Archive for the ‘Faith and religion’ Category

Age of accountability?

Have you ever pondered why it is that in (what I term loosely) civilized countries, human beings under the age of 18 or 21 are considered juveniles? And, that juveniles are usually treated much more mercifully for crimes committed before they reach maturity? I find it remarkable that so much of what we take for granted in the normal order of things is actually based on the Bible.

For instance, every nation on earth marks time by 24 hour days, 7 day weeks, and 12 month years. These all have their beginning in Genesis, chapter 1. The age of accountability also seems to be indicated as being less than 20 years of age, based on God’s own consideration of those under twenty not being condemned to die in the wilderness because of unbelief (Numbers 14:29).

A recent article in the Washington Post made me think about this. This article reports on a book that was written by Frances Jensen and Amy Ellis Nutt about how the teenage brain is NOT completely developed, contrary to earlier theories. One of the more significant things they discovered is that teenage brains are much more easily damaged and addicted by exposure to drugs and specifically marijuana. In fact, the marijuana effect is that it stunts brain development and causes what appear to be lifelong learning abilities.

This makes me question the idea of kids under the age of 13 being able to actually comprehend the gospel sufficiently to make a lifelong commitment to living as a Christian. I know quite a few people who claim to either have become a Christ follower at a single digit age or (incredibly) say they have “always been a Christian”.

Thoughts?

Okay, it’s been a while…

I have been remiss in writing any posts here for quite some time, but I’m thinking it’s time to tackle some things I’ve been thinking about since I quit posting. Mind you, I do not know it all, nor do I consider myself the epitome of a Christ follower. But, it bothers me (perhaps too much) that people claiming to be Christians believe things the bible absolutely does not support.

Since I last posted, I have parted ways with the theology of the churches of Christ as regards their human ideals about forbidding music in worship, making communion mandatory each Sunday, and declaring a person unsaved prior to baptism. I have not changed my mind about the necessity for any believer to obey the commandment to be baptized and that it involves immersion. What I disagree with is the emphasis on baptism being the exact moment a person is forgiven of their sins and born again.

I used to emphasize the words of Jesus in John 3, when He told Nicodemus that “unless a man is born of water and spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven”. However, I noticed recently that Jesus reiterates the emphasis is on the Spirit and not the water in the next few verses. Especially, Jesus declares, “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

If the water part truly refers to baptism, and baptism to being born again, why doesn’t Christ reiterate that in verse 8?

I like Spurgeon’s answer the best to the question of “Should I be baptized?” He simply said, “You mean creature! So you will do nothing that Christ commands, if you can be saved without doing it? You are hardly worth saving at all!” The point is that baptism must follow conversion or the conversion is false.

Note, too, that while Jesus was forgiving sins of people He met and interacted with during His sojourn on earth, not once do we have a record of Him directing that person to be baptized. And we know that His disciples were baptizing, at least at the beginning of His ministry. I’m not saying this excludes the possibility it occurred, but I do find it strange that after His conversation with Nicodemus this was not emphasized at any of the recorded conversions of people who came to Jesus and were pronounced clean, forgiven, etc.

A good reason for my re-examination of this is the work being done (from afar) to convert Muslims to Christianity, yet requiring these Muslims be baptized and no one can be found in that part of the world willing to perform this sacrament. Very troubling for me.

I’d like to know if anyone else has thoughts on this who felt baptism was essentially when a person was truly “born again”.

Not one person has ascended into Heaven except Jesus – according to Jesus!

I would like take issue with the traditional view that faithful Christians go to heaven when they die. Truly, our treasures/rewards and our future bodies (dwelling places) are kept safe in heaven, and I acknowledge the angels, the armies of heaven, the book of life and so on, are in heaven, according to scripture. But, nowhere in the scriptures are we told plainly that we will reign in heaven or even live there. Jesus said, “No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man”(John 3:13). That is quite self-defining, don’t you think?

Then there’s the oft stated theology that after Jesus was raised from the dead, all the people of the Old Testament were transferred from Hades/Sheol to Heaven or Hell at that time. Where does scripture say that?

