A Pharisee of Pharisees

sent in by John Blatt

My name is John Blatt and I am an ex-christian. The process of leaving christianity took a good two years, but now I am finally free from that fear and guilt-based Cult. Fundamentalist Christianity is literally a destructive mind-control cult and the bible is primarily a series of psychological documents. It took many years to finally come to see this reality, because I didn't want it to be so. No one in the Cult can see with straight vision, thus, the more devoted and zealous one is for christianity the more blind they are to its psychological and spiritual destruction and control.

I became a born-again christian at the age of twenty while I was in the U.S. Air Force in May of 1992. It was a powerful and moving experience and it did effect me deeply, changing me overnight. Before this, I had simply adopted my mothers metaphysical beliefs and so I had no true belief in anything that was really my own.

Since the day that I had been "born-again" I began a long journey within the realms of institutional christianity, seeking to find where I belonged and what I really believed. I began simply as non-denominational, not wanting to even go to church. My first belief was that one does not need a minister and a church to know God, yet this belief erroded over time. While stationed in South Korea I did not have much other than the bible to study. Then after a year I was brought back to U.S. and I began seeking answers to all the different questions I had about denominations, churches, different "gospels" and many other things. No one could match my zeal or devotion to God and the truth of the bible. Christianity was now my life and I severed life long friendships and realtionships due to my new faith, even "converting" my father and step-mother to "the Faith".

My searching for answers caused a lot of waves wherever I went and I quickly gained many christian friends and admiration by everyone I came into contact.

Here is a chronological list of churches and theologies that I joined and embraced and studied through in my journey through Christianity:

Vineyard/Charismatic/Speaking in Tongues and Healing miricles.

Independent Messianic-Jewish Church/Jews for Jesus/Christian Zionism

Independent Baptist/Dispensational Theology/Pre-trib Rapture

Pentecostal/Hyper-Dispensational Theology/Post-trib Rapture

Charles Finney-ism

The 5-Point Calvinism/5-Point Arminianism Debate

Became a 5-Point Calvinist

Embraced Reformed Theology/ Orthodox Presbyterian Church/Modern Puritanism

Paleo-Presbyterianism/Covenanters/Old-school Puritanism

The debate between infant baptism/adult baptism

The debate between mode of baptism: sprinkle/pouring/immersion

Became a Reformed (5-Point Calvinist) Baptist

Moved to NY and joined the Albert Martin Reformed Baptist churches/ London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689

Studied the forbidden Anabaptist writings (pre-1644 London Baptist Confession)

The debate between the Covenant of Grace (1689 Baptist Confession of Faith) and the Old-New Covenant separation (1644 Baptist Confession of Faith)

The debate between Reformed Theology and New Covenant Theology (NCT)

Left the Reformed Baptist church

Was castigated, harassed, and denounced as a heretic and immoral for leaving "The Faith" of the Reformed Baptists/Was stalked, physically harassed and secretly threatened by the leaders of the Reformed Baptist church

Embraced the Home Church Movement and New Covenant Theology

Embraced the teachings of Gene Edwards and Frank Viola

Became a member of one of Frank Viola's home churches

Saw the strange character and ways of Frank Viola and rejected the teachings of his latest books

Left the Home Church Movement

Was introduced to the concept of Universal Reconciliation (Jesus reconciled EVERY man to God regardless of belief or state of soul)

After long study I embraced Universal Reconciliation and the truth that there is no such thing as "Hell", Eternal Damnation, and that there is no condemnation in Christ regardless of faith or deeds and Christ reconciled every man back to God, regardless of belief or unbelief.

This freed me to look into other non-christian views.

I have now come around full circle and after looking through many belief systems and religions. I now consider myself Metaphysical. I no longer believe that the bible is innerant nor divinely inspired (in the evangelical sense of the term), but is one of the most brilliant psychological documents ever contrived. Institutional Christianity is a man-made religion specifically designed to control the masses and indoctrinate mankind with fear (sugar-coated with love, grace and redemption in Christ) and is a truly destructive Cult (not because of its doctrines but because of how it behaves and acts).

