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Dr. Bill, as you were saying?

by Dan McC / September 21, 2004 4:13 AM PDT
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They aren't screaming bloody murder because they
by Kiddpeat / September 21, 2004 6:38 AM PDT

gave up on Jesus Christ almost a century ago. Their membership has been dwindling ever since, and they can't understand why. They deny the virgin birth, the deity of Jesus, the reality of the resurrection, and the miracles performed by Jesus to authenticate His identity and message. Yet, they say they are Christians, and their ministers continue to draw salaries as Christian pastors.

I can't say that they are not Christians, but I would not join their churches. Notice the loving, forgiving, compassion when they speak of their conservative brothers and sisters. I would rather learn from those who can speak the truth in love. I truly wish the mainstream churches would once again turn to seeking the truth rather than pursuing the latest wrinkle in social acceptability. Then, they might be heard when they speak.

Oops! I guess you did address this to Dr. Bill didn't you? Sorry.

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It's an open forum, KP
by Dan McC / September 21, 2004 6:55 AM PDT

Who do you mean by 'they'?

Dan

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It's part of your quote.
by Kiddpeat / September 21, 2004 12:02 PM PDT
In reply to: It's an open forum, KP

'And why aren't mainstream Christians screaming bloody murder?'

The mainstream churches are commonly understood to be those which succumbed to liberal theology. Large parts of the Prebyterian, Methodist, American Baptist, etc.

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Re: It's part of your quote.
by Dave Konkel [Moderator] / September 21, 2004 1:51 PM PDT

KP, the Bible-thumping, hellfire and brimstone, pro-death penalty evangelical version of Christianity has little relationship to Christ's Gospel message of loving your enemies, and its preference for the poor and downtrodden over the rich and powerful. I'm a liberal because of my Christianity, not in spite of it.

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!

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Dave, I hate to say it, but that sounds like a liberal
by Kiddpeat / September 22, 2004 12:18 AM PDT

response.

'Bible-thumping, hellfire and brimstone, pro-death penalty evangelical'

None of those things characterizes any evangelical church that I've ever been in. We are commanded to 'speak the truth in love'. Both truth and love seem to be missing from your post. Sad

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(NT) (NT) Spoken like a true SITUATIONAL Christian!
by Edward ODaniel / September 22, 2004 12:47 AM PDT
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Re: It's part of your quote.
by Cindi Haynes / September 22, 2004 1:26 AM PDT

It's news to me that Christ has a
"preference for the poor and downtrodden over the rich and powerful."

Dave, Dave, Dave. Sad

--Cindi
Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email the mods

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Re: It's part of your quote.
by Mark5019 / September 22, 2004 3:57 AM PDT

im just a heathen because who wrote the bible man did have you ever lined up 10 people and told 1st a story what was the result by number 10?

hey who raised adam and eve?

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That SUBSTANTIALLY over-simplifies the gospel ...
by Bill Osler / September 23, 2004 11:11 AM PDT

While I don't disagree that there is a social message there, and that it is an important theme in both the Old Testament as well as the New, there are huge portions of both the Old and New Testaments devoted to issues of personal morality and piety as well as appropriate worship of God and other non-political subjects. Christianity is about a great deal more than just social justice.

Furthermore, your caricature of conservative Christians is offensive. Given your caricature of conservatives, I suppose you should not be offended if I were to claim that any Christian who believes the Gospel is primarily about liberal politics is probably a heretic? On the contrary, I suspect you would be offended, which is one reason why I will not make that claim. It should, however, illustrate why I request you show a bit more sensitivity to the tremendous diversity of political thought that exists among faithful, devout Christians.

The fact that you personally disagree with things like the death penalty, and the fact that the death penalty offends your liberal sensibilities, hardly makes it antithetical to the Gospel. The New Testament was not written from any specific human philosophical perspective, much less a liberal one. You might do well to remember that.

