The scandal of Bishop Carlton Pearson

Carlton PearsonCarlton PearsonCarlton PearsonCarlton PearsonI mentioned in my post about Universal Restoration  the story of Bishop Carlton Pearson. For those who have any interest in the debate concerning beliefs around eternal destiny, aka Heaven and Hell, this man’s journey is significant.

Pearson was branded a heretic by the Joint College of African-American Pentecostal Bishops in 2004, for his version of UR, called the “Gospel of Inclusion”. For the sake of his doctrine (read “faith”), in giving up hell, he found that his congregation fell by over 90%, he was forced to give up his church building, and he virtually lost his entire ministry.

Most painfully, he fell out with many friends and loved ones including the great (in pentecostal-charismatic terms) Oral Roberts who saw him as a son. He paid a heavy price to break away from the 1500 year old ideology of Ultimate Fear, and embrace a radical expression of Grace.

The scandal of Carlton Pearson is qualitatively different to what we have come to expect from the Church. Crucially it has not involved hypocrisy, as in extramarital liaisons, pedophilia, embezzlement, or substance abuse. No, the scandal of Pearson is not unlike the scandal of Christ, who took on the religious-political-cultural establishment for the sake of G-ds rule of Love and Justice.

Take a listen to Carlton’s Story on This American Life.

Watch the MSNBC coverage.

Browse to the website for his church, New Dimensions

Pearson links on Universal Restoration website Tentmaker.

His involvement with Wisdom university in his hometown Tulsa, Oklahoma, at a seminar called Sacred Activism and the Power of Inclusion.

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230 Comments »

  1. janice brown said

    Say what you will Mr Pearson, but a literal hell awaits you………..in the mean time do us all a favor and get lost…………….shut your fat blashemous mouth,,,,,,,,,,,,,so you and satan will have something to talk about when ya get there….

    • maureenharrison said

      Janice Brown , if there is a literal hell, can you please tell me where it is? do you even understand the centuries of lies that have been perpetuated about the eternal torture of a literal hell of fire burning up people? If not, do your own studying and research before you start rebuttaling.

      • JANICE said

        WELL MAUREENHARRISON…DO U WANT TO TAKE A CHANCE? IF YOU ARE RIGHT U HAVE NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT…BUT IF YOU ARE WRONG U HAVE ENVERTHING TO BE CONCERNED ABOUT…THINK ABOUT IT…

    • B. C said

      Janice : Learn to write with grace or you will stand to be corrected by your Judge Jesus Christ. Carlton Pearson is teaching Truth.
      Romans:5:18. TO ALL MEN MEANS ALL MEN. You can”t take the ALL out of ALL. May the Holy Spirit Lead and Guide You into ALL TRUTH. Study the law of LOVE. Carton Pearson Loves the LORD.That will get him into Heaven.Your wisdom does not come form above Janice, but speaks of what James writes about.

      • vug3 said

        the previous scriptures (1-17) all point to faith in Christ as the key to receiving the gift. It is not just His death, but the individuals acceptance that He is God is what saves ALL men who are willing to confess. refer to Romans 10:9-10. Faith is God is the key that unlocks the sin-hardened heart in order to allow the sinner to confess that Jesus is Lord.

      • JANICE said

        bc..PREACHING A FALSE GOSPEL WILL NOT GET ANYONE INTO HEAVEN….

      • Nic Paton said

        Janice – welcome back after a 3 year break. So tell me, what has changed for you in this time?

    • janet said

      This is in response to anyone who says that they believe in a literal, eternal hell. If you REALLY believed that, then first and foremost you would never have children. In doing so you would be playing Russian Roulette with your childs life because we can not force another human being to believe the way we do, even our own children. BTW thanks Nic for hosting a great forum.

      • nic paton said

        Thanks Janet. You have an original POV there – I’ve not thought of it quite like that before. Your comment is full of (un)common sense, (aka Wisdom).

  2. Nic Paton said

    Hi Janice
    Thanks for your comment.
    I’m not convinced that you gave it much thought, however.
    Why you feel so strongly about Bishop Pearson and what does it benefit you to say the things you do?
    This “Literal Hell” – there are 3 words translated hell in the new Testament – which one are you meaning – Sheol, Tarturus or Gehenna?
    Nic

  3. Jason said

    i am personally floored and offended and a lil hurt that someone that i admired and respected has fallen from grace. Bishop Pearson was once a true man of God but im not sure what to call him. However the Bible does speak about the “very elect” going astray in the last day. I dunno i just pray that all those souls that he has messed will find the true and living God (JESUS CHRIST) and i hope the bishop will too..

    • Ty Turner said

      Wow!! It really amazes me how some people can’t think for themseleves. The bible was written by men let’s not forget this truth. This book is only an interpretation of those MEN who wrote this book, and was meant to give insight on how things were in their time and what could follow because of the prophecies they’d foreseen. These books in the bible are all over the place, contradictory, and there is good reason for that, It was written by MEN given their own accounts and interpretations of what is and what will be. Poeple PLEASE, TAKE A MOMENT TO THINK FOR YOURSELVES AND AND NOT YOUR TOLD TO THINK!!! The basic principle of the bible and other faith based books are that we get back what we give into this world, the way you treat others is a reflection of how others will treat you, you continue to be a follower, you will never lead, you hurt and condemn others, you inturn will in one way or another be hurt and condemned, “you wreap what you sew”. Why would one religion be right for a variety of nations, races, and lifestyles of people, to think this way is mindless. We are all different not any of us are made the same, why? Our differences are here to teach us not separate us.

      • mel said

        ARGHHHHHHHH!! Where are you getting all of this from?

        How do you draw such a conclusion that the Bible is only written and interpreted by MEN when Timothy clearly says 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

        This is what kills me man!! EVERYONE IS JUST MAKING IT UP AS THEY GO ALONG. Either Gods word is truth or its not!!!
        You get it?? ALL SCRIPTURE is God breathed..so yes men wrote with their hands but under God’s directions. They were not free to interpret any way they wanted. The Bible is not MAN’s interpretation its is God’s perfect revelation of who he is and what he desires of his people.

        And you are talking about differences and everything but why foes God say not to conform to the world, why does he say to be in the world and not of the world. Further, why does God warn us about false teachers in the last days and to look out for their fruit so that you can know them. What all of a suddent GOd wants us to indiscrimenately believe everything that everone says just for teh sake of not “seperating” ourselves????

    • Have a heart said

      I am thankful for your response. He was a great man of God and with our prayers he can be restored. We should never want to see anyone go to hell. satan is ever busy, and who are we to say that something could turn us from the true living God. It is only by His Grace and Mercy that we stay focused on Him and in His care. People must remember the ditch that you are digging for someone else could be your very own. Once again thank you for seeing things as they are and praying about what should be done, which is to pray him and the people that he once was over to be connected back to Christ. He is married to the backslider. Be Blessed!

      • Ty said

        Hahaha!! It’s so funny how people are stil quick to judge without knowing there actually still doing it. Everybody is quick to say what God wants, and what Jesus would do, and thr real truth of the matter is what you think God or Jesus would do is nothing more than your own opinion. God and Jesus is exactly who you precieve them to be or not be, both are based on belief in a particular faith and/or belief and a book written by IMPERFECT MEN. God is Good, the act of doing good, being good to others, and making sure YOUR heart is always focused on choosing good over bad. If you know your actions will hurt someone don’t do it, plain and simple. People are so weak the have to make up religions and big mystries to believe in, it’s so sad to me.

    • corlonda said

      amen! now is the time for every believer every backslider all of Gods lost sheep to come back home Repent Obey Forgive Surrender all and love walk in gal: 5:22-26

  4. “No, the scandal of Pearson is not unlike the scandal of Christ, who took on the religious-political-cultural establishment for the sake of G-ds rule of Love and Justice.” Oh please. The religious-cultural-political establishment is 100% in favor of gay rights. The President and Congress refused to let states vote on a gay marriage amendment, the Vice President of the United States has a lesbian daughter, and the President has been known to be “gay – friendly” ever since his college days. And these are all REPUBLICANS! The only people that oppose homosexuality in this country are Christian fundamentalists, which you well know to be a decided minority, even among Christians. And as for Jesus Christ Himself, He stated “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” Funny how a lot of people who love to throw around His Name seem to forget about John 14:15. Some, including Pearson, claim that Jesus Christ never said anything against homosexuality in the Bible. What they are ignoring is that Jesus Christ’s DISCIPLES did so later in the New Testament, and it is unfathomable that they would have opposed Jesus Christ in their later teachings, or would have accepted Paul if he did. Second, John 14:15 is merely restating what was given in the Old Testament in Exodus 20:6, Deuteronomy 5:10, Deuteronomy 7:9, etc. As a matter of fact, virtually everthing Jesus Christ said restated or fulfilled something in the Old Testament. What did the Old Testament say? That homosexuality was wrong. Jesus Christ Himself said that He came to fulfill the law, not to end it. Which means that He did not come to make what was sin under the law was no longer sin, but rather He came to change the way that sin was forgiven; through faith and repentance rather than through sacrifices. And why is John 14:15, which talks of keeping the commandments of Jesus Christ, correlated with Exodus 20:6 and similar, keeping the commandments of God? Simple: because Jesus Christ IS God, and said so Himself. If Jesus Christ is not God, then there is no reason to pay attention to anything that He said, let alone have a religion based on Him, because not only is He a regular man like you or I, but He was a liar, a cheat, and a blasphemer who created a movement that got Himself, his brother, and many millions of His followers killed over a lie (millions of Christians were killed by the Romans alone); a movement that a corrupted version of which later started becoming the persecutors itself (the Inquistion, Crusades, Holocaust, and similar … even the brutal Marxist regimes were a form of wayward Christianity stripped of its theism; Karl Marx was a disaffected Jewish convert to Christianity). So, if it is permissible to disobey the commandments of God, then Jesus Christ was never God and Christianity is a lie. If that is the case, then the “grace” of which you speak is nonexistent to begin with.

  5. Nic Paton said

    Hi Jason.
    Thanks for stopping by, I welcome your POV. I am sorry you feel Pearson has fallen from grace, and that you have felt hurt by his “coming out” in support of Inclusion.

    From where I stand, however, he has fallen INTO Grace. He has encountered a generous, embracing, forgiving God, who like Jesus is not afraid to consort with “sinners, gays, and universalists”.

    Tell me if you will, how exactly have his actions hurt you?

    Hi healtheland
    Again, I thank you for taking time to express your feelings.

    I have to say that you seem to be fairly obsessed with the Issue of “Gay rights”. I’d venture to say that Pearsons revelation has only a little to do with homosexuality per se. It’s often those who shout the loudest about a particular topic that have the most unresolved issues around it.

    And healtheland, what are your feelings about a God whose love is so great that he is “the savior of all men”, according to 1 Tim 4? Is this inclusive gospel not good news? Or is the fact that like Jesus, Carlton was not afraid touch your untouchables with the love of God, simply eclipsed by the fact that the word “Gay” has been mentioned, and ignored the bulk of the message of Universal Restoration.

    This means that EVEN Fundamentalists and Republicans, yes even George Bush Jr, are going to be welcomed into Gods great Arms. I’m just so glad its up to God and not me.

    • gamelan9 said

      Thank you, Nic, for cutting through all the nonsense that CONAs (Christians in name only) have been using for centuries, like “Hate the sin; love the sinner,” so easy to forget once stated.

      • gamelan9 said

        Oops…sorry about my spelling. There is a lightning storm here in central Ohio and I lost concentration.

      • Thank you Gamelan for reading and responding. I agree, cliches like you mention only hide the truth.

  6. Mark said

    Hey Nic,

    Certainly some emotion been thrown around this subject! No comment at this stage as i don’t feel i have given it sufficient thought. Thanks for lunch the other day, and Russ if you read this it was great to meet you.

    Cheers
    Mark

  7. Sea Raven said

    Hi Nic. … just visiting.

    If healtheleand stops by again, I would invite him to do some serious study regarding how the early Christian Way began, and how the new testament was put together. The latest scholarship (in fact, scholarship since the early 20th century, if not earlier) is clear that the new testament writings were not the fulfillment of earlier “prophecy.” I highly recommend a good course in biblical literature and history.

  8. D. Mason said

    I just watched and listened to both sides of the story. I myself being a pentecostal, I feel almost ashamed to be a a part of this great demonination. God told us to LOVE one another NOT to bash or to condemn. That is NOT our job. God is our judge and him alone. I am not going to give an opinion one way or the other, but, I am going to say to all those that are SAVED and are in opposition… DO NOT judge less ye be judge! If the truth is really told we ALL come short of God’s glory. Always remember that when we are speaking into the lives of others we DO NOT want to be an accuser of our brethren that is the job of the enemy. I am sure Bishop reads these messages from time to time and we do not want to condemn him. We should be letting him know that even though we may not fully agree with the doctrine in which he teaches we are still his brothers and sisters in Christ and we are in constant prayer for him.

    Bishop,
    I want to apologize for the hate mail that you have received. I love you. My prayers are with you continually that you will seek the face of God continually and always be found doing his will.

    I am my Brothers keeper!

    • Stan said

      I agree with you Brother!!

  9. Thank you for this post and spreading the message of Carlton’s amazing story and journey. I’m sure that it has only just begun and we can only imagine at this moment what lies ahead. I am grateful for his courage and faith in God. I am convinced that the world is in need of more Love, Compassion and Inclusivity – not less of it.

    Lead on Bishop, Lead on…

  10. Nic Paton said

    Thanks to all who gathered round to give this debate some balance. I notice that the inflammatory writers have not responded; the tactics seems to be somewhat arbitrary. Nevertheless I am glad they have voiced their opinion.

    This universalism under discussion is not cheap, clearcut, nor an easy position to hold. Thanks to you who have acknowledged your tentative stances. As important as the issue is to me, I don’t feel that I have any right to insist that anyone else holds the same POV. My feelings are of gratitude for Grace, not the need to persuade anyone.

    But I would ask you to examine the hidden agenda of Ultimate Fear. It may take years to deconstruct, as it did with me.

    D.Mason – I appreciate your view that we do not judge. Those who espouse universalism do so on that basis – that G-d alone is the Final Judge. Thank you for your generosity.

    David – thank you for your unqualified support. Do you find yourself in a minority where you are?

    Sea Raven – yes I think a far better Biblical knowledge is what is missing. I am interested in your statement “the new testament writings were not the fulfillment of earlier prophecy.” Do you mind clarifying for our benefit please?

  11. Nicole said

    Sad

  12. Evangelist said

    I cannot believe this, although “spiritually speaking” I do – Jesus warned of this in the LAST DAYS – Matthew 24.

    I used to listen to Pearson a lot – had much respect for him too. Now I know why I haven’t seen him in awhile.

    My take on it is this: The Word of God (Bible) is where we (especially belivers in Christ) should turn when something like this arises. It’s a waste arguing with “man” about what they/we think. What “Is Written” is what it boils down to.
    And It Is Written:

    The rich man (who lived for himself/without God) died and lifted up his head in HELL and saw Lazarus (a poor man full of God that the rich man disregarded when alive) in HEAVEN in the bosom of Abraham and asked that his family be warned that HELL really exists – the rich man feared his family going there. Abraham denied his request and said they either believe the Prophets/preachers on earth or they don’t. The rich man also said he was tormented in the HELL he was in – Luke 16:23 (KJV). Abraham also went on to say that there was a gulf between HEAVEN and HELL so that no one could pass from one side to the other – this was said when the rich man asked Abraham to make Lazarus bring him some water – read Luke 16.

    It is Written: But there were false prophets among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresises, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious (evil) ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of – 2Peter 2 1-2 KJV. For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to HELL and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; …. – 2Peter 2:4

    It is Written (Jesus said): : for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members (Pearson and all like him) should perish and not that thy whole body (other believers who have enough since/Bible understanding not to believe him/others like him) should be cast into HELL – Matthew 5:29.

    I’ll cut it there, but there is much more “God Proof” from the Bible that HELL IS A REALITY. I study the Bible enough to KNOW that Pearson is lost, is seriously deceived by the devil. I am saddened and will pray for him. The Bible says in Romans 1:18 that the wrath of God is poured upon all who hold the truth in UNRIGHTEOUSNESS. It goes on to say that these people put Christ to an open shame. The open shame is the fact that they CLAIM to be believers.

    However, Jesus said my sheep (children) know my voice, a stranger’s voice they will not follow. Thank God through Jesus I know his voice because I know His Word – The Bible/His Word is His voice and anything that goes against His Word is not of Him – is of the Devil/HELL.

    Peace & Love

  13. Evangelist said

    Referencing the Thou shall not judge remark/s:

    The Bible’s Words/Voice is not of man but of God. God would not have said obey me and take the time to give us a manual (Bible) TO FOLLOW if He did not want us to OBEY it. Man’s judment is anything that contradicts what is written in God’s Word – that’s when thou shall not judge comes in. And Pearson’s Words don’t line up with God’s Word; therefore, God is judging him (based on The Bible): And God says He Is A FALSE PROPHET reserved for the chains of HELL, if he does not REPENT before he leaves this earth/dies- 2Peter 2: 1.

    God still loves pearson. God loves us all. But if we end up in HELL, it’s not because God wants us there; it’s because we chose the route we chose – FREE WILL is from a loving God. God gave us the way through Jesus and His Bible. It’s up to us to take it. Amen

    Jesus warned of wolves in sheep’s clothing.

  14. LKJ said

    Thought this apt to the discussion:

    “Contemplation is more than a consideration of abstract truths about God, more even than affective meditation on the things we believe. It is awakening, enlightenment and the amazing intuitive grasp by which love gains certitude of God’s creative and dynamic intervention in our daily life. Hence contemplation does not simply “find” a clear idea of God and confine Him within the limits of that idea, and holds Him there as a prisoner to Whom it can always return. On the contrary, contemplation is carried away by Him into His own realm, His own mystery and His own freedom. It is a pure and virginal knowledge, poor in concepts, poorer still in reasoning, but able, but its very poverty and purity, to follow the Word “wherever He may go.”

    Thomas Merton. “New Seeds of Contemplation”. New York: New Directions Press, 1961: 5.

    May all who enter before G-d in this sacred cyber-spot be carried away by His divine love; carried to the certitude of their own liberation. May all who arrive with judgement come to healing.

  15. nic paton said

    Hello Evangelist, thanks for your contribution.

    The concerns you raise, especially regarding the notions of Hell and Heaven in certain New Testament translations, are very valid. I don’t have all the answers, and am on a road to a better understanding of scripture. To unpack these concerns adequately is beyond the scope of one blog response. It is best served by entering a conversation. I have been in the UR conversation now for not even a year (but have been a Christian for 29 years), and dealing with the concerns you raise are a big part of it.

    Very briefly, my understanding of the Lazarus tale is this:
    1. It is a story, a metaphor, and specifically not literal.
    2. The context of this chapter is wealth and its underlying value, not Eternal Punishment.
    3. The word translated “hell” in v 23 is in the Greek Hades (Heb Sheol). The meaning of this word relates to the underworld, the hidden, the world beyond the grave, not as most would have it, a place of Eternal Punishment.
    4. The chasm is that which separates the Kingdom of God from the Kingdom of this world.
    5. The rich mans torment is brought about by his refusal to accept the values of this Kingdom, despite the fact that he now sees the inversion of his worldly, mammon-based value system. Perversely, he even wants to warn his brethren despite his own lack of repentance.

    I do not believe we can conclude from this verse that he has been cast into Eternal Punishment by his Creator.

    Evangelist, according to 1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.” I believe you are motivated by Fear. Fear greatly distorts how we read scripture.

    If you are really concerned about heresy, I would propose to you that the Doctrine of Punishment you preach is the actual heresy here. Universal Restoration – that God is the Savior of All Men (1 Tim 4:10) – was taught by early church fathers such as Origen, and declared a Heresy in the 6th Century CE as part of the takeover of the Church by the Roman Empire. This Fear of punishment was and continues to be used as a political tool to keep religion dominating true spirituality.

    Fear closes the mind like nothing else. Have you listened openly to Carlton Pearson’s Gospel of Inclusion? I had the privilege of hearing him talk on the Gospel of Inclusion and his message is suffused in Grace. His universalism is no cheap new-agey everything-goes inclusivity; it has come with a heavy price. The hatred of many of his ex-followers is a continuing source of grief for him, is how it comes across to me.

    I find the most hopeful part of your response to be the last words, “Peace & Love”, because I know that these cover over a multitude of misinterpretations.

  16. nic paton said

    LKJ
    Thank you for your reflections and willingness to enter the fray.

    Despite having to defend certain things robustly and with reason, underlying my convictions is a loving Creator who helps us escape the madness brought about by fear, so what what Merton says about “enlightenment and the amazing intuitive grasp by which love gains certitude of God’s creative and dynamic intervention in our daily life” rings true.

  17. Evangelist said

    Nic,

    Since you want to be technical about Hell: Hell is a reality – it’s not so much an issue of flames or no flames – that’s not the point. HELL is a matter of being ETERNALLY cut off from God. Life on earth first, which, without repentance, leads to an eternal HELL post this life. Jesus said: Not the hearers of the Word are just before God but the doers (obeyers) – James 4:17.

    From Adam & Eve to date, the greatest stumbling block between man and God was/is OBEDIENCE. Before Jesus, there was no excuse – man’s inability to obey God magnified the fact that we CANNOT obey God on our own. The flesh/carnal mind is in total opposition to the desires of God:

    [For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would – Galatians 5:17.]

    Post Jesus: Jesus said, I am the way the truth and the LIFE. No man get to the father accept via the son (John 14:6-9 ). Jesus’ death gave birth to the answer/solution of weaknesses to carnal desires ( sinful nature): The Holy Spirit, which does for man what man cannot do for him/herself:

    [Jesus said- “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter (Holy Spirit) will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” – John 16:7-8]

    Meaning man has no more excuses for not serving God. Post Jesus, it’s not a matter of I CAN’T. It’s simply a matter of I DON’T WANT TO. God’s Spirit dwelling in us (post accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior, sincerely) gives us power (Acts 1:8). Power to overcome carnal/worldly temptations/desires. Power to obey God. You see you don’t have what it takes to obey God without God. Jesus set the path for God to do it for us, by living in us. That’s what Jesus meant when He said:

    [“For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever will lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it” – Mark 8:35]

    Losing your life (earthly desires/self-thinking) means that you OBEY God/live your life according to His Word. How does this result in gaining your life? You gain his protection on earth (life of heaven on earth), and when you die, you also get to go to HEAVEN: Eternity with God. Saving your life means just the opposite: You live the way you want on earth (life of HELL), and you end up living eternity in HELL.

    I agree with Pearson as far as HELL being apparent on earth today. Why, because God has been excluded (God will not fore Himself on us) from everything – people trying to lead God rather than obey (be lead) by God. As Shirley Caesar said, “It’s a sad thing to live a life of HELL on earth and then go to HELL – being ETERNALLY cut off from God. The difference between HELL on earth and Eternal HELL is that as long as one has breath (on earth) there is time to REPENT. But once you leave your body, your destiny is your destiny, as noted in Luke 16.

    As far as your “Fear” comment. Are you projecting? I said nothing about me feeling that serving God is out of FEAR. I love God. His peace is beyond anything this world has to offer. If I did not know God, have a personal relationship with God (meaning living for Him daily, not just on Sunday), I would be ashamed to be a part of this world, truly. I mean I turn on the television to here constantly about kids being molested, raped, abused, kidnapped, etc – unthinkable acts! Adultery is on the rise. Violence. Famous people on drugs, in rehab, in jail, dead, etc. Little to no respect for family values – people divorce like they change clothing. No regard for what we allow our kids to be exposed to on television or any aspect of life anymore. According to society (Hellish living) fornication/sex as recreation is “so cool,” even for kids. Yet it gives birth to unwanted/uncared for babies, diseases (some incurable), broken homes, etc. The above is life without God (His Values).

    Let’s keep this “Universal Living” moving: We have more people on mood altering drugs for anxiety, fear, etc. than ever before. What in life is causing this? Universal Living! We are at war. Our men and women are dying as we speak. Innocent Iraqian men, women, and children are dying (not all people in Iraq are evil). And Why are we at war? Uhhh… We are NOT totally sure why we are at war – the reasons change with the weather. War is usually (sometimes war is necessary) the result of greed, arrogance, unforgiveness, impulsiveness, hate, spite, presumption!

