The Trump Card in the Christian’s defense of the Resurrection

If you have ever played a card game, you know that in many of the games there is a trump card:  a card that has more value than any of the other cards and therefore defeats them in a showdown.



The term “trump card” has been carried over into the art of Debate.  A trump card in Debate is an argument that is so strong that it defeats any argument your opponent may present.  As in a game of cards, most wise debate participants will hold their “trump card” in reserve, using other “cards” or arguments initially, and then at just the right moment, strike to the jugular with the trump card to end the debate…or sometimes to rescue themselves when they are “cornered”.  Some card players…and debate participants…will even hold the trump card to the very end, even when they know they have already won, just to toy with their opponent, like a cat with a mouse, allowing the opponent to think he is winning, only to pounce on him and destroy him at the very end.

I believe that a large percentage of Protestant Christians have such a trump card in the debate between themselves and skeptics regarding the Resurrection of Jesus.  Since there is no physical evidence of the Resurrection; and there is no verifiable eyewitness testimony of the Resurrected Jesus (even Paul says he only saw a bright light); I would suggest to conservative Protestant Christians this trump card:  The “Election Card”

This is the Election Card: 

Dear Skeptic,

“God elects those who will be eternally saved.  If he has elected you to believe, you will believe.  If God has not elected you to believe, you never will…no matter how much physical evidence and eyewitness testimony I give you.”

Debate ended.  No one can disprove or trump such a “card”.

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47 thoughts on “The Trump Card in the Christian’s defense of the Resurrection

  1. This doesn't even make sense…the election of being saved is a trump card? What does it have to do with the resurrection?

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  2. If you believe in Election, Jesus has revealed himself to you in your heart/soul and thoughts. You KNOW by intuition/feelings that you are saved. You KNOW you are the Elect.

    Physical evidence and eyewitness testimony are not necessary to confirm that Jesus lives in your heart. And if Jesus lives in your heart, this is the only confirmation you need to believe in the Resurrection.

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  3. “You KNOW by intuition/feelings that you are saved”

    No, you know by the promise of His word that you are saved. If you believe then you are elect and you are saved. It does not matter what you “feel”. You used to be Lutheran Gary, you know this.

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  4. I think you may be trying to say you're not “elect?” At this point I don't believe that. What you said sounds like the old fundamentalism. I wish you had been Lutheran longer. Maybe our doctrine of Justification — deep and total forgiveness — could make more sense to you. Maybe it still can someday.

    I am praying for God's blessings for you, Gary.

    Peace,
    Abby

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  5. Because I believe Jesus was good, if He was a liar, demented, possessed, deceiving, evil, deceptive, delusional etc then He was not good. If someone claimed to be God then they are either what they say or they are not good.

    Luke 18:19 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.

    John 10:36 do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, 'You are blaspheming,' because I said, 'I am the Son of God'?

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  6. Yes, because His word and the testimony of others. I am fully aware this sounds foolish to you as an unbeliever. I am also aware it opens myself up to be mocked but Christianity is faith. Christ Himself clearly says it is faith. You are ok with faith in a completely unknown god of deism so that leaves little wiggle room for you to point out the perceived foolishness of the Christian faith.

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  7. Gary, I have answered that question many times and in many ways during the last months. I believe. Grace Alone. Faith Alone. Christ Alone. I have believed as long as I have known. I believe in His forgiveness for me, which I sorely need. I also have experiential evidence at many times throughout my life. Things that are not coincidence. I know. It is not explainable to someone else. And I know this is not an acceptable answer for you. There is no way that I can give you faith. If I could, I most certainly would. I hope you will keep listening to Pastor Baxter. I hope you will continue to at least listen to “our” side. Please don't shut it all down completely.

    I hope and pray.

    Peace,
    Abby

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  8. I did not say that your faith is foolish. (See my discussion with Pr. Baxter/jb). I am trying to understand your belief system.

    So, you believe that Jesus Word (the Bible) is true because the Word tells you it is true and that others state it is true.

