Thursday, March 31, 2011

Deep Conversations...

the conversationphoto © 2007 Andrew | more info (via: Wylio)

Ever had a deep conversation like this one...

Stay tuned for some upcoming post's that I hope will stir some deep conversations...


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Rob Bell: Heaven, Hell and Salvation Pt 3-MAJOR CORRECTION

2008-01-26 (Editing a paper) - 01

photo © 2008 Nic McPhee | more info (via: Wylio)

Last night I was checking my blog, read yesterdays post again and noticed a MAJOR mistake! After the posted video I started saying:

In my 2nd post in this series we concluded from the bible the following:

1. When people die they immediately go to heaven or hell. 

I somehow forgot to add the word 'DON'T' before 'immediately'! I have corrected yesterdays post you can see that HERE.

I apologize for a call this morning from a good friend and one of the readers of Bathos letting me know. Last night I tweeted the correction and another friend also noticed, laughed and knew it was just well...a typo...or should we say omission!

Hope this makes things clear!. Once again when we die we DON'T go immediately to heaven or hell! Now go and read the rest of the post:-) Click HERE



Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Rob Bell: Heaven, Hell and Salvation Pt. 3

I've been wanting to make a post here at Bathos but have had a very busy several weeks. Now I'm in the middle of a week of prayer for the youth, young adults of Westchester Seventh-day Adventist church in Miami, FL. It's been amazing to see God work.

With that said and before continuing with part 3 of this series of post's  let us all continue to pray for Japan! My friend Rodlie has posted on his blog simple ways that you can give to help the ongoing relief efforts in Japan. Please take a moment and read his blog and then GIVE however you can.

Part 3:

First, if you haven't been following please read part 1 and part 2 of this series to fully capture why I'm doing this. In the two plus weeks since all this began a lot has been happening. People have now actually read Bell's book, one being a friend of mine. You can read two of those reviews here (note this review is very long) and here this is my friend Gio's blog, it's shorter and more concise.

Also Rob Bell has begun going on tour promoting his book doing interviews. Make sure to watch this very interesting interview by Martin Bashir and then read the rest of the post:

In my 2nd post in this series we concluded from the bible the following:

1. When people die they don't (when I first posted this I somehow left out the very important word don't) immediately go to heaven or hell.
2. When one dies the bible calls it 'sleep' people are 'unconscious' until Jesus comes
3. When Jesus comes and resurrects His people, some will go to heaven and others will go to 'hell'
4. Hell is not 'eternal'
5. God will put an end to 'all' suffering, sin, and death, making all things new.
6. Therefore from a biblical perspective there cannot be a place in the universe will there are people burning eternally! This would then imply that sin continues and people are immortal, which they are not.

So then what about salvation? Heaven? Who will be saved?

Let's begin with a few texts about salvation: (note: you may have noticed that here at Bathos if you put your cursor over the text you can read it without going to another site. It also saves me time in writing every text out:)

Ephesians 2: 8-10 Salvation is of God from first to last.
John 3:16 Perhaps the most famous text in the bible, clearly states that those who believe in Jesus will have eternal life.
1 Timothy 2: 3-4 God desires all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of truth. Yet God's desire is our choice. The implications: NOT ALL will have God's desire.
John 14:6 The way to the Father is through Jesus Christ. Jesus says He is the way, salvation is through Him.

Summary: Matthew 24:14 tells us that the gospel shall be preached in all places and then the end will come. It doesn't say (nor anywhere else in the bible) that everyone will believe or even that eventually everyone will believe. The scriptures are clear that salvation is found in Christ Jesus only.

With that said though a host of questions arise for example: How about those who perhaps died before hearing the gospel? What about the people in remote areas of the world will they really hear and understand the truth of Jesus? It's been said that about 2/3 of the population of the world hasn't accepted Christ. Will then all those be lost?

These and other questions are usually some of the first questions that well known Christian leaders get asked when they are being interviewed on t.v. Though it may seem like an easy answer it's actually a bit more complex.

There's a very interesting chapter in Ezekiel 18 which I truly urge you to read. Essentially God is calling for repentance, for people to turn from their wicked ways to His ways. Then the chapter finishes with God saying, "For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies," says the Lord God. "Therefore turn and live!" (Ezekiel 18:32)

Romans 11:33 says, "Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! 

