December 21, 2009

Everybody gets a hug and a tee shirt

That's the unofficial motto of every Junior High School in North America. It's also one symptom of a much deeper trend. A sister symptom is: all dogs people go to heaven.

Scott McKnight defines five types of Universalism. Like most in the traditional Christian faith, I think I'm in agreement with types 1 and 2. I do NOT believe in 3 or 4. I have no way of knowing about 5, and neither do you. But if #5 were/is/may be true, what the heck good is it? ("It's okay to reject Jesus, folks. You'll have another chance to accept Him after you get to Hell.")

I mention this as a perfect example of why Theology really bugs me. Some people spend lifetimes fighting over, preaching on, and convincing themselves about things that might happen. Some people just want a kinder gentler Gospel that they think might sell better. But all we can really do in the here and now is attempt to find God together, share Him with each other, and find out what happens when WE get closer to HIM.

I don't care one stinking bit about "heaven" and neither should you. Finding God and Church now is more than enough trouble for one lifetime.

Let the Eternal bury (or raise) the Eternal.

23 comments:

J. L. Watts said...

I can go for one and two, cannot see 5 happening, and hope that somehow some of those early thinkers in Christianity were right, that because Christ died, all can live.

Hope, only.

Bill said...

Amen

A. Amos Love said...

"I don't care one stinking bit about "heaven"
and neither should you."

Ouch!!!

But, then again...

In the Bible;

"When" is heaven?
"Where" is heaven?
"Why" is heaven?
"What" is heaven?

and

"Who" is "Heaven?"

Ask different questions, get awesome answers.

Eddie said...

The problem is, as I see the Scriptures saying, repentance is a gift from God. The apostles conclude that people like those who crucified Jesus would not have done so, had they known who Jesus really was/is. And, Paul admits that the Gospel is hidden from those who disbelieve by the god of this world.

The point is, if I am dead in my sins, how can I believe or know anything? The dead have no consciousness, according the Scriptures, and in the context of being dead in one's sins, that consciousness would have to do with the light of the Gospel. It is preached by men, but men are enlightened--given life and the ability to understand--only by God.

Often Jesus hid his words in parables in order that some would not understand. He didn't do this to prevent men from understanding, but in order to keep from disturbing their chosen path and to show it is only through God's election that anyone would ever turn to him. Mankind--all of us--is dead in his sins, until God disturbs this "spiritual sleep" through the revelation of the Gospel--not the preaching of it, but God giving us his Spirit that enables us to understand and believe (see 1Corinthians 2).

Bill said...

If Calvinism is true, Eddie, I can't see how it's any good to us here on Earth. From our perspective, we cannot perceive the occurrence of anything you just talked about. Your "problem", therefore, is purely philosophical.

I remember what I did when I first called on the name of the Lord. And compared to what He did, it was nothing. Debating whether it was also "something" is pointless. HE is the point.

Mercy, Lord. Glory to God.

Eddie said...

Calvinism? Perhaps Calvinists use the Scriptures I pointed or alluded to in order to support their doctrine of election, but I am not a Calvinist. I thought it was understood I was responding to your pov that Christian Universalism is wrong; and folks believe it, because they presume it is a ‘kinder’ and ‘gentler’ Gospel. I don’t presume anything in order to believe. I simply believe something or not, but whatever I choose to do, I prove to myself through Scripture. This may or may not be convincing to other folks, but it works for me. I presumed, by reading your blog, you come to believe what you do in the same manner. I am merely noting that, just because you think “finding God and Church is more than enough trouble” for one lifetime, this opinion is not shared by everyone. The Scriptures were given to us for our understanding according to Deuteronomy, and, according to Proverbs, it is the glory of God to hide a matter but to our glory that we search out what he has hidden. Jesus himself said coming to know him and God (the Father) IS eternal life.

Sorry if I was not clear in my firs comment. I hope this one clears things up! :-)

Bill said...

Sorry to be a doofus, Eddie. When you said, "The problem is..." I thought you were disagreeing with me.

I think I understand now. Merry Christmas, brother. Thanks for the comments.

