Growing in Grace Testimonials
The Truth Can Be Costly at Times
(This testimony was received via e-mail on Oct. 20, 1998, and because of the continuing harrassment of the writer by certain persons, the writer's name is being withheld.)
I have put off writing this long enough. I must testify as to how the discovery of the salvation of all has influenced my life.
I was reared in a typical Christian home, knowing good deeds from evil: We went from Presbyterian to Anglican to Baptist to Charismatic and to rip-roaring Pentacostal. The nagging thought that plagued me all my life was: "How could God send folks to hell who had never understood the Gospel enough to accept it, not to mention the ones who had never even heard it at all." It seemed like such a crummy deal, that I began to ask church leadership about the issue. Whenever I did, Romans 1 was quoted, which stated that those who are not saved "are without excuse", due to their not seeing God in nature (which contradicted their statement that the sinner's prayer was the only way to tap into Jesus' sacrifice). Any time I pushed further and said that I was having trouble with the logic of this argument, I was told to not rest in my own logic, but to rest in "God's logic". Further prodding from me got me labelled a troublemaker, and in one of my most difficult encounters with an unmentioned mainline denominataional church pastor, I was publically denounced from the pulpit, labelled a sinner, and barred from ever returning until I went through a series of penetential hoops and apologies. The whole congregation was told never to have anything to do with me, and the pastor followed me all over town, wherever I went, telling other church leaders that I belonged to him (funny...I thought he threw me out) and to send me back to him or at least cast me out from their fellowship. Most pastors were intimidated by his convoluted Biblical swordplay, and said that they could not keep me as a new member, or church war would erupt. (I did end-up at a local fellowship in which my new grace-understanding pastor told my old pastor to go jump in the lake. Needless to say, the old pastor went berserk, but the dust settled.)
My impending marriage was fought by this pastor, in addition to his attempting to take my business from me and give it to another more cooperative church member (when I left, I took a lot of tithe with me).
A number of friends called, wrote, and even secretly met me for covert lunches, begging me to return and have the church banishment officially lifted. In the same breath, they asked that I keep our communications a secret from the old pastor, as they feared that he would make good on his threat to throw out anyone who contacted me. I could not help but ask myself if they saw the inconsistency in staying in such a bondage. Once again, this was a MAINLINE, evangelical, cutting-edge, abortion-fighting, politically active, gospel-preaching (so called), good-work-doing denomination which would be IMMEDIATELY recognized.
To sum up, I was new to the web in 1996, and while doing an unrelated web search, I stumbled on a few christian universalist sites. Suddenly, I knew that I was in the presence of truth: Not just that Jesus died to save all, but that saying the sinner's prayer was no less a good work than cutting a calf or praying the rosary.
Like Namon in the Old Testament, I must secretly worship this true God. My precious family has come to understand the unconditional love and grace of God, but is not yet to the point of knowing that "all died in Adam, therefore all shall be made alive in Christ." I pray that the eyes of all shall be opened to the wonderful truths which are explained on websites such as Tentmaker, especially when one considers the troubled times which lay ahead for our nation and our world. God bless all who read this. May we forgive all who wrong us, knowing that there is not a single thing that God holds against us due to His perfect Son's loving sacrifice.