Dear Conservative Evangelical Christian, Answer Me This

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I have to admit, I’m growing increasingly confused with nearly every moment. Not just confused—alarmed, if I’m honest.

I’m no spiritual giant, but it’s been my longtime understanding that the Christian faith is to be centered on the person of Jesus. At least, that’s the divine plot God seems to have written and the Name many have boastfully placed on the marquee. Yet, when I survey the Scriptures and listen to His mind within me, I’m sadly left with no alternative but to be filled with disappointment and disillusionment. For the epic story of Jesus and His love that I had hoped would fill my senses with every scene you project into my seeing has become a horror show of conservative Evangelical Christian evil.

Perhaps, I’ve completely lost my mind and have fallen away from the Spirit—that’s certainly not beyond possibility. Perhaps, that prayer cloth I discarded along with the accountability partner that came with it, has put a divine jinx on my capacity to discern the spiritual. It’s probably all in my mind and a carnal figment of my imagination. Yet, I can’t seem to ignore the sure duplicity and sheer insanity of what your faith understanding seems to be wielding upon the earth with ever increasing fashion.

I want to give you the benefit of the doubt and even come to my senses if need be. So, please conservative Evangelical Christian, answer me this—I’m ready, and I’m listening.

Where does Jesus ever put the Bible (which hadn’t even been written yet) above Himself or even in equal standing, and where does He say it’s the perfect Word of God and admonish His followers to worship their own interpretations of it?  In fact, on several occasions, I’ve noticed that Jesus reinterprets the Scriptures and turns over the table on their traditional meaning. I don’t have a problem suggesting that the Bible was inspired by God as long as we admit that divine inspiration doesn’t automatically equate to human accuracy. Perhaps, that’s why Christian scholars can’t even agree to this day on how we arrived at the canonization of the Bible let alone what books should be included. And not just that, but with over 30,000 different denominations, we can’t even put all of our bumpers in the same parking lot in regards to something as central as the essence of salvation. Yet, you want me to believe that your Bible, your version, and even your interpretation is the infallible inerrant perfect Word of God. I’m not trying to be disrespectful, but I can’t deny how that leaves me suspiciously wondering, if it’s all so perfect, why would Jesus summon His Spirit (not you, me, or the Bible) to be humanity’s ultimate guide in all truth?  I’m trying to see Jesus in all this song and dance with the Bible, but if I’m honest, I just can’t—at least not the Jesus who lives within me.

Please conservative Evangelical Christian, answer me this.

Where does Jesus ever utilize a weapon in an act of aggression or defense, or even so much as hint that there could be an occasion where his followers would be righteous and justified in doing so? I’m not suggesting that a person who owns a gun for mere sport, hunting, or nonviolent pleasure is unfaithful to the Master. I’m not even suggesting that a person who possesses a gun for self-defense is necessarily a bad person. But, the more I experience the heart of Jesus the more I become convinced, if you’re going to own a gun which is purposed primarily on killing, and harbor the willingness to use it against another human being, you’re going to have to leave the person, example, and teachings of Jesus out of it and step outside of His ways to justify it. Stock up on all the weapons you want, rationalize a love of guns any way that helps you sleep at night, and insist on your Second Amendment rights even to the mass murder of children. However, with all due love and respect, you can stop trying to convince me that God blesses your endeavors and Jesus supports your armament and willingness to do violence—He doesn’t, at least not the Jesus who lives within me.

The fact that the NRA and conservative Evangelicalism have become two peas in a diabolical pod. The truth that many conservative Evangelicals propose that the solution to our gun problem is more guns. The reality that churches who claim to worship Jesus are now opening gun ranges. The daunting awareness that a majority of conservative Evangelical Christians are not willing to pick up their cross and lay down their love affair with guns when the safety of innocent people is undeniably in the balance. All of this tells me everything I need to know—Jesus has surely left the building. Go ahead, keep on trying to convince me there is some ominous “new world order” that is trying to disarm Americans for the purpose of conquest. In the meanwhile, I’ll be resting assured that if there is any influence in the world that is trying to strip us of our lust for power, privilege, violence, and the guns that are symptomatic of such, that influencer is Jesus who, for the joy set before Him, chose a cross instead of an AR-15, Glock, or any other weapon. And yes, that’s in the Bible—perhaps you should read it.

Please conservative Evangelical Christian, answer me this.

Where does Jesus ever display, condone, or dismiss any of the sin-ladened and anti-Christ attributes of President Trump? Most assuredly, no one is perfect and God uses imperfect people for great purposes. Yet, isn’t there a difference between being imperfect and being an unapologetically pussy-grabbing, adulterous, racist, sexist, xenophobic, mental illness mocking, greedy, lying, vulgar, belligerent, and bullying President? In conservative Evangelical churches across our country, imperfect people are being used appropriately to do great ministry. Yet, I suspect, President Trump couldn’t even qualify to serve in your nursery or youth ministry, let alone deserve the continued support and praise as the President of the Unites States from those who would claim to be Christian. Surely, you don’t want a man who brags about grabbing women’s pussies to be changing diapers or going on camping trips, do you? Yet, many conservative Evangelicals Christians, still to this day, can’t help but to worship this President and declare His divine anointing—all while throwing a temper tantrum over an Olympic ice skater who is simply gay. I’m not trying to be crass or push any buttons, but what is this insanity that we are becoming? In fact, I have this growing suspicion that if PresidentTrump ever turned his back on conservative Evangelicalism or got in the way of their greedy ambitions, all of a sudden, his nefarious character would become oh-so important and problematic. Until then, you’ll keep trying to convince me that sleeping with enemy and becoming his side-chick is really sitting at the table with Jesus and washing His feet. So, please don’t be surprised when I cry, “bullshit!” I mean no disrespect, but this isn’t about Jesus, faithfulness, and Godly living—that’s the problem, isn’t it?

See, the Bible, guns, and politics—everything seems to have become a weapon to you for emotionally, spiritually, and physically stealing, killing, and destroying all that you perceive to be an enemy that you might nationalize, militarize, and globalize your faith ideology. Not because Jesus is telling you to do so, but because you’re addicted to white, male, heterosexual power and privilege—the opioids of the Evil One.

I want to believe that your greatest desire is Jesus and knowing His heart for humanity. I want to believe that you care about children and the safety of innocent people. I want to believe that moral character, sacrifice, decency, and goodness are important to you and foundational to your faith system. But, every time you have an opportunity to take up your cross and show me, it seems as if you are more interested in taking up, protecting, and prospering white, male, heterosexual, right-wing conservative power and privilege.

I know your heart is good and filled with honorable intention. I know you want me to believe it’s all about God, the Bible, and Christian faithfulness. Yet, how am I to conclude, with even just a small measure of confidence, that Jesus is your Lord and the King of your faith system when it seems there are so many things of Satan that you worship before Him?

Please conservative Evangelical Christian, answer me this.

Grace is brave. Be brave.


  1. Luana Nery

    I am liberal evangelical Christian who believes that Jesus stood for social justice and fighting for the rights of the marginalized and poor.

    • ckratzer

      Luana, that’s encouraging news. I agree with you!

  2. Riley Case

    Some answers to your questions, Chris.
    Where does Jesus put the Bible above himself and admonish His followers to worship their interpretation of it. Answer: No place. I live in the evangelical world and I don’t know anyone who would claim the Bible is above Jesus. You offer a straw man. And your line about “infallible, inerrant, perfect”–if you search far enough I suppose you could find someone using that language. For most of us the words infallible, inerrant and perfect reflect Greek philosophy and not the historic Protestant position. For United Methodists, Scripture is to be interpreted by tradition, reason, and experience. I’m not sure where you get the idea of “Spirit” interpretation which in the last analysis, appears to reduce authority to whatever my feelings and thoughts are at the moment.

