Is God mad at America?



What do you make of this sign? Did God once love America and now not so much? Here is a clip from a comment I left at a friend's blog:

Do you not find it odd how some always seem to be speaking of how God is mad at, and will judge, our country because of things like abortion and homosexuality. It is like God didn't care about the ways that we treated slaves for hundreds of years. It is like he gave people who hated a pass and somehow found a way to bless America. Yet now He has decided to be mad at America.

My point is how people fixated with wrath and judgment have warped the gospel message. It is like wrath and hate are on the same level as love and mercy. And as a sad result Christians have become known more for their strong advocacy of judgment rather than mercy. So my concern is not all that theological but more pragmatic. What if we only preached love and let God deal with the topics of wrath and judgment? What if Christians were known for our love?

Yes, I know that I am dreaming! How could we ever love those who seem to be (to some anyway) our enemies?   ツ


29 comments:

  1. how people fixated with wrath and judgment have warped the gospel message

    YES! Thanks for this Bob, I needed it.

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  2. There is no gospel message with understanding and preaching the wrath and judgment of God. If there is no wrath and no judgment there is no need for a gospel. the gospel has no meaning. It is both incongruent and detrimental to the gospel message to emphasize one characteristic or attribute of God over another. The gospel includes the message of wrath, judgment, condemnation, the sinner feels the weight of their sin and condemnation, repents, and turns to a loving and forgiving God through Christ.

    If we only preached love sounds nice, but it is meaningless without all the truth. The enemy would love it if we dropped wrath, judgment, condemnation and hell in favor of nothing but love. He would applaud as we loved people to judgment with half truths.

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    1. I think the issue is what we focus on Gregg. I think that the Holy Spirit convicts human beings of sin. And if He speaks to me about your sin, in a specific sense, I believe that I am obligated to share it with you. Other than that most talk of other's sins borders on gossip and unrighteous judgment. But I am guessing that we will have to agree to disagree on that though.

      I am still wondering though, if you believe that God is mad at America. Which is the main point of my post.

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  3. As I said elsewhere I am convinced the problem is our own tendency toward self-righteousness. If we recognize that we all need grace and cannot stand before God without it, we will deal with others in a different way because we recognize our own need of God's mercy.

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    1. So true Mike! If I believe that I need God's mercy then I will probably be merciful in my view and dealings of others.

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  4. What if we only preached love and let God deal with the topics of wrath and judgment?

    That's a good point, too Bob. In my life, I have found that it is love that turns people's hearts and the warnings of wrath that turn them away. God is patient and once one is found by Him, He takes care of all that other stuff.

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    1. Great point Ma! The goodness or kindness of God leads people to repent!

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  5. Sorry brother, I think God views America as he views every other country, He sits in heaven and laughs as the wicked in our land band together to throw off the control of God. I don't think he is any more or less "mad" at us as any other country. The apple of God's eye is Israel, not America. God spends His efficacious and special grace on His elect. Because God is gracious his general and sufficient grace falls on every being and country in the world. The rain falls on the just and the unjust alike.

    God hates sin. Whether that sin is abortion, homosexuality, adultery, or gossip - God hates sin. He hates it so much He brutally killed his own Son in order to satisfy His wrath and offended holiness and righteousness. When God judges the nation we will hold no special distinction.

    This nation like any other nation must repent or perish. From the fact that the US is not mentioned in prophecy at all leads me to beleive we did not repent and at some point we perished.

    So, God is angry at sin. Romans 1 states His wrath is poured out against sin.

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    1. Thanks for your comments about America Gregg. I agree with the idea that America is not any more special than other countries from a divine perspective.

      I once held a similar view of the cross. I now resonate more with the Christus Victor view. Here is a wiki snippet of it:

      "The term Christus Victor refers to a Christian understanding of the atonement which views Christ's death as the means by which the powers of evil, which held humankind under their dominion, were defeated. It is a model of the atonement that is dated to the Church Fathers, and it, or the related ransom theory, was the dominant theory of the atonement for a thousand years, until it was removed in the West by the eleventh-century Archbishop of Canterbury, Anselm, and replaced with his "satisfaction" model."

