Now This Is What It Means To Be Christian…

Recently, a commenter on this blog told us about a letter Johnny Robertson wrote regarding a young man in the Martinsville community who had died in a tragic car accident. In that letter, Johnny rather callously stated his belief that the young man was not in heaven.

Johnny’s comments here.

Now, I didn’t know the young man (did Johnny?), and I would never presume to state in a public forum such as the Martinsville Bulletin that the young man was damned – especially when the family is so deep in grief over losing him. I am not God to know things like that, and neither is Johnny. There isn’t room on the judgment seat for more than One – and He will make those sorts of calls.

I am truly flabbergasted that people still attend Martinsville CofC, ESPECIALLY after this letter from Johnny. I am not sure what good he thought it was possibly going to do for the furthering of the doctrine that he professes.

Johnny: We all know about your limited view of God’s grace, but is that really the time to express it? You already get two hours a week (four if you count the other two programs) to bring your schtick into the community, and that’s not enough for you that you have to go out and cause damage to a grieving family on top of things? I know that you think you are being compassionate, but the odds that that family will ever darken the door of your church just rose to astronomical. Way to be Christ’s ambassador, my man!

Now, on the flip side, take a look at the response the family gave to Johnny, from today’s Martinsville Bulletin:

Letter: Lorrie Pace
Family forgives Robertson

My name is Lorrie Patton Pace and I am Ryan Patton’s oldest sister. I received a call from my father on Thursday. He informed me that there was a letter to the editor printed in Sunday’s paper from Johnny Robertson that contained comments that were very hurtful to my family. My dad and stepmom are devastated. I have lost two brothers in 13 months and my parents, two sons. We will never be the same.

Our hearts have been ripped out and now we have to hear comments from someone like Robertson. I want to send Robertson this message:

Sir, my family forgives you, and we will pray that God forgives you for your insensitive and callous words; our God is a loving God, and we know Ryan is at his side.

Lorrie Pace
Senatobia, Miss.

That was from here.

Now, that is the attitude of Christ – that the family doesn’t strike out at Johnny – but extends forgiveness to him for the harm he has done. This is the way Christians are supposed to act.

I hope Johnny was taking notes when he cracked open the paper this morning.


18 thoughts on “Now This Is What It Means To Be Christian…

  1. You’re not God to know that, and neither is Johnny, but the preacher who pronounced him saved and the family are? If the man in question cares about his family as much as the rich man in Luke 16, then his greatest desire is that his family knows where he is, and appreciates Johnny’s comments immensely. What’s really despicable is the type of sensationalism that would claim a prayer turned a cold dead body warm, and the blatant falsehood that someone else can pray a dead man that doesn’t know Christ into heaven. If Jesus said that no one can come to the Father except by me, then I believe him – the preacher that said these things was playing to the family’s emotions – Johnny’s just stating plain Bible truth, and that’s what the family and everyone else needs to hear.

  2. Did you read Johnny’s letter? Did you see him express any sort of grief or condolence in his letter?

    No. Instead, (and the reason why the letter is being reacted to in such a negative manner) Johnny seems like he is once again just furthering his agenda with this. It’s just the same ol’ Johnny who secretly sneaks in cameras to churches, tries to ambush denominational figures in televised debates, and bickers and squabbles with callers twice a week on local cable TV.

    One or two sentences would have done the job. How about this:

    “I am saddened by the fact that these two lives were lost at such a young age”?

    Or this:

    “I understand that the boy’s family is experiencing tremendous pain and suffering right now…”?

    Or even this edit to a sentence he wrote:

    “I have been reading with interest the comments surrounding the TRAGIC accident…” (caps for emphasis)

    To be fair, I have been told that Johnny is very pastoral with people in the CofC. Randy tells stories of Johnny helping him with his kids, etc. But has anyone outside the CofC ever seen this side of him? If your exposure to Mr. Robertson is limited to the way he presents himself on TV and in this letter to the editor, you would question him about this as well. This is also why he lost the debate with Armando Deloa, in this blog’s opinion, because he seems to put the furthering of his agenda over people, and their needs.

