Offering Redemption and Forgiveness

Brit Hume has been taking some flak for his remarks yesterday about Christianity and Buddhism. My previous post has the video of his full remarks in which he encourages Tiger Woods to become a Christian. In his own words,

“Whether he can recover as a person depends on his faith. He’s said to be a Buddhist. I don’t think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith. So my message to Tiger would be, ‘Tiger, turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world.'”

The negative reactions to Hume’s remarks generally boil down to two things—that Hume was proselytizing and that he knocked on Buddhism in the process. In the video below, for instance, David Schuster of MSNBC went so far as to say that Hume had “denigrated Christianity” in what he said.

Sadly, others’ scorn was nothing short of blasphemous (e.g., Keith Olbermann and Jon Stewart).

Hume appeared on The O’Reilly Factor tonight to elaborate on his remarks from yesterday (that video is at the top of this page). Among other things, he said this:

“He needs something that Christianity especially provides and gives and offers, and that is redemption and forgiveness. I was really meaning to say in those comments yesterday more about Christianity than anything else…I think that Jesus Christ offers Tiger Woods something that Tiger Woods badly needs.”

When asked by O’Reilly why some have responded so negatively, Hume said this:

“It has always been a puzzling thing to me. The Bible even speaks of it, that you speak the name Jesus Christ (and I don’t mean to make a pun here) but all hell breaks loose. And it has always been thus. It is explosive. I didn’t even say the name in that way. I spoke of the Christian faith, but that was enough to trigger this reaction. It triggers a very powerful reaction in people who do not share the faith and who do not believe in it. Always has.”

What’s my reaction to all this? For me, the story here is not the controversy surrounding Hume’s remarks. That’s to be expected. What’s notable here is the fact that a senior news analyst had the courage to speak of Christ in a difficult place. Would that more of us might be so bold.

In 2008 when Hume stepped aside as a host and anchor at Fox News, he said that he no longer wanted to be a part-time Christian and that he was leaving to pursue Christ “more ardently.” It sounds to me like he is doing just that.

31 Responses to Offering Redemption and Forgiveness

  1. Nathan January 5, 2010 at 11:33 am #

    Pat Buchanan’s response to David Schuster’s statement, “But doesn’t it also denigrate Christianity when you do that on a Sunday political talk show. This isn’t church, this isn’t some sort of holy setting, this is a political talk show.”

    Buchanan, “A lot of us feel that there ought to be more discussion of religion in politics and religious beliefs and what’s moral and right and wrong.”

    Schuster, “And you don’t think this diminishes Christianity in any way?”

    Buchanan, “What do you think, the religion’s dropped a peg or two now?”

    That is priceless…

    I think it is great that this discussion is taking place. Glad to see Pat Buchanan not back off and speak openly was well.

  2. Kelly January 5, 2010 at 1:24 pm #

    There is a time and place for everything,except insulting someones faith and usggesting in public it does not work well. I thought Brit Hume was smarter than that. And for all who will read this and NOT grasp why it hurts the cause of bringing people to Christ…well, there is a reason the church is in decline, and such heavy handedness as this is it.

    No need to shoot the messenger by the way.

    Does anyone think insulting the faith of this man and his family/asian ancestors on TV brought Tiger Woods 1/1000th of an inch closer to Christ? If you honestly think so, then I understand fully why the church in America, including the SBC and others across the spectrum, are losing membership and the respect of more and more people.

    Was what Mr. Hume said wrong? No. Was his choice of venue ( a news program ) wise? Was his tone towards the millions of Ameicans who practice this other faith and those who love and respect them wise? The answer to both is no…unless the goal is just to feel great about hearing someone ‘talk about the faith in public’…and thats a sad little goal indeed if effectiveness and results are not taken into account.

    There is a time and place for everything, and a best way to say it. Has the religion dropped a peg or two? From what I heard from an agnostic acquaintance and an offended Buddhist friend who will now NEVER set foot in a church, yeah, the answer is a loud and resounding YES. For those two souls, yes Nathan, it was diminished quite a bit.

    But, Mr. Hume seems to have made the ‘choir’ feel good.

    The fact that the choir does not see the problem with the where, when and how of what Brit Hume said what he did, well that says a lot, sad to say. Both about the effectiveness, and the new found neediness, of many who believe.

    Priceless. Indeed.

  3. rach January 5, 2010 at 2:01 pm #

    “Would that more of us might be so bold.” amen- beginning with me.

