I am a young Christian pastor, that also happens to be a bartender. Some people don't feel comfortable asking questions of a pastor. Go for it.

Comments: 1018 • Responses: 52  • Date: 

dodave201654 karma

How do you feel about Evolution?

Paulsenjw128 karma

I'll answer briefly, but we can go further if we need. Darwinian evolution, (macro evolution) has yet to be proven, therefor I don't agree that it is a scientific accurate assumption that we evolved from single celled amoeba. I do take, by faith, that God created the world, universe, time, space, matter because it says that in the bible. And I also it being backed up scientifically that there is order in the universe and points to an intelligent creator.

davehaha41 karma

Come on guys, I can't believe all the shit you are giving him. He is one of the best Christians I know, He answers with humility, he isn't acting too preachy, and he isn't judging you atheists. You're giving Atheists a bad name with your loaded questions and aggressiveness.

Paulsenjw6 karma

do we actually know each other, or are you just making an observation? not trying to be rude, but I have found people on here that actually know me...and either way thanks!

davehaha2 karma

Just making an observation.

Paulsenjw2 karma

ok cool, thanks:)

poorloser32 karma

So, how's life

Paulsenjw48 karma

Difficult, and good. Thanks for askin.

mybustersword27 karma

A lot of these questions are asking him about science, which as a pastor he probably isn't the most qualified to answer. You wouldn't start asking him to prove his beliefs or theories with math, just as you wouldn't ask a musician to explain how the air vibrations made by his instrument get transformed into sweet sounding music in our perception. But he'll tell what its like to follow the path he is on with the frame of mind he has taken. The idea of AMA is to learn a bit more about things, and the way people choose to view the world. OP has a chance to learn more about the world with this as well, so everyone stop fighting or I swear to gosh I will turn this reddit around and we will all go home

Paulsenjw4 karma

its true, im not a scientist.

Ineffable31423 karma

Why do you believe?

Paulsenjw21 karma

Believe it or not...I never get this question. I believe in God because I believe in the bible. I believe the bible because the bible is a historically accurate representation of history and characters, that have yet to ever be disproven. I also believe because of experience. I met God, and that might sound weird but the bible tells of a God that communicates.

Tstrong42064 karma

Please tell us about this meeting you had with God.

Paulsenjw41 karma

Yea, sorry that probably sounds weird. I was at a church service and I felt God move spiritually in me, I felt alive and confessed that I needed him...i suppose it's difficult to explain spiritual things. I felt release when believed in Him, I felt His love and affirmation.

[deleted]97 karma


Paulsenjw2 karma

when there is a move in the spirit their can be a move in the flesh. but im not gonna lie, there is a lot of emotionalism in the church. that is why the bible says to beware of it.

Arguss15 karma

Was it just the once, or do you regularly get these feelings? What happens when you pray?

Paulsenjw17 karma

It was pretty impactful once, but I have felt is presence often. Usually when I pray my feelings towards a situation changes.

[deleted]9 karma


Paulsenjw2 karma

true, but it sells as a fictional story that doesn't claim to offer eternal life.

ntheg11118 karma

God supposedly created darkness and light on the first day. Isn't darkness the the absence of light? How could she create darkness?

Paulsenjw12 karma

I think god (he) created time space matter light and darkness.

spacing_out_in_space15 karma

I was raised a Christian, but have had to abandon the bulk of my faith due to some of the teachings and Biblical passages that seem to conflict with the greater notion of brotherly love taught by Jesus. Most of these conflicts of mine are rooted in the teachings of the Old Testament, which often depicts God as blatantly prejudice, misogynist, and cruel (Old Testament laws were tough, man!). My other major qualm is that I cannot agree with the notion that faith and/or Baptism is a mandatory prerequisite for entrance into heaven, as I think one's religion often happens to be based more on culture and geography rather than the content of their character.

My questions to you are: As someone who lives their life according to the Bible, what do you think when you read books such as Deuteronomy and come across various passages depicting things that would undeniably be considered barbaric by today's standards? (For example, a quick google search lead me to Deuteronomy 21:18-21, which instructs us to stone rebellious children to death). In your eyes, how are these various passages justifiable as the righteous teachings of the Lord?