    Let’s keep it moving: How our country treated its own during the Hurricane Katrina aftermath- worse than animals . Wow! How cool is “Universal Living”? God said love thy neighbor as thy self – we don’t have to agree with all but love all. All this so called Universal Living goes against the Bible. My focus and heart is more on the society that our kids are growing up in than anything! To tell a child that is being abused sexually, emotionally or whatever, that the people who do such things will still be able to sit around the table in HEAVEN with God, despite the acts they commit. And what about the people who commit such acts, you are basically sending the message that they can continue in horrid behavior with a the comfort that HEAVEN still awaits …. That’s REDICULOUS – HELL! Why not just do whatever we want and still be seated in HEAVEN: Why wouldn’t a married man or woman cheat with this logic. Why wouldn’t someone rape another. Why not tell a lie. Why not steal, kill, etc. Why not sex and drug our brains out. This is not God! And to accept the Bible (as is) means that people have to change said behaviors, and they don’t want to, which is why this debate is going on, which is why it’s easy to dispute HELL. Be careful what you tag God’s name to though:

    [Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption (HELL); but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting (HEAVEN) – Galatians 6: 7-8.]

    I could go on, but the condition of the world is the result of man doing/living the opposite of God’s Word/Bible. Hmmmm… So it would seem God is smarter than we are. That there is a reason for him giving us a manual on how to live: The Bible. Most people see it as punishment, FEAR inducing, but I see it as LIFE/LOVE, a better world. God does not say “Thou shall not….” because He wants to keep us from living. Quite the contrary, said behaviors give birth to very grievous consequences, as noted above (and that’s the tip of the iceberg). So, again, I don’t serve God out of fear. I serve God out of LOVE/RESPECT. This “Universal Living” crock is just that: A crock of HELL!!

    What He made available to us through His son Jesus, is love. I am raising my daughter with the values of God’s Word everyday – not just on Sunday, living for God is a Lifestyle. And I see the difference in how she acts and how her unsaved/universal friends act (they are 11. She acts 11. They act 20: talk and dress the part too. Very Scary!) .Within reason, welcome her having friends from all walks of life, as long as she is not asked to compromise who she is/how she lives – we have won a lot of souls to God this way. They pay more attention to how we live, not what we say. My daughter is taught to respect herself and others. Most importantly, God. God through Jesus is the best gift I have given my child. She glows with the love of God. So again, there is no fear in my home/life regarding God. I don’t serve Him for fear of HELL either. I truly love God. He is the sunshine in all of my days. Light in a dark and lost world.

    Fear (spiritual connotation) is anything that goes against God’s Word. It is the opposite of FAITH. Fear is the devil’s biggest tool. Perfect love does cast out fear. What does that mean (the Bible says in all your getting get understanding)? First of all, let’s deal with the issue of LOVE: According to 1John 4, God is Love. And fear = Devil. So let’s look at 1John 4:18 again: with said realities in place: Perfect love (God) casteth out the fear (Devil). Meaning when you allow God to be God by living according to His Word, you have no reason to fear anything in life or the life after this life.

    This is a challenging venue to discuss such an issue. However, I am thankful for it. My position is clear, and I respect varied positions – Free Will. I have typed enough here for my position to be VERY CLEAR. I’m not in pursuit of affirmation. Don’t need it! God is my reward. However, knowledge is power/life. And if this saves just one soul from the depths of HELL, there will be a party in HEAVEN – Luke 15:11-32.

    If there is anyone here who wants to know God the way I do, I will not leave without affording you the gift in Jesus name. Read it first. Let it penetrate your heart. Understand it. Believe it. Then speak/pray it to God. It won’t work if you don’t mean it:

    Dear Lord

    I believe that Jesus Christ is your son. That He died on the cross and rose on the third day and still lives. I admit that life is no life without you, that I have missed the mark/have sinned. I welcome your forgivness, your Holy Spirit, your life dwelling in me. In Jesus name! Amen

    Simple act but life changing.

    If you said the above prayer, there is a party in heaven for you ( ). You are probably like, “Now what”? email me at day_4rain@yahoo.com and I will be more than happy to assist.

    Peace & Love

  18. Evangelist said

    Nic,

    One last thing, why don’t you take the Bible in totality. Heresy and denominatinalism is centered in people taking what they want out of the Bible and ignoring the rest. Basically telling God how to be God – funny.

    Seriously though, God warned that we should take ALL of His commandments or none.

    It is written: “And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of the prophecy (Bible), God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the Holy City (Heaven), and from the things which are written in this book” – Revelations 22:19 Means you will go to Hell for doing such.

    “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” – Galatians 1:8

    Thank God for REPENTANCE, which is available as long as you have breath.

  19. nic paton said

    Evangelist – This is not a conversation, just a pulpit for your views. I don’t really have the appetite to sling any more words around. Go well.

  20. Evangelist said

    My pulpit is my life. My views/life are God’s Word in totality. I don’t talk what I think. I talk what I know – God’s Word.

    Oh, what a glorious God we serve!

    • MIRANDA said

      AMEN!! YOU GOT HIM TOLD WITH THE WORD OF GOD. I HAVE SO MUCH RESPECT FOR YOU! YOU TOLD THE TRUTH AND GOT YOUR POINT ACROSS WITH OUT BEING RUDE OR NASTY. THANK YOU FOR PUTTING GOD’S WORD OUT THERE FOR THE WORLD TO SEE! AMEN

  21. AngerInTheFlesh said

    Nic and David, I love your views. I will be visiting with you soon… Hopefully you two stay the same until I get there, this projection thing is all new to me.

    Blessed Be

  22. Don R said

    Nic- Didn’t know you had a blog. You have attracted some quite interesting comments. There seems to be more readers and commenters on your posts who are ensconced in the fundamentalist camp. You know my position well. I appauld you for your stance and your excellent responses to the “fearmongers”. We love them inspite of their position. I, like you, have no desire to fling scripture back and forth like fiery darts at each other. The main reason I choose not to do so any more, is that I am not even sure exactly where I stand on NT writings. I am so amazed as to how far I have journeyed in the last two years. I wanted you to know how much your comments are appreciated on my blog. Please continue to visit and comment when you wish. I am linking to your blog. Blessings…..

  23. Evangelist said

    Don,

    What since does it make to have a BLOG that is centered around the BIBLE and sling everything except BIBLE scriptures? That’s like taking somebody to court and and using evidence from another case/arena. There would be no case without related evidence.

    It’s interesting that Nic derived a great deal of pleasure out of insulting and challenging people with little to no knowledge of the Bible. But when it came down to FACTS, Bible based, he had nothing to say – lost his appetite. Truth is: Who can contend with God (God is His Word). NO ONE!

  24. nic paton said

    Evangelist – this is the last time I will respond to you on this blog. I’m leaving your contributions as they are but from now on I might choose to delete them, as I feel you have overstepped the mark of trust and hospitality.

    For the record then,
    I acknowledge that you have a sense of compassion for victims of war, imperialist regimes and natural disaster. This is Christlike. I see you as human, as a human trying to obey God, just like many of us.

    But Evangelist, or WHATEVER your real name might be, that doesn’t mean that the way you witness and communicate is good or right.

    To deal with your comments then, [sic] “What since does it make to have a BLOG that is centered around the BIBLE and sling everything except BIBLE scriptures?”

    I have never claimed that this blog is centered around the bible. The bible forms part of it, but that is how you have subjectively read it.

    “It’s interesting that Nic derived a great deal of pleasure out of insulting and challenging people with little to no knowledge of the Bible.”

    My responses to those who say things like [sic] “shut your fat blashemous mouth,,,,,,,,,,,,,so you and satan will have something to talk about when ya get there….” were neither insulting nor pleasurable. They obviously were challenging, yes. I have no idea how you can claim to know what I find pleasurable, that’s just immensely arrogant.

    “But when it came down to FACTS, Bible based, he had nothing to say – lost his appetite.”

    You were happy submit several thousand words of your own interpretations, yet when I offered mine on the Lazarus story, you simply ignored them. To claim that I have nothing to say about the bible is ridiculous.

    I suggest you consult someone who knows about the art and science of hermeneutics, about how to read the bible (or any other text), they will tell you that it is key to understand what is intended literally and what is intended metaphorically. Your analyses show no insight into this skill.

    What is “Universal Living”? Did you just make that up? I have never heard of it and yet you are actually claiming that this is what I espouse. It is simply unfactual and irresponsible. If you are going to critique what I say, rule 1 is “I must have said it”.

    Evangelist, I acknowledge that your attitudes have made me angry. I have attempted to “speak the truth in love”, to be clear and fair, to be factual, and yet its fairly certain that you won’t see it that way. The way God sees disussion/discourse/argument, I believe is with Grace. There is no easy way to the truth – I can see you know that.

    So in closing, what I have lost my appetite for is not the Bible, but ignorent, smug, deluded, self-righteous, arrogant, one-sided religious rhetoric devoid of skill and insight. My prayer is that these attitudes will not be found in either of our lives.

  25. ruZl said

    thanks one and all for your earnest & passionate debate here, on universal restoration. however much our more literalist fundamentalist brethren might hate it, the teaching of UR seems set to demand ever greater exposure and debate.

    i recently disclosed my belief in universal restoration to someone very dear to me. i was aware that the topic raised lots of feelings in both of us, and yet thankfully it never resulted in biblical hurlaneutics & whipping.

    i must say Evangelist that i have found your approach and tone quite off-putting, impatient & lacking the humility that surely must accompany the genuine discussion & exploration of the Ultimate Mystery – God. as far as your online name goes, could i suggest Human, QuarkMonkey, John, Open, LoveFire, NoughtButHim or a thousand other possibilities?

    you may believe in an unending torturous hell, a place devoid of God – that reflects your current understanding and we are happy to engage you as we explore together. but please, PLEASE, don’t salivate about hell over us. don’t assume you know anyone’s standing with God so as to stand in judgement, while idolising your knowledge of the bible.

    where there is knowledge, it will cease and at best, our knowledge of God will forever remain incomplete until our final union with the One, as whole beings made in the image of the Divine.

    towards this we stumble and seek.

    adios.

    ruZL.

  26. Evangelist said

    nic and followers –

    Your anger is at God. I speak His Words ONLY. I rejected your Lazarus (interpretation) because God says it’s WRONG. Everything I wrote is of God via His Holy Spirit in me. If you stop consulting man and consult the Holy Spirit, God’s teacher on earth, you will learn something. See what you need to see.

    “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as the were moved by the Holy Ghost.” 2Peter 1:20-21 Holy Spirit wrote it and is the teacher -John 16:13

    God does not want any of you to go to Hell – that’s why He sent me here. Just as Jesus: He spoke it, some received and some rejected/fought it. Have you ever considered that if you are wrong (and you are), “You will go to Hell, eternally”? Something to ponder! God sent me here, nic, because He loves you, understands ignorance. Say the prayer I noted and allow yourself to be “born again.” Then, and then only, will you see the light. Amen

    My work is done here! Erased or not … …..

    Peace

  27. Evangelist said

    P.S. Universal Living = Universal Inclusion, Nic.

    C’mon, no grasping for straws (lol). To have a Universal-Inclusive mindset … one must live it, hence Universal Living = Hell.

  28. Junaid Bedford said

    Hi everybody, this is the first time that I shall be commenting on this blog. I am a Muslim and I want to learn more about other religions and philosophies because as one increases in knowledge it’s as though one rises higher up a mountain enabling one to see a wider and greater view of reality. Thank you for all your contributions and for taking the time to arrive at better understandings.

    I believe in a God of Mercy, of Compassion. I would like to share an Islamic view as regards God Himself. I don’t know yet of other religious views on God as I have not yet put any serious effort in to learn about other faiths, but it is certainly my intention to do so in the not too distant future. I am just very busy at work and with studying at the moment for University.

    The first verse of the Qur’an describes God as the Most Merciful of those Who show Mercy. (Qur’an – 1:1)

    The Prophet Muhammad (s) then further explained this by saying that God has one hundred parts of Mercy and has kept its ninety nine parts with Him and sent down one part to Earth, and because of that, its one single part on Earth, His creations are merciful to one another, so that even the mare lifts up its hoofs away from its baby animal, lest it should trample upon it. (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 73)

    I believe that it’s within this context that we should hope to journey to that life which is beyond the grave.

    Thanks, Junaid

  29. Nic Paton said

    Hi Don
    You have visited before – you commented on my original UR post!
    Thanks for your comments – I share an amazement at how far I have moved recently. It’s this sense of awe that helps to remind us that we do not know everything, and keeps us humble, dependant and joyous. Lets keep in contact…

    Junaid
    I welcome you and thank you for your excellent and beautiful comments and quotes. The passages from the Qur’an are beautiful. I fully intend to make a full and open hearted study of this text at some point, because the disinformation and prejudice between faiths, specifically Islam and Christianity, is covering the world like a shroud, leading to all sorts of calamities and terrible hatred. So it’s a pleasure to hear from you… please do come back.

  30. Jeremy said

    hi Nic and all who have commented
    i have been following the dialogue and it is very interesting. i see value in all comments but are not really sure of the point of all of this. is convincing our minds of a certain belief sufficient (it is this same convincing that can lead to deception where we get caught up in eterial realities with no practical expression of the very essesnce of our faith). what is most powerful out of the scriptures to me is when we love our neighbour.
    so when last did any of you dialoging here go out and feed a person who was hungry or just hold someone dying to comfort them or just sit and listen to an old person reflect and realase (Repent) some of their earthly struggles.
    we have to be careful we dont get detacched here (me Too)
    all this dialogue cn become meaningless whitout its attachment to practical expression
    in heaven as it is on earth
    jeremy
    ps Hi Junaid
    heres a thought ! what if christainty was and is not meant to be a religion but rather a way for all, a way of grace, what you do is not attached to any condition (do good …..get blessed etc) but rather that the starting point of your doing is this. everthing has been done and so you flow with life a life (in christ) helping him wrap up the reconciliation plan of which on aceeptance you are already a part of through grace.
    sounds good hey …… think about it
    you dont do to get…. you have got already….. you do to live and express what you have got

  31. Nic Paton said

    Hi Jeremy
    I am 100% behind the idea that all theology, abstraction and thought needs to lead to Life. This Life needs be Incarnated, made flesh, enacted in space and time. Acts of Mercy such as what you propose are exactly what will witness to this Life. I touch on these encounters too seldom; but as an example take a look at this encounter:

    http://soundandsilence.wordpress.com/2007/02/07/you-told-me-your-name/

    Jeremy, if I might take the liberty of framing your passion in words: you are talking of Incarnation. I am deeply in the process of relating the two things, Incarnation and Inclusion. A blog is a tool whereby thoughts can be refined and conversations followed. It is not an end in itsself.

    I am tired of theology, if truth be told. But G-d is not yet done with me. There is a time to think, deconstruct and reflect, and a time for sacred activism and creativity. This doesn’t mean these things are mutially exclusive, quite the opposite in fact. I have a suspicion about the importance of Inclusion issue, and I am giving it my whole heart. This includes being very well informed, which I intend to become.

    The outcome of this process will be love, grace, mission, but if there is any ambivalence in our foundation, our efforts will be flawed, perhaps totally flawed. I have seen enough – several decades worth – of half-baked activity based on dubious teaching whose source is not grace but fear, to know that unless the building is built by Truth, the labourers will labour in vain.

    I look forward to working with you to bring to fruition those yearnings of yours, which are based in compassion and a desire to love.

  32. SteveW said

    Nic, keep speaking your heart. Too bad that some, who claim to be leaders with titles are so quick to denounce and so harshly judge people they know nothing about accept that their doctrine isn’t “approved” in their own mind. “They love to be called Rabi”….or what ever title of the “five fold” they see themselves as identifying with.

    It is little wonder that so many people want nothing to do with the religion of Christianity that is so frequently represented by such thinking and raving.

    Our Father didn’t fail when He sent His Son to be the Savior of the World. Too bad so many “believers” don’t believe it. But quite honestly I was just as narrow minded for way too many years.

    It takes courage to stand for the gospel of God’s grace & peace Nic. Have courage my friend.

  33. Jeremy said

    thanks for your comments Nic
    it is true things are complex and truth needs to be spoken and lived as Jesus did (incarnation i guess) that what is i am really into as a believer. inclusion and what Carlton said is in some way a threat to traditional thinking and i would need to understand more so i look foward to further comments. to include as many as possibloe is what Jesus would have wanted but there is also a limit (wonder if he would have writen evanagelist off by now? no offence evagelist we might be on the same side?) and where do you say no more or exclude? the heaven and hell thing blows my mind a bit i can understand completely ignoring hell and only seeking the heavenly but to consider its non existance is a bit challenging
    this is good stuff if our intentions are pure and we have security in christ our lord. As much as i know Nic you are a person of great integrity
    may we all be blessed through seeking his face
    jeremy

  34. SteveW said

    Jeremy, there is no way that the Savior has written off Evangelist or any of the rest of us. When He died to redeem the sins of Adam, He did so totally. We had no choice in our participation in the cursing and neither do we in the redemption. He bought us back with His own blood…Evangelist, Janice, Nic and All. Whether or not we make Him our “personal Lord and Savior” is not the issue. The issue is the Father made Him both Lord and Christ apart from our involvement. It is finished and we need to add nothing to it.

    It is true that we all haven’t partaken of the salvation of that fact of our redemption because salvation is of the mind. But to think that the loving Savior took the keys of death and hell just to turn around and cast the vast majority of mankind into it because we don’t believe the correct religious doctrine is absurd and very sad indeed.

    I know this is all very new to many reading here and that is understandable. It was to me only three years ago. It takes a while to work through a lifetime of religious instruction to see the immensity of the grace of God.

    Whether or not anyone agrees with Nic or I, may you all dwell safely in the grace and the peace of God.

  35. Don R said

    Nic- That’s what happens as we age….We forget! Sorry I didn’t remember visiting here. I can’t believe I didn’t link to your blog. That, however, is now remedied. Don’t worry, you are now a regular stop on my blog-reading route. I have throughly enjoyed this particular post. It has reinforced for me why I left my fundamentalist faith. Two years ago, I too, would have been angry with some of the commenters. Today, that has changed. Anger in that particular area has been removed from my life. When I see the anger, even hatred, expressed at ideas from your post, it reminds me what I found so odious about the doctrinal system of fundamentalism. I believe that 59 years in that system as a church leader (deacon) allows me to speak of that I know.

  36. nic paton said

    GROUP HUG!! You too, Evangelist.

    I feel that this posting might need to have a biography written about it. It’s been through a lot of twists and turns, just like life itsself. All we need is for Carlton to contribute; which he may well do – he emailed me a few days back.

    Jeremy
    This heaven and hell things does indeed blow the mind, and it IS a threat, a very very big threat, to traditional thinking. What is interesting to note in Steve and Dons responses how there is an epipheny invloved regarding the “Greater Hope”/Inclusion/Universal Restoration that can happen decades after any other revelation of Grace. That is certainly the case with me. The implications are enormous for life – thought and deed. I am exploring this in my post Incarnation Inclusion and Hell, so please feel free to contribute. I do like the way you apporach things so candidly – let’s all dive into the truth together.

    Steve
    Thank you so much for you support. It seems you have trod a similar path to mine as far as Grace goes, and I welcome that experience. It’s good to know you are looking clearly at “the beast” ( I mean fear, not anybody in particular) sometimes, but even better to know you are held.

    Don
    Well you top it as far as church-dentials go then: 59 years. I often ask, where are the elders in this age? As I remind people, you are also an historian. That is immensely valuable.

    BTW have you read Cannon Farrar on Mercy and Judgement (1877, 500+ pages)? Excellant scholarship on the topic of “endless damnation”, quite comprehensive and totally mind blowing, but a hard read. It’s on tentmaker – http://www.tentmaker.org/books/mercyandjudgment/mercy_and_judgment_ch1.html. I’ll be posting more when I wade through it, and do a post like “Mercy and Judgement Lite”.

  37. nic paton said

    Who (in the US presumably) saw the ABC 20/20 show last night, “Heaven and Hell our fascination”?

    All I have to go on is the online comments, see http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/comments?type=story&id=3356360

    If this were an election judging from the most recent 14 comments its neck and neck (7 apiece). A good barometer. More analysis would be helpful, though, there are looneys in each camp.

  38. geo said

    Nic
    Hello, I am Geo from Bold Grace dot com.
    I know Don and Steve personally and these two are two of the most Grace Filled men I have ever had the privilege of meeting. I too like Don and Steve am in my 50’s and was a deacon and elder in the church of christ for over 25 years. Five years ago after those 25 years of hell fire and brimstone teachings I began to explore for myself what I truly believed about God and Jesus the Christ. And it was a journey that took many twists and turns. For one to two years I fought the thought that God could reconcile ALL. But the evidence was too overwhelming to deny. And it IS TRUE! God has Reconciled ALL. Carry on my friend! And if you are anywhere close to Indiana the weekend of AUGUST 3-5, 2007 You are welcome to join us at the FIRST ever GRACE GATHERING!
    Here is the link http://gathering2007.cliffhazelbaker.com/

    Grace & Peace
    Geo

  39. nic paton said

    Geo
    A warm welcome. I shall give the links a good read.

    Alas I am in Cape Town South Africa. But I wish you the very best for your gathering (I love that word – its definately free from the baggage associated with “service”).

    In the meantime; are you saying there has been some work done there on the links between the Incarnational and Inclusion?

    And did you see ABC show last night – I’m itching to hear about it.

  40. geo said

    Yes Nic I did see it!
    YOU WROTE:
    In the meantime; are you saying there has been some work done there on the links between the Incarnational and Inclusion?

    Work done where? I am not understanding the question.
    You can go to our voice message bord and leave a voice message on your beliefs about HELL here http://www.vaestro.com/viewtopic-978#
    the Topic Title is: HELL
    All you need is a microphone connected to your computer in order to comment.
    Sure hope you will

    Peace
    Geo

  41. bruced said

    It amazes me how some people can miss the message of the Cross so completely.

    We see what Christ accomplished, and what was revealed about our relationship with God, but still we fear. That fear drives us to worry. We worry about the strength of our beliefs… about the correctness of our theology… about the validity of our doctrine. Our fear drives us to strive endlessly in our attempt to measure up to our perception of an overly demanding God. We allow our fear to divide us from those who don’t believe “correctly”. We allow it to push us past civility, into aggression. It begins to control our lives, and pushes people away from us. It brings anger and bitterness into our being, and manipulates us like a stringed puppet.

    The Cross of Christ set us free from fear, but we don’t believe it. We continue to believe it is up to *us* to make things right with God. But the Cross revealed that it’s not up to us at all. The Father communicated His incredible love to us with all certainty, but we look right past Him into a reflection of ourselves. We continue to dislike what we see, but we can’t realize that we shouldn’t be looking at ourselves at all. We should be looking at the Father, and His amazing, perfect love.

    We are the wheat and we are the chaff. Very soon, our wheat (the spirit of God within) will be separated from our chaff (our earthly bodies, wants, and desires). Then, we will have the answers we seek as we become one with the Father. Why do we worry so much? Why are we so confused? Why can’t we simply rest in His promise, and enjoy life?

  42. nic paton said

    Hi Geo
    What I meant was study – writing/blogs/audio, trying to understand the relationship between the mystery of Inclusion and the mystery of Incarnation.
    Hi Bruce
    It’s good to a deep and well formed approach like yours. Your thoughts are uncannily like those I had in http://soundandsilence.wordpress.com/2007/03/13/being-hit-on-the-head-with-a-pulpit/

  43. ruZl said

    hi all.

    i feel Nic makes an important point about being tired of theology on the one hand, while needing to wrestle with certain central tenets about G-d on the other. theology never made a holy man yet and yet has twisted untold millions of believers through guilt & fear.

    i’m not sure when it was – probably around a year ago – but i suddenly realised that the teaching of a never-ending & purely punitive hell – as opposed to one that was for a time and intended to purify & restore – was not one i could shove under the carpet.

    a year later, i now perceive the maistream evangelical view of G-d as deeply dualistic & schizophrenic. it reminds me of the terror of a young boy who believes his father to be gentle, nurturing & compassionate, for this is what he has experienced. one night he happens to walk down an alleyway and comes across his beloved father beating someone savagely with a crowbar.

    children the world over have to live with such cognitive dissonance, caused by abuse at the hands of those they love and trust. and yet this is the very picture of God that we impress on the world. loving and kind to the family but like a mafioso don to outsiders. obey or die!

    i understand the resistance, suspicion & anger that the universal restoration position raises. and many of us here can entertain the notion that a firey purification, rebalancing etc might have to occur after this life. but perfect love casts out all fear, which has to do with punishment & i believe that the purpose – the dream of you – out of which G-d created every particle of creation will one day be realised.

    thanks one and all.

    russell.