    Jesus and using a weapon. Jesus does not make any reference to using a weapon, except in Ephesians 6 and the sword of the Spirit. Again, I live and move in the evangelical world and you set up a straw man that does not exist in reality. The claim that the NRA and evangelical Christianity are two peas in the same diabolical pod is a figment of your imagination. Some evangelicals will support NRA. Most do not. Some of the strongest criticism I have heard of NRA comes from evangelicals. I grew up with Mennonites and Amish. Do you consider them evangelical? They are pacifists, as are numbers of evangelical groups.

    Support for Donald Trump. In the summer of 2016 when there were eight Republicans in the running for the nomination a poll of evangelicals indicated that only 4% supported Trump. Frankly, before the election I couldn’t find any evangelicals enthusiastic for Trump. On a scale of 1 to 100, for me at least, Trump scored 3. Hillary was higher than that. Unfortunately the progressive world scored for me minus 1. Washington went for Hillary 96%. That alone would might make me root for Trump. Have you read the leading Evangelical journals: World magazine, Christianity Today, Sojourners, First Things? There is very little support for Trump, except that he is our president and it is not in the best interest of our nation or people to spew ugliness on every word or every tweet the president makes. But, if it weren’t Trump, it would be someone else.

    There is a problem, I admit, as to who really are the evangelicals. Polls that suggest that evangelicals represent 25 – 29% percent of the population are way off. That may refer to those who self-identify as evangelicals. NRA-types might want to claim to be evangelicals because they believe they are allies. Stick with Christianity Today’ analysis. A recent Baylor poll indicated that 20% of evangelicals don’t attend church. I would suggest if they are not in church they don’t quality as evangelicals.

    Lighten up, Chris. The world is not as ugly as you suggest it is.

    • ckratzer

      Riley, I appreciate your thoughts and your willingness to share them. However, in my opinion, either you have been living in a fantasy world or you lack the capacity to observe reality. Perhaps, denial has overpowered your senses. Sadly, yours is the convenient complacency and rewriting of truth intrinsic to white, male, heterosexual, conservative Evangelical Christianity. The fact is, I don’t have to justify the accuracy of this article, history, facts, and current realities do it for me. Truth be told, the world of conservative Evangelical Christianity is actually worse than I describe, just ask the countless people whose lives have been and continue to be devastated by it.

      • David

        Hi Mr. Kratzer!
        Upon reading this, I have a few questions for you.
        1. Do you believe that the Bible has in it unchanging principles that are not only found in the New Testament, but also are found in the Old Testament as well?
        2. If not, then where did you get the concept of grace?
        3. Do you believe that the Holy Spirit would lead us to do anything that would be against the clear teachings of the Bible? By clear teachings, I mean, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.” “Thou shalt not covet the neighbor’s…” you get the idea. I mean, those seem pretty clear.

        • ckratzer

          1. perhaps, depends on what you define as a principle.
          2. Grace is not a concept, it’s a person–Jesus.
          3. Jesus, on several occasions, reinterpreted the Scriptures against the “clear” teachings that were understood in His day. The Spirit does this still.

          My opinions. Thanks

          • David

            The last two times I’ve replied to you, you responded in less than a day. Very cool, Sir.

            So I wanted to respond to your #3 reply. While Christ did re-interpret what was commonly understood and practiced, He never contradicted Scripture previously written. Instead, He clarified it.
            “…He will magnify the law, and make it honourable.” Isaiah 42:21
            That’s what the Sermon on the Mount was about. He wasn’t contradicting Scripture, He was putting a magnifying glass over it, and showing the people that they had been viewing it from the wrong end of the telescope. They had been following the letter, but failed to perceive the meaning that God had intended, even though He provided ample evidence on which to arrive at an accurate conclusion.

            The only supernatural being that tried to re-interpret/contradict Scripture was Satan. God told Adam and Eve that they would die if they ate of the tree. Satan said, “Ye shall not surely die.” When trying to tempt Christ, he resorted to quoting Scripture to Jesus.
            “For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee…They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.” Psalm 91:11,12.
            But Satan left out the last part of verse eleven, “to keep thee in all thy ways.” That is, the way of the Lord’s choosing. God wouldn’t lead Jesus to throw Himself off of a building to prove that He would physically catch Him, as Christ’s Scriptural response tells us.

            Which leads to my next point, Jesus used “It is written” to fight Satan. It was His weapon of choice. He could have matched reason with reason, logic with logic, but instead He went straight to the relevant Bible text to counter the temptation. So giving in to temptation, therefore, is equal to departing from doing what God has written.

            If we discount the authority of the Bible, if we fail to use it as God intended, then we find ourselves worshiping Christ without a context. With the Bible out of the way we have no parameters, no measures of success or failure. And we’re left to form our own system of beliefs presumably around Christ, but we’re in danger of making God after our own image rather than being transformed into His likeness.

            Jesus said, “the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” John 6:63. Paul said the Sword of the Spirit was the Word of God. But rob the Bible of its divine inspiration and that sword loses its edge. That weapon becomes an oversized, archaic paperweight.

            John said, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God” 1 John 4:1.
            These spirits don’t have to be talking through someone else, they can be inside of us as well, or at least trying to influence our feelings and thoughts. But how do I know whether it is a good spirit or a bad spirit? My feelings or impressions could be working against me. But Isaiah 8:20 says, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Evil spirits, can pose as good spirits, “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” 2 Corinthians 11:14. We can only whether it is a good or bad spirit by testing it by the word of God. “And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.” 1 Corinthians 14:22. The Spirit will agree with what It has said in the word of God. And if Satan comes as an angel of light to tempt us, then why would we use any lesser weapon than that which our Lord and Master used? “It is written.”

            “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” 2 Timothy 3:16, 17. You could also read, “thoroughly furnished unto all grace works” too if you want. ‘All’ is an absolutive quantifier. Its either all inspired or it’s not. It is either all profitable or it is not. This isn’t only referring to what Jesus has said. Paul frequently quoted the Old Testament in his letters. It was useful to equip those he was seeking to strengthen in the Lord. But to pick and choose what is inspired and what is not is dangerous. Jesus would have lost everything had He given in to Satan ‘re-interpreting’ Scripture at Him.

            Summary, if we strip the Bible of its inspiration, then we’re left to follow Christ without a context except for the one we manufacture. It leads us open to be battered upon the rocks of fierce and faulty bipartisan politics, rather than to be anchored on an eternal “thus saith the Lord.” Jesus merely exposed how superficial people’s understanding was of the Bible, and had they only studied more fervently, they would have caught the deeper and consistent meanings that are found throughout the whole of Scripture. He never contradicted Himself or His Father, and even said, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.” Matthew 12:22-28.

            But if you know a verse where Christ did contradict the word, rather than clarify the old, intended meaning, then please tell me the reference, I’d like to review it.

      • Jason Schnur

        Your thoughtful, respectful and fact packed reply to Riley Case is the epitome of why your style of SJW “Christianity” is taking the world by storm. You don’t speak to the truth or falsity of Riley’s statements, you simply dismiss them out of hand as the words of “white, male, heterosexual, conservative Evangelical Christianity.” maybe you have some kind of insight I don’t have but I cannot even ensure that Riley is male, let alone white or heterosexual, by those written words. This is not how Christians deal with one another. There is no grace, no brotherhood, no fellowship in your remarks, either to Riley or in your excremental post. I’ll be praying for you, brother.

