Is God behind all suffering here on earth

At Bijbelvorsers, vereniging voor Bijbelstudie – Bible Scholars, Association for Bible study on June 29, 2011 at 9:42 am was written by Bible scholar Marcus Ampe. Until 2014, December 22 it got 400 viewings

Often we do find people saying it is a vengeance of God when people suffer. By earthquakes, tsunamis and other disasters they like to warn people that it is a penalty from God and that they should change their way of life.

The central character of the Book of Job, Job (Arabic: أيّوب, Ayyūb‎), as portrayed by Bonnat

In the ancient Hebrew writing The Book of Job we can find a story of the suffering Job and the attempted explanation of these events by his friends. But at the end we also do get to know God’s answer. This is so much different from what lots of people do want us to believe.

In some Christian denomination the preachers even do focus on the terror. They proclaim that it is God who punishes the evil doers. And because the people do such wrong they and their environment has to undergo all the suffering.

If that was not enough they even tell those people that after all the suffering on this earth it shall not be finished. God shall punish them even more. (That is what they tell them.) Those preachers say that those evildoers are going to be tortured for ever after they die. They present them a picture of a hell, which is going to be a torture room full of fire for all those people who sinned veraciously. They want to give the others, who did some little sins, some hope, and present that they also have to face some extra punishment, but that will only happen for a short time in the purgatory.

But as you shall see when you read the Book of Books,  the Bible, you shall be able to come to the conclusion that this is not the truth they are telling. They do the same thing as the friends of Job and try to mislead the people who have trust in them.

In the world around us we are able to find believers and non-believers. People who do good and people who do wrong. Those who do bad things have mostly the opportunity to be confronted with more problems than those who do good. But do not make the mistake, that the ones who do good shall have it always good. No, also they can become confronted with a lot of badness and have to suffer a lot. Their doing good is no free way to have a life without problems.

Perhaps you think it being righteous that everything goes well with such people who do good. But you’ll notice that the world does not turn like that. Everywhere you look you shall be able to find good an bad things.

Throughout the history of humankind we found a lot of troubles coming over people who had nothing to do with it. Wars seem to be insurmountable. History books have pages over battles between different people. Those battles brought a lot of pain to many people. But it are not only such big events which can bring pain to humans or animals. Even the flora world came and still comes into problems many times

Job's Evil Dreams (illustration)

Job’s Evil Dreams (illustration) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the Book of Books, the Bible, we can find a Guide Book to Life and a Guide to our Suffering. Each of those Books in that Library can give us the the power to change. We can find the history of humankind but especially also the history of the chosen people, who wanted to stay under the wings of their Creator, the Only One God.

It is normal that when we live that we wonder what on earth we are doing here. It is not so weird to question the reason of us being here and to think about what we have to do or to think about what is expected and by whom here on earth.
Would there be a reason to be here, and to go through all those problems to grow up, to get a job, a way of living, etcetera.

Do you know there is a Higher Being who took care that we can find the answers to many life questions? His Words are written down by patient scriptors who opened up a world of knowledge which had first to be brought over verbally, then written on tablets, later scrolls and at last found a better way to got multiplied so that They could become available to as many interested persons as possible. Thanks to Gutenberg and many Biblestudents the Words of God became spread over the whole world and were put against the human teachings of several persons and institutions which proclaimed being spokesmen of God.

But be careful, as you shall be able to see in the book of Job, those so called friends can bring misleading messages and even can tell you things which are not according the Truth. Therefore we always have to listen carefully but also look at their sayings and compare them with other sayings or with reactions on their words.

Also in the book of Job we get to hear at first many things about God, which seem to be very acceptable. Some denominations use those words of the friends quite often to tell their story of the picture. But they forget to bring into attention the lost chapter of that Book, when God gives His reply to Job and his three friends. For some people that chapter does not give them the satisfying answers, but their at least we get the real answer from God who we do have to believe.

The bible is full of examples of difficulties people had to encounter. But the Book of Job is in a certain special, because it treats the subject of Suffering in particular.

We can find a more than blessed man who had at first nothing to complain of. But at a finger click everything can change quickly. Such a wealthy man got pulled down under until he did not see any light any more. Though he considered himself as a man of God he did not see any use any more to live longer. He just wanted that his life would come to an end soon, because he had enough of all those problems.

As in the other stories of the assemblage of scriptures we can find an example of a person in need who can not be helped by his friends. We get to see that man is not always the right guide nor able to help sufficiently. Perhaps people can give us wrong advice. But we may find that there are also others who sincerely try to help us but who are also not always able to bring the right solution.

In the Holy Scriptures we do find on several places One Helper who always came back into the picture. Several people were helped by Him and it is not because we do not seem to get any answers or signs from Him this day that He would not be around us. Job also thought that God had abounded Him. Do you think at certain moments that God has left you? Do you think God would leave you on your own?

Look very carefully around you and you shall be able to see the Hand of God. He is there at places where you would not expect Him.

Today we can have the opportunity to find God His Words at our coffee-table. The only thing is that we do have to take the Book and have to open it and read it. Without reading it we are not going to get as much answers as God is willing to give to us. Also in our time of affliction He is there to guide us, but we do have to want to see His stretched out arm. Let Him carry you through the storms.

The Bible is not just a book from and for the old days. It still can be very very useful. Also today we find a lot of people who are wrongly accused of something. More and more we can find people being bullied. This often because they dare to be different or to do good. It is as if today the world does not like people who want to be goodhearted. Working hard and doing what is expected from you by the higher ones is being looked at as being week. The world today does not like to have people who want to live according to rules, morals and ethics, and they prefer to scum them.

In case we have to face problems it can be good to look at the problems of some one else like Job.

Let us be aware that everything we have to undergo in this life can be a learning experience. Even from the moments we do not like we can learn. We also can learn from suffering. The experience of the pain, having to face problems can bring us to moments to look for solutions and give us the chance to grow stronger.

I do agree than we have to make a big shift in our attitude how to look at that suffering. But we should be able to manage.

The Book of Job can be a very good teaching tool for us to make a new start or to find new ways to dope with our suffering and with all the problems which seem to be too much for us.

Therefore I would like to advice you to take that Old Book at hand and to read it. Perhaps my Bible Study I wrote on our ecclesia site can help you to go through it and to see solutions to your own situation.

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Please do find out in the Bible Study at the Christadelphian Ecclesia Brussel-Leuven.

  1. Bad things no punishment from God
  2. Profitable disasters
  3. Facing disaster fatigue
  4. Fragments from the Book of Job #1: chapters 1-12
  5. Fragments from the Book of Job #2: chapters 12-20
  6. Fragments from the Book of Job #3: chapters 21-26
  7. Fragments from the Book of Job #4: chapters 27-31
  8. Fragments from the Book of Job #5: chapters 32-37
  9. Fragments from the Book of Job #6: chapters 38-42
  10. Fragments from the Book of Job #7 Epilogue
  11. Let us recognise how great God is

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Additional reading:

  1. A world in denial
  2. Why Think There Is a God? (3): Why Is It Wrong?
  3. Philosophy hand in hand with spirituality
  4. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #15 Exposition before the Creator
  5. A risk taking society
  6. Securing risks
  7. God does not change
  8. יהוה , YHWH and Love: Four-letter words
  9. Bad things no punishment from God
  10. I Can’t Believe That … (2) God would allow children to suffer
  11. Science, belief, denial and visibility 2
  12. Fragments from the Book of Job #3: chapters 21-26
  13. Newsweek asks: How ignorant are you?
  14. We are ourselves responsible
  15. Weekly World Watch 24th – 30th Oct 2010‏
  16. Reacting to Disasters
  17. Certainty in a troubled world
  18. Tragic coach crash in the Swiss Alps
  19. If there is bitterness in the heart
  20. A great man does not lose his self-possession when he is afflicted
  21. The blessing of a broken leg
  22. Signs of the Last Days
  23. National Natural Disaster and Bible Prophecy
  24. I Only hope we find GOD again before it is too late !
  25. Just be yourself…
  26. What happens when we die?
  27. All Souls’ Day
  28. Fear and protection
  29. Bible a guide – Bijbel als gids
  30. Finish each day and be done with it

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  • The Secret Book of Job (npr.org)
    the tornado went away. Wait, wait – the things the tornado said came to pass. My harvest was bountiful. My flock stretched out like the sea. My wife, she gave me more children, 10 sons. And once again, she held her head high in the marketplace, servants trailing after her. And only I heard her sobs at night.
  • ‘The Norton Anthology of World Religions: Volume II’ (rss.nytimes.com)
    the selected Jewish writings show that contrary to some popular assumptions, religion does not offer unsustainable certainty. The biblical story of the binding of Isaac leaves us with hard questions about Abraham’s God, and later, when Moses asks this baffling deity for his name, he simply answers: “Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh”, which can be roughly translated: “Never mind who I am!” The Book of Job finds no answer to the problem of human suffering, and Ecclesiastes dismisses human life as “utter futility.” This bleak honesty finds its ultimate expression in Elie Wiesel’s proclamation of the death of God in Auschwitz.
  • The Norton Anthology of World Religions (3quarksdaily.com)
    At a time when religious faith is coming under intense scrutiny, “The Norton Anthology of World Religions” is presenting a documentary history of six major faiths with sufficient editorial explanation to make their major texts intelligible across the barriers of time and space. – See more at: http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/2014/12/the-norton-anthology-of-world-religions.html#sthash.msely1Oh.dpuf

     

  • Leviathan wins best film award at IFFI in Goa (in.rbth.com)
    The film is a modern reworking of the biblical book of Job. It is set on a Barents Sea peninsula and tells the story of a man who struggles against a corrupt mayor who wants his piece of land. 
  • In One of William Blake’s Final Works, the Engraved Trials of an Unfortunate Soul (hyperallergic.com)
    When his younger brother died of tuberculosis in 1787, the Metropolitan Museum of Art explains, Blake “reported discovering his wholly original method of ‘relief etching’ — which creates a single, raised printing surface for both text and image — in a vision of Robert soon after his death.” This technique also meant he had total control over his books, even if it involved incredible patience, including writing backwards onto the plates for the types of dense borders that are part of the Illustrations of the Book of Job.
  • Is Atheism a Specifically Western Phenomenon? (the-american-interest.com)
    dam Garfinkle, the editor of The American Interest, asked me this question. He told me that he had met a Saudi who claimed to be an atheist: What does this mean? We know atheism in its Jewish or Christian context, as a rejection of the Biblical God. What would atheism mean in a Muslim, or Hindu, or Buddhist context?
  • Russian film Leviathan nominated for Golden Globe awards (tass.ru)
    A 2014 Russian drama film Leviathan directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev has been nominated for the Golden Globe’s Best Foreign Language Film.
  • Wrestling with the Big Questions: A Day In Job at LICC (bibleandmission.redcliffe.org)
    The book of Job speaks a compelling word of honesty and hope into the deepest and most difficult of human experiences. Job’s story of suffering and the process he goes through with his comforters and with God is just as relevant for Christians and local churches today as we wrestle with our own questions and the questions of those around us.
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From Despair to Victory

Lots of people do want to accuse God for what goes wrong in their life. They easily say “It is the Wrath of God” when something goes wrong by others.

All people deserve punishment from God. All people received a very Big Act of Grace. God provided a solution so that each of us can avoid the endless death. It is up to each individual to recognise the Most High Sovereign Supreme Divine Being. To be able to make use of the provision He has given the world we should be aware that we can not continue our way of life we had before we really came to know the Most High God. As soon as we have chosen the Way of Christ we should come to follow Christ and do like him, trying to do the Will of the heavenly Father.
Being reborn demands work from us, namely to adapt our lifestyle and to try to live according that Will of God, following His commandments, also confessing our wrongdoings and repenting for them. Without Teshuvah repentance we shall not be able to be partakers of the Grace given to humankind.

Victory can only come over us, when we are willing to die for sin and to live for justification and righteousness, sharing the love and peace of Christ with those around us.

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Find also to read:

  1. Together tasting a great promisse
  2. When discouraged facing opposition
  3. God should be your hope
  4. He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.
  5. Creator and Blogger God 4 Expounding voice
  6. Words to push and pull
  7. Missional hermeneutics 4/5
  8. Atonement And Fellowship 4/8
  9. God showing how far He is willing to go to save His children
  10. God receives us on the basis of our faith
  11. Doest thou well to be Angry?
  12. Repentance and conversion are not milestones which we pass on the way of life and never see again
  13. Breathing and growing with no heir
  14. Nazarene Commentary Matthew 3:1-6 – A Wilderness Baptist Prepares the Way
  15. Nazarene Commentary Matthew 3:7-12 – Opposition and Two Baptisms
  16. Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:3-6 – John Preaches Baptism of Repentance
  17. Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:7-9 – Vipers, Repent!
  18. Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:10-14 – “What Shall We Do?”
  19. Victory in rebirth
  20. A man who cannot forgive others

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  • A Change of Garments (tricklesoftruth.wordpress.com)
    So much our faith and the way that we walk in it has to do with a new mindset and way that we view our purpose and being. Before we knew Christ in a personal relationship we were given over to our own unbridled passions and will. We allowed our desires, our passion and flesh to have dominion over us. We lived for the moment and fulfilled the desires of our unregulated and undisciplined body.
    When we came into Christ we were still in this same body with all of its same needs and wants, but inwardly something had changed and been transformed. As we came into Christ, we came into the revelation that life was no longer about us, but about Him. We became identified with Him, both in His death and in His resurrection. We realized that the old man of the flesh isn’t to rule and have its way any longer and so we identified it with Christ on the Cross and we crucified the flesh with its inordinate affections and lust. On the other hand we beheld the new creation that we had become in Christ and we identified with His resurrection in a new and incorruptible life.
  • Adhere (A Word From The Lord) (lovelyladylesh.wordpress.com)
    Some people only want to swim in the shallow end of the “spiritual pool.” The Lord is calling Many of you to step into the deep end because More is required of you.
  • Blessed With Every Spiritual Blessing (burningfireshutinmybones.wordpress.com)
    As I searched out the blessings, I felt joy and peace settle on me. How great the love of God is for His people!
  • Ferguson Faith Files: The Story of Terrence Williams (video) (grumpyelder.com)
    A Marine, a Christian, a man of honor making a difference.
  • We Pray According to Jesus’ Victory (sharingloveandtruth.org)
    Faith releases God’s favor, because faith pleases God. So, let’s pray the scriptures and recognize that all of God’s promises are yes and amen in Jesus Christ. Because the Lamb of God was slain and rose again, we know that God will not deny us. We are heirs of God and coheirs with Christ; therefore, the Bible’s promises are for us. So, we wrap our scriptural prayers in thanksgiving, not in words of wishful pleas.
  • Nice Thanksgiving Prayer (tomfaranda.typepad.com)
    We pray for health and strength
    To carry on and try to live as You would have us.
    This we ask in the name of Christ,
  • Thanksgiving Prayer (griffinsandgingersnaps.wordpress.com)
    may G-d rest our hearts and minds. May He bless us and our families and continue to extend His blessings to everyone who touch our lives. May He grant patience and perseverance, expressed with courage and wisdom, as we meet the changes of life here on earth.

johnnysstudies

The psalmist comes to God knowing the Holiness and Justice of God, knowing his own sin and its’ seriousness before God. He does not make excuses other than his own weakness as a man with s sin nature. Today in society and sadly in the in the church also sin is excused and given other names to make it sound better homosexuals are now gays, sex outside of marriage is not fornication and adultery but sleeping together. The absolute holiness and justice of God is downplayed. The psalmist as we should come to God admitting his sin knowing that according to Gods’ rules he only deserves punishment. But then he pleas only for mercy to the Holy, Just and Loving God. Sin has taken its’ toll mentally and physically he is weakened as the results. He ask as we do when in need Lord how long before help comes. Grave…

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God’s wrath and sanctification

Intro: Salvation and sanctification

In “How do I know what God’s will is“, “Does God stands behind all evil on earth” and in “What Is Sanctification?” we looked at the creation its inhabitants which from the start of creation choose a way contrary to the Will of the Creator.

