224 thoughts on “As in Earth so in Heaven”

  1. Yes, eternal paradise will be just like a Sunday afternoon inside a dilapidated shack of a building. A termite hut where wrinkly old women in floor length dresses, that look like they were hewn from curtain fabric, sing aloud in nasally voices. A musty tool shed hastily thrown together with clapboard and cheap carpet is where the Lord dwells.
    Enough simile. What a stupid church sign.

    1. In some places that’s all they can afford.

      Church isn’t about the building. It’s about the gathering of the people of God, wherever they are. And when they come together to worship God and encourage others, it’s a lovely thing.

      1. I am looking forward to being in the presence of “just men made perfect” when we all come into the “general assembly and church of the first born which are written in heaven.”
        This assembly may not be what the Baptist Monopolizers have in mind when it comes to the bride of Christ and its entrance into heaven.

  2. I don’t people understand the gravity of eternity. If you’re in heaven, singing and churching it up, and you do this for ten-thousand years, you’re just getting started. Hell, you might was well assume you haven’t even started, because ten-thousand years is practically dwarfed by infinity to a minuscule non-existent length of time. Then lets say a million years. Same thing. A minuscule non-existent length of time in eternity. A billion years? Same. A Billion billion bajilion years? same thing. Imagine the longest, largest number of years you can possibly fit in your head, and it’s still minuscule compares to eternity.

    I hope you enjoy church!

    1. Eternity without time is different than an eternity of time. Without time it is always now, and eventually I reckon you’d forget that time at one time existed. You’d simply be doing whatever it is you’d be doing with no reflection on past, present or future.

      1. If there is no time, then would everything that is going to happen and happened and is happening all be occurring in that same instant? An instant so short that it isn’t measurable by time (because there isn’t any!)? In fact, you’d think that without time there would be no existence. No being. A condition is based on the state of that object over a period of time.

        1. You got me, though that could be because my time-bound mind is not really capable of contemplating a state of being without time.

          Maybe there’s an eternity with time, but a state of no reflection on the passing thereof. In that sense, I suppose a church service that so blesses someone that they don’t notice the passage of hours could be likened to one aspect of heaven.

        2. That would depend on the use of Depends, I think. Otherwise the passage of other things would necessitate observing the passage of times.

        3. Yes, natural body functions do tend to get one’s mind back down to Earth. Then there’s the need for sleep, exercise, food, fresh air… and that’s not to mention the psychological needs, such as a change in scenery.

          I don’t know that I’ve ever been to a church service where the passage of time wasn’t on my mind. A lot like high school, come to think of it.

  3. I don’t presume to know what heaven is really like but I’m fairly confident it won’t meet with MOG approval. My guess is it won’t matter which translation of the Bible you preferred or whether you enjoyed music with a “back-beat” or even if (gasp!) you weren’t a member of an IFB church. To steal a line from Nikos Kazantzakis, “God’s world is big enough for everyone.” I’m not sure that’s the Fundy version of heaven because that’s definitely not how they run their churches.

        1. It’s the punch-line to an old joke. “I don’t know which came first so I must be eggnostic.”

        1. Some 35 years ago where I worked, my boss was the sister-in-law of Teri Garr, the actress in that Young Frankenstein clip. According to her, the Christmas after YF came out, the whole family chipped in to give Teri the most GINORMOUS pair of brass door knockers they could find.

  4. So heaven is supposed to be just like a long long long long long long fundy church service. No way. What would they preach on? Most fundy preaching is guilt tripping, how you’re never good enough, never do enough, never give enough, and in heaven there won’t be any guilt trips. So much for this idiotic idea.

    1. so true…if there are no homosexuals (whom they say will not make it into heaven) or alcohol, or all the other pet peeves of fundies in heaven…what would they preach on?

      Unless they are admitting homosexuals will get to heaven and there will be real wine in heaven…..because if they don’t have anything to complain about, will it be really heaven for the fundamentalists?

