Friday, July 13, 2007

Media Does Theology Again, Pt. 3 Of 3

Hello All,

I know: This is the last post on the subject of Hell! I wanted to wait to examine ABC's feature on the subject on Friday's 20/20 episode anchored by Bill Weir. No surprise here, but they again refused to look at claims that were made with any kind of scholarship. I was particularly interested in hearing that the preacher who refuted the concept of Hell was able to do so because of examining the ancient Hebrew and Greek texts. Of course, nobody cared to even present what such "evidence" might have been, and no other scholar was asked to participate in discussing the particular Greek and Hebrew passages.

In the end, I know that I cannot ever trust the media to cover these topics with any kind of intellectual honesty. I don't really know why it irks me to see such programming, except that there are many who are deceived into thinking that there is a truly intellectual debate on whether or not hell exists!

There is no debate!

First, if one appeals to the languages of the Bible, one will be surprised to find a ridiculous amount of support for the concept of a real, eternal, place of torment for those that prefer autonomy in this life! Tartarus, Gehenna, Sheol, etc. are all words in the original languages that bespeak a literal place. Jesus talked about a man in Luke 16 in a fixed position of torment! I would view Jesus Christ, God in the Flesh, as a fairly STRONG WITNESS!! Sorry, no help for the "No Hell" contingency there!

Much of the rest of the program had to do with sympathetic arguments regarding people who had gone through "hellish" experiences. One might look at what they had gone through, such as a woman who was raped and tortured or the man who witnessed the Holocaust, and consider their experience a "living hell." Truly, they experienced the evils that no man or woman should ever endure on this earth. My heart was saddened at their treatment, but this is not biblical Hell! Hell is a place of punishment that one will experience after death, after refusing Christ as Savior in this life. If anything, Hell is a comfort, in that I know that the men and women who defraud, debase, abuse and mistreat believers, will be dealt with by God. My prayer is that they would repent and receive forgiveness for their rebellion against God, before it's too late!

The final insult though, is this concept that is especially post-modern in it's basis. We presume to be able to judge God and find Him acceptable, only if He conforms with our belief about Him. In this age, God is on trial and we, our culture presumes to be his judge and jury. This preacher exhibited a very post-modern stance. The preacher said, in essence, that he could not believe in a God that was loving, if He allowed a place of eternal torment for those who did not believe in Christ. What's wrong with this statement? First, God is not ONLY LOVE! He is perfect love, yes and amen! But God is also perfectly just, always doing what is right, with perfect motive! God is a God of perfect love and perfect wrath! Second, I must conform my belief in God with that which He has chosen to reveal. As a Christian, and this is really important, so I will write it in bold, I CANNOT PICK AND CHOOSE WHAT I BELIEVE ABOUT GOD, EXCLUDING WHAT DISPLEASES ME!

This is the ultimate test of our belief about God. Do I accept what has been revealed, even if I don't fully understand or agree methodologically? I don't fully understand grace. I don't particularly like the concept of Hell. I don't fully understand election. These are very clearly expressed teachings in the Bible. I believe in God, trust in His Son Jesus Christ, and receive the power of the Holy Spirit, despite my lack of understanding.

God has revealed that He is a God who loves and draws all men to Himself. His Spirit will not always strive with men and there will come a time when men's choices will lead to life or damnation. At that point, God is a God of Judgment, who will dole out reward for the choices made about Christ in this life! There is a real Heaven and there is a real Hell and real people will fill these places for a really long time!

I pray that you and all of yours will be found with Christ, robed in His righteousness and destined for Heaven.

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez


Patty said...

Amen brotha! I found it interesting that the 20/20 piece kept switching back and forth from talking about evil to talking about hell as if they were one in the same. Two completely different subjects and should be in two completely different shows. Although they are related, they are not the same thing. This kind of junk reporting scares me because people want salvation without repentance or accountability. Speaking of salvation, did you notice that the fallen preacher never mentioned it? Where does Jesus fit in with his new found understanding of God? How can someone who taught the Word so intimately for so long do a 180 like that? Although reports like this make me sick, they are definately a wake up call to what's going on outside of my beautiful bubble. Thanks again for the heads up on the show and the subject.


Frank & Lela said...

Junk reporting!!

I'm with you on that, even if it's dressed up in $30,000 camera effects!

One does wonder about people who hold to such aberrant thinking after years of ministry! It's scary. A friend of mine often quoted a saying that holds true to my soul: Except for grace, there go I!

Hope all is well in the land of Nieves!