    • MarthaB

      Oh, the world definitely is as ugly as Chris suggests, and it is entirely due to right-wing “Christians” who have obscenely perverted all of Jesus’ teachings and have taken over the governance of this nation. Right-wing “Christians” have persuaded governments in various African nations that being gay is a capital crime. Right-wing “Christians” marched in Charlottesville, carrying swastika flags and Confederate flags, chanting “Jews will not replace us.” One of them drove into a crowd of counter demonstrators and murdered one of them. YOUR President called them “fine people.” The fact that you consider yourself a Christian and still voted for him says everything. It said that you felt that he was better than the most qualified person ever to run, despite the fact that he enjoyed the enthusiastic endorsement of the KKK and white supremacists. He did not reject or repudiate their endorsement; in fact, he lied about knowing who David Duke is. If that fact alone didn’t persuade you or any other self-professed “Christian” not to vote for him, then that means that you are OK with the KKK and white supremacists. It cannot possibly mean anything else. It’s not as though the KKK and white supremacy are little, insignificant issues, but you treated them as though they are, and that speaks volumes about you and your brand of “Christianity.” Right-wing “Christians” are responsible for the onslaught of bills and laws that allow discrimination against people based on whom they love — inserting your religious beliefs on ALL Americans, which is wholly un-American and the opposite of patriotic. Right-wing “Christians” are responsible for the onslaught of bills and laws that dictate to women what kind of healthcare they are permitted to receive, that they have no right to determine their own reproductive health — because your *religious* beliefs trump freedom of religion and civil rights in the USA. Again, un-American and wholly un-patriotic. There has been a dramatic rise in the number of anti-Semitic violence and vandalism in the US since YOUR President became the GOP nominee — because he made it OK.

      No, Chris is absolutely correct. You argue semantics about “Evangelical,” but the reality is that ALL of the right-wing “Christian” terrorists who are destroying everything this nation was based on (hint: it was NOT based on “Christian” theology) call themselves that, and people like you who insist you’re not like them (but in so many ways you are) follow in lock-step with their insanity. People like you are why I left American “Christianity” altogether and joined a Unitarian Universalist church, where EVERYONE is valued — it’s much more Christ-like than ANY “Christian” denomination. I was Methodist, but they keep defrocking gay pastors and pastors who marry gay couples. How can I, who love Jesus’ teachings, ever stay with such institutions?

      • MarthaB

        Let me edit that — it’s not “entirely” due to the right-wing “Christians.” Equally rapid extremists in the Muslim faith have made things pretty awful, too. The thing is, though, that there is precious little difference between the two, other than theology. Both want theocracies. Some predominantly Muslim nations ARE theocracies, which these “Christians” claim to be opposed to (usually only on the grounds that it’s the wrong theology, not on the grounds that it violated human rights and decency), all the while supporting laws that are no different than a “Christian” Taliban might want to impose on citizens.

      • Jason Schnur

        Is this satire?

    • David K

      Chris is right, and I have self-identified as an Evangelical.

      We see time and again major and significant figures in the Evangelical Movement in the United States coming out in support of Donald Trump and his policies. We see time and again religious and theological arguments used to support right-wing conservative policies that are about power, privilege, maintaining the status quo and defending the Second Amendment.

      Evangelicalism used to mean living authentically according to the Gospel. Yet it seems as a Christian living in the United Kingdom, that, outside of mainline and progressive Christianity, churches support candidates and laws that are about upholding a system based on money and power. I’m sure I read somewhere in the Bible that it’s not possible to serve the Master and money.

      You attempt to play about with semantics and statistics to deflect and dismiss – yet you do not deal with the substance of the argument.

      You attempt to downplay the negativity that comes from Trump. His anger, his vitriol, his patently bad and selfish character.

      Reflect again on the substance.

    • J. Maximillian

      You should come to a Southern Baptist church in Alabama if you don’t think evangelicals support Trump!

    • Susan

      Riley, I agree…the world isn’t as ugly as he suggests. Chris, you say you are “not trying to be disrespectful”, “crass” or “push any buttons”, but that’s exactly what you are doing. As Seinfeld might suggest…it’s your “tone”. True, there are some evangelicals who fit into your description of “conservative evangelical Christian evil”, but the vast majority do not. I live in the Bible Belt where most people I interact with are evangelical Christians and wonderful people. I don’t know one person who worships Trump or condones his crass behavior, but I do know many people who agree with most of his policies. I don’t believe it’s as dismal and gloomy as you portray. And, I’m saddened that you have tried to put all evangelical Christians in this light because painting with broad strokes only leads to more divisiveness and misunderstanding. The Holy Spirit unifies us. And we, as Christians, are to make “every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace”. It’s in the Bible, Chris…and as you suggest, I’m reading it.

      • ckratzer

        Susan, I appreciate your thoughts and willingness to share them. If you read the actual words of the article I don’t put all Evangelicals into one category. In fact, I point several times to the “system” of faith not the people. You may believe this article is not indicative of most Evangelicals, but I strongly disagree and I think the countless people outside of your Evangelicalism would agree as well. I am a strong believer in making peace, and as you can see through the comment sections of the articles on this site, many people who have been hurt and marginalized by conservative Christianity are finding peace and hope for the first time. If there is any sowing of disunity into the body of Christ and the world at large, it is not I, but a conservative faith system that quickly defines who is “in” and who is “out,” who is right and who is wrong, who fits in and who does not, and bases their level of welcoming and membership on their own narrow brand of believing.

        • Susan

          I did read the “actual words” of your blog (and some of your previous posts), several times, before my initial response. And all I saw, repeated over and over again, was you addressing the evangelical Christian. When did evangelical Christians become labeled as a “faith system”? I understand how someone, who has been hurt by a Christian, might want to lash out and recoil from the faith, but that’s throwing out the baby with the bath water. ANY time people are involved, there are going to be problems. But to scorn an entire population within the Christian community seems to only alienate those who are looking for a relationship with Christ. If you want to follow Christ and never be convicted, then Christ really isn’t working in you. I always say that I thought I was great until I became a Christian…and for that transformation, I am forever grateful. Do I have to agree with all Christians (who follow the core tenants of our faith) in order to worship side-by-side with them? Absolutely not. But I can focus on Christ and all of the wonderful ways He has and continues to heal people through His church community. My greatest desire (and that of most Christians I know) is Jesus and knowing His heart…the Jesus who convicts me and loves me every step of the way.

          • ckratzer

            Susan, I appreciate your willingness to respond. However, I mean no disrespect in saying so, but trying to frame my writing as painting too broad of a stroke is both a common deflective tactic to avoid dealing with the truth of my writing and assumes that most people don’t have the common sense nor capacity for nuance to know that mentioning a group by name does not automatically mean that the description applies to everyone in that group. I specifically call attention to this throughout my writings. People who are determined to miss the point of my writing and deflect its truth will be able to do so no matter what words and descriptions I use. Of course I am going to address conservative Evangelical Christianity, it is probably the greatest evil being wielded on the planet today. Just because you do not see that reality does not mean it does not exist and those who point to it are being unfair in doing so.