        1. Part of me thinks they will end up in an eternal Fundy church, and they won’t realize that it’s hell.

        2. Spoiler on CS Lewis’ Narnia Chronicles:

          At the end of the Last Battle, when the children step into the shack to find Aslan’s land, there are a bunch of dwarves who are sitting as if they are in the dark, but they were still in Aslan’s country. That seems to be the closest description I find of God’s Kingdom. Those who have spent their time creating religion in their own image will have a hard time seeing God as he welcomes all those impossibly lost people they’ve spent their life preaching against. They don’t know what God looks like here so they won’t be able to see God’s Presence in the next…

  5. Guilt trippin’ even when they’re looking forward to heaven. Wonder why people stay away?

    Actually, I think fundies will be a bit surprised at the eternity long gathering. I won’t say they won’t like it – it’ll be heaven, after all – all tears wiped away, etc. But maybe a bit surprised at who’s there with them. Eh, who knows? We’ll probably all be in for a few shocks.

    1. That’s the one thing I keep in mind when thinking about my former fundy churches. I try so very hard not to hate them, but that’s something I don’t mind wishing on them: that both mogs will be SO surprised at who “made it in.” And then maybe they’ll grow up and we can all be friends.

        1. Purgatory should also be a thing for the people who invented the plastic packaging that makes one say really bad words as one opens the bloody thing to get out the product.

        2. Dr Fundy, I do believe there’s a special crown in heaven — if such a place exists — for those responsible for bubble wrap. I’d tackle my grandma for that stuff.

        3. A long time ago, when I taught preschool, I used to give the little people bubble wrap to pop the day before July 4. Did we ever have a good time!

        4. Packing peanuts or “Popcorn.”

          My 88 yo uncle in Georgia sends boxes of fresh tomatoes to me from his garden. The lady at the post office told him to pack the tomatoes in popcorn. So he faithfully pops popcorn-the real stuff-and surrounds all those beautiful tomatoes.

          I don’t have the heart to tell him.

  6. Worshiping the Lord, placing the entire focus on God, being loved and accepted by all who are there – I think my ideas of Heaven make a great formula for a church service.
    We can assume the best intentions for this church sign can’t we?

    1. I don’t think so Nathan. This is not a loving, putting God first sign. That sign would say something like “God loves you and we do too. Come and be happy now so that we can all experience a little bit of heaven on earth.”

    2. “We can assume the best intentions for this church sign canโ€™t we?”

      Only if we choose to ignore reality and live in a fundy fantasy. The sign is clearly a judgmental jab at anyone who doesn’t believe that going to church regularly is a fundamental Christian imperative. If it was in front of a more ‘liberal’ church, then it could be taken as light sarcasm. But in front of a church of the Independent Baptist denomination it might as well say “Don’t agree with us? Go to Hell. (Just kidding. Or not.)”

    3. “We can assume the best intentions for this church sign canโ€™t we?”

      There sign is like an ice berg, there is much more to it than just 7 words.

      First, they way it’s worded is meant to shame and belittle. The message is that if you don’t like to go to THIS church then you are too sinful, prideful, arrogant, misinformed, unenlightened, unbelieving, etc to go to heaven. This is the only church that is right with god and if you can’t see that it’s because satan has placed scales over your eyes, probably due to horrendous sin in your life (alcohol or immorality).

      Second is that fact that because we, the faithful church members, are here then we are none of those things and deserve to go to heaven. Ok, even if we are some of those things we aren’t as bad because we are here in this church that is right with god and that righteousness is imputed onto us. So we are better, head and shoulders above at least, than all those people that don’t go to church or down to that liberal church that allows pants on women and contemporary music. We are gods elect. Those heathen will burn in hell for how they treated us…I mean god.

      So yea, you can give them the benefit of the doubt, but for most of us they have proven time and time again that this is the real message behind the sign.

    4. Remember, Nathan, this is ETERNITY we are talking about. For ever and for ever. No end. Continual awareness and existence.

      Think about your life. You have a wide variety of things that interest you, from the mundane to the sublime, from the sensual (touch, taste, sound, vision, hearing, other) to the intellectual to the spiritual.

      You like making decisions. You like experiencing new things along with the comfort of old things you can choose. You like challenges. You thrive on positive stress.

      Now think of having none of that. Newness in heaven will only be at the start. Soon it will be all the same, at least from what we can tell in Scripture. You couldn’t stand church for eternity! Yes, this is the 7,542,853,329,852nd time he has preached on the glory of God, but who’s counting?

