God works to save man, but how?

Here is my reply, slightly revised, to a question on a discussion list. Perhaps it might be useful to someone somewhere.

A person asked about God “working on the heart of all living souls at some point in their life, either through divine intervention or through creational DNA.” God does manifest himself in creation. The universe points to God, Psa 19.1-4. Man is answerable to God for this knowledge, which man generally represses in order to worship idols. So Rom 1. Continue reading

#creational-dna, #divine-intervention, #redemption, #salvation

Hugh’s News & Views (The Touch . . .)

THE TOUCH OF THE MASTER’S HAND

Over the years I have used the following poem in various sermons. Most recently I intended to use it in a sermon on “What Christ Means to Me: My Savior,” but time constraints prevented me from doing so. The poem was written in 1921 by Myra Brooks Welch and the story is that she wrote it within thirty minutes. As we come to the close of another year and look forward to a new one, perhaps it would be fitting for each of us to reflect on the message contained in this poem. Continue reading

#hughfulford, #poetry, #redemption

… And you’ll never believe what happened next!

I hate stories that include the phrase above, or similar such nonsense, in their titles. Just give me the information, please, rather than such teasers.

But the problem is, they actually work, because they play off people’s curiosity. Curiosity is a powerful motivator. It rises from a desire to know, which was one of the temptations that Eve gave in to. Continue reading

#redemption

The people of Israel believed in the Lord…

The people of Israel believed in the Lord and His two messengers (Moses and Aaron), but as the evidence of affliction arose the belief turned to doubt and lack of direction (Exodus 4:31, 5:20-21). Moses was very discouraged, but the Lord told him to press on. He did. In the Lord’s time the people of Israel were redeemed from Egyptian bondage. LESSON: in the Lord’s time and by His direction redemption, recovery, remission, and reward results.

#recovery, #redemption, #remission, #reward

No God in Heaven or Earth Exists

No god in heaven or earth exists,
Besides the Lord who made it all;
Of spirit and truth our God consists,
Before his throne in awe we fall.

He’s One in work and heart and mind,
The Father, the Son, and Spirit three;
By only his sovereign will confined,
And love that nailed him on a tree.

—JRMatheny
http://cloudburstpoetry.com

#christian-poetry, #god, #monotheism, #redemption

Central truth

We have people among us here, highly regarded among many, who’ve said that Jesus didn’t die in our place, as our substitute.

#jesus-christ, #redemption, #substitutionary-atonement

The Goodness of God and Eternal Punishment By Wayne Jackson

The late Bertrand Russell, a renowned British agnostic, wrote a small publication titled, Why I Am Not A Christian. One of the reasons he cited for his unbelief was that Jesus Christ taught that there is an eternal hell for the wicked.

Russell could not harmonize Christ’s doctrine about hell with the biblical position of a just and benevolent God; hence, he rejected the teaching of Jesus and inclined toward the belief that there is no God. Russell, who lived a life of reckless abandon, echoed the sentiments of Cain: “My punishment is greater than I can bear.” On that basis, he became a determined opponent of true religion.

The problem of reconciling eternal retribution with the goodness of God also has had a significant impact on the religious world. Many religions, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists, and the World Wide Church of God (Armstrongism), have rejected the doctrine of the eternal punishment of the wicked. Even the churches of Christ have had their advocates of this erroneous viewpoint (see Fudge, Smith).

Ad Hominem Arguments

An ad hominem argument (meaning, “to the man”) is the type of reasoning that focuses on an opponent’s inconsistency. Let us, at the outset of this discussion, utilize this form of argument in response to the “no hell” theory.

First, a major premise of the “no eternal punishment” dogma is the notion that such is at variance with true justice. The argument might be framed like this. The Bible speaks of a just and good God; it also teaches the doctrine of eternal hell. These two positions are mutually exclusive. Therefore, the Scriptures are inconsistent and cannot be true.

We insist, however, that those who thus argue are under obligation to defend their use of the terms “just” and “good.” By whose standard are these character traits to be measured? Critics of the Bible must not be allowed to become “theological dictionaries unto themselves.” Their reasoning is based solely upon their own ideas of how goodness and justice should be expressed.

If it is true that the Scriptures teach that God has appointed eternal punishment for impenitently evil people, and if it likewise is correct that the Bible affirms the justice and goodness of Jehovah, then it must follow that eternal punishment is not inconsistent with the nature of God. It is at odds only with some men’s perception of goodness and justice.

Second, no one (skeptic or otherwise) is ready to concede that evildoers are unworthy of any type of punishment. It is recognized that no society could survive in such an atmosphere. Should the rapist, the robber, and the murderer be told: “Admittedly, you have done wrong, but we (society) will not punish you for your crimes. This would be unjust”? Is there anyone who argues that there should be no consequences resulting from criminal conduct? Surely not! It is conceded, therefore, that punishment is not inconsistent with true justice.

Third, let us take our reasoning a step further. Is it the case that genuine justice can be served even when an evil man’s punishment is extended beyond the time involved in the commission of his crime? Do we, for example, in our criminal justice system, ask the murderer, “Sir, how long did it take you to kill your wife?”—then assign his incarceration accordingly? Would justice be maintained by such an approach?

Here, then, is the point. True justice, combined with genuine goodness, allows the possibility that a wrongdoer may be required to suffer a penalty that is considerably longer than the duration of his evil. The real issue, therefore, is not punishment per se, or even protracted punishment; rather, it is eternal punishment. The skeptic (or religious materialist) simply wants to tell God how long the penalty is to be! Remember, however, in a system of true justice, the offender is not allowed to set his own sentence.

Eternal Punishment and a Just God

Since no one has ever returned from the dead to discuss his or her personal experiences, this issue is not one that can be settled by human speculation; rather, it must be decided by divine revelation. When the relevant biblical data is assembled, it will be seen, even from man’s jaundiced viewpoint, that the fact of eternal punishment is not inconsistent with the character of a righteous God. Our case will be set forth in a series of interrelated propositions. Continue reading

#ad-hominem, #christian-courier, #eternal-punishment, #god, #goodness-of-god, #hell, #jesus, #nature-of-the-body, #nature-of-the-soul, #punishment, #redemption, #religion, #salvation, #sin, #the-cross, #the-resurrection, #theology, #wayne-jackson