Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell: Everlasting Sneeze

Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell: Everlasting Sneeze

Have you ever wondered why, when one person sneezes, those nearby say “bless you” or “gesundheit”?  According to Wikipedia:

There are different theories regarding the origin of this phrase. One idea is that the expression stems from the Middle Ages when the bubonic plague was threatening European health. In this case the person saying gesundheit was actually wishing good health upon themselves, since they may have been infected by the one who sneezed. During this time it was also commonly believed that sneezing made the body vulnerable to evil spirits. Thus another plausible explanation is that gesundheit was a blessing to ward off demons while the sneezer’s body was defenseless.

Superstitions date back as early as ancient Greece (ref. Herodotus, History 440 BC). The soul was thought to leave the body through the nose upon death, so a powerful sneeze was thus considered an ominous event.

The following is a Jewish perspective on the custom: Although not technically part of Jewish law (Halacha), the custom of saying gesundheit, tzu gezunt, labreeyut, or bless you is considered a mannerly custom. It is written in the Talmud that the Patriarch Jacob was the first person to become ill before passing on. Before that, people would sneeze and die. When God infused the soul into man, He “blew it” into Adam’s nostrils. Thus, when it came time for the soul to be returned to its maker, it would leave through the same portal through which it arrived.

I’m not sure about the accuracy of any of these explanations, but if there’s any truth in the association between the nasal passage and death, I find this fascinating.  Consider the fantastic little muffled explosion that accompanies one’s suppressed sneeze – in the ancient mind this could be a triumphant act, cheating death, yet it is accompanied by such a strange noise.  Imagine what the ancients thought about the souls of the people whose sneezes sounded like angry interjections: “I-HATE-you!”, “Who-ASKED-you!”, “Not-YOU, not-YOU!”

So, is Chan’s argument sound?

Whoa! you say.  Right now, you are probably wondering, what does sneezing have to do with whether Chan’s argument is sound?

Please accept my apologies for the written whiplash, but it’s a little game I’m playing, sort of like the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.  There’s actually method to this madness.

I’ve been reading a lot about linguistics lately for my research project as a UCF student in the Honors in the Major program.  It’s amazing how many words are like long lost cousins whose connections goes way back to great, great, great uncle so-and-so.  And even if words are not connected by etymology, they are connected by associations.  You’ll see what I mean, shortly.

But first, I would like to examine the whether Francis Chan’s argument is sound.  Chan’s argument, as is stated in chapter three “What Jesus Actually Said About Hell” of his book, Erasing Hell, is as follows:

Jesus grew up in the world of beliefs described in the last chapter.  He would be expected to believe the same stuff about hell that most Jews did.  And if He didn’t – if Jesus rejected the widespread Jewish belief in hell – then He would certainly need to be clear about this.

That last line is very important.  Better read it again.

In other words, if Jesus did not agree with the view of hell presented in the last chapter, then He would have had to deliberately and clearly argue against it.

In the previous blog in the Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell series, I demonstrated that Chan’s argument is not valid for the following reasons:

1. The conclusion does not necessarily agree with the premise.

2. The premise is too vague, inconsistent, and incomplete.

Since Chan did not provide an accurate assessment of “the world of beliefs” to which he refers, it is impossible to truly test the soundness of his argument.  Why?  Because the first rule in deciding whether an argument is sound is that it must be a valid argument!  There’s no such thing as a sound but invalid argument.  This should be the end of the blog, but that’s no fun…

Let’s just suppose, for Chan’s sake, that Chan actually did present a valid argument.  Let’s make believe that Chan did not relegate the beliefs of the Sadducees to one brief sentence in the notes section of his book.  Let’s pretend that the historian Josephus did not write (in his account called “Antiquities”) that many priests were Sadducees or that Luke did not write that Paul was tried in a religious court that was divided over their afterlife views (Acts 23:6-8).  Let’s just set aside, as if irrelevant, the masses of common people who did not fit neatly into religious categories, who are not given a voice in historical religious record-keeping.  Readers, I ask that you use your imaginations to create a fictional view of the first century Jewish population, using Chan’s ideas as the basis for a stereotypical “world of beliefs”, a racially profiled version of the first century in which there is a “widespread Jewish belief in hell”.

In order for an argument to be sound, all of its premises must be true, and the conclusion must be logically consistent with the premises.  We have already established (in our fairy-tale version of the religious views of first century Jews) that Chan’s first premise is true – that there is one overwhelmingly unified view of hell.  Furthermore, in order to examine the soundness of Chan’s argument, we must also assume that Jesus disagreed with this overwhelmingly unified view of hell.  For the sake of Chan’s argument, we’ve established two (so-called) “truths” upon which we can examine the conclusion of his argument.

Now that we’ve prepared ourselves to accept an invalid argument as valid, we will proceed to test the soundness of Chan’s argument. Does Jesus clearly and deliberately argue against the view of hell presented in chapter two?  I thought I was done with chapter two, but apparently, I’m not.  The view of hell presented in chapter two is as follows:

1. Hell is a place of punishment after judgment.

2. Hell is described in images of fire, darkness, and lament.

3. Hell is a place of annihilation.

4. Hell is a place of never-ending punishment.

Chan examines the writings of Matthew and Luke to find out whether Jesus clearly and deliberately argues against points 1 – 4, and the references are here, in context, if you would like to examine them for yourselves.

First, I must point out the Jesus never uses the word “Hell.”  Even Chan acknowledges this.  Depending on what English version of the scriptures you read, you may or may not find the word “Hell”.  For example, the authorized King James Version has  54 occurrences, but the New King James only has 32.  The most commonly used English translation of the scriptures, the New International Version, has only 14 occurrences of the word.  The Young’s Literal Translation, which BibleGateway.com describes as “an extremely literal translation,” does not contain the word once.  Why is there so much variation between translations?  And as if this weren’t difficult enough, each time you see the word “Hell” or “grave” or “pit” in an English translation, it could be referring to any of the following Hebrew or Greek words: Sheol, Hades, Geena, or Tartaroo.  So we have seven different words from three different languages, often being used interchangeably, even though each one has its own specific meaning?!  Wouldn’t it be better to examine the Koine Greek, the actual language used when Jesus’s words were recorded, than to use an English translation of Jesus’s words, since translators are so obviously conflicted about what “Hell” might be?  Therefore, as I examine the texts the Chan uses to support his claim, I will refer to the Greek, not the English.

The first text Chan uses to support his argument is Matthew 25:31-46.  Chan claims that Jesus refers to “judgment day” and writes,

After Jesus looks at the evidence (vv.33-45), He gives His verdict: Believers are awarded everlasting life, while unbelievers are awarded everlasting punishment.  Though the word hell (gehenna) is not used here, the concept of hell is conveyed by the phrases “everlasting fire” (v. 41) and “everlasting punishment” (v. 46).1

Do you notice the little number one at the end of that quote?  I’ve highlighted it in red for you.  It isn’t a typo.  It is a reference to the notes section of chapter three in Chan’s book.  In other words, it’s something that Chan, for whatever reason, decided not to include in context of his proof.  Instead, he refers readers elsewhere for the information.  So let’s break away from his quote, and find out what he omitted.  Let’s follow Chan’s bunny trail.  Here is what I find at the end of the chapter at note number one:

Despite the ESV’s translation, I will be using the term everlasting instead of eternal, because the latter term technically means transcending time, which isn’t the best rendering of the Greek aionios.  See the discussion toward the end of this chapter and in note 14 below.

It is reassuring to me that Chan decides to use a different word than the one used in the English Standard Version of the Bible.  Why?  Because he knows that sometimes translators choose words that are not “the best rendering of the Greek”.  Keep this in mind.  Always keep this in mind.

So now, we have come to a fork in Chan’s bunny trail.  If we go left, we end up at the “discussion toward the end” of chapter three.  If we go right, we end up at note number fourteen.  I’ll go left first.  Here is what Chan writes in the discussion section:

What about the word aionios?  Bible scholars have debated the meaning of this term for what seems like an eternity, so we’re not going to settle the issue here.

And now, I’ll go right.  It’s rather lengthy, so here is an abbreviated version of what Chan writes in note number fourteen:

The Greek word aionios is an adjective, and it’s used seventy times in the New Testament.  The noun, aion, is used over one hundred times in the New Testament.  The noun can mean various things such as “an age” or “era” […], “the world”, and the never-ending “age” to come […] The adjective aionios frequently means “everlasting” denoting never-ending time […] a vibrant Jewish concept of the future […]

It is no surprise to me that Chan relegates this important information to different locations in the book.  After all, proof that is full of holes really isn’t proof.  For the sake of clarity, I would like to incorporate the ideas from the notes and discussion back into Chan’s statement.  My words (in Chan’s voice) are in red, Chan’s are in black.  Let’s see if his argument still packs a punch, now that we have more information:

After Jesus looks at the evidence (vv.33-45), He gives His verdict: Believers are awarded everlasting life, while unbelievers are awarded everlasting punishment.  However, I’m using the word “everlasting” instead of eternal, because “eternal” isn’t the best rendering of the Greek word aionios.  Though the word hell (gehenna) is not used here, the concept of hell is conveyed by the phrases “everlasting fire” (v. 41) and “everlasting punishment” (v. 46).  Oh, and by the way, Bible scholars have debated the meaning of aionios/everlasting for what seems like an eternity, so we’re not going to settle the issue here.

So, let me make sure we are all on the same page here.  Chan would have us believe Jesus is teaching that Hell is a place of punishment after judgment, described in images of fire, darkness, and lament, and it is a place of annihilation or never-ending punishment, based on an English translation that isn’t the best rendering and relying almost entirely on a particular word that scholars have never been able to agree upon?

Another problem I have with this proof text is that Chan refers to Matthew 25:31-46 as “judgment day” and the judgment is supposedly about people being believers or unbelievers.  While it is obvious that some type of judgment is taking place, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the judgment is equivalent to the modern understanding of “judgment day” in which everyone who has ever lived either goes to Heaven or Hell.  According to Ephesians 2:8-9, people are “saved” by grace through faith and NOT by works.  Consequently, if this particular judgment to which Chan refers is about believers’ everlasting Heaven or unbelievers’ everlasting Hell, then why is it that the basis for this judgment is works?  The judged are being judged on whether they demonstrated kindness to others.  Wouldn’t “kindness to others” be considered “works”?  If people can be “saved” by being kind to others, then why does Chan preach the faith of Christ as our only salvation?  And where in this text does it say anything about people being “believers” or “unbelievers”? According to the text, the nations are being separated in the same way that a shepherd might separate his sheep and goats.  That puts an entirely different spin on this judgment, because nations have within their borders both believers AND unbelievers.

For the sake of brevity, I will not continue to analyze every single proof text Chan offers.  But I will highlight some other important information from the notes that Chan should have included within the context of each proof text, because in each case, this information sheds doubt on his argument:

Many times the idea of entering the kingdom [of God] refers to something that happens in the present.

In Isaiah’s context, the worm doesn’t die as it eats the flesh of dead bodies.  There’s nothing in the context that says the souls of the dead are still being tormented.  The images of worms feasting on unburied dead people emphasizes the shame of defeat.

The parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) says that the rich man goes to “Hades” while Lazarus goes to “Abraham’s bosom” (NASB).  Hades here should not be confused with hell.  […] this is a parable, and so we shouldn’t press the details too far.  Jesus uses the parable in this context of Luke to confront the social structures of the day, not to teach us about the afterlife.

New Testament scholar William Barclay also says that kolasis “originally meant the pruning of trees to make them grow better.  I think it is true to say that in all Greek secular literature kolasis is never used of anything but remedial [intended to correct or improve] punishment.”

[In reference to first century Jewish literature using the word “kolasis” as “punishment”…] these texts have been edited by Christians.

I don’t think that it is good practice for Christian authors who write apologetic books to assign important (but discriminated against) information a place in the back of the bus.  I suppose that for an author to include it in the notes section is better than not including it at all, but it is very misleading to people who just read the book and believe the “experts”.  Chan’s words convey a sincere desire to carefully examine the doctrine of eternal torment in hell, but the structure of his book demonstrates a bias toward belief-threatening information.

Now, back to the sneeze. Remember the goofy blog intro that seemed to have nothing to do with this blog series?

In the paired terms “sound” and “argument”, “sound” is an adjective that came from the German word “gesund”, which means “healthy.”  The post-sneeze comment, “gesundheit” is a gesture of good will toward the one who sneezes, that he or she will be in good health, that the sneeze is not a sign of some serious illness (or death).

I like to think that by tying together not-usually-related ideas, creating associations, it will help readers to be reminded of the spiritual significance in our everyday comings and goings.  In this case, my hope is that when a coworker, friend, family member, or stranger sneezes, and someone says “God bless you” or “gesundheit”, you will be reminded of these questions: Is Chan’s argument spiritually healthy? or is Chan’s argument serious spiritual illness?  Does Chan’s argument produce life or death?

In closing, please note that this is the first of two blogs examining the soundness of Chan’s argument in chapter three of his book, Erasing Hell.  And, God bless you 🙂

Next blog in this series: Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell: Jesus Didn’t Get the Memo

Comments
  • Lanny A. Eichert June 10, 2012 at 3:38 am

    So we have seven different words from three different languages, often being used interchangeably, even though each one has its own specific meaning. Good for you to recognize the seven are interchangeable, so don’t make a stink about it.

    kolasis originally meant the pruning of trees. So, Alice, what happens to what is removed? There’s the intent: separated out, gathered, and burned; and that’s people. Populated Lake of Fire without remedy. Nothing remedial about that.

