A couple of years ago, Timo Eskola wrote Ateistit alttarilla, a book about priests and theologians who want to completely reject the traditional Christian doctrines and replace them with different kinds of teachings. They do not believe in atonement, the final judgment or hell, and they doubt the reality of miracles and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. They say that these only exist in people’s imagination, not in reality. They also use Christian terms but apply to them entirely new meanings. For example, when they say "salvation", they do not mean being saved from hell and getting to heaven. Instead, they mean finding freedom and purpose for one’s self. They have completely changed the primary meaning of the word.
This article goes through the beliefs that many modern priests and theologians have, specifically those that deny the basics of the Christian faith. The goal is to understand how they see the nature of the Christian faith and how it differs from the New Testament view. The intention is not to attack anyone, but to make these people think that they may be wrong and lost after all, even if they themselves think otherwise.
The thoughts of a well-known Episcopal church’s bishop, John Shelby Spong, serve as the starting point for this text. He is one of those new priests that have abandoned traditional Christian views. Among other things, he doesn’t believe in a personal God, fast creation nor does he believe in atonement, which is the backbone of Christian thinking. He has taught differently about these and other core aspects of Christianity than what we have been used to for centuries since the times of early congregation. That is why we should discuss the correctness of his views. We begin with the so called scientific worldview that is behind Spong’s thinking and which is the reason, why many others deny many of the teachings and core aspects of Christian beliefs.
One of the main reasons, why priests and theologians deny the fundamentals of Christianity is the so called scientific worldview. By that they often mean the view that is based on Darwin’s theory, i.e. millions of years and that everything came to be by itself. They much rather hold on to these theories than to that historical perception that God created all and that the early history of the Bible is true. They think the early chapters of the Bible present an outdated and unscientific view of the world, whereas Darwin’s theory and the coming about by itself are scientific depictions of how the world developed to its current state.
The well-known bishop John Shelby Spong is a prime example of this kind of thinking. According to his opinion all early depictions of the Bible and interpretations of Christianity should be thrown away, as they represent outdated views and are bound to their time. That is why he abandons the Fall, atonement and creation, and instead of those, he believes in the evolutionary theory. Darwin has an important part in Spong’s thinking and it comes clear in his public theses. This is what he has said:
”The story in the Bible of a complete Creation that is over now and from where people fell to sin is pre-Darwinist mythology and post-Darwinist nonsense.”
John Spong goes on about the same topic in his book “Why Christianity Must Change or Die”. He refers to Darwin, to millions of years, the origin of galaxies and how humans have developed from lower lifeforms. He practically believes more in these theories than in God creating the world in a short period of time:
In 1859 Darwin’s most significant work, On the Origin of Species, was published. With the publication of this book also began to crumble the base for last religious descriptions about human origin… A claim stating that creation is good, implies that we are stating creation to be at its end. But Darwin showed that creation has not ended even to this day. New galaxies are still being born… Thus, no Fall ever happened. In some way, everyone is still continuously struggling to be able to go deeper and genuinely be themselves. We humans have developed slowly but steadily during an evolution process that has lasted for billions of years. We were not created in the image of God in any literal sense. We simply evolved from lower lifeforms and eventually we also developed a higher consciousness than other species. (1)
What does the evidence point to? Many unbelieving priests and theologians are like John Spong. They believe more in previous theories than in God's quick work of creation. However, they do not consider or have not considered that they have exchanged one faith for another. For in both conceptions – in the description of the Bible and in the random birth and development of life – matters of faith are at issue. It is for a simple reason: we cannot prove the events of the past. Questions about the origin of the universe and life all belong to the domain of faith. None of us witnessed the birth of these things. There are only different theories about how they started, but scientifically it is impossible to prove their origin. We cannot go back to the past and look at things from there, so everyone is in the same position and in the same boat.
Thus, when priests and theologians adhere to the previous theories mentioned by Spong, they have exchanged one faith for another. It is not a question of science, but of blind faith in unproven theories. Such are e.g. the following things. None of them have been detected, although some may argue against:
• The Big Bang 15 billion years ago, i.e. the idea that the entire current universe has arisen from a space the size of a pinhead: galaxies, the sun, planets, seas, mountains, people, flowers, butterflies, worms, giraffes, birds, cheetahs, elephants and everything that is exist. This thing can be compared to someone taking a matchbox (it is much bigger than a pin) in his hand and then saying that all kinds of things come out of it like oceans, galaxies, people, Elephants and all the previous things. He claims that it is a scientific fact and should not be doubted because all reasonable scientists believe in it.
However, this kind of theory should be doubted. It is absolutely certain that it will not happen and it is nonsense to believe in such a thing. It is a lack of thinking if we believe in such a theory. It was not for nothing that Paul wrote that the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the eyes of God.
- (1 Cor 1:19,20) For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
• The birth of galaxies. In an earlier quote, John Spong talked about the birth of galaxies, but it has not been observed:
I don't want to claim that we really understand the process of the formation of galaxies. The theory of the formation of galaxies is one of the great unsolved problems of astrophysics, and the solution seems to be far away today. (Steven Weinberg: Kolme ensimmäistä minuuttia, p. 88)
It is rather embarrassing that no one has explained how they (galaxies) came about... Most astronomers and cosmologists openly admit that there is no satisfactory theory of how galaxies are formed. In other words, a central feature of the universe is unexplained. (W.R. Corliss: A Catalog of Astronomical Anomalies, Stars, Galaxies, Cosmos, p. 184, Sourcebook Project, 1987)
• The birth of the solar system is a mystery. There are numerous theories about it, but they are just speculation because no human has been around to observe it. People are forced to come up with all kinds of strange theories because they know that the solar system had a beginning, but still refuse to believe in God's creation work.
• It is not known how life started on its own. This thing is believed, although no observation or natural scientific research supports it. Scientists admit that life has a beginning, but since they do not believe in creation, they are faced with an unsolvable problem.
