5 churchy phrases that are scaring off millennials

The statistics are in: millennials are leaving the church. And nobody seems quite sure what to do about it.

The statistics are in. The millennials are leaving the church, and nobody seems quite sure what to do about it.

I am one of them. Born in 1983, I belong to the wispy beginnings of the new generation. I turned 30 this year, and I’m raising two small boys. I hold within me both cynicism and hope. I left the church. I came back.

Here is what I can tell you about millennials: We grew up on easy answers, catchphrases and cliché, and if we’ve learned anything, it’s that things are almost always more complicated than that.

When I returned to church, it wasn’t because of great programs, alluring events or a really cool “café” set up in the foyer. I went back not because of what the church was doing, but rather in spite of it. I went back because I needed community, and because, thanks to a steady dose of medication and therapy, I was finally well enough to root through the cliché to find it.

But not all of us are there yet. For some of us, the clichés are still maddening and alienating. Recently, I asked my followers online for the five church clichés that they tend to hate the most. These were the top five responses:

“The Bible clearly says…”

We are the first generation to grow up in the age of information technology, and we have at our fingertips hundreds of commentaries, sermons, ideas, and books. We can engage with Biblical scholars on Facebook and Twitter, and it’s impossible not to see the way that their doctrines – rooted in the same Bible – differ and clash.

We’re acutely aware of the Bible’s intricacies. We know the Bible is clear about some things– but also that much is not clear. We know the words are weighted to a culture that we don’t completely understand and that the scholars will never all agree.

We want to hear our pastors approach these words with humility and reverence. Saying, “This is where study and prayer have led me, but I could be wrong,” does infinitely more to secure our trust than The Bible clearly says…

“God will never give you more than you can handle”

This paraphrased Mother Teresa quote has become so commonplace in Christian culture that I was shocked to learn that it wasn’t in the Bible.

Inherent in this phrase is the undertone that if life has become “more than you can handle,” then your faith must not be strong enough. We millennials may be a bit narcissistic, but we also know the weight of too much. We understand that we need help. Connections. Friendship. Sometimes therapy.

We know that life so often feels like entirely too much to handle. And we want to know that this is okay with you and with God.

“Love on” (e.g. “As youth group leaders, we’re just here to love on those kids.”

In addition to sounding just plain creepy, this phrase also has troubling implications. We may understand that we need help, but we certainly don’t want to be anyone’s project or ministry.

It may just be semantics, but being loved on feels very different than being simply loved. The former connotes a sudden flash of contrived kindness; the latter is simpler…but deeper. It suggests that the relationship is the point, not the act of love itself.

And really, that’s what we’re looking for: relationship –that honest back and forth of giving and receiving love.

Black and white quantifiers of faith, such as “Believer, Unbeliever, Backsliding”

Millennials are sick of rhetoric that centers around who’s in and who’s out. We know our own doubtful hearts enough to know that belief and unbelief so often coexist. Those of us who follow the Christian faith know that world around us feels truer than the invisible God who holds it together.

Terms like backsliding that try to pinpoint the success (or, more accurately, lack thereof) of our faith, frustrate us. We don’t want to hustle to prove our faith; we don’t want to pretend. We want to be accepted, not analyzed.

“God is in control . . . has a plan . . . works in mysterious ways”

Chances are we believe this is true. But it’s the last thing we want to hear when something goes horribly wrong in our life. We are drawn to the Jesus who sits down with the down-and-out woman at the well. Who touches the leper, the sick, the hurting. Who cries when Lazarus is found dead…even though he is in control and has a plan to bring Lazarus back to life.

You’ve heard us say that we like Jesus but not the church, and it’s not because we’re trying to be difficult. It’s because the Jesus we read about enters into the pain of humanity where so often the church people seem to want to float above it.

In the end, it’s not really about what churches say or don’t say. What millennials want is to be seen. Understood. Loved. It’s what everyone wants, really. And for this generation of journeyers? Choosing honesty over cliché is a really great place to start.

Check out our related article: “5 really bad reasons to leave your church.”

If you liked what Addie had to say in this piece, consider purchasing her recently released book, “When We Were on Fire: a Memoir of Consuming Faith, Tangled Love and Starting Over.”

Addie Zierman
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  • http://faithstreet.wpengine.com faithstreet

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  • thatblondegirl

    Actually, the phrase that talks about us not being tested beyond our strength IS in the bible. It is 1 Corinthians 10:13. “13 No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.” (NRSV) People have definitely oversimplified it, though. God said that if we go through trials, he’ll give us the strength that we don’t have on our own to help us through it. And the Mother Theresa quote (that is SO extremely true in my life) says, “God won’t allow me to be tempted beyond what I can bear. But sometimes, I wish He didn’t trust me so much!”

    • Abby Scott

      The verse is actually dealing with temptations, not trials. Trials, and sometimes big, overwhelming, uncomprehending, unfathomable trials, will come and they are almost impossible to bear up on our own. They show our need for God, and our humanity. If we could carry our weight by ourselves Jesus wouldn’t have had to gently remind us to “Come to me all who are weary and heavy burdened and I will give you rest.” Matt. 11:28
      Great article, I believe the Church is made up of broken people who all want real relationships, not jargon or catch phrases. We want real honesty, even if it looks sloppy and messy. But, truth in love needs to be told even in this context. We don’t need to categorize people and tell them if they are saved, not, or backslidden, we don’t know what God is doing in their hearts. But the Church does need to set a standard of behavior and as those who claim to follow Christ we need to check it with Scripture and if it agrees we need to move in that direction. However long and with whatever help that takes. If we claim to be believers then we are all on a journey to become more like Christ, and it is just that a journey, with the destination being Heaven. As we look at the Church we need to remember that however “fake” their attempts might seem the Church is made up of broken people who are also on this same journey and even though they might not go about it the right way all the time they too are learning. We just all need to give each other grace and freedom and love as we walk along the path with one another towards our destination hopefully doing as the Bible clearly says ;) : “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are
      being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes
      from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18

      • Grace Clifton

        that was a great reply. I like being able to see God and Jesus as not those who throw burdens on you and basically say “here you go, now deal with it, you’re a big [boy or girl], you can handle it”. From how the Bible portrays Jesus, that’s not him at all. he wept for us because he hated seeing our misery and misfortune. I really think Jesus doesn’t want us to live a life of hardship and toil.
        I definitely want love and honesty and real relationships with people. No more toil and fake persona’s. No more judging who’s saved and who’s not – because as you said, we can’t know this. Only God does. That’s what I’ve struggled with at the churches I’ve gone to. the pastors spoke as though they knew the truth and who was “in or out”, though only God can look on the heart. But you’re right, I’m sure God’s working with them along with all of us. We’re all learning together.
        Thank you for that final verse.

      • Tommy Marr

        Sorry Abby, but it is dealing with trials. Scripture states “let no man say when he is tempted that he is tempted of God; for God cannot be tempted neither will He tempt any man” (James 1:13) Otherwise, your points are good.

        • http://www.sarahstirman.com/ Sarah S.

          What about Job? Where God actually points Job out to Satan? God doesn’t tempt Job himself, but He led Satan right to Job’s doorstep. The scripture refers to temptation, and is horribly misquoted time and time again.

          • pbp

            and once again… you are all proving the author right. Stepping on each other so that you can prove them wrong with what your version or interpretation of the bible is. Good job guys… Faith in Christianity restored!! (EYE ROLL)

          • William R. Crisp

            We can have an exchange of ideas. We aren’t required to merely set around and smile at one another. A lively conversation is how growth in understanding can occur. (EYE WINK – LOL!)

          • JNCU

            I am going to quote you forever. thanks

          • Jonathan Johnson

            Do not put your faith in Christianity! For that is to put faith in men, and men will inevitably fail or lead you astray. Set your eyes on Jesus my friend, and He will bring you home. Set your eyes on the ways of men and the inevitable conflicts which arise between them of any sort and you will merely become caught in the middle. Do not let yourself be distracted, especially by things which don’t matter to you or anybody else in the scheme of things.

          • Tom

            True

          • Bob Edgar

            From what I’ve read, I see people lifting up people, encouraging one another.
            Interesting take on it PBP … eye roll … that’s funny :-)

          • Jonathan Johnson

            Satan is on all of our doorsteps, he doesn’t need to be lead to us (nor did God ‘lead’ him, as you put it), he can find us himself. Besides the point, you bring up Job as if to counter Tommy Marr’s refute to Abby Scott but then you affirm Tommy’s point and say that God doesn’t tempt Job. Indeed, so, what about Job?

          • Barbara O’Reilly

            God ALLOWED Satan to tempt Job. Satan approach God and said that God was protecting Job from trials. God simply removed his hand of protection from Job,

          • Jonathan Johnson

            Barbara.
            What is so unique about the fact that God allowed Job to be tempted?
            Have you ever met a man or woman who has never been tempted? I think not. So I’m afraid I don’t see your point. Don’t miss the message of the book of Job and become distracted.

          • Jason

            You’re right, he allowed Job to be tempted. What’s the big deal? Oh yeah and Job also lost all his livestock and the people tending them were killed. And there’s the little part about him losing all of his children to tragedy. And he also was covered with excruciating boils and sores. Woops, I also forgot that he lost his wife and three close friends, all in the name of boosting God’s ego! Nothing new here though. Happens all the time in God’s omniscient plans for us and we should be thankful.

          • Linda Charge

            Jason, do you think Job’s wife was spared and his 3 friends? Job’s life was more blessed at the last part of his life than the beginning. I didn’t read that his wife or three friends lives were taken. And when each destruction happened,there was one who lived to come and tell Job about it. Job loved God so much that he never blamed Him for all that happened to him.

          • cerenatee

            That didn’t make any sense to me as a child and it doesn’t make any sense today. First off, God sits around and conversates with Satan? Really? Then, not only do they converse, God feels the need to prove himself to Satan, because, of course, God can’t let Satan – the personification of evil – go around thinking God’s not awesome. And finally, since no man can hear the voice of God, who exactly overheard the conversation and wrote it down? The angels? It didn’t make sense when I was five, nine, sixteen, or twenty, at which point I found out it was just a poem with a great message and my faith in God started being restored. If I even remotely thought my God was as weak and easily manipulated as the God in Job, I’d be an atheist.

          • kcdad

            There is no “Satan” there are only “satans”: The adversary. is a literary device used to represent one’s conscience… Do you ACTUALLY think some fallen angel took a stroll in the wilderness with God incarnate, had a conversation with him, and was able to tempt him?

          • Mindy Juntti

            Hi- I was in a class about a year ago where we studied the Book of Job. It’s a very interesting read. Many Biblical and other literary scholars believe Job to actually be one of the oldest, if not the oldest book of the Bible. It reads very differently than most of the other books, even though Chapter and Verse numbers have been added like the rest in most translations. The book is thought to actually have been a play- and if you read it after reading Greek plays from about the same time period, it really puts Job in a lot of perspective. Obviously some authorities in the Council of Nicaea thought that Job gave an important perspective on the human relationship with God, so it was put into the Old Testament. Reread Job, imagining the characters wearing big masks, the neighbors who speak with him as a “Greek Chorus,” and in ampitheatre kind of setting and the whole book will change for you! Not that Job doesn’t have important things to say- it is grouped with the “Sophia” or Wisdom books of the Old Testament- I just really enjoy putting my Christian beliefs and learnings into a wider context.

          • JNCU

            Great view on Job. I thought about it before but never put it together.

            “Obviously some authorities in the Council of Nicaea thought that Job gave an important perspective on the human relationship with God, so it was put into the Old Testament.”

            Just a quick friendly correction. The Council of Nicea, 325 ad, had nothing to do with the Canon of Scripture.

            Nicea was a discussion about the full Deity of Christ.

            The New Testament Canon was discussed in Carthage, 398 ad.

            OT Canon comes from Jamnia, 90 ad

          • carlsan

            I’ve long thought the writer of Job was a playwright. Every time I read it I can visualize it on stage. It reads like a great courtroom drama.

          • Matt Kovach

            god and satan working together interesting

          • kcdad

            Job is a fable from Mesopotamia… LONG before Abraham.

      • Bill Smith

        While Mother Teresa’s statement is not in the Bible, consider how the opposite would be rather disheartening. As if we need to proclaim…”God forgot about you for a little while and you had it pretty rough. He might come back and remember you.” Pretty discouraging really! The truth is that God works all things for the good of those who love him! (That is in the Bible).

      • cerenatee

        Oh beautiful one, why do we have to “claim to follow Christ”? Why can’t we just follow Christ? Who are we proving ourselves to?

        “If we claim to be believers [still claiming] then we are all
        on a journey to become more like Christ, and it is just that a journey,
        with the destination being Heaven.” If A, then B, does not work in opinion. That is your goal as a Christian, and I respect that. I know you will not go wrong with that goal. But that is not my goal as a Christian. As a Christian, God speaks to me through the Holy Spirit and journeys with me in this life. My goal is relationship with Him and my destination is life with Him. He is my father, my papa, my everything. That’s my goal. I pray to the Father Christ prayed too. I walk in Christ to reach my Father. I could care less about heaven. I care about love and relationship with my Creator. Everything else will works itself out as long as my Father is my goal.

      • MartinGore

        Actually the Greek word is πειράζω (peirazō) which has an all encompassing meaning that covers both temptations and trials. Thatblondegirl is correct. And Addie is mistaken here.

    • JlyLarkspur

      My understanding of this passage is in the last part, just as you said. We may interpret that our burdens are too much for us to bear–but if we turn to God, He will give us the strength not only to endure, but even to overcome them. He does not promise it will be easy. We are to trust Him, nonetheless.

      • Neil Fix

        That’s exactly the point. We can’t do it on our own-but we’re not supposed to.

    • Cathy Farr Fothergill

      I have been in the position of caring for my brother in law as he died. Many people in their efforts to console and comfort us in our situation threw this misquote around like confetti. The scripture you refer to speaks of temptation. This is plain when you read it in context (read the whole chapter). I am NOT a millennial. As a non-millennial, let me say that I also find this saying to be offensive. It is usually spoken by someone who means well, but has never been through anything like what the person they’re saying it to is going through at the time. People mean well, but sometimes they just don’t know WHAT to say. In those times, it is often better to be there and say nothing….

    • Brandon Smith

      With a Bible that gives marching orders to believers that will lead the most faithful of us to a martyr’s death, it seems naïve to trumpet that God won’t “give us any more than we can handle”.
      I think the problem comes, as with most Christian phrases like this, when we begin to use scriptures to make ourselves and others feel better. Much like how people frequently misuse Jeremiah 29:11 to promise people that God has plans to prosper them (When in reality He was promising Israel he would utterly destroy them, and then build them back up), many “comfort verses” are taken out of context and misused to give us a sense of well-being and stability that God doesn’t really promise to his followers.
      Life is hard. Faith is hard. The Christian path is hard. I feel like Jesus says these things out of his own mouth far more than he promises that things are going to be “good”.

      • William R. Crisp

        Amen.
        Life can be very hard. We all shall face grief, sorrow, and shall weep for many things. But, one day we Christians will enjoy blessed peace forever in the presence of our Savior and Lord ! The former things shall pass away.

        • Guest

          Hard, but full of joy, midst the difficulties. Our present distress is not worthy to be compared with the joy we shall realize in heaven !!!

      • Bob Edgar

        Things are going to be good Brandon. Eternal Life, wipe away every tear, beating our swards into pruning hooks, the lion lying with the lamb, etc. It’s “going to be” good beyond our ability to comprehend it right now. Sure, this life has it’s struggles and difficulties but to spend eternity with God … in His presence … Face to face … It’s going to be really really good !!! … Amen !!!
        … that will lead most of us to a martyr’s death ,,, not with ya at all there?

        • Brandon Smith

          I didn’t say that Christianity leads most of us to a martyr’s death. I said it would lead the most faithful of us to a martyr’s death. The missionaries in prison in North Korea or being slaughtered in Muslim countries, for example. In the midst of being tortured, I don’t know what I would do if someone cheerfully chirped at me that God would never give me more than I could handle. But, that’s why the bible contains so many verses about not fearing those who can harm our bodies, but caring about what happens to our soul. God has victory over everything. But, not all of us witness that here on earth.

          • Bob Edgar

            c/p from your comment:
            … “will lead” the most faithful of us to a martyr’s death …
            Exactly what you said

    • David W

      You did a good job of describing that verse. We forget that God does his best work when we have more than we can handle. God wants us to know how much he loves us, and when we think we can handle life we leave him out of the picture. He will frequently let life get to be more than we can handle so he can show us his mighty love.

    • Overdrive Games

      Yes… it is in the bible, but the purpose of this article is people using biblical phrases at inapproppriate times.

    • auntiemajik

      I was just about to post the same reference. He allows us to be tested, as all people are tested, but he also gives us the tools of our faith to withstand and avoid those temptations/testings of faith.

    • bamcintyre

      Unfortunately, you never hear the testimony of those who can’t survive the test. Yes, we see the result millions of times over, but not the retoric. Then it goes from “will not let you be tested beyond your strength” right into “god works in mysterious ways.” Bullshit. There is no plan, there is no “test.” It’s just life.

      So when tens of thousands die of hunger every day, it’s god’s plan? When terrorists blow up a temple, it’s god’s plan? When children get cancer or hit by a car, it’s god’s plan? If so, there is nothing in that god for me.

      • Daniel Keller

        For every thing we see there are infinite number of things we don’t. To try and understand the mind of a being that exists beyond time and space is impossible. So limit yourself to this finite realm of existence. That if a Being, God, set in place laws that this universe and it’s inhabitants must abide by. Break these laws and there are consequences. From the simplest rules to the most complex volatile chemical combinations.” All things come together for for good for those who love God according to his purpose.” It’s easy to get pissed off at God. He’s supposed to be all powerful. And he is, but if he did everything for us it would defeat the purpose of our existence…we were created by God to create a world around us. We sinned. We failed. And the result is sickness and death Hate intolerance and immorality to all degrees….God did create a perfect world God is perfect. God is love. So when ever you read an article in the news of a bombing or shooting or sickness remember who the blame belongs to.. US.

        • Bob Edgar

          Well spoken.
          Amen

    • Paul John Martin

      This discussion is so interesting, because much of it talks past what Addie is saying! Two quick points:
      1] In the Greek, the word can mean “Tested” or “tempted.” They are closely related ( though I agree that the context here is more about temptation). Why do we think it has to mean one or the other, and argue about which it is? We are playing the “The Bible Clearly Says” game.
      2] We read a verse like that as boomers – or just Western Christians of any age – and automatically read it as singular. It is not. It is plural. We are to face the testing or temptation TOGETHER. That is part of God’s way. Addie and her fellow millennials often come back to find community, not a personal cureall.

    • kcdad

      IF you survive, “goddidit” and if you don’t survive… ???
      How do reconcile that thousands die every day because they couldn’t endure their “testing”.
      20 US veterans kill themselves every day.
      23,000 children die of starvation every day
      How many are unreported or unnoticed?
      How many die of cancer?
      How many die of violence?

      Religion is great if you are a survivor and don[‘t care what is going on around you. Not so great if you actually know what is going on and care.

      • Midge

        Answer to ALL suffering is SIN ! Mine, yours, man’s NOT God !

      • Daniel Keller

        For the wages of sin is death

      • Bob Edgar

        Maybe this ihas become a cliché but Christianity isn’t “religion”, It’s Truth.
        To say :
        “Religion is great if you are a survivor and don’t care what is going on around you. Not so great if you actually know what is going on and care.” … shows that you actually don’t know what’s going on in the minds of Christians.
        Being a Christian actually “induces” caring about all that is going on around us, ya know … Love your neighbor as yourself.
        Why didn’t you mention the fact that every 5 minutes a Christian is killed for no other reason than their belief in Jesus Christ? Or didn’t you know that? grouped into the violence category I guess?
        God created a perfect world for us to live in. We screwed it up. That’s how I reconcile that evil exists here and bad things happen. Not God’s doing, that’s on us.

    • Brian Sullivan

      Be sure to check out the context of 1 Cor 10:13. Paul has been writing about the trouble people in the Old Testament had in following God. After the verse, he talks about the Eucharist in the larger context of idolatry. I’m still trying to understand it all, but that verse in that context seems to have a different application than what I usually hear. The temptation seems to be want things other than God (idolatry) and the way of escape seems to be the Eucharist.

    • Andrew

      The real phrase should be “God will never give you more than He can handle.”

  • http://www.warrenbaldwin.blogspot.com/ Warren Baldwin

    This is insightful. I am one of the “older guys” that millennials react to, or against. I have three millennial kids, so I try to be aware of their thinking and perspectives. They are all practicing their faith (for which I am very grateful).

    Interestingly, most of these phrases have long been a turn-off to me, too. “the Bible clearly” says may be true, but too often it is used in a polemical fashion to prove a point or position, not to really ascertain truth.

    I am leery of the term, “God will not give you more than you can handle” b/c of how it is misused (by my understanding of what “The Bible clearly says” :). I believe it is used in reference to temptation to sin, not in reference to problems, emotional stresses, etc. I’ve NEVER heard someone use this when facing temptation; it has always been used in times of crisis and tragedy when a person’s emotional system is overwhelmed (such as during the loss of a loved one).

    Good post.

    • William R. Crisp

      Problems caused by anxiety; vexation of ones’ soul by the open-armed acceptance of sin in our nation’s culture will actually cause one to be tempted. It can even cause physical duress as well as the alluded to emotional duress.
      BUT,…what causes me more present duress are the comments in this article re: “Believer, Unbeliever, Backslider”. Our “conversion” to being a “believer” in the atonement of Jesus Christ , as opposed to being an “unbeliever”, is the very essence of what marks us as Christians. We as “believers” must relate to those hearers that we have been “saved from sin” and its damnation – and – we are compelled to impress upon the “unbeliever” the claims of the gospel so they will have the same hope. Unless that is, we really don’t LOVE them and could care less if they burn eternally in a devil’s hell for their sin.

      • Rebecca Cynamon-Murphy

        Not necessarily. I self-identify as Christian because i am inspired by Jesus and want to follow him. The desire to get right with God through the teachings of Jesus, through accepting him as my leader, through my trust in God that leads me to act in Christ-like ways: these have nothing to do with what ideas I intellectually accede to. Beliefs just do not enter into it for many of us (even us Gen-Xers).

        • William R. Crisp

          The ideas you “intellectually accede to” must be in agreement with the teachings of Holy scripture else your faith is based on mere human rational understanding. We are tempted to embrace an existential, humanistic belief system that is opposed to a God-centered – a theistic belief system. I am glad you are inspired by Jesus and want to follow him. The desires you expressed – of wanting to be Christlike – have everything to do with what you intellectually accede to. Knowledge of God is not simply poured into your head magically. Knowledge of God is acquired through joyously acceding to Christ’s belief system and through diligent searching and studying of His written word. (I am confident you already know this though.)

          • Rebecca Cynamon-Murphy

            You just go on doing what you’re doing because it’s working for you. But the kind of paternalism that you are demonstrating is also what we’re talking about. Treat me like I know what I’m talking about. Neither you nor the Kingdom gain anything by making it seem like I agree with you. I do not support the idea that God wants us to form communities that exclude anyone from full membership based on what they believe.

            I am seeking God through the teachings of Christ, communication with God and fellowship with other people who are looking for the same things I am. Deciding who is in and who is out based on what they’ve found on their journey isn’t interesting to me and if that’s what someone’s church is about, then I’m not interested in it.

          • William R. Crisp

            God has already done the deciding re: “who’s in and who’s out” . My reaction springs from seeing the church turning away from bedrock beliefs to efforts at being politically and socially correct. Sin is till a breach of the Law of an Almighty GOD Who really is the Father God – like it or not. “The Bible clearly says” that in the last days men shall become lovers of self rather than lovers of God. The scriptures further state in that context that people will have “itching ears” and will give heed to myths, fables, and/or whatever else coming along that seeks to make them feel warm and fuzzy. I choose to believe the simple gospel of Jesus Christ. God became man to save sinful man from sin. Men and women without belief and surrender to the Lordship of Christ are enemies of God and there IS a judgement day coming. There is no other name given among men whereby we must be saved except the Name of Jesus . I DO NOT believe in excluding anyone who is genuinely seeking a relationship with Christ.
            The Holy Bible clearly says – from the lips of the apostle Peter, under the inspiration and anointing of the Holy Spirit: “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the Name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2.38) Worked then, works now, will work until Jesus returns for a holy people living above sin.
            You said, “Neither you nor the Kingdom gain anything by making it seem like I agree with you.”
            Your beliefs are yours. Matters not to me if you don’t agree with me. What does matter to me is that I know what I believe is scriptural and will get me to heaven. It also matters to me that others hear the truth of the Way and live a holy life for Jesus the Christ of God the Father.

