Jesus didn’t care about being nice or tolerant

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There is no shortage of heresies these days.

If you want to adopt some blasphemous, perverted, fun house mirror reflection of Christianity, you will find a veritable buffet of options. You can sift through all the variants and build your own little pet version of the Faith. It’s Ice Cream Social Christianity: make your own sundae! (Or Sunday, as it were.)

And, of all the heretical choices, probably the most common — and possibly the most damaging — is what I’ve come to call the Nice Doctrine.

The propagators of the Nice Doctrine can be seen and heard from anytime any Christian takes any bold stance on any cultural issue, or uses harsh language of any kind, or condemns any sinful act, or fights against evil with any force or conviction at all. As soon as he or she stands and says ‘This is wrong, and I will not compromise,’ the heretics swoop in with their trusty mantras.

They insist that Jesus was a nice man, and that He never would have done anything to upset people. They say that He came down from Heaven to preach tolerance and acceptance, and He wouldn’t have used words that might lead to hurt feelings. They confidently sermonize about a meek and mild Messiah who was born into this Earthly realm on a mission to spark a constructive dialogue.

The believers in Nice Jesus are usually ignorant of Scripture, but they do know that He was ‘friends with prostitutes,’ and once said something about how, like, we shouldn’t get too ticked off about stuff, or whatever. In their minds, he’s essentially a supernatural Cheech Marin.

Read the comments under my previous post about gay rights militants, and you’ll see this heresy illustrated.

That post prompted an especially noteworthy email from someone concerned that I’m not being ‘Christlike,’ because I ‘call people names.’ He said, in part:

“You aren’t spreading Christianity when you talk like that. The whole message of Jesus was that we should be nice to people because we want them to be nice to us. That’s how we can all be happy. Period. It’s that simple.”

Be nice to me, I’ll be nice to you, and we’ll all be happy. This is the ‘whole message’ of Christianity?

Really?

Jesus Christ preached a Truth no deeper or more complex than a slogan on a poster in a Kindergarten classroom?

Really?

A provocative claim, to say the least. I decided to investigate the matter, and sure enough, I found this excerpt from the Sermon on the Mount:

“We’re best friends like friends should be. With a great big hug, and a kiss from me to you, won’t you say you love me too?”

Actually, wait, sorry, that’s from the original Barney theme song.

God help us. We’ve turned the Son of God into a purple dinosaur puppet.

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There’s no way to be certain, but most theologians believe that, despite popular perception, Christ looked nothing like this.

I don’t recognize this Jesus.

This moderate. This pacifist. This nice guy.

He’s not the Jesus I read about in the Bible. I read of a strong, manly, stern, and bold Savior. Compassionate, yes. Forgiving, of course. Loving, always loving. But not particularly nice.

He condemned. He denounced. He caused trouble. He disrupted the established order.

On one occasion — or at least one recorded occasion — He used violence. This Jesus saw the money changers in the temple and how did He respond? He wasn’t polite about it. I’d even say He was downright intolerant. He fashioned a whip (this is what the lawyers would call ‘premeditation’) and physically drove the merchants away. He turned over tables and shouted. He caused a scene. [John 2:15]

Assault with a deadly weapon. Vandalism. Disturbing the peace. Worse still, intolerance.

In two words: not nice.

Not nice at all.

Can you imagine how some moderate, pious, ‘nice’ Christians of today would react to that spectacle in the Temple? Can you envision the proponents of the Nice Doctrine, with their wagging fingers and their passive aggressive sighs? I’m sure they’d send Jesus a patronizing email, perhaps leave a disapproving comment under the news article about the incident, reminding Jesus that Jesus would never do what Jesus just did.

Personally, I’ve studied the New Testament and found not a single instance of Christ calling for a ‘dialogue’ with evil or seeking the middle ground on an issue. I see an absolutist, unafraid of confrontation. I see a man who did not waver or give credence to the other side. I see someone who never once avoided a dispute by saying that He’ll just ‘agree to disagree.’

I see a Christ who calls the Scribes and Pharisees snakes and vipers. He labels them murderers and blind guides, and ridicules them publicly [Matthew 23:33]. He undermines their authority. He insults them. He castigates them. He’s not very nice to them.

Jesus rebukes and condemns. In Matthew 18, He utilizes morbid and violent imagery, saying that it would be better to drown in the sea with a stone around your neck than to harm a child. Had our modern politicians been around two thousand years ago, I’m sure they’d go on the cable news shows and shake their heads and insist that there’s ‘no place for that kind of language.’

No place for the language of God.

Jesus deliberately did and said things that He knew would upset people. He stirred up division and controversy. He provoked. He didn’t have to break from established customs, but He did. He didn’t have to heal that man’s hand on the Sabbath, knowing how it would disturb others and cause them immense irritation, but He did, and He did so with ‘anger’ [Mark 3:5]. He could have gone with the flow a little bit. He could have chilled out and let bygones be bygones, but He didn’t. He could have been diplomatic, but He wasn’t.

He could have told everyone to relax, but instead He made them uncomfortable. He could have put them at ease, but He chose to put them on edge.

He convinced the mob not to stone the adulterer [John 8], and you’ll notice that He then turned to her and told her to stop sinning. Indeed, never once did He encounter sin and corruption and say: “Hey, do your thang, homies. Just have fun. YOLO!”

The followers of Nice Jesus love to quote the ‘throw the first stone’ verse — and for good reason, it’s a beautiful and compelling story — but you rarely hear mention of the exchange that occurs just a few sentences later, in that very same chapter. In John 8:44, Jesus rebukes unbelieving Jews and calls them ‘sons of the Devil.’

Wow.

That wasn’t nice, Jesus.

Didn’t anyone ever tell you that you can catch more flies with honey, Jesus?

Of course, you’d catch even more flies with a mound of garbage, so maybe ‘catching flies’ isn’t the point.

While we’re often reminded that Jesus said, ‘live by the sword, die by the sword,’ we seem to ignore his other sword references. Like when he told his disciples to sell their cloaks and buy a sword [Luke 22], or when He said that He ‘didn’t come to bring peace, but a sword’ [Matthew 10].

Now, It’s true that He is God and we are not. Jesus can say whatever He wants to say. But we are called to be like Christ, which begs the question: what is Christ like?

Well, He is, among other things, uncompromising. He is intolerant of evil. He is disruptive. He is sometimes harsh. He is sometimes impolite. He is sometimes angry.

He is always loving.

Christ was not and is not a cosmic guidance counselor, and He is not mankind’s best friend, nor did He call us to be. He made dogs for that role — our destiny is more substantial, and our path to it is far more challenging and dangerous.

And nice?

Where does nice factor into this?

Nice: affable, peachy, swell.

Nice has nothing to do with Christianity. I’ve got nothing against nice — nice is nice — but even serial killers can be nice to people. They generally are exceptionally affable, except when they’re murdering. That means they’re nice to, like, 97 or 98 percent of everyone they meet.

I guess they’re following Christ almost all of the time, right?

And tolerance?

Tolerance is easy. Any coward can learn to tolerate something. Tolerance is inaction; intolerance is action. We are called to refuse to tolerate evil. We are called to get angry at it and actively work to destroy it.

Who’d have guess it — anger is far more godly than tolerance ever could be.

Obviously I’m not suggesting that anger is automatically, or even usually, justified. Christ exhibited righteous anger; righteous anger is the sort of anger that naturally fills our soul when we confront the depths of depravity and sin. It is wrong to seethe with rage because someone cut us off in traffic or gossips about us behind our back, but it is also wrong to feel no anger when babies are murdered and the institution of the family is undermined and attacked.

Anger is good when it is directed at things that offend not us, but God. Just as Christ’s intolerance, like the intolerance we’re commanded to have, stems from a desire to save souls and defend Truth.

Even when we have righteous anger, we do not have carte blanche to act on it in anyway we please. But, according to the Bible, there are times to use strong language, there are times to cause a scene, there are times to hurt people’s feelings, and there are times when we might need to use physical force.

Jesus told us to turn the other cheek when we are personally attacked; He never told us to turn our backs entirely and let lies spread and evil grow.

So, enough with the niceties.

Christians in this country sound too similar to the the Golden Girls song, and not enough like the Battle Hymn of the Republic. There’s too much ‘thank you for being a friend,’ and not enough ‘lightening from His terrible swift sword.’

We’re all hugging and singing Kumbaya, when we should be marching and shouting Hallelujah.

We’re nice Christians with our nice Jesus, and we are trampled on without protest.

Enough, already.

I think it’s time that Christianity regain its fighting spirit; the spirit of Christ.

I think it’s time we ask that question: ‘What would Jesus do?’

And I think it’s time we answer it truthfully: Jesus would flip tables and yell.

Maybe we ought to follow suit.

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1,688 Responses to Jesus didn’t care about being nice or tolerant

  1. Ed Sumner says:

    Jesus was always firm in His statements. The same Jesus who rebuked the Pharisees for twisting the Law is the same Jesus who told the woman caught in adultery: Go and sin no more! He wasn’t letting her off the hook. He had no legal case under the Law. There were not two or three witnesses. “Woman, where are your accusers?” was a legal question. Under the Law, a capital offense had to have two or three witnesses to stand in evidence.

    Jesus was not the thin, near-emaciated itinerate rabbi of Da Vinci paintings. Jesus was a man who built homes for a living. A man used to moving huge blocks of wood, massive stones, handling carpenter’s and mason’s tools all day; carving, hammering, planing, sculpting, sawing. When you think of Jesus, think construction worker. He was undoubtedly well-muscled. A man any woman would’ve been proud to have for a husband. Calloused hands, tanned skin, perhaps even ‘ripped’ in today’s vernacular. In contrast, I give you the pasty faced Pharisees and Saduccees and scribes, used to sitting about on their backsides in the temple all day copying scrolls, writing useless tomes of Mishnah commentaries on what they thought this passage of that passage meant. They ate well in the houses of the Romans whose buttocks they kissed as often as they could to curry favor, while those to whom they preached eked out meager livings.

    When Jesus did start teaching, it was obvious to anyone who heard Him that He knew what He was talking about. Even Scripture tells us that the people said “He teaches as one with authority, not like the scribes.”

    They tried to mob Him and pushed Him to the edge of a precipice in order to shove Him over (prelude to a stoning) but He passed back through the lot of them and went on His way. What does that tell you? Jesus versus the mob and Jesus walks back through them and they don’t touch Him. There was something about Jesus that said: “Enough is enough.”

    No, Jesus was a man’s man. A man to be admired. And emulated. Look at the people He hung out with. Fishermen. Working stiffs. Tax collectors. Contrary to popular belief, He didn’t hang out with prostitutes. Mary Magdalene was a woman out of whom He cast seven demons. He ministered to such people. That doesn’t mean He hung out with them. In contrast, the Pharisees and religious leaders declined to even go near such people. It was the Pharisees who accused Him of being a glutton and a drunkard.

    Jesus wasn’t afraid to say just what He thought. “Simon, I have something to say to you. There was a man who had two people in debt to him. One owed 500 denarii, the other 50. Which one loved him most?” “I suppose the one who owed the most rabbi.” “Very good Simeon….do you see this woman? I walked in here and you didn’t even bother to give me water to wash my feet. She’s been washing my feet with her tears and wiping them with her hair! You didn’t give me a greeting kiss, she hasn’t stopped kissing my feet since I got here! You didn’t anoint my head with oil, she anointed my feet with ointment! So I tell you now, her many sins are forgiven for she loved much, but to whom little is forgiven, they love little.” Then in front of a house full of people, he said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.” Imagine the buzz. (Man, did you hear what Rabbi Y’shua said to Simeon the Pharisee last night? Oi vey, he told him off right in his own house.)

    No, Jesus didn’t care one whit about being Mr. Nice Guy when the situation called for Him to be firm. There is a time to every purpose under heaven. Sometimes, that means it’s time to rebuke someone instead of being nice. There have been a lot of people here who have used language that if you’d said it to me on the street, I’d have chewed you good. Some of you I doubt have ever picked up a Bible, despite your claims to the contrary. A sad commentary on American Christianity indeed.

    • Nathan Thomas says:

      Ed he told the woman to go and sin no more but do you actually believe this happened? Of course not, and Christ knew she would continue sinning as all Christians do.

      • Ed Sumner says:

        I can’t say whether it happened, because I wasn’t there. That said, she wasn’t a Christian. There was no Christianity then, it was pre-crucifixion/pre-70 AD, so there was only either apostate Judaism or faithful Judaism.

        • BK Moody says:

          what? if you have put your faith and trust in Christ you are saved and could be called a christian

      • Andrea Webb says:

        so does that give her permission to sin? sin is a willful act against God.

    • Manuel Override says:

      Matt Walsh, Truth it is, i do believe u have some actual understand about it man. keep it up. cant save the world but there will be those that u reach that will find the road to salvation in the word and truth.

    • Luigi says:

      I liked your post, very well thought out and funny. Thank you. I signed up just to post this.

    • Actually, Jesus’ family made yokes for farming. Don’t get too carried away, here/

      • Ed Sumner says:

        Beannacht! Other than a few lines in the NT regarding yokes, we really don’t know all of what Joseph’s business entailed. Historically, carpenters in those days did a lot of construction. It’s even possible that Jesus did military work for the Roman army of occupation. Things weren’t quite as specialized back then as they are now, so He may have worked in a number of different mediums: wood, stone, leather. Homebuilding, boat building/repair, leatherwork.

  2. Mike Tollefson says:

    I have found that being kind, tolerant and respectful of others serves me very well. Of course I don’t spend a lot of time trying to convince others that my BELEIFS are the truth.

    Furthermore when I talk to people who are unkind and intolerant I can’t help but think whatever he’s got I definatley don’t want.

    • Beau says:

      Very well put Mike, I agree.

    • sal says:

      Mike, are you tolerant of people who would harm you or others? Are you kind, tolerant and respectful to people who want to take away your freedom? If not, then you are NOT really tolerant of ALL others. And you would actually, in fact, be using good judgment in exactly the same way as taught by Jesus. No one is universally tolerant.

      • mike tollefson says:

        Sal, maybe you should reread my post as I said being kind and respectful of others not ALL others or not that I would ignore people who harm others or would take away our freedoms. In fact Sal I am a Navy Combat Veteran who fought proudly for our freedoms. I do agree that no one is universally tolerant nor should we be. I also stand by the saying “my rights end where your nose begins.”

    • Tony says:

      Yes, it is good to be kind, tolerant and respectful most of the time.

      However, take this situation, you walk down the street and come upon a man beating a child and the child’s life is in danger.

      Should you be kind, tolerant and respectful of the man, and let him continue with his actions?

      There are many people who would want to stop the man from killing the child, many of those same people feel the exact same way about abortion.

      Are you kind, tolerant and respectful of a woman’s decision to kill the human inside of her?

      I also am kind, tolerant and respectful, unless I see someone harming someone else, then I speak up for the person being hurt.

      • mike tollefson says:

        I agree however harming someone else does not include holding a belief different than my own. For example even though I don’t hold the same beliefs of the Mormon faith the Jewish faith or the Muslim faith I will treat them with the respect and dignity that any decent human being deserves. This seems to differ from many people on this particular website who believe in the Christian faith and demand that others share their beliefs otherwise in Christ’s name it is ok to treat them unkind, intolerant and disrespectful. Unfortunately we won’t know whose beliefs are the truth until judgement day when God will be the judge not some hypocritical man trying to scream the loudest that their faith is right and the other 499 are wrong and going to hell.

        • Tony says:

          Oh, I agree completely, there is no reason to treat someone of a differing faith unkindly. However, that does not give someone of a different faith the blanket okay to harm others in the name of their faith.

          And again, you are right that it doesn’t matter how loudly you proclaim your faith if you’re wrong about it, judgement day will not be kind.

          But regardless of your beliefs, kindness and tolerance should be universal in my opinion, because you’re right, there is no way to know for absolute certain who is correct in their religion. So, why would you try to force your religion onto someone else if you may be damning them, and why would you berate them for their belief if they might be in the right?

          The last thing you want is to get to the gates of heaven and be told, “Well we were going to let you in, but you just wouldn’t stop berating all those people who actually were believing in me as I asked all people to”.

    • Mike says:

      I bet it serves YOU very well….

    • craniumlogos says:

      Hey as long as it serves YOU well, we’re good then!
      I wonder if it serves God well, though?
      When Christ was whipping the moneychangers, would you have been watching and thinking, “whatever that guy has, I don’t want!”?

      • mike tollefson says:

        Again Matt I say if your “Beliefs” work for you that’s great but Christian faith is no more a “FACT” than Jewish faith, Buddhism, the Mormon faith etc… You can scream as loud as you want it does not make your interpretation of the bible a fact you might convince some people differently but most people know the difference which is why I say again if it works for you great but don’t present it as a FACT when it is really a belief. It is a position of ignorance on your part or maybe just an outright lie as I can assume you know the difference between a belief and a fact.

        Mike Tollefson

        • Mike,

          You write as if all truth is subjective, that what someone beliefs to be right is right on the basis that it is right for them. Sounds like relativism. Is this where you are going? That there is no absolute truth? People can distort truth I agree but is God not clear in His mind when He speaks? Do you give God the right to clear what is muddy or does man?

          Subjective truth is a failure to hold to objective truth. Personal experience cannot be the highest authority can it? I hope my personal experiences are not ultimately what bring people to a faith in Christianity. If it was another story of another man’s faith could in someone’s eye can trump mine. It would be a “ours is better” mentality you are wanting to subscribe against. But if there is objective truth than we can begin to agree on areas of faith and practice. But that objective truth is the Scripture. Not just a personal interpretation of that scripture, but the truth in the context of Scripture.

        • mike tollefson says:

          John apparently I did not communicate my thoughts clearly as I believe opposite of what you propose. What I think or believe is not necessarily the truth or a fact unless it is something that can be proven. I can prove with genetic testing that I have a son and his name is Tyler. I can prove that if I have two apples and add one more that I have three etc…..When you tell me that the bible is the word of God that is a belief the same as the Muslim woman who gave me a copy of the Koran and told me it is the word of God. When you or she use the supporting evidence that it says so in the bible or in the Koran you make a disingenuous argument as your assertion can not be proven. Unfortunately many people of faith express their beliefs as facts and expect people to except them as such but there are a lot of us who know that your faith can not be proven as a fact and that we can believe if we choose. Trying to brow beat people into believing is counter productive as it makes religious people of all beliefs look ignorant, egotistical and spiritually unattractive all the while I believe people of faith are called by their God to bring more believers to him/her.

        • Manuel Override says:

          yet to be seen if one, all, or any of these faiths are fact or not. But we will all find out when the time comes, I assume u cant tell the difference between a fact and lie Mike, because u used your belief to seperate belief and fact as a fact.Seems u are as ignorant, and guilty of the same thing u accuse others of being. I think u as lost as most Mike.

        • Chris says:

          John,

          The notion that scripture represents “objective truth” is flatly ridiculous. Unless you can prove that the Bible is the literal word of God, then your belief that it is is completely subjective, as are all religious beliefs. You choose to believe that the Bible is the word of God for highly personal reasons. Others do not make the same choice, and their reasons are just as valid as yours.

          I am very sick of the Christian right misusing the terms “objective” and “subjective,” as well as “relativism.” This is making our culture dumber. Yes, we do need to take a harder look at the difference between fact and opinion. But Christians who believe that the Bible is a factual document, and everyone who does not believe this is objectively wrong, should move to the front of the line when it comes to this lesson.

      • mike tollefson says:

        I believe that when Jesus was whipping the money changers he should have been treated like any other under the law at that time in that place. But to clarify again I only have one problem with ALL organized religions and that is that they expound their BELIEFS as FACTS and then bad mouth and belittle those who don’t believe what they believe. By shouting louder and condemning those who don’t share your beliefs aren’t you really just driving more people away from Christ I know it drives me away. If being a Christian is to share beliefs such as yours I’d rather burn in hell with the Mormons, Jews and the other 500 established religions that you may consider blasphemy.

        • Ed Sumner says:

          No, one rejects Jesus because they prefer darkness because their deeds are evil.

          And don’t worry Mike, just continue on the path you’re on, you will get your druthers.

        • Jason Williams says:

          I am going to put my 2 cents in here. I admit that I often choose an extreme position on things, but this is how I view it. The Bible is given to us as the inspired, unerring true word of God. That being said, we are left with 2 basic choices.If we truly believe that God is our all powerful, loving and knowing creator, and that he gave us the Bible as his divine instruction manual, then there is no room to dispute anything it says in the Bible. If we truly believe that God’s hand created the universe, and the earth, and man and inspired/directed men to write the Bible, then how could we believe that God would let anything untrue or misleading be put in the Bible. So, long story short, we must either choose to believe all of it, or none of it. This is where our faith comes in.

          Now, I know the usual response is that there are many different versions of the Bible, different translations and people putting out “New Versions” of it everyday. That is where we as Christians must do our due diligence and research, learn and more importantly pray for direction.

          The point here is that there is not a lot of room for gray area in the teachings of the Bible. We are born into a society today that wants to live totally in the gray area, and that is not possible without compromising your morals and values at some point. But there is proof, actual proven, scientific evidence that give support to the FACTS talked of in the Bible concerning many historical events and happenings. So if we can prove that the Bible is right about what happened in the past, and what it says is spot on for what is happening in the present, the predictions for the future cannot be ignored regardless of what you call them.

          And on the note of being nice and tolerant, we are called to be the salt and light of the earth. We are called to seek out sin and expose it in the light. We are instructed to love others as ourselves. That means we are to be different than the “normal” people, we are to be confrontational, decisive and unwavering. In loving others as ourselves, we are also to hold them accountable. If you are truly my friend, I will call you out when you are wrong, offer you help when you need it and hope you do the same with me. What I will not do is let you ruin your life or mine because not insulting, angering or confronting you would be the nice thing to do.

        • mike tollefson says:

          I think you make some great points I just have one question you and many others BELIEVE that the Bible is the word of God. Just as many people or more BELIEVE that their religious texts for example the Koran the Book of Mormon and countless others are the word of God. Nobody can prove with verifiable facts that they are right and the others are wrong. Everyone is free to BELIEVE whatever they wish and should hopefully conduct themselves accordingly but for any FAITH to exert their BELIEFS as fact is disingenuous and intentionally misleading the simple truth is a BELIEF no matter how strongly held is not a fact and to use a text like the Bible or the Koran and say that it is the word of God because it says it is the word of God is ridiculous you have to do better than that to prove it is a fact.

          Mike

        • helldoesntownme says:

          @Jason Williams, well said. Thank you. I may quote you (w/ appropriate citation) in the book I’m writing, Loved As If. If you’re interested, the FB page is LovedAsIf

        • Chris says:

          Jason:

          “If we truly believe that God’s hand created the universe, and the earth, and man and inspired/directed men to write the Bible, then how could we believe that God would let anything untrue or misleading be put in the Bible.”

          Yes, that’s why God in his infinite wisdom has never allowed any other religious documents to ever be published, and no other religions exist. I mean, that would be crazy! Then people might actually have different opinions about which religion was true, and God would never allow that!

          Obviously, God (if he exists) has allowed other religions to exist and even flourish, and has allowed other religious books to come into existence, and has even allowed unpublished books claiming to be a part of the original Bible to exist! So your argument makes no sense. God is not a magical babysitter who ensures that his people are never ever given a reason to doubt anything. Men wrote the Bible, men assembled the Bible, men chose which books were going to be included and which were not, and men wrote and went about the same process for the documents in many other religions.

          To claim that the Bible, or any other religious document, is totally free of errors is not just a show of faith in God. It’s a show of faith in man–in humans’ ability to transmit His word with perfect accuracy, and for them to make perfect decisions regarding which books would be included and which would not. The notion that God wouldn’t allow them to make mistakes is nonsense bordering on blasphemy, or did we miss the day they talked about free will in Sunday School?

