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Millennials and the false 'gospel of nice'
Jesus confronts the money-lenders in the temple.
April 3rd, 2014
10:29 PM ET

Millennials and the false 'gospel of nice'

Opinion by Daniel Darling, special to CNN

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(CNN) - Perhaps you’ve heard that there is trouble brewing among evangelicals.

Younger Christians are weary of pitched cultural battles and are longing for the “real Jesus” – a Jesus who talks more about washing feet and feeding the poor than flashpoint issues like same-sex marriage and the sanctity of life.

If key evangelical influencers don’t listen, we are told, they are about to lose the entire millennial generation. Or, maybe that generation is already gone.

This story has been told with testimonials, chronicled in best-selling books and posted on popular blogs.

Here’s the short version: If only orthodox evangelical leaders would give up their antiquated beliefs, get more in step with the real Jesus, the church and the world would be better off.

Embedded in this narrative are two presuppositions:

• Young evangelicals are fleeing the church at a rapid pace.
• The real message of Jesus looks nothing like orthodox Christianity.

There’s only one thing wrong with these two ideas: They aren’t true.

Let me explain.

First of all, evangelicals don’t have a youth problem. I’ve heard the apocalyptic “leaving in droves” narrative since I was, wait for it, an evangelical young person myself.

But experts who have weighed this data point beg to differ.

Bradley Wright, a sociologist from the University of Connecticut, has thoroughly examined the data that purportedly shows an exodus of young evangelicals and says it doesn’t support the “disaster narrative.”

Wright says the biggest drop of faith in young people happened in the 1990s, and that current levels are about the same as the early 1970s.

Ed Stetzer, the president of Lifeway Research, has also looked at the statistics and has concluded that while religious identity has declined in America, it’s mainly the nominal Christians and mainline Protestants who’ve suffered - not evangelicals.

“The reality is that evangelicals have been relatively steady as a percent of the population over the last few years,” Stetzer writes, and “no serious researcher believes Christianity in America is dying. Not one.”

Of course, there are legitimate concerns about the evangelical church in the United States.

For the last several years, some Southern Baptist leaders have voiced concern about the decline in baptisms and membership.

But nobody is suggesting that orthodoxy is the reason for decline.

If anything, leaders are pointing to a lack of faithful evangelical preaching and intentional gospel witness as the culprit. Church history doesn’t bear out evidence that a mushy, heterodox movement is the cure for stagnation.

What’s more, there is anecdotal evidence that seems to indicate a robustly orthodox evangelicalism is growing among the young.

Networks such as The Gospel Coalition, Together for the Gospel and others are growing. Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, an unflinching bastion of orthodoxy, enrolls more Masters of Divinity students than any other institution accredited by the Association of Theological Schools.

One might argue that young evangelicals aren’t fleeing core conservative institutions, but flooding them.

Perhaps the doom and gloom story seems familiar - if also wrong - because we’ve heard it so many times before. As young scholar Matthew Lee Anderson puts it, the “change or die narrative is presented as a perennial problem.”

Progressive hand-wringers are missing the point, in my view. If history teaches us anything, it is that what dies is malleable, un-rooted faith and not 2,000 years of Christian orthodoxy.

But even if the change-or-die narrative is true, even if faithfulness becomes less attractive in this new age, this shouldn’t be cause for worry.

Jesus prepared us for seasons like this, urging his followers to a counter-cultural faith, one that gains the favor of heaven, but earns the antagonism of the world.

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me,” Jesus says in the Gospels.

The pop Jesus of progressives sounds less like the Jesus of the Bible and more like a malleable deity who easily aligns with our cultural sensibilities. A mascot for every chic cause, except for that difficult mission to which he called his followers: cross-bearing.

Consider some of Jesus’ statements:

“You will be hated by all for my name’s sake.”

“If anyone does not hate his father or mother, he cannot be my disciple.”

“If any man will be my disciple, let me him take up his cross and follow me.”

“For this cause, shall a man leave his father and mother and cleave unto his wife.”

What’s more, Jesus praised John the Baptist, that culture warrior, for his prophetic word against Herod, the monarch who committed adultery.

Yes, it is true that Christians should be known more for what they are for than what they are against.

But if you move past the rhetoric, you’ll find that it is often not aggrieved ex-evangelicals who are founding and leading charitable organizations, but the stubbornly orthodox. Faithful Christians are not the only ones in the trenches, relieving human need - but they make up a large percentage.

All over the world, you will find faithful followers of Christ adopting orphaned children, rescuing girls from trafficking, feeding the poor, digging wells and volunteering in disaster relief.

My own denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention, operates one of the world’s largest relief operations while holding fast to its theological commitments.

And some of the world’s most effective ministries to the poor and marginalized were started by and continue to operate according to evangelical Christian beliefs. They live in the tension of the New Testament, which calls believers to both faithfulness and charity.

In fact, the most effective agents of hope in this world likely don’t have Twitter accounts, have never blogged and might never have even uttered the words, “social justice.”

And yet silently, quietly, patiently they serve the least of these, not because they first jettisoned their quaint notions of orthodoxy, but because they held them tighter.

Daniel Darling is the vice-president of Communications for the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and the author of several books, including "Activist Faith." The views expressed in this column belong to Darling.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Baptist • Belief • Bible • Christianity • Culture wars • evangelicals • Opinion • Protestant

soundoff (1,027 Responses)
  1. Reality

    Will the real Jesus please stand up?

    Only for the new members of this blog:

    Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations (or “mythicizing” from P, M, M, L and J) and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Ludemann, Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT are authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects.

    The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hitt-ites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.

    April 4, 2014 at 2:28 pm |
    • Theo Phileo

      Do you also believe that the Confederate States of America won the War of Northern Aggression in 1865? Because that's the same kind of historical revisionism that you're positing.

      April 4, 2014 at 2:47 pm |
      • neverbeenhappieratheist

        There are literally thousands of different written opinions on who and what Christ was or wasn't, which one are you claim is the "true" version being imporperly revised by Reality? And just to warn you, once you pick one you will have the thousands of others claiming you are the one rewriting history incorrectly...

        April 4, 2014 at 2:54 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          "There are literally thousands of different written opinions on who and what Christ was or wasn't, which one are you claim is the "true" version being imporperly revised by Reality?"
          ------------–
          It's amazing to think that anyone living 2,000 years removed from the day that Jesus walked on this earth can think that they know Him better than the men who ate along side of Him.

          April 4, 2014 at 2:57 pm |
        • CS

          It is unlikely that the biblical Jesus existed. There was no "Him" to sit beside and eat with.

          April 4, 2014 at 3:05 pm |
        • hotairace

          Now all Theo has to do is show that anyone that ate with the desert dweller called jesus actually wrote anything in The Babble.

          April 4, 2014 at 3:07 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          there were not thousands being written in the contemporary times of Jesus (immediately following his death and resurrection) only a handful...ad they were already being accepted as authoritative...rather than ones displaced by time too long to have right info

          April 4, 2014 at 3:30 pm |
        • ausphor

          Theo
          I have read through the whole bible, must admit I skimmed through some of the begeting bits and the nonsense in Leviticus.
          Didn't come to the same conclusion that it was the word of some god. I saw your god guy as having DID (Dissociative Ident!ty Disorder). Right of the bat He/It has three personalities. A mean spirited screw up of a god that kept getting his creation wrong and getting right vindictive, slaughtering almost everything and starting over, really disgusting. Then you have His kinder gentler self with love and salvation for everyone with the caveat that you have to believe or you are out of luck. Then you have the spectral Him floating around in the ether, with an evasive personality. If the Messiah does come back he is going to need extensive treatment to figure out what the he.ll it really is.

          April 4, 2014 at 3:32 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Theo,

      so can you answer Reality's question rather than responding with a weak attempt at reductio ad absurdum:

      The tortured Catholic Jesus in his death agony during crucifixion?
      The white man with the long flowing brown hair and trimmed beard of the Protestant traditions?
      The Greek Chalcedonian view with the mosaic halo in a triptych?
      The Coptic human son of God or the Nestorians or the monophysites?
      The Mormon son of the divine God?

      Simple questions about whether the trinity is really monothesim are the source of unresolved fundamental disagreement for centuries. Christianity resorted to violence to solve these theological issues. How well did that work out?

      Just who is Jesus. Seems like "Christians" really can't agree.

      April 4, 2014 at 3:33 pm |
  2. bostontola

    YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF. There is no other commandment greater than these.

    Sounds like a Gospel of nice to me, and defined as none greater. Why is it so frequently the first to be forgotten?