          • Rebecca Cynamon-Murphy

            Yeah. We’re done here.

          • Steve Jackson

            iI am a Christian. This is exactly the type of dialogue that this article addressed in part. Nowhere, when u study tge life of Jesus do you see him slamming sinners with scripture down their throats. What Jesus used to reach people was real selfless love through relationship. The only people he judged harshly were pharisees. These were religious leaders who “had a form of godliness, but denied its power”. The power to change lives, that Jesus did do successfully. He judged the pharisees because their hearts were wicked and sinful, even though they new the scriptures backward and forward. I’m sure they had labels for “sinners” too! But, Jesus never labeled anybody but those in positions of power religiously, who were hypocrites. Why were they hipocrites?? Because they were prideful in their self-righteousness, because they thought themselves better than sinners who didn’t have their title or have kept all the letter of the law perfect, thru performing all the law required. But, they had totally missed the point. Like Jesus told the “Lawyer” or man of the law, who was trying to get around loving his neighbor. Jesus tokd him that the law was summed up in “loving God first, with all of you, and your neighbor as yourself”. So, does a loving person shove Jesus down their throat or just build a relationship by showing them Jesus by JUST loving them and treating them like they matter. This is why people followed Jesus, and what will make people want to follow you to Jesus. Not by how well you know the Bible. Most people could care less about what you say. They want to see Jesus lived out in a non-conceited or prideful way. But, in humility…like you are human too, like you dont have it all figured out. That you love God, and that because of this, and what Jesus did, you love and accept me too. Ifyou can do that, then maybe ill be able to hear you tell me through love all the stuff about sinand an “Almight God” whose very existence is love…”God is Love.” Yes, he is also just. But, thewhole readon Jesus cam was to bring healing, redemption, and most of all Love! He didnt come tobring condmnation and judgement. Check out John 3:17. An all too pften overlookef scripture. Like my pastor says, people want to see on the shelves of the church what they see in the window advertised. They want the Jesus they have read, heard, or know about lived out by human hands and feet…then voice. Jesussaid…”they will know your my disiples by your Love.” In other words…they will see Jesus when we love like Jesus!

          • Steve Jackson

            Oh and my last post was directed to William. Hope u like what i said helps you Rebecca.

          • William R. Crisp

            Steve,
            I am complete agreement with your final conclusions. Jesus did indeed say in John 13:34-35

            “34) A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
            35) By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
            You know what ? The Holy Bible “clearly says” this .
            I Love you, my brother. I Love all the other folks whom I have replied to in this blog.
            My concern is that articles like this author has written and her book are only serving to fill her pockets with cash from book sales. The sort of criticism of the church’s efforts at reaching the hurting and the eternally lost are discouraged by this. The enemy of our souls – Satan – does not want us to speak to anyone about their need for a Saviour. He knows that Jesus is the only Way to peace with the Father God. One of the enemy’s tools at discouraging us is to make us fearful of telling others the Good News.
            If we are OVERLY concerned about what to say, we may never say anything.
            As a pastor for many years, I learned this much. Every single neighbor of mine had times of severe hurt and distress. They needed someone to care enough to come and give them the words of hope.
            Let us NOT be overly concerned about how we say. I know from experience that the words of the Holy Bible delivered in love to others in need God will use to minister in ways beyond our comprehension. Have a wonderful and joyful time serving Him by serving others.

          • blairw

            “Jesus did indeed say…” Knowing the gospels were written some 40-60 years after the resurrection, can we still say Jesus literally said any of it? I think we do the canon more justice by stating right up front, “According to the gospel writer we know as (Matt, Mark, Luke or John) Jesus said …”

          • Cathy Farr Fothergill

            Amen, from a “boomer”. The harshest thing Jesus said to non-Pharisees was “go and sin no more”.

          • C-Harmon

            That’s a shame since even the scriptures say “come let us reason together.”
            I would say you have stepped out of your inclusiveness and judged others as wrong and therefore refuse to discuss OR learn truth except on your own terms,.
            Yet there is no basis or authority for your position.
            I do hope you reconsider.

          • scat

            Don’t you see that you are judging Rebecca? And you are assuming things she did not address. She does not judge anyone in her statements. But she wants to avoid those who jump down her throat and tell her she’s wrong. What is right and wrong can be very elusive, particularly in terms of particular church doctrines and claiming you are right and others are wrong is the kind of judgmentalism that gets Christians in trouble with each other. I think most of us don’t have a clue what is right/wrong in doctrine and I don’t much care. I think God is a lot more concerned about how I conduct myself with Him and how I treat others.

          • C-Harmon

            I indeed did judge Rebecca – as St. Paul tells us to do. But prior to that, I read all her posts and my post stands correctly as is. You will not find a docile, mealy-mouthed noodle in my writings. They are the result of training in theology and since this is an imperfect medium to even have a discussion of this magnitude, it is all we can do. SO when one says “discussion over”, they are asserting their correctness and the other persons incorrectness. It has nothing to do with feelings. IT simply shuts down “reasoning together.”

            The biggest problem with your posting though, is it is filled with “I think”. If you were to study church history, theology, sacraments, the early church, you would have knowledge of what I was talking about. My training did this.

            But I was calling out the authority issue primarily. When you make statements, by what authority are you making them? If you are doing them based on what YOU think, there is no basis in fact, nor will there appear to be any clear right or wrong. It will simply be your opinion. And in God’s kingdom, opinions do not matter (or did you not read the Old Testament to find out the nature of God?)

            Yes God is Love. But he is not our “buddy”. And he emphatically cannot and will not abide sin in his presence or his followers. That is what confession and penance is for. That is why Jesus gave Peter the command, that whatever they loosed on earth would be loosed in heaven and whatever he bound or cast out on earth would be so in heaven.

            IF you do NOT have a clue to right “doctrine” , then you need to find the Catholic Church, because in her rests all the fullness of the faith and all the truths given by God. There is no other Church that can lay claim to that. And there has been other “church” that has existed from the beginning with Christ and fought the fight to preserve that which was given by Jesus as pure doctrine.

          • scat

            Chic — If you want to believe that everything you claim to be true is the absolute truth, that is your right. Your narrow set of beliefs will be subject to others’ criticism and if you are fine with that, that is also your decision. I disagree that anyone can have the absolute truth on spiritual matters. that is why I don’t speak in absolutes. Personally, just because someone studies a subject for many years that just does not make them the possessor of truth. I could study the tail of an elephant for a lifetime, yet know very little about the elephant. You criticize me for not basing my opinions on what the Bible teaches. You have no idea where my opinions come from or what I have studied. My thinking would indeed be primitive if I had studied nothing. Yet I have in my long lifetime met many unstudied people who behaved more Christlike than many we see going to church everyday. It’s not that I don’t have a clue about your doctrine, I simply don’t care. Actions speak louder than words and when someone acts mean and dictatorial to others, this is just not a person who will have influence with me.

          • C-Harmon

            You don;t speak in absolutes because you lack passion and principle and are not connected to any authority to back your opinions.
            I speak both with passion as well as the authority of the Church by pointing to Christ and her as the arbiter of the truth. When one knows Christ in the breaking of the bread, things are never gray.
            Only those trying to please all that have not known truth would be equivocating as you seem to be…except when attacking me for stating my position.
            And in all my LONG years, I have had many such experiences with those who really didn’t know what they believed and acted in a very similar fashion.
            A brother seminarian years ago had a habit of preaching on the train on his way into work in New York every day. He never spoke in uncertain terms, as you propose I should do rather he was direct as only a New Yorker can be.
            He had a tremendous ministry there. And still does.
            Others who have NOT been so direct have failed miserably in that their parishioners were one way at church (appearing holy) and another in the world during the other 6 days (very worldly).
            I think the results speak for themselves.

          • scat

            I am really sorry that you just can’t seem to get past your hatred of other people. Tearing people apart is not part of what Christ tried to teach us. You are no more qualified to judge and condemn others than anyone else than anyone is, not matter how long or how much you have studied., Yet you keep trying to claim some sort of Christian superiority. You claim to have all truth, yet we see nothing of Christlike love from you. I am sorry that you seem unable to unburden yourself. You seem to be trapped by the certainty that you require of others as well as yourself.. The problem with “certainty” is that you run the risk of being wrong and being unable to accept that in yourself.

          • EGA

            IMO, she uses “I think” to make it clear that this is HER experience… and you really don’t have any call to be judging her personal experience or personal testimony of faith. Jesus told a story that shows personal testimony is sacred (the parable of the rich man in hell… where Abraham told the rich man that if the testimony of believers wasn’t enough for them, then there was no solution.)

            It is our personal testimony of faith and salvation that gives us some degree of authority. She is not espousing scripture: she is telling of her own experience. Which is VALID, and it’s interesting too. And I think the first few paragraphs are especially sweet as she describes her struggle.

            You do sound an awful lot like the Pharisees who thought that rules were more important than anything else.

          • C-Harmon

            You are so wrong on so many counts I can’t even answer you.

            You do not speak the language of the Catholic faith once delivered 2000 years ago. Therefore your opinion holds no weight and is not worthy of a detailed response.

            The pharisees pointed to themselves as holy. I point to the Church Catholic (there is no other) and Christ, and only quote them.

          • C-Harmon

            if you truly don’t care, why do you keep responding here??? You can probably add calling you a hypocrite to the charges you have leveled against me..

          • jayceegrey

            Beginning with “God has already done the deciding re: “who’s in and who’s out” ” – yeah, Christianity as a whole cannot agree on this, so obviously the Bible does NOT clearly say it. There’s predestination theology, there’s Arminian free-will theology . . . . we’ve been fighting about this for over 2000 years. Think maybe it isn’t QUITE that clear?

            Point. totally. missed.

          • William R. Crisp

            What I meant by stating that God has done the deciding was NOT to imply any sort of predestination theology. I am referring to the fact that the Bible is clear as to what will be the outcome of our choices. If we sin we will reap the consequences.
            And regarding the fixation on these “phrases”, the problem is that we who have the responsibility to go into the harvest field and win souls are NOT doing so.
            If we would but try, even our frail efforts God will take and use to His glory.
            I am concerned that it is not so much our phrases that turn people off as the problem being our “absentism” in the harvest field.

          • jayceegrey

            Yes, except theologians have been discussing just how literal Hell is for the same 2000 years. The harvest field – that is our own lives. There’s no place to GO, just share the joy & love you have received with others. The phrases are completely unnecessary, and as the article explains, counter-productive.

          • William R. Crisp

            The harvest field I refer to is what Jesus refers to when He told His hearers to pray the Father to send out workers into the field for the harvest is already ready to be reaped. He was and is referring to the obvious : making disciples of all nations. I seriously don’t believe that He died the cruel death on the cross and was raised from the dead the third day merely to give us “the joy & love you (receive) with others”. Yes mankind has been discussing the literal Hell for over two millennium. Just because men have talked negatively about a fact does NOT make it any less real.
            The apostle Peter in his second epistle : “knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” (2 Pe. 3.3-4).
            2 Peter 3:10-11
            “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness.”
            And this passage – Rev 20:10, 14-15
            ” 10) The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”
            And these –
            “14) Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
            15) And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”

            Now , sir, I can see by your comments that you are well schooled in religion, and these quotations will more likely not be helpful – I post them in this blog for others who may be reading and who may be honestly searching and in need of the truth. Me – I’M going to Heaven; want to go with me ?

          • rickr1955

            Hey, way to go there bill, you just shut down another human being and excluded them from your heaven. (see Rebecca below) Guess what bill, we’re all pretty glad that it’s not you sittin’ on the throne there guy…if you get my drift.

          • John M Wells

            For a relevant author check out Rob Bell. He has written great books like Love Wins and What We Talk About When We Talk About God. William Crisp you might like some Rob Bell.

          • Dee Bigelow

            Um, the Holy Spirit has something to do with the difference between human rational understanding and the true knowledge of God. No Holy Spirit, no true knowledge and no true understanding. Even the demons believe that Jesus exists.

          • JNCU

            Dee

            Rob Bell is a post modern. He doesn’t believe we can understand ancient writings. All hus opinions about the Bible are base on how he feels. Not on authors intent.

            Check Ben Witherington’s review of his book. Professor Whitherington actually likes Rob. His comments are aim at Rob being objective for the Kingdom of Christ.

        • C-Harmon

          there was reason to why the Church wrote the creeds: to be sure that those who CLAIMED to be Christian actually WERE Christian. So many in the early centuries of the Church tried to play down so many aspects of her doctrine and to introduce strange teachings tot he Church that the Fathers, and doctors of the Church found it necessary to establish specifics t hat identified those who were believers/members, and those who were not, and were only there to cause dissension and discord.

          Rebecca, Paul taught Doctrines; Peter taught doctrines; Jesus taught doctrines. If you are only associating with those that inspire you, and are against paternalism because it is an AUTHORITY over you,and if you are only “interested” in communities that allow FULL membership to ALL regardless of their condition, then you are NOT part of the body of Christ. Because while he accepted everyone, and included everyone, one of the first requirements was repentance. Everyone hones in on Jesus telling the woman caught in adultery “neither do I condemn you” and they refuse to remember the next part: “go and sin no more.” Same with the woman at the well.

          Jesus further told the apostles to teach everything he taught them verbally. He maintained the rigors of his Jewish faith, obeying the commands of God, while condensing the commands to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart soul mind and strength”, and then AFTER that, Love your neighbor as yourself.

          If you do not love God completely – body, soul, mind and strength (i.e. bringing all those functions under the Lordship of Christ) then you cannot love your neighbor fully.

          So it IS ideas, namely DOCTRINES that you MUST accept, but must also ACCEDE to in order to enter the kingdom of heaven.

          Christianity is not some boutique philosophy that you can pick and choose what to believe or not. It is very specific in what you are to believe. And what you are to do to love and serve God.

          Perhaps that is the problem with Millennials and gen-x’ers in that they think it should be something THEY should like and agree with, rather than the command of God and obedience. I am seeing that a lot in these new generations.

          You may certainly believe what you want, but do not delude yourself into thinking you are doing what God wants, just because you are doing what YOU think is right. You really need to get in touch with The Church in order to know what you should believe and how you should live. (When I say The Church I mean the Catholic Church since she is the ONLY body that has the compete faith once handed down from the apostles. And the Orthodox as well.)

          • jayceegrey

            HUGE correction here. Jesus never addressed the sin of the woman at the well. He simply offered her the water of life, and told her that he was the Messiah. When I realized this (not very long ago, actually), it was life-changing for me.

            15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

            16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”

            17 “I have no husband,” she replied.

            Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

            19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”

            21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

            25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

            26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”

          • William R. Crisp

            Read on.
            When she went to tell the whole town that she had found Messiah, she said,

            “Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ ?”

            To be confronted by the Christ is to be made aware of our sinfulness.
            The Holy Spirit seeks to convince us of our sin.
            This is not to condemn us but to enable us to see ourselves as we really are.
            Unless we see that we are full of sin, we can see no need of a Saviour – no need of a Messiah to redeem us for God the Father.

          • jayceegrey

            But he didn’t tell her to go & sin no more, that was the original claim.

          • http://www.vajaah.com/ vajaah

            Jayceegrey I think Chic Harmon was referring to the John 8:1-11 text when he said, “Jesus telling the woman caught in adultery.”

          • jayceegrey

            Both were mentioned.

            My point, which William so artfully made for me, is that so many people cry “Stick to the Word!!!” “If the Bible doesn’t say it, you can’t assume it!” And then when you point out that the Bible DOESN’T say much of what they’re teaching, they say “Oh, but it’s implied!”

            You don’t get it both ways.

          • C-Harmon

            Agreed.
            However do you think that is ALL they discussed or said?? I would think there would be more discussion with her and the same admonishment to her as the woman in adultery so that she too could enter into the fullness of grace once Jesus was resurrected. That would be more in line with his willingness to bring salvation and freedom to all, especially this woman who was active living in sin. Otherwise how would she know?
            Or are you saying that what is in scripture is ALL he said?

          • Julie

            This might or might not help someone…. and you might ridicule it or label me…. but, whenever I hear criticism of the church, I remember Matthew 16:18 that Jesus will build His Church. All building sites are messy and most people who go onto them, go to work. When people go onto a building site, they imagine the finished building. No-one complains about the mess.

      • rickr1955

        whew boy…not you again:(

        • William R. Crisp

          Oh yeah,…lol
          !

      • penzance

        The term “Christian” is mentioned only twice in the whole Bible and is never defined. The Bible is a complex book, and never clearly says that Christians are the “believers” or that non-Christians are the “unbelievers.” A Christian is a follower of Jesus.

        • William R. Crisp

          The first recorded use of the term is in the New Testament, in Acts 11:26, after Barnabas brought Saul (Paul) to Antioch where they taught the disciples for about a year, the text says:
          “. . . the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.”

          The second mention of the term follows in Acts 26:28, where Herod Agrippa II replied to Paul the Apostle, “Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.”

          The third and final New Testament reference to the term is in 1 Peter 4:16, which exhorts believers (that is disciples of Jesus of Nazareth) : “Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.”

          • penzance

            Okay, 3, not 2. But as I said, there is no definition of “Christian” in any of those passages. I define a Christian as a follower of Jesus.

          • William R. Crisp

            Oh for heaven’s sake ! The term “believe” as a verb is used in the New Testament alone over 175 times. It doesn’t take a stretch of intelligence to understand that to believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ makes one a “believer”.
            To “believe” the truth regarding Jesus of Nazareth as being the promised Messiah , as God who became man to save us, is to be identified as a “believer”.

            We can believe any number of things: some truthful , some false. The Bible does teach that if we believe a “lie” regarding the gospel it is damning to the soul, as well as harmful to the mind and body.

            The passages I cited for you imply an understanding of what definition was accepted by those of the early church times. Herod Agrippa understood, along with others, what was a “Chistian”.
            Certainly the apostle Peter was using a term that was understood as meaning someone who believed in and followed and was disciple by the teachings and Spirit of Jesus the Nazarene.

          • jayceegrey

            “Even the devils believe . . . “

          • penzance

            You can “heaven’s sake” me as much as you want, but that still doesn’t cause the Bible to define “Christian.” You appear to be saying that Herod Agrippa’s definition of “Christian” is the correct one. I don’t know what Agrippa though about Christianity, or whether his definition, whatever it was, was correct.

            Jesus gave his “mission statement” when he read from Isaiah in the synagogue at the start of his ministry (Luke 4:18-21). “The Spirit of the Lord is come to me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Nothing about believing in his statement about his mission in the world.

            In the Lord’s Prayer, did Jesus teach the Disciples (and us) to pray for belief? No. Daily bread, forgiveness, God’s kingdom on earth, yes. Belief? Not important enough to be mentioned.

            In Mark 10:17-22 a rich man asked Jesus what he needed to do to have eternal life. Jesus told him to follow the Commandments. When the man said he had done that all his life, Jesus told him to sell all he owned and give it to the poor, and then come and follow. He told the man to act. Notice what he didn’t say to do, and that is “believe.”

            In the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:1-12, did Jesus say, “Blessed are the believers, for they shall be called Christians”? No. The core of Jesus’ teaching is in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew, and the Sermon on the Plain in Luke. Those sermons are not about believing, they are about what we must do.

            Luke 10:25-28, a man asked Jesus, “Rabbi, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus asked, “What is written in the Torah? What do you read there” The man answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus said, “You have answered correctly. Do this and you shall live.” Nothing here about believing.

            In Matthew 25:31-46 Jesus said that at the final judgment we will be judged on whether we fed the hungry, clothed the naked, gave drink to the thirsty, comforted the sick, visited the prisoners, and welcomed the stranger. Period. No mention at the Last Judgment of believing. If it isn’t an issue at all at the final judgment, it isn’t the most important thing, and it isn’t the definition of “Christian.”

            When Paul talks about faith he is talking about something more akin to “trust” than to “belief.”

            To be a Christian is to follow Jesus. That means to love God and love your neighbor; follow the Commandments; feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give drink to the thirsty, visit the prisoner, comfort the sick, welcome the stranger. Bring the good news to the poor; let the oppressed go free. That’s what it means to be a Christian.

            There was a door-to-door evangelist who came to Joe’s house, and the evangelist said, “Sir, do you believe in the Bible?” Joe answered, “Believe in it? Heck, I’ve even seen one!”

            It’s fine to believe, but faith without works is dead.

          • William R. Crisp

            “Christian” was first used as a term of derision. The meaning was understood by the citizenry of the early Christian church so no definition was needed. I am a Christian. I am a disciple of the Lord Jesus the Messiah. I am an adherent of His teachings. I follow Him daily.
            You wrote:
            “To be a Christian is to follow Jesus. That means to love God and love your neighbor; follow the Commandments; feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give drink to the hungry, visit the prisoner, comfort the sick, welcome the stranger. Bring the good news to the poor; let the oppressed go free. That’s what it means to be a Christian . . . . It’s fine to believe, but faith without works is dead…”

            I am hearty agreement with this.

          • penzance

            Maybe we have more agreement than I thought at first. The very best to you.

    • seek2Bmeek

      Temptation to sin is not the only way to understand “temptation” in 1Cor 10:13. The Greek word, peirasmos can mean: period or process of testing, trial, test, fiery ordeal, temptation or enticement. It is truly a word “pregnant” with meaning.

      Moreover, every passage in the Bible must be interpreted in its immediate context. And in the context of 1Cor 10, Paul does not limit “temptation” simply to “temptation to sin”. The context embraces, the incident at the Red Sea, their being fed in the wilderness, receiving water in the desert, hardships that moved them to grumble as well as temptation to sin by being idolatrous or immoral.

      Truly it would be difficult to think up an example of a “neutral” hardship that did not lead us to be tempted to doubt God’s goodness or His promises or grumble at some level against His providence or provision or become impatient with others or our circumstances. The point I am making here is that the human heart is quite sinful and finds it difficult to deal with hardships without exposing hard-heartedness at the same time. But the truth remains, the word itself does not limit “temptation” simply to “temptation to sin”.

  • William R. Crisp

    “We want to hear our pastors approach these words with humility and reverence. Saying, “This is where study and prayer have led me, but I could be wrong,” does infinitely more to secure our trust than The Bible clearly says…” ”

    I guess it is time these progressive days to be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ and of the Holy God Who condemns sin.
    The LOVE of God is shown and expressed when hell bound sinners – all of us – admit our sin, – breach of the law of God – and turn in sorrow FROM that sin.
    The gospel HAS NEVER been accepted by non-repentant mankind. Why must we frustrate ourselves and thus discourage ourselves seeking to appease the fickleness of those hell-bent on being more concerned with their social and political correctness than with LOVING an Almighty GOD ?

    “My Bible CLEARLY SAYS that GOD declares : “Be Holy for I Am Holy !”

    • L Davenport

      I HAVE to share what you have written! You have said this so well – and so CLEARLY! Thank you

    • maryparks

      My Bible also says: “He has told you, O man, what is good and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness,[a] and to walk humbly with your God?”

      The statement: “This is where study and prayer have led me, but I could be wrong,” definitely falls under “walk humbly” as I see it, and doesn’t infringe on the other 2 elements.

      • mike

        Sorry, but I lean toward the older generation. The Bible does encourage the preacher to “preach with boldness,” not to become another politically correct, touchy-feely commercial that the casual listener can tune out. We either believe that salvation is a serious matter or we don’t–are we to believe that prayer and study led this person not to have a defendable belief on any particular topic?
        And addressing the author, clichés and honesty are not necessarily exclusive of each other. Cliches become clichés because they are usually convenient and accepted ways to abbreviate longer truths.
        Personally, I believe the concept the author adopts is a bit on the arrogant and demanding side: I have more information than you, that may be true but it’s the last thing I want to hear, honesty needed, I don’t like how you say “love on,” etc. Please. I’d suggest you study the bible more deeply and get past the superficiality and smugness that seems to typify many millenials.

        • Sye O’Nara

          Amen! Salvation is a very serious matter; it’s something that we can lose, as the Bible clearly states. Thank the Lord Christ Jesus for the Sacrament of Reconciliation!

    • rickr1955

      Did you actually read the article, or just the title? Where on earth did you go to come up with these conclusions? Do you have reading comprehension issues?

      • William R. Crisp

        This is an “ad hominum” fallacy of logic on your part, Rick, and not even worthy of serious rebuttal.

  • Ricky Aldridge

    Honesty , as the Author asks for, requires me to say that her generation is so confused because of the many signals that have been sent out by parents who said once one thing but lived another that raised them. The Church they were raised in compromised also and dropped it standards ,with pastors and teachers now doing and accepting things they one taught and stood against. Because of this they are un-satisified with the religion being offered and either desire to make it more liberal, or desire to find something original again. I am one of those parents and Pastors. I have stood firm and remained faithful to what i have taught and believed from a child. My life i have tried to continue to live Godly and soberly and present as an example to my children and members. My children are not confused. They may not chose to live what God’s Word still teaches, but they know what it teaches.

