Posts Tagged ‘hell

08
Jan
14

The Sobering Truth about Outer Darkness

According to Mormonism, only the worse of the worst will go to outer darkness.  “Second, the word hell is used to refer to outer darkness, which is the dwelling place of the devil, his angels, and the sons of perdition.” (True to the Faith, p. 81)  Mormonism designates only a relatively small handful of people as sons of perdition thus reserving outer darkness for only a few.

But is that biblical?  In that regard, Jesus’ parable of the wedding guests recorded in Matthew 22:1-13 is especially pertinent since the man without the wedding garment is cast into outer darkness (v.13).  In fact, Jesus’ whole purpose for telling this parable was to warn against that fate.  Therefore it is only fitting to see why that man was cast out.

And it was because he refused to accept the gift of a wedding garment!  That the wedding garment was something given to him, and not something he himself owned or purchased, is evident both from the culture of the day and also the words of the parable themselves.  Note that Jesus is talking about the wedding of a king’s son (v.2).  In the culture of the day, when princes married, the king provided the wedding garments for all attendees.  We can be confident that this was well-known to Jesus’ original listeners.

That this was the case is also seen from the parable itself.  “So those servants went into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests” (v.10).  Obviously these people who were gathered neither had the time, and probably most neither had the means, to provide their own wedding garments.  They came directly from the highways and the byways.  Especially interesting is that the servants didn’t just gather the good people either.  They gathered “both bad and good”.

The sobering truth about outer darkness is that it is not reserved for just a few.  It will be the destination for all who don’t accept the king’s great gift of salvation.  “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).  I have asked many members of the LDS Church whether or not eternal life is a gift or a reward.  Without hesitation, they say that it is a reward.  In saying that, they are faithfully echoing LDS teaching.

But that is so tragic.  Refusing the king’s gift infuriates him.  Look at his reaction. “Bind him hand and foot, and take him away; and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (v. 13). You can just see the king’s red face and blazing eyes as he gives this order.  How dare anybody refuse his gift!  In a similar manner, everybody who tries to provide for their own salvation or even thinks that they have to contribute to their own salvation, will experience the same reaction when they meet their Maker.

Eternal salvation and life are God’s gifts to us.  They were purchased with the precious blood of his Son.  The only God-pleasing reaction is to eagerly accept them and profusely thank him for them.  My prayer is that many more Mormons will do just that.

Advertisements
03
Apr
12

The Various Stages of Immortality

Chapter 7 of the Teachings of George Albert Smith is entitled “The Immortality of the Soul”.  Instead of focusing on one topic, I’m going to comment on three different things mentioned in that chapter.

First of all, it was somewhat surprising to see Lorenzo Snow’s famous couplet (As man is, God once was, and as God is, man may become) quoted in an official manual copyrighted in 2011.  There has been a trend over the last years for official Mormonism, and many Mormons, to distance themselves from that couplet – especially the part that says that God was once a man.  Fewer things more clearly demonstrate the wide divide between Mormonism and Christianity than their respective views of the origins of God.  Christianity sees him as always existing as God.  It never sees him being anything less than God.  On this most important point of who God is, there is nothing comparable between Mormonism and Christianity.

This chapter also talks about Mormonism’s belief in the pre-existence and the belief that their worthiness there “earned them the privilege of coming to this earth”.  “We believe that our very existence is a reward for our faithfulness before we came here.” (p.70)  What is implied is that many didn’t get that reward, namely Lucifer and 1/3 of the spirit children that followed him.  I bring that up because many times Mormonism talks about how wrong it is to teach that God will send many people to hell. For example, in the Feb. 2012 edition of the Ensign, one of Mormonism’s 12 Apostles, states in regard to what Christianity teaches about people going to hell: “One of the great distortions of the Apostasy was that it cast God the Father’s plan of salvation as overwhelming harsh.” (p.36)

But, as one of my colleagues pointed out to me, according to Mormonism, Heavenly Father banished no less than 1/3 of all his spirit children to outer darkness – after just one act of disobedience on their part!   Doesn’t that fit Mormonism’s own description of being “overwhelming harsh”?  Where was the mercy offered them?  How can Mormonism claim that Heavenly Father will only send a few to outer darkness?  After all, Mormonism says those 1/3 were his very own spirit children.

