Monday, September 18, 2006

Something I heard

I've been listening to a preacher on the internet for a couple of weeks now. He's brought up some questions that I've long wondered, but never really asked. He's way outside the box and goes against most of my upbringing. But still, I find what he has to say fascinating and am quite intrigued. I'm not ready to drop all other teachings, nor am I ready to take off these filters that were installed in my way of thinking when I was a child in Sunday School. I'm just listening and thinking and reading and praying.

For instance, hell. How can it be a big fire pit and be totally dark? Doesn't fire light things up?

The other guy that was crucified the same day as Jesus. He didn't pray a sinners prayer. He didn't confess every single sin. All he did was believe Jesus was who he said he was. Then Jesus said that because he believed that DAY he would be in Paradise with him. Wouldn't the same apply to everyone that believed?

But then he goes on to say that Christ saved his whole creation. Every sinner. No, maybe you didn't hear me, EVERY SINNER. And because he has saved every sinner (ie, every single person that's walked this earth even the people that haven't heard of Christ. Even the people that choose to believe in Allah. Even the people that refuse to believe in any god. Even the two bit whore you saw walking down the street the other day. Even her.) that we'll all go to be with our savior at the end of this life. This one, I must admit, is a little difficult for me to wrap my mind around. Not the part about Christ coming for even the two bit whore, because I do believe that every person is welcome in God's eyes, the part I can't seem to wrap my mind around is saving grace for even the people who choose not to believe in Him in this life.

Anyway, all that to say, last week he made this statement on grace and mercy:
Grace is when God chooses to give you something you do not deserve.
Mercy is when God chooses to not give you something you do deserve.


Mike Kear said...

I know that guy you're listening to. I've listened to him myself in the past - or someone just like him. What it all boiled down to for me was that when you put it all together, he was teaching a philosophy rather than a theology. I ended up at a crisis point where I had to choose whether to believe either the philosophy or the Bible. I ended up choosing the Bible, and I am completely at peace with that choice.

The arguments that are made by universalism sometimes sound plausible, but they only make sense if you are willing to dismiss the Bible as a whole. In other words, a universalist may argue a particular point about this segment of Scripture and a particular point about that segment of Scripture, and taken separately it might even sound like it makes sense. But whenever we examine God's Scriptural revelation as a whole, the universalist's philosophy falls apart. We end up having to chose whether to believe God or man. At least that's where I ended up.

Interesting stuff, though.

In my reading of the Word, the so-called "two bit whore" is usually the first person to enter the Kingdom! I think it's probably just the same today. The "two bit whores," insurance salesmen, and (God have mercy) even the politicians are all invited to the party at God's house! Ain't the Gospel grand?!

Ayatollah Mugsy said...

After reading the first paragraph, I thought you were writing about me.

eija said...

I'm glad to see dr Mike's wise comment. Frankly, your post got me a bit worried for you.

Dissecting the Word, taking one verse out of the context, distorts the whole thing. The "red line" throughout the Bible is that ONLY Jesus is the way to salvation. From the beginning until the very end we are warned about keeping other gods. One of the worst misguidances is that it doesn't matter which god you believe in - that "all paths lead to the same place". Tolerance and liberalism have gone too far.

Also... Salvation is a gift from God:

"But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!" (Romans 5:15, NIV, emphasis mine)

If you are given a dress for your birthday, but never unwrap it - how can you use it? The same: If God offers you salvation as a gift, but you never accept it - it really isn't yours to use, is it?

Also, Paul says it is to the many - not everyone. Sadly :(

I'm no theologian or anything, this is just a lame attempt to explain how I see it - usually I avoid discussions like this. It's a good thing that you pray about things. I'll pray for you, too, so that God will reveal you the truth without doubt. Keep us posted, ok?

Leslee said...

Mugsy, I guess that first paragraph could be about you...

Mike and Eija, thank you for your concern. Really, I can't commit to what he says, but it's an intersting point of view.

The preacher I've been listening to doesn't use BS (Broken Scriptures)instead he uses whole chapters and sections. He often says that true doctrine is supported at least three times in scripture. Isn't that true?