  • Sandra Lou

    I understood that to mean without his help. Surely that didn’t mean more than we can handle on our own.

  • Teresa Wright Inman

    Best article my husband and I have read in a long time. Nailed it.

  • C-Harmon

    How very true…for Protestants. For Catholics we don’t have to worry about that kind of competition as God has preserved the Church and has added to it’s number (Myself included form the Charismatic Protestant) as more and more, through information technology, people realize that the Catholic church IS God’s Church mentioned by Jesus that he starts with Peter,(Petra, the Rock).
    Thank God for the Magisterium.

    • Michael Clark

      So what do you do with the Orthodox Church that Rome chose to separate from in the 11th century? Which one is the “true” Church that God has preserved? The one that is most like the Church that existed in the first few centuries of Christianity? Or the one that shouts the loudest that they are the “only” true church?

      • C-Harmon

        If you really believe that the Catholic Church left the Orthodox church, you are not as educated in Church history as you assume.
        It was mutually decided at the very least with the East’s refusal to recognize the bishop of Rome as Leader (even though all the major Sees turned to Rome to decide issues for the previous 9 centuries, as first among equals.)
        When the Cardinal planted the bull on the Orthodox altar,it was more a personal thing between him – as papal legate – and the Eastern Patriarch than the “Western Church against the Eastern Church.”

        The reasons for being the TRUE church have nothing to do with shouting, but with calling. Jesus called Peter to be THE ROCK upon which the Church was founded.

        The Orthodox Church, whether or not it is “most like” the Church of the first century or not (it isn’t), is the Eastern Church of Constantinople. The Eastern Church (Orthodox Church) has for all intents and purposes NOT had a clear and continuous line from the early Church as it has been largely “Nationalistic” (hence the Greek Orthodox, the Russian Orthodox, etc.) and they are each different from the others in practice. But like the Catholic Church, the same doctrinally.

        And even now the pope has reached across the prosperous to start talks with the Eastern Church about reunification.

        So your comment will probably be moot in the next few decades.

        But whatever happens, The Eastern Church can not claim the Petrine Commission instituted by Jesus.

        And they were both Catholic until only the century preceding when the Orthodox started to resist the Authority placed in Peter and his line.

        Oh and that little thing called the filioque that nearly added language to the creed that was already evident in the scriptures, giving the Holy Spirit his due in the Trinity as one God. Seems to me that the Orthodox went off in a huff over semantics….

        • Andrew Lee Williamson

          peter is not the ROCK that Jesus built the church on. in the original
          language peter was (petras) as you stated before and the rock the was
          founded was petros. two very different words, one being a small rock,
          petras, and the other a large foundation, petros. to prove it i will
          ask you a question. if Jesus’ church and kingdom are to be eternal and
          everlasting, why would he build it upon something that would die and
          decay? cause eventually peter died, and if he is dead then wouldn’t that
          mean that the foundation of the church has gone bad? what he did build
          his church upon was the confession that peter made that Jesus was the
          Christ/Messiah and the Son of God. the faith and belief behind the confession of Jesus as
          the Christ is the greater foundation than the flesh of man. and if you
          want to know where the true church is, compare which ever church it is
          that you go to with what the bible teaches. if the two are conflicting
          then something is wrong.

          • C-Harmon

            Oh Andrew. The anger and hate are palpable in your response.

            Which “church” decided the canon of the New Testament? The Baptist Church? Presbyterian? Lutheran? Methodist?

            None of those. The Catholic Church did – in council, and the Orthodox were part of the councils at the time.

            You expose your ignorance of Church History. But even worse, you deny that God has been involved at all in the Church during the 1400 years prior to the Reformation. HE was very much alive IN the Roman Catholic Church since the time of Peter.. And just as St. Paul passed on the spirit and mantle of priesthood to Timothy and those who followed after him, so too God passed the mantle of the Prime bishopric from Peter by the laying on of hands,

            There is NO conflict between the scriptures and the Roman Catholic or Orthodox Churches. The Roman Catholic Church wrote the scriptures and collected them and decided – in council of bishops – which books were to be included and which were not.

            There is not one protestant denomination that was there. They had NOTHING to do with the formation of the Church, the fighting against the heresies that tried (unsuccessfully) to invade the Church. In fact, there was NO one there but Catholics. Imagine that. And guess who else was there? God himself. The holy spirit kept the Church and her doctrine pure regardless of the sins of men.

            You are wrong about the interpretation of the Petra issue. the Church has declared it to be referring to Peter. It does not refer to a declaration. How do the gates of hell prevail (or not) against a persons word??

            You have been misled.

      • C-Harmon

        Michael: The CO-excommunications (Each excomunicated the other) was lifted in 1965 by PopePaul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras, following their historic meeting in Jerusalem in 1964..

        For your edification and education:

        http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13535a.htm

        http://orthodoxinfo.com/general/greatschism.aspx

    • Sye O’Nara

      I, too, was added to the Church’s number…from a Southern Baptist background. I now enjoy the Fullness of Truth, instead of one of 37,000+ protestant denominations (as of 2004) [World Christian Trends].

      • C-Harmon

        Welcome home Sye! It was a struggle for my American Protestant Christian mind to grasp the fullness, but once I went to a Charismatic Episcopal seminary, and studied my Sacramental Theology and Church History courses, it became very obvious that I needed to “swim the Tiber” as they say.
        Now I don’t have to worry about interpreting scripture in my OWN way. I have the 2000 years of the church to get the proper interpretation and application.
        And the sacraments are a bonus in that they are also tools of strengthening my faith.
        Thank God it is not up to me anymore!!!

    • Silver Bear

      So if the Roman church IS God’s curch, then God must condone the sexual abuse of children. Sorry, that’s no church, it’s a corrupt hierarchy shielding pedophiles.

      • C-Harmon

        That’s a pretty unfair and ignorant statement.

        ALL churches, denominations, philosophical groups and religions have people/priests/ministers who abuse children. Not one is exempt from the sin of it’s people.

        So you are saying that none of those are churches? What is YOUR definition of a church? A sanitized empty building?

        As Paul wrote in Romans 3:20-27:

        20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

        21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;

        22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

        23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

        24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

        25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

        26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

        27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.”

        And that is all the proof-texting I will do for you. Now go back and stand in the corner. :)

        • Silver Bear

          Chapter blah, verse blah, text blah, blah, blah, conveniently overlooking the Roman church’s carefully orchestrated cover up. Sure, every INDIVIDUAL on the planet screws up to one degree or another, but it takes a malicious ORGANIZATION to perpetrate a decades long conspiracy.

          • C-Harmon

            And there are some people like you, that simply cannot reason out what is really important either.
            I refuse to argue with a brick any more. Have fun!

          • scat

            Your arrogant insulting remarks to other people here do not demonstrate what God would have us do. It apprears what you think is important is to grind others into the ground and then expect them to act like you.

          • C-Harmon

            The drama is appropriate I suppose considering the moniker you gave yourself here in Disqus.

            Does that refer to monkey scat? bull scat? horse scat? Or is it a short reference to “scattering” the flock?

            Either way, it seems most appropriate. And I am glad you are following me. Or perhaps not? ;) perhaps you will learn a thing or two.

          • scat

            I do not follow you, but sometimes I hit the wrong key. Your snarky response is precisely the reason I do not follow you.l It seems you may be the one that needs to learn a thing or two;. Did you ever think of the possibility that a “moniker” might be a test for the unwary. There are meanings to “scat” that have nothing to do with poop, but it says a lot when that is the first thing someone thinks of. The term also refers to a singing style in jazz, although that is not the reason I chose it. So you can either continue to use comments to tear others apart or learn to dialogue like a grown-up.

  • Pastor Tim Christensen

    Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! All of those cliches you mentioned have made me uneasy for years, mostly because it seems like they’re either a code to gloss over inherent inadequacies or they’re a language that’s used only make ‘insiders’ feel superior to ‘outsiders.’ Churches that continue to rely on such cliches (hip as they may think they are) run the risk of continuing to be misunderstood by anyone who hasn’t ‘bought in,’ leaving many ‘outsiders’ feeling like we were never really welcome in the first place. “Love on” is NOTHING but creepy — ask the kids themselves — and while I’ve never done it, I’ve often felt that someone who says, “God never gives you more than you can handle” deserves a punch in the nose and an equally obsequious, “Well, I guess God figured you could handle that.” [chuckle...] Kidding, of course, but Jesus didn’t speak in cliches, platitudes, or easy 1-2-3 steps any more than he spoke in clever marketing slogans. Until churches start to LISTEN at least as much as they speak, they will never hear the real needs of people who, as you so gently pointed out, have come back “not because of what the church was doing, but rather in spite of it.” Please hang in there, Ms. Zierman, because you can and will change the church by continuing to insist that it speak the truth in love rather than in cloying marketing cliches. The Holy Spirit insists on nothing less.

    • scat

      I agree with you about the inane statement that God only gives us what we can handle. If that were true, we would never need Him or anyone else. We wouldn’t need faith because of course we could handle it by ourselves, like a two year old insisting on doing it himself.

  • Jeff Skeens

    You nailed it. I’m a pastor and have been beating this drum, and often it seems that those who aren’t ‘in’ the church get it more than the churched.

  • John Jay Comerford

    The not being tested beyond our strength is in Cor. as noted. I never heard it connected to Mother Teresa. It was said to me by good dominjican sisters beck in the 1950′s before the world ever heard of Mother Teresa.

  • Dave Teich

    I’ve been a Christian for nine and a half of my sixty one and a half years on this planet. Church is without a doubt the last place I ever would have looked for God, but he sent me there nevertheless. My experience of God and my experience of Church are two different things that sometimes coincide and overlap. I couldn’t have one without the other.
    Perhaps it’s my long experience with the dark side that makes faith difficult for me. I find at this juncture in my faith journey that I am at, or approaching, a crossroads. The things that had meaning for nine and a half years are losing their power. I have been in a state of anxious waiting, and am wondering if what I’m waiting for….the promise….is real.
    I relate completely to the author of the article you refer to, whose anxiety, like mine, is about loss of meaning. Her age is just a reflection of the historical period she was born into; I just beat her to it by about thirty years, that’s all. So what would make the church, and Jesus, and Christianity, relevant? I am just at the beginning of some thoughts on that, but my answers haven’t gelled like my questions have.

    • William R. Crisp

      Brother Dave,
      Whether admitted to or not, every Christian has gone through the times of crossroads (I call them “crisis moments”) where beliefs are questioned or anxiety is felt regarding the things we believe. Similar concerns to many early disciples in churches addressed in the New Testament. the letters of First and Second Thessalonians for example were penned under God’s inspiration to comfort and encourage battle weary and anxious children of God. The Letters of Peter were/are an exhortation to be established in one’s faith.
      Hold on to what you have received of God. Study His Word – the Bible; He will speak peace to you through it. Stay in the fellowship of His people at your local congregation. Our heavenly Father loves us so much that He will put folks in your life to help you – right when you need it the most.
      God’s richest blessings on you. May He bless and keep you. May He cause His face to shine upon you and give you peace and power.

      • Dave Teich

        To keep the conversation honest, I judged you. So I’m humbled. Thanks for reaching out. It does help–

    • scat

      Thank you for your honesty about not knowing everything and still being in the process of thinking about many aspects of faith. I think it’s a lifelong process and we should not get to the point of thinking we finally have all the answers. In my experience, God has a way of slapping that kind of arrogance out of us pretty fast. I think it’s more about the journey than the possibility of reaching the unreachable.

  • Dan Roth

    These don’t just scare Millenials away, but they have bugged this 48-year-old for decades too.

    • John Robinson

      Millenials should get a life and stop thinking you are the only generation with problems with the older set. You sit on the sidelines and carp about the church. The church is imperfect because you and I are included as members. If it were perfect, it wouldn’t need Jesus. Admit it, you are too lazy to take the responsibility of carrying on what Jesus started: the church that has commissioned to: Go, make disciples, baptize believers, and teaching all I have commanded you. (Matt. 28:19,20.. I have noticed the greatest change in the church since the heady days of the 50s – 70s is the lack of evangelical zeal. Members are selfish. No one wants to pay the price of visiting the lost and unchurched. Most spend their time loving Jesus. The bible says: If you love me, you will keep my commandments? That is quite clear. This should cause us to want to know what he means by “love.” When you obey and study diligently God’s Word, you will receive Agape love–the kind that will enable you to withstand the World and its enticements. Also, you will enable the Holy Spirit to work within you to motivate you to be involved with church growth. Have you studied the bible such that you have discovered the scarlet thread of redemption winding its way from Genesis to the atonement provided by Jesus? Jesus paid for our salvation; what are you doing apart griping about authority? Get with it. Time is fleeting.

      • Ariel

        So, we must diligently study and obey God’s Word to receive Agape love… like you, right? Is that why you’re negatively judging an entire generation of people? Sometimes, it’s wisest to leave an abusive situation. That’s why my parents left church back in the 1970s (which they believed God told them was OK to do) and never returned. So, sometimes, for self-preservation, we need to be “selfish”. Imperfect and spiritually/emotionally harmful are two very different things.

  • Charles Fields

    wow, 2Tim 4.3 really came true in my lifetime

  • IT__Guy

    I think the thing I like best about this piece is that the author starts off by saying that Christians shouldn’t say that “the Bible clearly says” something because he and his generation know the Bible inside and out, then he goes on to say that he was surprised to learn that a particular phrase wasn’t in the Bible.
    Nope. Nothing inconsistent about that at all.

    • Grant Story

      I’m 35, so I feel like I “get” both perspectives… both the old and young. After working with many teens in active church ministry for over ten years, I can only think of a few who actually read the Bible cover to cover. Of course, that doesn’t stop any of them from declaring their opinions about it! Kind of like their parents, I suppose…

    • Mike Mayer

      The author never said HER generation knows the Bible inside and out. What SHE said was that her generation is aware of its intricacies and the fact that some portions are clear and some portions are not. Perhaps you should have actually READ the article before commenting on it. Nope, nothing insightful about this comment at all.

      • IT__Guy

        The author wrote: “We are the first generation to grow up in the age of information technology, and we have at our fingertips hundreds of commentaries, sermons, ideas, and books.” That’s in addition to the comment about being “acutely aware of the Bible’s intricacies.”

        You’ll forgive me for thinking that this was her way of saying she and her generation know the Bible inside and out.

        But let’s say you’re right. Let’s say she doesn’t know the Bible inside and out, and doesn’t claim to. If that were the case, on what basis would she refute someone’s claim that “the Bible clearly says” something? How can someone claim the Bible doesn’t clearly say something if they don’t, in fact, know what the Bible says?

        • Mike Mayer

          Again, she never said that her counter-point to “The Bible clearly says…” is to make a “The Bible does NOT clearly say…” statement. She (as am I) is put off by preachers who hide behind that phrase as though it were a punctuation mark to end a conversation. I doubt she would have any problem with the following statement. “Although the bible clearly says that you must stone your wife if she commits adultery, we know consider such an act barbaric.” She (as would I) would probably also be ok with, “The bible clearly says you cannot serve two masters (mammon and God). Let’s look at how that applies to us today.” The objection comes to statements like, “The Bible clearly says that God … . Anyone who says differently is at best misguided, but nonetheless wrong.”

  • Jason Wiedel

    Thank you for promoting a faith of grace and humility.

  • Eioljg

    Cliches don’t make points with anybody because they betray short cut, shallow thinking. That’s not what people need when they are hurting enough to ask faith related questions. Both believers, agnostics, and unbelievers can easily find varying interpretations of scripture quotes and doctrine, so can easily conclude that these are written by man, not God (the interpretation, not the verses, usually taken out of context.) Some Christians get pretty rude and high and mighty, implying that their “right” interpretation some how saves them, forgetting that it is God who does the saving ” while we were YET sinners.”

  • Steve Jackson

    I posted the following post after reading a conversation bellow, but i wanted to post it for all too read. Thanks:

    I am a Christian. This is exactly the type of dialogue that this article addressed in part. Nowhere, when u study tge life of Jesus do you see him slamming sinners with scripture down their throats. What Jesus used to reach people was real selfless love through relationship. The only people he judged harshly were pharisees. These were religious leaders who “had a form of godliness, but denied its power”. The power to change lives, that Jesus did do successfully. He judged the pharisees because their hearts were wicked and sinful, even though they new the scriptures backward and forward. I’m sure they had labels for “sinners” too! But, Jesus never labeled anybody but those in positions of power religiously, who were hypocrites. Why were they hipocrites?? Because they were prideful in their self-righteousness, because they thought themselves better than sinners who didn’t have their title or have kept all the letter of the law perfect, thru performing all the law required. But, they had totally missed the point. Like Jesus told the “Lawyer” or man of the law, who was trying to get around loving his neighbor. Jesus tokd him that the law was summed up in “loving God first, with all of you, and your neighbor as yourself”. So, does a loving person shove Jesus down their throat or just build a relationship by showing them Jesus by JUST loving them and treating them like they matter. This is why people followed Jesus, and what will make people want to follow you to Jesus. Not by how well you know the Bible. Most people could care less about what you say. They want to see Jesus lived out in a non-conceited or prideful way. But, in humility…like you are human too, like you dont have it all figured out. That you love God, and that because of this, and what Jesus did, you love and accept me too. Ifyou can do that, then maybe ill be able to hear you tell me through love all the stuff about sinand an “Almight God” whose very existence is love…”God is Love.” Yes, he is also just. But, thewhole readon Jesus cam was to bring healing, redemption, and most of all Love! He didnt come tobring condmnation and judgement. Check out John 3:17. An all too pften overlookef scripture. Like my pastor says, people want to see on the shelves of the church what they see in the window advertised. They want the Jesus they have read, heard, or know about lived out by human hands and feet…then voice. Jesussaid…”they will know your my disiples by your Love.” In other words…they will see Jesus when we love like Jesus!

  • https://www.facebook.com/ritchietheriveter Ritchie The Riveter

    I am a firm believer in the doctrine of the “priesthood of the believer” – that you and I are individually responsible for accurately discerning what God is saying to us, through His Word and otherwise. The fastest way to get me to leave a church, is when the leadership demands blind acceptance of what they are teaching.

    But that cuts both ways. We do have a responsibility to accept God’s truth, even if it is not packaged in an easy-to-swallow capsule. Sometimes, if I read I Corinthians 13:6 right, love does not come in that packaging, either.

    Galatians 5:13-14 describes the necessary balance. Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.

    • Emmers

      Thank you, Galatians 5:13-15 is a great piece of scripture for Christians to keep in mind when engaged in any conversation, particularly ones involving theology. Verses 13 and 14 remind us to love as Christ commanded, and verse 15 warns that if we “bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.” Which is what I see happening so many times in conversations around Christianity. The angry rhetoric that I often see in comments about Christian faith is far more frightening to me than obnoxious cliches. (Although I do agree with the author that these cliches are problematic!)

  • Doug Wilkening

    Neither the author’s observations on certain Christian teachings nor her observations on millennials square with my own.

    Upon converting to an evangelical flavor of Protestant Christianity about 20 years ago, I was taught the right and duty of individual interpretation of scripture. Our only rule is that an interpretation must proceed from an intellectually honest reading of the actual words of a sound, scholarly translation of the bible. I believe this was a core principle of the Reformation, but unfortunately I can’t put my finger on an actual quote from Luther or Calvin at the moment to confirm that. When I hear a fellow believer assert that “The bible clearly says….,” my observation is that he’s usually being argumentative and perhaps a bit un-Christian in his attitude.

    As for millennials leaving, since the author begins by stating that “the statistics are in….” I would have liked to have seen some numbers from her, In my own congregation, those born in the 70′s have pretty much left the church, but those born in the 80′s are our strongest and most enthusiastic contingent. I attribute this to our own teaching programs, which were formerly very weak and were not strengthened until shortly after I arrived in the 1990′s. I don’t see any reasonable way to attribute the phenomenon to supposed innate characteristics of any particular age group. Whether people leave or stay I think has more to do with whether the church doing its job or not doing its job.

  • Rustin Smith

    If church has to be about “you” and what “you” need; then we are doing the wrong thing. If you “cater” to anyone other than the Lord Jesus, you are missing the point. It’s not the wording, the phrases, the pampering. Quit whining and act like grown ups people. No one needs to hold your hand or “help” make church appealing. If you don’t respond to the Creator of the Universe than that is something that you will have to answer for. This article is a joke and it is the reason that churches try so hard to meet the needs of the people rather than follow what the Lord is doing. And we wonder why churches are filled with pampered cry babies who don’t serve and selfishly do “whatever is good for them”. Worship the God who gave you breath; He deserves it. Go read what Jesus did when He had a bunch of questionable followers. He hit them with strong truth, and they scattered. Thinking that somehow we need to make Christ appealing is ridiculous. We need to spend more time explaining the truth of the Bible and less time trying to figure out how we can “convince” people of what God has done for them. People don’t want to change their lifestyles; God will convict, God will do the work, God will change the hearts; you worry about understanding truth, sharing it, and living the way Christ has called us to live ~ HOLY!

  • Marnott

    An “it’s all about me” approach from an “it’s all about me” generation. It’s really all about Jesus. If they could catch hold of that truth, none of these other things would be a hindrance.

  • SonofaPreacherMan

    I honestly don’t know where to start. The topics discussed in the article make some good points, but its the tip of the iceberg. I grew up with two parents who were missionaries who turned pastors. I personally spent time in missions work right out of highschool. I am now 31 and agnostic.

    – “The Bible clearly says” – 1.The bible may say a lot of things to a lot of people, but just like Jesus’s parables, the Bible was not meant to be taken literally. The bible contains poetry, songs, dreams, and in the case of the life of Jesus, multiple points of view on the same events. 2.It was a book that was compiled at least a generation after the death of Jesus, more out of political reasons than religious ones. 3. Most doctrine is based on individual verses of the bible that are usually not considered along with the context of the book they are contained in, along with the time and culture they were written for.

    – “God will never give you more than you can handle” – If god is giving us the situations and circumstances in our life, then it would contradict the idea that we have free will.

    – “Love on” – If god is love, then choosing to love on, or to love anyone should not have to be something a Christian chooses to do, or even has to say he is going to do. Loving everyone is what should be expected by a believer.

    - “Black and White qualifiers” – These should not even be needed if we are truly loving like god loves.

    - “God is in control – he has a plan” – Again, if god is in control, we then have no free will. If god has a plan that is great, satan has a plan, my manager at my job has a plan, my spouse has a plan. Many people have plans, that doesn’t mean that life follows them, and it definitely doesn’t mean that we will be able to follow a mystery plan that god supposedly has for us.

    The church is changing, and it’s not. The world is changing no matter what. In the history of the church, change has happened time and time again. From the time the church began there has been nothing but change. Even in the Christian denominations that are most known for having century old doctrines there has been reform and adaptation as culture and the world changes. For Christianity in itself is based on major changes to the beliefs held by the hebrews. It doesn’t matter what any pastor, commenter on a blog, parent, friend, loved one says, each individual needs to figure out what they believe for themselves. To believe in something because from a pulpit someone told you too, or because you read it in a book, bible or otherwise, is not faith in god. It is faith in that pastor, friend, or book. Believing does not mean you stop questioning, faith does not mean you do not doubt. The only faith you should count on is the faith in what your own experiences have proven to you, and many times those will change as you experience new truths. Pastors, friends and the bible can only lead you down paths of discovery where you will have experiences of your own to determine your truths.

    I still have great respect for Christianity. The potential for good, for love and kindness, that the teachings of Christianity champion could change the world. Unfortunately too many times Christians spend more time thinking and arguing over what it means to be a “good” christian or a “good” church. They fight over if modernizing the church to be relevant will make it lose meaning and give a false idea of what church should be and what is all about. They battle over the meanings of scripture and finding verses to support their own causes and fears. If Christians would spend more time spreading love through actions rather than lectures. Spend more thoughts on what can be done for others in need instead of how to defend their personal idea of what doctrines are biblical or cultural. That would change the world. Instead the negativity from those too busy defining a faith than living it is what is changing the world.

    • stolenxnametag

      ACTUAL words of wisdom. You rock!

  • Gary

    Millennials will listen to others who are authentic and genuine. I have heard people who are neither use the trite phrases and I have heard people who are nothing but use them. The use of these phrases is not the issue for the sincere. The insincere will hear and use as an excuse to dismiss. The sincere will look beyond the words to see the life behind the words. My wife and I raised two “millenial” sons and both are men of faith in spite of the fact that they probably heard these churchy phrases more often than any of us could count. By the grace of God they were able to see Jesus in us and other significant adults and relatives. He enabled them to come to an independent belief in Jesus as the answer to life’s problems. This theme is seen in many of the comments that are in the sequence of responses to the original post. None of us is pure and spotless. But the Lord is able to use whatever genunineness and authenticity that we may possess to communicate his message to the world. To be truthful it doesn’t matter what generation into which someone was born. The grace of God is greater than all obstacles and his pursuit of us is relentless.