Revelation 19:2 says, "For true and righteous are His judgments..."

At the end of it all, it is up to God! Yes God has lift us some very clear principals in the bible about salvation and how to live Godly lives. They are rooted in Jesus Christ! We need the gospel because it is good news, good news that tells me that even though I was full of bad news because of sin. The good news is that through Jesus I am made new in Him!

With that said though, I believe that there will be surprises in heaven. What I mean is that though I also desire everyone to be saved I might be surprised not to find someone I really thought would be saved in heaven. Ultimately God is judge of all and I must trust and do trust that His judgments are 'true and righteous.'

Regardless of what Rob Bell or any other famous preacher says, we must ponder the very first question posed in the bible. It's asked by God after Adam and Eve fell into sin. "Where are you?" (Gen. 3:9)

When it comes to your relationship with Jesus; Where are you? You see if anything Rob Bell is right about one thing, we do have the freedom of choice. In order for God to truly be 'love' He must allow for us to choose. True love is only love when it is chosen. It can NEVER be forced or chosen for me. No one can truly force me to love God or anyone else.

So no, not everyone will be saved, not everyone will live forever with Jesus, people will burn in hell but not eternally, sin will come to a complete end! So as Ezekiel says..."Therefore turn and live." Turn to Jesus today, He showed God's perfect love, He is love! A love you can freely choose to accept or deny.

The question we must answer is: Where are you?


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Rob Bell: Heaven, Hell and Salvation Pt.2

image by: Graceway Media
This is my second post regarding some of the issues at hand as the Bell saga over his upcoming book has created. You can click HERE to read the first post. Although the main subject matter has been 'universalism' the teaching that at the end everyone will be saved. That teaching then brings other Christian doctrines into question such as: Is there really a hell? What is heaven like and who and when do we get there? These are just a few of the questions that arise.

Is there really a place called hell?
I want to start with the subject of hell. The word 'hell' may bring a host of thoughts into a person's mind. Especially if you've been raised a Christian, in one way, shape, or form, you've been taught that if you love and obey Jesus you go to heaven and if you don't you go to hell. But when do we go to hell? Immediately after we die? If so then the question of what happens at death arises.

Space and time doesn't allow me to fully develop and answer every question regarding this subject matter. Yet I will try and be as clear as I can be and as straight forward as I can be. Then leave it open for our community here at Bathos and those who want to jump in to ask any questions or post a comment below.

Death and Hell:
Let me tell you out front what I believe the bible teaches and then tell you why:

1. I believe the bible teaches that when we die, we neither go to heaven or hell. We are in a state of what the bible calls 'sleep' or unconsciousness.
2. We do not have 'immortal' souls, we are 'mortal'.
3. People will burn in what is called hell, but not for 'eternity'
Most evangelical Christians believe that when we die we immediately go to heaven or hell. If a person goes to hell they will burn forever. Now if those who go to hell burn forever then that would make them 'immortal' and the problem with that is at least two fold: 1. It will mean sin will continue to exist forever. 2. We humans are immortal.

No where in the bible does it say or imply that the we have an 'immortal soul.' As a matter of fact there is only one place in which the bible speaks of it and this is what it says, "...He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords; who alone possesses immortality..." (1 Tim. 6:15,16) Only God is immortal! Enough said, humans do not have immortality.

The bible also states very clearly that sin will not go on forever. From the beginning, when Adam and Eve sinned they were taken out of Eden so they would not eat of the tree of life, resulting in sin lasting forever (make sure you read Genesis 3: 22-24) Also Revelation 21: 1-5 states that God is making all things new, there will be no more pain, suffering and no more death! If we believe these texts then those who believe that hell is an 'eternal' punishment must explain them, because it seems really hard for me to believe that God would still have some folks burning 'eternally', folks that you and I know may know, while we are walking on the streets of gold. Not only would this go against the words of Revelation (and the bible as a whole) but would this really show God's justice? (more on God's justice in a later post)

Now, if the bible says that when we die we don't immediately go to heaven or hell then what happens?  I ask you to read Acts 2. This chapter states an interesting fact about king David. It tells us that he didn't go immediately to heaven when he died (vv. 29, 34) yet the implication is that David will be in heaven! It can be said that king David was the most beloved king of ancient Israel. A man after God's heart, though he clearly made some horrible sinful choices, God forgave Him. In short if any king of Israel would be in heaven it would be king David, YET the bible tells us he's not.

