Should Hell be dropped from the Bible?

There are many versions of ‘Hell’ taught across the spectrum of Christian beliefs. Here is Bill’s – Bill I hope you don’t mind me quoting you:

I do not believe, not do I accept that the “Hell” doctrine is a biblical concept. I believe in Judgement but not literal flame and literal fire for a literal eternity. The hell doctrine was born of Catholic heresy and remains a venomous thorn in the side of orthodox Christianity today. Many people are beginning to question the veracity of this doctrine and many translations are dropping the word “hell” from their bibles altogether seeing as it’s a gross mistranslation in the first place.

A lot of megachurches don’t teach about hell now, since it’s not seeker sensitive. Others would like to see the re-emergence of fire and brimstone preaching. The worst extremes of fire and brimstone preaching loaded people with guilt and fear, scaring them into following Jesus – or at least trying to do all the right things, which became very legalistic. Jesus himself asked us to follow him, but didn’t try to scare us into it – at least that’s not my reading of the New Testament.

Yet despite not focussing on hell, many megachurches do believe it is a real, literal place. My Anglican minister taught me it was a place of eternal separation from God. Others like Bill say it is not a biblical concept. Most non-Christians I know find the concept of going there highly offensive, and contradictory to the notion of a loving God.

So – should ‘hell’ be dropped from the Bible?


74 thoughts on “Should Hell be dropped from the Bible?

  1. Hah, love your work RP…

    Yes, of course it should be dropped from biblical vernacular. It is a non-scriptural word although in fairness to KJV translators, the word carried a meaning far different to the one used today.

    Hell as it was understood in the 17th century came from an Old English word Helan, which meant ‘to cover or conceal’ (Old English: helan, Old High German: helan, Latin: celare, Greek: kalyptein)

    Note the Latin word “celare” above from which we derive the word cellar and the Greek kalyptein which meant to “hide or cover”

    Death is this “Helan”, this “Celare” and this “Kalyptein”, it is a place of concealmeant UNTIL the day of judgement where you shall receive according to your works. “The dead know not anything” (Eccles 9:5) is what the bible teaches. Orthodox Christianity however typically teaches that the soul departs the body upon death and goes to either Heaven or Hell immediately which is contradictory to the utmost seeing as judgment has not even occured yet. And where is Heaven? It’s a planet right? That’s what I’ve heard countless ministers including Pringle teach No, heaven is “within you” (Luke 17:21) as well.

    I could go on all day here but I don’t think anything I say will be well received, at least that has been my experience in the past. People would rather believe in an angry God who fires and fries souls for all eternity (another unscriptural word) despite the fact that David reveals to us in Psalms that “his mercy endures forever” (Psalm 106:1)

  2. But in the old testament, doesn’t the bible talk of sheol? And in the new, doen’t it talk of hades? Both words meaning place or realm of the dead?

    There’s a few places in the realm of the dead, the bottomless pit, Abraham’s bosom, Gehenna/Tartarus and the Lake of Fire= Second death. Anyways. Has anyone heard of those places?

    Personally I would refer ‘hell’ as being the Lake of Fire or Gehenna/Tartarus or the bottomless pit. It’s a place in the realm of the dead that is an areas of punishment.

    If the reason why these churches want to get rid of the word ‘hell’ is to be accurate in bible interpretation (but not devaluing eternal punishment), then I have no problem with it. But people need to be aware about these places and realms so that they may fear where their soul may end up.

  3. speckandplanks is correct about the Hebrew and Greek words for ‘hell’. ‘Hades’ is the grave, and corresponds to ‘sheol’ in the OT. It is the ‘gates of hades’ which will not prevail against the Church Jesus is building. In other words we, the Church, are sent to plunder death itself through the gates of hades and rescue those who are dead to God.

    Gehenna is what Jesus referred to as the place of torment. It was literally a place outside the walls Jerusalem where perpetual fires burnt garbage, and he uses it as a figure of speech to describe the torment of separation from the Father. The story of th rich man and Lazarus illustrates this, and reveals that both the rich man and Lazarus had some kind of consciousness after death, and reveals the state of the soul. In this account Jesus declares the truth of the eternal soul.

    That Jesus used the word ‘gehenna’ so often is significant. It means more than a hidden place. It means a place of burning torment and outer darkness – separation from the Father.

    Tartarus is reserved for fallen angels.

  4. I think ‘hell’ id now misleading and should be dropped, by the way, and be replaced with the correct words, with a referenced footnote to indicate he true meaning ad signifcance to the speaker or writer and hearer.

    John Stott would agree with Bill. I wouldn’t, mainly because Jesus used the word ‘gehenna’ so often, and made it famously clear that there were dire consequences to unbelief, but it is an interesting debate.

  5. Facelift, you are widely read and well enough researched, I will give you that.

    Re the “parable” of rich man and Lazarus – are you suggesting it is a literal event to be taken literally? If you are, then I fear you have missed the point of that particular parable altogether. You have not “searched the scriptures” as the Bereans did Faclift, you are taking your cue from popular Church opinion.

    Contrary to church culture, parables were spoken by Christ to conceal the meaning and still do to this day –

    “…And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
    He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given…”

    That is why Christ spoke in parables, to conceal the meaning because “to them (the multitudes who came to hear Christ) it is NOT given…”

    Anyways, if Lazarus was taken literally to the “bosom of Abraham” why then does Christ say in John 3:13 “…And no man (that would include Abraham) hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven…”

    And Paul this? Acts 13:36 “…For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption…” And again here: “…For David is not ascended into the heavens…” Acts 2:34

    Yes, there is a Gehenna, Tartarus, Hades and a Lake of Fire but these words are to be understood spiritually and not carnally. The bible doesn’t neccesarily mean what it says, it means what it means. Christ is called the “lamb of God” (John 1:29) – is he therefore a four footed fluffy barn-yard farm animal? Ah, come here little Jesus, you’re so cute…
    The devil is a “roaring lion” (1 Peter 5:8) – does that mean Satan has a physical appearance exactly and literally like a physical lion? Is that what is being said?
    Will we be given a literal physical white stone with a different name on it as per Revelation 2:17? What if you lose it or misplace it? Will you get another one? What name will people call you? By the name on the stone or your regular name?

    Did Christ really take away the candlestick from the church @ Ephesus as per Revelation 2:5? Was it a physical actual literal candlestick? Wouldn’t they just buy another one if he did? Is that what was being said though?

  6. I don’t think the story of the rich man and Lazarus is a parable, since real people are mentioned, including Abraham.

    The bosom of Abraham was commonly known in Jewish culture as paradise. If you study scripture on this you will know that to the Jews paradise was positioned in the grave up to the time Jesus is talking about it here, so the gulf fixed was between the grave where atoned-for saints dwelt after death, and gehenna where unrepentant sinners dwelt, and a great gulf was fixed between the two compartments in he grave, not between heaven and the grave. the third compartment, and lowest was Tartarus, reserved for fallen angels who had defiled themselves with men.

    Jesus said to the man on the other cross at his crucifixion, ‘Today you will be with me in paradise’ Luke 23:43, so it had to be the grave, which is where Jesus went that day. Then it tells us that captivity was led captive by Christ Eph. 4:8-10, and we find in Revelation 2:7 that paradise is in heaven, which tells us that Jesus preached, by the Spirit, to the people, or spirits ‘in the prison’ 1 Pe. 3:18-22, that is, the grave, where he was as his body lay in the tomb, were led out of the grave, and a great multitude of dead saints was seen even in the city of Jerusalem, Mat.27:52-53, which take to be a sign that the graves were emptied of those who were the captive led captive by Christ as he ascended.

    The other determining factor with Luke 16:19-30 is that t has no secondary meaning tat makes sense. Most parables have hidden meaning, but this passage is to factual to man anything but hat it means.

    This passage gives JW’s heaps of trouble because of this, and they attempt to allegorise it, but completely stuff it up, because, of course, Russell, their founder, was horrified by the thought of eternal torment, so they teach that the soul just ends at death, and doesn’t have any consciousness, whereas Jesus clearly teaches, here, that the soul is not only conscious, but is able to recognise others, feel, taste, hear, communicate, has cognisance, remorse, urgency, and a whole host of emotions and sensual experiences which indicate life after death. That is one of the real aspects of Christ’s teaching here. It is too late to do anything about anything in he earth after a person has died, even though they will have the will to attempt to reach people in the earth they have left behind.

