The nature of Hell

Something interesting I found exploring the Patheos neighborhoods:  A discussion from Ryan Adams (whom I assume is not the same person as the former lead singer of Whiskeytown) on the Eastern Orthodox understanding of Hell, which is defined as the suffering that comes from being loved by God and yet rejecting that love.  He talks about this notion in Dostoevsky and shows how that mysterious phrase of the Creed about Christ’s descent into Hell plays into this.  Read it all, but here is his conclusion:

This is the Hell that I believe to be the most true, that you cannot love and yet are loved infinitely. You are in a place where even God Himself has suffered for you, and you reject it. If Dostoevsky’s depiction of Raskolnikov is to be believed at all, then this is the worst sort of suffering, a suffering which cannot be gotten away from. This is a Hell that I think we should all be afraid of, even if we think it’s a myth, even if we don’t believe in a God, even if we think it’s a story told to scare children, or a clever literary device used to make fun of popes without getting in trouble. No matter what, we should all be afraid that we could become incapable of love. We would all like to think of this as a fiction, no one can be incapable, but if you lived your whole life without doing it, then what’s the difference between that and not being able to? So, it is incumbent upon us all to live in fear of THIS Hell, of looking back and realizing we didn’t love.

via A Revaluation of Hell.

I would just like to add that, contrary to something Ryan says and an illustration he gives, this concept is also in Dante, who organizes his allegorical geography of the Inferno according to the various defects and absences of love.  (The lowest circle, where we find those who betrayed those who loved them–Judas being at the lowest point–is to be frozen in a sea of ice, the opposite of the warmth of love.)

In fact, this notion is not infrequent in Western Christianity.  St. Catharine of Siena said, “The fire of Hell is the love of God as experienced by those who reject it.”  This is basically what C. S. Lewis is symbolizing in The Great Divorce.

This is not allegorizing the Biblical accounts of Hell.  It posits  true eternal suffering.  The Bible speaks of “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Those are associated with sorrow. Hell involves spiritual pain. This doesn’t necessarily exhaust the horrors of Hell. Perhaps after the resurrection of the dead, when we all will have bodies again, the pain will be physical also.

Hardly anybody mentions or thinks about or preaches about Hell anymore. I can understand why. But should we?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Grace

    H E L L is REAL – Hell is a real place, just as it was when Jesus spoke about Lazarus. People don’t like to believe that if they reject Christ Jesus as their Savior, they will ultimately join others including the devil in hell forever!

    10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

    11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

    12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

    13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

    14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

    15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

    Revelation 20

    NOTICE “lake of fire” in both verse 10 and 15. In verse 10 it clearly says they will be tormented day and night for ever and ever

    One can write about Dante, and Dostoevsky, or any other so called ‘thinker, but unless you search out the Scriptures, seek the words written in Gods HOLY Word, you’re without understanding. All the philosophical renderings mean nothing, they don’t come from the SOURCE meaning the Bible.

        Dr. Veith YOU WROTE: – “Hardly anybody mentions or thinks about or preaches about Hell anymore. I can understand why. But should we?”

    It depends Dr. Veith, which church you attend. Lots of churches preach about Heaven and Hell – The problem is, most people would rather attend the church the avoids the mention of “hell” and how one finds themselves there, they would much rather HEAR a doctrine which absolves them of guilt, no matter what the Word of God states. The Bible is set aside often times, while the words of ‘church leaders are more tolerable to the sinners ears.

     

    LOVE is following Christ, by not doing so, by not Believing in HIM as our Savior, having faith, results in eternal damnation. With that in mind, one realizes that in the end, God Almighty turns from those who do not accept HIS Son, are headed straight for hell. There is no love in turning from Christ, expecting that HE will love us, while one suffers in hell, for eternity. There is no passage in Scripture which states we are loved in hell, because we refused to follow Christ while here on earth.

  • Grace

     
    BELOW a list of passages of Scripture regarding “hell”

      “hell fire” (Mk. 9:47

      “the fire that never shall be quenched” (Mk. 9:43,45

      “where the worm dieth not” Is. 66:24; Mk. 9:44,46,48

      “an abhorring to all flesh” Is. 66:24

      “tormented in this flame” Lk. 16:24

      “everlasting destruction” 2 Th. 1:9

      “flaming fire taking vengeance” 2 Th. 1:8

      “everlasting punishment” Mt. 25:46

      “perdition” 2 Pe. 3:7

      “tormented day and night forever and ever” Re. 20:10

      “cast into the lake of fire” Re. 20:15

      “tormented with fire and brimstone” Re. 14:10

      “no rest day nor night forever and ever” Re. 14:1

      “wailing and gnashing of teeth” Mt. 13:42,50

      “cast into a furnace of fire” Mt. 13:42,50

      “depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire” Mt. 25:41

      “cast him into outer darkness” Mt. 22:13

  • Pete

    Grace (@ 3:25 AM – trouble sleeping?): “One can write about Dante, and Dostoevsky, or any other so called ‘thinker, but unless you search out the Scriptures, seek the words written in Gods HOLY Word, you’re without understanding.”

    Don’t you suspect that these (as well as Lewis’ and St. Catherine’s) are artists attempts to present an image of Hell from the information presented in scripture? There certainly is (and always has been) a fascination on the part of mankind with the nature of the afterlife. Hence the proliferation of (and fascination with) books/articles/speakers who have reported on “near death experiences” – seeing the “small light at the end of a long tunnel”, hearing a welcoming voice, seeing an angelic creature, etc.

  • SKPeterson

    I have heard it not so much as the crushing weight of God’s love coming down upon one without love, but that God’s love is withdrawn – and only his justice and wrath remain. I suppose the two would go hand in hand; the absence of love, being an uncompromising and implacable justice. In that place, there would be no rest, nor respite, and whether the flames and darkness are the reality or simple poetry, it makes the situation no less Hell. In the end, it is the slag heap of Creation, the unworkable and unrefinable detritus to be cast aside.

  • SKPeterson

    Why did Pete’s bolding carry over to my post, or is that just me?

  • Pete

    Well, that was certainly some ham-handed bolding! Another beef about this Patheticos Site is, I don’t see any way of viewing the published form of my post prior to actually posting it. ‘Zat true or am I just not finding it?

    For what it’s worth, I really just meant to bold the word “from” in the comment above.

  • Pete

    Yikes – metastatic bolding! The world is ending!

  • Pete

    Ugh! Irreversible metastatic bolding! Is this Hell?

  • Kempin04

    “Perhaps after the resurrection of the dead, when we all will have bodies again, the pain will be physical also.”

    There is no “perhaps” about it. Eternal condemnation will take place AFTER the resurrection of all flesh, and in Isaiah 66 (already cited by Grace) is a vivid account of a PHYSICAL condemnation. That does not take away from the other nuances of suffering, of course, but almost all of the descriptions of eternal condemnation are physical.

    I was wondering if you could explanin a bit about your comment: “The fire of Hell is the love of God as experienced by those who reject it.” This is basically what C. S. Lewis is symbolizing in The Great Divorce.”

    I read that not long ago, and i am not sure I follow.

  • Tom Hering

    Test

  • Tom Hering

    Test again

  • Tom Hering

    Wow. You really did it this time, Pete. ;-)

  • Tom Hering

    Sin boldly. :-D

  • Pete

    OH NO…. Dr. Veith! How can I ever repay you? Surely one of Dante’s circles is for such offenses as this. Am I to be chained to a keyboard eternally bolded? Enrolled in everlasting IT training?

  • Pete

    NEVER again will I bold. (Unless, of course, I ALWAYS do.)

  • Trey

    “A church that fails to curse cannot bless.” Dr. John T.Pless

    Without the threat of hell, how can we speak of heaven?

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Whether or not it’s exactly as described by Dante, Lewis, etc., one thing is certain about hell: we don’t want to end up there.

    If Jesus doesn’t want us there, that’s good enough for me.

  • Paul Reed

    First post I ever recall seeing about hell on Cranach. There is, however, a lot of talk about gay marriage and abortion. I’ve often wondered what would have happened if evangelicals put the effort into the gospel as they did into these various social issues, which has been fruitless and is pretty much dead. Jesus spoke a lot of hell. Why shouldn’t we? Does hell not really exist, or is it something that we don’t need to be concerned about or afraid of? Why so much silence?

