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Source: (consider it) Thread: Purgatory: to whom will God show mercy?
Freddy
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# 365

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quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
Let's say you get to Heaven. All your beliefs turn out to be right, and you get in.

But the person you love most in the world goes to hell, whatever hell is.

Would heaven still be heaven for you?

This situation cannot happen.

First off, it doesn't especially matter if beliefs are "right." The basis of heaven is love, so the question is whether you love God and the neighbor, or whether you love what Jesus taught. The only point of having "right" ideas is to help you to develop into a loving person who loves and trusts Jesus, or who truly has faith.

Secondly, since the basis of heaven is love, you will be with whoever you love. However, you will love people on the basis of what you have in common. You may love someone who is actually full of hatred, but in the other life that person would not return your love and would move away from you. And if they did love you in return it would be because they were not actually full of hatred.

Heaven would not be heaven if the people there were pining away for lost relatives. But even in this world family members who have little in common drift apart, because love is the basis for long term relationships. This is why Jesus said that "whoever does the will of My Father is My brother and My sister and mother" (Mark 3.35).

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

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Gauk
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quote:
Originally posted by GreyFace:

quote:
I used to know an Evangelical who had a different take on things. His view was that those whom God saved went to Heaven, everyone else was simply annihiliated as being of no account and not worth preserving. This I find a much more morally acceptable viewpoint.
I used to. I don't know now. Why would God create someone of no account?
I'll just revert to this to a moment.

What I said that was this idea was much more morally acceptable than the idea that those who don't go to Heaven must suffer eternally in Hell. I didn't say it was good, only better.

To answer another point about how bad Hell must be for people to prefer annihilation: I would say in most cases, moderately bad would be bad enough. Non-existence is not that bad; it is a complete relief from suffering.

The reason more people in terrible circumstances don't kill themselves to get out of it, are (a) strong cultural taboos against it; (b) consideration for others; (c) they may still hope that things will get better; (d) they may be used to living in such terrible circumstances.

--------------------
Now the Sirens have a still more fatal weapon than their song, namely their silence ... it is conceivable that someone might possibly have escaped from their singing; but from their silence certainly never.

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Freddy
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quote:
Originally posted by Gauk:
Non-existence is not that bad; it is a complete relief from suffering.

The reason more people in terrible circumstances don't kill themselves to get out of it, are (a) strong cultural taboos against it; (b) consideration for others; (c) they may still hope that things will get better; (d) they may be used to living in such terrible circumstances.

What could give a person enough confidence in the possibility of self-annihilation that they could reasonably kill themselves to escape their problems? There is no way to have objective knowledge about this, so the chances are good that they would be mistaken.

I am happy to assert that I know for certain what will happen in those cases. No need to believe me, but I am quite sure that this is how it is.

A person who kills himself wakes up the next life with the same problems that led him to kill himself in the first place. There is no such thing as annihilation. It is not relief from suffering. The person's situation is in fact worse because the causes of suffering and pain become even more immediate in the next life. Of course it's different in every situation, depending on many factors.

The taboos against killing oneself are well-placed. It is much more likely to get better if one does not kill oneself. It is much more considerate of others not to kill oneself. Whatever the situation is, it is possible to get used to it. But the main thing is that it is not a solution - it will in no way make the situation better for the person (depending, of course, on what that situation is).

Not that I'm saying that suicide necessarily results in damnation. People choose their own long-term fates. But it is no help.

I may, of course, not be right about this at all. But this is what I believe.

--------------------
"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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Originally posted by Mudfrog:

quote:
As far as the need for Jesus well, I agree with you that God is the redeemer and I understand your question why do we need another tier of soteriology in the form of the Son. Well the idea is that Jesus is part of the same 'tier' that we see in the OT. He is part of the sacrificial system set up by God. God obviously doesn't need to have lambs with their throats cut in order to forgive us, but we do - in that we need a symbol to remind and confirm our atonement with him. Jesus is simply the culmination of that. He wasn't sent to be another way of salvation, he was the pinnacle of the existing one - being the lamb who was slain before the foundation of the world. I often think that if Jesus was indeed already slain for us in the heart of God, the only reason for Jesus to exist historically was as a 'sacrament' of what was already true. Calvary therefore is the perfect enactment of what is etrenally true, that there is a life given on our behalf that we might be atoned. Indeed, that is the only basis on which the OT sacriofices were valid and efficacious I like that word).
Dear Mudfrog

You sounded quite conciliatory in this posting, but I see you've gone back to your hardline stance of eternal damnation for unbelievers later in the thread. But I ask this: You say that Jesus, as God, is part of the first tier of soteriology which comes from God. You also say that He is part of the culmination of the sacrificial cult. If someone, Jew or Gentle comes to a belief in this God who redeems, and who sacrifices for His creation, is he condemned if he doesn't recognise Jesus' part in this?

Or put another way: should Christains evangelise Jews? On what pain of punishment? Jews believe that God redeems. They don't see Jesus' involvement in that process. So if we all agree that salvation comes from God, do the particulars matter?

--------------------
Yours in Christ
Paul

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Mudfrog
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So if we all agree that salvation comes from God, do the particulars matter?


Yes, because JESUS is the saviour.

--------------------
"The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid."
G.K. Chesterton

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Martin60
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You HORRIFY me Mudfrog, especially in the face of JimmyT. Horrify. YOU condemn the vast majority of humanity to eternal torment on the basis of the pathetic, meaningless evanescence of mere 'belief' in this slightly less evanescent life ? That YOU are once saved always saved ? YOU have it made and my dad doesn't ? When he is resurrected after taking three days to die of burns it is to burn ? YOU can reconcile Lutheran gas chamber operators in heaven and their Jewish victims in eternal Auschwitz ?

Mudfrog, you are a Satanist. You DENY mercy, you deny the bible, you deny grace, you deny God. You LIE about post-mortem grace.

Don't worry, your utterly perverted belief will fall from your eyes when YOU receive grace, not some insane 'belief', for the FIRST time, in the Resurrection, with the Sodomites.

JimmyT - God bless you and keep you my friend, you have my tears and where you will go I will go. By His grace.

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

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PaulTH*
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Dear JimmyT

Let me echo the words of others who have said that I wouldn't want to be in a heaven which didn't include you. From when I was knee high up to the age 15, I attended the Baptist and later Evangelical Church with my zealously Calvinist father and I grew to utterly loathe the narrow minded exclusivist view of salvation expressed in that form of Christianity. So much so that I vowed to myself that as long as I live I will never assent to a belief in eternal damnation nor to a religion which teaches that it is the only way to God. Now, at 51, I feel that more strongly than ever.

