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  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lora View Post
    "Defeats the whole message" in that people make decisions based on fear and not love. The motivation for a professed belief is to save their own skin. I do not think this is helpful at all for people.

    Surely you realize that christianity went amuck when they disregarded the first five books of the scriptures. That is the first step towards all kinds of error and dillusion.

    I am not familiar with the categories of annihilationism or universalism.
    All I know is that scripture speaks of eternal situations that are made final as we take our last breath: one is death and the other is life.
    I totally agree it is not "helpful" for people to be taught the doctrine of hell. Unfortunately, that is the teaching of the vast majority of Christians.

    Your assertion that "christianity went amuck when they disregarded the first five books of the scriptures" is very problematic. Do you follow a particular group that teaches "Torah Keeping?" Paul himself said that circumcision - the central command of the Torah and the very sign of the first covenant - should not be practiced by Christians (whether Jew or Gentile, Gal 5:1-5) because it would put them under BONDAGE of "Torah keeping." And the book of Hebrews said the old covenant law was "fading away." These teachings are so contrary to the Hebrew Roots movement that some of those teachers reject the books of Galatians and Hebrews! And others reject Paul altogether. And others try to keep his writings while refuting what they plainly mean.

    Your comment that "scripture speaks of eternal situations that are made final as we take our last breath" seems very vague to me. Could you please clarify it?
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
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  2. #12
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    Good Afternoon!

    Your assertion that "christianity went amuck when they disregarded the first five books of the scriptures" is very problematic. Do you follow a particular group that teaches "Torah Keeping?" Paul himself said that circumcision - the central command of the Torah and the very sign of the first covenant - should not be practiced by Christians (whether Jew or Gentile, Gal 5:1-5) because it would put them under BONDAGE of "Torah keeping." And the book of Hebrews said the old covenant law was "fading away." These teachings are so contrary to the Hebrew Roots movement that some of those teachers reject the books of Galatians and Hebrews! And others reject Paul altogether. And others try to keep his writings while refuting what they plainly mean.

    Your comment that "scripture speaks of eternal situations that are made final as we take our last breath" seems very vague to me. Could you please clarify it?
    The reason I mention the instructions part of Scripture is because that should be the basis of "doctrine" and yet it was thrown out by the christian teachings and has led to so much false doctine, i.e. hell (being one)
    Scripture tells us of the grave, sleeping, and a first resurrection and a second resurrection.
    We all will go to the grave, for it is apointed once for each to die. We will sleep until our apointed resurrection day.
    We will either be resurrected unto life (first resurrection)
    or resurrected unto death (second resurrection) The second resurrection is for judgment and a second death which has eternal consequences. There is no eternal conscious suffering, it is the consequences only, that are eternal (no more life).

    Once death comes and we go to the grave, there is no more opportunity to "get anything right" so to speak. It is over and finished. That is why I commented that once the breath leaves us - all is final and there is nothing left to happen except the resurrections.

    I get this from scripture. Is this acceptable?

    Until next time,
    Lora

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lora View Post
    Good Afternoon!



    The reason I mention the instructions part of Scripture is because that should be the basis of "doctrine" and yet it was thrown out by the christian teachings and has led to so much false doctine, i.e. hell (being one)
    Scripture tells us of the grave, sleeping, and a first resurrection and a second resurrection.
    We all will go to the grave, for it is apointed once for each to die. We will sleep until our apointed resurrection day.
    We will either be resurrected unto life (first resurrection)
    or resurrected unto death (second resurrection) The second resurrection is for judgment and a second death which has eternal consequences. There is no eternal conscious suffering, it is the consequences only, that are eternal (no more life).

    Once death comes and we go to the grave, there is no more opportunity to "get anything right" so to speak. It is over and finished. That is why I commented that once the breath leaves us - all is final and there is nothing left to happen except the resurrections.

    I get this from scripture. Is this acceptable?

