You Are Going to Hell Because “So and So” Said So

"Heaven offers nothing that a mercenary soul can desire." – CS Lewis


Milky Way Courtesy of NASA

Dee is once again back in the saddle and will spend the rest of this week catching up. Emails should be answered and comments will be acknowledged! The last two weeks were just a bit overwhelming. Yet, over that time, both Deb and I have found a renewed passion for exposing the hurt caused by those who are held up as the really cool and always doctrinally right Christian leaders. Recently, your always-glamorous bloggers were accused of being “angry” by an unnamed individual who we suspect is tied to a well-known ministry. We will wax eloquent on that subject tomorrow.

Today, I want to target a particular area of concern. And that is on the injunction “Judge not, lest you be judged.” This particular verse is a stern warning NOT to judge the salvation of others. Yet, there are high profile Christian pastors and leaders who have become the “Salvation Nazis.” But, this a new kind of salvation not found in the New Testament. It is salvation by secondary issue. Here are a few examples.

Salvation by gender belief
Andy Davis alluded that those, who did not follow his “no female deacons” mandate, were unregenerate, a term, particularly beloved by Calvinistas, which means. “Not reformed: not reborn spiritually and not repentant” (Encarta). I think he also threw in the term “wicked” for good measure, seriously nailing those folks.

Salvation by pre-tribulation rapture adherence
Eagle commented on our blog today that he heard a pastor say that one was not saved if they rejected a pre-tribulation rapture. I have also heard this in regards to premillenialism which means I am also going to hell since I hold to different perspective.

Salvation by earth age dating:
Ken Ham often calls those who disagree with his 6,000- year earth “in danger of denying the doctrine of the atonement.” Since our salvation is incumbent on the sacrificial atonement of the Lord, Ham is saying, “You ain’t saved, baby.”

Salvation by works:
If you didn’t do anything “for God” you must not be saved.

This list could go on and on. People are considered saved or not by their views on Calvinism, Arminianism, charismatic gifting, tithing, etc. Sadly, it appears that some of our Christian leaders may also be judging what happens in the last minutes of a person’s life.

Christopher Hitchens: Hell, for sure?
Recently Christopher Hitchens died. He was a well-known atheist who was a brilliant writer and a worthy opponent in the great debate. I must confess that reading his writings afforded me no end of guilty pleasure. Here is an excerpt from his 2010 article in Vanity Fair in which he discussed his diagnosis of esophageal cancer.

Topic of Cancer
“I rage through bargaining to depression and the eventual bliss of “acceptance,” hasn’t so far had much application in my case. In one way, I suppose, I have been “in denial” for some time, knowingly burning the candle at both ends and finding that it often gives a lovely light.

But for precisely that reason, I can’t see myself smiting my brow with shock or hear myself whining about how it’s all so unfair: I have been taunting the Reaper into taking a free scythe in my direction and have now succumbed to something so predictable and banal that it bores even me. Rage would be beside the point for the same reason.

Instead, I am badly oppressed by a gnawing sense of waste. I had real plans for my next decade and felt I’d worked hard enough to earn it. Will I really not live to see my children married? To watch the World Trade Center rise again? “


Upon Hitchens’ death on 12/16/11, Christian leaders made all sorts of pronouncements on his life and faith. Many were gracious. Some, however, were not. Here is a comment that Al Mohler made. See if you can see his fatal mistake.

“After Hitchens died, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. alcommented, saying in a Tweet: "The death tonight of Christopher Hitchens is an excruciating reminder of the consequences of unbelief. We can only pray others will believe." Mohler added, "The point about Christopher Hitchens is not that he died of unbelief, but that his unbelief is all that matters now. Unspeakably sad."

Mohler was sure that Hitchens died in his unbelief. Why is that? Was he there, with him, in his last moment?

TWW wrote a post on Hitchens’ friendship with Frances Collins here.

In that post we discussed Hitchens’ admiration for Collins who supported him during his diagnosis and treatment, apparently never hitting him over the head with the faith. This brilliant Christian scientist stayed by Hitchens’ side throughout his ordeal. Who knows what influence he may have had? In that same article, we noted this response which, unfortunately, made it’s way to Hitchens.

