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 Post subject: Re: Response to an Orthodox Critic on Hell and the Fathers
PostPosted: Mon Aug 12, 2019 8:53 pm 
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theJack wrote:
I'm not surprised by the fear oh hell. For me, as a Baptist I was terrified of ending up in hell. Praise God, I've zero fear about that anymore. Still, fear of damnation isn't limited to a particular denomination.


Your lack of fear stands in stark contract to St. Paul.

And I do not think he means fear of the end of the world.

I’ve read several places where he compares life to a race, doesn’t judge himself lest he be found unworthy and etc.

My exegesis is clear - Paul has no assurance of salvation.

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 Post subject: Re: Response to an Orthodox Critic on Hell and the Fathers
PostPosted: Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:47 pm 
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And your exegesis of Paul makes Paul contradict both Paul and John and even your own church. Let's look at a bit of each. If Paul had no assurance of salvation, then Paul could not write:

    Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

    For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed to him against that day.

    For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. . . . And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me to his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

These are not the words of a man living in fear. They are words of confidence, and this says is completely without any reference to those myriads of passages in which Paul speaks of the salvation promised to those who have believed in Christ, who have, by faith, attained a righteousness of God and not of the Law. Paul obviously thinks he himself has such faith as he constantly numbers himself among those who have "believed" (whatever we claim that word ultimately means). Paul says we have peace we with God, that we ought not to be anxious, that it is God Himself who will deliver Paul, that he does not even judge himself, etc. So if you have Paul trembling in fear that he might end up in hell, you've misread Paul, because Paul is then contradicting his own words.

But then he is also contradicting the words of John, also inspired, when he wrote:

    Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us

    For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

    These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life

So John says that we can know we have eternal life. He says that love casts out fear, that we know we have overcome the world through our faith. So you would have Paul not know if he had overcome the world? That he would not know that he has eternal life? That he had not been matured in love? If Paul had not been matured in love, then who possibly could ever hope to be? Such encouragements from God through John would be mere deceptions, hopeless illusions, at best. But if Paul had been matured in love, then by John's own words, fear had been cast out of him. It is fitting, then, for this mature apostle to write that "there is now no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus" and this when only a few verses before he had lamented of being in bondage to sin and asking with palpable despair, "Who will save me from this body of death?" and then triumphantly concluding, "Jesus Christ our Lord!"

Paul had no fear of hell. Your version makes a mockery of his entire theology, and certainly more it makes a mockery of Paul's own proclamations of his confidence in Christ. And if all that were not enough, I'm fairly certain it makes a mockery of your own church's teachings. Obi has well pointed out that the call is merely to trust God through Christ. I strongly doubt Obi lives in perpetual fear of ending up in hell. He trusts God, not merely to keep His promises (as if God owed Obi anything) but instead to simply be Good. And when you trust God, when you love Him so, there is no fear. None whatsoever. I may well, and do, fear for those who have no such faith in God through Christ. I have no such fear for myself. And again, I charge that while serving out of fear for a season may be acceptable for a moment, to attempt to continue serving out of fear is nothing more or less than trying to live by Law. And love and Law are mutually exclusive for reasons John has already made clear.

What, then, is the proper exegesis? As I've already said, in the first place, fear is the beginning but not the end of wisdom and faith. Love is the end, that which matures, that to which we strive. And more fundamentally, fear means respect. In this sense, Thomas Aquinas distinguishes between servile and filial fear. You have Paul changed to the former, when Paul is freed by the latter. I deeply "fear" offending my wife in this latter way, not because of the stereotypical fear of the fury of the woman scorned, but rather because I love her so much. It would break my heart to hurt her and to hurt my union with her. But that fear, far from making me question what will be of our relationship, deepens my confidence in our union. And so it is with our fear of God.

Bottom line: anyone who lives in fear of hell is trapped in servile fear and therefore does not truly love God. Or as Aquinas so well put it, "[Servile] fear decreases as charity increases, chiefly as regards its act, since the more a man loves God, the less he fears punishment; first, because he thinks less of his own good, to which punishment is opposed; secondly, because, the faster he clings, the more confident he is of the reward, and, consequently the less fearful of punishment."

