I don’t think I made myself very clear in my first post. I do not think that JL is in hell, suffering eternal torment. What interests me is the vision itself and why they had it. Like I said, this story swept through Evangelical circles – that I was a part of – about 1996 or so, along with rumors that JL had once contacted one of the big ministers but ultimately rejected Christ. As it turns out he wrote to Oral Roberts and sent a gift for his ministry (Steve Turner writes about this in his book).
Whenever it was recounted to me, it was always couched as a morality tale. “John Lennon converted once, but then he walked away from God and now he’s in hell.” A scare tactic of sorts from the same people who used to pass around petitions to keep Madalyn Murray O’Hair from removing religious programming from television (I received several of these emails even after O’Hair’s death became public). It just never really squared with “Once Saved, Always Saved,” among other things.
Anyway, it leads me a couple of questions. One, what exactly is “conversion”? It’s documented that JL did in fact write to Oral Roberts, asking if God could possibly love him and begging for direction out of his drug addiction. Later (according to Turner) he set the Lord’s Prayer to music and was deeply moved by a movie about Christ, but he apparently couldn’t get his head around Christ’s divinity. I have to say that I’m thankful that I went through RCIA, that there’s a whole process to joining the Catholic Church. At what point are we held accountable for converting, though?
Additionally, in the actual text of the vision that’s available online only one of the converts saw JL and s/he refers to the “satanic Beatles” and mentions his “more popular than Christ” comment in a “Who’s mocking Christ now?” manner. It strikes me as a whole lotta projecting, like this person was a Beatles fan and is now embarrassed about it or something. So why do we listen to such stuff? It feels like an Urban Legend, and they’re certainly not exclusive to the Evangelical community. Whatever happened to Christ’s admonition to be “wise as serpents but innocent as doves”?