        • gabulmer says:

          Then we have something in common, Mike…

          …as we’d rather see you burn in Hell with those others as well. In fact, we’d like to see your time there YouTubed…just so we can watch you writhe, again & again.

          [Don’t forget the asbestos underwear!] ;- D

        • Jackson says:

          gabulmer,
          The funnier you-tube video of you when you die and see there is no God! You’ve wasted your life being a judgemental prick for nothing! Reciting bad poetry as law and following after the biggest con-artists of history. LOL! Wear your tin foil lined hat!!! Thanks, Jackson

        • mike tollefson says:

          gabulmer, obviously you have strong OPINIONS on this matter opinions that I fought to protect as a Navy Combat Veteran. I respect your right to have whatever beliefs you have, however when you tell me that if I don’t believe exactly as you do then I will burn in hell that is nothing short of ludicrous…..you can not back your claims with scientific evidence put simply you have extreme faith in your beliefs. While this is admirable it is not proof and when you g around shouting as loud as you can that you are right and everyone who doesn’t believe like you is going to hell you sound like a fool. There are billions of educated people who don’t believe like you. Further more the idea of being stuck for eternity with someone as narrow minded as yourself would be hell for me.

          Respectfully, Mike

    • Manuel Override says:

      serves u well, doesnt serve god. big difference there.

      • mike tollefson says:

        Manuel how would you possibly know whether me being kind, loving and tolerant serves God well you have never met me and know nothing about me ? Sounds pretty judgmental for a Christian….and of course before you go down the path of would I be tolerant of a person molesting a child or hurting someone the answer is no. I stand behind the old saying that my rights end where your nose begins I do believe in justice and standing up for right but rather than defer to the Bible or the Koran or the book of Mormon I obey laws of the land in which I live. It just so happens that I do believe the Bible is the word of God, however I don’t believe that belittling, degrading or otherwise mistreating people of other faiths is the right thing to do and further more I believe that people who do drive more people away from Christ than they draw to him which seems to be counter to Gods will.

        • Jason Williams says:

          Where in the Bible does God instruct us to tolerate, allow, support or empower any other religion or followers of it? Name 1 time Jesus told idol worshipers or followers of any other “God” or religion that their views of God could possibly be more correct than his. God does not tell us to save souls, to destroy evil, to fight the spiritual battle we are in, knowing that the end is coming and all those who are not saved will burn for eternity.

          I admit that people pushing beliefs of any kind on people is a turn off and is usually counter productive. But God instructs us to find the souls who are lost. Never did he say that we will be the ones who convert them. I believe that it is the work of God and the Holy Spirit working in someone’s life that softens their hearts and opens them up to what we have to say, but that means nothing if were not saying anything. I don’t force anyone to accept my beliefs, or even listen to them. But by not trying to portray the real teachings of uncompromising moral values and intolerance when necessary I am depriving all around me of the true word of God.

        • mike tollefson says:

          Using the Bible to prove that the Bible is the true word of God come on Jason were not in grammar school anymore if indeed it is a FACT that the Bible is the word of God then where (other than the Bible) is the proof ? If you don’t have any hard provable facts then your BELIEFS are just that BELIEFS just like the Jewish people have theirs the Muslim people have theirs etc….. Remember that each religions Holly Books claim that theirs is the word of God. It seems pretty arrogant and disingenuous that you would try to convince people that it is a FACT that the Bible is the word of God again I say without quoting the scripture where is the proof remember the Koran can quote from the Koran to prove that theirs is the word of God so that argument is a mute point.

          Mike

        • sheabernard says:

          Mike – you said, ” Sounds pretty judgmental for a Christian….”

          I am assuming from this remark that you have the fallacious idea that Christians are not to judge others? This is not Scriptural, Christians are commanded over and over in Scripture to judge the actions, choices, behaviors, deeds, and words of others; it is only the status of their Salvation that we are forbidden to judge, unless God has already done so, and then we may repeat the Judgment of God, as repeating God’s Word is not Judging, it is repeating.

          NOWHERE in Scripture are we forbidden to judge the actions, deeds, words, etc. of others. FYI.

        • sheabernard says:

          Mike – you said, ” Sounds pretty judgmental for a Christian….”
          I see from this that you labor under the fallacious belief that Christians are not to judge others, and nothing could be further from the Truth. Scripture repeatedly commands us to judge the actions, deeds, words, behaviors, and choices of others – the state of their Salvation that we are forbidden to judge, and only then of Gid has not already done so; then it is just repeating the a priori Judgment of God, and is not judging per se; it is repeating.

          NOWHERE does Scripture forbid us from judging the actions and behaviors of others; in dozens of places we are told to do, nor do we have to be sinless in order to do so – we simply may not judge others for the SAME SIN that we ourselves are committing ( hypocritical judgment ). FYI.

    • ambrosechick says:

      Hi Mike – a book that answers a lot of your questions regarding beliefs versus truth can be found in the book “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist”. I have very good reasons (facts) for my belief that Jesus is the Son of God is indeed Truth. I would also suggest delving into some apologetics. C.S. Lewis “Mere Christianity” is a very good book. Good luck on your journey.

  3. Matt, you pretty much brought the house down, if not burned it outright …
    There’s no kind of wishy-washy in this hellfire and brimstone, and it ought to fire us all up.
    D. J Blackmore
    http://www.djblackmore.com.au

  4. Janice says:

    Reblogged this on Words Beyond Me and commented:
    “…anger is far more godly than tolerance ever could be.” Matt shows us a picture of Jesus more like the One in the Bible rather than the one society would like Him to be. Christianity is not about being nice…

    • Nathan Thomas says:

      Christianity is not about being nice are you kidding? Love God and love your neighbor the two commands Christ gave us and that’s not about being nice! Anger is godly, you sound like the Pharisees and we know that Christ called them.

      • Janice says:

        Nathan, I am not sure if you’re asking me or telling me that Christianity is not about being nice, or whether you are asking me or telling me that the two commands you mentioned are not about being nice.

        Also, if you are telling me that anger is godly, at least we agree there, but it does need to be clarified what one is angry about. On the other hand, if you mean that since I said anger is godly that I sound like a Pharisee, I refer you to 1 Corinthians 2:14 which explains why you don’t understand the concept of godly anger: “But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.”
        In His Grace,
        Janice

      • lordtheoden says:

        There may well come a day when at the great Judgement seat someone you neglected to share the truth of the gospel with because you didn’t want to offend them or you thought maybe it wasn’t ” nice”, will look at you with tears in his eyes as he is told by Jesus ” depart from me I never knew you ” ( and goes to hell) that man may look right at you and ask ” WHY didn’t you tell me the Truth ? ! “

        • David says:

          But if that person was already saved what does it matter if they shared the gospel with anyone? Are you saying that a lack of ‘works’ (sharing the gospel) is sufficient to condemn a man and override his salvation through grace?

        • Fatu Mbula says:

          That’s not how this cosmic game works: the rules say *everyone* gets a chance, NOT that everyone’s supposed to and it’s all Brother X’s fault they didn’t.

        • Jason Williams says:

          I believe the most important question we will have to answer on the day of judgement is “how many did you tell about me and my saving grace?” indeed. And it will not be a 2 part question followed by “and how many believed you?”. We cannot force beliefs on others, but our single most important task here in this life is to tell others about God so that their souls may be saved from eternal torment. Every other command we are given hinge on us doing that. If you are to love your neighbor, wouldn’t you try to save your neighbor’s soul? I can go on but you get the picture.

          And I believe you’re right about righteous anger. We are expected to be angry about certain things. When people trample on God and his people, we are not supposed to be happy or tolerant or any other thing besides downright disgusted and angry, ready to take action against it.

      • Manuel Override says:

        some pedophiles are nice to children to lure the child willingly into their trap. what maybe percieved as nice in the moment, is not always nice at all. Scolding your child for doing something wrong may seem cruel but spares him from a life of repeated wrongs and hardships. SO u tell me which is the nice act, the pedophiles deed or the correcting parent? which is love which is evil. There is a difference between stating if something is right or wrong, and then using wrongs to try and force ur will and ideals on others. IS it so hard to understand? the way of Christianity and christ is to spread the word and will of god to those who will listen, not to be the enforcer of gods will and his word on others. Don’t judge the world, those of the world will be judged by god. Instead use judgement in the church, you will be judged by saints,you will judge angels. Love they neighbor in relation to what god teaches u love is. We do this by spreading the word of god not by being politically correct and worried about feelings getting hurt. Its christian to spread truth and feelings getting hurt.

        • Jackson says:

          Manuel Override,
          You are correct, feelings (possibly more) are going to get hurt…if you try to cram that superstition on me or my family. Keep your ‘truth’ to yourself. Thanks, Jackson

        • Jason Williams says:

          Jackson,
          Considering what Manuel said is pretty much following the line of the original post/article, if you disagree with all that is said here, why did you bother to read all the way down the comment list to criticize Manuel? I find it ironically hypocritical how people who read a post like this, and tell us were wrong for not agreeing to be nice (like we’re the mean ones) then threaten the poster with hurting more then their feelings. Not to mention that you are warning his against “cramming this superstition on you or your family” yet the post was about how they do not believe it is right to force their beliefs on others.

          So in other words you threatened them….then agreed with them….

      • sheabernard says:

        Nathan – when you point out that some of the commandments of Christ fall under the “nice” category and then proceed to equate the whole of Christian Doctrine and Christ’s message as ‘nice” due to these passages, you are committing a text-book case of the fallacy of composition; just because some components of the whole have attribute X does not mean the whole has that attribute. Did you even read Matts piece in it’s entirety? Jesus most certainly was NOT NICE, and did NOT preach a Nice Doctrine, and He certainly didn’t preach a tolerant one. Righteous anger IS Godly and Holy, Matt explained it very well. Christian theology is NOT about being nice and tolerant, frankly it is just the opposite as regards to sin and evil.

      • “Love” and “be nice to” are not equivalent. Being nice may not be loving and being loving sometimes isn’t being nice.

  5. Janice says:

    Love this perspective. We tend to get sucked into society’s namby-pamby version of Christ which couldn’t be farther from reality!

    • Ed Sumner says:

      If you weren’t already married…. 🙂 People, Christian and non-Christian have the Da Vinci Jesus in mind. Skinny, nearly emaciated, wouldn’t hurt a fly sort of a fellow who let people just get away with everything in the name of ‘love’.

  6. Pingback: No More Mr Nice Guy » Bill Muehlenberg’s CultureWatch

  7. Hey, I commented some on this, and after some thinking I realized that I couldn’t remain silent on this, however after this I shall refrain from commenting.

    I know I already commented on several posts, which got me to thinking after reading so many posts, what are these posts doing? I wasn’t shocked by how much arguing and disagreeing there was among professing Christians, I am used to this, from reading many Christian blog posts. However reading through this as usual (honestly and to my shame doing my usual rolling eyes at some of the peoples comments, and the manner in which they spoke) I realized the tendency to bring Christian discussion (argument –often over things that would be best left untouched, rather the the damage caused by arguing over them– really not much discussion, more of a I’m right, you should read your bible more), to a public forum.

    Sorry if I’m stepping on any toes, but what is all of your motivations? What is the point of all of this? Does this edify? Does this build up? Is it profitable for the church? Are you being loving in your rebukes? Is it even okay to rebuke fellow believers you’ve never met, over little comments that they make, that isn’t even heresy? Is this the place to do it, (in front of unbelievers, or at least where they can read what you write)? Are you being of pure motives when you are posting, or is it to make you look good, or to be right, or bring someone else down? Are you blameless in what you are doing? (This is all directly applicable to myself, I often find myself in this same situation smacking my head for saying something I shouldn’t have.)

    “Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions.” Romans 14:1

    “But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For it is written,

    “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me,
    And every tongue shall give praise to God.”

    So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.” Romans 14:10-12

    “So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another. Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are clean, but they are evil for the man who eats and gives offense. It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother stumbles. The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin.”
    Romans 14:19-23

    (I understand this is in context talking about liberties, and not causing your brothers to stumble by what you do.)

    So with this in mind, are we taking our liberty to post, respond, rebuke fellow believers on a public forum without consideration for our fellow brethren? Have we taken the idea of reproof as if we feel it is right we’ll rebuke our brethren? Do we argue over menial things, without consideration to unity? Have we so divided Christ that we are claiming that we are of Paul, or Cephas…?

    We who are here claiming unity with Christ, are all brothers and sisters, we are part of the same body. Why do we ridicule and belittle each other, for we are all sinners (I am not claiming we shouldn’t confront believers about sin, this isn’t my point, it is more of the format for this discussion, that isn’t being respectful, or appropriate) we have been redeemed by Christ, so we are “in Christ” “adopted as sons” “declared to be righteous” “dead to sin” and so many more things in common… yet we treat each other as enemies, or opponents that we must prove to be false. In front of unbelievers and those who are questioning their faith none the less! We should be ashamed of ourselves if we have in anyway caused someone to stumble or caused an unbelievers heart to be hardened because of our witness…

    1st Corinthians 10, Paul talks about being everything to everyone, so that we might win more to Christ, it is a laying aside of our “rights” to argue over little bits of doctrine in public, to rebuke brothers in public to their shame, forcing them to retaliate in defense of their stance and dare say honor. You are followers of Christ claiming more maturity and understanding, yet you won’t even see the hurt you could cause by carelessly throwing around words. (I myself could cause harm with this, that isn’t my intention, however even if my action here is wrong I cannot remain silent) My intention is not to ride over any of you, or shame you, or call you out… because I’m calling myself out, for I have commented in this blog and other blogs, so I am as much the recipient of this rant. This is just something that has bothered me, but I have taken the higher ground and failed to see how my commenting on peoples comments without addressing the issue is only my desire to stir up controversy and show my understanding of scripture, and my intelligence. (Which I seem to disprove more then prove)

    So in closing… I would challenge everyone, who has the fortitude, and maturity to take a step back, and really challenge your thinking about why you are posting… is it edifying to others… or is it seeking self glory, or seeking to start a debate. I cannot judge anyone’s motives but my own… and I know I’m a selfish man at heart, even this long rant I’m questioning. However I believe that this is scriptural (perhaps not the manner, but at least the content/heart of the message) and that Jesus would affirm what I’m trying to do. I do not like the disunity in the body of Christ… but I know that it won’t change on the large scale, but perhaps we don’t have to lay it out for the whole world to see, and we can focus on our ministry being blameless, and without fault, and give no offense to anyone…

    Guys the message we bring is offensive enough to this culture, let us not add to that by presenting it offensively. I would cry in front of the world like a baby, and prostrate myself on the floor, if I were to find out that somehow something I had done or said had led to someone being hardened towards to Gospel. We are not here to live, but we are here to die for Christ’s sake, if my living would cause someone to reject the only way to salvation, then I’d rather die.

    Please, I beg you all, implore you, urge you in the strongest way possible, to realize the importance, the significance, and the urgency of our calling… What good does arguing among ourselves do in such impersonal and impractical ways as a blog… when there is a world, who views us as foolish idiotic hypocritical self-righteous nut jobs… Yet they are perishing, and like in Romans 1-3 they are on their way to separation from God, the only one who has ever always truly unselfishly loved them… yet they turn their back on God, and shame on us as the ambassadors for Christ, if we are a cause of even one of them to turn their back on God because of our actions… Shame on me, standing before Christ, I am a sinner, who lives in sin, I know it, and I struggle daily, but far more then the shame of throwing Christ’s sacrifice for me in His face by sinning… is if I don’t seek to love with every scrape of ability that Christ has empowered me with those who are lost and dying around me…

    (Sorry for the emotional rant at the end)

    Well, I love you all truly, I wish I could get to know you all personally, and have meaningful conversations with you all, and that we could build each other up in Christ.

    If any of you want to contact me you can email me here, and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible, be it questions, comments, reproof/rebuke, condemning me as a heretic, or anything else, for as much as I value your opinions and would eagerly engage you in profitable conversation, ultimately I am accountable to God.

    aletheiaasyloblog@gmail.com

    With love,

    -In Christ
    Your Brother

    • cdciii says:

      Ni Bro, maybe I can help a bit in understanding. You wrote “Sorry if I’m stepping on any toes, but what is all of your motivations? ”

      I may only speak for myself of course, and I hope I’m telling myself the truth first in telling it to you secondly. Premise” None of us ( as true believers in Christ) has a lock on the complete Mind of Christ and understanding of that Mind. We all have a slightly different view of some of the more minor issues. In realizing that, we must contend back and forth in a spirit of mutual love for the truth that we each see in these minor issues in order to 1) find out if we are wrong and 2) stand for truth where we are right. The motivation should be to become more Christ like and to help others to do the same by acting as mirrors to them

      Note: this only holds true within the true belief that God created, God judges, God came down to us in personal appeal AND provision for His justice to be satisfied although none of us could possibly do so alone and that, having purchased us with the satisfaction of justice, He owns us that we may own Him. IOW, Jesus, as fully man and fully God came to die the death I should die, instead giving me the Life that He deserves.

      It is written, “iron sharpens iron” and in the brotherly contention of believers there can be sharpening that is very needed today.

      • cdciii says:

        Ni Bro??? only an idiot writes that. Shoulda been “Hi Bro”. Since I don’t want people to know that I’m an idiot, I just chalk it up to phat phingers…

      • Thanks for the reply, my point wasn’t so much to say we shouldn’t discuss this, more of the way we as believers are coming across in these comments, and the fact that this is a public setting available to unbelievers as well. I was more pushing for a more appropriate setting for discussions, and to be more thoughtful in the wording. Because a lot of what I have read is questionable about the edification that it presents, and if it isn’t edifying to the body of believers (edifying as in profitable) then it shouldn’t be spoken of (in that manner).

        So thanks again for your reply, and I agree with what you are saying, I just don’t agree with the manner in which most who are professing believers are going about it, and think it is inappropriate and ultimately harmful.

        Love,
        -In Christ
        Your Brother

    • Jesus was intolerant of a lot of things. But Jesus was most of all, loving. There is no one that he was intolerant of. He was only intolerant of actions….actions of people who lead people away from the love of God to a place of burdensome religion. In my opinion (which is always open to discussion) is that the views expressed here bolster the desire for division and separation. They speak from a narrow perspective on the gospel and the truth of the entire picture. For instance using the idea of Jesus turning over the tables in the temple as an excuse for anger, intolerance and division between our fellow man goes against everything Jesus taught. What Jesus did in the temple was highly symbolic and not understood within the context of modern western society. What happened in the temple was not about anger but it could be construed that way when we fail to understand what “money changers” are and fail to understand the prophetic manifestation of Yeshua’s action. It was not unusual for hebrew prophets to “manifest their message”. Yeshua was acting prophetically. He came to destroy the temple and build it anew. Think about what would happen if you walked into church and started flipping pews over and screaming at people in anger. They would carry you away in a straight jacket. But instead they asked Jesus “By what authority do you SAY THESE THINGS? This is pointing to something that we fail to understand, especially in this Americanized version of Christianity.

      I’m writing with passion here because I find this article to be in direct opposition to the message of The Messiah. Yeshua came to tell us the good news. And he desired Unity. Encouraging Christians to fight over doctrine and cultural issues is hardly the ambition of Love that He died to show us.

      • Ed Sumner says:

        OK…so I can believe that God is an exalted man who lives on the planet Kolob, and I’m still a Christian? Or how about I believe that Jesus is just one more man and not God made manifest in the flesh? Or here’s one…anyone remember the old tract “JC and the boys” that said Jesus was a homo and was having wild poofter parties with the disciples? I guess that all OK, since we shouldn’t fight over doctrine? THAT’S DEAD WRONG friend, and you know it. There are only two ways to tell if someone is a Believer: doctrine and fruit. If you’re a “decent enough fella” but your doctrine doesn’t line up with historic Christianity, ARE YOU A CHRISTIAN? NO.

        • cdciii says:

          Hi Ed, isn’t it interesting that the meaning of the term “Christian” must be diluted and watered down in the eyes of all who aren’t? In many discussions I’ve had, to make the claim to the name Christian is sufficient to be one. In the broadening of the definition, many accusations may be brought in (Hitler was a CHRISTIAN!), many wolves play dress up (TV evangelists Benny Hinn, Joel Olsteen and the like), and the dilution of meaning becomes an overt attempt to destroy.

          Were “doctrine and fruit” the currency of being a Christian, I fear many who name the Name are bankrupt.

        • David says:

          I would suggest that our knowledge of God is very slim. The bible doesn’t provide all the answers so I think you should be careful about you think is DEAD WRONG. The bible warns of people ‘teaching for doctrine, the commandments of men’ and I think ‘historic christianity’ falls into this trap. Historic christianity is a series of people fighting over doctrine to the point where they create new creeds, new denominations, non-denominations etc.. If historic christianity is to be the baseline why so much disagreement? Christians can’t even decide one 1 bible…they have to have new versions of it. Is God really the author of this confusion? How is a sincere seeker of truth supposed to navigate the different doctrines of the different christian sects? I’m certain you feel like you are absolutely right but do you really believe that all of these other christian leaders believe themselves to be wrong??

      • your friendly Atheist mike says:

        he was intolerant of people that did NOT CONFORM TO HIS WAY OF THINKING , he is the one that introduces hell to the world, Jesus advocates murder and death:

        Jesus condemns entire cities to dreadful deaths and to the eternal torment of hell because they didn’t care for his preaching. Matthew 11:20

        Jesus, whose clothes are dipped in blood, has a sharp sword sticking out of his mouth. Thus attired, he treads the winepress of the wrath of God. (The winepress is the actual press that humans shall be put into so that we may be ground up.) Revelations 19:13-15

        The beast and the false prophet are cast alive into a lake of fire. The rest of us the unchosen will be killed with the sword of Jesus. “An all the fowls were filled with their flesh.” Revelations 19:20-21

        • cdciii says:

          Yes He did, Mike. But of course, if He was who He claimed to be, He would be the Ultimate Ego, the only one that could say “I am because I am”. All other egos would have to say “I am, because He is”, in essence all other egos being derivative from the Ultimate Ego. As such, I think “(conforming) to His way of thinking” might be advisable…

        • Ed Sumner says:

          1. it’s Revelation, not Revelations. There was only one thing revealed to John, and that was what Jesus intended to do in AD 70 to the Jews who continually rejected HIm and His Word.

          2. You have absolutely no clue what apocalyptic judgment language is. Jesus doesn’t have a REAL sword sticking out of HIs mouth, nor does He tread a REAL winepress.

          3. Who are you to quote the Word of God? God will deal with you according to your deeds my friend. And yes, you will be cast into the Lake of Fire on the Last Day if you don’t repent. God is not mocked, what you reap, you will sow.

        • Jackson says:

          Ed Sumner,
          You should write children’s books, you could scare them to salvation. What a pompous windbag acting as judge making pronouncements on salvation and damnation. Who named you hall monitor? Is life really just a melodrama? Everyone is either all good or all bad? What a sad flat little world you live in. No need to label me, I already have my black hat on and I’m twisting my mustache as I write this post. Thanks, Jackson

        • cdciii says:

          Note: Jesus did not advocate murder. Ever. But He does advocate relegating the sinning soul (one without shame, sorrow or confession that it has done wrong) to the second death. Once again, if He was who He said He was, He has judged all of humanity and condemned us to death as a result of our not conforming to His way of thinking. That is justice, not murder, and it is He who defines both terms…

      • cdciii says:

        Did Yeshua desire unity? Absolutely. But unity in the intolerant absolute of a perfect God. Only done by losing ourselves…

      • aiday says:

        Agreed. Jesus was no cynic. All this post shows is a glaring lack of charity and a lack of self-awareness.

    • mo says:

      @ aletheiaasylo –

      “Hey, I commented some on this, and after some thinking I realized that I couldn’t remain silent on this, however after this I shall refrain from commenting.”

