In 2008, Johnny Robertson wrote regarding a young man in the Martinsville community who had died in a tragic car accident. In that letter, Johnny callously stated his belief that the young man was not in heaven.
Sunday, March 9, 2008
I have been reading with interest the comments surrounding the accident in which the two young men were killed (Ryan Patton and Andrew Bourland) recently. Most interesting to me are the letters to the editor. I noticed that one person said that the paper should not include the details and then another stated that the facts such as laws concerning teen driving, alcohol sales and more needed enforcement, and need to be mentioned so as to warn others.
I would like to comment on the funeral and the reverend’s statements. She told that the EMT said a prayer for a person who by their own admission “did not know the Lord” (Ryan Patton) and that this prayer of the EMT turned the cold body warm and the “preacher” pronounced the teen saved at the funeral in front of hundreds present, and later all readers of the Bulletin.
It is bad enough that people say you can pray “the sinner’s prayer” (not in the Bible) just before you die, and then affirm you will be saved. It is beyond excusable that someone else can pray over one who is in an accident in which over 50 beer cans can be found at the scene and pronounce them saved. The message we are now sending is that you can live any kind of life, break any number of laws and heaven will accept you upon someone’s prayer in your behalf. The Mormons baptize living persons in the place of dead relatives and in Martinsville we are being told the EMT can pray you into salvation. Neither is true.
– Johnny Robertson, Martinsville, Va
Now, I didn’t know the young man (did Johnny?), and I would never presume to state in a public forum such as the Martinsville Bulletin that the young man was damned – especially when the family is so deep in grief over losing him. I am not God to know things like that, and neither is Johnny. There isn’t room on the judgment seat for more than One – and He will make those sorts of calls.
I am truly flabbergasted that people still attend Martinsville coc, ESPECIALLY after this letter from Johnny. I am not sure what good he thought it was possibly going to do for the furthering of the doctrine that he professes.
Johnny: We all know about your limited view of God’s grace, but is that really the time to express it? You already get two hours a week (more hours if you count the other programs) to bring your schtick into the community, and that’s not enough for you that you have to go out and cause damage to a grieving family on top of things? I know that you think you are being compassionate, but the odds that that family will ever darken the door of your church just rose to astronomical. Way to be Christ’s ambassador, my man!
Now, on the flip side, take a look at the response the family gave to Johnny, from the Martinsville Bulletin:
Letter: Lorrie Pace Family forgives Robertson
My name is Lorrie Patton Pace and I am Ryan Patton’s oldest sister. I received a call from my father on Thursday. He informed me that there was a letter to the editor printed in Sunday’s paper from Johnny Robertson that contained comments that were very hurtful to my family. My dad and stepmom are devastated. I have lost two brothers in 13 months and my parents, two sons. We will never be the same.
Our hearts have been ripped out and now we have to hear comments from someone like Robertson. I want to send Robertson this message:
Sir, my family forgives you, and we will pray that God forgives you for your insensitive and callous words; our God is a loving God, and we know Ryan is at his side.
Lorrie Pace Senatobia, Miss.
Now, that is the attitude of Christ – that the family doesn’t strike out at Johnny – but extends forgiveness to him for the harm he has done. This is the way Christians are supposed to act.