Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Thoughts on College Park Church Sermon

Sermon on the Mount by Carl Heinrich Bloch

A twitter user I was talking with asked for my thoughts on a Sermon in the College Park Church discussing Romans 9:30-10:13, "Whosoever Calls on the Name of the Lord Will be Saved". Since the response would clearly take more than a single tweet, I decided to capture my thoughts here. The preacher's name is Mark Vroegop.
The Bible verses are reproduced here for your convenience,
30 What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.31 But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.32 Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;33 As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 
10 Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:)Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
My first thoughts are why would "Faith" be important in the view of a just God? Under what sort of "universal ethical system" is such a thing fair or ethical?

There's a prayer at the beginning of the sermon for people to be converted. What a strange thing to ask for. If God simply appeared and communicated his demands, we'd all immediately believe. There'd no longer be any question. If God actually wanted people to believe, he could simply show up! Bam! Done! No more mystery.

Next, the pastor asks people which Bible verse they would give to quickly invite a dying person to become a Christian. What a horrific way to treat a dying person. Shove your ridiculous beliefs on them in a moment of pain or suffering? Like they would want to spend their last moments alive listening to your inane legends and threats of eternal torture?! Don't be an asshole. Keep it to yourself.

Then he says that somehow Christianity is different from all other religions. How absurd. It's called a faith for a reason. There's no evidence. If there were evidence, we'd call it history or science. I'm going to start posting time tags so those of you who are gluttons for punishment can follow along at home.

Time: 9:30-ish
Next, he goes on to explain how the Jewish prophesies haven't failed, and how any injustice we perceive in god is actually fair because god isn't under any obligation to give a shit about any of us. Finally, fairness needs to be redefined such that anything God does is fair, regardless what any normal rational observer may conclude.

Time: 11:00
All that matters is believing and confessing. Under this ethical system, Jeffrey Dahmer and Adolf Hitler could be in heaven.

Time: 11:45
Christians declare the Jews are wrong and the Christians are right.  What a stunning display of the beauty of God's mercy the arrogance of Christian beliefs
I fixed that quote for them. I like it better my way.

Time: 13:00
The preacher addresses two groups:  Christians, and "those of you who have yet to receive Christ".  Just so you know, I received Christ and then realized that it was unfounded, unproven, untestable, and absurd. I left. Christianity is a false religion. Just like all the others at

How wonderful it is that God RESCUED the Jews from Slavery!!!! (Which he allowed them to fall into)

Time: 14:00
Righteousness of the Gentiles is part of the liberal policies taught in the NT.  It was a message that the Jews weren't special "chosen people."  Ironically, Christians now act like God's "Chosen People". Of course, Jews don't believe this.  They say Jesus as a false prophet.  And they should know. It was their book that made the prophesies.

"Righteousness by Faith" somehow doesn't apply to Jews and Muslims? They have equal faith. In fact, the Muslims who flew planes into the towers on 9/11 had a hell of a lot more FAITH than most Christians.

Time: 16:00
All that matters is faith. Works don't matter. Do whatever you want, only your beliefs matter? This is the structure of a horribly broken ethical system.

Time: 17:30
The Jews trust in YHWH more than Christians, who added an extra two "bonus gods"

Time: 18:00
It's rather self-righteous of this Baptist Christian preacher to assert that the Jews are such horrible people and who couldn't be righteous because they didn't have his particular belief system?! This self-righteous denigration of Jews in the NT is not surprising.  Christianity is a separatist Jewish cult. And there's no evidence to show that the Christians are right and the Jews were wrong.

Time: 20:45
Christian culture doesn't produce righteousness. Jesus does.
What an arrogant and baseless claim. Why should anyone believe that? It makes no ethical sense. Remember that Jesus never actually shows up to anyone in real life. Only in imaginations, which are seeded by the picture of Jesus painted by … the church. The church is the proxy for the "real Jesus" who never actually shows up. They might as well say that only the church produces righteousness.

Time: 25:00
You can be zealous and be wrong, right?
You sure can! You're pretty zealous about Christianity. And you're wrong. Or at the very least, you have no objective evidence to demonstrate that you're right. You're in the same boat as  all Faiths. Faith is what people use when there's no evidence to be had.  It's a euphemism for self-imposed gullibility.

Time: 28:00
I'm starting to find this preacher's Christian zeal more and more ironic.
Time:  28:50.
"Zeal does not make you right! In fact, it can only serve to make you even more self-deceived" 
OMG, the irony is off the charts!  YES, YES, YES! You don't know Jesus or God is real, and your 50 years of zeal makes you blind and unable to even consider the possibility that you're wrong about that.

Time: ~30:00
"Being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God."
How did you establish this claim to be true? First, how do you know god is real. Second, what makes you think righteousness comes from him?
Until you can show those two things to be true, I have no reason to believe this claim any more than the Muslim claims that righteousness comes from praying 5× per day.

