Them’s Fighting Words!…HUH?

Shane pointed me in the direction of this blogpost by Greg Stier – ‘fight club for Christians’. The reason this intrigues me is because we have been discussing some of these issues on this blog – namely exclusivity and and hell/heaven. Here is Greg’s list of 7 things a Christian should outright defend:

1. “Christians shouldn’t debate theology.”

  • Refuted with Jude 1:3-4
  •  “Christians need to “contend for the faith” in love, but they need to do it. If we don’t then the garden of truth will be overrun with the weeds of heresy.” (Greg)

2. “Every religion ultimately leads to God.”

  • Refuted with John 14:6
  • “There is a growing universalism in the church today…Someone once put it this way, “All roads do lead to God, most to his judgment, one to his forgiveness.”” (Greg)

3. “If a person lives a good life God will probably let them into heaven.”

  • Refuted with Matthew 5: 21-48
  • The way of work verses the way of grace is an either/or proposition. If we choose the way of work then Jesus’ standards for entrance into heaven are impossibly high (check out Matthew 5)…But the way of grace was made possible by the only human that ever kept God’s standards perfectly, Jesus himself.” (Greg)

4. “We can’t really ‘know’ anything for sure, especially when it comes to spiritual truth.”

  • Refuted with Hebrews 11:1-2
  • The postmodern epistemological principle is that we can’t be certain about anything…Anything less than full certainty in our God and his promises is faithless, enemic and, well, postmodern.” (Greg)

5. “I follow the red letters of the Bible more than the black ones.”

  • Refuted with Matthew 13:10-15
  • “In other words Jesus was purposely confusing with his parabolic language because he came, not to establish his earthly kingdom right away, but to die on the cross for the sins of humanity. That’s why I’m convinced that the gospels are best understood through the lenses of the epistles. That’s also why I’m convinced many people avoid the gospels so they can insert their own meaning/kookiness/heresy as their own punchline to the parables of Jesus.” (Greg)

6. “I refuse to believe that a God of love would send people to hell.”

  • No passage used to refute idea
  • “Hell? Yes.
    It is real.

    Holy? Yes.
    God hates sin.
    That’s why he lit the flames of hell to begin with.

    Loving? Yes.
    God is loving.
    That’s why he crushed his own Son so that we could be eternally redeemed from it’s ferocity.” (Greg)

7. “The gospel of Jesus is not a set of propositions.”

  • No passage used to refute idea
  • “The word “gospel” means “good news.” This news is communicated with words in the form of propositions. This news centers around a personal relationship with the God of the universe. More to follow…” (Greg)

So what do you have to say to Greg’s theology? He did seem to call out Universalists and Emergents for some reason – feel free to respond – and I will even let you use his first point as the reason to respond (lol).

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84 thoughts on “Them’s Fighting Words!…HUH?

  1. He put it simple, neat, and clean. Of course ‘thems fighten” words make it real tough for those of the Christian persuasion who do NOT agree with Greg’s list. They can’t debate his agreements cause they don’t think “Christians shouldn’t debate theology.” See #1. Ah, but no one in this blog believes that.

    I agree with Greg’s list. Ain’t going to debate it, however. Been through it to many other times. If the Word of God and the Holy Spirit can’t make Christians [some so called] see the truth, not a word I say is going to make a difference with the issues at hand.
    MAKE IT a great day.
    fishon

  2. Thanks for the link. I haven’t checked Greg’s writings out yet but I will soon. Sounds like someone who wants to correctly discern the Word of God. I agree with these 7 points and am encouraged to see another believer calling to account the errors of todays churches.

  3. (a) the title of the blog is called ‘fight club for Christians’ – now I am not sure that is a great analogy to be using in the first place (being a non-violent movement and all).

    (1) Example 1 – based on Jude alone – has nothing to do with debating theology unless one’s theology leads wholesale into acts of ‘sin’. I checked this out and saw Jude mentioned the word “licentiousness” (too much freedom in sexual acts). Also these people were using the ‘grace of God’ as an excuse to committ these acts – they were way off on how faith should be portrayed or even understood (but it was understood to mean grace = freedom to do whatever I want). Now that theology and understanding of God is debateable – as for basic theology – this verse is unclear.

    “”Christians need to “contend for the faith” in love, but they need to do it” (Greg)

    I agree with him on this point – we need to define our faith and what is and isn’t truly part of this whole church-a-sphere/faith. Now we will likely come from various angles on the actual problems and things that need to be done – but we cannot disagree on this premise.

    (2) I hate going down the John 14:6 route – explaining my position on that has become tougher to define than splitting the atom – however I will be blunt – Jesus was not referencing his exclusivity (in my opinion) but his teachings.

    “All roads do lead to God, most to his judgment, one to his forgiveness.” (Greg)

    I think this sentence does not answer the complexity of other religions and comes from a place of superiority and not humility – thus making our faith look more smug than smart. Which faiths were not addressed – buddhism, judiasm, islam, mormons, jehovah witnesses, confuscianists, hindu’s, indigenous faiths, etc. All those faiths cover about 3.8 billion people in total of 6 billion on the planet – is our God that cruel that all those people go to hell for rejecting a message they can barely grasp due to it’s many Western influences/thought or mis-understand it’s Jewish ideas/roots? Touching on each faith might take some sweet time but it’s better than this one line dribble.

    (3) This is that old ‘believe rightly’ idea vs. ‘living rightly’ idea – I think we know which side of the that strand I fall on – but I will dance with this one.

    “If we choose the way of work then Jesus’ standards for entrance into heaven are impossibly high” (Greg)

    Does this person mean to say Jesus gave us some ideas that we cannot possibly follow? Wow…ripppppp…goodbye Matt 5:21-48 – I see no reason for you anymore. I mean if we want to prove God’s grace – the last thing we do is discount His teachings – that’s called being counter productive. I know I know – we have a well oiled machine and salvation formula to protect here.

    “But the way of grace was made possible by the only human that ever kept God’s standards perfectly” (Greg)

    Jesus – broke the law (Torah) a few times – says so right in the gospels. That’s right it’s okay for God to break His own commandments but when it comes to us – we go to hell for it…I forgot (bad on me). As for grace, you mean the people that believe ‘rightly’ – they are saved for eternity – while those who don’t believe ‘rightly’ are doomed – some grace – it’s like salt without any flavor.

    Also for this being a either/or proposition – I am not sure where this even comes from? To me grace without works is tantamount to nothing (even Jesus had to die on a cross to show his beliefs – or love/grace). I got that from James epistle.

    (4) “Anything less than full certainty in our God and his promises is faithless” (Greg)

    I am not sure about the promises part but doubt/questioning is quite normal and by it we grow in our faith (unless I am wrong and someone just accepts every single thing they hear as truth?). The big question is this – is anything less than full certainty land you in hell or is that somehow worked out? Faith-less is actually having less faith – so maybe you’re defintion is accurate – but as to it meaning having ‘no faith’ – sorry – this isn’t an all or nothing world (even humans can understand that). Isn’t whatever little faith we have going to count to something in the end? Or even now?

    (5) “Jesus was purposely confusing with his parabolic language” (Greg)

    Not only does Jesus give us teachings that are ‘impossible’ he also gives teachings that are intentionally ‘mis-leading’…wow…what a nice guy. If that ain’t love for your neighbor I don’t know what is? Greg – maybe it was the parables were hard to understand but those who truly wanted to find out the meaning ‘stuck around’.

    “That’s why I’m convinced that the gospels are best understood through the lenses of the epistles” (Greg)

    Logic in sentence – using the lesser valued piece of work (a letter) to define the greater piece of work (a gospel). I am glad that Greg said this – I am fairly sure this is common practice in churches anyways – he just verbalized it. So our faith systems are so bunk that we use a letter(s) to define the very words of the person we claim is ‘the son of God’? I have to ask – cause logic demands a verdict – what exactly is it that gives the letters a better foundational place than the gospels? To me this one is fairly easy to point out – Gospels – Jesus’ life and teahcings; Letters – Disciples teachings based on the sayings from the gospels. Don’t give me all the ‘Q’ jazz – we both know the sayings – irregardless of written history – would of been the basis for the disciples.

    (6) I love how God is viewed in point 6 – God lights the flames of eternal torture (hell) and then ‘crushes his son’ to prove ‘you know what – I love you all’. Logically, does anyone else see the problem here? God’s love seems a little – ‘callous’.

    Love is not torture and love is not destroying/murdering your family…it just isn’t. Also hell as a concept is retarding – it basically retards the mind of the one who holds onto it – so much so they change actual/real beliefs to fake/mythical ones to make it more functional in their schizophrenic mind to allow an all-loving God to be also all torturous (eternally). I am not sure people that believe an all loving God would send someone to hell eternally has truly thought about the kind of God they serve at this point (in reality). If someone is getting dragged into hell and you are watching – what do you do? Thank God for a non-smoking home?

    (7) Point 7 makes no sense to me – the teachings propose stuff – I agree.

  4. Society,

    You’ve already covered some of my points, so I’ll just give my viewpoint.

    Point 2 — that really depends on how one defines “the way” in this paragraph. Is it literally Jesus, or is it what Jesus represents? I tend to see it as one huge path that has branches coming out of the path. There is one direct way to God (the path). This is the path of love, justice, compassion and so forth. These branches are all the different religions that, at some point, hit that path.

    Point 3 — I still go to the sheep/goats parable here. THe person’s fate had nothing to do with the amount of faith, it had to do with actions. Not only that, but the Matthew reference he goes to seems to be pointing people towards the spirit behind the law. What good does it do to not murder if you still have the “source” of that murder? You’ve got to eliminate the problem at the core, such as the movitation behind the actions. I’m not sure we can say it’s a call to “perfection,” either. From what I’ve read, Aramaic doesn’t have a concept of perfection, and the Greek aspect there was more of complete/mature. So it’s more of a call to be an exact copy of God, and if you truly want to follow God, that’s how.

    The thing is, though, those who choose the way of work — what if they choose that way because it’s the right thing to do, and their motivation isn’t to get into heaven? If works was also that crushing, why would so many Psalms speak about loving God’s law, or finding it a wonderful thing?

    Point 5 — the problem I have is that Paul’s focus was on the crucifixion and the resurrection. He spends almost no time on the life Jesus lived pre-crucifixion, which means that teachings can too easily fall by the wayside. Shouldn’t those words that Jesus actually spoke be used to interpret everything else? Doesn’t this elevate Paul above Jesus?

    Point 6 — where in the Tanakh is it understood that salvation is an escape from hell? If hell was that big of a consequence, wouldn’t it at least have been mentioned to Adam/Eve? Doesn’t this also correlate with the “eye for an eye” mentality, which is *exactly* what Jesus said was not like God? And “holy” originally meant “to be seperate from,” rather than “perfection.” When JEsus speaks of the “gosple,” does it really look like his audience understood that it was an escape from hell?

  5. After I read the blog in question it seemed to me that Greg was making some kind of a reverse logic point and was saying that Christians should stand up against or fight against the seven points. His logic made me believe that he believes the counter argument of his list. So here is what I believe that Greg was saying

    1. Christians should debate theology
    2. Only one religion leads to God
    3. Living a good life does not necessarily mean you will get you into heaven. There has to be one essential thing added that will get you into heaven
    4. We can know truth, spiritual truth in particular
    5. All the words of the Bible are important
    6. A God of love would send people to hell
    7. The gospel of Jesus is a set of propositions (rules and guidelines)

    I don’t where to begin in making comments, but his list, although probably not a comprehensive list on what he believes, sure has me concerned. I’m just glad Greg is neither God, nor my pastor, because either way I’d be so out of the church.

  6. I happen to agree with fishon.

    i really dont see where y’all are pulling what you are saying from. Christianity is based on the Bible. If you read it, yea, ok their might be a little discrepancy on the verse he chose, but what about the other verses that back them up? from what i can tell, most people who are disagreeing seem to be pulling their beliefs from sources outside the Bible.

    so, i’m interested to see how this continues,

    Sam

  7. I decided it best to actually post a response. forgive me for lack of background, i’m kinda new.

    anyway, here i go

    WARNING: incorrect grammar and typos throughout! I typed this as quick as possible, so i used instant messenger lingo and (non-existent) grammar.

    Society, since your response is the most organized/complete, im going to use your points.

    Point 1.
    seeing as you were just pointing out the lack of clarity, i can’t really disagree.

    Point 2
    ok, this iswhere my problems with your belief comes into play. for one, “The only way to the Father is through me.” I don’t know about you, but that is fairly straight forward. Also, wide is the road that leads to destruction? narrow the one that leads to salvation? Jesus already predicts that a vast majority of ppl will not get into Heaven. Another fundamental belief of the Christian faith is that God is completely just, correct? well, if God is completely just, i think the people who did not have a fair chance at Christ’s message will be judge accordingly. Paul even deals with this subject in Romans 5 i do believe.

    But my main point, Jesus claims exclusivity in each of the Gospels in verses such as the one above. do to time, i can not go through all of them, but if you would like me to, i could pull them up later and defend my point in each case.

    Point 3
    OK, faith is the ONLY requirement to get into heaven. My favorite example, the man on the cross beside Jesus. he ONLY had faith. there is not physical possibility of him doing anything before he died. btw, the only way to get into heaven is to be perfect, we are kinda out of luck on that one. Jesus quotes Isaiah saying that there are none perfect among humans.

    OK, if you claim that James is saying that works are a requirement to be saved, then you are saying that Paul is wrong when he says that faith alone will save you back in Romans. Therefore, the Bible has mistakes and the whole Christian faith starts going out the window. HOWEVER, look at it from this stand point. What James is really saying is that mere intellectual assent with the doctrine of the church gets you nowhere, while true working faith is what saves you. faith that truly does something saves you. this means having a faith the truly changes you rather than you just sitting around saying “yay! Jesus!” if you look at it this way, this scripture then lines up with both paul’s teachings and Jesus’ teachings. The message translation has what i consider to be a very great translation of James, but i know a lot of ppl dont care for it since it is a paraphrase.

