“So you’re telling me that I’m going to hell and everyone at this school is going to hell if we don’t believe the same thing as you?”
My friend Jon finally got the message. I’d succeeded in sharing the “bad news” about everyone in the world. We’re all sinners on the brink of eternally burning in the flames of hell. Now he just needed to ask how to be saved.
“You’re crazy. What’s wrong with you?” he shouted at me. “Who told you all of this stuff?” His face grew red and he began to wave his arms around in frustration. A passing teacher tried to calm him down.
“I’m not going to calm down. My friend thinks we’re all going to hell. He’s in some kind of religious cult.”
My attempt at evangelizing my best friend in high school ended with him ranting and raving. It was hardly the earnest request for the good news about eternal life in heaven with Jesus Christ. Everything in the evangelism book and video fell to pieces in a matter of minutes.
Besides failing to “save the soul” of my best friend, I also lost his friendship forever. That was it. We still hung out in the same crowd, but no one really talked to me. I had nothing to talk about any way. They had television shows, movies, and music to discuss. I had sermons, Bible verses, and Adventures in Odyssey.
Virtually the same conversation played out with my family. Almost every relationship I had broke down because my fundamentalist church instructed me to share the Gospel with everyone I knew–that is, if I really cared about them.