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Source: (consider it) Thread: Purgatory: Will God allow anyone to go to hell?
Niënna

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quote:
Originally posted by Demas:
When you get to a scripture which may indicate the universal saving triumph of God - how do you respond?

To be honest, I have not been introduced to this approach. So,I looked up the verse at your sig and when I read the chapter surrounding it (1 cor 15) it is talking about the resurrection of christ and why we should believe he is resurrected. Then it says that Christ will take those who belong to him. This phrase could be refering to verse two of this same chapter. "By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you."

I am guessing there are there other verses that more clearly express a universalist theology. But honestly I am not familiar with them.


quote:
In other words, I interpret scriptures speaking of endless punishment and separation of God in the light of the other scriptures stating that God loves us, is almighty, and that love doesn't fail.
Okay, that answers my question. Its funny how we can believe the same thing but come up with different interpretations of it.

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Nino: Now... tell me. Who started the war?
Chiki: [long pause] We did.
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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Joyfulsoul:
I am guessing there are there other verses that more clearly express a universalist theology. But honestly I am not familiar with them.

He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. 1 John 2:2

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Niënna

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quote:
Originally posted by Mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Joyfulsoul:
I am guessing there are there other verses that more clearly express a universalist theology. But honestly I am not familiar with them.

He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. 1 John 2:2
I take it, the universalist position is that verse means that everyone's sins are atoned for hence everyone goes to heaven and no one goes hell (rather then saying Jesus' sacrifice was good enough for everyone in the world and not just for the Jews and so that means any gentile or barbarian can also choose to follow Christ).

--------------------
[Nino points a gun at Chiki]
Nino: Now... tell me. Who started the war?
Chiki: [long pause] We did.
~No Man's Land

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mousethief

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Blessed is the man whose sins are forgiven. By golly that's everybody.

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Jason™

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quote:
Originally posted by Joyfulsoul:
I take it, the universalist position is that verse means that everyone's sins are atoned for hence everyone goes to heaven and no one goes hell (rather then saying Jesus' sacrifice was good enough for everyone in the world and not just for the Jews and so that means any gentile or barbarian can also choose to follow Christ).

Right, because what you've just done in this reply and in the reply to Demas above is to reinterpret passages to fit your theology. Since we can't really KNOW which interpretation is correct, we have to make a good guess. You made your guess based on the context you could find that would support a belief in hell, showing it's possible that this may not be a proof against hell, whereas Demas used context that would support his own position (what he knows of God, what other verses say about God's limitless, unending love, etc.).

It comes down to a choice, in a lot of ways.

-Digory

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Demas
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quote:
Originally posted by Joyfulsoul:
quote:
Originally posted by Demas:
When you get to a scripture which may indicate the universal saving triumph of God - how do you respond?

To be honest, I have not been introduced to this approach. So,I looked up the verse at your sig and when I read the chapter surrounding it (1 cor 15) it is talking about the resurrection of christ and why we should believe he is resurrected. Then it says that Christ will take those who belong to him. This phrase could be refering to verse two of this same chapter. "By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you."

I am guessing there are there other verses that more clearly express a universalist theology. But honestly I am not familiar with them.

I've posted this a couple of times before, but will again - it's only about 25 easily read pages long - chapter excerpt from the book The Inscapable Love of God. It covers a lot of Paul, and looks at various passages (including the one in my sig) from a Universalist apologetic viewpoint. Read it - it's good, and free [Cool]

I would argue that to claim that the second 'all' in 1 cor 15 actually only means 'some of the first all', you need to import that idea into the passage from outside.

(btw, who belongs to Christ? Jesus in Matthew 11:27 says that "All things have been committed to me by my Father.")

I'll mention a few scriptural highlights. I'm not attempting to prooftext, just to point out some prima facie examples to show I'm not just making this up [Biased] The framework through which you view these texts may lead you to a different understanding of them; but here they are:

quote:

Romans 5:18 - "Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men."

Romans 11:32 - "For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all."

Philippians 2:10 - 11 - "that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father"

Luke 3:6 - "And all mankind will see God's salvation."

John 12:32: "And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself."

Ephesians 1:9-10 - "And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ."

1 Timothy 4:10 - "(and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe"

Titus 2:11: "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men"

Colossians 1:19-20 "For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross."

Plus all the usual passages about Jesus taking away the sins of the world, God loving us, God caring for us, virtually all of Paul and most of the New Testament and Isaiah... [Razz]

(Note that I'm not arguing that these passages support the idea that someone can be reconciled to God otherwise than through Jesus - that's another discussion for another day)

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They did not appear very religious; that is, they were not melancholy; and I therefore suspected they had not much piety - Life of Rev John Murray

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Niënna

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quote:
Originally posted by professorkirke:
It comes down to a choice, in a lot of ways.