    Following are some passages that Johnny needs to review before he writes another letter to the editor.

    “Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.” 1 Peter 3:8

    “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2

    “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” Romans 12:15

    “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelations 21:4

    “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Matthew 5:4

    “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

  3. “To be fair, I have been told that Johnny is very pastoral with people in the CofC. Randy tells stories of Johnny helping him with his kids, etc. But has anyone outside the CofC ever seen this side of him? If your exposure to Mr. Robertson is limited to the way he presents himself on TV and in this letter to the editor, you would question him about this as well.”

    Although, I disagree with Johnny going on TV and talking so much about this… he did express grief and condolence on TV more than once?

    Johnny has gave cars away to people ( cars better than his ) to help people and he and James even helped one lady move when she lost her home – and this lady was a memeber of Jackies church. There is more to Johnny than meets the eye, BUT – I still do not agree with some of the teaching.

  4. I’m happy to get that side of Johnny out there – thanks for chiming in on that, Randy. But thanks to his letter, lots of people will not believe that side exists. He might think about hiring a PR guy.

    Just to clarify – he did express grief on the TV show?

  5. I watched Johnny last night and he is still trying to drum up calls with his teaching on law, but he hasnt yet made his points clear enough so that people know where he is coming from. Below is part of an email I sent Johnny regarding last nights program.

    Again Johnny, I agreed with what you were teaching last night, as do most people. I think you haven’t yet made your points clear enough to get some callers to reply to the subject of law you are teaching. Most agree with what you are saying. Was Abraham obeying God to be saved or work-earn his righteousness before God, thus earning his standing with God, or was he obeying God from faith in God and compelled by His love unto good works? I think it’s quite clear through out scripture that one can not earn, nor work his way to heaven, and it’s quite clear that one who claims to be saved – are saved unto good works. The bottom line is – are you suggesting you can earn your standing with God thru your good works, or are you saved unto good works? Yes, there are laws and rules, but can one obey them fully every day perfectly, and if so, would this save them? NO ! Yes, there are laws and rules, but do you obey them legalistically in some effort to earn your standing before God, or do you obey them because you are compelled by what Jesus Christ has done on your behalf? Are you saved unto good works, or can you earn your standing before God by how perfectly you obey God?

  6. he did express grief on the TV show several times, but I still disagree with him using this to promote his doctrine.

  7. Thanks for the clarification. That grief should have been in paragraph one of his letter to the editor.

    And you are right – it’s entirely inappropriate for him to be using this tragic situation to try and win people to his doctrine.

  8. I wished you could have watched the show last night – Johnny was hoping to get feedback on his teaching about law/liberty and really hasn’t gotten any yet. The reason being is because he hasn’t yet been brave enough to say he keeps the law to be saved. Johnny continues to stress the fact that liberty isn’t license ( which I agree ) to do has one pleases and that saved people are under laws and rules, but he falls short to say one is saved by their works. So, what does Johnny believe?? Does he believe he can earn his standing before God by his works?? No, he doesn’t believe this, but wants to stress the fact that laws and rules are still there for Christian people to obey, but he fails to say one is saved UNTO good works. There is that Greek word again (eis)-UNTO…so Johnny what does it mean to be saved eis-UNTO good works? If anyone else watched the show last night please weigh-in and give some insight that I may have missed…so far Johnny hasn’t made the claim that he can earn his way to heaven thru his good works – but he has planted enough seed to make people wonder where he stands on the subject.

  9. johnny has done such good ,he does such wonderful things for people…………………hello is anybody in there? are you talking about the same sarcastic,holier than thou man i see every week?
    you all seem to be willing to give him credit for things any man might do. but what about the
    fact that he considers each and every one of our
    christian walks little more than garbage? do not
    kidd yourself he holds all of us in contempt.

