Privileged Slave

Privileged Slave

Privileged Slave

This is the second of a series of blogs reviewing the book, Giants: The Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, by John Stauffer.

Chapter one, “Privileged Slave and Poor White Trash,” illuminates the physical hardship of young Douglass and Lincoln. In this blog post, my focus is on Frederick Douglass. As a “domestic” slave, he tended the gardens and stables of “affectionate” owners. Stauffer explains,

The closest [Douglass] came to acknowledging his privileged status was to say that as a slave, “my troubles from the beginning had been less physical than mental.”

Mount Misery

But in time, Douglass was sent to live at “Mount Misery” with a man named Edward Covey, a sadistic slave master who took pride in his reputation as a “nigger breaker.” For a while, Douglass was broken, but he eventually found the confidence to defend himself against Covey. Covey sold Douglass to Thomas Auld, who sent him to live with relatives.

Douglass escaped to freedom in the North, not while he lived under the savage treatment of Covey, but while he lived with the Hugh and Sophia Auld, slaveowners who “neither beat Frederick nor justified their power over him with pious Christian bromides” as Covey had. They “revealed a sense of humility that most slaveowners lacked.”

Thieves and Tyrants

The thing that struck me most about this chapter was that Frederick viewed Hugh Auld as a thief and tyrant. Stauffer explains that Douglass became an expert caulker, but

…at the end of the week [Douglass] had to hand over every penny to Hugh. When Hugh gave him a sixpence as a token of thanks, Frederick interpreted the gift “as an admission of my right to the whole sum.”

[…] It wasn’t until after the war that Frederick publicly reconciled with his former owner. He told Thomas Auld, ” I did not run away from you, but from slavery.” […] With slavery gone, Frederick concluded, Auld was no longer his enemy.

Mere recognition of the injustice in the system of slavery was a passive and silent experience that did nothing at all to bring about change.

For Douglass and other former slaves, public disclosure of the wrong behaviors and bad decisions made by people in positions of authority in the system, i.e. masters, were necessary. In order to fully convey the incredibly oppressive nature of the system, Douglass had to describe how his hard-earned wages were stolen from him and take off his shirt to reveal the deep scars on his back. While it may have been true that the offenses varied from master to master, the system made offenders of them all. What Douglass said and did made slaveowners in the South terribly uncomfortable.

Similarly, one’s personal, private awareness of something very wrong with the institutional church does nothing at all to bring about change.

Public disclosure of the wrong behaviors and bad decisions made by people in positions of authority in the system are necessary — not personal junk that everyone deals with, but behaviors and decisions made in behalf of the entire congregation as representatives of the church. Spiritually oppressed believers must describe how their freedom in Christ is stolen from them under the guise of “divine authority” by detailing specific circumstances. They must stop pretending all is well and reveal their deep, spiritual and emotional scars in order to fully convey the incredibly oppressive nature of the system. Unfortunately, the transparency of believers fed up with the system makes people fully invested in the system terribly uncomfortable.

Stauffer describes a push back against the forthright strategy Douglass employed:

In each of his three autobiographies, Frederick cast Covey as the unforgettable demon of the story. Eastern Shore farmers sometimes protested; in 1847 one neighbor attacked Frederick’s portrayal of Covey, calling “the snake” a good, honest, hardworking man and “a tried and faithful member of the Methodist Episcopal Church,” who treated his workers well. “By his honest industry,” Covey had “purchased a fine farm, and is now reaping the reward of his labor. But Frederick’s characterization stuck; for over a century Covey’s old home has been known as “Mount Misery.”

It would be very unfair of Douglass to create an inaccurate impression of Covey, just to forward his own agenda to see the institution of slavery abolished.

But the scars on Douglass’s back tell us otherwise. Douglass wasn’t making up stories. The brutality really happened. People in the slave system didn’t recognize or acknowledge it. Covey had the authority to regularly beat the living shit out of Douglass yet still maintain his high standing in the community:

Every week for six months Frederick was ritually flogged, either with a braided cousin whip or with a coarse wooden club about the length of a baseball bat but somewhat lighter. […] The old wounds did not even have time to heal before Frederick’s flesh was ripped up all over again.

Similarly, it would be very unfair of bullied believers to create an inaccurate impression of pastors, people in positions of authority, or others in the congregation, just to forward their own agenda to see the Church (capital “C”) liberated from church (lower case “c”).

But the scars on their backs speak volumes. They aren’t making up stories. Spiritual oppression perpetuated by the system really exists. Pastors, people in positions of authority, and spiritual police in the congregation have a convincing (but false) appearance of authority enabling them to regularly beat the spiritual shit out of unorthodox believers yet still maintain their sense of self-righteousness and high standing in the community.

Believers who speak out…

…who proclaim their freedom in Christ and ignore the sham authority of those who hope to control what they can believe, say, do, and think — those believers’ stories are viewed by many institutional church members just like Frederick Douglass’s autobiographies were viewed by the Eastern Shore farmers. Instead of defending the defenseless, they perpetuate the golden reputations of offenders in the institution. They kill the messenger and discard the message. Perhaps they do so out of ignorance. I know I did just that, at one point. Perhaps they do so out of fear. I did that as well.

I write these words from experience as both the oppressor and the oppressed. I’ve played the parts of the slave owner, the privileged “domestic” slave, and the field slave tied to the whipping post on a weekly basis. I’ve lived and learned and decided that I want no part of a system that makes offenders, slaves, and enemies of us all. I am an abolitionist. But I am not anti-Church. I am anti-church. Are you following?

Is it possible to be in but not of the system?

