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1  Forums / Theology Forum / Re: Eternal torture appears dead at last on: October 18, 2014, 08:42:54 PM

The author seems to miss the possibility that it is the "works of faith" which show our salvation, not our self-determined-righteousness.  When we do "good" deeds in our strength, following our own self-centered desires, we are not abiding in Christ, following His internal instructions, depending on His power and ability.  So living faith, which only comes from the Spirit, saves by grace to do the works of Christ through us, but any "faith" without His work being unfolded is dead.  It is not "head-level agreement" which saves, but only trusting dependence on Jesus resulting in "keeping His Commandments" -- not perfectly, in this life, but willingness to grow in Him.

And He has told us that He will send away those who pretend to be His, but their "hearts are far from Him".  For they never really knew Him, so He did not "know" them in the way He does those who receive Him for Who He is.
2  Forums / Theology Forum / Re: Eternal torture appears dead at last on: October 18, 2014, 08:28:58 PM
The computer cut me off before I could finish that post.  What I was continuing to say was that God has the advantage of knowing who is or isn't gulity (unlike us) - which makes the Great White Throne more or less a formality, a wrapping up transtion to eternity.  But more to point, God knows who is unable to enter Heaven, which would be the alternate holding place until the judgment.  (Heaven is also a temporary place until eternity, .)  Unlike the Catholics we don't believe in a pergatory, so where would you chose to place the condemned (who are condemned by their own choice to reject salvation, btw).  It's been well said that God doesn't send anyone to hell, they send themselves.  
 
Yes, He knows who is unable to enter Heaven, who would be an influence for rebellion and evil in the perfect Kingdom.  He knows who has accepted Christ, the Source of unending Life, and is willing to be remade in His image by that Life inside them.  He knows who must be terminated, and termination will be the deepest desire of their hearts when they are in the Presence of a totally holy, pure and righteous Being Who has all power.  So it is well said that people show their desire for destruction in their suppression of the Truth, Jesus, Who would gladly save them for eternity.

So final termination of those who do not want to spend forever in intimate union with God, displays His fairness/justice, but also His compassion, in that He will not force continued existence on those who would find it a "hell" to be in His Presence -- He gives them the final "mercy" of elimination, and i believe it will be with tears, as Jesus shed over the Jerusalem which rejected Him in His time.
3  Forums / Theology Forum / Re: Eternal torture appears dead at last on: October 18, 2014, 08:17:39 PM
Hey KK,
       thanks for keeping this thread alive! I was reading Reveleation 20 the other day where it speaks of the great white throne judgment. I was reading where it states the sea gave up the dead and death and hell gave up the dead and everyone was judged according to their works. Something about this sequence bothers me. If, as it is commonly taught, when someone dies apart from Christ they immediately go to hell and begin their never ending eternal torture, how is it they are punished before being judged? In other words, why are all the people who have rejected Christ and died already suffering the consequences of their sin before God has even cast judgement on them? This seems to impugne the justice of God. Once again, thank you for stirring up my senses to look closely at this idea of ET. I am still looking more closely at the Scriptures and have not landed firmly on my feet as to where I stand but I feel very confident the Scripture does not teach ET.

I'm very glad to have you looking into this area, MERKS, and i really appreciate your confidence that "the Scripture does not teach ET".  Conditional immortality appears to be the best fit for all the passages, but perhaps, maybe, there is another concept which i have not thought of which fits even better.  Have you seen any other related idea, which has not been discussed here?  Of course i reject universalism since there is so much Scripture relating to the finality of the Second Death, and no clear statement of a resurrection following the Lake of Fire's destruction of the lost.



4  Forums / Main Forum / Re: A communion poem on: October 18, 2014, 07:40:06 PM

Yes, that is basically what i meant.  I'm fairly aware that "my surrender" as a self-initiated act isn't worth much.  But when He shows me more of His Splendor, and i am willing to see with a heart of praise, then surrender is quite natural and appropriate.

Once i heard a Messianic rabbi talk about the love of God, and how we will fear Him as part of that love.  So i naturally spoke up and said that we don't need to fear Him because He loves us so perfectly.  The rabbi responded by calling to mind a mighty waterfall, like Niagra, but larger and more powerful.  We may get close to the waterfall, and if we do, we will become aware of its vast power -- we will feel the "beat", the vibration of the extraordinary energy inherent in the beauty.

