Book Review Series, Children Desiring God, Christian Marriage, Complementarianism, Desiring God, Doctrine as Idol, Egalitarianism, Extra-Biblical Nonsense, Gender Roles, God's Design for the Family, Homosexuality, John Piper, Uncategorized

Children’s Book “God’s Design” and its Teachings on Homosexuality as a Distortion of God’s Design

God’s Design, Homosexuality, Complementarianism, John Piper & Wayne Grudem’s Influence

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-by Kathi

This series is a review of God’s Design, a children’s book which teaches children about complementarity. For an introduction of the book, click here. All of the titles below are chapters in the book.

This week children, we will talk about homosexuality. This topic may potentially become heated. I ask that discussion please be civil and hope that we can acknowledge that as fellow Christians (better yet, as fellow human beings), we recognize that we may come to different conclusions. I ask that in our discussion we always maintain that it is the person that God created that is most valued and not our ideas or theology.

God’s Good Design Distorted

This chapter starts off by explaining that male and female elephants make baby elephants and it is against God’s design for an elephant and a camel to come together to make a baby. Well, that makes sense. I mean, can you imagine a camel trying to mate with an elephant?  But how do you explain how a mule is made? Sure, a horse and donkey are similar enough to mate, but they are not the same exact species.

Continuing, the authors talk about how it takes a married man and woman to make a baby. Well, unmarried men and women can make babies too, right? But, yes, it does take a woman’s egg and a man’s sperm to make a baby. And, if continuing the human population is all that sex is about, then I guess the book has made its point.

The authors define homosexuality as a girl loves a girl, and a boy loves a boy. Homosexuality is against God’s design and it “brings much sadness and pain.” Just like it is against nature for a camel to elephant to join together. Whispers have s.e.x. If we’re using animals as the example, homosexual courtship and sex is not uncommon in the animal kingdom. The most widely known animals to engage in homosexual activity are giraffes, killer whales, snails, flamingos and dolphins. Of course there’s also Stan and Olli, king penguins at the Berlin Zoo who have never shown interest in other female penguins. How is this part of nature explained to children?

God’s Design teaches children that people who are LGBTQ think they know what is right better than God: they are foolish, their thinking is “mixed up,” they don’t respect God, and they are sinful and sad. It is fully understandable when people do not agree or understand homosexuality. The problem is in the language of “you are foolish” or “you cannot change what God created” or “you are sinful.” This language causes too much heartache in the LGBTQ community as well as resulting suicide, shunning and homelessness.

At the end of this chapter, the authors recommend the book, A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Homosexuality by Joseph Nicolosi and Linda Ames Nicolosi, as if homosexuality can be prevented.

The following activity is also recommended:

With your family, list ten good things about being a boy and ten good things about being a girl. Fathers, do an activity with your son that affirms his manhood; mothers, do an activity with your daughter that affirms her womanhood. Thank God for His good design in your life.

What activities can you think of that affirm gender?

Recovering God’s Good Design

How does one change distorted views of manhood and womanhood? Trust. Trust and obey…for there’s no other way…

The rest of this chapter sets up the next six chapters of the book by explaining what it means to be a man and a woman. When it comes to being a man, the authors refer to John Piper and Wayne Grudem’s, Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism. God wants a man to “lead, provide for and protect” his family. If you want to be a godly man, you must:

Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. (1 Corinthians 16: 13, ESV)

Or, is it the NIV version?

Be on guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong (1 Corithians 16: 13)

Or, the ISV version?

Remain alert. Keep standing firm in your faith. Keep on being courageous and strong. (1 Corinthians 16: 13)

Or, better yet, The Message version?

Keep your eyes open, hold tight to your convictions, give it all you’ve got, be resolute, and love without stopping. (1 Corinthians 16: 13)

As far as being a woman, again, the authors refer to Piper’s definition of true womanhood. God made women to “be content to support, accept and encourage strength and leadership in a man.” Women seem to have no autonomy but are defined solely by the men in their lives.

To become a godly woman, it is advised to follow:

Do not let your adorning be external – the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear – but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. (1 Peter 3: 3 -4, ESV)

And with these, dear children,  we learn to trust Jesus and grow to become the people God designed us to be.

Your final activity from this chapter is:

Boys – talk with your dad about how you can start to practice leading, providing, and protecting your family. Take a practical step toward biblical manhood this week. Girls – talk with your mom about how you can start to practice supporting, encouraging, and helping. Take a practical step toward biblical womanhood this week.

Can you imagine the light bulb turning on for some little boy when he sees how much power he can have over his sister? If a little boy is practicing biblical manhood, does that mean mom has to submit to him? For girls practicing biblical womanhood, what is the line of submitting as a child and submitting as a woman/wife?

****

If you would like to read prior reviews on God’s Design, here are links in the order of the book chapters:

Know Thyself, Creature

Headship, Helper, and an Answer We Already Knew

Rebellion, a.k.a. It’s All Her Fault!

257 thoughts on “Children’s Book “God’s Design” and its Teachings on Homosexuality as a Distortion of God’s Design”

  1. Lydia, this is absolutely an appropriate age to discuss homosexuality—before your six-year-old asks you at a public parade what LGBTQ means!

    Kas, I hope you aren’t trying to make a real case that homosexuality determines eternal destiny. Our eternity depends solely on Jesus taking our place. That is why it doesn’t make sense to tell nonbelievers to give up homosexuality—they need to find Jesus as savior. As Christians people should be told that this behavior doesn’t please God, just as living together outside of marriage doesn’t please God. God doesn’t expect any more of a homosexual than he does Daisy!

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  2. In Japan, it’s actually very common for parents to bathe with their kids. It helps conserve water (which was very important during the postwar years), and it gives kids and parents a chance to chat and relax together, away from work and chores and TV and devices.

    Shared bathing has been a part of Japanese culture for a long time; natural hot spring spas are a popular tourist draw, and segregated public baths are often used as neighbourhood gathering spots. As Daisy said, there’s nothing sexual about it.

    Because of this custom, I’m sure most Japanese boys have seen plenty of “manhoods”, and not just those of their fathers. And yet, the gay community continues to exist in Japan. Gay romance is a common subgenre in comics, and homosexual and transvestite TV celebrities enjoy great popularity. So the insistence by Dobson, Nicolosi et al. that boys can avoid becoming gay by showering with men is just bizarre to me.

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  3. This is a good article on many of the things that have been wrong in the conservative Christian stance on homosexuality http://prospect.org/article/my-so-called-ex-gay-life

    If you read the whole article, you’ll probably recognize some names towards the end.

    One of the things that stands out to me is the amount of deceit that was involved. As Christians, we should embrace truth. If we find subterfuge is necessary to support a stance, then it’s pretty obvious we are going the wrong way. There were people used as guinea pigs, which is atrocious. I guess if you’ve built a big ministry on some idea, though, it’s pretty difficult to admit it is a failure.

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  4. “The whole point of this shower experience to to show off dad’s penis,”

    I almost spit my coffee out.

    😳 What a nut job 😆

    We shower all the time with our kids. They crap their pants so someone has to get in and clean them haha but not once have my husband and I discussed the additional benefit of getting to expose them to our genitals what on earth HAHAHA.

    So glad I don’t read these books anymore.

    Holy Spirit is sufficient yeah? He will teach us what we need to know yeah?

    Haha

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  5. Irene – I hope you aren’t trying to make a real case that homosexuality determines eternal destiny. … it doesn’t make sense to tell nonbelievers to give up homosexuality—they need to find Jesus as savior

    Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; …

    The last four words in the apostle’s sentence ought to warn us that what he is about to tell is something people are going to be deceived about. The kind of unrighteousness that keeps us out of the kingdom of God.

    … neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor sexual perverts, nor thieves, nor the greedy …

    The immoral, adulterers and sexual perverts will not inherit, amongst other kinds of unrighteous behaviour. The nature of this ‘perversion’ is men who sleep with other men and/or are effeminate. The underlying Greek is derived from the Greek OT where homosexuality is forbidden, in the holiness code in Leviticus.

    A man who commits adultery, even leaves his wife for someone else, may be in a ‘loving, committed relationship’, but it is still wrong.

    Jesus came to save us from our sins, so there is hope for all sinners, which is all of us. But it is no good trying to pretend homosexual activity is not a sin that a man needs saving from any more than theft or greed.

    And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

    Notice the tense of the verb, some were like this. The grace of God is available for forgiveness. He sets the conditions for receiving it, but these are not up for negotiation. Homosexuality is not the unforgivable sin; persisting in it or continuing to claim it is a moral good is.