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Indeed, the Lord Jesus, when He prayed to the Father, "that all may be one. . . as we are one" (John 17:21-22) opened up vistas closed to human reason, for He implied a certain likeness between the union of the divine Persons, and the unity of God's sons in truth and charity. This likeness reveals that man, who is the only creature on earth which God willed for itself, cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself. ~ Pope Paul VI, Gaudium et Spes 24.3


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 Post subject: Re: Response to an Orthodox Critic on Hell and the Fathers
PostPosted: Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:03 pm 
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BTW, none of the above post should be interpreted to mean that I think the RCC explicitly or intentionally teaches the logical assurance of salvation to which I adhere. I'm saying that the moral assurance the RCC allows for and indeed encourages is a real assurance. While it may not be the mathematical certainty of a formula (i.e., I have believed in Christ, ergo, I have a salvation that cannot be lost), it remains the sort of assurance that renders absurd the idea that we ought to live in perpetual fear of hell. Indeed, the entire essence of moral certainty is that, as far as virtue (human or divine) permits, I can in fact know and live in the knowledge that I have eternal life and that I will be raised with Him. To say that we do not even have that assurance is to simply say that we don't really trust God. We become like the servant who buried the one coin thinking his master to be a cruel man. In such fear, we try so hard to hold on to something that wasn't even ours to begin with that we are all but assured (perversely) to lose even that.

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Indeed, the Lord Jesus, when He prayed to the Father, "that all may be one. . . as we are one" (John 17:21-22) opened up vistas closed to human reason, for He implied a certain likeness between the union of the divine Persons, and the unity of God's sons in truth and charity. This likeness reveals that man, who is the only creature on earth which God willed for itself, cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself. ~ Pope Paul VI, Gaudium et Spes 24.3


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 Post subject: Re: Response to an Orthodox Critic on Hell and the Fathers
PostPosted: Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:31 pm 
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theJack wrote:
BTW, none of the above post should be interpreted to mean that I think the RCC explicitly or intentionally teaches the logical assurance of salvation to which I adhere. I'm saying that the moral assurance the RCC allows for and indeed encourages is a real assurance. While it may not be the mathematical certainty of a formula (i.e., I have believed in Christ, ergo, I have a salvation that cannot be lost), it remains the sort of assurance that renders absurd the idea that we ought to live in perpetual fear of hell. Indeed, the entire essence of moral certainty is that, as far as virtue (human or divine) permits, I can in fact know and live in the knowledge that I have eternal life and that I will be raised with Him. To say that we do not even have that assurance is to simply say that we don't really trust God. We become like the servant who buried the one coin thinking his master to be a cruel man. In such fear, we try so hard to hold on to something that wasn't even ours to begin with that we are all but assured (perversely) to lose even that.


+1 :clap:

The way some Catholics put forth their own salvation; "if I make it", kinda sounds as if they are clueless as to where they are going. Is this the "good news" that is preached? "Hey folks, join the Church, maybe you'll make it, maybe you won't, who knows? Good luck!"

The Jack is also right about that the abuse of a teaching does not negate it's authenticity.

As for me, my own lack of assurance is directly related to my sin, my inability thus far to break free of it to the point of being free indeed. Also my thoughts from waaaaay back doing something that God could not forgive me for some legal reason; "forensic damnation?"

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 Post subject: Re: Response to an Orthodox Critic on Hell and the Fathers
PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:53 pm 
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Hey, I really appreciate TheJack’s response. I really, really do. And I’m not unsympathetic to his position.

All that being said, I’m not going to respond to every point that was made because it would be exhausting and frankly, nobody’s position on the matter will be changed so what’s the point?

However, I will say this - one reason why I because Catholic was something my wife questioned when I was a Methodist and she was Catholic.

She said (paraphrased), “Why do you guys keep taking verses from here and verses from there and quoting as if they are all apart of the same context?”

