Author Topic: Hell: a Problem?  (Read 4396 times)

Weedon

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Re: Hell: a Problem?
« Reply #90 on: June 20, 2009, 09:34:38 AM »
Dear Brother Boris,

Indeed!  While on vacation I was blessed to visit Immanuel Lutheran Church in Alexandria Virginia.  As the cross came down the aisle, everyone (I saw, at any rate) turned to it, bowed and signed themselves with the cross.  At the holy Words of our Lord, the consecration, the entire congregation was on their knees.  It was a wonderful piety - and as all my family remarked - it felt like home. 

Before my parish built the "new" building (80 years old!), the "old" church featured images of Walther and of Luther on either side of the elevated pulpit, and of course a crucifix upon the altar.  I'd dearly love to know what became of the crucifix...

edoughty

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Re: Hell: a Problem?
« Reply #91 on: June 20, 2009, 09:58:26 AM »
One of the things I've appreciated about so-called "high church" liturgical worship over the years is its affirmation not only of "worship from the neck up" but of worship that involves the whole body.  My formation was in a congregation that had a procession into the nave at the beginning of the service, and a procession right back out at the end, all the leaders of the liturgy (choir, assisting minister, communion distributors, crucifer, acolytes) in albs; kneelers in the pews for confession and for prayers-of-the-people.  We didn't do incense and we didn't bow to the processional cross, but that was about all we "left out".

It has been interesting for me, then, to move northward from central IL to the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area, where it seems there are several different strains of liturgical-ness.  Typically the formerly-LCMS (or AELC?) congregations and the state-church congregations (both Augustana/LCA and Norwegian-State-Church) tend to have higher-church worship styles than the old ALC congregations.

We don't have kneelers in our current church, and I do miss them.  But we do occasional gospel processions, and I confess I do a little bow in my pew at "do this in remembrance of me".  If I get starved for the bowing and scraping, I head down the road to Mount Olive (no t) for a Sunday.

I do think one of the benefits of the ELCA's formation was a little cross-pollenization of worship practices between synods.  But the Augustana in me wishes the processions and the high-church had gotten a lttle more traction up here in the northlands.  :)

Erik

revjagow

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Re: Hell: a Problem?
« Reply #92 on: June 20, 2009, 10:37:24 AM »

Here is my understanding of Hell.  It is more a state of being than it is place, whether the center of the earth, or the Hinnom Valley.  God is the source of life and of love.  Hell is being separated from God for all eternity, ultimately it is because people have separated themselves from God, rejected God's offer of relationship with Him.  How could God condemn people to Hell?  Finally He allows their choice to reject Him, to place something in His place, to stand and they are separated from God.  They do it, not God.  God opened the way back to Him and provides all that is necessary, but for those who refuse, or insist on coming to God in their own way, it is they who have rejected God.

The Bible uses a number of metaphors to describe the horror of Hell.  We could, of course, quibble and insist that these metaphors must be taken literally and end up deciding that the Bible has no coherent understanding of Hell.  That would be, I feel, a rather simplistic and unsophisticated reading of the Bible.  Rather, I look at the appeals that God makes repeatedly throughout Old and New Testament for people to accept His invitation and the provision He made in Christ for our reconciliation and contemplate the alternative, what rejecting God's salvation would mean.  One key passage for me is 2 Cor. 5:18-20 (ESV), "All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God."

Dan


I like Dan's definition.

Interestingly, there was this reading assigned with the daily lectionary in "For All The Saints" today:

I do not think that all who choose wrong roads perish; but their rescue consists in being put back on the right road.  A wrong sum can be put right: but only by gong back till you find the error and working it afresh from that point, never by simply going on.  Evil can be undone, but it cannot "develop" into good. Time does not heal it.  The spell must be unwound, bit by bit, "with backward mutters of dissevering power" - or else not.  It is still not "either-or."  If we insist on keeping Hell (or even earth) we shall not see Heaven: if we accept Heaven we shall not be able to retain even the smallest and most intimate souvenirs of Hell.  I believe, to be sure, that any man who reaches Heaven will find what he abandoned (even in plucking out his right eye) was precisely nothing: that the kernel of what he was really seeking even in his most depraved wishes will be there, beyond expectation, waiting for him in "the High Countries."  In that sense it will be true for those who have completed the journey (and for no others) to say that good is everything and Heaven everywhere.  But we, at this end of the road, must not try to anticipate that retrospective vision.  If we do, we are likely to embrace the false and disastrous converse and fancy that everything is good and everywhere Heaven. 

C.S. Lewis, "The Great Divorce"
Soli Deo Gloria!

luthersterotypicus

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Re: Hell: a Problem?
« Reply #93 on: June 20, 2009, 12:13:47 PM »
Hell is no longer a problem under universalism. God's love is too great.

Rubin Perry in his book Universalism Salvation lists three tensions which are aLL supported by reading the Bible.

1. God's redemptive love extends to all human sinners in the sense He desires their redemption.

2. No one can finally defeat God's redemptive love or resist it forever. God will triumph in the end and accomplish the redemption of all.

3. Some human sinners will never be redeemed but will instead be separated from God forever.

Can you live with all three? If you had to drop one, which one would it be?


Peace

MSL


BrotherBoris

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Re: Hell: a Problem?
« Reply #94 on: June 20, 2009, 12:39:44 PM »
Hell is no longer a problem under universalism. God's love is too great.

Rubin Perry in his book Universalism Salvation lists three tensions which are aLL supported by reading the Bible.

1. God's redemptive love extends to all human sinners in the sense He desires their redemption.

2. No one can finally defeat God's redemptive love or resist it forever. God will triumph in the end and accomplish the redemption of all.

3. Some human sinners will never be redeemed but will instead be separated from God forever.

Can you live with all three? If you had to drop one, which one would it be?


Peace

MSL





Point number two sounds like Calvin's "irresistable grace" to me.

Boris

luthersterotypicus

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Re: Hell: a Problem?
« Reply #95 on: June 21, 2009, 10:34:30 AM »
The solution offered by theUniversalist is to drop the idea that God sends people to hell. Most Evsangelicals favor this approach and why hell has almost disappeared from pulpit vocabulary. God loves us, didn't you know?

The Lutheran lives with all three by the doctrine of the means of grace which man indeed resists. Somehow, someway it always comes back to the means of grace. Misunderstanding leads to a whole host of problems, including universalism and those easy solutions.

I thought it made an interersting conncetion and synopsis of the problem with Hell.

Peace,

MSL