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« The "Spirit" of a Service | Main | The Cry for Holiness »

May 02, 2005


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There's a progression here. First the "contemporary" churches stopped talking about sin and repentance. Second, since there was no more need for talking about sin and repentance, Hell became superfluous. What next?

Sorry, but Brian's "generous" orthodoxy is a gutting of the truth.

That is for sure.... I thought the latest heresy in the church was demon posession of believers. But this idea of ridding the church of hell seems like the newest heresy. Luke 13:5 "I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish(in hell)." Even though this is politically incorrect, Jesus was "that kind of guy". Another politically incorrect verse... 1 Corinthians 1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

Sounds like this book is a bunch of foolishness.

Steve, maybe you should read the book (maybe you're already planning to).

When it comes to hell, my "hunch" is that violence to the gospel has occurred on at least two fronts: by those who consider hell politically incorrect and have conveniently omitted it from the conversation; and those who have used hell to threaten people into the kingdom.

McLaren is simply attempting to open up the conversation, not give a theological treatise. We modern evangelicals have been quick to admit our concepts on hell have been shaped by Milton and others, but generally do precious little to articulate a more theologically accurate understanding.

Dan, perhaps here too is a topic that is calling for the likes of Schaeffer (something you pointed out in the "What the Bleep" post).

Jesus used the concept of hell many times when He talked to people. He was not afraid of the concept of sin (gasp) and that it would lead to eternity in hell.
The concept of sin and eternity in hell is a fact or Jesus would not have had to die on the cross. Now he communicated that in love, but was adamant about it. I'm sorry, but we all have a death penalty to be served in hell. Unless that is communicated to those that are "perishing", they will have no reason to repent. Sin is relative and they will consider themselves to be "good people". But as it says in James 2.... if you keep the whole law and stumble at one point, you are guilty of breaking all of it. Thus incurring a death penalty in hell.

We don't threaten people into the kingdom, the Holy Spirit does. We need to communicate the reality of hell, but do it in love. Why wouldn't we say something when we have the cure to an eternal death penalty in hell? All this warm fuzzy political correct garbage is killing the church today. Tell people the truth in love and let God go from there

I am almost done with the book and have already given one to a friend who currently doesn't attend a church. We have talked about many different spiritual issues besides hell, and they aren't even done with the first chapter.

Sure, Jesus talked about hell quite a bit. That doesn't necessarily mean that he referred to it the same that we do today. Perhaps he wasn't referring to a literal, physical place of eternal torment?

"The concept of sin and eternity in hell is a fact or Jesus would not have had to die on the cross." I think this is one major reason we need to rethink our current concepts of the atonement. I totally disagree that this is the only reason that Jesus died, and we don't find it explained this way in the Scriptures.

"There's a progression here". Why is that bad? There has also been a progression to not look at the earth as being flat, that slavery isn't ok and neither were the crusades. Maybe we are wrong about hell as well.

I am really looking forward to the conversation here this week and next.

Mark 9.... And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where " 'their worm does not die,and the fire is not quenched.' Everyone will be salted with fire.

If you do not heed the words of Jesus, then you are making Him into an idol of your own making. You will be guilty of breaking His commandments. All of this relative wishy washy warm fuzzy nonsense is the reason the church is dying. Mainstream churches preach this stuff and no one goes anymore. They become irrelevant. It may make you feel better(the mantra of the left) for a while, but according to God's Word, you will feel good just for a short while until you earn what you deserve...eternity in hell. If you don't believe in hell, then Christ's sacrifice was nice, but not really necessary because it really doesn't matter anyway. What a bunch of hogwash.

May I remind whoever is presenting this nonsense. Paul confronted those who were perverting the gospel to make it "relevant" to the people of the day, and he had a thing to say about it. He said they they were to be ETERNALLY CONDEMMED. Sounds like an eternal thing to me. Or I guess, you can waffle around that too.

The Scripture, if you care, is Galatians 1:6-9....... I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—
7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.

8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!

9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, LET HIM BE ETERNALLY CONDEMMED!

oops, in all my excitement, I spelled condemned wrong.
How about something else from Our Lord Jesus Christ....
Concering Lazarus and the rich man..
Luke 16:23-24 In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in AGONY IN THIS FIRE.
And of course verse 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.
Pretty clear to us who are followers of Christ. Not pretty, but this is why we must have a heart broken for the lost. If you don't have a broken heart for the lost, then maybe this heresy of no eternal torment can make you feel better.

Steve -
There was likely fire on both sides of that chasm. See my post on "The Fires of Heaven."

- Chris

Steve, I don't understand why my faith in Christ is any less real if I don't interpret Luke 16 literally but as a parable.

Just a parable. hmmmmm.
Jesus used word pictures(parables) to describe the reality of something that would be hard to explain otherwise. You interpret scripture by scripture and there are tons of references that Jesus used to describe "eternal torment in hell". If you choose to not believe that, then so be it. I would, however, wonder about other scripture that you "choose" to believe. If you don't subscribe to the "whole counsel of God" and cherry pick your scripture, or even dismiss that which you don't like, then your faith must be in question. Do you have saving faith? Have you tested your faith in the light of scripture? Do you understand that your sin has earned you an eternity in hell? See Romans 6:23
Have you given Jesus your old sinful life and taken on His righteousness? Do you really believe he rose from the dead, and have you recieved Him and His gift of eternity with Him in heaven? Hope so, as your eternal destiny is at stake, and your soul is very precious to God. Please don't be wishy washy on this and let satan blind you with the idea that there is no hell, and if there is, maybe it isn't so bad. Just what he wants.

One more comment for today.... As far as the earlier post..........
"The concept of sin and eternity in hell is a fact or Jesus would not have had to die on the cross." I think this is one major reason we need to rethink our current concepts of the atonement. I totally disagree that this is the only reason that Jesus died, and we don't find it explained this way in the Scriptures.

What? A death penalty had to be paid for our sins. Only someone that was perfect, so He did not have to die for his own sins. God's perfect justice was satisfied in Jesus sacrifice on the cross. If you don't understand that, then you are not getting or probably even read scripture. Jesus took that penalty on the cross and defeated death and overcame sin through His resurrection. That is the message of the cross, the hinge point of history.
Jesus said in John 12 Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour.
The reality of hell was sure there for our Lord, or He would have not gone through such a terrible death.

Even Paul said that his only message was Jesus and Him crucified. Not very politically correct nowadays, or probably then either.

I've been communicating with some folks who do not believe in hell or the separation of the righteous from the unrighteous. They think that Paul does not talk about hell at all.

But how can they possibly miss this:

This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering-- since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.
(2 Thessalonians 1:5-10 ESV - Emphasis added)

Let's see:
1. Punishment for those who are anti-Christ (or do not know Him)
2. Eternal destruction (or like Jesus said in Mark 9, "where their worm does not die,and the fire is not quenched.")
3. Eternal separation from God

If those are not hell, then what is?

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