    Who are the “others”?

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  9. Gary –

    FYI –

    That version of Election is Calvin's. It's the “U” in T U L I P -Unconditional Election.

    That's not in the Lutheran “deck of cards,” so to speak.

    Pax – jb

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  10. I'm confused. So which is it that you believe:

    1. You know Jesus is resurrected and Lord of the Universe because you intuitively know or feel his presence within you?

    or/and

    2. You are able to point to experiences in your life that indicate to you the presence of a very real, resurrected Jesus Christ?

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  11. An excerpt from the 1932 Doctrinal Statement of the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod:

    35.By the election of grace we mean this truth, that all those who by the grace of God alone, for Christ's sake, through the means of grace, are brought to faith, are justified, sanctified, and preserved in faith here in time, that all these have already from eternity been endowed by God with faith, justification, sanctification, and preservation in faith, and this for the same reason, namely, by grace alone, for Christ's sake, and by way of the means of grace. That this is the doctrine of the Holy Scripture is evident from Eph. 1:3-7; 2 Thess. 2:13, 14; Acts 13:48; Rom. 8:28-30; 2 Tim. 1:9; Matt. 24:22-24 (cp. Form. of Conc. Triglot, p. 1065, Paragraphs 5, 8, 23; M., p. 705).

    36.Accordingly we reject as an anti-Scriptural error the doctrine that not alone the grace of God and the merit of Christ are the cause of the election of grace, but that God has, in addition, found or regarded something good in us which prompted or caused Him to elect us, this being variously designated as “good works,” “right conduct,” “proper self-determination,” “refraining from willful resistance,” etc. Nor does Holy Scripture know of an election “by foreseen faith,” “in view of faith,” as though the faith of the elect were to be placed before their election; but according to Scripture the faith which the elect have in time belongs to the spiritual blessings with which God has endowed them by His eternal election. For Scripture teaches Acts 13:48: “And as many as were ordained unto eternal life believed.” Our Lutheran Confession also testifies (Triglot, p. 1065, Paragraph 8; M. p. 705): “The eternal election of God however, not only foresees and foreknows the salvation of the elect, but is also, from the gracious will and pleasure of God in Christ Jesus, a cause which procures, works, helps, and promotes our salvation and what pertains thereto; and upon this our salvation is so founded that the gates of hell cannot prevail against it, Matt. 16:18, as is written John 10:28: 'Neither shall any man pluck My sheep out of My hand'; and again, Acts 13:48: 'And as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.' “

    37.But as earnestly as we maintain that there is an election of grace, or a predestination to salvation, so decidedly do we teach, on the other hand, that there is no election of wrath, or predestination to damnation. Scripture plainly reveals the truth that the love of God for the world of lost sinners is universal, that is, that it embraces all men without exception, that Christ has fully reconciled all men unto God, and that God earnestly desires to bring all men to faith, to preserve them therein, and thus to save them, as Scripture testifies, 1 Tim. 2:4: “God will have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” No man is lost because God has predestined him to eternal damnation. — Eternal election is a cause why the elect are brought to faith in time, Acts 13:48; but election is not a cause why men remain unbelievers when they hear the Word of God. The reason assigned by Scripture for this sad fact is that these men judge themselves unworthy of everlasting life, putting the Word of God from them and obstinately resisting the Holy Ghost, whose earnest will it is to bring also them to repentance and faith by means of the Word, Act 13:46; 7:51; Matt. 23:37.

