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message 1: by Rod (new)

Rod Horncastle It's incredible how many people think God is desperately trying to save the world from sin. Yes that's a problem for sure.

But we are really saved from God himself. His holiness has some serious demands that must be met. We don't sprinkle some Jesus on our life and move on to kindness and goodworks.

Any thoughts?

Through all of this God gets to show his Glory, mercy, and grace... and also love and justice. And to think most religious people just assume God is collecting nice people for his blessed Kingdom. If he wanted nice people - he would have just made some.

message 2: by Robert (new)

Robert Core | 1864 comments Rod - God is not trying to save the world from sin; after Adam and Noah's neighbors He became a realist about the true nature of His prize creation. True, He still held out hopes for His "chosen people", but they consistently let Him down despite having every privledge. Enter Jesus, where one can save himself easily. What! Few REAL takers - just a bunch of half-measure followers in limbo. Now, we get Jesus quoting do-gooders, who want abortion on demand, or other impossible pairings, like gay marriage. I once viewed the Rapture as a huge event with "the Church" disappearance causing disruption throughout the world. Now, with everyone corrupt and unrepentant, I doubt if it will even cause a ripple.

message 3: by Mayowa (new)

Mayowa Adebiyi | 3 comments It's funny but it isn't a coincidence that the increase in popularity of the pre-trib, John Hagee, Left Behind type view of the end of the ages has coincided with Christian retreat from the public square. If all christians are going to heaven then whats the point in caring.
All of this is not arbitrary to the thread topic, in the end God will be vindicated, Christ will reign and we will ALL bow.

message 4: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Carrington | 4 comments I agree with Rod. There is a huge misconception in the Church at large that Jesus saved us from sin or from the adversary. People don't realize that what He saved us from was the wrath of a perfectly just God who would be completely within His rights to keep separated from us for eternity. He was under no obligation to save reconcile us...He would have been completely justified to leave us in sin and separate from Him.

message 5: by Lee (new)

Lee Harmon (DubiousDisciple) | 2112 comments Mayowa wrote: "If all christians are going to heaven then whats the point in caring."


message 6: by Robert (new)

Robert Core | 1864 comments Daniel - yes, it is so that God could have washed his hands of us but, what then would be the point of the whole human experiment?

message 7: by David (new)

David So how is God different from an abusive boyfriend?

"I love you and you had better love me in return or I am going to beat the heck out of you."

Or, how is God not schizophrenic - "good" God Jesus saves us from "bad" God the Father.

message 8: by Robert (new)

Robert Core | 1864 comments Yes, by all means lets reduce God to teeny-weeny human psychobabble so we can understand Him.

message 9: by Lee (new)

Lee Harmon (DubiousDisciple) | 2112 comments haha! Oddly, once again I find myself in agreement with Robert.

message 10: by Robert (new)

Robert Core | 1864 comments Lee - better watch out - they'll take away your super keen secret liberal decoder ring for communicating with conservatives!

message 11: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Carrington | 4 comments David, I'm not getting where you come up with the abusive analogy or the "good" vs. "bad" idea. Who said one was good and the other was bad?

message 12: by David (new)

David Robert (and Lee), I am so glad you agree with me that the way some people talk about God's love makes God look like an abusive boyfriend. You're right, we should not reduce God to that.

If when you talk about God and wrath and love you end up with a God who basically says "I love you and you better love me or I'll torture you" then you have reduced God to an abusive boyfriend. So I'll ask it again, how is the view of God put forth above different from an abusive boyfriend, because let's not reduce God to that.

Daniel, when we talk about being saved we talk about being saved from hurtful, harmful things (i.e., bad things). No one ever says, "thanks for saving me from that kale salad!" or "I am so glad I was saved from a beautiful marriage." So if Jesus saves us from God it sounds to many like you are saying Jesus (the nice and good savior) is saving us from (since we usually are saved from something bad) the evil, wrathful God.

