THE GOBBLEDYGOOK BOOK
BY: CHARLES SLAGLE
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 are than the teaching of those more extreme theologians?
*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 comforting?
*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 timely choices.
*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 FATHER!
*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 themselves.
*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 publicly, because it weakens the gospel.
*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 “chance!”
*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 publicly 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 roller coaster?
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 exposé 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 in this folder, primarily under the titles, “Daddy, What If?” and “Heavenly Dog” and “Absolute Assurance in Jesus Christ.”
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,
GOBBLEDYGOOK BOOK, THE [Charles Slagle] 1