Monthly Archives: March 2014

Why Are So Many In Church Today (Sunday)?

Just wanted to post a quick note of a thought that coursed through my mind this morning.  Here it is.

As I make my way around town today, I notice churches filled to the brim with people.  I wonder why so many are in church today?  Why would so many be in church when there are so many lost people in the world?  Why would any Christian go to church, especially those who believe in some sort of eternal conscious torment for those who die as unbelievers, knowing that even one person around them today might die and go to an unending hell?  How could you, Christian, bear this on your conscience?  When I was at the church building for so many years, we (I) taught that we are to love unbelievers and to bring them the Gospel of Christ before it is too late.  Anything short of loving them and sharing the Gospel was about as uncaring as anyone could be.  Not only that, but we (I) would lay heavy guilt upon Christians by saying things like, “If you pass up an opportunity to share the Gospel, and that person dies without Christ, his/her blood could be on your hands.  You may be their only opportunity to hear about Christ!”

If any of this is true, and Christian, you don’t want to be a hypocrite, I suggest you quit going to church and spend your time on Sundays going out into all the world to preach the Gospel.  Better yet, since there are so many billions of people in the world without Christ, you should be not only willing, but enthusiastic about quitting your job, giving up your home, and spend every moment of the rest of your life evangelizing the lost.  Time is of the essence, after all, and you are God’s only hope to save SOME!  Get busy, Christian, the lost’s lives depend upon you!

If this is too much for you, check out more of the articles on this blog on Christian Universalism or the site links on the right side of the page for more info.  Your life may never be the same if you do!  You may become closer to God than you ever thought possible if you do!  I dare you to take the chance! 

In Christ’s love,

Craig

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Hell Under Fire Book Review – Chapter 8 – Universalism: Will Everyone Ultimately Be Saved? Part 12

Examining Universalism III: The Universalist Thesis

Phil 3:19

(Php 3:15) Therefore as many as are perfect, [let us hold this opinion], and if you think anything differently, God will reveal this also to you.

(Php 3:16) Only to what we have attained, to the same hold on.

(Php 3:17) Become fellow imitators of me, brothers, and observe those who walk in this way, just as you have us as an example.

(Php 3:18) For many live, of whom I spoke about to you many times, but now speak about even weeping, as the enemies of the cross of Christ,

(Php 3:19) whose end is destruction, whose God is the stomach, and whose glory is in their shame, the ones who think on earthly things.

(Php 3:20) For our commonwealth exists in heaven, from which also we eagerly await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,

(Php 3:21) who will transform our humble body to be conformed to his glorious body, in accordance with the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

Paul here explains that “the many” are enemies of Christ.  He says their end is destruction (meaning ruin or loss).  They will be ruined or suffer much loss.  That Paul is referring to physical things is given since the next clause states as much.  They are ruined by following after their own appetites, whether in food or in licentious behavior (whose God is their stomach and whose glory is in their shame).  And, so no one will mistake what he is speaking about, Paul states that these ones are thinking on earthly things.

Paul is contrasting the believers who should be focused on heavenly things rather than the unbelievers whose focus is on earthly things.  Why do so many teachers of the Word try to squeeze out of these verses that the destruction is spiritual?  I think it is because far too many Christian teachers have an agenda that they must fit these teachings into, to make their theology work.  How unfortunate this is, as I have so often stated in this review!

1 Tim 4:16

Although this passage has nothing to do with final destruction, it does bring out a point that I am emphasizing in this book review. Read the following few verses from this chapter and you will get my point.

(1Ti 4:4) For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, if it is received with thanksgiving.

(1Ti 4:5) For it is sanctified through the word of God and prayer.

(1Ti 4:6) If you instruct the brothers of these things, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, nourished in the words of the faith, and of the good doctrine which you have followed.

Here Paul is saying that the false teachers who will spring up will not teach these things. This is how to identify them. But believers will teach what these verses say. Godliness, Paul says, is profitable for everything (vs. 8) and that statement is trustworthy and worthy of believing (vs. 9) Then we read verse 10, which is passed over by most Christians today because of what it teaches (universal salvation!).