• What about the accuracy of the theory of evolution itself? Unbelieving theologians believe it, but it is interesting that the evolutionists themselves in their writings have presented facts that disprove the theory. They are enough to prove it false.
Such material can also be found in Darwin's writings. He himself admitted, or was forced to admit, that he had no direct evidence of the transformation of one species into another, and that the fossil record put his faith in the theory to a severe test. If Darwin's statements are taken as they are, he had no evidence for evolution. His observations, which in themselves were fine and accurate descriptions of nature, only point to variation within the basic species. All the other great examples that appear in the evolution literature (bacterial resistance, etc.) move in the same area. They are about the adaptation of a living species to a changing environment, not the birth of new species.
I am actually tired of telling people that I do not claim to have any direct evidence of a species having changed into another species and that I believe this view correct mainly because so many phenomena can be grouped and explained based on it. (2)
But I could never have even imagined how weak is the evidence given by even the best preserved geological layers. The lack of innumerable intermediate forms between species that should have been living during the early and later stages of each formation has put my theory to a major test. (3)
• In his previous quotation John Spong brought up the notion of humans being the result of a long evolutionary process. He believes that for everything to have developed, it must have taken hundreds of millions of years.
These kinds of people should ask themselves though, whether they know any facts that would prove against hundreds of millions of years. Have they even tried to familiarize themselves with the matter? Its seems as if they have uncritically accepted these periods of millions and billions of years, without realizing that they are unproved claims. Have they considered, e.g., the following aspects that go against geological charts and common time calculations?
• Why both human and dinosaur footprints can be found from the same strata e.g. in Mexico, New Mexico, Arizona, Missouri, Kentucky, Illinois and in other parts of the United States?
• Why trilobites have been found underneath human footprints? According to the common belief trilobites lived 600-250 million years ago, which is long before dinosaurs.
• Why bones of a modern human and items belonging to man have been found from carbon layers that are “300 million years old”?
• Why do radiocarbon measurements show ages of millions or even hundreds of millions of years for new lava containing rocks?
• Why is radiocarbon even found in Cambrian fossils, as well as in dinosaurs that have been considered tens or hundreds of millions of years old? The half-life of radiocarbon is only about 5700 years, and there should be none left after 100,000 to 200,000 years.
When John Spong and countless other priests uncritically believe in the creation of everything by itself, the creation of life by itself, evolution and millions of years, they also do not take into account that most scientists are spiritually blind and fallible. Scientists may consider themselves wise, but in reality they are ignorant in spiritual matters. That's why they also believe in the previous completely unproven and crazy theories. Blind trust in them is not wise. These may seem like harsh words, but it is the testimony of the Bible about the natural man. Every person without God and Christ is to some extent in the power of spiritual blindness. Human reason is corrupted by sin. John Spong and priests like him make a big mistake when they blindly trust the materialistic theories of scientists for which there is no practical evidence.
- (1 Cor 2:14) But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness to him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
- (2 Cor 4:3,4) But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
4 In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine to them.
- (Matt 13:14,15) And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which said, By hearing you shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing you shall see, and shall not perceive:
15 For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
- (Eph 4:17,18) This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you from now on walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,
18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:
When John Spong and unbelieving theologians like him believe in evolution and Darwin's teachings, it is natural that they doubt the Bible's account of the beginning of everything. It is hard for them to believe that God created everything. They consider chance and an impersonal and senseless beginning to be a more scientific explanation than the traditional idea that a personal and intelligent God is behind everything.
The same attitude appears in relation to all Bible study. John Spong and unbelieving theologians like him do not recognize that God can intervene in world events. They do not accept the virgin birth, the incarnation of God, or the Bible's account of miracles and prophecies. They consider them products of their own time. They represent a mythical or old worldview that does not apply in modern times. They do not keep these things true. This point of view is well expressed in a couple of quotations. The first to speak about them is David Friedrich Strauss, who has been considered one of the pioneers of naturalistic biblical studies. The latter comment is from John Spong, who tells how the expansion of information has negated e.g. virgin birth and resurrection. However, Spong concedes the general historicity of Jesus:
Thus, when we are faced with a story of a phenomenon or event that is clearly stated to be or that is assumed to be caused by the direct influence of God or the influence of a person with supernatural powers, we must consider such parts of the story untrue. (5)
In addition to the fact that the writers of biblical times described Jesus' arrival in our world as a supernatural event, according to the creed, Jesus' departure also happened in a supernatural way. He ascended into the heavens, we say, completing the divine round trip that began from his home in heaven. Just like the accounts of the virgin birth of Jesus, the expansion of knowledge has equally invalidated the accounts of his literal resurrection.
... Between those two phrases of the Creed, which tell of Jesus' legendary and miraculous arrival in the world and his just as miraculous exit, however, there is a hint of historical truth when we say that "he suffered during Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. This is about objective, historically measurable literal facts.
Pontius Pilate was a real person. He served as Roman governor of Judea from 26 AD. to 36 AD Crucifixion was the ancient Roman way of carrying out the death sentence. History is indeed quite brutally present in this point of the creed. (6)
Science or disbelief? When John Spong suggests that the virgin birth, the incarnation of God and miracles are impossible, it is easy to disprove this with one point: if an almighty God exists, the above-mentioned things are not a problem. They are possible and probable, as such can be expected from an Almighty being. Therefore, the question is ultimately about his existence. If it is resolved, the previous issues are not surprising.
So why is it that John Spong and other priests do not find the Bible's descriptions credible? One of the main reasons is the naturalistic world view. In this view, the world is closed to the influence of God and the supernatural. Any statement that goes beyond this is unscientific and impossible. They cannot be taken as true. That is why the descriptions of the Gospels, for example, about the virgin birth, are unacceptable for such persons. Such a view often appears in the training of modern priests, so it is not strange if they also adopt the same view.
