On one occasion, a young man who knew his Bible went to Jesus to see if he was “sound”. “Jesus,” he asked, “what must I do to go to heaven?”
“That looks like a Bible you’ve got there,” Jesus replied. “What does it say?”
Waving the black book to which Jesus had pointed, the youngster answered, “It’s the inerrant Word of God, inspired, faultless, perfect in every way and containing all things necessary for salvation.”
“Sorry?” Jesus said.
“It’s the inerrant Word of God,” the youngster repeated, “– at least the original autographic texts are.”
“‘The original autographic texts’?” Jesus said, quizzically.
“Yes,” the youngster said.
“Let me see,” said Jesus, motioning toward the black book.
“Oh, this doesn’t contain the original autographic texts,” the youngster said, “but it’s the next best thing. It’s the Scofield Reference Bible. Here, look.”
Jesus took the black book, opened it, shook it, listened to it, smelled it, then returned it to the youngster. “Who says it’s inerrant?” he asked.
“God says,” the youngster replied.
“Where does God say that?” asked Jesus.
“In the Bible,” the youngster replied.
“I see,” said Jesus.
“And the Chicago Statement says so too,” the youngster added.
“Oookay,” said Jesus. “Look, let me tell you a story. A man was walking into town one night when he was attacked by some thugs. They stripped him, beat him up pretty bad, took his wallet and iPhone, then ran off, leaving him half-dead. A bishop happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So, too, a priest, when he came to the place and saw the man, passed by on the other side. But then another two guys came to where the man lay, and when they saw him their hearts went out to him. They cradled him in their arms, disinfected his wounds, and gave him some Ibuprofen. Then they called a cab, took the man to a pub, and nursed him through the night. The next morning, they gave the landlord $100. ‘Look after him.’ they said. ‘We’ll be back soon and reimburse you for any extra expense.’
“Now,” concluded Jesus, “who were the good guys?”
The youngster replied, “What’s that got to do with heaven?”
Jesus said, “I’ll get to that. Just answer the question.”
“Well, not the bishop or the priest – Catholics, right?” the youngster said. “So maybe the other two guys.”
“What do you mean ‘maybe’?” asked Jesus.
“Well, were they Bible-believing Christians?” asked the youngster.
“I don’t know,” Jesus said.
“And are you sure they weren’t gay?”
“Does it matter?” asked Jesus?
“And why did they take him to a pub rather than a hospital? Had they been drinking?” the youngster continued his interrogation.
“Who cares?” asked Jesus.
“And the man who was mugged – where was he going? And was he a proper Christian? And if not, did the two guys – who, to be honest, seem pretty suspicious to me – did they witness to him?”
“I …,” began Jesus.
“Well,” interrupted the youngster, “I’m obviously asking the wrong person about heaven – you’re unsound. In fact, you remind me of Peter.”
“Peter?” asked Jesus, turning to his disciples.
“Peter Enns, silly,” said the youngster. And feeling very sorry for Jesus, he walked away, but not before pausing to look back and adding, “I’ll pray for you.”