Rethinking Conditionalism (Part 5a) – The Atonement

Rethinking Conditionalism (Part 5a) – The Atonement

(Notice: the blog series has moved to Rethinking Conditionalism on Our Common Salvation)

I would like to reveal and exegete more Scriptures that conditionalists use to affirm their position of annihilationism, but let’s cut to the chase. There’s an even bigger topic at hand. And it is in the area of atonement. Because whenever you change the nature/definition of eternal punishment or eternal life, you inevitably change your view of the atonement. And even though conditionalist claim to say that their view of hell doesn’t change their outlook on the atonement (in a heretical way at least), it seems that when the contributors write or speak on their podcasts, they betray themselves. And this issue is hard to tackle in writing seeing that those within the conditionalist camp are not only varied in their opinion concerning what happens in the intermediate state (between death and the resurrection), and the nature of Hell (whether it is retributive and/or restorative), but because of their hermeneutics and also some of their different applications of penal substitutionary atonement (PSA). But I contest that this position is indeed not only a gateway doctrine to heresy, but it seems to accommodate heretical company. And hopefully, the concerns below will make this more clear.

Despite the above, there is one unifying doctrine within conditionalism – Death IS the punishment for sin. In other words, the act of Jesus Christ dying on the cross (when life left His body) is when sin was paid/atoned for and the punishment was satisfied. They say this in response to those of us who say that the wrath of God poured out on Christ was satisfied while He was still alive. But I don’t holistically disagree with death being a necessary component of the punishment, and neither should you reader. But their main challenge is that if the wrath of God that Jesus bore Himself was payment for sin, then why did He die? Great question! But this is, once again, making a distinction without making a difference. The challenge can easily be reversed in that if death IS the punishment, then why would Jesus endure such a brutal and tortuous beating from His creation, and bear God’s wrath while on the cross? Since death is the punishment, then Jesus could have just endured a slit throat like the lambs of old, and died for our sin (see this article I wrote that helps us to understand how what Jesus endured was more than what we are going to endure in hell because of who He was). Of course, in reading this, conditionalists may make up a ready response. They always do. But their leaders don’t want their responses challenged in a public dialogue (i.e. conversation) with me where their views can be scrutinized and critiqued for consistency. They would rather have the safety of timed debates, and social media platforms to defend their views. Where they can say their peace without being probed in dialogue by someone who has found extreme reason to doubt the veracity of their position, who also has taken the time to digest their position from the inside and can detect and call out the subtle linguistic shifts in their argument. Yes, I am saying that most of their published information does not address their specific challenges head on as I am doing.  But I digress. I still offer my open invitation for public dialogue here even though they continually reject my appeal on emotional grounds.

Gateway Heresy

Before I deal with the atonement, let me explain why I have concerns and why I believe that this theology is a gateway doctrine to heresy. If we were simply discussing the nature of hell, then a secondary conversation could possibly be had without any consequence to salvific implications (maybe), IF the person is simply inconsistent by believing this position, or if they are not a popular teacher saying our view is closer to heresy, like Chris Date says (you’ll see below).  This is the type of conversation conditionalist strive for. They want to treat this as merely a secondary issue. This is the proverbial “seat at the table” Chris Date and the Rethinking Hell contributors beg for. And this would be all fine and dandy if it were not for the fact that having alternate views of the afterlife affects your view of the atonement.* And, if it weren’t for the issues below. Continue reading

Experiencing God Through Deceitful Mysticism

Many today in the evangelical church speak as if they are daily receiving personal revelations from God much like the prophets of old.  God speaking not through his word, but rather directly to them. Thus establishing the individual as the source of truth whereby all others are rendered defenseless to counter any false prophecies, wild speculations or personal deceptions.  For if God is speaking to them, who will dare speak a word against them?

Of course this is not limited to the evangelicals as it is found in many churches where it is all too common in Charismatic circles.  Here it seems every preacher out there has a word for someone.  And as the teacher preaches so follow the pupils.

And it goes beyond just personal revelations as some on this path will journey deeper where they will enter the realms of mysticism and seek even deeper contact with God.  A trend we see flooding the church today being welcomed in by many big names in Christiandom, especially those in the Emerging/Emergent Church movement.  The video below speaks to this which I hope many will watch and forward to those caught up in this movement.  – bro Michael

p.s. Click here to find a series of articles at Apprising Ministries that delve deeply into mysticism.

Introduction to video from Berean Beacon:
Professional deception and clever fraudulence are running rampant in mystical claims to experience God. Thus, the signature of Satan is seen in St. John of the Cross, Ignatius Loyola, Madame Guyon, Carl Jung, Richard Foster, and in such as Mother Teresa, Rick Warren, Brian McLaren, Leonard Sweet, Phyllis Tickle, and other deceivers of the Emerging Church movement who transmit this plague. In this illustrated DVD, Richard Bennett and James Sundquist expose the deceitful shams that prevail at the present time. They also explain the scriptural method of biblical meditation and genuinely experiencing God.


Are Christian bookstore owners responsible for what they sell?

Back in February I asked the question do you support your local Christian bookstore?

I now have a follow-up question:

Are the owners of Christian bookstores responsible to their fellow-Christians, the Church, and ultimately God, for the products they sell?

This past week I entered another one of these Christian book and paraphernalia bazaars. The first faces I saw staring back at me as soon as I entered were the prominently displayed faces of Joel Osteen, Juanita Bynum, TD Jakes, and Joyce Meyer (just to name a few) along with all the “Jesus junk” and trinkets that adorned the shelves and displays from wall to wall. A few more steps and I was struck with Rob Bell’s book Sex God and his Nooma videos

Another disturbing book I unexpectedly came across was a children’s book on the virgin Mary and praying the Rosary. In this book were Romanism’s false teaching of Mary being crowned Queen of Heaven and Queen of the universe. This was in a “Christian” bookstore!

I recall a brief conversation I had with the owner of one of these bookstore a few months back in which he provided me two excuses reasons why he sold the merchandise of such heretical teachers as Rick Warren, Joel Osteen, Brian McLaren and Rob Bell. He said he 1). cannot possibly read every book that he sells; and that he 2). does not want to promote censorship.

This was such a sad example of wiggling around his deeper responsibility to not lead people astray. First of all he can’t be accused of censorship for not carrying certain books anymore than he an be accused of censorship for not allowing these types of books into his home. He owns his home, he owns the bookstore. He–as a retailer–has the right to sell whatever he does or does not want on his shelves, which explains the absence of such material as the Book of Mormon, the Satanic Bible or pornography. Is the absence of these books considered “censorship?” Furthermore, in order for his refusal to carry certain books to qualify as “censorship” he would have to be a representative of the government.

Secondly, the “I can’t possibly read every book I sell” excuse is a cop-out. You don’t have to read every book by Brian McLaren, Rob Bell or Robert Schuller to know that they’re spreading heresy . . . it’s common knowledge! And if you’re not that aware of what’s going on or you lack discernment regarding the wolves among us, a quick internet search will tell you all you need to know.

Do you need to read every issue of the Awake! that the Watchtower organization produces to be able to confidently say that they are a cult and thus not carry their material? Of course not. So why do certain big name heretics and false teachers under the umbrella of evangelicalism get a pass by the guise of willful ignorance?

These bookstore owners are knowingly or unknowingly selling doctrines of demons; material that an impressionable undiscerning person could buy which would lead them on the primrose path to Hell. This leads me to ask, will these bookstore owners be held responsible before God for selling these heretical, apostate, and often times blasphemous doctrines of wolves in sheep’s clothing?