The Christian Horror Story: Why Cautionary Tales Don’t Work


There’s always a heavy dramatic moment in a sermon when the preacher begins confessing someone else’s sin, a guy always named Bill, who got addicted to crystal meth and ran out on his kids and punched small animals and screwed up his life, and then the preacher concludes:

“Don’t be like Bill.  Let’s pray.”

The sermon closes and everyone fights for the offering plate.

But …


I can’t help but think: I’m no better than Bill.

I keep wondering: Who exactly did Jesus come to die for?  God sent His Son Jesus Christ to part the universe and galaxies and stars and skies to die on a cross in our place for everyone — except that dirty, disgusting, filthy pagan Bill.

Or the preacher says, “The first guy hears the Word of God and gets saved.  The second guy hears and goes off to the world but gets beat up, so he gets saved.  And the third guy: he stubbornly refuses and he ruins everything.  Don’t be the third guy.”

Everything in me wants to flip a table and yell, “But I’m the Third Guy.  I’m Bill.  That loser you’re talking about is me.”

Is there no grace for them? Because many of those church people are living through the very consequences that we’re yelling about.  Only preaching consequences is like throwing desert sand for the thirsty.

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