Total Pageviews

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Of Great Concern - Fiction, Pt. 2

I was shocked to the core when the Lord passed judgement on me.
Sorry Larry, you can't come in here guilty as you are. Depart from me, ye who work iniquity.
Terror gripped my soul. I had just watched my new friend Geoff receive a hug from the same Lord and was escorted to the beautiful city spread out in front of me. What extraordinary work had he done?

Desperately, I asked the Lord if he could hear me out, for I have a number of questions to ask him.
"I'm all ears," the Lord answered. "Fire away, I'm in no hurry whatsoever."
"Then tell me, where did I go wrong? I thought I believed in you and called on your name while still alive in the aeroplane. Furthermore, Geoff assured me that I was saved."

"You weren't baptised." The Lord responded.
"WHAT?" I exclaimed. "There was no opportunity for baptism on the 'plane. I was keen to be baptised this very day, at Geoff's venue. I said, 'Geoff, please baptise me when we are in New York.'"
"That you did." God responded. "Tough luck for you that you had a bomber on the 'plane. Had you been baptised, you would have been following Geoff into the city."
"That is crushingly unfair!" I exclaimed.
"So it is." The Lord agreed. "But it's the condition of the New Covenant sealed the moment I died on the cross."
"That is new." I responded. "Can you tell me more?"

"Yes, indeed." The Lord answered. "In Mark 16:16 I specifically instructed my disciples to go out and preach the Gospel to the nations. I then added, 'whoever believes and is baptised shall be saved, but he who believes not shall be damned.'"
"Yes, I recall that at Sunday school." I said. "But the Scripture does not indicate that missing out of baptism indicated condemnation, but the unbelief, so the teachers said."
"AH!" The Lord replied. "What the Father, the Holy Spirit and I were originally intended for Mark to write was,
He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved; but he that believeth not, or misses out on baptism, shall be dammed. But we decided to leave out that statement to test the faith of all who believe."
"Blimey!" I exclaimed. "That doesn't even sound honest, but more like those insurance companies which always finds a hidden clause whenever a claim is submitted."
"I am the Lord, my ways are not your ways, neither my thoughts your thoughts."

"But I recall the faith of Abraham." I protested. "I have learned that Abraham believed the revelation you gave him and your righteousness was imputed to his account, just by merely believing."
"Yes, that is true." The Lord agreed.
"Then the apostle Paul used this example as a yardstick for our own faith, mainly in your death and resurrection, and the same imputation takes place. Isn't this the verdict of 'not guilty' declared on the believer, also known as 'Justification by Faith'?" I asked.
"That is perfectly true." Jesus answered. "In fact all Old Testament saints were justified in exactly the same way, by faith alone. Great works proceeded from this faith and by no means earned their salvation, as Hebrews chapter eleven teaches."

"What about the rite of circumcision?" I then asked.
"Circumcision was an outward sign of Abraham's faith, an instruction given to all male Hebrew infants eight days old. But without faith within the individual, the ritual had no effect on his salvation."
"I suppose infant baptism was also ineffective among those who never believed." I surmised.
"Absolutely true!" The Lord agreed.
"But if baptism is a rite done after believing, isn't that the same as showing your faith to others?" I asked.
"There is some truth in this." The Lord responded. "But in the New Covenant, one must be baptised for the remission of sins."
"But, Lord," I protested, "it is equally valid to say that I'm paid for the work done, or he is receiving a trophy for winning the race, or even that Johnny was sent to prison for the crime already committed, not put behind bars in order to commit a crime. Doesn't this apply equally to baptism?"

"No, baptism is required for salvation." The Lord answered. "Remember, I inspired Mark to write,
He that believeth is baptised shall be saved; he that believeth not shall be damned.
Remember I said that the clause, or misses out on baptism...was omitted to test the faith of the believer."
"It doesn't sound honest to me."
"But it was effective!" Jesus exclaimed. "Just think about it. For nearly two millennia the Roman Catholic Church believed in this, then most other groups - Jehovah's Witnesses, the Mormons, Church of England, Church of Christ - ah yes, they are the people really doing my will. They are firm believers of Baptismal Regeneration, the only way of salvation in the New Testament, a doctrine which was upheld in churches, particularly Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox, for much of Christian history. Only a few, like Geoff, thought otherwise, and sad to say, he was wrong. Nevertheless, he submitted to baptism and was saved."
"If I remember rightly, wasn't the Church of Christ founded on the teachings of one guy, Alexander Campbell?"
"Yes," Jesus answered, "that's the guy."

But Lord, this leaves me with a dilemma."
"Go on." Jesus prompted.
"I had a chance to look into the teachings of that group." I responded. "Basically, it taught four stages in order to get saved. They were 1. Believing, 2. Repentance, 3. Confession and 4. Baptism. Therefore one can be saved after all four are completed, which, they say, could take as little as twenty minutes to two hours. But if the candidate was unfortunate enough to die before completion of all four stages, then he would still go to Hell. Very much like my situation. Is this true?"
"Yes, it's all true." Jesus answered. "That is New Testament Christianity."

