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

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

In his book, Erasing Hell, Francis Chan writes,

The one thing all Christian Universalists agree upon is that after death there will be another chance (or an endless string of chances) to choose Jesus.  The Universalist view depends upon it.  So we need to wrestle with all the postmortem second-chance passages to see if they actually teach this view.  The problem is, there aren’t any passages that say this.  No passage in the Bible says that there will be a second chance after death to turn to Jesus.

The implications of Chan’s statement are so far reaching that I literally could write an entire book in response.  First, is it true that all Christian Universalists agree upon this one idea?  Second, does the Universalist view stand or fall on this single concept?  Third, does anyone, including believers, ever “choose” Jesus?  Fourth, is it true that there are no scriptures supporting postmortem salvation?  And probably the most important question of all – is there such thing as a “first” chance for salvation?

For the sake of brevity, I’ll skip past the first and second questions with only a brief comment, that is, no, not all Christian Universalists agree upon this one idea, and, no, the Christian Universalist view does not stand or fall on this single concept.  Here’s the one idea that all Christian Universalists agree upon, the one concept upon which not only Christian Universalism, but salvation itself, stands or falls – that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world.

In this blog, I will address the third question: Does anyone, including believers, ever “choose” Jesus?  Let’s suppose the answer to this question is yes, as Chan implies, that some people “choose” Jesus in this life, while other’s don’t.  If this is true, then we must consider something else.  Why do some people believe while others don’t?   What quality do believers possess that unbelievers do not?  Were the believers smarter, more willing, or more humble?  What caused them to believe?  These are very important questions, because they make the difference between one’s claim of instigating their own faith or God’s claim as the author and finisher of faith.  Some people may wonder why this difference is important.  Why does it matter how salvation happens as long as it happens?  If you would like to consider these ideas further, then read the following blogs: Does God Command Us to Do the Impossible?, A Great Chess Player, Volunteer for Slavery, Picking the Petals Off of Tulips, and Amazed Exceedingly.

I disagree wholeheartedly with Chan’s assertion that anyone chooses Jesus.  Paul says in Romans 3,

There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away…

and in Ephesians 1,

He did choose us… having foreordained us… according to the good pleasure of His will… having made known to us… according to His good pleasure, that He purposed in Himself… being foreordained according to the purpose of Him who the all things is working according to the counsel of His will…

How anyone can read these scriptures and think that he or she turned toward God, searched for salvation, chose Jesus, or had the will to believe, is beyond me.  Furthermore, Jesus said,

Ye did not choose out me, but I chose out you…

…no one is able to come unto me, if the Father who sent me may not draw him…

…there are certain of you who do not believe… Because of this I have said to you – No one is able to come unto me, if it may not have been given him from my Father.

Chan says that a person chooses Jesus, but Jesus claims this decision, this work, for Himself.  A common altar call at church is announced with the plea, “Come to Jesus”.  Yet Jesus says that unless the Father draws someone, he or she is not ABLE to come.  They literally CAN’T come to Jesus.  Chan (and the majority of church-going believers) paints this vivid picture for his readers, to summarize this section about no second chances:

How scary this is for those who will find themselves on the other side of the door wanting to come in, banging and begging, wishing they had made some different choices while they had the opportunity.

Chan assumes here that anyone who does not believe in this earthly lifetime has “had the opportunity”.  Jesus said something about those who did not believe, about the reason they did not believe.  It had nothing at all to do with “choosing”.  It had everything to do with opportunity.  He said that it was not “given [to them] from the Father”.  Do you see the difference?  What if the Father, as part of His Plan of the Ages, according to His sovereign will, has decided to reconcile them to Himself, “each in his own order” (1 Cor 15:23)?  What if the reason believing is not “given” to unbelievers “from the Father” is that the Father brings in the harvest in stages?

Chan’s imaginary after-life scene presupposes that those who are inside are there because THEY chose Jesus.  But Who is in charge of the “choosing” in salvation according to Jesus?

The next couple of blogs will address these questions: Is it true that there are no scriptures supporting postmortem salvation?  And is there such thing as a “first” chance for salvation?

Next blog in this series: One of Chan’s Missing Scriptures

Comments
  • Lanny A. Eichert November 24, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    Remember to limit your use of these verses to the context: don’t stretch them beyond whom they were spoken or written to or about.

    Be fair and ask the other “what if” questions and know that is all hypothetical from your human angry bias.

  • Mary Vanderplas November 25, 2011 at 5:48 am

    I agree that we do not first choose God and that in fact, slaves to sin that we are, we cannot choose God. Rather, God chose us to receive his saving grace. However, I do not agree that we have nothing at all to do, that our will is, as it were, completely swallowed up by God. I think that the Bible makes clear that we have a responsibility to respond to God’s gracious gift, to say “yes” to what God has done in Christ to set us free from sin for new life. This is a decision that we make and indeed are called to make. God does not compel it. Do we do this on our own? No. The Holy Spirit enables our response. But, I believe, it is we who make it; we choose the One who has chosen us. Augustine prayed: “We could not seek thee, if thou hadst not already found us.”

    As I’ve said before, I can appreciate your fierce desire to preserve the absolute sovereignty of God in saving us. And I agree that any affirmation that sees salvation as hinging on our initiative in turning to God, to Christ, is not true to the biblical witness. But I also think that any affirmation of God’s sovereignty in salvation that precludes human responsibility does not do justice to what the Bible says. For every text that affirms God’s absolute sovereignty in choosing and saving us – and there are a number of them, I agree – there is at least one that affirms human responsibility. It is a paradox that runs through scripture, the two affirmations existing side by side with no effort on the part of the biblical writers to harmonize them.

    So, my response to the question you pose is that salvation is God’s choice absolutely, a choice that, paradoxically, we must choose to accept.

  • Sarah November 25, 2011 at 11:53 am

    From what I read from some of these posters on here, they believe that they save themselves by “believing”. If we have to “choose” to accept, we are in essence “saving” ourselves! If that’s the case then why do we need a Savior?

    • Mary Vanderplas November 25, 2011 at 5:21 pm

      We need a Savior because we can’t save ourselves. Through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God acted to save us. How is choosing to receive what God in Christ has done for us “in essence ‘saving’ ourselves”? How is saying “yes” to God’s gracious gift not acknowledging that we need a Savior?

      To be sure, we don’t choose on our own. And we who believe are aware (in retrospect) that it is because we have been chosen that we have come to believe. But it is nonetheless we who do the believing, we who receive the gift of his saving grace. To say anything other than this is, in my view, to reduce us to less than the free and responsible agents that God created us to be. And to say that we are purely passive in the matter, compelled to say “yes”, fails to account for the many texts – of which John 3:16 is an example – that emphasize human responsibility when it comes to recognizing and receiving what God in Christ has done for us.

  • Sisterlisa November 25, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    Great article, Alice..and good point, Sarah.

    • Sarah November 25, 2011 at 6:36 pm

      Thanks, Sisterlisa 🙂

    • admin November 26, 2011 at 10:40 am

      Thanks! And thanks for reading.

  • Sarah November 25, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    Because “choosing” is a form of “works”! For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that (faith)not of yourselves, it is the gift of God not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

    • Mary Vanderplas November 25, 2011 at 7:25 pm

      Believing/choosing is a response to God’s grace – not a “work” that earns God’s acceptance of us. Salvation is not a human achievement, but God’s gift – that’s what this text is saying. Choosing/believing is part of the gift, but to affirm this does not mean that we are not responsible.

      • Sarah November 25, 2011 at 7:38 pm

        So Mary, do you believe that you are “saved” and that when you die, you are going to Heaven? If you do believe that you’re “saved”, how did you get “saved”? By “responding” and “accepting” on your own with no outside help? Responding and accepting are both forms of works.

        • Mary Vanderplas November 25, 2011 at 9:40 pm

          Through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God acted to save the world. That’s how I “got saved.” My believing didn’t and doesn’t secure my salvation. It is not a work that I do in an effort to earn God’s favor. It is a necessary response to what God has done for me – a response that the Holy Spirit enables me to make.

          • Sarah November 25, 2011 at 11:00 pm

            @ Mary So you’re saying that “believing” is a necessary response?

          • Mary Vanderplas November 26, 2011 at 6:23 am

            Yes. It’s what the Bible says. We must respond in faith to the Good News of God’s grace in Christ. The text you cited – Ephesians 2:8-9 – says precisely this: “For by grace you have been saved through faith…” It is not our works that save us, but trusting in what God in Christ has done for us. The trusting as well as the event of God’s act in Christ is of God – “this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God – not the result of works, so that no one may boast.” As a believer, I recognize (in retrospect, i.e., after I have come to trust in God’s grace in Christ securing my salvation) that even my believing is not something I do on my own, an achievement in which I may boast, but the gift of God. But this does not exclude human responsibility for responding in faith to what God has done.

          • Sarah November 26, 2011 at 9:16 am

            The Bible also says that EVERYONE eventually will believe…

          • Mary Vanderplas November 26, 2011 at 11:42 am

            There are texts that suggest this, I agree. There are other texts, though, that suggest that some will persist in their rebellion. In any event, if it is the case that in the end everyone believes, it won’t be because God compels them, determining their will; rather, it will be because God wins them.

            You and I obviously see this whole thing differently. You are free to disagree with me, of course, as I am to disagree with you. That’s because we are free and responsible agents who make decisions and who are not compelled when it comes to the choices we make about what to believe (or whom to trust) and what not to believe.

            I would be interested to know, though, what you do with all of the texts that make clear the human responsibility when it comes to responding to God’s act in Christ – texts such as Acts 16:31, to name just one. It would seem to me that these texts are nonsense, if, as you seem to believe, no response is required on our part to what God has done for us.

  • Sarah November 25, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    Call it what you want, “believing” and “choosing” are WORKS! We can’t come to God on our own, but by the Holy Spirit!

    • Lanny A. Eichert November 26, 2011 at 8:12 pm

      When you get bitten by a snake, you get an anti venom shot. Did you save yourself or did the anti venom save you? Did you save yourself by deciding to go to the doctor’s office and get the shot? Deciding to receive Jesus as personal Lord and personal Savior is as Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. {John 6: 29} The subject of the verb to believe is YOU. Jesus didn’t say the work of God was giving you faith to believe, but He told them THEY needed to believe Him.

      And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived. {Numbers 21: 7 & 8; John 3: 14 & 12: 32} And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

      Is looking a “work” Sarah? How did they have the ability to look, Sarah, did their ability to look come from God; or did they save themselves because they were able to look? When God saw them look, God saw their faith, and then did God save them or did they save themselves, or do you have another explanation?