      In other words, you are going to proceed here to judge anyone who dares to speak out about evil. You will call them “mean” or “unloving” or similar names. Then, when you’re called on this you are going to refuse to address those comments (in the name of “unity”) while hiding behind your supposed moral superiority in doing so. Let’s see how right I am.

      “Sorry if I’m stepping on any toes, but what is all of your motivations? What is the point of all of this? Does this edify? Does this build up? Is it profitable for the church?”

      The point is to tell Christians to stop being cowards and to speak up about evil whenever and wherever we see it, and to stop being intimidated by the world and by supposed Christian brothers/sisters who call others “mean” or “unloving” for telling the truth about sin. (And no, you are not sorry. Otherwise you wouldn’t have done so.)

      “Are you being loving in your rebukes? Is it even okay to rebuke fellow believers you’ve never met, over little comments that they make, that isn’t even heresy?”

      Of course. Jesus did it. Paul did it.

      “Is this the place to do it, (in front of unbelievers, or at least where they can read what you write)? ”

      Of course. Unbelievers are also the ones participating in complaining about Christians being mean and claiming that Jesus wasn’t ever mean to anyone. (Why they would care what Jesus says or did regarding anything is a mystery to me. They do not follow Jesus. Some actually claim He never existed at all much less was God in the flesh!)

      “Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions.” Romans 14:1

      This verse has nothing whatsoever with the subject on hand.

      “But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For it is written,

      Same with this one.

      “(I understand this is in context talking about liberties, and not causing your brothers to stumble by what you do.)”

      Oh! So you do understand that these verses do not pertain at all to the subject at hand? And yet you choose to post them anyway. Why would a professing Christian who (presumably) knows their Bible do such a thing?

      “You are followers of Christ claiming more maturity and understanding, yet you won’t even see the hurt you could cause by carelessly throwing around words.”

      You mean like you are doing here, in posting verses that don’t even pertain to the subject?

      ” (I myself could cause harm with this, that isn’t my intention, however even if my action here is wrong I cannot remain silent)”

      Oh, so you are again admitting you are doing wrong here, yet you’re going do to it anyway?

      “So in closing… I would challenge everyone, who has the fortitude, and maturity to take a step back, and really challenge your thinking about why you are posting… is it edifying to others… or is it seeking self glory, or seeking to start a debate. I cannot judge anyone’s motives but my own… ”

      Sure you are. Otherwise you wouldn’t have written this paragraphs-long comment.

      On and on you go.

      Looks like I was right in my first assessment. Piles and piles of words about how unloving Matt is and we are here. Various verses that you KNOW are not speaking on this topic, yet you posted them anyway. All sorts of judgment about our intentions. (Whatever that means.)

      And after all is said and done, not a word here refutes or even addresses anything Matt said in his post.

      • Thank you for you response mo. Sorry for the confusion in the first point you made, I wasn’t trying to imply I wouldn’t answer any concerns about this comment, but that I would refrain from further comments about the article, and the posts in response to the article. In no way am I trying to imply I am having immoral superiority, reading back I see a few sentences which could be taken that way, and I apologize for that, my object was not to say I was better in anyway. I was trying to challenge people to go to scripture and wrestle with whether their responses were lining up with the bible. My choice not to further comment on posts here was with the understanding of myself, and my tendency to “prove a point” so it was a personal conviction I had.

        On the second point, I am in no way advocating for not speaking out against sin –in an appropriate manner– however I am speaking against inappropriate ways of speaking out against sin. In unloving, and ungracious manners (not in relation to intention, or heart, but in perceived conduct). I would like to address your statement (supposed) Christian brothers, because I do not think that you have the authority to judge whether someone is saved or not, even Paul didn’t go so far as to claim the Corinthians were not truly saved –so I would advise against using words that the inference can be made of you saying these brothers/sisters aren’t saved. Also I would like to address you statement that I am not sorry “if” I stepped on any toes, by your own statement I am doing what you claim we should.

        “The point is to tell Christians to stop being cowards and to speak up about evil whenever and wherever we see it”

        I wouldn’t use the word evil, not because I don’t think it is wrong, just because I think that, that word might be taken as a judgment towards the heart instead of the actions. Which I am in no way trying to claim I know the heart behind any of the people here. So I can truly say that I am sorry to step on toes, but only if it is in the way I presented this, and not in my heart behind the issue. Perhaps I should have said I would be sorrowful if anything I said here were to put someone off to the gospel.

        Now on your third point, you quoted the whole bit, but only commented on part of one of the questions.

        “Are you being loving in your rebukes? Is it even okay to rebuke fellow believers you’ve never met, over little comments that they make, that isn’t even heresy?”

        The first point is are you being loving, that isn’t to say that is correcting the person loving (because people can argue that it isn’t loving to leave someone in untruth) I am talking about the way you rebuke. Also I don’t see Jesus or Paul rebuking people they’ve never met, Jesus rebukes people, but since they don’t have internet He has met them when He rebukes them, He is face to face. Also Paul, I don’t see him rebuking churches in letters that he hasn’t met. In Romans (A church he hasn’t yet visited) I see exhortations in his application section, but I don’t see him rebuking them.

        For your fourth point, I would have to disagree with you about before unbelievers. I do not think it is our duty to discuss doctrinal issues that are in the church with them, outside of evangelism (which I don’t think being harsh with them, as I’ve seen done here is/would be considered evangelism). Also I think we are to talk with them about problems they have with scripture that is preventing them from believing, that they bring up, not bringing up issues, and then when they comment bashing/being harsh with them.

        I’ll address the fifth and sixth response you made, since they are both about the scripture I used. I do acknowledge they are talking about liberties. However the heart of those reactions towards your fellow brothers/sisters in Christ is love. Also the truth that we are accountable to God is also true –this isn’t to say there is a time and place for loving rebuke, and sometimes enacting consequences (as a body) on carnal believers, this is to say that this isn’t the place to do that– so we shouldn’t be debating and arguing over this issue again on a public forum without consideration, or regards to who might be reading what we post. I cannot make a judgment on motives or heart, but I see a lot of posts that seem to be regarding each other with contempt, so that is why I used that second Romans verse, because that is true outside the context of liberties. Again this is all in relation to the impersonal posting of comments here, without regard to each other, or understanding where they are coming from. So again the passage speaking about seeking peace and building up of one another, isn’t limited to liberties but is throughout the NT, so again that is why I was comfortable to use that part because it isn’t limited to liberties.

        On the address of the seventh point. I do not mind your slight with using things such as presumably knowing the scriptures, and professing Christian, allowing the inference to be made that I don’t know the scriptures, and am not a Christian. However, I would encourage you not to use it with others, for you do not know them, and cannot especially with them being Christians make the judgment call about their salvation.
        However, on the issue you brought up, it is because I acknowledged the context (I had no intention of trying to say it was saying something it wasn’t) and then with knowledge of the concepts of grace to your brethren in 2nd Cor, and watching the tongue, and the royal law of love in James, and walking in gentleness, and patience, and humility in Ephesians could make application outside of the immediate context, but within the scope of scripture, however I still acknowledged the immediate context so as not to be perceived as trying to lead people astray.

        In response to your eighth point. I could have claimed them without pointing out that it wasn’t in the immediate context, I at no point listed those verses in a manner to deceive or lead astray, I did it with acknowledging the context, but then making application with understanding of the concepts being propagated throughout scripture.

        Addressing your ninth point. That in no way was an admission of wrong, all that was, was an acknowledgment that what I say here could be taken wrong, and miss construed without opportunity to shed light on the miss understanding, leading to hurt being caused.

        “Sure you are. Otherwise you wouldn’t have written this paragraphs-long comment.”

        I’m not sure what this is referring to in what you quoted. However, I feel from the rest of you comments it is referring to my last statement of not being able to judge anyone’s motives but my own. I continue to hold to that, and I’m not sure how writing my comment proves I was judging anyone’s motives (if that IS what you are talking about) it is only looking at what was written and the motives or intent that it “might” convey to someone who is reading that, due to the way it was written.

        “On and on you go.

        Looks like I was right in my first assessment. Piles and piles of words about how unloving Matt is and we are here. Various verses that you KNOW are not speaking on this topic, yet you posted them anyway. All sorts of judgment about our intentions. (Whatever that means.)

        And after all is said and done, not a word here refutes or even addresses anything Matt said in his post.”

        I don’t think I ever outright claimed you were unloving, I believe I did claim the way in which you presented what you say could be taken as unloving. I already addressed why I posted those verses, and their application outside the immediate text considering the scope of scriptural teaching. I didn’t “judge” your intentions (I agree whatever that means) I encouraged you to take a look at your motives, because I cannot judge your motives, since I cannot look into your heart.

        Your last line sums up the entirety of what wasn’t the point of this post, my intention wasn’t to do at all with Matt’s post, but with his readers responses to his post, and the escalating tension and ungracious responses that was brewing. (At least from my perspective).

        Also as a last bit, I would just like to say the Christian life isn’t one of doctrine and dogma. It isn’t one of being knowledgeable about scripture (not advocating not understanding the bible, however that isn’t the point). The point is to grow in a personal, and intimate relationship with the one who saved you Jesus Christ. No one else saved you, nothing else saved you, only believing in Christ and His atoning works for you, realizing you are a sinful and fallen human helpless to save yourself. It is walking in the Spirit (Romans, Galatians, Ephesians…) and it is that relationship that you should strive for. You can have a baby believer who is far more spiritual (walking in the spirit) then a mature believer.

        If you have further questions with the desire for a more detailed response you can email me at aletheiaasyloblog@gmail.com

        Thanks,
        Hope this answered your objections

        Love,
        -In Christ
        Your Brother

        • mo says:

          @ aletheiaasylo –

          Thanks for your response and comments. Alas, I am unable to continue at this point because my work situation has changed and I no longer have the time. (I hate when real life intrudes upon internet life!)

          But I just wanted to acknowledge your response and that I did read it.

          Thanks for understanding.

  8. Jesus was intolerant of a lot of things. But Jesus was most of all, loving. There is no one that he was intolerant of. He was only intolerant of actions….actions of people who lead people away from the love of God to a place of burdensome religion. In my opinion (which is always open to discussion) is that the views expressed here bolster the desire for division and separation. They speak from a narrow perspective on the gospel and the truth of the entire picture. For instance using the idea of Jesus turning over the tables in the temple as an excuse for anger, intolerance and division between our fellow man goes against everything Jesus taught. What Jesus did in the temple was highly symbolic and not understood within the context of modern western society. What happened in the temple was not about anger but it could be construed that way when we fail to understand what “money changers” are and fail to understand the prophetic manifestation of Yeshua’s action. It was not unusual for hebrew prophets to “manifest their message”. Yeshua was acting prophetically. He came to destroy the temple and build it anew. Think about what would happen if you walked into church and started flipping pews over and screaming at people in anger. They would carry you away in a straight jacket. But instead they asked Jesus “By what authority do you SAY THESE THINGS? This is pointing to something that we fail to understand, especially in this Americanized version of Christianity.

    I’m writing with passion here because I find this article to be in direct opposition to the message of The Messiah. Yeshua came to tell us the good news. And he desired Unity. Encouraging Christians to fight over doctrine and cultural issues is hardly the ambition of Love that He died to show us.

    • tuesdaysdead says:

      Agreed. It may also be helpful when reading the ‘cleansing of the temple’ passages to keep in mind that more than a few scholars fluent in the Greek have pointed out, on the basis of textual criticism, that the whip was likely used to drive the CATTLE out of the Temple not to assault the people doing business there. Understanding the message of the Yesu as reported in the biblical texts could take a lifetime of study and prayer…therefore we should always be cautious when laymen are going about calling other sincere Christians heretics or ‘not real Christians’ as though they have a monopoly on the true interpretation of scripture. One additional point – the New Testament does not say that everything Yesu did was to be emulated. There is no command to ‘do as i have done’ in these passages. Most often when there is explicit teaching to emulate the Messiah it is with respect to his suffering and servanthood not his judgement. Hermeneutics ftw

      • Ed Sumner says:

        Why would Jesus need to drive out the cattle and sheep with a whip? He was their Creator, a word would have sufficed. No, the Scripture tells us that He commanded unclean spirits, but He needs to beat animals? I don’t buy it. The whip/rod was the back of the fools making His Father’s house a den of thieves. (Prov 26:3)

    • Harry Krentz says:

      Phooey. He was calling Pharisees, rabbinical fathers, a “brood of vipers”. Unity does not mean condoning sin, ignoring sin, or calling sin good for the sake of “unity”, as many liberals like to make it out to be. Furthermore, the message of The Bible, the message of the Messiah, is Salvation, not “unity”. Your belief is heretical.

      • tuesdaysdead says:

        Harry, I guess you’re Jesus didn’t teach the virtue of ‘humility of mind’ and, instead, championed theological hubris rather than warning against it and using the term ‘brood of vipers’ to refer to what was considered to be one of the most pious religious groups in the Ancient Near East.

        • Harry Krentz says:

          First of all, it’s “your” not “you’re”. Second, “humility of mind” isn’t a virtue, it’s New Age doublespeak for moral relativism. Humility doesn’t entail not standing up for what’s right, seeking justice, nor playing nice for the sake of “unity”. .Humility is simply the mindset that doesn’t focus on self glorification, gratification, or gain, It is a component of disinterested love. Finally, if “I am the way, the Truth, and the light,” is theological hubris in your mind, then I suppose to you, the entire Bible is nothing but.

        • tuesdaysdead says:

          Silly comment about spelling aside (the purpose of language is communication and you understood what I was saying well enough to point out that I had inappropriately spelled a word), the phrase ‘humility of mind’ is the literal translation Greek word ‘tapeinophrosune’ rendered in the New Testament as ‘humility’ or ‘humble’. I regard the fact that you are so obviously unacquainted with the scriptures you profess to be divinely inspired as my cue to refrain from wasting any more time dialoguing on this issue with you.

        • Harry Krentz says:

          LOL!!! Ooh, he knows the greeeeek word, so he must know ever so much more about it than a common person would. Yeah, great demonstration of your “humility of mind”.

        • tuesdaysdead says:

          No need for CAPS, exclamation points, or sarcasm. I was simply pointing out that you are speaking with authority about an issue which you claim is of eternal importance and yet, rather ironically, you unwittingly denounced as New Age a concept that is taught repeatedly in those writings you regard as sacred and which you speak with such authority on. This suggests to me that you really haven’t taken it that seriously. Yet again you have missed the mark. Whether I have succeeded in developing a particular virtue is an entirely different issue from whether or not your scriptures teach it and whether or not you put your foot in your mouth earlier when referring to it as New Age. This is precisely the problem. Christian extremists have forgotten the purpose of language. The use of language is about communication. How we communicate effectively varies with context – culture, language. Making an argument about what may or may not be a permissible style of communication, as Matt has, on the basis of how Jesus is alleged to have spoken to certain groups within a certain context has very little to do with whether or not we ought to emulate this style of communication (even if we ignored several additional problems with his method of deriving principles from the passages he quoted in defence of his position). In 1st century Jewish culture tearing your robe, I’m told, was an appropriate expression of angry or grief. People understood it. Now, if you were to replicate this convention very few would understand what you were trying to express so if your purpose was to communicate the substance of that would be lost on 21st century westerners. The apostle Paul provides an interesting example of how early Christians adopted varying styles of communication as they went on to try to convey their message in other cultural contexts. Notably, when he travelled West he used the customs and traditions appropriate to Greco-Roman culture (he debated and philosophized). Rather than responding with another reactionary comment I’d ask you to reflect on what I am saying and ask yourself if there may be even the tiniest possibility that it makes sense. Feel free to message me as well if you’re interested in carrying on a meaningful discussion.

        • Harry Krentz says:

          Plus, Nowhere in the Bible does Jesus display the “go along to get along” type of “humility” being bandied about here, but He consistently demonstrates it by my definition. But what can I expect? You guys compare cattle to free willed people and try to forward the idea of unity over salvation. But yeah, espousing “humility of mind” all the while showing theological snobbery really takes the cake.

          Matt wrote about a great blog post about a serious problem facing Christianity today, and many of you responded with touchy-feely assumptions based more on personal feeling than Scriptural evidence.

  9. Pingback: Socon or Bust » Not Nice Jesus

  10. Theron says:

    Well, since there is not evidence for an invisible magic man in the sky, your version is just as good as anyone else’s, and vice-versa. It’s all so much dancing on a pin. You know why we should be nice? Because it is the decent, human thing to do.

    • Ed Sumner says:

      You decide that your way is best? You determine good and evil on your own terms, just like God. Where have we heard THAT before? Hmmm….Genesis 3 perhaps? Nahhh. There’s no evidence for God. Fool.

      • mike tollefson says:

        People like you make me want to follow Christ and be a Christian just like you…….NOT !! The only people who buy your bullshit are the ignorant people that think like you. Saying the Bible is the word of God because the Bible says it is the word of God……Sorry that just does not make it a fact but of course feel free to BELIEVE whatever you like.

        Mike

        • Jesse says:

          Okay, let’s try a little more objective approach.

          1. I think any objective person would agree that anything that exists must have an explanation of its existence. That explanation could either be the cause for its existence (i.e. an iPhone exists because Apple engineers designed it) or that it exists necessarily, meaning that if it does exist, then there is no possible alternative “world” (meaning a single or multiple collection of universe(s)) in which it could not exist. Since we know that the universe exists, it must either have a cause or exist necessarily. Modern science has shown us that there is indeed a starting point of the universe (somewhere around 13.8 billion years ago). But if the universe had a beginning, then it cannot exist necessarily because there was a time when the universe did not exist. Keep in mind that pre-big-bang, science has no evidence for anything in existence – not even a vaccuum (which technically is something in itself). Science has shown that there once was nothing and then there was something. So if the universe does not exist necessarily, then it must have a cause. If the universe has a cause, that cause cannot exist in the domain of time and space in which the universe exists. A non-existent universe cannot create itself. So we need a cause that transcends space and time, an atemporal or omni-temporal person or thing in order to provide an explanation for the existence of the universe. Doesn’t necessarily have to be the Judeo-Christian God, but since there are no other religions or realms of philosophy which have postulated a being which fits this description, the God of the Bible seems to be the best fit.

          2. I submit to you that there is such a thing as absolute right and wrong (known as objective morality). Why? If not, then Hitler was not morally wrong, the Crusades were not morally wrong, a pedophile is not morally wrong. More examples? How about students who march into their school and kill their classmates. Regardless of what these people think or feel about the world, these actions are all wrong. But if objective morality exists, it needs an absolute reference of right and wrong. A purely naturalistic explanation of evolution cannot account for this absolute reference. Under that worldview, we are simply a collection of genetic information with no ultimate meaning or significance. We can’t say that what is best for human survival is “right” because there is no moral reason for a human to take precedence in “survival” over any other organism. So in order to explain the absolute right and wrong in our universe, we need an absolute reference that exists outside our own physical universal laws. We need a person or thing that holds a standard of what is right or wrong and that standard needs to be constant throughout all space and time (rape is wrong today, and it will be wrong in 1000 years). Again, this point of reference of objective morality isn’t absolutely decided to be God, but since he is the only transcendent being, who is constant at all times, unchanging, forgiving, benevolent and loving, He is by far the best conclusion for this piece of evidence. And while on the topic, objective morality in our universe is not set by what God “says” is right. God “is” right. His very nature is good. He cannot sin. His perfect, good nature is the point from where we derive our morality. So this is not an arbitrary assignment of what’s right and what’s wrong.

          3. While Intelligent Design, and other arguments which are often perceived as arguing under religious assumptions, have been a topic of much debate recently, there are some pretty strong scientific arguments for an intelligent force at work behind our universe. Here are a few examples. The “weak force”, one of the 4 fundamental forces which operates inside the nucleus of an atom is so finely balanced that if it changed by 1 part out of 10^100, it would have been physically impossible for our universe to support life – anywhere! And the cosmological constant, which drives the rate of expansion of our universe, is so finely balanced that if it changed by 1 part out of 10^120, we reach the same conclusion. By comparison, the universe has only been in existence for about 4 * 10^17 seconds! Even if there were millions of universes out there in existence, the chance of one of them getting even one of these constants correct is vastly improbable. And the chance of one of them getting ALL of them correct to support life is, in all practicality, impossible. Again, a designer doesn’t necessarily have to be the God of the Bible, but given the limited number of possible alternatives, He is definitely the best conclusion.

          4. The Bible is, in fact, one of the most verifiable historical pieces of literature in existence. Modern historians evaluate the accuracy of ancient text based on its proximity in time to the events described, and its corroboration through other manuscripts or similar texts of the time. For example, Homer wrote The Iliad and there are more than 600 hand-written manuscripts in existence and the oldest manuscript we have was written 400 years after Homer lived. No one objects to the fact that Homer actually lived or that he wrote The Iliad. We have 200 manuscripts of some of Demosthenes’ speeches, but the earliest was written 1400 years after he lived. And no one discounts his speeches as being doctored or manufactured. Titus Livius wrote most of what we know about the history of Rome – we have 1 ancient (partial) manuscript which was written 400 years after he died and we have 19 more (complete) manuscripts 1000 years after he died. Yet no one doubts his historical accounts. This is great. But as of today, there are more than 24,000 ancient manuscripts of the Biblical New Testament, including a nearly 100% complete gospel of John which was written 50 years from the time of Jesus’ ministry. The books of Luke and Acts were written around 70 AD and it is believed that the author of those books referenced works from as early as 37AD, which is just a matter of a few years after Jesus was crucified (which is verifiable in Roman and Jewish literature outside of the Bible by the way). The simple fact is that there is no other ancient piece of literature which has more consistent manuscripts or which is dated closer to the actual events than the Bible. To reject the historicity of the Bible is almost impossible given the amazing revelations of modern science and archaeology. So if the texts themselves are veritably true, then what does that say for the contents. The writers of the gospels wrote their account of what they experienced through the ministry of Jesus. Either they all lied about everything and corroborated to pull off the biggest long-con in the history of the world and continued to hold to these lies even through their own torture and death – or they were telling of true events which they experienced first-hand and they truly believed that Jesus was the son of God and he really did die and come back to life to appear to hundreds of witnesses. I find it very hard to believe the first option, so the second option makes the most logical sense.

          So what does all of this mean? Each argument by itself is pretty solid. You can debate each one and come up with objections to their statements. But when you combine all of these arguments together, you are left with some very heavy requirements. From (1), we know there has to be a timeless being, beyond the physical realm of our universe which brought the universe into existence. From (2) we know that there must exist a being who is, by his very nature, good and unchanging throughout all time. From (3), we know that there is definitely a powerful and intelligent force behind the fine-tuned aspects of our universe. From (4), we know that the Bible is a valid, trustworthy piece of historical literature and that the stores dictated by the gospels most likely were actual events and they believed so strongly in who Jesus was that they were willing to die for that believe, in very horrible ways. When you combine all of those characteristics, we need an atemporal (or omni-temporal), powerful, maximally good, unchanging, intelligent, truthly being – there is no being in all documented human knowledge who better fits the bill than the Judeo-Christian God. You can’t have physical evidence of his existence, but you can’t have physical evidence of what you ate for lunch on your birthday 2 years ago (short of a picture or letter written on or shortly after that day) – that doesn’t mean that you didn’t eat lunch that day. But given the logical argument that you eat lunch almost every day, it’s not a far stretch to conclude that you did indeed eat lunch on your birthday 2 years ago.

