So Nimm Denn Meine Hande...

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Age Old Answer!

"...And this leads us to the age old question; 'which came first, the chicken or the egg?' Well, we know that the chicken came first because the Bible tells us that the chicken came first!"

- Dr John Street

HA! I always learn something interesting in Biblical Counseling class. Talk about practical theology! Awesome! Until Next Time,

The Amrchair Theologian

Some Resources on Hell...

Well, I got back from Resolved (which makes YouthQuake look like an absolute 3 goose gong show...I mean having preaching and doctrinal teaching at a youth conference? 3,500 Kids aren't interested in that, right? All teenagers want bands and events and entertainment, not edification and truth, right?) on Monday night and I'm beyond wiped out today, but I've had this on my heart all weekend and all last week.

If the MB Herald is any sort of indication, the Canadian MB Conference is going to Hell in a handbasket (which is ironic seeing that they're not sure if there's a Hell to go to).

That MB Herald disturbed me more than I realized, and something has to be done. There needs to be some sort of reformation in the MB Conference before it becomes so far gone that they're ordaining homosexuals and running across the countryside on prayer crusades for the purpose of fighting territorial demons.

What makes me the most frustrated is that I'm in another country and don't really have a position of power to do anything..

...And I've got class in 30 minutes and don't have the time to write a series of rebuttals of the recent MB Herald speculations on the nature and existence of Hell. But, if anyone is interested, here's a bunch of links to some solid stuff on Hell from guys who are a lot smarter than I am, as well as some of the biggest fish from throughout history (I added some links after class to fill out some of the history):

From the guys at
Article 1
Article 2
Article 3
Article 4

Some thoughts from Jonathan Edwards:
Article 5
Article 6
Article 7
Article 8
Article 9 - A whole work called "The End of the Wicked contemplated by the Righteous" (See sidebar for the chapters)

Some thoughts from Charles Spurgeon
Article 10
Article 11 - " Because this is a wicked age, it will not accept the idea of a real hell; and because it is hypocritical, it will speak of hell, but only with fictitious punishment."

Some thoughts from J.C. Ryle:
Article 12 - "What men do not like, they try hard not to believe." (I believe this is the quote of the day regarding this issue in the MB Conference!)

Some thoughts from John Piper:
Soundbyte 1 - Great stuff that's much along the lines of what I taught in Sunday School in 2005 regarding the love of God being glorified in the existence of hell.
Article 13
Article 14

A.W. Pink
Article 16

Article 17 - This is a link to chapter 21 of Augustine's "City of God" (just hit the "next" button to page through it...)

Thomas Aquinas
Article 18 - Some thoughts on eternal punishment from Summa Theologica

Phillip Schaff
Article 19 - " Everlasting Punishment of the wicked always was, and always will be the orthodox theory. It was held by the Jews at the time of Christ, with the exception of the Sadducces, who denied the resurrection. It is endorsed by the highest authority of the most merciful Being, who sacrificed his own life for the salvation of sinners. Consequently the majority of the fathers who speak plainly on this terrible subject, favor this view."

Alfred Edersheim
Article 20 - Comments on the beliefs of the Pharisees at the time of Christ.

John Owen
Article 21 - "But that innumerable souls shall to eternity undergo the punishment due to their own sins, I hope needs, with Christians, no proving" (Check this too...)

John Gill
Article 22

Charles Finney
Article 23

Loraine Boettner
Article 24

Thomas A. Kempis
Article 25

Thomas Watson
Article 26

George Whitefield
Article 27

Richard Baxter
Article 28

Anyway, if anyone is interested in some biblical truth regarding this issue, I've done all the research work for you. Enjoy learning the good things of God, and don't let ignorance lead you into untruth and away from the glories of Christ. Eternal Suffering in Hell glorifies God more than if there was no Hell, or if people were only punished for a short time, or if they were destroyed in some cosmic blast furnace.

The bottom line is that some intellectuals in the MB Conference serve a god who's neither holy nor glorious. That god is not the God of the Bible and singing the "hermeneutical humility" song is only a rhetorical trap that self-worshiping intellectuals use to attempt to silence anyone that disagrees with them... The Bible is neither unclear nor uncertain on the existence of Hell and the eternal punishment of the lost, and both the present and past have plenty men of God who are clear and convicted on the issue.

Until Next Time,

The Armchair Theologian

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

More In Class Craziness...

Yesterday I'm in a class after writing a brutal Hebrew exam, and I was tired...i.e. my brain was fried. Oh no.

Oh Yeah.

I was trying to concentrate and my imagination was running wild and going absolutely nuts. The prof was lecturing on Puritans and their baptismal practices and for some reason, I started thinking about Mary Poppins singing a song about baptism, if she was some sort of emergent church "baptismal omniformalist", allowing all formats and all baptismal doctrines at the same time (if she taugh infant, adult and senior citizen baptism, and if she sprinkled, poured and immersed, depending on her mood and what church she was in. Plus, it was and was not an evidence of salvation/method of regeneration). I honestly don't have a clue where this stuff comes from, but as I was trying to pay attention my brain started singing a Mary Poppins song on Baptism. Remember "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious"? Well, my Puritan, wacky baptismal theology Mary Poppins was singing a different tune:

It's baptismal doctrine for churches of emersion
With babies, adults, seniors it verifies conversion


I grew up in a Lutheran church
Without Baptists for friends
Our baptismal differences
I could not comprehend
Then I thought "Our traditions,
Why doesn't someone blend?"
And now I immerse infants
And I sprinkle full grown men!


verse 2:

If you are having problems
Trying to serve the Lord
And with the local churches
There's baptismal discord
With my new theology
You should climb aboard
Embrace my new found doctrine,
and dunk, sprinkle AND pour!


verse 3:

If you think disunity
with churches isn't fun.
And thoughts of pedobaptism
make you just scream and run.
You could stop the fighting
And you could baptize none
Or kick open the doors of church
And baptize everyone!

