A Biblical Response to the Ex-Evangelical Movement

[Edited title on February 15th, 2018. Title was formerly “Bad Theology and Hypocrisy in Churches, Doubting Christians and Ex-Evangelicals, and the Need for Sound Doctrine and Accountability in the Church Today”]

My tone is one of gentleness and I hope you read it that way. I would respectfully ask that you read this if you want to know what I really believe rather make an assumption or misrepresentation of me. I recommend you read my “Discussion with David” article, where I interview a former atheist/ Ex-Evangelical.

https://thetopsecretarea.com/2018/01/29/discussion-with-david-an-ex-ex-evangelical/

Introduction

I had included this in my “Discussion With David” article but I feel it is important to include it here too.

“Ex-Evangelicals are not rebranded Christians. Many of us are not Christians at all; we are a group that consists of progressive Christians, people who have joined other religions, agnostics, and atheists, some of whom are quite vocal as atheists. What brings us together is what Blake Chastain, who coined the term “exvangelical” to use as the name for his podcast, describes as “a shared sociocultural heritage.” Regarding the term “exvangelical,” Chastain sent me the following statement:

I am currently applying for a trademark relative to the title of the podcast and any future titled or branded projects, but the term itself can and should be used by people who have left evangelicalism, regardless of their current state of belief.

Exvangelicals’ paths out of Evangelicalism are often slow and painful. The break takes time and effort because, as opposed to merely desiring respectability while holding to bigoted beliefs and #ChristianAltFacts, we chose to stare the toxicity and pervasive abuse of Evangelicalism in the face, to recognize our complicity in the vast systemic harm that Evangelicalism does (to ourselves and others, particularly to women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ community), and then we changed our beliefs. We changed our beliefs despite facing a heavy social cost, because that is the respectable and moral thing to do. Becoming an ex-Evangelical requires profound transformation, not cosmetic rebranding. No cheap grace…Ex-Evangelicals are, as a rule, deeply concerned with understanding the relationship between conservative theology and authoritarianism. And here’s the rub. The theology of Evangelicalism–even when shared by a small minority of progressive Evangelicals–is inherently authoritarian.” -Christopher Stroop

“Christians that Share the Gospel are Manipulative, Use Gaslighting, and are Authoritarian.”

This is the tweet that brought me into the world of Ex-Evangelicals:

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I was talking to an atheist and I said that loving our family more than God is a sin. I said that loving ourselves is selfish and sinful. I was respectful, I wasn’t arrogant but I said what I believe to be the truth. God says in His Word that loving ourselves more than Him is idolatry.

Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children, and walk in love, as Christ also loved us and gave himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God. But sexual immorality and any impurity or greed should not even be heard of[a] among you, as is proper for saints. Obscene and foolish talking or crude joking are not suitable, but rather giving thanks. For know and recognize this: Every sexually immoral or impure or greedy person, who is an idolater, does not have an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty arguments, for God’s wrath is coming on the disobedient[b] because of these things. ‘

Ephesians 5:1-6

So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your[a] life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Therefore, put to death what belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, God’s wrath is coming upon the disobedient,[b] and you once walked in these things when you were living in them. But now, put away all the following: anger, wrath,malice, slander, and filthy language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self. You are being renewed in knowledge according to the image of your[c]Creator. 11 In Christ there is not Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all.

Colossians 3:1-11

The atheist I had been talking to retweeted me (shared my tweet on twitter) and tagged Christopher Stroop. Christopher retweeted my tweet, so naturally I thought I would respond to his statement. The following tweets show our exchange and then the other tweets I’ve included are about sharing the gospel being manipulative, gaslighting, and authoritarian:

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“Sharing The Gospel Involves Using Gaslighting, is Abusive, and is Manipulative”

I had tried engaging Christopher on twitter but realized he was not interested in a dialogue with a Christian that shares the gospel. I stopped directly interacting with him and other Ex-Evangelicals. I just followed his tweets. I tweeted this on February 10, 2018:

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I will now clarify this tweet. Certainly Ex-Evangelicals don’t mind talking to Christians and many have Christian friends. However from my experience, many, if not all Ex-Evangelicals do not want Christians to share the gospel with them. Ex-Evangelicals don’t want you to use your “manipulation and gaslighting” on them. However, when you are making claims that sharing the gospel is manipulative and gaslighting, there are people who disagree and will want to challenge the claims. I haven’t made any personal attacks but have tried to challenge the ideas that Ex-Evangelicals are putting out, quite vocally I might add. If you read the rest of this article you’ll know what I mean when I said “God has to open their eyes to His gospel”.

I didn’t use a hashtag, I just used the word “Ex-Evangelical” and some people saw it and commented on it:

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Beth retweeted me, I then responded to this tweet by posting a link to this article and I was subsequently blocked. Chris retweeted me and then I responded to his claim and he accused me of gaslighting. Let’s just say that I actually had gaslighted Chris. Some genuine questions about this…why is gaslighting wrong? If moral autonomy is what you are devoted to then how could you be opposed to gaslighting if someone believes gaslighting is okay according to their subjective moral autonomy”?

Why I Share the Gospel

I believe the gospel is the truth. I believe that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life and no one comes to the Father but through Him. I do not share the gospel because of “insecurity & ego” or because of my “persecution complex”. I don’t “gaslight” or “manipulate”. I share the gospel because it is the only truth. I don’t coerce people or try to manipulate people to say a prayer. I simply share the truth of Scripture and let God do the work. It’s not my job to save people. God is the one who saves people. As John 6:44 says “no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them”.

However, I also don’t sugarcoat or water down the gospel either. The gospel is essentially the good news that Jesus Christ (God in the flesh, fully God & fully man) lived a perfect, sinless life and died on the cross. He atoned for sin and satisfied God’s wrath. Those that believe in Christ are forgiven of their sin and indwelled by the Holy Spirit. They are given a new nature. Christians still struggle with sin, however they are no longer slaves to sin (Romans 6). They now hate their sin.

How Christians Should Share the Gospel

It is not our job as Christians to convince or persuade people to become Christians. We do not pull a bait-and-switch on people. I don’t like friendship evangelism too much for this reason. Paul says we are not to butter people up or use emotional manipulation (turning down the lights, playing a sweet soft music, and leading people through an emotional prayer experience).

For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ will not be emptied of its effect.

1 Corinthians 1:17

When I came to you, brothers and sisters, announcing the mystery[a] of God to you, I did not come with brilliance of speech or wisdom. I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. My speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of wisdom[b] but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not be based on human wisdom but on God’s power. We do, however, speak a wisdom among the mature, but not a wisdom of this age, or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. On the contrary, we speak God’s hidden wisdom in a mystery, a wisdom God predestined before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age knew this wisdom, because if they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written,

What no eye has seen, no ear has heard,
and no human heart has conceived—
God has prepared these things for those who love him.[c]

10 Now God has revealed these things to us by the Spirit, since the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts[d]except his spirit within him? In the same way, no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who comes from God, so that we may understand what has been freely given to us by God. 13 We also speak these things, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people.[e] 14 But the person without the Spirit[f] does not receive what comes from God’s Spirit, because it is foolishness to him; he is not able to understand it since it is evaluated[g] spiritually. 15 The spiritual person, however, can evaluate[h]everything, and yet he himself cannot be evaluated by anyone. 16 For

who has known the Lord’s mind,
that he may instruct him?[i]

But we have the mind of Christ.

 1 Corinthians 2

Why I Care for Doubting Christians and Ex-Evangelicals

My concern with de-conversion stories is not that they are intentional deceit, persecution, or work of the devil. In fact, I have read many Ex-Evangelical stories. I’ve read at least 10 of Christopher Stroop’s articles. I’ve read the stories shared through the “empty the pews” hashtag. I am angry about a lot of the same things. I can personally think of many people that were raised in “Christianity”, kids that I went to church with, that now want nothing to do with Christ, the gospel, or the church. There are many Ex-Evangelicals in the U.S. today because these two things have happened over the past 50+ years:

1. People were taught bad theology/false teaching in the church and at home
Examples:

  • A pastor telling you that you have anxiety & depression because you are harboring sin in your life, or because you have a demon.
  • Poor teaching about the “unforgivable sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit”. This leads to or has led to some Christians living with anxiety and fear about whether or not they committed the sin.
  • Pastors that create theology from quoting Scripture out of context. Pastors that twist the Word of God.
  • Any church where pastors or leaders cannot be questioned and/or demand loyal devotion.
  • Moralistic Therapeutic Deism. Being a Christian is about “doing the right and moral things”. WWJD. Veggie Tales theology. Being a Christian means that “when you pray for God to take a sin away from you that He will do that immediately and if He doesn’t, and you still struggle with a sin (like masturbating, lust, anger, etc.) it means you are not saved or in danger of losing your salvation.
  • Terrible Contemporary Christian Music. Over-emotional, sensational, “Jesus is my boyfriend” songs. Me-centered worship songs. Oceans. ’nuff said
  • Cultural Fundamentalism such as not being able to listen to “secular” rock music. Claiming that songs like Highway to Hell by AC/DC and Number of the Beast by Iron Maiden are satanic (Hint…they’re not satanic. Just look at the background to the writing of the songs). Kids not being allowed to play Pokemon because it promoted evolution and was influenced by the Egyptian book of the dead (I experienced this one).
  • End-times obsessed Christians that use fear mongering about the rapture.
  • Seeker sensitive/church growth movements. Purpose Driven Life. Running the church like a business and using marketing strategies. Vision casting. Making church for the unchurched. Rock show worship services. Sermons that are 99% personal stories and 1% Scripture.
  • Emergent church, Rob Bell.
  • New Apostolic Reformation, Bethel Church, YWAM, IHOP, etc.

