Jedidiah Duggar may not have broken one of his family’s bonkers rules, but he’s causing a huge stir among Duggar fans.
The Duggars went to a folksy theme park, but Jedidiah’s idea of a “conversation starter” has fans accusing him of portraying Christians in a bad light.
Why? Because he essentially went around asking everyone who saw him if they were going to hell.
The Duggar family shared a series of photos to Instagram.
“This morning we headed over to Branson,” the caption reads. “For a family (and friends!) day at Silver Dollar City!”
Silver Dollar City is a Missouri theme park once featured on The Beverly Hillbillies.
“We love making memories with our kids!” the caption continues.
“The weather was beautiful,” the post reads. “And the lines for the rides were short. A great combo!”
“Jackson even got to do a drawing lesson!” the caption adds.
The post concludes: “I have a feeling we’ll be carrying at least a few sleeping kids inside when we get home.”
But what caught the eyes — and outrage — of Duggar fans and followers was the shirt sported by 20-year-old Jedidiah Duggar.
The simple printed tee reads: “If you died tonight would you be in heaven or hell?”
“That message on that T-shirt,” marveled one commenter, writing a crying emoji.
“Scaring people into faith/heaven is not loving,” that same commenter asserted. “God isn’t about scaring. He is about love”
“Nice comment,” praised another in reply. “God is all about love.”
The comments continued to pour in after people realized that Jedidiah had worn this shirt to a theme park for some reason.
“A relationship with a loving father is what will draw people to God,” writes another fan. “Not the threat of hell.”
“My thoughts exactly,” agrees another follower. “Such a shame.”
“It is not for you or anyone to assume the state of a persons relationship with God,” asserts a comment. “Or whether they are saved.”
But, as you can imagine, not all of those who follow the Duggars saw things this way.
“Hell is a reality,” insists a comment. “We can’t ignore it because we don’t like it.”
“Its not scary,” claims another. “Its getting folks to think.”
“The t shirt makes you think about your salvation,” suggests one. “If you don’t feel conviction, how can you be saved?”
“It’s not scary, it’s the truth,” that same comment continues. “Not talking about it, doesn’t make it go away.”
That comment even adds: “I am confused as to whether or not you are a Christian”
Another asserts: “only someone who isn’t saved would be offended or upset about the shirt.”
But critics of the shirt who were themselves devout Christians explained why the tee was so troubling to them.
“People who don’t know the lord will see that T-shirt,” one worries. “And most likely will be put off but it’s message.”
“They just see the ‘heaven or hell’ choice,” laments another.
That comment continues: “And don’t understand the true nature of God and why they would want to be in a relationship with him. So they reject him.”
“I don’t see anything wrong with his shirt,” writes a more neutral party. “But I understand what you are saying as well.”
Theology is extremely complicated, and even among Christians, the idea of heaven and hell can be controversial and even divisive.
Some Christians do not believe in hell.
Others, such as strict Calvinists, believe that no human has the power to control their soul’s fate — that it’s all in God’s hands, no matter their deeds in life.
But non-Christians, particularly those who do not come from Christian families, may find the shirt less divisive.
Inappropriate? Sure, especially at a theme park. But if you don’t believe in hell, the shirt doesn’t really faze you.
So we have to disagree with the comment suggesting that the critics were people who aren’t Christians. They just have a different point of view.