          • Susan

            Since I can’t reply to your final response to mine (?), then I’ll reply here…and it will be my last. You say that I’m using “painting too broad of a stroke” as a deflective tool when in reality, it’s a tool that you are using to increase the rage against all evangelical Christians. You have lumped evangelical Christians into a “belief system”…sounds pretty broad to me. And as you feel that I might not want to see what you are talking about (although I do to a degree), I feel as if you don’t want to hear reason from the evangelical side either…not sure if you and I even agree on the definition of an evangelical Christian. So, you’re done with it all and maybe dealing with some hurt as well?? That’s fine. But I do hope your posts aren’t turning away Christian seekers as they read such divisive opinions about fellow Christians from someone within the faith.

          • Liz

            well put! 🙂 I am an Evangelical Christian, in that I support wholly, the evangelizing of the gospel of Christ. However, I do not support Trump because of Trump. I myself was disallusioned by the many how did, and still do. the point I didn’t even want to be around them. I watched as many evangelical Christians divided over this…and it was sad. The constant bickering and name calling i see on social media is even sadder. I just want you to know that there ARE evangelical Christians who did not and do not support Trump…or the NRA….(yes…they’re even FOR gun control). In the meantime, we have a job to do, that cannot be done apart from the Holy Spirit. We can’t do it for someone else. I wish we could, but we can’t…but we can choose this for ourselves….to allow God to change us from within so that our lives reflect that of His son Jesus. It’s a painful process, which I’m sure you know. We can’t change others…but we can allow the Holy Spirit to change us and mold us into His image…and touch the lives of those around us. As long as we keep our eyes, ears, and thoughts on those who are doing just the opposite, we will stray from what God wants to do within us and through us. I have to take my eyes of the world over and over, many times, and put them on Him…or I will become disheartened…and disallusioned…and angry…and growth in Him will stop. This world is not our home, yet its so easy to become intertwined with it to the point we lose ourselves…lose our identities, who we are…in Him.

        • Thomas

          “If there is any sowing of disunity into the body of Christ and the world at large, it is not I, but a conservative faith system that quickly defines who is “in” and who is “out,” who is right and who is wrong, who fits in and who does not, and bases their level of welcoming and membership on their own narrow brand of believing.”

          I am confused. Isn’t this what your post is doing? Aren’t you deciding who is right and wrong based on your interpretation of the bible and your beliefs? Your level of welcoming seems to be based on you brand of believing as well.

          • ckratzer

            Thomas, no, not even close.

          • Thomas

            Since you won’t let me reply to your post, I will reply here. I don’t disagree with some of what you are saying. But this seems angry, hateful and fearful instead of loving, patient and kind. You lay a lot of accusations that I don’t think you can actually back up? You cannot back up your beliefs but you proudly say others are wrong. It is close and the same thing.

            Answer me this: How do you think that this attitude is going to change the conservative evangelical mind? Or is this not what you want?

    • Lars Justinen

      Thank you for being exhibit B – showing all sides feel compelled to exaggerate their positions. Whether left or right. “96% of Washington for Hillary” for example. Are you sure it wasn’t 93%?

      So tired of the immature polemics.

    • Tom Downs

      Was visiting a Baptist sponsored grade school. The start of day ritual devotion involved processing the Bible to the front of the class. The kids all stood and hand over their heart swore allegiance to the Bible (a variation on the Pledge to the flag). Then there was a prayer. That was it. They didn’t even read a verse out of the Bible. What are these kids to learn from such a ceremony?

  3. Marc B.

    Frankly, this is a very fair and well articulated missive… and it may bring out some of the apologists, spin doctors and those tuned out of reality.

    I was raised a Roman Catholic but over time realized that it was filled with too much blind faith, flawed logic, gender bias and a host of other issues – but I have no problem with those that choose to believe – if it gives one a sense of purpose and good rules to live by then all is good, peace be with you; live and let live.

    But I have a big problem when any religion tries to proclaim the righteous high road and then it gets ‘hijacked’ by those with a lust for power. That’s when one clearly sees a conservative agenda actively involved in government and legislation with an end goal of an “our religious views and way of life is the best for all” – i.e. a theocracy – which is exactly what Evangelicals and their ilk want.

    And it is the exact opposite of what our founding fathers wanted. Separation of Church and State is just that – but the Evangelicals ignore that… and amongst other things (abortion) have latched onto a woefully outdated 2nd amendment as if it is gospel. It too gets hijacked into a form that the founding fathers would be appalled at. But that is a huge topic for discussion elsewhere.

    I was at one time simply amazed by the sheer magnitude of hypocrisy in Evangelicals (which really are the Christian version of fundamentalists)… it seems to be a combination of willful ignorance, and an arrogant, belligerent “at all costs the end justifies the means” mind set. I am no longer amazed – I have come to realize that such people have no true inner observer or a conscience with a modicum of ethical checks and balances – and they are either the very weak minded or the strong willed unholy agenda-driven that rationalize all that suits them as some form of “the will of God”.

    Whenever I get into discussions with such people I find they get much more quiet and evasive when asked the simple question about any human behavior in themselves or Trump, Conservatives, etc: “what would Jesus do?”. Flummoxed. Because his message was all loving, all-inclusive; ministry, teaching and leading by example – YES, governing – NO.
    Peace out.

    • MarthaB

      Very well put.

      • Marc B.

        Most kind.. but I felt your post was far better and impassioned. Have a great day.

  4. Gary Markle

    The Christian Dilemma:

    The greatest threat to America, and indeed to the rest of world, at this point in history, comes from the staunch advocates of right wing ideology, and I must submit this warning to you: There is a grave problem with the right wing movement, in that; they seem to possess a distorted sense of entitlement. They’ve set themselves apart, and seem to think that their faith gives them the right to view the world from a platitude of conceit, through condescending eyes, and with a false sense of superiority. They actually believe themselves to be superior beings, with a manifest destiny and some strange notion that God is on their side. A people with a desire to conquer, under the false guise of Christianity, seeking to dominate in the name of Christ, their view of humanity being reduced to nothing more than a matter of “us” and “them”.

    What they fail to realize is; if the Christ you believe in leads you to view other humans as lesser beings, then you are a follower of the anti-Christ. The plain truth is; God doesn’t have a religion and God doesn’t discriminate. Any religion that professes to be the only true religion, or that they‘re special in the eyes of God preaches false doctrine. If the Spirit of God is truly with you, it will only be known by acts of “unconditional” love and charity. No religion can claim exclusive rights to God. He belongs to all that He has created, and to foster a belief in “us” and “them” is to divide humanity, not unite it.

    And so it will be, in The End, that those who have set themselves apart from their fellow man will find that they have set themselves apart from God. The worth of a soul will only be measured by how much it has loved, nothing more, nothing less. Woe to those who have taken the widow’s mite and built castles and empires in His name. They have incurred a great accountability, their suffering will be unending.

    Even Jesus will not claim to be Christian, but will only proclaim the glory of the Father. And when He returns they will shout: “Here we are Lord!” And He will respond: “I never knew you”. They have forsaken the Word and have become prisoners of the Numbers.

    Those who have put themselves first will be last.

    • Marc B

      A fine articulation from a well versed and seemingly true Christian

    • ckratzer

      Well said Gary, very thoughtful reflection!

  5. Christian Vagabond

    Regarding the first part of your post, John 1:1 provides the answer:

    “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

    Now you might argue that Jesus didn’t say that (that is, it’s not a red letter verse). But for Evangelicals, the entire Bible is red-lettered.

    • ckratzer

      You aren’t suggesting this is a reference to the Bible as being the “Word” are you?