Eddie said...

Well Bill, if anyone is a doofus, it is I! This is my third post, and I am still apparently not making my position clear. You were correct to believe I was disagreeing with you. You said you didn’t believe in the 3rd and 4th points on Scott McKnight’s blog as those points concern Christian Universalism. I took issue with you there.

I didn’t make my point clear, however, and you thought I was a Calvinist. I am not. I believe everyone is saved, but I believe in the doctrine of election in that it proves that absolutely no one would ever come to Christ, unless God (the Father) drew us to him. We are born in a state of rebellion against God and would continue on that path without ever considering changing our way, unless God broke into our lives and revealed himself to us, giving us his Spirit, so we could know him.

I don’t look upon my belief that eventually all will be saved as a belief in “second chance” salvation. I am stating flat out that God has not left our salvation to “chance.” Jesus was sent into the world to save mankind (John 3:16-17). He said that he finished the job (John 17:4; 19:30). Long-story-short, I am simple enough to believe him.

Now, in my second post I admitted that you seem to use the Scripture rather than personal opinion to make your judgments concerning what is and is not true. We both base our understanding of truth upon the Bible, but we have come to two different, but I believe, honest conclusions about the subject of universal salvation.

Now, if you prefer not to discuss this issue, that is fine with me. I feel quite embarrassed already that it has taken me at least three comments to make my position clear. It has been a little while since I actually discussed anything at length over the internet. I used to frequent two Christian discussion boards, but I became disenchanted with the type of opposing arguments I was expected to defend against. I much prefer to disagree with a brother (somehow that doesn’t sound really nice), knowing the discussion on both sides actually seek the truth of the Scriptures. IOW, when we both believe the Scriptures but disagree with their meaning, the goal in mind for both of us is the truth, not that of undermining the integrity of the Scripture or belittling the faith of the one taking the opposing position.

Well, I hope this comment, is clear enough to set the record straight. As I said, if you prefer not to discuss this issue because of time constraints or whatever, that is fine with me. I am almost sorry I commented at all. I feel like I am in a kind of ambiguous rut, where what seems crystal in my own eyes comes out awfully blurry on the other end. Sorry for the lack of clarity on my part.

Eddie said...

By the way, Merry Christmas to you too. I forgot to add that to the end of my previous comment. :-)

Bill said...

Ah, good. I much prefer to butt heads bluntly. Thanks for 'splainin again, brother.

I've been around with folks on 3 & 4 also and I agree it's about as fruitless as it gets. There's just no way to prove who's right.

What bothers me is the bettor's position. If I'm wrong, Eddie, then my message is doing no harm. (Other things about the way people present that message may, but the message itself isn't harmful.)

But if you're wrong, and *if* you spread that message, then you're giving people a false sense of security that could lock them out of God's presence for all eternity.

That's all what really bugs me. Folks who believe in 3 & 4 should have enough humility to say, "But if I'm wrong..."

How do you feel about that?

A. Amos Love said...

Eddie

Have to admit, 3, 4, 5, really sound good.
And there are quite a few scriptures,
when looked at together could make a good case.
“And he is the propitiation for our sins:
and not for ours only,
but also for the sins of the whole world.”
“Every toungue confess Jesus Christ is Lord.” etc.

But in order to stake “eternal life” on only those verses
I would have to leave out many other verses
that cause me to question the doctrine of
“The reconciliation of all things.”
“Ultimate Reconcilliation.”
“Universilism.”

I’d be intereseted in your explantion of
these following verses or however you explain
your beliefs and how you came to them.

Luke 13:23
Then said one unto him,
Lord, are there few that be saved?
And he said unto them,
24 Strive to enter in at the strait gate:
for many, I say unto you,
will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.

Matthew 7:22
Many will say to me in that day,
Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name?
and in thy name have cast out devils?
and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them,
I never knew you:
depart from me,
ye that work iniquity.

Matthew 25:41
Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand,
Depart from me, ye cursed,
into everlasting fire,
prepared for the devil and his angels:

John 3:36
He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life:
and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life;
but the wrath of God abideth on him.

