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[335] BJ Thomas

The ragingly successful country/pop/Christian star, BJ Thomas, died recently. He was 78. Thomas was, indeed, ragingly successful. Known as a Country singer, he had no less than fourteen Top 40 hits on the Pop charts and a dozen more on the Christian charts.

Thomas has quite a spiritual biography. After descending into severe drug addiction, he became a believer on January 28, 1976, shortly after his wife, Gloria made her commitment to Christ.

And from that point on, his biggest adversaries were not the secular media, but rather his evangelical fans. You see Thomas cut some of the best-selling Christian singles and albums of all time, but when he performed holistically (including some of this Pop hits along with the Christian material) he was openly heckled, shouted at, and abused by these followers of Jesus–Christian bullies who profess to believe in the Fruits of the Spirit.

There is no reason to believe BJ Thomas ever recanted his faith. He did, however, have little use for this kind of unjustified condemnation and avoided venues in which he would have to endure this incredibly indefensible treatment.

It is experiences like those of Thomas that feed my reluctance to describe myself as an evangelical or born-again Christian. I do not want to be associated with so many of those who so identify themselves. While our calling is to love God and love others, so many who proudly bear these labels are unintentionally tearing up the Kingdom of God, and are understandably better known for their judgmentalism and things they are against than their dedication to the First and Second Great Commandments.

What is so sad, is that the singularly accomplished Thomas perhaps did more for the Kingdom by publicly confessing his faith and singing to the glory of the Savior, than his detractors who stood in judgment of him.   DC

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