      Sarah, don’t forget the order of events. Faith comes from hearing and hearing comes from the Word of God. How is this faith a gift of God? First part of the gift is the preaching of the Gospel, second part is the hearing the preaching, third part is the believing the hearing of it. {Romans 10: 13 – 17; especially 14}

      For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. {verse 13} Whosoever must do the calling IAW the Word of God to be saved.

      • Sarah November 27, 2011 at 9:17 pm

        Very bad analogy. Anti venom is not available to everyone who is bitten by a snake, therefore they have no option to receive the venom and then they die from the poison.

        • Lanny A. Eichert November 27, 2011 at 9:38 pm

          So in the analogy those to whom it is not available are those who never heard the gospel preached, but they have the light of creation, Psalm 19, and have not responded, so God was not obligated to send them a preacher. Had they positively responded to the witness of creation, God, as the most faithful of all missionaries, would have insured they had a missionary preacher of the Gospel.

          So in the missionary heart of God, every one has access to the anti venom, because it is His responsibility which He takes upon Himself not willing that any should perish. The analogy doesn’t fail.

          • Sarah November 27, 2011 at 9:59 pm

            Actually, yes it does! There are people by the billions who have died never even hearing the name of Jesus Christ!

          • Sarah November 27, 2011 at 10:11 pm

            So Lanny, do you believe that infants and the mentally disabled who die go to your version of “hell” to be tortured forever?

        • Lanny A. Eichert November 27, 2011 at 10:28 pm

          I’ll leave that one, your 10:11 pm question, to God who does all things perfectly.

          • Sarah November 27, 2011 at 11:26 pm

            You should heed your own advice and leave not only the one question, but ALL the questions to God and stop being so judgemental!

        • Lanny A. Eichert November 27, 2011 at 10:35 pm

          There are people by the billions who have died never even hearing the name of Jesus Christ!

          You have a problem with them deserving eternal damnation? I don’t. They are vessels of wrat fitted for destruction. Romans 9: 22

          Are you going to instruct the Potter? Or judge the Potter?

          • Sarah November 27, 2011 at 11:30 pm

            I’m sure you DON’T have a problem with anyone and everyone in the whole world deserving “eternal damnation” as long as it’s not your self!! You’re extremely selfish and self-centered!

        • Lanny A. Eichert November 28, 2011 at 2:49 am

          Why are you calling the analogy “very bad” when it is God’s analogy?

          {Numbers 21: 7 & 8; John 3: 14 & 12: 32} And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

          Look and live, my brother live. Look to Jesus now and live. It’s recorded in God’s Word, Hallelujah! It is only that you look and live.

          The first line of the song: I’ve a message from the Lord, Hallelujah! The message unto you I give.

          It is a warning and salvation message and you say, You’re extremely selfish and self-centered!

          That’d be true if I kept silent, but Jesus said, “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}

          People need to be warned God destroys SOULS and bodies in hell when they don’t look and live in this life. “What do you think of them apples” Sarah? What’s all the rest of you ninnies thinking about God destroying SOULS in hell? Either Jesus said it or He didn’t. Who you going to believe?

          Choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. {Joshua 24: 15}

          And be not afraid of those killing the body, and are not able TO KILL THE SOUL, but fear rather Him who is able both SOUL and body TO DESTROY in gehenna. {Alice’s translation}

          What is the point? Why did Jesus speak of killing/destroying the soul? Is God reluctantly also in that business of destroying SOULS in hell as He is in saving souls in this life?

          Alice asked, ” Why zero in on one verse?” Luke also quotes this discourse of Jesus in 12: 4 & 5. Why zero in on it at all? Aren’t all the words of Jesus important and didn’t He say man must live by “every” word of God, even the hard words of God like killing and destroying SOULS in hell?

          So isn’t it self-sacrificing and others-centered to warn them that God will destroy their SOULS in hell if they don’t repent and believe on Jesus by name?

          Now just look at the word “soul.” Jesus didn’t say God will destroy your bad habits in hell, but He said your whole soul, your whole being. And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. {Genesis 2: 7} God destroys what He created when He destroys SOULS in hell. That’s the message from the Lord, Hallelujah! The message unto you I give. A faith-saving look upon Jesus will save their SOULS from destruction; a look that never turns away, nor ever wants to turn to anyone else.

          What does it mean to destroy both SOUL and body in hell? Have you even given it thought?

          • Sarah November 28, 2011 at 9:42 am

            And be not afraid of those killing the body, and are not able TO KILL THE SOUL, but fear rather Him who is able both SOUL and body TO DESTROY in gehenna. {Alice’s translation}

            That translation didn’t originate from Alice!
            Yes, I’ve give what it means to destroy

          • Sarah November 28, 2011 at 9:46 am

            Yes, I’ve given it thought about what it means to DESTROY both sould and body in “hell”
            Destroy: to reduce (an object) to useless fragments, a useless form, or remains, as by rending, burning, or dissolving; injure beyond repair or renewal; demolish; ruin; annihilate.
            So that would mean that God is ABLE to annihilate both body and soul, it doesn’t mean that God will TORTURE it forever!

          • Lanny A. Eichert November 28, 2011 at 12:10 pm

            injure beyond repair or renewal

            That means there is NO recovery.

            NO recovery.

            NO recovery.

            NOT EVER. I think that is the idea of forever

          • Lanny A. Eichert November 28, 2011 at 12:33 pm

            What’s all the rest of you ninnies thinking about God destroying SOULS in hell?

          • Lanny A. Eichert November 28, 2011 at 6:05 pm

            All the rest of you readers, do you see Sarah’s definition for destroy, especially: to reduce to a useless form; injure beyond repair or renewal; ruin?

            FYI Sarah, souls are not its, but they and them { it doesn’t mean that God will TORTURE it forever!} Just by casting them into hell and then emptying hell into the Lake of Fire is sufficient to reduce them to uselessness, ruin beyond repair or renewal. By definition God is not able to reconcile them. They are no longer renewable. Their torture will be their own thoughts having no one to whom they might be expressed. Their ability to repent is ruined beyond repair. They said there is no God, and that’s exactly what existence God gave them: a no God existence. He will not hear them, not ever. He gave them up to their own desires in a place of emptyness where they have no way to satisfy their desires.

            Have pity and mercy on the living and tell them, “Believe in this life or burn eternally in the next.”

            What think all the rest of you, readers? {God destroys souls in hell}

          • Sarah November 28, 2011 at 6:24 pm

            You took a word from the definition destroy out of context, like you do everything else! It also means is to annihilate! HELLO!
            Annihilate = to reduce to utter ruin OR NONEXISTANCE You also took that bible verse out of context, no surprise. It also says fear HIm who is ABLE both soul and body to destroy in gehenna (The valley of Hinnon) That was what it was written in the original language, not some torture chamber that lasts forever…Was Jonah in the belly of the fish “forever”???

          • Lanny A. Eichert November 28, 2011 at 6:54 pm

            And Sarah what place in the Bible is that word use to annihilate? If you have no place, you comment is non-applicable to force annihilation. Besides the other definitions leave a residue, thus making annihilation an impossible meaning of the word.

            What think all the rest of you, readers? {God destroys souls in hell} Why would Jesus speak of it if God wasn’t doing it? Wouldn’t that be idle speech and Matthew 12: 36 & 37 would be applied to Jesus condemning Him as a liar, then He’s not be God, then He’d not have risen from the dead, and our “faith” is vain.

            What think all the rest of you, readers? God destroys souls in hell.

          • Sarah November 28, 2011 at 7:27 pm

            Lanny is the ONLY reason you follow Christ and love God so you won’t go to “hell”? You sure preach about it enough, you’re obsessed with it!! It’ s obvious that the person on this blog and others on here (such as myself) do not agree with your warped, twisted interpretation of Scriptures that you take out of context. What do you keep wasting time on here for??? Hoping to “save” souls?? That’s not your place, neither is judging others who don’t believe like you do, damning them to “eternal hell”! God’s wrath comes to an end, so does His anger, that is SCRIPTURAL! The Bible also says that how you judge others, YOU will be judged! Guess you don’t believe those scriptures…Oh well, they are in there!

          • Sarah November 28, 2011 at 7:37 pm

            And death and HELL were thrown into the lake of fire…..So how can “hell” be “forever”? Explain that, Lanny. Was Jonah in “hell” or the belly of a whale?? And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of HELL cried I, and thou heardest my voice- Jonah 2:2

          • Lanny A. Eichert November 28, 2011 at 8:29 pm

            Sarah, All I am doing is insisting that Jesus means what He says and you’re getting bent and opposing Jesus’ words.

            In the eternal Lake of Fire the residents of hell become eternal residents of the Lake of Fire. What’s so hard about that? {If you can’t get Jonah 2: 2 straight, your contribution to this blog is greatly suspect.}

            The rest of you, readers, what do you think of God destroying SOULS and bodies in hell? Remember Jesus spoke in discrete words {Matthew 10: 28} that God is so able and the question is are those idle words if God has no INTENTION to so do? Doesn’t Jesus always avoid idle speech {Matthew 12: 36 & 37} and so means God will certainly destroy the soul and the body of any one who hasn’t received Christ as person Lord and Savior in this life?

            What do the rest of you readers think?

          • Sarah November 28, 2011 at 8:46 pm

            It says he is ABLE to destroy both body and soul in GEHENNA!!
            Able = having necessary power, skill, resources, or qualifications…
            It says ABLE, A-B-L-E…… NOT WILL!!!!

          • Sarah November 28, 2011 at 8:48 pm
          • Lanny A. Eichert November 28, 2011 at 8:49 pm

            Sarah says God will NOT destroy anybody in hell or the Lake of Fire; is that correct, Sarah?

          • Lanny A. Eichert November 28, 2011 at 9:21 pm

            The rest of you readers, What does it mean to destroy both SOUL and body in hell?

            When Jesus spoke Matthew 10: 28 was His speech idle words and how does Matthew 12: 36 & 37 apply to His words?

            But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

          • Sarah November 28, 2011 at 9:33 pm

            Matthew 12: 36 & 37 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

            EVEYONE!! This includes YOU, Lanny!!

          • Lanny A. Eichert November 28, 2011 at 10:14 pm

            Answer the question, Sarah.

            Sarah says God will NOT destroy anybody in hell or the Lake of Fire; is that correct, Sarah?