  • Lanny A. Eichert June 10, 2012 at 3:45 am

    belief-threatening information

    Oh how the Mormons warn against that. You sound very Mormon, dear Alice. In reality it is how that information is twisted and manipulated. You do a fine job of that as do the Mormons.

    Whose belief is threatened?

    • admin June 11, 2012 at 1:39 am

      Chan’s.

      • Michelle June 17, 2012 at 1:25 am

        “[In reference to first century Jewish literature using the word “kolasis” as “punishment”…] these texts have been edited by Christians.”

        -_- Just more Bible corruption. That’s so like the Roman Catholic church and translators who worship money and the traditions of man. It seems to me that the only parts of the Bible that are stable, reliable and veracious are the Gospel and epistles of John (God bless him) (and I’m talking about John the apostle, not revelator John). Whenever I have a problem or a question, I almost always find the answer in his writings. He’s one of the very few original apostles who really understood Jesus and His teachings, and one of the very few original apostles who didn’t go back to the religious institution of slavery and death called Judaism (Peter and James just didn’t get it, they went back to Judaism and didn’t want to be caught with Gentiles). I know that when everything is said and done, John will be celebrated as a hero of the faith in heaven.

      • Michelle June 17, 2012 at 1:44 am

        There is nothing that I desire more in life than truth. The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. But not just about any truth. Not man’s truth, not religion’s truth, God’s truth. But so many parts of the writings have been corrupt throughout the Dark Ages and even today by translators who worship money and the traditions of manwho agree to sign some paper stipulating that if they are allowed in the translating commitee, they will keep in the translation the traditions of the church establishment. And concerning the original Hebrew and Greek, they are not the original, but a reconstruction model. Even the best and most experienced scholars and theologians say that the originals were lost, that we don’t have them. Our only hope is to do a reconstruction model using the most ancient scrolls we can find and get as close to the originals as we can possibly get. I pray that God will send godly and honest people who desire His truth above all else to do just that. I pray for that everyday. And the sooner, the better. The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help us, Papa Jesus.

  • Lanny A. Eichert June 10, 2012 at 3:55 am

    Alice, there’s benefit for those who remain in the tree that’s been pruned: their people enemies have been premanently removed and destroyed never to be grafted back to be a sore.

    Get it right, kid.

    • Michelle June 19, 2012 at 10:12 pm

      Watch this Lanny:

      “PMH Atwater explains how there is no evidence of God being angry in NDE research based on thousands of cases of near death experience and her decades of research.”

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNbTaeHJOFc

      • Lanny A. Eichert June 20, 2012 at 1:56 am

        Why? There’s no Gospel truth in it.

        • Michelle June 20, 2012 at 10:30 pm

          “Why? There’s no Gospel truth in it.”

          Thousands of people have had out of body experiences and near-death experiences, I myself have had out of body experiences, and neither these thousands of people nor myself have encountered an angry God. That’s the testimonies of thousands against your erroneous views of God’s character and nature, Lanny…

          • Lanny A. Eichert June 22, 2012 at 12:30 am

            Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead after four days and Lazarus had no such experience to tell. You have a good imagination: “for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth” {Genesis 8: 21}

            • Michelle June 26, 2012 at 9:55 am

              “Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead after four days and Lazarus had no such experience to tell. You have a good imagination: “for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth” {Genesis 8: 21}”

              Think what you want, Lanny. There will always be some people to deny OBEs/NDEs or demonize them. Once again, Lanny, what matters is what my witness Jesus Christ think, not what you think of my relationship and experiences with my Father…

  • Mary Vanderplas June 10, 2012 at 7:55 am

    You make some good points by way of challenging the soundness of Chan’s argument that Jesus accepted the view of hell presented in chapter 2 of Chan’s book and by way of underscoring generally the importance of careful examination of the biblical text that takes into the account in particular the words used in the original language and their sometimes varied meanings as well as the literary and historical context of the text. I would add that it’s important to consider also such things as literary genre, author’s purpose, and author’s theology in determining the meaning of the text. I would also point out that the words attributed to Jesus in the Gospels are not his words exactly. Jesus’ language likely was Aramaic, not Koine Greek.

    Regarding what Chan says and doesn’t say except in footnotes about the Matthew 25 text, I agree with your point that it’s misleading not to include in the body of the writing information that may be important in interpreting the biblical text, such as the different meanings of aionios and the lack of consensus among scholars regarding its meaning. I don’t know, though, that I agree with Chan’s assertion that “eternal” isn’t the best rendering of the Greek word. It refers to life in the age to come, which has no end. It seems clear that what is being referred to in this text, given the context in Matthew’s Gospel (24:29-31) and the genre of the text as apocalyptic, is the eschatological judgment of God following the coming of the Son of Man. At any rate, I agree with what you say generally about not building an argument on assertions that have less than strong support.

    I think that you make some good points about the Matthew 25 text in terms of whether it is in fact about a final judgment and separation of believers and unbelievers. That the judgment here pictured is strangely oriented toward works, in contradiction to the gospel of grace, cannot be denied. Perhaps, as you imply, what is described here is a penultimate judgment, not a final one. It may be that this judgment-by-works picture is intended by Matthew to underscore the importance of human responsibility, reminding us that what we do, particularly the care we show to the needy, matters ultimately. It may be, too, that this is a reflection of the paradox in scripture of human responsibility on the one hand and divine sovereignty and grace on the other (see Revelation 20:12). At any rate, I think your question about whether this is about a final separation of believers and unbelievers is legitimate. You make a good point, too, about the picture being of the judgment of the “nations.” By Jesus’ day, the word had become a term designating Gentiles, which means that what is pictured is not a separation of believers and unbelievers but a separation of Gentiles (pagans) who acted like disciples of Jesus and those who didn’t. In any case, this part of the text calls into question the traditional interpretation of the text as being about the final separation of believers and unbelievers at the end of history.

    Thanks for the challenge to study the biblical text diligently and carefully – with an attitude of openness to having accepted interpretations and beliefs challenged and possibly even abandoned or changed.

    • admin June 11, 2012 at 1:35 am

      Yes, Aramaic. My bad. I think I’ll go back in and edit it… Koine Greek is the language in which His words were written, not spoken as I said. Thanks for reminding pointing that out.

    • Lanny A. Eichert June 11, 2012 at 11:14 am

      Both of you don’t know the eschatology of Matthew 24 & 25 because you refuse the literal translation. You approach what hints at a possible solution in this being other than the Final Judgment. It is NOT the Final Judgment. It is the judgment of national peoples when Jesus comes to set up His literal thousand year earth reign after the Tribulation of those days as the promised Jewish Messiah. Those “taken” are “goats” separated out and removed from the earth in death and cast into hades because as the foolish virgins the door to the millennial Kingdom is shut to them permanently. The remainder allowed to enter the Millennium are all saints saved by grace and the Kingdom age begins with Christ ruling over all mortal saints with His resurrected saints that He brought with Him in His Return in power and great glory. The mortal saints are capable of reproduction and not all their children confess Christ in truth, which accounts for the entrance of sinners into the Millennium.

      Your amillennialism is your stumbling block to understanding typical of unbelievers.

      AND you imply question about the Word of God by insisting the Greek text is not Jesus’ actual words. God Himself wrote the Holy Bible through human penmanship and every word as exactly spelt is His intended authority to the human race. You are [***comment deleted***] to be always claiming it may be this or that when you don’t even know the truth.

      • Mary Vanderplas June 13, 2012 at 6:16 am

        Hmmm… There is not one word in Matthew 24 or 25 about a “literal thousand year earth reign after the Tribulation of those days as the promised Jewish Messiah” or about some being “removed from the earth in death” or about “the remainder allowed to enter the Millennium [being] saints saved by grace” or about “Christ ruling over all mortal saints with His resurrected saints that He brought with Him in His Return”……. Evidently that this is so is of no concern to you in your zeal to construct a neat (and self-serving) end-times calendar.

        You’re right: I don’t take the Bible “literally” (at least in the way you mean the word, which isn’t the true meaning of it). Instead, I take it in the way that I believe, based on careful study that takes into account literary genre (apocalyptic, in the case of Matthew 25 and the Revelation texts), author’s purpose, author’s theology, etc., it is meant to be understood. I do take it seriously, though, which is more than can be said of your handling of texts that don’t suit your theological tastes (see chapter 18 of Genesis).

        • Lanny A. Eichert June 14, 2012 at 11:07 am

          Mary, put some Scriptures together and pay attention to words.

          about some being “removed from the earth in death”

          Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. {Matthew 24: 40, 41}

          I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. And they answered and said unto him, WHERE, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the BODY is, thither will the EAGLES be gathered together. {Luke 17: 34 – 37}

          about “the remainder allowed to enter the Millennium

          When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the THRONE of his glory … Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the KINGDOM prepared for you from the foundation of the world {Matthew 25: 31 & 34}

          Please be observant:

          Mt 24&25 is judgment on earth
          Rev20 is judgment without earth or heaven

          Mt 24&25 is judgment of living mortals
          Rev 20 is judgment of humans after death

          Account for what is different as well as what is the same, Mary, and find it so much simpler to be a Premillennialist than believing in apocalyptic literary style? Truth is always simpler than fiction.

          Mary, your intellectualism gets in the way of the faith that could be yours. It is much more complex and difficult to believe your way than the literal Bible way.

          For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. {1 Corinthians 1: 26 – 29}

          • Mary Vanderplas June 15, 2012 at 6:21 am

            The only things my “intellectualism” (read: commitment to studying cultural context and literary form of the biblical text) gets in the way of is twisting the text to say something the author never intended and piecing texts together in order to construct an end-times calendar, thereby misconstruing the pictorial language the authors use and missing the theological messages communicated by the pictures they present.

            Pay attention to words, indeed. The words of Genesis 18 say that the fate of Sodom had not been finally decided and that God allowed Abraham to challenge him to act like the just and merciful God that he is. That chapter 19 presents a picture of God punishing sin and evil does not invalidate the picture of God in his gracious freedom portrayed in the preceding chapter, nor does it warrant the conclusion that God was unable to save the Sodomites. To take Genesis 18 seriously means seeing here that the God of Israel (and of Jesus Christ) is the God who is both ready and able to save all because of the righteousness of a few (one).

            • Lanny A. Eichert June 15, 2012 at 4:01 pm

              Mary, hasn’t your “intellectualism” failed to allow you to see:

              Mt 24&25 is judgment on earth
              Rev20 is judgment without earth or heaven

              Mt 24&25 is judgment of living mortals
              Rev 20 is judgment of humans after death

              ???

              So too you see what isn’t there in Genesis 18 when God told Abraham what He was doing and actually did it as you can read in 19. Abraham knew he had kin in Sodom and for Lot’s life he was interceding, not for the character of God which was a given, not a thing of debate. Abraham failed in his intercession, because there weren’t even ten righteous in the twin cities. God, Who had already been Lot’s Saviour, had already planned to LITERALLY pull Lot and his daughters away from that location, serving as an ensample of the saint’s eternal security in God, their Saviour. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is an ensample of the security of God’s eternal condemnation of the wicked in God, their Judge. Alice take notice of the distinction between them and Lot, which proves your heresy for what it is: a Satanic lie.

              • Mary Vanderplas June 18, 2012 at 9:53 pm

                That God told Abraham what he was going to do but had not yet done is plainly evident from the text. (If God was already doing it, why would he resolve not to hide it from Abraham? Wouldn’t Abraham know, or soon find out, what was happening??) That God had not yet reached a final verdict about Sodom is plainly evident from the words of the text (verse 21). That Abraham challenged God to be true to his character is plainly evident from the words of the text. (See verse 25 in particular. The translation “far be it/that from you” is weak. A better translation is “That is profane!” – meaning that for God to act to destroy the righteous along with the wicked would be a betrayal of his character as a holy God.) That Abraham “succeeded” in moving God to have a change of heart and mind is plainly evident from God’s response to Abraham’s petitions.

                The words of the text indicate that Abraham’s pleas were for the righteous – not simply for his kin. And the words of the text indicate that God was moved by Abraham’s pleas to assent to act graciously toward all for the sake of a few righteous. Nothing is said about God already having determined that he was going to rescue Lot and daughters and destroy all the rest. This you read into the text – running ahead to chapter 19 and trying to make the “pieces” fit.

                You still have not explained verse 21 or the verses that follow in which Abraham challenges God and God listens to him. What you’ve done is to explain them away, which, alas, is not the same thing. Is there or is there not any truth to be found in these words? If your answer is “no, there is not,” then your claim to believe as true “all the exact words of the holy Bible” is exposed as false. You can’t have your “believe-every-word-exactly-as-penned” cake and (del)ete parts of it, too.

                Both the Matthew and the Revelation texts are pictures of eschatological judgment. That the imagery in these pictures is not exactly the same is not grounds for arguing that what is pictured are two different judgments. Indeed, the only thing my “intellectualism” prevents me from seeing is what isn’t there, what the authors never intended to be “seen.”

              • Lanny A. Eichert June 19, 2012 at 5:32 pm

                Mary, Genesis 18: 21 is simply accommodation: God condescends to speak as a man because He was revealing Himself in three literal persons, two of which continued to Sodom and Gomorrah to rescue Lot, his wife, and two daughters. While they were going, God’s plan to destroy that whole population was in motion, so the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I AM DOING.