Peter declared on the day of Pentecost (many days after Jesus’ ascension) that David had not yet been raised from the dead and was therefore still in his tomb (Acts 2:29-34). The New Jerusalem is shown as descending from heaven to the New Earth in Revelation 21. That does not infer that we will live with God in heaven, but that God will dwell with us in some fashion on the New Earth (2 Peter 3:13). The early Christians emphasized the resurrection of the dead as the future Christian hope, where the Western view has become so Platonic that the resurrection has become an afterthought. Why does scripture tell us to hope in and look for the resurrection to life when one is already judged (which would be a prerequisite to entering heaven anyway) and possessing an eternal spiritual “body”? According to what many believe, people who have died have already been judged and given a new body. But, according to scripture, if there is no resurrection of the dead, then those who have died in Christ have perished (1 Corinthians 15:16-18). How could that even be a consideration if a person is already safe in heaven? Peter says God will “judge the living and the dead” at the same time (John 5:28, 1 Peter 4:5)

I got started on this after seeing so many books and supposed personal accounts of visits to heaven and hell that are available on the internet. If Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, heard things that cannot be repeated (2 Cor 12:4), how can people later be allowed to repeat them? I absolutely believe all these published reports are pure bunk!

I don’t believe a word of anyone who claims to have visited either place. The Bible states plainly that every person will die and after that comes the judgment. The judgment is clearly going to occur on “the day of the Lord”, a day when everyone, small and great, will both see God (Rev 1:7) and assemble before the throne to be judged (Rev 20:12) for the deeds done in their bodies (2 Cor 5:10, 2 Timothy 4:1).

What is the purpose of being judged? In our world and the next, it is to determine your ultimate fate, is it not? Therefore, just as we hold persons in jail to await judgment (this being an ordinance of God), surely this foreshadows the reality in the eternal realm. Jesus promised the thief a place in Paradise; not heaven. Lazarus was raised from the dead, not called back from heaven! Jesus said, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep.” (John 11:11) which I believe is what scripture proves happens to those who (as in the ancient view of Daniel 12:2) fall asleep in Jesus.

The parable of Lazarus and the rich man was meant to show the Jews that their view of who was accepted by God was skewed by their thinking that being blessed in the “here and now” was indicative of God’s being pleased with a person. On the contrary, a man they considered cursed because of some secret sin found himself in Abraham’s bosom while the man who was “blessed” found himself rejected by God. And please consider that if a man was being tormented by literal flames, he would hardly prioritize a drop of water on his tongue! Again, this was parable, and was a story used to illuminate the truth of the law to the blind. I could go on about parables, but that would involve a lot of other digression.

If anyone were qualified to tell us what lay beyond the veil, it would be Lazarus, or Tabitha, or any number of others who were raised from the dead, including Samuel! But none of these have l;eft any record of this transition from life to heaven and back, have they? Because, as scripture says, “The dead do not praise the LORD, no do ANY who go down into silence.” (Psalm 115:17)

If the dead in Christ will be raised first, that fulfills Paul’s declaration that the living believers will not precede those who have died in Christ. Scripture says, “Christ will bring with Him” those who have died in faith, but where is He bringing them from? There is no reason to believe they are being brought from heaven to be united with their bodies. Rather, there is every indication that the words “also bring with Him” simply means that ALL believers will be brought with Christ to where we will be with Him forever: the New Earth and New Jerusalem.

Jesus says that those who are qualified to partake of the resurrection to life (Luke 20:35) will be “like the angels in heaven”. But, that does not infer they will be IN heaven!

Quoting Mark 12:27, where Jesus says, “He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You are quite wrong.” does not mean that the dead in Christ are in heaven rather than the grave. Jesus simply means that those who are in Him are not really dead, but have already secured the promise of eternal life. This is what scripture affirms (Luke 20:37-38, John 3:16) even though it is obvious that their bodies have died/perished. But, if their bodies will be raised, then their bodies are an intrinsic part of who these people are. Else, why is there a resurrection of bodies at all? Paul goes further and says, “For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.” (Romans 14:9)

Paul states to the Jews when he was arrested, that he was on trial “with respect to the hope and resurrection of the dead” (Acts 24:21, 26:8), not the doctrine of going to heaven when one dies.

When Jesus rose from the dead, it is easily proved that he did not go to heaven. Peter says He went and preached to the spirits in prison. Jesus told Mary that he had not yet ascended into heaven when she saw Him the day He arose from the dead. So where was he for three days and nights? In Hades/Sheol, the place of the dead.