  • sg

    This is why we need to guard against false doctrine. Evangelicals preach as they do because many generations ago their ggggrandparents were led into some errors by heterodox teachers away from the correct teachings. This is what we get because false teachers spread their errors and were not corrected. So, some do discern the Gospel out of all the mixed messages, but some end up on tangents.

  • sg

    This view of hell reminds me of the hell in Sartre’s play No Exit.

  • John C

    My first argument with fundamentalist Christianity occurred as a 7 year old in 1959 when I was terrified by a fire and brimstone sermon from Billy Graham. By 8 years of age I had rejected the notion and I do so now.

  • Joe

    Hell is described in many ways, but the ultimate understanding of hell is that it is separation from Christ.

  • Paul Reed

    We don’t have to explicitly deny hell like a liberal Christian or an atheist — all we have to do is not talk about hell and act like it isn’t something to fear, and we’ll have the same effect.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Interesting take on the nature of Hell.
    But, to be honest, this characterization of Hell seems to me a lot like the silly stuff I heard when I was in high school: “Hell for a rock-n-roller will be having to listen to classical music for eternity.” That kind of stuff.

  • helen

    Pete’s bolding is limited to his post, on my screen.

  • Tom Hering

    John C (@ 10:08 am), from the little you say, your argument against Hell and physical suffering in Hell is, “I don’t like it.” But lots and lots of things we don’t like are realities anyways. This is something adults understand, and children don’t want to accept. So, do you really want to depend on the theological conclusions of an 8-year-old child , even if that child was you? (I’m guessing you must think you were an extraordinary 8-year-old. As far as spiritual discernment goes, anyways. ;-) )

  • http://theoldadam.com/ theoldadam

    Jesus speaks of hell so it must exist.

    My prayer is that no one would go there, because it is the place that I deserve to go.

    I hope it will be a sparkly populated as the Lord sees fit.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ theoldadam

    ‘sparcely’

  • tODD

    The Old Adam (@1:32 pm), are you sure you want to use that handle in a forum with so many Lutherans? You know we’re going to try to drown and murder you, don’t you? ;)

  • kempin04

    Paul Reed,

    Technically, we should not be teaching people to fear hell, but to fear God. The terror with regard to hell is not that it is a particular place that is particularly horrible. The terror is that God would condemn eternally. The imagery for this eternal condemnation is quite horrifying, particularly since most of the image is that of physical torment–unquenched fire, undying maggots in the flesh, gnashing of teeth, darkness, lake of fire, torment–but still the real terror is in knowing that this judgment comes from God and is eternal.

    “From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead. His kingdom will have no end.”

  • tODD

    Man, I did not see that Whiskeytown reference coming, Dr. Veith! Might this be our semi-shared cultural reference? (“Semi-” because I’ve seen them in concert once, though Ryan Adams was kind of whiny, and I don’t own any of their albums.)

    Anyhow, Kempin (@6:57 am), I guess I’m not sure how important it is that the pain is physical in nature, or what that distinction even means. Certainly we have either known in ourselves or others — or at least read in Scripture itself — times when what could be called mental (emotional, spiritual, existential) anguish has resulted in physical pain. Arguably, pain is all mental, anyhow.

    It’s my impression that what God tells us in Scripture is not so much to convey the particular physical details, but to convey much bigger truths. Namely, that Hell will be separation from God, without chance for mercy, and that it will be agonizing, and eternally so. Will there really be worms or lakes? Is that important? I mean, should we start coming up with an understanding of physical worms that can withstand such great heat, yet somehow do not actually consume anything they eat (for they keep eating, it would seem, of a physically finite body)? That seems silly.

    I think God chooses this language because it speaks to us better. Separation from God doesn’t sound so bad to the man who has rejected God, because he doesn’t realize that he is still in his time of grace. “Oh, is that all there is?” he might ask. But the other images make the reality a bit clearer. This isn’t a matter of moving down the street from God. No, this is agonizing like when your body is in pain. But without ceasing.

  • Grace

    Pete at January 14, 2013 at 6:39 am

      – YOU WROTE: Grace (@ 3:25 AM – trouble sleeping?): “

    Not at all, try and remember I live in the west. When I posted it was 12:25 AM my time. :lol:

    -YOU WROTE:   “Don’t you suspect that these (as well as Lewis’ and St. Catherine’s) are artists attempts to present an image of Hell from the information presented in scripture? There certainly is (and always has been) a fascination on the part of mankind with the nature of the afterlife.”

    The best “image” of HELL, is the one given in the Word of God. The problem with many writers (or “artists” as you attempt to elevate their skills) is; they try and spin OR top the real meaning found in the Bible – believing they can make it more reader friendly OR interesting.

     

  • DonS

    As is the case with heaven, our mortal minds, limited by space and time, cannot possibly comprehend the nature of eternal separation from God. A lake of fire is probably the most fearsome thing we can imagine, so that is how God describes it to us. Since He uses that description of Hell, it is reasonable for us to do so as well, and to assume that the eternal suffering those who die without Christ will endure, because of separation from God, will infinitely exceed the suffering that we would face were we actually to be thrown into a lake of fire in our present state. Whether the lake of fire is actually literal or not is beside the point.

    The story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16 is instructive. The rich man, in his suffering, longed for only the touch of Lazarus’ finger, dipped in water, on his tongue, even though he had despised Lazarus’ low state in life.

  • kempin04

    tODD,

    I’m not arguing for a literalistic reading of the scripture, but for a literal one. Do the agonies of condemnation go beyond the merely physical to encompass all of the dimensions here discussed? Yes. But does that mean that the physical is NOT a part of it? Of course not. That’s the point I am making. Our Lord’s agonies were more than just what he suffered physically, but nevertheless he DID suffer physically.

    God created may to be a whole person–body and spirit. On the last day we will all be raised and go to our respective destinies as a whole person–body and spirit. That’s how I read the scripture, and that’s the point I wished to make.

  • Paul Reed

    @kempin04

    Good point

  • tODD

    Kempin (@3:40 pm), fair enough as to your actual point. However, though I have heard this “literal/literalistic” distinction attempted before, it always strikes me as so much semantic hand-waving. Can you explain the distinction without using the word “literal” or any of its derivatives?

  • Grace

    The words from the passage below in Matthew, are direct, easy to understand and literal.

    Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
    Matthew 3:12 </blockquote

      unquenchable Strong’s Dictionary

      asbestoV – asbestos – as’-bes-tos

    not extinguished, i.e. (by implication) perpetual:–not to be quenched, unquenchable.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @tODD (5:19) The use of literal/literalistic came about because so many people have a knee jerk reaction to words like metaphor, figures of speech, etc. The difference as I have seen it explained is that literal means taking into account the word’s accepted meaning while allowing it to point to something else or verbally paint a picture. Literalistic means that reader only reads the words on the page as if they can not be creating a related image that is not the direct meaning of the word on the page. For example the 7th chapter of Rev. a literal reading would see the 144k as the church militant, where as a literalistic reading sees 144k Jewish men.

  • Grace

    21st Century @ 6:42PM

    YOU WROTE: “Literalistic means that reader only reads the words on the page as if they can not be creating a related image that is not the direct meaning of the word on the page. For example the 7th chapter of Rev. a literal reading would see the 144k as the church militant, where as a literalistic reading sees 144k Jewish men.

    The seventh chapter of Revelation is explicit. They are the tribes of the children of Israel. All Jews!

    The 14th chapter of Revelation is explicit, regarding the 144,00 Jewish (Israel tribes) virgin males

      1 And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.

      2 And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps:

      3 And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.

      4 These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.

      5 And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.
    Revelation 14

    THE TWELVE (12) TRIBES – 144,000

    Below you will note the verses in Revelation 7:5-8 which clearly number 12 TRIBES SEALED Revelation 7:5-8

    4 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.

    5 Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand.

    6 Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nephthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand.

    7 Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand.

    8 Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand.
    Revelation 7

    The children of Israel, as noted above are tribes of the children of Israel. They are not Gentiles, but Jews –

    VERY LITERAL INDEED!

  • tODD

    DLit2C (@6:42 pm), sure, I get your point, but I find it sort of odd that, well, it requires you to use a non-literal reading of the word “literal”.

