Amazed Exceedingly

Amazed Exceedingly

Now that we have taken a tour through history to see what various influential people have taught regarding free will and election, I would like to add my two cents.  Take it or leave it.  Embrace it or hate it.  Stew on it patiently or blow a gasket.  Be silent or comment.  It’s all good.

Different Christian denominations have different views on exactly what free will and election mean in reference to salvation, but they either subscribe to Calvinism, Arminianism, or certain elements from each.  Personally, I do not understand how people who believe in either eternal torment or annihilation can hold to a combination of Calvinism and Arminianism without suffering from either cognitive dissonance or selective avoidance.  It seems they try and fail to make sense of their beliefs, or they don’t try at all.

Does God want everyone to be saved?

Does God want everyone to be saved?  Some believers say yes and some say no.  The ones who say no, do it very elaborately.  For example, John Piper (the guy who Tweeted, “Farewell, Rob Bell.”) says on his website:

By definition, the decision to elect some individuals to salvation necessarily implies the decision not to save those that were not chosen. God ordains not only that some will be rescued from his judgment, but that others will undergo that judgment. This does not mean that someone might really want to be saved but then be rejected because they are on the wrong list. Rather, we are all dead in sin and unwilling to seek God on our own. A true, genuine desire for salvation in Christ is in fact a mark of election, and therefore none who truly come to Christ for salvation will be turned away (John 6:37-40)… And so from this mass of fallen humanity, God chooses to redeem some and leave others.

Now, Piper may have a gift with words, but I know bullshit when I see it.  Let’s really consider what Piper has said here.  “By definition, the decision to elect some individuals to salvation necessarily implies the decision not to save those that were not chosen,” Piper says.  So far, we agree.  Moving right along, Piper says, “God ordains not only that some will be rescued from his judgment, but that others will undergo that judgment.”  I think that it is important to remind ourselves that when Piper says “judgment,” he means that God is “infinitely wrathful towards them forever,” and “eternal torment,” and “that torment means conscious suffering,” and “it is God-inflicted suffering,” and “it is punishment” and “nobody wants Hell when they know what it is.”   Keep this in mind, because the word judgment, in itself, does not adequately describe the ideas Piper attaches to it.  Piper says,”This does not mean that someone might really want to be saved but then be rejected because they are on the wrong list.”  Here he contradicts himself, because he also teaches that people in Hell will beg God to get out of Hell.  If people in Hell are begging God to get out of Hell, why would God not let them out?  My answer to this will come later, but according to Piper, they are stuck there forever, because they never accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior.  But also, according to Piper, God ordained those very people, before time began, to undergo this judgment.  Apparently, they were on the “wrong list.”  Can you see any other way to make sense of this?  I can’t.  If I am missing something in Piper’s logic, feel free to point it out to me.  Piper says, “…we are all dead in sin and unwilling to seek God on our own.”  On this, I agree with Piper.  But Piper adds, “A true and genuine desire for salvation in Christ is in fact a mark of election, and therefore none who truly come to Christ for salvation will be turned away.”  Here I take issue with what Piper says, because if we look at it from the flip-side, we could say, “a true and genuine LACK OF desire for salvation in Christ is in fact a mark of NON-election.”  According to Piper, without all his fancy verbosity, the majority of mankind are predestined NOT to be saved, they lack any desire to be saved, and it is only when they are burning in Hell that they will finally realize what it is they should have desired to be saved FROM.  If we consider this along with Piper’s tidy conclusion that “none who truly come to Christ for salvation will be turned away,” we can see that there some serious inconsistency in Piper’s logic, because he only believes this to be true for those who were chosen by God ahead of time to be rescued from judgment.  These others who were not chosen were really “turned away” before they were even born, because God did not choose them to be counted among those who would “come to Christ for salvation.”  It’s a bunch of bunk.  Unholy hokey.  Crockadoodledoo.

Yes.  God wants to save everyone.

The truth is that God does want everyone to be saved.  The believers who claim this truth are immediately faced with a serious problem.  If God wants everyone to be saved, then why will everyone not be saved?  In attempting to answer this question, some people say that God decided ahead of time who would be saved based on His foreknowledge.  He looked into the future, saw who would respond to Him, and picked them to be saved.  This is where the argument of free will and human participation in salvation enters.  If God chooses according to His foreknowledge that we will respond to Him, then that means it is our decision and our will which determines whether we will be chosen by God.  Yet, this is clearly denied in scripture.

  • 1 Corinthians 2:14 “The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.”
  • Romans 9:16 “It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.”
  • John 10:26 “You do not believe because you are not my sheep.” (Many Christians see this the other way around, that people are not sheep, because they don’t believe.  They mix up the cause for the effect.)
  • John 6:44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them…”

Salvation Belongs to God

This idea that God chooses according to His foreknowledge those who He knows will choose Him back is also a sneaky way for people to claim having a part in their own salvation.  Salvation belongs to God, and no one else.  A person who says that someone is not saved because they reject God is also saying that people who are saved are saved because they do not reject God.  The thing is, everyone has rejected God.  If there exists someone who has not rejected God, then we make a paper airplane out of Romans 3:11, “There is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God.”  If a person is not currently rejecting God, it is because God has worked the miracle of salvation in them.  They understand because He did something to make them understand.  They seek God, because He revealed to them how appealing He is.  They desire to know Him and come to Him because He put that desire there.  There is great security in knowing God is completely responsible for salvation, because we can’t screw it up.  If any part of it were left to us, we would screw it up.  But we still haven’t answered that nagging question…

Who Will Be Saved?

Will God save everyone?  If human will and/or effort is taken out of the equation (and I have clearly demonstrated above that it ought to be taken out of the equation) then there can only be two possible reasons that not everyone is saved: 1. God does not want to save everyone. 2. God cannot save everyone.  I can already hear the protests, “What about Romans 10:9-13?

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

If we are commanded to do something, then it is reasonable to assume that we are actually able to do it; otherwise God is being a bully.  This is a reasonable objection.  In fact, this is the very objection I raised in the first blog of this series, “Does God Command Us to Do the Impossible?”  We have a few options, here.  We can throw away the idea that salvation belongs entirely to God. (Unacceptable.)  We can throw away the idea that God is a bully and assume He must have some very good reason for commanding us to do something we are incapable of doing. (Acceptable.) We can throw away the idea that salvation belongs to us. (Acceptable.)  But how can we throw that idea away without contradicting scriptures like Romans 10:9-13?  By realizing that not everyone is saved in this age.  By letting go of the unscriptural idea that death is the cut-off for salvation.  If we can let go of tradition long enough to see what God is doing, then this whole  thing starts to make sense.  Let me explain how this works by using one common example where tradition has so thoroughly indoctrinated the minds of believers that we completely miss the point….

