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January 30, 2016

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Thanks for sharing. The heart is deceitful. Who can truly know it but God. We must examine ourselves with His light. How ugly we are.But grace...

Similar to the situation in which Planned Parenthood accuses the undercover activist of a crime and the whole pro-choice world applauds.

Amy sometimes you cut me to the quick.
Thanks for that.

Everyone has these feelings, and I agree you can't trust them. In the same way, you can't trust the feeling that you have an immortal soul or free will. Human feelings are deceptive.

So, those feelings you have John, that human feelings are deceptive, and that we have no free will... what makes you so sure about those particular feelings? That's why we need to STR and not STFeelings isn't it.

The Apostle Paul didn't realize how sinful he was until God converted him to Christ. Until then he though that hunting down and killing Christians was a good thing and no doubt led to a great reward in Heaven.

After conversion he labored against sinful thoughts and inner wickedness. He not only abhorred his old ways, but also what the indwelling Christ revealed as he struggled to overcome sin.

Objection your honor. I don't have time to write a rebuttal. I work 7 days a week this time of the year but I want it duly noted that I object to torture as morally reprehensible, both to humans and animals, and hell is the ultimate and infinite in torture because it never ends and no one ever gets out and therefore its purpose is nothing but vengeance. I request a four month adjournment so I may compose a persuasive argument. Thank you.

Well I can't wait 4 months, so I'll post one. Here it is:

http://www.hopebeyondhell.net/pdf/Hope_Beyond_Hell_Unabridged.pdf

I invite all good Bereans to kick the tires of this never-ending Hell doctrine and be willing to go wherever the scriptural evidence leads.

@ Tom,

Much of what your PDF recommendation says is true. As I understand the Bible, Christ's atonement saves intrinsically all for whom he died. Salvation rests entirely on this, and not on anything in the person.

But the point is, did Christ die for every member of the human race? If so, then all will be saved. But the Bible limits his death at times to "many"= not all; “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28)

It also says Jesus gave his life for his sheep - to the exclusion of the Pharisees; Notice in John 10 where Jesus tells the Pharisees they do not believe because they are not his sheep. And later affirms he did not give his life for them and this is why they don't believe.

“I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11)

“But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.” (John 10:26)

Scripture mentions the names of the saved written in the Book of Life, ect.

“And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:15)

So if Jesus did not die for each and every individual, and if those not recorded in the Book of Life are cast into the Lake of Fire, shouldn't the verses some use to promote a universal Atonement and salvation be adjusted accordingly?

Amy,

Thanks for this post, which (in God's unique timing) was very relevant for yours truly.

This Saturday, I took in one of those experiences a teacher (even a former one as yours truly) never wants to take in.

A funeral of a former student.

Not just any student, but a student that was a prime example of scalawag (and probably owned the patent).

Died of drug overdose.

Sad collection of a vast variety of those who long warned others and those who still needed the warning.

It was a true Christian funeral, a commitment of a soul into the merciful hands of a loving Savior.

It was grace, a personal testimony that Jesus receives you (messed up as you could be) and not the mistakes you make.

You might say the person's baggage is discarded and pushed off to some obscure corner where only the pseudo-Christians can gawk at, tsk-tsk over, and be glad to point out.

To those friends in attendance who looked as close to death as my poor unfortunate student, he was not an example of "God-gotcha" but "God-receives-you." My former student was a cautionary tale and a testimony of God's grace.

That's what my student had, for all the miscues in his life, a saving knowledge about Jesus.

Grace, not personal performance. Knowing Jesus as Savior, not seeking a plea deal with the Almighty.

So maybe hell is not divine vengeance as it is banking one's confidence in individual resources (personal integrity) instead of God's promises.

Tom, I appreciate your comment.

DGFisher, I'm so sorry to hear about your student. I pray God will comfort all who were affected by his loss.

