Saturday, June 27, 2009

"If you don't love Jesus, go to hell!"

ByR.D. Hohenfeldt
Managing Editor, Ozarks Almanac

Our Sunday School class out at Macedonia Baptist Church is studying Galatians this quarter, and, boy howdy, it is some powerful stuff.

Paul of Tarsus wrote this to the new Christians at Galatia: "If anyone preaches a gospel different from what I preached to you all, he can go square to hell!" (That's my translation, but I checked an interlinear and a Bible dictionary and I think it's spot on.)

Whew! That is very strong and judgmental, isn't it? You don't hear that kind of preaching nowadays. I love our pastor, but I can't imagine him saying that--ever! Can you imagine your preacher or any other preacher saying that nowadays? I doubt it, for it would make people uncomfortable and would alienate them.

The closest I've found to that kind of preaching in modern days is a country music song by Billy Joe Shaver called "If You Don't Love Jesus, Go to Hell." That is quite strong and judgmental, too isn't it?

Now that the apostle Paul is in heaven, only a country music singer has the guts, gall and unmitigated temerity to say "If you don't love Jesus, go to hell." (You can read an interview with Billy Joe Shaver at http://nightlight.typepad.com/nightlight/2007/09/billy-joe-shave.html.)

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