The Rich Young Ruler

If you read the account of Jesus and the rich young ruler in all three gospels for yourself, then you might see something completely different than what I see.  The reason I know this is that I was taught to understand it as being a message about how sad it is that people are not willing to do what it takes to get saved, and that it should be a lesson to us to jump through whatever fiery hoops God puts between us and Heaven.  I understand the logic, and I am telling you that the traditional interpretation of this text completely misses the point.  Right after Jesus gets done teaching that people must enter into His Reign with the same kind of trust as a little child, a rich man approaches Jesus and asks how he can get this age abiding life Jesus keeps talking about.

Here’s Jesus, the greatest communicator who ever lived.  If salvation were about closing a deal, then Jesus would surely be the one who could accomplish it, right?  Instead of explaining how he must confess with his mouth and believe in his heart, etc., Jesus tells him to give away his riches and become His disciple.  What is this?  Salvation by works?  Is Jesus teaching heretical doctrine?  Is Jesus a failed evangelist?  Why doesn’t Jesus talk to this man in the same way He speaks with Nicodemus? (Jesus talks to Nicodemus about regeneration, the saving work God does in a person to bring him/her to life spiritually.)  Why doesn’t Jesus make good use of this open door to warn the rich man that if he doesn’t believe then he will go to Hell and burn forever?  Doesn’t Jesus care about this guy’s eternal destiny?  Does Jesus need to take a few soul-winning small-group classes, so that He can more effectively share the plan of salvation?

No.  Jesus knows exactly what He is doing.  He is asking the rich young ruler to do the one thing he knows the rich young ruler won’t do.  Jesus is brilliant here.  His message is clear: Everyone is a slave to his or her own desires.  The rich young ruler goes away, bothered.  Jesus explains how hard it is for the guy to do what He asked him to do.  And just to make sure they know exactly what He is saying, He repeats Himself, saying, “Children, how hard is it to those trusting on the riches to enter into the reign of God!”  We each have our own hang-ups, our own desires, our own plans, those desires that are stronger than our desire to enter into His Reign.  Jesus purposely pegged the rich man in his weakest spot.  Why?  To be a bully?  No, of course not.  He did it to demonstrate that salvation belongs to God alone.  We can’t do it for ourselves, He must do it for us.  Jesus even indulges in a bit of sarcasm to drive His point home, saying, “It is easier for a camel through the eye of the needle to enter, than for a rich man to enter into the reign of God.”

This next bit is so funny to me.  Mark says the people were “astonished beyond measure,” and Matthew says they were “amazed exceedingly.”  Jesus is really freaking them out.  They asked, “Who, then, can be saved?”  Clearly, they understand His message: Everyone is a slave to his or her own desires.  But this is not all Jesus has to say about it.  Mark says He “looked upon them,” and Matthew says He “earnestly beheld them.”  Can you imagine, being totally freaked out by Jesus, who seems to be preaching that no one can be saved, because we are all slaves to our own desires, staring you down?  Staring can be considered an invasion of privacy.  But there are no secrets with God.  How intimidating is that?  Unless, of course, you understand that God is on your side.  And then Jesus says something that totally changes the mood, now that He has their attention.  He says, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.”  I think if I were there, I would burst into song or something very dramatic.  This is incredible stuff.  Left to our own desires, it is impossible for us to be saved.  But God is able to do something about this predicament.  Before time began, He chose some to believe during this lifetime and continue with Him into the age to come.  He did this as part of a plan that includes everyone, just not all at once.  (1 Corinthians 15:22-23 “…for even as in Adam all die, so also in the Christ all shall be made alive, and each in his proper order…”)

Jesus explains how this will happen, too.  Anyone who suffers in this life for His sake, will also receive benefits in this life that outweigh the suffering.  I can attest to this, personally.  These last couple of years, by human standards, have been awful for His sake (lost a lot of friends at church, my employment at church, my reputation at church, my position at church in the band and in other activities), but the benefits in this life outweigh the suffering (the friends I have retained I know are true friends, I am enrolled in school full time – something I have wanted to do for a long time, I don’t give a rip about my reputation or position any more, and the whole world is full of beautiful people and full of hope to me now).  Anyone who identifies with Him now will reign with Him in the age to come – they will have life that continues through the ages.  The question is not whether this one will be saved and this other one won’t, the question is in what order and in what manner will God save us all?  We will see that “many first will be last, and the last will be first.”  (1 Corinthians 15: 51 “I tell you a secret; we indeed shall not all sleep, and we all shall be changed…”)  Jesus conquered sin and death for everyone.  Yes, EVERYONE.  God wants to save everyone.  And what God wants, God gets.

Free Will

Free will is a tricky subject around which I have yet to fully wrap my brain.  Here is what I know for sure.  God is sovereign.  He has made it very clear that salvation belongs to Him; it is accomplished by Him alone, in His own time, and in His own manner.  If there is free will, it can have no part in salvation.  A person is regenerated (born again) first, and then he/she believes, repents, etc., as a direct result of what God has already accomplished in him or her.  The blood of Christ was poured out for the sin (singular “sin” meaning we are all counted in this together for both guilt and for rescue) of the world, and He accomplished His mission to seek and save the lost.  He is the Good Shepherd Who leaves the ninety-nine and searches until He finds that lost one, never giving up on anyone.  He was slain before the foundation of the world, “it is finished” 2000 years ago, and “He has appeared once and for all at the end of the ages” as our High Priest “who always lives to intercede for us.”

Comments
  • John Dean April 16, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Re: Piper’s comments. When I first pondered the idea of election, I often wondered what God’s criteria was for choosing certain people. As I have always been a person who considers fairness in things, I felt that this presented a certain dilemma. How could a loving God, who according to scripture desires that everyone be saved, make such a list? It wasn’t until I began to understand that the grace of God is limitless that I rejected the idea of some being chosen to salvation and others to condemnation. Therefore, Alice, I completely agree with your posting. I’m glad to see that you are putting your wonderful mind to good use in sharing the love of God with others.

    • admin April 17, 2011 at 12:50 am

      Thanks for the encouragement 🙂 It is good to be able to rest in Him to take care of everyone. The burden of soul-winning is lifted and replaced with the joy of sharing Good News.

