Friday, August 1, 2008

The World's Longest Blog Entry

Hey bloggers,

We're still in Washington, but I'll write some more when we get back home and I can find some free blog-time.

The exchange between all of you yesterday was interesting...cool...enlightening...
mentally and spiritually stimulating...and it really exemplified what a blog is supposed to be.

I may weigh in on a couple of things that were brought up when I have the time, but I think that you've pretty much got it covered. Each one of you expressed yourself in a very compelling way, and, at the risk of sounding evasive or patronizing, I actually agree with all of you.

So I speak a blessing on you faithful bloggers for getting in the game (and even on you bench-warming blurkers!), and I want you to know that I appreciate and respect the fact that you take the time to examine these kinds of things, and to write so well in making your points.

Come, let us reason together.

Check back later today...

Peace

______


Hey bloggers,

We're back (currently 23 comments). In an effort to see the glass half-full, I’m going to reiterate that the dialogue here over the last couple of days has been enlightening, and that I agree, on some level, with everyone’s point of view. But there’s a part of me that wants to avoid this conversation, altogether, because I’ve had these same discussions on so many occasions (and have covered all of these ideas in so much of my teaching), and I don’t know how much good they do, really.

Let me try to explain. I’m certainly familiar with “Let not your good be evil spoken of”, “Come out from among them and touch not the unclean thing” (I was raised on that one), “Be holy for I am holy”, You have been called to liberty, only do not use liberty as an occasion to the flesh”…I could go on and on with citing the holiness/morality Scriptures. I know them all.

But I also know that Jesus said that if you hate your brother (and hatred is rampant among many religious people, by the way) that you’re a murderer. My point is, that this is an interesting discussion, but I don’t know what it resolves in the big picture. Your paradigm is either that of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (focusing on the actions of people), or The Tree of Life (focusing on the finished work of Christ).

Again I say, I agree with everyone’s point expressed here. Really I do! But for me, personally, after a lifetime of studying the Scriptures, and preaching for nearly 37 years of that lifetime, I have to agree with Abraham Lincoln concerning who will be in heaven…it’s either everyone or no one! (I almost instantly regret writing that because I know the kind of debate that it incites, and right now my head is in a completely different place).

But since I’ve written that, let me reluctantly repost this article from a few months ago (Oh, Lord, here we go again…)


Here’s the first part, but the part that I think is pertinent begins with the second Qand A:


Q. Do you believe in a literal hell?

A. I believe in the Lamb of God Who took away the sin of the world!



SCARLETT: “Oh, Rhett. I am so afraid.”

RHETT: “I don't believe it. You've never been afraid in your life.”

SCARLETT: “I'm afraid now. I'm afraid of dying, of going to Hell.”

RHETT: “You look pretty healthy. And maybe there isn't any Hell.”

SCARLETT: “Oh, there is. I know there is. I was raised on it.”


In the 36 years that I have been in the ministry, no one has ever one time asked me if I preach the Cross of Jesus Christ. No one has asked if I pray for people to be filled with the Holy Spirit. No one has ever asked if I feed the poor or visit people in prison. No one has inquired about my role in racial reconciliation, or showed any curiosity, whatsoever, about whether or not I do anything to help the homeless…or drug addicts…or alcoholics. It has never even come up once in conversation, and no one has even thought to ask if I preach on love and forgiveness. In fact, I don’t even remember if anyone has ever asked if I believe in a literal heaven with streets of gold and gates of pearl.

But people have always asked me lots and lots and lots of questions about hell…“Do you believe in hell? Do believe in the fire and the brimstone? Who do you think is going to hell? When are they going to go? Will they start burning as soon as they die? How long will they burn? Are there degrees of hell? Who is in hell now? Do people feel the fire scorching and burning their flesh for ever and ever and ever there? Do the demons torture you in hell? Are all the Jews and Muslims and atheists and homosexuals going to hell?...and so it goes. I can even say something about heaven possibly being just another dimension and no one will bat an eye…but when you mess with hell, you stir up a lot of stuff, and you find out how obsessed with it and even defensive for it a lot of people are.

In all four Schools of the Bible (available on CD and DVD) we have examined, in-depth, the four words that were translated into “hell” in the King James Version and in other translations. We showed that Sheol was simply the Hebrew word for “the grave” or “the unseen”; that Gehenna (or the Valley of Hinnom) that Jesus referred to was a literal, burning garbage dump outside of Jerusalem; that Tartarus was a place of confinement for rebellious angels until the reconciliation of all things; and that Hades (the name of the pagan god of the underworld in Greek mythology) was used as the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew Sheol. We discussed that “hell” was never once mentioned in the original language of the Old Testament or in Paul’s Epistles, and that John’s prophetic vision of a “Lake of Fire” in The Revelation was from the Greek word pur, and was symbolic of God’s purifying fire (same root as “baptized with the Holy Spirit and fire” or “our God is a consuming fire”). We even showed that “The Second Death” or when Hades (“hell” in the KJV) is thrown into the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:14), it literally refers simply to “the death of death”, proving that “hell” and the “Lake of Fire” are two completely different things.

