Religious Bullies (#901)

Just because you're convinced you hold the Truth, does that give you the right to bully others into believing it too? In this episode, Kyle and Wayne look at two types of bullying that religious leaders over history have resorted to, even if they didn't start out with those ambitions. First, they bully the world into living to a faith they haven't yet embraced, which alienates people from Jesus rather than endears them to him. Second, they bully people inside the faith to do what they think is best for their empire under the guise of building Jesus's kingdom. This often results in exploiting people at the most vulnerable time in their lives and often resulting them rejecting their faith when their leaders are exposed as having feet of clay. (Above illustration taken from A Man Like No Other, with art by Murry Whiteman.)

Podcast Notes:


  1. I say this all the time and get “the look” from fellow believers. “Homosexuality is a sin!” Yes it is, but my job is to point them to Jesus’s love and grace. You win no souls with damning rhetoric, as “holy” as it may sound. “God is not mocked!” True, but neither is he swayed by your comparative “righteousness.” If it made a hill of beans we wouldn’t need grace. I really believe we need to reach out more to our brothers and sisters in Christ with the gospel than many curious not-yet-believers.

  2. In all my years as a Christian, this is the saddest day. Christians trying to establish the kingdom of God on earth by their own efforts? So many have gotten lost from the central truths of the gospel and what Jesus and the apostles taught. I could go on and on but I won’t.

  3. Such a timely podcast. I have been really wrestling with what it means to be a Christian. Your podcast, along with several other sources that I have read, and ongoing conversations are all coming to the same conclusion that what is called Christian today looks nothing like Christ. Even things from 20-40 years ago are starting to look wonky and the result in a lot of upheaval in my personal thinking and beliefs. It is highly disruptive.

    I just finished reading two books on evangelical Christians and politics – “Not In It To Win It” and “The Immoral Majority” – and they really challenged what the church and believers have become over the past 3-5 years particularly in the US under Trump. Here is Canada, I know people who think the same way and I am finding it difficult to have conversations with them about anything.

    What I find so disturbing for me is how easy I can be swayed in the same direction. I am clearly aware of the Holy Spirit pointing me to a different way of thinking, but it is anything but easy.

    I think what makes this time so difficult for Christians, is that we has gone through a period of time where Christianity in the western world has been seen as “normal” and “right”. There is great discomfort in transitioning back to what is actually normal to the rest of the world, and that is a non-Christian world that persecutes followers of Christ. In many ways we have been lulled into a false sense of security where our trust is in the system rather than Christ, and when the system fails, we panic.

    Issues around sexuality and gender are extremely difficult to contend with. I find some of the things that are happening can only be called abusive and detrimental to the core of the human being. And it is even worse when children are involved. However, this is not new, this is what the enemy does. This is how the world works. We need to be careful that we do not act in the same way in a form of retaliation.

    I am reminded of the scripture in Romans that talks about God’s kindness that leads to repentance. It is God’s kindness that has led me towards living in Him. Not condemnation, not accusation, not rebuke, not ridicule, not excommunication … kindness.

    Unfortunately, I am not all that sure what God’s kindness means in how I am to live that out. I think part of the reason for that is that I have lived for long in a Christianity that had it easy, so my thinking is deeply entrenched and the voices in my head are well established. Lord, have mercy. I think my ways are very not His ways,

  4. Very insightful comments, John. It takes a ton of courage to even consider that the Christianity we’ve been taught is not the same as the Life Jesus came to offer us and that protecting our positions in the world is not loving well people who are lost in the devastation of a broken world. Thanks for sharing your story and the things you are uncovering. My prayers are with you, my friend!

  5. It seems there were many mistakes we made when in the pastorate…it grieves me to think about it sometimes. Fortunately I took the opportunity many years ago to find some of those I had treated unfairly and apologize to them and name where I was wrong. Looking back I can see that the temptation was there to do and say things out of keeping job security. That was wrong and it is the reason I am so glad our sons did not pursue the pastorate. I am not bashing that vocation…I just think it takes a lot of courage and integrity to be in that position these days and a ton of “looking at the log in our own eye.”

  6. Thx, really enjoyed this. It’s important to talk about this every so often as there r prolly new ppl who r leaving toxic xtianity and into freedom and finding their way to ur writings and podcasts.

    We all need to be reminded about the sheep in wolves clothing …they don’t represent God. Why does God allow so much harm in his name

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