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______________________ LIFE, FAITH, ETCETERA

Hellbound? May 24, 2013

If the only way to get rid of evil is to get rid of evil people, who among us would be left?
– Kevin Miller

hellbound

This is a very educational documentary.
The New York Times calls this film “substantive and even handed.”
Whether you believe in Universalism, Annihilationism, or Eternal Punishment,
your views will be represented here.
Whether you believe in Universalism, Annihilationism, or Eternal Punishment,
your views will be challenged here.
As Nicholas Ahern said, “Preterism. Atonement. Soteriology. Gehenna. Free will. It’s all here.”

The gamut of my emotions were brought to bear.
Sometimes I wanted to stand and scream “Yes! Hallelujah! Praise God!”
Sometimes I was almost moved to tears.
Sometimes I was just really, really pissed off and wanted to smack some of the people talking.
(OK. I probably wouldn’t really smack anyone, but I sure felt like it.)

A wide (and I mean very wide) variety of individuals, both famous and not, were interviewed. Some “regular” people, and some quite scholarly. The breadth of opinion and interpretation should help give us all pause in our statements and declarations of “fact”.

Most of the positions are well-argued (or well-presented), including those with which I disagree.  There are a couple of strong exceptions.
The friendly folks of WBC are so far off the map that I truly consider them mentally ill.
Also, famous atheist Robert McKee rambles on without making a lick of sense.  Here’s a man who doesn’t believe in God or hell, but is very angry with Christians who don’t believe in conscious eternal torment.  He calls them “wussys” who are trying to make God a nice guy.  Mind you, he doesn’t believe in God, but he believes that if you DO believe in God, you must believe in an angry, mean-spirited god.  He doesn’t come off sounding like a “true” atheist, but as a spoiled little boy trying make his daddy angry.

We get to clearly see the hate and the love of various theologies, and the definite impact those beliefs have on those who hold them, as well as the impact that our beliefs have on the rest of the world.
No matter what your eschatology, or lack thereof, I highly recommend this movie.

To Purchase (or RENT): Click HERE.

[You can rent it for as low as $2.99!!!  Well worth it.]


To Purchase (or RENT): Click HERE.
Does hell exist? If so, who ends up there, and why? Featuring an eclectic group of authors, theologians, pastors, social commentators and musicians, HELLBOUND? is a provocative, feature-length documentary that looks at why we are so bound to the idea of hell and how our beliefs about hell affect the world we are creating today.

Cast: Mark Driscoll, Jonathan Phelps & Margie Phelps, William Paul Young, Brian McLaren, Hank Hanegraaff, Justin Taylor, Franky Schaeffer, Gregory Boyd, Mike Bickle, Oderus Urungus, Necrobutcher, Glen Benton, David Vincent, Ole Luger La’Fay Walsh, Ray Comfort, Kevin DeYoung, Brad Jersak, Robin Parry, Kevin Miller, Jamie Clark-Soles, Sharon Baker, Michael Hardin, David Bruce, Chad Holtz, Bob Larson, Robert McKee, Lazar Puhalo, Peter Kreeft, Jerry Walls, Ron Dart
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By narrowing its range of voices to Christian leaders, thinkers and writers, Kevin Miller’s sober, stimulating documentary on the hot topic of eternal damnation necessarily limits its audience, but achieves a level of rhetorical eloquence that would theoretically appeal to open-minded viewers of any religious stripe.
– Justin Chang
Gave each view a fair hearing (including views I strongly disagree with!) Like the first time I watched “An Inconvenient Truth”, it’s left me really wishing everyone around me, both religious & non-religious, could watch it & share the experience.
– Alex
A rich, thoughtful conversation-starter about changing notions of religious damnation, Hellbound? invades notoriously touchy territory with an open mind, steady focus and civil disposition.
– Brent Simon
An engaging, accessible documentary that explores the (truly) eternal questions, “Does hell exist? If so, who ends up there, and why?”
– Kerry Lengel
[It gives] the little-served Christian market a thought-provoking alternative to smarmy features like “Fireproof.”
– Neil Genzlinger
Any admirer of good talk will be impressed by the scholasticism and pulpit-trained oratory here, as well as some choice fighting words: “Evangelicism in America is what the pharisees were to ancient Egypt.”
– Nick Pinkerton
Warning: side effects may include critical thinking and paradigm shifting.
– Paul Pinos

To Purchase (or RENT): Click HERE.