That being said, and in spite of all that we have expressed, the point of our theology should never be about disproving the existence of a literal “hell” or a place of eternal punishment and damnation for the wicked or unsaved. The main theme and constant of everything that we study and believe should always be the complete triumph of the Lamb of God! In other words, if there were a thousand literal, eternally burning hells, the redeeming power of the Lamb’s ultimate and bloody sacrifice on the cross, His miraculous resurrection and His subsequent intercession for humanity (Hebrews 7:25) would still be a stronger force than all the combined hells that anyone could imagine! That’s why we behold the Lamb; it’s not about what we don’t believe in, it’s about in what—or rather in Whom—we believe! And because we believe in Him, we behold Him (not the absence of hell, or the presumed liberty or imagined sins of others), and because we behold Him, we worship Him in Spirit and in truth!


Q. - Shouldn’t the really, really, really bad people go to hell?

A. Where sin abounds, grace much more abounds!


First of all, let me clearly state that I believe that sin is a bad idea, the wages of sin is death, the way of the transgressor is hard, and that they who sow to the flesh will of the flesh reap corruption. I believe that criminals should be punished/rehabilitated for their crimes and/or pay their debt to society, and in some cases I’m even in favor of capital punishment. I believe that all people, including ministers and authority figures, are responsible for their actions, that they should live by a high moral standard because things like morality and integrity are still valid and important in today’s world, and that when they are uncovered in a scandal or moral problem they should admit to it and get some help. And even though I believe that mercy triumphs over judgment (James 2:13), I was fine with Timothy McVeigh (the Oklahoma City bomber) being executed, and I especially agree with Jesus that those who abuse “little ones” should have a millstone tied around their neck and be thrown into the sea (and if it was one of my little ones I’d be happy to tie the rope myself!).

You may think that my directness on this point sounds somewhat out of character with the overall tone of this blog, but I must be emphatic here. To me this is stating the obvious, but there those who think that when you preach the triumph of the cross over sin, or the restitution of all things, or when you proclaim that the Lamb of God took away the sin of the world, that you are somehow giving license to people to live reckless, immoral, undisciplined, ungodly lives with no repercussions, because you have told them that they will be reconciled to God in the end, and therefore shouldn’t bother with trying to live a holy or moral existence.

The question that I used to get asked all the time was “Can you just do anything (bad) that you want and still be saved?” I don’t seem to get that one much any more for some reason, but I recently got an e-mail from someone in our cyber-congregation who was asked about the seeming appropriateness of satan worshippers and the Prophets of Baal going to hell, and she didn’t know how to answer the person who confronted her, even though she embraces all that I have taught in School of the Bible I, II, III, and IV. And then once in a while I still get the classic “Universalist” challenge: “Do you think that Hitler is in heaven?”

Of course all these questions come from the paradigm created by having eaten from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil as opposed to the mindset that comes from the more optimal Tree of Life, and I especially hate the Hitler question because it takes the emphasis off of the finished work of Christ, and puts it on the horrible actions of a deranged maniac. And, certainly, the idea of seeing Hitler (or others of his ilk) happily walking down streets of gold in heaven with Moses and Elijah or David is completely unthinkable to anyone with a sense of morality.

But it’s always interesting to me to observe how even people who believe in the triumph of the cross generally believe that the “really, really, really” bad people should be at least held more accountable, if not somewhat punished for their deeds. It’s a normal response to trying to get your head around some of the horrible acts that are committed every day by people in this world. Regardless of the fact that James said that if you are guilty in one point, you are guilty in them all, the sins of some people just naturally seem worse to us than the sins of others. In eastern religions there is the concept of karma (basically what goes around comes around), to help people deal with the ramifications of evil, and reincarnation which is based on the idea that if you do really bad stuff, you’ll come back in another life as something really disgusting. But western Christians have the concept of hell to help them psychologically deal with justice being served in cases of unspeakable wickedness. Most of our western concepts of hell, especially the notion that there are degrees of punishment there, come from The Divine Comedy, better known as Dante’s Inferno written by Dante Alighieri between 1308 and his death in 1321. Seen as one of the greatest works of world literature, the poem's imaginative vision of the Christian afterlife is a culmination of the medieval world-view as it had developed in the Western Church over the centuries, and is much more responsible for shaping our ideas of eternal punishment than is the Bible.