    April 4, 2014 at 2:28 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Because to forget that makes it easier to indulge in their chosen narrative.

      April 4, 2014 at 2:54 pm |
      • bostontola

        Also forgotten frequently:

        Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged
        and
        Let Him Who is Without Sin Cast the First Stone

        April 4, 2014 at 2:56 pm |
        • fortheloveofellipsis

          "What are ya, some kinda Commanist?"–typical SBC response...

          April 4, 2014 at 4:47 pm |
      • ssq41

        If you ever get to Texas, stop off one Sunday morning at an Evangelical church and open a pew bible...pages are blank except for those verses that they believe relate to hom.ose.xuality and abortion and Sarah Pailin.

        In fact, open one of the pew hymnals and it'll be blank until you get to page 842..."Onward Christian Soldiers"

        April 4, 2014 at 3:04 pm |
        • CS

          That is not what I found in my hymnal. I am never sitting in the back again!

          April 4, 2014 at 3:07 pm |
        • ssq41

          NO! CS! In the back pews they have a copy of Mere Christianity hidden in a copy of Penthouse. Look again!

          April 4, 2014 at 3:13 pm |
        • ausphor

          CS
          You may not want to wander into certain sacristy's, where they have all the bondage equipment and toys than you could ever imagine. Most of the cameras and DVD's have of course been removed to a safer place, I think you can only find them in catacombs.

          April 4, 2014 at 3:58 pm |
    • fortheloveofellipsis

      Because they don't follow Jesus, but Saul of Tarsus instead?...

      April 4, 2014 at 4:46 pm |
  3. moderatedx

    "All over the world, you will find faithful followers of Christ adopting orphaned children, rescuing girls from trafficking, feeding the poor, digging wells and volunteering in disaster relief."

    As well as forcing Christian Sharia law on countries to outlaw LGBT and even make it punishable by death.

    Good times.

    April 4, 2014 at 2:22 pm |
  4. moderatedx

    This reads a lot like the GOP's statements when they don't win saying, "we weren't far enough to the right."

    April 4, 2014 at 2:14 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      It does indeed. When of course the reality is that they were already too far from the middle.

      Such is always the case with fundamentalism.

      April 4, 2014 at 2:28 pm |
  5. Salero21

    "• Young evangelicals are fleeing the church at a rapid pace.
    • The real message of Jesus looks nothing like orthodox Christianity.

    There’s only one thing wrong with these two ideas: They aren't true."

    And those are the only two columns of the atheistic rants about the "millennials" leaving the church in troves. Is like a table with only two legs. Not surprising though because atheists/evolutionists/idolaters are indeed extremely Hy.po.cri.ti.cal and compulsive pathological Li.ars. JAJAJA.... oops.... pardon me I meant to say HAHAHA!!!

    April 4, 2014 at 2:12 pm |
    • neverbeenhappieratheist

      I know you are just an ignorant troll, but I would like to see you attempt to site one instance of atheists telling lies. I see lots of us asking for proof of your God and so far not one religious group or person has been able to produce any empirical evidence to support the existence of their God. Instead they retreat into the undefendable position of claming it isn't their job to prove God exists but the atheists job to prove he doesn't, which on the face of it is pure idiocy. So again, where is the big lie you claim atheists make? Am I lying when I say "I see no reason to believe in leprechauns?"

      lie: an intentionally false statement.

      April 4, 2014 at 2:28 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Or you could, as an alternative, look at actual data. You would find that the overall affiliation rates of Evangelical Protestants is falling.

      This is consistent with a rising number of millenial "nones".

      I don't care for terms like "fleeing the church", these are indeed hypobolic, but facts are facts.

      April 4, 2014 at 3:38 pm |
      • fortheloveofellipsis

        "We don't need no steenking facts"–Salero translated...

        April 4, 2014 at 4:48 pm |
  6. new-man

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GfDfNepYMfo

    April 4, 2014 at 2:01 pm |
    • CS

      That was a marvelous hour of news and entertainment. Thank you for sharing. I love videos on the blog.

      April 4, 2014 at 2:08 pm |
  7. Salero21

    Well, well, what did you know!! See this is why I've been saying that atheism, evolutionism and idolatry are absolute, complete and Total stu.pi.di.ty but that's not even the Main problem for them atheists/evolutionists/idolaters. Their Real problem is their unbelief which is rooted in the extreme Hy.po.cri.sy and compulsive pathetic and pathological Ly.ing!!

    April 4, 2014 at 1:59 pm |
    • CS

      Hello Salero21. Hope you have a nice day.

      April 4, 2014 at 2:06 pm |
      • Salero21

        Hello CS!!

        You have an even greater day and weekend also!!

        April 4, 2014 at 2:20 pm |
        • CS

          I intend to have a great weekend, thanks. A hot SoCal Godless weekend.

          April 4, 2014 at 2:51 pm |
    • bostontola

      Were you the captain of your debating team?

      April 4, 2014 at 2:08 pm |
      • Salero21

        JAJAJA... oops... pardon me, I meant to say HAHAHA!!!

        Debating!!! What debating? My opinions are my opinions and I have a right to them, Granted by God and by men of reason and reasonable men and women. See, you're a prime example why atheism/evolutionism/idolatry are all absolute, complete and total stu.pi.di.ty!!

        April 4, 2014 at 2:18 pm |
        • kudlak

          We knew that it was just your opinion when you couldn't back up any of your claims.

          April 4, 2014 at 3:12 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      salero21 = thefinisher1

      April 4, 2014 at 2:28 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      Evolution is not exclusive to atheism. Just keep that in mind when you are calling some of your fellow Christians to be "absolute, complete and Total stu.pi.di.ty"

      April 4, 2014 at 2:30 pm |
  8. CLH

    My response. http://chrishirschy.com/2014/04/04/can-we-be-the-church-without-being-evangelical/

    April 4, 2014 at 1:59 pm |
  9. bostontola

    “If anyone does not hate his father or mother, he cannot be my disciple.”
    The Cost of Being a Disciple.

    This is one messed up God. Using intimidation tactics more suited to mafia boss or third world despotic leader.

    I'm not interested.

    April 4, 2014 at 1:44 pm |
    • kermit4jc

      you wanna prove that is literally hate them..or a hyperbole? according to context..Jesus always taught to love others..so there are two choices..either he contradicted himself..or he was using a hyperbole.....one has to prove he was contradicting himself and in no way using a hyperbole

      April 4, 2014 at 1:47 pm |
      • bostontola

        Read the whole passage from Luke 14, it's worse, include your kids as well, and make sure you give me all your possessions:

        25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

        28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? 29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, 30 saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’

        31 “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. 33 In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.

        Makes Tony Soprano look like a pansy.

        April 4, 2014 at 1:57 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          UMM..I asked that you show Jesus was being literal or using a hyperbole with hating the parents..not the rest of Luke

          April 4, 2014 at 2:09 pm |
        • bostontola

          kermit,
          Why did I provide more of Luke? To provide context.
          Why did i provide context? To address the intent of the passage.
          The context clearly shows that Jesus was intimidating people into putting him above all others.
          Why do I need to prove that what Jesus said in writing, actually means something else, preposterous!

          April 4, 2014 at 2:15 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          first of all....all that was not context..second.. Jesus was telling parables..and those were not intimidation at all! you failed to provide that Jesus was either using literal hate..or a hyperbole...a comparison that our Love of God is so much as to seem we hate others.....no..Im sorry..you failed

          April 4, 2014 at 2:18 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          actually...you got it partly right..to put himself above others...that's because he is God...and no way was it thru intiimdaiton

          April 4, 2014 at 2:19 pm |
        • ssq41

          Funny how the "literal Word of God" suddenly (and conveniently) becomes metaphor, poetry, and rhetorical device when needed to wiggle out of contradiction.

          Sad they just can't accept it as another great set of stories showing the human quest for meaning, purpose and an escape from the normalcy of Life.

          April 4, 2014 at 2:21 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          sad you don't know what it means ot be literal word of God..literal word of God means it is word from God...and we can gleam literal truth from figures of speech etc....ever read poetry? NOWHERE does the BIble say every word has to be taken literally....nowhere does any teaching say such either..itsis much to your ignoranceof what it means

          April 4, 2014 at 2:26 pm |
        • ssq41

          "...and no way is it through intimidation..."

