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Doctrine in dialogue format
4I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
See that shanty on the corner, near the railroad tracks? The one with a collection of rusted automobiles and lead pipes. Yes, that's the one. There lives Lanslo and Honeysuckle Plebe, the neighborhood handyman. Let's go meet the Plebes, shall we?
In today's episode we find Lanslo talking to his new neighbor. Listen:
"So you're Lanslo Plebes, the local handyman. Well, I'm glad to meet you Lanslo. It's reassuring knowing that I have a neighbor I can call on if I need help. I'm Chancy Tepid, your new neighbor, in case you hadn't heard."
"Nothin' much slides by here without gettin' grabbed up by just about ever'body what c'n hobble to a telephone. Yep, I heared you comed from the big city. Must be awkward f'r you an' the missus in this here corner a' nowheres. Has you settled in? How's your ma's sacroiliac farin?"
"Well, I guess news does travel fast in this town. How did you even know I had a mother, leastwise that she has back problems?"
"What you wants kept to yer'self Mr Tepid, I advises ya' ta' keep it close to y'r chest."
"I think I understand what you're saying Lanslo. Thanks for the advice. So my new friend, how are the people here in this berg? Are they friendly?"
"Friendly 'nough I reckon. How's the folks where you come from?"
"They weren't too sociable I'm afraid Lanslo. Kind of clickish and closed mouth if you know what I mean."
"I reckon you'll find the folks 'round these parts the same. Folks is folks, an' we usual make's 'em inta' what they be to us. An' has you an' the missus found you a church ta' call home? If you're a hankerin', the church I goes to is a right good'n."
"I thank you for the invitation Lanslo, but I already have a church, the same one I've been attending all my life. It's a very comfortable church, and one that makes a person feel good about themself."
"You don't say so. Well, I done heared about them there churches. Sorry to hear it. I feels f'r ya'"
"You feel for me? You mean you feel sorry for me? Why do you say that Lanslo?"
" 'Cause you goes to one a them Sadducee churches. Tsk, tsk. Can't rightly trust nobody what goes ta' no Sadducee church."
"Sadducee church. I never heard of such a thing. There's nothing Sadducee about my church. And why do you say you can't trust anyone who goes to my church?"
"Didn't say ya ain't trustworthy Chancy. Don't know ya well 'nough to know one way or t'other. My meaning is you ain't got no call ta' do righteously. Double-dealin' gives ya' the same as straight shootin'. Does ya' understand my meanin' now Chancy?"
"Not at all Lanslo. Not at all. What are you talking about?"
"Well, le'me see if I c'n 'splain myself. There now, ya' see that there feller who lives up the road a piece? He's a Humanistical fella. He thinks he done come from a bug. No thoughts a' God or morally rightness. He's a nice 'nough fella, but got no internal law in him, nothin' ta' keep him from stealin' the shirt right off'n y'r back if he's a mind to. Know what I mean Chancy?"
"I think I do Lanslo. You're saying he doesn't have God's laws to follow and obey because he has no consequences he would have to face for doing wrong, unless caught by the police. I get that ok. But I'm not a Humanist. I believe in God, and I believe in a Heaven and hell. So why are you comparing me to a Humanist and a Sadducee?"
"They's more. On the other side a town they's a family of Hindu's. They ain't Christian nor any thing like no Christian. But they does believe they is rewards f'r doin' good in this here life. Do good, come back a people a bit higher than you done left this world. Do bad, come back a Jersey cow. Get my drift Chancy?"
"I think so Lanslo. He believes there are rewards and punishments for how he behaves in this life. So what? Like I said, I believe there's punishment and rewards...."
"I asks you now. Right off hand, which one a those there fellers is you goin' ta' trust with y'r belongings, all things bein' equal like? The Humanistical fella? or the Hindu?"
"Um, I'd say the Hindu since he would have the most reason to want to treat me honestly. But again I say, what has that got to do with Sadducees or with me and my church?"
"What you know about Sadducees Mr Tepid?"
"Well, as I understand it, they were a sect of people during the time of Jesus very much like the Pharisees, except they were more attached to the Temple, and they didn't believe in Heaven or hell or angels. But again, what does that have to do with me? I believe in those things and...."
"Sadducees don't b'lieve in no life after this here one neither. Like the Humanistical fella, when he die, he's dead an' that's that. No call ta' do nothin' but get what he can in this here life 'cause it's all he got. Make sense ta' ya' Chancy?"
"Yes, that makes sense to me. But again, what does that have...."
"You is comfortable in that there church a' yours. You done said so. Why is you comfortable? 'Cause they don't front you off. They don't make ya' beg f'r mercy from the God what made ya'. They tells ya' you is good an' lovable just the way you is 'cause you has been dipped in water. Is I right Mr Tepid?"
"That's a bit blunt, but I'd say you have the gist of it. I mean, we're not the fire and brimstone church they used to have a hundred years ago. We've grown up from that old fashioned stuff. We preach the love of Jesus rather than the anger of God. But we still preach the same Bible. We still believe in consequences for our actions here in this life."
"No ya' don't."
"Now wait a minute Lanslo. You've got no call to talk to me this way. You don't know me, and you don't know anything about my church. How do you get off talking to me like this?"
" 'Cause a' what you done said. 'Sides, I didn't start this here conversation, you did. I was here on me porch mindin' my own business. An' you come up ta' me makin' conversation. I is tryin' ta' be sociable an' answer y'r questions. If you doesn't like my answers, well, that's the way of it."
"Ok Lanslo. I get it. But still, I'm not a Sadducee. And I do believe in consequences."
"No ya' don't. Not f'r you ya' don't Chancy."
"There you go again with that talk. Why do you say that?"
"Le'me ask ya' this Mr Tepid. Does you b'lieve you can lose y'r salvation? I mean to say, does you think if you backslides back ta' the same feller ya' was when ya' was baptized in water that you'll still get ta' Heaven an' miss hell by a smidgen?"
"Yes, I believe that. But so what? I'm still just as much a Christian as...."
"I ask you Mr Tepid, what's the difference b'tween what you believes an' what that there Humanistical fella or the Sadducee fella b'lieves? The end of it is all the same, don't you think so Mr Tepid?"
11Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. 12Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. (1Cor 10:)
17Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. (2Cor 6:)
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