    For the end of point three, it is by faith Christ’s sacrifice resurrection that we are saved.

    Rom 3:25 God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement,* through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished-

    it doesnt say, “through his death and the works you will commit you will saved.” it says simply faith. Again, i go back to wat i said about James.

    Also, i point out all the cases where immobilized (incapable of doing work) people were saved by faith. (Jesus says it and the disciples in acts.)

    Point 4
    I actually agree with you here, Jesus saved Peter from drowning even when he had little faith, and Christ also said that faith as small as a mustard seed could do some pretty awesome things

    Point 5
    I think wat he meant was that is best to use the epistles to help decipher the Gospels, but I don’t know. from my standpoint, the parables were unclear for those at that time, but Christ has made them clear to us now. I have had few issues with deciphering parables, and those problems were quickly solved by a little study. So i guess i kinda agree with you here too.

    Point 6.
    Yea, i agree and all, but are you seriously going to completely ignore what Christ said? What the Holy Spirit said through the Prophets? If your faith is based off of the Bible, how can you refute this by saying that you personally don’t think it makes sense? no offense, but dude, its a believe it or you don’t thing. If their is no Hell, why send Christ? now THAT doesnt make sense. God sending His only Son to be ridiculed, hated and to die on a cross, just to teach us a few things?? (isaiah “he died for our transgressions…” etc) if hell isnt that bad or nonexistent, what are we saved from? Do i like the idea of hell? no. do i want ppl to go there? no. does that mean it doesnt exist? no. Wishful thinking, no matter how logical, is still wishful thinking.

    Point 7
    Yea i thot this was fairly obvious too, but there was someone who actually disagreed on his blog, im still confused on what he disagree about though.

    OK, as you saw, i did not use correct grammar or spelling all of the time, and i apologize for that.

    I hope that I made sense.

    Sam

  8. Sam,
    I haven’t read your post #7, but will when I finish this. Seems like you and I agree, and I, like I said, won’t debate at this time those in the decent with Greg. Frankly, I am tried of disobeying God and “tossing pearls….” I will however, quote scripture.

    2 Tim. 4:3-4 {NIV}, For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit THEIR OWN DESIRES [caps mine]….”

    Gal. 1:7-8, “…Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!” Oh, I suppose I should have referenced vs. 6, “…and are turning to a different gospel–which is really no gospel at all.”

    Until someone can prove to me that: “…buddhism, judiasm, islam, mormons, jehovah witnesses, confuscianists, hindu’s, indigenous faiths, etc. All those faiths cover about 3.8 billion people in total of 6 billion on the planet…” are preaching the “gospel,” they [those religions] have NOTHING to enlighten me more than scripture, the ONLY WRITTEN WORD OF GOD written to man.

    And Sam, I am guessing you are like me, I am not ashamed or do I apologize for standing on the Word of God. He said, “I am the way….” Not, ‘I am one of the ways.”

    Oops, I have almost went to far. Darned if I am not one of those Bible believing, intolerant, bigots that some on here might accuse me of.
    fishon.

  9. The 7 statements should be opposed by Christians.

    1)“Christians shouldn’t debate theology.” – Christians shouldn’t talk about God? Hmmm. Wrong.
    2) “Every religion ultimately leads to God.” – Patently false. Oppose. It seems that you are reading more into this than Greg says, Jason. Buddhism, Islam and other religions hold truths about God but Christianity is the road that ultimately leads to God.
    3) “If a person lives a good life God will probably let them into heaven.” –
    Only the word “probably” keeps this one from being patently false.
    4) “We can’t really ‘know’ anything for sure, especially when it comes to spiritual truth.” – This is postmodern gooblety-gook. You “know” how to get to work and you “know” your momma loves you.
    5) “I follow the red letters of the Bible more than the black ones.” – Well, slap Jesus’ butt and call him Sally – that’s all this says. If you think Jesus’ interaction with humanity consists of merely the 4 gospels, then you don’t understand the Message.
    6) “I refuse to believe that a God of love would send people to hell.” – If someone robs your house, threatening your life, and the policeman tells him not to do that again and lets him go, is the policeman showing love or contempt for you? People who don’t believe in Hell may belong there.
    7) “The gospel of Jesus is not a set of propositions.” – A proposition is a statement of fact that we believe in. It’s the same as saying the gospel is not factual.

    I like this approach because it takes cultural mantras that are hogwash yet accepted and challenges them.

  10. “Until someone can prove to me that: “…buddhism, judiasm, islam, mormons, jehovah witnesses, confuscianists, hindu’s, indigenous faiths, etc. All those faiths cover about 3.8 billion people in total of 6 billion on the planet…” are preaching the “gospel,” they [those religions] have NOTHING to enlighten me more than scripture, the ONLY WRITTEN WORD OF GOD written to man.” (fishon)

    We seem to get on the topic of exclusivity quite a bit here in this blog, which is a good thing I think. Because we as Christians and followers of Christ have a tendency to be exclusive and not see the value of other faiths. I think its important to give other faiths a healthy examination and not just write them off so quickly. Perhaps there are lessons about God that we need to learn from others, but we can’t because our Christian mindset prevents us from examining other faiths.

    Fishon, I don’t think you are qualified to make that kind of a blanket statement without at least exploring “buddhism, judiasm, islam, mormons, jehovah witnesses, confuscianists, hindu’s, indigenous faiths, etc” to see if they are or are not preaching the “gospel”.

    The larger question that we seem to always come back to is John 14:6. Societyvs asks, as he should, for people to define what is meant when Jesus says “I am the way”.

    What is the “way”?

    Jesus, nor the disciples, nor the epistles, never defined how a church should be structured and what the gathering of the people should look like. Does that mean the church structure and the gatherings can take any form, just as long as Father of All is worshipped and Christ is taught?

    So, if I were allowed to, maybe I could go into a buddhist, islamic, jewish, indigenous, gathering and introduce Christ and the Father. Let us just suppose that the people of these other faith gatherings all accept Christ, but instead of going to a church and learning church ways the people begin to worship Christ in their other faith gatherings. The people do not change any of the rituals and ceremonies except one thing, their prayers are always done in Jesus name. Would they still be following the “way”?

    John 14:6 is true for them, but they don’t go to a typical church. Maybe our take on Christianity doesn’t allow for this kind of scenario, when maybe it should.

  11. “I like this approach because it takes cultural mantras that are hogwash yet accepted and challenges them.” (Jim)

    This is an interesting comment. Because it conveniently forgets how culturally impacted Christianity already has become. I guess, some cultural norms are acceptable and Godly while others are obviously anti-biblical and evil. I wonder who makes these decisions?

  12. Now for a response – I will start with Sam – I admire the time you took to write this out – awesome!

    “from what i can tell, most people who are disagreeing seem to be pulling their beliefs from sources outside the Bible” (Sam)

    Fact of the matter is Sam I pull everything I believe from the teachings of Jesus – but I also balance that with the ‘spirit of truth’ – so I live out the ideas to see what they truly mean (experience). God doesn’t seem to be about the best argument – but the way scripture actually works for us in reality. So I could really care less how good someone can quote scripture – apparently the devil has a great knack for that also.

    “Jesus already predicts that a vast majority of ppl will not get into Heaven.” (Sam)

    Show me this passage Sam. I have read the gospels in detail – I don’t see Jesus ever saying anything like this. Some denomination can claim this all they want but until they can show me, out of Jesus’ mouth, where this was stated – they are either making it up or ignorant to what Jesus stood for. But I am willing to stand corrected.

    Also I have studied this ‘narrow way’ idea from Matt 7:13-14 – wrote a blog on it even. You will find this interesting – read Matthew 7. In verse 12 (right before this ‘narrow way’ idea) Jesus takes 39 books from the OT and ‘narrows’ them to one sentence! I ain’t making that up – take a look for yourself. ‘Narrow’ could very well be a play on words about people taking a faith system and making it so hard for others to comprehend – when it needs to be simplified for some – this is also a theme very prevelant through-out the gospel literature.

    The other day I said this to a committee ‘I am the crossword’…am I a crossword puzzle? I only said it because I made the crossword puzzle for this group last year and no one has volunteered to do it again this year – but honestly – the crossword puzzle will be by me, from me, and creatively me (it is my work).

    Jesus said ‘I am the way…’ – well we know he literally isn’t ‘the way’ – or he would be some stone path on the ground somewhere with vocal chords. The question is answered by the very sentence (in my opinion) – ‘I am” (God) – ‘the way’ (path) – Jesus is stating a path to God – a very authoritative one at that. How do we follow the ‘way’? The most common theme in John comes up – ‘follow my teachings’ (his works) – see John 14:15, 21, 23, 24, 26 (5 times after 14:6)…that is simply put ‘the way to follow God’.

    How can we be so sure we are the only one’s following Jesus’ teachings? He quite simply gave 2 commandments – Love God and love your neighbor as yourself (Paul even limits it to this one commandment at one point) – and likewise ‘treat others how you want to be treated’ – beyond that – well? Exclusivity – if that’s what God represents for you – then that is also what you will become to others.

    “faith is the ONLY requirement to get into heaven” (Sam)

    Not true – if we have to use the gospels and even letters as references we can. Faith is the beginning (the bare bones) but actions/deeds are the meat of being a ‘follower of Jesus’. I have said before – action is your beliefs – meaning your actions actually show others what you really believe. For example, if someone says they ‘do not steal’ and you go to the store with them and they ‘steal’ a candy-bar – well they actually don’t believe in ‘not stealing’ (they just think they do and want you to think they do).

    As for the gospels – well it’s in a variety of parables but no more stronger than Matt 25:31-46 (sheep/goats parable), Matt 7:15-23 (Fruit parable), and Matt 7:24-29 (sand and rock foundations). In each and every parable faith is a given (not even a question) – what is the question is heeding the ideas of the teacher (Jesus) and who does and doesn’t. Every letter Paul writes we can easily find him giving ‘instructions’ for living this life – and addressing problems in the churches. If only faith is required – why waste time on something so minut as details of teachings namely when your salvation is so secure? Point being – faith is admirable – but faith can mean quite a few things – like a ‘faith movement’ or ‘faith in God’ – something also worth checking.

    “Also, i point out all the cases where immobilized (incapable of doing work) people were saved by faith. (Jesus says it and the disciples in acts.)” (Sam)

    Since we are going to use those examples to mean ‘salvation’ also – what were the people in the cases ‘saved’ from? Leprosy, demons, withered hand, blindness, and even death. Not a single one of them was saved from a literal place called ‘hell’ – but nonetheless – they were ‘saved’. It is true – people’s faiths counted as something in each of those instances – but even for some Jesus commands them to either ‘go and sin no more’ or even ‘present yourself to the priest and give your sacrifice’ (Law). Faith was only seen as a beginning in my opinion.

    “no offense, but dude, its a believe it or you don’t thing. If their is no Hell, why send Christ? now THAT doesnt make sense. God sending His only Son to be ridiculed, hated and to die on a cross, just to teach us a few things??” (Sam)

    Study the word ‘hell’ in the NT – that’s the place to start. Hell is never used in the Tanakh – ever wonder about that – so we have a word in our texts that has no direct correlation back to the foundation for our texts – the Tanakh (means OT)…odd? Which tells me the idea never existed until Greek influence cause we find the word ‘Hades’ used in the gospels.

    I do believe my friend OSS also pointed out once – if hell is such a grand doctine – how often does Paul mention it? Fact is hell is mentioned only handfuls of times in 4 gospels (excluding revelations) – and yet this has become a 100% certainty in Christian theology…wow! Point of note – in Acts Peter quotes from the Tanakh (Acts 2) and this word ‘hades’ does not appear in Pslams (sheol) – so apparently NT writers can make word mistakes.

  13. “Because it conveniently forgets how culturally impacted Christianity already has become. I guess, some cultural norms are acceptable and Godly while others are obviously anti-biblical and evil. I wonder who makes these decisions?” (Just1)

    Great point Just1! I have noticed this trend also in church history and what we have today – huge impact from certain cultures while none from other cultures (however this is changing since the 90’s on a small scale). I would go so far as to say – the whole of interpretation was taken away from the meanings of the Jewishness of the texts to the Europeanization of them.

  14. Fishon, I am not sure from your comments but it seems like your trying to imply something? Let’s hash this all out.

    “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.” (2 Tim 4:3-4)

    “I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!” (Galatians 1:6-8)

    “Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel…Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will; the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel; the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice,” (Philippians 1:12-20)

    (a) The Timothy passage proves nothing to be honest except that people from the church will make people come to ‘the church’ to have their own desires met. I am not sure what Paul means by ‘myths’ here – it could be religions outside the faith or it could be about people diverting the faith with their teachings.

    (b) Compare Galatians & Philippians passages…see something odd concerning the ‘gospel’? We see Paul railing against someone preaching a different gospel and then in the next passage he is quite un-concerned about it – as long as it takes the (his) gospel farther. Paul states 2 differing views in various letters…hypocritical?

    © The gospel that Paul usually refers to – and is likely the case in the Galatians passage – is the idea of people mixing in Jewish customs (ie: circumcision) in with the gospel to the Gentiles. Paul is quite adamantly opposed to any mixture of Jewish customs/ritual with the gospel to the Gentiles (also see Acts 15).

  15. OK, i see more of what you are saying with the works vs faith part, that makes since, and I at the time i was trying to basically say what you just said now, but it was 1am so i dont know how well i did lol. well, i’ve got to back over to the school for a pep rally in a few mins, but ill try to reply later tonight. 😀 debates where you actually get to debate and not argue. that way you learn things.

  16. Jim and others making the same mistake. If you read Greg’s blog post you will see that he is arguing against those statements that he listed.