    Here’s how I see it: for some reason, the word “literal” has become of a touchstone, a shibboleth, in American Protestantism. You have to say that you take the Bible “literally”. The problem is, most of us don’t. At least, in many places. Revelation is certainly a good example. As is a lot of the poetry found throughout the Old Testament (Psalms, Isaiah).

    Now, there are groups that read those passages literally, and we (Lutherans) tend to denounce their theology, both as regards those passages, as well as in other areas. So we tag them with reading the Bible in a “literalistic” fashion. Which, as I read it, basically means, “we disagree with you, but would like to claim the ‘literal’ label for ourselves, so here, have this pejorative label.” That said, even among those groups, there are usually passages (i.e. the Earth resting on “pillars”) that they read metaphorically. Usually.

    But, in my opinion, the reason that conservative Lutherans and Evangelicals both want to claim the “literal” label for themselves has more to do with controversies over certain passages — namely, the beginning of Genesis.

    Anyhow, it seems to me that the way that you and Dan (and others) use the term “literal”, what you really mean by it is “according to how the words were intended by the author”. Which isn’t what “literal” means at all. You’re basically saying, “We read it right, but they read it wrong”. And it’s an understandable position to take, but I don’t get why we have to drag “literal” into it, is all.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @tODD (7:35) You pretty much hit the button on the nose as to why gets dragged in. I suspect part of it came about partly because people started associating symbolic language with not taking the Bible seriously or we didn’t like what the Bible says. What I have been able to see is that it arises out of the response to the Pre-millinial diatribes.

  • kerner

    +1 tODD.

  • kerner

    +1 tODD

  • Grace

    Those who believe in REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY, will not accept Revelation 7 or 14. Or any other passages which contradicts their belief regarding the church replacing Israel. That would include Romans 11 as well.

    Romans 11 is one chapter in Scripture, which those who believe in REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY find difficulty.

    One must keep in mind, the “church” is never called “Israel” – The New Testament doesn’t use the term “Israel” regarding anyone who is not an ethnic Jew.

    Below Paul states clearly:

        1. I say then, Has God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.

    Those who believe in REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY, will not accept Revelation 7 or 14. Or any other passages which contradicts their belief regarding the church replacing Israel. That would include Romans 11 as well, and 9 and 10

    Romans 11 is one chapter in Scripture, which those who believe in REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY find difficulty.

    One must keep in mind, the “church” is never called “Israel” – The New Testament doesn’t use the term “Israel” regarding anyone who is not an ethnic Jew.

    Below Paul states clearly:

        1. I say then, Has God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.
    2 God has not cast away his people which he foreknew. Know you not what the scripture said of Elias? how he makes intercession to God against Israel saying,
    3 Lord, they have killed your prophets, and dig down your altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.
    4 But what said the answer of God to him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.
    5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.
    6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.
    7 What then? Israel has not obtained that which he seeks for; but the election has obtained it, and the rest were blinded.
    8 (According as it is written, God has given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) to this day.
    9 And David said, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumbling block, and a recompense to them:
    10 Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back always.
    11 I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come to the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.
    12 Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fullness?
    13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify my office:
    14 If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.
    15 For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?
    16 For if the first fruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.
    17 And if some of the branches be broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them partake of the root and fatness of the olive tree;
    18 Boast not against the branches. But if you boast, you bore not the root, but the root you.
    19 You will say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in.
    20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Be not high minded, but fear:
    21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not you.
    22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in his goodness: otherwise you also shall be cut off.
    23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again.
    24 For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?
    25 For I would not, brothers, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.

    26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:

    27 For this is my covenant to them, when I shall take away their sins.
    28 As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father’s sakes.
    29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.
    30 For as you in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:
    31 Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.
    32 For God has concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy on all.
    33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
    34 For who has known the mind of the Lord? or who has been his counselor?
    35 Or who has first given to him, and it shall be recompensed to him again?
    36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
    Romans 11

    Romans 11

  • Pete

    @ Grace (5:28 PM)
    “The words from the passage below in Matthew, are direct, easy to understand and literal.
    Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. ”

    Direct – yes. Easy to understand – yes. Literal – not so much. I do not picture the God of Judgment wasting His time with literal wheat and literal chaff. I’m pretty certain that the wheat and the chaff are representative of people. And the “garner” represents something unimaginably and eternally good but which is also not a literal garner (I’m not even sure I know what a garner is.) Similarly, the “unquenchable fire” represents something unimaginably and eternally bad, but which may not involve literal fire.

  • kerner

    Grace:

    “…this is my body…”, Matthew 26:26, Mark 14:22, Luke 22:19, I Corinthians 11:24.

    “…baptism doth also now save us…” I Peter 3:21

    If you’re going to be “literal”, believe the above Word of God literally. Otherwise, you are no different that the people you criticize.

  • Pete

    By the way, I still seem to be suffering from the “Bolding Demon”. Any computer exorcists out there? I thought it might have just been happening on my phone, but it’s also on my home computer. Help. Somebody. I’m really not this bold – more of an introvert, really.

  • Paul Reed

    @Todd (2:09PM)

    “No, this is agonizing like when your body is in pain. But without ceasing”.

    Exactly. I just wish that the topic of hell got even close to as much coverage on Christian blogs as Obama’s taxation plans. Jesus says don’t fear man who can kill you; fear the One who can cast your soul into hell for eternity.

  • Grace

    Kerner @9 PM

    The book of Mark makes it clear, as Christ Jesus lays out clearly the way to be saved. It’s little man who wants to switch the way around to meet his beliefs.

    15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

     16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
    Mark 16:16

      1. Believeth – first
      2. Baptized – second
      3. Saved

    In the passage below, the eunuch requests to be baptized, but Philip asks the eunuch – “If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” – that is the key, Philip wanted to know that the eunuch actually believed. Faith first then baptism.

    34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?
    35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.
    36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?
    37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
    38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.
    39 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.
    Acts 8

  • kerner

    Grrace, you said:
    “One must keep in mind, the “church” is never called “Israel” – The New Testament doesn’t use the term “Israel” regarding anyone who is not an ethnic Jew.”

    I don’t know that that’s true. What Paul actually says in Romans 11, is that there is no more separation between believers and the ethnic “Israel”, we’re all on one tree by faith, or we’re without faith and cut off. Being a biological descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob(Israel) no longer has any significance. See also below:

    “11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

    14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

    19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

    In light of these Scriptures, I don’t see how being genetically related to Abraham has any significance at all.

  • kerner

    Getting back to Hell for a moment, what I found most interesting about “The Great Divorce” was Lewis’ God doesn’t send people to Hell so much as they, the damned, insist on going there. God offers them the gift of His heaven, and they won’t take it. Well, if you refuse to accept Heaven, then where else can you be than Hell? And a happy place it will not be.

  • kerner

    oops. I meantto say…Lewis’ statement that God…etc.

  • Grace

    Kerner,

    You haven’t studied Romans 11 have you? It shows! – – now you want to discuss Ephesians 2 from the NIV. I’m not going to skip around, while you avoid Romans 11.

  • Grace

    Kerner @ 9:59

    YOU WROTE: “God offers them the gift of His heaven, and they won’t take it. Well, if you refuse to accept Heaven, then where else can you be than Hell? And a happy place it will not be.”

    The LORD offers us Salvation, by believing in HIM as our Savior. Lots of people will take “heaven” but they don’t want to believe in Jesus Christ.

  • Kempin04

    tODD, 5:19,

    Fair enough. That was a sloppy statement, but in brief, I use the term “literalistic” as a pejorative for those who insist on the rude meaning of the text without taking into account literary device. There are metaphors and similes and there is symbolic language in the scripture, and yes, this is to be taken into account when interpreting. So I use “literal” to describe the legitimate literary context of the scripture and “literalistic” to describe the abuse of the text whereby literary device is ignored or trodden.

    Of course, I still lost because I used the words you asked me to define. I can’t believe I fell for that. Literally.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    You know I always laugh when people say the orthodox position has trouble with Romans 11. We just happen to notice in v 26 the definition of Israel changes because it says following the grafting – thus all Israel is saved. Just as we happen to notice in Rev 7 to tribes know for apostasy are cut off and two new tribes are grafted in. We also happen to notice a quotation in Matthew that links Jesus with being called Israel. And so we realized hey, Israel means all those who are in the Jesus.

