Gospel, Homosexuality, Politics, Salvation, Sin

SoteriObamaGigliology and You

soteriobamagigliology

Is Louie Giglio a living martyr or a coward? What do you think of our shiny new state church here in the U.S.? If you haven’t heard about The Giglio Imbroglio, allow me to bring you up to speed.gty_rev_louie_giglio_jef_130110_wblog

Pastor Louie Giglio was invited to say a prayer at President Obama’s inauguration ceremony later this month. Being a Christian pastor, it should have been expected that he would have preached at some point on what the Bible says about the sin of homosexuality. Someone with a pro-homosexuality group dug up a sermon  from decades ago in which he had done just that, and, yada yada yada, Pastor Giglio – pressured, or not, by the Inaugural Committee (that’s a little murky at the moment)— decided not to do the prayer. Ok, are ya with me? Good.

I’ve read a bit about this debacle over the past few days (though I have a few disagreements with some points, all of the articles hyperlinked above are excellent) and most of what I’ve read seems to be focused on Louie Giglio. But Louie Giglio isn’t alone on the stage of this little drama.

There’s another player. Our President.

Although all the details and communiqués were being handled by the Presidential Inaugural Committee, as President Truman used to say, “The buck stops here.” Right at the feet of President Obama. Ultimately, he is responsible for the “unvitation.” If he felt that the Committee was out of line in their statements or actions, he could have intervened. Instead, he has been silent, which implies consent.

Our President consented to the press release from the Inaugural Committee which said in part:

“As we now work to select someone to deliver the benediction, we will ensure their beliefs reflect this administration’s vision of inclusion and acceptance for all Americans.”

Translation: Louie Giglio’s Christian beliefs about homosexuality, which come straight from the Bible, do not “reflect this administration’s vision.”

Let me say that again. Christian beliefs about homosexuality, which line up with what the Bible clearly says, are opposed by our President.

Why is that important?

obama-in-church-2004-b654b48e648853dc_largeBecause our President believes he is a Christian.

And so do a lot of other people who share his beliefs on things like homosexuality and abortion.

If that describes you, before you get mad and stop reading, in fairness, hear me say something:

Sanctification (progressively becoming more and more Christlike) is a process. People who get saved, especially as an adult, bring a lot of entrenched opinions and thought processes with them to the cross.

Am I saying you have to become pro-life and anti-homosexuality (notice, I did not say anti-homosexual) before, or in order to, get saved?

No.

Am I saying that five minutes or a week after you get saved, you’ll be pasting “Choose Life” and “One Man, One Woman” bumper stickers on your car?

No.

What I am saying is that a person who has genuinely been born again has a God-created desire to know, trust, and obey God’s word.

Even if it’s hard.

Even if you don’t like it, initially.

Even if you don’t completely understand it.

The desire, inextricably interwoven with your love and affection for Christ, born in your heart when you were born again, exists.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. II Corinthians 5:17

Do you have that desire?

Do you wrestle with the things in God’s word that are difficult for you –perhaps things like homosexuality- in order to understand, embrace, and obey them?

Or, do you war against the things you find in the Bible that you don’t like- rebelling against their inherent truth, rejecting them, twisting their meanings to suit your own opinions, and refusing to accept them?

If it’s the latter, you need to be afraid.

Be VERY afraid.

Because the Bible makes it clear that you aren’t saved.

By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked. I John 2:3-6

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. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.  I Corinthians 2:14-16

You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.  James 4:4

Christians desire to keep God’s word, just like Jesus did. Christians lovingly call sinners to repentance from their sin and to faith in Christ, just like Jesus did. Christians think like Jesus did. Christians reject the world’s values rather than promoting them, just like Jesus did.bible

My dear friend, if you find yourself constantly battling against God’s word, I urge you, please examine your affections and the fruit of your life, thoughts, and behavior in the mirror of God’s word. It doesn’t matter if you’ve repeated a prayer, filled out a card, been baptized, taken communion, faithfully attended church, served as a teacher, deacon, elder, or pastor, had someone assure you of your salvation, or even if you just “feel saved”. If your life and heart don’t match up with what Scripture says is true of a Christian, you are not genuinely born again.

Please, turn away from your sin- all of your sin -and put your faith in Christ’s finished work on the cross, and in His bodily resurrection, as payment for that sin. If Cain taught us anything, it’s this: you can’t come to God on your own terms. You have to approach Him on His terms.

Or, to borrow from a mantra oft repeated by some in the homosexual community:

If you’re going to accept Him, you have to accept everything about Him.

