This is a Funeral Memorial Dedication, first on my blog
Dedicated to: L. Ray Smith, founder of Bible-truths.com
I write this latest article with a heavy heart, a heart that mourns the loss of a powerfully influential teacher in my life that I found out recently passed away at the end of June. This is someone I discovered (was led to in all sincerity) about 8-9 years ago. A man I’ve never met in person. A man by the name of L. Ray Smith, whose writings (supported by a lot of studying/substantiating on my own) have completely changed the way I feel about the world and all of the people in it; to a degree that no other human being has ever done. One of my biggest regrets is that I’ve never gotten to shake this man’s hand, give him a heartfelt hug, or at least speak with him, the closest I did was by way of one email years ago. (Of which his reply also happens to be posted on his website, at the end of one of his papers that touches the subject I had wrote him about)
Since I was a child growing up, I was raised under the Christian religion, in particular a denomination known as United Pentecostal (and then we migrated into Apostolic traditions), all of the sects of Christianity which embrace an exclusivity theology that is next to none in it’s power and scope to utterly weaken salvation’s scope and power;of course I didn’t realize it then, but I realize now thanks to L. Ray Smith’s study and writings, that the one thing they have in common (all denominations in fact), is that virtually none of them teach the “Good News” (aka: the word ‘Gospel’ means “Good news”) – a shocking and revelatory discovery for me about 8-9 years ago when I stumbled on L. Ray Smith’s articles “The Lake of Fire” on his straight-forward and very ironically named (for its sheer accuracy) website: http://www.bible-truths.com
I was struggling with the concept I had grown up with that eternal hell is somehow a justified response against so many people, so many fathers, so many sons, daughters, mothers, grandparents, etc…so many people who have never heard about God, or for the many who had grown up with all the cards stacked against them in life, already living a hell on earth, etc…
Even though GOSPEL means good news and all churches claim to teach this; all of them actually teach really, really, really CRAPPY news, but they call it “GOOD”… Now, let’s face it, if being rescued from some hell fire-pit is only going to happen for your club…for your exclusive gathering, for a mere handful, but the overwhelming masses get the worse news POSSIBLE, even defying the imagination in how dreadful it is, then something is severely wrong. This is a fate we are told more awful for a person to experience than any death you can imagine, even the most twisted, slow and torturous death…even if that same awful death were repeated somehow millions of times…it wouldn’t diminish the duration of eternity by one second…and to have this happen 1 million times ONLY would be like a vacation to Hawaii in comparison to the depraved Godless punishment they teach, AND TO THEM THIS IS “GOOD NEWS”!! – they figured it out after-all and THEY get to avoid such a fate, so TO HELL WITH EVERYONE ELSE!
What do I say about this? I say it’s a blatantly blasphemous, spit-in-God’s face twisting of the very concept of what “Good News” means – It reveals the real “spirit” (“another spirit”) behind such a doctrine if you meditate on it for more than a few minutes (as painful as thinking about this subject truly is, most people DON’T seriously think about it), but how many really care to study that hard? they’d rather proclaim God’s love with a smile and phony pat on the back nonetheless, right before they push you into the fire them-self with a self-righteous chuckle if you don’t succumb to their specific “rituals”.
They teach an all-powerful and loving God who commands you to LOVE your own enemies (YES!), so that this same God can torture his own later for all eternity. (No!)
What would compel Him to do such a painful thing to a person? Because your hair is too long, man. Because your dress is too short, lady. Because you wear too much makeup, lady. Because you wear pants and not dresses, lady. Because you smoke and drink, and you dance. Because you didn’t do Step A & B & C, only A & B! – OOPS!: Because: insert any arbitrary thing a loving mother or father wouldn’t blink an eyelash against, but rest assured God will eternally condemn you for it beyond your worse imagination nonetheless.
As Ray was fond of expressing ‘WHAT A CROCK!”
How could this lone retired roofer, suffering from severe bone cancer, no doubt well studied in his research, and taking his articles seriously, but not formally educated by the religious “elite” KNOW more about what is actually being expressed in the Bible than all of these churches do? More than all of these “holier than thou” loud mouths claiming to know the very mind and heart of God and the depth of his Love, while condemning the souls of the vast majority of mankind in the next breath to perpetual torture? How could this paper “the Lake of Fire” change my life so profoundly, utterly removing within me the soul-crushing, hate-generating (toward others) belief in hell/eternal punishment, instilled in me since I was a small child, terrified of the thought (as a person should be righteously repulsed against such an evil depraved concept) that God would even bother to create so many to suffer FOREVER if He knew for a fact that they would fail so badly, how much more merciful to not create at all! – Certainly this grand debunk of Hell and eternal judgment wouldn’t come from retired roofer L. Ray Smith in Alabama, but rather by way of some religious expert, earning his many degrees, aloft somewhere in an ivory tower, adored by a huge following, rich in the world by virtue of his mighty spiritual mind…BLAH! Have these great educated religious fools forgotten the sort of people Christ chose to follow him in their own teachings? A tax collector, a tent-maker, a fisher-man, etc…lead by a Carpenter, spurning and defying all of the religious leaders of His day! HELLO!? Are the “high and lofty” soooo blind? YES, they are. OH yes, they reeeeeeeally are.
Consider this: there are too many “Christians” teaching too many different things from a single book (translated into hundreds of different Bibles), and there are literally thousands of denominations of Christianity and every single one of them believes they are the “correct” one, that they have it right! Naturally. How rewarding and sensible it was to come to the conclusion that THEY ARE ALL WRONG, and in some very, very fundamental ways. “We agree on the essentials, and disagree on the non-essentials” has 0 scriptural bases in every Bible, even though this is a common excuse given for so many denominations: being of ONE MIND, ONE BODY, ONE SPIRIT is taught in the Bible and not a single official “denomination” has managed to do this. NOT ONE. It’s the same broad mix of inaccuracies in doctrine and conflict with every other doctrine, all resting on creeds that are 90-95% unscriptural in the first place or by clinging to a single English translation as an IDOL. (EX: too bad for the many countries without a KJV English Bible, or for everyone in the world before 1611! I guess you are all screwed.) – Nonsense!
L. Ray Smith, I celebrate your life, even as I mourn your death. I celebrate your direct and non-apologetically non-conformist expression of your scriptural knowledge, even if so many of it offends the multitude of “Christians” out there. I celebrate your bluntness and your candor and your dry hilarious sense of humor with it all. I celebrate your humility in the way you lived your life and expected others to live, despite the biting use of some (well placed and justified) sarcasm, when you took to heart “answering a fool according to his folly” to a degree of perfection I’ve never seen.
Thank you L. Ray Smith for actually studying scripture and writing that paper years ago, and helping me attain the level of deep peace that only comes from knowing there is a greater GOD out there than the popular fast-food Christendom’s tyrannical one, their god who is too impotent to actually make a PLAN A and follow through with it to perfection (but rather has to make a plan B to patch it all up as best He can manage…nonsense!)…I know that GOD is NOT motivated by the petty desires of human pride, hatred and selfishness, and so the desire to say “I TOLD YOU SO” in the end (when it matters most) simply doesn’t exist in Him…nor is GOD motivated by the amount of money in our pocketbooks (Note: L. Ray Smith never demanded a cent, he believed in freely giving, as he freely received, and even taught against tithing as an unscriptural doctrine)
You will be sorely missed L. Ray Smith. You truly were a city on a hill, and a light shining in the darkness. God speed you home Brother.
– Brett Strobridge