Matthew tells us that many people rose from the dead (not from Paradise, Heaven or hell) when Jesus died on the cross. Yet we know that these people did not rise to eternal life, but only restored to mortal life for a short time, since scripture assures us that Jesus is the first of those raised from death forever (Acts 26:23, Romans 6:9) and is “…the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep“(1 Cor 15:20).

Lastly, what does the Bible say about our souls? Are they ever referred to as being immortal? No! In fact Paul says that it is our bodies that will be changed into imperishable vessels. So, it follows that our souls need a body to dwell in. Without a resurrection of the body, the Bible leaves no clear alternative for where our souls reside after death. Even the mention of the souls of the dead being kept under the altar in John’s Revelation, indicates that these souls are held in some form of containment “until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete” (Rev 6:11). What were these souls told to do until the consummation of these things? They are told to “rest” which is synonymous with “sleep”.

Simply put, the resurrection makes no sense at all unless it is the Great Hope of the Christian, a resurrection with only two options: eternal life or eternal death and only as a result of that final resurrection and simultaneous judgment.

Peace on Earth?

“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
(John 13:35)

I am the type of person who hopes for a Christian utopia, but I also am aware that it doesn’t really exist as long as we are in this corrupt human bodies. Oh, there may be fellowships and individuals who come close to seeing true “Peace on Earth”, at least among themselves, but it does not exist anywhere for very long.

Why is this? I think it is because we do not really believe that God is more powerful than our emotions, our selfishness and our sin. I confess, many times I struggle with the good vs. evil conundrum, and wonder why it seems that “good” so often seems to lose the battles.
If you could change the way people think, the way they act, or even what they watch on TV, would that really make a difference?
I used to think so. I have fellow Christians who have given up TV entirely, but I have trouble with some of the stuff they read. I have restricted any kind of strong drink in my house, but not wine, because 1. The Bible does not restrict its use entirely, and 2. I believe it is good for the body in moderate amounts. This may very well not sit well with some of my fellow Christians, but the point really is that we cannot restrict or enforce our own ethics or morality on anyone! This is where the Christian Right and groups associated with them, who perceive Christianity as an “us against them” kind of warfare, get it wrong. Prohibition did not work! It only made things worse, in the short and long run.
I wish every Christian would give up things I am uncomfortable with, but I have to remember Romans 14 and the words of Jesus, “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; “ (Luke 6:37) . But, let’s not forget that Jesus also said, “And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? “ (Luke 12:57)

So, in that spirit, where I understand that I cannot make or force anyone to do according to my will or follow my morality or conscience, I offer this small treatise on how I believe many justify a Christian becoming a soldier or a policeman, and how I believe they have to twist the Word of God to justify that.

Here is the scripture used to justify a person who is a Christian joining in the military (note that I do not fault those already committed for a term agreed upon prior to their conversion):

Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.” (Luke 3:14)

This is supposedly an affirmation by John the Baptist that being a soldier is an acceptable occupation for a Christian. However, there are certain points that are overlooked by taking this at face value.

1. These are John’s words of instruction, not the words of our Lord.
2. Scripture does not indicate that any Gentiles were coming out to hear John preach. No Roman soldier would have any impetus to see what the hubbub was about except perhaps to observe and insure it was not a political uprising. A Roman solder would first have had to become a Jewish proselyte before John would have been willing to baptize him, which, I might add, would have required him to desert his employment as a soldier.
3. There is absolutely no indication that these were Gentile soldiers, serving under Rome. It is much more believable that these were the same temple police referred to in Luke 12 than military men. The Jews were an exception among all the conquered peoples of Rome, in that Rome’s emperors allowed the Jews to continue their unique sacrifices and temple worship as well as exempting them from sacrificing or honoring Rome’s gods and goddesses.
4. As policemen, these “soldiers” were an adjunct of the Sanhedrin and had the power to arrest and bring to court any who broke Jewish law or were disturbing the peace. However, according to the laws in place at that time, they also were not given the power to condemn or kill anyone (John 18:31). Something many can relate to is to think of British “Bobbies”, who for ages were able to perform their duties without a lethal weapon being issued to them.