          • Sarah November 28, 2011 at 11:29 pm

            First of all it is GEHENNA! GEHENNA is a dump outside of Jerusalem where they burned the dead!! The word was incorrectly translated to the word “HELL”. It does NOT say in this passage that God will destroy both body and soul in Gehenna (mistranslated word hell) it says FEAR rather Him who is ABLE (A-B-L-E) both soul and body to destroy in GEHENNA (mistranslated to the word HELL)!!!! The word “WILL” is nowhere in this ENTIRE VERSE!! Lanny all you know how to do is parrot the same two scriptures repeatedly! If you want more info on the lake of fire and what exactly that is, I suggest you click on the three links I provided to the admin. There’s not enough room on this page to attempt to put the info on here. Besides, this isn’t my blog. If you don’t want to read them, that’s your problem! Take it or leave it!

          • Lanny A. Eichert November 28, 2011 at 11:46 pm

            Sarah, it is a yes or no question. You know exactly what I am asking. Now answer the question. Does God destroy human souls as well as bodies in hell or does He not destroy human souls as well as bodies in hell? Yes or no? What is it Sarah?

          • Sarah November 28, 2011 at 11:57 pm

            Lanny wrote :Now just look at the word “soul.” Jesus didn’t say God will destroy your bad habits in hell…..

            Yes, there is a verse that impllies that God will “purify” us from our sinful nature without “destroying our whole being” and here it is:

            If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he HIMSELF shall be SAVED; yet so as by fire 1 Cor 3:15

          • Sarah November 28, 2011 at 11:58 pm

            I already answered you several times! Keep reading and maybe you’ll finally get it????

          • Sarah November 29, 2011 at 12:05 am

            Lanny I’ve asked you questions that you never answer…so I’ll repeat one: is the ONLY reason you follow Christ and love God so you won’t go to “hell”?

          • Lanny A. Eichert November 29, 2011 at 12:47 am

            You don’t know the first thing about 1 Corinthians 3: 5 – 17. The subject is the Christian ministry of building churches. The builders are saved men building on the foundation of Christ, verse 11. The exhortation is, let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon, verse 10. The figure is stated in verse 9, ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building. The church is here viewed as a farm and a temple building. The work is building doctrine and performance into converts to Christ, the body of believers that make up the church. The figure of fire, therefore, has absolutely nothing to do with Gehenna, Hades, nor the Lake of Fire, since believers are exempt for those fires since Jesus bore their condemnation on the cross and in His death.

            BTW your 12:05 am repeated question which adds nothing to the discussion, but a rabbit trail. Yet, I take it you evade my simple yes or no question with a lot of flack and complication incongruent with the simplicity that is in Christ, 2 Corinthians 11: 3.

          • Sarah November 29, 2011 at 1:07 am

            You don’t know the first thing about 1 Corinthians 3: 5 – 17.
            According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. 11 For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, [c]precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test [d]the quality of each man’s work. 14 If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
            It’s a PARABLE! I know at least as much about this verse as you do!You TWIST scriptures and take them completely out of context! Answer the question Lanny! Is the only reason you follow Christ and love God so you you won’t go to hell? Is it that you FEAR God and Jesus rather than truly love them? Why are you avoiding this question, Lanny???

          • Lanny A. Eichert November 29, 2011 at 1:22 am

            Erasing hell is the subject and Matthew 10: 28 {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.} fits the subject and you are evasive indicating you know nothing about Matthew 10: 28. My reason(s) for following Christ adds nothing to the subject as I already told you; and your question is an evasive mechanism unless you could show me why not. Why should I answer you if you will not give me a simple yes or no answer?

          • Sarah November 29, 2011 at 1:35 am

            Lanny, you have no comprehension of what you read! I answered you…but I’ll repost my answer again!!!

            First of all it is GEHENNA, not HELL! GEHENNA is a dump outside of Jerusalem where they burned the dead!! The word was incorrectly translated to the word “HELL”. It does NOT say in this passage that God WILL destroy both body and soul in Gehenna (mistranslated word hell) it says FEAR rather Him who is ABLE (A-B-L-E) both soul and body to destroy in GEHENNA (mistranslated to the word HELL)!!!! The word “WILL” is nowhere in this ENTIRE VERSE!! So, NO!! This particular verse does not indicate that God WILL destroy both body and soul in GEHENNA!! It states that he is ABLE TO!! There is a big difference between ABLE to do something and WILL do something! It’s not that difficult!

          • Lanny A. Eichert November 29, 2011 at 1:40 am

            Sarah, what makes you think there is something I fear? What, pray tell, do you think causes me fear? Be specific, please. Of what things am I afraid? I really want to know what sort of things people like you think people like me fear. Of what are fundamentalists afraid that we are so forcefully presenting our Gospel hoping to compell sinners to get saved ASAP and not put it off until some unknown “tomorrow?” What is this unknown fear you suppose we have?

          • Sarah November 29, 2011 at 1:51 am

            What makes me think there’s something you fear!?! That’s laughable! You’re obviously fearful of “eternal torture in hell” and the lake of fire…you harp on these things all the time, it’s like you’re obsessed with them!! Your belief is all based on fear!! The Bible also says that the fearful shall have their part in the lake of fire! Why do you follow Christ and love God, Lanny? Is it geniune love or fear?? Is it so you can avoid “eternal torment?”

          • Lanny A. Eichert November 29, 2011 at 1:53 am

            Your 1:35 am is not a yes or no answer. Get real on Gehenna as to what Christ’s intended meaning is: not the literal, but the figure of hades and the Lake of Fire. You should know that. You’re still evading.

            Able but not doing it? Why don’t you just outright say that God will NOT EVER DESTROY ANYBODY?

            Why did Jesus even say He was ABLE if He wasn’t going to do it? That is vain idle words on Jesus part, making Him a Liar, disqualifying His Deity and Redeemership, and making our faith vain. You’re the one ignoring Scriptures like Mathew 7: 13 { broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat} If people are going to destruction then God not only is able to destroy, He is destroying them.

          • Lanny A. Eichert November 29, 2011 at 2:02 am

            Sarah, you think I am afraid I will go to hell and that’s why I “serve’ God? What do you mean? You still don’t explain your meaning. You think maybe I can loose my salvation or do you think I must work for my salvation and can’t know I’m save until the Judgment Day? Of what are you talking? You still make no sense by your generalizations.

          • Lanny A. Eichert November 29, 2011 at 2:22 am

            FYI Sarah, the Biblical Fundamentalist Baptist, as I am, knows salvation is an irreversable event that occurs in a moment of time in this life and lasts forever after. Where can there then be a fear of eternal torment in hell or the Lake of Fire? This is the good news the word Gospel means that Baptists preach. The surity of eternal torment is fundamental to salvation, otherwise there is no such thing as salvation.

            • Edy T Johnson February 11, 2013 at 11:43 pm

              May I jump in here, since it appears this is a long-running discussion that I just don’t have time to read?

              Lanny: “salvation is an irreversable event that occurs in a moment of time in this life and lasts forever after.” Actually salvation is an irreversible event that OCCURRED once – at Calvary.

              Both O.T. and N.T. tell us “the soul that sins dies.” Hence, we all die because we are all sinners. The soul is not something we have, it is what we are. Clay + breath of God = living soul. Remove the breath of God = clay/dust/dead soul, in the grave, experiences nothing. The death sentence ends this life under the curse of sin and death. (Check out Genesis. All the consequences for sin are listed for this dimension of time and space, like being in jail for life.)

              The good news: Jesus is the Door that opens the grave in resurrection to new life, new creation, incorruptible.

              “He who has begun the good work in you will bring it to completion.” We did nothing to create ourselves; we did nothing to redeem ourselves; and the Holy Spirit works in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure. We are clay jars that God uses for pouring out His treasure to the world.

              For freedom Christ has set us free! Ye shall know the Truth and the Truth shall set you free! Before the Truth, nobody is free to choose anything because apart from God we can do nothing.

              The remedy is sufficient for the disease. Christ Jesus is victorious. As in Adam ALL die, so in Christ shall ALL be made alive.

          • Mary Vanderplas November 29, 2011 at 8:58 pm

            Matthew’s Jesus is not here making a statement about the eternal destiny of unbelievers. He is talking to the disciples about their mission and encouraging their courageous witness to him in the face of experiences of rejection and persecution, which he says are sure to happen. His words in verse 28, while a warning that what God could do by way of judging their unfaithfulness is far worse than what their opponents could do by way of acting to silence their witness, is not a prediction of what will be. And it definitely is not a literal description of the future fate of the unbelieving. It is, rather, in my view, a statement about what could happen to disciples that is intended to free them from fear of their opponents for faithful confession of him. It is worth noting that in addition to this warning, Matthew’s Jesus provides a word of encouragement in the verses immediately following. Here what is emphasized is the sovereignty of God such that nothing that happens to them is outside of the scope of God’s knowledge, power, and care. Alongside a warning of judgment is thus a reminder of God’s faithfulness as the basis for courageous witness to Jesus as the Christ. There is nothing here to support the position that “God will certainly destroy the soul and the body of any one who hasn’t received Christ as personal Lord and Savior in this life.” That is simply not what this text is saying or implying.

          • Lanny A. Eichert November 29, 2011 at 10:20 pm

            Mary is certainly consistent with herself and quite predictable. Thank you, Mary.

          • Lanny A. Eichert November 30, 2011 at 5:23 am

            He is talking to the disciples … His words in verse 28 … a warning … what God could do by way of judging their unfaithfulness
            a statement about what could happen to disciples

            Mary, do you really mean God could destroy both soul and body of His Own disciples in hell? His very Own disciples, Mary?

            If they did failed miserably in their faithfulness to their mission, would God really go through with destroying their souls and bodies in hell? Is that truly God’s intended meaning?

            You use the words “could do” and I don’t know whether you think this is a real threat or just a hypothetical threat. Is it a potential possibility or even a remote possibility or is it a non-possibility?

            You say it “is not a prediction of what will be” and certainly I, Lanny, see no reference to “if” they fail in their faithfulness to their mission, so certainly the doom of His own disciples is not predicted: in that I can agree.

            I find it unthinkable for Jesus to threaten his very Own chosen and elect disciples with even a theoretical threat. I would still view such a thing as idle words, I mean, is an idle threat idle words which comes under the condemnation of Matthew 12: 36 & 37? But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

            Along side a warning of judgment, you say, Mary, is encouragement in the verses following and that’s what I, Lanny, say destroys your warning of judgment evaluation. Encouragement yes is there and more than encouragement, even guarantee. It is totally inexcusable to view “which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” as a warning of judgment against His very Own disciples whom He has chosen, elected, and equipped for the work of witness.

            Forgive me, but do you or don’t you believe His disciples were securely saved in His care? All but one that is. Even from a predestination stand point of view, wouldn’t we have to say they were saved and safe? How could they be threatened with destruction of their souls?

            NOW, Mary, do you really see a threat of judgment possible to His disciples? Can it be?

