Explorations in Theology

The series explores a theology that is human friendly! Jesus as the true human shows us who God is, and because of his consideration for us ('who are we, that God should make note of us?') defines who humanity was created to be. The nature of sin is to fall short of the glory of God. The glory of God as revealed in the truly human one - 'we beheld his glory full of grace and truth'. This volume is a foundation for the other volumes. And there are ZOOM groups available...
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A Quick Q & A

Yes very artificial – I set the questions and I give my answer. Oh to have sat exams like this in the past! I will give some real quick answers here to where I am at. Are the answers correct? Probably not all are, but they are a true representation of where I am at.

Do you believe in a personal return of Jesus?
Yes. There is a whole element of a movement from heaven to earth (New Jerusalem, heaven holding Jesus until, dead coming with Jesus etc.).

Do you believe in a millennial rule from Jerusalem?

Do you believe that there will be A future antiChrist?
Maybe but I do not see that as something prophesied in Scripture.

Do you believe that everything can be transformed without the parousia… a kind of optimistic post-millennialism?
No, but I am very optimistic.

And a tribulation?
The ‘great tribulation’ was in the years 66-70AD and has been repeated in different places / times since. Tribulation is also related to our location, standing in the squeeze (literal meaning) between what is and what we long for.

Do you believe that those who die (in Christ) go to heaven?
I do, tentatively. I do not wish to emphasise that as the resurrection of the dead is the central hope, and is so strong that (almost) nothing else gets a look in.

What about eternal destinies?
It is pretty impossible to know what Jesus believed about ‘hell’, although he mentions the word numerous times, but always in a context that is different to the one that we commonly use it. I settle on ‘eternal punishment’, not eternal punishing, and a very generous inclusion of as many as possible in the age to come.

What about ‘all Israel’ being saved?
Two responses to that one. There is not a temporal clause in the verse, it is not ‘and then all Israel will be saved’ but ‘in this way all Israel will be saved’ (kai houtos). ‘All Israel’ was a rabbinic term and then they went on to say who were not included, and the ‘who’ were the Jews by race who disqualified themselves, so the term is not a term that meant anyone descended from Abraham. (In Rom. 11:31 Paul writes of Jews receiving mercy NOW, not then at some future time.) Secondly, we need to go back to re-define the term ‘saved’. It is a saved from the falling short of the glory of God (not being human) to be saved for a reason. That reason is to be a channel and means by which the presence of God can be expressed within the world. So I do not see this Scripture as something that Paul is saying will happen before or at the end. It was his hope within his lifetime.

I am sure there are a thousand other important questions, but as these are simply my responses they are probably not worth asking. They do illustrate though that I am very conservative in my approach. The next post (maybe posts) will focus on being a little more speculative, realising that with their Scriptures in hand many Jews could not see how Jesus could be the Messiah. In the light of that it is not unreasonable to suggest that any attitude that says ‘I’ve got that one nailed’ could well be wrong.

2 thoughts on “A Quick Q & A

  1. So do you then believe that eternal punishment is a ‘one off’ event (a destruction of an individual soul) rather than an ongoing existence in a torture chamber? I tentatively believe in ultimate redemption for humans maybe via a process of being refined which may not be very comfortable for us at the time in the age to come. These are all fascinating subjects particularly the resurrection of the dead body being the overall theme and trajectory of the whole bible really rather than an ethereal ‘heavenly’ place which I tend to emphasise it when speaking to people about what happens when we die etc. so don’t think I understand it properly at all. I think the Orthodox Church really emphasises this and Christ’s descent into ‘Hades’ and deliverance of the captives is strongly stated in their liturgy of the resurrection and we get far less teaching on it in evangelical circles. It can all seem a bit ‘airy, fairy’ sometimes, very vague.

    1. Got it in one. I think eternal punishing is not tenable biblicly. The soul is not immortal – they were forbidden to go back and eat of the tree of life ‘so that they might not live forever’; immortality alone belongs to God etc. Immortality is a gift given to those in Christ. I love that you put ‘tentatively’ with regard to your belief in ultimate redemption. Seems many of our beliefs have to be tentative, as our reading of Scripture is biased. I guess for me, I could still believe in eternal punishment, but God not follow through with that! I am optimistic and for sure the real offence of the Gospel is not in who is excluded but in who it includes… A wideness in the mercy of God – how wide?

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