Monday, June 17, 2013
Hope After Faith by Jerry DeWitt
Well, my goodness. What to say? Jerry shares his story of his life in the Pentecostal religion - growing up in it, becoming a pastor, and trying to make a career as an evangelist or pastor searching for the truth so that he could bring about a huge revival in the Christian religion. During his seeking in his lifetime he followed some rather bizarre teachings of some rather odd groups. Perhaps that is the norm in Pentecostalism? I am not familiar enough with it to know. After failing repeatedly as a pastor/evangelist and encountering some nutcase preachers, Jerry studied the Bible and turned to a goal of taking Jesus as his personal savior and leading people to do that rather than the faith healing speaking in tongues orientation of the Pentecostal religion that he was raised in. He learned that the Bible was written by mere men and not dictated by God, which freed him to open his beliefs more away from depending on correct interpretation of the Bible. Eventually, when faced with the fact that he no longer believed that praying did anything, he declared himself an atheist and quickly found a group of atheist ex-preachers to belong to.
Basically, he traded one hat for another; one group for another. Same song, different verse. He is still preaching and trying to help people and bring people to "the truth", but it is just a different "truth" or different gospel than that of Pentecostalism or Christianity.
Now his religion is atheism.
I think that many non-Pentecostal Christians will just look at his experiences and feel that the group and beliefs that he was following in Pentecostalism were the "wrong" beliefs and that if he had just been in their group with their "correct" teachings, then he would not have been lead astray. The idea that his mother took his sister who has Down Syndrome to a faith healer to be healed of Down Syndrome just shows to me how totally ignorant the Pentecostal religion can be, and not only Pentecostalism I am sure, but other Christian groups who share similar "healing" beliefs.
However, every religious group has beliefs that can be seen as ignorant by outsiders.
The book is interesting and I enjoyed reading it.