Has Legalism Hijacked the Bible? (#544)

"To my wife, so many passages of scripture are now tainted with memories of fear and condemnation from an always angry, inescapable, never-satisfied deity that she can't bring herself to read it anymore." And she's not alone. For too many, having been abused by legalistically-twisted interpretations of Scripture destroys the treasure it can hold for our journeys. If that's happened to you, is there any way they can become a valuable part of our journey? Wayne and Brad share their own views and uses of Scriptures in their journeys and how they can add depth and clarity to a growing friendship with the God Jesus revealed.

Podcast Notes:
The Jesus Lens Videos
Information on the GJ Trip to Israel
Add your voice to our question/comment line via Skype at "TheGodJourney"


  1. I get taking a break from the scriptures. While not raised in a fundamentalist setting, I was steeped in the scriptures for much of my life, extremely active in the church culminating in my time as a church elder, but I get stepping away and needing to just hear from God Himself. Sometimes we’re in so deep, there’s no room allowed for Him to speak to us. Does He speak through the scriptures? I believe He does. But if we never allow a space for the words to simmer and marinate and are in settings where thoughtful discussion and rumination are allowed, it can be stifling. Some of us have a lifetime of scripture within and we need to interact with that. But in some churches, not reading for a day, never mind much longer than that, is seen as anathema. But if we hide it in our heart as so many are wont to say, then shouldn’t there be some trust in an individual spending time with what’s there? It’s almost as if the heavy emphasis on reading the Bible takes something away from the real value of it. You have to wonder what are people scared of? Yeah, some people’s faith may grow cold, but for those further along the road, it’s almost like there’s some insecurity there about not reading it. That’s why if I ever go back to a Bible study, it’s gotta be one that is thoughtful and intellectually stimulating. Some of the pablum that’s embraced in a lot of churches just leaves me cold.

    When you talk about laity without deep Bible study skills, even when someone is placed before them with greater knowledge who tries to open up something different to them and encourage independent thought and discussion, it often falls flat because people have bought and accepted the status quo. And I’m not talking deep stuff that doesn’t speak to everyday life like the JEDP that you mentioned. I’m just talking a different perspective that expands one’s thinking and approach to the complexities of life and how they apply scripture. But it’s almost like people get lulled into a particular sense of complacency and see any approach other than what they’ve already fed on for years as suspect. I’m not for deepness for the sake of being deep. I’m talking mining the depths of God’s words for the riches that lie within. But our culture is largely not for that kind of depth nowadays. So frustrating…

  2. Hi Pat, interesting to read your thoughts. I also hunger for depth amd at times see that there are few who share that same interest. Then added to the mix is Father’s work and the focus shifting to where is He askimg me to live today and who is He bringing to share life with. Glad the discussion in the podcasts can offer some coversation…..smile.

  3. I can relate to the couple who by way of the email spoke of the Bible now being an awkward book to pick up. There is a lot of baggage – the old sermons tapes, some voices of those who had avenue to speak into my life at some point and then the never ending chatter of my own. That “music in the background” picture is very near. Having “jumped” into this love journey almost 8 years ago, there were verses that seemed to just ‘dog’ me, almost haunt me, not in a mean sense, but in hindsight, as a “tension” to get me out of being so stuck in my soul. After several of these incidences I learned to relax in this very uncomfortable process and set aside the time to “have it out with the Holy Spirit” with study tools and journalling – honestly facing into how I was feeling and thinking. One very pointed time, on the surface I was studying something about Israelite’s journey from Egypt to Israel. There was a very strong impression to read the story about “Doubting Thomas”. This was a totally “out of the blue” suggestion – no recent sermon or reading. Immediately all the old tapes and biases came in and initially I questioned this suggestion but thankfully opened to that story and began to read. What followed can only be described as God-Inspired and so wish God had installed a spiritual tape recorder/spirit podcaster because I so often wanted to hear that Voice again and feel that strong sense of grace Jesus had for Thomas in that story – so different from my version. Sadly, I know if that recorder/podcaster was available, I would turn to it and not to Him. Anyway, that experience, though it did not fully “restore” my relationship with the Bible, it did expose me to a deeper life, a connection that can be found thru meditating on it. Subsequently, when a passage is getting under my skin I have learned to view it as Him calling me near. I have become more aware of how I was “translating” the Bible into performing and bashing expressions resulting in the pressure to perform or feeling of condemnation, hopelessness and shame. Increasingly, see how fears and lies try to keep me from experiencing God’s character and His redemption in my own life.
    Grateful for a growing sense of peace and rest internally.

