The God I Wish You Knew

The God I Wish You Knew

The God I Wish You Knew

According to Time magazine’s article, The 25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America, Hybels “leads a network of 10,500 churches and trains more than 100,000 pastors each year.” This is a critical analysis of Bill Hybels’ sermon, The God I Wish You Knew, the final sermon in a series by the same name. It’s not really fair to call it a sermon, though, because it is more of an artsy overview of a sermon series, with Hybels doing the MC thing.

The God I Wish You Knew

After a time of worship, Hybels greets the congregation and introduces a video narrated by average-looking people, male and female, of various ages and ethnicities. They say,

  • The God I wish you knew will be beside you, loving you.
  • The God I wish you knew is the One that really listens to you.
  • The God I wish you knew will see you through.
  • If you screw up, He’s still going to love you.
  • If he can save me… oh, you’ve got a good chance.
  • He’ll give you strength, and He’ll give you peace.

Meanwhile these and other words appear on the screen faster and faster until they are no longer readable:

  • Forgives
  • Loves
  • Creates
  • Reconciles
  • Restores
  • Leads
  • Cares
  • Heals
  • Helps
  • Speaks
  • Gives
  • Embraces

The God-Shadow — Not to be confused with God, Himself…

When the video ends, someone (sorry, the video doesn’t provide names for everyone) presents a short monologue about Who God is versus our misperceptions of God, “an imperfect visage of Who He really is,” like the difference between you and your shadow.

God is not a shadow - Willow Creek

Then, there’s a spoken word poem with two interpretive dancers, a solo, a duet, a short monologue about God the Potter (all very well-presented, moving, and meaningful), and finally, Hybel’s short sermon.

Faithfulness. What is it?

A succinct definition for “faithfulness,” which Hybels says took hours of struggle and prayer to formulate, is “someone keeping a promise over a long period of time.” Hybels points to Deuteronomy 7:9, which says that God is faithful to “a thousand generations,” and 2 Timothy 2:13, which says God remains faithful, “for He cannot deny Himself.” In other words, Hybels says, “our conduct will not change His character. He will remain faithful, because that’s Who He is.”

God’s Gifts and Blessings

There’s another video/monologue about the good gifts of God, like family, friends, your job, home and car, and blessings like peace, comfort, love faithfulness, forgiveness, guidance, and presence. All of these concepts are excellent contemplation material for the Thanksgiving holiday.

The video segues to a round-table discussion of people giving testimonials:

  • Jordan, who went on a Willow Creek mission trip and decided to become a missionary
  • Tonya, a special needs mom talks about how she connected with other moms and how her son has made friends in the special needs ministry
  • Dan explains how leaders in Section (Willow Creek Communities/Discipleship) have “challenged, encouraged, and exhorted” him “in such meaningful ways,” that he wants to do the same for others
  • Josia tells a story of delivering seeds to over 25,000 prisoners throughout Illinois, who planted and tended the plants to harvest enough fresh produce not only for the prisons, but for surrounding schools.
  • The guy at the head of the table (again, no name provided) says, “It’s a privilege for each of us to be at this table, and it causes us to say, ‘Only God. Only God. Thank you.'”

A trio of singers do an acapella version of Great Is Thy Faithfulness:

Great is Thy faithfulness O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.

Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Great is Thy faithfulness!

Great is Thy faithfulness!

Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided —

Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Life is experienced in three ways…

Hybels gives a quick overview of a previous sermon, saying, “Life is a miracle.” Human life is “unique, and it’s precious, and it has dignity and value.” He says, “Life should be respected and protected from the womb to the tomb.”

First, 1.0 life…

Hybels says,

If there’s any place on planet earth where someone’s life is not being respected, we need to step up. If there’s anywhere on the planet where someone’s life is being threatened or violated or oppressed, if someone’s being tormented, and the life is being squeezed out of them, that’s the signal for the rest of us who have received life from God as a gift — we’ve got to step up and step in and do something.

So, 1.0 life comes from God, and it’s precious, and it has to be respected and protected, worldwide.

Notice that believers, according to Hybels, are called to respect and protect life. Why? In this sermon, Hybel’s doesn’t really explain why. So I decided to listen to the applicable sermon he preached earlier in the series. In it, Hybels explains that “God is really serious about protecting life.” But he defines life 1.0 as being “about the breath in our lungs and the blood circulating in our veins.” According to Hybel’s definition of 1.0 life, I would assert that animals also have 1.0 life. If 1.0 life is merely temporal, physical and biological, then I don’t understand why Hybels uses Genesis 2:7, “God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being” to define 1.0 life or why he refers listeners to Joseph Cardinal Bernardin’s consistent life ethic, which both provide more significance than temporal, physical and biological existence.