For the record, I believe God is wrathful and does punish evil. I just think there are sloppy ways to say that and thoughtful ways. Haha, I am not sure I have a thoughtful way, but what was written here struck me as sloppy.

message 13: by Mayowa (new)

Mayowa Adebiyi | 3 comments @Lee, that was meant be to be sarcastic. Sorry you didnt get it.

message 14: by Robert (new)

Robert Core | 1864 comments David - in religion, like everything else we have choices. The consequences of your choices are laid out in the Holy Bible. So, you can take the high road and dance with God who has some obedience rules or waltz around with Satan who has none. When God gets jilted He merely hands your fate over to your heart's desire. Jesus and God speak with one voice. Jesus just opened the entry gate beyond a "Hebrew only" exclusivity. So out went legalism and in came Grace.
For us gentiles, the path to God/Jesus became ridiculously easy, but still those in the Satan conga line didn't get materially reduced. Yes, God is love, but He has behavioral limits, too. Complaining that you're going to be "tortured" when you yourself choose your executioner insults the intelligence God gave you.

message 15: by Erick (new)

Erick (panoramicromantic) David wrote: ... So I'll ask it again, how is the view of God put forth above different from an abusive boyfriend, because let's not reduce God to that."

Haha. Nice switch David.

message 16: by Erick (new)

Erick (panoramicromantic) There have been Christian thinkers/writers in the past that have attempted to do away with vicarious atonement because of the obvious issue of God the Father punishing God the Son for sins He never committed and thus compromising any definition of justice that one could rightly call such. It is difficult to get around the problem of a divine wrath so uncontrollable that it can only be assuaged by the torture and death of an innocent Son. Not that I believe there is no way around it.

I am certainly not one of those who does away with vicarious atonement (Isaiah 53 makes any such attempt rather preposterous), but these problems I have thought about and have come to my own conclusions on. Conclusions I will not share here, partly because the subject is too involved and requires a bit of scripture, and also because these kinds of things need to be handled by people who care enough about the subject to work at coming to grips with them on their own. No quick answer post is going to really satisfy anyone.

message 17: by CJ (new)

CJ We are saved from the seperation of God for eternity! Sin seperates us from God but Jesus's blood covers that sin. So when God looks upon a repentant follower he does not see sin He sees the atonement blood of Christ.

message 18: by Rod (new)

Rod Horncastle I like that thought CJ.

I'm very sure many church goers assume God will look at them and see AN AMAZING HUMAN BEING WHO DESERVES A HEAVENLY ETERNITY - just love love love and endless grace and kindness.

But I agree it's all about seeing Jesus IN US! Or as in your example CJ: it's like the passover, and having the angel of death see the blood on your doorposts:

Exodus 12
blood that is in the basin to the lintel and the two doorposts; and none of you shall go outside the door of his house until morning. 23"For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to come in to your houses to smite you. 24"And you shall observe this event as an ordinance for you and your children forever.…

message 19: by Robert (new)

Robert Core | 1864 comments Rod - well I doubt if it's seeing much Jesus in us. I have NO intention of turning the other cheek toward liberals (I'd much sooner eliminate them, but can't as a convert) and I'm not about to love hopelessly-confused brother Lee like myself. The hypocrites amongst us can fancy themselves goody-two-shoes, but I'm under no such delusion. I'm a sinner, Satan still has me on speed dial, and it's only because I pray daily and follow the Lord of Scripture that keeps me from untold evil. All of us are that way, right through the black heart of our unconvincing and terminally boring love, love bleatings.

message 20: by Lee (new)

Lee Harmon (DubiousDisciple) | 2112 comments Look, I understand this is a religious blog, but shouldn't our religion at least pretend to be based on the Bible? Nowhere does the Bible talk about being rescued from eternal damnation into heaven. There are a few verses that mention being saved from the "wrath to come," but it's a pretty dubious assumption that they refer to an afterlife.

Likewise, shouldn't our religion at least pretend to be founded on Jesus? Why, then, do Jesus-haters like Robert get airtime?

This forum is bizarre, lol.

message 21: by Rod (new)

Rod Horncastle I don't think God is impressed by our shallow attempts to rub some Jesus mojo on our behaviour. This is Actual: we need the lamb slain for the sins of the world covering us against God's holy wrath. The Holy Spirits work in us.