Sure. There were slave owners who found inventive ways to free their slaves without suffering financial ruin and without becoming full-blown abolitionists scorned by their southern peers.

There are believers, institutional church members, who are extraordinarily adept at employing creative discretion to maintain the bond of fellowship with both unorthodox believers and believers in positions of authority who actively, and sometimes ruthlessly, hinder such fellowship. In my opinion, God has given them the grace to navigate through the spiritual junk, because He has purposed it for reasons I do not comprehend.

Douglass made a distinction between the slavery system and the human beings caught up in that system.

I hope to do the same.

 

Today many people (including not-yet-believers) are seeing a distinction between systems of organized religions and the human beings who are pitted against one another via system functions. If only people overly-invested in the system could understand what it really means when outcast/outraged believers say, “I did not run away from the Church, but from the church.”

When fear-based, authority-driven spiritual oppression is eliminated, enemies will discover they were actually friends all along.

Comments
  • Mary Vanderplas February 25, 2015 at 5:20 am

    I agree with what you say about speaking out being necessary to expose the wrongdoing of both masters and spiritual leaders who use their authority to dominate and oppress. However, I don’t see the institutional church as being evil in itself – “the incredibly oppressive nature of the system” – in the same way that the institution of slavery was evil. I don’t think, in other words, that the two things are exactly comparable. Slavery is morally wrong, a violation of the will of God for the total equality of human beings. While it cannot be denied that inequality and oppression are present in the institutional church, I don’t think that the institution itself is bad, that it is necessarily characterized by inequality and abuse of power. I don’t think that it can be legitimately argued that the institutional church necessarily “makes offenders, slaves, and enemies of us all.” There are good churches and good pastors – in contrast to the institution of slavery, where “good master” is an oxymoron. But I do agree that where churches and church leadership are guilty of control and oppression, public exposure of the wrong is warranted and needed. And I agree that it’s inexcusable for those of us within the institution to defend leaders who misuse their authority and in doing so to maintain the (corrupt) status quo.

    I don’t disagree that the institutional church with its hierarchical structure is flawed and in need of being reformed. Neither do I disagree that there is much that goes on in the institution in the name of guarding truth and upholding authority that is totally self-serving and ought to be condemned. And I think you’re right on in calling attention to these systemic evils and naming them for what they are. Nonetheless, I am unwilling to write off the institution as a whole as being thoroughly bad – a system that necessarily perpetrates unequal power structures and fellowship-sabotaging behaviors. In my own experience, the church is a catalyst for experiencing freedom and joy in community with others.

    • Alice Spicer February 25, 2015 at 4:45 pm

      I am genuinely glad for you about “In my own experience, the church is a catalyst for experiencing freedom and joy in community with others.” Freedom and joy in community with others, for me, is something I can pretty much write off as soon as I see a pulpit on a stage and rows of chairs or pews all facing in that direction. I’m not saying it is an impossibility to experience freedom and joy with that seating arrangement (a reflection of the social arrangement)… if it were impossible, then that would make you either deluded or a liar. Since I know you are neither, your words are like a small splinter of doubt in my views. If I ever make up my mind to return to the institution, it will be one where the chairs face each other, and if they happen to face in one direction, it’s because it’s time for open mic, Ted-talk type of sermons given by anyone who feels like God has given them something worth saying.

      • Mary Vanderplas February 26, 2015 at 5:07 am

        I’m not saying that I’m perfectly happy and content with the way things are done in the church. I’m not. I think there is room for change to reflect a more egalitarian arrangement – models of worship and preaching that are more participatory, as you describe, models of leadership that are less managerial and more in the role of spiritual director and facilitator. I’m saying only that in my experience, the church is not wholly or even largely bad, an oppressive system that controls and indoctrinates, prohibiting alternative viewpoints and vilifying those who dare to question accepted teaching and practices. Rather, it’s largely positive, enabling my experience of freedom and joy in communion with Christ and fellowship with his body. That’s all I’m saying – not that I think the church is everything it could or should be. And of course “the church” is not a monolith; there are some churches and traditions that are more in line with the will and ways of God than are others.

  • Alice Spicer February 27, 2015 at 8:26 am

    testing comment spam filter

  • Alice Spicer February 27, 2015 at 8:30 am

    testing comment spam filter again

    • Lanny A. Eichert February 27, 2015 at 4:42 pm

      It definitely works.

  • Stephen Helbig February 27, 2015 at 7:21 pm

    The closest [Douglass] came to acknowledging his privileged status was to say that as a slave, “my troubles from the beginning had been less physical than mental.”

    Note; ~ The sentence just before this above quote in chapter one, is this ~ “Douglass sought to convince his readers that slavery was everywhere evil and that even “good masters” were beasts who relied on torture to maintain the system.”

    Upon reading this preceding sentence to your ‘first in blog quote” as I noted above, ~ My mind and heart raced within with my first read, so I highlighted this section with my trusty Yellow Highlighter. I then pondered the relationship of this sentence to life in our 21st century.

    ~ My thought process focused upon the system of lower case (c) church, as mentioned in your blog. ~ And yes when I refer to lower case (c), it refers to “the system” (found in western religion were ninety plus percent has the (us/them) mentality believing in ET with Hell as a punitive force to make things right as in their limited site. ~ This belief uplifts and promotes the lie of inequality and a fear based system of righteousness.