      To me, the concept of Heaven is about as far from the idea that God is our Father as one can get. Family is not about worshipping the dad or always doing what the dad wants to do. Families have diversified interests as the Parents bring up their children to go out into the world experiencing it for themselves.

      The trouble is we don’t really think about what our diverse notions of God really mean. We compartmentalize them and separate them. But they don’t fit together. They can’t. Even in Bible times they couldn’t. Yet we try to teach all these separate things as absolutes.

      It really isn’t any wonder that people who use their minds question these ridiculous insistences on theology. The reason we usually don’t is because we are too scared to do it. Certainty comforts us, even if it doesn’t work.

      As for “good intentions,” I am sure that a lot of evil is done with good intentions. Fundies have good intentions for your life, so they will restrict who can vote. It would be bad for you if people who told you what you wanted to hear got elected! They have good intentions so they will tell you what you can and cannot do and will make laws on morality to make you behave!

      Never, ever trust the good intentions of people who wish to restrict debate or tell you that if you don’t believe their way you will go to hell.

      1. To be honest with you, the Reformed emphasis on “the glory of God” is a bunch of hooey in my book. Especially the lengths to which certain YRR’s take it. Interestingly, those who do give God glory in heaven in Revelation (hint: this is a book of symbols…but, whatevs) have a reason. And their reason is essentially selfish. Think about that for a moment. Actually most of the praise in the Bible is selfish, like when Moses sings the yippee for God drowning the Egyptians. Which actually, you know, gives me hope. And there are plenty of peeps not actually praising God, like the souls under the altar, waiting for their vengeance. And stuff. Truth is, the actual passages about heaven type stuff in the Bible are pretty complex while also being fairly lacking in information.

  7. Pleasant Pines Independent Baptist Church- There may be pleasant pines surrounding the church, but my guess is that there aren’t many pleasant moments inside the church. We trust that heaven will be much more pleasant than an independent baptist church.

  8. Heaven is a place where an all-important person surrounds Himself with those who will never contradict Him and always praise him. His entire concern is His Own Glory and the entire concern of the people there is His Own Glory.

    There are no personal relationships in heaven. No marriage. No children. You are too busy giving praise to God! For ever and for ever, world without end. There is no night there, no need to sleep. No need to eat. You will spend all your time giving glory.

    Scripture has imagined God as the Ultimate Narcissist and heaven as a middle-eastern court room. No thinking allowed, folks! Nothing to do but sing and praise! Nothing to learn, no activity. Boring, if you were allowed to be bored. No real variety.

    Now to an overworked, half-starved person in the ancient world, doing nothing and singing praises might seem like the most wonderful place to be imaginable. Me? I don’t think so.

    So if heaven is as described in the Bible, I am not very eager for it. I should hope there are lots of things to do and to see. I hope there can be personal relationships. I hope for growth. But not for a mindless existence.

    1. RT, can I urge you to read the book “Heaven” that I mentioned above? According to the author (who says he gets his conclusions from scripture and urges the book be compared to related passages), Heaven is all you hope for, and more.

      1. Mag, I will see if I can find it. But to be honest, I don’t know what anyone can say about heaven very much. The Scriptures simply do not give a lot of detail about it.

        The concept of God’s dwelling place is based on a grand middle-eastern court setting. There is the throne and worshipers gathered around it. There is ceremony. There is singing. There is worship. Eternal worship.

        In the Old Testament, heaven was not a place where man went, even after death. People went to the grave, God was in His Heaven. Rewards were earthly blessings on one’s descendants. In fact, “eternal life” was not a matter of a person’s conscious duration, but the fact that he had children and posterity who remembered him.

        That is one reason genealogies were considered so important. You couldn’t inherit the Blessings unless you could trace your lineage back to Abraham. You wouldn’t get the Blessings if you didn’t have children who would receive them in the future.

        In the Old Testament, eternity and heaven were never a reward, and hell was never a punishment. Don’t you think something as important as all that would at least have been mentioned? But it wasn’t.

        So I will try to find the book. But I have done a lot of study, and frankly, the idea of an eternal heaven is paired with the idea of an eternal hell. And an eternal hell says things about God I do not like. I am unwilling to be content without the answers and just accept the “fact” that God is going to burn people forever because they did not or could not believe “the Gospel.”

        Thanks. though!

