Why I Don’t Hate “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus”

On January 13th I published a post analyzing and critiquing the viral video by Jefferson Bethke entitled, “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus” (see my earlier post here). This post got lit up with lots of attention and traffic–far more than I expected. I got plenty of feedback from plenty of people, some positive, so not so positive. Among those who responded more negatively, some seemed to have the impression that I did not see any value or benefits in the video (on the contrary, I was simply presenting a caution). Due to this, I’ve decided to write a “part 2” on the strengths/benefits of Bethke’s “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus.” By doing so, I want it to be clear that I am not attempting to retract my initial criticisms/cautions. However, I am presenting a balanced perspective that probably should be taken.
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“In Evil Long I Took Delight” by John Newton

I ran across this hymn a few weeks ago, although I have been acquainted with it before. I decided it was definitely worth sharing. This hymn is certainly not as popular as John Newton’s famous hymn, “Amazing Grace,” but I certainly recommend reading through the words and meditating on their truth. From a man who understood grace extremely well in light of who he was as a depraved, wicked, detestable man in need of saving, “In Evil Long I Took Delight”:

In evil long I took delight,
Unawed by shame or fear,
Till a new object struck my sight,
And stopp’d my wild career:
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“Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus” Analysis and Critique

This week I saw my Facebook flooded with a certain video, so I watched it. I knew where Jefferson Bethke (the author of the poem and individual in the video) was coming from and what he meant by his words, yet I was a little unsettled by this video.

Many individuals, evangelical in disposition, seem to be rejoicing in this video (even “The Resurgence” posted it on their site, see here). On the other hand, I’ve noticed a much different reaction from the Catholic crowd (i.e., various Catholic facebook friends of mine as well as various Catholic blogs that have written critiques, such as what I am now doing), as one might expect. And to be honest, in many regards, I agree with these Catholics in their criticisms. Allow me to share some of my brief thoughts on the video.
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Favorite Quotes from Living the Cross Centered Life by C.J. Mahaney

The following are my favorite quotes from the book Living the Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel the Main Thing by C.J. Mahaney.

“‘We never move on from the cross, only into a more profound understanding of the cross.’ The cross and its meaning aren’t something we ever master.”[1] – page 17.

“‘My God, only You could show me what a wretched sinner I am and make it the greatest news I’ve ever heard!'”[2] – page 20.
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The Gospel for Christians

This message is the fourth and final message I delivered at Winterfest, 2011, at Lake Lundgren Bible Camp in Pembine, WI. Up until this point we had looked at the Gospel [Good News] of Christmas, the Gospel According to Jesus (the cost of discipleship), the Gospel’s [Inevitable] Effects on Those Who are Saved, and finally, in this message we looked specifically at Philippians 1:27-30 and how the Gospel is still the most important thing for us as believers. We took Paul’s principles from this passage and made multiple applications to our contemporary context of how the Gospel ought to affect our lives as believers.

Other Winterfest 2011 messages.

Podcast link.