She went on, “You guys also never read a whole passage. You stop and don’t go on to the other parts that might make things more clear; the preacher just simply say ‘that’s what it means’ because he’s the preacher and claims he’s under inspiration of the Holy Spirit. But that doesn’t mean the preacher is right, he could be just quoting stuff out of context.”

I thought about that question and her objection for a long time. And after a great deal of reading, listening, and thinking come to realize she was right. It’s too easy to take a passage from one part of scripture and combine it with another to support your position, even when the context of the two portions of scripture might have nothing to do with one another. I would be happy to provide an example if pressed, but I honestly don’t want to get into that.

So in conclusion, I really do appreciate everyone’s positions on the matter and respect your opinion. I just believe they are mistaken.

And while I said I lived in fear of hell everyday, the reality is my position is much more nuanced and I was only spreaking in hyperbole. :D

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Last edited by Peetem on Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Response to an Orthodox Critic on Hell and the Fathers
PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 5:22 pm 
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Peetum,

I think you mean "nuanced" in your last sentence?


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 Post subject: Re: Response to an Orthodox Critic on Hell and the Fathers
PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 6:16 pm 
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Let me only say that I am in 1000% agreement with your wife, Peetem.

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 Post subject: Re: Response to an Orthodox Critic on Hell and the Fathers
PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:32 pm 
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theJack wrote:
I'm not surprised by the fear oh hell. For me, as a Baptist I was terrified of ending up in hell. Praise God, I've zero fear about that anymore. Still, fear of damnation isn't limited to a particular denomination.

How can you be so sure? If you believe that many people suffer eternal punishment in hell, for whatever failings they may have, how can you feel sure you won't suffer eternally too? What makes you different from the people who go to hell?

You now believe that you got it wrong when you were a Baptist, so you could be wrong again.

There is a lot of dispute among Christians as to how to avoid hell, various different Christians have various different theories about how to avoid hell, so what makes you so sure that you have got it right? Maybe you're too selfish. Maybe you aren't charitable enough. I know I'm not.

I'm no saint, therefore, unlike you, I cannot afford to believe in eternal hell, because if I did, I would suffer so much fear and anxiety about the possibility that I may not be one of the lucky ones, or my daughter might not be, or some of the people I deeply love, I wouldn't be able to function, I'd be in deep depression, and I wouldn't be able to look after my daughter, I would have so much fear in my heart, there would be no room for love, I couldn't trust that God loves me, I would be filled with anxiety, I couldn't trust a God who would allow people to suffer for ever, I'd fall into deep depression, there would be no way I could function in the positive and sometimes joyful manner that I am currently able to, believing in a God of pure love.


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 Post subject: Re: Response to an Orthodox Critic on Hell and the Fathers
PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:50 pm 
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First, your argument proves too much. If you're going to rely on the "you might be wrong" trope, then YOU might be wrong about there being a hell. Therefore, by your reasoning, if I might be wrong and therefore ought to fear hell because I MIGHT be wrong, then you ought to fear hell because you, too, MIGHT be wrong.

But beyond the logical consistency, I don't frankly care two bits about such a senseless position. With respect to what I feel, I'm concerned with what I believe, not with what you believe. And what I believe is very straightforward:

1. Jesus said, "Whoever believes in Me has everlasting life."
2. I believe in Jesus
3. Therefore, I have everlasting life.

I do no care one bit what you or anyone else thinks about the argument. As far as I read it, Jesus said it, and I'm not interested in entertaining people who want to say Jesus was wrong regardless of how polite or well-intentioned they make their accusation of Him as liar sound.

That may sound harsh to you or others. It isn't. Hear closely the context. You asked how I, theJack, could be so sure. That's how. Because when it comes to what I know, the question is only what I know, what I am absolutely persuaded to be true in my heart of hearts. I'm being as honest as I can be. So I have absolutely zero fear of hell. As far as I'm concerned, if I'm wrong, Jesus is a liar. But Jesus is not a liar, and therefore, I'm not wrong.