“Who else feels Christopher Hitchens getting terminal throat cancer [sic] was God’s revenge for him using his voice to blaspheme him? Atheists like to ignore FACTS. They like to act like everything is a “coincidence”. Really? It’s just a “coincidence” [that] out of any part of his body, Christopher Hitchens got cancer in the one part of his body he used for blasphemy? Yea, keep believing that Atheists. He’s going to writhe in agony and pain and wither away to nothing and then die a horrible agonizing death, and THEN comes the real fun, when he’s sent to HELLFIRE forever to be tortured and set afire.”

Please read our post to see Hitchens’ brilliant and scathing response to this comment.

Could Hitchens have repented?
Russell Moore, however, brings a different perspective to this debate here. (That’s right, I am agreeing with him on this one!).

In a post titled, Christopher Hitchens May Be in Heaven he said,

“I don't know about Christopher Hitchens, about what happened in those last moments, but I do know that, if he had embraced it, the Gospel would be enough for him. I know that because it's enough for me, and I'm as deserving of hell as he is.”

Everyone who think they have a corner on the “who is going to heaven” market should always remember the thief on the cross

“Remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Lk. 23:42-43). (Jesus said)“Today you will be with me in Paradise.”

Steve Jobs

Things happen as death approaches. ABC News reports, here, in the last moment, before he died, Jobs, who as far as we know, was a Buddhist, said the following : “Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow.” We don’t know what he saw. As a former nurse, I am well aware that brain anoxia can contribute to hallucinations yet there are far too many stories of glorious last moments to totally disregard them as brain dysfunction.

Two personal experiences

In my own life, I have two personal experiences that would lead me to be very cautious about judging the state of a person’s faith at the time of death.

The death of a Christian friend

Our friend, Jim, was in a Dallas  ICU, dying of leukemia. He was uncomfortable and in pain. Suddenly, he grabbed his wife’s arm, and said, “Do you see him. Jesus is here. He’s come!” He died a minute later. Did His Savior come to comfort Jim in his last minutes? Such a thing seems consistent with loving Friend.

My dying father
Throughout his life, my dad found my faith a curiosity. He often asked me questions and recounted other Christian he had met in his life. Yet, he never seemed to want to commit to following Jesus. In his last year, he was afflicted with Alzheimer’s and slowly lost touch with reality. In his final months, he thought I was his sister. Soon, he ceased to communicate, except from some unrecognizable words.

One day, in church, I had an overwhelming urge to go see him immediately. The phrase “Have you asked Him to be your Savior” kept running through my mind. My teen daughter was able to go with me. I am so glad that she was present to witness a rather unusual occurrence.

As I walked into his room, he turned his head and said, “How are you dear?” He seemed lucid and recognized me,which was a surprise. I asked him how he was feeling. He shook his head and said, “It’s time for me to check out.” He had been a doctor and often used that phrase when a patient had died.

I said, “You are so tired.” He nodded. And then I said. “Dad, do you remember when I became a Christian?” He nodded. I said, “I think you thought it was kind of crazy.” He wrinkled his forehead and said, “No, no, it was very good.” I then, tentatively, said, “Have you asked Him to be your Savior.” He looked sad and said, “No.” And then I took a chance. “Would you like Him to be your Savior now?” And he nodded and asked, “How?”

By this point, my daughter’s mouth was hanging open. I was so glad she was there see her grandpa do something that I thought would never happen. I then said, “Would you like me to help you pray to tell Jesus that you want Him as your Savior?” He nodded yes. So, using simple words, I started to pray, and my dad whispered the words along with me, as best as he could.

And then he did something I will never forget. He grabbed my arm, looked me in the eyes and said, “It’s alright now.” At that moment, he reverted into a confused daze, never to emerge until his death a couple of weeks later.

Many Christians who knew my father probably would have thought him a profane man with a difficult personality. Yet, on his tombstone, etched amidst the symbols that represented that he was a doctor, a veteran and a trombonist, there is also a cross and a verse, “The Lord is my shepherd” from Psalm 23, which I would read to him in his last days.

So this is a warning to those who would judge the eternal destiny of others. As CS Lewis said, “There will be some surprises in heaven.” That could work both ways. And TWW will continue to watch and report on those who declare they have special insight into the last minutes of a person's life.

I am left wondering , could my dad be in heaven with Hitchens, rejoicing over their salvation in their last minutes on earth? I look forward to finding out.