Has christian apologetics really sunk so low as to empathises with Eichmann.The nazi's were responsible for some of the worst crimes against humanity but if we look in the bible all sorts of terrible things were carried out upon humanity at gods command and in a similar vein.By refusing to 'Trust in your own understanding' as regards to morality, has the christian found a very clever way of absolving addressing the issue of gods mortality altogether. It is Genocide apologetics, Hang your heads in shame and be in no doubt, Bend words all you like but no one is fooled...And we need to ask ourselves if we mistrust our perception of what is bad ,how long before we do the same with things that are good ?

> empathises [sic] with Eichmann

Missing the point. Amy wished to show the extremes a person goes to never feel guilty about the things they have done. Demonstrating this is not empathy.

There is this tendency to feel so good about one's actions or agenda that failures are often attributed to some scapegoat. The trend to blame God for the ideals of the holy and sacred.

>> Genocide apologetics ...

Please define this one. Without such an explanation, this becomes only an expression of the frantic.

>> Bend words all you like but no one is fooled

Accusation of one of poor reasoning is the ultimate in the strawman argument.

Amy,

You make a strong case that we humans can have a far higher opinion of ourselves than is warranted. Where we differ is whether anybody – even a monster like Eichmann, or for that matter his boss – deserves a punishment that even after 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years will just be getting started, and whether the Bible, when correctly translated, teaches this. (I do believe that the unrighteous will all experience quite a bit more than just a taste of their own medicine in their retribution and refining process in the Lake of Fire. For the aforementioned individuals, this may take a very long time, but not forever.)

Dave,

Thanks so much for taking a look at the PDF I posted. Its author believes, as do you and I, that Christ’s atonement (not just potentially but) actually saves all for whom he died. In fact, on page 156, he paraphrases Calvinist author/theologian J.I. Packer as saying the same thing, and saying that therefore an unlimited atonement would imply eventual universal salvation.

Where we differ is that I believe the scriptures that seem to teach an unlimited atonement far outnumber the scriptures that seem to teach a limited atonement. To save space, I’ll only quote 5 of them, but will list many more:

The Son of Man has come to save that which was lost. (Matt. 18:11)

“But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself." (John 12:32)

“For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. … God will be All in All.” (1 Corinthians 15:22,28)

“God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all. … For from him and through him and to him are all things.” (Romans 11:32,36a)

“He is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world (1 John. 2:2)

Also see Gen. 12:3, Ps 65:2-3, Ps 145:10a, Lam 3:22,31, Isa 45:23, Isa. 57:16, S. John. 1:29. John. 3:17, John. 6:33. John. 6:51, John 17:2, Acts 3:21, Rom 5:18-20, Rom 8:19-20, Eph. 1:10,22, Phil. 2:10. Col. 1:16-20. 1 Tim. 2:4, 1 Tim. 4:10, 2 Tim. 1:10, Tit. 2:11, Heb. 1:2, Heb. 2:9, 14-15, 1 Pet. 4:6, 2 Pet. 3:9, Rev 5:13

(I also believe that the Hell passages like Matt. 25:46, Luke 16, etc. have very plausible, non-strained, alternative interpretations, but this post is too long already. See the FAQ’s beginning on pg. 208 though.)

Next, two quick points the PDF author makes about the Lake of Fire:

1. Fire and brimstone (=sulfur) were used as cleansing (!) agents in ancient times, suggesting that the Lake of Fire itself is for cleansing. (pg. 213)

2. The book of Revelation ends very encouragingly with verse 22:17c: “Whoever is thirsty, let him come, and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.” (pg. 106)

Finally, Amy and all of STR, thanks so much for all of the good work you do. There’s so much more that we agree on.

Thankyou DGFishcer for responding,I should have used the word 'identify' rather than 'empathise' and please bare with my grammar.I struggle with the morality of god so and appreciate the attempt to address it here...Genocide is bad,very bad and so is torture.People who carry out such things are very bad(mentally disordered psychopathic,evil ,whatever).But when a deity does it has to be addressed and somehow rationalised.Human beings are quite understandably not comfortable with the slaughter of the innocents,even if it is deity endorsed slaughter..(I think)Genocide apologists are simply people who find that they can rationalise genocide.We have all heard the ways that this can be done in a christian context but for most of us genocide is still bad ,very bad and no context exists where it can be either acceptable or tolerated..Choosing to mistrust our own understanding with regard to 'badness' does not absolve us from having to make a decision about whether deity inspired genocide is acceptable...Bending words to justify a position is not so much an accusation of poor reasoning but more self delusion or wishful thinking..And also it is interesting that as baptised Calvanist Eichmann would have been aware of and Influenced by the anti-semetic views that Martin Luther held and wrote about hundreds of years earlier that 'sowed the seeds' as it were.

