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-Did the Pope Actually Say There’s No Hell?

by Dr. D ~ April 2nd, 2018

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During Easter week, a Leftist/atheist quoted Pope Francis from a private conversation as saying that there is no Hell, only annihilation for the wicked. After it was quoted in an leftist Italian newspaper- La Repubblica, all heck literally broke out in the international press.

Soon the Vatican officially denied the quote. Nevertheless, the story had legs, particularly since it came  during the Christian Holy Week. Here’s a synopsis of the controversy from the NY Times:

ROME — The Vatican felt obliged this week to reaffirm that Pope Francis believes in a central tenet of Catholicism, that there is a hell.

That odd declaration came after the newspaper La Repubblica published a front-page article on Thursday by an atheist, left-wing and anticlerical giant of Italian journalism, who reported that during a recent meeting the pope had said that hell did not exist.

Bad souls are “not punished,” the journalist, Eugenio Scalfari, 93, reported the pope as saying. “A hell doesn’t exist.” …

But the infernal remarks, especially as the pope prepared for Easter Sunday celebrations, proved too tempting for international tabloids, conservative websites antagonistic to the pope and many others to let go.

<Read the whole article>

Response: The liberal media always looks for ways to embarrass Christians during the holiest week in the Christian calendar. Usually it comes in the form of exposés and documentaries against Jesus and the resurrection. Last week I looked for the newest anti-Christian controversy and this seemed to fit the bill. The Pope contradicting the official teaching of the church begs the question- ‘Is the Pope Catholic?’ And when it comes to this Pope and the central doctrines of the church maybe not so much?

Here’s the actual quote translated from Italian into English:

"Scalfari: What happens to that lost soul? Will it be punished? And how? The response of Francis is distinct and clear (netta e chiara): there is no punishment, but the destruction/annihilation of that soul. [The Italian word is annullamento, literally, "turned into nothing", meaning here the same as the more usual Italian word for annihilation, annientamento] All the others will participate in the beatitude of living in the presence of the Father. The souls that are destroyed/annihilated will not take part in that banquet; with the death of the body their journey is finished. And this is the motivation of the Church’s missionary activity: to save the lost. And it is also the reason why Francis is a Jesuit to the end."

But is the quote among ‘friends’ really all that misleading as the Vatican wants us to believe? Universalism and Annihilation have been major tenets of liberal theology for an entire generation and more. They were popular teachings when I was in seminary 35 years ago and Pope Francis is known to be a proponent of, or at the very least in sympathy with, many of the tenets of liberal Liberation Theology. It would not be out of character for such a one with that background to privately suggest that most will be saved (Universalism) accept the really wicked who will probably face annihilation from the Father God of love rather than an eternity of punishment in a fiery Hell.

Would Pope Francis ever make an ‘official’ statement promoting Universalism and Annihilation which are in direct conflict with the Bible and the official teaching of the church? No—never. However, church members would probably be quite surprised with the results if a poll was taken of Catholic priests and nuns in the West along with mainline Protestant pastors and ministers, if they answered truthfully, about their personal beliefs on Heaven, Hell, and/or Universal salvation and Annihilation.                *Top

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-Happy Resurrection Day 2018

by Dr. D ~ April 1st, 2018

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He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!

May You and your family have a wonderful Easter. May we all remember and reflect upon what is really important after all the cultural fun of Easter bunnies, colored eggs, and special ham dinners and family get togethers. May we remember what the day is really all about—the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Happy Resurrection Day!

When the women went to the tomb on Easter morning the rock was rolled away and the tomb was empty. Not only that but an angel met them there and said:

“Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come see the place where he lay.”

…And behold Jesus met them and said, “Greetings! Do not be afraid…” –Matt.28:5-10

Another good scripture to remember–this is what Jesus told Martha before he raised her brother Lazarus from the grave:

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?  –John 11:25-26

The good question for each one of us today—Do you believe this?

*Top

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-Good Friday 2018: “It’s Friday but Sunday’s Coming”

by Dr. D ~ March 30th, 2018

Here’s Our favorite message for Good Friday. It has become a tradition for us to post it every year on this day:

It’s Friday but Sunday’s Coming” by Dr. Tony Campolo.

Here’s a link to where the famous tape can be downloaded.

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The whole tape is great but the best part is toward the end when Tony Campolo recalls one Sunday when he had a little preaching competition with the head pastor at the church where he was attending.