          • Mary Vanderplas December 1, 2011 at 5:12 am

            The point of Jesus’ words is that it isn’t their opponents that are to be feared, but God, who is able to condemn to hell. The operative words, as Sarah has pointed out, are “is able.” Could God condemn the disciples? Insofar as God can do anything he chooses, presumably yes, if he so chose. Would God do it? No, I don’t believe he would. The function of Jesus’ words is to warn the disciples to fear God, not the persecutors, thus enabling them to be bold in their witness to Jesus. It seems to me that once again, you miss the point entirely because of your preconceived ideas of what this text must be saying. Jesus is simply not predicting the eternal destiny of unbelievers here; he is talking about what God could do, if he so chose, and is giving the disciples a reason not to let their persecutors silence their witness to him.

          • Mary Vanderplas December 1, 2011 at 5:26 am

            I meant to say (in the last sentence), “is giving the disciples a reason not to let fear of their persecutors silence their witness to him.”

          • Mary Vanderplas December 1, 2011 at 6:48 am

            Biblical texts do not mean what their authors (in this case Matthew) never intended for them to mean. Stop running around the Bible plundering texts for proof-texts to support your doctrine of eternal torment.

          • Lanny A. Eichert December 1, 2011 at 11:33 am

            So, Mary, while the disciples carried out their witnessing mission, was there anybody who was fearing God might destroy their soul and body in hell? If so, who?

          • Mary Vanderplas December 1, 2011 at 10:17 pm

            I doubt it. The disciples were commissioned to share the Good News of God’s love in Christ, not bad news of hellfire and damnation.

          • Lanny A. Eichert December 1, 2011 at 11:31 pm

            It isn’t their opponents that are to be feared, but God, who is able to condemn to hell, you wrote. Mary, WHO is God able to condemn to hell? That is the question I have been trying to learn from all of you. Who are the people Jesus means that God could condemn. Who in this CONTEXT? If Jesus only meant, “Just fear only God.” why did He throw in the idea of destruction of soul and body in hell. Now you say you doubt that anyone was fearing it. He added, what to me from your interpretation, was unnecessary words and information. Since He doesn’t do that, we must learn why He mentioned {1} destroy, {2} soul, {3} body, and {4} hell, especially since Matthew 4: 4 says “EVERY” word. Am I wrong to insist we need to put reason to those four words for them being in His statement?

            You referenced Sarah, so did you mean you know that Sarah tried to get me to confess to serving God for fear of my soul and body being destroyed in hell if I were unfaithful in my mission? Wouldn’t that mean that I was living according to Jesus warning of the judgment He gave His disciples in verse 28, taking it word for word seriously believing God was able to destroy my soul and body in hell? Sarah was trying to get me to know I was actually following your interpretation of verse 28? Is that what this is all about?

            But Sarah believes I’m wrongly motivated by fearing destruction of my soul and body in hell and believes I should be serving God because of His love. I think you believe the same thing because of the comforting verses after 28 and the performance of the disciples in chapter 10 who were not fearing God was able to destroy their souls and bodies if they would have been unfaithful. Am I right so far?

            Look, people, I’m just trying to figure where “destroy soul and body in hell” has any meaning at all. Is it irrelevant?

          • Sarah December 2, 2011 at 12:12 am

            Lanny, if you want an answer to your questions, I suggest you visit this link I provide. The article is very lengthy and involved, but very informative for the questions you are asking.

            http://bible-truths.com/lake16-C.html

          • Lanny A. Eichert December 2, 2011 at 12:49 am

            Just answer as best and simply as you can, please.

          • Lanny A. Eichert December 2, 2011 at 12:41 pm

            very lengthy and involved, Sarah says of the article. My few questions are very simple and direct, so why should I be made to suffer a long and involved article? I have responded to your long and involved explanations by labeling them cultic because that is the tactic cults use to swindle the gullible into their fold. It is a tactic of confusion designed to elevate the hearer to blind faith and loyality. It is a tactic of diversion as well used by dishonest people. What kind of people are you, Sarah, that avoid answering a few simple and direct questions?

            You appear to have a Christ Who scares His own disciples with the threat of the distruction of their souls and bodies in hell if they are unfaithful, Who also turns it right around with comforting words to make the threat void according to Mary’s interpretation. That’s as much double talk as the cults do to confound their victims. Alice calls this sort of thing her Amazing Hope? It is a MIXED message to me for sure. It is contrary to the “shall not perish” of John 3: 16 and the “shall not come into condemnation” of John 5: 24 and “no condemnation” of Romans 8: 1.

            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. {2 Corinthians 11: 3}

          • Lanny A. Eichert December 2, 2011 at 7:30 pm

            Mary restates my question, Could God condemn the disciples? {December 1, 2011 at 5:12 am} Then Mary answers it, Insofar as God can do anything he chooses, presumably yes, if he so chose. {I am really tempted to ask you all since you think God can do anything, then can God commit acts of sin, have a sinful thought, entertain sinful emotions?} In John 17: 12 Jesus prayed to His Father about His disciples, “While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.” Is Mary’s answer of “presumably yes” in the light of this prayer at all presumably yes? Since God’s Son was keeping the men which God gave Him out of the world, verse 7, how could God “presumably yes” condemn them?

            In 17: 20 Jesus extends His prayer: “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word” so that His disciples of the twenty-first century are also included. Could God condemn His 21st century disciples? Is Mary’s answer of “presumably yes” in the light of this prayer at all presumably yes? If God’s Son is keeping the men which God is giving Him out of the world, verse 7, how could God “presumably yes” condemn them?

            So {Matthew 10: 28} 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. These are words Jesus spoke to His disciples and certainly He is telling them to fear God, but is He telling them to fear God because God is able to destroy THEM or is it because God is pointedly able to destroy somebodies else? Now stay in the context. Today we know all have sinned and all are concluded in unbelief and all are condemned. They weren’t yet aware when two of them asked to sit one on each side of Jesus in His Kingdom. So lets bring it to today. Does Jesus still keep His 21st century disciples in the Father’s name?

            Don’t you see that God’s salvation is a salvation from condemnation and therefore God is not able to condemn, that is, destroy the souls and bodies of His disciples in hell? Can God do anything he chooses? No!!! He cannot choose to condemn His saints. God is able to destroy all sinners’ souls and bodies in hell, EXCEPT those He saves. That is the motivation for their mission of witness: a love for the lost that exceeds personal safety, a love that wants to spare them divine destruction of LOST souls and bodies in hell.

            What do you think? Isn’t that the best view of the “is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” Biblical words of Jesus? Fear the God Who is able to destroy your lost friends’ and lost loved ones’ souls and bodies in hell. The hard part you don’t like is that since God is able He is also ready to destroy. Fear the God Who is able and ready to destroy your lost friends’ and lost loved ones’ souls and bodies in hell. I had to be honest and complete the thought, even if it bursts your bubble.

          • Sarah December 2, 2011 at 10:27 pm

            Lanny said: “My few questions are very simple and direct, so why should I be made to suffer a long and involved article?”

            Yeah Lanny, why should you take time to actually STUDY the Bible Scriptures that are in this article, and “made to suffer”? Niiiiiice Lanny, good Christian attitude! Btw, how do you explain these verses – Genesis 2:7 then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man BECAME a living SOUL. (the same soul that God is ABLE to destroy in Gehenna! Man does not HAVE a soul, man IS a soul.
            Ezekiel 18:20 The soul that sinneth, it shall DIE..(yes this is the SAME soul that God is ABLE to destroy in Gehenna).
            So what does the Bible say that death is like?
            Ecclesiastes 9:5 5For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know NOT ANY THING, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.
            Ecclesiastes 9:10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

          • Lanny A. Eichert December 2, 2011 at 11:09 pm

            Side track the issue again, will you? Make a worthy contribution, please.

          • Lanny A. Eichert December 2, 2011 at 11:14 pm

            What do you think? Isn’t that the best view of the “is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” Biblical words of Jesus? Fear the God Who is able to destroy your lost friends’ and lost loved ones’ souls and bodies in hell. The hard part you don’t like is that since God is able He is also ready to destroy. Fear the God Who is able and ready to destroy your lost friends’ and lost loved ones’ souls and bodies in hell. I had to be honest and complete the thought, even if it bursts your bubble.

            December 2, 2011 at 7:30 pm post on Matthew 10: 28

          • Sarah December 2, 2011 at 11:19 pm

            I DID make a worthy contribution. You’re taking Matthew 10:28 out of context…the New Testament is symbolic….Jesus spoke in parables.

            “And He said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand” (Luke 8:10)

            I have provided Scriptures from the Bible! Oh, but those aren’t “worthy” enough for your “highness”! Try actually reading the WHOLE Bible, Lanny!

          • Lanny A. Eichert December 2, 2011 at 11:35 pm

            Step aside, Sarah, and let others like Mary, Alice, and other readers contribute while you look more closely at Matthew 10: 28’s context. Let them answer the why’s those words in Jesus’ mouth and to whose souls they refer.

          • Sarah December 2, 2011 at 11:41 pm

            I have just as much right to reply and post on here as you do! I’ll post anytime I want to, as long as the owner of this blog lets me. You are not the owner of this blog.

          • Mary Vanderplas December 3, 2011 at 6:37 am

            This text is, plainly, not about who will be condemned and who will not be condemned in the end. It is about the fact that disciples of Jesus need not fear their persecutors because their persecutors cannot harm them ultimately. Only God has the power to do that (i.e., to harm people ultimately by condemning them to hell) and therefore God is the only One they (or anyone) should fear. This does not mean that God will condemn them (or anyone) ultimately, only that he is the only One who can. Whether or not God can condemn those whom he has chosen for salvation is a moot issue. The point here is simply that only God, not persons, is to be feared because God alone possesses the power to harm any of us ultimately. And the function of these words in context is to spur the disciples to fearless confession of their faith in the face of persecution – not to scare them into cowering submission to a punitive God.

            To interpret this text as you do – “Fear the God Who is able to destroy your lost friends’ and lost loved ones’ souls and bodies in hell” – is, in my view, misguided. It fails to reflect the fact that the second half of the verse stands in contrast to the first – which in context is saying that the disciples need not fear those who can destroy their (own) physical lives but who cannot touch their inner lives.

            To draw inferences from this text about the ultimate fate of unbelievers is, I believe, wholly unwarranted. Matthew’s Jesus is simply not forecasting the fate of anyone here, but rather is seeking to empower the disciples for courageous witness by putting into perspective their fear of persecutors. “Do not fear them; rather, fear the only One who holds your (and everyone’s) ultimate future in his hands,” is the message – a warning intended to challenge, not a threat intended to paralyze.

