Why has the world increasingly adopted a secular and even atheistic or
agnostic mindset--especially over the last few centuries since more and
more nations have cast off the iron grip of medieval Roman Catholicism?
Why is Christianity--in even its most attractive and well-articulated
versions, neatly packaged in modern language and culture--regarded as
"irrelevant nonsense!" by billions of people?
Why is the world going secular, despite all earnest and costly efforts
of Christians to evangelize? Have you ever wondered about this?
If so, I hope you may gain more insight from what I'm about to share. I
am persuaded that people are NOT rejecting the REAL Jesus Christ. What
they are rejecting is an irrational gospel of gobbledygook that imparts
no real hope to their searching and aching hearts. Now. Are you ready to
smile? Or maybe to cry? Or perhaps to get mad--before
you get glad? If so, then get ready for an exciting trip! The message that
follows will take you on a roller coaster ride that
will definitely make your head reel and your guts churn. So if riding
theological roller coasters upsets your digestion, don't say I didn't
warn you... :-)
Okay, all aboard then! And off we go--
Here is what I was taught to be "the gospel" during my evangelical
upbringing--Bible college included:
*God is Love...but more than that...He is Holy. And holiness is a
quality in Him that, in a way, is opposite to love. This means (in a
very real sense somehow) that He is also eternally vindictive and
unforgiving toward those who are less than holy. So one day you will be
conformed to His likeness, and you shall be holy just as He is, and not
very loving toward imperfect people. BUT..you must be loving NOW, even
if that means you are being less than holy, or you won't make it to
heaven. On the other hand, without holiness NO ONE shall see the Lord!
(Yes, it's a...er...paradox, but just accept it in childlike faith, and
stop intellectualizing so much!)
*God passionately and deeply loves everyone, but He
plans to burn almost everyone alive for eternity
simply because they failed to seek Him and find Him
and love Him before it was forever too late. That is because
the way is narrow and only a few "ever will" find it.
*As Christians we believe that the Lord is kind, gracious and merciful,
and His love never fails. Nevertheless, He created human beings because
He is a Great Gambler that delights in chancing the lives of His human
offspring in His grand cosmic game of "Winners and Losers". Yes, He is
also omniscient--but that is beside the point. Stop asking so many
questions! Just realize that His purpose for calling people into being
was to give them a chance to choose to learn to pronounce His name
("Lord Jesus Christ") correctly--and--to love and trust Him
UNconditionally and wholeheartedly before He burns billions of them for
eternity for having failed to do so by a given deadline.
*On the other hand, we Christians believe that God is SOVEREIGN and He
can do whatever He pleases! If He has wanted to create billions of human
beings and elect to love and save a few of them and trash and burn the
rest forever, that is His business. He is not just "love"--He is HOLY.
You had better worship and love Him anyway, if you know what is good for
you! People who have been TRULY predestined for heaven and born again
don't question God's sovereignty! On the other hand, we predestined
ones are saved ONLY by grace APART from works. So if some people who are
truly saved question God's sovereignty they will be forgiven, of course.
Yes, this means that you may be "damned if you do, and damned if you
don't" as the old saying goes. But don't worry about it much. Only a
few will EVER be chosen (Hezekiah 13:13) but after all, this means that
there's a remote possibility that you may be in the elect!
*Then again, we Christians are also "Semi-pelagian" in our understanding
of the gospel. And what does this mean? This simply means that we
believe that we cannot save ourselves, since the original sin of Adam
and Eve renders us utterly depraved and powerless. Yet on the other
hand, God has given us a free will so we can choose to rise above our
depraved and evil state--and submit to him in obedient faith before it
is forever too late. In other words, we've blended nicely together
the theology of both Augustine and Pelagius. See how much more balanced
our glad tidings is than than the teaching of those more extreme
*Worry is a form of fear, and "perfect love casts out fear", and "those
who fear have not been perfected in love." Bear in mind also that "he
that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love." So watch your step,
buddy! JESUS said, "You shall be perfect even as your Father in Heaven
is perfect." And John's first epistle states that he/she that sinneth is
of the devil, and Revelation warns us that nothing unclean shall enter
that city. (With streets of gold etc.) On the other hand, don't be
nervous and worried. But do bear in mind that the fearful and
unbelieving will have their part in the lake of fire for all eternity.
Yes, we realize that this fate suggests that a God of love inflicts
infinite pain on his cherished and finite creatures. But, it will
probably be inflicted with "spiritual" fire, not literal. Isn't this
*Jesus loves all the children of the world, but after they reach the age
of accountability (which may be anywhere from 7 to 13) they too will be
punished "forever"--with infinite pain--for not having made wise and
*The church has been "called out" by God to go to heaven, and He has
(er...reluctantly) destined the world for hell.