    Until next time,
    Lora
    Hey there Lora,

    The interpretation of the first and second resurrections of Revelation 20 is entirely speculative. There is nothing in the text that tells us what those terms mean, so folks have been speculating about it for 2000 years. The interpretation you suggest seems reasonable, but some people would say that it contradicts other passages that teach eternal conscious torment, such as this:
    Revelation 14:9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, 10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: 11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
    They also would cite this passage:
    Matthew 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
    They argue that the "everlasting punishment" lasts as long as the everlasting life, and would deny that death satisfies this condition because the punishment would end as soon as the sinning soul was extinguished. Folks who believe in Annihilationism would assert that the "second death" is annihilation, and that it is "eternal" in the same sense as capital punishment is eternal - the damned never come back to life.

    This is an ancient dispute. I have two books that present a total of six different views from serious Bible scholars. The Scriptures are not sufficiently clear to settle it with any certainty so folks simply choose which they prefer and go with that (usually just following the Christian tradition). The Bible simply fails as a guide to answer this question and people are left to their own opinions.

    Getting back to the main point - I tried to find alternate solutions to the problem of hell for many years. My first solution was to accept Annihilationism (which seems to be your position). This is the view that God resurrects, judges, and annihilates souls that do not meet his condition for salvation. After more study, I began to think that Christian Universalism was a better solution. This is the belief that God ultimately redeems all people through Christ. But after a while I noticed that it doesn't matter what solution I came to believe because it was like I was just inventing my own religion. I found myself rejecting so many aspects of traditional Christianity that it became evident I was no longer a "Christian" in any meaningful sense of the word.

    Your assertion that death seals our fate is not well-supported by the Bible. This is pretty obvious because folks who support this view have only one verse to cite in support of it:
    Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
    But this verse says nothing about whether a person can repent after they die and before the judgment. This view always bugged me because it seemed totally unfair that the only time we could make the right choice was before we could have any certain knowledge of the truth, and then as soon as we had proof (because we died and could see God) it would be too late! That's like a nightmare scenario devised by a devil.

    Great chatting!

    Richard
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
    • Remember why we debate. We have nothing to lose but the errors we hold. Who but a stubborn fool would hold to errors once they have been exposed?

    Check out my blog site

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post
    Good morning John,

    You say that you "have not yet encountered any contradictions that would sway me from knowing my need of Christ's sacrifice for my sins." Why would you start with the presupposition that you are in need of a "sacrifice" or you can't be forgiven?
    I am forgiven! Christ has born my guilt and suffered the judgement of God for my transgressions: Isaiah 53:1-12, Jeremiah 17:9, John 1:29, Romans 3:19-23, Romans 5:12, Ephesians 5:2, Hebrews 9:26-28, Hebrews 10:1-18,

    I forgive people every day without having to kill someone. Why can't God do what any normal person can do, and simply forgive?
    Your premises assumes equality with God as a normality, and you and I are not. We have sinned because "all have sinned" (Rom 3:23), even if you have convinced yourself to the contrary (can I get a witness?) and for that reason, we are able to forgive the transgressions of others because we too are transgressors. God is presented to us in Scripture as being sinless and the administrator of justice which requires condemnation for those judged guilty of transgressions.

    The concept of "blood atonement for sin" is an ancient and primitive concept found in all cultures. Why would you ever think it true? It looks like just another pagan religion to me.
    It has historical precedent: Genesis 3:21

    Do you think the practitioners of the Greek mystery religions (which predate Christianity) really had their sins forgiven when they stood under a bull to be washed in it's blood?
    The Greeks certainly do not "pre-date" Adam and Eve when God himself skinned an animal to clothe them after their act of disobedience. This is the first recorded biblical sacrifice for sin.

    Thanks Richard for your valuable opinions. They stimulate conversation on important topics and are usually "thought provoking".

    John

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by David M View Post
    That's good John. Just because every man has an their own opinion about what the Bible says, and that would make as many interpretations of the Bible as there are men, this does not negate the truth within the Bible. The fact that everyone does not have a perfect grasp of the truth and does not understand every part of the truth revealed, still does not negate the whole truth of the Bible.

    You believe the essential element as I do.

    "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding." "Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way". "Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding."

    David
    Hey there David,

    The fact that there are "as many interpretations of the Bible as there are men" shows that the Bible is too ambiguous to serve as a guide of any kind. I've never encountered such confusion when studying textbooks written by mere men. I studied physics and math and chemistry and never encountered the wild variations of opinion that we see in the interpretations of the Bible. The only books that are open to such wild variations of interpretation are the books that have no foundation in fact. That's the problem with the Bible. It's just words, words, and more words and no one has any way to verify which interpretations are true and which are false. It's just a matter of personal private interpretation.