Interestingly, the New Testament features a group almost identical to today's unbelieving theologians: the Sadducees. Their conception was not much different from modern unbelievers because they had a closed universe. They said there was no resurrection, no angel, no spirit. There were Sadducees during the times of Jesus and also later on when Paul was in active duty:
- (Matt 22:23-30) The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him,
24 Saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed to his brother.
25 Now there were with us seven brothers: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife to his brother:
26 Likewise the second also, and the third, to the seventh.
27 And last of all the woman died also.
28 Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her.
29 Jesus answered and said to them, You do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.
30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.
- (Acts 23:6-11) But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question.
7 And when he had so said, there arose a dissension between the Pharisees and the Sadducees: and the multitude was divided.
8 For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both.
9 And there arose a great cry: and the scribes that were of the Pharisees' part arose, and strove, saying, We find no evil in this man: but if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him, let us not fight against God.
10 And when there arose a great dissension, the chief captain, fearing lest Paul should have been pulled in pieces of them, commanded the soldiers to go down, and to take him by force from among them, and to bring him into the castle.
11 And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as you have testified of me in Jerusalem, so must you bear witness also at Rome.
The main problem with the studies presented by many unbelieving theologians is that they contradict the most important sources, the Gospels. That is, if only the life of Jesus is discussed, he is referred to in Christian, Roman and Jewish texts. Of these, the New Testament texts are the most important because they are the earliest, their authors are known, and they contain the most information. Texts outside the New Testament usually confirm what is told in the gospels, but there is nothing new in them.
So when you compare the opinions of John Spong and the liberal priests to the New Testament, their opinions have no reliable basis. They are based on speculation, not solid facts. When everyone has access to the exact same sources – the New Testament texts – they do not support their views. They mention the resurrection, miracles or, for example, the virgin birth, so the ideas of these priests are only based on their own imagination, which is difficult to prove true.
What about sources outside the New Testament? As stated, there is nothing really new in them, but they confirm the most important features of what is said about Jesus in the Gospels and Epistles. The following mentions of Jesus appear in them. It should be noted that they mention miracles and healings performed by Jesus and the apostles. They also mention how the Followers of Jesus considered Him to be God and the Messiah. John Spong, among other unbelievieng theologians, is of the opinion that the deity of Jesus is of later origin and that no miracles or resurrection actually occurred, but these early sources are contrary to their views.
• Jesus was a man filled with wisdom, if he can even be called a man (Josephus).
• Jesus was known by the name Jesus the Nazarene (Talmud).
• He said that he did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it (Talmud).
• He was a teacher (Josephus, Talmud).
• He had disciples (Talmud).
• He worked miracles (Josephus, Talmud).
• His disciples healed the sick and worked miracles (Talmud).
• Pilate (26–36 A.D.) condemned Him to death (Tacitus, Josephus) because of the provocation of influential Jewish men (Josephus) during the reign of Emperor Tiberius (14–37 AD.) (Tacitus).
• He was condemned to death on the cross (Josephus, Tacitus, Thallus, Talmud).
• There was darkness at the time of His crucifixion (Thallus).
• He was crucified during the Passover (Talmud).
• He rose from the dead (Josephus).
• The successors of Jesus regarded Him as God and sang songs to praise Him (Plinius the Younger).
• He had Jewish and Greek successors (Josephus).
• Faith in Christ originated from Judea (Tacitus, Josephus) and spread to Rome from there (Tacitus).
• Jesus' successors were called Christians (Josephus, Tacitus, Suetonius, Plinius the Younger).
• Jesus had a brother called James (Josephus).
• Jesus was called Christ or the Messiah (Josephus).
Events described in the New and Old Testaments can also be verified using external references. Archaeological findings, notes written by historians living in the same era, and supplemental information provided by apostolic fathers all repeatedly support the Bible’s historical accuracy. These recorded accounts confirm the existence of dozens of rulers, individuals and geographic locations that were originally only known through accounts found in the Bible. It is a strong testimony that these things really happened.
The next quote is about Luke the physician’s skills as an historian. (Other Gospels in addition to Luke’s describe the same events.) If Luke was very faithful when describing relatively minute details – whose accuracy can be confirmed from other sources – why would he be less faithful when describing miracles or other occurrences that cannot be confirmed through external sources? Only disbelieving theologians’ naturalistic prejudices prevent them from accepting these truths.
In a sense, this is exactly what archaeology does. If ancient historical details have been proven to be correct time and time again, we should also trust the stories of the historian in question that cannot be confirmed in the same way.
I asked for a professional opinion from McRay. – What do you think: does archaeology prove or disprove the reliability of the New Testament when archaeologists study the details included in the stories?
McRay immediately replied. – The reliability of the New Testament increases with research, there is no doubt about that. Just as the reliability of any ancient document is enhanced by the fact that, as the excavations progress, it is established that the author has provided correct information about some place or event (...)
– The consensus among both liberal and conservative scientists is that Luke was very precise as a historian,, McRay replied. – He was a learned man, he was eloquent, his command of Greek was almost classical, he wrote like a well-educated man and archaeological findings have proven time and time again that Luke was very precise in his writings.
McRay added that in many cases related to the harbour stories, scientists at first thought that some of Luke's references were false, but later findings have confirmed that he wrote the information correctly. (...) One prominent archaeologist carefully studied Luke's references of 32 countries, 54 cities and nine islands without finding a single error. (7)
Turning to fables. Priests like John Spong generally believe themselves to be scientific and rational. As a result, they reject all views that point to fulfilled prophecies, the supernatural, or God's activity in this world. They find them impossible and unbelievable. Because of their same point of view, they have to guess why the writings of the New Testament were born in the form they are in spite of everything. They think they know afterwards, 2000 years later, "what really happened", but that is an absolutely absurd assumption. They are not able to do that and have to rely only on guesswork and imagination, because they have the same sources at their disposal as others. These early sources do not agree with their assumptions.