    I think it is an increasing deception being put abroad that homosexuality doesn’t need forgiveness, coupled with a false belief that you can be justified by faith in Christ, declared/reckoned righteous, and carry on as though little had happened in your lifestyle, as though you are simultaneously saint and sinner, as though the new birth is little more than a metaphor. As though total depravity carries on after conversion. It doesn’t! No change means no conversion.

    I think once the nature of homosexual practice is admitted as sin, there is a legitimate discussion as to SSA and where it comes from, and how you deal with people for whom this lifestyle has become a life-dominating thing – without being simplistic. How you welcome people who may find this a struggle that never goes away in this life.

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  6. “Lydia, this is absolutely an appropriate age to discuss homosexuality—before your six-year-old asks you at a public parade what LGBTQ means!”

    Do you define each letter? Or give a generic overview? I am always interested in how other parents handle these things. I am not sure I agree with introducing it in a book this young unless they ask. And that goes for either side. I am a big believer in answering if they ask but not overloading them.

    There are all sorts of nuances here. Whether they have older siblings. What is being brought up at school by other kids, etc. It is a delicate topic with no right or wrong answer.

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  7. Daisy,

    The Psychoheresy Awareness Heresies Ministry talks of the so-called “Biblical Christianity” (what a misnomer) too, and they make excellent points. Just scroll down to the “Critiques of Biblical Counseling Movement” section and read the first four or so articles there. A friend of mine’s life was basically destroyed by a “certified” counselor of the very fishy ACBC “movement.” The details are so shocking, sordid, and ungodly that I will not reveal them, except to say one simply has to look at the ACBC’s foundations, which are Calvinist/Reformed, and as such, well, patriarchal, condemning, all-knowing, and extremely shaky altogether (fake). For instance, the ACBC lot believe they can cure anything; I mean, “anything.” Does that sound even remotely normal? No.

    http://www.pamweb.org/articles.html

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  8. I think that’s a wise way to be. I feel like I cross the line of playing Judge more often than not. That said, if someone asks “is homosexuality sin?” then we should provide them with a response from the Scriptures in a spirit of love and gentleness. If a person is asking only to provoke then I would likely refrain from any further discussion about the matter.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. @Shy1

    Here’s a little more on George Rekers, Dobson’s gay conversion therapy expert who turned out to be hiring a male prostitute from rentboy

    And then there’s their views on race. Dr. Schoenewolf, a prominent member of Nicolosi’s organization, NARTH, wrote an article saying, “Africa at the time of slavery was still primarily a jungle… . Life there was savage … and those brought to America, and other countries, were in many ways better off.” He called the civil rights movement “irrational.” The article was heavily criticized, yet Nicolosi was still invited to speak at a Focus on the Family conference.

    https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/intelligence-report/2007/anti-gay-organization-narth-publishes-essay-gay-rights-and-political-correctness

    This reminds me of Doug Wilson’s views on slavery.

    I hadn’t realized how big a player Nicolosi is until HUG asked about him. The fact that the authors in the OP recommend his work at all smacks of agenda.

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  10. Kas, I want to grab you and save you from thinking works is what makes you (or anyone else) righteous, but I can’t. Homosexuals–like the rest of us– need to confess Jesus as Lord. Then he takes them on a journey of sanctification–like the rest of us. The list says that these people–all of whom have not accepted that the savior took their shame himself and gave them his very righteousness–are not going to live with the savior they rejected. Such were some of you–before Christ!

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  11. Irene – I’m not quite sure what you are getting at. Works don’t save anyone, righteousness is reckoned to us by faith. I wonder if you misunderstood me – once you have exercised faith, you cannot carry on as before, but the changes in your life are the result of your salvation, not the cause of it.

    I don’t see how you can be justified by faith, and then carry on with an unrighteous lilfestyle. You may struggle with it, but the genuine believer has a conscience that won’t let him get away with it for long until he puts things right with God and amends his ways.

    It’s why I think anyone who indulges in any form of immorality such as adultery, or beats up or otherwise abuses his wife over a long period of time should be assumed not to be a Christian. The early church had its problems, but I think the NT is crystal clear on the need to keep the faith and not fall back into the old way of life.

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  12. Irene- free grace gospel

    KAS- lordship salvation

    KAS- how many good works are enough to validate my trust in Christ?

    Why did Paul write Romans 6 (and much of the NT) if good works are automatic?

    Good works do not automatically follow on from our initial faith experience.

    We need to die daily and walk in the Spirit.

    We need to ‘know, reckon and yield’.

    Good works are not automatic in the life of the believer.

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  13. @BTDT:

    If you click “previous” in the yellow bar at the top, it takes you to the page that Dobson quoted from. Page 187 talks all about the shower experience and what to do if the little boy repeatedly touches dad’s penis. The whole point of this shower experience to to show off dad’s penis, not to bathe.

    Can you say “pedo grooming with a side order of incest”?

    I look forward to this author getting caught in a same-sex (or pedo, or incest) sex scandal.

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  14. @BostonLady:

    The Psychoheresy Awareness Heresies Ministry…

    Now that name sounds like something out of Scientology-in-a-Blender.

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  15. @Shy1:

    I think that, while Dobson was probably well meaning (?) and his organization did some good things, he had a lot of very weird ideas and he also subtly turned the eyes of Christians away from Christ and onto the family, turning it into an idol of sorts. He was this great saint in the eyes of the Christians I knew, they hung on his every word.

    “Remember James Dobson? Used to do a lot of things before fear of Homosexuality drove him off a cliff with most of his constituency in the car.”
    — Internet Monk (re Dobson/FotF’s “Letter from the Future” just before the 2008 elections)

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  16. Salty – KAS- how many good works are enough to validate my trust in Christ?

    I’m not trying to smuggle in salvation or justification by works throught the back door! It’s easy to talk at cross purposes. I’m getting at what James was talking about when he said ‘faith without works’ is dead.

    I’ve been spared the lordship salvation controversy. I assume it was a reaction to cheap grace. Like any reaction, it can over-correct and go too far in the other direction. I would have thought cheap grace is still more the problem in the modern church. Seeker-sensitivity, God’s unconditional love. All mercy and no severity. We seem to have lost any sense of God’s anger (all too often shown in the gay debate amongst evangelicals).

    If this were not the case, it would be less easy for Richard Dawkins, for example, to point his finger at Christians and their faith that he despises and say ‘what’s the point of it all, their behaviour is no different from anyone else’s’. I don’t think that is actually true, but there is an uncomfortable amount of truth in it.

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  17. @Headless Unicorn Guy

    PACM does sound like a what-what in a blender, doesn’t it? I am not denying that, but they did help my friend a lot, specifically with ACBC and the hell she’d gone through with that lot. “Headless Unicorn Guy” Ya, it does not sound all that healthy, either 🙂 Nah, you’re all right.

    Oh, I agree with you 101% about this: “Can you say ‘pedo’ grooming with a side order of incest”? Now, THAT’s creepy.

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  18. KAS: “I don’t see how you can be justified by faith, and then carry on with an unrighteous lilfestyle. You may struggle with it, but the genuine believer has a conscience that won’t let him get away with it for long until he puts things right with God and amends his ways.”

    I think this getting more towards the heart of our disagreement. We are all horrible sinners. When we are saved, we are saved from the penalty of that sin and given a new heart that is able to choose righteousness. Yet, that new heart and the new will to please God are still mired in a body and mind that is horribly sinful.

    We Christians like to single out homosexuality as the unforgivable sin, but any sin can be like that. We overlook gluttony. Are the gates of Heaven wide enough to accommodate a 300 pound person?

    I think it is very dangerous thinking to assume that God is going to work on every area of sinfulness and disobedience. What if that converted homosexual person is an abuser, and God chooses to work on the abuse? Do we deny that the Holy Spirit is at work when we see, week after week, that the person has no interest in changing their gay lifestyle? Do we take the work of God into our own hands and start shaming that person by saying that their homosexual lifestyle is at odds with the Spirit-filled life?

    What about other sins? I was at a church with a manipulative couple. No one doubted their salvation as they nitpicked, belittled and shamed people. No one felt that it was their God-given responsibility to confront them on their sin. They will probably die never realizing the damage they caused to Christ’s body, but, are we going to question their salvation when they continue, year after year, in the same stream of shaming, manipulation and control? Why is homosexuality different?

    As I said, there is no record of Jesus shaming a homosexual, but there is interaction after interaction of Jesus vigorously opposing religious leaders for their shaming, manipulation and control. So, why are we turning the gospel upside down?

    Is it possible that I’m going to die with some grievous sin that I’ve held my entire adult life, justified it to myself and rejected attempts of others to correct it? Most definitely! Is it possible that this grievous sin represents an insurmountable barrier between me and my savior? Certainly not!

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  19. Mark, if we want to choose sins, I could make a case that your manipulative and shaming couple has the worst sin–promoting division in the body of Christ, which Jesus prayed would be one!