    It’s a real warning from Jesus to get our act together here on this side of death, before it is too late. It’s a tale of cause and consequence. A reality check. Very strong teaching.

  7. I would suggest that the reason that so many churches believe in hell is not mysterious but because its not an unreasonable interpretation of what the bible says. For example:

    Rev 20:12-15

    “And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.

    The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done.

    Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.

    If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”

    Note that last verse.

    Whether or not the lake of fire is a literal lake of fire or symbolic of something else it doesn’t sound like a terribly good way to go to me.

    If it is just imagery I think it is still intended to convey the message “you don’t really want to go there”. No fun coming your way for a very long time if you go there sort of thing.

    There are other verses too which paint a none too pretty picture of the alternative to heaven place. For example

    Mat 25:41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels..

  8. Jesus unequivocally stated that God is the God of the living, and that the Saducees didn’t know the power of the Scripture.

    FL’s interpretation makes more sense to me.

    As to whether hell is should be ‘dropped’ from the Bible or not….nothing more than humanity’s time immemorial attempts to whitewash our guilt of sin and any and all associated consequences. Our legal system is almost solely based on one these things: I didn’t do it and I I did it wasn’t that bad so you should let me off so I can go and do it again.

    What was Adam’s response to sin? Covering up and blaming Eve.

    Our society doesn’t believe in consequences especially when they apply to me – they apply to everybody else but me. Getting rid of the concept of hell (no matter what you wanna call it) is a natural consequence of western individualism. Contrast to radical Islamists who are hellbent (pardon the pun) on resurrecting hell as a tool of control.

    The real question is what place in God’s plan does it hold? Revisionism doesn’t get rid of it and at heart is quite dishonest, lacking courage and integrity. At best it might be clarified. I think Watcher’s position is a pretty safe one.

    Common sense indicates that one doesn’t have to step in front of an oncoming train to know that if you do it will kill you. The Bible is filled with warnings that are ignored both in the form of parables (the vineyard owner), and in truth – Belshazzar, Ahab, the rich young ruler, the thief on the other side of Jesus on the cross – and yet there are all these people desperate for God to bail them out, let them off…

    The more revealing question is why is that so? What does that say about us, what we think of ourselves, what we think of God, and how we think He should treat us, as opposed to what Scripture says about how God will treat us.

  9. FL, very good post.

    Bill, you take churches and preachers to task for “adding to scripture” and yet you’re very keen to subtract from it. From my point of view, both are extremely dangerous positions.

  10. “FL’s interpretation makes more sense to me.”

    In the sense of this conversation. Not diminishing in anyway Jesus’ very plain meaning.

  11. Well said Greg. The problem with the Hell doctrine (take note Speedy, MN, Facelift etc) is that it assumes that God asks us to do something he is not prepared to do himself.

    Why are we asked to “love our enemies” when if we believe what Hell doctrine says, God will do the total polar opposite of this? Hell doctrine relegates God to the worst possible genocidal crime of all humanity that would dwarf anything Stalin, Hitler, Poll Pot or any other villan has done. Either something is wrong with the doctrine of Hell or God is a cruel evil judge who is both a liar and a hypocrite.

    As I pointed out before, the bible does not neccesarily means what it literally says but no-one has commented on that, instead opting to use carnal reasoning to justify this despicable slanderous doctrine. If you do really believe in a literal Hell, then I fear it is a fear-based foundation you have built on and not one of love.

    Speedy, I have subtracted nothing from scripture, I have done my homework on this issue and rather than ending up with a total mess and contortion of contradiction (God is love… but you’ll burn in Hell if you don’t get saved) the scriptures make more sense now than ever before.

  12. “…I don’t think the story of the rich man and Lazarus is a parable, since real people are mentioned, including Abraham…”

    And yet you glossed over the scriptures I gave you regarding ascending into Heaven FL. Don’t avoid these as they are obviously related.

    No, it was a parable. Christ was addressing the Pharisees and we are told:

    Mark 4:34 “…But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples…”

    Matthew 13:34 “…All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them…”

    Parables were spoken to cloud/hide the meaning as per Christ’s explanation in Matthew 13:10, not to give a literal explantion of things.

  13. All such interesting comments. Greg – hi – its really good to read you here again, and I’m glad you found the new site.

    I haven’t personally come to a final position on this one – I’d have to spend a lot more time studying the scriptures here. Definitely there seem to be consequences that we won’t like if we reject God. I don’t know how literal or metaphorical the scriptures are on this, so I can’t add to the debate. Facelift’s comment explaining things was a pretty good one, as were Watcher and MN’s additions, but that still leaves the question that Bill raised – how does the concept of hell – even if it is eternal separation in some form from God – equate with a loving Father.

    Mark Driscoll has an interesting video about this, which I will try to find and post up. (At least I think it was Mark Driscoll.)

    I’ve also heard it preached that the OT motivates people by fear to obey God, but the NT motivates people by love. Once we come into a truly loving relationship with our Father, understanding His love for us, and responding to that in love, we no longer need fear to motivate us to obey. This love relationship was revealed to us by Jesus, and the law is all fulfilled in love. When we fear, we try to obey laws. When we love, we keep them instinctively, as we act in the love we have for the Lord. I am still trying to come to grips with this, and have a fair way to go. But how the doctrine of hell fits into the doctrine of a loving Father is part of it.

    I will try to find that video and post it.

  14. Bill, I realise that the doctrine of no hell you believe is linked to your other belief in universalism, so we are on different pages here for a start, because Jesus commanded us to reach the gospel to all nations, all communities, all people. Hr said some would believe and be saved, others would not believe and be damned – condemned.

    So what were they condemned to? Eternal separation from the Father, because they choose to retain the Adamic sin nature, and not be regenerated spiritually. How would they attain to the heavenly presence of God without righteousness, holiness and becoming the new creature in Christ?

    The new birth is a completely new creation of the spirit of what was a unregenerate sinner. The sinner simply can’t enter heaven. At the catching up of the Church we, believers, will all be changed in the twinkling of an eye, and will put on the heavenly body essential for eternal life with the Father, so 1 Cor.15:50 – ‘flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither can corruption inherit incorruption’.

    The reason there will be eternal torment is the everlasting nature of the soul. JW’s and SDA’s attempt to eliminate this problem by claiming the soul of the wicked is annihilated, but there is no such concept in Hebrew or Greek thought or writing, so there is no word for ‘annihilation’, only destruction, perishing, corruption, or death, which, Vines tells us, is not loss of being, but loss of well-being, or separation of the soul from the Father.

    This is probably a really bad interpretation of what separation and torment could be, but here goes:

    Presently all living people are connected to the Presence of the Father, because the life and light of the world is the Word, who is Christ, and God, John 1:4.

    We all take this life and light for granted, and experience a sense of well-being in life because of our connection the Word who gives life. Even sinners take this for granted. But once death kicks in and we are judged, through either believing or not believing, the separation of eternal death, or what the Word calls the second death will be experienced, and people will suddenly know the meaning of being separated from the presence of God – like being in outer darkness, like burning, because we will not know the same life connection we understand today, so it will be eternal torment and gnashing of teeth – anguish of being rejected, not because God, who loves wants to reject people, but because through unbelief, they rejected God.

    If we do not confess the Father before men, and before Christ, he will not confess us. If we reject the Son, we reject the Father, we reject the new birth, we reject eternal life. If we reject his offer of the new birth, we condemn oursleves. The love of God is intact. It is not compromised. He says, “I put before you life or death, blessing or cursing – therefore choose life’.

    It is not God’s love which is at fault, but man’s.

    God has done everything he needs to do to show his great love and compassion or a fallen world – he sent his beloved Son to pay for our sin, forgive us, remove the curse, recreate the human spirit, make s into the new creation, give us entry into his presence, give us eternal life through his Son. he has shown his love. He has fallen short in nothing.

    he has not even violated our free will.

