Just head on over to Amazon at amzn.to/2Dv79Fl - to see the collective consensus. For one thing, he holds a PhD degree (Gabe will be happy, I took notice of that ). But - more importantly - 79 folks (at the time of counting), give it 4.7 out of 5.0 stars. That’s a great rating - in my book.
I’ve read it. Purcell is a Baptist minister and a hospice chaplain, so he’s been around a lot of people who’s fear of hell is magnified by the knowledge of their impending deaths. He has a website too and responds to emails.
I have ordered the book Spiritual Terrorism from Indigo. It is supposed to reach me by February 1. I’ll see if he explains what he means by the phrase “have been saved”.
For what it’s worth to all you who seem much more learned and erudite than this poor scribbler, I’ll give you my two cents worth (in full awareness that Canadian cents are a lot less valuable than American cents).
In much simpler times when I was a simple evangelical believer, I used to sing in our Youth Fellowship a chorus that went like this:
"How greatly Jesus must have loved me (repeat)
"To bear my sins (repeat)
“In His body on the tree.”
My understanding, therefore, is that we escape (are ‘saved from’) God’s wrath because Jesus bore the penalty of sin (death - Genesis 2:17) by dying on the cross, and His death was sufficient to atone for all the sins of Adam and his descendants.
Am I being too simplistic, [tag]Paidion[/tag]? Or is there something I am missing in your repeated question. Btw, Paidon, I really value your undoubted knowledge (especially on Greek) and your ability to provoke others to dig deeper. From the look of our avatars, you might be the older brother (by 3 years) that I never had!
PS I wish I could figure out how to get all the quotes I try to make into boxes like everyone else seems able to do.
Another thought before I go back to bed (it’s 2:30 a.m.):
Isaiah 53:11 reads “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied”. The question popped into my mind: would that verse hold true if the vast majority of mankind ended up being lost? How would that square with the teaching of the lost coin, lost sheep and lost son(s) in Luke 15?
I, of course know the Calvinist response: the extent of the Atonement was limited to the elect. (As a lay preacher in past years, I have preached on each of the five points of the TULIP acronym). I used to admire those who compiled systematic theologies (Hodge, Warfield, etc.). Z follows Y, follows X, follows W, etc. etc. Christianity was so simple in those days. I’m essentially being presently advised by my well-meaning pastor, “Don’t question our doctrine. It was set out 400 years ago by men in synods much more knowledgeable than you. No matter that we may appear to be too dogmatic, too legalistic even. It’s what we believe the Truth to be and it must be so.”
Woe is me, for I am undone. Is it the Spirit who causes me to question? Could it be the enemy of my soul?
Another question, this time from Isaiah 1:18, came to mind. "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord. We also used to sing those words 60 something years ago in the Youth Fellowship I was part of.
“Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord
Though your sins as scarlet be, they shall be white as snowl,
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord,
Though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”
O, how I miss those carefree, halcyon days. But the point is that we are still to reason, to seek the truth. Like the Bereans, to constantly search the scriptures for the nuggets of truth they contain. Psalm 90:12: “Teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” And Romans 11:34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been His counselor?” The whole section Romans 11: 33-36 is significant.
The book “Spiritual Terrorism” by Boyd Purcell arrived yesterday in the mail. I am looking forward to reading it. The opening Introduction contains three quotations by Francis Bacon, worth repeating.
Philosophy has been defined as follows:
“Philosophy comes from the Greek words philo (loving) and soph(ía) (wisdom). Philosophers are thus—in a very liberal sense—simply “lovers of wisdom”. However, I would imagine virtually everyone loves wisdom; at least in some way we all want to be “wise”, and thus the term would apply to everyone and not really be of any real value.”
Although relatively new to this Forum, I have contributed about 40 posts. Unfortunately, I can’t remember all I have written. You will forgive me if I include something I have previously written. I know I have told you I am a member of a Reformed church. I use the word “reformed” to describe what is believed, not any specific denomination. It is not hyper-Calvinistic but just one, maybe two, steps down. Women are not permitted to vote. Some of the pastors believe women should wear head coverings on church. The “three forms of unity” are virtually given authority equal to Scripture. They believe that some, at least, of the spiritual gifts Paul describes in 1 Cor. 12 should not be exercised today. They rigorously follow the Form of Worship decreed 450 years ago. Only paraphrases of the Psalms may be sung during worship. The Reading Group that meets twice monthly recently finished a study of Bavinck’s systematic theology. They have now moved on to study Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion.
I have to say, however, in my church’s defence, that my fellow members are deeply sincere and exercise the ‘communion of saints’ in many loving and practical ways. During my wife’s illness and recent departure from this life they prayed and assisted me in many practical ways. I regularly received home visits from our pastor and others.