    ~ When one sees the system of its doctrines and beliefs in torment and Hell (ET) for what it truly is, the church (lower case c) becomes the beast within the slave market, even the “Good master”. ~ A system that promotes lies with its false prophets. ~ And Douglass sought to convince his readers that slavery “likened to our lower case (c)”; ~ “ is just everywhere evil” .~ The “good master” ~ is the beast system relying on torture ~ (the lies of ET) ~ to maintain the system and is everywhere evil. In this I find a marvelous parallel to the community of todays tribal religion ( lower case (c) ) . ~ Look at the sentence again in view of today’s church system. ~ “Douglass sought to convince his readers that slavery was everywhere evil and that even “good masters” were “beasts” who relied on torture to maintain the system.”

    ———————————————————————————————————————

    p.s. ~ The beasts of the field? ~ ‘The desire of a beast is to nourish itself and to multiply itself. It has no understanding of any higher thing. It has its own spirit, whereby it lives, and grows, and consumes itself, and that is all it does, everyone has gone his own way. They know nothing of the will of God, the ways of God, or the word of God with relationship to His Love. They recognize not the spiritual, pure, godly, righteous, divine or heavenly life in them and in all others. This is THE SPIRIT THAT NOW WORKETH IN THE CHILDREN OF DISOBEDIENCE found in the lower case (c).” ~ End quote

    p.s.s. ~ I too along with others recognize the system for what is ~ The BEAST ~ Yes their remains GOOD people, even “good masters” within the lower (c). ~ But there is something terrible wrong within this system promoting a slave mentality that does not exist in What God Does, and I am thankful to be joined here where we are able to prove all things while holding fast to that which is good, partaking as the Bereans did in (Acts 17: 11) ~ So let us “Receive the message with great eagerness and examine the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” ~ All are MADE ALIVE IN CHRIST ~ “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Cor. 15: 22)

    p.s.s.t. ~ Alice sums it up magnificently in the final sentence of this bog, ~
    ~ “When fear-based, authority-driven spiritual oppression is eliminated, enemies will discover they were actually friends all along.”

    • Alice Spicer March 1, 2015 at 8:48 pm

      I love that you are following along in the book. The quote you shared in another comment, “There’s a divinity that shapes our ends, / Rough-hew them how we will,” jumped out at me, but I wasn’t sure what to do with it. I like how you paired it to the other quote.

  • Lanny A. Eichert February 28, 2015 at 8:39 pm

    Alice wrote: Unfortunately, the transparency of believers fed up with the system makes people fully invested in the system terribly uncomfortable.

    It makes me laugh at how self-absorbed and self-important those “fed-up” persons are, because they aren’t even believers and they want to take over what doesn’t belong to them. They are self-deceived and incapable of understanding they haven’t been born again the Biblical way. They are not Biblically-minded, but they are so caught up in the social helps mentality, that they know nothing about Jesus’ church which is modeled no where else, but in the Bible. As long as they desire their own way, let them be ignorant still, following the advise in the Revelation 22: 11. They will perish in the everlasting torment of the Lake of Fire any way, having committed and everlasting sin.

    He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.

    • Lanny A. Eichert March 1, 2015 at 12:53 am

      He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. {Psalm 2: 4}

      But thou, O LORD, shalt laugh at them; thou shalt have all the heathen in derision. {Psalm 59: 8}

      • Lanny A. Eichert March 1, 2015 at 1:19 am

        Alice, here’s your favorite YLT and even in it God’s mocking laughter doesn’t speak of a love that seeks to save them, but speaks of His everlasting vengeance that consumes them in unending torment.

        He who is sitting in the heavens doth laugh, The Lord doth mock at them.

        And Thou, O Jehovah dost laugh at them, Thou dost mock at all the nations.

        Once resurrected to judgment/condemnation, that’s their final destiny from which they cannot be raised/resurrected again (to life). One resurrection per person, poor Alice, and no way around that. They can’t die again after their resurrection. Your foolishness doesn’t work and you know it. Return to the Fundamental Baptist faith or you’ll perish like Judas Iscariot. The same for all your friends: please, don’t let Alice fool you. Your eternal destiny is at stake. This is serious stuff.

    • Alice Spicer March 1, 2015 at 8:51 pm

      Your comment reminds me so much of the slave master mentality Douglass describes. You might call Douglass self-absorbed or self-important for considering himself an equal among white men or chide him for “what doesn’t belong” to him – the wages he earned and had to hand over to someone else. The Church belongs to every believer.

      • Lanny A. Eichert March 1, 2015 at 10:02 pm

        Your key word, dear Alice, is believer; and >90% of the world’s population are NOT believers. Even those who think themselves to be believers are NOT if you’ve read Jesus’ words in Matthew 7: 21 – 23. You’re wrong, any way, because the Bible uses the possessive only of Jesus: the church belongs ONLY to Him. It is Jesus’ church and the believers ARE it. They don’t own themselves; they have been bought with a price, so Jesus OWNS them, not the other way around. See, Alice, how little you know and understand; and the reason is you’re not saved and haven’t the enlightenment that comes with being saved. You plainly are not part of Jesus’ church and you need to admit to that fact.

      • Lanny A. Eichert March 1, 2015 at 10:13 pm

        Alice, those “fed-up” persons are you and your crowd, not Douglass; and the only confidence I have that you got that point is your false claim that the church belongs to you among others.

        • Stephen Helbig March 2, 2015 at 3:24 am

          “Sanctimoniousness! ~ Each morning (Thomas slave master) Auld prayed that God would bless his home with bounty and basket; and then he starved Frederick while food rotted in the meat house.(20)” ~ (20)Douglass, ~ My Bondage, pp. 101, 104– 105; Douglass, Life and Times, p. 106 (quoted).

