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Author Topic: Are There Secular Christians?  (Read 4544 times)

Sojourner

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Re: Are There Secular Christians?
« Reply #15 on: June 15, 2014, 12:07:56 AM »
I have read almost everything on MR and am always checking for something new.  I check the information center often but also the “last 20” of “what’s new” every so often. 
 :BibleRead:

Last 20?

Hi Sojourner,
  It's listed as the "Biblical Web" link on most pages. Here is the URL

http://mountainretreatorg.net/searchit/searchit.cgi?new_files2

It's part of the search engine.

Aha! Thanks Reformer. Now I get it. I have to bookmark that. I was wondering what in the world is a "Last 20?"  Thanks again for the explanation.

Mila Ostrovsky

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Re: Are There Secular Christians?
« Reply #16 on: June 15, 2014, 09:06:01 AM »
Message Moved:

Quote
Likewise, the Church today is sacrificing their children to the gods of the nations around them in that they have become so much like the world that one is hard pressed to even tell the difference. They don't train their children up in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6), instead, they in effect let the world train them.

That is so true Tony. They have given up raising their children and act as if they are children themselves. I now see so many Parents in our school getting Tattoos because they want to be like everyone else. How is that a good role model for us to be set apart?

"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Prov. 22:6

Where has it all gone? Parents think that everything they hear on TV about how to raise their children is gospel, when it is secular. Thank you for that article.

Melanie

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Re: Are There Secular Christians?
« Reply #17 on: April 13, 2019, 06:27:02 AM »
That is so true Tony. They have given up raising their children and act as if they are children themselves. I now see so many Parents in our school getting Tattoos because they want to be like everyone else. How is that a good role model for us to be set apart?

"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Prov. 22:6

Where has it all gone? Parents think that everything they hear on TV about how to raise their children is gospel, when it is secular. Thank you for that article.

Mila, In fact, most Christians are secular now, despite the fact that the words secular and Christian cannot go together. Not just tattoos, they dress secular, they gamble, they are immodest, they justify, they curse, they drink and their children can see the hypocrisy and so have no reason to have faith in orthodox Christianity. That article by Richard Dawkins, at least he is upfront with his hypocrisy, most secular Christians are still claiming conversion. Richard admits he is a “secular Christian” because he hankers after the nostalgia and traditions of the church. That pretty much describes most Christians from Postmillennial Christians, Dispensational Christians, Evangelical Christians, Political Christians and White Nationalist Christians. They long for a time that never really was. They are secular because they long for things that actually have no religious or spiritual basis, while all the time they desire and act just like the world. That's like freely going to live in a Las Vegas Casino, and longing to live in a Church.  Are they not still carnal? Are they not still secular and not Christian at all? I say yes.
.

Anne

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Re: Are There Secular Christians?
« Reply #18 on: April 14, 2019, 01:06:23 AM »
Hi Melanie,
  I just wanted to take the time to say I for one have loved your posts, explanations and comments over the years. Keep up the good work.

  Now as far as secular Christians, I recently read an article where a man was proud to call himself a secular Christian. Apparently, the church's definition of secular wasn't confusing enough for him.  ::)
I don't know exactly where it is right now but I will search google for it and if I find it will post it.

Anne

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Re: Are There Secular Christians?
« Reply #19 on: April 14, 2019, 05:59:14 AM »
Hi Melanie. Found it.

January 2017 - I Am a Secular Christian
by: Gary Peluso-Verdend

In my last blog, I began to wrestle with the fact that my Protestant home is not “the mainline” in any meaningful way. I represent a minority point of view within both U.S. and world Christianity. If my family is not “the mainline,” what do we, in this minority expression, call ourselves?

Well, I already know the following proposal will not stick because the attributed connotation is too negative. But I’d argue that “secular Christian” is accurately descriptive and invites creative criticism of what secular Christianity has been and might become.

The negative connotation of the word “secular” is associated with the denotation that secular means irreligious. However, there is another meaning of secular, equally valid, that I think captures much of what “mainline Protestantism” actually has meant. That meaning of secular is “of this age.” To be a secular Christian is to learn to live with God in this present world.

