Before we discover the scariest passage in the Bible, especially (but not only) for conservative Christians, you may wonder what does it even mean to be a conservative Christian and why is he picking on them again? The word is loaded with many meanings, and half of the truly conservative Christians are still fighting about the purest meaning. There are a couple of essential things required to consider yourself a part of the conservatism side of Christianity, one is a very strict defense of theological dogmas (often stated as “contending for the faith” or “defending doctrinal purity”). In addition conservative Christians are easily the most zealous and committed people that I know, not just in theological pursuits but in living a life of holiness and purity. I used to consider myself a conservative Christian, until I realized I can hardly compare myself to those that are far more zealous and committed than myself. And so, the reason why this post is kind of aimed at conservative Christians is because they have shown they are better at everything else than the rest of us, and while there are plenty of scary verses for me, they get a free pass on most of those, but not this one. This one hits all of us.
But before I scare you to death, here is a wonderful little story that that can illustrate the concept of being a truly conservative Christian. It goes like this.
Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump. I said, “Don’t do it!” He said, “Nobody loves me.” I said, “God loves you. Do you believe in God?”
He said, “Yes.”
I said, “Are you a Christian or a Jew?”
He said, “A Christian.”
I said, “Me, too! – Protestant or Catholic?”
He said, “Protestant.”
I said, “Me, too! – What franchise?”
He said, “Baptist.”
I said, “Me, too! – Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?”
He said, “Northern Baptist.”
I said, “Me, too! – Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?”
He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist.”
I said, “Me, too! – Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region, or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?”
He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region.”
I said, “Me, too! – Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?”
He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912.”
I said, “Die, heretic!” And I pushed him over.
What is the scariest passage in the Bible (for conservative Christians?)
Now that the lighthearted humor is out of the way, here is something that is far from lighthearted and far from humorous. The Bible has a ton of scary saying and really hard passages, especially if you take them quite literally. Surely I will pick something about curses and punishments? Or even worse about the devil, demons, or death? If all else fails, any verse about hell ought to be the most frightening, no? .
Yet, this is not the scariest passage in the Bible for conservative Christians; in my opinion that honor goes to 1 John 4:7-8. It is the greatest test of genuine Christianity ever devised.
“Everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
Whoever does not love, does not know God, for God is love.”
Real Life Ramifications
You probably breathed a colossal sigh of relief and thought “that wasn’t so bad, I guess I know we should love people and stuff like that.” That was probably not the wisest thing, if this verse doesn’t scare you, then you are not literally believing what it says. The real life ramifications for even the most committed of conservative Christians is very profound!
If you don’t truly love people, you are not of God.
Think of the worst person in your life, the one that has hurt you the most. Do you love them? Think of the fellow Christian that you most despise, because they cheated, lied, or did something else to you. Also look outside the church. That homosexual you were disgusted by, that heretic who keeps defiling proper doctrine and talking about love, that wicked sinner you are angered by, that politician who is ruining the country, that atheist who hates Christians, do you love them with the totality of your being? Do you really love all those people that you hate? Would you be willing to lay down your time, money, and pride to help them? Would you sacrifice yourself to benefit them? For you see, that is love.
If you don’t truly love “those” people, you are not of God.
Real Life Excuses
Oh, I am sure you have responses, about how hard it is, or how disgusting they are, and how committed you are, so let us go through them. I’ll bet this will be as pleasant as going to the dentist while listening to the sound of nails on a chalkboard as kittens uncontrollably tickle your feet. I’m serious, let’s have it.
1. “But I truly believe that Jesus is a real God/man who lived a sinless life, died for sins, and was resurrected on the third day, and my faith in him saves me” – So what? “Whoever does not love does not know God.”
2. “But I earnestly believe in every single word, letter, and even comma in the Apostles creed, the Nicene creed, and the Statement of Faith of the National Association of Evangelicals!” – So what? “Whoever does not love does not know God.”
3. “But I was baptized with the Holy Spirit with the visible evidence of speaking in tongues” – So what? “Whoever does not love does not know God.”
4. “But I believe that the Bible is the inspired, incorruptible, inerrant Word of God!” – So what? “Whoever does not love does not know God.”
5. “But I traveled to seven countries on missionary trips, in order to preach the Gospel to people and this resulted in a huge growth for my denomination.” – So what? “Whoever does not love does not know God.”
6. “But I read the Bible every single day in my devotionals, and have countless hours of studying it with the very best commentaries and intentions.” – So what? “Whoever does not love does not know God.”
7. “But I defend God’s honor in numerous debates with atheists and have written two books against the dangers of evolution.” – So what? “Whoever does not love does not know God.”
8. “But I wake up every single day at six thirty and pray for at least half an hour before work!” – So what? “Whoever does not love does not know God.”
9. ”But I engage in debate with believers of bad theology and waste my time to defend sacred doctrines without ever compromising” – So what? “Whoever does not love does not know God.”
10.”But I have a Christian blog where I write tons of very helpful things, and my readers have reported they are genuinely encouraged and equipped” – So what? “Whoever does not love does not know God.”
And that’s why this is the scariest passage for conservative Christians, because while it’s easy to consider a Christian who is spiritually crippling along can be lost, its a lot harder to think that of the most committed amongst us is on the same path. Yet, if John is not lying, then even the most zealous or theological amongst us may not know God.