          • Sarah December 3, 2011 at 9:53 am

            Very well said, Mary!

          • Lanny A. Eichert December 3, 2011 at 11:46 am

            Mary, you account for the word destroy, but you conveniently avoided discussing soul, body, and hell. Why should Jesus use those words when He could have made your message without them? By dodging those detailing words you conveniently have no necessity to identify to whom they refer or answer the likelihood of God to doing such a thing. I contend that to ignore Jesus’ deliberated inclusion of those words is to arrive at only a partial truth of His intended meaning. Maybe that is your intention, that is, to know only part of Jesus’ truth, because somehow the whole truth might jeopardize something else.

            Thank you for responding and Sarah for your consideration.

          • Mary Vanderplas December 4, 2011 at 8:19 am

            Thanks, Sarah.

          • Mary Vanderplas December 4, 2011 at 8:20 am

            Lanny, I haven’t denied that Jesus and the writers of the New Testament speak of final judgment and separation. But the language they use is symbolic, not literal. This text is no exception. The reference to God being able to “destroy both soul and body in hell” is not meant to be taken as a literal description of the physical bodies along with the inner lives of people being burned forever. It is, rather, a symbol of a kind of eternal death, of living forever in alienation from God and others. Matthew’s use of “body” and “soul” here reflects a Hellenistic understanding of the human self. The point is that it is God only who is to be feared since it is God alone who is able to judge and decide the eternal destiny of persons. There is a dimension of human existence that the persecutors cannot harm. But again, the text says nothing about God acting to judge anyone. What it says is that God is only One who is able to do so.

          • Lanny A. Eichert December 4, 2011 at 11:03 am

            Mary says, But the language they use is symbolic, not literal.

            Then God is just a symbol as well, Mary. You have no literal God when you have a symbolic Bible.

            Sarah also said the Bible language is symbolic and not literal. Don’t you all see that is a clever excuse to disbelieve the Word of God and make God whatever you want Him to be. You make God; God didn’t make you.

  • Sarah November 25, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    Here is a link to a list of interesting stuff about the hypocrisy of false expressions:

    http://www.auburn.edu/~allenkc/hypocrisy.html

    • admin November 26, 2011 at 10:42 am

      That’s a great article.

      • Sarah November 26, 2011 at 7:29 pm

        Glad you enjoyed the article 🙂

    • Mary Vanderplas November 26, 2011 at 4:53 pm

      The paradox of absolute divine sovereignty and the freedom and responsibility of human beings runs through scripture. “They” didn’t invent it.

      Exodus 9:12: “But the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he would not listen to them, just as the Lord had spoken to Moses.”
      Exodus 9:34: “But when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunder had ceased, he sinned once more and hardened his heart, he and his officials.”

      • Sarah November 26, 2011 at 7:03 pm

        So Mary, do you believe in “free will”? Do you think that you conjured up “belief” by yourself, without ANY influence? If so, then you believe that you “save” yourself by summoning up your own belief!

        • Mary Vanderplas November 26, 2011 at 7:39 pm

          I’ve already said that faith is a gift. One doesn’t “conjure up” gifts. No, I don’t believe in free will, in the sense that we are free to choose God apart from God’s first choosing us. I believe that God chooses us and enables us to respond in faith to his saving grace. Faith is not a meritorious work; it is a response to what God has done.

          If what you imply is true – i.e., if God is the only real actor in the drama of history and we are mere pawns – then all of the texts that speak of our being called to decision and action are “false expressions.”

          • Sarah November 26, 2011 at 8:26 pm

            Do you believe that ALL will be saved eventually? God is the potter and we are the clay.

          • Mary Vanderplas November 27, 2011 at 6:27 am

            Sarah, you haven’t yet answered my question about what you do with texts such as Acts 16:30-31. (Yes, I have noticed that you’re dodging it.)

            I believe that God can in the end bring every lost person into his kingdom and that, abounding in mercy as he is, it very well may be that he does. I wouldn’t put it past him, anyway. There are texts in the Bible that state or imply universal salvation. Because there are also texts that speak of a final judgment and separation, I cannot say unequivocally that God will do this, though. And I cannot say that he must do it, since, as sovereign Creator, God has the right to do whatever he chooses, without having to give an account to me, without having to conform to my ideas of what it means for him to be just or loving (Romans 9:19-21).

            The potter-clay image does speak of God’s sovereignty, though it was used in the Old Testament in reference to the course and destiny of the nations, not in reference to the eternal destiny of each individual. At any rate, it is a strong image that conveys that what God purposes will in fact take place. However, as the context of Jeremiah 18:1-6 makes clear, God’s sovereignty doesn’t preclude human responsibility. It doesn’t mean that, if God has purposed good (for a nation), he must do it, regardless of whether they rebel against him (18:9-10). Nor does it mean that if God has declared judgment, there is no longer a possibility for repentance and forgiveness (18:7-8). God isn’t the sole actor here.

          • Sarah November 27, 2011 at 9:13 pm

            Acts 16:30-31 – He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
            31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”
            So if a person believes, does everyone in their houshold get saved too? That’s sure what this passage implies. I wasn’t dodging your question. As far as us being able to make “decisions to be saved” there are passages in the Bible that God has TOTAL control over man also. Verses such as: Proverbs 16:9 New International Version
            In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.
            James 1:17
            Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
            What does one do with those verses?

          • Mary Vanderplas November 28, 2011 at 5:27 am

            In Acts, there is no division within families on account of Jesus; Christian families (including also slaves in the household) are presented as united. (See also 16:15; 18:8). This doesn’t detract from the point that a response to the salvation that comes from God is required, a response of faith (i.e., trust and commitment).

            Yes, there are texts that affirm the complete sovereignty of God in salvation and generally. I’ve acknowledged this, as my earlier posts indicate. But that there are also texts that affirm human responsibility is hard to deny. It’s a paradox that is embedded in scripture: complete divine sovereignty and the responsible freedom of people. Paradoxes frustrate human logic. The biblical writers do not try to superficially harmonize divine sovereignty and human responsibility in order to have a logically consistent system. Neither should we.

          • Mary Vanderplas November 28, 2011 at 5:55 am

            You still didn’t answer my question about what you do with this text. Quoting what I said, asking another question, and citing other texts that affirm God’s sovereignty doesn’t constitute an answer.

          • Sarah November 28, 2011 at 9:52 am

            Okay, fine…I’ll “answer” your question with my opinion, it does appear from that particular verse that we are basically responsible to “believe” to get saved. Like I”ve stated in other posts there are numerous other verses which state that we have absolutely NO control whatsoever in the matter!

      • Sarah November 27, 2011 at 9:15 pm

        So then does the Bible contradict itself?

        • Mary Vanderplas November 28, 2011 at 5:30 am

          It would appear that way to us. Such is the nature of paradox.

          • Sarah November 28, 2011 at 10:18 am

            Doesn’t it say in the bible that God is not the author of confusion? It sure seems that many people are confused….

          • Mary Vanderplas November 28, 2011 at 8:08 pm

            To acknowledge that there are paradoxical statements in scripture is not to accuse God of being the “author of confusion.” It is to acknowledge that the sovereign Creator of the universe is bigger than I am and that there are things about him and his ways that are beyond the ability of my finite mind to grasp. Where does it say that God’s self-revelation must always conform to our system of logic?

            It says in 1 Corinthians 14:33, to name the precise location, that “God is a God not of disorder but of peace.” The context of these words of Paul is a discussion of order in worship, not a discussion of the logical consistency of the biblical revelation. Nowhere does it say that we will have full knowledge in the present. In fact, in the chapter preceding 1 Corinthians 14, the apostle says, “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face” – implying that our knowledge this side of the final coming of God’s kingdom is indirect and incomplete.

          • Sarah November 28, 2011 at 10:36 pm

            @ Mary
            There is a lot of confusion amongst people in the way the Word is interpreted. I do admit that I am a little perplexed that God commands us to LOVE our enemies, PRAY for those that persecute you, BLESS them that CURSE you, do GOOD to them that spitefully use you… but He supposedly tortures His enemies forever +ever? Jesus forgave those that were torturing Him on the Cross, He prayed “Father forgive them, they know NOT what they do.”…but supposedly He tortures people forever +ever for not “believing” in Him? Yes, I realize that Scriptures never say that we will have full knowledge of the present…if that were the case, we would know as much as God.

          • Mary Vanderplas November 29, 2011 at 5:11 am

            I do not subscribe to a doctrine of eternal torment. I think such teaching is a hideous perversion of what the Bible teaches about who God is and what God does. However, I can’t rule out that God may allow those who persist in rebelling against him, who want no part of spending eternity with him, to live in self-chosen alienation from him. I can’t rule this out entirely simply because of the texts that speak of a final judgment and separation. But neither can I rule out that at the end of the day God will act to bring every lost and rebellious creature into his eternal kingdom. There are too many texts that suggest that God’s mercy will have the last word for me to rule out this possibility. And I hope and pray it is so.

          • Lanny A. Eichert November 29, 2011 at 5:25 am

            That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them. {Mark 4: 12}

            It is marvelous how God has kept Mary and Sarah in the dark on eternal torment, especially how Mary leans one way then the other way almost in the same sentence.

          • Sarah November 29, 2011 at 10:40 am

            Fair enough Mary…good post. Lanny if anyone is “in the dark” around here, it is you!

      • Sarah November 27, 2011 at 10:12 pm

        Mary writes: The paradox of absolute divine sovereignty and the freedom and responsibility of human beings runs through scripture. “They” didn’t invent it.

        What “They” are you talking about??

        • Mary Vanderplas November 28, 2011 at 5:35 am

          In the link you posted, it says “what they say” and “what they mean.” That’s the “they” I’m talking about. My point is these people didn’t invent the paradox of absolute divine sovereignty and the freedom and responsibility of human beings in an effort to deceive, as this article implies. The paradox is embedded in scripture.

          • Sarah November 28, 2011 at 9:35 am

            If The Word is rightly divided, there should be no contradiction. The Bible has been translated numerous times over several thousand years….who is to say that there haven’t been many words and phrases that have been mistranlated?

          • Sarah November 28, 2011 at 9:49 am

            I guess “They” mean fundamentalists who believe that if you don’t accept Jesus as your savior in this lifetime…you will go to some torture chamber forever and ever……The Bible was written by MEN and translated and retranslated by MEN. Men are prone to error.

