I’ve read Vox’s column over the years mostly because I like his Austrian Economics slant. In this latest attempt to argue against Rob Bell a couple of things stood out to me:
Vox stated well what I’ve found to be the heart of the “typical Christian’s” faith. Sad but true I’m afraid.
This to me is one of the saddest commentaries on the institutional church. Why did God create us? Isn’t this a rather important concept? In my opinion the reason hell is the heart of the Christian faith as Vox defines it is because the institutional church doesn’t encourage its “members” to pursue answers to the really big question(s).
What is God’s purpose in creating man?
I was happy to see a few of the replies were aimed at this.
You claim that the doctrine of hell is wrong and yet your lack of understanding something you claim to be wrong astonishes me. You said, “The institutional church doesn’t encourage it’s members to pursue answers to the really big questions” What really big questions, that Jesus is God? or that Jesus rose from the dead? what are these questions you speak of? or is it they don’t address the questions to the answers that you don’t agree with?
Your understanding of church doctrine is jumbled which is why you would make a statement like that. You remind me of an author I read who said, “you should never start reading the bible in the book of genesis but rather start in exodus then go to genesis” You yourself start with the presupposition that “all” will be saved then interpret scripture and doctrine through your presupposition which leads you absolutely bewildered the irrational position that orthodox mainstream Christianity takes with the doctrine of eternal torment. Ever stop to think that the belief in eternal torment isn’t so irrational and that your presupposition of reconciliation prevents your understanding of this doctrine and why it is rational that you see it as irrational based on presupposition only but doesn’t make it untrue either?
I will answer your question. The first thing the “institutional church” realizes is that God’s glory comes first, God does everything for His glory, God and God alone must receive His glory, it is God’s nature to receive His glory or else He wouldn’t be God therefore, when God created man it was for His glory and whatever God does with man is for His glory-Everything gives God the glory. If God sent everyone to heaven it will give Him the glory and if God sent everyone to hell it will also give God the glory. Now looking from our presupposition of an eternal hell, you have it backwards as you put man ahead of God’s glory in asking the question, “Isn’t this a rather important concept?” indicating to me that man has become the instrument of God’s glory but even if man didn’t exist, God will have glory. When you start with the question, “Whatever God decides will give Him the glory” then you will start to understand how the “institutional church” could embrace the doctrine of an eternal hell. So to answer your question, No it really isn’t an important concept in the grand scheme of things pertaining to God’s sufficiency in His own glory.
Ask yourself this, ultimately why did Jesus die? Did He die for us or did He die to give God the glory and that Him dying for us was a bi-product of giving His Father the glory? I think the “institutional church” has encouraged me much in going deeper in the 2 years of being a Christian.
"]Bell declares, on the basis of little more than his childish reasoning, that there is no eternal consequence to human action.It always amazes me that people think that consequences only matter is they are “eternal”.
"]What passes for Bell’s theology is particularly pernicious as it strikes at the very heart of the Christian faith …Christ is the heart of the Christian faith, not ECT
God wants us to worship & enjoy Him because He is so awesome and loving.
Sadly that’s probably the case in some churches, fortunately my local church encourages people to ask questions, even big ones
That’s fairly critical, how well do you know David?
Again that’s fairly presumptuous and critical, how well do you know David? He may have studied the scripture for years before coming to this conclusion. I certainly know others who have. We all have biases and presuppositions, that we need to try to identify and overcome.
I’m not denying God’s is the most glorious and should receive honor and praise, however, why do you say His glory comes before His love?
I haven’t read the article but this sounds like a caricature.
I believe Bell believes that people will only be saved via Christ alone, not regardless of their beliefs, but that their beliefs may be in Jesus when they’re not cognitive of that - a form of inclusivism which has been around for years outside of Universalism.
Roger Olson posted a few months back on restrictivism and challenged such people. This guys should take Roger’s test.
I might be mixing up who is arguing for what here, so correct me if I’m wrong. But I’ll jump in with Oxymoron’s comments:
Oxymoron: The first thing the “institutional church” realizes is that God’s glory comes first, God does everything for His glory, God and God alone must receive His glory, it is God’s nature to receive His glory or else He wouldn’t be God therefore, when God created man it was for His glory and whatever God does with man is for His glory-Everything gives God the glory. If God sent everyone to heaven it will give Him the glory and if God sent everyone to hell it will also give God the glory.
Tom: I don’t disagree (that it’s all about God’s glory). But unfortunately this doesn’t get us very far, for we then have to gain some understanding of the sorts of things that glorify God and that don’t glorify God. In other words, some of us think ECT undermines the glory of God (by undermining the justice, goodness, and love of God).
I don’t pit divine love and glory against each other. I think God’s ‘glory’ is his ‘beauty’ and his beauty is his being and existence (so far as we can grasp it through revelation), and that is the triune love that he is. God’s glory IS his love, and his love IS his glory. If God were less than infinitely and unconditionally loving he’d be (just expresing my own view here) less than beautiful. So one CAN reject ECT precisely because of the priority you name, viz., that glory of God.