          Modern Christians are aware that logical arguments will not necessarily convince people that the Bible is true or that God exists – but your lack of belief does not logically prevent Him from actually existing. Thanks to modern science and archaeology, Christianity is far from an unsupportable, “because the Bible says so” religion. We have very solid philosophical and logical arguments for every major point of the Christian doctrine, all of which are built on historical and scientific evidence. Sure a naturalist will look at the same evidence and, based on his presupposition that God does not exist, will come to a different conclusion – just as I draw my own conclusions based on my presupposition that God does exist. The point is that Christianity is veritable, it is historically grounded, it is scientifically accurate and philosophically air-tight. It is, indeed, an acceptable belief for educated persons, even in our post-modern culture. I hope that you would at least give it a chance. God bless!

        • mike tollefson says:

          Jesse, I really appreciate your insights and the respectful and courteous manner of your discord you obviously have far more knowledge on the subject than I do. I still can not make it over the last hump from FAITH to FACT. Personally I am not sure why it is necessary for a person of any religion to make that jump why isn’t it enough to believe with all your heart that Jesus Christ is your savior and joyfully spread the word of redemption ? In your post you say, ” To reject the historicity of the Bible is almost impossible given the amazing revelations of modern science and archaeology.” First off you say almost and then if your assertion is accurate and you did make a very good case of that then why if it is so obvious are there so many other religions that believe otherwise you would think the word would be out. I am confused because you did make a very strong case and yet there are millions upon millions of people who continue to choose other paths with the same BELIEF that theirs is FACTUAL and the truth. Is it really that bad or painful for men and women of FAITH to embrace, live, cherish and profess their faith to others without demanding we accept their articles of FAITH as FACT?

        • Jesse says:

          Mike,
          First of all, thank you for your kinds words. The Bible calls Christians to be able to given a reason for why we believe what we believe with grace and gentleness and I hope that I have achieved this in my response.

          Also, I think it’s important to assert that anyone who has faith in anything would have to assume the object of their faith is a fact. Otherwise, there is no point in having faith in it at all. But someone’s faith in something does not make it a fact; we have faith in it because we believe the facts are true. Whether due to intellectual laziness or just plain dumb acceptance, many people today do not do their due-diligence to investigate the facts which they assert are true, or the viability of the historical accounts. I was the same way. I was raised a Christian, so I remained a “Christian”. But only recently did I actually investigate the facts behind Christianity and embrace the faith for my own, rather than being indoctrinated (whether consciously or not) by the beliefs of those around me. We all draw conclusions on our worldview based on small pieces of information over time. Even Richard Dawkins was not always the devout atheist he is today – it wasn’t until the Darwinian evolutionary model was presented to him in school that he decided it must be true and embraced it as fact. Everyone should evaluate the facts for themselves and then choose their beliefs based on where the evidence leads, but no amount of faith in something can ever turn it into a true, hard fact.

          When talking about FAITH and FACT, I think you need to be careful not to confuse Scientific Fact with Historical Fact. Scientific fact is something on which the Scientific Method can be utilized. It is observable, it is repeatable. We can monitor an experimental in present time and and draw conclusions based on the results. But for lack of critical thinking in our modernized culture, people forget that our conclusions are actually a faith. It is a scientific fact that the gravitational constant is 6.67*10^-11 because we can observe the gravitational force between two objects and derive this constant among all of our results. But technically we can’t scientifically observe the gravitational constant acting between two objects which are millions of light-years away from us. But given the test data that we do have, it is almost impossible for that gravitational constant to be a different value elsewhere in the universe. So we have faith, not in the constant itself, but in the fact that that constant truly is consistent in all areas of the universe. By doing so, we can derive other information (i.e. orbit of planets around stars due to periodic light wobbling). We can’t 100% prove that gravity is constant in all areas of our universe, but we don’t have any strong proof of it being otherwise, so it is logically acceptable to consider it a fact. Here is another example. It is a fact that giant, fossilized bones are found all around the world. It is also a fact that modern day animals have bone structures. By having faith in the fact that animal bone structure has remained constant for billions of years, we re-constructed the skeletal systems of these giant creatures and called them dinosaurs. No scientist has ever monitored a dinosaur under the scientific method yet no one denies their existence. What about one more? It is a fact that we have found fossils of thousands of species of animals which at one time existed on our planet. Through scientific exploration, we know facts like the existence of similar bone or system structures, similar behavioral patterns and even similar DNA across various species. But no scientist has ever scientifically observed a direct change from one species to another, as claimed by the nearly 200-year-old Darwinian theory of evolution. An evolutionary biologist operates under the assumption that there MUST have been a common ancestor because there is no other way (outside the fantasy realm of the metaphysical) that we could explain all of these facts. The conclusion he draws from the facts is a faith, but that does not make the object of his faith a fact. Similarly, I look at similarities in the fossil record as indicators of common design (the way the automobile design has been pretty constant across all makes and models for the last 100 years). Again, my conclusions are based on my faith, but it is not possible to prove the object of my faith a scientific fact.

          Historical facts are much the same, but even harder to be considered fact. In fact, there are those who have stated that the holocaust never actually existed. But many consider it a fact that it actually did exist. How do we know it existed? Pictures, documents, personal accounts and testimony. It can’t be observed in a lab, it isn’t repeatable – we can only rely on the testimony of those involved. If the aggregate volume of evidence corroborates the accounts, we have more proof of the event being fact than the contrary. But there will always be those who doubt for one reason or another. Since it is not observable by the scientific method, it cannot be proven to be a scientific fact – but that does not mean that it is not indeed a true, historic event. This is why I said it is “almost” impossible to reject the historicity of the Bible. There will always be skeptics, there will always be doubters and there will always be objectors. In fact, the Bible tells us that God reveals enough of Himself to the world to make belief in him a spiritual, intellectual possibility, but not so much as to forcefully convince us of his existence (more on that below). The point is, does the majority of the historical evidence point to an event being true or false? A historical fact is one which is assumed to be true based on the historic evidence for it. And as I have stated, the overwhelming majority of the evidence concerning the Bible is in favor of its truth. So, any objective person in search of truth, setting aside emotional objections, should (at least in my mind) accept the historical fact of the Bible and its events.

          From a Christian perspective, it is expected that mankind will reject God and the Bible. He gives us the opportunity to do so. He loves us so much that he gave us the ability to choose to embrace and love Him or to reject and depart from Him. The only alternative would have been for us to forcefully accept him as truth (and possibly despise him all the more for it). The forced affection of a slave is never as beautiful as the willful love of a child. But the Bible tells us that if you draw near to God, He will draw near to you. If you believe the evidence, take a step forward and seek Him out – I guarantee you will not be left disappointed.

          With regards to other world religions, I am not incredibly well-versed in their official doctrine. And as God being the final judge on the heart of His people, I can’t speak to the intentions of those involved in other religions. We live in a fallen, captive, confused world which is attempting to fill a spiritual void, which is where so many other worldly religions came from to begin with. And as I stated above, many people accept the religion of their friends and families to be true without ever investigating the premises of the doctrine itself. I would, however, like to point out a few differences between Christianity and other world religions. These are not official statements, just my own conclusions based on what I have seen so take them as they are.

          1. Christianity is the only world-religion that is not about what you do, but what God has done for you. In all other religions, the focus is on what you do to earn your way to the best possible after-life. Christianity tells us of a God who loved us so much that he became one of us and died a horrible death just so we could spend all eternity with Him in constant love and fellowship. In fact, that is what we are celebrating this weekend!

          2. Christianity is the only religion in which the major doctrinal events occurred out in the open for everyone to see. Biblical locations have been verified to be consistent through archaeology. We know Jesus of Nazareth actually lived, stirred up a lot of trouble in Israel and was put to death by crucifixion. We have eye-witness accounts of his resurrection from the dead from hundreds of people and multiple manuscripts. It’s uncertain whether Buddha ever actually lived. The Quran is based entirely on the stores of God’s revelations through a single man, Muhammad, supposedly dictated by the Angel Gabriel (and Muhammad actually makes statements regarding the veracity of the Biblical scriptures). Joseph Smith found the Golden Tablets in secret, was the only one to ever see them and was the only one who was gifted with the ability to transcribe their heavenly messages to mankind. Sorry, but in a high-profile court-case, I would want more than one eye-witness to reach a verdict beyond a doubt.

          3. Christianity is the only religion built upon realistic, broken people. It does not glorify those involved in the story, but rather reveals God’s glory through their brokenness. Abraham slept with his wife’s servant, David slept with his best friend’s wife and then had him killed so he could marry her (since she was already pregnant). Lot slept with his daughters. Solomon became prideful, lustful and arrogant. Jonah ran away from God. Hosea married a prostitute and she continued to sleep with other men. Peter denied even knowing Jesus after spending years alongside Him. These accounts and stories are far from the idyllic “worship-worthy” people found in other religions. God is the only element in the Bible worthy of worship.

          4. Christians must express their beliefs to the world. Not only are we called to do so, but we do so also out of love for others. If you saw a blind man walking toward a giant hole in the ground, you would try your best to re-direct him onto a safer path to save him from death. A true Christian is not called to kill those who don’t believe (Islam) or to let the “blind” find their own best path – he is called to present the Biblical message to those around him and allow the world to choose freely whether or not to accept or reject God and what He has done for us.

          Again, I encourage you to investigate the facts for yourself and determine in which facts you should be placing your faith. No amount of my faith, nor the faith of anyone else, can make anything a fact, but the facts exist independent of our belief. I hope you find the answers you are looking for. God bless!

        • mike tollefson says:

          Great points Jesse again thank you for your insights. When you talk about Christianity are you referring to the Lutheran version, Catholic version, Baptist version, Methodist version. Again I am confused as they all seem to use the same source documentation but each draws their own distinct conclusions and beliefs claiming that it the one correct version of Christianity. I am not sure what to make of this because again they are using the same source documentation of the Bible and historical accounts of Christ and each of the different Secs believe passionately that they are right and yet in many ways they are not compatible ?

        • Jesse says:

          Hey Mike. Very astute and relevant observations. You are correct that there are, indeed, differences between certain areas of Christian doctrine from one denomination to another. The majority of these stem from human opinion on subjects upon which the Bible does not provide a clear black and white answer. A great example of this is baptism. Some denominations practice infant baptism; others believe baptism should be a conscious choice made by someone at the time they decide to live their life for Jesus. The Bible emphasizes the importance of Baptism, but doesn’t instruct us on when in the life of a believer it should be performed.

          Historically, denominations formed when a group of Christians believed that the practices of the church had moved outside the true Christian doctrine. Martin Luther broke from the Catholic church because it had become corrupt by the men leading it. The practice of indulgences was a great example of a Christian denomination breaking away from Biblical doctrine, and those who adhered to the Biblical doctrine called them out on it.

          The point here is that there is a doctrine which is essential to Christianity, and there are secondary doctrinal issues which are open to interpretation and can acceptably be different among denominations without violating the essential doctrine. But these secondary issues are only a concern for the existing believers and none of them present an impediment to the existence of God, the truth of the Bible or the message of the gospel. So a non-believer need not make any decisions on how he feels about the secondary doctrinal issues until he accepts the essential doctrine as truth – then he can evaluate which denomination follows the secondary doctrinal issues in accordance with his own beliefs.

          For a much better explanation of essential Christian doctrine than I could ever provide, see this article from the Christian Research Journal written by Hank Hanegraaff. Keep in mind that, regardless of other practices and teachings, all truly Christian denominations adhere to this list. I hope you find it helpful. God bless!
          http://www.equip.org/bible_answers/what-is-essential-christian-doctrine/

        • Chris says:

          Jesse: “Also, I think it’s important to assert that anyone who has faith in anything would have to assume the object of their faith is a fact. Otherwise, there is no point in having faith in it at all. But someone’s faith in something does not make it a fact; we have faith in it because we believe the facts are true.”

          This is a fascinating perspective on faith, by which I mean I couldn’t disagree more with it. 😉

          To me, faith means choosing to believe in something even when you don’t have all the facts to support it. It’s a gut thing. It’s not rational, it’s emotional. Which isn’t a put-down–I think faith can be a very, very beautiful thing. But I think it has very little to do with facts.

          If you believe that what you put faith in is a fact, then there’s no point in having faith. I don’t have faith that the world is round or that it orbits the sun, because I don’t need to. The facts are readily available for all to see, and anyone who rejects those facts is simply misinformed or possibly deluded. I can’t say the same for people who choose a different religion from me, or no religion at all.

          To me true faith cannot exist without doubt. What I see a lot of fundamentalist Christians on this site and others displaying is not what I consider faith; it’s certainty. And that certainty is unearned. Christianity and the Bible contain a lot of beautiful messages, but we cannot know if it contains facts about the creation of the world, God’s existence and relationship to his creatures, or the afterlife. We can only choose to believe in what it says about those issues to the extent that it makes sense to us, but we have no proof that these things are true. That’s what makes it faith. To have certainty, to insist that scripture = fact, is arrogance. Mankind has not earned that level of certainty, and I don’t believe God would want us to have it. There’s a reason God hasn’t given us definitive proof of his existence, and I don’t think it’s so we can go around claiming that our religion has the answers and no others do.

          One more thing: you say the only alternative would be God forcing us to love him. But that’s not true. One alternative would be for him to show better, more compelling proof of his existence. You make a lot of claims about the Bible being a fairly accurate historical document–and I admit I don’t really have the time to research those claims at the moment–but clearly the fact that so many intelligent, resourceful, educated people disagree with a lot of the history presented in the Bible shows that this status is highly contested. Most historians agree that there is no evidence of a Great Flood, for instance. So the two options aren’t “total information blackout + scripture” vs. “mind-controlled robots.” God has yet to reveal his existence to the world at large, and until the point he chooses to do so, choosing not to believe in the Christian God will remain a valid, logical choice, one undeserving of punishment.

        • That Guy says:

          “To me, faith means choosing to believe in something even when you don’t have all the facts to support it. It’s a gut thing. It’s not rational, it’s emotional. Which isn’t a put-down–I think faith can be a very, very beautiful thing. But I think it has very little to do with facts”

          There is a difference between blind faith and the kind of faith that Christians are called too. Blind faith is very much a gut thing. It is emotional over rational. Informed faith, that’s what I’m going to call it anyway, is still somewhat emotional but it can be backed up by facts just as much as emotion. God gave humanity the ability for logic and reasoning. God wants us to use logical reasoning. In fact, the Bible argues quite strongly against blind faith citing that “The heart is [a persons feelings are] deceitful above all things, and desperately sick;” (Jeremiah 17:9 ESV). We can’t trust our gut or our feelings alone, but instead use the minds that have been given us to search and seek the answers.

          “To me true faith cannot exist without doubt.”

          I think I understand what you mean here. Humans are inquisitive by nature and like to question things. Once we stop asking questions we stop learning. Again though this goes back to logic and reasoning. If you have doubts and questions then confront them. Search for the answers. I have may not have made this clear in any of my responses but I do have doubts on occasion. On my bad days, when I’m particularly depressed or just had a really crappy day it is hard for me to believe in God but I do it anyway. Because the evidence is there. All logic and reasoning say that God exists and cares for me.

          “we cannot know if it contains facts about the creation of the world”

          Yes, it’s true that we can’t know with 100% certainty that the Biblical creation account is true. Nor can we know with 100% certainty the alternative, a slow and gradual process of evolution from a single-celled organism to the diversity of life we see today, is true. All we can do is look at where the evidence leads us and place our faith that these things are true.

          “There’s a reason God hasn’t given us definitive proof of his existence”

          But he has given us proof of his existence. First of all, we exist in a state to debate about it. Second, we have the Bible which is the most historically accurate document (in terms of what the words said in the oldest documents we have versus the translations that exist today) in existence. The second closest is Homer’s Illiad, of which the oldest copy in existence is at least 500 years away from when we think it was actually created. Third, there is the massive pile of scientific evidence. DNA is information. Millions of books worth of information, and information cannot create itself therefore it had to have come from somewhere. There is reasonable proof for the Biblical story of Babel. Ancient Greek, Sanskrit and Latin are thee very old dead languages that are the predecessors of a very high percentage of the worlds languages today. These three dead languages are extremely common in syntax and grammar. They are so common in syntax and grammar that they absolutely had to have come from the same root language. The last I heard that root language was being called Proto-Indo European. A simple google search will reveal this fact. Finally, I’ll leave you with a list of arguments for the existence of God. Any one of these arguments are significant evidence for God. I will only post the list as actually explaining the arguments themselves will take far too much time and space.

          The Argument from Change
          The Argument from Efficient Causality
          The Argument from Time and Contingency
          The Argument from Degrees of Perfection
          The Design Argument or Teleological Argument for God
          The Kalam Argument
          The Argument for Contingency
          The Argument from the World as an Interacting Whole
          The Argument from Miracles
          The Argument from Consciousness
          The Argument from Truth
          The Argument from the Origin of the Idea of God
          The Ontological Argument
          The Argument from Conscience
          The Argument from Desire
          The Argument from Aesthetic Experience
          The Argument from Religious Experience
          The Common Consent Argument
          Pascal’s Wager

        • mike tollefson says:

          Thank you Chris

        • Jesse says:

          Hi Chris,

          Thanks for taking the time to look through this post. I hope you continue to investigate some of the philosophical and logical arguments for the existence for God, despite not have a scientific knowledge of His existence. I will concede to your argument that having faith in the fact of the Earth orbiting around the Sun, or something similar, is pointless because it is a fact and faith is not required. My original post, did not do justice to the distinction between scientific and historical fact.

          My assertion is not that God is scientifically verifiable or that we can scientifically prove the events of the Bible. But it is a fact that those events are present in the Bible, and it is a fact that manuscripts of the Bible (specifically New Testament) dating back nearly 2000 years tell of the exact same events. It is also a documented fact (extra-Biblically) that Jesus of Nazareth lived and was crucified under Roman authority. Combined with the logical arguments for the existence of God, for which there are very few refutations from the side of skeptics, we are left with a very compelling argument in favor of God’s existence and the truth of the scriptures as a historical fact. Belief in this argument does not make it a fact, but rejection of this argument does not disprove its premises either.

          Finally in regards to your last statement: “God has yet to reveal his existence to the world at large, and until the point he chooses to do so, choosing not to believe in the Christian God will remain a valid, logical choice, one undeserving of punishment.”

          “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.” Isaiah 55:8
          “God invites us to seek Him: You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13
          “Draw near to me and I will draw near to you.” James 4:8
          “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light” John 3:19
          “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23
          “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23

          The Bible makes it pretty clear that God does reveal himself to those who want to find him. And regardless of our emotional objections, there is no logical contradiction between a loving God and the necessity of Hell. If the logical arguments for His existence or the historicity of the Bible aren’t enough, I encourage you just to ask. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you. If you seek Him whole-heartedly, I can guarantee you will not be left wanting. God bless!

        • mike tollefson says:

          Jesse, you continue to make well spoken compelling points. Thank you they are appreciated by those of us who look for scientific evidence to support assertions of faith. I find your arguments palatable, persuasive and polite.

        • David says:

          @Jesse – in the spirit of ‘facts’ your comments about the Book of Mormon are incorrect. There were at least 11 people who saw the tablets and at least one other person who translated a portion. Check out the front page of a book of mormon for your list of eye witnesses. Not done entirely in secret as you suggest. And certainly believed enough by others to make numerous attempts to find/steal them.

    • mo says:

      @ Theron

      Good thing no one here is taking about “an invisible magic man in the sky”, but rather Jesus of Nazareth as presented in Scripture!

      • mike tollefson says:

        Let me guess the Bible is the word of God because the Bible says it is the word of God ? Come on you have to have something better than that if it is a fact then you can prove it right ?

        Mike

        • Harry Krentz says:

          No, we should take the word of some anti-Christian bigot who likes to stink up a comments page with his poisonous, hate-filled thoughts.

        • mike tollefson says:

          Am I professing my thoughts or beliefs as truth ? No I know that I don’t know the truth because in the matter of God there is no absolute truth just faith. Obviously this is a problem for YOU since when I suggested that if it is a FACT that the Bible is the word of God prove it with a source other than the Bible. I see that you could not but rather you resorted to name calling and belittling me because I asked you for proof that seems like an odd way for a man who claims to be a Christian to respond. Again I say whatever you have I truly do not want and doubt with behavior like that that you will bring a single nonbeliever to Christ.

        • Harry Krentz says:

          “The only people who buy your bullshit are the ignorant people that think like you.” hypocrite and liar.

        • mike tollefson says:

          Still waiting for the proof that your BELIEFS are indeed FACT. I don’t have a problem with you not believing me as I am not professing them as FACT. I notice that when I asked you for the supporting documentation for your assertions that your response was to be-raid me rather than supply any proof. Again it is like the sixth grader screaming as loud as he can on the playground it’s true because I said it’s true sorry but that is not very convincing…..is that really the best you have?

        • Harry Krentz says:

          Yes you were. “The only people…” was stated as fact. Don’t try to hide behind obvious lies. As to your stupid request for “supporting documentation”, why would ANYTHING published be more believable than the Bible? If you’re too thick to see evidence of a Creator through the Creativity in Creation, then what sort of piece of paper is ever going to convince you? Obviously, there’s more “important” things for you to cling to instead.

        • mike tollefson says:

          Harry there are many people on this site that have made intelligent and compelling cases in support of their belief in their chosen faith of Christianity and done so in a way as to draw others toward Christ sadly you are not one of those. You continue to try to demean and belittle my beliefs and use the logic that it is true because I say it’s true or the Bible is true because the Bible says it’s true you sound like a person who might follow Jim and Tammy Baker while sipping Koolaid. I apologize for my unkind remarks but in my opinion you are an embarrassment to Christianity and probably drive more people away from Christ than you draw to him.

        • Chris says:

          “why would ANYTHING published be more believable than the Bible?”

          I’m shocked that anyone would ask such a ridiculous question. You have been taught to think like a child, and you are throwing a fit because people disagree with you. You accuse someone of bigotry simply for disagreeing with your subjective beliefs. This is sad.

        • mike tollefson says:

          Chris, I have been taught in College where I earned my degree in Psychology that FACTS are verifiable by more than one source, that experiments to prove FACT must be able to be replicated to be considered valid so when any religious person tells me that their proof is in their religious book whether it be the Bible the Quaran, the book of Mormon etc I really can not help but laugh. You obviously can not say that the Bible is scientific proof of the Bible if you choose to believe that more power to you and if you choose to make fun and belittle me because I don’t so be it I don’t mind as I always consider the source. If however you intend to persuaded people who are educated and critical thinkers you are going to have to do better than that. Your argument presented as FACT in a pushy unpleasant browbeating manner might work on the Tammy Fay and Jim Baker crowd but not so much with the literate free thinking people of the world. I think this can be seen clearly with the difficulty Christianity and other religions have converting people who are educated in today’s society. How’s your track record do you draw many people to Christ with your loving upbeat message of salvation??? By the way there are several people on this site who present an articulate intelligent argument for the Bibles validity and that Christ is the Savior you just don’t happen to be one of them.

        • Harry Krentz says:

          How about that: At least you’re now minimally on topic to what the blog post was about in the first place.. Yeah, you can put words in my mouth (“use the logic that it is true because I say it’s true or the Bible is true because the Bible says it’s true” — purely from your own sorry imagination), talk about someone else’s belief being “bullshit”, say that people who think like him are ignorant, etc. etc., but let someone make a discouraging remark to YOU, and well, then you cry about how terrible a Christian I am. At the least, I don’t try to hold you to standards that I don’t follow myself. But it isn’t my job to convert you. That’s not what Christianity is about. Christ converts you, not me. Yet if you’ll use the excuse of other’s incivility for abandoning yourself to perdition, then I can safely say in all honesty and clear heart that I actually care more about your eternal soul than you do.