2. People saw hypocritical Christians in the church and at home.
Examples:

  • Either having experienced sexual abuse by a “Christian” or having heard about sexual abuse perpetrated by “Christians”.
  • Moral failure of (popular) Christians, thinking of Jim Bakker. Tim Lambesis who was in a “Christian” metal band As I Lay Dying who hired a hitman to kill his wife.
  • Strict parents who imposed strict moral rules on kids but lived hypocritical lives.

There often is a blending of these two things of which the effects are catastrophic:

Think Creflo Dollar, Joel Osteen and word-faith/prosperity gospel hucksters living lives of luxury, profiting off of and deceiving people. They peddle false teaching and live hypocritical lives.

Think Jim Jones or other cults.

Think abusers that quote Scripture and say God told them to abuse you. That “God is happy when you do X for me”.

My concern is for doubting Christians that read the de-conversion stories and abandon the gospel. There are indeed many pews that need to be emptied. However, I disagree that all “conservative white evangelical” pews should be emptied. Empty the pews of bad churches and fill the pews of healthy churches that teach what accords with sound doctrine and where leaders are held accountable.

The Hope for Suffering and Abuse

I empathize and sympathize with anyone that was sexually, physically, or emotionally abused by someone, especially if you were abused by a “Christian”. I don’t seek to minimize the trauma you have as a result of abuse, anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts or attempts. Maybe you are a recovering addict. Addicted to alcohol, drugs, and/or sex. You won’t find solace in any of those things. The problem is not with God…the problem is sinful, wicked people that abuse. God did not abuse you.

It is hard to work through trauma, I’ve done it myself. I’ve experienced depression, depersonalization, and derealization. I know what it feels like to be hurt, to endure suffering. We all experience suffering. However, the hope for healing and surviving is found at the cross. It is found in laying down my painful, traumatizing experiences at the feet of Christ. Jesus suffered and died on the cross for us…the enemies of God (Colossians 1:21, Romans 5:11).

It’s saying to God and thinking to yourself something like: “What I went through was wicked. It was sinful and terrible. I’m hurting, God. I’m scared and I feel alone. I have intrusive thoughts every day. Images and mental pictures are running in my mind constantly. I don’t feel real. I feel like I’m going crazy. My mind fights against me. I awake with agony. I put on a fake smile when I am screaming and sad inside. People have hurt me. I feel worthless. But God, You did not forsake me or abandon me. You are with me and you comfort me. Please bring me healing and comfort. Thank You for your grace. Thank You for forgiving me of my sins that I’ve committed against You. Thank You for redeeming me. Father, give me peace. I know it will take time to heal but I trust Your sovereignty. I trust in You.”.

The Folly of Human Autonomy

Ex-Evangelical Christopher Stroop champions moral autonomy as being good for society and “conservative Christian theology” like calvinism as being “irredeemable, sadistic, manipulative, gaslighting”, and bad for society. My genuine question is, who’s moral autonomy do we follow? What if according to my moral autonomy I decide to emotionally hurt people and it brings me pleasure to do so? With no objective morality, how can Chris object to something like this? It would simply be his subjective opinion on morality based on his reasoning and experiences. Why should we trust our reasoning and experience? Are they infallible?

The ultimate problem is that we don’t want to submit to God’s authority. We want moral autonomy. We want to do what we think is best. We want to do what makes us happy. We are our own god. Do you know the famous quote by Karl Marx? He got it wrong…I have corrected it:

Moral autonomy is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.

Here are some great quotes by Cornelius Van Til:

“If one does not make human knowledge wholly dependent upon the original self-knowledge and consequent revelation of God to man, then man will have to seek knowledge within himself as the final reference point. Then he will have to seek an exhaustive understanding of reality. He will have to hold that if he cannot attain to such an exhaustive understanding of reality he has no true knowledge of anything at all. Either man must then know everything or he knows nothing. This is the dilemma that confronts every form of non-Christian epistemology”

“The charges made against this type of reasoning we must turn upon those who made them. It will be said of this type of reasoning that it introduces the subjective element of belief in God, which all men do not share. Of this we can only say that all men should share that belief, and before the fall of man into sin man did have that belief. Belief in God is the most human attitude conceivable. It is abnormal not to believe in God. We must therefore hold that only the Christian theist has real objectivity, while the others are introducing false prejudices, or subjectivity.

The charge is made that we engage in circular reasoning. Now if it be called circular reasoning when we hold it necessary to presuppose the existence of God, we are not ashamed of it because we are firmly convinced that all forms of reasoning that leave God out of account will end in ruin. Yet we hold that our reasoning cannot fairly be called circular reasoning, because we are not reasoning about and seeking to explain facts by assuming the existence and meaning of certain other facts on the same level of being with the facts we are investigating, and then explaining these facts in turn by the facts with which we began. We are presupposing God, not merely another fact of the universe. If God is to come into contact with us at all it is natural that the initiative must be with him. And this will also apply to the very question about the relation of God to us. Accordingly, it is only on God’s own testimony that we can know anything about him.”

“It is not kindness to tell patients that need strong medicine that nothing serious is wrong with them.

“You realize that if you are to change your belief about God, you will also have to change your belief about yourself.”

“For what you have really done in your handling of the evidence for belief in God, is to set yourself up as God. You have made the reach of your intellect, the standard of what is possible or not possible. You have thereby virtually determined that you intend never to meet a fact that points to God. Facts, to be facts at all–facts, that is, with decent scientific and philosophic standing–must have your stamp instead of that of God upon them as their virtual creator.”

“It should not be forgotten in this connection that the minister’s duty is increasingly that of an apologist for Christianity. The general level of education is much higher than it has ever been. Many young people hear of evolution in the high schools and in the college where their fathers never heard of it except as far as a distant something. If the minister would be able to help his young people, he must be a good apologete, and he cannot be a good apologete unless he is a good systematic theologian”

“I shall not convert you at the end of my argument. I think the argument is sound. I hold that belief in God is not merely as reasonable as other belief, or even a little or infinitely more probably true than other belief; I hold rather that unless you believe in God you can logically believe in nothing else. But since I believe in such a God, a God who has conditioned you as well as me, I know that you can to your own satisfaction, by the help of the biologists, the psychologists, the logicians, and the Bible critics reduce everything I have said this afternoon and evening to the circular meanderings of a hopeless authoritarian. Well, my meanderings have, to be sure, been circular; they have made everything turn on God. So now I shall leave you with Him, and with His mercy.”

Conclusion:

I stress the importance of not just believing what people say, especially strangers on the internet. Don’t just blindly believe anything someone says. Ask yourself if these things are true. Read the bible and see what it says.

I will end with this passage:

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins 2 in which you previously lived according to the ways of this world,according to the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit now working in the disobedient.[a] 3 We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath as the others were also. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy,because of his great love that he had for us,[b] 5 made us alive with Christ even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace! 6 He also raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might display the immeasurable riches of his grace through his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— 9 not from works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do.

Ephesians 2:1-10 (You really should just read the entire book of Ephesians to get the whole context)

Discussion with David, an Ex-Ex-Evangelical

“Ex-Evangelicals are not rebranded Christians. Many of us are not Christians at all; we are a group that consists of progressive Christians, people who have joined other religions, agnostics, and atheists, some of whom are quite vocal as atheists. What brings us together is what Blake Chastain, who coined the term “exvangelical” to use as the name for his podcast, describes as “a shared sociocultural heritage.” Regarding the term “exvangelical,” Chastain sent me the following statement:

I am currently applying for a trademark relative to the title of the podcast and any future titled or branded projects, but the term itself can and should be used by people who have left evangelicalism, regardless of their current state of belief.

Exvangelicals’ paths out of Evangelicalism are often slow and painful. The break takes time and effort because, as opposed to merely desiring respectability while holding to bigoted beliefs and #ChristianAltFacts, we chose to stare the toxicity and pervasive abuse of Evangelicalism in the face, to recognize our complicity in the vast systemic harm that Evangelicalism does (to ourselves and others, particularly to women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ community), and then we changed our beliefs. We changed our beliefs despite facing a heavy social cost, because that is the respectable and moral thing to do. Becoming an ex-Evangelical requires profound transformation, not cosmetic rebranding. No cheap grace…Ex-Evangelicals are, as a rule, deeply concerned with understanding the relationship between conservative theology and authoritarianism. And here’s the rub. The theology of Evangelicalism–even when shared by a small minority of progressive Evangelicals–is inherently authoritarian.” -Christopher Stroop

If you aren’t familiar with Ex-Evangelicals and the movement, I recommend you read the article linked below to learn about what prominent Ex-Evangelical Chris Stroop defines as an Ex-Evangelical:

Ex-Evangelical Means Much More than Dropping a Label: A Response to Josiah Hesse

I’m going to be addressing some of the claims made by Chris and other Ex-Evangelicals in other articles. This article might just be the most important for Christians to read. I made a friend on twitter who was raised in the church and a “Christian home” that became an atheist. He now follows Christ faithfully and I wanted to know his testimony. You can find David on twitter here: https://twitter.com/conquergiants

This is David’s story:

Ricky: Sad how it seems so many today reject God. Atheists are so angry about God. Who knew a simple tweet would lead to an onslaught from angry atheists against me. Just have to pray for them and continue sharing Christ. God’s Word is right when it says unbelievers hate God

David: Yes I know brother all too well…I grew up with a cousin we are almost like brothers. He became an atheist a while back. At first it was so upsetting and still is disappointing, he is a pastor’s son. I have had many debates with him and I learned something. About 97 percent of atheists are atheists because of emotional issues not intellectual ones. They are angry apparently about something that doesn’t exist. Makes no sense.

