My Chains Fell Off, My Heart Was Free, I Rose, Went Forth and Followed Reason
(Paul Benedict's Story)
Paul Benedict is my pen name and is used for two reasons: to protect those whom I love dearly and who would be subjected to verbal abuse by those who cannot handle deflections from the Faith and: because of the counselling work in which I am involved - I have clients who need their evangelical belief. When I wrote my book, EVANGELICALISM, ANOTHER HALLUCINOGENIC, I settled on PAUL (a-la-the Apostle) and BENEDICT (the Papal tag).
I remember, most clearly, the genesis of my gradual evolution from religion and evangelicalism in particular.
Before doing so, may I share, briefly, why I became a Christian? At a religious camp I learned that I was a sinner ... separated from a loving God who gave his son, Jesus, to die for ME. All I need to do was repent as a sinner (which I, as a 15-year old did), receive Christ as my personal saviour (which I did) and then witness for Jesus (which I did). I started a Christian Union at my school and was responsible for leading mates to Christ. An analysis of this process will follow in my next blog.
Some 6-years later I went to study full time to serve the Lord.
My slow journey out of Christianity began the day before my graduation from theological school. I spoke to the Vice-Principal expressing my doubts about the veracity of the Bible and the singular place that Christianity held in the world. As gracious as ever, this wonderful man listened ... I spoke. At the end we prayed and the devil was rebuked for tempting me. I graduated the following day and gave my testimony.
During my some 35 years of ministry I questioned whether the evangelical faith related to the poor, the suffering and the politically oppressed and Romans 13 was continually brought to my attention. I could not link with what the Bible taught and what I saw in practice. My own hypocrisy and those whom I new within the church rankled ... plus personal trauma tipped the scales (I have explained this in my book).
The charismatic experiences were mine. Many came to Christ and much was accomplished.
My crossing the Rubicon, after years of dripping niggles, was painful. I felt like a traitor. I had willingly given my years to the Gospel and Christian work IN HIS NAME and now, in one foul swoop I was beginning all over again! What lay ahead ...?
This will be continued in my next blog.
Worley May 29, 2009 Ex-minister.org
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