          "And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." – Rev. 20:15

          April 4, 2014 at 2:23 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          so you syaing consequnces of punishment is intimidation? were you imtimidated by your parents while growing up when they told you consequences of not arriving home at a certain time? etc? come on..give me a break

          April 4, 2014 at 2:27 pm |
        • bostontola

          kermit,
          That was absolutely context. Your denial is a clear sign that you are flailing.

          April 4, 2014 at 2:27 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          not at all..using parables are ALSo figures of speech..hello..so actually..using the rest of that Luke text shows my side more....you even know what a parable is??

          April 4, 2014 at 2:29 pm |
        • ssq41

          Mom and Dad haven't thrown me into Pool of Fire in the back yard, yet, Kermy.

          Although, since abandoning the Faith and the Conservative ideology, I'm sure that sheen on the pool's surface must be lighter fluid or gasoline....and those matches next to the lawn chair....

          ...uh, oh....

          April 4, 2014 at 2:34 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          You didnt really answer honestly...did you or did you not get conseuqnences.yes or no.."being thrown in lake of fire is concsequnces whether you like it or not..consequences are not based on what you feel about them

          April 4, 2014 at 3:23 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          hyperbole: exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally.

          Jesus was such a kidder, right Kermit?

          April 4, 2014 at 2:49 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          I guess we all are kidders? we do it all the time..."Man this line at the market took FOREVER!"

          April 4, 2014 at 3:28 pm |
        • kudlak

          Hyperbole would explain all that "Son of God" talk.

          April 4, 2014 at 3:09 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          But there is not a hint of hyperbole..every time Jesus made claim to be SOnof God..he backed it up with miracles and teachings...

          April 4, 2014 at 3:34 pm |
        • ssq41

          Kermit...come on, Man! Read the gospels again and see how little the "miracles" affected the population and especially the disciples. Peter still denied him and the other ran off.

          Either the gospel stories of the miracles are false, or they occurred and didn't really impress anyone. Even Jesus warned the 12 not to bank on the sideshow.

          Can I suggest a great book on the subject of Matthew? John Macarthur, whether you hate him or love him, wrote a really insightful commentary on it and he goes into what I just described.

          Here's the amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Matthew-MacArthur-Bible-Studies-John/dp/1418509590

          I enjoyed reading it many years ago when I was a Christian. It, along with anything written by Phillip Yancey made me see my walk in a more engaging light.

          And, if I remember correctly, the only place that Jesus really claims to be "the son of God" in any divine sense is John...and its relatively late date creates a controversy about the Jesus of John compared to the Jesus of the other gospels.

          Remember, even Ceasar claimed he was the son of god. Apparently a common thing in 1st century Med.

          April 4, 2014 at 4:35 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          you are being pretty decietful..yes..INITIALLY peter did ...he IS after all a HUMAN..liek rest of us....your argument is weak..it imp0lies that everyone will believe cause of the miracles.....you don tbelieve..youre a skeptic..its typical.....but that does not negate truth...as for Peter...he RETURNED to Christ! get the context man

          April 4, 2014 at 5:08 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        The statement does seem a bit incongruous coming from the Son of God – what with the commandment about honouring parents and such....

        April 4, 2014 at 1:58 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          right..so a person uses logical reasoning..is Jesus contradicting himself..or are there other possibilities (ie using figure of speech..such as in hyperboles)? thus thenone has to show Jesus is being literal or using hyperbole...Throughout the Gospels..Jesus shows he has clarity of thought and such..so then the logical solution is that He is using a hyperbole....

          April 4, 2014 at 2:12 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @kermit
          It is unfortunate that few of those who read the gospels are willing to entertain the idea that some things aren't meant to be taken literally – even the words of Christ Himself.
          The Bible – and most especially the Old Testament – is largely aggrandized, apocryphal history.

          April 4, 2014 at 2:23 pm |
      • bostontola

        kermit,
        BTW, I love your logic. Your God says something, in writing, and I have to prove he didn't mean something else. Priceless.

        April 4, 2014 at 2:00 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          so I guess you dont go through life using figures of speech and read poetry do you? It did not change meaning of hate at all..but the USEAGE of hate..is it LITERAL hate..or hate as compared to something?

          April 4, 2014 at 2:13 pm |
        • bostontola

          I do use figures of speech, and I let people know when I do. Hate is a strong word. It is used metaphorically to intimidate.

          April 4, 2014 at 2:16 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          NOT neccesarily intimidation.....again it was to use as a comparison..your love for God so much it is as if youhate others...second....youre right..it is a strong word to use..Jesus had to get the point across..God is more important..your parents don't supply salvation....your parents are only here for a time.....etc etc...

          April 4, 2014 at 2:21 pm |
      • kudlak

        kermit4jc
        Maybe all that talk about being "God's son" was Jesus being hyperbolic as well?

        April 4, 2014 at 2:00 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          Its all in the context...

          April 4, 2014 at 2:14 pm |
        • ssq41

          ...Can I get an "AMEN!" brother kudlak!

          April 4, 2014 at 2:14 pm |
        • kudlak

          kermit4jc
          "Context" being Christian code for "Whatever I want Jesus to say, or mean", I suppose? Seems like you can just sprinkle some "context" on anything in the Bible and it magically becomes all right. Slavery in the Bible wasn't really slavery, if you read it in the right context . The genocides in the Bible were actually good things, if you read it in the right context . Jesus didn't really mean that he was coming back right away, if you read it in the right context . He also wanted everyone to be rich,if you read it in the right context . ...

          If you want the Bible to support anything, no matter how evil, just add some proper context to it.

          April 4, 2014 at 2:45 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          what MANY people make mistake of is this.when they see slavery.they think of in terms of ante bellum usa...slaves thenhad nO rights whatsoever...the OT gives them rights..rights to leave if injured....even a jubilee..a time when all debts were forgiven....etc etc.....

          April 4, 2014 at 3:26 pm |
        • ssq41

          More recently, the Afrikaners used the Christian OT/NT to justify apartheid for so many years...

          April 4, 2014 at 2:58 pm |
        • joey3467

          That is just not true Kermit, if you were a foreign slave you were viewed as property, and would be a slave for life as would all of your offspring. It is really no different at all.

          April 4, 2014 at 5:24 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          actually not true....it was not for life..and all slaves were "property" cause they owed money....you have credit cards? you are a slave to them...you go by their terms..not yorus...and you are not free till debt is paid....they still had rights...sorry you dont see that

          April 4, 2014 at 5:27 pm |
    • Salero21

      Which means you must Love Jesus MORE. That's how Great it is the Love of God for us and why he can demand MORE (a greater share) of our Love in response to HIS.

      April 4, 2014 at 2:03 pm |
      • Akira

        And how sad that you ignore His teachings constantly.

        April 4, 2014 at 2:08 pm |
        • ssq41

          Hi, Akira....

          Have you seen Austin lately? I wonder if his "visions" got him some face time with the FBi and SS.

          April 4, 2014 at 2:15 pm |
      • bostontola

        I know. That's the whole point. Your God character uses intimidation. And for what? To be the most important thing to you, more important than your children. He's all yours.

        April 4, 2014 at 2:10 pm |
  10. ddeevviinn

    " You will be hated by all for my name's sake"

    And now, Daniel, you get to be the recipient of this dynamic of venomous hate.

    April 4, 2014 at 1:04 pm |
    • kudlak

      So, you're saying that nobody who claims to be a Christian deserves any ridicule?

      April 4, 2014 at 1:23 pm |
      • ddeevviinn

        No, I neither stated nor implied that. Not really sure how you got that from what I wrote. Truth be known, I readily express my disgust and " ridicule" for many who " claim to be Christians", i.e. the majority of TV preacher charlatans, those who use Christianity as a format to spew their hate, etc...

        April 4, 2014 at 1:45 pm |
        • kudlak

          So, which groups don't deserve any ridicule, in your opinion?

          April 4, 2014 at 2:06 pm |
    • ssq41

      Ahhhh, dev....show some integrity and quit hiding behind that worn out American Evangelical persecution complex....

      Why don't you read a book such as "God's Smuggler" by Brother Andrew and take notes on what it really means to be persecuted.

      Better yet, you, Daniel and your blog friends should board a plane to Tehran, Kabul or even Beijing and fulfill Matthew 28....

      Until then, you lack even a hint of integrity or honesty.

      April 4, 2014 at 1:28 pm |
      • kermit4jc

        so persecution only involves violence? Persecution is defined as hostility and ill treatment esp because of race, political or religious beliefs..I see MUCH of that in these blogs alone..let alone out in public arena. We are hated by many inhere...it shows in their posts

        April 4, 2014 at 1:33 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Non believers also face persecution and discrimination.