In John 11 we have the famous story of Jesus resurrecting Lazarus. Again please read the story for yourself. There are several things this story brings out, but we've already gone long on this post so I'll go straight to it. First, we must take note of Martha's words when she is talking with Jesus. She says, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day." (v. 24) and before that Jesus speaks of Lazarus being 'asleep' (v. 11). These text, the story and the bible as a whole let us know that when people die they do not immediately go to heaven or hell. They sleep, unconsciously. Listen to what Ecclesiastes 9:5 says, "For the living know they will die; but the dead do not know anything..." and also listen to suffering Job, "But man dies and lies prostrate. Man expires, and where is he? As water evaporates from the sea, And a river becomes parched and dried up, So man lies down and does not rise. Until the heavens be no more, He will not awake nor be aroused out of his sleep." (vv. 10-12)

Much has been said, thus far but lets summarize everything here concerning what the Bible teaches:
1. We've shown that when one dies they do not go immediately to heaven or hell.
2. Hell is not forever. The implications of the statements above is, there will be a hell, people will burn, but it won't be 'eternally' (see Revelation 20)
3. Death in the bible is often compared to 'unconscious sleep', the dead wait until the resurrection.

The bible is clear that 'sin' will not last forever, it will come to a complete end! Complete meaning that there won't be some place in the universe where people who decided not to follow the Spirit's call in their lives will burn forever. Again, this would make sin last forever in some part of the universe and would not necessarily make 'all things new' as the bible promises.

I know there are many text that are going through people's minds, especially regarding the bible truth that when we die we neither go to heaven or hell, but we wait until the resurrection. This is where you can email me or leave a comment below and I can answer some of the questions/comments.

In part 3 we will cover: Heaven and Salvation!


Friday, March 4, 2011

Laughter: Video

laughterphoto © 2009 Petras Gagilas | more info (via: Wylio)

After an interesting week. I praise God for the Sabbath! I also praise the Lord for laughter! Sometimes we just need to smile, laugh. God is good. Surely everything may not be going how one may plan. Yet smile, God is in control.

Check out this video below and I hope it will at least make you smile:-) (click HERE if you get can't see the video)

Stay tuned for: Rob Bell: Heaven, Hell & Salvation Pt. 2


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Rob Bell: Heaven, Hell and Salvation Pt.1

Over the weekend or there about a stir began through social media regarding Rob Bell's upcoming book called: Love Wins: A book about Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived.

Rob Bell is the teaching pastor at Mars Hill church in Grandville, MI. If you were to 'google' his name, you would get more information about him than you'd probably want. With that said, Pastor Bell is known in the evangelical world as being very progressive in his theology to say the least. His new book, though it doesn't come out until March 29th has further given the impression that Bell has now really gone to far by teaching 'universalism' which in short means that at the end everyone will be saved.

A plethora of blogs, comments through twitter, and facebook have abounded since the weekend in regards to Bell and the comments made about Bell and his book that hasn't even come out. You can be up to most of what's been said by reading Christianity Today's post HERE.

In reading many of the blogs and tweets regarding the issue it's really incredible once again to see how social media has changed our world. Honestly it seems that people are quick to speak and slow to listen. A truth I'm sure I've been guilty of and through God's grace I'm trying to make sure it doesn't happen.

To some extent much of the comments first began by seeing the video marketing the book issued by HarperOne. You can see the video by clicking HERE.

I will say this I've been to Rob Bell's church (he was not there when I visited), seen most of his NOOMA videos and skimmed through some of his books. I can easily say that I don't agree with everything Bell believes and teaches. Though as mentioned in many of the comments he is a very good communicator as he is able to embed theological teachings into practical story telling and real life situations.

I won't say anything else about Bell's book here at Bathos until his book comes out and IF I decide to read it. Yet what I do want to do is begin a series of post's on the topics that Bell seems to have written a book about. Heaven, hell, and the fate of every person.

Essentially I'm going to tell what I as a Seventh-day Adventist Christian believe about the mentioned themes. It seems to be a hot topic these days thanks to Bell and media pundits:)

Stay tuned, because at the end Love does win...


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