Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell: In This Life

Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell: In This Life

In Francis Chan’s book, Erasing Hell, in response to Bell’s commentary about the “open gates” in Revelation, Chan says that he would “love to believe” the open-gate theory, but can’t for three reasons.  Chan writes,

First, Revelation 20 and 21 have already described the “lake of fire” as the final destiny of those who don’t follow Jesus in this life.  There’s nothing in Revelation that suggests there’s hope on the other side of the lake. Second, there’s nothing in the text that says the lake of fire is intended to purify the wicked.  […]  And third, even after the open-gates passage of 21:24-26, John goes on to depict two different destinies for believers and unbelievers.

I addressed the first objection in the blog, Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell: Sin Wins, and I addressed the second objection in the blog, Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell: English versus Greek.  Today, I will address the third objection, “…even after the open-gates passage of 21:24-26, John goes on to depict two different destinies for believers and unbelievers.”

Chan first quotes Revelation 22:14-15 and then goes on to explain,

This passage says that there will be an ongoing separation between believers and unbelievers.  What determines their destinies is whether or not they “wash[ed] their robes;” in other words, whether or not their sin has been dealt with through the blood of Jesus *in this life (see Rev. 7:14).  I think it’s a stretch to suggest that unbelievers can wash their robes while in the lake of fire and then enter the gates.

[*Emphasis is not mine.]

 The first problem I notice with Chan’s conclusions is the idea that Revelation 22:14-15 indicates an ongoing separation.  Let’s read the passage:

Happy are those doing His commands that the authority shall be theirs unto the tree of the life, and by the gates they may enter into the city; and without [are] the dogs, and the sorcerers, and the whoremongers, and the murderers, and the idolaters, and every one who is loving and is doing a lie.

Notice that the text does indicate a separation, but it does not say anything about an ongoing separation.  It simply states, if this, then that (cause and effect) – there’s the happy group, and if they are doing His commands, then they will be given the authority to access the tree of life and enter into the city, and there’s the other (bad) group, and if they are loving and doing a lie, then they will not be given the privileges of the first group.  That’s it.  It doesn’t say anything at all about “if this, then that” being a permanent situation.  The actions of the people, the verbs “are doing” and “is loving” and “is doing”, are present tense.  God’s response to the good actions, the verbs “shall be” and “may enter”, are future tense.  This contrast between present action and future reward further emphasizes the idea of cause and effect in this passage.

If the separation is ongoing, as Chan asserts, then there is absolutely no point to this text.  If everyone’s “eternal destiny” is solidified upon the moment of earthly death, then there is no longer a possibility of “if this, then that”, no change, no cause and effect.  Think about it.  According to the fundamentalist mindset, a decision to believe the truth or to believe a lie makes or breaks one’s salvation, irrevocably, once one’s heart stops.  If everyone who is “saved” goes directly and irrevocably to Heaven, and everyone who is “not saved” goes directly and irrevocably to Hell (and/or the lake of fire), then shouldn’t the passage say, “Happy are those who did His commands in earthly life that the authority is already theirs unto the tree of the life, and by the gates they have already entered into the city; and without [are] the dogs, and the sorcerers, and the whoremongers, and the murderers, and the idolaters, and every one who loved and did a lie in earthly life“?  After all, if this situation is based on decisions/actions that took place already, in this life, the present tense verbs become senseless.

Clearly, the message here is about a separation, but the basis for that separation is a dynamic situation in which action takes place and change occurs.  There are two possibilities to consider, first, that the passage is actually about this life, that the access to the tree of life happens in this life, that the entering into the city takes place in this life, and that the actions of those not presently entering in or accessing the tree of life are in this life.  The other possibility is that the vision represents a situation that takes place after this life.

One regular blog reader and avid blog commenter, Lanny Eichert, writes,

Don’t you see that [Revelation] 22: 6 is the beginning of the end of John’s vision and by verse 16 John is returned to Patmos from his vision? There are no invitations to the tormented thirsty souls in the Lake of Fire. The invitation of 22: 17 is given to those in the churches (verse 16) to proclaim to the mortal world of physically living souls. Also notice 17 says “the Spirit and the bride say” and it is bride not wife. The bride in this verse has not yet become the wife, so the invitation itself again brings us back to John’s contemporary moment in the first century. The invitation is the same Gospel invitation that has been proclaimed from the first century to today and it is addressed to the whole world of contemporary living mortal human beings like you and me.

In my opinion, Lanny puts forth a better argument than Chan, by asserting that the remainder of the book of Revelation, starting with 22:6 is in this life, that we are no longer reading about future events, we are reading about the present.  This is certainly a possibility.  Lanny’s point about the bride versus wife terminology seems, on the surface, to hold some weight.  However, we learn in the previous chapter that the bride=wife=Jerusalem, interchangeable metaphors, three different names for one thing:

“Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.

As a side note, it is also significant that the Holy City is not heaven, it comes down from heaven.  But all of this is another blog for another day. Right now, the main concern is whether Revelation 22 refers to future or present.

So how do we know in chapter 22 when the vision ends, what is future, and what is not?  We don’t.  There is nothing in the text to solidify in this life in contrast to after this life.

The second problem a have with what Chan writes is that he uses Revelation 7:14 to support the idea that “What determines their destinies is whether or not they “wash[ed] their robes;” in other words, whether or not their sin has been dealt with through the blood of Jesus *in this life.”  If you read the passage, without reading into the passage, you will see no support there, whatsoever, for Chan’s claim.  (I have included here verse 13 as well, for clarity.):

And answer did one of the elders, saying to me, “These, who have been arrayed with the white robes – who are they, and whence came they?” and I have said to him, “Sir, thou hast known;” and he said to me, “These are those who are coming out of the great tribulation, and they did wash their robes, and they made their robes white in the blood of the Lamb […]”

What does it say?  That a group of people “are coming out of the great tribuation” and they are wearing metaphorical white robes, “washed… in the blood of the Lamb”, in other words, they are righteous and sinless, not inherently, but because of what Jesus did for them.  They are “clothed” in His righteousness, clothed in good works.  Does this passage say that these are the only people who will ever have their robes washed?  No.  Does this passage say anything at all about “in this life”?  No.  While it is likely true that this particular group of people had their robes washed “in this life”, does the text say anything about “in this life” as a qualification that excludes all other people?  No.  The text makes an absolutely positive statement about one group of people.  It does not say anything negative about “other” people.  Chan is seeing something in this passage that simply is not there.

So here’s the bottom line.

If the end section of Revelation 22 refers exclusively to in this life then we can conclude:

  • Almost two thousand years have passed since the angel was sent to tell God’s servants what “must soon take place”.  When the angel spoke in behalf of Jesus and said, not once, not twice, but three times, “I am coming soon”, he really meant it would take almost two thousand years, hardly what I would describe as “the time is near”. (v. 6-10, 12, 20)

If the end section of Revelation 22 refers to exclusively to in this life AND death is the cut-off for salvation, or as Chan says, there’s an ongoing separation for those who have not dealt with sin “in this life”, then we can conclude:

  • Sin and death (the work of the adversary that Jesus supposedly destroys) continues forever.  The will of man trumps the will of God forever, and God responds by putting all these people who persist in rebellion in the lake of fire and/or outside the gates, where they keep on sinning. (v. 11, 14)
  • Believers can access the tree of life right now.  The Holy City has already descended.  Believers can enter into it right now.
If the end section of Revelation 22 is still referencing a vision of the future or a combination of future events and events that are in the near future of John and the gang, then we can conclude:
  • Death is not the cut off for salvation, the gate stays open, and people may in after they have their “robes washed”.
  • The “coming soon” to which Jesus refers has to do with both the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD and the reward of good works versus the pain and consequences of evil works.
  • Sin and death does not continue forever.  God is able to bring the hard hearts of rebellious people into willing submission.  There is no dark corner of the universe where the adversary rules forever.
  • It is possible that this is spiritually and/or metaphorically true now and completely fulfilled later in a way that is obvious to everyone – Believers can access the tree of life right now.  The Holy City has already descended.  Believers can enter into it right now.

If all of this is just too much to think about, we have good reason to effectively dismiss both Chan’s and Lanny’s arguments by reading Revelation 21, being careful not to read into it what is not there:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”  He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”  He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”  One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. […]  I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into itOn no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

How can it be said that people will be judged and tested FOREVER in the lake of fire if God will wipe every tear from their eyes?

How can it be said that the fiery lake of burning sulfer is a FOREVER second death if God says there will be no more death?

How can it be said that people will FOREVER beg for one drop of cool water when God says He will give drink to the thirsty?

How can it be said that the majority of mankind will remain in an ongoing, FOREVER, state of corruption if God says He is making ALL things new?

How can it be said that once someone dies, their names can never be written in the Lamb’s book of life if God says the nations will walk in the light of the Lamb and bring glory and honor into the open gates?

How can it be said that Hell or the lake of fire is torment that lasts FOREVER if God says He will do away with mourning, crying, and pain?

Why should we dismiss everything in chapter 21 by making unsupported assumptions about chapter 22?

Regardless of what one believes regarding the present or future views on Revelation 22, Revelation 21 paints a very vivid picture of the Sovereignty and Glory of God in His just and merciful treatment of sinners.

 

Next blog: Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell: Saved by Whose Choice?

Comments
  • Lanny A. Eichert November 10, 2011 at 4:42 am

    Revelation 22: 14 ἵνα is a conjunction denoting purpose or end. You error to suppose a conditional possibility. Think it through. Now in this scene in the New Creation the believer is incorruptible and in the restore image of God doing nothing less than God’s commandments perfectly in a now natural spontaneous way. There is NO maybe about it, no possibility of a maybe. Besides do is a present PARTICIPLE not a subjunctive verb (enter is an Aorist Active Subjunctive verb; have is indeed a Future Indicative verb). This is an ongoing situation of a people described as always continuously doing God’s commandments, always assured of their right to the Tree, and freely able to enter the City or leave the City. The CONTRAST is given by the first words of the next verse (15) ἔξω δὲ. The δὲ is a particle of distinction and of course the ἔξω tells the distinction is “without”. There is no action taking place in this verse, but just a description of persons as they continuously are in their state of being. The two verses make up a statement of contrast: the righteous are mobily engaged while the wicked are static (stuck) and the two are separated from each other. There is no indication of possible transit from the without to the within. It is ONLY a flat statement of contrast without a hint of an if then condition. You’re dreaming, Alice, and illegal dream.

    With regard to the bride=wife=Jerusalem, three different names for one thing, but called each name separately at DIFFERENT times!!! The bride is the church at the end of chapter 22 on the earth and that’s why 22: 6 – 21 transitions from heaven to this life. Separate the times/locations according to whether it is bride or wife, realizing the bride is taken up to heaven to be married to Christ and made His wife in 19: 7 heaven. I emphasize transitions, because 10 – 15 is still speaking of certain details of the prophecy, which includes the static nature of our destinies. I did NOT put 22:6 in this life, but stated by verse 16 John is returned to Patmos from his vision. 16 – 21 is surely in this life, while the vision is closing in verses 6 – 15. Thank you for copying it into this blog. This instruction in 16 “to testify unto you these things in the churches” is the clue that the Revelation is back to the present. The key is separating the words used for the church. I quote my opening words you so nicely copied: Don’t you see?

    But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day [is] with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 2 Peter 3: 8 answers your problem with quickly.

    “Just too much to think about” is NOT good reason to dismiss both Chan and Lanny. That is a horrible way to squelch dialogue, but maybe you were getting groggy. Yes, I am.

  • Mary Vanderplas November 10, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    I think that what John is talking about here is the differing destinies of the faithful and unfaithful. The fact that the verb in “wash their robes” (or “do his commandments”) is in the present tense does not, in my view, conflict with interpreting this as a reference to this earthly life. I see this as saying either that they are being cleansed of the sins they commit presently (as Christians) or that they are continuing to do God’s will – and that they therefore are included, in contrast to those who by their actions in opposition to God’s will essentially exclude themselves. I agree that it is not explicitly stated in this text that the separation here envisioned is permanent, though this seems to be implied.