Prior to joining a Reformed church, my wife and I had been members or adherents of various evangelical churches in the many different places we lived before arriving in our final destination. We looked for and found churches where the Gospel was believed and proclaimed and which ministered to old and young alike – Baptist, Plymouth Brethren, Congregational, Anglican, Missionary, Presbyterian, even totally independent churches unaffiliated with a denomination. We were not particularly loyal to any one of these, but we remained loyal to the Lord and His Word. (I realise that sounds very pretentious, but it explains why I do not have much in the way of loyalty to one particular system of theology).
During my wife’s five-year struggle with dementia, I was helped in caring for her by a lovely Filipino woman (Jaki), a firm believer in Jesus who belonged to a Pentecostal church. She had the spiritual gift of speaking in tongues. I attended a few services in her small fellowship held in an upper room of a community hall. In fact, I was invited to preach a few times and did so with joy. Not once was there a session of tongues-speaking. Jaki told me she used her gift solely in her private devotions with her Lord. Jaki loves the Lord. All the other residents in the seniors’ residence where I live, now alone, took notice of the love and devotion with which she cared for my wife. But Jaki wouldn’t “fit in” with my church’s form of worship nor the fact that believes that “tongues” have ceased.
I have explained in “Introducing Myself” how it was that I found myself doubting my church’s belief in eternal conscious torment (ECT). I have mentioned my doubts to my pastor, along with my recently-held scepticism about some of Calvin’s theology. I have told him that I would not be able to sign the Form of Subscription were I ever asked to be an elder. That would require me to agree that the Reformed Confessions “do fully agree with the Word of God”. I said I could sign something that replaced the words “do fully agree” with the words “insofar as they agree”. I was told that would not be acceptable.
Recently, I was gently chastised for having shared my doubts about the truth of ECT with two elders and their wives, on separate occasions when they came for informal visits. It was not appropriate, apparently, to question any doctrine of the church. I apologised and reminded myself of a dictum I have tried to follow for many years now, found in Romans 14:22, “Hast thou faith, keep it to thyself”. I realise Paul wrote it as part of a specific subject he was addressing but I think it could be applied as a general principle. There is a time to speak up and a time to remain silent, as Solomon may have put it in Ecclesiastes.
So, back to Purcell’s book. I read the first chapter last night. He writes very well, simply, straightforwardly, and unapologetically. He suggests that many believers are unwitting recipients of spiritual terrorism. I don’t feel that, despite the minor rebuke I received for questioning what I now understand is considered as virtually a clear indisputable scriptural teaching. I can’t wait to read the remaining chapters.
I think one’s perception of “spiritual terrorism” is going to vary with how vulnerable you are. Through no fault of their own, and no virtue of their own (some things just are what they are) a percentage of people with sensitive, nervous temperaments, amazing and praiseworthy imaginations, tender hearts, a high level of timidity and sensitivity tend to be the (largely unintended) targets of spiritual intimidation and terrorism. For example, we have the lady who murdered her five young children in order to save them from reaching the age of accountability and the possibility of being condemned to eternal conscious torment in hell. If I remember right, she was let off by reason of (I guess) insanity. She later remarried and ended up killing (two, I believe) more offspring.
People who start out precariously balanced anyway and who truly believe the whole hell thing–I mean TRULY believe it with all they can apprehend of what it would entail–often suffer badly at the “hands” of hell doctrine. I don’t think even half the people who would say they believe in hell actually ever think about what that means–or maybe think about it once and then never go down that dark alley again (what sane person would, who wants to remain sane?) The rest of us never truly believed it. I think that includes me though I spent literally decades upon decades worrying about it and trying to come up with an excuse for God for doing such an awful and (let’s face it) inexcusable thing. It would be impossible for a finite being to do anything that could possibly deserve an infinite punishment. I’m pretty sure I never fully believed it. Otherwise how could I live AND love? Anyone who believes this doctrine and doesn’t spend every moment trying to save people from the awful wrath of God (the God we say is LOVE, ironically) does not love.
Spiritual Terrorism is exactly the right term to use. My life has been impacted by the doctrine of eternal torment more than anything else, good or bad. I lived in fear of hell since I was six years old; I dropped out of college because of it; it followed me around and made my life itself a hell. I’m nearing 50 and consider this life done, a wash. No doubt it would have been better without that doctrine which rendered the “good news” anything but.
There is literally nothing worse imaginable than people suffering forever. I was raised Catholic. When I was Catholic I never even thought about hell. That all changed at some point. Believing in eternal torment made me sick. I lost a ton of weight because of lost appetite and I started getting heart palpitations from stress. How anyone can believe in ET and not be completely miserable totally baffles my mind.