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  12. cont'd:

    38.To be sure, it is necessary to observe the Scriptural distinction between the election of grace and the universal will of grace. This universal gracious will of God embraces all men; the election of grace, however, does not embrace all, but only a definite number, whom “God hath from the beginning chosen to salvation,” 2 Thess. 2:13, the “remnant,” the “seed” which “the Lord left,” Rom. 9:27- 29, the “election,” Rom. 11:7; and while the universal will of grace is frustrated in the case of most men, Matt. 22:14; Luke 7:30, the election of grace attains its end with all whom it embraces, Rom. 8:28-30. Scripture, however, while distinguishing between the universal will of grace and the election of grace, does not place the two in opposition to each other. On the contrary, it teaches that the grace dealing with those who are lost is altogether earnest and fully efficacious for conversion. Blind reason indeed declares these two truths to be contradictory; but we impose silence on our reason. The seeming disharmony will disappear in the light of heaven, 1 Cor. 13:12.

    39.Furthermore, by election of grace, Scripture does not mean that one part of God's counsel of salvation according to which He will receive into heaven those who persevere in faith unto the end, but, on the contrary, Scripture means this, that God, before the foundation of the world, from pure grace, because of the redemption of Christ, has chosen for His own a definite number of persons out of the corrupt mass and has determined to bring them through Word and Sacrament, to faith and salvation.

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  13. That is still not Unconditional Election.

    It is election according to the Gospel, in Word and Sacraments, very much as the Church is described.

    Pax – jb

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  14. 1. No.

    2. I have experiential evidence — they are not the substance of my faith.

    I heard this a long time ago. “Faith is not faith until it is exercised in the dark.” There is good and bad in that statement. However, it bears true for me in that through extreme dark periods of my life, I still believed. Satan has never been able to rob me yet. I can say that the Word has kept me from completely falling away. If I would have abandoned the Word and Sacraments, then I don't know where I would be.

    “For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” . . . So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Romans 10:13-17

    I can't give you belief. Only the Holy Spirit through God's Word can. And right now, you deny that Word and the Christ that the Word is about.

    You are not the only one to have ever abandoned the faith because of hell. I do not understand it myself. Whether it is or isn't, I am not God. I still trust in His grace and mercy in all of it.

    Abby

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  15. No. They are just there. I thank God for my blessings. The Word and Sacraments give and sustain my faith. As I said above, if I had abandoned them I don't know where I would be. I would be lost.

    ~A

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  16. What would Peter and/or Paul have to gain from lying? What would they have to gain from writing stories about themselves which include massive faults and failures in their own lives?

    There comes a time in a faith in which you are going to need “FAITH”. You obviously are not fine with faith alone, that is an acceptable position to take.

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  17. I don't think that anyone lied.

    I don't think that Jesus lied.
    I don't think that Paul lied.
    I don't think that whoever wrote the Gospels lied.

    I think that all these men were simply mistaken. I think that they believed what they taught and preached with all their hearts.

    Jesus thought he was the Son of God, the Messiah, or at a minimum a prophet of Yahweh. However, the archaeological evidence proves that Yahweh does not exists. Jesus was mistaken.

    I believe that Paul though he saw and heard something that he thought was Jesus, but even he admits he only saw a light and that it was a “heavenly vision”. I think he genuinely believed that this heavenly vision really occurred. He was willing to die for this vision.

    I believe that the writers of the Gospels all believe the stories that were told to them about the resurrection story, versions of which were passed around for 40-60 years before someone wrote them down, and three of the Gospel's authors apparently used “Mark's” Gospel as a template, giving us the appearance that all four Gospels are in harmony, when in fact two and maybe even three of them are embellishments of the first.

    So again, how do you know that Paul and Peter knew that the Word (the story of the Resurrected Jesus, Lord of the Universe) was true?

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  18. Because Peter was with Him, seens Him, knew Him, ate with Him, walked with Him, etc. Paul knew Peter, if Paul was bogus then Peter would have made that known. I could go on and on and on here but why?

    You simply do not believe, you do not have faith. You are comfortable with this I presume and that is wonderful. I'm not going to answer the same question 3 times now. Including this reply I have now answered it twice. The most absolute, simplest, honest answer I can provide you is: I have faith.