  44. Jeremy said

    Hi Nic and others
    i must say hell makes for more sense if its role is for purification this could fit nicely with beginning of James. i suppose it might take a while to convince me. Jesus died for our sins which would have left us going where? so does christs death negate the fact there would have been eternal damnation or what is its primary purpose? how as “Jesus is our lord” people do we just relase the pre-cross reality of damnation? i find this difficult to grasp unless i am missing something here
    comments…
    jeremy

  45. Don R said

    Jeremy- I, personally, have never heard of a pre-cross reality of damnation in the OT or NT. A lot of the confusion could possiblly lie in the translation of Greek or Hebrew words in English.

  46. Don R said

    Nic- Do you have VHS-type video cassettes in S.Africa? I may have a source for the 20/20 special on Hell.

  47. nic paton said

    Jeremy
    This UR thing has been a year of hard thinking and unthinking for me, and thats not long by some standards. I’m in the process of nuts and bolts scriptural re-reading and I am increasingly alarmed and amazed at how we can consider hell to have eminated from scripture. Most of those who adopt the position have done so later in their lives as wisdom began to emerge. The best portal to this is http://www.tentmaker.org/. Start with Samuel Dawsons “Jesus teaching on hell” – http://www.tentmaker.org/articles/jesusteachingonhell.html

    The key question is around the original Greek meanings for “hell” and for “eternal”, which will radically alter the meanings as we as evangelicals have assumed.

    I’m not clear if this is what you are asking, “If all are going to be saved then what is the point of Jesus having died?”. The answer to that is “to save all”. Jesus remains key to the whole question.

    I agree with Don here – there is no pre cross reality of damnation. There is one word in the OT, Sheol, meaning hidden, or grave. Any notions of damnation read back to these scriptures were pagan/roman. I am coming to realise that Eternal Damnation is an invention of the post-augustian Roman church.

    Let have an inclusion indaba…

  48. nic paton said

    Don – thats really kind of ya. Only snag might be our video is PAL, not NTSC, the north american standard. Is it possible to get on PAL?

  49. ruZl said

    hi Jeremy.

    it was good meeting you at the gathering @ Nic’s place a few weeks back and look forward to spending some more time with you when we’re over next. the whole universal restoration teaching represents such a massive shift from our shared roots as evangelical christians, that i’m still piecing things together.

    i sense you’re open to looking at it as a possibility and would recommend that you get Nic to forward a few key links from tentmaker.org etc, if he hasn’t already done so.

    go well meantime, russ.

  50. ruZl said

    G-d = ULTIMATE ARTIST or ULTIMATE ABORTIST?

    just a thought….

    if we look at current quantum physics and in particular chaos theory, the science strongly suggests that every particle throughout the universe is connected. for those of you are interested, read the overviews of chaos theory & bells theorum on wikipedia.

    IF every particle or “thing” is connected, then how could G-d incarnate in the person of Christ without profoundly effecting & ultimately changing ALL things/particles and souls made in the Divine Image? the leavening principle springs to mind here.

    Jesus said, “what u do to the least of these, you do unto me”. i always used to assume Christ was being figurative here, but why? i bigger boy whipped my son with a stick on his hand the other day and he bawled! and as his father, IT HURT!

    also, why do so many christians react so violently to physical abortion of babies and yet fiercely hold to the belief of the mass abortion of souls on the day of judgement?

    maybe, just maybe we CAN trust G-d with our selves & our loved ones, our obsessions & secret sins – our fallenness. and maybe as chaos & quantum theory suggests on the physical plane, the divine incarnation destines ALL to ultimately react perfection on the spiritual plane – whether that take a single lifetime or millennia.

    as sparks of the Divine Image, i find it deeply congruent, reassuring and logical that G-d wills to restore each spart to it’s original & intended condition.

    …and that the incarnation forms the dynamic process, moving towards the Divine Idea, dreamt before creation and still held in the heart-mind of G-d.

    as THE ULTIMATE ARTIST, should we expect anything less of G-d?

  51. nic paton said

    RuZl
    Well I have been meaning to respond to you for some time, thanks for your ongoing support, thought, holding.

    I think your above response is opening a profound window between new science and UR. I am nearly finished James Gleick’s classic “Chaos”, and not yet able to put it in perspective. Next up is Lynne McTaggarts “The Field” which I know you have read. Strangely my interest in both these popscience works is mor to do with the nature of light, than theology per se. We weave a web…

    Gleick talks of Goethe vs Newton who seeminly were both issuing theories of light at the same time (need to check that) Anyway Newtons Optiks lasted and Goethes work disppeared. But recently, Feigenbaum who is one of Chaos’s heralds rediscovered Goethes romantic take on the topic, and its all suddenly redifined the problem for him He saw Newton as defining light in scientific terms, while Goethe did it holistically. We all know that Newtonian thought held sway until the modern era – Einstien/Plank etc. So there is an uinteresting link between the categoriesed/discontinuous thinking of enlightenment rationalism, and the new holism. Its inspiring and exciting, this “new age”.

    So to get to your relating of salvation and interrelatedness, thats very interesting. And YES to the idea that G-d is an artist, and the incarnation a dynamical system (to use Chaos terminology).

    Good man – keep it coming.

  52. Rob said

    Hoom… What is exciting for me and perhaps, now, it deserves its own topic is quantum physics forcing us to take responsibility. No longer can we see outrselves as passengers in a fixed unfolding universe that we have to subscibe to and find the right buttons to push, but rather we are intimately tied up in the dymanic unfolding of reality that is affected by our very observation of it. If you try to feel the ripples in a pond by putting your finger in the water the ripple pattern changes because of the presence of your finger. And so it is with our presence in the universe. Now there is inclusion in a big way.

  53. ruZl said

    Rob.

    quantum inclusion eh? i think we need to flesh this out some more between ourselves & run with it for the sheer joy of it. Ooooh, G-d so obviously LOVES paradox.

    a new thread Nic?

    the way i see it, Christ used nature as a metaphor on SO many occasions, it’s not like we’re limited to vines and sheep. if He’d incarnated two thousand years later, he may well have been using analogies drawn from quantum physics.

    the universe: every molecule, network, environment & experience ripe with meaning. as we should expect from the Ultimate Artist.

    over to youz,

    RuzL.

  54. nic paton said

    Sheeze who do you think I am, James Gleick?
    Rob and WeZl – I agree this discussion is reaching another shore, I am pondering how to take it onwards. Suffice to say then, I find quantum mechanics hard to grasp, see through a glass darkly. But intuitively, I appreciate it, it all points to the embedded meaning in the universe. As a poet I get excited, even if “the mind is unfruitful”.

    Non condo bondo shondo, rikki tikki tikki ninga noom …

  55. karen said

    Just came here via a tipoff from DonR.
    Wow…someone wants to save us all from ‘hell’ (which one? Hades, Gehenna, or Tartarus? Wink to DonR) If it’s the Hades, or the Unseen, then we’re already all saved, thank you very much, by Jesus, not by some anonymous commentor. And the word “eternity” is mistranslated from the Greek. It’s only for an eon. . .not for eternity.

  56. Todd said

    WOW! Evangelist’s comments are amusing. It’s amazing how someone so uninformed can be so self-assured. You (Evangelist) say you are such a great studier of the bible? Then why not learn Hebrew and Greek (the original language of the bible), much like Bishop Pearson has done, and study the original context? I understand that you do not like to think for yourself and that may be a little too taxing for you. It was man that translated the original context into English. Do you think this was inerrant? Uh, don’t answer that question. “God does not want any of you to go to Hell – that’s why He sent me here. Just as Jesus: He spoke it, some received and some rejected/fought it.” – Did you just compare yourself to Jesus? Mr. Evangelist, I’m beginning to think the voices in your head are not one of God, but possible one of the many personalities you have been infected with. I will pray for you. Carlton Pearson is a courageous man. He is an educated man. You sir, are not!

  57. john Ayedze said

    well it is a disappointment to me for i really like the man Pearson he is more then a roll model for me but with this doctrine of inclusion i think he has to humble himself and reconsider his stand.no revelation contrary to the word of God (Bible) is from God I still love him but totally disagree with this doctrine of inclusion Please Bishop come back it is not too late

  58. karen said

    The Bible is the infallible Word of God. The English translation of it, however, is not.

    • Royal D said

      where in the Bible does it say that it is infallible?

  59. nic paton said

    John
    I think I understand how you view this; how you think Carlton has abandoned his faith. I approached him with caution, but have found that as I have heard his arguments and his heart, that he is a prophetic leader, pointing to new and exciting territory. If you are going to engage the Gospel of Inclusion, you really do need to have an open mind and get back to the original meanings contained in the scriptures. I wish you all the best; courage and discipline.

    Karen
    Well and succinctly put. Both the Latin Vulgate and derivants of the King James have done immeasurable damage as far as perpetrating heretical, fear based notions go.

    Interestingly it is the conservatives that have helped me to re-evaluate this whole area (Pearson (republican pentacostal), Louis Abbot (Baptist), Cannon F W Farrar (Anglican)), and yet a conservative I am not. Truth is bigger than our persuasions.

  60. AMT said

    It’s amazing how we feel “our” experience with God is how it should be for everyone. Each of us could write an epistle that would make the New Testament a continually updated book. If you have never ventured to see what God is doing in your community or city outside of your church or pastor, you can’t understand or hear where Carlton Pearson is in his relationship with God. Each of us will be stripped of all the doctrine, people, personalities, and things we are propped up on claiming to be in faith and going with God. When your comfort zone is tampered with, your resources are limited, you like Job, like Carlton, like me will see what you really believe about God, faith , everything. If your gospel is according to your pastor, tradition, affluence or anything other than what is required of you, get ready for the vulnerability to walk in faith, sometimes only knowing that God is and the He loves you very much.
    It takes alot of courage to go against the norm, especially when you have been exceptedby the inner circles and given privileges and amenities to comfort your flesh and stroke your ego. Much love to you Carlton for sharing your experience with us and encouraging others to trust where they are in thier journey.

  61. Nic Paton said

    AMT
    Your view is fresh, open, expectant.
    “Each of us could write an epistle that would make the New Testament a continually updated book” – I like that A LOT. We have tended to put scripture above experience, and our own interpretation of it for that. An incarnational relationship with G-d has to do with how the word lives within our story, not an abstract set of propositions.

    • mel said

      I know that I am responding to a two year old comment but I had to because I believe that you and AMT were way off base.

      Thats almost a relativistic approach to scripture which makes our decisions and experiences authority over God’s word.

      We OUGHT put scripture above our experiences my brother. Everything about GOd’s word suggests it. Thats why it says in Timothy that: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

      Your idea of experience over scripture is exactly backward from how it should be. Our faith and obedience to the word (and its so called abstract set of propositions) should provide a basis for our experiences.

      For example many of God’s promises are conditional.” If you do this I will do this or this will be the result” So how I respond to God’s word will determine the kind of experiences that I have

      Furthermore, there is no basis for your suggestion that the New testament can be continually updated– on the contrary the bible commands that we do not add or take away from his words and also says that hevean and earth mya pass away but his words will last forever

      I take it that many on this board including the moderator does not subscribe to the sola scriptura view of scripture. Instead we are free to mnake it up as we go along? how can we tell God what he meant to say?

      • Nic Paton said

        Mel, I respect what you have chosen to believe. I’d say that for most of my Christian life I worked inside a similar framework.

        But one of the key inversions I have experienced is this:
        From “believe first – behave – belong”, to “belong-behave-believe”. Belief is fro me no longer the prerequisate for determining who belongs.

        Where we will differ is that I hold to the understanding that we have been reading scripture through the lens of modernity, and are moving beyond this, in order for a fuller revelation of the Divine.

        The New testament is by definition a canon of books. You are correct – the new testament canon is finalised. However, God is bigger than these writings, and is continually unfolding truth. By saying he came to fulfill the law, I do not think Jesus meant that truth would not continue to emerge. If that was so, the everything inculding the Catholic church and the Reformation, has been formed in error.

        For interests sake, do you think the Reformers were right to throw out the apocraphal books, which had been de facto canonical for over a millenium?

        Sola Scriptua is more an artifact of modernity than truth which is faithful to the biblical narrative. Abandoning SS does not mean we “make it up”, but we continue to wrestle with God, as did Jacob.

  62. Mark said

    Simply put, I believe Rev. Pearson and agree with him 100%. As a Catholic, I’ve spent most of
    my adult life (and childhood) believing in Hell and that I might go there if I did or did not do certain things. I don’t see myself as anti-Catholic. In fact, I believe at the heart of Catholicism is the same message Rev. Pearson is preaching. For some reason it has just gotten mixed up, filtered, etc. because of power and greed. I was happy to see the special
    on MSNBC and be able to identify with someone who “gets it”. My next trip will be to a bookstore to see what I can find on Rev. Pearson and his new teachings. I think he was right on when he mentioned something about Christ would be unhappy with what Christianity has become (generally speaking).

    I see Rev. Pearson as a prophet and a spiritual revolutionary. In fact, when Oral Roberts said Rev. Pearson was going to lead a new spiritual movement, I don’t think he had any idea how right he was.

  63. Nic Paton said

    Hi Mark
    Thanks for that comment. Yes, I think the prophecy is often quite separate from the “vessel” bringing it!

    If you want an easy, catholic-backgrounded study, try Martin Zenders “Martin Zender goes to Hell”. (http://www.amazon.com/Martin-Zender-Goes-Hell-Un-Criticized/dp/097098491X). (In fact if you are in South Africa I’ll mail you one)

    If you are theologically up to it, FW Farrars 580-page “Mercy and Judgement” (http://www.tentmaker.org/books/mercyandjudgment/mercy_and_judgment_ch1.html) is the best thing I have read, and he is seriously “orthodox”, believing wholeheartedly in the Church Universal’s tradition and the scriptures. And anything else at Tentmaker too.

  64. TU Mrs. said

    Nic,

    Great blog! Informative, respectful, and diplomatic.

    I’m a religion major, and at times, I am stupefied by the Christian who represents the epitomy of proof texting, and yet ‘he or she’ is so ill informed.

    What is it that scares the ‘ill informed’ into reacting with such a venomous confrontational attitude that typically begins with, “as it is written,” or “the bible teaches us…” and finally “heresy” makes its way into the conversation.

    Is it irony, that as a religion major, I cannot hold a conversation with most christians because they have no idea what I’m talking about?

    Again, great blog!

  65. Nic Paton said

    Thanks Mrs./Tu/Mrs.
    I think a good starting point is to try unlearn Christianity. That may not be totally possible, but it must be the goal of all who are serious about the adventure of spirituality. One has to be prepared to walk into a wilderness, as a “reject” of the church and a not-yet of what is emerging as one revisions this life from G-d’s point of view. Carlton Pearson has demonstrated the before-after pictures of making such a huge move away from religion and into the arms of G-d.

  66. ruZL said

    “ALL YOU DAMN ICLUSIONIST HERETICS ARE GOING STRAIGHT TO HELL!”

    i just wanted to try that mental t-shirt on for size, just to make sure it still doesn’t fit – phew! this has developed into a great thread, with a variety of angles & convictions coming to the party.

    I believe in hell, for sure. Checking BBC news this morning, i came across the story of Joanne Coombs, the english mother who recently ended her life on a rail track, at the same point where her daughter died a few weeks ago. apparently the house was just too empty without her.

    no doubt Joanne was living in hell, for what could be more torturous than your child being snatched by depression from you. i don’t believe suicide has any glory in it. and neither does the “hell” taught by the majority of christian groups.

    it’s initially scary to step outside of what we have been taught and to seriously ponder alternatives. i for one respect Carlton Pearson for doing so. the vast majority in his previously comfortable position would not do so, at least not so openly.

  67. Nic Paton said

    Well let’s deconstruct Sir’s T Shirt a bit then, shall we, Ooh Sir.

    Damn – this means to stop the flow, to cut off.
    Inclusionist – this means acknowledging the innate interconnectedness of all things.
    Heretics – this means those who have an opinion different from the prevailing orthodoxy.
    Hell – that means hidden.

    “EVERY OPINION STOPPING THE COSMIC CONNECTEDNESS BECOMES DIRECTLY HIDDEN.”

    You are right, it’s too small for my biceps and makes my bum look too big.

  68. Nic Paton said

    Less facetiously, people do indeed experience “hell” in this life. They experience torment, isolation, cruelty, and confusion and it sometimes gets too much.

    It’s inconceivable that certain people (usually preachers or semi/professional christians), fail to empathise with misery such as experienced by Joanne, and choose rather to piddle about with self righteous doctrines such as the “sin” of suicide.

    The failing here is squarely with religion and its inability to enter into the simple compassion which Jesus spoke of.

  69. ruZL said

    Nic.

    two great retorts my friend.

    i luuurv it!

    ruzl.

  70. Andrea said

    Hi, I went looking for the meaning of ‘shondo’ and somehow ended up here. Surfing.
    I’m non-denominational Pentecostal but I’ve been an annihilist for years. I thought if Abraham could believe God then so can I.
    Why does anyone assume that all the people in their church agree with their doctrine anyway. I haven’t found a Pent church w/out the hell. I want fire but not with the brimstone; love my church but I just argue with them.
    I’m an annihilist and I DO NOT WANT you to change my mind. When ‘Evangelist’ and others were sayiong CP would go to hell – since when do any of us get a theology test at heaven’s door?
    If were wrong about the Hell thing – I’m very certain God is not taking pointers from me – He’ll do it His way and I’ll like it.

    be blessed, I’m going off to find that dude Carlton – I like what I’m hearing.
    Oh and the whole homosexual thing drives me crazy. The church can point its stubby little fingers at Gays bc its not the churches sin – Bc they won’t let them in – we have all the adulterers and pedophiles. I have yet to meet any one without somekind of sexual sin that they would not want to lay out before the Lord. I don’t know of any sin to big for the Lord to deal with even if its for the rest of your life. Grace day by day just like the rest of us lousy lousy sinners!

  71. nic paton said

    Hi Andrea
    Welcome. By annihilist, what do you mean? It sounds interesting…
    I don’t see anyone as a “lousy sinner”, BTW. We sin, sure, but that fact is not as big as the Grace of G-d.

  72. Andrea said

    Yes, sin is sin and I’m as good at it as Paul or Peter so I figure compared to Jesus we’re just sinners.
    I was an atheist that Christ thought enough to save so I’m always very in touch with my beginnings and still in awe of His grace.
    As an annihilist – I do not believe God is glorified by the idea of roasting the same humans he died to save.
    But I bow to His wisdom. I absolutely believe we are drawn to Christ not scared into heaven.
    be blessed, got to run. Nice site – looked into CP – a little over the top for me. Experience says he’ll come back around with growth. We usually tend to shoot past the mark

  73. Nic Paton said

    Andrea
    I think that what you mean by annihilist is that G-d will eventually annihilate (destroy) all evil, rather than merely punishing it.
    The doctine of annihilation is one of the 3 possible Christian eschatological approaches:
    1. Endless Punitive Separation, aka Hell. All things evil are kept separate for ever.
    2. Annihilation – after destroying evil, only righteousness remains.
    3. Universal Restoration – all things return to the Maker (after purification). Grace triumphs.

  74. Pearson Supporter said

    There’s nothing “sad” about this situation, except that Christians are so brainwashed they can’t see in front of themselves.

    Sounds to me like Bishop Pearson is an honorable man who is actually using his brain, rather than mindlessly bleating like the hateful sheep who have left so many messages here.

    • Royal D said

      I agree. God is Love. I too was a religious, until I started to think for myself, and really ask questions about what I was being taught(Apostolic denomination).I was critical, judgmental, merciless, until I got to know God for myself. Bishop Pearson is expressing the love of God to those the “so-called” children of God condemns to hell because they have brain-washed into believing that the “Bible” has no mistakes, or not hermenutically understanding what is really being said. Do not worship the Bible. It says prove that which is good. Lets not limit God words to a book. God loved the world but man is trying to pick and choose with their doctrines who God loves. All religions point to God. A loving God. Who is full of mercy and grace. The bible is a book of writings. God is good. Nic and all those who believe with Brother Pearson about inclusion, I’m with you. May God open up the minds of those who have this idea of His love being conditional. Religion divides, Love unites.

      • nic paton said

        Hi Royal D
        You are not alone in your journey of becoming aware of hypocrisy.

        I wholeheartedly support your call towards Love and Unity, and thinking for ourselves.

        Thanks for all your comments. You have obviously read quite a bit of this uber-thread!

  75. Faye Camp said

    why don’t a lot of you check out tentmaker.org with an open mind. so many things have been added to and subtacted from the bible over the centuries. so muxh of the greek and hebrew words that were orginally in the bible have been changed also. i got to thinking myself “would a God send someone to hell just because that person did not have any way of learning about the Almighty??” what about all the millions of people down through the ages who had no way of learning about God, are they in hell through no fault of their own? would like to see your views on this. tentmaker.org is worth checking out.

    Faye

  76. Nic Paton said

    Hi Faye
    Yes, tentmaker.com is an excellant resource. You will see that I have linked to it (right of page). My best bits are FW Farrar, William Barclay, and Louis Abbott.

    I think your starting point “would a God send someone to hell…” is good. When we can gain the courage to ask this question, and to do some work (study and thinking) I believe that it is answered.

    As we begin to realise that our understanding of G-d (our theology) is flawed and partial – for this is humility – we become open to new ideas, and realise that ALL truth belongs to G-d, and that us Christians do not have the monopoly on it.

    • Royal D said

      Also check out http://www.batteredsheep.com and there is a book showing that hate of Christians called
      The Dark Side of Christianity. It is a real eye-opener.

  77. Valencia Dobbins said

    For some, I totally agree and believe what Rev. Pearson is saying and going with his belief statement about Hell, etc. As a church-going person all my life I have had some doubts about the teaching in which I think is power to control our minds, what we do, in what we believe, etc. I totally support what Rev. Pearson is saying.

  78. Valencia Dobbins said

    To Faye, you are definitely on the money with your statement. It does make you wonder about the teaching that are being taught to God believing people. Who truly know the truth? Can any of us say it is truly a place called Hell or Heaven? Have anyone be there and came back with proof of these places? Religion is like a control substances…

  79. Nic Paton said

    Hi Valencia
    Thanks for your comments, and I am glad you have found things you agree with. It’s a good thing to think these things through ourselves.
    Be well.

  80. Peter said

    I have to say and admit that I too have had the same thoughts and concepts as Walter Pearson. I too am a Pastor and was brought up in a very fundamental doctrinally based church as well that followed the commandments and the letter of the law. However I have to believe that God loves us all in spite of. What was the purpose in Jesus dying on the cross, leaving glory to come to this sin-sick world to save a man who did not want to be saved. His dying has to be the purpose and foundation for our salvation. Because He died, I live through grace. Pastor Pearson, stand strong and watch the salvation of the sains.

  81. Nic Paton said

    Thanks Peter. Do your congregation want to hear this message?

  82. Peter said

    Nic, I am not sure if my congreation is ready but I too must begin to preach about the unfailing love of Christ and that through Christ death, we live and it gives us the right to live eternally in spite of our fallacies. Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection would have all been in vain if not for the saving of the sinner.

  83. Nic Paton said

    Peter, I am with you in this desire to embrace radical grace.

    I wish you well in your journey, and always remain available for encouragement should you need it.

    Where are you based?

  84. Mary Hall said

    God sent His Son, Jesus, to die for the sins of all. That part is true. However, in order to receive this gift of salvation, we must confess our sins. What is the point of a church, a preacher, a teacher of religion if everyone is going to heaven? My prayer for Carlton Pearson is that his eyes are opened to the truth of the Gospel. It is scary to think one who preached the Word for so long could abandon it for a doctrine that is totally opposite.

    Of course, this theory is appealing to all who want to go to heaven, but choose to live a life style that is contrary to God’s Word. There is a way that seems right but the end is death.

  85. Nic Paton said

    Mary
    Do you think that Pearson has not “confessed his sins?” because he holds a different view of salvation to yours? That would be rather presumptuous and self-righteous, don’t you think?

    And are you implying that those who believe in Universal Restoration, are “choosing a lifestyle contrary to God’s Word?”. That would be an astounding leap of logic.

    How do you know that Pearsons eyes are “not open to the truth of the gospel”? Simply because you disagree with him?

    The doctrine of Universal salvation, which you say is the “opposite” of the gospel, was standard belief in the early church, until the Roman church declared it heresy in about 650. Have you looked into this part of church history in any depth?

