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Useful Idiots for Baal
RedState ^ | 2/19/2014 | Erick Erickson

Posted on 02/20/2014 3:05:32 AM PST by iowamark

I stumbled upon a Christian author I was not familiar with the other day and saw that he had written from a host of secular publications about faith. From CNN to National Journal to the Huffington Post to USA Today to the Atlantic to others — these are publications that tend to be hostile to people of traditional, orthodox Christian faith. When a Christian author is routinely published in those publications and cited as a reasonable evangelical voice by those publications, I have to think he or she is really useful idiots of Baal.

From Rob Bell to Rachel Held Evans to Donald Miller to Jim Wallis to Joel Osteen and more, these people seem to think that, if they even share the gospel (as opposed to the prosperity gospel), the gospel can be shared without every offending anyone. If only Christians would not offend people they could woo people to Christ. Truth be told, some evangelicals can be far more confrontational than need be. But, likewise, the gospel is not inoffensive. These people who think the gospel can be sold to everyone without ever offending anyone are committed more to their own house brand than to Jesus and, in so doing, prop up Baal, the god of worldly conformity, more than Christ.

The gospel offends many people. Many people will die this very day somewhere in the world because of the gospel. Frankly, I think some of these people are themselves offended by the gospel. They look at the Bible as a self-help book and redact all the stuff they themselves do not agree with. They focus on social justice Jesus and not the Jesus who said

Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

They have convinced themselves Jesus really would have an opinion on a government healthcare program, but never really get into Jesus’s views on damnation, sin, and salvation.

This goes also to my concern about a lot of mega churches. I have friends who are pastors of mega churches. I have friends who attend mega churches. But I think some of the church industrial complex starts building a brand and the brand is more “Six Flags Over Jesus”, as I tend to call a lot of mega churches, and less Jesus. They focus on franchises and revenue stream and weekly attendance. To do that, Jesus can rarely be offensive. More so, the spirit in the attendees can often not be matured.

By that I mean a lot of these churches are so focused on upping the baptism count that they focus solely on “come to Jesus” and never really describe what coming to Jesus entails or how a Christian, once a Christian, grows in faith. So the people in the church run the risk of being spiritually immature or not convicted of their salvation. Here’s hint: often embracing the gospel turns people’s lives upside down and, from a worldly perspective, things end badly for them.

Christ said we should enter through the narrow gate. A lot of the media’s favorite voices on Christendom preach that the gate is as deep and wide as possible for all comers. That’s simply not true. There is only one way. There is only one path. There is only one savior. All truly are welcome. But that one path offends so many not all want to be welcomed.

John 3:10-12 lays out pretty well the three reasons people will not embrace Christ: (v.10) they do not understand the gospel; (v.11) they refuse to receive the gospel; or (v.12) they do not believe the gospel. Many of these useful idiots for Baal sell a gospel stripped of its full meaning and commitment. They should be commended for wanting all comers to come, but need to be cautioned that not all comers will come. They go all Jesus all the time and quickly strip him of masculinity, godliness, justice, righteousness, power, and the ability to save. They try to sand it down so no one can reject it, but often what winds up getting accepted isn’t the real gospel, but a wordily version of an emo, weepy Jesus who can’t throw a punch that people created and not the real Jesus who will one day return on a white horse, with a sword, to judge the quick and the dead.

Too many of these people, often hipster prophets, make people comfortable in their sin while trying to sell Jesus. One comfortable in his sin rarely sees the need to embrace one who will extricate him from his sin. These peddlers of pop Christianity are useful idiots for Baal because they claim their faith in Christ without ever making anyone uncomfortable in their here and now. Christ made people uncomfortable.

As a friend noted this passage from Bonhoeffer last night in email:

“The messengers of Jesus will be hated to the end of time. They will be blamed for all the division which rend cities and homes. Jesus and his disciples will be condemned on all sides for undermining family life, and for leading the nation astray; they will be called crazy fanatics and disturbers of the peace.”

— Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “The Cost of Discipleship,” 1937.

The useful idiots of Baal are not willing to go along for that ride. They’d rather their Jesus bake cakes for gay weddings.


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1 posted on 02/20/2014 3:05:32 AM PST by iowamark
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To: iowamark

John 3:10-12 lays out pretty well the three reasons people will not embrace Christ: (v.10) they do not understand the gospel; (v.11) they refuse to receive the gospel; or (v.12) they do not believe the gospel.


I’ve seen a fourth reason in the modern world. And, truth be told, it seems to be the foundation on which a lot of people place whichever of the three above they choose. In fact, as I discuss and argue salvation with them, those that seem to understand Christianity in the US always fall back on that fourth thing. And the sad thing is that that fourth thing is not really a part of the Gospel. And worse, it doesn’t match the personality of the God of the bible.