I have studied the bible and church history and all aspects of christian theology for over 13 years and was the most devoted and passionate Christian that could be imagined. Though the further I went into christianity the more it sucked the life out of me. The more intolerant, the more fearful, the more lawful I became. I generally studied an average of 25-45 hours a week on my own. Bible study, church history, hermeneutics, exegetical commentaries, greek and Hebrew lexicons, apologetics, polemics, systematic theology, and many other christian disciplines. When I was stationed in Saudi Arabia I took only my bible and studied it 12 hours a day on average. I did take some days off to recover, but my devotion to God and his truth was my life.

Looking back now I see how much of my vital years (age 20-32) were wasted in all of my searching and studying. I viewed myself as a modern-day Apostle Paul, yet I was actually a pharisee of pharisees. I treated anyone who did not see eye-to-eye with me as inferior and was the Christian poster boy of a Bible-thumper. I knew more about the bible and its interpretation than the pastors that I sat under. I had to act ignorant most of the time just so I would not be threatening to the elders of the churches I was in.

I share all this not to boast in my worthless christian devotion and knowledge, but as a testimony to free thinking. Question everything. If I had grown content in my searching and closed my eyes, I would still be bound my unbreakable chains of indoctrination and thought-reform. I can honestly say now that I truly know the bible and christianity, especially after loving it and sacrificing so much for it. Now I can't help but despise it with all that I am and pity the billions who are caught in its blinding grasp.

This is why I am considering the possibility of using my knowledge and experience in writing a book on Fundamentalist Christianity and the bible. We will see. I hope to some day help free the minds of others and help heal the pour souls who manage to free themselves from the clutches of the Beast, the true "spirit of Antichrist".

Feel free to contact me through Yahoo Instant Messenger: positivelylovelife


John B.


Anonymous said...

I pray God blesses you.

I pray you get a revealtion of the true freedom Christ died to give you.

I pray you enter a friendship with God.

I pray this journey you are on reveals the truth that you are seeking.

The best life awaits you.

Ex-Reformed Baptist said...

John; I'm also an Ex-Reformed Baptist and have experienced many of the same things as you. I was in it for 15 years and found my particular church legalistic, authoritarian and controlling. They would not let me leave peacefully, but excommunicated me when I walked out without their permission. I guess what I cannot let go of is the idea that everyone is a sinner and needs Christ's redemption. This is what I don't find mention in your post. How did you handle this?


John B said...

Hi Larry!

I've been very busy for the past 12 months so I really haven't had much time to check out the comments to my anti-testimony for a while.

Were you a member of the "Al Martin" Cult of the RBs? I was (not his specific church/cult though, but a "sister" church/cult).

I know the difficulty that you mention about believing that all are sinners and need Christ's redemption. This is programming. It is indoctrinated programming. Mind Control. Original Sin is programmed into the minds of almost all people in the Western Culture from infancy, even if you are not brought up in a Christian home. Being a Reformed Baptist and having three hours of fist-pounding preaching drilled into your subconscious mind every Sunday there is no wonder why you have struggles. RBs are one of the worst of the Christian Cult and they do lasting damage to everyone in their grasp. Yet the damage can thankfully be healed.

Email me if you want to discuss this further at psychicevolution@yahoo.com or positivelylovelife@yahoo.com. I'd love to communicate further with you.

I'm sorry that you had a bad experience with the RBs. No one leaves the RBs. And if you do the unthinkable (leave their absolute pinicile of theological knowledge) they will do all they can to make you seem like a monster and treat you like one. Yet the sad fact of the matter is that their cult is what is truly monstrous and in my opinion a shame to humanity.

Peace and Light,

John Blatt

Anonymous said...

Whoo hoo! Another former Calvinist. I grew up in the Presbyterian Church in America. In fact, my parents help found that body in 1973.

Thankfully, I woke up to the rabid hatefulness of Calvinism and the arrogance of Calvinists.

I am now a universalist Christian who is active in a Quaker Meeting. Peace!

nclotus at triad.rr.com

Anonymous said...