  4. The ugly face of religious bondage is alive and growing in stature !

    People often talk about, not share, The Holy Spirit, but not often experienced Him):

  5. I too have had some challenges in reading the Bible of late. I stumble over verses that simply leave me feeling condemned even though I have come to understand more clearly the difference between old and new covenants. And in the same way that I avoid circumstances and people that tear me down, some of these scriptures I have to avoid because they still affect me so negatively. Its called boundaries. I cannot simply change by reactions to them, and God knows that and I am sure He is not trying to force feed me by demanding I read the Bible every year.

    I rest in the fact that the Word is a person, his name is Jesus. He is flesh and blood and spirit, not ink on a page.

    Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and powerful … and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

    This sounds more like the Spirit than a printed book.

    John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

    Early biblical characters had no written word and what was passed on was through oral traditions through families and communities. Stories were eventually written down as well as the law. The early church was made up of Jews who knew the law and the oral traditions and the Gentiles who had no history of the law or corresponding oral traditions. In the early church, the epistles were letters written to certain churches that got passed around but by no means were they published in multiple copies and in hundreds of translations / versions like they are today..

    It is only as the printing press came into existence in the 1400s that the Bible becomes something that we start to recognize as familiar to us. So what did all those people interact and understand God prior to the Bible publication boom of the last few hundred years? Maybe I am wrong, but I sort of think it would through relationship, verbal communication, divine revelation, and through the Holy Spirit dwelling in us(?). Abraham actually met with God. He did not get a posted letter LOL.

    “Bible Study” is a relatively new phenomenon, though David talks about mediating on the law.

    I am not discounting the value of the written Word, but it is a 2 dimensional expression of a multidimensional God and a 4+ dimensional world. Add to that translation constraints and who end up with a sometimes not completely clear record or story. While inspired, it is a poor substitute for the living and glorious LORD we are called to be in relationship with.

    After many years, I too am quite familiar with scripture, and they do come up in my daily living – sometimes popping into my head at appropriate times. I am thankful for that. But if I were to say that God only “speaks” Bible verses, then one would wonder how people without Bibles can ever have a relationship with God. Cannot God interact with men and women without the written page like He used to do?

    So, in my moments of berating myself for not being more disciplined and not reading the Bible more, I ask the living Word to lead and guide me in truth. And if there is scripture reading involved, that He prompt me, stir a desire in me, create a hunger for a particular subject or study. And I try to make opportunity as best I can to read small portions of it at a time and let it point me to the living Word.

  6. I’m finding it incredibly helpful to look at the meaning of the original Hebrew within its context rather than at translations which uphold a traditional view of a demanding God. For example, Proverbs 13v24, 23v13 and others concerned with the disciplining of children: the ‘rod’ is a sceptre, a symbol of authority as given to a wise king; the word ‘beat’ means to examine; to ‘punish or chasten’ is to correct, change, instruct. So, far from instructing us to wallop our kids, these verses encourage us to use our wisdom and authority as parents to sit with our children, examine their behaviour and give instruction and guidance on changing it.

    To me, this makes God as my Father a whole lot more approachable and safe to be with, to know that he isn’t waiting with his stick to discipline me; instead he comes alongside to guide and instruct so that I’m not destroyed or discouraged in the process. If only we’d known this years ago instead of being fed all the religious rubbish about spanking our children, as a result of sloppy, ill informed patriarchal translations.

