Last week a religious activist went on a syndicated Christian radio talk-show and accused me of several acts against the church and God. Their response was a negative bias-driven summation of three posts: here, here, and here. The talk-show host agreed with him, and did not stop him when he charged me from afar to “repent of apostasy” and apologize for selling out and confusing the Body of Christ.
Neither of these folks contacted me about their charges before gossiping on a national radio program about my motivations for supporting civil gay marriage equality. As a result, I feel no need to break down the show and respond to every accusation. I obviously do not agree with their judgments or conclusions.
However, since the word apostasy is being used against me, and against several of my close friends as well, it got me thinking about the word itself. It’s a powerful little word in religious circles and is definitely used as a way to stigmatize other believers who may or may not actually be “apostate.” Here is the Merriam-Webster definition of apostasy:
Definition of APOSTASY
1: renunciation of a religious faith
2: abandonment of a previous loyalty : defection
It is the issue of embracing God’s finished work of atonement, His truly amazing grace, that has opened my eyes to how much bigger and truly loving He is. Believing that He alone is enough, and He alone is the judge of a man’s heart, has led me to make the various decisions I have made over the past few years. Including the conclusion that the religious addiction to public policy has skewed our perspectives and priorities.
I feel closer to the Lord, our Heavenly Father, than I have in a very long time …and it wasn’t bad before! I’ve felt like the joy of having fallen in love with Him for the first time is restored.
I see this happening in my friends who have also come to a liberating understanding of grace. So to hear someone accuse me, us, of apostasy is a complete disconnect. I may be wrong but it seems hateful, maybe even fearful, and unnecessary.
That said, while my faith in Christ is stronger than ever, I have renounced the doctrines of religious activists who prey upon public policy battles in the name of “ministry.” I have defected from the army of religious right activists. While I still hold my responsibilities/rights as a citizen of the United States in high esteem, my statements will no longer be memorized from action items generated in secret religious activist meetings. I will still vote my conscience, but my highest priority is to love God with my whole being and love my neighbor as myself.
[inlinetweet prefix=”Christ alone has my loyalty. Love is what edifies, builds up, and brings life; love will always be remembered and prevail.” tweeter=”RThomasART” suffix=””]Christ alone has my loyalty. Love edifies, builds up, and brings life; love will be remembered and prevail.[/inlinetweet]
To close, it is completely incorrect to say that I am apostate in my spiritual belief of Jesus being Lord and Savior. Of course, I still believe that He rose from the dead to reconcile us to the Father. But it is completely correct to believe that I have defected and renounce all activity among religious activists to stigmatize and disenfranchise the gay community.