My wife's beliefs about hell

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by SmalltownPastor, Jul 27, 2013.

  1. SmalltownPastor

    SmalltownPastor
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    My wife struggled with the idea of hell for many years. She has such a love for people that she used to cry at the thought that people would spend an eternity in hell. And she had a hard time reconciling an eternal hell with a loving God.

    Then there was a period of time in which she said she simply didn't know what she believed about hell. She spent a lot of time researching hell and eternity in the Bible, and now she leans heavily toward universal restoration (The idea that all people will ultimately be saved through faith in Christ. Even if they go to hell first for a period of time, they will eventually repent, embrace Christ, and be forgiven). She says sometimes that she still isn't certain what she believes about these things, but you can tell that she definitely believes more in universal restoration than what she consistently calls "eternal conscious torment."

    I don't know what to do about all this. I pray for her. We've had so many talks about it, some in which we're both in tears, many in which we're arguing, to the point that we've said everything we know to say about it.

    I feel like a failure. She actually does seem to have a strong faith in Christ, and she reads her Bible now more than ever. But I feel like I haven't been able to lead her spiritually to remain in the truth regarding this doctrine. And if I haven't been able to guard my wife from false doctrine, am I qualified to watch over the souls in the church God has entrusted me with?

    She wondered out loud tonight (just to me) what would happen if in 5 years she let the church know that she believes in universal restoration. I just don't know what to do at this point. Should I ask people at church to pray for her also? Am I just worrying too much about it?

    Sometimes I feel like, although it is wrong to disbelieve a clear teaching of Scripture, that I'm making too much of it. After all, she's not a universalist in the sense that she believes all people go to heaven despite what they believe. She's very clear that salvation is only through faith in Christ. She just believes God's invitation is open even past the grave.

    I'm confused. I'm upset. I'm worried. Any thoughts are greatly appreciated. Thanks.
     
  2. Thomas Helwys

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    I think you should let her believe as she is lead. Have you ever considered that she may be right and you wrong?

    I think an open-minded study of the scriptures, including the true and original meaning of the word translated as "eternal" with regard to hell, and the beliefs of a large section of the early church would be helpful to you.

    The views of hell that later came to characterize Christianity did not come from Judaism. So, where did these views come from? When you discover the answer to that, and when you take into account the other factors I mentioned, maybe you will cease to be confused, upset, worried, and maybe your will stop arguing with your wife. Pray for her by all means, but not because she needs to repent of a false belief. There are false beliefs on this all right, but she doesn't have one, and I say that based on what you have posted. In fact, my views are similar to hers, and I am emphatically not a universalist. My views align with what the scriptures actually and literally teach.

    Saying what I have just said might subject me to banning, but so be it. I believe my views line up with scripture and the early church, and I believe your wife's views do, also, again based on how you have described them.

    God bless!
     
    #2 Thomas Helwys, Jul 28, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 28, 2013
  3. Steadfast Fred

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    Does the Bible teach a universal restoration?

    If so, I have yet to find it.

    In the story of the rich man and Lazarus, the rich man cried for water. If there was an escape from hell, wouldn't it stand to reason that he would have cried for that?

    And yet, he did not.

    Also, Revelation 14 declares that for those who are foolish enough to receive the mark of the Beast, they will experience the wrath of God without mixture.

    There will be no mercy mixed in, only God's righteous wrath toward a people who chose to worship a deceiving spirit.

    Universal restoration may be a comforting thought, but it just ain't Biblical doctrine.
     
  4. Thomas Helwys

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    Neither is an eternal hell.
     
  5. Steadfast Fred

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    If eternal does not mean never ending, then we all have been greatly deceived into believing a savior who will one day fade into non existence, (He is eternal according to the Word) we also will one day fade into non existence as we are said to be given eternal life.

    I reject the doctrine that teaches that eternal has an ending. It is not of God.
     
  6. Thomas Helwys

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    The Greek word describing hell is "aion", or the adjective "aionios", from where we get the word "eon", meaning an age. An age and an eternity are not of the same duration. An age is not an eternity.
     