        • mike tollefson says:

          Harry, from reading your multiply posts directed toward me and others on this site you sound like a miserable and unhappy man….I for one am not trying to incite you and I truly respect your right to believe as you wish and to profess those beliefs to others as you are inclined. In fact I am a combat Veteran who fought for our rights to free speech and for religious freedoms among others. However my experience as a college graduate with a degree in Psychology has taught me to be critical of ideas and beliefs presented as facts and that there are rigid criteria required to establish something as a fact scientifically. I am not at all angry that you don’t agree with me as it is inconsequential to me but I believe that you have fallen short of meeting the scientific criteria of proof which means that your beliefs are articles of faith. Personally I am not sure why believing passionately in an article of faith is a bad

      • Chris says:

        Mike, you deeply misread my comment. I was quoting Harry, not you, and criticizing his naive, bumpkin-like shock over the idea that anyone could find another source more credible than the Bible. In other words, Mike, I was agreeing with you. Apparently Harry didn’t get it either, and I’m honestly not sure why.

    • mike tollefson says:

      Right on I agree they are all articles of faith and people are free to believe as they wish. Of course there are many who say their way is the truth the light and the only way. The problem is there is no proof. When someone offers proof that the Muslim faith is true because the Koran says so or the Mormon faith is true because the Book of Mormon says so or the Christian Faith is true because the Bible says so it obviously doesn’t make it TRUE. Believe it if you wish share your BELIEFS with others freely but please don’t lie and be disingenuous and state it as a FACT.

    • sheabernard says:

      Theron, you said, “Well, since there is not evidence for an invisible magic man in the sky”

      Yawn. This is a classic text-book case of the fallacy of Argument from Ignorance, or Argumentum ex Silentio, depending on how your argument is worded.

      In short, absence of evidence is NOT evidence of absence. The atheist worldview, that there is no God because there is no evidence of God is based soley on this fallacy. No evidence of God does not mean there is not a God – only evidence proving there is no God is evidence of no God, and in logic, you can never prove a negative anyway.

  11. Stephanie says:

    I love all of your posts, but especially this one! It reminded me of an article I recently read that is very similar. I think you would enjoy it. https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/04/the-cost-and-blessings-of-discipleship?lang=eng

    • mo says:

      @ Stephanie

      I do not know why you are posting articles from the LDS website. LDS and Christianity are two entirely separate religions.

      • Ingelheim5 says:

        Obviously you don’t know anything about the LDS religion.

        • mo says:

          @ Ingelheim5

          Obviously, I do – especially since I posted info from the LDS website to support my point.

        • Ingelheim5 says:

          @ mo

          If our church is called the Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints, then how can you say we aren’t Christian?? Our church speaks more of Jesus Christ than any other I’ve ever attended. We learn more about His life, teachings, example, atonement, death and resurrection than anyone else professes to. What do you get from lds.org that doesn’t substantiate a Christian belief? The definition of Christianity is: the religion that is based on the teachings of Jesus Christ. “And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins. 2 Nephi 25:26 Book of Mormon

        • mo says:

          @ Ingelheim5

          “If our church is called the Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints, then how can you say we aren’t Christian??”

          Good grief, why do people keep saying this over and over? Just because an organization has the words “Jesus Christ” in the title does not necessarily mean their teachings are in accordance with what the Bible says!

          LDS was started as an alternative to Christianity! Look it up on your own website. I don’t have time at the moment to dig it up again. It’s Joseph Smith’s own testimony!

          LDS teaches radically different things than Christianity about God, Jesus, heaven, hell, salvation and everything else.

          These are two completely different, separate religions. That is why Smith began it. So please stop repeating the same old thing and look up the teachings of your own religion on the official website. Don’t listen to me. Look up LDS teachings and compare them with biblical teachings. You will see they are radically different.

        • Ingelheim5 says:

          Hey Mo, you don’t have to tell me what my church believes. I know. I’ve read the Bible and the Book of Mormon many, many times. Have you? I don’t think so, but you continue to talk as though you know more than I. I have spent many hours on lds.org. I go there it to know what a Prophet of God is telling the world and how I can be more like my Savior, Jesus Christ. My church is Jesus Christ’s church. It’s teachings are His doctrine, taken from the earth after His apostles were killed and His church became corrupted. We carry His name because we teach His original doctrine, restored to the earth through Joseph Smith, who went to God in prayer when he was trying to know which church to join. I think it’s so interesting how much time you devote to challenging the LDS church. If you too will ask God, He will tell you. Shauna Kemsley

        • mo says:

          @ Ingelheim5

          “Hey Mo, you don’t have to tell me what my church believes. ”

          Apparently you don’t know much about either LDS or Christianity. If you did, you would not be claiming these two separate, entirely different religions teach the same things about God, Christ, heaven, hell, salvation and other major doctrines. They do not.

          Anything to say on the FACT that the LDS website in the section about Joseph Smith’s personal testimony says that he founded this religion as an ALTERNATIVE to Christianity?

          Please stop repeating the same old things and deal in FACTS about what LDS teaches, as opposed to Christianity. Thank you.

        • Ingelheim5 says:

          Well Mo, the LDS church teaches us that we are Christians. It is said by every church leader, over and over again. Christianity is not a religion, it is a belief in Jesus Christ. We believe in Him. Catholics are Christian, Methodists are Christian, Lutherans are Christian. Mormons are Christian. We all believe in Jesus Christ. And each of these religions teaches different principles right? Catholics teach different things than Lutherans do don’t they? You keep throwing this non-Christian statement by Joseph Smith at me, but I’m reading the Joseph Smith history right now. From Joseph Smith–History page 49. “My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)–and which I should join. I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof. He again forbade me to join with any of them.” Is that the ‘statement’ you’re looking for? I have not ever read/heard that Joseph Smith restored Christ’s church as an ‘alternative to Christianity.’ If you can, please quote it to me. And source it too please. Here are some of the things we believe. We believe that God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost are 3 separate and distinct beings. That is not in harmony with any other churches teachings, but when Joseph Smith saw them, they were 2 separate beings. We also believe that baptism of infants is not necessary. That through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, little children are sinless. We believe that infant baptism is an abomination to God. We do not worship the cross, nor do we use it as a symbol of our religion. This is because we celebrate the Resurrection, not the death of Christ. We believe that when the Apostles all died, the church became corrupt. It became the teaching of men, mingled with scripture. We believe the Bible to be the word of God, as far as it is translated correctly. Through hundreds of years, corrupt men have deleted or changed doctrine. Are these are some of the facts you want to hear? I don’t think any of our beliefs make us any less Christian than you.

        • mo says:

          @ Ingelheim5

          “Well Mo, the LDS church teaches us that we are Christians.”

          And what does that word mean when used by LDS? Does LDS teach what the Bible does about God, Christ, heaven, hell, salvation and other key doctrines? No, they do not.

          No comments on Joseph Smith’s testimony, where he began this separate religion because all the other denominations (in his view) were corrupted? Why not?

          “You keep throwing this non-Christian statement by Joseph Smith at me, but I’m reading the Joseph Smith history right now.”

          How I hate wasting my time with this. But here you go. (For the same of space, I’ve only posted the pertinent portions. As with anything, it’s better to read the full thing.)

          https://www.lds.org/scriptures/pgp/js-h?lang=eng#

          “My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)—and which I should join.

          19 I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”

          “Here are some of the things we believe. We believe that God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost are 3 separate and distinct beings.”

          Well, that is not what the Bible teaches. Even just based on that, LDS is not Christian. You can use whatever word you want, but it is not in line with the Bible.

          “We also believe that baptism of infants is not necessary.”

          Well, that’s good, since the Bible nowhere teaches infant baptism.

          The rest of this also are things that the Bible does not teach.

          Look, you are free to call yourself whatever you wish. But the things that LDS teaches are not only not taught in Scripture, but are entirely in conflict with it. Therefore, by definition, it is not Christian, despite having that word in the title. They are two separate religions.

          If you had actually read the entire Bible, you’d see that Mormon doctrine is entirely different than biblical doctrine. It’s totally different, in the essentials.

          All I can do is urge you to do so.

        • Ingelheim5 says:

          @ Mo
          The Bible does teach of 3 distinct personages. Twice that I can cite from the top of my head. Once, when John the Baptist was baptizing Jesus, by immersion (which is how we are baptized in the LDS church btw, see Mark 1:10, Acts 8:38, Romans 6:4) in Mark 1: 10 “And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: 11 And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” This is an account of 3 very distinct personages in the Bible. There stood Jesus in the water, the dove appeared (a separate being) and then God the Father spoke (yet another, separate being). Then in Acts 7 is the account of Stephen’s martrydom. 55 “But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, 56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.” Interestingly, much the way Joseph Smith described his vision of God and Jesus Christ. Verse 17 of the Joseph Smith History

          I have quoted to you from the Bible. I am very familiar with it and it is very much in harmony with the teaching of my church. I read the quote from Joseph Smith history you posted, but fail to see where it states that he is starting an “alternative to Christianity”. You have said many times that Joseph Smith stated this. You didn’t quote anything of the sort. Once again, Christianity is a belief in Jesus Christ not a religion. You say, “No comments on Joseph Smith’s testimony, where he began this separate religion because all the other denominations (in his view) were corrupted? Why not?” You quoted it yourself. Joseph Smith asked in prayer which religion was true. His answer from Jesus Christ Himself was that none of them were true. Verse 19 of your post. After his vision, Joseph Smith was directed to gold plates that, when translated were the Book of Mormon. As a prophet, just as with prophets of old (Hebrews 13:8) Joseph was given revelation. The Priesthood was once again restored to the earth. The church was restored ‘line upon line, precept upon precept’. (Isaiah 27:10) All religions have truth in them, but the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ was restored through a prophet, Joseph Smith.

          Lastly “And what does that word (Christian) mean when used by LDS? Does LDS teach what the Bible does about God, Christ, heaven, hell, salvation and other key doctrines? No, they do not.” Yes, actually we do teach from the Bible. We believe that Salvation comes by and through Jesus Christ. No man can be saved but through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. (Matthew 1:21) We believe in the biblical account of God as the literal father of the human family; as a being who is concerned for the welfare of mankind, and a Personage who hears and answers prayers. Malachi 2:10 (Yes we believe in and study the Old Testament as well) Once again, Christians are those who believe in Jesus Christ. Christianity is not a religion.

          I have cited chapter and verse to back up my belief. I have answered each of your points using Bible references. Read it yourself. All from the Bible.

          As always, man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still. I would be interested with which religion you affiliate. I know that I am a Christian. And I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You believe I am not a Christian, but that does not change the fact that I am. This has been an interesting discussion. Have a good day.

        • mo says:

          @ Ingelheim5

          For the life of me, I cannot comprehend why you keep insisting the Bible and LDS doctrine are the same, when they are clearly not – even after I demonstrate it from your own texts/websites.

          “I am very familiar with it and it is very much in harmony with the teaching of my church.”

          No, you are not. And NO, it is not. Simply repeating it doesn’t make it so.

          ” I read the quote from Joseph Smith history you posted, but fail to see where it states that he is starting an “alternative to Christianity”. You have said many times that Joseph Smith stated this. You didn’t quote anything of the sort.”

          Look, I posted exactly that from his own testimony, from the official LDS website. It doesn’t get more “official” than that. If you’re still going to deny it, there’s nothing I can do.

          Here’s another bit that shows LDS doctrine is not the same as biblical doctrine.

          Brigham Young University web site:

          http://eom.byu.edu/index.php/God_the_Father

          “The Father existed prior to the Son and the Holy Ghost and is the source of their divinity.”

          Entirely different from what the Bible says in various places, including John 1

          “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.”

          Here’s one last one:

          https://www.lds.org/topics/god-the-father?lang=eng

          “We are all literally children of God, spiritually begotten in the premortal life.”

          This is direct contradiction with all the teaching of Scripture, which teaches we need to be born again to BECOME children of God. (To say nothing of “premortal” life, of which the Bible teaches nothing of the sort.)

          John 1:12-13 (speaking of Jesus, the Word) As always, it’s best to read the full passage or chapter, rather than just a few verses. But to save space, here’s the pertinent bit:

          12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, the gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

          I have not even been arguing here whether LDS is true or Christianity is true. All I’ve been pointing out if that their doctrines are completely different and contradictory to one another. I have once again given clear evidence.

          I’m afraid that’s the best I can do. I’ve just started a new position, so I won’t be able to keep up with this thread any longer.

        • mike tollefson says:

          Ingelheim5 Praise God it is so refreshing to hear someone express their ideas as beliefs I have the utmost respect for you and the case you present for The Later Day Saints. You where very well spoken and despite the fact that your beliefs differ from mine after reading your points I feel that LDS is worth further investigation. I sincerely appreciate that even though it is obvious that you are passionate about your beliefs you do not belittle or demean others who believe differently which in doing so makes you an attraction to your said religion possibly inspiring others to join your faith. Thank you for being a good example of a person who follows Christ while continuing to treat others with respect.

          Mike

        • mo says:

          @ Ingelheim5

          Here’s just one MAJOR doctrine that is different between LDS & Christianity:

          From the Articles of Faith

          http://www.mormon.org/beliefs/articles-of-faith

          2 We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.

          This is contradictory to what the Bible teaches all over, but explicitly here in 1 Corinthians 15:21-26:

          “For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

          And if nothing else, this is not only not Scriptural, it doesn’t even make any sense. America? Really? How can that be consistent with Scripture, since obviously America wasn’t in existence during the time the Bible was written!

          Again from Articles of Faith:

          10 We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.”

          LDS teaching on eternal life is also different than what Scripture teaches.

          http://www.mormon.org/faq/topic/eternal-life

          Its teaching on hell is entirely different from the Bible as well:

          https://www.lds.org/scriptures/gs/hell

          HELL

          “Latter-day revelation speaks of hell in at least two senses. First, it is the temporary abode in the spirit world for those who were disobedient in mortality. In this sense, hell has an end. The spirits there will be taught the gospel, and sometime following their repentance they will be resurrected to a degree of glory of which they are worthy. Those who will not repent, but are nevertheless not sons of perdition, will remain in hell throughout the Millennium. After these thousand years of torment, they will be resurrected to a telestial glory”

          None of this is taught in the Bible.

          Please stop saying Mormonism is Christian. It is not.

          Please, please learn your own religion. Compare it with the Bible. Despite sharing some words and names, they are two entirely different religions.

        • Ed Sumner says:

          Please. Spare me. Mormonism has far more in common with Islam than Christianity, in spite of its name. Both Islam and Mormonism’s founders received alleged revelations from ‘angels’. Both permitted underaged marriages. Both have a book or books they claim to be equal to or superior to the Bible. The founders of both were perverts. For more information:

          http://www.forerunner.com/blog/islam-and-mormonism-kissin-cousins

        • Ingelheim5 says:

          Great. Let’s start posting obscure websites and call them truth. There is one way to know if the Book of Mormon is true. Read it and ask God. He’ll tell you if you really want to know. But, you don’t. You’d rather read some ‘Internet truth’ and call it good. Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ. The Book of Mormon is the most correct book on the earth. That is truth. Shauna Kemsley

        • That guy says:

          @Ingelheim5

          I’m trying to follow the logic here. Joseph Smith said that he was told that all the versions of Christianity at the time were completely wrong and an “abomination”. So he started the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a better option for worshiping God. By definition this is an alternative, but you seem to dislike that word so let’s use ‘substitute’ instead. He started a new religion as a substitute for Christianity. Yet this new religion is supposed to be Christian. How can it be Christian, if the whole point was to be a substitute for Christianity?

          You bring up the idea that Mormons are just as Christian as other professing churches (Catholics, Baptists, Lutherans etc.) except that Mormons, by the words of their own prophet which you have generously quoted, must believe that they are the only true Christians. How can you be just as Christian as non-Christians?

          Also, you say that the LDS church believes that God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are 3 separate beings, as opposed to Christian churches that hold the believe that they are 3 distinct beings but all part of one God. Does the LDS church believe that God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are all god? If they do than that’s polytheism, which is not Christianity.

          If the LDS church does not believe that Jesus is god then that’s not Christianity either. Central to Christianity is the doctrine that Jesus was and is divine. Jesus claimed to be divine many times in the gospels and there is bibliographic evidence, dating back to the lives of Paul and John at the very latest, that the gospels at that time said the same things that they do today. So the idea that those particular books have been changed over time is patently false.

          Simply following the logic it’s hard, if not completely impossible, to reconcile the idea that the LDS church is indeed a Christian church.

        • Ingelheim5 says:

          @That guy. Okay, let’s go through each one of your questions. First, the Mormon church was restored through Joseph Smith, a prophet. Jesus Christ spoke to a prophet to restore His church in the latter-days just as he has spoken to prophets throughout history, ie, Abraham, Issac, Moses, John the Baptist, etc. Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” The Church of Jesus Christ of LDS is, we believe, the original church that Christ established while He was on the earth, not just ‘a better option for worshiping God.’ It was taken from the earth during the Apostasy. You are also one who seems to think that Christianity is a religion. It is not a religion but a belief in Jesus Christ. Are you saying that by being Christian (Catholic, Methodist, etc.) that all these religions believe the same thing? They do not. If they did believe the same things, they would be one religion. As per your definition, Baptists are a ‘substitute or alternative’ if you prefer, for Lutherans. Your argument that Mormons are a substitute for Christianity is silly. Christianity is NOT a religion. Christians believe in Christ. Mormons believe in Christ, ergo, Mormons are Christians.

          As per your second paragraph, Mormons believe their religion is the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ on the earth. All other religions have truth, but not the fullness of Christ’s church. It seems hard to believe that there would be many true churches on the earth. How can there be many ‘true’ churches? That doesn’t make sense, does it? Once again, though, all churches that believe in Jesus Christ are Christian churches.

          On to your 3rd paragraph. I never said that the LDS church does not believe that Christ is a God and is divine. We absolutely believe He is a God. The Godhead consists of 3 Gods. God the Father, His Son, Jesus Christ, (also a God) and the Holy Ghost, who is a God as well. They are 3 distinct personages that work as one, but are not one personage. We believe that the Bible has much truth. That it is the word of the disciples and followers of Christ. But, we believe that through the ages, some things were changed and left out. It is not patently false to believe that there have been corrupt men who for their own gain and benefit have added or deleted parts of the Bible. No one has possession of those first writings in their entirety. We believe the Bible to be the word of God, as far as it is translated correctly.

          Your logic is incorrect. But thank you for making this a civil conversation.

          Joseph Smith wanted to join the true church. He attended many of them and all professed to be true. He was confused. He read in James 1:5 “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” Joseph asked God. You can too.

        • mo says:

          @ That guy

          Thanks for taking this on. I’ve gone as far as I can go. I’ve demonstrated multiple times, with clear evidence from official LDS sites and the Bible that the doctrines are very different. At this point, I was not even been arguing one religion is true and the other is false, only that they have very different doctrines on some of their major points.

          But even with clear facts from both official LDS sites and the Bible, it just does not make any difference to this person. I can’t understand this sort of thought process. It’s right there, plain as day, literally in black and white.

          “Simply following the logic it’s hard, if not completely impossible, to reconcile the idea that the LDS church is indeed a Christian church.”

          I’m glad it’s not just me!

        • Ingelheim5 says:

          @ Mo and That guy.

          Oh, you guys are so smug. You proved nothing to me, logically or otherwise. I have certainly shown with accurate Biblical reference that my faith is true. I look forward to the day when you realize that, and I’m a patient person. One thing that delights me is that you poured through lds.org! The truth is there for the honest in heart to find. I only wish other churches had such great, unguarded, unhidden resources.

        • bkmoody1124 says:

          LDS resources that contradict each other and lead to conflicted and unagreed “pillars” of your “faith”

        • Ingelheim5 says:

          @bkmoody
          Way to throw your oar in the water! Nothing conflicted nor unagreed about the pillars of my faith!

        • bkmoody1124 says:

          How do your LDS pillars (becoming your own god having your own celestial kingdom, baptizing the dead) square with the bible’s version of heaven?

        • cdciii says:

          @Ingelheim5 : You said ” There is one way to know if the Book of Mormon is true. Read it and ask God. He’ll tell you if you really want to know. ” I actually have done so a very long time ago in honesty and sincerity. I received no “burning in the bosom”, no confirmation. Instead I was given a resounding NO!!! I have read the Book of Mormon several times and when I asked some of your missionaries why I found no major Mormon doctrines in it I was told that they fled immediately without answering me.

          As to knowing what Mormons believe, is there really insufficient material published by the LDS Church to have a decent idea of it? If that material is not really what is believed by Mormons, they what is being hidden from public view? What does actually go on inside those temples of yours from which we are excluded?

          Mormonism is in no way “Christian” other than in the usurpation of the name of Christ and of the vernacular used by traditional denominations. The actuality of its core is vastly different from historical doctrine, Protestant or Roman Catholic. It is only in the last 30 – 40 years that it has identified itself to the world as a “Christian” denomination in a charade to deceive.

        • Ingelheim5 says:

          I can’t get into yet another debate. I just don’t have the time to repeat. You may say what you want and believe it to be true. I also, may do the same. When all is said and done, we will both know the truth at some point. I have prayed, read, pondered and studied. I have received a clear and peaceful answer. I have a journal of my Great great grandfather from the 1860s. In that, he states that he is Christian many times. So, apparently, you are incorrect on the assumption that Mormons did not use that term until the past 30-40 years. I have been a member since 1964 and have used the term Christian my whole life. We have no reason nor purpose to deceive. In my mind you have been deceived though. I often wonder at the opposition to a religion that teaches love for one another and good works. All I can deduce is that Satan does not want this work to go forward. Have a pleasant day.

        • That Guy says:

          @ingelheim5

          I will agree with you that Christianity is not a religion. It is faith. That much is true. However, the LDS church IS a religion. Mormons have their own traditions, customs and methods of worship that are uniquely theirs. That’s what it makes it a religion. Even if the Mormon church is the true church restored to earth as Joseph Smith claimed, that doesn’t change the fact that there were other churches that existed that called themselves Christian. Smith claimed to be told that those other churches were wrong. So he started, or re-started according to the mormon belief, another one. Instead of any other church that existed in Smith’s time he opted to start/re-start the mormon church. He started and attended the mormon church Instead Of any other church. It was a substitute, a replacement, an alternative or any other synonym you can come up with. The Baptist church IS an alternative to the Lutheran church which in turn IS an alternative to the Catholic church which in turn IS an alternative to protestants as a whole.

          “The Godhead consists of 3 Gods. God the Father, His Son, Jesus Christ, (also a God) and the Holy Ghost, who is a God as well. They are 3 distinct personages that work as one, but are not one personage.”

          By your own admission, the mormon church is polytheistic. This is not Christianity. There is only one God in the Christian faith. This is the most basic of basic tenets of Christianity. There is only one God.

          “It is not patently false to believe that there have been corrupt men who for their own gain and benefit have added or deleted parts of the Bible. No one has possession of those first writings in their entirety.”

          I don’t know enough about the physical evidence of the gospels to say whether or not there are full surviving copies of them from the time of Christ. However, I do know that we have enough individual pieces of at least the four gospels, again dating back to within the lifetime of the apostles, to say that we can accurately reproduce those four gospels. We know what the original writings say and it’s nearly exactly the same as what they say now.

          I am trying to be civil, but I am stating my position that you are wrong.

        • That Guy says:

          @ mo

          We did our best. Good luck with your new position.

          @ Ingelheim5

          I’m not tryin to be smug. In the course of this conversation I have tried to be nothing but civil and logical. I was given a mind to reason and rationalize with and that’s exactly what I intend to do. By your own admission the LDS religion is polytheistic which is contrary to the very core of Christianity. I’m sorry you can’t see that. We have come to an impasse and so all I can do now is bid you good day and goodbye.

        • mo says:

          @ That Guy

          Thanks!

