I Am A Christian

I am a Christian.

I believe that Jesus Christ is the figure upon whom all should base their lives and hope.

I am a fundamentalist.

I believe in the fundamentals of the faith – that God loves the world so much that He gave His only Son to die for it. God became man, so that men might be reconciled back unto God. And that this love is for everyone, regardless of race, creed, national origin, or sexual orientation. This love extends from east to west, and beyond the farthest star. It has no end.

I am a Biblical literalist.

I believe that the Bible should be taken exactly as it was written, for the people to whom it was written. It is not an instruction manual, nor a history textbook. It is a story that unfolds from the mythical proportions of the Genesis story of Creation to the glorious reconciliation of earth and heaven in Revelation. (And there are a few things Jesus instructed us to do between now and then, so I really think he meant it).

These are not definitions that most folks associate with those terms. But I figure it is about time to reclaim them.

I fundamentally believe that the love of God does not stop based upon whether you are divorced or married or single. The love of God extends past petty racial divisions. It extends past modern concepts of sexual orientation and gender roles. It extends past temporal political lines and all geopolitical boundaries. God loves you whether you are rich or poor, saint or sinner. He makes the sun to shine on both the righteous, and the wicked. Because His love for us is endless.

And it is through that love that the literal meanings of the Scriptures need to be read. Through the lens of Jesus Christ, the only Begotten Son. He who is from the Beginning. This never failing love of those who are downtrodden and oppressed. Who was quick to turn on the religious elites for snubbing their noses at the “wicked sinners”. He who was without sin modelled a life of forgiveness and compassion. He partied with whores and drunkards, and on at least one occasion, was the reason the people were drunk to begin with. He who was more prone to make sure that the religious types didn’t think that their piety would save them, and point out that the simple yearning faith of the sinner would guarantee salvation.

See, my teachers as a child taught me that the Bible was the Word of God, and that it was to be taken literally. Not to change a single iota of the text. And they taught me that God loves me no matter what. The problem is, I think I learned the lesson a little too well. I learned that God doesn’t love you only when you do good. And that He isn’t a Republican (or a Democrat!). I learned that He probably isn’t a capitalist (or a communist!). That God exists so outside of our preconceived notions of religion, that when we encounter the true God of Israel – we cannot help but fall upon our knees, beat our chests, and plead our unworthiness.

Yet He picks us up, dries the tears from our cheeks, and says that He is with us always…even unto the ends of the earth.

So, yes I am a Christian fundamentalist who believes in Biblical literalism. But I also am a worthless sinner who beats upon his chest daily. For I am a Pharisee, and I am the chief of sinners.


  1. Mike M
    November 23, 2014 @ 8:32 AM

    I have a few…questions concerning this belief system. First off, its great that you accept Christ as the Son of God and you rightly acknowledge that God loves everyone, regardless of their lifestyle choice. That’s all true.

    Some things that are puzzling are this though. You claim that you believe, “…the Bible should be taken exactly as it is written…” Later in the post, you stated, “He [Jesus] partied with whores and drunkards, and on at least one occasion, was the reason the people were drunk to begin with.”

    If the Bible should be literal, then my question is this, what about the verse that says “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery…” (Eph. 5:18)

    If the Word gives us a command, it would be wise to follow it, correct? So, which is it? If the Word clearly says we shouldn’t be drunk but JESUS is the REASON why some people where drunk to begin with, isn’t the Word becoming a contradiction unto itself?

    It’s important to note that the Bible might appear to say something that it doesn’t actually say. Did Jesus “party” with whores? The Scripture doesn’t give evidence that he was around sinners to “party.” Rather, he was either invited by them or he asked them if he could join them. Again, the Word doesn’t indicate Jesus was there to “Party.”

    He was there to show grace. The Word doesn’t say exactly what Jesus was doing there; however often times, we read of his parables within the midst of sinners. Perhaps he didn’t do anything other than get to know people, have open conversation and then teach them the truth of God’s Word.

    Secondly, if you accept the Word as absolute truth, then where do you find the notion that you are a “worthless sinner?” If we are worthless then why would God send Christ to die? Thus, the exact opposite would be true, we do have worth! Our worth is found in God’s sights, not our own. We are, unworthy, yes because our sinful nature made us that way.

    Yet, the Word declares that “All have sinned…” The Bible is revealing that no one is righteous and in doing so, the Word points to Christ as the one who is worthy. When our faith is placed in Christ and his finished work, then we are made what…worthless sinners or righteous?

    Pick one. But just one. Not both.

    If Christ’s death and our belief in him makes us righteous then we are not worthless sinners. We have been redeemed. We can live now in the grace that set us free.


    • Joshua
      September 23, 2015 @ 11:38 PM

      My apologies for coming to this so late, I had intended to address this at the time, but didn’t get a chance to…life and all that jazz.

      You raise a point that has been echoed by many over the past couple hundred of years. My understanding of the New Testament comes from a Christological perspective. I focus my interpretations of the Scriptures based upon what we know of Jesus and how he acted. Therefore, when someone such as Paul gives advice on something, I filter that based upon what I already know of Jesus. To me, this is the only logical way to approach Scripture. If Jesus is the Word made flesh, then I can look to him to try and help make sense of the rest.

      Now, we see at Cana, that Jesus does indeed turn the water into wine, and the guests indeed do get drunk off of it. Jesus doesn’t seem to have any issue with this. But we turn to Paul in Ephesians, and Paul gives us something that you called a command. I hate to nuance this, and be this picky about a literary term, but command is the wrong word for this. After all, according to Paul, all things are permissible. So it isn’t really a command so much as a fatherly warning, or a bit of advice. But Paul says that we should avoid being drunk on wine.

      It is interesting, because Scripture seems overall to record quite a bit of drinking. Funerals, weddings, feasts, etc. It is my view from Scripture, that Paul’s warning is in the context of drinking without purpose. In other words, being an alcoholic. I believe that drinking alcohol in excess on a continuous basis is a form of gluttony, and self-harm. Therefore, that would be how I would answer Paul’s admonition against drinking. Because acting in this manner, leads to all sorts of temptations and as we all know, alcohol does not lead to always making the best decisions when faced with trial and temptation.

      On multiple occasions, Jesus had been known to party with whores and drunkards. It is written all across the Gospels. You cannot infer that he didn’t partake, just because it doesn’t fit your view of Christ. No where does it say that he abstained. The Scriptures are silent on his actual purpose there. All we can do is infer from outside resources, and the outside resources all label him as someone who enjoyed a good celebration. And in celebrating with them, he showed them grace. That you could enjoy life, and live according to the Scriptures.

      It’s funny that you admonish me for my use of the “worthless sinner” line, when it is taken straight from Paul, who announced himself the chief of sinners. We sin on a continual basis, it is our sin that makes us unworthy of the love of God. However, it is because of the love of God,that we are saved in spite of our worth.

      It is in this vein that I proclaim both: sinner and saint. I have not been redeemed, I am constantly being redeemed. I do not ascribe to Reformed theology or its watered-down subset that claims “once saved, always saved”. I believe in a constant state of grace that requires work: daily, hourly, by the second, not cheap grace that allows us to proclaim Christ as Lord and continue on about our daily lives.


  2. Recommended Reading: November 22-28 | Pursuing Veritas
    November 29, 2014 @ 5:02 AM

    […] I am a Christian by Joshua Vestal […]


    • Joshua
      September 23, 2015 @ 11:23 PM

      I never got a chance to thank you for the recommendation, so thanks!


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