-Digory

I think that's the conclusion I've also come to.

--------------------
[Nino points a gun at Chiki]
Nino: Now... tell me. Who started the war?
Chiki: [long pause] We did.
~No Man's Land

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PaulTH*
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Dear Joyful Soul

Like the others who replied, I have to explain away things that are difficult. For me this covers three areas.

1. Most of Jesus' threats of eternal damnation are for wrong deeds, not for unbelief or failure to accept Christ as saviour. They are therefore, in any event incompatible with the prevailing salvation by creed so important to Christianity.

2. There is a difference of opinion, and has been ever since the early Church Fathers as to whether what we translate as eternal actually means what we think it does. There is a good case for translating eternal punishment as age lasting chastisement.

3. Most of Christ's references to eternal punishment are pre-Easter, when perhaps due to kenosis, He wasn't totally aware of the grand cosmic scale of His mission which only became apparent after the resurrection. During His ministry, he sahred much of His theology with the Jewish culture in which He was raised. Some Jewish groups may have believed in eternal damnation, others didn't. It forms no part of post Temple Rabbinic Judaism.

These are the ways I rationalise that the universalist proof texts carry more weight, but we all use the Bible in that way, if only we all would admit it.

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Lynn MagdalenCollege
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quote:
Originally posted by Demas:
(btw, who belongs to Christ? Jesus in Matthew 11:27 says that "All things have been committed to me by my Father.")

I think I've mentioned it before, but Jesus' prayer in John 17:9 "I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours." - which, as I read it, indicates a division between the portion of humanity which God has given Him and the portion of humanity which He describes as "the world." In the context, it starts by looking pretty universalist and then shifts. Hard stuff - I think it goes back to tension...

Chuck Missler (a bible teacher I get a kick out of) says, "God is the one who doesn't get what He wants" - referencing the fact that He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked will die and suffer and His righteousness requires it be so. It's an interesting proposition.

quote:
(Note that I'm not arguing that these passages support the idea that someone can be reconciled to God otherwise than through Jesus - that's another discussion for another day)
So, not to derail the thread, is there someplace where you're discussing your views on reconciliation with God through a source other than Jesus?

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Demas
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quote:
Originally posted by LynnMagdalenCollege:
I think I've mentioned it before, but Jesus' prayer in John 17:9 "I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours." - which, as I read it, indicates a division between the portion of humanity which God has given Him and the portion of humanity which He describes as "the world." In the context, it starts by looking pretty universalist and then shifts. Hard stuff - I think it goes back to tension...

While I'm in a biblical mood [Biased] , Jesus is praying specifically for his disciples at that point. Read on to John 17:20 and he says "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one".

John is talking about the church as it was, and the triumph of God as it will be.

quote:
Chuck Missler (a bible teacher I get a kick out of) says, "God is the one who doesn't get what He wants" - referencing the fact that He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked will die and suffer and His righteousness requires it be so. It's an interesting proposition.
It's an interesting viewpoint, I'll agree, but not really unsual. In fact I would go so far as to call it bog standard. I would also argue that it is unscriptural. [Razz]

quote:
is there someplace where you're discussing your views on reconciliation with God through a source other than Jesus?
I was really just refering to this thread.

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They did not appear very religious; that is, they were not melancholy; and I therefore suspected they had not much piety - Life of Rev John Murray

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Freddy
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quote:
Originally posted by professorkirke:
I got confused there, Freddy.

Success of the long-term goal = everyone is saved, right?

So what is the long-term outcome you speak of, if it's different than that?

I was thinking of the fulfilling of the prophecies that predict universal peace on earth and the love of God in every heart.

Whether that means that every soul ever created must then have an exactly equal share of happiness is pretty debatable.

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"Consequently nothing is of greater importance to a person than knowing what the truth is." Swedenborg

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Jason™

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I suppose the argument could be made that perfect happiness is the love of God made complete in your heart, in which case if all people receive this love, they'd have an equal (meaning infinite) share of happiness.
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Freddy
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quote:
Originally posted by professorkirke:
I suppose the argument could be made that perfect happiness is the love of God made complete in your heart, in which case if all people receive this love, they'd have an equal (meaning infinite) share of happiness.

The argument could also be made that perfection is in variety, and that infinite love and infinite happiness is realized in each person having their own unique individuality and loves.

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"Consequently nothing is of greater importance to a person than knowing what the truth is." Swedenborg

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Freddy
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quote:
Originally posted by Joyfulsoul:
May I pose a question to Demas, Freddy, and PaulTh*, and Professor Kirke?

When you get to a scripture which may indicate a hell or a separation of the peoples of earth into two different destinies - how do you respond?