        • Ingelheim5 says:

          @ That Guy

          I too have tried to be reasonable and nice. When accused of not knowing my own religion, I became a bit testy. Sorry for that. I agree that we have come to an impasse, but I have come to understand through our conversation how you think and what you believe. That is very valuable to me. Truly, until the past few days, I haven’t ever quite known why people like you insist that people like me aren’t Christian. I have a much greater understanding of that now. I read your link using the acronym of the word Doctrine. It gave me a lot of insight. Would you read this describing how we came to a belief in 3 Gods? Maybe you will have a greater understanding of us as well. It is lengthy, but I suspect it may interest you. Thanks. Shauna Kemsley kemsleyfam@gmail.com

          Is the LDS View of God Consistent with the Bible?

          By William O. Nelson
          Latter-day Saints are sometimes accused of having an antibiblical theology because they believe that God is a glorified being of flesh and bones—not just a spirit essence. Some who write anti-Mormon pamphlets insist that the LDS concept of Deity is contrary to what is recognized as traditional Christian doctrine. In this they are quite correct. The traditional view about the Trinity is well over a thousand years old, and time has a way of hallowing ideas, whether or not they are true.

          One of the most demonstrable truths from the Bible is the physical, bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. When Jesus came forth from the tomb, he showed himself to his Apostles. Even they thought him to be a spirit, but he said: “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.”

          Then he showed them his hands and feet, and when they were still skeptical, he asked for meat and honeycomb and ate before them. (Luke 24:36–43.) Then they saw he was no apparition.

          Thomas was not present at the first appearance to the Twelve, so he remained skeptical. He told the others: “Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.” (John 20:24–25.)

          One week later, Jesus again appeared to the disciples. This time, Thomas was among them. The Lord greeted them, then spoke to Thomas: “Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.”

          Thomas could only exclaim, “My Lord and my God.” (John 20:26–28.) That day he became a special witness of the Lord’s literal resurrection.

          After Jesus was resurrected, more than five hundred also saw him and testified of his physical resurrection. (1 Cor. 15:5–8.) The Apostles, too, were witnesses of his ascension into heaven when two angels told them that Jesus would return in like manner as he had ascended. (Acts 1:9–11.)

          We also know that at his second coming, Christ will appear with a physical body. John testified that “every eye shall see him.” (Rev. 1:7.) Zechariah prophesied that “his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives” (Zech. 14:4; italics added), and the beleaguered Israelites “shall look upon [him] whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him.” (Zech. 12:10.) And then “one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.” (Zech. 13:6; italics added.)

          With such an abundance of biblical testimony from the ancient Apostles and prophets, how did traditional Christianity come to the idea that somehow Jesus’ bodily identity was dissolved into spirit essence? How did the Christian sects come to accept the idea that though three personages comprise the Godhead, they are one immaterial spirit? Certainly the ideas are not apostolic in origin.

          The early Apostles took the gospel into a Greco-Roman world that espoused Neoplatonism—a philosophy derived from Plato’s teachings on idealism. One idea that came down from Plato was that matter is essentially evil. (James L. Barker, Apostasy from the Divine Church, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1960, pp. 229–35.)

          As long as Apostles led the Church, they opposed the philosophies of the day. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians is an example of this. Apparently, some who held to the belief that matter was evil were baptized but had difficulty accepting the physical resurrection of Jesus. They reasoned that since Jesus was perfectly good, he could not have a material body. In his letter, Paul addressed the Greek belief in the body’s corruptibility by bearing testimony that a resurrected body, like Christ’s, is incorruptible. (1 Cor. 15:3–8, 12–20, 35–42.)

          Likewise the Apostle John asserted in his gospel and epistles that Jesus was a divine being of flesh in mortality to counteract the heresy that he was not or could not have been flesh because matter was evil. (John 1:14; 1 Jn. 1:1–3; 1 Jn. 4:3.)

          The dilemma of the church after the first century was how to sustain a unified church without a body of general authorities. By the early second century, the church had gone through three major persecutions by the Roman emperors Nero (A.D. 54–68), Domitian (A.D. 81–96), and Trajan (A.D. 98–117), and apostasy and heresy were rampant. The Apostles were gone—all martyred except for John—and church leaders who had known the Apostles but did not have their apostolic keys, like Papias, Clement of Rome, and Polycarp, were dead.

          The defenders of the church in the late second and third century were Christian apologists and scholars, many of whom were trained in Greek philosophy and in rhetoric and logic.

          They brought the classical culture of Greece into the church for two reasons: first, to rhetorically and logically “prove” the Christian gospel to a world steeped in Greek culture; second, to make Christianity intellectually respectable. Their efforts were an understandable human reaction to counteract the persecution that the church had suffered for two centuries. But it made the church compatible with the very culture the church had once disdained.

          The synthesis of Greek philosophy and the Christian gospel is well documented. H. I. Marrou describes how Origen and others caused the church to embrace Hellenistic culture and ideas. (A History of Education in Antiquity, tr. George Lamb, New York: Mentor Book, 1956, pp. 424–29.) Edwin Hatch, in his definitive work on the subject, wrote that the early Christians’ study of Greek philosophy created a certain “habit of mind”:

          “When Christianity came into contact with the society in which that habit of mind existed, it modified, it reformed, it elevated, the ideas which it contained and the motives which stimulated it to action; but in its turn it was itself profoundly modified by the habit of mind of those who accepted it. It was impossible for Greeks, … with an education which penetrated their whole nature, to receive or to retain Christianity in its primitive simplicity.” (The Influence of Greek Ideas on Christianity, New York: Harper & Row, 1957, p. 49.)

          As the church entered the third century, many ridiculed Christianity because they regarded it as polytheistic—that is, it had a theology of three Gods: the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. By this time the more sophisticated had rejected polytheistic pagan deities and had become monotheistic, accepting but one God. So the issue for the church was how to make Christian theology accord with respectable opinion.

          Tertullian, a lawyer, offered this solution: The true God was composed of immaterial spiritual substance, and though the three personages that comprised the Godhead were distinct, this was only a material manifestation of an invisible God. As for how three persons could be one, it was explained that the persons were legally conceived entities, “just as a corporation is composed of various people though it is not the people.” (T. Edgar Lyon, Apostasy to Restoration, Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1960, p. 113.)

          Fusing the ideas of church theologians, such as Irenaeus, Origeu, Tertullian, and Athanasius, the Trinitarian formula of three spirits in one was finally accepted as official doctrine by the council of Nicea in A.D. 325. (Lyon, pp. 144–53; Barker, pp. 249–71.)

          The key issue through these early centuries was whether Christians would accept a God who was corporeal and material, or one who was pure spirit. Here Greek philosophy prevailed, with its antipathy to materialism, opposition to polytheism, and revulsion to the idea that God had a body.

          The unsurpassed intellectual in Christian history was Augustine. He was the one who thoroughly fused the theology of the New Testament with Platonism. In examining Christian doctrine, Augustine confessed to a strong preconception—a repugnance to the idea that God had a body. (The Confessions, V, x:19–20; VII, 1:1. In Great Books of the Western World, vol. 18, Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, 1952, pp. 32, 43.) He acknowledged that he had labored on the thesis of the Trinity for fifteen years without “ever reaching a satisfactory conclusion.” (Hugh Nibley, The World and the Prophets, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1954, p. 86.)

          Finally he rationalized that if one accepts the Platonic idea that spirit essence is the purest manifestation of reality and that matter is the most corrupt, God must therefore be an immaterial being. He was then able to accept the doctrine of the Trinity. (Confessions, IV, xvi:29, 31; V, x:19–20; VI, iii:4–iv:5; The City of God, VIII, ch. 5–6. In Great Books, vol. 18, pp. 26, 32, 36, 267–69.) As Plato had done before him, Augustine decided that since God is the ultimate good, he cannot be associated with anything material.

          Augustine’s personal theology became that of the Roman Empire and remains an influence in historic Christianity to this day. Such is the basis for traditional Christianity’s teaching on the Trinity—a belief described by modern clerics as a mystery.

          In view of biblical teachings on the nature of God and the historic development of the concept of the Trinity, we might ask, Which view is more biblically defensible?

          As a child reared in a Protestant home and educated in a parochial grammar school, I vividly recall many occasions when teachers would vainly attempt to explain the mystery of the Trinity. We were told that there were three persons, but not three Gods. The three persons were one spiritual substance, so there could not be three separate beings.

          One explanation likened the Trinity to water, steam, and ice, which are different formations of the same element. Another likened the Trinity to writing a book. The author starts with an idea, then the idea becomes incarnate when the writer converts the idea to words. Then when others read the words of the book, it has an effect on the reader. The Idea is the Father, the Word is the Son, and the Effect is the Holy Ghost.

          It was hard to fathom a Deity of this nature, let alone love him. But even more significant, the great teaching of Paul that we are God’s literal offspring (Acts 17:28–29) is not even taught in traditional Christian theology. Unfortunately, because of this misunderstanding of God’s true nature, millions of our Heavenly Father’s children have failed to understand their true identity.

          In contrast to the preponderance of scriptural support for the physical body of the Lord, there is meager evidence in the Bible to support belief in a God who is a spirit essence. The most frequently cited passage is a conversation between Jesus and a Samaritan woman. The Samaritans had a corrupted form of Jewish and heathen worship. The Savior said to the woman:

          “Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship. …

          “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

          “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:22–24; italics added.)

          By revelation, the Prophet Joseph Smith translated verse 24 to read “For unto such hath God promised his Spirit. And they who worship him, must worship in spirit and in truth.” (JST, John 4:26.)

          The Prophet’s interpretation not only harmonizes with the other passages and episodes in the scriptural records, but it also demonstrates how taking one isolated passage out of context creates false theology. Even without Joseph Smith’s changes, the passage makes sense. One can say that God is a Spirit, just as it can be said, “Man is spirit.” (D&C 93:33.) President Gordon B. Hinckley explained:

          “Of course God is a spirit, and so are you, in the combination of spirit and body that makes of you a living being. …

          “Each of us is a dual being of spiritual entity and physical entity. All know of the reality of death when the body dies, and each of us also knows that the spirit lives on as an individual entity and that at some time, under the divine plan made possible by the sacrifice of the Son of God, there will be a reunion of spirit and body. Jesus’ declaration that God is a spirit no more denies that he has a body than does the statement that I am a spirit while also having a body.” (Ensign, Nov. 1986, p. 49.)

          An important point to remember with regard to doctrinal teachings is that the Lord’s church functions on the basis of two fundamental principles: (1) the testimony of apostolic witnesses, who know by personal experience the reality and truth of the Lord and his teachings; and (2) the testimony of each member, based upon knowledge, faith, and the witness of the Holy Ghost.

          A modern prophet, Joseph Smith, Jr., provided the world with an eyewitness testimony of God’s true nature. Concerning a glorious visitation by the Father and the Son, Joseph testified, “I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is my Beloved Son. Hear Him!” (JS—H 1:17.)

          Joseph Smith saw a confirmation of what Jesus had impressed upon Philip long ago: “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?” (John 14:9.) Jesus was apparently informing his disciples that he and his Father were alike in attributes, in power, and in bodily appearance.

          How different from the prevailing beliefs that were propounded from the pulpits at the time of Joseph Smith! The resurrected Jesus declared to the Prophet that those creeds were “abominable,” for so strongly were they riveted to the hearts of men that their hearts were drawn away from their Heavenly Father. (JS—H 1:19; D&C 123:7.)

          The greatest contribution of the Prophet Joseph Smith to this modern era is the Book of Mormon, which contains a testimony of the resurrected Christ and his ministry to the people of the Western Hemisphere after his resurrection in Jerusalem. The Book of Mormon records that 2,500 people saw and heard the Savior and testified of his bodily resurrection of flesh and bones.

          Compare with the idea of an all-powerful yet immaterial three-in-one spiritual essence these two sentences from Joseph Smith, who was speaking as revelation dictated:

          “The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit.” (D&C 130:22.)

          “There is no such thing as immaterial matter. All spirit is matter, but it is more fine or pure.” (D&C 131:7.)

          Living prophets and Apostles today continue to teach of God’s true nature. They testify that Jesus Christ is a living, resurrected being with a body of flesh and bones. How do they know? Like Apostles of old, they are his special witnesses.

          With regard to the second principle, each individual may receive confirmation of spiritual truths by the power of the Holy Ghost. As Moroni in the Book of Mormon urges us to do:

          “Ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.” (Moro. 10:4.)

          On the basis of knowledge prompted by the Holy Ghost, we can know that the nature of God the Father, his Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, as taught by the Bible and as revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith, is true. Those who have received their understanding about God from errant traditional Christianity need no longer struggle with that confused and confusing doctrine. The Prophet’s inspired declarations about the Godhead are in total agreement with the biblical evidence that Jesus and the Father have distinct, material bodies.

    • mike tollefson says:

      Stephanie, I enjoyed the article thank you for sharing it. I do not share your Mormon beliefs but I do have a great deal of respect for the many Mormon people I have come to know over the past fifty years. I believe the following passage from that article is both true and very unfortunate, “you will one day find yourself called upon to defend your faith or perhaps even endure some personal abuse simply because you are a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Such moments will require both courage and courtesy on your part.” It is unfortunate that those of us that do not share your beliefs (myself included) feel that being abusive to those of your faith is acceptable. The idea that it is ok to treat people poorly or abusively simple because they don’t believe what you believe is not only ridiculous but an embarrassment to humanity.

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  14. Julie says:

    Funny that America was founded on religious tolerance… And yet religious people write blog articles denouncing tolerance. “Tolerance” is the only true way to show respect to a fellow human being when you both have completely different views. It is a way to accept to accept and love those around you without condoning their behavior if you disagree with it. It’s sad that in a country established on tolerance, so many people believe they are somehow above it because they chose a certain religion.

    • mo says:

      @ Julie

      “Funny that America was founded on religious tolerance… ”

      Really? Where’d you get that from? Show me.

      “And yet religious people write blog articles denouncing tolerance.”

      Really? Where? Here in this article? Show me.

      ” “Tolerance” is the only true way to show respect to a fellow human being when you both have completely different views.”

      You mean like the “respect” you’re showing Matt here? LOL!!!

      • mike tollefson says:

        Good job Mo push another person away from Christ or at least your belief in who Christ is thank God people are not buying into your BS and that their are many other Christians on this site that are far more loving, tolerant and Christ like than you. I actually pity and feel sorry for you. With the things you post you appear to be an unhappy miserable self righteous Christian I bet you don’t draw a whole lot of people to Christ…..

        • That guy says:

          Mo hardly needs me to defend her or her comments, but I do feel the need to say that her responses are in the same manner as what Christians get from Atheists and other unbelievers. Mo is asking for prove to back up Julie’s statements. Just on this site I’ve had people respond to me in the very same way.

          “You say that God exists, well prove it!”
          “You say that Jesus existed, well prove it!”
          “You say that the Bible is not a highly edited document full of holes, well prove it!”

          On and on it goes. It’s usually those who disagree with Matt Walsh that show the least respect and tolerance on this site. It’s the people that disagree with Matt that say “You’re an @$$hole. Go die!” or “What a stupid, selfish, misogynistic, racist, homophobe.”

          It’s those people who are not showing respect or “tolerance” to a conservative point of view. Challenging somebody is not un-loving or un-Christ -like. Jesus challenged many people in his ministry. He challenged the Pharisees when they tried to trap him in their games. He challenged the crowd that wanted to stone the woman caught in adultery. He challenged his own followers when they fell asleep while he was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane.

          Also, I have a personal beef with the idea of “tolerance.” To “tolerate” literally means to put up with or endure without complaint, at least in the dictionary definition. Christians are NOT called to tolerate the world. We are NOT called to tolerate sin. Is it tolerant to allow homosexual marriage, abortion and rampant corruption in the world. Yes, it is. Is it loving? No, it most definitely is NOT.

          Of course, this isn’t even mentioning the new definition of “tolerance” according to liberal progressives. According to them, “tolerance” now means I not only have to put up with moral corruption, but embrace it as well. If I don’t embrace homosexuality as an alternative and acceptable lifestyle I am called an intolerant, homophobe (that’s another word I have a problem with).

          In conclusion, I strive to be a loving Christian and a Christ-like man but I am not and will not be tolerant of sin.

        • mo says:

          @ mike tollefson

          What on earth are you talking about? This person made a claim, She needs to back it up.

          Funny how I’ve seen no response.

        • mike tollefson says:

          Mo, you said “funny I have not seen a response” but I am not sure what I am supposed to respond too. I apologize I am somewhat confused as it appears that names and some of the posts are getting mixed up. If however you would like a response to something I will be happy to reply just clarify what I am responding to please.

        • mo says:

          @ mike tollefson

          Commenter Julie made a bunch of claims. I asked to her to back them up with evidence. There was no response from her.

          In response to my asking her to back her claims up with evidence, you said to me:

          “Good job Mo push another person away from Christ or at least your belief in who Christ is thank God people are not buying into your BS and that their are many other Christians on this site that are far more loving, tolerant and Christ like than you. I actually pity and feel sorry for you. With the things you post you appear to be an unhappy miserable self righteous Christian I bet you don’t draw a whole lot of people to Christ…..”

          I do not and will not ever apologize for asking people to back up their claims.

          People have the habit of making statements to challenge the conservative or Christian position, but they never have evidence for them. (And, in turn, ALWAYS demand evidence from us!)

          And especially when Christians ask non-Christians to back up their claims, other Christians chastise them for not being “loving”,

          Worse then anti-Christian bigots like yourself do the same, as demonstrated by your nasty comment above.

          Which, of course, falls perfectly under the topic of Matt’s post.

        • mike tollefson says:

          Mo, I honestly don’t care what you believe or don’t believe or whether your loving or not. I am good with having my beliefs and you having yours. I am good with you believing that your beliefs are the truth. I was however taught at California State University Northridge while pursuing my degree in Psychology that there are certain criteria required for an idea or belief to be considered a fact and I don’t believe any religion has met that scientific burden of proof. That does not take away from my respect and admiration I have of the billions of people of faith and the passion in which they pursue their faith I am just weary of the people who say this is the truth the light and the only way and all who challenge are bigots and nonbelievers when in fact we are believers of something just not exactly the same as you. God gave us brains and free will he did not create us in the image of sheep to follow blindly without question.

        • mo says:

          “Mo, I honestly don’t care what you believe or don’t believe or whether your loving or not.”

          Sure you do., otherwise you wouldn’t have wasted your time judging me and claiming I am unloving:

          “”that their are many other Christians on this site that are far more loving, tolerant and Christ like than you.”

          I thought liberals and anti-theists say judging is wrong? And yet there you are doing so so me. And with zero evidence.

          “I am good with having my beliefs and you having yours.”

          No, you are not okay with it. You are hateful of it, since you called beliefs BS:

          “Good job Mo push another person away from Christ or at least your belief in who Christ is thank God people are not buying into your BS”

          ” I am good with you believing that your beliefs are the truth.”

          No, you are not, since you spent an entire paragraph calling my beliefs bullshit and insulting me. Again with zero evidence of what my beliefs even are, must less how they are bullshit.

          ” I was however taught at California State University Northridge…”

          LOL! I’m supposed to be impressed with the fact you went to some school? Who cares? With your run on sentences in the last comment, I could barely understand you! But you’re going to sit there and insult me and then boast about your school on top of it all? Hilarious!

          “that there are certain criteria required for an idea or belief to be considered a fact and I don’t believe any religion has met that scientific burden of proof. ”

          Oh, please. You’ve never examined the claims or evidences for Christianity in your life. If you had, you wouldn’t be saying such nonsense. And since when does a religion need “scientific” proof? History doesn’t count? You’d have dismiss entire topics of knowledge if that’s your view.

          But hey, you went to college!

          That’s as far as I’m going to read. You think you can call my beliefs BS, insult me, judge me, and then turn around you claim you are “okay” with any of my beliefs. (Did I even mention my beliefs to begin with?)

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  18. Joe says:

    Great post, Matt. It’s not easy to “Be A Man” in today’s America. I’d encourage you to study the “turn the other cheek” passage…those metaphors are not about submission, but lovingly standing your ground to make a clear point about the truth!

  19. EG says:

    The things said in this article remind me of a religious group that says the same things. Tell the heretics they are wrong no matter what. Use any means necessary. God did it therefore we can too. The only difference is
    they believe in the Quran and you believe in the New Testament. Same rhetoric and thought processes. Scary.

    • mo says:

      @ EG

      “The things said in this article remind me of a religious group that says the same things. Tell the heretics they are wrong no matter what. Use any means necessary. God did it therefore we can too. The only difference is
      they believe in the Quran and you believe in the New Testament. Same rhetoric and thought processes. Scary.”

      What a vile lie this is. Show me these comparisons between NT texts and Quranic texts. You’ve read and compared them both, right? Show me all these parallels you’re claiming. Show it to me.

      Show me where the Bible has open-ended commands for Jews or Christians to commit violence against unbelievers, or even believer who don’t follow the Bible as we think they should.

      Then show me where Jews or Christians are committing such acts, all over the world, on a regular basis, in obedience to these open-ended commands to do so.

      Read my request carefully and provide the evidence I asked for. Some cut and pasted verse relating a wartime situation, or some OT law command for the Jews of that time for a specific purpose do not count. I asked for open-ended commands, and then examples where believers are following those open-ended commands.

      This should be so easy for you since I’m sure you’ve studied this before making such serious claims. So let’s see your evidence.

  20. brittneycmiller says:

    Wow you are so full of hypocrisy and anger that it’s nothing short of depressing. Spare me the victimization bull shit of Brandon Eich, he resigned himself which means he’s probably sitting pretty with a severance package that is more than I make in a year. He is a public figure that was in charge of a corporation that provides a service. Money that was made from that service was then donated to an anti gay rights movement. The people who use the company and therefore create the revenue of the company didn’t like that so they made it clear that they would no longer provide the precious revenue. The company decided that they didn’t want to lose that revenue and most likely asked him to resign because of it. That’s just capitalism and consumerism at it’s finest so calm down. Clearly the death threats are wrong but you can’t define an entire movement on the poor judgement of one faction.
    We won’t lose for a very glaringly obvious fact. Your archaic, bull shit ridden belief system no longer reigns supreme in our advancing society. You can tell us that homosexuality is a sin and wrong in the eyes of Christ but to those of us who are unbelievers it falls on deaf ears. You’re right about the fact that the world needs to procreate but given the fact that our world is obviously over populated that isn’t really a big issue anymore. The fact is that YOUR religion relies on procreation so that you can brainwash new members to continue to send the Vatican billions of dollars every year, or so that your church can still have the right to be tax free while legitimate non profit organizations such as the Red Cross continue to be taxed like regular businesses. God forbid a homosexual couple be given the right to get married and raise an otherwise unwanted baby they adopted to be tolerant and loving of others. Your whole argument is bull shit, your attitude is bull shit and so is your belief structure. I’m all for freedom of religion. You can believe in whatever you want so long as I can as well but the second you try yo shove it down my throat in the form of legislation against an entire faction of people I’ll be more than happy to call you out.
    In conclusion, your factions unwillingness to evolve with society and accept the rights of individuals that don’t reside in your perfect version of what the world should look like will be your undoing. What happens to ancient things that aren’t able to evolve? They go extinct. End of story, or rather end of your story.

  21. kevinmarkjones@hotmail.com says:

    Walsh…while I agree with your article that one of the biggest problems in this country is that Christians simply don’t know their bible and therefore can’t defend their faith I don’t believe that one has to speak the truth with anger towards the opposition. I believe Ravi Zacharias does a great job of this going continuously into secular forums and prestigious university setting to expose the false presuppositions of Naturalism, agnosticism, etc… He does so with a loving and engaging persona but the truth is not “watered down” at all. It’s sad really. When we don’t educate ourselves about our faith or clearly understand “why” we believe we are left exposed and vulnerable as Christians which is the most serious of all problems with Christianity in this country. We have excepted the secular concept of “faith” as being something that is deemed personal and therefore indefensible.

  22. Nathan Hammond says:

    Let me take Matt’s message to heart in pointing out that he is being an asshole.