Lydia's Corner: Job 34:1-36:33 2 Corinthians 4:1-12 Psalm 44:1-8 Proverbs 22:10-12


You Are Going to Hell Because “So and So” Said So — 55 Comments

  1. Douglas Wilson’s post in Christianity Today was the best piece written on Hitchens death by far. An incredibly wise way to think about the death of Atheists in general I think.

  2. Fantastic story about your Dad’s acceptance of the Saviour at the very end. God simply stuns one, at times, with his grace. He gives a dying man with serious Alzheimers enough momentary mental light to accept His grace. Let’s face it Dee, you prayed your Dad into heaven.

  3. Recently my wife made a statement to our adult bible fellowship. She said that in heaven we may very well find people there who never saw the inside of a church and those who others may not consider to be saved. Her words were affirmed by our adult groups pastor who happened to be in the room at that moment. I like my wife.

  4. There is more to all of this (heaven, conversion, whatever else we want to call these things) than any of us will ever be able to see, let alone figure out, in this lifetime.

    God is (as Jonh said) greater than our hearts. Which (imo) is a very, very good thing!

  5. Dee, I rejoice with you concerning your father. I have a similar story with mine. The more I study scripture the more I would be totally afraid to be one who claims Christ most of my life and yet makes merchandise of His Word, seeking fame, celebrity and fortune with His truth. Garnering follwers after myself…. thinking I was doing great things, building huge churches…..

    I would be afraid I would hear Matthew 7: I never knew you.

  6. Many of the Calvinistas love deciding who is in and who is out. However, the in crowd seems to be growing smaller. Since all of the secondary issues are now gospel issues, if you are a calvinista you have to have come to the conclusion that you won’t be seeing Martin Luther, the Wesley brothers, or anyone else not explicitly reformed.
    On a side note, I remember someone in the normal non calvinista reformed crowd lamenting that Adrian Rogers was discouraging students in Memphis from attending RUF (reformed university fellowship) Dee, you know about Rogers better than I, before his death had he experienced the calvinistas within the SBC?
    Also, I see that Tchividjian is linked with the YRR and I was wondering if you had read his new book and read on his blog about justification and sanctification and the argument that happened at DeYoung’s blog. Just wondering… it seems that perhaps Tchividjian may not be so YRR anymore. He is reading lots of Luther and dialoguing a lot with pretty prominent Lutherans of the Missouri Synod such as Dr. Rod Rosenbladt of the White Horse Inn. What is your take?

  7. Robin, You ask some good questions. But I think what is going on is that some YRR are trying to present a better image. The word is out about them. And it is becoming more of a turn off to many. they cannot attract the followers they want. Even Driscoll is starting to wear grown man clothes.

    Tullian has some strange doctrine in his books that old line Calvinists are pointing out! And the thing is many of the YRR are all over the board with basic doctrine (melding justification/sanctification and “Gospel” everthing) that it is becoming confusing what is Reformed. and one of their tenents seems to be that one must make everything part of salvic doctrine…..including many B issues.

    I think what we are seeing is a shake out to see who is going to be in the Reformed leadership for the next generation.

  8. Dee,

    Wilson’s views on the antebellum south are wrong. Not that he doesn’t make some good points, but you can’t separate southern slavery from racism no matter how hard you try.

    I disagree with him about a bunch of stuff, but he is a great writer, and I have always appreciated his gracious interactions with Hitchens.

  9. anon1
    I think that some of these guys must be very, very careful about making judgments on the state of another’s soul, especially when the person is near death, That is the height of hubris-assuming one knows what goes on between God and a person. There are enough stories of people seeing Jesus as they die to make me very, very curious if God reaches out specifically in those last moments. The thief on the cross serves as a case in point.

    In Andy Davis’s case, he made a judgment on the state of the souls of some who opposed his peculiar view on gender. I happen to know two of the folks who figured prominently in the story. They are followers of Christ and I respect them greatly. I cannot believe that he is comfortable in making such pronouncements. Is this what they are teaching at SBTS these days? (He got his PhD there).

    Frankly, I am beginning to think some of these guys are getting a bit looney. Or could it be that they really believe that God is asking for their assistance in deciding who is going to get into heaven. One thing is for certain, I am beginning to see how the Inquisition got it’s gas. I think some of these guys would volunteer for such an assignment if such a thing were to happen today.