  4. Nathan January 5, 2010 at 2:14 pm #

    Kelly:

    While I appreciate your desire to not offend anyone, as Brit Hume said, Jesus offends. Jesus himself said that his coming would bring division.

    If you don’t want any division/controversy then how could anyone speak anywhere except in a one-on-one situation and in private. You could be having a discussion with someone in a coffee-shop and someone else overhears you and then never walks into a church again because they are offended. Are you going to refrain from speaking?

    Public confessions have been around quite a long time. Was Peter’s public confession and condemnation of the Jewish leaders for not recognizing Jesus as the Jewish Messiah in Acts 2 or 4 inappropriate? He slammed them and the Jewish people. Was Paul’s public confession in Acts 17 inappropriate? Is a high school valedictorian’s public confession inappropriate?

    By the way: Buchanan is a Catholic and backed up Hume, so your diatribe on the SBC doesn’t fly.

    Peter wrote to always be ready to give a defense of the faith you have. Hume did this and offered that Christ gives something that no other religion offers (Buddhism in this case): redemption and forgiveness. Where was he wrong?

    Finally, for the souls you and I both have no idea about (number unknown), Hume’s public confession may have been the watering of the gospel that leads them to repentance. What if it were the one person you desired most to come to faith? Would Brit Hume’s public confession be a problem then?

    Then it would be Priceless!

  5. Ryan K January 5, 2010 at 3:11 pm #

    I was reading Dallas Willard’s book “Knowing Christ Today,” last night as this was on TV.

    In it he talks about this very issue of how even Christians have become dogmatic in their acceptance of Christian knowledge and truth being relegated to only that which is private and personal.

    Historically this is the exception as spiritual knowledge used to be allowed room in the public square in regards to truth and knowledge.

    I applaud Brit in his willingness to not believe in this plausibility structure our culture has insisted on of only science being knowledge that is allowed in the public sphere.

  6. Kelly January 5, 2010 at 4:09 pm #

    I hear the choir singing.

    But, after listening to some of the people who now have less interest in walking in the church doors, I have these observations.

    The fact that Buchanan, a VERY Catholic (and unpleasant and unadmired, for what that is worth) pundit backed him up is not relevant one way or the other to the fact that people who sound like Mr Hume is a large part of why the SBC (and oh so many Catholic) pews are empty. Look at Barna research. this is not my opinion. People who sound like this turn potential believers off (and have done a darn good job of it). When a doctor points out an illness, its not a diatribe. I stand by my comments…and the demographics of church “growth” (often negative) back me up.

    The fact that there is a time and place for everything was a point. On of the most successful evangelists I ever met (a missionary baptist whom I agreed with on little theological) always told me his gift was to tell the truth, but never in a way that insulted or denigrated.

    Where was Mr. Hume wrong? In publicly insulting Mr. Woods faith in a pluralistic society that does not admire people who do that, and where more and more(most I suspect) people will not listen to anyone with that message after hearing someone present it in the manner Mr Hume did. If you dont like hearing that, thats tough. It’s the reality we live in and will be living in.

    If its a public school with lots of people of different faiths represented, yeah, it is. I live in a district where the majority of public students are now Muslim or Hindu. I have found that a lot of parents who would have disagreed with me at one time now agree when faced with the prospect of getting to hear the Validictorian sing the praises of Allah, and having their younger kids hear that only Allah and his grace make success possible then going home and explaining that, no, we dont believe like the validictorian did. (and yes, that means no athiest rants from the podium either). And I live in what was once a part of the Bible Belt by the way.

    You say public confessions have been around for a long time. True and good enough. Give one in a board room, and people will think you a fanatic preventing them from discussing the quarterly report. Give one on the 700 club, and that called religious broadcasting, which has been around for…oh, about the same time that this society has become less and less Christian, and is often cited by non Christian friends as a reason they are not interested; “thanks, but, no thanks”.

    I did not make up my two friends (one an acquaintance, as I mentioned). They are now LESS inclined to hear the Gospel due to this. They are not alone I suspect.