      The satisfaction view of the cross is held by many evangelicals these days. It falls short for me because it trivializes the cross to a transaction that God "needed" to accept fallen mankind. Following are a few counterpoints to the satisfaction model that Derek Flood presents on his blog:

      + When we strip the human experience of the language of passion, then we are left with a soulless theology.

      + Love cannot be dissected into a formula without trivializing it. It can only be articulated in the language of the poet.

      + Satisfaction-Doctrine takes the love out of the cross, and turns it into a calculated legal transaction.

      + There is no conflict between God's justice and mercy. Justice is about mercy. Justice comes through mercy and always has.

      + Satisfaction-Doctrine, although it prides itself on facing the gravity of sin, in fact treats sin superficially without dealing with the roots.

      + Love from God is not based on who we are but on who God is. We are justified by God's love, not by law. Likewise sanctification comes through living in God's love.


      As I said before, I am drawn more to the Christus Victor view of the cross.

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  6. Well, because it was on the internet it must be true. Or is it? The italizied definition is certainly not Scripture nor based on Scripture. I am not sure what is meant by "the powers of evil, which held humankind under their dominion, were defeated." It is true that the elect died in Christ and were baptized into Christ's death, thereby being freed from the penalty and power of sin. The ransom theory is not a biblical theory. I guess it is just that a theory, however, a non-Scriptural theory.

    I think there is some unnatural, albeit unintended, arrogance in the statement "It falls short for me because it trivializes the cross to a transaction that God "needed" to accept fallen mankind." God is not need anything and never has and never will. He is absolutely self-sufficient. He doesn't need us either.

    However, He was offended and a sacrifice was needed in order to appease Him and to satisfy the penalty for sin. The soul that sins dies. God imputed the elects sin to Christ and hurled His wrath against Him and killed Him.

    "When we strip the human experience of the language of passion, then we are left with a soulless theology." What the heck is that? The scripture never operates in a "vacuum" The love of God prompted Him to offer up His only Son and make Him to be sin for us. I don't even know what that phrase means, it is so devoid of clarity.

    " Love cannot be dissected into a formula without trivializing it. It can only be articulated in the language of the poet." Again, what the heck is this? Who cares about the language of a poet? Who is dissecting love? The Scripture doesn't. I don't.

    There is never a conflict of God's character and attributes. They work in concert and in perfect harmony. His holiness, His wrath, His justice, His mercy, His righteousness - they all work perfectly. There is nothing contradictory to the love of God when He exercises His wrath or mercy is not compromised when He pronounces judgment.

    "Satisfaction-Doctrine, although it prides itself on facing the gravity of sin, in fact treats sin superficially without dealing with the roots." How does one respond to this? Trying to make sense of it tired my brain, but if I possibly understand the point it is terribly arrogant and wrong. Satisfaction deals directly with the root of sin. Mankind was constituted or made to be a sinner by the sin of Adam. The one sin caused man to be made a sinner. Therefore man now has a sin nature and sins. The biblical gospel never treats superficially. Sin is so horrific that God destroyed this earth by a flood, burned up the plain cities including Sodom and Gomorrah and brutally slew God's only Son.


    "Love from God is not based on who we are but on who God is. We are justified by God's love, not by law. Likewise sanctification comes through living in God's love." I think this is the most un-biblical and worst statement I have ever read. It is possible that the first phrase is correct, God's love emanates from His character and not based on anything within or of us. But there is no real danger in the last two sentences. We are not justified by God's love - we are justified by faith in the death of Jesus Christ. We are not sanctified by living in God's love - we are sanctified by the resurrected life of Christ as we walk in the light as He is in the light.

    This doctrine sounds to me like Roman Catholic dogma. It certainly is not biblical. It may be Catholic in nature since it has Augustine tones to it. At best it is human philosophy or reasoning that leads away from the gospel rather than to it.

    At any rate humanistic or Roman Catholic I reject it. I lovingly agree to disagree.