Dear Mudfrog

I wouldn't have used language quite as strong as Martin's because this is Purg and not Hell, but I agree with everything he said. With reference to my above comment to JimmyT, the form of Christianity you subscribe to is so loathsome that it literally turns my stomach.

--------------------
Yours in Christ
Paul

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Golden Key
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quote:
Originally posted by Freddy:
quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
Let's say you get to Heaven. All your beliefs turn out to be right, and you get in.

But the person you love most in the world goes to hell, whatever hell is.

Would heaven still be heaven for you?

This situation cannot happen.

First off, it doesn't especially matter if beliefs are "right." The basis of heaven is love, so the question is whether you love God and the neighbor, or whether you love what Jesus taught. The only point of having "right" ideas is to help you to develop into a loving person who loves and trusts Jesus, or who truly has faith.

Secondly, since the basis of heaven is love, you will be with whoever you love. However, you will love people on the basis of what you have in common. You may love someone who is actually full of hatred, but in the other life that person would not return your love and would move away from you. And if they did love you in return it would be because they were not actually full of hatred.

Heaven would not be heaven if the people there were pining away for lost relatives. But even in this world family members who have little in common drift apart, because love is the basis for long term relationships. This is why Jesus said that "whoever does the will of My Father is My brother and My sister and mother" (Mark 3.35).

I focused on beliefs because Mudfrog did.

Freddy, IMHO, you present a very narrow definition of love. Frankly, it gives me the creeps. Differently from Mudfrog's beliefs, but nearly as strongly.

ISTM your ideas tie up everything as nicely and neatly as Mudfrog's do, with the same result: people are lost, and it doesn't really matter, and no one will mourn for them.

--------------------
Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?" (Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon")
--"Oh, Peace Train, save this country!" (Yusuf/Cat Stevens, "Peace Train")

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Freddy
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quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
Freddy, IMHO, you present a very narrow definition of love. Frankly, it gives me the creeps. Differently from Mudfrog's beliefs, but nearly as strongly.

ISTM your ideas tie up everything as nicely and neatly as Mudfrog's do, with the same result: people are lost, and it doesn't really matter, and no one will mourn for them.

Sorry, I'm not meaning to say that if you have "nothing in common" with someone they can just go to hell and you don't care. I'm just saying that people's lives tend to diverge according to their interests. Over time people associate with who they want to associate with.

It does, however, matter, and people do mourn each other. I'm sorry to give any other impression.

All I'm saying is that people's freedom to follow their most heartfelt wishes is a very fundamental and permanent feature of creation. This is just the way that life works. It would be better if everyone focused on genuinely useful and loving activities and interests, but there is no way to mandate this without doing more harm than good.

But I have no special definition of love. I'm just meaning volition, desires, choices, interests - anything anyone else associates with the term. The point is that this is what makes people tick. At least that is my experience.

It's also not a neat little package. It's as complicated as anything in this world, with every gradation of anything you can think of. I'm saying that one of the big problems is seeing eternal life in black-and-white terms.

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

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Gauk
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# 1125

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quote:
Originally posted by Freddy:

I am happy to assert that I know for certain what will happen in those cases. No need to believe me, but I am quite sure that this is how it is.

A person who kills himself wakes up the next life with the same problems that led him to kill himself in the first place.

I don't have your certainty any longer, but I still have a degree of belief that you are more or less correct in this.

But as a matter of fact, I can inform you that a very large number of people are quite convinced in the non-existence of any afterlife.

--------------------
Now the Sirens have a still more fatal weapon than their song, namely their silence ... it is conceivable that someone might possibly have escaped from their singing; but from their silence certainly never.

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Silent One
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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
And we're not talking about hurting someone else here either. We're talking about something as inoccuous as worshipping God with an inaccurate theology.

I guess it would only actually be innoccuous if it didn't make a difference. But it seems to me that the entirety of the Bible suggests that it actually does make a difference--so therefore it actually must matter.

I mean, if God went to all the trouble of sending Jesus to say "hey you can't earn your way into Heaven, it just isn't possible, so I've provided a way, trust in my Son Jesus and follow Him"--maybe to God that's just a wee bit more important than what you suggest?

And, if Jesus says I am the Way, the Truth, the Life, no one comes to the Father except through Me...is it really inconsequential to say--yes, well, that's what you say--but I'm sure Buddha will work just fine?

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In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:6

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PaulTH*
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Wow! This is the longest running thread I have ever started. So I aim to crank it up a notch. I am a weak human being. I love with a passion, but my love is limited by my finite nature and my innate sinfulness. God's love is infinite. It has no sin to block or obscure it and shines throughout craetion. Jesus told us to be perfect as out Father is perfect. Perfect love banishes fear and takes no account of wrongs. Jesus requires that we forgive seventy times seven.

So is God's love inferior to my love? There is no one I want to see in eternal torment. Not Hitler. Not Judas. Not Myra Hindley. They deserve to suffer for the shit they did to humanity, as I do for my wrongs, but God's mercy, unless it is vastly inferior to mine, must release them after they have been chastised. So, if my weak huamn love is enough to show mercy to all creatures, is God's far superior love going to condemn anyone to hell? Think on!!

--------------------
Yours in Christ
Paul

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Freddy
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quote:
Originally posted by Gauk:
But as a matter of fact, I can inform you that a very large number of people are quite convinced in the non-existence of any afterlife.

In America 80% of the population thinks that when you die you go to either heaven or hell (reported in last week's Newsweek).

In most of the world virtually everyone believes in an afterlife.

Europe is alone in having a large percentage of the population that does not believe in an afterlife. I don't know how large.

Still, I would agree that this is quite a large number of people. It is, nevertheless, a very small percentage of the world's population.

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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 PaulTH*:
So, if my weak huamn love is enough to show mercy to all creatures, is God's far superior love going to condemn anyone to hell? Think on!!

Paul, you are essentially right in my book.

I don't believe that God condemns anyone to hell.

People do what they want. They do what they want forever. Whether or not what they are doing is objectively joyful is not the issue. People don't experience life objectively.

The issue, I think, is the nature of hell. Where I would land on this issue depends on what I envision as hell.

--------------------
"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 Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard:
Mudfrog, you are a Satanist. You DENY mercy, you deny the bible, you deny grace, you deny God. You LIE about post-mortem grace.

