This is the Transition in the Blog I Have Been Waiting For!

My father was a fundamentalist preacher who, during his ministry, pastored three different churches. As I was beginning my journey away from fundamentalism, I shared my discoveries with him and explained why I was changing some of my fundamentalist beliefs. At first it had to do with the KJV being the only legitimate Bible. Later I talked about why dispensationalism (secret rapture theology) was mistaken, and then why the Bible does not teach eternal torment in hell. There were also other issues.

After one discussion, my Father said calmly, “Tim, you don’t leave people with anything.” That comment really hit me hard; all I was doing was tearing down misguided doctrines and giving little to replace them. My father was right.

From that point on, I decided I must learn to share the positive message of the Bible instead of just exposing misguided beliefs. I needed to leave people with something better.

The Good News of Jesus

Building a Foundation

For the past two and a half years I have focused this blog on identifying and exposing some of the most harmful baggage among believers today–beliefs that are strongly held and taught in some very large Christian circles but which cause tremendous pain and fear. I counter-balanced this with the positive Biblical messages that had been overshadowed by the misguided beliefs.

I felt it necessary to establish a foundation of information so that I could eventually take a more positive approach. And that time has come.

Whereas my previous focus was on the harmful baggage—with reference to more biblical and appropriate perspectives, the new direction will focus on the positive messages of the Bible contrasted with the negative baggage that burdens many believers today. The positive message—the Good News of Jesus—will be front and center. We will explore the various aspects of the Good News from many different angles using the words and actions of Jesus, himself, and his earliest followers.

The Transition Has Already Begun

Actually the new emphasis already began with last week’s post What is the Good News of Jesus Anyway?; you can read it now if you wish. We started by introducing five major aspects of the Good News and will explore each one over the next few posts.

Following this series, we will take a look at Jesus’ teaching and behavior as reported by the four gospels to see if he, indeed, demonstrates the Good News as I claim, or whether he teaches the baggage that so many believers claim. The words and works of Jesus will give us the answer.

After that we will continue to investigate the teachings and practice of Jesus, as well as responses to the Good News among his followers such as Paul, James, John, and others who wrote letters to believers of that day. Do they really reflect the Good News of Jesus or do they teach a different message? We will include passages that some believers use to support harmful baggage doctrines to determine whether their use of them is valid for their purpose.

Is This of Interest to You?

If this interests you, be sure to subscribe to this blog so that you don’t miss these posts. I look forward to the discussion. ~Tim

The purpose of this blog is to support those re-evaluating traditional religious beliefs. If you find the blog helpful, consider following to avoid missing future posts.
In the column to the right, you can follow by email (most dependable), Facebook, or RSS.
Have a great day! ~Tim
This entry was posted in baggage, Bible, evangelicalism, fundamentalism, Jesus, love, the Good News. Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to This is the Transition in the Blog I Have Been Waiting For!

  1. mike and brandy says:

    the problem is going to be that to support your teaching from the bible, you will also in turn need to use the same flawed documents of fictional history and not un-biased writings in a pic and choose method just the same as the 3000 or so other Christian denominations.
    I’m just not sure one can do this with intellectual honesty or ‘structural’ (for lack of a better word) integrity and cohesion. what would then make your version of Christianity more accurate and ‘fundamentally true’ (sorry to turn that word about on you) than any other Bible based narrative or systematic theology?
    I think your dad had it right. once you see and accept the flawed nature and very human origins of the bible and Christianity itself, “Nothing” is exactly what you are supposed to get. It’s the moving on from there that becomes the hardest and most confusing and challenging thing. But trying to rework the system of bondage that you are supposed to be leaving behind isn’t going forward. It’s trying to go forward but dragging certain picked and chosen elements of a false construct with you.
    -mike

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    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      I certainly understand your point, Mike. I will not support my views from the ‘Bible’ as such. As I have written in other places, the foundation of all my belief is not the authority of the Bible but the teachings and actions of Jesus as found in the New Testament written from the memories of his earliest followers. I do not belief the writings of even his earliest followers are inerrant in any way, but I think they do reflect the impact that the life and message of Jesus had on them.

      So I will not be proof-texting for authority for my views. Rather, I will examine the words and actions of Jesus, as recalled by his followers, to determine whether Jesus taught the Good News as I understand it–or something else. This will not prove my version is ‘fundamentally true’, but hopefully I will present the case with sufficient integrity and cohesion that readers might agree that it makes fundamental sense.

      You can determine whether or not I am succeeding, and I welcome your conclusions whether positive or negative.

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    • Hi Mike, interesting point and I hear what you’re saying, though (like Tim) I don’t quite see it that way.

      I certainly don’t see the only options as being either unthinking literalist acceptance of everything in the Bible or else complete rejection of the whole of Christianity. And for me, like Tim, the basis of Christian faith isn’t primarily the Bible; it’s the person and character of Jesus Christ, and the belief that in some sense I’ve experienced him and been changed by him. Which I appreciate sounds bonkers. 🙂

      My slight difference from Tim is that my upbringing wasn’t anything like so fundamentalist. I did go through an evangelical phase of worrying that I had to believe the supposedly ‘biblical’ doctrines on things like hell, homosexuality and male-only ministry, but I never really accepted that – for me, there were always better ways of reading these parts of the Bible. And I never really agreed with the view that ‘if the Bible says it, that settles it’.

      I do still value the Bible highly though (some parts admittedly more than others!), and I think that God can and does speak through it. But I wouldn’t any longer see it as perfect, inerrant or completely authoritative in all matters. Far from useless though.