1 John 5:11 And this is the record,
that God hath given to us eternal life,
and this life is in his Son.
12 He that hath the Son hath life;
[and] he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

Mr 16:16
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved;
but he that believeth not shall be damned.

Peace...

Eddie said...

Hi Bill,
Thank you for responding to my latest post. It appears I have been clear at last! :-)

Concerning the bettor's position, I wouldn’t entirely agree. I have met not a few on the discussion boards who have a strong distaste for Christianity and its Christian God precisely because of our traditional teaching on hell. They claim they want no part of a God who would torture people for eternity and not only so, but have them suffer right before his very throne, so he could ‘enjoy’ the festivities forever and ever (Revelation 14:10). So, given this, I believe we both have a terrible responsibility to preach, speak or write only what is true of God. No matter which of us is wrong, people who believe what we say will suffer the consequences of accepting a wrong message about God and make their decisions concerning a relationship with him accordingly.

Concerning humility, it is not a simple one way street, my friend. All of God’s children need to humble ourselves before his word and plead with him to open our hearts and minds to his truth. No one gets a ‘free’ ride here. No matter who is wrong, people suffer, because they believe a wrong message about our God. I talk to God every time I think of publicizing a message on the internet, asking for guidance and help to be clear and truthful.

Concerning proving what or who is correct, Jesus said knowing God and Jesus, whom he sent, is eternal life. If we claim to have eternal life now, it is our business to be at least satisfied that what we do know is correct and be ready to change, if proven otherwise. Paul changed from one who persecuted the Way to one who preached the Way, just about overnight. I think God honors an active faith, not one that wants to think it over for awhile. The case I have in mind is when Jesus asked which was easier to say: “your sins are forgiven” or “rise, take up your bed and walk”— but to prove he had the power to forgive sins (which the bystanders admitted only God could do), Jesus told the paralyzed man to rise and take away his bed. He did, but those claiming to have faith said they heard strange things, today; we need to think it over. The first time God explains the truth is the best time to receive it. Afterward, it is not so easy to believe.

When I believe God is explaining something to me, I try to act on it right away. I believe it is his responsibility to keep me from committing gross error, harmful to me and others. If my heart is not right with God, that is another matter, but, if my heart is right with him, then he needs to guide me—I cannot guide myself. Therefore, my life—all of me, my faith included—is in his hands. I can do nothing more than that.

J. L. Watts said...

What if the 'eternal' is Matthew 25 is translated as 'age long' instead of eternal? Wouldn't that allow for a punishment for those who reject Christ?

Eddie said...

Hi Amos,
And “Peace” to you as well, my friend, and Merry Christmas!

Let me begin by apologizing for the large post. I wanted to answer all your questions, and I tried to be brief, but when I tried posting it to you, it was rejected for length. I have, therefore, posted two replies for your single post to me. Sorry for the length.

Concerning the Scriptures you mention, a common denominator is, just because all people are forgiven, and or saved, this does not mean they are not judged at the “Great White Throne”. Some will enter into life having only to be educated about Christ, for example, Matthew 25 is probably speaking of those who never knew Jesus. No one speaking to him in the parable believed he or she had done any good to him, and the others didn’t believe they had done anything evil to him. People will be judged according to their deeds done in this life. We know—all of us—when we hurt or help others. No one needs to be a Christian to understand that. Neither are we talking degrees in theology here, just common acts of kindness and mercy or acts of hatred and selfishness. Jesus spokes of judging those who have done evil in their lives in Luke 12:46-48. Those who did it ignorantly will be punished, but not as severely as those who did evil knowing what they did was wrong.

Concerning which Scripture to believe, you are correct in assuming some Scriptures are more important than others in that some texts are explained in the context of the others. For example, we can read in the text that God is the ultimate Judge of humanity, but we also read that God IS Love. Which is the most important Scripture, the one that shows what God does or the one that explains what or who God is? I believe God is certainly Judge, but all his judgments speak of his love for us. If I cannot see the love of God in his judgments of us (as perceived by me), then I must not understand what I read correctly about what God is doing in judgment. His love is pervasive in all that he does.