  • Mary Vanderplas April 16, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    I agree with your critique of double predestination. If one believes that God chose before time not to save some, then it makes no sense to say that potentially everyone can be saved. Those who subscribe to predestination or election understood as a decision God made beforehand to save some and to pass by the rest are forced to say that they don’t understand why God would decide to treat some with mercy and some with only justice, that maybe God has chosen not to reveal to us the whole picture when it comes to election, etc. But to argue that everyone can be saved while at the same time asserting that only some are chosen to be saved is logically inconsistent.
    You make the comment, “A person who says that someone is not saved because they reject God is also saying that people who are saved are saved because they do not reject God.” Well, yes. But the issue here is responsibility: who is responsible for rejecting or not rejecting God? In the case of those who turn to God, the Bible is clear, I agree, that it is all God’s doing. God causes belief, else no one would turn to God and be saved. But does it follow that God also causes unbelief? Nowhere in the Bible is there even a hint that this is the case. On the contrary, the Bible is clear that those who reject God are responsible for their action of rejecting God. It is not God’s fault. I couldn’t agree with you more that there is no small comfort in the fact that no aspect of our salvation is left up to us. Praise God that, from beginning to end, God is at work to make us God’s own.

    You say, “If human will and/or effort is taken out of the equation…then there can only be two possible reasons that not everyone is saved: 1. God does not want to save everyone. 2. God cannot save everyone.” A third option is that God doesn’t force anyone to come to God, that God allows people to live in opposition to God’s ways. Even though God, who gave God’s only begotten Son so that everyone can be saved and who makes the gift of salvation available to everyone, even though this God wills that every last person be saved, some live as though they do not want the gift. Am I cheating and bringing human will back into the equation as a factor securing our salvation? Am I saying that salvation ultimately depends on us? I don’t think so. That anyone is saved is solely the result of God’s gracious seeking of and reaching out to God’s lost creatures. And the salvation of those who come to God is all of God. Still, God does not force those who choose to live in opposition to God to turn from their ways. Am I saying here that God’s grace is not irresistible? Again, I don’t think so. What I am saying is that God doesn’t override the free agency of human beings to set themselves against God and God’s loving purposes for the world. And it may be that those who live thus will not receive the grace to inherit the kingdom of God. Even so, I believe that God doesn’t stop willing the salvation of all or offering God’s saving grace to all. And it may well be that, at the end of the day, the hearts of even the most recalcitrant of God’s human creatures will be changed by God’s great grace so that they too are welcomed into God’s everlasting kingdom.

    Your take on the rich young man/ruler is interesting, though it leaves some unanswered questions. In Mark’s version of the story, Jesus looked at the man, loved him, and said, “You lack one thing…” Lack one thing for what? For inheriting eternal life? For being a disciple of Jesus? Mark goes on to say that the man was “shocked” – why? presumably because he thought that a legalistic adherence to the second half of the “Big Ten” was enough to get him through the pearly gates – and that he “went away grieving, for he had many possessions” – suggesting that he counted the cost of following Jesus and decided it wasn’t worth it. Jesus responded by talking to the disciples about the perils of wealth when it comes to entering the kingdom of God. When they questioned him about this strange notion (in light of the commonly held assumption that wealth was an indication of divine favor), Jesus looked at them and told them essentially to chill out, not to worry, that God can accomplish anything – even changing the hearts of those who find their ultimate security in their possessions. I don’t disagree with you that Jesus was making a statement about salvation belonging to God alone – and about God being able to change the hearts of even the “tough cases” – i.e., the ones who don’t see their need for God and who hence live counter to God’s purposes for human life. But I think the heart of the story is precisely the issue of where one’s heart is and the costliness of saying yes (by God’s grace) to Jesus’ summons to follow him. Even more to the point in terms of the whole discussion of God’s sovereignty and human freedom is concerned, in my view, is the fact that Jesus didn’t force this potential disciple to line his life up with God’s will. He didn’t coerce his allegiance, even though I imagine Jesus’ heart broke at the man’s failure to follow him, the only path to real freedom.

    I agree with you that God is for all people. What I can’t say is that this means that in the end everyone will be saved. Your interpretation of 1 Corinthians 15:22-23 is appealing, though it is just as possible in my view to read “each in his proper order” as meaning that Christ is first, followed by everyone who is in Christ. Still, though, I agree that God is for, not against, even those who have set themselves against God; and I believe that in the end even these ones likely will be treated with mercy along with justice, and not justice alone.

    You say, “The question is not whether this one will be saved and this other one won’t, the question is in what order and in what manner will God save us all?” I agree that it isn’t our place to make judgments about who’s in and who’s out, that the decision about anyone’s eternal destiny rests with God. But I still do not think that this necessarily means that everyone will be ushered into the kingdom at the end of the ages.

    I agree, too, that the freedom of the human will is the result of God’s saving work in Jesus Christ and not the basis of it. In light of this, and in light of what the Bible teaches about God’s love for all people, I do not rule out that even human unbelief is not be enough to stop God from showing God’s grace.

    I really liked the series. Your thoughts have become pebbles in my theological shoe.

    • admin April 17, 2011 at 12:48 am

      Pebbles in my theological shoe… I like that! I really like reading your in-depth responses. I could not help but think about how long it must have taken to type this one-handed.

  • Lanny A. Eichert April 18, 2011 at 3:01 am

    Alice,

    My wife, Deborah, and I are friends of your mother and father from way back in the 70’s in N. J. and visited you all at the house with the pool in Orlando in 1980 with our son, Jonathan. My wife renewed contact with both of your parents recently and she encouraged me to check your site. It greatly disturbs me, but you said you are open to negative feedback. My review of your site comes immediately after I finished nearly a week commenting on the site http://www.heraldextra.com on the Sunday, April 10, 2011 2:33 pm news article Time to accept the Mormons (which ran 101 comments) encountering at least one of the issues that you raise. You might be interested what my opposition posted that follows your reasoning. The easiest way to find the article is to go to Most Commented, and then More, and then Past 14 Days, and Go. It will be top of the list. From there I think you know how to navigate. We live now in central Utah just less than an half hour south of BYU, the intellectual center of Mormonism and a little more than an hour south of Salt Lake City. We have had our “fill” of the LDS culture and want “out” and are looking to move to Arizona. So that brings you up to date on us in this world. (more to follow)

    Lanny A. Eichert

  • Lanny A. Eichert April 18, 2011 at 4:04 am

    Alice,

    I believe I read you wrote, “what God wants, God gets” as the basis of your universalism. Can you be sure that is always the case? I’m just thinking that since we were made in the image of God and we don’t get what we want, why aren’t we in some measure of our image descriptive of God? Is there a problem with God expressing His will and not making it happen? I see you at least mean that God has an order of events in which everything He wants will be. Can God’s order of events exclude anything He might wish would be, but chose not to make happen?