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  20. “I think this getting more towards the heart of our disagreement. We are all horrible sinners.”

    I dont really understand this. Babies, too? Are we unable to know basic right from wrong? Is it all nature or nurture? Both? Do we choose to do evil or can we help it, in general?

    Are will still “horrible sinners” after salvation? Are both the pedophile and the victim “horrible sinners”?

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  21. Lydia, different sins have different societal impacts, and different sins have different spiritual aspects, but each sin deserves eternal punishment.

    So, no, I don’t say that a baby is a horrible sinner in societal aspect, nor do I say that the pedophile and victim are somehow equally sinful in human terms, but on the other hand, David, a murderer and adulterer is in Heaven now, and Esau, who, it appears, did nothing more heinous than selling his birthright and idly threatening to kill his brother (whom he hugged later) is in Hell.

    I think it is a great disservice in religious circles to try and bounce between spiritual aspects and societal/human aspects of various things. For example, can someone who is not happy have spiritual joy? Can someone who is a sinner be righteous? The Pharisees were model citizens, yet hated God and trapped others in abuse. On the other hand, Jesus praises a women who, by societal standards, was the scum of the earth.

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  22. KAS, in James I believe “faith without works is dead” means that faith not expressed through good deeds is INACTIVE (ie:useless).

    I do not believe that passage means “faith without works is non-existent faith. Otherwise, it’s works for salvation.

    Jesus didn’t die for demons so their belief in him isn’t relevant.

    The justification is before MEN and not God.

    My two cents.

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  23. Mark, Paul says on several occasions that we should deal with sin in our camp.

    If we see a brother or sister behaving in a way that is to their detriment… isn’t a bit of Galatians 6 action required?

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  24. Mark, I think it isn’t necessary to add ‘horrible’ in front of ‘sinner’. We have all sinned. That is what the bible says. Not that we are all horrible.

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  25. That’s a lot more clear, Lea. I was not trying to tie “horrible” to us, but to our sin, in a feeble attempt to point out that we don’t necessarily have a moral high ground with respect to the homosexuals in our midst.

    Salty, what I’m trying to say is that Christians tend to pick and choose what sins are worthy of condemnation. For example, drunkenness is considered worse than gluttony, even though they are listed next to each other in pretty much every sin list. In the same way homosexuality is a “first-rate” sin – the kind that churches will excommunicate people for, but on the other hand, manipulation and control are more “second-rate” sins – the ones that people will murmur about, but that never rise to the level of church discipline. What I’m saying is that Jesus seemed to flip the categories. The squeaky-clean Pharisees got lambasted and the adulterers received compassion.

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  26. I’m no expert on what the Bible says on homosexuality but I do know one thing, the church turns a blind eye to all kinds of “sexual perverts” as long as they play the game. As a result, they have no credibility to me. I think the church needs to get the log out of it’s own eye. They can’t even remove the pedophiles from the pews or shut down the Lester Roloff homes.

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  27. Mark, don’t you think alcoholism is a worse sin than gluttony? How many children have horrific memories of childhood trauma because of a parent that ate too much?

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  28. Shy1/Mark,

    I grew up in a family of alcoholics. My parents are also grossly obese from eating junk and drinking sugar.

    I don’t cry today because they ate too much cake.

    My upset these days is from the abuse heaped on me when they got on the plonk. They are in denial about their abusive behaviour yet will admit their weight is a problem caused by overeating.

    punches wall

    Not all sins are created equal.

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  29. Headless Unicorn Guy I look forward to this author getting caught in a same-sex (or pedo, or incest) sex scandal.

    I read an atheist say much the same about a former pope on an atheist site.

    This means that rather than caring about the suffering of a child, having incest inflicted on them or abuse from some other adult, you and the atheist are more concerned with having something you can use to bash or hit back at the Church/protestantism/evangelicals or religious people in general.

    Something to look forward to?

    I would like to believe that is not what you really meant, but it straining gullibility to do so.

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  30. Mark – not sure there is any great disagreement here. You must have heard preachers say Christ saves us from the penalty of sin, from the power of sin, and one day from the presence of sin.

    It is the second of these – being saved from the power of sin – that is what I am talking about. Your manipulating couple may have been Christians, but if they were doing long-term damage to other believers, I think it reasonable at least to question their salvation. Those responsible for the welfare of the fellowship should have intervened to try to deal with this.

    No-one is claiming we are reckoned righteous and similtaneously become sinlessly perfect. We are one new man, a new creation in Christ, not yet made perfect but heading in that direction. There is now a battle between the ‘flesh’ and the Spirit, not the old man were once were and the new man, and not between our old nature and our new nature. (What happens to the ‘old nature’ at death, you have to wonder!) This battle will continue until physical death.

    You can either expect too much of believers in this life, or too little. The latter is my concern. Business as usual, but with singing hymns and listening to a sermon added.

    When it comes to homosexuality, I wonder if we are expecting too little, we have a God and a gospel who is unable to effectively deliver those enslaved to this particular sin, even if it entails a life-long struggle. He can forgive them, but after that abandons them to a hopeless struggle they have no chance of winning.

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  31. Salty, what was worse for you, your parents’ alcoholism, gluttony, or their abuse? Alcohol removes inhibitions, so the behavior they exhibited was in there all along.

    I’m not trying to diminish sin, or diminish the ability of God to change hearts, minds and even bodies. I’m saying that the church tends to focus on certain sins, and neglects others. Specifically, the church makes homosexuality the unforgivable sin and overlooks spiritual abuse. When, in fact, any sin that we choose to cling to and justify can keep us from God. And when we look at what made Jesus really angry, it wasn’t what makes Christians today angry. It was spiritual abuse. Spiritual abuse is alive and well in the church today.

    KAS – God can certainly do all that, but it is a form of spiritual abuse when we put God, or the person, in a box. We assume that God is going to work on the biggest sin first (which we define as homosexuality), and when God doesn’t cure a converted person of homosexuality in a perceptibly short time, we then doubt that person’s faith and march them down the road to excommunication. But, maybe there are, in God’s eyes, more important things to work on.

    I think this is why there are so many examples of the church dealing horribly with abuse. Instead of recognizing that God may never bring repentance and that the abuse will probably continue, the church assumes that intense counseling will “cure” the abuser and that the cured abuser is okay to be restored to the family. Instead, the church should work to protect those involved from the abuse and recognize that the abuser may never heal from it.

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  32. I saw that, Kathi, but I don’t know much about her at all (and I don’t really buy these Christian books/shop at lifeway so it doesn’t affect me much). I would like to see Lifeway’s standards for what is ok/not ok. They’re probably still selling lots of people I find objectionable.

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  33. Comps do draw a very hard line when it comes to homosexuality.

    I’m not sure complementarianism has that much to do with it, does it? Unless egalitarianism does indeed lead down the road of rejecting a gender binary, and confusing male and female.

    I think it is good to see a Christian organisation taking a stand on this issue when so many are starting to cave in. It is certainly true that numbers of leaders within the institutional church are increasingly unclear as to what they believe, whereas I don’t think you could contend the bible is unclear.

    Some misguided Christians in the past have thought the bible endorsed slavery.

    Some misguided Christians in the present think the bible endorses homosexuality.

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  34. @Mark:

    They will probably die never realizing the damage they caused to Christ’s body, but, are we going to question their salvation when they continue, year after year, in the same stream of shaming, manipulation and control? Why is homosexuality different?

    Simple.
    HOMOSEXUALITY(TM) is the OTHER guy’s sin, not mine.

    Like the guy (real piece of work) I once knew, a PREDATORY homosexual who was very Pious and Righteous about anti-smoking. (Again, the OTHER guy, not Me.)

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  35. @HUG: It doesn’t seem so simple to me. In Corinthians, there’s a man who is having sex with his own mother. That’s the OTHER guy’s sin, yet Paul is clear, “remove the wicked man from among yourselves” 1 Cor 5:13.

    So, there is a difficult path. On the one hand, we need to make sure that we see sin rightly, and we need to leave room for God to soften peoples’ hearts rather than going in with a sledgehammer. On the other hand, the church needs to be taking a stand against sin. I don’t know what aspect of the situation in Corinthians is the primary consideration – some focus on the sin itself, some focus on the obvious brazenness with which the sin is committed, some focus on the church seeming to revel in that sin. But, it’s obvious that there is a corporate nature to sin and that Paul seems to be saying that it’s unacceptable to turn a blind eye to the sin of others.

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  36. lydia00 wrote:

    “I dont really understand this. Babies, too? Are we unable to know basic right from wrong? Is it all nature or nurture? Both? Do we choose to do evil or can we help it, in general?”

