As I continue to put together my review of Hell Under Fire, Chapter 3, Jesus On Hell, in the meantime I wanted to post some crucial points that I believe every professing Christian today should seriously consider. My point in posing these points is not to promote “MY” beliefs but to engage you in honest and open dialogue about what God has truly said and Who He truly is. Here are some questions that I think we should ponder. My challenge, as always, is to help you to establish what you really believe about God by not bowing first and foremost to church tradition. If the Word of God is truly written for even the simplest of minds (like children’s and non-intellectual types like me!), then the Word must have some plain meanings that we don’t need to seek pastor/theologians for. When you first believed, did you read the Bible on your own? Were you able to understand anything you read? Did the Holy Spirit bring you to a knowledge of the truth (apart from systematic theology studies, scads of sermons, books written about the Book, etc)? I am sure the answer is a resounding Yes! So, go back to those days, maybe from long years past, and answer the following questions. I will also throw out this challenge as well: Ask yourself why it is you hold the beliefs you have. Is it because of what you read for yourself in the Bible or is it because of what someone taught you the Bible says? Well, here goes.
In John 4:42, when the Samaritans said to the woman whom Jesus met at the well (please read the whole passage, John 4:1-42), “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world,” what did they mean about Jesus? Is He truly the Savior of the world? Does “the world” mean the whole world or only part?
In Luke 2:10-11, when the angel says to the shepherds watching over the flocks, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord,” what did the angel mean? Did the angel mean that Christ is a joy for all people or only those who will believe? How can Christ be a “great joy that will be for all the people” if so many people are going to spend eternity in conscious torment? Is that great joy?
In John 12:32, Jesus states, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself,” what did He mean? Did Jesus mean He would draw all “believers” or “the elect” to Himself or only some? And given what He says right after this verse, “He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die.” what did He mean by this? What kind of death was He going to die? A sacrificial death, maybe? Was it merely a painful death?
And one more, not being prejudiced to the New Testament only, but here is one of many from the Old Testament. In Gen 12:3, God tells Abram, “I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” What does God mean by blessing and cursing here? “Those who bless you” seems to indicate a plural (it is in fact in the Hebrew plural) or many people, and “him who dishonors” is in the singular. Should we take this to mean that many more will be blessed than will be cursed? How does that square with how many people we see going to hell versus going to heaven? Does this mean that the “all families” only means some? Does blessings and cursings indicate an “eternal” state? In other words, if God curses a people, does that mean “forever?” Did God ever curse a people for a time, an eon, a period with a beginning and an end? What does God mean when He says, “in you all the families of the earth will be blessed? What about those families that will end up in eternal conscious torment? Are they blessed to be there?
I think this is enough to chew on while you await my next installment of the book review. Leave your answers or questions in the comment section of this post. I look forward to hearing from you and hashing through these important questions togather, as a united family in Christ. Blessings to you!