Another scripture taken to mean soldiering is acceptable is the story of Jesus’ encounter with the centurion in Matthew 8: 5-13. However, Jesus was not, at any time, trying to convert Gentiles. Rather his mission was to the house of Israel. True, Jesus did not condemn the man’s occupation, but neither did he commend it. What he commended was “with no one in Israel have I found such faith”!

Further, Jesus himself said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matthew 15:24). Of course, this and his other conversation outside of Israel on a personal level were to Samaritan women at the well and the Samaritan villagers. I believe this was God’s way of showing that even these “dogs” who were of mixed Jewish blood, were part of the flock of the lost sheep of Israel.

But, pointedly, while Jesus honored the faith of those Gentiles who exhibited it, he did not preach the gospel to them about himself or the Kingdom of God.

Of course, someone will mention Cornelius the Roman centurion whom Peter was sent to and the jailor in Acts 16. Let’s look at these briefly, but carefully:

1. Peter explicitly states that the purpose of his visit was explained by the angel that appeared to Cornelius as an evangelistic one (Acts 11:14).
2. True, Peter does not require the centurion to abandon his post, but neither does scripture infer that this man was anything more than a local governing emissary with some military authority. There are many positions in the military that do not entail the use of any weapon at all. It does not imply, by any means that he was a man who would obey the rule of Caesar over God since he is termed a “God-fearer”. If push came to shove, I am certain he was of the character that would refuse to participate in violence against others.
3. Cornelius was obviously familiar with the name of Jesus and his crucifixion, and was well on his way to being converted when Peter arrived.
4. The jailer apparently was issued a sword as a part of his equipment, but this does not mean that he was also an appointed executioner, either. He was about to take his own life, which an unconverted person without a knowledge of the gospel would be justified in seeking in his circumstance.
5. However, the jailer in no way threatened harm to anyone but himself, and he apparently did not have an armed guard at his disposal, else they would certainly have been placed on high alert after the earthquake.
6. A person can certainly fill the role of a policeman or jailer without ever having to take a life or use violence instigated by retribution against anyone. In both cases, restraint and capture are the desired end result, not death.

The Holy Scriptures cannot to be used to justify violence against anyone, ever. If we were still under the Old Testament, such could be the case, I will admit. But, as Christians, we are by virtue of our very title not under the old law, but under the new law which is simply comprised of two things:

And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. (1 John 3:23)

And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
(1 John 4:21)

“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. (Luke 6:27-28)

One can hardly obey the commandments of Christ and be intent on and willing to kill people they don’t even know and have never even met. Many people who were deadly enemies during wars found that they had much in common after such war and were unanimously regretful of the lives they had taken.

Say all you want about men having to die in order to preserve our freedoms, but I say to you what Jesus said to Pilate, “”You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above.” (John 19:11a) as regards what government and what rights we are given.

Those who pervert the Word of God in order to justify their carnal aims are not of the gentle flock of Jesus Christ, who never advocated or lifted his hand against anyone for any reason. If that is our example, that (not other flawed human beings) is what me must aspire to and follow.

The Sensuous Pulpit

How many recent fads can you think of that have passed through the churches, in general, over the past few decades? How about “Positive Thinking”, “so-called revivals of the circus variety (Brownsville, Lakewood), the Emergent church, the Purpose Driven drivel, and recently: “God’s Love is Unconditional” and “Christian Sex” seminars?

I apologize, but I couldn’t think of any appropriate pictures for this topic, other than sarcastic ones. And I don’t want to overdo that! I made the mistake of doing a Google Image search (thinking my filters were still intact) for “Christian sex”. There are lots of images, many of which I wish hadn’t popped up, but I should have expected a dart or two from Old Satan.

The “fad” that has aroused my indignation is this preoccupation in many churches these days with “Marital Workshops” that are almost always tied into “Sex Workshops” for Christians. I think the need for these things pretty much evidences the selfishness and carnality of the church, as a whole. Please note that I am not inclined to equate “church” with Christianity! The “church” I’m referring to is the highly secular and humanized version which is so predominant in America.