    That fact seems illrelevant to people some people who, it seems, feel so put upon by society that they take greater joy in hearing Mr. Hume say a thing than in evaluating;

    1) the effectiveness of what he said on the person in question.
    2) the way most people “not in the choir” (those who don’t darken the door of a church) will take the way he said it and the way it sounded to them (THEY matter, for they are the audience…not those who already believe)
    3) the fact that some people who are obviously very strong and deep in their faith, as I am sure most of you are, do not see the problem with the when/where/how of this IS related to the decline in the respect with which the Gospel and Christians are held by the larger society. This gives me no pleasure or joy whatsoever. This society needs strong churches…not just for the religious benefits (the main thing of course) but for all the other benefits a strong church offers the society.

    And if you really can’t see how Mr. Hume messed up by saying the right thing (that Christianity can offer hope) at the wrong time and place and way, and messed up by insulting (I am sure he and you do not see it that way….but, that’s illrelevant, its how Buddhists and those who love them will see, as well as the large society) another faith, well….the church is in greater trouble than I thought. And that disturbs me very much.

    Lastly, you are entirely correct in your post. But, you left out one variable; areas (growing areas) like mine, where steeples now share space with minartets, reconstructionist synagogues, wiccan prayer circles, and a lot of people (mainly young…but not that young, and not ‘getting religion as they age’) who just don’t care about it or want to hear any of it. When we were more or less unified, even if split by denomination, it worked. It wont work now in more and more of America. It would work in a Christian nation. THIS, is a mission field, with a Christian majority, yes, but with many of whom having very different beliefs than your own. I heard Dr. Michael Yusef on the radio today quote from a study that mentions that 54 % of Christians (NOT society as a whole) and 31 % of Evangelicals believe that there is more than one way to salvation. Mr. Humes’ comments dont enlighten in that environment. They make people less likely to look to the light at all.

    My apologies for the length of this post. But some things cannot be put down to sound bites.

  7. Nathan January 5, 2010 at 4:29 pm #

    So the apostle Paul should have kept his mouth shut in the public square of Athens because there were gods (idols) everywhere, but nothing about Jesus?

    Kelly: Really, if you are a Christian, then how do you think your ancestors heard about Christ? Using your logic, Christianity would have never left Israel. If you cannot confront false religion with the truth of the gospel (and all other religions are false) then nobody ever hears.

    I’m sorry about your two friends. I’m sorry some of my friends don’t want to hear about Jesus from me either. But I will continue to tell them. If they choose to never speak with me again, I will continue to pray for them. Your logic is contorted to political correctness. The gospel is confrontational at times.

  8. Denny Burk January 5, 2010 at 4:47 pm #

    Rach (#4),

    I had myself in mind too. Thanks for the comment.

    Denny

  9. Not the other Nathan January 5, 2010 at 4:53 pm #

    Not knowing much about Hume, I would have to ask the question, “To what Christianity was Brit Hume calling Tiger Woods?”

    If it’s not authentic Christianity, then is his statement so great and courageous? Do his statements indicate beyond a doubt that he is talking about authentic Christian faith?

  10. James Cole January 5, 2010 at 5:39 pm #

    Kelly,
    I appreciate your concern for the souls of the lost…sincerely I do. I’m glad that you are sensitive to their feelings, and I agree with you that too often in the recent past believers have spoken out of what seems to be anger and not love. But the gospel is inherently offensive to some (the message of the cross if foolishness to those who are perishing). My Muslim neighbor will probably be offended if I tell him that apart from Christ and Him alone, he is under the wrath and condemnation of a righteous and holy God. But that is the truth, and I believe telling him the truth is actually loving him. My homosexual neighbor will be offended if he asks me if homosexuality is a sin, and I tell him yes. But that is the truth and it is loving for me to explain to him that God’s commands are to give us joy not to rob us of joy. I know that it’s hard to tell someone’s tone when reading and not speaking in person, but please trust that I’m not speaking in anger but just trying to explain where I disagree with you.

  11. Kelly January 5, 2010 at 8:09 pm #

    James, I appreciate your tone. But, I think you also miss my point. If you talk to your Muslim neighbor privatel, AFTER he you have shown him TRUE friendship, been there for him when he was sick, alone, etc. he will maybe listen to you. Just start off ON TV with it, on a news program, and he will resent you, and very, very seldomly listen, and ones white non religious neighbors who are listening will think such a person a jerk. Now, he might feel great about “Always sharing the message”…kind of like someone shoving a sandwich down a mans throat can feel good about feeding people…but, the results will be the same.
    Mr. Hume did not do a service to the spreading of the gospel…and my two friends, well, they are testament to this (sad to say)

    As per your comments to a gay person, as a Presbyterian, I will do all I can to let them know that they, their committed partners or spouses and their kids/families are welcome in my church, and that not all Christians agree with your interpretation of the sinful nature of a loving committed gay relationship. And please dont say “the Bible clears that up”…there is a seminary full of superb Christian scholars a few blocks from your seminary in Louisville and mose of them would disagree with you…and, respectfully, make a better case for their cause. We will just have to disagree on that. The Church and faith do not speak with one voice on this issue. Not anymore, even though some want to pretend it does.
    I sincerely appreciate your tone, and wish you nothing but the best.