          “I want no part of a system that makes offenders, slaves, and enemies of us all. … I am an abolitionist. But I am not anti-Church. I am anti-church. Are you following?” ~ Alice (quoted)

          ~ “Speak Peace.” ~ Notice; when God speaks, His omnipotent and creative word brings forth that which did not previously exist. God proclaims by the power of His word, ~ “LIGHT BE!” and the light of Christ shines to dispel all the darkness “EVERYWHERE”. ~ stephen

          ~ SO WE TOO MUST SPEAK TRUTH OF THE GREAT PEACE(Gospel of peace ~ Good News) WITH ALL, FOR ALL, AND TO ALL; ~ REJOICING GREATLY ~

          ~ “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion (Church)…behold, THY KING COMETH unto thee…and He shall “speak peace” unto the heathen”, ~ and His dominion “SHALL BE” ~ From sea even to sea, and from the river even unto the ends of the earth” (Zech. 9:9-10). ~ (“Emancipation Proclamation” ~ “belongs to you among others”, Belongs to ALL, IN CHRIST)

          • Lanny A. Eichert March 2, 2015 at 10:51 am

            Stephen, no lie is “of the truth” according to 1 John 2: 21. You have forsaken the truth when you joined with Alice in proclaiming everlasting torment (the Lake of Fire) is not unending. You have deceived yourselves into thinking you speak truth. Go back to fundamentalism if you can, which I doubt you are able, because you have committed an everlasting sin by which you can have no forgiveness ever. {Mark 3: 29 & 1 John 5: 16}

            • Stephen Helbig March 3, 2015 at 2:03 pm

              Lanny, I have no desire to reinvent the wheel or to travel by horse and buggy when today we have been given the means of a new heavenly hovercraft so to speak. ~ To return to fundamentalism is like running back to the archaic thinking of the south in the days of our civil war, and waving the torn and tattered confederate flag in the delusion of victory . Lanny, this darkness is past, and the true light now shineth, and yes I too can say “no lie is of the truth” with a certainty, and I also can say; ~ Lanny, “You have deceived yourselves into thinking you speak truth.”, for the old battle of “AION” has been fought on these very grounds, and once we understand that AION and all the compounds of that word denote a LIMITED TIME, and an AGE, a DURATION OF TIME and “NOT” the word mistranslated “eternity”, how clear everything becomes, and how ridiculous the ignorant nonsense of the old traditions and prattles of men are with all of its false fundamentalism you continue to promote. Your effort to harmonize the Scriptures with this false doctrine of “ETERNAL TORMENT” is today’s apostate lower case (c) church that we must rid ourselves of, and it is the very Babylon (the confusion) we must come out of.
              .
              p.s ~ Lanny, with regards to your reference to (Mark 3: 29) ~ note verse 30 clarifies this sin in reference to the AEON,
              ~ Please NOTE; that (Mk.3: 30) states ~“because they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”
              ~ The point I am making along with Alice is, ~ GOD IS INDEED A CLEAN SPIRIT, ~ And God has declared “we are clean” ~ (Declared with “His finished work”, saying, “Father forgive them, they know not what they do”) ~ Yet you dare declare this “uncleanness of spirit” found in verse 29. ~ This is like waving a confederate flag in an emancipated social order now “Ratified by HIS BLOOD” which was, and is now applied to ALL for Life Evermore, ~YES! WE ARE FREE INDEED!, ~ So let us work out this great salvation of ours!

              • Lanny A. Eichert March 3, 2015 at 4:25 pm

                Stephen, by your logic God’s Spirit , God’s glory, and God’s kingdom are of “a LIMITED TIME, and an AGE, a DURATION OF TIME.”
                πνεύματος αἰωνίου {Hebrews 9: 14}
                τὴν αἰώνιον αὐτοῦ δόξαν {1 Peter 5: 10}
                τὴν αἰώνιον βασιλείαν {2 Peter 1: 11}

                Hebrews 9:14 πόσῳ μᾶλλον τὸ αἷμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ ὃς διὰ πνεύματος αἰωνίου ἑαυτὸν προσήνεγκεν ἄμωμον τῷ θεῷ καθαριεῖ τὴν συνείδησιν ὑμῶν ἀπὸ νεκρῶν ἔργων εἰς τὸ λατρεύειν θεῷ ζῶντι
                How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

                1 Peter 5:10 Ὁ δὲ θεὸς πάσης χάριτος ὁ καλέσας ἡμᾶς εἰς τὴν αἰώνιον αὐτοῦ δόξαν ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ ὀλίγον παθόντας αὐτὸς καταρτίσαι ὑμᾶς στηρίξαι σθενώσαι, θεμελιώσαι
                But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
                Lexicon / Concordance for 1 Peter 5:10

                2 Peter 1:11 οὕτως γὰρ πλουσίως ἐπιχορηγηθήσεται ὑμῖν ἡ εἴσοδος εἰς τὴν αἰώνιον βασιλείαν τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν καὶ σωτῆρος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ
                For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

                Context demains the proper interpretation of this word and the unquenchable fire and undying worm of Mark 9: 43 – 48 demand everlasting torment. The word is idiomatic and you force a literal meaning because you are not of the truth while you defame Jesus’ church. You will not prevail.

                Matthew 16: 18 upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

                YLT (How foolishly has he deceived all of you.)
                Hebrews 9: 14 how much more shall the blood of the Christ (who through the age-during Spirit did offer himself unblemished to God) purify your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
                1 Peter 5: 10 And the God of all grace, who did call you to His age-during glory in Christ Jesus, having suffered a little, Himself make you perfect, establish, strengthen, settle you;
                2 Peter 1: 11 for so, richly shall be superadded to you the entrance into the age-during reign of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

                Alice at least admits “age-during” means having beginning without any ending. That’s everlasting torment. UNENDING torment. Anything else is the devil’s lie, making those who proclaim it Satan’s children.

