The more I study the Christian belief system, the more I am amazed at the illogical stance of mainstream Christianity’s beliefs. It is no wonder to me, anymore, why many of the world’s peoples look upon Christians as duped and ignorant, unwilling to see the logic of what they espouse. Most of my former “Christian friends” in the reformed tradition (specifically Baptist) rail, as I did, against anything mystical, yet then support their whole belief system by mystical things. For instance, I used to deny the validity of any Christian writer who claimed to be inspired by God to write things that were not spoken about in the Bible. Yet, I had easily believed that the books written in the collection of 66 books we call the Bible today were not only inspired, but totally infallible and inerrant in every jot and tittle penned. Logic tells us that God used more than just a few men to speak inspirationally to all mankind throughout all of history. And, though I may not be understood in the last statement by all who read this, and my belief in God may be questioned, I would like you to seriously read the blog article in the following link, as this will hopefully open a few minds up to what I am driving at.
Gary Amirault has written an article the other day and posted it on his Tentmaker.org blog site. I provide the link here called Spiritual Rape. Think about the logic of what he says in this article. Get your mind past an “offensive” statement he might make that cuts across your feelings. It is a short 4 paragraphs long and will take you a couple minutes, at most, to read. the implications are very stark and applicable to all who call themselves Christians. Take off your denominational, or non-denominational denomination glasses, and THINK!
God cannot be omnipresent. The modern church believes that God is everywhere and there is no place where God is not. David supported this teaching when he said,
“(Psa 139:7) Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?
(Psa 139:8) If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!”
(NOTE: The whole chapter is worthy of your time and meditation!)
Yet, the modern church also believes that eternal conscious torment in hell is away from God’s presence. They say, as I did for many years, that hell is eternal separation from God. How can this be? This is an oxymoron. The term oxymoron is an oxymoron (composed of two words meaning sharp and dull, implied that one thing is both sharp and dull at the same time). So, my question to the modern church is this; how can God be omnipresent yet be eternally separate from hell? Is there anything God created outside His presence and control? If you wrestle with these things let me assure you that God is not a liar, nor is there anything He created outside His presence nor is the modern concept of hell as eternal separation from God true. It is false and that itself should give you hope, and the knowledge that God is not a monster but a lover of His creation who only has the best in store for it (them).
I was discussing some biblical things last night with my youngest daughter and I told her one of the turning points in my beliefs about God and the outcome of man was this one: If hell is eternal conscious torment forever (I know tat is redundant!), and it is the most horrible outcome that a person could suffer, why didn’t God tell Adam and Eve about it? All we have recorded on this important topic of what would happen if they sinned was that in the day they sinned they would surely die. Not one word about hell. We have a few words about the pain they would suffer in this life and the fact that they would one day die physically, but not one word on hell. Curious, isn’t it?
If you answer that in the Old Testament everyone who died went to Gehenna, or Abraham’s bosom, a kind of holding place or, if you will, a kind of purgatory, (not the Catholic one where people are waiting to progress into a better state due to prayers and giving of their still alive loved ones) why didn’t God command the New Testament authors to include hell as part of their preaching of the Gospel. I have heard preachers say that the Good News (of the Gospel) can’t be good unless there is also some bad news for those who refuse the good. Not one of the sermons by the Apostles nor any of the recorded disciples in the New Testament ever warn us about hell for those who do not accept the Gospel of Christ.
Yes, I know the hell-teachers of today will quote many verses that they support the teaching of eternal conscious torment ( I have addressed many if not all of them in my book review series that is still incomplete, Hell Under Fire on this blog). However, why don’t they ever offer some explanation of why we teach the “turn or burn” Gospel today? Why did that come up and where did it begin (hint: go back to the days of Augustine, because I think we have him to thank for it, though it was not really taught before him, and yes, the soon-to-be Roman Catholic church took his teachings and ran with them for awhile)? For awhile I thought pretty highly of Augustine, especially when I was so steeped in more traditional reformed theology. However, after re-considering who Augustine was, looking over seminary notes on church history and reading many other church history works, Augustine was not, and is not, someone we want to hang our theology on! I encourage you to read about his life and decide for yourself if it was wise historically to put so much trust in his teaching.
Anyway, just wanted to give you some food for thought on this Monday morning. Have a blessed day and remember, we are free in Christ to relish the grace given to us and to give it out super-abundantly to others. For you believers, the summary of our lives in Christ is this; we confess Jesus is Lord, we love God with all our being, and we love our neighbor as ourselves (as we want to be loved). Much more than that is typically legalism run amok!
Blessings to you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!