Goodness Gracious,
what in the world?
By Pastor D. L. Hartman

In the wake of the devastation of the World Trade Center, there has been a lot discussion about religion. Radio talk shows, cable news shows, and even the mainstream media are all abuzz about religious views these days. What is so interesting is that all these "talking heads" seem to have grown in their knowledge of the Bible and world religion. Their views, of course, are tempered by their conservative or liberal secularism. It is most interesting to hear what they say when someone calls with religious views that conflict with their impeccable newfound politically correct (PC) knowledge of God and the Bible.

The other evening, a talk show hosted a Baptist preacher who declared that God hates America, and that is the reason why the World Trade Center was attacked. He said that the reason for this terrible attack was because of the homosexuals and the gross immorality of America. This view was not welcomed by the high priests of the modern secular PC Christian religion. This ole' Baptist pastor also said that all who perished in this attack are in hell today, including the fire fighters. His views, however, were not seasoned with love and his Calvinism seemed to rob him of compassion for the lost. That's his major downfall. How sad. Nevertheless, the talk show host hit the ceiling. He refuted the preacher by implying that the nature of this attack sent them to Heaven. He also debated that there must be a special place for those brave fallen firefighters. However we as Christians must seek the truth and properly interpret scripture.

Until this calamity, God was all but outlawed in our secular society. From the classrooms in our educational institutions to sporting events, the courts always ruled against the mere suggestion of prayer. Now we can wear T-shirts with "God Bless America" boldly inscribed with no questions asked or objections made. It's almost okay to talk about God, for now. For this announcer, there are all too many Christians like this Baptist pastor. The real problems is that such show hosts have no idea what the Bible really says, and what little they know they twist. This one came down on the side of the "God is love" liberal line. Nevertheless, let's look at the talk show host's suggestion that those who were killed in these barbaric attacks are in Heaven.

The real truth here is that a person must be born again to in order to gain Heaven. Their destiny does not depend on the cause or method by which they die. As the Philippian jailor said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" Paul did not reply, "According to most talk show hosts and TV announcers, do good works, go to any church that has a form of godliness, and maybe even be baptized and you will be saved. But most of all, God loves every one." No! Paul's real reply was, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved and thy house." Jesus said, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God." And the greatest verse is "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." The writer of Hebrews says, "and being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him:" Therefore, we can conclude that in order to go to heaven we must obey and be born again. Nowhere in the scripture does it teach that one can get saved except they do so according to the guidelines of the teaching of Jesus. Not only should you believe, but also obey his commands on how to live the life of a Christian. That means renouncing the ways of sin, and call sin what God calls it. You can not be a practicing sinner and call yourself a saint. The Lord himself makes it very clear that the way to heaven is narrow at best. He says, "Enter in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat; Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." Another time our Lord said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." It seems clear that good works, while important to any real Christian, does not get one into heaven. Good works show forth your faith in Christ, but they should never be considered as the gateway to eternal life. The same can be said about tragedies such as the terrorist attacks that were made on our people. If those people did not know Christ as their Savior, they will not share eternity with our Lord. Honestly, these are hard things to say, but the truth is the truth. The Church has allowed the world to recreate what the Bible says. The Lord warns us to be careful in the way we live. So this old boy is right on the point. He was however, desperately wrong by implying that they all want to hell. Only God knows that. In PC times like these, we as Christians find our Lord's teachings difficult to admit and fearful to speak. This Baptist brother with his Calvinistic lack of love for the lost is not helping the cause of Christ, no matter the error of the talk show host.

As the radio talk program went on, this old preacher was told by one of the callers that we should be careful about what we say. It was a warning that he did not care to heed. However, the caller want on to say that "God hates the sin, but loves the sinner." The preacher's answer startled me. He said, "Why is it then that God sends the sinner to hell too, and not just the sin." Though his attitude was continually clever and unloving, he made me stop and think. It seems to me that this concept, "God hates the sin, but loves the sinner," is used today in such a way that Christians seem to have adopted a tendency to see the severity of sin as less then severe. Let's face it, if a sinner does not repent and turn to Christ, God's love will demand justice, and that will be the reason for the sinner's separation from God. One person responded by saying God is love. While this is true, His love is also just. It is in this justice that God's love is truly illustrated. On the other hand, nowhere in the scripture do we find God winking or turning His back on the sins of mankind. His love is to all mankind, but if mankind doesn't remedy his sinful condition via the grace of God, he will be sent to eternity separated forever from the love of God. Therefore, I conclude that this fella' may have a point. If this be the case, it is a poor testimony of how far our Christian faith has taken the concept of love. We allow the concept of love to cover our failure in reaching the world for Christ's sake, and thereby allowing these poor lost souls to be sent to hell, and these poor talk show hosts to think that good works or good causes will get people to heaven.

While his attitude was less then noble, and he even desired to see people damned, he did have a few good points. The people and the host totally missed these points. They allowed their emotions to blind them to the simple scriptural teaching of our Lord. The Church has truly become more secular in it's understanding of scripture then we thought. The God who punishes sin and the sinner is all but lost in the new politically correct secularism. Nevertheless, the reality is that God has little use for compromising Christians who feel that love, evolution, secularism, and political correctness is the final basis for the interpretation of scripture.

In times like these, with a so called war looming, it would be wise if we really put away all our preconceived ideas of Bible doctrine. We need to reflect and pray that God may open our eyes and hearts. That ole' Baptist preacher's attitude was all wrong. But he had some points that we need to consider. Not everybody who says, "Lord, Lord," will gain heaven. Christianity is a very narrow religion no matter how you cut it. Could it be that the concept of God's love has been contaminated with human secularism and political correctness? Again, God via His Son Jesus Christ, made it clear that there is only one way to heaven. Dear reader, do you know Christ as your Lord Savior?

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