Creative Team Building and Leadership Resources - In our Elements

Glory: Departures and Arrivals

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

Fellow Passengers: This week’s Promise Passage* (I Samuel 4:14-22) transports me to Polis Massa, a secret asteroid base seen in the closing scenes of George Lucas’ Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. In this third installment of the prequels to the more famous and more critically acclaimed Star Wars trilogy of the 70s, we see how the back story of the battle of good vs. evil, the Force vs the Dark Side, emerged. Anikan Skywalker has broken Jedi rules by falling in love and marrying. Meanwhile, Senator Palpatine has exploited the fears of the people to transform the democratic Republic into an imperial Nazi-like dictatorship, to the cheers of the mob. Upon seeing this unfold, Skywalker’s pregnant wife, Padmé Amidala, comments, So this is how liberty dies: with thunderous applause. Emperor Palpatine then exploits Anikan’s own fears (he dreams Padmé dies in child-birth), promising him the power to prevent her death if he will join him and become the Sith Lord Vader. When Padmé confronts her husband and tries to rescue him from the control of the Dark Side, he attacks her. Jedi warriors intervene and defeat Vader, rescuing Padmé and taking her to Polis Massa, where she does indeed die in childbirth, as the twins Luke and Leia secretly enter the world of Star Wars. Padmé dies still believing that there is still some good in Anakin, but she does not live to see it.

I Samuel reads something like a George Lucas script, as a battle between the forces of good and evil emerges, with the Philistines playing the part of Palpatine’s clones and the elder Eli playing the part of a Jedi master. There is even something of a Force at work, although in this drama, the Force is not a part of all living things, surrounding us, penetrating us, binding the galaxy together as Obi-Wan taught Luke. No, for the ancient Hebrews, the Force was contained in a box, the Ark of the Covenant. God’s presence and power was believed to reside in this Ark, giving victory to the people who carried it. As the drama unfolds, the Philistine Empire indeed strikes back, capturing the Ark, and killing the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phineas. When news of this crisis reaches the elder Eli, he responds by falling back off his chair, breaking his neck and dying. The tragic news then causes Eli’s daughter in-law, wife of Phineas, to immediately experience the travail of hard labor, and she dies in childbirth. Unlike Padmé, though, this unnamed woman does not die with hopeful words crossing her lips. She uses her last words to name her son in a sign of despair: He will be called Ichabod, which means the glory has departed. Her orphaned son will grow up not only without father, mother, and grandfather, he will grow up without the presence of God. The glory, the presence, the power of God, was lost when the Ark was captured. It is not a happy ending.

George Lucas created another famous series with a connection to this story. In the first Indiana Jones movie, Indy is in search of that very Ark that the Israelite army lost to the Philistines. There is fear that Hitler might capture it, giving him the power to conquer and rule the world. This movie and the story in I Samuel help me understand some of the angst so prevalent in our world today. There are people of faith here and around the world who seem to believe that the glory of God still resides in some kind of container or Ark. Humans have this persistent habit of putting God in a box, of limiting the glorious presence to a set of creeds, or doctrines, or rituals, or political persuasions, or iconic figures. And when that container is threatened, when the creeds no longer function to bind people together, when the rituals no longer attract the masses, when the icons no longer command universal respect, when the ark is lost, the embittered believers begin to embody the spirit of Phineas’ wife. In every age of dramatic social change they can be heard wailing and travailing with the agony and angst of someone dying in child-birth. They have a name for the different understandings of God and the unheard of experiences of God’s presence born anew in our world today: Ichabod. The glory has departed. Thankfully, the promises of God did not end there with Phineas’ wife, neither do they end with those Pharisees and fundamentalists who channel her spirit in every age. Later stories and passages remind us that our treasure is not to be packaged in a doctrinal box or credal container. It is carried in earthen vessels; in other words, we are the ark. In every act of compassion, every movement of mercy and grace, every expression of welcome, we embody the power and presence of God. The glory has arrived. The Ark is not lost. There is still some good in the world.