    And this is the central truth in the matter of eternal life or eternal separation. It is our choice, not God’s.

    That is why he is just in this. He cannot allow sin in the presence of the new heavens, new earth and new Jerusalem. Sin has to go, and those who choose to retain the sin nature Adam introduced will go where it goes,- where the father of lies and murder, who i an eternal being, will go – the lake of fire.

    So the universalist belief completely ignores all these truths and is not reconcilable with anything Jesus said about these things.

  15. Nice explanation FL. That is pretty much exactly the doctrine I was taught in the Anglican church about eternal separation.

  16. Carnal reasoning eh? That is a value judgement isn’t it?

    Reminded here of Reuphrect have to say.

    Since we’re talking parables – let me see – the 10 virgins, the debtor who received mercy but wouldn’t give it, the prodigal son ( he came back….under his own volition….before he died, not after), Lazarus.

    Then there are the plain words of Jesus: What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? I mean why even bother asking that question if it is not a real possibility.

    Trying to walk away from hell is just another re-working of the serpent’s questions in the garden – surely God didn’t mean that.

    For once FL is on the money – he is spot on.
    Jesus gave us the great commission, and Himself beyond which there is no other get out of jail card which is where this inevitably leads.

    Wake up!

  17. Thanks MN. Nice to see you again!

    There’s also the admonition of Paul where he explains the urgency and necessity of preaching for salvation.

    I mean, what are we saved from and what are we saved unto if we’re not saved form the wages of sin, which is eternal separation, damnation, and saved unto eternal life with Christ? If everyone will be saved eventually, why do we need to do anything different to the world? Eat, drink, be merry, for tomorrow we live anyway!

    But, actually…

    “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? and how shall they preach except they be sent?” Ro. 10:13-15a

    Yes, and how can anyone ‘hold fast the profession of our faith’ and not ‘draw back to perdition’ if they haven’t yet ‘drawn near with a true heart in full assurance of faith’ Heb 10?

    Not having to be concerned about preaching the gospel, being saved, and working out our salvation with fear and trembling in this life, because there is some assurance f salvation in the next life regardless of our state when we die, negates a fair proportion of the sayings of Jesus, and the New Testament. it makes everything Christ and the Church stands for pointless.

    Hades and Gehenna are real places, the latter to be avoided through faith in Christ. How does faith come? ‘Faith comes by hearing, and hearing the Word of Christ? And it is the preacher who brings the Word of faith which brings salvation.

  18. I think David’s pointless and blasphemously named website reference should be deleted in the interests of honouring Christ.

  19. I have never claimed the universalist position is a widely accepted nor a popular one and once again I am proven right in this regard.

    MN – who is Reuphrect?

    Many of you touting the Hell doctrine as “biblical” have yet to answer my question about the inherant nature of God – is he a two-faced lying bitch who says one thing and does another? Surely if he is relegating people to an eternity of suffering there is a point where the punishment outweighs 70 or so years of sin? What, 1000 years, 100,000 years, 1 million years, 100 million years? What a loving God to punish people in literal flame for millions of years? Oh yeah, big time! His anger does not endure forever, his mercy does but I hardly expect orthodoxy to accept that.

    If the Hell doctrine is the real deal, I want nothing to do with a God like that.

    Thanks be to God he is not a 2 faced hypocritcal grudge-holding bitch but that rather he is: “…the saviour of ALL men (not just a precious few) ESPECIALLY (not exclusively) of they that believe…” 1 Timothy 4:10 and that “…as in Adam ALL die, even so in Christ ALL will be made alive…” 1 Corinthians 15:22

    No more comments from me people. I am finished with this thread, there is nothing to be gained by arguing with people who insist on clinging to man-made and church established doctrine. Do your homework and as yourself logical questions. If you are a parent, ask yourself if you would enjoy torturing your children for 5 minutes, let alone an incomprehensible amount of time like an eternity.

  20. Lighten up, FaceLift. Hell doesn’t exist. Abraham is not historical. Jesus didn’t speak clearly.

    Stop making stuff up about God.

  21. Bill, you just apparently took the classic Universalist line of attack:

    ‘Universalists often use the most negative terms to represent historic positions they disagree with. For example, regarding the damnation of the unsaved, instead of saying that historic Christianity teaches that those who reject Christ will suffer eternal damnation, they frequently say that historic Christianity teaches that “God can’t save everyone and wants to torture most of humanity forever.” Or, it is often implied that God will not torture people forever because “God is not sadistic enough to send people to hell.” Such emotionally slanted words reveal a hostile bias against historic doctrines and is an unfair description of those beliefs. It is a surprisingly common tactic among universalists which demonstrates their lack of objectivity and sheds an automatic cloud of doubt upon their observations.’

    http://www.carm.org/uni/universalism.htm

    I answered you question about God earlier. It is not God’s love which is in question here, but the love of the people he made, who fell and rejected and who refuse to be reconciled to him.

    God hs doen everything in his power to make the way clear for peoploe to come bck to him.

    he cannot have a fuure new heavens new earth and new Jerusalem where snners are allowed to corrupt everything once again. There has to be an absolute.

    You are3 pressing for no absolute. You are saying, in effect, that it is perfectly for a fallen world to remain fallen and that there should be no consequences because God will accept us all regardless. it put sno onus on us to repent, yet repentance is a key doctrine in the true Church.

    Either God meant for us to repent or he is a liar. You call us out for making God, in your words, ‘a two-faced lying bitch who says one thing and does another’, which if course we deny and dispute, yet you make him more of a liar and a cheat for telling us we must repent, we must be born again, and those of us who are already saved must preach the gospel, when in fact, according to your doctrine, none of this actually necessary, and Jesus never meant that there was torment for sinners who refuse to repent.

    You eliminate the majority of NT teachings in one unreconcilable doctrinal fallacy.

    Now you run off saying we’re wrong when you have no hope of proving it because you are in such dire error.

    You make the identical mistake JW’s make by taking single scriptures out of context and attempting to prove an unprovable doctrine by connecting unrelated verses, whilst missing the context of the whole. Some of the scriptures you have so carelessly used out of context are easily dealt with, just as they are with JW’s, if they would only stay on subject and not flt from issue to issue in some fatally scripted scam, but the reality is that you have placed yourself an anyone who listens to you in jeopardy. that is my greatest fear for you.

    My next question would be whether you believe in the doctrine of the Godhead, what some call the Trinity? Do you believe Jesus is the Word who is God? Do you believe in the deity of the Holy Spirit?

    if the verses yo used were in themselves the only evidence we have of God’s intentions for the whole world at he end of time, you might have a point, but you have to put them together with the rest of doctrine and balance it all with what the whole Bible says, not just isolated texts which prove a point of view. Yours is the stuff of cults.

  22. David. I don’t care if you don’t think hell exists right now. We’ve already said it isn’t a Biblical word and should be revised. But, look, tell me in a hundred and fifty years time if you still think there is no eternal separation for people who deny God!

    According to Bill’s doctrine you can continue slandering God and taking the micky out of Jesus, blaspheming the Holy Ghost, and attempting to scatter Christians away from their salvation, and it will still be OK for you, and you’ll have the same eternal rewards as MN. I wonder if that makes Bill’s God a just God?

  23. I like doccing peoples opinions. I’ve been reading everyone’s responses in Word.
    So let me get this straight.

    I’m looking at a book here that is helping me understand all this.
    Christ went to sheol/hades to Abraham’s bosom (Paradise) and bought all them to heaven where He now lives. These people he bought with him are those people before and after the flood who believed or were good; and gentiles and Jews who believed in the coming Messiah.

    He left unrighteous man in Gehenna (a place that held the wicked in Sheol/hades), where the other thief beside Christ went. They are awaiting to be judged in the future. Tartarus is the prison where demons/fallen angels and spirits are locked up. Those from Gehenna and Tartarus shall both be cast into the lake of fire- Satan’s original punishment- eternal punishment, where he now bought some of mankind too.

