Threshing The Wheat From The Chaff

| May/June 1970

On Sunday evenings I usually like to tune in various religious sermons, to get the varying thoughts in views of others throughout the nation. On one particular such evening, I happened onto the big station that dominates the other waves out in Iowa and three sermons followed, one after the other.

The first preacher was one of those strict fundamentalists you know, the kind who say everyone but themselves is going to Hell. 'If any of you folks haven't been baptized exactly as I explain in my little booklet, about what the scripture demands and it all hinges on this one word in the Bible then two-hundred million souls in this

United States will burn forever in eternity Praise God!' I sat there wondering how a Christian minister could shout praises to God about two-hundred millions of his fellow beings suffering hell-fire forever, as if he was gloating over the fact that he, alone, would escape.

The next sermon was delivered by a very sincere evangelist, who made a lot of sense, didn't condemn his fellow-beings, but urged them to a better kind of life. This I thought was more in keeping with a Christian ministry.

The third sermon was delivered by a Christian businessman. He didn't pound any pulpit, he never mentioned hell-fire or fellow-damnation. But he did preach a loving faith in a mild and dignified manner. I felt I got more of the 'Love of God' out of this sermon than the other two put down and pressed together. This man didn't tell you that you 'had' to believe, but he did explain that it would be much better if you did. And, in so doing, he made one feel much more welcome into trying out the Christian faith.

When I was little, Dad and Mom used to make us go to Sunday School every Sunday morning, and, if they were lucky enough to catch us after Sunday School (before we sneaked out the church door), they always made it sound that it was best for our spiritual welfare, both here and the hereafter, if we stayed and listened to the church choir and the preacher's sermon. Then it was that 'us kids' knew that we were stuck for another hour or two of disciplined conduct within the sacred walls of the Lord's House.


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