I have read the transcripts from the murder trial of a diabolical man who intentionally ran over three little kids in a Covington (my home town) McDonald’s parking lot on a Saturday morning, and in the document were the recorded words of the mother whose three year old daughter was killed in the incident. She spoke directly to the man who had brutally snuffed out the life of her baby girl just days before her third birthday (laughing while he did it, by the way), and said to him that the Bible says that there is a “hottest place in hell” reserved for him, and that she was going to laugh while she watched God throw him into into it. Now, I know that the Bible doesn’t say anything like that, and you know what I believe about ultimate reconciliation, but, as a parent, or just as a person who can’t make sense of that kind of evil, I completely understood why she said that, and in some secret place in my heart or brain I hoped that she was right! In other words, what I know by the spirit doesn’t always jibe with what I feel emotionally, and if that were my little girl who was killed I probably would have said the same thing, or worse! I also really don’t think that I could ever forgive the man, nor would I even attempt to…only the “hottest place in hell” idea would give me some sense of psycological relief in the matter.

But, having said that, let’s look at some literal interpretations of the Scriptures which define our conventional ideas concerning who should really go to hell, which are generally taken out of context (and I’m using the King James Version to make my point because it sounds more profound and scarier).

First of all, the dividing of the sheep from the goats mentioned in Matthew 25 is about about compassion, philanthropy, and sensitity to the needs of others…not about “sin” as we think of it.

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. (Matthew 25:41-43)


The “goats” in the parable are sent into the “fire”, not because they were mass murderers or serial killers or sexual deviants, but because they didn’t feed the hungry or clothe the naked or visit the prisoners. And yet we all know Christians who have never once entered a jail or prison to visit the incarcerated, and have never once helped a homeless person in any way; and yet if you asked them if Hitler is in hell (or if the man I mentioned earleir is going there) they would more than likely say a definite “yes”, oblivious to the fact that Jesus said they were going to hell!

Then in Luke 17, the rich man went to “hell” because he was rich, not because he committed any heinous acts (other than refusing to feed a homeless man). And Lazarus went to “heaven” (or Abraham’s bosom), not because he prayed the “Sinner’s Prayer” or confessed Romans 10:9, 10, but because he was poor:

But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. (Luke 16:25)


Have you ever heard a preacher preach that all the indifferent rich were going to hell, and all the suffering poor were going to heaven? Well isn’t that what Jesus said here?

So let me get this straight…Hitler is in hell because he committed genocide, Jeffry Dahmer is in hell because he was a murderous cannibal, John Lennon is in hell because he wrote “Imagine”, and the man who ran over those children is going to the “hottest place” there because of what he did…and yet Jesus said that calling someone an idiot or a fool is grounds for eternal punishment, didn’t he?:

But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. (Matthew 5:22)

And do you know anyone who is afraid of anything? Well, apparently they’re going to hell with the serial killers and perverts:

But the fearful…and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. (Revelation 21:8)


The Lake of Fire is the purging of a merciful God…compare John’s revelation of it with Paul’s:

For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is [already] laid, which is Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One). But if anyone builds upon the Foundation, whether it be with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, The work of each [one] will become [plainly, openly] known (shown for what it is); for the day [of Christ] will disclose and declare it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test and critically appraise the character and worth of the work each person has done. If the work which any person has built on this Foundation [any product of his efforts whatever] survives [this test], he will get his reward. But if any person's work is burned up [under the test], he will suffer the loss [of it all, losing his reward], though he himself will be saved, but only as [one who has passed] through fire. (1 Corinthians 3:11-15 – Amplified Bible)

It’s hard to understand with the natural mind things like “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy” or “The first shall be last, and the last shall be first”. God’s ways really are higher than ours. But think about this…what if you had never heard of Adam, or the Fall of Man, and someone told you that the behavior of just one man brought death and condemnation upon all of humanity. You might ask, “What in the world did he do to bring about such a horrible condition? Did he kill millions of people? Was he a pedophile? Did he own slaves and lynch innocent people? Was he a serial rapist? An abortionist? Did he torture people and ruin people’s lives? And the answer would be, “No, he just ate a piece of fruit.”

God have mercy on us all. Oh, yeah…He did!

27 comments:

Teezy313 said...

If it wasn't for your love, if it wasn't for your grace, I don't know where I'd be without you!!!