        1. Exactly. The argument against this that I’ve heard is that God revealed to us all these things gradually, like peeling away an onion.

          My response against that, is that it makes more sense that this is simply the evolution of a religion, just like what happened to the rest of the religions of the world.

      1. For all the trouble I have had over the years, I can say that I truly love my wife and am grateful to be married to her. That is the aggregate response — not always the momentary one. Right now, I am very glad to be married to her.

        I am still looking for work. One of the things that bothers me, though I am trying to prepare for it mentally, is that I will have to be away from my family and on my own for an extended period of time. I do not like the prospect. I will do what I have to do to work and take care of my family, but the problems seem daunting. And I am afraid of getting used to being without them.

        1. Yes, thank you. I talked with my wife about it and she wanted me to go in another direction.

          Several prospects have come and gone. I am still working at it and hoping. There might be some things moving I don’t know about, as some of my references tell me they are getting inquiries and being asked for recommendations. It is frustrating, though.

          I do thank you. I will continue to look at the government jobs site. I need to go back there.

    2. 1. Create justice system.
      2. Create minions that violate said justice system.
      3. Save the minions from impending doom served by your justice system.
      4. Prepare a place where they can eternally thank you for saving them from your justice system.

      1. Yes. God made the rules. There were NO constraints on God on how He made the rules (otherwise He cannot be God, by definition!).

        And, according to the Bible, God has changed the rules from time to time. Can you say “God changes?” Can you say, “Inconsistent?” You can’t? Well, …., perhaps you’d best read your inerrant Bible again! Every word is true, mind you!

  9. This all reminds me of a story I heard years ago that was told by Dr. Duke McCall, the late president of Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, upon his retirement. McCall said, “There was a kid who was brought up by his parents in a Baptist church. He faithfully went to Sunday school, morning service, Training Union, youth group and prayer meeting every week. His whole life revolved around church. God led him to go into the ministry (of course). So, after high school, he went on to a Baptist college, then to a Baptist seminary, where he got his master’s and his doctorate. He got ordained, served a succession of Baptist churches, then got elected to a prominent denominational post. From there he went back to his seminary, where he became dean of students, then academic dean, then finally president. He served for many years until, one day while in office he suddenly died — and went to hell. The only thing was, when he got there, he didn’t recognize the place, because the transition had been so gradual.” ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. Actually, the sign is correct. If one doesn’t not like the gathering of the saints together to worship their Savior, they won’t like heaven.

    However, the sign is wrong if they mean “If you don’t like this church…”

    1. Being that this is an IFB church from the looks of it, I’m gathering that such is exactly what they mean (IOW, “this church is –the–church, and if you’re not in it, you’re not hearing the Word of the Lord!”).

  11. It amazes me that anyone would try to say for certainty what eternity will be like. Once you get past the the end times, the 1000 year reign, and into the new heaven and earth when eternity begins there just isn’t enougb info.

    1. Being in the presence of God is pretty much what it is about. And if you can determine what God is like from the Bible, you might just be able to determine what heaven is like.

      1. You probably didn’t intend to, Bob M, but I think you may have just restated exactly what I said, from the other side of the coin.

  12. Dear Darrell and SFL Reader:

    As formerHACgirl said, simply excellent hover text. But rtgmath’s observations [and those of others] are equally on cue. What a superb 2001th post!

    Christian Socialist

    1. Dear Catholic Gate-Crasher:

      Are you sure?

      I should like a great lake of beer to give to God.
      I should like the angels of Heaven to be tippling there for all eternity.
      I should like the men of Heaven to live with me, to dance and sing.
      If they wanted Iโ€™d put at their disposal vats of suffering
      White cups of love Iโ€™d give them with a heart and a half.
      Sweet pitchers of mercy Iโ€™d offer to every man.
      Iโ€™d make heaven a cheerful spot,
      Because the happy heart is true.
      Iโ€™d make men happy for their own sakes.
      I should like Jesus to be there too.
      Iโ€™d like the people of heaven to gather from all the parishes around.
      Iโ€™d give a special welcome to the women,
      the three Marys of great renown.
      Iโ€™d sit with the men, the women of God,
      There by the great lake of beer
      Weโ€™d be drinking good health forever,
      And every drop would be a prayer.