In the following ways, my Protestant family has been secular, dedicated to working with God to make this world a better world:

The incarnate love of God in Jesus is expressed in the yoked commandments to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves. One cannot love God without loving God’s world.
We exemplify Paul Tillich’s insight that religion is the soul of culture and culture is the form of religion. We can see God’s work in art, film, and music that never mention “Jesus.”
More attention is paid to working with God for justice and compassion in this life than to life after death, to salvation in this life rather than being saved from hell in the next. Answering the questions of “salvation from what?” and “salvation for what?” is done from within a this-life perspective. The Lord’s Prayer petition for “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” is a secular/of-this-age petition, rather than a plea for the end of the world.
We embrace experimental science and scientific insights, for example, evolution, age of the universe, climate change, brain research’s revelations regarding the motivations of behavior, the range of human sexualities. Scientific pursuits expand our understanding of the wondrous universe God created, even as those pursuits raise new ethical and existential questions that sometimes challenge ancient “truths.”
Theology is forged in a mutually critical conversation and argument between theological sources per se (such as the Bible and the lived experience of Christians) and contemporary sources of knowledge. We do not measure the truth and validity of all knowledge by a theological mold cast in other eras and cultures, rejecting all ideas that don’t fit inherited beliefs.
We believe God is bigger than our religion, that God speaks and acts in the ecumene, throughout the whole world—including other religions.
I am a secular Christian. The six bullet points above are core tenets of my theology.

But in naming my type of Christianity “secular,” I can see problem areas more clearly than I might otherwise.

Secular Christianity gets into trouble when:

We marry an era rather than live in it as migrants and sojourners. Ages and eras change. So many 1950s and 1960s congregations were founded after the GI Bill era expanded home ownership and suburbs. Migrating families needed friends. Church functioned as a place to connect with geographical neighbors and receive assistance in raising children. Today, there are many “friendly” yet dying congregations. Friendliness as a virtue belonged to an age. In addition, political and cultural establishments come and go. We do not need a friendly political regime to do our work. The early Christian movement did amazing work in an Empire—at a cost.
We do not provide compelling (even awe-inspiring) religious and spiritual symbols, rituals, stories, practices, and reasons for holding the stances we do. Historian David Hollinger believes ecumenical Protestantism (his term) won the culture battles of the late 20th century, meaning that we and urban cultures moved in the same direction (embracing feminism, anti-racism, multiculturalism, and expanded rights for minority groups). Yes, this happened while, at the same time, we were losing numbers in worship and the conservative areas of the country were growing in electoral college power.
My seminary preaching professor told us we should test every sermon we preach by asking whether it could be a Rotary speech. If so, it was not Christian enough. I apply a similar criterion to all church practices: what are we teaching/doing/practicing/being that can only be happening in a Christian context? What is the difference between acting for justice and acting as a Christian for justice? What is the difference between being a moral person and being a Christian moral person?

In our desire to engage with the world, I fear we sometimes neglected our explicitly theological and spiritual work. I recall the story that journalists were often disappointed when they heard a sermon by Dr. King. Why? Because they did not expect to hear a Black Baptist sermon, meaning they did not get the spiritual well that fed his public work.

We are so engaged in worldly work that we neglect the critical task of preparing individuals to deal with their own mortality. If you reflect on the scope of this task, you’ll see that dealing with the fact that I will die has broad-ranging implications—e.g., how shall I live, what is the meaning of my life/what am I here to do, how do I show up in my intimate relationships, how do I practice letting go, how do I treat bodies (my own and others), where do I find joy? In my opinion, a church that does not regularly remind me I am going to die is probably not doing enough to help me live.
Any other secular Christians out there?

And, yes, for those of you who are thinking, “You need to re-read Bonhoeffer.” My reply is: “Thanks, I know.”



Reformer

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Re: Are There Secular Christians?
« Reply #20 on: April 14, 2019, 10:35:36 AM »
I pondered whether to place this message in "the decline of Christianity" or here in "Are There Secular Christians." In the end, I think either place would fit because in my thinking both are equally related. I think secular Christianity is the primary reason for the decline of the church. Or to put it more clearly, professing Christians who become secular.  Once Christians took one foot out of the church and placed it in the secular world, the decline of the church was inevitable. Agree?