    I look forward to your comments…

  86. liquidlight said

    hi Mary.

    i’m as guilty as anyone else of making assumptions about others. while it might offer us a sense of certainty and reassure us that we have the right beliefs, it achieves little else other than polarising, separating and building walls.

    Christ said that who is not for me is against me. this also implies that whoever is not against Him is for Him. Pearson has paid far more on a personal level than the majority of his critics, for his standpoint – he has also spent a lot more time than the majority of them in coming to his belief in universal restoration.

    i hope you respond to Nic’s questions about your assumptions and continue as part of the conversation.

    go well.

    russ.

  87. Ed said

    I’m a universalist, but I do not feel that Pearson’s journey should be celebrated, because I am a Christian universalist. Pearson is not a Christian. I’m sure he wouldn’t even mind me saying this since he has recently come out with a book entitled “God is not a Christian.” Need I say more? Let’s let Carlton say it:

    “I see Christianity these days as a cult following. When Jesus said, ‘Take up your cross and follow me,’ he was talking to 12 people. He didn’t want the crowds. But they MADE HIM INTO A GOD because it was a good business.” — from http://www.houstonpress.com/2007-09-20/news/falling-star/
    (emphasis mine. Be sure to notice he believes Jesus was not even a god much less the God)

    …uh, really? Were the apostles wealthy business men who never suffered for their faith or was there a cross to be taken up? Perhaps the problem is that it was only a business to Carlton; he was one of the health and wealth charismatics with a big church. Well, his church disappeared, but he’s certainly still in business now as a darling of the liberal press. I’m sure he commands hefty speech and appearance fees. Despite his “transformation,” I think nothing has changed: it’s still all about Carlton.

    There are plenty more quotes where that came from and you can easily find them for yourself. It seems it is hard for the man to open his mouth without insulting Jesus or those who wrote the Bible. I saw him on TV saying that the book of Revelation resulted from John going out to exile in his rage and bitterness toward the Romans and having dreams and hallucinations in this fit of rage.

    I am someone who would like people to see that universalism is not incompatible with the Christian faith. Carlton Pearson is very bad publicity for universalism.

    Ed

    • Royal D said

      I too do not call myself a Christian because we were never told to become that. I use to until I did my study of the bible and no where did it state to refer to yourselves as Christians. Lets not condemn Pearson because he has been enlighten and was open to go against tradition. Christianity has become a cult where it separates itself and lifts itself above all teachings of God. It promotes fear, condemnation,ignorance and division. God loves all.

  88. Nic Paton said

    Ed
    Need you say more? Well, yes, I think you should. You are making big leaps of logic in your assertions,

    I am a Christian universalist. ->
    He wrote a book entitled “God is not a Christian.” ->
    Therefore, Pearson is not a Christian.

    I think you are doing yourself a disservice by this.

    1. Be wary of condemning that which you disagree with just because you disagree.
    2. I’ve not read the book, but I think its quite accurate to say that Jesus was not a Christian. Jesus is G-d, and its his followers, some decades later, who became known as Christians. By that I don’t have a problem with the title.

    “I’m sure he wouldn’t even mind me saying this” – How are you so sure of this?

    “they MADE HIM INTO A GOD because it was a good business.”
    I know it sounds like it implies he “isn’t God”, but I read it to mean that his followers made him into something other that what he was/is. I don’t think it should be used to imply Pearson rejects him.

    But I thank you for your comments, and I’d be glad to be kept informed of his progress. The article you linked to (thanks) doenst contain anything I havent already read about him.

    However, it is always possible that he has gone into some sort of error, but that its the risk for every prophet.

    Ed, you present an interesting mix of conservatism and liberalism, being a Universalist as you say you are.

    What do you believe about salvation and universalism?

    • Royal D said

      Excuse me can you tell me where Jesus said that he was God.

  89. would you please delete my name and e-mail address from this site you deleted my message so apparently it wasn’t good enough for you i don’t know why i was vile or rude or using profanity i;m a chrisian . please delete my personal information from here and this message or i will take legal steps.

  90. Nic Paton said

    I’m sorry Ernestine, I have no record of your entry. I have never intentionally deleted anyones contribution, no matter what they said. I cannot find your post in spam, either.

  91. for the traditionalist to come around. Of course some never will, but I must say that in recent months I have been revitalized with the truth that has been revealed to me. I am of pentecostal background and you know what that means. They like to preach it hot. But my whole like and I just truned 56, I have had many questions about the scriptures that never would add up. I have preached the gospel and worked in church in music and teaching for many years, but I was growing weary. In all my years I had not even heard of the Universalist doctrine and the church history of its embrace, or been exposed to the realities of mistranslations that exist. I knew there were quite a few, but had never pined them all down, until being led to this truth and even found a local church Pastored by an old friend who beleives whole hearted in Universalism. The evidence in the word is overwhealming. You just cannot get over all the scriptures with the word “all”. It truely is a Gospel of Inclusion. God will have his way and his way is Universal Restoration. Since God lives outside of time, he can easily take all the ages necessary to accomplish his will. His will is the only will that counts. The hardliners for eternal damnation will just have to come to grips with it sooner or later.

  92. […] Guys, i was browsing the internet and came across this article written by Sound and Silence, about Bishop Carlton Pearson. Check it out and let us know what you think of this article.. Please […]

  93. Jon said

    Love God, love others.
    I applaud Bishop Pearson.

    The reign of religious terror is coming to an end and I am so glad to see it.

    Here are the rules all wrapped up in a nut-shell. LOVE GOD,LOVE OTHERS.

    In Christ love for all
    Jon

  94. loopegodel said

    the scandal is that this is a scandal. for another view of how twisted authoritarian religion can get, watch this scary video of Tom Cruise talking about scientology:

    http://gawker.com/5002269/the-cruise-indoctrination-video-scientology-tried-to-suppress

  95. […] The scandal of bishop Carlton Pearson (94 comments / 4,762 views): When I came out in support of Carlton Pearson in his bold evangelical refutation of hell, I had no idea that the debate would become the most heated of all my posts. […]

  96. Serita said

    I fell into your blog by looking for, of all things, an image of the “as christians we apologize for being self righteous hypocritical bastards” that the Revolution NYC church uses. My daughter has been going to what I feel is a little too radical, “cutting edge” evangelical church for a little over a month. Although happy that she was in church and taking a great interest in it, after a conversation with her yesterday about “once saved, always saved” I felt that I needed to look for something of substance to temper what I feel are her a bit over zealous views. You see, I was her 30 years ago and through lots of life experience, lots of thought and prayer I’ve come to believe that even though “winning souls for Christ” through fear can be very effective in the short term, showing God’s love and grace will actually heal and help people when real life knocks you on your butt.

    Anyway, as I said, I stumbled into your blog and have spent the last three hours sifting through the blogs and comments. When I came to this one about Carlton Pearson I felt I had to speak. Those 30 years ago I mentioned above when the charismatic movement was just starting to get going strong, Carlton would preach at a couple of the local churches. Whenever he was in the area it was a treat to go hear him preach. Now this was before the big church, the huge ministry or congregation that would come later, he was more or less an itinerate preacher. He had such an annointing on his life and one of the gifts mentioned in scripture and charismatic teaching, I’m not sure if it would be called prophecy or word of knowledge, but he prayed for me and spoke to me personally on more than one occasion and told me things that God was going to do in my life, things that no one would have just “known”, things that came to pass. I mention all that to say this, I have a hard time believing that someone who was so immersed in God would come to the conclusions that he has lightly. I don’t know how much I believe universalism myself, but the fact that someone of his caliber has come to this decision makes me stop and take a look. And think. And come to my own conclusion that as with much else there is much I do not understand, there probably is a kernel of truth here and as with many other things I have had to do is leave it with God. I know that He and His grace is much bigger than we like to give credit.

    Thank you for giving voice to your insights and questions and giving those who come here food for thought. I’m pleased to make your aquantance and I’ll be back on a regular basis.

  97. Nic Paton said

    Hi Serita
    Thank you so much for your well considered comment.

    There is a tension created between our faith in someone and the mental assent we allow ourselves to give. So if you decided long ago that Carlton was a trustworthy person, and then he starts saying things that contradict your normal ways of thinking, you are caught in a quandry.

    Not too far from what must have happened to the disciples of Jesus, where they basically believed in him but his teaching kept on perplexing thier familiar thoughts. They’d have to make decisions of faith all the time.

    If you have read my accompanying post (http://soundandsilence.wordpress.com/2007/02/21/universal-restoration/)where I lay out my reasons for embracing a costly type of universalism, you will see that I too have travelled from standard evangelicalsm towards a more generous position, giving consideration to the biblical message along the way.

    I’m glad you have got something from this – many blessings to you.

  98. Russ said

    in my experience, most christians that i talk to about hell, experience a significant level of tension & dis-ease while doing so. i intuit that many of them feel a confusing antagonism between the concept of hell and the G-d of they believe in, or at least want to believe in – i.e. a being of wholeness who reveals a love that includes and yet goes beyond mere retribution.

  99. Nic Paton said

    it’s interesting how this discussion rumbles on behind the scenes anongst a few.

    but in my day to day, I don’t encounter many people who are interested in discussing it.

    it seems only the evangelical / radical wings care: on the left the UR enthused and on the right those with vested interests who require there to be a place of unending punitive separation.

    this thought based on a review of the issue in the light of real life.

  100. Vicki said

    Sad to hear, although not surprizing, the story of the Bishop’s journey through this world. Sad also to see how evil the world is becoming. It seems to grow worse on a daily basis. People seem to care less and less for one another and have no respect for themselves or anyone else. All I know is that I am a child of God and He loves me….of this I am certain. I am far from perfect and I am unworthy of God’s love, according to some, however I know He still loves me. People who think this way I feel sorry for and I pray for them, cause I wouldn’t want to be them when we each have to be accountable for ourselves before God. I love other people. Some I don’t like the behavior of too much. Many I don’t agree with, but love them all. I applaud this man who has listened to His God and been obedient in the face of such opposition. Bravo and Bless You Bishop Pearson. See you in Heaven

  101. nic paton said

    Hello Vicki – congratulations on being the 100th commenter.
    Thanks for your thoughts. Truth generally does not come easily, and the prophets take the brunt of bringing it to bear.

  102. Barbara said

    I applaud the courage of Carlton Pearson. I was a child when I realized that it did not make sense that a loving Father (God) would lock his children in a house with a monster (the Devil) running loose. What Loving Father would condemn most of the worlds population to an eternity of being consumed by flames. It didn’t make sense and it still doesn’t. If we are to believe that Jesus came to save us then Jesus saves ALL OF US. We are all of us God’s children or none of us are. Have people so little faith in God that they believe there is not room in God’s heart for all of us? That would be a pretty small God indeed, wouldn’t it?

  103. mezzo said

    I can’t believe it took me over a year to stumble onto this blog. I’m so glad I did. Partly because Nic and some others have packed it full of rich history in your research. On a personal note – I used to live in Tulsa and was a member of Carlton’s congregation. I know him and his family and have been angered and appalled at the attacks made on Gina and even the children. The venom spewed by so many about his spirit and character mystify me, as those judgments fall into opposition of the commandment “thou shall not judge”. I have to admit, when Carlton’s teachings came to light, I initially had to struggle with the idea that Hitler might be in heaven. My arrogance as a human thought “how dare I would have to share heavenly space with the likes of tyrants and monsters!” Then, my faith began to develop muscle as I realized God is God and hence, big enough to pull this reconciliation off (with a few hitches, of course). For those that would argue inclusion is just a license to sin, I say ‘don’t stub your toe on the way out of the faith dome” – because, for me, my God of inclusion inspires me to do just the opposite of sin freely. He inspires me to NOT sin – …. I know I’ve missed out on many months of good conversation and debate, but I’ll be around looking at some of the other blogs. I need my faith to continue growing. My humanity demands that it grow to survive. Thanks for this intelligent place to rest my soul while encouraging my mind.

  104. nic paton said

    Mezzo – I thank you for a report from close to home – it’s much appreciated when we can become very abstracted and overly theological.

    I think of the Hell doctrine as something of a demon – when you tamper with it it starts to snarl.

    So what are you doing now – are you part of a group who is Inclusive? Or are you recovering and chilling out a while?

  105. […] The Scandal of Bishop Carlton Pearson […]

  106. Kevin Turner said

    Love is but one side of God. To say that God loves “so much” or “too much” that he won’t pull trigger on those who reject or blaspheme is non-scriptural. This is a dangerous doctrine to teach or preach. This is much greater than Bishop Carlton Pearson who I sincerely admired for numerous years. No one has the right to change scripture. There is no bible version, translation or otherwise that refutes holy scripture. What’s next, no heaven because someone was watching TV and heard a voice saying there wasn’t one?

    Scripture declares that there is no name under heaven whereby men can be saved. So now through this doctrine of inclusion anyone can call anyname and be saved? This is heresy. This hurts to the core.

  107. Nic Paton said

    Kevin
    Thanks for commenting. I am sorry you feel hurt; this is not my intention at all.

    “Scripture declares that there is no name under heaven whereby men can be saved”. I accept that. Jesus is the savior of all.

    But where did I say, or anyone for that matter, “Call upon any name and be saved?”. You can’t just make stuff up because you disgree with something.

    I am concerned about your image of the trigger-pulling God. Although I do see some “hard to accept” acts by Yahweh in the old testament, the god Jesus presents us IS all love. And love does not preclude judgement, either. There will be judgement, I also accept that.

    Inclusion only makes sense in the light of the work of the cross. Any other basis for it is in my opinion doomed. For me, the very best foundation for any universal salvation is in the new testament.

    Lastly, in what way do you think scripture is being changed by Inclusion? If anything, scripture that is usually ignored is being re-discovered.

  108. Joseph said

    Hey, I have read some comments but not all so forgive me if I repeat something so here goes. My comment is also a concern, Bishop Pearson (and those who believe him) are forgetting one simple truth, or rather many simple truths. 1) Ezekiel 18 talks about the personal responsibility for sin and many other statments in the Bible state jugdement on those who DO NOT REPENT and STOP THIER SINFUL WAYS. These judgements are on cities as well as countries and many of them say “to the third and fourth generations.” That being said, the people that the Bishop saw on TV were poor and Muslim and going, you know. He felt sorry for them but whether or not they are up for jugdement is not ours to determine but rather Gods and not just any but God Almighty. In Romans it says should we continue in sin and let grace abound, CERTINly NOT.
    2) Hell as a metephor, ok, here’s the thing Isaiah 14 says that Lucifer will be in the pit. So does Ezekiel, and Revelations. Joseph Smith (not me, the Mormon) said there was no hell and people thought He was nuts, what has changed? Paul said in Galations : 6-10 if anyone including me (meaning Paul) preaches ANY OTHER GOSPEL whether an angel from heaven or otherwise it is FALSE let GOD be TRUE and EVERY MAN a (what, wait for it) LIAR! So going by that I would rather put my trust in the ALMIGHTY that said I am not a man that I should lie. “Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar.

    As it is written:

    That You may be justified in Your words,

    And may overcome when You are judged.”

    (Romans 3:4)
    I have said enough for know and I would like to have phone conversation with the Bishop and tell him myself in a loving and respectful way of course.
    In the Lords service Joseph R. Smith have a nice day

  109. Gavin Marshall said

    Nic – you really can’t deprive these guys of hell. It’s almost as bad as me saying the devil is a myth.
    The problem is really psychological: Some people really need to be able to compare themselves to other ‘sinners’ being damned to firey torture for eternity in order be able to see themselves as ‘loving and respectful’. It’s a kind of sado-masochism, and as much as I find it distasteful and highly narrow minded, people have the religious right to judge others. Sure, Jesus said we mustn’t judge and all that, but let’s not get into that shall we? It’s much more fun to quote old testament prophets out of context and capitalise GOSPEL in a way that makes it sound like a weapon of mass destruction.
    What does ‘gospel’ mean by the way? I read somewhere that it’s supposed to mean ‘good news’, but that can’t be right can it?

  110. nic paton said

    Hi Gavin – I think you are right, if people want hell, let them keep it.

    The psychological component to this problem cannot be underestimated, the need to feel better than others.

    Well you’ll like this – gospel is old english for “good spell” (or tidings).

    So do we have a majikal religion on our hands?

  111. Gavin Marshall said

    hmm – don’t know about a magickal religion, but this certainly seems like an old, and very powerful spell that people are under… some people were crucified for trying to break it.

  112. nic paton said

    Joseph – thanks but your comment is a bit confusing, really. But you seem to be pointing out 1) We should take personal responsibility for sin; I agree.
    and 2) Hell is not a metaphor. I’m afraid you are not convincing me with your argument.

    And what does this mean: “Muslim and going, you know…”? I don’t know, can you spell it out please.

  113. russ said

    this post flares up from time to time, like a spark in the wilderness. two things spring to mind:

    1) the bible seems to lend weight to both everlasting judgement & destruction on the one side, and the restoration of ALL through Christ, on the other – what does this say about G-d, who must have foreseen the division that would ensue?

    2) the idea that Christ might finally achieve the salvation/healing of ALL beings draws incredible anger and wrath from many christians – what does it say about such christians, who’s hearts do not cause them to scurry to their bibles in the hope that it might be true?

    Russ….

  114. Joseph said

    Nic, I was trying to say that when the Bishop saw the people on TV they were poor and miserable and He said to himself “could a loving God send these people to hell after they suffered on earth” to which the Bishop claimed to here from God and say “is that what you think we’re doing.” I was trying to say that these people are not deprived of the love of God they, just like anyone else (John 3:16), simply have to call on the name of Jesus (Acts 16:25-33) to be saved. But, my friend, the arguement is about the Gospel preached is to be what has been spoken from the begining and again I reference Gal. 6-10. If we, or an angel from heaven (or Bishop Carlton Pearson, Mahatma Ghandi, Joseph Smith, Dali Lama, the guy who founded the muslims, buddha, me, you), preach any other gospel… The point is no one should be preaching anything besides what has been originally preached. The fact that Hell is not an actual place is not a new idea in realty it’s really old. In Isaiah 14 the Bible tells of the future destination of Lucifer in the PIT or Hell. If there is no Hell then what is the point of heaven, meaning why would God kick Lucifer out of heaven and say that anyone who does not worship him ,(God), will be punished , was kidding “Hey, I’m going eternally punish everyone who sins and does not believe in me and worship me, PSYCH!!!” I don’t think so. God has given us the right to freewill to believe anything we want to, so unfortunately, we will not know for sure who is right or wrong but I hope and pray that we all make the right desicion. “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord” Joshua 24:15
    In His Service, Joseph R Smith

  115. nic paton said

    Russ – magelike observations, my friend. It’s quite true, the issue of Hell seems to not lead to openminded study, but deep emotional reponses.

    What does that say about G-d? Well, for one that G-d is not a textbook, not Law, but Grace. And grace is full of ambiguity and lovingkindness.

    Theres an old version of the Universal Reconcilliation article on wiki that lays out the pro and anit verses quite well: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Universal_reconciliation&oldid=116254117#Scriptural_arguments

    It’s a worthy excersise going through these and justifying to onesself what one belives.

  116. nic paton said

    Joseph – thanks for continuing the conversation, I appreciate that.

    You say “no one should be preaching anything besides what has been originally preached”. There are 2 problems in this:

    1. How then do we progress in our understanding of G-d? If there is only 1 fixed “gospel”, how can we know what that is, if you are referring to a set of beliefs that were around at some time in the past. Is it in Jesus day? Or Isaiah’s? Or in the 4th Century, when the Cannonical Bible was compiled? Or at some othe time?

    I say G-d is active now, and this is the 21st Century, and we have been given the intellegence and the imagination to grasp the truth of G-d in our context.

    2. If you are suggesting that our current notion of Hell as an ever burning place of punishment for sinners is the same as Isaiah’s concept of “the pit” then you are simply ignoring the vast majority of biblical scholarship in favour of your own superstitions.

    Verse 15 says “But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit.” The word used here is undoubteldly “Sheol” which means ultimately “the unpercieved”, although it is translated as grave and pit as well. The Hebrew Sheol and even its Greek counterpart Hades is NOT the same thing as the catholic/evangelical “Hell”, whose sources are more from outside the Hebrew culture.

  117. Gavin Marshall said

    Joseph, I would also advise you to reread that passage in Isaiah and let it say what it says, without reading the whole myth of ‘the devil’ into it. That might clear up the whole circular logic about if there’s no hell then what’s the point of heaven. That’s a good question, though…

    The problem with fundamentalism (well one of the problems) is that it’s the whole deal or nothing at all. You have to make the assumption that your point of view is the only right way of looking at things (and of course the usual answer is that it’s what the bible says – not realising that the bible is rather tricky to interpret). You see – the minute you question one of these beliefs, like 6 day creation, or the sacred belief in hell, the whole deal falls apart, because your underlying foundation is the assumption that you are right. It’s a terribly tiring way of living, I would think, because you’re never really free to be honest and to really existentially grapple with your own doubts and humanity. But I guess fundamentalists are so busy trying to defend their rightness, that this never really occurs to them..

  118. russ said

    insofar as “fundamentalist” has been generalized to mean “strong adherence to any set of beliefs in the face of criticism or unpopularity”, i don’t have a problem with it in principle.

    for example, christian X holds the view that the bible forbids homosexual sex and yet is warm, respectful & loving to people in general, including homosexuals. non-christian Y does not have a problem with homosexuality per se, but his/her approach to life and people in general is one of indifference & distance, or as is so often the case, a hazy “i’m okay, you’re okay” political correctness.

    “fundamentalist” has become a slur word & often applied without thought. while some “fundamentalists” act like intolerant ******’s, holding certain fundamentals need not necessarily be “a problem”.

  119. timvictor said

    Nic,

    I believe it’s time to distinguish between the development of the notion of Heaven and Hell that continues though many have thrown purgatory out of the picture from the tragectories of Scripture. The notion of salvation as fire insurance related to that has been commented on a number of times and by numerous individuals.

    It seems to me that you’re building up a straw man and burning it, which I applaud, but I’m not behind this as a bait-and-switch manuever I see.

    I believe that guys like Joseph are trying to have a conversation around affirming and establising tangents from Scripture while you’re using Scripture to deny a mistruth built from the Scriptures. I don’t believe that he, and others, are responding out of a psychological need for Hell. That’s an unfair and emotive statement to make.

    Sure, don’t over literalise imagery used in Scripture whether “abraham’s bosom” or “fire” and “darkness” or “reward” or “mark on the right hand or forehead”. But don’t erase the notion of resurrection of the dead unto judgement either. That’s a clear tangent expressed in various ways.

    Let’s not get into the double bind between “How can a loving Godde permit evil to endure?” and “What a bastard, you mean S/He is going to hold us accountable for our lives?”

    Nic, perhaps it’s time to move on from Bishop Carlton and to present your version of the gospel.

  120. nic paton said

    Russ – I agree that we need to revisit our cliches, and that “fundamental” in not bad per se. We have mis/used the word, attaching an ism, to pin our own cliches of intolerance and conservatism on.

  121. nic paton said

    Tim – you are breaking up a bit…

    I think I have given Joseph a fair enough answer, based on 2 aspects I picked up in his comment. I can see that he is trying to converse; I am trying to as well.

    I really don’t understand what you are saying by “bait-and-switch manuever”?

    I’m not keeping the Carlton Pearson thread alive on purpose, I am just responding to those who comment on it. As for “my version of the gospel”, well that is being presented in the wider context of posts, as well as in F2F life, I would hope.

    My last effort to summarise my views (eschatology, fundamentals and in paticular Cannon FW Farrar) to you, on the post http://soundandsilence.wordpress.com/2008/06/05/lazarus-and-inclusion/ has not yet met with any response.

  122. timvictor said

    Last I checked there was nothing new on that post so I wrote here. I’ll read that post and respond to it.

    I know this post has a life of it’s own, I don’t mean to imply any sense of stuckness or to knock the conversation. I just wanted to help clarify the conversation at least from my POV.

    It’s just that I believe there are two trajectories: 1) a deliberate rejection of the misbeliefs concerning Heaven & Hell that is popular among Christians as well as those who aren’t that are considered to be what Christians believe or ought to believe; and, 2) the formulation of the biblical trajectories related to salvation, judgement and the everlasting states.

    It just seems, more often than not, that in trying to debunk 1) that 2) is included therein. In rejecting a particular formulation of H&H it would seem that you, and others subscribing Universal Salvation, are not sufficiently grappling with a) the Scriptures on sin, personal accountability and salvation on one hand and b) the beliefs of the early church. Both predate the notions being rejected.