Going beyond all that and to entertain the logical possibility that I've misunderstood Jesus, I say this: God can do absolutely whatever God wants. If He wants to condemn me to eternal Hell, there's nothing I can do about that. And if He wants to save me forever, then yay for me! While I believe what I believe about His promises regarding the assurance of eternal life (so see the first half of this above), I can even more deeply say that if I stand before God and He says, "Depart from Me into the lake of fire" then my response is, "You, O Lord, are Sovereign and beyond challenge. If there be any way for this cup to pass from me, then let it be so. But if not, then Thy will be done." And I truly, 100% mean that. I'm not being pious here. I see God as absolutely beyond challenge. And if He decides that I am to be damned, then I am to be damned, and that is right and good. Let me in just such a world at least glorify Him in my damnation. The important thing, above all--above absolutely all--is God's glory, not mine. That isn't, again, merely personal piety talking. That's just indisputable truth. Indisputable in the sense that I could no more challenge it than I could the law of non-contradiction.

So what is there to fear? I long ago fell on the mercy and grace and goodness of God. I believe with all my heart that "whoever believes in [Jesus] has everlasting life" (John 6:47). But if I've somehow missed some technical point, it remains true that I am completely and totally entrusting my soul to God's good hands. He may do with me what He wishes. So there is no fear of hell. There is only hope in the kindness of God. For if I am saved from hell, it is only because He is kind . . . not because I am good. Shy of His kindness, I don't deserve anything more than eternal damnation, anyway. Just like you. And just like everyone else on this board.

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 Post subject: Re: Response to an Orthodox Critic on Hell and the Fathers
PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:18 pm 
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What verb tense is “believe” in John 3:16?

What does that imply?

What does the verb “believe” mean?

Better yet -

What about John 6:51 - “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

And John 6:55 - “for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink.”

So what does Jesus mean when He says His “flesh”?

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 Post subject: Re: Response to an Orthodox Critic on Hell and the Fathers
PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:33 pm 
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John 6:48 - 58:

48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53 So Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; 55 for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. 56 Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. 57 Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.”

Here’s my syllogism (sloppy, but you get the drift):

Jesus said “Unless we eat his flesh and drink his blood, you have no life within you”
Non-Catholic’s don’t eat His flesh
Therefore Non-Catholic’s have no life within them

Right? I mean Jesus said it and the only people who believe we really eat the body of Christ are Catholics (and Orthodox of course....trying to keep this simple).

I mean, Jesus said it right?

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 Post subject: Re: Response to an Orthodox Critic on Hell and the Fathers
PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 6:51 am 
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TheJack interprets "eat my flesh" to mean "believe", I think.

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 Post subject: Re: Response to an Orthodox Critic on Hell and the Fathers
PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 7:46 am 
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Anyone who thinks all Protestants have no life in them must be willfully blind.

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 Post subject: Re: Response to an Orthodox Critic on Hell and the Fathers
PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 7:53 am 
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Jack3 wrote:
TheJack interprets "eat my flesh" to mean "believe", I think.


Indeed.

https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/wh ... t-my-flesh

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 Post subject: Re: Response to an Orthodox Critic on Hell and the Fathers
PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 9:26 am 
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Pro-Zak wrote:
Jack3 wrote:
TheJack interprets "eat my flesh" to mean "believe", I think.


Indeed.

https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/wh ... t-my-flesh

Indeed.

viewtopic.php?p=2730276#p2730276

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 Post subject: Re: Response to an Orthodox Critic on Hell and the Fathers
PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 9:42 am 
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I remembered that you were faced with the very same question in the past.

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 Post subject: Re: Response to an Orthodox Critic on Hell and the Fathers
PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 10:23 am 
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One can have moral assurance of salvation but not the infallible assurance of faith (added: unless one has received a special revelation). To assert the latter is to deny the mercy of God. This is the teaching of the Council of Trent.

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 Post subject: Re: Response to an Orthodox Critic on Hell and the Fathers
PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 11:12 am 
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theJack wrote:
First, your argument proves too much. If you're going to rely on the "you might be wrong" trope, then YOU might be wrong about there being a hell. Therefore, by your reasoning, if I might be wrong and therefore ought to fear hell because I MIGHT be wrong, then you ought to fear hell because you, too, MIGHT be wrong.