Don't worry, your utterly perverted belief will fall from your eyes when YOU receive grace, not some insane 'belief', for the FIRST time, in the Resurrection, with the Sodomites.

JimmyT - God bless you and keep you my friend, you have my tears and where you will go I will go. By His grace.

Here's what I have to say about all of this. I don't want to be in a heaven that doesn't include Mudfrog, JimmyT AND Martin PC. It better have all three of you there or else I'd rather not be there. And yes, it better have the Jewish baby. And the Nazis.

Mudfrog, I understand your position. It's been the accepted position of most Christianity for over a thousand years, and has developed quite the apologetic based in Scripture. I just think that you need to at least understand that part of it--the apologetic that you and I both know so well has been developed, refined, and heavily defended for centuries. But this does not guarantee its truth. (Neither does it guarantee its error, I concede.)

That being said, I just wanted to encourage you to continue in this discussion because I think your opinions are thought-out and therefore I highly value them, even if I disagree.

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Jason™

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quote:
Originally posted by Freddy:
quote:
Originally posted by professorkirke:
The only thing that this version must include then, by default, is the ability for those in hell to leave whenever they so choose. As someone may have said, this is suggested in The Great Divorce by Lewis, but it is an idea that many are strictly opposed to.

Yes, in "The Great Divorce" Lewis does a good job of explaining this system. But note that he only "suggested" that people in hell can leave.

In this system the catch is that, although they can leave at any time, they do not want to leave. They do not perceive themselves as burning in eternal punishment. They cannot bear the things that people in heaven enjoy. They see themselves as ordinary people living a life that is fundamentally unfair, but one that they prefer compared to the alternatives. They can leave hell any time they like, but the problem is finding a place where they will be happy.

Essentially this means that hell is eternal. Not that people's situations do not change, but that those situations must always be what they themselves have chosen. God cannot make people choose to love Him.

People change. Otherwise we believe that we in heaven are a) innately better than people who choose hell or b) given grace to change from God, while those who stay in hell eternally are never given this gift. Both choices are unacceptable.

I understand the idea that if you say people can leave hell, they MIGHT not because they may decide they can't be happy in heaven. In this place I would imagine you would find many "Christians" from Earth, who would rather stay out of hell than share it with atheists, homosexuals, etc.

But that doesn't mean they won't find a deeper grace and someday realize that God saves us all according to his own mercy, reserved for all equally, and to then receive the changed heart that was waiting for them. Those of us who would be in heaven awaiting this change in some of our loved ones would rest on this hope, IMO.

-Digory

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Golden Key
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Isn't God going to miss and mourn for people who are in hell? If so, She condemns *Herself* to eternal suffering if she condemns even one person.

--------------------
Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?" (Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon")
--"Oh, Peace Train, save this country!" (Yusuf/Cat Stevens, "Peace Train")

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JimT

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I appreciate the expressions of solidarity from folks and will stress that although I am giving Mudfrog a really hard time (I had to play hookey from this thread and give Gordon some on his) I do understand that the vast majority of sincere believers in blood and remission of sin and so forth are not twisted, hateful people. Most have a picture God as infinitely caring, but with an incomprehensible side that is completely divorced from human thinking when it comes to "sin" and error and imperfection. He rages against it, but found only one way to calm this rage by bearing the brunt of it on himself. Their mind wraps around it just fine, they are fine people, and they hold to that belief.

But see, that's your "problem" PaulTH, with your admittedly "inferior" love. It's not that it's not big enough; it's that it's too weak to destroy the sinful. You'd be forced to destroy the sinful and hate it with unspeakable passion if you were perfectly good. That's the way they tell me it works.

I used to think it was just me who reacted so strongly, but we must get a "What is Hell Really and Who is it Really For" thread every two or three weeks after they close. I'd say it's just about as common and perpetual as the "What Exactly is a 'Trinity'?" thread series.

It's out of my hands. When the harvest comes, the scythe will sing. After that, only some of us know exactly what will happen. The rest of us are just going to have to guess, and since we've been presented with it, be ready for the worst.

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Mudfrog
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quote:
Originally posted by professorkirke:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard:
Mudfrog, you are a Satanist. You DENY mercy, you deny the bible, you deny grace, you deny God. You LIE about post-mortem grace.

Don't worry, your utterly perverted belief will fall from your eyes when YOU receive grace, not some insane 'belief', for the FIRST time, in the Resurrection, with the Sodomites.

JimmyT - God bless you and keep you my friend, you have my tears and where you will go I will go. By His grace.

Here's what I have to say about all of this. I don't want to be in a heaven that doesn't include Mudfrog, JimmyT AND Martin PC. It better have all three of you there or else I'd rather not be there. And yes, it better have the Jewish baby. And the Nazis.

Mudfrog, I understand your position. It's been the accepted position of most Christianity for over a thousand years, and has developed quite the apologetic based in Scripture. I just think that you need to at least understand that part of it--the apologetic that you and I both know so well has been developed, refined, and heavily defended for centuries. But this does not guarantee its truth. (Neither does it guarantee its error, I concede.)

That being said, I just wanted to encourage you to continue in this discussion because I think your opinions are thought-out and therefore I highly value them, even if I disagree.

Thank you for your kindness.

I was quite shocked by the viciousness of that attack and had I had anyone in toe room to speak to when I read what was written about me, I would have been speechless!!

Disagree with me by all means you guys, but for goodness' sake please don't descend to that level of hate when confronted by beliefs that don't quite fit your sensibilities.

--------------------
"The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid."
G.K. Chesterton

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Mudfrog
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quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
Isn't God going to miss and mourn for people who are in hell? If so, She condemns *Herself* to eternal suffering if she condemns even one person.

That's an interesting point.

However, we need to recognise yet again that God does not condemn.

He is infinite love and he has done all he can to provide the way out of the situation that mankind finds itself in. We are lost humanity - even at our best and most noble and lovely - and God's answer to that is not simply to dismiss it all and say, 'who cares, let's save you all automatically', but to suffer with and on behalf of humanity so that whosoever believes may be saved/found/healed/welcomed/blessed.

What can God do about those who ignore or reject his provision of total salvation? Well, nothing really - not without breaking the laws of justice, withdrawing the privilege of free will and making grace of no effect.

It is so true that Jesus is the shepherd who doesn't rest until he finds the lost sheep and brings him back to the flock. But it's also true that God is the loving father who waits for the repentant return of the wayward son. What if the son never decides to return? The father waits still at the gate in the agony of love that is not returned.