    I believe the conversation should move from the debunking of an outmoded view toward a construction of a view rooted in Scripture and it’s trajectories.

  123. A very healthy and helpful approach to a “new” way to look at hell: Brian McLaren’s “The Last Word (And The Word After That)”

    I’ve been very interested in Brother Pearson for awhile now, and can’t say that I am surprised at the utterly ungraceful reactions to him. The guy is simply embracing the radical message (and life) of Jesus and the incredible sandal of grace, as well as coming to a full reality of what Jesus was talking about when he alluded to Gehenna and such- and how we treat one another in the here and now. Ironic, isn’t it?

    Love you stuff, man! Would you ever be interested in contributing over at my blog? I have some stuff in the works- if you’re interested, I’ll run them by you.

    Cody
    http://www.anewkindofminister.blogspot.com

  124. Nic Paton said

    Hi Cody – Yes I think McLarens book is superb.
    Have you read Carltons book?
    I’m certainly interested in what you are doing, and will drop by soon.
    Thanks for your interest.

  125. Vince said

    I saw his story on MSNBC and was touched. Hell is a myth that religious institutions have used to control their followers. I’m so glad someone is standing up and saying so loudly and clearly. I am a dedicated Christian who does NOT believe in hell. How could a God of love and mercy create someone for the express purpose of sending that person to hell and everlasting torment? Carlton is an amazing individual. I truly admire him!

  126. Josh said

    The reactions towards Bishop Pearson’s views are shocking and deeply saddening. As far as my personal opinion on the topic is concerned, C.S. Lewis’ perspective on hell in “The Great Divorce” still make the most sense to me. It neither denies hell altogether nor defends it without giving any coherent rationale.

  127. Brown said

    Carlton’s associate pastor, Jesse Williams Jr., passed away on 12/13/08. Just FYI

  128. Brown said

    FROM CARLTON ABOUT THE DEATH OF HIS ASSOCIATE PASTOR. I WAS VERY TOUCHED:

    I spent all last weekend by his bedside there in Orlando. I considered him both my brother and my spiritual son and he knew it. I spoke and prayed with him around midnight his time Friday night/Saturday morning. He was unable to speak but was alert and able to understand and attempted to respond, as best he could. He seemed to have known he would go on or close to Friday and indicated the same to us. I encouraged him to relax and release which he ultimately did.

    He was determined to live right up to his last breath, smiling and attempting to even sing. What a worshipper he was, is and will always be as a memory in our hearts and minds.

    I quoted the scripture to him from the Psalms where David said, “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil because God is with me.”

    I reminded him that death is only a shadow, or shade of light and life. It is an extravagant illusion that seems something its not. Death is fatal, but not final. We of Christ Consciousness are fully aware of the other and etherness of God, personified in the Christ Person and Principle and therein we have hope eternal and in the eternal.

  129. Nic Paton said

    Brown, thank you very much for keeping us informed, it is appreciated.

  130. El Russell said

    You all talk shit. The man is not afraid to stand up for himself and people on here talking about they feel hurt and cursing him out for speaking his heart. You wanna curse him out and then think you not going to the same damn hell you sending him to with your mouth and words.
    I curse because I don’t give a damn … that mean I’m going hell too, because ou all know God better than anybody else!
    Get a life and I will too!

  131. Nic Paton said

    El – that’s particularly unhelpful.

  132. Donna54 said

    Hi Nic:

    I’m a staunch heterosexual Baptist. I have always believed in the doctrine of “inclusion” (I didn’t call it that). I never could stomach so-called Christians damming others for their sins as if they were “sinless”. The thing that brought me to reject the rhetoric of the church were the hateful sermons coming from the pulpits on homesexuality and the death of Matthew Shepherd. I prayed to the Lord to give me wisdom on this issue because if this is what believing in God was about, I wasn’t having anything to do with it and I guess it just meant I WAS GOING TO HELL.

    My mother always told me, when you don’t understand something about the Bible or about your faith, pray and then leave it alone. You will receive an answer. Well I did and I wasn’t even expecting it. I was at work at my computer working when something in my spirit said “I didn’t tell them to do anything about it…” Not realizing what was going on, I kept on working but sort of talking to myself said “Do anything about what? Why did I think that?” Again my spirit spoke and said “You don’t have to do anything about homesexuallity…it’s in the Bible so that you know that I created it, it exists, it’s a part of humanity. Those scriptures about a man not bedding down with another man or woman with a woman are intended for YOU to understand what you are seeing and to undestand that YOU the heterosexual…YOU’RE NOT to do it.”

    Overtime, what I gathered from MY spirit is this. Whether I understand homosexualilty or not, I am not to persecute others. I am also to stand up to those who try to persecute others because of who they are. And when it comes to sin, ALL OF US have to work out our salvation in fear and trembling of the Lord NOT MAN.

    That’s why I also know that Carlton Pearson is RIGHT.

    I COULD NOT STAND CARLTON PEARSON when he was with the evangelicals. I thought he was the biggest phony and biggest opportunist among the evangelicals. When I saw the special they did about him on MSNBC (I think) and heard this man’s testimony, I ACTUALLY BEGAN TO SHOUT and give praise because I KNEW CARLTON PEARSON WAS TELLING THE TRUTH and that this MAN was justifying something the Lord had put down in my soul. This MAN could’ve kept all of this to himself and kept living the life of luxury he was in. BUT HE GAVE IT ALL UP for what he felt the Lord wanted him to do!

    God is blessing Carlton Pearson in ways that his enemies will never understand.

  133. Donna54 said

    El:

    Unlike Nic, I enjoyed your comments. You’re what my grandmother would call “salt of the earth people.” You may not say the right words but your HEART makes up for it.

    God bless you – you’re 100% right!

    Oh by the way – Jesus called people names too. When one of the Pharises sent for him Jesus told them “…no, bring that sly fox to ME.”

  134. Nic Paton said

    Donna54: I see in your words a respect for the heart and intuitive approaches to knowing God.

    I am wondering how Carlton went from “phoney” to “truthteller” so absolutely in your opinion. To what do you attribute that change of perception?

    I’m curious you call yourself “staunch” – is that for real? Are you happy as a Baptist?

    Thanks for sharing, and for trying to hear old El out.

  135. ruZL said

    this post continues to attract attention & passion & will no doubt continue to do so. i have seen a number of mainstream evangelicals initially warm to the hope of universal restoration – the ultimate salvation of all – only to recoil back into traditional hell teachings, due partly to the fear of breaking from the mainstream. i cannot blame people for such a reaction, being a reluctant heretic myself.

    as for El Russell, this person is a mystery to me. i hope he/she visits & responds again. there is room for all. while this person is not an alter-ego of myself, as some might have suspected, i relate to the frustration the concept of UR brings up. it could become THE central point of debate in the church in the coming years.

    for the generous & optimistic of heart, it can almost seem too good to be true.

    no mind has conceived….

    go well all.

    ruZL…

  136. Sandie Bohrer said

    My prayers are with Carlton Pearson and his family. Though I wonder
    if the believers of Inclusivity are looking for an easy way out. The Bible, God’s Holy Word, has not changed nor has God.

  137. Vishalin said

    Hi Nic. Thanks for posting this thread.

    Thanks also to everyone who have taken their time to share for the benefit of all. If you are following this thread, I thought this debate would add some interesting insights. Carlton Pearson is in it as well as my version of the modern day daring defender of all things deliciously doctrinal, (drum roll) Mark Driscoll. ;) And one of my favourite authors Deepak Chopra. :)

    Also become aware of the written comments after each video. Hilarious. :)

    • Vishalin said

      Oh there are ten vids here (bandwith…. bandwith) and its almost end of the month. So good luck to all the end of the month salticrax snackers.

      • Hi there Vishalin

        Thanks for the heads up on the videos on Youtube.
        I watch all 10 parts, so much for going slow on bandwidth consuption!!

        They were well worth watching

        Be blessed
        Andrew

    • Nic Paton said

      Vishalin
      Thanks for this. And for being the first person to comment with a video!

      I shall get back to you when I have watched it…

    • Nic Paton said

      Vishalin – a really engaging debate.

      Interestingly and unexpectedly, I found Chopra just as dogmatic as Driscoll. I was also surprized by how restrained Driscoll was.

      All in all there was a real progression represented, from sentimentalist to fundamentalist to post-fundamentalist to mystic. I do give credit to the those on the fundy side because thats been my journey. But they need to realise that their framing story is not sustainable, and they have to enter Generosity.

      I’d like to discuss Chopra further with you. To me, he represents the unapologetic East. It is challenging and refreshing to hear his no bullshit, scientifically informed view, which circumvents the Western mire, but reveals a few pitfalls of the Eastern one.

      It was great to see Carlton up there. He is really honest, and I think he has not yet “arrived” at his new destination. But that makes me like him more.

  138. J said

    It is outrageously weird that some fundamentalists call Christian universalism and open theism “heresies” (especially when one considers that open theism is more in keeping with the concept of a dialectical God found in Judaism—Judaism being the religion of Jesus !)

    Nowhere do any of the verses of the bible state that universalism , nor open theism are any “heresies” .

    As a NON-fundamentalist Christian , I will always hope and pray that eventually every person will be redeemed by Jesus –or if not redeemed perhaps remediated). There may be some people who persist in some immoral behavior so tenaciously and severly that their souls may have to be destroyed partially and then have the elements of their souls reconstructed later –or their spirit somehow redeemed without the soul ..(perhaps serial killers and such might be included in such a prospect) .

    Thank Jesus for universalist theologians !

    Here below I am posting two articles that make the case that the use of terms like ‘heresy’ and ‘heretic’ in the New Testament epistles–should NOT be interpreted in the broad way that many ultra-Fundamentalists do…

    The case is made that since in the epistles of Paul , where words such as ‘heresies’ and ‘heretic’ appear in the text…nowhere does Paul state explictly which specific doctrines are to be considered heretical , and since the only place in the bible scriptures where there is anything close to a definition of “heresy” is in the epistle of 2 Peter, where the author refers to people , ‘denying the Lord that bought them’ and NOT to Christian Universalism , open theism , or every form of unusual doctrine , but specifically to denying the Lord…and so the broad accusations that such and such a doctrine is “heresy” (that many ultra-Fundamentalists like to cast around) are playing fast and loose with the text .

    Furthermore, the doctrines of Fundamentalism are not on every point “orthodox Christianity” . True orothodox Christianity is more in keeping with the Eastern Orthodox sect—NOT the doctrines promoted by lousy theologians like John Calvin, Charles Spurgeon ect. Gregory of Nyssa and a number of the early church fathers supported universalism .

    I see that some have posted words to the effect that they were going to pray that Carlton Pearson stop supporting universalism and support a fundamentalist outlook . That is disgusting !

    In light of how Jesus taught that ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive’ and how that applies even to salvation , please do not pray that I become a fundamentalist. If it turns out that an ultra-Fundamentalist deity is running the universe (a different Deity than the Father of the Jesus who gave us the sermon on the mount)—then me becoming a fundamentalist and going to a fundamentalist heaven while other people (even nice people) are being tortured endlessly for not praying a Christian prayer prior to bodily death ..I would regard as a worse state of affairs than me being sent to a hell of fire and brimstone . It would be outrageously selfish for me to go to a fundamentalist sort of heaven —if there are people being tortured for an endless period of years .

    If an ultra-Fundamentalist wants to send people to a fire and brimstone hell (or “allow” them to go there) where people are endlessly tortured —even nice people—then I’d just as soon rather try to persuade such a deity to to torture me instead *in the fire brimstone forever , rather than them and let the other people out of such a hell. If such an ultra-Fundamentalist deity maintains that such persons who have died without converting to Christianity are unworthy of heaven because of their sin or belief , then they could still be let out of that hell and sent to some other place that is *neither heaven nor a painfull variety of hell —that does not have any of the pleasures of heaven and yet does not have the pain and sufferring of hell—a neutral place of endless tedious boredom , or embarassment maybe .

    Those ultra-fundamentalists, who would be disappointed in Jesus, if Jesus eventually saved everyone, remind one of the weird atitude by the people in the parable of the laborers in the vineyard who were disappointed that the people who were hired at the last hour were given the same wage as those who worked all day long and endured the heat of the day .

    • nic paton said

      Hi J
      Wow – you now have the record for the longest nonspam comments!

      I love your passion. You have obviously thought a lot about these issues, and I relate to how they are cohering in your thought.

      You bring a lot to the table; I’d be keen to know your strategies for winning over fundies. I know some of them are almost unwinnable, but there are many who want to find the bridge from where they stand to where you are.

      I’ll give the followup comments a read next…

      • J said

        Mr.Patton ,

        Forgive me for taking so doggone long to respond , sir .

        Thank you immensely, sir, for the kind words .

        It is taken me a while to get back to the present message board…I think I had lost the location of it .

        How to win over fundamentalists to a more iclusive postition and yet one which still emphaiszes Jesus as messiah . Well thats’ agodd question …

        One of the areas of dialectic is to explain is that nowhere does the bible explicitly state that every doctrine that seems unusual like Christian universalism , open theism ect is what is meant by the term ‘heresy’ . The only time the word ‘heresy’ is given anything like definition in the gospels is in the epistle of 2 Peter 2 where it is referred to as

        ‘denying the Lord that bought them’ .

        Expressing the belief that all will eventually be saved …or in some versions that it is at least possible that in the fullness of time all will be saved *through Jesus* is NOT the same as denying the Lord . That is one of the arguments that I often present to them .

        Also it is good to head off at the pass the tendency of some fundamentalists to claim that those like Christian universalists who have a very very different than the usual Protestant evengelical doctrine …are somehow serving a “different Jesus” or a “different gospel”. It is helpful to point out that when Paul warns in Galatians about those who preach a different gospel or preach another gospel, it could be that he was referring to some other person with the name Jesus who some might claim as the messiah (for there were other Jewish men with the name Jesus or Yeshua) …that some might have claim were the messiah …when the truth is that a particular Jesus Jesus/Yeshua of Nazareth is the messiah , and not other people with that name.

        What is important is that the fundamentalists come to realize that there is *nothing* in the epistles that state that universalism or other doctrines that are very *different from* fundamentalists are what is meant …and by ‘preaching another Jesus or another gospel ‘ . IF they claim it is somehow “implied” even if the scripture doesn’t explictly state it …then point out that a person can read anything into the scriptures with that weird “it’s implied ” routine .

        It is good also to point out to them that Paul in Phillipians 2 rejoiced even when those who were against him as a leader preached Jesus …and did NOT accuse everyone who rejected Paul’s leadership of “preaching another Jesus” .

        Jesus himself told his own disciples not to forbid a man to cast out devils in his name when he refused to join the apostles .

        Furthermore, Jesus in John 10:16 told his apostles ,

        ‘And other sheep I have which are not of this fold and I must go unto them ‘ (by ‘this fold’ referring to his disciples that travelled with him ) .

        Some have claimed that the other sheep referred to the Gentile Christians that came later , but that so-called explanation is rather flimsy when one considers that he refers to the ‘other sheep’ as ones he had now ..he did not speak of them as other sheep “I will have “, but instead other sheep I have .

        One of the considerations that enters into the discussion is that among the fundamentalists there are the good hearted ones who would be inclined say it would be nice if Jesus saved everybody …but given the way they interpret the Bible they don’t think that very likely to happen but certainly wouldn’t be dissappointed if it did happen …and then there are the weird ones who express the notion that it would be somehow dissappointed if Jesus saved every person . The latter sub-group of fundamentalists do think in a way that is quite chintzy and weird .

        I’ve observed some of those sorts of fundamentalists actually express the weird notion that it would somehow be unfair to those who believed while alive if Jesus eventually saved everyone in the afterlife . That sort of atitude indicates a very crass sort of unsharing attitude and an attitude that seeks special acclaim or prestige from God…wants the celestial version of special status …and is a lot like the attitude of the Sadducees and Pharisees that Jesus denounced . Wanting any sort of prestige , and acclaim for oneself …any special status even in the afterlife …is contrary to the teachings of Jesus who hated the very notion of prestige , status seeking ..acclaim and taught ‘blessed are the meek’ (MATTHEW 5:5) .

        The attitude of that sub-group fundamentalists who would be dissapointed in Jesus if he did save everybody is a lot like the attitude of the workers in the parable about the laborers in the vineyard who were dissappointed that the one who owned the vineyard (who symbolized God) gave the same wage to those who hardly even put in one hour of work as much as he payed those who had worked all day in the heat of the day !

        Then there is a third sub-group of fundamentalists who don’t pontificate one way or the other whether it would be nice if Jesus saved everyone .

        One matter of dissent I must mention though is in one of the posts in the thread you proposed that grace is ‘ambiguous’ .

        It is important that we not conflate the notion that God’s grace is more inclusive and larger than what typical evangelicals might claim , with the postmodernist notion of God’s grace being ambiguous .

        The postmodernist notion of tolerating ambiguity is bad for it is incongruous and
        non-consistent …the same reason that much of fundamentalist doctrine can be bad …for being internally nonconsistent .

        It is important that the case for Christian universalism not be argued on incongruous postmodernist grounds …but instead in a way that involves classical linear thinking/deductive logic .

        Will post more in a subsequent post ….

  139. J said

    NOTE: Thogh I am defending Rev.Pearson, I support lean towards a different version of Christian universalism then he does —one that does have the hope that eventually all will make some sort of confession in Jesus —that every toungue shall confes that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God the Father .

    THE PERILS OF HUNTING SO-CALLED HERESY [Part 1 ]

    In this present era especially , there is a lot of talk in some sectarian groups–especially Fundamentalist protestant groups and in some anti-progressive factions of Catholicism about so-called “heresy” and “heretics” . What’s odd is that in some of these religious factions –especially Fundamentalist factions to label some notions “heretical” apparently because these notions seem way too exotic or way too unusual , even though some of the beliefs supported by such Fundamentalist pundits and theologians were, at one time in history, themselves called “heresy” by many of the other earler dominant churches when these religious movements, to which these Fundamentalists belong, emerged .

    An example: the practice of the Baptist denomination to baptize people as adults when they had made more of an inquiry into what Baptism meant about 3 or 4 centuries ago –when the Baptist sect was young–was condemmed as a heresy by the earlier dominant church denominationsin Europe.

    It is also quite hazy as to whether a lot of the hunters who object to so-called heresy have any fixed criteria for deciding if some notion is heresy or not. Calvinists and those factions of Arminian /Protestants who believe in free will (and are ALSO fundamentalists) tend to regard the doctrines promoted by each other as alternative forms of Christianity –the Calvinists disagree with Arminian doctrine and vice versa (but with perhaps a few odd exceptions) don’t call each other heretics, yet might call other doctrines so-called “heresies” like open theism (to give an example) or say elements of the Charismatic movement -to give another example .

    Jesus in the gospels never uses the word ‘heresy’ . Jesus denounces some people for being NON-consistent.. having internal contradictions in beliefs and attitudes, and/or for being petty , superficial , venal /greedy, NOT for having some exotic theology ! Though Jesus is fond of pointing out internal inconsistency in the beliefs that some people express , he does NOT in the gospels show any desire to support some doctrinal ” correctness” as any goal for its own sake .

    Jesus criticizes the false prophets not for teaching unusual doctrine , but instead for fostering unethical conduct . The difference between a true prophet and a false prophet was a true prophet produced good fruits and false prophet bad fruits .

    St.Paul uses the term ‘heretic’ in the epistle to Titus , but does NOT define a list of doctrines that make a person a heretic or make up ‘heresy’. Thus it is presumptuous to claim support from St.Paul for the broad use of the term ‘heresy’ that many Fundamentalists and some factions of Catholics like to bandy around .

    The only time the word ‘heresies’ gets anything almost like a definition is when in the New Testament epistle called 2 Peter chapter 2 verse 2 which describes heresy as ‘denying the Lord that bought them’, and NOT in the broad sense that the word ‘heresy’ is used today. Thus, according to 2 Peter chapter 2 verse 2, the term ‘heresies’ specifically refers to denying the Lord. It does NOT in that verse have a broad application of applying to each and every exotic or unusual doctrine or belief .

    In the book of Revelation, there is a particular doctrine that is villified called ‘the doctrine of the Nicolotaines’ (Revelation 2:15) . However, according to many of the early church fathers like Iranaeaus , the doctrine of the Nicolataines was rejected and opposed by the author of Revelation out of an objection that was more basic , inasmuch as the Nicolaitaines were anti-nomians (i.e. hedonists) of a sort who espoused wild sexual promiscuity and also eating foods set aside to be devoted to polytheistic pagan idols . Hence, the opposition in the book of Revelation was NOT based on some sort of doctrinal groupthink which sought to reject notions because they were too exotic–but, instead, out of ethical objections having to do more with personal conduct and also a disapproval of accepting polytheistic practices .

    It is interesting to note that in Phillipians I :15-18, St. Paul acknowleges that those in the Christian community which were against Paul as leader were, nonetheless, preaching the same Jesus and rejoiced in that they were doing so .

  140. J said

    THE PERILS OF HUNTING SO-CALLED HERESY [part 2]

    NOTE: The following article is taken from an exchange which took place about 3 years ago on a Myspace forum— regarding the interpretation of bible verses sometimes claimed in support of a rather broad and loose interpretation of the term “heresy” —with the phrasing of the original comments I posted edited for better phrasing with some addenta .

    Other Person in The Debate : Don’t forget the anathema declaration in Gal. ch. 1. It pretty much sums up the concept of a “different gospel”. Paul is asserting his apostalic authority against heresy, particularly those calling for circumcision. We are also exorted to take a stand for the faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3). Being a “saint” or an “apostle” has lead to extreme views of control and credal formulae, but the idea of heresy is definitely applied by the apostles, church fathers, and those who rebelled against them.

    THE RESPONSE : Actually it is dubious that the references to a different gospel or ‘another Jesus’ in Galatians refer broadly to any doctine that is unusual or very exotic , as many ultra- fundamentalists might claim . The reference to ‘another Jesus’ or “another gospel” could have very well referred to someone proclaiming another man other than Jesus is messiah . As you point out, the letter of Paul to the Galatians was particularly concerned with those factions of the early Christian community who attempted to promote the belief that one HAD to be circumcized or one could not be a follower of Jesus –a belief that Paul rejects in Galatians

    To claim that the part that warns against following another gospel applies to every belief that is considered exotic or novel is a broad interpretation that is NOT warranted by the explicit wording of the verses in Galatians !

    In Galatians, the primary opponents that Paul addresses are the faction of the early Christian community that promote circumcision as a requirement for being a follower of Jesus , to apply that warning to any exotic doctrine (as many Fundamentalists often do these days) is conjecture and goes beyond the explicit words of the text . The basic concern of the gospel that Paul was promoting was salvation from sin by the grace of the sacrifice of Jesus–and not by the doing of ritualistic works like circumcision .

    (Paul, elsewhere in other epistles like Phillipians, takes a more ecumenical approach, accepting those in the Christian movement who disputed him on some matters of doctrine as still preaching the same jesus and serving the same God even though they disagreed with Paul strongly) .

    Take, for example, those in Phillipians chapter :1 verses 14-18 who Paul reports were against his leadership .

    In Phillipians 1:16 , Paul

    ‘ The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds ‘

    Notice that Paul refers to these people as preaching Christ ‘of contention ‘ –contention apparently towards Paul himself rejecting the authority of Paul as a leader . And yet Paul believes that these same people who reject the authority Paul as a leader were preaching the same Jesus as he was . He even rejoices that these people that reject the authority of Paul as a leader are preaching Jesus .

    In Phillipians 1:18 Paul writes,

    ‘What then?nothwithstanding , every way, whether in pretense, or in truth, Christ is preached; and therein I do rejoice, and will rejoice ‘.

    That Paul has authority as an apostolic leader was a marginal doctrine that Paul promotes –even in one epistle writing to the community where he states ,

    ‘be ye followers of me as I am of Christ’ .

    And yet Paul does NOT emphasize the doctrine of himself having authority as being as important a doctrine as say , the resurrection and atonement of Jesus . Furthermore, he is willing to rejoice when those that disagree with his authority still preach Jesus (as in Phillipians) and does NOT refer to them as “heretics” nor does he claim they are preaching a ‘different gospel’ .

    Paul in another letter Romans chapters 14 verses 1-6 he accepts those in the ‘christian community’ that follow the holy days and dietary rules (apparently of Judaism ) as serving God JUST AS MUCH as those who claim that under grace they are free from such dietary rules –thus allowing for an ecumenical approach in regard to that area of doctrine .In Romans 14:5 he wrote ,

    ‘let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind ‘ .