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    1. Thanks Gregg! Because you took the time to respond I thought that I should try to respond in depth and in italics. My response is legthy and will take a few comments to share:

      Well, because it was on the internet it must be true. Or is it? The italicized definition is certainly not Scripture nor based on Scripture.

      Feel free to refute the ideas but try to understand the theory before you dismiss it. I will share a few ideas from the Internet - hope you do not hold it against me. I am sure that many of your ideas came from printed media apart from the bible. Many of my early understandings came from books on systematic theology and the like.

      I am not sure what is meant by "the powers of evil, which held humankind under their dominion, were defeated."

      Perhaps you would call it the influence of Satan or of demonic powers?

      It is true that the elect died in Christ and were baptized into Christ's death, thereby being freed from the penalty and power of sin. The ransom theory is not a biblical theory. I guess it is just that a theory, however, a non-Scriptural theory.

      The satisfaction model is also a theory. It is one that Anselm devised 1,000 years after the cross. Since Anselm was a Roman Catholic Archbishop it would be more logical to call this model Catholic.

      I think there is some unnatural, albeit unintended, arrogance in the statement "It falls short for me because it trivializes the cross to a transaction that God "needed" to accept fallen mankind." God is not need anything and never has and never will. He is absolutely self-sufficient. He doesn't need us either.

      My thinking exactly. God did not need the cross to forgive. He forgave King David and countless others before the cross. Jesus also forgave many before the cross.

      However, He was offended and a sacrifice was needed in order to appease Him and to satisfy the penalty for sin. The soul that sins dies. God imputed the elects sin to Christ and hurled His wrath against Him and killed Him.

      Why was a sacrifice for offence needed? It seems that Jesus forgave before the cross. Why would Jesus forgive in a way that is not consistent with the satisfaction model?

      "When we strip the human experience of the language of passion, then we are left with a soulless theology." What the heck is that? The scripture never operates in a "vacuum" The love of God prompted Him to offer up His only Son and make Him to be sin for us. I don't even know what that phrase means, it is so devoid of clarity.

      It speaks to the soullessness of a legal transaction.

      "Love cannot be dissected into a formula without trivializing it. It can only be articulated in the language of the poet." Again, what the heck is this? Who cares about the language of a poet? Who is dissecting love? The Scripture doesn't. I don't.

      We should care about the language of the poet as some of the scripture is written in poetic language. We should be concerned about formulas that reduce Christ's love on the cross in a transactional manner.

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    2. There is never a conflict of God's character and attributes. They work in concert and in perfect harmony. His holiness, His wrath, His justice, His mercy, His righteousness - they all work perfectly. There is nothing contradictory to the love of God when He exercises His wrath or mercy is not compromised when He pronounces judgment.

      God is called love and not "wrath" or "judgement". The old testament names for God like Jehovah Rapha denote healing and peace. I do think that many do not understand justice and embrace a human form of it that requires a payment to satisfy justice. Biblically to "bring justice" does not mean to bring punishment, but to bring healing and reconciliation. Justice means to make things right. All through the Prophets justice is associated with caring for others, as something that is not in conflict with mercy, but rather an expression of it. Biblically, justice is God's saving action at work for all that are oppressed. (see Isaiah 1:17, Jeremiah 21:12, Zechariah 7:9 and Isaiah 30:18)

      "Satisfaction-Doctrine, although it prides itself on facing the gravity of sin, in fact treats sin superficially without dealing with the roots." How does one respond to this? Trying to make sense of it tired my brain, but if I possibly understand the point it is terribly arrogant and wrong. Satisfaction deals directly with the root of sin. Mankind was constituted or made to be a sinner by the sin of Adam. The one sin caused man to be made a sinner. Therefore man now has a sin nature and sins. The biblical gospel never treats superficially. Sin is so horrific that God destroyed this earth by a flood, burned up the plain cities including Sodom and Gomorrah and brutally slew God's only Son.