What about those who never heard or heard the message of Jesus imperfectly? Then of course, 'the heart of the eternal is wonderfully kind' and the grace that can be received willingly by those who have heard the message can be applied by God to those whose hearts have received no light.

As to the question as to whether God suffers eternally, well yes I believe he does. God suffers constantly - isn't that the message of the crucifix?

The Bible tells us that Jesus is the lamb slain from the foundation of the world - which means, for me that although Jesus lives, he is also always the crucified Saviour, his purpose is to suffer eternally for the sins of the world. Calvary wasn't just a three day event - it's an eternal experience in the heart of God.

The hymn says:
In every insult, rift and war,
Where colour, scorn or wealth divide,
He suffers still, yet loves the more,
And lives, though ever crucified.


I read a book once - a very fundamentalist book that I would not recommend - that describes the literalist view of the day of judgment (which I don't necessarily subscribe to - eg there will be no physical thrones, etc) but which has a bearing on what goes on in the heart of Christ on judgment day.

The writer tells of the day when a man stands before Christ whose nail-scarred hands search the Book of the Law, the Book of Works and the very last one, the Lamb's Book of Life for the man's name, wishing it could be there. Tragically, says the author, the name can't be found on any page, and with great reluctance God slowly closes that last book of judgment and says with great reluctance words that confirm the man's eternal destiny.


Does anyone really and truly believe that God is eager to consign his creation to a destiny without him? No we don't.
Do we not say that God loves all that he has made? Of course we do.

It is horrible to believe that evangelicals will almost be standing in the background in the judgment hall gleefully watching God sternly and vengefully condemning weeping men and women to eternal furnaces.

This is not what most of us believe.
And don't forget, this is the medieval Catholic view, not modern evangelicalism.


The liturgy talks about God 'whose nature is always to have mercy...'

But that mercy - his lovingkindness, conveyed to us by grace through faith in Jesus - must be received.

--------------------
"The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid."
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Golden Key
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Mudfrog--

Or perhaps God's mercy will be greater than we imagine?

CS Lewis has been quoted as saying, "To be a Christian is to believe that the rules will be fair, and that there will be wonderful surprises".

[Smile] [Angel]

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Demas*
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quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
What can God do about those who ignore or reject his provision of total salvation? Well, nothing really - not without breaking the laws of justice, withdrawing the privilege of free will and making grace of no effect.

Are the laws of justice greater than the lawmaker?

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Mudfrog
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quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
Mudfrog--

Or perhaps God's mercy will be greater than we imagine?

CS Lewis has been quoted as saying, "To be a Christian is to believe that the rules will be fair, and that there will be wonderful surprises".

[Smile] [Angel]

yes, i like that.

Did you ever read The Last Battle by CS Lewis?

It's an allegory of the end times, the Anti-Christ, the second coming and final judgment.

There is a wonderful moment where a young Calormene soldier (from the false-god worshipping nation) is welcomed into Aslan's eternal kingdom because although he had devoted his life to Tash (the false god), he had heard untruths about Aslan and never had the opportunity to discover the love and greatness of Aslan as he really was. Aslan therefore received all worship of Tash and accepted it as done to himself. This is how I see the final judgment.

Heaven will not only be populated by evangelical Christians - or even Orthodox or Roman Catholic (!) - but by all those upon whom God conveys his grace.

There is a basic unswervable truth - salvation by grace through faith in our LJC, but beyond that there is room for grace and mercy that we have no concept of. This does not negate the judgment, nor does it leave hell unpopulated; and it is certainly not universalism based on the narrow concepts of 'fairness' displayed by some contributors here. I believe this sort of grace is far deeper and more profound than any 'O, just let them off' sentiment - God's love and justice are not as shallow as that.

Another hymn, that I did quote briefly before says this:

There's a wideness in God's mercy
Like the wideness of the sea;
There's a kindness in his justice
Which is more than liberty.

There is welcome for the sinner,
And more graces for the good,
There is mercy with the Saviour;
There is healing in his blood.

But we make his love too narrow
By false limits of our own;
And we lose the tender shepherd
In the judge upon the throne.

For the love of God is broader
Than the measure of man's mind;
And the heart of the eternal
Is most wonderfully kind.

--------------------
"The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid."
G.K. Chesterton

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Mudfrog
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quote:
Originally posted by Demas:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
What can God do about those who ignore or reject his provision of total salvation? Well, nothing really - not without breaking the laws of justice, withdrawing the privilege of free will and making grace of no effect.

Are the laws of justice greater than the lawmaker?
What sort of God would set up laws and then arbitraily break them - especially the law that is basic to existence itself. Why have justice at all when the greatest test of it can be just dismissed out of hand.

Yes, I believe God is bound by his laws.

--------------------
"The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid."
G.K. Chesterton

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Demas*
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quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
quote:
Originally posted by Demas:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
What can God do about those who ignore or reject his provision of total salvation? Well, nothing really - not without breaking the laws of justice, withdrawing the privilege of free will and making grace of no effect.

Are the laws of justice greater than the lawmaker?
What sort of God would set up laws and then arbitraily break them - especially the law that is basic to existence itself. Why have justice at all when the greatest test of it can be just dismissed out of hand.

Yes, I believe God is bound by his laws.

In my less serious moments, I am a lawyer.

In your theology, I recognise all the thought processes of the legal mind. The overiding and unchangable underlying text, the glosses and interpretations layered on top of that, the careful use of wording so that, for example, choosing not to punish people for a breach of the Law would be 'arbitarily breaking it' whereas not punishing them because of the actions of grace is showing mercy - Grace reduced to a formalisation, like Equity overriding the Common Law.

Law is about ensuring fairness and restraining arbitary government action in an imperfect world. No one needs to restrain God, not even himself.

You say that God has already provided one mechanism to avoid just punishment for our breach of the Law - the saving Grace of believing in Christ. Why is that not 'arbitarily breaking' the immutable laws that bind God, and render him unable to reduce the suffering of the condemned?

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Mudfrog
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quote:
Originally posted by Demas:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
quote:
Originally posted by Demas:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
What can God do about those who ignore or reject his provision of total salvation? Well, nothing really - not without breaking the laws of justice, withdrawing the privilege of free will and making grace of no effect.

Are the laws of justice greater than the lawmaker?
What sort of God would set up laws and then arbitraily break them - especially the law that is basic to existence itself. Why have justice at all when the greatest test of it can be just dismissed out of hand.

Yes, I believe God is bound by his laws.

In my less serious moments, I am a lawyer.