    #1 -Of course it is healthy to debate theology provided it is done in a respectful manner. Besides we wouldn’t have as much fun on my blog if we didn’t.#
    #2 – Every religion doesn’t ultimately lead to God, if you are a Christian and believe that they why did Jesus die?
    # 3 – same as point as #2.
    #4 – We can know at some level what is revealed in the Bible. We don’t obviously have perfect knowledge, but we do have God’s revelation to us pointing the way to salvation through Jesus Christ.
    # 5 – All of the Bible is Scripture, not just Jesus’ words.
    #6 – The Bible is pretty clear that God is love and that some people will go to hell. Lee Strobel in The Case for Faith has a good chapter solely on that topic.
    #7 – The Good News requires a response from us.

  17. *Sigh* maybe I will reply before I leave. On a side note, our posts are getting too long lol

    Back to my reply.

    “Fact of the matter is Sam I pull everything I believe from the teachings of Jesus – but I also balance that with the ‘spirit of truth’ – so I live out the ideas to see what they truly mean (experience). … So I could really care less how good someone can quote scripture – apparently the devil has a great knack for that also.”

    OK, that’s good, seems so far that we both tend to translate/interpret it differently. I definitely agree on that last one.

    With the “straight and narrow” verse. Yea, sure it does say all that, and that does niftily match up with the previous verse; however, what about verse 14? “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a *few* find it.” Of course, if you take your stance, you can easily say that few find the path that Jesus laid down, but I’m going to get two birds with one stone here. Going ahead to “I am the way…” I understand the “I am” reference, and I also fully agree with you saying that Christ’s teachings are what the way refer to, but it doesn’t say “I am a way.” Or “My ideas are an option.” They say I am *the* way. So going by that, if Christ’s teachings are the only way. Then if you go back to matt. 7:13, that path has become pretty narrow.

    “How can we be so sure we are the only one’s following Jesus’ teachings?”

    We probably aren’t. Somewhere in the depths of Romans, Paul deals with this, and for the life of me, I can’t find it. I know that it basically says that those who demonstrate that the law has been written on their heart will be counted among the saved.

    “It is true – people’s faiths counted as something in each of those instances – but even for some Jesus commands them to either ‘go and sin no more’ or even ‘present yourself to the priest and give your sacrifice’ (Law). Faith was only seen as a beginning in my opinion.”

    I still go back to the man on the cross. He didn’t have a chance to change his ways or do what Christ told him. He simply had faith in who Jesus was and was saved by that.

    “Study the word ‘hell’ in the NT – that’s the place to start. Hell is never used in the Tanakh – ever wonder about that – so we have a word in our texts that has no direct correlation back to the foundation for our texts – the Tanakh (means OT)…odd? Which tells me the idea never existed until Greek influence cause we find the word ‘Hades’ used in the gospels.”

    OK, that’s kinda cool, I didn’t know that, but then why did Jesus have to die for our transgressions? If there is no hell, then why do we have to worry about sin? I’m kinda using your argument here about faith. If there isn’t any threat of hell, why change our ways to begin with? Are we living by His standards just for kicks? If so, then I’m out. Why bother? I’m going to heaven anyways!

    What about these verses from 2 Thessalonians?

    8He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power.

    That sounds kinda hell-ish to me. Even if it isn’t hell, I do not want to be there.
    If you don’t believe in a hell, then why do you follow the laws of Christ? That’s a serious question, I’m just curious.

    Thanks for taking the time to respond fully, I’m sorry that I am not prepared enough to respond as completely.
    Sam

  18. btw, Just1….wouldn’t that make them Christian???

    basically, what your arguing against are the people who say stuff like “oh if you have rock music in church, your going hell.” sort stuff, right?

  19. thejust1,
    YOU: Because we as Christians and followers of Christ have a tendency to be exclusive and not see the value of other faiths. I think its important to give other faiths a healthy examination and not just write them off so quickly. Perhaps there are lessons about God that we need to learn from others, but we can’t because our Christian mindset prevents us from examining other faiths.
    —–Name me some lessons I/we {moral, spiritual}can learn from the other religions that the Bible doesn’t teach. Don’t pass this up, start naming.

    YOU: Fishon, I don’t think you are qualified to make that kind of a blanket statement without at least exploring “buddhism, judiasm, islam, mormons, jehovah witnesses, confuscianists, hindu’s, indigenous faiths, etc” to see if they are or are not preaching the “gospel”.
    ——Oops, you don’t know what I have explored!!!
    And please show me where the above religions are preaching the “gospel.” This may be most likely difficult, because I have a hunch we don’t agree on what the gospel is.

    YOU: The larger question that we seem to always come back to is John 14:6. Societyvs asks, as he should, for people to define what is meant when Jesus says “I am the way”.

    What is the “way”?
    —–Man, what is so hard about that question? Jesus makes it quite plain. “I am the way.”

    I decide I want to climb to the top of Mt. Everest. I don’t know the way–I know where the top is, but can’t get there on my own. I hire a Sherpas guide. He is my “only way” to the top. So off we go. When he says stop, I stop, when he says go, I go. I not only follow him, I follow his commands, because my life depends on it. It isn’t an either or deal. I need him and his words.

    Same way with Christ. He lives in me [Holy Spirit], and he speaks to me [Bible]. Can’t separate Jesus from the Word, nor the Word from Jesus.

    Just because you may not understand it, does not mean others don’t. There is a nasty little thinking going on in Christianity at the moment. “If I don’t understand it, surely, you can’t either. And Donald Miller even goes farther; He says, “If you say you can, you are a liar.”

    YOU: Let us just suppose that the people of these other faith gatherings all accept Christ, but instead of going to a church and learning church ways the people begin to worship Christ in their other faith gatherings. The people do not change any of the rituals and ceremonies except one thing, their prayers are always done in Jesus name. Would they still be following the “way”?
    —–#1. Praying in “Jesus’ name is not a magic formula,” that makes one a Christian.
    #2. Did they get rid of their idols?
    #3. Accept Christ–what does that mean? That is way to open ended. Muslims accept Christ; Christ as a prophet. I need more info, but then we would have an unending debate….

    YOU: John 14:6 is true for them, but they don’t go to a typical church.
    —–Got no problem with a non-typical church.
    MAKE IT a great day.
    fishon

  20. Societyvs, From post #14
    YOU: (b) Compare Galatians & Philippians passages…see something odd concerning the ‘gospel’? We see Paul railing against someone preaching a different gospel and then in the next passage he is quite un-concerned about it – as long as it takes the (his) gospel farther. Paul states 2 differing views in various letters…hypocritical?
    —-Notice, Paul NEVER says in Phil. that they are preaching a different gospel. It is their “false movites…” that he is talking about [vs.18]. In vs. 17 Paul makes it clear, his problem is their “selffish ambition,” not that they are preaching a different gospel that he addressed to the Galatians. Hypocritical, not at all. Two entirely different subject matters.

    YOU: © The gospel that Paul usually refers to – and is likely the case in the Galatians passage – is the idea of people mixing in Jewish customs (ie: circumcision) in with the gospel to the Gentiles. Paul is quite adamantly opposed to any mixture of Jewish customs/ritual with the gospel to the Gentiles (also see Acts 15).
    —-Yes, I agree. But, I suggest you do a word study on the word, “another” in Gal. 1:6-7. There is a difference in their means that are important. If you have time take a look. I think you will see that Paul is not being exclusive about “another” gospel, meaning only what the Jewish leaders are trying to do.
    MAKE IT a great day.
    fishon

  21. “Name me some lessons I/we {moral, spiritual}can learn from the other religions that the Bible doesn’t teach. Don’t pass this up, start naming.” (fishon)

    – Its not really a fair question, because a lot of other faith’s teachings are very similar to Biblical teaching. All I am saying is that before we discount other faiths maybe we should hear what and how they are saying things. Maybe we could learn a better approach to teaching the bible and strengthen our relationship with the Father.
    – But here is one teaching, that has been forgotten by modern Christianity, that a person cannot learn from the Bible. The wisdom and value of oral tradition.

    “Oops, you don’t know what I have explored!!!” (fishon)
    No, I don’t what you have explored, for that I apologize, but your comments lead me to believe that you haven’t explored. If you have maybe it was just to prove them wrong or to find ammunition in case you have to prove them wrong. I don’t believe that is a healthy way to explore other faiths. But maybe you done a healthy search, (I don’t know), and didn’t see any value in other faiths. I can accept that, but if you did then I think you would be a little more respectful of other religions teachings.

    “Man, what is so hard about that question? Jesus makes it quite plain. I am the way.” (fishon)
    Your right, it is all very simple. But the question that I am getting at is this, When I have Jesus in my life and I have a close relationship with the Father, but I choose neither to go to church or read a bible, would I still be following Jesus, who is the “way”? (By the way I do read the Bible, its just a hypothetical question in my case)

    In my scenario that I wrote the people have accepted Jesus in the same manner as you have accepted Jesus. They teach the bible, have removed the idols, except they do not change the setting or any of their rituals or ceremonies. The rituals and ceremonies are now done to worship Jesus and to strengthen their relationship with Him and the Father and they are filled with he Spirit. Would they still be considered to be following Jesus, who is the way?

  22. “Two entirely different subject matters” (Fishon)

    Good point on the gospels – Paul does differentiate between Galatians and Phillipians and how gospel is used in both – my comparison was off there.

    “Paul is not being exclusive about “another” gospel, meaning only what the Jewish leaders are trying to do.” (Fishon)

    I actually see this in the passages themselves – Paul is against the idea of the Gentile communities accepting Jewish regulations however he is not against Jewish communities accepting their own regulations. I agree…I think the word study can wait – since the point you are making is quite clear in the passages also (or if cross referenced with Acts).

  23. “Besides we wouldn’t have as much fun on my blog if we didn’t” (Shane)

    True – I think it is a good thing to discuss theology amongst one another – it’s a good prcoess of learning and refining stuff.

    “Every religion doesn’t ultimately lead to God, if you are a Christian and believe that they why did Jesus die?” (Shane)

    Do any besides our faith lead someone closer to God? As for the Jesus death thing – well that’s neither here nor there I think – but I will discuss this in the Sam reply a little later.

    “The Bible is pretty clear that God is love and that some people will go to hell” (Shane)

    See – that’s where I am willing to concede some of the debate – on the basis of ‘some people’ – not the majority. This then leads us into the the problem I brought up – concerning God’s true mercy – if the plant has 6 billion people and only 2.1 billion are of any Christian stem of faith – then do almost 4 billion people ‘go to hell’?

  24. Sam,

    ** I didn’t know that, but then why did Jesus have to die for our transgressions? If there is no hell, then why do we have to worry about sin? I’m kinda using your argument here about faith. If there isn’t any threat of hell, why change our ways to begin with? Are we living by His standards just for kicks?((

    Because sin harms our relations with others? Because it prevents us from living a full life? Because it harms us? Because sin leads to death, and the idea that Jesus preaches is life? As Society says, people were saved from both physical diseases and emotional turmoil. But where do they connect the “good news” with “not going to hell?”

    Aren’t we living these standards because it’s the right thing to do? If we’re only following this to evade hell, then it’s a selfish motivation, and a reward system only. I’m doing the right thing to get something out of it. It’s like saying that the only reason why we give our friends presents is so that they’ll give us presents. I give them presents because they’re my friends,

    Jesus had to die so there could be a resurrection — that is what hugely fueled the faith of everyone. The disciples. Paul. It was the “risen Lord” because it proved God’s victory of death/sin and so forth. The cross was also God’s way of destroying sin.

    **8He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power.**

    The thing with this verse is that the punishment could simply be death. When you destroy something, it’s gone. It doesn’t suffer eternally, it ceases to exist. The everlasting destruction could be permanent death.

  25. Society,

    **The question is answered by the very sentence (in my opinion) – ‘I am” (God) – ‘the way’ (path) – Jesus is stating a path to God – a very authoritative one at that. How do we follow the ‘way’? The most common theme in John comes up – ‘follow my teachings’ (his works) – see John 14:15, 21, 23, 24, 26 (5 times after 14:6)…that is simply put ‘the way to follow God’. **

    Are you using this in the sense that Jesus was laying a claim to being God by starting with “I am” in this sentence?

  26. thejust1,
    Said: Its not really a fair question, because a lot of other faith’s teachings are very similar to Biblical teaching.

    You said, “Perhaps there are lessons about God that we need to learn from others, but we can’t because our Christian mindset prevents us from examining other faiths.”, I asked you what they might be—then you say, “Its not really a fair question….”
    —-Sounds like a polititian. “Elect me, I can fix it with my plan.” And I ask, “How; what’s your plan?” And he/she says, “That’s not a fair question.”

    YOU: “Maybe we could learn a better approach to teaching the bible and strengthen our relationship with the Father.”
    —-I will be blunt. That is the sillest thing I have heard in a long time. To think that we need to listen to and consult other religions to learn how to teach the Bible is ludicrous. It isn’t like Christianity doesn’t have a longggggg list of great men who have taught us how to teach the Bible. And to suggest that we listen to other religions to “strengthen our relationship with the Father is worse yet. Not one of the religions you previously named believes in the Orthodox God as untold millions of Christians believe:
    God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.–And if you don’t believe that, I won’t debate it. I wouldn’t be able to convince you.

    YOU: I can accept that, but if you did then I think you would be a little more respectful of other religions teachings.
    —-Respect their teaching? Oh no. Their teaching is leading people to ‘HELL.’ GOD DID NOT, I REPEAT NOT RESPECT BAAL AND ALL THE PRIESTS OF BAAL. What might you think is the different between Baal worship and Buddism–Hinduism?

    Now, I respect the people, but I do not respect their belief. It is like this. I respect Hillary Clinton, and would never to anything to harm her. But I do not respect her beliefs. And just because you disagree with me, does not mean I think you disrespect me. Now you may, but I won’t assume that because we disagree.

