Hi all. I've not been around for a while, but thought I'd drop in to post this. I was cleaning some old files and came across this letter I wrote to the Baptist Bulletin in response to the main article in the Nov 2007 issue. It was about this time I was coming to believe UR. I still wrote it somewhat from an ET perspective. You should be able to gather the context of the article from my note.
Anyway, when I read it again, it reminded me of how an ET perspective can affect one's judgement.
I am writing in regards to the article, "The Hope of Hell?" by Charles J Colton in the November 2007 issue of the Baptist Bulletin.
I must say I was quite stunned at the nature of this article. The author made reference to outdoor decorations that were stolen. His children had made the decorations, but the decorations were stolen away at night. His response was to say, "Well, that's what they made Hell for" in reference to the perpetrators. His follow up was then to take and use this event as an illustration to all of us so that we could take comfort in the knowledge that God will avenge us against those who have wronged us. His article ended, "So we are confident that God's justice has been served, and I take great comfort in that."
I would like you to consider another response. The author referenced Romans 12:19, "Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord". The author stopped short and should have included Romans 12:20, "Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head." This would have been a more proper context.
A better response to the event of having his outdoor decorations stolen would have been forgiveness and prayer for their salvation. Mathew 5:44 says, "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;".
It is very disappointing that such an event was used to teach us to vicariously hate, through God's vengeance, those who persecute us. God is not willing that any should perish and neither should we be. What is it but hate for us to wish our neighbors to suffer eternal death?
Added to my concern about this article is the art on the cover. Is that red-eyed person supposed to be a depiction of someone in Hell? How about the art at the beginning of the article? It depicts burn marks from the bracelet around a person's wrist and a hand in flames. Is this image supposed to help us better imagine the sufferings of those who wrong us and therefore give us comfort?
The night I read this article I used it as an example to teach my children not to believe everything they read. I also pointed out how the author stopped short when citing Romans and explained to them the danger of taking verses out of context. It does not matter how many letters one has in their title. They can still make poor judgments.
I invite you to publish another article, an article that will show us the more appropriate response when others wrong us. I will look forward to your reply and expectantly to the December issue.