THE ESSENCE OF CHRISTIANITY
                                 By: Jerry S. Maneker

"Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law." (Romans 13:10)

If I have any cause to promote it is the cause of presenting the Gospel credibly to my students and readers.  Given the
media types who claim to speak for God, the Church, and for Christ, such credibility is crucial if intelligent, sensitive
people are to be meaningfully exposed to the Gospel message of grace, peace, and love.

The above verse of Scripture shows that Christians are not to hurt others, and are to show forth love to others.  This
means that we are to view all people, regardless of religion, or lack thereof, as our neighbor.  We are to trust God to
sort out the messiness of human life and the human condition.

If one is a Christian his or her faith will be manifested in acts and words of compassion and mercy!  We all struggle with
sin, our sin-natures, and our "old man."  However, one thing is certain, and that is no Christian, who by definition has the
Holy Spirit residing in him or her, is a hater or a hate-monger.

The Apostle Paul delineated the fruit (Notice the singular word, in that he writes "fruit" and not "fruits.") of the Spirit which
is comprised of  "…love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance…." (Galatians 5:
22-23)  If you observe someone who is a hater or hate-monger, who is mean-spirited and wishes others ill, you can be
certain that that person is not a Christian!

I'm sick and tired of having closed-minded idiots claiming to be Christians; clothing their fascism and hatred of certain
people under the mantle of Christianity.  Christianity has been around for thousands of years, comprised of people not
all of whom were stupid.  Indeed, some of the best minds have devoted their lives to its study and have been challenged
by its nature, not having been able to plumb its depths.

Although I assume most people reading my column are Christians, there are undoubtedly many who aren't.  I want to
assure them that vituperation, smugness, arrogance, legalism, hostility, and spiritual pride have absolutely nothing to do
with Christianity.  Indeed, these traits and behaviors are antithetical to Christianity!

Christianity is comprised of the meekness that is attendant upon recognizing God's grace in saving us miserable sinners
through His most Prized Possession, His dear Son, Who became the propitiation, the essential sacrifice, for all of our
sins.  

This inestimable free gift forces us to our knees in thanking God for His wonderful gift of freely given salvation--a gift
that is free to us but a gift that cost Jesus everything on this earth.  How dare we, then, condemn others, show hate to
others, and then claim to intelligent, sensitive, searching people that we are Christians?

These haters and hate-mongers make Christians look like a pack of freaks and I terribly resent it, as do all Christians.
Everyone must discern for himself or herself what comprises Christianity and the Christian life and recognize the
phonies when they see them.  This task is not easy as the phonies frequently get all the media attention.

After looking at these media types on TV, why would any intelligent and sensitive person even consider Christianity as
the way to God, or even consider being a Christian in the first place?  These censorious, judgmental phonies are not
Christians and that must be acknowledged!  I refuse to allow these people and their ilk to speak for God, the Church,
and the Prince of Peace Who is the embodiment of love!

They are to be called what they are: phonies, non-Christians, haters, and hate-mongers who do more than the devil
himself to turn people away from the cause of Christ!  Indeed, if I were the devil, I'd put these people up front and center
stage to define Christianity to Christians and non-Christians alike.  That would assure that some professing Christians
would become legalistic, judgmental haters and hate-mongers, and that non-Christians would look upon Christianity as
foolishness and a source of spiritual suffocation.

Moreover, many people who as children were exposed to this perverted version of "Christianity" have left the Church
and many have even turned their backs on God because of these phonies.  What they may not as yet realize is that
God has not turned His back on them!  Hopefully, when they come to recognize that we are saved by God's prevenient
grace (That is, He called out certain people from the foundation of the world to be His possession; we appropriate His
grace by our abiding trust in Him.), they will commit their lives to Him, rather than to such gods of this world as hatred
and spiritual pride that characterize so many professing "Christians."

Make no mistake!  There is an eternal judgment and reckoning with God!  It may well be that these phonies, these
hypocrites, these fascists who cloak their hatred of people under the mantle of "Christianity," will reap the harshest
eternal judgment from God.


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