Hi John, Rich, and Larry,

Reformed Baptists? Been there, done that:-(
Al Martin tapes? Been there, done that:-(
Jesus Christ Himself? Still there, doing that:-)

Here's what I learned from 10 years in the RB's. (The following article applies to only some, not all of RB's.)
"8 Signs of Immature, Carnal Christians"

9. Which movement is true?

A. Anabaptist
B. Reformed
C. Puritanism
D. Sovereign Grace Baptist
E. Pentecostalism/Charismatic
F. Fundamentalism
G. Evangelicalism
H. Church Growth/Seeker-Sensitive/Purpose Driven
I. There is no perfect movement - only a perfect Savior.

A better question to ask is, "How much of each movement is true?" All movements consist of imperfect individuals. If we don't believe in individual perfectionism, then we shouldn't believe in corporate perfectionism, right?

All movements are passing fads, and mixtures of truth and error. Let's learn from their strengths, while being aware of their weaknesses. Christ and the apostles started only one movement in the first century, for all believers, for all time: The Church. Do you love His Church (all who are regenerate) like He does? "The Who Are You Following Quiz?"


webmdave said...

Hi Greg!

Nice quiz, but mine is much better, and will truly bless your life.

Let us know what you score.

The Gospel Story Quiz

Anonymous said...

Hi Webmaster Dave,

As I read your testimony, one of the major reasons you stopped believing in Christ was because no one could answer your questions. In a sense, I can't blame you. If I had questions doubting the Bible, and no one could answer them, then I couldn't believe the Bible anymore.

But, when I saw your quiz about alleged contradictions in the Bible, I was surprised that someone as well-read as you would really struggle with questions as simple as those.

Many of your questions are alleged contradictions like, "Were there 1 or 2 people there?" The simple answer is both! Your questions are structured as false dichotomies:

1. One person
2. Two people
3. Both (this should be your 3rd option.)

It always amazes me when skeptics assume the Bible must use language different than we do in everyday speech and writing. Here's an example of why your numbers' contradictions are wrong...

Back in the 90's, do you remember when the Chicago Bulls won 6 NBA championships? Now, after one of those championships, imagine you turned on the TV news and heard these 3 reports...

ABC: Michael Jordan lead the Bulls to the championship.

CBS: Micheal Jordan and Scottie Pippen lead the Bulls to the championship.

Fox: Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Dennis Rodman lead the Bulls to the championship.

Which report is true? They're all true, yet from different perspectives.

The problem with the alleged contradiction between "1 or 2" is that you're reading the word "only" into verses. But, they don't say, "ONLY one." If they did, then that would be a real contradiction!

Here are some more examples...

1. Did you talk with a co-worker yesterday? Did you speak only with that co-worker, or also with other co-workers?

2. If I say I drank orange juice for breakfast this morning, does that mean I didn't drink orange juice and coffee also?

3. Did you speak to your wife yesterday? Does that mean you didn't speak with your wife and children also?

4. Did you go to work yesterday? Does that mean you didn't go to work and to the store also?

Can you see the false dichotomies in those questions? We need to beware of reading the word "only" into verses.

Dave, I hope this helps you to think through some of your questions. If you're interested in more info. on such questions, you might enjoy the New International Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties by Gleason Archer.


webmdave said...

Hi Greg!

Those are interesting allegorical situations you dreamed up, or were they something you were taught? Either way, as you might imagine, I don't read your stories in quite the same way you do.

Let's take a closer look at your fantasy Basketball coverage:

ABC: Michael Jordan lead the Bulls to the championship.

CBS: Micheal Jordan and Scottie Pippen lead the Bulls to the championship.

Fox: Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Dennis Rodman lead the Bulls to the championship.

Which report is true? They're all true, yet from different perspectives.

I don't think all the reports are necessarily true. I think there is a definite disagreement here between the sportscasters. One network believes Jordon was responsible for the victory. Another believes Jordan and Pippen were responsible. And a third network gives credit to three players. Of course, all three networks undoubtedly understand that the Bulls are a team of players, so there was probably never any doubt from any of the networks that more than one player was on the court for the game. Still, it's apparent in your allegory that the networks don't agree on the star(s) of the game. Either that or the networks are just being careless with the facts and/or their analysis of the game.

