Pastor Confronts Fundamentalists with 10 Things Christians Don't Need to Believe

United Methodist Pastor Martin Thielen outlines a list of 10 things Christians do not need to believe—and ten things they do—to "qualify" as Christians in a new book from Westminster John Knox Press. In What's the Least I Can

Believe and Still Be a Christian? A Guide to What Matters Most, Thielen targets seekers and believers who want an expression of Christian faith that is different from the judgmental and narrow-minded caricatures seen on television or in the news. His list of things Christians do not need to believe includes:

  • God Causes Cancer, Car Wrecks, and Other Catastrophes
     
  • Good Christians Don't Doubt
     
  • True Christians Can't Believe in Evolution
  • Women Can't Be Preachers and Must Submit to Men
     
  • God Cares about Saving Souls but Not about Saving Trees
     
  • Bad People Will Be "Left Behind" and Then Fry in Hell
     
  • Jews Won't Make It to Heaven
     
  • Everything in the Bible Should Be Taken Literally
     
  • God Loves Straight People But Not Gay People
     
  • It's OK for Christians to be Judgmental and Obnoxious

Thielen follows this list with ten things Christians do need to believe that are centered around Jesus—his life, his teachings, his death and resurrection, and his vision for the world. The book comes with a free online Leader's Guide for churches, which offers aids for carrying out a seven-week, congregation-wide initiative using the book. The book and Leader's Guide are available from The Thoughtful Christian.com. Additional information is accessible at http://thielen.wjkbooks.com.

Martin Thielen is Senior Pastor of Lebanon First United Methodist Church, in Lebanon, Tenn. He has been a national worship and preaching consultant, a seminary professor, and a leader of more than one hundred church leadership workshops across the country.

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