Lastly, do you have any internal values, morals, principles, or beliefs that seem to directly conflict with the Bible, the Church, and/or its teachings? If so, how are you able to reconcile these conflicts with your faith?

Thanks for your time!

Paulsenjw20 karma

Biblically, the only prerequisite for eternal life is belief, not baptism. As far as OT stuff, Jesus fulfills the law and Old Testament so no one has to stone kids anymore. The NT teaches that the OT laws help teach us about sin, what sin is like, how it affects us spiritually, and also lets us know that we are in need of someone who has to take all that punishment onto Himself. Jesus.

spacing_out_in_space12 karma

Thank you for answering.

So you are saying that out of the billions of Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, atheists, etc. out there, not a single one is worthy of heaven? Even if they fulfill the "love thy neighbor" requirement, yet never been directly exposed to the teachings of Jesus and Christianity due to circumstances beyond their control? See, this is my major hang up. I may be able to look past the stuff in the OT, even though I still don't quite understand how the fabric of morality seemingly changed with Jesus' passing. I just don't think I'll ever be able to wrap my head around the fact that all non-Christians are spending eternity in Hell. I can't imagine that every single one of them is deserving of that... some of the most caring, loving people I know are non-Christian.

Paulsenjw8 karma

Yea, this is hard to reconcile for me too. On one hand god is very gracious, and he leans more towards gracious than not, even sending his so to the cross, which is why most theologians err on the side of age/knowledge of accountability. And on the other hand you have verses in Romans saying that people are without excuse because God is so plainly evident, and faith comes by hearing the word of God preached. Some people also say that at the judgment time there is a point of possibility of turning, I don't have all the answers for this one for sure.

handsock15 karma

Have you ever wondered what God did before he created existence?

Paulsenjw3 karma

Sometimes, but also, God is outside of space and time. I think things are different with God than we think he is. He created seasons and time.

CGWLP14 karma

I guess I'll be that guy- proof?

Paulsenjw17 karma

Proof about?

Lerayas15 karma

That you are a pastor. The rules of this subreddit demand that you include proof of your claim (in this case, you're a pastor).

Paulsenjw13 karma

Ahhh gotcha. Well I don't know why anyone would lie about being a pastor...should I take a picture of my card or something? Sorry I'm a bit new to reedit anyways. Can you post pictures in here or just make A link?

aero199214 karma

What're your views on contraception?

Paulsenjw33 karma

God made sex for a number of reasons: produce offspring, it's pleasurable, and it's a 'reset' button for married people's. sex is Gods creation and frankly one of the testaments that God is good. With that In mind...I am not against contraception. And I also know that rubber won't stop anything God has planned.

doc-ant12 karma

how do you feel about the 'radical christians'? the one's who take it that little bit too far? Westboro Baptist Church for example.

Paulsenjw64 karma

They know they pervert the bible. They pick and choose. And frankly they are very unintelligent, they do not follow proper hermeneutical guidelines to interpret the bible. Take it from a pastor...a pastor that has schooling...what they teach about God is ridiculous. (I edited out a swear word here)

christoph9912 karma

What is the best piece of advice you could give an atheist? (One that isn't trying to join a religion)

Paulsenjw40 karma

I'm not sure why you would or even try to join a religion, most religious people I know are a little superficial at best. Best piece of an advice, for anyone seeking out God: think with your brain and let your heart agree with it. I think if we ask God questions He will answer, but that's not really an excuse for us to be lazy, or half-hearted. Think about it; if The God of the Bible (this compassionate, loving, powerful, majestic, passionate, all-knowing God) is real, and whether we believe or don't believe about Him dictates our future, shouldn't we be responsibility afford it some intellectual thought, time, and energy? Faith is rational at some level. It has to be. Otherwise, it's just wishful thinking, and that's not actually what biblical faith is.

towlieee10 karma


Paulsenjw41 karma

ask if they at least tithed.