R: Hey I was wondering what your story is…how long have you been a Christian?

D: Well I grew up in a Christian home. Mainly my Mom was teaching me about the word of God. Unfortunately the only thing I knew growing up was TBN and the prosperity Gospel. After my mom died when I was 14 I felt free to go to church if I wanted to or not. My dad didn’t go so I didn’t feel I had to go. I started working with my dad in construction and we came along a Peruvian man who picked up scrap metal shared the Gospel with me for the first time in my life. It was bittersweet but I decided to go with him when he invited me to church. I went and I heard things I never heard before in those megachurches. A Pentecostal church with loving people and I felt like family for the first time in my life. I looked to have many friends to fill the void of being attached to the body of Christ. There was good preaching but no apologetics and very little teaching. I was in love with the Lord. This was August 2007 by the way. Then seven years later I had doubts about my faith and had conversations with atheists and I had no idea how to defend my faith. Besides a few scriptures. I gave in and became an atheist for about a year. Looking to destroy others faith as well. I challenged the Lord if he was real to strike me down. Why would I ask something I believe didn’t exist to strike me down? Simple answer: atheists suppress the truth. I remember it was a Sunday night when I challenged him. Well he answered. That week I got MRSA and was sent to the hospital. I was afraid, I never have been at a hospital before. I reconciled with God. In January 2015 I made a decision to study the Christian faith and never be decieved again. Long story short here I am to this day by God’s grace

R: What do you think about President Trump? I personally didn’t vote this past election but I know a big argument coming from Ex-Evangelicals is that because “white evangelicals” voted for him that was the final straw. “How could Christians vote for a racist sexist homophobe” is the argument. What is your view of him and this accusation? I also personally believe as Christians our main focus should not be politics but Christ and the gospel. I think the Christians that see trump as our savior are in error but I don’t hate Trump and I’m not convinced he is a racist sexist. I think he is immature and speaks too much and in an unchristlike manner.

The label “white evangelical” is so dumb in my opinion. I’m white and I’m a Christian…I don’t identify as a white evangelical. I’m a disciple of Jesus Christ.

I don’t think the older generation is aware of the impact of social media, forums, the internet and how easy it is for doubting Christians to be mislead.

I went to community college after HS and that was my first major experience with other worldviews especially new atheists and LGBT. I honestly didn’t know how to engage them. I was taught arminianism/synergism and classic apologetics where you debate and argue but now as a presuppositionalist and calvinist/monergist I see how unprepared I was. It’s such a relief knowing it’s not up to me to convince people to follow Christ…that is the Holy Spirit’s job. My job is to spread the gospel and be a witness not change people. That revolutionized my interactions with others.

D: My opinion first of all what you said is very important our place is not politics but it’s Proclaiming the Gospel. My honest opinion about the whole Trump ordeal doesn’t effect me much. I agree with him on certain issues such as pro life. Let’s be honest he is not regenerate believer in Christ like you and me. Therefore I don’t find the need to defend any of his accusations true or not. White evangelicals is a term created by the left. Pre supposing the body of Christ is mainly white. They are so ignorant when it comes to the church because it wasn’t built on race it was built on the cross. I would rather educate the non believer on what the church is and it’s purpose. As well I despise the term homophobe it’s a word that’s always used out of context. I always ask people who use that term to define it then define phobia. If you are debating leftists it’s always great to ask for definition of terms. They always trip over their own feet. I don’t hate Trump either. The scripture tells me to pray for him so that’s what I do.

The only label we share that matters is brothers in Christ.

Definitely Ricky it’s easy to get mislead on the internet. There is no filter to what’s true and false.

That’s why it’s necessary to do our research diligently

I would have to agree that presuppositional apologetics is the way to go. Nothing against classical apologetics it’s just very easy to get carried away from the true message.

R: Well I was in a young adults small group (with 4 or 5 attendees) the person leading said when we do apologetics we shouldn’t use the bible. If they don’t believe the bible then they will write you off. But that misunderstands the fact that God is judge not man. God is not on trial…God is the judge. God is God whether or not you believe in Him.

Also I agree with Dr. James White…if you can convince/reason someone to the faith then they can be reasoned out of it.

D: I think his point was they don’t believe in the Bible so don’t use it. I think contrary to that statement if anything it’s a good way to start. The unbelievers hatred for scripture should be highlighted. They need to know they are totally depraved and God hating sinners. That God will be merciful in showing them their wickedness so they might repent. Agreed God is God like it or not he is the unshaken established truth.

R: So I guess you would be an Ex-Ex-Evangelical then?

D: I guess so. I have been given so much Grace by a forgiving and patient God.

R: I’m just making an ironic statement about the labels people use…it made me chuckle to myself. But yeah that’s what all our testimonies should be…it’s not only amazing that God gives grace to undeserved sinners he then desired that they enjoy life and the blessing he gives on earth.

D: Yes especially talking to leftists everyone has to be organized accordingly to your social group. Everything is labels with them. God’s grace is truly divine because it has the power to do what no man can.

R: What was your view of the Word of God when you were growing up and then when you were an atheist?

Because I think that is the main attack of atheists…they get you to doubt the Word of God. If they can convince you that there is error in the bible then that is enough to send doubts and lead someone away from Christ. Even “friendly atheists” cast doubt on the Word of God. They use their reasoning that God gave them to critique Him. They hate the God they claim doesn’t exist…as you said earlier.

D: The word of God was just a moral guideline for me growing up. As an atheist it was just some book written by crazy men who wanted either attention or power. A subjective set of rules by an ancient people. Once you do the research you find out that’s not the case.

This is the thing about new Atheists. They think by driving us away from faith they are sincerely doing you and society a service. Rude or not their motive is to deconstruct your belief system. They believe if religion was destroyed that they would get rid of most of the hate and evil in the world. Most Atheists were poorly taught Christians that never understood the doctrine of total depravity. Most Atheists never studied the Bible in detail until they were Atheists. Unfortunately not in it’s appropriate context.

R: New atheism really makes no logical sense and it takes the work of God to reveal that to people. Seriously how can you justify any claims or arguments if you have no moral grounding or basis for reasoning? If there is no truth then why do they vehemently oppose God and Christians…because as Romans says they know God exists but suppress the truth.

What was your view of God? The “vindictive genocidal maniac sky god” that commits moral atrocities and sends “good” people to hell?

The making of human minds and borrowed from pagan religions?

As well as your view of Jesus?

D: New Atheism doesn’t make sense but the emotional anger and bitterness always seems to shadow your rationality and logic. They oppose the church for the reasons of all the dastardly things so called Christians do such as rape. Well when you are an atheist you fit in your head there is no God. So your presupposition is you have to find your own moral basis and have to craft it over time not realizing it’s already been established.

Truth for them is an illusion lost in many perspectives

R: They are outraged mostly by bad theology and hypocrisy…and that led to doubt of Scripture and to doubts about God which led to anger towards God.

They lump all Christians into the mold of what they believe Christians are like.

D: My view of God was some careless father who neglected his children if he did exist. He had the same attributes as us if he did exist. I thought even if anyone proved he existed he couldn’t prove that he loved us. We look back at all the times we felt unloved and we remind ourselves how much God let us down. A stubborn brat who just wanted his way. I was ignorant to the true attributes about God.

The borrowing from pagan religions is enticing and fits an atheistic narrative. Once you do research and dig deep it’s just foolish myths that Christianity borrows from other religions.

You hit the nail on the head with bad theology and hypocrisy.

R: But the thing is most churches didn’t teach us about those kinds of attacks. A Christian would be taught the basics and then go on an Internet forum or to college or workplace and see atheists talking about Jesus being derived from mithra and other cults and then seeds of doubt are sowed. Or that the Bible has contradictions and is made up by men.

D: As an atheist I had no problem with the person Jesus he was like mother Theresa to me. Once someone tried to claim he was divine I would be enraged. I knew other Atheists that would deny his existence all together to kind of get him out of their minds. Don’t think about it or talk about it.

Satan has definitely taken advantage of some Christian leaders to get into the mindset of educating God’s people is taboo and unbiblical, but the Bible states that a people is destroyed because of a lack of knowledge.

R: Hypocrisy runs rampant in leftist circles too. You have adoration for rappers like Jay Z, Snoop Dogg, Tyler, the Creator, Eminem, etc. that talk about getting rich and mistreating women but then outrage over hollywood scandals…they pick their morality to suit themselves.

D: As I stated before they look to structure their own morality. No matter how illogical it is.

Depending on their emotions it dictates their morality. However they are feeling at the time it dictates their view of morality at that point in time.

R: What were some the ways or arguments you would use to try to create doubt in Christians?

D: One that I used and many others attack as well is the account of Genesis. Our mindset is if we deconstruct the need for a creator we don’t even have to worry about the rest of the Bible. I would think if we could prove Genesis false the rest would fall like dominoes. Science is the god of Atheism. Use it against them. Not knowing that sound science went against everything I believed as an atheist. Atheists commonly love the god of the gaps argument. Science can disprove the Bible. There are so many different arguments I used. The authors of the Bible weren’t credible. The main thing I did to try and make doubt was through speculation on every single point the biblical worldview offered. To make others seem intellectually inferior no matter their educational status.