      The Satisfaction-Doctrine attempts to take sin seriously, in the end it fails to take it seriously enough because it deals with sin through a legal system instead of though grace. Because of its legal paradigm it only deals superficially with sin and can do nothing to really reform it inwardly. Punishment does not reform, it hardens. Compassion is what reforms a heart. God loves us while we are his enemies and it is this radical love which breaks the hard shell of our calloused hearts (see Romans 2:4). Moreover, to say that God is satisfied by a payment does not take into account the gravity of sin's hold on us, of the blackness in our hearts, the reality of the real hurt there. A legal acquittal cannot heal a broken and hardened heart. Only love can do that.

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    3. "Love from God is not based on who we are but on who God is. We are justified by God's love, not by law. Likewise sanctification comes through living in God's love." I think this is the most un-biblical and worst statement I have ever read. It is possible that the first phrase is correct, God's love emanates from His character and not based on anything within or of us. But there is no real danger in the last two sentences. We are not justified by God's love - we are justified by faith in the death of Jesus Christ. We are not sanctified by living in God's love - we are sanctified by the resurrected life of Christ as we walk in the light as He is in the light.

      I think that many understand justification in a legal sense where it is understood as our being declared "justified" (declared not guilty) and then we begin the process of sanctification (inner change). Justification is understood in legal terms whereas sanctification, since it deals with inner healing, is understood in more relational ones. But in this switching of paradigms midstream the whole concept becomes very awkward and unnatural. A much better paradigm for understanding all of this is an entirely relational one. Just as in printing, type on a page that is "set in place" is referred to as being "justified" so also justification in our lives involves a positional change where we are brought out of darkness and into God's family. God takes us out of a world of hurt and hurting, out of our estranged state, and brings us into his family, reconciling us with life. We are not erroneously declared "innocent" , or "good" , but declared "loved by God" . And as Paul asks, if God has accepted us, who can condemn us? Who can separate us from that love? (Romans 8:31-35) This love from God is not based on who we are but on who God is. We are justified (set right) by God's love, not by law. Likewise, sanctification comes through God's love - as we live in his love, that love helps us to learn to love others and ourselves too. Understood in this relational paradigm justification is a change of identity, a positional change of who we belong to. We are no longer slaves to sin, but are liberated out of that estranged identity, redeemed, bought back, and now belong to God. Thus understanding the concept of justification by grace in Paul's epistles from this relational framework fits much better with the entire thrust of his writing and terminology, whereas from a legal perspective the terms quickly become confusing and problematic. It is justification by faith but not in the legal sense of justification.

      This doctrine sounds to me like Roman Catholic dogma. It certainly is not biblical. It may be Catholic in nature since it has Augustine tones to it. At best it is human philosophy or reasoning that leads away from the gospel rather than to it.

      My thinking is that either I have not explained it well enough or we simply disagree concerning the true nature of justice. And as I said before the satisfaction doctrine came from a Roman Catholic understanding of the scriptures.

      At any rate humanistic or Roman Catholic I reject it. I lovingly agree to disagree.

      I am happy to lovingly agree to disagree. We can debate issues such as these without being disagreeable. In light of that I pray that I have not offended you with anything that I have written here.

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  7. OOPS - the sentence But there is no real danger in the last two sentences contain a mistake. It should read But there is real danger in the last two sentences. Sorry.

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  8. First, about the internet, that was my poor attempt at being humorous. Second, you never offend me. Third, I love the discussion because it stretches my brain. I always fear be offensive. It is never my intent. I love the debate because I love to stretch my mind.

    I read you comments three times to make sure I understood them. I think we are far apart on this issue. I don't think there will be agreement, which is OK. I was not trying to convince, simply respond. Sometimes my response is really directed at the blog itself as much as I hope readers from being misled.

    You are right. We can debate, discuss and disagree without being disagreeable or un-Christ-like. That is why I love coming here.

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    1. I also love discussing these things with you Gregg! You have a great mind and understanding of the scriptures. You make me a better believer.