  12. Nathan January 5, 2010 at 9:08 pm #

    Not the other Nathan:

    Why would you assume that Hume was not genuinely speaking of Christianity? It would appear that you are looking for a reason to disagree with his speaking out.

    What if I said, “Do your statements concerning Hume indicate a true feeling about Christ on your part?”

  13. Zach Nielsen (Vitamin Z) January 5, 2010 at 11:50 pm #

    Check this one out:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQcj3RiUCuo

    Here are some of the quotes from this interchange:

    Keith Olbermann: Keep religious advocacy out of public life since the worst example of that are jihadists.

    Keith Olbermann: Is it not in the interest of people of faith to avoid this kind of public proselytizing? The smart ones get that is just makes them look bad no matter what the thought might be.

    Dan Savage: Smart people of faith set an example through their lives. They don’t go on Fox News and lecture other people.

    It is important to ask a simple question when someone makes a claim like this: Why?

    Why should Brit Hume not speak his view? The answer usually is that people should keep their religious views to themselves. But what are religious views? They are simply statements of belief. So if we shouldn’t communicate our own statements of belief then what about the statements of belief purported by the two men in the clip above? Why should they be allowed to communicate their beliefs?

    If we are truly to keep “religious advocacy out of public life” than why is Keith advocating his view that is undergirded by a certain worldview.

    Is Keith not doing his own type of proselytizing (which is simply trying to convince another of your view) when he says that Hume should not proselytize?

    If people are not to go on Fox News and lecture other people about matters of belief, why is Dan Savage going on MSNBC and lecturing Brit Hume about his beliefs? Is not Dan Savage lecturing Hume based on his personal beliefs?

    Their statements of these two men simply do not stand because they refute themselves as they speak. The rules have to go both ways. They can’t just apply to those with whom you agree. If Brit can’t state his view, then they shouldn’t be allowed to either.

  14. Not the other Nathan January 6, 2010 at 1:02 am #

    @Nathan

    I didn’t assume that Hume is an inauthentic Christian. I just can’t assume that he is an authentic one from the few blurbles that I’ve heard from him.

    If Hume were a Mormon, would his words be courageous?

    If he were a Jehovah’s Witness, would what he said be such a great thing?

    How about if he espoused a prosperity gospel, a Roman Catholic gospel, or some other type of gospel? You name it.

    Maybe he said the things he did in order to get attention. According to Hume, “[Speaking the name of Jesus] triggers a very powerful reaction in people…”

    I don’t know. I’m just not ready to carry him on my shoulders because he said that Tiger needs Jesus.

  15. Michael Templin January 6, 2010 at 1:43 am #

    @ Kelly

    “As per your comments to a gay person, as a Presbyterian, I will do all I can to let them know that they, their committed partners or spouses and their kids/families are welcome in my church, and that not all Christians agree with your interpretation of the sinful nature of a loving committed gay relationship”

    Your Presbyterianism does not reflect the Gospel that the Scottish preached, nor what orthodox Presbyterians believe today. So don’t claim presbyterianism… what you are apart of is mainline theological liberalism, and the only thing you share with your reformed ancestors is the denominational name.

  16. Mark January 6, 2010 at 2:17 am #

    Well, according to Wikipedia, Brit Hume is an Episcopalian (most Episcopalians are liberal/mainline). He was also once divorced and got remarried. Do you guys think this has any relevance to our discussion of whether he is a true believer or not? Even though I have a couple of theology degrees this is not something I would come into judgment lightly.

  17. Mark January 6, 2010 at 2:29 am #

    Kelly,

    Though I would not label homosexual behavior as an unpardonable sin, it is still sin nonetheless (1 Cor 6:9). It does not matter if both partners are in a “loving” or “committed” relationship. I hardly can see how a group of scholars from LPTS are able to make a better case for the non-biblical cause.