    YOU: When I have Jesus in my life and I have a close relationship with the Father, but I choose neither to go to church or read a bible, would I still be following Jesus, who is the “way”?
    —-Good question and a tough one to answer in this setting. But I will not duck.

    Needless to say, but I will, we are talking normal circumstances. That is, where a person chooses not to read the Bible and go to Church.

    Let me put it like this. I do not believe that a person can have a close relationship with the Father if he/she is not reading the Bible and going to Church.
    How can you have a close relationship if you cut off the Words of the Father [Bible]? 2 Tim. 3:16 is where I would take that person.

    And attending Church, well, it ain’t optional. It was never made [Body of Christ] as a suggestion; take it or leave it.

    So, not to read the Bible and not going to church is a most dangerous matter. And it can very well lead a person to, and most likely will cause a person to not follow Jesus at some point. Heb. 10:25 is a command, not a suggestion.

    YOU: In my scenario that I wrote the people have accepted Jesus in the same manner as you have accepted Jesus. They teach the bible, have removed the idols, except they do not change the setting or any of their rituals or ceremonies. The rituals and ceremonies are now done to worship Jesus and to strengthen their relationship with Him and the Father and they are filled with he Spirit. Would they still be considered to be following Jesus, who is the way?
    —–I think you may have something in mind here, but I don’t know what?

    But if the situation is as you put it, ‘rituals or ceremonies’ don’t turn me on, but if they are not contrary to the Bible’s teaching, I have no problem with them.

    I may be a little blunt, but I promise, I am not carrying a club to try and kill you with.

    I look forward to your reply if you choose to. If not, next topic.
    MAKE IT a great day.
    fishon

  27. OneSmallStep

    yea, i was typing quick, and as i was heading back to school i thought about that one a bit more. i was jsut trying to think of a way to make myself clearer, but i obviously failed lol.

    let me try to get back on this one, my brain is not wanting to function, might be tomorrow when i respond

  28. “seems so far that we both tend to translate/interpret it differently” (Sam)

    That’s likely true – but at the same time – I think that’s the point of discussion – we may have lots to learn from one another.

    “So going by that, if Christ’s teachings are the only way. Then if you go back to matt. 7:13, that path has become pretty narrow” (Sam)

    That’s the dominant way of looking at those passages in Christendom – however – those 2 passages do not even relate to one another and nowhere in scripture does it say those 2 passages are directly related (as you and many others have suggested). I come from the fact they are in different books from different authors in different contexts – that much we know is 100% true (I see no reason to tie them together).

    I think there a variety of ways of viewing that Matthew passage:

    (a) Simplifying the faith system to make it easier for all to understand and enjoy
    (b) The path is for one person (personal) and only one can walk it (you)
    (c) The teachings are the path to life; there are many roads that lead life into destruction – seek the path of ‘life’

    Either way you look at that passage it is aimed at you (personal) and secondly, it is scrunched in between ‘do unto others’ and ‘beware of false prophets’…oddly enough the point in the second part is what ‘fruits’ you show/and not practicing lawlessness. Maybe the idea is simply be the lesson in verse 12 (do unto others) and you can’t go wrong. Path to life can be easily deduced to ‘do unto others as you would want done unto you’ (which all the law and prophets hangs upon – and even this gospel).

    As for Jesus being the ‘way’ – that’s very vague as an idea. I think Fishon kind of hit on this one quite good with his mountain analogy…I would make it even simpler – give me the map (teachings) and I will find my way to the top of that mountain. However, saying Jesus (the person) is the way compared with Jesus’ teachings as the way are different ideas – similar but different. And to me, defining that slight difference is the key between a faith that excludes to one that includes.

    “I still go back to the man on the cross. He didn’t have a chance to change his ways or do what Christ told him. He simply had faith in who Jesus was and was saved by that” (Sam)

    However, the man on the cross was also ‘dying’ and had no other recourse but to simply ask of Jesus ‘a place with him’. Had he lived – I say we are dealing with a whole nother part of this story.

    “If there isn’t any threat of hell, why change our ways to begin with? Are we living by His standards just for kicks? If so, then I’m out. Why bother? I’m going to heaven anyways!” (Sam)

    So if there is no ‘hell’ then there is no reason to treat people decently or follow Jesus’ 2 commandments (all we need is love)? Really? Is hell the only thing keeping you ‘in line’ and under God’s teachings? Someone once told me ‘if there was no hell this life was so much more worth living than what’s being offered out there’. I tend to agree with that quote. I have learned so much about the beauty of life, compassion, mercy, kindness, justice, fairness, equality, love, and forgiveness – if there is no hell – I still have gained the world as far as I am concerned.

    “If you don’t believe in a hell, then why do you follow the laws of Christ? That’s a serious question, I’m just curious” (Sam)

    Simply because I have found the very essence of life in these teachings of Jesus and they lead me into ideas and thoughts I have never considered prior to reading them. Hell doesn’t strike me as negative reinforcement and heaven isn’t positive reinforcement – what am I – a child still? The true reason I will follow Jesus (ie: his teachings) is because this path asks of me some, very simple but, revolutionary ideas – namely in the areas of love, mercy, forgiveness, and equality. The cross itself speaks of an event of mass forgiveness and love that to live up to it – one could not help but develop/repair friendships all over the place but also make society more meaningful. I want my life to have meaning plain and simple – and hell – as an idea – actually takes away from that – since it in essence – undermines the idea of the love of God.

    Sam you’re a seeker – here is one thing you can do to to help you out here. Conceptualize how hell looks (burning fire melting people pure agony) – now imagine all your friends that ‘are not’ Christians – is this the punishment you would wish upon them for their actions of not confessing this faith? If not, then you do not believe in hell either.

  29. “Are you using this in the sense that Jesus was laying a claim to being God by starting with “I am” in this sentence?” (OSS)

    No. I think Jesus is stating a simple point – ‘I am going to give you the pathway to God – follow my teachings’ type thing – and that simple sentence is also saying that.

    That being said, the reason I believe so many other people on this planet will make it to heaven is because they do exactly what Jesus asked – follow his teachings. They ‘treat others as they want to be treated’ – and in essence – do not harm another soul because they feel bad for doing such a thing (which i think is deep within us – this voice – always asking this of us). Lots of people love their neighbore like they love themselves – and they do it because they truly do care about others. As for the God part, because of their love for his creation and following these teachings – they show a love for God also.

  30. Here is Greg’s list of 7 things a Christian should outright defend:

    Greg’s site says **This seven week series is built around seven sentences that should start a “fight” when Christians utter them. In other words these are sentences that I believe that we as Christians should stand up against.

    Shane wrote**Jim and others making the same mistake. If you read Greg’s blog post you will see that he is arguing against those statements that he listed.

    Jim (I) had written**The 7 statements should be opposed by Christians.

    I agreed with Greg that Christians should not hesitate to refute these positions (I went to the site). Perhaps there’s a little Emily Litella action goin’ on there?
    Cheers.

  31. Societyvs wrote #28: Sam you’re a seeker – here is one thing you can do to to help you out here. Conceptualize how hell looks (burning fire melting people pure agony) – now imagine all your friends that ‘are not’ Christians – is this the punishment you would wish upon them for their actions of not confessing this faith? If not, then you do not believe in hell either.
    —–Let me bring it even closer to home. My mother died not believing in or confessing or repenting. HELL is NOT the punishment I wished for her. BUT I AM NOT GOD–HIS WAYS ARE NOT MY WAYS. HIS THOUGHTS ARE NOT MY THOUGHTS.

    Because my mother is in hell changes NOTHING as to me believing in hell or not. Hell is in the Bible; straight foreward, non-negotiable, and heart-breaking. I have cried many tears over my mother. But not as many as God/Jesus/Holy Spirit.
    fishon

  32. Society,

    **No. I think Jesus is stating a simple point – ‘I am going to give you the pathway to God – follow my teachings’ type thing – and that simple sentence is also saying that. **

    Got it. I sometimes see Christians act as though every time Jesus says “I am” in the Gospel of John (perhaps not everytime, but a majority), it’s a claim to God. The problem is that “I am” is a very generic way of describing oneself. “I am tall. I am funny.” Given that Jesus is laying claim to this, how else would he announce that he’s the way/truth/life?

    I agree with you about those who … well, don’t end up in hell. The response to this seems to be that God won’t force those in heaven who don’t want to be with Him, but if you try and love your neighbor, try and promote peace and see the best and so forth, that is demonstrating a yearning to be with Love, and to not embrace darkness.

    Fishon,

    **Hell is in the Bible; straight foreward, non-negotiable, and heart-breaking.**

    How often did Paul connect the gospel with salvation from hell? How often did he even mention hell? How often did the Tanakh or Judaism teach that salvation was a rescue from eternal torment, or even had it as a primary focus of their belief system? Even with Jesus it gets a little tricky, given the contrast between Gehenna and Sheol/Hades.

  33. “And to suggest that we listen to other religions to “strengthen our relationship with the Father is worse yet” (Fishon)

    What about Judaism?

    “Not one of the religions you previously named believes in the Orthodox God as untold millions of Christians believe: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.” (Fishon)

    Do you pray to the Holy Spirit? Mine as well say yes – It is God also apparently. The odd thing about that structure you have there about the monotheistic God we serve (One) – is that there is a Father, a Son, and a Spirit – in some hierarcy that seperates them in our minds – making them 3 and not just 1. I know of few people that pray to the Spirit – or even the Father – without mentioning Jesus’ name. Why is it in a One God that most people pray to the son and no one else?

    “Their teaching is leading people to ‘HELL” (Fishon)

    That is where you and I definitely part ways in theology – I see a more compassionate God and you see a more exclusive one…based on the idea Jesus ‘as a person’ is the way and not the teachings of Jesus.

    “Let me put it like this. I do not believe that a person can have a close relationship with the Father if he/she is not reading the Bible and going to Church” (Fishon)

    I do neither regularily Fishon – and haven’t in a good 8 years now. I’ll attend a church here and there (mostly do not attend whatsoever) and read the bible sporadically (no lesson plan of any sort – and even go weeks without reading a chapter). Yet somehow I managed to remember everything and think through these things in my mind (one could easily say – this stuff is brought to my rememberance).

    As for church – as defined in the bible – is nothing like we have today in our communites – they are community centres more or less and do little for true fellowship. When I attended church it was more a religious system then anything and follow the rules type thing to ‘fit in’. I found the sense of community so lacking that I could not believe the idea the bible was saying about the church is even comparable to what we have now. And your comments are based in idealism (which I think is grand) but the fact is church is not a community anymore – it’s a community centre.

  34. “Let me bring it even closer to home. My mother died not believing in or confessing or repenting. HELL is NOT the punishment I wished for her. BUT I AM NOT GOD–HIS WAYS ARE NOT MY WAYS. HIS THOUGHTS ARE NOT MY THOUGHTS.” (Fishon)

    Then you actually don’t know where your mother is then do you? Your thoughts are not His and your ideas are not quite His – and yet you are so assured her resting place is some torture? Nice son.

    “I have cried many tears over my mother. But not as many as God/Jesus/Holy Spirit.” (Fishon)

    Actually I don’t think God cries at all – not if he put her in hell in the first place. That’s like a judge putting a prisoner in jail for their crimes – crying every time they did that. The fact God put her into some torture for eternity for a life of maybe 70 years – well – that’s called justice and a ‘fair measure’? That’s exactly the opposite kind of measure God asks of us in ‘judging’ yet He is cool with this conundrum? I don’t get this.

    I ask you simply – can you forgive your mother? If so, then I am not sure God cannot.

    To me, this teaching has to come to rest in reality somewhere and comfortably rest my foot upon this – if I am able to forgive someone their sins (in present time) then I am more than sure God is able to also…much more than me and in greater magnitude. This arguement is almost like saying I can forgive/love/be more merciful than God? That, I assure you, is not the case.

  35. just because i have an essay that i should have written yesterday, i’m going to ignore everything in between this response and society’s last response to mine lol

    OK, i think with the “I am the way…” etc verse, we might just have to agree to disagree because if i respond i will simply be repeating myself and you’d probably end up doing the same.

    The man on the cross
    yea, i’ve considered that, idk something seems awkward with looking it that way. it seems as if thats setting different standards. of course, to actually support what you have said about faith/works, that man DID do something, he actively put his belief in Christ, which did change Him and the way he viewed life. and in the end he was loving his God with all of his heart, and that is doing something.

    lol basically, i just tore apart my own argument, using my own arguments, i do that a lot.

    “If there isn’t any threat of hell, why change our ways to begin with? Are we living by His standards just for kicks? If so, then I’m out. Why bother? I’m going to heaven anyways!” (Sam)

    OK quoting myself here, as i left my house, i realized that the reason that * I * follow Christ is not to avoid hell or get into heaven either. I follow Christ because of what He has done for me in my life and i want to continue to experience His love. I also want to learn to truly love Him back, something that i feel that i fail greatly at. And i agree with wat you said, even if God is a lie, i still lived a life worth living and living again.

    Well, if i can’t really use Christ’s references to Hell, then, at this point, i can’t defend my self any longer. For , the amount of times that Christ mentions the place is enough me of Hell’s existence.

    You know how many times i’ve thought of that question? do you kno how bad it scares me? and how incredibly frustrating that i don’t have the ability to do hardly anything about it? I really wish that i could eliminate the idea of hell from my personal doctrine, but no matter how many ways i try i can’t. here, greg has a pretty good post on this exact topic, you might like it. here it is: http://www.gregstier.org/rants/my-problem-with-hell

    ill try to re-read it before you post the response i know you will post.

    this debate has been nice, well at least between you and me, in other areas it seems to be getting a bit nasty… but i’ve never really been put into a position where i have to truly defend what i believe, so this has helped me find out where i need to work on clarifying and where i need to do more research.

    Sam

  36. Fishon, you actually did not respond to the one teaching that I suggested that you could not learn in the bible, but has been taught in other religions. That being the wisdom and value of oral tradition.