28 thoughts on “SoteriObamaGigliology and You”

  1. Hello. I trust you are aware that whole Christian denominations disagree with you about homosexual lovemaking.

    As a gay woman, I testify along with millions of others that I cannot change. I am aware of a few who claim they have changed, but I can not. Do you believe me?

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    1. Hi Clare-
      Thanks so much for your comment. Yes, I am aware that some denominations, as well as some non-denominations, disagree, not with me, but with God and what He clearly says in His word about homosexuality. Since God is always right, those denominations are, by definition, wrong (apostate). Not because I say so, but because God says so. Just because a large number of people come to a certain conclusion doesn’t make that conclusion right. I think we saw that with the Nazis during WWII, slavery in the early days of the U.S., etc.

      It may surprise you that I do believe you and agree with you that you cannot change. Each and every one of us is born spiritually dead in our sins, whether homosexual or heterosexual. A dead person can’t change anything. It is only when Jesus Christ raises a person from the dead by giving her the gift of repentance and faith in Him that HE can begin to change a person. And He doesn’t just change you on the outside (your behavior), He changes your heart so that you begin to want the things He wants and love the things He loves. It kind of reminds me of a tourism slogan from a commercial that ran a while back: “Come as you are. Leave different.”

      I’d love to chat with you more about it if you’d like. You’re welcome to e-mail me any time at MichelleLesley1@yahoo.com.

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      1. Actually, your comment did surprise me. Your creative misunderstanding is wise as a serpent’s.

        What of the testimony of all the gay people who have spent time in churches as dead (or alive) as yours, who have undergone the torture of “reparative therapy” and who testify they cannot change? Many, like me, would also testify that Jesus led them to self-acceptance, though some have been driven away from the church by attitudes like yours.

        No, you do not say what God thinks, leave alone what God clearly says.

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  2. Clare, I have told you the truth of what God’s word says. Forget homosexuality for a minute, because that’s not really what the issue is when it come to salvation. You’ve lied. You’ve dishonored your parents. You’ve coveted. You’ve taken God’s name in vain. So have I. So has everybody else. The issue is that we are all -homosexual and heterosexual- sinners who must admit that we have offended a holy God, realize that there is no way we can appease Him on our own, and throw ourselves on His mercy for the forgiveness of our sin.

    I realize that’s extremely difficult, but as I said, those are God’s terms, and that’s the only way we can approach Him- on His terms, not ours. THAT is what drives people away from church (Bible-believing ones, anyway)- they don’t want to humble themselves and submit to Christ’s Lordship over them.

    That happened to Jesus when He was here on earth, flesh and blood, face to face with people. Have you ever read the story of the rich young ruler (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2019:16-26&version=NASB)? A guy came up to the God of the universe in human flesh -Jesus- and asked Him what he had to do to inherit eternal life. Jesus told him, and the guy rejected Him because he preferred his sin to Jesus. Sadly, that’s what most people do.

    If you have found self acceptance apart from turning from your sin and submitting to Christ and His word, that is not from God, because God requires that we repent of our sin. That self acceptance is from Satan, who hates you and wants to keep you AWAY from God. Don’t let him do it.

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  3. Michelle I love the way you explained salvation to Clare. Sad that she responded the way she did. Be blessed

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  4. If I can possibly shed some additional light here – or maybe ask for some additional light – I do agree with you Michelle on the inerrancy of Scripture and what Jesus says about sin and repentance. My thought is – I was in a similar place for a very long time. Not with homosexuality but with other sin and with just the issue of hell. I could not understand how God could love me if He didn’t accept me the way I was. I do know that there was a progression in my faith. I can remember praying the prayer of salvation from my heart with conviction twenty three years ago. About three years later I remember praying a deeper prayer – one night in a very long prayer time with God I told Him I would give Him everything – and I meant everything – but I said that He would have to take it from me because I could not get rid of it on my own (meaning sin, idols, etc). I believe at that point I was asking – at least in my own mind and heart – for the process of sanctification. Now – I will say that I spent many, many years after that still fighting God on a number of things. I did not realize i was fighting Him at times – and i did not realize that I was still giving license to the enemy – or maybe i did and I was in denial – I don’t know. I definitely had a spirit of rebellion still at work in me. But i also had a true heart for God and I opened myself to correction and to truth – even if i fought it at the same time. Then 6 months ago I hit rock bottom and my life is now different than it has ever been before – not perfect by any means – but definitely a life change. In one sense it would appear that true salvation only took place 6 months ago. But I have trouble discounting the offerings i gave at earlier times or the depth of the journey that i feel I have been on with God – meager and incomplete as those offerings may have been. I do hear you that if we continually war against the Word of God then there is another spirit at work in us. But my question is how quickly the process of sanctification happens and what does God consider a genuine turning to Him. If we turn to Him genuinely from our heart as best we are able at the time – and we see a steady progression of movement toward Him even if it is somewhat slow – can we trust that God has indeed reconciled us to Himself? When exactly did I pass from death to life…..when I first said the prayer from my heart? When I gave Jesus everything and asked Him to take it? Or when I fell to my knees 6 months ago and admitted in a way that I had not known (or allowed) before – that I was a sinner in need of forgiveness? Irregardless I believe we are called to speak the Truth in love and spur one another on to embrace the gospel in it’s entirety and not to compromise or rewrite Scripture. I just still wonder how grace and faith work together. Maybe we cannot understand that completely this side of heaven. Maybe we can. I’m open to any thoughts.