Concerning Luke 13:23, to be sure, there is a Way to follow and a way to avoid. The one offers rewards for things done in this life, while the other offers only destruction. That is, absolutely nothing pertaining to life here will be worth bringing with us to the other side. We lived for self, so we will enter life with nothing but self. It is a lot like going to school in this life. Some will enter into the adult world never studying or working to attain anything but the pleasures of the present. Those who have an eye to the future and work to attain a better, more interesting life (in this world) will more than likely attain what they work for. The others enter into the same (adult) life with little more than the air they breathe.

Concerning Matthew 7:22-23, see the second paragraph above. There is no getting around the fact that some live a religious life purely for gain in this world. They can expect nothing more than what they received here and now. They know they are doing wrong and will have to be punished and learn how to behave in the presence of their God. There are several Scriptures that support this understanding; two are:1Corinthias 3:15 and Ezekiel 44:10-14.

This concludes part 1.

Eddie said...

Concerning Matthew 25:41, I touched on this above, but we need to remember these are parables and cannot be taken literally. The words used are explained elsewhere. Fire, for example, is seen as trials in life. Those who are punished will have to live under adverse conditions to “burn” away the chaff and dross, so that all that is left will be what is important to God. So, there is a “heaven” to gain and a “hell” to avoid, but it is not a tortuous literal fire that lasts for all eternity. The word for “eternal” is used elsewhere in Scripture for things having a very limited space of time. I think the word is best understood as an “indefinite” period of time.

John 3:36 has to do with today. Those who do not believe in Jesus cannot see or understand the life we know as the children of God. Explaining such to those who don’t believe is like trying to describe color to a man who was blind from birth. It simply cannot be done. The wrath of God is the darkness of untruth. It is the Truth that sets us free, and the Truth is found in Jesus. If we don’t have Jesus we don’t have truth, and the wrath of God (darkness) permeates the lives of unbelievers.

1John 5:11-12 is a simple straightforward Scripture that describes who is and who is not a Christian. Remember, the only difference between us and the world is Jesus. If the Gospel is hidden from many in the world by spiritual wickedness, people simply cannot believe. Just as a blind man cannot make himself see, so the spiritually blind cannot understand the Gospel, until God breaks into their lives. We can preach to them until we are blue in the face, but until the veil is taken away by God himself, the unbeliever simply cannot understand.

Mark 16:16 simply describes the fate of the believer and the unbeliever. Romans 8:1 says there is no condemnation (read judgment in the afterlife) for those who are in Christ Jesus. We will be judged according to our works, but not if we should enter life or not. We are already in Christ who is our Life. The unbeliever must face the judgment (damned in Mark 16:16). This is described above in Matthew 25. All unbelievers will face Christ sitting upon this judgment seat. Some will enter life, while others will not. However, their detainment or punishment is not eternal, as pointed out above.

Now, I can speak at length concerning any of the above if you wish, but this should give you an idea of how I believe concerning universal salvation and how these Scriptures fit into my understanding of this doctrine.

If you don’t mind, since we are on the subject of difficult Scriptures, could you explain your position on three Scriptures? You mention two of them in your own post to me. The first is 1John 2:2. If Jesus is the propitiation of the sins of all the world, is there a sin too great for his sacrifice to cover? If, indeed, he paid it all, how is God still looking for justice for sin? The second is Philippians 2:11. Now I can understand how the first phrase could be true without the doctrine of universal salvation demanded, but how is the second phrase also true without demanding universal salvation? Could God be glorified in forced submission? The final Scripture I would like you opinion on is 1Corinthians 15:24-26. If death is destroyed and Romans 6:23 says death is the wages or just fruit of sin, how could death reign over a single soul? After all, if one person is dead, death still exists. Does it not? I don’t care if one interprets “death” as annihilation or a terrible hellfire. This Scripture says “death” is not eternal. How then can universal salvation be untrue?

This concludes my post.

Eddie said...

J.L.

Hi, and Merry Christmas.