    What’s there to understand? There are two paths you can go by. You can believe the ethereal horseshit of John Calvin and the Pearls, or you can listen to your own conscience and moral compass within. Here’s what it will tell you:
    IT’S JUST PLAIN WRONG TO HURT A BABY, and there’s no holy god or holy book that will ever make it right.

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  37. @HUG, maybe I misunderstood. If what you are saying is that Christians are too occupied with legalism (i.e. focusing on the sin of OTHERS) then I agree completely. That still does not absolve us of the need to do it, just puts it in a better perspective.

    @Muff, I’m not trying to justify hurting a baby. I’m just saying that original sin is a fact of life. Part of the problem in our patriarchal society is that each “echelon” of society secures its position by subjection of the echelon beneath. This is the poison of Calvinism (much of what he said was good, but…) and Pearlism. Behavioralism is the modern lingo of Patriarchy and Authoritarianism. The idea that by, what I consider abusive treatment, parents and authorities shape the next generation by imposing their own wills through physical, emotional and spiritual abuse. This is “Raising Kids God’s Way” – setting them up to fail, and then beating them for that failure.

    I think the goal of early parenting has been flipped upside down by the Pearls. Instead of bonding, emotional and physical comfort and security, the goal of Pearl-esque parenting is to make that comfort and security conditional on obedience, and, by effect, make the parents’ security the goal, not the child’s security.

    My job as a parent is to make sure my children’s needs are met, not to make sure that they meet my needs. I find I spend as much time working with them to help them understand how to respect and advocate for themselves as I do trying to deal with bad decisions. I can’t say I’m perfect at that, but I’m at least part way down the path of realizing and correcting my failures.

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  38. This is “Raising Kids God’s Way” – setting them up to fail, and then beating them for that failure.

    Mark, I couldn’t have said it better. That describes the Pearls’ ideology perfectly.

    The ideology of gender complementarianism isn’t too far from that, I fear.

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  39. What’s there to understand? There are two paths you can go by. You can believe the ethereal horseshit of John Calvin and the Pearls, or you can listen to your own conscience and moral compass within. Here’s what it will tell you:
    IT’S JUST PLAIN WRONG TO HURT A BABY, and there’s no holy god or holy book that will ever make it right.

    Thank you! That needed to be said!

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  40. Mark,

    “Original sin” is a Augustinian concept. Don’t mistake my comments by thinking I am saying there is no sin. But I don’t think we are born sinning. This is a huge topic but hard to discuss because of ingrained thinking. I view the topic through a free will lens and a right and wrong filter. I think we make a big mistake viewing people as sinful or sinless perfection. People make choices going back to Genesis.

    You wrote:”I think this is why there are so many examples of the church dealing horribly with abuse. Instead of recognizing that God may never bring repentance and that the abuse will probably continue, the church assumes that intense counseling will “cure” the abuser and that the cured abuser is okay to be restored to the family. Instead, the church should work to protect those involved from the abuse and recognize that the abuser may never heal from it.”

    We choose to do wrong to others and ironically we also choose repentance. God does not force it even though He seeks us.. The bigger problem is a total misunderstanding and dumbing down of forgiveness by Christians that perpetuates the problems you mention. I would caution that believers are called saints not saved sinners. And growing in wisdom and holiness is the path. Get away from toxic people. The Body of Christ should not put up with them, either. Sadly, it is usually the pastor in the institutional church!

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  41. “I’m not sure complementarianism has that much to do with it, does it? Unless egalitarianism does indeed lead down the road of rejecting a gender binary, and confusing male and female.”

    Yes comp has a lot to do with it because they are adamant that gender identity is salvic. There is a pink and blue Gospel. Women are saved in their role of childbearing, remember? There are also strict gender roles in sanctification for comps. Being married with children is the highest ideal in comp. The spiritual identity as equal followers of Christ in the Holy Priesthood is missing in comp thought.

    Remember, homosexuality and even pedophilia is the open secret in patriarchal cultures due to male entitlement thinking. Males did not have, in general, relationships with women whether in marriage or as friends. (That is another radical characteristic about Christ and His hanging around women)

    They were, for the most part, for breeding and raising the man’s children.

    I will say that homosexuals who declare scripture promotes such would not like egal Phillip Payne’s scholarship much. Especially 1 Corinthians 11. The oldest egal insult out there is that it promotes being genderless. People who buy that are similar to those who bought into skin color meaning “lesser” in their caste system. It’s the same thinking and same hermeneutic.

    But I don’t see how homosexuality should dictate how we treat people if they are not harming others.

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  42. “What’s there to understand? There are two paths you can go by. You can believe the ethereal horseshit of John Calvin and the Pearls, or you can listen to your own conscience and moral compass within. Here’s what it will tell you:
    IT’S JUST PLAIN WRONG TO HURT A BABY, and there’s no holy god or holy book that will ever make it right.”

    Muff, the ingrained concept of “original sin”, which is prevalent in all forms of Western Christianity, is one of the most damning doctrines around. It is practiced as either the doctrine of “excuses” for evil OR as the doctrine of controlling others.

    Why can’t people see it is all really about “choices”? It has always been about “choices” which is the message of Genesis and a great God who provides rescue by choosing His wisdom. He eventually came here to prove it!

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  43. Lydia, original sin is taught in scripture. What we do with that concept is where things go way wrong. Christian theologians blur the spiritual and temporal reality. Piper is horrible at this. The fact that we are born in enemy territory spiritually doesn’t mean that our parents ought to treat us like the enemy in terms of physical discipline.

    That’s where well-meaning Christians throw out the baby with the bathwater. When Christians equate “joy” with a permanent smile and judge and punish those who are downcast because they must not have joy, then they’re blurring that distinction. I’ve found complete inconsistency here.

    In the same way, when Christians say that a baby crying in certain situations (like six months old and they’re HUNGRY) is some form of rebellion, they are blurring the spiritual reality that we are all born with sinful flesh, and the temporal reality that children simply lack the mental ability to deliberately sin in the ways they’re accused of. The Pearl-ites want to make the baby a little devil, with adult understanding, and that’s simply not true.

    Reformed churches talk about the “covenant” and that children of believers enjoy God’s covenant love towards his people, and that baptism should be performed as a sign of that covenant love, but then they claim that the “covenant meal” is only for people who can make a clear profession of faith. Again, this seems to be about manipulation and control.

    Every useful doctrine has been perverted and misused by Christians wanting to manipulate and control others. As another example, the Bible talks about the keys of the kingdom, and the church has used that teaching as a form of oppression and control – by threatening that their excommunication is, in fact, creating a spiritual reality of separation from God (the keys).

    I found the same thing with “Mother Kirk”. My experience is that this doctrine is mostly abused. Abusive churches claim that we need to “love our mother” – meaning put up with abusive leadership to remain in the family and keep the peace. I’m sure there is some truth to the doctrine, but I have yet to see the usefulness.

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  44. lydia00 wrote:
    Where is “original” sin taught?

    It has no explicit declaration in Scripture one way or the other.
    It’s derived from various proof texts which in turn are supposed to be the support beams and joists for the doctrine.

    After doing my own research on Scripture as an origin for what’s taught in Western Christianity, I categorically reject the doctrine of original sin along with, ‘spiritual death’, and ‘broken fellowship’ at the fall of humankind.

    I would no more declare my kids and grand kids ‘spiritually dead’ and ‘break fellowship’ with them after they were talked into a horrible mistake by someone who hates them and is jealous of them for their beauty and autonomy, than I would for myself.

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  45. Muff,

    As you well know, There is nothing in Hebrew thinking or Torah interpretation on such a concept as “original” sin. There is plenty on right and wrong, good and evil and the human capacity to know the difference and make the right choices. But as we know, easier said than done! But not impossible.

    Original sin leads to wrong understanding of Jesus Christ, The Cross and Resurrection.

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  46. Lydia, I would love to know your thoughts on death, salvation (in the OT and NT) and the consequence of rejecting Christ and God (and doing evil).

    It’s amazing when you come away from religious powerhouses and start to read the Bible -honestly- without assuming to know what it all means haha

    You start to see words differently and you ask questions you never did and you see expectations you didn’t realise were there.

    I like your comment Muff. I wouldn’t dare teach my child that if they don’t believe in God then he’ll torture them with fire FOREVER.

    How disgusting is that doctrine?

    But it’s the one doctrine uniting believers today.

    Because the wages of sin is eternal torture!

    🙈

    As Lydia said, right and wrong good and evil.

    It’s not rocket science for me… I just ask God to open my eyes to my bad behaviour so I can acknowledge it and move on.

    Guess that’s what differentiates us from those who JESUS said, “you profess me with your lips but your hearts are far from me”.