In your theology, I recognise all the thought processes of the legal mind. The overiding and unchangable underlying text, the glosses and interpretations layered on top of that, the careful use of wording so that, for example, choosing not to punish people for a breach of the Law would be 'arbitarily breaking it' whereas not punishing them because of the actions of grace is showing mercy - Grace reduced to a formalisation, like Equity overriding the Common Law.

Law is about ensuring fairness and restraining arbitary government action in an imperfect world. No one needs to restrain God, not even himself.

You say that God has already provided one mechanism to avoid just punishment for our breach of the Law - the saving Grace of believing in Christ. Why is that not 'arbitarily breaking' the immutable laws that bind God, and render him unable to reduce the suffering of the condemned?

I would say that in the death and resurrection just punishment was evidently not avoided.

The penalty was paid because God could not simply and arbitrarily forget justice and save everyone because he loves them.

The law, simply stated, was that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin.
Therefore, in order to remit the sins of the world, God provided for the shedding of the blood of sinless man and incarnate God, that those who by faith associate themselves with this, can go free on his merits.

In the concept of CS Lewis and his Narnia stories, there is a deep magic (law) which requires te death of the offender, but there is a deeper magic (atoning grace) that allows another to substitute for the offender - satisfying the magic and allowing the guilty to go free.

Not to God, but to justice.

I am not a lawyer.

--------------------
"The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid."
G.K. Chesterton

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Demas*
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quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
The penalty was paid because God could not simply and arbitrarily forget justice and save everyone because he loves them.

Why not? What force, greater than omnipotent God, stays his hand?

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Mudfrog
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quote:
Originally posted by Demas:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
The penalty was paid because God could not simply and arbitrarily forget justice and save everyone because he loves them.

Why not? What force, greater than omnipotent God, stays his hand?
He's a God of mercy - so he cannot be anything other than merciful.

He's a God of love - so he cannot be anything other than loving.

He's a God of justice - so he cannot be anything other than just.

He cannot change his nature.
He cannot deny himself.

--------------------
"The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid."
G.K. Chesterton

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Demas*
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quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
quote:
Originally posted by Demas:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
The penalty was paid because God could not simply and arbitrarily forget justice and save everyone because he loves them.

Why not? What force, greater than omnipotent God, stays his hand?
He's a God of mercy - so he cannot be anything other than merciful.

He's a God of love - so he cannot be anything other than loving.

He's a God of justice - so he cannot be anything other than just.

He cannot change his nature.
He cannot deny himself.

So it is not that he is bound by his Law, but that he does not want to 'unjustly' let people off as it would go against his nature as God of Justice.

Why couldn't I say "God is unable to condemn us to hell, for he is a God of Mercy and Love, and he cannot change his nature or deny himself"?

Why out of Justice, Mercy, Love does Justice triumph?

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Mudfrog
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quote:
Originally posted by Demas:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
quote:
Originally posted by Demas:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
The penalty was paid because God could not simply and arbitrarily forget justice and save everyone because he loves them.

Why not? What force, greater than omnipotent God, stays his hand?
He's a God of mercy - so he cannot be anything other than merciful.

He's a God of love - so he cannot be anything other than loving.

He's a God of justice - so he cannot be anything other than just.

He cannot change his nature.
He cannot deny himself.

So it is not that he is bound by his Law, but that he does not want to 'unjustly' let people off as it would go against his nature as God of Justice.

Why couldn't I say "God is unable to condemn us to hell, for he is a God of Mercy and Love, and he cannot change his nature or deny himself"?

Why out of Justice, Mercy, Love does Justice triumph?

What is so wrong with justice?

And anyway, if justice is so bad, why is it able to recognise the love of God and allow Christ's death to fulfil its demands and allow for redemption.

As in the old Christmas carol:

Sinners moved by true repentance
Doomed for guilt to endless pains
Justice now revokes the sentence,
Mercy calls you, breaks your chains.
Come and worship,
Worship Christ, the new-born King.

--------------------
"The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid."
G.K. Chesterton

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Demas*
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quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
What is so wrong with justice?

I'm using your definitions - under which it is just to condemn us to Hell for failing to live sinless lives. If there is nothing wrong with this justice, why did God choose to vary it?

quote:
And anyway, if justice is so bad, why is it able to recognise the love of God and allow Christ's death to fulfil its demands and allow for redemption.
You make justice sound like a deity that God Almighty has to go before and plead for it to "allow Christ's death to fulfil its demands"!

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Hamburger (note beetroot, pineapple, bacon and egg)

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Mudfrog
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quote:
Originally posted by Demas:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
What is so wrong with justice?

I'm using your definitions - under which it is just to condemn us to Hell for failing to live sinless lives. If there is nothing wrong with this justice, why did God choose to vary it?

quote:
And anyway, if justice is so bad, why is it able to recognise the love of God and allow Christ's death to fulfil its demands and allow for redemption.
You make justice sound like a deity that God Almighty has to go before and plead for it to "allow Christ's death to fulfil its demands"!

ah, here's the difficulty. It's terms again. Let us be very clear what sort of justice we are speaking about.

You said this, talking about justice: "under which it is just to condemn us to Hell for failing to live sinless lives."

Nowhere have I said that.
Nowhere does Scripture teach that.

It is not what we do that makes us sinners, it's the fact of who we are that makes us sinners.

If we see hell as the condemnatory punishment for our sinful nature, then of course it seems unjust. But if we see hell (however you perceive it) to be the eternal consequence of our natural alienation from God, then it ceases to be a pounishment that is meted out at the judgment by a wrathful God, and becomes what I believe Scripture speaks of, a destiny that God, in mercy, offers to rescue us from.

Of course, there is the element of rebellion in all this. Our sins are not merely enacted because we can't help it, they are not merely the falling short of God's glory; sins are transgressions - they are wilful, they are deliberate, they are done with an eye on God that says, I will do as I like regardless of your laws. The problem is that from the wickedest to the most respectable, we have all sinned, all transgressed.

So the problem is this:
We face an eternal separation from God simply because our sinful nature alienates us from his presence. That is easily dealt with by grace and mercy and love. If we were to be born as sinful and yet remain blameless, never having acted upon our sinful nature, then Christ's mercy would extend to us and bring us into the kindom - it's the lost sheep situation.

However, we are not blameless and by our sins we have called upon ourselves the weight of justice that demands that the soul that sinneth must die. (however you interpret the word 'die'). It is this law that must be satisfied because God cannot allow rebellion, transgression and iniquity to go overlooked. Justice does not allow it. So Christ died to satisfy the law of justice - God in Christ reconciling the world to himself, etc, etc. The price is paid, justice is satisfied, we are justified (a legal term, as you know) and we go free.

