Saturday, May 16, 2009

Christianity is Meaningless

At least it would be, if you take Hell out of the equation....

That is the view of many in Christendom.

They would not necessarily state it that way, but that is the practical up-shot. That is why I believe large sections of Christendom are being pushed to the back of the bus as its people become increasingly viewed as backward and irrelevant.

I was following various blog links and I came across a pastor who was bemoaning the "worldliness" of the church. He was upset that a local pastor had used almost exactly the same 4 points about bolstering marriages that he had heard a "secular" therapist use. To him, this was evidence that the Church is being over-run by secularists and Christian congregations are in danger of going to Hell.

*Sigh*........

I went to one of his links and I read a post where the author went on and on about how wrong headed non-calvanists were. He said:

Now, that all said, I know this post has a tone of simple disdain. I know it because I cannot avoid it – I really try to have patience for the non-calvinist, but the truth is that they don’t really have any patience for the Calvinist under any circumstance, and they as a group don’t really listen.

The 95 posters that followed (I must admit a little blogger jealousy there) kinda "Rah-Rah'd" his statement... occasionally expressing some level of concern (or satisfaction) for all of the folks who were on their way to Hell because their doctrine was a mess or non-existent.

Besides the bully-ishness of many of the commentators, what struck me most was how utterly pointless their Christianity becomes if Hell is taken out of the equation. Underneath all of their rhetoric was not a desire to follow someone who was worth following, but rather a desire to get out of Hell. The blogger and his commentators adhere to this version of Christianity, not because it is good, but because they are afraid to do otherwise. Christianity, in their view, is getting yourself lined up correctly with God... so you don't go to Hell.

What a hopeless present and eternity that amounts to (for either destination) if that is really all this life is about.

But just to clarify....

I don't believe any of that. Jesus is worthy and I dedicate myself to his way.... without any worry or threat.

8 comments:

Michael said...

I recently watched the documentary Religulous, where Bill was quoted saying "The only appropriate attitude for man to have about the big questions is not the arrogant certitude that is the hallmark of religion, but doubt. Doubt is humble..."

I could not agree more. Does Hell exist? hhmmm, some would say we're on it- religion is such a convenient opioid.

Bruce Gerencser said...

Right on the money, Andrew.

Remove fear and hell from the equation.......I am not sure what we have left.

In my preaching days........nothing like a rousing, dear laced sermon hell to get the altars lined with sinners. How much better it might have been if I had taught them that love was the motivation for living not fear.

Bruce

curmudgeon said...

Well done Andrew. Again your post was thoughtful and insightful. Michael I recently wrote on that very subject. I watched the same film and came out with a very similar impression.

OneSmallStep said...

Given the lack of the current day concept of hell in the Old Testament -- which makes up 66% of the Bible -- what would they say motivated the people in that book to follow God?

Logan said...

Well written my friend!

WES ELLIS said...

Great thoughts. I've met a fair share of folks who have reflected the view that Christianity is pointless without hell in the equation. I honestly think it has to do with power... the Church wants the power to say, if you're not like us something bad is gonna happen to you. So therefore, without "hell" they're powerless and that's what then don't like. What happened to "For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all." It's love and forgiveness that should draw us in, not fear of hell.

petite-bunni said...

I somewhat agree, but who knows their hearts? Are we to judge one another's hearts? Or is that God's job?

I think that having fear is also what God wanted us to do, not saying that Love isn't the BIG part of it, but I'm sure God knows us all well enough to know that just love isn't going to keep us in line. Look at what He's had to do to us in the past, unfortunately? For those reason's alone, can I say that I do not fear Him. And for His amazing grace and patience with is is just a greater reason to love Him.

I think focusing too much and playing off of fear only is just as bad as only focusing on love. The two go hand in hand--in my opinion. Knowing what God can do and what He WOULD be able to do if He didn't love me as much as He did, makes me love him even MORE than I would rather than if He was just all about Love.

Andrew said...

Thanks for commenting Petite. I am not sure we can over do love. I don't think I am judging them, I am just trying to get a view of the end result of such a perspective. For example, I heard a very popular Northwestern Pastor state "Heck, if there is no Hell, I am headed for the strip joints tonight". Now perhaps he was using a bit of hyperbole, but I find that to be a fairly consistent attitude with those who promote hell theology - That I only avoid wrong things cause I might get in trouble. I do not see where that syncs up with the message of healing and redemption that (I think) we should be proclaiming. Are we killjoys? or do we have a way of life worth following?

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