Indeed, one consequence in the lives of scientists like Spong is that they turn sensitively to fables. (2 Tim 4:3,4: For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned to fables.). When they don't believe the New Testament accounts as they are, they start making up their own stories about what Jesus actually did and said. This kind of rewriting and distortion of history occurs repeatedly in the writings of liberal priests as well as in secular media (The Da Vinci Code, etc.), and John Spong is no exception. Therefore, Spong has presented e.g. such a view that Jesus was married. Although he has no early sources to back him up, he has come up with this idea:
…Whose wedding was this? The story doesn't say that, but it does say that Jesus' mother was worried that the wine was about to run out... Do the wedding guests worry about such details? No, but the mother of the groom, who is the hostess of the wedding party, would lose her temper. Indeed, Maria's behavior in this particular case would be completely inappropriate, were it not for the very role that fell to her. Can we see here a glimpse of Jesus' own wedding, a tradition that people have not been able to completely keep silent about. (8)
Without further indulging in the imaginations and made-up stories of liberal priests, there are very good reasons to believe in the historical basis of the New Testament. Here are three reasons:
Eyewitness observations or eyewitness interviews are the main reason to believe in the historicity of the events. In the descriptions of the New Testament, this condition is fulfilled well, because the authors themselves had seen the events or interviewed eyewitnesses:
- (John 1:14) And the Word was made flesh, and dwelled among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
- (1 John 1:1-3) That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked on, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;
2 For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show to you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested to us;
3 That which we have seen and heard declare we to you, that you also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
- (Luke 1:1-4) For as much as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us,
2 Even as they delivered them to us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word;
3 It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you in order, most excellent Theophilus,
4 That you might know the certainty of those things, wherein you have been instructed.
Speaking the truth. Another point is that the authors claimed to be telling the truth. Many modern theologians may dispute this, but they must consider that a large number of the disciples were martyred for their beliefs. Hardly anyone is willing to die over a conscious lie:
- (2 Peter 1:16) For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
- (John 19:35) And he that saw it bore record, and his record is true: and he knows that he said true, that you might believe.
- (John 21:24) This is the disciple which testifies of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true.
Major public events and famous people. When the New Testament mentions great public events and famous people such as high priests and rulers, it refers to the historicity of the events. The apostles could also appeal in their public speeches (Acts 2:14-36, 3:12-26, 7:2-53, 13:16-41, 17: 22-31, 22:3-21, 24:10-21, 26:2-23) to the fact that the listeners themselves knew the things and that they had not taken place in any isolated place.
- (Matt 4:24,25) And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought to him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.
25 And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan.
- (Matt 16:9-11) Do you not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets you took up?
10 Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets you took up?
11 How is it that you do not understand that I spoke it not to you concerning bread, that you should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees?
- (Acts 2:22,40,41) You men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the middle of you, as you yourselves also know
40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.
41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added to them about three thousand souls.
- (Acts 26:24-26) And as he thus spoke for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, you are beside yourself; much learning does make you mad.
25 But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness.
26 For the king knows of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner.
While some priests believe in the theory of evolution and millions of years, it is correspondingly difficult for them to believe in the Fall. John Spong is one example of this kind of thinking. He believes that life developed as a result of a 4.5-5 billion year evolutionary process, that Adam and Eve were not the first parents of the human race, and that there was no fall. He has written:
We know today that human life developed as a result of an evolutionary process lasting 4.5-5 billion years. There were no first parents, and therefore the disobedience of the first people could not possibly have affected all representatives of the human species... Thus, no fall into sin ever happened. In a way, however, every person is constantly struggling to be able to be themselves in the deepest and truest way. We humans have evolved slowly but surely in an evolutionary process lasting billions of years... We humans do not live in sin. We are not born sinners either... Rather, we are products of a long evolutionary process and we are still evolving. (9)
If we consider the ideas presented by Spong in more detail, they are contrary to the Bible, but they also seem to be contrary to practical observations. A few examples show it:
• As stated earlier, the evolutionary process that would have produced all current species initially from a single protocell over millions of years has not been proven by fossils. The late atheist paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould's statement about the fossil record shows how no such thing has been observed. John Spong's idea of long evolutionary processes rests on nothing. It is much more reasonable to believe that species were created roughly in their present form, and from it does not have to be millions of years. Fossils support the idea that species have been separate from the beginning.
The extreme rareness of intermediate forms in fossil material continues to be the trade secret of palaeontologists. The evolution trees appearing in our textbooks include facts only at the heads and folding points of the branches. The rest is reasoning, no matter how reasonable it is, not evidence of fossils –- I do not want in any way to belittle the potential competence of the gradual evolution view. I want only to remark that it has never 'been observed' in rocks. (...) (10)
• When John Spong and numerous priests like him start off with the notion that the Fall never existed and that there is no sin, they are bound to run into a logical conflict: They have to explain evil without sin. If violence, greed, betrayal, theft, sexual abuse or Hitler’s and other dictators’ wrongdoings towards others are not sin, then what are they? Just human deficiency? Belief in human goodness does not correspond to the reality of the surrounding world. It is much more logical to believe in the Bible's revelation that the Fall has taken place and people are sinners. It is a realistic depiction of the modern world. In addition, the story of the Fall appears in the folklore of several nations, so it should be considered a historical fact.
- (Rom 3:23) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God
- (1 John 1:8) If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
Can evil and suffering be reduced in the world then? John Spong and numerous priests like him do not take the teachings of Jesus and the apostles seriously, but they have good advice to reduce suffering: all people should repent, turn to God and allow themselves to be saved. If this was done, evil and suffering would decrease tremendously in the world:
- (Acts 17:29,30) For as much then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like to gold, or silver, or stone, graven by are and man's device.
