Step 1
Step 2
Step 3
Step 4
Step 5
Step 6
Step 7
Step 8
Step 9
Step 10
Step 11
Step 12
Give Yourself Time
Follow Jesus' Steps

Step 3:
 Examine Your Faith

You cannot win this battle against abusive religion by yourself.  Jesus faced and won the victory for all people over oppressive religion.

Take a fearless objective look at your faith.  It is really yours?  Religion may have abused and oppressed you so that you have more doubts than faith.  How can you regain your spiritual life and health? How can Jesus help?   Jesus said, "Follow me." (Mark 8:34).   What does "follow Jesus" mean to you?

Every person experiences Jesus Christ in his or her own way. No two people have exactly the same experience with Jesus, because no two people are exactly alike.  Attempts by religious leaders to expect and demand conformity to a standard kind of "experience with Christ" for everyone are unhealthy and usually lead to a shallow and hypocritical temporary religious "fix." 

Study the experiences with Jesus that are recorded in the Gospels and The Book of Acts and you will notice that no two experiences are exactly the same.  Only Paul met Christ on the Road to Damascus.  Your experience with God in Christ will fit you just as the biblical experiences always fit the personality and situation of each individual.  Enjoy being yourself.  Let Jesus be for you what truly fits you.  You have the promise of the help of the Holy Spirit to guide you to discover and experience Jesus for yourself in the ways that best fit you.  

See my brochure on Invitation To Freedom.

The following material has been found useful to many people from an evangelical background.


      "God loves you so much that God gave God's only child that you would not throw your life away but could have a life full of joy and hope now and for ever. 

      For God did not send Jesus to oppress you but that you might be set free!"

       --John 3:16-17


      Jesus said, "I speak to you so that in me you can have peace.  In this world you live under pressure, but cheer up!  I have won the victory over everything!"  --John 16:33

      To live is to be under pressure and to have problems. The offer of help from Jesus is available to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual people!

      The Bible never discussed gender orientation.  The 6 Bible verses used to condemn and reject us are twisted out of context, distorted and incorrectly translated to hurt people not intended in the Bible!

      There is no word for "homosexual" in the original languages of the Bible.  No reference to gender orientation exists in the Bible!

      An army of ignorant religious terrorists have wrung fear and hate out of the Bible to use against us to try to take hostage our spirituality and our sexuality.  Jesus faced similar kinds of Bible abuse and religious oppression.

      Jesus came to set people free from abusive sick religion.  Jesus came to give us God's unlimited love and to invite us to live in the "truth that sets us free."  --John 8:32; 15:11


      You cannot "love your neighbor as yourself" until you love yourself!  Remember that YOU are your own closest neighbor.  The word "neighbor" in the Bible means "the one near by."


      The Bible nowhere says that you can or should earn God's love.  God's love is a free gift that nobody can ever take away from you!

      "God demonstrated God's own love for us in that while we yet were in rebellion against God, Christ died for us."  --Romans 5:8

      "By grace you are set free (saved) through faith, not of yourselves.  Spiritual freedom (salvation) is a gift from God and not a result of human effort.  So not one of us can boast (before God)."  --Ephesians 2:8-9


      "You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free!  --John 8:32


      Jesus said, "I am the door of the sheep.  All who came before me are thieves and robbers; but the sheep did not hear them.  I am the door.  The one who enters through me shall be set free and shall go in and out and find pasture.  The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy.  I CAME THAT YOU MIGHT HAVE A FULL AND ABUNDANT LIFE!"  --John 10:7-10

      Jesus said that abusive and destructive religious leaders are thieves who come only to steal, kill, and destroy.  That is very strong condemnation by the one who was patient, kind, gentle and compassionate with all sick, outcast and rejected people.

      This stark contrast between Jesus and sick religion is emphasized throughout the Four Gospels.  You also may have suffered under oppressive and abusive religion.

      Don't let sick religion keep you from God!


      God's love and acceptance are available to you.  God's love is inclusive and unconditional.  God's love includes YOU.

      Everyone needs and can enjoy God's "grace."  The word "grace" means "an unearned gift."  Nobody can earn God's love, for God's love has already been given freely to all people!

      God wants to set you free from the limitations and pain of "sin."  The word "sin" in the Bible means "to miss the target."  Sin is failure to hit the target of God's good purpose for your life to reach your greatest possible potential for joy and fulfillment.