@ Tom,

Thanks for the reply. I am glad to know we share an understanding of the nature of Jesus's atonement for our sins. Our only difference is in the number of those covered by it.

I gave a few references that limit the atonement to the elect. But God clearly illustrates the same throughout the OT. Passover is an example where only the Hebrews and not the Egyptians escaped God's wrath by the blood of the sacrificial lamb. Using this as an illustration Paul calls Jesus our Passover.

The word "many" limits the word "all". You can have all of the many but "many" is not synonymous with "all".

To say Jesus paid for the sins of the world is to tell a predominately Jewish audience that salvation is no longer only for the Jews. It means that all the nations of the world are being blessed in Abraham as predicted. We know that many if not most OT Jews were lost and that most of today's gentile nations are too.

Jesus did not pray for the world, but only for those God gave to him from out of it (John 17:9). Would he refuse to pray for those he would redeem?

Also we must keep in mind the distinction between this present evil world and the world to come. Jesus truly is the savior of the world in the fullest sense if we consider the New Heavens and Earth.

Thanks again Dave,

One last point and I think I'm done ... Even if you don't agree with it, you might be interested in the "Purpose of Election" section of the PDF (pg. 98-101).

@ Tom,

Again thanks. A few of the many verses I cannot reconcile with the Universal salvation theory;

"And if your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the eternal fire," (Matt. 18:8).

"And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life," (Matt. 25:46)

"And these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power," (2 Thess. 1:9).

"Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example, in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire," (Jude 7).

"These men are those who are hidden reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you without fear, caring for themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted; 13 wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam; wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever," (Jude 12-13).

and many more....

>> I struggle with the morality of god.

I am sorry for the difficulty, but I would suggest that part of the problem is subjecting such a morality to human standards of anticipated behaviors. But pass off the subject of hell as divine genocide forgets some factors.

The matter is based on the matter of the Genesis Three Fall, where man is separated from the Garden of Eden by an unfortunate decision to be one's own god is better than obedience to the true God. And the consequences of that decision opens up a decadent world only to be worsened by human interaction with each other on the same premise. I AM GOD'S EQUAL. This is the first delusion.

The second key delusion comes in Genesis four, with Cain's complaint that God's judgment on his actions (i.e. first degree murder) is something that could never be borne. This delusion is the core of what Amy wished to discuss in this line of posts. Thus the accusation of Mt. 25:41 (Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons.) is balanced by Mt. 25:34 (Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world.) Heaven was the prescribed destination for man from the beginning. Hell was the situation created for those who rebelled against God. And in that respected created by them.

Genocide ... suicide ... which?

This struggle with the "morality of God" is only maintained if we focus on how outrageous for God to send people to hell. Far more outrageous is the notion that there could be anyone in heaven in the first place, noting God's standard (Mt. 5:48).

We always forget God's standard. Beginning to consider that allows for the paradigm shift which seeks a solution to this divine morality problem.

For the key delusion which fuels this struggle is the idea that ....

I go to heaven if I'm good.

Paradigm shift moment. I go to heaven if I am un-lost.

I say "un-lost" because it is God that does the finding.

And I find it far more productive to not dote on what could be a self-inflicted self-decision to abandon God, but to consider how lost gets found.

Unless we expand into these areas of thought, we stay in those delusions.

Thankyou,I will think about your words.

Dave,

My understanding is that all Hell passages either …

1. Don’t specify a time period, or

2. Use the Greek word “aionion” (or some derivative) for the time period.

All five passages you cite fall into the second category. So let’s talk about “aionion:”

First, “aionion” is the adjective corresponding to the noun “aion.”

Second, “aion” sounds a lot like “eon,” for good reason I believe. An eon is a long, but finite, period of time.