As you probably realize, I accept the idea of an eternal hell - even if my idea of it differs from others. So I have no problem with those scriptures.

But I think that once someone accepts any kind of eternal differentiation, the continuum of experience will in some measure account for the description of those destinies.

As I see it, however, the conflict between these passages and those that promise the fulfillment of God's purposes for humanity, can be resolved.

The key is to realize that all of creation, both the spiritual and the natural, compose one integrated system. The state of the system as a whole affects every part.

The way that this works is that life proceeds from God as its source, passes through the spiritual world, and is received by the natural world. It then rebounds from that world and returns to God. So the state of the natural and spiritual worlds are reciprocally dependent on one another.

So if life on earth improves, then life in the spiritual world, including the part of it that is called "hell", will also improve. This was the purpose of the Incarnation.

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"Consequently nothing is of greater importance to a person than knowing what the truth is." Swedenborg

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Lynn MagdalenCollege
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Freddy, that's an interesting view - I don't share it, but it's very interesting. And it does provoke the thought: what about alternate realities? The study of time and theories of alternate universes, etc., makes me wonder if what we experience is one time line in which (hopefully!) we're saved - and perhaps God allows many different time lines so that everybody, somehow, somewhere, in ONE of those time lines, gets saved?! Hey, it's a thought...

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Freddy
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quote:
Originally posted by LynnMagdalenCollege:
And it does provoke the thought: what about alternate realities?

Alternate realities? How do you get there from here? Is it because I mention a "spiritual world"? Or is it because of the statement that it is all one integrated system? [Confused]

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"Consequently nothing is of greater importance to a person than knowing what the truth is." Swedenborg

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Teufelchen
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I think Lynn is referring to the 'many worlds' interpretation of the quantum theory - subtly parodied by Terry Pratchett as the 'trousers of time'. I'm not sure how seriously anyone believes that interpretation, so I haven't given much thought to its theological consequences.

The idea that we exist as unresolved superpositions of metaphysical saved and unsaved states is more than a little bothersome, now I do consider it.

T.

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by PaulTH*:
1. Most of Jesus' threats of eternal damnation are for wrong deeds, not for unbelief or failure to accept Christ as saviour. They are therefore, in any event incompatible with the prevailing salvation by creed so important to Christianity.

It looks to me like Jesus preaches conditional salvation for Gentile non-believers - those outside the church. I.e. any non-believer who gives charitably to a Christian will be treated as a Christian. The sheep and the goats is the main parable, but there are also sayings that anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name will receive a reward.

Paul envisages salvation for all Christian believers. He hardly mentions Hell, and never I think as a place of punishment. He does speak of gentiles (the implication being that they don't apparently know God) being condemned by their actions in Romans 2; but in the same breath he also speaks of them being saved by their actions specifically.

Elsewhere in Romans he gets a bit more mysterious and implies that God will somehow save even those Jews who don't believe in Christ - and by implication may also save Gentiles who don't believe in Christ. The idea that anyone will permanently be lost is not one that interests him at all.

Dafyd

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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Freddy
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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
It looks to me like Jesus preaches conditional salvation for Gentile non-believers - those outside the church. I.e. any non-believer who gives charitably to a Christian will be treated as a Christian. The sheep and the goats is the main parable, but there are also sayings that anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name will receive a reward.

Jesus preaches conditional salvation for everyone, Christian or not.
quote:
Matthew 7.21-23 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22“Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23“And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
I agree with Paul. I don't think belief is as central "doing the will of My Father in heaven."

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"Consequently nothing is of greater importance to a person than knowing what the truth is." Swedenborg

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Lynn MagdalenCollege
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quote:
Originally posted by Freddy:
Jesus preaches conditional salvation for everyone, Christian or not. <snip>
I agree with Paul. I don't think belief is as central "doing the will of My Father in heaven."

Well, it's an interesting selective reading of scripture - In Mark 16: "And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned." As has been observed elsewhere in this thread, we all read selectively or find some other means of balancing scriptural tension.

So, what makes you think believing is not primary in "doing the will of My Father in Heaven"? I actually do think "belief" is important in the salvation picture...

And yeah, I was alluding to time-streams & the more way-out applications of quantum theory (some people postulate that every time we make a decision the time-stream splits - pretty horrific number of splits, don't you think?!) - and thus coming up with a humorous way that everybody could be saved, even by more "conservative" standards of Christianity. Obviously it wasn't all that humorous... *sigh*

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Freddy
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quote:
Originally posted by LynnMagdalenCollege:
quote:
Originally posted by Freddy:
Jesus preaches conditional salvation for everyone, Christian or not. <snip>
I agree with Paul. I don't think belief is as central "doing the will of My Father in heaven."

