Monday, October 7, 2019

Remember Ashley

Ashley Kuzma wrote her own obituary:

Ashley Ann Kuzma


1987 - 2019
Ashley Ann Kuzma Obituary
When you have recurrent laryngeal cancer that just won't take no for an answer, you have a lot of time to think about death. The good thing is I no longer have to worry about saving for retirement, paying off student loans, or trying not to get skin cancer??? One positive outcome from having recurrent cancer was that it taught me to let go of the insignificant things and to just enjoy the people and places. After three recurrences, my body finally had enough and I passed away on Sunday, September 22, 2019 at the Cleveland Clinic.

I was born on May 21, 1987 in Beaver County, Pa. I grew up in Conway and attended Freedom Area High School (class of 2005). I earned a Bachelor's in History and Political Science from the University of Pittsburgh (class of 2009), where I also became a member of Kappa Delta Sorority. I completed my teaching certificate and Master of Education degree at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. After I graduated high school, my family moved to Erie. While I spent a few years teaching in Lancaster County, I returned to Erie to plant my roots and became a gifted support teacher at McDowell Intermediate High School. In my spare time, I enjoyed reading, cuddling with my cats, wine tasting, relaxing on my dad's boat, watching movies, golfing, decorating my house, watching football (go Steelers!), appreciating a good sunset, and watching TV shows like Grey's Anatomy, the original Will and Grace, and Friends. While in college I spent a semester abroad in London and was able to travel to Paris, France, Krakow, Poland (it had been a goal of mine to visit Auschwitz for many years), Milan, Venice, Florence, and Rome, Italy. Some of my favorite family vacations include experiencing the awe of the Grand Canyon and enjoying the sun, sand, and family time in the Outer Banks. After I found out my cancer was back for the fourth time, I went to Mexico and saw Chichen Itza. I am extremely grateful for the life that I lived. I was fortunate to have a loving family, supportive friends, a stable and meaningful job, and a house to call my own. My wish for you is to stop letting insignificant situations stress you out. Do what is important to you. Relax and enjoy the company of those around you. What do you value in your life? In the end, that's what matters.

I am survived by my wonderful parents, John William Kuzma and Vicky Lynn (Barron) Kuzma of Fairview, Pa.; my sister, Kristen Marie Kuzma of Clinton, Pa.; our family dog, Lizzy; my cats, Archie and Stella; my maternal grandmother, Verda Ann (Durst) Barron of New Brighton, Pa.; and many aunts, uncles, cousins, and many friends.

I was preceded in death by my paternal grandparents, John Allen Kuzma and Dolores Marie (Gajewski) Kuzma; my maternal grandfather, Robert Eugene Barron; my childhood cat of 18 years, Sammy; our beloved family dog of 17 years, Dylan; and my cat, Leo.

Since I think viewings are too sad for everyone, I requested that my family host a celebration of my life. Please join them on Sunday, October 13, 2019 from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Perry Highway Hose Co. Oliver Rd., Erie, Pa. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Humane Society of Northwestern Pennsylvania (Erie Humane Society), Orphan Angels Cat Sanctuary & Adoption Center Erie, Pa., or Hope Lodge, Cleveland, Ohio.

This obituary was written by Ashley preceding her passing as part of the many preparations to make the transition easier on her family.

Sign the Guestbook at www.GoErie.com/obits.Sign the
Published in the Erie Times-News on Oct. 3, 2019

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Deconversion: A Process


I wrote this sometimes in 2015, as a conversation with my high school friend, Becky. Becky served as a missionary to Cameroon. In this article, I try to illustrate the process and significant development in my deconversion from Evangelical Christianity.

Foreward:

Conversionism is the central theme of being an Evangelical Christian. I was born into a Christian family in Taiwan, and this Christian religion is not of my own choosing. When I was a child, I was baptized in the church, and sent to Sunday school every Sunday. I learned about God and Christ our Lord through reading the Holy Scriptures. And as we moved to Canada in my teens, this faith deepened her influence in my life. At the age of 16, I was converted again through the influence of Charismatic/Pentacostal teaching at my Christian school in Vancouver, BC. As a result, I was convinced that I needed to be re baptized again, since now I am “saved.” Evangelical faith works exceptionally well for those who are dispossessed, cut off from their culture. I was one. I was unable to go back to Taiwan in those days due to military service in Taiwan. I stayed in a foreign land, and a foreign culture. All my siblings became new converts to this faith, which is more regimented than my previous Presbyterian faith. This new found faith constantly was fed us in the Christian school we attended, and re-enforced through chapels, five times a week, Wednesday night prayer meetings and three services on Sunday: morning and evening service, and mid day Chinese Sunday School. I memorized King James Bible, in chapters (one chapter per month), and my curriculum was built around this Holy Bible. My fundamentalism was fed throughout my Christian school education, a rejection of modernity, science, and evolution. I suspect this is why most of us are indifferent when scientists tell us climate is changing and the world as we know is coming to an end. We knew it, because we were expecting to be delivered through Rapture, and the rest will be punished as ungodly and burnt. We have a ticket out of this predicament through Jesus whom we trust.

