Harry, I’ll be honest, I’m not really sure where you were going with your e-mail. It seemed sort of scattered and lots of vast assumptions about what I believe. Nevertheless, I’ll do my best to explain to you where I’m coming from. Maybe from here on out you can stick to certain topics in certain paragraphs, I’ll number them to make it easy so we can discuss certain topics at a time instead of meshing them all together.
1. I’m not emergent. I’ve read McLaren and folks that are part of the emergent movement. However, the emergent movement is dead and there is lots of things that they were saying that was wrong and incorrect. There was however lots of things that they were saying and pointing to that were important. For you to throw me into that movement and then assume I twist the Bible to say what I want to say to me is the ultimate form of laziness in a discussion. Have you read McLaren or anyone else from the emergent movement? Or do you simply assume they are a heretic because you heard that from someone else? Can you point to one thing that they say that would actually give you the impression that they preach a false gospel? I would suggest though, what I’m charging you with is preaching a false gospel, and I think i’ve done a fairly good job in explaining why I think this to be true. You however, haven’t explained yourself and your accusations.
2. OK, I’m going to respond to this idea that you keep pointing to that I can’t afford to be wrong. I don’t think you are fully grasping what I’m saying. What I am saying is that you can’t afford to be wrong either. For if I am right, you will be outside of the kingdom for eternity (like the older brother in the parable of the prodigal son) refusing to understand or accept God’s grace for others. What keeps people out of the kingdom is their inability to accept the fact that God doesn’t keep people out of the kingdom. It’s a paradox. So, we are at a standstill here. You and I both believe that the other can’t afford to be wrong. Actually, that’s not true. Because according to your own description of salvation I am saved and I’m going to heaven. I have put my faith in Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and am being transformed into a new creation. That is the gosepl correct? My beliefs on how I read the Bible or not isn’t actually the gospel. My beliefs on who I think is going to heaven or hell isn’t the gospel either, afterall, only God knows who will actually be there or not. So I flip this back on you. I can afford to be wrong with these things I’m saying, you cannot.
3. You speak a lot about me being sure of what I believe. I don’t need to be sure what I believe. A lot of my beliefs are based on faith, not my sureness of being right. I think you are probably in the same boat in that your beliefs are based on faith, not proof. Afterall you believe that the Bible is the Word of God and infallible and inerrant because the Bible says so. This is a classic form of faith, not logic. It’s one of the most illogical things you’ve said. I’ve read “Evidence that Demands a Verdict,” all the parts and I’ve dove deeply into this topic of study. I’m OK with you coming to the conclusions that you’ve come to, but you have to admit that you land on them by faith and NOT evidence or logic or reason. It’s impossible to get there and still be honest with yourself. Evidence that Demands a Verdict is an attempt to prove through logic that Jesus is God, Jesus resurrected, the Bible is the Word of God. There is no way to ‘prove’ any of these things, especially two thousand years later. The reason we believe or don’t believe them is FAITH. You and I choose to believe some things. Unfortunately you think that the reason you believe things is because it’s obvious and the right way to think. Anyone who believes something because it’s ‘obvious,’ especially something as contested as your faith in Jesus Christ, is clearly lying to themselves and unable to see their own subjectivity.
4. In your responses you are full of interpretations. I don’t mind these, afterall, I make interpretations as well. My issue is that you don’t see your conclusions as interpretations. You see your interpretations as absolute truth. For instance, how do you decide that the command to the rich young ruler was only to him and repentance is for everyone? What do you do with Luke 2:5 when Jesus forgives a man’s sin because of their friend’s faith? What do you do with the laundry list of Old Testament commands? There isn’t categories for this. I don’t even need to get into a debate about every interpretation we disagree with, but what I do think is important is that you recognize your own interpretations and admit that you could be wrong at times. It would be simple to make an argument that Christians should give away all their money and give their possessions to the poor. The Bible is quite clear about what the Christian stance towards money should be (ie. Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s which means give all money to Caesar because all money has his image on it). Now I know you disagree with me on that. But what makes your interpretation on that more right than my interpretation on it? Nothing. For you to be so arrogant to assume that your interpretations on scripture are the right ones all the time states pretty clearly to me that your arrogance clouds your judgment.
5. I won’t explain my theory (in what you call universalism) in that much detail, I can just point you to books. But for further understanding, read Colossians 1:19-20, Romans 5:12-21, Revelation 21:23-27. I’m not a universalist nor do I have a perfect explanation for how the end of the world will happen (nor do I think someone does know). But I do know that your understanding of heaven and hell is not correct. Hell doesn’t get the last word. As C.S. Lewis might suggest that Hell is locked from the inside. As Revelation suggests, the gates will never be shut to be in the Kingdom of God. So I am advocating that God’s grace is bigger than Hell. Now that doesn’t mean that no one will go there (as I stated, I think you could end up there if you refuse to accept God’s infinite grace). I think that the Bible is full of examples of people who refuse to accept God’s grace. I just believe that people will always have a chance, even after death, to come to Christ. So I’m not a universalist; because I think that hell exists and people are there now and will continue to go there.