So,
Just payed my tutition for my first semester of my sophmore year and I am totally psyced about it!! Last year was amazing and I know this year is gonna be even better! Being a muzic major is the most fun ever especially when you're always making new music that is all your own(album maybe coming soon who knows)! The thing I love most about college is coming home not only to Conyers and CITN but when I'm in Barnesville I can still come home to BITN...how wonderful is this cyber-city set on a hill..how wonderful are the "citizens"(all you beautiful bloggers and blurkers) of this city...and how wonderful is our "mayor"(that would be you Bish) who takes his cue from the "President"(the Holy Spirit) who is not over, in, and through us here in this city called BITN but reigns over all!!

Today is going to be a very great day...a new month...a new semester begins...and new blessings are pouring from the heavens!! The floodgates are open and the "reign" is about to flow...you are entering into a season of reign...on your jobs, in school, in every aspect of your life...even as He reign over us we are reigning over our situations in our everyday lives!

Blessings to all,
Teezy

mayam said...

Good Morning Bishop!

Hitting some bumps in the road, getting a tiny bit travel weary, and missing CITN, but...laughing all the way...

Travel safely.

Bless you,
mayam

Anonymous said...

I went with Pastor Scott (I love him as if he were in my own family)
to the Braves game last night with a group of boys from a housing project in Covington and a group of men from the church.
The boy I was paired up withs name is Jeremiah. He's ten years old. He had never been to a Braves game. Wants to be a pro football player. Makes straight A's. Very well mannered.
He had a blast at the game. He also got an autograph from a former Cowboys and Saints player. (thanks Pastor Gerald)
But the main thing is he went home with a whole lot of love.

NTL
PS- the Braves won 9 to 4

RONNIELEE said...

BISHOP..I REALLY LOVE THIS BLOG..I DECIDED THAT THERE IS SOOO MUCH REVELATION FLOWING OUT OF THE PEEPS ON THIS BLOG THAT I HAVE TO PRINT IT OUT AND GET MY YELLOW HIGHLIGHTER TO HIGHLIGHT ALL OF THE GREAT STUFF THAT MY SPIRIT ABSORBS..ERIC, DOUBLEBACK, IRIS AND SO MANY MORE...AWESOME STUFF! YES, I KNOW I AM A BENCHWARMER BLOGGER...BUTT(NO PUNT INTENDED....MY HIND PARTS WARM ALOT OF BENCHES)BACK A FEW MONTHS AGO, I STATED THAT MY HUBBY MAY GET A JOB IN ATLANTA..I SAW MYSELF AT CITN..I WAS CLAIMING AND CONFESSING. ONE DAY I WAS DRIVING IN MY CAR I HAD RAY CHARLES "GEORGIA" PLAYING FULL BLAST MAN I WAS DREAMING OF EATING PEACHES WITH THE JUICE RUNNING DOWN MY CHIN AND ALL OF A SUDDEN A SEMI TRUCK WITH THE PLATES GEORGIA APPEARED BEFORE ME!THEN ALL OF A SUDDEN A LITTLE RAGGEDY CAR PULLED NEXT TO IT WITH A BUMPER STICKER THAT SAID "HICKORY, NORTH CAROLINA"WELL I STARTED TAKING AUTHORITY OVER THAT JUNK! GET THEE BEHIND ME SATAN! YOU SEE MY HUSBAND HAD A INTERVIEW IN HICKORY AS WELL...WELL HERE I AM IN HICKORY, NC...AND I REALLY LIKE IT! SO AGAIN THE REVELATION THAT GOD IS IN THE SMALL VOICE AND EVEN WHISPER AT TIMES..AND SURRENDER IS BETTER THAN CRAZY REBUKE!

Anonymous said...

I read a great article in the July 21 edition of News Week magazine titled what he believes based on statements from Senator Obama concerning mostly faith but also some politics.

One of the most outstanding comments to me was when he mentioned his philosophy on how to address his children’s questions about God. He said,” I’m a big believer in a faith that is not imposed but taps into what’s already there, their curiosity or their spirit.” Now that is a thread of divine wisdom concerning the revelation of what is known from before the beginning. It seems that if we just follow the teaching of Jesus Christ concerning the two great commandments that we will do the same for others around us who inquire to know what we say about who and/or what God is to us. If there is no such inquisition then the wisest thing to do would be to not interject what we believe as some imperative for the rest of the world but to lead others by our own example of a lifestyle of good doings in such a way as to encourage those actions to continue through our contacts on to even more people that we may never know.

Imagine that if instead of wasting resources and time on arguing the details of what we believe to be true concerning God, that we do just let the goodness of God flow through us and into others. To me this is the revelation of divine wisdom that Bishop Swilley referred to this past Wednesday.

I don’t know if we will see a unified humanity living in peace or not but I will continue asserting my faith in a God big enough to answer the prayer of his beloved Son in whom he is well pleased. I will do this in archaic hope that has its confidence rooted in a God who is Love.

