The Original Gospel (The Hell Free Version)

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So lets take a look at how Paul approached the free thinkers of His day, we find him in a place where questions were not only allowed but encouraged.   A place where a open dialogue about the nature of God and the created universe was explored and point of view openly challenged.  In a few hundred years Paul would no longer recognize the gentile church he founded almost single handily, a church were descent was discouraged and one interpretive model ruled.  Much like I am sad to say occurs in many christian circles today, all based on the fear that to think incorrectly about God is far more dangerous to your eternal soul then the life you actually live.

Acts 17:22-31

(NASB) 22 So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects.  

We see here Paul does not start with the idea that these people do not care for God or for seeking after God, in fact they go overboard in their zeal to discover God.  Also we see that Paul does not start his conversation at the fall of mankind or that these God seekers are dead spiritually.

23 For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’ Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you.  

Paul commends them for being so honest in their seeking after God and the admission that they might not know everything there is to now about God or who God is.  They in fact admit that in the information they do not posses, The real God just might in fact exist.  Do not hear the disrespect we so often hear in fundamentalist circles in Paul’s voice he doesn’t think these people have NOTHING to say about God!

24 The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; 25 nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things;

Here Paul keeps it simple and teaches there is one God, who doesn’t dwell in any temple which I would assume also means the Jewish Temple as well.  There is no statement of superiority here just a stating of the facts, that there is only one God far above all the traditions of men.

26 and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation,

Paul here does not disparage the nations of the earth but rather says it was God who established their diversity in the first place.  You see Paul did believe the nation Israel was chosen but they were never the only ones, just a instrument of God’s blessing to the world.  It is amazing that people can so quickly go in their thinking from chosen to serve to frozen for preservation.

27 that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;

Wow did you get that God has not abandoned others because he has chosen some, in fact they have done the best they could do with what they had.  Do you see there is no condemnation here in Paul’s words, not to mention no mention of their destiny in a place called Hell?  In fact can I let you in a little secret Paul in all his messages as he birthed the gentile church here in the Book of Acts NEVER mentions hell ONE TIME.

28 for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’

Here Paul clearly teaches that we are all the children of God according to the will of God, some being deeper in understanding then others.  Here Paul uses as he does through this entire Gospel message the word WE not us and you but WE.

29 Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man.

Wow do you see that talk about a presuppositional statement “Being the the children of God” the problem here is not are they children but rather their God is way to small.  Much like the Jesus of Fundamentalism who comes to earth to rescue us but in the end plays second fiddle to The Devil and Hell.   A Hell never taught by Paul, can I tell you another fact not only did Paul never use the word Hell as He was recorded by Luke in the Book of Acts, He never used it in all his epistles.  Then and can you believe this Paul does not quote from the bible but rather quotes something inspirational from a non biblical poet.  Try that Pastor from behind your pulpit someday on a Sunday morning quoting a non christian source about the nature of God.  Here Paul clearly implies there is truth to be know about God, revelation you might say outside of the 66 writes of the Bible.

30 Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent,

Now here is a word much misused in the church Repent, which doesn’t mean to be sorry for your sins and except Jesus as your personal savior.  It means to change your mind about the small God who you can control with your religion.  It means when you are a honest seeker of God you will be called upon to “change your mind” about what you thought you knew about an infinite God.  Can I say it here that many people utterly convinced of a Hell and the viscous God of the dark ages need to repent.  They need to “change their minds” to be renewed and rediscover the Father God of Jesus Christ, and the fullness of that revelation.

31 because He has fixed a day in which He will judgethe world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all menby raising Him from the dead.”

This is the day when all our deeds will be judged according to love by the lover of all souls, judgment is not a bad thing but rather a fair process where by we will finally be known as we are known by God.  A Judgment where God through Christ shall make the first last and the last first, a judgment were God through Christ shall remember our sins no more.  A judgment were everything wIll be put on the table and made plain, so that all is surrender to Jesus the Christ as Lord.  Then shall Christ return unto the Father a purged and beautiful creation with humanity in it’s full identity, where death shall be destroyed and the wicked shall be no more.

C. I. Scofield wrote, “In his [Paul’s] writings alone we find the doctrine, position, walk, and destiny of the church.” (Scofield Reference Bible, Ephesians 3:6,). 

So as we seek for the a Gospel message to share in this age we must abandon the one not taught by Paul but rather one taught by the cut and paste theology of The Hell teachers, which is indeed another gospel.  If you can’t find it taught in a verse by verse manner in the scriptures then repent and find the Original Gospel delivered by Jesus to Paul personally.