That fourth thing is the teaching that those that do not accept Christ will not merely perish (as in John 3:16), die the second death or even be cast away from God’s presence for all eternity. It is that the God of the bible will send most people to an eternity of conscious and severe suffering. They simply can’t get past the madness of such a message.

Thing is, unlike those who preach such a message, these folks have really thought it through. They’ve asked themself what kind of God metes out such a punishment to mere humans who not only can’t comprehend it, but often can’t understand what they have done to even deserve such a thing.

They also can’t comprehend his purpose. This is a little like when a kid from the US goes to a foreign country with different laws and finds himself serving the rest of his life for something that, in the US, might get you a probation. They actually break the law because the punishment is so severe they don’t believe it really exists. Imagine a state that had the death penalty for going one mile an hour over the speed limit, but nobody knows anyone who has ever been executed for it. You would take that penalty less seriously than you would take a $30 fine, because you can’t wrap your head around it.

And when non-Christians see the penalty for sin as losing not only this life, but what John 3:16 calls “eternal life”, with the alternative being permanent death, they can wrap their heads around the decision they are being offered.

A side benefit is they can see God as just - the wages of sin is, in fact death - and it is easy to see that as the justice of a true loving God, and not a vindictive torturer.

Interestingly, as a Christian, that is all I wish on the unsaved: That they do not receive eternal life in the presence of their creator. And, of course, outside the presence of God, there is no life.


2 posted on 02/20/2014 4:12:01 AM PST by cuban leaf
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To: cuban leaf

and a good perspective,

I’ve found its because of arrogance that people do not understand and therefore can not believe. God will not sit down with us and sup with us through our arrogance, we must come humbly to him to learn and he will be there and we will hear him.

For those that refuse to receive the message, we can only brush the dust off and as were leaving pray that God will do something in the future to cause that person to consider him before they run out of time (their life),


3 posted on 02/20/2014 6:05:31 AM PST by captmar-vell
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To: cuban leaf
That fourth thing is the teaching that those that do not accept Christ will not merely perish (as in John 3:16), die the second death or even be cast away from God’s presence for all eternity. It is that the God of the bible will send most people to an eternity of conscious and severe suffering. They simply can’t get past the madness of such a message.

In some ways, that may be true. Nevertheless, the Bible seems pretty clear to me on the subject. First, we have the entire book of Revelation.

Then, there is the story of the beggar and the rich man, Luke 16: 19-31. I particularly draw your attention to verse 24.

Matt 5:22 mentions hellfire. Then there's Mark 9:44,45.

So, to discard the doctrine of eternal torment seems unwise to me. Those who reject Christ because they reject this doctrine, have rejected Christ. Maybe it is just an excuse, and they weren't going to accept Him anyway?

4 posted on 02/20/2014 6:06:35 AM PST by chesley
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To: captmar-vell

The brushing the dust off part is the hard one for me. It comes easy with time, however. You can’t beat it into people. You can only plant seeds. Even the “brushing off your feet” part may have been God’s instruction to not continue in towns where people would not listen, even though God knew that some in those towns may have a change of heart later.


5 posted on 02/20/2014 6:16:23 AM PST by cuban leaf
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To: iowamark

There is a tendency towards “The ends justifies the means” theology in churches and it has been that way for a long time. If Jim and Tammie Faye Bakker were cheats and frauds, it is OK because some people got baptized. I also keep meeting Christians that think going to church is an inconvenience.

Mega-churches can be really good things. Many of them are mega because they work. The Village Church in Texas is one example.

We still preach on sin. We just preach on the sins that the other people commit. The sin of global warming. The sin of not supporting increased Welfare. The sin of uber-wealth. The sin of owning a Hummer.


6 posted on 02/20/2014 6:21:30 AM PST by AppyPappy (Obama: What did I not know and when did I not know it?)
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To: iowamark
Truth be told, some evangelicals can be far more confrontational than need be.

I'm doin' what I can...

7 posted on 02/20/2014 6:25:28 AM PST by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
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To: cuban leaf

indeed.


8 posted on 02/20/2014 6:26:21 AM PST by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
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To: AppyPappy
We just preach on the sins that the other people commit.

BINGO!


9 posted on 02/20/2014 6:27:16 AM PST by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
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To: chesley

I should be clear about my own response above,

I believe there is going to be the final judgment and the lake of fire, and that hades, Sheol (the grave), bottomless pit, outer darkness etc., (these are not all the same place, quite the contrary) Death and hades will be cast into the lake of fire at the end,

Jesus himself spoke more about hell than anyone in the Bible, he being the only one who can provide the pardon from going there, recall what he said about Judas, that it would’ve been better for him if he had never been born,

“For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment; “ 2 Peter 2:4


10 posted on 02/20/2014 6:32:42 AM PST by captmar-vell
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To: chesley

No offense, Chesley. Seriously.