    Now you are correct that this "does not negate the truth within the Bible" but it does mean that no way for anyone to objectively verify whatever truths there might be in the Bible. And so it negates the Bible as a useful guide to truth. People don't find "truth" in the Bible - they simply invent interpretations that reflect their own opinions. This is one of the primary facts that caused me to reject religion. If I've learned anything in my years of discussing the Bible on the internet, it is that every man has his own opinion and NO FACTS are sufficient to sway them from whatever opinions they happen to prefer.

    It is interesting that you think you and John agree about the "essential element." You should ask him if he thinks folks who reject the Trinity are saved.

    All the best,

    Richard
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
    • Remember why we debate. We have nothing to lose but the errors we hold. Who but a stubborn fool would hold to errors once they have been exposed?

    Check out my blog site

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by jce View Post
    Why would you start with the presupposition that you are in need of a "sacrifice" or you can't be forgiven?
    I am forgiven! Christ has born my guilt and suffered the judgement of God for my transgressions: Isaiah 53:1-12, Jeremiah 17:9, John 1:29, Romans 3:19-23, Romans 5:12, Ephesians 5:2, Hebrews 9:26-28, Hebrews 10:1-18,
    That doesn't answer my question. Why would you start with the presupposition that you are in need of a "sacrifice" or you can't be forgiven?

    Quote Originally Posted by jce View Post
    I forgive people every day without having to kill someone. Why can't God do what any normal person can do, and simply forgive?
    Your premises assumes equality with God as a normality, and you and I are not. We have sinned because "all have sinned" (Rom 3:23), even if you have convinced yourself to the contrary (can I get a witness?) and for that reason, we are able to forgive the transgressions of others because we too are transgressors. God is presented to us in Scripture as being sinless and the administrator of justice which requires condemnation for those judged guilty of transgressions.
    My question does not assume any "equality with God."

    The ability to forgive is not dependent upon being a sinner. Where did you get that idea?

    I've always found the concept of sin presented in the NT very strange. Gentiles were never under the OT law, so we didn't need to be freed from it. Paul addresses this in Romans 2. Yet Gentile Christians seem to think that there is some meaning to the word "sin" as applied to Gentiles. The use of the word "law" in the NT is quite ambiguous. Does it refer to the Torah? To the entire OT? To just the ten commandments? To abstract principles of morality? Or what?

    Yes, God is the "administrator of justice." But how does that solve the problem? There is no "justice" in punishing Christ for my sins! I get off scot-free, just as I would if God simply forgave me (after I repented). What does the death of Jesus have to do with justice? Indeed, it is entirely contrary to justice since it allows sinners to avoid paying for their crimes. I think there is a fundamentally incoherent doctrine in the heart of the Gospel. It makes no sense to call people "righteous" when in fact they are not righteous. The Gospel seems to eviscerate the meaning of the words "righteous" and "just." Do you have any logical foundation for that doctrine? Historically, Christians have invented the idea that God must punish SOMEBODY for every crime, but that makes no sense. You can't punish Joe for the crimes of Bob and call that justice.

    So my question remains - why can't God just forgive any repentant sinner. How does belief in Christ make God able to forgive?
    Quote Originally Posted by jce View Post
    The concept of "blood atonement for sin" is an ancient and primitive concept found in all cultures. Why would you ever think it true? It looks like just another pagan religion to me.
    It has historical precedent: Genesis 3:21
    Actually, the precedent is found in all cultures. It is a primitive believe of primitive peoples. I don't think you understood my question. Why would you think that it is true? How does shedding blood atone for sin? If my son talks back to me, would I be unable to forgive him until he killed a chicken and splattered the blood on himself? What is the connection between righteousness, forgiveness, and the shedding of blood?

    Quote Originally Posted by jce View Post
    Do you think the practitioners of the Greek mystery religions (which predate Christianity) really had their sins forgiven when they stood under a bull to be washed in it's blood?
    The Greeks certainly do not "pre-date" Adam and Eve when God himself skinned an animal to clothe them after their act of disobedience. This is the first recorded biblical sacrifice for sin.
    Well, I can't think of any reason any modern person would believe in a literal Adam and Eve. Do you deny the entire edifice of modern science?