Time: 31:40
Yup. Hypocrisy is a common human trait.

Time: 32:10 
"The heart of all this is that we are rebelliouslly resistant"
Though this is pitched as a message about resistance to God, in reality it's a message about rebellion against church doctrine. It's another threat to follow the church or god will torture you. Why should anyone trust the humans who run the church to give them honest guidance.

Time: 33:30 OMG. Seriously?! "I haven't killed anyone" isn't my answer, asshole.
Preacher: "The irreligious person feels like he can justify himself by all the bad things he hasn't done, while the religious person feels like he or she can justify himself by the good things he has done"
This quote really pisses me off. How dare he tell fabricated lies about my personal beliefs and the origin of my personal self-worth! How dare he paint Christians as better than atheists -- as if they're more inclined to do good deeds. What an ignorant, bigoted, self-righteous, zealous, hypocritical liar.

Time 34:30: 
Christ is all there is. Look how this guy passionately makes the congregation focus all their hopes on one single idol the church props up. None of them have EVER met Christ.

At best, they've imagined conversations with him.  They tell each other that Christ talks to them, and nobody ever wants to admit that they suspect it's just their imagination.

Time: 37:00 
Rigteousness does not come to those who work for their righteousness. … How do you receive righteousness? You don't work! It comes by faith"
So in this world view, you're a good person if you just have faith in Jesus. You can be a complete asshole (like this arrogant bigoted preacher).  Just put all your unfounded trust in this unproven claim the CHURCH is telling you to believe.

Preacher: "To believe means you put your trust in what God says about Christ, about your sin, and about atonement." 
The problem here is that God hasn't ever said jack shit. The preacher REALLY wants you to put your trust in what the CHURCH says. What this PREACHER says, what the BIBLE says. None of those things are God.

Preacher: "I'm fundamentally broken I'm a sinner at my core, I'm totally and utterly broken, … and that's how wholeness actually happens [applause]"
What a horrific and depressing worldview to push on people. Self-hate is love, punishment is justice, death is life. These are the fundamental teachings of the Christian church. Self-loathing and hatred, giving up control of everything in our life to the church (which conveniently represents the completely and utterly absent character of Jesus)

Time 46:20 
Preacher: "No matter what you did an hour ago, the salvation through Jesus""You only need to believe to receive and you'll be saved"
Under this horrific and immoral framework, the Bind Torture Kill (BTK) serial killer will go to heaven, and Mahatma Gandhi will be tortured in hell. And we're to believe the god who created this framework is a moral and ethical being? How patently absurd.

Based on this principle, when are we judged? Bible never says, does it? Just convention that we'd better do it by the time we die. If this is all real, I'll start believing it as soon as I see it.  If that doesn't happen until until after I'm dead, why wouldn't that be good enough for God? What's with the artificial urgency of deciding before we die?  God is clearly unwilling to provide us with the senses or scientific instrumentation necessary to detect his presence, let alone validate the truth of the absurd claims in the New Testament.

Time: 48:20 

All the horrible things that happen are just to make us trust god? What absurd rationalization. Nothing could happen that would help these people ever see their own delusions.

I want you to understand that God’s grace is extended to people regardless of what they've done or how bad they have been. … The solution, according to Romans 10, is simply that if you believe in Jesus, you will be saved. If you believe that he is the Son of God who died for you sins, and if you will look to him as the basis of your hope and your forgiveness, you can be saved, cleansed, and rescued. It doesn't matter if you blew it an hour ago, and now you are sitting in church. It doesn't matter that this is the only time that you've been in church for years. What matters is that you believe in Jesus. And if you believe today, you will be saved.
This isn't morality. It's manipulation by the church to get people to fall in line. Because if you believe in Jesus, you'll come to church and give and participate.

Here comes the grand finale:
So what is stopping you?
The complete lack of any verifiable evidence.
Why not come to faith in Jesus right now?
Faith is lying to yourself. Believing things that aren't evidenced in the real world. Through faith, we have Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Native American Tribal traditions, Mormonism, and a whole host of others. And that doesn't even count all the religions that have failed and are no longer practiced. We call these failed religions "myths". Some of us dare to call current religions "myths" too.
Why not confess that he is Lord and believe that God raised him from the dead? Why not come to Jesus right now?
Show me where Jesus is. Tell me how to talk to him. I'd like to verify your story, but I've never met the guy. Don't tell me I just think the things in my head after I believe 'cause that's how all the other religions work, and we all know they're just talking to themselves in their heads. Odds are pretty good that yours is the same.
Everyone that calls the name of the lord will be saved.
Nope. That's wishful thinking. There's no reason to believe your holy book over all the other ones.

The conclusion is very emotional and manipulative. It's about convincing the people that only the church can save them from all the horrible broken things that are inherent to their nature.

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