From the documentary, here’s a chart with a list of Scripture references which, at face value, seem to support each of those positions.

Eschatology Chart

To Purchase (or RENT): Click HERE.

Some quotes:

– By eliminating hell, these people are sucking the meaning out of life. The notion that there really is no hell is simply a wussy effort to make God a nice guy.
Robert McKee (an Atheist!)
– Without hell, there’s no need for salvation.
Hank Hanegraaff
– Belief in hell is a primary factor for being a Christian. God, right now, personally, objectively hates some of you.
Mark Driscoll

To Purchase (or RENT): Click HERE.

– Nowhere in scripture is belief in hell primary to salvation.
Chad Holtz
– The irony is that you have a teacher that you follow called “Jesus,” and then essentially side with his enemies in behavior. The Pharisees and the rule-keepers and the theologically correct people were the people he battled all his life, and they wound up killing him.
Frank Schaeffer
– Our whole theological system has been boiled down to “hell avoidance.” We see that Jesus is not teaching “hell,” but un-teaching hell.
Brian McLaren

To Purchase (or RENT): Click HERE.

– You never get away from the subjective element, so why not just be honest about it? The irony is that you have a teacher that you follow called “Jesus,” and then essentially side with his enemies in behavior. The Pharisees and the rule-keepers and the theologically correct people were the people he battled all his life, and they wound up killing him.`
Frank Schaeffer
– Every doctrine of hell presuposes a view about God.
Robin Parry
– By the time [in history] that we get to Jesus, Jesus essentially is seeking to remove the notion of retribution from the concept of divinity.
Michael Hardin
– Were halfway to heaven when we rise to someone else’s suffering. When we inflict suffering on other people in the name of morality, we’re three-quarters of the way to hell.
Archbishop Lazar Puhalo

To Purchase (or RENT): Click HERE.

 

If Grace Is True June 12, 2011

“I’m grateful [God] doesn’t bludgeon us with his truth but leads us there tenderly,
carefully, as we are able to hear it.” – Gulley/Mulholland



I am in whole-hearted agreement with the above statement.
That’s why life is about growth and journey, more than arrival and destination.
Anyway, talk about having my theology stretched!  This book really challenged me.
Honestly, I didn’t expect that.  Not to that degree.
This book has been on my shelf and in my queue for some time now. I planned on getting to it eventually. But because of the “rantings” of a Facebook friend about how good it was, I moved it to the “HEY! READ THIS NOW!” section. (Thanks, Cathy. :-))

Many of the people I know will probably avoid reading this book.  They will avoid reading it because it doesn’t fit their theology.
Those people will be suffering a loss.
This is supposed to be a book about universalism, written by two universalists.   OK.  It is that.  But it’s so much more.  You don’t have to agree with all the theology in this book to be blessed by the insights contained therein. I know, I’ve said that about other books. It’s just that as a former fundamentalist, I know the fear of reading “heresy.”

The authors look at the very nature of God as revealed by Jesus, and personal experience.  There’s a great deal written here about trusting our experience with God.  This contradicts much of the fundamentalist teaching I both received and taught.  They use Peter as a perfect example.  His religion taught him what was “unclean.”  His scriptures taught him what was unclean.  Now, three times, God tells him otherwise.  Peter had to choose between what his “church” and “bible” said, or what his experience with God said.  “Peter relied on his experience.”  So did Paul. Jesus, of course, also quoted scripture, and then basically said, “This is no longer valid.  We’re going in a different direction.” (Matthew 5:38,39) “Jesus challenged slavish devotion to the written word.”