But beyond the logical consistency...


There is absolutely no logical inconsistency. The point is not about being wrong, it is about the consequences of being wrong. You believe that God condemns many people to suffer in hell for ever and ever, but you are certain that you will not be one of the unlucky ones.

So, you could be wrong about your belief that God condemns people to suffer in hell for ever and ever, universalists could be correct, and if so, if you are wrong, no big deal, in fact that would be great, so there are no dreadful consequences if you are wrong, nothing to fear if you are wrong about that aspect of your belief.

But if, as you firmly believe, God condemns many people to suffer in hell for ever and ever, you could be wrong in your belief that you will be one of the lucky ones whom God doesn't condemn to suffer in hell for ever and ever, and if you are wrong, which you could be, then the consequences would be more dreadful for you than I am able to express.

You saying to me "You could be wrong too" doesn't help you at all, it is irrelevant to whether or not you could be wrong, and so I'm just asking you, as you could be wrong (as I could be too), why aren't you terrified?

You can ask me similarly why I am not terrified (to which I can give you a very good answer), but that doesn't answer the question I asked you.

So there is no logical inconsistency whatsoever in asking you why aren't you terrified if you believe God sends many people to suffer for ever in hell, why aren't you terrified that there is nothing special about you, and therefore if God condemns many good people to suffer in hell for ever and ever, how can you be sure that you won't be one of those good people whom God condemns to suffer in hell for ever and ever?

I'd be terrified if I believed what you believe. I would find it impossible to have enough confidence to avoid feeling terrified. What's special about me, what's different about me, how am I any more deserving, so why would I have total confidence that I wouldn't also be condemned to suffer in hell for ever if I believed that many good people suffer in hell for ever?

You say you have zero fear of eternal hell based on this logic:
theJack wrote:
1. Jesus said, "Whoever believes in Me has everlasting life."
2. I believe in Jesus
3. Therefore, I have everlasting life.

I do no care one bit what you or anyone else thinks about the argument. As far as I read it, Jesus said it, and I'm not interested in entertaining people who want to say Jesus was wrong regardless of how polite or well-intentioned they make their accusation of Him as liar sound.

That may sound harsh to you or others. It isn't. Hear closely the context. You asked how I, theJack, could be so sure. That's how. Because when it comes to what I know, the question is only what I know, what I am absolutely persuaded to be true in my heart of hearts. I'm being as honest as I can be. So I have absolutely zero fear of hell. As far as I'm concerned, if I'm wrong, Jesus is a liar. But Jesus is not a liar, and therefore, I'm not wrong.
But I can very clearly point out here and now that your logic is incorrect: You have quoted a verse from the Bible and then "logically" (incorrectly) concluded that there are only two logical possibilities: EITHER (a) you are not wrong and Jesus is not a liar, OR (b) you are wrong and therefore Jesus is a liar.

But logically those are clearly not the only two possibilities. I can immediately think of two other very obvious logical possibilities, neither of which suggest that "Jesus is a liar" but suggest that you could be wrong.

If you can't see these other two obvious logical possibilities yourself, I can spell them out for you, if you need me to.

So I don't think that your immense faith in your own logic is justified, but I also don't think that you should be terrified of suffering in hell for ever, because I don't think anyone should, but I think you are not terrified for the wrong reasons, but that's better than being terrified. I'm just saying that if I believed what tiu believe, I'd be terrified to tge extent that I couldn't function, couldn't love, couldn't feel joy, couldn't have peace of mind.


Last edited by Denise Dee on Wed Aug 14, 2019 11:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Response to an Orthodox Critic on Hell and the Fathers
PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 11:12 am 
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Sons of Thunder
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Im not denying the Council said it, but can you give a source for the first part (moral assurance), please?

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 Post subject: Re: Response to an Orthodox Critic on Hell and the Fathers
PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 11:21 am 
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There is no written magisterial source, but that is the common understanding of theologians.

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