  6. Tammy

    Look who getting called out ” of the closet” and into the light; “prospering white, male, heterosexual, right-wing conservative power and privilege.”

    Thank you for this smart, calling to account, followers of Christ.

    God bless.

    • ckratzer

      Thanks Tammy!

  7. Dan Held

    Rather than waiting into some future eon for a conservative Evangelical Christian to reply, Chris, I’ll use my position as a former CEC myself to say this: my own mind passed through a similar bewilderment about such false christs until resolving for myself that all such false christs are only “of” the world around us… our case white male capitalists who stay in political power by using evangelical fear to win votes against abortion and homosexuality and taxes for social services and gun control and, drum roll crescendo, against removing God from our schools. That is our world’s christ (i.e., Republican) in America. My mind knows of this christ through my body, which sees, hears, and otherwise senses the world I live in. And then there’s the true Christ. The God of heaven who is in but not of our world. Who knows love to be truer than fear, and whose earthly body submitted his own great fear of the cross to the greater love of his own mind (Father) and soul (Holy Spirit). My mind knows this true Christ not from my body but from my soul. Not from the world but from heaven. Not from the fears of humanity but from the love of God. I thank God for the Christ that lives in you, Chris, and who lives in but not “of” the world of American conservative Evangelical Christianity.

    • ckratzer

      Well said, Dan! Thanks for the honor of having you read and comment!

  8. Manny G

    I wholeheartedly agree with this article. Used to be an evangelical until I realized that I was Gay. I had to leave the ‘system’ because of its blatant homophobia and xenophobia towards anyone not male nor white.

    In addition, I used to be close to my older half sister until she went through martial problems and was brainwashed by these scumbags. Over the years, she became a total monster. She stopped carrying for her family – only associates with those who go to her church, leaves her two of three children unattended, while the other -who is a band member in the church – turned him against me because of my homosexuality, to top it off, is having an affair with another man while her husband sits idly by, worshiping his guns which he didn’t before being an ‘evangelical’. Finally, my sister and his ‘other man’ sing worship songs that mention that Muslims are going to hell. The sister that I knew died more than 9 years ago. Now what lives in her body, is despicable monster.

    So, for those who try to put this experience as anomaly, that most Evangelicals are not like this, I’m sorry to say you can go fly a bloody kite since most are like her.

    • ckratzer

      And Manny G hits one out of the park… it’s going, going, gone!

  9. David A

    This the first time I’ve seen your blog, as a friend recently shared this article on facebook. I can appreciate your disdain for any incongruency between Christian profession and practice. Though your points have left me with a few questions and I’m wondering if you could clarify a few things for me.
    1. Do you believe that the Spirit of God would lead a person in any way other than to be in perfect harmony with His recorded word, the Bible? In other words, would the Spirit of God lead us to do something contrary to the principles found in the Bible?
    2. Do you believe that the right of US citizens to defend themselves even to the point of using firearms should be removed?
    3. And do you believe that homosexuality should not only be defended, but encouraged?

    • ckratzer

      David, thanks for your comment, I will respond to each question by its corresponding #. 1) I don’t see the Bible as God’s “recorded” word. Also, what principles in the Bible? The ones you believe/interpret to be principles? The ones I believe/interpret to be principles? 2) It doesn’t matter what rights are or are not afforded to US citizens who are Christians in terms of firearms and self-defense, the model is either Christ or an idol placed above Him. 3) Your question seems to suggest that you believe homosexuality to be a chosen orientation and behavior that can be “encouraged” or “discouraged.” I don’t see it that way. One doesn’t go around “encouraging” people to be brown-eyed or red-headed or black-skinned, they either are or aren’t. In all the same ways that someone could possibly be appropriately “encouraged” in their heterosexuality a person should be encouraged in their homosexuality.

  10. Greg

    The author seems more occupied with sounding clever than suggesting any possible deeper reasons for or solutions to this current situation. I could easily have written a similar piece had Hillary Clinton been elected, calling out any “evangelicals” (whatever THAT is…) for supporting some of her platforms that have no basis in scripture or Jesus’ teachings. The situation– while definitely concerning– is fairly recent, within the last few decades, and limited to the USA. Evangelical Christians in other countries bear no resemblance to this… so maybe, just maybe, the problem’s roots have a little something to do with the American mentality and system of government.

    Incidentally, I’ve been a member of several large churches in two very “red” states, and met only a handful of members who ardently support Trump. Many more voted for him “holding their nose” or even committed that most un-American act of (gasp!) abstaining from voting altogether. None of the leaders or pastors in these churches praised or publicly supported Trump or attempted to justify his lifestyle (in fact, some criticized it, without naming names).

    In America’s highly-polarized and broken “red team/blue team” political system, it shouldn’t come as such a shock to this author that many believers felt forced to make a tough choice between their idea of the lesser of two evils, and it’s human nature to defend your choice once you make it.

    I agree that Trump embodies pretty-much the antithesis of Christian values… in fact, he comes closer to what I imagine the “Anti-Christ” of Revelation might look like than any other politician before him… but he’s the product of your ridiculous primary and election system, and largely a knee-jerk reaction to some of the opposite leftist extremes that Obama was pushing the country in the direction of.

    • JoMama

      Greg… Everything thing you just said proves the complicity of evil amongst most “Christians”… Evangelical… Fundamentalist or otherwise… There are no other religions that are more evil and self-serving save Islam than the American “Christians”… Pompous self-absorbed hypocrites… All religion should be excluded from politics… period… It is how our government was set up to counter these self-deluded religious fanatics…
      And if churches are allowed to cajole and sway their congregations in political affairs… They should pay taxes like everyone else… or shut their gobsmacking mouths… So sick of these liars… charlatans and swindlers…
      “Place your hands on the T.V and get a dhahhadi dmadulums kalmikle shalsjemeasi (speaking in tongues ) life!!!”
      Let me make clear… I have met Christians who follow the teachings of Christ that are the exception… Though they usually keep their mouths shut snd let Him handle everything else… As it should be…

  11. Mike

    I don’t even know where to begin with you. Someone or something must’ve hurt you. I will just say this. If you don’t believe the Bible is the word of God and our guide to knowing Jesus your cast upon a I don’t even know where to begin with you. Someone or something must’ve hurt you. I will just say this. If you don’t believe the Bible is the word of God in our guide to knowing Jesus your cast upon a sea of confusion. You wouldn’t know anything about the Jesus you say lives in you without the scripture
    When your reasoning starts with your own mind and tries to approach God you always get it wrong it is only when you see life in Christ from gods perspective from heaven down to get a ride over the Scripture gives us that perspective I don’t know whether to pray for you to get saved will be convicted

  12. Martha Brown

    Why does this matter? What you think about evangelicals is irrelevant to obeying the commands of Jesus and to live a life pleasing to him. The writer to Hebrews warned us not to get too caught up in “snares that so easily beset us”. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to take you to a deeper walk with our Lord.

    • MarthaB

      Why does it matter? Really? It matters because these “Christians” have taken over the United States government, and are working diligently to make the US a Christian Theocracy. These “Christians” “held their nose and voted” for someone who is so obviously a racist, misogynist, narcissistic monster that to deny any of those things about him is to be profoundly stupid. And to vote for him knowing all that about him makes them as bad as he is. These “Christians” have persuaded African nations to make homosexuality a capital crime — a crime at all!! These “Christians” want to force all women who are pregnant to carry the pregnancy to term even when the fetus dies in the womb, even when the pregnant person is a young girl who was raped by her father. These “Christians” defended Roy Moore, despite knowing that he had molested girls, saying that was better than being a Democrat. Why does it matter? Because these “Christians” are forcing hurt, oppression, loss of civil rights, and even death upon people they don’t think are good enough.