Well, it's an interesting selective reading of scripture - In Mark 16: "And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned." As has been observed elsewhere in this thread, we all read selectively or find some other means of balancing scriptural tension.

So, what makes you think believing is not primary in "doing the will of My Father in Heaven"? I actually do think "belief" is important in the salvation picture...

No question that belief is important in the salvation picture. The question is whether it is as important as "doing the will of My Father."

Of course it is actually assumed in "doing His will", because why would someone do what they don't believe in.

Similarly, "believing" also assumes obedience and action, since if you believe and accept, then obeying and doing follows.

Certainly many passages speak of belief, and many of obedience. The key to me is the ones that speak of those who appear to believe but do not obey:
quote:
“But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say? 47“Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: 48“He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. 49“But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great.” Luke 6.46-49

“But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go, work today in my vineyard.’ 29 He answered and said, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he regretted it and went. 30 Then he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, ‘I go, sir,’ but he did not go. 31 Which of the two did the will of his father?”
They said to Him, “The first.” Matthew 21

“You are My friends if you do whatever I command you." John 15.14

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20“teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you. Matthew 28.20

“Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20“Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
21“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22“Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23“And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ Matthew 7.19-23

“If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8“By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
9“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10“If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love. John 15.6-10

“And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. 13“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.” 14Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. 15But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie. Revelation 22.12-15

Passages like these make me think that obedience is more essential than belief. It may be academic, though, since I also agree that obedience is not really possible without faith. The two go together and are inseparable.

But I do think that it is a mistake to think that a person can believe and *not* obey and still be saved.

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"Consequently nothing is of greater importance to a person than knowing what the truth is." Swedenborg

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Lynn MagdalenCollege
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ah, I think we "load" the word "belief" differently - when I read these passages (your post, above), I'm assuming these people DON'T believe - that they have taken the outward form but not the inward conformation, so to speak. Kind of like the mafia hitman who kills three people in the week but goes to church so he's covered... to me, that's not "belief." I concur with James: belief without the evidence of action and obedience ("works") is void; it is not belief.

Another word where biblical meaning is different from common usage is "hope" - 21st century America uses "hope" almost synonomously with "wish," whereas scripture uses "hope" to indicate a certainty which has not yet come to pass (we'd probably be more inclined to say "assurance"). Language! Interesting stuff.

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Erin & Friend; Been there, done that; Ruth musical

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Freddy
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quote:
Originally posted by LynnMagdalenCollege:
ah, I think we "load" the word "belief" differently - when I read these passages (your post, above), I'm assuming these people DON'T believe - that they have taken the outward form but not the inward conformation, so to speak.

OK. Good. I'm with you all the way. They don't REALLY believe, they only think they do.

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"Consequently nothing is of greater importance to a person than knowing what the truth is." Swedenborg

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PaulTH*
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I would like to endorse Demas' recommendation of "The Inescapable Love of God" by Thomas Talbott which I have read this week and which I bought on Demas' recommendation on this thread. The first section in which Talbott describes his spiritual journey hit me like a typhoon because I remember all the same thoughts and feeling when I was young. Even earlier than Talbott, at the age of 12, I began to have serious doubts concerning the brutality of God as taught in the Baptist tradition which I then attended. By 15, it was complete. I left in a total revulsion which lasted more than 25 years. Like Talbott, I realised that I could never be part of orthodox Christianity as long as it teaches such a punitive view of God and I vowed that I never would.

As a middle aged man, the overwhelming desire to worship brought me back to church, but to the gentle Anglican tradition where freedom of ideas within an orthodox structure seems to thrive. In the meantime, again like Talbott, I have come to realise that this cruel view of God and His limited mercy is by no means the only one and that numerous people in the early church believed in universal reconciliation. Even Augustine who vehemently opposed the idea, acknowledged that it was a commonly held view in his day. Through the ages, several theologians, especially those of a mystical bent, have reiterated the belief in universal salvation even when it has been against the grain of official doctrine.

So my bottom line is: The Bible can be used to prove both eternal damnation or universal reconciliation. The early church, when it was finding its feet had advocates of both positions in abaundance. The official teaching of the church veered sharply in favour of damnation after Jerome and Augustine, though many individual Christians have disagreed with that view down the ages. So where does that leave us? IMO it leaves us free to decide what resonates best with us. I can't and won't conceive of a God who alllows anyone to suffer infinite punishment for finite sins, though I do believe in retributive and corrective punishment.

This is my only true stumbling block to a full Christian life. Though I have certain doubts and ambiguities about Christian doctrine, I would lay them aside and submit to the discipline of the faith. But nothing has changed in 36 years since I rejected eternal hell as an evil and perverse doctrine. I still choose to believe in the inescapable love of God.

