A Very
Short Story
. . . with Long Lasting Implications

   My name is Doug Lukey, and I'm a minister in a very prominent denomi-
          nation.   The events you are about to read have brought me to a shocking
          realization of the true spiritual status of my congregation, and even my
denomination as a whole.
   It began one day with a phone call . . .

   "Doug?   How are you?"
   "Fine, Mike.   What's up in the business world?"
   "Funny you should ask.   There's an opportunity for you to make some money.
Nothing funny of course; it's a legitimate investment."

   "Of course," I said, smiling over his compulsion to assure me of the obvious.
   "If you're interested, when can we meet?" he said.
   I looked at my watch, "How about . . . 4:30?   Will you still be in your office?"
   "What do you think I am, a banker?   I'll be here.   See you then."
   I hung up the phone and it immediately rang again.   It was Wilma Shomer.
Her son, Charlie, who has Down's Syndrome, had been caught stealing and,
understandably, she was very upset.   So I volunteered to drop by and have a
talk with him . . .

   Charlie and I sat facing each other.   He seemed his usual self: polite, friendly,
and constantly smiling.   I'd always envied the sense of peace behind his smile.   The
whole world could be going to pot - and it was - and yet he'd still be smiling.   I've
often wondered who was really better off.
   "So, Charlie, your mom tells me you did something bad.   You wanna talk about it,
pal to pal?"
   "I took something, but everything's okay."
   "Actually, it's not okay.   It's called stealing and . . ."
   "But I have a license!" he said, still radiating that smile.   "I can do things like that
and God won't get mad."
   "Charlie, what do you mean a license?   There's no such thing."
   He nodded his head, insisting he had one.   So I said, "Show me your license."
   Without saying a word, he happily got up and led me to his room.   It was a tidy
room, a lot tidier than my office in fact, providing more reason for envy.
   He pointed to the far wall and said, "There it is!"
   I walked toward it and, halfway there, recognized what it was.   Someone had
framed his baptismal certificate and, somehow, he assumed it was a license to sin.

   "Charlie, that's not a license."
   He frowned as his lower lip trembled.
   "Charlie, I'm not mad."   I assured him with a smile of my own.   "But I want to know why
you think it's a license?"
   "It says I'm God's child; everything is okay.   If I sin, He won't get mad."
   I began to understand his convoluted logic as he continued.   "Mom says with driver's
license she can drive without getting in trouble."
   "But she still has to obey the traffic laws," I said.
   "Then what good is license?"
   His question made me consider what having a driver's license really meant.   When it
came down to it, all it proved was that you passed a driving test.   The license itself didn't
automatically make you a good driver.   I turned to look at the baptismal certificate, trying
to draw an analogy.
   Here was a piece of paper saying that when baptized, a person becomes a child of God.   Yet
how many baptized persons truly behave like one?   What good was that certificate when
Jesus always taught: ‘Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.   Not every one that
saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the
will of my Father which is in heaven.’
  (Mat. 7:20-21) . . .
   Then I caught myself.   Why get so heady over this?   No normal, rational, person would view
their certificate as a license to sin.   Surely, this is an isolated case, so why give it a second
thought?   I sat Charlie down and spent a good hour setting him straight.   By the time I
finished, I had enough time to get across town and keep my appointment with Mike . . .

   We sat on opposite sides of his large oak desk.   This was my third time in his office and
each time the decor had changed.   Maybe that's how the business world works.   One thing it
still was - it was tidy.   Almost as tidy as Charlie's room.   And as I scanned the walls, I
suddenly found another similarity - Mike, had his baptismal certificate hanging up also!
Maybe, somehow, he thought it was good for business to show a religious side.
   "An investment opportunity has opened up," Mike began.   "I think you should take full
advantage of it.   They're overseas stocks that. . . ."
   If you ask me, to this day, what he said, I couldn't tell you.   It was all background noise
as my eyes glanced around the room.   There was a liquor bar on wheels, perhaps essential
when sealing an agreement.   His desk had an ash tray right next to a humidor.   Ironically, on
the same wall as his certificate was a replica of a Van Gogh.   You know the type: a nude
woman on a bed of surreal flowers.   By the time I focused back on the conversation, Mike
was reassuring me the deal was legit.   Why the compulsion again, I wondered.   Was there
guilt behind his words?   What was his normal business practice?   I glanced, again, at his
certificate.   Did he own a license, too?
   ". . . Well Doug, what do you think?   Are you interested?"
   I paused for a moment.   Then said, "Can I ask you something? Minister to member."
   He stiffened up, "Yeah . . . sure."
   "Do you ever wonder if . . . well, if perhaps some of the normal business practices today
can be considered, you know, Christian-like, conducive to a child of God?"