  7. Having been in a very abusive cult the scriptures where used to brainwash us into following a corrupt leader along with many other, better left off the post things. I have to say looking back had I known the scriptures better them days I probably would never have been tricked into the rubbish I was. It’s the journey back to them that I want to mention. I love the language used when the bible is referred to as a treasure that will help our journeys and today it sparks a mindset of intrigue and mystery and is one that I am being lead back into slowly.
    I spent years away from scripture or even opening a bible. Why? Every time I opened and read even for a few minutes it felt as though life was draining away. So I stopped for about 10 years + then only started again as I went back to an organised church. I found it there too, a distorting the full story to make their points however in a far lighter manner hence I gave in to it for a while. It was 4 or so years into this institutional church that I felt God say to me “come away from this I want to show you something.”
    What I didn’t realise at the time was that was the real beginning of me being led by His Spirit. I have never been back to an IC since and during this time I did feel to leave the scripture alone of another 8 years on and off whilst I allowed God to show me his love. Yes, he led me first to “The Shack” and from that I learned I could have a conversation with God. “He loves me ” followed and “The Jake Book”. Amongst this time, I did try to open the bible but most times I felt uncomfortable. One day however I was wanting to get back into the bible and started listening to the “Jesus Lens” just the intro & gospels section. I pretty much knew who Jesus was but felt a renewed hope to see if I could try re-learn scriptures and the story of Jesus there. I decided to buy me a new bible and felt a parallel bible would be good, I ended up with a NIV/The Message. I went through all the gospels in both versions a chapter at a time, mostly from The Message and then hesitantly through the NIV. (It was the NIV that was used in the cult days.)
    Well what I found was a new story, I saw a Jesus who came to show me who the Father was and how he really does love me. Do I read these scriptures daily? No, I wait till I feel the “nudge”. (A word that I use now all the time to explain how the Spirit bumps me in a direction. It fits so well. I’m walking along life’s journey and going off track and “NUDGE” I am bumped gently back on track.
    Do I feel guilty when I don’t read them, never not anymore but I leave it alone until that nudge comes. I have picked them up to read when I’m going through one of God’s silent moments and struggling to find my footing but they seem just as quiet as Father. I am learning to just relax and get on with daily life and try to watch for that gentle thought of God dropping into my day.
    I have full confidence in this scripture today,

    I still have many things to tell you, but you can’t handle them now. But when the Friend comes, the Spirit of Truth, he will take you by the hand and guide you into all the truth there is. John 16:12-13

    Even the scriptures, Papas Spirit can lead me back into and he is.

    • Love your story Ian. This is a great transition Jesus watts to take us through, when we’re ready.

  8. When I left the Sunday meetings which is about 25 years ago I found I needed to read a different translation because whatever I read was interpreted by what I had been taught. Since then Jesus has led me into checking the Greek and finding that where there was a choice translators often chose words like obey and authority and church instead of assembly. I like listening to Wayne because he reinforces Father’s love. I can hear love in his voice. ‘He loves me’ changed my life.

  9. Having come through my own journey of intense bible & theological study I have come to the conclusion that the printed page replaced the spirit quite soon in the early church. This is what Galatians and Hebrews is all about.

    The world described in the bible is not so much living in pleasure as it is talking about a system where people are ruled by power instead of self-rule because of the unconditional love God has for us.

    One article that really helped me was “The Great Ecclesiastical Conspiracy” by Davis and Clark. It can be easily found by Google. It shows how translating the bible right from the very beginning has been used to change what was clearly a kingdom of sovereign individuals drawn together by the Word of God (Jesus NOT the printed word) to a kingdom of this world ruled by status.

    I thought I knew who Jesus was because I had read about Him all my life. After 40 years He showed me who he really was and how much he really loved me with such a powerful love that is still beyond description. Only personal experience showed me who Jesus really was. That is why a man can study scripture diligently for his whole life and not be changed. And why one child in a place who has never even heard of Christ can meet that all-loving God without any exposure to scripture at all.

    • Thanks for making me aware of that article. It was extremely helpful in bringing me understanding to some of the most critical ways in which culture and fleshly human systems have made attempts to hijack the rest Jesus brought us in freeing us to enjoy life in and with him.

      Wouldn’t you know it. The very thing Jesus accomplished by offering himself up in servanthood, man tries to turn it into personal power by perverting grace into a system of control, coercion and manipulation. Why is it so hard to trust the only one who can ultimately be trusted? We have heard it said that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, but I heard it more accurately stated that hell hath no fury like a church “leader” scorned. There is little that powerful people hate more than having that power neutralized or taken away.

      Having set the table by doing all the work, he gifts us with the greatest freedom, eternal life, knowing him and enjoying that relationship forever.

  10. Eve-Loraine, glad to see you are still there!

    Thank you Wayne and Brad for the conversation. I have had such a struggle with scripture. I was and still am I guess a Berean as they searched the Word daily to see if these things are true. Sadly, I missed Him as well. When I finally came into recovery 24 years ago I decided I needed a new Jesus. The old one did not work.