Paulsenjw25 karma


flowerwishes9 karma

Ugh, I'm not Christian but when I see Atheists trolling on Christians like this I get annoyed. How about asking him questions like this subreddit was intended instead of trying to prove him wrong or convert him. You're no more likely to convert him to Atheism than he is to convert you to Christianity. Thanks for posting btw Paulsenjw, I find this AMA very interesting.

Paulsenjw4 karma


expatsvillage9 karma

Do Pastors have to go through any mental health training before they can counsel members of the church? Seems to me that would be a prominent part of the job and some mental health training would be incredibly useful to someone offering counselling on a wide range of problems.

Paulsenjw11 karma

There have been trained counselors and psychologists in my church. I can't speak for everyone but I defer when necessary.

philly21948 karma

What is your view on masturbation. Also, is it a sin?

Paulsenjw18 karma

The bible never really talks directly about masturbation. My thoughts, whenever people masturbate they have lustful thoughts, and lust is a sin. Sometimes, I think it's really easy for people to get tripped up on sin, like God is going to be so surprised that someone masturbated or that someone sinned. That's why he died for us. We struggle with sin.

seanzyf8 karma

What is your best explanation for suffering? If God is so good, and is all for giving people an opportunity to seek Him out in order to live the most pure, and loving life they possibly could, why make people suffer? This could span from cancer, to murder, to natural disasters, to anything evil that brings suffering amongst his believers. If he is the creator of all, good and evil, why the evil?

Edit: PS. Mad respect for having the balls to post an AMA like this. Reddit, as I have seen thus far, isn't the most religion friendly place. I think answering these questions with your kind of patience is pretty impressive. Well done.

Paulsenjw8 karma

Evil exists in the world, and no one would really deny it. Suffering occurs in the world, and Jesus made it really clear in the NT that suffering will happen, because that is the fallen nature of man. God himself suffered on the cross for our sins, he'd be the first to agree with you. Jesus says his disciple will suffer because the world Is evil. I don't think he created evil, but the possibility for us to choose it, it's not loving to make someone choose Him, we have an option to choose not him. The bible says that he is in the process of reaching out to people who will have faith in Him and after that he will come and judge the world accordingly

seanzyf2 karma

So wait.. God suffered on the cross? I thought that was Jesus. I also thought Jesus spoke the word of God.

Now I'm really getting f'd. I'll stick to believing in /trees.

Paulsenjw5 karma

Jesus says the Father and Him are one, and the Holy Spirit. God through Jesus suffered on the cross for sins. there is a passage known as the 'kenosis' passage that speaks of God 'emptying' himself when he came to earth...no one quite knows what he emptied, i believe it to be GLORY.

RobbieHart7 karma

What're some qualities or standards, if any, you have set for yourself that clearly go against the general beliefs of the Christian community?

Paulsenjw64 karma

Well, I like beer, and a cigar every great once in a while. I mentioned that I am a bartender as well, and sometimes I get an irritating drunk person driving me crazy and I swear when I get a mad at them. Not condoning it. Just being honest. I'm not a 'typical' pastor. I try to be real. I wasn't raised in a Christian house. And I don't pretend my crap doesn't stink. I just love Jesus and people and I try to just go from there. A lot is people think that it isn't good for me to tend bar, but the bible doesn't say alcohol is bad...it says that too much alcohol is bad.

papanicky6 karma

tl;dr Ask a pastor questions, then disagree with whatever he says.

Paulsenjw2 karma


Honeyman16 karma

How does it feel that /r/atheism is one of the most popular subreddits on this site?

Paulsenjw31 karma

Well, it doesn't really hurt my feelings. People talk about God or not god all the time. It's good to discuss. I so think it is interesting when people claim to be atheist without being studied. Atheism isn't something you just get to claim. Matter of fact, nobody likes it when Christians claim Christianity but don't live like it. I'm ok if people claim atheism as long as that is a decision that they come to based on any kind of actual intelligent study. If you say your atheist but haven't arrived at that conclusion by actual intelligent thought, then by definition your not atheist but lazy, agnostic If you will. Some people claim it because its cool. It is also interesting to me that many atheists are so very mad at at a God they say doesn't exist.