  24. I’d like to support FL view against the teachings of universalism:

    If one believes universalism then why would Jesus say he is ‘the way the truth and the life. No one can come to the father except through me’? Universalism says that all roads lead to Rome eventually. This nullifies Jesus’ claims about being the only way. Any way leads to heaven eventually.

    Now this is mere speculation that struck me as I read some replies to universalism:
    If we look at the word holy (hagioz), it means ‘set apart’. If Satan set himself apart from God, he became something that couldn’t be apart of God. If God is life, satan became death. If God is love, satan became fear. If God is blessing, satan became a curse. If God is abundant, satan is deprivation. We chose to be set apart with Satan, the road not to be the same with God.
    Satan and man snipped off the umbilical chord of life together.
    For one to accept universalism, God’s character would be contradictory. For if He is to accept man all the way to the end, (who sided with Satan), who refused to turn to Him, then our God is a God of curses, deprivation and death who’s name should also be Fear.

  25. The universalists still believe in Christ’s work – they can say he is the way, the truth and the life and ALL men come to the Father through him, not just those who have heard and accept him. They would say we just come through His work and death, without necessarily having to accept Him now, I guess.

    While I am not a universalist, the discussion about a loving God who eternally punishes his wayward children is a real one, which blocks many from wanting to know Him. I know that my Father loves me enough that I don’t have to be afraid to raise this question. For some reason, I don’t find ‘its our fault’ to be a complete enough answer to satisfy me at this stage. Just being honest, here.

  26. Does God So Love the World?
    by: John MacArthur

    ——————————————————————————–

    Love is the best known but least understood of all God’s attributes. Almost everyone who believes in God these days sees Him as a God of love. I have even met agnostics who are quite certain that if God exists, He must be benevolent, compassionate, and loving.

    All those things are infinitely true about God, of course, but not in the way most people think. Because of the influence of modern liberal theology, many suppose that God’s love and goodness ultimately nullify His righteousness, justice, and holy wrath. They envision God as a benign heavenly grandfather-tolerant, affable, lenient, permissive, devoid of any real displeasure over sin, who without consideration of His holiness will benignly pass over sin and accept people as they are.

    Liberal thinking about God’s love also permeates much of evangelicalism today. We have lost the reality of God’s wrath. We have disregarded His hatred for sin. The God most evangelicals now describe is all-loving and not at all angry. We have forgotten that “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31). We do not believe in that kind of God anymore.

    We must recapture some of the holy terror that comes with a right understanding of God’s righteous anger. We need to remember that God’s wrath does burn against impenitent sinners (Psalm 38:1-3). That reality is the very thing that makes His love so amazing. Only those who see themselves as sinners in the hands of an angry God can fully appreciate the magnitude and wonder of His love.

    In that regard, our generation is surely at a greater disadvantage than any previous age. We have been force-fed the doctrines of self-esteem for so long that most people don’t really view themselves as sinners worthy of divine wrath. On top of that, religious liberalism, humanism, evangelical compromise, and ignorance of the Scriptures have all worked against a right understanding of who God is. Ironically, in an age that conceives of God as wholly loving, altogether devoid of wrath, few people really understand what God’s love is all about.

    How we address the misconception of the present age is crucial. We must not respond to an overemphasis on divine love by denying that God is love. Our generation’s imbalanced view of God cannot be corrected by an equal imbalance in the opposite direction, a very real danger in some circles. I’m deeply concerned about a growing trend I’ve noticed-particularly among people committed to the biblical truth of God’s sovereignty and divine election. Some of them flatly deny that God in any sense loves those whom He has not chosen for salvation.

    I am troubled by the tendency of some-often young people newly infatuated with Reformed doctrine-who insist that God cannot possibly love those who never repent and believe. I encounter that view, it seems, with increasing frequency.

    The argument inevitably goes like this: Psalm 7:11 tells us “God is angry with the wicked every day.” It seems reasonable to assume that if God loved everyone, He would have chosen everyone unto salvation. Therefore, God does not love the non-elect. Those who hold this view often go to great lengths to argue that John 3:16 cannot really mean God loves the whole world.

    Perhaps the best-known argument for this view is found the unabridged edition of an otherwise excellent book, The Sovereignty of God, by A. W. Pink. Pink wrote, “God loves whom He chooses. He does not love everybody.” [1] He further argued that the word world in John 3:16 (“For God so loved the world…”) “refers to the world of believers (God’s elect), in contradistinction from ‘the world of the ungodly.'”[2]

    Pink was attempting to make the crucial point that God is sovereign in the exercise of His love. The gist of his argument is certainly valid: It is folly to think that God loves all alike, or that He is compelled by some rule of fairness to love everyone equally. Scripture teaches us that God loves because He chooses to love (Deuteronomy 7:6-7), because He is loving (God is love, 1 John 4:8), not because He is under some obligation to love everyone the same.

    Nothing but God’s own sovereign good pleasure compels Him to love sinners. Nothing but His own sovereign will governs His love. That has to be true, since there is certainly nothing in any sinner worthy of even the smallest degree of divine love.

    Unfortunately, Pink took the corollary too far. The fact that some sinners are not elected to salvation is no proof that God’s attitude toward them is utterly devoid of sincere love. We know from Scripture that God is compassionate, kind, generous, and good even to the most stubborn sinners. Who can deny that those mercies flow out of God’s boundless love? It is evident that they are showered even on unrepentant sinners.

    We must understand that it is God’s very nature to love. The reason our Lord commanded us to love our enemies is “in order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45). Jesus clearly characterized His Father as One who loves even those who purposefully set themselves at enmity against Him.

    At this point, however, an important distinction must be made: God loves believers with a particular love. God’s love for the elect is an infinite, eternal, saving love. We know from Scripture that this great love was the very cause of our election (Ephesians 2:4). Such love clearly is not directed toward all of mankind indiscriminately, but is bestowed uniquely and individually on those whom God chose in eternity past.

    But from that, it does not follow that God’s attitude toward those He did not elect must be unmitigated hatred. Surely His pleading with the lost, His offers of mercy to the reprobate, and the call of the gospel to all who hear are all sincere expressions of the heart of a loving God. Remember, He has no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but tenderly calls sinners to turn from their evil ways and live.

    Reformed theology has historically been the branch of evangelicalism most strongly committed to the sovereignty of God. At the same time, the mainstream of Reformed theologians have always affirmed the love of God for all sinners. John Calvin himself wrote regarding John 3:16, “[Two] points are distinctly stated to us: namely, that faith in Christ brings life to all, and that Christ brought life, because the Father loves the human race, and wishes that they should not perish.” [3]

    Calvin continues to explain the biblical balance that both the gospel invitation and “the world” that God loves are by no means limited to the elect alone. He also recognized that God’s electing, saving love is uniquely bestowed on His chosen ones.

    Those same truths, reflecting a biblical balance, have been vigorously defended by a host of Reformed stalwarts, including Thomas Boston, John Brown, Andrew Fuller, W. G. T. Shedd, R. L. Dabney, B. B. Warfield, John Murray, R. B. Kuiper, and many others. In no sense does belief in divine sovereignty rule out the love of God for all humanity.

    We are seeing today, in some circles, an almost unprecedented interest in the doctrines of the Reformation and the Puritan eras. I’m very encouraged by that in most respects. A return to those historic truths is, I’m convinced, absolutely necessary if the church is to survive. Yet there is a danger when overzealous souls misuse a doctrine like divine sovereignty to deny God’s sincere offer of mercy to all sinners.

    We must maintain a carefully balanced perspective as we pursue our study of God’s love. God’s love cannot be isolated from His wrath and vice versa. Nor are His love and wrath in opposition to each other like some mystical yin-yang principle. Both attributes are constant, perfect, without ebb or flow. His wrath coexists with His love; therefore, the two never contradict. Such are the perfections of God that we can never begin to comprehend these things. Above all, we must not set them against one another, as if there were somehow a discrepancy in God.

    Both God’s wrath and His love work to the same ultimate end-His glory. God is glorified in the condemnation of the wicked; He is glorified in every expression of love for all people without exception; and He is glorified in the particular love He manifests in saving His people.

