The next time I remember Bowden coming around the snow was flying. Dad met Bowden at the door and invited him in.
“Take your boots off, Bowden,” Dad said. “My wife works plenty hard to keep this place clean.”
Before Bowden’s boots were removed I was back upstairs in my bedroom. I quickly retrieved my Bible and the vent was already open.
“How was your crop this year?” Bowden said.
“He who sows sparingly, reaps sparingly,” Dad smiled and added, “Average.”
“Quite a snow out there,” Bowden said.”
“Sure is,” Dad said. “Let’s go in the living room. You know where to sit.”
Dad and Bowden relaxed in their chairs.
“Have you given any consideration to your family’s eternal salvation?” Bowden said. “I haven’t seen you or any of your family at church. The knowledge you posses of the Bible would certainly help you to see the need for your family to worship in church.”
“One thing about you, Bowden,” Dad said, “you enter the water with all the grace and form of an pregnant cow, one big splash.”
The two chuckled.
“Rather than go back and cover ground we already covered I thought we can shelve that discussion for another time and really talk about what’s important,” Bowden said.
“I’m a bit lost, Bowden,” Dad said. “Are you saying my salvation and that of my family’s is dependant on coming to church?”
“Yes and no,” Bowden said.
“So much for the splash,” Dad said. “It looks to me like you got to the edge of the diving board and can’t make up your mind.”
Bowden chuckled. “What I mean is that the importance of church membership cannot be stressed enough. Scripture always encourages believers to congregate and be nourished by God‘s word and the teachings of the church.”
“Bowden, you had me almost nodding my head and saying ‘amen’ until you said the teachings of the church,” Dad said.
“Come on,” Bowden said, “which church is perfect/”
“I don’t expect perfection,” Dad said.
“And I want you to receive God’s grace,” Bowden said.
“Correct me if I’m wrong,” Dad said. “God’s grace is free?”
“Yes,” Bowden said.
“But you are saying it is only available if I attend church,” Dad said.
“I see your point,” Bowden said, “but who of us would want to speculate on the limits of God’s mercy or grace?”
“But is it not a church teaching that once consecrated nothing can separate us from God’s love?” Dad said.
Bowden cleared his throat and countered, “Yes, that is true, but we must always be aware of the sin of presumption.”
“Well, indeed! How much more presumptuous could you be?” Dad said, “it sounds to me like it is the church that is being presumptuous. Presuming nothing could separate us from God’s love or acceptance. It’s a part of their teaching. There is little wonder people in the church have little regard for what sin is. Paul said Peter stood condemned if his attitude did not change toward Gentiles and Paul himself never spoke in terms that his salvation was sealed and secured. Why would Jesus state that only those who endured to the end would see salvation?”
“What do you mean about not knowing what sin is?” Bowden said.
“Tell me what sin is?” Dad said.