30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commands all men every where to repent
- (Acts 26:19,20) Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision:
20 But showed first to them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.
- (Luke 13:2,3) And Jesus answering said to them, Suppose you that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things?
3 I tell you, No: but, except you repent, you shall all likewise perish.
- (Acts 17:29,30) For as much then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like to gold, or silver, or stone, graven by are and man's device.
30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commands all men every where to repent
- (1 Cor 6:9,10) Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortionists, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
If we read the Bible and the verses above, we can see how Jesus and the apostles proclaimed repentance and faith in the gospel. It meant that an unrepentant person, who wants to remain unchanged and in his sins, cannot enter into communion with God. The wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God as it is written in the letter to the Corinthians. Or if God were to forgive the unrepentant, he would act contrary to his nature. It would be the same as giving his consent to wrongdoing. You wouldn't expect that from a good God.
Some modern priests think otherwise. They claim that the previous teachings do not matter, and that it does not matter how one lives. For example, the well-known bishop John T. Robinson once wrote in one of his books how there are no 'ready-made' moral solutions. There is nothing wrong at all. He does not believe that morality is always the same and comes from God:
There is nothing that is absolutely wrong. For example, we cannot start from the claim that relationships before marriage or divorces are wrong or sinful as such. - - - There are no 'ready-made' moral solutions for Christians. (11)
The area Robinson was referring to is sexuality. It is precisely in that area that some modern priests reject the ethics of the Bible. They claim to know that man will be fine in eternity no matter how he lives (The question is, where did they get such knowledge?). They consider extramarital relationships to be acceptable like Robinson, or they defend homosexual relationships in the name of "equality and human rights". These things have become accepted because these priests follow the trends in society. John Spong, whose ideas have been explored in this article, is also among such people. Such persons do not believe that there is any permanent morality that comes from God. They do not consider the idea that the teachings of Jesus and the apostles are current and concerning modern people to be reasonable. They place themselves above Jesus and the apostles. However, they do not take into account the following points:
• What is love? Firstly, one should consider what love towards sinners is. Is it, when you hug them and encourage them to continue living in sin or that you warn them of the wrong choices, as you would warn someone of thin ice: “I worry for you. Please don’t go walk on thin ice, so you wouldn’t drown. It can end up badly for you.”
So the matter becomes different if, for example, the previous verses, especially 1 Cor 6:9,10, are true. In that case, if we defend people's wrong choices in the name of love, we are leading others to hell. If we defend people's sins, we turn them away from the path of life. Thus, when many priests want to present themselves as friends of sinners, they practically drown people because their teaching does not take eternity and God's judgment into account. They have become deceivers, who lead many people into eternal separation from God. They also turn God's grace into lasciviousness when they call sinful things good (Isaiah 5:20: Woe to them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!).
- (Eze 33:8.9) When I say to the wicked, O wicked man, you shall surely die; if you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at your hand.
9 Nevertheless, if you warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.
- (Juuda 1:4) For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
• What causes it? The reason some priests strongly defend homosexual behavior is that they consider such a tendency to be innate, just like skin color that is acquired at birth. That is why they have a negative attitude to sexual therapies, where some voluntarily want to get rid of this issue. They reject such a thing completely, just as the Pharisees of Jesus' day turned people away from God. (Luke 11:52: Woe to you, lawyers! for you have taken away the key of knowledge: you entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in you hindered.).
However, many homosexuals disagree about the innateness of the matter. Some may believe that, but many disagree and think their tendencies are due to and reaction to growing conditions. This was a common perception even in psychological circles a few decades ago. Doesn't this change the matter? On the other hand, each of us can have wrong and really innate tendencies, but God's grace is powerful to free us from them too. Whether it's an inborn tendency or an addiction born through life experiences, He wants to free us from them. Sometimes it doesn’t take that long, sometimes it does. Change is a lifelong process.
I read an interesting study by an expert: it was a survey to find out how many actively homosexual people believed they were born that way. Eighty-five percent of the interviewees were of the opinion that their homosexuality was a learned way of behaving caused by destructive influence early on in their home and enticement by another person.
Nowadays, my first question when meeting with a homosexual is usually, “Who gave you the inspiration for it?” All of them can answer me. I will ask then, “What would have happened to you and your sexuality if you hadn’t met your uncle, or if your cousin had not come into your life? Or without your stepfather? What do you think would have happened?” This is when the bells start to toll. They say, “Maybe, maybe, maybe.” (12)
• Predicted development. When some priests deny the reality of sin or perhaps teach universalism (doctrine of the salvation of all), such development has been predicted. William Booth, the founder of Salvation Army, had a revelation during the final years of his life about the state of the world and Christianity the day before the second coming of Jesus. It tells how it is preached such things that are against the will of God, is not talked of hell or our responsibility, and how Christendom is full of forgiveness without repentance. It is hard to deny that the development has gone in the direction of the prophecy that Booth received, because many priests today deny sin and hell and teach forgiveness without repentance as prophesied in the revelation that Booth received. From a current situation like this one can probably conclude that the coming of Jesus cannot be far away. We are in a society where we have drifted further and further away from traditional Christian proclamation and behavior.
1. "Then there will be politics without God... The day will come when the official state policy of the entire Western world will be such that no one at any governing level will fear God anymore... a new generation of political leaders will rule Europe, a generation that will no longer be in the least bit afraid of God;
2. Then there will be Heaven without hell (...) There will be a day when a great withdrawal of what the Bible says to be "the Gospel of the full truth" will take place. At that time a "gospel" for the itching ears of the people will be preached. The hearers will determine what is preached from the pulpits. Then, the common order for the pulpits will be 'speak mild, sweet words; speak about heaven, leave us in peace so that we would not have to be strained when you preach about hell.'