    Expressions of wrath and expressions of love-all are necessary to display God’s full glory. We must never ignore any aspect of His character, nor magnify one to the exclusion of another. When we commit those errors, we throw off the biblical balance, distort the true nature of God, and diminish His real glory.

    Does God so love the world? Emphatically-yes! Proclaim that truth far and wide, and do so against the backdrop of God’s perfect wrath that awaits everyone who does not repent and turn to Christ.

    Does the love of God differ in the breadth and depth and manner of its expression? Yes it does. Praise Him for the many manifestations of His love, especially toward the non-elect, and rejoice in the particular manifestation of His saving love for you who believe. God has chosen to display in you the glory of His redeeming grace.

    [1]Arthur W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1930), 29-30.

    [2]Ibid., 314.

    [3]John Calvin, Commentary on a Harmony of the Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, William Pringle, trans. (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1979 reprint), 123.

    Adapted from The God Who Loves © 2001 by John MacArthur. All rights reserved

  27. It must be clear by now. Christians have constructed varieties of faith based on their interpretation of the Bible up until now. That interpretation changes radically over time, such that when you look back, it is difficult to see exactly what is true and exactly how the Bible should be read.

    These days some Christian writers can produce thousands of words of text without hardly a reference to the Bible at all. It’s all just organised stream-of-consciousness.

    So when the Bible says “For God so loved the world…”, it might actually mean that the best time to cook baked beens is during a conjunction of the planets – you have to be really spiritual to understand this unless you read the series of Christian best-selling books on end times prophecy and baked beans.

    Keeps people off the streets.

  28. Peter asks a similar question, but answers it within the text:

    “For the time must come that judgement must begin at the house of God: and if it first begins at us, what shall be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? and if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and sinner appear?” 1 Pe. 4:17-18.

    In other words, if the believers who have accepted Christ, and have engaged in a godly, righteous lifestyle are barely going to make it, what will be the outcome for the ungodly, unrighteous and te sinner?

    Judgement begins with God’s household. Some will not make it, evidently. Some who claim that Jesus is their ‘Lord, Lord!” and do amazing works in his name, are going to be told, “I never knew you: depart form me, you that work iniquity!” Mat. 7:21-23.

    This should put the wind up all of us. How many who consider themselves Christians, and are in some kind of ministry, can be really sure they are going to squeeze through at the end of time?

    And that’s just talking about in the Church!

    Funny thing is that I hear this section of scripture aimed at certain groups, apparently false teachers, prophets and purveyors of false doctrine, often named here, usually linked with WoF, as an example of Christ refusing entry to individuals who claim to be working in his name, and yet, now, it seems anyone can get in, regardless of ay kind attempt at living a holy, righteous, godly life in the earth in their lifetime. They simply will all be accepted whether they work for the devil, wittingly or unwittingly, or claim to work for Christ. This is totally confusing, really!

    It means that, according to Bill’s doctrine, criticising CCC or Hillsong is a completely pointless exercise, because they are not, in fact, leading anyone astray since everyone will be saved in the end anyway, because salvation is or all. There is no need for criticism, warning, or anxiety, or the concerns of this blog, and especially Lance’s S2, since fear that people will be led astray by so-called prosperity doctrine is absolutely unfounded, And the young people who love God because they attend Hillsong or CCC, but are allegedly deceived are going to be amongst he first to get in anyway, despite the efforts of Hillsong and CCC!

    Yet it is clear that the Church is the starting point for judgement, and we will need to give account.

    But why would God need to judge the Church if everyone, saved or unsaved, gets in regardless?

    Why does anyone need to confess Jesus to be saved?

  29. For Universalists, incorrect belief merely delays entry to heaven. The more accurate are in your beliefs, the sooner you will get to paradise.

    For example, if you shot yourself right now and died, FaceLift, you would gain immediate entry to God’s presence.

  30. You’re all over the shop FL and with all due respect, you know nothing or very little of what you think you know about Universalism.

    For starters you need a scriptural defintion of what judgment actually is:

    1 Corinthians 11:32 “…But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord…”

    You are correct that the church is the starting point for judgment and hence the need to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12)
    The fact that God is going to save all does not somehow exclude people from judgment as I have said before. Nor does it exclude us from “trying the spirits to see whether they be of God” (1 John 4:1)

    Whilst the phrase “first death” is not mentioned in scripture, the “second death” is and is simply making reference to those who refused to judge themselves whilst here in the flesh and as a consequence, receive their “trial by fire” in the “lake of (spiritual) fire” (Rev 20:15)
    The dilligent bereans among us may want to research the use of Brimstone and ask yourself why it is mentioned along with fire in Revelation? I think you are in for a surprise if you do.

    The “first death” is alluded to here:

    Matthew 10:39 “…He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it…”

    Yes, everyone will eventually be saved, how could a loving God do any less for every single one of his wayward children? There is however, an order to the seeming chaos of this theory:

    1 Cor 15:22 “…For as in Adam ALL die, even so in Christ shall ALL be made alive. But (and here is the process/order of this ALL) every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming and then comes the end…”

    Do you love your enemies? Will you be happy to see ALL men be made alive? Or are you “of your Father the devil” and do you wish evil upon others?

    Matthew 5:43 “…Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, LOVE YOUR ENEMIES, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust…”

    As I said before (and nobody has refuted this argument yet) do you honestly believe God will overcome evil with a greater evil? Are you calling God a terrorist? I liked Greg’s analogy of “shotgun evangelism”

    If you truly hold to the Hell doctrine, I would suggest you hold your hand over an open flame next time you sin so as to deter yourself from any actions that may disqualify you from heavenly status. Good luck with it!
    I know I said no more comments but when FL presumes to speak for me, I do need to jump in. Enough FL, leave it alone now and don’t presume to know what I do or do not think.

  31. Perhaps you could take some of your own advice, Bill, and not presume to speak for others yourself?

  32. With all due respect to you “Speedy” I am not hiding behind an internet alias but have posted as myself – what a concept eh?

    I don’t think I have “spoken for Facelift” at all, instead I have used the phrase “those that hold to the Hell doctrine” so your comment holds little weight with me champ.

  33. Well, Bill, for someone who presumes to know what I think on such a regular basis, telling me to do the same seems a little incredulous.

    Let’s look at the verse you quoted:

    ‘as in Adam ALL die, even so in Christ shall ALL be made alive’

    So if a man is in Adam he will die – be separated eternally from the Father.

    To be saved he must be in Christ, because ‘even so IN CHRIST shall ALL men be make alive’.

    This i entirely consistent with all scripture and not just a portion. If some of the ‘all’ are alive in Christ without salvation, then there is no need for repentance for any.

    No, this verse clearly teaches that we shall be made alive when we are IN Christ, ad the all referred to is all that are IN Christ.

    This is a subtle difference, but crucial.

    “There is therefore no condemnation to them which are IN Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, bit after the Spirit”. Rom.8:1.

    So I must be in Christ Jesus, and he must be in my by he Spirit. In ft the Sprit of God in the believer is ‘the earnest (the warranty, the down payment) of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession’ Eph 1:14. If we do no have the Spirit of God in our lives we not see God, we will not be saved.

    Now if ANY MAN have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his”. Rom 8:9b.

    So you see ANY is as powerful as ALL. The ALL you are referencing has here been identified as the ALL who are IN CHRIST.

    The rest remain IN Adam, and remain subject to the flesh, not the Spirit, and remain subject to death, no life.

    “Therefore if ANY man be IN Christ, his a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all thing are become new’ 2 Co. 5:17.

    The heavens, the new earth, the new Jerusalem, are all constructed for the New Creature in Christ.

    There is so much scripture on tis it would take a book to bring it all out.
    ________________________

    Of course I love my enemies, which is why I preach the gospel to them. Of course God loves all men, which is why he gave and sent Jesus, and why he gave, without needing to, really, the plan of redemption. His justice and mercy are already clear and apparent. He doesn’t need a second plan for those who refuse to accept Christ in their lifetimes. He is just. He is merciful

    He is also a Jealous God. How do you reconcile this? He will have no other gods before him. Those who refuse to bow down to him bow down to some other god, or refuse to acknowledge God as God. Is that his fault ?