Third, “aion” is often (correctly I believe) translated as “age.”

Fourth, “aionion” is typically translated at “eternal” or “everlasting” in most (but not all) Bible translations.

As you can probably guess, I believe “eternal” and “everlasting” are mistranslations of “aionion.”

For the medium long version why, see the PDF (which I’m reposting here … http://www.hopebeyondhell.net/pdf/Hope_Beyond_Hell_Unabridged.pdf ) (pg. 21-31)

For the long version why, see http://www.tentmaker.org/books/Aion_lim.html.

This is critically important because it relates to the length of time a person will have to spend in the Lake of Fire.

And … a few more thoughts on some of your passages …

Matt. 25:46

My view is that the two “aionions” mean either ...

(1) "And these shall go away into (age-long) punishment, but the righteous into (age-long) life" or

(2) "And these shall go away into (divine) punishment, but the righteous into (divine) life."

(1) could mean, more specifically, "And these shall go away into (millennial) punishment, but the righteous into (millennial) life."

And the possibility of (2), a more unusual use of “aionion,” is supported by John 17:3, 1 John 1:2 & 1 John 5:20, where "aionion" must mean something like "divine."

Neither of these possibilities deny that heaven is everlasting.

Note that, contrary to what is often taught, Christians don’t need Matt. 25:46 to positively teach that heaven is everlasting. That’s because this doctrine is already clearly taught in many other scriptures which use the words “indestructible,” “imperishable,” “unfading,” immortality,” and “incorruptible.” (See Rom. 1:23; 2:7; 1 Cor. 9:25; 15:42, 51-54; Heb. 7:15-16; 1 Pet. 1:3-4; 5:4; 1 Tim. 1:17; 6:16; 2 Tim. 1:10.) Also, the last enemy to be destroyed is death (1 Cor. 15:26).

And, according to Bible scholar and Greek expert William Barclay: “The Greek word for punishment here (Mt. 25:46) is ‘kolasis,’ which was not originally an ethical word at all. It originally meant the pruning of trees to make them grow better. I think it is true to say that in all Greek secular literature ‘kolasis’ is never used of anything but remedial punishment.” (Barclay’s too liberal for me in some areas, but presumably he knew his Greek.)

2 Thess 1:9 – see the PDF FAQ #17 (pg. 224)

Jude 7 – The fact that Sodom is to be restored (Ezek. 16:53,55, http://www.tentmaker.org/books/SpiritOfTheWord/021Sodom.htm) suggests that the aionion fire spoken of in this passage refers to the earthly (aionion = divine) fire that destroyed Sodom 4,000 years ago.

so if eichmann would have accepted "jesus" seconds b4 he took his final breath, he would be off the hook right? would he be in "heaven" doing---whatever it is you do in "heaven"? amy--one day your kids, grandkids, great grandkids, ect will be laughing at the fact that you believed this disgusting bronze aged fantasy of "hell"

@ Tom,

Do you think God will save Satan and the Demons as well?

“Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:” (Matthew 25:41)

DGFishcher....Thanks again for responding Does Mattew 25 not describe acts of goodness to aspire too.Not only that but god clearly finds those who do these acts worthy of salvation.Feeding and clothing the hungry is not rocket science...By your thinking our morality is a less superior one than god's.In this passage does god not set out in no uncertain terms his required standard of morality..Eichmann's crimes against humanity were not judged by a more superior supernatural kind of justice but by a very human type of justice which proved sufficient ...Interestingly Eichmann as a baptised Calvinist may well have believed in the notion that god indeed operated under a different more moral code where as in the scriptures deity endorsed genocide was acceptable.And by extension the extermination of Jews and sexual deviants could be rationalised and indeed seen as ones religious duty..Martin Luther the much revered and much quoted theologian was in no doubt an anti-semite. and wrote extensively on the subject and no doubt influenced the devout Germans of the 1930s,Eichmann included....( Heiko Oberman, The Roots of Anti-Semitism in the Age of Renaissance and Reformation... (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1984),...I am curious to know,How do you feel that you are worthy of eternal punishment,Is this a revealed truth or can you come to it logically through reading the bible .And if you do suddenly feel this way how does that effect the way you relate to friends and family..ie. The first time you hold your son or daughter ,do you think,this child is bad, worthy of eternal damnation or do you think ,this child is perfect and then if you think this are you wrong ? and have you sinned for thinking it?