Perhaps Hybels’ incomplete view of human life — life created in God’s image — is why he limits the value of human life to the short time “from the womb to the tomb” while disregarding its post-mortem value. Does a human life lose its dignity and value once the physical and biological functions cease? Should it no longer be respected and protected? Hybel’s doesn’t address the post-mortem value of life, but the Willow Creek Statement of Faith does:

Death seals the eternal destiny of each person. All humanity will experience a bodily resurrection and a judgment that will determine the fate of each individual. Having rejected God, unbelievers will suffer eternal condemnation apart from Him.

Interestingly, in the Willow Creek Association Statement of Faith the words “suffer eternal condemnation” are softened a bit. It says,

Death seals the eternal destiny of each person. At the final judgment, unbelievers will be separated from God into condemnation.

Hybels speculates about why people reject God, saying that they see God as:

  • a life-taker
  • a life-wrencher
  • a life-wrecker

or they

  • can’t conceive of a God with life-enhancing capabilities
  • have a low-grade fear that engagement with God will throw a wrench into their life
  • think God will make their lives much worse

Hybels asks the congregation,

Do you believe to the core of your being that a 2.0 quality of life, life in all its fullness, is available to all of us who confess Christ as the Leader and Forgiver of our lives? Do you have the confidence to say to your family and friends, ‘Hey, the God I wish you knew gives more than a 1.0 kind of life away. He actually gives a 2.0 quality of life, too. And I’m experiencing it a little bit, and I’d love to have you experience it, too.’ Being candid, it took me twenty years, twenty years of honest soul-searching to come to the point where I could say congruently, to the core of my being, to anyone and everyone, that I believe to my toes that everybody’s life would be better if God were at the center of it.

Let’s consider this for a moment. If someone has a false understanding of Who God is and what God does, if someone can’t conceive Who God really is or what God really does, then he or she will reject God. Even believers (like Hybels) can take a long time to gain a more accurate understanding of Who God is and what God does. If someone dies without gaining an understanding, dies without the misconceptions of God being cleared away, how can he or she make any kind of informed decision to “confess Christ as the Leader and Forgiver of our lives?” They’ve never really understood the meaning of salvation or their need for God. Most believers who believe in eternal condemnation also believe that unbelievers gain that understanding — post-mortem. When unbelievers finally get it, when they finally recognize God for Who He really is, according to orthodoxy, it’s TOO LATE. They made their decision to reject God, and now they will be condemned for all eternity.

Hybels says that God has “infinite love and limitless power,” yet Hybels’ Statement of Faith declares an end to His love and power at the point of one’s physical and biological death.

And then, 2.0 life…

Regarding 2.0 life, Hybels says,

But beyond that, there is a 2.0 version of life, and that’s described in John 10:10, where Jesus said, “I came to give you life, and not just 1.0 life, I came to give you 2.0 life. Life in all its fullness,” he says. “Life with a guide. Life with My presence.” Life with a purpose. Life with a meaning. Life with satisfaction. Life with a direction. Life with a sense that Someone’s doing it with you. Every single day. Life accompanied by a life-giving God.

What does it mean to have 2.0 life? Hybels says,

It doesn’t mean you don’t have problems, it just means you don’t feel abandoned in the problem. The problem doesn’t feel hopeless, because God’s in it with you. And when you have something to celebrate, you have Someone to thank, because He orchestrated whatever it is you’re celebrating. One of the loneliest things, wouldn’t it be, to have some great thing happen to you and have no one to thank? But we can thank the God Who guides and blesses.

I agree with Hybels that 2.0 life is characterized by relationship with God. But I think that Hybels make too much distinction between 2.0 life and 3.0 life. I’ll explain in a moment, but first, let’s see what Hybels says about 3.0 life.

Finally, 3.0 life…

…when we’re done with this life, then God, our remarkable, life-giving God leads us into 3.0 life in the next life. The apostle Paul one time said, “Eyes have not seen, ears have not heard, nor has it ever entered the imagination of human beings what the next life is going to be like. It’s going to be a head-popping, mind-blowing experience of life times X forever. Forever. Your best day in 2.0 life is a bad day in 3.0 life, because this is eternal life, and it’s available to people who ask Jesus for it.

And after I gave that message a business buddy of mine contacted me, and he said, “Bill, I grew up thinking that God is the kind of God Who sucks the joy and sucks the life out of normal human beings, so I stayed away from Him, as far as I could. Then, I got invited to this church.” And he said, “Every week I come. I see with new eyes.” And he goes, “After that message you gave today, I understand God is not only the Author of life, but He wants to give a quality of life, and He offers eternal life.” And he said, “This was just an incredible message for me.” And he ended the conversation by saying, “I can’t wait to explain this to everyone I know.”