R: Also I think atheists know more about what the Bible says than most Christians even though they don’t understand it because as Scripture says in numerous places:

1 Corinthians 1:18-2:16

18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but it is the power of God to us who are being saved. 19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and I will set aside the intelligence of the intelligent. 20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the debater of this age? Hasn’t God made the world’s wisdom foolish? 21 For since, in God’s wisdom, the world did not know God through wisdom, God was pleased to save those who believe through the foolishness of what is preached. 22 For the Jews ask for signs and the Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles. 24 Yet to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God, 25 because God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength. Boasting Only in the Lord 26 Brothers and sisters, consider your calling: Not many were wise from a human perspective, not many powerful, not many of noble birth. 27 Instead, God has chosen what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen what is weak in the world to shame the strong. 28 God has chosen what is insignificant and despised in the world ​— ​what is viewed as nothing ​— ​to bring to nothing what is viewed as something, 29 so that no one may boast in his presence. 30 It is from him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became wisdom from God for us ​— ​our righteousness,sanctification, and redemption, 31 in order that, as it is written: Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.

1 When I came to you, brothers and sisters, announcing the mystery of God to you, I did not come with brilliance of speech or wisdom. 2 I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness,in fear, and in much trembling. 4 My speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of wisdom but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not be based on human wisdom but on God’s power. 6 We do, however, speak a wisdom among the mature, but not a wisdom of this age, or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 On the contrary, we speak God’s hidden wisdom in a mystery, a wisdom God predestined before the ages for our glory.8 None of the rulers of this age knew this wisdom, because if they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.9 But as it is written, What no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no human heart has conceived — God has prepared these things for those who love him. 10 Now God has revealed these things to us by the Spirit, since the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except his spirit within him? In the same way, no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who comes from God, so that we may understand what has been freely given to us by God. 13 We also speak these things, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people. 14 But the person without the Spirit does not receive what comes from God’s Spirit, because it is foolishness to him; he is not able to understand it since it is evaluated spiritually. 15 The spiritual person, however, can evaluate everything, and yet he himself cannot be evaluated by anyone.16 For who has known the Lord’s mind, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. 

2 Corinthians 4:1-6

Therefore, since we have this ministry because we were shown mercy, we do not give up. 2 Instead, we have renounced secret and shameful things, not acting deceitfully or distorting the word of God, but commending ourselves before God to everyone’s conscience by an open display of the truth. 3 But if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 In their case, the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For we are not proclaiming ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’s sake. 6 For God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ.

Many that claim to be Christians don’t read the Bible and don’t know the bible.

Total depravity…can you share what you thought of it as an atheist and then now as a Christian why it actually makes sense according to Scripture?

D: First of all Atheists can have a basic knowledge about the Bible but not have the discernment to understand which the Holy Spirit gives to the children of God. Most of the time Atheists are looking for errors not to correctly read into the context. Hardly no Atheists look for Truth when they open the Bible.

It’s like me reading about how life is in Pennsylvania. I can’t possibly know more about Pennsylvania than someone who actually lives there.

Same with Atheists trying to interpret the Bible.

D: I didn’t really believe in total depravity growing up or as an atheist. Always this feeling that deep down we were all good people. We just let our bad side show more at times. After leaving Atheism I really got into hermeneutics. Trying to understand scripture more precisely. As I read the Epistles I realized there are no good people. There is not one good as stated in Romans by the apostle Paul. The only way to be good is through Christ dwelling in us. Any good work we do is of the Spirit not our own doing or will power. I questioned myself and said if we are good then why did Jesus come to die for our sins? If we are self sufficient as we presuppose. Why do we sin. Without the doctrine of total depravity we would never see our need for Christ.

Another thing we have to understand as Christians is that Atheists look for reactions. That’s why they joke and be sarcastic. It’s all part of the intellectual superiority that they think it’s ok to make light of others they deem inferior to their intellect.

If they get a reaction from us. They say see you have no grace and love that your savior had. They always work that angle

R: They probably hope to get Christians to make an emotionally charged rebuttal and just add that to the list of attacks against them and Christianity. What about the wrath of God. Atheists think God’s wrath is just evil and wicked.

D: Yes that’s what I used to look for, emotional reactions. To discredit any rational argument presented. Atheists play the victim card as well that they and the whole world suffer because of God and religion. For them God’s wrath is uncalled for and spiteful. When it comes to God justice is an illusion but when it comes to social justice they seem to be the front-runners which is very strange.

Since Atheists claim to have their own moral compass they have the authority to pick and choose their own systematic justice.

R: In their worldview it just cannot be possible that God is loving but also wrathful. They don’t understand the attributes of God. They make the claim that Christians claim God is loving but then use the reality of God’s wrath to create a supposed contradiction in the character of God.

D: Exactly. As a former Atheist we have a huge problem defining terms such as love. Confusing love with tolerance is normative for Atheists. They don’t understand what true love is.

R: There’s also the arguments they use against Christians that refer to the OT laws like eating shellfish. They see the God of the OT as a vengeful God that inflicts wrath on people and commits atrocities.

They don’t realize the purpose of the laws. God’s law was and is intended for the good of His people. So when Jesus talks about the two great commandments those are the commands we should follow if we want to live a good life. And sin stems from not loving God with all our hearts soul mind and strength and loving ourselves more than loving others.

D: Leviticus is the Atheist’s favorite book. Where everything is easily twisted. As I said before they don’t really care for the context. It’s all about cherry picking.

R: Did you ever use “hypocrisy of Christians” arguments? You mentioned attacks on the faith regarding “so called Christians that rape” earlier…any other examples you used or that you would say atheists try to use?

D: Yes many of times. I used mainly the argument that you guys are preaching the same Gospel you violate. In other words held Christians accountable to their own beliefs. When they strayed from the biblical worldview I pointed out that they had a broken belief system. Christians are hypocrites therefore Christianity is false or at least broken was my mindset. I also used all the false pastors who divorce and run off with women. The fact the church is run more like a organization instead of a biblical view of the church.

R: How have you handled the fact that you tried to mislead people and may have misled people? Did you try to shake the faith of Christians in person as well as on the internet? Did you experience any guilt?

D: Well mostly it was my co workers I was around most. Didn’t talk too much about it with my family because it would have stirred up alot of trouble at home. In public I shared my views as much as possible. My daily life is me trying to evangelize to whoever I can. Social media, street evangelism, it seems to be a lost work in the church. More than trying to convince Atheists Christianity is true. I provide the evidence and let them decide. The evidence is so overwhelming it speaks for itself. I try to study as much as I can. Scripture first, apologetics second, and theology as well. Become as educated as I possibly can to educate others. That the truth of the Gospel be known. I was shaken with guilt for about 6 to 8 months after leaving Atheism but it was good it motivated me. Yes I constantly tried to shake the faith of any religious person. I felt like I was saving them from themselves. Almost like an intervention. I don’t know why but on the internet you are not face to face you feel the freedom to be more rude and disrespectful. The evil of your heart seems to spill out over the internet as an atheist. It seems almost therapeutic all the rage inside is let go on unsuspecting strangers on the internet. Thank God I didn’t convince many to be Atheists.

R: Reading the Word is the most important thing we can do as Christians. All of the Word not just pick feel-good verses and motivating thoughts that are pulled out of context. How many self-proclaimed Christians do you think have read Obadiah or Haggai? I would argue there is a very small minority. That’s all we are called to do, speak the truth of the gospel and let the Holy Spirit change people. We all have to watch out for the temptation to be rude and disrespectful on the internet. Christians need to be aware that atheists don’t hold back. It’s so easy to get caught up in trying to win a debate that we forgot we are talking to real people. Christians do this too. Indeed, I’m thankful as well.

D: I agree the word of God should be read as a whole. You are right not many people read the minor prophets besides Daniel and Jonah. The minor prophets have amazing messages. Well I saw study last year don’t remember the name of the person who conducted this study. He stated about 70 percent of Americans claim to be evangelicals but only 10-20 percent are biblically literate. At first it was hard because I tried to convert every Atheist on the internet. I was so ambitious to spread the Gospel and deconstruct Atheism. I realized two things: only through the work of the Holy Spirit can people see the beauty of Christ. As well I didn’t need to deconstruct Atheism as if it was this big monster. It constantly refutes itself. When you come to logical conclusions Atheism has no feet to stand on. God has helped me speak to others on the internet the same way I would speak to them in person. That is something God changed in my life. I may press someone for an answer. If there ever was a time I would be rude or disrespectful I would give public apology as well as personal apology. There is nothing wrong in admitting we are wrong sometimes. We keep moving forward. Excellent point, I’ve seen many try to win the argument and I use to try to win the debate instead of winning the soul.

R: It’s probably very difficult for an atheist to have their mind changed through a Christian on the internet. What do you think about that? It seems they are so hardened to the gospel it almost seems fruitless to engage them. Did you ever consider anything Christians said back to you in their responses or did you pretty much just ignore them or mock them back? You were an atheist for a year so and Christians probably used bible verses and shared the gospel with you online and in person but it didnt get through. The Holy Spirit worked in you when you got MRSA. Does that mean all online interaction and in person gospel sharing is fruitless…no. it probably is wise not to spend too much time engaging atheists online.
Also you’re a stranger on the internet…they will most likely just ignore anything you say. Seeds may be planted. Yet it seems the opposite for Christians. Many Christians are persuaded to forsake Christ through atheist arguments on the internet.