How about you? Where does this Promise Passage take you on your journey of faith? Feel free to comment, and share with friends on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, email, etc.

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Comments

  • September 25, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    It’s not the fundamentalists you need to worry about my friend.

    Comment by jim munsey

  • September 26, 2012 at 3:52 am

    Jim, As you can read above, I’m not “worried” about the fundamentalists. What the post says, is that this passage helps me understand the angst and anxiety of fundamentalism a little bit better. It makes sense, in a world of change, to see people in travail, if they believe that the glory has departed, because the Ark no longer functions as it did in the past.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • September 26, 2012 at 7:03 am

    I wholeheartedly believe that God is more of a ubiquitous force than a small, limited thing which can be kept securely in the cramped dogmatic box of one’s choosing. To quote the blog, it’s a part of all living things, surrounding us, penetrating us, binding the galaxy together, and as such, it does not belong to one group of people over another. It belongs to ALL of us (it IS the ALL), and it has many manifestations. In fact, being that it’s the force which permeates the universe, the Force that IS the universe, we ourselves would be manifestations of it, too. Yet we try to separate ourselves from it, to paint it as one thing over another, as belonging to one group over another. It’s too large to be contained! It’s too great to be limited! When we apply exclusive characteristics to the force which is God, the Force which permeates all things, we’re attempting to make it smaller, to limit its scope. How can it be small? It can’t! Our efforts to limit it, lay exclusive claim and withhold it, will be fruitless. The fact that some try to claim and contain God for their own purposes is, in my opinion, ridiculous at best and pernicious at worst. If we do not recognize that God belongs to us ALL as we ALL belong to it, and that we ALL belong to each other, we are destined for disaster.

    “They do not yet perceive, that light, unsystematic, indomitable, will break into any cabin, even into theirs. Let them chirp awhile and call it their own. If they are honest and do well, presently their neat new pinfold will be too strait and low, will crack, will lean, will rot and vanish, and the immortal light, all young and joyful, million-orbed, million-colored, will beam over the universe as on the first morning.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Comment by Jessica

  • September 26, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    Jessica, God is not a force or an ubiquitous force. He is three persons, the father, son, and holy spirit. He is not an it, you describe Him as if He were part of the star wars series. There is only one place to get an accurate view of God and it isn’t Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Comment by jim munsey

  • September 26, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    Jim, actually the Trinity is not a biblical doctrine as such – the word “Trinity” or the phrase “God in three persons” are not found in scripture. The phrase “Father Son and Holy Spirit” is only found in one verse, in the great commission. The doctrine developed over time, and has always been a source of division within the larger church. Biblically speaking, Jessica and Waldo Emerson are closer to the truth, as the holy writ gives over 200 names/identities of God. God is fire, Word, mountain, king, nursing mother, woman searching for lost coin, judge, redeemer, etc etc etc. Father Son and Holy Ghost are but three of the many images for the ubiquitous force that permeates our universe and our existence.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • September 27, 2012 at 4:53 am

    so just trying to understand you, you deny the trinity?….is that what you are saying and you see Himm more as a force?

    Comment by jim munsey

  • September 27, 2012 at 6:58 am

    No Jim, I neither deny the Trinity, nor do I deny the scores of other ways the Bible describes God, nor do I deny Ralph Waldo Emerson’s understanding of God as “immortal light, all young and joyful, million-orbed, million-colored,” nor do I deny George Lucas’ image of God as a Force permeating all our existence. It’s not an either-or proposition. The Trinity doctrine is simply an interesting way the fourth century church, in the council of Nicea, attempted to deal with Arianism and their understanding of Christ as God’s first creation. That the doctrine itself is not biblical did not stop them from developing the idea and turning it into a prerequisite for orthodox belief, something that continued to plague the Church throughout its history, into the Reformation, and on to modern times, where we see today that one of the causes of divisions with Mormonism is over the Trinity doctrine, which they reject. All in all, it’s just another way the Church with its 38000 denominations creates divisions where there should be unity, based on God’s love and grace.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • September 27, 2012 at 8:39 am

    do you deny that He could be the group earth,wind and fire and did “boogey wonderland”?