                Mary, Mary, Mary, there were NO righteous persons for God to destroy WITH the wicked. NONE, Mary, NONE. That’s why homosexuality is so horribly dangerous to society and why all gays must die. Gays must “go straight” before it is too late and God gives them over to it and they must die {Romans 1: 24 – 32}. Christians need to get this message out: “Go straight or gays must die.” They truly are queers and it is right to so ID them. Sodom and Gomorrah illustrates homosexual hospitality and everyone who is pro-gay is ignorantly promoting this style of hospitality.

                Mary, God is omnipresent in His creation and therefore also omniscient about His creation. How can you possibly believe God did not know the extent of their sins. Read Jeremiah 23: 24 in context and know God knew everything the corrupt Israelites did in secret. Certainly God knows in minutest detail what every creature, even the smallest bugs, are doing at any moment in time. Unfortunately the way you seem to portray your god, he isn’t the God of the Holy Bible; and you are believing in the wrong god.

                Thou shalt have no other gods before me. {Exodus 20: 3}

                The same goes for Jesus Christ, so therefore, anyone believing a different Christ than the Christ of the perfect literal Holy Bible cannot be a Christian. Universalists have a different jesus christ, a different gospel, and they meaninglessly call themselves christians, but surprise no true Christians at all. Oh, how wonderfully surprised intellectuals are; and they even become Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses, but most of all Mormons. Mormons, too, have a form of universalism that the spirits in prison have a continual opportunity to become Mormon gospel believers, especially if some one did the baptism for the dead and was baptised for them.

                FYI, Alice, they have even been baptized for Hitler. Today the Jews are trying to stop the Mormon Church from doing baptisms for the Jewish dead. They don’t want their kin converting to Mormonism in the after-life. Ignorant people!!! There are NO conversions after death. Such a concept is just a refurbished Catholic Purgatory for non-Catholics; and that’s what your Amazing Hope really is: a refurbished Catholic heresy. Wise up, Alice.

                • Mary Vanderplas June 20, 2012 at 6:20 am

                  So then, the Genesis 18 text is, in your view, just silly, meaningless fiction – “filler” in the biblical story, with nothing at all of truth or value to say to us about who God is and what God does. God is pictured here, in your view, as speaking and acting to humor Abraham, not as taking him and his concerns seriously. And you claim to have a high view of the Bible??? Try taking the text seriously as the profound witness to God’s self-revelation that it is.

                  I’ve already said – several times – that the text doesn’t address your speculative questions about God’s omniscience. What it addresses is Abraham’s concern for the righteous and God’s hearing of Abraham’s concern and responding to it in his gracious freedom. It is a powerful theological reflection about the God who loves sinners – all of us – and who breaks the pattern of retributive justice, seeking a way for all to escape death.

                  I’m done on this. I have nothing to say that I haven’t already said a half a dozen times.

                • Lanny A. Eichert June 20, 2012 at 3:00 pm

                  Mary, you accuse me of making Genesis 18 “just silly, meaningless fiction – “filler” in the biblical story, with nothing at all of truth or value to say to us about who God is and what God does. God is pictured here, in your view, as speaking and acting to humor Abraham, not as taking him and his concerns seriously” because you are unable to accept a just God of vengeance Who avenges His broken Law. You naturally fall back to humanizing God because that’s your view of God in the first place, a god like yourself, that is, what you think you’d like to be. Certainly God knows in minutest detail what every creature, even the smallest bugs, is doing at any moment in time. Regarding moral creatures, that statement is intended to mean He knows their every thought and emotion and anxiety. Unfortunately the way you stretch to portray your god WITHOUT CHAPTER 19, he isn’t the God of the Holy Bible; and you are believing in the wrong god and a dissected Holy Bible.

                  Thou shalt have no other gods before me. {Exodus 20: 3} And no other Bible.

                  Mary, Mary, Mary, there were NO righteous persons for God to destroy WITH the wicked. NONE, Mary, NONE. Why can’t you comprehend THAT? You have dissected wrongly. Sodom and Gomorrah teaches us that homosexuality is bound to thoroughly corrupt society to the last person and must be eradicated. There were NO righteous persons for God to destroy WITH the wicked. NONE, Mary, NONE. Sodom and Gomorrah were thoroughly destroyed BY GOD, Mary, whether or not you want to believe it, killing every human being for being gay. Facts, Mary, facts, even holy facts, not hate speech, are these things I just repeat from the Holy Bible. Where is love in my supposed slogan, “Go straight or Gays must die”, Mary? Can’t you see it in the first part? It is in reaching out to them to help them go straight before it is too late and God gives them over to it according to the last part of Romans 1. The end of sin, even theirs, is death: they must die. Society must make them die and if they commit suicide they save taxpayers’ dollars. Let the bullying begin. If they commit suicide it is because they KNOW homosexuality is NOT normal, in other words, it is the sin which drives them to self destruction. The tragedy is the lack of a friend to show them the straight and narrow way to Christ, forgiveness, and normal straight living by means of the perfect literal Holy Bible. Suicide in their unsaved state means God never intended to save them and they were vessels fitted for destruction since only NOW is the day of salvation {2 Corinthians 6: 2}. God’s saints may intercede for sinners, but the final decision of sinners’ salvation is God’s not the saints’ and He may sovereignly choose not to save without violating His justice or love. Remember salvation is BY GRACE, not love, in the Holy Bible.

                  • Mary Vanderplas June 22, 2012 at 8:18 pm

                    You still haven’t answered my question: What does Genesis 18:21 and following mean, and why is it in the Bible? Why does the author picture God saying that he must investigate the situation in Sodom in order to see if it’s as bad as he’s heard it is “and if not, I will know”? What do these words mean? And please don’t mumble some vague nonsense about God “accommodating himself.” The whole Bible is God accommodating himself, revealing himself in forms we can understand. Either there is truth in this text or there isn’t – either the text reveals God or it doesn’t. If it’s a case of God only pretending not to have made up his mind, what’s the point? Why would God do this, or why would the writer want to picture God doing this? To deceive us? And why, if God resolved not to hide his plans from Abraham, would he not have told Abraham that his plan was to destroy everything and everyone but Lot? Why would he have responded to Abraham’s petitions in the way that he did, instead of simply saying to him, “Abraham, you dumb head, there are no righteous in Sodom, so stop badgering me!”? To deceive him – and us? What kind of god is this? Surely not one who is worthy to receive anyone’s praise and devotion.

                    The reality is that you dismiss this text as meaningless fiction because it doesn’t fit your “vengeful deity” theology. And you skirt the issue by accusing me of not taking seriously chapter 19 (which I’ve spoken to several times) and by spewing your venom against gays – human beings whom God loves and for whom Jesus died. Don’t tell me about your high view of the Bible or your high view of God. The only thing you have a high view of is your own perverse doctrine, by which you feel justified in condemning everyone who doesn’t believe and/or live the way you do.

                    • Lanny A. Eichert June 23, 2012 at 4:19 am

                      See, Mary, how your last statement reveals the offense of the cross? {The only thing you have a high view of is your own perverse doctrine, by which you feel justified in condemning everyone who doesn’t believe and/or live the way you do.}

                      I have adequately explained to you that it is not God that needs instruction, but Abraham. God is sovereign, but Abraham must be in submission.

                      Your god is deficient and needs human help: not the Biblical God of Christians.

                      Thou shalt have no other gods before me. {Exodus 20: 3} And no other Bible.

                    • Lanny A. Eichert June 23, 2012 at 4:52 am

                      No, Mary, the REAL purpose of Genesis 18: 21 – 19: 29 is for humanity to KNOW homosexuality results in TOTAL destruction of human beings and society. It is totally devastating as proven by God Himself and we are not to think according to our foolishness anything otherwise. There is no rehabilitation for homosexuals, only death, destructive death, eternal death. The same thing is true of EVERY sin that God declared punishable by death. God knew mankind would “go soft” and even use a perverted christian love as the reason. Christian love seeks to convert the criminal to Christ before it then takes the criminal’s life, but without fail it takes the life in obedience to God’s word and example. That’s the purpose of these two chapters, Mary. That’s Christian love for human society: to protect it from harm and preserve a godly purpose for the race.

                    • Mary Vanderplas June 24, 2012 at 4:39 pm

                      Where in the text does it say that Abraham needs to be in submission? Abraham is in God’s face, practically shouting at God, and God listens to Abraham and assents verbally to Abraham’s bold pleas. This is what the text actually says – not that this is a lesson in submission for Abraham. Read the text for what it says instead of reading into it what you want it to say to fit your “vengeful deity” idol.

                      Of course this is all a witness to God’s self-revelation using human forms, but that God reveals himself through these words, through this story, if indirectly, cannot be denied.

                    • Mary Vanderplas June 25, 2012 at 6:21 am

                      You still have not answered my questions: What do the words of Genesis 18:21-33 mean, and why are they in the Bible?

                    • Lanny A. Eichert June 25, 2012 at 7:18 pm

                      Mary, since Genesis 18:21-33 is part of Genesis 18: 21 – 19: 29, its meaning is that by the authority of the LORD homosexuality results in TOTAL destruction of human beings and society apart from what imagined good any one might imagine should be preserved.

                      “Apart from what any one” means submission to God.

                      You and your universalist friends are not in submission to God because you refuse to believe He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah and you refuse to believe that He means Judas Iscariot is lost in His prayerful report to His Father in John 17: 12, so therefore you all are ***

                    • Mary Vanderplas June 26, 2012 at 6:39 am

                      You still have not answered my questions. Why is God pictured as not having made a final decision in verse 21? What do the words “and if not, I will know” in this verse mean? Why, if God had his mind made up and he resolved not to hide his decision from Abraham, does he respond to Abraham as he does when Abraham petitions him to have mercy on all for the sake of the righteous? Why isn’t he pictured as being direct with Abraham, and why doesn’t he tell Abraham that he’s being overly bold in his ignorance? Why, in other words, does the text say what it says? What do the words of the text mean? You haven’t explained the text at all. You’ve only explained chapter 18 away, you who claim to take every word of the holy writ literally. Baloney, Lanny. If a text doesn’t fit your theology, it must be explained away. If it does fit, it must be turned from an example to the basis of a generality. In the case of Genesis 19, it must be twisted to say something it doesn’t say – that the Sodomites stood condemned because they were gay – and then turned into the basis of a generality. (See other references to Sodom in the Old and New Testaments – e.g., Ezekiel 16:49 – where there is no mention of gay sex, let alone being gay, in connection with the sins of Sodom.) Your supposed high view of the holy Bible is nothing of the kind.

                      I’m done, done, done on this.

                    • Lanny A. Eichert June 26, 2012 at 8:08 pm

                      Mary, Why is God pictured as not having made a final decision in verse 21 by the words “and if not, I will know” in this verse? Simply because you will not believe God is here at this time omniscient and therefore you are refusing to allow these words to be an accommodation to Abraham and to the finite angelic beings that appeared to Abraham and talked with him. Don’t you believe God condescends to humanity or does your poor god benefit from the wisdom of men?

                      Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. {1 Corinthians 1: 25}

                      Are you offended that God should condescend to you?

                      Job, as well as Abraham, needed to be humbled before God and God engineered the situations for both men to learn humility. Neither men had the literal perfect Holy Bible in written form and both learned by the perfect oral tradition and personal revelations which survived perfectly by the power of God to be included in the literal perfect Holy Bible.

                      Use your head, Mary. Did God create humanity or did He not? Can the created thing have greater knowledge and understanding than the One Who created it? Can the created thing progress in knowledge and understand faster than the One Who created it? Does God advance and progress in knowledge and understanding? Can God learn more than He knew before He created all things? Did Abraham advance God’s knowledge and understanding, Mary?

                      Watch “and if not, I will know” and see. Was it otherwise than the cry of it, Mary? It was NOT, so how could God learn other than what He had already purposed to do? As I instructed you, there were no righteous that God could have destroyed with the wicked. So for whose benefit was the conversation, Mary? Look, God was Self-sufficient, the I AM, before creation, so why should He even walk with and talk with Adam and Eve? What is the God’s creative purpose of the human race?

                      Look, Mary, *** you refuse the omniscience of God known from the foundation of the world in order to promote a loving saving god of your own imagination. You cannot have a god that changes his mind by human counsel and be in agreement with the Holy Bible. Just look at your idea of a loving saving god, because he didn’t save anybody in the twin cities, but instead, if chapter 19 is true, he ended up toasting them all. So what kind of god does that make him to be? If your idea of a loving saving god is true than chapter 19 is false and never happened, right? What then do you with Christ’s use of Sodom as well as the Prophets, Paul, Jude, and John? You end with a bible of fables, and anybodies’ interpretation is as good as anybody else’s.

                    • Lanny A. Eichert June 27, 2012 at 4:00 am

                      Mary, God baited Abraham, so why are you having trouble with that? Didn’t He do similar baiting via his son Isaac.

                      For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; {Genesis 18: 19}

                      Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. … for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, {Genesis 22: 2 & 12}

                      Mary, by God’s words “for now I know” in verse 12 would you dispute God’s words “For I know him” in verse 19? What is the purpose of those words in verse 12, Mary? Did God have to learn something about Abraham by testing him that He didn’t know before He tested him? Wouldn’t that make verse 19 a false statement by God, thus making God a Liar? So did God or didn’t God know Abraham would fully attempt to offer Isaac as a burnt offering before he actually did? The word “now” in verse 12 is critical to assuming God learned something about Abraham when Abraham raised his knife to slay Isaac.

                      Mary, what does the inclusion of “for NOW I know” in the text mean to you about the Character of God? There is no way to escape the NOW in the sentence nor the I KNOW, either. Those words are deliberately in the text by the writer’s penmanship. What is the writer’s point, Mary? To make the god of verse 19 a liar? or better yet the writer of verse 19 a liar?