The choices made in the Garden of Eden determined the coarse of history. We still bear the consequences of the choices made by the first man (man: 1° Adam) and mannin (woman: Eve).

Throughout Christendom many Torah teachings were put aside for human teachings. One such got varying adherents. Namely lots of people want to believe:

Once saved, always saved.

Calvinist thought about believers and salvation

Edwin H. Palmer in “The Five Points of Calvinism” (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI, 1972, p 68) does find it:

It is one of the grandest thoughts in the Bible

According to him and many Calvinists

once you believe, you can never be lost, you can never go to hell.

First of all, everybody goes to hell, like Jesus also went to hell (for three days). Nearly all people shall have to face their end of their life. The only exception shall be those few at the end of the Big Battle, World War III, the Armageddon, who would be able to survive that.

Secondly not all who believe at one point shall keep the faith and shall consider Christ as their Messiah. So for those who lose their faith in Christ and in God, Jesus shall not always be their Saviour.

Secure key to eternal destiny and perseverance of saints

Contrary to what the author for his Calvinist followers writes it shall not be possible to get your eternal destiny (or eternal life) settled once for all so that you never have to worry about it

It is nice that the person has so much confidence in humankind that he thinks that  those who have been baptised shall persevere in trusting in Christ as their Saviour. Strange that when this pastor wrote that book he was already 50 years old (or young) and than you would consider that he would have already had several experiences in life, having seen people leaving his church or worse having already seen pastors who lost faith and became atheists.*

Edwin H. Palmer, referring to the fifth point of Calvinism, said the following:

This is strictly a Reformed doctrine and hangs or falls together with the other four points that we have been discussing. There are, however, Christians today who hold to the perseverance of the saints while at the same time rejecting the other four points. We believe, however, and will try to show later on, that this is an inconsistency in their thinking. (The Five Points of Calvinism, Moelker Printing Co. [Grand Rapids, Michigan], 1954 ed, p. 59.)

Doctrine of limited atonement

In keeping with his expert opinion of this theology, Edwin H. Palmer went on to write about the perseverance of the saints:

This doctrine also naturally follows from the doctrine of the limited atonement … (ibid., p. 61).

In other words, if the doctrine of limited atonement is true, then so is the perseverance of the saints. But then on the other hand, if limited atonement is untrue, so is eternal security. The above two quotes from Edwin H. Palmer are valuable to Christians who know all five points of Calvinism are not from God and especially desire to help free some Calvinists from the theological snare they are trapped in. Calvin shared with Luther belief in the absolute authority of the bible and in justification by faith alone, and as such many came to believe that their faith in Jesus Christ was enough to have them justified to enter the heaven, though if they would have looked closer into the Holy Scriptures they would have found that the Kingdom of God will be for most here on earth and that faith without works is dead, and as such would not bring salvation to any person. We do know the envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like shall not inherit the kingdom of God; but often still can be found by people who are baptised or who call themselves “new born Christians”. Even when they do know that the law is good they still have to try to keep it. If a man uses it lawfully there does not seem a problem, but when they stay kneeling in front of statues, worshipping more than one god, not obeying the Only One True God, doing unholy and profane things, murdering, killing or hurting by manslaughter,  or fornicating, doing homosexual acts, slave trading, but also being liars, perjurers,encountering a road to success dotted with many tempting parking places, they should know that if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, they should know they will not be able to enter the small gate of the Kingdom of God. It is just called a small gate and being it more difficult for a camel to enter the eye of the needle, because God demands full recognition and keeping to His commandments. According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to the trust of the apostle Paul he has been enabled by Christ Jesus, that he counted him faithful, putting him into the ministry. He was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and insolent, but he obtained mercy, because he did it ignorantly in unbelief.  Though afterwards when he got the call of Jeshua, when the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus, he got on the right track and changed his life.  If we do not change our way of life, our calling shall not result in saving ourselves. It really is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, but if the sinners do not repent, the blood of Christ, which also was shed for them, shall have no use for them because there is no reason for whitewashing for them. We can only obtain mercy, that in us first Jesus Christ might show forth all longsuffering, for an example to them who should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting, when we do come but also stay in the faith of Jesus Christ.

Now the works of the flesh are obvious, which are: sexual immorality, uncleanness, lustfulness,  (20)  idolatry, sorcery, hatred, strife, jealousies, outbursts of anger, rivalries, divisions, heresies, (Galatians 5:19-20 NHEBJE)But we know that the law is good, if a man uses it lawfully,  (9)  as knowing this, that law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,  (10)  for the sexually immoral, for men who practice sexual relations with men, for slave-traders, for liars, for perjurers, and for any other thing contrary to the sound doctrine;  (11)  according to the Good News of the glory of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.  (12)  And I thank him who enabled me, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he counted me faithful, appointing me to service;  (13)  although I was before a blasphemer, a persecutor, and insolent. However, I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.  (14)  The grace of our Lord abounded exceedingly with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.  (15)  The saying is faithful and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.  (16)  However, for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first, Jesus Christ might display all his patience, for an example of those who were going to believe in him for eternal life.  (17)  Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. (1Timothy 1:8-17 NHEBJE)

Legitimate ones to receive Grace

In 1980, the year of Edwin H. Palmer’s death, an enlarged edition of this same book was released. In this more recent edition the words were slightly changed from the previous quote, while retaining its essence:

All five points of Calvinism hang or fall together (The Five Points of Calvinism, Baker Books [Grand Rapids, Michigan], 1980 enlarged edition, p. 69).Dear reader, if you know that any of the five points of Calvinism are unscriptural, then the rest are as well. All a Christian has to do, therefore, is to refute any of the five points of Calvinism and by doing so he has destroyed all five points, according to Dr. Edwin H. Palmer himself. But dear Christian, please be assured that people who embrace Calvinism’s beloved fifth point won’t surrender it easily. They often feel just like Palmer did as reflected in his following statement:The teaching of “once saved, always saved is one of the grandest of Biblical teachings (ibid., p. 79).

In the Christian set of beliefs that is based on the teachings of John Calvin and that stresses God’s power and the moral weakness of human beings a strong emphasis is placed on the sovereignty of God, the depravity of humankind, and the doctrine of predestination. For Calvin, God gives himself to be known, and that revelation is about who God is, not an explanation of how God is three and a unity, nor a revelation that human reason could reach on its own.

In the Bible, God’s Word, there is given a distinction between the God of Abraham and the Jewish man, not a god-man, but a human, a man from God, who worshipped that God of Moses and only wanted to do God His Will and not his own will, and as such giving his body as a Lamb for God and becoming the Christ.

We do believe everybody received the grace of salvation, but that does not make it that everybody is saved for ever. Those who do not want to accept God in their life shall when they die, when staying with their mind not willing to know about a Divine Creator, shall not be legitimate to receive the Grace, provided by the blood of Christ. Those who at a certain point in their life came to accept Christ Jesus as their saviour, got baptised, but then continue or come back to a way of life not in accordance to the Law of God, shall miss the salvation also.

Under or not under a Law and righteousness

Now we know that whatsoever things the law says, it says to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.  But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets. We do have the Holy Scriptures for us to witness and to take the words of it into our heart.

Even the righteousness of God which is by faith in Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe, which means shall not be onto those who do not believe. The Grace of God and the salvation by the Lamb of God comes over all the same way, for there is no difference, for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. We all may be happy that we can be justified freely by Jehovah God His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.  It is that Jewish Nazarene man of flesh and blood, who gave his life, Whom God has set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.

We shall not be justified on the account of the Law nor just works, but by the law of faith and the works of faith.  Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

Now we know that whatever things the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be closed, and all the world may be brought under the judgment of God.  (20)  Because by the works of the law, no flesh will be justified in his sight. For through the law comes the knowledge of sin.  (21)  But now apart from the law, a righteousness of God has been revealed, being testified by the Law and the Prophets;  (22)  even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ to all those who believe. For there is no distinction,  (23)  for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God;  (24)  being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus;  (25)  whom God set forth to be an atoning sacrifice, through faith in his blood, for a demonstration of his righteousness through the passing over of prior sins, in God’s forbearance;  (26)  to demonstrate his righteousness at this present time; that he might himself be just, and the justifier of him who has faith in Jesus.  (27)  Where then is the boasting? It is excluded. By what manner of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith.  (28)  We maintain therefore that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.  (29)  Or is God the God of Jews only? Is not he the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also,  (30)  since indeed there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith, and the uncircumcised through faith.  (31)  Do we then nullify the law through faith? May it never be! No, we establish the law. (Romans 3:19-31 NHEBJE)Therefore, we are always confident and know that while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord;  (7)  for we walk by faith, not by sight.  (8)  We are of good courage, I say, and are willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be at home with the Lord.  (9)  Therefore also we make it our aim, whether at home or absent, to be well pleasing to him. (2 Corinthians 5:6-9 NHEBJE)So then, those who are of faith are blessed with the faithful Abraham.  (10)  For as many as are of the works of the law are under a curse. For it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things that are written on the book of the law, to do them.”  (11)  Now that no man is justified by the law before God is evident, for, “The righteous will live by faith.”  (12)  The law is not of faith, but, “The man who does them will live by them.”  (13)  Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us. For it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree,”  (14)  that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Christ Jesus; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. (Galatians 3:9-14 NHEBJE)

Living according to the true faith required by God

Snowy Grand Rapids, MI 12-23-08

Not all who are whitewashed by baptism somewhere in their life on this earth shall be able to enter the gates of the Kingdom of God. – Snowy Grand Rapids, MI 12-23-08 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Every Christian should know that those who do not live according to the true faith required by God shall have judgement without mercy. Without changing his or her attitude, the Christian shall  not be different than the one who does not believe in Christ. Did the Calvinist preacher does not wonder what does it profit when those many people who say they have faith (in what?) but did not show they are real followers of Christ living according his teachings and according to the Will of God? The many people we can encounter daily who say they are a “Christian” but do not really have faith, or those who have faith but not show any works; can faith save them?

It is easy to say you believe in Christ or in God, perhaps you might find other people around you who also believe there are many gods and Jehovah is one of them, or they even might consider Jesus to be one of the many gods. And what is the real difference between the Jew, Christian, Muslim, the ones believing in the God of Abraham, and the ones who do good works, live decently, but do not believe in the One True God, Divine Creator of heaven and earth? Many atheists do live very well and do many good deeds? Many who say they are believers in Jesus Christ do lesser good deeds than those non-believers. Christ also died also for them, for all sinners, believers and non-believers. Would that mean they all come in the Kingdom of God?

Not all people shall come into the Kingdom of God.

Jesus has told enough parables which make it clear how people do not only have to have faith and have to honour God. His stories also make it clear how we can loose the right of entrance or the right of salvation.
Scripture tells us also that a man may say, “You have faith, and I have works” or “you believe that there is one God; you do well: the demons also believe, and tremble”.  The Bible warns us not to be vain and to be aware that faith without works is dead. We should be very careful by our idea that our baptism would be well enough. We can be very mistaken by thinking and by being assured that everything what we do after our baptism would be all right, because it does not matter any more because we are saved by Christ. When we do not mind doing things against the Will of God we might be very surprised at the End-times, standing in front of Jesus Christ, being rejected by him and not able to enter that gate to eternal life. Like Abraham believed God we too should have it imputed unto us for righteousness and being a real Friend of God. Looking at Abraham we should see how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

For judgment is without mercy to him who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.  (14)  What good is it, my brothers, if a man says he has faith, but has no works? Can faith save him?  (15)  And if a brother or sister is naked and in lack of daily food,  (16)  and one of you tells them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled;” and yet you did not give them the things the body needs, what good is it?  (17)  Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead in itself.  (18)  Yes, a man will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without works, and I by my works will show you my faith.  (19)  You believe that God is one. You do well. The demons also believe, and shudder.  (20)  But do you want to know, foolish man, that faith apart from works is dead?  (21)  Wasn’t Abraham our father justified by works, in that he offered up Isaac his son on the altar?  (22)  You see that faith worked with his works, and by works faith was perfected;  (23)  and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him as righteousness;” and he was called the friend of God.  (24)  You see then that by works, a man is justified, and not only by faith.(James 2:13-24 NHEBJE)

Doubters and the ones mulled back and forth

The one who are pulled back and forth, shall also not find God turning on and then turn off their life chance. Contrary to what the Calvinist writers wants us to believe they will not continue believing forever and they will not be saved for ever. History has know many cases of people who “came to the lord” but later left him. History has also seen people who were supposed to be “men of God”, became religious people, became priest, bishop and even pope, but who misused boys and girls, fornicated, did homosexual and other acts with man or with animals. According to us those shall not be able to enter the Kingdom of God.

To blame God for having them going astray is, according to me a sort of blasphemy. It is too easy to blame God for the wrongdoings of man like the pastor does when he writes;

Thus they will always be saved…It is possible, however, to use another term to describe this fact, namely, the perseverance of God. For really the perseverance of the saints depends on the perseverance of God. It is because God perseveres in His love toward His church that the church perseveres in its love toward Him. (Edwin H. Palmer, The Five Points of Calvinism, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI, 1972, p 68).

Having said that, he wants citizens to believe that clergy or holy men, who want to oppress the people in their church and demands things of them which they themselves do not keep, persevere their love for God or do that because that God has given up His love for them.

It is also easy to say

if someone appears to be obeying God but then turns to rebellion, it only means they were never actually elect by God’s grace to begin with. Or if they really are God’s elect, God will bring them back to obedience at some later time before death. {How to Rely on God’s Grace without Becoming a Calvinist-Perservance}

A puller and a decider and the elected

God is the One Who pulls the people towards Him, but it are the people themselves who have to make their own free will choice: coming close to God and accepting Him as the Divine Creator, Sovereign Master over heaven and earth, and presenting themselves as Children of Him, to behave as children of God.

The latter believe that a moment of faith brings the grace of God into the lives of the elect and their later behaviour has no bearing on their salvation because Christ’s atonement covered all their sins, past, present, and future. Be aware that the former position is that of Calvin; the Stanley position is a corruption of true Calvinism (at least so it seems to me).

says Edwin Crozier, who calls himself a disciple, husband, father, preacher and author who is convinced God’s way works and would love to discuss it.

Calvinism has taught that election is unconditional. Man does absolutely nothing as a determining factor of whether or not he is elect. Additionally, the true offer of atonement is only made to the elect. But more than that, when that true inward call is given, the elect cannot resist it. They will be effectively drawn by it. That, of necessity, means the elect will persevere in God’s grace. There is simply no alternative for them. Since they can’t resist it, they will, of necessity, continue in it until it ultimately saves them in the end. {How to Rely on God’s Grace without Becoming a Calvinist-Perservance}

How can it be than that so called elect have gone up and down like a yoyo, and several at the end of their life also obstinately refused to believe any more in Christ or in God? How did it come that they were not “effectively drawn” by the inner call which came unto them at a certain point in their life?

Is it also not too easy to say you just rely on the calling of God? Is it also not too easy to you are going

“to be through relying on God’s power to carry me through”.