    I think, too, that these verses need to be interpreted in light of the fact that they are part of the conclusion of John’s letter. Here John is no longer sharing visionary scenes by way of announcing the final victory of God, but wrapping up his letter. His chief concern seems to be to call his readers to faithful living in light of the prophetic word concerning the End and the final coming of the kingdom, which he believed was near. (Of course he was wrong about the nearness part, as were other New Testament writers who embraced an apocalyptic view of the near end similar to John’s, as opposed to a “realized eschatology” that said the end was already realized in the present experience of Christians. Their message concerning the final victory of God was not thereby invalidated, though.) Viewed in this light, verses 14 and 15, while referring to the separation that will occur, are not intended to teach a doctrine of the final rejection of those opposed to God’s will; they are not intended to answer speculative questions about “who’s in” and “who’s out.” Rather, they are intended to remind his readers that there are consequences of choosing to obey or not to obey God – and in doing so to summon them to faithful living.

    So, while, in my view, this text pictures a separation that results from choices made in this life, I would hesitate to use it to argue emphatically that the unfaithful and unbelieving will be permanently excluded. However, that there are other texts (e.g., 21:8, 27) that say essentially the same thing is hard to deny. I think, though, the fact that, metaphorically, the gates of the city are always open argues against insisting that the separation must be permanent. Moreover, as you point out so beautifully, the fact that John’s final eschatological picture, his vision of the new Jerusalem in 21:1—22:5, is rife with images that suggest its radically inclusive nature must not be overlooked or dismissed. Even acknowledging that there are texts that suggest, paradoxically, the presence of “outsiders,” I agree that it can’t be denied that the picture John paints in this section is, as a whole, stunningly inclusive as well as pulsating with joyful life.

    I agree with your conclusion about not dismissing Revelation 21 based on unsupported (or not-well-supported) assumptions about Revelation 22. And I agree that the picture John paints in Revelation 21 vividly portrays “the Sovereignty and Glory of God in His just and merciful treatment of sinners.”

    • admin November 10, 2011 at 11:52 pm

      As always, thanks for your comments. I don’t always agree, but I do like reading your thoughts about things either way.

  • Lanny A. Eichert November 13, 2011 at 2:08 am

    (#1) How can it be said that people will be judged and tested FOREVER in the lake of fire if God will wipe every tear from their eyes?
    Answer: Judgment is a ONE time event and burning sulfur is torment, not testing. Testing changes nothing, only verifies good or bad: CANNOT MAKE good or bad.

    (#2) How can it be said that the fiery lake of burning sulfur is a FOREVER second death if God says there will be no more death?
    Answer: Forever means without end and the absence of death is fulfilled in the saints, sinners excepted.

    (#3) How can it be said that people will FOREVER beg for one drop of cool water when God says He will give drink to the thirsty?
    Answer: Begging comes from Luke 16, not the Revelation 20; and the blissful provision is only for saints, sinners excluded.

    (#4) How can it be said that the majority of mankind will remain in an ongoing, FOREVER, state of corruption if God says He is making ALL things new?
    Answer: Throughout Scripture the new is ONLY promised to saints, while sinners are promised the unchanged consequences of their wicked deeds.

    (#5) How can it be said that once someone dies, their names can never be written in the Lamb’s book of life if God says the nations will walk in the light of the Lamb and bring glory and honor into the open gates?
    Answer: “The Nations” are already saints with their names in the Book.

    (#6) How can it be said that Hell or the lake of fire is torment that lasts FOREVER if God says He will do away with mourning, crying, and pain?
    Answer: Forever means unending and only saints will be freed from mourning, crying, and pain because of the bliss of communion with Christ.

    (#7) Why should we dismiss everything in chapter 21 by making unsupported assumptions about chapter 22?
    Answer: You have to come down to earth sometime: to testify unto you these things in the churches – the people must hear sometime, and that’s not unsupported.

    (#8) Regardless of what one believes regarding the present or future views on Revelation 22, Revelation 21 paints a very vivid picture of the Sovereignty and Glory of God in His just and merciful treatment of sinners.
    Answer: His just treatment of sinners and His gracious treatment of saints is distinguished.

    The seven questions and one statement shows a tendency to abuse the contexts of Scripture. The author frequently {Matthew 23: 24} strains out a gnat and swallows a camel; and in the process generates complex arguments typically abusing words to her own destruction for the sake of her form of universalistic salvation.

    But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. {2 Corinthians 11: 3 & 4}

    How often have I complained how complex you and Mary make so many things? Alice and Mary, the literal approach preserves “the simplicity that is in Christ” and it does recognize figurative language where it truly is. What you do is indeed to your own destruction and that’s why I often say you need to be Biblically born again, since you are without correct spiritual sight and headed to hell fire and brimstone that’s NOT remedial. It is NOT a matter of interpretations, one being as acceptable as another because of faith, but a matter of the denial of the truth. What truth? The vengence of God.

    But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance? (I speak as a man) God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world? {Romans 3: 5 & 6}

    How shall God judge the world? remains the question. If human sins are finite, then why cannot man propitiate God with his own death in the Lake of Fire for some finite duration? What was the purpose of Christ’s death? Was it to lessen that duration for some and eliminate it for others? Why cannot a sinful man propitiate a holy God? What makes that propitiation impossible? What is the magnitude of human sins when they are put in perspective against a holy God? Could there be a finite punishment for each sin? Does such questions as these reveal a human tendence to judge God instead of the reverse, that is, submission to the sovereign judgment of God? Aught we not forget our own concepts and let God do the telling us what His judgment actually involves?

    But you say, we don’t deny God punishes the wicked, but only until they repent in the future life of torment in the Lake of Fire. It doesn’t matter that Scripture describes NO such happenings, but that’s alright, because you think it possible and on your say-so you build a doctrine of an eternal second chance that will actual happen.

    So who’s listening to God?

    And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; {2 Thessalonians 1: 7 – 9}

    • admin November 15, 2011 at 8:52 am

      1. If unbeliever’s destinies are settled upon the moment of death, why bother with “testing” at all?
      2. It doesn’t say “death will be no more, EXCEPT FOR THE UNBELIEVERS”, it says “death will be no more”.
      3. If there are thirsty people to whom God gives drink, and you say these thirsty people are not unbelievers, then who are they? You believe that upon the moment of death, all believers are satisfied, so it can’t be believers who are thirsting.
      4. It doesn’t say “all things except for those things God can’t or wont make new” it says God is making “all things” new.
      5. Nations is a word that used to describe whole people groups, not individuals.
      6. Forever is a mistranslation of the word aion and its derivatives (the true meaning is a period of time, however long, with a beginning and an end). It doesn’t say “there will be no more mourning, crying, or pain EXCEPT FOR UNBELIEVERS” it says “there will be no more mourning, crying or pain.”
      7. The only support you have for allowing chapter 22 to negate chapter 21 is the idea that death is the cut-off for salvation, a concept for which there is not a shred of evidence in scripture.
      8. Yes, we agree. However, it is distinguished, until there is no longer a need – eventually, every knee will bow, every tongue will confess.

      Regarding your comment that I build a doctrine of, “eternal second chance” – chance has nothing to do with it. There is no such thing as chance. Jesus was crucified “before the foundation of the world” for a reason, that is, to include “all things” in His redemptive work. God has purposed some to believe in this age (elect) to serve as ministers of reconciliation to others who do not yet believe in the age(s) to come. It is not chance at all, it is God’s timing and God’s decision as to who, what, when, where, how, and to what extent someone believes. Chance is a concept that brings glory to the “believer”, not God, because it implies that “believers” were smart, or humble, or whatever enough to take advantage of the “chance” offered in this lifetime, where as “unbelievers” were not. Essentially giving the “believer” something about which to boast. A person believes because he or she has been given the faith of Christ and been regenerated by the Holy Spirit (Jesus calls it born again in a conversation with Nicodemus). The common error is that a person has his or her own faith in Christ, that he or she believes, and as a result, is regenerated. A person can’t even SEE the kingdom of God, let alone believe in it, unless they are FIRST born again. This is the work of God, not humanity. Chance has nothing to do with it.

      • Lanny A. Eichert November 15, 2011 at 4:57 pm

        1. If unbeliever’s destinies are settled upon the moment of death, why bother with “testing” at all?

        Answer: Testing is the wrong interpretation. Your question shows it doesn’t fit, so stop making questions the way you complain Chan makes them.

        Luke 17: 29 & Revelation 9: 17 & 18
        But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.
        And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone. By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths.

        Alice, brimstone purification does NOT fit in these three verses nor where you want it. The Biblical usage is torment, so start using that instead of trying to squeeze, push, smash your meaning where it will NOT fit. Remember it is ONLY a touchstone and by itself cannot make anything good or bad. It is what happens between testings that purifies metals. NOTHING is happening in the Lake of Fire but torment and torture. Chapter 14 tells you that: smoke for ever and ever and no rest, all because of wrath, without mixture, and indignation. The anions of the anions is still an idiom of an unending period, so recognize it instead of wrestling with it.

        Deuteronomy 4: 24; 9: 3; & Hebrews 12: 29 For our God is a consuming fire. That He is to destroy evil doers and that not at all by purifying them. Consuming, do you see that?

        2. It doesn’t say “death will be no more, EXCEPT FOR THE UNBELIEVERS”, it says “death will be no more”.

        Answer: What is the context? 21: 4 Whose tears are wiped? Saints, not sinners. BUT 21:8 they are excluded. What does BUT mean, Alice?

        Also it doesn’t say those excluded will be reconciled either.

        3. If there are thirsty people to whom God gives drink, and you say these thirsty people are not unbelievers, then who are they? You believe that upon the moment of death, all believers are satisfied, so it can’t be believers who are thirsting.

        Answer: Matthew 4: 4 still applies in the final estate for the saints. Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

        4. It doesn’t say “all things except for those things God can’t or wont make new” it says God is making “all things” new.

        Answer: What is the context? 21: 4 & 5 New for saints, not sinners. Verse 4 ends with “for the former things are passed away.”

        5. Nations is a word that used to describe whole people groups, not individuals.

        Answer: 21: 26 Who are the “they” that bring the glory and honor into the city? Verse 24, can nations “walk” without peoples legs?

        6. Forever is a mistranslation of the word aion and its derivatives (the true meaning is a period of time, however long, with a beginning and an end). It doesn’t say “there will be no more mourning, crying, or pain EXCEPT FOR UNBELIEVERS” it says “there will be no more mourning, crying or pain.”

        Answer: The anions of the anions is still an idiom of an unending period, so recognize it instead of wrestling with it. What is the context? 21: 4 Whose tears are wiped? Saints, not sinners. BUT 21:8 they are excluded. What does BUT mean, Alice? (You repeated yourself, so I gave you a repetitive answer.)

        7. The only support you have for allowing chapter 22 to negate chapter 21 is the idea that death is the cut-off for salvation, a concept for which there is not a shred of evidence in scripture.

        Answer: On the contrary, there’s no support for salvation after death, not a single example nor an invitation to do so, no developed doctrine on the subject contrary to John 15; 15. You make unwarranted ASSUMPTIONS. 22: 17 “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come” is the preaching of the church on earth in this life, so declares the context.

        8. Yes, we agree. However, it is distinguished, until there is no longer a need – eventually, every knee will bow, every tongue will confess.

        Answer: Your “However” statement proves we disagree. Why do you the same thing Mary does: speak double-talk? That’s being a liar. His just treatment of sinners is eternal punishment, I’m sure you know that to be my context for making that statement, even as I had said, they know Jesus is Lord from the moment they died and were cast into hell fire when reality became undeniable.

        Now #9 God has purposed some to believe in this age (elect) to serve as ministers of reconciliation to others who do not yet believe in the age(s) to come.

        Answer: 2 Corinthians 5: 20 “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ” not then in the after-life. Don’t you see the “Now then?” That’s this life. “As though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” Who? 1 Corinthians 15: 34 “for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame” In other words, there were members in the Corinthian church who weren’t saved. CONTEXT, dear Alice, context. Again you violate the contexts as you have been prone to do all along for your premise’s sake.

        Where is the simplicity of 2 Corinthians 11: 3? How can you manufacture something that does NOT exist in the Holy Bible? Answer: twist the Bible words to allow wiggle room to squeeze, push, smash it into Scripture. You refuse the simply obvious meaning of the words ages, all, torment, brimstone in their contexts and choose definitions that force your conclusion. That is CULTIC methodology, just as cultic as having your own exclusive version of the Bible: your literal Greek text, huh? And a conspiracy theory as well, huh?