Another thing this chapter talks about is the purpose for being here on earth.  “We are here to prepare ourselves and develop ourselves and qualify ourselves to be worthy to dwell in the presence of our Heavenly Father.”  This, to me, is the deadliest statement of all.  For it directs people to themselves (note the three “ourselves’).  They are to prepare themselves.  They are to develop themselves.  They are to qualify themselves.  It’s all about them.

But it really is all about Jesus.  It’s all about him paying for all our sins.  It’s all about him keeping all the commandments perfectly for us.  It’s all about him doing everything for us.  It’s all about how he qualified me to be worthy to dwell in Heavenly Father’s presence.  That’s my reason for being on earth.  To trust and glorify him as my Savior – my Savior who did it all for me.  It’s not about us.  It’s all about Jesus.

25
Jun
10

Deadly Damnation

   In the June 2010 Ensign, David A. Bednar, one of Mormonism’s apostles, mentions Mormonism definition of damnation.  Talking about Satan he writes, “Just as water flowing in a riverbed is stopped by a dam, so the adversary’s eternal progression is thwarted because he does not have a physical body. . .One of the potent scriptural meanings of the word damned is illustrated in his inability to continue developing and becoming like our Heavenly Father.”  (p. 18)

    This agrees with what the LDS Bible Dictionary states:  “Damnation is the opposite of salvation, and exists in varying degrees.  All who do not obtain the fulness of celestial exaltation will to some degree be limited in their progress and privileges, and hence be damned to that extent.”  Thus, according to Mormonism, everybody in heaven, except those who are exalted by becoming a god, will also be damned!

    To a Christian, describing people in heaven with the word damned is incomprehensible.  Heaven and damned are direct opposites.  This then is just another of numerous examples of how Mormonism defines words uniquely.  I don’t know any dictionary that defines damnation this way.  All the dictionaries I consulted cite as synonyms words like cursed. 

     But what really makes Mormonism’s definition deadly is how it incredibly weakens what the Bible says about being damned.  Insert Mormonism’s definition into Mark 16:16 and it isn’t too frightening.  “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”  Instead of eternal hell coming to mind when you hear that, you can think of heaven.  And that is exactly what Mormonism does.  According to it, in order to get to the lowest kingdom of glory, a person doesn’t have to believe.  And some Mormon authorities have described that kingdom as ten thousand times better than life here on earth.  That’s not a bad picture of damnation.

     The only problem is that it is totally false – and extremely dangerous.  Satan loves it when the consequences of sin are minimized.  He loves it when no one is talking about eternal hell.  He loves it because then people don’t become overly concerned about going there – until it is too late. 

     Hell is real.  Damnation is horrible.  There is nothing good associated with it.  And there is only one way to avoid it.  Accept God’s gift of eternal life.  “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  (Romans 6:23)

17
Aug
09

Outer Darkness and Hell

 

      Mormonism makes a distinction between outer darkness and hell.  The LDS manual True to the Faith states: “Latter-day revelations speak of hell in at least two ways.  First it is another name for spirit prison.”  That makes hell temporary for almost everybody. Even those who do not accept Mormonism while they are in spirit prison will go to the lowest kingdom of glory.  “Those who choose not to repent but who are not sons of perdition will remain in spirit prison until the end of the Millennium, when they will be freed from hell and punishment and be resurrected to a telestial glory.”

     It goes on to say, “Second, the word hell is used to refer to outer darkness.”  Outer darkness consists of permanent punishment but only a few people will go there, namely, the sons of perdition.  Although Joseph Smith said that many of those who apostate from the LDS church qualify as sons of perdition, I have had many Mormons say that very few people will qualify. 