      Jesus defined "sin" as the failure to love.  Jesus gave a new commandment to the disciples to "love one another just as I have loved you" and added, "By this everybody will know that you are my disciples (followers) if you love each other." --John 13:34-35


      "Therefore accept one another, just as Christ also accepted you to the glory of God." --Romans 15:7

      GOD ACCEPTS YOU . . .

      "Behold, now is the right time!  Now is the day of freedom (salvation.)" --2 Corinthians 6:2


      "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Sovereign and believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you will be set free (saved).   Any person who calls on the name of God will be delivered!" --Romans 10:9 & 13


      The only invitation that Jesus gave to people was "FOLLOW ME."

      When you invite Jesus into your life, you receive the help of God in all of your other decisions.  You have the Spirit "helper" promised by Jesus to all who follow Jesus.

      Jesus went about setting people free from abusive and oppressive religion.  Becoming a Christian does not mean becoming religious!  It means that you let God do for you what God already wants to do for you but cannot do without your permission!

      Let go and open up your mind and your heart to God's love!

      DO IT NOW!

      Inviting Jesus to come into your life is the most important decision you will ever make!  It is the act of faith that turns your life into a positive and healthy new direction.

      Pray this prayer or use other words that are more comfortable for you.

      DEAR GOD,






                      --IN JESUS' NAME, AMEN.

      WHAT NEXT?

      TELL somebody about what you have experienced.  Tell the person who is most important to you.  Tell your friends.

      WRITE out your experience of inviting Jesus into your life and be able to share it with other people.

      PRAY and ask for God's help to enter fully into your new life of following Jesus.

      READ and study the life and teachings of Jesus in the Four Gospels.

      FIND or BEGIN a spiritual support group for yourself and others.


      (Bible quotations are translations by the author and are based on the fact that "save" in the Bible literally means "to set free" or "liberate.")

Further discussion of Step 3 can be found in my book Steps To Recovery From Bible Abuse in the following Lessons:

(Click on Bible references to read them.)

John 3:16-17; Romans 10:9-13

John 8:12-59

Romans 5:6-11

Romans 6:4;1 Peter 1:1-9 and read all of Matthew 28; Mark 16; Luke 24 and John chapters 20 & 21 .

Update added July 25, 2004

 A new television series about fire fighters is called "Rescue Me."  Sometimes we need somebody else to rescue us from a variety of dangers and depressions.  Many of you recently have been helpful to me to "rescue" me from financial and other disturbing problems.  Thank you!


In 1820, Fanny Crosby was blinded by an incompetent doctor and yet went on to become the most prolific hymnist in history, producing over 8,000 hymns.  (See links below.)  She herself was "rescued" from her blindness through her calling to write hymns of deliverance and hope that have inspired millions of people throughout the world.  One of her most famous and often sung hymns is "Rescue the Perishing".

Crosby wrote this hymn in 1869 on the way home after visiting a "rescue mission," meeting the people there and hearing their stories.  My favorite part of that hymn is verse three:

"Down in the human heart, crushed by the tempter,
Feelings lie buried that grace can restore;
Touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness,
Chords that were broken will vibrate once more."

(See the entire hymn in link below.)


The ministry of Jesus in the Gospels can be described as "the touching of people by a loving heart."  This is something that you and I also can do.  It is also something that often has been done for you and for me by others.  Your "loving touch" can work miracles of relief and restoration for others.

The New Testament Greek word "save" could also be translated "rescue,"  "set free" or "deliver".  The Greek word's for "save" and "savior" (sozo, soter) were used for many kinds of people who saved or "rescued" people from something.  Teachers, doctors, military leaders, politicians, prophets "saved" "delivered" or "rescued" people from ignorance, sickness, oppression, anarchy, sin, etc.

I just clicked on "save" to keep this message on my computer and realized that one of our most common uses of "save" means to keep something like it is so that it will not be "lost".


In 1993 I made a tour of some of the MCC congregations in the Pacific Northwest for evangelism, teaching, workshops and retreats. I visited with Rev. Frodo Okulam and her family in Portland, Oregon.  Frodo, a former high priest in Wicca (See link below), was pastor of a local Metropolitan Community Church that was reaching a lot of women who had been neglected and rejected by other churches.  I greatly admire Frodo and her special work.

We sat around in a circle in her home as I began to go through my MCC brochure on "How to become a Christian" ("The Bible as the Friend of Gays and Lesbians").  One question that was raised by the group was the problem that they had with some of the words.  I asked: which words?  They said: "saved," for one!  Then they explained to me that the way many fundamentalist religious people use the word "save" is to expect anybody who is "saved" to become the same kind of closed minded religious bigot as they are!