Arminianism, God’s sovereignty and Predestination

Also Robert A. Peterson and Michael D. Williams recognize the role of grace in the opposing view of salvation but show how Calvinists part company with Arminians by affirming that God’s grace is efficacious, particular, and irresistible. As compatibilists, they present God’s sovereignty as the ultimate cause of things, while “human freedom, although not ultimate, is significant and considerable” (Why I Am Not an Arminian. By Robert A. Peterson and Michael D. Williams. Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2004, 224 pp., p. 64). Prevenient grace gets special attention as universal opportunity and conditional election require biblical justification.  Predestination is buttressed by data from every major section of Scripture; the authors prefer an asymmetrical election to salvation. The bottom line for Peterson and Williams in this debate:

“Divine sovereignty and human responsibility cannot be pitted against one another” so that libertarian free will is unnecessary (Why I Am Not an Arminian, p. 151).”the human will is free and the divine is not” (Why I Am Not an Arminian, p. 140).

They sometimes exaggerate the Arminian view of saving faith as if it were meritorious:

“Rather than affirm a boot-strap doctrine of merit, the Calvinist insists upon the effectiveness of divine grace” (Why I Am Not an Arminian)

All requested by god to believe in Him and His Word

Each human being may hear some call by the Most High but is left totally free by the Creator how to cope with his freedom how to use his will. “Elect” and “non-elect”, are requested by God to believe the gospel. Before a person came to God he might have been foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.  When the person came to see and understand what it was that after the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we had, have done, or still would be going to do, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit;  whom he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour. The apostle tells us that being justified by Jesus his willingness to offer himself, doing the Will of God, and not his own will, giving us his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:4-7)

This is a faithful saying, and these things we should desire that everybody in our congregation would affirm ‘constantly’, that they who have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. (Titus 3:8)

These things are good and profitable unto men.  (9)  But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.  (10)  A man that is divisive after the first and second admonition reject;  (11)  Knowing that he that is such is perverted, and sins, being condemned of himself.  (12)  When I shall send Artemas unto you, or Tychicus, be diligent to come unto me to Nicopolis: for I have determined there to winter.  (13)  Bring Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey diligently, that nothing be lacking unto them.  (14)  And let our own also learn to maintain good works for urgent needs, that they not be unfruitful.  (15)  All that are with me greet you. Greet them that love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. Amen.

Getting to know God and consequences

We can hear the call of God and answer to it. We can going to be by relying on the grace of God poured out on us through His Holy Spirit. We can come to proclaim God’s command to repent and believe to all men. But are going out to tell others about god should not be so much because for our fear for missing sanctification, but our of our love for God. Knowing the reality of God’s wrath, the sin of man, believing implicitly the promise of God that anyone who turns in faith to Christ will be saved, we will ave others to be saved also.

that God will assuredly bestow life and salvation upon all believers (The Death of Death in the Death of Christ, John Owen)

misses out on the point of the Biblical teaching that we should prepare ourselves for the Kingdom of God.

True believers should faithfully warn the unsaved, to show wherein their sins consists (enmity against God), and they should also warn the believers that it is very important to keep the good faith and to make sure we obey because the gospel is a command.

Now you know what is restraining him, to the end that he may be revealed in his own season.  (7)  For the mystery of lawlessness already works. Only there is one who restrains now, until he is taken out of the way.  (8)  Then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will kill with the breath of his mouth, and destroy by the manifestation of his coming;  (9)  even he whose coming is according to the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,  (10)  and with all deception of wickedness for those who are being lost, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. (2 Thessalonians 2:6-10 NHEBJE)Being then the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold, or silver, or stone, engraved by art and design of man.  (30)  The times of ignorance therefore God overlooked. But now he commands that all people everywhere should repent,  (31)  because he has appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by the man whom he has ordained; of which he has given assurance to all men, in that he has raised him from the dead.” (Acts of the apostles 17:29-31 NHEBJE)

The times of ignorance God overlooked has gone. Man is being asked everywhere to change. The change is what God wants to see and shall take account of.

John MacArthur says:

When you share the gospel, you command people to believe. You command people to repent so that it is crystal clear that what they have done is obey or disobey. That’s why I say invitation is not a word that is consistent with commanding. Better to finish your sermon with a command than an invitation.” (“Two Paths, One Way”, John MacArthur)

Condemnation from old

There are many people who may believe in God, gods, Satan, wrong doing and good doing. Many shall have heard the Voice of God in their life, but it shall depend on how they reacted if they shall be justified to enter the gates of the Kingdom. Whoever believes in the ‘Son of God‘ Jesus is not condemned, but whoever does not live according to that believe shall have to face the consequences of his acts. Like the false prophets and false teachers who also arose among the people, who will craftily bring in deadly heresies, even disowning the Lord who bought them and bringing on themselves quick ruin. And the many who will follow their shameless ways and by these the path of truth will be profanely spoken of. In covetousness they will make gain out of many by their cunning words. But their condemnation from of old shall not not be inactive. They should really be fully aware that also for them, though they may call themselves believers, their destruction has not been sleeping.  For if God did not spare angels that had sinned, but thrust them down to Tartarus and committed them to pits of darkness to be kept for judgement, and did not spare the ancient world, but guarded Noah, a herald of righteousness, and seven others, when he brought the flood on the world of the ungodly;  and if reducing to ashes the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah he condemned them to destruction, making them an example for the godless of what would come upon them,  and rescued righteous Lot worn out by the indecent lives of the lawless, —  for that righteous man living among them was tortured day and night in his righteous soul by the sight and hearing of their lawless deeds, —   the Lord knows how to rescue the pious from trial and how to keep the wicked under punishment for the day of judgement,  especially those who go after flesh in polluting passions, and despise lordship. They are daring, self-willed; they do not tremble to speak insultingly of glorious beings, whereas angels who are greater in might and power, do not bring against them a railing accusation before the Lord.

But false prophets also arose among the people, as false teachers will also be among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, denying even the Master who bought them, bringing on themselves swift destruction.  (2)  Many will follow their immoral ways, and as a result, the way of the truth will be maligned.  (3)  In covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words: whose sentence now from of old does not linger, and their destruction is not asleep.  (4)  For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them down to the lower parts of hell, and committed them to pits of darkness, to be reserved for judgment;  (5)  and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah with seven others, a proclaimer of righteousness, when he brought a flood on the world of the ungodly;  (6)  and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly;  (7)  and delivered righteous Lot, who was very distressed by the lustful life of the wicked  (8)  (for that righteous man dwelling among them, was tormented in his righteous soul from day to day with seeing and hearing lawless deeds):  (9)  the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment;  (10)  but chiefly those who walk after the flesh in the lust of defilement, and despise authority. Daring, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries;  (11)  whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not bring a railing judgment against them before the Lord. (2 Peter 2:1-11 NHEBJE)

Also for those so called reborns if they have eyes full of adultery and unceasing sin; ensnaring unstable souls; having a heart practised in greediness; an execrable race; having forsaken the right road they have gone quite astray, they should know that for them there shall also not be a salvation at the end. They by the lusts of the flesh, by acts of lasciviousness, shall miss the boat. For if alter fleeing from the pollutions of the world by an acknowledgement of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, any are again entangled and overcome by them, the last state of such persons is worse than the first. They also should be well aware that they even could be worse off than a person who was never been baptised. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after knowing it, to turn away from the holy commandment delivered to them.

But these, as unreasoning creatures, born natural animals to be taken and destroyed, speaking evil in matters about which they are ignorant, will in their destroying surely be destroyed,  (13)  suffering the penalty as the wages of evil; people who count it pleasure to revel in the daytime, spots and blemishes, reveling in their deceit while they feast with you;  (14)  having eyes full of adultery, and who cannot cease from sin; enticing unsettled souls; having a heart trained in greed; children of cursing;  (15)  forsaking the right way, they went astray, having followed the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of wrongdoing;  (16)  but he was rebuked for his own disobedience. A mute donkey spoke with a man’s voice and stopped the madness of the prophet.  (17)  These are wells without water, and mists driven by a storm; for whom the blackness of darkness has been reserved.  (18)  For, uttering great swelling words of emptiness, they entice in the lusts of the flesh, by licentiousness, those who barely escape from those who live in error;  (19)  promising them liberty, while they themselves are bondservants of corruption; for a man is brought into bondage by whoever overcomes him.  (20)  For if, after they have escaped the defilement of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in it and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first.  (21)  For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after knowing it, to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them.  (22)  It has happened to them according to the true proverb, “The dog turns to his own vomit again,” and “the sow that has washed to wallowing in the mire.” (2 Peter 2:12-22 NHEBJE)

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* Note Edwin H. Palmer (1922-80) was born, grew up and went to school in Quincy, Massachusetts. He graduated from Harvard College (A.B.) in 1944, following which he served as first lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps 1944-1946, service which included operations in the Pacific theatre and involvement in the fighting around Okinawa.
In 1949 he received his Th.B. degree from Westminster Theological Seminary and furthered his education at The Free University of Amsterdam, receiving his doctorate (Th.D.) there in 1953. His accomplishments and contributions were so respected by the Christian academic community that, in 1977, Houghton College conferred on him the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity.

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Additional literature:

  1. Are you religious, spiritual, or do you belong to a religion, having a faith or interfaith
  2. People Seeking for God 1 Looking for answers
  3. People Seeking for God 2 Human interpretations
  4. Looking for True Spirituality 8 Measuring Up
  5. Doubting the reality, genuineness and effectiveness of God’s love
  6. Seeing or not seeing and willingness to find God
  7. Do you believe in One god
  8. Does there have to be a Holy Trinity Mystery
  9. How long to wait before bringing religiousness and spirituality in practice
  10. Science and the Bible—Do They Really Contradict Each Other?
  11. Science, belief, denial and visibility 2
  12. Believing in God the rewarder
  13. Jehovah steep rock and fortress, source of insight
  14. Bric-a-brac of the Bible
  15. Bible basic intro
  16. Bible power to change
  17. Bible word of God,inspired and infallible
  18. Bible Word from God
  19. Creator and Blogger God 7 A Blog of a Book 1 Believing the Blogger
  20. Creator and Blogger God 10 A Blog of a Book 4 Listening to the Blogger
  21. God’s forgotten Word 1 Introduction
  22. Eternal Word that tells everything
  23. Missional hermeneutics 3/5
  24. Missional hermeneutics 4/5
  25. Belief of the things that God has promised
  26. Exceeding Great and Precious Promise
  27. God wants to be gracious to you
  28. Heed of the Saviour
  29. A Living Faith #1 Substance of things hoped for
  30. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  31. A Living Faith #4 Effort
  32. A Living Faith #12 The Love for Jesus
  33. Faith
  34. Faith Requires a Basis
  35. Faith and works
  36. Faith moving mountains
  37. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #13 Prayer #11 Name to be set apart
  38. What Should I Preach ?
  39. Understanding what we read
  40. Counterfeit Gospels
  41. A promise given in the Garden of Eden
  42. Old language to confirm the promises
  43. God’s Special Gift
  44. Do not be afraid. Good news because a Saviour has been born
  45. A remaining name
  46. Entrance of a king to question our position #1 Coming in the Name of the Lord
  47. Entrance of a king to question our position #2 Who do we want to see and to be
  48. An unblemished and spotless lamb foreknown
  49. In the death of Christ, the son of God, is glorification
  50. Love and forgive this friday
  51. The redemption of man by Christ Jesus
  52. For the Will of Him who is greater than Jesus
  53. Shabbat Pesach service reading 1/2
  54. Shabbat Pesach service reading 2/2
  55. After the Sabbath after Passover, the resurrection of Jesus Christ
  56. Seven days of Passover
  57. A Holy week in remembrance of the Blood of life
  58. Bread and Wine
  59. Ember and light the ransomed of Jehovah
  60. Ransom for all
  61. No Other Name (But Jesus)
  62. Faithful to the listening ear
  63. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:36-38 – Anna’s Thanks before Those Waiting
  64. It is not try but trust
  65. How Many were Bought
  66. We are redeemed; we are “bought with a price”
  67. Joining for a new year in the assurance to be bought with a price
  68. It is Today
  69. Self-preservation is the highest law of nature
  70. Commit your self to the trustworthy Creator
  71. Man’s plans prevailed by God’s purpose
  72. Holiness and expression of worship coming from inside
  73. Ask Grace to go forward
  74. Dying or not
  75. Not to speak is to speak
  76. Immortality, eternality – onsterfelijkheid, eeuwigheid
  77. I Can’t Believe That (1) … God would send anyone to hell
  78. Being Religious and Spiritual 7 Transcendence to become one
  79. Not all will inherit the Kingdom
  80. We are ourselves responsible
  81. Reasons why they cannot do what they want to
  82. Only the contrite self, sick of its pretensions, can find salvation
  83. The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking places
  84. Choices
  85. Never making mistakes because never doing anything
  86. Let not sin reign in your mortal body
  87. Self inflicted misery #3 A man given to suffer for us
  88. Self inflicted misery #6 Paying by death
  89. Let me keep to “first importance” things
  90. Wishing to do the will of God
  91. Get Your Wonderful Disease-proof Human Body
  92. Give your worries to God
  93. Atonement And Fellowship 1/8
  94. Atonement And Fellowship 4/8
  95. Atonement And Fellowship 7/8
  96. Atonement And Fellowship 8/8
  97. Proclaiming shalom, bringing good news of good things, announcing salvation
  98. Divine service (16-10-2013): “The way to salvation/ Die weg na verlossing”
  99. Many forgot how Christ should be our anchor and our focus
  100. Follower of Jesus part of a cult or a Christian
  101. Looking for something or for the Truth and what it might be and self-awareness
  102. Deliverance and establishment of a theocracy
  103. End of the Bottom Line
  104. All Positive Energy People Are Acceptable
  105. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #10 Prayer #8 Condition
  106. Continuing Paul’s Prayer Requests
  107. God’s forgotten Word 5 Lost Lawbook 4 The ‘Catholic’ church
  108. Condemnation of the World and Illustration of Justification
  109. Being of good courage running the race
  110. Agape, a love to share with others from the Fruit of the Spirit
  111. Bearing fruit
  112. Together tasting a great promise

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Further Additional literature:

  1. Calvinism
  2. Calvin: A Biography
  3. Calvin in Context
  4. Calvin and the Rhetoric of Piety
  5. Calvin for Armchair Theologians
  6. Calvin as Biblical Interpreter among the Ancient Philosophers
  7. Calvin and the English Episcopate, 1580-1610
  8. Calvin and the Beasts: Animals in John Calvin’s Theological Discourse
  9. Calvin, Classical Trinitarianism, and the Aseity of the Son
  10. Calvin and Praying for “All People Who Dwell on Earth”
  11. Lincoln’s Calvinist Transformation: Emancipation and War
  12. Calvinist Pilgrimages and Popish Encounters: Religious Identity and Sacred…
  13. Why I Am Not a Calvinist/Why I Am Not an Arminian
  14. Greatest single cause of atheism
  15. Shapers of English Calvinism, 1660-1714: Variety, Persistence, and…
  16. Dutch Neo-Calvinism and the Roots for Transformation: An Introductory Essay
  17. Ethnic Persistence among Dutch-Canadian Catholics and Calvinists
  18. The Influence of Calvinism on Seventeenth-Century English Baptists:…
  19. Traditional Baptists and Calvinism: If We Are Not Calvinists, What Shall We…Calvin, John

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  • Calvinism vs. Arminianism: Should We Tell Unbelievers That God Loves Them? (thegraceapparatus.wordpress.com)
    God does not love the reprobate (those who ultimately reject him) in the same way he loves his children. His children are chosen from before time to be his children, and nothing will ever change that. It doesn’t matter whether you have a covenantal theology, only those who are the elect will be regenerated, given faith and persevere until the end. The reprobate have no chance whatsoever.
    One obvious problem with this line of thinking is that not all children who grow up in a Christian home become Christians. If they ultimately die and go to hell, then telling your children that God loves them was a big fat lie (in the Calvinist way of thinking about God’s love). And if these children prove to be reprobate, then they are no different than any other unbelievers. This is a double standard where you tell some unbelievers that God loves them (your children) but not others (strangers).
  • Did God really say “Prevenient” Grace (onedaringjew.wordpress.com)
    The problem is that “grace” for the Arminian and the Calvinist is as different as “faith plus works” and “faith alone” in justification. In Arminianism, grace (“prevenient” grace, which is not in the Bible) possibly saves, whereas in Calvinism, grace does nothing else but save. Yet both Arminians and Calvinists believe that grace is glorious and love singing “Amazing grace.”
  • Southern Baptist Pastor, Randy White, Rebukes Evangelicals for Promoting Racial Justice as a Gospel Demand (blackchristiannews.com)
    “Seems to me that racial reconciliation is a good thing and is a social issue, not a doctrinal or theological issue, and certainly not a “gospel demand.” If there is something Biblical that expresses racial reconciliation as a gospel demand, I’ve missed it.”