D: This is our problem as Christians and something we struggle with. We want after the conversation or debate we have with Atheists we want them to accept Christ, or at least some of our arguments. Reality is they will probably try to throw down every argument. That doesn’t mean it’s fruitless we don’t know the work the Holy Is doing in this individual that is if he was one of the elect. There are so many walls that God has to break to break the person’s will power. The sad reality we have to know there are reprobate Atheists that will never come out of their delusion. We have to be diligent in prayer and keep sharing the Gospel to whoever is willing to listen. We are not called to convert just preach and teach the word of God. God needed to break me in order to see my need for Christ. We plant seeds of the Gospel through social media. Others through street preaching. Still others have family that evangelize to them. We are seed planters but God gives the life giving water. I mostly discarded what religious people said but there were times I felt open to hear the arguments objectively. Mocking is a sign of insecurity or superiority. Insecurity because when you get stuck in a debate or feel trapped in a corner. I would go on a rant of how religion was evil or ridicule the traits of God. Don’t be discouraged it’s necessary we be mocked. Jesus said we would. It wasn’t just the MRSA God was chipping away at my pride. It was a process. Stranger or not Atheists are in danger of hell. Knowing of the terror to come for those who die in their sins. Christopher hitchens was defiant to God even through his terminal illness he still didn’t turn to God. Christians are so enticed to turn to Atheism because lies seem more intriguing than truth. Atheists really market the banner as Atheism as the club of the elite. It’s almost like a country club. Come enjoy your self and indulge while you can is there message. Hold dear to the sin you love because sin doesn’t exist in our realities. The Christian message is repent and forsake the sins you love. Run from them. Life isn’t about you it’s about others. Become selfless. The two messages are polar opposites. Are human nature gravitate towards the flesh. Many choose the path of destruction over the path of life.

R: Thanks for the encouragement…I get discouraged easily. It’s especially a problem here in America. We want instant gratification. We expect immediate results. As Christians, we share the gospel and expect people to change right away when as you correctly noted, it is a process. The Holy Spirit draws us to God through the hearing and preaching of the Word. It is easy to slip in to the mindset that if we really preach the truth with passion that people might be more willing listen to us but you’re right, there are some that will never repent.

D: God will show us to be patient and fill us with grace to speak. The greatest preacher and teacher of all time Jesus Christ was mocked and ridiculed. Being the only begotten son of the almighty God he suffered this oppression. Who are we? No student is greater than his teacher.

R: After reading many of Chris Stroop’s articles and tweets I have come to the conclusion that he was not properly taught Christian theology. He had doubts and questions but it doesn’t seem like people accurately explained reformed theology to him. Then his teenage years were spent in seeker sensitive church growth movement. While that was happening and he was doubting and suicidal he probably started to become aware he was queer had attractions for same sex. He then chose to reject a theology that would say LGBTQ are sinning. Now he calls it abusive and any attempt to share bible verses or say he didn’t understand theology is labeled as gaslighting

Can we say for example that someone was pushed away from the faith by being taught bad theology or as presup reformed people do we say he simply chose to love his sin and suppress the truth? Or can we look at what he was taught and make people aware of what was done wrong but also realize that currently Chris is suppressing the truth?

D: There are many factors here. The seed of doubt can only grow where there is either bad teaching or no teaching. As you noticed most of his analysis is based on emotions not anything of factual substance. Being a PhD in history I’m fascinated he never understood church history. That’s one sign he is blatantly suppressing the truth. He won’t admit because his eyes have been darkened. When speaking about the attributes of God he appeals to emotional arguments. He also tries to wrap up his terminology with his emotions. Which he is very confusing logically. He deflects questions with “he has already answered a lengthy response”. It’s the same rhetorical tactics to cover up a faulty philosophy. He stated he rejected my epistemology, I find that weird since he was speaking in ontological terms. He didn’t know the difference between epistemology and ontology. It’s very hard to understand ex evangelicals from a rational view point. He was no different than me a couple years ago. His pent up rage oozes through his Twitter page and articles. Yet he wants to be taken serious as an intellectual with horrible terminology and critical thinking.

He states it’s gaslighting to cover up his ignorance of the context of scripture. This is common. Ask yourself why do every Atheists get angry when we point out their biblical ignorance?

R: His articles are almost all appeal to emotion and anecdotal fallacies. Also uses strawman like: negging sky god. Generalizations like the “label white evangelical”.

His argument is essentially: “Calvinism and othodox theology are abusive and enable authoritarianism. People use theology because of their persecution complexes and insercurities. They use gaslighting and manipulation tactics. Read my articles where I have explained myself.”.

But he never makes any logical claims. As you said it’s all stories. Many of his followers are LGBTQ also.

Exactly! Brother he has so much irrationality in his worldview it’s hard to interact with him. Especially when you try to interact he says this an apologetics plot to make me look irrational. It’s his worldview when exposed makes him seem ignorant.

Also history can be pretty subjective. You almost always have two views of something that happened. If your worldview consists of a sociological lens then you will look at history different then you would with a theological lens.

But as we have stated he contradicts himself so much. He is clearly making truth claims and morality claims but based on subjective morality. Makes no sense. May God open his eyes. He can see the falsehood of prosperity gospel, cultural fundamentalism, and seeker sensitive church growth movements. May he embrace the truth of the gospel.

D: History can be seen through different view points but not all view points can be correct. That’s logically incompatible. Hitler for example what he did was either justified or condemnable. There is no in between. He as historian should know better. Self refuting statements is usually the best he could come up with.

There is a reason Atheism is a minority worldview because you have to be willfully ignorant.

R:

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I don’t have an “obsession” with them. They are making erroneous claims about God. They are essentially blaspheming Him when they say sharing the gospel is abusive. They say that the “god of calvinism is sadistic and irredeemable. I haven’t seen many challenging their claims so that is why I have taken the time to document what they say. And now it is clear to those with eyes to see that they hate God. They are emotionally angry about the God they claim to not believe in.

D: I learned this from the apologist Jim Warner Wallace there are four groups we essentially interact with. Pro Christians, doubtful Christians, doubtful Atheists, pro Atheists. The two groups you want to reach are the ones having doubts from both sides. Not someone who will neither hear or see any proof or evidence for God’s existence. Therefore when I see someone with this mindset it would be best to interact little and then just not respond if they press issues that don’t exist.

R: Yeah, I agree. So my aim with my article/s is to reach the doubters. God will work and save those who He wills. Best thing to do is pray that God would open the eyes of people.

D: Amen. He will open the eyes of any atheist/Ex-Evangelical he chooses. The rest remain in darkness.

R: Let me just point out the irony of this one tweet:

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AnStarfire responded to a screenshot of one section of my article that Chris shared. “Devoid of compassion” This person clearly only responded to this out of context screenshot, because if they had read the whole thing they wouldn’t be able to say I was devoid of compassion. The last sentence is absurd. Even if that were so, why would that be wrong? Don’t they believe “their” way is right too? The absurdity and contradictory nature of the anti-Christians worldview is clearly demonstrated in a tweet like this.

Why should someone be compassionate according to their worldview?

That is a genuine and reasonable question to ask…but they would just say: that is a manipulative question. It’s not.

D: I agree it’s very contradictory how their own views systematically deconstruct themselves. One thing I found out about Atheists/Ex-Evangelicals who are in an emotional uproar tend to ask about twenty questions at a time. This kind of irrational dialogue is not coherent. Someone who is rational would debate on one issue at a time. Then come to a conclusion. I have spoken with many Atheists/Ex-Evangelicals and the dialogue seems to always be the same. Many have different approaches but they quickly resolve to ad hominem attacks once their worldview is exposed. What do most people do when they are exposed? They cover up. The problem with Atheists/Ex-Evangelicals is they are so exposed and there is nothing they can do to cover up their irrationality.

The reason that’s such a good question is that it exposes their lack of substance or foundation to any argument they try to convey.

R: True words brother. Also another ironic thing that I really don’t understand. So in a tweet I said “Ex-Evangelicals don’t want to dialogue with Christians”. I didn’t use a hashtag but some people found the tweet by just searching for the phrase Ex-Evangelical. So someone retweeted me and said she doesn’t mind talking to Christians but that she isn’t willing to be “preached at by bigots”. The irony and hypocrisy. They make claims, retweet you, and then when you respond to them they don’t want to engage you. So I responded to her retweet of me by sharing the link to my article and she blocked me.

D: The internet is quite strange. Social media is probably the strangest. So many illogical arguments and actions. I don’t take anything personal on social media because most people don’t interact with strangers in person as they do on the internet. It would be easy for anyone to insult and ridicule on the internet but not in real life. Even if they do we are hated because they hated Jesus Christ first. Anyone who believes on him and his words are automatic enemies of the world. No matter how nice or compassionate we might be we will be hated. When we speak the truth we believe we are heroes but in reality we are preaching as villians to them. We try to take away their freedom and joy. They have failed to realize their freedom and joy are drowning them. They have become slaves to sin. Claiming freedom with heavy shackles on their wrists.

R: Is there anything else you would like to say? You’ve been very insightful and I appreciate your testimony brother. We go through difficult seasons and God uses our experiences to help others.

D: Lastly always be kind to Atheists. They will automatically shut you off. They won’t listen. They will at least listen when you are calm. Use scripture often. Let the holy Spirit do his work through the scripture. Don’t be discouraged if they disagree, we are being obedient to God by sharing the Gospel. There are still many more people God is going to save. So keep Proclaiming the good news.

R: That might be the most important thing people need to hear. We as Christians are to be kind to everyone. Thank you brother! May God use our testimonies to save some and create awareness in the church.

Speaking the truth in love is the key.

D: Amen brother. That God would do his redemptive work through us and many others. The kingdom will keep expanding despite the enemy’s plan. Let’s speak firmly but with love.

Concluding Thoughts

I hope David’s words have helped you become aware of the need to know your bible and to be prepared when faced with objections. I also hope it helped you to become aware of the different ways people will try to create doubt about the Word of God and doubts about God. A lot of Christians might write off Ex-Evangelicals as whiny liberal entitled millenials but I strongly discourage that kind of talk. The fact is, there are a lot of Ex-Evangelicals and some of them don’t use social media. They are right to be outraged at the ridiculous nonsense that helped turn them away from God but they are people and they need to hear the gospel. I believe Christians hurt their own witness when they say things like:

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May God be glorified, may Christians be strengthened, and may God reveal Himself to Ex-Evangelicals that they would have their eyes and hearts opened to the truth.

