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Website owner:  James Miller


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On Baptist / Evangelical Belief and Practice

 

  INTRODUCTION --- MY RELIGIOUS BACKGROUND              2/98

   The following is a collection of things I have written over the 
   last 25 years on Baptist / Evangelical belief and practice.  My 
   background is fundamentalist Baptist.  I grew up attending a 
   fundamentalist Baptist church and accepted Christ as my Savior 
   when I was 9 years old.  The Baptists have placed a very strong 
   stamp on my beliefs and outlook and I owe a great deal to them.  
   However, from my early youth I have wrestled with certain of 
   their beliefs, trying to square them with reason and common 
   sense; trying to sort things out in my mind.  I have long been 
   unhappy with the Baptists in many ways.  I attended a Baptist 
   church when I was in college and then after college I started 
   sampling a lot of different churches, Baptist and others, to 
   find one that I really felt good about, really liked, trying a 
   different one every Sunday.  This continued for many years, 
   along with my wife after I got married, and I finally gave up 
   and we now attend no church.  We have attended churches in most 
   of the mainline denominations.  My wife was raised Catholic and 
   for a period of years we attended Catholic churches a lot, but 
   although I like the Catholic worship service, there is too much 
   in Catholic belief and practice that I could not possibly 
   accept.  For a period of years we attended a number of Assembly 
   of God churches (Pentecostal), but never shared the Pentecostal 
   experience, were never really one of them, and always had 
   reservations and doubts about them.  My religious outlooks are 
   strongly conservative so the liberal churches, Baptist and 
   otherwise, turn me off in a second.  Consequently we have 
   always gone to conservative type churches.  I have always 
   listened to my feelings, my deepest intuition, my deepest 
   instincts, in regard to these matters.  And my feelings have 
   always led me to be dissatisfied, to look more, to move on.  I 
   can be turned off not just by beliefs that I don't agree with 
   but also by a spirit that I don't think is right.  I look for 
   the spirit that characterized early Christianity.  I have been 
   turned off by many churches, mainly conservative Baptist, 
   because I didn't like the spirit that I sensed.  I have seen a 
   great deal of hypocrisy, foolishness and scandal in churches 
   (conservative, fundamentalist churches).  I am disillusioned 
   with churches.  My Christianity is now just a quiet, personal 
   one.  It has always been my habit to avoid reading any kind of 
   religious propaganda -- and that means any religious literature 
   from any religious denomination.  I don't wish to be influenced 
   by other people's ideas on what Christianity is or what the 
   Bible means.  I prefer to read only the Bible and to make up my 
   own mind on just what it means.  I know from experience the 
   power of hard preaching to bend and manipulate the mind.  As a 
   consequence I tend to be skeptical of preachers. 

   One of my main criticisms of evangelical Christianity is the 
   following:  I observe that a "repent, turn from your sin" 
   message is not being preached very much today.  Instead a "just 
   accept Jesus" message is being preached.  And I suggest that 
   this "just accept" message is a falsehood, a theological error, 
   a self-perpetuating, self-propagating Satanic lie, that causes 
   deep self-deception and a sham Christianity that tends to be 
   superficial, only "skin deep"; a Christianity lacking in real 
   substance.  Even those preachers who do preach repentance tend 
   to mix it with the "just accept" message; they preach 
   repentance one minute and then a minute later they are 
   preaching the "just accept" message, causing an ambiguity and 
   mental confusion because they are really preaching two 
   different and conflicting messages.  The "accepting" is 
   supposed to, in some miraculous way, make you a Christian.  
   They tell us, "don't trust your feelings, if you don't feel 
   like a Christian it is nothing to be concerned about, your hope 
   of salvation is based on God's promise, you have to just have 
   faith in his promise."  Well, our feelings and intuition warn 
   us when we are being imposed upon by untruth, lie and fraud.  
   We make a big mistake if we don't listen to them.  Listen to 
   those feelings, that intuition, within you.  It can tell you a 
   lot that simple reason may not.  When the logic becomes too 
   intricate, abstruse, vague and obscure, have doubts.  If the 
   proposition sounds too good to be true it probably is.