And when we are in the Presence of the All-mighty we may come to realize that a waterfall or an atomic bomb is infinitesimally small compared to God.  And yet, "perfect love casts out all fear", as He has promised us, leaving a deep and reverential respect for His incomparable greatness.
5  Forums / Theology Forum / Re: Eternal torture appears dead at last on: October 18, 2014, 01:22:42 PM

Sorry, i haven't been able to post for a while.  I'll address any relevant points made above, as soon as i can -- i appreciate the input.

The topic is too important to let stagnate for long.  We may have someone reading here who is still agonizing over the final fate of a departed unbelieving loved one, someone who can't believe that the God of perfect Love and Justice would torture their beloved, forever and ever and ever and ever, and beyond.
6  Forums / Main Forum / Re: Some concepts of Biblical inerrancy on: October 18, 2014, 01:16:31 PM

Seems like we get to deal with this topic often, in one form or another.  Could help to look at the "standard" position of Bible-Believers.


While we discuss whether we do or don't accept specific stories of the Scripture as factual, it is also good to consider the standard evangelical Christian approach of considering the Bible as without error in the original manuscripts (which we have very close approximations to).  Here is a summary of the concept of inerrancy from a conference which issued a statement signed by 300 evangelical scholars, of whom one of the leaders was R.C. Sproul, well-known "reformed" theologian and teacher.

+++++++

1. God, who is Himself Truth and speaks truth only, has inspired Holy Scripture in order thereby to reveal Himself to lost mankind through Jesus Christ as Creator and Lord, Redeemer and Judge. Holy Scripture is God's witness to Himself.

2. Holy Scripture, being God's own Word, written by men prepared and superintended by His Spirit, is of infallible divine authority in all matters upon which it touches: it is to be believed, as God's instruction, in all that it affirms: obeyed, as God's command, in all that it requires; embraced, as God's pledge, in all that it promises.

3. The Holy Spirit, Scripture's divine Author, both authenticates it to us by His inward witness and opens our minds to understand its meaning.

4. Being wholly and verbally God-given, Scripture is without error or fault in all its teaching, no less in what it states about God's acts in creation, about the events of world history, and about its own literary origins under God, than in its witness to God's saving grace in individual lives.

5. The authority of Scripture is inescapably impaired if this total divine inerrancy is in any way limited or disregarded, or made relative to a view of truth contrary to the Bible's own; and such lapses bring serious loss to both the individual and the Church.


Regarding point 5, when we embrace a godless evolutionary theory of the origins of life, we are judging Scripture instead of letting Scripture help judge us.  By discarding the Genesis account we are throwing out the record of Christ's Creation of the universe, in favor of a "best guess" apart from His revelation.  And then the rest of the Bible is "up for grabs" as to whether we will individually accept any particular part as true, making it relative to our variable understanding, instead of letting God's Word shape our understanding which always glorifies Him rather than man.
7  Forums / Main Forum / Re: A communion poem on: October 18, 2014, 01:03:56 PM

Guess i haven't done enough surrender to the Splendor recently.

Thanks for helping me get back there. 
8  Forums / Main Forum / Re: test on: October 18, 2014, 12:56:09 PM

Testing.

If i get to post this, it could be a major proof of the existence of God...

9  Forums / Main Forum / Re: Can't think of a clever title for this thread on: October 13, 2014, 06:12:05 PM

maxx:...."It has been my contention for several years now that we need to stop allowing the Bible to divide us, and simply follow Christ. The letters, or books of the bible were not originally arranged according to chapter and verse like one would if one were a court clerk writing down a supreme court decision. That deliniation has allowed us to pick and choose, and form doctrines on half truths disregarding the "whole counsel of scripture." I believe this is because people are too afraid, to set in their beliefs, or too scared of violating tradition to actually trust Christ to be the good shepherd that He said He is."


Many groups can claim to "love" each other, and many do.  Mormons "love" each other, for example, and yet they follow/teach a different gospel than the Scripture presents.  Same for all of the "cults" and many of the standard denominations.