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  5. Hi Anne-

    Thanks so much for your comment. I’ve had a similar struggle in my own spiritual life, in that, I was raised in church, and submitted my life to Christ as best I knew how when I was about 12. I had always done, and continued to do, all the right “churchy” things, however, I don’t feel like I saw a significant change in my heart and spiritual growth until I was in my late 20s/early 30s. I’m not sure if that is because there actually was no growth during those years, or if it’s because I have a terrible memory :0) I can’t, with certainty, tell you whether or not I was truly regenerated when I was 12 or if it occurred later. I have agonized over it, and have my speculations, but have come to the realization that what matters is that I know I am saved NOW.

    I can’t tell you whether or not you were saved 23 years ago or 6 months ago. What matters is whether or not you are saved today. We should all examine ourselves and our fruit from time to time to make certain we are in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5). Here is a little tool that helps me when I’m examining myself: http://www.gty.org/resources/questions/QA162/how-can-we-know-if-our-faith-is-real. But don’t forget Paul’s testimony in Philippians 3:13b-14:

    “…forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

    And look what else Paul tells us:

    “Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet…” Philippians 3:12-13a

    “For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.” Romans 7:15

    Sanctification is a life long process, and sometimes seems painfully slow and frustrating. (Paul hadn’t even gotten there yet!) We will always struggle with sin. We will continue to give in to sin daily and will continually need to repent and be cleansed. Todd Friel, an apologist I listen to frequently (check out “Wretched with Todd Friel under “Links I Love” on the side bar) puts it this way, “It’s not perfection, it’s direction.” In other words, we’ll never be perfect, but we can tell we’re growing if we’re headed in the direction of godliness.

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    1. That’s a very loving and humble response and I appreciate it. I agree with you that spending a lot of time “trying to figure it out” (especially with my mind) is time better spent elsewhere. I think God can reveal by His Spirit anything I need to know when I need to know it – if it is necessary for something He is doing through me for the Kingdom….(ie. helping another person with discernment). I agree that sanctification is life-long and I am very thankful to be at this stage as opposed to any previous stage 😉 and I trust that will continue to be the case. Thanks again for your article and your response. Many blessings in Christ Jesus our King.

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    2. I think God just brought something else to my mind about all of it. I believe God does take into account and understand the difficulty in overcoming our past. For instance I had some significant abuse as a child as do so many people. While this can never excuse our own sinfulness and need for the atoning blood of Jesus, I do believe that it can make the process of owning our sin more difficult. I think for me one of the biggest stumbling blocks after coming to Christ was the unconscious belief that the abuse was my fault. And somehow the internal fight and fear against that guilt made true repentance very difficult. Again, I’m not saying it is an excuse – we all have to come to the place of repentance. But I think if we truly reach out to God from our heart and accept Jesus as Savior and Lord, then it seems He makes a huge commitment to doing whatever it takes to bring us to the place we truly need to be. I won’t say we can’t refuse His efforts. But at least for me – I think as I look back I can see that He has been working on my heart with patient and overwhelming tenderness and also intense fire for years. I think His love is both – and that is why He calls us to demonstrate both Truth and Love. Like Randy said – either one by itself is not effectively expressing God’s heart. Just some more thoughts as I wrestle to be God’s daughter, servant and ambassador.

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  6. Interesting post. If I understand correctly, you believe Obama should have allowed this pastor man he was sharing a lunch with to talk about homosexuality being ‘wrong’. Can I ask, do you also think it’s ‘wrong’ for women to speak in churches? Do you also thing it’s ‘wrong’ for anyone to remarry after divorce? I expect that your brand of Christianity is ‘progressive’ enough to find alternative meanings in these very clear New Testament commandments. I think it would have been just as valid, by your reasoning, for the pastor to preach on the sinfulness of people who remarry. Are you rebelling against this inherent truth, rejecting it, twisting its meanings to suit your own opinions? If so, be VERY AFRAID!