Liberals think a little bit of Jesus behaviour will give their existence meaning. The Bible says it's much deeper than that... We are sinner's that need to be made new.

message 22: by Rod (new)

Rod Horncastle Lee the whole Bible talks about being rescued from eternal damnation into Jesus' Heaven. From beginning to end. Garden, sin, hell, redemption, heaven. How did you miss that???

message 23: by Lee (new)

Lee Harmon (DubiousDisciple) | 2112 comments I missed it because it isnt there, Rod. I can quote many verses about salvation, but I cant think of a single one that says anything about being rescued from hell into heaven. So enlighten me.

message 24: by CJ (new)

CJ Luke 16: 19-31. Amongst many others. But Lee I am not sure what you mean? If you are meaning you can be rescued out of Hell once you are there then your statement is correct , once you are in Hell you cant be rescued from Hell into Heaven. If you mean that a person cant be rescued from damnation prior to death then the Bible clearly states what will happen to a person who is not a follower of Jesus. If you could clarify for me that would be most excellent. Thanks!

message 25: by Lee (last edited Oct 16, 2014 05:40PM) (new)

Lee Harmon (DubiousDisciple) | 2112 comments CJ, I'm saying that everyplace in the Bible where you read about salvation, it's about being saved from something on this side of the grave. It's not about being saved from hell.

So...the parable of Lazarus and the rich man? First, understand this is NOT about heaven and hell at all. It's about two people who get stationed in Hades, a place in Greek mythology where everyone went after they died. Portions of Hades were thought to be pleasant, portions not so pleasant. So Lazarus gets to go to a pleasant spot and the rich man to a not-so-pleasant spot where they can see across a chasm in Hades and even speak to each other. Unless Jesus believed in Greek mythology, he was clearly speaking in parable. (One note here, in case I'm not clear: Hades does not exist. There is no such land under our flat earth.)

I write the following in my latest book about this parable:

Did Jesus really present this story as an accurate picture of life after death? Few Bible scholars think so anymore. The story bears an uncanny resemblance to Greek, Jewish and Egyptian stories known by all in Jesus’ day. Scholars have discovered many such similar parables. A doctoral dissertation at the University of Amsterdam identified seven versions of the parable circulating in the first century.

For example, stories of the dead “carried by angels” into “Abraham’s bosom” can be found in the Talmud, as can the idea of communicating across the gulf between Paradise and the place of torment. Jesus is not revealing any new secrets about hell, here. Bible scholar Craig Blomberg writes that “Jesus may have simply adopted well-known imagery but then adapted it in a new and surprising way.” Jesus is merely drawing on a common legend to make a point about the justice of God in the age of God’s rule on earth. The poor and the rich trade places.

Hundreds of years ago, it was common to interpret this parable literally, but this line of thought has largely been abandoned by Bible scholars. Hades is not meant by Jesus to be a literal description of any form of an afterlife.

message 26: by Rod (new)

Rod Horncastle Good luck CJ.

message 27: by Joshua (new)

Joshua Woodward | 556 comments It's interesting the King James was translated from a salvation mindset. The greek word for salvation is also used for healing. It's sozo and if means to be restored.

So the woman with the issue of blood if the word sozo was translated more consistently would read.

"If I just touch the hem of His garment I will be saved."

The salvation concept has confused people so much that they miss what is plainly written in Romans 3:24-26

God has been forgiving people since the beginning of time, he declared to Moses He is a God who forgives. In the suffering and death of Christ he was justifying himself!!

There are a host of people and angels who will look at you and accuse you, they will say this man doesn't deserve a eternal glorious life, he deserves to suffer.

God replies this one is mine. I paid the ransom you demand, I suffered in his place.

