My Neighbor Isn’t Going To Hell, Right?

Mar 15

In a recent post, I already touched on hell, but focused mostly on those around the world who have never heard the Gospel–is it fair they go to hell? If you are interested in that topic, I suggest you read that post. In today’s post, I want to focus on my next-door neighbor or the people in our own communities. Most of them have already heard the Gospel at one point in their life. They can’t claim ignorance. Yet they have refused to give their lives over to Christ. Why as churches are we not motivated to reach out to the large number of people who refuse to trust Christ with their lives? Why are we not passionate to reach them? I only see this passion when it comes to growing our churches. I believe there’s a difference between really trying to reach people for Christ and trying to grow our church. Why are there so many “church growth” mega-conferences, best-selling books, models out there, but very little when it comes to investing in people who don’t know Christ? It is a shame that so many of us church leaders think these are one-in-the-same, but that is another topic altogether. I think too many Christians (especially in the South) want to assume that these people in our communities are generally “good folks,” and we have bought into the lie that people around us don’t need to believe in Christ–in the end, they won’t really go to hell, will they? We just think it would be a good idea for them to start coming to church. It would “help them out” in their lives, and it would also help our church grow. Win-win. Too many Christians feel believing in a literal hell for literal people is simply mean. I must admit, the idea of people going to hell is very hard for me to swallow. If there’s one theology in Christianity that gives me the most problems internally, it is the theology about hell. C.S. Lewis also had this problem. In his chapter on Hell in The Problem of Pain, He said, There is no doctrine I would more willingly remove from Christianity than this [hell], if it lay in...

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Four Other Sources To Consider

Mar 13

Four Other Sources To Consider

Enough about what I have to say about all these subjects I’ve been blogging about lately…it’s good to hear from other people, who often say it better than I ever could: FRANCIS CHAN Out of all the well-known Christian pastors/speakers out there today, I connect with and respect Francis’ message over and over. This video is Francis’ message from last Sunday. The video is 50 minutes long, so move on to the next source and plan to watch it later if you don’t have the time right now. It’s excellent, of course. It deals quite a bit with specific disagreements over Scripture (Old Testament and New) that I heard while at my former church. About halfway through the video and on is what I’m referring to, but the first part of the video should not be skipped, because it is the foundation for the second part. By the end of the video, if you think the point of the message was about condemning a pastor’s wife–you couldn’t be more wrong and need to re-watch the video. It was totally all about me. And I’ve gotta believe it’s all about you, too. If you need to, watch it again. Here are my notes I took from the video, and the video is found below my notes: Scripture teaches that God doesn’t listen to everyone’s prayers. Don’t Expect God to Answer Your Prayers If: 1. you don’t honor your wife (1 Peter) 2. you have unconfessed sin (James) 3. you’re asking for things to fulfill your own passions/desires (James) 4. you are doubting the whole time (James) 5. you’re not taking care of the poor and needy (Isaiah) Uh…I fail majorly at all 5 of those. This explains a lot… My sin doesn’t only affect me; it affects the body of Christ with whom I’m in fellowship.Same is true of your sin. God’s view of sin and punishment is radically different from mine. We have a choice to make: adopt God’s view of sin or suffer the consequences of our refusal to do so. Sometimes the consequences are carried out by God himself, but He also can call the church to participate in carrying this out. JESUS CHRIST Jesus answers the...

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A “Better” Christianity (Part 3: The World’s Not Going To Hell)

Mar 08

A “Better” Christianity (Part 3: The World’s Not Going To Hell)

Without any intro, here’s their argument: —————————————————————— THE WORLD’S NOT GOING TO HELL If there was anyone who was humble who walked this earth, it was Jesus. The Son of the Most High God was born as a helpless baby. He didn’t own any earthly possessions. He was ridiculed, but turned the other cheek. He allowed himself to be crucified by merciless men, asking God to forgive them all the while. Over and over, He reminded us to show mercy. His big procession was on a lowly donkey. Over and over, He didn’t want it to leak out that He was the Son of God. He was a man of humility. As followers of Christ, we are to do the same. So many people today in the name of Jesus arrogantly go around, trying to convert people to Christianity–as if they know the truth and everyone else is in darkness. How arrogant! Do Christians have a monopoly on truth? Isn’t God’s truth sprinkled in other places–in other faiths–as well? Didn’t Jesus die for the sins of the entire world? These Christians claim that if you don’t convert, you’ll go to hell. Does this sound like Jesus’ teachings? Is that what Jesus would do? ——————————————————————– The world is going to hell? That sounds judgmental, doesn’t it? In today’s world, any such assertion will be met with quite a bit of resistance. The root of that resistance will be: that can’t be God’s way. If there is a God, He loves everyone. If He inflicts wrath like that, surely He isn’t a good God! But is that how Scripture looks at God’s wrath–that it makes Him no longer good or righteous? Look at Romans 3:5-6: The God who inflicts wrath is not unrighteous, is He? (I am speaking in human terms.) May it never be! For otherwise, how will God judge the world? Yes, the gospel says that we are all worthless sinners (Romans 3:10-12) and we are all under God’s judgment. Who said the Gospel was good news again? Sheesh! Well, this isn’t the entire message of the Gospel. The Gospel teaches that when Jesus died for the sins of the world, God’s judgment is stayed. That doesn’t mean that...