    “Heb. 10:25 is a command, not a suggestion.” (fishon)
    If its a command why didn’t Jesus say it or Moses write it down? Either way even if it is a command, the Hebrews 10:25 reference says that we should “not forsake the assembling of ourselves together” The assembling of ourselves doesn’t have to take place in a church, it could be in a park, on a boat, in a temple, in my car, or on the street corner. I would still be fulfilling the command.

    “How can you have a close relationship if you cut off the Words of the Father [Bible]?” (fishon)
    I think a person absolutely needs to have the Words of the Father to have a close relationship with Him, however I am not convinced that the Bible is the only source for the Word of God. It seems to me a Living God would be constantly speaking and giving messages to His people, so the words that proceed out of his mouth have to be given just as much if not more precedence than the bible.

    Finally, we may disagree, but I do respect you. Your voice and thoughts are valuable and need to be heard. I just think you place too many limits on an infinite God.

  37. Sam,

    **Well, if i can’t really use Christ’s references to Hell, then, at this point, i can’t defend my self any longer. For , the amount of times that Christ mentions the place is enough me of Hell’s existence.**

    Then the question becomes — which hell? There are two different words used translated as “hell.” One is Gehenna, which is modifed after some sort of garbage dump outside Jerusalem. The “Valley of Hinnom.” The fires were going there constantly to burn all the garbage, and a particular type of worm lived there. I don’t think the audience would’ve understood that as eternal torment, since the whole point of a garbage dump is to destroy garbage.

    That leaves us with Sheol/Hades. In Judaism, I believe it’s where everyone simply went after death, and wasn’t a place of torment, and whenever the KJV Bible has “hell” in the Tanakh, it’s supposed to be Sheol. Which is also the grave/pit/underworld. In the NT, I know it’s used in Luke 16: 19-31, but the point of that parable doesn’t seem to be to teach about hell, rather how to behave. This is also the same “hades” that gets thrown in the lake of fire in Revelations, after it spits up its dead.

    For the quotes that Greg lists — the Isaiah quotes mentions dead bodies, it doesn’t say that they’re suffering. I already explained the 1 Thess. quote, with the idea of destruction means that it no longer exists. The Matthew quote is assuming that the outer darkness/weeping and gnashing of teeth is some sort of place of eternal torment, and that the people won’t come up. The comparison there is also between the Roman solider who had simple faith, and the people who were supposed to have that faith. Revelations: first, this is using a highly symbolic book to make a claim about an eternal resting place, and probably written to help the persecucted churches stand strong. Second, what happens if they stop worshipping after the torment?

    And no, Jesus didn’t speak more about hell then heaven. There are seven mentions alone in the Sermon on the Mount.

    But what it really comes down to is if Jesus came to rescue people from hell, why didn’t hell hold a bigger place in the Tanakh? Why wasn’t their salvation accompanied with the idea of rescue from hell? Isn’t it possible that the concept of “hell” in the NT might be misinterpreted, given those facts? ANd if it’s that key, why doesn’t Paul use the term?

    Or even take Mary praising God after she’s pregnant (in Luke). Is she praising God because He’s finally going to rescue His people from hell? Same with Zechariah. Or look at Jesus’ speech in Luke 4: 18. The “good news” is not accompanied with an idea of salvation from hell. It’s about the poor, the prisoner, the blind, the broken.

    I also have an issue with how Greg is comparing justice vs. love. Many of those who do claim that God is love, and thus there is no hell, do not feel that justice won’t be served. Justice is found in rescuing the oppressed. Justice is also served through punishment. They simply don’t think the punishment will be eternal, because the purpose of the punishment will be to help the person let go of the sin. But here, it’s like the only concept of justice is that we escape the justice of God through JEsus. Yet the Psalms are full of hoping for God’s justice, praising God’s justice, and knowing that it is good to follow God’s justice, which is often connected in helping the poor, the widowed, the orphan. The thing that God says is good — “to act justly, to love mercy, and walk humbly before your God.” Micah 6:8.

    God’s justice isn’t only focused on punishing evil. God’s justice also requries that He redeem creation, and rescue it. There’s no conflict between justice and love.

  38. OneSmallStep,

    I will be praying/reading tonight. not only am i plum out of defenses at this moment, i am also having to go back a rethink a lot. ill get back to y’all tomorrow after thinking a lot fo this over. I’ve never heard of the “no hell” doctrine being so well defended, so even if i am to regain my defenses, y’all are some of the most knowledgeable and patient Christians i have ever run into. So, no matter what we disagree on, I’ll be hanging out on this website for a long time

  39. Sam,

    **I’ve never heard of the “no hell” doctrine being so well defended**

    It tends to get defended a lot. 😉

    I’m not sure if I’ve made this clear, but I find a difference between saying that there is no eternal torment/seperation, and that there is no seperation. I hold univeralist leanings, but that doesn’t mean I think you can live however you want and you’re suddenly in paradise upon death. I do think there are consequences, but that consequences serve to be corrective, in order to demonstrate the harm of the behavior, and make the person get a broader awareness of love, life, people, God. Any seperation or punishment is not eternal. It serves a purpose of redemption.

    Also, I just did a blog post on this, but given that you believe in hell, and the responses I saw to Greg’s post, I’m assuming you also feel that you deserve eternal punishment? One of the big problems I have with that line of thought is that if we deserve eternal punishment, which is the worst thing possible, then I don’t see how we can turn around and say that people don’t deserve to starve to death, don’t deserve to be abused, don’t deserve to be mutilated and so forth. If we deserve the worse one (hell), then we would deserve the lesser ones (starvation, abuse, mutilation). Yet anyone who says that people deserve the latter are usually not seen in a good light. So would you say that we don’t deserve to be abused? If your answer is no, why would you say that we then deserve eternal torment, when the abuse would be much less severe compared to the torment?

    This is in regards to ordinary people. Deliberare serial killers and such are in a seperate category.

  40. Societyvs,
    This will be my last responce to you on this subject. We are starting to go in circles. However, I will read if you respond. Someone has to stop. I will.

    YOU: Then you actually don’t know where your mother is then do you? Your thoughts are not His and your ideas are not quite His – and yet you are so assured her resting place is some torture? Nice son.
    —-Apparently you overlooked the next paragraph. Let me help you: “Because my mother is in hell changes NOTHING as to me believing in hell or not.” Thanks for making me have to say it again.

    “Nice son.” No, Societyvs, it has nothing to do with me being a nice son or a bad son; it is that God doesn’t change heaven or hell because I like it or not; whether you believe it or not.

    When you said “Nice son,” that proved to me, you are creating your “own lego god.”

    If you believe Father {God} sent his Son {Jesus} to die for ‘Your’ sins, then what kind of Father would do that? Do you really want to say with sarcasm, “Nice Father?”

    YOU: Actually I don’t think God cries at all – not if he put her in hell in the first place.
    YOU SAID IN #33: I do neither regularily Fishon – and haven’t in a good 8 years now. I’ll attend a church here and there (mostly do not attend whatsoever) and read the bible sporadically (no lesson plan of any sort – and even go weeks without reading a chapter). Yet somehow I managed to remember everything and think through these things in my mind (one could easily say – this stuff is brought to my rememberance).
    ——Oh, it is obvious that you don’t read the Word, and you depend mostly on rememberance when you say: “…not if he put her in hell in the first place.”
    ——If you were studying the Word, you would know that God doesn’t PUT anyone in hell. It is by choice that anyone ends in hell.

    YOU: I ask you simply – can you forgive your mother?
    —–Again, you certainly prove you haven’t been studying the Word. And that question proves you are reading what you want into my post.
    #.1 I dare you to go back and find anything that I said that would even intimate my mother did something for me to need to forgive her for?
    #2. And if my mother had done something that I needed to forgive her for [she never did do anything for me to forgive], that has nothing to do with the truth about hell.

    Now, back to your statement: “I do neither regularily Fishon – and haven’t in a good 8 years now,” in reference to reading the Bible and going to Church.
    —–I will waste no more of your time nor mine by debating with you. To debate for or against God and not “Study to show thyself approved,” nor “assemble with the saints,” as shown in Acts 2:42 or use your gifts, ie., Rom. 12 and 1 Cor. 12 proves to me that you are not interested in God’s Word as the principle truths from which you debate from. And to use your words: “…this stuff is brought to my rememberance.” No wonder you are confused. To bad you don’t think you can learn more by studying the word. To bad you think you got it all. I seem to remember something about “Study to show thyself approved….” I’ll be darned; I didn’t know there was anyone who was the exception, but I found one, and his name is Societyvs.

    Thanks for allowing me to participate in this forum. I will not bother you again.
    fishon

  41. thejust1 said: Fishon, you actually did not respond to the one teaching that I suggested that you could not learn in the bible, but has been taught in other religions. That being the wisdom and value of oral tradition.
    —–I will answer you, then be out of here. I assume you have read what I wrote Societyvs.
    —–What possible wisdom could other religions give that the Bible doesn’t?
    —–Oral tradition. Not inspired. And what I ask, might be an oral tradition that would be equal and as valuable as the Word of God? Give me an example.

    YOU: If its a command why didn’t Jesus say it or Moses write it down? Either way even if it is a command, the Hebrews 10:25 reference says that we should “not forsake the assembling of ourselves together” The assembling of ourselves doesn’t have to take place in a church, it could be in a park, on a boat, in a temple, in my car, or on the street corner. I would still be fulfilling the command.
    —–So you don’t think Paul’s writing hold–no, let me ask you this way. How much weight do you give to Paul’s writings?
    —–Why sure. The Body of Christ can meet in all those places. I suppose ‘the apostles doctrine, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayer could take place in your car. Be a lot more comfortable in a building thought. That’s what the first Christians did. They met in houses, then they built bigger houses. I am not sure I remember much going on with them meeting in a chariot, thought Philip did have an encounter with a fellow in a chariot.

    YOU: , however I am not convinced that the Bible is the only source for the Word of God.
    —-Yep, that’s what Joseph Smith said.

    YOU: I just think you place too many limits on an infinite God.
    —–I understand you thinking that. When you say things like: “I am not convinced that the Bible is…,” and “it seems to me…,” from your next sentence, that indicates to me that you are not satisfied with what God says, does, and expects of us.

    —–By the way, God makes it clear He does have limits. I do believe He said, “You shall have no other gods….” “You shall not make and idol….” God put limits on the Jews, and when they started thinking for themselves, well, I don’t have to tell you the rest of the story.
    —–God put limits on who would go to heaven. Read Gal. 5:19-21. You might pay close attention to, “I warn you [Galatian Chrisitans], as I did before, that those who live like this WILL NOT [caps mine] inherit the kingdom of God.” That isn’t me putting limits on God’s forgiveness, that is He, Himself. I didn’t write it. I could go on and on, but if those verses don’t cause you to see, God himself sets the limits, not me.

    It’s been fun.
    MAKE IT a great tomorrow.
    fishon

  42. onesmallstep said: This is in regards to ordinary people. Deliberare serial killers and such are in a seperate category.
    —–According to who? You?
    ————–SAM, I hope you see the hypocrisy in that statement. He is coming back to his own thinking and not what scripture says.

    Enough, I have probably said to much already.
    Make it a great tomorrow
    fishon.

  43. Fishon had written (6:02 pm)**Because my mother is in hell changes NOTHING as to me believing in hell or not. Hell is in the Bible; straight foreward, non-negotiable, and heart-breaking. I have cried many tears over my mother. But not as many as God/Jesus/Holy Spirit.

    Hold on there fish, if God can’t save a person who’s dead than He is no God at all. God condemned the Jewish people and Moses said, “No, give them one more chance” and stood in His way (Exodus 32). God honored that kind of faith. Paul stated something similar, that he would give up his own salvation for the salvation of his Jewish brothers (Romans 9:5 I think).

    Jesus suffered the cross for the salvation of all people. He didn’t do that to give up on them as easily as you suspect. You need to pray for God to receive her soul, to reveal His truth to her. Don’t take no for an answer. Maybe God wants you to show more commitment to your Momma than “Oops, I guess she’s in Hell”. Ay caramba.

  44. Jim said: Paul stated something similar, that he would give up his own salvation for the salvation of his Jewish brothers (Romans 9:5 I think).
    —–Try vs. 3. And read it again. Paul would have given up his live for the Jews, but he couldn’t. Only one gave up their life for the Jews and Gentiles–Jesus. Context man, context.

    YOU: Jesus suffered the cross for the salvation of all people.
    —-Yep, but he also made it clear not everyone would receive it. Do you think both thieves on the cross made paradise? Nope. Just one. For the Bible tells me so.

    YOU: He didn’t do that to give up on them as easily as you suspect.
    —-Right. He suffered and died a terrible death. It don’t get worse than that. Show me by scripture, not your speculation where Jesus even hints at a second chance after death?

    YOU: You need to pray for God to receive her soul, to reveal His truth to her.
    —–I did when she was alive. Oh, I have no doubt she received revelation, but she rejected it.

    YOU: Maybe God wants you to show more commitment to your Momma than “Oops, I guess she’s in Hell”.
    —–Don’t you guys ever really read what people say. It ain’t Oops, I guess she is in hell. According to scripture, she is. You go ahead and make up YOUR OWN doctrine–but it ain’t there. If God’s word gave me any hope for my mother, I would grab on to it in a split second. But God is God, and I am not, and He doesn’t change the truth of His word for me and my pain. He did, however, promise to help me with my pain. And His has and does.

    Just a side note. Adam and Eve didn’t take no/don’t for an answer. Enough said.
    MAKE IT a great day.

  45. So long all. It’s been fun up until lately. It has become quite frustrating, however.

    Several of you don’t argue from scripture where there can be differents of opinions. But many of you argue from emotion and “It seems,” “God just can’t be…,” and other “but a loving God wouldn’t.”