As an atheist, a pot-smoking atheist, i "loved" everyone (at least when i was properly "high").  But Jesus showed us a different, perfect Love that was totally consistent with, and was revealed by the Scriptures (both Older and Newer Testaments).  And He made that clear:

Matthew 5:17  Jesus:
“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.  For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the Law till all is fulfilled."

Luke 14:44
"Then He said to them, “These are the Words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.”

Acts 28:23
"So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the Kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening."

The Gift of Christ's righteousness was forecast and foreshadowed by the entire OT.  He is there in its pages, waiting for us to discover Him there by the help of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 3:21
"But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe."


No, i am not saying, as Gouda seems to suggest, that there is only one version of Scripture which is correct but rather that the original writings, as close as we can come to those (which is pretty close these days), were verbally inspired -- perfectly -- and they form the only basis for real unity in Christ -- since He gave those writings to/through the people selected to write them down by direct inspiration.

He knew beforehand the wording that would be produced, and prepared the writers beforehand, through both their cultural and linguistic environments, so that they would write exactly what He wanted to give to us, forever.

Psalm 119:89, 160
"Forever, O Lord, Your Word is settled in Heaven."
"The entirety of Your Word is truth, and every one of Your righteous Judgments endures forever."

Matthew 4:4
"But He answered (satan) and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”
10  Forums / Main Forum / Re: Can't think of a clever title for this thread on: October 13, 2014, 05:43:13 PM
And, I'm sure you didn't mean it, but you seemed to imply that Jesus is Lord because he was "selected by large groups of people who voted through their representatives" or as the result of "the largest consensus of the vast majority of early believers".

'Don't think so...

As you know, Jesus is Lord of all whether or not anyone believes that or accepts Him as such.  What i was referring to is that what we call the Books of the Bible weren't selected by a small group of guys who arbitrarily picked ones they liked, but rather they are writings which the Holy Spirit validated to large groups of Believers, and they then sent representatives to various counsels which eventually led to canonization.

The Scriptures are highly consistent and do not contradict themselves (in context, of course).  When we examine closely the "rejected books" which were not included, it becomes quickly evident that there are discrepancies and disagreements with the Books selected for the canon (which establish Jesus as God in the flesh, as the Creator and Maintainer of the universe, including us).


Colossians 1:15-18
"[Now] He is the exact likeness of the unseen God [the visible representation of the invisible]; He is the Firstborn of all creation.

"For it was in Him that all things were created, in heaven and on earth, things seen and things unseen, whether thrones, dominions, rulers, or authorities; all things were created and exist through Him [by His service, intervention] and in and for Him.

"And He Himself existed before all things, and in Him all things consist (cohere, are held together).

"He also is the Head of [His] Body, the Church; seeing He is the Beginning, the Firstborn from among the dead, so that He alone in everything and in every respect might occupy the chief place [stand first and be preeminent]."
11  Forums / Main Forum / Re: Elitist to say Jesus is the only Way? on: October 13, 2014, 05:30:55 PM
Quote from: KK
Which country club is being snobbish?

ALL country clubs are snobbish.

If any man draws up by-laws for who's in and who's out, it's a country club. The same Jesus who turned over the money-changer's tables at the temple, would probably turn over all the cute little golf carts parked at any country club that claims to draw the same distinctions in labeling insiders versus outsiders.

It wasn't me that said that quote, it was Lee Strobel.

He was saying that true Christianity isn't being snobbish or like a country-club.  Instead, eternal Life in Christ is available to everyone and anyone who can admit to themselves that they desperately need a Savior and Jesus is the only One Who can save them.  No performance requirements, no racial / gender / financial status / nationality / or other requirements -- just a sincere desire to be saved by God, from all that we need to be saved from.
12  Forums / Main Forum / Re: Can't think of a clever title for this thread on: October 12, 2014, 05:15:09 PM

"3. To a unity in Christ that the world can see."


The only unity in Christ that the world will ever see is if we agree on the wording of the Word of God as He did, since He was the inspiration for the entire Book.

False unity based on "being nice", relativity of belief, "all paths lead to God", etc, are not unity of the Spirit and do not unite except against the Scriptures.


