Program#L1—“A Matter of Life and Death”


Radio Show Transcript, © 2001, Persuade TheWorld Ministries, Gordon James Klingenschmitt, Servant.  Copyingand distribution (without editing) is highly encouraged. 


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Opening introduction by MarkMcWilliams…

Welcome and thank you for joining this radiobroadcast of Persuade The World Ministries.  You’reabout to hear our radio production of the book written and taughtby Gordon James Klingenschmitt, entitled “License To Sin,The Number One Reason America Is Losing Its MoralFoundation.”  If you call us in the next hour,we’ll mail you a free cassette tape of today’sbroadcast, which you can copy and give to your friends.  Justcall our toll-free phone number:  866-Obey-God.  That’stoll free, 1-866-O-B-E-Y-G-O-D.  Gordon James Klingenschmittis a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, and aseminary graduate of Regent University, holding both M.B.A. andMaster of Divinity degrees.  He’s also the founder andservant of Persuade The World Ministries, a 501(c3) tax-exemptreligious non-profit corporation in Colorado Springs, dedicatedto persuading individuals in America and throughout the world toforsake their sins and submit their hearts and minds to theloving rulership of our Lord, Jesus Christ.  And now withtoday’s teaching, here is Gordon James Klingenschmitt. 


Teaching by Gordon James Klingenschmitt

Thanks, Mark.  The title of this firstsegment is “A Matter of Life and Death,” and I’dlike to begin this entire 18-part series by telling you a truestory about a situation in which I found myself, many years ago. Now everything I’m telling you is exactly the way I rememberit, except for the names of the people, which I’ve changedto respect their privacy.  When I was a mere freshman “doolie”at the U.S. Air Force Academy (they called us doolies, from theGreek word doulos, meaning “slave”), I faced manyseemingly insurmountable pressures that pushed me and myclassmates to the brink of exhaustion.  Together we survivedearly mornings of physical conditioning, late nights crammingoverloads of technical academia into our already overloadedminds, long days being “trained” in the classrooms andon the athletic fields and in the corridors of Vandenberg Hall. The upperclassmen always seemed to despise our very existence,and often barked orders at us, telling us just how wrong we were,no matter what we did.  It took only one grueling semesterfor God to completely humble me of my arrogance and bring aboutmy conversion to faith in Jesus Christ.  I repented anddesperately cried out for that “personal relationship withGod” I’d never known, and God definitely met me and Hetransformed my heart and mind with the Truth of His Gospel. 

           And He did it just in time, for almost immediately followingthat, I faced a difficult challenge in a mid-semester change ofroommate assignments.  My two new roommates for the Springterm were self-proclaimed members of “the brewcrew”—part of a rebellious band of four freshmen dooliesfrom our squadron, who were determined to party at all costs andlook out for nobody but themselves.  The brew crew used toblow off steam on weekends by drinking as many beers as theirbodies could hold, then sneaking from room to room in the middleof the night, terrorizing the other sleeping freshmen, bystrapping them into their beds with duct tape, and then relievingthemselves out their second story bedroom windows onto thesidewalk below (without much regard to anyone who might bewalking there).  They’d never really hassled me toomuch, because only weeks ago I’d tried to be a pseudo-partof their clique, and I’d often drank and partied with them. But now I was a converted Christian and things were beginning tochange. 

           The leader of “the brew crew” was a strong, handsome,ex-fraternity jock who transferred to the Academy from Clemson University. His name was Hugh, and he was now my new roommate along with hissidekick, Craig.[1]  Hugh was quicklyrecognized and ordained as the leader of this rebellious band,because of his quick wit and his stories about his fraternitydays at Clemson.  He always seemed to know where to find theladies and the parties when they took passes off base to drive toBoulder (or just went OTF—over the fence—withoutpermission), and he often bragged about how many women he couldhave sex with in one weekend.  Hugh could always borrow acar from the upperclassmen he illegally fraternized with, and healways knew how to stock up on hard liquor even though we wereonly of age to drink three two beer.  He occasionallybragged about the illegal hallucinogens he enjoyed back atClemson, and always worried about being randomly selected for thenext urinalysis drug test.  But perhaps most importantly,Hugh was always willing to be the first to do the crazy stuntsthat nobody else would try.  Details aren’t important,and you might not want to hear some of them on Christian radio.