That was when I began to explore exactly what biblical "save" really means and came to the clear conclusion that a better translation of biblical "to be saved" would be "to be set free" or "to be liberated".  Look at my website material on Step Three for more details (See link below).  Step Three includes my revised guide to "How to Become a Christian," in which I use the word "liberate" in place of "save" and give a brief explanation.  (My book goes into a great deal more detail on this issue.)


The preacher read a newspaper story about the dramatic rescue of a child from a burning building.  He decided to tell the story in his Sunday sermon to illustrate people being saved from hell.  He told the details of how a ladder was put up to the wall, a hole was cut into the wall, and the child was brought down to safety just in time.  He was surprised that there was no reaction by the congregation.  After church, he asked his wife what was wrong with the story.  She replied: "You forgot to tell them that the building was on fire."

Religion is constantly trying to rescue people from imaginary and unspecified horrors based on medieval mythology and spooky memories.  One of the greatest challenges today is to rescue people from religion itself!  Anything that you can do to rescue others from legalistic judgmental abusive religion is a clear act of "following" Jesus and continuing the work of the Holy Spirit.


Learning to think for yourself and to trust your own mind can be a great liberating experience!  Develop your personal use of objective, logical, realistic, practical thinking so that your self-esteem will soar and your sense of freedom and liberation will make you a better and more useful person to yourself and to others.

Celebrate your liberation from the binding and limiting self-image that has been forced upon you by parents, family, church, your culture and your own willingness to let other people do your thinking for you.  My personal mission in life now is to help everybody, not just GLBT people, to accept and feel good about YOU so that you will quit hurting yourself and others.

Rembert Truluck
201 W. Washington St. #805
Greenville, SC 29601

Fanny Crosby (1820-1915)

"Rescue the Perishing"



See the following update on the meaning of the resurrection added for Easter 2002:


"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.  And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.  And God said: Let there be light: and there was light.  And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.  And God called the light Day, and called the darkness Night.  And the evening and the morning were the first day."  (Genesis 1:1-5)

God gave light to make everything else possible.  Without light, there can be no beauty, truth, life or love.  What does the creation say to you?

On the first day of the week, the disciples went to the tomb of Jesus and found it empty.  One of the women, Mary, lingered there and met Jesus face to face.  She did not recognize Jesus at first until Jesus called her name and thereby opened her vision to who was really standing before her.  She had thought that Jesus was the gardener who had taken the body away.  Jesus from the beginning was known only by those to whom Jesus revealed himself because they were receptive to the truth and to the radical revision of reality that Jesus represented.

What does the resurrection of Jesus say to you?

You do not encounter Jesus in paintings and statues, which are merely somebody's imaginary picture of Jesus.  You encounter the real Jesus in spiritual events in which Jesus reveals the truth and opens your mind to your own truth and to Jesus all in the same moment.  The Spirit of Jesus also gives you insight into why other people in your life are there.  An encounter with Jesus truly is the first day of the rest of your life.

For disciples of Jesus, every "first day of the week" (Sunday) is a celebration both of the creation of light and the resurrection of Jesus that brings the eternal inner light of love, life and hope.


Life is not made up of chance happenings and vague uncertain coincidences.  The Spirit of God is in everything that is happening to you and around you.  The resurrection of Jesus as told at the conclusion of each of the Four Gospels draws back the veil and reveals the brilliance of God's living presence that lies back of everything all the time but is seldom recognized or even suspected.

God is already at work in your life far beyond your wildest imagination.  It is not just that "every common bush is afire with God," but that you also are afire with God's power and presence at this very moment!

The resurrection of Jesus is essential to the story of Jesus, because the resurrection is the event that changes completely how you see yourself and your own significance in the universe and in the life of God.  The meaning of the resurrection is not in the cold hard fact of an empty tomb but in the mystical experience of each individual who experiences the reality of God's presence and glory within.  Through the resurrection of Jesus, God calls you by your name and you are included in the life of the Creator who made and sustains all life.  Are you listening?


The ultimate triumph of the Spirit of Jesus is not found in the cold hard historical facts, which we can never know anyway, but in your openness to the truth about yourself and about God's love and acceptance of you as an individual just as you are.

God is in the creation at every moment and in every molecule, atom and electron and in the lightening and storms and in every event of human experience.  Far more important, however, is the presence of God within you and at every moment of your life.  You cannot exist without God.  The fact that you do exist is evidence enough that you matter to God and that God has far greater plans for you than you can ever imagine or fulfill apart from God.