                      So do you have corrupt chapters 18 and 19 because of the writer of chapter 22 verse 12? If that be the case then the view of a loving saving God in chapter 18 is wrong because the writer of that chapter couldn’t get verse 19 correct, therefore nothing he wrote can be certified correct. Mary, when you go about dividing your bible up into disagreeable portions, you have a mess that collapses upon itself.

                      Jesus never divided up the Scriptures like you do, but rather certified their correctness and absolute value {Matthew 4: 4} Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. This is how I know you are not what you claim to be.

                      Why don’t you know that God engineered this whole test as a figure of the Resurrection? God’s purpose was to get “Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.” written in the Holy Bible at Hebrews 11: 19 as a figure of God offering up His only begotten Son and raising Him from the dead in the Resurrection as the Firstfruit from the dead {1 Corinthians 15: 20 and Firstfruit is singular in the Greek}. God has an unalterable plan and program for all of human history: Abraham absolutely had to offer up Isaac so that God might write that figure in the New Testament. It was planned before the foundation of the world just like “whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world” {Revelation 17: 8} and never will be so that they will by natural course burn in the eternal Lake of Fire.

                    • Mary Vanderplas June 27, 2012 at 6:35 am

                      Let me see if I have this right. On your reckoning, God is pictured in Genesis 18 as lying and bull-shitting Abraham in the interest of “accommodating himself” to him. God resolves not to hide his plans from Abraham and then, alas, conceals his plans by way of “condescending” to him. When it comes to what it says about God, this text is meaningless fiction with nothing of truth or value to say to us about God’s character. The “real truth” is the God of retributive justice pictured in Genesis 19.

                    • Lanny A. Eichert June 27, 2012 at 4:13 pm

                      Mary, Jesus said: That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. {Matthew 12:36} His statement isn’t restricted in gender and your four letter obscenity exposes you unfavorably. Loving Christians don’t use that kind of language. They: Abstain from all appearance of evil. {1 Thessalonians 5: 22}

                      God did not resolve to hide his plans from Abraham. Abraham’s conversation reveals he knew God intended to totally destroy every single gay person in both Sodom and Gomorrah because homosexuality had so completely corrupted both cities that there was not a single righteous person in the two cities. Abraham knew that was God’s plan. God didn’t conceal anything, Mary, but allowed Abraham to hypothesize and answered Abraham truthfully and completely.

                      Thank you for your statement: The “real truth” is the God of retributive justice pictured in Genesis 19. Finally you tell the truth for once, Mary. I don’t get excited about that because even Satan sometimes tells the truth amidst his lies. He is also not opposed to using obscenity. In you I see a likeness.

                    • Mary Vanderplas June 27, 2012 at 8:20 pm

                      Why am I having trouble with “God baited Abraham”? For the simple reason that there is not the slightest indication in the text that God is doing anything of the kind. What does the text say? It says that Abraham challenged God, got right in God’s face and told him to act like the just God that he is. And God responded by saying he would have mercy on all for the sake of the righteous. You make the text say what you want it to say, instead of reading it for what it actually says. And you yank verses out of context and distort their meaning. Verse 19 of Genesis 18 means, in context, that God had chosen Abraham, that Abraham was the one whom God had chosen and blessed in order to do God’s purpose. How you can delude yourself into believing that you take the text seriously I can’t begin to know. And you try to deflect attention from the real issue by running to another text and fixating on something that has no bearing whatsoever on the text under consideration. The real issue is that you dismiss Genesis 18 as meaningless fiction because it doesn’t fit your doctrine.

                    • Lanny A. Eichert June 27, 2012 at 11:05 pm

                      Mary, reread it.

                      For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him. {Genesis 18: 19}

                      70% of the text is God’s knowledgeable report of Abraham’s obedience, but only 30% is dedicated to God’s plan for Abraham. You misrepresent the text by writing: Verse 19 of Genesis 18 means, in context, that God had chosen Abraham, that Abraham was the one whom God had chosen and blessed in order to do God’s purpose. It is typical for you to miss the major {70%} portion of Scripture’s meaning. God KNEW Abraham, Mary, just as thoroughly as He knew what He was doing to Sodom and Gomorrah and that the discussion with Abraham would change NOTHING with regard to His attitude toward and His actions toward Sodom and Gomorrah, namely their total and complete distruction to kill all the abominable gays demonstrating they have no right to live, because they are EVERY one an abomination in His sight.

                      If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. {Leviticus 20: 13} Their blood shall be upon them means they are guilty of corrupting themselves and God gave them over to it so that they are irrepairable and the only solution is their immediate death: Gays must die. God said so. We can love them and try to make them go straight, but if they won’t, the solution is the death penalty. That’s God’s verdict. Get that, Michelle. That’s the Christian message to save society and individuals. Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD {Psalm 33: 12} NOT civil liberties or political correctness.

                      In your own words, Mary: The “real truth” is the God of retributive justice pictured in Genesis 19. Stick with it and stop trying to make God less than God by making the created man, Abraham, the counsellor of God Who created the man. That is such utter foolishness it parallels why you can’t begin to know how I take this context seriously. The reason is that I have been born again and have a perfect literal Holy Bible and you don’t. These things are spiritually {1 Corinthians 2: 14 & 15} discerned, Mary, by born again sons and daughters {2 Corinthians 6: 17 & 18} of God, the minority of the human race according to Jesus’ statement in Matthew 7: 13 & 14.

                      Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counsellor hath taught him? With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding? {Isaiah 40: 13 & 14}

                      In your own words, Mary: The “real truth” is the God of retributive justice pictured in Genesis 19. Stick with it and interpret Genesis 18 according to the final act of God, the total destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah {every gay, saving not one by love}. Keep the Bible WHOLE and you’ll be on your way to understanding.

                    • Lanny A. Eichert June 28, 2012 at 1:32 am

                      BTW Mary, Isaiah 40: 13 & 14 was written long after Abraham. With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding? “Abraham” is NOT given as the answer, Mary, as you might expect of your god who needed his created and chosen Abraham to be in his face to redirect him.

                    • Mary Vanderplas June 28, 2012 at 8:57 pm

                      Read what I say in context. My words were my echoing of your view, or, more accurately, your dismissal of Genesis 18. The context was: “Let me see if I have this right. On your reckoning…..” Also, the fact that I put “real truth” in quotation marks should be a clue that this does not reflect my view.

                      You still have not answered my question. What do the words in 18:21 mean? What does it mean that God is pictured as saying “and if not, I will know”? Do these words mean what they say, which is that the case is not yet closed, that God has not yet made a final decision, or do they not? If not, what exactly do they mean and why are they in the Bible? Is this a bunch of bull shit, or is there truth to be found in this text and in the verses that follow in which Abraham challenges God about God’s justice?

                      Nothing at all is said in verse 19 about Abraham’s obedience. What is said is that God knew – i.e., chose – Abraham for the purpose of doing the divine purposes of justice and righteousness.

                      Read the text for what it says instead of twisting the pieces to make them fit into your puzzle of “vengeful, hateful deity ready to pounce on the wicked.” Genesis 18 is a profound theological reflection in which God is seen as rejecting a punitive, retributive scheme of justice and seeking an escape from death for all.

                    • Lanny A. Eichert June 29, 2012 at 4:05 am

                      Mary, your “God is seen as rejecting a punitive, retributive scheme of justice and seeking an escape from death for all” did NOT happen, because He did NOT make all escape from death, but instead killed all by death. By your statement you make your god an absolute failure and a doer of the exact opposite of what he sought to do. To save your god’s face you must devise another understanding of “and if not, I will know” that places him successful when he destroys the entire population of Sodom and Gomorrah, all gays. As of now your loving saving god remains a liar and a failure based on the final disposition of Sodom and Gomorrah. If you would adopt “all Gays must die” then God is successful and both He and His justice are immutable; and Abraham failed.

                    • Mary Vanderplas June 29, 2012 at 8:31 pm

                      It should be clear by now that I don’t believe chapters 18 and 19 are meant to be fit together into a coherent puzzle, which can be done only by explaining away one or the other text, as you demonstrate with such proficiency. As I’ve said before, I think it is highly probable that they came from two different sources, reflecting as they do two different theologies. Perhaps, as some scholars suggest, Genesis 18 was written as a direct response to the retributive theology of chapter 19, offering a critique of the indictment-punishment scheme. It is possible also that the intent was to picture this new righteousness as being in the end too radical, even though the door has been opened to God showing mercy to all based on the righteousness of a few – a way that points in the direction of Jesus.

                      You still haven’t answered my question. I’m done responding to yours.

                    • Lanny A. Eichert June 30, 2012 at 2:20 am

                      Readers of Mary’s contextual split should have no problem realizing that she has taken chapter 18 totally away from chapter 19, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, which is verified by so much other Scripture as eternally punitive {NOT remedial}, in order to prove heretical points of doctrine that cannot otherwise be made in the entire Bible contextually. She has done what is classically put into the following words: you can prove anything by taking Bible verses out of context. To use Scripture in that way is an absolute disregard for language.

                      She wrote, “It should be clear by now that I don’t believe chapters 18 and 19 are meant to be fit together into a coherent puzzle, which can be done only by explaining away one or the other text” not realizing she actually accuses herself of “explaining away” chapter 19 by using a different author for 19 than 18. She never gave proof for such a claim. Jesus, on the other hand, credited Moses as the author of the Pentateuch. Mary argues against Jesus. Guess Who wins? ***

                      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: 22 & 23}

                      Reader, do you see the iniquity of Mary’s works in what she did by separating these two chapters?

                    • Mary Vanderplas June 30, 2012 at 11:50 am

                      Absolute disregard for language?? What about the “language” of Genesis 18:21 and following? What does this “language” mean? You still have not answered my question.

                      I gave my interpretation of Genesis 19, a perfectly legitimate interpretation, not a dismissal of the text, two weeks ago. It read: “The picture in chapter 19 is a different picture, revealing a God who punishes sin and evil, a God who operates according to a retributive scheme of justice, which was commonly held in the ancient world. Probably the intent is to show that God cares enough about evil and its effects to do something about it. In any case, its presence doesn’t nullify the significance of the dialogue between Abraham and God in the preceding chapter.”

                      You, by contrast, have not given a legitimate interpretation of Genesis 18 that takes into account what the text actually says. Instead, in your desperate need to make it fit the puzzle, which in your thinking is governed by chapter 19, you read into the text and distort its meaning, not explaining it at all but instead explaining it away.

                      Guess Who wins?? The God definitively revealed in Jesus Christ as a God of just love and loving justice – not your vengeful, mean, petty perversion of this God – wins.

                    • Lanny A. Eichert June 30, 2012 at 6:58 pm

                      Mary complains: You still haven’t answered my question.

                      A Christian cannot answer a non-Christian’s question to her satisfaction because she is not a believer of Christ’s words that Moses, not several authors, wrote Genesis 18 & 19.

                    • Lanny A. Eichert June 30, 2012 at 11:33 pm

                      Mary echos “Guess Who wins?? The God … of just love and loving justice.”

                      Then how come this supposed god of yours killed every last gay in Sodom and Gomorrah when the rest of the story is told? Where’s just love and loving justice from your perspective in that? God doesn’t change between the chapters, Mary, or Abraham’s success with your god was only momentary.

                      Also Mary, “the door has been opened to God showing mercy to all based on the righteousness of a few” ???
                      WHAT FEW? They didn’t even exist in Sodom and Gomorrah. Any way, Mary, mercy and grace comes by the virtue of only ONE Righteous Person, not a few. Your supposed picture just isn’t there, but only exists in your imagination which is driven by your nonliteral bible reading. Get the literal perfect Holy Bible, Mary.

                    • Mary Vanderplas July 1, 2012 at 6:46 am

                      The question stands. What do the words of Genesis 18:21 and following mean? Do they mean what they say, or do they mean something different, and, if the latter, what? Is the “plain meaning” of these words fiction, or is there truth to be found herein?

                      The reason you continue to not-so-artfully dodge the question is that your interpretation (read: dismissal) of this text exposes your “believe-every-word-of-the-literal-perfect-Holy-Bible” claim as false.

                    • Mary Vanderplas July 1, 2012 at 6:49 am

                      The mercy of God is seen even here in this text dominated by divine judgment in God’s rescue of Lot. God rescued Lot, according to the text, not because of Lot’s righteousness, but because of Abraham (19:29, also verses 16 and 22). Also, nothing is said in this text about the eternal destiny of the Sodomites. It cannot be concluded that they are beyond the scope of God’s saving love.

                      The theology articulated in chapter 18 – in which God assents to act in mercy toward all because of the righteousness of a few – points in the direction of Jesus is what I said. Also, God’s rescue of Lot because of Abraham points toward Jesus. The point is the power of righteousness to save and God seeking a way of escape from death for all.

                    • Lanny A. Eichert July 1, 2012 at 7:17 pm

                      Mary, “The theology articulated in chapter 18 – in which God assents to act in mercy toward all because of the righteousness of a few” did not happen “toward all.” Your thing falls apart everywhere. It has no basis in reality. “Mercy toward all” did NOT happen. “Few” did NOT happen. Your ducks are NOT in a row.

                    • Lanny A. Eichert July 2, 2012 at 2:03 pm

                      BTW Mary, your FEW is the ten of Abraham’s in 18: 32 Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten’s sake. Lot , his wife, and two daughters are not included in the few because four is not the ten God promised. Neither four nor ten can legitimately picture the Only Righteous, Who is One, the Lord Jesus Christ.