It does not matter what any of our ideas are concerning the details of such Love, it can not be contained within all the ideas of all the wise men that ever existed. If needed to prove the power of Love, God will take the word of one simple fool and show them all to be in the wrong.

Jay Leno had a great one liner in his monologue last night in response to Senator McCaine’s referring to Senator Obama in context with Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. He said that Obama was planning to retaliate by comparing McCaine to Zsa Zsa Gabore and Bea Arther. Now that was funny!

Peace, love and continuing revelation of divine wisdom to all

Laura said...

School Day's
School Day's
Dear old golden rule day's
YEA school's back in session.
Bus was late and picked up on wrong side of street. Safety Issue.
At least they made it to school.

Today is the start of many good and exciting things to come.

Bishop - Safe Journey Home

Teezy - Have a great school year.

Kistah said...

Where has the time gone?

I just kissed my son as he left for his first day of his senior year in high school and as he walked away, I cried as though it was his first day of kindergarten.

The devotion for him today is,
" Uncover The Joy of You " and it is quite fitting for him because as we were praying last night for the new school year, we asked God to show our children their unique qualities as He sees them.

As I slipped a copy of the devotion in his book bag, he smiled and said that he'd read it on the way to school.

1 Peter 4:10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in tis various forms.

My prayer for all students is that as they develop discipline to study and learn the various courses of study they choose to pursue, that they will constantly tune themselves in to the sweet voice of God as He guides them, and as He shows them the joy that He had in creating them just the way He intended.

"Look at yourself in the mirror today without finding faults and flaws. Recognize your uniqueness, and notice the difference when you smile."

Have a wonderful day!!

Never doubt His love and the purpose that your life adds to the Kingdom.

Laura said...

Bishop
Don't know how to send a video to you but you need to check out on You Tube,
What About Now by Daughtry.
Very Cool Video
We Make The Difference.

"elle" said...

Morning bloggers,

oouuucccchhhhh... my brain hurts...
think I'll keep it light today :)

Actually though, I'll go ahead and toss this out there. Remember when I said that the reconciliation message still messes with me sometimes? Well, this is one of the lighter, weird ways that it does. Must have been about a year or so ago, but Joe & I were at the beach... pretty crowded... and completely out of the blue, I said, "Gosh, if there's no hell, think about ALLLLL the people that will be in heaven... wherever that is. There are ALOT of people in this world!" Then Joe said, "And think about all the dead people." (Which at that point hadn't even
crossed my mind.) And I was forced to think about all of the ancients, who most of us probably never think about. I mean, really... living and dying... it's like recycling humanity. But the living and the dead... ALL
TOGETHER...?!?... that's daunting!

Anyway, Bish, there's a movie that you should rent if you haven't already seen it. Think it went straight to video. Called Goya's Ghosts. For some reason, period flicks appeal to me. This would probably appeal to your artist persona, but even more the history buff. I don't really know how factual it is regarding Francisco Goya, but the movie centers more around the Spanish Inquisition and the holy church's quest for power in that era. Talk about legalism! Natilie Portman is wonderful in this.

Okay, it's 9am. Haven't had anything to eat. Must have my 'naner and hot tea!

Later...

Anonymous said...

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly lean on Jesus' name

When darkness seems to hide His face
I rest on His unchanging grace
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil

His oath, His covenant, His blood
Support me in the whelming flood
When all around my soul gives way
He then is all my hope and stay

When He shall come with trumpet sound
Oh may I then in Him be found
Dressed in His righteousness alone
Faultless to stand before the throne

On Christ the solid rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand

Is all good
NTL

Son of Zadok said...

Elle,

I've heard it said that if we were to add up all the people who have gone before us and all that are here today it would total 165 BILLION!!! Thank God 90% of those aren't going to be rotting and burning in an eternal fiery hell. Where after they've been there 100 billion years their no more finished than when they first began. I've heard it said that God is either the ultimate artist or the ultimate abortionist. I'll go with the former.
And just think of all the planets God has created. Trillions! I hardly think when God made them that He did so without planning that we would have some part to play in them. Is heaven a place, or is it in us and all throughout the universes? I don't know, but its all Soo Cool!! Icon made a good point about the last book of the Bible yesterday. The Revelation, which properly translated is really The Unveiling. Something to think about.

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”

1 COR 2:9

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Pastor Jimmie!

peacemaker said...