My sister died with this faith in God, and my brother is still a believer. Their worldview has no place to turn, they are believers in this faith that kept them bound, feared and whenever they ventured out, they are assured that this world is a bad bad world, with God's wrath, and if they had forsaken their faith, God would severely punish them.

Fortunately, my education did not end there. My Christian school teachers at Glad Tidings Temple of Vancouver kept on telling us not to attend college (university in Canada) because of secularism and humanism. They warned that we would lose out faith and be tempted. My high school diploma was useless from their school anyways, since my church school was not accredited and no one in Canada would recognize it. It was luck when I found out that I could transfer to another Christian school in Alberta, and that school, Prairie High School was accredited by the province. I would be forever grateful to teachers such as Mr. Gerry Unger my high school teacher and others that I had attained proficiency to attend college. Still, my crazy ideas were fed and self-contained that even though I went through some of the best schools in the world, their teaching did not touch my fundamentalism. I attended these schools: University of Calgary as a General Studies, and University of Toronto as a human biology major, and Dentistry at University of Kentucky and Harvard. None of these studies touched my faith in God and Christ our Lord. In the end of my studies, I considered either to go through seminary or to become a Jesuit. My theological studies were more important to me than my regular life.
So why did I become an apostate and a normal person? I met my wife at the end of my dental school year, and she is from a normal Christian family (mainliner, what we consider as Liberal mainline denomination), and her faith is not just in the Bible, but grounded in humanity, kindness and acceptance, and in the world. She has a wonderful education at Wayland High School in Wayland, Massachusetts and MIT. She read extensively and her views were much more tolerant and kind. She did not try to change me, gradually, I came to my own errs. Deconversion is a painful event, my world did not come apart overnight. It went down with an initial shock, a rejection from my father to my relationship, and gradually, stepping out of this religious fundamentalist tract, and got myself tossed into the tempest of fear, anger and anxiety, this time on the high seas of freedom. I turned to others and read Kierkegaard, and he helps me with the concept of courage and subjectivity. Truth, he says, is a subjective event. In his words, truth is subjectivity. It is what you experience and do with it that matters. Doctrines and churches are ossified beings, but truth experienced is most powerful. It defines a person. I was going through the motions of new venture, and on one hand expecting God to strike me down and others, losing an identity, a deep rooted faith that defined me, up to this moment.

Deconversion is a painful event, for awhile I was quite depressed, and then attacked by anxiety and thoughts of damnation. Slowly, I read other writers and learned of their stories, people like former American missionary Daniel Everett, scholars like Bart D Ehrman, his lectures and debates on suffering really helped me. His humanity came through when he addressed the Freedom from Religion forum, he says to them, patience, kindness and goodness is better than confronting a person of fundamentalist faith. He is humble enough to admit he is an agnostic, not an atheist. This is huge for me. Last but not the least, theologian Llyod Geering really helped me to come to an earth based faith. He deconstructed my three tier universe (eg heaven, earth and hell), and deconstructed the afterlife as a new theory not found in the biblical tradition. Jesus according to him, is a very good teacher, but he too suffered mortality, and he may still be buried somewhere in Palestine. Love, is what is most important, and for him God becomes the concepts we held most treasured, ideas of integrity, kindness, and goodness. For him, that is God. Christianity does not have to be theistic, and this is evident in little book “Christianity without God.” To live here and now, or the meaning of the Latin word “secula” has finally set in for me. He taught me to put my faith in the world, a structure far greater than I. I gradually became an earth based believer, having to retain some of my Christian faith but through the lens of humanity and this world. I no longer have this fear of damnation in the afterlife. There is no afterlife, I live moment by moment, here and now. I accept the impossible, I no longer have a three tier universe.