Another thing that interst me about this guy is the fact that he does read from the KJV. He does this because it's easier to take back to the greek which he does often. A least one of his sermons I've listened to he's taught from The Message because of the the way it flowed but then took it back to KJV to take it back to Greek.

Thanks for your responses.

Badoozie said...

i'm not worried about you, i think you are wise to mull this over, and throw it out for discussion. i'm one that asks some really tough questions. there are many things about God that i can't wrap my mind around.

and i just keep telling myself, that we are not supposed to be able to find out all the answers or we would BE God. so i try to just keep it light. not that i don't believe in a good study, but i think it can go too far, when people get too literal.

the part about everyone getting into heaven, i don't buy that. im not sure you understood him correctly, and if i was you, if your going to continue to listen to him, email him or call his phone number, and ask for clarification. i've never heard any one that professes to be a christian preacher say that everyone gets into heaven, whether or not they accept god. if that was the case, we would not even trouble ourselves to be good. we'd just go around acting like heathens, knowing that no matter what, we get in. so check into that one.

good question about hell, but i think the darkness is not literal darkness, but rather a darkness of the soul.

madcap said...

Well, I don't believe in hell as a literal burning pit, but as far as fire and light are concerned -

Actually, a house on fire is a very dark place to be. I heard a fireman say once that it's a misconception that where there's a big fire, it's daylight-bright.

simple faith said...

I have actually been in a study about hell and the biblical meaning verses the worldly visions. I will see if I can find any notes about it to share with you. It is an interesting study.

There is nothing wrong with pondering things. You have a good filter to sort through and I am confident you will not be led astray. Just remember to keep John 14:6 as another good reference.

I have always thought the statement you shared at the end is wonderful. Whenever someone says "You deserve that" when speaking of buying something or in other trivial circumstances of receiving good things, I always think to myself, "No, I deserve hell and damnation, but I have been given grace."

Praise God!

Lorna said...

I've heard the last bit before.. have to say that I think Mr preacher is deceived in the teaching about every sinner. We all sin yes, but we are not all saved from hell fire.

God's saving grace is that all those who choose to follow Jesus, no matter what their past, no matter how unpure their life is, gets to spend eternity with Him.

What is clear is that God loves all of us and would have sacrificed jesus for any one of us - but we do need to accept His Lordship - it's not enough to believe that He existed, (it's a historical fact).

If I'm wrong correct me - but that's how I understand it.

Loved your question about fire and light ...

uncle joe said...

I'm with madcap on the fire/light theory.
Doesn't fire need oxygen to burn?

So maybe the description of Hell was for our eartly understanding..

the reverend mommy said...

tyxI've heard that last bit differently (actually, I've used that last bit differently)
Justice is when you get what you deserve.
Mercy is when you don't get what you deserve.
Grace is when you get more than you deserve.
Micah 6:8.

And many people believe that those who have never had the opportunity to hear the Gospel -- well, maybe God will show them Grace.

But those who have heard the Gospel and been offered the gift of grace (Eph 2:8-9) and REFUSED, those will be the ones that God's Justice will roll down upon.

Leslee said...

Thank you all so much for your comments. I think it's important to research the things we've heard preached and find out for ourselves if they are telling us true.

I honestly had never thought that a fire could be a dark place, but perhaps you are right Madcap.

But Uncle Joe, I think you're right. Our comparison is limited to just our earthy knowledge. Who knows what God has in store for us and for those unfortuants that have not believed.

By all means, if you feel like commenting, go right ahead! I like hearing everyone's opinions and the scriptures they use to back them up!!!

Jan said...

Paul clearly states in Romans 2 that we will not all be with God for eternity.

(6God "will give to each person according to what he has done."[a] 7To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. 8But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. 9There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11For God does not show favoritism. 12All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14(Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, 15since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.) 16This will take place on the day when God will judge men's secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.)

It is essential to go to the Bible for clarification on questions about God. In fact, we should be in the Word daily so we cannot be lead astray. Even Satan knows the Word and he will use it and twist it to confuse us. . . and if you understood the preacher correctly, I think he has been deceived.