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  19. You are the cat. I am the mouse. How long before I'm dead? 🙂

    A very small context. My family of origin. No one continued going to church. No one has faith anymore. And no matter what I say or share — it doesn't get through. Also present, blatant unrepentant sin. Why not? As I've said before. The only thing that trips them up sometimes are consequences for the misdeeds.

    ~A

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  20. So you have faith because Peter saw a risen Jesus. You believe Paul because Peter believed Paul.

    But how do you know that Peter saw, ate, and walked with a risen Jesus? Maybe Peter, just as Paul, only saw a light and heard voices that he thought was Jesus.

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  21. Dear Readers:

    My conversation with “slave”, Abby, and Pastor Baxter demonstrate the following:

    Some conservative Christians will admit that their belief system is based entirely on faith. These Christians realize that there is zero physical evidence or verifiable eyewitness testimony for the Resurrection or for their belief that Jesus of Nazareth is alive and Lord of the Universe.

    They believe these things to be true by “faith”. And that is fine by me.

    But why should I or you believe them? Why should we suspend our belief in the laws of nature and science to believe that a man, living two thousand years ago, died, was dead for three days, and then re-animated, to walk around Palestine for forty days??

    If these good people cannot give us a reason to believe that they and they alone hold the truths of the Creation and of the Creator God, why should we believe them over and above any other devout people of faith, such as the Mormons?

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  22. “These Christians realize that there is zero physical evidence or verifiable eyewitness testimony for the Resurrection or for their belief that Jesus of Nazareth is alive and Lord of the Universe.”

    I don't really appreciate you putting words in my mouth. I never made such an admission or claim nor would I ever. Speak only for yourself Gary.

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  23. Gary –

    Please, do not use my words as one of your props. That is simply dishonest. The Resurrection, your big bugaboo, is contained with the Creeds as an article of faith. Demeaning someone's faith for the sake of your lack of belief is an exercise in futility, and demeaning to yourself.

    You have a skewed understanding of faith – perhaps from your youth and not corrected in your years as a Lutheran. You have a very shallow understanding of science and the scientific method, as I have pointed out and you have breezed right past my saying so.

    I have tried sarcasm, a pastoral approach, mano-a-mano, and corrections to your understandings of what faith is. None have budged you – you revert to the same “one-trick” pony that was the mainstay of the liberals and historical cristicists of decades gone by. Do you know how old and discredited your position is?

    That's okay. I understand that some need to progress to the full depths. Some return, some do not. That, like election, which you have completely misconstrued and bent to match the atheist construct, is outta my hands before I begin.

    You need to get a real grip on the parameters of science, and likewise, if you are going to deny Scripture, I would suggest you learn Scripture first. You most apparently have a grip on neither.

    Your “quotes” in response to your copy and paste articles are, pardon my saying so – shallow and rather humorous. You demand, as does everyone making your journey, that we accept your parameters.

    That not only denies the essence of science, but also, the most basic rules of debate.

    True, it is your site and you control the content. No one has ever contested that. But you need to man up and play by the rules of science, logic, definitions and debate.

    You made the comment that if anyone reads your site for X number of months, we will lose our faith. Not quite, my friend, or should I say, not even close!

    Our faith has content and promises, along with a history and ongoing growth, that your pitiable shell of whatever pales by comparison. I alluded to it last night in the “believing one's spouse is faithful” example. You granted I had a point. But you do not factor in points raised that even you admit.

    It is as though you read from a script, and your are more slavish to your script than is any Christian to the Creeds, the Bible, or Christology. That is your decision and direction.

    But, my friend . . . your words are only persuading yourself. You. No one else.

    Your logic is sorely lacking.

    Pax – jb

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  24. As I have suggested to you many, many times JB: stop reading this blog and go find something else to do with your time if this blog causes you so much consternation.

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  25. Gary

    Flat out answer –

    You protest too much. You don't tolerate criticism well at all. You brook no dissent. You are right and everyone else is wrong.

    You are wrong.

    I shall be to you, according to your OWN rules . . .

    Your thorn in the flesh. At last, you share something with St. Paul.