Resurrection is far more than a single human event.  It is the reality that lies behind everything that is happening in your life and that gives meaning even to the chaos and confusions that distract all of us from who we are and why we are here.


When Jesus called Mary by her name (John 20:16), she recognized the real Jesus and entered into a new realm of being that you also can enjoy now and forever.  Debates, doctrines, demands and disasters do not give you the experience of Jesus calling you by your name and inviting you to enter into the truth about yourself and God.

The powerful spiritual forces of love, life, healing, and hope already surround you.  Stop and think on these things.  Don't let traditional religion distract you from who you already are in God's love and plan for the universe.  Let the resurrection of Jesus on "the first day of the week" be a personal experience of new beginning and fresh spiritual energy for you also.

Read through the stories about the resurrection of Jesus at the end of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  Think and meditate on what these ancient stories are saying about you and your present life situation.  Let the reality of resurrection draw back the dark veil and reveal the brilliance of God's love and power that already dwell within and all around you.

You can't see your own halo.  But it's there.

With faith, hope and love,

Rembert Truluck

Different Light Book Store in the Castro in San Francisco has recently stocked fresh copies of my book.  Go to the Different Light Book Store, explore the offerings of this important part of our community, and buy a copy of my book as an Easter present for yourself or for a friend.

The following Update was added February 23, 2001:

"Can you be gay AND be a SAVED Christian?"  This question was part of a recent e-mail sent to me by a woman who was struggling with the same questions that sick and abusive religion has forced on millions of people.  She went on to say, "MANY passages in the Bible PROMISE the Holy Spirit to those that are saved.  If I had a "gift" of the Holy Spirit (such as speaking in tongues, etc.) I would have PROOF that I was saved and NO ONE could question whether you can be gay and be saved."

The letter went on to describe many personal details of her life-long struggle to find spiritual joy and peace in the face of religious rejection and humiliation.  She said, "I have grown up with the idea that you can't be gay and be a Christian.  This attitude has been instilled in me by my parents, by churches, by preachers and now by the Bible."

I thought about this letter for a long time and prayed about my response before I answered.  I am printing the reply that I sent today so that you might discover some answers that will be appropriate for you.

Dear Friend:

You already have "the love of God poured out into your heart by the Holy Spirit who was given to you" (Romans 5:5).  Read all of Romans chapters 5, 6, 7, 8 for great encouragement and a clear picture of God's love, which you already have in abundance.

The greatest gift of the Spirit of Jesus is love, for love controls everything else.  You obviously have love in your heart for many people, especially for your partner.  I thank God for your experience of love!  Read 1 Corinthians 13 again and notice the details in this chapter on love.

Jesus nowhere gave any teaching that you had to "speak in tongues" if you experience the Holy Spirit.  Instead, the clear repeated teaching and example of Jesus was love: "I give you a new commandment that you love one another just as I have loved you.  By this everybody will know that you are my disciple if you love one another." (John 13:34-35.

Thank you for writing.  You are struggling as many people have, not just gay people, because churches have taught things about Jesus and the Bible that are just not true.  Let go of anything about Jesus that disturbs you and makes you crazy.  No such negative self-rejection really comes from Jesus.  These kinds of self-destructive and self-rejecting thoughts come from abusive sick religion, which I have written about at great length in my web site and book.

You don't have to do anything to prove you have God's love.  You are made in the image of God and you are the blessed and beloved child of God.  Jesus came to set you free from abusive religion, just as he did 2,000 years ago in his life and ministry.  Jesus came to destroy destructive religion and replace it with something better: Himself!

Read the section in my web site on "Legalism as Idolatry".  The problem with "speaking in tongues" and other "requirements" of certain church groups is that they not only have no basis in the life and teachings of Jesus, they also are made into legalist requirements that separate people from one another and create artificial barriers between people and God that Jesus never intended. For Jesus, the ONLY requirement is love, and you obviously have a great abundance of love in your heart.

Learn to accept and love yourself.  A lot of my web site and book is devoted to helping gay, lesbian, bisexual, and trans people love themselves.  Our entire outlook on life is transformed when we quit fooling around with religion and just relax and let go and accept God's unconditional all inclusive love for us.  I hope and pray for you that you can and will do that.