ConorPF34 karma

How are agnostics lazy? They're just saying they've seen no proof for God but they aren't totally dismissing the idea.

Paulsenjw2 karma

lazy is a hard word I suppose, didn't mean to offend. Most people that I have met they claim 'agnostic' are people that like the idea of a God, but don't want to say they can no anything about who He is. usually it is accompanied by a lack of any form of research or intellectual assent.

mysterybkk5 karma

ok so the bible states somewhere that you should not do harm to your body, and then you say you are a bartender, so basically you are working in an environment which promotes drinking, indirectly smoking, and depending on the venue, also casual sexual hook ups. how exactly does being a pastor and a bartender fit together here?

Paulsenjw2 karma

i also serve food there too and you can hurt your body with that. there is no smoking aloud inside in my state, so theres that. casual sexual hook ups happen in grocery markets. Id rather be around people, like Jesus was. He had dinner with prostitutes, im just making them a drink.

jaspersgroove4 karma

You, my friend, have just done the internet equivalent of leaping into the lions den.

Hopefully my fellow redditors will try to learn something from you instead of just bashing your beliefs.


Paulsenjw5 karma

yea, I wasn't counting on this...this is my first reddit post...but im always up for some dialogue...cheers back at ya

adelaide1233 karma

how did you become a pastor, and why? excuse my stupidity i may be asking a silly question but are you ever tempted by women? working in a bar doesnt help either. how do you deal with theses temptations

Paulsenjw10 karma

I was leading the youth group at my church for a few years after meeting Jesus. My senior pastor brought up the idea me being licensed at a staff meeting. I went through a rigorous 4 hour licensing interview that followed months of studying. And after the interview the 3 interviewing pastors approved me, which got approved by more higher-ups in the denomination and now I have a sweet pastors license on my wall. Believe me, no one is more surprised then me. I didn't grow up Christian. And for the most part everyone in my family was like 'wha?' Oh yes, I am tempted by woman. Just because you're a pastor doesn't mean you never get horny. I deal with the temptation like I deal with any other temptation, I don't indulge them. It isn't a sin to notice a beautiful woman, it is a sin what you do with it from there. It is a responsibility for a human being to take into consideration the fact they are responsible for their own actions. If it is becoming something that I am struggling with than I pray about it, and ask God to encourage me. Sometimes, just like everyone else, I may lust, doesn't make me a bad pastor, just makes me someone who needs God a lot. Working in the bar really isn't more tempting than anywhere else really. Not that nice noticed. The trouble I have in the bar, is sometimes I indulge people a little too much and for the sake of being charming, funny, or shmoosy (because I am mostly paid by tips) I may be crass, but one persons crazy is different then another's I suppose.

MD_NP123 karma

Ever seen someone intoxicated in your church? What did you do to them? Ever seen anybody in your bar that surprised you?

Paulsenjw9 karma

yes, I've seen plenty intoxicated in church, haven't seen anyone in my bar that surprised me

RobbieGeneva3 karma

Late to the party. If you are still answering questions, I have a rather dumb one, so here goes. You refer to yourself as a "pastor", what is the difference between pastor, preacher, priest, minister?

Paulsenjw2 karma

pastor is a position, preacher is a role, priest is in the catholic church which I am not, and minister is interchangeable with pastor

purplepug223 karma

You sir, are a brave soul.

Paulsenjw2 karma


[deleted]2 karma


Paulsenjw2 karma

blind faith isn't really faith. faith is most powerful when it is in spite of doubt, that is the point of faith. I don't walk through my day never struggling with doubt. i do doubt and then I ask God to help me with my unbelief and ask God to illuminate my heart to understand more and grow in his grace and mercy...God's not surprised that we have doubts...how many times did Jesus talk to the disciples and bring up this same issue? my encouragement is the same as Jesus': Ask, seek, knock continue to struggle and be faithful through the struggle, God will show up, He is God and does not forsake those who believe in Him. Blessings

Squeezer992 karma

Why do Christian religious denominations focus more on the new testament than the old testament? I find the new testament to be boring, but the old testament to be very interesting, from a historical prospective.