  • Casey Burnett

    Who gave you permission to use the photo of Buck Creek Baptist? If you knew anything of that church, they are working their tails off to serve the Lord and reach the community. Unless you get permission from the Pastors at Buck Creek, take that picture down. That is not cool at all.

  • Nancy Knowles

    Why don’t you millenials whip out your cellphones, download an app (and snapchat each other all about it) that can help you touch your little screens enough until you build a God and a truth system that will snuggle you like a puppy and feel as warm as a half-caff, soy latte with stevia a recycled cup collar. And then, log onto your little blogs and tell all the rest of us older folks who’ve been doing it wrong all these years all the things you’d like us to do and not do so you’ll come back and grace us with your presence. And maybe, just maybe, God will be so impressed with your millennial presence that He’ll magically upgrade that IPhone app with a suggestion box so you can text Him directly all the changes you’d like to make. And please, when suggested new color swatches for any parts of the church, please let us know if you’re using the RGB or CYMK numbering system. We want it to be just. the. way. you. kids. want. it.

    • Mike

      And you wonder why we leave? If you’re not even going to be up for the discussion, you’re not worth our time.

      • Nancy Knowles

        Perhaps you’re offended that I borrowed your generational cynicism? Maybe if I had written a John Stewart sketch it would have gone down a little easier, or Stephen Colbert? You, my friend, don’t have any time except that which God gives you. Don’t tell me how precious your time is and to whom you’ll grant it. Tell God. Cynicism and sarcasm aside, you really will be much happier when you stop being a consumer and try being a worshiper of God. Then you’ll know that He never changes. If you and I want to relate to the Creator of the Universe, it will be on HIS terms. This ain’t no celestial pizza parlor where you can pick your own toppings. What’s so great about pineapple and tofu, anyway?

    • Andrew Owens

      I’m not actually a millennial, but I think you’ve misunderstood the issue. A lot of people – millennials included – are being driven away from the church by the church itself. The church spends far less time preaching God’s love and doing the work of Jesus than showing off how rich it is (pastors in BMWs, flashy audiovisual displays etc), telling people they can be rich if they have enough faith and do enough courses, spending inordinate sums of cash persecuting their own child victims of sexual abuse in the courts, hating on gay people and cheating on their wives (ironically sometimes with men, after a career hating on gays). What is different between the older and younger generations is that the younger ones have grown up in a world of 24/7 news where the spotlight has really been turned on the church’s weaknesses. In Ireland for example 25% left the church after the findings of the commission there into sexual abuse and I don’t doubt Australia will follow when its commission reports. Some Catholic dioceses in the US are formally bankrupt because of the payouts to child sex abuse victims. Yet still they don’t get it. And blame the millennials for being picky.

      • Nancy Knowles

        Mr. Owens – I stipulate that the sexual abuse scandals of which you speak, and others to which you allude, are reprehensible and have done their damage to the church. But one of those absolutes which “the Bible clearly states” (sorry my little Millennial muffins) is that there is One God. He is holy, righteous, he does not change and he abhors sin. He loves His creation so deeply that He walked among us – Immanuel – and showed us how to live before He laid down his own life to offer us eternal salvation. If you don’t understand why Jesus had to die, then I recommend you actually read the Bible – especially the Old Testament – where the concept of a blood sacrifice was well established as a propitiation for sin. There is no generational salvation plan customized to the demo de jour. About the only thing in our world that is level and fair is that each one of us must give an account of ourselves to God. No matter your view on when or how this reconciliation takes place, at some point we’re going to show up at a “pearly gate” checkpoint where each one of us will be dispatched to our respective eternal reward. No excuse – and I mean NO EXCUSE – for rejecting God and the body He said He would build (aka “My Church”) is going to cut it. If you’re a Millennial, X’er, Y, Boomer, or any other “generation”, figure out what you’re going to do with Jesus Christ. Either you’re going to follow Him or you aren’t. Fair warning: one of the psycho-graphic traits we’re told millennials possess is that they are willing to deeply commit to a cause. The problem is, their mindset is centered around the commitment piece rather than the object of their commitment. This cafeteria style theology is certainly attractive, popular and extremely fashionable. And it’s a damnable delusion that has fooled many a generation long before this one. You can passionately commit to the notion that you can fly, but as soon as the inevitable fall comes to a halt, you and whatever tunes you’re streaming on Pandora or Spotify will stop playing.

        • Ryan Jones

          Actually, Nancy, the word used for God (deals with the creation story, sorry I can’t recall the exact verse) in the original language is using the plural form. My point for bringing this to light is to show you how your statement is not correct. Now I don’t particularly care that it isn’t, I just don’t like the notion of you using “clear factual knowledge” to brow-beat someone into submission. ;-) I understand you love the Lord. You are obviously very passionate about defending your beliefs and I commend that. I think that when people challenge our beliefs we can become defensive and lash out. I’ve done it, and I think most people have. However, we have to understand and come to the table with a loving mindset that we are all working towards the same goal: growing God’s church and growing closer to God.

          Also: The big notion of Sola Scriptura came about c. 1890-1920′s with the Modernist-Fundemintalist debates. (at least for United States). This was the movement where people (on a large scale) started to read the bible critically. This was also the time when people, in a vein effort to protect their beliefs, stated that the bible defended itself. It was then that we started a perpetual “box” to fit our faith/understanding of God/Christ and the scriptures.

          General note: As a Christian, I read the bible on two levels: 1. the Literary-Historical level (i.e.- author, time period, type of writing, ect.) and on 2. Spiritual level (what implications does this have for my spiritual well-being.

          I say all this to point to one main point: Many Christians want a Faith that doesn’t require faith. We can not fit God into our preconceived box, but rather build our box around what we can ascertain through the scripture.

          • Christopher StClair II

            First, a couple of minor things. First, while the Hebrew word often used for God “Elohim” appears to be a plural form of the word equivalent to “gods” the conjugated verb forms used with it are always singular verb forms when the word is used to speak of Israel’s God rather than the gods of the surrounding nations, thus indicating that the plural form was being used as a singular and distinctive form for Israel’s God. The only “apparent” exception to this “Let us make man in our own image” is unrelated because the text is not speaking about God but God himself is speaking and this one instance can be explained in a variety of ways, which makes this one statement a little shaky for building much of an argument on with regard to anything.

            Second, I would also urge to restudy your church history with regard to Sola Scriptura, which actually came to be regarded as a centerpiece of protestant theology during the Reformation. You can check out this link http://lutherantheology.wordpress.com/2011/01/18/a-brief-introduction-to-sola-scriptura/ which gives quotes and references for 16th century theologians who held the view, often by name.

            Finally, I’m not sure what you were saying about wanting a faith that doesn’t require faith and whether you lump yourself into this group or not, but let me say this. One of the reasons people so often create boxes in which to put God is so that struggling with what you believe and with how to reconcile real world experience with that is no longer necessary. By nature, human beings are more likely to latch onto things they can quantify and explain and put into a box. Believe it or not, that is one of the driving factors behind superstitions, whether they are religious superstitions or sports superstitions. We want a measure of control and coming up with particular rituals, whether rituals of behavior or rituals of belief, gives us a sense of control, however illusory. People have created boxes for God since the beginning of time. The Pharisees did it by putting God in a box defined by their rules and regulations. The ancient Hebrews did it by believing they could keep God happy just by offering sacrifices regardless of how they lived. Putting God in a box is nothing new.

            I would argue that it actually takes more faith to give up your box and yet still believe. I would also argue God wants it that way. That is not to say that what God revealed and preserved in the form of scripture should be dismissed, rationalized away, or rejected as inadequate, but to admit that our understanding is limited and that our rational capacity is limited (something very few people in any field or circumstance are willing to truly do) and to continue to struggle with what God himself has intervened in history to reveal to us and how that actually works itself out in our daily lives.

          • Rev. Anthony Burton

            You know, I was wondering how a crackpot and misanthrope like Nancy Knowles managed to get so MANY things wrong in each of her posts, and I sort of figured it was a kind of genetic malfunction or something. But I was incorrect with that. (Well, I think I was, anyway.)

            I looked up her profile. EVERY ONE of her comments on posts seemed phrased in such a way as to elicit the most reaction. More heat than light, if you understand what I mean. And she says she is Christian, yet she responds in one post that all the members of a certain group should be wiped off the Earth… and in another post, makes a comment to the effect that black people are genetically predisposed to a certain bad behavior because it “is tribal” to act in that way.

            Seeing that she (if Nancy is indeed a “she”) is nothing but a troll in sheeps clothing, I suggest we stop feeding the troll.

        • Diana Wisdom

          I am amazed by your bitterness and tone toward an entire generation. Bad form.

        • scat

          Having read a number of your comments here and the attitude reflected in them, that is in part why I have given up looking for a church. I expect you have some snarky way of grinding my beleifs, intents and desires into the ground, but frankly that is precisely what drives me away from most churches.And I am certainly not a millenial. I am simply one who has a great love for God and would enjoy the fellowship of others who feel likewise. To deride others is not part of what I want to participate in. Lucky for me I do meet people who love the Lord and accept me the way I am, with or without a cell phone, and do not feel the need to change what I believe or any other part of me. I cannot see that your words reflect what I see in Christ. Maybe you would feel a little less angry with people if you spent some time actually finding out what they think, what they want and the questions they have.

        • Rev. Anthony Burton

          Actually, and I’m not a millenial but rather someone who reads the Bible, the Bible does NOT state that there is only one God. If it did, the statement “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” would be stupid. God isn’t stupid. And you can’t use the old-school explanation of, “Oh, Jehovah was only referring to worshiping our money or our cars or our homes.” That is pseudo-theological garbage. It was GODS… deities. That’s exactly what the original word meant. It’s that sort of foolish reliance on hackneyed ideas (i.e., that there is only ONE God), simply because someone said it and it sounded good, that makes Christians look foolish, as though they haven’t even read their own scriptures. As is the idea that “God doesn’t change.” Well, if you read the Bible you are so busy thumping, you will see that God DOES change: He changed his mind with Moses, and he changed his mind with Abraham. If God can change his mind, then he can change.

          And if God doesn’t change, then why aren’t we burning rams on the fire, and cutting off the fat hard by the backbone, to present to the Levitical priests?

          Try reading some version of the Bible that is truer to the original Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic than the KJV you seem to be hugging so tightly to your chest.

          By the way, your sarcasm is diluting your message and overwhelming any Christianity you are trying to display.

    • Cathy Farr Fothergill

      From a “boomer”: (By the way, I HATE labels). Now THAT was spoken with love and understanding. Way to cement their feelings of “anti-establishment Christianity”! Tell me, did GOD inspire those words of venomous hate and condemnation? Of course not! You do not speak for me or for MOST of my generation. Repent!

    • Ariel

      It’s not just Millennials who are leaving church. My parents, who were heavily involved in a charismatic Baptist church/deliverance ministry and the Charismatic Movement in the 1970s, left after their pastor declared it to be “his ministry”, discouraging the once existent Body with many members and gifts, from operating. Fortunately, my parents left before it went completely insane, but a lot of people were hurt by what went on there. My parents never again attended church, but instead sought Christianity, in its purest form, before it dwindled into what they called “churchianity”. My father was a hardcore Bible scholar, and taught us kids that it’s about relationship, LOVE, about “organism, not organization”. My parents believed that the foundation of the Church has been corrupted since Apostle John’s death.

      So, it’s rather encouraging for me to hear others verbalize some of what my family has been saying for years and what I’ve been discovering lately for myself (little by little) to be true. It’s been a long, trying and lonely journey for all of us, but I’m at least beginning to see that I’m not alone or crazy. In leaving or criticizing the “Church”, we’re not betraying or offending God. Jesus never condemned anyone (not the sinners, doubters, nor even Apostle Peter who KNEW Jesus in the flesh and denied Him) but the arrogant, judgmental, legalistic, self-righteous, hypocritical religious leaders – the Pharisees and Sadducees. They were misrepresenting God’s Character, as the “Church” has been doing for centuries. I tend to think this is why people are leaving, for the most part.

    • old as dirt

      Couldn’t have said it better, Nancy!

    • Silver Bear

      Bitter, party of one!

    • Emmers

      Nancy, I can tell this article really struck a nerve with you. It must be hard seeing the younger generations so caught up in technology and entertainment and seemingly leaving the Christian faith and the faithful who have gone before them in the dust. I can tell you are very earnest about affirming your faith. However, please consider the tone of what you are saying, especially in light of Galatians 5:13-15.Verses 13 and 14 remind us to love as Christ commanded, and verse 15 warns that if we “bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.” This is what I see happening so many times in conversations around Christianity. The angry rhetoric that I often see in comments is far more frightening to me than obnoxious cliches. If you would truly like to speak so that the millennial generation will listen (or anyone, really) you would do well to imitate Paul’s example in Acts 17 when he addresses the people of Athens. He does not start with insults but with an affirmation of their culture. (When he affirmed that religion is important to the Athenians.) Find something in the millennial generation to affirm. Ditch the angry rhetoric. And maybe then we’ll start listening. And I hope you can get to the root of what is making you angry and place it in God’s hands, and that you may find some peace from your anger.

      • Brandon

        I thought what Nancy said in her first two comments was funny:) and even though it was overly sarcastic to the point where it may have become angry rhetoric, she gives an argument that to me as a “genxer” describes something I see in myself and my friends. The first time that I realized that my “outlook” on life was skewed was on a camping trip two years ago to the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness Area… There was no wifi there, no cell service, no tv, no cars… no sound at all… No person or form of media or blog bombarding me with propoganda about what my opinions should be, what I should believe, or etc. And for one of the first times in my life I was alone in the silence of my thoughts. I had the time to honestly ask myself what I truly thought, what I truly believed, and reflect on the fact that I exist and the possibility that God really exists. Combined with the mosquitos eating me alive, that trip was the scariest week of my life. I realized that I in fact had no foundation, no set of core values or beliefs that I had “chosen” for myself…

        So I started trying to learn how to pray in silence by going on walks at the park and I was reading alot and now I know that the Christian God is real and the only one (everybody should read Mere Christianity by C.S.Lewis or anything by a guy named Peter Kreeft!). But gradually I realized that if I just choose to believe the things I feel strongly about from reading blogs, books, and listening to sermons I’ll end up having my own unique perspective about Jesus Christ and Christianity based on my own feelings which was also frightening… There is no possible way that I have any credibility to disagree with any doctrine, if I did that it would be pretty much like I am starting my own Church and I’m too young to be a pastor so no one would take me seriously (myself especially). It seems like from my perspective that Christianity keeps splitting into more and more denominations and smaller pieces that no one will ever be able to put it back together or honestly believe that their denomination is the right one because that means they disagree with like 50,000 other ones.

        I started liking the Catholic Church for awhile because it seemed like they’ve had the longest run so far… and they’ve got this giant catechism of all their beliefs and doctrine (it’s seriously has to be almost as long as the bible). But I like the idea of having the catechism cause then everybody believes the same thing, and if anyone asks me my opinion “belief” about something I can just look it up… I don’t have to go with my gut instinct (which I’ve been learning from my math classes is nearly always wrong!)

        On the news they always talk about the child molesting priests in the Catholic Church and these blogs always talk about the conquistadors in ways that it seems like they are just trying to scare people away from Catholics. The child molesting thing is gruesome and I feel sorry for the victims… but I feel more sorry for the priests who did it (I think Jesus would have too). It was their job to shepherd those kids and they messed it all up and will likely pay the eternal consequences… I hate thinking about eternal consequences, sometimes I wish I wouldn’t have read so much and could still be ignorant of stuff. Anyways, the child molesting thing doesn’t really bother me or turn me off that much about Catholicism because all it is are people who claim to be Catholic choosing not to be in very terrible ways… In the end, their actions don’t seem to follow anything I read in the Catechism about what it means to be Catholic which to me means they didn’t really believe in Catholicism to begin with and had some other prior motive to become a priest (like wanting an opportunity to be trusted to be close to kids).

        What bothers me the most about Catholicism though is that it seems to blatantly proclaim that its right, always has been right, and never will be wrong. (every part of me wishes this were true)… The problem is that there are so many people for some many hundreds of years that have disagreed with the Catholics that it almost seems impossible that the Catholics could be right. How can there be so many denominations that think the Catholic Church has it wrong in some way unless it does in fact have it wrong?

        Anyways… I would appreciate some advice or feedback if you have any. For some reason it feels like I really need a Church, and I need the right one. And it doesn’t matter about who the pastor is or even what he says in the sermon to me… In the end he’s just a guy saying things. I just want to find the Church that Jesus said he came to start, so I can Know what I have to believe, so I can get the graces from him I need, so I can make him happy like he makes me happy, and so I can take my parents there so he can finally make them happy too.

        This was all supposed to be in response to Nancy’s comments and how it really changed my life to have a moment where all the distractions of social media were gone on my camping trip and I had to think about my own thoughts… I realize now that I just wrote a book about myself instead… Sorry

        #IWantSomeoneToTellTheTruth #HopeForHeavenIsTheOnlyWayIGetThroughSchool
        #ChristIsRisen…INeedARealFriendToTellMeAboutIt!

  • WendyGrace Whale

    1Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. This is the verse to which Mother Theresa was referring. From my experience when we get to the end of our tethers God does provide a way out. He also gives us the strength and energy to complete the tasks He gives us to do.

  • Not-a-Millenial

    Millenials do so much talking about “this generation”, “we” and “us”. They inform the rest of us, often in less-than-subtle ways, that what we’re doing is offensive or off-putting. Sure there are things that creep into the vernacular that are un-biblical or just plain stupid. But when is “this generation” going to realize that the world doesn’t revolve around them?
    I think it’s a result of a generation of young people who wore a cap and gown and “graduated” from kindergarten, and who all got a trophy no matter who won or lost. In my opinion, if millenials really loved God and their neighbors as much as they loved themselves, we wouldn’t be reading blogs about how we constantly offend them.

    • Andrew Owens

      I don’t think this blog is about “how millennials are offended” – it is looking at the unquestionable phenomenon in the Western world that the church is in steep decline. I know personally of parishes closing up their doors, churches with just a few white-haired souls in attendance which will probably soon close up their doors, and evangelical churches that seem to be doing more of the devil’s work than God’s given how many atheists and cynics and burnt-out individuals they seem to excel in producing. If the church is to survive, it needs to reach out to those who presently feel rejected by it. That I think is what this article is addressing.

  • http://www.amychanson.blogspot.com/ Amy Hanson

    You obviously struck a chord with many people in these comments! That means you are doing good work, and as far as I am concerned, keep it up. These things need to be said. I’m a millennial (or barely a millennial, I’m 30) and a Lutheran pastor. I’ve found that most people are operating out of fear of change, fear of the unknown, fear of becoming irrelevant (this is happening pretty acutely in the comments below). I remind my people almost daily that while things change around us, they also stay the same. At the end of the day, we only have the Gospel and that is more than enough. Church is a human institution and it does change over time, and that’s okay. And it’s okay to feel scared about that too. But it’s not okay to deny that this change is happening. I am doing a study with my congregation right now on Phyllis Tickle’s book, The Great Emergence. I highly recommend it because it puts words to the things that so many of us millennials observe and feel and know on an instinctual level. So keep writing! Blessings to you.

  • Richard P Celley

    So it sounds as if what you mean is that Millenials are leaving these new fangled “evangelical” churches and other sorts of conservative (and historically non-traditional) groups. Historically traditional churches don’t really have any of those things in our vocabulary. We think that the Bible is an ancient collection of texts that form a normative base of guidance in life and which tell of the faith community’s relationship between God and humanity/creation. It is best used as a partner in life rather than a rule book. Though it may be authoritative in that it “authors” the church and we give it authority in our lives it is not the ultimate authority. That is the whole point of following a “living God.” We don’t tell people what they should believe, or what is “true”. Rather we tell people what we believe, why, and invite them to be a part of a community that explores and seeks to live out a faithful life with meaning and purpose together. The whole thing about God having a “plan for your life” is just plain bad theology. We believe that God has a plan for the creation, including humanity, but what that plan is is purely speculative and needs not be more. That God plans each individual’s life sort of eliminates “free will”. Liberal theology believes that God has done what God is going to do about our lives (forgiveness) and that it is now up to each individual to make decisions and choices that move us towards righteous life. Otherwise why make any choices? Instead of waiting around for God to do whatever God has planned we believe that it is better to try and discern what God is waiting for us to do, such as perhaps creating a world of peace and justice. I enjoyed your brief article. Rev. R Celley, United Church of Christ.

    • Doug Wilkening

      I like your view of the authority of scripture. It’s the second best I believe I have ever read, the Greek Orthodox position being the first best (and I’m not Greek Orthodox).

      But I don’t understand your criticism of the evangelical view that God has a plan for our lives. Your own statement that “it is better to try and discern what God is waiting for us to do” seems so close to what those in my own evangelical church mean when they say that they want to discern God’s plan for their lives so that they can follow it. This is a hair that may not be worth splitting. I guess what I am saying is that I don’t quite understand what it is that you object to here.

      • Richard P Celley

        Thanks Doug. I know what you mean about the splitting of hairs but that is the meat and potatoes of theology and of course mixed metaphors. It is more an effort to urge people away from a viewpoint of modern day theodicy, that idea that “I am blessed with a vacation home and a Lincoln Navigator because I’m so righteous and that’s God’s plan, praise Jesus and go me.” Or the related view that “when something bad happens to me it is God testing my faith but when it happens to you its a punishment for your sins.” So often God’s plan is so conveniently conducive to affirming me no matter what I do. You get the idea. Believe me as soon as someone wants to talk about discernment, and spiritual gifts and following then I am right there with that because I can be pretty sure they are indeed starting with God rather than themselves. I hope that made some sense. I’m actually big on evangelizing as witness and invitation just not so much the “we are right and can prove it by our buzz-words.” Thanks for the chat. God bless.

        • Doug Wilkening

          Now I get what you mean. I think that every major formulation of Christian theology, whether evangelicalism, Pentecostalism, Calvinism, liberal Protestantism, Catholicism, etc., no matter how carefully thought through, gets some things spot on, gets other things so-so, and still is left with some boundary conditions between truth and falsity that present a temptation to believers. It’s a consequence of the human mind trying to comprehend the infinite God.

          In my own congregation, which is evangelical, we are very much aware of the pitfalls that you mention, and discuss them frequently in our bible studies, with much soul searching and self criticism.Also another biggie that you didn’t mention, pharisaism.

          It’s not my place to preach on where I think UCC congregations or Roman Catholics or others may fall into traps, except to say that all of us need to be on our knees. I find it helpful to look for the best, rather than for the worst, in other formulations of faith, because groups outside of my own do get other things spot on that I may have missed. Thanks for commenting.

    • DC

      Nice squishy, touchy, feely gospel. That is not what I read in the Gospels. Most of what is in the Bible is clear – “Repent or perish”, the Bible says. Fairly clear to me.

      Your views remind me of how far away from the Biblical truth a person will get when you have a low view of God’s sovereignty.

  • Joe W.

    I’m 57…they scare me too…always have.

  • John Spaulding

    I’m
    sorry you are in pain. The statement “What millennials want
    is to be seen. Understood. Loved. It’s what everyone wants, really.” Is what this article is
    about.

  • Susan King

    Thank you thatblondgirl for posting that the phrase is definitely IN the Bible. Although my christian life is pretty new, I even knew that phrase there.

  • Aaron

    Millennials aren’t scared. The church is scared. In Europe and America the population of believers is diminishing.

    The power of Google provides answers in just one click.

    Here’s my favorite quote which sums it up best.

    “The dictionary definition of God is “a supernatural creator and overseer of the universe.”
    Included in this definition are all deities, goddesses and supernatural beings.

    Since the beginning of recorded history, which is defined by the invention of writing by the Sumerians around 6,000 years ago, historians have cataloged over 3700 supernatural beings, of which 2870 can be considered deities.

    So the next time someone tells me they believe in God, I’ll say “Oh which one? Zeus? Hades? Jupiter? Mars? Odin? Thor? Krishna? Vishnu? Ra?…”

    If they say “Just God. I only believe in the one God,” I’ll point out that they are nearly as atheistic as me. I don’t believe in 2,870 gods, and they don’t believe in 2,869.”
    -Ricky Gervais

  • Sean Clouse

    I was a Christian for 45 years. Now, I’m just a truth-seeker. And my unedited comments on this article are as follows:

    “I went back because I needed community” – This is the essence of Church. This is *why* people truly go to church, to Belong. It is also why people ride Harley’s in packs, Tailgate at Chief’s games, etc. Being in a group of like-minded people is comforting.