          Just in America, at least seven states–Arkansas, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas–have in place const.itutional provisions that bar atheists from holding public office. One state (Arkansas) even has a law that bars an atheist from testifying as a witness at a trial.

          For 1500 years, Christians outlawed atheists from the universities, or any teaching careers, besmirched their reputations, banned or burned their books or their writings of any kind, drove them into exile, humiliated them, seized their properties, arrested them for blasphemy. They dehumanized them with beatings and exquisite torture, gouged out their eyes, slit their tongues, stretched, crushed, or broke their limbs, tore off their breasts if they were women, crushed their scrotums if they were men, iimprisoned them, disemboweled them, hung them, burnt them alive...

          Only in the 21st Century have non-believers been free to voice their opinions without fear of such reprisals.

          April 4, 2014 at 1:46 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          Unfortunately thatis true..hwoever..the point was....the person I was addressing seemd to imply that we as Christians do not face persecution herein USA

          April 4, 2014 at 1:49 pm |
        • ssq41

          Persecution, Kerm, is defined in the manner that best suits you...

          Perhaps you should log off and catch up on your daily devotional....start here in Matthew 10:

          21"Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. 22"You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved. 23"But whenever they persecute you in one city, flee to the next; for truly I say to you, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel until the Son of Man comes.…

          That you are offended and hurt by mere words speaks volumes about your immaturity of faith.

          Then, flip on over (if you have the courage) to Luke 6:

          27"But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

          Ahhhhh Kermy...I know it's more fun to focus on the verses about ho.mos.exuals and how sinners are going be boating on the Lake of fire...but grow up and be Men of God and start living the Gospels as you claim you do.

          You American Christians are the only knucle heads who demand their rights and legislate and litigate against the very promises of your own sacred text and savior's promises.

          April 4, 2014 at 1:47 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          I used a dictionary....thank you and as for this comment–>Ahhhhh Kermy…I know it’s more fun to focus on the verses about ho.mos.exuals and how sinners are going be boating on the Lake of fire…but grow up and be Men of God and start living the Gospels as you claim you do. come on..you assuming I do this..I focus only on those???

          April 4, 2014 at 1:50 pm |
        • ssq41

          Kerm, NO Christian in the US faces persecution.

          Don't even bother boarding a plane with Dev and Daniel...just get out on the streets and go door to door proclaiming the gospel as you've been commanded. Preach from every street corner...abandon your job and your family and your possessions and "Follow Me"....it is, after all, the "end times." Then, you might actually get a taste of what genuine persecution is.

          And, yes, Kermy...you are no more genuine in the focus of your posts than the other Christians here.

          April 4, 2014 at 1:58 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          DEfiNE persecution..

          April 4, 2014 at 2:10 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          "Kerm, NO Christian in the US faces persecution."
          -----------
          Care to hear about the time I was threatened with a machete? You know it's funny, only in THIS country where we have freedom of religion have I been threatened with death...

          April 4, 2014 at 2:08 pm |
        • joey3467

          As much time as I fell you must spend preaching to strangers you were bound to come across a crazy person at some point.

          April 4, 2014 at 2:16 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          it isn't preaching only.....its whenever one finds out iM a Christian...I haven't preached much here..yet I get persecution here

          April 4, 2014 at 2:22 pm |
        • joey3467

          Persecution would be denying gay people the right to get married because of your personal religious beliefs, or at least that is a good example of persecution.

          April 4, 2014 at 2:18 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          youre dancing..the point was Christians getting persecuted..and yet some people are denying we are....stick to the topic please

          April 4, 2014 at 2:23 pm |
        • ssq41

          ...A machete! Lol! Talk to a Muslim here in the US since 9/11...or a turban wearing Sikh....

          Define persecution, Kerm? Read Foxe's book of Martyrs or as I said earlier, any selection from Borther Andrew. You 21st Centry American Christians kill me with your lack of depth and knowledge about your own faith.

          And, Kermy...I know you love power (that is one of the primary reasons Americans become Christians)...but quit acting like a 1st grade hall monitor telling others what they can post about.

          Such an immature child.

          April 4, 2014 at 2:31 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          uh excuse me//I have no depth of the persecution? I asked for a definition of persecution..and so far no one has given it to me.....seems like avoidance to me....I was asking what YOUFR definition was...such immature stuff coming from you...

          April 4, 2014 at 3:20 pm |
        • ausphor

          Theo
          Would love to hear the story where you were threatened with a machete and death? Would have thought that would not of bothered you one little bit getting into your god's arms so much quicker. Funny you have no problem threatening those that do not believe as you do with eternal damnation, double standard?

          April 4, 2014 at 2:45 pm |
        • ssq41

          Isn't that odd, ausphor? But in his defense, when I was a Christian I was terrified of leaving a Chic tract in an empty phone booth.

          Not much in the way of courage, the Christian.

          April 4, 2014 at 2:51 pm |
        • kudlak

          kermit4jc
          People disagree with you here. Is that what you call "persecution"?

          April 4, 2014 at 3:05 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          so namne calling and such is not persecution? YOu seen some of the hate coming from some of your atehists buddies in the blogs?? Bable (Bible) Evangelicals (evangenitals) etc? that's nOT persecution?

          April 4, 2014 at 3:33 pm |
        • ssq41

          If that's your definition of "persecution," Kerm, then I suggest you stay right there in front of your computer and continue writing here. The world is a world scary place.

          On the other hand, if you're not too old, get down to your nearest recruiter and join the United States Marine Corps....they do have a way of convincing you to man up.

          And, by the way, the Navy Chaplains who are stationed at Pendleton or Parris Island won't take too kindly to your complaining about the DI's persecuting you.

          April 4, 2014 at 3:42 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          wwhhhhaaaatt???? IM not scared..who jsays I was?? what kind of response was that and what warranted that type of response?? I took the dictionaries defintion of persecution....the fact its....if someone name calles me..that shwos they hate me (sure does NOT show love to me)

          April 4, 2014 at 4:55 pm |
        • fortheloveofellipsis

          Kermie, try telling a Coptic Christian in Egypt or Syrian Christian in Syria whose church has just been torched by Islamists, or a house church member in China who can go to jail if he so much as breathes wrong, or a Nigerian who faces getting blown up by yet another set of Islamists, about how terribly persecuted you are. After they're done puking from laughter, their response will probably be something on the lines of "you don't know how lucky you are, pal!"...

          April 4, 2014 at 5:01 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          OMG so persecution is defined by HOW MUCH and HOW BADLY you are mistreated? WHAt typical nonesense..strawman....persecution is persecution..some bear it worse than others..it does NOT negate we are being persecuted....sheesh.....poor argument

          April 4, 2014 at 5:14 pm |
        • fortheloveofellipsis

          IOW, Kermie, you're getting your undies in a wad because of WORDS ON A COMMENT BOARD. And here I thought I was thin-skinned...

          April 4, 2014 at 5:44 pm |
      • CS

        I thought Matthew 28 was about zombies....oh that is Matthew Chapter 8.

        April 4, 2014 at 1:43 pm |
        • ssq41

          Most all sacred texts are about Zombies...it just took a couple of millenia for the hollywood writers to notice and start their screen writing treatments and make large amounts of money off of it.

          Pastors can't make all the big bucks, CS.

          April 4, 2014 at 1:51 pm |
      • ddeevviinn

        " Until then, you lack even a hint of integrity or honesty"

        I would be highly offended by this statement if I gave even the slightest credence to your thoughts and opinion.Obviously, I'm not offended.

        April 4, 2014 at 1:50 pm |
        • ssq41

          You've never been one to consider the facts, dev.

          But, I do enjoy reading your personal testimony here.

          April 4, 2014 at 1:53 pm |
  11. Timothy Burns

    In the 70's, as radical converts from the Jesus Movement and Charismatic renewal began to take root and influence the dead and dying, hyper-traditional (orthodox) churches, their mantra was the same as tradition locked clerics today. "Be like us, don't rock the boat, or you will cause harm to the church. Your faith will scare people away"

    It seems that whenever strong voices arise within the church, the established church leaders don't like it. If I remember, Jesus had the same problem with the orthodox church leaders (Scribes and Pharisees) of his day.

    We follow Christ, and are called to be like Him, not a canned, packaged, and process version of Him. When I find people that have a problem with religion, it's usually the latter that they reject . . . just read the comments on this blog.

    April 4, 2014 at 12:43 pm |
    • ssq41

      Sorry, TB...but many atheists have actually been involved with the very movement you speak of.