    Sound familiar? Five point Calvinism insists those for whom Christ died will come to Him, but I think the reconciliation is sufficient for the whole world, but only those who receive it benefit by it and the receivers are receivers only by God’s grace first applied. I tend to doubt that grace can be resisted. So, yes, salvation is all of God and not of man in any way.

    Alice, if you read the heraldextra comments, you will see you logic mirrored by those who opposed my comments. There was no room for them to accept anything but a very narrow understanding of words and a very narrow application of those words. The reformed theology people are very quick to show that the word “all” in the Holy Bible doesn’t mean all in every instance of the word so that they can logically assert that the reconcilation is limited to only the elect. Language does require us to consider context, both large and small. Both Calvinists and Arminians use the same verses to prove the opposite ideas in context. We are flawed in our ability to discern even God’s perfectly written words and should humbly admit it backing off our dogmatism.

    I do love Mark 10: 17 – 31 and Jesus’ seeming inability to convert this man, which is not something you want to say in church. It is good Arminian ground for preaching. The poor man is burning in hell right now for his own choice.

    So, Alice, who will be in hell? It was prepared for the devil and his angels, but will there be any humans there? If so, please identify who they are or will be.

    Lanny

    • admin April 18, 2011 at 5:37 pm

      Hello, Lanny. Thanks for reading and good to connect with you and your wife after all this time 🙂 You ask if I can be sure that what God wants God gets. Yes, absolutely. I believe that Anything that has happened or will happen that seems to be contrary to His will is actually for a purpose that ultimately serves His will, even if we can’t connect the dots at this time. Otherwise, God would not be sovereign. And if God is not sovereign in all things (even the seemingly insignificant things) then God is not God. The only logical response to a godless existence would be to degenerate into nihilism. I don’t think either you or I would want that.

      If being created in the image of God is evidence that God doesn’t get what He wants (since we don’t get what we want), then we could also say that God sins, God is mortal, God is limited in knowledge, etc. Our god-like human qualities can safely be attributed to Him, but not the other way around. God is holy (“other”). I understand your logic but disagree with it being a solid basis for your argument. Perhaps the exception could be God-as-man, Jesus Christ, limited in every way that other humans are limited. But even then, Jesus always acted according to the will of the Father, never contrary to it. So even in this example, God gets what He wants as well. Is Jesus’ death something God wants? Yes and no, depending on how you look at it. There are things that happen every day that go against God’s will, but these anti-God’s-will events (like the crucifixion) happen for a purpose which ultimately serves His will which has been determined since before time began. God is never taken by surprise or thwarted in any way. Here is how I understand it – when one cleans out a closet, for a while it looks as if the closet has vomited all over the adjoining room. It is not until everything is in its ultimate place, everything said and done, everything is “in subjection to Him” that we see the clean closet and understand why He saw fit to make such a mess. Creation mirrors this pattern In the beginning… the earth was without form and void (ie chaos), and God does this and that with it, and then bada-bing! we have order and purpose.

      A question for you… If “reconciliation is sufficient for the whole world” then why won’t the whole world will be saved? Either it is sufficient or it is not. If it is not sufficient to conquer the sin of unbelief, then it is not sufficient. If it is not sufficient for everyone, then it is not sufficient. I agree with your assessment that only those who receive reconciliation benefit by it, and that the only way to receive is because His grace has made it so. One who believes he or she is an enemy of God can’t simultaneously believe he or she has been reconciled, and can’t benefit from a one-sided reconciliation. Reconciliation involves two parties, in this case God/us. God is on the God-side of reconciliation demanding perfection, and God is on the man-side as well, the man Jesus Christ being that perfection for us. That is why I am confident that He can save us from all sin, including the sin of unbelief. He has promised to be all in all, not some in all or all in some. All in all means there is not one thing that is not fully subjected to His Reign.

      I looked up the conversation in heraldextra and I could not tell who was you and who was someone else. Nevertheless, these people do not speak for me.

      Who will be in hell? I guess that depends on which “hell” you are talking about. Gehenna? Hades? Tartarus? Sheol? It also depends on when you are talking about. In the Hebrew scriptures, everyone goes to “hell” (Sheol). Are we talking about the end of time, when God is all in all? If so, then no one is in “hell” (Hades) as it is emptied near the end of Revelation. If you are talking about Gehenna, this happened in 70 AD and in a way, still happens every day. It is Earthly and temporary judgment. If you refer to Tartarus, it is by definition, a “holding place” which strongly implies its temporary nature. Any being found in it is there “until” the judgment. If all of these are temporary, then the ultimate answer to your question, “Who will be in hell?” is no one. Who will be in their mother’s womb? It depends on when you ask. Ultimately, no one “will be” in their mothers womb. Hell, in its various forms, a temporary concept. Once it serves its purpose, it is “swallowed up in victory” and “has no sting.”

  • Lanny A. Eichert April 18, 2011 at 4:39 am

    Alice,

    I didn’t start from the beginning, just the current and the previous,and went through some of the videos and didn’t appreciate what famous people said thinking it was “tampered’ videos.

  • Lanny A. Eichert April 18, 2011 at 5:21 am

    Alice,

    Jesus said man shall live by “every word” of God. The Holy Bible is God’s word and every (New Testament) Greek word of the original manuscripts is God’s word. The same goes for the Old Testament Hebrew. Manuscript evidence has it that we have nearly exactly what the originals had. Therefore we can quibble over words and even spelling, such that we can know grammatically exactly what the words are. Our problem still remains a contextual one based on biases that often select their own set of supporting texts to the exclusion of others, whether deliberate or of ignorance. So we struggle to make it all work together.