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Yours in Christ
Paul

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Niënna

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I can't understand the concept of hell. Eternal pain for selfishness and sadism?

Hell, I can't understand the concept of demons and Satan.

I can't understand virgin birth. C'mon, get real here. Who's the daddy? God?

I can't understand the triune nature of God. I've heard it explained as 1 x 1 x 1 = 1, rather than 1 + 1 + 1 =3.

I can't understand life after death.

I can't understand miracles...at all.

I can't understand why the cross. Why must God, a being of great mercy, beauty, love, grace, and compassion be subjected to nakedness and mockery and brutal death?

I can't understand God.

And yet, I believe it. I know I'm crazy.

--------------------
[Nino points a gun at Chiki]
Nino: Now... tell me. Who started the war?
Chiki: [long pause] We did.
~No Man's Land

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Freddy
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# 365

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quote:
Originally posted by Joyfulsoul:
And yet, I believe it. I know I'm crazy.

It's nice if people believe in things they can't understand. But when it's possible to understand, I think that understanding is the better option.

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"Consequently nothing is of greater importance to a person than knowing what the truth is." Swedenborg

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Niënna

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quote:
Originally posted by Freddy:
quote:
Originally posted by Joyfulsoul:
And yet, I believe it. I know I'm crazy.

It's nice if people believe in things they can't understand. But when it's possible to understand, I think that understanding is the better option.
Well, of course. All I am trying to say is that I don't understand a lot things. Some days, I see the brightness of a daisy or smell a rose, sometimes, just sometimes, things begin to make sense and then I get it.

[ 23. November 2005, 23:03: Message edited by: Joyfulsoul ]

--------------------
[Nino points a gun at Chiki]
Nino: Now... tell me. Who started the war?
Chiki: [long pause] We did.
~No Man's Land

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Jason™

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quote:
Originally posted by Freddy:
quote:
Originally posted by Joyfulsoul:
And yet, I believe it. I know I'm crazy.

It's nice if people believe in things they can't understand. But when it's possible to understand, I think that understanding is the better option.
I'm going to say something that makes no sense:

I think admitting that we don't really understand and yet still believe is a huge step in really understanding how everything works.


If you don't understand what I said, consider it an ironic twist.

-Digory

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Jason™

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Freddy and I very respectfully disagree on our reading of Jesus' commandments. I respect his position so much because he actually fully deals with what Christ says, whereas the traditional Christian understanding tends to gloss over them much more.

The Bible paints Jesus as proclaiming a very works-based salvation, if you read it a certain way. But like PaulTH has been saying, you can use Scripture to prove varying points.

I see Jesus' works-based commands through the following spectacles:

1. A reaction against the prevailing theology of salvation. Most Hebrews of the time believed strongly that salvation was entirely works-based, because of the Law and the Hebrew Bible scriptures (Old Testament). Keep the Law, enter heaven, don't, and you won't. Jesus often had to remind people that should they choose to espouse this belief, there was a lot more they would have to do to gain salvation than simply sit at home on Saturdays and avoid certain meats and heinous crimes.

2. "Producing fruit" does not necessarily mean keeping some set of ethical commands.

3. When Jesus refers to "all the things I have commanded you" or "my commandments," I'm not sure he is actually referring to every individual comment made to every individual person rather than the commandments he made specifically to the individual he is addressing at the time. I believe Jesus came to command people that they must begin to trust in the idea of Grace and accept the fact that they cannot do it on their own, contrary to their heritage. This would have been extremely difficult to do (as evidenced by the fact that none of the disciples quite got it), so Jesus continually reminded them "You are my disciples if you keep MY commands" as opposed to the commands espoused by the Pharisees.

4. Many will say Lord, Lord but be turned away. They claim all of the THINGS THAT THEY DID, and Jesus says he will respond "Away from me you who practice lawlessness!" He again points out that they are not perfect, so if they wish to be judged on the merits of what they've done, they will be condemned. Instead they must realize that it doesn't matter how many demons they've cast out or how many wonders they've done--Grace covers them.


Some thoughts...

-Digory

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Niënna

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PK:

[Overused]

That was great.

--------------------
[Nino points a gun at Chiki]
Nino: Now... tell me. Who started the war?
Chiki: [long pause] We did.
~No Man's Land

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Demas
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Which, I think, brings us back to this post of Psyduck's...

quote:
Originally posted by Psyduck:
Demas:
quote:
unless you want to embrace an entirely works-based sotierology...