  10. Robin

    Sometimes i think that God has a sense of humor. This blog is named after the castle in which Luther was sequestered to avoid the murderous intent of the religious leaders. At the time, I had little idea of how such a scenario is being replayed today. Some of these Calvinistas do make judgments on the salvation of others, not unlike the Pope who would excommunicate a Luther, believing that such an act would deny him entry into heaven.

    Although I did not know that Rogers had discouraged some from attending RUF, I am not surprised. Many of the SBC pastors of the previous generation were opposed to hardcore Calvinism, believing strongly in the free will of man. Sproul and others were beginning to make a splash with their ardent defense of 5 points. Unfortunately, when I did significant reading on this subject a number of years go, there was a small, yet vocal, group of Calvinist theologians who questioned the salvation of those who did not buy their theology. So, this caused some in the SBC to accuse the Calvinists of heresy which resulted in the long-lasting fight with both sides pointing fingers at one another and questioning the salvation of the other.

    Even today, there is a significant group within the SBC who believe that Calvinism is not Biblical. And, of course, a similar group of Calvinists believing that traditional Baptists may not be saved. And Andy Davis, who is both, believe that anyone who disagrees with him on female deacons is wicked.

    I find this whole thing ludicrous.I have a working model when dealing with such theological points. If there are several sides to a theological point and committed conservative scholars disagreeing with one another strongly on such points, then the issue will NOT be resolved in this life. Please understand that I am not talking about the basic theology which is found in the Nicene creed. Those are not negotiable in my book.

    I also take a different road. Could it be that the issue is so complex that elements of both are correct but we cannot understand it with our limited minds? God is in the business of contradictions (A timeless God functioning within time, etc). So long as one side doesn’t espouse that they are 100% correct, come hell or high water, then we can enjoy our differences and learn from one another. Unfortunately, that is not the case with the group of popes running around today. In their book, the likes of Luther, Lewis, Frances Collins, etc are (were) not saved. But, as their group gets smaller as they define their theology precisely, down to each dot and tiddle, they will begin to attack each other. Maybe they will go back to duels and just get it over with. Then the rest of us could go on.

  11. “Have you asked Him to be your Savior.” He looked sad and said, “No.” And then I took a chance. “Would you like Him to be your Savior now?”

    Such simple questions with such amazing implications. God bless you Dee for being sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading. What a wonderful story to read this morning! Glad you shared it. It has given me hope for some of my relatives.

  12. Joey
    Yeah, he is a good writer but it worries me that he is considered, by CT, as an acceptable person to do a commentary on Hitchens. His ties to weirdo ideas could negate his commentary, coloring CT as a magazine that allows people with questionable views on slavery a platform. Surely there are others that could write just as well who are not as controversial.

    As for his interactions with Hitchens, Wilson gained some prominence when Hitches debated with him. I fear Hitchens chose Wilson precisely because of his strange views. In Hitchens eyes, Wilson was merely espousing views that are the logical consequences of an extreme. wooden, literal interpretation of Scripture. You should read the atheist sites on this set of debates. They chortled at how clever Hitchens was in exposing an extremist point of view. Wilson was being used be an artful atheist.

    Interestingly, Hitchens did not respond in the same way to Frances Collins whom he considered to be a friend. Hitchens deeply respected him and did not use him. Collins is too much of a gentleman to discuss his private conversations with Hitchens. But I venture to guess that something profound was happening.

  13. Diane

    To be frank, i never thought my dad would ever take such a step. If you knew him, it would seem almost unbelievable that he would ever go down this path. It did much to remove some of my cynicism in regards to some conversion stories that come out of death row. If a Ted Bundy could find Jesus, then the possibility exists for everyone. And never stop hoping. I wonder what interactions God might have in the last moments of the lives of those who are unresponsive, etc.

    A group of my Christian friends went to bring presents and sing for a groups of profoundly handicapped people. Most are relatively unresponsive. One young woman whom I had not seen respond over the past months, suddenly, at the sound of jingling bells and singing voices suddenly flashed a brilliant smile. What was going on inside of her at that moment? Was the Spirit reaching out to her in a way we cannot comprehend?

    I just took a moment to pray for your relatives, btw.