I agree with you concerning “eternal” in Matthew 25. I try to make this point in my post to Amos above.

A. Amos Love said...

Eddie

Thank you for taking the time to explain.
No need to apologize to me for length.
Right Bill? ;-)

Lot’s to take in and respond to.

Need some time to ask how to respond to all.

For now, for me, there are too many problems
with the doctrine of “Universal Salvation.”

Too many times there are separation of groups,
sheep from goats, blessed from cursed,
those on the right and those on the left,
wheats and tares, those that believe and those
who won’t believe even if the dead are raised,
those who enter in and
those who will not be able to enter in,
those Jesus knows and those he never knew,
a resurection of life
and a resurection of damnation,
those who love the truth and those who don’t,
those that enter in and those who are thrust out.

Much of “Universal Salvation” depends on “eternal”
and the proper translation of the Gr. “Aonios.”

You seem to want to make “Eternal/Aonios”
"an indefinite period of time."
Well, maybe - maybe not?

Here is a contrast for
Time period - Or outside of time.

The Bible uses words other than "Aonios" for
"an indefinate period of time."

2 Cor 4:18
While we look not at the things which are seen,
but at the things which are not seen:
for the things which are seen are *temporal;*
but the things which are not seen are *eternal.*

temporal - proskairos - for a season, for a time.
eternal - aionios - without beginning and end,
that which always has been and always will be.

Phm 15
For perhaps he therefore departed for a *season,*
that thou shouldest receive him for *ever;*

season - hora - hour, time, season.
ever - aonios - without end, never to cease.

Isn’t God “Everlasting/Aonios?” Rm 16:26
Isn’t God - Without beginning and end?

Things that are “eternal/aonios”
are outside of time,
no longer subject to the natural realm,
no longer subject the carnal mind.

How can we mere humans understand “eternal?”

Ro 8:7
Because the carnal mind is enmity against God:
for it is not subject to the law of God,
neither indeed can be.

I am thankful that I have received “The Gift”
of “Eternal/Aionios” life.

New life, that has no beginning or ending.

}}}}}} Jesus {{{{{{

Eddie said...

Hi Amos,
I hope you had an enjoyable and blessed Christmas day.

Concerning “groups”, I have no problem with the resurrection of life and the resurrection of the damned (those to be judged). I do not claim there will be no judgment for those who are in rebellion against God. The Bible is clear there will be a judgment for those who reject Jesus. The question is will this judgment carry eternal consequences in that certain people will be without God eternally? I don’t believe this could be so.

Let’s take for example: those who are able to enter (the house) and those who are unable to enter (which, btw, Jesus says he never knew (by way of experience—i.e. these did not walk with him). I believe you have reference to the parable of the 10 virgins in Matthew 25. I believe an explanatory Scripture is found in Ezekiel 44. We should let Scripture interpret Scripture whenever possible, should we not? In Ezekiel 44 it appears that it is speaking of the time of Jesus second coming (verse-2). The east gate is shut indicating no one else will enter the Temple area. The judgment appears to be that by and large the Levites (priests) have not been true to their Lord. They taught the people for their own gain (verse-8), so the Lord says the Levites who had gone away from the Lord when the rest of Israel went astray, they shall bear their iniquity. The interesting thing is what the Lord means by bearing their own iniquity. Keep in mind that originally God wanted Israel to be a kingdom of priests to the world, but they didn’t want to draw near to God so God chose one tribe and out of it he chose the priests. Israel, then, became a type of the world and the Levites a type of the elect or those who preached to and taught everyone else.

Now let’s get back to Ezekiel 44 and the unfaithful Levites (read those unfaithful to Christ) bearing their iniquity. Verse-11, they will be ministers within the Temple compound and will be in charge of the gates—i.e. to determine who would be allowed to enter etc. Their authority extends over the sacrifices (gifts, repentance, fellowship etc) concerning the people. Their service extends to those who don’t know God or need to be drawn to him—the people. In this way they bear their iniquity—they did not represent God in a truthful manner in this life when they spoke to the people, so their “reward” shall be that they will represent him to the billions and billions of people later who need to come to know him. And everyone will know why they are serving at the gate, because they had been unfaithful to the Lord in this life (verse-12). These Levites (read unfaithful Christians) shall NOT come near to the Lord and minister to him to do the office of priest to him (verse-13) and come near the holy things (or ones) in the Most Holy Place. Why? Because they will bear their shame concerning the sins they committed in misrepresenting their Lord in this life.