           Anyway, Hugh started asking me why I would no longer drink orparty with him, and he seemed very indignant when I offered myresponse:  “You know, I’m a Christian now, and mylifestyle has changed.”  He didn’t like thatresponse, and He set out to test my resolve.  He commonlydisplayed anger, even to the point of violence; his temper flaredso that he often challenged me to fist fights.  Those timeswhen I refused to stand up to him, he would either forcefullypush me, or hit me, or he would verbally denounce me as aweakling and walk away in disgust.  But those times I didstand up to him, I felt guilty for not turning the other cheek. Craig remembers watching all this, but I struggled with it at thetime, and I silently withdrew to pray for Hugh, trying to remainsteadfast as a good example without condemning him.  Now Iwas not a perfect Christian, in the sense that I was justlearning about the Christian faith, and I’m still learningtoday.  But even at the beginning of my new walk with God, Iworked hard to maintain a perfectly clear conscience, byconfession and daily repentance.  (And I still do thistoday).  Out of necessity during those days, I faithfullyand quietly read my Bible every night before sleeping, using thenight-light at my study desk, right beside Hugh’s bed. Craig wondered why I put up with Hugh’s abuse, and privatelyencouraged me to just retaliate and put an end to it. 

           One dark and depressing Saturday night in the middle of thatSpring semester, after a terribly stressful week of Academy doolielife, Hugh returned to our shared room from the beer hall.  Hewas alone, and I was there at my desk, quietly reading God’sWord before bed.  He ignored me, he grunted a few times, andthen he climbed up into his rack to go to sleep.  But forthe next half hour, I sensed that I was being watched.  Iglanced behind me to catch Hugh, wide-awake in his bed, silentlywatching me as I turned the pages of my Bible.  He got downout of bed and he pulled up a chair next to mine.  I couldsmell the alcohol on his breath as he began to philosophize andjustify his existence.  Apparently, even in his less thansober state of mind, he felt a small bit of conviction by what hesaw in my life.  And he began to speak. 

           “Gordon,” he said brashly, “ya’ know, I thinkyou’re O.K..  I see the change that’s come overyour life lately, and I see you reading your Bible all the time,and I just thought I’d let you know that I can appreciateyour religious convictions.”  Now I was amazed.  Thiswas the first time he’d shown me any kind of approval sincemy conversion.  He slapped his hand firmly on my back, andcontinued with a half-smile, “In fact, I want you to knowsomething about me.  You may not believe this by mylifestyle, but I’m a Christian too.  My parents areboth Christians, and I was raised in the church, and I want youto know that I believe very strongly that Jesus is my Savior, andthat he died for my sins.  And, yes, I know that I’mdoing a lot of bad things lately, but I believe God is verymerciful, and He’s going to forgive me.  I also wantyou to take courage in knowing that someday, Gordon, I’mgoing to change.  Someday I’m going to settle down andget married, and have a couple kids, and stop all the partyingand women and drinking, and I’ll get right with God too. Don’t you worry about me.  I’m going to turn outjust fine.” 

           Now I was absolutely astounded.  And I was so young andimmature in my understanding of God’s Word at that time,that I felt completely unable to respond.  I myselfdidn’t yet know that Jesus said, “Not everyone whosays to me ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom ofheaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is inheaven.” [2]  And I’d neveryet read the New Testament scripture where it says, “donot be deceived.  Neither the sexually immoral...nordrunkards...will inherit the kingdom of God.” [3]  Yet even thoughI’d never previously read these scriptures, the Spirit ofGod inside of me was disturbed and grieved by  Hugh’sstatement of blasphemy, and blatant mockery of what Jesus haddone for him at the cross.  It almost made my stomach turn. 

In substance, myresponse to him was this:  “Hugh, how can you believethat God is so merciful that he forgives your sins, even whileyou continue to enjoy them?  I mean, don’t you have torepent for God to forgive you?” 