  14. In one sense, this is just the next logical extension of the extremely twisted view these “leaders” have on pastoral authority. Once they declare that they stand in God’s stead, the next step is that they speak the very words of God and that their sermons hold as much weight as Holy Scripture and should be applied accordingly (this is no lie…I have heard heard an SGM pastor say these very things from the pulpit)…the next step after that, of course, is that, as God’s proxies, with all the power and authority of the Savior himself, is to take upon themselves the power to declare salvation or damnation as they see fit. It is sick, of course, but the logic will be fulfilled in their minds all the way to its disasterous conclusion. If they pronounce you unsaved, you are unsaved, for whatever doctrinal crime they see fit to cast you into the lake of fire for (the most common being your lack of slavish agreement with their oppressive views). Their capriciousness is an extension of their faulty understanding of God’s own fickle nature. God saves and damns as His will permits…we are all simply depraved Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, who may be cast down upon God’s mere emotional fancy at that moment…whatever mood He’s in…Cast them into the Darkness!! Let the weeping and gnashing begin!

    In another sense, cries of Unregenerate! are to American Spiritual Tyrants what cries of Racism! are to American Political Tyrants. When the argument does not favor them, they simply declare you unsaved and then move on. After all, if even a saved Christian is completely depraved and cannot even tell you left or right without having to doubt him/herself because of his/her dripping, blinding wickedness, how much more an unregenerate jackass like yourself?

    It is good that Jesus warned so extensively about the Pharisees. They never ever go away.

  15. Argo

    You said “After all, if even a saved Christian is completely depraved and cannot even tell you left or right without having to doubt him/herself because of his/her dripping, blinding wickedness, how much more an unregenerate jackass like yourself?” That should be the standard warning to all who would use such language to humiliate Christians. Well said!

  16. Thanks, Dee! Glad you had a great Christmas! So nice to have you guys “back online” so to speak. 🙂 We miss you!

  17. Thanks for your prayers, Dee. I had many of those moments in my work as an R.N. with the elderly– having witnessed such peaceful looks on their faces as they approached their last minutes here.

    And I agree with what you said here: “Could it be that the issue is so complex that elements of both are correct but we cannot understand it with our limited minds?”

    We may all have our own strongly held beliefs on how someone is supposed to be saved. Faith alone in Jesus alone seems pretty well spelled out. I am not willing to negotiate that. How do you get there? With God all things are possible–just like you brought out with the jingling bells and singing voices.

    Those that cannot abide that their view could possibly in the slightest way be wrong, yet keep that to themselves is one thing; it is those that declare you must see it my way or…that is, imo, hurtful and turns people away from Christianity.

  18. Clarification: I did not mean to say that God is fickle. That part of the post was illustrating what THEY think He is like…just up there waggling a finger and damning folks based upon whatever muse He is fancying at the moment. Of course, we understand that this is not how God operates. But thinking this way gives abusive leaders the authority, in their minds, to throw about accusations of damnation and unforgiven natures in whatever way and whenever they please. Which, as I said, is usually when they find you not agreeing with them.

  19. Dee,

    I guess I disagree with your view of the debates. Of course, Wilson probably wasn’t too concerned with what atheists chortle about, as long as he faithfully defended God’s Word. Say what you want about Wilson’s weirdness (like I said, I disagree with his particular views on the covenant, his view on slavery etc) he is an excellent communicator and I think represented Christianity very well to Hitchens. Hitchens wrote the following in Slate:

    “Wilson isn’t one of those evasive Christians who mumble apologetically about how some of the Bible stories are really just “metaphors.” He is willing to maintain very staunchly that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ and that his sacrifice redeems our state of sin, which in turn is the outcome of our rebellion against God. He doesn’t waffle when asked why God allows so much evil and suffering—of course he “allows” it since it is the inescapable state of rebellious sinners. I much prefer this sincerity to the vague and Python-esque witterings of the interfaith and ecumenical groups who barely respect their own traditions and who look upon faith as just another word for community organizing. (Incidentally, just when is President Barack Obama going to decide which church he attends?)”

  20. Dee,

    Wonderful post – very moving. I look forward to many pleasant surprises in Heaven.


  21. Salvation by gender belief (i.e. male supremacy)…
    Salvation by pre-tribulation rapture adherence…
    Salvation by earth age dating (i.e. YEC Uber Alles)…
    Salvation by works…

    You missed “Salvaton by Marriage”, something familiar to a LOT of Christian singles.

    And these all come down to one thing: “Salvation by whatever I do that YOU DON’T!”

