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If Christ Was Real…He Wouldn’t Send People to Hell

5 Feb

A place of burning fire, likened to the loss of an only child. Hell is a horrific place.

No wonder, this doctrine puts people off Christianity.

Emotionally, the idea is so disgusting we want to never hear it again. Logically, it seems utterly inconsistent that Christ could send people to hell.

Surely a loving God can’t send people to hell?

If Christianity is to stand we must ask this question: is there any way a loving God would allow hell?

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Rejected by God

6 Aug

What does rejection from God look like? We are told it is hell, that it is the worst thing ever but what is that like? Is there any way we can picture God’s rejection.

In Amos 5:1-3, Amos gives us a haunting account of Israel’s fate under God’s wrath. In it we get a clearer picture of the wrath of God and what rejection from him truly means.

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Confessions: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

30 Jul

You and the elders want to define what “Smallton Church of Christ” actually believes. What do you do?

Since it’s birth, the church has been churning out doctrinal statements. Confessions, creeds, statements of faith… whatever you call them, everyone seems to have them. Even this blog has one!

How should we approach non-inspired summaries of the teachings of the Bible? In this post I’m going to summarise the good points, the bad points and the downright ugly points of confessions to help us know how to deal with them.

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Satan the Theologian or Why Good Doctrine Isn’t Enough

23 Jul

You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!

James 2:19 (ESV)

Satan’s Doctrine

Satan is very sound doctrinally. James says he, and the other demons, know God is one. Indeed in the Gospel there are many occasions where demons cry out true statements about Jesus.

No doubt that Satan knows and believes most things correctly. He deceives others, yes. But he himself knows many truths.

The demons recognise Jesus as the “Holy One of God” (Mark 1:24). They recognise him as set apart by God. Yet they are not saved. How can we know who is then?

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Is God Responsible for People Being Sent to Hell?

16 Jul

It seems wrong to create a person knowing they’d only go to hell. If God does this, it’s a big stain on his character.

Yet isn’t this the logical conclusion of election? If he’s responsible for Christians being saved, surely God is responsible for people being damned too?

Or is he?

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We’re About Bible Verses!

7 Jul

bible nerd by JamelahPicture the scene. With his iron logic Piper explains to thousands of students why he thinks Christ and him crucified is the meaning of life. Everyone is convinced. But Piper doesn’t stop there:

“Let me give you some Bible verses, because we’re not about logical deductions, we’re about Bible verses.” (paraphrase)

Examples of Bad Logic

We are often persuaded by incredibly well reasoned arguments whose Biblical evidence is lacking.

When I had first become a Calvinist I was chatting to an Arminian. He hammered home to me the logic of Prevenient Grace and pulled on the heartstrings as he questioned the idea God could send people to hell. His argument had me near enough convinced.

Yet when I looked at my Bible study next morning I realised “This doesn’t work.” It sounded great logic, but it had no scriptural support.

Sinner’s Logic

Human philosophy that isn’t supported by Scripture is fatal, even if it is taught an incredibly gifted and faithful Christian. Our minds by nature are corrupt. We can’t “work out” God. He must reveal himself to us.

Let’s face it we would never “work out” Christ. As Paul says:

For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

1 Corinthians 1:22-24 (ESV)

Since it was only by the revelation of God we could come to know Jesus, how can we be rooted and built up in him and not continue to depend solely on revelation? Human wisdom has no value.

God’s Agenda

The problem for most of us is the Bible’s main concern isn’t necessarily our concern. We have little intellectual curiosities that God in his Word chooses not to answer.

However, the fact that these issues are not covered in the Word show that they are not important. God’s agenda, in writing the Bible, was to save us through Jesus Christ. Living a Christ-centred life depends on a Bible-saturated faith.

Don’t try to find out your own answers to your own questions. Search the Scripture. Look at what God wants to say to you. And in that way surely you will find eternal life in Christ.

(Picture “Bible Nerd” by jamelah under the Creative Commons Licence)

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Why a God of Wrath is Good News

26 May

Rinjani-1994Though in Amos we see God acting in wrath, most Christians are uncomfortable with this idea. Therefore I want to explain why a God of wrath is good news for Christians:

God hates sin

We may be deceived by this world but God isn’t. He hates sin. He does not sit idly by and watch as people are murdered, raped and starved. He is seething with anger!

We are not. We would prefer everyone to get off scott-free. We wouldn’t have even thought the substitution of Jesus was necessary. Some even think God is evil for punishing sin! What idiots we are. God hates what harms us and that is a glorious truth.

God will destroy sin

If God hates sin he will not let it exist in his kingdom. It tells us in Revelation he will wipe every tear from our eye (Rev 21:4). All the evil that plagues us now God will banish forever. Utterly decimated, it will never to trouble us again.

God’s love overcame God’s wrath

Think of the passion shown in his anger towards sin. It’s massive. Yet he loves you more fiercely than he hates sin. What an amazing truth!

Moreover, God himself received wrath on the cross. Jesus Christ, God made flesh, was subject to God’s full wrath on the cross. He took all the punishment due upon us.

Christian do not hate the God of Wrath, rather praise him now for hating sin and loving you. Pray also that you may hate sin as much as he does.
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(Picture by Oliver Splat under the Creative Commons Licence and GNU Free Documentation Licence)

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Why One God is the West’s Greatest Idol

9 May

Michalengelo's Creation of the Sun and MoonIn April I started blogging Mike Reeves’ talks on the Trinity. I’ll continue this week by discussing the West’s greatest idol: one god, not Trinity. Why is this idol so tempting Westerners?

One god is clever

Westerners think belief in one god is more intelligent. Jews and Muslims are respected more than Pagans or Hindus.

Therefore, Christians are desperate to be seen as Monotheistic (one god) crowd, rather than define themselves as Trinitarian.

One god is simple

Because the Trinity is difficult many say it’s illogical. In fact it’s the opposite! If God did exist why do you think he would be simple to understand?

It’s easy to make up one god. He can be your highest ideal and he can be easy to get your head around. Trinity gods are too complex.

One god is easy to sell

Muslims and Jews understand us when we talk about one god. We’re desperate to gain some ground so we claim to be monotheist.

The fact is we’re as much polytheists (many gods) as we are monotheists, because we’re neither. The trinity is something completely different.

In coming posts I’m going to get on to a helpful and easy definition of the trinity. But in the next few days I’ll post how monotheism undermines the Bible and how even sound Reformed Christians fail on this topic.

Which God Are You Talking About?

24 Apr

In his talk at New Word Alive, Mike Reeves discussed how Christians fail to get to the question of “Which God are you talking about?” quick enough.

Everyone assumes when we say “God”, we mean the same thing as they do. Most Christians seem to agree. Yet this is ludicrous!

Knowledge of God is never going to be intuitive! We are fallen! What our minds create is inevitably going to be an idol.

We need to get to the trinity as quick as possible to dethrone the West’s common idol.

What is the common idol in the West then?

Tune in next time and find out!

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The Trinity is the Distinguishing Feature of Christianity

16 Apr

With different Religions What Makes Christianity Stand OutWhat distinguishes the good news of Christianity gospel from anything else? Mike Reeves argued it is the Trinity.

He gave the example of what most Christians would say “salvation by faith” and asked what do you do with Jodo shinshu Budhism, which also agrees with salvation by faith alone.

He said that false religions can copy any doctrine of Christianity. What they cannot copy however is the God we talk about. The things that distinguish our Gospel flow out of our God.

So if you want to know what makes Christianity tick you need to know God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

Join us over the coming days to find out more about him.

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