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A “Better” Christianity, (Part 2: Trust Jesus, not the Bible)

Mar 05

A “Better” Christianity, (Part 2: Trust Jesus, not the Bible)

In my previous post, I started by stating that this “new” Christianity states that we should be cautious to judge things up to Scripture, since quite a few parts of Scripture appear flawed/misguided in their understandings of God. That’s why I commented to Melena that I chose not to use the words of Paul in my last post. I know that there are those who might dismiss what Paul has to say, because they see some of his teachings as contradictory to what Jesus taught. So I wanted instead to study Jesus’ own words as much as possible, since we hadn’t addressed the issue of this blog post yet. So what does this “better” Christianity have to say about Scripture and Jesus? ——————————————————————————— TRUST JESUS, NOT THE BIBLE The idea goes something like this: Jesus is the fullest revelation of God, not the Bible. Jesus is the word of God (John 1:14), not the Bible. The Old Testament tried its best to describe who God is, how He acts, what He wants from us. But it was written by people who didn’t have the knowledge of God given to us by Jesus, and therefore they attribute things to God that aren’t really in His character. And it’s not just them that do this. Even in the New Testament, various authors in their zeal of God over-reach themselves. People like Paul, for example, who is trying his best to understand what it means that Jesus has come in the flesh and how we should respond to that truth. But we also have something better than the writings of people before Christ and the people after Christ (who are humans like the rest of us). We have the very words of Christ himself! Paul wasn’t the Son of God. Paul didn’t die for our sins. Paul isn’t the Way, the Truth, the Life. He didn’t come down from heaven. He isn’t our Savior, and he isn’t the Messiah. Jesus is! So, sure, it’s great to read what Paul or Old Testament writers had to say–just like it’s great to read what any Christian philosopher has to say down the centuries. But we aren’t to trust Paul or his words with our...

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A “Better” Christianity (Part 1: Don’t Judge)

Mar 01

A “Better” Christianity (Part 1: Don’t Judge)

Ok, so here’s the start of some blog posts that I promised a little while back to unpack some of the beliefs being presented today–claims for a “better” Christianity. Before I get into the first one about “not judging”, let me say that we must judge these “new” claims by Scripture. I believe it’s clear that they don’t stand up. But part of this “new” Christianity states that we should be cautious to judge such things up to Scripture, since quite a few parts of Scripture appear flawed/misguided in their understandings of God. In effect, these people are judging Scripture and find it to be lacking. This illustrates one of the points I will present in this blog that people who say “don’t judge,” create impossible criteria for what it means to “judge.” In fact, it is quite ironic that, when I was told that “my” view of Christianity (as if I’ve come up with something new) and my attitude was narrow-minded, judgmental, and arrogant, the very people telling me that I was judging were doing exactly that–and to an even greater degree. In other words, I did in fact “judge” their positions by stating that I completely disagree with their positions on matters that I believe are central to the Christian faith, and that I firmly believed they go completely against the whole of Scripture. I made judgments on their positions, for sure, but did not belittle them as persons in doing so. In return, those who would say that we shouldn’t judge responded by making judgments not only on my positions (which is completely fair and appropriate), but also belittling who I am as a person when they stated I was judgmental, arrogant, and narrow-minded for believing that Jesus is the only way, for example. This is what too often happens by those who say “Don’t judge.” When someone tells you that you are judging–by saying this, they are now judging (and not just judging your beliefs, but sometimes even your motivation, intelligence, or character). The reason for this circular conundrum is a misunderstanding of what Jesus means by “Don’t judge.” Almost anything we say is considered a “judgment.” By this definition, that last statement itself is...

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