James,

Your reference to Matt. 25 as indicative of acts of goodness worthy of salvation is lost in verse 37ff: Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

In other words, these works of those who make up the "sheep" do not recognize that their works were connected with any salvatory merit, as if they had done them in service to Christ. They only lived a life that honored Jesus without a thought of personal gain. "When did we ..." is a humble admission that acts of kindness have their divine source as well.

Paul spells it out more clearly in Ephesians 2:  God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

In short, we're saved, and then we serve in hearty thankfulness. Hence, "When did we ...?"
Acts of goodness are not worthy, but wrought by the Spirit's influence. First heaven assured, then a life lived that glorifies God.

As for Martin Luther ... Do your homework and get a better foundation of the historical context. It can start with a google search of Joachim of Rostov.

1. The usual starting point is Luther's minor work "Against the Jewish Nation," which all admit was a poor piece from the reformer, but is not representative of him. It was drafted very late in his life, when he was afflicted with many sorts of medical conditions which prompted an unusually cantankerous disposition.

2. "Against of Jewish Nation" was written after a series of bitter personal experiences beginning with the death of his beloved daughter, Madeleine.

3. The material Luther drew to compose AJN came from a Jewish convert who was ruined by the above mentioned Joachim who gained his banishment from the elector as a personal favor.

4. Luther had this honest naivety that having restored the pure Gospel would mean the restoration of the Church and return of Israel to the messianic faith. His enthusiasm smashed to bits in the face of the powers-that-be, the Catholic hierarchy employing the authorities of the Holy Roman Empire, the overtly political ambitions of a Thomas Munzer who hijacked the Reformation maxims of "grace alone, faith alone, Scripture alone" to initiate a peasant revolt (where Luther conceded his "listen to the peasant" to "crush the rabble"), and the Jewish officialdom which bluntly rejected Luther's overtures for receiving the Gospel. In light of all this opposition, Luther could lash out. This does have unfortunate results.

But honestly, the Nazis had much more to gain from Charles Darwin and his notion of "superior species" contained in Origin of Species. After all, this arose from a man at the height of his analytical powers, rather than some heinous remarks of a man prone to states of depression in the last years of his life.

This is why Wikipedia edited such notions as you have presented from its recent revisions.

Dave,

I’m less certain about the eventual salvation of Satan and demons because there are far fewer scriptures that appear to teach this. Here’s one, though:

“15 [Christ] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities -all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. 19 For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, 20 and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.” (Colossians 1:15-20)


James,

I think DGFischer made some good points. But I also believe that this verse (Col. 1:15-20, especially verse 20) applies to all babies held in all arms, not just while they’re babes and young children, but for their whole lives, and beyond, forever, no matter what.

God is good all the time, even when He’s temporarily, and proportionately, punishing, and purifying us, for our own good and for the good of others.

Nothing impure can enter the holy city (Rev. 21:27), so we all need to (and will) get pure.

Your defence of Luther may well be all true but my point is whatever his reasons for being anti-semetic there is no doubting that his writings on the subject were influential and in line with anti-Jewish sentiments at the time .As for Darwin again you may be right but again the point is Pre war Germany was not defined by Darwinism,It was defined by the (perceived) christian belief system.The average german did not need science to think badly of jews,gypsy's or homosexuals..I didn't mean to make this a christian-bad, atheist-good thing.Some of my dearest friends are christian and I don't believe any of them have ever woken up with an urge or a calling to invade Poland. ....I'm still interested in knowing how an individual can feel that they are worthy of eternal punishment and how in my case I could look at my baby girl and feel that she also is worthy and deserving of eternal punishment knowing that statistically she is is overwhelmingly likely to receive it ...True or not It interests me how people get to that point..I can see if one believed the bible to be the very word of god you might agree on a purely intellectual level,but actually feeling that you are deserving of burning forever in the fiery pit is quite another.