        Did anyone tell you it is only SUPPOSED that the fire of the gods purifies. Brimstone, “divine fire,” doesn’t spiritually purify anything. It is only myth. God’s Biblical use demonstrates destruction. Luke 17: 29 & Revelation 9: 17 & 18

    • Mary Vanderplas November 15, 2011 at 8:10 pm

      The “simplicity that is in Christ,” or, “sincere devotion to Christ,” does not mean a commitment to interpreting literally what the author of Revelation intended as symbolic/metaphorical.

      God’s wrath/judgment, in Revelation and in scripture generally, is not about a vindictive deity getting revenge on his enemies by punishing them beyond measure. Rather, it is about the God who loves his human creatures beyond measure refusing to let us – any of us – get away with our self-destructive rebellion against him. To paint a picture of God punishing eternally his human creatures is to distort the message of Revelation and of the Bible generally. Moreover, in Revelation, the scenes of judgment and wrath are tied to the image of the Lamb – the One who sacrificed himself for the sins of the world (6:16; also 19:13) – calling attention to the fact that the just judgment of God has been executed in Jesus.

      The eschatological terrors that John pictures are expressions of God’s judgment of universal human sinfulness. In his view, judgment of sin isn’t reserved for the unbelieving and ungodly. Neither is the mercy of God reserved for the saints – as evidenced by the fact that there are more than a few texts that picture or imply that in the end all people will be saved. While a distinction is made between the ungodly and the righteous, there is nothing in Revelation to support the view that God treats the unbelieving with only justice and the believing with only mercy.

      In the death of Christ, God was at work reconciling the world to himself. It is not the case that Jesus, by his life of perfect obedience and his sacrificial death, propitiated an angry God, making reparation so that God, whose honor and justice were infinitely offended by our sin, could accept us. While having a long history in Christian tradition (going back to Anselm), the “satisfaction” theory of the atonement lacks biblical support. Granted, our sin is a barrier between us and God, a barrier that, were it not for God’s acting in Christ to remove it, would seal our doom. But the message of the gospel is precisely that in Christ God has acted to remove the barrier by taking upon himself the punishment that our sin deserved. To picture God as punishing eternally for finite sins those who persist in rebelling against him is to distort what the Bible teaches about who God is and what God has done in Christ, specifically, executed his judgment by taking it upon himself.

      • Lanny A. Eichert November 15, 2011 at 8:44 pm

        Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. {John 15: 15}

        You still have a Christ unable to disclose the details of your supposed imaginative salvation and One that leaves us with a closing Revelation containing the Lake of Fire populated without remedy and His closing commentary: He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.

        As those that deny eternal torment as a fundamental of Christianity, you are not qualified to be called Christian, but are instead antichristian. You have no right to the Christ of the Holy Bible, because He taught eternal punishment WITHOUT remedy both while He walked the earth and otherwise through His Apostles and Prophets of both Old Testament and New Testament histories. You corrupt words.

        • Rachel November 16, 2011 at 11:09 am

          Lanny, I am curious about something. Do you feel the same about Genesis as you do about Revelation? Meaning, do you believe the creation account (language) is literal or figurative? I know this is off topic, but I was wondering.

          Another thing, you say you do not believe in salvation through works, but if unbelievers can simply choose to believe and be saved, isn’t choosing a work?

          Lastly, what inspires your love for God? Is it fear/awe of his power? Or is there something more than power alone? Do you believe that there is a possibility that you do not understand God’s character?

          • Lanny A. Eichert November 16, 2011 at 3:19 pm

            Rachel, 3 answers:
            For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day {Exodus 20: 1} is literally true as specifically described in Genesis 1 & 2. Take for example verse 1: 12 God planted grass and trees the third solar day and there wasn’t yet a shine sun to provide for photosynthesis, but that He saved for the forth twenty-four hour day. Now God did these things deliberately to teach us also giving us pictures of His salvation, especially verbalizing in 1: 3 Let there be light: and there was light. That was for our sake that we might know the radical difference of going from darkness to light in the instant of being born again by His Holy Spirit as He said in these deliberate words {2 Corinthians 4: 6} For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. As Genesis was an instantaneous change, so is salvation; it is not a process happening over a period of time. Faith is something you either have or you don’t: you don’t slowly develope it. Faith is a decision to believe the individual words “spoken” by God, both individually as to what each means and collectively what they mean in context. In John 1: 12 believing and receiving are equated as the same thing, hence the contemporary Christian terminology of “receiving Christ as your Lord and Savior” properly means at a particular instant in time to start believing in Christ. The next verse shows the impossibility of accomplishing this upon one’s own desire, therefore making it a divine work of God called being “born.” Out here in Utah your question is very “Mormon” since asking your question they try to prove we ALL believe the same thing: “isn’t choosing a work?” Your last question is answered in 1 John 4: 19 We love him, because he first loved us; that is, because of the radically new life {2 Corinthians 5: 17} centered on the only Truth there really is that God gave me, His Own Self resident in my body, His love is by Him worked out of my body in the terrible message of the cross. God RUINED me forever from what I once was. I am incapable of returning to my previously unregenerate self. I have the message for every one that we are ALL sinners incapable of cleansing ourselves and thus continuously under the wrath of God and headed for eternal hell-fire destruction unless and until we receive God’s only solution: death and rebirth in Jesus Christ; a simple receiving of God’s Gift, the actual person of Jesus Christ. Now I’ve been in this state of “new” life since one particular afternoon in 1964 and faithfully reading my Bible daily and meditating upon its words and you ask if I might not understand God’s character. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? {Jeremiah 17: 9} In some part I know how wicked my remnant natural self is, but I am convinced God’s plan contains a cut-off point for humans and that is physical death, because although He specified a detailed plan of salvation for this life, He failed to detail any such thing for the after life. Any such thing then becomes pure imagination. “But we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart.” {Jeremiah 18: 12}

  • Collision of Souls November 14, 2011 at 8:19 am

    Such obstinate blindness born of disinformation regarding, and misrepresentation of, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ can leave one, at least momentarily, emotionally numbed. I was once living in such, but having been given grace and faith, we are first fruits of the enlightenment that will certainly blanket the earth in God’s good time: “For the knowledge of the glory of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.” “And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.”

    • admin November 14, 2011 at 11:01 pm

      Blanket the earth – I love that! The glory of God is not yet fully revealed, and that is why some people see only condemnation and judgement as the eternal destiny of the majority of humanity.

      • Lanny A. Eichert November 15, 2011 at 12:06 am

        That’s cult talk.

      • Lanny A. Eichert November 15, 2011 at 12:44 am

        Oh, Alice, the glory of God is not yet fully revealed, and that is why some people see only condemnation and judgement as the eternal destiny of the majority of humanity, really? Is that why Jesus said, Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat {Matthew 7: 13} or {Mark 9} to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched; because He was unaware of the glory of God and of the Enlightenment’s distorted play on His intended meaning of His own words???

    • Lanny A. Eichert November 15, 2011 at 12:51 am

      So very blatant an example of cult speak.

      Naturally, since you’re in the very midst of it, you cannot see it.

  • Lanny A. Eichert November 14, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    Alice, your whole Amazing Hope, though you trumpet grace apart from works saves, you still rely on works and nature short of perfection needing repentance and forgiveness AFTER the resurrection; and since you have made that provision available to the believer you think it also available to the unbeliever when he finally believes. Where you error is not realizing salvation from to very moment a soul believes is COMPLETE without the believers’ works or nature. Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. {Galatians 3: 6} and {2 Corinthians 5: 21} For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. You know this, Alice, that the believers’ righteousness is Christ’s righteousness which cannot be improved. Remember Stephen a while ago commented on Revelation 21: 8 asking if we weren’t all guilty of that list and consequently will be included as persons in that list to experience that Lake of Fire. Remember you also claimed we all go through the Second Death. What ever could be the reason since the believer is complete in Christ?

    And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: {Colossians 2: 10, 11} Don’t you understand that the believer is as good as God is, as good as God, man alive, I’m as good as God is by my faith in the cross. God preached it in Abraham: see it in {Galatians 3: 8} And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. See that, Mary, “the scripture foreseeing” how God planned salvation by faith should be include in “the handwriting” of Moses in Genesis 12: 3 by the very words, “in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” Now Abraham believed God and God accounted righteousness to Abraham, divine righteousness. If there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. {Galatians 3: 21, 22} Now to whom is the promise given? This is KEY, Alice, to whom is the promise made? It is given to ONLY “them that believe.” Will you receive it that the promise of the reconciliation of all things is given to ONLY “them that believe?” There is no reconciliation of all things for the unbeliever who is outside the promise: he remains forever outside the faith and outside the promise. You know what that means: the Lake of Fire is never emptied.

    Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. {John 5: 24} Condemnation means JUDGMENT: the believer bypasses judgment because he was judged in Christ. The believer, at the very moment he changed from believing lies to believing the truth, immediately passed from spiritual deadness to eternal spiritual life. {John 8: 32} And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. That’s being born again and an absolute necessity if you would avoid the Lake of Fire. People who have been born again know the release from the burden of their sins, that they are “free” from its weight of guilt and eternal punishment. That’s the Gospel, the good news.

    • admin November 15, 2011 at 8:19 am

      Don’t confuse the faith “of” Christ with our faith “in” Christ. If it were our faith, it would surely fail. I don’t believe in salvation by works, as you seem to be saying of me.

    • admin November 15, 2011 at 8:22 am

      And, yes, I do receive it, that the promise of reconciliation is given to ONLY “them who believe”. You and I differ in that you say they must believe before physical death.

  • Lanny A. Eichert November 14, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    The question to the readers is: what is the year, month, day, and hour you changed from believing lies to believing the truth of Christ? WHEN were you converted to the truth of Christ? If you cannot answer, you haven’t been born again and you are aimlessly headed for destruction in the Lake of Fire without remedy. There is no second chance, all you have is this life to get it right. Change you mind about all those lies you’ve heard, learn the truth of Christ, and believe it now. It is NOT optional.

    If you haven’t been converted, you are a PAGAN. There are pagans who call themselves Christians, but they are plain liars; and you might be one of them. Why not NOW stop believing the lies and start believing the truth and receive Christ as your Lord and Savior?

  • Lanny A. Eichert November 14, 2011 at 11:46 pm

    A: Trust Christ, or B: You’ll burn alive forever.

    And I will praise Jesus Christ forever as your linked pages say, even for the poor sinners who never made it, because God vindicated Himself. Remember only saints praise God; sinners only curse God, there is no praise in their hearts.

    God is not the bad guy you try to make Him out to be by your wording. You do the same thing you complain Chan does and you do it to win by sympathy not reason.

    But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance? (I speak as a man) God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world? {Romans 3: 5 & 6} and {Romans 12: 19} it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

  • Lanny A. Eichert November 14, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    you do it to win by sympathy not reason

    Because you’re a WOMAN. That’s why women are told in Scripture to stay OUT of theology. They love to run by emotions, just like Eve in the garden, and look what it has gotten us. Poor Adam loved Eve more than God when she emotionally pressed upon him the wonderful results of eating that fruit and she won through sympathy without proper reason.

    • Sisterlisa November 15, 2011 at 8:15 pm

      haha look where that has gotten us? You dare to blame Eve, when Adam lacked the backbone needed to protect his own wife? By the way, Lanny…where did God tell Adam the consequences of eating of that tree would be “everlasting fire”? You would think that if hell was as you explain it, that he would have told Adam for sure.

      • Sarah November 24, 2011 at 8:24 pm

        Amen Sisterlisa

  • Lanny A. Eichert November 15, 2011 at 1:21 am

    Alice, Mary, readers, support your position #1 on the basis of the perfection of God’s salvation the moment a soul believes, #2 on the basis that God judges the world, and #3 on the basis of the simplicity that is in Christ, because all three defeat your Amazing Hope doctrine as I’ve complained above.

  • Mary Vanderplas November 15, 2011 at 6:26 am

    Which is it, Lanny? Do you want me to stay out of theology and stay in the kitchen, where you think I belong, or do you want me to share my views on theological issues – which you evidently are obsessed with knowing and trying to refute? Put away your silly stereotypes of women and your imagined timeless scriptural truths about the subordination of women, and show the respect that I and others of my gender deserve.