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    1. Hi Violetwisp-
      To answer your first statement, I think maybe you are not correctly understanding the main idea of this article. I was not suggesting that Louie Giglio be allowed to preach against homosexuality at the inauguration or to say that it was wrong at a luncheon. He wasn’t invited to preach or to share his thoughts on homosexuality. He was invited to say a prayer, which didn’t need to include one word about homosexuality one way or the other. But that still wasn’t the main idea of the article. The main idea is that people who think they’re saved yet constantly and aggressively war against the clear teachings of Scripture need to seriously consider whether or not they’re actually born again. You cannot simultaneously love God while hating and rebelling against His word. It’s simply not possible.

      To answer your questions that follow, it doesn’t matter what I think. It only matters what God thinks and what He says in His word.

      A. The Bible doesn’t say it’s “wrong for women to speak in churches.” There are many instances in which it is perfectly biblical for a woman to speak in a church. What the Bible says (and I’m assuming this is the verse you’re alluding to) is that women are not permitted to “teach or exercise authority over” men (I Timothy 2:12). So, as long as the situation does not call for a woman teaching/exercising authority over men, and how ever/whatever she’s speaking isn’t violating any other Scripture, she’s biblically OK to speak or teach. I believe this, and I abide by it. I recently turned down a speaking engagement simply on the CHANCE that there would be men in the audience.

      B. The Bible doesn’t say it’s ‘”wrong’ for anyone to remarry after divorce”. There are instances in which it is permissible for a divorced person to remarry without violating Scripture. It is permissible in cases in which one spouse has been unfaithful (Matthew 19:9) and in the case of abandonment by an unsaved spouse (I Corinthians 7:15). And, yes, I would fully support any pastor’s preaching on this subject and saying that if a divorced person remarries outside these parameters he is sinning. Frankly, the divorce/remarriage/divorce rate being what it is, more pastors SHOULD preach on this.

      Since you don’t know me, I’m genuinely curious as to why you assume I would rebel against, reject, or twist the meanings of these particular Scriptures.

      Are there Scriptures I find difficult to embrace or understand? Of course! But I don’t rebel against them, I ask God to help me understand and obey them. Because, like I said, it doesn’t matter what I think. It only matters what God thinks and what He says in His word.

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      1. Hi Michelle, thanks for your very clear and comprehensive replies to my questions, which I truly find fascinating. I did indeed make some incorrect assumptions about your beliefs. Christianity has been slow to evolve, but it has changed immensely since its conception. Thankfully, most people who abide by the teachings in the Bible no longer regard stoning to death as an appropriate punishment for particular ‘sins’, or think that slavery is acceptable, or, I believed until today, think that women are lesser creatures than men. I hope your understanding of your benevolent god will one day help you move beyond judging people for their marital status, gender or sexuality. It saddens me to see you attempting to inflict fear and doubt into the faith of others, based on this bizarre concept of ‘sin’ that is presented in your holy book. But I see you mean well and you are trying to be consistent in your interpretation of the Bible. In an attempt to speak your language, I’ll refer you to Romans 14:13 ‘Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.’ Might I suggest it would be more in keeping with the teachings of Jesus to concentrate on inclusion and acceptance, as your President does.

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    2. Ah, I think I may have found the statement that confused you:

      “Being a Christian pastor, it should have been expected that he would have preached at some point on what the Bible says about the sin of homosexuality.”

      What I meant was, it’s hard to believe that someone would invite a Christian pastor to pray at the inauguration and then be caught completely off guard that he had preached a sermon in the past that correctly exegeted what the Bible says about homosexuality (or any other sin, for that matter). That should be assumed when dealing with a Christian pastor.

      Sorry for the confusion. My fault.

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      1. Violetwisp-

        Inclusion and acceptance as President Obama and many others today define them are in direct conflict with both Jesus’ teachings and Scripture as a whole. I challenge you to carefully read the gospels and find one instance in which Jesus told people it was acceptable for them to remain in their sin. EVERY time He ministered to people, He was clear that they needed to turn from their sin in repentance. I am not “judging” anyone as pop culture defines the word. I am simply and clearly stating what the Bible says on this particular subject as I attempt to do on every other subject I address.

        Going back to “judgment” for a second, I’d encourage you to read the entire chapter of Romans 14. If you do, you will find it has nothing to do with Christians standing in agreement with what the Bible has to say about sin and urging people to repent so that they might be saved. It has to do with how Christians relate to one another on “liberty issues.” (For example: If Paul were writing this chapter in 2013 America, the subject might be drinking alcohol- it is allowed by the Bible, but some Christians feel it is not a wise thing to do in the context of our society, while others have no problem with it. Paul is saying that people on both sides of the issue should not look down their noses at people on the other side.)

