Once upon a time …
… the one who was righteous looked down from his lofty position of superior knowledge and unimpeachable works, and decided that there were too many followers. Too many who believed on Jesus, the Lord and Son. It was time to winnow out the chaff, to weed out the thistles, to cleanse the threshing floor.
He decided that there should be laws, just as there had been in the Old Covenant, but unexpressed instead of explicit, camouflaged in the language of love in the New. He deigned that those who did not correctly and logically deduce them from the hidden hints in scripture should be forever lost, no matter how much they believed, or loved, or helped, or shared, or worshiped. Nor should there be any gift of the Holy Spirit to help in the deciphering; they should be on their own with just the Word and the brains given them.
They should be judged publicly and condemned before their peers to burn forever in unquenchable fire for their stupidity and inability to decipher the silent commands or to obey the unspoken laws. It was to be justice for all and mercy toward none.
For no one who did not see things exactly the same way that he did should deserve to live happily ever after – the promises of grace notwithstanding, nor the blood of the Son, nor the love of a Father.
Fortunately, he was not God. He was a preacher at a church he wished was bigger … or an editor of a newsprint periodical … or a speaker at conferences that defend the hidden truth and mark the disagreeable … or a troller of blogs, in search of heretics to reel in and gut and then hang out to dry.
Yet he was also a beloved brother, a fellow believer, loved by God, redeemed by grace, bought by blood. There were, and still are, many of him.
So we pray.
And we hope.