Oxy, there’s quite a number of fallacies you’re throwing around but I would agree with you that traditional (intstitutional) Christianity is quite capapble of growing Christians, after all most of us here on the board came from it. I certainly don’t think it’s all bad and I would say neither do most here. If Rob Bell has spoken out as much to say that it (Int. church) is incapable of maturing Christians, I would also agree with you.
However that does not bear any weight as to whether God saving all would be to his glory or not. I’m having a hard time folloiwng your logic.
So to answer your question I agree more with the latter. I would not quite call it a bi-product - but more as a part of God’s glory. God’s glory was in Christ Jesus directly - but this sounds alot like semantics to me.
Now let me ask you this:
Are you one who believes that if God saves none then we could still comprehend him as being love? How is it that you KNOW (epestemically) that God is love. Is it because the bible says so? I would be interested in hearing how you believe that God slicing up people with out the intent of turning them from their wickedness brings glory to God.
I grew up in the Baptist Church, still attend one, and have been very involved over the years and served in various leadership positions. As a young boy I was told I needed to accept Jesus by saying a sincere prayer of repentance in order to go to heaven and avoid spending eternity in hell. The preachers and teachers in the church were very good at instilling fear and so as a youngster I said the prayer multiple times just to make sure I had done it right and covered all the bases.
This was primarily what I got from church in my younger years. However, there was something different happening in my heart. There was this voice, not an audible one, but a quiet stream of thoughts hooked to feelings telling me that God loved me. That He loved me before all my attempts to get the repentance prayer right and that He would always love me no matter what. This seemed contradictory to the message I was hearing at Church strongly encouraging me to continue to do X, Y, and Z as evidence to myself that I had gotten the prayer right and would not one day be shocked to discover that I was being sent to hell.
So when I see Vox Day write stuff like:
I can testify that at least for the Baptist churches I’ve been associated with, the fear of damnation really is the most preciously held tenant (the heart of the faith as Vox states), and faces will turn pale white with aghast if it is ever challenged. Now I apologize for my previous post which lumped all “institutional churches” into my own personal experience with a few – I should not have done that. I’m glad there are “institutional churches” where fear is not the motivator.
Through the years in my quest to reconcile in my mind scriptures that seem to present contradictory views of God, I’ve latched onto each of the various labels. For a while Calvinism seemed to be the way because the voice of God in my heart had convinced me the He indeed had chosen me! But, then the same voice told me I was free to choose and that God would never force Himself upon me. So, I went that way. Annihilation appeared for a time to be the only answer to the problem of what to do with all the bad stuff.
Long story short, I’ve become convinced in my own mind that each of these dogmas contain some truth. God chose and predestined me just as He has chosen every person ever created. God wants each of us to choose Him and each of us will. Why? Because love will eventually prevail when all of our illusions have been exposed and annihilated by God the Consuming Fire. I now believe all of this is leading to a point when everything is restored to complete perfection as it was before creation. To me this is good news.
Sadly through the years I’ve found over and over that this isn’t good news or even open for discussion to many like Vox Day. Some day it will be though and what a day that will be!
Is this not the purest form of the gospel of hopelessness?–or is there some purer form imaginable?! That the trinitarian God (but notice that there is less than nothing of trinitarianism in such a gospel proclamation after all), Whose glory would be perfect in the fulfillment of love, in the fair-togetherness (righteousness) between persons, even without creating that which was not God, would somehow be supposed to still be glorified and even glorifying His uniquely foundational righteousness (that which is the foundation of all reality)… IF ALL HE EVER CREATED WAS HUMAN TRASH WHO EVERLASTINGLY DO UNRIGHTEOUSNESS!!
The mind indeed boggles at the mystery of such a good news!–that the will of God would be perfectly done on earth as it is in heaven if all God ever created were creatures who (never empowered, much less led by God to do otherwise of course) EVERLASTINGLY REBELLED AGAINST THE WILL OF GOD!
Observe: even if the glory of the Trinity is utterly and completely discounted as such, or even denied to be true outright (since any other monotheist, or even mere polytheist, could speak of God’s or at least god’s will being done), the notion would still be entirely, self-contradictively incoherent: that God’s will would be perfectly accomplished by creating entities who refuse, by God’s own authoritative choice no less, to do God’s will.
And yet people have nevertheless taught this, and insisted on teaching it, to children of the faith (who, knowing no better in their infancy, presume to march forth to largess the wisdom of their 2-years-worth of maturity on those they deem to be spiritually immature for rejecting such nonsense)… I dare not say any more for losing my temper.
(I don’t blame Oxy; he is young in the faith and doesn’t know any better than to think such anti-theology is truly impressive and profound. I blame them–because they have the advantages of skill and training and yet produce this kind of fruit for the nations. Rather than be angry at them, though, I should spend my time more profitably by begging God to destroy me rather than that I should preach such twisted nonsense to His little ones…)