    Anyway, going back to this video clip. I think Brit Hume should be commended for saying this: “If Tiger Woods were to make a true conversion, we would know it. It would show through in his being.” How many evangelical preachers today actually tell us that? Not many, sadly.

  18. Tommy January 6, 2010 at 10:38 am #

    First time writing on here.

    As a fellow seminary student, and one from southern cali, I’ve spent time talking to homosexual and heterosexual friends alike, who only turn their nose up at the sound of Scripture. You could say “God” all day, and how great He is(and truly, His greatness I revel in), and they would just nod their heads all day. This culture doesn’t mind the word “God”, and isn’t offended by it, because each person has their own “god” :Buddha, TV, or music. But once one says “Jesus Christ”, than the tension rises. No one mistakes who He is, and the power even His name conjures. And we know Him through one media: Scripture. The living, breathing, INFALLIBLE Word of God. If we filter the world through that precious Book, then we see the world as Christ sees it, with a desperate need for all to hear of His hope. Not a need that can wait even hours.

    Speaking of Christ WILL offend, no question. But when I look at Scripture, I see men who were martyred for speaking the same simple message that Brit Hume spoke. Obviously these men were slain by people who were offended at their words. Christ Himself was slain, by men who were exceedingly offended by His words. Was He wrong in preaching the narrow road? I think not.

    If my neighbor asks me if their are multiple ways to heaven, and if Islam is a way, I will respond with a “no”. I can’t tell him, “Now just wait a couple of weeks, and let me befriend you first, and then I’ll give you the answer.” I will give him truth. I will try to befriend him and show him Scripture and truth, but God does not rely on relationships for salvation. Just THE Relationship. Paul did not wait and slowly cultivate relationships with men before he preached. In fact, his first foray was walking into a synagogue full of men expecting Paul the pious Jew. They didn’t get that Paul. They got Paul who gained the greatest gift in history, and wanted all to experience the same. He offended.

  19. Kelly January 6, 2010 at 11:12 am #

    They do Mark. And at the majority of the Presbyterian Seminaries they also make the same case, and do a superb job of it. Which is why more and more formerly conservative Presbyterian scholars like Rogers and Achtenmier are now welcoming of gay people into the life of the church.

    As per your question about how many evangelical (or otherwise) preachers tell us that, well, that is a good question. And they should tell us just that. And, they are not commentators on a news program, are they? And their doing so as Mr. Hume did will not turn anyone off, as he did with my two friends. THAT was the whole point of my post. And the fact that some people do not see the problem, well…it bodes ill for us all.

    Mr Templin, you sound like a fundamentalist/literalist, though I do not mean to be cruel, but you do. I am presbyterian from head to toe. The Presbyterian church has moved past many of its past mistakes that earlier Presbyterians in Scotland heartily embraced, be they slavery, the subjugation of women, imperialism, racism, and now, a conservative reading of scripture that has lead in the past to hompophobia. You really should not look down on other people for having higher standards that you do you know. Contact some of the former conservative theologians I mentioned, and/or read their works. I would especially recommend this if you are in ministry.
    All my best to you, and yours.

  20. Nathan January 6, 2010 at 11:31 am #

    “You really should not look down on other people for having higher standards that you do”

    Kelly: For as much as myself and others have tried to have empathy for your friends, your statement confirms, at least to me, what your true agenda is. Your statement to Mr. Templin, at the very least, is just as cold as anything you accuse Brit Hume of. You speak of desiring no words to do harm to others and yet you stand, high and lofty, over Mr. Templin’s opinion.

  21. Michael Templin January 6, 2010 at 12:24 pm #

    “Mr Templin, you sound like a fundamentalist/literalist, though I do not mean to be cruel, but you do. I am presbyterian from head to toe. The Presbyterian church has moved past many of its past mistakes that earlier Presbyterians in Scotland heartily embraced, be they slavery, the subjugation of women, imperialism, racism, and now, a conservative reading of scripture that has lead in the past to hompophobia”

    Neither Fundamentalist nor a ‘strict’ Literalist (this is a bit of an odd accusation…is everything allegorical or do you mean something else). No I’m orthodox. And just because the liberal PCUSA says something is ok, does not mean presbyterianism does. I cant think of anyone in historical PC, Orthodox PC, the PCA, Scottish PC, Bible PC who would agree with you.