On the other hand, the sons of Zadok (verse-15) represent the faithful. Zadok was the faithful priest who tried to follow David in his exile when Absalom rebelled. He also was faithful and anointed Solomon, king, David’s choice rather than Adonijah, the people’s choice. These, the sons of Zadok, are permitted inside the House (Most Holy Place) and minister to the Lord. They are able to draw near to him, because they kept the Lord’s charge when everyone else seemed to be going the wrong way. They did not misrepresent the Lord, but spoke and taught the truth.

I think the judgment fits the “crime”! Don’t you think? I also believe the prophecy in Ezekiel concerning who can and who cannot enter into the House is very close to the analogy drawn in the parable of the ten virgins. But, that’s how I see it. Perhaps others will not. Nevertheless, there are very close similarities between the two Scriptures. Whenever possible, I try to let the word of God define for me what it says in a difficult passage. I think just about all of your “groups” could be addressed similarly.

End of Part 1 of 2

Eddie said...

Concerning the meaning of the Greek Aionios, I have no disagreement that it CAN mean eternity, but the word is defined either by the context or by comparing Scripture with Scripture. For example, in 2Corinthians 4:18 (one of your example Scriptures) the context seems to point to things unseen (God) being eternal. However, this is not necessarily so, because the word used for “temporary” means only for an occasion. Paul could have in mind something like food that lasts only for a single use, while aionios could mean for an indefinite time period—long lasting iow. Nevertheless, the eternity of God is defined elsewhere showing he has neither beginning of days nor end of life—iow eternal, no question.

You also use Philemon 1:15, but I use this Scripture to prove aionios cannot mean “eternal”! The point is Onesimus was once Philemon’s slave, and he ran away. He met Paul and became a Christian. Paul sent a letter to Philemon saying Onesimus departed “for a season” but now, because he is a Christian, he is willing to be his slave for as long as he lives (aionios). It cannot mean forever, because Philemon does not own his brother. Onesimus belongs to Christ. Paul’s letter is not only a request for mercy, but a kind of statement that one brother should not “own” another brother, such is also true in the law. Tradition has it that Onesimus was indeed set free and became a bishop of that city.

Concerning Romans 16:26, indeed God is everlasting in the manner that we define our English word, however the word “aionios” does not carry that meaning. The eternity of God is defined elsewhere. But here in Romans 16 the meaning is not eternal but saying that God is the God of the ages. He created time—all the ages, past, present, and future. For example, Ephesians 2:7 speaks of ages to come. The same Greek word is used there and there cannot be more than one eternity. Ephesians 3:5 speaks of ages in the past. The Greek cannot mean “eternity” there either for man was living in each of those ages. Ephesians 3:21 mentions that God will be honored throughout all ages and it also mentions an age that will not end, but this is an interpretation. It literally refers to the age of ages, which may indeed mean it does not end, but we don’t know that. What we do know is Christ will never die and his life dwells in us giving us “eternal” life. So, no matter whether God made an infinite number of ages or made many ages culminating in a final age that never ends, the point is we shall never die.

In your first posting you admitted some Scriptures “seem” to support universal salvation, while other seem to deny the validity of the doctrine. Therefore, some Scripture by its very nature has more authority than other, and by that I mean some Scripture is used to define other scriptures like parables etc. Some Scripture needs to be given proper meaning, showing by itself, its meaning is not clear. Therefore, it would seem to me both you and I need to show why those Scriptures that support what we believe are indeed the Scriptures with the greater authority and also show how the other (problematic) Scriptures should be defined in a believable manner, preferably using Scripture against Scripture. I believe I am doing that. So far, you are merely pointing out the “problematic” Scriptures without showing their definition.

