Sunday, March 20, 2011

Muslims, Mormons, My Missionary Father

My father preached literal Hell, every Sunday, for twenty five years.  He'd preach Jonathon Edwards sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" -- at first with a Vietnamese translator and then in his own fledgling tiếng Việt.  There was always an altar call, and nearly always a response to that call by animists and Buddhists and backsliding Catholics and backsliding Tin Lanh, whether Bap Tit [Baptists] or those of some other Protestant denomination.  After the war in Vietnam ended, it was off to Indonesia, the largest Muslim nation in the world.  And for every Sunday, in Bahasa Indonesia, it was the same.

You may have seen how I've blogged on what the literal Hell doctrine looks like for Muslims and what it looked like for Mormons, at least for the fundamental, textbook literalists.  What I'm interested in is how this is the same.

Yes, I know there are differences, but these are part of the sameness.  Here's how that goes:

"I don't like the doctrine of literal Hell any more than the next guy.  I can't help what God said [or what Jesus preached, or what Mohammed received from heaven, or what the Plates of Nephi had on them].  Look, God said it, I believe it, that settles it.  So let's sing All to Jesus I Surrender [or feel sorry for the Infidels, or send Missionaries, two by two, to every door] until God is satisfied.  But let's don't water down the truth!  The Truth is on my side!"

See, the differences:  it's always fine tuning the Truth.  What Jesus said, what John Piper said, what Timothy Keller said, is NOT what Rob Bell or C. S. Lewis exactly or John Murray said.  And, if you're Christian, then the Muslims and Mormons are clearly dealing with un-Truth, so it's time, of course, now, to straighten out and to knock out all of the in-Correct doctrines of anyone wanting to make money and fame off of a book with Love in its title.

See the sameness?  If you're Muslim, if you're Mormon, if you're my missionary father, your concerns are the same.

Now, I just want to end my post here with another snippet from Mary Pipher's Reviving Ophelia, from her chapter "Sex and Violence."  My wife's been reading it, been reading some of it aloud to me, because we've both grown up in homes where our fathers were preachers.  It's the fear of God in our homes, in our home together:
But girls are scared of many things.  They are worried that they will be judged harshly for their bodies and lack of experience.   They are worried about getting caught by their parents or going to hell.  They fear pregnancy and STDs.  They worry about getting a bad reputation, rejection and pleasing their partners.  They have seen sex associated with female degradation and humiliation, and they have heard ugly words describing sex, words that have more to do with aggression than love.  So they are fearful of being emotionally and physically hurt.  For the most part, girls keep their anxiety to themselves.  It's not sophisticated to be fearful.  [page 207]

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