It is then I realize that I have come to a full circle. I am what I was before I became an Evangelical-Fundamentalist. I am just a mortal, a human being.

I wrote a few things here to reflect on my journey, and often it is not a complete story, but simply an attempt to capture what this faith meant to me and how I finally made an escape. I was the lucky one, my sister died with it, and my parents and brother are still bound by the holy rollers, the Charismatic teaching. I am free, and I raise a normal family thanks to my wife. On Sundays I worship God in the back yard gardening, with chickens and all things beautiful. I have finally come home. This world is beautiful, and mysterious, and most of all, my home in which I shall be buried when my journey comes to an end.

A Reflection on my Fundamentalist Faith:

I think my problem with Evangelical Christianity is not the people, but its internal cohesive and close-minded teaching. At times, it lacks integrity. But what bothers me most is the lack of touch with reality, especially when facing life as it unfolds.

My own deconversion occurs slowly after I began my university training. In 1987, I move to Toronto, and was enrolled at the University of Toronto as a science major. Part of the requirement at the Faculty of Arts and Science, was to take a few course in humanity. I looked at the courses offered, and found some interesting courses in religion. So, I took two courses, one in Biblical Hebrew, and the other one in 'Early Christian Writing.' It turns out that this course eventually had the most impact on me. It introduces me to historical-critical method to study the bible. So far, my Evangelical-Fundamentalist training uses 'grammatical-critical method' which lacks historical integrity. We were taught that Bible is the inerrant revelation of God. Whenever there are conflicts in the Bible against science of archaeology, we were taught to disregard scientists, and trust Holy Scriptures. Of course, we were in a 'bubble' if you could imagine this. Everyone around us in my Christian school believes whole-heartedly in this. At my high school, Prairie High School, we were at the centre of this defense of Christianity, and assaults by modernity. At that time, I did not realize it, but now I see the hand of “God” in it, why it was important to take these courses. Hebrew allows me to read Genesis text, without having someone to interpret it for me. And over the next few decades, I could slowly see my own errors. I would mention here, that my Biblical Hebrew professor uses 'documentary hypothesis' which had no impact on me at the time. Even thinking about it, this was not how I deconverted. I simply refused to listen to the textual evidence at the time, blaming it on liberalism and her assaults on my faith. But, I am getting ahead of myself.

In this class I came into contact, for the first time, with Documentary Hypothesis. And the Early Christian Writings taught me the redaction technique and other tools which eventually allowed me to see that biblical authors were human beings trying to answer life's difficult questions, including why this Yaweh failed to rescue his people and eventual exile of Israelite. I also learned that many books in the New Testament have questionable authorship.

But I did not stop being a Christian. I live my life as if there is an Evangelical God. When I was in school, I constantly prepared for the day that I will head for the seminary and become a biblical scholar, possibly to retranslate bible passages into Chinese. My studies at the university level, had no impact on me, I still believed what I was taught, and I continued to function as a fundamentalist. It was my church involvement that taught me otherwise. I suffered a tremendous traumatic experience at my local CMA church in 1988. I was serving as a Sunday School teacher at the Scarborough Chinese Alliance Church. It was traumatic enough that admitted my defeat, that I could not make any meaningful changes in these ardent fundamentalist children, that their parents and the whole church was going in the direction I rejected. It was during the time when Rev Wing Lee was the lead pastor, and he had conceived a church planting program of 'ten years – ten churches'. My Sunday School department was chaotic to say the least, and we were outmaneuvered by this mindless expansion. These children had no interest in the suffering of other people in the third world countries, and my efforts to introduce this into the Sunday School curriculum failed. Everyone was excited about church growth, as if that is the answer Evangelical Christianity needs. I was thoroughly defeated by this form of Christian capitalism, I was resounding defeated, and I admitted it and retreated from this form of church. I have never looked back since. I went back to what I despised the most, the liberal mainline denomination, in this case, my own Taiwanese Presbyterian root. I took up the responsibility to teach Sunday School, and was involved in her Youth program, I still toed the line, reading my Bible and AW Tozer.