God is love

message 28: by Brent (new)

Brent McCulley (brentthewalrus) facepalming myself in the head with your single word exegetical fallacies, Josh.

message 29: by Brent (new)

Brent McCulley (brentthewalrus) facepalming myself in the head with your single word exegetical fallacies, Josh.

message 30: by Brent (new)

Brent McCulley (brentthewalrus) using extrabiblical notions to usurb historical-newtestament usage is simply poor exegesis, Lee. Just because the Greeks understood Hades to mean this or that doesn't mean that is the context the NT authors meant it when they used it to describe a certain theological truth or phenomenon. Socrates, for instance, had a daemon (divine inner voice to deeper philosophical truths) but to cite that as what the Gospel writers meant everytime they use the word daimonion is simply fallacious exegesis. This term had evolved into something uniquely Christian, a disembodied unclean demonic spirit antithetical to God and his will. This stretches to Josh's very poorly written out "Sozo" fallacy. Sozo means I save, deliver, or rescue. It also can mean I heal, quite true a la your example of the bleeding woman, but CONTEXT is everything. It is exegetically fallacious to draw out one example where the contexts begs for heal and thereupon eisegete it into all other circumstances and thereby conclude Jesus' overwhelmingly clear statements about estrangement from God, outer darkness, Gehenna, et al., are simply misunderstood. Good gosh, please everyone go get a working knowledge of the Biblical languages and take a hermeneutics course before you self publish these terrible books.

(btw this comment probably seems harsh, but it's 4am and I'm tired and cranky and at any rate, I'm the terribly jaded and cynical moderator of this forum so I'm allowed to basically say whatever I want. Plus Lee loves me, right Lee? (-:

message 31: by Joshua (last edited Oct 24, 2014 04:52AM) (new)

Joshua Woodward | 556 comments Face palm away. Being saved from an illness is a perfectly sensible transliteration. Also I'm not detracting from clear statements about being saved from estrangement.

You have actually made quite a lot of assumptions here. I wasn't saying the concept of sozo doesn't include salvation. I was saying the concept of sozo is much bigger than atonement for sin, glad you noticed I'm not a calvanist.

Besides the exegesis isn't actually the foundation for the doctrine I went on to write about. The foundation is Romans 3:26 in plain english. I was merely pointing out that many miss the bit where Paul proclaims God has always been a forgiving God (Ex 34:7) and the propitiation made God just. (Please don't slap your face again!!)

With regards to historic usage extra biblical references like the dead sea scrolls have been very valuable to scholars in bringing clarity to biblical terms. Am I wrong?

I do hope you took the time to read my book before you said it was terrible. Maybe not? For your comfort my book has very little exegesis of this kind. Nearly all of the scripture references are in plain english. I have a great respect for biblical scholars, especially the ESV crowd.

Besides if I studied calvanist hermeneutics then I would think like you and that would be no fun. Who would make you face slap at 4 in the morning?

message 32: by Lee (last edited Oct 24, 2014 04:46PM) (new)

Lee Harmon (DubiousDisciple) | 2112 comments haha!

Just a note on "context," since Brent is making it such a strong issue: All of the gospels, and most of the New Testament, were written in the shadow of the most horrible war in the history of the Jews up to that time. The rest of the New Testament was written by Paul, a man who could see the end coming and expected Jesus to return pronto to save everybody. There is no more important context than this when discussing Gehenna-fire and salvation.

edit: James may be an interesting exception to the above.

message 33: by Joshua (new)

Joshua Woodward | 556 comments Since my hermeneutics has been questioned I have a question.
The word magos is where we get our english word magician. It is translated throughout ancient greek text as magician or sorcerer and also in the new testament a number of times it is translated the same way.
In Matthew chapter one the translators chose to translate this word "wise men", why?

message 34: by Brent (new)

Brent McCulley (brentthewalrus) Joshua, thanks for bringing this up. From my historical studies on Zoroastrianism in Persia and the spread and influence therefrom, it is conjecture albeit a good one, that the "wise men" were in fact a part of a mystic kaballah stemmed from Zoroastrianism which incidentally has elements of Judaism (Daniel's influence from the kingly courts?). I propose that because the men's connection with the Messianic prophecy a la Jesus made commentators translate it "wise men" but in defense of biblical translators they also translate it often times magicians or magi for obvious reasons as aforesaid. No real conspiracy here, Josh (;

message 35: by Joshua (new)

Joshua Woodward | 556 comments I find Zoroastrianism intriguing.