    And for Societyvs to make such a big admission that he doesn’t hardly ever study scripture and relys on his remembrance for debate, well, you can have it. I will not cast pearls….”
    fishon

  46. Jason, my man, you’re beyond the pale. Might as well come join me and the rest of the tribe. Oh wait, we don’t do such things. Never mind. You’d have to dump the J-man to join us anyway, and since you seem to like him a lot, guess it’s good you’re where you are.

    Here’s something I wonder about. See, I’m supposed to be lost according to most on your side of the fence, but I get ignored most of the time and now criticized for daring to step on the sacred ground of Christian blogs [not by Jason of course]. Now you’re not toeing the party line either so you’re not worth talking to either. So…..I’m trying to figure out here, from my angry, hateful, arrogant, rude, sarcastic, etc., etc., POV, who these people are willing to talk to. Shouldn’t it be us, the heathens and heretics? (You’ve got one on me, Jason, I didn’t get the ‘swine’ insult at least.) It seems to me they only want to talk to each other, patting each other on the back for how wonderful their theology is compared to all others. Or perhaps they will talk to a few simple minded folk who don’t do much thinking and will just go along with the flow? Perhaps people looking for someone to just tell them what to do all the time? If so, I wish them good luck. Not that I care but…..it doesn’t seem to go with their mission statement…..

    I have to say this: Shame on you, Jason, for relying on your memory! How dare you store things there to be pulled out when you need them! How dare you follow in the traditions of your ancestors who relied on oral transmission to pass things down generation to generation. Shame, shame.

    Funny thing, the scriptures these NT people would have been studying were mine, so you know, when you read on my blog you’re studying the same things they studied. When you read what fishon writes you’re not. Hmmmm.

    And in case some one is fuming mad that I dare to post here, I have the express written approval of Societyvs to do so…..And no, I’m not filled with hatred and rage, on some pychotic rampage through the world of Christians. I’m actually sitting here laughing. People wonder why I converted to Judaism? Gee, I don’t know. My tefillin. Four compartments on the head and one on the arm. We’re allowed to think what we want, but we’re all required to act the same, good deeds, making the world a better place. I’ll take living this way any day over the mind control I see preached in certain quarters….(Have to make sure I get in my share of bellyaching here or it wouldn’t be worth the visit.)

    Jim,
    We actually have a prayer we say for our beloved departed, El Malai Rachamim, which is chanted for 30 days after their death, and then every year on the anniversary of their death.

    God filled with mercy,
    dwelling in the heavens’ heights,
    bring proper rest
    beneath the wings of your Shehinah,
    amid the ranks of the holy and the pure,
    illuminating like the brilliance of the skies
    the souls of our beloved and our blameless
    who went to their eternal place of rest.
    May you who are the source of mercy
    shelter them beneath your wings eternally,
    and bind their souls among the living,
    that they may rest in peace.
    And let us say: Amen

    I like your petition, your never giving up. As Heschel pointed out in ‘The Prophets’, the prophets motto was not ‘Your will be done’ but ‘Your will be changed.’ It worked for them…..

  47. Sam,

    **Justice by whose standards?

    Justice by God’s? or by human standards?**

    God’s. In the Psalms, justice is often connected with liberating the oppressed, or rescue. It’s how you’d demonstrate love to another person. Given how sin would function, we’d all be oppressed to some degree or another.

    Fishon,

    **This is in regards to ordinary people. Deliberare serial killers and such are in a seperate category.
    —–According to who? You?**
    ————–SAM, I hope you see the hypocrisy in that statement. He is coming back to his own thinking and not what scripture says. **

    No, according to the Bible. Take the Samaritian example. Jesus clearly called the person who helped another good, and indicated that the two who hadn’t helped were bad. And my point with that example is about if we deserve hell, do we also deserve to be abused? In answering this, I wanted to focus on the ordinary people who would try and live a good life, but might not have the proper belief in God. Or even your Galatians quote. There are two different categories there, such as “murder” that is produced by the fruit of the flesh.

    I’ll ask you what I asked Sam: if we all deserve hell, then we do we all deserve to be abused? Or mutilated? Do you tell someone who was raped that she deserved it? If no, why not? Why then say that the same person would deserve hell, when hell would be a lot worse than rape? OR with your mother — would she have deserved to die in a fire?

    Same with the idea of hell — where is the Christian concept taught in the Tanakh? How often does Paul mention it?

  48. “So, no matter what we disagree on, I’ll be hanging out on this website for a long time” (Sam)

    Thanks Sam – I hope you stick around and discuss with us all – feel free to say anything you want or need to. I am not here to judge you but to discuss the issue with you – and I can safely say that for most people that visit here. I will say this though – sometimes discussions do get a little intense – emotions are emotions and we all have em’.

    “Justice by whose standards? Justice by God’s? or by human standards?” (Sam)
    Good question Sam…only you can be the judge of that. To me it’s all about how we view Jesus and what he says about God. What is justice? What is God’s standards? Then we can start to discuss what our view of justice is – our standards are…the bias’ we bring into the situation without even knowing – fact is, all interpretation you ever do will go through your experiences in life (perspective on life) also. So when we start discussing God’s justice and standards – in some sense – you are discussing your relationship with God.

  49. Society…, Society…, Society…., Wow! you got flamed big time. I think I would have had a good laugh if the guy wasn’t taking this so seriously, this is all pretty important to him, I guess.

    So, when the Spirit brings scripture to your remembrance is it in KJV, NIV or some other version? Maybe you should only be recalling Greek, Hebrew, Aramiac or KJV. I personally recall in four different versions myself.

    Now back to my oral tradition piece, which was so easliy dismissed.
    “Oral tradition. Not inspired. And what I ask, might be an oral tradition that would be equal and as valuable as the Word of God? Give me an example” (fishon)

    Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every WORD that PROCEEDETH out of the MOUTH of GOD. Matthew 4:4. (I captialized for effect) Is this not an example of an inspired oral tradition?

    But it seems kind of odd to try and prove oral tradition with a scritpure. Because oral tradition, by its very nature, is something can’t learn by reading, its learned by listening and experiencing it.

    On a side note, I can’t recall ever being compared to Joseph Smith before, that’s new. You could have at least compared me to Rick Joyner or Jack Van Impe. Poor Joseph Smith is probably turning over some where (wherever he is) just resenting the fact that he had to be painted with the same brush stroke as thejust1.

  50. I have to reply, sorry Fishon if I have pressed any buttons on the mother issue. It seems to me the idea of hell is hell unto itself – and this is why I write.

    “We are starting to go in circles” (Fishon)

    If we dance long enough we will become better acquainted – I see no problem with that.

    “Thanks for making me have to say it again.” (Fishon)

    I actually didn’t ask you to say it again – you volunteered to (I don’t control your brain patterns to make your fingers move).

    “When you said “Nice son,” that proved to me, you are creating your “own lego god.”” (Fishon)

    And I can put Him together too? I am only de-constructing God Fishon from a set of texts in front of me and from logical expression of those ideas in reality – but I am only deconstructing to find Him – that essence of who God is and said He was.

    “If you believe Father {God} sent his Son {Jesus} to die for ‘Your’ sins, then what kind of Father would do that? Do you really want to say with sarcasm, “Nice Father?”” (Fishon)

    That’s a little different Fishon. You claim someone very close to you is in ‘hell’ forever with no chance of pity – whereas as God sent His sont to die and ‘resurrect’ (in 3 days no less).

    “dare you to go back and find anything that I said that would even intimate my mother did something for me to need to forgive her for?” (Fishon)

    You could open yoour ears and listen for a second also – I raised that point for a good reason. But for some odd reason it is being tossed aside. I asked if you can forgive her (for anything) then how come it is God cannot? You telling me God is not as great as you in the area of forgiveness? This is directly realted to the idea of ‘hell’ and reason God would send someone there.

    “And to use your words: “…this stuff is brought to my rememberance.” (Fishon)

    Actually they are not my words so much as they are these words – ‘But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” (John 14:26). Just because I don’t have some regular reading schedule for a book I have read numerous times doesn’t mean I don’t study it when prodded to. Fishon, of all people you should know quite simply from my writings alone that I have studied to some serious depth – but for some reason not even this has been revealed to you – it’s all there to be read.

    “I’ll be darned; I didn’t know there was anyone who was the exception, but I found one, and his name is Societyvs” (Fishon)

    I don’t have a regular bible reading schedule and attend church on a regular basis and for some reason you break into a rant about how pitiful I truly am? First off, let’s be absolutely clear here – there is no place in scripture about developing a regular reading schedule nor is it asked of by Jesus as some rule…if there is a rule ‘show me’. If there isn’t – wow – an addition to the scripture that someone made into a rule – never thought I’d see that in my days (lol).

    Secondly, the church thing is absolutely valid and your proving why it is – imagine if I was this freely expessive in your church and you knew about it – what exact problems would I be facing down is the real question? If you knew me Fishon – you would likely excommunicate me – and for all the wrong reasons. That’s the thing with church – it’s a system built and pieced together by strict doctrine – problem is we have too many judges.

    “That isn’t me putting limits on God’s forgiveness, that is He, Himself. I didn’t write it. I could go on and on, but if those verses don’t cause you to see, God himself sets the limits, not me.” (Fishon)

    First off, that is Paul writing and the limit to heaven is someone’s immorality – not because someone did not say a prayer and accept Jesus into their heart. Actually, come to think of it – nowhere in scripture is there an example of someone going to a bad place (not hell – I quit believing in it as of yesterday) for anything but ‘their actions’.

    “SAM, I hope you see the hypocrisy in that statement. He is coming back to his own thinking and not what scripture says” (Fishon)

    First off, I am not a hypocrite – I have stated many things and have backed them all up one by one – and when I am wrong – I admit it (and change). Just because I blend the teachings with my reality shouldn’t be harmful in the least – should not scripture back up reality if it is the ‘truth’?

    “And for Societyvs to make such a big admission that he doesn’t hardly ever study scripture and relys on his remembrance for debate, well, you can have it. I will not cast pearls….” (Fishon)

    I am guessing pearls are worth quite a bit? I said I don’t read that often – as for studying – well let my own writing bare me out as proof (and nothing less). However, you wouldn’t be the first conservative Christian to pull up his tent and leave the encampment – I think you would be about the 7th or so in the last 2.3 years (with 3 condemning me) – and to none of them did I so much as raise an insult against. But I would ask – was Jesus vastly disliked by religious figures of his day – if so – why? Dowhutchalike.

  51. “So, when the Spirit brings scripture to your remembrance is it in KJV, NIV or some other version?” (Just1)

    I am a big NASB guy – because the Gideon’s give it away for free more or less – and all I mainly read from is a small Gideon’s NT (w/Psalms and Proverbs)…but all I ever really needed was Matthew (and maybe James – they seem to be good partners in explaining one another).

    The big point i want to make is – reading the bible is not going to get you to heaven anyways – but living it will…so why waste all the time on some strict reading schedule when all that is truly asked of you is what the world needs – ‘a little love’?

  52. Society,

    **“SAM, I hope you see the hypocrisy in that statement. He is coming back to his own thinking and not what scripture says” (Fishon)

    First off, I am not a hypocrite – I have stated many things and have backed them all up one by one – and when I am wrong – I admit it (and change). Just because I blend the teachings with my reality shouldn’t be harmful in the least – should not scripture back up reality if it is the ‘truth’? **

    I think this one was actually directed at me, because it underneath my statement of ordinary people, not serial killers, which I said were in a different category. This related to my question of, “If someone deserves hell, what else do they deserve.”

    I am unsure how the statement is hypocritical — where have I said we should do something, and then I’ve turned around and not done it?

  53. “So, when the Spirit brings scripture to your remembrance is it in KJV, NIV or some other version?” (Just1)
    I wasn’t being serious, I just messing with you and having a little fun at your expense.

    Since we were discussing hell, even though I didn’t enter into that discussion, I decided to do a little research. I did a search on how many times the word ‘hell or hades” appeared in the Bible.

    “Hell/Hades” appears in the bible only 35 times, whereas “heaven/ heavens” appears 430 times in the NT and over 400 times in the OT. Simple math indicates to me that we should talk about “heaven” at least 25 times as much as we talk about “hell”.

  54. I haven’t read all of the comments (I don’t have all day) but I think Western Christendom assumes that everyone has to go to a “christian church,” do church like we do, and act similarly to us or they are not saved. I think there are plenty of people who live in areas of the world where other religions are pevalent who know that there is a Redeemer, that he is part of God and sacrificed Himself for our sins and that he is active in their lives today.

    They may or may not still identify with another religion but they don’t identify themselves as “Christians.” I believe SOME of them just may be saved as the Scriptures make it clear that ALL men are responsible even with missionaries and the Scriptures and are responsible to respond to the truth they know.

  55. I hope no one overlooked Yael’s input. Praying for lost loved ones is not “making up doctrine” as Fishon says. Fishon should remind himself, Is nothing impossible for God?

  56. OK, im going to have to pull out of this one, i’ve got my ducks back in a row, but for me to be able to truly back myself up, i would need more time/resources than i currently have available 😀

  57. “I wasn’t being serious, I just messing with you” (Just1)

    I knew that – figured I’d still answer the question though for no good reason but to answer it (lol). I am really appreciating your perspectives Just1 – we are glad to have your voice in the convo’s!

    “I haven’t read all of the comments (I don’t have all day)” (Recovering)

    LOL – so true – I am thinking about maybe publishing a book someday on my thoughts in interaction with others – I think it would make for a good read (and yes – this is a thought I am merely bantering about…nothing solid as of now). But you have to admit – these would make for a great read for anyone thinking about theology and seeing real people struggle with these tough issues. But yeah – these posts read like chapters sometimes and short books.

