Tuesday, June 20, 2006

FEAR OF HELL & 18-WHEELERS

I was saved when I was 6 - as saved as a six-year-old could be. I didn't understand all the theologies, the trinity, etc. (I'm still not sure I do). But I knew I loved Jesus because Jesus loved me enough to take my punishment for me being a bad boy. I was saved and I knew I loved Jesus. Over the next several years, I grew to understand better what Jesus had done for me and what being saved meant.

Then, I went to a youth conference in San Antonio, TX. The speaker was Ken Freeman. The conference began with a Praise & Worship band. All was well; then Ken got up to speak. "Do you know that when you die you will go to Hell!!!" he shouted. "...if you're not sure of your salvation!!!!" he continued. What??? I was trying to process everything he was saying. Hell had always been a real, literal concept to me. But that had nothing to do with the reason of my salvation. I chose Jesus because Jesus love me - I thought. I wasn't saved to get out of Hell. But now that he mentioned it, I sure didn't want to end up in Hell. And if I'm not sure of my 'salvation,' I could go to Hell?? Well, then.

"If you walk out of here tonight and get hit by an 18-wheeler," he shouted as he pointed to the exit not far from where I was, "you will go to Hell, unless you're sure you're saved by Jesus. And if you go to Hell, you will burn forever in fire you can't ever escape from!"

I freaked. There's no other way to put it. I was overwhelmed by a fear of Hell and 18-wheelers. I didn't know anymore whether or not Jesus had actually saved me. The idea of being 'sure' had never really crossed my mind - and now I'm told that my salvation is condition upon it. And at the same time I was kicking myself for doubting. I can still remember, "If you walk out of here tonight..." being shouted by a man with More Precious Than Silver playing on the keyboards. I walked out of the church afterwards with everyone else. But I wrestled with all this through the night until daybreak. I didn't know what to believe, or why. Inside, I began to have a new relationship with God - one centered around my getting out of hell instead of knowning my Creator.

That night in San Antonio was the first time I had ever left a church doubting my salvation.

2 comments:

the cake baker said...

why do people scare people into heaven :-P

cruz-control said...

I don't know. I think because some people see the Bible as saying,"Go and make Church members," and not, "Go and make disciples (students)."