(1Ti 4:10) For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we have set our trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.

Why should the believer be striving toward or acting godly? Because, God is the Savior of all people! Paul emphasizes that the subset, especially those who believe, are a subset of all people. God will one day save all people, but there is a special set of people who in this life believe, and that subset, especially should practice godliness NOW because they believe NOW. Others will come to belief after this life when sin will not be a present issue for them, yet they were still not hearing or understanding salvation in Jesus. One day God’s love will penetrate their hearts and convert them.

Then Paul finishes this teaching by commanding that this be taught (godliness should be pursued by those believing ones and that God is the Savior of all people, vs. 11) . Practice godliness (vs. 15) that others may see your actions. By doing these things (godliness), you will save (deliver, protect, preserve) yourself and those who you are around and teaching. (vs. 16) There is no talk about salvation in Christ, or being saved and believing versus not being saved and being an unbeliever. It is about practicing godliness and recognizing that God is the Savior of ALL PEOPLE! It is about things going well with you by recognizing who God is and honoring that with our lives. It is not about FINAL DESTRUCTION!

I will say this. I am very glad that God rescued me out of the denominational, institutional churches that I was a part of, that had taught me so much error in regards to God and salvation. I am now seeing God in a much more glorious way than ever before and beginning to understand that all the works that we do, thinking we are pleasing God, were nothing more than filthy rags. God is never disappointed with me or you because of what we do or don’t do. He loves us because He knows who we are and what His purpose was for us all along, and He looks forward to the day when He will be all in all and all His image bearers will be worshiping Him!

Praise Him!

1 Tim 5:24

Real quickly, this passage does not speak about final destruction either, but a quick comment is in order.

(1Ti 5:24) Some men’s sins are evident, preceding them to judgment, and some also follow later.

This judgment is a temporal judgment in this life. Some sins get judged in this life and even after the judgment and apparent penalty is paid, the effects go on afterwards. The evidence of sin does not always disappear with the remediation of the sin. The consequences of sin may be evident throughout this life. This is all that is being spoken of here.

1 Tim 6:9

(1Ti 6:1) All those who are under the yoke as slaves must regard their own masters as worthy of all honor, lest the name of God and the teaching be slandered.

(1Ti 6:2) And those who have believing masters must not look down on them because they are brothers, but rather they must serve, because those who benefit by their service are believers and dearly loved.

(1Ti 6:3) If anyone teaches other doctrine and does not devote himself to the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that is in accordance with godliness,

(1Ti 6:4) he is conceited, understanding nothing, but having a morbid interest concerning controversies and disputes about words, from which come envy, strife, slanders, evil suspicions,

(1Ti 6:5) constant wrangling by people of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who consider godliness to be a means of gain.

(1Ti 6:6) But godliness with contentment is a great means of gain.

(1Ti 6:7) For we have brought nothing into the world, so that neither can we bring anything out.

(1Ti 6:8) But if we have food and clothing, with these things we will be content.

(1Ti 6:9) But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and a trap and many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge those people into ruin and destruction.

(1Ti 6:10) For the love of money is a root of all evil, by which some, because they desire it, have gone astray from the faith and have pierced themselves with many pains.

Paul, again, takes up the topic of godliness here, just like he did in chapter 4 and 5. The ruin and destruction of verse 9 are again, temporal (this life). I need say nothing more about this passage, other than my opinion, that it is pretty ridiculous that teachers of the Gospel (like Packer and all who have written articles for this book!) get so much of Scripture wrong following after there own presuppositions and/or to continue to be paid for their labors. Being paid for laboring in the Gospel falsely is abhorrent to me and should be to you. God sees the motivation of their hearts and I pray that He corrects them in this life and spares them much pain in the life to come. Friends, brothers and sisters in the Lord, pay close attention to what you are being taught. As Paul warns, there are many deceivers and false teachers who have gone out into the world. Don’t buy into their ungodly teachings!