The Fear of God, the Holiness of God, and the Futility of Life Without God

 I’ve been reading “The God Who Hears” by W. Bingham Hunter. It’s an excellent book on prayer and I believe it should be required reading for Christians. I believe there is a lot of confusion in the church about prayer and this book answers a lot of questions:

  • Are faithful prayers always answered?
  • Does prayer change God’s mind?
  • What can I tell an all-knowing God?
  • Why pray to a God who lets people hurt?
  • How can I be intimate with an invisible God?

 There are many erroneous teachings on prayer that have infiltrated the church. Some teach that you need to pray big audacious prayers for God to do big things (largely in the seeker sensitive movement). Some teach that your words actually create your future. That is, your words/prayers actually have the power (God is not using power but it is your words that have power) to create reality (word-faith). Lectio Divina/contemplative prayer is another erroneous teaching. Instead of using the minds God has given us to study His Word, the objective is to empty your mind and “listen” to what God has to say. This teaching combines mysticism with Christianity and is very dangerous. When we go to God’s Word we need to ask “what does this passage mean?” rather than “what does this passage mean to me?”. We pray that the Holy Spirit would help us to understand His Word.

 There is also the view that we pray to ask God to do things for us. It is not wrong in and of itself to pray for our needs but there is so much more to prayer than simply bringing our requests to God. This book sets out to put prayer into the proper Biblical perspective. Prayer is not a means for us to get what we want from God. As mentioned in the book, “Prayer is a means for God to give us what He wants. The most important word in this definition is God. I say that because at the root most of our prayer difficulties are theological problems. “Theological” in the sense that we simply do not focus enough on the Theos (the Greek word for God). So the following chapters discuss prayer in light of what the Bible says about God. Prayer really only makes sense against the background of God’s nature and attributes. First, we must know whom we are talking to. Second, we have got to know ourselves. Third, we need someone who understands both God and ourselves to show us how to do it.”.

Here is another great excerpt from the book, bold emphasis mine:

The Reality of Fear:

“Since irrational fears (“phobias”) have destructive effects on human lives, it is hard to see fearing God as a good thing. But many of the arguments against holy terror are based on faulty theological systems (“the “fearful” image of God belongs to the dispensation of the Law”), imprecise exegesis (“God has not given us a spirit of of fear”), or the existence of psychopathology ( “some Christians do have phobias about God”). I assert that without a sense of God’s awesome holiness, and the consequent “fear”, we simply do not have biblical religion, either positively–“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom” (Ps 111:10)–or negatively–“Concerning the sinfulness of the wicked: There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Ps 36:1). 

The dynamics of fearing God are helpfully explained by Robert Morosco:

  “One’s ultimate fear-object is that which he reveres above all else in life…This is the position which legitimately belongs only to the creature’s Creator, though this is often not the case. One’s supreme fear-object warrants total regard and esteem…

   Hence the biblical translation “revere”, or “respect” or “regard” is actually close to what the writers of Scripture had in mind [when they spoke of “the fear of the LORD”]….Theological fear is not primarily dread or repulsion for the fear-object, but surrender to [God’s] authority.”

Fearing God is thus not irrational. It is the only course open to a thinking Christian. In fact, not fearing God is irrational. It forces us to deny the reality of God’s holiness, power, and presence. So Morosco is right when he says:

   “Only by fearing Jehovah is reality viewed as it truly is. In order to replace God with another supreme fear-object [fear of failure, or fear of other people, for example], reality has to be distorted (i.e. the character of the Living God must be altered”.

Those who do not fear God in the biblical sense either do not understand, or find themselves forced to deny, the facts of existence. And such a venture into fantasy  advances against truth on two fronts. It defies the fact of God’s infiniteness and rejects human finiteness. No one has seen more clearly than Harry Blamires that this latter (and very common) deception is at the root of human unholiness:

   “What is common to those who lack any interest in religion is failure to recognize the finitude of the finite, and especially failure to accept man’s finite status for what it is. This failure is the source alike for moral evil and of intellectual confusion. All forms of moral evil have their roots in a tacit denial of human finitude–of the contingent and wholly dependent nature of man’s existence…”

   “Man behaves as though he were not a dependent creature with a limited and temporal universe. Covetousness and greed for power both express defiance of finitude. Covetousness implies that the pursuit of earthly possession is of ultimate significance: it implies that to possess within the finite is a state of fulfillment. This is nonsensical. There is no stability or security in possessions within the finite order, where at any moment accident or death may strip or destroy. The pursuit of power implies that temporal sway and masterdom are an ultimate satisfaction: [but] finitude precludes satisfaction within its own domain…In these pursuits, and in a thousand others, man conceals himself from the fact that finitude sets a term to all activities at the temporal level.”.

Those who do not fear God as the transcendant holy, and infinite Creator replace His power and authority with either themselves, others or material things. “They [have] exchanged the truth for a God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator–who is [to be] forever praised” (Rom 1:25). Having denied the realities of both divine and human nature, it seems obvious why they may have little concern for doing God’s will and are unlikely to pray according to it.

It took decades of discipline through suffering before Israel began to take “Be holy, because I am holy” (Lev 11:44) seriously enough to fear and call on the Holy One out of pure hearts. One wonders just when and how this reality will dawn on us. There is certainly no way around with respect to effective prayer: “We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing, and does His will, He hears him” (Jn 9:31 NASB).”

Conclusion:

What do you believe about prayer? Have you come to understand the attributes of God and how they affect prayer? Is your ultimate fear-object the Lord? Think about the fact that God is transcendant, holy, and infinite and we are finite, temporal, and sinful. When you pray, think about the attributes of God. Thank and praise Him for His sovereignty, love, forgiveness, omniscience, omnipotence, justice, mercy, wrath, and etc. Remember, prayer is God’s means of giving us what He wants. We are often so focused on ourselves and what we think we deserve and need rather than being focused on the One who knows all things. He is sovereign over our lives and works in all things for His own glory and praise. Our Father knows what is best for us.

 

Sexual Abuse and Sexual Harassment are Sinful Acts

Sexual Abuse and Harassment

Sexual abuse is a serious matter. It tugs at our hearts and grieves us that there are men that abuse women mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually, and sexually. Ladies, it is so stupid that there are men that tell you to “smile”. The creepy old guys that think it is okay to stare at you below the neck when they clearly see you notice that they’re doing it…they just keep staring anyway. The guys that keep hitting on you after you have let them know you’re not interested. Whistling at you. You’re afraid to walk alone at night. Men slow down their cars as you are walking in town…then either hit on you or speed away.
There are people that say it was your fault you were sexually abused because you dressed immodestly. People that say you shouldn’t have tempted the man by the way you dressed. There are pastors who claim the name of Christ that take advantage of women and that don’t take allegations of abuse seriously. It can be difficult for someone to open up to a pastor about their abuse experience but I can only imagine how I would feel if I did that and the pastor didn’t take me seriously. Churches are supposed to be places where you can trust your pastor, not where your pastor makes a move on you or ignores your sincere and truthful claims of abuse.
Some men think it’s fine to hit their wives because after all women should submit to their husbands, right? Some Christian men emotionally abuse their wives. They call you fat. They manipulate you. You are afraid when they come home. You’re afraid for your kids too. They don’t think women have a voice in the home. Submit right? I am complementarian but I am not for cruel authoritarian dictatorships. God calls husbands to LOVE their wives.
In the majority of cases men abuse women. However there are women that abuse men. Men that abuse boys. Women that abuse boys. Women that let their sleazy boyfriends take advantage of girls. Grandfathers that take advantage of their grandkids. Sick. Sex abuse happens in every culture. As an American, I tend to only view the world through the lens of my experience of living in America. However in every country there are people who are sexually abused. As Christians (especially as Christian men) we need to take a stand and call men everywhere to treat women with respect and charity. We need to proclaim the love of Christ to this broken world. The fact that sex trafficking is a reality immensely hurts our hearts. Every Christian should clearly condemn sexual sins of every kind but especially sex abuse. Some say we should just listen to these stories from victims. I believe that we are not really helping anyone if we don’t share the gospel or share the encouragement and hope we have in Christ. We should listen to their stories, but we need to point them to Christ. Abuse victims need the gospel. Abusers need the gospel too. Everyone needs the gospel.
Maybe you have been abused by someone in the church…someone that you were supposed to trust. Someone who claimed to love God but chose to follow his lusts and he sexually abused you or raped you. I believe that is very very wrong and sinful. These people are not representing what Christians should be like. Some people who claim the name of Christ may be charlatans who use His name to take advantage of people. Jesus does not take advantage of people. Jesus did not abuse you.
False allegations of sex abuse, sexual harassment, or physical abuse are completely sinful too and should be condemned. I know someone who had consensual sex with a girl when he was 18 and she was 14 (this was like 5 years ago). He regretted it and has repented of it but she came out accusing him of sexual assault. It was reported to police and he could be sent to jail if found guilty. The local news outlet reported on it and their account of what happened made it almost undeniable that this man was a sex abuser. Their report said he sexually assaulted her in an abandoned cabin where they met for tutoring. I don’t think it could sound any worse than that and the picture they used of him made him look very creepy. In fact, I even believed this account at first.
I certainly can understand that the majority of cases of sex abuse are men abusing women and most of the time the women are telling the truth. But this person is a clear example that the accusations are not always truthful.  This was a case where she initiated and now regrets it. It doesn’t make this person’s choice right but it should certainly give me a reason to not believe all accusations of abuse are true. Had this girl used #metoo #church too hash tag people would probably believe her. I am very sure that they would side with her before they would side with the man.  The abuse of women is taken very seriously and I would strongly infer that most people would side with a woman every time in the case of a woman claiming a man sexually abused or raped her.
The only source of hope and comfort in this world is found in Jesus Christ. The Lamb of God who came to earth and died for our sins in our place.  May God give us strength to forgive those who have hurt us, just as Christ forgave us for our sins.