In 1991, I was admitted to Harvard to study dentistry. It was here, my study at Harvard began my deconversion in a realistic way. I came into contact with scholarships of the 18th century, and took up an interest in Syriac Christianity. By comparing these forms of Christianity, I came to realize that my fundamentalism may not be on the solid footing that I thought I had. I came to see that my faith had evolved through history, that slowly things changed as they were needed both in doctrines and practices. For me, this especially questions my own belief in the concept of sin and salvation. In the Roman Catholic Church and Protestant churches, I was taught humans inherited the 'original sin' which came from Adam and Eve. In the Syriac churches, I learned that this Augustinian teaching is entirely missing. Baptism was necessary for the washing of this original sin in the Roman Churches, whereas, this is not so in the Eastern Syriac churches. Their saint, St Theodore of Mopsuetia, taught otherwise. And this and other minor differences in Christology set them apart, which in recent years they have begun the process of reconciliation. In Dyophysite's teaching, Christ has two natures, whereas Monophysites taught Christ only possesses one unique nature, inseparable. In the successive church councils, especially the Council of Ephesus, 431 AD, St Nestorius was falsely accused of heretical teaching of two natures, separable by their manifestations. Much of these man made distinction led me to believe that my faith has undergone a process of development. This would begin to open my eyes to the doctrine of inerrancy, which was developed in opposition to modernity in the late 1800's. This has not touched my inerrancy belief in the scripture during that time, however.

I also came to see the inconsistency of Christian behaviours, particularly in the greed of Evangelical Christianity (CMA churches, and my own folks). I was always told that we ought to look to Jesus and not men, and men will always fail. That is what kept me sane since I firmly believed in the new life - conversion theory fed to me by my EV friends and churches. But I do not see that life changing event real nor permanent. It was at the excitement of the moment and slowly but surely people are the same before and after that life changing event, if they were terrible folks before their conversion, they remain terrible afterwards. If they were nice folks, they remain nice. There is little that seems to transcend their humanity. But I still held on. I did not change because of what I saw in the churches.
Then life events brought me to a place I did not want to go. When I met my wife, I was certain this is the one that God sent. When my parents found out about her, they told me not to get too serious. I was told that I need to look for money and other things. Both wife and I came from similar Taiwanese Presbyterian background, our great grand parents went to the same Taiwanese seminary in the 1800s, and knew each other, and she has no qualms about me dropping dentistry and study theology. My folks pull the god thing and the 5th commandment, and began their oppression. They began by intimidating me, and then they turned up the volume, I was yelled and screamed at for about a few minutes. After that, I saw the writing on the wall. There would come a time that my father would move in with me and personally cut off my relationship with Lillian my girl friend. I had to make a choice, so I did. I dropped my theological research and seminary application, found work. I found work in the 'slums' of Lowell, MA, where I was paid minimal wages. I had to commute three hours from Boston to work. I had not given up, but when my shoulder began to bother me, I found work in Boston's Chinatown. Afterwards, I tried to open a practice, and my father sabotaged me, by asking my cousin not to lend me the money. So, as my last resort, I found a dental practice on the Cape (Cape Cod, MA), and I borrowed the entire amount, of course when my father found out, he came and served as a guarantor. I am not thankful of him nor the financial trouble I became involved with my family afterwards. But I am getting ahead of myself. Indeed I have been working since.

Through these series of events, I began to doubt my relationship with God is real, or helpful. That God is not there when I call, and that we ought to fend for ourselves. The more I read the bible, Kierkegaard, and others, the more I realized that truth is subjective. That is, what we were taught as objective truth in the Evangelical circle, is not true at all. Truth must be experienced, and courage is what we need.

After getting married, I held on to what little left of my Evangelical Christianity, when I had time, I spent hours translating biblical passages of Isaiah and Psalms, using Latin and Syriac, plus Septuagint, (LXX) as my guide.

I still had the utmost reverence for God and Christ our Lord, and the last part of my journey began when Tim Mackenzie visited my and our President Dr Jon Ohlhauser asked me to join the board at my alma mater, Prairie Bible Institute in Three Hills, Alberta, Canada (I came from one of the schools there, Prairie High School). That was my last coffin nail. I saw that not only Christians claim of moral superiority is not real, but they deceived themselves by mixing capitalism with faith, wanting to aimlessly expand their earthly empire. Indeed PBI is such a head quarter, and their main office building began to take shape and looked like a mega church, such as Willow Creek Community Church. All through that experience, I stubbornly held onto the last straw that God is there, that he answers prayers, and called for patience. But I began to see that this inconsistency, that this is ever so common in the Christian communities. It is actually the norm. Human beings are going to behave what they are, after centuries of evolutionary changes. Germans (like Ohlhauser) are trained to be precised, mechanistic and absolute. That is what their environment make them into this. Americans are always going to have a bit of capitalism in their religion, because this is their free market economy. And while faith can cover some of this inconsistency, but it cannot change people. Predators are the same before and after their conversion event, Pedophiles continues to damage kids before and after their conversions. Power hunger church leaders are the same before and after their conversion event.