    “For some of us, the clichés are still maddening and alienating.” – I despise what I hear come from the pulpit. I experience it all, no matter how loving it sounds, as manipulation.

    “the words are weighted to a culture that we don’t completely understand” –
    Our pastors make statements they claim are factual when they are little more than
    opinion. The bible clearly says few things but they’ll say it is indisputable to maintain control.

    “God will never give you more than you can handle” – I am a strong person, and I have been at my wit’s end with life. I don’t feel that God put that on me. Life happens and, when it doesn’t kill you, religion says God is in control. I can argue that is not even biblical.

    “Black and white quantifiers of faith, such as “Believer, Unbeliever, Backsliding” – I see these as fear-based controlling words that religion uses to maintain influence on people and keep them coming back.

    “God is in control . . . has a plan . . . works in mysterious ways” – There is no plan. There is only the results of your choices. The twisted use of “I have a plan for you” was focused on a particular situation and people, not every person on the planet. That is simply impossible except for those that need to believe it to make the world make sense.

    “What [everyone] want is to be seen. Understood. Loved.” – Community creates this. If you are ‘known’, you are significant. If you are unknown, you are insignificant.
    Insignificance is the ultimate in depression and hopelessness. Everyone does whatever is necessary to be significant in any way. The Church recognized this 1,000’s of years ago and has made a great business out of it, but never any moreso than it does today.

  • a reader/gardener

    Thanks for stepping into the puddle. I understand that it’s hard to listen to over-generalizations and hard to be patient. Hey, I’m not perfect, either. But I’m going to be around and keep plugging at it. I’m still working on it- understanding our Bible. That’s ok, I’m just glad God even cares about me. He didn’t say “be perfect”, He just said “follow me”. I’ll just keep plugging at it. I think it’s ok to hold hands with others and help each other along the way. If a church you are in isn’t “big enough” to let people grow, just walk into another one. Find someone there who can listen and talk quietly with you, then you don’t have to explain yourself all the time. Some people have a burden like that and have a hard time growing when there is no one to relate to or listen. Open your eyes, open your heart to someone, and enjoy how you will grow. God has amazing ways to comfort and send a comforter. I have experienced them come and go in my life. Sometimes I’ve been used to come into another’s life. When God sees a place of closure, He sends one on another mission or changes the construction of the situation. It gives me a new focus, kind of like a breath of fresh air. Maybe I’ve talked too much but I think you will get the idea. You are on a good road. X

  • Surprise123

    I love my faith – the Episcopalian Church. It doesn’t throw around any of those phrases you mentioned above, and is VERY welcoming of all people, no matter what their state of faith. And….it may be dying. Congregations are small, and getting smaller, and those people who do fill the pews are, for the most part, over 50.
    It gives so much — beauty, community, solace, contemplative atmosphere, beautiful music, pastoral care for the infirm and aging, but demands so little in return.
    I don’t know if it will be around in another 100 years, and that makes me very sad.

  • Andrew Lee Williamson

    while some of these are indeed misleading and cliche some of them are not. like the “bible clearly says” for instance. we need to know the truth of what the bible says. and the language that it was written in is now a “dead” language meaning what words was used then mean the same things then as they do now, the meanings have not evolved like our modern day language is constantly doing. Obviously we can all agree the God says what he means and means what he says. One of our jobs as Christians and believers is to speak out against false doctrine within the church as said in 2 Timothy chapter 4 starting in verse 2 “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all long suffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. 5 But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” so we need to know what the bible says and be able to boldly teach and say what the “bible clearly says”, but not with an attitude that is self benefiting or self pleasing or of superiority, but out of love and respect for God and with the fruit of the spirit (being those stated in Galatians 5 starting at verse 22)! if people hate you for speaking the truth then let them, Jesus himself was hated and he said that those who would seek after him willd also be hated. One reason why i think we have so much religious confusion now days is because nobody wants to say the hard things and everybody takes offense at being shown that the Bible says they are wrong( which also goes with the above verse from 2 Timothy). yes we need to teach the love of God and really emphasize that to those who do not believe in him but we also need to teach more than just his love but also his severity and that there is punishment for those that defy God, which we are selves as Christians can be guilty of as stated in Romans 11 -”21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. 22 Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness,[f] if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off”. So we need to know what the “Bible clearly says” so that we can know that we are right with God and that we are continuing in His goodness. i hope that this will help others with their search for God and I love all of those that long for his coming. we cant be afraid to speak the truth, but do it out of love and not pride.

  • Mike Mayer

    I am a leading edge Gen-Xer. I will add my voice to those who are commenting that your list does not apply exclusively to Millennials. I know plenty of Boomer that would agree as well. Thanks for sharing this list.

  • Tom Woz

    The
    trouble as I see it, and this may be over simplified is this- We are put on this
    earth for a very short period of time. God has revealed himself to us and we
    either respond by coming to him or fleeing from him. The bible states quite
    clearly that those of us that claim christianity are pilgrims here on earth, on
    our way to our perminent home – heaven (Philipians 3:17). Christians are to be
    in the world but not of the world – we are to be transformed (our outward
    appearence should match what is really inside of us) and we are not to be
    confomed to the world ( where our outward appearance does not reflect what is
    really inside of us). (Romans 12:1). We are to seek first the Kingdom of God and
    his righteousness (Mathew 6:33). We are to love the Lord our God with all our
    hearts and also love our neighbors as ourselfs (Mark 12:29). We are not to lay
    up for ourselves treasures on earth but lay up trasures in heaven (Mathew 6:19).
    We are to attend church as people who have sinned against a Holy and Rightous
    God, seek repentance and then go back to the world and have Christ live through
    us – being witnesses of Christ in Jerusalem, in Judea, in Samaria, in New york,
    in California, In Florida, and to the end of the earth(Acts 18). Christians
    MUST realize that someday we will ALL give an account for our actions on earth
    (2Corinthians 5:10) Parents and churches alike have failed to communicate and
    teach these and other great truths to our children. Take the test now – Have you
    conformed to the world or are you transformed – do you know more about sport
    teams than who is in the book of Acts? Do you spend more time watching TV than
    reading God’s word? Do you Love God with all your heart? Do you know your
    neighbors or their needs? What are you storing up – Cars, boats, ticket’s to
    sporting events, TV’s, computers, I phones, etc? When was the last time your
    pastor preached on sin, repentance, or heaven? I have found the key to
    contentment is learning how to enjoy what God has given us in our everyday
    life, but not having it take place over these great truths, and remember – This
    is not your best life now.

  • Dave Keep

    I appreciate the perspective, and believe there is value in understanding different generations. But I think the real problem lies in the fact that too many of us want to choose what we do and don’t like/want in the church, rather than accept it on it’s own terms. We’re consumers more than we are Christians. For all those who followed Jesus during his miracle-working days, only a few were with him at the Cross. If we accept Jesus’ command to “take up the cross” we will, of necessity, lay down our petty issues with His church!

  • Jim

    The Bible says whatever anybody wants it to say. So do the Qur’an and the Torah.
    I notice that all the comments involve Christianity. What about the two-thirds of the world who are not Christians? Has God condemned them all?

    • Pk Mitchell

      Yes.

      “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” – John 14:6

    • Jim

      What about the 5 billion people in the world who are not Christians? Has s a loving god condemned them all to hell?

      • DC

        Yes, because although He is loving, He is also just.

        • Ariel

          How in God’s name is it “loving” OR “just” to condemn billions of people to burn in hell for all eternity! Jesus! I think you are confusing God with the dictator of North Korea, or perhaps Hitler.

          • DC

            It is completely just. You have sinned…I.e., you have broken His laws. You have broken the law of an eternal being, therefore it is just that the punishment is eternal.

            He is loving, however. The very same person whose name you used as a curse word, came to take the punishment that you and I are justly due. He died for you and me for the punishment of our sin. To receive that forgiveness, all we have to do is repent (turn from) our sin and believe in His saving work on the cross.

            That is the CLEAR message of the Bible. It isn’t hard to understand at all.

    • DC

      Yes. We are all condemned because we are all sinners. Thankfully, God has provided the punishment for our sin through the death and resurrection of His son, Jesus.

  • orla

    Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

  • James S. Kerr-Whitt

    As a pastor, my experience is that people often deal with things far beyond their personal coping (strength) capacities. It’s in such times that we desperately need eachother, and need the promised Presence of God rather than people quoting even true “truisms” (including those you can find in the Bible). I think that the truest Biblical thing we can say is that if God is WITH us (Holy Spirit, Emmanuel) anything can be “handled” and we can realize the kind of triumph that the Apostle Paul writes about from prison. But — saying this (and other such things) is a matter of timing, sensitivity, and discernment. Mostly, I just urge my congregation members to BE THERE for eachother, bear eachother, and to be very careful about “telling” suffering people much of anything. This goes along with the understanding that the Word of God is more a Person than it is a book, even our scriptures.

  • Brandon Smith

    I agree with almost all of these. Very well stated and well written. The one item I take reservation with, is the mention of the younger generation (That I am a part of) saying that we love Jesus and dislike Church. It has frequently been my experience that this is a trendy way of saying “I love forgiveness and hate accountability.”
    I can speak from my own experience and say that living a life alongside other believers, especially if you dare to become close to them, means they are going to have input on your actions. They are going to hold you accountable. It’s AMAZING, but it’s hard. It has led to some of the hardest things I have ever had to do. Immature Christians don’t want this because… well, it’s hard and it leads to some of the hardest things you will ever have to do. It’s much easier to write them off as “judging” you and decide that you don’t want to have anything to do with them.

  • Guest

    I really feel that the turn off for Christians and non-Christians alike is that everyone resorts to proving things. As already mentioned, there are so many different ways to interpret parts of the Bible that Christians relentlessly argue and banter about what the “actual meaning” really is. Take a step back. What is God trying to show you? What is in your heart? So maybe God is “testing” you via temptation, or by trials, or maybe He’s not at all. But most of the time, what you do through those situations has a whole lot more meaning than why you were in that situation in the first place. I don’t think God intended for the Bible to cause dissension among believers…I think the purpose was to enlighten and bring together His people. It’s hard to comprehend the meaning of a passage when you’re busy picking apart what the guy next to you had to say about one verse. God might be pressing something on that guy’s heart different than he’s pressing on yours, and that’s ok, let the Holy Spirit do its thing ;) Likewise, you can’t influence others just because you want to; they need to see that you are genuine, and that you care. So love them like Christ does…that’s the bottom line

  • Carolyn Fitzpatrick

    If you are aware that these phrases turn people off and avoid using for that reason, that is only a first step. People will figure it out if you are dodging certain phrases but still have the underlying attitudes of blind certainty and exclusion. You can have faith without believing that every word in the Bible is literally true and that the good or bad that happens to you is a direct result of God’s personal intervention. You can feel togetherness with Christians without believing classifying nonChristians as inferior, immoral, or sadly deluded. The ATTITUDES are what turns people off, not the specific words that you say, and rightly so.

  • Matthew Kerner

    Every time I hear “God never gives us more than we can handle” I wonder why so many of my friends have killed themselves.

    • Pk Mitchell

      Because that saying actually refers to temptation in our lives (1 John 2:19), its just a generalized misquotation.

  • luv2mtb

    They went out from us because they were not of us. For if they had been of us, they no doubt would have continued with us.

    • Pk Mitchell

      1 John 2:19

  • Sue

    This doesn’t just apply to “Millenials”. I’m a “Baby Boomer” and am tired of the cliche’s….and I work in a church office. I am also tired of hearing such terms as “GenX”, “Millenials”, “Baby Boomers” etc….. We are all just people doing our best to be Christ followers, no matter the age or genre’.

  • Danny Aguilar

    LOVE THIS!!!! THANK YOU!

  • Amy Zucker Morgenstern

    Wow, I lead a church that doesn’t say any of those things. We’re Unitarian Universalists.

  • Bill Redford

    Because we live in a day where people look for reasons to get offended… we must exercise tact. BUT… not to the point we disguise the Truth. As Christ followers we must wait for Gods timing (sometimes we should be quiet) and lead with Love in all of efforts. We should never lead with an attitude of judgment or to just ‘be right’. Then if the Truth offends someone, then maybe it needs to.

  • Liberty for Captives

    Well said, Addie. Each of those phrases has damaged people, especially when spoken by someone who hides behind the phrase to avoid dealing with the messiness of life. Thanks for sharing.

  • Better with Age

    I kind of liked the article. Reminded me how important it is not to act smug, ever, and that words can sound smug even when that is not what is intended. It called me to remember that folks are still looking for safe faith places to grow, study, talk, sort, try, fail, learn, try again, as they walk through life. I am reminded that when I provide that safe place, I invariably grow in my faith right along with them. I recall not everyone comes to faith in the same ways or at the same speeds, and allowances need to be made that honor each persons style of learning and the context of an individuals life. I admit that repeating bumper sticker bromides is likely more insensitive than encouraging, and to be truthful, a bit lazy and a poor substitute for building a relationship grounded in listening and empathy. Thanks for your willingness to freshen my witness as I seek to remain helpful for the Kingdom.

  • madcapmagician

    I have read your article, and I honestly dont know what to say without sounding mean or like a broken record. I have asked the same things as you, but my answers are going to be different for me than yours are for the very same questions. The bottom line is do you believe in Jesus? do you believe that the Bible is the inspired true word of God ? people are human, they make mistakes and pastors, reverends, and ministers are no exception. I am by far no Bible scholar, but from what I have read and have experienced I have found that God does truly not give you more than you can handle in any situation, why? because he is making you stronger for the next challenge that is to come, because he knows that the enemy of our souls will be using anything he can to bring us down, and the trials and temptations we go through will make us stronger, not just for ourselves, but for those around us who may need our help when they experience something we have gone through and survived and came out the other side stronger for it. You say the Bible is not clear on some things, but I should remind you that when it was written, language was different, the Greek, Hebrew, and Latin words all have various meanings so when it appears that one version of the Bible contradicts another it truly does not, it depends on the circumstance under which a scripture was spoken to you, for example the word love, there are many different kinds and here is the best explanation I could find. Agape
    love is best described as godly love or the love that God the Father
    shows toward his creation. The Bible uses this word in the well-known
    verse in John chapter 3 verse 16 which begins “For God so loved the
    world…”; agape love is unconditional. There are four main types of
    love. Agape, as discussed ,involves a god-type love that is sacrificial
    and all-encompassing. The second type of
    love is Sturgeon love. This is what is known as parental love. Sturgeon
    love is best described as the instinctive love a mother feels for her
    infant to grown up child. It too is sacrificial and in the human realm
    it is not usually a love that is chosen but one that comes naturally
    without provocation. Eros is the third type of love. This is known as
    “erotic” love which is shared between a husband and a wife. This love is
    strongly dependent upon emotions, physical attractions and traits and
    may even be fleeting. Lastly there is Philos which is a love that is
    brotherly and based on friendship. This love describes a
    relationship that is concerned more with another than with ones self. This is but a small example of how the language which we read in the Bible is complicated and has many meanings, which is why when we read scripture we should think and pray on the passage and ask God for clarification of how it relates to us, for example if you love your brother and you say that to me, I am going to know that because this person is your brother you are not talking about the Eros meaning of love, but that you more correctly mean the Philos type of love. This is why when pastors state the Bible clearly says… it is usually in relation to the sermon they have been preparing or what ever the Holy Spirit has told them to speak on and they have referenced the meaning of the words used in scripture… again it can be very confusing when we think the words used in the Bible mean only what we in today’s society have come to learn, bottom line is words do have multiple meanings. You had also mentioned that phrase “god has a plan and is in control”, well this is true, while we as humans can only see a limited view of what is going on around us and that view usually only pertains to us, and what is happening to us, God has the complete view of what is going on in the world and what he wants to happen, remember that God gave us free will so we can CHOOSE to have a relationship with him, and dont forget that the devil also has a plan on what HE wants to happen, usually something to take our focus off of Jesus and more into the worldly things that are his to control (which is another entire area all together, lol no time to go into it here =D). To put it in hopefully a little better perspective, the story of Joseph, in Gen 35:5 when he was betrayed by his brothers and sold into slavery because of his gifts that God had given him, and that their father loved him the most, He out of anyone we can think of had more reason to blame god and say why have you let this happen to me, but long story short, God had a plan, and in that plan Joseph was a key part of God’s plan.. and if you read the story you see (through the benefit of hindsight =D) that not only did God prosper him, but because Joseph was faithful to God and did not go off on his own because he was mad for being a slave, put in prison etc etc, he became the most powerful man second only to the king of Egypt, and also not only that but he was able to save not only tens of thousands of people but the lives of not only his brothers but also his people as well. So when people say that God has a plan we cannot see the overall picture beyond what is happening to us, we may be in the beginning of a Joseph like story ourselves when he was cast into the pit then sold into slavery. The thing is that we have to trust God, and know that he does have a plan for our lives, just as the devil does too, and that plan is not the one we want. I say these things because these are the things I have learned through my travels as a disciple of Christ, it is not always easy, lol right now I myself am going through trials, but I know that it will be for God’s glory when I can say to someone I know where you are coming from, I have been there and Jesus was faithful to walk with me and be there for me when I needed him, so that I may strengthen someone and help them to come closer to Jesus themselves. Ms. Addie, =) dont give up on the church =) it is not perfect, but an evolving living body that just like us changes with time. I will pray for God to give you clarity on these things you have spoken on here, I hope that some of what I have learned and posted here helps too =) peace and God Bless you my sister in Christ =)

  • Jonathan Johnson

    This entire article was unnessecary. None of these matters are worth stressing over. The only thing here which needs addressing is the attitude of the person who wrote this. This is just ‘self concerned’ and petty. Give a care towards things which really matter rather than your 2 cents about ‘your feelings’ abount insignificant ‘church cliches’. Come on, do yourself and everyone else a favour, get real with yourself and get over it too.

  • Rev. Anthony Burton

    Here’s another phrase that drives me up the wall: “Jesus saves”

    Jesus saves… what? Me? What if I don’t feel like I need saving? He certainly doesn’t save people from the sins of others (i.e., innocent children are killed by crazy people). He doesn’t save me from a crashing economy, or from a rapacious government. The simple expression “Jesus Saves” sets up a vague expectation of a cosmic superhero, and that’s not what God is.

    If you want to talk about the Love of God and how Jesus can help someone, be specific and honest. God will help you by giving you fortitude, by giving you someone to turn to and weep when things are going wrong, by providing you with guidance if you will pray and ask for it. God will NOT keep you from temptation… we will all be tempted. God will NOT protect you from every attack. God will NOT provide you with food or money. Prosperity is not what God provides.

    God gives us unconditional love, and God expects us to share that love FREELY with others, in every way we can.

  • bwmd

    Another phrase that we are over: Sentences starting with “actually”. If one can’t find a different way to phrase a teaching point, then they should just recognize that the point of the statement is their own pride.

  • bwmd

    I really liked this blog post. There is a good deal of truth to it and I identified with it. I think it’s why people are reacting to the Pope in such positive ways. He is doing a good job demonstrating that community, humility, and love are in short supply and I think people didn’t realize how desperate they were for these basic tenets of Christianity until seeing them. I’m not Catholic, but I’m thankful for him and those with similar hearts.

  • Ahna

    I’m not sure what about this is specific to the millennial generation. I think it is fair to say EVERY generation is sick of these phrases. And church attendance numbers were dropping long before this generation came of age.

  • Abigail Titus

    Don’t get too caught up in the hype of someone else’s opinion regardless of what it is promoting. This is an article written by a human being as well, and serves only as a perspective. I’m not for or against what’s being said here, but honestly we should be striving to live to love others who we don’t agree with, and I don’t care who you are, or what age category you fall into, we should not be in or out of a church based upon the words or actions of another. Jesus hasn’t given us a spirit of fear, but of love, and of power, and of a sound mind. There is way too much criticism of the church that goes on and not enough conscious working for His kingdom’s arrival. Stop with the technicalities, please, and just do the work.

  • Chris Mc

    I’d like to add to this “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” Perhaps no cliche has propelled me farther from church folk than “love the sinner, hate the sin.” What I translate that to is the ends justifies any means, i.e. we can bully gay people as severely as we want–call them perverts, kick our children out of our homes and onto the streets, send them to harmful ex-gay “therapies,” etc.–if it means we “win souls for Jesus.”

    • DC

      Except for one little thing. If I Corinthians 6:9-10 means exactly what it says, then not telling those who practice homosexuality to repent and turn from their ways would be a true act of hate, wouldn’t it? Because that would mean that they would not be entering the kingdom of God, i.e. Heaven.

      • Chris Mc

        It’s a pretty strange world we live in when the people thumping a book wherein slavery and mass murder is justified and women are required to marry their rapists are arbiters of morality responsible for telling people whose crime is loving another and wanting to care for them throughout life to repent from their evil ways. Paul framed celibacy as preferable with marriage as a last resort because it is better to marry than to “burn,” yet I bet these same people planned to marry since childhood. It doesn’t say what it means. No Greek scholar knows what the word translated to homosexual means. That translation only arrived in the 40s or 50s, homosexual didn’t exist as a word until the late 1800s, and every biblical scholar I know looks on that translation critically.

        • DC

          Name me one Greek “scholar”, or anyone for that matter, who had any trouble understanding what that word meant. The original King James Version translates it “effiminate”. Good grief. Besides, in case there’s any more questions, there’s always Romans 1, where the homosexual behavior is spelled out in detail, and this being what happens when God turns His back on a society who have their backs on Him. In other words , people will reject God, God will, in turn, turn His back on them, and allow them to get exactly what they want. A sign that this has happened is when men reject their ‘normal’ desires for a woman. If you have lived through the 60′s and 70′s in America, then you will see this happening right before your eyes.

          As to the ‘strange world we live in…’ statement, you obviously have not read the Bible in full, otherwise you would know that your statements are either false, or your quotes are taken out of context. Stop listening to what your college professors are spewing out, and instead investigate for yourself.

          The message of repentance and faith has been heralded since the days of Jesus.

          • Chris Mc

            You? Accusing me of taking my quotes out of context? That’s entirely rich! You’re isolating alleged anti-gay “clobber verses” from their cultural, sociopolitical and historical contexts and accusing me I’m decontextualizing passages in which God mandated women marry their rapists, God ordered his “people” to ransack other cities slaying all they could, etc.

            “Effeminate” does not mean the same thing as “homosexual,” Einstein. The word is an amalgam of Greek words meaning “soft” and “man.” Tell me how you get “homosexual” out of “soft” and “man.” Considering the passage’s framing against Greek traditions, it’s more likely it’s referring to cultic temple prostitution of young males. You want context? There’s your context.

            Homosexual behavior is not spelled out “in detail” in Romans 1; this is simply an illustration. Kind of like how Paul uses the word “unnatural” in another illustration, God’s own grafting of a branch representing Gentiles onto a tree representing Jews. So if “unnatural” = “wrong” then God himself is guilty of sin.

            I have investigated for myself. I’d suggest you learn some biblical Greek and Hebrew and glance at the texts for yourself instead of just regurgitating what you hear from homophobic blatherers.

            Homosexuals are inclined to the same sex in the way you’re inclined to the opposite (unless you’re inclined to the same sex and just raging on them to distance yourself from them).

            The “you’re different from me, thus you must be evil and wrong” thing has always been the mentality of the villains in American history. And often they used the Bible to justify it, just as certain as you are that they had the right interpretation. Justice will be won for LGBT people and you will be regarded no differently than the racists and sexists of yesteryear. Hope you enjoy rotting on history’s garbage heap.

          • DC

            It’s funny that you seem to know so much about a book that , as you say, “justifies” slavery and mass murder. A simple Google search tells me your interpretation of those verses come straight out of a book by Matthew Vines.

            Find me ONE New Testament scholar prior to, let’s just try 1970, who would agree with that interpretation. Or, for that matter, is there a single person from the Reformation era, when Biblical scholarship was at its highest, that would say homosexuality was not a sin? The answer is, of course not. Because that would mean that Godnhad changed His mind between the Old and the New Testament.

            Regardless of the difference in opinion on homosexuality, do you agree that salvation can only be obtained through repentance from sin and having faith in the saving work of Jesus Christ?

          • Chris Mc

            Lmao. I have never heard of Matthew Vines nor the book you’re referring to. It’s hilarious that you think only one person (this Vines character) has walked away with that interpretation. I think the problem of people like you is that when it comes to the Bible, “a simple Google search” is all you employ.

            So, God didn’t change his mind between the Old and the New Testament? So, you keep kosher? Since the very same book condemns the eating of shellfish as an abomination. Wow, your logic is so full of holes it might get mistaken for Swiss cheese.

