Sunday, September 23, 2012

And the third mindset spawned by a belief in the ECT God described in the book Erasing Hell

Psalm 16:11 

You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

You couldn’t prove this verse by the Christians who default to the third mindset I've come across in believers of ECT.

A begrudging acceptance and a keen awareness of everything they are missing to toe the "I don't want to burn in hell" line fuels their beliefs and behavior. There is no joy evident in their lives…other than the “joy” that comes from knowing they are (probably) not bound for hell.  At least not if they continue to toe the line. 

Their quiet anger carries over into everything they do and permeates their entire life style. You will usually find them in very fundamentalist churches....conforming their lives to a strict set of rules and regulations they don't want to follow. But they do...

They totally miss the the pleasures and fullness of joy that can only be found at the right hand of the Father. 

I came across the following excerpt a few years ago on the website of a good, Bible believing, home schooling, King James only, submissive wife and mother. The article is called "Hell is Real." Scientists have proven it after is in the earths core. Proven fact.

I think this excerpt clearly shows just how much this doctrine is stealing from them.

Do you really believe in Hell?  I should hope that if I walked into any fundamental church and ask the question, “Do you really believe in Hell?" that everyone would say, "Yes."  I mean after all, that is supposed to be a point of our doctrine, that we believe in a Hell that has fire.  That is what good fundamentalists believe.  But do you really believe in Hell?

If you don't believe in Hell, then there is no point. 

Then she poses the rhetorical question…

But if we don't believe in Hell, why then do we go to church?  We could be down at a park where they have a festival going on.  We could be eating Tostitos, burritos and all that other stuff. 

If we didn't believe in Hell, we could sleep in on Sunday mornings.  We could watch football in the afternoon, drink an Old Style, eat lunch, sit back at a pool, and enjoy ourselves.

If you do believe in Hell, you need to go soul winning.  If you do believe in Hell, you need to work on a Sunday school bus, maybe kicking in some money to buy a few more busses.  If you do believe in Hell, you need to find a street corner and preach on the subject of Hell. If you do believe in Hell, you need to find a room somewhere in church and start a Sunday school class and fill it.  Knock on doors, preach on street corners, go to the neighborhood and bring them.  Build a Sunday school class.  Build a bus route.  Build the church.  Get people saved.  Get them baptized.  Get them serving God, so that they can win others. Do you really believe in Hell? Then it is time to get busy.

You tell me….is there even a hint of fullness of joy in what she has to say?

I’m going to close this post with a quote from Derek Flood…from his article How Can a Loving God Sent People To Hell.

 It is often said that without the threat of Hell that no one will repent, and no one will evangelize. I would propose that the opposite is true. If you come to God because you are afraid of going to Hell, or if you evangelize out of a fear of Hell, then your motivation is based on fear and not love, And that is wrong. Fear of punishment is a selfish motivation, and if that is your motivation you need to change it. We do not love God or our neighbor because of what we can get out of it - maximizing our self-interest. We love because it is right. Period. If you find that you no longer love God, or your neighbor after the weight of a motivation of guilt and fear are lifted from over your head, then I would question whether you ever really loved them at all.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

What kind of mindset is spawned by a belief in the ECT God described in the book Erasing Hell? Part 2

In my last post, I wrote about the believers who seem to delight in the Lord's wrathful judgment of sinners. They are content to let scores of their friends and family endure endless tortures in hell without so much as a feeble protest. They think God has every right.  He's God.  He can do whatever he damn well pleases. 

And then there are the folks who have always been taught there is an eternal hell where all nonbelievers will spend forever....and ever....and ever....and ever...and get the idea.  It offends their sense of justice.  It offends their sense of what is fair.  Yet, since "the Bible tells me so" they see no way around the doctrine. There is a hell...they don't want to go there.  They don't want their friends or loved ones to go there...but you know, "God doesn't send anyone to hell.  You send yourself to hell." (by making bad choices like not asking Jesus to come live in your heart)

Unless of course you are a Calvinist.  If you are a Calvinist, you believe God chooses who goes to hell and who doesn't.  The double predestination thing.  The elect are heaven bound.  The non elect are....not.  It doesn't matter how sincerely you plead with Jesus to come live in your heart...if you aren't one of the lucky ones chosen before the foundation of the world...well, too bad, so sad, he's not moving in. 

Either way, these folks struggle with their belief in hell but they think it is THEIR under developed sense of justice that prevents them from rejoicing.  Francis Chan says this :

And so it is with many things about God that don't seem to add up.
And so it must be with hell.
As I have said all along, I don't feel like believing in hell.  And yet I do. Maybe someday I will stand in complete agreement with Him, but for now I attribute the discrepancy to an underdeveloped sense of justice on my part.  God is perfect.  And I joyfully submit to a God whose ways are much, much higher than mine. 