  13. Rafiq Abudulai

    For the longest time in America the Evangelical church has been corrupted by, and at the mercy of, the political right. For far too long now, men and women of God have been so fearful of the threat that growing secularism and progressivism in America poses to Christianity and Judeo-Christian values that they have been cowed into the belief that Conservatism = Christianity. For many years now, members of the church have been Republican first: Christian second.

    Yet the Bible forewarned of this.
    “The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?””
    John 8:3-5

    The Pharisees, men tasked by God to be exemplars of faith, bring the accuser to be judged. Yet, considering the charge of adultery, they fail to present the man with whom she is accused so that he may face the same penalty. Here, the men of faith are so taken by their own self righteousness that they fall victim to the mores of their culture. But Christ stood apart, and was always at odds with the culture. And when we read this passage, we see the depravity of men next to the unfailing holiness of God, and we are reminded of, and focus on, the eternal truth of Christ’s grace, not the failings of men.

    And as we bear witness to that same spirit of self-righteousness in America today; when we see men and women of God replace the truth of the eternal Christ with the politics of the day, we again need to look to the centre of the faith. We should remind ourselves of the truth of that gospel.
    When we are dismayed by the sight of our Christian brothers and sisters waving the flag of a president who exemplifies all things that our Lord and saviour isn’t, we must remind ourselves that it is because we are like this that Christ chose to die. Those of us that know Him intimately should take these new failings of men as a reminder of the eternal truth of Christ.

    And we do. The tide is turning. The re-awakening is happening. Those who know Him intimately see the time for what it is, and they obsess themselves instead with fulfilling their calling: to make the love of God manifest to all people.

    “When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.”” John 21:15

    We must never allow the exasperation we feel with the church and the actions of men distract us from the person of Christ. The depravity of man never changes, but neither does Christ. And that faith which we lose in the church should only serve to strengthen that which we have in Jesus.

    • Jon Yoder

      Rafiq Abudulai, I created a profile just so I could tell you that your post is extremely well thought-out and put together. After reading the article and all of the follow up comments, I think your comments cut straight down the middle and offer a wonderful summary that brings everyone back to the table.

      Obviously I don’t know anything about you but I sincerely hope your thoughts and words are being put to good use. Our world and nation need it.

      Thank you.

  14. Matt

    As I read this opinion piece, and others you have written, something keeps coming to my mind: Who or what hurt you so much to have this level of hatred toward conservatives as a whole?

    • MarthaB

      I do not understand that being deeply troubled by what conservatives, specifically those “Christian” conservatives about whom Chris writes, is “hatred.” Chris clearly has plenty of TRULY Christian love for them. I won’t speak for him, but what I “hate” is what they are DOING, because it’s obscene, hurtful, and anything BUT Christ-like.

    • Jon Yoder

      Hatred is a strong word. Bewilderment might be more accurate.

      I understand the ideological and political differences between Conservatives and Progressives and those can be debated to great length. But I think to Chris’ point, some of those beliefs need to be held outside of the person religious beliefs. His, and my, frustration arises when something like weapons are justified in Jesus’ name. The right to bear arms is a government law not a biblical commandment, but are often said to be one of the same by some evangelicals.

      I can’t speak for Chris’ experiences with conservatives but I think often our words and actions online sound more severe then our day to day interactions. Blogs like this serve hopefully as a productive mind dump for people’s inner dialogue.

      • Matt

        No, I am sorry to disagree with you. To me, and I am sure many to other, it’s sounds like hate and contempt based on the grouping of together evangelicals. From my experience, those types of opinions stem from feelings getting hurt or getting upset and not letting it go.

        • ckratzer

          Matt, I figured out who you are, and your wife has been trolling my wife’s fb page and sending her rude messages. You both obviously have been impacted by the truth of my writing and are doing your best to deflect the truth that is stirring your conscience by excelling at missing the point and trying to tone-police my writing. The reality is, with all due respect, you are blinded by your white privilege, conservative Evangelicalism, and lack of experience in listening to the voices of countless people who have been oppressed by the conservative Evangelical machine. I know this, because I used to be like you, holding the same believes etc. Before you comment on my posts any further, I will ask you to build several genuine relationships with people in the LGBTQ community and also those whose lives have been damaged by right-wing conservative Evangelicalism with the purpose of genuinely listening to their story and thoroughly studying their views with a willingness to authentically ask the question of yourself, “maybe I’m wrong?” Then, and only then, come back to the table and lets see how the conversation goes from there. Please tell your wife to respectfully stop sending messages. Thanks.

          • Matt

            No one has been trolling through you our your wife’s pages; that’s the joy of being linked on FB. My wife and I have read your articles as they where shared on facebook pages. At this point, my wife actually verbalized the relief of being relieved of your “drama”. She would tell you that loving others, in all circumstances, is her life goal.
            Respectfully, sir, to say that I am blinded by my “white privilege”, is an attack that does not suprise me. That is a statement to which you have only your own person to base it on. Because you have no idea who I am beyond what I have shared. Yet you are willing to lump all those who embrace conservative values into one big group.
            But I will again ask my question: Who or what made you so angry toward conservatives?

          • MarthaB

            I won’t speak for Chris, but here’s why I’M angry at conservatives, especially those who profess to be Christian, while their actions and beliefs are diametrically opposed to Christ’s teachings. And you know what? Conservative “Christians” do NOT “love all.” Not even close. To love them means to NOT work to have their civil rights eliminated. To love them is to NOT work to reduce aid to the poor. To love them is to NOT work to deprive women of their right to decide the medical care that is best for them without the government imposing YOUR religious beliefs upon them. I suspect you and your wife are of the “love the sinner, hate the sin” sort. Well, you don’t “love the sinner” if you work so tirelessly to deprive “sinners” of their rights under our Constitution, or to deprive “sinners” of food assistance or other social safety nets. You don’t “love all” if you are on the side of deregulating polluting industries simply so they can reap more profits. You don’t “love all” if you are on the side of deregulating Wall Street and banks so that they can again bring the world to the brink of, or perhaps the second time, TO global financial collapse. You don’t “love all” if you are on the side of the GOP now working to slash Social Security and Medicare. You don’t “love all” if you are on the side of the GOP as they work diligently to slash medical care for the poor while working equally diligently to boost the profits and CEO bonuses of insurance companies.

            The thing is, virtually EVERYTHING that conservatives believe and practice is the absolute antithesis of Christ, and most certainly the antithesis of “loving all.” And if you’re white, you DO have white privilege. It’s a given for ANY white person, even the poor. You also have male privilege — it, too, is a given for ANY white male, even the poor. You will never have to worry about a police officer shooting you dead over a traffic violation or selling cigarettes without a permit. You will never have to worry about your white son being shot dead at the age of twelve because he was holding a toy gun — and then not call for an ambulance after they’ve shot him. Dylan Kleibold is alive — do you really think that if he’d been Black he would be? Nikolas Cruz is alive — do you really think that if he’d been brown-skinned he would be? I mean, heck, “conservatives” posted all over social media the second his name came out that he was a “dreamer” or an “illegal” human being.