    Comment by jim

  • September 27, 2012 at 9:09 am

    Thanks for once again showing your true colors, Jim. I can always count on you to reveal the heart of fundamentalism.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • September 27, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    stan, I just love your theology, I call it the “forest gump theology” its like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get next. but always interesting to see where you are going next. From forces to spiritism to tolerance of all shapes and sizes, oh except fundamentalists. Here’s a video that I thought this video is fitting.http://youtu.be/19iEElyQ2fE

    Comment by jim munsey

  • September 27, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    Jim, thanks for the non-sequitor. Not exactly sure how you made the jump from a dialogue around the extra-biblical doctrine of the Trinity to John Macarthur worrying about Rob Bell’s condition and making sure everybody believes like he does about hell, the implication being that you cannot be a Christian unless you toe the John Macarthur line of doctrine on hell. I suppose he has re-written Ephesians 2: “for by grace you are saved through faith and a belief in a literal hell where people go if they don’t get their theology right, including the 4th century conception of Trinitarian theology.” And Jim, you keep using that word “toleration” – when I’ve repeatedly assured you that I am as intolerant as Jesus was when it comes to greed, violence, and discrimination toward people we might deem “strange” or different from us. And yes, as Jesus was with the Pharisee fundamentalists of his day, I don’t have much patience with them, either, other than to pray that they’ll be liberated from that captivity, from that addiction to the need to be “right” and prove everyone else “wrong,”

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • September 27, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    May the force be with you,and with obie and darth vader. I enjoy the hodgepodge of theology all thrown together. I will say, you do cover all the bases, just remember you are influencing people for an eternity. I want to be right not for rights sake but it does matter what you believe in the end. Nanoo, Nanoo, over and out.

    Comment by jim munsey

  • September 27, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    I wonder what God thinks about idolatry, making a God in your mind and that god can be a force or a feeling or allah, or buddha, or the wind or whatever you want him to be. I choose to believe Him as the bible describes Him. just as in this video. Do you know this God! Thats all that matters!!!!!http://youtu.be/yzqTFNfeDnE

    Comment by jim munsey

  • September 27, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    Your narrow-mindedness and condemnation is pretty entertaining, too, Jim. You believe in and worship a God who damns innocent people to Hell for lack of sycophantic obedience (for happening to choose the wrong religion). What a hoot!

    Comment by Jessica

  • September 27, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    Jessica, I take it you didn’t like the earth,wind and fire reference. I thought it was funny myself. Take care Jessica!

    Comment by jim munsey

  • September 27, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    You too, Jim.

    Comment by Jessica

  • September 27, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    Btw, Jessica no one goes to hell who is innocent because the bible says there is none righteous not one. Romans 1 describes the plight of people who turn their backs on God. There is an age of accountability and only God knows when that is, so its His decision.

    Comment by jim munsey

  • September 27, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    Well, we’ll have to agree to disagree there, Jim. I do believe that people can be innocent, innocent AND undeserving of eternal torture in a pit of fire. Ugh, eternal torture…. What a wretched concept.

    Comment by Jessica

  • September 27, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    Well, Jessica all I can tell you is that the wretch was me and at the age of 26 after growing up in church, hearing about God but not following God I was lost. After being under conviction I realized God was and is my only hope in the person of Jesus Christ. The bible says that He who knew no sin, became sin that we might be made the righteousness of God. He was sinless but He suffered as He took my sin and the sin of the whole world on Him, died and rose the third day and His desire is for us to follow Him. http://youtu.be/grmKb7G5TB4

    Comment by jim munsey

  • September 27, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    My life is but a vapor that appears for a little while then vanishes away but in Him I am eternally secure. Thank God! That’s my story and I am sticking to it.

    Comment by jim munsey

  • September 28, 2012 at 5:21 am

    I’m glad you’ve found something that works for you, Jim, but what works for you doesn’t work for everyone.

    Comment by Jessica

  • September 28, 2012 at 5:24 am

    Needless to say, our belief systems are quite different, and I’m not about to believe something just because it’s written in a book.