  • Lanny A. Eichert April 18, 2011 at 11:23 pm

    Alice,

    I am surprised you couldn’t ID “lovingyou4Jesus” as me on the heraldextra, but the point was not that any speak for you, but rather that you logic was mirrored by their insistence of no other logical way but their logic of applying the words of Scripture. In particular was their insistence that Jesus’ name was to be called Emmanuel (Isa 7: 14; Mt 1: 23) yet the Gospels do not use that name, but rather the name of Jesus. No reference to the proclamation of His Godhood and humanity by the New Testament writers, let alone Mary’s glorious acknowledgment, or our current acknowledgment of “God with us” could satisfy that prophecy for them. We, the Christian community, still do not habitually call Jesus by the name Emmanuel. So is the Holy Bible a book of contradictions since we don’t mostly say “the Lord Emmanuel?” Or are we “bad” people because we talk of “Christ” instead of “Emmanuel?” Of course their aim was to discredit the Holy Bible, but that’s not your aim; your aim is different: to discredit some historically held doctrines, especially evident in the video you encouraged readers to watch, which leads to other suspicious videos that I previously said I disliked. So there is a way of reconciling the Emmanuel issue, isn’t there, Alice? Then there must be a proper way to reconcile “all Israel shall be saved” (Romans 11:26) or specifically according to your reference that God is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3: 9) with the fact that many do perish, which of course, you would say only for the while between their death and the recreation.

    Revelation 20: 11 – 15 places spiritually dead humans “into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are” and with “the devil that deceived them” and 14: 9 – 11 being the same place for those who receive the mark of the beast is “for ever and ever” with day and night occurring and their torment is “in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the lamb.” 21: 1 & 8 has a new heaven and a new earth without any seas, but unbelievers in the lake of fire. Do you know why no seas on the new earth? Seas in God’s figurative usage means unbelievers! All they who oppose God are forever elsewhere: lake of fire.

    Do you see why I asked, “So, Alice, who will be in hell?”

    Does 1 Corinthians 15 disprove the continuance of hell in verses 22 – 28 or even 51 – 57? How can you miss that all of this is written to believers and has nothing to do with unbelievers? It is “We shall not all sleep, but we shall be changed.” “to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours” (1: 2) Back to 15: 23 “But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterwards they that are Christ’s at his coming.” You see they that are Christ’s? What I find intriguing is the last phraze of verse 28 “that God may be all in all” as if it suggests the disolving of the Trinity into Oneness.

    On “being created in the image of God is evidence that God doesn’t get what He wants” was not intended to be a solid basis for my argument but just a hint of the possibility. Maybe you haven’t studied the attributes of God as being communicable and non-communicable: some we share with God having been created in His image and others belong only to God. I’m shocked you should even write: “then we could also say that God sins” etc. Yet God sought to explain Himself to us in a man, that man being Jesus. And yes, I agree that when it appears God didn’t get what He wants there are reasons known only to God as to why and He will make it work out His design. That is why I think it is safe to say God reveals His will, even when it doesn’t seem to happen and we can safely conclude He will not make it happen.

    You are as intent to push the point, as reformed doctrine people are, on the issue of the sufficiency of the reconciliation to save the whole world. Theology is a human effort to explain “what God does” (as well as what God is) and it has its limits in the finiteness of man standing in contrast to the Infinite God. You ask me, ‘If “reconciliation is sufficient for the whole world” then why won’t the whole world will be saved?’ I can only answer in God’s words in Hebrews 4: 2 “the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard.” I think when God told us how much higher His thoughts are than ours, He gave us justification to say, “I don’t know” and we should just believe what He told us and admit that our words are going to tangle us up when we venture too far in logically trying to explain His ways. Remember that God is not bound by our way of thinking, our logic. I’m not trying to discount that God gave us intellects we are to use to investigate God Himself and find Him wonderful, but that is the point: God is much too wonderful for us to fully explore to the point of boredom. My use of the word reconciliation is taken from Romans 5: 11 as the better word than atonement in this sentence of Scripture “our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have received the atonement” point being “received.” The previous verse speaks of being reconciled by His death. That death is sufficient to save every human being who ever lived or who will ever live because He is the infinite eternal God and His suffering was infinite because of His nature of Godhood. Yet that is human reasoning , human logic, human theology. What did God give us in Scripture as a reason? I don’t know other than “so loved the world” (John 3: 16); “propitiation … for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2: 2) and “the Lord that bought them” (2 Peter 2: 2) speaking of even apostates. At that I wonder if I also make your point excepting I spent time showing you that “hell”, my meaning the lake of fire, at the consumation will be populated. (True, I wasn’t careful to remember Revelation 20: 14 that hell is cast into the lake of fire.)

    So now please tell me about Revelation 21: 8 as you might see it. And anything else bearing on your subject.

    Lanny

    • admin April 19, 2011 at 1:24 am

      Insisting on the name Emanuel? That’s new to me. Is it sort of like the Jehovah’s Witnesses insisting on calling Him Jehovah and disapproving of Yahweh? That is just silly squabbling over non-essentials, if you ask me. More religious bondage, which doesn’t surprise me a bit.

      Regarding your comments on unbelievers remaining “forever elsewhere” in the Lake of Fire – this is too big a subject to tackle in a comment reply. Maybe I’ll write a blog about it soon.

      Although 1 Corinthians 15 is written to believers, the “all” is specified within as pertaining to the entire human race. “As in Adam all die, so in Christ all shall be made alive…” But it is the most obvious interpretation, set up in the classic form of Greek argument consistently used in both logic (If this, then that) and mathematics. If you don’t see it that way, I’m not going to fuss over it with you. I’ll just think its a shame that you don’t understand just how victorious the victory Jesus Christ give us really is, and that I can’t share that joy with you.

      I don’t believe God sins. I was using that to demonstrate how the creature made in His image is “other” than Him.

      You are correct to point out that the doctrine that Christ’s suffering is infinite is a man-made doctrine. This, along with several other doctrines that are used to explain away inconsistencies with the doctrine of eternal torment, is not Biblical. And in my opinion, it is not logical, either.

      My take on Rev. 21:8? I find comfort in the fact that His Reign does not allow this kind of behavior to continue. Those who persist in rebellion are excluded from His Reign and assigned a place in the fiery lake of burning sulfer. This is the second death. The second death is something we all experience, only some of us are not hurt by it. The scriptures are clear on this. The unfaithful servant is assigned his portion with the unbeliever as well. What happens here is limited and redemptive, not forever useless punishment. Again, too big a subject for a blog comment to cover. Have you ever bought a new car, and then suddenly you see that other people on the road have that same kind of car. You don’t notice all of their cars until you own one like it. It’s the same thing with recognizing He accomplished His mission to seek and save the lost. Once you have it, it jumps out at you from every page of scripture. It is a God-thing, a miracle, like being born again, again. I hope you will consider the possibility that this is true. It seems you have been pretty fair minded so far.

      I look forward to bumping elbows with you in cyberspace in the days to come. Thanks again for the well-thought out commentary and questions. Sorry, I have final exams coming up, so I can’t spend too much time elaborating right now…

  • Lanny A. Eichert April 19, 2011 at 4:11 am

    Alice,

    Do you final exams well and don’t think it necessary to reply. Priorities!