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  47. Salty,

    There is so much to it I don’t know where to begin. But you know, we can start with Jesus’ first teaching recorded as to what he was about. Repent and believe. Repent does not mean penance. In the 1st century, that audience would have heard: completely change your mind and direction. It means change from inside out. Jesus was assuming they could change their thinking and behavior! Think of it! Most believers today think we cant!

    The backdrop was not just Jewish religious leader oppression but zealotry because of the occupation. Still, Jesus focused mostly on the religious leaders of His own tribe.

    I don’t discount scary passages like Hebrews 10 or Matthew 7. Or the list of dont passages in Galatians, etc. Or that liars aren’t welcome as we read in Rev. I take into account they are written to people who know better and are serious warnings.

    I think our Lord takes ignorance into consideration as we see in 1 Tim 1. But if we know the truth and trample on it, we have chosen for ourselves. Not God. It’s not only what God in the flesh has done for us, it is our response to it. It’s not rocket science but many have turned it into something very complicated so you perpetually need someone to guide you. That is a lie. And it’s not about being door mats or fake nice either. It’s about being light in the world. True, trustworthy people who love both justice and mercy.

    You might be able to see why I view Calvinism and even some of basic Protestant doctrine as a scourge. (Same with Catholicism). These are man made religions in my view. I kept coming up on cognitive dissonance in practice. Yet, I think decent people seeking truth practice in them.

    The Cals accuse me of being man centered. Hee hee. So is God, btw. So was God in the Flesh as He walked here. It IS all about us. We are His Image. So the question becomes, what am I going to do about being His Image here and now?

    I am ranting now but oh how much time we waste! I was thinking youth group. They want them navel gazing and contemplating their sin all the time. How about encouragement and help to be light if the world kingdom people who go on to cure disease, invent new products, build things, restore things, etc, etc?

    You can imagine my shock in study when I found out the words “kingdom of God” and “Kingdom of heaven” meant here and now. It changes everything. The “kingdom” is within believers as our Lord dwells there-if we allow it. And why do we think struggling with God is so horrible? It is the normal! It is called wisdom. Ironically it’s what Israel means!

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  48. I could cry.

    “You can imagine my shock in study when I found out the words “kingdom of God” and “Kingdom of heaven” meant here and now. It changes everything. The “kingdom” is within believers as our Lord dwells there-if we allow it. And why do we think struggling with God is so horrible? It is the normal! It is called wisdom. Ironically it’s what Israel means!”

    Lydia. I get you.

    The Kingdom of God/Heaven topic was me 6 months ago.

    I completely agree with your conclusion.

    It starts here and now.

    It is not all about the ‘heaven party’.

    Jesus actually wants us to take care of the widows and orphans ha!

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  49. “It is not all about the ‘heaven party”

    Exactly! Love the way you put it. I have this image in my head when I hear people begging Jesus to come back. I hear Him saying, You want me to fix it all but what are YOU doing in your tiny corner of the world to fix it while you have me to lean on?

    I honestly feel like too many churches have become spiritual North Koreas and sadly, people like it.

    When Christians tell me what sinners they are, I now thank them for the warning. You see, horrible things were done to my family by Christians. Some of them pastors. I never had such things done to us by unbelievers. It is really quite shocking. So now, I take them at their word that they are still sinning all the time and protect myself and my family from them accordingly. If they still cannot do the right things, be honest and trustworthy and keep from harming others, they should be avoided.

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  50. Salty –

    “It starts here and now.

    “It is not all about the ‘heaven party’”

    lydia00 – “When Christians tell me what sinners they are, I now thank them for the warning.”

    Oh my goodness, both of you! Yes and Yes!!!

    When I hear people say “I am no worse a sinner” to something such as child abuse or rape or violence I want to come back with, “Really, you could rape someone too?! Thanks for letting me know.” It’s absurd talk that minimizes the abuse.

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  51. @ lydia00 :
    I know it well. I survived for almost 2 decades in the Calvary Chapel brand. Theirs is a kind of bible-cult in which the Bible is reduced to heavy black dots and bullet points all connected by heavy dark lines that have no wiggle room — unless of course said wiggle room will benefit their clergy and leadership structure. Much like what Wahhabi Islam has done with their Qur’an.

    I now believe that the Bible “teaches” just two things:

    1) Be a Mensch (Yiddish for good person and genuine human being)
    2) Don’t do the kinds of things to others that you wouldn’t want done to yourself.

    The rest is just commentary.

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  52. “I wouldn’t dare teach my child that if they don’t believe in God then he’ll torture them with fire FOREVER.”

    That however is a complete caricature of Christian teaching on judgment and God’s justice. With one exception I don’t believe any version uses the word ‘torture’ to describe the fate of the wicked.

    There are various metaphors used to illustrate the doctrine and sober reality of hell, almost all of it coming from the lips fo Jesus himself, as though God would not entrust the revelation of his judgment to anyone else.

    As I commented earlier, we seem to have lost all sense of the anger of God, and I reckon this must go a long way to explaining so much of what is going on in churches today that is being covered up.

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  53. I think that people mean very different things by “original sin”. To me, it simply means our children are only human, just like us. They will make some wrong choices, they will make mistakes, they will not live sinless lives of perfection any more than any of us do. The fact that Jesus is our redemption makes all of that a moot point.

    Kas- “With one exception I don’t believe any version uses the word ‘torture’ to describe the fate of the wicked.”

    Kas, have you ever been burned? Have you ever been badly burned?
    Can you imagine being fully trapped in a burning fire, endlessly, without relief, forever? What other word than torture would adequately describe that?

    I just can’t imagine feasting and partying in heaven knowing that countless souls are undergoing that suffering in hell. To me, it seems more like the Borgias, entertaining guests and feasting in their mansion while their enemies are being tortured in the dungeon below, than Jesus Christ.

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  54. Kas, “I’m not sure complementarianism has that much to do with it, does it? Unless egalitarianism does indeed lead down the road of rejecting a gender binary, and confusing male and female.”

    This has nothing to do with binaries or confusion, I just don’t see the point to excoriating and destroying human beings for something they have no control over. I don’t know of a single time it has been helpful to anyone to do so.

    “I think it is good to see a Christian organisation taking a stand on this issue when so many are starting to cave in.”

    The thing I find perplexing about this thought is that it assumes Christians are in some kind of advisory position of control. I’m not really sure what Christians expect to accomplish by “taking a stand” in this area? What is the end goal?

    Mark, “We assume that God is going to work on the biggest sin first (which we define as homosexuality), and when God doesn’t cure a converted person of homosexuality in a perceptibly short time, we then doubt that person’s faith and march them down the road to excommunication. But, maybe there are, in God’s eyes, more important things to work on.”

    This is an interesting thought when you realize we don’t have a single credible example of God curing any individual of homosexuality. Nor do we have any example of laws against it putting a stop to it, it has only led to secrecy and hypocrisy, and high levels of anguish and suicide. Maybe, indeed, in God’s eyes there are more important things?

    Just as an aside, has anyone noticed in the Romans account that homosexuality appears to be listed as one of the results of the curse, not the cause of it?

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  55. “I think that people mean very different things by “original sin”. To me, it simply means our children are only human, just like us. They will make some wrong choices, they will make mistakes, they will not live sinless lives of perfection any more than any of us do. The fact that Jesus is our redemption makes all of that a moot point.”

    This is just something to consider because I totally understand where you are coming from.

    Being human is supposed to be a wonderful thing. We were created in His image. When we do evil we are less human not more human.

    There is no expectation of sinless perfection. What does that even look like? Jesus got angry, tired, frustrated, etc. I am still trying to figure out where that thinking c omes from? A law/grace dichotomy? Our choice is not sinless perfection or saved sinners who just can’t stop sinning.

    Even the Jews knew they could keep the law but chose not to. Moses made that clear in Duet 24. So it’s not a mean God setting up impossible standards we can never attain. We tend to do that.

    Being human is good. It’s His Image. Doing evil is being less than human.

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  56. KAS, please provide these burning in fire verses from the mouth of Jesus.

    I’ve re- read those verses used to teach everlasting burning (torture) and honestly considered other perspectives (annihilation and universal redemption).

    The doctrine of an eternal flame fit features NOWHERE in Acts. Even at Mars Hill… No eternal flame party.

    IF it were a real place to fear you would imagine Paul might have used it in his gospel presentations in Acts. No?

    I believe God is just.

    But the God I know isn’t a monster.

    Jesus would never have tortured than woman brought to him caught in the act of adultery.

    Not my Jesus.

    Perish, destroy, consumed.

    Romans 9- clay destroyed by the potter.

    You might want to prayerfully reconsider the doctrine of ECT.

    Charge me with making God less scary.

    But you have to charge Paul also.