          • DC

            Not really. I have just under 2,000 years of teachers/scholars/etc.. who would agree with the clear interpretation.

            As to the “shellfish” argument, that is now such an overused argument from the atheists playbook that I’m not even going to get into it… by now, most people understand those were ceremonial laws given only to the nation of Israel.

            Be that as it may, I didn’t see an answer to my last question re: salvation. I was curious if we at least agreed as to that.

          • Chris Mc

            Lolz. Bigots always say “clear interpretation” in lieu of any real exegetical argument. Intellectual laziness is all that is. Please, I welcome you to demonstrate every single teacher/scholar/etc from all those 2,000 years who agrees with you. It sounds like you’re generalizing with little evidence to show for it. Oh, and I’m sorry? Does the Church never error? I seem to remember how the Church managed to justify inquisitions, crusades, slavery, the massacring of native Americans, women’s disenfranchisement, and turning a blind eye to Nazism. You must’ve done a pretty good job rewriting history. The Church has and always will be responsible for a great many oppressions. People will use anything, including religion, to justify the marginalization of, violence against, and scapegoating of others.

            And really? If Levitical law is “ceremonial laws given only to the nation of Israel,” then that includes whatever admonition against man-on-man sex you can find in there. You can’t cherry pick one verse from Leviticus to say “God didn’t change his mind” and then say all the other laws that you surely break and don’t weigh equally are now somehow irrelevant.

            I didn’t answer your question because I think you’re deflecting.

          • DC

            Actually, this isn’t a deflection at all. Simple question was asked. Do you agree that true salvation comes from repentance and faith? And have you personally repented from your sin, regardless of whether you believe homosexuality is a sin or not, and put your faith in the saving work of Jesus Christ?

  • Daniel James Gullo

    I hope she doesn’t think she speaks for ALL millennials… I am not sure I qualify as a “millennial” However, I certainly don’t believe that the Lord God Almighty needs to meet MY set of criteria and requirements before I come to church to worship Him. This is GOD, the creator of EVERYTHING; the Almighty. It’s my responsibility to follow His commandments and do what He says. Christianity isn’t an a la carte menu or a buffet. Also, I want a pastor who is going to speak with confidence and assurance after he has spent 8-12 years of his life in college and then another 5-10 years gaining experience to become a senior pastor. For him to say “If we look at the scriptures, concerning [whatever], we see that the Bible says [xyz], BUT I COULD BE WRONG.” Yeah, no. And, he can’t be wrong; not if the Holy Spirit is truly with him. Pray for your pastor if you think there are problems. Ultimately, if you think you are finding contradictions in the sources that you are reading on the internet, etc. then: “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” – James 1:5-6 If you are at a church where you are uncomfortable and there are distractions or anything getting in your way of worshiping God and connecting with others, move on. However, be careful that it’s not just the Holy Spirit challenging you to grow in your faith. Don’t be like a smoker who is looking around for a doctor who will tell them smoking is ok….

  • Phyllis

    I do not think it is just one group who get turned off by platitudes. I am a baby boomer, the older end of that era, and I know many of my peers are turned off too. However, I think it is important for all of us to look beyond the platitudes and look deep within our hearts and souls for true belief. No one but God can do that for us. There is no one true doctrine that can. It is that still, quiet voice in our heads that says: I love you; I will take care of you. You are important to me. That quiet voice is God. I try, every day, to listen to and for that voice as I allow Jesus’s saving grace to guide my actions. Of course, there are days I fail to measure up to my beliefs. I think what turns people off is telling us that we are unworthy when we do that. A wise priest, and I am not Catholic, said to me after I had described my late son to him: “Phyllis, you are telling me about someone who was imperfect, not immoral. Give God credit. He knows the difference.”

  • AlyssaImagine

    Mmm. The first one is slightly off. The Bible clearly says is more complicated than that. Many of us feel The Bible should be a guidebook, not a clear cut this is what you do… Being the age of the internet and information, we also know the Bible was put together by a mortal man when church was very powerful, and then changed throughout the years. It has some good stories that teach you to be a good person, how to stay strong and faithful through hardships, and that’s wonderful, but to say it’s the word of God, when men wrote it – and every man sins, to me, is wrong. I don’t think anyone can really comprehend what God wants. He’s too powerful, too great, that we can’t know. I know this is true with many of us. I see it, talk about it with people my age, and see it online. I believe in God and Jesus, but you can’t make me believe the Bible is the word of God.

    • DC

      May I suggest you read 2 Timothy 3:16, Psalm 19, and Psalm 119.

      God HAS revealed Himself and His plan of salvation through His word. If you don’t believe that the Bible is the word of God, then how can you be certain of your faith??

      • AlyssaImagine

        I don’t think you really understand what I’m saying. I said the Bible was written by man, and thus not written by God. Put together by man. How is giving me parts of the Bible to read going to disprove that? It can’t be God’s word, because He didn’t write it. Man did. Man did when Church had heavy power. And changed throughout the years. Man’s written words are not God’s words, no matter how many people say it is.

        • DC

          The “Bible” is actually a collection of 66 different “books” that were written over a period of 1,500 years. None of the actual “books” were written when the “Church had heavy power.”

          The Scripture itself makes the claim that the authors were “inspired” by God, and that they (the Scriptures) are “God-breathed”. Maybe you should read exactly what the Bible has to say about itself instead of just relying on your college professors.

  • Keith Anleitner

    As a Christian of 38 years, half of me says, I sure hope I never have said these things because the last thing I want to do is turn anyone off from getting spiritual nourishment. I will make a commitment to stay way from catch phrases and cliches and with the help of the Holy Spirit follow the loving ways of Christ.

    The other half of me says that millennials have the same responsibilities as all Christians: we need to learn that the Word tells all of us to “not forsake the fellowshipping of ourselves”, that it was Jesus habit to go to the synagogue every Sabbath and we are to imitate Him. Christ also warned us that offenses would come and that we are to overcome by the word of our testimony and the blood of the lamb (forgiveness). I love the parable of “The Seed & the Sower”. Jesus taught us how the incarnate Word can grow in us and is located in the gospel of Mark chapter 4. Letting the Spirit teach us individually what this parable is saying about commitment to Christ is essential to our understanding and ultimately to our daily walk with Jesus.

    In short, I really love these discussions as they help us all to sharpen and focus our thoughts and words, while challenging us to a higher committment to Jesus!

  • Jason A. Quest

    The statements “God is in control” and “God has a plan” are horrifying. The notion of a God whose plan involves women being raped, children starving, old men freezing in the streets … an omnipotent being that uncaring and cruel … a God whose “mysterious ways” don’t even live up to my own moral standards … makes the notion of a random world with no purpose (except that which we make for ourselves) seem downright comforting in comparison. The fact that people not only believe in such a monster, but worship it …. is mind-boggling.

  • Rett Copple

    //We want to hear our pastors approach these words with humility and reverence. Saying, “This is where study and prayer have led me, but I could be wrong,” does infinitely more to secure our trust than The Bible clearly says…//

    Well, I can’t speak for everyone raised in temples of agnostic thought, where uncertainty poses as humility. But as for me, I’d rather my pastor think, speak, and act like a Christian, not an agnostic.

  • Beth Pyles

    Thank you for this. I’m 58. My kids are in their 30′s. I’m a Presbyterian pastor. I’ve read through the comments as well. Here’s what I know and it may well be all I know (directed more to the comments than the article): doctrinal propositions, intellectual statements put forth in declarative form (“God is . . .”, etc.), including the Bible itself, are all after-the-fact expressions of encounter. That has been true in my own faith journey as well: my faith began with encounter — with God and with others of faith who taught me far more with their lives than with their doctrine. As I would understand, at its best, doctrine gives me a language to use in speaking of my faith. But it is not my faith. Doctrine is the servant of faith: when it becomes more, I fear it leads to idolatry — idolatry of my own ideas about God. All of this to say that most days, I, while wrestling with biblical texts and doctrinal exposition stand with Karl Barth (I paraphrase): I may not be a universalist, but am pretty sure God is. Why? Because of my own encounters with God, who did not wait until I ‘got it’ to reveal amazing, glorious, wonder-filling love and possibilities into a life that was desperate for a center in the midst of my own horrors. If I have anything to offer, that’s it. Everything else is merely commentary in an effort to get at that core, that center. Thus I can say that I do not ‘believe in’ the Bible — I believe in God. The Bible is one means to allow me better understanding of God, myself, and the world. And anytime anyone wants to wrestle through it, I’ll try to be there as others have been there for me. Thank you for the young voices engaged in your own journey — you have much to teach and I am grateful.

    • DC

      Ma’am, with all due respect, I have read this response 3 times and have almost no clue whatsoever as to what you are saying.

      Let me say that, based upon the word of God, I can clearly, succinctly, and without any doubt tell you that God is not a universalist. The whole story of the Bible revolves around one man, the God-man, and His redemption of people from their sin. The Holy Spirit enlightens our minds so that we repent of our sins (turn from them), and then put our faith in the saving work of Jesus the Christ, the Son of God.

      If you do not “believe in” the Bible, then I am afraid that the “god” that you believe in is one of your own making.

      Yes, we CAN be certain about the teachings of Scripture. Yes, we CAN be sure of our salvation. Yes, we CAN be sure of the authority and inerrancy of Scripture.

      • Beth Pyles

        Dear DC, I don’t think we have as much quarrel as it might seem (but that’s just me). About doctrine, what I’m trying to say is that God, not doctrine, comes first. What all of us, from the beginning of time until this moment, including the folks we read about in the Bible, first had an encounter with (that is, they met) God, THEN they wrote about it. I hope the God I know is not of my own making — it’s always a challenge, I think, for every believer, to try to assure what we believe and what we do is guided by the Holy Spirit and not our own internal voice masquerading as more. Thus I have basically only one absolute — Jesus is Lord. Everything else is provisional — subject to the humble realization that I might be wrong, so I take your point. And I agree we can be sure of God’s redeeming, saving grace. But how certain can we be of OUR interpretation of the teachings of scripture? Too many have strayed too far, equally certain how clear the teachings were. So yes, I rest in scripture, BUT as interpreted through the Holy Spirit, as validated by the teachings of our ancestors, through the corrective lens ALWAYS of Jesus’ one ultimate law: the law of love (as in ‘love God; love your neighbor). Thus does the struggle continue and humbly do I search — at least I hope so. Because I still struggle with our common past when it comes to such things as the enslavement of others. Did the writers of the Bible get it wrong? Or did we misinterpret what it was saying? Maybe an example of what I’m talking about would be helpful: I know quite a few Muslims, which has allowed me to better understand a critical difference when it comes to our holy books: the Qu’ran is understand in Islam to have been dictated, word by word, by God. Christianity does not hold the Bible to have been God-dictated, but rather God-inspired. That’s a big difference. In Islam, the book itself must be treated with reverence; in Christianity, when a Bible gets old and worn, we may simply throw it away. There’s nothing wrong about writing in our Bibles. The Bible is a witness. There are others: the Holy Spirit; the stories of believers of the past; other people in the present; the proclaimed Word; creation (what John Calvin calls God’s cathedral); Jesus himself. Scriptural inerrancy is not a biblically articulated doctrine at least as to the New Testament. I know this is a controversial thing to say, but consider that the scripture that the doctrine makes reference to (with the sole exception of 2 Peter) are ALL referring to what Christians call the Old Testament. There was no New Testament at the time they were writing, as they were writing it, so when they referred to the accuracy of scripture, etc., they are referring to the Old Testament. The New Testament may or may not be inerrant. That’s not my point. My point is that the doctrine of scriptural inerrancy is a human tradition that arose after (many would say centuries after) the biblical texts themselves were written. But here’s the thing: even those who reject scriptural inerrancy as a doctrine may still accept scripture in all its fullness as a Word of God (remember, the Reformers believed ‘the Word of God’ to consist of three things: (1) Jesus himself (as stated in the Gospel of John); (2) the Bible; and (3) the word proclaimed (preached). These same reformers actually felt that they were free to disregard certain books, that is, they believed the canon was something that could be changed. Hence did Luther consider excising James (as too reflective of a works righteousness), Hebrews, Jude and Revelation (as well as the book of Esther from the Old Testament) and Calvin tended to agree regarding James and disregarded Revelation as incapable of being understood. The Reformers left out what we now call the Apocrypha, which are included in Roman Catholic and other traditions’ bibles. In light of this legacy, what can we be sure of? With humility, I would offer that we can be sure that those who came before us struggled mightily to arrive at a canon consistent with the witness of the Risen One. Thus did they include some ancient writings and omit others. All believed (and I think probably were) Spirit led. Why then, is there disagreement? Perhaps it’s as simple as this: the Bible is a tool. Its central message holds because it is a library of books written over centuries about different people in different times and circumstances as they encountered God. To my view, that does not make it less, but so much more. For that, I am ever grateful.

        • DC

          That all sounds reasonable, except that you forgot to mention the several N.T. verses where the author claims that what he wrote is the word of the Lord.

          Moreover, once you open up the possibility that the Bible is fallible, what hope do you really have for certain that you are safe from God’s wrath? How can you be certain that you will be saved through faith … if it’s possible the Bible is wrong?

  • Scott Smith

    Many good points here Addie! Thank you for sharing it. I left the structured, formal pastoral ministry in favor of ministry to the dispersed faith community. No gimmicks, few if any easy answers, just a focus on kind of the Acts 2 type of community, seekers, searchers, mentors, reflecting Christ’s love. There are no easy answers in life, how we deal with things can make life easier though and sometimes communities come up with great solutions we don’t see on our own.

  • Willow7777

    There is so much hate in the Church today the one would have to be blind to miss it! When the keys of the House of the Lord was given to the Politician the Church ended up Losing! Try looking at that as a reason. We are not stupid we can see the hypocrisy from here to kingdom come!

  • Centerfold Skye

    My religious older sister told me that I should leave my “logic” at the door before I enter a church. She was trying to be helpful… LOL!

  • neaslon

    There are so many “Church’s” that it makes religion look silly. They all believe a little bit of the Bible and not all or add to it etc…Makes Religion looks wishy washy. Also, we see religious people do hypocritical things or have parents that say one thing and then do another, so they lose credibility. We also,have raised spoiled kids that get everything they want or they don’t get anything. There’s no discipline in schools or if there is it’s 0 tolerance and that’s not fair because often the victim get punished along with the guilty.
    We want to be entertained and we have instant entertainment. So we had entertainment into our Church’s and then it seems like another concert without maybe nudity and profanity. We don’t respect our elders or people in authority, they are the bad guys. We are told you have to love yourself before you can love others. We take medicine for every thing.
    So when you read the word of God and he says, in Ephesians, that there is one God, one baptism, one Church, one spirit, we are like, what? I like variety. I want to choose what Kind God I want and church and spirit etc… We don’t want a Bible/God to tell us that we are to put others before ourselves. That we must obey his commands, which are not burdensome. That we are to love our enemies and pray for them and that we must have Faith with works, because faith without works is dead. We don’t want to study to show ourselves approved unto God. We don’t want to believe that there is a Hell because then we have to examine ourselves and not do what we want to do. This is one reason we are loosing millennials . Oh, and we don’t read anymore. We text and read small articles. We listen to some man tell us what our beliefs should be. I think the answer to keeping millennial’s is to get them to read the New Testament and then study it and get into it and see what it really says. Use that brain and that talent you have, The one that can win video games and create cool stuff and get into a fandom and learn everthing about it and an actor, The brain that can play fantasy football and pick the winning players etc… find the ONE TRUE GOD! Search the scriptures daily! Also, this generation has been brainwashed to think that if anyone tells you that you’re wrong or that something you’re doing will hurt you then they are Judging and not being loving, but if you think about it, real love wants to save a person from harm or death, a unloving person lets him jump off a cliff without warning him that there’s a cliff up ahead!

  • Guest

    “We want to hear our pastors … saying, “This is where study and prayer have led me, but I could be wrong,” does infinitely more to secure our trust,”

    What?! If they think they may be wrong, they are not preaching God’s truth.

    As Peter wrote… “If any one preaches, let him always preach as one who utters God’s truth” 1 Peter 4:11

  • Guest

    Substitute the name Jesus for the church and you have “The statistics are in: millennials are leaving Jesus. And nobody seems quite sure what to do about it.”

    The crowds left Jesus once before. He didn’t run after them, or change the words he was using, or try altering His message to not scare them off.

    “And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.” (John 6:65-69)

  • http://www.whatisspiritual.com cardw

    Millennials and others are not coming back because there are great communities out there without all the mental gymnastics. There’s too much information out there to continue to believe that an iron age book has the best ideas ever written. It is much simpler to simply love beauty, create beauty, love people, and enjoy life. Christianity has such a fear core that it weighs down everything it touches.

  • polishedarrow

    Your commentary tries to bring God down to our level instead of stirring our faith and raising ourselves up to His level….His kingdom standard. As a 30 something I don’t entirely agree with your position. Sometimes we have to build our perseverance to bring endurance…but being in His presence, seeking Him first is the well spring of life and the source of living a victorious life. Yes, we have real life issues but we can’t bring our level of experience down and make a doctrine out of it because it’s more comfortable or convenient…..Jesus didn’t stay crying, He declared life!

  • Tim Scott

    TO THE AUTHOR- Like many, I appreciate your insights and diligence. You have said something that needs to be heard in “today’s church”. Though I am not a fan of “dueling” with scripture verses or “proof-texting”, I do think John 14:12 seems to keep the door open, indefinitely, for the core of your point: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father” (King Jimmy Version)

    In the first half of the 20th century, there were a few German theologians who were forced, in their opposition to Hitler, to tangle with this issue (the propaganda machine had hi-jacked many of the consolations of the “German Christian” movement and twisted them to further their goals). But there were a few who sought, “in Spirit and in truth” to know how the Word of God, Jesus, could speak to a people who’s church’s message had been corrupted with nationalism and the popularity of exceptionalism. Deitrich Bonhoeffer was one of the “confessing church”, and he stayed in Germany till the bitter end (of the war, and his life at the hands of the hangman, a few months shy of hitting 40) There’s an awesome movie about him called, “Bonhoeffer Agent of Grace” which is fairly accurate in some of his theological points. Near the end of the movie, the main character preaches his last message to a handful of fellow prisoners in a ransacked church. Though I’ve studied a lot of his theology, I’m not sure if the point of his sermon in the movie was actually “true” to something Bonhoeffer actually said, but I agree with its sentiment:

    “I’ve been thinking about what Christ will mean in the future. We’ll need a new form of Christianity in a time when the world has come of age. “…

    “It is not for us to prophesy the day when men will once more ask God that the world be changed and renewed. But when that day arrives, there will be a new language, perhaps quite non-religious, but liberating and redeeming, as was Jesus’ language. It’ll shock people. It’ll shock them by its power. It’ll be the language of a new truth, proclaiming God’s peace with men…”

    In the movie the sermon was cut short here. I should also note, the part I left out in the middle speaks of “Christ at the center” so please know that he would never advocate “getting past” Jesus in any way!

    The other German dude I wanted to bring up (there were quite a few who opposed Hitler) was able to develop his thinking over a great many more years since he chose to leave Germany and come to the U.S. before it got bad. Paul Tillich died in 1965 a few months shy of his 80th and was a well known academic, having even served for a while as the president of Harvard, as well as other educational positions in prominent schools. Tillich described himself as working on the “boundaries”,.. namely the boundaries of religion and philosophy and the boundaries of religion and culture. Unfortunately, his ruminations have been lost to the evangelical world because of confusion over his semi-agreement with the philosophical notion that “god is dead” and his controversial term, the “God above god”. It usually takes me about three tries before I can really grasp what he writes, but once I do, it’s worth the effort. I love “The Courage To Be” and the collection of his sermons called, “The Shaking of The Foundations” has been a source of inspiration and comfort. While many did (and still do) roundly reject him as an atheist, I agree with those who felt he was trying to mediate God’s Word while zealous fundamentalism thought it necessary to defend the honor of it.

    In Ben Folds’ song, “Jesusland” there’s a verse that says, “they drop Your name, but no one knows Your face”… don’t we sometimes “drop” these biblical platitudes without behaving in accordance with them? If the Word of God doesn’t come to life in us, why would we expect others to see the real life that is attested to in the scriptures? Don’t forget, the Pharisees arose between the Testaments as a ‘back to the bible’ movement… but they treated Holy Scripture like a “graven image” to be manipulated. And the Lord said to them in John 5:39, “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.” (New King Jimmy Version) Isn’t it entirely possible that we, too, as we claim to be defenders of the faith, are actually just trying to defend our belief that it’s true, instead of moving forward in how it relates to our modern predicament? And, doesn’t this communicate to an unbelieving world a lack of faith instead of the abundance of it we fancy ourselves to have?
    One last point. I recently learned that the written Greek in the beginning of “The Revelation” could be described as using a lot of “slang” and having what we might call a “hipster” feel to its unconventional use of the language. I believe that John, as inspired by The Spirit, sought in this last generation of scripture, to reach beyond the confines of “appropriate” talk about Jesus to those who most needed to hear from Jesus Himself. And, as Craig R. Kester might translate it, John greeted believers of his day and indeed all believers with the wonderful greeting, “Grace to you, and peace from ‘He The Is’, ‘He The Was’, and ‘He The Is To Come’.” (Rev. 1:4b)
    TO THE AUTHOR: I don’t mean to imply your thoughts aren’t original, I’m hoping some of these other struggles might come to bear on your work and be helpful to you in your efforts to say something relevant to this generation.
    TO THE AUTHOR’S ANGRY DETRACTORS: Relax! The Truth that has endured in God’s Word will continue to endure, because it is THE Truth. Don’t mistake your vehement opposition to falsehood as helping God’s Word to endure. Sometimes zeal is mis-guided and it just appears, to those we’re trying to witness to, that we are fearful about the reputation of Jesus, rather than being full of trust in Jesus.
    After all, without charity we’re just making noise… and it’s kind of a rare thing to really show charity in a blog. But I think Ms. Addie shows in this article that she is willing to go to great lengths to “charity on” (that’s not EXACTLY the same thing, is it?) the people she sees and the people who read her!

    . .

  • http://adrianthompson.com/ Adrian Thompson

    Very well written; thanks for sharing. I can relate on every level and have often felt alone in that.

  • Dave Teich

    funny little blog here. it helps me in general to remember that I won’t have to confess your sins, only mine. My own experience is that I could never have come to God if I was forced in a particular direction. That was the experience of my early life and it drove me away. Growing up I had no relationship with God;
    It seems impossible to reconcile my revelation with my reason…..but I have had a revelation. No matter what I’m going through, no matter how I try to deny or doubt, the faith remains. there are people reading this who think that God doesn’t love them, and there’s no way out. You are misinformed. I’m OK with that. When I was an atheist it was very important to me to knock down other people’s beliefs. Once I had my own relationship with God, I didn’t care to do that anymore. I don’t think it’s about a particular set of beliefs, but it is about some kind of belief. I am sometimes asked by inexperienced people, or by Christians who are questioning or doubting the faith they have been raised in, whether one religion is just as good as any other. I don’t believe someone is going to Hell just because they don’t identify with something that I identify with. But for me there is something essential and unique that is Christianity that I can’t get anywhere else.I believe hope and faith are processes. It’s a very simple process that requires desire, effort and willingness and can start long before there’s any understanding that God is involved, although I believe it is a process that comes from God. If I want to learn how to weld, I hang out with experienced welders. When God made me a Christian, I joined a church to hang out with experienced Christians.
    Look, I’m saved. So what? Or should I say, now what? Maybe being saved isn’t enough. My salvation is a gift. But if I start thinking the gift is for me I’m wrong. Maybe it was given to me for someone else’s sake. I have to give it away. I do that by giving service to God.

  • Kerry Maxwell

    I’m a boomer not a millennial and the phrase “God has a plan” bothers me also when people try to use it to explain how bad stuff happens to good people. Bad stuff happens because we live in a war zone and we are soldiers in that war defending the honor of our King. Bad stuff happened to Jesus not because the Father wanted it to but because the evil one led us to kill the Son of God. Until Jesus comes back bad stuff will happen to us, hold on to your Friend.

  • frankyjoe

    I don’t want to be argumentative for the sake of arguing, BUT I do have to say: If these reasons are great enough to drive Millennials away from faith and fellowship, Millennials have much larger problems then these 5 hot button phrases, and the old fogies who use them. And going against the concept of “the Bible clearly says” is far too humanistic for my taste. If we can read the Bible and not understand it, we’re screwed. Sorry to be crass, but the Bible is not that open to interpretation. It really isn’t THAT complicated. So no I don’t believe we should apologize and I will not preface my talks with “Well I could be wrong, but here’s what I think it says in my most humble, and subjective opinion…” Again, sorry to be hard, but I think Millennials have some growing up to do.