Privilege

Privilege according to the Cambridge dictionary is defined as a special advantage or authority possessed by a particular person or group. There is nothing wrong with being aware of privileges that different people or groups have that others do not possess. I have more privileges by being born and raised in America than I would had I been born and raised in North Korea. If you are the boss of a company, you will have more privileges than someone who works as a regular employee.
If we go by this simple defintion, when we talk about privileges we are making distinctions about the different advantages that different people or groups have in different societies and cultures. Every group or person in a discussion about privilege has advantages that the other group does not have. The problem starts when you look at those privileges through a socialist/Marxist lens. You turn the discussion into us versus them. One group has power and the other is powerless. “Men have more privileges than women”, therefore women have more disadvantages than men in life and men have all the power. Something needs to be done so that men lose that power and women attain and have power.
God made me a man. He made me to be a white man who would be born in America.  I know there are a lot of things that I will never have to worry about because of who I am and where I live.  But I didn’t choose this body and I only know what it is like to be a white man. Just because I am a white man doesn’t make it right to discount my opinions or say that what I go through isn’t as important or as serious as what women go through with sexual harassment. When you start comparing sins and who has more privilege I believe you are speaking unbiblically.
All sins that are committed against us hurt us and are very serious and important to each of us individually. To someone being bullied at school, that is a big deal. Someone that has experienced sexual abuse or rape…HUGE deal to them. Racially motivated violence and people that are treated differently because of their skin color…that is a big deal to those who have to experience that reality. Infidelity…it’s big deal to the person who has to go through that. Persecution for claiming the name of Christ…it’s serious and important but we are to expect persecution and suffering for being Christ followers. Remember that from an earthly perspective, the most unfair act ever committed was the crucifixion of Christ.
Christ did not talk about privilege. This idea that different groups have special privileges and that it is up to us as humans to fix the problems is unbiblical and divisive. Christ preached a kingdom of unity. We are all guilty before God for our sins and he is not a respecter of persons. He doesn’t choose us based on what we do or because we deserved anything. He chose us because He loved us. In fact, the biggest privilege might honestly be those of us who have access to God’s Word. You want to talk about privilege, think about how we (in the U.S. or the West) can access the Bible on our phones but there are people who don’t have a Bible in their own language. Or think about the freedom we have in America to gather together in worship when people in other countries can be killed or put in prison for simply owning a Bible.

We who claim the name of Christ are to be united as the Body of Christ. The Body is made up of people of different races, ethnicities, and nationalities. The Body is made of men and women. The Body is made of both young and old, wealthy and poor. The Body is made of husbands, wives, singles, widows, widowers, sons, daughters, and orphans. The socialist ideology has atheism as it’s foundation. We as Christians have the Word of God. We have a personal and all-powerful, all-knowing God who chose to reveal himself to us and bring us into a relationship with Him. It is certainly important to speak out against injustice and to realize there are some things that happen in societies and cultures that are wicked. However we know that we live in a fallen world. All sin stems from loving pleasure more than God and loving ourselves more than loving our neighbors. There will always be abusers, murderers, idolaters, racists, and violence. Our primary aim as Christians is to preach Christ crucified to every person. If we want to see the world changed we need to preach the gospel.

Calvinism

I am a 5 point calvinist (that just sounds negative…because it has this negative stigma attached to it) and I want to address some misrepresentations that were made of calvinism. I don’t worship John Calvin. I just believe that his works accurately explain the truths that the Bible has always contained…this was just the first time these truths were put together in a systematic way. Some people think we are obsessed with sin and we always talk about God’s wrath. One person said, “the 5 solas permit people to be jerks. God is only going to save those he elects so to hell with the rest anyway”. Don’t believe everything you read on the internet or hear someone say. We should all be discerning and compare what people say about God to His Word. Here are the articles from the Bible Fellowship Church Articles of Faith on Human responsibility and election:

 

Article 10 – Human Ability and Responsibility     

10-1 In his original creation man was endowed with the ability to will and do good or evil and was accountable for his willing and doing.1 But through the fall of Adam man lost his ability, apart from God’s grace,2 to will and to do those things necessary for a right relationship with God;3 however, he is still accountable to God for obedience to all of His commands.4 Man has not lost his ability to make decisions,5 but left to himself, he acts only in accordance with his fallen, sinful nature.6
10-2 Only by God’s infinite grace can man will or do anything necessary to his salvation. 7By that grace, God saves those men whom He causes to will and to do good;8 however, He does this without nullifying man’s ability to act responsibly. 91 And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die” (Gen.2:16,17).
2 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath (Eph.2:1-3).
3 There is no one who understands, no one who seeks God (Rom.3:11). Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God (Rom.8:8).
4 God “will give to each person according to what he has done.” To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile (Rom.2:6-10). In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30).
5 Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live (Deu.30:11,19).
6 As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one” (Rom.3:10,12). Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil (Jer.13:23). (See also footnote 2).
7 It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy (Rom.9:16).
He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created (James 1:18). Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God –  children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God (John 1:12-13).
9 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose (Phil.2:12,13).

Article 11 – Election     

11-1 Election is a free act of the sovereign God in which from eternity,1 for reasons known only to Himself,2 and apart from any foreseen faith and/or goodness found in man,3 He graciously chose from among the fallen mankind a people unto salvation, that they might be conformed to Christ’s image.4 Those so chosen He redeemed by His Son5and seals by His Spirit.61 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will (Eph.1:4,11).
2 “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him” (Mat.11:27).
3 Who has saved us and called us to a holy life – not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time (2Tim.1:9). For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom He predestined He also called, and those whom He called He also justified, and those whom He justified He also glorified (Rom.8:29-30).
4 Until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ (Eph.4:13).
5 But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth (2 Thes.2:13).
6 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit (Eph.1:13).
If you want to know what a calvinist actually believes rather than the misrepresentations that go around please visit this site:
Some people might be inclined to think: “This privileged white Christian male has no idea what he is talking about. He has never been abused, he doesn’t know what it’s like to be a woman and experience sexual harassment. He is not an abuse victim so he should just shut up. He probably would say he wants a woman to touch him anyway.” It seems that for me to write a blog post about sexual abuse with the hope that an abuse victim would find it and find comfort in Christ like I am doing here is something that I shouldn’t be doing according to some people. My aim is to speak the truth in love. The truth is only found in God’s Word.
As a calvinist, I believe it is important to share the bad news before you get to the good news. In regards to the use of #metoo, how do you listen to non christian women (or anyone) who have been abused that come out for the first time but also share the gospel with them if the gospel is that we are all sinners and guilty before God including abusers and even abused victims. I am not sure what the best way to do that is. But the me too hashtag to me, does not give true help unless it leads to gospel conversations. You can listen to an abuse victim for years and never give them the gospel and they will die in their sins. This is what the Bible teaches so these aren’t just my words.
14 “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. 16 For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Anyone who believes in him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God. 19 This is the judgment: The light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone who does evil hates the light and avoids it, so that his deeds may not be exposed. 21 But anyone who lives by the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be shown to be accomplished by God.” John 3:14-21

18 For God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth, 19 since what can be known about God is evident among them,because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, that is, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what he has made. As a result, people are without excuse. 21 For though they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became worthless, and their senseless hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man, birds, four-footed animals, and reptiles.

24 Therefore God delivered them over in the desires of their hearts to sexual impurity, so that their bodies were degraded among themselves. 25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served what has been created instead of the Creator, who is praised forever.Amen.

26 For this reason God delivered them over to disgraceful passions. Their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 The men in the same way also left natural relations with women and were inflamed in their lust for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the appropriate penalty of their error.

28 And because they did not think it worthwhile to acknowledge God, God delivered them over to a corrupt mind so that they do what is not right. 29 They are filled with all unrighteousness, evil, greed, and wickedness. They are full of envy, murder, quarrels, deceit, and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, arrogant, proud, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 senseless, untrustworthy, unloving,and unmerciful. 32 Although they know God’s just sentence—that those who practice such things deserve to die—they not only do them, but even applaud others who practice them. Romans 1:18-32

Don’t you know that the unrighteous will not inherit God’s kingdom? Do not be deceived: No sexually immoral people, idolaters, adulterers, or males who have sex with males, 10 no thieves,greedy people, drunkards, verbally abusive people, or swindlers will inherit God’s kingdom. 11 And some of you used to be like this. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

If only you would tear the heavens open
and come down,
so that mountains would quake at your presence—
just as fire kindles brushwood,
and fire boils water—
to make your name known to your enemies,
so that nations will tremble at your presence!
When you did awesome works
that we did not expect,
you who came down,
and the mountains quaked at your presence.
From ancient times no one has heard,
no one has listened to,
no eye has seen any God except you
who acts on behalf of the one who waits for him.
You welcome the one who joyfully does what is right;
they remember you in your ways.
But we have sinned, and you were angry.
How can we be saved if we remain in our sins?[a]
All of us have become like something unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like a polluted[b] garment;
all of us wither like a leaf,
and our iniquities carry us away like the wind.
No one calls on your name,
striving to take hold of you.
For you have hidden your face from us
and made us melt because of[c][d] our iniquity.
Yet Lord, you are our Father;
we are the clay, and you are our potter;
we all are the work of your hands.
Lord, do not be terribly angry
or remember our iniquity forever.
Please look—all of us are your people!
10 Your holy cities have become a wilderness;
Zion has become a wilderness,
Jerusalem a desolation.
11 Our holy and beautiful[e] temple,
where our fathers praised you,
has been burned down,
and all that was dear to us lies in ruins.
12 Lord, after all this, will you restrain yourself?
Will you keep silent and afflict us severely? Isaiah 64

Who has believed what we have heard?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
He grew up before him like a young plant
and like a root out of dry ground.
He didn’t have an impressive form
or majesty that we should look at him,
no appearance that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of suffering who knew what sickness was.
He was like someone people turned away from;
he was despised, and we didn’t value him.