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  57. Salty, duh. Ha ha. I was thinking PSA. Penal Substitutionary Atonement. The Angry Big God punishing the lesser god because he needed an innocent outlet for his seething wrath. We are next if we were not chosen by this angry God before the he created humans.

    It sounds like angry Greek gods where the humans have no volition, doesn’t it?

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  58. I think Romans 5 is a good start. 6-8: “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

    12-14: “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned – for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.”

    18-19: “So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.”

    Also, 1 Cor 15:20-22: “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.”

    Also, Psalm 51:5 “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.”

    Ezekiel 11:19-20: “And I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them. And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances and do them. Then they will be My people, and I shall be their God.”

    Ezekiel 36:25-28,31-32: “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances. … Then you will remember your evil ways and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and your abominations. I am not doing this for your sake,” declares the Lord God, “let it be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your ways, O house of Israel!”

    To summarize, when Adam sinned, he sinned on behalf of all of creation, and thus it was just for God to punish all of creation for Adam’s sin. Adam’s sin transferred creation from life under God to death under Satan, and those Adam bore were born into rebellion against God. In the same way, Jesus purchased the right in his death to redeem those who were naturally enemies of God back into the kingdom of life under God. Original sin is primarily the inability for us to choose to serve God, the heart of stone. It is the Pearlites and conservative Calvinists that have somehow twisted this doctrine (and likewise Total Depravity) into some idea that babies are manipulative sinners, and likewise, that everything non-Christians do is somehow totally wicked. That is not the point of original sin, the point is that we are born into enemy territory and we need to have our heart of stone replaced with a heart of flesh to choose and serve God.

    The Pearlite view was similar to the view the disciples had:

    Mark 10:13-16: “And they were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, “Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them.”

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  59. Mark,the difference between us is I don’t read those passages through a determinist filter.

    I think 1 John lays it out better. We have all sinned yet we are to walk the light and if we keep on sinning (doing wrong/evil to others) then…..

    29 If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him.
    .
    Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. 5 But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. 6 No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.

    7 Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. 8 The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. 9 No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. 10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.

    Evidently, we can change. But I do think there is a lot of confusion on what is sin. To some, our very existence is sin.

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  60. “To summarize, when Adam sinned, he sinned on behalf of all of creation, and thus it was just for God to punish all of creation for Adam’s sin. Adam’s sin transferred creation from life under God to death under Satan, and those Adam bore were born into rebellion against God”

    Mark, I think you are taking pre enlightenment metaphorical/allegorical communication and running it through a post enlightenment literal translation device.

    For example, what would you think of grand parents who punished their grandson son for their daughters crimes? Yet, that is what you are describing of God.

    Adam is an archetype. Adam means human. You are actually claiming that everyone from Adam to Jesus Christ was punished for his eating from the tree. Or, his eating from the tree turned subsequent humans into robots who had no choice but to do evil until Jesus came back.

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  61. Lydia, I don’t think Paul talked about a figurative Adam, and I don’t think the genealogies of Christ were figurative.

    I don’t get to pick and choose what passages of scripture I consider to be the word of God. So, just because there are passages that seem to indicate choice and other passages that seem to indicate election and predestination, doesn’t mean I get to ignore one in favor of the other. The same truths can be taught from different perspectives that might seem on the surface to be contradictory. So, they show the same truths from different facets, and we must reconcile the object to understand why one facet or another that seems contradictory on the surface really isn’t.

    This is part of how I’ve struggled with complementarianism. There are passages that seem VERY complementarian, and I have to reconcile what they say with the effects I’ve seen from different interpretations. I read some pretty good papers that explain a lot of what Paul said, and I have a working theory that fills in some blanks, but it’s a struggle. And the struggle I’ve had is that I see a direct correlation between complementarian views and patriarchy.

    I have seen the doctrine of original sin and total depravity completely butchered in my old church, in a way that essentially makes it impossible to “help” non-Christians, but I don’t think of that as a logical conclusion.

    I’ve gotten in trouble here before because I believe that the Old Testament still is applicable. I’m not ready to take scissors to my Bible just so it says what I want it to say.

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  62. “Lydia, I don’t think Paul talked about a figurative Adam, and I don’t think the genealogies of Christ were figurative.

    I don’t get to pick and choose what passages of scripture I consider to be the word of God. ”

    But I do? How about I have another perspective?

    The genealogy made a bigger point for the Jews. Yet, Adam means human.

    Good decent Christ following people read Genesis as an Ancient Near East creation narrative. If you read other ones, you will see the similarities in style. In Genesis we see a good God who creates, loves and provides rescue for his creatures made in his image. Totally different from the pagan gods. Torah was Most likey written down from oral tradition during or after the Babylonian exile by Scribner’s.

    The “word of God” is Jesus Christ. Not scripture. Scripture is referred to as scripture or” it is written’ etc.

    Mark, we believe a lot of things that just aren’t so because someone taught it and we never checked it out. A horrible teaching is that the ancients communicated like we today. We discount literary devices very prevalent then such as hyperbole, allegory, etc. Example, do you really believe David was begging God to dash babies heads against rocks and God answered his request by doing it? Or, was it hyperbole used in a lament against those doing harm to the Jews? What part of the is literal?

    The inerrancy folks have ruined scripture for us and turned it into a club and code rule book for every situation in every era.
    .we will have to agree to disagree. When people tell me they can’t pick and choose Scripture (who was doing that? Romans is one of the worst for being cherry picked and used as a treatise on individual salvation when it is an explanation on the Jew/Gentile dichotomy in the body) It’s time to end the convo.

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  63. We discount literary devices very prevalent then such as hyperbole, allegory, etc.

    Puns. There is a book in the old testament that is chock full of puns you just don’t get in English.

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  64. I’m not opposed to passages being taken different ways. I don’t think Jesus was forbidding divorce when he used a rhetorical device to explain the OT sanctioning it, nor do I think he was saying that body parts can cause us to sin. Jesus used a lot of rhetorical techniques to wake his audience up to what he was saying, and many of those we understand. The Pharisees were not a literal “brood of vipers”. Jesus talked about the “leaven of the Pharisees”, and even the disciples didn’t get it at first.

    If we disagree, we disagree. Inerrancy is not, IMO, a fundamental belief that must be held by all Christians. But, I’m not going to be convinced by an argument that a priori requires me to ditch inerrancy.

    FYI: my wife corrected me. Pearl actually doesn’t believe in original sin. He also thinks that we can attain sinlessness in this life. So that puts his teachings in an entirely different light. The people I’ve read/watched that hold to the discipline style of Pearl are basing it on a misapplication of original sin and total depravity.

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  65. Shy1 wrote :

    “I just can’t imagine feasting and partying in heaven knowing that countless souls are undergoing that suffering in hell. To me, it seems more like the Borgias, entertaining guests and feasting in their mansion while their enemies are being tortured in the dungeon below, than Jesus Christ.”

    Nor can I go along with it. My conscience and moral compass as a human being will simply not let me. Why create and maintain a monument (hell) to the hatred and cruelty of the devil? Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil, not continue them for all eternity.

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  66. Eternal death means eternal separation from the God who is life. Why would someone want to live forerver with a God they don’t want to be with now?

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  67. I’m a bit hesitant to be wading in here (or rather, diving in, since these seem to be fairly deep waters), but I have a few things to say.

    For my part, I believe that hell exists, that it is eternal, and that once someone’s in, there’s no way out. That’s what I understand of it, based on passages in the Bible, including Jesus’ own words. It’s a hard thing to think about, especially when I consider the possibility of people I know and love ending in that state. Still, the doctrine seems to have the support of scripture, and I’ve found that C.S. Lewis’ writings on the subject make sense to me. I hope no one will mind if I share a few of his thoughts, and mine.

    I just can’t imagine feasting and partying in heaven knowing that countless souls are undergoing that suffering in hell. To me, it seems more like the Borgias, entertaining guests and feasting in their mansion while their enemies are being tortured in the dungeon below, than Jesus Christ.

    Lewis addressed this objection, especially in “The Problem of Pain”. He noted that it’s based on the assumption that hell and heaven are somehow parallel to each other, in the same way that the histories of England and America are. He also made the point that this might not be accurate. Whenever the fate of the lost is mentioned in the Bible, it always sounds so… final. As though it’s the end of their story, not the beginning of a new story, to borrow Lewis’ words.

    This doesn’t negate the idea that hell is eternal, or that the sufferings of those in hell are continuous. But I believe that the redeemed can still rejoice forever with their Lord. It’s not because they’ve stopped caring about the lost, but because they know there’s nothing more to be done for them.

    I’m not particular about the images of fire and burning, though I think the notion of torment that they evoke is accurate enough. My own opinion is that the torments of hell are self-induced, brought on in part by the realization of what the wicked have lost, by cutting themselves off from the only source of blessing that there is.