    For God to be perfect, flawless and holy he can have no sin before him. It is right to believe that God, if he is God, has high standards for his creation. They would be destroyed in his presence wthout this. Think of Uzzah who atempted to steady the Ark of the Covenant and was struck down by the presence of God 2Sam. 6:7. God smote him. Fear came on the people. Gd is fearsome as well as merciful. Those who don’t fear the consequences of remaining in sin will not be entering his presence. And this is right.

    He cannot allow sin in his presence, not because he isn’t merciful, but because the power and perfection and purity of his presence completely destroys the presence of sin, and all those who would enter his presence with sin in them. He cannpt help this. He is all-powerful. He is incredibly perfect and pure.

    You don’t understand what it is to be in he presence of God if you don’t understand what it is that brings men to their faces when he truly enters. You don’t understad what he meant when he told Moses he could not see him face to face because it would destroy him. You don’t understand why we have become the new creation to stand before him in his presece in the new Jeruslam in the holy place. We could not survive this. Not because God doesn’t love us, but bcause the Adamic nature, the sin in our lives, separates us, and cannot be in his presence.

    Heaven is for the pure and holy. The only way to become pure holy and righteousness is through the blood of Jesus. We must be born again. That is what Jesus said, twice. We must be born again, or we will not see the kingdom of heaven.

    Now you want the impure and unregenerate to be able to stand in he presence of the Almighty? they will, if they repent and confess Jesus in their lifetimes. This is absolutely just.

    There will be a millennial reign of Christ, during which some of these issues you raise may be reconciled, where those who are not yet perfected IN Christ, perhaps can be. That is a possibility. We don’t have much information about the millenial reighn of Christ.

    But after this will come the judgement, and it is clear that God will not be accepting the fearful, and unbelieving, an the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolators, and ALL liars,’ Rev. 21:8, who will ‘have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone: which is the second death’.

    Are you looking for something beyond the work of the cross and resurrection of Christ for salvation? He has laid it out before us. ‘Without holiness no man shall see the Lord’. But holiness can only come through Christ and salvation, thus receiving the Holy Spirit in our lives.

    Without Christ in our lives none of us will see God.

  34. Champ? That sounds like CCC speak to me.

    Internet Aliases are very common, in fact, look around you. They’re everywhere at good ‘ole signposts. Weak argument. As for my original comment… you do so. If someone disagrees with you you just write them off…. as you did me, simpy because of my screen name. What’s with that? Is it so hard to accept that someone else can believe differently to you?

  35. Sorry if I’ve offended you Speedy, and apologies for the “champ” CCC reference. I have not “written you off” at all, for all I know you could be the next Paul so don’t worry, it’s all good champ!

    Face – we’ll have to agree to disagree I’m afraid. We both clearly don’t see eye to eye on the subject which is why I think it’s best to leave the discussion as is. Nuff said?

  36. Facelift in fairness to some earlier comments, I too am aware of universalist groups who use the sovereignity of God as an occasion for the flesh and turn God’s grace in lasciviousness. However, I would encourage you not to tar us all with the same brush as you have accused Lance, Lionfish etc of doing.

    Speedy, once again champ, apoliges for the offense caused and yes, I am big enough to accept people will disagree with me – No problems there champo!
    The internet alias thing I (generally) find gives people more leeway and balls than they would normally exhibit if their true identity were known, that was my only point there.
    I personally see no need to hide behind something like an alias but that is just me.

  37. Fine, but the thing is, Bill, you want to be able to continue to criticise CCC, Hillsong, and in particular Phil Pringle and Brian Houston for their evangelistic efforts and methodology, but do so from a thoroughly unorthodox, scripturally flawed basis. How can your argument be sustained when your evangelical credibility is shot?

  38. If you continue with the “Champ”, Bill, I will be forced to conclude that you’re a tool.

  39. It must be clear by now. Atheists have constructed varieties of faith based on their interpretation of the life and the universe up until now. That interpretation changes radically over time, such that when you look back, it is difficult to see exactly what is true and exactly how the life and the universe should be understood.

    These days some atheist writers can produce thousands of words of text without hardly a reference to the science at all. It’s all just organised stream-of-consciousness.

    So when the atheist says “there is not God…”, it might actually mean that the best time to cook baked beans is during a conjunction of the planets – you have to be really a rationalist and scientific atheistl to understand this unless you read the series of atheist best-selling books on the cosmos, ontology and baked beans.

    Keeps people off the streets.

  40. It is only “shot” in your opinion Facelift and with all due respect, I do not feel for one second you have even remotely refuted anything I have said.

    Am I “thoroughly unorthodox”? Yep, you bet – no question about that Facelift.
    “Scripturally flawed”? Me thinks not.

    I have not really gotten into the meat of the debate on here as my past experience has taught me that people are generally unwilling to accept even the notion of Universalism let alone the entirety of what it entails.

    Of course, the great equalizer that is time will reveal who is in the right and who is in the wrong. I appreciate that you are at least passionate about your particular stance (as am I) but like I said, there is no point me throwing arguments back and forth when we both clearly have our minds made up already.

  41. C’mon Speedy, lighten up a bit. After all, it’s just an internet forum, don’t take it all so seriously 🙂

  42. My opinion has nothing to do with it, really, Bill. It is shot by the weight of scripture.

    You still haven’t told me what the relevance of repentance is to Universalism.

    How does the suicide bomber who runs into an Israeli cafe and shouts ‘allah akbar’ and detonates enough explosive to wipe out forty Jewish teens get to repent for his actions?

    How does that guy who dies in the act of gaining the world but along the way loses his soul repent for his actions?

    Is there a place in God’s future heaven for Adolf Hitler, despite his eradication of so many Jews if he didn’t repent before he topped himself?

    Will we see Nero on the streets of gold?

  43. RP

    the perspective to start from is who created who and for what purpose. Universalism is really about trying to avoid consequences that’s all.

    FL had it right earlier of which the summary is ‘You’ve made your choice. Bye bye’.

    In saying that I do no pretend to know how God will judge, only the He will and there are a few guidelines out there, which people will make their own decisions about whether to take seriously or ignore.

    Teddy’s points about reformed doctrine are quite valid, having a reformed background myself – they do tend put themselves in a straight jacket at times. But both liberal universalists and hard core reformed people are in a sense saying the same thing to or about God which is: “You can’t do that….”

    Of all the grossly, inane stupid things to say, telling God that He can’t (with whatever words or concept that is being argued over) there is none more stupidly dangerous than that. One thing that reformed people have a better handle on than many is the notion that God is God, and we are not. He is a loving, holy, forgiving, just, terrible God all at the same time who created us for His purposes – not ours – that He will work out over time as it suits Him in His perfect will not ours. We are fortunate that love, grace and forgiveness are intrinsic and eternal parts of who He is, but that is not to the exclusion or in contradiction to those other parts of His character and person. The mere fact that we argue over things like this is testament to our own mortality, and difficulty in understanding someone who is beyond us.

    He is and remains much more merciful and forgiving than we can imagine or understand, but at the same time there will be those who of their own volition are not interested in what God has to offer such as David appears to be. David is voting with his feet, mouth and heart. May be there will be a U turn in the future – let’s hope so. But hey it is his choice and often God let’s us go our own way and make our own choices. We would not have it any other way. To wit I am sure that there will be many to whom God says” You made your choice. Bye.” and there will be others who God welcomes in which will I think pleasantly surprise us and bring great joy. But to say that God can’t or won’t…..you idiot.

  44. The ‘you idiot’ part is not directed at anyone in particular….only to whom the cap fits.

  45. Bill, you seem to have begun with a valid question, which is ‘how can a loving God condemn sinners to eternal torment’? From there you attempt to justify your position with scripture, which isn’t a healthy practice.

    Interestingly, or rather, frighteningly, Charles Taze Russell began with the same question, as did Ellen White somewhere along the line.

  46. Doctrine should always be formed from the Word, not from an idea outside the Word. And it should always be in context with the whole canon, not based on isolated verses. That way it is his doctrine not ours.