    Mohler was sure that Hitchens died in his unbelief. Why is that? Was he there, with him, in his last moment?

    — Ken Ham fanboys

  22. Clarification: I did not mean to say that God is fickle. That part of the post was illustrating what THEY think He is like…just up there waggling a finger and damning folks based upon whatever muse He is fancying at the moment. — Argo


  23. Many of the Calvinistas love deciding who is in and who is out. However, the in crowd seems to be growing smaller. — Robin

    However, the Predestined In Crowd DOES have a lower limit — exactly one. (Not surprisingly, the Calvinista making this decision.)

    The Ultimate Theoretical End State — Only One (MEEEEEE!) Predestined To Be SAVED. Have Fun In Hell! HAW! HAW! HAW!

  24. Reading above: at least Douglas Wilson is consistent in his wrongheaded views. I always find it amazing how Calvinista “leaders” can extol the virtures of Paul’s teachings on women in the church, while at the same time saying that Paul never intented to teach that slavery was okay…the only problem is that Paul admonishes slaves to be obedient to their masters in Titus in extremely unambiguous language. So why the two opinions, I ask. Women as mute furniture in the church, but slaves were not really being asked to remain slaves. Of course, there are cultural as well as other contexts through which we must interpret a lot of the “rules” of new Testament scripture, but that never enters their minds. They make arbitrary decisions about where literalism is applied in the New Testament and where it is not. This one of the cornerstones of their hypocrisy. Abitrary application of literalism; abitrarily deciding which are simple biblical truths and which are complex; proof texting and systematic theology…all stakes in the tents of their oppressive “covering”.

  25. Joey

    I know what Hitchens said. And that is the reason that he was willing to debate with him. It is far easier to debate a wooden literalist because they play into the hands of the new atheist contention that even if there was a God, he is not a God worth serving. The New Atheists are fundamentalists in their own right and believe that the only way to look at the Bible is from an exacting literalist point of view. That is why they love a Doug Wilson.

    These atheists are far more afraid of the Frances Collins, John Lennoxes and others who believe that the Bible is compatible with science and who can argue on their level. Collins will one day win the Nobel Prize and Hitchens really respected him. I very much am concerned about how a Wilson argues for the faith, believing he dumbs it down. We must contend with these atheists and we should be concerned about what they think and about what their strategy is. They are slowly winning the debate in many arenas. There is a slow, yet significant rise of atheists and non-believers throughout the US and the world.We must be careful because they are experts at manipulation and Wilson played into their hands. hr may have sounded OK to you but he did not sound so good to a number of people who heard the debates. There are better debaters out there.

  26. Argo
    I like your comment. Every time I bring up the slavery situation, I am accuse of playing the race card. I most certainly am not. I, too, see the inconsistencies in allowing one but not the other.Slavery was part of the Biblical narrative from very early on.

    here is a question. Exactly how is “authority” applied in today’s church? Since most Christian leaders have no problem with a woman running for President (so long as she is a complementarian-go figure), how does this all work in the church. Does having authority mean deciding what dates Ken Ham should speak or whether or not a fee should be levied to pay for the camels in the Christmas pageant? I guess i am having trouble understanding how a woman can be President but cannot collect the offering in my former church.

    Church authority seems a bit like admirals deciding paint color for the gunship. And on that note, I shall duck, anticipating incoming missiles.

  27. HUG
    Of yeah-and salvation by childbearing, preferably a quiverfull. I am very concerned how the church in America believes it’s foundation is all about families. Guess they would not have liked Paul hanging around-probably would have had him direct traffic.

  28. So Dee, can you tell us what you subscribe to? Are you a one-pointer, two-pointer, three, four? After all, you did say at one point that your quarrels here at TWW are not with reformed thought per se, but rather the YRR (young, dumb & impetuous) extremists.

  29. Muff

    I am neither a Calvinist (of any number of points) nor an Arminianist. I think that the theology is far above our ability to understand it in this life. If it were so easy, like the need for Christ’s Resurrection, then all would have no argument. We see through a mirror dimly, for sure, and anyone who sees all of this clearly is self-deluded. Free will and determinism in this plane are mutually exclusive. Is that also true in a universe that has 12, 13 or more dimensions? I’m certainly not smart enough to figure it out so, I wait for the land to come. And even there, I will still be the created one. He will still be the creator. Perhaps I will not fully understand but I will be fully at peace with it.

