When we go to the movies we suspend our disbelief for a while so that we can enjoy a journey.
I would ask you likewise to take a trip in your imagination as I relate the following.
Imagine a person whose mind is a blank canvas, perhaps this person is a being from a parallel universe who has come to learn about human life, or perhaps he is an innocent, ignorant child who is eager to learn and follow the teachings of his wise elders. No-matter. I’ll call him ‘Child’.
Here’s Child’s story:
Child is taken to church and learns that he has a Loving Heavenly Father (LHF).
Child sleeps peacefully.
Child is taken to church again and learns that he is terminally ill with a disease called sin because Child has been naughty.
Child is troubled.
Next Child is told that he is wicked (Jer 17:9) and for this, he deserves to be tortured forever and ever. He is told that most people definitely WILL be tortured forever.
Child cannot sleep.
Child tries to be good but then learns that Loving Heavenly Father sees this as ‘filthy stinking rags’. (Isa 64:6)
Child is nervous and very troubled indeed but perhaps this is good because Child then learns that Loving Heavenly Father actually wants Child’s spirit to be broken. (Ps 51:17)
Child is very disturbed.
Child now learns the good news that Loving Heavenly Father has arranged for his only son to be brutally murdered and that in some mysterious way this satisfies LHF.
Child is not sure what to think anymore but he hopes that LHF can Love Child. However, when he goes to church again he learns that he is unworthy. In Child’s simple mind he interprets this as ‘worthless’ to LHF.
Child then hears that if he puts his trust in LHF’s son then he will be accepted by LHF and go to heaven to be with Him. Child tries to do this, to the best of his ability, and sleeps a little better for a while.
Child is told that if he had the tiniest bit of faith then he would be able to move mountains. He is told that if he asks he will receive. This is good news. At first child asks for selfish little things – and this doesn’t work, then, someone who Child loves becomes seriously ill so Child asks that she might live, but it doesn’t happen.
Child thinks that his faith must not be strong enough, so his faith in LHF’s son must also be too weak to work.
Child cannot sleep. He doubts his salvation.
Child notices that it is taboo to talk about doubts so he keeps his doubts to himself. He becomes a hypocrite, for the best possible reasons of course.
At times visiting speakers come to Child’s church. One week the speaker was Garald Menn. He said that ‘God is Love’ and that His love is unconditional. This made Child happier but it didn’t make sense to Child in the light of everything else he had learnt. Could the speaker have been talking about a different LHF?
Child was disturbed and had no peace in his life.
Then another speaker came. He was a very clever man who must have all the answers. His name was C.R. Sproul. He said that LHF always intended most people to go to Hell and LHF created them just for that reason. He said that a small number of people were special. They had a special name: ‘the elect’ and they were golden ticket holders.
Child thought very hard. Perhaps it didn’t matter if his faith wasn’t strong and that he had doubts. If he were a golden ticket holder he would be safe, but if he were not then all the golden ticket holders would rejoice as they watch him burn forever and ever. It also meant that Loving Heavenly Father didn’t REALLY love everybody at all. It was a lie.
By this time Child needed psychotherapy.
Thank you for reading my story. I need to make some things clear:
- I am not that child but I believe that this could be the experience of some people and that thought concerns me greatly.
- I do not believe that the story ends there.
- I only gave scriptures where I thought it might be helpful but I think the other statements are also ‘scriptural’ depending on one’s interpretation of scripture.
My questions are:
**Does church screw you up? **
**Can it do more harm than good? **
Is church itself responsible for some of the neuroses we see in the people in the pews?
I would value any thoughts, personal testimony or texts.
Yours in Christ