Once I turned to this viewpoint I’ve been discussing it (sadly, arguing is a better word) with my brothers for about three years. The points you bring up are all there but not always what people think they are.

To touch on a couple, and only a couple, a fire can go on for a day, many days, or like the dump Jesus was referring to in one passage, continuously. But the garbage being thrown into it is, in fact, consumed. I.e. it may hurt for a sec, and then you’ve experienced the “second death”.

Regarding Lazarus and the Rich man, there is more there than most people know, and less in some ways that may be surprising. But it is not about eternity. Here is a very good rundown:

http://jeremyandchristine.com/articles/lazarus.html

And here is a great analogy that may explain why some people hear the “turn or burn” message and reject it:

“Suppose for a moment that a wonderful man—Mr. Right, if you will—offers a marriage proposal to the woman he loves. ‘Marry me,’ he says, ‘and I will give you a life like you’ve never dreamed of before. You will be loved with the greatest commitment and passion that any woman has ever known. I will give you the finest house with all of the wonderful things you’ve ever wanted, and you will be happy for the rest of your days!’

“Now suppose the woman is very flattered by the proposal, but is uncertain about whether or not she is ready for such a commitment. Asking for a few more days to think it over, Mr. Right answers, ‘You are welcome to take more time, but it’s only fair that I warn you what will happen if you decline my generous offer. Your only option, other than spending paradise with me, is to be thrown into my underground dungeon, have your eyes gouged from their sockets, and be subjected to unimaginable pain every hour, on the hour, for the rest of your long, miserable life.’

“What do you suppose would be going through the young woman’s mind at a time like this? I imagine that would change the way she feels about the man considerably. She might have previously accepted Mr. Right’s proposal because of her love for him, but is there much chance of that now? Surely not. If she takes him seriously, she’ll undoubtedly marry him, but not as much for love as out of genuine terror at the alternative.

“Is this God’s way of doing things? Does God want His people to turn to Him out of fear that they will be tortured otherwise? Where is the love in that? If everyone really believed in this doctrine, wouldn’t that properly tarnish their concept of the Savior? I would imagine some might even have a hard time calling Him “Savior” at all. How merciful can it be to create a never-ending torture pit for everyone and then save only a few from it?”

My God is just. It is clear that his justice prevents those that do not accept the Grace of Christ from entering into eternal life with Him, but the justice is complete in making their fleshly death a final condition via the second death, even if it means death by being thrown into the surface of the sun.

Before I post, It strikes me that I should comment on your mentioning the book of Revelation. It is one of my favorites. I use Revelation 7 to support my “mid-Trib” position on the rapture and I moved to KY in 2011 in the spirit of Revelation 18-4. But I understand the whole book is steeped in symbolism and reads almost like Nostrodamus. I would not use it as a source of proof for any “doctrine” based on the plain words it uses, since their meaning is rarely plain in Revelation.

Give her wings of a great eagle? Frogs came out of their mouths? The great harlot? Giant made from multiple metals and clay? These verses all have strong meaning but probably rarely mean in a literal sense what the dictionary definitions of the words mean. Same goes for the fate of the lost as described in Revelation. But even then, the mose supportive scripture there of eternal torture of humans refers specifically to those who take the mark of the beast in the end times. I have an open mind about that one because I have not met anyone yet that has taken the mark. When I do, I might understand why the bible discusses eternal torture regarding them. But until I meet one, I can’t say.


11 posted on 02/20/2014 6:33:37 AM PST by cuban leaf
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To: iowamark
By that I mean a lot of these churches are so focused on upping the baptism count that they focus solely on “come to Jesus” and never really describe what coming to Jesus entails or how a Christian, once a Christian, grows in faith.

Reminds me of the old joke about bear hunters...


"Y'all skin this one while I run out and get another one."

12 posted on 02/20/2014 6:33:46 AM PST by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
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To: captmar-vell; P-Marlowe; Alamo-Girl; Gamecock; wmfights; HarleyD
Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

How can this be? All this good stuff, and they're still lost?

A very simple biblical answer: Eph 2:8-9 "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast."

13 posted on 02/20/2014 6:36:37 AM PST by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for victory!)
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To: xzins

I’ve known quite a few very good (at least, best I can tell) people who reject Christ outright. But then, they also think they are very good.

And there’s the rub.


14 posted on 02/20/2014 6:41:21 AM PST by cuban leaf
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To: cuban leaf

And I’ve known quite a few “saved a wretch like me” folks who struggle with their “thorn in the flesh” and are adamant that their only hope is the grace of God.

They are the ones I think are saved.