  22. Michael Templin January 6, 2010 at 12:36 pm #

    @ Kelly I have no problem with gays entering the church during worship, hopefully they will hear the Gospel and leave their sin. I think many conservatives have been very hateful to the G and L community and have not shown the love of Christ to them. Yet the Gospel we preach to them is the same: 1. Jesus is Lord and King 2. He would love to save you because he is gracious and good, and loves his creation. 3. You must repent (leave your sins/homosexuality is included) and trust in Him to be saved.

    This gospel never changes.

    A question Kelly: Why is it that mainline protestants have had this special revelation that homosexuality is not sinful in the last 60 years? Why is it that ancient Judaism and Historical Christianity have condemned it for 3000+ years but in the last 60 years your scholarship has said it is OK?

  23. Kelly January 6, 2010 at 1:42 pm #

    Mr (rev? I hope I use the correct title) Templin, Why is it that the obvious right of women to preach was only seen in the last century? (not yet by all sad to say, but even most pentecostels are now on board) Why is that the overwhelming majority voice of Christianity only condemned slavery (and lead the charge against it, bless Wlberforce and the other saints who had a HARD time convincing most of the churches of his day that change was necessary) after /millenia, centuries and centuries? (and the support was often more than tacit)Why is that the churches only concluded that racism is a sin after centuries of teaching that is was not?

    In each case, because the people matured, and in a world where God allows us to grow in grace and improve past mistakes, we did so. (PS the vase majority of Jews belong to the Reformed and Conservative movements, and ordain gay Rabbis. Thanks)

    The Scots Church is more liberal than the American one if you did not know that; the “Orthodox Presbyterians” could fit their entire ‘denomination’ in a small sized arena and are WAY out of the Presbyterian mainstream in a lot of ways (even the conservative branches), and I DO know future pastors who are now at Calvin College (PCA’s college) who tell me that they have no doubt that the PCA will first ordain women and secondly fully accept gay people in their lifetimes. The PCUSA is if far larger than every other type of Presbyteian in the county put together. Not that that matters. If we wanted to be popular with the world, we could take a very conservative position, and most religious folk would applaud us in conservative church going areas. A position is taken because it is the right thing to do, both morally, and after the best scholarship make a case for it. Not because it is popular. Once again, please read the work of those former conservative, now gay welcoming thelogians and seminary professors. Thanks.

    Nathan, we are in a discussion inside a chatroom, both of us willingly discussing a topic. He said something in a manner that strongly implied both a tendency of literal reading of the scripture, and a fundamentalist attitude, and I pointed this out. As I said, I did not mean it in a hurtful way, but was just making an honest observation, and the effect of his words. Most importantly, I AM NOT ON A NATIONAL TV TALK/NEWS SHOW, but having a discussion on a discussion board. Had I said that out of the clear blue sky on TV, in the manner Mr Hume did, in the setting he did, I expect I would be rightfully called out on it.

    The discussion string was about Mr. Hume making a statement that hurt the cause of spreading the Gospel, my giving two real world examples of this, and my expressing disappointment (and sadness and concern) that it seems a lot of deeply religious people HONESTLY don’t seem to see the problem (!) and what this inability to see it as those you will be talking to implies for evangelism in a pluralist society.

    The issue of gay and lesbian inclusion in the church is as over and done for me as the issue of racial inclusion, womens inclusion, etc. It’s a different issue from Mr. Hume and his comments, and one not any more worthy of debate to me than say, womens ordination or racial equality in my denomination. Not everyone may agree with me outside of it, but, thats not my problem. I only mentioned it after another posters hurtful statements about what he would say to a gay person, and my reply that I would offer them a full welcome.
    Happily, most gay people know that there are several whole denominations that fully welcome them, and this has changed the whole issue for the vast majority ofgay kids and adults looking for a spiritual home, or currently (the kids) forced to attend congregations/denominations that tell them otherwise. They now know that the congregation down the road disagrees, and they can have a Christian and spiritual live without having to listen to the homophobia. The younger straight members of a lot of evangelical churches know this to and are changing attitudes and understandings on this issue, as Barna reseach points out. Once again, its not a topic I brought up. I did not bring it up. I just did not ignore it/fold when it was mentioned.

  24. Nathan January 6, 2010 at 2:15 pm #

    “The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) last year suffered its largest single-year drop in membership–nearly 70,000 people–since the denomination’s creation by merger in 1983.