                    • Lanny A. Eichert July 2, 2012 at 7:06 pm

                      Mary, your July 1, 2012 at 6:49 am comment It cannot be concluded that they are beyond the scope of God’s saving love.

                      He killed them, Mary, they are dead, dead, real dead. They cannot be saved when they are dead. When God makes them dead, they are really dead.

                      And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned [them] with an overthrow, making [them] an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed [his] righteous soul from day to day with [their] unlawful deeds;) The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: {2 Peter 2: 6 – 9}

                      TO RESERVE THE UNJUST UNTO THE DAY OF JUDGMENT TO BE PUNISHED.

                      To be PUNISHED, Mary, not purged and purified.

                      And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: {Hebrews 9: 27} There’s no purging and purifying in hades. The next step after death is anticipated judgment following which is immediate punishment. Since there is no purging or purifying in hades, but just a reservation unto judgment, there will neither be purging nor purifying in the punishment that follows the judgment. See the logical progression? Believe it, because it is the truth.

                      Just as {John 17: 12} Jesus prophetically leaves Judas Iscariot lost, perished; so also the peoples of Sodom and Gomorrha are left reserved unto punishment. So leave them securely reserved unto eternal torment as also you must leave Judas, or else you call God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit, Who inspired Peter, Liars and you forfeit any legitimacy to call yourself a Christian.

                      You folks really have a decision to make, are you going to finally believe the LORD in both cases, Sodom/Gomorrha and Judas, or are you going to believe your own imaginations? *** Which will it be?

                    • Mary Vanderplas July 2, 2012 at 9:24 pm

                      Lanny, I’m not concerned about whether or not “my ducks are in a row.” I’m concerned about taking the texts seriously for what they say – not forcing chickens to act like ducks. You still have not answered my question.

                    • Lanny A. Eichert July 3, 2012 at 2:34 am

                      Mary, your question is of no value because the LORD was not able to save anybody since there wasn’t even ten.

                    • Lanny A. Eichert July 3, 2012 at 2:57 am

                      Mary, your question’s answer is The Lord knoweth how … to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished {2 Peter 2: 9} and showed Abraham that very thing in conversation and in deed.

                      TO RESERVE THE UNJUST UNTO THE DAY OF JUDGMENT TO BE PUNISHED.

                      The Apostle Peter by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit gives you your answer, Mary. Argue with him and you argue with the Holy Ghost and rejecting God’s words***

                    • Mary Vanderplas July 3, 2012 at 8:48 pm

                      How exactly do the words of Genesis 18:21 and following, in which God is pictured as having not yet made a final decision about Sodom (“and if not, I will know”), as consulting with Abraham, and as assenting to Abraham’s pleas – how exactly do these words show Abraham that “the Lord knoweth how to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished”?? Answer: They don’t, except in your mind, because reading them for what they say instead of for what you want them to say doesn’t fit your theology.

                      Perhaps it was the case that the situation couldn’t be turned around because there weren’t enough righteous in the city to outweigh the effects of the wicked. Even so, the fact that judgment fell doesn’t change the picture of God that is presented in Genesis 18: a God who attends to Abraham’s intercessions and who seeks a way out of death for all.

                      Your continual dodging of my question makes clear that for you Genesis 18:21 and following is meaningless fiction.

                    • Lanny A. Eichert July 4, 2012 at 9:33 pm

                      Mary, Genesis 18:21 (“and if not, I will know”) as having been physically THERE as a physical eyewitness. God already knew by the cry that came up to Him AS WELL AS by His omniscience and omnipresence. His will in the matter was already determined.

                      God knew because:
                      1) He is God
                      2) the cry that came to Him
                      3) He was there as the Angel of the LORD

                    • Lanny A. Eichert July 5, 2012 at 2:55 am

                      Mary, gay people, homosexuals, cut people open to fondle their sex organs. Their victims’ bloods cried out from the ground. The rocks that witness their perversions cry out to God. Even before that God’s omniscience knew what they do and to what intent. Also God’s omnipresence saw what they did both in secret and in public. God’s holy angels saw what they did to their newborns and babies and reported to God crying. Nothing is hid from God. You MUST remember that as you “interpret” Scripture.

                      Genesis 18:21 (“and if not, I will know”) The Septuagint Greek translation has “know” in the Subjunctive Mood which is the mood of possibility. The mood of reality is the Indicative Mood. The point is God never expected it to be “not.” He knew very well it was so and therefore He was planning complete death and destruction for their sins right down to the very last individual gay resident; a plan He definitely carried out fully in wrath as God through Peter told you. God hates {wrath} gays and if they will not go straight they must die according to the word of God.

                      he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him {John 3: 36} If you are not believing the Son God is hating you right now, because the Bible tells me so: that the wrath of God is abiding, resting, on you right now. Abideth is present tense continuous action and you are His ALWAYS object of His hate/wrath.

                      The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth. {Psalm 11: 5}

                      Mary, if Genesis 18:21 (“and if not, I will know”) were as you say then the Lake of Fire is not a sure thing either and people may escape the Lake of Fire. Because the death of every gay was certain before God spoke with Abraham, so also the Second Death is certain to every unbeliever in all of its finality.

                      Again in the Lake of Fire the rebel is paying the Second Death penalty for his sins and therefore Christ is unable to pay in full that Second Death penalty that the unbeliever is already in the process of paying. Don’t you see that? Alice wrote that it may be ages upon ages before the rebel repents, so what portion of his Second Death penalty does Christ pay and what portion of it has the rebel already had to pay? Alice also wrote of a rebel that holds out repenting until Christ fills all in all. Since that rebel then has paid his Second Death penalty in full, what portion is there left for Christ to pay when the rebel repents at the filling?

                      Don’t you all see how foolish Alice’s idea is? Her Amazing Hope is utter foolishness.

                    • Lanny A. Eichert July 5, 2012 at 3:34 am

                      Mary wrote there weren’t enough righteous in the city to outweigh the effects of the wicked {July 3, 2012 at 8:48 pm}

                      Is that a hold over from people who believe their good will outweigh their bad and they will go to heaven when they die?

                      Any way she say “perhaps” like she’s not sure. God was sure and had a stragic firm plan to kill them all. Gays must die since they refuse to go straight.

                      Christians and even non-christians are ready to help gays go straight. Please, dear reader, understand that the language of “going straight” or even “straight sex” stands in contrast to homosexuality definitely implying homosexuality is “crooked”, illegal, vile, perverse, degenerate. Gays are crooks. They are criminals according to accepted terminology.

                      However gays can put on a “good” front so that their good seems to outweigh their bad. That’s the way you pro-gays think of it, but God knows better, even enough to mandate for them the death penalty {Leviticus 20: 13 and Romans 1: 24 – 32} Don’t be fooled by wolves in sheeps’ clothing.

                    • Mary Vanderplas July 5, 2012 at 9:06 pm

                      Unlike you, I actually read the text before interpreting it. What the text says is that Abraham questioned God about the number of righteous it would take for the whole city to be saved and that God agreed that, if there were at least ten righteous, judgment could be averted. The presence of the righteous has the effect of saving a wicked society from the effects of sin and evil. What it does not say is that “[God’s] will in the matter was already determined” or that “[God] had a strategic firm plan to kill them all.”

                      Not only do you dismiss the words of chapter 18, you also dismiss 19:29. What could the words “God remembered Abraham” in this verse possibly mean except that God took to heart Abraham’s intercession in his decision to rescue Lot?

                      The words “and if not, I will know” in 18:21 mean exactly what they say: there was a possibility that the situation in Sodom wasn’t as bad as it seemed and thus that judgment could be averted. God had not yet decided what he would do; he wanted to investigate the situation in consultation with Abraham before giving a final verdict.

                      All the gay-bashing in the world can’t hide the fact that you dismiss as meaningless fiction the plain sense of Genesis 18 and Genesis 19:29.

                  • Michelle July 1, 2012 at 4:50 am

                    “Sodom and Gomorrah teaches us that homosexuality is bound to thoroughly corrupt society to the last person and must be eradicated. There were NO righteous persons for God to destroy WITH the wicked. NONE, Mary, NONE. Sodom and Gomorrah were thoroughly destroyed BY GOD, Mary, whether or not you want to believe it, killing every human being for being gay.”

                    *Sarcastic* And Lot and his daughters were righteous people perhaps? Lot offered his virgins daughters to a mob of psycho rapists and Lot’s daughters got their father drunk and screwed him. They weren’t any more righteous than the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. According to the “moral” standards of that stupid, immoral story, they didn’t deserve to live any more than the gay (or straight for that matter) sexual abusers and sexually immoral people of Sodom and Gomorrah and the sexual abusers and sexually immoral people of Sodom and Gomorrah didn’t deserve to die any more than Lot and his daughters. And what did Lot’s wife did besides turning around or looking in the “wrong” direction? Wow. And Abraham was righteous perhaps? Lying about his wife, abusing his son Isaac with his evil human sacrifice mentality, listening to his evil, calculating wife, taking advantage of his slave Hagar to produce an heir and then complying to the demand of his jealous, selfish, egotistic witch of a wife by abandoning the slave girl and his own son in the wilderness without any food or water and forsaking his parental responsibility instead of standing up to his wife and refusing to neglect or abandon his son and Hagar. Child abuse, parental irresponsibility, hypocrisy, self-serving motives, incest, sexual abuse and killing sprees are all over the vile, evil books of the old testament. Was Jacob righteous? Jacob, the deceiving, calculating, self-serving man who took advantage of his hungry brother and didn’t feed him without expecting or asking for anything in return (Paul said that a man who refuse to provide for his own family is worse than an infidel, Jesus and John said if you see hungry people and you don’t feed them don’t have the love of God in them), Jacob who had two wives who were sisters (it doesn’t get any more immoral than this)! Was David righteous? While David claimed to be righteous, He was an evil mass murderer who actively participated in genocide and killing sprees, who murderer a woman’s husband to satisfy his lust, and then instead of choosing man’s justice chose his “god” ‘s justice and got 70 000 people killed. What about Moses who also actively participated in genocide and killing sprees?

                    Moses was indeed a basket case. He was also a devil worshipper (worshipping the Satanic, imposter “god” of the OT). Not to mention that he and his men were pedophiles.
                    Num. 31:17-18 “Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known a man intimately. But keep alive for yourselves all the *young* girls who have not known a man intimately.” The Hebrew word for “young” here (taph, Strong’s #H2945), means “children”, minors!
                    WAKE UP PEOPLE!!!!!!!!

                    Num. 31:17-18 “… But keep alive for yourselves all the *young* girls who have not known a man intimately.” The Hebrew word for “young” here (taph, Strong’s #H2945), means “children”, minors!
                    Why keeping virgin little girls alive as plunder if not for sex and child slave labor?
                    Slaughter, Rape and pedophilia – True God (Jesus) or Satan? Engage your conscience people and stop denying the evidence. The OT “prophets” and priests were devil worshippers!

                    “It always amazes me how many times this God orders the killing of innocent people even after the Ten Commandments said “Thou shall not kill”. For example, God kills 70,000 innocent people because David ordered a census of the people (1 Chronicles 21). God also orders the destruction of 60cities so that the Israelites can live there. He orders the killing of all the men, women, and children of each city, and the looting of all of value (Deuteronomy 3). He orders another attack and the killing of “all the living creatures of the city: men and women, young, and old, as well as oxen sheep, and asses” (Joshua 6). In Judges 21, He orders the murder of all the people of Jabesh-gilead, except for the virgin girls who were taken to be forcibly raped and married. When they wanted more virgins, God told them to hide alongside the road and when they saw a girl they liked, kidnap her and forcibly rape her and make her your wife! Just about every other page in the Old Testament has God killing somebody! In 2 Kings 10:18-27, God orders the murder of all the worshipers of a different god in their very own church! In total God kills 371,186 people directly and orders another 1,862,265 people murdered.

                    The God of the old testament also allows slavery, including selling your own daughter as a sex slave (Exodus 21:1-11), child abuse (Judges 11:29-40 and Isaiah 13:16), and bashing babies against rocks (Hosea 13:16 & Psalms 137:9).

                    This type of criminal behavior should shock any moral person. Murder, rape, pillage, plunder, slavery, and child abuse can not be justified by saying that some god says it’s OK.

                    In early Christian history, several Gnostic cults believed that the orthodox Church as well as the Old Testament, came from Satan. The Church, of course, labeled these Gnostics as heretics and burned their books as well as the heretics themselves.”

                    And all these evil, maniacal things; genocide, infanticide, rape, slavery, racism, sexism, ethnic cleansing, cannibalism, incest, polygamy, child abuse, genital mutilations (circumcision/excision) were supposedly commanded and sanctionned by God. The True God is nothing like that psychopathic monster of darkness. Do you honestly think the True God would order the death of a man for gathering fire wood on the Sabbath, would order a woman who has been raped to marry her attacker and command the Jews the annihilation of entire cities? Jesus never committed such atrocities and never commanded His disciples to commit such atrocities.

                    Those who don’t reject and condemn the old testament in its entirety cannot truly expose and oppose evil because they defend it and help it and because they believe that the God is totally okay with evil and even encourages it. Are you suppose to “love your enemies” as you rape, torture and slaughter them? To try to justify evil and tragic suffering is to refuse to expose and oppose evil and to become part of that evil. Open your eyes that you may see and cut the old testament out of the New. Wake up and rise against evil.

