I’ve been a committed Christian since age five. I became a confused Christian since age seven. Then I was a terrified Christian from age eight or nine, until age 26.
I was confused by the fact that the Christians who were the pastors and other elders of the churches I attended all were pulpit-pounding pontificators rather than actual persons. They all seemed to say that, in order to be saved, one had to repeat ‘The Sinner’s Prayer’ in the hearing of one or more appointed Elders, and then to have done so to the satisfaction of that/those elder(s), and then to have a particular mannerism of ‘zeal’ for Christ and the Gospel.
And that’s what terrified me. I had never done any of those things, and certainly did not feel that ‘zeal’ so as to express it. Did they require that I act it out anyway? Was I saved? Who was to tell me I was? They all seemed to think that such a petrsions as me wasd not saved, and that I was condemned and predestined to Hell by God since I had not done those things, and could not do them. How much impossible and angry magic I lacked of the Truth, since I could not, would not, do those things, nor act out such ‘zeal’ in an effort to be approved of by these people. They were my authority in all things of salvation, and what they seemed certainly to teach was necessary-and-sufficient to be saved was something that condemned me, since I could not do it.
Fortunately, I am a kind of prisoner of the ever-present, such that whatever I know and perceive at a given point in time is the only reality for me. Thus, whenever these people were not teaching on this puppet-mechanics how one becomes saved, I had no sense of the problem at all. I was only terrified whenever such mechanics was taught in my hearing, or when, on rare occasions, someone of these kind of Christians asked be how I got saved. I had no answer to that question, because they all assumed that how one ‘gets saved’ is by their mechanics; by putting oneself into the front of their Salvation Machine and hoping that one comes the other side saved and knowing it.
Why do so many keep asking if they are really saved? I could not ask anyone this regarding myself, because they all seemed so intent on just trying to put the questioner through that machine again, and I was entirely disinclined to put myself in that thing. I never tried to change that inclination, either. Why would I? And had the logical possibility occurred to me that people might want to try to change that about themselves (in order that they can finally manage to ‘get saved’), I would not have cared to try. Everything was insane, and I keep, on those rare occasions, finding some sense of a question that this Machine was wrong. But the terror was really all I could ‘do’. So, each time, I was just doing that: thinking that I must be simply one of those whom God had simply decided to predestine to Hell; that that was why I could not ‘submit’ to God by way of that Salvation Machine. Was I submitting to God if I could not put myself into that Machine? What does submission to God even mean, then? Was I a rebel who hated God? What does it mean to be such a rebel if I was one such rebel? I did not think I hated God, and He has ever been my friend, and I His. He knew everything I needed, and everything that I ever shall need. He’s God. That’s What and Who He is. He’s the Creator, and the Lover of my soul: the Savior,
But I grew up attending ever only Machine church’s, whose every Elder was a Machine Christian, most of them Angry Machine Christians. And they were all my authority on how to become saved. They certainly believed they were, and I had no word from the Bible, or from them, that said that this Salvation Machine was wrong.
More in a future post.