Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Hell ... not a fun topic.

I'm reading this book.

It's basically a response to Rob Bell's controversial book about hell, Love Wins. In Bell's book, he raises the question of whether or not there really is a literal hell.

Chan does address Bell's writings in this book, but also focuses on what Jesus said in reference to hell and Jewish beliefs about hell. It's quite interesting and at times, I feel like I'm reading a textbook because of all the references and etymology.

As I am reading, I find the view of universalism (the thought that all human beings will eventually be saved) incredibly unbelievable due to the total lack of Scriptural support. I also find it very difficult to understand how anyone would come to the conclusion that there is no hell when it's spelled out in black and white (and even red when Jesus mentions it) in the Bible. Despite the fact that I've read the no-hell believers' reasonings & arguments, I just don't get how their references offer any support for their view.

I guess anyone can believe anything they want and can try to make Scripture back up that belief. 

Good thing God's not bound by what we believe. We can believe a lie until the day we die. That doesn't change what the truth is.

I have great compassion for these people that believe they will have a second chance to accept Jesus after  they die. But, I don't understand it when the Bible clearly lays out that the choice we make is here on earth. That's it. There's not a second chance. Either you choose to follow Jesus or you don't. After death will be too late.

Although I don't understand the logic in the no-hell or the second-chance view, I do see the importance of researching such views so that we, as a Church, understand and can defend what we believe against what they believe. Simple apologetics.

I must say. The book has really challenged me.

It's challenged me, not by informing me about each doctrine, but by causing me to face the reality that many people that I am around day-in and day-out, will spend eternity in hell. It's sobering. It makes me question ... what am I going to do about that? Knowing that people around us, even people we love and care about, could endure eternal punishment should stir us to desperation. But, for some of us, it doesn't. God help us!

The book is also challenging me in my own faith when it references Luke 13:22-30. It's where Jesus is asked if many will be saved. He answers that few will be saved, but not only that, but there will be those who think they are saved, and not make it into the kingdom and be cast out. This is something that he's not saying to just your average Joe off the street, it's "church-goers" if you will, and church leadership, like Pharisees. 

Wow. Can I ever be a Pharisee? Can't we all? So judgmental. So full of anything but compassion. We should be very careful not to be so puffed up in our knowledge, so full of ourselves and our position that we lose sight of what following Jesus is all about.

We should always question if we're where we're supposed to be with God. Are we content? Have we gotten lazy in our relationship with Him? Are we in right relationship with Him? What more can we do to draw close to Him? To know Him more? To love Him more?

Our daily prayer should be: "God, search our hearts ... "


Tammy said...

Good stuff Mrs Lady! I just read that scripture in Psalms yesterday. "Search my heart O God!". More compassion...that is what I (we) need. So true!! Thank you!

Sara@TCme said...

You make some really great points!
This is something that I am passionate about also. It is very hard for me to sit through a funeral, knowing that the person the pastor is saying all these comforting things about, isn't where they SHOULD be. I find ways to bring Jesus or my beliefs into EVERY conversation I have with people that I'm not sure about. I need to know that I at least said HIS name or mentioned HIS love, because maybe that mustard seed will grow. If I don't say something, I walk away convicted. I'm sure my family rolls their eyes when I'm around, because I talk about Jesus a lot! (They are not believers) Not in a pushy way, but I will say things like "Church was so awesome! Our message was about...or I read a scripture about that...I try to work something in. Also about the second chance part; I read the Left Behind series. I'm not sure that EXACT thing will happen, but in my simple mind I believe that they will get there chance to make a choice for a final time BEFORE they die...Thank you for reminding us to look at ourselves and Pray Search me o Lord... I pinned it, lets see if we can get lots of repins! ;0)

Cathy said...

Well said. I'd say conviction is what I feel right now, because I don't share Jesus enough. Thanks for reminding me why I should.

Just so you know, I pinned the picture of your scripture. Thanks

Tara @ Creole Paperie said...

Awesome questions (and convicting too!). Francis Chan always makes me uncomfortable, in a good way. I can't stay the same after reading one of his books. This looks good. I'm glad he's speaking truth versus the Rob Bell book.