  • Mimi

    On the other hand, the cliches I find most “maddening and alienating” are the self-important ones that have the phrase “my/our generation” in them, as if people the same age as the writer are the ones that matter most and the rest of us are bothering you. Generational talk is generally divisive, self-centered and arrogant and I, for one, wish it would go away.

  • wogster

    Millennials are not leaving the church because of catch phrases, and cliches, they don’t like, they are that shallow. Millennials are leaving the church, for the same reason many of their parents generation did, because it’s not offering them enough. If a church wants a lot of younger people, they need to get the ones they have involved, in nearly all aspects.

  • Brown

    Hate to be cynical. But isn’t it a little ironic that this skeptical millennial is playing into christian capitalism by blogging and promoting a book on faith? It always bugs me a bit when folks criticize the church as a means to sell a book or build audience on a blog. Her points might be valid. But there’s an inherent conflict of interest, right?

  • Beth Maxwell Boyle

    Addie Zierman if those words frighten Millennials they probably don’t belong in the church.

  • John Powell

    Ok, good article which I agree with in terms of current frustrations and put-offs by the church. There are LOTS of us out here who have the same history and response to tradition. So now tell me what you do like and what you are looking for. I ask because I am the pastor of a church that seeks to engage this generation, but from the other side of the ball, its gets more difficult. I am probably overstating the breath of the attitude, but my experience has been that this generation lauds relationships but can’t commit to them, they want authenticity but can’t be honest, they desire community but shun all authority, they want to learn and grow but wont make time for the effort involved to do so, and they espouse involvement in justice issues and mission but can’t find the time between all their other activities to join in. My experience with this issue and our common quest for authenticity is that it is easy to critique and offer up analysis, but exceedingly difficult to lead this generation, build community and engage the world together as God would have us. I do agree with your last statement that millennials want to be loved, understood and seen, and this is the right place to start. I’m just struggling getting them to move beyond this because you cannot stay there.

  • DC

    “In the end, it’s not really about what churches say or don’t say. What millennials want is to be seen. Understood. Loved. It’s what everyone wants, really. And for this generation of journeyers? Choosing honesty over cliché is a really great place to start.”

    Yikes. Just Yikes. Me, me, me, me, me, me, me.

    Loved? LOVED???? Please…. get out the word of God and read Ephesians 1. A true believer is chosen by God, adopted as children, redeemed, forgiven of sin, and given the gift of the Holy Spirit. He now prepares a place for us in Heaven, intercedes on our behalf, and one day will return and we will reign with Him.

    Seriously…THINK about it. How much more “love” do you really want?? It is a precious, holy honor to come into the presence of our God and worship Him with other believers. Are your readers really sure they want to give that up just because they’re tired of a few cliches ????

    Millennials need to stop thinking about themselves, and trying to “figure it out” through community. Spend more time in the word of God and on your knees in prayer, praising Him for His great love and mercy, and realizing that HE is all that we need, and He teaches us and strengthens us through His word … the word of God that clear and pure.

    To quote another cliche: “It’s not about you, it’s about Him”

  • Gryphon Hall

    The point of this article is which phrases drive millennials (and, IMHO, quite a number of people from other decades as well) away. It does not necessarily mean that these phrases are invalid… although personally, I think only the first statement is valid but has been used to drive people away more than help guide them back to God; the rest are pretty much spot on. I’ve met people who want to have a better faith get frustrated with “This is where study and prayer have led me, but I could be wrong” when they actually want a definite “the Bible clearly says…”

  • Michelle Simmons

    This is a great article. I’m not a millennial, but I battled with all of these. I had a strong Christian up bringing up through grade school and as a result I can’t totally turn my back on Christianity, but I have reached the point that I relate more to deists.

  • Jonathan

    >> “We want to hear our pastors approach these words with humility and reverence. Saying, “This is where study and prayer have led me, but I could be wrong,” does infinitely more to secure our trust than The Bible clearly says…” <> “We know the Bible is clear about some things– but also that much is not clear.” <<

    Answer: We have the magisterium of the Catholic Church and apostolic tradition to bring clarity.

  • Paul Stevenson

    “God is in control” was the one cliche which actually is taught in the Bible (Psalms to start). Evwn though I am in a dark place. Even if the bad guys are winning. Not something to be thrown at the hurting to escape having to deal with them. But part of a maturing faith. Churches are full of baby believers “ministering” to baby believers with cliches and shallow approaches to complex questions.

  • Juliann Rich

    Love this, Addie. Thanks for a thoughtful and honest post.

    • Ron

      Thoughtful? No. Vapid and anti-Biblical? Absolutely.

  • J David Branson

    I just read thru a good portion of the comments…..Addie called it out right…very few of you can reach any sort of mutual consensus, understanding etc. All the same faith base, so many different ideas, so little interest. I used to wonder how Shiites and Sunnis could be so violent to each other when they are the same faith, then I remembered the Catholic/Protestant hatred still found today.
    I can pick out a color, and call it Red. One will say it’s actually a chromic spectrum interpretation, another will say that it really is the absence of Blue, a third will say there are only three colors ever, another will say it’s brilliant, another will say I am so dull to pick a color like that, so on and so forth. All are right…in a manner of viewpoint. Me, I’ll just call it Red and enjoy it for being Red and know how dull my life would be without Red. Just learn to live with each other…none of us will ever have enough time left

    • Ron

      Got any Scriptures to back up all of this psycho-babble?

  • Sandra Bunch

    Thank you for this outstanding and refreshing statement!! —Not a millennial by any stretch … but agree with you totally!!

  • Charles Bamford

    I have no problem with 2 or 5 because they are both true statements. For 2, in my understanding, maybe “handling” means seeking help from outside yourself. That’s not a difficult interpretation.

    5 is a great thing to say provided it is accompanied by compassion and understanding. Often people try to demonstrate this and it is not understood. Does fault lie here with the transmitter or the receiver? I would argue that responsibility is mutual.

  • Jim

    DC says that God has provided punishment for our sin through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Does that mean we are free to sin without fear of going to hell?

  • Jeff

    This is why I left the church, and renounce the bible:

    No. 1:St Paul’s advice about whether women are allowed to teach men in church:

    “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.” (1 Timothy 2:12)

    No. 2: In this verse, Samuel, one of the early leaders of Israel, orders genocide against a neighbouring people:

    “This is what the Lord Almighty says… ‘Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’” (1 Samuel 15:3)

    No. 3: A command of Moses:

    “Do not allow a sorceress to live.” (Exodus 22:18)

    No. 4: The ending of Psalm 137, a psalm which was made into a disco calypso hit by Boney M, is often omitted from readings in church:

    “Happy is he who repays you for what you have done to us – he who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks.” (Psalm 137:9)

    No. 5: Another blood-curdling tale from the Book of Judges, where an Israelite man is trapped in a house by a hostile crowd, and sends out his concubine to placate them:

    “So the man took his concubine and sent her outside to them, and they raped her and abused her throughout the night, and at dawn they let her go. At daybreak the woman went back to the house where her master was staying, fell down at the door and lay there until daylight. When her master got up in the morning and opened the door of the house and stepped out to continue on his way, there lay his concubine, fallen in the doorway of the house, with her hands on the threshold. He said to her, ‘Get up; let’s go.’ But there was no answer. Then the man put her on his donkey and set out for home.” (Judges 19:25-28)

    No. 6: St Paul condemns homosexuality in the opening chapter of the Book of Romans:

    “In the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error.” (Romans 1:27)

    No. 7: In this story from the Book of Judges, an Israelite leader, Jephthah, makes a rash vow to God, which has to be carried out:

    “And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord, and said, ‘If you will give the Ammonites into my hand, then whoever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return victorious from the Ammonites, shall be the Lord’s, to be offered up by me as a burnt-offering.’ Then Jephthah came to his home at Mizpah; and there was his daughter coming out to meet him with timbrels and with dancing. She was his only child; he had no son or daughter except her. When he saw her, he tore his clothes, and said, ‘Alas, my daughter! You have brought me very low; you have become the cause of great trouble to me. For I have opened my mouth to the Lord, and I cannot take back my vow.’” (Judges 11:30-1, 34-5)

    No. 8: The Lord is speaking to Abraham in this story where God commands him to sacrifice his son:

    ‘Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt-offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you.’ (Genesis 22:2)

    • Ron

      So because you dislike these things, you claim that they are untrue? What gives you the authority? If the Bible is true, then you are headed straight for Hell for your rebellious rejection. Is that really what you want? Pride destroys souls. Coming to Christ in humility, trusting in Him in obedience, is the only way to avoid the just, eternal punishment we all deserve.

  • Gerald Ford

    Thank you for helping us think more deeply. Good Thoughts…

    • Ron

      Deeply? Really? This is the most vapid, shallow, anti-Biblical article I’ve ever seen written in the name of “Christianity.” The author needs to read her Bible more, and stop leading others astray.

      Read my previous post for a full critique of the article.

  • LostGrrl

    Excellent article!! There are so, so many more where these came from. And they don’t just turn off millennials either (Boomer here). “Unchurched” is the the one I abhor the most…talk about categorizing all people that don’t attend church regularly into a neat little box that sounds like they have a disease identified by the CDC. Never mind that many of those “unchurched” are Christians disillusioned with the church.

    Oh and don’t even get me started on “loving on” somebody…

  • JesseVega

    A few thoughts. First: most of those phrases are really only used in Protestant Evangelical or Fundamentalist churches. I get tired of being taken to task for everything people in those churches do or say. Two: this author seems to think her points apply only to her age group. They do not. I’m old and have always been put off by churchy language and trite theology. I find the phrase “love on you” to be particularly creepy. Three: Though she may be speaking some truth, I find it l arrogant when someone claims to speak for an entire generation of people. The term “millennials” is just another social construct being used to lump vastly different individuals into one category. I know and work with many people in that age group. Though they share a common history of growing up in the same time period, that’s about it. I’ve especially found that working class non-White people have little in common with the stereotypical ideas related to being a “millennial.” So I think this article should be labeled “Why Middle Class White Americans Are Being Scared Away From Evangelical Churches.”

    • Phil A.

      Not to mention, Latinos and blacks are steadfastly immovable within their own churches and religious constructs, particularly the latter (it’s intrinsic and almost taboo to NOT be religious.)

  • gehunter

    Why millennials are turned off goes deeper than mere clumsy phrasings. It’s the hypocrisy of the institution of a church itself. From the pedophiles in the Catholic Church to the gay-bashing protestant ministers who secretly enjoy gay sex to the irreconcilable errors of the Good Book which (ostensibly) inspired by an eternal, omniscient omnipresent creator God who always seems to hate his own creations and cant quite nail down the subtle distinction between a bat and a bird. These and many other errors turn off young who have access to the internet, the ultimate BS detector. So why stop at mere phraseology whe the problem clearly runs deeper.

  • Malcolm Spangle

    As an atheist and a millennial I thought this was very on point. Good job. The bible is chock full of significant contradictions, it’s clear about very little.

    • Ron

      It’s very clear about a lot, including the fact that apart from Jesus, all of us are bound for eternal condemnation, punishment and separation from God in Hell.

  • JoeDrager

    At least it didn’t say we need to hug homos. That would be a bit creepy.

    • Curt Baker

      Joe what are you saying brother? I interpret your comment as a bit vague, which leads to misunderstanding, which leads to conflict. Are you looking for conflict? Please say no…..

  • bobbeecher

    “The millennials are leaving the church,…”

    …and the reason is that they are realizing that religion is just organized superstition. It’s basically just a scam to get people to fall into line and give up a portion of their money to keep the Ponzi Scheme going. In the 21st century, science and discovery are far more important than myth and superstition.

  • Ronnie Barnes

    Addie, i see where you are coming from with these points, but i have some objections; but before i get to my little list, i have to ask if you have read anything published by Thom Rainer or his son on the issue of millenials in the church. They certainly lay a broad and clean foundation and have polled thousands upon thousands of millenials in an exteremely well done national poll, and they do have some answers. Check out “The Millenials” by Thom Rainer.

    Response to 2 points: Firstly, the Bible clearly states many things: there are moral absolutes, which are unbound by time and generations. The fact that millenials (of which i am, born in 1985) don’t like to hear phrases like that should mean very little. We are all called to believe in the same Son of God, Jesus Christ, and there is no other way. Secondly, God gave Job more than he could handle, as He did to Paul also. And God told Paul by the Holy Spirit, “my grace is sufficient for you…” thus implying that without His grace, he couldn’t have made it. God wants us to lean on his strength.

    I have to admit though, i am not sure if you disagree with these statements as being cliche and worthless, or if you are simply pointing out what your readership believes; regardless of that, though, i feel that there is merit in all of these well-worn sentiments. And it is sad that our generation is willing to throw it all out the window and try to scratch-out something brand new, with no regard for a rich and vibrant heritage, which has borne fruit for God’s Kingdom. I think that too often, we feel alienated by the church because we have been too arrogant to attempt to engage it. We are a very narcissistic culture that seems to despise old things for the sake of despising, without a very compelling reason for our disdain.

    I’m a pastor, and i know many wandering and aimless millenials who would do well to attend a traditional church, for what they could learn about real life from the real people who attend there (in all of their well-worn but sincere sentiments). So the question at the end of the day is, “Whose fault is it that the millenials are not being reached?” The answer is simple: It is the older generation’s fault for being so cloistered and unwilling to reach out to them. It is also our fault, for not being open to hear and learn from those who are wiser than us.

  • David

    Millennials are leaving because like every human being we are in a constant struggle to obey.

    1) – “The Bible clearly says…” We do understand the culture of Biblical times. The Bible is clear that culture has nothing to do with what is written inside of it. 2 Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,…” You don’t need the internet to understand the Bible. If you preach from the Bible, it is the authority of God, but Millenials don’t like to submit to authority. “Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid
    quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.” (Titus 3:1,2 ESV)

    2) “God will never give you more than you can handle” – 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

    3) “Love on” – This is just weird to pick an argument over trivial “sayings”. If you really wanted a relationship, then you
    would work on it and not leave.

    4) Black and white quantifiers of faith, such as “Believer, Unbeliever, Backsliding” – Actually Christians need to be open to
    being analyzed. Psalm 139:23-24 “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” The world is a foreign place to true believers. We see it through the eyes God gives us and know of its wickedness. There is nothing redeeming about the world that is why it will be completely destroyed by fire.

    5) “God is in control . . . has a plan . . . works in mysterious ways” – Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Colossians
    3:16 “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” None of this is cliché. God’s word is good for healing and comfort to those that truly love God. Psalm 119:105 “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”

    This writer uses none of the Bible. None of the one thing that points Christians to the truth and that Jesus loved. Matthew
    4:4 “Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” This person clearly has no real understanding of the Bible and Christianity. I urge you to completely reject what is being said here. The writer uses only his understanding, his own wisdom. The writer will never compare to the wisdom of Solomon, and this is what Solomon has to say. Proverbs 3:5-10 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.”

  • Xirnibor

    I turned 30 this year, and I’m raising two small boys…..need more info. same father, still married, divorced, remarried, etc?….

  • Americanul65

    A churchy phrase only scares people off if there is nothing to back up the statement. Young people are afraid of religious people who cannot explain what they say and why. As far as “the Bible clearly says,” well…considering that one of the jobs of the pastor is to differentiate between things in the Bible I would certainly hope that the pastor knows if the Bible clearly says something or not and will be able to prove it with Scripture. Your article does touch on an issue though that is a problem that I have seen in my 20 years of pastoral experience – people do not know what they believe and far too many people interpret the Bible based upon their culture instead of using the Bible to interpret culture. Phrases are not the problem – me first attitudes are.

  • Sergei Yasanov

    Uh, don’t take this the wrong way, but you were born in 1983. You were already practically an adult when the millennium came. By definition, you are NOT a millennial.

    • bubba2020

      and your relevant point is……………?

  • trackfodder

    IF IT BE GOD’s WILL Think I will go puke.

  • Natalie Rose Euley

    I don’t see here what my biggest issue with church is- PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH! Our goal as Christians is to be as Jesus Christ, yet we don’t follow the values of Jesus. Jesus accepted all, especially sinners, and brought them to a place where they can feel accepted and loved. Yes, homosexuality is a sin, but the fact that those people are sinners is all the more reason to love them and make them feel welcome because no one wants to be with a sinner. Jesus wanted to be with the sinners all the time. The church today is the Pharisees of Jesus’ day- they think they are doing the right thing, but they miss the whole point. You may give every tenth penny to charity, or pray and read your bible every night, but in the end, if you don’t love like Jesus Christ, you are not Christian. The word “love”, or some form, appears 661 times in the bible (KJV). The word “homosexual” does not actually ever appear in the bible (KJV). Therefore, any text people say is about homosexuality could be about something else entirely. Regardless of that issue, I used it as an example to say this- core Christian values are things like love, acceptance, and humility. Things like homosexuality or divorce play no part in our behavior towards others, and the fact that the church focuses on the minor details of the bible such as these instead of the real point is why I don’t want to be a part of it.

    • Ron

      Jesus said to the sexually immoral woman, “Go your way, and sin no more.” The key is, turning from the sin, regardless of what it is. Homosexuality is no different from any other form of sexual immorality. Christ requires us to turn from it, turn to Him, and let the Holy Spirit change our hearts. If we condone the sin, we condemn the sinner to Hell. It really is that simple.

      • Natalie Rose Euley

        Jesus also said the following:
        “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
        I do not see churches doing that. I do not feel love when I am at church. I feel judgement and criticism, and that’s not what Jesus taught.

        • Ron

          I’m sorry you feel that way, Natalie. Please do understand the Biblical meaning for the word “love” (agape in Greek). It’s an overwhelming desire for the other person’s well-being. A sacrificial desire, which drives one to make personal sacrifices for the good of others. From Romans 1 and other verses, we know that sexually immoral, homosexuals, blasphemers, cowards, and other specific categories of people will never inherit the Kingdom of God. So the desire of a true Christian is to see people turn from these things, trust in Christ, and be saved.

          Those who are caught up in sin or acceptance of sin in others (perhaps in the name of “tolerance”) may mistake a Christian’s disgust for these things (because these behaviors condemn unrepentant souls to Hell) for judgment, condemnation and disgust for the person. Sometimes this is actually the case, although that should never be. However, Paul condemned churches for allowing these kinds of behaviors to continue unpunished. It is the job of the Church to lead sinners to repentance, to aid in the sanctification of the saints (overcoming areas of sin in our lives), and to discipline members when they engage in unrepentant sin, up to the point of disfellowship.

          Clear steps are given for Church discipline, in the order to be taken. First confront the person one-on-one. Then, if they don’t hear you, take a couple of elders. Then, if they still don’t admit they’re wrong and take steps to remedy the problem, go before the whole congregation. If they’re still defiant, then they cannot be allowed to continue in the fellowship of the congregation. Tolerance of sin is the problem. The Church has failed to deal with sin, and as a result, tolerance of sin has crept into the minds of the congregants.

          Yes, we should be loving, and we should not be judgmental in assigning motives. But Christians are clearly called to judge behaviors and actions of both themselves and others by the Biblical standards clearly laid out in Scripture. If all congregations did that, nobody would be reading this article because its author either never would have strayed into such clearly errant thinking, or would have been corrected long ago.

          Sometimes real love is difficult, and sometimes it’s even *gasp* intolerant. Intolerant of sin, intolerant of compromise when it comes to God’s clearly defined standards of living.

          God bless!

  • cook4668

    Most of this article is bunk…The millennials have more access to the Bible than any generation but read it less than any generation before. They believe Google over the word of God. They believe that the Bible is full of errors because someone said it was so. They never read it for themselves. It must be read as a whole. Each part depends on the other. It is opened and it is closed; it is coded and mathematical. It is the most fascinating book ever.

  • Beth Maxwell Boyle

    The church is not free of sin. The church is just a bunch of sinners looking for redemption who have confessed themselves to be in need of each other and God.. If you expect to find a church free of the plagues of the world you will never find it. The church is not a refuge from the world we go to to feel righteous, it is the place we go for instruction and redemption. If millennials think they will find a church free of strife all they need to do it look at Paul’s letters to the early churches he ministered to.. Looking for some utopia is not how you find fellowship or find God. Methinks Addie has not a clue.

  • Ikhnaton

    Jesus Himself scared of millennials ……….. especially the pharisees.

    G.K. Chesterton — ‘The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.’

    The road is narrow, only a few find it.

    Many would walk the wide road.

    There is credit in being graceful with the words we say. Yet not at the cost of undermining the truth. There may be a problem with Christians being unwise in speech but the greater problem is why are people nowadays so easily offended?

    When one reads through the scriptures, it will be discovered that all the phrases above are in some manner stated in the bible itself. Should the bible then be revised to remove such phrases?

  • Leah Faith

    I think the church is not the body of Christ any more. The founding fathers had it right, so did the Pilgrims. We need men and women like that who actually have the power of God and use it to set people free and deliver the nation from dictators! Something I just wrote today on facebook: The question? What do you want to do when you grow up? The #1 thing that teachers need to be asking children is not “what do you want to be when you grow up”, but “what does GOD want you to be when you grow up.” When children are taught to follow the Holy Spirit instead of their own ideas, then God can flow in their lives in a powerful way!! The Bible says to “commit your ways unto the Lord and He will establish you path.” Proverbs 16:3

    True Americans, men and women set free by the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and this freedom Jesus won demonstrated, “acted upon” by Christian men and women: written out in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution answer the question as follows: To grow up into a man/ woman of God. Living a life pleasing to God following his commandments and teachings. Being a good housewife, mother, wife, being a good farmer, father and husband. 65% of Americans have always been farmers and all other “Callings/careers/jobs” are supports for the farmer and his family. Until tragedy hit the country with the Depression, dust bowl, wars etc. The farm was stolen from the people by “Capitalist, greedy, evil, people who have no concern for the laws given to men by God and make up their own laws legalizing “stealing, lying, cheating and corruption”. But Praise God he his powerful! Strong to deliver and put things back, heal the tragedies and make things right again.

  • Cam Beck

    I don’t know that aversion to vapid phrases is solely the dominion of Millennials, but I will say that the Gospel is offensive and foolish to the perishing (1 Corinthians 1:18) and will turn people off and scare people away, vapid phrases or no. It is important to speak truth in love and humility (Ephesians 4), and regardless, it will scare some away. But then, it is not our job to save people. Some are appointed to plant seeds, some are appointed to water, but God gives the growth (1 Corinthians 3:7).

    But do so in love, for “Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away” (1 Corinthians 13:8).

  • Dickson

    Great topic — as much as possible, even though I’m 60 yo, when I speak and teach to any age audience (as a non professional) I make a point as much as possible to use ‘non churchy’ language – not too hard except for one word: ‘sin’ — some other chosen words get close but don’t fully hit the target. =0)

  • Josh Andersen

    This women needs discipleship in the word and in logic. I hope God has mercy on her and leads her to biblical wisdom and not worldly wisdom, seeking to please God’s enemy instead of calling them to repentance as we are commanded. Preach the whole council of God and let the spirit do the rest. Ones salvation is not predicated on culturally relevant nuances and semantics but on the commands to preach the word. She does not hold to a high view of Scripture but a postmodern existential understand that causes 2 Peter 3:16 to be applied in light of this article and especially this quote: “This is where study and prayer have led me, but I could be wrong,” does infinitely more to secure our trust than, The Bible clearly says… Tolerance and relativism has clouded her mind. Roman 12:2 is her reproof. And..Yes, it’s acceptable for me to say all this.What she erroneously teaches in public must be rebuked and exhorted in public. Coram Deo:)

  • http://musingsfromabricolage.wordpress.com/ Emily Heitzman

    Yes! Yes! and Yes!

    To add a bit to this conversation:

    Not only are these phrases that Millennials (along with many others) don’t want to hear, but these phrases can also be extremely damaging. To say “God is in control,” “God has a plan,” or to add to this list: “Everything happens for a reason” or “God has perfect timing” tells a mother whose child was murdered that it was in God’s plan to take this mother’s child from her in a violent way. These phrases say to parents who cannot find employment that will provide enough income to pay for food, housing, and health care to take care of their family that God has caused them to struggle with these things because God doesn’t love/care for them as much as God cares for those with well-paying jobs. These phrases tell a victim of human trafficking or physical or sexual abuse or someone who suffers from a mental or physical illness that it is in God’s will for them to experience such sufferings and violence (and therefore, God must not love them as much as God loves others who never suffer in these ways.)

    Categorizing people as: “Believers” versus “Unbelievers” or “Backsliders,” “Saved” and “Unsaved,” etc. says that we are arrogant enough to determine who has a relationship with God and who doesn’t (based on what we, ourselves, “define” as “relationship with God”… Something that looks very different from one person to another.) … In other words, it says that WE are “gods,” ourselves: that WE have the ability to know and determine an individual’s personal relationship with God and thus determine what that means for that person’s “salvation” or place in the Kingdom of God.

