Eternity: Part 6
alesserson

“Dying to Live,” Chapter 5 of Love Wins

“In the ancient world, people regularly sacrificed animals” to the gods, both in apology and thanksgiving (Bell 123). True. But this didn’t just happen in the ancient world. It is still happening today. However, since Bell is contrasting this with the words of the author of Hebrews, we can probably assume that he is probably not saying that no one does this now.


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Eternity: Part 5
alesserson

“Does God Get What God Wants?”, Chapter 4 of Love Wins: Part 3

Note: This is a continuation of the previous post.

I apologize for how long it has taken to return to the subject of Rob Bell’s book. Quite frankly, I find his work frustrating, because it is essentially a treatise of bad theology.

In support of his position, Bell claims Clement of Alexandria and Origen taught that all would be saved (Bell 107). For the sake of argument, let us grant this to him. (But note that this may not be true.) Need we then believe it on the basis of these two witnesses?

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Predictions of the Second Coming
alesserson
What Part of "No Man Knows" Don't You Understand?
 
When I was in high school, a book/pamphlet came out with a title something like, "Eighty-eight Reasons Christ Will Return In 1988." (I never actually saw the book, so I am a little uncertain of the title.) It caused a bit of a stir in my class. I don't remember the date the book claimed Jesus would return, but I do remember how my classmates responded when it didn't happen.
 
This same man had the audacity to put out another book the next year, claiming the same thing for 1989. Of course, it was a big joke. The net effect was to turn people off to the gospel.
 
Do you think that this gave glory to God?
 
There have been others since, I'm sure. Notably, this year, someone had the gall to publish another date for Jesus return. When it didn't happen at that time, he did a quick recalculation, and came up with another date for this year. Of course, the second date passed as the first had.
 
Do you think that this brought glory to God's name?
 
So, please, if you come across someone who thinks they have it all figured out, just tell them to stop. When Jesus comes, He will come without warning. The analogy the Bible uses is that He will come "as a thief in the night." The only recourse is to be always ready. People need for us to share the gospel, not to speculate about when Christ will return.
 
A Lesser Son of the King
 
Copyright RL

Eternity: Part 4
alesserson
"Does God Get What God Wants?", Chapter 4 of Love Wins: Part 2
 
Note: This is a continuation of the previous post.
 
Bell next quotes from Zephaniah 3, "Then I will purify the lips of the peoples, that all of them may call on the name of the LORD and serve him shoulder to shoulder." This is a fair translation of the Hebrew, but has the problem of not being quite clear to English readers. Zeph. 3:9, "Know for sure that I will then enable the nations to give me acceptable praise. All of them will invoke the Lord’s name when they pray, and will worship him in unison" (NET). But when are the nations going to be so enabled? If we look at verse 8, we find that it is after the God has poured out His anger on them: "'Therefore you must wait patiently for me,' says the Lord, 'for the day when I attack and take plunder. I have decided to gather nations together and assemble kingdoms, so I can pour out my fury on them –  all my raging anger. For the whole earth will be consumed by my fiery anger'" (NET).
 
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Eternity: Part 3
alesserson
"Does God Get What God Wants?", Chapter 4 of Love Wins: Part 1
 
"Will all people be saved, or will God not get what God wants?" (Bell, Ch. 4*) Here, Bell presents two options, claiming in effect that either all will be saved or that God is not Sovereign. We know that God is Sovereign, so … all will be saved?
 
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Eternity: Part 2
alesserson
Rob Bell and His Conception of Hell, Chapter 3 of Love Wins: Part 2 

Now that we have covered the Good News and the Bad News, let's look at some of Bell's claims.
 
Sheol: שְׁאוֹל or שְׁאֹל
The Dictionary of Biblical Languages defines this as "The Underworld, Hades, the Grave, i.e., a place under the earth where the dead reside, the realm of death." You will notice that nowhere does this discriminate between the righteous and the unrighteous in death. In this respect, the use of "Hell" to translate the word is mistaken, as Hell is the place for eternal punishment of the wicked dead. Also, this use of "Sheol" has more to do with the abode of the spirit than the physical grave of the body.
 
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Eternity: Part 1
alesserson
Rob Bell and His Conception of Hell, Chapter 3 of Love Wins: Part 1

It is intriguing that Bell dealt with Heaven before dealing with Hell. When we are considering the Good News (the gospel) it makes more
sense to consider it in context. What is the context? The context is the Bad News. Otherwise, the Good News is good compared to what?

To deal with the Bad News, we of course first have to deal with Beginnings, because the Bad News comes to us from the Beginning and the decisions of our Ultimate Parents, Adam and Eve. Yes, if you are wondering, Adam and Eve were real, not just mythical. Jesus treated them so, as did Paul, as did Luke, as did Moses and the other writers of the Bible. A few examples follow:
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The Primacy of Genesis: Part 23
alesserson
Birds: That's Just Batty!

Leviticus 11:13-19 gives a list of unclean birds:
11:13 “‘These you are to detest from among the birds – they must not be eaten, because they are detestable: the griffon vulture, the bearded vulture, the black vulture, 11:14 the kite, the buzzard of any kind, 11:15 every kind of crow, 11:16 the eagle owl, the short-eared owl, the long-eared owl, the hawk of any kind, 11:17 the little owl, the cormorant, the screech owl, 11:18 the white owl, the scops owl, the osprey, 11:19 the stork, the heron of any kind, the hoopoe, and the bat. [1]
 
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The Primacy of Genesis: Part 22
alesserson

Are the genealogies in Genesis 5 and 11 open or closed?

 

First, what is meant by open or closed? In this article, we will be using the following definitions:

An open genealogy is one in which some names (or even many) are left out, over a given time frame.

A closed genealogy is one in which all names are included, over a given time frame.

 

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The Primacy of Genesis: Part 21
alesserson
Science and the Supernatural: Part 4
If we live in a theistic universe, Miracles happen. This is not an irrational claim. If one claims that we do not live in a theistic universe, he or she is ultimately claiming that all things are materially determined, from the very origins of the universe. This in turn implies that the very thoughts of people are determined by, what are effectively, random processes. And if random processes determine thoughts, then thoughts are irrational. All such arguments pull the rug out from under themselves, because in effect they are rational arguments which claim that all arguments are irrational.

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