Salvation – Transition from fear

IMG_0172-001I gave Dr. Moore my “business card” and he immediately pulled up my website on his computer and looked it over.  He complimented me and said, “I like what you are doing but why do you do it?”

The question was unexpected so I replied lamely, “I had time on my hands.”  I should have said that I had preached the gospel for more than fifty years and had more to say.

Like Gloria Neufeld Redekop, I have engaged the fundamentals of evangelicalism.  As a young man I was attracted to the fundamentals. I preached them fervently, but now I question them.  I’ve concluded that the Bible is not inerrant, not a book of science, and not a history book.

Gloria Neufeld Redekop described her withdrawal from the fundamentals of evangelism as similar to the five stages of grief.  The five stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. If I understood Redekop correctly, she advised against taking these five stages too literally or expecting to experience them in exact sequence.

Yes, there is struggle and grief in loosening oneself from the past, but renewal is pending.  I found this to be true when I retired from active church administration. “Transitions,” a book given to Rhoda and me helped me to move quickly to another life.  And it just now occurs to me that an unconscious use of the coping strategies of that book helped me to find my “Joy”, and begin a new life.

This past Sunday morning, my “Joy” and I went to Waterford Mennonite Church to hear my Son-in-law preach the morning sermon.  His use of the Bible demonstrated its lasting value after belief in the fundamentals is gone.  The Bible is not a history book, nor a science book, and  not inerrant, but the stories, though mythical, remain to teach some lessons for a good life and a calm death.  Fear of hell is gone.

I post this on Halloween. One hundred eighteen years ago on October 31, 1895 my father was born.

About Martin Lehman

I was born 92 years ago, the son of a Mennonite pastor and organic gardener in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. At age 10 I was baptized as a member of the Marion Mennonite Church. I own the "Old Fool" moniker because I want to walk the Jesus Way even though the world and much of the church takes me as a fool for doing so. In my life I have moved from being a young conservative to an elderly radical. I tell that story in My Faith Journey posted on my website.
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5 Responses to Salvation – Transition from fear

  1. Kim Krady Forte says:

    Just as an add on my dad, Jim Krady, was 81 years young on Tuesday 10/29 !!!!
    Send wishes to jmkrady@comcast.net.

  2. Kendal Sommers says:

    Martin, thank you, as always, for sharing your wisdom. Your post reminds me of something a college Bible professor once said. He was obviously well aware of college students’ penchant for chucking their belief system, and he told us “don’t tear down your house until you have a new one built.” Years later when my “house” burnt down, I decided a house is overrated. Too often it just walls us off from each other. Since then I’ve been camping under the stars. Yes, sometimes it rains. But it’s been worth it to meet fellow travelers like you.

    • I remember receiving that advice also related to the reorganization of a church. It was given by an expert in church organization. I’m glad that you have a camping spot under the sun. Where ever we are, under the sun or in a house, I assume that we can learn from the myths of the great religions including the one with which we are the most familiar.

  3. Roy Hartzler says:

    I think, Martin, that Gloria talked about Fundamentalist Evangelicalism, not the Fundamentals of Evangelicalism. I took from her that she struggled with a religious culture she felt trapped in. Her use of “Fundamentalist” was an adjective rather than a noun. I identified with her because my religious roots were also in that Fundamentalism although we did not call it that. As you well know, evangelicalism is a long tradition of Christianity whereas Fundamentalist Evangelicalism is more recent and culturally based.
    Sorry if I sound picky.

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