I will stop here for today.  The next few verses will come from Hebrews and Peter and will take a few pages in themselves.  I trust the Lord will bless you through the study of His Word and pray that He will use what I have written to bring glory to Himself and praise for Him into our hearts.  I look forward to your comments and suggestions to this post.

In Christ,

Craig

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Hell Under Fire Book Review – Chapter 8 – Universalism: Will Everyone Ultimately Be Saved? Part 11

 

 

Examining Universalism III: The Universalist Thesis

 

 

Romans 6:23

 

(Rom 6:15) What then? Should we be sinning, seeing that we are not under law, but under grace? May it not be coming to that!”

 

 

(Rom 6:16) Are you not aware that to whom you are presenting yourselves as slaves for obedience, his slaves you are, whom you are obeying, whether of Sin for death, or of Obedience for righteousness?

 

 

(Rom 6:17) Now thanks be to God that you were slaves of Sin, yet you obey from the heart the type of teaching to which you were given over.”

 

 

(Rom 6:18) Now, being freed from Sin, you are enslaved to Righteousness.”

 

 

(Rom 6:19) As a man am I saying this, because of the infirmity of your flesh. For even as you present your members as slaves to Uncleanness and to Lawlessness for lawlessness, thus now present your members as slaves to Righteousness for holiness.”

 

 

(Rom 6:20) For when you were slaves of Sin, you were free as to Righteousness.”

 

 

(Rom 6:21) What fruit, then, had you then? – of which you are now ashamed, for, indeed, the consummation of those things is death.”

 

 

(Rom 6:22) Yet, now, being freed from Sin, yet enslaved to God, you have your fruit for holiness. Now the consummation is life eonian.”

 

 

(Rom 6:23) For the ration of Sin is death, yet the gracious gift of God is life eonian, in Christ Jesus, our Lord.”

 

 

We know that from the beginning accounts in Genesis that when Adam and Eve sinned, death came upon mankind. The penalty for sin was physical death. Paul understood this and taught that here. But, in Jesus Christ is eonian life, life of or for the ages. He could be speaking of life for this present age, or more expansively of life throughout the ages. But, there is definitely no talk here of final rejection or destruction. The most that one could speculate about the physical death spoken of here and add to it would be the possibility that there is judgment attached to death. Yet it isn’t clear here that Paul is in fact saying that. So, Paul says that because of sin, death came and because of Jesus Christ life comes. Compare that to what was just spoken of in the previous chapter and it makes sense. Through one man came condemnation and through one man (God-man Jesus), came righteousness. And, if I may add, all mankind are condemned and Paul says in chapter 5 that ALL will be made righteous! Check it out!

 

 

1 Cor 6:9-10 (compare Gal 6:7-8)

 

 

(1Co 6:1) Dare any of you, having business with another, be judged before the unjust, and not before the saints?

 

 

(1Co 6:2) Or are you not aware that the saints shall judge the world? And if the world is being judged by you, are you unworthy of the least tribunals?

 

 

(1Co 6:3) Are you not aware that we shall be judging messengers, not to mention life’s affairs?

 

 

(1Co 6:4) If indeed, then, you should have tribunals for life’s affairs, the contemptible in the ecclesia, these you are seating?

 

 

(1Co 6:5) To abash you am I saying this. Thus is there not among you one wise man who will be able to adjudicate amidst his brethren,

 

 

(1Co 6:6) but brother is suing brother, and this before unbelievers!”

 

 

(1Co 6:7) Already, indeed, then, it is absolutely a discomfiture {an embarrassment} for you that you are having lawsuits among yourselves. Wherefore are you not rather being injured? Wherefore are you not rather being cheated?

 

 

(1Co 6:8) But you are injuring and cheating, and this to brethren!”

 

 

(1Co 6:9) Or are you not aware that the unjust shall not be enjoying the allotment of God’s kingdom? Be not deceived. Neither paramours {illicit lover}, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor catamites {homosexual, young boy with older man}, nor sodomites {engaging in homosexual sex},

 

 

(1Co 6:10) nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards; no revilers, no extortioners shall be enjoying the allotment of God’s kingdom.”