                • Lanny A. Eichert March 3, 2015 at 5:15 pm

                  Stephen, in Hebrews 5: 9 καὶ τελειωθεὶς ἐγένετο τοῖς ὑπακούουσιν αὐτῷ πᾶσιν αἴτιος σωτηρίας αἰωνίου is Jesus the Author of SALVATION THAT ENDS? {And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him} or {and having been made perfect, he did become to all those obeying him a cause of salvation age-during}

                  In 9: 12 οὐδὲ δι᾽ αἵματος τράγων καὶ μόσχων διὰ δὲ τοῦ ἰδίου αἵματος εἰσῆλθεν ἐφάπαξ εἰς τὰ ἅγια αἰωνίαν λύτρωσιν εὑράμενος did Jesus obtain a REDEMPTION THAT ENDS? {Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us} or {neither through blood of goats and calves, but through his own blood, did enter in once into the holy places, age-during redemption having obtained}

                  for God did so love the world, that His Son — the only begotten — He gave, that every one who is believing in him may not perish, but may have life age-during. Does “life age-during” end? Aren’t you confused that life doesn’t end, but punishment does? That God’s spirit, glory, and kingdom don’t end, but torment does?

                • Stephen Helbig March 3, 2015 at 6:41 pm

                  Stephen, by your logic God’s Spirit , God’s glory, and God’s kingdom are of “a LIMITED TIME, and an AGE, a DURATION OF TIME.”

                  Failed premise, Unfortunately the premise of this argument is wrong.
                  Fair enough as an argument, but the premise is wrong.

                  • Stephen Helbig March 3, 2015 at 6:53 pm

                    p.s. ~ Lanny see, Stephen Helbig March 3, 2015 at 6:27 pm, comment below

  • Stephen Helbig March 3, 2015 at 6:27 pm

    Lanny asks ~ Aren’t you confused that life doesn’t end, but punishment does? That God’s spirit, glory, and kingdom don’t end, but torment does?

    No Lanny I’m not confused in this “Age Abiding AEON ” for God’s Kingdom is “WITHOUT END”, (OUTSIDE OF TIME) and is so described and encompassed in “NO END” and the eternity in God.
    However the adjective aionious in like manner carries the idea of time (pr change , in which God cannot change) (in this eye hath not seen nor ear heard)
    ~ Also note ~ Aeon can and does describe (as an adjective a noun) and Lanny, we have been down this road before but I’ll repost here. ~ 🙂

    ~ “In his Word Studies in the New Testament, Marvin Vincent, D.D., Baldwin Professor of Sacred Literature at Union Theological Seminary, New York, explained: Aion, transliterated aeon, is a period of longer or shorter duration, having a beginning and an end, and complete in itself. Aristotle (peri ouravou, i. 9, 15) said, “The period which includes the whole time of one’s life is called the aeon of each one.” Hence, it often means the life of a man, as in Homer, where one’s life (aion) is said to leave him or to consume away (Il v.685; Od v.160). It is not, however, limited to human life. It signifies any period in the course of the millennium, the mythological period before the beginnings of history. The word has not “a stationary and mechanical value” (De Quincey). It does not mean a period of a fixed length for all cases. There are as many aeons as entities, the respective durations of which are fixed by the normal conditions of the several entities. There is one aeon of a human life, another of the life of a nation, another of a crow’s life, another of an oak’s life. The length of the aeon depends on the subject to which it is attached.…The adjective aionious in like manner carries the idea of time. Neither the noun nor the adjective, in themselves, carry the sense of endless or everlasting. They may acquire that sense by their connotation….Aionios means “enduring through” or “pertaining to a period of time.” Both the noun and the adjective are applied to limited periods….Out of the 150 instances in LXX, [Greek Old Testament] four-fifths imply limited duration. For a few instances, see Gen. xlviii. 4; Num. x. 8; xv. 15; Prov. xxii. 28; Jonah ii.6; Hab. iii. 6; Isa. lxi. 17”. ~ (end quote ~ “Vincent, Marvin. Word Studies in the New Testament”. 1887. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1973. 58–59 )

    p.s ~ “Eternity is Not Time” ~ Lanny see link below http://www.tentmaker.org/books/is_hell_eternal/ch5_eternity_not_time.html

    • Lanny A. Eichert March 4, 2015 at 11:08 am

      Stephen, you still miss the point. The same word is used of God’s Spirit, glory, and kingdom;, of salvation; of redemption; of punishment; and of other applications. Each application must be considered as well as its context, even its greater context. since the greater context of punishment includes the unquenchable fire and undying worm of Mark 9, you cannot on the mere strength of one meaning of “Age Abiding AEON ” apply it to torment. To do that calls Jesus a Liar and you loose your right to identify yourself as a Christian believer. You make yourself a candidate for the very hell you’re trying to deny. Your candidacy is even confirmed by your denial of the historicty of Jesus’ church, which He said cannot be opposed. You don’t need to deny that of which you are not a member, except to prevent others and make them twice as much chuildren of hell. You strain out a gnat and swallow a camel in your quest for even the grossest form of hope: aeons of suffering in the Lake of Fire first before a (false) release. That’s a horrible hope at best, but it defames the justice of God’s eternal sacrifice of His eternal Son. You build a case on the supposed injustice of unending torment for only a finite number of years of sinning. You discount the cost to your eternal Creator while you think you preserve His love. He loves His saints, but hates everyone who will not accept His Savour now. He is loving to His saints to condemn those rejectors to everlasting torment.

