An OPEN LETTER to Evangelical Christianity (pt.1)
Dear Evangelical Christianity,
This isn’t a letter from an outsider.
This is a letter from one of your kids that has left.
You see I was born into your home. Independent fundamental regular baptist to be precise, then to a regular baptist for my middle school years, then a southern Baptist for my high school years, then to a Church of God University, a Weslyan church post college, Baptist hip church in L.A. that hid their denomination behind a cool name, and ended my stay with you in “new” reformed churches. In between I traveled with a ministry going to every Protestant denomination you can imagine. But it was usually the evangelicals that I usually had a hard time with (my own “home” team.)
I’m writing to let you know I’ve left Evangelical Christianity for…Christianity.
I’ve left the Evangelical Church for …the capital C CHURCH.
I will always love you because my Grandma came from you and she introduced me to a faith that led me to being able to be clobbered by the PRESENCE of Christ.
And I owe you a lot of thanks- there are many things you taught me that were and are very helpful in my discipleship.
I do admire your love and devotion and passion and emphasis on the Personableness of God. You value community although because it doesn’t always come natural to you- you tend to force it with programs not looking for the deeper reasons of why it’s not organically happening.
But I’ve left your house for a bigger house.
I’ve left your god for a Bigger God.
I’m not saying you don’t worship God- of course you do. I just have come to believe you’re looking at God upside down, with one eye closed, or through a room dimly lit. I know you have super celebrity Christians in your camp. You’ve got best selling authors, genius theologians , so how could they all be wrong…well even Peter, whom Jesus said, he was going to build his church on …was wrong once or twice…Hell, he even reverted to a law based Gospel (which is no gospel at all)…and Paul has to rebuke him. (See Galatians)
So don’t get too swept away with the glam and glitter of your A-list Evangelicals. If Peter can be wrong…I assure you – your famous Evangelical Powerhouses can be wrong. You may think ex-Evangelicals like me have been excommunicated from the church, are a lost soul, lost cause, were never really saved, not the elect, or whatever you have to tell yourself so you’re in the position of being “right” while we who have left are “wrong”.
But we haven’t been kicked out.
We’ve been led out.
You see I mean no offense but I think Evangelical Christianity is on the clock. It may have served its purpose for a time. God was and is always will be able to work with what He has to work with. But, much like football, with each passing play, each passing generation, God is trying to get the football down the field. He’s trying to get us to come to a higher level of awareness of Him and understanding of the scriptures.
I love all of you. I know many of you. I’m great friends with a few of you. That will never change.
But you do have to know we haven’t left because we’ve lost our way. We’ve left because we’ve found a better way.
A way that doesn’t leave us sinners in the hands of an angry God, but a way that leaves us “sinners in the hands of a loving God” (see the book by the same title by (Brian Zahnd) You say God loves us but will murder us if we don’t become a “Christian” before we die.
You say Jesus came to love us in the NT but came to kill us in the OT. You see Hell as literal but reject even the possibility that it’s metaphorical. You see, your views have become your God. You (most but not all) tend to worship The Father, The Son, and The Holy Bible…Not the Spirit.
Your God has become “Being Right.”
Your God has become “Being Moral.”
Your God has become “Believing not Trusting.”
Your God has become “Knowing with your head not Knowing in Your heart.”
You read the Bible but with broken glasses. But it’s not your fault. This is how you were taught to read it. I love you family, but I have to say it: You’re reading it wrong.
God is only who Jesus said and revealed God is.
You don’t take Jesus as THE WORD OF GOD.
You take Jesus as A word in your God…the Bible.
See I’m not making any of this up. I’m not standing on my own words here. I’m standing on the shoulders of the True Word of God – Jesus Christ.
The one who commanded me to forgive my enemies – henceforth revealing a God who not only does the same…but IS the same.
This is not the God you preach. I know you’re offended by me saying Evangelical Christianity Needs to die.
But let me put it this way.
Exclusive religion needs to die.
Tribal religion needs to die.
Any religion that says God hates you needs to die.
Any denomination that says you’re separated from God needs to die.
Any doctrine that says if you don’t believe what I believe God is going to murder you needs to die.
Any belief that says the sacrifice of Jesus for our sins was to appease Gods blood lust – needs to die.
Any claim that the Justice and Judgement of God is punitive and not restorative needs to die.
And make no mistake it will.
Jesus came to be a sacrifice for Us – not for Him. He didn’t demand the sacrifice- we did.
Starting with the story of Abraham and Isaac and ending with The Father and Jesus…God has been shouting what he did through Hosea , “I don’t desire sacrifice- I desire mercy.”
Just like Jesus died, was buried, and rose again…. So…ALL the false ideas, pictures, images, and theologies of God that don’t match up with the God that Jesus came to reveal – need to die and be buried.
What needs to rise is the one and only image of God that Jesus came to reveal: UNCONDITIONAL COMPASSION
You see we didn’t leave your church because we didn’t like you. We left your church because we didn’t like your god. Because your god is not the God that Jesus came to reveal.
It’s time to jump in the DEEP END of God’s love,
David Leo Schultz (Writer/ Director of the movie Ragamuffin)