            The very fact that conservatives not only could not field a decent human being for POTUS, but continues to support him at every. single. turn. (oh, one exception — tariffs, whoopdie do). Conservatives like you didn’t care, and continue to not care, that 45 has the enthusiastic endorsement of the KKK and white supremacists. He LOVES that, as evidenced by his absolute refusal to reject, loudly, vehemently and unequivocally, their support. And conservatives are OK with that. For some reason, conservatives don’t see having a candidate or POTUS whose beliefs and rhetoric mirror that of the KKK as a problem.

            Conservatives are not the least bit bothered by his infidelity, his lies, his corruption, ANYTHING — it’s all good so long as he tows the conservative GOP line. Eight years ago, your congress actually made a pact to have their NUMBER ONE priority be to defeat and oppose EVERYTHING the Black POTUS ever suggested, even going so far as to refuse to even give a hearing to a highly qualified SCOTUS candidate whom the GOP thought was great before the Black guy nominated him, and so far as voting down bills that THEY SUPPORTED until he also supported them. For eight years, the GOP and conservatives insulted the Black POTUS, continued to declare him a Muslim (as though that’s a bad thing) and not born in the US, called him and his wife “monkey” and “ape,” criticized him in the news for wearing a tan suit and her for wearing sleeveless dresses. Why are we angry at conservatives? For pretty much everything you’ve done over the past thirty years, starting with your sainted Reagan, who first raided Social Security. Oddly, today, Reagan would be viewed by today’s conservatives as a flaming liberal.

  15. Emiliopelleriti

    Polly and I have spent endless hours talking about how poorly we viewed ourselves when we were Christians. We knew, based on the Bible, that no matter how hard we tried we weren”t going to measure up to God”s standard of holiness. (Be ye perfect, God commands) The Bible says, if the righteous scarcely be saved.ponder that for a moment. If the cream of crop are scarcely saved, what does that say for run of the mill believers? Being told that God is still angry over your sin, and without Jesus as your go between you would go straight to hell (the essence of substitutionary atonement-Jesus taking our place), it can and does cause fear and despair. And for women it was worse. Not only was their God a never satisfied tyrant, their husbands were to be the tyrants, err I mean the heads, of the home. Is it any wonder that one of the first things many Evangelical women do when they leave Fundamentalism is divorce their husbands? If people don”t take Evangelicalism seriously, they will be fine, but for people who do; for people who really believe the Bible is the Words of God; for people who believe the commands, laws, and precepts were written for them; well, it leads to all sorts of psychological and social dysfunction. We are so, so, so, so glad to free from this nonsense.

  16. Riley Case

    I spoke my piece way back at the beginning of this exchange and did not think any more from me would be helpful but I guess, since the discussion goes on and on, that I can add some more. I am a retired pastor; I identify as evangelical and have lived among evangelicals for over 70 years. I have written articles on evangelicals. Like many terms, the word has become so debased today that many urge we should abandon the word and try something else. I disagree. We have used the word evangelical since the Reformation. It stood originally as the word which identified the core of Christianity as faith in Jesus Christ for salvation. It was in contrast to sacramentalism, confessionalism, and a kind of what we might call liberalism or deism which was based on works and the denial of original sin. What the Wesleyans and then the Americans added was the importance of religious experience (the new birth). It never sought to advance itself by political power (unless you count Calvin’s Geneva and England’s Cromwell). It has been by nature counter-cultural. Never by state pressure but by individual choice. It is possible to say that almost all Protestant Americans before the Civil War could be labeled evangelical. The radical evangelicals were social reformers. None of the US presidents until, say, Jimmy Carter, identified as evangelical. They were Congregationalists or Episcopalians. Fundamentalism is a more radical form of evangelicalism and came into being as a reaction to modernism. For all the faults of fundamentalism it did not favor W.W. I. Before that Dwight L. Moody was a pacifist. Evangelicalism and its sister, fundamentalism flew under the radar until after W.W. II. evangelicals were the common, ordinary people of the churches. They were basically apolitical. As late as the early 1980s (until after Jimmy Carter) they tended to be Democrats. The criticism of evangelicals for years was not that they were forcing their way into power, but that they were apolitical, so concerned about personal morality and issues, that would not address society’s problems. This began to change in more recent times (since the 1970s) partly in reaction to a progressive agenda that promoted economic socialism, supported a new sexual revolution, was abandoning the idea of moral truth, and promoting multi-culturalism as a kind of god. There are 50 varieties of evangelicalism today and the difference between Billy Graham and Franklin Graham represents the tensions within evangelicalism. I would suggest that if some evangelicals are Trump supporters it is due in part because Christian faith, and particularly evangelical faith has been abandoned by the Democratic party.
    For the record I voted for Hillary Clinton, not for Donald Trump. I am greatly concerned about how society is being polarized. I like none of the major news outlets, especially Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC. I am saddened by the rants of Donald Trump but I am also saddened by the rants of websites like the one we are on right now. Can we have a rational discussion?

  17. Vivian M Tapp

    I want to thank you for this blog. I feel like I have been losing my mind and possibly my understanding of Christianity and who Jesus is. I know I’m not perfect in any way but I thought I knew who I follow and what the foundations of faith in Him mean and I’ve become confused, angry, alarmed and increasingly heartbroken. I originally thought maybe I’ve missed something or lost my way. My faith in Jesus and His love in me replaces fear and negates the need for weapons, privilege, and power over anyone. God help us all.

    • ckratzer

      Thanks Vivian, honored to have you read and comment!

  18. Sam

    I’m not quite sure Mr Kratzer is talking to me, or Christians like me, but I’ll take a stab at addressing his questions in good faith one at a time:

    1) “Where does Jesus ever put the Bible above Himself or even in equal standing, and where does He say it’s the perfect Word of God and admonish His followers to worship their own interpretations of it?”

    The underlying problem with this question is that it, at least in my experience, mischaracterizes the beliefs of most theologically conservative Christians. Do theologically conservative Christians believe that the Bible is more important than or “above” Jesus? The implication in the question is that they do, which seems like a straw man.

    As for being the “perfect Word of God,” what does that mean? Mr. Kratzer seems okay with others believing that the Bible is God-inspired as long as believers are willing to admit that their individual interpretation of it could be incorrect. This seems reasonable. I would bet most theologically conservative Christians would agree with this formulation. But believing that one’s interpretation about a particular aspect of the Bible’s teaching is correct is not the same thing as believing that one’s interpretation cannot be wrong. I can, at the same time, believe that Jesus told us to care for the poor, and admit that my interpretation of his admonitions could be wrong. I’m sure there are numerous interpretations of the Bible held by non-theologically conservative Christians that these believers think are correct, and they hold fast to them. Holding fast to particular beliefs is not merely the mark of theological conservatives.

    But one of the reasons I think theologically conservative Christians place such emphasis on the Bible is because it’s the only record of Jesus’ existence.

    2) “Where does Jesus ever utilize a weapon in an act of aggression or defense, or even so much as hint that there could be an occasion where his followers would be righteous and justified in doing so?”

    Well, Luke 22 seems to hint that Jesus’ followers might need a sword for defensive purposes at some point. But let’s assume my interpretation of that verse is incorrect (see!). Just because Jesus never uses a weapon and willingly accepts death on a cross, does not logically mean that we are never to use weapons for any purpose. I don’t know whether Mr. Kratzer is making a theological argument in favor of pacifism being the only way of Jesus or if he’s making a political argument about gun violence, an American cultural fascination with guns, and the Second Amendment.