      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. {John 3: 36} puts an end to your foolishness, because it says they shall not see life, instead the wrath of God. On the basis of your foolish application of one meaning of aeon you must modify John 3: 36 to not mean any everlasting. Two opposing destinies are the subject of the text and if the life is everlasting, so is the wrath of God. What does “abide” mean, if not remaining? Ever remaining, never going away.

      • Lanny A. Eichert March 4, 2015 at 11:37 am

        Alice & Stephen, put John 3: 36 and John 5: 29 together and you have the resurrection to the ever abiding wrath of God for the evil ones. It is hard for you to kick against the pricks, isn’t it, Stephen? Must I remind you that resurrection is one per person. That means FINAL, dear boy. Those resurrected to judgment have no way to be again resurrected because they don’t die any more; therefore they cannot be re-resurrected to life. Their bodys are resurrected but one time only. Furthermore, the text of John 3: 36 says the wrath of God abides on them and to abide means they never cease to exist, doing away with that idea that people cease to exist between physical death and resurrection. If the wrath of God is continuously abiding on them, they are continuously existing. See how you folks are NOT believing every word of God written in the Holy Bible?

  • Stephen Helbig March 4, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    Lanny, in your most recent two comments found above, I find (21) ? questionable remarks, ~ (what I consider to be false premises) ~ which are listed in your (29) ? brief sentences above, (or there about), ~ if I counted right (?), ~ So let us at this time just agree to disagree; Knowing this. ~ For I (stephen) am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you, ( me, alice, tom, dick, and harry, … and………) will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus, ~ as seen in paul’s “TIME” related statement found in (Phil. 1: 6), ~ so here or there I really don’t care 🙁 , for we are God’s workmanship and are in His Great Mighty Hands, (whether it be the right or left hand),

    • Lanny A. Eichert March 4, 2015 at 2:12 pm

      No, Stephen, there’s no work done by God in you all because you argue with God’s words. Everlasting torment does NOT have an ending. It is the permanent unending stated of the damned. Any one foolish enough to think otherwise will have their final existence there among all the rest of the liars of this world. You all repeat the devils lie from the garden of God in Genesis 3. The damned have no way to be resurrected to life once they’ve been resurrected to judgment/damnation. That’s their final resurrection, the one to damnation. You can’t get out of it and be truthful. All liars have their part in the Lake of Fire without remedy. That’s how the Holy Bible ends. That’s God’s final word.

    • Lanny A. Eichert March 5, 2015 at 1:08 am

      21 out of 29, Stephen, leaves 8; or 6 if you had counted correctly. I’m curious, which 6 – 8 remarks do you find unquestionable?

      1 Stephen, you still miss the point.

      2 The same word is used of God’s Spirit, glory, and kingdom;, of salvation; of redemption; of punishment; and of other applications.

      3 Each application must be considered as well as its context, even its greater context, since the greater context of punishment includes the unquenchable fire and undying worm of Mark 9, you cannot on the mere strength of one meaning of “Age Abiding AEON ” apply it to torment.

      4 To do that calls Jesus a Liar and you loose your right to identify yourself as a Christian believer.

      5 You make yourself a candidate for the very hell you’re trying to deny.

      6 Your candidacy is even confirmed by your denial of the historicity of Jesus’ church, which He said cannot be opposed.

      7 You don’t need to deny that of which you are not a member, except to prevent others and make them twice as much children of hell.

      8 You strain out a gnat and swallow a camel in your quest for even the grossest form of hope: aeons of suffering in the Lake of Fire first before a (false) release.

      9 That’s a horrible hope at best, but it defames the justice of God’s eternal sacrifice of His eternal Son.

      10 You build a case on the supposed injustice of unending torment for only a finite number of years of sinning.

      11 You discount the cost to your eternal Creator while you think you preserve His love.

      12 He loves His saints, but hates everyone who will not accept His Savour now.

      13 He is loving to His saints to condemn those rejectors to everlasting torment.

      14 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. {John 3: 36} puts an end to your foolishness, because it says they shall not see life, instead the wrath of God.

      15 On the basis of your foolish application of one meaning of aeon you must modify John 3: 36 to not mean any everlasting.

      16 Two opposing destinies are the subject of the text and if the life is everlasting, so is the wrath of God.

      17 What does “abide” mean, if not remaining?

      18 Ever remaining, never going away.

      19 Alice & Stephen, put John 3: 36 and John 5: 29 together and you have the resurrection to the ever abiding wrath of God for the evil ones.

      20 It is hard for you to kick against the pricks, isn’t it, Stephen?

      21 Must I remind you that resurrection is one per person.

      22 That means FINAL, dear boy.

      23 Those resurrected to judgment have no way to be again resurrected because they don’t die any more; therefore they cannot be re-resurrected to life.

      24 Their body’s are resurrected but one time only.

      25 Furthermore, the text of John 3: 36 says the wrath of God abides on them and to abide means they never cease to exist, doing away with that idea that people cease to exist between physical death and resurrection.

      26 If the wrath of God is continuously abiding on them, they are continuously existing.

      27 See how you folks are NOT believing every word of God written in the Holy Bible?

  • Stephen Helbig March 5, 2015 at 3:12 pm

    8 remarks I can agree with

    Sentences ~ 1, 2, 3a, 5, 10, 14a, 20, and 24

    p.s ~ Upon my first reading of your sentence (#3) (found in your original post March 4, 2015 at 11:08 am), I thought that it contained a period instead of your above comma. ~ At least it appeared as such to me upon first read ~ . Thus I now clarify with (3a) above.

    p.s.s. ~ Also I found in sentence (#14), there appears to me at least to be a period located between “him” and “{John 3:36}” ~ seen as follows ~ him. {John 3: 36} ~ Thus I now utilize (14a) above.

    p.s.s.t. ~ With consideration of my two previous outlined post scripts ~ [ p.s.. and p.s.s. ],
    one can see where my (?) miscount varies from your construction of 27 sentences listed above, thus becoming a miscount (?) of 29. ~ However there remain 8 noted above which remain outside my original count of 29, where I concede to (in a benefit of doubt ~ considering connotation to said 8), to be outside the 21 which I consider to be with false premise.