      Although not an atheist, I hail from that movement...born again in the mid 70s...filled with the Holy Spirit, etc. etc.

      So, though it's fun to package those who disagree with you and file them away in preconceived file cabinets, reality is quite different.

      April 4, 2014 at 12:50 pm |
    • kudlak

      Just curious, but who do you cast as the Scribes and Pharisees in that World Vision thing?

      April 4, 2014 at 1:54 pm |
  12. Dyslexic doG

    Kenneth Copeland
    Creflo A. Dollar
    John Hagee
    Charles Blake
    Benny Hinn
    Joel Osteen
    Eddie Long
    Ed Young
    Franklin Graham
    Rick Warren

    Snake oil salesmen one and all! All writing books a plenty! All taking full advantage of today's media for fame and power and fortune!

    They are just our current versions of the people who originally wrote the bible. All who took full advantage of their time's available primitive media for fame and power and fortune!

    And I am sure they all wrote themselves into the bible as humble, poor men, even though they weren't ... the same as these men listed above have all written themselves into their books and portray themselves on television as humble, poor men, even though they aren't!!!

    April 4, 2014 at 12:33 pm |
    • Theo Phileo

      Researching word-faith?

      April 4, 2014 at 12:36 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        actually ... these were my thoughts, but thanks for putting a name to them for me. I will now go and research "word faith".

        thanks for being my unlikely sensei.

        April 4, 2014 at 12:41 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          "thanks for being my unlikely sensei."
          ---------
          No problem. You'll get my bill. ;o)

          April 4, 2014 at 12:44 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        not just that.

        I am trying to show that your bible is not the word of your god. It is the word of men just like these, who lived 2,000 years ago. Christians are doing themselves a disservice following this book.

        April 4, 2014 at 12:43 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          "I am trying to show that your bible is not the word of your god. It is the word of men just like these, who lived 2,000 years ago. Christians are doing themselves a disservice following this book."
          --------------
          I understand what you're trying to do, but you're doing the equivalent of writing about a high school science student to make a statement about nuclear physicists. These guys talk "Christianese" but they're using different definitions to words we all use.

          Take T.D. Jakes for example (I don't think he was on your list though) He will talk about the "Father," "Son," and "Holy Spirit," but he denies the teaching of the Trinity. What he believes is known as Sabellianism, that was condemned as heresy by the early church because it denies the clear teaching of scripture. Men like T.D. Jakes, and those on your list, teach the Bible with a twist. The twist is usually to support some bias of theirs. Word-Faith is usually (like most things) about money.

          These people are not reformed. Reformed just means that they constantly examine their doctrine and practice according to the Word of God in order to remove error.

          I will be the first to admit that having these people around makes Christianity appear foolish to those who either cannot or will not discern the difference, and these charlatans MUST be removed, and it is to Christianity's detriment that it is not done quickly. Unfortunately, there are many people who LOVE to hear that Jesus wants them to be healthy and wealthy, but the truth is that we're just not promised that in this life.

          April 4, 2014 at 12:53 pm |
        • joey3467

          Give me a break. It was deemed heresy because it went against what the people in power at the time believed, and they got to decide what was in the bible.

          April 4, 2014 at 1:01 pm |
        • joey3467

          Also, those folks don't make Christianity look any more foolish than you do Theo.

          April 4, 2014 at 1:03 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          "Give me a break. It was deemed heresy because it went against what the people in power at the time believed, and they got to decide what was in the bible."
          ---------
          No, it was deemed heresy because Sebellius was shown to be outside of Biblical doctrine. If you think you can show ironclad Biblical support for his modalistic ideas of the Godhead, then by all means try. The Bible teaches that the Divine essence subsists wholly and indivisibly, simultaneously and eternally, in the three members of the one Godhead—the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

          April 4, 2014 at 1:05 pm |
        • joey3467

          I am saying that the books in the bible are no more likely to be true than the ones that weren't voted in and for all you know you are the heretic.

          April 4, 2014 at 1:07 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          "I am saying that the books in the bible are no more likely to be true than the ones that weren't voted in and for all you know you are the heretic."
          -------------–
          Joey, no one ever voted on the canon regardless of what your atheists' website tells you...

          The Old Testament was pulled together into the Canon that we have now by the scribe Ezra in the 400’s BC. (Nehemiah 8, Luke 1:70, Romans 1:2, Acts 3:21) By the time John completed the book of the Revelation in 94-96AD, the New Testament books were completed and had already been widely circulated as scripture.

          The New Testament was not compiled by any church council or by any decree of a ruler, rather, the apostles themselves dictated what the Scripture was (Ephesians 3:3-5, 2 Peter 3:1-2, 15-16, Jude 17-18, Galatians 1:1-2, 12, Hebrews 2:3-4, Acts 2:42).

          It was only later, in the 100’s AD when the Gnostics began circulating their own texts and claiming apostolic authorship, that the church decided that it became necessary to weed out all heresies that desired to creep into the canon, so they developed a standard test to determine the canonicity of scripture.

          In 398AD, at the Third Council of Carthage, the church once and for all settled the parameters of the scope of scripture by officially confirming the Canon. By using a set standard, the church fitted together into a single list, all of the individual writings of the Canon of scripture. This standard was solely meant to weed out heresy, it was not intended to “create” the canon of scripture – the apostles had already done that, and it ended with John’s book of the Revelation

          April 4, 2014 at 1:12 pm |
        • zendraxus

          And do the established religions perform any better?

          Theres the previous article about the religious leaders on the east coast spending half a mil to 2 mil on home upgrades and new mansions – their excuse is they didn't know the Church had changed...

          the LDS church wont even let its members see exactly what they re up to financially....refuse to say out right what the highest leaders are pulling as a 'comfortable living allowance'.

          Joey is right – the guys on doG's list maybe more blatant about it, but its the same song and dance at the end of the day.

          April 4, 2014 at 1:18 pm |
        • joey3467

          Actually they were, this is settled history, despite what your priest might tell you.

          the first church council which acted upon this question was the Synod of Laodicea which met in 365. This council rejected the Apocryphal books contained in Augustine's list, but admitted Baruch and the Epistle of Jeremiah. It excluded Revelation.

          Various councils, following this, adopted canonical lists. One council would admit certain books and the next council would reject them. The third council of Carthage in 397 adopted the list of Augustine which admitted the Apocryphal books and Revelation and rejected Lamentations.

          The actions of none of these councils were unanimous or decisive. The list of books adopted was adopted simply by a majority vote. A large minority of every council refused to accept the list of the majority. Some advocated the admission of books that were rejected; others opposed the admission of books that were accepted. As late as the seventh century (629), at the sixth Council of Constantinople, many different canonical lists were presented for ratification

          April 4, 2014 at 1:21 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          @ theo and joey....very true....in fact..many of the heresies rejected some of the Gospels (AFTER the Gospels were shown to be authoritative by the apostiles themselves and the early church fathers..some of who were taught by the apostles. a good book is by Brian H Edwards "Why 27" he does a thourough job of the history of how we got the 27 NT books and the assumptions people made out of ignorance of the "competing gospels"

          April 4, 2014 at 1:26 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          @ joey...evidence points to the contrary...the Apocrypha never was accepted as canon by the church as a whole..and the councils of Laodicea and such only Confirmed what was already taught.....you need to look deeper into the history what was happening before the councils...we also have a list of almost all the NT Books by 150 AD and the Apocrypha was not included..so it started early...not in the 300s or so

          April 4, 2014 at 1:29 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Joey,
          Then what do you do with the scriptures that I gave where the Apostles themselves dictated the NT canon? Are you now contesting the list that was given to us from Ezra in the 400's?

          Are you arguing instead that there were individuals who didn't agree with the dictates of the Apostles as to what consti.tutes scripture? Then I agree there, I believe it was Calvin who didn't know what to make of the book of Revelation. But regardless of the diatribe of those who would be factious concerning the canon, the Bible that we have is NOT the result of any church council, but it the result of the dictates of the Apostles, and Ezra.

          All of the books that the Apostles authenticated as scripture is in our modern Bible, and no author or book that they did not authenticate is in our Bible.

          Except for the papists, they add books not accepted into the canon, but they exist as historical background, not inspired text.

          April 4, 2014 at 1:31 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Kermit,
          "a good book is by Brian H Edwards "Why 27" he does a thourough job of the history of how we got the 27 NT books and the assumptions people made out of ignorance of the "competing gospels"
          -----------–
          I haven't read that one, I'll have to pick it up! Thanks for the suggestion.