  • Lanny A. Eichert November 26, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    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}

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

    Did Jesus know what He said? Is this another one of those things where God is able to destroy souls, but chooses not ever to do it? Like God is able to perserve His Word, the Holy Bible, but chose not ever to do it, but instead allowed it to be manipulated by “the system of fear.” If Jesus is speaking an idle word here what does that do to Matthew 12: 36 & 37? But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

    Why do you all think that just because, as Sarah says, “that EVERYONE eventually will believe,” that means everyone will be saved? Don’t you know, the devils also believe, and tremble {James 2: 19}, in other words, there is believing knowledge that does NOT save. There is confession, also, that does NOT save {Matthew 7: 21}. Why must every knee and every tongue {Philippians 2: 10} mean universal salvation then?

    What does it mean to destroy both SOUL and body in hell? Answer the question carefully. What did Jesus intend His words to mean: destroy both SOUL and body in hell?

    • admin November 27, 2011 at 2:10 pm

      And be not afraid of those killing the body, and are not able to kill the soul, but fear rather Him who is able both soul and body to destroy in gehenna. – What is the point? Is Jesus warning/threatening his disciples? Or is He reassuring them of God sovereignty? Look at the context, Lanny. Jesus is reminding his disciples that even though God may allow them to face threatenings and trials in this life, the most people can do is harm or kill their bodies, which are temporary anyhow. Is Jesus encouraging His disciples by telling to be afraid of God, Who might throw them into Hell? If so, why does he accompany this message with analogies like caring for each sparrow or counting the hairs of one’s head? You are missing the point of this scripture, and if your understanding of this one scripture is any indication, you are missing the point of the whole chapter. Look at the contrasts – disciple/teacher, servant/lord, covered/revealed, hid/known, darkness/light, whispers in the ear / shout on the housetop, body/soul, worth of a sparrow / worth of a human being, confess/deny, peace/sword, enemy / household members, find/lose and lose/find, and all of this is within the context of Israel (not the Gentile world as of yet). It is about God’s sovereignty as a source of comfort for the disciples who were being sent into situations in which they would suffer persecution. Why zero in on one verse, separate it from the context, label it with your own meaning, and use it as a dagger of fear? Yes, we should fear God – have a healthy respect and awe of His majesty, but we should not be afraid of God in the same way one might be afraid of a sadistic serial killer. We should take comfort in the fact that God has much more power than mere physical power. Jesus is speaking words of comfort to His disciples.

      Something else to think about – Jesus came to seek and save the lost (derivative, same Greek word as “destroy”). Yes, God is able to destroy. Clearly, the person of Jesus Christ demonstrates that God’s intentions toward mankind are to NOT destroy.

      • Lanny A. Eichert November 27, 2011 at 5:23 pm

        What does it mean to destroy both SOUL and body in hell? Answer the question carefully. What did Jesus intend His words to mean: destroy both SOUL and body in hell?

        You avoid the question directly as put to you: destroy SOUL and in hell. Jesus used those words deliberately to tell us what? You admit God is able to destroy, but what about the soul of man? Is God able to destroy it in hell, or not?

      • Lanny A. Eichert November 27, 2011 at 6:11 pm

        And be not afraid of those killing the body, and are not able TO KILL THE SOUL, but fear rather Him who is able both SOUL and body TO DESTROY in gehenna.

        What is the point? Why did Jesus speak of killing/destroying the soul? Is it possible God is reluctantly also in that business and why?

        If Jesus is speaking an idle word here, just a hypothetical thing that will never happen, what does that do to Matthew 12: 36 & 37? But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

        What actually happens in hell, Alice, is it the killing and destroying of souls of men? How do we get the purifying, conversion, and reconciling of souls in hell from these words? Can we some how soften the connection between killing the soul and destroying the soul and thus subvert the harsh language to something nicer to our senses? Or have we no other choice, but to acknowledge that God kills souls and destroys souls in hell as His designed purpose for that place?

        Aren’t there any other translations of the Greek text of Matthew 10: 28 that could soften the blow of certain Divine death and destruction of the soul in hell?

        I have no argument with the context, just the mere intrusion of those choice words. Jesus could have used different words, but He didn’t, so we must handle these particular words, even if they trouble our concept of the context by inserting an extra lone idea, as if it actually belongs there for our consideration.

      • Sarah November 27, 2011 at 11:43 pm

        To the admin: I have some links to very good articles on the subject of the Lake of Fire. It is very lengthy and has three parts, but it is very informative and if you ever have time to read it, it could be very helpful in understanding the purpose of the Lake of fire.

        http://bible-truths.com/lake1.html
        http://bible-truths.com/lake2.html
        http://bible-truths.com/lake3.html

        • admin November 28, 2011 at 9:44 am

          Thanks. I’ll give them a look when I have time.

      • Sarah November 29, 2011 at 1:41 am

        Very well put, admin!

  • Sarah November 26, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    Here is another interesting article on the subjects of Faith, Belief and who really does the choosing:

    http://www.martinzender.com/clanging_gong/archives/Volume3-Issue3.pdf

  • Sarah November 28, 2011 at 8:26 pm

    I Tim. 4:10-11
    “For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, WHO IS THE SAVIOUR OF ALL MEN, especially [NOT EXCLUSIVELY] of those that believe.
    These things command and teach.”
    For there is no partiality with God …” Rom. 2:11
    God WILL HAVE ALL MEN TO BE SAVED, and come to the knowledge of the truth” 1 Tim. 2:4.
    He works ALL THINGS after the counsel of HIS OWN WILL Eph. 1:10-11
    God is LOVE” I John 4:8
    LOVE NEVER FAILS” I Cor. 13:8.
    These verses definitely suggest that ALL will be saved. These scriptures DO NOT apply ONLY to believers.

    • Lanny A. Eichert November 28, 2011 at 8:51 pm

      Why {when you just wrote: The Bible was written by MEN and translated and retranslated by MEN. Men are prone to error} are you quoting the Bible as if it were something to believe? Let’s divorce all reason from men and give it only to women. Woe men !!!

      Sarah’s a women’s libber who believes Christianity and the Bible is a hoax ???

      • Sarah November 28, 2011 at 9:15 pm

        I said I believe “eternal” HELL is a hoax..as far as the Bible being written by men, that is the TRUTH!! The only PERFECT human that ever lived is Jesus! Men wrote the Bible and there are some inconsistencies in versions of the Bible (such as the KJV) If you’ve truly read the entire thing, you would know that??? (or maybe not…you don’t seem to be able to comprehend much of anything by your stupid posts!! Your inane comments prove that you have absolutely NO reading skills whatsoever…you obviously can’t comprehend anything you read!! I never said the Bible is a hoax, quit putting words in my mouth!! As far as my being a women’s libber, no I’m not if it’s any of your business!!! However I’d much rather be a women’s libber than a judgmental idiot with a god complex like you are!

    • Sarah November 28, 2011 at 9:38 pm

      Look who’s talking, Lanny! You certainly have no problem believing Matthew 10:28…you harp on that particular verse all the time!! The scriptures about God being the Savior of ALL are also in the Bible….do you believe those????

      • Lanny A. Eichert November 28, 2011 at 11:02 pm

        If Jesus is speaking an idle word here, just a hypothetical thing that will never happen, what does that do to Matthew 12: 36 & 37? But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

        Since Jesus is NOT speaking idle words about destroying a SOUL as well as a body in hell and in Matthew 7: 13 Jesus also doesn’t speak idle words when He said broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat; because of these words Jesus is the Savior of only all who believe even though He could have saved everybody had everybody believed. You see, the destruction He references is the destruction of the SOUL to the point of no repair or renewal. Same word as in Romans 9: 22 and from same primary root as Matthew 10: 28. God’s not wasting His time on what He destroys.

        • Sarah November 28, 2011 at 11:08 pm

          Then you don’t believe in ALL of the Bible, only the parts that “tickle your ears”. God Himself says he WILL SAVE ALL!!

          • Lanny A. Eichert November 28, 2011 at 11:17 pm

            And you make Matthew 10: 28 just a hypothetical thing and Jesus’ words are idle words. You then have a Liar who cannot then be divine and cannot be the propitiation for our sins or the sins of the world. You faith then becomes vain.

            Answer the question, Sarah says God will NOT destroy anybody in hell or the Lake of Fire; is that correct, Sarah?

          • Sarah November 28, 2011 at 11:33 pm

            First of all it is GEHENNA! GEHENNA is a dump outside of Jerusalem where they burned the dead!! The word was incorrectly translated to the word “HELL”. It does NOT say in this passage that God will destroy both body and soul in Gehenna (mistranslated word hell) it says FEAR rather Him who is ABLE (A-B-L-E) both soul and body to destroy in GEHENNA (mistranslated to the word HELL)!!!! The word “WILL” is nowhere in this ENTIRE VERSE!! Lanny all you know how to do is parrot the same two scriptures repeatedly! If you want more info on the lake of fire and what exactly that is, I suggest you click on the three links I provided to the admin.
            http://bible-truths.com/lake1.html
            http://bible-truths.com/lake2.html
            http://bible-truths.com/lake3.html
            There’s not enough room on this page to attempt to put the info on here. Besides, this isn’t my blog. If you don’t want to read them, that’s your problem! Take it or leave it!

  • Lanny A. Eichert November 29, 2011 at 1:02 am

    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}

    What’s it mean to destroy both soul and body in hell, especially the human soul?

    Did Jesus know what He said, or did He speak hypothetically about something that will never happen? If Jesus is speaking an idle word here {about something that will never happen} what does that do to Matthew 12: 36 & 37? But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. Remember Luke also recorded this discourse.

    What say the rest of you, readers?

  • Sarah November 29, 2011 at 1:17 am

    Lanny did God speak hypothetically when He said that He WILL SAVE ALL???

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

      Where did God say, “He WILL SAVE ALL?”

      • Sarah November 29, 2011 at 1:37 am

        I Tim. 4:10-11
        “For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, WHO IS THE SAVIOUR OF ALL MEN, especially [NOT EXCLUSIVELY] of those that believe.
        These things command and teach.”
        God WILL HAVE ALL MEN TO BE SAVED, and come to the knowledge of the truth” 1 Tim. 2:4.
        Lanny, can you read? I’m becoming convinced that you can’t! Have you ever truly read the WHOLE Bible (or maybe you had to have someone read it to you)? I somehow doubt it….

        • Lanny A. Eichert November 29, 2011 at 2:48 am

          Does God always get what He wants? That has been the discussion all along the way on this Alice’s blog and the answer is NO.

          I already answered your 1 Timothy 4: 10 & 11 objection and 1 Timothy 2: 4 with 2 Peter 3: 9 has already been addressed on this site in time past.