Dr. Campolo tells how he preached the perfect sermon in every way and had taken the congregation to ‘the heights of glory’. As he sat down beside his pastor, Dr. Tony patted him on the knee and simply said, “Top that.” The older black pastor looked at him and said, “Boy, watch the master.” Then Dr. Campolo recalls for us the very brilliant message which followed.

The following is just a taste of what the climax is like in the 45 minute tape/sermon.  it doesn’t really do justice to the original but this printed abbreviated version is inspirational none the less:

It’s Friday But Sunday’s Coming—

It was a simple sermon, starting softly, building in volume and intensity until the entire congregation was completely involved, repeating the phrases in unison. The sermon went something like this:

It’s Friday. Jesus is arrested in the garden where He was praying. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. The disciples are hiding and Peter’s denying that he knows the Lord. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. Jesus is standing before the high priest of Israel, silent as a lamb before the slaughter. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. Jesus is beaten, mocked, and spit upon. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. Those Roman soldiers are flogging our Lord with a leather scourge that has bits of bones and glass and metal, tearing at his flesh. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. The Son of man stands firm as they press the crown of thorns down into his brow. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. See Him walking to Calvary, the blood dripping from His body. See the cross crashing down on His back as He stumbles beneath the load. It’s Friday; but Sunday’s a coming.

It’s Friday. See those Roman soldiers driving the nails into the feet and hands of my Lord. Hear my Jesus cry, “Father, forgive them.” It’s Friday; but Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. Jesus is hanging on the cross, bloody and dying. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. The sky grows dark, the earth begins to tremble, and He who knew no sin became sin for us. Holy God who will not abide with sin pours out His wrath on that perfect sacrificial lamb who cries out, “My God, My God. Why hast thou forsaken me?” What a horrible cry. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. And at the moment of Jesus’ death, the veil of the Temple that separates sinful man from Holy God was torn from the top to the bottom because Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. Jesus is hanging on the cross, heaven is weeping and hell is partying. But that’s because it’s Friday, and they don’t know it, but Sunday’s a coming.

And on that horrible day 2000 years ago, Jesus the Christ, the Lord of glory, the only begotten Son of God, the only perfect man died on the cross of Calvary. Satan thought that he had won the victory. Surely he had destroyed the Son of God. Finally he had disproved the prophecy God had uttered in the Garden and the one who was to crush his head had been destroyed. But that was Friday.

Now it’s Sunday. And just about dawn on that first day of the week, there was a great earthquake. But that wasn’t the only thing that was shaking because now it’s Sunday. And the angel of the Lord is coming down out of heaven and rolling the stone away from the door of the tomb.

Yes, it’s Sunday, and the angel of the Lord is sitting on that stone and the guards posted at the tomb to keep the body from disappearing were shaking in their boots because it’s Sunday, and the lamb that was silent before the slaughter is now the resurrected lion from the tribe of Judah, for He is not here, the angel says. He is risen indeed.

It’s Sunday, and the crucified and resurrected Christ has defeated death, hell, sin and the grave.

It’s Sunday. And now everything has changed. It’s the age of grace, God’s grace poured out on all who would look to that crucified lamb of Calvary. Grace freely given to all who would believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross of Calvary was buried and rose again. All because it’s Sunday.

At the end of the message the pastor shouts out:

It’s Friiidaaaay!

And the whole congregation responds:

But Sunday’s Coming!

*Top

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-Easter Questions and Answers

by Dr. D ~ March 26th, 2018

Happy Easter season 2018. Here’s some links to a few of our best questions and answers on the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and Easter from our Bible Q & A page:

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1. -Easter Question: Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead? (Featured also in our last post)

Here’s a great article by William Lane Craig (professor of philosophy at Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, CA) looking at the facts concerning the resurrection of Jesus–a timely pursuit for the Easter season:

“To answer the question of Jesus’ resurrection from a historical standpoint, we must first determine what facts concerning the fate of Jesus of Nazareth can be credibly established on the basis of the evidence and second consider what the best explanation of those facts is. At least four facts about the fate of the historical Jesus are widely accepted by New Testament historians today.”

<Read the Whole Article>

 

2. -Still Celebrating Easter? 

A TV program claimed that the family tomb of Jesus, including bones and a wife and son, had recently been discovered. So one writer referenced the ‘discovery’ and asked: Why are you still celebrating Easter?

