Saturday, November 26, 2005

Afraid of God?

Picture with me an auditorium full of college students gathered for a chapel service. The young men are all wearing coat and tie. Each of the young women is in a dress. They are quiet, attentive, and hanging on every word the preacher preaches. This was the scene as I was channel surfing one night several years ago. I would be glad to have such an audience, I stopped on this channel to listen to what the preacher had to say. His words made such an impression on me it is with me to this day.

My life and ministry are devoted to countering the poisonous message the college chaplain was delivering that day. Here’s what he said, “If you accepted Christ for any reason other than for fear of going to hell, you salvation is not real,” the chaplain asserted to a thousand eager ears.

People wonder why the church gets such a bad rap today! Paul wrote to Timothy that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and self-discipline (II Timothy 2:7).

I do not know what god this supposedly Christian chaplain was talking about, but it certainly is not he same God I serve or we worship. His god of fear is not the God who sent Jesus to teach us to live and love. His god of fear must not be the God who sent the Holy Spirit to comfort and encourage His people.

I do not lightly question the faith of others. I do not have a narrow set of requirements for what I deem “Christian.” I have no fear that I do not have all the right answers or that others may disagree with me. Why should I fear? The God I know is not about fear!


At 2:22 PM, Blogger Michael said...

Amen, Steve! Very well said. I have always had a real disdain for this "or else" theology. Our God is One who has continually reached out to mankind throughout history. This is hardly the nature of a vindictive god who gives us only one warning and then ....

At 6:15 AM, Blogger Richard H said...

Where was that guy? Sounds completely batty.

At 9:06 PM, Blogger Blue Rum said...

Steve, have you seen Rob Bell's nooma video called "Bullhorn"? It is about this man who is "shring" Christ with these people going to a concert and how he is trying to drive fear into them. You should check it out.


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