Tag Archives: judgment

Bad Theology

I enjoy a good Facebook debate. The problem is that it invariably devolves into refutation of bad doctrine and sloppy hermeneutics. I’m sure you have encountered the “do not judge” canard. People like to stop at Matthew 7:1 and ignore the rest of the chapter which actually teaches us to rightly judge.

There was a guy today who said he is loving and tolerant of everyone, “just as Jesus was tolerant of the prostitute who was about to be stoned.” Mind you, this was a professing Christian.  He not only attempted to pummel scripture so that he could make his point for homosexual marriage, but he completely got it wrong.  This guy was so far off base, he could have better supported his position by vaguely referencing The Cat in the Hat.  We can clearly see that the woman in John 8 was an adulteress, not a prostitute.  Further, he asserts that Jesus is tolerant.  I suppose that depends on how carefully you read the Bible.

He and I would be in agreement that Jesus loves prostitutes, tax collectors, and other sinners.  As a matter of fact, he loves sinners so much that he died while we were still his enemies. (Romans 5:10)  Is Jesus tolerant of their sin?  Moreover, is Jesus tolerant of your sin?

Do we take the Bible at face value or do we rely on our own understanding?  If we believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God, then we can take it seriously and the entire book is about HIM.  If you cannot see his handiwork in the Old Testament, then maybe you need to look closer.  Isaac is a picture of Jesus.  Jonah is a picture of Jesus.  Moses’ brazen serpent in the wilderness is a picture of Jesus.  Boaz, the kinsman redeemer, is a picture of Jesus.  Noah’s Ark is a picture of Jesus.  Even the manna is a picture of Jesus.

Do you think that the God of the universe went to these great lengths so that sin may abound? (Romans 5:20)  Absolutely not.  Jesus is most intolerant in regard to sin.  His word was and is divisive, not harmonious.  Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. (Matthew 10:34)  Jesus came here ready for battle.  This was not a literal sword that we might imagine.  The sword is Jesus’ word.  You see this referenced again in Revelation 19:15. 

Jesus gets even more radical when he says, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. (John 14:15)  That sounds demanding; he said that we must obey him.  When we actively pursue sin and licentiousness, is that obeying Jesus?  Is that loving Him?  If you were to have an extramarital affair, is that a manifestation of your love for your spouse?  Paul writes the church in Corinth and says, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)  Those verses encompass all of us, yet the believer is sanctified.  Why would we cling to our sin that separates us from our Redeemer?

Bad theology is deadly.  The poor soul I had a dialogue with on Facebook is utterly confused as to what the Bible says, yet when he is challenged with scripture (like so many others), he bristles and rejects the truth.  He champions the wrong Jesus as his is absent from the Bible.  I believe that sound doctrine is fundamental for the Christian.  Without it, we are tossed about while we grasp at worldly constructs of love, tolerance, and acceptance when the Bible teaches of sin, righteousness, and judgment.

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Is Endless Punishment Really the Best Option?

It’s common to hear people say that they will never submit to God because of His threats of eternal torture.  That is interesting because I have yet to hear someone refer to hell as eternal torment.  Torture undoubtedly refers to some type of unmerited experience, where torment could be entirely deserved.  The Doctrine of Endless Punishment has nothing to do with eternal torture.  If one finds himself in hell, it is a punishment he earned because he rejected his Savior in favor of a logical error.  Adhering to a fallacious argument like the argumentum ad baculum, or the Threat of Force fallacy, is unwise because it cannot diminish the reality of hell.

Universalism is the preferred religion of post-moderns as it ignores man’s sinful nature and the threat of hell along with it.  Joel Osteen’s brand of Christianity encapsulates this perfectly as sins are regarded as no more than mistakes, and if we have positive vibes, God will shower us with gifts because we deserve it.  This “God owes me” mentality is impossibly stupid.  How can we have the audacity to demand anything from God?  He owes us nothing but wrath, but we feel entitled to His grace.  This reasoning reduces God to an instrument that we wield to satisfy our carnal desires.

If we believe that eternal punishment is too mean, what other alternatives does God have?  In his commentary on Revelation, Chuck Missler suggests that there are three other options at God’s disposal, all of which would result in something worse than hell.

  1. God could let the world just continue to exist forever.

On the surface, this seems to be perfectly reasonable.  But what about the cruelty and injustice?  What about pain and disease?  This would go unchecked, and this Garden of Eden would go on and on.

  1. God could force man into automata.

Can anyone honestly say they would prefer life without free will?  We would be nothing more than mere robots carrying out orders.  Maybe this would be easier, but would we have meaningful lives?  Of course not, but without free will we would never realize it.  As a result, God would be forcing us to love Him which runs contrary to His nature.

  1. He can withdraw Himself.

We might assume that this would look something like number one, but in this case He would not be simply be ignoring His creation.  He would be turning His back on it.  The world was spoken into existence, and if the Word (revealed as Jesus in John 1:1-5) chooses to withdraw from His creation, we could expect that we would not exist.  It is impossible to imagine what it would be like without Him, but I suspect it would be much like it was before Genesis 1.

These are all bad scenarios for man and they all go against God’s nature.  From man’s perspective, the best option is an eternal hell.  What makes hell so appealing is the fact that God provides a way for us to avoid hell through Jesus Christ.  For many, this is preposterous as this would require submission to God.  Some find it much easier to impugn God’s character.  After all, if we must repent of our sins, we have to acknowledge our depravity.

Image courtesy of Kevin Dooley