Anon@7:55,
It's amazing to me how such a rudimentary principle of love has been so dissected, examined, and re-membered into this hideous, Frankenstein monster called western christianity.
Legalists have taken it upon themselves to be the "watchdogs of God" and point out all the infractions of those who don't see, act, or believe just as they do.
Posts like yours, as the teachings of Bishop Swilley, that emanate the true message of Jesus, seem to enrage the mainstream, while those who seemingly don't have any "religious" background find it irresistible.
All my years of witnessing, door knocking, debating, and forcing tracts on folks I certainly don't regret; that was part of my spiritual evolution, however, I no longer find that approach profitable.
I love what you said about the idea of Love being impossible to fathom even in the ideas of the wisest men. And those ideas could be proven wrong and pure Love proven true by the words and deeds of a simpleton. The foolish things of this world can certainly confound the wise.
Agape just is. It really can't be defined. It is in the very essence of creation and should be perceived that way. Humans have been given an extra gift though. We have the conscious awareness of the innate and inherent Love that is the foundation of our being and the ability to recognize it in others. That is what connects us all; regardless of race, religion, sex, creed, orientation, or national origin.
Loving your neighbor as yourself and as God, and letting that wisdom, as you said," flow through us into others", is the simplicity of the gospel.
You're right. We may never see a united humanity in our lifetime. But I believe even now we are witnessing the swords of exclusion and separateness beaten into plowshares and the spears of intolerance and judgment turned into pruning hooks.
So, I don‘t see your hope as archaic at all. I see it as optimistically current and perceptive to what can and even is happening in the heart of humanity across every illusory line that has tried to separate.

I said all that to say... I really liked your post.

Peace,
PM

Anonymous said...

Have thine own way Lord! Have thine own way!
Thou art the Potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded, and still

Have Thine own way Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master today.
Whiter than snow Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence, humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me I pray.
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine.

Have Thine own way Lord! Have Thine way!
Hold o'er my being absolute sway!
Fill with Thy Spirit 'til all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me.

Following the leading...
NTL

"elle" said...

Hey, yeah...
Happy Birthday, J4! Knew it was early August, but wasn't precisely sure of the day.
Mine is coming up in exactly 2 weeks. YABBA DABBA DOO!!
August babies ROCK!

And so do artists, SOZ!

Anonymous said...

PM, with great respect to you, and your post: I do pray that those who participate on this blog, realize that we all are at different "levels" of the working out our salvation. I constantly am hearing the freeing up of the many from the bondages they were under. I sometimes am amazed at the freeer I am becoming. But for me, I'm not just jumping in just because everyone else is, if they are. The revelatation that I have received has changed my thinking on a lot of what I was taught to believe. I went to two different Independant Baptist Colleges. There are times when I hear Bishop reveal something to us, and out of nowhere, from many years ago a thought of what I had been taught to believe pops into my mind, and the analyzation process begins.
And believe me, sometimes the battle is immense, but I do know this. I doubt if I will ever "have arrived" to anything, but in my search, to what I perceive to be the closest that I can get to "truth", I hope to hear "well done thou good and faithful servant" when my time is up.

NTL

PS- And please, pass the biscuits...

Friend4Life said...

Hey Ya'll!! Oh what a beautiful morning...oh what a beautiful DAY

I feel ya. ~(Kristan)~ I am a stay at home mom and my youngest started Kindergarten today. I did a little cry, because I was like where is my BABY!! (smile) It's all good. He'll be home soon to tell my how his AWESOME adventure went.

Went to Intercession today. (1st time) Very moving and breathing taking. I'll say I see alot of doors opening up for me and others here. Thanks to all that prayed with me.

Song that came to me after intercession was "Wonderful Maker" by Jeremy Camp. Here's the words to the song.
--------------------------------
You spread out the skies over empty space
Said, let there be light
To a dark and formless world
Your light was born
You spread out your arms over empty hearts
Said, let there be light
To a dark and hopeless world
Your son was born

You made the world and saw that it was good
You sent your only son, for you are good

What a wonderful maker
What a wonderful savior
How majestic your whispers
And how humble your love
With a strength like no other
And the heart of a father
How majestic your whispers
What a wonderful God

No eye has fully seen how beautiful the cross
And we have only heard the faintest whispers
Of how great you are

You made the world and saw that it was good
You sent your only son, for you are good

What a wonderful maker
What a wonderful savior
How majestic your whispers
And how humble your love
With a strength like no other
And the heart of a father
How majestic your whispers
What a wonderful God

You made the world and saw that it was good
You sent your only son, for you are good

What a wonderful maker
What a wonderful savior
How majestic your whispers
And how humble your love
With a strength like no other
And the heart of a father
How majestic your whispers
What a wonderful God

How majestic your whispers
What a wonderful God

-------------------------------
I'll probably be stuck on this one for a couple of days. Well, got to head off of here. Kids will be home soon.

C~ya when I C~ya; much love to ya ALL,
~L.W.~

PS. Happy Birthday, Pastor Jimmie and many MOREEEEEEEEE!!!