3. Christendom is full of forgiveness without repentance. The Bible's doctrine that there can be no forgiveness of sins without repenting of the sin is disappearing from Christianity.
4. The day before Jesus' coming is filled with the joy of salvation, in people who have not been born again from above.
5. There is a lot of religion without the Holy Spirit (2 Tim 3:5 Jude 18,19).
6. Christianity without Christ. Christ is not anywhere where the 'BLOOD and FIRE' are not valid – deny one of the two and you will have forms of Christianity but without Christ."
The second prophecy is also related to the development of the church. When some contemporary priests strongly push for the blessing of homosexual behavior, their activities have been predicted, e.g. In David Wilkerson's famous book, The Vision, already in the early 1970s. We cannot deny that development has gone in the direction mentioned in the book. Is this also a sign of the soon coming of Jesus:
There are two forces that prevent gays from dedicating themselves completely to their sin: society does not accept them and the church's teachings are against them. But these barriers will disappear, when society no longer resists their sin and deems it abnormal, but on the contrary encourages them to continue, and when the church no longer preaches about their sin, but supports them in their sexual activities. The floodgates will open, and the gays will be encouraged to continue in their sin. I have seen in my vision that these two obstacles will be wiped away and when they are taken away, chaos will follow. (13).
When we read the New Testament, we see how distorted teaching was already present during the early church. There was e.g. law-oriented teaching, some denied the resurrection and some preached a different kind of Jesus and gospel. That is is why Paul the Apostle wrote to Corinthians that they shouldn't succumb to wrong Teachings and be misled by false apostles. Distorted teachings, which included e.g. preaching another kind of Jesus, led them astray:
- (2 Cor 11:3,4) But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
4 For if he that comes preaches another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if you receive another spirit, which you have not received, or another gospel, which you have not accepted, you might well bear with him.
Denying the meaning of Jesus is also characteristic of priests and theologians like John Spong. They claim to know 2000 years later that Jesus was not born of a virgin, that He was not the Son of God who became man, that he did not perform miracles or resurrected. The reason for this is not that Spong or priests like him can prove their point of view correct, but it’s merely about a naturalistic bias, and what can or cannot happen in their opinion. Spong wrote:
A savior who returns us to a pre-fall state is therefore pre-Darwinian superstition and post-Darwinian nonsense. A supernatural savior entering our fallen world, restoring creation to its original perfection, is a theistic myth. So we have to release Jesus from the role of savior. (14)
What is the Bible's position on the matter? When liberal priests like Spong place themselves above the text of the New Testament on this issue, let's take another perspective on the matter for a change. Let's see what the New Testament mentions about such people. Here are a few mentions from almost 2000 years ago:
- (2 John 7) For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.
- (1 John 4:1-3) Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
2 Hereby know you the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
3 And every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof you have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
- (1 John 2:22,23,26) Who is a liar but he that denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denies the Father and the Son.
23 Whoever denies the Son, the same has not the Father: he that acknowledges the Son has the Father also.
26 These things have I written to you concerning them that seduce you.
- (Matt 10:33) But whoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.
- (2 Peter 2:1) But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privately shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.
When liberal theologians and priests deny the meaning of Jesus, they naturally also deny the atonement. They may regard it as a martyr's death, testifying to compassion for the suffering, but by no means a death for the atonement of sins. This message they despised. It comes up e.g. in the following quotations. The word about the cross is foolishness for these teachers, as Paul wrote almost 2000 years ago. This is not a new thing, but a repetition of the old:
Heikki Räisänen: It is pointless to ask today's readers to wait for the Son of Man who will come in the clouds, which every generation for 2000 years has been waiting for in their own time by interpreting signs. It is pointless to ask him to believe that a heavenly divine being became a human being and walked the earth to shed his blood as a sacrifice for the sins of people in order to immediately return to his heavenly home. (15)
Antti Kylliäinen: However, the real problem with the atonement doctrine is the image of God it contains. The atonement doctrine's image of God is more like the two-headed monsters of ancient fables than the God of mercy and love that Jesus of Nazareth proclaimed. (16)
John Spong: Personally, I would rather despise than worship a deity that demands the sacrifice of its own son. (17)
Rejecting Jesus' atonement is therefore not a new phenomenon. Paul worried and cried the same thing already in his own time. The most valuable thing for people, i.e. connection with God and the forgiveness of sins, is obtained through it. However, if we scorn and reject this important gift, we lose salvation:
- (Phil 3:18,19) For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:
19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.
- (1 Cor 1:18) For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but to us which are saved it is the power of God.
So why do these priests and theologians think cheaply of the work Jesus did for us? Probably the following two points are the main reasons for their perverted attitude. They do not understand the seriousness of their own condition and the nature of God. Both make it difficult to understand why Jesus' atonement was necessary. If man does not know that he is a lost sinner and separated from God, why would he care about atonement and forgiveness? Many priests and theologians are in this state.
They do not understand the seriousness of their own condition
- (Luke 18: 9-14) And he spoke this parable to certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank you, that I am not as other men are, extortionists, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes to heaven, but smote on his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalts himself shall be abased; and he that humbles himself shall be exalted.
If we read the previous allegory of Jesus, we can see that there are two characters in it: the Pharisee and the publican. Another of them, the publican, saw himself as a sinner in need of God's forgiveness. The Pharisee, on the other hand, was satisfied with his condition and did not see himself as inferior to others before God.
The condition of many priests and theologians resembles the Pharisee in Jesus' parable. They may consider themselves wise, moderate, progressive and tolerant. Likewise, they may look down on those who are not as perceptive and progressive as they are. Their basic characteristic is precisely that they easily compare themselves to others, but have never seen themselves as sinners and lost. They do not see the seriousness of their sin, how it separates them from salvation and from God, and therefore they also do not understand the gospel. They treat the gospel as a trivial matter.