    As I continued to read your stuff you liked some one’s take on Matthew 12: 32 “And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.”
    That which you liked was the reference to the world to come, meaning that one after death, has no opportunity for forgiveness regarding a word against the Holy Ghost, so if a word against the Son of man can be forgiven then it can be forgiven in the world to come also. You liked that logic, even though the text does NOT specify that conclusion since “the world to come” is referenced only to the unforgivable sin and not to the forgivable sin. In the previous post I warned you against using your logic to make wrong conclusions and this is an excellent example. You are in danger of promoting ADDING to the word of God: whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him either in this world, or in the world to come.

    Now let’s look at God is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3: 9) If God is not willing that any should perish, then it must be that there are those that could surely perish and it must also mean that there are those that might not come to the repentance of the saving kind. Since the “any” and the “all” are equitables, Romans 3: 23 is in view as is John 3: 16 with respect to scoffers which according to 2 Peter 3: 7 will suffer judgment & destruction as per the context that God is without doubt handling the situation as Scripturally foretold.

    As per these two passages of Scripture God leaves it there and you are at fault to take it further by logic than God puts it forth.

    With regard to (1 Corinthians 15: 22) “As in Adam all die, so in Christ all shall be made alive…” pertaining to the entire human race. The first part maybe, but in New Testament usage not the second. The term “in Christ” refers only to believers and has throughout the New Testament. You disputed my reference to “they that are Christ’s” in the very next verse: how close a context do you want? Both “all”s in verse 22 can refer to the saints to whom this epistle is addressed (excludes unbelievers) because “in Adam” believers are dead and dying, but “in Christ” believers are alive (quickened, new birth 2 Corinthians 5: 17 & 18) Again “in Christ” assumes that there are those who are NOT “in Christ” and again “they that are Christ’s” assumes that there are those who are NOT Christ’s purchased possessions.

    Alice, has Jesus purchased you? Do you belong to Him? Does He possess you? Are you His bride? Have you given yourself to Him? Has He taken possession of you? Has He cleansed you? Did He make you new? Are you a new creature? Have you been born again?

    Think about it until after exams.

  • Lanny A. Eichert April 21, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    Alice,

    After exams please look again at the chronology around Revelation 21: 8, because you are putting it in the reign of Christ. 20: 7 begins the scene AFTER the thousand years.

    Later we will look at Revelation 2: 11 and 20: 6 “not be hurt” and “hath no power” regarding your statement on the second death.

  • Lanny A. Eichert April 30, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    Alice,

    Since you had put Revelation 21: 8 in the reign of Christ even though 20: 7 begins the scene AFTER the thousand years, I had asked you to check the chronology again. In doing so did you also notice that the casting of death and hell into the lake of fire occurs in 20: 14?

    Please let me know your chronology of these events, because I think is critical to the discussion to which we should return.

    Did you know that the Mormons have placed the war in heaven (Revelation 12: 7) long before the six day Creation in what they call the Pre-existence and that the third part of the stars of heaven of verse 4 that were cast to the earth are the angels that fell with Satan in that war? They can’t seem to understand how many verses begin with the word “And” in the text of the Revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave to Him to give to believers. (That just illustrates how messed up things can get.)

  • Lanny A. Eichert May 3, 2011 at 5:05 am

    Alice,

    The issue is the lake of fire in the Revelation. The Great Tribulation ends with the beast and the false prophet cast alive into it (19: 20). Next, Satan is bound for 1,000 years in the bottomless pit (20: 1-3). Tribulation martyrs live and reign with Christ during that same 1,000 years (20: 4).

    You wrote: My take on Rev. 21:8? I find comfort in the fact that His Reign does not allow this kind of behavior to continue. Those who persist in rebellion are excluded from His Reign and assigned a place in the fiery lake of burning sulfur.

    Since the Tribulation martyrs live and reign with Christ a thousand years, they are ones who experience the First Resurrection (20: 5) and are blessed and holy AND participate in His Reign which is also called the Millennium.

    The rest of the “dead” (spiritually as well as physically) are resurrected after the 1,000 years (They’re found in verse 12).

    The Reign of Christ on earth is finished. After the end of the Millennial Reign of Christ (20: 7) Satan is loosed, who then gathers humanity, Gog and Magog, to battle God at the beloved city of Jerusalem; and God destroys them with fire from heaven (20: 8, 9) and casts Satan into the lake of fire where the beast and the false prophet are still in torment day and night forever and ever (20: 10).

    The next event is the Great White Throne Judgment of “the (spiritually) dead” who are cast into the lake of fire preceded by death and hell first cast into the lake of fire (20: 11- 15). This Judgment is again AFTER the Millennial Reign of Christ on earth as per verse seven.

    Next the New Heaven and the New Earth come into view (21: 1-7) and 21: 8 tells us where those who were excluded ARE: the lake of fire. The Alpha and Omega says, “It is done.” Chapters 21 and part of 22 are all about the final estate of things and the lake of fire is part of the final estate. With death and hell in the lake of fire (20: 14), the last enemy, death, is destroyed (1 Corinthians 15: 26). Also “there shall be no more death” (21: 4) confirms it, while verse 8 excludes certain, placing them in the lake of fire calling it the second death. “For without” (22: 15) confirms a place other than a new heave and a new earth.

    Summary: Great Tribulation, Armageddon, Satan bound, Reign of Christ, Satan loosed & destroyed, Great White Throne Judgment, Death conquered, New Heaven & New Earth with those excluded still in the Lake of Fire.

    So with both 20: 14 & 15 where those judged are in the lake of fire with death defeated and 21: 8 in the context of the New Heaven and New Earth after death is already in the lake of fire, I don’t see how anybody can be redeemed after physical death. Death is defeated and still the second death has inhabitants.

    • admin May 4, 2011 at 1:02 pm

      Lanny,

      The problem I see with your statement, “The Reign of Christ on earth is finished. After the end of the Millennial Reign of Christ (20: 7) Satan is loosed, who then gathers humanity, Gog and Magog, to battle God at the beloved city of Jerusalem; and God destroys them with fire from heaven (20: 8, 9) and casts Satan into the lake of fire where the beast and the false prophet are still in torment day and night forever and ever (20: 10).” is that the Reign of Christ is not finished until what is described in 1 Cor 15, “when he may deliver up the reign to God, even the Father, when he may have made useless all rule, and all authority and power – for it behoveth him to reign till he may have put all the enemies under his feet – the last enemy is done away – death; for all things He did put under his feet, and, when one may say that all things have been subjected, [it is] evident that He is excepted who did subject the all things to him, and when the all things may be subjected to him, then the Son also himself shall be subject to Him, who did subject to him the all things, that God may be the all in all.” If there is a great battle taking place, then clearly, all things have not been subjected to Him. Perhaps this period of time called the Millennial Reign is finished, but the Reign of Christ ends with Him presenting a fully subjected creation to the Father.