    • Lanny A. Eichert November 15, 2011 at 7:22 am

      Woman were created FOR man. You can’t argue time on that one. Get in your place. You already have a bigger head than you deserve.

      • Mary Vanderplas November 15, 2011 at 8:15 pm

        I am in my place, Lanny. I am in my God-ordained place, which is exactly equal to you and to every other image-bearer of God who has ever lived, is now living, or will ever live, except for Christ, who is infinitely superior.

  • Sisterlisa November 15, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    Lanny, you need to get in your own place. You have absolutely no right or authority to tell Alice to get into the p[lace you think she needs to be in. You are not God. Furthermore, it is you who remains in unbelief. Christ finished his work on the cross….you have shown time and time again in the comments on this blog, that you do not believe in the all inclusive finished work of the cross. It’s grace or law, not a mix of both. You either believe it’s by his grace or you don’t. You can’t claim grace alone, if you insist on belief in order to be reconciled to God. We believe because it’s true..we are already reconciled. But it’s not our belief that reconciles us. Not one time are women ever told to “stay out of theology”. In fact, even by the OT Law, EVERYONE (man, woman and child) are told to memorize the Law. Women are NOT to remain befuddled, in the dark, or out of “theology” while all the men get the enlightenment. Man is NOT the mediator between us and God, Jesus is.

  • Sisterlisa November 15, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    Acts 2:17 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your DAUGHTERS shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams;”

    Gee, Lanny I sure hope God sends a woman to prophesy truth to you so you’ll know truth when it comes..o wait..that’s right..you think women need to stay out of theology. I sure hope, for your sake, that you will humble yourself to hearing out a woman when God requires that you do…or you might suffer for refusing the truth.

    • Lanny A. Eichert November 16, 2011 at 3:49 pm

      Have you ever checked Gee in the dictionary? [euphemistic contraction of Jesus]

      Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

      a woman to prophesy truth: You mean likened unto the prophetess Ellen G White of Seventh Day Adventist fame?

      That resulted in the cult of Historic Adventism. Well, your Alice’s Amazing Hope is no less cultic. See Nov 14 8: 19am comment by Collision of Souls and admin’s response.

  • Lanny A. Eichert November 17, 2011 at 5:33 am

    The lost are imprisoned in the Lake of Fire 20: 15 & 21: 8 & 22:15 not meaning they are just outside the city walls of the New Jerusalem. They are a long, long way away: there’s no reference to them seeing the city. In fact, the place of the lost although burning is described as blackness and darkness, a place of vastness because they wander without ever contacting any one, solitary confinement without spacial limits. See 2 Peter and Jude. They are adrift in the darkness of (space) emptiness, black infinite burning emptiness. They’ll yell and scream without anybody to hear them, no response from anyone, not even God. They didn’t want God in this life, so God gives them just that in the after life: no God for conversation ever again.

    Do you see why they cannot be redeemed in the after life? There’s no conversation with God: He gave them over to their own desire: no God. The fool says in his heart, there is no God, so God removes Himself from them according to their desires. Any one who believes the wrong thing says in his heart there is no God and that’s what he gets for all of eternity: no God.

    Psalm 106: 15 And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.

  • Lanny A. Eichert November 19, 2011 at 3:32 am

    Why are so many on this blog site stressed to think eternal damnation is a destructive doctrine? It is an accepted Biblical doctrine, I mean, in the Holy Bible it is an ACCEPTED fact of human existence: the possibility of a person’s eventual eternal reality. Why is it repulsive that God wins when the majority of humanity is placed in the solitary eternal torment they deserve for rebelling against God’s glory? Why do you raise the issue of a soul cast into the fire for merely believing the wrong thing as if it is somehow wrong for God to do that? Is God responsible for any man’s singular sin? Does God not have the right to destroy the man who does not fulfil the purpose and conduct God planned for the human race? Aren’t we all disobedient to that purpose and conduct because of Adam and Eve? Doesn’t God have the right as our Creator to eternally destroy us all because we have fallen short of the glory of God that He intended for us to have and display in character and deed? Don’t we all want to do everything our own way and not have to be limited to God’s way? We want our independence, don’t we? So since that’s the way we want it, what is wrong with God saying, have it your way? You don’t know it means total darkness, do you? It means life without God, without light, without love, without goodness, without companionship, without life itself. Where will God place such persons? Well He made a place for rebellious angels, so He chose to place them there also. Look how careful He is that they endure their alienation before His holy angels and before the Lamb, but not before His saints for whom He prepared better things. God’s attention to all details of existence, whether they be of miserable existence or of blessed existence, is everlastingly faithful. He keeps both worlds separated: for how can light and darkness mingle? In faithfulness He superintends their destruction, but no longer He nor angels heed their voices: they wanted no God, and no God they got. They wanted no light and God gave them no light: nothing of Himself, nothing at all, no more mercy, no more grace: no more salvation.

    God cannot save these kind of persons, so why is the truth of eternal damnation a destructive hurtful doctrine?

    You know Jeremy has some important things {if I had a hammer, I’d hammer out …} to say, so I reproduce his comments here:

    Jeremy says:
    November 16, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    “In the nearness of the shore, a harbor that metaphorically “burns” is associate with testing, kindness, the Spirit of God, and salvation. Indeed, the incense of God has the power to purify.”

    My concern with this interpretation is it leaves out that the “fire” of God also destroys and consumes, as though it is not equally as valid or more often used. Fire also destroys and if you were a Jew in Jerusalem…you knew that. (Is. 26:11; Heb. 10:27; Jude 7). I think the original/intended audience, especially in Revelation, grasped the horror of fire and I doubt they thought “oh he means purification, universalism, isn’t that nice.”

    Secondly, I think we underestimate the depravity of sin and its effect on humanity.

    Third, God is justice. Given the depravity of sin and God’s justice I think it is reasonable to think that God will justly reward the righteous and punish the wicked. I think the assumption that punishment isn’t “eternal” doesn’t recognize the sin’s horrible destructive power and its offense to God.

    Fourth, “aionion” is not mistranslated. It is an idiom that first century judeo-christians knew meant forever. It is used as such in scripture, understood as such by the early church fathers, and has been historically and universally understood by the orthodox Church. Eternal punishment is the counterpart of eternal life. No one questions the use of “aionion” for life…just for punishment apparently.

    Though I commend your heart, I am concerned that you and a few others have constructed a paradigm that you base on confusing rather plain texts and depart from the Church.

    • Mary Vanderplas November 19, 2011 at 6:37 am

      I agree with the point about fire being commonly used and understood in the world of Jesus’ day as a symbol of destruction. I would emphasize that it is not meant to be understood literally, as a physical description of hell, but rather as a symbol pointing to the horror of being separated from God.

      I agree that “aionios” is accurately translated “eternal/forever” and that this was how it was understood by John’s first readers and by the original readers of New Testament generally.

      I can appreciate the points about the seriousness of sin and the justice of God. I share the concerns that the doctrine of universal salvation doesn’t take seriously the awfulness of rebelling against God or the reality of divine justice that refuses to tolerate such rebellion. I do not agree, though, with your contention that “God cannot save these kinds of persons.” God is both able and free to do whatever God chooses, including redeem those who persist in rebelling against him.

      I have trouble with the notion of heaven and hell as reward and punishment. I don’t think it does justice to what the Bible teaches. Heaven isn’t the reward for being good; rather, it is the gift of God’s grace in Jesus Christ for people who are not good and who know ourselves to be not good and accordingly cast ourselves on God’s mercy to rescue and redeem us for the life God created us to live in fellowship with him and with others. Hell isn’t the punishment for being bad; it is, rather, the outcome of choosing to live apart from God, in opposition to God’s purpose for human life, which is to live in loving relationship with God and others. It is, thus, a self-chosen alienation from God and others, not a place to which God sends persons as punishment for sin. And it is for those who refuse to acknowledge the depth of their sin and need for God’s saving grace in Christ – i.e., the proud and self-satisfied/-sufficient. To view heaven and hell from a reward-and-punishment perspective is, I think, to miss the message of the gospel, the exceedingly Good News that God in Christ came to save sinners, a classification that includes all of us.

      • Jeremy November 19, 2011 at 10:25 pm

        Mary says “God is both able and free to do whatever God chooses, including redeem those who persist in rebelling against him.”

        Mary this is all true. But this is where free will comes into play. God offers salvation/redemption to all. It is their choice to accept or reject that. God is not to blame if they reject. Is it a genuine choice if God forces them to accept against their will? Because this seems to be where your argument leads. God is a tyrant who will force people to choose. I don’t think this is what scripture reveals and this is not justice nor grace. Once again, your arguments sound nice but they aren’t scriptural nor compatible with justice or grace.

        • Mary Vanderplas November 20, 2011 at 6:06 am

          I wasn’t saying that I necessarily think that God will override the freedom of people to reject him (though I can’t rule out that in the end God will somehow draw even the most recalcitrant to himself). I was simply saying that God can do whatever he wills, even overriding human freedom, if he so chooses, for the sake of his purpose of saving all. If there is something – anything – outside of God to which he must conform, then he isn’t God. This seems to me to be what Paul is saying in Romans 9:21. That was the point I was trying to make – i.e., that God is free (sovereign).

          • Jeremy November 20, 2011 at 1:27 pm

            There isn’t anything outside of God that he must conform to…I agree with that. Therefore if God has chosen to give humans free will and that they will receive the just desserts of their choices, it would be impossible for God to go against what he has established as truth. Furthermore, if you or anyone else tells God that it is unmerciful or unjust to follow what he has established…you then our resisting God. It is an amazing thing that God has made us free moral agents to choose to love him or reject him. For God to suddenly violate this would be ungodly.

            In addition, I am not interested it what feels good or what I think would be best for God to do. I am limited to what scripture has revealed…we all are. If you believe in the inspiration of the Holy Spirit upon the authors of the Bible to accurately record the words of Jesus regarding judgment then you have to accept that He chose specifically to use the word “aionion” to modify several of the truth claims about “eternal life” and eternal punishment. No where in scripture does God lay out, either metophorically or literally the paradigm Alice or yourself are devoted to.

            This is all New Age type teaching that dismisses traditional/orthodox Christian teaching. I put my trust in the words of Jesus, the Apostles, the Bishops that knew the Apostles and the patristic Fathers who attest to the teaching of “eternal life” or “eternal punishement” (Tertullian and Irenaeus for starters), and the Historical Church. Not some rebel flames who 2000 years after the fact act as though they have the monopoly on Holy Spirit revelation and that we should all follow them.

            Jesus has saved all…in the sense that salvation is available and offered to all who will Come. “The Spirit and the Lord say COME.” Not in the sense that God will draw out judgment for an eternity until some sinful plebes decide that God is finally worthy of their belief in him. This is nonsense. Scripture points to death and then judgment. The Jews and Christians for thousands of years have known and taught a judgment that will take place and is as real as an appointment with a dentist. Thus “the day of the Lord.” It is a specific, real event that is coming.

          • Mary Vanderplas November 20, 2011 at 4:23 pm

            The problem with your view, though, is that there are texts in scripture that assert that God’s will is that all be saved. What do you do with these? Until recently, I have thought only along these lines: God’s desire is that all be saved, but this doesn’t mean that in the end God will override the freedom he has given people to reject him. So, even though God desires that all be saved, in the end some – specifically, those who persist in rebellion against him – will not be. But I’ve become increasingly uncomfortable with this way of thinking, partly because it means, as Alice states frequently, that God doesn’t get what he wants, and partly because I don’t think that it does justice to the many texts in scripture that either assert or imply the universal scope of God’s saving love. So these days I am leaning more in the direction of belief in universal salvation (or, more accurately, I am more open to belief in God’s unlimited generosity), even though I acknowledge that there are texts that clearly speak of a final judgment and separation and I believe that there is a stern side of God’s justice that universalism doesn’t take seriously. I haven’t professed devotion to any particular paradigm – definitely not one that depends on translating “aionios” as something other than “eternal” in the texts that refer to the fate of human beings in order to extend beyond this present age the time in which God will gather people into his kingdom. Rather than interpreting these texts from one or the other perspective, I prefer to let them stand as they are and to acknowledge the paradox that the two sets of texts present.