    “Praying for lost loved ones is not “making up doctrine” as Fishon say” (Jim)

    Why even pray I would say – theology should trump this in my opinion. My dad was not a nice person to me and my family (most of us were children at the time)…and he died when I was 10. At that point in time when he died I was actually glad. However I grew up and realized a lot of the things he did effected me adversely and in order to deal with that anger I needed to (gulp) – forgive the man (and my mother). It was in that process that I learned what I teach now:

    If I can forgive someone their faults – which effected me in many ways – I can’t see God not being able to forgive that same person – is not God greater than me? That made me realize something about the strength of God’s capacity to forgive someone even when they don’t deserve it – and isn’t that the very principle of the cross (this great mercy)? This all goes back to that idea of people recieving a reward based on the capabilities of another – a righteous/just person or even a prophet. Doesn’t our forgiveness count for something in God’s eyes? I mean, we forgave someone and left that in God’s hands – is God going to turn and say ‘sorry, this is not valid anymore’?

    Forgiveness is truly the essence of the gospel in my opinion – that love and mercy we have on another means a lot and is what Jesus (and the letters) taught in great depth on it. I just have a veyr tough time limiting God in the aspect of love – that could be just be me but that’s the looking glass I look through whenever someone mentions God.

  58. “OK, im going to have to pull out of this one” (Sam)

    Don’t worry – you’re free to express your theological viewpoints and I respect that. There are some fairly deep ideas flowing around on 60 posts in here so it kind of gets hard to keep up with – but I like that. I appreciate the fact you came and participated – that’s awfully cool of you.

  59. “It seems to me they only want to talk to each other, patting each other on the back for how wonderful their theology is compared to all others…it doesn’t seem to go with their mission statement…” (Yael)

    How poignant that truly is! I think the true problem is there isn’t more than one view within this faith and when that happens – someone is ‘wrong’ – someone is ‘out of the will of God’ (which to me is as good as being ‘damned’ and that’s a scary prospect to face up to). I don’t believe that anymore – God is much more gracious than I think most church doctrine will give Him credit for.

    Concerning the mission statement – I agree – people of this faith need to open up and subject their viewpoints/doctrines to the people/community – since that is why it exists? How can you know your ideas are accurate without true subjection of them to a variety of viewpoints to refine them? I don’t want to attend a church for this very reason – I find it very limiting and based only in some power structure that determines the direction of the community (even the rules).

    “Shame on you, Jason, for relying on your memory! How dare you store things there to be pulled out when you need them!” (Yael)

    LOL – nothing like some good sarcasm when it is needed.

    “when you read on my blog you’re studying the same things they studied” (Yael)

    Great point…and one I have been trying to make for some time now (at least over the past year). These are Jewish writers writing from Jewish scriptures (Tanakh) by people in a strongly Jewish community…yet when we look at our scriptures we don’t even ‘bat an eye’ of concern that the Jewishness of the interpretation is gone. And if someone doesn’t believe me – go and read some of the Rabbinical writings and messages Yael writes based on the Tanakh – I agree with her rabbi’s interpretataions more than I do with most pastors (because they tie in so great to what Jesus wanted us to know). I’d rather catch heat for that than for defending some doctrine based off the reformation or even Augustine.

    “Four compartments on the head and one on the arm. We’re allowed to think what we want, but we’re all required to act the same, good deeds, making the world a better place. I’ll take living this way any day over the mind control I see preached in certain quarters….(Have to make sure I get in my share of bellyaching here or it wouldn’t be worth the visit.)” (Yael)

    The bellyaching – funny – but the point is worth noting. We, as Christians, fight over what is right and want to call others down all too often for not holding to some made up doctrinal code of ethics from some denomination – but I see the rabbi’s discussing ideas and sometimes they reach various conclusions – on the same passage! No one gets hurt and the passage adds more to the depth of the community. That’s what I want to establish in the church community – this sense of being okay with various perspectives (unless they promote immorality – then we should question that idea). But why is this so hard to do in our churches? Simple – exclusivity runs very deep.

    “We actually have a prayer we say for our beloved departed, El Malai Rachamim, which is chanted for 30 days after their death, and then every year on the anniversary of their death.” (Yael)

    In First Nations circles we have something called the ‘feast’. We do this in rememberance of the loved one that passed away in the past year – we have food that we pour out for them (we usually have soup and bannock) – then we all also eat – the food is prayed for – but the act is very similar to the idea of communion. It’s about remembering the loved one that went on and is another place – to show our deepest respects for the life of another. I had this great overwhelming sense communion should be like this – but it isn’t. It’s just another ritual we do – but if we only did it once a year – then maybe it would be that much more meaningful.

  60. but I see the rabbi’s discussing ideas and sometimes they reach various conclusions – on the same passage! No one gets hurt and the passage adds more to the depth of the community.

    It’s like a brainstorming session. The craziest ideas can make for those light bulb moments, and a lot of laughter. Torah study should be enjoyable; not an opportunity for the same people to pontificate about that one correct view while everyone yawns in boredom.

    Saw this d’var that I think you’ll like….How to Argue and How not to Argue.

  61. “And this was one of the great teachings of Rav Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook: “only through a multiplicity of ideas and views can we eventually reach the one great truth which encompasses them all”.”

    Your right – I did enjoy that piece of work on ‘Korah’ and ‘the 2 rabbi’s’ – and the disctinction between conflict that helps and hurts. The above quote captures a lot of what the writing is about. Needless to say, I agree with it – we need to start seeing scripture on more well rounded ways that allow for many things to be learned from one single piece of scripture – even various words…ex: logos or ‘the narrow road’.

    My quest is to not tow some doctrinal code but to test the strength of each doctrinal code and to see if it is – how would Paul put this – ‘if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident…”(I Cor 3:12-13a). I see no problem with debating ideas and thinking through passages to find all the gems hiding in one spot.

  62. Well, I’ve read and read and read… until I am sick of reading.

    I’ll just state my view and I think my points have already been argued by me in another topic and by a few people in this topic.

    My view: When you hear people make any of those seven claims… “them’s fightin’ words”

    I have a feeling my comments from the opther topic may be copy pasted here… oh well.

    Societyvs, OSS – At times I may read a good point or two… but it seems more often than not, yall about make me sick… Yea that was blunt because yes, I’ve kinda read a lot… and yea, I found some of the same old tired arugments you used before. Among other things, including things said in this topic that I do not care to bring back up, your blatent disreguard for the inspiration of New Testament sickens me… and it seems that even if you do accept the inspiration, then you go into some search for “deeper” meaning and miss the clear, simple, basic points. There are deeper things to be learned, but not “at the exspence of” the whole main point. You add in a lot of your own reasoning and opions because you don’t like things… reasoning things out is fine, but twisting scripture to fit your reasonings is not. – So you make me sick and I do not want to debate you further. How can I, even if I wanted to, if you do not accept the inspiration of all scripture?

    fishon – AMEN *nods firmly* – I kinda wish I coulda been here in this topic to help you, but I’ve been preoccupied with another topic. I wish I had your e-mail or something to contact you by, but I understand that you may not want to put such info on this blog…

    Sam Hunley – Like fishon says… I hope you can see through this mess and continue to believe.

  63. “but it seems more often than not, yall about make me sick” (Starfox)

    Ouch! I wonder what God thinks of a comment like that?

    “your blatent disreguard for the inspiration of New Testament sickens me” (Starfox)

    Whoa the horsies man – I debate straight from the gospels and when asked, the letters…proving every single thing I talk about does have some scriptural foundation to it – yet I am disregarding the NT? Okay.

    “reasoning things out is fine, but twisting scripture to fit your reasonings is not. – So you make me sick and I do not want to debate you further” (Starfox)

    Twisting scripture – isn’t that what I am also saying is happening in the exclusive camp of interpretation? Don’t see me running home to mommy about spilled milk – hell I even have to live with these mainstream interpretations and the damages they cause in communities and sour out people’s lives – run man run – firstly, you ain’t mature enough to admit the problems and secondly, you ain’t acting responsibly enough to stick around and clean up the aftermath anyways. Try lift a burden or two on your way out the door.

    Twisting it to ‘fit my reasoning’ – if this was true – I am pretty sure I wouldn’t be wasting my time on a blog when I could be making some cold hard serious cash like faith ministries or could be a power-mongerer like the mega-church peeps or develop a messianic complex like the self-styled prophets/gurus. I got a weird way of twisting scripture for nothing at all. Believe me if it was my own personal greedy agenda then it would look a lot like the aforementioned ministries except with all cash and power flowing through and to me. Then you will know for certain what I am teaching is a bunch of BS.

    “Sam Hunley – Like fishon says” (Starfox)…RUUUUUUUUUUUUNNNNNNNN!!! Hahahaha – I even kill myself sometimes

  64. Starfox,

    **Among other things, including things said in this topic that I do not care to bring back up, your blatent disreguard for the inspiration of New Testament sickens me… and it seems that even if you do accept the inspiration, then you go into some search for “deeper” meaning and miss the clear, simple, basic points.**

    When anyone says, “The Bible says,” what they are really saying is “I say the Bible says.” We all do this, including me. Like Society, I have used the Bible to demonstrate my points. I have also used what the words meant back then, as well as cultural context. And this last part is key. Why? First of all, we’re dealing with an interpretation. In terms of the NT, half the time, we’re dealing with ARamiac words written in Greek and then translated into English. That’s going to alter matters. Case in point, the idea of “Be ye therefore perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Aramiac does not have an understanding of perfection the way modern English speakers do today. That knowledge is very important in understanding the meaning behind what Jesus is saying.

    Even throughout the Bible, the concept of people and places changed. “Satan” is one such example. Original sin is another. Even the idea of hell has changed — comparing the idea between the Tanakh and the NT. Or just go look at what Judaism said about hell.

    In a more current example, I’m going to bring the whole Judaism and NT thing back to this post. You made a point that those in the Tanakh were saved because they had faith in Jesus. You claimed to have proven this by using the NT, and pretty much the NT only. But in terms of the Tanakh, you are applying your own understanding to it, by using the NT and your own reasoning. I say this because you have not demonstrated anything in Judaism itself, in its oral tradition, or any of the Hebrew writings pre-NT to point to the idea that Judaism expected the type of Savior Christianity claims Jesus to be. *That* is proof.

  65. “Ouch! I wonder what God thinks of a comment like that?”

    I’m sure false doctrine makes Him sick too.

    “Whoa the horsies man – I debate straight from the gospels and when asked, the letters”

    I’ll give you that much credit Societyvs… not sure about OSS. I figure he pretty much disreguards the en-errorcy of the NT therefore disreguarding its perfect inpsiration. Maybe I understand him wrong, but so far that is what I’ve seen. Forgive me for clumping you into that statment…

    “Twisting scripture – isn’t that what I am also saying is happening in the exclusive camp of interpretation?”

    So you accuse me and/or others of the same things, so what is so bad when I think/say you are doing the same?

    “Twisting it to ‘fit my reasoning’ – if this was true – I am pretty sure I wouldn’t be wasting my time on a blog when I could be making some cold hard serious cash like faith ministries…”

    Just because you aint rich or seeking to become a mega-chruch doesn’t automatically mean you are right. I aint seeking to become any of that either and the church I go to is no mega-church either in the sense of those you mentioned. And if it is or not does not make it wrong or right. What makes it right or not is if it upholds the correct doctrines in both word and deed.

    “‘Sam Hunley – Like fishon says’ (Starfox)…RUUUUUUUUUUUUNNNNNNNN!!! Hahahaha – I even kill myself sometimes”

    Ok… How about what God says…

    2 Timothy 2:16
    “16. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.”

    “vain babblings” – SO far that is where I classify a lot of what I hear from you two. I listen and consider it… and it just does not line up with scripture (as I see it of course… knowing you of course see things much different) and so that is where I classify it. There are a few things I agree with you on… but not most it seems. So yup… I say shun that mess Sam!

    Even still… I didn’t say “run” I said “stand” and not just stand but stand firm on the Rock and keep the faith!

    “I even have to live with these mainstream interpretations and the damages they cause in communities and sour out people’s lives”

    And I live with people who pervert the truth and live with the damage they do to churches and the faith… and I aint running, I’m standing and fighting against it. You can be the one to run… not that it will do you much good considering God is everywhere, so you might as well try to be mature enough to see the faults and come to the truth and responsible enough to try to repair the damage.

    —-

    “When anyone says, “The Bible says,” what they are really saying is “I say the Bible says.””

    There are some things that are just plain obvious… so much so that we can say with confidence that the Bible says it plainly. However, the way you two look at scripture it is no wonder you make this statement.

    Ok, maybe I will get hounded for saying this, but I believe the KJV and other English translations are just that… translations. As such I go back to look at the Greek, but it seems you do not even believe the original NT Greek was written correctly.

    Also, I’ve said this before, we are not talking about Judaism (which has probably itself changed over the years). We are talking about Christianity, and we can understand the OT in light of and in view of the NT. Why and how? Because the NT writers were inpired by God just as much as the OT writers.

    You want to put a strick dividing line between the NT and the OT, but God inspired both and knew exactly what He was doing when in the NT He explained what the OT meant. God’s inspiration is *proof* enough for me – thank you!

    —-

    “Irony of this post – I guess they really were ‘fighting words’ (lol)”

    You know it! lol

  66. In regards to a church, Cpt Starfox said “What makes it right or not is if it upholds the correct doctrines in both word and deed” I’m just wondering who would decide if a church is upholding correct doctrines in both word and deed?

    “Ok, maybe I will get hounded for saying this, but I believe the KJV and other English translations are just that… translations. As such I go back to look at the Greek, but it seems you do not even believe the original NT Greek was written correctly” (Cpt Starfox)

    Going back to look at the Greek, while I agree is a proper way to study, still leaves interpretation fairly wide open. A Greek word could have many meanings and some words do not translate well into English.

  67. “I’m just wondering who would decide if a church is upholding correct doctrines in both word and deed?”