    I also love it when people who claim to read the Bible literally insert ordinal words when there is only a simple linking word. Mark 16 are two thoughts grouped together not a prescription for what must come first.

  • Grace

    Century 10:19 “We also happen to notice a quotation in Matthew that links Jesus with being called Israel.”

    Which passage in Matthew are you referring to?

  • Grace

    From the dictionary:

        Israel
      1. Bible
      a. Jacob.
      b. The descendants of Jacob.
      2. Judaism The Hebrew people, past, present, and future, regarded as the chosen people of God by virtue of the covenant of Jacob.

     

  • tODD

    +1

  • tODD

    And +1 here, as well.

  • John C

    Tom at 1.23
    The dreamtime stories of hell and a lake of eternal fire, torment and damnation are stories we can no longer tell children — the stories are far too horrible and Grimm. They no longer suit the temper of the times. Even on this blog, commentators have talked about a ‘separation from God’ – an altogether different story to the one told by Billy Graham.
    And so Christianity evolves, Tom.

  • sg

    Regarding hell. I tell my kids the whole horrible fire, skin burning forever, devil poking people in the eyes with pointy sticks, etc. Okay, I embellished a little. Anyway, when I told that to my older one when he was like four or five, he was, like, okay, I get it. When I told that to my younger one at about the same age, he was terror stricken and started sobbing in uncontrollable fear and was physically shaking. It took a long time for him to calm down. The idea still scares him. So, I figure it just gets different reactions from different people.

  • kerner

    Grace @9:46 yesterday

    Because things are mentioned in a particular matter does not mean they must take place in that order. But if that were true we would still have to deal with Matthew 28:

    ” Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

    1. baptize
    2. teach
    3. saved (disciples)

  • Tom Hering

    Even on this blog, commentators have talked about a ‘separation from God’ … And so Christianity evolves, Tom. (John C @ 7:39 am, January 15)

    You mean many Christians have grown to be more loving than the Jesus they see in the Bible, and smarter in their understanding of eternity than He was?

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @ Grace (10:41 & 10:46pm) That would be the passage in Chapter two that cites Hosea 11:1 which makes it clear that the Son called out of Egypt is known as Israel and since this is cited in direct relation to Jesus it can only mean that Israel is Jesus.

    An unnamed dictionary reference – would this be The Dictionary according to Grace? Either way it is wrong.

  • tODD

    I think it’s pointless to engage Grace on this topic, since she’s shown a number of times that she’s not going to listen to whatever is being said.

    However, I will send a wry note in DLit2C’s (@11:40 am) direction, to note that if you look at a reputable dictionary, you’ll see that its editors are familiar with people who know how to read Romans 11. Like, say, Merriam-Webster:

    3: a people chosen by God

    Or, I don’t know, the Oxford English Dictionary:

    2. In fig. and allusive uses; esp. the chosen people of God, the elect: applied to the Christian church, or to true Christians collectively.

    Of course, appealing to the dictionary to explain a Bible passage is a collision of several logical errors, but whatever. And now Grace has sullied her “just my Bible and me” card by appealing to the works of men! Ah well.

    By the way, DLit2C, Grace was quoting from TheFreeDictionary.com, which uses The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition (copyright 2000) as its source.

    (PS: Yes, yes, “Poor tODD!” I know.)

  • tODD

    John C (@7:39 am) said:

    Even on this blog, commentators have talked about a ‘separation from God’ – an altogether different story to the one told by Billy Graham.

    Talk about missing the point! Or, rather, embodying it. You need to reread my comment (to which you refer, @2:09 pm). Here, I’ll point out the parts you missed:

    Hell will be separation from God, without chance for mercy, and that it will be agonizing, and eternally so. … Separation from God doesn’t sound so bad to the man who has rejected God, because he doesn’t realize that he is still in his time of grace. “Oh, is that all there is?” he might ask. But the other images make the reality a bit clearer. This isn’t a matter of moving down the street from God. No, this is agonizing like when your body is in pain. But without ceasing.

  • Bob

    Gracie has imbibed and swallowed whole the Calvary Chapel dispensationalism. Tipoff: “replacement theology,” one of the evil bogeymans of this type of rapture “theology,” if you can call it that.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @tODD (12:51 pm) I know it is pointless. I am going to blame the fever for lowering my ability to resist. I figured it was whatever dictionary that gave the answer Grace wanted, but thanks for the info.

  • sg

    It may be pointless to engage Grace on the topic, but it is not pointless to counter her errors because other readers who are not so committed to such an interpretation need to read reasoned refutations of the errors. That way they can understand why much of the end times teaching coming from some evangelicals is just an innovation that arose about 200 years ago. When we just complain about Grace, we neglect to make the case or we make it in a tone that is so off putting that some may not care to dig through to the beauty of the truth. So, those who do so well making the case, carry on. And those who can (tODD I am looking at you), but have got a bit annoyed with Grace, please come back to using your communication skills for the benefit of those readers who are not commenting but who are reasonable and willing to consider more traditional understanding of those passages. I would make the case if I could, but I am not as familiar with it because I never took any interest in end times theology.

  • SKPeterson

    sg – Here goes. Lather, rinse, repeat.

    Grace says that we Lutherans have a problem with Romans 11. We don’t. We have a problem with Grace isolating Romans 11 from Romans 9 and 10, and from the arguments laid out by Paul in Romans 1 – 8. Context, context, context! JESUS IS ALL OF ISRAEL REDUCED TO ONE, PERFECT SON. As Paul says, our lives as Christians is to be born into Christ’s death and resurrection. We are then literally born into the New Israel that is Jesus Christ. Here’s a more in-depth explication that isn’t too long:
    http://hopelbc.com/Israel%20reduced%20to%20One.pdf

    Jeffrey Meyers says this:

    In electing the Jews God had one purpose in mind–namely, the coming of the Messiah. Once the Messiah comes, descended from Abraham and David (Matt. 1 and Luke 3), then genealogical Israel’s purpose ends. Jesus is the final Israelite. He is Israel reduced to one. He is the elect Jewish Man. He is the remnant. When he hangs on the cross, everyone else has apostatized. He is the last and only faithfully Jew. And in him, then, the whole world is renewed. As Paul says over and over again in his letters, the only election that matters now is that which takes place “in Christ.” God’s election of Israel was indeed vindicated in the life, death, and resurrection of Joshua Messiah.

    If we take this seriously, then we must conclude that nothing else need happen concerning the modern-day Jews. Once Jesus died and rose again, the last generation of Jews that were in covenant with God by means of the old system were given an opportunity to repent and be incorporated into the Messiah’s body. This is what the ministry of Peter and Paul “to the Jew first” is all about. After that first-century offer, physical, cultural, and religious Judaism had no claim on or special place in God’s purposes for the world. The resurrected, ascended Lord Jesus, the ever-living Jew is the only Israelite that now matters.

    This means that are no more promises to ethnic, genealogical Israel for today. Unless, of course, you don’t exclude Jesus from those promises! He is the last, faithful living Israelite. And all the promises are “yes and amen in him” (2 Cor. 1:20). The man Jesus is Israel reduced to one and “in him” we are all beneficiaries of the promises.

    Further,

    In the new world, King Jesus, the true and faithful Israelite reigns from heaven. All who are united to him receive all of the promises made to the nation and people of Israel in the Old Testament (2 Cor. 1:20). There are no more Jews. There are no more Gentiles. This old distinction has disappeared. We live in a new world, a new creation (Gal. 6:14-15). There is only one Jew, and he is the inheritor of what was promised to Israel because he is the Greater Israel, the last true and faithful Israelite. Even if there are cultural and genealogical Jews that continue to perpetuate their “religion” after AD 70, the fact is irrelevant to the Christian faith.

    Christ has done away with the whole bi-polar division of humanity (Jew-Gentile) that was in force during the Old Covenant. This is all over the New Testament (1 Cor. 12:23; Gal. 3:28; Eph. 2:11-3:12; Phil. 3:2-11; Col. 3:11; 1 Thess. 2:14-16; etc.). The Israel/Gentile division has served its purpose and is now obsolete. To try to resurrect it or continue it is to deny that Jesus is the true and final Israelite. This is an important point. All the promises are “Yes and Amen” in Christ (2 Cor. 1:20). The Gospels indicate that he is the last faithful, bloodline, racial Israelite. He dies, rises again, and ascends into heaven to rule as Lord.