His response waswarm and soothing, part of some out-of-context sermon he’dheard in his youth from a liberal pastor—“Nah, Godloves me.  And love covers over a multitude of     sins! [4]  He got this big grin on hisface, and seemed rather pleased with himself, and climbed backinto his rack for the night to go to sleep.  But my heartwas deeply grieved for him in his deception, for something insideof me knew that without holiness, no one will see the Lord.[5]

           The rest of our freshman year at the Academy came and went. Hugh treated me a little better, and I continued to pray that Godwould bring about a true and genuine conversion in him.  Ourdoolie year complete, we all got “recognized” andbecame upperclassmen; we were assigned to new squadrons and newroommates; we all separated and went on with our lives. 


           About one year later, one whole year after that late nightconversation I had with Hugh, on a Friday night as I slept in mysophomore room, I heard a knock on the door.  My mind wasgroggy as I woke up, and I looked at my clock, which read 3:15a.m.  The door opened, and there stood Craig, my otherformer roommate from my freshman year.  He walked into theroom as the cobwebs left my brain.  I hadn’t seen Craigin quite a while, but I can’t forget the look on hisface—he was pretty upset about something. 

He said,“Gordon, wake up.  I’ve got something to tellyou.”  I sat up in bed and tried to focus my eyes. “It’s about Hugh.  He and some buddies were up inBoulder tonight at a fraternity party.  They all drove backtogether a couple hours ago, and they were so drunk theycouldn’t contain themselves.  So they pulled off thehighway to get out of the car and relieve themselves in theditch.  But when Hugh crossed the highway to get back intothe car, he got hit by a semi truck.  He’s dead,Gordon.  He didn’t even see it coming.  Thealcohol killed him.” 

I was now fullyawake, and stunned speechless by the terrible announcement. I thought back solemnly to the year before, all the good timesand bad, and that conversation I’d had with Hugh.  Hesaid he was going to settle down someday and get right with God. 

           Now Craig knew about my faith in God, so he said, “Gordon, Iwant to ask you a question.  I mean, like, what about hissoul?  You know the kind of lifestyle he lived.  I justcan’t help but think that he’s the kind of guy thatmight end up in hell for all eternity.  Why do I feel likehe didn’t make it to heaven?”  This question kindacaught me off guard, especially coming from Craig, becausehe’d always acted kind of like Hugh did. 

           But I thought for a moment, and then I responded as gently as Icould.  “Craig, all I know is what the Bible says. Either Jesus is Lord of your life, or he’s not.”  Wedidn’t say much of anything more, as we thought about thefinality of Hugh’s death.  But there was nothing thatcould be done for him now.  His life was over. 

           Anyway, Craig went back to his room, and I got out of bed.  Iwandered the corridors of Vandenberg Hall for hours, crying outto God for some reason why.  “Why did you take him nowLord?  Why didn’t you give him more time?,  Iprayed.  Surely he would have repented someday, and honoredyou, the way you deserve!”  My thoughts turned toHugh’s soul and I wondered about heaven and hell. 

           I could just imagine the dreadful dismay Hugh must have felt,only seconds after he was dead, when he stepped out of his bodyand caught a grasp of his new spiritual surroundings.  Hemust have looked down in horror at his body, now lying dead andbleeding on the highway.  The finality must have beenunbearable, as he realized he wouldn’t have any more chancesto get right with God.  He was completely sober now, butwhat indescribable horror must have filled his heart, as heslowly turned to face God alone, fully comprehending theseriousness of his predicament.  What went through his mindas he walked that long road to stand before the throne of eternaljudgment?  What could he possibly say to God when hearrived?  And what if God wasn’t convinced?  Youknow, the terror he must have felt, moments before he facedjudgment, must have been nearly as painful as the eternal flamesof hell themselves. 

           So am I saying Hugh went to hell?  Maybe he did, maybe hedidn’t.  That’s not for me to decide.  That’sbetween him and God.  Yet I have learned, and this isimportant, I’ve learned what the Bible says:  If wedeliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledgeof the truth, no sacrifice or atonement for sins is left,but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging firethat will consume the enemies of God. [6]  That’s in Hebrews 10:26 and 27. Let me read it again…If we deliberately keep on sinningafter we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrificefor sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment andof raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.