6. Now more questions for you. Do you think that only people that believe in your version of Christianity are going to heaven (ie. emergents, catholics, anglicans and the like are all going to hell)? Can someone hold a different doctrine on how to read the Bible, on how someone is saved, on universalism, on mixing pagan cultures and still be saved? Why is your belief the right one? Is it only because you see clearly and no one else in these other streams of Christianity do? You know enough about my beliefs and you’ve told me to repent numerous times. Do you think I’m going to hell? I would like direct answers to these questions if you could.
Thanks Harry, I’m enjoying the discussion and look forward to your response. I’d also be interested to continue on the discussion with other folks from your community. Sam Guerrette, Len and any others that would be interested.
Nathan it was good to meet you this past Thursday,[June 28,20i2] and again commend you on your kindness to go public with our correspondences,with potential of people siding with my view of Scripture.And I sense there’s a desire on your part to want to know the truth with a certainty.Right at this point, you probably think our opposing arquments are at a standstill were one one opinion is as good as another.I could be wrong,butI perceive you believe that we can never know for sure what,s true in the bible and the best we mortals can do is make the best guess possible,then apply some man made faith and hope we are right.
Yet Nathan,strangly enoughyou to make some absolute claims,for instance, my views on Heaven and Hell aren’t right for sure,plus even my idea of salvation wasn’tcorrect,but yet lately you to seem to believe the message I and others preach on the street.And I really hope you do believe the gospel as I and others understand it.
Anyway I don’t know how a christian can believe in Jesus and not believe in the Bible.That to me is an oxymoron.I might sound like a broken record, but if God is infallible then the Bible is also,because God wrote the Bible using men inspired by the Holy Spirit.Now you might say its our interpretation to the Bible that is possibly wrong.We can’t trust anyone’s interpretation.On those premise we are stating,none of the Bible can be trusted on your assumptions for you assume the Bible is always subject to man’s interpretation.Then who’s interpretation can we trust?
Well I suggest to you that We trust God to interpret His own Word and as the Bible says ‘Let god be true and every man a liar’ Romans3;4.In fact to say the Bible is in error is blasphemy for we would be calling God a liar.
.So allow me to make three points.For this email dialoque iI will only deal with the 1st point due to time limitations.This is to me the most convincing and assur we are to ring way to have confidence in the truth of God and therefore the Bible as well for as I believe we can only know God through the Bible.Jesus Himself said we are to worship Him in spirit and truth and the truth of Jesus is only revealed in the Bible.Now I know you’ll probably ask how I know Jesus or the One and only God is not revealed in other books.Well in reply to that and to make my 1st point God reveals that truth to us at time of conversion for faith the ability to believe in God and in all He says is imparted into our minds and heart as a supernatural gift.Ephesians2;8 states’For by grace you are saved,through faith,it is a gift of God, not as a resultof works’-we can’t earn our way to Heaven or into the kingdom of God.Whatever.
As you also stated it is then a matter of faith as to our confidence in God .You said you believe because of faith.But are you assured of your faith? as christians we can be sure because it is supernaturally inspired, but its not a blind faith, but a faith that supported by overwhelming evidences which will be point#2 later on.
Before,as the Bible,teaches the devil has blinded to truth but Jesus has opened our eyes so now we see spiritually speaking even asthe yblind man who was healed by Jesus physically who didn’t know how it was possible he could see but he just knew he did.So it is with all those who come to faith in Christ can’t maybe not logically explain it but simply know beyond a shadow of doubt that they know what they know and willing to die for the truth.
Furthermore the Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit witnesses to our spirit that we are the sons of God-adopted sons that is.then as we continue on our walk and growth with Christand in us by way of the Holy Spirit our faith increases and faith in the Bible as God’s complete message to us at least to the point to be sufficient for doctrine and practice of righteousness.
If you don’t have that certainty of faith then as the bible says examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith-ask God about this .Ask God to reveal his full revelation.Realize that it’s more blessed to believe then to see,Jesus said.
You seem to want tangible proof that the Bible is inerrant,but no one not even God can give you that.You to must come to faith.Without faith it’s impossible to please God and you can’t really expect anything from God.
So recheck your beliefs Nathan by reading the Bible asking God to reveal His Truth.
I’ll be responding to some of your inquiries later corresponds.Thanks and bye for now.