Hawaii 2010

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Sunday, October 7, 2012

More humility, more mystery, more hope

A lot of evangelists use the worn out version of the story of the teenager who refuses to come forward at the meeting and leaves to be killed in a carwreck to go into a Christless eternity of punishment because he failed to make a decision. It is designed to create an urgency to respond.  I think it reflects poorly on the gospel.

One of the most powerful moments in the discussion during the documovie HellBound? was a graphic that showed three collections of scripture verses side by side, about a dozen or so in each column, and they pointed out that one list emphasized eternal punishment, one list annihiliation, and one list ultimate reconciliation. Our viewpoints are fashioned by which list we place our emphasis upon and therefore prioritize.

The discussion of opening the doors to other views simply emphasized that during the churches long history each of those views has had significant support from loyal followers with high views of the authority of scripture. It was a plea for a more serious handling of the issue and allowing the fact that it is hard to be as dogmatic as we have been in modern evangelicalism.

Some believe Hell contains 99 point 999999 percent of all humanity.  Now that's the narrow view of the sign holding, nation condemning Westboro Baptist Church. My big push is to see that punishment can be restorative and not just punitive, that the God we meet on the other side may allow, as the movie hinted, us to see who He really is without all the limited vision and twisted ideas and painful things that have clouded our understanding. We will be corrected, we must me, but eternal concious punishment may not be what God was describing in the judgement passages.  Think about, be humble, allow for more mystery, and perhaps more hope for that poor teenage dude who wrecked his car after the baptist revival.

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