Part 2: A History of the “5-Step Plan of Salvation” [read the intro here]
While the Gospel has been around for about 2,000 years, the “5 Steps of Salvation” list is much younger. We can trace it back to Walter Scott, a Restoration preacher associated with the growth of the American Churches of Christ/Disciples of Christ of the 1800’s. Continue reading →
From the Conclusion:
“When I wrote these, I wrote them
for children who were told that dancing is tantamount to sex.
For girls who were taught that their bodies were shameful by preachers who blamed Bathsheba for David’s sin.
For families where brothers and sisters were not even allowed to swim in the same pool for fear of arousing unnatural passions.
For those who have lived in constant fear of hell because of a soteriology that can only be described as, “Once saved, always in jeopardy.” For those who have been deprived the comfort of the Holy Spirit’s presence in their life by preachers who told them that the Spirit dwells only in the Bible.
For entire families of preachers who have literally been kicked to the curb without notice because of a homiletical misstep or a personality conflict with a power-hungry eldership.
For those who have been told, “We will not even baptize you until you divorce your wife, because your marriage is unscriptural. It is better to break up your family than to burn in hell.”
For the women who have been “put in their place.”
For the LGBTQ family members who have spent hellish years trembling in the closet.
For the young alcoholic booted out of the Christian college without so much as an offer of help or treatment.
For the young man with a porn addiction who confided this to an elder and was threatened, “I’ll bet your momma would be real ashamed if she knew what you were doing.”
For the men with porn addictions who were told in the Open Forum of a Christian college lectureship: “I don’t see how it’s a problem. I love to go fishing, but if Jesus told me not to do it, I’d get rid of my rod and reel. It’s that simple, boys.”
I wrote these for everyone who has ever felt the need to pray, “Lord, protect me from my brethren.”
“Brother Sharp was acting like a game show host announcing that I’d won the grand prize. “Besides the vacation, Calvin, the Cortez church is going to be donating these books to you, for your personal library.” He handed me the list to look over. Debates I’ve Won; More Debates I’ve Won; and Debates I’ve Attended and Really Enjoyed, all by Dr. Remus Philbert. A Critique of Everything Written By Strudel Harrison Since 1985 (Including Church Bulletin Articles), by Mance Tatum. Whores of Babylon: Why All the Liberals Want to Score, by Flavil Waddey. A Preacher Boy’s Guide to Pulpit Humor and Potluck Etiquette, by Herbert and Edwina Sharp. “What do you think, Calvin?” he asked. You might have thought he was telling me I just won a new BMW the way he was going on.”
From day 3.2:
“After my talk with Beauregard Jones Tuesday morning, I decided to skip the pre-lunch lectures and go to the Memphis Zoo. It dawned on me that the Full Armor Lectureship—indeed, our entire fellowship—was its own menagerie, a stationary Noah’s ark whose inhabitants refused to leave, all blaming one another for the stench in there. We are not exotic breeds from faraway lands in the First United Primitive Christian Church, however. We are more like stubborn relics of the recent past, looking at the world through nauseatingly garish Technicolor lenses. We live on in the rubble of Modernism, proudly making no concessions to the rest of the world as it evolves without us, flinging our filth at each other. I felt quite at one that day with the animals in the zoo, for it came to me that I, too, had been bred in captivity.”
from Day 3.1:
Brother Jones waved a dismissive hand. “My views on Hell were well known amongst those people years ago, Calvin,” he said. “Up until a few months back, they just thought of it as one of those pet anomalies every preacher is allowed to have. Let me give you a few examples: Alasdair Cornwall, one of the eighteenth-century visionaries whose ‘back to the Bible,’ non-denominational preaching spawned our little movement, was an Arian, and I’m not even sure if he knew who Arius was. The pioneer revivalist ‘Onion’ Jim Throckmorton taught that it was a sin to get sick. O. D. Gypsum, the much-venerated Greek professor at Steed-Ramrick University from 1923 until 1965, was a staunch pacifist. Yet all these men are quoted freely from Brotherhood pulpits. Then, there’s a slew of outright bigots, such as Lloyd Q. Sargent, Jephthah Wigglesworth, and Zebulon Butcher, who put down their black brethren in their journals and belittled any white congregation that allowed a black evangelist to come preach there. But they are still seen as heroes for their strident defenses of orthodoxy, despite such blatant manifestations of a sinful attitude. It wasn’t an odd perspective on Hell that caused them to put the ban on me, Calvin. I’m in trouble for a much graver display of heterodoxy than annihilationism. And now that I’ve offended them in a great matter, they are calling me to task for every small matter, as well.”