The objection to the prospect of God condemning us to hell because we don't live sinless lives seems to suggest that we cannot win! That no matter how hard we try we'll never get there. That's the point, God knows we cannot try hard enough and hence the need for grace.

The major point is that it is so simple to avoid eternal consequences of our 'lostness'. Believe (trust, cling to, rely on) the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. It's free, it's available, it's thorough.

If it were hard, if it required superhuman effort and saintly works to earn our way out of condemnation, then of course it would be wrong to condemn us for not living lives that were good enough.

But I would strongly suggest that we don't get to heaven by living better lives, and we don't get sent to hell if we sin above a certain cut-off point in comparison to others.

--------------------
"The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid."
G.K. Chesterton

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PaulTH*
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Dear Mudfrog

I apologise for any harsh words used. I have very painful personal memories of condemnatory Christianity that brought me to a nervous breakdown at the age of 15. But none of what you say seems like justice to me for one cardinal reason: Our sinful natures and consequent alienation from God are not our fault.

I don't subscribe to the Augustinian idea of original sin, but any sin imputed to us by our ancestors is something we are unable to avoid. Your scheme implies that God got it wrong, but is willing to see us suffer eternally for it. I don't accept that. What's more, you say that salvation comes from "believing" in Jesus. Believing what? That he walked on water ans was born of a virgin? That he rose from the dead in a physical body?

To assign salvation to a theological assent to a certain doctrine is ludicrous. Many times Jesus is quoted as saying that salvation comes from doing the will of the Father which is to love God and neighbour. I can't accept that a mere belief has any part in it.

--------------------
Yours in Christ
Paul

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Demas*
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quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
quote:
Originally posted by Demas:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
What is so wrong with justice?

I'm using your definitions - under which it is just to condemn us to Hell for failing to live sinless lives. If there is nothing wrong with this justice, why did God choose to vary it?

quote:
And anyway, if justice is so bad, why is it able to recognise the love of God and allow Christ's death to fulfil its demands and allow for redemption.
You make justice sound like a deity that God Almighty has to go before and plead for it to "allow Christ's death to fulfil its demands"!

ah, here's the difficulty. It's terms again. Let us be very clear what sort of justice we are speaking about.

You said this, talking about justice: "under which it is just to condemn us to Hell for failing to live sinless lives."

Nowhere have I said that.
Nowhere does Scripture teach that.

It is not what we do that makes us sinners, it's the fact of who we are that makes us sinners.


That's an improvement?

quote:
If we see hell as the condemnatory punishment for our sinful nature, then of course it seems unjust. But if we see hell (however you perceive it) to be the eternal consequence of our natural alienation from God, then it ceases to be a pounishment that is meted out at the judgment by a wrathful God, and becomes what I believe Scripture speaks of, a destiny that God, in mercy, offers to rescue us from.
No matter how I see it, hell is a place/state created by God and controlled by God. It is only an eternal consequence of our natural alienation from God if God so wills it to be so (presumably, you would argue, because it is just).

quote:
However, we are not blameless and by our sins we have called upon ourselves the weight of justice that demands that the soul that sinneth must die. (however you interpret the word 'die'). It is this law that must be satisfied because God cannot allow rebellion, transgression and iniquity to go overlooked. Justice does not allow it.
By "Justice does not allow it" you presumably mean "God does not allow it". You are continuing to speak as though Justice was a deity that God needs to placate or work around.

quote:
So Christ died to satisfy the law of justice - God in Christ reconciling the world to himself, etc, etc. The price is paid, justice is satisfied, we are justified (a legal term, as you know) and we go free.
Justice is satisfied, meaning God is satisfied that he has done justice?

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Freddy
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quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
But I would strongly suggest that we don't get to heaven by living better lives, and we don't get sent to hell if we sin above a certain cut-off point in comparison to others.

I am quite sure that Jesus says that people go to heaven by living better lives, and that they go to hell by living worse ones.

Are you quite sure that He doesn't say this?

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

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Mudfrog
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quote:
Originally posted by PaulTH*:
Dear Mudfrog

I apologise for any harsh words used. I have very painful personal memories of condemnatory Christianity that brought me to a nervous breakdown at the age of 15. But none of what you say seems like justice to me for one cardinal reason: Our sinful natures and consequent alienation from God are not our fault.

I don't subscribe to the Augustinian idea of original sin, but any sin imputed to us by our ancestors is something we are unable to avoid. Your scheme implies that God got it wrong, but is willing to see us suffer eternally for it. I don't accept that. What's more, you say that salvation comes from "believing" in Jesus. Believing what? That he walked on water ans was born of a virgin? That he rose from the dead in a physical body?

To assign salvation to a theological assent to a certain doctrine is ludicrous. Many times Jesus is quoted as saying that salvation comes from doing the will of the Father which is to love God and neighbour. I can't accept that a mere belief has any part in it.

Apology accepted [Smile]

I can't accept that mere belief has anything to do with it either.

It's not belief ABOUT Jesus that saves, but believe IN him - in other words, believing that he is 'authorised', willing and able to redeem you.

If you believe in (and trust your soul) to that - and that's all you can believe, then it's enough.

God's grace does most of it, the slightest hint of faith on your part is enough to get the father rushing to meet the prodigal.

If a degree in all the theological niceties is what's required, then I won't be going!

As far as the things we believe about Jesus, I would say that God is not going to castigate yiou because you might find it naturally difficult to believe in certain things - lets use the Virgin birth as an example - but what I think doesn't help is where honest doubt becaome deliberate and hostile anti-belief.

There is a difference between "I cannot believe" (which is a humble view) and "I will not believe" which is an arrogant view).

--------------------
"The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid."
G.K. Chesterton

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Martin60
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Mudfrog

The attack was on the vile 'theology' you have since back-pedalled on, which is infinitely more vicious.

I have NO problem whatsoever with God's justice and its requirements, met in full in Christ and to be meted out in the Resurrection.

IF I was wrong to infer that you were condemning holocaust Jews and beatitifying their Nazi murderers, on the basis of what you had said on this thread up to your invoking grace in Lewis' Carlomene soldier, THEN I apologize unreservedly but would like to ask where I went wrong in my reasoning.

And of course God's grace is not only great enough to instantaneously convert and assimilate the murdered Jews but also their Nazi murderers.