Have you had any contact with a Metropolitan Community Church (MCC)?  The MCC churches are wonderful congregations of GLBT people who are totally accepting and affirming of all people and who help each other know Jesus and build strong Christian fellowship based on self-acceptance and faith in who Jesus really is.  Let me know where you live, and I can tell you where the nearest MCC is located.

Thank you for taking the time to write to me.  You already have the answers to your questions in Jesus.  Read through the Gospel of John.  Think about Jesus.  You are going to work through all of this and learn not only how to let go and trust God's love but you are also learning how to help others to do the same!

Rembert Truluck

(The following material continues the theme of the above letter.)

Update for February 24, 2001:

When I was a student at Furman University in Greenville, SC, and serving as pastor at Beaverdam Baptist Church, I went through a severe spiritual crisis of doubting that I was "saved."  I had gone to hear a well-known evangelist preach in a revival in Spartanburg, SC, and he had stressed having a certain kind of "conversion" and being "sure you were saved" or you were not saved!  He said repeatedly that if you doubt your salvation, you are not "saved".  Somehow, this burned into my mind and heart and I became literally sick with worry.  I could not sleep, and I worried about my salvation all the time.  I did not have the "feeling" that he described so vividly in his sermon.

What advice would you have given to me if you had been with me at that time?  I asked several religion professors and some of my ministerial student friends if they had doubted their salvation.  The answer always was "No," until I confessed that I doubted mine, and then they would become honest and share with me their own experiences of doubt and uncertainty!  I realized that the pressure to pretend to be confident in fundamentalist religion even when you have doubts is one of the strongest forms of sick abusive religion.

I also realized at that time that a lot of what Southern Baptist ministerial students and pastors preach is not what they have learned for themselves from the Bible or their own experience but what they have heard other preachers say, even when they did not know what they were talking about!  A lot of murky uncertain misinformation gets into sermons and does greater damage to people than the preachers realize.  Ignorance is in charge, and ignorance kills!


I was not satisfied with any answers that came from other people.  Using Young's Concordance, I looked up and read every verse in the New Testament that talked about being saved or about salvation.  Not one verse mentioned "feeling" or gave any kind of "proof" that the individual could depend on beyond simply trusting in God's love and grace.  I was greatly relieved!  But I still had no proof.  I continued to pray and search.  I finally told God that I might go to hell, but I would go to hell trusting in Jesus.  That hit me as so ludicrous that I laughed at myself.

This worrying, searching and praying episode lasted for about four months.  Needless to say, this distraction from my studies took its toll in bad grades and other mistakes.

Two verses of encouragement finally settled my mind.  John 3:16-17 became the bedrock of my new confidence.  I am included in "whosoever," and so are you.  Another very brief verse helped: "Cast all your anxiety upon God, for God cares for you." (I Peter 5:7)  Finding a way out of the misinformed evangelical demand that I should experience a certain "feeling" to be sure I was God's child was a long tortuous journey.  The "cold grip of fear" is still a vivid memory from those days of uncertainly and doubting 48 years ago.  I still have doubts and uncertainties, but they don't drive me crazy and destroy my sense of peace with God.


I can still remember my overwhelming sense of relief when I finally decided to let go of trying to prove my salvation and just trust God to be in charge.  But it was far from all over.  I continued for years to listen to misinformed fundamentalist preachers pontificate about things that they did not understand.  It took many years for me to begin to become objective and realistic about the Bible and about what I was called to be and do in ministry.  Only when I was outed and the complete break with Southern Baptists came for me in 1981 was I able to begin thinking in new directions and with the new freedom that has led to my web site and book.

Letting go is hard to do.  Psalm 46:10 became more meaningful a few years ago when I noticed the marginal reading.  The verse says, "Be still and know that I am God."  The marginal reading is: "Let go, relax and know (experience) that I am God."  What this says to me is that I don't have to struggle to play God.  I can relax and let go and let God be in control.  I don't have to do everything myself.  In fact, I don't have to do anything myself.  This can be a great liberating revelation.

Joy has come for me to the degree that I have been willing to let go and let God be God.  I have come to the place now where I really don't try to manipulate everything and everybody.  I am tempted to try, but it never works.  My codependence will never be completely under control, but I am trying.  When I intentionally let go of trying to control other people, the joy and peace that come are worth the effort.  I have come to the conclusion that when I really trust God and believe that God is in control, whatever is supposed to happen will happen, for there are no accidents with God.

Read "Dynamics of Faith" by Paul Tillich for practical help.

See new music drama, "White Darkness," written and directed by Tom Dean and performed by Oakland Opera Theater.

On to Step 4


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