    Of course, you can block me, since you have steadfastly refused, in very, very fundamentalistic fashion, refused to answer my specific queries and criticisms.

    You paint your own verbal/logical portrait, my friend. It is not flattering.

    Pax – jb

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  26. re: “You have a very shallow understanding of science and the scientific method, as I have pointed out and you have breezed right past my saying so.”

    i've read your comments, and i've failed to see where you've made any substantive points about his understanding of science that have any relevance to the points of discussion.

    re: “…you revert to the same “one-trick” pony that was the mainstay of the liberals and historical cristicists of decades gone by. Do you know how old and discredited your position is?”

    my opinion is that you have failed to discredit that “one-trick pony”. and to my mind you haven't even addressed in any substantive manner any of the issues that arise from that “one trick pony”. all you've done is use smear phrases to imply you're right and gary is wrong, without addressing the issues he's raised. all you've done is deny there are any issues at first. then when that fails, you say those issues have been known a long time and are irrelevant, without addressing the issues. and now you claim that he's “shallow” for continuing view them as issues when you've done absolutely nothing to actually address the issues in any substantive way except for telling he needed to read some massive tome, without even a summary explanation of what is in that tome.

    in other words, i haven't seen you debate or discredit any substantive issue. what i see is you trying various psychological tricks to intimidate and manipulate him, without addressing the issues that he has. rather than explain, you belittle.

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  27. “In other words (! am supplying capital letters), I haven't seen you debate or discredit any substantive issue. What I see is you trying various psychological tricks to intimidate and manipulate him . . .”

    sgl – you have seen nothing of the kind. Perhaps your knee bumped into your chin a tad too hard a few times, but I have never tried to intimidate or manipulate him, least of all – belittle hime. Perhaps in your mind. I speak frankly and to the point, and I speak directly to the very words people say or write, as I am presently doing with you. Sorry your feelings got hurt.

    Quite to the contrary of you accusations against me, it is Gary who is quite good at doing such things to those who disagree with him.

    Your slip of subjectivity is showing.

    As to the “scientific method” – you apparently are rather selective in either your memory, or the comments you read. I was quite specific, and when you go back and read what I said, you will realize that.

    As to my using smear phrases – are you daft? Good God almighty, you whine like a politically correct weenie not getting their own way. Spare me your whine list.

    I have addressed the substantive issues, wizard, and I have gone quite a bit further, as have others. Gary rejects them. I mean, he is so “open-minded” and “objective” that no one is permitted to quote Scripture. Yada, yada – he sets the tone, but apparently you don't like me questioning the wisdom of Gary. I leave that last sentence at that, because . . . well . . . I suspect you would need some counseling for your hurt feelings.

    It is clear you know neither what is meant by a “one-trick pony,” or simple logic.

    You, as does Gary, need to read giant tomes of much material before you spout off as authorities in matters metaphysical. As I have said a number of times, the stuff Gary is proffering was old hat 40 years ago.

    sgl – besides your little whine list, which exhibits nothing scholarly, nothing instructive, and is pretty much the usual ad hominem from someone who either hasn't a clue, or failed debate 101 in high school, you really haven't said anything.

    So – unless YOU have something substantive to say, you ought to quit embarrassing yourself.

    Pax – jb

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  28. JB, JB, JB. You are such an obnoxious ass…and you can't even see it. Whatever religion you, and people like you, belong to…I want nothing to do with.

    Good bye and for the last time, stay the hell off my blog!