  47. Oh dear… Do you just want the last word FL? Is that it? I am done discussing this with you my friend, there is nothing to be gained. Now you are comparing me to Charles Taze Russell and Ellen White? I feel flattered to say the least.

    Time will tell FL, of that there is a certainty. I am however secure in my convictions and don’t worry, they are not based on “isolated verses” as you assume.

    David, is this the point where you interject with an appropriate off-handed remark?

  48. But you still haven’t answered the repentance question, Bill! Is it too hard for you?

  49. No of course not Facelift but likewise, you have not answered a good many of mine. Works both ways you know?
    But I digress, I won’t be goaded into further discussion with you FL. You may have the last comment if that is your intention.

  50. I think Bill and FaceLift should fight it out, like real men, with a duel. Fifty yards, choose your weapon.

    It will give both gentlemen an opportunity to test their doctrines.

  51. Ah nice David, right on cue! Could I respectfully ask David what possible interest you would have in a forum like this one?

  52. Why don’t we ask God what the definitive position is vis-a-vis Hell, Universalism and the correct method of salvation?

    Dear God,

    It’s time to produce another publication that Christians and other religious wackos can fight over. The Bible, Koran, Book of Morman are to old and, well, offensive to modern ears. And “Conversations with God” is obviously New Age twiffle. How about producing a compact little volume on DVD with a TV promotion? And this time just spell it all out in succint steps. Don’t bother with supid parables and historic misrepresentations. Leave out the miracles, and crude, genocidal stories that make you look like a either a clown or a monster, God. Amen

  53. Bill

    that question has been asked many times, with never a sensible or honest response.

  54. There’ no need to ask God about it. He already let us know.

    Jesus told us that the only way to the Father is through him, because he is the way and the truth and the life. There is no other way. There is no other name under heaven by which a man can be saved, and that name is Jesus.

    On outer darkness, Jesus is also clear:

    Mt 8:12 “But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
    Mt 13:42 “and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
    Mt 13:50 “and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”
    Mt 22:13 “Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
    Mt 24:51 “and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
    Mt 25:30 ‘And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
    Lu 13:28 “There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out.

    Jesus preches fear:

    Mat.10:28 (Wey)
    …do not fear those who kill the body, but cannot kill the soul; but rather fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.

    Destroy – appolumai – set apart for ruin

    Not my doctrine, Bill. God’ doctrine. Te doctrine of Christ. Don’ need to argue with me, or agree with me, but you do need to agree with Jesus. Oh yes!

  55. FL:

    Doctrine should always be formed from the Word, not from an idea outside the Word. And it should always be in context with the whole canon, not based on isolated verses. That way it is his doctrine not ours.

    FL are you promising only to promote beliefs that fully and irrefutably backed by scripture? As opposed to beleifs that can be supported by scripture?

  56. What’s it like believing a whole lot of lies? How does it grab you knoing that your faith is based on fictional stories, fictional history, fictional characters and muddy ideas?

  57. FaceLift Says:
    “Peter asks a similar question, but answers it within the text:

    “For the time must come that judgement must begin at the house of God: and if it first begins at us, what shall be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? and if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and sinner appear?” 1 Pe. 4:17-18.

    In other words, if the believers who have accepted Christ, and have engaged in a godly, righteous lifestyle are barely going to make it, what will be the outcome for the ungodly, unrighteous and te sinner?”

    No! I’m sick of hearing this so out of context. If God is our Father and we are His sons, he judges and disciplines His sons when they are disobedient. We are no longer sinners but made in right standing with Him- we are still made righteous, holy, sacred, innocent, pure and sinless in Him- otherwise we’d be sinners and could not stand in His presence, nor could He dwell in us. This judgment is His Spirit inside us. If we fail to live in accordance to His Spirit in us, as a Father, he disciplines us, judges us, exposes us and deals with us so that we may see what He wants us to do. He judges us in the physical, not because He hates us but because He wants to live in accordance to His obedience.

    The thing is we can be as disobedient as we can be as His children (which i will not encourage anyone to do) but still be saved. A father still loves their son, even if the son never talks to the Father or relates to the Father.

    Then you say:
    “Some will not make it, evidently. Some who claim that Jesus is their ‘Lord, Lord!” and do amazing works in his name, are going to be told, “I never knew you: depart form me, you that work iniquity!” Mat. 7:21-23.”

    This should put the wind up all of us. How many who consider themselves Christians, and are in some kind of ministry, can be really sure they are going to squeeze through at the end of time?

    And that’s just talking about in the Church!”
    This scripture is not about the church. This is a scripture that talks about Christ judging those who claim to know Him when he returns the second time to rule hear on earth as king. We are not part of this judgment. This is a fierce judgment and people will make any excuse to have their lives spared.

    Those in Him, He knows. Those in His church, He knows them all. So if we are in Him, how can He ‘not know you’? This is a future judgment which the church is not apart of.

    “But why would God need to judge the Church if everyone, saved or unsaved, gets in regardless?”
    God judges us the way a Father judges his son by teaching us to be accountable, responsible and reliant on Him. This is so He can use us to help bring salvation to the world. He likes to share His glory with us. He judges the church so that His people may be accountable to the world and so that He may reward us greatly in heaven. When we are all taken up, we are judged by our works in Him so that He may reward us. So that’s why His Fatherly judgment on earth is so beneficial to us and the rest of the world. Now the unsaved can’t get in regardless. But those saved can.

  58. Sorry FaceLift. You probably think I’m constantly against you.
    In views, yes, but hopefully we can agree on some things.
    I just keep getting this visual image that when ever you post something up, everyone cheers and sees you as a FaceLift pinyata and everyone has a go at you to make you burst.

    I know I’m strong in opinion, but I hope you don’t see me as an ogre. Just want to let you know that I would like to know you a bit better. Drop me an email.

    specks_and_planks@hotmail.com

  59. Destroy – appolumai – set apart for ruin

    Interesting choice FL – “appolumai” is also translated as “lost” and we are CLEARLY told:

    Luke 19:10 “…For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost (Gk: apollumi)…”

    Christ will leave the 99 and go after the 1 that is astray and lost (appolumi)

    And of course Christ is the only way to the Father FL, elementary my dear Watson. And thus we are told in Romans 14:11 “…For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God…”

    EVERY tongue, EVERY knee…

  60. “How does the suicide bomber who runs into an Israeli cafe and shouts ‘allah akbar’ and detonates enough explosive to wipe out forty Jewish teens get to repent for his actions?”

    Facelift, do the suicide bomber and the teens all go to the same hell and receive an identical eternal punishment in the lake of fire according to your doctrine?

    “Is there a place in God’s future heaven for Adolf Hitler, despite his eradication of so many Jews if he didn’t repent before he topped himself?”

    Likewise, doesn’t Hitler get the same eternal punishment as the jews, gypsies and others he murdered and tortured? They all go to the same Hell together and suffer forever. That appears to be the orthodox position. Without Christ everyone goes to the same hell forever.

    Do you believe poor illiterate and destitute beggars like Lazarus will burn forever in torment along with babies, unsaved starving sudanese children and woman who have lived lives of abject misery at the hands of brutal men? Will there be Mercy for unbelievers, any comfort for the brutalised? any compassion for the poor and starved non-Christians? Any mercy or comfort on the day of Judgment for any unregenerate person?

  61. Now, Bill, you’re either talking to me or you’re not. I’m OK with it but it would be better if you just stuck around and nutted this out.

    The Son of man came to seek and save the lost sheep of Israel. He had a specific assignment whilst on his earthly ministry. Trouble is, many of them cried ‘Crucify him’. I too wonder how that pans out! If a person is ‘lost’ he is also ruined. That is the point. that is why he left the 99 to rescue the one. He didn’t rescue the lost sheep to leave him lost, but to return the sheep to the fold, where he belonged, and where he was safe, mingling with the other sheep, provoking each other to good works, not forsaking their assembling together. and assured of eternal security.

    rotationmethod,
    Babies we discussed at length on S2. I believe the still-born, the aborted, and infants are saved, and that the sin nature isn’t activated until law is understood, therefore the wages of sin do not apply. Others think differently, but I believe babies who die go to be with the Lord.