      Saint Brigit of Ireland

      Christian Socialist

        1. Dear rtgmath:

          Sith as th’ seknd tim ya say tht… Clery ya’v-ad tooo muccch dringk al * lreadyyyyy. ๐Ÿ˜‰

          Christian Socialist

      1. A guy recently said to me: “in heaven; I want to be hanging out on the golf course with my dog, smoking excellent cigars, and drinking good beer. Well… And other things… But it seems like it’s probably a family-friendly place.”

        I laughed for days.

      1. Actually, I don’t expect to meet Steven in the Beyond.
        I’ll be wherever people go who read non-KJV Bibles and don’t want President Obama to die.

      2. I don’t either. But that extrapolation that Jesus didn’t wear dresses (robes/tunics) but suits because no cross dressing starts to get you in trouble right when robes obviously are being worn by both men and women, so now women are cross dressing… Sometimes it’s just easier to recognize the mountain of historical evidence that shows that men have been wearing tunics forever, and not just since the “sissified Muslims” invented it in the third century or whatever. Because Muslims are so into gender bending. Or something.

      3. I don’t either. But that extrapolation that Jesus didn’t wear dresses (robes/tunics) but suits because no cross dressing starts to get you in trouble right when robes obviously are being worn by both men and women, so now women are cross dressing… Sometimes it’s just easier to recognize the mountain of historical evidence that shows that men have been wearing tunics forever, and not just since the “sissified Muslims” invented it in the third century or whatever. Because Muslims are so into gender bending. Or something.

    1. Fancy suits. Nice coiffed hair.

      Frankly, I don’t know a single fundy who could sing this song and really mean the words when you look at their life. But they think they mean them. Quite a disconnect.

  13. So here’s something I’ve thought about when it comes to eternity. The mind can only hold so how much history can a person remember? A thousand years? Probably more than that, a million years? probably not. At some point as we go through eternity there will be no more room to add new memories unless old memories gets deleted. Is it going to work like a DVR? If we can’t remember what happened a billion years ago won’t we loose a sense that it even happened and that eternity even exits? Eventually we just exist in a rolling history that we can’t understand and things are new simply because we can’t remember doing them before.

    I know, it’s weird, I guess I just have to much time on my hands, but the idea of eternity is more than the human mind can really comprehend.

    1. The mind can only hold so how much history can a person remember? A thousand years?

      Wow. I can’t remember what I had for breakfast yesterday. And I can’t remember what the last fight with my wife was about! To remember a thousand years worth of detail? Not possible for me, I’m afraid.

  14. When I was little, my dad used to tell me that there would be pink and blue sand in heaven (I really loved our sandbox) and I could sit with CS Lewis and have him tell me stories. Basically, Im still going with that version.

    1. I like the pink and blue sand version. When my grandmother died my sister told me she could see me from heaven, all of the time. I was so freaked out and embarrassed about using the washroom. I apologized for going in front of her until my mother heard me and set me straight.

  15. Nobody’s posted the one about the Afterlife Orientation Tour yet?

    “Now everybody tiptoe past this next Pearly Gate and please keep it down until we come to our next stop along the Golden Street.”

    “Why? What’s behind that one?”

    “That’s the gate to IFB Heaven–and they think they’re the only ones here, bless their hearts.”

  16. Heaven as a fundy church service? Sounds more like the special hell, the level they reserve for child molesters & people who talk at the theater.

  17. For a few years we would go to a local nursing home with our IFB neighbors, an elderly couple, and do a Saturday afternoon church service with them.

    I’d play the ancient piano as we’d sing some old hymns (slowly), he’d (our neighbor) fumble with his copies looking for the special music he wanted to do, inevitably something went wrong with the cassette player (background to the special music sometimes). And he always read a complete chapter from the Bible. Lately he was on Acts which led to some very long passages especially from the K JV.

    At one point he beamed at the congregation, slumped at the dining tables or in wheelchairs, and enthused, “Just think! In heaven we’ll be doing this forever!” I almost choked over at the piano! That was NOT my idea of eternal bliss!!

        1. It’s the Christian equivalent of “100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall.”

      1. I had to play the piano once for a Sammy Allen invitation; I lost count somewhere around the 72nd time through.

        To be fair, it wasn’t SUNG that many times straight through – it was mostly the organist and I playing while Allen blathered.