    If the former, the problem isn’t guns; they’re just an easy target (forgive the metaphor). The problem is the willingness to use any weapon, any violence, to thwart people who seek to do grave injustice as antithetical to Jesus. The problem isn’t just AR-15s in the hands of private citizens, but the police officer who walks the beat with a pistol, the person who wards off the rapist with a knife, and the crow bar under the car seat of the woman who lives in a rough part of town. This is not just an “conservative evangelical Christian” problem.

    If the latter, I don’t think it’s fair to lump theologically conservative Christians in with Americans who “worship guns.” There’s certainly overlap in the Venn diagram, but this isn’t the same group of people. I go to a pretty theologically conservative church and I know one guy who has a hunting rifle. I’m sure more of my fellow congregants own guns than the one guy, but the fact that I don’t know about it tells me they don’t “worship them.” Even characterizing people who own guns as gun worshippers tells me Mr. Kratzer isn’t really looking for a serious answer to this question, but is just venting.

    3) “Where does Jesus ever display, condone, or dismiss any of the sin-ladened and anti-Christ attributes of President Trump?”

    The obvious answer is “He doesn’t.” I don’t think even Christian supporters of President Trump would answer differently. I can’t defend Christians who think Donald Trump is a good man or believe he’s “divinely anointed” or “worship” him.

    • Liz Bligan

      But, Sam, the conservative “Christians” who think Trump is a good man or “divinely anointed” are the ones in power. Now. Today. Running the US government. Imposing THEIR religious beliefs on ALL Americans. To the point of ripping families apart because some of their members are “illegal” (come on, these “Christians” are calling human beings “illegal”). Working diligently to force women to carry all pregnancies to term no matter the circumstances of their pregnancy or whether the fetus even survives a full term. Working diligently, under the guise of “religious freedom,” to deprive fellow citizens who love differently of their civil rights. Calling survivors of a mass school shooting “lesbian skinhead.” The ones who support police officers shooting unarmed people of color (or arresting them for sitting in a Starbucks while they wait for the third person in their group). These are the people of whom Chris is speaking — the ones who are forcing THEIR interpretation of the Bible on ALL Americans. There is no defense for ANY of them.

      • Sam

        Hi Liz,

        I don’t think all the people running things in D.C. are Christians. I also don’t think all the Christians involved in the U.S. government think President Trump is divinely appointed, even those who support his policies.

        Mr. Kratzer did not limit his comments to the people you mention, but all “Conservative Evangelical Christians.”

        • Liz Bligan

          Sam, those who really have power in DC are identifying themselves as Christian. They *are* passing laws based on their theology. It doesn’t have to be “all” of them, but the ones with the most influence. That’s fact and reality — if it weren’t, we wouldn’t be faced with the laws and regulations we’re being hit with; we wouldn’t see health insurance for the poor being dismantled; we wouldn’t see gutting of all regulations. The powerful evangelical “Christians” are in full support of ALL that he is doing and all that the “Christian” Republicans are doing. Whether they believe he’s divinely appointed is really irrelevant — they DO support everything he’s doing. And, by the way, you placed the “all” in front of Chris’s “Conservative Evangelical Christians;” Chris did not. If it’s an unfair generalization, then let’s see some Conservative Evangelical Christians come out vocally opposing him and the GOP.

  19. Brian

    Thanks for your continued words. My daughter in a Christian ethics class noted that the ‘pro gun’ movement seemed to use scripture than the ‘gun control’ movement. The fav one by the ‘pro’ was the Sell and buy a Sword….(so far no huge stockpile of swords that I am aware of….and the verse after is Always left out….huge red flag to me.

    I spoke out on this issue recently….and took some lumps….”Its AMERICAN!!”. I agree…totally….my question is….is it kingdom….Gods kingdom. We belong to Him….bond slaves. I’ve traveled enough to know what its like to live and be in a place not my home….thats how it is here….how I believe Paul view it.

    • David

      I’d like to address this verse about taking swords. I think it tells us something very deep that every Christian should consider.
      “And He said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye anything? And they said, Nothing. Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one.” Luke 22:36, 37

      Then in John we read how Peter tried to defend Jesus…”Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus. Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?”

      Isn’t it interesting that Jesus tells His disciples to arm themselves only later to reprimand one of them when they tried to use it to defend Him? (and potentially themselves since they identified with Jesus?)

      When I read the Luke and John passages on this issue, a deeper truth surfaces. When the disciples were fully serving Christ, they literally needed nothing, because they were on kingdom business, and the kingdom picked up their tab through the hospitality of others. The Holy Spirit would move on peoples hearts to supply the disciples with all they needed. They also did not need to physically defend themselves. Jesus told them just to go to the next city if they were ever kicked out of one.

      But Jesus knew they were going to leave him soon. He tried to prepare them to withstand the temptation by staying up and praying in the garden of Gethsemane, but they kept falling asleep, and hence, they were not ready to stand with Jesus in a heaven-accepted way. So Jesus essentially told them, “When you were serving me, you had need of nothing, but tonight you’re going to leave My service. The world’s a tough place. Take good care of yourselves.” Would anyone disagree that this seems to be the clear teaching?

      Therefore, my conclusion is that God gives man the right to defend himself. God also gives a country the right to defend itself with military action. That right is protected in the US Constitution. And I think it should always be. The country’s forefathers knew that governments can turn despotic, so the 2nd amendment was their counter measure to protect US citizens against its own administration. To defend the 2nd amendment from this standpoint makes total sense to me.

      But to say that Jesus tells us to arm ourselves, I’d have to reply, “Yes, He does, but only if you’re not planning to surrender your whole heart and life to Him, to do His service. Otherwise, serving Him looks like turning the other cheek when someone slaps you and NEVER looks like physically harming someone when you’re trying to advance Christ’s cause. Something else Jesus told Peter after he struck Malchus was, “Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.”

      Interestingly enough, we find this same message in Revelation 13, after it says how in the end times, the beast power will be allowed to make war with the saints. Jesus immediately follows that message up with, “If any man have an ear, let him hear. He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and faith of the saints.” Revelation 13:9-10.

      Again, Jesus tells us that in the end time there will be a temptation to fight against the beast and defend the gospel using swords, but that probably means guns now, since no one uses swords today. But the faith and patience of the saints will lead them to use only the weapons of warfare that Paul delineated in Ephesians 6.

      Now should a Christian never own or carry a gun? I believe Jesus leaves that up to every believer to decide for themselves. He never told Peter never to carry swords, but He did deliver a strong message when He tried to use it in the name of the Gospel. My wife and I have been serving the Lord for sometime overseas. We don’t own a gun. We have a little boy approaching 2 yrs old, and I’ve never felt the need to physically defend myself or my family. But I know people in my home church back in the States that are literally afraid to go shopping downtown unless they’re carrying. I respect their decision. They’ve read the same verses I have.

      Also, I used to sell Bible books door-to-door all over the US for the Bible Story company (I know, everyone loves a door-to-door person right? Haha) I did it for years and I’ve worked in rough neighborhoods. Statistically, I can’t tell you how many doors of psychopaths I’ve knocked on, probably disturbing their sleep, because I honestly don’t know, but I certainly must have. We used courteous, non-pushy sales tactics (company policy and Christian duty) and I can only count on one hand how many times I felt my safety endangered, but most of those times were because of dogs. But never was I harmed. I never even carried pepper spray, just prayer, a Bible promise, and the knowledge and confidence that I was working for the Lord and that He would help me. And if He didn’t, so be it. But these are my personal decisions, and so far so good.

  20. Donna G

    I am curious how most feel about their answers at the end of the year 2022.

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