    Comment by Jessica

  • September 28, 2012 at 5:25 am

    Jim, back to the subject matter of the post – the presence of God in our lives, and how that presence is manifested. It seems to me that there’s a pattern in a lot of your responses to my blog posts, that you’ll weigh in, and when people respond back, if you can’t or won’t engage with what I or others say, you try misdirection with attempts at humor, or change the subject. I was sharing with you how the doctrine of the Trinity came about in church history, and how the Bible is far richer in its presentation of God’s identity than those three attributes, and you respond with a nanoo nanoo reference. It’s not that we don’t think your funny, Jim, you just mis-use humor, instead of engaging honestly and directly with something I’ve contributed to further the conversation, you go all sarcastic. What also puzzles me, is that you and the videos you post call into question my fidelity to scripture, claiming that you are somehow taking a biblical approach while I call God “allah or buddha or whatever I want him to be.” Jim, wake up, these Daily Passages are a trek THROUGH THE BIBLE. I take the biblical text each day as the source, the launching pad, and prayerfully reflect on it, and see where the Spirit takes me in reading and studying that text. You may not like where it takes me, but please don’t act as if you’re taking a biblical approach and I’m not. Just because I don’t filter my reading through your theological and doctrinal filters doesn’t make me any less biblical. It is the Bible, in fact, that has helped me see and critique some of those cultural filters that often create myopia for people living within rigid theological systems. And finally, if, in the Macarthur video on Rob Bell, you are hoping to make a connection between his judging Rob Bell not to be a Christian because he doesn’t believe in hell, and a judgment on my salvation, I will save you the trouble: I received Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior when I was ten, surrendered to the call to be a minister of the gospel when I was in college, and while I have certainly fallen short along the path and continue to, I have never wavered in my faith that Jesus Christ is the Way of salvation, and I continue to rejoice in the work given me as one of his disciples. If that testimony of faith is not adequate for you, then that says a lot more about you than it does about me.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • September 28, 2012 at 5:25 am

    “I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.” ― Galileo Galilei

    Comment by Jessica

  • September 28, 2012 at 5:28 am

    Jessica, I appreciate that you can and have come to appreciate the presence of God in your life, and have not let the theologies of those who insist that a “correct” belief in God must include a belief in a God-instituted and maintained eternal torture chamber keep you from your own growth in understanding God’s gracious work in your life and in our universe. I continue to learn from you, and appreciate your sharing your perspective on matters of faith.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • September 28, 2012 at 5:41 am

    I should have said that “I’m not about to believe something ABOUT GOD simply because it’s written in a book.” I think that the attributes and truth of God are to be experienced not dictated. I think that morals should come about from living and learning what serves to improve conditions in the world, what serves to unite rather than divide, what serves to heal rather than destroy. To me, morals need NOT be prescribed on some alleged stone tablet. I think Jesus is a wonderful character, in a sometimes dark and ugly book, who brings a light unto the darkness of his surroundings and attempts to impart many wonderful lessons about non-judgement, compassion, non-violence, and charity. I appreciate and attempt to abide by the character of Jesus (among other characters) more so BECAUSE of Stan. People like you, Jim, only serve to drive a wedge between myself and the story and teachings of Jesus. Thankfully, Stan’s always there to bring me back to grace.

    Comment by Jessica

  • September 28, 2012 at 5:42 am

    Thanks, Stan! I’m glad we are learning from each other! What an awesome symbiosis! :)