I don't know where this craziness comes from. I hope it entertains someone out there though. This has gotta be the most bizarre blog post from me in months. Ha! Until Next Time,

The Amrchair Theologian

Sunday, February 04, 2007

I hate to say "I told you so" but...

..."I told you so". I've been thinking that for at least 6 years regarding the Canadian Mennonite Brethren Conference, but now I'm saying it. Ever since we abandoned our hermeneutics and our doctrine of scripture, we've been slowly drifting from our own historic theological orthodoxy.

We've gone from cessationist to charismatic (or Mennocostal, as we like to call it). That's not so much the problem as seeing that I've never had a conversation with anyone, including every Mennonite pastor that I've ever talked to, who could back it up from scripture with a position that withstood any amount of scrutiny.

We've gone from complimentarian to confused, pretending that the Bible is somewhat, if not totally, unclear on the issue of male and female roles in the church. And after the study conference in Calgary, I mentioned to a bunch of folks that our steps away from God's truth was about to become a walk away from God's truth...

...and I was fully wrong. Our walk has become a run. After having some struggles with getting my subscription to the MB Herald sent to Burbank, I finally got my January issue yesterday. I looked at the cover and saw the "What's Hell really like?" on the cover. I was expecting some articles on defending the important issue of Hell against the theological attack of our modern era. I mean, we are the 'conservative' ones who don't smoke, drink and play cards right?

Instead I got Pierre Gilbert's crack smoking article and Marshall Janzen's usual "I'm so smart" tirade.

For those that didn't read it, Pierre Gilberts' article went like this:

1. Hell is perceived as the "outworking of the overactive imagination of medieval visionaries" and makes us look crazy.
2. The notion of a loving God sending people to a place of eternal punishment is offensive to our sensibilities and our logic.
3. The notion of having Hitler or Stalin in Heaven is equally offensive but does finite sin should not require infinite punishment (and he subtly comments on how people are sent to Hell due to their sin natures and not actual individual sins).
4. Heaven is a place of 'getting close to God' and our 'God proximity' will make us happy and completely virtuous
5. God has now forgiven the entire world through Christ, but not everyone chooses him (though they are fully able to).
6. Because of mankind's "stinky" nature, they cannot stand being near God, therefore they want to flee from him because he "smells bad".
7. Hell isn't so much a place as "a condition where everything that makes life enjoyable disappears - love, compassion, intelligence, joy, purpose, freedom, the ability to make decisions".
8. It's possible to escape Hell with one tiny decision, and everyone should.
9. The editor Laura Kalmar also adds an her two cents to the end, commenting that "contemporary theologians disagree over whether hell is eternal punishment, or a temporary state in which God's judgement is executed until repentance and redemption are exercised. They also debate over whether hell is a literal place, or a term describing an existence apart from God".

Now I know the Mennonites are a growingly liberal bunch, but that article surprised even me. I cannot believe such a load of skubalon was printed in the MB Herald, though it most obviously was. Not only is that anthropocentric far beyond being any sort of Arminian view of salvation (he's one step away from being a universalist, and Laura sounds like she's entertaining the idea), but I just cannot believe that they cannot even agree as to whether or not Hell exists. In Marshall's article, he argues for anihilationism, that Hell is essentially a large blast furnace where souls are destroyed. What's worse is that Marshall tries to argue that the doctrine of Hell is a hinderance to the gospel and therefore needs to be re-evaluated (I hear Pagans don't like the "sin talk" much too Marshall...*sigh*). I'm torn between crying my eyes out and wanting to punch him in the face for his arrogance.

Man! How fast have we gone from "We're not sure what the Bible says about male and female roles in the church" to "We don't know what to make about what the Bible says about Hell"?

Looking at church history, I'm guessing that the next issue is universalism, and after that we'll be talking about homosexuals and the church (along with evangelism and the gospel), and most likely both will occur in the next decade (though I'm guessing 5 years is more realistic). After that, we'll start attacking Christ and question the importance of the atonement, with "all this blood talk", much like the Canadian United church was doing a few years ago.

I used to fear that when I come back to Canada, I'd have trouble finding a decent Mennonite church to pastor in. Now I'm beginning to think I'll come back as a missionary...or a Southern Baptist.

Apparently these days my blood has to boil before I begin blogging. Doh! I've got Hebrew to study and I've got other homework to do too! Until Next Time,

The Armchair Theologian

Friday, February 02, 2007

Two places where I've been...

For those of you that know me, you know that I kinda have my circles that I travel in and I'm pretty regular. I also haven't been posting here much as of recent, but that's more because I've been posting other places. You may be entertained by some of the goings on (and my aggressive/rude interaction with Mr. Hairless Chimp) at CW's blog or at a rather difficult to follow rant about "falling in love" at the Blog of the Amazing Daasy. Anyway, there's some links to stupid things I've said lately. If they don't entertain you, my career as the world's worst blogger will come to a crushing end. Until Next Time,

The Armchair Theologian