Yet he himself bore our sicknesses,
and he carried our pains;
but we in turn regarded him stricken,
struck down by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced because of our rebellion,
crushed because of our iniquities;
punishment for our peace was on him,
and we are healed by his wounds.
We all went astray like sheep;
we all have turned to our own way;
and the Lord has punished him
for the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth.
Like a lamb led to the slaughter
and like a sheep silent before her shearers,
he did not open his mouth.
He was taken away because of oppression and judgment;
and who considered his fate?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
he was struck because of my people’s rebellion.
He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
but he was with a rich man at his death,
because he had done no violence
and had not spoken deceitfully.

10 Yet the Lord was pleased to crush him severely.[e]
When[f] you make him a guilt offering,
he will see his seed, he will prolong his days,
and by his hand, the Lord’s pleasure will be accomplished.
11 After his anguish,
he will see light and be satisfied.
By his knowledge,
my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will carry their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give him the many as a portion,
and he will receive the mighty as spoil,
because he willingly submitted to death,
and was counted among the rebels;
yet he bore the sin of many
and interceded for the rebels. Isaiah 53

People claim that calvinists are obsessed with the wrath of God. There are a lot of Christians that don’t like to talk about the wrath of God. Yet the wrath of God can actually be a source of comfort out there for Christians who have been abused. God is love but He is also just and wrathful. If you leave out God’s wrath I believe your gospel is not as effective or consistent. The comfort of God’s wrath for abused Christians according to 2 Thessalonians 1 is that if someone has sexually abused you and they do not repent and trust in Christ, they will one day be judged. They might be guilty and be found innocent in a trial, but Jesus himself will judge them and bring them to justice. He will also judge those who make false accusations  that lead to an innocent person going to prison. God will judge the sexually immoral and liars.
We ought to thank God always for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, since your faith is flourishing and the love each one of you has for one another is increasing. Therefore, we ourselves boast about you among God’s churches—about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and afflictions that you are enduring. It is clear evidence of God’s righteous judgment that you will be counted worthy of God’s kingdom, for which you also are suffering, since it is just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you and to give relief to you who are afflicted, along with us. This will take place at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with his powerful angels, when he takes vengeance with flaming fire on those who don’t know God and on those who don’t obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will pay the penalty of eternal destruction from the Lord’s presence and from his glorious strength 10 on that day when he comes to be glorified by his saints and to be marveled at by all those who have believed, because our testimony among you was believed. 11 In view of this, we always pray for you that our God will make you worthy of his calling, and by his power fulfill your every desire to do good[b] and your work produced by faith,12 so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified by you, and you by him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 1:3-12
The immediate context of this passage is in reference to Christians that had been suffering persecution. However verse 8 says that the Jesus will “take vengeance with flaming fire on those who don’t know God and on those who don’t obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus” This means that everyone who has ever sinned against us and does not repent and trust Christ before their death will receive justice in the last days by Jesus himself.
Now this does not mean that since Jesus will judge them we should just do nothing as Christians. We should strongly condemn sexual abuse and harassment but we have a duty to share the gospel with every person. The gospel is what will change people’s hearts. An abuser can repent and trust in Christ through the power of the gospel.
As hard as it sounds, Christians who have been abused should eventually come to a place where they have forgiven their abuser and have peace in Christ. Christ forgives our sins so we are to forgive those who have sinned against us.
Yes Jesus loved people, he served them. He dined with sinners and was accused of being a glutton and a drunkard. He cared for women and loved children. He loved widows and orphans. But he came to die for our sins and to redeem us. He preached a gospel of repentance and a life of obedience to Him. He did not come to just meet their or our temporary needs. The sick people he healed eventually died. Lazarus was raised from the dead…he still died eventually. Jesus is the Son of God who eternally existed and came to the earth and took on flesh. He actively (“Christ’s full obedience to all the prescriptions of the divine law…[making] available a perfect righteousness before the law that is imputed or reckoned to those who put their trust in him.”) and passively (“[Christ’s] willing obedience in bearing all the sanctions imposed by that law against his people because of their transgression…[being] the ground of God’s justification of sinners (Rom. 5:9), by which divine act they are pardoned…”) obeyed God the Father and atoned for our sins on the cross. He was resurrected from the dead and we are justified and redeemed through Christ. Through the hearing and preaching of the Word of God, the holy Spirit draws us to God and opens our eyes to His truth:
 44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day.” John 6:44

18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but it is the power of God to us who are being saved. 19 For it is written,

I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and I will set aside the intelligence of the intelligent.

20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the teacher of the law?[c]Where is the debater of this age? Hasn’t God made the world’s wisdom foolish? 21 For since, in God’s wisdom, the world did not know God through wisdom, God was pleased to save those who believe through the foolishness of what is preached. 22 For the Jews ask for signs and the Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles.[d] 24 Yet to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God, 25 because God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.

1 Corinthians 1:18-25

We do, however, speak a wisdom among the mature, but not a wisdom of this age, or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. On the contrary, we speak God’s hidden wisdom in a mystery, a wisdom God predestined before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age knew this wisdom, because if they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written,

What no eye has seen, no ear has heard,
and no human heart has conceived—
God has prepared these things for those who love him.[c]

10 Now God has revealed these things to us by the Spirit, since the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts[d] except his spirit within him? In the same way, no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who comes from God, so that we may understand what has been freely given to us by God. 13 We also speak these things, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people.[e] 14 But the person without the Spirit[f] does not receive what comes from God’s Spirit, because it is foolishness to him; he is not able to understand it since it is evaluated[g] spiritually. 15 The spiritual person, however, can evaluate[h] everything, and yet he himself cannot be evaluated by anyone. 16 For

who has known the Lord’s mind,
that he may instruct him?[i]

But we have the mind of Christ.

1 Corinthians 2: 6-16

Now if the ministry that brought death, chiseled in letters on stones, came with glory, so that the Israelites were not able to gaze steadily at Moses’s face because of its glory, which was set aside, how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? For if the ministry that brought condemnation had glory, the ministry that brings righteousness overflows with even more glory. 10 In fact, what had been glorious is not glorious now by comparison because of the glory that surpasses it. 11 For if what was set aside was glorious, what endures will be even more glorious.

12 Since, then, we have such a hope, we act with great boldness. 13 We are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from gazing steadily until the end[d] of the glory of what was being set aside, 14 but their minds were hardened. For to this day, at the reading of the old covenant, the same veil remains; it is not lifted, because it is set aside only in Christ. 15 Yet still today, whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their hearts, 16 but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 We all, with unveiled faces, are looking as in a mirror at[e] the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit.[f]

Therefore, since we have this ministry because we were shown mercy,we do not give up. Instead, we have renounced secret and shameful things, not acting deceitfully or distorting the word of God, but commending ourselves before God to everyone’s conscience by an open display of the truth. But if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case, the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ,[a] who is the image of God. For we are not proclaiming ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’s sake. For God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 3:7-17, 4:1-6

 

I fight these injustices by calling them out and by pointing people to Christ. If you only create awareness but you don’t provide the solution, you really aren’t helping stop behaviors like this. We have to know why this behavior happens and we have to know where the solution is found. This behavior happens because men follow their own sinful desires. The solution is found in Jesus Christ.

 

Galatians 2:20

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

Ephesians 5:2

and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.

Remind them to submit to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to slander no one, to avoid fighting, and to be kind, always showing gentleness to all people. For we too were once foolish, disobedient, deceived, enslaved by various passions and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, detesting one another.

But when the kindness of God our Savior and his love for mankind appeared, he saved us—not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy—through the washing of regenerationand renewal by the Holy Spirit. He poured out his Spirit on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior so that, having been justified by his grace, we may become heirs with the hope of eternal life.This saying is trustworthy. I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed God might be careful to devote themselves to good works. These are good and profitable for everyone. But avoid foolish debates, genealogies, quarrels, and disputes about the law, because they are unprofitable and worthless. 10 Reject a divisive person after a first and second warning. 11 For you know that such a person has gone astray and is sinning; he is self-condemned. Titus 3:1-11

You don’t know the experiences that I’ve been through. If you don’t me very well then you don’t know much about me at all. You have no idea what experiences I have gone through. You don’t know the pain I have felt from my difficult life experiences. So please don’t make assumptions about other people.
When I mentioned that I needed time to write this and that I wanted to share my perspective I was met with the following:
“The time is not right for you to share your perspective, abuse victims don’t want to hear your perspective. The hash tag is a safe place for them to go. and they don’t need to hear you tell them about God’s wrath.”
How do they know what God can or can’t do through the proclamation of His Word and the gospel? I get that people like this care very much for abuse victims but people like this seem to have hardened their hearts against most 5 point calvinists. I believe the approach of only listening to victims is not helping them because the gospel, which is the only hope for any of us in this broken, fallen world is not preached. The comfort of Christ is not seen as the only and final source of hope for abuse victims. Christ brings comfort to us in our afflictions. Christ is the way, the truth, and the life and there is no way to God but to go through Him.