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

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Mudfrog
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quote:
Originally posted by Freddy:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
But I would strongly suggest that we don't get to heaven by living better lives, and we don't get sent to hell if we sin above a certain cut-off point in comparison to others.

I am quite sure that Jesus says that people go to heaven by living better lives, and that they go to hell by living worse ones.

Are you quite sure that He doesn't say this?

Scripture references for your position?

Jesus uses words like repent, believe, be born again as an addition to words like follow, obey, do the will of...

--------------------
"The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid."
G.K. Chesterton

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Mudfrog
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard:
Mudfrog

The attack was on the vile 'theology' you have since back-pedalled on, which is infinitely more vicious.

I have NO problem whatsoever with God's justice and its requirements, met in full in Christ and to be meted out in the Resurrection.

IF I was wrong to infer that you were condemning holocaust Jews and beatitifying their Nazi murderers, on the basis of what you had said on this thread up to your invoking grace in Lewis' Carlomene soldier, THEN I apologize unreservedly but would like to ask where I went wrong in my reasoning.

And of course God's grace is not only great enough to instantaneously convert and assimilate the murdered Jews but also their Nazi murderers.


Er, hand on... let's backpeddle this a little.

Just where exactly have I mentioned anything to do with murdered holocaust Jews, babies or otherwise?
Just where exactly have I even mentioned Nazis?

I am confused about this.
Just what exactly - word for word quote please - is this vile theology I have expressed?

Or have I been seriously misquoted or confused with someone else??

--------------------
"The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid."
G.K. Chesterton

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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There is the parable of the sheep and the goats, where judgement is based on behaviour, not belief.

But I've got another beef here. I don't know a single person who has rejected, ignored or refused Christ.

I know plenty who simply don't believe it is true. There is an important difference. Many evangelical apologetics seem to cast a situation where those who are not Christians have decided to reject Christ. I find, rather, that people often really would like to believe it, but find they just can't. This, to my mind, rather throws the normal apologetic. People, IME, in the main, do not choose what to believe. "I believe" usually means "it seems true to me", and just as I do not choose to believe that grass is green, simply observe that it seems to be, I know many people who do not choose to believe God does not exist, but rather observe that He seems not to.

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

Posts: 17938 | From: Chesterfield | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Freddy
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quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
quote:
Originally posted by Freddy:
I am quite sure that Jesus says that people go to heaven by living better lives, and that they go to hell by living worse ones.

Scripture references for your position?

Jesus uses words like repent, believe, be born again as an addition to words like follow, obey, do the will of...

I'm thinking of passages like these:
quote:
“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 7.21-23

Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” 17So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” 18He said to Him, “Which ones?” Jesus said, “ ‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ 19‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” 20The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?” 21Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” Matthew 19.16

For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 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. 36“But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 37“For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12.33

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

““Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of the heavens.” Matthew 5:20.

“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

I take from this that good people go to heaven and bad people don't. Many of Jesus' parables have this theme as well.

Jesus never seems to present the idea that obeying Him is beyond people's capacity. He seems to hold people responsible for living "wickedly." He certainly talks quite a bit about faith and belief, but not as a substitute for obedience.

Do you see these passages, and Jesus' parables, as having a different message?

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

Posts: 12845 | From: Bryn Athyn | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Martin60
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Mudfrog, my reaction to everything you said UP to your invoking the Calormene soldier was because, in my admittedly over-sensitive way, all I could see beyond your PERFECTLY VALID substitutionary atonement theology with which I fully concur, the obscenity of double predestinarianism.

I think others thought that too.

I'm glossing over some apparent inonsistencies as minor by comparison.

You seemed to be making NO allowance for the salvation of the vast majority of mankind here for a start:

"Surely not accepting forgiveness and not being aware of the provision of forgiveness amounts to the same thing.

If you are not in conscious possession of forgiveness by grace through faith, then you an offender that has not received a pardon and the penalty still stands and the sentence must be served."

So, the SS camp guard makes a deathbed confession (just in case his once-saved-always-saved insurance policy is invalid) and is pardoned and his Jewish victims must serve the sentence.

But you have now, on the authority of C S Lewis, but NOT the Bible except in the sense of the spirit of grace, allowed for decent Jews, Moslems, Hindus, atheists and Neanderthals - spiritual gentiles who discovered the transcendent Law without realising it, to enter heaven.

I don't know how you get to that, but I'm glad you did AND fully apologize and ask your forgiveness regardless.

What about unregenerate evil bastards in this life who WOULD have accepted forgiveness if they'd been made aware of it?

Does Aslan accept them because he knows they would have repented, unlike Dives rellies?

(BTW KLS - clapper, clapper handies)

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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
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... KLB ...

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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
PaulTH*
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I agree with KLB. People don't reject God or reject Jesus, they simply don't believe everything the curch teaches. I in no way reject Jesus. I believe that following him and obeying him are salvific. I just don't believe that the man, Jesus of Nazareth was God Himself, though I am open to an adoptionist position following his baptism.

Now according to Mudfrog's theology that would be a rejection of Christ which could only be dealt with by eternal damnation. It doesn't allow for the possibility that I may petition the Father for forgiveness of my sins and receive His mercy. This is the greatest sticking point I have with orthodox Christianity. Who is to say that I can't deal with my Creator and obtain remission through His mercy.

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Yours in Christ
Paul

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Gauk
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quote:
Originally posted by PaulTH*:
I agree with KLB. People don't reject God or reject Jesus, they simply don't believe everything the curch teaches. I in no way reject Jesus. I believe that following him and obeying him are salvific. I just don't believe that the man, Jesus of Nazareth was God Himself, though I am open to an adoptionist position following his baptism.

Now according to Mudfrog's theology that would be a rejection of Christ which could only be dealt with by eternal damnation.

I recollect raising a similar point to that of KLB and PaulTH in a previous thread. Belief is what you happen to believe; you don't control it. If I hold a gun to your head and say "Believe in the truth of the Koran!", I can make you say you believe, but I can't actually make you believe.

quote:
Originally posted by Silent One:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
And we're not talking about hurting someone else here either. We're talking about something as inoccuous as worshipping God with an inaccurate theology.

I guess it would only actually be innoccuous if it didn't make a difference. But it seems to me that the entirety of the Bible suggests that it actually does make a difference--so therefore it actually must matter.

I mean, if God went to all the trouble of sending Jesus to say "hey you can't earn your way into Heaven, it just isn't possible, so I've provided a way, trust in my Son Jesus and follow Him"--maybe to God that's just a wee bit more important than what you suggest?