  • Grace

    Century @ 11:40 AM – writes: ” That would be the passage in Chapter two that cites Hosea 11:1 which makes it clear that the Son called out of Egypt is known as Israel and since this is cited in direct relation to Jesus it can only mean that Israel is Jesus.”

    Read on:

        The names, Israel and Israelites

    Below is the first time the name Israel is mentioned in God’s Word – it is to Jacob, who’s name is changed from Jacob to Israel.

    27 And he said unto him, What is your name? And he said, Jacob.

    28 And he said, Your name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince have you power with God and with men, and have prevailed.

        Jacob has seen the preincarnate Christ, the Angel of the LORD.

    29 And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray you, your name. And he said, Why is it that you do ask my name? And he blessed him there.

    30 And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.

    31 And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he limped upon his thigh.

    32 Therefore the children of Israel eat not of the sinew which shrank, which is upon the hollow of the thigh, unto this day: because he touched the hollow of Jacob’s thigh in the sinew that shrank.

    Genesis 32

    The first time the name Israelites is mentioned, is in Exodus 9:7, which is, as follows:

    4 And the LORD shall make distinction between the cattle of Israel and the cattle of Egypt: and there shall nothing die of all belonging to the children of Israel.

    5 And the LORD appointed a set time, saying, Tomorrow the LORD shall do this thing in the land.

    6 And the LORD did that thing the next day, and all the cattle of Egypt died: but of the cattle of the children of Israel not one died.

    7 And Pharaoh sent, and, behold, there was not one of the cattle of the Israelites dead. And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go. Exodus 9

        Israel Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary

      Yisra’el – yis-raw-ale’

      he will rule as God; Jisrael, a symbolical name of Jacob; also (typically) of his posterity: –Israel.

    12 And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

    13 And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and remain there until I bring you word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.

    14 When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:

    15 And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son. Matthew 2

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @Grace (4:25) Was there a point to your post? All I saw was a bunch of random quotes that prove nothing.

    PS – Strong’s is far from definitive or authoritative. In fact, it is pretty error filled.

  • Grace

    I am not a Lutheran as anyone who was on Veith’s blog previously knows. I do not believe in Replacement Theology.

    My beliefs were well in place before I began attending Calvary Church, which was somewhere about 12 years ago. We have attended other churches since then.

    I have made this clear on many occassions, but it still comes under the belly of those who cannot accept the fact that, there are lots of people who STUDY the Word of God on their own – not taking anyones word for for what they believe. I have disagreed with more than one or two pastors from churches I have attended. I think for myself, I study to understand Scripture, not what any one individual has deemed to be the belief, and in essence I should follow or sit under the tutelage or steel/lock’/step of their doctrines – that includes Calvin, Luther and the RCC –

    Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
    2 Timothy 2:15

  • Grace

    Century 2:34

    YOU WROTE: “Was there a point to your post? All I saw was a bunch of random quotes that prove nothing.
    PS – Strong’s is far from definitive or authoritative. In fact, it is pretty error filled.”

    I NEVER for one minute expected you to see the “point” – I hoped you might, but alas you do not.

    As for Strong’s Dictionary, of course you don’t approve of it – the reason is? – it doesn’t match up with Luther. Who would have ever thought? LOL

  • tODD

    All anyone has to do to refute Grace’s odd reading of Romans 11 is, as SK notes (@3:47 pm) to read Paul’s entire argument in context (specifically beginning in Romans 9, though by all means read the whole book):

    For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” In other words, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring.

    Read that, then go on to read to the end of chapter 11. If you still think Paul uses the term “Israel” to refer solely to the Jews, you’re not paying attention. At all.

    I mean, come on. “Not all who are descended from Israel are Israel.” Bit of a giveaway, isn’t it? “It is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring.” And then Paul quotes Hosea: “I will call them ‘my people’ who are not my people.” Honestly, he’s spelling it out here, multiple times.

    Here is what Paul has to say about the value of being an ethnic Jew:

    What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works.

    Clear enough yet? Apparently not, for Grace. So keep reading:

    For I can testify about them [the Israelites] that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

    So when we get to chapter 11, it’s pretty clear what Paul is talking about. Did God reject the Israelites? No, there is still a remnant among them that is saved, as Paul quoted Isaiah:

    Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea, only the remnant will be saved.

    Of course, as Paul notes, it is a remnant “chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works.”

    So we Gentiles are not to neglect our preaching among the Jewish people. Some will be saved, by grace. As Paul said, he hoped to “save some of them”.

    Grace rejects the notion that there are Christians in “Israel”, and yet Paul makes it clear that Gentile believers were “grafted in”. Ask yourself: into what? The context makes it clear. And Paul continues to remind his Gentile readers not to neglect preaching Jesus to the Jews: “And if they [unbelieving Jews] do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.”

    Then we come to the big sentence:

    Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, and in this way all Israel will be saved.

    Did you notice that? Paul said right there that there are Gentiles in “Israel”. Just as he previously explained with his grafting metaphor. It is in that in-grafted way that “all Israel will be saved”, with the unbelieving branches broken off, and the believing (Gentile) branches grafted in. Is this “supercessionism”? No, because all along, there were believing branches that were not broken off.

    God’s promises were always to those who believed by faith, not to physical descendents, as Paul says time and again, starting with Abraham (who, remember, God called before he was a covenental Jew).

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @Grace (5:04) First, you have to have a point and that post was pretty pointless. It was nothing more than a seemingly random set of verses grabbed from a concordance. So, I would have to say your hope was unfounded, not because of me but because of your lack of a point.

    Second, my dislike for Strong’s has nothing to do with it matching up with Luther. It has everything to do with it being academically lax. I like Liddell-Scott and other Lexicons not because they agree with Luther but because they are well researched and they show it. Lastly it has little to do with personal preference but with objective reality and objectively speaking Strong’s is weak simply because its initial premise was the study of how the translators of the KJV translated certain words.

  • tODD

    Grace (@4:59), I know you’re really proud of your ability to “think for [your]self”, but it’s apparently escaped your notice that you sound an awful lot like a whole bunch of other American Evangelicals out there. Coincidence, I suppose. Or so you’d have it.

    You also seem not to notice that dictionaries — notably, Strong’s, which you quote quite regularly — are also written by men, and, as such, capable of their own agendas. But your precious Strong’s, and a few other men you like to quote, always gets a pass from you.

  • Grace

        God’s Everlasting Covenant with Israel, the Jews

    21 And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land:

    22 And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all:

    23 Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God.
    24 And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them.

    25 And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever.

    26 Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore.

    27 My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

    28 And the heathen shall know that I the LORD do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore. Ezekiel 37

        “everlasting covenant”

        “set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore.”

        “my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.”

    This is God’s Covenant with Israel for “evermore” and “everlasting”- They are His chosen people!

     

  • fjsteve

    Hell: my least favorite subject. If we do teach on it, shouldn’t we be teaching that it is a place we are saved from as opposed to a place unbelievers will be headed? I mean, call it splitting hairs but, growing up Southern Baptists, I can tell you that I would have much preferred the former. It might have also spared many people, including those in my own family, many years of despair. I’m sorry if it sounds sacrilegious but the thought of my brother going to hell isn’t entirely Good News.

  • fjsteve

    not bold

  • Grace

    POOR POOR tODD

    “You also seem not to notice that dictionaries — notably, Strong’s, which you quote quite regularly — are also written by men, and, as such, capable of their own agendas. But your precious Strong’s, and a few other men you like to quote, always gets a pass from you.”

    “Agendas” – a “pass” – and what of yours concerning Luther’? :roll:

    Complaining once again because I don’t agree with him, or Luther’s doctrine -

  • WebMonk

    Trying to end this bleeping “bold” type.

  • WebMonk

    Oh shoot. Nothing going.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @ Grace (5:59) And that everlasting covenant is fulfilled by God grafting in new descendents of Abraham. In other words, the church the people united in the Covenant established in Jesus blood is the fulfillment of this promise.