In any event, not all evangelicals support the death penalty, most evangelicals do not particularly endorse a "Bible-thumping, hellfire and brimstone" approach to either evangelism or theology, and many evangelicals are quite well aware of the fact that Jesus did teach about issues of economic justice. From my perspective, it appears that it is primarily theologically liberal Christians who fail to acknowledge the full breadth and power of the Gospel who are distorting Jesus' message.

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I thought you didn't buy that part of my assertion ...
by Bill Osler / September 21, 2004 12:10 PM PDT

I do think that the Republicans have attempted to co-opt conservative Christians. I am dismayed by the extent to which they have been successful.

There are two separate but vital threads in Christian moral thought, but very few churches or individuals manage to weave both of the threads together very well.

As Dave K has repeatedly reminded us, there is a strong tradition of advocacy for, support of and identification with the economically deprived. Those who focus (often exclusively) on this thread tend to land on the political left, at least on issues of economic justice. Many of these people do not really believe that God is still active in the world in any meaningful way, and many of them are as thoroughly liberal theologically as they are politically. Many of these people have all but rejected the Scriptural standards for personal morality and focus instead on societal justice.

As others have repeatedly reminded us, there is a strong tradition of evangelism based on the premise that all are personally subject to God's moral standards, all have sinned, all are condemned and all stand in need of redemption offered via the person and work of Jesus Christ. Those who focus (often exclusively) on this thread tend to land on the political right, at least on issues of personal responsibility and personal morality. Many of these people do not acknowledge the very real social injustices in our world, and even if they do acknowledge them they may believe that social justice has nothing to do with the Gospel. Some of them are so tightly focused on issues of personal morality that they easily lose sight of the other demands of the Gospel.

IMO, it is not possible to be a truly orthodox Christian without maintaining an emphasis on both aspects of Christian moral thought. Holiness matters, salvation matters, and social justice matters. Furthermore, orthodox Christians must be very careful to make sure that they do not become identified too closely with any secular institution and particularly not with political entities such as our leading national political parties. Political power often requires a degree of moral 'flexibility' that is, in many ways, not compatible with true faithfulness to the Gospel. Christians who attempt to enter too deeply into the secular political arena do so at their peril.

I am not saying that all politicians who claim to be devout Christians are misrepresenting their faith. I will say that I suspect most of them are (either knowingly or unknowingly) less faithful than they claim to be. God has, undoubtedly, called some of His servants into the political realm, but I suspect that most of the nominal Christians who enter the political realm and play by secular rules will quickly lose whatever grounding they had in real faith.

As to why mainline churches are not raising more hue and cry about this? I'm not sure I can express my opinion without offending a large number of people, but my suspicion is that most mainline churches are not raising a hue and cry because they lack the passion required to make any meaningful statement at all. My opinion is that many mainline churches have become little more than social clubs filled by people who attend out of habit but who lack firmly rooted convictions about much of anything. Absent deeply held convictions there is little chance that these churches will influence their own members, much less society at large. I would gladly be wrong about this.

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Re: I thought you didn't buy that part of my assertion ...
by Dave Konkel [Moderator] / September 21, 2004 1:54 PM PDT

Hi, Dr. Bill.

I'm even more cynical than you -- I think many mainline churches are afraid of offending their donors.

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!

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If I may offer a thought.
by Kiddpeat / September 21, 2004 2:06 PM PDT

Some conservative Christians do see social needs, and seek to fill them with direct action by, among other things, working with and/or supporting organizations which work in the areas of need.

A prime example of this is Chuck Colson's Prison Fellowship which works with prisoners and attempts to turn their lives around through faith in Christ. Prison Fellowship is also now working with the children of prisoners through Christmas gifts and summer camp programs to facilitate a love relationship between prisoner and children.

Conservatives are considerably more cautious about supporting government run social programs. The problem they see with government programs is the tendency for these efforts to become either corrupt or wasteful of resources. In any event, they see the essential message being corrupted and lost in a government run program. They do not see social programs as ends in themselves.

This type of social involvement has a long history.

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