And, if Jesus says I am the Way, the Truth, the Life, no one comes to the Father except through Me...is it really inconsequential to say--yes, well, that's what you say--but I'm sure Buddha will work just fine?

This is a related point. Are we to be judged on doctrinal beliefs which we don't really have any control over, beyond paying lip-service?

Or put it another way, is life a really hard cryptic crossword, where in order to achieve salvation you have to work out which of many conflicting doctrines is the correct one, or be doomed? And it is hard, make no mistake about it, since obviously whichever system is right, the majority of people on this planet have got it wrong. This simple fact proves that it is not easy or simple to arrive at the correct doctrinal position - or more people would have succeeded.

So it comes back to the question of whether you can accept a philosophy that Implies that God is a sadist who has constructed the universe as a difficult puzzle that most people will fail to solve, and be penalised accordingly.

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Now the Sirens have a still more fatal weapon than their song, namely their silence ... it is conceivable that someone might possibly have escaped from their singing; but from their silence certainly never.

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Belle
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I am another who feels that salvation can't be all about believing a proposition about Jesus. It's just too arbitrary. I also share the sticking point that Paul TH mentions about simply not understanding why salvation can't just be between us and God. Looking back at Genesis to the story where Cain and Abel bring their respective offerings and Cain's does not find favour, we see Cain sulking and fuming over his rejection. What does God say to him? If you do right will you not be accepted? That may be pretty fearsome shorthand for what doing right entails, but it indicates to me that there is a way back from wrongdoing that was available to humanity from the very beginning.

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where am I going... and why am I in this handbasket?

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Freddy
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quote:
Originally posted by Belle:
Looking back at Genesis to the story where Cain and Abel bring their respective offerings and Cain's does not find favour, we see Cain sulking and fuming over his rejection. What does God say to him? If you do right will you not be accepted? That may be pretty fearsome shorthand for what doing right entails, but it indicates to me that there is a way back from wrongdoing that was available to humanity from the very beginning.

This is my view as well. Doesn't it make sense that God's primary concern is that people love Him and love one another? If people are going wrong, doesn't He just want them to reconsider and do right?

I think that it is as simple as that. All the stuff about atonement is a red herring. Especially when it throws people off the trail of plain old-fashioned real-life improvement.

This is not to deny the vital necessity of the Incarnation. But let's not get distracted by complicated doctrines. However He did it, Jesus' mission was to improve life on earth, and to get people back on track.

God's words to Cain are the same as Jesus' words in the Gospel. It doesn't matter who you are or what your religion is, if you do right you will be accepted.

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

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Astro
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I accept that to be a christian, to be saved, to be heading for heaven or whatever you need to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ (in as much as he has been revealed to you). But that belief is not ascent to an idea or a statement of faith, it is a belief that is demonstrated by actions - to misquote James Belief without works is dead.

I know it is corny but the best illustation I can think of is the man who is going to walk on a tight rope across Niagara Falls carrying a man on his back. He is a great tight rope walker and goes up to a person standing near him and asks "do you believe I can do it" to which the man replies "Yes", so the tightrope walker says "OK get on my back and I will carry you across" - thus the man has to show that is belief in not mere words.

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if you look around the world today – whether you're an atheist or a believer – and think that the greatest problem facing us is other people's theologies, you are yourself part of the problem. - Andrew Brown (The Guardian)

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PaulTH*
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Originally posted by Gauk:

quote:
And it is hard, make no mistake about it, since obviously whichever system is right, the majority of people on this planet have got it wrong.
I'm with Gauk on this one which is why I don't believe there is a right or a wrong religion. Any religious teaching which promotes the golden rule and thus brings its followers to an ever greater love and humility towards one's fellow creatures is, as far as I'm concerned, of a salvific value. Christianity, if one obeys the teachings of Jesus certainly fits the bill, but it is erroneous, in my opinion, to deny that the moral precepts of Buddhism couldn't have the same effect even if its theology is totally different.

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Yours in Christ
Paul

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Jason™

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Alright, Muddy, let's talk. (Glad you stuck around.)

quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
It is not what we do that makes us sinners, it's the fact of who we are that makes us sinners.

If we see hell as the condemnatory punishment for our sinful nature, then of course it seems unjust. But if we see hell (however you perceive it) to be the eternal consequence of our natural alienation from God, then it ceases to be a punishment that is meted out at the judgment by a wrathful God, and becomes what I believe Scripture speaks of, a destiny that God, in mercy, offers to rescue us from.

The illustration here would be that we are all born on a ship that was headed to hell, and God offered a way for us to get out of the ship and be taken to heaven instead, but we have to accept his hand to be pulled out of the ship. Right? But compare that to an even more relevant illustration: We're poor, disabled people that live in the poorest community of a country, in a desolate basin that is about to be hit by one of the worst storms of the century. God is urging us to evacuate, even providing busses, helicopters, etc. to evacuate us. But if we choose to stay, God lets us so as to not override our free will, and we are then destroyed by the storm (or sent to hell, etc.).

But even we know this isn't enough to be considered love. We see the devastation of New Orleans and ask, "Why weren't those people evacuated???" There are two main answers--ineptness and unwillingness. God is obviously not inept at saving us. But the argument from unwillingness can't apply to him, either. Those people who died because they wouldn't come out of their homes didn't realize the destiny they were choosing--they fully believed they would be fine and that they wanted to stay back and just wait it out. But people argue that the people who knew more needed to do more to get them out of there, possibly by force if possible. Why? The same reason that God, in the end, will save us all.

It doesn't make grace meaningless--it makes grace UNSTOPPABLE. Grace stops at nothing, not even our own misunderstanding of our situations, not even our own stubbornness or pride. And we all have it. It just manifests itself in different ways. Some of us are too stubborn to accept Jesus and believe in him, some of us are too stubborn to admit weaknesses in our own religions. Some of us are too prideful to accept grace, some of us are too prideful to allow it to be given to all people. God will forgive and erase both sets of stubborness, and both sets of pride. He will overlook our misunderstandings and he will allow his grace to enact his justice--ultimate fairness and morality that accepts that all are equal, none deserve grace, but all will receive it because of God's unbounded love.


quote:

The major point is that it is so simple to avoid eternal consequences of our 'lostness'. Believe (trust, cling to, rely on) the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. It's free, it's available, it's thorough.

Yes, believe in Jesus and you will be saved. Eat a thousand french fries a day and you will get fat. However, if you do not eat a thousand french fries a day, will you automatically be skinny?

A=B, inverse of A does not = inverse of B necessarily. Know what I mean?


-Digory

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