Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What We Learn from the Costa Concordia

I gave you this one yesterday by email, but thought it was worth putting on the blog.
Because each new post or comment on the blog is sent to all of us by email to keep us in touch with what is being added to the blogsite, you will have a double up in your email INBOX,  Sorry.  Barry

In the largest passenger ship loss since the Titanic, 33 of the 4,252 passengers and crew of the Costa Concordia perished. The captain of the ship was arrested on preliminary charges, including manslaughter.
Despite the fact that some 99.2% were saved, it remains a tragic loss of life. Every life on board the ship was of unique value, and their individual death is a great tragedy.

Just the other day, my dear friend and brother, Jim Burson, shared with me an astute illustration spawned by this cruise ship incident.

"There was a large passenger ship with a thousand people on it. The captain assembled all passengers and announced to them, 'The ship is about to sink, but I have GOOD News. Fifty of you will be able to make it to dry land.'

"This is the 'Good News' of traditionalism, but I contend that it is not 'Good News' at all. For the nine hundred and fifty who are about to perish, it certainly is not 'Good News.' For those fifty who will not perish, it is not 'Good News,' because they likely will leave behind children, wives and husbands. Most of all it is not 'Good News' to the captain because he knows it was his responsibility to assure the well-being of his passengers."

Here is what we learn from the Costa Concordia: the captain is always responsible for his ship – and all under his care. Any loss is unacceptable, even .8%. This is even truer concerning the Sovereign of the Universe. He is responsible for all He has made – for His entire creation – and He emphatically declares Himself to be the "Savior of all men" (I Timothy 4:10).

In effectually discharging His responsibility God sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to "take away the sin of the world" (John 1:29), proclaiming Him to be the actual "Savior of the world" (John 4:42).

In spite of all of this, Christianity has the faithless audacity to bring an indictment against God: the vast majority of His creation will be eternally lost, and His Son will utterly fail, being guilty Himself of dereliction of responsibility for His Saviorhood.

Our Lord Jesus Christ "came to seek and to save the lost" (Luke 19:10), and He Who leaves the 99, tirelessly and unfailingly will "go after that which is lost, until He finds it" (Luke 15:4). Some of Christianity would have the nerve to suggest that only a fraction will eventually be saved. However, if Christ's rate of salvation was that of the Costa Concordia's – 99.2% – He would be an utter failure, as He was not declared to be the "99.2% Savior of the world."

Salvation is not the responsibility of the crew or passengers, but of Salvation's Captain (the "Captain of their salvation" – Hebrews 2:10, KJV) – the successful "Savior of the WORLD." He, and He alone, will see to its full and complete accomplishment. The Good News is that the ship Salvation is in unwaveringly capable hands. Father and His Son are in absolute control.

Rest, and enjoy the cruise.

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.

You'll have to excuse the American spellings in most of these quotes, but it is truly amazing how many people have held this "universalist" position, in one form or another, over the centuries.

Since discovering all these authors I have been tempted several times to stop writing my book as it has all been said before, but I am definitely continuing, as my presentation will be much "lighter" and more geared to 'the man in the street' than most of the books and sites I have discovered.

Blessings, Barry

Burning Sons and Daughters

In my research, I am coming across dozens of authors of books and websites who hold similar positions about the eventual reconciliation of all as we do.
Here is a quote from one of them.

"For the people of Judah have done evil in my eyes," declares the LORD. "They have put their detestable idols in the house that is called by my name in order to defile it.
They have built high places at Topheth in the Valley of Ben-Hinnom to burn their sons and daughters in the fire. I didn't command this, and it never entered my mind!"
[Jeremiah 7:30-31]

God calls burning children an abomination, but He burns His children – forever?

It has never even entered God's mind to do such a thing! Yet, it is a common and very acceptable idea that that's what God is going to do to His children, and not only burn them as the Hebrew's did, but the common belief is that God is even going to change their bodies such that they cannot have the luxury of dying!

NO! He is going to do no such thing! By the sacrifice of His son, ALL are redeemed.

Grant Miller
Author of "Think, and Be Free"

Blessings, Barry

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Frequent Question

A question I am often asked is, "If everyone is to be eventually saved, why do you bother to evangelise?"

Yes, everyone will be eventually saved.
That was decided by God, by his grace, before the ages even began.
And Jesus showed God's intention in that by dying for the sins of the world 2000 years ago.

But how many of us will rule with Christ in his coming 1000 year kingdom?
Being saved (by the short or the long route) and being in the kingdom are two different things.

To qualify for the kingdom, we need to be reconciled to God in the now.
And once reconciled, to be in training for kingdom responsibilities - being sanctified by the Holy Spirit, becoming more Christ-like in character and being an overcomer in the circumstances where God places us.

So why do I evangelise?
I want as many people as possible to be reconciled to God NOW and enjoying living in fellowship with him NOW.
I want as many as possible to be ready to participate in the kingdom age with Christ.
I want as few as possible to have to travel the long, tough route to fellowship with God.

Are they good enough reasons?

I think so, but I have one more for good measure - actually it is one of Paul's reasons.
"That is why we labour and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Saviour of all people, and especially of those who believe."
[ 1 Tim 4 : 10  NIV ]
I want to serve this magnificent God of love and grace also.

Do you have any questions?
Then fire away (no topic is off-limits) and let's tackle them together.
Let's use the BLOG in 2012 to clear some of the fog from our minds.

Wishing you all a happy and prosperous new year.  Barry