15 posted on 02/20/2014 6:44:52 AM PST by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for victory!)
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To: xzins
Yup.

People overlook the fact that those poor souls never say I am a sinner and put my faith in you Lord Jesus.

They are all appealing to their own good works.

16 posted on 02/20/2014 6:47:12 AM PST by Gamecock (Grace is not opposed to human activity. It's opposed to human merit. MSH)
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To: captmar-vell

“For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment; “ 2 Peter 2:4


And as you pointed out earlier in your post, even that scripture speaks of their condition *before* the judgement. It is like they are a murderer in Jail, waiting for their court date or sentencing date. And what will their sentence be?

In our world, which is where God meets us, we have two forms of punishment: First is rehabilitation. It’s effectiveness is questionable, but it’s goal is not. The second is removal from “the rest of us”. The goal is not to make it hard for the perp. It is to separate him from the rest of us. In some cultures this means life in prison. In others, its execution. But its function is to “cast them out” of our world.

It’s how I see the fate of those that don’t accept Christ. Except I don’t see God having any reason to keep them alive. He certianly would not do it for them. It’s not like he is trying to teach them a lesson. He would not do it for us. We’ll never come into contact with them in any way, shape or form ever again, nor would we want to. Would He get some morbid pleasure out of it?

So whom would it benefit?


17 posted on 02/20/2014 6:47:46 AM PST by cuban leaf
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To: xzins

Yes. C. S. Lewis once said, and I paraphrase, sometimes I feel pretty bad and think I need Got quite a lot and other times I think I’m doing pretty good. It is the latter when I probably need him the most.


18 posted on 02/20/2014 6:49:10 AM PST by cuban leaf
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To: Gamecock

They are all appealing to their own good works.


That’s one of the challenges. As a Christian you do need to examine yourself and be “as good as you can be”, but not to be saved because your salvation is the gift of God. But when you think you are doing pretty good, or when you think your salvation is at risk because your works of late are not up to snuff, you are missing the point in both cases. But we all do it to one degree or another. At least, I do.


19 posted on 02/20/2014 6:51:51 AM PST by cuban leaf
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To: cuban leaf; chesley
A side benefit is they can see God as just - the wages of sin is, in fact death - and it is easy to see that as the justice of a true loving God, and not a vindictive torturer.

You are employing a typical spurious liberal and annihilationism hermeneutic, that of determining truth by what to what you believe conforms to your idea of a "loving God."

However, God in His love does not bluff, but in love tells of both eternal life and eternal punishment, warning of the eternal reality of choosing sin over Him. And does not attempt to deter living a life of fulfilling lusts by warning of simply being toasted in the end,. but of going "into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched." (Mark 9:43-44)

God also created Lucifer and other angels which rebelled, yet it is clearly taught that "the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever." (Revelation 20:10)

And that the lost will be told, "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:" And of being (Matthew 25:41) "tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name." (Revelation 14:10-11)

As for attempts to justify annihilationism, I have responded to such in posts as here , here and here

20 posted on 02/20/2014 6:53:48 AM PST by daniel1212 (Come to the Lord Jesus as a contrite damned+destitute sinner, trust Him to save you, then live 4 Him)
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To: cuban leaf
That fourth reason was a favorite of Christopher Hitchens and now of Dawkins. It can be reasoned past, but the listener must be honest.

The Bible tells us that when we see Him (the Risen Ascended Jesus) we shall be like Him. Many passages in scripture tell us that God is 'clothed in righteousness' there is 'no sin in Him'. Early in the Bible it is made plain that humankind were kept from the Tree of Life because that would have had them living forever in their sinful state. God's love is like coals of fire upon the sinful nature. To be alive forever in a state of sinfulness, awash in the Light of God's 'radiance' will be agonizing, a fire not quenched where the worm dieth not.

Put in a more succinct way, God has told us what the Universe will be like in the next phase of His creating. His Light/Love will shine throughout that phase, infused into every nook and cranny. To those who love The Lord and have been delivered from their sinful nature, that phase will be 'Heavenly'. To those who hate The Light, that phase will be agonizing suffering. God will not be the one responsible for that choice, for it is a choice, always a choice.

The caveat to that reality is, it is within God's purview when/where that choice is final. Connect that revelation to the 'observer phenomenon' in Physics, that the observer effects the experiment thus the observer's choice effects the outcome, and you have a modern, rational answer for the fourth reason some reject The Gospel of The Grace of God in Christ.

21 posted on 02/20/2014 7:00:16 AM PST by MHGinTN (Being deceived can be cured.)
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To: Gamecock; cuban leaf
never say I am a sinner and put my faith in you Lord Jesus

Grace all the way through. Grace to get saved in the first place, grace to continue on the path, and grace that'll take me home.