   Mike went silent, looking incredulous.   I couldn't blame him, really, coming out of left
field like that.   "I'm taking a personal poll," I added, softening the blow.
   "Oh . . . I see," he said, then gave me some double-talk.   "I guess it depends . . . sure
there's some bad apples out there, but sometimes you don't have much a choice."
   "You don't think God frowns upon it?"
   "Hey, we cut our own kids some slack now and then, don't we?" he said, chuckling.   "Now,
are you in or not, this opportunity won't last forever, you know."
   I stood up, "I'll think about it and let you know."   We shook hands, while I gave the
certificate one final glance. . . .

   Back at the office, sitting in my desk, I kept wondering if his was the normal attitude?
Were we, as a church, in essence, handing out licenses to sin, and giving people an excuse for
not fearing God?   Were they assuming: I'm a Christian because I've got the paper to prove
  Was baptism really making them a child of God?   I cringed at the horrible thought of all
those poor souls dying, mistakenly trusting in their baptism, only to wake up in Hell!
   I didn't sleep much that night.   Somehow I suspected that Mike's attitude was not an
isolated case.   So the following morning, I cracked open my Bible and did some research.   Two
verses rang out at me.   The first one was: "But as many as received him, to them gave he
power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:"
(John 1:12).
   Questions began to flood my mind: How can a baby willfully receive Christ, and not by
  I couldn't find baptism by substitution anywhere in the Bible, yet this is what
we taught.   And If God gives his children the power to follow the Bible, why do we, as a
church, have to constantly make it easier for our members to follow a "Christian"
standard by accommodating to the changing moral standards of society?
  The questions
went on and on.

   The second verse was just as thought-provoking: "If ye endure chastening [discipline],
God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and
not sons
  (Heb. 12:7-8)   I knew my congregation.   I observed many of their unchristian-like
practices.   Why weren't they being disciplined by God, who was supposedly their Father?

   It's been several weeks now, and the seeds of doubt have grown profoundly.   Each day I
find more examples of hypocrisy within my denomination.   As I continue to line up their
lives with what I've read from the Bible, I now seriously question if any, if not all, of its
members are truly saved.

   When I approached my superiors with my concerns I was met with an attitude not very
different from that of Mike's.   Do they own a license too?   You can see now why I'm resigning.
I can't honestly function as a minister when I question my denomination's - and therefore
my own - standing with God.   Through it all, I can't help but think that Luther must be
spinning in his grave . . .

Do you consider yourself a
child of God because you were baptized
as an infant?   The Bible says: "But as many as
received him, to them gave he power to
become the sons of God, even to them that
believe on his name:"
(John 1:12).   That means
you can only become a child of God
by RECEIVING Christ as your personal
Saviour.   You must, KNOWINGLY, in repen-
tance and faith, CALL upon His name to save

The Bible teaches: "For all have
, and come short of the glory
of God;"
(Rom. 3:23).   And that there
is a price to pay for having sinned against
God, and that price is death.   "For the
wages of sin is death
; but the gift
of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ
our Lord."
  (Rom. 6:23)   "and without
shedding of blood
[DEATH] is no
[FORGIVENESS]."   (Heb. 9:22)

Therefore INFANT BAPTISM cannot
pay for your sins since no one dies while
getting baptized!   Nor can CONFIRMATION,
Anything other than death CANNOT and
WILL NOT pay for any of your sins.   That's
why: "Christ died for our sins" (1 Cor. 15:3).
He paid the price by dying in your place and
if you don't put your trust in His death to
save you, Jesus warned that: "ye shall die
in your sins
: for if ye believe not that
I am he,"
(John 8:24).   And that means
eternity in the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:15).

To receive Jesus Christ, and become a child of
God, you must REPENT; stop trusting in your
baptism and place all your trust in Jesus
Christ, and Him alone, to save you.   So
"if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the
Lord Jesus
[i.e. REPENT], and shalt believe in
thine heart
[TRUST] that God hath raised
him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."

(Rom. 10:9)

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Fargo, ND 58107

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