*Justice, like holiness is also the opposite quality to Love, and we
must remember that God is not only love, He is also just. Therefore when
He acts justly He behaves unlovingly, and when He behaves lovingly He
behaves unjustly. That is why he MUST punish people for all eternity.
*Nevertheless, God is far better than any earthly father. He is far more
loving and wise and compassionate than any mortal dad could ever be. And
He is also more JUST than earthly fathers. He punishes HIS offspring for
all eternity whereas earthy fathers do not, because they fall short of
being as just as God is.
*Jesus prayed on the cross for His torturers "Father forgive them, for
they know not what they do." But the Father knew His Son was wrong about
that! After all, He remembered that they were "without excuse"
(according to Romans 1). Therefore He ignored Jesus' prayer since it
apparently was uttered in ignorance and motivated by a false sense of
mercy. Ahem! Er, we won't go so far as to say that Jesus SINNED by
praying contrary to His Father's will...
Nevertheless, only those people who ASK for
forgiveness in a wise and timely fashion (as we have done)
will receive it!
*Jesus loves you sooooo much, but you'd better walk softly before the
*Jesus is the nice and merciful Second Person of the Trinity, and the
Father is First Person of the Trinity and the STERN and HOLY One.
*God was sooooo furious with Adam and Eve for sinning that He had to get
blood out of someone! Therefore, in order to appease His righteous
indignation He sent His Son to earth to be beaten to a pulp and
mutilated instead of getting even with Adam and Eve and all their
hopelessly sin-impaired posterity.
*God feels very offended because His delicate dignity has been insulted
by all the human race who fail to worship Him because they are dead in
trespasses and sins and utterly unable to seek or worship Him or to save
*At the same time, our Heavenly Father is so grand of heart and spirit
that you can be sure that He UNDERSTANDS even your worst frailties. And
He is the meekest and most gentle and sensible Person in the universe.
*God also has a rollicking good sense of humor! On the other hand, He
disapproves of foolish talk and jokes and is watching you to see whether
or not you will REPENT and start giving Him thanks! For it is also true
that the Lord loves to be praised, encouraged, extolled, and worshipped,
and He is VERY angry with people who ignore Him or worship Him in the
incorrect manner. So you can forget about Hindus and Buddhists and
Moslems and people outside of OUR correct NONdenomination going to
heaven!!! Well, a few others might be there, and that is because
perhaps IN THEIR HEARTS they were among the Lord's chosen. But it is
probably best not to preach this publically, because it weakens the
*Also the Father's wrath is not really yet appeased by Jesus' death on
the cross. And that is because He is still sooooo MAD because people who
are "dead in trespasses and sins" have kept on sinning rather than turn
to him because He has CLEARLY revealed Himself in the rocks and trees
and birds and bees and sun, moon and stars!!! So at long last, 2000
years ago, He had to send His Son to die on the cross to save the
world--although it was far too late to REALLY save it because myriad
numbers of its inhabitants had already gone to hell. And all because
they refused to respond to the rocks and trees etc. when they were fully
capable of doing so, even though original sin had rendered them totally
depraved and unable to seek God (necessitating that Christ come into the
world? Aw, it's just another paradox that must be accepted in childlike
faith. But that's no problem for us diligent and
stouthearted...and..."humble" ones! Right?)
*Salvation is totally a gift; you cannot earn or produce it by good
works. On the other hand, my aunt Suzie died and went home to her
"heavenly reward." And you will never receive your "heavenly reward" and
will spend eternity in hell--unless you show GENUINE faith, as is
validated by works of obedience. For faith without works is dead.
Therefore, dying in sin is also dying in unbelief. However, God may be
merciful to some people who die in sin, but DON'T count on
it--especially with YOUR kind of sin!
*The Lord loves everyone unconditionally--even those whom He burns in
hell for eternity for not having met certain conditions (as we did! :-))
before it was too late.
*Salvation means gift. Actually it means reward. On the other hand, it
means gift. Yet in a real sense it also means reward. On the other hand
salvation means rescue--not reward. But then again, YOU
must...etc.etc..etc...or God is out of here forever, and your free gift
is forfeit! REAL faith is shown by obedience! (Oh well, ahem! It is a
great mystery. But try not to worry about it much. Just keep coming to
the meetings and paying tithes faithfully and do as we say, and you'll
probably be all right!)
*If we ask anything that is according to God's will, the Bible says that
He hears us and that we have the petitions we have desired of Him. On
the other hand, although the Bible says it is God's will that all people
be saved and that we are to pray for their salvation, we also know that
THIS prayer will NOT be granted. Not ever. After all, God is a Great
Gambler at heart (even though He knows the future with absolute
certainty) and He gave people "free will" so that they could seek Him
and find Him before it's forever too late. Just as we ourselves have so
wisely done? Well, no. That would mean that our wisdom has saved us, and
that is unscriptural. Ahem! Er...
well...uh....Actually, free will is another great
mystery. Just accept this deep paradox in childlike faith
and be glad that YOU are going to heaven. Once you are there, God will
pull the plug on your memories of your dear grandmother who nurtured you
sacrificially. Thus you can freely worship Him as He burns her alive
with "spiritual" fire for eternity. And all because she failed do as we
did--that is, to properly exercise her free will to choose Christ before
it was too late.
