That’s the title of a sermon I’d like to give.
“Next what?” you wonder.
Whoa, back up a sec, I say.
“Who am I giving the imaginary sermon to?” That’s the first question.
My answer: This is a real sermon, for a real congregation, at a real church.
Most folks in the audience, then, believe they’re “in”.
This eliminates my ominous assertion “You’re Next” from meaning (to these faithful few) something positive.
Instead, I mean, literally, concretely, and practically, that I believe I am talking to people who—like all the rest—are the next to leave Christianity.
“No I’m not!” some of you might respond.
“Now we’re talking!” I exclaim. “You’re not next after all. So why aren’t you gonna leave? Let’s talk about that and see if we can’t communicate all the reasons you’re hanging around to those who are not here today.
“For example, I’m not going to leave because I can read my Bible. And when I read the Bible, I see that, specifically, theology has mucked up what it says. Doctrine begins with Scripture. Doctrine does not prevent taking the claims of the Bible in kind.
“That said, you’re not going to hear me proclaiming ‘doctrine’. Not unless we do this together for decades and I need to speed up the point I want to make. Decades. Not this week. Not next week. Not next year. Not even next decade.
“Open your Bibles with me, then, to the Gospel according to-”
“-Excuse, me,” one of you interrupts. “But how will we keep false teachings out?”
“Good question. By using our god-given minds to determine what the Bible says. If this makes you nervous, it means that you’re not sure you know how to read. That’s fine. I’m sure I can teach you. More than that, I’m sure you’ll agree that you learned how to read.
“Any more questions before we begin?”