A recent commenter on my next to the last post on Why Are So Many In Church Today? posed some issues relating to me and I thought some of my readers would like to hear a response to some of the points. So, here are a few things that jumped out at me and, without getting into any personal issues, the ones that probably deserved more thought on my part. So here they are:
First, a point was made about “church attendance” being modeled in the NT, commanded by God in Scripture, and the proscribed means by which believers are shepherded (trained, fed, sent out, etc). My question is this: Do we also model meeting together in groups everyday, share all things together, eat with believers together practicing the Lord’s Supper, or are those things discounted because it is impractical today (after all, it was merely a cultural issue at the time, as many theologians say)? Who draws the line when it comes to what we follow concerning the early church’s practices as recorded in Scripture?
Second, was Peter’s denial of Christ a direct result of his reliance on himself absent the power of God, not pleading for strength to combat the denial, but merely giving Jesus powerless promises? Or was it merely someone who was afraid of losing his friend, trying to stand tall against impending danger, and then running away when the heat in the kitchen got to hot, because he truly did not understand who Jesus really was? I know we all can relate to Peter in some incident in our own lives, can’t we? What do you think?
Third, how do universalist claims (Jesus is Lord, repent and believe in Him now, knowing there will be a judgment awaiting all people in the age to come (one of at least several more ages to come, more on that in later posts), and a harsh judgment for those who refuse Jesus in this life, not to mention desiring to be obedient to Jesus’ teachings and witness of Him to others) destroy the impetus for an obedient witness to the lost?
Fourth and finally, How do universalist claims trample upon the sovereign work of Jesus for the elect when universalists not only believe that the elect will be saved, but at the end of all time, all people will be saved and God will become all in all (1 Cor 15:22-28)? Paul taught that where sin abounded, grace did much more abound (Romans 5:20). How can saving a few bring more glory to God than the saving of ALL people? So does sin (the devil, evil) win more people than God? Is sin and evil stronger than God since more will be given over to it than will be saved in the modern understanding of salvation?
From some past experience witnessing to people (door-to-door, at events, at work, i.e. the normal ways of the IC (institutional church) to do evangelism) some people have told me that it is the idea of an eternal conscious torment in hell that has kept them from coming to God (if God consigns most of mankind to hell, this must be a pretty awful God! in their words). Lots to think about, wouldn’t you say? Exegesis of God’s Word is rarely as cut and dried as many would have you believe today. Certitude, regarding many passages of Scripture, should give way to true humility by saying that often our presuppositions cloud true exegesis of the text.
Well, hopefully more articles to come on the book, Hell Under Fire. By the way, I received a birthday gift from Logos Bible Software, a $20.00 gift toward any book(s). Guess what I spent it on? You guessed it, Hell Under Fire! I didn’t have to spend a dime on the book (it was 17.99 on Logos), woohoo! Now I have an easier way to search the book and easy way to put quotes into my book review posts (cut and paste). I sure hope this will help me to complete this long, drawn out work. Maybe, after some major refinements, I will turn the book review into a book itself! I guess we shall see!
Blessings to you all!