    Comment by Jessica

  • September 28, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    Jim, one more thing, on the positive side, I do appreciate your testimony and your desire to serve Christ. Your conservatism is not what’s bothersome to me, it’s the fundamentalism that doesn’t allow you to recognize that we’re both part of the family of faith.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • September 28, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    Ok, here goes on the doctrine of the trinity, the specific word is not used. In Genesis 1:26, we see the trinity in the word elohim. Genesis 1:2 talks about the spirit in creation, John 1 says Jesus created the world, in baptism all 3 were present, in the great commission, they are all 3 mentioned. tertullian, I believe came up the word trinity.
    Secondly, the use of humor is usually in tense dialogue where I honestly can’t believe your answers. Just as you just high-fived Jessica for not believing what the bible says about God. It is totally amazing! I have never seen anything like it. You have talked about contemplative prayer with buddhists, hindus and baptists and I believe your words were the spirit of Jesus was there. It can’t happen, if so why did the disciples lay down their lives for the gospel,why have missionaries, why preach. Another blatant misuse of scripture is phillipians 2:13 and justifying universalism. There is no chance after this life but you came up with another way. I contend with you over these subjects because there has to be an authoratative book to guide us. My opinion doesn’t count but neither does yours. And yes, people do die and either go to heaven or hell whether you like it or not. If I could get rid of it, I would but Jesus talks more about hell than He does heaven. I could go on and on but time won’t permit. Fortunately, I don’t know anyone around here who shares your beliefs but I do consider them dangerous but still you as my cousin. You talk about cultural filters but you make your brand of the gospel equal to mainstream evangelical beliefs but it isn’t. someone has to be right and someone wrong.
    it would be like saying 2+2=6 is right because I believe it to be so but there is only one right answer no matter how much I try to persuade others that the answer is 6. That’s the root of the problem. everybody cannot be right, somebody is wrong and its amazing you always want to point the finger at fundamentalists. Has it occured to you, you could be wrong? then what?

    Comment by jim munsey

  • September 28, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    Jim, yes, Tertullian did coin the word “trinity” sometime in the second century, but it didn’t get worked up into a doctrine for another couple hundred years. As for the three persons of the trinity being referenced in scripture, that was never in question – the issue was that there are over 200 other manifestations/identities/names for God in scripture. The three you mention are not presented as a doctrine in scripture, they are simply presented along with the 200 + others to help us understand that Force of creative love. As for the possibility of my being wrong, of course, being “right” all the time is never a contention of mine – not being a fundamentalist means having the humility not to expect everyone to believe like me in order to be ok in their spiritual life. As far as hell goes, yes, Jesus was known to have a “go to hell” attitude at times, almost exclusively aimed at the rich who neglected the poor and the religious fundamentalists of his time. I get his point. I do not deny the reality of hell, I just don’t interpret it as you do as an eternal torture chamber. I interpret it, along with the Psalmist and the prophets and early church leaders, as a refiner’s fire, burning away the dross of greed and addiction and hate and prejudice, so that the gold of our humanity as God created us in God’s image would be redeemed and freed from captivity, liberated to live eternally in the presence of God. As far as 2 + 2 equaling 6, I think the logic of “God is love” + “God is administrator of an eternal torture chamber” does not add up. As I’ve mentioned to you before, I know you to be a loving parent, and until I see you willing to burn lit cigarettes on the skin of your own children if they ever rebel, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt that you indeed know what “love” means, that it can’t include torture, and I’ll stick with the common sense understanding of what “God is love” means. I’ll let that reality guide my understanding of Philippians 2:13, and take Paul at his word.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • September 28, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    It is pretty clear to me in those last few lines that you are using your own beliefs to determine what is right or wrong. No I wouldn’t put a cigarette to my kids but I have used a belt to them and it probably hurt worse than a cigarette. Love is Jesus, you come to God thru Jesus and Him only. I don’t want you to believe like me so I can say I’m right and you’re wrong. If you read Matthew 7:15-23, Jesus speaking everyone will not be with Him in heaven. And in verse 15, Jesus warns of false teachers. He also, says heaven and earth shall pass away but my word will not pass away. It’s clear to me what He is saying.