    To this, McKissic says, “WOW! That is an incredible, reprehensible, biblically incorrect and racially offensive statement.”

    In citing this statement, McKissic fails to note that I am responding to Matthew Hall, who says, “all Christians should be mindful of the gospel’s demands for racial reconciliation and justice.”

  • Limited Atonement and the Divine Command to Believe Falsehood (arminianperspectives.wordpress.com)
    Many times, an incorrect belief by itself isn’t particularly harmful, but if taken to its inevitable conclusions, tends to produce great inconsistencies. Limited atonement, if taken in conjunction with the common Calvinist beliefs about the gospel call, inevitably leads to the conclusion that God commands people to believe falsehood. I’ll start by postulating and defending the necessary premises.
    +
    Christians since the beginning have understood that believing in Christ is more than just assent that He died and rose (as James also notes, even the demons believe that). True and living faith in Christ requires that we trust in His work on the cross, and in Him as our Savior. Herein lies the second part of the premise: that the aforementioned command requires that they believe that Christ can save them. I don’t think any tenable objection can be raised to this point. One cannot trust Christ as his Savior without believing that He has power to save him.
    +
    Many Calvinists don’t like language that Christ cannot save certain people, but that is an inescapable ramification of limited atonement. Christ either can save one through His sacrificial death, or He cannot. Christ cannot save people for whom He did not die to save. The sacrifice has already been offered, there’s no going back and changing who it was for; there is no other sacrifice, and there is no other way. If the non-elect were excluded, that decision has already been made, and cannot be abrogated. It matters not how many sins the sacrifice was sufficient to cover, if its power to save is not applicable to a person, then Christ cannot save that person.Thus to believe that Christ can save one of the non-elect, if limited atonement be true, would be a falsehood -often called a ‘lie’ when speaking in an objective sense.
  • Spurgeon’s Calvinism (baldreformer.wordpress.com)
    In Spurgeon’s Calvinism, the Prince of Preachers walks readers through the five points that were formulated at Dort.  Readers familiar with his style will be drawn to his passion for Scripture and his ability to relate the doctrines in a unified whole.  While Spurgeon’s treatment of the doctrines of grace prove to be unshakeable in the final analysis, the real highlight of the book is its ability to draw worshippers to the throne of God.  Spurgeon’s Calvinism is a fitting introduction to this biblical way of viewing God’s purposes in redemptive history.
  • Is Atheism a Specifically Western Phenomenon? (the-american-interest.com)
    Atheism, as we know it, came out of a Judaeo-Christian context. But I would slightly re-phrase Garfinkle’s question. The dichotomy is not western/non-Western. It is Abrahamic/non-Abrahamic. It is a rebellion against the monotheistic faiths that originated in the Middle East–Judaism, Christianity, Islam. It makes much less sense in a non-monotheistic environment.
    The rebellion is triggered by an agonizing problem: How can God, believed to be both all-powerful and morally perfect, permit the suffering and the evil afflicting humanity? This is the problem called theodicy, which literally means the “justice of God”; in the spirit of the rebellion it is also a demand that God has to justify himself. The most eloquent expression of this atheist rebellion in literature is by Dostoyevsky’s Ivan Karamazov rejecting God, because he allowed the cruel murder of one child.
  • I was wrong – but I am right – Calvinists preach a false gospel. (craigbenno1.wordpress.com)
    Basically the doctrine of Divine Impassibility is one which states that God is not effected by his emotions. He suffers no pain and cannot suffer pain. Certainly within the framework of the Godhead, God isn’t affected by sinful emotions. Nor does God suffer tiredness, broken limbs and old age.

 

Understanding God’s Wrath

In the garden of Eden man has made the choice to do without God. It was man who abandoned the Divine Creator and not the other way, like so many want to present it.

There does not exist a God Who gives to His creation an eternal punishment, except when you would call death that eternal punishment. When after the return of Christ Jeshua shall have judged the people, they either shall enter the Kingdom of God or will receive their second death, meaning it shall be totally finished with them. When death, there is no feeling at all, it is just the end of the being. The dead shall not be tortured for ever like some denominations in Christendom and in a few other religions want people to believe.

God is a god of love and He shall provide those who love Him with the blessings He wants to give them. The anger of God has come already a few times over the world, but His anger is not kept all the time. It is not wrath of envy like by human beings. It can be a short rage, like we have seen some examples in the past.

Each person has the free choice to go in a nice or in no relationship with the Creator. The consequence of denying the Divine Creator shall only be that people who do not need God shall not have to blame Him for not finding life.

To remember:

  • We reap what we sow

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Find also to read:

  1. How are the dead?
  2. It is a free will choice
  3. Does God stands behind all evil on earth

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  • Day 297 ~ I Declare (metamorphosis2015.wordpress.com)
    Consent for everything must be always asked for, the reason and situation explained to me completely, and terms negotiated which are fully current and up to date, before any consent can be assumed or presumed.
  • We are at sea without a compass (memoirandremains.wordpress.com)
    If we have in the Word of God no infallible standard of truth, we are at sea without a compass, and no danger from rough weather without can be equal to this loss within.
  • Striving for the Good in the Face of Uncertainy: The Paradox of Faith and Politics in Kierkegaard and Niebuhr (wawalker.com)
    The paradox of politics for Rousseau was the question of, “Which comes first, good people or good laws?”  In other words, how can a democracy be legitimate when the legitimacy comes from the democracy itself which is to be founded? There is always the problem of delimiting the people and deciding who speaks for them. It is never a fixed entity, and certain groups are always excluded. According to Bonnie Honig in her book Emergency Politics: Paradox, Law and Democracy, “…even established regimes are hardly rendered immune by their longevity to the paradoxical difficulty that Rousseau names… the paradox of politics is replayed rather than overcome in time” (EP, 14).

Victorious!

sowing seed by IRRI Photos

Today’s reading is Galatians 6.

I don’t want to take away from seeing eternal punishment as God’s wrath poured out on sin, but Paul presents another facet of looking at this in Galatians 6. We reap what we sow. If we sow to the Spirit, we will reap the natural consequences of that–connection to God through the Spirit and eternal fellowship with Him. On the other hand, if we sow to the flesh, we will reap the natural consequences of that–corruption, sin and eternal separation from God. We must not see God’s wrath as if it is some fickle thing administered on people because they happened to get on His bad side. God’s wrath is the natural consequence on those who have told God through their lives that they don’t really want to be in relationship with Him. Eventually, as much as it pains Him, God will say to…

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All Souls’ Day

All Souls’ Day, in the Roman Catholic Church, is a day for commemoration of all the faithful departed, those baptised Christians who are believed to be in purgatory (from the Latin word, purgatio, which means purification), where according to Roman Catholic belief the souls of people who die are made pure through suffering before going to heaven. According the Catholics because they have died with the guilt of lesser sins on their souls they still have to undergo punishment for that.

File:Halloween Bangladesh.jpg

Bangladeshi girl lighting grave candles on the headstone of a deceased relative in the city of Chittagong for the observance of Allhallowtide. While she is doing this, her mother is praying for their passed relative. In the background, there are other Bangladeshi Christians hanging garlands on cross shaped grave stones.

All Souls’ is celebrated on November 2, or November 3 if November 2 is Sunday. Catho­lic doctrine holds that the prayers of the faith­ful on earth will help cleanse these souls in or­der to fit them for the vision of God in heav­en. According to them when enough people prayed for their souls they shall be able to leave the a place or state of temporary suffering or misery. From this the ‘Practice of souling‘ was at certain times very popular and is still kept in tradition in many European regions. The Celtic practice to buy protection from the gods and spirits was taken over by the Roman Catholic Church and in many countries it is still practised on the same night as the Celt and Druids did, October the 31st (Halloween) and on the two days after that night where spirits could damage the living souls. Those who were not harmed on the night of the death (All Hallows’ Eve) had to pray to the gods and dead to thank them for their protection.

On All Hallows’ Eve, certain Christians in some parts of the world visit graveyards to pray and place flowers and candles on the graves of their loved ones.

Though in life being protected against evil, punishment for the evil done or for the remaining sins, including unforgiven venial sins or forgiven mortal sins had to be undergone by the deceased by those spirits and devils who would temporarily torture the deceased to make him or her come to senses and to repent. Souls burdened by such sins must be purified before entering heaven, the dwelling place of God or the gods and the abode of the blessed dead, according to Catholic belief. The Catholic church also teaches that souls in purgatory may be aided by efforts of the living faithful through prayers, almsgiving, indulgences, and other works. In their teaching the curia from Rome saw an opportunity to gain a lot of money; They could enrich themselves by frightening the people with a damnation in hell or  in purgatory if they did not provided the church with enough gifts. To remember them enough of their duties to purify them and to guaranty themselves a place in heaven it was customary for criers dressed in black to parade the streets, ringing a bell of mournful sound and calling on all good Christians to remember the poor souls. “Souling”, the custom of baking and sharing soul cakes for all christened souls has been suggested as the origin of trick-or-treating. It was against this practice that Martin Luther protested. According to him and us God can not be bribed and it is not because people have lots of money they would receive a better place in God’s Kingdom if they pay more to the church. Poor people have as much chance or it could be even more easy to enter the Kingdom of God than those with a lot of wealth.

In many churches people were asked to give enough for the church to proof to God their faith. – Collecting the Offering in a Scottish Kirk by John Phillip

The existence of purgatory has been denied as unbiblical by Protestant churches and most Eastern Orthodox churches but many protestant denomination make their faithful afraid of hell; When the parishioners do not give enough to the church they perhaps would not come into a purgatory, but worse would (according to them) end up in hell were they would be burning and tortured for eternally. In many churches it is practice to go around in every service to collect money from the people present in church. when there is not enough money collected often they come to hear it next time with a sermon were is spoken of the necessary tithe (giving 10% of your gross income to the church)(from the old ordinal numeral in English, coming from a prehistoric West Germanic form *tehuntha-, formed from the cardinal numeral *tehun, “ten,” and the same ordinal suffix that survives in Modern English as -th) and the necessity to express their faith by giving enough to the church. They may claim it is based on tithing rules in the Bible were based on the Old Testament writings and habits, but forget that is was based specifically on the religious and social system of ancient Israel and on an agricultural economy before Jesus Christ installed the New Covenant. With the instalment of that covenant the old laws were made redundant. Lots of protestant teachers agree that the death of Christ made an end to the restrictions by the 613 laws which can be found in the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament. Also Messianic Christians do want to keep to the Sabbath rule and tithing, the requirements of Hebrews under the Old Covenant. But today they do not see it necessary to have circumcision, limitation of not eating pork or having kosher meals, or not mixing different natural fabrics (like not wearing wool and cotton together) so why, one might wonder, do pastors hit on this law of tithing as the one that should still be carried over? If people say they have to keep to the old laws than they must keep to all the old laws and can not just omit the ones which they consider not favourable for themselves.

A lot of Christian preachers by the protestant denominations, though they say not to believe in purgatory also preach a lot of the ‘catharsis‘ and pain which may come over people when they not tithe enough. some may say people do not to give the ten percent of their income (or money they gather from labour, investment) or production donated to a religious institution. Historically, one could pay a tithe in cash or in kind. In a few jurisdictions, tithes are enforced by law. More broadly, a tithe may refer to a religious donation, even if it is less than 10% of one’s income

The word purgatory as such, is not found in the Bible, though variations of katharsis, the Greek equivalent of purgatio, can be found (e.g., katharoi, Matt 5:8, and katharismou, 2 Pet. 1:9). Church fathers such as Augustine (354–430) found support for purgatory in 2 Maccabees 12:43–46, a passage (not considered canonical by Protestants) that mentions an expiatory sacrifice offered in the temple to atone for the sins of Jewish soldiers who died wearing pagan amulets. The inference is that there is expiation or means by which atonement is made for some sins after death.

The theology of indulgences is based on the concept that, even though the sin and its eternal punishment are forgiven through penance, divine justice demands that the sinner pay for the crime either in this life or in purgatory. The first indulgences were intended to shorten times of penance by substituting periods of fasting, private prayers, almsgiving, and monetary payments that were to be used for religious purposes. Pope Urban II granted the first plenary, or absolute, indulgence to participants in the First Crusade, and subsequent popes offered indulgences on the occasion of the later Crusades. After the 12th century they were more widely used, and abuses became common as indulgences were put up for sale to earn money for the church or to enrich unscrupulous clerics. Jan Hus opposed them, and Martin Luther‘s Ninety-five Theses (1517) were in part a protest against indulgences. In 1562 the Council of Trent put an end to the abuses but not to the doctrine itself.

From antiquity certain days were devoted to intercession for particular groups of the dead. The institution of a day for a general interces­sion on November 2 is due to Odilo, abbot of Cluny (10° century). The date, which became practically universal before the end of the 1 3th century, was chosen to follow All Saints’ Day. Having celebrated the feast of all the members of the church who are believed to be in heaven, the church on earth turns, on the next day, to commemorate those souls be­lieved to be suffering in purgatory for making atonement or to come to reconciliation between God and themselves.

Photo from Robert Bryndza’s site its article Slovakia Celebrates The Day Of The Dead

On All Souls’ Day (in the Roman Catholic Church) black vestments are worn, the office of the day is that of the dead, and the Roman liturgy permits every priest to celebrate three re­quiem masses (for their repose), one for the intention of the celebrant himself, one for all the faithful de­parted, and one for the intention of the pope. In many Catholic countries relatives visit the graves and place chrysanthemums and lighted candles on them. The feast was abolished in the Church of En­gland at the Reformation hut has been re­vived in Anglo-Catholic churches. Chrysanthemums are also traditionally put on graves during the Buddhist festival week of Higan, which comes twice a year for the spring and autumn equinoxes.

Graves with chrysanthemums

Graves with chrysanthemums

In Belgium, Austria, Slovakia, and a.o. France in the weeks before Allerheiligen or Toussaint (All Saints) and Allerzielen or Jour des Morts (All Souls/Day of the dead) the activity in the graveyards increase daily and on November the 1st and the 2nd it is running over the heads. People evidently plan ahead in order to avoid the rush. Fresh pots of flowers are brought and old pots are taken away, and the graves are cleaned with soap and hard brush. Children have one week of so often they have to go to the graveyards to do the preparatory cleaning work. On the public holiday roads gets cramped around village centres and graveyards all people wanting to great their beloved departed and families come together, often in the household of the oldest, to remember their ancestors. This time of year everywhere you can see many-fold chrysanthemums in bursts of all sorts colours: whites, yellows, purples and bronzed reds. Because chrysanthemums have become associated with dying and death,they are not so much given as a gift in France or other Catholic countries – not even in bouquets among other cut flowers.