I agree that 3.0 life is “eternal” or without end. When we pass from 2.0 to 3.0 life, we disrobe of our corruptible (phtharton), mortal (thnēton) existence and become clothed in an incorruptible (aphtharsian), immortal (athanasian) existence (1 Corinthians 15:53). There are other words used to describe 3.0 life, as well, but using the English word “eternal” (as aiōnios is commonly mistranslated) as a one-size-fits all description of 3.0 life is unfortunate, because we gloss over something very important. Aionios life is something believers possess RIGHT NOW. It is not something we inherit when our physical and biological functions cease. The apostle John records how Jesus uses the word aionios,

Now this is eternal (aiōnios) life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

Ask a believer, “Do you know God? Do you believe Jesus was sent by God?” If he or she is truly a believer, then he or she will answer YES. He or she already has aionios life. Knowing God. Knowing Jesus came from God. Aionios life. It is a life characterized by relationship with God in this age and in all future ages. Knowing God — being in relationship with God — is how believers obtain an aphtharsian and athanasian (or 3.0) existence. Aionios literally means “pertaining to the age.” Pertaining to this age, we have relationship. Pertaining to the next age, we have relationship. The aionios life or relationship-life continues forever, because God continues through the ages and because believers, being clothed in an aphtharsian and athanasian existence, also continue through the ages.

This may seem like petty semantics to some people, but misunderstanding these ideas is what leads people to misunderstand and reject God. How? Take, for example, the portion of the Statement of Faith of the Willow Creek Church quoted above, which declares that those who die in unbelief will “suffer eternal condemnation apart from Him.” From where do you think this idea of “eternal” condemnation originates? Aionios — misunderstood, mistranslated, and misapplied.

Please don’t think that I listened to the singers, watched the artists, and heard the testimonials and the sermon and saw only the error. I was actually stirred up in my spirit, identifying with, agreeing with, and being edified by the Good News in the Sunday morning service. The faithfulness of a life-giving God who loves, forgives, reconciles, restores, and so much more — these things resonated in the core of my being. But I am aware of the dark and ominous unspoken teachings that Hybels and other preachers and Bible teachers hold that undermine and suck the power out of their life-giving intentions.

Hybels says,

That’s the way it’s supposed to work, as we draw near to the end of this ten-week series on God. Here’s how it’s supposed to work: You’re supposed to learn about the goodness and the greatness, the beauty and the wonder, and the awesomeness of God, and it’s supposed to fill us up. It’s supposed to fill us up so full that we naturally and winsomely spill over to our family and friends, where we say after a church service, “You know, I just learned something else that’s possible about the God I know.” You tell your friends and family about it, and then, the punchline, you just say as humbly and winsomely as possible, “Someday, I hope you know that God, because He’s an amazing God.”

As we stay filled up with God, we look at people differently, and we say, “Oh, their life would be better if God were at the center of it.” And you look at someone, and you remind yourself of what I told you a thousand times: The single greatest gift you can give to any human being is an introduction to the God Who loves them. There is no greater gift you can give to anybody else than a simple introduction to the God Who loves them, because that’s going to open up 2.0 life, and that’s going to usher in 3.0 life forever.

Hybels goes on to talk about how God is the anchor for your soul, and with baptisms, how “nothing compares to the beauty of watching God transform a human life. Nothing. It’s as good as it gets.” When I test everything and hold on to what is good, I can hold on to these things.

A video of people getting baptized plays as the congregation sings along to a song they learned during the sermon series called This I Believe (The Creed). And then Hybel’s closing prayer includes the request: “Make us… life-giving people, people who point to the life-changing God.”

If we believers are life-giving people, then we ought to give an accurate message of the life God gives. The apostle John recorded something important that Jesus said,

All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. (John 6:37)

Who has the Father given to Jesus? The apostle John also writes,

The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands… For [the Father] granted [Jesus] authority over all people that He might give eternal [aionios] life to all those [the Father has] given him. (John 3:35 & 17:2)

This is the message. God is not giving up on people. To those He has given 1.0 life or corruptible (phtharton), mortal (thnēton) existence, He will also give 3.0 life or an incorruptible (aphtharsian), immortal (athanasian) existence. We know this because “If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body (1 Corinthians 15:44).” Those who believe this now, during the 1.0 life, have 2.0 life and pass from 1.0 life to 2.0 life to 3.0 life without incident. To those who will not or cannot believe, perhaps for the reasons Hybels named or for reasons, “Wonder not at this, because there doth come an hour in which all those in the tombs shall hear his voice, and they shall come forth; those who did the good things to a rising again of life, and those who practised the evil things to a rising again of judgment” (John 5:28-29). Their passage from 1.0 life to 3.0 is not without incident. But “[Jesus] is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because HE ALWAYS LIVES to intercede for them.” And “…when your judgments come upon the earth, the people of the world learn righteousness” (Isaiah 26:9).