"Then that really creates a massive problem." I said.
"What problem?"
"Well, when you died on the cross and rose from the dead three days later, instead of opening the gate of Heaven for all believers, you had added clauses and complications. What was one requirement before, now there are four. Please tell me, Lord, did your death on the cross really atoned for the sins of the whole world? Or is there still a space where your 'atonement', fell short and we have to fill in the remaining gap?"

"Yes, that is true." Jesus answered. "The Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches taught this for the last 1,700 years and they were right all along."
Then I asked, "So a woman, such as Rahab the prostitute, or Hannah, the mother of Samuel, believed without baptism and they were saved. But today's female has to go through the four stages as taught by other churches to be saved?"
"That is true." was his answer. "and according to Roman Catholicism, a heck of a lot more than four stages - it was at least seven."
"That is incredulous!" I almost shouted. "You died and rose again to atone for our sins, but really all this weren't that effective without the meticulous obedience on our part. Next you'll be telling me that you have a preference for the middle classes!"

"What makes you think that?" Jesus asked.
"Oh come on!" I exclaimed. "I don't know about on a worldwide scale, but in England the vast majority of church-goers were educated, middle class folk - like Geoff, for example."
"I do have a preference for middle and upper class folk." Jesus answered. "Remember, Larry, the Father chooses those who he wants to choose and brings them to me as a gift, and I will never cast them out."
"Yea, John chapters six and seventeen." I said. "I recall during Sunday School days, of two individuals, one was a devout Englishman who believed that his God was the God of England rather than of Israel, and the other insisted that the great British Empire was instituted and controlled by the Almighty. Both believed that England was God's country and the English only were truly God's people, regardless of lifestyle and behaviour."

"Yes," Jesus agreed, "I ordained what those two guys had said. England is my country and its people, replacing Israel because of their unfaithfulness."
"Yet your disciples were mostly fishermen." I protested.
"But among them was a taxman and a scholar." Jesus answered.
"But the scholar grassed you up!" I cried. "If it wasn't for him..."
"Now now," Jesus answered, "it was all part of God's plan. That is why the greater part of the New Testament was written by two scholars, Paul and Luke. I never liked the working class - always swearing, talking smut, telling coarse jokes, even getting into fights - along with drug rings and a high prison population. Working class - ugh! I don't want them in my Kingdom. Give me the better educated anytime. They are much nicer people."

"You know what, Lord," I almost shouted, "I don't think I want to enter your kingdom any more! After talking to you like this, all I can see is a cruel, malevolent God, petty, unjust, an unforgiving control freak, a vindicative, hypocritical ethnic cleanser, an infanticidal and genocidal bully! No wonder atheists like Richard Dawkins were right! No wonder the vast majority of the population now spit on religion and embrace science! Little wonder that Charles Darwin was more of our messiah than you could ever be! You call yourself the God of England, but it's the very English who are spitting at your face! And I'm not surprised! Send me to Hell then! I'll be better off there!"

With that, the Lord threw me out of his presence, into thick outer darkness. It was so dark and so deathly silent that I was not able to see my own hands, yet they were there as I clasped them together. I felt myself being filled with intense anger and hatred, these feelings becoming more and more intensified. Hatred of God and hatred of the bomber who blew up the aeroplane. Hatred of Geoff too, for deceiving me. My mind became crushed with intense emotional torment, from which I'll never be freed from for ever and ever...


Should any reader think that I'm pushing heresy or blaspheming the character of our Lord Jesus, this is a fiction story based on what I have seen, read and heard over the past forty years of being in the faith. For example, the two English guys mentioned are real and still alive to this day. The only difference from the story is that in reality, they are a few years my junior.
In true biblical reality, Larry was saved without doubt from the moment he believed during mid-flight. The Lord is merciful and would have embraced him at his death and heartily welcomed him into his Kingdom, without the baptism. Also, Mark 16:16 is the true word of God with no hidden clause intended. To conclude, the story highlighted the reality brought on by false teaching or false interpretation of the Bible.


  1. Excellent expose of the false teachings that are so rampant today. The Gospel of grace, as revealed to Paul (and not preached by Jesus in His earthly ministry, which was primarily directed to Jews) is that we are saved by grace through faith plus NOTHING.
    I like what Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary says about Mark 16:16: "He that believeth and is baptized -- Baptism is here put for the external signature of the inner faith of the heart, just as "confessing with the mouth" is in Ro 10:10; and there also as here this outward manifestation, once mentioned as the proper fruit of faith, is not repeated in what follows (Ro 10:11)."
    Thanks as always for the thought-provoking & Biblically-based post, & God bless!

  2. Hi Frank
    all we can do is be obedient to what we believe the Lord is telling us to do as we pick up our daily 'manna' on our journey. If we have not been told to do anything by Him, or if we are not able to do what we believe He is telling us to do then I would say that we have done nothing wrong. The word is our judge.

  3. Really good concluding post Frank. Yes, sometimes religion can make Jesus seem what He really isn't. When we get to know Him, as a mate, as a friend, we will then truly know Him for who He truly is. Knowing Jesus is one of the free gifts of being a Christian.

  4. Frank, SEE MY BLOG POST: "Sudden Death Salvation?" May 7, 2012.

  5. Throughout history there have been those who want to set the standard as to who can be saved with no concern for what God actually says. They often try to set cases such as the thief on the cross as a special situation.