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Old 12-08-2011, 08:49 AM   #112
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Okay, I read your original post and if someone else has said anything similar, than I apologize in advance for being redundant as this is a long thread.

Originally Posted by Tysyacha View Post
1) On the ONE hand, my pastor talked about love--specifically how (God's) love is sacrificial and unconditional. This is consistent with what I've been (doctrinally) taught about God's love.

-1) On the OTHER hand, along with this message of love, he talked about the bad news--what I call "the catch": "Some people are condemned already, because they don't believe in Jesus."

If God's love is supposed to be unconditional, and "condemnation" means an eternal withdrawal of God's love--that's what I believe that Hell is--then isn't "belief in Jesus" a condition of God's love? If you don't believe in Jesus, say my pastor and church, then you will be judged guilty and separated forever from God and His love. How, then, can they honestly say that God's love is unconditional? To me, this is a crystal-clear example of what Orwell called doublethink.
This is where man and God conflict, hence why there are so many religions in the world. Where in the Bible does it say you have to believe in Jesus in order to be loved by God? If it exists, I want someone to point that out. Keep in mind I said love, not saved. There is a difference.

Originally Posted by Tysyacha View Post
2) On the ONE hand, my pastor talked about the very beginning of John 3:16. It says, "For God so loved the world..." Meaning, God loved all the people in the world, from the beginning of time until the end of time. Fair enough, say I, because as my pastor also exclaimed, "God IS love!"

-2) On the OTHER hand, he talked about how WE, as HUMANS, not just as Christians, are "born bad". If God despises evil--things that are bad--which I'm sure my pastor and I both agree that He does, then how can God love US if we're BORN bad/evil? If God loves all the people in the world, from the beginning of time until the end of time, and yet such people are every-single-one-of-them BORN evil, then the concept of God's love makes no sense at all. It's utterly contradictory, and another brilliant example of what Orwell deemed doublethink.
Again, this is a man taught belief and your pastor isn't the first one to teach such crap. Where in the Bible does it say that we are born bad? If I missed where it said that, please point that out.

I believe that children are innocent and are automatically saved until there are old enough to understand the choices they make. That makes more sense to me.

Let's say a child is born and let's say the child dies like 2 hours later because of a complication or something. Are you really going to tell me that this child who died shortly after being born is going to hell? Bull crap. That child is innocent and has not nothing wrong yet and never had the mental capability to make right or wrong decisions.

Originally Posted by Tysyacha View Post
This next example might be the most insidious of all.

3) On the ONE hand, my pastor talked about how living in God's grace and mercy means "you have nothing to lose (because you've gained salvation through Christ) and nothing to prove (because you don't have to try and win God's love anymore. Jesus did all the 'proving' for you)."

-3) On the OTHER hand, his view on salvation is called the "perseverance of the saints," meaning that if you not only continue having faith, but also if "your life reflects your faith in Jesus" (meaning you do enough good deeds and don't swear/don't drink/don't slander or gossip/don't cheat, etc.) THEN you will be saved. He made the point that "you can't just pray a prayer that invites Jesus into your heart and then live your life sinning all you want." Fair enough--I hate hypocrisy anyway. However, isn't this another condition of God's supposedly unconditional salvation? I'd hate to be on my deathbed worrying if I'd been pure enough, and done enough good deeds, to be authentically saved. Underneath all of my pastor and church's pious words and rhetoric, is it REALLY the truth that I have everything to lose (my salvation) and everything to prove (myself and my "genuine relationship with God") through my good deeds? I was wrong--there is a fourth example that blows the previous three away:
Sounds like your pastor hasn't through what he says before he says it. Though he isn't the first to do so about this topic.

I believe we are accountable for our choices and if we make good choices we will be saved. And those who never had the opportunity to learn of God and Jesus will so in the afterlife. And I'm also including those who have been turned off to religion because of some man taught beliefs and learning of history of man where religion was forced on people and turned them off to it. Believe me, man has corrupted many things taught by God and they will be held accountable for those they have turned away from God for their actions.

The point I'm trying to make is if you're a good person, you will be saved. It doesn't make sense for a good person to not be saved.

Originally Posted by Tysyacha View Post
4) On the ONE hand, my pastor made the point that God wants a real relationship with us.

-4) On the OTHER hand, he also made the point that "our response, and our relationship with God, must be genuine (in order for all of this to work)." However, he never told us who decides what is and is not a "genuine" relationship with God. Supposedly, God should and does, but he never said that explicitly. That worries me. Thoughts? I have a knot in the pit of my stomach...
Sounds more like a personal insecurity to me. Just try to be as genuine as possible. Remember we're human beings and we won't be perfect about what we do and I'm sure God will forgive all your shortcomings if you truly did the best you could have done.

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