Fundamentalist Baptist Pastor Bill responds, part 3

Pastor Bill, a fundamentalist Baptist pastor and childhood family friend, is corresponding with me regarding my loss of faith.  He has kindly agreed to allow me to post his correspondence here on my blog.

I ask my readers to be polite to Pastor Bill.  Even though he has disagreed with my decision to become a Lutheran, and most recently, an agnostic, he has always been kind and polite.  You are welcome to post (respectful) comments below the post(s).  Whether Pastor Bill chooses to respond to readers’ comments is his choice as I know he is a very busy man.

I will intersperse my comments in red.

26 May 2015
 
Hello Bloggers,
 
Greetings in Jesus’ name, Thank you for the opportunity to visit a short time about some of the responses to my article to Gary. I appreciate the kindnesses shown to me and trust the reverse will be true also.
 
A couple of the people responding to the article said basically the same thing:
 
“since leaving the faith”
“While I’m no longer a Christian”
“I had been a dedicated Christian”
 
With all due respect you cannot “used to be a Christian” any more than you can “Used to be a person”. One cannot be a true Christian without having been born again and you cannot be un-born spiritually any more than you can physically. If a person is ever saved, he/she is always saved. If you are ever a child of God through repentance and the receiving of the Lord Jesus as personal Saviour, you are still saved. The question is are you an obedient child of God or a disobedient child? 1 John 2:19 (KJV) They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.   I know several who “Used to serve”; “Used to preach”; “Used to be (appear) faithful”.  I believe the Lord Jesus had some in His time also. Judas, for example, was one such but Jesus told us about such as these:
 
Matthew 7:

21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.  22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?   23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
 
 It does not surprise me to hear of others who say they have “left the faith” but that’s not new…tragic but not new. 
 
Nan mentioned that “believers tend to repeat what they have been told by their pastors and priests . And those ….simply repeating what they have been told…”

There is some accuracy to that statement, it’s called history and it’s recorded in book and in lives and passed on. Is that not where you received your information? Someone taught you what he/she had been taught and they taught what someone had taught them etc etc etc. I doubt there are many people on the planet who actually saw these things happen or knows someone who saw it etc. On the other hand there is a God in heaven Who gave us great insight into history (His story) and prophecy that is perfect in all…Peter tells of being on the mountain with Jesus, James and John there seeing Moses and Elias. WOW!! What an experience that must have been but wait….This eye witness, Peter, said I have something better, 2 Peter 1:19 (KJV) We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:….take a moment to realize Peter said, “…ye do well that ye take heed…” A word to the wise is sufficient……

As for the facts lining up, it all depends upon what and Who you’re lining up with. If the professor in college was a believer he taught one thing if he was an agnostic he taught from a different perspective. Much of what you and I believe actually comes down to faith. I believe that “In the beginning God…” and most of the folk reading this believe in ???????

I don’t think that most atheists and agnostics take issue with Christians, or persons of any religion, believing their Faith’s supernatural claims, such as virgin births, walking on water, and resurrections, by faith alone.  What skeptics take issue with is when religious people claim that there is historical evidence to back up their supernatural claims; that this evidence is so strong that we and every other nonbeliever on the planet should believe their supernatural claims; and, we and every other non-believer on the planet should believe their particular religion’s supernatural claims to the exclusion of all other religions, and if we do not, we will be eternally tortured by their god.

“Science”, someone screams….. The Bible and science have no problem as long as it’s real science and not science “falsely so called” 1 Timothy 6:20 (KJV) O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:   Please don’t scientifically prove a  “prehistoric man”, “scientifically” built from a tooth, that ends up being a pigs tooth… or medical science that insists on bleeding our first president to death, or scientific geography that says the world is flat, or medical science that took hundreds of years to learn to put a patient to sleep before surgery when the Lord told us about that way back in Genesis 2:21 (KJV) And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;

Are you making these claims based on faith, Pastor Bill, or based on science?  If you believe the Bible’s Six Day Creation story by faith alone, we atheists and agnostics have no contention with you.  If, however, you say that there is evidence for this Six Day Creation, we must ask you to provide it, and, explain to us why the overwhelming majority of the world’s scientists, of all religious and political persuasions, say you are wrong.