    You , sir, mentioned the church fathers .

    Apparently many of the people who have studied the writings of the Church fathers –have come to the conclusion that the primary factions that the New Testament letters warn about false doctrines were the legalizers and the anti-nomian factions . The legalizers taught that the ceremonial law (and NOT just the moral law) of the first 5 Mosaic books were required for being a follower of Jesus . It is the legalizers to which Paul addresses in Galatians .

    The anti-nomians, in contrast, promoted the belief that because Jesus had presented God’s grace (instead of mere ceremonial law) as a means of relating to God, that it was somehow then okay to throw away the moral law as well and engage in wild sex -even extramarital sex and wild hedonism without much restraint on conduct .

    It is the anti-nomians that are alluded to apparently in some of the writings of the very early church fathers . That sheds apparent light on the warnings in the epistle called Jude about ungodly men ‘turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness’ and in the New Testament epistle 2 Peter, of “false teachers” –as well as the warnings against the warnings in the epistle of 2 Timothy about those that “will not endure sound doctrine” and have “itching ears” and be ‘turned unto fables’ . It is the anti-nomain factions –sexual perverts and those that forbid marriage that 2 Timothy warns about –NOT anyone that has an unusual doctrine –NOT open theists, charismatics ect .

    Hence 2 Timothy 3:6 describes people who ,

    “creep into houses and lead captive silly women captive with sins , led away with divers lusts. ” .

    1 Timothy also warns against those who forbid others to marry .(see 1 Timothy 4 :3)

    Apparently the verse in the book of Revelation also that warns against , ‘the doctrine of the Nicolaitans’ (Revelation 2:15) is, according to church fathers like Iraneaus , directed at the anti-nomians that had been followers of a man named Nicolas. He apparently had advocated liberated sex and going to feasts devoted to polytheistic idols (aka to commit fornication and eat things sacrificed to idols) .

    Thus, much of the concern about false doctrines can be more plausibly interpreted as being about doctrines by legalizing factions and factions of the early church that promoted sexual immorality and hedonism —and NOT about exotic theology (that so many of the fundamentalist heresy hunters are against) .

    It is indeed bizarre that many Fundamentalists, Calvinists and so on try and apply such warnings about ‘heresy’ and give them broad interpretation towards theological doctrines and beliefs they find exotic (such as open theism .open theism,. by the way, is more in keeping with the concept of God in Judaism as being open to dialectic with created beings . And Jesus is very Jewish ) .

    Jesus in the gospels when he speaks of false prophets uses a moral criteria and NOT a criteria of “doctrinal correctness” as a means of explaining how you can tell true prophets from false prophets . In Matthew 7:18 he teaches,

    ‘a good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit ‘.

    Jesus in the gospels takes a very ecumenical approach –accepting some of those who chose to remain outside the community of his own apostles as still serving the kingdom of God . In Mark 9:38 John tells Jesus that there was one casting out devils in his name and how he and the other disciples ‘forbade him for he followeth not us’.

    Jesus then told him in the next verse , forbid him not’ and in Mark 9:40 added ,

    ‘He that is not against us is on our part’ .

    Jesus in the gospels did NOT say anything to support the heresy hunting that many Fundamentalists support at all .

    In Matthew 25: verses 31-46 , the criteria that Jesus said would separate the blessed from the accursed was NOT any doctrinal theological “correctness” for its own sake, but instead whether or not a person showed kindness to those who he called ‘the least of his bretheren’ . The ultimate criteria according to Jesus that separated the sheep from the goats was NOT whether they believed in doctrines like baptism by immersion , the impassibility of God , the authority of the apostles, the protestant canon , total depravity , or any of the doctrines that Calvinists and other Fundamentalists allege to be such paramount doctrines , but instead whether they fed, gave drink, clothed, welcomed , visited those that Jesus called ‘the least of the bretheren ‘ .

    That is NOT to say that Matthew 25 taught redemption by works , but rather that Jesus taught that following him and God involved making a conscious effort to show kindness to the destitute out of a pure principle of charity — and also NOT expecting any reward for doing so .

    Note that in Matthew 25:37-40 , the people who Jesus calls blessed are apparently suprised they served Jesus in helping the least of the brethren . They ask questions like ‘when did we you hungry and give you something to eat ?, when saw you a stranger and take you in? ‘ et al.

    Are these questions that Jesus predicts the blessed people will ask in Matthew 25 rhetorical questions or earnest questions ?

    If they are earnest questions then that suggests that these people (which Jesus calls blessed) do these acts of charity *without expecting any reward for doing so at all , but do so to serve a principle of kindness towards the unfortunate . That further indicates that a person having the “heart” (disposition) directed toward kindness to the unfortunate is more important a criteria to Jesus than doctrinal correctness when such doctrinal “correctness” is conceived apart from the more purely ethical considerations .

    The irony is that the people in the story of Matthew who give unto the least of the bretheren did so , not to avoid some unpleasant torture in some hell nor to gain litertalized rewards in some paradise but did so sheerly out of kindness ..charity , for after all they did not fully realize that by feeding , visiting , giving shelter to the least of the believers in Jesus they were indirectly giving to Jesus too .

    In the New Testament epistle called I John sums up what is most important in terms of the teaching of Jesus that the epistle calls ‘his commandments’ .

    ‘ And this is his commandment that we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as he gave us commandment ‘.

    Thus, in the epistle called I John, the basic tenet of belief is indeed a very basic tenet and believing the gospel is NOT equated with a lengthy list of doctrinally correct beliefs that heresy hunting sectarians claim !

  141. Sandie Bohrer said

    Where is Bishop Pearson’s wife in all this controvesy?

  142. carmen said

    God is a God of mercy and compassion toward the repentant sinner, no matter what he’s done. But, for the rebellious and defiant, there are penalties in this life and the hereafter. God is a God of quality control. Lovers of blatant flesh indulgences are not approved by God, according to the Bible. But he does have mercy on the spitiually weak, spiritually blind, and the spiritually lost. Can you interpret this?
    Rev. 20:13,14,15
    And the sea gave up the dead which were in it: and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to his works.
    And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

    And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

    Hell was intended for satan and the other fallen angels, but some people don’t want to believe in the existence of devils as the Bible calls them. A lot of these sin conditions are manifestations of demonic activity. Why does the Bible say we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers of darkness in high places, and principalities in operation over the earth. Will God include these also?
    Jude 1:I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the lord, having saved the people out of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believe not.

    And the angels which kept not thier estate, but left their own habitation, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.

    2 Peter 2:4
    For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;….

    Read the entire chapters for yourself. Are these fables? Jesus asked the question, that when he came back would He find faith. Now I know why hw asked that. According to the verse in Revelations anyone not written in the Book of Life will be excluded. But if a person doesn’t believe the Bible, they won’t find validity in what it has to say. And I do know that some of the Bible is illustrative and symbolic. But the Bible is also historic, prophetic, and instructive. The goal of the Bible is to inroduce us to God, and His holy character, and to help us develope all aspects of love, as stated in the thirteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians, and to develope godly character that measures up to the stature of Christ. If we remain ungodly what do we need the Bible for, and why do we need God? And I think some people deny the Bible and it’s gospel just for that reason. They don’t want to change, and don’t want any one or God to tell them anything different. But, so be it. Oh, and when God cast the angels down to hell, did that mean that He buried them in a grave, or threw them in that burning pile outside of the city?

    • mel said

      Carmen

      With all of the scriptual evidence that you just presented what is there to argue?? But I guarentee you someone will take issue with your post and suggest that you do not know what you are talking about.

      It all boils down to what we believe. Do we believe God’s word or not. Do we believe this ways are above our ways. DO we beleive that God does not change his mind with the times. Do we believe that hevean and earth will pass away includig cultures, trends, and philosophies, but the word of God will stand forever. It is about what we want to believe.

      Carmen I am glad to see that someone else is with me in choosing to believe what GOd says over my opinion or what “sounds nice”..keep up the good work.

      Nic says his Faith is in God’s ability to save all..but his Faith should be in man;s ability to confess and believe that Christ is Lord so that they can be saved. We do not have to have Faith in an all powerful God’s ability to save all….GOD CAN SAVE ALL because GOd can do whatever he wants to do…,but the question is WILL HE SAVE ALL?? ROmans 10:9 says if you confess with you mouth and believe in your heart that Christ is Lord then you wil be saved..so while God CAN save all he has left it up to men to confess and believe so that they can be saved.

      And the reason that it is not a simple matter is because of the erroneous assertations that we choose to make oo believe. IT CAN be a simple matter if we would just choose to believe wht God has to say about a matter not just what someone else says no matter how slick talking, charistmatic, or well dressed– dont get fooled by appearances..there are wolves out there in sheeps clothing– says that int he word too

  143. Nic Paton said

    Hello Carmen thanks for your thoughts, especially your questions. Reading the Bible “right” is not a simple matter; for every asertion on one hand there is another opposite asertion on the other. Your reservations are valid and a part of my own journey. I do not offer certainty, but as you say, faith, and my faith is ultimately in God’s ability to save all. I acknowledge the reality of punishment but see this as consequence for actions, not a manifestation of a punative God.

    For more on this difficult topic, see my other writings

    http://soundandsilence.wordpress.com/?s=hell

    and especially the review of Thomas Talbott’s “Inescapable Love of God”

    http://soundandsilence.wordpress.com/2008/12/15/the-inescapable-love-of-god-by-thomas-talbott/

  144. mel said

    Problem here is that the views of Pearson and those of his supporters including those on this site have no scriptural basis to support their claims.

    If we would simply see what God has to say about all of this, believe it, and obey it then we would not be on these forums going back and forth. Fact of the matter is that there is an absolute truth…someone is right and someone is wrong. And I believe that God is right and any opinions or ideas that go against what he says is wrong..it is as simple as that. Forget the opinions..what does God say about it. And that might take more in depth study than most of us are willing to do…many are too comfrotable drawing a conclusion based on cliche’s, what others say, or and imcomplete understanding of the word.

    I would looove to believe that there is no hell and my sins have been removed without any confession or belief on my part. It would make life so much easier for me..shoot I would be out right now walking in the desires of my flesh if that were the case. But I do not…I strive to be perfect as he is perfect, not let sin have dominion, walk in the Spirt and not the flesh, obey his commandments because I love him, love my neighbors, love him with everything that I am, not steal, not lie, let no corrupt communication come out of my mouth, forgive others no matter what they do, etc…I do it all because God says to do it. And it began with Faith to confess and believe in my heart the Jesus is Lord…so that I could get on the pathway of salvation.

    But i feel cheated now…according to the gospel of inclusion I did not have to confess and believe to be saved as per ROmans 10:9..i was already saved so why did i even bother. Shoot…I wish no one had even preached the gospel to me because if I had not heard I could have just lived my life and gone to heaven.

    And I am so looking forward to seeing budhist, and muslims, and all other religions in heaven worshipping the GOd that they rejected on earth.

    I really dont know what Bible some of you guys are reading…be careful because the devil is going around again as he did in the garden of eden and asking a simple question — DID GOD REALLY SAY THAT???

    Did GOd really say that there is a hell, did God really say that you have to confess and believe to be saved, did God really say homosexuality is worng, did God really say that there should be no other Gods before me, did God really say anything????????

    • nic paton said

      Hi Mel
      Thanks for taking the time to contribute here. It is obviously not an easy thing, for you yourself acknowledge how you would “looove to believe that there is no hell … “, but that you “strive to be perfect as he is perfect” instead.

      My initial thought is that you view things very dualistically: The consequences for you of there being no hell (in the conventional sense) are: “shoot I would be out right now walking in the desires of my flesh.”

      The implications of your reasoning is that salvation is only possible because of the threat of punishment. Do you really feel that grace and love are not sufficiant?

      I empathise with your quandary, because I too have lived in it. Would you care to talk more about the tension between what your heart is saying and what your head is saying?

      • mel said

        Nic,

        I am not in a quandry or looking at things in a dual manner. That would be to suggest that I am not fully convinced in my position that there is a hell and that one MUST believe to be saved.

        This gospel of inclusion does not have me reeling or reevaluating my orinigal beliefs on the matter– I believe that the word is clear on the neccessity of one to accept and believe the gospel.

        So I was not talking about me. I was playing Devil’s advocates to highlight how others might react to this gospel of inclusion.

        Personally I am motivated by Love and Gratitude in my obedience to God not a fear of eternal damnation. Hell or no hell..in him I move and have my being because of who he is and what he has done. So for me grace and love is indeed sufficient for my total surrender to his will.

  145. Stuart said

    First time here……..

    Trust God
    Clean House
    Help Others

    The first one seems to be the one that starts it all….Don’t mean to be clever or simplistic

    • Nic Paton said

      Hi Stuart. Thanks for your matras. Keep the observations and questions coming – we’re all learners.

      What do you mean in your last sentance?

  146. Bruce said

    I’ve followed Carlton Pearson for years, and recently saw his interview with Michael Bernard Beckwith about the ” Gospel Of Inclusion”. Heaven and Hell are states of conciousness. I’m with you Brother Pearson!

  147. Rev R Woods said

    First of all Bishop Pearson ,I love you with the Love of Jesus Christ.Because I am a man of God I would not dare attack God’s ANNOINTED.bishop Pearson I will be praying for you.I want you to think about something.In the end time the anti Christ will demand one world religion and government.Bishop you are ficilitating this proclaimation of scripture.In reality Mr Pearson I am not suprised because the scripture tells us that false doctrine would be taught in the last day.The bible also let us know that we should not believe every spirit but to try the spirits whether they be of God.Bishop Pearson this spirit on The Gospel Of Inclusion is not of GOD.You are a good man but you have been deceieved by demonic influences and like judas if you dont recognize it you will take a great fall.All that I am expressing is from the herat as modest as I can give it.Think about it,All of the word of God is not true because it is influenced by culture and man’s personal thoughts and views.Bishop you are now saying that you dont accept the bible as the word of God.God said in His world that heaven and earth will pass away before His word would fail.Furthermore,the bible says that all scripture is given by inspiration of God.Bishop you have lost your way ,please dont lead anyone else astray.Please!!! It is better for you to walk away from the faith than to change what God has already given through scripture.Time would not permit to share my faith and convictions about the truths of scripture and it’s validity.But I will say this,The bible stands alone among countless books known by man which have writtings,predictions,and answers to life’s questions that are second to none.And as far as Jesus Christ is concerned,Know one has found His body and never will because He has risen.Jesus is the pivotal point of history so much that we use BC and AD when wrting date lines.Furthermore,the bible still remains the best seller of all times among,not only books but Holy writings .Bishop you do the spiritual math and change your theology.BISHOP,the one thing you dont have to do is help God,I think this is where your theology got messed up.My God be with you and lead you back to the reality of teaching truth.You are going to ignore certain parts of scripture ,why dont we all just adhere to the parts of scripture that we like and forget the rest of it.Sounds stupid?That,s my point. Rev Woods

  148. Nic Paton said

    Hi Rev Woods. What on earth is “spiritual math”? I’m intruiged.

  149. carmen said

    I found a passage in the Bible that seems to describe the gospel of inclusion.
    I Kings ch 11: 1-11
    But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of pharoah, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites;
    Of the nations concerning which the Lord said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go unto them, niether shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in LOVE.

  150. carmen said

    I want to ask a question. Would you honestly say, in your opinion, that there is a parallel between what Solomon did, and what Bishop Pearson is doing? What interpretation of Greek or Hebrew can explain God’s response to Solomon’s actions? I really want to know. Does God require us to separate ourselves from some that will influence us negatively? I belong to the pentecostal faith, and not only use that scripture as a reference source to watch who you bond with, but also the one in II Cor.6:14-18
    Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what FELLOWSHIP hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what COMMUNION hath light with darkness?
    And what CONCORD hath Christ with Belial? Or what PART has he that believes with an infidel?
    And what AGREEMENT hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God: as God hath said, I will dwell with them, and walk in them, I will be their God, and they will be my people.
    Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing: and I will receive you
    And I will be a Father to you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
    This refutes the Gospel of inclusion to my understanding. And I must say, I DO NOT BELIEVE that God wants us to stand in His stead, and do His job. I do believe that God doesn’t want us to judge, nor join anything the Bible states He disapproves of. Some of my Christians brothers and sisters (myself included) have been harsh in an effort to defend what we read in the Bible, AND I STILL WILL. But I can have compassionate understanding for the burdens of the weak flesh WE ALL live in, and pray. As for the issue of false doctrine, and the teachers and supporters of it, of course the church can’t be tolerant of it.The Bible addresses that also, and very specifically.

  151. nic paton said

    Carmen
    I do not think we have as yet have a common understanding of “Inclusion”. You seem to feel that it is equivalent to lisence, and to sin.

    But for me, Inclusion is all about love, grace, and righteousness.

    There is an initiatory pattern in life of cleaving-leaving-maturing. So there is a place for exclusion in this process. This is how I understand scriptures such as the ones you quote. When we repent, we exclude. When we commit to anything, we exclude all that we do not commit to.

    But it is a false conclusion that God is therefore about exclusion. The aim of holiness is to become intimately one with the Holy God, whose nature is to include.

    Carmen, I suggest you are painting a biased picture of Inclusion, because this inclusive God of grace is too scandalous.

  152. carmen said

    Nic,
    This is what I understand grace to be;
    1. The undeserved or unmerited kindness of God toward mankind.
    2. The power to overcome sin.
    3. The power to operate in the gifts of the spirits.
    4.The power given to those in the fivefold ministerial positions for the equipping of them to minister effectively in word and deed.

    This is what I understand love to be:
    A balanced positive attitude which displays patience, kindness, humility, and can bear up under trying circumstances with a considerable measure of endurance, and having the ability to forgive offenses, when it doesn’t seem the rational thing to do.

    Maybe I don’t understand the gospel of inclusion. Is there a scripture that best explains or defines this concept? I’ll certainly read it.

  153. nic paton said

    Carmen, thanks for your grace-filled reply.

    I think we a lot in common in our understandings. I’d prefer to emphasise this commonality rather than our differences, (which will always be there, and if we think otherwise we are deluded).

    I am quite interested in the difference of approach and tone between this comment and the previous one of December 2, 2009 @ 11:11 am. That comment emphasised falsehood, judgement and exclusion. All these aspects will at come point be part of our reading of scripture, but when you talk of grace and love, I believe you are coming closer to the fuller picture which will have transcended the old testament POV you seem to espouse earlier.

  154. Muzi said

    Nic – I’ve just spend a long time going through this conversation on inclusion. I realize that no one has as yet responded to the question on the three definitions of hell that are in the Bible. No one has as yet commented on the fact that our English Bible was translated from Hebrew and Greek. I just read a book that got me to stick with the original King James version. We should allow the Bible to be itself, together with all the mistakes, contradictions, inconsistencies, etc. Why do we really need to keep on revising the Bible to suit a changing world? LET THE BIBLE BE ITSELF! Maybe we should even try to get the original hebrew and greek bible.
    Cheers!

  155. Nic Paton said

    Muzi – you are either crazy or extremely thorough!

    I noted that it was not popular in this thread to answer the question “Which hell?” If you do so you are already on the road to deconstruction. It’s better having a “sacred black box” hell so that we are saved the bother of what we might find out.

    I know what you mean by allowing the bible to be itself. But ironically, this can be taken to mean that we do not question our assumptions. For many the Bible IS the King James Version and 1611 is a very holy date. For me that’s very arbitrary, and by so doing we buy into a view of the bible from just around the time when colonialism and the enlightnment was getting going… a very dangerous “posture of faith”, in my opinion.

  156. carmen said

    Nic,
    Not being one who has gone to any school of divinity, or classes on religion per se, let me ask you another question. Why is there such emphasis put on Greek translations? How did the Greek translation come to factor in the interpretation of the scriptures. I understand why the Hebrew meanings bear weight, but not the Greek. I’m missing some understanding here. And can someone please answer the question I asked about God casting the rebellious angels down to hell.Which category of hell does that fall into .I sincerely and honestly want to know. Can anyone give me a strait answer? Thanks.

  157. J said

    A Brief Note….

    One respondent posted the reference to forgiving others as irrational.

    Wanted to state that forgiveness in the sense of showing mercy is quite rational

    …NOT the postmodernist notion of respecting every opinion that relativists often try to tack on to the idea of forgiveness …including the weird tendency of people influenced by relativism to respect even crass opinions like say, the trendy opinion of conformist yuppies who claim that finding amusement in tawdry stuff like celebrity gossip is somehow okay (it is not okay and such opinion is wrong)

    • J said

      CONTINING REFLECTIONS

      Mr.Paton ,

      One of the groups of verses it would be good to remind fundamentalists about is EXODUS 32:1-14

      It is the group of verses where the Israelites unfortunately start worshipping graven images in the wilderness of Sinai and God sees them worshipping graven images and tenatively announces the decision to destroy them telling Moses ,

      ‘Now let my anger wax hot against them and consume them and I will make of thee a great nation’ .

      Moses *instead* of showing blind unquestioning obediance prays to God and presents respectful argument to God that God should NOT go through with the planned destruction of the sinful Israelites / NOT consume them , but, instead , asks God to relent and spare them from destruction .

      He persuades God to do so according to the text and though there are some punishments God does NOT wipe them out .

      There has been some ‘theological gymnastics ‘ by some fundamentalists to claim that God wasn’t actually persuaded to not go through with the tenative plan to destroy them , but merely that was “supposedly God speaking in human terms ” …yet that proposed explanation doesn’t work …for using that sort of claim any sort of declaration about God including the verses that fundamentalist/evengelicals want to take at face value them might be “God speaking in human terms” rather than the face value interpretation fundamentalists might want to interpret it as .

      Furthermore, there is a verse in one of the Psalms that indicates God would have destroyed them had Moses had not interceeded on their behalf . If that Psalm is right , then God would have then been persuaded by Moses to not go through with the tenative decision to consume the Israelites .

      We ought to emulate the good policy of Moses . IF there are people now in some sort of hell in the afterlife then we should be willing to ask God to show them mercy and take *them out* of such a hell , just like Moses prayed on behalf of the ancient Israelites, who unfortunately offended God by worshipping graven images in the wilderness .

      Many fundamentalists say that those who die before repenting and die in a state of unbelief are not fit to go to heaven . Well then suppose even if universal salvation is NOT appealing to the powers that be , what would God have to lose by putting them in a place that has neither the torture and agony of an endless , irreversible hell of torture and none of the pleasures and enjoyments of heaven …say put them in an alternate hell of tedious boredom …where there is NO suffering… only tedium and blandness with nothing to do .

      Such an alternate place of punishment *without* torture or suffering… would preserve justice .

      The bottom line is be it the outskirts of a heaven…. or be it a place that has neither the tortures of a hell of pain and agony …a place of punishment that has nothing but perpetual tedium with nothing to do …total blandness …the humane decent approach would be to pray and interceed on behalf of the dammed and pray that they be taken out of a place of agony and pain …if they are in a place of agony and pain , and transfer them to some place that does not have agony and pain even if it has none of the joys of heaven .

      That is how one could ask the l question posed by that overrated theologian C.S. Lewis who asked the question to those who objected to the prospect of endless misery for the dammed , What are you asking him to do ?

      [Him being God in that sentence ‘ .

      C.S. Lewis can be credit for expressing the belief that salvation after death is possible , but unfortunately he expressed the notion that God would finally give up on some people and leave them in a hell ..which is totally incompatible with the notion of a perfect God who would never give up on trying to reform any person …to bring them if not to full redemption in every case , then to some sort of remediation at least …

      The notion of a God who gives up after a period of time on anyone and does not even try to in some degree reform them is incompatible with what the prophet Ezekiel states of a God who , desires that even the wicked ,

      ‘turn from his ways and live’ and the charity which ; ‘suffers long and is kind’ and ‘endures all things’ .

      As an aside , the mentor of C.S. Lewis :George Mac Donald was a much better Christian thinker in many ways .

      Some might claim that that if people have not repented and become Christians prior to physical death then they are irreversibly dammed. Fundamentalists sometimes cite Hebrews 9:27 in favor of that claim which reads ,

      ‘It is appointed unto men once to die and after that comes judgement ‘.

      Yet the verse of Hebrews 9:27 does not say that “immediately” after death comes judgement .

      There is no ‘immediately’ in that verse . After death comes judgement does not necessarily mean ‘right away’. after death .