And the quote I found on the Challie's blog......

I hate hell. I hate that it exists and hate that it needs to exist. I’m amazed to realize that, when we are heaven, we will praise God for it and that we will glorify him for creating such a place and for condemning the unsaved to it. But for now I am too filled with pride, too filled with sin to even begin to justly and rightly rejoice in the existence of such a place of torment. I cannot rejoice in such a place; not yet. It is just too awful, too weighty. And I know that I deserve to be there. 

And they struggle to conform their sense of justice to their perception of God's sense of justice.

One more mindset I want to take a look at…in my next post….

Monday, September 3, 2012

What kind of mindset is spawned by a belief in the ECT God described in the book Erasing Hell? let's tackle some of those questions I brought up in my last post (quite a while back)discussing Chan's Erasing Hell book.

? What kind of mindset is spawned by a belief in the ECT God described in the book Erasing Hell?

I think this twisted belief can affect us in several different (equally disturbing) ways.  One of the ways  is demonstrated in the attitude of those gleeful folks I mentioned in the last post.  They embrace hell with a vengeance.  Hell makes perfect sense to them. They are the "yes, God is love BUT God is also JUST" fan club. 

If hell doesn't exist, then neither does justice.  The Living Church, vol. 130

And not only does it turn the God they serve into a monster, it makes them pretty creepy too. 

“Consider that all these torments of body and soul are without intermission. Be their suffering ever so extreme, be their pain ever so intense, there is no possibility of their fainting away, no, not for one moment … They are all eye, all ear, all sense. Every instant of their duration it may be said of their whole frame that they are ‘Trembling alive all o'er, and smart and agonize at every pore.' And of this duration there is no end … Neither the pain of the body nor of soul is any nearer an end than it was millions of ages ago.” Sermon 73 John Wesley

And Jonathan Edwards was probably the creepiest of them all....

For ever harassed by a dreadful tempest, they shall feel themselves torn asunder by an angry God, and broken by the weight of His hand, and transfixed and penetrated by mortal stings, terrified by the thunderbolt of God. So that to sink into any gulf would be more tolerable than to stand for a moment in these terrors.”

"The world will probably be converted into a great lake or liquid globe of fire, in which the wicked shall be overwhelmed, which will always be in tempest, in which they shall be tossed to and fro, having no rest day and night, vast waves and billows of fire continually rolling over their heads, of which they shall forever be full of a quick sense within and without; their heads, their eyes, their tongues, their hands, their feet,their loins and their vitals, shall forever be full of a flowing, melting fire, fierce enough to melt the very rocks and elements; and also, they shall eternally be full of the most quick and lively sense to feel the torments; not for one minute, not for one day, not for one age, not for two ages, not for a hundred ages, nor for ten thousand millions of ages, one after another, but forever and ever, without any end at all, and never to be delivered."

This belief so perverts the image of our Heavenly Father that there is rejoicing  when they consider the fate of their friends, their relatives...even their children! 

Martin Luther, when questioned whether the Blessed will not be saddened by seeing their nearest and dearest tortured answers, “Not in the least.”

“…the Blessed will see their friends and relations among the damned as often as they like but without the least of compassion.” Gerhard The sight of hell torments will exalt the happiness of the saints forever. . .Can the believing father in Heaven be happy with his unbelieving children in Hell. . . I tell you, yea! Such will be his sense of justice that it will increase rather than diminish his bliss.   Catholic Truth Society

What will it be like for a mother in heaven who sees her son burning in hell? She will glorify the justice of God. - Pamphlet from the late 1960s, part of a catechismal teaching [cited in an essay by the English poet, Stevie Smith, "Some Impediments to Christian Commitment"

And we can't just chalk these comments up to a yesteryear mindset. On a popular reformed blog, on a post about hell, I found the following comment...

The fact that my father might be in hell does not cause me grief because God is sovereign. He decides - His justice is absolute. By grace has He rescued me. Whether He chooses some and not others is to His glory. What makes my father special to other who face the same fate? Billions will be condemned, is that sad? In a sense there will be grief but will it last? I cannot see me being grief struck in a new heaven and new earth. This is the position that holding to a Reformed worldview must reach…..DavidM

And I don't disagree.  This is the position that holding to a Reformed worldview(that includes ECT) must reach. Take note that he is pretty sure he is among the few God has chosen.  "By grace He rescued me" and so...quite hell with the rest of you, including dear old dad. 

This is sicko selfish on so many levels....

So these guys seem to get into this eternal hell stuff.  At the very least, they don't make a fuss about the billions who will be suffering for all eternity. Next post will be about the folks who struggle to see the justice in an eternal hell.