In any event, I will continue to respond to you and anyone else as long as you all wish, but I hesitate to speak against anyone’s faith. I do it only with permission. As long as we are looking for truth and enjoying the discussion, I’ll continue, but I’ve seen discussions turn sour and separate brethren. I don’t wish to do that here. If I feel I am offending anyone, I’ll apologize and stop, and that would be my final post on this subject. I want everyone here to understand this.

End of Part 2 of 2

Bill said...

Amos & Eddie, I'm only reading a few sentences of these comments now. I'm just not that interested in the topic, but y'all seem to be "playing nicely" so please continue as long as you like.

Eddie, I still say you don't know for sure. But if you think you do, so be it. Hope to talk more about other topics in the future. Nice to meet you again, always nice to know another brother in the Lord.

Amos, be sure to turn the lights off when y'all are done. ;-)

A. Amos Love said...

Eddie

“I have met not a few on the discussion boards who have a strong distaste for Christianity and its Christian God precisely because of our traditional teaching on hell. They claim they want no part of a God who would torture people for eternity...”

I’ve also met these people who use this as an *excuse*
for not walking with and being a servant of God.

Sounds good on the surface.
Found out, most, just want to be their own God
and are NOT willing to lay down their own life.
They love the idols of their heart. Ezk 14
They love the praises of men more then
the praises of God.

I’ve also met folks who say the God I serve
is also a killer in the natural realm and
they want no part of a God
who kills innocent people.

Killing the first born of all Egypt after
hardening Pharaoh’s heart. What did they do?

Drowning the whole Egyptian army.
Now that’s also cruel. (To the carnal mind)
He could have kept the wall of fire going
till after He closed up the Red Sea.

God had them “stone” cows who pushed people.
People with familiar spirits were “stoned.”
That’s an interesting form of deliverance. Yes?
He that blasphemed the name of the LORD. Stoned.
Lot’s and lots of stones...

Stephen was stoned. And he was on God’s side.

Ananias and Sapphira, they sold everything,
and gave most. How many today could say that?
One lie. Wow!!! That’s a tough task master.
Mercy Lord. How many lies have I told?

Adam and Eve. One little bite. Out of the Garden.

Paul, whipped five times 39 stripes.
Beaten with rods three times.
Stoned and left for dead.
Shipwrecked.
Prison.

And that’s when he was serving a loving God.

And the list goes on and on...

Sure sounds like fun serving a loving God. Yes?
And you're worried about "the age to come."

Oh, if what you believe is completely accurate,
and Jesus, knowing everyone is going to be okay,
everyone will be reconciled back to God,

**Doesn’t He play a “cruel joke” on “His Disciples?**

Jesus tells “His disciples” to go and preach Jesus,
God come in the flesh, “The Kingdom of God” and
how you need to repent, deny yourself, forsake all,
pick up your cross daily, die to self,
If they hated me they will hate you,
if they persecuted me they will persecute you.

Sounds like a popular message to make friends. Yes?

Jesus tells them, Go into all the world
and “make”disciples,
teaching them whatsoever I have commanded you.

His disciples did and many were tortured,
and died dead in horrible ways.

They were stoned, they were sawn asunder,
were tempted, were slain with the sword:
they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins;
being destitute, afflicted, tormented...

**Jesus sure knows how to play a "cruel joke"
on His friends.**

Jesus knows everyone is going to be “reconciled” BUT, you, my friends, “Go” and do what I tell you,
and you can “really suffer” for my name.

Sure is fun serving a loving jokester like Jesus. Yes?

I don’t know how it will all work out
But to try and make “God in our image” of love,
and to try and please people is futile at best
and could be dangerous. (To me)

If God wants to open up the earth and swallow up
a bunch of people in a moment. Fine with me.

Don’t know much,
but I do know God is a lot smarter than I am,
and He’s the boss. Not my will...

Trust and obey NOT think and decide.

Amos 3:3
can two walk together unless they be agreed.

No matter what my eyes see and my ears hear...