                    “What would we expect of the Old Testament if it were, as claimed, the word of God? We might reasonably expect that there would be no doubt about what constituted the Old Testament. The books in it, called the canon, should be clearly defined. Furthermore this canon should be unchanged from the earliest days of Christianity. We might even expect some sort of divine confirmation of it. We might also expect that the Bible would be original. We would not for example expect to find stories that have been plagiarised from neighbouring cultures or other religions. If the claims made for the Bible were true, then in view of their importance we might expect that the original manuscripts would have been carefully preserved. Failing this, we might expect that various copies would at least agree with each other. We certainly would not expect to find evidence of tampering and later editing. We might also reasonably expect various books to have been written by the authors to whom they are attributed, and in the historical periods claimed for them. Also, if translations were divinely inspired, as the Greek Septuagint, Latin Vulgate, and English Authorised Version have been claimed to be, then we might expect the same standards of them as of the original text. We would not expect to find evidence of deliberate mistranslation. Also, if the Bible represented the infallible word of God, then it might reasonably be expected to be internally consistent and free from factual errors. These expectations are not unreasonable. Neither are they merely the expectations of modern rationalists. Christians have made all of these claims and in the past have persecuted people for doubting them.”

                    http://eviltheists.com/articles-essays-etc/92-old-testament-evil-god

                    http://thejcrevelator2.hubpages.com/hub/Thejcrevelator2Jesus

                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1w_Dk7rMQ48
                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8D-ayAH5Ak
                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VAyCT8UuI5Q
                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYl1k2deM9w
                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbS5Aw4aSss

                    • Mary Vanderplas July 2, 2012 at 9:31 pm

                      So, what do you make of the fact that the New Testament is unmistakably Jewish, containing quotations from and allusions to the Jewish scriptures and testifying plainly to God’s definitive revelation in Jesus Christ being the fulfillment of scripture, the law and the prophets? (See, for example, Luke 4:16-21.) In 2 Timothy 3:16, the author expresses that the Old Testament is Christian scripture – resisting any tendency to dismiss it as anything other than inspired or as less than valuable for the community of Christ-followers.

                    • Lanny A. Eichert July 3, 2012 at 3:31 am

                      Mary, Luke 4: 18 & 19 & 21 is prophesy LITERALLY fulfilled demonstrating Old Testament prophecy is to be taken plain literal for the most part. You err in your fancy interpretations of prophecy.

                      It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by EVERY word of God. {Luke 4: 4}

                      Please excuse me for butting into your conversation with Michelle.

        • Lanny A. Eichert June 14, 2012 at 6:25 pm

          Mary, put it together:

          For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For wheresoever the CARCASE is, there will the EAGLES be gathered together. Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. {Matthew 24: 27 – 30}

          For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one [part] under heaven, shineth unto the other [part] under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day. But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation. And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. Remember Lot’s wife. {Luke 17: 24 – 32}

          Eagles eat dead bodies and they will feast on human remains. Also notice the reference to Lot, his wife, Sodom, and its destruction of which you said God was loving and sought to save their lives after receiving counsel from Abraham, BUT HE COULD NOT DO IT SUCCESSFULLY, so He destroyed everybody and everything by fire and brimstone. According to your view, your god was unsuccessful in a little and must then be unsuccessful in much.

          • Michelle June 26, 2012 at 10:11 am

            “Thou shalt have no other gods before me. {Exodus 20: 3} And no other Bible.”

            Really Lanny, what you said to Mary, that’s rich coming from a guy who make the bible his god and give it Jesus’ place in his heart. The beam in your own eye, Lanny. If you want to live up to Ex 20:3 and live under the law, you can’t have any god, not even a book. What some Christians need to do is stop playing the hypocrites; judging others by a law they don’t even keep. They pick and choose, they don’t keep the 613 laws. They don’t slaughter animals on altars, they don’t force their female blood relatives to marry their rapists, they don’t stone their disobedient kids to death, they work on sundays. Oh, pull-ease! Some people need to look up the definition of hypocrisy and honesty. The law you put yourself back under only cause people to be hypocritical, self-righteous, prideful and looking down on everyone else, treating others like dirt while overlooking their own faults. If you really believe what you say you believe you would keep all the laws, that are downright abusive and evil, and not just what makes you feel comfortable. You need some serious quiet time with God, Lanny. You need to ask Him what really came from Him and what came from Satan and man’s carnality…

        • Lanny A. Eichert June 15, 2012 at 1:47 am

          Mary, you really need to believe in Jesus’ literal messiahship as prophesied in the Old Testament, because it was expected in the New Testament.

          Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? {Matthew 11: 3 & see Luke 7: 19 & 20} John the Baptizer was looking for the Deliverer, the Messiah, the literal King of Israel.

          They said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory. {Mark 10: 37} Even James and John, oblivious to His suffering, sought prominence at His Messianic Throne.

          When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? {Acts 1: 6} After the cross, but before the ascension His disciples anticipated the Messianic Kingdom.

    • Lanny A. Eichert June 11, 2012 at 4:16 pm

      Dear Alice and Mary:

      Mt 24&25 is judgment on earth
      Rev20 is judgment without earth or heaven

      Mt 24&25 is judgment of living mortals
      Rev 20 is judgment of humans after death

      Two obvious reasons why it is not Final Judgment in Mt 24&25
      Two obvious reasons to believe the literal Millennium is preceded by the Second Advent

      Wouldn’t it be so much simpler to be a Premillennialist than believing in apocalyptic literary style? Truth is always simpler than fiction.

    • Lanny A. Eichert June 16, 2012 at 3:02 am

      Alice & Mary, Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed for the lack of ten righteous persons in that combined twin cities. Can you fathom how awful the sins of homosexuality are? There were not even ten persons of the entire population of two cities that weren’t perverted to the point of not being worthy of life. Not a single person had a right to live because they were “gay” and were a detriment to every other member of that society and normality. Neither one righteous man nor his two daughters living among them could even make a dent in their perversion sufficient for them to have even the barest thread of a necessity of a right to life. God demonstrated to the world regardless of its belief system that gays must die and proved it by action. God’s solution for homosexuality is the death penalty, just the same as His solution for murder. Americans and the world wake up and make homosexuality punishable by death or you will be complicit in the destruction of society. They deserve to be called derogatory names to expose their shame and hazard to society. Gays have NO RIGHT TO LIFE. Christians must get this word to them and the rest of society: they must go straight or they must die.

      • admin June 16, 2012 at 12:25 pm

        Jesus Christ, the image of God, said equated hating someone with murder and looking on someone with lust as adultery. Given this standard of perfection, every human being ought to die. Is that the point? Does God want to communicate to the world how much He hates us and wants us to die? While you focus on the letter of the law (do this, don’t do that, penalty, etc), Christ focuses on the spirit of the law (“let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone”). Lanny, my stone-throwing friend, I thank God for laws that protect life. It seems that Paul was absolutely right when he pointed out that Gentiles (unbelievers) may be more in tune with a sense of right and wrong than Jews (believers). He was also right about God’s name being dishonored, maligned, and blasphemed by those who “know and understand His will … instructed by the Law”. You look at the outward appearance, the physical, the literal, but God looks at what is going on inside of the person. Don’t you think that God will judge your murderous and hateful intentions (as is evidenced in your statements: “make homosexuality punishable by death… They deserve to be called derogatory names… Gays have NO RIGHT TO LIFE”)? I don’t see gay people demanding that homophobic fundamentalists be put to death. Who, then, will be without excuse when God examines their hearts? The homosexual who loves or the believer who hates?

        When Gentiles who have not the [divine] Law do instinctively what the Law requires, they are a law to themselves, since they do not have the Law. They show that the essential requirements of the Law are written in their hearts and are operating there, with which their consciences (sense of right and wrong) also bear witness; and their [moral] decisions (their arguments of reason, their condemning or approving thoughts) will accuse or perhaps defend and excuse [them] On that day when, as my Gospel proclaims, God by Jesus Christ will judge men in regard to the things which they conceal (their hidden thoughts). But if you bear the name of Jew and rely upon the Law and pride yourselves in God and your relationship to Him, And know and understand His will and discerningly approve the better things and have a sense of what is vital, because you are instructed by the Law; And if you are confident that you [yourself] are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, and [that You are] a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the childish, having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— Well then, you who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you teach against stealing, do you steal (take what does not really belong to you)? You who say not to commit adultery, do you commit adultery [are you unchaste in action or in thought]? You who abhor and loathe idols, do you rob temples [do you appropriate to your own use what is consecrated to God, thus robbing the sanctuary and doing sacrilege]? You who boast in the Law, do you dishonor God by breaking the Law [by stealthily infringing upon or carelessly neglecting or openly breaking it]? For, as it is written, The name of God is maligned and blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you! [The words to this effect are from your own Scriptures.] Circumcision does indeed profit if you keep the Law; but if you habitually transgress the Law, your circumcision is made uncircumcision. So if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the requirements of the Law, will not his uncircumcision be credited to him as [equivalent to] circumcision? Then those who are physically uncircumcised but keep the Law will condemn you who, although you have the code in writing and have circumcision, break the Law. For he is not a [real] Jew who is only one outwardly and publicly, nor is [true] circumcision something external and physical. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly, and [true] circumcision is of the heart, a spiritual and not a literal [matter]. His praise is not from men but from God.

        • Lanny A. Eichert June 16, 2012 at 6:11 pm

          Alice, big time you miss the point, which is SOCIETY. Would you write the same about murderers? It is notable that some families of victims have received publicity for publicly forgiving the murderer, but that had nothing at all to do with the civil penalty against the criminal which must stand without mercy. Murderers are destroyers of society, just like homosexuals are. Neither have the right to life IN SOCIETY. God demonstrated that in Genesis 19 by destroying every soul of the twins cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because of how completely they corrupted each other. There was not even ten persons that escaped that total depravity. Gays prey upon one another until the depravity is total and hopeless. They must either “go straight” before it is too late or when it is too late they must die. We need a moral national slogan such as “Go Straight, or Gays Must Die.” The Civil Rights Movement has deceived too many people and put them to sleep regarding what destroys society. Murderers don’t have the right to life in society, neither do kidnappers have the right to life in society, and neither do gays have a right to life in society. God’s Biblical instruction is that society is to put them all to death. So let’s do it, is my call to Christians and sane citizens. The key note is how THOROUGHLY corrupting an influence gays are as shown in Sodom and Gomorrah in the Holy Bible, our textbook of society and piety.

      • Mary Vanderplas June 17, 2012 at 6:01 am

        Read the text in its cultural context for what it says, not for what you want it to say to support your hostility toward gays. What it says is that all of the males in the city descended on Lot’s house threatening violence through sexual activity (the meaning of “know” in v. 8) against his house guests. In other words, what is pictured here – the wickedness of Sodom – is extreme inhospitality through sexual assault and abuse. If the threat had been allowed to be made good, the result would have been a situation of gang rape. In a culture where hospitality toward travelers was hugely important, the sin was especially heinous. What this story is about, it seems, is inhospitality to strangers through threatened sexual abuse and violence, not simply engaging in homosexual activity, much less simply “being gay.”

        Your expressed hostility toward and desire for the destruction of gays – fellow human beings – reveal a complete lack of understanding of the good news of God’s reconciling love in Christ. As people who know ourselves to be forgiven sinners, we are called to love others – all others – as God in Christ has loved us. Not to do so, not to speak and act toward others with kindness and with a desire for their good, is to offend the God who has reached out to us to break down the barriers between us and him. Indeed, in my view, to spew hateful words about and to act to shame and humiliate (by calling derogatory names, etc.) those whom God created and loves is to practice oppression not unlike the blameworthy behavior of the men of Sodom.

        • Lanny A. Eichert June 19, 2012 at 2:54 am

          Mary, when a judge justifies his sentence against a criminal, is he expressing hostility? God has already judged gays for what they are and what they do. By way of Example, He did something about it. That’s all I repeated. Jesus did not destroy the Law of God.

          Alice, Jesus did not destroy the Law of God. The Law of God remains effective until all be fulfilled.

          You all twist and pervert Scripture in order to accuse me of hostility. You elevate love above judgment and that’s why you have heresy.

          • Lanny A. Eichert June 19, 2012 at 2:59 am

            For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. {Matthew 5: 18}

          • Mary Vanderplas June 20, 2012 at 6:21 am

            Your statements about gays deserving to die and deserving to be called derogatory names and otherwise treated with contempt are expressions of hostility and ill will.

            You are not the Judge. You do not think or speak or act for God. You are not authorized to make statements about the divine verdict on someone’s life. You are not authorized to declare that anyone has been written off by God.

            What you are called to do as one who (presumably) knows himself to be a forgiven sinner is to love others as God has loved you. “Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another.” (1 John 4:11) This is not “intellectualism”; it is Christianity 101, Christianity at its most fundamental.

            • Lanny A. Eichert June 20, 2012 at 9:11 pm

              Mary, 1 John 4:11 is written to saints about saints, not the unregenerate, degenerate, depraved. Saints are called to absolutely hate sins and be at emnity with the world {1 John 2: 15 – 17}.

