Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Defending Hell? #1

It may come as a shock, but there is a need for an apologetic on hell.  Seriously. 

Read the following page for more information:   Pew's Hell Survey.  According to the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life’s U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, conducted in 2007, only 59% of Americans believe in the existence of Hell. 

Proving hell's existence to someone who isn't a Christian, is next to impossible.  How would you do it since hell is only experienced after death, unless of course, God gives someone a vision of hell and the person recognizes the vision was from God and puts trust in that vision? 

The need for defending the existence of hell isn't necessary for the unbeliever, it's necessary for believers.  Read the link to "Pew's Hell Survey" and the percentages given indicate that there must be Christians who do not believe in the existence of hell!  From personal experience, I have heard Christians question the existence of hell based on the existence of an all-loving God.  Think Rob Bell's book, Love Wins.  Ultimately, the problem lies in our over-emphasis of certain characteristics of God.  We over focus on God's love and mercy, and we ignore or erase God's nature to be just and holy!  We forget that grace, although it is free, is not cheap!  Grace is very, very costly to God. 

G - od's
R - iches
A - t
C - hrist's
E - xpense

Here are some books on hell:

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Selling Truth for Unity #1

From Charles Colson's article, "As Long as we get Along: Selling Truth for Unity":

He quotes Bishop Lee who said, "If you must make a choice between heresy and schism, always choose heresy."

Colson can't think of anything more dangerous.  He explains that this is basically saying, "we can tolerate anything within the church just to keep the church together."  This reminds me of Paul when he addressed the Corinthians about the man they knew was sleeping with his father's wife.  They allowed it to happen!  We can't allow and tolerate open sin in order to avoid conflict or schism within the church.  In the case of Bishop Lee that was tolerating an openly gay man as a bishop in the Episcopal Church.  Doing so would be avoiding the prerequisites of a church leader laid out by Paul in his pastoral epistles given to Paul and Titus, as well as clear writings about the sinfulness of homosexuality and other sinful actions in Romans 1.  Paul also had to take such stands against false doctrines and teachers within the church.  Think the Judaizers and Gnostics of his day. 

Colson gives two reasons that so many Christians are selling truth for unity!  The first is money.  He says, "There is a lot at stake economically!"  If a church becomes split, who is going to pay for the pastor's salary and retirement?  Who is going to pay for the congregation's building loans?  Will someone's reputation be hurt?  The second reason he gives is that American Christians no longer take truth seriously!  As a result, we tend to think that all people of good will are "basically on the same side."

I've met many college students at UCI who believe that we're basically good and following the same path.  Some of these students grew up in the Christian church and have fallen away to religious pluralism and universalism.  Many take the stance that we cannot know the truth in any situation - even morality!  Everything is subjective and relative with personal preference being the guide and norm of our lives.  How dangerous is that?  Well, that's what you get when you shoot for unity above truth.

Colson concludes his article by saying, "It's all well and good for evangelicals to sit around and talk about "those crazy Episcapalians." But they're just reflecting what all of us do to a lesser degree.  Lee's words ought to be a sobering wake up call to all of us."