            I’m inclined to agree that the early fathers knew what they were talking about, though, as Alice has argued, some of the earliest fathers affirmed a universalist stance. While I can appreciate your desire not to abandon the faith of the fathers (and, I would add, mothers) of the church, I personally want to be careful that I don’t close myself off to the truth spoken afresh today which perhaps God wants to use to correct some erroneous ways of thinking that I am clinging to. Moreover, as stated above, it isn’t enough to say that “Jesus, etc., taught final judgment/separation and therefore I believe it.” The fact is that there are universalist texts throughout scripture which can either be taken seriously or dismissed/reasoned away. More often than not, these texts are simply dismissed or reasoned away.

            If God’s ultimate purpose is the salvation of all, which some texts suggest it is, then God can do whatever it takes to accomplish that – even if it entails violating human freedom. As I said previously, I am not convinced that God will do this in the end – I wrestle with this – but I don’t think it can legitimately be said that he cannot do it, i.e., that it would be a violation of his nature to do it, if his ultimate will is that all be saved.

          • Jeremy November 21, 2011 at 3:46 pm

            Mary,

            It is apparent that God’s will is for all to be saved. But it is also God’s will that all have free will and accept or reject his son freely. Your argument that God always has things go the way he wants them to go collapses. Did God want humans to fall into sin and death? No. But they chose it. Scripture reveals a God that is heart broken by humans who choose to do what they want contrary to the way God wants them. In Jeremiah 18 it is apparent that God wanted Jerusalem to repent and do good. But they chose not to. Scripture reveals a God who has desires but has created humans that can choose freely and God honors that dignity that he has given them. If God always gets his way then why is he repentent in Genesis for creating humans?

            As for scriptures that seem to point to universalism…I don’t understand why you are struggling with this. Scripture reveals that God has made salvation available universally to all people. That is further balanced out by the truth that humans can accept that universal salvation or reject it.

            You say “I’m inclined to agree that the early fathers knew what they were talking about, though, as Alice has argued, some of the earliest fathers affirmed a universalist stance. While I can appreciate your desire not to abandon the faith of the fathers (and, I would add, mothers) of the church, I personally want to be careful that I don’t close myself off to the truth spoken afresh today which perhaps God wants to use to correct some erroneous ways of thinking that I am clinging to.” The problem with this argument from Alice is that she doesn’t understand how the patristic fathers (and we will say mothers:)) decided on what was core Christian teaching. Vincent of Lerin in his Commonitory describes the accepted criteria. For something to be absolutely true it had to 1. be ancient…can it be drawn back to the early church and scripture (eternal punishment can). 2. is it generally universally believed…the Catholic, protestant and eastern orthodox all ecumenically believe in eternal punishment. 3. General consent of the laity…that is what do the non-professionals believe (you know those horrible seminary people and scholars who are only out to control people through vicious orthodoxy and tradition). Well if you ask most laity they read scripture and without playing the semantics game through translations and confusing arguments introduced by Alice…they get that there is a hell with eternal consequences. And when all of these don’t suffice we turn to those in Church history who are commonly respected among the entire Church for their godliness and interpretive wisdom and spiritual guidance.

            Therefore to point to someone like Origen and say “see he was a universalist” is laughable. Origen is a horrendous example. Read some Origen and you will understand why he is taken very carefully by scholars. He was a genious who knew it and it led him into some very whacky ways of thinking that even the most heretical person would cringe. I’m interested in what most of the Church mothers and fathers believed, because they are trustworthy.

            Thats all I have time for now. I will respond more later.

            • admin November 23, 2011 at 8:25 am

              Jeremy, the religious leaders in Jesus’ day justified their murdering Him because:

              “1. be ancient…can it be drawn back to the early church and scripture (eternal punishment can).” – They had knowledge of the ancient law and the prophets.

              “2. is it generally universally believed…the Catholic, protestant and eastern orthodox all ecumenically believe in eternal punishment.” – They agreed with one another, nearly unanimously.

              ” 3. General consent of the laity…that is what do the non-professionals believe.” – And the crowd chanted, “Crucify Him!”

              What about deciding on core Christian teaching because the Spirit of God does a miracle inside every believer – even the ones who have never read a BIble or exposure to “how the patronistic fathers” chose to explain things? Ugh. I hate RELIGION. It’s so freaking pompous. Barf.

          • Mary Vanderplas November 21, 2011 at 9:03 pm

            I didn’t say that “God always has things go the way he wants them to go” – or if I implied that, I didn’t intend to. God has created us with the freedom to choose, which means that often things don’t go his way, as you point out. Still, though, that God’s plans cannot be finally frustrated by our free choices is attested to in scripture. The issue here, in my view, is whether God’s ultimate purpose will be fulfilled or whether, as you seem to suggest, God will be finally frustrated, wanting to save all but having to surrender his plan to the free choices of those who persist in their rebellion against him.

            The Bible reveals not just that God has made salvation available to all, but that God wills the salvation of all. There are texts – more than a few of them – that state or imply that in the end all will be saved, not simply that all can be saved. Therein is the dilemma for me.

            I don’t disagree that there are good reasons generally not to abandon the accepted teachings of the church. And I don’t base my new openness to belief in God’s unlimited generosity on the writings of Origen, though I don’t necessarily agree with you that he should be written off. Still, though, I want always to be open to the truth, and I don’t believe that the Spirit spoke only long ago through respected teachers in the church. Therefore, I will not stop listening to people like Alice and others who believe in and love the God revealed in Jesus Christ and who embrace alternative viewpoints that challenge my understanding of the biblical witness.

  • Lanny A. Eichert November 19, 2011 at 3:39 am

    Above should have been this way, nevertheless take heed to Jeremy.

    You know Jeremy has some important things to say, so I reproduce {if I had a hammer, I’d hammer out …} his comments here:

  • Lanny A. Eichert November 19, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    Typical Mary!!! God cannot save these kinds of persons. God is both able and free to do whatever God chooses. God cannot lie, Mary. God is the potter, Mary, and He made vessels fitted for destruction, Mary, and He smashes them, Mary. God is both able and free to do whatever God chooses. You agree that “aionios” is accurately translated and turn right around and say He CAN save them, making God a liar. If we say such things, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. His word is NOT in you, Mary, don’t you get that? You’re two faced and bound to experience “aionios” destruction. If you wouldn’t get save in this life as you demonstrate you will not on this blog, you’ll not in the after life either, Mary. Face it, you’re eternally lost.

    • Mary Vanderplas November 20, 2011 at 6:07 am

      I don’t buy into Calvin’s decretum horribile. And I don’t think it’s what Paul is saying in these verses in Romans 9. The language he uses (verse 22) suggests that what he is saying – the notion of God creating some to be saved and others to be damned – is hypothetical. Though by virtue of his sovereignty God could have done this, in fact he didn’t. In fact, he acted in Christ to show mercy.

      • Lanny A. Eichert November 20, 2011 at 8:46 am

        hypothetical, NOT this one, Mary. You’re a liar to dispute God’s word that way. Verse 22 is a first class conditional sentence meaning “if and it is true.” Besides if 22 is hypothetical, so is 23 & 24 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? I don’t think you’d go that far, right?

        • Mary Vanderplas November 20, 2011 at 11:33 am

          Even if it isn’t hypothetical, what exactly does Paul say here is the fate of these “objects of wrath”? He says not that they are destroyed but that God has “endured [them] with much patience.” And what is the end result of God’s doing this? It is to make known the riches of God’s mercy. Evidently Paul doesn’t see the wrath of God as being symmetrical to his mercy. For confirmation of this, look at verse 15. Nothing is said here about God’s choosing of some for condemnation, only about God’s choosing to show mercy. Mercy is the dominant note throughout this text. Moreover, this text isn’t about the inclusion or exclusion of individuals; it is about Israel and the place of Israel in God’s plan. This text simply does not support your view of double predestination. On the contrary, if read for what it says, instead of for what you think it says, it affirms God’s merciful, redemptive purposes for his creation.

          • Lanny A. Eichert November 20, 2011 at 3:21 pm

            Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will, and whom he will he hardeneth. {Romans 9: 18} and, Mary, it’d be wise to take Jeremy’s 1:27 pm advise and not think that God UNdoes what He does, since to do so makes God no longer Godly. God hated Esau and hardened Pharaoh’s heart. Both are literal persons and vessels of wrath fitted to destruction. For one, Hebrews 12: 15 – 17 tells us Esau failed the grace of God and was rejected. There’s no (Alice’s) reconciliation there. “Nay but, O women, who art thou that repliest against God?” {Romans 9: 20}

          • Mary Vanderplas November 21, 2011 at 9:08 pm

            Nothing is said in Romans 9 about Esau having “failed the grace of God” and therefore being rejected and sentenced to damnation. What Paul says is that God chose Jacob even before they were born and before they had a chance to do anything that would merit being chosen or not chosen. And his point in including this is not to teach about the fate of individuals, but to emphasize that the basis of the chosen people of God is God’s gracious election, not physical descent. His focus is on Israel and Israel’s place in God’s plan to redeem the world – which is the result of God’s electing grace. Likewise, the reference to Pharaoh isn’t intended to be a statement about Pharaoh’s ultimate damnation, but to show how God sovereignly disposes over history, as one commentator puts it, to fulfill his purpose. And this is set in the framework of God’s mercy (vv. 15-16). There are, in my view, no grounds in this text for arguing a rigid doctrine of predestination by which some (individuals) are chosen for salvation and others are selected for damnation.

          • Lanny A. Eichert November 21, 2011 at 11:06 pm

            Do you mean to tell me Paul didn’t expect his readers to know Esau’s history as told in Hebrews 12: 15 – 17? Do you think people didn’t understand Esau’s inability to repent and didn’t know his rejection until the Epistle to the Hebrews was written? We are talking ancient history even for them, Mary. Hebrews 12: 15 – 17 was written as a matter of known fact rather than a thing proven by the exposition and exegesis of New Testament Scripture: verse 17 begins “For ye know” as a clear statement of factual understanding that the writer assumed of the people.

            Where have you been, Mary? Don’t you have any understanding of the Scriptures? How is it that you think you are a Christian? Doesn’t that evidence you’ve not been born again? Doesn’t the sway Alice has over you demonstrate your lack of stability of Christian doctrine? We who have been born again know what we believe. We’re not like you. You’re not even in the same book, let alone, on the same page as us. That’s why it is so very hard for us to communicate to you: you don’t hear our words, and God knows we are trying hard to tell you the truth, the simple truth. As Jeremy said, you two thrive on confusion. Take to heart the simplicity that is in Christ {2 Corinthians 11: 3} and leave behind everything you complicate; sacrifice it to Jesus, and get saved by receiving Him as a child. How many times do I have to tell you that you are lost and need Jesus to be your Savior.

            • admin November 23, 2011 at 8:16 am

              The sway I have over Mary! Oh please. Mary is level-headed and firmly grounded in what matters, Jesus Christ, crucified and risen so that she might have life – as am I, and Jeremy, and you. Anything outside of this is beyond the “born again” discussion. Peripheral issues, even the really, really important ones, do not give you grounds to say she is not a believer. Here’s what gives you grounds to say someone is not a believe, Lanny: If a person denies that Jesus came from God, that He was crucified and died, and that He rose again so that he or she might have life. Don’t you know that you are kindling God’s anger against yourself by judging continually, by condemning those He has pronounced righteous – and He will intervene at some point to set you straight. I’ve seen it happen, and it is no fun at all. Have some healthy fear in God, Lanny. Have some respect for the idea that He is God and you are not.

          • Mary Vanderplas November 22, 2011 at 8:33 pm

            Where have I been? I’ve been in Romans 9, the text under discussion. And I’ve been reading it for what it actually says. What I haven’t been doing is running to another text in another book, ripping something out of that author’s argument and importing it, jagged and bleeding, into Paul’s argument in order to make him say something that he was not saying. I haven’t been doing this because, indeed, to do this would be to commit textual abuse.