I don't see this. I don't think you can import these Pauline assumptions into the parables.The whole "works" thing, it seems to me, is predicated on a misunderstanding of the demands of God's justice, and of justification. It always strikes me, for instance, that the people who had "done this for one of the least of these", in that parable, seem to place no trust at all in their works, and seem as surprised that they are 'saved' as the "Lord! Lord!" bunch are that they aren't. (I always thought that that was where Luther got James wrong. There are things we are required to do. Faith - and "faith in faith" - requires that we do them just as much.)


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They did not appear very religious; that is, they were not melancholy; and I therefore suspected they had not much piety - Life of Rev John Murray

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Jason™

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Demas--

I'm a little thick under a post-Thanksgiving over-eaten haze. Could you elaborate on that last post of yours? I don't follow.

-Digory

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Demas
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Paul is pretty uniformly positive. For him the enemy is Death, which is tied up with the Law and the Fall. He mostly talks about how this enemy (and all others) has been/will be/is being defeated; with side arguments about why the church he is writing to shouldn't use this as a reason to sleep with their step-moms or allow women to talk in church.

Jesus in the synoptics (esp Matthew) is prophetic and harsh. He uses language of division - sheep and goats. He talks of light and dark, of wedding guests thrown out into the cold and gnashing of teeth. He seems very interested in our attempting to be perfect; always internalising it (we commit adultery by lusting in our hearts) and always asking for more (keep the laws of the prophets, and he asks you to give away all your money).

And yet he also talks of fathers running to returning sons, shepherds looking for sheep, women looking for coins.

And he says that what is not possible for us is possible for God, and if only we had faith we could move mountains.

It is in harmonising these two visions that we get the omnipresent current calvarminian "Damned for your lack of works unless you become Christian" - taking the urgent command to perfect love from the syoptic Jesus and the healing by trust (salvation by faith) from John and Paul.

I simply can't see that any message that is not universalist can be Good News. Paul seems to have got that Good News from Jesus - can we get that same Good News from the synoptic Jesus, or is there something big missing from that fragmented picture?

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They did not appear very religious; that is, they were not melancholy; and I therefore suspected they had not much piety - Life of Rev John Murray

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Freddy
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# 365

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Digory,

I'm with you as far as being in a too-many-guests and too-much-turkey-induced haze. [Snore]

I like your points. People often just don't know what to do with so many statements from Jesus that seem to make salvation works-based.

I wouldn't say that they teach that point of view so much as that Jesus looks at the whole person - pointing out that the state of eternal happiness that is called "heaven" is based on many factors.
quote:
Originally posted by professorkirke:
I see Jesus' works-based commands through the following spectacles:

1. A reaction against the prevailing theology of salvation. Most Hebrews of the time believed strongly that salvation was entirely works-based, because of the Law and the Hebrew Bible scriptures (Old Testament). Keep the Law, enter heaven, don't, and you won't. Jesus often had to remind people that should they choose to espouse this belief, there was a lot more they would have to do to gain salvation than simply sit at home on Saturdays and avoid certain meats and heinous crimes.

OK. Except that He also pointed out that it was what was in their heart that counted, not just what they did:
quote:
Matthew 12:35 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.
Matthew 15:8 (quoting Isaiah)‘ These people draw near to Me with their mouth,And honor Me with their lips,But their heart is far from Me.
Matthew 15:18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man.

I think Jesus' teachings about salvation take many factors into account, and are not about pointing out that the laws are too difficult to follow.
quote:
Originally posted by professorkirke:
2. "Producing fruit" does not necessarily mean keeping some set of ethical commands.

What else could it mean? I would say it is about being a good and decent person, who does good, as opposed to evil, things. "Fruits" is a common New Testament term which always has this kind of connotation.
quote:
Originally posted by professorkirke:
3. When Jesus refers to "all the things I have commanded you" or "my commandments," I'm not sure he is actually referring to every individual comment made to every individual person rather than the commandments he made specifically to the individual he is addressing at the time. I believe Jesus came to command people that they must begin to trust in the idea of Grace and accept the fact that they cannot do it on their own, contrary to their heritage. This would have been extremely difficult to do (as evidenced by the fact that none of the disciples quite got it), so Jesus continually reminded them "You are my disciples if you keep MY commands" as opposed to the commands espoused by the Pharisees.

Jesus certainly taught grace, and He certainly taught the people that "without Me you can do nothing." The body of His teaching, however, is all of a piece. It is not difficult to understand what He is commanding us to do, since He said most things many times. It is true that some of the teachings are obscure, but that is why they need study.
quote:
Originally posted by professorkirke:
4. Many will say Lord, Lord but be turned away. They claim all of the THINGS THAT THEY DID, and Jesus says he will respond "Away from me you who practice lawlessness!" He again points out that they are not perfect, so if they wish to be judged on the merits of what they've done, they will be condemned. Instead they must realize that it doesn't matter how many demons they've cast out or how many wonders they've done--Grace covers them.