          So, no, the Bible does NOT say He WILL SAVE ALL. It only says He wishes to save all and provided a Savior of all who will believe. Those who don’t beileve have a Savior that does them no good {profit} as per Hebrews 4: 2 {For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.} If you have no profit, you perish. John 3: 16 {For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.} and perish is again our word, DESTROY. You can’t even preach the love of God in John 3: 16 without running into God destroying the SOUL in hell and the Lake of Fire.!!!

          • Sarah November 29, 2011 at 9:43 am

            Lanny: Does God always get what He wants? That has been the discussion all along the way on this Alice’s blog and the answer is NO.

            YES HE DOES! Otherwise He wouldn’t be soverieign and all-powerful…… you say the stupidest things, Lanny!

            I already answered your 1 Timothy 4: 10 & 11 objection………
            No you didn’t, quit lying!

            and 1 Timothy 2: 4 with 2 Peter 3: 9 has already been addressed on this site in time past.

            The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, NOT WANTING anyone to perish, but EVERYONE to come to repentance.

            Does God get what he wants? YES!
            Deut. 32:39; Job 23:13; Job 42:2; Isaiah 14:24, 26-27; Matt. 6:10)

          • Lanny A. Eichert November 29, 2011 at 9:56 am

            Sarah deserves no more responses from me.

          • Sarah November 29, 2011 at 10:08 am

            YAY…….promise????

  • Lanny A. Eichert November 29, 2011 at 2:53 am

    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}

    What’s it mean to destroy both soul and body in hell, especially the human soul?

    Did Jesus know what He said, or did He speak hypothetically about something that will never happen? If Jesus is speaking an idle word here {about something that will never happen} what does that do to Matthew 12: 36 & 37? But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. Remember Luke also recorded this discourse.

    Lets hear from the rest of you, readers. What say the rest of you?

  • Jeremy November 29, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    Sarah,

    God does not always get his own way. It is interesting that you say that if God is sovereign and all-powerful that means he MUST get his own way. That is an entirely middle ages interpretation of sovereignty…not a Biblical one. One does not have to have everything go his/her way to be sovereign. Who wants to serve a god who controls us like robots and makes us choose him and serve him. This is not a good shepherd…its a tyrant.

    From as early as the Garden of Eden Elohim has given humans a choice…to obey and serve, or disobey and suffer the consequences of our choices. This is one thing that makes us in the image and likeness of God…being able to choose and govern ourselves. A freedom that comes from God…it is a gift. God can not be controlled nor does he permit those in his image to be controlled.

    I think you water down what God expects of us and the dignity we have as human beings created in his image. I think that as Paul says in Romans 1…we have NO excuse not to believe. Your boldness in dismissing how seems to come a bit premature and arrogantly divorced from orthodox teaching. If anyone has a more balanced grasp of what is going on it is MARY. She won’t be surprised if God finally persuades everyone…but notices enough warning in scripture to recognized there is something going on where “hell” may not be so pleasant.

    However, one has to dismiss 2000 years of ecumenical orthodox/traditional teaching and interpretation to dismiss hell as anything short of eternal. As well as scripture that seems pretty straight forward and simple before people start playing the semantics game and lean more on anachronism and eisegesis than exogesis or historical/literary criticism.

    Either God has truly given us a free-will or he has played the trickster and has been trying to fool us all along that we actually have a choice. “Choose you this day who you will serve!” “I set before you this day a choice. Choose life or death…I say choose life…but if you don’t…Curses and consequences.” These “if-then” statements throughout scripture seem very basic and plain.

    • Sarah November 29, 2011 at 2:04 pm

      “God does not always get his own way. It is interesting that you say that if God is sovereign and all-powerful that means he MUST get his own way. That is an entirely middle ages interpretation of sovereignty…not a Biblical one…”

      If it’s not Biblical, like you assert, then why is it in the Bible?
      Proverbs 16:9 In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.

      “Who wants to serve a god who controls us like robots and makes us choose him and serve him. This is not a good shepherd…its a tyrant…”

      So hint that God could be a “tyrant”….for being ultimately responsible for EVERYTHING, including EVIL (see Isaiah 45:7) and will work out everything, utimately for His Glory, yet you have no problem in believing that anyone who doesn’t believe in Jesus or follow him for whatever reason in this life deserves to be TORTURED FOREVER????
      As for “Free” will, we don’t have it. We have the ability to make choices, there is a difference. Free will is not scriptural. Here are a 3 links on the subject of “Free” will:
      http://www.julieferwerda.com/2009/09/15/exploring-the-nice-little-idea-of-free-will/
      http://www.gods-kingdom-ministries.org/coldfusion
      http://bible-truths.com/lake15.html
      You can take it or leave it, your “choice”

      “From as early as the Garden of Eden Elohim has given humans a choice…to obey and serve, or disobey and suffer the consequences of our choices….”

      Then why is there absolutely NO mention of “eternal” hell in the Old Testament? Consequences for those sins were DEATH, work for Adam and pains in childbirth for Eve.
      As far as being “without excuse” you’re refering to these verses:
      Romans 1:20-22
      20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
      21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools
      23And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
      Yes, it does say without excuse, but there’s no mention of “eternal torment” for being without excuse in these verses…..Eternal hell/torment is an extremely serious matter! Why is it (eternal torture) not mentioned throughout every scripture in the Bible?

      You and Lanny both have very condescending attitudes. Both of you come across as smug and self-righteous.

  • Jeremy November 29, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    Sarah,

    I am interested to know if you think God is impassible.

    • Sarah November 29, 2011 at 10:12 pm

      I don’t quite get the question, there are 3 meanings for this word:

      1. incapable of suffering pain.
      2. incapable of suffering harm.
      3. incapable of emotion; impassive

  • Sarah November 29, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    Jeremey writes: . Who wants to serve a god who controls us like robots and makes us choose him and serve him. This is not a good shepherd…its a tyrant.

    Very interesting statement. You don’t want to serve a god who controls us like robots and makes us choose him and serve him……. and even refer to this god as a “tyrant” yet you want to serve a god who sadistically tortures human beings (but this is by no means in any way tyrannical?!?) for infinity for not “choosing” and “serving” him?? I’ll take the forner over the latter any day!

    • Jeremy November 29, 2011 at 3:14 pm

      Actually Sarah I want the God who is revealed in scripture who has revealed truth and reality to us. What I don’t want is Sarah’s self ordained interpretation of scripture or what makes her feel good. I don’t want the God that Sarah has tamed. I don’t want the God that makes Sarah feel comfortable. I don’t want the god that is Sarah’s 21st cent. post-modern god who looks more like Ghandhi than Christ or who is revealed in scripture. I don’t want the god that you have created in your imagination who has no sting. There is a sting in the reality of God that you are trying to remove. Though God is a god of grace and mercy, he is also a God of wrath and jugment. If you take away the second part of that statement you no longer believe in the Christian God any more than if you didn’t believe in the former.

      You can have the god who controls us like robots and makes us choose him…but sorry Sarah that is not the Christian God. You think that scenario sounds better? God created the world, God created humans, God makes them sin and partake of evil…by HIS choice. He makes people murder, rape, and piledge. He then convinces us that we need salvation. Salvation from what? Salvation from the things he is making us do. We die or he returns and says, “Just playing with you guys.” This whole time I was merely playing with you like dolls in a mud pit. Doesn’t make much sense and doesn’t fit into scripture.

      The reality is that God created our world. He put us in it and gave us a choice to better it and preserve it or corrupt it and choose ruin. Humans choose ruin and do so everyday. Throughout the OT God gives people a choice. In the NT God gives his son and makes salvation available for all who believe. Thats it…believe. Now you enjoy calling this “works” blah blah blah. Call it what you want…call it pickles, but that is what is required of us for salvation. Those who reject it are judged accordingly and WARNED of what the penalty is.

      Now I don’t know if death is the final moment. I hope for the sake of many that is not the case. However, that is not flexibility revealed in scripture. What you do in this life time is what is judged. It is obvious that many are punished…with VERY unpleasant means. This is plain in scripture, has been taught in the Church (Catholic, Protestant, and Eastern Orthodox) for 2000 years and I think has pretty good scriptural and historical hermeneutical buttressing as a truth claim.

      What you have is your very own, novel interpretation. I appeal to scripture, the Church interpreters, and the Vincentian Canon and the Holy Spirit who worked through them all. Thank God he didn’t wait to reveal truth until 2011 through the independent interpretations of Alice and Sarah.

      If hell exists…if we like it or not…then it would behoove our God to reveal such a thing and warned us against it and how to avoid it.

      As for your beef with Lanny for always talking about hell…well isn’t that what Alice is posting here? About Hell? Lanny is merely following the topic as you are.

      Finally, God is not forcing people to go to hell. He’s given a choice to accept salvation and relationship with him. If they reject that he honors their free will and choice. He doesn’t force them to serve and he doesn’t force them to reject. Being a judge and being a God of justice…he upholds justice and all get their just desserts. You may say, well who would reject if it meant going to hell? Uhm…Ive actually have meant and debated a lot of people who have admitted to doing exactly that if they find out God exists because they don’t want to serve a God who created this evil world. Will God force a person who whole heartedly doesn’t want to have anything to do with God???

  • Jeremy November 29, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    Once again is God impassible?

  • Jeremy November 29, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    Let me introduce this question as well…will the devil and his angels be sent to hell/lake of fire?

    • Sarah November 29, 2011 at 10:37 pm

      If you want to know my beliefs on hell/lake of fire, I have provided 3 links to the admin and to Lanny. I cannot post the articles here because they are too lengthy. You can visit the site or not, that’s up to you.

  • Sarah November 29, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    Since you seem to know it all Jeremy, answer your own questions!

  • Sarah November 29, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    Finally, God is not forcing people to go to hell. He’s given a choice to accept salvation and relationship with him.

    He “FORCES” us to exists ie be born!!

  • Sarah November 29, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    We die or he returns and says, “Just playing with you guys.” This whole time I was merely playing with you like dolls in a mud pit. Doesn’t make much sense and doesn’t fit into scripture.
    That is your opinion! And yes it IS scriptural that God is in control of ALL THINGS!!

    “You can have the god who controls us like robots and makes us choose him…but sorry Sarah that is not the Christian God. ”

    Quit saying you’re sorry, when you are not! You are extremely patronizing…you ooze of self-righteousness. Your whole attitude is this: I’M SMART…I CHOSE to BELIEVE so I”M going straight to HEAVEN when I die, without ANY consequences whatseover, regardless of how I judged and treated others… or lived my life, to hell with everyone else!! That is the attitude that you and Lanny both exude!