            What Paul’s readers knew about Esau’s history is beside the point. Paul is using the story of Jacob and Esau not to say that Esau was rejected and condemned because of his history. In fact, Paul goes out of his way to say that God’s choosing to extend his promise through Jacob occurred even before he and Esau had a history – “before they had been born or had done anything good or bad” (verse 11). Paul’s focus here is not on the faithfulness or unfaithfulness of these individuals, but on God’s gracious election as the grounds for membership in the chosen people – of which this story is an illustration. The existence of true Israel, the chosen people, Paul is saying, depends on God’s choice, not on biological inheritance (else the line would have passed through Esau).

            It is not the case that Paul is talking here about the salvation or damnation of individuals (or that he is spelling out a doctrine of double predestination). He is, rather, talking about Israel and the role that Israel as God’s chosen people plays in God’s plan for history. To read it in individualistic terms or to read it without taking into account that the dominant note throughout is God’s mercy is to distort its meaning.

            How many times do you have to tell me that I’m lost and need Jesus to save me? Exactly zero, the reason being that I already know I am found. I already know who my Redeemer is.

          • Lanny A. Eichert November 22, 2011 at 11:28 pm

            Israel’s corporate election also involves individual election, Mary; the corporate is composed of many individuals. Two individuals are used in the text and they are individual persons as I must again tell you. Their historical performances are part of the argument as per verse 16’s willeth and runneth, but we have been discussing verse 21 & 22 regarding the Potter’s sovereignty as a supporting subject enclosed within the election subject. Our subject was vessels of wrath fitted to destruction from verse 22. Since it is included in the Scripture doctrine {teaching}, it is only fitting we learn what its inclusion means and not view it lightly, neither the individuals of Esau or Pharaoh, the third individual mentioned. God had no mercy toward Esau and God hardened Pharaoh. They are the two vessels {plural} of wrath here specified in the text that they are fitted for destruction. Inside the context of Israel’s election is God’s sovereign right to make trash and His right to make sure they stay trashy, even to the final state of destruction, and to stop {in verse 20} your voices of objections.

            Now in accordance with {IAW} that last statement: Mary, shut up. Shut up and be satisfied with what God says and stop complaining and manufacturing false objections. That’s what the text says to those lacking understanding.

            How can you know who your Redeemer is if you are not persuaded that He will forever destroy the wicked? That’s a Christian FUNDAMENTAL doctrine. You’re double minded and blown about with Alice’s doctrine. James 1: 8 & 4: 8; and 4: 8 being your invitation to be saved. However you can’t get saved because you think you already are. Can’t you see how double minded you are? Not only this doctrine, but others also. Where’s the solid rock, Mary? Your view of the written Word of God is too mushy to be solid. You’ve got to get to the place of trusting the spelling of every word as intentionally given by God, before you have a firm foundation. You’re not there yet. When you truly get thoroughly saved, you’ll be there instantly. It is not a process: it is an event: it is birthed by the Holy Spirit of God. John 8: 32

          • Lanny A. Eichert November 23, 2011 at 3:48 pm

            Alice, you need to take responsibility for what you have done. That includes Rachel as well as all the others that fall all over you with sickening loving praise on this blog. Reread 2 Peter 2 “who privily shall bring in damnable heresies” and “whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of”. This is your fruit and you want me to count you Christian? You’re sick with hate; burnt by your so called institutional church experience, what happened to your mother and Mary and the rest of your family. Amazing Hope is your false security blanket in your over-reaction to other people’s sins; and you’ve gathered other unstable souls into it. Stop blaming the Holy Spirit and start owning your own sinful heart to this false Amazing Hope. Neither you nor Mary talk like a Christian and you know the rest: what they say about a duck?

            • admin November 24, 2011 at 5:03 pm

              I’m “sick with hate”? Really? What have I said or done that caused you to arrive at this conclusion? I don’t really care what you think about me, Lanny. You know this. But, I’m curious to know your reasons. Why am I “sick with hate”?

          • Mary Vanderplas November 23, 2011 at 10:03 pm

            Of course individuals are impacted by what Paul is talking about in this text. God’s dealings with Israel – and his working to expand his chosen people to include gentiles – has implications for individuals. The issue, though, is whether Paul is here focusing on the fate of each individual – which he is not. His focus, rather, is on how God dealt and continues to deal with Israel in working out his plan for the salvation of the world. As I’ve said already, Paul uses the story of Jacob and Esau to illustrate the point that God’s gracious election is the grounds for belonging to the chosen people. He is not here interested in telling about the fate of these individuals. Likewise, his concern in verses 17 and 18 is not with the fate of Pharaoh as such, but with the God who asserts his sovereign power in human history in order to fulfill his gracious purpose.

            Regarding the reference to “objects of wrath that are made for destruction,” I have said already that I don’t buy into Calvin’s “horrible decree” and that I don’t think this is what Paul is saying here. In the first place, the focus is not on the salvation or damnation of individuals. Also, the text is dominated by God’s mercy, as I’ve noted in previous posts. It is evident from Paul’s discussion that he does not see God’s wrath and God’s mercy as being symmetrical.

            I don’t disagree that God has the right to create some to be saved and some to be damned. But in fact God has not done so. Instead, he has endured with much patience his rebellious creatures, to the end that the riches of his mercy might be made known (22-24).

            Read the text for what it says, not for what you want it to say to support your damnation doctrine. Paul is testifying to the God whose purpose for his creation is mercy and redemption, whose intention from the beginning was to be gracious to all humanity through the chosen people.

          • Lanny A. Eichert November 24, 2011 at 10:02 pm

            “sick with hate”? Alice, we’ve gone over that long, long ago and you said you’ve got good reason to indite the institutional church. Jeremy spotted your hate as obvious behavior, too. There’s no need to discuss the fact. You just need to take action on it. It is eating you alive, as any hate does.

            • admin November 25, 2011 at 3:35 pm

              I don’t hate the people; I hate the system. And I’m not consumed with hate over the system, either. It is joy to me to shine a liberating spotlight on the corruption and suppression of knowledge at work within that system, and my motivation is love and hope for all who are slaves to it.

        • Lanny A. Eichert November 25, 2011 at 5:11 pm

          “The system” didn’t hurt you, but the people who run “the system” burnt you. There you go again impersonalizing: your defense mechanism.

          • admin November 26, 2011 at 10:39 am

            Lanny, the reason that I am able to see you through the eyes of His love, despite judging and condemning, is that I see you as a victim of the system of fear. So, yes, in a sense, the people who run the system do the burning, but what motivates them, the reason why they do what they do, can be attributed back to the system. It’s that “twice the son of Hell” thing Jesus described – what the system does to new believers.

          • Lanny A. Eichert November 26, 2011 at 2:42 pm

            Fear of WHAT? { the system of fear}

            And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. {Matthew 10: 28}

            You think I fear loosing other people’s souls while knowing God’s care for them is the determining factor, not my faithlessness?

            What’s it mean, Alice, to destroy both soul and body in hell? Have you given it thought?

  • Lanny A. Eichert November 19, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    Mary, Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power {2 Thessalonians 1: 9} does not say it is the mere resuly of sin: it says punishment, Mary, and it says everlasting also. When you say, “I have trouble with the notion of heaven and hell as reward and punishment” you say you have trouble believing God’s individual words. I have known that from your responses on this blog, but can you see that? Your problem is with God’s choice of words, just like Alice.

    Alice knows her Amazing Hope depends on “aionios” not being eternal and she cannot therefore afford to admit it means eternal. The problem remains to her that God is contradictory to speak of reconciling all things and yet condemning anything eternally.

    Saving the lost after physical death is a contradiction of eternal “aionios” and cannot be done without making God a liar. I beg you people to believe every word, individual word, of God in context. If you would, then you’d know physical death is the cut-off for salvation.

    • admin November 19, 2011 at 11:13 pm

      The way I see it, my Amazing Hope is based on the accomplished mission of Jesus Christ, and your eternal torment doctrine depends on aionios meaning eternal. If aionios is always translated age, there is no contradiction. If aionios is always translated eternal, then there is contradiction – and that is true of scriptures that have nothing to do with either eternal torment or Christian universalism.

      • Lanny A. Eichert November 20, 2011 at 2:04 am

        Alice, didn’t any one ever teach you there are two words you should not use and they are always and never. What about: The exception proves the rule. You are EXTREMELY unreasonable to force aionios.

        You are EXTREMELY unreasonable to think this highly of yourself: I’m speaking truth and getting slammed by those whose hearts are ruled by the irrational fear that I, a fallible human being, can somehow screw up God’s plans.

        You are EXTREMELY unreasonable to think: that the Spirit of God is speaking truth to me, showing me the difference between truth and tradition.

      • Lanny A. Eichert November 20, 2011 at 3:00 am

        Mark 9: 43 & 45 {fire} depend not on aionios, but on asbestos {unquenchable}.
        Mark 9: 44, 46 & 48 {fire} depend not on aionios, but on οὐ ou {not quenched}.
        Mark 9: 44, 46 & 48 {worm} depend not on aionios, but on οὐ ou {dieth not}.
        Don’t you like eternal wiggling maggots eating human flesh forever in total darkness?

        Revelation 14: 10 depends not on aionios, but on the longevity of the holy angels and the Lamb.

        Alice thinks she has a revelation from God to subvert the holy angels and the Lamb.

      • Lanny A. Eichert November 20, 2011 at 3:25 am

        Mark 9: 45 & 47 use Gehenna, the perpetually burning garbage pit south of Jerusalem as a figure of hell’s fire, certainly not a picture of purification. Dead animals and dead criminals were burned there also. Did God’s Holy Spirit also make Gehenna a place of purifying fire for you especially since we’d guess Jerusalem now uses a more sanitary waste disposal system?

      • Lanny A. Eichert November 20, 2011 at 4:48 am

        Mark 9: 43 also uses Gehenna as a figure of hell’s fire as does Matthew 5: 29 & 30 & 18: 9 in the SAME warning with 18: 8 using εἰς τὸ πῦρ τὸ αἰώνιον into the fire the eternal, that is, into eternal fire. Unquenchable, not quenched, dieth not, and Gehenna’s picture paint an inescapable αἰώνιον meaning of eternal punishment as taught by the Lord Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry. Jesus also taught, “fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” {Matthew 10: 28} that God destroys SOULS in Gehenna hell fire, not converts sinners to Himself using Gehenna hell fire to reduce human rebellion little by little to zero. Any way if that were at all possible, wouldn’t salvation be determined by the human choice of the human will to be humanly humble enough to humanly confess Jesus Christ is Lord while tortured in the Lake of Fire?

        Alice, here you have ten verses of Scripture all about the same discussion all teaching the same thing: eternal punishment and using the word αἰώνιον only once, but in that one time firmly fixing upon it the meaning of eternal, without end. Since God destroys souls in hell He certainly cannot save souls in hell. That is something God is not able to do. That’s the eleventh verse.

    • Mary Vanderplas November 20, 2011 at 6:08 am

      Read in context, the text in 2 Thessalonians 1 is about the persecuted Christians Paul was writing to being vindicated and their suffering avenged in the age to come. The language is similar in tone and function to the harsh language of Revelation – underscoring the justice of God in righting the wrongs against the faithful in the future age. It is not intended as a general statement about the damnation of unbelievers or even as a statement about what God will do to these enemies of his people. It is intended to caution the believing against acting to avenge themselves rather than letting God settle the score.

      • Lanny A. Eichert November 20, 2011 at 6:04 pm

        Mary says: It is not intended as a general statement about the damnation of unbelievers or even as a statement about what God will do to these enemies of his people.

        Mary, that sounds very much like the speech of some one I read speaking in the Garden of Eden. He was subtle, too. What similarities; amazing!

        You misread the Thessalonian believers as ones tending to avenge themselves. They are the least headstrong of the churches and the most receptive to Christian discipleship. They were worthy of suffering for Christ. They needed encouragements, not cautions.

  • Lanny A. Eichert November 19, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    Mary writes what is her idea: It [hell] is, thus, a self-chosen alienation from God and others, not a place. So for Mary hell is a state of human choice and mind, that’s all. She straight forwardly denies it is a place. Beware, people, any time you in frustration withdraw to yourself to escape people and the God who made them, you just entered hell, your own hell, hell of your own making. Since you made it, you also can unmake it and thus escape from any hell that enters your life. You can conquer hell any time you have a mind to do it. Isn’t that so, Mary? Is that orthodoxy?