    Simple answer to your complex question: I don’t know and it is not from a lack of reading or pondering.

  30. Good answer Dee. I like that. Kinda sorta like a Swiss/Swedish neutrality. For one like myself who has jettisoned most of his religion, your candor is refreshing.

    Each new solstice now brings me closer to my own expiration date. All the more reason to be happy & glad for what was and what remains. My wife, my little dogs & cats & the hummers at the feeder all conspire to make me happy and grateful for the gift of now. It is my fervent hope that I can face my end with a fraction of the courage & humanity that Hitchens did.

  31. Ah, this post reminds me of my youth. All of the old timers used to scream and wail if someone dared question the rapture.

    I always wondered why they were so sure; then I realized the absurdity of worrying about salvation hinging on belief in the rapture. Let someone else have a coronary about that.

  32. Don’t forget:
    You aren’t saved if you haven’t been baptized.
    You aren’t saved if you haven’t been baptized as an adult.
    You aren’t saved if you haven’t been baptized as an adult and dipped three times.
    You aren’t save if you haven’t been baptized ……

  33. “I guess i am having trouble understanding how a woman can be President but cannot collect the offering in my former church. ”

    Dee…I do not understand the hypocrisy or logical inconsistency either. As Commander In Chief, a woman certainly would, probably more than any other woman in the world have “authority over a man”. Then again, if I understood the hypocrisy, I might be tempted to be very afraid.

  34. Dee,
    Here’s another along with slavery. Paul lauds the benefits of being single and celibate, and yet my 15 years at SGM I’ve never seen a “single” pastor, a “single” homegroup leader, nor a sermon where there was an exegesis of the spiritual advantages of the celibate life according to I Corinthians. Hmmm…so let me get this straight, of all of the array of Paul’s apparently unequivocal and unambiguous teachings on lifestyle and positional matters the only one SGM and their Calvinista bunk mates will actually drub us about the brains with is female submission? The rest are apparently not what they seem and not what Paul actually means. And who, pray tell, gets to make that distinction, and where do they get the authority that I’m bound to which says that I must agree with them. Well, in the immortal words of King Author: “On second thought, let’s not go to Camelot (or SGM), ’tis a silly place.”

  35. Argo – I guess you missed John Piper’s 2008 screeds about how a woman cannot be commander in chief of the US armed forces… (not j/k; wish I were!)

  36. Numo…er…what? That’s so nice to know that a tax-paying, full fledged, contributing citizen of the United States cannot run for PUBLIC office. Gee…thanks Johnny P., for your spiritual veto. I’ll have to re-read my Bible to see just where this little gem appears. I mean, I assume it’s there, right…we know how beholden these calvinistas are to their literal interpretations.

  37. RE: numo on Thu, Dec 29 2011 at 09:42 pm:

    Aren’t you glad that John Piper will never have a say on how our nation is run other than a vote for whomever he chooses at the polls? I for one am extremely elated that our nation was founded by enlightenment thinkers and intellectuals rather than clergy & church.

  38. Argo/Numo

    These Calvinistas all spout off different opinions on this issue as well as many others. And yet some poor souls follow them as if they have some special insight. There are far too many individuals who have appointed their unofficial popes and will defend their “almost” infallibilty to the death.

  39. Dee,

    talking about women in ministry… I was raised Baptist but had a female youth minister. My church unfortunately was headed down the liberal path. However, the female youth minister was much more orthodox in her faith than the head pastor. She never married and has dedicated her whole life to sharing the gospel with teens and college students. She left Tennessee and moved to Maine where she was called to do youth and college ministry. A pastor called her and she went. He left and she was there without a pastor for quite some time. They finally found a pastor but guess what!? The calvinistas began infiltrating and attacking her because of her leadership. Please note she was NOT a pastor and did not assume that role while their pastor left yet, she has gotten nothing but grief from these people. I really don’t know what to think. I don’t think I am in agreement with women pastors per se but, there are too many examples of women working side by side with Paul to assume that their only role is to do what their husband wants.
    Please pray for my friend in Maine. She is faithful to the gospel and sharing the good news to ANYONE who will listen.