They also do not understand that in their current state and with their wrong teachings they are under God's wrath and judgment. They make God's good and loving intentions for them useless by their rebellion. However, they can be forgiven for all of that right away if they pray for God and put their trust in Jesus. Yet, it is often difficult, as they are too self-absorbed to admit this:
- (Rom 1:18-22) For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God has showed it to them.
20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
- (Luke 7:29,30) And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John.
30 But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.
They do not understand the essence of God. Second, many priests and theologians do not understand the nature of God. They usually see God only as love, but do not understand his holiness. They have a kind of imaginary god – “My God” – that is a product of their thoughts but has never functioned in history. This god of their imagination does not condemn unrepentant sinners to hell and turn a blind eye to all evil. However, if they are asked where they got their concept of God from, they cannot give a clear answer. It is understandable because they have a god of imagination.
In any case, according to the Bible, God has both qualities. He loves people, but hates sin and iniquity. Many do not want to understand this simple matter, but for example the mother of the family can experience the same:
• A mother loves her children.
• A mother hates it if someone tries to harm her children. That is, the mother has hatred for sin - in this case, for the sin that is directed at her children.
So when the mother of the family can have two different traits that do not contradict each other, why is it difficult to connect this same thing to God? He, too, has holiness, that is, hatred for sin and love for people, as the following verses show. There is no contradiction between them:
- (1 John 1:5) This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
- (1 John 4:8) He that loves not knows not God; for God is love.
In practice, God's holiness, that is, His anger towards sin and injustice, is manifested in the fact that he condemns unrepentant sinners to hell. It's specifically about unrepentant people who intentionally do wrong, don't want to change, and don't care about forgiveness. God is ready to forgive everyone, but man himself must confess his sin. Or if God were to forgive unrepentant wrongdoers who enjoy their wickedness and do not want to change, He would be acting against His own nature. He would accept iniquity, and you wouldn't expect that from a good God. A God who accepts wrong would be evil.
- (Rom 3:5,6) But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who takes vengeance? (I speak as a man)
6 God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world?
- (1 John 1:9) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
- (Prov 28:13) He that covers his sins shall not prosper: but whoever confesses and forsakes them shall have mercy.
Love towards people. God’s other quality is love, which is something that almost everyone agrees on, which is a wonderful thing. But how can we see His love? When John Spong and many other priests like him abandon the atonement, they don’t realize that God’s love becomes apparent precisely through it – that is what God did for us through Jesus Christ, so that we could be forgiven our sins. The following aspects relate to this:
1. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to Earth and lived a life without sin. When none of the people couldn’t and still can’t do that, God himself came down to earth in the shape of Jesus Christ and fulfilled all the requirements of holiness and sinlessness. He did what we couldn’t do:
- (John 3:16) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
- (1 John 4:9,10) In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
- (Gal 4:4,5) But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
2. Secondly, all sins were taken to the cross - both past and future - so that they are no longer between men and God. It was not that God threw them on some third person, the innocent Jesus as John Spong presented, but ”God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself” (2 Cor 5:19). God took charge of the whole thing so that everyone can enter into his communion and receive the forgiveness of sins:
- (2 Cor 5:19-21) To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses to them; and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be you reconciled to God.
21 For he has made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
- (Acts 13:38) Be it known to you therefore, men and brothers, that through this man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins:
3. Thirdly, salvation is based on mercy. It is a gift that we can receive. Everything is already done for us, so that we can receive salvation as a gift. That is what people experience, when they turn to God, confess their sins and put their trust in Jesus Christ (Acts 16:30. 31: And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved, and your house.)
- (John 1:17) For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
- (Eph 2:8,9) For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
- (Rom 3:24) Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus
- (Rev 21:6) And he said to me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to him that is thirsty of the fountain of the water of life freely.
- (Rev 22:17) And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that hears say, Come. And let him that is thirsty come. And whoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
What if we reject God’s gift of mercy? That is also possible. If we do this, however, we are not making a very wise decision. That is when we must atone our own sins in hell. If we don’t accept, what God has already done for us and what we can receive as a gift, there are no other options left:
In 1892, Wilson and Porter were sentenced to be hanged for a mail robbery. Porter was executed, but Wilson was pardoned. He rejected his pardoning, and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Marshall, bequeathed this decision to posterity: “Pardoning is an act for the legitimization of which acquittal is necessary, and acquittal is not complete without its receipt. The person to whom it is offered can reject it, and if it is rejected, we do not deem the Court fit to put it into effect by force.”
The responsibility, as you see, is yours. If you do not accept God’s pardoning, He will not force you to do it. “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?” (Heb. 2:3) (18)
My friend, if you are damned, it is not because of your sins, but because you have not received mercy that God offers to you through Jesus. That is why it is fair. If you reject Jesus, what can God do? You then dismiss your only hope of salvation. (19)
At this end, a summary of a few basic beliefs held by unbelieving priests and theologians can be drawn up. It is a question of thought patterns that deviate from the traditional Christian faith, so in reality these priests are not Christians except in the cultural mind. Their ideas differ from what Jesus and the apostles taught.
It is more serious that if the teachings of Jesus and the apostles in the New Testament are true (e.g. heaven and hell), then these priests and theologians lead people away from God and salvation. In practice, they have become agents of hell, because two completely different statements cannot be true at the same time.
- (Matt 18:6,7) But whoever shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
7 Woe to the world because of offenses! for it must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!
- (James 3:1) My brothers, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.
1. Creation is not true, but everything has developed by itself from the primordial cell over billions of years.
This view is easy to disprove with fossils, as no intermediate forms can be found. The origin of life itself has not been proven either. The third thing that ruins this view is that even from fossils from the Cambrian period ("600-400 million years ago") have been found radiocarbon (half-life approx. 5700 years). The age of these fossils must be measured only in thousands of years. It is not the same as hundreds of millions of years.