I have examined this from “an outsider’s view” for 21 years prior to being saved…. All I came up with is an empty liquor bottle, a marriage on the rocks and a son that was scared to death of me. I took the Lord at His word, trusted Him as my Saviour and was wonderfully, gloriously saved…. Not perfect but saved, for time and for eternity. I was changed from the inside out, top to bottom…not perfect by a l-o-n-g ways but saved and serving the Lord Jesus….with that same wife. Last Sunday (24 May 15) we celebrated 51 years of marriage…I know it works…put it in a test tube, on a mantle, in a history book….the Bible works…. God’s Word Works!

Dear Pastor Bill:  If the fundamentalist Christian belief system has given you a happier marriage and a happier life, we do not want to take that away from you….as long as…you keep it to yourself and do not threaten us or others with negative consequences for rejecting what we see as simply your opinion.

But if you really want to know the truth, and nothing but the truth, as you said in a earlier comment, we must ask you to provide actual evidence for us to discuss and debate, and not appeals to faith.  We cannot debate matters of faith, as we believe that “faith” is simply a polite term for a supernatural superstition, and supernatural superstitions, by definition, cannot be evaluated using the laws of science, reason, and evidence.

In Christ and Happy,

 
Pastor Sutton, Wm

Col 2:6

 

 

 

 
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2 thoughts on “Fundamentalist Baptist Pastor Bill responds, part 3

  1. Pastor Bill is a firm believer in “Once Saved, Always Saved”, so since I, Nan, and Nate say that we are no longer Christians, it is impossible, to him, that we were ever saved to begin with. He, like most fundamentalist Christians, starts with the assumption that it is impossible for his Christian worldview to be wrong, and then sets out to make sure that the evidence he encounters conforms to his worldview. All contrary positions are rejected, not because he can present evidence to refute them, but because in his mind, contrary positions are utterly impossible, and therefore do not require evidence to refute them.

    I would bet that Pastor Bill has a very different standard for evaluating the “evidence” for Islam, Mormonism, or Hinduism. He would probably take one brief look at it and then brush off the supernatural claims of these religions with a simple wave of the hand, declare them as sheer nonsense, and never give them a second thought. However, based on the very shaky, very outdated “evidence” he has so far presented he asks us to abandon our disbelief and believe in Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

    But the question we skeptics must ask Pastor Bill is this: Why should we take your faith-based beliefs any more serious than that of the Muslims, Mormons, Hindus, and followers of other Faiths?

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  2. Hi Bill,

    Thanks for the kind response. I won't take the time to debate the finer points of “once saved, always saved” with you, because it's a side issue to the main topic here. But I'm sure you're aware that there's a wide assortment of views about this issue even within Christianity.

    I also want to echo Gary's sentiments concerning the personal benefits you've gained through Christianity. I think that's wonderful, and I'm glad that you're living a happy and fulfilled life. However, there are many happy, fulfilled people who are not Christians. There are also many moral people who aren't Christians. In my experience, I've found that it's not so much a particular religion that leads people to living morally and fulfilled lives; rather, it's simply taking the time to be thoughtful in how one should approach his/her life. Some people decide that Christianity should be their basis, while others settle on Buddhism, Islam, or humanism. Regardless of where one settles, it's the process of examining one's life that seems to be the deciding factor. How else could we explain those who claim to be Christians, but don't live morally and don't think deeply about the beliefs they ascribe to?

    Back to the main theme of this discussion (whether or not the Bible is true), it seems to me that many of your arguments in this post assume the answer to the question we're examining. You talked about “once saved, always saved”, but that's only true if you assume the Bible is true (actually, only if we assume your understanding of the Bible is true). You also talked about “correct” science — but again, that relies on the Bible being true. Science is just science. It's true that it sometimes overturns previously held positions, but that's exactly how science is supposed to work. If you're rejecting certain scientific positions for non-scientific reasons, then you've decided to live non-scientifically. You're welcome to do so, but it's going to be hard to convince people who are more scientifically-minded. Regardless, my main point is this: you're not really dealing with the question that's being asked, which is whether or not the Bible is true. If you really want to address that question, then you can't argue against a point just because it goes against a particular Christian doctrine. You have to accept the possibility that Christian doctrines may not be true.

    So perhaps we should back up just a bit? I think we should ask a couple of preliminary questions before we try to go any further in a discussion about Christianity:

    1) How do you believe a person finds truth? Is it something they have to look for, by examining the truth of various claims? Or do you believe it's something that is given to certain individuals? In other words, do you believe that God simply gives truth to people, or has he left it for us to find if we're searching for it?

    2) Can the Bible (and Christianity) be verified or falsified through examination? If we objectively study the evidence for and against it, can we come to the correct conclusion about it?

    Thanks,

    Nate

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