When Paul addresses sexual issues in the Bible, it is done, not with sensual embellishment, but with grace and enough clarity to state what needs to be addressed. For what reason? “…So that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” (1 Corinthians 7:5)

When the gifts of the Spirit are listed in scripture, which one of these, pray tell, covers the gift of “sex expert”? One man, in particular, teaches men to purposely eat sweet foods (I guess it’s unimportant whether that is good for the man’s health) in order to make their sexual discharge taste good! This is something I would have expected in the old Penthouse Forum magazine; not in a “Christian” seminar or on a “Christian” web site. There was a time when oral sex was labeled Sodomy, but now it is both taught as acceptable and desirable. Can I absolutely say oral sex is sinful? Not specifically, but when these men (and women occasionally) preach or teach it as acceptable behavior they are doing precisely what Paul warns against doing (in principle) in 1 Corinthians 8:9-13. In essence, these people may very well be harming people’s consciences by convincing them to do things they feel intrinsically are wrong! Scripture makes no bones about doing things we “think” are wrong: “For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” (Romans 14:23)

I personally believe that there are occasions when masturbation is an “escape”, but I am not convinced it is a rule that everyone should or could follow. If it is done to anyone’s detriment or deprives one’s mate as Paul warns against, then it is selfish and not self-preserving or right.

Yes, the Bible says “the marriage bed is undefiled”, but scripture also warns us against these “sensual” men who, “entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error.They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.” (2 Peter 2:18-19) and, while Paul applies this to unregenerate persons, it still hits the mark, because they prove “They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.” (Ephesians 4:19)

You cannot tell me, honestly, that anal sex is anything but unnatural, filthy, unhealthy, harmful, and absolutely, from a moral standpoint, degrading. Can you? Dare you? And yet, we have “Christian” sex experts and marriage counselors going around telling couples to go home and engage in this, “as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone”! Ask any honest physician, especially one who has dealt with the ramifications of homosexual intercourse, and they will tell you that anal sex is ultimately very harmful to the body.

I am no “sex expert”, but I speak from the viewpoint of a person who was once a very lascivious and perverted person. I KNOW that engaging in these forms of experimental sex only leads to more depravity and a desire for more experimentation. How long would it be until one partner wants to “choke” the other in order to experience what some consider the ultimate orgasm? Would our sex experts say this is also okay as long as no one actually is “hurt” by it? It’s ridiculous! God saved me from this kind of stuff and now we have preachers leading their flocks down the path of sexual liberation, so-called. This is of the devil, folks!

What many seem to fail to see is that this is a rampant obsession in the churches today and people are considering it a liberating thing. It is evident that this is only taking hold because church going people are not reading their Bibles with a mind that seeks truth, if they truly read it at all. Many, I’m afraid, are reading with eyes and minds that cannot understand, because they are not Spirit led (1 Corinthians 2:14).

What Paul describes in Romans 1:24-25, “Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.” is precisely what is happening to these people who think they are saved, but are not, or were and have sunk into slavery to the flesh. May God have mercy on those who have fallen from grace!

Again, I quote Paul, “I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.” (Romans 6:19) and “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” (Galatians 5:13)

Please read Ephesians 5 in its entirety, with an open an honest heart. And consider how verse 1, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.” can be in any way compatible with this obsession of pleasing the fleshly desires with sex games, toys, and unnatural experimentation.

I welcome all comments in good taste, including those that disagree.

What sins DOES Love cover a multitude of?

How many of you have wrestled with what Peter means when he says, “Love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8) or when John tells disciples who see a brother or sister sin a “sin not unto death” to pray for that person in order for that sin to be forgiven? (1 John 5:16)

Consider this, as well: How many times would God only hear and forgive persons when someone specifically chosen by God interceded for them? I can think of Abraham praying for Abimelech (even though Abraham had effectively caused the sin), Moses for Israel, Job for his friends, and so on. God would only hear the prayers of a righteous man in these instances. As a result, I have become inclined to think that the blind man Jesus healed was correct in his supposition that, “We know God does not hear sinners.” (John 9:31)

Of course, if a person is penitent, like the tax collector Jesus used for an example (Luke 18:13) or a man seeking God, as Cornelius was, then God’s promise is true: “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” (James 4:8)

Anyway, all hat to try and unravel this particular knot of what kind of sins does our love cover and what are these sins we are to pray for for the sake of others? It appears, to me, that these must be sins of ignorance on the part of the offender. In other words, we may feel and know that what a person has done is an offense to us, someone else or God, but since we are also to bear with the weak in faith, the weak minded, and new Christians, doesn’t this indicate that it is far better for us to overlook certain things than to condemn them at first sight? Now, remember, I am approaching this from the view of these being sins of ignorance (call them tactless sins, maybe).