Except that is the exact opposite of what Jesus said. He was speaking of people who accepted what He said but did not act on them.

I think the overall point here is that Jesus tells us how to be happy and productive people. It should be obvious to anyone that people who actually accept and follow Jesus' advice really will be happy and productive people. Almost anyone would want this kind of person as an employee, employer, spouse, friend, etc.

The idea is that this is what heaven is - the state of this kind of person.

I do hope and believe that someday everyone really will be this way. But people should be free to be this way or not - as they choose.

--------------------
"Consequently nothing is of greater importance to a person than knowing what the truth is." Swedenborg

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Freddy
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# 365

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quote:
Originally posted by Demas:
I simply can't see that any message that is not universalist can be Good News. Paul seems to have got that Good News from Jesus - can we get that same Good News from the synoptic Jesus, or is there something big missing from that fragmented picture?

Is it possible that the universalist message really isn't consistent with the synoptic Jesus?

My own opinion is that any view that criticizes and rejects alternative views is inconsistent with universalism. Unless the message is that sooner or later you *will* be bent to the one true path.

--------------------
"Consequently nothing is of greater importance to a person than knowing what the truth is." Swedenborg

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Jason™

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quote:
Originally posted by Freddy:
It should be obvious to anyone that people who actually accept and follow Jesus' advice really will be happy and productive people. Almost anyone would want this kind of person as an employee, employer, spouse, friend, etc.

Absolutely--in fact if anyone can keep the whole Law and all of Jesus' individual commandments, including never having an angry thought (which is murder), never having a lustful urge (which is adultery), and cutting off limbs that cause us to sin, we would end up being not only an amazing asset to the human community but we'd be saved from any and all damnation, too.

If you can't live up to this standard, then, grace covers you.

But then again, that's why we so respectfully disagree, Freddy. We just read it differently, and that's fine, because we're both grappling with the actual text and with our experience of God. I hope I recognize you in heaven someday so we can both have good laugh about how wrong we both were. [Smile]

-Digory

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Freddy
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Digory,

So is it all or nothing then? [Confused]

I would think that some would be more obedient, and some less obedient to Jesus.

--------------------
"Consequently nothing is of greater importance to a person than knowing what the truth is." Swedenborg

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Freddy
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But all that seems to be a separate argument, not really related to the topic of whether God will allow anyone to go to hell.

The real question to me isn't about whether God will allow people to go somewhere, but whether He will allow anyone to act contrary to His will in the long run.

So in the end must everyone do God's bidding? [Confused]

--------------------
"Consequently nothing is of greater importance to a person than knowing what the truth is." Swedenborg

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Martin60
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# 368

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Sorry for not reading the whole thread yet, but to answer the OP afresh, how can He NOT? Particularly as He already has in Satan and his demons. And since Eden, more metaphorically but no less painfully. No Hell? No freewill. Conservatively it is IMPOSSIBLE for God to create transcendent children, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, friends without the dread possibility of reprobation.

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Love wins

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Demas
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard:
No Hell? No freewill.

Do you have freewill? If I spike your drink, can you choose whether to get drunk? If you are drunk, can you choose whether to speak clearly or not? Are you not drunk on sin?

quote:
Conservatively it is IMPOSSIBLE for God to create transcendent children, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, friends without the dread possibility of reprobation.
Stating something doesn't make it so... Show me why an omniscient, omnipotent God would find this imposible.

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They did not appear very religious; that is, they were not melancholy; and I therefore suspected they had not much piety - Life of Rev John Murray

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Demas
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quote:
Originally posted by Freddy:
The real question to me isn't about whether God will allow people to go somewhere, but whether He will allow anyone to act contrary to His will in the long run.

I think this is a core problem of much traditional Heaven/Hell language - we don't change our essence when we move from place to place. If we picture Heaven and Hell as destinations, we are imagining ourselves, unchanged, in a nice place or a nasty place.

We should talk about who we are, not where we are.

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They did not appear very religious; that is, they were not melancholy; and I therefore suspected they had not much piety - Life of Rev John Murray

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Niënna

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quote:
Originally posted by Demas:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard:
No Hell? No freewill.

Do you have freewill? If I spike your drink, can you choose whether to get drunk? If you are drunk, can you choose whether to speak clearly or not? Are you not drunk on sin?
And if someone offers you an antidote?

--------------------
[Nino points a gun at Chiki]
Nino: Now... tell me. Who started the war?
Chiki: [long pause] We did.
~No Man's Land

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Demas
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Then it would be logical to take the antidote, assuming that the person offering it was able to prove that it was an antidote and not a dangerous drug, of course.

But I'm drunk, remember?