Regardless, it doesn't really matter as to which network correctly reported, as no one will go to hell or heaven based on contradictory or careless network reporting of a basketball game. None of the networks are claiming to be writing the infallible WORD OF GOD, and it's doubtful that any of the sports reporters or players expect people to slavishly devote their lives to venerating the Bulls. Although, from what I hear, there are some fans (fanatics) that have chosen do just that — venerate the Bulls.

Anyway, let's proceed to the real matter under discussion: the purported infallibility of the Bible in the face of glaringly obvious contradictions.

Maybe it's just me, but I find it hard to fathom that if I encountered two supernatural entities from another dimension, that I would fail, for any reason whatsoever, to mention both of them upon recounting the meeting. While I might be careless in my retelling of how my day at work went, or various conversations with my family, I have to think that if while at work or at home two angels of GOD appeared to me, I wouldn't say that I'd seen an angel when I'd seen two. Do you see what I mean? Something like running into extraterrestrials from the throne of GOD would be just a bit too unique, and too important to be careless with the details. That is, unless you're assuming that having angels appear to Bible charcters is passé, something they would just accept without much surprise, and might therefore overlook mentioning both immortals. Also, if someone was given an assignment from GOD to write down an infallibly inspired story, it would appear that the mundane ability of being able to count to two or to remember that there were two magical men hanging about, would be a minimum requirement for the job.

Finally, the way you've tried to rationalize this discrepancy, there could well have been a whole team of angels playing basketball outside the tomb, and the writer just somehow failed to mention them, because he had a different perspective on the scene, whatever that means.

What is much more likely in this particular contradiction is that none of the anonymous gospel writers were eyewitnesses, and therefore none of them had any idea whether there was one, two, or no magical beings at all on hand. They were just putting to pen a story that had been passed around for a few decades, and some people heard the story this way, and some heard it that way. All-in-all, this appears to be a pretty loosey-goosey way of documenting a god's adventures while incarnated as a sweaty, hairy, uneducated desert peasant.

You mentioned the "New International Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties" as being the solution to my doubts. The rationalizations in that book are creative, I'll grant Gleason that. However, I've always found it intriguing that one would need an entire encyclopedia in order to try and explain away the overwhelming number of contradictions, discrepancies, and outright fallacies in the WORD OF GOD. As you must know, that apologetic work has considerably more pages between its covers than the largest KJV Bible. Doesn't that strike you as a bit odd that there would be a need for such a thing as an encyclopedia, especially such a large one?

Let's face it Greg, those who insist on believing in the Bible will believe in it no matter what, and creative rationalizations will always satisfy their doubts, no matter how simplistic the so-called explanations. It's apparent to me, if not to you, that if the Bible were really the WORD OF GOD, HE wouldn't have been quite so sloppy with it.

Greg, I hope this helps you to readjust your fallacious thinking. If you're interested in actually examining the glaring errors in the Bible, you might enjoy the Skeptic's annotated Bible. It's free online version is available here: www.skepticsannotatedbible.com.

webmdave said...

Oh, and Greg, Lee Salisbury posted a nice article here a few years ago. I think you might like it as well, and it's also free: Biblical Infallibility or Mental Health.

Anonymous said...

I'd just like to add something to what WM Dave said.

With regard to the quiz (which was good, but I'd personally like another option on each question - I don't like to fail tests), there are some questions that simply cannot be a matter of perspective, which is one of the common arguments used in gospel harmonization. For example, Q3 asks, "When Jesus sent his disciples out to spread the gospel message to the cities of Israel, did he command them to take only a staff or to take no staff?" This is a binary command - yes or no. It is not a matter of witness perspective. Jesus might have contradicted himself, one of the 'witnesses' got it wrong; maybe the Bible's transmission through the ages was faulty, or any combination of these. Each of which, incidentally, raises further questions about the reliability of scripture, Jesus' divinity, or other issues.