  7. Steadfast Fred

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    The Greek word describing the time in torment in Matthew 25:46 is the same Greek word describing the life of a saved person.

    If the torment has an ending, then the life of the saved will also have an ending.
     
  8. Thomas Helwys

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    It simply means that the length of an age is long but indefinite. Endings, as are consequences, are determined by God based on an individual's choice.
     
  9. Thomas Helwys

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    Most people here are probably aware of how paganism came flooding into Christianity and the church after Constantine. But most are also probably unaware of how paganism influenced later views of hell.

    I prefer to stick with the teachings of Jesus and the early church.
     
  10. Thomas Helwys

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    Before this goes further, I refuse to get into an argument about it. My purpose in posting was to help the originator of the OP to stop worrying about his wife.
     
  11. Steadfast Fred

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    I don't see where you helped him at all.

    aionios in Matthew 25:46 is used to describe the length of torment one will experience. It is also used to describe the length of life of the saved.

    If aionios means that torment will end eventually, then it must also mean that life will end. You cannot have unending life and ending torment when the same Greek word is used.

    And as I said, the rich man did not cry for escape from that place or torment. Abraham even reminded him that there was no escape because of the "great gulf".

    Luke 16:26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
     
  12. Thomas Helwys

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    From an article on Wikipedia:

    "Eternity or age

    "The Bible translation is a treatment of the Hebrew word olam and the Greek word aion. Both these words have similar meaning, and Young's Literal Translation renders them and their derivatives as “age” or “age-during”. Other English versions most often translate them to indicate eternity, being translated as eternal, everlasting, forever, etc. However, there are notable exceptions to this in all major translations, such as Matthew 28:20: “…I am with you always, to the end of the age” (NRSV), the word “age” being a translation of aion. Rendering aion to indicate eternality in this verse would result in the contradictory phrase “end of eternity”, so the question arises whether it should ever be so. Proponents of Universal Reconciliation point out that this has significant implications for the problem of hell. Contrast Matthew 25:46 in well-known English translations with its rendering in Young's Literal Translation:

    And these shall go away to punishment age-during, but the righteous to life age-during. (YLT)[5]

    Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life. (NIV)[6]

    These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life. (NASB)[7]

    And these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life. (KJV)[8]

    And these will depart into everlasting cutting-off, but the righteous ones into everlasting life. (NWT)[9]"

    As can be seen, YLT is the only translation correctly translating the literal, original meaning of the word.
     
  13. Steadfast Fred

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    You can rejoice in a life that will one day end if you wish.

    I will rejoice in a never ending life.
     
  14. Revmitchell

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    It is a bit of an inconsistent position. This could effect your ministry as pastor. I would plan to continue to pray for her, wash her in the word, and I would have her keep this to herself and do not let here teach in the church at this time. And let me offer an apology for those who have drug this thread off topic.
     
  15. Thomas Helwys

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    You can rejoice in the pagan idea of a god who torments eternally. I will rejoice in the teachings of Jesus about a God who is more merciful, compassionate, and just than any human being, including any Christian.
     
  16. Thomas Helwys

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    As I mentioned in another thread, my post-doctroral studies have included the first 300 years of Christianity.

    The Catechetical School of Alexandria was the oldest catechetical school in the world. This theological school was called the Didascalium. It believed and taught what the NT literally teaches about hell.

    Research and knowledge of the literal scriptures is a wonderful thing. It helps dispel darkness and error.
     
  17. Steadfast Fred

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    Sounds like you believe in a baptist purgatory. Too bad it's only a fairy tale.
     
  18. Thomas Helwys

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    I am certainly not off topic. Everything I posted is relevant.

    Oh, and keep it to herself? Why? And how would you "have" her to do that?
     
  19. Thomas Helwys

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    I do not believe in a Baptist purgatory or any other kind, nor do I believe in pagan-inspired doctrines. I'm a Christian, not a Zoroastrian.
     
  20. Revmitchell

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    You need to speak of this issue in the context of his wife and what he believes his predicament to be. Outside of that is off topic.

    Her view on this could place him in a position where he is asked to resign from his church.
     

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