Once I got so drunk that all I wanted to do was lie on a park bench and occasionally throw up while the world spun around me. My friends insisted that I get in a taxi, and more or less physically picked me up, put me in a taxi and sent me home. I didn't want that to happen - it was against my sovereign free will.

Maybe my friends should have respected my sovereign free will and left me on that park bench. Maybe they have interfered with my transcendence, for without the dangers of being mugged in the city while drunk, how could I reach the comfort of my home?

But later I was very greatful. And I would do the same for them.

--------------------
They did not appear very religious; that is, they were not melancholy; and I therefore suspected they had not much piety - Life of Rev John Murray

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Martin60
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Simplistic old fundy that I am Demas: If He could, He would. Omnipotence doesn't mean being able to make black=white, up=down, evil=good (unless you're the Bishop of New Hampshire). Character cannot be created by fiat any more than inanimate material can create life and mind.

--------------------
Love wins

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RuthW

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quote:
Originally posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard:
Omnipotence doesn't mean being able to make black=white, up=down, evil=good (unless you're the Bishop of New Hampshire).

Would you care to substantiate your claim that the Bishop of New Hampshire thinks evil=good, or would you prefer to retract this slur?
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Martin60
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Why would I want to do either, Ruth? Only if you're prepared to do the same.

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Love wins

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RuthW

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What do you wish me to retract?

ETA: The reason you should substantiate your claim is that it makes for good argument. If you don't wish to substantiate your claims, you shouldn't make them.

[ 27. November 2005, 19:00: Message edited by: RuthW ]

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Demas
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard:
Simplistic old fundy that I am Demas: If He could, He would.

He can and he has and he will.

quote:
Originally posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard:
Omnipotence doesn't mean being able to make black=white, up=down, evil=good (unless you're the Bishop of New Hampshire). Character cannot be created by fiat any more than inanimate material can create life and mind.

OK, you're a fundy. Please substantiate your claim that "Character cannot be created by fiat" by reference to the Bible.

This isn't my claim though - that my friends put me in a taxi does not imply that they control my every action. That God blinded Paul on the road to Damascus does not imply that Paul was a mere puppet.

--------------------
They did not appear very religious; that is, they were not melancholy; and I therefore suspected they had not much piety - Life of Rev John Murray

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Martin60
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Ruth (I'll deal with you later, Demas, my little pack of cards).

How typically robustly gracious of you.

My apologies for the delay, after insouciantly throwing away that remark about Gene Robinson, I was smitten with all manner of strong reactions (OK: regret at my lack of humility, my lack of ability and strength, hurting you unnecessarily, being a 51 year old, old, senescing newby in Christ AGAIN and picking a fight I have NO authority, no right to prosecute, no track record in Christ and having been the vilest of sinners and the most dysfunctional of men, useless and worse with women and children, all of that and ...), being a loony and took myself off to evening services sharpish. Most ... interesting. Challenging indeed. No names, no pack drill, but they don't make tea like they do at home, if you catch my drift. Meant well.

So, Ruth, the substantiation is this. Gene Robinson makes good evil by proclaiming his superiority in being led by the Holy Spirit beyond Christ and the Apostles. If he is good, then they are evil. Relatively. By comparison. By what they 'lack'. Furthermore the evil they proclaim from their persective, he proclaims good. He has improved on the Bible.

Funny how liberalism robs from grace just as legalism does, by adding to it.

If I must quote Robinson chapter and verse, it will take time. If I have calumniated against him, slurred him in my crude, off the cuff, provocative way, I will fully and freely acknowledge that.

You are a brilliant woman Ruth, quite brilliant. And a damn site nicer, a damn site more decent, fair, loving than I will ever be in this life. I have a long long way to go and too short a time. But like all liberals you start from behind and assume you're ahead. You're behind Ruth. The conservative, hard, faithful bits of the Christian thesis is all too easy for mean spirited old bastards like me to hold. You can't touch it because, for all your brilliance, you have not and cannot do the intellectual work without being intellectualist, without invoking a mythical level of understanding that I can't have or worse, without invoking an esoteric understanding that cannot be communicated.

You, Gene Robinson, mistake your goodness for Christ's.

I don't have any.

His Goodness isn't ours. He is NOT a liberal. Aslan is dangerous.

You aren't going to win this fight Ruth and neither am I. I offer a truce AFTER your rebuttal.

And I don't feel bad now, just real. And I wish the same for you. We'll find out how wrong BOTH of us are soon enough.

Love, what little I can express - Martin

[ 27. November 2005, 21:12: Message edited by: Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard ]

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Love wins

Posts: 17586 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Martin60
Shipmate
# 368

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Groan , bits ... ARE.

--------------------
Love wins

Posts: 17586 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged



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