Paulsenjw2 karma

I focus on both because they are telling the whole story, without the OT the NT doesn't make sense. The NT is the fulfillment of the OT

typed_this_now2 karma

Not sure if it has been answered but do you think that you would have had received a calling if you were not raised a Christian? I Have always wanted to ask a religious leader that. I kinda see it as supporting a sports team. you rarely see someone from one part of a country going for team in another city without some indoctrinating influence.

Edit: There is always a majority of arbitrary circumstances resulting in religious or sporting affiliations.

Paulsenjw12 karma

I was not raised religious. I became Christian my senior year of high school. Never went to church before

Paulsenjw2 karma

I have been getting a few question about the problem of evil, and Gods sovereignty amidst free will....so here are my thoughts about the Sandy Hook shooting...

Adam Lanza opened fire in an elementary school and started killing boys and girls that were 5 and 6 years old. Terrible. As I sat on the couch and watched the reports, and waited for the statements from the police, and watched as every newscaster tried to piece together the story from what little scraps of information they could put together, I began thinking: What if it were my own kids? What if I went to the school frantically looking for my children along with all the other scared-out-of-their-minds parents? What if I never had my child run in my direction, because they were still insideā€¦not breathing. I might be a little morbid, but I like to put myself in situations as if I were actually one of the people in the story. My whole body shuddered as emotion came over me: grief, fear, anger and an aching sadness. Then, a verse popped in my head and played over and over and over until I said it out loud, "A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children; and she refused to be comforted because they were no more." The verse is found in two spots in the bible: Jeremiah 31:15 and Matthew 2:18. Jeremiah was a prophet who spoke of a time when something horrible would happen that would make Rachel (wife of the Patriarch Jacob; and therefore the mother of the Israelitesā€¦the people of God) cry to the point that no consolation would help, she just needs to cry. The weeping and mourning Jeremiah speaks of hundreds of years prior is an event later to be known as the 'Massacre of the Innocents". Recount the story with me. When Jesus was born to Mary, Wise men came following a star that led them to Jesus. As they passed through towns they caused commotion by asking, "Where is the one born King of the Jews?" When Herod caught wind that people were traveling vast distances to come and worship someone named King of the Jews, he wasn't very happy, and the funny thing is, the bible says that Jerusalem was 'troubled' with this. King Herod, or 'Herod the Great' came to power quickly and was awarded the role as Basileus, or 'king' of Judea. He became 'king' of the people of Judea, guess what he called himself...King of the Jews. I'm not totally sure why Herod got nervous when a little baby took his title. Maybe he felt mocked, maybe he felted disgraced, maybe he thought people would stop fearing him as much...one thing is for sure: it troubled everyone. So the magi trick Herod and he finds out later that the baby called King of the Jews is alive somewhere, and Herod cant take it anymore. Two years has passed and Herod declares that every child roughly two years and under in Bethlehem and the surrounding area are to be killed, Herod is trying to wipe Jesus off the face of the earth. So children are ripped from the grips of frightened parents and brothers and sisters and murdered. Herod was described as a madman, he killed many of his own family including sons and wives, this isn't out of the ordinary for him...and unfortunately, school shootings are anything but unheard of. Jesus' parents are warned by an angel so they flee that area and are safe. Many people don't think this "massacre of the innocents" ever happened. They explain that outside of the bible there isn't anything else that records the incident. That's because it wasn't much of a 'massacre' as we would think a massacre to be a very high number, maybe in the 50's or 100's. Archaeologists have researched this area and found that in this area roughly guessing the population, Herod probably killed anywhere from 15 to 30 kids. 15-30 in Bethlehem, 13 in Columbine, 3, 27 in Newtown...the complete list is unfortunately far more lengthy. Evil exists in the world, to deny it is ludicrous. The day after the shooting in Newtown, Facebook goes crazy, you're hard pressed to find a status that doesn't say something about sandy hook elementary. Talks of stricter gun bans, better security, armed teachers...and what do I say as a pastor? Frankly i like to own guns. But neither gun control, nor arming your kids' algebra teacher is the answer. It's not a coincidence that Jesus was born into a massacre...that was WHY he showed up. People were just as messed up before Jesus showed up, and gun bans, 4-1/2 inch steel doors, armed teachers, and more police don't give me hope. In Newtown, the U.S., and the rest of the world there is only one hope. And he was born in Bethlehem. Jesus is the only one that can change our hearts, the only one that changes the fundamental way we think about life and how to live it. He is the only one that can save us, the only we that can save me, and redeem me and the world. At first we give him our belief, and then He says he gives us a new heart, new mind, new spirit; we are...reborn, transformed, changed. And He deposits in us the Holy Spirit: the counselor, God that walks with us, the giver of discernment. Jesus is the hope of the world, and nothing gets better until He gets bigger.