    And you didn't answer my question: Do you think the practitioners of the Greek mystery religions (which predate Christianity) really had their sins forgiven when they stood under a bull to be washed in it's blood?

    Quote Originally Posted by jce View Post
    Thanks Richard for your valuable opinions. They stimulate conversation on important topics and are usually "thought provoking".
    And thank you for taking time to answer. I really think these questions should be explored. They were in my mind even when I was a fundamentalist Christian. I was always bothered by the obvious lack of "righteousness" implied by the doctrine of Penal Substitutionary Atonement which, by the way, was not invented until the Reformation of the 16th century.

    Great chatting!

    Richard
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
    • Remember why we debate. We have nothing to lose but the errors we hold. Who but a stubborn fool would hold to errors once they have been exposed?

    Check out my blog site

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post
    That doesn't answer my question. Why would you start with the presupposition that you are in need of a "sacrifice" or you can't be forgiven?
    Hi Richard!

    Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I did write a novel on the Mac under your "confessions of an iMac addict" proclamation post. You know.. that old Billy G. (not goat) will get your first computer dollars but Stevie J. (not Jordan) will clean you out of your last ones.

    Well, on to your question;

    The simple answer is that when I reached a certain age, I realized that some of my actions were not good... well maybe more than "some". But I didn't really concern myself about it. I just lived my life doing the best I could and figured that's just the way I was. Eventually, as is the case with many, I reached a turning point in my life, a crisis of sorts and it was bigger than I could handle. I was quite frustrated by what seemed an inability to make a course correction. I was a ripe candidate to be proselytized. My older brother was the witness that God used to plant the seeds of a new life which would be birthed within me on Good Friday, April 20th, 1973. On that day, my entire life was transformed as I silently cried out to God a most sincere and significant three words... "God help me". That plea to God came from the very heart of my soul and spirit, and almost instantly, I experienced a power that fell upon me such as I had never felt before nor since. Words cannot explain.

    This amazing encounter with the Spirit of God started me upward on the path of the Bible. As I read it with great intrigue, answers to questions about life and about myself began to flow. Finally, I was on a road leading to a better understanding of myself and why I had this problem with evil behavior, I was a sinner separated from God. I think I always knew it, but never with such conviction. And therein lies part of the answer to your question. The Bible convicted me on the evidence. I was guilty of disobeying my conscience which seldom allowed me to commit an injustice without warning. There was a full and rational acceptance on my part that my condition aligned with the Bible's characterization of me. Me, not someone else... me. I didn't need to compare myself with others any longer. The standard was revealed to me and I was the one who was out of tune. God created the measuring stick, and I fell short. The revelation of the reality of God to me, was, and is to this day, the most significant event in my life.

    This testimony is strange to understand by those whom God has not drawn, for, to them, it is foolishness, their worldly wisdom cannot accept it, but there is an explanation for that too, 1st Corinthians 1:18-21.

    So here's your answer: My sin is not a presupposition, it is a fact, confirmed by God's Word. The sacrifice is not my idea... it is God's solution. You know these things Richard, if you have ever been a partaker of the Holy Spirit. If not, then your earthly wisdom will simply discount my testimony, along with the testimonies of many others, great & small who have tasted of the Goodness of the Lord, and found Him to be completely satisfying.

    I need no other argument, I need no other plea, it is enough that Jesus died, and that He died for me (but we can still talk).

    John

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by jce View Post
    Hi Richard!

    Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I did write a novel on the Mac under your "confessions of an iMac addict" proclamation post. You know.. that old Billy G. (not goat) will get your first computer dollars but Stevie J. (not Jordan) will clean you out of your last ones.
    Hey there my friend,

    I saw that post, and was going to answer but got distracted. Thanks for reminding me!