At this point I began to read John Shelby Spong, Lloyd Geering and Bart D Ehrman. They helped to dismantle my last faith in a personal God. That God is a tribal God made by Jews in exile. That God is not there. and he is silent. That God died on the cross, rotted in the common grave with thieves. That God has nothing to do with human suffering. Our prayers go up in vain, and God replies in silence. This silence of God is really where I am. I was a mere mortal trying to follow the ways of God, and trying to be filial pious and a good son. Had I not step out of this mode of personal belief, had I merely prayed, I am certain that my fate would be that the same as my brother who suffered tremendously at the hands of my parents. Indeed, his wife is not of his choosing, and he has been in this personal hell for sometimes now.

Suffering is not the topic of this essay. But I would like to say a few words about it. I came to see justice of God, theodicy, this way. That we Christians were taught God answers prayers and is powerful and mighty, and is about to act on behalf of his followers. Indeed, we were taught to look up to the hills and seek the God where the help comes to his followers. As it turns out in my case, it was not so. Prayers and piety did not help me, it would have done me a lot of harm had I just prayed and seek God on this marriage matter. That was how my brother Andrew struggled, to much of his current suffering. I would have suffered in vain, had I waited 'for the Lord' and waited in prayers. This form of piety did not help me, and God did not come to my aid. I had to step out. God is silent in all my suffering. All my anxiety, fear, trauma, and worse of all, of vain hope. Suffering has a personal theme in my journey, as I follow Christ. I no longer pray to this God who does not answer prayers. Or sanctioned my parents for doing what they did to me. I don't think this God is real. At that moment, my God died.

In time, I also learned that Scriptures are human products, and are out dated, with horrible things and practices, such as genocides, slavery, rape, homophobia and promotes misogyny, etc. I began to treat scriptures carefully concerning its claims. I no longer trust it as the inerrant words of God. Seeing this allows me to appreciate Jesus of God, that he was a human, that he had human father (s), and that he died in the hate of his Roman occupiers with the blessings of his kinsmen. He was betrayed, much like I was betrayed by my Evangelical faith and its people.

Resolution:

This journey is not my own choosing. It is painful to know that I am mortal, and I have a limited amount of time on this earth. Since I no longer have the hope of eternal life, I treasure each day. I know someday I shall be no more. I became more obsessed about death and the end of existence. I came to terms with it, I had to, after my sister died in 2016 and my dad in 2017. I no longer wait, if I felt I need to do something. Every day is a gift and a joy. I got rid of those people that did me a lot of harm, the Chang family from my wife's side, for example. I even got rid of my leased electric vehicle, since I have to make more runs off Cape to pick up my mom at the airport. This year (2018), I flew to Vancouver to do my mother's birthday, and in that short amount of time, even made it to Smithers, BC to see my high school biology teacher Mr Gerry Unger and his wife Dea. I even found time to see my old friend Bernice. In the past, I would not have done things like these. These things carry a more urgent tone today for me, I am reminded daily to 'seize the day' and to live extraordinary lives. I have only limited amount of time, now that I got the notion of eternal life out of the way.

I came to realize that living is a beautiful thing, and so I choose living here and now, I choose my family and I have returned and found my faith in this world. I know what other Evangelical Christians think of me. That I have erred and became an apostate. However, through it all, I still consider myself a Christian. I am still fascinated with Jesus the man, and his teaching resonates with me. For this is what I am, and this is my name. I'd just no longer trust in the afterlife, or prayers, or my Evangelical God. I am what I considered as a non-theistic Christian. In that, I put my faith in this solid ground, 'this terrestrial ball, the earth'. As theologian Lloyd Geering taught me in his series of lectures, that if I were ever to lose my faith, I would put my faith in the world, after all, the world is greater than I, and I may add, this is the earth nourishes me, was here before I was born and shall continue to do so, after long I was gone.