   I believe in reason, common sense, perspective, mental balance.  
   I distrust the highly dogmatic, highly doctrinaire.  I feel it 
   leads into self-deception, self-delusion and mental problems.  
   It is easy to get sucked into a religious quagmire that is very 
   difficult to get out of.  I believe that religion can be very 
   dangerous business.

   In the following I have been quite hard on conservative 
   Baptists.  In all fairness to them, however, it does seem like 
   they have tended to remain closer to Biblical teaching and 
   Biblical moral standards than most other denominations.  We 
   don't hear, for example, of conservative Baptists out 
   performing homosexual marriages or ordaining homosexual 
   ministers as you do in many other denominations.  Indeed I have 
   been hesitant about putting this set of articles on the 
   internet.  I have had them on, removed them, then put them back 
   on again.  I am sure there are many good Christians among 
   Baptists and other evangelicals and I have mixed feelings.

   In some of the following pieces I may be accused of over-
   generalizing.  In some cases it may be a valid criticism.  
   Whenever you make a general statement on subject matter of this 
   nature there are likely to be exceptions, instances where the 
   statement is not true.  And there is considerable variation 
   among evangelical denominations.  They are not all alike by any 
   means.  So when I have made statements about evangelicals, for 
   example, there may be denominations for which the statement 
   isn't valid.  And I make no claim to infallibility.  However, I 
   would say this: read these pieces to see if you see any truth 
   in them.  Perhaps you will find thoughts and insights that will 
   be of benefit to you.  Each individual knows best if the shoe 
   fits.  If it fits put it on.  My object in writing these pieces 
   was the search for truth.  Honesty.  I believe in it.


Where I disagree with Baptist Fundamentalists

My criticisms of Baptist Customs and practices

How the Baptists deceive themselves

The Baptist Church --- A basic source of emotional problems

Conservative Baptistism --- A lopsided religion

Baptist doctrine stunts spiritual growth

The fallacy in Baptist belief

Baptistism

Why Baptists are so shallow spiritually

Baptist delusion

Evangelical belief on salvation

How the evangelical comes across to others

Psychology of the evangelical

Hypocrisy, personal dishonesty, and falseness among evangelicals

On religious jargon

Evangelicals guilty of self-deception

Evangelicalism

Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism --- self-delusion and brainwashing

Pitfall of the evangelicals

Evangelicalism

A study in evangelical hyprocrisy

Evangelical doctrine and its psychological effects

Parallels between Communism and evangelicalism

The evangelical asks the wrong question and confuses himself

The evangelical message --- deception

Evangelical criterion for becoming saved

Does the evangelical message work?

The condition for salvation

Intellectual and logical problems in the "Salvation by Faith" position

Nesessary conditions for salvation

New Testament criterion for salvation --- same as the Old Testament criterion?

What does the Bible have to say in regard to the criterion for salvation?

Conditions for salvation

Criterion for salvation

Scriptures which specify repentance as a condition for salvation

New Testament scriptures on the importance of obedience to God

Scriptures that present as the sole criterion for salvation simple belief in Christ

Salvation --- Only believe

On becoming a new creature in Christ

Meaning of the term "gospel" as used in the New Testament

On Faith and Works

Evangelicals guilty of the sins of high-pressure salesmanship

Meaning of word "Believe" as used by Jesus

Criterion for Salvation

My Criticism of Evangelicism

Root of my differences with the Baptists

True Christianity is about Fear of God, Obedience, Practice

Scriptures contradicting the Baptist doctrine of Eternal Security (i.e. “once saved, always saved”)

True Christianity is about obedience to God in the form of upright, clean, straight, wholesome, virtuous living

On Holiness doctrine

Is salvation by faith or by works?

On the 'just believe in Jesus' message

Obeying God, following in the way taught by Jesus

On faith and works


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Website owner:  James Miller


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