I am “an apostle (not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead)…,” (1:1). He said, “…the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came by revelation of Jesus Christ,” (1:11,12).  “I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood,” (1:16).

So repent that you preach a Gospel that has added Hell, replacing a loving God revealed in Christ to being saved from Hell as the power behind its message.

“Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:26,27).

“ Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle” (II Thessalonians 2:15).

“Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus”( II Timothy 1:13)

“But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1).

ANZAHOLYMAN

The Original Gospel & Hell part 2

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The Last post we took a look at 4 instances of The Gospel being proclaimed by Peter, Philip and Paul and we discovered something.  Not by putting any words or ideas into the text but just reading it honestly that Hell was never mentioned.  It is also interesting that they did not have to confess they were sinners but that is for another post not this one. 

Hell in the imagination of most church going people is a greatly inflated subject, far beyond the actual space given it in the scriptures.  If we were truthful we would have to admit that the scriptures do not actually paint a very clear picture of Hell sometimes it’s the grave, sometimes the dump outside Jerusalem an obvious metaphor, other times a special abode of fallen angelic beings.  The Church during the dark ages did much to advance both the legend and the reality of Hell. 

All of this in the end is beside the point and not the most effective way to dislodge Hell from the message of the gospel, and have no doubt that we need to uncouple this union.  Because the gospel in this age is being hurt by its addition, hell has in fact become an albatross around the neck of the church.  Precisely because it was not in the Original Gospel proclamation of the first Apostles of Christ including Paul.   We need go no further then to hold this most solid of biblical ground, and once hell is decoupled from the gospel it will die on the vine of it’s own historical weight. 

We we will merely ask it’s adherents to show us where in the new testament when the Gospel of the Death, Burial and Resurrection of Christ Jesus is proclaimed hell is mentioned in the dialogue.   You see all we have to do is not add anything to what is already there and then the isogesis of hell into the gospel will become very clear.

Now I understand I still have to answer the question how shall we proclaim the beautiful Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?  Be patient that will be for another blog post coming very soon I promise. For now let us look at one more Gospel proclamation in the Book of Acts.  This one from the first recorded Christian martyr in the new testament Stephen in Acts 7.   Now you can read this for yourself but I would like to focus on how the story ends.  Now it goes without saying this will be another instance of Hell not being mentioned one time nor even implied, but what is amazing is although he tells them the truth of their own refusal to listen to the Spirit there is no condemnation of his killers.  There is no threat of an eternal punishment in the fire of hell just forgiveness and mercy. 

The Stoning of Stephen

54 When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. 55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”

57 At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, 58 dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul.

59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.  

Does this remind you of any body our beautiful Jesus full of grace and mercy as the apostle John proclaims so often in his gospel.  So why is there so much condemnation in much but not all of the gospel message many of us learned to proclaim?  Because the gates of hell surround the teaching and we must break down those gates and restore The Original Gospel as proclaimed by the Apostles of Jesus Christ.  What is that Gospel and how shall we lift Christ, why he’s already lifted up, we must stop pulling him down to hell as the book of Hebrews so eloquently states.  I do believe one of the major reasons The Medieval Church greatly expanded the Hell narative is because the Lost both the Spirit and Love of the early Apostolic Church.

ANZAHOLYMAN

The Original Gospel & Hell. part1

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Is Hell part of the Gospel or the kerygma, my biggest conflict with other of my more conservative christian friends is not is there a Hell or rather the words that are translated into Hell, sheol, hades, tartarus and gehenna,.  My biggest disagreement is this, is Hell as a threat for not receiving the message of God’s grace in Christ biblical?  There are many subjects that are not a part of the Gospel message and you would never include them in a conversation about the grace and love of God in Christ, like the trinity, virgin birth, etc. etc. 

Let me ask a simple question do the Apostles of Christ ever specifically mention Hell in the proclamation of the Gospel?  The first proclamation of the Gospel of the risen Christ by the apostles is actually in the book of Acts (2:22-41) if you study Peter’s sermon message you will notice something is missing completely and that’s Hell.  Peter doesn’t threaten them with hell fire and brimstone nor is the subject ever brought up, this is the first gospel proclamation and it does not contain the subject of Hell. 

Let’s look at another instance of the Gospel being proclaimed and this time by Phillip in Acts 8:26-40, again we see no mention of Hell at all.  Further more if we look at the verses the Ethiopian Eunuch was reading in Isaiah 29 we see no mention of Hell. 

Do you see a pattern here because I am beginning to see one but let us continue to look at actual instances were the gospel is proclaimed in the scriptures.  