      I have bolded the trouble sections in another one of your comments, “Next the New Heaven and the New Earth come into view (21: 1-7) and 21: 8 tells us where those who were excluded ARE: the lake of fire. The Alpha and Omega says, “It is done.” Chapters 21 and part of 22 are all about the final estate of things and the lake of fire is part of the final estate. With death and hell in the lake of fire (20: 14), the last enemy, death, is destroyed (1 Corinthians 15: 26). Also “there shall be no more death” (21: 4) confirms it, while verse 8 excludes certain, placing them in the lake of fire calling it the second death. “For without” (22: 15) confirms a place other than a new heave and a new earth.” Where does the text say this is the “final estate of things”? Chapter 21 and 22 are full of things that are still in process, present or future, such as “Behold, I am making all things new…” and “To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.” and “the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it” and “Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates.” How does “there shall be no more death” confirm that anything that is going to take place has already taken place? The words “shall be” are future tense. Admittedly, when we see “It is done,” our finite temporal minds attempt to make words that transcend time accommodate time, and we get confused as to the real meaning of it. For example, on the cross, Jesus said, “It is finished.” He can say this without being a liar, because He was slain from the foundation of the world. “It is finished” does not mean for us what it means for Him. For Him, Who sees the beginning and the end all at once (Who IS the beginning and the end!), it has been finished before it ever began. To us, who are linear beings, who have not yet experienced what is already accomplished, it is a work in progress. It is our perspective that throws us off. We think that Jesus can’t say “It is finished” until we actually see it finished ourselves, forgetting that to Him a day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as a day. In other words, E=MC2. Ultimately, the question we need to ask is not when or where this or that or the other happen, but Who is the Savior of all mankind? And is He able to accomplish His mission to seek and save the lost and destroy the works of the adversary (sin/death)? If even one person who can be called “lost” is FOREVER not found and FOREVER not rescued from sin and death, then we can answer this negatively. And if we can answer the question negatively for one, then we must also answer it negatively for everyone, because Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin (singular) of the world. If one of us remains in our sin, then we are all doomed and Jesus is not the Savior He claimed to be.

      Your summary is nice and tidy. It is in a predictable and clean order, in accordance with most of the major evangelical theologians, “Great Tribulation, Armageddon, Satan bound, Reign of Christ, Satan loosed & destroyed, Great White Throne Judgment, Death conquered, New Heaven & New Earth with those excluded still in the Lake of Fire.” But you must remove “death conquered” from the equation. How can death be “swallowed up in victory” if the majority of mankind exist in an eternal state of death? That makes no sense at all. You are correct in saying that the New Heaven and New Earth do not include some people, who remain outside. This is very clear in the scriptures. What you are assuming is that this is how it will always be. This directly conflicts with the scriptures. You point out that the Alpha and Omega says, “It is done,” but you overlook what is said in that very same verse, “To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.” From His perspective it is done, but He still acknowledges that from our perspective, it is still being accomplished. Why else would there be thirsty people who need the water of life? If the cut-off for salvation has already passed, if no one can be redeemed after physical death, why is Jesus still distributing the water of life without payment?

      • Lanny A. Eichert May 6, 2011 at 12:29 am

        Alice,

        Chapters 21 and part of 22 are all about the final estate of things and the lake of fire is part of the final estate. Please recognize that there are in the Revelation elements that return us to John’s present moment just like there are the same in the Old Testament prophecies; and some of them are such smooth transitions that you have to be really awake to notice them. 21: 3b, 4 is a description of the new heaven and new earth environment not a transition of the new to something newer. 21:5a is a summary of what the new heaven and new earth are.

        “The Reign of Christ on earth is finished” I believe you did get my reference right to 20: 7 meaning the Millennial Reign on earth and I did suspect you might have not only that narrow view of the Reign of Christ but also a broader view akin to that meant by the Kingdom of God. I wasn’t sure which way you were positioned on your use of the Reign of Christ, so I had to test you.

        “No more death” in the context of 21: 4’s tears, sorrow, crying, and pain must mean the act of dying, the act of becoming dead. Once dead, death no longer has power to make any one more dead than they already are. Once all who will be cast into the lake of fire are cast into the lake of fire, death has no more power. Now please remember the word destroy does NOT mean annihilation, but rather it means to ruin and to make inoperable, like totally wrecking an automobile in an accident or car crusher: it becomes totally useless as an automobile. With death cast into the lake of fire, the last enemy is destroyed (useless) and all things are in subjection to God. Now remember I can use your logic here too: either death is the last enemy or it is NOT.

        The final estate is a state of LIFE and life is animate: things are HAPPENING in perfect harmony with God’s mind. The end of all things is not ceasing of everything. “That God may be all in all” doesn’t mean that God absorbs everything into Himself so that no other identity exists. We will be there still and God will still be our necessary food and drink (21: 6; John 6). Can you tie together Exodus 25: 8; 2 Corinthians 6: 16 – 18; and Revelation 21: 3?

  • Lanny A. Eichert May 6, 2011 at 1:10 am

    Please take this as kindly as possible, but I do find your communications and that of some of your friends and sites to be exhibiting extreme bitterness toward a generalization of the so called “organized church” as if you all have been blistered horribly by some segment of what you think it is. How long has it been? When are you going to get over it? Now I don’t speak this lightly, because once I had been excommunicated from a Bible Baptist church and it took a year to calm down and move on. Please remember Matthew 12: 35 – 37 and Colossians 4: 6 and return to a more feminine gentleness and cleanliness of speech if you would display godliness (1 Peter 3: 4).

    Just one other thought: what about the commitment of John the Baptizer’s parents and Anna (Lk 2: 6) and Simeon (Lk 2: 25) and the virgin Mary to their contemporary “organized religion?”