In time, other than working as a small town dentist, I became a small organic farmer, raising a family of seven, with lots of chickens, organic produce, and most of all, a great variety of garlic. I worship garlic, and worship nature, her beauty and mystery. I live my life as if there is a god, and by the teaching of Jesus. I no longer live or die by my former Evangelical faith. Bible is a collections of stories, and ancient cosmology. St Paul's letters in the New Testament are not authoritative, and many of them were forgeries done in the name of St Paul. I do not have a personal God, if there is a God at all, that would be love. Love is what gives me meaning in this world, and love is what binds us to each other. I ponder on the matters of faith often, how I was young and taken in, and how I was used by this Evangelical-fundamentalist faith, and to their rejection of modernity. How I was taught to render everything I have to their cause, to the detriment of my own person. How I was imprisoned by this foreign faith, and for the last few years, I barely escaped. I am still much the same person, before and after I de-converted. I do not lie, cheat, or take things from others. I do not hate those people who are still Evangelicals, these are family. They are deluded, many of them are good honest folks. Many of them will suffer the same abuse I endured, silently. I have pity on them. Many of them will die in agony, with cancer, praying in vain. Many will see their children desert this faith, and became hopeless and struggle in vain to pass on this faith. This world is fair, and for that I am most grateful. My life here and now, and no more. This is something to be thankful, that I escaped tyranny of faith, and now I am free. I might be bitter, but in all and all, I am thoroughly grateful to be alive, and for whatever time I have left, I am going to spend it wisely, and to love humanity. That is my faith, and this is my on-going journey. I am a Christian, for that is my name and in this way I shall die, and be no more.

Hope this provides some interesting reading, in case you often wonder why I derive this radical views about God and Christ our Lord, the Jesus who becomes a God. Jesus is God, for me. And now I worship garlic.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Confession of a Fundamentalist

Directly taken from Youtube:


I spent six years of my life in the Fundamentalist movement. It is a sect that has drifted far from its original purpose—to defend historic Christianity in the midst of theological liberalism and modernism—that began in 1896. Like all social, political, or religious movements, Fundamentalism, changed over the decades as it was confronted with new issues, and as it mingled its philosophies with other religious and cultural movements of the day (like the holiness and temperance movements; segregation). It changed again in the 1920's and again in the 50's. I did not realize the damage the ideology had done to me until I had years of opportunity for self-examination and analysis of the movement after leaving the pack. Unless one has been in the gang, it is hard for people to understand its affects. Space is not available here to outline all of Fundamentalism's history or my personal experiences. While Romans 1 might be a message to a nation, the entire book of Galatians is an epistle for Fundamentalists. Fundamentalists begin with a gospel of grace through faith but end with a message that emphasizes a list of rules. The just are no longer living a Christian life by faith, but by faith plus whatever the leader deems necessary to be measured as faithful. It is possible to hear a gospel message of salvation in a Fundamentalist church and become a believer, but impossible to function as a true Christian, motivated by grace, faith, and the Spirit; and that is because Fundamentalism preaches a hetero-gospel. What I am saying here is well-documented in books like Churches that Abuse by Ronald Enroth, Apparent Danger, and The Shooting Salvationist, both by David R. Stokes, In addition, countless stories can now be found on the internet, YouTube, and in some Fundamentalist rags about scores of injured people who have left the movement. My own initial awareness of Fundamentalism's departure from the message of a transforming gospel began slowly in 1986 while attending one of their colleges. The chapel messages we heard left many of us with the impression that separation and following a list of rules came first, while Romans 12 clearly teaches that consecrating God in our hearts comes first, and God promises that He will complete His work in us from the inside out (Phil. 1:6; II Cor. 3:18). What begins in faith, ends in faith. For most thoughtful people, Fundamentalism's problem and demise does not lie in holding on to beliefs such as God creating the world in six, twenty-four hour time periods; their emphasis on traditional church worship; Bible version choice; or personal dress standards. While matriculating through their school, I complied with their standards as a matter of integrity; I had signed an agreement. Fundamentalists expect their followers to abide strictly by those institutionalized standards in their personal lives and not to waver, and when they lay this expectation upon their parishioners, they begin to use those personal or organizational standards and lists to measure the faithfulness and genuineness of other Christians, calling people who have another point of view, “heretics,” “unfaithful,” “compromisers,” “disorderly.” When they do this, they cross a biblical line (I Cor. 8; Rom. 14-15). Their real problem with their current Fundamentalism is the culture they nurtured in which they vaunt about teaching the whole counsel of God, but in reality, present a partial and false god of terror and vindictiveness who is against the sinner in his struggle against sin and questioning; a culture of suspicion and superficiality in which they give people surface and quick answers to questions and struggles related to things like depression, growing up in single parent homes, suicide, or addictions. But, answers to questions and resolutions to problems similar to what I just listed, cannot be given by a quick walk down an aisle during altar call, signing a decision card, putting on a suit and a smile, or biting the bullet and determining harder to follow the rules. Jesus did say the way was narrow, but he did not mean by that that answers to some of life's most complicated problems-or the Christian way of life-is superficial. Herein lies their problem. The problem is not narrowness, it's superficiality. Fundamentalist culture has become toxic and superficial, and a lot of people are left with the impression that they cannot finish the course. Contemporary Fundamentalism's problem is not with the historic fundamentals of the faith, but with their toxic culture and hetero-gospel. They wrote down the fundamentals, but they didn't let them affect how they related to one another in community. In the early 90's more documented evidence began to appear in books and their own periodicals about racism in their organizations, abusive behavior by their leaders in places like Hammond, Indiana, and appalling episodes across the nation-beginning in the 1920's-betwen John R. Rice and J. Frank Norris. Throughout these stories, any reader will notice common characteristics emerge: The emphasis of a life lived by rules instead of reliance on Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. Authoritarianism of a powerful, egotistical leader, instead of authority of scripture and careful and thoughtful biblical exposition. Surrounding and protecting a leader or the “cause” when the cause, leader, or organization is criticized; and “politically surrounding the wagons” and turning the attack on the person raising serious questions or concerns. A suspicion of other Christian people and an “us versus they siege mentality.” An overarching and driving doctrine of separatism that—as they interpret it—goes from separation to isolationism if carried out to its logical conclusion. Character assassination of other people. Fundamentalists have built a movement and career on “reproving the unfruitful works of darkness” of others, but they cannot take reproof and learn from it. Therefore, the Fundamentalist culture should die. The fundamentals of the faith are strong enough to survive without their toxic culture. When I was an eighteen-year-old teenager, I enrolled in one of their now defunct colleges, but I left a humiliated and devastated young adult after experiencing on-going bullying. After graduating I tried serving as a youth director in one of their Wisconsin churches. That church and its sister church in town, which had a Christian school, were embroiled in a controversy about music and personal standards, like so many of their institutions. That controversy led to a lot of anger from some parents and teenagers toward church authority because of the way they were trying to broach the topic; a split and church member migration occurred. Interestingly, what was happening to their day school and church leaked out into the community at large, and people thought it was silly that a group of people would ruin a school and church over issues like these, but the religious fundamentalists couldn't get it, and they kept fighting each other. Because I had graduated from one of their colleges, and represented church authority at the time, a lot of that teenage resentment was directed toward me by youth group members. After six years, I concluded that I was part of a slaughter house, not a faith community and that there was no end to the toxicity in their religious culture, so I left in search of authentic church life. As a young man I had questions about my own personal struggles, character, growing up years, faith in general; and I needed to find a safe environment to sort it all out. Sadly, I never found it. I spent the next 18 years adrift. I had been robbed. Their answer after their fight with each other was over? Forgive us. Their demand and expectation of forgiveness had the smell of entitlement and presumption to it. No one in the Bible ever demanded forgiveness. Contrite people asked for it humbly. To forgive is one thing. To restore the lost years that they took from me—and so many others—is impossible. So, the question for Fundamentalists now is, how will you live the rest of your lives to make sure you don't injury anyone? At a time in my young adult life when so many issues were beginning to crystallize, and I had grown into a fully formed man, I really needed friends to help me sort it all out, but they were too busy destroying each other to care for each other. The devil had used a historic, religious, and at one time necessary movement to steal, to kill, and to destroy; and I'm not the only one. Many of my friends who journeyed through this want nothing to do with church and some have become atheists. My brother had left long before I would, though at the time I couldn't understand why he had. My mother died in the error of her Fundamentalism, and I was impelled to cross the threshold of one their churches to bury her. My post-funeral thought was that I could only hope that Mom had enough understanding to hang on to the gospel of faith that she once placed her hope in and not the mistrust of their hurtful message gone astray. Somehow Fundamentalists in their apparent bid to search the scripture and teach the whole counsel of God skipped over Galatians 5:15, “But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.” Over the years, their attacks on each other took a toll, and they destroyed each other. For the past five years I have watched the survivors attempt a re-branding effort, melding into other conservative schools of thought, calling themselves, Biblicists, orthodox, or even Reformed. But, beware, people. A Fundamentalist by any other name is a Fundamentalist still the same if they sow their hetero-gospel and toxic culture. Discern their message, “try the spirits,” and flee their culture. My message to Fundamentalists is the same message that you have been preaching to other people for over 120 years, “Repent or perish.” Seeing that you do not show much contriteness or humility in
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRi1mOQEXQw