    Over these decades I have discovered His love and care for me. I walk in it and have the great good fortune to be part of ongoing conversations in many people’s lives as well as two groups I attend weekly. My life is quite full as I share my journey with others and listen while they share theirs with me. You could not have convinced me those many years ago that my wife leaving, subsequent divorce, loss of ministry and addictive treatment and recovery would lead to more and richer ministry than I ever knew existed. I am no longer a “pulpiteer” but rather get to share in many different journeys.

    I had a bad case of hardening of the categories and needed a pharisectomy. Fortunately He is the great physician! Thank you as usual for sharing how scripture relates to your journey. Most encouraging. Keep up the good work! And don’t worry about running some repeats. When you reach my age you meet new friends every day, even if you have known them for years………..

  11. Mark, it’s good to see that you are still here, too. I love the God Journey because of Wayne’s loving attitude to everything. It’s been a hard and lonely road but I have learned that we can’t reach the lost by huddling with other believers even though it is a comfortable place to be. My heart really went out to the writer as so many people know only an angry God, I had a conversation with somebody recently who said if she was to have a religion she would be a Buddhist because they are peace loving unlike the angry God of the Christians.
    Whenever I am in need Jesus always sends my atheist friend. Last time she came she said, “Did He send me?” and I said “Yes. ” She said, “I think he is trying to tell me something.” I said, ” Yes He is trying to tell you how much He loves you. “

    • Eve-Loraine, it is good to see your name pop up here again and discover that the journey continues for you. I love your story with the atheist. So cool! Love your heart in it too.

  12. Loving all the stories here, I just love how Father draws people to himself, from totally different backgrounds!

    I grew up in a very ‘bible based’ conservative religion, which used the good old King James for everything. Trouble is, when your 6, 12 and 18 and don’t understand what all these verses mean, now that I’m older and free, I still can’t read the kjv, because it just doesn’t compute! My brain just doesn’t grasp what is being said!

    Give me any other translation, and I’m like “oh yeah, that makes sense”

    The first month after being truly saved ( after 15 years in religion ) Father had me read through Romans in the message! Just opened up the whole grace based gospel to me!

    Then he pointed out that large parts of Isaiah has a meaning for me, today, in his kingdom, relating to other brothers and sisters!

    Then he showed me that the whole story of humanity is just that, a story of Father trying to draw people to himself, and people in the main refusing his love. I really resonated with Brad when he talked about putting himself in the story, and just trying to see what was going on at the time!

  13. One of the greatest confusions in our journey of faith comes from the false notion that the 66 books of the bible are the “word of God”. They testify to the Word and are inspired by the Word, but they are not the Word. John 1 makes it very clear that Jesus is the Word. Bad translations sometimes obscure the Word, but careful study of scripture and revelation from a close walk with Christ can give us a more complete picture, because the real Word is living and is within you. John 5:37-40 illumines this truth for me. In it we find that the word of the Father is separate from the scriptures – “…you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent. You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.” Studying scripture is important and gives us a marvelous picture of Christ that we can get from no other source, but He is the way the truth and the life – not the words on the page.

  14. Thankyou to all of you for sharing your thoughts and stories! Sometimes,when i feel fearful, condemned or legalistic after reading the Bible,the words of Jesus come to my mind: “Become like the children”. These words help me many times again to understand that the Father wants a love relationship with his children and us to trust in him without sorrow,fear,or wondering too much about dogmatic, “correct” bible knowledge. I believe it is about trust,relationship and love, at least i come to understand that every few weeks :-).

  15. Henry- God only speaks through the Bible seems to be part of evangelical teaching in some seminaries. My friend’s son went to study to be a minister and when he returned home he told his mother that God doesn’t speak today. He has spoken through the Bible and that’s it. She was upset that despite the way she had brought him up he had been indoctrinated and won’t even listen to her.