I may not approve of the TV shows a new Christian watches. Am I to condemn these shows outright and make the new Christian feel that they are thereby in danger of damnation? I don’t think so. I believe that what we are supposed to do (and it has taken me quite a while to reach this conclusion) is bear with this for a time, for a season in which we bring our concerns to God and ask the Holy Spirit to convict these new babes of what is not pleasing to God and convince them of what they should do. After this season of faithful prayer and consistent right living on our part, we should not be surprised to see changes in this person’s life in the areas we are concerned about. On the other hand, if no changes become evident, then we might want to consider another approach.

Here is an example of what I am speaking of. Any input or advice is much appreciated, as I have not completely satisfied myself as to how to answer this, but here goes:

I have an acquaintance who has, for over two years, claimed to be a believer, and with whom I have been a confidant of sorts concerning her marriage. She has a lot of issues that we have discussed and some of my scriptural advice she seems to have taken to heart. On the other hand, though I have been adamant about what I believe the Lord says are very limited reasons for divorce and remarriage, these things she has been resistant to. Number one, her first husband has never been sexually unfaithful to her, and as far as I can tell, she doesn’t admit to having cheated on him. As a result I have simply directed her to Paul’s admonitions in 1 Corinthians 7 and Romans 7:1-3.
Another issue was baptism. I explained the necessity of it, gave her literature about it, and she even attends a church which supposedly teaches it as a necessary response to the gospel. However, to the best of my knowledge, she has never followed through on this.
So, just this past week I received an email from her letting me know that she is now married to the man she was seeing for the last six months. I was never informed of any divorce, so this was quite a surprise. On top of this, she seemed quite pleased to inform me that her first husband actually Emceed the wedding, providing the music and that her own daughter ..by this first husband.. walked her down the aisle.
My reaction? I was disgusted. Primarily because she felt that having her first husband there condoning it, and her daughter “giving her away” made everything just fine. To me…it was just typical American dys-functionality on parade and she doesn’t even realize it as such.
Based on my own prayers concerning this and the fact that she has been previously advised by me to not follow this path, I don’t believe I need to swoosh down on her and overtly rebuke her. She knows what she is doing is wrong. She just simply has chosen to reject God’s advice and take her own path.

So, as regards my earlier quandary, does this situation even apply to Peter and James’ admonitions? I don’t believe so, because this IS a sin unto death, in my view. This person has rejected the Word of God, knowingly or even willfully ignorantly, and I don’t know that my prayers can now afford her any protection or forgiveness.

Any thoughts?

Full preterism error!

This fellow seems to have all the answers, claiming that there is no future return of Christ or resurrection, or new world and new heavens: http://www.allthingsfulfilled.com

Unfortunately, his site will not allow me to post any questions or rebuttals. So, here goes on my own site:

I am a partial preterist, at present. And that is because the second resurrection that Jesus referred to in John 5:28-29 that an hour was coming when ALL the dead that were in the graves would be raised. So, when do you suppose that happened? I believe the destruction of Jerusalem fulfilled much of Matthew 24, but not all. The scriptures are clear that Christ’s return would be visible and completely unexpected. Peter was not speaking hyperbolic when he said, “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” (2 Peter 3:10-13)

I do not, by any means, believe this is symbolic of the age of regeneration Jesus spoke of, where he explained, “but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.” (Luke 20:35-36)

I don’t know of anyone who is like an angel living in this present world. And if one were to take this literally, then only those who do not marry would be “sons of the resurrection”.

Sorry, I think you are trying to put everything behind us, even though Paul makes it clear that the SECOND resurrection is the Christian hope (Romans 6:5, Philippians 3:7) and at that time alone we will be changed instantly into a form that is like Christ is in Heaven and will never die again (Daniel 12, 1 Corinthians 15). I’m afraid this is exactly the error Paul speaks of in 2 Timothy 2:17-18.