*You shouldn't say "Good luck!" to people. That
dishonors God. There's no such thing as chance or
luck, for HE IS SOVEREIGN AND RULES OVER ALL AFFAIRS.
On the other hand, many people will be lost for all eternity
because they failed to recognize their "chance" to receive Jesus before
it was forever too late. Come to Jesus while there is still a "chance!"
Keep showing faith by your works of obedience, while there is a
*People who commit suicide go to hell because they die before they have
a "chance" to repent of their sin before their spirit leaves their body.
So are you despairing to the point of wanting to take your own life?
Don't risk it, buddy! (or sis!) If you commit suicide YOUR LOVING
HEAVENLY FATHER WILL TEACH YOU WHAT *REAL* DESPAIR IS FOR ALL ETERNITY.
(But of course, He will always love you. :-))
*Because people have a free will, there is the "chance" that many will
fail to choose Christ before it is too late.
*So you think you have been "once saved always saved", do you? People
who have been TRULY saved don't...etc.etc..etc...
Also, don't forget that backsliders are showing good
evidence that they have not been truly
saved, and if they DIE in that state, it doesn't look very hopeful.
Don't you remember the Scripture that says, "They went out from us that
it might be manifest that they were not of us"? (And according to most
church tradition that means "they NEVER WILL be of us.")
*Our church is er...grace-oriented, and NOT legalistic. Therefore we
don't preach publically about hell, even though billions of eternal
destinies are at stake. LEGALISTS thunder the "hell fire and brimstone"
message. But we grace-oriented Christians keep it on "back file" and
gently teach and explain it in our new converts classes. Nowadays these
are conducted in a "nonreligious manner"--even on hikes and fun outings
as we fellowship around a cozy campfire. :-)
*Yes, I believe in an endless hell that awaits billions of people, and
if you are committed to sound doctrine YOU will believe it too. On the
other hand, if you come thundering hell fire and brimstone messages, you
will NOT be welcome in our church. We believe in LOVE!
So there it is, folks. You have just read a brief summary of the
gobbledygook gospel that I was taught over the years--and had the roller
coaster ride of your life. And sad to say, this is the utter
nonsense that much of organized/agonized churchianity is still
proclaiming as "gospel" to a pain-wracked and needy world. Is it any
wonder that people by the billions are avoiding riding this religious
After all, gospel means GOOD NEWS. Do the above gross contradictions
sound like heart-ravishing good news to you? Uh oh! Have I left out any
deep and mysterious paradoxes that would help nurture anyone's faith?
Hmmm... Let's see now... What others might we add for the edification
of those readers who are looking for yet more "chances" to believe all
the right doctrines and do all the right stuff in order to receive the
"free gift" of their "Heavenly reward" ? :-)
Closing out... Dear reader, the message above is simply a good humored
exposť of the mangled message that I once confused for the authentic
good news of Jesus Christ. It isn't intended to be a slam against folks
that sincerely proclaim it, for I myself embraced that hope-destroying
ideology for many years. I sincerely believed it too. Or rather, I
earnestly tried to believe it. And I fully realize that I cannot credit
myself for having seen the errors in that incomplete and contradictory
message and for coming into the wonderful revelation God's UNfailing
love. It was HIS doing, not mine. Jesus Himself tells us that a person
has only that which Heaven has given to him or her.
However, having been set free by His grace, my prayer is that somehow
the Lord will empower me to expose the satanic lies that alienate many
hurting--and thinking--people from hoping in Him. Have you grown weary
to the bone of all the religious double-speak and abuse that masquerades
as "love" and "good news"?
Does it nauseate you to hear God spoken of as though He were a pompous
being of delicate dignity that DEMANDS worship "or else!"--and at the
same time--spoken of as being a gentle and gracious Heavenly Father? If
so--wonderful! That is evidence that you're on the brink of a
life-changing breakthrough. I pray that my own testimony will be of
encouragement to you. It is found on this webpage, primarily under the
titles, "Daddy, What If?" and "Heavenly Dog" and "Absolute Assurance in
God loves you with total and unconditional commitment, and He will NEVER
give up on you. Not ever. Nor will He ever give up on your loved ones!
Once this authentic and Biblical Good News "comes home" to your weary
heart--I can promise you--that you will never be the same again.
May our Gracious Father God of infinite kindness lead you into
ever-expanding dimensions of the height, depth, width, and length of His
never-failing love... (Eph.3:14-21)
Yours prayerfully and by His Amazing Mercy, Charles Slagle