    Church officials at the Louisville, Kentucky, headquarters announced June 22 that the 2008 decline was the biggest numerical and percentage net membership loss in the 25-year period. Total membership is now 2,140,165 in 10,751 congregations.”

    Sounds like your denomination is really on-board Kelly…

    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1058/is_15_126/ai_n35579551/

  25. Kelly January 6, 2010 at 4:51 pm #

    I think I mentioned that doing what is right, is not always what is popular, didn’t I?

    By the way…the Southern Baptists are now at a majority of congregations in decline or at plateau. Does that mean your not “on board”?

    The UBER conservative Salvation Army is in a similar decline patter to us…its demographics more than theology that affects much (I am not saying all) of the decline.

    Presbyterians started having small families way before Baptists started following the pattern, and demographics play as big or bigger part in our numerical decline than thelogical disagrements among us. But, like I said, a think is done because it is the right thing. Not the popular thing. As per numerical decline, well, look at your own demographics. You just starting down from the top of the roller coaster. We are farther down the ride. I would not be to smug when it comes to numbers, as the next decade will show, if I were you. 🙂

  26. Brian Krieger January 6, 2010 at 7:02 pm #

    Kelly:

    You make a great observation. I would say that you are right that what Brit Hume said was very unpopular, but it was right…..oh, wait…..

    In the end, I wish it were that I (and Christians in general) were more like Paul who wept for those who were perishing. Time is short. We aren’t to go to a mosque/wiccan center/whatever and wag a finger in anyone’s face, but neither are we to serve our words as gruel (a watery substance with chunks of culture) and say “I’ll add meat when I think they can handle it”.

  27. Michael Templin January 7, 2010 at 11:34 am #

    @ Kelly

    “I DO know future pastors who are now at Calvin College (PCA’s college) who tell me that they have no doubt that the PCA will first ordain women and secondly fully accept gay people in their lifetimes.”

    Hate to break it to you but Calvin College is not a college for the PCA. It is for the Christian Reformed Church.

  28. Kelly January 7, 2010 at 11:45 am #

    Mea culpa…misspoke, but meant to say Covenant. Thanks for the correction. I had just been checking a paper a friend had written on The Institutes, and thus Calvin was on my mind.

  29. Naum January 7, 2010 at 5:12 pm #

    We tend not to openly and directly criticize the religious faith of other people because we’ve learned from experience that such conservations usually go straight to hell. For the most part, that’s what happened here.

    Consider this. Suppose Woods was sitting at the table that day. Had Hume made his statement, unsolicited, directly to Woods, who among us would consider it a polite thing to say? When is the last time you did that? When is the last time you said to someone, “You know, I don’t think your religious faith is helping you out. You should switch to mine.” Nearly everyone knows this would be a rude thing to say someone, unless perhaps you had a particularly close relationship. Why do the rules change because Woods was not in the room at the time Hume made his suggestion?

    So suppose Hume had directed his comment at you, and your faith. You weren’t in the room when he said it, but he said it on television. How appreciative would you be of his public advice that your drop your religious faith in favor of his own?

    The issue here is not whether religious systems can be openly advocated or criticized. The issue is whether it is socially acceptable to open your mouth on television about what religious faith another human being should adopt. Brit Hume can speak publicly all he wants about Christianity vis-a-vis Buddhism, but when it comes to Tiger Wood’s personal choice of religious faith, Hume should mind his own business. If you don’t agree with me, substitute your name for Tiger Wood’s and see if it changes your conclusion.

  30. Nathan January 7, 2010 at 5:39 pm #

    Naum: While I understand yours and Kelly’s point about public comments, I fail to see how an open forum discussion show (which is seeking opinion) is off-limits to speaking about the Christian faith. Those other analysts all offered their viewpoints, but since theirs are secular in nature, that should not cause Tiger or anyone else the same issues. If an opinion based on Christianity is off-limits, then you should also refuse to read any commentaries or watch any public forum shows, because you might be offended. Furthermore, the post about Tom Shales preaching at Brit Hume and telling him what to believe should cause just as much concern.

    What didn’t happen in the exchange was anyone to ask Hume why he made those statements and have an openly religious discussion. As Hume said in a later interview, when people speak about Christ in front of cameras and journalists, the subjects change immediately. If Hume had said that Tiger should seek counseling, everyone would have agreed. But had he said Christian counseling they would all have freaked out.

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