    • Mary Vanderplas November 20, 2011 at 6:10 am

      I did not say that hell is a state of mind. I said that hell is a state of being cut off from God and others – eternally separated. It is self-chosen in the sense that people choose to rebel against God and turn away from his purposes for human life, which leads them further and further away from God and from being the people they were created to be. In the end, God lets them have their way; this is hell. The biblical language used to talk about hell is non-literal language – images that point to the reality of separation from God, not literal descriptions of the physical characteristics of a place. In your understanding of the biblical texts that refer to hell, how do you reconcile the fact that hell is sometimes described in terms of fire and sometimes as outer darkness? Which is it? Or are there two hells, one fiery and the other dark? The correct answer is “neither, these are symbols of the horror of being separated from God.” Stop twisting my words in order to paint me as a heretic. Pay attention to the biblical writers’ use of symbolic language to express truth that is beyond the categories of space and time.

      • Lanny A. Eichert November 20, 2011 at 8:14 am

        You came awfully close, then, to just a state of mind.

        Mary, you ask me: how do I reconcile the fact that hell is sometimes described in terms of fire and sometimes as outer darkness?

        Above I wrote two posts above showing a fiery black Lake of Fire. Didn’t you ever think upon what they stand, sit, lay, or lean: nothing, just empty space. They have no spacial reference. They have no up, down, left, right, forward, or backward. You have a problem with fire that doesn’t produce light?

        November 17, 2011 at 5:33 am

        The lost are imprisoned in the Lake of Fire 20: 15 & 21: 8 & 22:15 not meaning they are just outside the city walls of the New Jerusalem. They are a long, long way away: there’s no reference to them seeing the city. In fact, the place of the lost although burning is described as blackness and darkness, a place of vastness because they wander without ever contacting any one, solitary confinement without spacial limits. See 2 Peter and Jude. They are adrift in the darkness of (space) emptiness, black infinite burning emptiness. They’ll yell and scream without anybody to hear them, no response from anyone, not even God. They didn’t want God in this life, so God gives them just that in the after life: no God for conversation ever again.

        Do you see why they cannot be redeemed in the after life? There’s no conversation with God: He gave them over to their own desire: no God. The fool says in his heart, there is no God, so God removes Himself from them according to their desires. Any one who believes the wrong thing says in his heart there is no God and that’s what he gets for all of eternity: no God.

        Psalm 106: 15 And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.

        November 19, 2011 at 3:32 am

        Why are so many on this blog site stressed to think eternal damnation is a destructive doctrine? It is an accepted Biblical doctrine, I mean, in the Holy Bible it is an ACCEPTED fact of human existence: the possibility of a person’s eventual eternal reality. Why is it repulsive that God wins when the majority of humanity is placed in the solitary eternal torment they deserve for rebelling against God’s glory? Why do you raise the issue of a soul cast into the fire for merely believing the wrong thing as if it is somehow wrong for God to do that? Is God responsible for any man’s singular sin? Does God not have the right to destroy the man who does not fulfil the purpose and conduct God planned for the human race? Aren’t we all disobedient to that purpose and conduct because of Adam and Eve? Doesn’t God have the right as our Creator to eternally destroy us all because we have fallen short of the glory of God that He intended for us to have and display in character and deed? Don’t we all want to do everything our own way and not have to be limited to God’s way? We want our independence, don’t we? So since that’s the way we want it, what is wrong with God saying, have it your way? You don’t know it means total darkness, do you? It means life without God, without light, without love, without goodness, without companionship, without life itself. Where will God place such persons? Well He made a place for rebellious angels, so He chose to place them there also. Look how careful He is that they endure their alienation before His holy angels and before the Lamb, but not before His saints for whom He prepared better things. God’s attention to all details of existence, whether they be of miserable existence or of blessed existence, is everlastingly faithful. He keeps both worlds separated: for how can light and darkness mingle? In faithfulness He superintends their destruction, but no longer He nor angels heed their voices: they wanted no God, and no God they got. They wanted no light and God gave them no light: nothing of Himself, nothing at all, no more mercy, no more grace: no more salvation.

        God cannot save these kind of persons, so why is the truth of eternal damnation a destructive hurtful doctrine?

        • Sarah November 25, 2011 at 7:32 pm

          “God cannot save these kind of persons” ?! CANNOT? Putting limitations on God, are you?

          • Lanny A. Eichert November 25, 2011 at 8:38 pm

            “fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” {Matthew 10: 28}

            You think that’s an idle threat, Sarah?

            Jesus says right there that God destrys SOULS in hell.

  • Mary Vanderplas November 20, 2011 at 11:37 am

    A “fiery black Lake of Fire.” Why of course – why didn’t I think of that? What I have trouble with is your insistence on taking literally these symbols of reality that transcends spatial and temporal categories.

    • Jeremy November 20, 2011 at 1:40 pm

      Mary,

      I take the descriptions of hell somewhat metaphorically, in this sense…scripture/Jesus is describing something that is so horrible that it can only be described in terms of fire, darkness, gnashing of teeth and weeping. In other words…hell sucks and you don’t want to go there. On the flip side scripture/Jesus describe heaven in terms that don’t do justice to how great/beautiful it is such as, streets of gold, perfect cube, fruitful trees, light, peace, no weeping, etc. Therefore the horror of hell and the glory of heaven is not dismissed by a literal or metaphorical reading. I think the metaphorical reading is far more intense than a literal reading.

      I ask myself, what was Jesus trying to communicate? Hell sucks and you don’t want to go there. Heaven is glorious…choose heaven by choosing me. Both are eternal…thus he chose the word “aionion” instead of leaving it out or supplanting it with a word that would have communicated temporal reality to his hearers.

      I am not interested in what Alice thinks “aionion” means to her but what Jesus knew it would mean to his original hearers. They got the point and knew that he meant forever.

  • Lanny A. Eichert November 21, 2011 at 3:26 am

    Alice, Jeremy, JUSTICE IS RIGHTEOUSNESS and the same word is translated either way in both Hebrew and Greek, both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament.

    O God of my righteousness {Psalm 4: 1} and {1 Corinthians 1: 30} But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption. {also see Jeremiah 23: 6 & 33: 16 the LORD our Righteousness}

    Alice has no problem with God supplying His righteousness to His saints in substitution for the saints’ filthy “righteousness.”

    God is Justice.

    I have no problem with that, why do you, Alice? You make a mountain from a mole hill.

    • Jeremy November 21, 2011 at 3:16 pm

      Because they thrive on causing confusion. It is a semantics game. You made exactly my point Lanny thank you. God is justice. This isn’t difficult to see from scripture. God is peace, joy, goodness, righteousness, judge…justice. She can see that but she wants a scripture that says “God is justice” Like wanting a scripture that says “God is trinity.” There are truths taught in scripture that don’t have to be stated by direct statements to be understood. But once again she thrives on causing confusion

    • admin November 22, 2011 at 8:51 am

      I have a problem with that, because it elevates an action of God, a temporary and necessary action, above an attribute of God – one of His eternally self-existant qualities. When there is no such thing as sin, justice will be irrelevant, but love will never be irrelevant. Love is inherently eternal because God IS love. Similarly, God IS light. Darkness doesn’t even exist, scientifically, because it is defined by the amount of light (little, less, even less than that, but darkness never has a measure of its own). When all is light and life, darkness and death is “swallowed up”. It has no place, it is effectively, nonexistent. Without sin, what purpose does justice serve? What place does justice have? How can one measure justice, if there is never an occasion to exercise it? Yet love does not lose its significance. Love doesn’t need an unloving opposite in order to matter. Do you see how Who God is affects us to the core? How Who God is is the basis for reality itself?

      • Lanny A. Eichert November 22, 2011 at 12:26 pm

        And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness [was] upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

        Alice, tell me about Genesis 1: 2.

        • Lanny A. Eichert November 22, 2011 at 11:50 pm

          In case you didn’t “get it,” Alice: love without works is dead, just like faith without works is dead, so love without necessary action, that is, just mere attribute, is dead, what you have is then God is love, love is dead, God is dead.

          If you must have action, remember we do not exist without God sustaining us and the same is true of the wicked even in eternity. Does God’s justice continue to work when the last enemy is destroyed? Yes, certainly God sustains and maintains the wicked in the Lake of Fire, that is, God remains actively engaged in His righteousness, actively doing a righteous act of justice by maintaining their eternal sentence. Is death destroyed? It was cast into the Lake of Fire. Where are all the dead? In the Lake of Fire. What activity happens in the Lake of Fire? Is anybody dying any further than they are already dead? No. Death is incapacitated. Does death still exist? Yes. Can death be annihilated? No. Does that mean it is not destroyed? No. Destroyed means incapacitated. Alice, you once admitted death is not annihilated. It doesn’t just cease to exist, yet that’s what you seemingly are nearly promoting: “it is effectively nonexistent.” Now I have an incapacitated death in the Lake of Fire and “it is effectively” ineffective to cause further harm, but not nonexistent.

          Now I remember Jeremy tried to remind you that God has an appointed day of Judgment Acts 17: 31 & 2 Peter 3: 7, but you want to undo God’s judgment and have them saved in the Lake of Fire by God’s forceful and graceful reconciliation so they can escape to the blessedness of the New Jerusalem. You do that by un-personalizing death so you can deny the Lake of Fire destroys death and you also do that by denying the eternality of forever. Both are deceitful arguments, denying God knows how to choose His words as they were contemporary at the time of writing and that God is incapable of preserving His text through the years.

          For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea. For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. {2 Corinthians 1: 19 & 20} That includes eternal punishment, as does {2 Peter 2: 9} The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished. That chapter ends with the sow that was washed is turned again to her wallowing in the mire, so what makes you think God will save them in the Lake of Fire? God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? Number 23: 19 He will make His word good that He promised eternal damnation to the wicked, even the person who believed the wrong thing having never heard the right thing.

          • admin November 23, 2011 at 7:45 am

            Lanny – “Does death still exist? Yes. Can death be annihilated? No. Does that mean it is not destroyed? No. Destroyed means incapacitated. Alice, you once admitted death is not annihilated. It doesn’t just cease to exist, that that’s what you seemingly are nearly promoting: ‘it is effectively nonexistant.’ Now I have an incapacitated death in the Lake of Fire and ‘it is effectively’ ineffective to cause further harm, but not nonexistant.”

            God – “Death is swallowed up in victory… Death will be NO MORE…”

            Lanny – “…denying…that God is incapable of preserving His text through the years.”

            I never said God was “incapable” of preserving the text. I simply assert that He chose not to, that He allowed it to be flawed enough that people must rely on His Spirit and search, like searching for the treasure buried in the field. Why else would there be a warning in Revelation, to not take away or add to the text? God already knew and purposed that the text would be manipulated.

        • admin November 23, 2011 at 8:06 am

          Have you ever read Genesis and the Big Bang? It is a very interesting book. I don’t agree with everything it says, but I know that it does contain some truth. Of course, you will probably dismiss the whole book the moment you see one little thing that goes against your fundamentals, but if you can “test everything” and “hold on to what is good”, you might gain a larger understanding of the spiritual implications of the creative acts of God.

      • Lanny A. Eichert November 22, 2011 at 7:50 pm

        Love doesn’t need an opposite in order to matter, you say, but I say, it does need an object of affection which then makes love an action. Love without works is dead, just like faith without works is dead. Your Who God is argument fails. I’m taking my que from Jeremy, besides I said the same thing about death quite a while ago, that it cannot exist without a person: it is not merely a “personless” power, so that the destruction of death is the destruction {incapacitation} of all persons who possess death by the placing them in the eternal Lake of Fire. Now that’s justice, or in other words, God’s righteousness in action. JUSTICE IS RIGHTEOUSNESS, Alice. God is righteousness and God is justice: it is all the same word.

        Now how about Genesis 1: 2 and not just that one verse, but all the way through verse 13. What purpose did darkness serve in the world before sin entered it and remember God saw that it was good before He put the lights in the celestial sky and even afterwards until Adam and Eve sinned? “When all is light and life” before the creation, why is the beginning of creation in the darkness and why the evenings? Answer that, Alice.