    Like

  68. “I now believe that the Bible “teaches” just two things:

    1) Be a Mensch (Yiddish for good person and genuine human being)
    2) Don’t do the kinds of things to others that you wouldn’t want done to yourself.

    The rest is just commentary.” – Muff Potter

    Amen!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  69. Serving and Irene,

    If you look at passages which feature these words:

    Perish
    Destroy
    Destruction
    Consume
    and more…

    things get a bit confusing.

    If an apple perishes or is destroyed or is consumed then it’s gone.

    There are a few doctrines that evangelicals just assume are correct. Another is the immortality of ‘the soul’ (the person-breath of life).

    The gift of God is eternal life.

    Why does immortal person need to be gifted something if they already possess it?

    The word is in the Bible, definitely.

    But when you read the references to it with the OT in mind it seems to not mean what we have all been told it means.

    Please read Paul’s speeches in acts where he shares the gospel. You find no such ‘hell’ in his speeches. Ask yourself why this is?

    They feared death. They feared God’s wrath (death).

    God is not a monster. He would not torture a 16 yr old Afghani kid who has never heard of Jesus and been abused since a child.

    God is merciful.

    Romans 9. The clay and the potter.

    Read it 😊

    Like

  70. And I totally agree with Muff.

    You can be as religious as you want but if you treat people like 💩💩💩 then it’s in vain.

    I love God and cannot deny Him. I believe Jesus is the Saviour of the world.

    Now I try to ‘get on with it’.

    Jesus said to love God and others. Putting others before ourselves. For me this is a deliberate effort and choice to do and requires action and submission to God.

    For believers who rant on about being such a lowly sinner all day long I’d be tempted to say, “get up and get over it. It was dealt with 2000 years ago. Now go and love people and stop being an idiot”.

    Not 🚀 Science

    Like

  71. “Lydia, when you are making up stuff about everyone not having sin, be careful or you won’t need a savior either.”

    Is that what I communicated?

    Actually, I think people CHOOSE it.

    Like

  72. Irene, I fear my response sounds Flippant. This is a huge topic that goes against all ingrained thinking.

    The first humans chose to use ignore God. Then God provided rescue over and over. He even went to the trouble to come to earth to show us what being human was about. Even that has not been enough. What do we do with a fully human God in the flesh? We usually err on one side or the other. Do we grasp that sin brings death? Do we think it is so powerful that Jesus Christ has to keep providing rescue over and over to the same person for life. Yet many believe there are Christian molesters who had a weak moment. Or adulterers who are just human.

    I don’t think struggling with God is sin. I think it is life. Our flesh is corrupted as is the earth but Resurrection means new life and we have the indwelling power at our disposal to live new life. Not easy!

    We talk a lot about the cross but rarely about the meaning of the resurrection. They go together. Jesus is not the only young Jewish man to be crucified from that era. He was only guilty of defying the religious leaders. (That should make us think) The resurrection must go with the cross. We, as believers, are responsible to live a new life. Not revel in excuses for doing wrong. We must endeavor to walk in the light. If we, the followers, are not decent, honest, trust worthy people who love justice and mercy then what is the point? Fire insurance?

    Like

  73. “Lewis addressed this objection, especially in “The Problem of Pain”. He noted that it’s based on the assumption that hell and heaven are somehow parallel to each other, in the same way that the histories of England and America are. He also made the point that this might not be accurate. Whenever the fate of the lost is mentioned in the Bible, it always sounds so… final. As though it’s the end of their story, not the beginning of a new story, to borrow Lewis’ words.”

    Yeah, I don’t see a parallel, either, because I am not convinced we even get the concept of immediate heaven, redeemed earth, right.

    I just know that the more I looked into heaven/hell comparing OT mentions to NT, the more vague and confusing it became. Some references to what we define as hell are actual places. Like Gehenna. Which was a valley below Jerusalem where the Pagans made sacrifices to Molech. Metaphorical? Allegory? It explains the fire and sulphur reference.

    I find it all fascinating and interesting to discuss but the more I looked, the more I Thought our Lord was more focused on what we believe and do while here. .I also could not shake the story of Lazarus being raised from the dead. New Life!

    Like

  74. Btw, lest anyone misunderstand. When I reference Gehenna and Molech, I don’t think it refers to God is making the sacrifice. It’s the evil One. We choose God. Or, not. We choose Life…..or not.

    Like

  75. I hate to comment so much but really appreciate the discussion. So many church people won’t discuss the hard stuff! And it becomes indoctrination not learning.

    One thing that kept unnerving me in seeking answers were the characteristics of evil which is why I think struggling with God is so important. Evil most often presents itself as right thinking, good, beautiful, caring, etc. It defines and redefines for us. An angel of light. Deceit are really lies. Deceit is not easy to spot. If only evil presented itself with horns and a pitchfork, we would not be so easily taken by it or those in it. I think this is why it is good to analyze, think, reason, and struggle with truth from God. It is good to question what we are taught. It is good to question interpretations, etc. It is good to sharpen iron.

    Liked by 1 person

  76. If an apple perishes or is destroyed or is consumed then it’s gone.

    Is it? I agree that it ceases to exist as an apple, but it likely becomes something else.

    Lewis broached this subject in the same chapter that I referenced above, using the example of burning a piece of wood. The wood isn’t simply annihilated — there are ashes and smoke left. To have been a log means now being those things.

    So even assuming that it is possible for a human soul to be “destroyed”, in some sense, the state of “to have been a human soul” might then be possible. And perhaps that state would be one description of hell.

    The gift of God is eternal life. Why does immortal person need to be gifted something if they already possess it?

    Perhaps the “eternal life” which God gives us through Jesus isn’t the opposite of death, but of eternal misery. Not just existence that lasts forever, but one that can truly be called “life”, and that we can enjoy forever, in contrast to the “second death”.

    God is not a monster. He would not torture a 16 yr old Afghani kid who has never heard of Jesus and been abused since a child.

    I agree with you, Salty — not because I don’t believe in hell, but because I trust that such a child still has the chance for eternal life. The idea that some people are condemned simply by accident of birth or circumstance is one that I can’t accept. It simply conflicts too much with what I believe about God’s mercy and justice.

    And yes, I agree that God is merciful. My acceptance of the doctrine of eternal hell isn’t due to doubting God’s mercy. I just question whether it’s possible for a soul to be utterly destroyed. And if it can’t be, what other alternative is there?

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  77. “We talk a lot about the cross but rarely about the meaning of the resurrection.”

    The resurrection is the whole point.

    It’s our hope!

    From what?

    (Death) 😝🙋🚀

    Everyone is still stuck on the cross hahaha like our ‘cousins’ in Rome.

    Homework: 1 Corinthians 15!

    Read it. Turn on cheesy music & dance 💃

    “Ohhhh victory, in Jeeeesus”

    Like

  78. Salty: KAS, please provide these burning in fire verses from the mouth of Jesus.

    If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned.

    … it is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire.

    … thrown into hell, where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.

    So it will be at the close of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous, and throw them into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.

    …while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth

    The fire that fell on Sodom was ‘eternal’. Some compromising evangelicals badly need to wake up to this fact.

    These sayings are from Jesus himself. They are symbolic, for example, hell is both unquenchable fire and outer darkness, the worm not dying speaks of an eternal grave. Although symbolic, symbolic of what?

    Surely the intention here is warn us in unmistakable language as to where sin, rebellion and evildoing will eventually take us. The book of Revelation, also coming direct from Jesus, also uses this imagery of fire a lot, of the eternal torment (not torture) of the wicked.

    It is a very sombre subject. It ought to make us fear God more.

    I agree with you that Acts does not mention hell, it does not use this as a means of evangelism – although judgement is mentioned. Acts also contains no reference to the love of God either – in fact apart from the cross, there is no verse anywhere that states that God ‘loves’ unbelievers. Experiencing the love of God is essentially something for believers only. If the whole world believed, the whole world would experience it!

    Hell will be created for the devil and his angels, it is not the intention of God that any human being should end up there, and he has spared nothing to provide salvation from this terrible fate.

    Like

  79. KAS,

    I know these verses. Let’s go:

    “Salty: KAS, please provide these burning in fire verses from the mouth of Jesus.

    If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned.”

    Salty – if you throw branches into a literal fire are they still burning 1 year later? How about 50 years?

    “… it is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire.”

    Salty – do we enter ‘life’ with our cut off earthly hands, do we?

    “… thrown into hell, where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.”

    Salty- what’s a worm? Interpreting this through your ECT lens.

    “So it will be at the close of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous, and throw them into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.”

    Salty- no eternal conscious torment here. I imagine if I were thrown into fire I’d likely weep and gnash teeth too.