    • Stephen Helbig March 5, 2015 at 3:33 pm

      Lanny, in regards to your sentence #5 ~ I do not deny the existence of Gehenna, as spoken by Jesus ~ I just do NOT see it as you describe in your view of Hell (as Eternal Torment). We are all candidates of Jesus’s warnings.

  • Lanny A. Eichert March 5, 2015 at 6:10 pm

    Stephen, do you really think rejecting communion with the Infinite Creator is a finite crime? That’s what rejecting His salvation really is. Then, there’s the cost to God to secure that salvation. Wasn’t the cost infinite? What value do you put on the Son of God? (God found no cheaper way.) Man’s crime against God is infinite and so demands infinite punishment. Everlasting torment is justified and your most-mortem reconciliation is made foolishness.

  • Lanny A. Eichert March 8, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    Stephen, you agreed that you build a case on the supposed injustice of unending torment for only a finite number of years of sinning, why is rejecting communion with the Infinite Creator an finite crime?

  • Stephen Helbig March 8, 2015 at 6:16 pm

    Answer lanny, why is this so in your case(justice) of Lanny A. Eichert. ~ Why was rejecting communion with the Infinite Creator a finite crime for you, or with me, or anyone for that matter?

    Note the following ~

    The Lord will Save ~ Isaiah 45
    …22″Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; For I am God, and there is no other. 23″I have sworn by Myself, The word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness And will not turn back, That to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance. 24″They will say of Me, ‘Only in the LORD are righteousness and strength.’ Men will come to Him, And all who were angry at Him will be put to shame.…

    The Attitude of Christ ~ Philippians 2
    …9For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

    Spiritual Blessings ~ Ephesians 1
    …9He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him 10with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him 11also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,…

    The Supremacy of Christ ~ Colossians 1
    …19For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, 20and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. 21And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds,…

    • Lanny A. Eichert March 8, 2015 at 7:38 pm

      Again, Stephen, you didn’t answer the question AND all four of your supposed reasons have to do with those who have or will believe in this mortality as I’ve told you previously. You are unable to support your the supposed injustice of unending torment for only a finite number of years of sinning. I ask you again: why is rejecting communion with the Infinite Creator an finite crime? Or perhaps I should ask if communion with the Infinite Creator is the infinite blessing of God’s design of man?

      Just a thought for you, dear boy, where do some of the angels of God bow “their knees”?
      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 {Revelation 14: 10}

      • Stephen Helbig March 9, 2015 at 8:38 pm

        Lanny, let me re-enact the actions of the voice from the Heavenliest crying to my earth today where ‘in I find His great Rest, ~ “Peace, be still” ~ The King is in Zion, and the enemy is fallen. Our King of kings and Lord of lords turns the ashes into beauty and all sorrows into joy! I Rejoice and am glad, as I put on those beautiful garments he has provided. ~ We are His redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, and though our name has been desolate and forsaken, The Lord has called us Hephzibah and Beulah; for His delight is in us and we have been given His name whereby we gather together into the rest from all the storms. ~ So I so speak ~ “Peace, be still” ~ to my soul today.

        • Lanny A. Eichert March 9, 2015 at 10:19 pm

          Again, Stephen, redemption is only for those who receive it in this mortal life. Moses and Elijah with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration destroys yours and Alice’s scheme.

  • Lanny A. Eichert March 9, 2015 at 12:09 am

    ALICE/Stephen, What about the Law-giver, Moses, and the Prophet Elijah who BOTH appeared with Jesus on that which is called the Mount of Transfiguration {Matthew 17, Mark 9, and Luke 9}? Doesn’t that prove conclusively that people do NOT cease to exist between physical death and resurrection? Doesn’t that totally ruin your scheme of post-mortem soul-sleep? I mean, even though you wrongly believe that 1 Peter 3 means Jesus preached to the lost in hades, doesn’t your wrong belief disprove Jesus ceased to exist between His physical death and resurrection and soul-sleep is totally false?

    • Alice Spicer March 10, 2015 at 5:10 pm

      Interesting point. I’m itching to respond to this, but I’m working late… I’ll get back to you.

      • Lanny A. Eichert March 10, 2015 at 6:06 pm

        More than one interesting point, because you have to answer for both saints on one hand and on the other hand the spirits in prison who you say do not exist being between physical death and resurrection.

        • Lanny A. Eichert March 11, 2015 at 11:22 am

          I find it interesting, dear Alice, that you answered εἰς κρίσιν in Jude 6 last night,

          messengers also, those who did not keep their own principality, but did leave their proper dwelling, to a judgment of a great day, in bonds everlasting, under darkness He hath kept

          especially since your favorite YLT has “bonds everlasting” admitting a never ending condition of certain angels, which you still seem not to accept, because that word (everlasting), ἀΐδιος aïdios, proves eternal torment and if one class is eternally bound in torment there are certain to be others.

          I’m waiting to read what your itch writes about Moses’ and Elijah’s stimulating conversation with Jesus about their interest in His decease before it happens when they were, in glory between their physical deaths and resurrections, with Him on the Mount of Transfiguration in the presence of His disciples; and equally about the spirits in prison also between their physical deaths and resurrections.