fuddydutty2 karma

what kind of training does a foursquare pastor have to undergo? what are your degrees?

Paulsenjw9 karma

i have a Bachelors of Science in Biblical Studies

johnsonld1232 karma

Do you truely believe? I mean with men being so corrupt and the church having a great influence on society both negative and positive. I look at the bible and I read history books and if men can take out a piece of the bible they don't seem fit for society or that they don't agree with such as the debate in the role of Mary Magdalene, than what about what you don't know? And how do we know out of all the religions out there that our God is God. Their are groups that beg to differ, yet history seems to reveal that we had some kind of intervention to set us on this cycle. I have faith in something just trying to find out what?

Paulsenjw2 karma

I believe in Jesus, and He said to follow Him. People are sinners. Pastors and priests all sin. I'm not surprised when they do, and I dont make excuse for them, but God offers the same grace to all

[deleted]2 karma

If God has a "plan" for everything, wht is the point of prayer?

Doesn't it seem a bit presumptuous To ask "the creator of the universe" to alter his plan for you?

Paulsenjw2 karma

Prayer is participation, God values our faith and participation in his will

PowerbyHabib2 karma

Do a lot of people come to you, asking for advice?

Paulsenjw2 karma

a goodly amount.

L_S2 karma

Calvinism, Yea or Nay?

If yea, could you explain your thoughts on free will and unconditional election?

Paulsenjw3 karma

briefly, for this is a very very lengthy debate...I'm not calvinist.
I do believe in total depravity but differently than calvinists believe. I don't think we are so depraved that we could not chose God, God values our faith, our choice, but i do believe that every part of us is depraved. I do not believe in unconditional election that God has chosen some to go to hell and some to go to heaven, i dont believe the bible teaches that. I definately do not believe in limited atonement, Jesus died for all (gk. 'pas' 'pasa' 'pan' = each, every, all. and the gk. word 'kosmos' is 'world', 'universe' more than just a group of people) Irrisistable grace is not biblical either, again, God values the choice, and doesn't force it on people. Perseverance of the Saints is one that I go back and forth on.

stsfction1 karma

Do you personally interoperate any sections of the bible differently/less literally than you teach it?

Paulsenjw7 karma

I don't know really understand the question (interoperate?). I hold as best I can to hermeneutical values of interpretation of the bible.

Mikey1931 karma

is it really wrong for me to have a beer, or a glass of whiskey every once and a while?

Paulsenjw6 karma

the bible doesn't say having alcohol is a sin...getting drunk is a sin.

Maeby791 karma

How do you, or any Christians for that matter, pick and choose and decide which parts of the Bible you're going to believe. This is ACTUALLY a serious questions. I'm certain you don't abide by it word for word, so how do you pick the parts you're going to believe? I've always wondered this but I'm a heathen so I have no one to ask! Yay!

Paulsenjw9 karma

a lot of people at this point will quote some obscure OT passage. To understand the bible and belief system of a christian more thoroughly, you really have to read the whole bible..I'm not being arbitrary. The whole thing speaks as to who God is, and informs the beliefs of Christians.