Romans 8 says God gives us ALL things...graciously.

32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all--how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

22 posted on 02/20/2014 7:04:51 AM PST by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for victory!)
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To: cuban leaf

The spirit is an eternal thing, not subject to the limits time imposes upon physical matter. The spirit will continue to exist even after the new phase is arrived. The new phase is characterized by The Love of God penetrating every nook and cranny of the new Universe. A black hole is a fair analogy for the state of the new Universe, because those glorying in the Light of God will not be subjected to the torment of those in ‘outer darkness’ ...


23 posted on 02/20/2014 7:07:53 AM PST by MHGinTN (Being deceived can be cured.)
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To: daniel1212

You are employing a typical spurious liberal and annihilationism hermeneutic, that of determining truth by what to what you believe conforms to your idea of a “loving God.”


It seems that way, but there is much more to it. I know that God speaks to us at a human level. That is why the parables use common and plain language (even though Jesus made many of his comments via parables precisely so people would NOT understand). I look at the personality of our God all through the bible and how He deals with people that have found themselves at the receiving end of His wrath. The message is always the same: Total destruction. Sometimes entire races. Even threat of them being utterly removed even from the minds of future generations.

And often, when the fate of the lost after the great white throne judgement is called “second death”, perish, destruction, etc. sometimes there is an eternal ring as you mentioned in Mark 9:43-44. But in those cases the eternal fate of the lost is not being described but, rather, the eternal existence of the cause. e.g. the worm not dying and the fire not being quenched merely speaks to the permanence of their destruction. i.e. they ain’t comin’ back.

I can’t speak for Satan and his angels because I don’t know how complete their knowledge of eternity is compared to that of man. Just as man’s punishment for sin is different from that of the animals (they are not held accountable at all), satans punishment may be different from ours. My knowledge of the nuances of who he is and what he knows is limited.

Another important thing to consider is what the bible actually means when it speaks of “forever and ever” and “eternity”. Personally, I see time as a current that flows in an ocean called eternity. I don’t believe it is the passage of time as we know it.

And also, when making the case that the lost will suffer eternally, people use Revelation way too much. As I mentioned in a previous post, Revelation is one of my favorite books of the bible, but I understand that it is steeped in allegory and symbolism. Personally, I think all of that allegory in Revelation regarding forever and ever and eternity is saying that the lost, who are removed from God’s presence, are dead and they will stay dead. After all, a strong theme in the bible is that there is no life outside the presence of God.

And this doesn’t even address that the eternal suffering concept simply does not jibe with the God of the bible as he presents Himself and as he deals with men and sin throughout the bible.


24 posted on 02/20/2014 7:09:49 AM PST by cuban leaf
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To: MHGinTN

I believe God’s spirit is eternal. I was AG for 18 years and was told that God’s spirit has no beginning and no end, but human spirits have a beginning but no end.

I was told that but never given sound scripture to support it. I eventually abandoned that belief. If we do not accept Christ, I do not believe we have an eternal spirit. In fact, I question whether we have one at all if we are not saved.


25 posted on 02/20/2014 7:15:50 AM PST by cuban leaf
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To: MHGinTN

And to add to your post, the bible clearly states that the lost will be cast out. It is actually called outer darkness in at least one place.


26 posted on 02/20/2014 7:17:50 AM PST by cuban leaf
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To: MHGinTN

That fourth reason was a favorite of Christopher Hitchens and now of Dawkins.


Yep. And the intelligent non-believers I talk with as well. It confirms what C. S. Lewis taught, and I believe: The lost will CHOOSE it.


27 posted on 02/20/2014 7:20:47 AM PST by cuban leaf
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To: cuban leaf

See my tagline.


28 posted on 02/20/2014 7:22:31 AM PST by Gamecock (Grace is not opposed to human activity. It's opposed to human merit. MSH)
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To: Gamecock

Nice. :-)


29 posted on 02/20/2014 7:24:00 AM PST by cuban leaf
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To: cuban leaf
If it is not the eternal spirit of a man which is in torment, what is it? Certainly not the physical body we inhabit now.

We reason on time as flowing, as a linear thing. Time is a volume. Eternal existence is existence not on a linear scale but a volume, always present, never past and never future, always in the present, eternal in existence. Eternity is the volume of Time.

Put in a more modern framework, the 'information' of being is not lost, it resides in the volume of Time. Even Stephen Hawking is beginning to get it, since he has backed off on his earlier notion of a black hole collapsing infinitely, with nothing escaping. That's why I write that a black hole is a fair though not perfect analogy.

30 posted on 02/20/2014 7:29:06 AM PST by MHGinTN (Being deceived can be cured.)
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To: MHGinTN

If it is not the eternal spirit of a man which is in torment, what is it?