        Furthermore think about these darkness verses, God’s darkness:

        He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies. Psalm 18: 11

        Clouds and darkness are round about him: righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne. Psalm 97: 2

        Then spake Solomon, The LORD said that he would dwell in the thick darkness. 1 Kings 8: 12

        • admin November 23, 2011 at 8:03 am

          Love having an object of affection, which makes love an action – sure, I agree with this. If you want to go on believing that death is merely incapacitated, not eliminated, so be it. If you think victory over death means relegating those under its power to eternal prison, so be it. But in my opinion, you detract from God’s glory by insisting on this less than stellar victory. Regarding Genesis, God’s plan is always, ultimately good. God’s plan also includes the existence of sin. This is obvious. Just look at the circumstances of the cross for a clear example of how this works. I don’t believe that sin first entered into creation in the Garden. Perhaps that is when sin entered man, but not creation, otherwise, there would have been no temptation. The idea of rebelling against God’s will existed outside of and independent from the Garden, and it was introduced into the Garden. I don’t have all the answers, Lanny, especially about pre-human existence and the like. At some point in the ever-regressing argument, you have to use the common sense of the Spirit and say God is good, God is love, in Him there is no darkness, God is Light, Death is no more, etc. Maybe not in this lifetime, though. Thankfully for you, God will not give up on you, He will continue with you until you understand His character. And to know Him is to love Him, because He is so amazing. His plans are better than we could ever ask or imagine.

          • Lanny A. Eichert November 23, 2011 at 6:48 pm

            You don’t answer why God began the creation with darkness when there was no sin. “When all is light and life” where God is and no sin is, how can God begin creation in darkness? Why did God have to say, let there be light if in His presence “all is light and life?” This is BEFORE there was even a garden. What about the three verses {Psalm 18: 11; 97: 2; & 1 Kings 8: 12} of God’s darkness?

            Am I supposed to understand you to mean before God even made heaven and earth, sin existed with the presence of God? Are you having the existence of sin without any person attached to it or are you hinting of a creation of angels before the creation of heaven and earth or are you hinting of a gap between verse 1 & 2 in which the angels ruled the waterless earth that God destroyed by water?

            Detract from God’s glory? And what do you think you do when God so prizes His written Word and you say He chose not to preserve its written form, especially choosing to reveal it only by the searching of it by a few twenty-first century nut cases who think they have gotten the Holy Spirit? That’s as cultic as can be, Alice, and you need to flee from it immediately. Open your eyes!!! That’s exactly where Seventh Day Adventism began in the 19th century and you want to go right back to that era with their 19th century Biblical text and commentaries, because you suspect the 20th century church of perversion of doctrine and the Biblical text. You don’t believe in God’s glory more than you believe in your own glory. Flee this “Enlightenment” cult, flee from it.

            • admin November 24, 2011 at 5:01 pm

              What cult? The only leader is Jesus Christ, Himself. Are you calling Jesus a cult-leader? Should I flee from Jesus Christ?

          • Lanny A. Eichert November 23, 2011 at 8:40 pm

            The idea of rebelling against God’s will existed, you say, outside of and independent from the Garden. Alice, how can such an idea exist without a MIND? Whose mind held the idea of rebelling against God? God had that idea, didn’t He, since He was the only mind before creation?

            Where do we go from there? God then is the Originator of the concept of sin. All sin originates in the mind of God. If God didn’t exist, sin would not exist. Sin is God’s fault. God has a perverted mind. God is mentally ill. God is insane. God is incapable of good judgment. God is just another Hitler reincarnated. Germany will rule the world. The pure race will dominate the whole world and everybody will be saved by the Hitler-God. Long live insanity!!!

            What really is the truth? Doesn’t your Amazing Hope push the issues to the origin of sin? Isn’t that the core issue? Jeremy said free will and you objected. Your corrent answer: “I don’t have all the answers, especially about pre-human existence and the like.” Yet you claim sin pre-existed humanity and your claim is without explanation.

            Look, Adam and Eve were first without sin. Satan tempted them, so Satan had contracted sin somewhere. How was this idea of sin in the mind of Satan? Did he get the idea from God or did Satan once have a free will? What does it mean: Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. {Ezekiel 28: 15}

            • admin November 24, 2011 at 4:56 pm

              I don’t know how sin originated. I just know it originated prior to the Garden, that’s all. There is no “tempter” unless sin already exists, at the very least, as a concept in the tempter’s mind. Isn’t it obvious that the idea of sin was INTRODUCED to Adam and Eve? It’s the perfect set-up. You can eat from all the trees except this one. And then along comes the tempter, suggesting they eat from that particular tree. It is not as if God didn’t know exactly what He was doing as this situation unfolded. It was orchestrated and purposeful. God wasn’t taken by surprise at their sin.

  • Rachel November 21, 2011 at 8:35 am

    Lanny, God is love. I have no problem with that. Why do you?

  • Jeremy November 24, 2011 at 11:05 am

    Alice you say: Jeremy, the religious leaders in Jesus’ day justified their murdering Him because:

    “1. be ancient…can it be drawn back to the early church and scripture (eternal punishment can).” – They had knowledge of the ancient law and the prophets.

    “2. is it generally universally believed…the Catholic, protestant and eastern orthodox all ecumenically believe in eternal punishment.” – They agreed with one another, nearly unanimously.

    ” 3. General consent of the laity…that is what do the non-professionals believe.” – And the crowd chanted, “Crucify Him!”

    What about deciding on core Christian teaching because the Spirit of God does a miracle inside every believer – even the ones who have never read a BIble or exposure to “how the patronistic fathers” chose to explain things? Ugh. I hate RELIGION. It’s so freaking pompous. Barf.

    You are using the Vincentian Canon completely wrong. Once again you always turn to confusion. We are talking about core Christian teaching not particular events in history. A couple things:

    1. I never said everything the orthodox/traditional/intsitutional Church does in history has been right. Only a fool would make a claim like that. Nor is it perfect.

    2. The Vincetian Canon is not used for a specific event but for core Christian beleifs ie judgment/punishment/life etc. However, even your incorrect use of the Vincentian Canon brings up some counterpoints to what you say. First, you can not claim that all Jews or Jewish leaders chose to kill Jesus. The diaspora didn’t have a say in it. Not all Jews of all times would have or did kill the prophets of God and there were sufficient amount of defenders of the prophets. Your argument here just breaks down.

    3. The Canon is for cor Christian teachings. a) the Church everywhere (Catholic, Protestant, E. Orth.) affirm the doctrine of Hell an eternal punishment. b) the Church has always taught this and a linear line can be drawn back to scripture c) Most all believers have and do affirm the doctrine of hell and eternal punishment. Therefore the burden of proof is soley on you before the Lord.

    4. Your very words and actions convict you. I find it so interesting that you and folks that think like you do not belong to the Christian Church. You have excommuncated yourselves from the community of faith. You ascribe “Church” to some metaphysical spirituality club. It has never been reduced to only that in scripture, the early Church or throughout Church history. The Church has always gathered, conducted worship together, held bishops, presbyters, deacons; shared in the sacraments etc. You not being part of this is a loud warning to all. Perhaps you haven’t remained because you could not find a pastoral shepherd who would allow you to mislead his sheep with this nonsense. He/she was protecting her flock from a schismatic who does not accept correction and is not teachable perhaps. I do not think the Church is the problem…I think it is you.

    5. As for your dislike of words like “orthodox”, “tradition” etc. You don’t like these things because they don’t agree with you. You can not spread this nonsense if they are present. However, experience has taught me that once the novelty of this nonsense you are teaching wears off, and the uninformed sheep of Christ dabble in it for awhile, they are back in the true Church being mended and healed. People learn that they are following the interpretations of ONE person…an Alice and not the Universal, Historical Church. That anchors them…not some post modern, New Age, self ordained schismatic who undermines the Church of Christ that he has established.

    6. You hate religion because it does not give you a free license to teach whatever the heck you want. You speak of arrogance? It is glaringly obvious that the arrogant one here is YOU. A person that scoffs at what the Church teaches and acts as though they alone have it all figured out and don’t need anyone else. The patristic fathers are full of records of people acting exactly the way you are, from Ignatius on. All heresies begin with a sole interpreter who tries to convince people that separated from the Church they have the single right interpretation and then have to dismiss the Church because the Church by its nature protects the core Christian teachings.

    7. You may receive more respect if you hadn’t divorced yourself from the Church. But your actions say a lot.

    • admin November 24, 2011 at 4:49 pm

      Well, Jeremy, now that I know exactly how you feel about me, let me tell you what I think of you. You are to be commended for your zeal, for your concern for others, and your desire to set me straight. Now wash your hands and pronounce me “anathema” (dedicated to God). Since God has not put you in charge of saving everyone who crosses paths with me, your conscience can be clear. I’m not going to bother with a point by point argument on this, even though I could, because most of the accusing you have done is aimed at me, personally, as opposed to a more productive conversation (opposition/rebuttal regarding scripture, salvation, etc – important stuff). My response would mainly consist of ME defending MYSELF, my intentions, etc. But this is not about me. And since God has already declared me righteous, since God already approves of me and of this blog, I’ll leave that between you and HIM. I don’t care about earning your respect or approval. If I really am an “arrogant” “self ordained schismatic who undermines the Church of Christ” then why are you not taking the advice of this so-called “authority” to which you appeal so strongly? In other words, why are you reading and commenting on heresy? Aren’t you NOT ALLOWED to do that? Shouldn’t you, according to your tradition and your leaders, have nothing to do with me?

  • Jeremy November 24, 2011 at 11:20 am

    May I also add that this reminds me very much of the Arian contreversy, not the content but the style. Arius had some very good and reasonable interpretive arguments from scripture to support his beliefs. However, the fathers/mothers were not interested in Arius’ interpretations (as good as they sounded) but they were interested in “what was the faith of Jesus Christ, the apostles, the early fathers?” What was the faith of the apostles? What did they believe? What was handed down to the Church? What was handed down and firmly protected as truth from the apostles to their day? What is the faith of the Church? Not what is the faith of Alice.

  • Lanny A. Eichert November 24, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    I’m so thankful that Jeremy is knowledgably able to confront your errors that I don’t. Happy Thanksgiving Day and happier it’d be if you’d all take heed, Alice, Mary, and the rest of YOUR sheeple. There is simplicity in Christ: 2 Corinthians 11: 3. Focus on it, not your excuses by men’s sins.

    But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

    • Lanny A. Eichert November 24, 2011 at 1:43 pm

      May I also add again, Alice, that you need to take the responsibility for what you have done in perverting others as well as yourself. You need to STOP this foolishness immediately, restudy, and be ready to reteach your sheeple true Christianity. That’s, of course, assuming you are really born again. The danger of Hebrews 6: 4 – 6 & 10: 25, 26 is very real in your case as it is with your sheeple including Mary.

      For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

      For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

      • admin November 24, 2011 at 4:28 pm

        Sheeple. That’s funny. Have you ever willfully sinned, since the day/hour you believed, Lanny?

  • Collision of Souls (Dennis Brown) November 24, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    Free will? Hmmm. So because we’re making puny choices within time we have free will? How about this?

    ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’

    Jesus, One with the Father, emphatically and with a determinant, unconditional and unchanging stance, makes it clear that (even) the ultimate rejection of Christ can only bring forth what?

    Forgiveness!

    Jesus, One with the Father makes it clear, that (even) in the ultimate rejection of Christ this forgiveness is granted why?

    Because they know NOT WHAT THEY DO!

    Our Father forgiveness us because the rejection is NEVER, EVER an action from a ‘free will’, but from a will in bondage. We forgiven you, because you are in bondage and you don’t know what you are doing.

    This is the unchanging, unconditional nature of our Father and the Anointed Christ.

    I will leave you with a scripture from Luke 6:35 which displays that very nature

    But love your enemies, do good, and lend, HOPING FOR NOTHING IN RETURN(emphasis mine); and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.

    Did Father give us Himself because He was hoping for something back from us? This is a revelatory and decisive ‘NO!’ Why? For His nature is kind to the unthankful and evil. Can you discern this?

    • Lanny A. Eichert November 24, 2011 at 2:34 pm

      For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. {Hebrews 6: 4 – 6}

      IMPOSSIBLE, Dennis, impossible. Can you discern this?

      • Sarah November 25, 2011 at 11:51 am

        With God ALL THINGS are POSSIBLE! Lanny, your attidude STINKS!!!

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