Also addressed is:  How does one “reconcile stories like those of Jesus welcoming the children with stories like those of God commanding the murder of children?” So often, the religious “dance” that’s done to justify this type of contradiction is amazingly ridiculous.   Of course, you can’t usually see that while you’re still dancing. Repeatedly, I was fed the word “balance.”  That’s like balancing the kindness of Mother Teresa with the atrocities of Hitler.
Yeah, balance explains it just fine.

The authors look at how we have viewed what happened on the cross.   At how we’ve turned God into a schizophrenic “good-cop/bad cop.”  About how Jesus had to save us from God.  This is handled in more detail in “He Loves Me,” by Wayne Jacobsen; in “The Misunderstood God,” by Darin Hufford; and in a slightly different way by Brian McLaren in “A New Kind Of Christianity.”

Bottom line, Jesus said, “If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father.”  Any “revelation” of God, in the Bible or out of it, must fit the revelation of God in Christ.  If it doesn’t, well we need to re-examine what we thought we knew.

We also examine (as Rob Bell often does) the nature of salvation.  This aspect of the book, like many in it, were not new teachings or concepts to me.
They just added more “amens” to my understanding of God’s love.
There are, though, some concepts in this book I’m not sure I can accept.  While I agree that “Jesus didn’t die to appease an angry God,” the writers here go a few steps farther than I’m willing to go…
yet.
I’ll let you discover those portions for yourself.
For the record, I don’t consider myself a universalist.  I’m NOT saying it’s wrong, as some might.  I’m just more of an “I-don’t-knowalist.”  I am, however, totally convinced, both from a scriptural and “experiential” viewpoint, there is no place of eternal torment.  (By “experiential,” I mean how I have experienced God.  Not that I’ve died before and seen the other side. Contrary to how I may act, I am not the reincarnation of Barney Fife.)

There is great value here for anyone who is  growing in faith.  Again I would ask people to read this book for what insight they can gain.  Not for that which with they can find fault.  The parts you may not be in agreement with, set them aside.  At least for now.

Buy the book. CLICK HERE.
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Quotes:

Torn between what he’d always been taught and his experience with God, Peter relied on his experience.

God wanted to destroy me, but Jesus had died for me. I found myself wishing God could be more like Jesus.

The Bible was never intended to end the conversation, but to encourage it.

Buy the book. CLICK HERE.

I no longer want anything to do with a god who punishes homosexuals by giving them a terrible disease. I want nothing to do with a god who murders children in order to maintain racial purity. This isn’t the God of Jesus.

Putting the words good and Samaritan together was as galling to the Jews of that day as putting the words homosexual and Christian together is to many today.

Just as fermenting wine causes old leather to rend and tear, my expanding view of God strained the credibility of my childhood theology.

In any culture obsessed with balanced scales, grace will seem blasphemous.

Buy the book. CLICK HERE.

Holiness is God’s ability to confront evil without being defiled. This is what it means to say God is holy — God’s love is incorruptible.

Perfection is not demonstrated by moral purity, but by extravagant love.

In the crucifixion we said no to God, but in the resurrection God rejected our rejection. This is the triumph of grace.

My fear is that if hell exists it will be populated with Christians offended by grace.

Religion that is primarily motivated by heavenly reward is flawed. It is no more admirable than a man who tells a woman he loves her simply to get her into bed.

Buy the book. CLICK HERE.

 

Grace, Works, and Creed June 9, 2009

Filed under: Relating to God,Religion — lifewalkblog @ 4:00 am
Tags: , , , , ,
If I am humble enough to accept God’s gift, and you are not, does that make me a better person? Wouldn’t my salvation be a result of my humility? If so, would not that acceptance be an act of works, and not of grace? On the other hand, if only the elect will be saved, is there really any reason for any type of evangelism? If salvation is pre-determined, isn’t the point of life rather moot. On the other hand (What? Three hands?!?!) if Christ died for ALL, do the universalists have a point? Is Mr. Stapp right, that “we All live under the reign of one King?” Is everyone already in the new Kingdom. “What’s this life for?”
 

 
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