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Billy Talks to His Pastor about God
by John Pedersen

Billy: "Pastor, does God love everybody?"

Pastor: "Yes, Billy (smile, pats him on the head).

Billy: "How come it says in Romans 9 that he hated Esau?"

Pastor: "Been reading your Bible, huh, Billy? (still smiles). Well, the Bible also says that God hates, but that only is talking about God's secret decree, and as far as we are concerned, he loves everybody."

Billy: "Pastor?".

Pastor: "Yes, Billy."

Billy: "If God tells us about his secret decree, is it still a secret?"

Pastor: "Er, well, I guess.not, Billy, but I meant that we should realize that there is a way the Bible talks about God's love for everybody, and that's what we should think about, not the one or two places where it says God hates."

Billy: "Oh. How is it that God loves everybody?"

Pastor: "Well, he gives everybody rain and sunshine, and he blesses the people of the earth with a conscience so they know right from wrong, and he has given them many gifts which they use to make the world a better and safer place to live."

Billy: "Then he sends most of them to hell?"

Pastor: "Yes, Billy."

Billy: "Pastor?"

Pastor: "Yes, Billy."

Billy: "Is it love for God to give people good things for a few years to make them feel comfortable and worthwhile, and then send them to hell?"

Pastor: "Well, I. yes, it.is, I think, because it would have been worse if, I mean it would be, um, well, it is, I guess, because he did not send them directly to hell, but he allowed them to experience his goodness and his provision for his creatures."

Billy: "Is it love to let someone experience something good they will remember forever and always hate God for, because that good thing they loved more than forgiveness?"

Pastor: "Could we change the subject, Billy? I am not sure my answers are satisfying you."

Billy: "O.K., Pastor. Did Jesus die for everybody?"

Pastor: "Why, sure, Billy."

Billy: "Pastor"

Pastor: "Yes, Billy."

Billy: "If Jesus died for everybody, why isn't everybody going to heaven?"

Pastor: "Well Billy, its because not everybody will accept him."

Billy: "But Pastor, I thought Jesus saved us. You are telling me that we save Jesus."

Pastor: (Laughing nervously) Of course not, Billy! I believe that Jesus saves us completely! However would you get the idea that I believed we save Jesus?

Billy: "Well, Pastor, you told me that Jesus died for everybody, and that only those who accept him will be saved. So, this means Jesus' death and resurrection, what Jesus does, cannot save us of itself, but something more is needed, and that something more is what we do by accepting him. For those who do not accept Jesus, they will perish. That means that Jesus' dying for them cannot help them. In fact, it means that Jesus' work for them was a miserable failure. On the other hand, those who accept him make his work real by their acceptance-and they save his work from being a failure. Without us, Jesus, and his work of salvation-would be doomed! If Jesus cannot save us without the permission we give of our own free will, then we are the real saviors, and Jesus is the one we save! Wow! What would he ever do without us?!

Pastor: "Er. uh.that's not what I mean. I mean if, it is, I said.no, I believe Jesus is the one who does the saving, Billy, its just that. God has made it so that we. are free to acc. meaning, we are, are.Billy, the Bible is mysterious. It seems to mean certain things, but it doesn't really, like it says.you are using logic, Billy. The Bible is not logical, and the truths are not something we can fit into our own minds."

Billy: "Pastor."

Pastor: "Yes, Billy (now showing a slight frown).

Billy: "When you say the Bible is not logical, does that mean the Bible does not make sense? 'Cause you made sense when you said the Bible wasn't logical. I think it was because you used logic that you made sense."

Pastor: (Now glowering at Billy) No, Billy, I didn't mean the Bible does not make sense. It does make sense, but just not our kind of sense".

Billy: "Pastor."

Pastor: "Yes, Billy."

Billy: "Why would God give a Bible to us that did not make our kind of sense?"

Pastor: "Well, Billy, its not that. I think its.it makes sense, just does not give us the answers we like to hear, and says things that seem contradictory but really are not, to keep us from asking smart- aleck questions."

Billy: "So, God doesn't make our kind of sense to keep us humble?"

Pastor: "That's right, Billy. God wants to keep us humble, so he does not let us think we can be absolutely certain about the things some proud people are certain about."

Billy: "Pastor."

Pastor: "Yes, Billy."

Billy: "Are you certain about what you just said to me?"

Pastor: "(Showing obvious irritation) What do you think, Billy?"

Billy: "I think you just called yourself a proud person, but I don't know why, 'cause you are so smart and know so much about God, and how much he needs us."

Pastor: "Billy, why don't you go out and play, like the other children?"

Billy: "Why should I go out and play, when I can stay in here with you and learn how to save God?"

Pastor: "You need to be careful, Billy. I never said we save God. You are the one who said that, young man. I simply believe our choices are significant, and God does not treat us like robots or lifeless stones. He created us to have true human responsibility."

Billy: "Pastor"

Pastor: (Now looking quite angry at young Billy) "This will have to be the last question, young man! I have important things to do and you should be outside playing."

Billy: "When God put Abraham to sleep, was he telling him what he thought of his human responsibility?"

Pastor: (Seething with rage) I have a bad headache, Billy, and I can't answer any more of your questions, but I can tell you this. Whoever has been teaching you has been telling you things a boy your age should not even be thinking about. It sounds like you have been learning some kind of hyper-Calvinism. You better be careful, young man!

Billy: "I don't know about hyper- Calintisim, but I have been reading these things in the Bible. Thanks for straightening me out. I will try to cut these bad parts out. Can I borrow some scissors?

Pastor: (Rising from his chair) Get out of here, you, you, you.!

Billy: "That's O.K., pastor. I'll ask Joey. He was using some good scissors when we were cutting out our 'friends with Jesus' pictures for Sunday School. Good- by."

1997 Copyright, by John Pedersen

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