THE PACK - Joseph Beuys
"If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over
our bodies. If they will perish, let them perish with our arms
about their knees. Let no one go there unwarned and unprayed for."
-- C. H. Spurgeon (1834-1892)
Regarding the basics of being a follower of Christ Jesus, there is so much confusion, dissension, error, and ignorance held as truth and taught by “churches”, that it is no wonder there are so few actual “followers” of Jesus.
A few points to clarify:
- God does not condemn us to a fiery Hell. The “
” in John’s Revelation is a place for the Serpent and his demons. Hell, in the way Jesus spoke of it (Gehenna), is something more akin to a landfill where the garbage is taken and burned (although the fires burn forever). Our willful separation from God is what sends us to the “dump” at the end of our lives. It’s not so much our “punishment” as our reasonable end... to be thrown out with the rest of the useless garbage. When I throw out the garbage, or put an old, un-repairable TV on the curb for rubbish day, I don’t rise from my chair and say “Damn you trash to Hell!” But if the broken item or trash can be refurbished or recycled, I keep it from being thrown into the landfill. As a redeemed sinner, I have been “recycled”. And as someone in whom God’s Holy Spirit resides, I have been “refurbished” (born again). Lakeof Fire
- We do not save ourselves, (i.e., by being good and doing good things), nor are we saved by the actions of others (i.e., ceremonial baptism). We are saved by being united with God via his Holy Spirit’s presence in our selves. Grabbing a “big donut” will not save a drowning man. The buoyancy of a life saver will keep him above the waves so he does not drown. It is the life saver that effects the salvific work. The drowning man merely reaches out to it. But he must decide to quit thrashing, and reach for it. Repent = Reach Out. Failure to reach out to Jesus for rescue results in an eternity in Gehenna (see above). You don't want to go there.
- The Holy Trinity is a concept meant to say more about how we experience God than about the nature of God. The Trinity is a concept based on our understanding of God in our dimension. He is a Unity experienced by us as a Trinity. This is one place in orthodoxy where it is indeed “about us”, or at least about our experiences. God (Yahweh) is not so much "Three in One", as he is "One as Three", from our limited observation point.
- A vengeful God did not require the brutal murder of his son. The Atonement – how God himself died so that our sin could be removed as a barrier between our Creator and ourselves – is a deep mystery. But the key to it is that God himself became human and suffered a human death at the hands of evil. Somehow, his human death and human resurrection re-established the link between God and mankind lost at the Fall. By becoming human and dying, God somehow set up a way for his Holy Spirit to live in us. I don't understand it, and neither does anyone else here on Earth. Yes, blood sacrifice in pagan cultures is an archetype for God's atoning sacrifice, but Jesus' death on the cross is not the same thing as Polynesian priests throwing virgins into a volcano to insure a good harvest.
- The Roman Catholic Church is not the one "True Church", although it is part on the one (there is only one body of Christ), holy (set apart from the world), catholic (universal), and apostolic (derived from the teachings of the apostles) church. Where do they get the idea that the Roman Catholic Church is the sole franchise? It's just Turf Wars fought trying to re-make God in our own image (although in the Roman Catholic Church's case, it does have a lot to do with the fall of the Roman Empire and the "Church" taking on the identity of the Empire). All denominations cling to versions of this popular heresy (The Church of Christ is a prime example). Thank God (truly) we are entering a new, glorious, post-denominational period for the Church. Perhaps the owner is about to return to inspect the property. Trash and useless furniture will all be sent to the dump.