           My thoughts turned briefly to the pastor who had told Hugh thelies of his youth:  “You can go to heaven without beingholy.  Just believe Jesus is your Savior; we’re savedby faith.  You don’t have to repent of your sins, thatwould be salvation by works.  The blood Jesus shed on thecross pays for your sins, even while you continue to enjoythem!”  Oh, I’m sure his pastor wasn’t soblatant, I don’t know, but then again, his preaching musthave somehow left that impression in Hugh’s mind,didn’t it?  He certainly couldn’t have gone farout of his way to remove such loopholes from Hugh’stheology, did he?  Now how would such a pastor answer toGod, when God required an accounting for Hugh’s soul?  Aren’tsuch preachers cowardly false prophets, who tell people whattheir itching ears want to hear,[7] filling up the pews every Sunday, but at thesame time laying a stumbling block before blind people that tripsthem unknowingly into hell?  Surely all such false teacherswill be held accountable by these words of Jesus: “Ifanyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin,it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung aroundhis neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.  Woe tothe world because of the things that cause people to sin!  Suchthings must come, but woe to the man through whom theycome!” [8]  Woe to you,preachers everywhere, if your teaching allows people to enjoytheir deadly sins.  Now let’s take a short break andhear from Mark.


Middle segment by Mark McWilliams…

Thanks Gordon. He’ll be back in just a moment.  But first, do you knowsomebody who needs to hear today’s message?  If youcall our toll-free number in the next hour, 866-Obey-God,we’ll mail you a free cassette tape of today’sbroadcast, which you can copy and give to your friends.  Allour tapes are copyable and free, but please remember we need yourdonations to stay on the air and to give away these free tapes. So please pray and obey, then send us your best possibledonation, after you receive your free cassette.  (Gordon: Hey time out!  If it’s your first time calling us, nodonation is required!  Just call us!)  Our toll freenumber is 866-Obey-God, that’s 1-866-O-B-E-Y-G-O-D. And please specify you’re requesting today’s program. Do you believe America needs to hear these messages?  If so,then we need you to sponsor us, by joining the Persuader’sClub with a monthly pledge of just $15.  If you join thePersuader’s Club, we’ll also send you an autographedcopy of Gordon’s book that you’ve been hearing.  Justvisit our web-site at  Or call us inthe next hour at 866-Obey-God.  Right now, let’s returnto Gordon James Klingenschmitt. 


Teaching continued by Gordon JamesKlingenschmitt

           For years now, my heart has ached over the loss of this youngman, Hugh.  As I look around me, at the Church in America, Isee thousands, even millions just like him.  Are you one ofthese?  Do you pretend to be Christian with your lips, butyour heart is far from God?  Do you believe God exists withyour mind, but refuse to worship Him with your heart and soul andstrength?  Preachers, are your evangelistic meetings andliterature filled with flowery verbiage about forgiveness, whileyou remain silent about God’s demand for immediatewhole-hearted repentance and holiness?  Now let me ask youlistening to me right now.  Do you believe in Jesus as yourSavior, but refuse to submit to him as your Lord?  You know,Jesus is described 24 times in the New Testament as Savior,but 603 times as Lord.

Millions ofAmericans pretend to be Christian in name, when all their selfishefforts resist God and make a mockery of the cross with their sinand compromise.  But the destruction of such people wasforetold by Jesus in Matthew chapter seven.   Jesussaid “Many will say to me on thatday, ‘Lord, Lord’....and I will tell them plainly,‘I never knew you.  Away from me you evil-doers!’”[9]  So just because you sayyou’re going to heaven doesn’t make it true.  You’dbetter study God’s Word a little closer.  Youcan’t say one thing and do another, and get away with it.

           Now you listening to me right now, in your car, or in your home,what do you hear God’s Spirit saying to you right now? Do you claim to be a Christian, but act like a non-Christian? Do you think like Hugh did?  How many lies are lodged inyour theology, allowing you to delay repentance and wallow inyour sins?  How many of God’s commands have youignored, just because you think God forgives you?  Let mesay this:  Jesus Christ will never save you from hellfireunless He first saves you from your deadly sins.  And howcan Christ save you from your sins, while you continually andwillfully embrace them with a death grip that will not relent? I’m asking you, right now.  Forsake your sins beforethey destroy you.  Repent deeply before God.  If JesusChrist isn’t the Lord of every aspect of your life, fall onyour knees and make Him your King, right now.  Today Godsets before you the choice of life and death, heaven and hell. Choose life, and live. 