  16. Ok, so here’s my little dose of heresy for today. After 40 years of steady bible reading and generally evangelical background I no longer ascribe any divine status to any books except the gospels. Paul’s letters are simply Paul’s letters to his fellow believers. No different than reading a letter (email?) that Wayne or Brad might write to believers. We can look at these letters and agree that there are helpful insights etc but no one would start citing Brad’s epistle to the Coloradans as divine writ. Same with everything else in the bible except the gospels. There, alone do we find the recorded words of God, literally from his mouth. So that has primacy. Everything else is opinion and commentary. As much as Brad joked that Paul has been elevated to trinity status, it’s true and Brad goes on to quote from Paul’s writings as if they are holy writ. Imagine if we started quoting Waynes writings like that! Why should a conference in 692 confer any greater authority to Paul? (Or James or Peter or John et al?) That doesn’t mean we can’t get good things out of the bible, only that we stop giving equal weight to the books and words that are not Jesus’ direct words.

  17. Here’s something I’d love to hear more about from anyone: as I’ve been reading again through the gospels I have run into a number of passages where Jesus directly talks about people being tormented in hell or other punishments for their sins. Back in my evangelical days I had no problems with that as I had that mean god/nice god duality going. But since I’ve come around to this idea of God being loving I hit these passages and wonder, What kind of God would do this or say this? I find no way to square this without it sounding like phony rationalizing or film flam. Anyone?

    • Glen – First of all we need to understand that the scriptures have been subject to many translational errors. The word and concept of “hell” is a perfect example. The word hell is found 54 times in the King James Version, 20 times in the Modern KJV, 14 times in the ESV , 13 times in the ASV and ZERO times in Young’s Literal Translation. The word Christ used was Gehena, which is a neighborhood in Jerusalem, also known at the time as the Valley of Hinnom. This place was known to the people of the time as a prophetic place of judgement (Jeremiah 19). In AD70, it was a place of fire and destruction. Our present notion of hell has more to do with Dante and Augustine than the scriptures. In the end, we need to accept the paradox of a loving and judging God and trust in Him. Fear of “hell” is not an edifying or productive state of being.

      • While I agree, Henry that our interpretations off hell have more to do with Augustine and Dante than the Scriptures, I’ve never been convinced by the argument that Gehena refers only to the Valley of Hinnon. It’s a metaphor, and if you take away the meaning of the metaphor and only see it as a literal reference, you’ll miss his meaning. It’s like saying that Jesus was giving instructions on agriculture in John 15 rather than taking the metaphor of a vine and helping us learn what it means to remain in him.

        • I agree. I never intended to imply that Gehenna was not a metaphor – only that it has a deeper meaning than what our popular conception of hell is. If no translation can agree with another, this is a big clue to potential misconception. This plays into a larger narrative of interpreting scripture. I’m not going to say what it means to you – that’s the job of the Holy Spirit, through your faithful reading and prayerful meditation upon scripture, asking the Father to reveal His truth. I am always amused by the doctrinal statements that include the phrase, “We believe that the Bible is the inspired and inerrant Word of God as it was given in the original manuscripts, and preserved in the 66 books contained in the Old and New Testaments.” These “original manuscripts” don’t exist, but we have a Living Word that does!

  18. Glen, I wouldn’t begin to put my writings anywhere near Paul’s or John’s. Their writings are the apostolic record that help shape the true church’s experience in its earliest days. And yes, I think them uniquely inspired with all else in Scripture so that the totality of it’s message unpacks God’s character and his purpose in the world for us to see him a bit more clearly. They are no substitute for knowing him, but the greatest aid I know in doing so.

    What kind of God would warn us that the power of sin to draw us into dark and devastating places has profound consequences not only in this world, but what lies beyond? A loving one, for sure. I don’t see God as the one who created hell or throws people into it. He is the one in the story doing everything to rescue people out of it, including the death of Jesus. Sin created hell (whatever that is) and God is loving winning us back to himself so that sin no longer has the power to consume us. That said, I do not at this point believe that hell is an eternal place for unregenerate humanity nor that God gets any delight in people undergoing eternal torment. We only become immortal creatures at he resurrection of the last day where this mortal takes on immortality. So I see Jesus as incredibly loving to warn us of the consequences of our self-centered ways and opening a door that brings freedom from sin and shame.