    • admin May 6, 2011 at 1:57 pm

      Bitterness? Feminine gentleness? Cleanliness of speech? What does this have to do with anything I’ve written? This isn’t about female emotional puke, Lanny. The religious elites have had the truth suppressed for over 1500 years, using tactics like accusing those who speak the truth of being “divisive” or “bitter” or elevating themselves above “authority”. Looks like you nailed 2 out of 3 with your blog comment. But like Meatloaf says, “Two out of three ain’t bad.” That means 33.3% of your conscious rational mind (perhaps exemplified in the Bible Baptist church excommunication you mentioned) is open to seeing my blogs for what they are instead of what your religious experience tells you they are. Regarding your references – It is understandable and even admirable that John the Baptist’s parents and Mary and others conformed to the commands of the Mosaic law, because they lived in the age of law. But commitment to a set of religious standards, which includes regularly scheduled attendance, tithing, submitting to a hierarchical structure where the people receive their spiritual nourishment from one shepherd/pastor – this is a return to the Mosaic law. In the age of grace, a return to the law is an insult to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He died to free us from slavery, not to return us to it. Observing purification practices in a temple is totally ass-backwards in the age of grace. We don’t go to the temple/church to meet with God any more, because we ARE the temple/church now and He lives in us. He is as close to us as our next heartbeat. We don’t need a human shepherd/authority to cover us, because we already have One Shepherd, Jesus Christ. This is elementary stuff. Christianity 101. “But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh.” Here is some milk for you – take some time away from this blog, away from church, and away from your own preconceptions. Ask God, “Who are You? What is Your character? What do You do? What are Your intentions toward me? What are your intentions toward mankind? Can I trust You? Why did you make us? Why did Jesus Christ die and rise again? What do you want from me?” Let Him speak to your heart. You are not ready to hear most of what I write about, because your reasoning comes from a law/works/sacrifice worldview. It is no wonder what I say makes no sense to you. You are still of the flesh, an infant. I’m not dogging you, though. It isn’t your fault. You are part of a system that is very good sustaining the masses in this dependent spiritual stage. None of this will make sense to you until you are ready to lose everything.

      BTW – I replied to you on the Amazed Exceedingly thread. I would rather discuss the issues on the table than my personal godliness or lack of godliness. My personal junk is between me and God. If you want to dissect and analyze something, then let your subject matter be my claims and not me. I am just the messenger. If the rocks cry out His Glory, would you celebrate or would you concern yourself with finding flaws in the rocks? You can respond it you want, but I recommend postponing further discussion until God shows you the difference between the law and grace.

      • Lanny A. Eichert May 6, 2011 at 10:28 pm

        Now that’s a fine & nasty way to treate friends of your parents, Alice, and after I’ve patiently suffered the rudeness of your site and tried to kindly suggest that you should be less crude and more civil AND MORE LADY-LIKE. It is not a compliment to call you a crude rude dudette and you really need to change that image.

        Your recommendation for me to postpone discussion, because I don’t agree with you, sounds much like the stiffling of dialogue you have all along been complaining should not be in the church. Not even in your definition of the church?

        What is the organization of the church and where do we find its organization decreed for us? God has covered that clearly and there clearly is an organized church in the New Testament of the Holy Bible.

        We are also warned in the Bible that in the church there will be apostacy and false teaching, so don’t be overly angry about what you see, but take it in stride. God will handle it. BTW I was excommunicated because on a Sunday night after he preached that John the Baptist started the Baptist Church, I met him in his office to oppose that teaching privately: he made me meet with the deacons that Wednesday night and then called Sunday night a business meeting to vote me out of membership. It took a year for the people to come to some realization and he left shortly thereafter.

        Alice, what I’ve given you in the Revelation is not from any text books or seminars, but purely from the chronological record of the Bible as written and it is what it is. Again death is the last enemy or it is NOT. Destroyed is made inoperative. Look it up in the Greek. In the lake of fire, death is inoperative, having claimed all its victims.

        Don’t you think the Revelation would not end where it does if there were more to be redeemed than are redeemed where it currently ends: if those in the lake of fire would eventually be redeemed? I mean, wouldn’t the redeeming of them be a story of redemptive love that a loving God would love to tell those in that jeopardy. So why isn’t it in the Bible? In the Revelation?

  • admin May 7, 2011 at 3:25 am

    I did not recommend postponing discussion because you disagree, I recommend it because every word I write is based in grace, and you are looking at it with eyes of law. But I am not censoring you or shunning you. If you want to continue attempting to understand grace by way of law, then go for it. I just think it is a waste of time, though. It’ll probably just end up pissing you off in the end. You won’t be able to understand grace by way of the letter – only by the Spirit. Legalistic minds hate grace and fight against it. It’s not a personal attack against you; that’s just the way it is. Have you ever read Pagan Christianity by Frank Viola? It spells out very clearly how many of the practices in the institutional church (an organization frequented by the real Church) come from pagan practices. I’m talking everything from how the building is set up to the clergy/laity practices to the Sunday sermon. The New Testament church was egalitarian, not stratified. Authority was given according to circumstance and gifting, not position. The dynamic, everyone-participating environment did not last long at all.

    We will talk more about “destroyed”.

    Your view is that death claims all its victims and is therefore inoperative. How then, can it be said, “Death, where is your sting?” If it ultimately claims and holds its victims eternally, then that sure does sting, in my opinion. But this is not the story scripture paints of death. Death is swallowed up in victory. While what you say is partly true, that death is inoperable because anyone who is going to die (that’s all of us) once they have died, can no longer die, this does not mean that death has the final claim over those who die. “As in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive.”

    I know you don’t interpret the second half of the verse the same as the first. You interpret it according to the letter and not the Spirit. The letter is trying to make scripture fit the doctrine of death, while the Spirit is demonstrating life and hope. Read it in the Spirit and then you will see how this fits together. The story of hope you ask about is in the scripture, but only for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear. I can’t make that happen, it is a God-thing.

  • Lanny A. Eichert May 7, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    Alice,

    Death is swallowed up in victory for the Elect. All of God’s promises are not universal.

    Why the Revelation ends with a populated Lake of Fire and not an empty dissolved one, your vagueness doesn’t answer.

  • […] Chan then goes on to talk about God’s moral will (values that please Him) and His decreed will (events that He causes to happen), explaining that God allows His moral will to be resisted in order to carry out His decreed will.  What it really boils down to is the sovereignty of God over the human will.  This is a huge debate in Christianity that has been going on for a long time, in Calvinism and Arminianism.  I actually wrote a lengthy blog series, based on R.C. Sproul’s book, Willing to Believe, which examines these concepts  thoroughly.  Here are the links if you would like to read them: Does God Command Us to Do the Impossible?, A Great Chess Player, Volunteer for Slavery, Picking the Petals Off of TULIPs, and Amazed Exceedingly. […]

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

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