    “What millennials want is to be seen. Understood. Loved.” Yes! And to add to this: they want to be listened to. They want people to sit WITH them and walk ALONGSIDE them in the midst of their life sufferings, doubts, and struggles. And they want to find others who will be fully present with them without having an agenda: They don’t want to hear advice or other phrases that are intended to “fix” or condemn their struggles, doubts, or grief.

    This is often so difficult to do… Thankfully, we have an excellent model to follow in the ministry of Jesus and through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

    • haithabu

      You’re allowed to say “God is in control” if you’re the one who’s hurting. Because it is true, after all. It’s just bad taste for anyone else to say it.

      • Ron

        So now, truth is thrown out the window in favor of “taste”? That doesn’t sound very Christ-like to me. Meanwhile, people are perishing, losing their eternal souls to Hell, and so-called “Christians” are worried about being “tasteful” instead of saving souls? Pathetic excuse for a “church.” I can just hear Jesus saying, “Depart from me, you workers of iniquity, for I never knew you.”

        Matthew 7:21-23
        21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

        2 Timothy 4:3-4
        3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

        • haithabu

          What I mean is that unless you’ve been through the deep waters yourself such statements can come across as trite.

  • Cat Lewis

    I am a gen ahead of you, and yet I feel the same about these and other catch phrases. “Love on,” “Walk along side,” “Dig into,” et. al. have little meaning for me because so many preachers and churches use these phrases almost desperately trying to sound “relevant” (another one!), yet their speech rings opposite in my ear–more like teenagers who use all the same cool words and phrases rather than adults leading God’s sheep and loving their fellow man. You definitely hit a chord with me when you said despite the cafes and alluring events you went back because you needed community. That’s what we all crave. Unfortunately, that sense of community can’t be found in splashy media campaigns or cliquish church groups. Fortunately, it can be found when we realize that community is not about what we get but what we give.

  • Bob Edgar

    “…In the end, it’s not really about what churches say or don’t say. What millennials want is to be seen. Understood. Loved. It’s what everyone wants, really. And for this generation of journeyers? Choosing honesty over cliché is a really great place to start. …

    Addie, it is also not about what millennials want, don’t want, say and or don’t say. What it is “all about” is Truth, and the Truth is that God is, He took on flesh and died on a Cross to redeem us of our sins. So, acceptance of this Truth into your heart is exactly “what it’s all about”. I say choosing honesty … Truth … over anything and everything else is the greatest place to start. The problem is sorting it all out in your own heart. That is the problem and challenge we have all faced throughout all of humanity, from the first person created, who stood in His Presence, to last one to be born.

    “We are drawn to the Jesus who sits down with the down-and-out woman at the well. Who touches the leper, the sick, the hurting. Who cries when Lazarus is found dead…even though he is in control and has a plan to bring Lazarus back to life.”…
    That is the same Jesus that is calling to you right now. Don’t go to church for any other reason than drawing nearer to Him. Since it’s relationship you’re after, “seek and you will find”. You will never, in all of eternity, find a Truer and Closer Friend !!!
    I swear to you that I could worship The One True Lining God in a Muslim Temple. For me it isn’t important where I am geographically, it’s where I am spiritually, and Spiritually, I am in Him and He is in me. I am accepted only because I have come to believe and accept the Truth. He has set me free.

    This is truly a One on one deal. Corporate worship is great but the One on one moments are by far the very best !!!

    Be set free Addie, be set free.

    Romans, Chapter 8: 37-39
    37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    Hopefully Helpful
    Bob

  • Jon La Joy

    The Word of God is sharper than a two-edged sword, separates the bone from the marrow. If we dull down the Word of God, then Sword of truth becomes dull and we’re already in a generation where they don’t have ears to hear or eyes to see that truth. What would you have us preach on then? Perhaps no one needs to come to church anymore if they can get all they need on their smart devices? Goodness…

  • holycow

    I appreciate the truth in your article. Thanks for sharing.

  • MartinNaskovski

    In the bitter, final analysis, it _IS_ black and white sweetie. In reality, things either happen or do not. One either says or does something, or they do not. What isn’t black and white is our “thought process” that has us alternate and oscillate between doing one or the other thing, creating anxiety and emotions… that’s what we call “grey”. But don’t fool yourself – there’s no such thing as “grey” when you’re married and flirting (with a whole lot of sexual overtones) with someone other than your spouse – it’s equivalent to committing adultery. Some people will call language to be the “gray” area, i.e. is flirting the same as having sex? No, it isn’t, but is flirting wise and should you do it? Should an alcoholic surround himself with people who are heavy drinkers? Should a sex addict walk into a strip joint in an attempt to “prove” something? That’s what we call “grey” thinking – which isn’t gray whatsoever, if one cares to break it down….

    Your other points are more or less ok – I just took issue with your “it’s not quite black and white”. I’m here to tell you it is, after it is all said and done, it’s -EXTREMELY- black and white.

  • haithabu

    The article is written as if Millenials are some monolithic group culturally separated from previous generations who need to be specially enticed into the church. This is bunk. The same things were said about my own generation back in the day and were equally untrue then. Human nature is a constant. What draws and will continue to draw people to church is not the use of this or that phrase, but our perennial need for God. It may well be frustrated by what we find, but those who feel that need will keep coming back because for them it is the only game in town.

    Also the use of the phrase “church people” reveals a sense of alienation which is out of place in anyone who has put their faith in Jesus Christ. (I am trying to not use the word “believer” but it really is kind of awkward to do so.) I consider that I gave up the right to refer to church people as a species other than myself the day I became baptized.

  • Beth Maxwell Boyle

    The problem is so many people today in the western part of the world are spoiled. The church is not to be of this world in its pursuits. If you do not care to live a life a discipline and unselfishness you probably do not have room for the church in your life. The church is for sinners and a perfect church does not exist. The complaints seem very petty to me. I am sorry.

    • Ron

      Agree 100%. If you’re interested, read my recent comment. It is a bit lengthy, but it deals with every one of her points.

  • Sung Ahn

    Interesting article. They talked about “how to get millennials back to church” alot when i was at the UMM National Gathering last year. Anyways to me…. Working to become a good Christian isn’t a popularity contest. :)

  • Ron

    What a ridiculous article. Just a few points:

    1) The Bible is VERY clear about many things, especially what is sin and what is not. If you have a problem with what God’s word says about, say, homosexual behavior, then you need to get on your knees and work it out with God. You’re the one with the problem, not God.

    2) 1 Corinthians 10:13 says: “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” Take it or leave it, but this is Biblical.

    3) Agreed. The phrase “love on” is creepy. Moving on…

    4) “Believer, Unbeliever, Backsliding”…well, sorry, but EVERYONE falls into one of these three categories, and you can tell which category they’re in by their fruits. The Scriptures clearly call us to live lives of purity, and to deal with our own sin before we go around pointing out others’ sin. But nowhere do the Scriptures say we should not point out others’ sin.

    5) God IS in control, His plan is bigger than we can fathom, and His ways are mysterious. His ways and thoughts are higher than our own. So…what’s your problem? These are all Biblical concepts.

    Sounds as if the author has a problem with Biblical TRUTH, and expects the Scriptures to change to suit her. Not gonna happen.

    The church congregations who water down the Scriptures in order to win over wishy-washy millennials (or any other group) are doing no one any favors. The only way the Church will remain relevant, is to continue to hammer on the Gospel message and teach Biblical TRUTH as it is detailed in the Scriptures. The air-headed confusion of the millennials notwithstanding, TRUTH always wins souls.

    We’re warned throughout Scripture to reject false teachers who tickle the ears of their listeners while corrupting the integrity of the Gospel message and other portions of Scripture.

    2 Timothy 4:1-4 (especially verse 3):
    1In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

    The author needs to seriously consider her spiritual state. She needs to humble herself, repent (change her thinking), turn to Jesus, and be saved. This world has a way of beating the living daylights out of people like her. Hopefully, she will get right with God sooner rather than later, and avoid a lifetime of heartache and leading others astray.

    • Ren

      Hi Ron, just to let you know, people like you are the reason that tons of us leave. Along with the massive amounts of doctrinal and historical issues the church is plagued with of course. Your black and white mentality and inability to empathize with people who think differently from you creates an incredibly hostile environment for people who are struggling with questions and doubts. It shows that you value dogma and a rigid adherence to outdated and flawed ancient writings over personal relationships. Not exactly Christ-like behavior in my opinion.

      • Ron

        You are kidding, right? I present a Biblical view of things, and you can’t tolerate it? And you call ME un-Christlike? Hmm……sounds as if you should spend a bit more time studying the Scriptures before you start trying to judge to what degree someone’s life resemble’s that of Jesus. He commanded us to know the TRUTH, and to be set free by it. I don’t know what kind of false Jesus you’re worshiping, but I worship the risen LORD, the One who spoke everything into existence. He’s not a wishy-washy idol that we make up in our minds. He is the unchanging, all-powerful Creator God. And sir, you should consider that, on judgment day, He will not change His standards of judgment to suit your opinions of how you think things should be. The words “Depart from me, you workers of iniquity, for I never knew you” come to mind. I recommend you get to know the real Jesus, and stop raising up teachers to tickle your ears with fables and false doctrine. The God of the Bible is the only God who actually exists, who actually matters. If you don’t believe the Bible, then why even bother going to church? To be a tare among the wheat? To be a wolf among the sheep? Do you not know the Scriptures, that false teachers and wolves among the sheep will be judged especially harshly? Do you care about your own eternal destiny, and that of others, or are you just playing church?

        • Ren

          I’m not playing anything. I’m done with religion, with God, with that damaging and corrosive part of my life, and I’m especially done with dealing with pathetic people like you who’s only way of feeling empowered is to cast judgment on others and tell them that they are sinners. Your pulpit-pounding style of preaching is incredibly archaic and will not win you any new followers, especially when you condemn those you don’t even know as destined for hell. Even in my believing days I would want nothing to do with the condescending, penal, megalomaniac version of Jesus you subscribe to. You can use all the capital letters that you want, but your cries of hell-fire and brimstone don’t move me at all. Also, not that you’d care seeing as you made the assumption in the first place, I’m not a sir. I’m really not interested in being preached at anymore and detracting from the progressive message of the original post with what is certain to be an endless, unproductive argument so I won’t be responding further.

          • Ron

            I’m sorry to hear that you’ve come to this point in your life. However, I should point out that worshiping a made-up god rather than the God of the Bible, often leads to this type of disillusionment with religion. And I most certainly DO care.

            This is the exact problem I’m pointing out: when we start questioning, “did God really say?” as the serpent did when he tempted Eve, we head down a slippery slope of justifying our own sin, blame-shifting, and watering down the Word of God and its effectiveness in our lives.

            One big flaw with the millennial thinking is to equate palatbility with truthfulness. The two are separate questions entirely. The fact that I don’t like a message doesn’t make it any less true or applicable. This is where the Holy Spirit comes in. He convicts true believers of sin, and drives them to faith in Jesus for salvation. I pray He will do that for you. The Bible is clear: those who don’t know Jesus, are bound for Hell. God’s Word does not equivocate.

            Condemn me all you want, but I’m just telling you what the Scriptures say. If you want me to quote passages, I will be happy to.

          • http://www.whatisspiritual.com cardw

            Ron, you’re exactly right. The scripture does say the things you outline. That’s why I left the church and discovered that Christianity is based on fear, not love. Any god who would consider hell just is clearly made up by some pretty immature people. Your god is just as made up as any other.

    • Ariel

      “Sin is the problem, not God’s Word or those who hold to solid, Biblical TRUTH”.

      No, the problem is not with God’s Word or those who hold to the Truth. The problem is with the church establishment presuming to speak for God and proof-texting Scripture. It is common for Christians to take something that was addressed to a specific person or group of people during a specific time period in the Bible and form it into a doctrine. E.g., God told Paul that He would not remove the “thorn” from Paul’s flesh and that His grace was sufficient. He did not tell me that, He told Paul.

      So, the Bible may “clearly” say something, but that doesn’t mean it was addressed to you OR that it is my place to speak for God (I think Christians underestimate how much damage they can do to a person’s psyche by doing this). I don’t know about the whole “God not giving us more than we can handle” argument, but I do know that Satan/the world order DOES give us more than we can handle. Which I believe is why Jesus came – to establish His Kingdom (here and now) to “destroy the devil’s works” and “set the captives free”. And if we’re going to thump the Bible at people with “the Bible clearly says”, then we can’t forget to mention that Jesus commanded his disciples to “heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers and cast out demons” and stated that “whoever believed on Him would do not only the same works He Himself did, but would do even greater works!” Is the Church doing these things? No. So, it seems to me that the churches ought to be more introspective instead of condemning everyone else. Planks and sawdust, you know?

      I try not to focus too much on technicalities, since I’m not a Bible scholar. But I do know from personal experience that a relationship based on judgment, correction and rebuke (whether done in “God’s name” or no)… is a pathological one. If we’re supposed to point out each others sins/perceived sins, where do we draw the line? We will ALWAYS be able to find fault with each other if we look hard enough. Duh, we’re complex human beings and will never be “perfect”. But I think it says somewhere in the Bible that we are to love and build each other up. It is up to God to “convict” someone, not us. “Who are you to judge another Man’s servant?” And when God does it, there is no guilt-tripping, shaming or anger. It is with patience, love and gentleness.

      And I’m sorry, but the only ones “corrupting the integrity of the Gospel message” and “leading others astray” are the churches with your hypocritical, arrogant, self-righteous, and condemning attitude. By expecting people to submit to and obey them, they are using worldly authority. NO different than what we get out here in the world. If I want threats of torture and imprisonment, I’ll move to Iran or North Korea.

      As the author sums it up, “In the end, it’s not really about what churches say or don’t say. What millennials want is to be seen. Understood. Loved. It’s what everyone wants, really.”

      • Ron

        Sorry, but I completely disagree with you. Churches ARE doing the good works you mentioned. You just aren’t seeing it because either you’re not there, or you’re in a dead church.

        I noticed you mentioned two psychological terms: “psyche” and “pathological.” When we bring in man-made psychological thinking to critique, or even supplement, the Word of God, we say that God’s Word is not sufficient for every problem we may encounter, and that His Word is not authoritative in our lives. I disagree with that. To a Bible-believing Christian, the psycho-babble has no meaning. It is a useless attempt to man to solve spiritual problems without involving God. It is doomed to fail.

        Yet naive pseudo-Christians, including apostate pastors and teachers, eat this psycho-babble nonsense up as if it were cherry pie. Why? Because it sounds good and it inflates the sense of self — the exact opposite of what Christians are called to do (esteem others GREATER than ourselves).

        You quoted the author: “In the end, it’s not really about what churches say or don’t say. What millennials want is to be seen. Understood. Loved. It’s what everyone wants, really.”

        Yes, that’s what our sinful flesh wants. But God wants us to trust and obey Him — to obey the principles taught in the Scriptures. Love for God first, others second, and self last. Feel-good pop psychology circumvents these primary responsibilities of the believer.

        My point is that if you prefer to hear watered-down pop psychology, you’d be more satisfied with attending a conference held by a motivational speaker. Unfortunately, you’d eventually have to deal with all of the spiritual damage that such narcissistic thinking inevitably causes.

        The answer, as always, is Jesus. And Jesus ministers to His true followers in the context of a Church family. If you love Jesus, you will desire to study His Word and to fellowship with others who believe the same things you believe.

        Everyone is a hypocrite, church-goer or not. We all fall short of God’s perfect standard. But the ultimate in hypocrisy is not going to Church and being less than perfect. Christ came to save sinners, after all. The ultimate in hypocrisy is to claim to love Jesus, but to reject time in the Word and fellowship with other believers within the setting of the Church which He founded as the means to sanctify you and prepare you for His coming Kingdom.

        Hope you find this helpful.

        God bless!

  • Ben Carmack

    I also have a request for the author: please stop scaring me with Internet articles containing definite numbers of things, such as “5 reasons this” or “10″ that. This offends me and makes me think in terms of narrow quantities some call “numbers.” Well, I’ll have Ms. Zierman know I was bad at math in school and all you’re doing is bringing back bad memories. I just wanna be loved, OK? No friggin’ numbers! Try to be more understanding of my issues. I don’t want to have to hustle to keep up with your patriarchal/sexist/homophobic/racist/slut shaming lists.

  • ggs

    sometimes when we need help the most is when we want to hide away – crawl into that big deep black pit of despair and just dissolve…. and if we have not been in church to begin with… then we are not missed.

  • Thomas Jones

    It is the fact that your church has an adulterated list of doctrines, you are an adulterous church that has not accepted the list of the KINGs doctrine as if HE were actually your leader instead you follow one of the fallen.

  • MY MENING

    You, while saying some things which make sense, do sound a bit arrogant. Al sinners find it difficult to submit to authority, the authority of Scripture, Spirit and Church , but when we are regenerated by God it becomes possible!

  • seek2Bmeek

    The truth taught in your second point actually IS in the Bible, read more carefully, 1Corinthians 10:13.

    • GodSpeaksThroughMe

      That verse is often misinterpreted. That verse speaks about temptation not about everything else that may happen to you in life. Even Jesus was tempted but any temptation that we may encounter is able to be overcome.

  • Gary Persons

    If God will never give you more than you can handle then why did my grandson die at the ripe old age of 15 months after being born with a form of Muscular dystrophy? I prayed, my church going Friends all prayed their congregations prayed and he died anyway. Millions if not billions of dollars have been spent on research for a cure to this disease. And why is there no cure? If God is so great an all things on this blue marble are controlled by Him, then why has He not lead a researcher to find a cure? Prayer doe not work. Never has for me. I am 61 years old and I have just about lost any faith I may have had. When I was young, I was at the church every time the door was open. I was deeply involved in the Jesus freak/ecclesiastical movement in the 60s. I was involved in my church.
    So don’t tell me that God will not give you more than you can handle.

  • SergeantMike

    The only statement I will make about this article regards the statement “Millennials are sick of rhetoric that centers around who’s in and who’s out.” Isn’t the Millennials that have come up with hipsters whose sole purpose seems to be to tell you that the MP3 player you are listening to is inferior, the band you like is horrendous, and the clothes you wear is sooooo 15 minutes ago. I agree with toning down the rhetoric and lets start with your generation please.

  • Ross Murphy

    When I received a health diagnosis that changed my life- the thing I *did* want to hear was that God was in control. That truth was, and is, an anchor to my soul.

    I was born in 1980- and if my generation are as self-centredself-absorbed as we sound from the article above, then shame on us.

  • James Dwyer

    I’m an early baby boomer who has been a pastor for 45 years — but I fully agree with Addie’s distancing from the “5 churchy phrases” — even where Biblical!

  • http://www.youtube.com/itsDavidHarvey David Harvey

    God will only give us what we can handle is a myth. That is like saying we should rely on our self. God gives us what we can’t handle so we will rely on Him. I have limitations as a human and I pray and rely on God.

  • William R. Crisp

    I hate the rising tide of social acceptance for homosexual behavior. The same thing happened in the Holy Bible – recorded in Genesis – to the extent that the practice sickened God and He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. HE also placed strict warnings against and severe punishment for those who would engage in homosexual behavior. It is still sin irregardless of society’s acceptance today.
    God loves all sinners. God will forgive all sinners who repent – change their minds about their behaviors and turn away from and cease from it. God hates the sin. God loves the sinner. God will wash the sinner who repents to turn away from the sin.
    I do not hate sexually deviant people. I love people. I hate the sin that is destroying the lives and corrupting the minds of our people.
    Only God Almighty will pass final judgement upon all sin. I suggest a thorough reading of Romans chapter one, chapter three and verse twenty three, and finally Romans chapter six and verse twenty three. Please also read the entire chapter of Romans six.

  • Silver Bear

    I know what the book *supposedly* says, jerks like you cannot refrain from beating LGBT folk over the head with it. Really, really “loving” of you.

    By the way, Jesus said absolutely NOTHING about homosexuality but had a lot to say – all of it condemnatory – about hypocrisy, like the kind of “love” you heap on gays.

  • William R. Crisp

    Do you honestly believe that Jesus was God who became Man ?
    Do you believe He was born and remained pure throughout His life ?

    In His sermon on the mount He did say blessed are the pure in heart for they would see God.

    Are you pure in heart ? Do you really love a pure holy God ?
    Jesus commissioned the apostle Paul and the other apostles to teach what He taught.
    Is God somehow different in the New Testament than He was in the Old Testament ?
    The apostle John (also known as the apostle of Love) identifies Jesus as the Word who became flesh and by whom the world was created. Does the creator say one thing in part of the Holy Bible only to change His mind in the latter part of the Holy Bible.
    You know that homosexuality is sin. You know that it is against nature. You know that the Jesus you refer to will judge all and will condemn those who have not chosen Him and His purity of heart and of life. All unrepentant sinners shall have their place in the fire of hell.

    > Rev 22:13 is clear and quotes Isaiah 44:6 and 48:12 as the GOD who IS.
    “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.” and then states , “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” (Rev 21:8)
    ( “sexually immoral” includes homosexuality, adulterers, bestiality, and pedophilia.)

    > UH. . . . this IS Jesus speaking,… DUH !

    When you call me a “JERK” do you do so with Love filling your heart ?

  • frenchfryguy

    How loving is it for a parent to scold and/or discipline a child who goes out into the road when they have been told not to or a child who has been told “the stove is hot – don’t touch” and yet the child does what they were told not to and gets burned? The child regardless of age is their own person – shouldn’t they have the right to make their own decisions and not have someone else telling them what to do or that their choice is wrong or unacceptable? Let kids do what they want and what makes them happy, don’t ruin their day by interfering with their plans – you don’t know what they want and who is the parent, grandparent, teacher and any other active adult in the child’s life to say anything? Parents (and other adults in the childs life) do these things because they love the kids and they want what is best for them – they do not wish for them to suffer pain or to make life a burden, but to guide the child and let them know there is a better way.

    In the same way when an individual (regardless of age) is engaged in unrepentant sinful behavior it is a loving gesture by those who see it and recognize it to call out the sin. If I see someone engaged in sinful behavior and I turn a blind-eye to it and let them be I am showing I do not care at all for them – whether they go to Heaven or Hell would be of no concern if I did not care. One who has pure motives for calling out the sin they see in your life does so because they care – they do not want to see you perish due to lack of knowing and understanding what God has called us all to. Ultimately the reason we as Christians address sin in the lives of those around us is because we want to bring glory to Jesus Christ. If someone said something untrue or disrespectful to my wife I would confront them and address the issue. My reason for confronting is two fold – one, I want the person to understand what they said so that they can make a better choice next time and not do the same to another person. However, my bigger reason is because I love and cherish my wife and as one who loves her deeply I want to see her honored by all. The same is true, but to an even greater extent when it comes to Christ. My love for Him is exceedingly great because of His gift to me in taking away a debt I could never repay myself – yet He did so freely and in response I live my life in gratitude for this unselfish act which afforded me forgiveness of all my sin and made me an heir in Christ. My greatest desire is to make much of Jesus Christ, He alone is worthy of our praise.

  • JNCU

    Sorry Silver, but Bill did not beat any LGTB.He just affirmed what we believe. that same gender sex is a sin in Christianity.

    If we are wrong, we will figure it out in Judgement Day. If people do not want to follow is up to them. They have the right to disagree.

  • Silver Bear

    I’m not a Christian so what your book says is irrelevant to me personally. And I call you a jerk because that’s what you are. Finally, I don’t operate on the principle of unconditional love for all, because many folk – like you – don’t deserve it.

    But I grow bored of trifling with you, so buh-bye.

  • William R. Crisp

    You said “…I don’t operate on the principle of unconditional love for all “, and that I don’t deserve it.

    I don’t deserve it indeed. But that is exactly what “grace” and “mercy” is all about.

    The God of the Book offers both to anyone who will believe, ask of Him, and be willing to turn away from their error to a life of forgiveness with Him.

    “Amazing Grace how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me; I once was lost but now am found; was blind but now I see.”

    I Love my Lord Jesus, and His Book, and His presence in my life.
    Once I didn’t have any hope, and absolutely no joy. Once I filled me life with sinful practices that are too numerous and horrible to list here,…but,…HE forgave me and cleansed me, and I am so humbled by HIS great unconditional Love.
    However, you must know: HE is a God of Love AND a God of Holiness. He has said, “Be holy for I AM holy.” The mercy He offers now while we live is for today. Once we stand before Him unrepentant and unbelieving, not trusting in HIs Son for salvation from sin, HE must judge in righteousness and holiness.

    Hope you do find peace.