It’s that simple. Because that means that you just haven’t gotten the point of the Gospel.
I remember talking with some friends about a member of our church, an old gentleman who had just passed away at a fairly advanced age. He had been a member of the church for a very long time, longer than any of us had been members. A bit standoffish, more than a little grumpy, he was the type of fellow who didn’t invite folks to get to know him very well.
One of my friends said that he regretted not getting to know this man, that he hadn’t taken the time to sit with him, especially in the last few days of his life. He regretted never having asked the man if he was ‘saved’. My other friends heartily agreed.
I was fairly blown away by this. In fact, I remember this conversation as the beginning of the end of my romance with Fundamentalism. It was the first time that I realized how different my understanding of the Gospel was from theirs.
What was the point of asking an old man, that you never bothered to know over the years, what his beliefs were on his death bed? What did the question really mean and what would he have said anyway? I think that what this question really meant was “Do you believe in precisely what I believe? Because if you don’t then you will go to hell”. I think my friends would have no problem admitting that.
I won’t bother explaining why I think that this is wrong. If you get it, then you get it. If you don’t, we’ll, then you won’t.