Monthly Archives: April 2022

Unconventional

Within Evangelicalism, there often seems to be a ‘rubber-stamp’ approach to the ‘accepted way’ to ‘become a Christian’ (whatever that means). For many, and especially for pushy evangelists, not only is there only one way to Heaven (Jesus) but there is also only one way to ‘become saved’ by Jesus, and that’s to pray the ‘sinner’s prayer’, or a similar method that is deemed acceptable to the one preaching – never mind what God thinks. And of course it has to be prayed out loud, so that the predator evangelist can hear you and make sure you’re jumping through all – all! – the correct hoops. In fact, to these people, it’s not even acceptable for you to be ‘born-in’, that is, being a Christian from birth because of the church your parents go to, because we are told that ‘God has no grandchildren’ and ‘each of us has to make their own decision for Christ'[1]. In the past, I have mentioned that I know people who are in the Kingdom, and yet never came in by human-approved methods or pathways; instead, God did it. There was no decision, no evangelism, no ‘action’ on the part of the new believer; this is likely part of what evangelists don’t like, because God did it without their help and all their formulae were irrelevant 😀 There is no ‘decision for Christ’ involved, and, well, we can’t have that, now can we? 😉

In reality, of course, every believer’s journey is different, and there is no such thing as a  ‘conventional’ ‘conversion'[2]. Here, then, I present an excellent piece by Kenn Burroughs (and used with his permission) where he describes how he ‘unconventionally’ became a Christian with no human intervention; no ‘credit’ to himself or to anyone else. It’s really illuminating; have a read:


I became a Christian thru an unusual way at 2 in the morning on December 7th 1974 in an empty Navy 4 bed barracks room.[3]

Going to church didn’t have anything to do with it.

I didn’t own a bible so that wasn’t involved in this dynamic life changing experience either.

I didn’t know I was supposed to “repent of my sins”, nor was I aware that I “needed a Savior”.

No one “witnessed” to me, whatever that meant; which, when I found out, I referred to it as “christian mugging.”

The current move of the Holy Spirit is “deconstruction”, but because I wasn’t brought up in any real life meaning religious environment, I was into deconstructing from the get go.

I NEVER believed in fiery torture for eternity.

I wasn’t any kind of womanizer so didn’t have sex until I got married, but never understood the “purity culture” mentality.

I always loved the example Jesus showed when it came to treating women instead of Paul’s thing about submission which I thought was beyond unreasonable.

I have NEVER talked about salvation to anyone, so I am not making it up when I say that my faith has been questioned at least once a week for over the 47 years I’ve loved Jesus.

And don’t get me started with denominations, because I don’t understand the reason, the importance, the silliness and even as harsh as it comes across, the stupidity of them. I just don’t get it and in almost half a century it still boggles my mind.

I am not much of a fan of Sunday services because I will never believe that an audience is supposed to sit in rapt attention to one guy spouting out stuff he got by preparing a sermon. I can’t believe the God I believe in works that way.

I have always believed the Holy Spirit was a “she” if pronouns are permissible.

I also believe Jesus loves us, likes us, comforts us, respects us, encourages us, cares for us, and accepts us EXACTLY the way we are regardless of anything.

I’m not much of a supporter of so called “christian” music as I personally got more from God thru “No More Drama” by Mary J. Blige, “Smash Into You” by Beyonce and “1,000 Cranes” by jazz band Hiroshima, which I listen to at least once a week than anything played on christian radio.

So if you are a religious Trump Republican conservative red white and blue pro life church going every time the door opens bible memorizing women should be silent men only as pastors Amazing Grace singer come up front for an altar call repeat after me ask Jesus in your heart to be saved homophobic full of Islamaphobia going to hell if Jesus isn’t Lord believer, [then] I must be the shittiest example of christianity – but that’s okay.

Honestly, because I am loved and accepted by MY God whether you do or not.

– Kenn Burroughs


I think that’s simply excellent, don’t you?


The header picture is of a Blohm & Voss Bv-141, a highly unconventional German reconnaisance aircraft of the World War II era. You can read more about this fascinating aircraft in its Wikipedia article here.

Footnotes

Footnotes
1 Please allow me to apologise for all the ‘air quotes’ (there I go again!) in that passage. It’s because I am using terminology used by those who do pushy evangelism. I don’t use those phrases (nor do I believe in the concepts) myself.
2 Aaaand he’s done it again… 😉
3 The December 7th date is interesting. Kenn mentions his being in the Navy, and Dec 7th 1941 was the date the US Navy was attacked at Pearl Harbor, bringing Japan and the USA into the Second World War – Ed

Do You Know Where You Would Go?

The favourite catch phrase of the street evangelist is the phrase, “If you died tonight, do you know where you would go?”, often followed up by its partner, “Are you secure in your eternal fate?”

And actually, this ‘evangelist’s mantra’ is hollow. And the reason is this: the evangelists themselves don’t really believe it.

According to most of the people who spout this tripe, you cannot actually be sure of your eternal destination because you might make a right pig’s ear of it in the moment before you die.