    Ultimatly God, and we can tell what God thinks by looking at what God says in His word, and we can understand God’s word if we study while in fellowship with God allowing the Holy Spirit to guide us. Many of the truths revealed in the Bible are plainly obvious to saved people who are letting the Holy Spirit guide their understanding, and these plain truths do not require a degree in Greek/Hebrew writing and customs to understand. While I agree that Greek/Hebrew language and custom study is great in helping understand things that didn’t completely make it over to English, I still think some things are just obvious and God will guide in the way that we should interpret – Thus interpretation of the Bible is not “wide open” to any who want to throw their own ideas between the lines so that things line up with their reasoning.

  68. Ultimately God. Yes, I whole heartedly agree with that and because its God that makes the final decision on right or wrong, I think societyvs (and others, like OSS) can be given some room to express thoughts, ideas, and theology. Because who knows, maybe God has ultimately decided that societyvs is on the right path.

    “we can tell what God thinks” (Cpt Starfox)
    I have to be honest with you, that statement troubles me. I don’t believe any man or woman can truly say they know what God thinks. You would have to be the most gifted and anointed mind reader in all of human history. I don’t even know what my 11 year-old-son thinks and I’ve lived with him all his life. God is far greater than him.

  69. Starfox,

    **I’m sure false doctrine makes Him sick too.**

    This is the same God that told you to shame your enemy with goodness — Romans 12: 11-21. And to think of others as better than yourself — Philippians 2. Or even in Timothy 2, after the vain babblings — “the servent of the Lord must not be quarrelsome, but kindly towards all. He should be a good teacher, tolerant and gentle when discipline is needed …” Our discussions were in the ‘vigorious debate’ category, but may possibly be descending into “quarrelsome.”

    And a question, to go along with this — you clearly feel that Society and I are wrong. If it is your job to evangelize the good news to us, and love us, do you really think saying that we make you “sick” is going to accomplish that? That it’s going to make us think that you have hold of something marvelous, or make your position something we want to learn about?

    Yes, there are times that Jesus is forceful with others. But those times tended to revolve around the religious elite, those who were certain of their position and oppressing everyone else. Honest seekers, those with questions, and those exploring were welcomed.

    **There are some things that are just plain obvious… so much so that we can say with confidence that the Bible says it plainly. However, the way you two look at scripture it is no wonder you make this statement.**

    If things were “plain obvious,” then why did the idea of hell evolve throughout the Bible? Why did the figure of Satan evolve? Why do different denominations hold to different atonement theories? Or just go look at this article here: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1710844,00.html.

    Many Christians would argue that NT Wright is “obviously” wrong, based on a plain reading of the Bible.

    I agree with you that things are “plain obvious.” What we’re disagreeing about is what is and is not “obvious.” I have pulled support from the NT, and the Tanakh. I’ve used the definitions behind the words, looked at different translations, looked at the culture itself.

    But as for the plain obvious — take the statement of “turn the other cheek” from Sermon on the Mount. In today’s times, we see that as an almost docile statement. Same with go the extra mile, or provide the undergarments if asked for a cloak.

    In those times, it would’ve been understood as using the system against itself. When struck on the cheek, the first blow was delivered with the back of one’s hand. The purpose of the assault would be to humiliate and degrade the person hit, because that kind of backhand was given by a superior to an inferior. By turning the other cheek, you are daring the aggressor to strike you as an equal — which means the aggressor has to acknowledge you as an equal. The only other way another backhand blow could be delivered is if the aggressor used his left hand, which was considered unclean. It was a non-violent method of resistence.

    For the garments — those who were poor only had outergarments and inner ones. If someone sued a poor person, the poor person could ‘fight back’ by giving both the outer and inner ones, and thus having to leave the area naked. As that was a taboo, it would’ve shamed the person who took the garments in the first place.

    Carrying the pack — under Roman law, a soldier coudl require any citizen to carry a pack for one mile. The way you fought back was by carring it for two, because if you carried it that long, the Roman soldier had broken his own law, and would be punished. This would put the soldier in the position of having to beg you for his pack back, and thus you’d be “equals.”

    Can you get any of that from a straight reading? Even if you have the Greek? Or do you need the cultural understanding?

    **You want to put a strick dividing line between the NT and the OT, but God inspired both and knew exactly what He was doing when in the NT He explained what the OT meant. God’s inspiration is *proof* enough for me – thank you!**

    So … every single person prior to the NT got the Messianic prophecies wrong? All the Judaic writings prior to the NT got their entire religion wrong? All their expectations in a Messiah, everything they wrote about a Messiah, was wrong? Because that is what you’re saying when you make the claim that the Tanakh points to Jesus, as Christianity understands Jesus. And that’s why I keep mentioning this, and asking for support outside of the NT. All the people who were closer to the time frame in which the Tanakh was written missed a lot about their very own works and culture. And you are still using your own interpretation to understand the Tanakh.

    How I see your claim, in using the NT to support it, is like using a Spanish dictionary to try and decipher the French language. Which is why I keep asking you to use French (JUdaism) itself, rather than Spanish (Christianity).

    And I don’t hold the Bible as ‘without error.’ Not just because of what I’ve researched about it, and in reading it, but because I find that position dangerous, in many ways. Those who supported slavery or oppressing woman, in using religious justification, also found the Bible without error. It’s too easy to conflate “The Bible is without error” to “My viewpoint is without error.”

  70. “I’m sure false doctrine makes Him sick too.” (Starfox)

    I will say ‘let what we teach/think bare us out’. I have no problem if you hold to your position – but I also reserve the right to question and be questioned on things I think or believe – I find that very fair.

    “Forgive me for clumping you into that statment…” (Starfox)

    I have nothing to hold against you Starfox – we are merely dialoguing – your forgiven for this and much more (if need be).

    “So you accuse me and/or others of the same things, so what is so bad when I think/say you are doing the same?” (Starfox)

    I don’t think it is ‘bad’ but I think we should all have the right to question one another’s beliefs in discussion – not so much arguing – but in questioning as to the ‘what it all means’.

    “What makes it right or not is if it upholds the correct doctrines in both word and deed” Starfox)

    Just1 alluded to this and I raise the same sentiment – what doctrines? And how can we know if something is correct unless we truly test it and find it worthy?

    “Ok… How about what God says…” (Starfox)

    I was just joking around – it’s not a big thing.

    “Even still… I didn’t say “run” I said “stand” and not just stand but stand firm on the Rock and keep the faith!” (Starfox)

    Oh I would never ask Sam to leave the faith nor encourage it – not my place to do nor do I think it is something I would find myself qualified to say (being in the Christian faith also). Maybe this doesn’t shine through a lot in my stuff but I do truly admire the teachings of Jesus – and how they lead us into communion with God…maybe it’s the stuff I blog on but I am rather sincere in my faith (although I really like a good topic and discussions).

    “so you might as well try to be mature enough to see the faults and come to the truth and responsible enough to try to repair the damage” (Starfox)

    I think I will take you up on that.

  71. On point #6…

    Look up “hell” in Strongs Concordance. There are three words that all, supposedly, translate to “hell”. The first is “hades”, which means the same thing as the Hebrew word “sheol”: the grave, or “the unseen”. This is where ALL souls (yes, I said ALL) will go after death, and will remain until the Second Coming.

    The second is “Tartarus”, which appears in 1 Peter. This is where the fallen angels go.

    The third is “Gehenna”, which appears in the Gospels. It’s an actual place in Israel, located in the valley of Hinnom. In ancient times, it was, pretty much, like a landfill, where people took their trash to burn. Nowadays, it’s a garden.

    It’s also interesting to note that none of the early Christians taught about hell like many present-day ones do. The early Christian fathers, instead, taught Universal Restoration: the idea that everyone will be saved from their sins one day, and that God will one day restore everyone and everything to himself.

    The concept of “hell” as Christendom knows it now wasn’t introduced until Tertullian came up with the idea in the third century. St. Augustine also embraced the idea of “hell” and “eternal torment”.

    You want more? Consider John 10:10. It is “the thief”‘s job to “steal, kill, and destroy”. If there is a hell (I don’t believe there is), and those who don’t say the “magic words” (read: “sinner’s prayer”) are doomed to eternal torment there (I don’t believe they are), then, really, God is no better than Satan, and every Christian out there should deconvert RIGHT NOW.

    http://www.goodnewsaboutgod.com/studies/hellfire2.htm

  72. I will also state for the record I truly admire the study OSS puts into her writings and a lot of the background she brings into the discussions – as she proved with her latest comment – she’s well versed in Christian theology and I think she has been a great compatriot for this faith.

    I think it is fair to disagree with me on this but I am stating my opinion – she is quite gifted in the art if discernment (looking into things very closely) and I’d be lying if I said ‘I have never learned anything from her’…I think she is brilliant in this regards. We may be coming from a new way of thinking and looking at these scriptures but I am not sure what we are presenting hurts anyone either – I like to think it can help someone mature in the faith.

    True humility is not having all the answers – but even when you have some – it’s treating the other like the brilliance of the answers are also theirs.

  73. “The third is “Gehenna”, which appears in the Gospels. It’s an actual place in Israel, located in the valley of Hinnom. In ancient times, it was, pretty much, like a landfill, where people took their trash to burn. Nowadays, it’s a garden.” (Shelly)

    Irony – even Gehenna became a garden.

  74. I hate fighting words but I have to admit that I learn a lot more through conflict than I do agreement. It seems to be a natural part of our learning process. There are several points presented here that I disagree with but I don’t have the stomach for it right now. I may be because I’m getting old but I’d just as soon let God sort them out!

    Pam

  75. “I may be because I’m getting old but I’d just as soon let God sort them out!” (Pam)

    Don’t worry about it Pam – there has never been a need to worry about any of this stuff – I mainly do it to push myself to deeper understanding – maybe the friction creates a fire? I think you’re right though – this is nothing to worry about in any depth…I also say ‘let God bare us out’. If I am wrong I have very little problem admitting to that – it will be obvious the line I over-step – when people are intentionally hurt then we must consider our motives.

  76. Society,

    As long as we remain humble, I think we will learn something from every encourter. It is when we think we have it all figured out (and I’ve been there) that our arrogance makes it impossible to learn. I think contending for the faith is more process than outcome and friction that produces a flame is a good analogy. This also requires self-control as a flame is good but it is very easy for a flame to begin to burn out of control and do a great deal of destruction. I think the key is in being mindful of what we say and measuring our own words by the character of Christ.

    Pam

  77. From what I read it was the two of you who were rude and inconsiderate which is what really got me worked up in the first place. However, it has occured to me that two wrongs to not make a right. However, false doctrine does make me sick, and I to believe that is a lot of what you profess. I’m not trying to be rude…. but that is how it is.

    “All the people who were closer to the time frame in which the Tanakh was written missed a lot about their very own works and culture.”

    Yes, they most certainly did, and if you knew anything at all about the Old Testament then you should know that.

    “And you are still using your own interpretation to understand the Tanakh.”

    I am using the New Testament interpretatin of the Old Testament, and you do not understand because you do not believe.

    “How I see your claim, in using the NT to support it, is like using a Spanish dictionary to try and decipher the French language.”

    Your analogy is flawed. It doesn’t take into account that God inspired the New Testament as well as the Old Testament… Why? Because you do not believe it, so you do not take it into account and so your reasoning and analogy is completly flawed.

    “And I don’t hold the Bible as ‘without error.’ ”

    Then I really dont have a lot to discuss with you anymore, so please debate me no further.

    —-

    societyvs,

    Your reply to me was “kindly”… although some of your previous postings to others has terribly upset me. – As such I am feeling *slightly* more neutral to you… let’s lock it at that until maybe it can raise. Thank you for the way in which you replied – Let’s end our discussion here.

    I also think OSS has a great deal of knowledge that I find lacking even among those I’d call Christian… truly impressive, although I believe some key points and some faith is missing.

    —-

    shelly,

    The rich man was tormented in flames… and there is a lake of fire mentioned in revelations into which all those who are not found written in the book of life will be cast… Maybe you feel “Hell” as we say it isn’t the proper word to describe these places, but it is the word we use none the less. The places are real whatever word we use to describe them and however you chose to reason out your view of God doesn’t change the facts.

    Now, you’ve stated your view, and I’ve stated mine… I’d like to leave it at this. Please do so because I do not care to debate further with anyone here.

  78. Oh yes… almost forgot…

    thejust1,

    “I have to be honest with you, that statement troubles me. I don’t believe any man or woman can truly say they know what God thinks.”

    I hope you know what I meant… We can know what God “thinks” concerning certain things because He tells us what He *says* about them in His Word… not because we can read the mind of God.

  79. Society,

    Thank you for the kind words. We haven’t always disagreed on everything either, which has resulted in some intense discussions (maybe it’s because we agree about 90% of the time that when we don’t, it’s like, “Hey, *that’s* not right!” ;))

    Starfox,

    I will drop the discussion, as you requested. However: **From what I read it was the two of you who were rude and inconsiderate which is what really got me worked up in the first place.**

    Would you be willing to point to some examples of this? This isn’t me attempting to prove a point, but we all think we type/express ourselves one way, and the other person doesn’t see it in the same light.

  80. Well 83 comments on one post – wow – thanks everyone for your contributions – it’s like all of us putting our ideas into the offering and letting God see what we are giving – and I think it was rather deep and meaningful. I appreciate the fact we come from a variety of Christian theological backgrounds (and even a Jewish one) – let’s keep hoping the talks will open out minds and hearts when we meet people in real life (not so like us) – so we can both dialogue and strike up friendships.

  81. Just to let you know and correct myself…

    OCC,
    I went back and re-read. I got worked up and in my hast I may have mistated it seems… I put both of you into both statements – sorry about that. After my re-reading seems it wasn’t so much you in the “rude and inconsiderate” statement.

    As far as what parts I thought were “rude and inconsiderate” … I’d rather not bring them back up, but I imagin they can be guessed easily enough… and I rather that nothing more be said concerning them.

    Farewell yall,
    Keep praying and studying.

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