Since I wrote and shared my testimony over a year ago, I’ve grown in my faith tremendously. A huge weight has been lifted and remains to be carried by my savior, to whom I am eternally grateful. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how people interpret the bible, and how we trust preachers and teachers that bring their interpretations to us on a regular basis. I won’t name names, but there is a popular protestant evangelical preacher in the united states who based on my understanding of the sermons I’ve heard seems to be so obsessed with the afterlife that he can’t help but center on the lifestyles and sins of other people – particularly believers that he often threatens with a ‘you might not really be saved’ thought experiment and rarely ceases to leave his self-righteous holier than thou attitude at the door. While this preaching style may be motivating for believers who are struggling with sin in the present moment, its not at all helpful, inspiring or motivating to Christians who are born again new creations, have repented, and aren’t actively choosing a daily lifestyle of sin. It’s almost as though this man wants you to think that if you ever happen to stumble again, all is lost. Previous repentance doesn’t matter and grace and forgiveness no longer apply to you. I believed that and walked that tightrope for decades. This of course is nonsense, borderline bullying and certainly isn’t furthering the Kingdom.
There’s a lot of stuff in the Christian bible. Metaphors, parables, semitic poetry, mythology, stories, suggestions, instructions, commandments – its all in there. The biggest challenge Christians face in my opinion is not turning away from sin. It’s trying to perfectly interpret an ancient text that has been translated into hundreds of languages over hundreds of years, and then flawlessly apply it to their own present day lives. So many of our Christian denominations genuinely believe that we have our theology right and that everyone else is wrong. We point fingers at each other and make accusations of false teaching as if we are the ultimate authority, spending more time condemning our own brothers and sisters in Christ to eternal separation from God after death than we spend praying, worshiping, loving and serving.
Some believers seem to be so fixated on the bad news of evil and sin that they forget about the good news, and hardly even talk about it. The bottom line is that if you know Christ and you have repented, there is no reason to live in fear of eternal separation. If we can’t move beyond our past sins and potential future sins, how are we ever going to accomplish the work God has set out for us to do here and now? Its almost impossible to fulfil our purpose if we’re so busy remembering sins that God has already forgiven and forgotten, and anticipating a hypothetical future stumble that has already been bought and paid for. I’m so tired of this theology tormenting people and making them feel unworthy of grace.
My previous post and testimony was about a life full of fear and insecurity. Writing it took courage I didn’t know I had and required that I push past the insecurity of people not understanding where I was coming from, or the idea that I didn’t have a ‘better’ story to share. My testimony wasn’t that God delivered me from an addiction, drugs, alcohol, sex, greed, disbelief, devil worship or witchcraft. My testimony was that God delivered me from bad theology. God literally delivered me from church.