Defeat of the Powers of Darkness
Ross Douthat - A Case for Hell | The debate over hell will simply not go away and Rob Bell's book continues to sell and drive the conversation. Recently New York conservative columnist, Ross Douthat, wrote an article on the subject. Here are some of the highlights:
These debates ensure that earthly infernos get all the press. Hell means the Holocaust, the suffering in Haiti, and all the ordinary “hellmouths” (in the novelist Norman Rush’s resonant phrase) that can open up beneath our feet. And if it’s hard for the modern mind to understand why a good God would allow such misery on a temporal scale, imagining one who allows eternal suffering seems not only offensive but absurd.
Doing away with hell, then, is a natural way for pastors and theologians to make their God seem more humane. The problem is that this move also threatens to make human life less fully human . . .
In this sense, a doctrine of universal salvation turns out to be as deterministic as the more strident forms of scientific materialism. Instead of making us prisoners of our glands and genes, it makes us prisoners of God himself. We can check out any time we want, but we can never really leave.
The doctrine of hell, by contrast, assumes that our choices are real, and, indeed, that we are the choices that we make. The miser can become his greed, the murderer can lose himself inside his violence, and their freedom to turn and be forgiven is inseparable from their freedom not to do so.
As Anthony Esolen writes, in the introduction to his translation of Dante’s “Inferno,” the idea of hell is crucial to Western humanism. It’s a way of asserting that “things have meaning” — that earthly life is more than just a series of unimportant events, and that “the use of one man’s free will, at one moment, can mean life or death ... salvation or damnation.” . . .
Is Gandhi in hell? It’s a question that should puncture religious chauvinism and unsettle fundamentalists of every stripe. But there’s a question that should be asked in turn: Is Tony Soprano really in heaven?
Trevin Wax - Urban Legends: The Preacher's Edition | Author and blogger Trevin Wax offers a number of Urban Legends that pastors and preachers use frequently. This is a good list and I have heard all of them growing up from preachers. Here is his list:
1. The 'eye of the needle' refers to a gate outside Jerusalem.
2. The high priest tied a rope around his ankle so that others could drag him out of the Holy of Holies in case God stuck him dead.
3. Scribes took baths, discarded their pens, washed their hands, etc. every time they wrote the name of God.
4. There was this saying among the sages: "May you be covered in your rabbi's dust."
5. Voltaire's house is now owned by a Bible-printing publisher.
6. Gehenna was a burning trash dump outside Jerusalem.
7. NASA scientists have discovered a "missing day" which corresponds to the Joshua account of the sun standing still.
The Gospel Coalition - Watch TGC11 Plenary Sessions | The folks over at the Gospel Coalition have made the video of each session available online for free.
- Albert Mohler, “Studying the Scriptures and Finding Jesus” (John 5:31-47)
- Tim Keller, “Getting Out” (Exodus 14)
- Alistair Begg: “From a Foreigner to King Jesus” (Ruth)
- Panel Discussion on Preaching from the Old Testament, Featuring Tim Keller, John Piper, Crawford Loritts, Don Carson, and Bryan Chapell
- James MacDonald: “Not According to Our Sins” (Psalm 25)
- Conrad Mbewe: “The Righteous Branch” (Jeremiah 23:1-8)
- Matt Chandler: “Youth” (Ecclesiastes 11:7-12:14)
- Mike Bullmore: “God’s Great Heart of Love Toward His Own” (Zephaniah)
- Don Carson: “Getting Excited about Melchizedek” (Psalm 110)
Smoking Gun - Will Release of Obama's Purported Gift Certificate Give Rise to the New "Certer" Movement | It didn't take long for people to start wondering if there is a conspiracy behind Obama's birth certificate release. Consider the following (and the author rejects all of this but is trying to get ahead of the curve):
• If the original document was in a bound volume (as reflected by the curvature of the left hand side of the certificate), how can the green patterned background of the document's safety paper be so seamless?
• Why, if Obama was born on August 4, 1961, was the “Date Accepted by Local Reg.” four days later on August 8, 1961?
• What is the significance of the smudges in the box containing the name of the reported attendant?
• David A. Sinclair, the M.D. who purportedly signed the document, died nearly eight years ago at age 81. So he is conveniently unavailable to answer questions about Obama’s reported birth.
• In the “This Birth” box there are two mysterious Xs above “Twin” and “Triplet.” Is there a sibling or two unaccounted for?
• What is the significance of the mysterious numbers, seen vertically, on the document’s right side?
• Finally, the “Signature of Local Registrar” in box 21 may be a desperate attempt at establishing the document’s Hawaiian authenticity. Note to forgers: It is spelled “Ukulele.”
OneNewsNow - Technology Speeding Up Bible Translation | The spread of the Word of God continues:
The Translation Acceleration Kits, which are similar to a modem, include a small, portable netbook computer, a satellite communication terminal, a solar panel, battery, and power supply. Once fully implemented, they could potentially shave years off the Bible-translation process, says the Wycliffe spokesman.
"They're actually smaller than a laptop computer; they're very lightweight and portable and can be run on solar power," Smith explains. "We have a solar panel system, and in a remote location, within about three minutes you turn this on, tune it in to the satellite, and you can have an Internet connection first time every time."
He adds that the units, which cost about $3,500 apiece, are constructed to withstand extreme conditions like heat and dust.
Breitbart - April Deadliest Month for US in Iraq Since 2009 | From the war that almost everyone has forgotten. It is a testament to how far we have come in Iraq that this isn't news though it should be. Between Libya, Afghanistan, and the countless national issues facing us here, no one is talking about Iraq. Anyone remember what 206 was like? A different political climate for sure.
The killing on Friday of an American soldier made April the deadliest month for US forces in Iraq since 2009, according to figures compiled by AFP.
The soldier "was killed April 29 while conducting operations in southern Iraq," a US military statement released on Saturday said, without giving further details.
The death brought to 11 the number of US troops to have died in Iraq in April, according to an AFP tally based on data compiled by independent website www.icasualties.org.
That is the highest monthly toll since November 2009, when 11 soldiers also died, starkly highlighting the risks American soldiers still face even after combat operations were officially declared over last summer.
A number of these videos have been produced and each have their good and bad about them. The following is a video in the spirit of Rob Bell's promotional video for Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived only from a different, more orthodox, perspective. Love without justice is not good. Justice without goodness is not love.
HT: Randy Alcorn