Bishop Jim Swilley said...

Hey, we just got back but I can't write more until later...have a lot of catching up to do...but I did want to take a minute to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY, PEACEMAKER...thanks for being an active part of this blog from day one, and for all of your awesome insights, including the one earlier today...

Have a good one!

peacemaker said...

NTL...
I hear ya and I totally agree. It may sound sometimes as if I have an axe to grind with modern Christianity, but I really don't. Its just when I see the monster rearing it's evil head against someone close to me and for reasons totally bogus sever a covenant because of an evolved viewpoint...well...it sets my teeth a little on edge. I understand the many levels of evolution we all have experienced and are still experiencing. And I know we are not all at the same place and usually have little patience for those who are impatient with those who don't "get it" yet.
Probably, by now, the sages, prophets, and seers on this blog who have read my posts either agree(if only somewhat) or just slough it off as the opinion of one person. I whole heartedly hope though, no one dis-agrees with anything I or anyone else writes here. Disagreement brings disconnection and disunion. I believe its possible to not agree with a viewpoint without dis-agreeing.
I know we will never grasp the length, depth, breath, and height of the Universal Source of Everything, but just to be on the path going in that direction, with all it's twists and turns, and unfamiliar lands and people, is the most awesome adventure one could ever experience. For me, the further from my tradition I travel, the more beautiful the journey is. God is more real and the Christ is more revealed. As I said in my earlier post: I regret nothing about my earlier walk. I even embrace my fundamentalist upbringing. Jesus was certainly my doorway. Without Him, none of this would be possible.
My prayer is that others will not homestead too long at any certain place along their own path. First thing you know a doctrine is created, a building is built, and a roadblock put up to prevent others from progressing.
There is so much to see and experience on our journey to Christ Consciousness and its accessible to all.
Thanks, NTL, for your admonition…it was well received.

PM

PS…Biscuits are on the way!

peacemaker said...

I heard that, elle...
Let all the lions and lionesses roar!
There are alot of August birthdays so..."Happy Birthday" to you all. Especially Pastor Jimmie who was lucky enough to be born on the same day as me(only a few years earlier...I must say)

PM

Iconoclast said...

My gracious greetings to you all,

I was very busy yesterday evening; so I was just catching up on the rest of the post from yesterday. Wow what wisdom and revelation! I loved them all and I will have to agree with Bishop that I can agree with them all on some level – none of us see things the same way; we’re not supposed to. That’s what makes it all work; you have to have the motor running in one direction at a certain RPM while the transmission has gears turning in several different directions at different RPMs to make the drive shaft turn at a certain RPM in the right direction to make the wheels continue to move in the right direction. But the reverse gear cant say to the 1st gear I have no need of you or what would you do when you are up against the wall? Or the drive shaft cannot say to the engine “I have no need of you” where would it get its power? Also the drive wheels cannot say to the steering wheel “I have no need of you” where then would you get your direction?

So having said that; I will reiterate something I said on this subject back in the first part of July; which by the way is still very strongly on my mind.

Here is the first sentence that the Lord spoke in my heart that started it all that morning in my quiet time; “YOU ARE NOT SAVED FROM CORRECTION ” it almost startled me it was so strong. Although I knew this I had seen a much “larger picture” that morning. God’s correction, (see Hebrews Ch 12) this of course is “sanctification” ; to say that we are saved from correction would be the same as saying we are saved from sanctification. This would be a total contradiction of biblical teaching of the need for it. I believe this is big, real BIG, I even think it is the missing link that when fully realized and understood will bring the traditional church (and their rejection of universal salvation) and the universal salvation, camps together. On the one side most when we share the gospel of universal salvation some will say “well that is saying that you can just get away with anything” and on the other hand many that have had a revelation of the salvation of all will say “yeay I am saved – there is no consequence to any of my actions – God’s got it all covered” Then why did Paul say “you will reap what you sow” now I know what some of you are thinking; I am not going to try to define what is and is not sin (God looks at the heart). That would be making myself judge – no thank you I don’t want that job at leas not yet. But then on the other hand you have the traditional theology that is speaking out of both sides of their mouth by saying “God is all powerful, all knowing , loves all, saves completely by grace” and then turns around and gives out a greatly varying list of dos and don’ts according to whatever flavor of church they attend; that if you don’t keep and most don’t – then this loving all powerful, sovereign God suddenly has tied His own hands so that He cannot save you now, and sits in judgment and sends you to an eternal torture pit.