      Furthermore, according to many texts in the Bible, God does reverse tenative judgements either in reponse to the persons repenting …such as was the case in the book of Jonah with the Ninevites , or in the case of EXODUS 32:1-14 with someone presenting arguments on behalf of the other people to get God to show them mercy .

      Some might counter and say that the Israelites who had angered God in the Sinai were still physically alive unlike the people in a “hell” . But, if God can show mercy to people ..people who have not themselves asked for his mercy …but someone else acted on their behalf then …why is it so unthinkable that God might show mercy to those who have offended Him and died in a state of unbelief ?

      How would it be unthinkable that God in response to the prayer of those who do believe , would extend another chance (or even a million more chances) to those who have died unbelieving to believe in Jesus and repent in the afterlife ?

      That is not to say that we should tell people to go ahead and do any old action and not bother to believe while alive …that we should cease from bearing witness to the gospel and avoid expressing the urgency to beleive while still alive …for the more time devoted to Jesus the better …

      One should devote time to God and not put it off . As the Psalmist wrote , ‘

      ‘Today, if ye will hear my voice’ .

      Nonetheless , we should pray that all people will be reconciled to God through Jesus .

      Though there is the verse that states ,

      ‘Fear not him that can destroy the body but not the soul .Fear him that can destroy both body and soul in hell (or Gehenna) ‘ .

      We should pray that God could through the activity of Jesus, perhaps reconstruct the soul later even after it has been destroyed…and/or if there is an individual spirit of a person separate from the soul …then pray that the spirit of the person with their awareness may be saved even if the soul is not .

      (I refer to that last scenario as quasi -universalism ) .

  158. J said

    That guy named Evangelist, like many fundamentalists, MIS-interprets the verse from near the close of the book of Revelation

    EVANGELIST POSTED :It is written: “And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of the prophecy (Bible), God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the Holy City (Heaven), and from the things which are written in this book” – Revelations 22:19

    The verse in Revelation that warns against adding or taking away from the prophecy of this book …is referring only and exclusively to the book of Revelation …NOT the bible as whole UNlike some fundamentalists have misconstrued it .

    For Revelations 22:18-19 refers to the ‘prophecy of this book’ …NOT all of the Bible is prophecy. The Song Of Solomon, for example, is NOT prophecy …

    The book that the author(s) of Revelation refers to and warns against adding to or taking away from is the book of Revelation …NOT every book of the Bible .

    Incidentally , a number of people posting here have attributed the broad use or misuse of the term ‘heresy’ by many of the fundamentalists to fear and the fire and brimstone rhetoric to fear …Consider an alternate prospect that such thinking may not come from fear and insecurity but rather from crass motivations …such as is the case with those among the fundamentalists who claim it would somehow be unfair to Christian believers, IF Jesus were to decide to save every person one day even the people who did not believe while alive . The sort of mentality of those sort of fundamentalists who make statements like that, is NOT characterized by fear nor insecurity , but instead a crass longing for some sort of exclusive renown and prestige in the afterlife for themselves .

    • nic paton said

      Thanks J for pouring out your thoughts here.

      You make a swathe of interesting points. I’m interested in your approach – we might call it classic universalist – as you object to some elements you deem postmodern, such as “ambiguous grace”.

      I’d like to restate the differrence between cheap and costly universalism. Cheap universalism takes the path of least resistance – All roads lead to heaven, therefore it matters not how we respond to God. Costly universalism takes full account of every warning of judgement, but it knows that the Judge is ultimately Loving. It sees not simply “our” Jesus but the Cosmic Christ as the way, truth and life.

      I’d recommend a few books to you, listed at the start of the post on Lazarus – http://soundandsilence.wordpress.com/2008/06/05/lazarus-and-inclusion/ – have you seen that – also a long discussion. To restate, Thomas Talbotts The Inescapable Love of God (1999), as well as F.W. Farrars “Mercy and Judgment” (1881) are books I believe you would enjoy. See http://soundandsilence.wordpress.com/2008/12/15/the-inescapable-love-of-god-by-thomas-talbott/.

      See specifically Farrars critique of the “4 Pillars of the Doctrine of Hell”. Each one must be addressed to espunge us of the doctrine. See http://soundandsilence.wordpress.com/2008/06/05/lazarus-and-inclusion/#comment-2611

      Lastly, see the Evangelical Universalist Forum – http://www.evangelicaluniversalist.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=49&t=685

      • J said

        I’d like to read those books you recommended , sir, thank you very much .

        I’d also like sometime to dialogue with you about some somewhat other aspects of the premillenial dispensational eschatology espouse by those Fundamentalists that are not preterists (many Calvinist fundamentalists tend to be preterists …and that position has less in the way of internal contradictions …though i don’t go along with the Calvinist version of preterism or the Calvinist version of much of anything. )

        I have found many intractible contradictions in the premillenial, dispensationalist eschatology . There are the situational contradictions which arise from the method that the dispensationalists interpret the prophetic books of the bible (e.g. imagining say that the Gog of Magog horsemen mentioned in Ezekiel 38 …if memory serves rightly can have such a low level of technology as to want to try and invade a superpower like Israel with armies on horses and wooden bows arrows, and wooden spears …and yet at the same period some character named the Beast uses high tech computer chip technology to implement a literal mark on people)

        The notion that the prophet Ezekiel saw hi tech weapons like tanks , rockety launchers, grenades, armored personel carriers , and machine guns and used the images of horses and men with wooden bows and arrows coming against Israel…does NOT work when one considers that the verse also mentions birds feeding on the men and horses of Gog of Magog…adn mentions the Israelites burning the weapons of Gog of Magog in place of firewood for seven years …Machine guns do not make good firewood…and where is Gog if Gog is Russia going to get a 7 years supply of wooden anything in the present day and age …and why are we to imagine that a contemporary hi tech superpower like Israel (that has electric heating and so on as 21 century nation ) would need any firewood from wooden weapons let alone need to use a 7 year supply of firewood ???

        That’s but one example of the odd notions of dispensational “left behind” sort of eschatology I’d like to discuss.

        There is an even odder matter in how dispensational doctrine presents a weird notion that God somehow needs Satan and some character named the Beast which they claim is future …to do the bad deeds predicted in order to somehow be reliable or accomplish goals .

        How very odd that they PORTRAY the God that according to the book of Acts does not need anything made with human hands would need the actions of a Beast and a Satan to accomplish goals in history …

        One of the notions I’d like to clarify right off the bat is that… even though I am a Christian who believes quite fervently in Jesus as Lord and Savior (though I am a NON-fundamentalist Christian )…the prospect of other people being sent to a hell of torture I consider a far worse …far more disturbing prospect then myself being sent there .

        Moses is to be admired for petitioning God to show mercy unto the Israelites, and asking God in Exodus 32:32 that if they have not found favor in thy sight to ‘ blot me out of thy book ‘ .

  159. J said

    Hello Mr.Paton ,

    One of the verses that fundamentalist named “Evangelist” misconstrued and misinterpreted was the verse 2 Peter 1:20-21

    The verse states that , ‘ Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as the were moved by the Holy Ghost.’

    Fundamentalists have MIS-interpeted that verse to claim that somehow that no prophecy of scripture is open to private interpretation by the reader . However, if one parses the text carefully one finds that what that verse is stating is that the prophecy itself is NOT a private interpretation by the prophet …

    It is NOT referring to any diavowal of a private intepretation done by the reader . Instead it is declaring that the prophecy of scripture is not itself a private interpretation by the prophet .

    • Nic Paton said

      J I’m intruiged by the fineness of your thought. But can you restate that last line in other words, please. I do not get what you are saying.

      • J said

        Yes, Mr. Paton , glad you asked .

        The the verse in the epistle called 2 Peter which states that , ‘no prophecy of scripture is of any private interpretation. ‘ should not be interpreted to mean that it is somehow remiss *of the reader* to propose an interpretation of the prophecy that differs from that of other Christians . Instead, the sentence construction is such that it indicates that the warning is against the notion that the prophet of scripture *was himself making a private interpretation* of *events* based on mere opining . The phrase ‘of private interpetation’ would not apparently refer to the role of the reader , but is predicated of the prophet .

        Hope that helps .

  160. J said

    The person named Carmen asked the following question ,

    ‘I want to ask a question. Would you honestly say, in your opinion, that there is a parallel between what Solomon did, and what Bishop Pearson is doing? What interpretation of Greek or Hebrew can explain God’s response to Solomon’s actions?’ .

    Promoting a belief that all will be saved eventually through Jesus sooner or later is NOT the same as what Solomon did when his wives enticed him to follow other gods . Believing that Jesus has the ability to save everyone and the willingness to excercise that ability is NOT the same as worshipping pagan gods and quite frankly it is a very weird comparison to compare the two !

  161. J said

    Mr.Paton ,

    Let us not be so quick to attribute the opposition by fundamentalists to Carlton Pearson taking the Christian universalist stance to the ultrafundamentalists being motivated by fear .

    Much of the tenor of the fundamentalists who have such a weird disdain for people supporting Christian universalism has more of a mood of crass bravado and smugness about it . We should *not* be so quick to presume that such bravado comes from fear nor insecurity either .

    I have witnessed some fundamentalists make the weird claim that if universalism were the case (and hence Jesus saved everyone) then somehow that would be supposedly unfair to those who believed while alive. What a chintzy attitude that is ! Those fundamentlaists who promote that attitude IF they claim that they themselves would be somehow would feel cheated by Jesus saving every person one day…that sort of motivation is not fear, but, *instead* a desire for prominence and prestige …the sort of competitive attitude Jesus criticized the bad people among the pharisees for.

    It should be argued that the desire for ostentation/ for prestige and prominence can arise on its own …*without* fear being behind htat desire…that people can be intoxicated by the desire for some sort of priveledge …without themselves having any fear of lack simply because they want more and the vapid sensibility they have does not want to seek out a more profound / contemplative or altruistic goal .

    • Nic Paton said

      Thanks J – we’re getting into psychospirituality here. Some schools of thought would claim that fear is THE fundamental underlying force, and the new testament seems to imply that by stating that faith and fear are opposites. But nevertheless I take your broadening of the assertions about fear being primary, in your suggestion that powerlust might be an equal motivator for rejecting UR.

      I’d suggest that the lust for privelage has its roots in the fear of being a nobody.

      I am reminded very pointedly of the parable of the labourors – those who started work at 4.45 pm were equally rewarded with those who did the full day. Whats the moral of that tale? Grace.

      • J said

        MR. PATON POSTED : Thanks J – we’re getting into psychospirituality here. Some schools of thought would claim that fear is THE fundamental underlying force, and the new testament seems to imply that by stating that faith and fear are opposites. But nevertheless I take your broadening of the assertions about fear being primary, in your suggestion that powerlust might be an equal motivator for rejecting UR.

        I’d suggest that the lust for privelage has its roots in the fear of being a nobody.

        Response: Thank you , sir, for the robust reply . I have heard that argument that the lust for priviledge could somehow be attributed to the fear of being a nobody…that reportedly that such a status seeking comes from a desire to overcompensate for lack. And I’m willing to study further proposals on behalf of that argument . However, the notion which claims that the lust for priviledge comes from the fear of being a nobody becomes somewhat implausible in light of how in a number of cases there are people who have a lust for priviledge which come from backgrounds / life situations where they already have a sizable level of acclaim and priviledge …and are well received by many of those who they know…*instead of* coming from a background of dearth. The scenario that *in those cases* that those that seek extra priveledge for themselves are somehow worried about lack is rather unlikely in those cases where the person has *not* first has any notable experience of lack in their life …and so the greater likelyhood looms large that they merely crave the *abandon* of wanting extra…not to compensate for any feared lack or possibility of future lack …but merely out of a sort of mental laziness and , hence, an attitude of abandon for the sake of abandon ….

        Furthermore, times in the distant past , when sad to say I had somewhat of that propensity that I am now criticizing (and I’ll always regret that and never live it down even though the time I tried that was brief) , introspection told me that there was no fear of lack that I was compensating for …but, instead, a desire to rush headlong into the sort of unmindful and fast excitement that the thought of acclaim engendered . Granted it was for a very brief period in the more distant past and it was only in a fledgling sort of way that I never really maximized much or sustained for long . Furthermore, it was not even sought in terms of some sort of special heavenly acclaim (as many of the ultra-fundamentalists seek it in). Yet, nonetheless, it was inexcusible of me to have done it even for a moment ..

        Though that in and of itself is not smoking gun proof that all others who seek special privedge/acclaim and so on for themselves , it shows me that it is (at the very least) volitionally possible for someone to seek extra privledge for themselves, not out of a desire to compensate for a fear of lack..a fear of being a nobody , but, instead, merely mental laziness and abandon .

        MR. PATON POSTED : I am reminded very pointedly of the parable of the labourors – those who started work at 4.45 pm were equally rewarded with those who did the full day. Whats the moral of that tale? Grace.

        Response: Yes, sir. i too am fond of that parable and am glad to see often quoted to those ultra- fundamentalists who make the weird claim that it is unfair to the people who are Christian believers while alive if Jesus saved everyone eventually …as a counter-argument to what they claim . I’m glad you mentioned that.

        It should though be argued, as a caveat, that it is more plausible to intepret the chintzy attitude of the laborers who were mad at the Lord of the Vineyard cause he paid those who had only worked for a matter of minutes the same wage that they who had worked all day long in the heat of the day had been given , was an atttiude that does not seem to be one of fear nor insecurity , but instead an attitude of pettiness on behalf of the laborers who wanted special privelege .

  162. J said

    SOME FURTHER REMARKS

    It ought to be stated again …that the disparagement and weird outcry by the fundamentalists against Reverand Carlton Pearson …is nauseating and disgusting . Whether it be people who are allegeging he is some sort of so-called “heretic” (even though the Bible does NOT explicily state that Christian universalism is any heresy…. the only time the word ‘heresy ‘ is given anything like a definition in the New Testament it refers specifically to ‘denying the Lord ‘ i.e. denying the messiahood of Jesus), or it is the disgusting tendency of fundamentaliats to bellyache and say that they are praying for him to “come back into the fold” …insinuating that he is somehow no longer a Christian if he promotes Christian universalism , it is disgusting .

    People like that fellow named evangelist carry on AS IF somehow the basic Christian kerygma where Paul in Acts states to the jailer , ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and ye shall be saved ‘ , or in the letter to the Romans . ‘If ye shall confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, ye shall be saved’ …is somehow not enough . They carry on as if somehow a person coming to believe also that Jesus would save everyone eventually could somehow damn someone *even if* they have already confessed with their mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in their heart that God has raised him from the dead !

    They carry on AS IF Romans 10:9 was somehow incomplete . To such ultrafundamentalists the statement in Romans 10:9

    ‘If thou shall confess with thy mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God hath raised him from the dead’ ,

    is somehow not enough …according to the
    ultra-fundamentalists like “Evangelist” apparently one must not stop there, but also believe that every person who has not become a Christian while alive is dammed to an endless damnation wih no possibility of release …and that if a person does not believe ALSO in the endless damnation of other people who are not Christians then somehow it doesn’t matter if the universalist has accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior oneself …confessed him with their mough and beleived in their heart that God has raised him from the dead …that such a confessing alone is not sufficient to save one —if the Christian Universalist doesn’t also maintain that the other NON-Christians are dammed to an endless hell also .

    Funny how many of the ultra-fundamentalists, who like to rant and rave about people supposedly “adding on to the Bible ” are quite willing to add on to Romans 10:9 and claim that what it states about how a person is saved is not sufficient if the person who confesses Jesus as Lord doesn’t also believe in an endless damnation for the outsiders .

    Perhaps they’ll claim it is somehow “implied” that a person cannot be saved by confessing Jesus Christ as Lord and believing in their heart that God has raised them from the dead… IF the person does not also believe in an endless damnation for people who do not become Christians .

    Yet the “it’s implied” in scripture business is a cop out . Fundamentalists often resort to saying some doctrine is allegedly “implied” in scriptures even when it is not stated in the text . One can read just about any doctrine into the Bible by using that “it’s implied” routine !

    Perhaps that is how they come up with the “age of accountability” doctrine which uses a phrase that is NOWHERE mentioned anywhere in the Bible .

  163. Nic Paton said

    J you feel very strongly about ultra/fundamentalism, as many of us do.

    But let’s look forward here – what do things look like for you POST fundamentalism? The place we are at in the dialectic (in this conversation at least) is anti-fundamentalism. What does the landscape look like once we get beyond this issue altogether?

  164. J said

    MR. PATON POSTED :J you feel very strongly about ultra/fundamentalism, as many of us do.

    But let’s look forward here – what do things look like for you POST fundamentalism? The place we are at in the dialectic (in this conversation at least) is anti-fundamentalism. What does the landscape look like once we get beyond this issue altogether?

    Response: That is indeed a good question! I’m going to have to reflect on that. I’m not stating that to stall or merely defer the question ad inifinitum . That is indede a good question …and I do not merely say that in a blase sort of way .

    Though we ought to work on finding that answer ..let it be stated though that the detriment to both ethics and esthetics posed by ultra-fundamentalism is no small threat. That is not to affirm that you are affirming it to be a small threat; i merely state that for emphasis . Ultra- fundamentalism is not the only bogey of a bad way of thinking to deal with …there is the sex positive, secular pop culture of contemporary times that abounds in tawdry crass kitsch …liberated sex in all its vulgarity being but an element thereof . There is also the mendacity of many new age “memes”…like the Rhonda Byrne book “The Secret” that is unsympathetic to the sufferring that human beings go through and tells people that if they continue to have problems in their life , that they somehow should not have any sympathy extended to them …that it is somehow their fault for not being “marathon” positive thinkers …and that until they have become 24/7 positive thinkers than , oh well if suffering is their lot …<–That sort of new age ideology is about as ugly and repugnant as ultra-fundamentalism .

    Then there is mileu the pop psychology of the Dr.Phil sort of "psychotherapists"and other mendacious self-help mileu writers that also has what Tenessee Williams in one of the plays he wrote called , 'the smell of mendacity' . Ultra-fundamentalism is not the only ideology that i think ought to be denounced ….

    But again you do raise a good question .

    Incidentally, on another issue I was wondering of you sur being a Christian with a kind hearted disposition would please pray for a best friend of mine's Grandmother . If it is convenient perhaps I could disclose to you more of the specifics of the prayer request in a private e-mail. The friend's grandmother has a kidney ailment . I would be immensely greatful to you , Mr.Paton if you would be willing to pray for her .

    Being that I am lousy with computers , I have been unable to find your e-mail when I have tried to navigate the present site . I would like to disclose a little more information in a private e-mail , if that is alright , sir ….

    • J said

      An Adentum

      One of the thoughts I forgot to mention in the post above, is that one of the other threats of our time …a different threat to the civilization than ultra-fundamentalism …the threat of contemporary media driven , pop culture (which has to some extent overlapped with some elements of fundamentalism in some quarters …the phenomenon of evengelical Christian t-shirts and the pseudo-Christian Left Behind entertainment series, though it is often separate) …a pop culture based on trendiness, sordid spectacles, tawdry, yuppie-minded media gossip and kitsch threatens to erode a factor that is edifying to the civilization . It threatens to erode a variety of factors …but the factor I’d like to highlight which it threatens to erode is sentimentality. For sentimentality is a good quality , contrary to the popular opinion that has become prevalent in many societal quarters in the present era .

      Sentimentality helps one to reflect on finite particulars in all their quiddity (their particular thisness). It can be a catalyst for spurring a deeper contemplation of the quiddity of particular places and times …their thisness…and thereby distill the significance of those particulars .

      I’m reminded how the writer Rainer Maria Rilke wrote ,

      ‘how I long to make good from a far the forgotten gesture / the additional act ‘ .

      Yet the tawdry and contemporary spirit of the age as evinced by the mass popular news and enteritainment media including mainstream television and ther media …fosters a tawdriness, a fastness to thought , and patterns of acting and communicating.

      What is encouraged by the sordid spirit of the present pop culture is an earthiness …that is *contrary* to sentimentality ..an earthiness that rejects sentimentality …or marginalizes it and dilutes it …or reduces it to a kitschy carciature .

      It is high time for a revival of sentimentality and moreover a quainter and/or more refined sort of sentimentality …a cultural transformation and cultural revival . It is high time that people reject the present cultural mileu of earthiness, tackiness, and tawdriness…that they engage in a culture jamming against it . That would include the weird and pervasive tendency in the present era for people to prize liberated sex …the whole murky and all so banal tendency to celebrate the sexy that which is often referred to as “hot” in the now popular parlance .

      It is high time to reject earthiness , and champion ethereal , refined, and quiant and wholesome cultural themes . It is important that people who aspire to a more visionary and pioneering approach in spirituality …including various forms of universalism and other new (or old and now rediscovered) forms of spirituality …that are a refereshing alternative to the moribund approach to religion favored by typical Protestant evangelicalism and typical conservative sorts of Catholicism…not get caught up in the sex positive liberated sex craze …the mendacious craze that unfortunately celebrates the plebian excitements of sexuality . Not only does the prospect of sex positive attitudes infiltrating universalist and other more visionary elements of theological vanguard in Christianity , provide ultra-fundamentlists mental ammunition to use against the universlist and other theologically progressive camps , but such tacky lures and distractions tend to coarsen and banalize much of the sensibility…hence the adage ,

      ‘to be carnally minded is death ‘

      The folk singer Joni Mitchell wrote a song titled , ‘ Sex Kills’, to apparently show how the penchant for liberated sexuality can coarsen the lifeworld of a person . It is high time that people cultivate sentimentality and that there be a revival of sentimentality .

      The penchant for earthiness and edginess (edginess of the interpersonal sort that is fostered by trash like reality t.v. and many television shows and movies, in the present era…edginess which is *different* from vehemence of a polemical sort) concurrently ought to be totally rejected and sentimentality ought to be celebrated .

      • Nic Paton said

        Jason
        You are an original thinker with strong convictions.

        I hear you and agree mostly with your critique of Global Culture but there are a few points needing clarity:

        I’ve always seen sentimentality as a negative force which makes life shallow and avoids deep issues. However you are not saying this – you are asking for more depth. I’d perhaps want to use the word “sentiment” as less pejorative, as that factor within humans which strives to transcend the “tawdriness” of this world.

        As for Earthiness, well one of the elements in this tawdry culture is its lack of connection with Terra Firma – it is the abstract and otherworldly tendencies that lead to the evacuation mentality of Left Behind, rather than a commitment to the dust from whence we come and to whence we shall return. I’m for a Hebraic connection to Earth over a Greco-Roman Otherness in Idealised Heaven.

        I love your reference to Joni Mitchell – she’s The Queen, a gem of a poetess. “Sex Kills” is from my least favourite of her albums but it’s a searing inditment of lust and power. I’d be careful however to see it as demonising sex per se, for sex forms a link with this very earthiness of which much of a Soulful spirituality must be composed. In saying this I am not meaning it in a libertarian way – “If it feels good do it” – but in its most sacred sense.

        Once again, you use of “edgy” I’d go with, because to say “He has the edge” normally does not mean He is a prophet in touch with the liminal hinterlands of being” but rather he is ultra conventional and sexy in its most predictable way.

        Try this hat on for size – I was thinking of labelling you a “Left Brain Universalist”. What do you think? ;)

  165. J said

    Hello Mr.Paton ,

    Try this hat on for size – I was thinking of labelling you a “Left Brain Universalist”. What do you think?

    Response: No objections to that label . It appeals to the humor in me .

  166. J said

    I hear you and agree mostly with your critique of Global Culture but there are a few points needing clarity:

    I’ve always seen sentimentality as a negative force which makes life shallow and avoids deep issues.

    Response: Please elaborate, sir, on why you think of sentimentality and/or the word ‘sentimentality’ in those perjorative terms .

    However you are not saying this – you are asking for more depth. I’d perhaps want to use the word “sentiment” as less pejorative, as that factor within humans which strives to transcend the “tawdriness” of this world.

    As for Earthiness, well one of the elements in this tawdry culture is its lack of connection with Terra Firma – it is the abstract and otherworldly tendencies that lead to the evacuation mentality of Left Behind, rather than a commitment to the dust from whence we come and to whence we shall return. I’m for a Hebraic connection to Earth over a Greco-Roman Otherness in Idealised Heaven.

    Response : Well, first of all, by earthiness I am not referring to the soil nor to the ecology …that is not what I mean by earthy …The term ‘earthy ‘ is often used to reference ANTI-ethereal ANTI-refined and/or
    ANTI-quaint / ANTI-sentimental sorts of dispositions .

    For example people who find puerile , ribald , coarse amusement in repulsive activities like farting …that sort of disposition would be earthy . A liking for liberated steamy sex would be an example of earthy .