  23. Jesus was not nice, all the time. Definitely. But he was nice to those who needed to be served. Some hard truths, since you seemingly are okay with speaking hard truths: Modern Christendom is a snake pit of lies. The Truth is, Jesus was not God incarnate – and said he was fully human – repeatedly. He also was not our “meat sacrifice” on the cross so we could continue to sin with impunity and make excuses for doing so, and no, he wasn’t born ONLY to perform the task of dying so we can magically “steal” his Righteousness. Sad also to inform you, but his rather explicit message was one of extreme Good Works, by which we would be judged worthy (or not) to obtain eternal life – a message for which modern Christendom has utter contempt. He also taught that serving and seeking riches was the road to destruction, and that we had a duty to individually serve the poor (whether the government does or not.) Tough enough for ya? Follow Jesus, not men.

    • Ed Sumner says:

      That’s a lie. Furthermore, you KNOW it’s a lie. Angels do not come at the beckoning of mere men. Mere men do not say “Before Abraham was, I AM.” You’re a social gospelist, a communist AND a heretic. We are not permitted into the Kingdom on mere works. It is by Christ’s righteousness. If Matt has any sense at all, he will throw your rear end out of here and not let you come back, you tool of Satan.

    • That Guy says:

      “The Truth is, Jesus was not God incarnate – and said he was fully human – repeatedly.”

      I’m going to hazard a guess that you’re basing that comment off the fact that Jesus repeatedly referred to himself as the “Son of Man”. If this is true then you fail to understand that at the time this was not a mortal title, but a DIVINE title. Only someone claiming to be God would have used this title. Jesus is recorded as saying MANY times that he is God. Jesus asked Peter who he thought Jesus was and Peter said he was the Christ, which is to say the divine savior. Jesus never stopped people from calling him Christ or Hosanna, again both terms for the divine savior. He forgave sins, which is a right reserved exclusively for God. He said that if any man had seen him they had seen the Father, which is God. There are many, many times in the Gospels that Jesus directly referred to himself as Go, allowed others to refer to him as God or did something that only God was allowed to do. Add in the fact that we know from history that Jesus’ followers were spreading the news about his death and resurrection and referring to him as God within a decade of his death. People who had heard him speak would have been around to correct and reprimand these followers if what they said wasn’t true. Yes, Jesus was fully human but he was also fully divine. Even his very name, Jeshua, means “God with us”. I know that that particular name was and still is fairly popular but there’s a reason why we translate it as Jesus and not Joshua. Jesus really was God with us.

      “He also was not our “meat sacrifice” on the cross so we could continue to sin with impunity and make excuses for doing so, and no, he wasn’t born ONLY to perform the task of dying so we can magically “steal” his Righteousness.”

      You show an astounding lack of understanding of Christian doctrine here. Paul specifically writes against this idea of sinning with impunity. There is no scriptural basis for it at all. Bar none. And we don’t “steal” Jesus’ righteousness. He paid the price so we don’t have to. It is established very early in Genesis that there is no remission (forgiveness) of sin without the shedding of blood. It took the sacrifice of a young, unblemished lamb to cover the sins of the Israelites/Jewish people for an entire year. Jesus came to live a life free from sin, which he did, and die on the cross to pay the price for our sins. Christians don’t “steal” anybody’s righteousness. We are given it freely when we come humbly before God confessing our sins and accepting the free gift of Jesus’ sacrifice.

      “Sad also to inform you, but his rather explicit message was one of extreme Good Works, by which we would be judged worthy (or not) to obtain eternal life”

      Again another astounding lack of understanding of scripture and Christian doctrine. What evidence do you have for this position? What part of the gospels does Jesus say “You know what? Just be really, really, really good people and you’ll get into Heaven for sure”? I seem to recall that Jesus took the old laws and brought them to a heart level. Jesus’ message was one of faith and personal transformation through the Holy Spirit. If Jesus’ message was really about “extreme Good Works” then why did he chastise his disciples over and over again for having so little FAITH?

      Jesus was the Son of God, part of the Trinity, who came to Earth to die for the sins of mankind, and it is through our faith through his sacrifice that we are saved. This is the truth of scripture. This is the Truth.

  24. Christopher says:

    People suck !!! Its amazing that Jesus would die for such evil mindless scum I know I couldnt do it !!

  25. Matt, I appreciate you, brother. I like how you approach Christian spirituality from a more human perspective. It’s refreshing.

    But Matt, do you really think God wants us to represent Him by screaming about what’s wrong with everybody? Christianity is not a political issue tug-o-war. We can have shouting matches with the other side all day long about what’s right and wrong.

    God’s original intent for us was to be ignorant of right and wrong. “Don’t eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” As long as we are focused on issues and right and wrong and politics, we miss God’s true passion: people.

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  27. Matt… awesome word my precious brother! In a study I am doing right now on spiritual warfare, I am fully aware that we are not warring against flesh and blood. Neither was Christ… and yet ,when flesh and blood was yielding to a wrong spirit, He took it upon Himself to rebuke the ones who were yielding to the ways and means of the enemy. This, I believe was done to protect those who were being hurt and influenced by evil. Paul who was dealt with severely by the Lord was especially troubled at those who wouldn’t proclaim the truth in this life for fear of being an offense. When a leader sees something harmful, should he allow the darkness to overtake the people, or should he instead warn them?

    Act 20:29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.

    Mat 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

    Beware in that context means to stand up to. To defend the flock from those who would advocate lies. Paul in his instruction to Timothy gives instruction to that Pastor of Ephesus.

    Tit 1:10 For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision:

    Tit 1:11 Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake.

    Tit 1:12 One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.

    Tit 1:13 This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;

    Tit 1:14 Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.

    And, finally, in rebuking false doctrine, we find that in the work of apologetics, we can NOT be passive and we can not look the other way.

    2Ti 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

    2Ti 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

    2Ti 4:4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

    As I read your blog, I thought also of the resurrected Christ who knocked Paul off his horse and blinded his eyes in the same mud that he used to open blinded eyes… interesting place to drop a man. In his tracks. We also know what He spoke to the seven churches in Revelation if they would NOT hear… it’s not pretty. But it’s righteous.

    • jamesrovira says:

      Please note that Paul was referring to false teachers within the church rather than attacking non-Christians for being, essentially, non-Christians (not sharing in Christian belief).

      The perversions and willful misrepresentations of Scripture that are validated on this blog and in the comments never cease to amaze me.

      It is the church’s job to evangelize. It is not the church’s job to tell non-Christians to live like Christians before they’ve become Christians:

      Here’s what Paul actually said about the subject in I Cor. 5:

      9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister[c] but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.

      12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”

      “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church?” Do you get it? We’re not supposed to be dumping judgment on non-Christians.

      I know it’s a waste of time to quote Scripture here, as those quoting it don’t actually care about understanding Scripture or living it: just proof-texting it to justify their hate. But that is what Scripture says:

      Judge immorality in the church, not outside of it. Got that?

      And yes, that’s true, Christ and the NT authors didn’t care about being “nice.” They thought we should be a lot more than that: loving —

      1 Cor. 13:

      4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

      “Love is kind.” Do you see any kindness in Matt’s blog? In your own comments? Kindness?

      “It does not dishonor others.”

      Get that?

      “It always protects.”

      Get that?

      Probably not, because the Bible, and certainly not the real Christ, is what matters here.

    • mike tollefson says:

      I agree obviously you have done just that……Don’t forget the Bible is the word of God because the Bible says it is the word of God…..Show me the supporting evidence outside of the Bible otherwise you are like the idiot kid saying it is so because I said it is so.

      Mike

      • Hi Mike,
        Thanks for commenting.
        The Bible is self-evident and self-authenticating. God needs no more than His Word to verify anything. Man, scholars, theologians or anyone else can, at best, only have an opinion – which does not carry the weight of the authority of God-breathed Scripture.

        Blessings,
        S/G

        • mike tollefson says:

          Thank you the the kind demeanor of your post it is appreciated. I also appreciate that you wished me blessings that is also very kind and I am fortunate that I do live a very blessed life. I see in your writings you have a great deal of faith in your BELIEFS which I respect. I also agree that there is no need to prove their truth and that you believe they are true so for you they are, however there are millions upon millions of people who hold BELIEFS that are different than yours so please for the love of God don’t say that your BELIEFS are right and theirs are wrong since when it comes to God nobody can prove their BELIEFS are true we are at best taking a leap of FAITH.

        • My belief is that your belief in my belief is a believable belief. Just kidding with you, Mike.

          Thanks for the kind response.

          I am with you until your last statement “…we are at best taking a leap of Faith.”

          God states Faith is a gift he gives only to those He has predestined to be with Him for eternity (For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast. Eph. 2:8–9) (also: 2 Peter 1:1, Philippians 1:29, and Acts 3:16).

          My leap of Faith really becomes no leap at all since I have already been given the Faith to accept the effectual calling I’ve been given.

          Many Blessings,

          S/G

        • Chris says:

          “God states Faith is a gift he gives only to those He has predestined to be with Him for eternity (For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast. Eph. 2:8–9) (also: 2 Peter 1:1, Philippians 1:29, and Acts 3:16).

          My leap of Faith really becomes no leap at all since I have already been given the Faith to accept the effectual calling I’ve been given.”

          Wait, wait, wait. So you are saying that God just picks and chooses who will have faith and who won’t? And so those who were never given such a gift and are not predestined to go to Heaven are just…out of luck? God is going to punish them to an eternity in Hell not because of anything they’ve chosen, but because he chose not to give them the gift of faith?

          I’m sorry, but that is monstrous. Your tone and your blessings all sound very nice, but your actual beliefs, when examined with even the slightest scrutiny, are monstrous.

          Furthermore, your assertions that the Bible proves that the Bible is the word of God because it says so in the Bible is the very epitome of circular logic. There is no logical reason to believe that the Bible is the word of God. It is purely an emotional choice. I don’t begrudge anyone making that choice, as long as they understand that there are valid reasons not to agree with it.

          No just God would ever punish his creations with eternal torture simply because they made a rational choice not to accept that a book written and compiled thousands of years prior is his literal, inerrant word. I’m sorry, but that’s an incredibly immoral thing to do, and there are no excuses for it. Since God cannot be immoral, we can logically conclude that God would never do such a thing.

          Hear that, non-believers? You’re safe! God is not going to punish you with eternal hellfire just because you aren’t Christian! And Christians, doesn’t it make you feel better to know that you are putting your faith in God out of a legitimate desire to do so, and not because he’s threatening to punish and hurt you if you don’t comply with his exact orders like some kind of vicious, abusive lover?

          The doctrine of Hell must go; until it does, all worship is inauthentic.

        • That Guy says:

          “Wait, wait, wait. So you are saying that God just picks and chooses who will have faith and who won’t? And so those who were never given such a gift and are not predestined to go to Heaven are just…out of luck? God is going to punish them to an eternity in Hell not because of anything they’ve chosen, but because he chose not to give them the gift of faith?”

          What Sheperdguardian refers to is the idea of predestination which is a tricky and often controversial topic within the Christian church. It’s not one I prescribe to either. God does give the believer faith, but the believer must have a professing believe first.

          What I personally believe, and I believe this idea fits with our scriptural understanding of God, is that God, as the creator of everything, is outside of his creation. God is outside of our human concept of forward flowing time. God can look at our entire lives in a glance, much the same way as we can take in the entirety of a two-dimensional drawing in a glance, and can see the point where we make the choice to accept Christ’s unconditional gift of grace. In other cases, like the people of Sodom or Gomorrah, God can see that those certain people will never make the choice to accept the free gift of grace and so is justified in their destruction.

          God is a perfect and holy judge. God’s very nature as a perfect being makes it impossible to accept sin. Any sin of any level must be rejected. We can never be ‘good enough’ to make it as no one is righteous on their own. “…There is none righteous; no, not one” (Romans 3:10 KJV). To make it into Heaven one must accept the free gift of grace that is given by Jesus’ death on the cross. If you choose not to accept this grace then you are making a choice not to follow God, but follow the road to destruction. The teaching of Hell cannot be abolished, because to do so would be unfaithful to Jesus’ teachings and the reality of the situation. Hell exists as a place outside of God’s holiness. Just as God is eternal light and life, so Hell is eternal darkness and death.

          God’s desire is that all should follow him and that none would have to face Hell, but God refuses to force us to follow him. So we must make a choice. Those that choose to accept grace will be pardoned from their sins and will on forever in Heaven. Those that reject grace or waste their time and don’t make the choice in time (the time limit is one’s life no matter how long or short it is) must be separated from those that did. These people will go to Hell because it is the only other option. Eternal life or eternal death, those are the only two choices.

        • Jesse says:

          Hi Chris. First of all, let me inform you that the Calvinistic belief in predestined faith/salvation is not an essential doctrine of all Christianity and is actually widely debated within the Christian community. But since the outcome of either side of the argument presents no logical inconsistency with the existence of God or the historicity of the Bible and its primary message, this should not be anything of concern to non-believers until they have determined their choice to believe in the Essential Christian doctrine or not. I personally don’t believe in the Calvinistic pre-destination argument and I think it is actually pretty dangerous. The more mainstream view among Christians who have studied the doctrine of the Bible is that God exists eternally (a-temporality or omni-temporality is another secondary doctrine under debate among Christians), so he sees all time past, present and future simultaneously. The result is that He knows the outcome of our decisions, but He in now way forced us to make those decisions. He gave us free-will to choose to accept or reject Him and no one, not even God himself, can make that decision for you. Here are a couple images on how this can be more easily comprehended.

          1. Think of a stick man on a piece of paper. He is standing on top of a horizontal line facing toward the right edge of the paper. Half-way between him and the right edge of the paper is a vertical line which spans from the top of the page to the horizontal line on which he is standing. Like an old video game, this stick man can only look and walk to the right – this represents him progressing forward through time. So, what does this stick man see from his perspective? The horizontal line is his floor. It spans outward away from him in all directions. The vertical line is a giant wall extending from the floor to the sky. The stick man cannot see beyond the wall. But from our perspective, we can see the man, the “wall”, what’s behind the man and what’s beyond the wall. Simultaneously, we can see the current location (in time) of the stick man, where he came from in the past and what lies ahead of him (beyond the wall). But there is no logical requirement that our being able to see all of this means that we are controlling his decisions as he progresses along the line.
          2. Think about your favorite movie. One which you have seen countless times. At any moment, you can re-live any part of that entire movie in your mind because you’ve seen everything from beginning to end. But no matter how many times you watch it, you are not impacting the decisions of the characters in the story. There is a clear logical difference between knowledge of the decisions and causality behind those decisions.

          This ties into the doctrine of Hell, which is highly misunderstood by many people today, Christian and non-Christian alike. To understand the concept of Hell, you need to first understand that the Bible is, in its purest form, a literary work. Regardless of whether or not you accept the arguments for its historicity, you have to recognize that, although from a Christian perspective every word is literally God-inspired, we cannot read every word in a literal fashion. When Jesus is called the “lion and lamb”, the Bible is not implying that he is physically transformed into these animals – they are metaphorical representations of the person that is Jesus. This is literary figurative language. Similarly, the passages about Hell are figurative in nature. Most Bible scholars today do not believe that Hell is a burning pit of fire and sulfur because, as you have already ascertained, God does not wish to destroy His creations and such a desire would be immoral and therefore, contrary to the very nature of God himself. Rather, we understand Hell to be nothing more than eternal separation from God. The strong figurative language hints at how depraved such a place might be, but those in Hell will not be “burning” for all eternity. Rather than the immoral monster you portray who destroys the very children He created, God loves us enough to allow us to choose whether we want to spend eternity with Him or apart from Him. Logically, it would be immoral for God to force someone who rejected Him to spend eternity with Him. Rather he grants those people their wish and allows them to continue to live for eternity in a world apart from Him. C.S. Lewis said it best when he said, “in the end there will be those who, on bended knee, said Thy [God’s] will be done, and those to whom God will say thy [your] will be done.” The former represents those Christians who, in this life, chose to accept God’s atoning sacrifice to cover our sin. The latter represents those who rejected Christ’s sacrifice and choose to reject God entirely and would be in eternal anguish having to live alongside Him. Though not an official doctrine, I like to think of it like this. For someone who loves God, being separated from Him for all eternity would be Hell. For someone who hates or rejects God, living alongside Him for all eternity would be Hell. You said it yourself: “that’s an incredibly immoral thing to do, and there are no excuses for it.” Rather than denying God worship because of a false understanding of the doctrine of Hell, I think the true understanding of Hell only merits more worship for Him. I hope this provides a little clarity for you. God bless!

        • Well said, Mike.

          “Wait, wait, wait. So you are saying that God just picks and chooses who will have faith and who won’t?”

          Yes.

          “And so those who were never given such a gift and are not predestined to go to Heaven are just…out of luck?”

          Yes.

          “God is going to punish them to an eternity in Hell not because of anything they’ve chosen, but because he chose not to give them the gift of faith?”

          Yes.

          “I’m sorry, but that is monstrous. Your tone and your blessings all sound very nice, but your actual beliefs, when examined with even the slightest scrutiny, are monstrous.”

          God’s Truths are, perhaps, monstrous according to man’s rationalizations of them. But His ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9 (NASB)
          8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
          Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.
          9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
          So are My ways higher than your ways
          And My thoughts than your thoughts.)

          “Furthermore, your assertions that the Bible proves that the Bible is the word of God because it says so in the Bible is the very epitome of circular logic.”

          I think you may agree, I am not the only one the call it “The Word Of God”. Please refer to the Prophets and Apostles of the Bible, some who walked with The Incarnate God, Jesus.

          “There is no logical reason to believe that the Bible is the word of God. It is purely an emotional choice. I don’t begrudge anyone making that choice, as long as they understand that there are valid reasons not to agree with it.”

          No, Mike. It’s a fact.

          “No just God would ever punish his creations with eternal torture simply because they made a rational choice not to accept that a book written and compiled thousands of years prior is his literal, inerrant word. ”

          Why not? He’s the Potter and we’re His pots. We are His. We do not belong to ourselves. He gets to do what He wants with His stuff. (Jeremiah 18
          (NASB)
          18 The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord saying, 2 “Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will announce My words to you.” 3 Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something on the [a]wheel. 4 But the vessel that he was making of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make.

          5 Then the word of the Lord came to me saying, 6 “Can I not, O house of Israel, deal with you as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel. 7 At one moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to uproot, to pull down, or to destroy it; 8 if that nation against which I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent concerning the calamity I planned to bring on it. 9 Or at another moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to build up or to plant it; 10 if it does evil in My sight by not obeying My voice, then I will think better of the good with which I had promised to bless it. 11 So now then, speak to the men of Judah and against the inhabitants of Jerusalem saying, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Behold, I am fashioning calamity against you and devising a plan against you. Oh turn back, each of you from his evil way, and [e]reform your ways and your deeds.”’ 12 But they will say, ‘It’s hopeless! For we are going to follow our own plans, and each of us will act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart.’)

          “I’m sorry, but that’s an incredibly immoral thing to do, and there are no excuses for it. Since God cannot be immoral, we can logically conclude that God would never do such a thing.”

          “Since God is the author of morality, He alone dictates what is moral or not. You are correct, though, God cannot be immoral.”

          “Hear that, non-believers? You’re safe! God is not going to punish you with eternal hellfire just because you aren’t Christian! ”

          Not true.

          “And Christians, doesn’t it make you feel better to know that you are putting your faith in God out of a legitimate desire to do so, and not because he’s threatening to punish and hurt you if you don’t comply with his exact orders like some kind of vicious, abusive lover?”

          They do have a legitimate desire if God wills them that gift – the gift of faith. If not, they are lost and will be unable to come to an effectual call to repent of their unbelief.

          “The doctrine of Hell must go; until it does, all worship is inauthentic.”

          Sorry, Mike. We’re stuck with it.

          Blessings

        • Chris says:

          shepherdguardian, please go back to my comment you responded to and get my name right. Then go back to Sunday School and learn what free will means. Then go back to elementary school and learn the difference between a fact and opinion.

        • Chris says:

          Jesse, I find your interpretation of Hell to be the most generous and close to the kind of God I would like to have faith in. I think your view that Hell is not a literal place of torment, but simply an eternal death akin to that believed to exist by atheists is gaining traction, and it is definitely preferable to the view of Hell as a place of eternal torture. I am glad you acknowledge that this depiction of Hell is immoral, and thus cannot fit into the view of a loving and just God. If Hell is mostly figurative, and non-believers just become nothing when they die, then at least he’s not really making them suffer.

          I still have a few problems with your logic, however. You say:

          “Rather than the immoral monster you portray who destroys the very children He created, God loves us enough to allow us to choose whether we want to spend eternity with Him or apart from Him. Logically, it would be immoral for God to force someone who rejected Him to spend eternity with Him.”

          The problem I have with this argument is that the “choice” God grants us in this case is not an informed one. No one really knows whether God exists, let alone whether the Christian god is the right one. Anyone who says they know this for certain is simply repeating dogma that has been drilled into them; I don’t consider that real faith, because real faith allows for the possibility that one might be wrong. Faith is the choice to believe in something knowing that it is not a fact.

          So even given your more generous idea of Hell as an eternal separation from God, it’s still unfair, because our religious beliefs are informed more by culture than anything else. There are millions of people in this world who’ve never even HEARD of Jesus Christ; putting aside the highly debated within Christianity question of whether these people have a shot at Heaven, what happens when they are told the gospel for the first time? Are they expected to abandon all of their own cultural beliefs and embrace this Western religion, and if not, tough luck?

          This applies even to non-believers here in America. There are plenty of rational reasons not to accept Christ as one’s savior, and even to not believe in God at all. It would be wrong to reject God if we had some kind of confirmation of his existence, his status as creator and his many blessings. But despite the faith of millions of people, we don’t have that, and a rational and just God would understand why. He clearly made his existence a mystery for a reason; I can’t believe that reason is so that his creations can spend life playing a cosmic guessing game where only the winners make it out alive.

          “Rather he grants those people their wish and allows them to continue to live for eternity in a world apart from Him. C.S. Lewis said it best when he said, “in the end there will be those who, on bended knee, said Thy [God’s] will be done, and those to whom God will say thy [your] will be done.” The former represents those Christians who, in this life, chose to accept God’s atoning sacrifice to cover our sin. The latter represents those who rejected Christ’s sacrifice and choose to reject God entirely and would be in eternal anguish having to live alongside Him. Though not an official doctrine, I like to think of it like this. For someone who loves God, being separated from Him for all eternity would be Hell. For someone who hates or rejects God, living alongside Him for all eternity would be Hell.”

          I think this is an extremely uncharitable interpretation of how non-Christians feel about the Christian God. Most do not “hate” him. If they did, they would have to acknowledge his existence. Most people simply have good, logical reasons for not doing so. If the stakes are really so high as our immortal souls, you’d think he’d be a little more obvious about it.

          And no, neither the existence of the Bible nor the existence of trees prove his existence. Yes, that’s where faith comes in. But faith can’t come at the barrel of a gun. Faith can be wonderful, but by it’s very nature it is irrational. It is not something that you can just expect everyone to have, and then punish or dismiss everyone who doesn’t. Especially when that faith is in something as culturally specific as Christianity.

        • Jesse says:

          Hi Chris,

          First let me clarify that my post was intended to demonstrate to you that the doctrine of Hell does not make God into a moral monster. The reality of an existence apart from God is a very severe and harsh existence. In fact, cdciii gave a great description in his response to my post – I encourage you to read it. If God truly is the source for all that is good and moral in our world, then you can expect the absence of such attributes to be very noticeable.

          Secondly, notice in my summary of the “C.S. Lewis” quote, that I said “For someone who hates or rejects God…”. You are very correct that not everyone who doesn’t believe in God exhibits hatred toward him. You may simply reject his existence because no logical argument has convinced you otherwise. But there are also those (i.e. Richard Dawkins) who have publicly expressed a hatred toward the Christian God, and all organized religion. The point is that, from the perspective of the doctrine of salvation, both cases end in the same result.

