does not the new testament apostle write that scripture is not something private matter but even a child could know? Well actually it is. But the fact is few people interpret the bible the way the bible intened it be interpreted and few people every study exhaustively thus believing and accepting all things withouth exhaustivly studying it. One other reason why there is so many interpretations, is because people love to philosphy with eachother. People love to disagree and offcourse there is so many people who come with different kinds of perceiving things. While there is so big a room to disagree or agree cause Even Yehova says Come let us reason together its very few people that humbly bow down and say Lord what is your word and will! And problably most say they do ask God but there understanding and how they got to certain doctrines is sadly not in balance with the bible. Even in new testament times people of the faith searched the scripture day and night to see if things were true. Which is something few people ever do today. The other fact is, we live in a time where there are different sources for truth yet not almost all the time THE TRUTH. Jesus referrred to His word as being the truth in john 17>17. But we live in a postmodern time that your truth is your truth and mine truth is mine truth. You may accept it this way I believe it this way. So the reasons behind all these things are more complex then ever. The other reason is the bible indicates that Satan our invisible enemy weakens the nations with all kinds of things he can even theology. THE author is so right about the rapture this was never believed by early christians ever its something new indeed. And on wikipedia you can see the origen and how this came to be. Building a doctrine on 1 verse is very dangerous. To believe what your pastors say and rest 100 percent is very dangerous. To lean on your own understand is very dangerous. There is actually so much confusion out there that nobody really knows what the bible tends to teach. And one of this is the cause that many people left christianity because they say there is no unity. If you look muslims, they have a koran, they have a way of reading and singing it they have that unity. And when muslims look at christianity they just laugh them out. The fact is when you study history you will know that its because of the Muslim faith that christians are still able to hold to the bible so we must give them credit. Christianity surely has lost its unique truths collectively but the bible says there is a remnant that keeps his word purely and does his word to the point. Even in the koran its stated there is a little group who is faithful. I would say if you are a honest bible seeker test every spirit and teology whether it be of God.
    So its a variety of reasons why christians have lost their language collectively but its still there.
    Gods language will never fail He has preserved His words from the beginning till the end.
    Whatever faith you are i would recommend 3 things study if this church or group is teaching exactly what the bible teaches. If they dont they cant be that remnant group. 2. Rest solely by faith on Gods word. 3. Love God and Love your fellow men.

    August 1, 2011 at 8:45 am |
    • Sam Skwirl

      Get some kaopectate and shove it up your bum quickly!!!.... it may stop your diarrhea of the mouth. BTW, learn how to write a comprehensible sentence before posting again moron.

      August 1, 2011 at 9:32 am |
  18. Rainer Braendlein

    Concerning rapture:

    Marcus Borg meant, according to the above article, rapture would not have been object of teaching within the Church until about 1850.

    There is a simple reason: Jesus himself has told his disciples, points of time and periods of time would not be theirs concern, but the Father's concern. Thus, the rapture shall not be object of any deeper considerations, because Christ told us, we will find no solution.

    Although, there may be nearly no ecclesiastical sermons about rapture, rapture is mentioned in the Bible. Imagine Jesus returns for judging the mankind. Before he judges, he will raise all dead people.

    1. Thessalonisans, Chapter 4:

    13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.

    14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

    15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive [and] remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

    16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

    17 Then we which are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

    18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words

    1. Thessalonians, Chapter 5:

    1 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.

    2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.

    3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

    4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.

    5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.

    6 Therefore let us not sleep, as [do] others; but let us watch and be sober.

    7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.

    8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.

    9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, ...

    Conclusion: Every current hour can be the last (!) hour of mankind. Thus, we should really live as true Christians, awaiting their Lord. Not the hour of Christ's return is our concern, but how we can please him now and for ever.

    August 1, 2011 at 8:41 am |
    • Jason

      I think you are missing the point. The author is stating that the words used by many evangelical Christian's have become distorted or transformed from the original theological meaning. The example of rapture is that it is not a Biblical term. Both Borg and the author state that the term comes from a particular section of scripture, but the word itself is not mentioned. Also, as the author does a better job in the introductory video explaining, the concept of rapture eliminates any possibility of salvation, as the two are somewhat opposed (at least in practice).

      August 1, 2011 at 9:11 am |
    • James Gomez

      I'm sorry Jason but I think 'you're' missing the point. The "author" wasn't simply stating the fact that the term "rapture" is not in the bible but, and I quote, "They’re also inventing counterfeit Christian terms such as “the rapture” as if they were a part of essential church teaching." To me, the way the article reads, what the author of the article wrote was that the church has never taught the idea of the "rapture of the church". On top of that, he doesn't define what he means by "essential church teaching". To what church and what chuches teaching is he referring?

      August 1, 2011 at 10:04 am |
  19. GOP hypocrisy

    I can! It's called DO AS I SAY, NOT AS I DO!

    August 1, 2011 at 8:38 am |
    • petercha

      Actually, that sounds like liberal hypocrisy to me.

      August 1, 2011 at 9:01 am |
    • C. Smith

      petercha, sounds like all politi-speak to me.

      August 1, 2011 at 9:09 am |
  20. Kent

    @stormsun – Christianity is only a label that is placed on people who seem to follow the Bible. Actually there are people who claim to be christians who are NOT saved and will be going to hell with the rest of the sinners. And yes, everyone IS ACCOUNTABLE for their sin but the only thing is that we CANNOT pay the price for our sin. Its like trying to buy off the American Deficit with Zimbabwe Money, do you think the federal reserve will accept it? Thats just placing it in another perspective for you. Thats why JESUS was the only person whos blood sacrifice was of value to the Father (God) and through who we can claim forgiveness and salvation through.
    Why Hell? Well because we ARE accountable for our sins, we are condemmed to a puinishment and that is Hell. God does not hate you, he hates Sin. Ask Jesus for forgiveness and you will be free from sin, not that you are allowed to keep sinning, because if you do that then you have not really repented.... I hope you get the meaning of it.

    God Bless

    August 1, 2011 at 8:38 am |
    • hilreal

      No one REALLY believes in HELL! When was the last time you went to a funeral and heard them say that person was going to hell??? Read an obit that said this guy left to walk with the devil?? If the Bible is "true" saying that many shall knock but few shall enter, then MOST funerals should be talking about people burning in hell not walking with Jesus:)

      August 1, 2011 at 9:00 am |
    • Adelina and Bonnie sitting in a tree

      See the Christian condemn hid fellow Christian.

      These are a sick lot, damning each other to hell for refusing to accept THEIR personal interpretation of an imaginary Gods Imaginary words.

      It is ALWAYS about power over your fellow man, so please be honest and leave the lies about the superman in the sky out of it.

      August 1, 2011 at 9:05 am |
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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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.