For years I struggled to believe two opposite statements that cannot possibly be true at the same time. But because they are standard teaching in evangelical church Christianity, and since for too long I believed that these statements reflect what Jesus taught in the Gospels, I – like many church Christians today – denied reality and blamed myself for the result.
Here are the two statements:
1) God loves you unconditionally.
Nothing wrong with this statement at all: it’s what we long to hear as struggling human beings, and the message is so welcome that we are drawn toward the institution that announces it. But then comes the caveat:
2) You fall far short of God’s standards of holiness, and for this reason, unless you say a series of words and sentences (the “Four Spiritual Laws,” put into booklet form by – not Jesus in the Gospels, but 20th century evangelist Bill Bright and promoted around the world by the likes of Billy Graham), God will send you to eternal damnation forever.
That’s it in a nutshell, and while proponents of the philosophy wave endless Bible verses, drawn out of context, to prove their point, it doesn’t take away from the fact that Statement #2 is highly conditional – so if it is true, then it renders Statement #1 false.
Bring that up in your next Bible study and see where it gets you.
Better yet, skip the next group Bible study and spend time at home, intensely reading the four Gospels, over and over and over, doing your best to wipe out any sermon “teachings” you’ve picked up through the years. Notice how Jesus is not afraid of His Father, and how He describes His Father, our Father, as reasonable, just, merciful, and kind.
And ask yourself if a reasonable, just, merciful, and kind human father places conditions upon his children in which he determines it is right to condemn them.
Thank you for joining me at This Woman Writes, where I, through my writing, and Steve, through his artwork, encourage us all to think, question, and not discount the commonsense our Creator has so bountifully given us.