              Saints are instructed: Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. {2 Corinthians 6: 14 – 18} Even through James, God tell us who are saints: know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. {James 4: 4}

              Your lovely worldly friendly doctrine makes you WHAT, Mary? Where’s the offense of the Cross, Mary, in your doctrine? In Alice’s doctrine? You make yourselves friends of the world when you claim your loving god doesn’t punitively punish sinners eternally with fire and brimstone. The cross is your non-offensive solution for your god to save everybody, whereas the truth is the Cross separates the world into believers and unbelievers: the first are eternally saved and the second are eternally damned to eternal torment, simply for having refused God’s grace in this life. The Cross is offensive because it defines people as lost or saved, as wicked or righteous. There are no other people on the earth. Either you’re God’s offspring or you’re the devil’s. You’re either from above or from the earth beneath. You’re fully one or the other; there’s no middle ground. You’re either wicked and totally depraved, or you’re righteous as God is by the imputation of Christ’s righteousness. There is no “I think” for God’s saints, while that’s all the wicked have is a continual “I think.” God told His saints He wrote to them a perfect Book in order that they will KNOW.

              These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. {John 5: 13 & 20} 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.

              And YOU presume to tell me I am in no position to judge? Who is the unbeliever here? Don’t kid yourself, readers. Faith is now tied to God’s perfect literal Holy Bible and nothing else. No one can be saved without his faith in God’s perfect literal Holy Bible. Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.

              • Mary Vanderplas June 22, 2012 at 8:01 pm

                No. The love commanded here is a reflection of the love of God, which is directed to all people (see also 1 John 4:19 and John 3:16). God’s love is not exclusive; neither should ours be. Even if John had in mind here the Christian community bound together in love (in the midst of a hostile society), this love is a particular expression of God’s love for all – of which we are agents and of which Jesus is the model.

                The command not to love the world means, in context, that, while believers are in the world, they are not of it. It is not a license, much less a command, to despise and shun people or the larger creation. It is, rather, a command not to find our identity and value in “things,” which pass away. Take off your “hate-sinners” glasses, and read the text for what it actually says. And consider John 3:16, along with John 17:15, 18, which form the basis of a “lovely, world-friendly doctrine.”

                While you’re ransacking Paul for proof-texts (which I don’t have the time or the inclination to address and in fact have addressed in the past), check out 1 Corinthians 5:9-10. What does this text have to say about your “church-withdrawing-from-the-world-into-a-holy-conclave” doctrine?

                The “offense of the cross” is that God would act to save in a way that defies all “common sense” notions of acceptance by God based on human merit and that removes any grounds for human boasting. It is not, as you assert – falsely – that God wills the eternal damnation of sinners. The Cross is offensive precisely because it means that we can’t justify ourselves, that God’s acceptance of us is a gift, wholly undeserved, wholly unearned, yet given by the One who loves us beyond telling. Our only response is grateful praise, not prideful boasting. As those who know ourselves to be freely justified by God’s grace, we are called to proclaim in word and deed the good news of God’s love for all people, that others may come to know, as we know with the deepest assurance, the joy and freedom of being forgiven and accepted by God. This is the “scandal” of the cross, not that some by their refusal of God’s grace in Christ are destined for eternal damnation.

                There is but one way to be saved: by God’s grace in Christ, which is received and enjoyed through faith. This is what the Bible teaches. It does not teach “faith in God’s perfect literal Holy Bible” as the way to salvation.

                • Lanny A. Eichert June 23, 2012 at 3:56 am

                  Mary, reread your “offense of the cross” explanation, because what you describe is GRACE not offense. You argue works makes more sense therefore grace is offensive.

                  [***comment removed***]

                  • Mary Vanderplas June 24, 2012 at 5:49 pm

                    The Cross is offensive precisely because it is overturns all of our expectations of how God should work. The idea of a crucified savior completely defies our best efforts and notions of what God does. It is utterly surprising and unpredicted. Yes, it is grace. That’s precisely the point. Grace is amazing and unpredicted, not the way any of us would expect God to work to save us.

                  • Lanny A. Eichert June 25, 2012 at 7:31 pm

                    Again, Mary, that’s because your ” our expectations of how God should work” equals works; and you are arguing grace is offensive to a works mentality.

                    The Cross is offensive because it excludes unbelievers while it includes ONLY believers. It is offensive to those excluded.

                    I, as a believer, am not offended by the Cross, but you are as are your friendly readers and commentors. You all are offended because I say ***

                    • Mary Vanderplas June 26, 2012 at 6:41 am

                      Read the verses about the cross being an offense, a stumbling block, in context (1 Corinthians 1:23; Galatians 5:11). The point is that God’s way of doing things overturns the expectations and ways of thinking of humanity – both “Jews and Greeks.” The event of the Cross completely defies human expectations and thoughts. In particular, what is from a human standpoint complete failure and utter weakness is the occasion for God acting in power to save his people. Yes, there is a division because of the Cross, but the division is the result of some relying on their own achievement instead of on God’s grace revealed in the Cross. It is not because Jesus died only for some or because God loves and chooses only some to receive his gracious gift. And the division will not necessarily be forever.

                      I’m done on this, too.

                  • Lanny A. Eichert June 25, 2012 at 7:45 pm

                    I said you are excluded and that’s because of your works, since you believe in an after death salvation that requires the work of human repentance. Alice had said the time it takes to repent varies according to the individual, making repentance man’s responsibility and work. Let her explain how that cannot be man’s work, but God’s. Let her explain how if it be God’s work, He isn’t the Chief Torturer of humanity until they repent, so that He can save them by repentance plus grace.

                    • admin June 25, 2012 at 11:08 pm

                      And Lanny says you must torture puppies in order to go to Heaven.

                      (Please note the sarcasm. This comment is meant to point out that Lanny, yes, you, Lanny, should speak for yourself instead of speaking for me. Thank you and have a nice day.)

                    • Lanny A. Eichert June 26, 2012 at 12:46 am

                      Alice had said the time it takes to repent varies according to the individual, making repentance man’s responsibility and work. Let her explain how that cannot be man’s work, but God’s. Let her explain how if it be God’s work, He isn’t the Chief Torturer of humanity until they repent, so that He can save them by repentance plus grace.

                      Explain it, Alice, because you’re the one that set it up that way and call it the grace of your god that overcomes human free will. Do you now deny you wrote that after-life repentance is an individual thing? I mean, what is it, Alice: individual repentance by the purifying of fire and brimstone, or the overpowering majesty of your god’s grace when he fills all in all? Does all after-life repentance happen at the “all-filling” or over the ages of the ages as each finally repents?

                    • admin June 26, 2012 at 12:28 pm

                      I explain and write about the things that God impresses on me from day to day. If people (including you) want to know how my beliefs differ from your false interpretation of my beliefs, they/you can go to the archives and read for themselves what I wrote in context. I’m not wasting my time explaining to you what I have already explained in great detail. Even if I were to explain, you would likely change the subject (probably to your favorites, unrepentant Judas and a populated Lake of Fire). I’ve been back and forth enough with you to know when engaging in conversation will matter and when it won’t.

                      Every time you misrepresent me as one who is “making repentance man’s responsibility and work” or claiming God is the “Chief Torturer of humanity until they repent…” you are only drawing attention to the fact that your theological tunnel vision causes you to misrepresent people. Anyone who reads my blogs knows this is not how I believe or what I communicate. Readers (if they even bother reading the actual content of your hate-filled comments) will likely assume that if you are in the habit of misinterpreting and misrepresenting my words, you may also be in the habit of misinterpreting and misrepresenting the words of Christ. So by misinterpreting and misrepresenting me, you create doubt about everything else you say. Like I said, you weaken your own position. I don’t even need to fight you, because you fight yourself. I just sit back and feel sorry for you as you self-destruct. I only interject every now and then, because I have hope for you, as one who promotes murder as something God-appointed. Jesus appeared to Saul of Tarsus, who also promoted murder. Perhaps Jesus will deal with your murderous worldview in a similar same way.

                    • Lanny A. Eichert June 27, 2012 at 12:49 am

                      Alice, you are unable to repeat your own doctrine summarily and concretely, are you? Alice, you need to face up to the fact that your after-life salvation depends upon the human work of repentance. You wrote of those who hold out and don’t repent until your god fills all in all. The fact that there are those who hold out to the very last proves their repentance is required before grace can be applied. The same is true about your statement that the abundant grace of your god at the all-filling will overcome their stubborn will, meaning they will then be forced to repent when they are overpowered. Either they are tortured in your purifying fire and brimstone until they repent or they are overcome by grace in the all-filling of your god forcing their repentance. How ever are you going to place them IN the “all-filling” of your christ before they repent, because they will yet be in sins and dirty? How can your christ fill dirty them with his grace?

                      You have TOO MANY things that will not work together to make an all of god salvation after physical death, dear Alice. Too many things that make a mockery of your god. You still end up with a human purgatory by which you cannot escape human responsibility for ultimate salvation.

                      All your efforts have served to prove you resist the NOW of 2 Corinthians 6: 2 as the final word, even denying John 17: 12 in the process whereby you call Jesus of Nazareth Liar. What does that to your claimed christianity, dear Alice? I am doing you a favor by showing how lacking your supposed christianity really is. What will be evident to readers is your lack of owning what you have proposed.

                      You may detete this from Day Two where I think I incorrectly posted it.

                    • admin June 27, 2012 at 12:42 pm

                      “Alice, you are unable to repeat your own doctrine summarily and concretely, are you?” Why should I? I’ve already gone round and round this subject with you. Should I keep going just because you say so? I have better things to do with my time. I’d rather let you misrepresent me as one who is foolish or confused. People who want to what I believe can know by reading the archives, not because I endlessly repeat myself in the comment section.

            • Lanny A. Eichert June 21, 2012 at 4:17 am

              Southern Baptists: Gay rights not civil rights Published June 20, 2012 Associated Press NEW ORLEANS – A day after electing their first African-American president in a historic move that strives to erase its legacy of racism, Southern Baptists passed a resolution opposing the idea that same-sex marriage is a civil rights issue.
              Thousands of delegates at the denomination’s annual meeting in New Orleans on Wednesday were nearly unanimous in their support for the resolution that affirms their belief that marriage is “the exclusive union of one man and one woman” and that “all sexual behavior outside of marriage is sinful.”
              The nation’s largest Protestant denomination is attempting to broaden its appeal beyond its traditional white Southern base. At the same time, leaders said they feel it is important to take a public stand on their opposition to same-sex marriage.
              The resolution acknowledges that gays and lesbians sometimes experience “unique struggles” but declares that they lack the “distinguishing features of classes entitled to special protections.”
              “It is regrettable that homosexual rights activists and those who are promoting the recognition of ‘same-sex marriage’ have misappropriated the rhetoric of the Civil Rights Movement,” the resolution states.
              Another resolution passed on Wednesday is intended to protect religious liberty. It includes a call for the U.S. Justice Department to cease efforts to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act and for the Obama administration to ensure that military personnel and chaplains can freely express their religious convictions about homosexuality.
              It also condemns the administration’s mandate requiring religiously affiliated institutions, but not houses of worship, to provide contraceptive coverage for their employees.
              Leaders of several other faiths and Christian denominations, especially Roman Catholics, have also organized and filed lawsuits against Obama administration policies that they see as threatening religious expression.
              The Rev. Dwight McKissic, pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, was one of the authors of the gay marriage resolution.
              “It’s important to sound the alarm again, because the culture is changing,” he said in an interview after the vote.
              McKissic, who is black, said it was “an unfair comparison” for gays to equate same-sex marriage with civil rights because there is not incontrovertible scientific evidence that homosexuality is an innate characteristic, like skin color.
              “They’re equating their sin with my skin,” he said.
              David W. Key Sr., director of Baptist Studies at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology, said that as gays and lesbians become accepted in the larger American society, the Southern Baptist Convention is trying to separate itself from some of the more hateful rhetoric while still staying true to its beliefs.
              The resolution includes a statement that the SBC stands against “any form or gay-bashing, whether disrespectful attitudes, hateful rhetoric, or hate-incited actions.”
              But even with those disclaimers, Key said statements like this could hurt evangelism because they are likely to be objectionable to many people who are “not necessarily affirming, but also not rejecting” of gay rights issues.
              Key said the Southern Baptists have continued to be outspoken on issues regarding gays and lesbians where other denominations with similar beliefs have not made the same type of public statements. He noted the SBC’s previous eight-year boycott of The Walt Disney Co. for its gay-friendly policies.
              The civil rights resolution comes at the same time the 16-million strong Nashville-based denomination is taking stands in other areas that will help it reach out to new members.
              The election of the Rev. Fred Luter Jr. on Tuesday as the first African American president of the SBC was hailed as historic by denomination leaders who see it as a sign that Southern Baptists have truly moved beyond a divisive racial past.
              In a news conference after the vote, Luter said he doesn’t think his election is some kind of token gesture.
              “If we stop appointing African-Americans, Asians, Hispanics to leadership positions after this, we’ve failed,” he said. “… I promise you I’m going to do all that I can to make sure this is not just a one-and-done deal.”
              Delegates to the annual meeting also voted to adopt an alternative name for churches that feel the “Southern Baptist” title could be a turn-off to potential believers.
              Supporters of the optional name “Great Commission Baptists” argued it would help missionaries and church planters to reach more people for Christ.
              And the Southern Baptists have been less provocative on gay issues than they once were. The denomination ended its Disney boycott in 2005 and this year, as outgoing President Bryant Wright passed the gavel to Luter, the new president asked about Wright’s plans.
              Southern Baptists: Gay rights not civil rights Published June 20, 2012 Associated Press Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/06/18/southern-baptists-meet-during-challenging-times/?test=latestnews#ixzz1yPgVouFg

              • Lanny A. Eichert June 21, 2012 at 6:05 pm

                A number of years ago while I was still in the work force, the SBC held their convention in Salt Lake City and passed a resolution that the Jesus Christ of Mormonism is NOT the Jesus Christ of the Holy Bible and therefore Mormons are NOT Christians. In my work I often had opportunities to discuss this with Mormon customers telling them it is true that their Jesus was a false Jesus and therefore they were not Christians. The same thing holds true about Universalists, regardless of whether or not they attach the Christian title.