This idea of death being a cut-off for salvation followed by eternal torment in hell is part of the reason people view God as:

  • a life-taker
  • a life-wrencher
  • a life-wrecker

or why they

  • can’t conceive of a God with life-enhancing capabilities
  • have a low-grade fear that engagement with God will throw a wrench into their life
  • think God will make their lives much worse

This idea of death being a cut-off for salvation followed by eternal torment in hell is one reason people hear the (so-called) message of reconciliation believers share as:

  • The God I wish you knew will NOT be beside you, loving you, if you die in unbelief. You will be discarded like a piece of trash.
  • The God I wish you knew will ONLY listen to you, if you believe before you die. After that, He will ignore you forever.
  • The God I wish you knew will see you through, but only if you believe before you die. After that, He will see you are eternally condemned.
  • If you screw up, He’s still going to love you, unless you do not believe in time. Then He will no longer love you.
  • He’ll give you strength, and He’ll give you peace, unless you do not believe in time. Then, you will be utterly helpless and hopeless.
  • God forgives, as long as you believe in time. After that, He holds an eternal grudge.
  • God loves, as long as you believe before you die. Once you die, His love for you fails.
  • God creates you, knowing if you do not believe in time, you will suffer eternal condemnation.
  • God reconciles the world to Himself through Christ, except for those who don’t believe before they die. (Which, consequently, is the majority of the world.)
  • God restores, as long as you believe in time. After that, God becomes either unable or unwilling to restore.
  • God leads, unless you die in unbelief. After that, you’re on your own.
  • God cares, unless you die in unbelief. After that, God abandons you.
  • God heals only those who believe before they die. All others will remain eternally wounded.
  • God helps only those who believe before they die. All others may call upon the name of Jesus for help, but they won’t be saved.
  • God speaks now, but if you die without believing, He will ignore you and give you the silent treatment for eternity.
  • God gives only to those who believe before they die. After that, God takes away everything except your consciousness, so that you will be tormented by what could have been if you had only accepted His gift of salvation.
  • God embraces only those who believe before they die. All others experience utter rejection, forever.

Is this the message you’re sending to your friends and family? If so, you might want to ask yourself how it is that the unchanging character of God somehow becomes so dramatically altered by the cessation of temporal physical and biological functions.

 

 

Comments
  • Mary Vanderplas December 1, 2014 at 5:38 am

    I agree that human beings continue to have value to God after death, though I don’t think that this is because we are more than bodies, that we have a spiritual dimension that reflects our being created in the image of God. The Bible doesn’t make a distinction when it comes to the physical and spiritual in terms of our creation in the divine image. It is our whole being – body and soul – that is made in the image of the Creator. Our value depends on our being loved by God and our having been chosen by him and destined for adoption as his children – a status that, indeed, is not invalidated by death.

    I like what you say about people who have no true understanding of God and his ways not being able to choose to trust and follow this God – and the implication that for God to condemn them eternally for their rejection of him during their lifetime would be patently unfair. And I think you’re right to challenge Hybels on his point of God’s love and power being limited by the refusal on the part of some to follow him in their lifetime.

    I agree that the life that God gives, life lived in intimate relationship with God, is something that believers enjoy already now and that the use of “eternal” understood as an endless extension of life obscures the truth of this life as a new way of being that is present now and continues through the ages. (I like your term “relationship-life” to describe this new order of being.)

    I like what you say about God never giving up on people and agree that his binding himself to us through Christ means that his saving work has no limits – that Jesus always lives to intercede for all. And I think you’re right to challenge those who preach that death is the cut-off for receiving God’s mercy by asking whether the character of God in relation to his human creatures is changed by their death – and, I would add, whether his binding himself to us through Christ is only temporary.

    • Lanny A. Eichert December 1, 2014 at 5:44 pm

      Patently unfair is it, Mary? Like Alice, you make yourself the judge of God. You think a human life time of sin does not justify an eternity of torment. You forget the magnitude of sin is directly porportional to the high and holy character of the One Who is offended. God said “no” and man said “yes” yet you think that rejection proportional to a human life. You have a human sized god, poor Mary. What do you offer God for a divine law broken by foolish man? What settlement equal to the incarnation, life, death, and resurrection of the Son of God? That’s what men have rejected when they thoughtlessly physically die rejecting Christ. Is Christ’s thirty-three year life only worth one human lifetime in hell? What measure do you use to determine what is fair? If you are unable to answer, then you have no authority to say “patently unfair” and must default to God’s torment for eternity and declare yourself a fool.

    • Lanny A. Eichert December 3, 2014 at 10:47 am

      Mary, WHAT value is a human being to God after death? What is his worth, Mary? Give me a value, please, otherwise you make an unsubstantiated claim and are blowing just hot air and speaking vanity, What’s the difference in value of each to God after death: the believer and the unbeliever?

