Discernment

Hell: Introduction

This is the first of my series titled, “The Mexican Standoff”. For those wondering where I got the title and the purpose this series, please read this first

“He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” ~ Revelation 21:7-8

Charles Spurgeon once said “If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.”

There aren’t many subjects of Biblical doctrine that modern Christians will attempt to avoid more than the one of everlasting torment. No true child of God could speak on the horrors that await the unsaved without pain in their heart and tears in their eyes, however it cannot be avoided, it cannot be diluted…..it must not be distorted. (more…)

The Mexican Standoff

Anyone remember the scene in ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’ where Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef and Eli Wallach are standing in the graveyard, ready to shoot each other in what has become known as a “Mexican Standoff”?

The premise is simple, three people who all think they are correct face off against each other, three opposing view points….. they can all be wrong but they can’t all be right. This idea has great parallels within Christianity, for two millennia men have debated, argued and even shed blood over their interpretation of Scripture, each believes they are correct and the others are wrong, with deep theological and passionate arguments Christians have generally taken one of many sides; are you a Calvinist? Maybe an Arminian? What about Universalism? Or maybe some mixture taking parts of two or all three?

Now I don’t expect to solve this problem or give some perfect answer, for there isn’t one despite what many sincere teachers and false heretics have claimed over the years; but I will lay out an objective view of three (or more) viewpoints on the following subjects: Hell, Atonement, The Rapture and maybe more as I begin to compile research over the coming weeks and months.

These topics are either avoided or taken to extremes without considering the other possibilities in light of Scripture, let’s be honest, there are many things in God’s Word which are absolutely clear but there are a few areas which have become open to interpretation.

Friends, this is not going to be an easy study, no doubt some of my preconceived notions may be challenged along the way. I ask that you pray, as I will be, that throughout it all the only voice I will be open to is Gods, the only teacher I will adhere to is the Holy Spirit and the only leader I will follow will be Christ.

God Bless and watch this space!

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. ~ 2 Timothy 2:15

The Christian Ostrich

A while back I wrote about the “Christian Ostrich”….

An ostrich isn’t the brightest bird and it will generally eat anything that fits into its mouth whether it’s edible or not. The Christian “ostrich” is one who does not (or cannot) discern between true and false, as long as something has the slightest connection to Christianity or Jesus then it must be good, even if it is something clearly defined as false in Scripture….they’ll swallow it anyway. We’re seeing a lot more of this lately with the rise in universalism, the liberal-emergent church, word of faith teachings and the attempts of many popular “christian” leaders to unite Protestantism with Catholicism or even Christianity with Islam!

Then I came across this paragraph written in 1885 which sounded too familiar…..

“Myriads of professing Christians nowadays seem utterly unable to distinguish things that differ. Like people afflicted with colour-blindness, they are incapable of discerning what is true and what is false, what is sound and what is unsound. If a preacher of religion is only clever and eloquent and earnest, they appear to think he is all right, however strange his sermons may be. They are destitute of spiritual sense, apparently, and cannot detect error. Romanism or Protestantism, an atonement or no atonement, a personal Holy Ghost or no Holy Ghost, future punishment or no future punishment, ‘high church’ or ‘low church’, Trinitarianism, Arianism, or Unitarianism—nothing comes amiss to them; they can swallow it all, even if they cannot digest it! Carried away by a fancied liberality and charity, they seem to think everybody is right and nobody is wrong, every clergyman is sound and none are unsound, everybody is going to be saved and nobody going to be lost….” ~ J.C. Ryle (Holiness)

Then again, even in first century, in early days of the Christian Church the apostle Paul had to deal with the same situations, so really it’s nothing new…..

I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! ~ Galatians 1:6-8

Fire, Fire! ~ J.C. Ryle

J.C. Ryle (1816-1900) has been my favourite Christian preacher and teacher for quite some time now, his writings are timeless and full of God’s truth. I would highly recommend any of his books for personal study (these are available on-line and in many larger Christian book stores) or simply for those who wish to learn and develop a greater understanding of God’s Word as the Bible itself was Ryle’s sole authority. This man had a great love for his Saviour and for the Gospel, he was unashamed of his Lord and stood defiant against the world as a solider of Christ; no wonder Spurgeon described Ryle as “that man of granite, with the heart of a child“. Below I have added one of Ryle’s sermons on the subject of hell, which was often misunderstood or ridiculed and outright denied (as it still is today).

When a house is on fire, what ought to be done first? We ought to give the alarm and wake the inhabitants. This is true love to our neighbour. this is true charity. Reader, I love your soul, and want it to be saved. I am therefore going to tell you something about hell. There is such a place as hell. Let no one deceive you with vain words. What men do not like, they try hard not to believe. When the Lord Jesus Christ comes to judge the world, he will punish all who are not his disciples with a fearful punishment. All who are found impenitent and unbelieving; all who have clung to sin, stuck to the world, and set their affections on things below; all who are without Christ; all such shall come to an awful end. Whosoever is not written in the book of life shall be “cast into the lake of fire.” Rev 20:15.

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Just Be Good…..

Now before I get any angry comments, I DO NOT AGREE with the message conveyed in the above picture which I came across when searching for Bible verse pictures to add to my Facebook page and yes I became very angry when I saw it too…..

Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone…” ~ Mark 10:18

When it comes to exposing false religions Buddhism is often overlooked due to its seeming neutrality when compared to Christianity, Islam, Roman Catholicism or even Atheism. The particular website where that picture came from, like those of all the false teachings/cults immediately lures the carnal man in with a promise of reward and a mix of truth and lies. Below is a list from that website of their “teachings” :

  • Emphasizes compassion, tolerance and moderation
  • Provides a clear path for spiritual and personal development
  • Has no room for blind faith or unthinking worship
  • Encourages questions and investigations into its own teachings
  • Says sincere followers of other faiths are also rewarded in the afterlife

Now to the natural man who considers himself to be good this seems like a perfect life; to be compassionate, tolerant and with a final reward of heaven for everyone regardless of their beliefs….. what’s bad about that?

However as Satan twisted God’s Word to try and tempt Jesus, he has continually mixed some truth in with the lies and twisted what looks good on the surface to actually be evil.

  • Scripture is very clear that no man is good (Psalm 14:1, Mark 10:18),
  • No man can enter the Kingdom of God by being good (John 3:3, Ephesians 2:8-9),
  • There is only one Way/Faith to heaven (John 3:7, John 14:6, John 10:9, 2 Corinthians 6:15),
  • We are to look and believe by faith in things unseen (2 Corinthians 4:18, 1 Timothy 1:17, 1 Peter 1:8, John 20:29)
  • There are MANY who will never enter the Kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Matthew 7:13-14, Romans 6:23, Revelation 20:15)

There are even those who claim to be within the church of Jesus Christ and believe that union can be made with Roman Catholicism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and all will enter the kingdom of heaven. In reality these people are more Buddhist than Christian, believing in Belial rather than Christ. To state that any man is good and will enter heaven just by being so is an affront to Almighty God who sent His perfect Son to die in our place for our sins, to reject the gift of salvation which cost Him so much, to lift ourselves above Him ( just as Satan wanted to do), to worship the creature rather than the Creator (Romans 1:25), to demand Christ as a Saviour but shun Him as Lord, all under the guise of “love”.

Peter described this very situation over 1900 years ago so to finish I’ll simply quote his writings under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit –

“False prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgement from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.” ~ 2 Peter 2:1-3