    Quote Originally Posted by jce View Post
    Well, on to your question;

    The simple answer is that when I reached a certain age, I realized that some of my actions were not good... well maybe more than "some". But I didn't really concern myself about it. I just lived my life doing the best I could and figured that's just the way I was. Eventually, as is the case with many, I reached a turning point in my life, a crisis of sorts and it was bigger than I could handle. I was quite frustrated by what seemed an inability to make a course correction. I was a ripe candidate to be proselytized. My older brother was the witness that God used to plant the seeds of a new life which would be birthed within me on Good Friday, April 20th, 1973. On that day, my entire life was transformed as I silently cried out to God a most sincere and significant three words... "God help me". That plea to God came from the very heart of my soul and spirit, and almost instantly, I experienced a power that fell upon me such as I had never felt before nor since. Words cannot explain.
    I can totally relate to your experience. I had simiilar experiences. The problem came not with my mystical experiences of God, but that they can made me susceptible to the fundamentalist intepretation of the Bible.

    Quote Originally Posted by jce View Post
    This amazing encounter with the Spirit of God started me upward on the path of the Bible. As I read it with great intrigue, answers to questions about life and about myself began to flow. Finally, I was on a road leading to a better understanding of myself and why I had this problem with evil behavior, I was a sinner separated from God. I think I always knew it, but never with such conviction. And therein lies part of the answer to your question. The Bible convicted me on the evidence. I was guilty of disobeying my conscience which seldom allowed me to commit an injustice without warning. There was a full and rational acceptance on my part that my condition aligned with the Bible's characterization of me. Me, not someone else... me. I didn't need to compare myself with others any longer. The standard was revealed to me and I was the one who was out of tune. God created the measuring stick, and I fell short. The revelation of the reality of God to me, was, and is to this day, the most significant event in my life.

    This testimony is strange to understand by those whom God has not drawn, for, to them, it is foolishness, their worldly wisdom cannot accept it, but there is an explanation for that too, 1st Corinthians 1:18-21.

    So here's your answer: My sin is not a presupposition, it is a fact, confirmed by God's Word. The sacrifice is not my idea... it is God's solution. You know these things Richard, if you have ever been a partaker of the Holy Spirit. If not, then your earthly wisdom will simply discount my testimony, along with the testimonies of many others, great & small who have tasted of the Goodness of the Lord, and found Him to be completely satisfying.

    I need no other argument, I need no other plea, it is enough that Jesus died, and that He died for me (but we can still talk).

    John
    I understand where you are coming from. I was there myself. But now I see that my mystical experiences with God gave false confirmation of the fundamentalist interpretation of the Bible.

    I really appreciate your testimony, but it does not give any kind of answer to my question. As you noted, I already knew that the Bible says sacrifice is "God's solution." My question is "why" - why is that God's solution? Why can't God forgive without killing Jesus? What's the connection? I can forgive all day long without demanding that someone be killed, or that someone "pay" for whatever offense was committed.

    This is a very sincere question. The idea of blood atonement seems primitive and meaningless to me. People all over the world sacrficed animals to appease their angry gods which didn't even exist. That's why the Christian dogma looks like any other primitive man-made religion.

    So do you have any insight into this? I know the standard Christian answers, like "someone has to pay for the sins" but that means nothing to me. Why would God demand "payment" for sin? What does it accomplish?

    Great chatting!

    Richard
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
    • Remember why we debate. We have nothing to lose but the errors we hold. Who but a stubborn fool would hold to errors once they have been exposed?

    Check out my blog site

  9. #19
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    Why can't God forgive without killing Jesus?

    Hey Ram, You’re condemning the ‘Greatest Story Ever Told’ without realizing that Jesus is ALIVE. He’s telling us a Life and Death story in Life and Death terms! Like the Pharoah’s Butler took Communion and got Life, but the Baker had the wrong kind of Bread in his top basket, and he died! Sure, you’re entitled to your opinion, or the notions of institutionalized men, but you need God’s Word on the top shelf.

    So we know we only have ~4 or 5-score at best, but we DON’T KNOW what lies beyond. Houdini hasn’t returned. Maybe we won’t want to return, or be unable – eye has not seen, nor ear heard; neither has entered into the heart, the things which God(Love) has prepared….

    And, while I’m at it jce, loved your declaration, and reminded me of myself too! :bornagain:
    Dux allows: "It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out the matter". Pr25:2

  10. #20
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    Remember it was on that THIRD DAY, the Pharoah's Birthday, when the Butler & Baker got their reward. The 3rd Day scriptures are sprinkled or salted thru the Bible..
    Dux allows: "It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out the matter". Pr25:2

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