      • Alice Spicer March 14, 2015 at 6:16 pm

        From whose point of view are you viewing this scene? From Lanny’s? From God’s? God’s view of time is entirely other. We can’t even conceive of how God (or anyone outside of time, if there were such a person) views time. We can only understand time from the perspective of someone within time, because that is the nature of our existence for the time being (no pun intended). I notice first, that your question is specifically about point A in time, “between physical death” and and point B in time, “resurrection.”

        That’s probably why you assume I (or Stephen) believe “Jesus ceased to exist between His physical death and resurrection.”

        For us, that is, creatures who exist in time and space, point A and point B are a necessary, rational way to make sense of things. We look at the time the elapses between A and B and wonder what is happening during that time, because we are within time and can’t imagine that A and B could be irrelevant to someone outside of time. In other words, the resurrection may already be taking place (And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus — present tense), but for our puny linear minds, it has not yet taken place. We just can’t think that big.

        • Lanny A. Eichert March 16, 2015 at 12:00 am

          We just can’t think that big, but YOU can, is that it? Or is this just your unsupported theory? Why don’t you know that God has condescended to human limitations which He built into humans? Didn’t that ever occur to you as consistent with Isaiah 55: 9?

        • Stephen Helbig March 16, 2015 at 7:32 pm

          creatures who exist in time and space,

          Oh Lord Help us, ~ “time” can in deed be a great stumbling bock for things “eternal” ~
          We are within “both” time and eternity in our Now (present tense), and must place a great value on these moment before and within us; ~ These moments are our eternal. ~ I rejoice with your thoughts regarding point A and Point B, to the actual expansion of placing them in our eternity NOW. ~ Living Life with the knowledge that we are able to sit in heavenly places today, and are indeed risen (present tense) to those realities, with an assurance of Life Forevermore, as opposed to a future tense only frame of mind with its linear point A to Point B. To limit the specifics about point A in time, “between physical death” and point B in time, “resurrection.” is to miss the core meaning of a resurrected Life, without dismissing our fulfilled “ek”(out) ~ “anastasin”(resurrection).

          ~ That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

          ~ Just as in death our resurrection is much more than a single one time physical point A or Point B.; and to hold to the boundary of time (and space) is a mockery of who we really are created to be. We see. In Genesis our first exposure to our “in dying you shall die” experience, and in Christ Jesus we see(through a glass darkly) our “past, PRESENT, and future” tense in our existence and participations(outside of time and space) to the eternal within our very being IN Christ Jesus. NOW ~ “Translated” into the Kingdom of His Dear Son

          Again I quote ~ (Ephesians 2: 5) ~ Even when we were dead in our transgressions, “made us alive together” with Christ (by grace you “have been” saved), (6) “AND “RAISED” US UP WITH HIM, AND SEATED US WITH HIM IN THE HEAVENLY PLACES IN CHRIST JESUS

          Raised Up; Aroused; Woke Up ~ To identify with, join close-together in tight identification; with (= closely identified together). ~

          ~ The subject of being raised together in Resurrection concerning mankind is more than a “one time”, Point A or point B, defined by a space in TIME definition. It is more than physical, it is “spiritual” revealed and manifested in a physical and “spiritual” realm ever increasing in Christ Jesus within His Eternity.

          JESUS SAID ~ If you live and believe “in him” ~ you will NEVER die; ~ He then asked ~ “Do you BELIEVE this ?” ~ (John 11:26)
          ~ (Let this verse expand are thinking of who we really are)

          • Stephen Helbig March 16, 2015 at 8:47 pm

            p.s. ~ Jesus said ~ I “am” the resurrection and life” (Jn, 11: 25)

            “am” ~
            ~ Part of Speech: Verb
            ~ Tense: Present ( note: ~ present tense ~ “resurrection and life” ~ “before His crucifixion”)
            ~ Mood: Indicative
            ~ Voice: Active
            ~ Person: 1st Person
            ~ Number: Singular

  • Stephen Helbig March 14, 2015 at 8:56 pm

    In other words, the resurrection may already be taking place (And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus — present tense) ~ Alice

    (Colossians 3: 1) Therefore if you “HAVE BEEN RAISED”” up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. (2)Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. (3)For you HAVE died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

    Alive with Christ 🙂

    (Ephesians 4: 5) even when we were dead in our transgressions, “made us alive together” with Christ (by grace you have been saved), (6) “AND RAISED US UP WITH HIM, AND SEATED US WITH HIM IN THE HEAVENLY PLACES IN CHRIST JESUS (7)so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.…

  • Lanny A. Eichert March 15, 2015 at 9:21 pm

    Are you that irrational? {Alice March 14, 2015 at 6:16 pm/Stephen March 14, 2015 at 8:56 pm}
    But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.
    Nobody is resurrected before Jesus and He was NOT resurrected on the Mount of Transfiguration.
    Nobody is resurrected before He comes back and that hasn’t happened.
    I don’t think you two know what the resurrection is, or what you are talking about. You are inventing fantasies.

  • Lanny A. Eichert March 15, 2015 at 11:21 pm

    If, Alice/Stephen,
    In other words, the resurrection may already be taking place (And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus — present tense) ~ Alice

    why
    If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. {Philippians 3: 11}
    ???

    Paul’s testimony is clearly that his conversion is not the resurrection of the dead. Jesus did not tell Peter, James, and John that Moses and Elijah were resurrected saints, but Luke 9: 31 states they were “in glory” rather than in resurrection.

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