John MacFarlane, pastor of First Baptist Church in Bryan, Ohio — an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) congregation — writes a daily devotional for True Christians®. Recently, MacFarlane wrote a post about the worthlessness of the life of Hank Williams and that of everyone who does not worship his peculiar version of the Christian God.
There is immeasurable sadness of a life lived having been exposed to the Lord through church, the preaching of God’s Word, and even through the lyrics of songs – yet so far from God that a dying man [Hank Williams] says, “There ain’t no light.” How can a person be so close and yet so far away?
By the admission of his friends, Hank had nothing to do with “religion,” in spite of his mother’s attempts to persuade him. We can only hope that he had trusted Jesus and was just in a very backslidden condition. However, all indicators point otherwise. Williams himself said, “There ain’t no light.”
A person who has all the success, fame, and fortune that this world can provide and yet doesn’t have Jesus, this person has nothing and ends with nothing. If you have Jesus but very little of this world’s goods, that’s okay because you have everything.
Here’s what MacFarlane is saying: billions of people have “nothing” lives. Every Catholic, Muslim, Buddhist, Shintoist, Jehovah’s Witness, Mormon, atheist, agnostic, and pagan has a “nothing” life. MacFarlane believes only a small percentage of earth’s residents worship the one true God. Only this select few, the chosen ones, have “everything” lives. MacFarlane arrogantly tells his fellow Fundamentalists that while they may be poor, with Jesus they have E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. MacFarlane never explains what “everything” means. Pain? Hemorrhoids? Suffering? Heartache? Loss? A favorite sports team that sucks? What is this “everything” MacFarlane speaks of?
Evangelicals-turned-atheists are familiar with the “everything” word. It’s not that True Christians® have everything in this life — they don’t. Life is filled with pain, suffering, heartache, and death for many, if not all Christians. There is nothing inherent to Christianity that makes life “better.” Jesus is not the cure for what ails people. No, what MacFarlane is actually talking about is one of his favorite subjects: God’s salvation lotto payout — a mansion next door to Jesus.
The foundation of MacFarlane’s post is perfectly illustrated in the gospel song, Build My Mansion Next Door to Jesus (sung by Dottie, Buck, and Reba Rambo). Give it a listen. 🙂 You will be sure to regret it.
Unfortunately, MacFarlane sees no value in the lives of most human beings (except zygotes and fetuses, of course). Instead, he reduces the unwashed, uncircumcised Philistines of the world to a caricature, sermon illustration, or a cautionary tale. MacFarlane demonizes, marginalizes, and condemns “sinners.” Yet, he wants “worthless” locals to come join his merry band of Baptists at the corner of Union Street and Fountain Grove Drive in Bryan, Ohio.
I plan to join Hank Williams, Frank Sinatra, and the rock bands MacFarlane preaches against in Hell. Awesome music, better company (Steven Hawking, Christopher Hitchens, to name a few), and lots of Devil’s food cake and Devil’s brew. Why would anyone want to join the good pastor in Heaven?
Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.
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