 

 

(1Co 6:11) And some of you were these, but you are bathed off, but you are hallowed, but you were justified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and by the spirit of our God.”

 

 

I think whether you believe that Paul is talking about a kingdom here on earth during, or shortly after, Jesus’ time, or you are believing Paul is talking about a future kingdom, one thing is sure, there is no talk of final rejection or destruction here. An allotment in the kingdom would make sense given the many who will spend a time, an age, in hell being judged, being restored to the kingdom. After the time of judgment when all men are reconciled to God, they will all be healed (see Revelation 21-22, the tree in the New Heavens that bears leaves every month FOR THE HEALING OF the NATIONS, the same nations spoken of earlier in Revelation. More on this later.)

 

The following verses listed in this chapter by Packer do not have anything to do with final destruction or final rejection. Some mention those receiving judgment for their unbelief, in this life, and maybe in the next eon, but there is no talk about a finality at all. This, being charitable, is probably just a case of doing a word search without context. This happens often and many scholars/pastors use this to stack up the verses to seem so weighty on a certain subject that no rational person would think otherwise. However, as I have advocated throughout this review, think for yourselves, study for yourselves and cast off as many presuppositions as possible. Begin thinking for yourselves rather than mimicking others or adopting others’ beliefs.

 

2 Cor 4:3-4

 

Eph 5:6

 

Col 3:6, 25

 

Phil 1:28

 

As always, any questions or comments are appreciated.  God’s blessings to you!

Craig

 

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Hell Under Fire Book Review – Chapter 8 – Universalism: Will Everyone Ultimately Be Saved? Part 10

 

 

Examining Universalism III: The Universalist Thesis

 

 

Acts 13:46

 

 

(Act 13:44) Now on the coming sabbath almost the entire city was gathered to hear the word of the Lord.

 

 

(Act 13:45) Yet the Jews, perceiving the throngs, are filled with jealousy, and they contradicted the things spoken by Paul, blaspheming.”

 

 

(Act 13:46) Being bold, both Paul and Barnabas, say, “To you first was it necessary that the word of God be spoken. Yet, since, in fact, you are thrusting it away, and are judging yourselves not worthy of eonian life, lo! we are turning to the nations.”

 

 

(Act 13:47) For thus the Lord has directed us: I have appointed Thee for a light of the nations; for Thee to be for salvation as far as the limits of the earth.'”

 

 

(Act 13:48) Now on hearing this, the nations rejoiced and glorified the word of the Lord, and they believe, whoever were set for life eonian.”

 

 

(Act 13:49) Now the word of the Lord was carried through the whole country.

 

 

(Act 13:50) Yet the Jews spur on the reverent, respectable women, and the foremost ones of the city, and rouse up persecution for Paul and Barnabas, and they ejected them from their boundaries.”

 

 

(Act 13:51) Now they, shaking the dust off their feet against them, came to Iconium.”

 

 

(Act 13:52) And the disciples were filled with joy and holy spirit.

 

 

 

Previously in this chapter (vv. 15-43), Paul talks about how Jesus is the Savior and takes away sins through faith in Him. He explains this to the Jews in the synagogue on the Sabbath. The context in the surrounding verses (from vv. 44-52) is the Jews rising up against Paul and Barnabas for preaching the word of God to Gentiles. When Paul told the Jews that God had appointed this, to turn from bringing the word of God to the Jews and instead give it to the Gentiles, the Jews were incensed and threw Paul and Barnabas out of the area.. And so, I will put it before you, the reader, does this verse or the surrounding verses talk about final rejection and destruction of people due to their unbelief? (My answer is no, it does not.)

 

 

Acts 28:24-27

 

 

(Act 28:24) And these, indeed, were persuaded by what is said, yet others disbelieved.”

 

 

(Act 28:25) Now there being disagreements one with another, they were dismissed, Paul making one declaration, that, “Ideally the holy spirit speaks through Isaiah the prophet, to your fathers,

 

 

(Act 28:26) saying, ‘Go to this people and say, “In hearing, you will be hearing, and may by no means be understanding, And observing, you will be observing, and may by no means be perceiving,

 

 

(Act 28:27) For stoutened is the heart of this people, And with their ears heavily they hear, And with their eyes they squint, Lest at some time they may be perceiving with their eyes, And with their ears should be hearing, And with their heart may be understanding, And should be turning about, And I shall be healing them.'”