Natural Disasters


Benjamin Chung Typhoon is not a punishment from God. It is a natural thing. It is like catching a cold. It is a viral infecy, not a punishment from God.
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Reply1w

巧蓮 李 I don't agree with you!
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Reply1w

巧蓮 李 Judgement to Nation already started, God could use any natural disaster to judge unrighteousness people or Nation, according to Revelation, God even release high ranking fallen angels from hell to judge the unrighteousness ! Thus, a lot great destroying such as war, terrorism and etc and Pandemic is coming will be causing by evil fallen angels.
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Reply1w

Benjamin Chung this idea is wrong. Natural events are beyond our own theological interrpetation. During the WWII, Jews did not die because of their sins. They were good Jews, kosher and Sabbath abiding people. They were destroyed by an evil man and God did not come to their aid, despite the OT teaching that God comes to the aid of hsi people. The tsunami of 2009 (I think) that killed 300,000, again has nothing to do with God since it is a natural event, the shift of tectonic plates. Same as the 9-2 earthquakes in Taiwan. My uncle died in that. he was the most filial pious and devout Christian. what sins has he committed to warrant his death by being crush by the falling beams. God is not punishing him, it is likely that God was unable to prevent the death of his own children. Some would say God is weak and absent in our suffering. God is blind. etc. But that is not my point. My point is, do nto attribute the natural events and destruction to God who is innocent and has nothing to do with drowning, killing of elderly and young infants and children. 

You have to think about it, but not to cal Chinese people evil, or their ancestors evil. You are Chinese and with Chinese blood flowing through your veins. What evil has your father and mother done? And for 5 thousand years, even before the birth of Christ, what evil has Chinese done? I say, none, because China is not an atheistic nation back then and you can tell by history, they worship one true God, and this was before the introduction of Buddhism. Even with the new Buddhist faith, they were the minority. The majority of Chinese worship God and they weer no evil people. 

The natives of Taiwan were not atheists either. They too worship God. It is just they did nt have the words of modern Christianity, meaning that they were evil/ 

Cursing your own ancestors and attribute to them as evil and sinners, is a form of grievous sin. It is as bad as sinning against the holy ghost, since that ghost would have been working in these people, preparing them to come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

St Paul wrote in Romans about them. They have Gods law governing them and they are righteous people, apart from the laws of the Jews. Romans 2, read it yourselves/

You have these Chinese preachers, scaring others about their lack of faith and how their ancestors are cursed, these are demonic teaching, and not the teaching of Jesus Christ. You need to repent and stop watching these sinners making egregious claims about God and Christ our Lord. Rev Chow has erred many times preaching the gospel in his message or his life. He needs to repent and come to the true know;edge of God and Christ/ Just look at him, he is cursed of God and shall exhibit that curse by taking money from people and saying things that are not true, and making claims that even Jesus could not verify.

You should not go against Chinese communist government, They are ordained by God to rule China. Your job is to become obedient to it, if you are a Chinese citizen living in China. Take down churches and crush the cults. That is Gods teaching.
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Reply1w

Benjamin Chung 求主赦免台灣,特別是我們個人、家庭和君王的罪,我們犯了淫亂,用別的人事物代替我們的兒女、家庭,心不回轉,以致得罪神,求主赦免,因基督赦罪的寶血,洗淨我們在這片土地上的罪惡過犯。

This is totally wrong, and God have mercy on this sinner who claims wrongfully about our ancestors.
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Reply1w

巧蓮 李 Benjamin Chung I already unfriend you, and I did not read your comment, as I regard you as a false teacher, and I am not interested to read your comment.

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Reply1wEdited

Benjamin Chung 巧蓮 李 dear young lady, you should think about these things. Natural disasters are not about God punishing people. It has something to do with change of climate, and severe storms formed because of it. You should worship God and stay home and read the words of the saviour and live by it. These end time talk is nothing but a speculation., It is not real. These preachers are evil men who cause mass hysteria and fear. They shall receive a greater punishment .

You seemed to me a good Chinese. You should be proud to be a Chinese and worship God as a Chinese, and not to be confused by these preachers.


Source:  http://krtnews.tw/chinese-church/local/article/19022.html