      Have you ever thrown away as trash a valuable item because it was ruined?

      What about it, Alice? Is it only fools who estimate human worth as finite? Final punishment as finite also?

    • Alice Spicer December 7, 2014 at 7:53 pm

      You write, “Our value depends on our being loved by God and our having been chosen by him and destined for adoption as his children…”

      Yes, I totally agree with this. We matter to God, therefore, we matter, since God is the highest authority on all matters.

      • Lanny A. Eichert December 8, 2014 at 1:46 am

        The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth. Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup. {Psalm 11: 5 & 6}

        God’s soul hates the wicked and those who love violence, so how much value do they have?

        And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. {Revelation 20: 15}
        Cast is to throw away as trash.

        Since God is the highest authority on all matters, why won’t you believe His perfect literal Holy Bible which spells out Everlasting Torment upon all unbelievers?

  • Lanny A. Eichert December 1, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    Poor Alice, your last 17 bullet list will be your true portion for twisting Scripture and mocking God.

  • Lanny A. Eichert December 2, 2014 at 12:42 am

    Alice, your god is a fairy tale god. Just look at: And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. {Acts 2: 47} Why wasn’t that the whole world of living mankind at that writing if your god wants everybody saved? I thought you said everyone that the Father gave to the Son gets saved and everybody was given to the Son. It is so obvious not everybody in the context of Acts 2: 47 got saved. You take John 3:35 & 17:2 and wrongly apply it to John 6:37 violating all three contexts. That’s a woman for you running on her emotions and not able to think rationally, wanting to use the Word of God deceitfully to further her heresies. You forgot to read 3: 36 following verse 35. It says “shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” Abideth is present tense forever continuous non-stop action, no change, without remedy.

    He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

    Alice, in chapter 17 verse 12 Jesus tells His Father ONE was lost = was not given eternal life. Can’t you see Judas Iscariot was not GIVEN to Him? Jesus had power over Judas Iscariot, but didn’t GIVE him eternal life. That’s proof positive Judas was not a “given one.” Jesus said He finished the work His Father gave Him to do and that did NOT include saving Judas. Judas wasn’t on the Father’s list of those who should be saved. Look, Alice, verse 20 extends Jesus’ prayer beyond His disciples but never beyond the grave. WHY NOT? Why not, if God would save beyond the grave? The reason is simply because He doesn’t save beyond the grave. Death is the cut-off for hope. Beyond the grave is no hope. Either you get your eternal hope in this life or you forever have no hope. Alice, you are a preacher of your false hope which is nothing but hot air vanity built on your emotions and perverted scripture portions to give it supposed substance. Your heresies have fallen time and time again for over two millennia to Orthodoxy.

    You don’t need to wish I knew your fairy tale god, because I know his devices. Your god is Satan, himself, the father of lies and a murderer. Because you’re a deceitful woman, you easily bought into his Garden of Eden lie at Genesis 3: 4 “Ye shall not surely die.”

    • Lanny A. Eichert December 2, 2014 at 12:59 am

      All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.(John 6:37)

      Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matthew 7: 21 – 23)

      Who does Jesus say He will drive away, Alice?

      • Alice Spicer December 7, 2014 at 8:07 pm

        The one statement doesn’t negate the other. In other words, He will not turn away those who come to Him. Just because someone says, “Lord, Lord,” and does things in His name, this doesn’t mean they’ve come to Him. Look at those preachers who work so-called miracles in His name, building earthly empires on the backs of spiritual babies, indulging in luxuries like private jets, mansions, the best cars, etc. They don’t do His will, and when they say “Lord, Lord,” they are addressing someone they never really knew. Does this mean they will NEVER know Him? Does this mean they will NEVER come to Him?

        • Lanny A. Eichert December 8, 2014 at 12:21 am

          Alice, “in that day” is Judgment Day following their death, residence in hell, and resurrection to judgment, so certainly they no longer had opportunity to come to Christ. They deceitfully thought they were His disciples, but Jesus’ words prove otherwise. Those who come to Christ do it in this mortality according to the context of that text. You again violate two contexts to make your deceitfully devilish heresy.

          I never knew you: depart from me, Jesus said. You asked about them: #1) Does this mean they will NEVER know Him? #2) Does this mean they will NEVER come to Him? Do you fail to understand Jesus is speaking of His never having known them. You ask the wrong questions. The issue is His knowning of them and He said “never.” What part of “never” don’t you understand? How long has Jesus been in the know and how long will Jesus be in the know? There is not a moment before, during, or after time that Jesus ever knew them. When Jesus said He never knew you, He spoke of the whole entire course of human existence which includes everlasting torment. The adverb is translated never, neither at any time, nothing at any time. BTW the verb is Aorist looking at His knowing as a whole completed act.

