Leatherbound Terrorism

Reviewing Leatherbound Terrorism

When I was young, the First Baptist Church in my community sent a bus down my street (and others) to gather up kiddies for Sunday School, worship, and other religious activities. Coming from a non-churched household – a family often stressed by conflict, alcoholism, and threats of disillusionment – the conservative Evangelical church of my youth was a place of nurture, love, and acceptance. Then again, I was an insider. I was a believer who early on felt a call to faith, baptism, and ministry as a “preacher of the gospel.”

I was sold on the agenda. Much of that agenda was judgmental. If you were Catholic, you were a cult member. If your church allowed women to stand behind the pulpit to preach, you were liberal. If you accepted LGBTQ persons (then we just called them gays, perverts of fags) to be a member of your church without “changing their ways,” you were worse than liberal. You were apostate, unsaved, and a tool of satan.

As a part of the conservative Evangelical family, that agenda was my agenda. Then I went college and met some of those people ripped on by my home church. The only church in walking distance of my university had gifted women serving in diaconal ministry. They even had women preach from the pulpit (and they were good speakers with an inspiring and biblically based message). And I met people in my fraternity, dorm, and in the classroom, who were LGBTQ. Some of them were even committed Christ-followers who felt a call to ministry, just like me.

The sad thing was that many of these folks had absolute horror stories to tell about their treatment by religious conservative Evangelicals. They remember the harsh judgment, name-calling, exclusion, and excommunication they had suffered by my tradition – by people just like me. And I remember the people I had disparaged and ridiculed in my zeal as a conservative Evangelical.

I am glad that the Holy Spirit warmed my heart to repent from such unloving and judgmental beliefs and behaviors. In time, it was not just a sin of attitude of which I needed to repent, but it went deeper to the very core of my belief system. The Divine grace of the Triune God opened my heart to see all people as recipients of God’s grace, fully love, accepted, and included as God’s family.

In his book, Leatherbound Terrorism, Chris Kratzer sets out to demolish the same conservative Evangelical tradition of his own youth. On many pages, that effort in rather harsh. He speaks in very direct ways about how conservative Evangelicals have move away from the grace and God revealed in Jesus Christ.

Some my bristle at Chris blunt ways, but he speaks as one who spent more than two decades as a pastor in that tradition. He spent many of those years journey becoming increasingly disenchanted and deconstructing his doctrines, beliefs, preaching, and teaching, until he eventually awakened him to the depths of God’s grace.

This book is a great read, but it is not for the faint of heart. If you find yourself questioning your religious traditions – especially if it comes from a place of unloving judgment that seems rooted in legalism rather than grace, you will find this a welcome tool on your journey.

If you have arrived at a place where the institutional church seems to have been commandeered by a political agenda that divides people into parties, some of which are included, others of which are excluded (and you know that’s not right), then you need to read this book.

If you are a conservative Evangelical, and you are not afraid to have your presuppositions challenged, you should also read this book. Chris has a very active social media presence. He (myself and others as well) would be happy to engage you in respectful conversations. We might not come to the same conclusions on every issue, but I hope we could at least agree that the stance of the church toward those not including themselves insides its walls, should be that of Jesus (loving, inclusive, and non-judgmental).

Chris Kratzer is a husband, father, pastor, author, and speaker. Captured by the pure Gospel of God’s Grace, his focus is communicating the message of wholeness, equality, affirmation, and the beauty of Jesus particularly as it relates to life, culture, and church. As a pastor of 22 years, he enjoys being a husband, father of four children, writer, and spiritual encourager. You can follow Chris on Facebook, Twitter, and read his popular blog here.

I received a complimentary copy of Leatherbound Terrorism as a part of the “Speakeasy” blogging network (operated by Mike Morrell). I am not required to write a positive review, but only to express my own honest opinions. (This information is being disclosed in accordance with regulations from the Federal Trade Commission.)


Praise for Leatherbound Terrorism

Leatherbound Terrorism is going to get a rise out of you. That I promise. It will put a compassionate lump in your throat as you read about Chris’s background. Depending on your existing viewpoints, it will either excite you to see a man speak so boldly about controversial subjects or it will annoy you because of the things he says. But I predict one thing for sure: many are going to talk about it and read it and no small number will find themselves being changed as a result.”
— Steve McVey, Best-selling author

“Chris Kratzer lances the festering boil that is much of modern evangelical Christianity. Leatherbound Terrorismism shocking and embarrassing and fantastically liberating. Thank you Holy Spirit for Kratzer, for his journey, for his courage, no, for his honesty, for setting the joy of Jesus before him and never letting him settle for our American religious skubula. For all those sisters and brothers who know better, who have always known better and refused to drink the Kool Aid, but had nowhere to go, this is your book. Now, let’s get to work rethinking everything we thought we knew in the light of Jesus. I am in.”
— C. Baxter Kruger, Best-selling author

“In this beautifully written book, we journey with Chris who shares his life experiences from childhood to his years as an Evangelical minister, in the the most authentic, loving way. Many people will see themselves and relate—hopefully finding comfort in knowing they are not alone—allowing for healing to take place. Anyone who is involved with Evangelicals, by association, will value this book for the insights and education it provides. And, for those who are a part of the movement of which Chris writes, if read with an open mind and heart, it has the potential to be incredibly transforming.”
— Rev. Michele Sevacko, PhD

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