    As for te rest, wel God will be the judge of very soul, not me. wouldn;t like to have the task. i would probbaly agree with Bill on tat score. And I would be with him, as would many others, I’m sure. But I’m not God, and the decision isn’t mine.

    I can only go by what the Word says, and there is clearly a grave, and also place of fiery torment, outer darkness, separation form God, and, ultimately, a lake of fire reserved for those who choose to follow the serpent. Jesus mentioned gnashing of teeth, gehenna and outer darkness several times, Paul mentioned similar things, as did Peter, and John in Revelation. I guess there is a high likelihood that being separated from God by the sin of unbelief is an undesireable experience.

    The thing is, once warned, why would anyone risk it?

  62. They’d only risk it if they didn’t believe it, or if temporary desires outweigh the promise of the eternal.

    If someone believes there is judgement, or hell, or even reward, they won’t necessarily be motivated.

    Its a bit like people saving for retirement or a house (assuming they have the means to do so). More fun to spend it now than go without now to be OK later, although its in your interest to do so. That’s why the government in Australia had to make superannuation savings compulsory.

    That’s why knowing Jesus is more important than having spot on beliefs about hell. We have our relationship with Him here and now. Thankfully!

  63. As you say, FL, Jesus talked about Gehenna, and he also talked about repentance. So I’d have to regard both of those as important concepts. However, I’m very grateful that I don’t have to be perfect in all my theology to be in relationship with God. Still, it is helpful to be correct, and to be corrected.

  64. Sorry, this is in response to a way back post, but MN if you ever visit this again, atheists don’t construct a faith. Atheism has no faith, but is merely the disbelief in any god or gods. There is no church to go to, no faith to practice, and no solitary text to worship. There are some very logical, well-written books from several walks of life, from science to philosophy, that discuss atheism. The upshot is I’m not threatened with hell if I don’t read them. Also, I get my Sundays free, which is a bonus.
    A fine book, if anyone is interested, is Christopher Hitchens’ “god is Not Great” which makes some very interesting points about organized religion and the human condition.
    For what it is worth, from my point of view religion makes sense on a psychological level: people fear death so they imagine a heaven. People are powerless in some instances to enact revenge on those who wrong them, so they imagine hell.
    As such, heaven is merely a way to escape the horror of eventual non-existence, which we are bound for. By believing in it, we may feel free to act petty and mundane, ignoring the joys that we have a short time to experience. Instead, we look to an ancient, poorly written piece of contradictory fiction that gives us so many rules to live by that enjoyment is typically found only in the misery of another. Like I said, just my opinion. But I think I’ll be keeping my Sundays free.

  65. Very forceful, dear Bill!- yet you seem to be unmoved by say, Facelifts rather perfect exposition of scripture. MN & others; fabulous input.[Sorry David, dont understand you yet!]

    Gosh, who is the better Berean?!- Now theres a badge to be proud & pretty-righteous about, eh! Nevertheless, I am very interested in all your standpoints; thankyou.

    I too, have thought for many years over the quite unusual’ Rich Man & Lazarus’ parable-the concept is quite clear to us, even though hidden from the people then; though isnt it strange that Lazarus doesnt seem to do anything particularly ‘righteous’-yet the Father places him in a favoured place compared with the Rich Man-so……what did the Rich Man do wrong?

    The Rich Man and Lazarus

    19″Now there was a rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, joyously living in splendor every day.
    20″And a poor man named Lazarus (S)was laid at his gate, covered with sores,

    21and longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man’s table; besides, even the dogs were coming and licking his sores.

    22″Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to (T)Abraham’s bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried.

    23″In (U)Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom.

    24″And he cried out and said, ‘(V)Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in (W)this flame.’

    25″But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that (X)during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony.

    26’And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.’

    27″And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, that you send him to my father’s house–

    28for I have five brothers–in order that he may (Y)warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’

    29″But Abraham said, ‘They have (Z)Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’

    30″But he said, ‘No, (AA)father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’

    31″But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.'”

    -So then,the principle is apparently v.25=God brings JUSTICE!-perfectly within character.

    I concur with Facelift in that the Master is speaking conceptually very plainly here; why bother to be figurative with ‘Hades’, etc?=He describes its’ Function.

    But what has ‘Moses & the Prophets’ to do with this?- because they wanted equity and loving-sharing between the sons of Israel.

    The Concept is: ‘Punishment and Repayment by God, within the Law of Love.’
    [ie the First & second Commandments contain all the rest]

    Ive struggled with this Hell material all my Christian life, just as Ive struggled with ‘Violence’ in the Bible…but now I believe, I get-it.

    God is not a schizophrenic; he has a complete personality, just as all of you have!, and we ARE made in his image, which explains rather alot about us-

    What then of the scriptures below:

    Proverbs 13:24
    “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.

    18 If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, 19 his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. 20 They shall say to the elders, “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a profligate and a drunkard.” 21 Then all the men of his town shall stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid.”

    [-What a shocking and terrible event this would be!-especially for the Parents!]

    Granted brothers, that this is Old testament, yet Deuteronomy 8:5 says:

    “Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you.”

    Very Interesting then,that this totally Loving God set these very rules-its His OWN mind we’re looking into here, if you believe we people did not make this up ourselves!

    SO then, Why should anybody repent, if there is no Punishment?? [Judgement implicit]

    Hell is real; because conceptually it is necessary for Repentance to function, and not just because it is written & described in scripture.

    I wonder how many of you have thought that ‘God judges without reference to Law, where there is no Law’?
    Does God know how to judge any kind of person?-absolutely!

    I am fascinated by the pagan view of ‘God’ even without reference to the Hebrew God-It seems to me, that God is like an Earthquake- an event that inspires universal dread, no matter what persons standpoint; so it may be in the Judgement; this bit is my speculation.

    Z.

  66. Hmm… That’s an interesting view Glen. It makes sense as to why some people do that. Still it doesn’t explain why so many countries around the world have ‘supernatural’ encounters and that ALL religions believe in an afterlife. Some aren’t pleasant to live in. I would not like to come back as a snail.

    Aethiesm indeed does have a faith. They’re just in denial. And some aethiests do go to church (are you pastafarianist? I sure am!). Aethiests have their Gods and their idols. They have their ways of worshiping. They have many methods of trying to deal with their ‘sin issues’ or hide and deny them all together. They have their rituals.

    As human beings we are created to love and worship. We all have some understanding of justice, sacrifice, love, faith and have this thing called hope which never goes away when love does. We all believe in demons or superhumans. We like to excercise the supernatural in imaginations. All resulting in some way echoing the greatest story ever told- redemptions story.

    We have a conscience that tells us what’s right and wrong and we continually try to do what is not wrong because it was never in our original nature to do wrong. Many man made religions are invented to deal with this sinful nature. We learn how to be good people but we naturally are born with this curse of doing bad things.

    How can we deny the fact that we are designed by something we can’t see in these areas?

  67. Z,
    ‘SO then, Why should anybody repent, if there is no Punishment?? [Judgement implicit]’

    Good point!

  68. Thanks dear Facelift [and I, and many others probably, still want to come to dinner!],
    and beautifully thought, SP,

    I was corresponding with a well-respected Christian author, immediately after writing the above, and was baffled by his thought about the Lazarus parable- please stick this in your wise pipes & smoke it, my friends; & I quote:

    “re Lazarus and the torment stuff. The Pharisees had taken on the Greek concept of Hades and the immortality of the soul; and it was thought by commentators, that I resonate with, that Jesus was using a motif or belief that they identified with so as to bring out his emphasis in this exchange: that being the challenge to these Pharisees that if they did not believe the prophets they would not believe the resurrection. The rest of NT Scripture speaks of both the dead (asleep) in Christ and those who are not in Christ being resurrected at the end of the age to face their final destiny: death or life. none of them being immediately sent into torment: hence, to my mind Christ was tormenting them with their own doctrinal stance.”

    Now, although I greatly respect my friend, can this truly be consistent with the simple reading of it, exegetically?- Would Jesus restate a ‘false’ concept as if it were true [causing brothers to stumble for centuries, I wonder]- Love your thoughts people; its challenging to me!

    Z.

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