 

 

 

We just got done looking at the exact same reference from Isaiah that we saw in John 12. It is great that Paul shows that he was taught well and that he validated the Apostles’ teaching about what Jesus taught. Back to these verses, though, I have to say that once again there is absolutely no reference to final rejection and destruction of people due to their unbelief. This was probably a mistake by Packer to include it here. I will give him the benefit of the doubt.

 

 

Romans 2:5-12

 

 

(Rom 2:5) Yet, in accord with your hardness and unrepentant heart you are hoarding for yourself indignation in the day of indignation and revelation of the just judgment of God,

 

 

(Rom 2:6) Who will be paying each one in accord with his acts:

 

 

(Rom 2:7) to those, indeed, who by endurance in good acts are seeking glory and honor and incorruption, life eonian;”

 

 

(Rom 2:8) yet to those of faction and stubborn, indeed, as to the truth, yet persuaded to injustice, indignation and fury,

 

 

(Rom 2:9) affliction and distress, on every human soul which is effecting evil, both of the Jew first and of the Greek,

 

 

(Rom 2:10) yet glory and honor and peace to every worker of good, both to the Jew first, and to the Greek.”

 

 

(Rom 2:11) For there is no partiality with God,

 

 

(Rom 2:12) for whoever sinned without the law, without law also shall perish, and whoever sinned in law, through law will be judged.”

 

 

No argument from me here. I agree with Paul and I agree that God will judge those who are unbelievers, those who sin, those who are without the law. In verse 12 Paul uses the term apollumi, perish, to explain those who sin without the law. Here is the definition given by Strong for this word:

 

 

 

This is Strong’s number for the word “perish” G622

 

ἀπόλλυμι

 

apollumi

 

ap-ol’-loo-mee

 

From G575(apo – my addition) and the base ofG3639 (olethros – ol’-eth-ros From ὄλλυμιollumi a primary word (to destroy; a prolonged form); ruin, that is, death, punishment: – destruction., my addition to the text); to destroy fully (reflexively to perish, or lose), literally or figuratively: – destroy, die, lose, mar, perish.

 

 

So, although Paul explains that those who sin without the law, those who are ignorant of God’s law (apparently then also of God Himself!), they will be destroyed, die, lose, be marred, or perish. However, Paul speaks of NO finality here at all. This is not a final judgment. There is certainly a judgment of the unrighteous, the sinner, but no specification of this judgment being a final judgment, nor of this “perishing” being a total destruction, as annihilationists believe.

 

 

We must be very careful when studying Scripture to not go beyond what is written, merely because it is what we have been taught. We have been taught many “inferences” in Scripture which point to many things that are not expressly stated. This leads to much ignorance of Scripture and division among God’s children. One quick example may help the reader. There is absolutely no verse in the Bible that talks about a pre-tribulational rapture of all believers. There is no verse that states the “Left Behind” situation made popular by dispensationalist teachers. It is derived through inference which is not necessarily true, and is in fact not true because it can not be supported in Scripture. This pre-trib rapture has led to much, if not most, of the Christian church looking for signs of the second coming of Christ and the pulpit crime of torturing people with the threat of being “left behind” at the rapture (or the first part of Christ’s second coming!). Many, as I have been, are told to get right with God now, before the rapture happens and you are left alone in the world with Satan and all the unbelievers. This is attached to the threat of eternal conscious torment in hell also and typically.

 

 

We must not only read what is in the text of Scripture and seek to understand what it meant to those originally written to, but not add to Scripture what was never intended to be there. We must acknowledge we have presuppositions about God’s Word and leave behind those presuppositions that deter us from understanding the text. So much of what the church today believes has come into existence over the last few hundred years. Universal salvation has been around and believed since the days shortly following Christ’s death and resurrection. More on this subject in the future.

 

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