    “…while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth”

    Salty- so what is it? Eternal fire or outer darkness? Is eternal fire now outer darkness?

    “The fire that fell on Sodom was ‘eternal’. Some compromising evangelicals badly need to wake up to this fact.”

    Salty- the fire that fell on Sodom isn’t still burning is it? No, it’s not.

    “These sayings are from Jesus himself. They are symbolic, for example, hell is both unquenchable fire and outer darkness, the worm not dying speaks of an eternal grave. Although symbolic, symbolic of what?”

    Salty- an eternal grave! Now you’re getting warmer. 🤔😊

    “Surely the intention here is warn us in unmistakable language as to where sin, rebellion and evildoing will eventually take us. The book of Revelation, also coming direct from Jesus, also uses this imagery of fire a lot, of the eternal torment (not torture) of the wicked.

    It is a very sombre subject. It ought to make us fear God more.

    I agree with you that Acts does not mention hell, it does not use this as a means of evangelism – although judgement is mentioned. Acts also contains no reference to the love of God either – in fact apart from the cross, there is no verse anywhere that states that God ‘loves’ unbelievers. Experiencing the love of God is essentially something for believers only. If the whole world believed, the whole world would experience it!”

    KAS, if eternal burning is what ‘hell’ is then there would be more said about it. The so called eternal conscious torment passages are really stretched.

    Employing use of the brain for just a minute:

    After reading Romans 9… do you come away thinking that after God has destroyed his piece of pottery clay he’s going to chuck it in an oven for 5 billion years?

    No.

    I don’t disagree that the end of the wicked isn’t pleasant. But I’m leaning more towards annihilation.

    I just cannot reconcile the Jesus I know which the doctrine of ECT.

    Is it possible KAS that God will simply not resurrect the evil to LIFE but will destroy them (darkness forever) ??

    Like

  80. “there is no verse anywhere that states that God ‘loves’ unbelievers. Experiencing the love of God is essentially something for believers only.”

    “21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

    22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

    23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” Mark 10

    Like

  81. “there is no verse anywhere that states that God ‘loves’ unbelievers. Experiencing the love of God is essentially something for believers only.”

    I am sure I will think of more as the day wears on. It is a great recall exercise.

    37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.

    34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”[a] And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

    I think you are conflating concepts of love and relationship. To bring it to our level we might equate his love for his created beings with parental love. You will love a child who has turned away like the Prodigal while not forcing your will on them. That child chose to turn away but that does not diminish your love for the son or daughter. It does make a love “relationship” impossible.

    I cannot begin to tell you how many Neo Calvinist young men here are teaching what you stated here. I have dealt with this false concept for the last 15 years. It especially breaks my heart when it is taught to youth. It does great damage. Parents like this do great damage, too.

    People, with developed functioning brains, are responsible for their actions. God does not want any to perish but to have everlasting life. The punishment is real. But God does not choose it for us. It is a consequence of our choices. But we probably will disagree on what those consequences are and what causes them. For example, I don’t believe the little 6 year old girl forced to train as a Hindu temple prostitute will be be judged the same way an adult raised in truth but tramples it, will be. (Hebrew 10)

    Our Lord wants us to seek Him and grow in His wisdom. He is patient. He is HESED –translated from Hebrew as “loving kindness” which doesn’t even begin to cover the meaning.

    Like

  82. “I agree with you that Acts does not mention hell, it does not use this as a means of evangelism – although judgement is mentioned. Acts also contains no reference to the love of God either – in fact apart from the cross, there is no verse anywhere that states that God ‘loves’ unbelievers. Experiencing the love of God is essentially something for believers only. If the whole world believed, the whole world would experience it!”

    Ananias and Sapphira were “believers” in the developing church.

    My point? This is a very tough subject. The Holy Spirit, as far as we know, is not perpetually striking down professing but deceptive “believers”.

    I hardly know what to make of it.

    Like

  83. Salty – What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience the vessels of wrath made for destruction, …

    When the clay is no use to the potter, then it is only fit for destruction. In the context of the potter in Jeremiah, the call of God was to choose to repent of evil, in which case God would re-fashion the pot for blessing. The clay gets to choose whether to be useful or not in that it represents Israel, people. So there is a freewill element in Romans 9!

    I referred earlier to the symbolic nature of the terminology Jesus uses to describe hell, and you seem to be wanting to take it literally, as in literal fire, literally chopping of hands. The metaphors contradict each other if taken literally; they are intended to describe differing aspects of the same thing.

    The punishment of hell is eternal, whether or not you believe consciously experienced or annihiliation is meant. The wicked miss out for ever on the blessings of the new heaven and new earth in which righteousness dwells.

    I have sometimes wondered if hell is a continuation of a fallen world, except there is no restraint of grace present. I don’t see it as God tormenting anyone, as being cruel, but perhaps hell is the ultimate example of God handing man over to the consequences of his own choices.

    I wonder if we ought to ditch the ‘gentle Jesus meek and mild’ image from Wesley – he didn’t get that from the bible. Balance up the love and compassion with the Jesus of 1 Cor 11 or the letters to the churches in Revelation. A less comfortable Jesus perhaps, but more realistic.

    Like

  84. “I wonder if we ought to ditch the ‘gentle Jesus meek and mild’ image from Wesley – he didn’t get that from the bible. Balance up the love and compassion with the Jesus of 1 Cor 11 or the letters to the churches in Revelation. A less comfortable Jesus perhaps, but more realistic.”
    .
    He certainly was not gentle or weak with the religious leaders of His tribe!

    Like

  85. 15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them
    21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”

    Nothing gentle about that!

    Like

  86. That child chose to turn away but that does not diminish your love for the son or daughter. It does make a love “relationship” impossible. I cannot begin to tell you how many Neo Calvinist young men here are teaching what you stated here.

    You even see it in comp doctrine, as some men relate their wives submitting to them being able to love them! They won’t say it outright, but you catch them talking around the margins.

    I too like the prodigal son as an example of how God’s love works.

    He certainly was not gentle or weak with the religious leaders of His tribe!

    True! Maybe we should look at where Jesus was loving and where he was full of wrath and model more on that?

    Like

  87. “True! Maybe we should look at where Jesus was loving and where he was full of wrath and model more on that?”..

    Bingo.

    Acts 20

    25 “Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again. 26 Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of any of you. 27 For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God. 28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God,[a] which he bought with his own blood.[b] 29 I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31 So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.

    We were warned.
    .

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  88. 😂😂😂🙋 Lydia.

    Thanks KAS. I’m still thinking about this topic.

    God can do whatever he wishes. I’m all for warning people of God’s judgment but I’m not going to jump to an ECT conclusion and threaten or coerce people to love and follow God.

    What is it again that leads us to repentance?

    Was it God’s wrath?

    or his goodness?

    “Gentle Jesus meek and mild!” 👍

    Like

  89. What is it again that leads us to repentance?

    Was it God’s wrath?

    or his goodness?

    God’s wrath gets us to concentrate our minds.

    His kindness leads us to repentance, that is, to change our minds!

    Like

  90. Lydia00 – I think we are approaching this from opposite ends.

    Does God love homosexuals? Yes, in the Corinthian church ‘for such were some of you’. Not ‘are’. God’s love expressed in the cross had led to their justification and being made clean again. They could them receive the Holy Spirit whom the world cannot receive.

    The homosexuals on gay pride marches are a different story. Does God love them? Or the bankers and their unrestrained greed, or the adulterers and womanisers, New Agers, or abusers, alcoholics who get into a car …? To say yes is misleading, they need to come to repentance and faith before they will experience the love of God. Up to that point they are under his wrath, and his love of righteousness rather than people. He does, nevertheless, want everyone to be saved.

    I think the atonement is unlimited in its capacity to save, but is limited in that condtions are imposed for receiving forgiveness that men will choose to reject.

    Put it like this – God is not only love, but also light and holy and righteous – and a consuming fire. Playing with fire is dangerous! The modern unbeliever in the West despises a God of love, who is seen as a weak and sentimental grandmother. This might be because too many in the church are giving this impression, especially in the way sin is flirted with or unpopular pieces of apostolic teaching quietly or not so quietly ditched as though it doesn’t matter. How many evangelicals are trying to find a third way over homosexuality to try to avoid coming under pressure from secular society as being ‘haters’?

    The overall effect of this is presumption, presumption that God makes no real demands of us or that we don’t need to change our ways.

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  91. KAS,

    John the Baptist saw Jesus coming down to be baptised and he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”.

    I often wonder why he didn’t add the words, “only for those who believe”.

    It bothers me.

    “Who is the Saviour of all men, especially of those who believe”.

    Lots of puzzling passages for me.

    Back to my knitting 😂

    Like

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