          As far as those who haven’t heard of God or His plan for salvation, the honest answer is: we don’t know. God tells us that He can (and does) reveal himself by “general revelation”, but I can’t speak to that myself because it is beyond my own experience. Regardless of how we interpret it, the final result rests in the hands of the One in whom all justice and morality are founded – so it should be of no concern to us. God knows the difference between ignorance and obstinance.

          Finally, I would encourage you to look at a post I made earlier on this page (dated: April 17, 2014 at 6:29 pm). In that post (too long to outline or summarize here), I list out four logical arguments for the existence of God and the historicity of the Bible. I would gladly discuss them if you have objections to any of the premises. You are correct that you cannot scientifically prove God as a fact since he cannot be physically observed in a controlled, repeatable experiment. However, the lack of scientific evidence does not disprove his existence either. For example, we cannot scientifically prove that there are an even number of stars in our universe. But that doesn’t mean that our universe contains an odd number of stars? The logical conclusion would have to be that we don’t scientifically know if there are an even number or odd number of stars. The philosophical equivalency here is not Atheism, but rather Agnosticism – we don’t know, scientifically, if God exists. But if you are open to Agnosticism, then you should make your decision based on where the “majority” of the evidence points you. This is the nature of a “historical” fact, rather than a “scientific” fact. You cannot scientifically prove that you were born on your birthday. But since you have pictures, a birth certificate and personal testimony to back up that assertion, you accept it as fact. What about the birthday of Abraham Lincoln, or Henry VIII – all we have are old documents which, if they are proven to be historically reliable, are considered fact. The same is true with the Bible. It (speaking of the New Testament here) consists of the personal testimonies and accounts of those directly involved with the life of Jesus (who is documented in Jewish and Roman history outside of the Bible). Modern historians (even of the secular variety) have verified names, dates and locations of the Bible to be accurate. Thanks to modern science and archaeology, there is more evidence pointing toward the Bible being a trustworthy account of historical evidence than the contrary. That is actually a very big first from Agnosticism toward Christianity. I encourage you to start there and seek out the logical evidence for the existence of God and see where the evidence leads. You are correct that many Christians are Christian solely because of the cultural or familiar influence. But there are also many who came to know Christ because they objectively sought out the facts and made their own decision based on the logical conclusions of the evidence. The Bible tells us: “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you..” (James 4:8). He has revealed enough of himself so He can be found, but not so much as to force himself upon us. In the end, Christianity is not faith that God exists, but rather faith that God, whom we know to exist, will hold true to His promises. God bless!

        • Chris says:

          I just wanted to say a little bit more about this:

          “For someone who hates or rejects God, living alongside Him for all eternity would be Hell.”

          I think the reaction of even most die-hard most atheists to meeting the real live God would be one of awe, not one of hatred. Once they got over the unpleasantness of being wrong, I’m sure they’d have a million questions (aside from the jerks who do nothing but bash religion, they’re an inquisitive lot). So I’m not convinced by the argument that God “forcing” non-believers to spend an eternal life with him would be experienced as hellish for those people.

          That said, thank you for the general tone of your response and your rational understanding that the Bible contains figurative language (who would have ever suspected!), and I still think your interpretation of Hell is at least more progressive and less cruel than that of most of the people I’ve seen commenting here.

        • That guy says:

          @ Jesse

          I appreciate your description of free will and God. It’s a great illustration of the nature of God. However, I think your comments on Hell were just a bit off. I agree that God will not force anyone to choose him and ultimately it is our own choices that lead us either to Heaven or Hell. However, Hell is ultimately a very torturous place. You make it sound like it will almost be pleasant for the unbeliever. There are several verses in Revelation that show this to not be true.

          “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:15 KJV).

          The book of life is obviously a book of names of believers, and anyone not found in it would be an unbeliever.

          Just in case that’s not clear here’s another one:

          “But cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshipers, and all liars–their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death” (Rev. 21:18 NLT).

          Hell is not a pleasant place by any stretch of the imagination. It is God’s desire that nobody should face such a fate for eternity, but the sad truth is there are and were people who reject God’s grace and will suffer for it.

        • Jesse says:

          Hi That guy,

          You are very right. As I have also responded to a couple others, my original post was intended to demonstrate that there is no logical contradiction between the doctrine of Hell and the existence of a moral God. It was only intended to show that God does not destroy His creation, whom He loves. I agree completely that Hell is a place of eternal torment and I thank you for calling me out on this just to make sure as you present very important truths – they are just beyond the scope of intent for my original statement. God bless!

        • cdciii says:

          @ Chris :
          1) “Since God cannot be immoral, we can logically conclude that God would never do such a thing” Is God beholden to your idea of morality, or instead, does He define ultimate morality? If He is beholden to a standard outside of Himself, is He really God at all?

          2)”The doctrine of Hell must go; until it does, all worship is inauthentic.” Why was it that Jesus came? From what then are we saved and what difference does it make if we be Christians or not to our eternal existence? If you think things go better with Christ in the here and now, I suggest you think again. Being a Christian can be a very messy, high cost existence.

        • cdciii says:

          @ Jesse: Predestination is not a cardinal doctrine, I agree. But it is a very logical position from at least a couple of aspects. ( agree with Calvin on this, but I do not “follow” Calvin.)

          1) “You did not choose Me, I chose you” , “You are not your own,; you are bought with a price”. Predestination is Biblical by the inferences above and other scripture.

          2) Premise: God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent AND omnitemporal (“Before Abraham was made/begun, I am I “- actual Greek translation Jn 8:58)
          Conclusion: For such a being, to choose positively to act or to choose to refrain from acting logically is the same thing in that He knows what the outcome of either choice will be. Predestinating from our standpoint is inevitable.

          I believe predestination is true, yet I live apparently in what I perceive as free will. I am content to accept it as such because I cannot know all of what God is doing. I’m not big enough.

          As to doctrines that are dangerous, all doctrines are dangerous when we assume that we have the authority of authorship to defend them and actively enforce them on others in a punitive way other than merely disassociating ourselves temporarily from an offender after warning them as in Matt 18.

          One last note on Hell: Jesus said,”I am I, the Way, the Truth and the Life…” To exist consciously outside of God in eternity then would mean to exist without hope of have any desire or need satisfied as satisfaction may only be found within the Way, the Truth and the Life. Agape and phileo loves would be unknown to such an existence, but eros, the love of appetite and desire would be inflamed increasingly and never be given fulfillment. Not the slightest wish, not a “drop of water” on a parched tongue. Burning indeed. Hell indeed. Forever as a continuing state of being.

        • Jesse says:

          Hi cdciii,
          Great response and I have to agree with you that God is entirely sovereign over all things past present and future and that salvation is entirely an act of God. You present a very simple, sound logical argument and I cannot disagree with your premise. However, I would divert from your conclusion slightly because I don’t believe that these attributes draw their necessarily conclusion in Causal Determinism. First of all, if determinism were true, then the only reason you believe it to be true would be that you were determined to do so. This eliminates the ability for you to weigh the pros and cons and develop your own logical conclusion. Also, divine determinism makes God the author of sin. He causes people to choose evil, which in turn, makes Him evil Himself which is contrary to His very nature. My largest objection to determinism is that it eliminates the purpose of human beings. We are no longer independent agents, freely bringing glory to God, but we become merely instruments used by God to produce some effect. It is, then, illogical for God to hold us accountable for what He used us to do during our lifetime. Finally, in Acts 7, as Stephen is being stoned, he cries out that the “stiff-necked people” are “resist[ing] the Holy Spirit”. I believe this implies that God wills the salvation of everyone and offers his grace to all. I believe your conclusion to be correct in that God is not surprised by anything, but ultimately everyone has the chance to accept or reject the grace of God and His plan for salvation.

          The purpose of my original statement on Hell was simply to present the notion that Hell does not mean destruction of God’s creation, but rather eternity apart from Him. The intent was to show that the doctrine of Hell does not make God into a moral monster, not to provide a complete depiction of what Hell might actually be. But your response has given a very vivid description and I would say I agree completely. Thank you for that. God bless!

        • Chris says:

          cdiii: “Is God beholden to your idea of morality, or instead, does He define ultimate morality? If He is beholden to a standard outside of Himself, is He really God at all?”

          If God exists, then of course he is not “beholden” to my idea of morality–he can do pretty much whatever he wants.

          But in deciding whether or not the Christian God actually DOES exist, it is necessary to determine whether he meets the standards of morality that are often attributed to him. I would argue that, since none of us have transcended to a higher plan of existence (unless I’m mistaken?), the only criteria we really have to evaluate that is criteria understandable by humans.

          God is supposed to be morally perfect, and yet the doctrine of Hell assumes he acts in such a way that would be considered psychotic if done by any human.

          Consider this example: Imagine a woman designs a robot out of love. Not romantic, sexual love, but the woman is lonely and wants to create companions, so she programs him with artificial intelligence and free will. The woman then immediately sets the robot free on a new, relatively unexplored planet, leaving behind no proof of her existence other than a series of clues leading to an instruction manual that explains the robot’s creation, how to live a moral life, and promises an eternal reward if the robot promises undying devotion to her.

          The robot at first is thrilled and is filled with love for this unseen creator. Yet in his journeys, he stumbles across other robots who claim to have other creators. All of them have different instruction manuals. None of them truly know which one is true, though many of them claim to. Some robots have no instruction manual at all, and don’t believe there ever really was a creator–some have provided evidence that they simply evolved naturally from primative human ancestors. The robot examines each theory and eventually decides that he may never know who truly created him. He decides to do his best to live a moral life, and also comes to see, through much sober deliberation, that some of the instructions in the manual seem out of date or actively immoral to his sensibilities.

          Upon the robot’s battery dying, his consciousness is programmed to teleport directly to a new robot body in front of his creator. The woman is furious that the robot rejected her love and did not see the truth of her words, and programs the robot to feel an unending sense of agony. She also gives him unlimited battery life so that this horrendous experience will last forever.

          And still, she proclaims that she loves him, and all the other robots she has done this too, just as much as those who did follow her instructions.

          If any human did this, we would logically regard them as cruel, abusive, immoral, and insane.

          Yet this is what we are asked to believe of God.

          Now, I don’t presume that God’s moral compass is exactly the same as mine. I don’t expect him to exactly fit my standards of morality. But by the same token, I certainly cannot be expected to hold God to a LOWER standard of morality than I would hold any human being too. To do so is to implicitly reject God’s superiority over man. It is nothing short of blasphemous in my opinion.

          One more thing: it has been repeatedly suggested here that Christians have no choice but to accept the doctrine of Hell, since it is part of “God’s word,” and Christians can’t know all of God’s reasons for behaving as he does. I find this to be a lazy cop-out. People should be responsible for the implications of their freely chosen beliefs. It is perfectly rational to use one’s God-given moral compass and reasoning ability to determine which parts of the Bible are likely divinely inspired, and which are not. As nearly all Christians recognize, the Bible was transcribed and compiled by men. Assuming that there are some mistakes, cultural biases, and editorializing does nothing to question the perfection of God. It is merely to acknowledge the imperfection of man. God is perfect; man is not; therefore, the Bible, even if it was spoken to man by God, almost certainly contains imperfections.

          “Why was it that Jesus came? From what then are we saved”

          Some Christians believe that Jesus came to save all men, not just those that believe in him. Perhaps before his sacrifice men simply lived and then died and had no afterlife–the lack of attention to life after death in the Old Testament and among Jews today would indicate as much. Perhaps God living as a man was more about HIM than about US–he had to experience our lives, our human perception,our suffering and death in order to build a real relationship with us and understand that we could live with him eternally. This is all just theorizing at this point, but to me that rings more true than the cynical and arbitrary idea that anyone who does not believe is doomed to Hell.

          “and what difference does it make if we be Christians or not to our eternal existence?”

          I honestly don’t think it should make a difference. That’s a feature, not a bug. I for one certainly hope that Heaven is not a reward for cultural supremacy. I know many non-Christians whom I believe are more deserving of life after death than some Christians that I know (and vice versa, admittedly). If Christians turn out to be right about Jesus, than at most they deserve “told ya so” points once they get into Heaven. Other than that, I don’t think there should be a cosmic reward for what is essentially a giant, culturally informed guessing game.

      • AGee says:

        Please go back and read Jesse’s very intelligent comments. It seems like you are just making the same comment over and over to stir things up. She showed you the evidence as clearly and intelligently as it can be presented. I refer you back to that conversation.
        Also I might refer you to the book:
        “Evidence that demands a Verdict” by Josh McDowell. He was an atheist who went to Israel to personally see all the evidence. His intent was to disprove Christ. What he found changed him and his life.

        • mike tollefson says:

          AGee, I find your response neither clear, convincing,or helpful.,However fortunately I have had several responses from well versed Christians on this website that have been both educational and helpful to me and ironically they have been able to express these views effectively in a respectful, tolerant and nice demeanor. When I deal with Christians like that I am drawn toward them and their faith.

  28. Jose Trejo says:

    The ONE thing the author is missing is the AUDIENCE for EVERY single time Jesus got mad, confronted, condemned, denounced, caused trouble, etc. In ALL of those instances it was directed at those that CLAIMED to know and love God…and lived by His Scripture.

    EVERY time he dealt with the ones that did NOT make that claim…he was NEVER that way. Of course, he told the prostitute to “go and sin no more”. But, this was JESUS. He KNOWS the hearts of the people He is dealing with!! I am convinced, he KNEW this woman had just experienced a life changing experience.

    Putting this SAME approach into action today would result in Christians getting mad, confronting, denouncing etc., the people who CLAIM to be Christians and are NOT living a faithful, sacrificial, loving, forgiving, etc., “lifestyle” that is the EXPECTED standard!! it would follow the guidance we are given about “iron sharpening iron”.

    It would ALSO mean that, when they deal with the LOST, there is NO judgment…only the message of HOPE, MERCY, GRACE, FORGIVENESS…and, yes, REPENTANCE!!! We are NOT required to make the glutton lose weight, make the gay person go straight, make the liar start being honest, make the drunk get and stay sober, etc., BEFORE they can become “worthy” of salvation!!! GOD will “keep working on them” as he MOLDS them once they have declared Him Lord. Those that REALLY seek him WILL change and the change will be EVIDENT. But, MOST will still be bound for hell…which I’m convinced is the truth for most people that “play church” today!!! Which is why the frightful verses in Matthew 7:21-23 exist!!!

  29. Robert Harmon says:

    Matt,
    y name is Bob Harmon, I am a Baptist Preacher, I usually never tell anyone that I figure if they have any God given common sense they will cath on. I want to say what I have read on your blog and any Facebook posts, you seem to have a very scriptural understanding of the personality of God and an in depth understanding of the scripture for that I thank God for you. Please visit my Facebook profile and request our friendship. I want to be your friend as well. Not many know the God of the bible as he is revealed in the KJV 1611 Textus Receptus

    • mike tollefson says:

      Thank you for acknowledging that your Christian Faith is just that Faith. Myself and many others admire men and women of great Faith people who stand with conviction for the Beliefs of their chosen Faith while hopeful respecting others choice to do the same even when their beliefs differ. I Believe that it is the man or woman of undying passionate Faith who remains compassionate to others in spite of their Beliefs that draws people to Christ and is most likely to convert non Christians to become Christians and follow Christ. I believe most people do not respond well to the fanatical Christian person whose method includes screaming and yelling we are right and everyone is wrong because we say so. Men or women of great faith who believe that Christ is their personal savior and behave accordingly are very much an attraction to Christ and Christianity while belligerent so called Christians who revel in being intolerant and unkind are unpleasant distractions who do nothing to honor Christ and drive more people away from him than they draw toward him.

  30. katiebeth527 says:

    Hmmm. I like the point being made here but thinking it could stand to be clearer & more accurate. I think Jesus has displayed both sides but that it’s the context of the situation that matters. Yes He was bold n intolerant with the moneychangers @ His Fathers house but kind n full of grace with say- the adulterous woman whom people were throwing rocks at in which He defended; saying to them “He who is without sin, let him cast the 1st stone”…. “Where are your persecutors now, woman?”
    & He was a friend to sinners…
    So while I can appreciate the intent behind this blog post, neither is it completely accurate & even the title could be clearer. -Bottom line is yes he did care about kindness but ALSO about boldly rebuking & leaving “kind” behind for the moment. It comes down to “there is a time & a season for everything…”. It comes down to context of each situation.

    • katiebeth527 says:

      We are to “hate the sin, but love the sinner”… Isn’t that what Jesus did in most circumstances, yet other times too, he had righteous anger…. ??

  31. My apologies to Chris for addressing him as Mike.
    I hope you will forgive me. I will be very careful in the future not to do that.
    Blessings.

  32. Corbow6 says:

    What an interesting an yet totally misguided and ignorant post. You admit that this possibly mythical character came to stir trouble, and bring the sword against what he perceived as evil, and you want to follow this doctrine from two-thousand years ago?

    Well, what if I said I perceived you, and your mythical idol as evil? I see you as the problems that are anathema to this world. I see your self-righteous indignation– your foolhardy belief that you, and only your kind know the “right” way, as incendiary and dangerous to the communities that attempt to live in harmony with one another. I see your “body” as a group that promotes ignorance and intolerance under the guise of charity and mission work.

    So I ask, under the name of your fictional savior, should I then take up the sword to strike down the evil that I see in front of me, to strike down the disease that plagues this world. Should I “flip tables and yell” until there is no more Christianity, or Abrahamic religions left in the world?

    ~~~

    Violence is easy.

  33. Bjorn says:

    So, Jesus is you, Matt? It sure sounds like you’ve made God in your own image, no better than the caricature “Barney-Jesus” you criticise. Well, let’s strike the New Testament and put this blog in place of Paul’s writings!

  34. While you make well-earned points against the “gentle Jesus, meek and mild” folks. (And btw the word in Greek translated as meek doesn’t mean Casper Milquetoast or a doormat. A Roman soldier wrote of his battle horse that he was truly a meek horse.) But I don’t see how driving the moneychangers out of the temple is violence, especially since it fits into the classic model of calculated prophetic action, such as smashing a pot as a symbol of potential destruction, or walking naked with a yoke as a sign of coming oppression. There’s nothing wrong with righteous anger, but this wasn’t it. The text reveals that Jesus went to the Temple previously and looked over the scene, returning later to act out the prophetic parable. To use this to say he wasn’t a pacifist is misleading to say the least.

  35. Yes, people have invented a lot of fantasies in their heads about what Jesus was like . Here’s what historians who actually are familiar with Israel have to say. Please enjoy. This is the official, ratified text from historical documentation, anthropology, etc., that all Jewish clerics use. They read Hebrew & Aramaic, etc., too. There are a lot of volumes. Please peruse.

    http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/8616-jesus-of-nazareth

  36. solange says:

    Nice is an attitude. Kindness is a fruit of the Spirit. People mess the two up all the time.

    One of my favorite books ever is Jesus Mean and Wild. Made me think about Him in a new light.

  37. shakilah says:

    I agree 100 percent. You do not have to be nice to be considered a Christ like person. Jesus was firm and wise in his choice of words to say to other people. Especially those who were haughty amongst him it seemed as though his biggest lesson was for men to be humble. I think haughty people really irked Jesus but he completely handled it in a gracious loving way. His point was to teach a lesson and boy did he get his point across whether or not the people liked what he had to say. If Jesus didn’t establish order who else would? That doesn’t call for a nice attitude it calls for a fierce spirited attitude. Love of holiness and God compelled Jesus for fight for people to follow that advice he gave them.

    Makes you wonder what Jesus would say about money collections today. I’m sure he would have a lot to say to the people today. Remember how the High priest lost Jesus favor because they were adding laws and were not adhering to certain laws even calling them hypocrites. Do religions today add rules that aren’t biblical? Do they omit to certain laws established today. Jesus would be disappointed and still is! He is a Fierce spirit and only reflects his loving, firm father to the tee.

    That being said I’m nice but I would react in certain situations that call for a firm stand. Besides that I don’t feel it necessary to be to nice, people who see your trying to live your life Christ like often tend to bite or attack you in some cases you have to let people realize don’t take advantage of the fact that I’m a Christ follower, I still don’t allow you to disrespect me. Jesus always had a perfect response. Beautiful gift to all of us.

    • shakilah says:

      Clarification: I only agree that you don’t have to be nice to be Christ like. One thing I have to question to the writer is unless your opinions come from the bible they have no real value as in the same you have your own vision of Christ, can you really be mad at others for their own understanding. Personally I never heard of having to be nice to be a christian. New to me i wonder where you drew that conclusion from. Or is it an attitude you noted in others?

  38. Pingback: Jesus Didn’t Care About Being Nice or . . . Tolerant | apologetics workshop

    • mike tollefson says:

      I bet people are beating down the door to follow good Christians like yourself.

      • gabulmer says:

        They are, Mike – the blog gets a lot of traffic…which spills over to my Twitter following. so yeah, they are – unlike smug, smarmy, smart-asses like yourself.
        We’re called to love…but not to “like”. And, when effing homos want to shove their effing perversion down the throats of me & my family in the name of “tolerance” (something the Christian, btw, is NOT called to do)…while remaining intolerant to opposing points-of-view…it makes me want to load my shotgun and shove the barrel up that hole they so love & unload.
        And then there’s trash like yourself…who support their rants & raves & then wanders online to spread their garbage. You can’t say the right thing to the wrong person and…you ain’t it, pal.
        #HaveFunInHell ;- ]

      • Chris says:

        Actually, gabulmer, I just polled my mom and my gay lover and yes, they both agree that you are the literal worst. Thanks for asking!

  39. Stan says:

    While I agree to a large extent. There remains the problem that Jesus tended to reserve his table flipping for the religious leaders who were in breach of their trust.
    People promoting sin in the name of God is one thing. People engaging in sinful behaviour without pretending that God somehow approves that behaviour is another kettle of fish altogether.

  40. Nathan says:

    Matt, thank you for speaking the truth and not being afraid to make a stand for Christianity. I know you probably get a daily stream of abuse for your stance, but remember there are those of us out here who are standing with you in Christ’s name.

    I do have a disagreement with one thing in this post. When you were citing incorrect beliefs people have about Jesus, you said “They confidently sermonize about a meek and mild Messiah”, as if a meek and mild Jesus is not the Jesus in the Bible. While I agree with the “mild” part, Jesus was actually very “meek”.

    You see there is a common misconception about the word “meek”. People tend to equate it with “weak”, yet they are two very different concepts when you look at the original Greek words. The most accurate definition of “meek”, at least the Greek word for “meek” is “power under control”. In other ancient Greek literature, the word for “meek” was most often used to describe stallions that had been broken. A stallion is not week or powerless. Meekness is not the lack of power, but the control of power. Meekness is self discipline and restraint.

    Jesus was the Son of God. He was God incarnate. He could have incinerated those he disagreed with, or called down an army of angels to overthrow the Romans, or destroyed those who tried to kill him. But he didn’t, and that is meekness. Jesus had the power to do anything he wanted, yet he chose to die. That was his point when he said to turn the other cheek. It is about power under control. Just because you can slap them back, doesn’t mean you should. Jesus was the epitome of meek.

    I know I am being very nit picky, but it bothers me when people describe someone’s meekness as a bad thing simply because they don’t know what the word means. Thanks for writing a great post! Keep spreading the truth, and may God bless you.

    In Christ,

    Nathan

    P.S. For those who are looking up in the dictionary the definition of meek and getting ready to tell me I’m wrong, remember that I am talking about the Greek word that is translated as meek, not the word that we understand as “meek”. That is why there is a misconception. Thank you.

  41. Pingback: Tolerance, Jesus and your Kids: What Do We Say? | Front Line Moms & Dads

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