But if you look at salvation as “progressive” where the blood of Christ purchased our “justification to life” we then have eternal life – that will not change. Now we come to sanctification through the Spirit Of God working in you. This sanctification “process” begins when one confess “Christ” as Lord (which all will do) then we are what we have called “born again” and now have a new Daddy that is going to take you to the would shed for a little “correction” when needed. This “process” continues as you “work out your salvation” unto a mature son or daughter of God; when you have “learned obedience” even as our Brother Jesus did. Then as Jesus did we go on to “glorification” and the “process of salvation is completed. But most would like to take the middle part out (the maturing through correction) and either dwells on the first or last part of the process. From what I have learned in my walk with the Lord is that He always does things by a process. Even when you see something that seems like an “instant” miracle if you back up and look at the whole picture; there was a process that led up to that point making the miracle possible. Many because of the traditional churches teachings, think that we are saved from a “location” that is Hell; so that we can go to another “location” heaven. I believe we are saved from a “condition” that is “spiritual death” a carnal mind which the bible says “is death” and is sinful. We are saved “from our sin-nature” to a God-nature as the bible says that we might partake of His Holiness.

So when we realize that “correction” is a vital part of the process of the ultimate salvation of all; you give each camp the most cherished teaching of their churches without contradiction or mutilation of either’s theology. Although there will be the die hard frozen chosen of each camp that will not like this melding of theologies and philosophies. Even though this view teaches the eventual salvation of all there will be many even in the “universal salvation” camp that will not like this because it does not allow “the so-called freedom” which many would like to believe is their prerogative though I would not label it as such. Now y’all I am not naming sins; that’s between you and God and where your heart is and where you are in this process – workout your own salvation. Nevertheless I have seen what I have seen and it is as clear as a “crystal sea” to me.

Burning bridges,
Building new ones,
Iconoclast

Anonymous said...

Where would I be
If not for your grace
Carrying me
Through every season
Where would I be
If not for Your grace
Came to rescue me
And I want to thank You
For Your grace

Grace that restores
Grace that redeems
Grace that releases
Me to worship
Grace that repairs
Visions and dreams
Grace that releases
Miracles

Anonymous said...

PM

I love you man.

NTL

peacemaker said...

Thanks Bish.
And it certainly has been my pleasure to be connected with this medium where such thought provoking revelation is shared. Wisdom is certainly justified by her children here.

Heres to the countless stages of evolution and exponential growth in this community.

In Gratitude,
PM

Son of Zadok said...

Universal Reconciliation 101

Wow, that was a long post. However I'm sure their are many people who frequent the blog who need to have these things explained to them. And that is an awesome thing because once you get a hold of it God will draw you into a deeper truth which is the significance of all this talk; God is Love and we are called to love. If anyone here is new to this I recommend going to youtube and typing in sozo2. Their you will find some wonderful videos that deal with these things. They are not hard to follow and are pleasant to watch. They're flat out anointed actually!
Bishop I don't have kids of my own , so I really cannot relate to the level of love that accompanies such an awesome bond. However, when we put imaginary limits on the mercy and forgiveness of God were capable of in our lives....well, that's all I'm going to say about it.
I am reminded of Charlie Osburn and his testimony and how God changed his life through such unspeakable tragedy.
This life can often be compared to the bottom of a rug. It's all out of whack and theirs stitches and mixed up colors going here or there and it doesn't really make sense. But when you flip it over , it all makes perfect sense and their is a rhyme and reason to it all. I strongly urge anyone who feels led to visit Charlie's site to listen to his testimony if you have never heard it. It might change your life.

http://fishfulthinkin.com/audio_teachings.htm

"elle" said...

I just got back in & OH MY GOSH!!!
Am I really the culprit who had to drag the whole literal hell thing out of Bishop AGAIN?!?!?!

You guys, that was NOT my intention! God IS unconditional love! I BELIEVE in universal reconciliation! All I can say is THANK YOU, ICONOCLAST! What you wrote was kinda my point. I mean, really... whether God always loves us or not (and He does), do you really think that He is always pleased with what we choose to do? Let's face it, we can be really stupid sometimes, and stand in dire need of correction. And if we are supposed to pattern ourselves after the Christ, then I think that we should (at least on occasion) examine our actions. Um, I believe it's called spiritual growth!

I suppose I'm just wondering when responsibility and accountability became traits that one should be chided for.

Whatever is to be said about social norms, we DO live in a society, and we ALL have to find a way to make that work.

When I read anon's comment, and began this discussion, I was concerned more for those who are new to this blog... who perhaps know nothing of what this message is all about. What do you think they might read into it?

Oh... I love all of your insights, and you all know that. I love people who make me think, and I love to make people think. But perhaps me thinks too much and had better just keep my mouth cyber shut.

;O (not)

PS: Happy Bday to you, PM!

Donald said...

Well elle I really hope you're happy now!