Photo from “Slovakia Celebrates The Day Of The Dead” by Robert Bryndza

In the run-up to All Saints chrysanthemum sellers take over the pavements outside the cemeteries, brightening dull autumn days with yards of pavement covered in a full spectrum of opulent colour. At some graves it looks like a competition is going on of who can have the greatest and the most chrysanthemums on the grave. It is like people have to make it good they did not spend any time to keep the sepulchre nice in the rest of the year.

Atheists instituted November 11, the day of armistice of World War I in 1918, to have a public commemoration for the dead.

According to the Holy Scriptures or the Bible, when people die their life comes to an end and everything is finished. They will not be able to take anything with them in the grave. Others might put things in the coffin or in the sepulchre, but the deceased shall not be able to do anything with it. Human beings were not created to die but to live, though by the sin of the first man death came over mankind. The wrongdoing of man brings death over him.

“4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5 for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as {1} God, knowing good and evil. {1) Or [gods]}” (Genesis 3:4-5 ASV)

“And Jehovah God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, cursed art thou {1} above all cattle, and {1} above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: {1) Or [from among]}” (Genesis 3:14 ASV)

“Man, that is born of a woman, Is of few days, and full of trouble.” (Job 14:1 ASV)

“{1} Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one. {1) Or [Oh that a clean thing could come out of an unclean! not one] can.}” (Job 14:4 ASV)

“For as in Adam all die, so also in {1} Christ shall all be made alive. {1) Gr [the Christ]}” (1 Corinthians 15:22 ASV)

All shall have to face death. Every day we can be reminded to what can happen to each creature, having only a limited time to live. so we better make use of this time when we are still concious of what can happen and of what we can do to earn a better life than this in the present time. god has given the free gift of grace by His son who was willing to do only the Will of his heavenly Father, and therefore is accepted by the Only One God as a mediator between God and man.

 “For the wages of sin is death; but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23 ASV)

“but when the fulness of the time came, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law,” (Galatians 4:4 ASV)

“30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found {1} favor with God. {1) Or [grace]} 31 And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33 and he shall reign over the house of Jacob {1} for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. {1) Gr [unto the ages]} 34 And Mary said unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? 35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee: wherefore also {1} the holy thing which is begotten {2} shall be called the Son of God. {1) Or [that which is to be born shall be called holy, the Son of God] 2) Some ancient authorities insert [of thee]}” (Luke 1:30-35 ASV)

“21  Now it came to pass, when all the people were baptized, that, Jesus also having been baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, 22 and the Holy Spirit descended in a bodily form, as a dove, upon him, and a voice came out of heaven, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased. 23 And Jesus himself, when he began [to teach], was about thirty years of age, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the [son] of Heli,” (Luke 3:21-23 ASV)

“5 Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a {1} servant, {2} being made in the likeness of men; {1) Gr [bondservant] 2) Gr [becoming in]} 8 and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient [even] unto death, yea, the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8 ASV)

“But we behold him who hath been made {1} a little lower than the angels, [even] Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God he should taste of death for every [man]. {1) Or [for a little while lower]}” (Hebrews 2:9 ASV)

“Since then the children are sharers in {1} flesh and blood, he also himself in like manner partook of the same; that through death he {2} might bring to nought him that {3} had the power of death, that is, the devil; {1) Gr [blood and flesh]; Eph 6:12. 2) Or [may] 3) Or [hath]}” (Hebrews 2:14 ASV)

“Wherefore it behooved him in all things to be made like unto his brethren, that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.” (Hebrews 2:17 ASV)

“in whom we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,” (Ephesians 1:7 ASV)

“For there is one God, one mediator also between God and men, [himself] man, Christ Jesus,” (1 Timothy 2:5 ASV)

“11 according to the {1} eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: {1) Gr [purpose of the ages]} 12 in whom we have boldness and access in confidence through {1} our faith in him. {1) Or [the faith of him]}” (Ephesians 3:11-12 ASV)

“1  Being therefore justified {1} by faith, {2} we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; {1) Gr [out of] 2) Many ancient authorities read [let us have]} 2 through whom also we have had our access {1} by faith into this grace wherein we stand; and {2} we {3} rejoice in hope of the glory of God. {1) Some ancient authorities omit [by faith] 2) Or [let us rejoice] 3) Gr [glory]; Ro 5:11; Heb 3:6}” (Romans 5:1-2 ASV)

When we die we have paid for our sins, so not other contribution or penalty shall have to be paid. Under the blood of Christ we are sanctified, and when we repent for what we have done wrong, we shall be saved by the cleansing offer of Jesus. No other ransom shall be necessary.

All are thinking and handling shall come to an end when we die.

“His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; In that very day his {1} thoughts perish. {1) Or [purposes]}” (Psalms 146:4 ASV)

When we are alive we still have a voice, which we can use for the good; let us use it for praising God and showing others His Grace, making sure He will like us and bless us.

“For Jehovah taketh pleasure in his people: He will beautify the meek with {1} salvation. {1) Or [victory]}” (Psalms 149:4 ASV)

That we remember that all those who die shall return to the earth and become nothing but dust and that it is when we live that we should take care of our soul. Later it would be too late.

“His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; In that very day his {1} thoughts perish. {1) Or [purposes]}” (Psalms 146:4 ASV)

“Her house is the way to Sheol, Going down to the chambers of death.” (Proverbs 7:27 ASV)

“See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;” (Deuteronomy 30:15 ASV)

“I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before thee life and death, the blessing and the curse: therefore choose life, that thou mayest live, thou and thy seed;” (Deuteronomy 30:19 ASV)

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue; And they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” (Proverbs 18:21 ASV)

“Sheol {the grave} and {1} Abaddon are before Jehovah: How much more then the hearts of the children of men! {1) Or [Destruction]}” (Proverbs 15:11 ASV)

“10 There shall not be found with thee any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, one that useth divination, one that practiseth augury, or an enchanter, or a sorcerer, 11 or a charmer, or a consulter with a familiar spirit, or a wizard, or a necromancer. 12 For whosoever doeth these things is an abomination unto Jehovah: and because of these abominations Jehovah thy God doth drive them out from before thee.” (Deuteronomy 18:10-12 ASV)

“1  Better is the poor that walketh in his integrity Than he that is perverse in his lips and is a fool. 2  Also, {1} that the soul be without knowledge is not good; And he that hasteth with his feet {2} sinneth. {1) Or [desire without knowledge is not good] 2) Or [misseth] his way}…  7 All the brethren of the poor do hate him: How much more do his friends go far from him! {1} He pursueth [them with] words, [but] they are gone. {1) Or [He pursueth after words,] which [are nought]} 8  He that getteth {1} wisdom loveth his own soul: He that keepeth understanding shall find good. {1) Heb [heart]} … . 16 He that keepeth the commandment keepeth his soul; [But] he that {1} is careless of his ways shall die. {1) Heb [despiseth]} … 21 There are many devices in a man’s heart; But the counsel of Jehovah, that shall stand. … 23  The fear of Jehovah [tendeth] to life; And he [that hath it] shall abide satisfied; He shall not be visited with evil. 24 The sluggard burieth his hand in the dish, And will not so much as bring it to his mouth again. 25  Smite a scoffer, and the simple will learn prudence; And reprove one that hath understanding, [and] he will understand knowledge. 26  He that doeth violence to his father, and chaseth away his mother, Is a son that causeth shame and bringeth reproach. 27  Cease, my son, to hear instruction [Only] to err from the words of knowledge. 28  A worthless witness mocketh at justice; And the mouth of the wicked swalloweth iniquity. 29  Judgments are prepared for scoffers, And stripes for the back of fools.” (Proverbs 19:1-29 ASV)

“in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” (Genesis 3:19 ASV)

“and the dust returneth to the earth as it was, and the spirit returneth unto God who gave it.” (Ecclesiastes 12:7 ASV)

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References:

Rogers, Nicholas (2001). Halloween: From Pagan Ritual to Party Night. Oxford University Press. pp. 28–30. ISBN 0-19-514691-3.

“Halloween”. Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica.

Micropaedia Volume I, p 259-260; The New Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1980

Macropaedia Volume 5, p . 537; The New Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1980

Preceding articles:

  1. Autumn traditions for 2014 – 1: Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet
  2. Autumn traditions for 2014 – 2 Summersend and mansend
  3. Autumn traditions for 2014 – 3 Black Mass, Horror spectacles and pure puritans
  4. Autumn traditions for 2014 – 4 Blasphemy and ridiculing faith in God
  5. All Saints’ Day

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Find also to read:

  1. What happens when we die?
  2. Fear and protection
  3. Being Religious and Spiritual 5 Gnostic influences
  4. Expenses, costs – Onkosten, uitgaven
  5. Contribution – Contributie, bijdrage
  6. Ransom for all

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Also of interest:

  1. Purgatory a place for moral and spiritual purification
  2. Purgatory (pûrg´ətôr´ē) [Lat.,=place of purging], in the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, the state after death in which the soul destined for heaven is purified
  3. Where is the great Beyond?
  4. Eternal Laws of Creation #1………an intro!
  5. Paradise, the First Sin, the Fiery Sword, and the Path to Rectification
  6. My Path: A Walk Through Heaven and Hell, Samsara, and Bliss: Some Poems
  7. Realms, Roots and Mind: How the Triune Brain Model Verifies and Explains the Six Realms, and Shows How Thought Patterns Define Reality
  8. Tsimshian Shamanism and Mahamudra Chöd: a Brief Comparative Analysis
  9. The end point of faith
  10. The implication of rejecting the gospel
  11. The significance of Christ’s death for humanity
  12. Purity, a Necessity
  13. Jesus Balm of Gilead
  14. Temples, Tithes, and Taxes: The Temple and the Economic Life of Ancient Israel
  15. Parishes, Tithes and Society in Earlier Medieval Poland, C. 1100-C. 1250
  16. Who Benefited from Tithe Revenues in Late-Renaissance Bresse?
  17. When did “tithing” come to mean “giving 10% of your gross income to the Church”?
  18. Call to Tithe Often Misinterpreted; Devout Should Give as Proof of Worship
  19. Must Christians give ten percent of their income to the church?
  20. What Does the Bible Say About the Tithe or Tithing?
  21. Are Christians Required to Give 10% of Their Income to the Church?
  22. When Creditors Come Calling: Refunding Tithes and Offerings
  23. Chrysanthemums and All Souls’ Day
  24. Imports of chrysanthemums for adorning graves reach fever pitch
  25. The Flower of Death
  26. A French cemetery at Toussaint: chrysanthemums and yearning
  27. All Saints’ Day in France
  28. Slovakia Celebrates The Day Of The Dead

 

Quality control: Traders on Wednesday check on chrysanthemums imported from Malaysia in Narita, Chiba Prefecture. | Kyodo

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On other WordPress sites:

  1. The Fright Industry
  2. 13 Days to Halloween
  3. Excellence Autumn Events
  4. Is Halloween a Christian holiday?
  5. Factoid About Halloween
  6. Halloween – A Poem
  7. Celebrating Life by Mocking Death? Or, Why I Think Dia de los Muertos is Awesome
  8. Lesley’s Lagniappe ~ 10-14-14
  9. 26.14 – the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time
  10. All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day Project – Coming Up This Week!!
  11. All Saints Day
  12. All Saints’ Day, Holy Day of Obligation
  13. All Saints’ Day is Today’s Religious topic of the Day (08/25/14)
  14. All Saints Day and advice for the young at heart
  15. “Death Becomes Her” and Other October Musings
  16. Pentecost +15A, Proper 20 A: Sep. 21
  17. Pentecost +15A, Proper 20 A: Sep. 21
  18. All Saints Sunday or Pentecost +21A, Proper 25A: Nov. 2
  19. All Saints’ Day (or Sunday nearest Nov. 1) Year A
  20. All Saints Day (or Sunday): Nov. 1 (Oct. 28 or Nov. 4) (for year B)
  21. All Saints’ Day/Sunday C: Nov. 1 or 3
  22. Preparing for All Saints’ Day/Sunday Celebration
  23. Hymn for All Saints’ Day
  24. All Saints Day / All Souls Day
  25. All Souls’ Day
  26. All Souls Day: Prayer for the Departed
  27. Engravers Prepare for All Soul’s Day
  28. Food for Thought from Julian of Norwich
  29. Making art in honor of Day of the Dead
  30. A DIY Prayerbook for All Saints’ Day
  31. Festivals in Peru
  32. Unity of Ukiah Presents All Souls’ Eve Open Mic
  33. One Stop Dia de los Muertos Shop
  34. The Memory Of You

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  • A list of false teachings in the Roman Catholic { so called } Church | Catholic errors | Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry : The Whore Of Babylon Is The Vatican. (christianspooksite.wordpress.com)
    the Church, to whom the transmission and interpretation of Revelation is entrusted, does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence‘.”
    +
    CCC 2010, “Moved by the Holy Spirit and by charity, we can then merit for ourselves and for others the graces needed for our sanctification.”
    +
    Purgatory

    1. CCC 1031, “The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned. The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire:
    2. CCC 1475, “In the communion of saints, “a perennial link of charity exists between the faithful who have already reached their heavenly home, those who are expiating their sins in purgatory and those who are still pilgrims on earth. Between them there is, too, an abundant exchange of all good things.” In this wonderful exchange, the holiness of one profits others, well beyond the harm that the sin of one could cause others. Thus recourse to the communion of saints lets the contrite sinner be more promptly and efficaciously purified of the punishments for sin.
      +
      Indulgences

