Sally was a bit of an enigma.
She viewed herself as progressive, yet at the same time did not wish to divest herself of her theological upbringing. This provided a bit of a problem for her, since many of the positions she held on social issues were clearly at odds with Scripture.
But finally she reached what she viewed as an acceptable solution. She decided that, since the culture was changing, Scripture must now be filtered through the culture rather than the other way around. Whatever man decided must now be seen as God's view of things as well. In other words, the changing culture on Earth must mean that there is a changing culture in heaven as well.
This solution suited Sally quite well, and she joyfully went about her life, first deciding what she believed on any and every issue, then pontificating that God had changed and now believed that way as well.
But late one night, after a day of marching in the hot streets for a host of sinful causes, she came home exhausted and fell into a restless sleep. And then she began to dream...
The gates of heaven were beautiful, just as she had always expected they would be. She smiled, walked up to the gate, knocked, and waited with earnest expectation of seeing the gates open to allow her access to all the joys found inside. But soon she felt a shadow and looked up to see none other than Jesus himself standing atop the gate.
"Why have you come?" he asked grimly.
"I am ready to enter heaven," she said, "I have dreamed of this moment all of my life."
"You cannot come in," the Master said, "No one can enter here anymore."
Stunned, Sally sputtered, "But, but I thought you loved us! The Bible says that you love us, it's right there in black and white."
"Yes, it does, and yes, I did," he replied, "but the culture here has changed since that was written. The angels have watched humans for a long time, and they do not want them to be here. And, since there are more of them than there is of me, I am bowing to their expectations. I have no right to go against popular culture, after all."
"But you promised! How can you go back on your word?"
"Don't think of it as a lie," he said, "Just think of it as democracy in action."
"But, I want to go to heaven," she said as she began to cry.
"Well, just this morning you were all in favor of me changing with the culture. Why are you so opposed to it now?"
Sally had no answer and continued to weep as heaven faded from her view ...
And then she awoke with a gasp and a start. Her heart was racing and her temples pounding. And from somewhere in her memory a verse came to her, the words of Malachi 3:6: "For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed."
Convicted, she slipped from her bed, bowed before the Lord and prayed a prayer she should have prayed long, long ago:
"Forgive me, Lord. Forgive me for forgetting that the culture is to follow you, not the other way around."
Bo Wagner is pastor of the Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, N.C., and the author of several books which are available at www.wordofhismouth.com. Contact him firstname.lastname@example.org.