John B said...

Hello Greg,

This is ex-christian.net, not ex-RB.net, though you know that already. The one thing that you have not experienced (or "done that") is come to the knowledge that christianity in all its forms is mind control. The bible is a series of documents that constrain and restrict knowledge. Most christians believe that one cannot have real knowledge WITHOUT the bible. That is the control. Regardless of how experienced a christian you are or how knowledgeable you may be of the christian scriptures you are a person who cannot see this constriction of your mind. The control makes you want to have the narrow, constricted knowledge of only what IT says ("narrow is the way that leads to life..."). The bible makes you dependent on itself if you believe it. This dependency is seen by the christian as good and not bad. All he/she wants is "not to know any thing among you, except Jesus Christ, and him crucified". The christian scriptures becomes your life, your knowledge. Everything in the world must fall in line with the particular brand of christian interpretation that you hold (or more accurately holds you). All things are viewed through the lens of scripture, all things weighed and judged by them in your mind. The bible is the truth, the very "Word of God". Infallible, inerrant, divinely inspired. It is the final authority in faith and practice...the final authority in all things. Its this tremendous authority that is the strength of the control. To even contemplate that the bible is errant is blasphemy and the threat of Revelation immediately comes to mind Rev 22:19. Christianity becomes your all in all and nothing can dethrone its truthfulness, purity, power and authority (in your own mind). You become a slave willingly to the scriptures, a loving embrace of the chains that constrain you to it. This is why the character of Paul uses words like slave and servant throughout. So no serious "non-carnal" christian will deny that they are slaves to "God's Word" (Yes, I know that you say you are slaves not to the bible but to Jesus, but practically speaking you are). Christians are mind slaves. They proclaim ultimate freedom, yet are willingly subjected to an incredibly narrow view of the world and mankind. Thus again, any serious christian will say that they do not want to know anything contrary to the scriptures (or more accurately do not want to know anything contrary to the specific brand of christianity one is constrained by).

No thinking christian can deny that they themselves place their minds under the surrender of christ and knowing him (which primarily is through the scriptures). It is mind control and any thinking christian will attest to this fact, yet they see it as a holy, sanctified and blessed thing, not anything negative.

Now think...what does the first three chapters of Genesis speak about knowledge? God forbade the first two humans to eat of the Tree of Knowledge. Why?

John B said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mike Morrell said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mike Morrell said...

Hi John,

What a story! I'm surprised we don't know each other, as I, too have Reformed and charismatic roots, an affinity for UR and NCT, and am part of a house church community inspired by the likes of Edwards and Viola.

Anyway, it sounds like you've been on quite the journey. I'd love to know if there are any books/websites you've read in this latest phase of life that have been meaningful to you. Two that have been meaningful to me (that I don't think were part of your previous experience) are How (Not) to Speak of God by Pete Rollins in Ireland, and The Secret Message of Jesus by Brian McLaren. The first one attempts to articulate a kind of a/theism that I think you'd find interesting; the latter, a "good news" found in Jesus that is "narrow" in that it often passes those with more "heaven/pie-in-the-sky" expectations by, and is more firmly rooted in our experience of this world.

Anyway...some grist for the mill. Let me know what you're reading!

Anonymous said...

Hi Mike, I'm not sure if you read my anti-testimony right or not, because I am an EX-christian and an atheist now.

Check out my MySpace Site http://www.myspace.com/psychicevolution and take a look at some of my blogs. Its all there.

Thanks for your comment!


Mike Morrell said...

No, I read it right. Like several of my good friends, you are atheist/agnostic/methaphysically "other". I was only marvelling at our similarities (sans that one certainly significant factor), and wondering what you were being nourished by these days. I will check out your blog!


John B said...

Just blogging to say hello to anyone who finds their way here. Feel free to contact me. Reformed Baptists Churches, especially of the Al Martin variety, are horrific mind control cults.

John B said...

If anyone has been a Reformed Baptist please feel free to post here or email me.

webmdave said...

I attended a Reformed Baptist church for several months.

Archived Testimonial Pageviews the past 30 days