          April 4, 2014 at 1:33 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          @ theo..youre welcome brother..IM rereading it again...cause it concerns what IM teaching in Sunday School for adults...especially about 2 Peter, why it took a while to be added as canon....

          April 4, 2014 at 1:34 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Kermit,
          Sounds like your class digs deep, I like that! It's a rare thing this day and age, keep up the good work. For what it's worth, I just read "The Sovereignty of God" by A.W. Pink. It reads like cliffnotes to Calvin's "Insti.tutes" and Luther's "Bondage of the Will." It was an OUTSTANDING read, and I wish my Sunday School would dig into that one.

          April 4, 2014 at 1:37 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          thanks..will look at that....yes..we dig deep...I just started a series of lessons on 1 and 2 Peter, 1 2 3 JOhn and Jude...going through the whole text and digging deep to find the context (who written to, why was it written, when, etc) and then how to apply to our own lives in todays world...

          April 4, 2014 at 1:40 pm |
        • zendraxus

          Kermit,

          in the end you still have a council of guys trying to put together a book that they all can use to have a uniformed doctrine so they dont end up contradicting each other when they scare their respective congregations into obedience. look at the claims of the book they were able to throw together.... they didn't actually succeed in that mission did they.

          as for even you timeline–150 years after the supposed death of their messiah – yet it claims to act as a witness (NT) and prophecies of this messiah (OT) ...this seems legitimate to you?

          April 4, 2014 at 1:41 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          Uhh..I think you misread my post? I was talking of 150 AD was when a LIST of the books already used and accepted widely by the church came about..second..they were Confirming what was Already taught..not adding or such without contradiction

          April 4, 2014 at 1:46 pm |
        • Vic

          How do the "Dead Sea Scrolls" by the Essenes factor in confirming the Biblical Canon?

          April 4, 2014 at 1:43 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          "How do the "Dead Sea Scrolls" by the Essenes factor in confirming the Biblical Canon?"
          ----------------
          The short version is that the Dead Sea Scrolls (400's BC to 300's AD), aid in textual criticism. Being copies of the original doc.uments, they show us that the Bibles that we have today have been faithfully transmitted to us through the ages.

          April 4, 2014 at 1:54 pm |
        • joey3467

          I see no reason to believe that the apostles were still alive when the cannon was voted on in the fourth century CE, or are you now claiming that they lived to be 500 years old.

          April 4, 2014 at 2:12 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          @ joey...who were you responding to?

          April 4, 2014 at 2:16 pm |
        • joey3467

          theo, my point is that you guys can't even prove that gospels were written by the claimed authors and you expect me to believe that they approved every book in the New Testament, when most of the books were written after they died? I just don't buy it.

          April 4, 2014 at 2:20 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          they were beingaccepted even BEFoE they died..Peter talked of Pauyls Letters being Scripture (2 Peter 3) and also the early church fathers quoted from hardly ANY other source except from what we have today! (by early church fathers, I am including those who were preacing/teaching before apostiles died, those who were taught by the apostles..and those who followed in the next 200 years)

          April 4, 2014 at 2:25 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          "I see no reason to believe that the apostles were still alive when the cannon was voted on in the fourth century CE, or are you now claiming that they lived to be 500 years old."
          -------------
          As I have said before, the Apostles dictated what the NT scripture was to be. Read these verses:
          Ephesians 3:3-5, 2 Peter 3:1-2, 15-16, Jude 17-18, Galatians 1:1-2, 12, Hebrews 2:3-4, Acts 2:42

          April 4, 2014 at 2:28 pm |
        • joey3467

          There were all kinds of gospels floating around at the time that talked about Jesus. I see no reason to think that the ones in the bible are any more likely to be true than the one's that aren't. Unless, of course, you can prove that the books of the bible are more likely true than the others without mentioning the bible.

          April 4, 2014 at 2:31 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          first of all..youhave to realize how the Gospel was carried out initially..through oral reports...next we have to also see that many of those gospels were not of eyewitnesses or even having writers glean from eyewitnesses... (the false Gospels showed they had not gleaned from eyewitnesses) Second..the church at large QUOTED from what we have as the BIble today.....showing they believed in the authority of the writings (certainly, if they did not believe in the authority of the writings..they would not have quoted fromthem0

          April 4, 2014 at 3:18 pm |
        • joey3467

          Reading those verses won't prove anything. Of course they will say that everything in the bible is true, that is why they are in the bible.

          April 4, 2014 at 2:33 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          UH the BIBLE wasnot as a whole at that time dude...think about it..the NT was scattered aboutin letters and such..no one church had all 27 Books at the time of their writings! the fact is...Peter says Pauls letters were as authoritative as the OT..and that was before the NT was formed!

          April 4, 2014 at 3:21 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          "There were all kinds of gospels floating around at the time that talked about Jesus."
          ----------------–
          Yeah, they were called Gnostics. And they came ex post facto, and were universally accepted to be heretical by the early church.

          "I see no reason to think that the ones in the bible are any more likely to be true than the one's that aren't."
          -------------
          That is because you either lack the ability or the desire to put forth effort into researching for yourself why so-called claimants to Apostollic authorship were not.

          "Unless, of course, you can prove that the books of the bible are more likely true than the others without mentioning the bible."
          ---------------
          Sure, we can start with the writings of the early church fathers, then look at the more than 5,800 Greek manuscripts, 10,000 Latin manuscripts, and 9,300 manuscripts written in various other ancient languages including Syriac, Slavic, Gothic, Ethiopic, Coptic, and Armenian.

          April 4, 2014 at 2:41 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          "Reading those verses won't prove anything."
          --------------
          Of COURSE it proves something, that's why you refuse to read it!

          What is proves is that there was no council that ever determined what books to include into the canon BECAUSE the Apostles have already done that. The Bible that we have today is the Bible dictated by the Apostles – no more, no less.

          April 4, 2014 at 2:44 pm |
        • joey3467

          So can you prove that the other gospels that were around are any less true than the ones in the bible, without relying on the bible as your proof?

          April 4, 2014 at 2:46 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          "So can you prove that the other gospels that were around are any less true than the ones in the bible, without relying on the bible as your proof?"
          --------------
          Yes, because as I said before, they came out of a movement called Gnosticism. Gnosticism is a group of ancient heresies that attempted to combine Greek philosophies and Christianity by stressing that escape from this material world comes through the acquisition of esoteric knowledge known as “Gnosis.” (The English translation of “Gnosis” is knowledge, but is more closely represented by the word “enlightenment.”) Thereby the spiritual element in man could be released from its bondage within matter – they felt that all matter was evil, and only the spirit is good.

          The Gnostics believed that salvation lay not in merely worshipping Christ, but in “psychic” or “pneumatic” souls learning to free themselves from the material world via “the revelation.” According to this tradition, the answers to spiritual questions are to be found within, not without. Gnostic movements subjected all morality to the caprice of the individual, and made any fixed rules of faith impossible. Since all matter was evil, they could engage in any indulgence that they wished, so long as they were obtaining the Gnostic knowledge for salvation.

          This was ANT.ITHESIS to the message of Jesus, ergo – heresy...

          April 4, 2014 at 2:53 pm |
        • kudlak

          Theo
          Not all groups that were deemed "heretics" were gnostic, right? Aren't "heretic" and "cult" not just labels that one group of Christians put on another, most likely weaker, group?

          April 4, 2014 at 2:56 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          "Not all groups that were deemed "heretics" were gnostic, right? Aren't "heretic" and "cult" not just labels that one group of Christians put on another, most likely weaker, group?"
          -----------–
          true, there were others out there other than the Gnostics, but these were the first. They began with Simon Magus in Acts 8:9-24... The label of heretic is applied to any whose doctrine does not abide by the Apostle's teaching.

          April 4, 2014 at 3:00 pm |
        • zendraxus

          Theo,

          we just cant go there. Your 'proof' requires the same leap of faith that the rest of you belief does. The same trust in writers that you have.

          April 4, 2014 at 3:00 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          "requires the same leap of faith that the rest of you belief does."
          -----------
          Sure, faith is involved in anything that we can't directly observe with our own eyes, but there's no reason to doubt what they said. (speaking of the Church Fathers)

          But it doesn't take as much faith as it does to believe that the physical universe created itself, or that life on earth was seeded by aliens, or that a universe that can be observed to be mutable is also somehow eternal...

          April 4, 2014 at 3:04 pm |
        • ssq41

          Actually, Theo, it requires no faith at all.