To answer the question in this thread of the possibility of secular Christians, my answer is no. I think that one is the opposite of the other. But the problem is that many secular people claim to be Christian and so the answer is complicated by their redefining of terms. In this way, I would have to say there are many professed Christians who are secular, but that doesn't make them secular Christians. Because the definition of secular is to be non religious. But it gets more complicated because even those who think they are not religious are religious. They just don't recognize their doctrines as religious. We know that Atheism is a religion. Secularism is a religion. Evolution is a religion. Even politics is a religion. Back in the old days there was a song by Bob Dylan "Gotta Serve somebody" that basically said everybody has to serve somebody. I think that is true, so the question is always complicated by how we define secular and how we define religion. Personally, I don't like to complicate things like that. I look at things straightforwardly and so I say secular people cannot be Christians. Yet I understand how some people desire some distinctions, and that's their right.

I believe that Christianity started a steep decline when Christians started becoming less affiliated with the work of the church and more affiliated with the work of humanism, prosperity, politics and social engineering. I think it started in the liberal churches and now seems to have come full circle in conservative churches. I firmly believe that when we become an economic, political or social engineering church, we become a secular church. And I'm talking about both from the left and the right branches of the church. I think both groups have fallen into the exact same deception of thinking that the church was instituted to change the world through laws, social engineering and government. We collectively have forgotten that the church's primary role is to preach the gospel to save souls, not build up people, governments, or society. Once people become saved, God makes them better people. By the same token, there will never be better secular governments because the world is not destined for greatness. It is destined for spiritual insanity that will only be halted by Christ's return.

That doesn't mean we remove ourselves from the world, but it does mean we remove the world from ourselves. That is where we went astray. We ceased to endure and as a result have become secular, like the world we were so beguiled by. Those are my thoughts, what do you guys think?

George

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Re: Are There Secular Christians?
« Reply #21 on: April 14, 2019, 01:30:03 PM »

I think that the political has everything to do with the church. Not that we are secular, but even though we are not of the world but we do have to live in the world. So we have to bring our moral character to the world or else we are forsaking our duty as Christians. To let the liberals take over is to give up responsibility as Christians.

In answer to the question, yes we are christians, but we are living in a secular world. So we have to act accordingly so we are not overwhelmed by the liberals in the world who want to destroy Israel with anti-jewish Reformed theology. The church is not in decline, Reformed theology is.

Lieberman

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Re: Are There Secular Christians?
« Reply #22 on: April 14, 2019, 02:49:16 PM »
The church is not in decline

You Think So?  Then you must be secular.

Rich Aikers

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Re: Are There Secular Christians?
« Reply #23 on: April 15, 2019, 03:18:20 AM »

That doesn't mean we remove ourselves from the world, but it does mean we remove the world from ourselves. That is where we went astray. We ceased to endure and as a result have become secular, like the world we were so beguiled by. Those are my thoughts, what do you guys think?

Lelanie and Reformer, I couldn't agree more. The church has to a great degree become more secular and less Christ-centered. I'm just wondering if that's just another way of saying falling away or apostasy?

ZeroCool

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Re: Are There Secular Christians?
« Reply #24 on: April 15, 2019, 07:08:26 AM »
Rich, what do you think of this quote by Daniel Lattier?

"According to the biblical account, the Original Sin consisted of the first man and woman attempting to attain a goal (“to be like God”) by avoiding the path of struggle (i.e., by simply eating the fruit)."

Daniel Lattier , B.A., M.A., Ph.D. in Systematic Theology

ZeroCool

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Re: Are There Secular Christians?
« Reply #25 on: April 15, 2019, 07:10:47 AM »
The church is not in decline

You Think So?  Then you must be secular.


That's an old chart from 2014. I'm sure it's in much worse decline now.  :'(

Melanie

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Re: Are There Secular Christians?
« Reply #26 on: April 16, 2019, 12:32:33 AM »
I agree with Tony, Secular Christian and Carnal Christian are the same names for the same people who aren't Christians to start with. Their names give them away. If you are still carnal, you are not Christian. If you are still secular, you are not Christian. If you are still living in the world, you cannot be living in Christ. They just don't go together.

"Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 2 Corinthians 6:17"

 


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