It is tantalizing to try to imagine what life will be like in the new heavens and the new earth, where every evil, misery, sorrow, and danger “will be no more.” Will there still be waterfalls and waves, puddles and ponds, lakes and even oceans?
It’s obvious that when Christians contemplate hell, we’ve got a problem. Hell is awful, in all of its manifestations. This is especially true of eternal conscious torment. Suffering for eternity for deeds done in one lifetime–this is a hard pill to swallow. I don’t think it is the biblical view, but that’s a point for another time. Suffice it to say that a growing number of Christians no longer believe in the so-called “traditional” view of hell.
Does the “Let us” of Genesis 1:26 refer to the Trinity? In The King in His Beauty: A Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments (Baker, 2013), New Testament scholar Tom Schreiner (Southern Seminary) argues that (1) it is doubtful that the author of Genesis was specifically thinking about the Trinity when he used this expression, (2) it is doubtful that the earliest Israelites read it this way, but (3) it should still be understood as a reference to the Trinity when it is read as part of the whole canon of Scripture.
It was evangelicalism that told me who I was and it was evangelicalism that told me who I wasn’t. You don’t just get over that. You don’t just trash it all and walk away. Like it or not, our religious traditions help forge our identities. The great challenge is to hold every piece of my faith experience in love, even the broken bits, even the parts that still cut my hands and make them bleed. Truth is, we are all post-something.
In at least one big and bruising culture-war battle, the Mormon church wants to call a partial truce. Convening a rare press conference on Tuesday at church headquarters in Salt Lake City, Mormon leaders pledged to support anti-discrimination laws for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people, as long the laws also protect the rights of religious groups.
“But God.” These two words are overflowing with gospel. For sinners like you and me who were lost and completely unable to save ourselves from our dead-set rebellion against God, there may not be two more hopeful words that we could utter.
The more we read and study the Bible, the more painful it becomes when we hear a verse quoted out of context and even used to advocate for the exact opposite of the verse in its context. In reading through Joel Osteen’s book, Your Best Life Now, this pain is fairly constant. But the worst context-ripping and heart-rending example is Osteen’s use of Colossians 3:2 in Part 1: Enlarge Your Vision.
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All paths lead to God, but only one path will present you before God without fault and with great joy. Pick a path, any path–it will take you to God. Trust me: you will stand before Him one day. You will meet your Maker. You will see the face of Christ. There are many ways up the mountain, but only one will result in life instead of destruction.
One of the great questions of modern theology is the problem of the hiddenness of God. Some of us ask these questions often. Others choose to avoid the questions, or not think about them. Sometimes, I think, religious people need to ask these questions more often.