 

3. -Who Really Killed Jesus? 

Historically Jewish folks have been slandered as ‘Christ Killers.’ Why that is totally wrong.

 

4. -The Reactions of the Criminals Crucified with Jesus -Some Discrepancies?      

Reconciling the different Gospel accounts.

 

5. -Jesus: “Today You Will Be With Me In Paradise” 

Today? Wasn’t Jesus resurrected 3 days later so how can that be and exactly where is Paradise?

 

6. -Jesus- Who Do You Say He Is? 

Peter responded to the question: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:15). Jesus continues today to ask all of us the same question.

 

May you and yours be blessed this Easter season.               *Top

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-Easter Week 2018: Celebrating The Resurrection of Jesus

by Dr. D ~ March 26th, 2018

Here’s some links to a video and a few of the best articles featured on our Apologetica page about the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and the celebration of Easter:

-Resurrection of Christ: Wright On! Listen to this! New Testament scholar N.T. Wright is right on in this short video on the Resurrection (2:23):

 

-Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead? Yes! If not, as Paul says (I Cor. 15:14) the entire Christian faith is in vain. Here’s a link to a great article on all of the facts concerning the resurrection of Jesus–a timely pursuit for the Easter season:

Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?

by William Lane Craig, professor of philosophy at Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, California. This is the best and most concise article that I have found on the Resurrection of Jesus. 

 

-Was Easter Really Borrowed From a Pagan Holiday? Here’s a good article by Anthony McRoy that contradicts the popular notion that the Christian celebration of Easter was borrowed from pagan sources:

“Was Easter Borrowed from a Pagan Holiday?”

McRoy provides historical evidence that the name ‘Easter’ was actually derived from the Old High German ‘eostarum’ which meant "dawn" and not from the name of a supposed pagan goddess.

 

Finally, here’s a link to our most popular article of all time during Easter week and one we traditionally post on Good Friday:

-“It’s Friday But Sunday’s Coming”

May you and yours be blessed this Easter season.                 *Top

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-Christian Venue’s Creative Response to Forced Hosting of Same-Sex Weddings

by Dr. D ~ March 24th, 2018

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A wedding venue in New York, Liberty Ridge Farm, lost a 3 1/2 year legal battle after they declined to host a same-sex wedding. The Christian owners, who support traditional marriage, have found a creative way to discourage potential same-sex customers. They make it very clear that part of their fees and profits will be going to organizations that support traditional marriage. From Faithwire:

Displayed at the bottom of each page in the “Weddings” section of its website is a clearly marked disclaimer that reads:

     “At Liberty Ridge Farm, our deeply held religious belief is that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, and the Farm is operated with the purpose of strengthening and promoting marriage. In furtherance of this purpose and to honor and promote our moral and religious beliefs, we donate a portion of our business proceeds to organizations that promote strong marriages such as the Family Research Council.

The patronage of all potential clients for all services offered is welcome regardless of race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, military status, sex, disability or marital status. All couples legally permitted to marry in the state of New York are welcome to hold their wedding at Liberty Ridge Farm. We serve everyone equally.”

<Read the whole article>

Response: One would hope that religious liberty as defined in the First Amendment of the Constitution would be enough to support the religious convictions of Christian business owners. But that no longer seems to be the case in America, especially since the Supreme Court has made same-sex marriage legal. There are some cases still proceeding through the different gauntlets of our legal system so hope is not completely lost yet.

Nevertheless Christian business owners, like those at Liberty Ridge Farm, are left with very few options after they have lost a lawsuit. None of which are all that satisfactory: 1.Continue the legal battle, which could continue for years and result in huge legal costs with a possible unsatisfactory ending after all and in the process ruin the business anyway. 2. Sell or close the business. 3. Cave-in and go against their religious convictions.

Some might say they they have chosen #3 but that would not be fair to the legal position that they have found themselves in nor the creative way that they have responded to it. Even though they have opened up their venue to all comers, the Christian couple who owns Liberty Ridge Farm clearly make their religious beliefs known to all potential customers and have also made it very clear that part of their fees would be going toward organizations supporting traditional marriage.

The article doesn’t say whether this has eliminated all same-sex marriage customers. But it is my sense that most folks would not want to give business to some place where they are really not wanted, especially if some of their money would be going to organizations which might be working against their own interests and views. What do you think?                *Top

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