  10. Hi Lee,

    Oh, we aren’t trying to hide that side of Johnny. That’s the side that is obvious to anyone who watches the program one time – especially if he has the secret video of a church “infiltration” or gets a call that challenges his doctrine too well or debates someone with a different interpretation of Scripture.

    But, for the sake of fairness, I want to show that Johnny is capable of being pastoral, and can be a regular guy until you start talking about doctrine. I don’t have a problem doing this, because I’ve been accused of some pretty nasty things recently, and I want to demonstrate fairness.

    I wouldn’t have started this blog if I didn’t want to challenge his interpretation of Scripture with regards to those of us who are not in the “Church of Christ”. Of course he considers us to be damned, and his mentality is that he’s doing us all a favor by getting on the air each week and doing what he does – and he thinks he was doing that family a favor by writing that letter – just look at that first comment by Jeff to see the perspective.

    Of course, if Johnny would contribute to this blog, we’d be able to have his thoughts directly instead of the thoughts of like-minded CofC’ers.

    But, your point is well taken, Lee.


  11. I haven’t seen any comments about the preacher’s claim that the EMT prayed the boy into heaven – I think that aspect of the situation deserves some commentary as it is what prompted the discussion. Do you think his claim is valid or false, and if false, what sort of harm could this doctrine bring about, especially in the area of false hope?

  12. All we know Jeff is that we do not know fully the character of God. Is His grace bigger then what my little box can contain? Well, I sure hope so. I know if it were my daughter involved in such an accident those words would give me comfort and there is nothing wrong with feeling comforted during such a tragedy. Is it biblical? I do not think so. Would I teach that is all you have to do? No. We do not know the young man or his relationship with God. But I do hope that God listened to the prayer of that EMT.

  13. Lee, I was merely pointing out that Johnny does more behind the scenes than the normal “bad attitude” we see on TV. And yes I agree – any man could do those things that are good and still be lost. I am with ya 100% on what you said.


  14. just wanted to make sure i was still talking to the same folks.
    that said……i will not listen to anyone of these three men and
    try to come to some common ground. they have no desire to see me or
    anyone who doesn’t agree with them as brothers. god is greater than any
    damage they can inflict, but i dont have to like it.

  15. while i do agree with a lot, but not all, of what Johnny teaches. How could i disagree with the bible, right? I was extremely angry with the letter Johnny wrote to the editor. Not because of the content, but because of the timing. There’s a time and place for everything, and that wasn’t it.

    I fully disagree with the way Johnny “sells” his doctrine and believe it’s his biggest downfall. People don’t like confrontation and I believe it’s the way Johnny “comes across” as confrontational that gets folks all worked up.

    Johnny should check out the book “Can I Have 5 Minutes Of Your Time” by Hal Becker. He was a top Xerox salesman, and he was the best because of his sales approach to people.

  16. I must say first of all that I don’t know the whole situation but I would not have used this tragic death to make a Bible point. I believe their are other ways to teach about heaven and hell from the book. And I know for a fact that we are to teach the truth in love. Now that does not mean that love does not hurt and sometimes is shown through chastisement Hebrews 13. But on the side of truth which John 17:17 teaches that God’s word is truth. It is clear on who’s going to heaven or hell. We will not find anything in God’s word that even hints at the idea that you can pray someone into heaven. There’s one way John 14:6 that is through Jesus Christ. And why is it that people don’t study and rightly handle the word of God. Yes by Grace we are saved thru faith Ephesians 2:8 but if you read God’s word and study it (that is not just what you want to believe) you will also run into James 2 where faith without works is dead. No one cannot earn salvation for it is free Romans 6:23. However there are some things that must be done to recieve the free gift which is salvation thru Jesus Christ. This I’ll show from the scriptures further on the, “Now this is what it means to be a Christian blog.”

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