I'm not fishing for a conspiracy theory among translators. I am merely pointing out that often contextual pretext is preconceived.
In each language each word embodies a concept. Some concepts are more defined in certain languages than others.
Older languages usually have simpler constructs so one word can require numerous english words to do justice to the context as you point out.
However the concept of the original word remains true and I like to examine the various facets of a word like sozo to get the full flavour of the original language.

hesed is a fascinating example. ESV now translates it steadfast love, and I would agree with it. However David often made this statement "His steadfast love endure forever". In my vocab this is a bit like saying "His long lasting love lasts a long time." It makes me think perhaps there is more to this word.

Instances like Abraham's conversation with Sarah and David's usage in the Psalms seems to indicate that the word is perhaps more active. So I lean a litte toward the NASB rendering of lovingkindness.

The beauty of this study is that I can understand that God is active toward me in His love. It's not a passive feeling He has. In understanding it then I can pursue the relationship he calls me to.

message 36: by Brent (new)

Brent McCulley (brentthewalrus) Hermeneutics is a science and an art. it calls for both. This conversation is a prime example of how "one word" doctrines can be misleading when wresting them from the entire context at large, namely, the Bible itself.

message 37: by Joshua (new)

Joshua Woodward | 556 comments Yes, that is precisely my point. Glad we agree on something :)

message 38: by Rod (new)

Rod Horncastle Brent you are my hero. Glad you're here.

Arguing over language is not something I have the slightest interest in. I prefer to discuss game plans and truth.

message 39: by Rod (new)

Rod Horncastle Brent comment:
"Just because the Greeks understood Hades to mean this or that doesn't mean that is the context the NT authors meant it when they used it to describe a certain theological truth or phenomenon."

This is the most significant statement I have come across in months. Well said.

Brent comment:
", that the "wise men" were in fact a part of a mystic kaballah stemmed from Zoroastrianism which incidentally has elements of Judaism (Daniel's influence from the kingly courts?)."

Fun stuff. So what did Daniel leave behind? I bet he had some followers (when is God NOT working throughout the entire world to sustain truth?). After everything we know about Daniel and his prophecy's it should come as no surprise that his possible later followers would have a proper understanding of the Messiah and God's plan for humanity.
And yet people everywhere keep wanting to turn these Magi into Harry Potter wizards who are looking for the Philosopher Stone. Chances are these Magi were probably wiser about Moses, Israel and the Messiah than all the teachers in Jerusalem.

A side topic: Brent i'm curious how God's elect have worked throughout all of history. I'm assuming the Magi were elect and had the spiritual insight God gives his people.
But the child ponderer in me is so curious to appreciate how many others have been just like the Magi throughout the histories of China, Africa, South America... (just a fun thought!)
One of my favorite verses in the Bible: 1 Kings 19:18 (19:10 for context.)

1 Kings 19:10
He replied, "I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too."

1 Kings 19:18
Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel--all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him."

message 40: by Brent (new)

Brent McCulley (brentthewalrus) Thanks for jumping in,Rod! I appreciate your comments and often find it fascinating that no matter what, God always has a remnant. Whether it be in apostate Northern Israel, in exile in foreign lands of Babylon or Persia, or whether working faithfully and unnoticed but servicing God and his will at amazingly orchestrated times like the Magi in the Matthew account. It gives me hope, especially thinking about states like China, North Korea, etc. God is moving there, we just can't see it. Yes and amen.

message 41: by Joshua (new)

Joshua Woodward | 556 comments Rod said,

Arguing over language is not something I have the slightest interest in. I prefer to discuss game plans and truth.

My apologies, I thought this was a polemic.

Fun story, we have a family friend who is a missionary in North Korea, she goes in and out of China helping poverty stricken villages, sees regular miracles and a bunch of people are learning to love Jesus. And she is 80!

message 42: by Rod (new)

Rod Horncastle Joshua we always need experts to argue truthfully and scholarly over language - and that will NOT be me. But I cheer on great christian scholars (and others) who take on this challenge.

It is amusing listening to atheist, muslim and crazy christians attempt to endlessly remove meaning from the scriptures based on personal word expertise. The problem is EVERY group claims this expertise. So I ignore everyone and go with what is generally right in front of me. EVeryone has a bias in the game (even US.)

IF there is a GOD - then he had better give us something worth reading. And thankfully he has.

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