        1. Petrushka, you could have drowned him out with a rousing rendition of “When the Saints Go Marching In!”

        2. I’d have played an instrumental – either “Yakety Sax” or “Dance of the Cuckoos”. ๐Ÿ˜‰

        3. I did slip the bass lick from Daytripper into a song one time. Should have done that.

      2. I once played and sang (off and on) “Almost Persuaded” for about an hour and a half as 10 or 12 church teens got saved for the 17th time. I do believe one person actually got saved that night, while many if not all of the others came forward through the manipulative tactics of the visiting evangelist!

        1. Fain Jordan, an evangelist out of Sammy Allen’s church, was the guest preacher. He preached that you had to believe in repentance to be saved. He also said and people had to spend days, weeks, months, or even years repenting before they could really be saved, depending on how wicked they had been! The kids and some adults in that church were terrified that they might not have repented enough and, therefore, weren’t truly saved. That’s why they got “saved” multiple times.

  18. Try either a Bing or a Google search on “Pleasant Pines Independent Baptist Church.” The evidence is rather scant that the church exists.

      1. My old church used to preach against the internet especially social media and porn. They build a new church/school building about 10 years ago and I offered to run network cable throughout the whole building and school in case they ever needed it. They said no thanks because they would never use the internet and didn’t want to have it look like they were going liberal. Even after I explained they could have an internal network no connected to the internet they said no way. I just found out they are now installing the internet into the church. Of course it’s ostensibly for the secretary so that she can do her job easier. In typical fundy fashion they spent years and years preaching against the evils of the internet, how you shouldn’t have it in your home or church and now they are finally getting it. Once culture has accepted something for about 20 years the church can finally accept it.

        Anyways, the point is that there are still IFB churches out there that do not want anything to do with the internet and have no web presence.

        1. Yet they wring their hands over declining attendance. I’m at the point where if I can’t find information about a particular entity online, I’m not going to look further.

    1. Years ago I was trying to find out more about an IFB church that was of the BBF variety. No website at all, and at the time, didn’t even have a FB page. Lack of evidence doesn’t necessarily equal non-existence. It just might mean they are stuck in 1982 technology and know nothing about Spacebook or MyFace.

      1. To quote the Nicene Creed–

        “We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all that is, seen and unseen.”

        In other words: whether we see something or not, if it is, it is.

      2. I know some IFB churches that won’t venture into virtual places like Facebook and blogs. It would require them to actually defend their ideas and conduct in real-time, as opposed to the neat and tidy Sunday morning pulpiteering and brow-beatings.

        Fear is what drives such ministerial isolation, and pew-dwellers accept the conduct as coming from a man of God speaking the oracles of God straight from the top of Mt. Sinai. After all, this is what the Mog has proclaimed of himself all these many years.

        Speak anything loud enough and long enough and eventually any charlatan will gather to himself a following of like-minded fools.

        B.R.1

        1. Some fundies will set up blogs but not allow comments. Or they will moderate the snot out of the comments and not allow anything to stand. Same with FB pages.

        2. Yes, I’ve had experience of that. I have made comments to a number of blogs and websites, politely asking for clarification to comments that have been made. I have yet to get an answer, indeed I have yet to see my questions actually appear. My nose must not be brown enough

        3. I have often felt the temptation to be sarcastic as some of the things that I have read but I have resisted the temptation (OK I was very sarcastic on one occasion but some of that article read like it had come from Mars)As far as I can recall it has only been Fundy type websites and blogs who have blocked me.

    2. Fundies are funny about technology. For awhile (don’t know if it’s still true) having a myspace page was forbidden at west coast Baptist college. Then, in a weird twist, having a facebook page was required. I was left going “Uh, you know they are both social media right? Not EXACTLY the same but pretty much the same thing, right?”

      1. Why thank you……Took me years of suffering in Independent, Fundamental, Separated, Soul Winning, Non-Pink-Lemonade sipping Baptist churches to realize this.

        1. Jay Croft, that made me laugh. Some of the Fundy stuff gets so ridiculous, my father wouldn’t let us hang a picture of a family praying over a meal because they were holding their hands in the classic praying pose. Way to Catholic. Your picture would have given him fits.