        Christians ARE to judge rightly when it comes to sin in the church or people who claim to be Christians while their behavior is consistently, willfully, and unrepentantly in rebellion to the Bible. Lots of people like to throw around Matthew 7:1 (“Judge not lest ye be judged,” which, if you look at it in context is not saying not to judge at all, but, rather, to judge rightly according to God’s word.) but they fail to read the rest of the chapter which goes on to talk about exactly the point of this blog article: people who claim to be Christians, yet show by their unrepentant sin that they are not. Check out Matthew 7:15-23, especially verses 21-23 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=matt%207&version=NASB):

        Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them,

        ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

        Those are the words of Jesus. Does that sound like inclusion and acceptance of people who willfully continue in their sin?

        A couple of other examples of Christians being commanded to practice godly judgment in the church and of people who claim to be Christians would include Matthew 18:15-19, and 1 Corinthians 5.

        Violetwisp, every one of us will have to stand before God as Judge one day because we are all criminals who have broken His law. The penalty for breaking that law is an eternity in hell. But God loved us so much that He Himself took the punishment for our crimes in the form of Jesus’ death on the cross. We can humble ourselves and accept His payment or we can pay the price ourselves. Hell is bad. I don’t want you or anybody else to go there. That’s why I do what I do. I will continue to stand with the Bible, because it contains the only hope any of us have.

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  7. Hi Michelle, I’m sorry you think your benevolent deity is allowing most of his human creations to spend an eternity in a place of torment. I’m sorry you think the ideas and words from your female body are not good enough to share with the males of your species. I’m sorry you believe that most people who remarry are committing a crime. I’m sorry you think that people who feel attracted to others of the same sex should be ‘cured’ by the deity you believe created them. I can’t find any Bible quotes to support my sense of sadness that someone who clearly means well is spreading ideas that generate doubt, fear and guilt, and promote discrimination and exclusion. (Apologies if I’ve misinterpreted any of your beliefs here.)

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      1. Thanks Michelle, it’s been a real eye-opener for me. I’ve never before come across this interpretation of Christianity with all the sugar-coating removed. You seem to stick very clearly to what the Bible says in spite of societal pressures and mainstream trends. If you have the time, I think your perspective would really be valued on a fellow blogger’s site. He’s posted ’10 Questions for Christians’ – asking for opinions on matters that non-believers don’t understand within the Christian faith. Here’s the link:
        http://robertnielsen21.wordpress.com/2013/01/26/10-questions-for-christians/

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  8. Thanks, Violetwisp. That’s one of the nicest compliments I’ve ever gotten. :0)

    I checked out your friend’s blog (Had to giggle a little bit at #10. That’s the first time I’ve heard that question, and I can totally see where he’s coming from on the “boring” part.) I have answered several of these questions for atheists before and would be delighted to do so again. It’s a little overwhelming– volumes of books have been written on each of these questions by people much smarter than I. I’m somewhat crunched for time at this point in the semester, but I’ll see what I can do. Stay tuned :0)

    P.S. What do you mean by “sugar-coating,” if you have a moment to elaborate? I’m curious as to what you have run across in your experience.

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  9. I look forward to reading your replies! With regard to the ‘sugar coating’ comment, I would say that regardless of how mysterious your deity is, and how puny you wish to believe your mind is in comparison, the notion of a benevolent deity cannot be reconciled with the idea of everlasting torment for its creation. Do you have children? Do you love them? If they don’t live according to your rules, would you wish everlasting torment upon them? Christianity as laid down in the Bible is a harsh belief, and most people ‘sugar coat’ what’s written there to make it more palatable. You, on the other hand, have indicated that you are happy to believe that most of your god’s children (i.e. most of humanity) will suffer immensely for eternity; you are happy to criticise and judge innate characteristics of others that cannot be changed and hurt no other human being; you are happy to believe that remarriage is, on the whole, a crime; and you are happy to believe that your gender is somehow inferior and should be marginalised in your place of worship. You don’t ‘sugar coat’ the rules in found in the book allegedly provided by a benevolent god (at least the New Testament, I imagine you explain away great chunks of the Old Testament) and are happy to believe, and indeed promote, all these fear-mongering and quite damaging concepts, which, oddly, seems contrary to the core message of Jesus, as I have understood it from other Christians.

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  10. P.S. I hope you don’t mind that I’ve used some quotes from this page, as our conversation inspired a couple of posts. Feel free to use anything I say to help make your points about sinners or atheists in any of your future posts.

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