In the midst of the Calvinism/Arminianism storm, a few voices of reason have appeared in the Hickory Stump Baptist Association. Pastor Cal Johnson, author of such books as “Total Depravity: A Study of In-Laws,” and “Irresistible Grace and the Boston Red Sox” is leading the charge towards a purer form of Calvinistic teachings.
The key issue on which the pastor has based his appeal? Voting for church membership.
“Anyone who has been predestined to be saved will be saved. Since being a Christian apart from the local church is anti-biblical, it follows that anyone who is predestined to be saved is also predestined to be a part of the local church. Let me ask you something: do we vote on whether or not someone is truly saved? Of course not! And as such, neither should we vote on whether a predestined Christian should be a part of the church. Predestined salvation equals predestined membership.”
Some local pastors object to this church membership approach. Pastor Johnson counts as members anyone who was ever saved or baptized there; membership rolls for the congregation, located in a community of 4,000 people, lists 8,944 names.
While strongly disagreeing with Pastor Johnson on the issue of voting for church membership, earthy crosstown Pastor Buck White is also pushing the envelope in search of the next logical step in Calvinistic theology.
“We still believe the church should vote on membership in the local body. It is this vote and subsequent membership that shows the church’s recognition of the new Christian’s predestined state,” said Pastor White. “However, most churches fail to see the next step. After voting for the inclusion of those predestined for salvation, my church members have the chance to vote for members of the community likely to be predestined for destruction.”
Sofia Prescott moved her membership to Pastor White’s church last spring after hearing his views on so-called “double predestination.”
“I’ve been telling people for years that my worthless son-in-law wouldn’t amount to much more than gasoline-soaked fodder for the fires of hell. Now I’ve got the chance to confirm it by binding church vote.”
All baptized believers who are members of the church are permitted to propose names for the predestined for destruction vote.
Tommy, age 6, was proud of his role in church life: “I was baptized las’ year after the Christmas program. Last Sunday I got to nominate Lisa Farrell, that four-eyed freaky girl in my class, for predestinatited for destruction. If the vote passes, we’ll know she’s gonna burn whether she likes it or not. We get to vote ‘bout it in a week!”
As a way of compromise between the two leaders, Pastor Johnson recently proposed that the two churches come together to discuss voting on destruction provided the discussion is limited to “nations and peoples that are most likely destined for hell.” Johnson’s reasoning was that as long as those nationalities never visit his church, they wouldn’t stand a chance at being predestined for church membership anyway.
Regardless their differing views on the subject of church membership, both Johnson and White are proud to be taking Calvinism to the next level. They represented their association at the annual Calvinism banquet, accepting the Most Calvinistic Association award with smiles and handshakes.
As for what’s next for these visionary pastors, they’re working on a new approach: predestination for church discipline.