Friday, September 02, 2011

An Emotional Conclusion

Dear Mike,

Thank you for your answer very much! It was good to read it and it helped
me a lot.

Well, it is difficult for me to understand their beliefs - they believe that there
is hell but it is not a place of eternal torment. After some time everybody who
is there will be released and saved.


Hi again Betty,

Yes, that isn't Christian. It could be that they are simply immature and don't know what is going on. They need to hear the Gospel and believe in it. But I wouldn't let them join the church until they think through that simple but very important doctrine.

Sin and the consequence for sin is pretty important to the Gospel. As I said before Jesus saves sinners. If he didn’t need to die…he died for nothing.

I know there are some in the Church who think that Hell either doesn't exist or isn't eternal (John Stott and William Barclay for example). They usually believe that the people who die in their sins are simply annihilated and cease to exist. These folks usually hold to this teaching doctrines, not because they have searched the Scriptures, but because they know someone who died in their sins and they can’t admit that God would send their loved one to an eternal Hell. It turns out to be an emotional conclusion, not a principled one.

Still, faith in God is what is necessary for salvation. If the folks are simply immature, but they believe Jesus died for their sins and they will stand before God and answer for their sins on the basis of Jesus’ death and resurrection, they will be saved, even if they are wrong about Hell. Salvation isn’t so much about how much or what we believe as it is about putting our trust in the eternal God. If they are just immature, I would probably do some teaching, and then possibly let them join with wrong beliefs.

But if they believe what they believe because they are in rebellion against the Word of God, they are exalting their own opinions above the Word of God. They are trying to be God instead of submitting themselves to God. I would not let them join the church.

I hope this helps.

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