          Now, the evidence for the Christian God having created it...one need only observe the daily lives of the Body of Christ to confirm, overwhelmingly, that the Christian God does not exist.

          April 4, 2014 at 3:08 pm |
        • ssq41

          Oh, and really, Theo? You can't do any better than that tired "it takes more faith to believe in Evolution than..."

          I guess I'd better send an email to N.T. Wright and WL Craig and ask them to dream up something more relevant.

          April 4, 2014 at 3:11 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Actually, Theo, it requires no faith at all.
          -------------
          Oh, this is going to be good...
          OK, prove to me how the physical universe could create itself... (because it would have to exist before it existed in order to create itself... Or, prove to me how a mutable universe is also somehow eternal... (because anything that is mutable cannot be eternal) And I'll be merciful and not ask you to prove the alien theory...

          April 4, 2014 at 3:12 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          "Oh, and really, Theo? You can't do any better than that tired "it takes more faith to believe in Evolution than...""
          --------------–
          Take the Law of Causality, and apply it to the Argument from Contingency by using the Law of Non-Contradiction, and the existence of a creator God is proven to be a logical necessity.

          April 4, 2014 at 3:15 pm |
        • zendraxus

          Theo,

          there is Every reason to doubt what they said:

          The Church was beginning to find it feet in that time period and they realize they had a kingdom that was unique – it bypassed borders, beached defenses that it'd normally take armies to do. all they had to do is convince the people of their authority....nothing does this better than punishment in an afterlife- you have a messianic figure you can attribute all this to and he's long dead.

          they did the same back then as leaders do today, misinformation and misdirection and hpe that nobody can piece it together till its to late to do anything about it.

          April 4, 2014 at 3:16 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          "they did the same back then as leaders do today, misinformation and misdirection and hpe that nobody can piece it together till its to late to do anything about it."
          -------------------
          In order to make such a claim as this, you would have to prove that God doesn't exist, and that Jesus wasn't God.

          April 4, 2014 at 3:19 pm |
        • ssq41

          I don't know, Theo.

          And in the spirit of that ol' fox and secular mystic Dick Feynman: "I think it's much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong."

          And in the context of your belief, Theo, I'll modify the final words to read: "...than to have answers which [are obviously] wrong."

          You know, the whole Christian's daily lives' thing.

          April 4, 2014 at 3:23 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          ssq41,
          If you don't mind being corrected, please tell me why they are "obviously wrong."

          April 4, 2014 at 3:25 pm |
        • hotairace

          No one needs to disprove any god or a divine jesus because their existence has not been proven. There is no actual evidence for either. Those that claim gods exist need to prove their claims or admit they are just piling bullsh!t on top of bullsh!t.

          April 4, 2014 at 3:26 pm |
        • zendraxus

          Theo,

          No sir, – You have to provide proof of the supernatural....never mind 'god' or gods....the supernatural.

          April 4, 2014 at 3:28 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          "No one needs to disprove any god or a divine jesus because their existence has not been proven. There is no actual evidence for either. Those that claim gods exist need to prove their claims or admit they are just piling bullsh!t on top of bullsh!t."
          --------------
          I've already given evidence for God's existence over and over again, but you keep saying that no evidence exists. Are you trying to convince yourself?

          April 4, 2014 at 3:28 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          No sir, – You have to provide proof of the supernatural....never mind 'god' or gods....the supernatural.
          -------------
          Sure.
          The supernatural exists, and is the only thing that can explain the existence of the natural.

          The existence of a Creator God is a logical necessity, and it is the only viable explanation for the existence of our physical universe.

          Infinite causal chains do not exist, since an infinite causal chain could not explain how the causal chain began to be in the first place. Causal chains by definition are a series of causes and effects, and you cannot have an effect without a cause. Therefore the very existence of the causal chain (that is, our physical universe) demands the existence of a first cause. Since infinite causal chains do not exist, then that first cause must itself be eternal. Since the first cause stands outside of physical reality (being its creator), and eternal, it must also be supernatural. That can be nothing other than God. Furthermore, it cannot be argued that the first cause itself had a cause, or you err in creating an infinite regress – an infinite causal chain cannot exist. Therefore to deny the existence of an eternal creator who is outside of our physical reality is to dip into an illogical fantasy designed to fictionalize reality so that man may ease into a death without fear of having any contact with a God to whom they will one day be accountable.

          April 4, 2014 at 3:31 pm |
        • ssq41

          Theo, the blood of the Lamb has certainly infused you with the greatest measure of humility. I can just hear those buttons pop on your button down shirt, and that ego swell when you write those big blog words.

          I hope you take the admonition of Francis Schaeffer where he says: "When you talk with the dock worker, you have to present the Gospel in their language. They have the same questions as the academic, they just articulate them differently." (My paraphrase).

          Oh, but wait, a scholar and church father such as yourself has no time to actually live the Gospel message. So beneath one such as yourself.

          And, just look in the mirror before you go to bed...the "obviously" is staring you there, in the face, my son.

          April 4, 2014 at 3:34 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          ssq41,
          How atheists can be excused when they write snarky responses, but Christians aren't is beyond me.

          April 4, 2014 at 3:36 pm |
        • hotairace

          No, you have prattled on and on about your imaginary friends but you have never provided any actual evidence. Evidence that would stand up to the scientific method or the justice system's rules of evidence. You want us to accept your subjective blather as actual evidence but you just produce more and more words, usually based on The Babble, for which there is zero evidence of it being anything other than bad fiction cobbled together by men.

          As said before, you are just a puffed up ball of words with zero substance.

          April 4, 2014 at 3:36 pm |
        • zendraxus

          Theo

          haha...no...just no....

          everything occurs on this planet has a cause that can be tracked, monitored and verified....you need only to observe and have the right tools and equipment at hand – as soon as we develop more sophisticated equipment we will have a better understanding of how it ALL works.....there are no gods...no supernatural...just us, and it is up to us to figure out the mechanics at work.

          April 4, 2014 at 3:40 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          "Evidence that would stand up to the scientific method or the justice system's rules of evidence."
          ------------–
          If you want God to come down from heaven and show Himself to you for your benefit, that is not likely to happen. If you want some empiricle evidence that you can see and touch, you've got to understand that the scientific method is extremely flawed as a method for discovering many things. For instance, use empiricle methods to prove the existence of reason, logic, the consciousness, the conscience, feelings like love, hate, anger and sadness. Empiricism is useless for such things. You can take all of the chemicals involved in the body to govern the feeling of love, but you cannot take those chemicals and put them into a bowl and say that the bowl loves you. And even empiricism must be filtered through the subjectivity of reason.

          Do you want empiricle proof for God? Sure. My pen exists. Therefore, God exists.

          April 4, 2014 at 3:42 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          "everything occurs on this planet has a cause that can be tracked"
          ---------
          Then you've just admitted that God exists. If a causal chain exists, and knowing that causal chains cannot be infinite, then there MUST have been a first cause. The first cause that stands outside of physical reality as its cause must be supernatural.

          April 4, 2014 at 3:45 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          “The dependent character of all physical states, together with the completeness of the series of dependencies underlying the existence of any given physical state, logically implies at least one self-existent, and therefore non-physical, state of being: a state of being, or an ent.ity, radically different from those that make up the physical or "natural" world.

          It is demonstrably absurd that there should be a self-sufficient physical universe, if by that we mean an all-inclusive totality of ent.ities and events of the familiar or scientific physical variety, unless we are prepared to treat the universe itself as having an essentially different type of being from the physical:—which then just concedes the point of the existence of the supernatural.”
          Dallas Willard

          April 4, 2014 at 3:48 pm |
        • hotairace

          Blah blah blah. Or your god does not exist.

          April 4, 2014 at 3:48 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          "Blah blah blah. Or your god does not exist."
          ----------
          You can plug your ears all you want, but a creator God is a logical necessity based on the contingent nature of the physical universe.

          You lack of belief does no damage to the truth.

          April 4, 2014 at 3:51 pm |
        • zendraxus

          Theo,

          no..

          out comes WLC school of doubletalk:)

          April 4, 2014 at 3:53 pm |
        • hotairace

          Dallas Willard, not exactly one of the world's acknowledged scientists. In fact, he doesn't have a science degree at all. Why should we believe him over Hawking and Krauss?

          April 4, 2014 at 3:53 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          "Dallas Willard, not exactly one of the world's acknowledged scientists."
          -----------–
          So? Are you? Do you still expect people to take you seriosuly?

          Even if he isn't a renowned scientist in the field of your choosing, prove him wrong.