          Who does Jesus say He will drive away, Alice?

    • Alice Spicer December 7, 2014 at 7:58 pm

      You write, “Why wasn’t that the whole world of living mankind at that writing if your god wants everybody saved?”

      Because you do not see salvation in God’s Plan of the Ages as applicable beyond this age, you frame your question accordingly. The whole world of living mankind is reconciled to God “each in his proper order.”

      • Lanny A. Eichert December 8, 2014 at 12:30 am

        Alice, your use of each in his proper order is again a violation of the context which is the resurrection of believers, also called the First Resurrection, not the salvation of souls. You’re mixing apples and oranges; no wonder you can’t get it correct.

  • Lanny A. Eichert December 2, 2014 at 11:14 am

    •a life-taker
    •a life-wrencher
    •a life-wrecker

    •can’t conceive of a God with life-enhancing capabilities
    •have a low-grade fear that engagement with God will throw a wrench into their life
    •think God will make their lives much worse

    Alice, these things are true both before and after a person is saved. God is a life-take, because He took away my corrupt sinful life which was comfortable to me. Don’t you see how thoroughly He wrecked my former life? He ripped it right out of my grasp so that I was no longer the master of my own destiny when He became the Lord of my life. Even my own mother knew the saved life God would have had for her would mean she’d no longer be able to go to dances and enjoy drinking. That being saved would certainly throw at least that wrench into her life far from enhancing her life and certainly making it much worse than what she was enjoying. And when I went to the movies after I was save I was appalled at what I had before enjoyed was actually so vile. Even the flippant use of Jesus’ name and what God should damn became horrors to me. God did indeed ruin my life; of that there is no controversy. That’s the way it should be and I would not apologize for preaching what true conversion really means. I died when I got saved. The former Lanny A. Eichert ceased to exist and a new person began to be: Christ in me! Galatians 2: 20

    Alice, you are in error trying to make conversion looking nice to unbelievers and that evidences the fact that you know nothing about being converted, because you haven’t been. Wake up before you die and go to hell. Wake up to the reality that you have deceived yourself into thinking you’re saved. You’re not alone. Many people have self-deceived themselves. You’re not the first one. Conversion means a new life as stated in 2 Corinthians 5: 17 that celebrates Christ’s death and resurrection lived out in the believer. It is the Lord’s Supper in communion and service with a local congregation of saints. Don’t you see your rejection and withdrawal from the institutional church is your testimony that you aren’t saved?

  • Lanny A. Eichert December 5, 2014 at 1:01 am

    Alice, “If someone dies without gaining an understanding” is suggesting this gained understanding is that someone’s responsibility and effort. Then you go on to state “Most believers who believe in eternal condemnation also believe that unbelievers gain that understanding — post-mortem.” In BOTH cases you make that understanding the work of human responsibility and effort without which a person “will reject God.”

    And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. {1 John 5: 20}

    Here is that understanding, NOT GAINED, But given and RECEIVED. By whom? When? For what purpose? Eternal Life now?

    But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. {John 1: 12 & 13}

    You’ve got some explaining to do. Gain or gift? Since the Son of God is come is that understanding given to every one of us, meaning everybody, believer and unbeliever, since the Advent, has it from the moment they were physically conceived in their mothers’ womb? Everyone knows Jesus Christ, everyone is in Jesus Christ, everyone has eternal life from conception? Can someone therefore die without gaining this understanding?

    You ask: If someone dies without gaining an understanding, dies without the misconceptions of God being cleared away, how can he or she make any kind of informed decision to “confess Christ as the Leader and Forgiver of our lives?” They’ve never really understood the meaning of salvation or their need for God.

    Alice, I ask you if that is at all possible because of 1 John 5: 20

    What percentage do you suppose of the world’s population died without gaining an understanding?

  • Lanny A. Eichert December 6, 2014 at 3:01 am

    Alice, your interpretation: “God has infinite love and limitless power, yet His love and power ends at the point of one’s physical and biological death” is grossly faulty and warped by your heretical mind to put a worse pin on the unbeliever’s plight by accusing God of wrong doing. Again you forget John 3: 36 that they were already under the wrath of God and under the sentence that they themselves will not see the character of life which is eternal. Don’t you also fail to remember all life, even that life which is described as Second Death, is sustained by God. They are tormented forever in the presence of God and His holy angels. Why do you neglect that as demonstration of “God’s infinite love and limitless power?” I noticed in the last part you ommitted the two adjectives, infinite and limitless, perhaps to allow for a only a finite love and a limited power of God to be expressed in the everlasting Lake of Fire. Is that true that during the everlasting torment of unbelievers you view His love and power is exhibited to lesser degrees than to His believers? That is, only the infinite and limitless part is ended? You most surely do not mean that absolutely no love and power goes into everlasting torment of unbelievers.