Tom
True or not I think your take on god's punishments is the one I would prefer to believe.

>> the (perceived) Christian [sic] belief system

In other words, pseudo-Christianity.

Apostate Christianity.

Co-opted and corrupted Christianity

In short, non-Christianity.

To attach anything of the teachings of Jesus to the Nazi regime fails to realize the neo-paganism admixtures to popular religious notions. Any historical analysis of what prompted the rise of Nazism either sees a rejection of true Christianity or an exploitation of its externals to effect a rationalization of its actions.

We are usually good at noting the transition of a Christian to one who has become an atheist or an agnostic or a pagan. Why do we have such problems with Hitler and his bunch. If that man was born into a Catholic home, he had renounced his faith as a youth. Not a Catholic, not a Christian.

>>The average german did not need science to think badly of jews,gypsy's or homosexuals.

True, the average German only needed to tap into the common sinful nature. But the regime used scientific principles to foster a more efficient method of annihilating its scapegoated populace. A there were a surprising number of Christians (e.g. Bonhoeffer) who spoke about the villainy of the Holocaust, even when most were intimidated by the regime's strong-arm activities.

As for Luther, you are correct in one respect. His exasperation with the Jewish leadership of his day was improperly expressed. It's that common sinful nature, his, and mine, and yours. It's such a nature that seems to make "hell" a metaphorical default position, in spite of the efforts of the humanistic utopians among us.

Utopians such as Hitler, who imagined a thousand year Reich controlled by a "Master Race."

Utopians such as the proponents of the French Revolution, whose ideals of liberty, equality, fraternity" could not get enough of the guillotine.

Utopians such as today who cannot tolerate conservatism in any fashion ...

Whoa!!! Back to the OP.

James,

It has been a pleasure to converse with you over these past few days, but I sense we shan't move on much further than this. But I caught the sense of your discomfort about this issue of hell. You encapsulated it well in your chief concern:

>> I'm still interested in knowing how an individual can feel that they are worthy of eternal punishment and how in my case I could look at my baby girl and feel that she also is worthy and deserving of eternal punishment knowing that statistically she is overwhelmingly likely to receive it.

A frightening thought, I agree. But the cutting edge that separates us is that you speak of feelings. I am sick to death of living under the dictates of fear. Network television seems to play on our anxieties.

Ideally (and I say ideally, since no Christian can perfectly adapt self to the absolute standards of living for Christ. We bungle, we sin, we crave God's forgiveness, hence all the Kyrie eleisons), a Christian does not allow feelings to run the life. We have a certain knowledge of salvation, and that leads to the life of grace. Ray Comfort (street evangelist) speaks of "Hell's best kept secret," the knowledge that heaven is open by God's grace through Christ. Faith in Him saves, a knowing this makes hell nothing more than a boogie-man we can laugh at.

Knowledge, James, not feelings. Get to know Christ and why a cross is His Church's symbol, not a smiley face.

Have a wonderful day.

Thankyou DGFischer.

Thanks James. FYI, here are some of the (Greek speaking) early church fathers who believed in eventual universal salvation:

Athenagoras
Clement of Alexandria
Origen
Gregory the Wonderworker
Methodius

Eusebius of Caesarea (leading early church historian)
Serapion
Athanasius (key opponent of Arian heresy)
Hilary of Pontiers
Victorinus

Titus of Bostra/Basra
Macaruis Magnes
Ephrem the Syrian
Gregory of Nazianzus (President of the second great Ecumenical Council which produced the Nicene Creed)
Basil of Caesarea

Macrina (the older)
Macrina (the younger)
Gregory of Nyssa (leading church theologian)
Didymus the Blind
Ambrose (converted Augustine to Christianity)

Jerome (key Bible translator)
Diodore
Rufinus of Aquileia
Paulinus of Nola
John Chrysostom

Theodore of Mopsuestia
Cyril of Alexandria
Maximus of Turin
Theodoret of Cyrus
Peter Chrysologus

(See chapters 4 & 5 of http://www.tentmaker.org/books/ChristTriumphant.htm)

Thank you Tom

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