          April 4, 2014 at 3:55 pm |
        • hotairace

          Nope, I'm not a world renowned scientist. But I can differentiate between philosophical crap intended solely to bolster myths for which there is no actual evidence and scientific hypotheses open to challenge through an objective process.

          I don't think you've ever replied with a pointer to a scholarly article published in a peer reviewed reputable scientific journal that successfully concludes with "some god did it" for any natural process. Why is that? Could it be there is none?

          April 4, 2014 at 4:03 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          "I don't think you've ever replied with a pointer to a scholarly article published in a peer reviewed reputable scientific journal that successfully concludes with "some god did it" for any natural process. Why is that? Could it be there is none?"
          -----------
          That is because you make a serious error when you assume that only objective means are allowable for determining truth. This is proved false however in that even epiricism must be filtered through the subjectivity of reason and logic.

          You see, you want to see God with your eye, touch Him with your hands, but since that's likely not going to happen, you posit that God must not exist.

          But in doing this, you seriously err by throwing out mountains of evidence that reason gives you. By throwing out reason, you have become unreasonable.

          April 4, 2014 at 4:09 pm |
        • hotairace

          And it appears that not all Babble Humpers hold Willard in the same esteem:

          http://apprising.org/2008/08/12/delusions-of-dallas-willard/

          April 4, 2014 at 4:11 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          hotair,
          You are rude, derrogatory, and insulting. I don't know if this is the "atheist morality" that I keep hearing about, but I hope that you don't teach your children to mock those that they differ in opinion with.

          Atheists tell me all the time that they can be moral without God... I have yet to see it.

          April 4, 2014 at 4:17 pm |
        • joey3467

          I don't mock Christians, just young earth creationists because they are in fact stupid.

          April 4, 2014 at 4:21 pm |
        • hotairace

          Way wah wah. Poor persecuted christian, clutching its Babble while their myths crumble before their eyes. Poor baby!

          April 4, 2014 at 4:22 pm |
        • zendraxus

          Theo,

          Hotair and I are engaging in a game of wack a mole with you....don't like the direction the conversation is headed, you change the rules:

          "That is because you make a serious error when you assume that only objective means are allowable for determining truth"

          making it possible to state 'fact' without proof.

          April 4, 2014 at 4:27 pm |
    • Vic

      Whatever the case may be, don't look at people, instead, look at who they are telling you about, Jesus Christ, the Lord.

      I always shake my head when I see graffiti. Ironically, I saw the phrase "Jesus Christ Saves" in graffiti somewhere, and I said to myself, that is definitely true, regardless who said it, where and how.

      April 4, 2014 at 1:04 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      "The profession of shaman has many advantages. It offers high status with a safe livelihood free of work in the dreary, sweaty sense. In most societies it offers legal privileges and immunities not granted to other men. But it is hard to see how a man who has been given a mandate from on High to spread tidings of joy to all mankind can be seriously interested in taking up a collection to pay his salary; it causes one to suspect that the shaman is on the moral level of any other con man. But it is a lovely work if you can stomach it."
      – Robert Heinlein

      April 4, 2014 at 1:23 pm |
  13. Behati

    Best thing I read today.

    Thank you for this post @Daniel.

    April 4, 2014 at 12:25 pm |
    • CS

      What else did you read today?

      I read about a brain damaged soldier massacring people, a 12 year old girl being killed in a police chase, a devastating mudslide that killed 28 people (so far) and Flight 370. I also read Psalm 22: My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me, and from the words of my roaring?

      April 4, 2014 at 12:38 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        if I was powerful enough to have created the universe, I wouldn't have allowed a brain damaged soldier to massacre people, or allow a 12 year old girl to be killed in a police chase, or allow a devastating mudslide that killed 28 people (so far) or allow Flight 370 to disappear.

        I am glad to say that is the difference between me and the Christian god.

        April 4, 2014 at 12:46 pm |
        • Peaceadvocate2014

          Dy,

          I think it is irresponsible to spoil humans. Let them learn on their own. Provide them guidance and let them learn to swim or fly, as the saying goes.

          April 4, 2014 at 12:50 pm |
        • zendraxus

          No doG,

          If you were the creator of the universe, you would be compelled to demand animal sacrifice, insane rituals for body parts and demand death for those that step out of line......because mind blowing ignorance is just how the Creator class rolls.

          April 4, 2014 at 1:00 pm |
      • Peaceadvocate2014

        Did you read about the 9 month old baby accused of terrorism? Funny stuff. Humans i tell yah.

        April 4, 2014 at 12:46 pm |
        • Akira

          I read this: http://www.theonion.com/articles/if-god-exists-why-doesnt-he-throw-us-like-a-really,35674/

          I think you'll see a similarity in his arguments....

          April 4, 2014 at 12:56 pm |
  14. Peaceadvocate2014

    Religious denomination are both divisive and destructive. It does not matter to me if i go to a mosque, temple, iglesia, palace, garden, home or wherever as long as i am allowed by my fellow humans to pray or praise God.

    I concern is the same concern Jesus showed in the new testament regarding the role and responsibility of the chruch. Money is not one of those role and responsibilty. Charity disquised as profitiring ent:ties. If we feel we cant find that charity, do it on our own little way. The gesture does not have to be grand but its sincerity. What i think God would have more emphasis on.

    April 4, 2014 at 12:24 pm |
  15. sealchan

    It never ceases to amaze me how an evolving tradition can ignore its own story of change by using the magic word orthodox! Which orthodox is this author referring to? The teachings of Jesus (which scholarship is still working to understand), the teachings of Paul, of the later church Fathers as they transformed their faith from an any day now apocalyptic view to a long-term on Earth one?

    April 4, 2014 at 12:18 pm |
  16. Vic

    ♰ ♰ ♰ Jesus Christ Is Lord ♰ ♰ &#9840

    Jesus Christ Is Our Focus

    Luke 10:38-42

    Martha and Mary

    "38 Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; 42 but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”" (NASB)

    April 4, 2014 at 12:03 pm |
    • hotairace

      Almost certainly "♰ ♰ ♰ Jesus Christ Is Lord ♰ ♰ ♰" Is Completely 100% Pure Bullshit.

      April 4, 2014 at 12:07 pm |
      • thefinisher1

        So is your atheism. Your atheism is made up bull for the weak.

        April 4, 2014 at 12:24 pm |
        • kudlak

          What is there to make up?

          April 4, 2014 at 1:04 pm |
        • sam stone

          blah, blah, fvcking blah

          troll cvnt

          April 4, 2014 at 1:11 pm |
  17. Blessed are the Cheesemakers

    The funniest line of the piece is,

    "If history teaches us anything, it is that what dies is malleable, un-rooted faith and not 2,000 years of Christian orthodoxy."

    If history teaches us anything, it is that Christian "orthodoxy" is politically driven.

    April 4, 2014 at 12:02 pm |
    • Theo Phileo

      How is "repentance of sins" politically motivated? Especially since when this was originally taught, it meant you were going to be crucified, burned, or stoned....

      April 4, 2014 at 12:38 pm |
      • kudlak

        We can thank our secular laws for people not picking up rocks every time they thought God's feelings were being hurt any more, right?

        April 4, 2014 at 12:57 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        For much of the last 2,000 years, it meant you'd be tortured, exiled or executed by Christians!

        April 4, 2014 at 1:40 pm |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        Theo,

        The writer is contrasting what his version of Christianity means compared to the new "touchy feely" versions that are more liberal. Both of those versions agree with "repentance of sins" so I really don't think that is what he was refering to. Nice try though.

        "Especially since when this was originally taught, it meant you were going to be crucified, burned, or stoned...."

        Umm...no it didn't...not in the way you are portraying it. Paul seems to have gotten along fine....unfortunately.

        April 4, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
  18. hotairace

    http://theamericanscholar.org/where-are-the-people/#.Uz7U5Se9KSO presents a different view of how evangelical numbers are changing.

    April 4, 2014 at 11:52 am |
  19. bostontola

    "But even if the change-or-die narrative is true, even if faithfulness becomes less attractive in this new age, this shouldn’t be cause for worry."

    Evangelicals, please follow this man's advice. Natural forces will take care of the rest.

    April 4, 2014 at 11:26 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      He spends the first part talking about how they are not actually losing numbers and then follows it up with the argument that even if it were true it isn't really a problem....hillarious.

      April 4, 2014 at 12:08 pm |
  20. bostontola

    whistle past the graveyard

    April 4, 2014 at 11:20 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.