    Another point or maybe a question… Do you think the YRR are seeking those who have been unchurched or have left or do they go seeking young church goers not trained in Calvinism? That would be an interesting study…

  40. There are far too many individuals who have appointed their unofficial popes and will defend their “almost” infallibilty to the death. — Dee

    And the kicker is, actual Papal Infallibility is actually pretty limited. A Pope is Infallible only when making a binding decision regarding Faith & Morals (in the manner of a Supreme Court ruling). Said infallible decision cannot conflict with Bible, Tradition, or any previous infallible decision (in the manner of establishing legal precedent). And the actual times a Pope has ruled Infallibly Ex Cathedra to settle an issue or define a doctrine in the past 2000 years can be counted on your fingers.

    Contrast this with the “No Popery!” Not-a-Popes of the Truly Reformed and Celebrity Megachurches.

  41. Of yeah-and salvation by childbearing, preferably a quiverfull. I am very concerned how the church in America believes it’s foundation is all about families. — Dee

    It’s called Focusing on the Family (TM). And the rest of us have to fend for ourselves.

    Guess they would not have liked Paul hanging around-probably would have had him direct traffic. — Dee

    Or stack chairs. Or make coffee. Or wash the Celebrity Pastor’s car. Or Volunteer(TM) to paint the Celebrity Pastor’s house.

    I’ve heard on several blogs that a lot of churches consider singles to be an always-available labor pool for grunt work, freeing up the Real Christians to Focus on Their Families (TM). After all, they’re single, they don’t have anything else to do.

  42. I like your comment. Every time I bring up the slavery situation, I am accuse of playing the race card. I most certainly am not. I, too, see the inconsistencies in allowing one but not the other.Slavery was part of the Biblical narrative from very early on. — Dee

    Before the Industrial Revolution and the widespread manufacture and use of machinery, Slavery was part of EVERY civilization above the small-tribal level. Slavery was as much a Universal Law of Nature as Gravity. And since a fish don’t know it’s wet, any attempt against Slavery “just isn’t Natural.”

  43. My response to the title of this post is:


    It still amazes me that with all the hours of study in scriture that many men and women can surely claim, they seem to miss the simple truth in front of their noses.

  44. Robin @11:17 pm

    This is an interesting comment. She didn’t ask for any authority in the church. She went to serve. She continued to serve when a pastor left. She functioned in a role when there was no man to care for the people. In other words, she was a true servant! And they shame her for it? This IS what a pastor should look like according to the scripture I read.

  45. Bridget2,

    What happens when one no longer comes up with same conclusions after reading the same Bible and praying to the same God?

  46. Muff –

    I assume you are asking that question in regards to my 1:22pm comment and the “This IS what a pastor should look like according to the scripture I read.” Well . . . I guess we end up like we are today with many different denominations and many secondary issues rearing up in very ugly ways. I am sad that it is this way. It seems that we should have more unity in Christ – not less. Maybe I am silly thinking this way!

    In Robin’s example above you would think that the people would be thanking this woman for her love and service to the people. Instead all they see is a secondary issue that she somehow encroached upon. It seems obvious that this issue has become “of first importance” to them – maybe not in speach, but in heart – because we see how it plays out in their response to her.

  47. Bridget2,

    I think all religions wind up in this same pickle. How to best interpret their respective holy books. Muslims have fought bloody conflicts among themselves over what each side considered to be the “correct” view of their own Quran.

    Even in the West, and even in the recent times of the late 20th cent., Catholics & Protestants were shooting, maiming, & blowing each other up in Northern Ireland over religious ideology.

    Robin’s comment brings out the fact that traditional mores in the Abrahamic religions teach that patriarchy is God’s normative ideal. To them it is derived from God’s very words and therefore not secondary in the least. They believe with certainty that their way is the only way and that deviation cannot be allowed.

    Those of us who believe otherwise (and yes, I am an egalitarian) have become like Frederick Douglass who after witnessing the brutal flogging (fully sanctioned by Scriptural exegetes of his time) of a slave girl, realized in his conscience that God never meant this to be so.

  48. “It is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. Rom. 2:13 The man’s Way of salvation who knows what the Way of salvation actually is.

  49. Theodore

    Could you do me a favor? Many people use drive by Bible verses to “prove” their point. I am not sure of your intent with this verse. For example, every man has disobeyed the law and continues to do so until the day she dies-including Christians.
    I have an idea but before I pour myself into an answer, I want to be sure i understand.