      1. CCC 1471, “The doctrine and practice of indulgences in the Church are closely linked to the effects of the sacrament of Penance. What is an indulgence? ‘An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints.’ ‘An indulgence is partial or plenary according as it removes either part or all of the temporal punishment due to sin.’ The faithful can gain indulgences for themselves or apply them to the dead.”
      2. CCC 1478, “An indulgence is obtained through the Church who, by virtue of the power of binding and loosing granted her by Christ Jesus, intervenes in favor of individual Christians and opens for them the treasury of the merits of Christ and the saints to obtain from the Father of mercies the remission of the temporal punishments due for their sins. Thus the Church does not want simply to come to the aid of these Christians, but also to spur them to works of devotion, penance, and charity.
      3. CCC 1498, “Through indulgences the faithful can obtain the remission of temporal punishmentresulting from sin for themselves and also for the souls in Purgatory.”
      4. CCC 1472, ” . . . On the other hand every sin, even venial, entails an unhealthy attachment to creatures, which must be purified either here on earth, or after death in the state called Purgatory. This purification frees one from what is called the “temporal punishment” of sin…”
  • The subject of “Purgatory” (celticcrossministry.wordpress.com)
    Folks below you will find a conversation on the topic of “Life after Death” also a place known to many billions of Catholic’s as “Purgatory”. No, not the Western Movie by the same name but, rather the space and place between the Pearly gates and the gates of Hell. Hence known as Purgatory.
  • Chapter 39-Death and the Soul’s Immortality (reformedontheweb.wordpress.com)
    The death of the wicked is easily accounted for. It constitutes a part of the penalty of sin, to which, the Scriptures teach, all men are liable (Rom. 5:12, 14; 1 Cor. 15:21, 22, 53-56), but from which, as such, the people of God are exempted because Christ has redeemed then from the curse of the law. The “death of the saint” instead of being accursed, is “precious in the sight of the Lord,” (Ps. 116:15), and this because he has redeemed them. Ps. 72:14. His death is a death “unto the Lord.” Rom. 14:8. Death is his. 1 Cor. 3:22. Its sting has been removed. 1 Cor. 15:56. But no one of these things is true of the wicked. He has neglected, or rejected the offer of salvation through Christ Jesus. There is no other method of escape from the penalty; and it rests upon him in all it fulness.It is not so easy to account for the death of the righteous. As he is no longer liable to the penalty of sin, there is no legal ground upon which he must endure death, and, because of which, he cannot be released. This is confirmed by the fact that some righteous have not died, and others will only be changed. But, while death may not thus be legally necessary, it may subserve many purposes in the gracious providence of God, and is, ordinarily, the best way for the Christian to attain the “change” for which he is destined. This should be believed even if it could in no respect be explained.
  • How to get to heaven – what are the ideas from the different religions? (altruistico.wordpress.com)
    There appear to be five major categories regarding how to get to heaven in the world’s religions. Most believe that hard work and wisdom will lead to ultimate fulfillment, whether that is unity with god (Hinduism, Buddhism, and Baha’i) or freedom and independence (Scientology, Jainism). Others, like Unitarianism and Wicca, teach the afterlife is whatever you want it to be, and salvation is a non-issue because the sin nature doesn’t exist. A few believe either the afterlife doesn’t exist or it’s too unknowable to consider.Derivatives of the worship of the Christian-Judeo God generally hold that faith in God and/or Jesus and the accomplishment of various deeds, including baptism or door-to-door evangelism, will ensure the worshiper will go to heaven. Only Christianity teaches that salvation is a free gift of God through faith in Christ (Ephesians 2:8–9), and no amount of work or effort is necessary or possible to get to heaven.
    +
    According to Catholicism, upon death, the souls of those who rejected Christ are sent to hell. The souls of those who accepted Christ and performed sufficient acts to be purified of sin go to heaven. Those who died in faith but did not complete the steps to be purified are sent to purgatory where they undergo temporary, painful punishment until their souls are cleansed. Purification by torment may be lessened by suffering during life and the offerings and prayers of others on the sinner’s behalf. Once purification is complete, the soul may go to heaven.
  • On Books Again And Purgatory (supertradmum-etheldredasplace.blogspot.com)
    Another great book which demonstrates the necessity for purgation and the existence of purgatory is Hungry Souls, by Gerard J. M. Van Den Aardweg. For those who have visited the Museum of Purgatory in Rome, some of the stories would be familiar, as well as some of the photos.
    +
    One of the things I want to highlight is the repetition of the idea that in purgatory there is real fire. many priests, bishops and even recent popes have moved away from this idea in private or public statements which are not ex cathedra, not infallible statements.The fact that many saints and those to whom souls in purgatory have visited to ask for prayers speak of fire or are seen in fire is a fact that cannot be denied.
  • Reclaiming Halloween (catholicmom.com)
    God has given us a great gift with His Church.  The gift of the saints, united in communion with the Eucharist.  Saints on earth, saints undergoing their final purification in purgatory, and saints in heaven.  And in times of doubt, we ask those great saints in heaven to pray for us.  They are closest to God.  Their souls are pure.  They are the perfect intercessors for our needs.  They know exactly how to present our requests to the one mediator, Jesus Christ.
  • Books on the afterlife (renewamerica.com)
    What do you take to the afterlife? What’s important to God? What best gets you through the ‘narrow gate’? There can be no more important questions, and this new book, by Catholic author Michael H. Brown, is aimed at many of the answers – culled from Church teaching, near-death experiences, saints, and other sources, including apparitions of the Blessed Mother. Brown, author of the bestseller The Other Side delves deeply into the concept of ‘life review’ or judgment: how our lives are evaluated upon passing by the Lord and his angels; the way in which our time on earth is viewed by the Lord; and the crucial nature of discerning and fulfilling our individual missions….
  • The Credo of the People of God (vultus.stblogs.org)
    We believe that in Adam all have sinned, which means that the original offense committed by him caused human nature, common to all men, to fall to a state in which it bears the consequences of that offense, and which is not the state in which it was at first in our first parents–established as they were in holiness and justice, and in which man knew neither evil nor death. It is human nature so fallen, stripped of the grace that clothed it, injured in its own natural powers and subjected to the dominion of death, that is transmitted to all men, and it is in this sense that every man is born in sin. We therefore hold, with the Council of Trent, that original sin is transmitted with human nature, “not by imitation, but by propagation” and that it is thus “proper to everyone.”
    +
    We believe that the souls of all those who die in the grace of Christ whether they must still be purified in purgatory, or whether from the moment they leave their bodies Jesus takes them to paradise as He did for the Good Thief are the People of God in the eternity beyond death, which will be finally conquered on the day of the Resurrection when these souls will be reunited with their bodies.
  • What is Purgatory? (qwhatis.com)
    According to the Catholic doctrine, even righteous people cannot be regarded as having completely pure souls that are free of sin. Because Catholics believe that an individual cannot come before God unless he is entirely clean, people must spend some time in the purgatory in order for them to become purified.According to the teachings of the Catholic Church, God can still forgive venial sinners. Compared to mortal sins, venial sins are less severe. This type of sin refers to the slight breaking of God’s law and are commonly committed thoughtlessly, instead of deliberately. However, it is important to note that repeatedly committing venial sins can result to mortal sins.

I Can’t Believe That (1) … God would send anyone to hell

Me neither. I certainly wouldn’t want anyone to go to suffer everlasting torment, however bad they were in life, and I don’t like the idea of a god would want that either. The idea of unending pain is not only intolerably cruel but to pretend that in any sense someone could deserve that fate so unjust as to be positively wicked. Regardless of how bad someone behaved, regardless of how many crimes they committed, no-one could do enough evil to justify an infinite punishment. Even worse is the suggestion that anyone who misses out on salvation will end up with the same punishment; petty crook and genocidal dictator alike, they all must endure an eternity of pain and suffering. A god who behaved in this way could not be described as “merciful“, could not even be described as “just”. Such a god could only be described as wicked. But the God I believe in is both merciful and just, so I can’t believe that He would send anyone to hell.

There is another reason why I can’t believe it – the idea isn’t even biblical. Look at what Jesus says about hell:

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell (Matthew 10:28)

Leave aside for a moment what Jesus meant by “soul” and “hell”, it is clear that Jesus did not think of hell as many Christians do. For Jesus, hell is not a place where the soul suffers eternal conscious torment. Instead hell is a place where the soul is killed, destroyed, finished, done.

Look at what Jesus promises to anyone who will accept it:

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them (John 3:36)

Jesus promises eternal life. The opposite of eternal life is not eternal conscious torment but eternal death. Jesus makes this clear in the words considered above. Whoever rejects the offer will “not see life”. They don’t go on living in torment and agony for all eternity. They just stay dead. That’s the fate of the wicked, that’s the fate of those who reject Jesus’ offer of life, they stay dead.

The question then is why do so many Christians believe in hell, given that is a horrible idea and not what Jesus taught? For some people, though they call themselves “Christian”, just use the doctrine of hell as a stick to beat their neighbours. There also probably some truth in the claim that the historic church used the threat of hell as a way of controlling its followers. But there are also many sincere and well-intentioned Christians who still believe in hell. This is because they are used to reading the Bible a certain way and have never been shown that it was written differently.

Many Christians believe that the soul is immortal, that it not only survives death but can never die. This is not what Jesus or the early Christians taught, but if you believe that the soul cannot die then you must believe it goes somewhere after death. You wouldn’t want to belief that wicked people end up in a good place (a lot of Christians believe they go to heaven when they die), so there must be a bad place for the bad people to go to. Once you’ve got this idea in your mind then you read the Bible to fit that idea. For example, whilst Jesus never talks about eternal conscious torment, he does talk about “eternal punishment” (Matthew 25:46). If you already believe that bad souls go to a bad place when they die, it is convenient to read “eternal punishment” as though it said “eternal conscious torment”. That’s not what Jesus said, but that’s what many Christians think.

English: Ge-Hinnom, c. 1900.

Ge-Hinnom or Valley of Hinnom, c. 1900. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It also does not help that Christians today have forgotten what Jesus meant when he used the word “hell”. When Jesus talks about hell he is usually using the word gehenna, which literally means “Valley of Hinnom“. This was a place in ancient Israel where the worshippers of the pagan god Molech would perform human sacrifices, including burning children (e.g. 2 Kings 23:10). This practice is condemned by God through the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 32:35). Jeremiah uses the imagery of being burnt in the Valley of Hinnom to portray the fitting punishment for those who practiced such evil (Jeremiah 7:31-32). This is the background to the word gehenna in the New Testament where it represents the fate of the wicked. When Jesus talks about the ‘fire of hell‘ (Matthew 5:22) he is using the word gehenna, using this imagery for the destruction of death. The other word used by Jesus for hell is hades. Though in greek mythology hades was both the abode of the dead and the god of the dead, in the New Testament hades simply refers to the grave. In either case Jesus was not referring to a place of eternal conscious torment for the wicked, as many people now think about hell.

As you can see from this overview I do not think that Christians should believe in hell and as such I do not think that hell provides any obstacle to believing in God. Jesus does not teach that the wicked go to hell and I do not know of any other part of the bible that teaches this idea. Wherever people got the notion of hell from it was not from God and not part of his message to mankind. I can understand that you would not want to believe in a god that condemned people to hell, though your personal dislike would not determine whether or not such a god existed. But the notion of hell is inconsistent with everything we know about the God who does exist; inconsistent with his goodness and inconsistent with his message to mankind.

+

Additional reading:

  1. Another way looking at a language #3 Abraham
  2. Sheol, Sheool, Sjeool, Hades, Hell, Grave, Tomb, Sepulchre
  3. Grave, tomb, sepulchre – graf, begraafplaats, rustplaats, sepulcrum
  4. Darkness, light, burning fire, Truth and people in it
  5. Jesus three days in hell
  6. Hellfire
  7. A fact of History or just a fancy Story
  8. The soul
  9. Dying or not
  10. Is there an Immortal soul
  11. Immortality, eternality – onsterfelijkheid, eeuwigheid
  12. Set free from any form of mental torment or self-condemnation
  13. Creator and Blogger God 3 Lesson and solution
  14. Creator and Blogger God 7 A Blog of a Book 1 Believing the Blogger
  15. Fragments from the Book of Job #1: chapters 1-12
  16. Fragments from the Book of Job #4: chapters 27-31
  17. We are ourselves responsible
  18. Self inflicted misery #6 Paying by death
  19. Self inflicted misery #8 Pruning to strengthen us
  20. Bad things no punishment from God
  21. Being Religious and Spiritual 3 Philosophers, Avicennism and the spiritual
  22. Being Religious and Spiritual 6 Romantici, utopists and transcendentalists
  23. Being Religious and Spiritual 7 Transcendence to become one
  24. Atonement And Fellowship 4/8
  25. Edward Wightman
  26. Fear and protection
  27. Fear of God reason to return to Holy Scriptures
  28. Eternity depends upon this short time on earth
  29. A small company of Jesus’ footstep follower

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  • Biblical Hell (focusedandfree.com)
    Because of the symbolic nature of the language, some people question whether hell consists of actual fire. Such reasoning should bring no comfort to the lost. The reality is greater than the symbol. The Bible exhausts human language in describing heaven and hell. The former is more glorious, and the latter more terrible, than language can express.
    +
    In Christian tradition it is usually associated with the notion of eternal punishment, especially by fire. This idea appears in Isaiah. 66:24, but it is not clearly associated with a place. Jewish writings from the third century B.C. onward, speak of places of punishment by fire for evil spirits and the wicked dead (1 Enoch 18:11-16108:3-7152 Esdras 7:36-38). The book of Revelation describes a lake that burns with fire and brimstone in which the wicked will be eternally punished (Revelation 19:2020:14-1521:8).
  • Gehenna in the ‘Love Wins’ controversy (creationconcept.wordpress.com)
    One aspect of the great controversy about hell, and about Bell’s thesis, is the meaning of the word Gehenna in the New Testament. Most English translations contribute to the confusion by replacing the word Gehenna with hell, instead of leaving it untranslated, as it should be, since it is the name of a specific geographical place on earth.
  • Is Gehenna the same as the lake of fire? (creationconcept.wordpress.com)
    Arthur W. Pink compared Gehenna with the lake of fire in Revelation 20 in his article on Eternal Punishment. He thought these two things were identical. But Pink may have been mistaken about this, as he was about the doctrine of dispensationalism. He eventually realized dispensationalism was false, and wrote a series of articles against that theory, which he previously supported.In his discussion of Gehenna, Pink compared things said of it with the information that is provided about the lake of fire. His comparison is summarized
  • Is Literal Hellfire Torment A Bible Teaching? (debatepolitics.com)
    The teaching of literal hellfire torment is commonplace in Christendom and non-Christian religions. This teaching defames the Creator and portrays him as a sadist who tortures people in flames of fire for all eternity—as punishment for wrongdoing committed during the relatively brief human lifespan. The hellfire dogma was brought into Christianity by the Roman Catholics who copied it from pagan religions. (Pagans are those who do not worship the God of the Judeo-Christian Bible.)
    +
    The scriptures indicate that hell is nothing more than mankind’s common grave. Proof of this is provided by a verse of scripture in the Bible, which no hellfire-believing Christian can explain away. I’m referring to the scripture that says Jesus Christ–the epitome of a perfect, sinless, and obedient man–died and went to hell.
  • What and Where is Hell Anyway? (robertjrgraham.com)
    When most people think of hell, they think of Satan in that red suit with two horns and a pitchfork somewhere in the depths of the Earth where souls are tormented day and night on some kind of giant char broiler. Do something wrong in life and you’re condemned to an eternal damnation of flames. None of this could be further from the truth, and we should know better, “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices” (II Corinthians 2:11).The English word hell comes from the Anglo-Saxon hel, or in the genitive case helle, which means a “hidden place”, from the Anglo-Saxon word helan, meaning “to hide”.
    +
    Whether it’s the word sheol in the Old Testament, or gehenna or hades in the New Testament, they all mean either the grave or the state of death.
  • Is Hell eternal or do those who do not choose Christ just cease to exist? (askthepastors.wordpress.com)
    There are four words used in the Bible for the place of the dead, Sheol, the Hebrew term for the grave and also for the place of departed spirits, Hades, the Greek version of Sheol, the Abyss (used for the place of the dead in Romans 10:7, but usually reserved for place of judgment for demons, Luke 8:31; Rev. 9:1,2, 20:1) and Gehenna, the term taken from the Valley of Hinnom just south of Jerusalem where trash was perpetually burned. This last word refers specifically to the final place of torment, most properly translated “hell” (Matthew 5:22,29,30; 10:28; 18:9, etc.)
  • Comments on Walter Balfour’s interpretation of Gehenna (creationconcept.wordpress.com)
    In their disputes about the meaning of Gehenna, both men overlooked the significance of Gehenna as a topographical feature in the land of promise, and one of the valleys which Isaiah said will be filled, as John the Baptist proclaimed. [Luke 3:5]From Gehenna, one views Jerusalem as an outsider; the teachings of Jesus encourage us to get into the kingdom of God, and obtain life.
    +The sayings of Jesus about Gehenna also apply to the present age. Gehenna is a judgment. [Mat. 5:22, 23:33] Jesus referred to it as something we should avoid at any cost, even if it means loss of our right eye, or our right hand, or our right foot. [Mat. 5:29, 30] Jesus said God is able to destroy “both soul and body” in Gehenna, and that we should fear him. [Mat. 10:28, Luke 12:5] This suggests that the warnings about Gehenna apply to our present lives; being cast into it represents the spiritual condition, of being outside the holy city.Being cast into Gehenna contrasts with entering into life. [Mat. 18:9] Scribes, Pharisees, and hypocrites are called “children of Gehenna.” [Mat. 23:15] Balfour correctly pointed out “no Gentile is ever threatened with Gehenna punishment,” as that threat applies especially to those in Jerusalem. One must be in the holy city, in order to be cast out of it. While the threat of “the damnation of Gehenna” applies only to Jews, the heirs of salvation, who are “in Christ,” are called Jews, and “the circumcision,” in a spiritual sense; Jesus used the threat of Gehenna figuratively and metaphorically to warn the saints who dwell in the heavenly Jerusalem.
  • Is Punishment Eternal? (pilgrimpassing.com)
    Thus, sheol and hades were the same place and must have been occupied by the redeemed since the Messiah was there while His body lay in the grave. That the lost were also there, but in a separate area, is clear from Christ’s statement that when the rich man died, “in hades he lift up his eyes, being in torment….” That in his torment he could see Lazarus and Abraham in comfort (Luke 16:19-31) further indicates that the redeemed were also in hades yet distinct from the damned. That part of hades, which Christ referred to as “Abraham’s bosom,” must have been the “paradise” in which Jesus promised to meet the believing thief on the cross that very day (Luke 23:43).
    +
    If God is so loving why doesn’t He universally forgive everyone? Love is only part of God’s character. He is also infinitely and perfectly just. How can God forgive someone who admits no guilt? How can He forgive those who insist that there is nothing for which He needs to forgive them? And would it not be the utmost folly to do so? If in His mercy and grace God simply passed over human rebellion, would that not be condoning evil and even encouraging it? Would that not in itself undermine God’s control of His universe?
  • Walter Balfour’s discussion of Gehenna
  • Hope in Gehenna?
  • John Calvin on Gehenna
  • Gehenna applies to the church, not the world
  • Gehenna in the ‘Love Wins’ controversy
  • To Hell with Hell
  • Philosophy – What Is Hell?
  • Jason Erb critically analyzes biblical doctrines on Truth Hertz with Charles Giuliani, January 1, 2013
  • Lost Soul in Hell
  • The Amazing Race of God
  • God versus Satan
  • A Full Documentary About the Signs of Apocalypse
  • Reality of Hell…
  • To Hell with HellIs Punishment Eternal?
  • There Is No Hell, Look It Up

