Words of a Fether

I am the way, the truth, and the life;
no one comes to the Father except through me. ~Jesus

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Surfing the net today I came across a very sad testimony from an atheist claiming to have been a Christian until not long ago. I hope that in commenting on this article that the author and others in similar circumstances may rethink all of this, because eternity is a long time to have regrets.

I did truly believe in God for most of my life and worshiped and prayed to him daily. I believed he was at work in my life at all times and using me to touch other people’s lives.

Believing in God is not salvation (James 2:19). The Jews of Jesus’ day believed in the God of the Old Testament, yet they too needed to be saved. They worshiped God, they prayed, they felt as the Greeks did (Acts 17:28) that they lived and moved in God’s presence. But they were required, when Jesus came, to accept Him as Messiah; to have one was to have the other, and to lack one was to lack the other (1 John 2:22-23).

Last fall, I finally moved past guilt and admitted to myself that I no longer believe in Jesus or the god of the Bible. Surprisingly it was a relief. Not because I wanted to run wild and sin freely, but because I no longer felt the weight a Christian carries. The weight of guilt, unworthiness and fear of god’s judgement.

Jesus said that His burden was light, so anyone carrying a heavy burden is not following Jesus. This rejection of the gospel is what happens when evangelists, preachers, etc. dangle sinners over the fires of hell and try to scare them into heaven. Instead, as I’ve written often, we should emphasize the fact that God wants us to be reconciled to Him (2 Cor. 5:16-21). Sin is certainly the reason we were alienated from God, and Jesus paid the ultimate price to rob sin of its power and purchase the gift of salvation for any and all who would accept it. A person who understands this and accepts it is a person who carries the lightest burden, who lives in gratitude and love, who rejoices like a child finally adopted. “Perfect love drives away fear” (1 John 4:18), so we know that someone who lives in fear of God’s punishment is out of relationship with Him.

The list of 20 grievances against God are typical atheistic fare, but I’ll comment on just a few.

Throughout history, Christians have justified horrific actions by the Bible and its teaching.

Professing Christians have done that. And they did it in clear violation of the Bible’s teachings, especially the New Testament. Yet atheists never seem to focus this accusation on Islam, whose Quran teaches it explicitly (and I would be willing to bet it has a tiny bit to do with death threats, but that’s just me).

The only reason I was a Christian was because I was indoctrinated into the religion as a child as a result of the culture and region of the world in which I was born.

Being raised as a Christian does not make one a Christian. Being indoctrinated is not being saved. Yet this is what happens all too often in Christian homes. The parents either take or send the children to “church services” or “Sunday school” and then wonder why this externally-imposed “faith” is rejected when the kids leave home. The churches are filled with these cultural “Christians”.

Christians are not at all ethically or morally different from non-Christians.

Mark Driscoll, are you paying attention?

Today, powerful church leaders steal, lie and molest young children. The church repeatedly attempts to cover up these atrocities, only to reluctantly apologize as a last resort.

Southern Baptist Convention, are you listening?

What we’re seeing in this sad report are the consequences of a fear-based evangelism, a very ironic term since the Greek word means “good message”. What’s good about telling people what low, worthless scum they are? And if they are such, why would Jesus have died for them? Did Jesus not die for beloved creatures, for those made in His own image? They are lost and estranged, not vile and literally dead.

Please refer to my article Go To Heaven! and its links for details on all this. We are responsible for telling the world about the GOOD thing Jesus did for us all, not focusing on the BAD things people do. A man-centered message is only that; let’s make it Jesus-centered. Lives are at stake.

Posted 2009-07-13 under salvation, faith, God, religion, worship, community, atheism, world