  • tODD

    As usual, Grace (@5:59 pm), you’re ignoring what I have written — unable or unwilling to respond to it, even though it’s directly in response to what you said earlier — and moving on to throw other bits of pasted-in text at us. Fine. For SG’s sake, I will reply to this new tactic of yours, even though your reply is very predictable.

    Guess what? If you think Ezekiel 37 is about “the Jews”, you’re pretty close to denying Jesus outright.

    They will no longer defile themselves with their idols and vile images or with any of their offenses, for I will save them from all their sinful backsliding, and I will cleanse them. They will be my people, and I will be their God. … They will follow my laws and be careful to keep my decrees.

    Yeah, that certainly does not describe anyone who rejects Jesus as their Savior. So it has nothing to do with those who are Jews according to their ancestry. Jews who reject Jesus are still defiled, they are not saved from their sins, because they reject the One who paid for them. Therefore, they are unable to “keep [his] decrees”.

    Honestly, how do you not see that this is talking about Jesus?

    My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd. … David my servant will be their prince forever.

    Don’t you think the “forever” bit is a bit of a giveaway? He’s not talking about David the man, but rather the God who became a man of the line of David, who is King Over All.

    I mean, come on! “I will put my sanctuary among them forever.” Revelation 21, anyone?

    Honestly, this is a prophecy about God calling his people — that is to say, his Elect — and their Messiah saving them and their being with him in heaven for eternity.

    Kind of hard to believe a Christian would miss that.

  • Paul Reed

    @SG

    Some of the left will tell you that teaching your kids about hell is child abuse.

  • Paul Reed

    @fjsteve

    I don’t get it. You want people to lie to you? And what the billions already dead in unsaved nations? That includes Israel and unconverted Jews. Should we cry for them? Your only options are accepting the truth, accepting universalism, or just becoming an atheist.

  • Grace

    Juvenile middle school tactics when all else fails. You no more know how I would respond to anyone than you can contain your enthusiasm for dissention.

    My post @ 8:59PM last night – with the vast majority being Ezekiel 37, is straight from the Bible.

    Your rendition of Ezekiel is pathetic, but it fits a sturdy Lutheranistic viewpoint, discounting the children of Israel, Jacob’s name being changed to “Israel” to name just a few – but most of all, believing that the church has replaced the children of Israel (Replacement Theology) –

    Romans 11:11 should never be overlooked:

        I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come to the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.

    There are many a Gentile who is jealous of the Israelites/Jews it has always been so. There have been wars to rid the land of them, but there they are, living in Israel, that tiny little place, that they were promised, many of them back in their own land now.

    That’s what happens when you study books, that are written by a man, rather than the Word of God, which is inerrant, inspired by the HOLY Spirit – you become CONFUSED.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Grace, you do realize the them that is being provoked to jealousy are the Jews? I have everything in Christ why would I be jealous of anybody?

  • tODD

    Grace said (@11:02 pm):

    Juvenile middle school tactics when all else fails. … your enthusiasm for dissention.

    Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, herself or someone else?

    My post @ 8:59PM last night – with the vast majority being Ezekiel 37, is straight from the Bible.

    Congratulations. And I have quoted extensively from Scripture myself. What seems to escape you is that we’re not disagreeing on whether it’s a good idea to read the Bible. We’re disagreeing on the meaning of the words of the Bible. You seem to think you’re unique in reading the Bible. Which is why you so often just slap up some passages and think that your case is made, without explaining anything.

    Your rendition of Ezekiel is pathetic, but it fits a sturdy Lutheranistic viewpoint, discounting the children of Israel, Jacob’s name being changed to “Israel” to name just a few – but most of all, believing that the church has replaced the children of Israel

    That’s mainly just a collection of sentence fragments, of course, but still, who’s “discounting the children of Israel”? I’m only saying what Paul says in Romans. Which, you’ll notice, is something you have yet to grapple with. Repeat it with me, Grace: “not all who are descended from Israel are Israel”. “Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children.” “It is not the natural children who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring.” You have in no way dealt with these verses (much less the whole of Romans 9-11) in your theology.

    And as to “believing that the church has replaced the children of Israel”, that’s a straw man. Read Romans 9-11, Grace! The “children of the promise” applies to those Israelites who believed, as well as Christians. It does not apply to Jews who reject Jesus as their Savior!

    Even if you’ve convinced yourself that you’re completely free of the influence of man, you’ve managed to swallow wholesale some pretty lousy theology regarding the modern-day state of Israel, which theology is common to many an American Evangelical. So you thrash about and lob words like “pathetic”, and — your old standby — accuse people of “jealousy”. But you don’t grapple with the words of Scripture we point you to. … So, how’s that working for ya?

  • John C

    Todd, you ‘think’, you ‘guess’ and it is your’ impression ’that the lake of fire is a metaphor for the eternal anguish brought about by man’s separation from God. Your ruminations on hell are just that – ruminations. They are hardly facts.
    But your position does beg the question: why does a loving God condemn a large part of humanity to eternal damnation?

  • Tom Hering

    John C (@ 7:15 am, January 16), perhaps you’ve heard some of the following things. That the heart of man is exceedingly wicked, and all have sinned. That God became a man, suffered and died in everyone’s place, and redeemed the whole world. That salvation is freely offered to everyone, without exception, but many men don’t believe it. So, rejecting the free gift, and preferring their sinfulness – despite all the harm it does to their fellow men – they’re left with the only other eternal state: Hell.

    You seem to be concerned about the justice or injustice of it all. That’s good. So is God. But He goes farther with men, every one of whom causes their fellow man pain and suffering of some sort. He forgives them, completely, asking nothing in return.

    So, the correct question to ask is: why does a large part of humanity condemn itself, when there’s a loving God who has freely forgiven them, and who doesn’t desire that any should perish, but that all should believe and come to repentance? Why?

  • TE Schroeder

    John C (@ 715 Am, Jan 16) asked, “why does a loving God condemn a large part of humanity to eternal damnation?”
    Not to pile on what Tom had said, but I will approach this from a little different angle. You seem to think that the problem of hell and damnation lies with God. As if God were going to do something that is not fair or just. Well, what would happen if we demand that God be fair and give everyone what he deserves? What would be fair???? (Hint: There is no one who does good, not even one. All have sinned. The wages of sin is death. etc……)
    It is not that God is fair. It is that God is merciful and gracious, demonstrated by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus who takes the sin, guilt, and punishment of the world. Sadly, mots of the world still hates God and thinks he has a problem being fair.

  • kerner

    Grace:

    You keep saying that the jews are God’s chosen people, but in the New Testament I just don’t see what ethnic Jews have been chosen for. Let me put it this way:

    What does a believing (saved, Christian) ethnic Jew get that a believing ethnic non-Jew doesn’t get? How are their respective relationships with God different?

    Conversely, what does a non-believing (unsaved non-Christian) ethnic Jew get that is different from what a non-believing ethnic non-Jews get? Don’t both kinds of non-believers go to the same Hell? What is the point of being “chosen” if you aren’t saved?

  • kerner

    And if you are saved, what is the point of being “chosen”?

    But now that I think about it, the Bible teaches that to be saved, a person has to be chosen. So aren’t being saved and being chosen the same thing?

  • sg

    I would like to thank those who contributed to clarifying the position on Jews/Israel. It will give me a clearer way of expressing to friends (under less contentious circumstances) a correct understanding of this teaching. Thanks for the verses cited and explanations. For people who have grown up hearing this odd teaching on Israel from their leaders, it is easy for them to just follow along quite innocently/ignorantly and even to pass it on when their own kids ask. When they haven’t made a study of it, and they and been incorrectly taught, naturally, they end up perpetuating it. Some who feel that their religious beliefs are relentlessly attacked can manifest an angry response to any challenge or discussion of any theological topic, including this one, even by fellow Christians. So, thanks for making the case clearly and directly.

  • sg

    Excellent point, thanks!

  • tODD

    John C (@7:15 am) asked:

    why does a loving God condemn a large part of humanity to eternal damnation?

    Well, let’s start with your premise: on what basis do you say that God is loving?

    (Also, that’s not what “beg the question” means, FWIW.)