Christianity without the Trinity

Nicene Creed in cyrillic writing

Nicene Creed in cyrillic writing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since the Council of Constantinople (381) the concept that God exists as three Persons in one Substance has been affirmed has formed a central part of the Christian confession. Though perhaps neglected in Protestant theology, the modern evangelical movement has given considerable emphasis to the doctrine of the Trinity as fundamental constituent of Christianity. Nevertheless a number of groups, including the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Christadelphians and the Church of God of the Abrahamic Faith, have from biblical foundations developed a trinity-less theology. In their book The Doctrine of the Trinity: Christianity’s Self-Inflicted Wound, Sir Anthony Buzzard and Charles Hunting presented the argument that the doctrine of the Trinity is both a misrepresentation of the biblical doctrine of God and a liability that weakens Christianity’s power.[1] The controversy caused by The Myth of God Incarnate opened up to scrutiny the doubts of ‘respectable’ theologians about the ideas surrounding the divinity of Christ.[2]

The question I wish to consider in this article is what would Christianity without the Trinity look like, and is such a Christianity desirable? This can only be a cursory survey of the issues involved nevertheless I hope that this review prompts a reconsideration of the centrality ascribed to the doctrine of the Trinity in Christian theology.

A Platonic Doctrine

English: Diagram of the Holy Trinity based on ...

Diagram of the Holy Trinity based on the Hebrew word רוח “air, wind, spirit” having feminine grammatical gender in the Hebrew language (though in fact in a significant minority of its occurrences in the Hebrew Bible, the word actually has masculine grammatical gender). Could be considered “non-orthodox” by the criteria of the traditional mainstream of Christian doctrine. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When theologians write about the doctrine of the Trinity they cite great luminaries like Augustine and Karl Barth, and, occasionally, the Bible.[3] But rarely will one pause to consider the theological pioneers of later Christian doctrine, such as the early apologists. Yet any scholar who deigns to do so will come against the awkward fact that the concept of a triune god is not Christian at all, but has the Platonists as its progenitors.[4] If Justin Martyr held a doctrine of three divine principles (First Apology 13), it is because Middle Platonists like Numenius of Apamea held this doctrine first. And the first thinker to propose three co-ordinate divine members of a trinity was not one of the Cappadocian Fathers[5] but a bitter enemy of Christianity, the Neo-Platonist Porphyry.[6]

The Platonic doctrine of a triune god is an imposition upon Christianity and an imposition that diverts Christianity from its original message and purpose. The simplicity of Christ’s teaching was supplanted by philosophic complexities that are seldom consistently defined. And thus too, the Bible was, in part, supplanted, because where in the Bible can one go to find theological definitions about the Trinity? It is noticeable that the Nicene Creed quotes verbatim from the New Testament regarding almost every aspect of belief except its definitions of the nature and trinity of God, where philosophic terms are supplied instead.[7]

A return to the teaching of Christ and the apostles would necessitate a reversal of the Platonic influence upon Christianity and thus require the revoking of the doctrine of Trinity.

The Role of Christ

In early Christian thought Christ was understood as a mediator. Paul writes ‘there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ’ (1 Tim 2:5). This relationship between to God and Jesus was seen through the role of high priest, Paul describing Christ as ‘making intercession’ for believers (Rom 8:34). Paul does not connect the intercession of Christ to any supposed divinity but to his ascension to the right hand of God. We find the same concept used in Acts when Peter says of Christ ‘God has exalted him to his right hand to be a prince and a saviour, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins’ (Acts 5:31).

The writer to the Hebrews makes this concept his own, repeatedly naming Jesus ‘High Priest’. As with Paul, this intercession is linked to the literal ascension of Jesus from the earth to the right hand of God, ‘passing into the heavens’, as the writer puts it (Heb 4:14). Christ’s entry into the presence of God is described as a high priest entering the Holy of Holies (Heb 9:11-12). And, unequivocally, Christ becomes High Priest, not by intrinsic divinity but by the calling of God (Heb 5:5-6, 10, 6:20).

Other early Christian writers also view Christ has a mediator between God and men. Clement of Rome describes Jesus as ‘High Priest’, saying that he was ‘chosen’ by God (1 Clem 64). Ignatius too uses the term ‘High Priest’ but also describes Christ’s intercession through another figure, saying ‘he is the doorway to the Father’ (Ign.Phil 9). Also see Polycarp’s letter to Smyrna, where he too says Christ is ‘High Priest’ (12).

If Christ is promoted to the Godhead (and the Holy Spirit too), who then intercedes on behalf of believers? Historically, this problem was ‘solved’ by the introduction of a series of other go-betweens, namely the Saints and the clergy. In modern evangelical theology can alternative ‘solution’ has been posited, namely that Christ, whilst ontologically co-equal with the Father, remains subordinate and can thus perform his scripturally defined duties of intercession.[8] Yet this fudge simply results in the conundrum that Jesus is neither fully co-equal, nor fully mediator.

Sola Scriptura

Luther Bible, 1534

Luther Bible, 1534 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The fifteenth and sixteenth centuries saw both the invention of the printing press and the translation of the Bible into the common tongues of the people of Europe. And following almost immediately on the heels of these developments was the emergence of groups that denied the doctrine of the Trinity. The Socinians, the Brüder in Christo and other unitarian groups were founded across Europe, teaching that the Bible alone was authoritative and that the Bible knew nothing of the Trinity. The problem for the Protestants was clear. The Reformation was founded on the principle of sola scriptura, and yet these groups, who also held the principle of sola scriptura, denied the doctrine of the Trinity.

English Protestant theologians wrestled with this problem throughout the seventeenth century. They urged that the believer needs both scripture and reason, and hoped that reason itself would be sufficient to safeguard the Trinity. Catholic theologians pounced upon the dilemma, challenging the Protestants to meet the objections of the Socinians by scripture alone or else return to the Catholic rule of faith.[9] The consequence of these disputes led English Protestants to neglect the doctrine of Trinity, passing over it in silence, a tacit admission that with scripture alone as the rule of faith the Trinity could not be sustained.[10]

Vickers bemoans the demise of the Trinity as the impact of an emphasis on the Trinity as a set of propositions (the immanent Trinity), and urges a return to the invocation of the Trinity in the believer’s encounter with God (the economic Trinity).[11] Yet, as Karl Rahner declares, the economic Trinity is the immanent Trinity; it would make little sense to invoke God as Trinity if that set of propositions cannot be assented to. Given then the failure of Protestant theologians to defend the doctrine of the Trinity by scripture alone, it seems we must either abandon the Trinity or the founding principle of the Reformation, sola scriptura.

Modern evangelicals attempt to hold both sola scriptura and the Trinity, and yet it seems no evangelical can preach about the Trinity without reference to the creeds.[12] Though evangelicals may claim that the bible alone is authoritative, there is implicit in many evangelical writings a retreat to tradition to defend the doctrine of the Trinity.

Interfaith Dialogue

Christianity is oft categorized as one of the three great monotheistic faiths, alongside Judaism and Islam. Yet the Trinitarian conception of monotheism is determinedly different from that of either Jews or Muslims. Inasmuch as the Trinity is three Persons in one Substance, the Trinitarian claim to monotheism is an ontological one. However, viewed from a liturgical perspective it is hard to escape the fact that Trinitarian Christians claim to experience God in plurality, worshipping three Persons as God. This feels very different from the Jewish experience of a uni-personal God, and seems to have more in common with Hinduism’s conception of Brahman.

The upshot of this is that in dialogue with other monotheistic faiths the Trinitarian brings to the table a plural conception of God. However carefully the theologian may define the Trinity ontologically as one God, the bread-and-butter of traditional Christian liturgy is hopelessly poly-personal. Christians may claim to be monotheists but they appear for all world to practice polylatry. This hampers interfaith dialogue (and ultimately evangelism).

The issue is not simply that Christians experience God differently from other faiths, but that they define God differently. Judaism, Christianity and Islam all claim to adherence to the God of Abraham, and yet the Trinitarian definition of God is simply alien to both Jews and Muslims (and, one must assume, would have been alien to Abraham himself). Therefore Christianity’s most primitive form of evangelism, preaching the coming of Jewish Messiah, is robbed from it by a doctrine that fundamentally alters the conception of the God of Abraham.

The Atonement

One proposition above any other motivates the continued emphasis on the doctrine of the Trinity in modern evangelical theology: that only God could be sufficient substitute to bear the punishment due to mankind. It therefore becomes necessary that Jesus was fully God to bring about the atonement and to question the Trinity is treated as tantamount to denying the salvation of believers.[13] Yet this doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement is a relatively new doctrine; it certainly did not motivate the doctrinal innovations that led to the formulation of the notion of the Trinity.

It is beyond the scope of this article to digress into a full rebuttal of the notion of penal substitutionary atonement but, in brief, there are at least two reasons why Christianity would be better off without such a doctrine.

Firstly, none of the New Testament writers appeal to the idea of a substitute to explain the atoning sacrifice of Christ. The analogy to the brazen serpent speaks of a representative icon (John 3:14-15); the analogy to the Passover lamb speaks of a representative offering (1 Cor 5:7); even the analogy to the Day of Atonement speaks of a representative death (Heb 9:11-14). The recapitulation theory that Paul develops at length (Rom 5:12-21; 1 Cor 15:20-22; Phil 2:5-11) knows nothing of a substitutionary death, rather an offering of obedience to God (Rom 5:19). Even the very words of the NT writers presuppose a representative understanding of the Christ’s death, using huper (‘on behalf of’) in preference to anti (‘instead of’) in almost every instance where the death of Christ is described (cf. Luke 22:19-20; John 6:51; Rom 5:6-8; 1 Cor 15:3; 2 Cor 5:14; Gal 1:4; Eph 5:2; 1 Thes 5:10; 1 Tim 2:6; Tit 2:14; 1 Pet 2:21; 1 John 3:16).[14]

Secondly, the notion of penal subtitutionary atonement skews our notion of God. The psalms describe a God who does not desire sacrifices (Ps 40:6; 51:16). Hosea states that God prizes mercy above sacrifice (Hos 6:6; cf. Matt 9:13, 12:7). The idea of a God who requires sacrifice as a prerequisite for mercy seems inconsistent with this picture. Rather the biblical concept of forgiveness is one without price or condition; the king in the parable, moved with compassion, writes off the debt of his servant without any requirement of some other source of remittance (Matt 18:22-27). Followers of Christ are instructed to forgive freely; are we then more righteous than God, who only forgives at cost? This notion would seem to annul the very idea of grace and portray God as limited and constricted by the requirements of Justice, unable to act freely upon His compassion. This is not the God of the Bible.

Christianity without the Trinity

Christ Church

Christ Church (Photo credit: Nathan Kavumbura)

There are some that feel that without the doctrines of the Trinity and of the incarnation Christianity is doomed to failure. It is claimed that robbing Christ of his divinity makes his message and mission of null affect, and ultimately leads to a denial of the atonement, the resurrection and miracles in general.[15] Unfortunately in some cases, such as the Unitarians (capital ‘U’), this has been the result, Jesus being treated as just a righteous teacher. However there is no reason why the reductive process of removing the doctrine of the Trinity from Christianity should be a purely negative process. Rather it is, I am arguing, a restoration of the primitive Christian faith.

What, then, would Christianity without the Trinity look like? A unitarian creed might look something like this:

  1. There is one God (Mark 12:32), who is the Creator of all things (Eph 4:6) and the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor 8:6; 2 Cor 1:3).
  2. There is one Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor 8:6; Eph 4:5), the Son of God (Rom 1:4) born of a virgin (Gal 4:4; Matt 1:23; Luke 1:27f), who lived a sinless life of obedience to God (2 Cor 5:21; 1 Pet 2:22; Rom 5:19), was crucified and rose the third day (1 Cor 15:3-4). Through his death Christ reconciled man to God (Rom 5:10).
  3. There is one Spirit (1 Cor 12:13; Eph 4:4), the power of God (Luke 1:35), by which God inspired the prophets (2 Pet 1:21) and works miracles (Gal 3:5).

What would Christianity without the Trinity feel like? It would feel more reminiscent of its Jewish roots, more consistent with its claims to monolatry, more reflective of scriptural language, and more intelligible to its adherents.

It has oft been claimed that those who deny the Trinity aren’t real Christians. Yet a ‘Christian’ (Greek christianos) by definition is a follower of Christ, and if this is to be anything more than a nominal title then those who claim to be Christian should follow Christ, in both his teaching and mode of life. Jesus Christ preached the God of Abraham (Matt 22:32) as his Father and as the one true God (John 17:3). Isn’t it time for the teaching of Christians to reflect the teaching of Christ?


[1] A. F. Buzzard & C. F. Hunting, The Doctrine of the Trinity: Christianity’s Self-Inflicted Wound (New York: International Scholars Publications, 1998).

[2] The Myth of God Incarnate (ed. J. Hick; London: SCM Press, 1977).

[3] Cf. M. A. McIntosh, Divine Teaching: An Introduction to Christian Theology (Oxford: Blackwell 2008), 111-178

[4] T. E. Gaston, The Influence of Platonism on the Early Apologists, The Heythrop Journal 50.4 (2009), 573-580.

[5] Pace I. S. Markham, Understanding Christian Doctrine (Oxford: Blackwell, 2008), 76-7.