    Comment by jim munsey

  • September 28, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    Jim, no, I’m not “using my own beliefs” in those lines, I’m telling you that 2 + 2 = 6 doesn’t make sense to me, in the way you try and put love and torture together. I’ve been whipped with a belt, too, and I can guarantee you that a whipping is not in the same league with parents abusing their children by putting cigarettes out on their skin. We take kids away from those kind of parents, and throw the parents in jail, for a reason. You are right, love is Jesus, and as I’ve expressed many times, you come to God through Jesus, who told the Samaritan woman that God is Spirit, and those who worship God worship in Spirit and Truth, and the Bible also defines what that Spirit is, by listing the fruits, and the Bible also tells us that the Spirit blows where it wills, so if the Spirit wants to blow through a Buddhist or Hindu or Muslim, and they respond to the Spirit’s urging to receive love and grace, and therefore start bearing fruit of the Spirit, I’m not going to be the one to try and limit where the Spirit can blow. It blows where it wills, not where you will it, or where I will it. I simply see evidence of where the Spirit has blown and is blowing, by the fruit. Which is also what Jesus talks about when he teaches about the false prophets, he doesn’t say you’ll recognize them by their unorthodox doctrines or by their incorrect credal formulations. He says you will know them by their fruits. Jesus says that a bad tree cannot produce good fruit, and by Jesus’ logic, if a person is producing good fruit, they must be abiding in the good vine. Jesus also teaches clearly there in Matthew that credal confessions of faith are not what gives one entry into the kingdom, but a relationship. So yes, he refuses entry to those religious folk who have been going around trumpeting the name of Jesus, but who aren’t bearing the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control. They are sent off to the refiner’s fire, and as Paul says, one day they, too, will bow their knees and accept the grace gift and enter the kingdom, bearing fruit and fulfilling Jesus’ own words when he said “If I be lifted up I will draw all people unto me.” Again, I choose to take Jesus at his word there. As you rightly say, His word will not pass away.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • September 28, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    Okay, Jim, you took a belt to them, but would you burn them in a furnace FOR ALL ETERNITY? No, you wouldn’t. Why? Because you love them and you’re not a monster. Also, if you WERE inclined to do something so awful, something so unconscionable, then you would be prosecuted and severely punished by our human legal system. Why? Because we humans, even in our imperfect understanding and embodiment of love, understand how monstrous and nefarious such an act is, and that the perpetrator of such an act deserves severe reproof and punishment, that such an act could not be further from what love is. WHY DO YOU THINK THAT GOD WOULD DO SUCH AN UNCONSCIONABLY HORRENDOUS THING AND DESERVE NO REPROOF FOR SUCH AN ACT OF ABSOLUTE EVIL?! You would worship such a monster? Are you serious? Think for a second about what that would mean here on Earth. It would be like choosing to worship Hitler or Pol Pot, but worse, because even they didn’t torture people for ALL OF ETERNITY. My God, Jim, think about it.

    Comment by Jessica

  • September 29, 2012 at 7:18 am

    Last post on this, don’t shoot the messenger. Jessica, the reason He gives you another day of life is because of grace and that you may trust in the risen Lord.
    I whip my kids because I love them, but I don’t whip the neighbor’s kids, because they are not mine. Hebrews 13 deals with this. My kids are my family.
    Stan, all I can say to you on this, is that Jesus life was not the most important part of His ministry. It was important,all the good works and healings but His death,burial and resurrection is the ONLY WAY to God. Whenever He called people to Him, it was usually public and He called them to follow Him. It was personal but that doesn’t mean it was private. When Paul had his damasucs road experience, he didn’t stay a Jewish religious leader. None of the disciples clung to their Jewish religion after Jesus called them. That’s why we have missionaries, preachers, evangelists,teachers, to proclaim the good news of the gospel.
    You can’t have Jesus and be a good buddhist, or hindu or even a baptist.
    The work of the cross, was the complete work of God and the payment for the whole world’s sin. But a person must receive Him. John 1:10-12, Cain tried to come to God his way and God rejected him because he came because of his own goodness, the best he had.But scripture tells us there is none righteous not one. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. There is no other way,now or after you die to get to God. You talk about fruit but the fruit, the real fruit God is referring to is in John 15. There is ONLY ONE TRUE VINE and its not muhammed or buddha, or shinto or the moon or sun. His name is Jesus and Him only.For WITHOUT HIM YOU CANNOT BEAR FRUIT!!! So there are alot of nice people who are going to try to get to God their way but the ten commandments on the day of judgment will show how evil are hearts really are. Jeremiah 17:9. Lastly, Jessica your heart and my heart is as evil as Hitler’s or anyone else apart from the grace of God. This world’s only hope is Jesus Christ but a person MUST REPENT AND PUT THEIR FAITH IN HIM ALONE. Anyone reading this go and do word study on hell and see how many times its mentioned and how serious of a place it is. ONe example is Revelation 20:10-15. The bible says it is forever and ever. Not my words, God’s. So let God be true Psalm 119:89