2. Virgin birth, resurrection and miracles did not happen during Jesus' time.
This view is based on a naturalistic world view, where everything is tried to be explained from materialistic starting points. It contradicts the New Testament but also history, because e.g. the apostolic fathers, Josephus and the Talmud have referred to miracles that happened through Jesus or the apostles.
3. Humans are fundamentally good. There has been no fall and there is no sin.
This view is completely at odds with the surrounding reality and history. Jesus, the Son of God, came to atone for real sins, not just deficiencies. Through Him, it is possible for everyone to have their sins forgiven if they repent. The gospel is good news about the forgiveness of sins.
4. The Bible is not God's special revelation, but a manifestation of people's religious thoughts.
This view occurs in people who do not consider Jesus to be divine. These things usually go hand in hand.
5. The Christian faith is essentially no different from other religions.
This view does not respect the religions' own teachings. It cannot be true, because there really are differences, e.g., regarding life after death and conceptions of God. Of course, each view and the person behind them should be respected, but not all views can be true at the same time.
6. God is exclusively benevolent so that there is no judgment and no hell.
As stated, this view is based on imagination and an imaginary god that has never operated in history.
7. Jesus is only a good teacher and human being, but by no means divine.
This is logically the worst option, because no good teacher can make such claims about himself (Son of God, Messiah, way, truth and life, came from heaven) as Jesus made, unless they are really true. If His claims are false, He cannot be a good teacher. On the other hand, if His claims are true, He must be divine.
Finally, we will look at a description of what can happen to spiritual teachers who mislead others. They are also responsible for the misled people. Of course, God's will is not that these people act like this, but that they be saved and also bring others to God's eternal kingdom. The description is about a preacher in the underworld.
We stopped at yet another pit of fire and brimstone. There was a fairly large man in the pit, and I heard that he was preaching the Gospel! I didn’t ask anything anymore. I just looked at Jesus, amazed, to get an answer, because He always knew what I was thinking. And the Lord answered, “When he was on the earth, he was a preacher of Gospel.”
I wondered what such a man was doing in Hell. (...) The man spread his hands as if he were holding a book and began to read it as if it were the Bible.
He read one writing after another, and I thought that this was good. Jesus said to the man, with great love in His voice, "Peace, be quiet." Immediately the man stopped talking and slowly turned to look at Jesus.
I saw his soul inside his bony figure. He said to Jesus, “Lord, I am preaching the truth now to all people. Now, Lord, I am prepared to go and tell everyone about this place. When I was on the earth, I did not believe in the existence of damnation – nor did I believe in Your second coming. I told people what they wanted to hear and changed the truth so that it pleased them. I made my own rules about Heaven, about right and wrong. I led many astray and caused many to abandon Your Holy Word. I caused many to abandon You.”
“But, Lord, I have changed. Please let me out, and I will do as You want.”
Jesus said to the preacher,
“Not only did you pervert God's Holy Word but you also lied that you did not know the truth. The joys of life were more important to you than the truth. I visited you myself and tried to change you, but you turned your back on me. You went your own ways and held the Devil as your lord. You knew the truth but you did not turn back to me. I was there all the time, waiting for you, calling for you. I wanted you to come back to me but you refused.
The judgement has now been given.”
There was pity in the Lord’s face.
I knew that if the man had listened to the Saviour’s call, he would not be here.
Jesus spoke again,
“You should have told the truth, and you would have turned many to faith with God’s Word. All my Words are true. You knew the way of the Cross. You knew the way of righteousness. You knew you should have spoken the truth. Yet, Satan filled your heart with lies and you turned to sin. You should have sincerely repented, instead of only partly. Now it is too late.” (20)
1. John Shelby Spong: ”Miksi kristinuskon tulee muuttua tai kuolla” (Why Christianity Must Change or Die), p. 59,130
2. Darwin, F & Seward A. C. toim. (1903, 1: 184): More letters of Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray.
3. Charles Darwin: Lajien synty (The origin of species), p. 446
4. Charles Darwin: Lajien synty (The origin of species), p. 457
5. David Friedrich Strauss: The Life of Jesus Critically Examined. London: SCM, 1973
6. John Shelby Spong: ”Miksi kristinuskon tulee muuttua tai kuolla” (Why Christianity Must Change or Die), p. 34,35
7. Lee Strobel: Tapaus Kristus (The Case for Christ), p. 132-134,136
8. John Shelby Spong: Born of Woman: A Bishop Rethinks the Birth of Jesus
9. John Shelby Spong: ”Miksi kristinuskon tulee muuttua tai kuolla” (Why Christianity Must Change or Die), p. 128,130,131
10. Stephen Jay Gould: The Panda’s Thumb, (1988), p. 182,183. New York: W.W. Norton & Co.
11. John T. Robinson: Rehellinen Jumalan edessä (Honest to God)
12. Bill Hybels: Kristityt seksihullussa kulttuurissa (Christians in a Sex Crazed Culture), s. 132
13. David Wilkerson: Näky, p. 48
14. John Shelby Spong: ”Miksi kristinuskon tulee muuttua tai kuolla” (Why Christianity Must Change or Die), p. 132
15. Heikki Räisänen: Raamattunäkemystä etsimässä
16. Antti Kylliäinen: Kaikki pääsevät taivaaseen, p. 100
17. John Shelby Spong: ”Miksi kristinuskon tulee muuttua tai kuolla” (Why Christianity Must Change or Die), p. 128
18. Oswald J. Smith: Jumalan pelastus, p. 35
19. Oswald J. Smith:Maa johon kaipaan, p. 89
20. Mary Baxter: Jumalan ilmoitus kadotuksesta (A Divine Revelation of Hell), p. 37-39
Jesus is the way, the truth and the life
Grap to eternal life!