I vote for “God is love.”

Eddie said...

Amos, hi again,

This will be my final post. I don’t mean to try to force anyone to believe as I do. I don’t mean to write words that would intimidate someone into believing what he does not wish to believe. I will merely say that I have supported my claims with Scripture, and I have offered a believable alternative for the meaning of those problematic Scriptures which would seem to deny what I claim about universal salvation.

You seem to misunderstand that the foundation for my claims comes from those who wrote the NT itself. If it comes from Jesus’ own disciples, they obviously heard it from him—iow he didn’t hide the fact from them. Paul wrote that all Israel would be saved. He also wrote that God is not a respecter of persons. If all Israel is saved, certainly God would have to save all the gentiles as well, if he intends to remain impartial. I have not hidden the fact that people who don’t believe in Christ will be judged and punished. What I have denied is that that punishment is eternal. The Scriptures do not show that God punishes people with eternal consequences. On the contrary, he loves his enemies and treats those who hate him with grace. He tells us to do the same.

I don’t know what your statements concerning how cruel God is were about, since I am not one of those who say God is cruel, rather I pointed to those who say they could never trust a God who is so cruel as Christians paint him. I know you were speaking facetiously, but I do not understand why it was directed at my understanding of this doctrine.

In any event, since you haven’t used any Scripture to justify your claims about the doctrine or to show how the problematic Scriptures that would deny your pov should be read, I am not planning to discuss this issue further. May God bless you and your family, and I trust you will continue to reach out to him to understand his word more and more perfectly throughout your life. Glad to have met you. Perhaps we’ll meet again to discuss something else. Till then, God be with you.

A. Amos Love said...

Eddie

I've enjoyed the conversation.

Just to many unanswered questions for me.

Had the debate about "Eternal/Aonios" before.

Aionios is 69 times in the NT and the way I see it now
only a few, 3 or 4 maybe, could mean "age during."

And if I work hard enough, I can get them
to mean "Eternal," with out beginning or ending.

This is a short summary of my research for “Aionios.”

It’s from 3 sources.
The Bible computer program I’m using.
The Strongs Concordance.
Vines Dictionary of New Testament Words.

Computer program

KJV - eternal 42, everlasting 25, the world began + 5550 2 , for ever 1;
1-without beginning and end,
2-that which always has been and always will be
3-without end, never to cease, everlasting.

Strongs

Perpetual (also use of past time, or past and future as well) : eternal, forever, everlasting, world (began).

Vines Dictionary of New Testaments words.

Aionios - Describes duration either undefined but not endless as in Romans 16:25; 2 Tim 1:9;
Titus 1:2; or undefined because endlesss in Rom 16:26. and the other sixty-six places in the N.T.
The predominant meaning of aionios, that in which it is used every where in the N.T., save the places noted above, may be seen in 2 Cor. 4:18, where it is set in contrast with proskairos, lit, for a season, and in Philm 15, where only in the N.T. it is used as a noun. Moreover it is used of persons and things which are in their nature endless, as, of God, Rom 16:26; of His power,
1 Tim 6:16, and of His glory, 1 Peter 5:10; of His Holy Spirit, Heb 9:14; of the redemption effected by Christ, Heb 9:12, and of their consequent salvation of men, Heb. 5:9,as well as His future rule,
2 Peter 1:11, which is elsewhere declared to be without end, Luke 1:33; of life received by those who believe in Christ, John 3:16, concerning whom He said, they shall never perish, John 10:28, and of the resurrection of the body, 2 Cor. 5:1, elsewhere said to be immortal, 1 Cor.. 5:1, in which that life will be finally realized, Matt 25:46: Titus 1:2,

-------------

Once again I am thankful that I have received
“The Gift” of “Eternal/Aionios” life.

New life, that has no beginning or ending.

And other sheep I have,
which are not of this fold:
them also I must bring,
and they shall hear “my voice;”
and there shall be one fold,
and one shepherd.
John 10:16

One Fold - One Shepherd - One Voice.
If Not Now, When?

In His Service. By His Grace.

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