Once saved, always saved‘ is the only way you can ‘know’ where you will go; every other belief apart from ‘once saved, always saved’ is an insecure salvation because you can lose it at the drop of a single ‘sin’. These people aren’t as ‘assured’ as they like to think.

And so, the correct answer to the question, “If you died tonight, do you know where you would go?” (in addition to ‘mind your own business’, of course!) is this:

Yes. Do you?

The Unforgivable Sin – Reblog

The idea of the ‘Unforgivable Sin’ is so widespread in Christendom, and so misused by ‘nasty’ Christians, that I felt it important that I reblog this piece from nearly five years ago, which has brought release and blessing to many.

Here you go:


It always amazes me how people who say they believe in the Love of God have this idea that there’s one ‘Special Sin’ that God just can’t find it in Himself to forgive.

Like if someone insults your mother, y’know, that sort of thing.

It just doesn’t make any sense, and the passages in Mark 3:28-30 and Matthew 12:31-32 must mean something different from what people usually think, because Jesus did not deal in harshness; He dealt in love, compassion and gentleness.

But, we are told, there is such a ‘sin’, and it’s called the ‘Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit’.

All you need to do is to Google ‘Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit’ and you will come up with a huge swath of hits, not only of people waving this idea around condemnatorially, but equally of people worried (sometimes literally) to death that they are destined to burn forever in Hell because of a few careless words.

We must remember that the ‘angry God’ model of the Scripture always defaults to the harsh, threatening interpretation, whereas the Jesus model takes us to the better, more gentle and loving interpretation. However, today’s Pharisees, just like those of old, love to find condemning Scriptures that they can use to bash people’s heads in, and because of this they will always default to the harsher interpretation.

Naturally, they seem to revel in the idea that there’s an ‘unpardonable sin’, which seems to be tailor-made for them to wield against the latest set of hapless believers to whom they have taken a dislike: maybe those who believe in Grace; maybe the inclusionists; maybe those who don’t believe that the Bible is infallible and inerrant; certainly anyone who does not agree with them on all small points. (Which is just about everybody, when you think about it!).

The idea is that they gleefully swing this horrific weapon and leave bleeding and despairing people in their wake, feeling that they have passed forever beyond all hope of forgiveness. In truth, there are fewer Scriptures that have brought more misery than this one. Think about it. As a Pharisee, using this most beloved of all your Scriptures, you can verbally condemn someone to believing that oh they’ve really gone and done it now; they will never, ever be forgiven. What better weapon could a Pharisee want?

But this is not the way of Jesus. Of course God forgives all sin.  But because this verse is wielded as such a powerful weapon, joyfully weaponized by those who are almost the Enemy’s servants in order to bring all that untold misery and despair to people, it needs to be addressed.

So, what did Jesus mean when He mentioned the ‘unpardonable sin’?

Well, here’s a beautifully simple exegesis of the Matthew passage by my friend Nathan Jennings, where he puts it really clearly. This explanation of the text closely dovetails with my own opinion on the matter. Over to Nathan:

“BLASPHEMY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Thoughts on Matthew 12:31-32

“Often, I am asked what to do with these verses in light of what we know of the grace and mercy of God through Christ. There are probably a few good ways to look at this. First we have to remember that Jesus, being the full revelation and character of God, forgave his enemies on the cross and throughout his time pre-resurrection. Also if you look at the verses leading up to this we see the Pharisees denying Jesus having the spirit of God as being the means of his healing people and said that it was the spirit of the devil. Immediately following the next set of verses, which begin with a “therefore” indicating the message about to be given is a response/result of the previous text, it states:

Therefore, I tell you that people will be forgiven for every sin and insult to God. But insulting the Holy Spirit won’t be forgiven. And whoever speaks a word against the Human One will be forgiven. But whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit won’t be forgiven, not in this age or in the age that is coming”
Matthew 12:31-32

Immediately we can see and deduce that insulting /blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is unbelief in the work of the Spirit due to the passage in the text right before this.

Also the word ‘forgiveness’ is better translated as ‘freedom’ or “freedom from something” so, to me, what is basically being said here is:

“Therefore, I tell you that people will be freed from the power of every sin and insult to God. But unbelief in the power and work of the Holy Spirit and the freedom it offers you will result in enslavement, because you’re not believing the truth. And whoever speaks a word against Jesus can still see freedom because the spirit can still be seen. But whoever doesn’t believe in the work of the spirit won’t experience the freedom of their true identity, in this age or the next.
Matthew 12:31-32″

I think that’s brilliant. And, if you feel that you have blasphemed the Spirit, be reassured: youre not. Because the ‘blasphemy against the Holy Spirit’ means essentially a refusal to recognise that it’s the Spirit at work, if you are conscious of the Spirit’s work then you can’t be ‘blaspheming’ Her.

And, in any case, all sin was dealt with at the Cross, once and for all, forever. All sin, including this one. Don’t concentrate on sin, concentrate on Jesus. Christians today are far too preoccupied with sin; they need to leave it in the grave where it belongs!