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    • sheila0405 says:

      Every person has his own journey in life. For those of us who choose the Christian way of living, that journey can be complex and challenging I myself was raised a fundamentalist, and I ended up leaving that. I still don’t know for certain what is “fundamental”, but i believe that there is a god who is constantly working to bring about what is good for us. Even though humanity is such a mess, there are many out there who prove that humanity also is filled with good people who prove innate goodness within humanity, with or without religion. I follow this blog because I believe in God, and I also believe in Jesus. It’s been very painful at times, but in the marketplace of ideas, I have been confronted with facts that have challenged and changed my own core beliefs. Life is a process, beliefs are not static, and thus, this blog opens up new vistas for those of us who choose to follow Jesus.

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  2. I think it’s a good move Tim. I made a similar move last year where 90% of posts and memes were reconstruction (or social issue) focused. The ideal for theological topics I think is a mix in each post (i.e., here’s the problem with the traditional view, but here’s an alternate way to grow from it). In fact, you can even offer the new teaching alone which already implies the old is problematic, but it can confuse fundamentalists is thats a key audience. I think you already find that balance quite well.

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    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Eric, I am glad you think I already find that balance; this is good to hear from someone like you. I intend to maintain the balance but change the emphasis from the baggage to the Good News. Though I am pleased that so many readers follow my blog who already agree with my basic views, my target audience is, indeed, those who are struggling with the baggage they have been taught by fundamentalists, evangelicals, or other very conservative traditions.

      It is good to interact with like-minded folks, and I really enjoy it and benefit from it; but if I am not helping those who are alone and struggling in an unsupportive environment, then I am not meeting my mission. This is why the contrast with doctrinal baggage is necessary.

      Thank you for your strong and consistent support.

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      • sheila0405 says:

        Tim, I was one of those alone and struggling with that baggage, before I found this site. I have found challenges which have spurred more effort from me to deal with the baggage, but it was worth it. I believe that since I started following this site, my life has been transformed. The last three years were agonizing and dark nights of my soul, but this blog really was a support for my spiritual struggles. I am happy you are about to focus on the Good News, while remembering that there are still those who are struggling with baggage.

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        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          It is so nice to hear that the blog has had such a significant impact. I know you have found certain posts beneficial, but I had no idea you felt this strongly. I am glad to have been so helpful, and I have always enjoyed your interactions on the blog. While I do plan to focus on the Good News, I do not plan to neglect addressing the baggage.

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  3. Tiffani says:

    Sounds like this will be a worthwhile transition – deconstruction serves a good purpose for a season, but at some point we all must start reconstructing a healthier, more sustainable worldview. I’m really looking forward to seeing where this new focus takes your blog!

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  4. Lynda says:

    Until recently, I never knew there was a different way of understanding the good news than what I had been taught my whole life at the several different evangelical churches I have attended. What I am learning now makes so much more sense than what I had been taught. I feel like I just found Jesus and He’s told me to come follow Him. I am excited about this series and the next ideas you will discuss. Thank you so much for this blog!

    Like

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Lynda, I am glad you have found a different perspective on Jesus that makes more sense. It is great that you are now following Jesus in a new way. When I did that, it also seemed to me like an invitation from Jesus to follow him, and it was SO different than the way I tried to follow him before.

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  5. Marc says:

    When the baggage is discarded, it truly is the good news of the Gospel that remains. It is not limited to belief, but becomes a way of living that leads to truth and eternal life.

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  6. sheila0405 says:

    This past Sunday was the first time I had been around my siblings since my dad’s funeral. I was still (and still am!) so excited from reading “Love Wins” that I could not stop sharing my excitement with my sibs about what I learned. Usually visits with them are stressful, but this last one was so much better. I can’t wait to go even deeper. BTW, that one book you recommended to me really is at least $52, so that one goes into my wish list for now.

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    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      I am so glad your recent visit was not as stressful as they had been. One of the results of the Good News is reconciliation.

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  7. Thangaveloo says:

    Hi Tim, I admire your honesty and courage in pursuing the truth in spite of your long-held beliefs. For many years, I have struggled with the same issues. My challenge has been to find a methodology or mechanism to discriminate between truth and falsehood in an inquiry into religious truths or spiritual reality. Theology has produced divergent interpretations.
    Philosophy argues equally for theism as for atheism. Sociology sees religions as a product of human society. Yet my personal experience and the experiences of others around me support a view of transcendent reality. I find the Bible an inspiring book in spite of its flaws. I believe it’s humanly authored and divinely inspired. I suggest, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Whatever, I look forward to your journey of inquiry.

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    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Thangav, I also find the Bible to be an inspiring book. It doesn’t have to be inerrant to be inspiring. Thanks for the comment!

      Like

  8. Lana Hope says:

    good for you. The negative seems easier, but exposing the negative means nothing if we have no good news left.

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  9. I was part of a church that was very focused on ‘separation’. I was attracted to this in the beginning because my background made me hate the world and I very much wanted to be ‘out of the world’. When the reality of separation by following rules set in and I began to move away from legalism, I heard a sermon on the radio by J. Vernon Mcgee on how to be in the world but not of it. He said simply, that focusing on rules can never lead to anyone not being like the world because man’s rules are of the world. He went on to say that if we focus on Jesus, then ‘separation’ from worldly practices naturally, takes place. It struck a deep cord. That’s when I began to focus on Jesus rather than doctrine and look to His person for the guidance and answers that I need. The yoke is definitely lighter and the results much more effective. I think J. Vernon was an old fundamentalist but he sure doesn’t sound like he was legalistic. His sermons are very spiritual. No matter a persons background or denomination, a focus on Jesus makes everything else fall into its proper place.

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    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      I like the J. Vernon McGee statement, especially coming from him. I did not realize he thought this way–I am impressed!

      Liked by 1 person

      • He’d been dead a long time before I ever heard any of his sermons.:0) I think those words were God-breathed.:0)They gave me what I needed to change the direction I wrongly, headed in.

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