Sunday, November 07, 2010

"The Christian Right in Context"

Richard T. Hughes, professor of religion at Messiah College and author of Christian America and the Kingdom of God, offers the first in a series of articles addressing "The Christian Right in Context."

In this first article, he outlines why "orthodox Christians" of America's Revolutionary era (which did not include Baptists and Quakers, both groups widely considered heretical by established colonial churches) were hostile to America's founding fathers, feared religious freedom, and "were insistent that the United States should become a Christian nation."

In short, "orthodox Christians" of the late eighteenth century considered America's founding fathers as liberals and heretics with a secular agenda; believed that government sanctioned and controlled religion was necessary for a healthy-functioning society and state; and did not want to relinguish their colonial theocracies.

By way of comparison, the modern Religious Right (orthodox evangelicals) has bestowed sainthood upon America's founding fathers, transforming them from secular, liberal heretics to orthodox Christians; believes that government sanctioned and controlled religion is the answer to modern moral and social ills; and advocates a return to a colonial theocratic model.

Whereas in the late eighteenth century, America's founding fathers (goaded by and allied with Baptists in particular) crushed orthodox dreams of a Christian nation, today's evangelicals (including far too many Baptists) have created mythical, orthodox national founders as a bridge to theocracy.

For national Baptists, the remarkable part of this whitewashing of history is that by marching backward to colonial theocracy, they are blotting out their own faith heritage that shaped their own nation.


Gary said...

Dear Baptist/evangelical brothers and sisters in Christ,

I ask you to consider these points:

1. When God said that he would preserve his Word, what did he mean? Did he mean that he would preserve the original papyrus and parchment upon which his Word was written? If so, then his Word has disappeared as none of the original manuscripts remain.

Did he mean that he would preserve his word in the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek only? He would not preserve his Word when it was translated into all the other languages of the world?

Or did God mean that he would preserve his Word…the message/the words…the Gospel: the free gift of salvation, and the true doctrines of the Christian Faith? Would God allow his Word/his message to mankind to be so polluted by translation errors that no translation, into any other language from the three original languages, continues to convey his true words?

2. There is NO translation of the Bible, from the original ancient languages, into ANY language, ANYWHERE on earth, that translates the Bible as the Baptists/evangelicals believe it should be translated.

No Bible translation on earth translates Acts 2:38 as, “Repent and believe in Jesus Christ every one of you and you will receive the Holy Ghost. Then be baptized as a public profession of your faith.”

Why would God allow EVERY English translation of the Bible throughout history to be mistranslated or use such confusing language as to suggest that God forgives sins in Baptism? And not only all English translations, ALL translations of the Bible have retained these “mistranslations or confusing wording”.

Do you honestly believe that God would allow his Word to be so polluted with translation errors that EVERY Bible in the world, if read in its simple, plain interpretation, would tell the people of the world that God forgives sins in water baptism??

3. Why is there not one single piece of evidence from the early Christians that indicates that ANYONE in the 800-1,000 years after Christ believed that: Water baptism is ONLY a public profession of faith/act of obedience; sins are NOT forgiven in water baptism? Yes, you will find statements by these early Christians that salvation is by faith, but do Baptists and evangelicals really understand how a sinner obtains saving faith? THAT IS THE MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION, MY FRIENDS! Does the sinner produce faith by his own free will or does God provide faith and belief as a gift, and if God does provide faith and belief as a free gift, with no strings attached, WHEN exactly does God give it?

4. Is it possible that: Baptist-like believers, at some point near or after 1,000 AD, were reading the Bible and came across verses that read “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” and “Call upon the name of the Lord and you will be saved” and established their doctrine of Salvation/Justification first, based on these and similar verses alone, and then, looked at the issue of water baptism, and since the idea that God forgives sins in water baptism didn’t seem to fit with the verses just mentioned, these early Baptists re-interpreted these verses to fit with their already established doctrine, instead of believing the “baptism verses” literally?

Is it possible that BOTH groups of verses are literally correct?? If we believe God’s Word literally, he says that he saves/forgives sins when sinners believe/call AND when they are baptized? Why not believe that God can give the free gift of salvation in both situations: when a sinner hears the Gospel and believes and when a sinner is baptized?

Should we re-interpret God’s plain, simple words just because they don’t seem to make sense to us?

God bless you and keep you!

Gary said...

How many steps did you complete to receive the "free gift" of Salvation?

Is this a "free" gift?

I tell my child that I have an incredible gift for him. However, in order for the gift to be his, he must:

1. apologize for his bad behavior and sincerely mean it.
2. he must commit to change his ways and follow MY ways for the rest of his life.
3. he must make a decision that he WANTS my gift.
4. he must then approach me, hold out his hands, ask me for the gift, and cooperate with me, as I place the gift into his hands.

If he does all this, he will receive his gift. But...if he chooses to reject my gift, I will damn him to HELL!

Now is this "gift" really a gift...or a REWARD for making the right decision?

No, that is NOT a gift.
This is a gift: "Dear Son, I have a gift for you. Here it is. I love you more than words can describe", and then I place the gift in my son's lap. No strings attached. The gift is his. He did nothing to receive it. I did everything.

THAT is a gift!

So what is God's free gift? It is the whole salvation package: faith, belief, repentance, forgiveness of sins, atonement, and eternal life. It is ALL free... to those whom God has predestined, before the world existed, for reasons we do not know, to be his children.

Gary said...

Dear evangelical/Baptist Christian brothers and sisters:

1. No English translation of the Bible interprets Scripture in the manner that Baptists and evangelicals say that it should be translated.
2. No German, Spanish, or French translation of the Bible interprets Scripture in the manner that Baptists and evangelicals say that it should be translated.
3. The Greeks in the Greek Orthodox Church do not translate their Bible in a manner that agrees with the Baptist and evangelical interpretation. On the contrary, the Greeks share with western orthodox Christians, the belief in baptismal regeneration and the Real Presence of Christ in his Supper.
4. Their is no known evidence, anywhere on planet earth, that ANY Christian in the first 800-1,000 years of Christianity believed that baptism is simply and only a public profession of faith/act of obedience or that the Lord's Supper is simply a memorial service.
5. There is no evidence of a "Catholic" conspiracy to destroy all evidence of the "early Baptist/evangelical believers of the first century AD.
6. There is no evidence of Baptist/evangelical-like believers hiding out in caves for fifteen hundred years.
7. The belief that only "the true believers" of the Christian Faith can see the Baptist/evangelical interpretation of the Bible as the TRUE interpretation of the Bible, is a typical ploy of cults. "We have the truth, and only if you are one of us, will you see the truth". This position eliminates any threat to the cult's belief system by declaring that God gives the truth ONLY to "us". Thus, anyone who questions or challenges their beliefs is not of God, is not true a believer, is not saved.
8. When backed into a corner, Baptists and evangelicals will retreat to one of the above unfounded conspiracy theories or will find a new one such as the assertion that all English translators of the Bible have introduced their own (orthodox Christian) biases into their translation. Such a statement flies in the face of God's promise to preserve his Word! God did NOT preserve his Word just for ancient Greek educated/ancient Greek speaking evangelical/Baptist Churchmen to understand!

You are intelligent people. Open your eyes, my evangelical/Baptist Christian brothers and sisters! What you have been taught is false doctrine; doctrine that neither the Apostles nor the Christians of the first approximately 1,000 years of Christianity would even recognize as the teachings of Jesus Christ!