    There are other examples of the theme of the earthy tht do not involve bodily operations of an unesthetic sort …yet still like the aforementioned ones are pervaded by the sense of the
    ANTI-highfallutin / ANTI-profound or ANTI-precious.

    For example , finding amusement in beating the contestants on a game show would be another example of earthy . Getting visceral excitement from a gambling spree at a casino would be another . Getting the excitement from watching some character that one likes on some television soap opera get revenge on someone else like their “ex” would be another example still .

    The evacuation mentality of the Left Behind series is not an example of otherworldly nor abstract tendencies…since much of the fundamentalist conception of heaven depicts heaven as being more like a only barely spirtualized sort of celestial country club or gated community where there is keeping up with the Joneses on a more supernatural scale …replete with literalized interpretations of crowns that the usual fundamentalists interpret to be like unto status symbols . So much of fundamentalism is steeped in an attitude of conspicuous consumption , bourgeous thinking …yet extended even on a supernatural scale in the afterlife and/or after some future apocalypse …

    One is hard pressed to make the case that it is somehow in any way a continuation of the Platonist spirtuality of the ideal forms . The Left Behind sort of fundamentalism is too crass to come anywhere near the sensibility of the abstract Platonist approach . Many of those fundamentalists apparently support the whole conservative economic competitiveness and productivity shtick and , hence, are quite supportive of mammon .

    I’m all for getting in touch with the soil . However, when i refer to earthiness …the term earthy as I have heard it is not about some buccolic sort of affair of getting back to the land and the ecology (which as Ralph Waldo Emerson , Johnny Appleseed , and other utopians I admire showed could be …in a way that might seem ironic ..though it isn’t ..can have quite ethereal overtones). Instead, the term ‘earthy’ as I have heard it …and the following is why I deride it…is more about themes and motifs that are crassly visceral and murky and ANTI-ethereal .

    I love your reference to Joni Mitchell – she’s The Queen, a gem of a poetess.

    Response: Well stated brother , Paton. Indeed she is !

    “Sex Kills” is from my least favourite of her albums but it’s a searing inditment of lust and power. I’d be careful however to see it as demonising sex per se, for sex forms a link with this very earthiness of which much of a Soulful spirituality must be composed. In saying this I am not meaning it in a libertarian way – “If it feels good do it” – but in its most sacred sense.

    Response : How does sex form a link with anything in which a soulful spirituality must be composed .?

    The esthetics of the unveiled female form when cultivated for purely esthetic purposes with no desire for sex involved …provided the girls in question are chaste in how they look and comport themselves …NO vampy bulging legs and NO stilleto heels and NO lewd poses or expressions …can be edifying from an esthetic standpoint …that is what I think was the sensibility behind the Song of Solomon ..which I interpret in a NON sexual, purely esthetic way .

    (I’m thinking of chaste Neoclassicist and Pre-Rephaelite depictions of scantily clad maidens chaste NONsexual nudes ) .

    But sex itself ..for any other purposes than engendering children …I maintain pushes one into the realm of visceral abandon instead of sexuality and is a coarse affair . (Yes, I am one of those old fashioned prudes and crackpots who advocate a return to the frigid , quaint anti-sexual mores of the Victorian and early Edwardian eras) .

    Yet I strive to be fair, and so I am certainly willing to study what arguments you present… if you wish to present counterarguments to the contrary. I strive to be fair ..fair but *not* balanced (and there is a distinction) .

    Let me also share for a moment the observation that I think the radical feminist intellectuals present a good critique when they lament that there has been unfortuantely a phallocentric tendency in much of society .

    Once again, you use of “edgy” I’d go with, because to say “He has the edge” normally does not mean He is a prophet in touch with the liminal hinterlands of being” but rather he is ultra conventional and sexy in its most predictable way.

    Response: That critique you present is quite interesting indeed .

    And moreover …there is another element to the edginess that makes for a bad zeitgeist in the present era ..another element that is different from just the sexual aspect though it often accompanies it . That is the weird tendency in the present era of MTV , CNN, and reality t.v. to prize sordid and melodromatic personal conflict …whether it be sibling rivalry, ex husbands and ex wives, co-workers backbiting one another ect . A relative I live with unfortunately allows several t.v. shows showcasing such themes to drone on from her television set and so I often get an earfull . That sort of theme of conflict and testiness that is so prized in many societal circles in the present weird , murky era …involves a conflict that is not (at least not in the main) amongst opposed ideologies in some polemical sense …but instead is some sort bantering cattiness and personal one-upmanship that is quite mentally entropic and is full of sound and fury …yet leads to nothing intrinsically profound .

    There has grown a weird (weird not in the sense of being unusual in some fascinating way, but more like in the sense of being murky) school of thought …or climate of mood that somehow seems to cogitate as if relationships that have such overrated sturm and drang …and catty melodrama as somehow more spicier or full of vitality …that is a ridiculous sort of way of thinking .

    Much of that sort of thinking is apparently behind weird monikers or “memes” that one hears bandied about in the present era …like the goofy saying that exhorts people to “come out of their comfort zone” . Much of that sort of thinking is prevalent in the odd sorts of pop culture based social circles that might find an affinity for such cultural detritus as shows like the series ‘Dawsons Creek’ and similar t.v series or shows like Survivor , and /or edgy melodromatic so-called thought provoking movies that are often so ballyhooed and hyped up in the present era !

    As an aside , let me say that since many of the trendier yuppie- like neo-fundamentalists ..the ones that are drawn to junk like the Left Behind to copy phenomenon from the secular pop culture and give it an evangelical coating …its a scary thought …but I wouldn’t be at all suprised if there wasn’t somehwere a fundamentalist new generation version of a reality t.v. series with some sort of fundamentalist religious overtone to it! ) .

    A revival of quaintness ..of what the Victorian essayist Matthew Arnold once apparently called ‘sweetness and light’, would be very good . Such revival of quaintness would be in a suprising way a revolutionary antidote to the sordid and moribund world of CNN, MTV , CSI crime scene , Survivor, Desperate Housewives, Left Behind, Entertainment Tonight, and all the other examples of what Guy Debord once called ‘The Society of the Spectacle’ .

    It would be great if there were far more people who talk like characters in sappy old Jimmy Stewart movies, *instead of* saying “f-ck” and “cool” so pervasively . It would be great if there were say lots of blacksmiths and carpenters and NO celebrity gossip reporters and more old ladies on verandas of old Queen Anne houses playing mahjong and checkers, and drinking lemonade , *instead of* the sort of middle aged women (and men for that matter) the latter who unfortunately might envy the “hot” sexy, young, fast , luxury- car driving, 21 century, conformist philistines .

  167. Nic Paton said

    Jason – You do love words! Apologies but I cannot reply in as much depth as you do.

    Is farting “puerile , ribald , coarse”, or is it “Earthy”? – great debating point. Any other comments?

    Thank you for being honest about our differences. I am tempted to expand my earlier label – I now see you as a Neo-Victorian Right Brain Universalist!

    It’s almost refreshing to see someone stand up in defense of the “Platonic”, when all around I see the dreadful effects of dualism, especially on the type of Fundamentalism as well as Global Consumerism you (and I) are critical of.

    I have a feeling that the post modern world will be far more hospitable to you than your quirkily conservative one, if you can possibly view it from an alternative point of view. I’d like to explore that with you if I can find the time.

  168. J said

    Mr. Paton Post : Jason – You do love words! Apologies but I cannot reply in as much depth as you do.

    Response: You underestimate yourself . The posts you make are rather articulate and show that youtake time to think about the responses carefully…which is good .

    Mr. Paton Posted :Is farting “puerile , ribald , coarse”, or is it “Earthy”? – great debating point. Any other comments?

    Response: It is definitely puerile, coarse, and earthy . Farting is quite repulsive and people should *not* find amusement in it .

    Mr Paton Posted :Thank you for being honest about our differences. I am tempted to expand my earlier label – I now see you as a Neo-Victorian Right Brain Universalist!

    Response: Hmnnn. Well I have heard the term ‘left brain’ associated with linear as opposed to non linear thinking. I definitely support linear thinking and hate lateral equivocal thinking . So if the designation of left brain refers to supporting linear thinking than I would be left brained .

    Mr. Paton Posted : It’s almost refreshing to see someone stand up in defense of the “Platonic”, when all around I see the dreadful effects of dualism, especially on the type of Fundamentalism as well as Global Consumerism you (and I) are critical of.

    Response: Consider that fundamentalists conceptualize dualism in very crude terms . Moreover, the depict the supernatural heavenly realm in crude almost physicalist terms. Consider the problem may not be with any ontological dualism of flesh and spirit
    (and I also think that there can be a sort of tertium quid between what we call the physical and the spiritual but that is a longer discussion), but with the crude and muddled version of that dualism presented by the fundamentalists. Not all dualists present the dualism in such crude terms .

    I am earnestly interested in the manner in which you postulate that dualism is involved in Global Consumerism ?

    Mr Paton Posted :I have a feeling that the post modern world will be far more hospitable to you than your quirkily conservative one, if you can possibly view it from an alternative point of view. I’d like to explore that with you if I can find the time.

    Response: Please do elaborate and present arguments as to how that can be the case . Though I have a vehemence and vitriol against ambivalence/ambiguity/postmodernism/and contemporary pop culture that is way beyond the proverbial charts I am willing to study what notions you wish to present and study them line by line . I’m going o want to test them with dialectic . Thought I aspire to be a rigid , fanatical, one sided ideologue
    one thing I will *never* say to an interlocuter is that I don’t want to hear it. I do want to hear it . I seek to examine all things and hold fast to what is right, so please do not hesitate to present arguments to the contrary and I will give them careful study ….

  169. Nic Paton said

    Jason – Apologies – I meant Left Brain. Us Right Brain types are not as accurate about the cortal heimispheres.

    Farting, though generally unpleasant, should be construed in less moralistic terms. In this, I follow Jung whose exlorations into the subconscious brings us to the “chthonic” nature of life, the hidden, earthy, mysterious underside, which is apprehended through intuition rather than reason.

    Here’s another one for your T Shirts, if you wear such a ribald form of vestment : “PROUDLY PRUDISH”. What do you think?

    And I have to thank you two more words in my vocabulary: Chintzy and Mendacity. Thanks.

    As for a presentation of my understanding of postmodern spirituality, perhaps you might study these 2 earlier posts of mine:

    http://soundandsilence.wordpress.com/2008/11/06/eternity-evolution-and-emergence/

    http://soundandsilence.wordpress.com/2008/07/24/the-ambivangelical/

  170. J said

    Jason – Apologies – I meant Left Brain. Us Right Brain types are not as accurate about the cortal heimispheres.

    Response: No problem brother. I’m no strangers to typos . Some of the typos in posts that I have to sometimes go back and fix …mispellings , accidental twists in the syntax …could almost drivbe a fella to drink…in a non-determinsitic way !

    Mr Paton Posted : Farting, though generally unpleasant, should be construed in less moralistic terms. In this, I follow Jung whose exlorations into the subconscious brings us to the “chthonic” nature of life, the hidden, earthy, mysterious underside, which is apprehended through intuition rather than reason.

    Response: But why is the chthonic state of affairs thought to be desirable ? What purpose does it serve to get in touch with it ?

    Mr Paton Posted :Here’s another one for your T Shirts, if you wear such a ribald form of vestment : “PROUDLY PRUDISH”. What do you think?

    Response: Well, I aspire to be a humble person …do not
    want to develop any pride in my personal self . However, i would like a t-shirt that would read :’gladly prudish’ or ‘glad to be a prude’ !

    Mr. Paton Posted :And I have to thank you two more words in my vocabulary: Chintzy and Mendacity. Thanks.

    Response : No, problem , brother Paton . The last one is used quite a lot in a Tennesee William’s play . A play that I saw made into a movie where the singer and actor Burl Ives plays the part of a character called ‘Big Daddy ‘ and Paul Newman plays his son . The character of Big Daddy uses the term mandacity and the phrase ‘the smell of mendacity’ several times in the movie .

    The story of the Emperorer’s New Clothes whom a child could recognize wasn’t there also illustrates the notion .

    The apologetics on behalf of the notion of some sort of unending torture of people in a hell, with no possibility of further redemption out of it…the sort that redefines terms like ‘love’ and claims that in some mysterious way that the prospect of eternal torture in an endless hell, is somehow compatible with Divine Love is an example of mendacity . Will have more to comment on that incongruous and mendacious claim hopefully soon …

    Mr. Paton Posted :As for a presentation of my understanding of postmodern spirituality, perhaps you might study these 2 earlier posts of mine:

    http://soundandsilence.wordpress.com/2008/11/06/eternity-evolution-and-emergence/

    http://soundandsilence.wordpress.com/2008/07/24/the-ambivangelical/

    Response: Will study those posts .

  171. grace P. Farrag said

    Mr. Pearson- You are correct in your understanding of religions in our life.My biggest disoppointment with America is the ignorance about God, because that breeds many social injustises,fears and wars. All books are written by man, even Moses’s Ten Commendments on stone. Thank you for giving voice to us all who are out there in communion with The Creator but out of religious pews.

  172. I happened to see a rebroadcast of Bishop Pearce’s interview on TV. tonight. His is a very uplifting story. His fall from grace because of following his inner voice, ( The great I Am of man) as I like to call it, and his courage, his need and conviction that he found his right path.
    My prayers and thoughts are with him!
    I went through a similar experience when I was introduced to the writings of Anthony De Mello. He was a Catholic priest who propounded a radically different view of religion and our relationship to God. He would have been excommunicated if not for the fact that he passed away. His series of small books and videos would make worthwhile reading for the seriously searcher, they sure sent me out to seek for myself, to take the path less traveled.

    I have followed this blog for a while and is seems to me that some contributors rely on semantics and overblown verbiage in order to convince others of their view. In many cases a very narrow, selected stance on well-worn sayings from the bible.
    I’ll end with a story out of Anthony De Mello’s book, “The song of the bird”

    “Christian: I have, unfortunately, had a surfeit of people I could turn to for guidance. They badgered me with their persistent teachings ‘till I could hardly hear you through the din. It never occurred to me that I could get my knowledge firsthand from you, for they sometimes said to me, “We are all the teachers you will ever need; he who listens to us listens to Him.”

    But I am wrong to blame them or to deplore their presence in my early life.
    It is I who am to blame.
    For I lacked the firmness to silence them;
    the courage to find out for myself;
    the patience to wait for your appointed time;
    And the trust that someday,
    Somewhere ,you would break your
    Silence and reveal yourself to me.

    Fortunately She broke her silence and I joined the Unitarian Universalists, an all-embracing church.
    I felt like I had come home. I’m getting more in tune with the Great I Am and see more of the Kingdom everyday. For Jesus said, “Seek and ye shall find, knock and the door will be opened” Another time “For the Kingdom is at hand.” Another time, “For the Kingdom of God is in you and all around, yet men do not see it.”

    Finding the Kingdom is easy, look, really look and soon you will see it all around you!

    Tony

    • nic paton said

      Thanks Tony for your story. Its a testimony to a journey towards inclusion, and yet appears to also embrace aspects of what you have left behind.

      • Thank you Nic for your kind reply.
        I felt the need to add my two cents worth to this conversation.

        The biggest problem that I’ve encountered with the “strictly biblical interpretation crowd” is not that they hold the bible in high esteem,but that they fail to see that the bible is but a road-sign to the Great I Am. Just like many other signs on this earth that point to “God”. They have not yet realized that you need to search your own way through the maze of life. You cannot park yourself by the signs or you will miss out on the journey.
        Life is a journey, take off your blinders and find the beauty in everyone and everything and you will begin to see what Jesus meant when he said the “Kingdom is within you and without you.”
        Open your eyes, look around and perhaps you too will see it!

  173. ShadetreeHill said

    Nick, I literally stumbled upon your blog. In doing so, I found the voice of a quiet and contemplatively host, which was compelling. The thoughtful answers you posited while under personal attack assured me that here was a mind and heart of great value within any belief system.

    You displayed an understanding of one’s inherent limitations, relative to the Knowledge of G-d and His ways. You appear to be among those who “seek”, those who question, those who force themselves to ‘know why’.

    Admittedly, I became drained by starting from the beginning of your blog (2007) where many emotionally charged and entangled contributions are found. For the most part, they seem to emanate from the same quarter — people clinging to fundamentalist (literalist) types of doctrines concerning the Holy Bible. And I found myself wanting to express my appreciation for your learned insights, courage, and steadfastness. So after reading at least 30, including those sermons slung from ‘lofty’ pulpits against your POV, I skipped down to just send you my appreciation.

    As one trying to immerse myself in the Baha’i Faith (which I will not talk about in depth unless YOU ask), one of the many things I’m learning is requirements of humility. Even the greatest of minds and hearts, past and present, came to the realization that the more one learns, the more ignorant one becomes of the greatness and incomprehensible nature of G-d and His Creation.

    I would like your opinion on one or more of these somewhat integrated and religiously historical observations:

    Jesus condemned literal interpretations of the Holy Books. Fundamentalism was/is His greatest enemy; He taught against it. If He had condoned it, it seems likely that He would have appeared, 2000 years ago, in literal conformity with the prophecies.

    Or, Fundamentalism is a belief system that unwittingly imposes restrictions upon God. Similarly, it imprisons its adherents in a mental cage that casts scientific and other forms of human advancement (outer space) as being the work of Satan, since this things are not ‘literally’ in the Holy Bible.

    Or, History serves as a perfect mirror for reflecting both the veracity of our perceptions and beliefs as well as the errors of our ways. Given the immutable and eternal law of Cause and Effect (reaping/sowing; action/reaction)) which governs the universe, America’s Civil War, in a biblical sense, warrants a more correct appellation — the War between Christians or the Christian Civil War.

    Of course, there’s more. Thanking you in advance.

    • Shadetreehill, if I may jump in here to share some of my unworthy thoughts I hope it will not offend you. Jesus as a rule did not condemn the literal interpretatation of the Holy Book. He disagreed with the way the message of the o.t. had been bastardized, become inflexible and had enrichted the few at the expense of the many. What the extremists Christians seem to convieniently overlook is the fact that Jesus was a Jew he was not a Christian. It was paul who claimed that Jesus was the Christ and spread the Christianity that Jesus himself would have shunned.
      Fundamentalists do unwittingly impose restrictions upon G-d since they cannot come to grips with the new facts, (old facts i.e. creation of the universe), that our new sciences are constantly propounding. I have simply come to the understanding that G_d, in whatever form you perceive her/him will speak directly to my soul. Why would this almighty G-d need an intermeditary to speak for him/her ?

      • nic paton said

        Thanks Tony for your wisdom. I agree – the focus of Jesus is not fundamentalism per se, although we might contextualise his message to critique it today – see my reply to STH.

      • Shadetreehill said

        I apologize for my lengthy disappearance and, thus, delayed responses.

        Tony, there is no fundamental disagreement between us, just semantics. You actually articulated the effect of literal scriptural interpretation. And you also gave evidence of man’s fallibilty when you pointed to Paul’s spread of his own understanding of Jesus’ Reality and teachings. But we must part paths on the issue of whether G-d sends a Holy One to lead mankind or speaks directly to the human heart. I believe the former. History itself supports this understanding.

    • nic paton said

      Hi Shadetreehill
      First thanks for your kind words, and for bothering to enter such a long conversation. I am certainly interested in your faith, although I do not have any specific questions at the moment.

      Your key issue in this comment appears to be fundamentalism and Jesus’ teaching on it. I think it would be helpful to put fundamenalism in its historical perspective as an expression of Modernity in doing a fair critique (but I feel ill equipped to do so).

      I don’t think Jesus’ critique is against fundamentalism per se; I do think it is more hypocrisy and specifically the religious hypocrisy of various Jewish (and other) notions – lack of compassion, exclusivity, externalised holiness, injustice for example. Of course as we contextualise we see many parallels with the fruits of fundamentalism today.

      I’d like to see your biblical support for your view that “Jesus condemned literal interpretations of the Holy Books”. You might be correct but I suspect you are being a tad too emphatic.

      Again, we need to understand what we mean by “literalism”. And we must not confuse this with historicity. There are many who like to totally metaphorise Jesus, often as “The Cosmic Christ” (which I am not against, if balanced well with the historical Jesus) for example, who do not pay enough attention to the Incarnational reality – Jesus appeared in a historical context. This claim does not make me a literalist.

      I think that the problem can be fruitfully addressed by using the ideas behind “idol-icon” (see my suggestions here http://soundandsilence.wordpress.com/2007/10/16/idol-icon/). That which we literalise, I believe we idolise. We freeze it and box it and limit it and own it and control it. Truth properly served will always be emerging and breaking out of our literal notions. Literal implies written, and written thoughts, including these words I type right now, need to be provisionally held, and never made absolute.

      Same goes for our entire points of view, including our religious beliefs – we all play a part in the whole and none has the whole. When we think we do we become deluded, and I think we fall victim to the very literalism you describe.

      • Shadetreehill said

        Nick, your patience while awaiting a response to your well thought out critique of my thoughts deserves a correspondingly appropriate answer. Please forgive my absence; the wilderness of greed, superstition, and disbelief has been occupying most of my time.

        You stated: I’d like to see your biblical support for your view that “Jesus condemned literal interpretations of the Holy Books”. You might be correct but I suspect you are being a tad too emphatic.

        Response: What immediately comes to mind is the adage “G-d has never interacted with man according to popular expectations”. Therefore, we can easily see that, historically, hindsight, reflection, growing awareness and a gradual ‘awakening’, if you will, have always been required before the generality of man acknowleges that G-d did (past tense) something new. Biblical history, as well as the history of every other major religion, seem to verify this.

        Regarding your gentle challenge, my first example of seemingly undeniable biblical evidence of man’s inclination towards literalism is the fantastic realm of Jewish expectations shaping ‘how’ the Messiah should come — Throne of David; conquering armies; preceded by Elias, etc.

        It is written that, (to paraphrase) as man continually evolves and matures, he enters periods where what was previously conceived as representing the highest heavens of moral and spiritual life become sources of confusion and spiritual decline. Such Teachings no longer have the influence they once had. Even the power of eternal truths fades. Thus, religion is renewed from Age to Age. Its very purpose of religion is to ‘progressively’ teach the human heart, intellect, and spirit (mind) about human reality vis-a-vis the Reality of God.

        Whenever G-d sends another Holy One to us, a new civilization gradually emerges from His teachings. Old conceptualizations and superstitions fade away. We are now witnessing such an emergence since the coming of Baha’u’llah — a global civilization. Resitance to this “new earth” is mostly led by clergy of every traditional religion.

        Prior to the Coming of Jesus, 2,000 years ago, rabbinical doctrines were heavily influenced by Rome’s domination. Rome! Rome! The fabled Rome of old eventually fell, only to be replaced during the Christian Era by the Holy Roman Empire. Now, a new Age has begun. That once powerful Empire has itself been reduced to one square mile in the city of Rome.

        Of course, there’s more to say regarding the rest of your comments. But my main focus is to prove that the Holy Bible is true — prophecies, Jesus’ Teachings, etc.

  174. CivilianServant said

    I am a Christian in England moving towards theological training. I remember Carlton Pearson growing up listening to Gospel music, I have a CD somewhere…a friend said to me today that Pearson had renounced his faith. I thought it sad. So I googled it and ended up here among other places to check it out. He has very clearly not renounced his faith. He does not have a new faith either, its the same faith which is changing. As someone says on here in desperation, either God’s word is true or it is not, my 2 thoughts are yes God’s Word is true but thats got nothing to do with our understanding of it. It just is, whether you’ve read it a thousand times or never opened it once. And secondly why must God’s truth be static? If in application it always produces the same thing then it becomes a formula and God is not to be reduced to something akin to a mathematical equation…his ways are not our ways

  175. Cierra said

    Have you ever thought about including a little bit more than just your articles?
    I mean, what you say is fundamental and everything.
    But think of if you added some great images or videos to give your posts more, “pop”!
    Your content is excellent but with images and clips, this site
    could undeniably be one of the greatest in its niche.
    Superb blog!

  176. Hello friends, its wonderful piece of writing on the topic of
    educationand fully explained, keep it up all the time.

    • Julienne said

      Hi Nic.
      You seem to be doing a good job by raising this forum. But im afraid you seem quite immature to handle issues. You are not objective. You seem to have issues with people who dont agree with you. This is quite sad coming from the moderator of a blog.
      Pls grow up in this area and ask God for wisdom.
      I pray that you will let the light of Jesus trury illuminate your world. God bless you.

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