John 17:17  Amplified
"Sanctify them [purify, consecrate, separate them for Yourself, make them holy] by the Truth; Your Word is Truth."

Jesus Christ is the Living Truth and His inspired writings through human authors are the Written Truth.  And the Spirit unites us in both, if we are His.   (May take some time and effort, of course.)
13  Forums / Main Forum / Re: Can't think of a clever title for this thread on: October 12, 2014, 05:05:49 PM

maxx:  "There is no doubt God has acted in miraculous ways...

I have seen and experienced that in my own life. I think there was a flood. As far as scripture, much of it is inspired, but a group of men got together fifteen hundred years ago and decided which parts were, and which ones weren't, so it's kinda hard to judge based on that."...


Consider a different possibility.  The books selected for the Bible as we know it were not the product of a small group of men who arbitrarily chose writings they liked, but instead were selected by large groups of people who voted through their representatives.

In other words, those writings which had proven inspired over many decades to many people, and had received the "witness" of the Holy Spirit as being true -- only those writings were finally selected.  And part of the proof of that is to actually read the rejected writings, since they always contain some contradictions to the highly integrated teachings of the "canon".

Further evidence of the unity of the Scriptures as we have them, and the disunity of the other writings which were rejected is available, and if i have time i will compile some of it.  Perhaps it is a new idea for some folks that the Bible wasn't  composed and consolidated by a few men at some council, but rather it is the largest consensus of the vast majority of early Believers -- still this is worth considering, and it gives a new perspective to what some folks like to mockingly call "fundie mentalism" or "funny mentalism".
14  Forums / Main Forum / Re: Elitist to say Jesus is the only Way? on: October 09, 2014, 07:33:42 PM

I like Strobel's main point, that all religions are like exclusive clubs with requirements for membership.  True Christianity is a relationship, rather than a religion about someone, which is completely open and available to all people via the Holy Spirit.  And our perfect Heavenly Dad will give His Spirit, and His Son to anyone who comes to sincerely want Him as the Savior He is.

Luke 11:10-13  Amplified
 
10 "For everyone who asks and keeps on asking receives; and he who seeks and keeps on seeking finds; and to him who knocks and keeps on knocking, the door shall be opened.

11 What father among you, if his son asks for a loaf of bread, will give him a stone; or if he asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent?

12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?

13 If you then, evil as you are, know how to give good gifts [gifts that are to their advantage] to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask and continue to ask Him!"


Jesus paid our "membership dues", so to speak, once and for all time, and calls upon us to accept His invitation to eternity, in intimate union with Him.
15  Forums / Main Forum / Re: Can't think of a clever title for this thread on: October 09, 2014, 07:20:50 PM

m.l.: ......  "For example, all this talk of "Jesus living within" is, imo, smoke and mirrors. Jesus may be "living within" someone - it's not my place to say - but I think it's fairly safe to say that if He were, then the host-person would be more like Him. If I was taken over by the spirit of Willis for example, I would likely be less like me and show more Willis. This imo is clearly not the case with people who claim to have Jesus living within them. But to leave it at that is just dark. It is here where discipleship enters the scene. If Jesus is your lord or master you WANT to learn from Him, take his instruction and example to heart - hang on His every word. It's not important that one masters it themselves - Jesus wont reject them because they stumble and fumble. But if they scoff at and run from and mischaracterize Him and what He stood for and did and taught, then just saying they follow Him is a sign of delusion or confusion at best, and dishonesty at worst. They are like the handlers and hangers-on that attach themselves to celebrities and saints, while undermining them and bilking the fans and faithful...."


What we may not be aware of, when we are judging a Believer as not really being "like Christ", is what they were like before they accepted Christ into their lives as the Savior He is.  Some of us (i qualify) were more radically evil than others of us.  And though some of the more glaring character defects and sin-obsessions may have been relieved, many others have not seen as much progress.

We can deeply want to learn from Him, yet still have areas of resistance and rebellion within the personality.  And it is exactly there where we can experience the patience and persistence of Jesus the most, and have the greatest appreciation for His compassion and willingness to grow us into His Image carefully and slowly.
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