I don’t believe it is in torment. There is no life outside the presence of God. Something outside the presence of God does not enjoy “eternal life”. It is why “eternal life” is the benefit to the saved as mentioned in John 3:16.

Regarding the rest of your post, it is hypothesis.

BTW, I read the first of your three links in a previous post. You are being too smart by half. I’m considering taking the time to refute the red herrings, straw men and contradictions, but I’ve barely the time to post what I’ve posted so far.

I’ve read my share of incredibly lengthy and sometimes well produced documents both in and out of Christianity that make very clear and well defended points that fall apart when exposed to the other side’s position. I was intimidated by your post until I actually read it.


31 posted on 02/20/2014 7:36:04 AM PST by cuban leaf
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To: cuban leaf

I will now leave it to you. I am not in the habit of arguing with a closed mind.


32 posted on 02/20/2014 7:38:07 AM PST by MHGinTN (Being deceived can be cured.)
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To: cuban leaf
Man it seems you can type fast!

That is why the parables use common and plain language (even though Jesus made many of his comments via parables precisely so people would NOT understand).

But He was speaking in plain language and not parables when warning of being cast into the lake of fire in eternal punishment. Moreover, figurative language has its corresponding spiritual equivalent, and any one hearing the Lord warning of being cast into a place "Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched." (Mark 9:48) would understand He was not speaking of just being toasted in the end, but of ongoing punishment in the spiritual realm.

Nor was Lk. 16:19-33 referring to something other than postmortem punishment, as explained here .

I look at the personality of our God all through the bible and how He deals with people that have found themselves at the receiving end of His wrath. The message is always the same: Total destruction. Sometimes entire races. Even threat of them being utterly removed even from the minds of future generations.

But based upon this reasoning then the reward of the righteous is only earthly as well, yet just as God speak of eternal life so He also speaks of eternal destruction.

Just as man’s punishment for sin is different from that of the animals (they are not held accountable at all), satans punishment may be different from ours.

That again would require the elect to also have an eternity like that of animals, while rather than making a difference btwn the punishment of fallen angels and that of the lost, the Lord places them in the same place, and only speaks of eternal torment.

And this doesn’t even address that the eternal suffering concept simply does not jibe with the God of the bible as he presents Himself and as he deals with men and sin throughout the bible.

That is simply not the case but is forcing God to conform to your idea of God, as He both deals with the wicked by slaughtering them in the temporal realm and, as said, being tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: "And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name." (Revelation 14:10,11)

33 posted on 02/20/2014 7:40:38 AM PST by daniel1212 (Come to the Lord Jesus as a contrite damned+destitute sinner, trust Him to save you, then live 4 Him)
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To: daniel1212

Man it seems you can type fast!
Yes I do. Interestingly, I am on a conference call right now that I’ve not much involvement with, but I forgot to mute and someone said, “who’s typing so fast out there”. ;-)


34 posted on 02/20/2014 7:42:34 AM PST by cuban leaf
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To: MHGinTN

I will now leave it to you. I am not in the habit of arguing with a closed mind.


Think of it as steadfast. ;-)

Thing is, the more I’ve studied a subject, the more “steadfast” I am in my opinion. But that makes two points. First, it IS just an opinion and, second, it CAN be changed, but the volume and veracity of information needed to do it must compete with that to which I’ve already been exposed that led me to the opinion I have.

Would you say I could have called you “closed minded” regarding this? I don’t.

The thing is, it is not necessary to over-parse words to make the point here because the bible uses plain language and no single scripture makes either of our cases for us. In fact, in my case, much of the information I’m using is what I’ve learned of the personality of God in scriptures that have nothing to do with the eternal fate of the lost.

When you know a person, when something ambiguous is said about something they said or did, you are going to choose the meaning that most fits with their personality as you know them.

That is what I am doing with most of these scriptures. I also have nothing to do with the organization you mentioned in that other post. In fact, I’ve never heard of them.


35 posted on 02/20/2014 7:47:12 AM PST by cuban leaf
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To: daniel1212

But He was speaking in plain language and not parables when warning of being cast into the lake of fire in eternal punishment.


If someone who claimed to be God in the flesh (and you believe them) said to you that after death, you would be cast into a lake of fire for your eternal punishment, what do you think would happen to you?

I would think I would be burned up rather quickly. Especially if they said the fire was unquenchable and I was aware that often when bodies were burned in my culture the body was not completely consumed because the body itself put out the fire.

And since Jesus talked of the wheat and tares and the tares being burned up in other passages (and in my plain language the analogy clearly means destroyed as most people mean it), that would add to my being convinced that being thrown into the lake of fire was like being dried grass thrown into a furnace. It is utter destruction, with only CO2 blowing in the wind.