Let’s take a moment to pray.  Wouldyou pray this prayer with me?  Go ahead and say these wordsalong with me…

 “Fatherin Heaven, I’m so sorry, for taking your mercy for granted,when I have not fully repented.  I now repent of my knownsins.  [Take just a moment to name specific sins, especiallythat one you’re thinking about right now.]  God, Iforsake these sins completely.  I willfully change thedesires of my heart.  I choose not to love my own selfishpleasures, but God I want to love you with all my heart.  Ichange the choices in my heart, from disobedience to completeobedience.  I choose absolute submission to Jesus Christ asLord of every part of my life.  I’m no longer my ownboss, Lord Jesus, you are my boss from this day forward. 

[Now ministers ofthe Gospel, pray with me] If I have misled people in mypreaching, by allowing them to continue enjoying their sins, Inow repent.  I choose instead to devote my life to learningand speaking God’s truth, about the necessity of repentanceand holiness. 

[Now everybodypray] Father, I receive your forgiveness, and I receiveJesus’ sacrifice on the cross as the only acceptable paymentto satisfy God’s justice, for those sins which I’vewhole-heartedly forsaken.  I receive your cleansingforgiveness, right now.  In the name of my

Lord, Jesus Christ,I pray.  Amen.”  Now I’d like to ask you toraise your hand if you prayed with me.  Wherever you are, ifyou’re in your car, or your house, or in front of otherpeople, I don’t care.  I want you to raise your righthand up in the air to God as a sign that you just prayed with meand gave your heart back to God, entirely and withoutreservation.  Go ahead.  God sees your heart.  Didyou mean what you prayed?  I know you did, and so does God. Now if you just raised your hand, I want you to write to me andget a copy of this book that you’re hearing presented rightnow.  I love you and I care about you.  Here’sMark again, with that information.  


Closing trailer by Mark McWilliams… 

Thanks Gordon,and thanks everybody for listening. Do you know somebody whoneeds to hear today’s message?  If you call ourtoll-free number in the next hour, 866-Obey-God, we’ll mailyou a free cassette tape of today’s broadcast, which you cancopy and give to your friends. All our tapes are copyable andfree, but please remember that we need your donations to stay onthe air and to give away these free tapes.  So please prayand obey God about how much these teachings are worth to you, andreturn to us your best possible gift after you receive your freecassette.  (Gordon:  Hey time out!  If it’syour first time contacting us, no donation is required!  Justcall us!)  Our toll free number is 866-Obey-God, that’s 1-866-O-B-E-Y-G-O-D, and please specify you’rerequesting today’s program.  Now do you believe Americaneeds to hear these messages?  If so, we’respecifically asking you to join the Persuader’s Club,and to sponsor this radio broadcast with a monthly pledge of just$15.  If you join the Persuader’s Club as a monthlypartner, we’ll send you an autographed copy of the bookyou’ve been hearing, written and taught by Gordon James Klingenschmitt,entitled, “License To Sin, The Number One Reason America IsLosing Its Moral Foundation.”  Just visit our web-siteat  That’s It’s the monthly donations of our Persuader’s Clubpartners who keep this program on the air.  Now if you havecomments or questions about today’s broadcast, you can emailus at  “,” Or you canwrite to us.  Or you can always call us toll free, at866-Obey-God.  And if you remember, please tell us the callsign of the radio station you’re listening to.  May Godbless you, and thank you for supporting Persuade The WorldMinistries.  Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, wepersuade men. 


<Manymore transcripts and free MP3 radio shows CLICK HERE>

[1] Names changed to respect privacy. 

[2] Matthew 7:21 (NIV)

[3] 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (NIV)

[4] 1 Pet 4:8 (NIV)  Note in context thatPeter is directing people to love one another, not describingGod’s love toward sinners.

[5] Hebrews 12:14 (NIV)

[6]  Hebrews10:26-27 (NIV)

[7]  2 Timothy 4:3(NIV)

[8]  Matthew18:6-7 (NIV)

[9]  Matthew7:22-23 (NIV)