        2. A good friend of mine – now passed away – told me one of a friend of his who was a CatholicPriest. There was no doubt that loved the Lord, and was Saved, Born-Again, whatever term you want to use. Whenever he officiated at Mass, he would preach a better Gospel Message than you would get in any IFB church. He said he believed in Mass Evangelism.

  19. “The more things change, the more some things stay the same. ”

    In Jesus’ day the fundies were the Pharisees. Despite the Fundy disavowal, some of the same errors of Pharisees are perpetuated by them.

    Heaven needs to be cleansed just as earth, hence a new heaven and earth is promised. Humans were made from the dust of the earth and will naturally enjoy the new earth. It seems we will have access to the new heaven and God will dwell on earth with us also (Jesus).

    From the language of the scripture which speaks overwhelmingly about destruction, it seems like the suffering in hell will be commensurate with sins committed. In other words, the suffering is finite, then ashes. Just because some heretical groups hold to annihilation, does not mean they are necessarily wrong. If we hold to the principle of interpreting the obscure by the plain, then the scriptures indicate annihilation of the unredeemed. This provides a closure of the sad chapter of sin entering creation.

    Heaven will be great! We will probably reside on the new earth for the most part however. We will have shape-shifter bodies it seems (probably expressing various phases of our initial earthly existence). Knowing Jesus now is a foretaste of eternity.

    1. “Heaven needs to be cleansed just as earth, hence a new heaven and earth is promised.”

      Why? God doesn’t allow sin in heaven, so why would He need a new one?

      Unless, of course, the ancients thought heaven was “up there” above the clouds somehow (they did). Just like they thought the stars were just lights hung on the ceiling. Or possibly angels (“the morning stars sung together with joy”).

      Or perhaps God just tires even of His own perfection and has to destroy and remake things in order to be happy. My kids always had a blast tearing apart their Lego creations so they could build new stuff.

      And “shape-shifter bodies”? Where did that come from? Inquiring minds want to know. More sensible ones probably don’t.

      But thanks for reminding me that the Bible talks about “new heavens”. The ancient cosmology never ceases to fascinate, and it never ceases to amaze me how easily Christians express their comfort with those ancient, disproven notions.

    2. While I have many reservations about hell, I have even more reservations with annihilationism.

      If people’s souls live forever, then there is a certain, uhhh, “logic” to saying that if you don’t go to heaven you will go to an eternal hell. But annihilationism says that the soul can be destroyed. So if some people are going to heaven to live forever, then what is the suffering of hell for? God says, I am going to roast you and then destroy you because you are wicked. Why not just let death be the end? Why is there a need for torture? Hey boys and girls! You didn’t believe in Jesus, so you have to burn in agony. But only for a while. After you have burned enough, God will kill you. For real this time.

      Hell says bad things about God, whether temporary or eternal. Really. No one actually sins against God. Oh, I know the Psalmist’s lament, “Against thee and thee only have I sinned.” But that wasn’t true. David essentially raped Bathsheba, then killed her husband. That was sinning against people. God let David off easy. David should have died, if there were any real balance to the scales of Justice. Instead, God decided to kill the baby. Call it a post-partum abortion, if you like. And God promises David trouble in his family and his kingdom as a further result of the whole mess. Were those troubles really a judgment from God, or was David just a crappy father and lousy politician?

      If there is a hell, then the only just use of it would be for people to “pay” for their sins, be purged, and then saved. Otherwise it is just a place for God to show His Dark Side. The Dark Side of the Force is very powerful indeed!

      1. If there is any balance to the scales of justice, we are all condemned. “For all have sinned and fall Ken short of the glory of God”. That is why Jesus died and rose again. That is the wonder of God’s Grace.

  20. Now is a good time to say something good about my Pentecostal church. Sitting here waiting for service to begin, listening to rock music–I see long haired guys, a refugee from Nepal and a variety of other folks. This is the kind of place where everyone feels like they belong. No legalism here, and no angry MOG. I wish you could all be here, my SFL friends. Happy Father’s Day everyone.

    the Admiral

  21. Someone earlier mentioned Randy Alcorn’s book on heaven. I also really like “Heaven” by Joni Eareckson Tada.

    For children, I love “Let’s Talk about Heaven” by Debby Anderson.

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