36 posted on 02/20/2014 7:54:29 AM PST by cuban leaf
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To: daniel1212

But based upon this reasoning then the reward of the righteous is only earthly as well, yet just as God speak of eternal life so He also speaks of eternal destruction.


Yep. And both conditions contain the word “eternal” while only one contains the word “life” and the other contains the word “destruction”.

So we know the condition is eternal, but one is life and one isn’t, while one is destruction and one isn’t. Even when one appeals to the greek lexicon, the meaning is plain, and the meaning of “life” can be clarified by the use of the word “destruction” and vice versa.

I.e. a reasonable person with no agenda would interpret the scripture to mean one will live, and live eternally, while the other will die, never to be resurrected.


37 posted on 02/20/2014 8:00:05 AM PST by cuban leaf
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To: daniel1212

But based upon this reasoning then the reward of the righteous is only earthly as well, yet just as God speak of eternal life so He also speaks of eternal destruction.


I’m actually carrying the personality of God as he deals with mankind in this “earthly tent” into eternity. The tent is temporary, and He destroys it. Also, sin seals its fate that it will be destroyed, one way or another.

Meanwhile, the same thing happens with eternity, only the condition is eternal. It never ends. It simply “is”. One lives, one doesn’t. In plain language, the absense of life is either death (which is a temporal event) or, more precisely, non-existence.

And there is no life outside the presence of God.


38 posted on 02/20/2014 8:07:18 AM PST by cuban leaf
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To: cuban leaf
And there is no life outside the presence of God.

Do you have Scripture to support that statement?

39 posted on 02/20/2014 8:09:43 AM PST by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: cuban leaf
I was told that but never given sound scripture to support it.

Genesis 1:26

40 posted on 02/20/2014 8:11:08 AM PST by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: daniel1212

That again would require the elect to also have an eternity like that of animals, while rather than making a difference btwn the punishment of fallen angels and that of the lost, the Lord places them in the same place, and only speaks of eternal torment.


Actually, this only speaks of those that took the mark of the beast. Also, Animals and humans, in their physical form both go to the same place (back to the dust) but their fates, nor their opportunity for eternal life, are not the same.


41 posted on 02/20/2014 8:15:18 AM PST by cuban leaf
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To: cuban leaf
I read the link. Interesting, but I am not convinced. I'm not saying he is wrong, either. It's just that I think he is.

As for your analogy, It's ok as far as it goes. Except that it is always risky to reason from analogy. The validity of your conclusions depend on the correspondences in the analogy.

In this case, it's not that the woman is in a perfectly great place, and the man offers to marry her and give her good stuff, or torture her, but not let her remain in the state that she is already in.

No. The situation is that she is in a poor situation, and the man offers to save her from it.

Eternal damnation is the default position of all mankind. A way to be saved from it is offered, but can be rejected. God casts no one into Hell (which I am using in the sense of a place of eternal torment). They freely choose to go there.

As far as interpretations of Revelation, I certainly do not insist that my interpretation is the correct one. I believe that it is, but this is a subject on which I am willing to concede that the possibilities that it is something else are quite substantial.

However that may be, I believe in an eternal torment of some kind, whether it consists of fire which burns that does not consume for all eternity, or just the knowledge of separation from God, and what you are missing out on. I lean toward the former.

However, I can find no Biblical justification for, say, death as obliteration and total destruction of the consciousness.

42 posted on 02/20/2014 8:22:39 AM PST by chesley
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To: daniel1212

That is simply not the case but is forcing God to conform to your idea of God, as He both deals with the wicked by slaughtering them in the temporal realm and, as said, being tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: “And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” (Revelation 14:10,11)


Yet the bible says that those that are not saved are removed from God’s presence. So, which is it? I suggest that this is discussing a temporal event. But again, this is not discussing the lost. Rather, it is discussing those who actually worship the beast or those who receive the mark of his name. The “no rest day or night” comment implies that the event has no breaks, but not that it is eternal in how it is suffered by those who receive this fate.

It also says “the smoke of their torment” rises forever and ever. The original Lucy show broadcast waves are STILL eminating from our solar system and will until the universe is destroyed. However, the show only lasted a half hour. This implies that what happened to them WILL linger in eternity.

However, it could be translated that they suffer for all eternity. It’s why there is any discussion here at all. :-)

The thing is, when both sides find themselves arguing “true” meanings of words, especially words that are used in heavily symbolic and allegoric scripture, nobody wants to be “married” to tightly to their position. Honestly, my MAIN personal reason for believing the annihilation interpretation vs the turn or burn one is that it more fits with the personality of my God as presented in the bible as well as His dealings with me personally.

This is the canvas on which my interpretations of all these “Fate of the lost” opinions I have are written.