  • Grace

    21st Century @ 5:20 PM

    “First, you have to have a point and that post was pretty pointless. It was nothing more than a seemingly random set of verses grabbed from a concordance.

    The passages of Scripture I post are from the Bible, they aren’t from a “concordance” – that might be your way of studying the Bible, (probably it is, that’s why you would think others would do the same) but it isn’t mine. I understand your need to study the B of C but that isn’t how I study the Word of God. “Concordance” ? You really don’t know what your talking about!

    “Second, my dislike for Strong’s has nothing to do with it matching up with Luther. It has everything to do with it being academically lax. I like Liddell-Scott and other Lexicons not because they agree with Luther but because they are well researched and they show it”

    It has everything to do with Luther,IF it matches his theology, it matches yours. You’re a Lutherite, you study Luther, that’s why your doctrine doesn’t match the Bible. Luther made up his own theology, even to the extent of disliking many of the books of the Bible, and persecuting the Jews because they didn’t believe. Christ didn’t persecute anyone, HE told us to love everyone. Luther didn’t follow that doctrine at all.

  • Grace

    Kerner 10:05 AM

    “You keep saying that the jews are God’s chosen people, but in the New Testament I just don’t see what ethnic Jews have been chosen for.

    To begin with, all of Jesus Christ’s Apostles were Jews, they were not Gentiles. They were chosen for HIS Apostles.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Way to not address anything, Grace. I am going to assume that since you are completely hung up on side issues you are conceding that you cannot defend your theological opinions.

  • Tom Hering

    Are you actually confusing concordances and the Book of Concord??

  • Grace

    21st Century @ 2:11 PM

    “I am going to assume that since you are completely hung up on side issues you are conceding that you cannot defend your theological opinions.”

    Your accusation was no side issue. Now that you cannot defend the snide, unfounded statement you made against me, you are going to “ASSUME” whatever will save your ego, should be used as the ISSUE for REASON. Your defense is bogus, you shouldn’t have accused me in the first place.

  • SKPeterson

    Grace @1:45 – The point DLit21C was making was that it appears you did a word search from a concordance (which is an alphabetical index of the principal words of a book, with a reference to the passage in which each occurs.) There is nothing wrong with that, except that that is all it is – a listing of passages about a topic, which is what you posted. However, the point is that what you have provided is nothing more than a list; valuable to be sure, but it doesn’t provide insight into what precisely is meant by the words in the passage. This is why there are often Greek and Latin translations (i.e. lexicons) that accompany the text. In some cases, we can even see different translations (KJV, NASB, ESV, etc) of those passages. Believe it or not, but that is a very common way of studying the Bible. It is the method most often used by men who have the authority and call to be doctors of the Church, pastors and theologians. Understand?

    Please explicate your final paragraph. You have made a bald -faced accusation that Lutherans are heretics whose doctrine is outside acceptable Christian parameters. Perhaps, perhaps, if you were arguing from the position of Rome or Constantinople I could understand your point, though still disagree. However, you are arguing from a watered down, bastardized and hybridized Anabaptist Calvinism. An amalgamation of so many errors that the onus should actually be upon you to justify your own positions in regard to the doctrines of the Church.

    But, to that end, define how and where exactly Lutheran doctrine, and not your poor caricatures of and canards regarding it, does not accord with the clear teachings of Scripture. Explain how Luther and the other Lutheran theologians got Ambrose, Augustine, Basil, Gregory Nazianzus, Gregory of Nyssa, Chrysostom and other early Fathers of the Church wrong. Or were all of those guys way off base too? Are you saying that their Christology is wrong, their concept of original sin is wrong, that the doctrinal foundations of the Church established by these men is somehow offbase and unbiblical? If so, how and where? We can engage in these discussions with the Romans and the Orthodox. We can clearly define the broad areas where we have agreement, and highlight those areas where we have significant and substantial differences of opinion on how words are used and what those words mean for both doctrine and praxis. We can engage each other at a doxastic level, because we can understand each other at a doxological level.

    We cannot understand you, because you never explain what it is that you believe clearly. You have no confession, you have no history of doctrine, you have no person who’s writings you hold out as authoritative or informative for your understanding of Scripture. Theologically, you are a strident chameleon, a will o’ the wisp insisting on their substance. In the end, dear Grace, there is no there there in your complaints against Luther, Lutheranism, and even finally, in the assertions of your own theology.

  • tODD

    So you can see, SG (@10:57 pm), why pursuing this sort of conversation with Grace is pointless. Look, if you want someone (including me) to explain something, just ask them to explain it to you.

    But as for Grace (@1:45 pm), she’s done her very typical thing of retreating into her repeated claim that she’s all about Scripture alone, even as she completely fails to address the passages of Scripture that are pointed out to her. She rails against Lutherans in a true ad hominem style, unable to rebut their points — even if they are made straight out of the Bible — but certain that they are wrong merely because they are made by Lutherans.

    And that’s what this boils down to. There’s what the Bible actually says (notably, Romans 9-10, read in conjunction with chapter 11), and then there’s Grace claim that she reads the Bible.

    Does the Bible that Grace reads contain Romans 9:6-8 in it? We’ll never know, because Grace refuses to address that passage. (Much as she, in past discussions, wholly refused to believe the plain words of Jesus in John 20:23, among others.) So you see of what value her “I only read the Bible and you don’t” claims are.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Even if you didn’t use a concordance, you still posted verses apparently at random with no explanation as to why you thought they were relevant. And you still haven’t addressed why you thought they were relevant, instead focusing on a side issue. Focusing on side issues the way you are doing is the classic sign a person knows their position is indefensible but is unwilling to concede they are wrong.

  • Grace

    SKPeterson @ 2:21PM

    “The point DLit21C was making was that it appears you did a word search from a concordance (which is an alphabetical index of the principal words of a book, with a reference to the passage in which each occurs.) There is nothing wrong with that, except that that is all it is – a listing of passages about a topic, which is what you posted.”

    I know what a “concordance” is, no explanation necessary SKP, along with your explanation. LOL

    The point which you and Century don’t understand, or refuse to believe is (along with others); there are many people here on earth who study the Bible, they don’t rely on a concordance, commentaries, or other books. They may read them on occasion, but they don’t in many cases, stand up to the Word of God. After all, these are written by men, they aren’t the inerrant, Word of God. Hence the passage below, which is mostly ignored, rather choosing to let others study for them (either past or present) leaving them to depend on what they hear, rather than what they have studied for themselves.

    15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
    16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
    2 Timothy 2

    I do my own research from the Bible. It takes hours, of which I’m grateful to have, spending time in study.

    ” In some cases, we can even see different translations (KJV, NASB, ESV, etc) of those passages. Believe it or not, but that is a very common way of studying the Bible. It is the method most often used by men who have the authority and call to be doctors of the Church, pastors and theologians. Understand? “

    Believe it or not, I do the same thing, using more translations than you’ve listed. Those who are not pastors, etc., do the very same thing. We are all called to study the Bible, not just a few, but all of us who are Christian Believers.

    There are many false religions today – there were in the past as well. If we as Christians don’t study the Bible but depend on a few church leaders, pastors, etc., and those from the PAST, we are missing the mark. We can see clearly that many innocents have been led astray, by BLINDLY believing what they hear, even from their own pastors. I don’t need to make the list of all denominations who have SPLITS the size of large lakes, between false teaching and the Gospel. If congregants would begin to study for themselves, they might awake from the sleep their in, within the churches today.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    I completely missed she did that, wow. /facepalm

  • tODD

    It’s amazing, Grace (@3:19 pm) how much time here you can spend praising your own ability to read the Bible, and yet how very little time you spend addressing arguments made straight from Bible passages.

    Why don’t you let us know the next time you come across Romans 9 and 10 in your studies, and then maybe we can continue this discussion that you started, hmm?

    But I understand if you’re too busy studying the Bible to be able to reply to Paul’s points from Romans 9-10.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Don’t forget the obvious Christological references in Ezekiel 37.

  • tODD

    Dlit2C (@3:38 pm), of course, but I already pointed those out to her (yesterday @7:32 pm). And, in true Grace style, she had nothing to say in her own defense except to accuse my explanation of being “pathetic”. Not exactly an argument from Scripture, for someone who supposedly reads it so much and isn’t at all influenced by the ideas of man.