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  29. jb,

    you're a legend in your own mind.

    perhaps those that already agree with you think you've addressed issues, but any lurkers with honest doubts about biblical inerrancy can probably see right through your “debating” style.

    as for whining — hardly. i merely state you're unpersuasive to me.

    fundamentalists like you are a dime a dozen. i can browse the comment section of any forum discussing any controversial topic, and find innumerable jb clones. all demonstrating the same “christian love” and “fruits of the spriit” that you do.

    you might want to check out the book unchristian, which was a survey of what non-christian young people think about christianity these days. here's a comment that summarizes the findings:
    http://www.amazon.com/review/R8YIGA2YV38S5/ref=cm_cr_dp_title/191-5770556-7879428?ie=UTF8&ASIN=0801072719&nodeID=283155&store=books

    from your comments, i think you'd fit right in. perhaps it is you that should be embarrassed and stop commenting?

    you see, an increasing number of young people today are seeing thru to the core of people like you and the ideas they represent. which is why church attendance is declining, why so many young people leave the church and most don't come back.

    of course, i can predict your response will be something along the lines of “they hated jesus because he told the truth too.” perhaps. or perhaps, as gary says, you're just an obnoxious ass.

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  30. rather than just a link, here's the text of the entire comment that summarized the book unchristian:

    ———-
    http://www.amazon.com/review/R8YIGA2YV38S5/ref=cm_cr_dp_title/191-5770556-7879428?ie=UTF8&ASIN=0801072719&nodeID=283155&store=books

    169 of 188 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars good news gone bad, January 9, 2008
    By Daniel B. Clendenin
    This review is from: unChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity… and Why It Matters (Hardcover)

    In his book The Heart of Christianity (2003) Marcus Borg of Oregon State University describes how his university students have a uniformly negative image of Christianity. “When I ask them to write a short essay on their impression of Christianity,” says Borg, “they consistently use five adjectives: Christians are literalistic, anti-intellectual, self-righteous, judgmental, and bigoted.”

    Christians might object, rather defensively, that it's unfair to draw sweeping conclusions based upon the report of one person. If you think that way, you'd be right in your logic but wrong in your conclusion. A new book called unChristian (2007) by David Kinnaman of the Barna Group presents objective research that supports Borg's subjective anecdote. Kinnaman's three-year study documents how an overwhelming percentage of sixteen to twenty-nine year olds view Christians with hostility, resentment and disdain.

    These broadly and deeply negative views of Christians aren't just superficial stereotypes with no basis in reality, says Kinnaman. Nor are the critics people who've had no contact with churches or Christians. It would be a tragic mistake, he argues, for believers to protest that outsider outrage at Christians is a misperception. Rather, it's based upon their real experiences with today's Christians. In addition to their statistical research, the book includes anecdotes from people who were interviewed, follow-on comments at the end of each chapter by some 30 Christian leaders, and reflections about why we've come to such a place and how we might make it better.

    According to Kinnaman's Barna study, here are the percentages of people outside the church who think that the following words describe present-day Christianity:

    * antihomosexual 91%
    * judgmental 87%
    * hypocritical 85%
    * old-fashioned 78%
    * too political 75%
    * out of touch with reality 72%
    * insensitive to others 70%
    * boring 68%

    It would be hard to overestimate, says Kinnaman, “how firmly people reject– and feel rejected by– Christians” (19). Or think about it this way, he suggests: “When you introduce yourself as a Christian to a friend, neighbor, or business associate who is an outsider, you might as well have it tattooed on your arm: antihomosexual, gay-hater, homophobic. I doubt you think of yourself in these terms, but that's what outsiders think of you” (93).

    Gabe Lyons of the Fermi Project who commissioned the Barna research remembers his first look at the data. “I'll never forget sitting in Starbucks, poring through the research results on my laptop. As I soaked it in, I glanced at the people around me and was overwhelmed with the thought that this is what they think of me. It was a sobering thought to know that if I had stood up and announced myself as a 'Christian' to the customers assembled in Starbucks that day, they would have associated me with every one of the negative perceptions described in this book” (222, his italics). Sad to say, Marcus Borg was even more right than he knew.

    ———-

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  31. Yes, if is very sad that a movement started by a man who told us to love our neighbors as ourselves, to be compassionate, to be forgiving, to give the shirt off our backs to a neighbor in need, is now known more for their negativity and down-right nastiness.

    Like

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