  • Sarah November 29, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    “What you have is your very own, novel interpretation. I appeal to scripture, the Church interpreters, and the Vincentian Canon and the Holy Spirit who worked through them all. Thank God he didn’t wait to reveal truth until 2011 through the independent interpretations of Alice and Sarah. ”

    Oh, you’re a perfect judge to know whether the Holy Spirit works through Alice? No, you are not! These are not her “independant” interpretations of scripture…the belief of the ultimate reconcillation of all has been around for hundreds of years! If you don’t like this blog, annointed one, then get off of it! You think you have all the answers to everything so what are you wasting your time on here for? It should be “beneath” you!

  • Jeremy November 29, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    Those are not answers. It is whining. You are driven solely by emotions and it appears that it obscures your interpretation and view. I also love how you write off everyone who believes in hell as being people haters, when what they are believing is in the apostolic faith. I think your problem is that you and Alice surround yourselves with “yes” people who are naive and don’t challenge you. When you are confronted you flip out.

    You speak of judgment but you judge everyone who doesn’t conform to your novelty as “self-righteous and patronizing” Yet do you read your own comments. You are just as bad as what you accuse me of. Look how you talk to Lanny…you ridicule his way of believing as though its foreign and strange when all he is doing is echoiing centuries of Church teaching…even if it is more fundalmentalists than most are comfortable with including myself. You avoid other’s questions because you like to be the driver of the conversation. When it is taken away from you you go nuts.

    Alice likes to bash Chan…no one here likes anyone to defend him. What I do commend Alice for is for posting everyones comments. What is goofy is that Sarah wants to dismiss orthodoxy as authoritarian and controlling but has become the monster she pretends orthodox teaching is. Funny Stuff!!!

    This is what you are all following…a novel teaching that is driven by emotions and what makes us feel good. When someone challenges this way of thinking they resort to whining.

    This is the requirment for this blog….Wow Alice what an awesome blog. I completely agree with every single word you say. You go girl!!!

  • Sarah November 29, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    Jeremy said:”You speak of judgment but you judge everyone who doesn’t conform to your novelty as “self-righteous and patronizing” Yet do you read your own comments. You are just as bad as what you accuse me of…”

    No, you are far worse! At least I don’t condemn anyone to an “eternal” torture chamber, as I know that is not my place..unlike SOME people on here with “god”complexes!

    Uh excuse me….you’ve dodged a few of my questions…..1)Why do you think you’re a perfect judge to know whether the Holy Sprit works through Alice? 2)What do you do with scriptures like these: Proverbs 16:9 In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps….God has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men to see if there is anyone who understands, who seeks after God. Every one of them has turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is NO ONE who does good (no not even the annointed ones Lanny and Jeremy), not even ONE (Ps. 53:2-3). I Tim. 4:10-11
    “For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, WHO IS THE SAVIOUR OF ALL MEN, especially [NOT EXCLUSIVELY] of those that believe.
    These things command and teach.”
    For there is NO partiality with God …” Rom. 2:11
    God WILL HAVE ALL MEN TO BE SAVED, and come to the knowledge of the truth” 1 Tim. 2:4.
    He works ALL THINGS after the counsel of HIS OWN WILL Eph. 1:10-11
    My purpose will be established, And I WILL accomplish ALL My good pleasure” (Isaiah 46:10).
    God is LOVE” I John 4:8
    LOVE NEVER FAILS” I Cor. 13:8.
    For it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, EVERY knee shall bow to me, and EVERY tongue shall give praise to God” (Rom. 14:11).
    “For God has concluded them all in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon ALL. O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God? How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out! For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been His counselor? Or who has first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen” (Rom. 11:32-36). I admit that I’m no Bible expert by any means, but you flat out LIE when you say that it’s not in scriptures that God is ultimately in control of EVERYTHING! You want to accuse me of whining just because I didn’t answer your stupid question?? You whine just because there are people out there who don’t subscribe to your warped interpretation of the Bible! So let me pose a few questions to you…do you consider yourself saved? If so, how did you get saved? By faith? Well faith is a gift from God! No one musters up their own faith! God gives it to them, and He will give it to everyone, eventually! I saw your blog: #1 Reason Unbelievers Don’t Believe in Christianity…It Is Our Fault…well you’re a two-faced hypocrite….on the one hand you blame “Christianity” for unbelievers, but then you come over to this blog and claim it’s our own fault that we don’t “believe”!

  • Sarah November 29, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    Jeremy said: “I also love how you write off everyone who believes in hell as being people haters….”

    Show me where EXACTLY WHERE I said you and Lanny or anyone on here for that matter are “people haters”!! You can’t because I never said it….twisiting my words….like you do the scritpures! What I said was that you and Lanny are smug and self righteous and you are!

    • Lanny A. Eichert November 29, 2011 at 7:13 pm

      Sarah says: November 29, 2011 at 3:56 pm
      Your whole attitude is this: I’M SMART…I CHOSE to BELIEVE so I”M going straight to HEAVEN when I die, without ANY consequences whatseover, regardless of how I judged and treated others… or lived my life, to hell with everyone else!! That is the attitude that you and Lanny both exude!

      • Sarah November 29, 2011 at 7:17 pm

        And your point is?

        • Sarah November 29, 2011 at 7:48 pm

          Lanny, show me specifically said anyone on here were people haters! Nowhere in my above comment did I say that anyone were people haters….unless you assume that I think you and Jeremy hate people for judging them to “eternal” hell?? If that’s the case, do you think that the doctrine of “eternal” hell is a hateful doctrine?

  • Lanny A. Eichert December 1, 2011 at 2:59 am

    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}

    Mary Vanderplas said:
    November 29, 2011 at 8:58 pm
    Matthew’s Jesus is not here making a statement about the eternal destiny of unbelievers. He is talking to the disciples about their mission and encouraging their courageous witness to him in the face of experiences of rejection and persecution, which he says are sure to happen. His words in verse 28, while a warning that what God could do by way of judging their unfaithfulness is far worse than what their opponents could do by way of acting to silence their witness, is not a prediction of what will be. And it definitely is not a literal description of the future fate of the unbelieving. It is, rather, in my view, a statement about what could happen to disciples that is intended to free them from fear of their opponents for faithful confession of him. It is worth noting that in addition to this warning, Matthew’s Jesus provides a word of encouragement in the verses immediately following. Here what is emphasized is the sovereignty of God such that nothing that happens to them is outside of the scope of God’s knowledge, power, and care. Alongside a warning of judgment is thus a reminder of God’s faithfulness as the basis for courageous witness to Jesus as the Christ. There is nothing here to support the position that “God will certainly destroy the soul and the body of any one who hasn’t received Christ as personal Lord and Savior in this life.” That is simply not what this text is saying or implying.

    Lanny A. Eichert said:
    November 30, 2011 at 5:23 am
    Mary, do you really mean God could destroy both soul and body of His Own disciples in hell? His very Own disciples, Mary? If they would have failed miserably in their faithfulness to their mission, would God really go through with destroying their souls and bodies in hell? Is that truly God’s intended meaning? Mary used the words “could do.” I don’t know whether she thinks this is a real threat or just a hypothetical threat, a potential possibility or even a remote possibility or a non-possibility. She said it “is not a prediction of what will be.” Certainly I see no reference to “if” they fail in their faithfulness to their mission, so certainly the doom of His own disciples is not predicted; in that I can agree. I find it unthinkable for Jesus to threaten his very Own chosen and elect disciples with even a theoretical threat. I would still view such a thing as idle words under the condemnation of Matthew 12: 36 & 37. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. Mary wrote, “Along side a warning of judgment” there are encouragement verses following. I see more than encouragement, even guarantee. Those invalidate the conclusion of a warning of judgment being assumed upon the disciples. It is totally inexcusable to view “which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” as a warning of judgment against His very Own disciples whom He has chosen, elected, and equipped for the work of witness. Forgive me, Mary, but do you or don’t you believe His disciples were securely saved in His care? All but one that is. Even from a predestination stand point of view, wouldn’t we have to say they were saved and safe? How could they be threatened with destruction of their souls? Mary, do you really see a threat of judgment possible to His disciples? Can it be?

    What do the rest of you think? To whose soul and body does “which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” refer? Whose does the Biblical context make the souls and bodies to rationally be? Do you know there is an equally interesting question to answer: “whose soul and body is God NOT able to destroy in hell” and once answered it should give you the answer to 10: 28.

  • Lanny A. Eichert December 2, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    I’m moving this to the bottom to be more easily accessed as if it were a new post
    Lanny A. Eichert says:
    December 2, 2011 at 7:30 pm
    Mary restates my question, Could God condemn the disciples? {December 1, 2011 at 5:12 am} Then Mary answers it, Insofar as God can do anything he chooses, presumably yes, if he so chose. {I am really tempted to ask you all since you think God can do anything, then can God commit acts of sin, have a sinful thought, entertain sinful emotions?} In John 17: 12 Jesus prayed to His Father about His disciples, “While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.” Is Mary’s answer of “presumably yes” in the light of this prayer at all presumably yes? Since God’s Son was keeping the men which God gave Him out of the world, verse 7, how could God “presumably yes” condemn them?

    In 17: 20 Jesus extends His prayer: “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word” so that His disciples of the twenty-first century are also included. Could God condemn His 21st century disciples? Is Mary’s answer of “presumably yes” in the light of this prayer at all presumably yes? If God’s Son is keeping the men which God is giving Him out of the world, verse 7, how could God “presumably yes” condemn them?

    So {Matthew 10: 28} 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. These are words Jesus spoke to His disciples and certainly He is telling them to fear God, but is He telling them to fear God because God is able to destroy THEM or is it because God is pointedly able to destroy somebodies else? Now stay in the context. Today we know all have sinned and all are concluded in unbelief and all are condemned. They weren’t yet aware when two of them asked to sit one on each side of Jesus in His Kingdom. So lets bring it to today. Does Jesus still keep His 21st century disciples in the Father’s name?

    Don’t you see that God’s salvation is a salvation from condemnation and therefore God is not able to condemn, that is, destroy the souls and bodies of His disciples in hell? Can God do anything he chooses? No!!! He cannot choose to condemn His saints. God is able to destroy all sinners’ souls and bodies in hell, EXCEPT those He saves. That is the motivation for their mission of witness: a love for the lost that exceeds personal safety, a love that wants to spare them divine destruction of LOST souls and bodies in hell.

    What do you think? Isn’t that the best view of the “is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” Biblical words of Jesus? Fear the God Who is able to destroy your lost friends’ and lost loved ones’ souls and bodies in hell. The hard part you don’t like is that since God is able He is also ready to destroy. Fear the God Who is able and ready to destroy your lost friends’ and lost loved ones’ souls and bodies in hell. I had to be honest and complete the thought, even if it bursts your bubble.

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