[6] J. Dillon, ‘Logos and Trinity: Patterns of Platonist Influence on Early Christianity’, in The Philosophy in Christianity, (G. Vesey ed.; Cambridge University Press, 1989).

[7] E.g. “Light of Light, very God of very God”, “being of one substance with the Father”, etc.

[8] R. M. Bowman, Why you should believe in the Trinity (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1989), 78-81.

[9] J. E. Vickers, Invocation and Assent: The Making and Remaking of Trinitarian Theology, (Grand Rapinds: Eerdmans, 2008), 69-101.

[10] Vickers, Invocation and Assent, 165-7

[11] Vickers, Invocation and Assent, 191-2

[12] cf. S. Olyott, The Three are One (Darlington: Evangelical Press, 1979), 101-2; N. Gumbel [Alpha Course], Is the Trinity Unbiblical, Unbelievable and Irrelvant? (Eastbourne: Kingsway, 2004), 7;

[13] cf. J. I Packer, Knowing God (Leicester: IVP, 1984)166-170.

[14] The single exception to this rule is Matt 20:28 (cf. Mark 10:45), “to give his life a ransom for (anti) many”.

[15] Cf. Packer, Knowing God, 46+

Please do find to read:

  1. Did the Inspirator exist
  2. God, Creation and the Bible Hope
  3. God of gods
  4. A god between many gods
  5. Only One God
  6. God is One
  7. “Who is The Most High” ? Who is thee Eternal? Who is Yehovah? Who is God?
  8. The Divine name of the Creator
  9. God about His name “יהוה“
  10. Jehovah Yahweh Gods Name
  11. Sayings around God
  12. Attributes of God
  13. One God the Father, a compendium of essays
  14. Some one or something to fear #6 Faith in the Most High
  15. God Helper and Deliverer
  16. God is Spirit
  17. Praise the most High Jehovah God above all
  18. Praise and give thanks to God the Most Highest
  19. Lord or Yahuwah, Yeshua or Yahushua
  20. Yahushua, Yehoshua, Yeshua, Jehoshua of Jeshua
  21. Jesus begotten Son of God #12 Son of God
  22. Seeing Jesus
  23. Jesus Messiah
  24. Christ begotten through the power of the Holy Spirit
  25. Who was Jesus?
  26. Jesus spitting image of his father
  27. Jesus and his God
  28. Is Jesus God?Jesus and His God
  29. Jesus is the Son of God but Not God the Son
  30. How much was Jesus man, and how much was he God?
  31. On the Nature of Christ
  32. Jesus spitting image of his father
  33. Yeshua a man with a special personality
  34. A man with an outstanding personality
  35. Reasons that Jesus was not God
  36. The wrong hero
  37. He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. #1 Creator and His Prophets
  38. Jesus begotten Son of God #5 Apsotle, High Priest and King
  39. Jesus begotten Son of God #13 Pre-existence excluding virginal birth of the Only One Transposed
  40. Jesus begotten Son of God #14 Beloved Preminent Son and Mediator originating in Mary
  41. Jesus begotten Son of God #19 Compromising fact
  42. One Mediator
  43. Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:1, 2 – Factual Data
  44. A fact of History or just a fancy Story
  45. Politics and power first priority #2
  46. Politics and power first priority #3 Elevation of Mary and the Holy Spirit
  47. A promise given in the Garden of Eden
  48. 2 Corinthians 5:19 – God in Christ
  49. Christ Versus the Trinity
  50. Is God a Trinity?
  51. The Trinity – true or false?
  52. The Trinity – the Truth
  53. The Trinity: paganism or Christianity?
  54. Trinity And Pagan Influence
  55. How did the Trinity Doctrine Develop
  56. How did the doctrine of the Trinity arise?
  57. History of the acceptance of a three-in-one God
  58. Questions for those who believe in the Trinity
  59. Altered to fit a Trinity
  60. Preexistence in the Divine purpose and Trinity
  61. The Great Trinity Debate
  62. TD Jakes Breaks Down the Trinity, Addresses Being Called a ‘Heretic’
  63. Compromise and accomodation
  64. Written to recognise the Promised One
  65. Christ begotten through the power of the Holy Spirit
  66. Do not be afraid. Good news because a Saviour has been born
  67. About a man who changed history of humankind
  68. No Other Name (But Jesus)
  69. Doesn’t the name “Immanuel” show that Jesus is God, and therefore proves the Trinity? (Isa. 7:14, Mat. 1:23)
  70. Is Isaiah 9:6′s “Wonderful counselor” related to Isaiah 7:14 and 8:8′s “Immanuel”?
  71. Why does Isaiah 9:6 call Jesus “Mighty God, Everlasting Father”?
  72. In the death of Christ, the son of God, is glorification
  73. One Mediator between God and man
  74. Philippians 1 – 2
  75. Worshipping Jesus
  76. Idolatry or idol worship
  77. People Seeking for God 2 Human interpretations
  78. People Seeking for God 4 Biblical terms
  79. Patriarch Abraham, Muslims, Christians and the son of God
  80. Science and God’s existence
  81. Science, belief, denial and visibility 1
  82. Blackness, nothingness, something, void
  83. Being Religious and Spiritual 5 Gnostic influences
  84. Joseph Priestley To the Point
  85. Hanukkahgiving or Thanksgivvukah
  86. Not all christians are followers of a Greco-Roman culture
  87. Thanksgivukkah and Advent
  88. The professor, God, Faith and the student
  89. Concerning gospelfaith
  90. Creator and Blogger God 7 A Blog of a Book 1 Believing the Blogger
  91. Apologetics (23) – The Hard Questions: Which God? The Exclusivity Issue (7) The Resurrection and Exclusivity
  92. Pluralis Majestatis in the Holy Scriptures
  93. Finding and Understanding Words and Meanings
  94. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #10 Prayer #8 Condition
  95. Follower of Jesus part of a cult or a Christian
  96. Edward Wightman
  97. Focus on Jehovah’s Witnesses
  98. Book of Mormon (5): God and Jesus
  99. The Book of Mormon: (7) Right First Principles are Essential to Getting it Right
  100. What the Qur’an Says About…(2): Jesus
  101. Creation’s Gospel: (12) The Veiled Glory

+++

Additional reading:

  1. Trinity And Pagan Influence
  2. Trinity: A False Doctrine of a False Church
  3. Part 2) God is not a Trinity
  4. The Trinity: paganism or Christianity?
  5. Unitarianism and the Bible of the Holy Trinity
  6. Trinity: The Truth about Matthew 28:19 & 1 John 5:7
  7. Anyone Who Goes Too Far and Does Not Abide in the Teaching of Christ, Does Not Have God
  8. Is Jesus God?

+++

Also of interest:

  1. Trinity Proof Texts Considered
  2. Unitarianism and the Bible of the Holy Trinity
  3. Can Genuine Christians Be Trinitarian or Non-Trinitarian?
  4. Trinity Doctrine vs Oneness Pentecostalism Doctrine – Berean Perspective Podcast
  5. The Unholy Trinity
  6. The Trinity: A Fundamental of the Faith or a Fable?
  7. Trinity And Pagan Influence
  8. Jesus Christ and God – Some Basic Considerations
  9. The Trinity – A Doctrine Overdue for Extinction
  10. What About Those Who Do Not Know The Name of God?
  11. The Existence of Jesus Christ
  12. The Doctrine Of The Trinity
  13. The Top Ten Most Important Church Councils
  14. Cult or True Religion
  15. Reimagining the Historicity of the Bible
  16. Bishop T. D. Jakes says he now embraces the Trinity Doctrine: T. D. Jakes was interviewed by pastor Mark Driscoll and pastor James MacDonald on January 27, 2012 at Harvest Bible Chapel
  17. TD Jakes Breaks Down the Trinity, Addresses Being Called a ‘Heretic’ By Nicola Menzie
  18. T.D. Jakes is Heretical Concerning Modalism Whether he Believes it or Not
  19. Changed Heart for @StevenFurtick & @BishopJakes: Conviction in The #ElephantRoom. Lessons for dads?
  20. An Elephant Room Roundup
  21. Mark Driscoll And The Mars Hill Churches: When Discipline Becomes Control Becomes … ?
  22. Heretical Modalism and T.D. Jakes Doctrine On the Trinity
  23. The Leader of the Episcopal Church is a Heretic
  24. Critiquing N.T. Wright’s monotheism
  25. God, the Trinity
  26. This Is That – 1
  27. Dwell
  28. A brief visit to the Father of Revolution and Evolution
  29. Who Are You Really Slandering?
  30. On Union with God
  31. By the oaks of Mamre

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  • Nineteenth Century Protestant Doctrines of the Trinity (redeemingthetext.wordpress.com)
    The discussion in chapter nineteen of The Oxford Handbook of the Trinity is, in brief form, one of how Enlightenment philosopher-theologians developed innovative ways to discuss the Trinity and their effectiveness leading into the twentieth century.
    +
    Immanuel Kant, a German Idealist continuing the exegesis of the Socinians, saw no need for the doctrine of the Trinity. It was this idea of “necessity” mixed with speculative interpretation that led many like Kant to dismiss it altogether. Questions addressing God’s being, volition, and self-consciousness brought to light some of the supposed weak spots in the Trinitarian doctrine. Not being convinced scripturally of the nature or the necessity of the Trinity, nineteenth-century theologians turned to philosophy to answer their questions. Powell describes it as providing “philosophical answers with expressly Trinitarian features (269).” This move loosened the shackles of theological presuppositions and creedal traditions. Nineteenth-century theology was freed to philosophically construct a new horizon for the doctrine of God. Powell examines four prominent figures to structure his argument.
  • Hans Kung on Trinity Part 2 (presenttruthmn.org)
    This is continued from the previous post on the Trinity. It is taken directly from Hans Kung’s book ‘Christianity: Essence, History and Future’

    All this should have made it clear that according to the New Testament the key quesiton in the doctrine of the Trinity is not the question which is declared an impenetrable ‘mystery’ (mysterium stricte dictum), how three such different entities can be ontologically one, but the christological question how the relationship of Jesus (and consequently also of the Spirit) to God is to be expressed. Here the belief in the one God which Christianity has in common with Judaism and Islam may not be put in question for a moment. There no other God but God! But what is decisive for the dialogue with Jews and Christians in particular is the insight that according to the New Testament the principle of unity is clearly not the one divine ‘nature’ (physis) common to several entities, as people were to think after the ne0-Nicene theology of the fourth century. For the New Testament, as for the Hebrew Bible, the principle of unity is clearly the one God (ho theos: the God = the Father), from whom are all things and to whom are all things.

  • A Theology Big Enough for the Gospel: Reviewing Mike Bird’s Evangelical Theology (marccortez.com)
    despite the fact that Bird mentions the image of God throughout, clearly viewing it as an important topic that has bearing on a range of other issues, he devotes only five pages to it, one of which is just a recitation of the relevant biblical verses. His excursus on infra- vs. supralapsarianism is almost as long! And union with Christ hardly gets any attention at all. In a systematic theology, pages are like currency; what you invest in shows what you value. And I was surprised at a few of the investments.
    +
    Bird affirms a social trinitarian approach, defining the divine persons as “self-aware” beings who are “capable of consciousness” (p. 615), and he even refers to separate consciousnesses in the Trinity (p. 118). Regardless of whether you think social trinitarianism is viable, Bird’s discussion simply fails to deal with the historical and theological objections that can (and have!) been raised. And unfortunately, these aren’t isolated incidents.
  • What’s Old is New Again: The Return of “Biblical Unitarianism” (southernreformation.wordpress.com)
    While I’m used to defending the deity of Christ against the Jehovah’s Witnesses, or fending off Mormon misunderstandings of the doctrine of the Trinity, I never thought I would see professing “conservative evangelicals” who were willing to jettison the central dogma that makes Christianity…Christianity.But it’s happening.

    I can name at least three churches in my immediate area (i.e., within 25 miles of my home) who have either had to turn away prospective new members because they wouldn’t affirm the Nicene formulation of the doctrine of the Trinity, or who have only found out that a new member denied the Trinity after the individual had already been received as a member (in this case, it was kept hidden from the elders).

    What’s more, I know of at least two seminary students (at Presbyterian and Reformed seminaries, no less!) who have informed their professors that they don’t out and out deny the Nicene Creed, but they’re not sure they can affirm it, either.

  • “Should You Believe in the Trinity?” (1peter58.wordpress.com)
    “The Bible says…” The real issue here is that these individuals, and also those that belong to very young churches/institutes, claim for themselves the authority to teach new doctrine, claim for themselves the authority to reject unchanged ancient doctrine. How do you decide when to trust that a doctrine is truly of God? How do you decide what is a false doctrine not of God?
  • Theophany, Epiphany and the Holy Trinity (orthodoxmom3.wordpress.com)
    Giving recognition to the Holy Trinity is an important aspect of the Holy Orthodox Church.  When we pray we make the sign of the cross.  The thumb and first two fingers represent the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The bringing of these three fingers together signifies that we do not believe in three gods, only ONE GOD.  Everything we do is in the name of the trinity: baptism, forgiveness, marriage, the confession of our faith (Nicene Creed) etc. The Trinity expresses the essence of our faith.  The work of salvation begins with the Father who created the world, is realized by the Son through His death and resurrection, and is completed through the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
  • Because the Bible Tells Me So (mackerelsnapperblog.wordpress.com)
    Whenever a Catholic debates the Faith with a non-Catholic — Christian or atheist — the very first argument that often gets brought up is that Catholic teaching contradicts the Scriptures.

    “Catholics believe (X), but (X) isn’t in the Bible”

    First off, let me put this out there and get it over with — Catholics do not believe in the doctrine of Sola Scriptura, which translates to “Scripture alone.” Unlike many Protestant beliefs, Catholics do not accept the Bible as the highest authority on doctrine. This may sound like a heresy to some, but it isn’t. The Church isn’t derived from the Bible. In fact it’s quite the opposite. It is precisely because of the Catholic Church that the Bible even exists

  • Sola Scriptura? (preacheroftruth.com) + > Sola Scriptura?
    Pythagoras is said to have been the earliest outside of Scripture (Isa. 40:22) to contend that the earth is round. He did not make the earth round with his assertions, but identified what already was.  Sir Isaac Newton certainly did not create gravity, but he is credited for our modern understanding of it.  Likewise, the term “sola scriptura” is not found in scripture (similar to terms like “trinity” and “omniscience”), but it was coined during the “Reformation Movement” as part of Martin Luther’s protests against perceived corruptions of the Catholic Church.  It was a “Latin phrase (literally ‘by Scripture alone’) describing the Protestant theological principle that Scripture is the final norm in all judgments of faith and practice.
    +
    Scripture is God-breathed, making one spiritually complete (2 Tim. 3:16-17).  If Scripture is sufficient, what need is there for anything beyond it?  On what basis would we accept anything more or less than or different from the Bible?  How could fallible man be equal to or co-authorize with the perfect law of the Lord?  Let us accept no substitute or rival to the Bible!
  • (1) The Two Pillars of the Reformation (altruistico.wordpress.com)
    The Protestant Reformation saw the advancement of the Gospel and an understanding of right doctrine that hadn’t been seen since the time of Christ and the Apostles. It drew Christianity out of the dark ages of the faith; a time when the Scripture was forbidden to be read in the language of the people, when superstition reigned, where abominations within the church leadership was a norm, and when a knowledge of the Truth was virtually unknown. But to the glory of God, He rekindled the fire of the Gospel, and it spread like a fire in a barn of hay. The Reformation has given us such a wealth of knowledge of the truth of Christ’s teaching that I personally will never be able to ingest all of.
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