According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – anon
Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – anon
Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson
We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord
Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

Monday, June 27, 2011

NT Wright - What Is Hell Like? Does It Even Exist?

Tom Wright has a very direct and succinct way of expressing the most difficult concepts in very elegant and personal terms. I find this with Rob Bell too who likewise would say the same thing as is heard here by Mr. Wright though many would construe Bell to be a universalist denying hell.

However, in truth, Bell is not a universalist but believes in libertarian free will which is just the opposite of universalism. Who preaches the enormity of our choices in this life - whether to proceed to a fuller and richer humanity in submission to the Creator God of grace, salvation and truth, or to proceed to a progressively de-humanizing state of non-humanity by the rejection of God, his love, salvation and truth. This is the nature of hell. Not its many vivid Christian descriptions and imageries.

For as Wright says herewith, hell is more than these things, and worse than these things, whom the NT writers have borne witness to. Far better is it to be part of God's plan of joining earth and heaven than it would be to reject any participation in this plan at all. We want to be part of this celebration, this cosmic party, this reunion and harmonizing of our soul to creation to the very divine itself. Not to stand outside of it mad and alone and willfully refusing joyous participation.

It makes no sense while it makes all the sense in the world. And so, judgement comes by our own "hands" if you well, by our own refusals to be a part of the salvation that is in Jesus, Lord of Heaven and Earth. And it is no party. It is exactly what we want and within it we will make no concessions but to a greater hardness. We will get all the hell we want and this is sad.

So fear then this enslavement, this hardness of heart and blindness to the truth. Haste to come to the living Lord God who daily seeks body and soul, heart and mind, spirit and will, in the greatest of freedoms and most wondrous of joys, life and love. Whatever the pain, the heartache, the guilt, the betrayal, the wrong or sin, repent and come to the Giver of Life, who is very Life himself.

- skinhead




Transcript: " The word hell has had a checkered career in the history of the church. And it wasn't hugely important in the early days. It was important, but not nearly as important as it became in the middle ages. And the in the middle ages, you get this polarization of heaven over here and hell over there, and you have to go to one place or the other eventually. So you have the Sistine Chapel, with that great thing behind the altar. This enormous great judgment seat, with the souls going off into these different directions. Very interestingly, I was sitting in the Sistine chapel just a few weeks ago. I was sitting for a service, and I was sitting next to a Greek Orthodox...who said to me, looking at the pictures of Jesus on one wall. He said, these I can understand. The pictures of Moses on the other wall, he said, those I can understand. Then he pointed at the end wall of judgment, and said, that I cannot understand. That's how you in the West have talked about judgment and heaven and hell. He said, we have never done it that way before, because the bible doesn't do it that way. I thought, whoops. I think hes right actually. And whether you're Catholic or Protestant, that scenario which is etched into the consciousness of Western Christianity really has to be shaken about a bit. Because if heaven and earth are to join together. Its not a matter of leaving earth and going to heaven. Its heaven and earth joined together.

and hell is what happens when human beings say, the God in whose image they were made, we don't want to worship you. We don't want our human life to be shaped by you. We don't want who we are as humans to be transformed by the love of Jesus dying and rising for us. We don't want any of that. We want to stay as we are and do our own thing. And if you do that, what you re saying is, you want to stop being an image bearing human being within this good world that God has made. And you are colluding with your own progressive dehumanization. And that is such a shocking and horrible thing, so that its not surprising that the biblical writers and others have used very vivid and terrifying language about it. But, people have picked that up and said, this is a literal description of reality. Somewhere down there, there is a lake of fire, and its got worms in it and its got serpents and demons and there coming to get you. But I think actually, the reality is more sober and sad than that, which is this progressive shrinking of human life. And that happens during this life, but it seems to be that if someone resolutely says to God, I'm not going to worship you...its not just "I'll not come to church." Its a matter of deep down somewhere, there is a rejection of the good creator God, then that it is a choice humans may make. In other words, I think the human choices in this life really matter. Were not just playing a game of chess, where tomorrow morning God will put the pieces back on the board and say, Ok that was just a game. Now were doing something different. The choices we make here really do matter. There's part of me that would love to be a universalist, and say, it'll be alright. Everyone will get there in the end. I actually...the choices you make in the present are more important than that."

More videos can be found at www.100huntley.com and more of NT Wright's thoughts can be found in his book "Surprised by Hope":



Book Description

For years Christians have been asking, "If you died tonight, do you know where you would go?" It turns out that many believers have been giving the wrong answer. It is not heaven.

Award-winning author N. T. Wright outlines the present confusion about a Christian's future hope and shows how it is deeply intertwined with how we live today. Wright, who is one of today's premier Bible scholars, asserts that Christianity's most distinctive idea is bodily resurrection. He provides a magisterial defense for a literal resurrection of Jesus and shows how this became the cornerstone for the Christian community's hope in the bodily resurrection of all people at the end of the age. Wright then explores our expectation of "new heavens and a new earth," revealing what happens to the dead until then and what will happen with the "second coming" of Jesus. For many, including many Christians, all this will come as a great surprise.

Wright convincingly argues that what we believe about life after death directly affects what we believe about life before death. For if God intends to renew the whole creation—and if this has already begun in Jesus's resurrection—the church cannot stop at "saving souls" but must anticipate the eventual renewal by working for God's kingdom in the wider world, bringing healing and hope in the present life.

Lively and accessible, this book will surprise and excite all who are interested in the meaning of life, not only after death but before it.

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