  19. Well…. Wayne and Henry… as far as Jesus’ sayings about eternal punishment, what you say is pretty much the answer I would have given in my evangelical days. At least now I can appreciate how unsatisfying it is for people I used it on back in the day. Very disheartening. I guess we really don’t have a good answer. It’s like the old days when people used to say, “Glen, it’s only because we love that brother that we’re [A. shunning him; B. throwing him out of the congregation]. We love you so much that we’re compelled to hurt you. What happened to the idea that sin is its own, worst punishment? That the punishment for sin isn’t hell (or whatever you want to call it— hades, gehenna, etc…) but the very real consequences itself– lost relationships, physical disease, depression, etc… ? And maybe I am misinterpreting the verses, but there are some where Jesus pretty clearly seems to be saying that he/God will be casting non-believers into some kind of punishment/torment— the sheep and the goats? The servant who refused to forgive the small debt of a fellow servant?

    As for your writings, Wayne, you are, of course, being too modest. But, seriously. What puts Paul’s writings as “uniquely inspired with all else in Scripture” ? Is it because he lived at/near the time of Jesus so he was closer to the action somehow and his writings are thus less fallible somehow? If we set aside for a moment the canonization process, what really makes any of the NT writers better or more inspired than anything or anyone else? I’m not saying that the epistles should be thrown out by any means, but I don’t see any valid reason why they should be elevated over any, other writings about God. We evaluate them according to how they comport with Jesus’ words and what God has revealed to us in our experience of him.

    I suppose I’m being overly argumentative here, but it doesn’t do anyone any good to just accept notions at face value. That’s how the Church got off track in the first place. Let’s not repeat the mistake here.

  20. Sin is it’s own destruction and punishment, is what I was trying to say, Glenn. Sorry I wasn’t clearer. And I don’t think God is the one doing the casting into those consequences, but the one trying to rescue all who will from it. The parables you refer to are demonstrating the stark consequences, not assigning to God the role of punisher/tormentor. That’s not how I interpret those passages…

  21. Glenn, I’m where your at as far as Hell and eternal punishment, since becoming free and loved, I cant reconcile the concept of an eternal place of punishment, it actually nullifies everything Father truly is and what he is doing with us as humanity. The sole reason Father made people is to share the joy and love he already had with us, and draw us into an adult, loving and healthy relationship. To be punished for either not ever knowing Father, or choosing to deny he exists, or simply not ever actually finding him because of religion, simply doesn’t fit any reference I have of a loving Father. Its not in any way reasonable to say on one hand, that God is all powerful, then think that there’s a place we will end up that he cant do anything about….. He made the whole works in the first place.

    I agree with Wayne, that sin is its own punishment, simply because anything except a loving relationship with Father IS hell. Sin is simply us being un-relational in our relationship with Father, and like any close relationship, the joy of the relationship suffers, until we are at peace with one another again. Normal ebb and flow of healthy relationships describes exactly our relationship with Father.

    My only way to reconcile Jesus words about seeming eternal punishment, is that it made sense to the people he was talking to, based on their culture and world view. Similar to how he ‘cast out demons’ etc. I suspect that if Jesus came in todays western culture, he would have spoken and acted a little differently, simply because we are all different. Same if he landed in India, or China…

    At the end of the day, I can only go on my personal experience with Father, and he has proved himself loving and wise to me, personally, so I will continue to trust that he is, fundamentally good, and loving.

  22. Thanks, David. That’s how I have “reconciled” the hell thing, too. Or… um… non-reconciled it, so to speak.

  23. Yikes. The conversation took a strange turn there. I am reading Wayne’s recommendation “Paradox Lost” and what I love about this book is the acceptance of paradox and the subsequent tension. So perhaps the inability to reconcile certain aspects of God is not to throw out the part of the paradox because of the inability to reason it out, but to accept that perhaps our reasoning is inferior to that of God.

    I have no problem accepting the paradox of hell and a loving God. But I do see why people struggle with it.

    I sort of look at hell as follows: So you don’t want anything to do with God, okay, you get your wish. I know lots of people who don’t want to have anything to do with God to the point of an angry: I do not want God in my life. The only problem is they do not know or recognize that their life on earth is infused by the presence of God whether they want to admit or not. I think torment will be a realization of what lack of God really means.

    God wants to be present with us, Emmanuel, God with us. If you don’t want to be with God, then is He going to force you to be with Him? It seems odd in the arena of free will. Perhaps the person who does not want anything to do with God would be in hell if he was forced to spend eternity in heaven with someone he did not want to be with.

    I think therefore the call of God, the invitation, is to enter into a relationship with him rather than simply trying to get out of hell. Our “evangelism” is to share and invite people into the beauty of who God is. So that you want to be with Him.

Comments are closed.