    As I asked Mary, dear Alice, what is suitable punishment for rejecting the incarnation of the Son of God which took 4,000 years of preparation, His 33 year life, His agony in the garden, the bearing of our sins in His own body on the cross, His agony of being forsaken of His Father, His death, His blood sprinkled on the Mercy Seat in God’s sanctuary in heaven, His resurrection, and His ascension?

    For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? {Matthew 16: 26}

    What is the proper answer to Jesus’ two questions?

    • Alice Spicer December 7, 2014 at 7:33 pm

      You write, “Alice, your interpretation: ‘God has infinite love and limitless power, yet His love and power ends at the point of one’s physical and biological death’ is grossly faulty and warped by your heretical mind to put a worse pin on the unbeliever’s plight by accusing God of wrong doing.

      It is not me who accuses God of wrongdoing. You quoted the meaning I assigned to Hybels’ sermon bullet points based on the Willow Creek Association Statement of Faith. Infinite love and limitless power are NOT expressed through God sustaining people in an eternal state of torment. That is the exact opposite of infinite love and limitless power. If God wants everyone to be saved and has the power to save everyone, why then, should not everyone be saved?

      To answer your question about suitable punishment would be to play God. Everyone is judged, and thank God, it isn’t by me.

      Although I think Jesus questions were rhetorical, my best answer to the first would be “nothing,” and the second, “nothing.” That’s the whole point of Jesus’ death and resurrection. His grace transcends the system of gain and loss, profit and exchange.

      • Lanny A. Eichert December 8, 2014 at 1:23 am

        Precisely, Alice, it is the meaning YOU assigned. It is your words and their intented twist I call out as error. “His love and power ends at the point of one’s physical and biological death” are not a quote of the Willow Creek Association but these are you own words, not theirs, by which you falsely accuse WCA of having a mean god. You do accuse God of wrong doing when you deprive Him of the ability of everlastingly punishing unbelievers and you do elevate yourself above God when you imply everlasting torment is unfair because you think human sin should be evaluated as finite in character. You also demonstrate your inability to define what finite punishment God should obligate a finite sinner to endure as satisfaction for his crimes against Almighty God AND then you say “nothing” for what shall a man give in exchange for his soul. You want God to expect nothing from a sinner for his crimes? According to you Jesus died in vain if Alice should expect God to forgive without justice.

        The facts are salvation cost the incarnation of the Son of God which took 4,000 years of preparation, His 33 year life, His agony in the garden, the bearing of our sins in His own body on the cross, His agony of being forsaken of His Father, His death, His blood sprinkled on the Mercy Seat in God’s sanctuary in heaven, His resurrection, and His ascension. That’s the cost of justice. If a man rejects that, what should he pay? You dismiss the question by saying His grace transcends the system of gain and loss, profit and exchange. Is the system of gain and loss, profit and exchange God’s system or not? Who possed the questions and why, For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? {Matthew 16: 26} Were they meant to go unanswered or are they justification for everlasting torment? What does rhetorical mean to you? What’s the cost of loosing your own soul? Does it require an exchange? Does ET fail as an exchange? Can you say ET is worth excessively more than the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world? Doesn’t rhetorical mean the answer is obvious? ET doesn’t even come close to the value of the Lamb of God, yet it is the only extreme and suitable exchange available to man.

  • Lanny A. Eichert December 6, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    Alice, why do you have to consistently wrongly state what Jesus said? Any fireman knows the two ways to quench a fire is to deprive it of oxigen and fuel. Now certainly if firemen know that, more so does Jesus know that, yet you say the fire is quenched when the fuel runs out. When Jesus said FIVE times
    the fire that never shall be quenched {Mark 9: 43, 44, 45, 46, 48}
    yet you insist it will run out of fuel and die of itself.
    Can’t you understand when Jesus said it is never quenched, He means it will never run out of fuel? You wrongly think the fuel is human sin that is purged in the Lake of Fire that keeps the fire burning. That’s your thinking which is not found in the Bible since the Bible doesn’t tell us what fuels the fire which Jesus said is never quenched.

    Jesus said {John 17: 12} Judas Iscariot was lost even before he died and yet you dispute that means forever. Did you argue with your dad, my friend, Sean Dean, when he grounded you that that was only for the morning, but after twelve you were free just because he didn’t say until further notice?

    If you continue to fight God you will burn forever in that lake of Fire, dear Alice.

    Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

    • Alice Spicer December 7, 2014 at 7:24 pm

      quench
      kwen(t)SH/
      verb
      1.
      satisfy (one’s thirst) by drinking.
      2.
      extinguish (a fire).
      “firemen hauled on hoses in a desperate bid to quench the flames”
      synonyms: extinguish, put out, snuff out, smother, douse
      “the flames were quenched”

      It is an action word, implying someone taking action to put out a fire before it runs out of fuel.

      • Lanny A. Eichert December 8, 2014 at 1:30 am

        Alice, you aren’t listening to Jesus, Who said:
        the fire that never shall be quenched
        Jesus said nobody’s putting it out, last of all certainly not the victim, if Jesus will not put it out.

  • Lanny A. Eichert December 7, 2014 at 2:32 am

    Alice seems to think there is post-mortem value to life yet she favors supposing people cease to exist between physical death and resurrection which period she calls soul-sleep. How she attaches value to something she says doesn’t exist is insane. Does Mary have the ability to put two and two together to make four when she agrees with Alice? This one wonders if these two women have reason to agree.

    • Alice Spicer December 7, 2014 at 7:22 pm

      Please quote me directly along with your explanations about what you think it is I believe. My post-mortem views are not as you have stated.

      • Lanny A. Eichert December 8, 2014 at 1:32 am

        Detail what you deny.

        • Alice Spicer December 8, 2014 at 6:19 pm

          I won’t argue with soul-sleep, because I think it’s a matter of the perspective of those alive on earth. Time is subjective/relative, not absolute. I realize that if you think of time as this absolute, constant thing, it can be hard to wrap your brain around the idea that someone is alive and dead at the same time – dead from the perspective of those who still exist in this age, but alive from the perspective of those who exist in the age to come.

          • Lanny A. Eichert December 8, 2014 at 8:03 pm

            Alice, literal linear absolute time exists between physical death and resurrection. There’s not one kind of time for the living and another kind of time for the dead. There’s no such thing as subjective/relative time. Where do you get such imaginative ideas?

            And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. {Revelation 14: 9 – 11}

            Do you see it is written “no rest day nor night?”

            • Alice Spicer December 10, 2014 at 8:31 pm

              I got such ideas from Albert Einstein. You seem to hold to a Newtonian mindset, which makes sense in our everyday experience, but we are not able to experience incredible velocity because of physical limitations. If we were able, then we might have practical experience as a teacher. So, in order to understand the true nature of time, we have to rely on mathematics, experiments, and extremely precise measurements of light, gravity, etc. The speed of light, from what we know right now, is constant, but time and velocity (or space-time) aren’t. This the relativity of space-time has been proven mathematically, and the numbers are verifiable through scientific experiments and evidence. If you were to go close to the speed of light, your time would be very slow compared to my time as someone staying in one place. If you were holding a clock, and I were able to use a telescope to look through the window of your vehicle, your clock would seem to me as if it were moving very slowly. In fact, the second hand might take months or years to move just one second, depending on how fast you were going. And if you were able to look out the window of your incredibly fast vehicle and see me holding a clock, the hands of the clock would be moving around and around very fast. Even though time is different for each of us, it will seem to each of us that it is constant, unless we look at each other’s clocks.

              • Lanny A. Eichert December 11, 2014 at 12:16 am

                Alice, you’re not living in reality. You keep saying “if you were to” (If we were able) but nobody has even gotten close to doing it. Is Albert Einstein more right than God’s perfect literal Holy Bible? Who is more proveable: Einstein or God? Psalm 19

                {Revelation 14: 9 – 11}
                Do you see it is written “no rest day nor night?”

                You argue the Bible, yet you don’t trust it. That’s still the definition of an unbeliever. Face the fact that you’re not really a believer of God.

              • Lanny A. Eichert December 11, 2014 at 12:57 am

                Alice, you wrote, “we are not able to experience incredible velocity because of physical limitations.” What did the angel tell Daniel about his tavel ability? {Daniel 10: 13} Even angels can’t move near the speed of light.

                Why do you continue to be so foolish. Don’t you know it is foolish to refuse to believe God’s Holy Bible? Don’t you know that foolishness will land you in the Lake of Fire forever? Your “everybody saved” is just your fantasy defense mechanism to combat the horrible reality that all your lovely friends who died without confessing Christ are right now burning in hell only to be after the Judgment thrown as the trash they are into the everlasting Lake of Fire to be tormented further forever; and that while God and His holy angels supervise their endless torment. You think they have value then, but you can’t answer Jesus’ question {Matthew 16: 26} with a real value. You gave “nothing” as the answer December 7, 2014 at 7:33 pm because His grace transcends value. That’s why they burn forever because there is no suitable exchange for God’s grace. Since God superintends everything, He must even superintend their everlasting destiny. You even misread that as God’s cruelty when it is only His dislikeable duty. He is not willing that any should perish, but they do, and He must see to it even though it is unpleasant.

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