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  9. I wouldn't say "God is mad at America" but I do say that He gives spankings. This week was "gay pride week" and it began on the day of Pentacost last Sunday, which I think was deliberately planned to be a slap in the church's face, which in turn is a slap in God's face. I would agree that our God is a forgiving God, and forgiveness entails a recognition and sorrow of sins, and in order to have a true understanding of a holy God, people have to repent before Him, the two go together and are not separate. To say that sins have always been with us is true, but if you revisit Romans chapter 1, you will remember that there is a national progression of sin and we are at the final end stage of that progression (or should I say regression, into depravity of the worst kind). We as a church need to show our disapproval and sorrow over sin, and the searing of people's consciences. It will get us hated, just as the early church was hated, and as Jesus was hated. The love of God reveals sin, and those who love their sin more than they love God will hate us for it. The wishy-washy "church" would rather have the love of people than show an accurate view of what the true love of God entails. God hates sin. That is in both the Old Testament as well as the New Testament. God doesn't change. But people (including me) cringe at receiving people's disapproval. We should rather cringe at the thought that we show ingratitude to God for His forgiveness to us by making forgiveness inaccessable to those who we "love" by not holding His standard high and telling them lovingly of sin and God's hatred of sin.

    Sorry Bob but I disagree with you big time, because I have to agree with God's word over your theories.

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    1. Thanks for the comment Susan! Don't think that I offered any new theories. Perhaps it would be helpful to tell me specifically which one of these so-called theories you find in conflict with the Word of God? Are you speaking of what I wrote in the post or in my responses to Gregg? A few questions that might help me better understand your comment ...

      1) Not sure what you meant by spankings. How have you seen God give America spankings?

      2) Scripturally speaking, why was "gay pride week" a slap in God's face? Is God offended more by that than other things that Americans do?

      3) What do you mean by a national progression of sin? Do you feel that homosexuality is worse than slavery? Is it worse than what was done to Native Americans?

      4) How do believe the church should publicly show disapproval over other people's sin? Some churches once shunned divorced people on biblical grounds. Is that what you are saying that churches should do?

      5) What do you mean when you say wishy-washy? Is it that people cannot decide about an issue or is it a term for people who disagree with someone's point of view?

      6) I think that hypocrisy is what has gotten the church hated. Loving people and befriending people who the Pharisees called sinners is simply walking out the gospel. If change is what we want, isn't love the way to bring folks to repentance? How do you think people come to repentance? Do you think punishment hardens or does it bring repentance?

      7) How does one lovingly tell anyone of their sin if they do not have a relationship with them? If Christians shun folks like Pharisees then how will God ever use us to love and help them?

      I hope my comments and questions have not offended Susan. They are not meant to.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Blessings, Bob

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    2. Susan says, "Sorry Bob but I disagree with you big time, because I have to agree with God's word over your theories."
      --I'm guessing though you too, Bob, believe in "God's word" too, right? Yet as is so commonplace we have here people who adamantly genuinely INTERPRET scripture differently. Thus why I really don't care what verses anyone gives me. It all comes down to personal interpretation. The world is far too worshiped as some sort of magical book almost here.

      I can argue almost any position from the Bible using verses galore but the number proves nothing.

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  10. Hi Bob,

    The only question that I think bears my going further with this discussion is #7...1-6 Jesus talks about all through His word, and I cannot add further or better, to what He tells us.

    To tell the truth about repentance, and forgiveness is loving. The world (as well as many Christians have lapsed into this false idea) call it unloving. It is unloving if it is done to promote oneself in a self-righteous manner, true. But if it is done with prayerfulness and the hope that the person will indeed seek the Lord's forgiveness, it is not all the false labels that it is given today.

    Have you studied Romans ch 1 lately? Might be a good idea. Jesus told His listeners that they could discern the weather but they couldn't discern the times Luke 12:54-59. I think we have a similar situation today.

    I'm not offended. I am used to being on the unpopular end of discussions. The Lord says something about that also.

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    1. As you have chosen not to answer 1-6 I'll share what the bible says about them and #7 too. :)

      1) There is no scriptural basis for the idea that God spanks nations.

      2) There is no scriptural basis for the idea that God is more offended by one sin than another.

      3) There is no scriptural basis for a national progression of sin.