43 posted on 02/20/2014 8:25:54 AM PST by cuban leaf
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To: ShadowAce

Genesis 1:26
I guess I should have said scripture that supports such a position. Using Genesis 1:26 to support it is like using John 14:2 to say that there are many mansions, when that is a grossly broad interpretation of scripture, much as translating me saying I’ll pick you up after work in my car, being translated “Cuban leaf is going to pick me up in a “limo” without knowledge of what kind of car I own.

It’s wishful thinking.

We are created in God’s image and likeness. What that really means regarding what God looks like and how eternal we are is definitely up for speculation. One could even argue that we “were” created eternal until Adama and Eve ate of the apple, and it takes the blood of Christ to get it back - blood that is not available to those that die in their sin.


44 posted on 02/20/2014 8:36:38 AM PST by cuban leaf
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To: cuban leaf
God's image is not a physical likeness-it is an eternal soul. His creating us indicates we have a beginning. Being in His image indicates our soul will endure forever--there is no annihilation.

As far as the mansions you mentioned regarding John 14--Jesus regularly referenced souls and people as buildings ("Tear down this temple and I will rebuild it in three days"). That passage means (to me) that we, as believers are the mansions, with our eternal, perfect bodies, living within God. There are many mansions in my Father's House.

45 posted on 02/20/2014 8:41:35 AM PST by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: chesley

I sincerely appreciate youar attitude about this. It actually corresponds to what the writer of the article said in his conclusion: “Support can be found through the Holy Scriptures to back up the case for eternal torture as well as the case for annihilation in Hell.”

But I do take issue with you regarding this statement: However, I can find no Biblical justification for, say, death as obliteration and total destruction of the consciousness.

Fact is, most scripture that discusses the fate of the lost, especially when comparing them to the saved, if one translates the plain language, indicates permanent ending. It is the way a person would interpret John 3:16, as well as phrases like “second death”, death, destruction, etc.

I think a fun side study would be of the word “punishment”, it’s meaning and sources and the words translated to that word in scripture. Sometimes punishment doesn’t hurt at all.


46 posted on 02/20/2014 8:50:14 AM PST by cuban leaf
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To: ShadowAce

God’s image is not a physical likeness-it is an eternal soul.


We are not really sure what his “image” is. I find it interesting that the tree was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This implies that in a very real way we were like the animals. That is, we had no accountability for sin other than don’t eat that apple. We did. We became accountable. We also knew.

I could go down a serious rabbit hole here, but my point was merely that we could argue until death what “in God’s image” means since now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face. i.e. we have partial knowledge that is sorely lacking to come up with a difinitive answer to the question. The answer is NOT in Genesis 1:26.


47 posted on 02/20/2014 9:00:07 AM PST by cuban leaf
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To: ShadowAce

As far as the mansions you mentioned regarding John 14—Jesus regularly referenced souls and people as buildings (”Tear down this temple and I will rebuild it in three days”). That passage means (to me) that we, as believers are the mansions, with our eternal, perfect bodies, living within God. There are many mansions in my Father’s House.


The word means room or dwelling place. And our bodies are referred to as not only temples, but also tents. Interpreting John 14 as “mansion” is like interpreting the word “car”, limo. It’s not logical, unless you’ve actually seen the car and know it is a limo.


48 posted on 02/20/2014 9:02:56 AM PST by cuban leaf
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To: xzins
So very true, dear brother in Christ! Thank you for that beautiful Scripture!

I would disagree with the author however on one point. Mega-churches are not ipso facto world-centered rather than Christ-centered.

Indeed, I've never met a person who attended Gateway in the Dallas/Ft Worth metroplex who was not deeply committed to Christ and Him surpassingly above all else. No doubt there are some, but I've never met them. Then again, that mega-church preaches heavily and directly from Scripture and has many other ministries beyond the weekly service.

49 posted on 02/20/2014 9:15:00 AM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: chesley

This link takes a different approach:

http://aggreen.net/beliefs/heaven_hell.html

Thing is, when you debate subjects like this, one of two things happens. Either you change your position, or you learn better to support your position.

Within those two are all sorts of things: the stubborn person that refuses to learn anything, the person who changes their opinion with the wind, etc. But there is nothing wrong with being steadfast in ones views, if one can back them up.

Of course, you’ll always find people who disagree with you. And often they just like to argue for the sake of arguing. I confess that I fall into that rut from time to time. But it really is important to be able to support your own opinion, and often one increases that support in the tasks required to support it against someone who disagrees and can articulate why.

It’s one of the reasons I come here. I’m looking to be convinced I’m wrong. Sometimes I come across something that looks to be promising only to be disappointed. But even that experience solidifies my views in the good way.


50 posted on 02/20/2014 9:19:59 AM PST by cuban leaf
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