Be true to your cult (er, church family)

A new piece by Bruce Gerencser introduces what is to be a series of posts that take-up the changes in his life since he and his wife left church behind.

Fifteen months ago, Polly’s dad had ill-advised hip replacement surgery. The surgery was a miserable failure, resulting in Dad spending almost a year in the nursing home. Unable to walk for more than a short distance, Mom and Dad were forced to sell their two-story house they had lived in for almost 40 years. Polly suggested to her mom that they could move up here so we could help take care of them. Polly’s mom replied, we could never do that, our church is here. Ouch. Such is the insidious nature of Evangelical Christianity, especially the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) variety. The church “family” is Mom and Dad’s “real” family, even though this real family of theirs has largely ignored them during Dad’s recovery from hip surgery (and some of this is due to their unwillingness to ask for help, a fault that Polly and I suffer from too), Polly’s mom has wounded her with words many times over the years, but telling her we could never do that, our church is here was a step above the other in-Christian-love verbal assaults. This one caused a deep emotional wound that has yet to heal. When I suggest that we go visit her parents, I am often met with a frown, a look that says, Why bother. They have their church “family.”

Now recall this odious passage from a column by Albert Mohler:

The third theological fact about the family is the continued affirmation of the family within the redeemed people of God – the church. As the Gospels make clear, loyalty to Christ exceeds that of any family commitment, even as the church becomes the family of faith, embracing within its life all who come to faith in Christ and into the life of the church. And yet, Christians are explicitly instructed to honor marriage, to raise their children in the faith, and to order their family according to the Scriptures.

Again, then, ‘family values’ is a marketing lie, and Christianity is not a family-friendly religion. To the contrary, Christian teaching deliberately undermines ordinary, wholesome family loyalties because they are a barrier to the church’s total ownership and control of its members.

First-century Christianity was a cult, and the New Testament is the literature of a cult; it cannot flourish where men are healthy.

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