      4) There is no scriptural basis for shunning whole groups of people on biblical grounds

      5) From a scriptural point of view being wishy-washy seems analogous to being double minded. James sees that term more in the light of faith rather than sin.

      6) The scripture informs us that the kindness of God leads to repentance. It also says that mercy triumphs over judgment.

      7) Befriending sinners is the biblical model. Making disciples is all about loving people and showing them how to hear God's voice. Preaching repentance and forgiveness at them is not the biblical model when it is not in the context of a loving relationship.

      Hope that helps to provide scriptural insight on those questions - from my point of view anyways. Feel free to respond specifically if you disagree.

      Regarding Romans 1 - I have read and studied it many times. Which one of these Romans 1 sins are you speaking to? Sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness, envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness, whispering, backbiting, hating God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, un-discernment, untrustworthy-ness, unloving-ness, unforgiving-ness or unmerciful-ness?

      Are not all of these sins equal? Should not we equally and biblically be concerned about each of these?

      Doubtful that you are on the unpopular end of this discussion. My hope is that we can get past things like popularity and really discuss the specifics of our viewpoints. Apart from specificity most of these discussions lapse into a battle of religious cliches that have nothing to do with anything biblical.

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    2. Regarding Romans 1, true, they are all sins, and I am guilty also, as I have said many times. However, there are sins that are clearly mentioned that show a degeneration in the culture, which shows up in acceptance of open defiance against God and the way He has ordered creation, going against maleness and femaleness, and against loving Him by loving creation more. I see that very clearly, not only in the world, but in those who call themselves Christians. Sad to have to see it, and hope and pray that we all repent before a holy God. Judge the times correctly because we are truly seeing signs of the times, many say that things continue on as they always have before, but we are told that they are mockers of the truth that will say this against true signs that we see all around us. You have chosen, and so have I.

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    3. The idea that "there are sins that are clearly mentioned that show a degeneration in the culture" is mere extra-biblical opinion and speculation Susan. I would suggest to you that our nation's progress on civil rights pleases God. I would also suggest that our nation's care for the poor and the elderly bring God pleasure. I also think that those who really love gay people please God.

      For me the issue is not whether God is mad at America but if is He mad at his children who stereotype and do not love gay people. One does not have to accept a person's behavior to love them. So why not try to influence by befriending and loving people who are not like us?

      As you say, we have each chosen. My hope is that I have chosen the way of love. Here is one of my favorite sayings from John Wesley:

      "Though we cannot think alike, may we not love alike? May we not be of one heart, though we are not of one opinion? Without all doubt, we may."

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  11. Luk_24:47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.


    2Ti 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
    2Ti 3:13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
    2Ti 3:14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;
    2Ti 3:15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

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    1. Not sure why you felt a need to slam bible verses at me Susan without providing context to our discussion. I could consider them as subtle innuendo (i.e. calling a brother in Christ evil) but I think that I will not go there and assume that you are simply feeling persecuted and are being defensive. It has not been my desire to persecute you or make you defensive but to simply hold you accountable for the things that you have said in your comments. That said, know that I wish you well and hope that I have not upset you by wanting to discuss your comments on my blog.

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  12. Hi Bob,
    My first thought when seeing that sign was that this is the reason Christianity turns so many people off and Christians are stereotyped for being judgmental, narrow minded and not very fun to be around. Of course that's not true of all Christians :)

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    1. Great points Barbara! Stereotypes are really hurtful. Speaking from personal experience - sometimes passion is a great thing but sometimes it gets us in trouble.

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  13. I think the Bible supports the idea that God would judge America namely b/c of how this country which claims "in God we trust" is in terms of the seats of power, very must self trusting, proud if you will. that is the biggest sin. I think God is going to allow some terrible things to happen to this country but it is to me way better than some others and americans do so much around the world for others but yes, as a people, america is self reliant and proud. Perhaps rebellious is a better terms but then again america was founded on rebellion so is it any wonder? So, do I want it to happen or believe it should? NO! Seems totally unfair but I am a mere man so what do I know!!

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