    Comment by jim munsey

  • September 29, 2012 at 7:45 am

    Okay, Jim, go ahead and believe that everyone is evil without abiding by your particular brand of religion. I will not follow suit, however. I believe in the power of Love, not eternal damnation from a small-minded, jealous, murderous God. God is better than the ugly, reprehensible image you’ve applied to “Him”. I believe that what you speak is blasphemy. Just wait, and you will see that the Spirit of God is far greater, and less nefarious, than you’ve imagined.

    Comment by Jessica

  • September 29, 2012 at 7:57 am

    Jim, I would have expected you to have a better grasp of the Bible and Paul’s life than that. He, in fact, by his own testimony, did remain a Jewish leader after his conversion (Acts 23:6, he professes his identity as a Pharisee when he is on trial). As far as your relationship with your kids and your neighbors’ kids, I don’t find the relevance of Hebrews 13. But whether they are your family or not, I don’t see you engaging in cruel torture, whether it’s your own kids who might reject your teaching, or your neighbors’ kids being rebellious. Either way, its inhumane, and hardly a sign of being Godly. As far as Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, I don’t separate them. They are all important, otherwise the gospels would only be an account of his death. Without his life and teaching, we wouldn’t know the Way to follow when he calls us to follow him. As far as whether or not the Spirit can speak to someone privately, I find it interesting that you are placing yourself in the role of governing the Spirit, telling the Spirit how it can communicate with someone. I’d rather take the scripture as authority on that, and affirm that the Spirit blows where it wills, and if in wants to blow into the heart of a person of another faith, so be it. Glory to God! You are right in saying that without Jesus, one cannot bear fruit; therefore, if someone is bearing fruit, they have Jesus in their heart, whether or not they comply with your credal statements or doctrinal formulations. The proof is in the pudding, as they say, and with that, I would encourage you to meditate day and night on the list of the fruits of the Spirit, and make sure you are bearing fruit, instead of standing in judgment and policing the doctrinal purity of folks like your old cousin here. And for all the folks reading here who take Jim up and do the word study on hell, make sure and take note of how many times Jesus uses the threat of hell in speaking to rich folks who neglect the poor, and fundamentalist Pharisee folks who try to convert people to their way of doctrinal purity, and also take note that Jesus himself descended to hell to preach to the folks there. Seems like there is a second chance, after all, confirming the beliefs of the Psalmist and prophets and early church leaders that hell is a refining fire, meant to burn away the dross of fundamentalism and addiction and greed and discrimination, so that all would have eyes and heart open to receive the grace gift and enter the kingdom. The “forever” part of hell is clear – the forces and powers of destruction, violence, greed, hate, etc, will be forever destroyed in those fires, never again to plague us in the new heaven and new earth, when Jesus’ words are fulfilled, that he would draw ALL PEOPLE unto himself.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • September 29, 2012 at 9:47 am

    stan, reference phillipians 3 (dung)

    Comment by jim

  • September 29, 2012 at 9:58 am

    Jim, reference your previous post: “Last post on this.” You would have done well to have stuck with that.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • September 30, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    Jim,thanks for always standing for true Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    Comment by Daryl

  • October 1, 2012 at 5:30 am

    Stan, thanks for always standing for the true spirit of Jesus Christ.

    Comment by Jessica

  • January 13, 2016 at 3:52 am

    I am truly grateful to the holder of this site who has shared
    this enormous post at here.

    Comment by ข้อสอบข้อเขียนbec


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