As I was reading Rob Bell‘s Love Wins last night, a memory surfaced…one that I had not thought of in, well, a long time. It goes all the way back to my high school days.
I must have been 15-16 years old at the time. Anyways, I grew up in an American Baptist household. At the time, I was kind of seeing this girl who was, to put it bluntly, a Christian fundamentalist. So I was invited to her church, a good old independent Baptist church…more on them in a minute. On the more positive side, it was here that I was first introduced to Christ’s descent into hell. But, it wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies. I can remember sitting in the worship service when the altar call was given.
A friend of this girl that I was seeing leaned over to me and said something to the effect of, “If you were to die right now, where would you go?”
I whispered back, “Umm…heaven.”
He looked at me and said, “Are you sure you’re not going to hell? You’re soul is in danger!”
What was I to do? I felt that all eyes were on me. So I did what any embarrassed teen did…caved in and went forward.
If I knew then what I know now, I probably wouldn’t have gone forward; I probably would have told them to piss off. Actually I probably wouldn’t have even been interested in the girl. See, Trinity Baptist Church is a “independent, fundamental, Bible-believing, KJV 1611 Bible-preaching church that welcomes everyone.” I have serious doubts that they would welcome everyone and I’m not too fond of the KJV-Only crowd.
But, needless to say, about 20 years ago, hell was used by means of fear to get me to go forward in an altar call. I’m really glad I got out of that mentality.