    Also, I really have to ask you not to use the Reply button. In addition to the problems it creates with finding new comments, I noticed the other day that the mobile version of this site does not display nested comments. It just lists them all in chronological order. So what appears to you to be an obvious reply (due to formatting) isn’t so obvious when reading the site on a phone.

  • fjsteve

    Paul Reed # 10:11pm:

    I don’t get it. You want people to lie to you? And what the billions already dead in unsaved nations? That includes Israel and unconverted Jews. Should we cry for them? Your only options are accepting the truth, accepting universalism, or just becoming an atheist.

    I don’t want to be lied to nor do I want to lie to anyone else. Rather, unless we know where non-professing Christians are going after they die, shouldn’t our emphasis be on where we do know that we are going and, more importantly, why we are going there? As to your other question, if you truly believe in hell, doesn’t the thought of billions of people suffering eternally make you want to cry? What about those in your own family? I may not be convinced about universalism but I can tell you I truly don’t believe its wrong or even unorthodox to pray for it.

  • Grace

    fjsteve @ 3:53 YOU WROTE: : “As to your other question, if you truly believe in hell, doesn’t the thought of billions of people suffering eternally make you want to cry? What about those in your own family?

    You didn’t ask me the question, but I would like to answer:

    To think that some of my loved ones (family), have or are going to hell, does make me want to cry. That’s why I pray for them all the time. It’s a serious subject, one that very few people take seriously, however, I can see you do, and so do I. Thank God, there will be no tears in heaven.

    God bless you

  • SKPeterson

    Better, Grace, much better. We now know that you are working through various translations and languages of the Bible. I will not fault you there in the least; it is commendable.

    Still – consider yourself open for berating when you offer only a list of passages from Scripture. Let us know what you think they mean and how you think they apply particularly to the situation at hand. You are identifying them as relevant. Why? In what context? What about the passages do you think makes them relevant to provide insight to the topic at hand?

    Then, further, are there others that have agreed with you regarding the applicability of the passages to the issue? Who are they? What did they say? Was their statement part of a larger theological whole? That sort of information and discussion would be of value, even if and when we would disagree. It at least provides a coherent frame of reference in which to place your assertions.

    As I’ve said before, you do follow this type of framing when the topic at hand is a matter of cultural, social or public policy, but you seem to be often reticent when the topic is theological/biblical/philosophical. So, cite the Bible at will, just please let us know why you have chosen those passages and why you think they are applicable. State your case clearly is all we ask.

  • Grace

    SKP @ 421

    “Let us know what you think they mean and how you think they apply particularly to the situation at hand. You are identifying them as relevant. Why? In what context? What about the passages do you think makes them relevant to provide insight to the topic at hand?”

    This is your list, taken from above.
    1. Let us know what you think they mean and how you think they apply particularly to the situation at hand.
    2. You are identifying them as relevant. Why?
    3. In what context?
    4. What about the passages do you think makes them relevant to provide insight to the topic at hand?

    I will continue to comment, using Scripture as I believe necessary, along with my thoughts, having no intention upon following your rule guide !

    ” So, cite the Bible at will, just please let us know why you have chosen those passages and why you think they are applicable. State your case clearly is all we ask.”

    Your rules – My response:
    1. So, cite the Bible at will, just please let us know why you have chosen those passages and why you think they are applicable.

    – - – I will continue to cite Scripture as needed. The application is not so difficult to understand IF you read the text.

    2. State your case clearly is all we ask.

    – - I have many times in the past, stated clearly, going into detail, and on occasion I still do, but it often erupts into a disagreeable discussion, using my church as a whipping post. For that reason, when you and others stop telling me what I believe, and why, making a mockery of my beliefs, I MIGHT consider your requests, until then I will answer as I choose, just as you do!

  • fjsteve

    Grace @4:14: Thanks. Maybe people don’t take is seriously but I can’t imagine a Christian wouldn’t. In my estimation, if someone isn’t struggling with hell then they’re just not thinking about it. On the other hand, maybe that’s just my hangup.

  • tODD

    And, of course, now Grace (@5:10 pm) has completed the transition to another topic — namely, how she does not in any way care what other people think when she is having a conversation with them.

    Whatever it takes to avoid Romans 9-10, eh, Grace?

    Oh, and speaking of hypocrisy:

    …it often erupts into a disagreeable discussion, using my church as a whipping post. For that reason, when you and others stop telling me what I believe, and why, making a mockery of my beliefs…

    Are you self-aware at all?

  • Grace

    fssteve 2 5:24

    “In my estimation, if someone isn’t struggling with hell then they’re just not thinking about it. On the other hand, maybe that’s just my hangup.”

    It is a struggle to think about hell, and those I’ve loved sho might be there, or, IF they don’t believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior, they are lost. Don’t think for one minute that it’s just your “hangup” it a sore pain within the hearts of believers, just like you and me – we aren’t alone. I cry out to the LORD all the time, for those who have turned their back on Christ.

    You must have a big heart for the lost Steve. I wish more people understood the results of sin, rather then dismissing them.

  • tODD

    Well I guess I’ve figured out a way to get Grace to stop ranting about something over and over, at least in a particular thread: call her on it.

    Seriously, this is a woman who not only wrote several comments on this thread exhorting us to read Romans 11 (January 14 at 8:58 pm; January 14 at 10:03 pm; January 15 at 11:02 pm), but has in fact written similar comments on numerous other threads [1][2][3][4][5].

    And yet, all I had to do was ask her to consider Romans 9 and 10, and now she can’t be bothered to engage in the conversation which she herself has made her own personal issue on this blog.

    Now she just wants to talk about how much she reads the Bible. She even (shock!) wants to engage in the original topic of this post.

    [1] Four comments from her here: patheos.com/blogs/geneveith/2011/09/what-would-a-theocracy-look-like/#comment-57983
    [2] Two comments from her here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/geneveith/2012/09/a-powder-keg/#comment-28060
    [3] One comment from her here: patheos.com/blogs/geneveith/2012/10/a-new-name-for-god/#comment-26257
    [4] One comment from her here: patheos.com/blogs/geneveith/2012/09/democrats-fight-over-god/#comment-231962
    [5] One comment from her here: patheos.com/blogs/geneveith/2012/08/what-is-a-lutheran/#comment-30821

  • Kempin04

    tODD, 3:36,

    “It’s amazing, Grace . .. ”

    Ha!

  • John C

    Tom
    Jan16, 2013, 8.09am
    Why does a large part of humanity condemn itself?
    Well Tom, if one rejects the doctrine of original sin, this in turn raises questions about the existence and nature of hell. To remain a Christian one has to come to a new understanding of the Christ story.
    I also think the Bible does not fully reveal God’s intent or the mysteries of Christ’s presence in the world.
    I would also add that the entry of rightwing Christians into the political domain and their response to modernity has tarnished Christianity.
    One’s faith is not always determined by religious doctrine.

  • Tom Hering

    John C (@ 7:05 am), you’ve just outlined the religious doctrines that determine your faith. (1.) No original sin. (2.) No hell. (3.) Spirituality depends on novel or personal interpretation. (4.) John C is smarter than God’s Word.

  • SKPeterson

    John C – You may very well be right about the Bible in that it doesn’t necessarily fully reveal God’s intent or the mysteries of Christ’s presence in the world. So what? Does that mean we ignore what has been revealed in the Bible? Are we to speculate and follow our own musings about what we think God’s unrevealed intent might be at the expense of throwing out what He has revealed his intent is? Speculation is fine in and of itself, but it is bound and normed by what has been revealed. The Bible reveals Hell, it reveals that not all who say “Lord, lord” will be saved, it says that through one man all have sinned, it says that all have sinned and fallen short, it says that the wages of sin are death, that the justice of God demands our punishment, that Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Trinity, came into the world to take the sin of the world on Himself, and that through faith in this promise some might be saved, some captives released, some remnant will remain. The fact is this – Hell is the natural destination of all mankind. We willingly and lovingly embrace it and call it good. God in His mercy though, has revealed to us that Hell is not such a great place, and that He has a much better place in mind. Trust Him and He will show you the Way. Simple really – believe and trust in the promises of God in the same way that the infant believes and trusts in their parents for food, shelter and comfort without so much as being able to articulate or even know what those things are.


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