PT 1 // PT 2 // PT 3 // PT 4 // PT 5 // PT 6 // PT 7 // PT 8 // PT 9 // PT 10 // PT 11 // PT 12 // PT 13 // PT 14 // PT 15 // PT 16 // PT 17 // PT 18 // PT 19 // PT 20 // PT 21 // PT 22 // PT 23 // PT 24 // PT 25 // PT 26 // PT 27 // PT 28 // PT 29 //
“I’m Bill Tayro,” Bill said. “I’m courting Paul’s mother, and he’s told me you’ve been speaking with him.”
“I’ve been trying to save his soul,” Mr. Dorny said.
“Evangelism exists to lead people to Christ, who is the only one who can save anyone,” Bill said.
Mr. Dorny smiled, but it didn’t have any warmth. It was a picturesque definition of condescension. “What would an adulterous man know about salvation?”
Paul felt his body tense, but Bill’s hand fell onto his shoulder. Paul looked at the man, who had a truly contemplative face.
“You’re accusing me of adultery?” Bill said it like a question, but he didn’t sound defensive or angry.
“You’ve confessed already,” Mr. Dorny said. “You’re dating a woman, doing who knows what with her.”
“She’s divorced,” Bill said. How did he keep that calm?
“Divorce is a sin,” Mr. Dorny said. “To have relations or even look at a person’s wife in lust is a sin.”
“I’m not sure your comment aligns well with Matthew Chapter 5 clearly enough,” Bill said. “Would you like to open the word together and look more closely?”
Wait. Paul thought. Did he seriously just offer to open the Bible and read it together?
“I’ve no interest in debating scripture with a clear unbeliever,” Mr. Dorney said.
“But you’ll use half-truths to harass a child to a point to where he’s afraid to even walk by your house?” Bill asked.
Mr. Dorney’s eyebrows furrowed. “I’d have anyone not of Christ fear my presence.”
“I thought you said you were trying to save him?” Bill asked.
“I am.” Mr. Dorney’s tone grew louder.
“Have you tried sharing the gospel?” Bill asked.
“No unrepentant sinner is ready for the gospel!” Mr. Dorney had started shouting.
“Why are you angry?” Bill asked. “If your goal is to evangelize to this young man, simply offer him the complete gospel.”
“He won’t even admit his sin!” Mr. Dorny stabbed a finger in Paul’s direction.
Paul again tried to step forward, but Bill gently pulled his shoulder back.
“What you’re doing is harassing a young boy,” Bill said. “You’re countenance is fallen, Geneses 4:6. You’re not acting with kindness, patience, or love, Colossians 3:12-13. Neither are you treating this outsider with graciousness seasoned with salt, Colossians 4:6.”
“You dare quote scripture to me!” Mr. Dorny shouted. Now he seemed ready to hit someone.
“Are you unwilling to discuss scripture?” Bill asked. “How is it you intend to help any souls find Christ if you’re only willing to use his word to condemn?”
Through the whole exchange, Bill never wavered. He wore the same smile that was gentle, not condescending. His tone was patient and kind.
Paul hadn’t seen anyone use or understand the Bible this way, no one except …
Paul looked at Bill. Could he be? That didn’t make sense. Bill didn’t even know Paul’s mom when Paul was a kid. But they spoke so similarly.
“You false teacher!” Mr. Dorney said. “You’ll be put to death for your sin!”
“I’m not certain whether or not you’ve just threatened my well being.” Bill sounded like he was reading a particularly complex book. “But you’re quoting Deuteronomy 18:20 as if you know I’m speaking against one of God’s commandments. I don’t believe you’ve tested my spirit in accordance to 1 John 4:1-6. If you had, you would have remembered that I began this conversation acknowledging that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, John 14:6. He came in the flesh from God, and only those who come to him can find salvation.”
Mr. Dorny’s face turned red. “You blasphemer!”
“I think I’ve heard enough shouting.” The more Mr. Dorney shouted, the stronger Bill looked just keeping his tone and posture under control. “I’m not of the opinion you are worried about anything other than passing judgement, which isn’t anything like evangelism. So here’s how this is going to go. I’ve approached you personally in accordance with Matthew 18:15. Paul has witnessed this exchange. You’ve refused to repent. You’ve shown no desire to be reconciled to a brother.”
“You’re no brother of mine!” Mr. Dorney said. He sounded like he was trying not to laugh or shout, so the sound came out like some strange sort of cough.
“Very well,” Bill said. “But I truly pray you search the scripture and reflect on this exchange. I pray that your eyes will be opened, and you’ll see you’re acting far more like Saul the oppressor rather than Paul the evangelist.”
It was weird for Paul to hear his name so many times and know that Bill was talking about an apostle who supposedly lived thousands of years ago.
Bill stepped behind him to put a second hand on both Paul’s shoulders. “This young man will be using this road to get home. You will not harass or approach him. If you do, the police will be notified. More importantly, I hope you’ll leave this young man to walk the path God has chosen. He’s a child, one of those to whom belong the Kingdom of Heaven, Matthew 19:14.”
Mr. Dorney sneered. “Fine! Go enjoy your flesh and adultery. You’ll burn in Hell, and I’ll be happy to see it.”
“Would you be Lazarus standing with Abraham? I’d be far more concerned about the plank in my eye.” Bill turned and started to walk back to the house.
Mr. Dorney shouted a lot more as they walked away, but Bill didn’t appear to pay any attention.