A Whistling Straits’ Blunder
Ok, so I’m a golfing addict. I not only play or some might say attempt to play golf but I love to Google every aspect of the game, buy magazines and yes, dare I say it, I watch it on TV to my wife’s tolerant bemusement. So it will come as no surprise that I will use Dustin Johnson’s recent gaffe at the final round of the August 2010 PGA Championship played at Whistling Straits, Kohler, Wisconsin to illustrate the blunder that many so-called Christians make when it comes to the rules of Christianity found exclusively in the New Testament of the Bible.
So, “What happened at Whistling Straits?” I hear those of you who are not the slightest bit interested in the sport of dimple ball bashing dare ask. Well, Dustin Johnson, one of the many young guns of golf trying to dethrone the philandering king of golf, Tiger Eldrick Woods drove the ball off the 18th tee too far right where it ended up in a sand trap. Before playing the second shot to the green he grounded the club in the sand. Now, every golfer worth his or her hard earned handicap knows unequivocally that to ground the club in a sand trap or hazard before striking the ball is penalised by adding strokes to the final result of the round. But even should you not have enough handicap worth speaking of you should take care to read the local rules which in this instance the PGA posted in the clubhouse, locker room and on every tee box that players should keep in mind all sand in or outside the ropes is deemed to be a sand trap and will incur a two stroke penalty if your club head touches the said sand. Mr Johnson admitted in an interview, after the game, that he “should have looked at the rules sheet a little harder”. A commentator, Jeff Sluman, said “ultimately the player is responsible to know the rules of golf and the rules of the golf course”. Absolutely right! Dustin Johnson was extremely gracious about the whole matter even though he finished the Championship tied for first but relegated to fifth because of the two stroke penalty thereby missing his chance to play off for outright first with Martin Kaymer and Bubba Watson. His acceptance was one of total resignation because the rules are simply non negotiable in golf.
The rules for Christianity play out in much the same manner. Oh, before I go on, I hear the bleating of the liberal element who say Christianity is not about rules or law. Sorry, but just two verses among many will prove otherwise. The first is John 14:15 “If you love Me you will keep My commandments”. Jesus is not talking here about keeping the Law of Moses but He says “My commandments” which in the context of His instructions to the apostles would be given by the Holy Spirit. Commands, as any service man or woman will tell you denote obligation and from what I Corinthians 9:21 and Galatians 6:2 say the obligation is to the “law of Christ” because just as Moses was a law giver who gave commands to Israel so, too, was the mission of the King and High Priest of Christianity to hand down law with its respective commandments. Secondly, bear this in mind, John wrote to Christians in the latter half of the first century and reminded them that the practice of sin is “lawlessness” that no Christian should be involved in, for “no one who abides in Jesus sins” (I John 3:3-6). Notice, sins are defined as lawlessness meaning there must be a law to abide in if there is to be lawlessness.
So getting back to the rules for Christianity; men, everywhere, and that includes you reading this, would do well to understand that just as the PGA saw fit to post the sand trap rules so all players could see and know them, too, these rules of Christianity have been posted for nigh on 2000 years now in the form of the world’s continued number one best seller, the Bible. There is not a country on earth that has not been preached to the message of salvation. No one can legitimately say they were not given a chance to know, after all, by the time Paul wrote to the church in Colosse in c. 60 AD, all creation were in possession of the saving message (Colossians 1:23). God is not going to bend the rules just because of a person’s oversight anymore than the rules officials of the PGA could turn a blind eye to Dustin Johnson’s faux pas. Think about it for a minute. What justice is there to be had if that were to happen? What about all those who are now languishing in torment for the same reason of not reading the rules. Would that not show ambiguous partially? It sure would, for that is exactly the reason the rules officials had to require the two shot penalty on Mr Johnson because in 2004 they imposed that exact same penalty on one Stuart Appleby for exactly the same reason. It is called impartiality, justice, consistency etc. Imagine the up roar from Apples, as he is affectionately known, had the PGA turned a blind eye to Mr Johnson’s mistake and rightly so, many would agree.
The bottom line is this: don’t make the Whistling Straits blunder of not reading the rules concerning your eternal salvation of which God has made abundantly clear you need to action if you want to go to heaven. You ask, “What are the rules?” Well, take a nosey at http://www.timarucofc.org.nz for more insight to the rules concerning salvation but beware, it is, as Bill O’Reilly is fond of saying, a “no spin zone” of truth; therefore, what you read probably will conflict with that which you have been led to believe.