In Acts chapter 26 Paul is speaking to King Agrippa and I would encourage you to read the entire chapter for yourself and not take this heretics word for it.  Never does he threaten this Pagan King with Hell’s fire, now don’t you think if Paul thought it was as important as some of my more Fundamentalist friends think it is that Paul would have mentioned it?

Shall we go to Mars Hill Acts 17:22-31 when Paul proclaims the Gospel to all the pagan philosophers?  Again read it for yourself and you will discover once again that there is no mention of Hell, does Paul just not care to warn them of the grave danger they are in?  In fact Paul does not disrespect them with such nonsense and even quotes their own poets.

Can you think of another instance in the scriptures were the gospel is proclaimed of course you can, but let me give one more because it matters.  Peter preaches the Gospel to Cornelius in Acts Chapter 10 after much prodding by God.  I will enclose this sermon here so you can read it for yourself.

27-29 Talking things over, they went on into the house, where Cornelius introduced Peter to everyone who had come. Peter addressed them, “You know, I’m sure that this is highly irregular. Jews just don’t do this—visit and relax with people of another race. But God has just shown me that no race is better than any other. So the minute I was sent for, I came, no questions asked. But now I’d like to know why you sent for me.”

30-32 Cornelius said, “Four days ago at about this time, mid-afternoon, I was home praying. Suddenly there was a man right in front of me, flooding the room with light. He said, ‘Cornelius, your daily prayers and neighborly acts have brought you to God’s attention. I want you to send to Joppa to get Simon, the one they call Peter. He’s staying with Simon the Tanner down by the sea.’

33 “So I did it—I sent for you. And you’ve been good enough to come. And now we’re all here in God’s presence, ready to listen to whatever the Master put in your heart to tell us.”

34-36 Peter fairly exploded with his good news: “It’s God’s own truth, nothing could be plainer: God plays no favorites! It makes no difference who you are or where you’re from—if you want God and are ready to do as he says, the door is open. The Message he sent to the children of Israel—that through Jesus Christ everything is being put together again—well, he’s doing it everywhere, among everyone.

37-38 “You know the story of what happened in Judea. It began in Galilee after John preached a total life-change. Then Jesus arrived from Nazareth, anointed by God with the Holy Spirit, ready for action. He went through the country helping people and healing everyone who was beaten down by the Devil. He was able to do all this because God was with him.

39-43 “And we saw it, saw it all, everything he did in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem where they killed him, hung him from a cross. But in three days God had him up, alive, and out where he could be seen. Not everyone saw him—he wasn’t put on public display. Witnesses had been carefully handpicked by God beforehand—us! We were the ones, there to eat and drink with him after he came back from the dead. He commissioned us to announce this in public, to bear solemn witness that he is in fact the One whom God destined as Judge of the living and dead. But we’re not alone in this. Our witness that he is the means to forgiveness of sins is backed up by the witness of all the prophets.”

44-46 No sooner were these words out of Peter’s mouth than the Holy Spirit came on the listeners. The believing Jews who had come with Peter couldn’t believe it, couldn’t believe that the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out on “outsider” non-Jews, but there it was—they heard them speaking in tongues, heard them praising God.

46-48 Then Peter said, “Do I hear any objections to baptizing these friends with water? They’ve received the Holy Spirit exactly as we did.” Hearing no objections, he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. 

Let me close by saying that if you study all the places in scripture were the gospel is recorded being proclaim you will discover what I did, never once is the gospel shared the way I shared it for many years with the inclusion of Hell.  I think this matters because these where the men that were taught at the Masters feet and Paul during a special dispensation and they never mention it.   So before you say I am un-Biblical for not including Hell in my gospel proclamations maybe you should read the bible more yourself.

ANZAHOLYMAN

GOOD BYE HELL & THE DEVIL….

Would we all be in a better place as divine human beings if we didn’t need a Devil or a Hell to compete with a God of Love?  

Would the one true God of Love and Light be terribly upset if we kicked the whole idea to the failed trash bin of recorded history? 

If Hell and the Devil fell in the woods and nobody  cared would it make anymore noise?  For if God is a still small voice Hell and the Devil must only be breathed into existence by us.

After all these are just usurper ideas of an ancient age, something that helped explain unpredictability as if the beauty of the night or a great storm needed a mascot. You don’t need to explain the space between the breath, it’s all God and it’s only ever been all God. 

So what about the holy books and the ideas of ancient men and their world & the universe, well have you ever considered he could have been wrong? 

But then if we get rid of the Devil and Hell isn’t God and Heaven next Pastor? 

No just the idea that God needs a nemesis at all, but rather just willing divine humans ready to step out of bronze age thinking and into a divinely ordained future.

anzaholyman