                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}

                And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? {Luke 6: 46}

                Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. {John 6: 29}

                While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. {John 17: 12}

                It is impossible to be a Christian and fail to believe Jesus said Judas Iscariot is eternally lost without remedy after reading John 17: 12 with understanding.

          • Michelle June 20, 2012 at 11:55 pm

            “You elevate love above judgment and that’s why you have heresy.”

            -_- This blows the bell.

            Don’t you have better things to do than spew hate speeches against Christian Universalists, homosexuals or any and every person who struggle with some sin area, vice or addiction? Are you an innocent little lamb Lanny? Or do you set yourself as God? Go to Jesus in prayer and ask Him to give you His love and compassion for your imperfect fellow human beings who struggle with problems and human frailties just like you do everyday though you won’t admit that. Jesus Christ has never judged, much less condemned me or any of my loved ones, but all you and most of these Fundies do is judge, blame and condemn. Ever occurred to do that His justice is not man’s justice, Lanny? Ask Him the difference between the two. It amazes me the number of people who call themselves Christians who claim to be christlike and to love their fellow human beings when all they do is hate, condemn and reject others who are struggling with problems, vices and addictions. It’s no wonder that so many of these people sink deeper into the darkness, end up hating themselves and in many cases, commit suicide. Because these people who call themselves Christians fail to show them love and understanding. Those Christians will be very ashamed of themselves when they realize what they have done, when they realize that they have kick their fellow human beings when they were down. Those who do that are far from christlike and they don’t have the love of Christ shed abroad in their hearts. They only cause more misery and pain and make things worse. One of these days, Lanny, you will reap what you sow and maybe experiencing what you have done to others will change you for good. God doesn’t punish anybody. He doesn’t need to. They simply reap what they sow. He designed humans to self-correct, just like He designed the human body to repair itself through the wound cicatrization process. That’s the spiritual growth process that leads to spiritual maturity. We reap the consequences of our actions in this life and this life alone.

            Christian Universalist Allan E. Chevrier, author of “What became of Melanie?”:

            “With regard to postmortem punishment, I believe it is neither Biblical nor moral. With regard to passages that appear to support it, please select the 5 strongest passages in your estimation and I will respond to them. I’m sure you would agree that if it cannot be ably defended in what would appear to be the 5 strongest passages, it cannot be ably defended at all.”

            “I believe that a place, or state of postmortem punishment is neither Biblical nor moral.”

            “I’ve been a Christian Universalist now for almost a year. Prior to this I was a closet anhilationist for quite some time. As I’ve considered the Scriptures with an eye to resolving this very issue, I am becoming more and more convinced that the punishment we receive for our sin is meeted out on this side of the grave by the “reaping what we sow” principle. The aionian judgement passages are clothed with eastern imagary and I feel the punishments spoken of are experienced during
            the aion of our self-inflicted suffering this side of the grave. I believe the
            concept we have of punitive suffering and post-mortem torment, though limited as to extent and duration, has more of a basis in early pagan religion than the Word of God. Picture if you will the Father of spirits poking the unbeliever with a cattle prod until the full measure pain and agony they deserve for their sin is achieved. There is something frightfully wrong with this picture. Those who can think of passages or principles that apparently fly in the face of my position, please present them. I will enjoy the exercise of trying to interpret them in
            the light of my growing conviction.”

            There is not one shred of evidence of postmortem “punishment” in the Bible. It only refers to the grave and a garbage dump.

            That’s the difference between God’s justice and man’s “justice”. God’s justice is this: man suffer enough in this life by their own doing and that of others, after this life comes rest and peace…

            • Lanny A. Eichert June 22, 2012 at 12:47 am

              Michelle, since you don’t believe the perfect literal Holy Bible, how are you going to prove your so called christian universalism? You cannot appeal to a single Bible verse without it being YOUR interpretation unsubstantiated by anything more sound than human opinion or personal revelation, typically a cultic practice.

              • Lanny A. Eichert June 22, 2012 at 1:16 am

                That is also where Alice is in her whole mess of doctrines because she also cannot accept the perfect literal Holy Bible. All her arguments are only human opinions and personal revelations and cannot claim to be perfect literal Bible doctrine upon which Christianity is structured. So thank you, Michelle, for putting Alice on the same page with you. It just took Alice a bit more time to expose how adverse she really thinks and that extent is wow now!!! Mary, too, is so obvious, but I wonder who corrupted who as it went back and forth so many times.

                The bottom line is there is no Christianity without the perfect literal Holy Bible. The Perfect God has the Perfect Literal Holy Bible. No one can know the Perfect Son of God without the Perfect Literal Holy Bible. Take away the Perfect Literal Holy Bible and all that remains is relative religion. Relative religion is Satan’s religion and everyone that dies in it burns in eternal torment in the eternal Lake of Fire.

                • Michelle June 26, 2012 at 10:37 am

                  “That is also where Alice is in her whole mess of doctrines because she also cannot accept the perfect literal Holy Bible. All her arguments are only human opinions and personal revelations and cannot claim to be perfect literal Bible doctrine upon which Christianity is structured. So thank you, Michelle, for putting Alice on the same page with you. It just took Alice a bit more time to expose how adverse she really thinks and that extent is wow now!!! Mary, too, is so obvious, but I wonder who corrupted who as it went back and forth so many times.”

                  How dare you? Satan couldn’t be any more happy with you! Leave Alice and Mary alone, Lanny! If you want to attack someone, attack me instead!

                • Michelle June 26, 2012 at 10:43 am

                  “The bottom line is there is no Christianity without the perfect literal Holy Bible. The Perfect God has the Perfect Literal Holy Bible. No one can know the Perfect Son of God without the Perfect Literal Holy Bible. Take away the Perfect Literal Holy Bible and all that remains is relative religion. Relative religion is Satan’s religion and everyone that dies in it burns in eternal torment in the eternal Lake of Fire.”

                  ***Your KJV-only cult is one of Satan’s religion. Once again, Lanny, the beam in your own eye…

  • Mary Vanderplas June 16, 2012 at 7:39 am

    There wasn’t just one messianic expectation at the time of Jesus; there were a number of them floating around, all of them tied to Israel’s hope for the future and the fulfillment of God’s purpose. One of these expectations was in the “son of David” tradition: that God would raise up a mighty David-like figure to establish divine justice. John the Baptist’s question reflects the general expectation of God’s saving activity through one who is to come.

    The Gospel writers make clear that what (some) people were looking for and what Jesus was were two different things. Yes, Jesus was the Messiah, the Christ, but he did not conform to popular messianic expectations of a royal ruler who like David would bring in God’s kingdom with military might. Instead, his messiahship entailed suffering and death (Mark 8:31ff.). Jesus’ response to James and John shows that they misunderstood the nature of his messiahship. Specifically, they failed to recognize that Jesus’ kingship is characterized by suffering, self-giving love.

    Regarding the Acts 1 text, even after Jesus’ resurrection, after the disciples underwent a period of instruction, they continued to misunderstand the nature of the kingdom. They continued to set their hopes on the restoration of Israel’s sovereignty. Jesus’ response was to commission them to witness in word and deed to the reality of God’s kingdom manifest in his life.

    • Lanny A. Eichert June 16, 2012 at 6:36 pm

      Mary, For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance {Romans 11: 29} such that the Suffering Messiah doesn’t replace the Messianic King of Glory. {Psalm 24: 7} Both are true to happen as prophesied by an uncorrupted literal Holy Bible. The messianic expectation is all the more assured by the misunderstanding of the First Advent corrected but never substituted for the Second Advent. Acts 1: 7 is never an explanation of replacement, but an affirmation of the Second Advent of Christ even His Israelite Kingdom on earth will without doubt happen.

      • Mary Vanderplas June 19, 2012 at 5:30 am

        This isn’t what the New Testament teaches. It is not the case that the suffering Messiah characterizes the first Advent while a powerful (violent) One characterizes the second. See Revelation 5:5ff., for instance, where the image of the lion (violent Messiah) is replaced by the Lamb (Suffering Servant of God). The Lamb is powerful, representing God, but his power is the power of love, not of violence. By this power – which appears as weakness – God finally wins.

        • Lanny A. Eichert June 19, 2012 at 10:01 pm

          Mary, in the Revelation 5: 5 “the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof” it is the Lion character that opens the seals because as the Lamb He purchased the earth and a remnant portion of humanity. So in both figures He opens the seals. Do you really think His seal-breaking actions are Lamb-like? Hardly the picture, more Lion-like, I’d say. He’s done being a Lamb and has embarked upon His plan to take back the earth from Satan, which is no pussy operation.

          • Mary Vanderplas June 20, 2012 at 6:23 am

            Read the whole text, not just one verse. What did John see? Did he see a conquering lion? No; he saw a “Lamb standing as if it had been slaughtered,” not a lion as expected. The Lion is really the Lamb, representing the power of God. The Lamb is powerful; he takes the scroll and makes it effective. But the power of the Lamb, the power of God, is love, not violence. The Lamb replaces the image of a Messiah who conquers by violence and force.

          • Lanny A. Eichert June 20, 2012 at 3:35 pm

            Mary, the WHOLE text includes “the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof” does it not? You’re the one trying to ignore the WHOLE. The Lamb paid the price that allows Him the right to open the seals according to the rest of the chapter, but the following chapters are not passive as the Lamb, but aggressive as the Lion. No, Mary, the Lamb doesn’t replace the Lion. The Lamb becomes the Lion. He WAS the Lamb, but NOW becomes the Lion. Just as He is BOTH God and man, He is both Lamb and Lion. Prophecy in the literal demands it. Biblical expectations demand it. Acts 1: 6 & 7; & Revelation 20: 4

            • Mary Vanderplas June 22, 2012 at 8:05 pm

              What is the text saying? What is the point? The text is saying that the Messiah, the one who was expected to establish God’s justice by force and violence, is Jesus, the slain Lamb. John looked, and in the place of the lionlike Messiah was the Lamb “standing as if it had been slaughtered.” The image of the lion is replaced by the Lamb. That is the whole point of this text: the Messiah is Jesus, the one who accomplished God’s purpose not by violence, but by giving his life for the sake of others. John uses the imagery of apocalyptic, imagery of violence and terror, but these images are transformed by his Christian confession. The Messiah is the slain Lamb. God’s wrath, his judgment, is real, but it is the wrath of the Lamb. God finally wins, but it is love, not violence, that prevails.

              • Lanny A. Eichert June 23, 2012 at 3:59 am

                Mary, John uses the imagery of apocalyptic, imagery of violence and terror, but

                There is no BUT about it: the imagery of violence means violence and he imagery of terror is terror.

                • Mary Vanderplas June 24, 2012 at 4:54 pm

                  Christianity 101: The Messiah is Jesus, the one who accomplished God’s saving purpose by giving his life for the sake of others, not by using force and violence to establish God’s reign of justice. The slain Lamb is seated on the throne; he is the One who finally prevails. The power of God is love, not violence. The wrath of God is the wrath of the Lamb (Revelation 6:16). The imagery of apocalyptic is reinterpreted by John according to his Christian confession.

              • Lanny A. Eichert June 23, 2012 at 8:30 pm

                Really Mary that “love, not violence, that prevails.” Chapters six through nineteen is “love, not violence?”

                If it is “love, not violence, that prevails” why did everybody in Sodom, and Gomorrah die in the fire and brimstone from heaven?

                God finally wins, but by violence.

                And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. {Matthew 11: 12}

          • Lanny A. Eichert June 21, 2012 at 5:23 pm

            So, Mary, Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed (1) by the Lamb or (2) by the Lion?

            • Mary Vanderplas June 22, 2012 at 8:06 pm

              Neither. These are images of the Messiah, who doesn’t arrive on the scene until the New Testament.

              • Lanny A. Eichert June 23, 2012 at 4:03 am

                Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. {Hebrews 13: 8}

                He was the Word before creation as well as in BOTH testaments.

                • Mary Vanderplas June 24, 2012 at 4:57 pm

                  The messianic hopes of Israel were not fulfilled until the appearance of Jesus of Nazareth on the stage of human history. These are images of that hope. There is no Messiah in the Old Testament.

    • Michelle June 17, 2012 at 2:30 am

      “There wasn’t just one messianic expectation at the time of Jesus; there were a number of them floating around, all of them tied to Israel’s hope for the future and the fulfillment of God’s purpose. One of these expectations was in the “son of David” tradition: that God would raise up a mighty David-like figure to establish divine justice. John the Baptist’s question reflects the general expectation of God’s saving activity through one who is to come.

      The Gospel writers make clear that what (some) people were looking for and what Jesus was were two different things. Yes, Jesus was the Messiah, the Christ, but he did not conform to popular messianic expectations of a royal ruler who like David would bring in God’s kingdom with military might. Instead, his messiahship entailed suffering and death (Mark 8:31ff.). Jesus’ response to James and John shows that they misunderstood the nature of his messiahship. Specifically, they failed to recognize that Jesus’ kingship is characterized by suffering, self-giving love.

      Regarding the Acts 1 text, even after Jesus’ resurrection, after the disciples underwent a period of instruction, they continued to misunderstand the nature of the kingdom. They continued to set their hopes on the restoration of Israel’s sovereignty. Jesus’ response was to commission them to witness in word and deed to the reality of God’s kingdom manifest in his life.”

      Looks like some people are waking up to the truth…

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