     Be that as it may.  The point I want to make is that Mormonism, by redefining hell and making it temporary for almost everybody, takes much of the sting out of hell.  Many find this much more attractive than the thought of people suffering eternally in hell.  I fully understand that.

     But there is one big problem with that.  It’s wrong.  The Bible clearly talks about those who do not rely solely on Jesus’ work as suffering eternally.  (Mormonism gets around that by defining eternal punishment as punishment coming from an eternal God – not as punishment that lasts for all eternity.  But I don’t see it doing the same thing with the “eternal” in eternal life.)  Even though the thought of people suffering eternally sends shivers down my spine, I can’t reject it.  That is what the Bible teaches.  Nothing emphasizes the seriousness and repulsiveness of sin more than the fact that it merits eternal punishment.  Neither does anything impress upon me more the urgency to tell others about perfection in Jesus more than this. 

    Any dismissal of an eternal hell plays right into the devil’s hand.  The last thing the devil wants us to have is a clear picture of the agonies of hell.  That, in a very real way, would scare the hell out of us. 

      Again I don’t like to think about or talk about hell.  Neither do pro-lifers like to talk about the details of abortion.  But sometimes they have to especially when talking to those who are ignorant of its hideous nature.  So also we.  We need to talk about the hideous nature of hell.  But we also need to talk about the only way to escape it – being covered with the perfection of Christ.

23
May
09

STIMULATING DISCUSSION OR ETERNAL CONSEQUENCES

 

     When Mormons and Christians discuss their beliefs and dialogue with each other, it can easily come off as nothing more than stimulating discussion of two different viewpoints.  This obscures the sobering fact that eternal consequences are at stake. 

     Therefore, in many ways, I appreciated what Geoff wrote in the last thread.  He wrote:  “You mentioned that seeing someone “convert” to denominational Christianity is “priceless”.  Hardly. There is a STEEP price to pay. You, IMO, will share in that price. When someone breaks his covenants, turns his back on truth and the Holy Ghost there is a price!  I wonder when that realization will hit you?”

     Just to clarify.  I didn’t say converting to denominational Christianity was priceless.  What I said was priceless was “seeing the wonderful change in people’s lives when they experience the free forgiveness and eternal life in Christ”.

     But I really don’t want to distract from the important point Geoff makes, namely, that the stakes are high.  He very sincerely believes that I will suffer some pretty serious consequences because of my witnessing activities.  I thank him for again highlighting that there is much more to all this than interesting discussion.

     Just as Geoff sincerely believes that I will have a steep price to pay, so I believe Mormons will have a steep price to pay.  I don’t say that as an angry retort to Geoff – “You told me that, so back at you – you too!”  Not at all.  If I didn’t wholeheartedly believe that, I would never be doing this.  No offense – but if I didn’t think there were eternal consequences involved, I wouldn’t be doing this even if I thought the discussion sometimes was stimulating.

     On a related note, this is why I find it so frustrating when the difference between entering Heavenly Father’s presence only by grace or by grace plus works is brushed off as insignificant.  That is the heart of the matter.  That is why in this blog I have addressed it repeatedly from different angles.  “And if by grace, then it is no more of works, otherwise grace is no more grace.  But if it be of works, then it is no more grace, otherwise work is no more work.” (Romans 11:6)

     It is my wholehearted belief that anyone who does not rely solely on God’s grace to enter Heavenly Father’s presence will suffer the consequences of spending eternity in the otuer darkness of hell.  That’s not stimulating.  That’s sobering.  That’s why it is priceless seeing the wonderful change in people’s lives when they experience free forgiveness and eternal life in Christ.

20
Nov
08

Outer Darkness and Hell

 

      When witnessing to Mormons, it’s helpful to remember another distinction that Mormonism makes, namely the distinction between outer darkness and hell.  The manual True to the Faith states: “Latter-day revelations speak of hell in at least two ways.  First it is another name for spirit prison.”  That makes hell temporary for almost everybody. Even those who do not accept Mormonism while they are in spirit prison will go to the lowest kingdom of heaven.  “Those who choose not to repent but who are not sons of perdition will remain in spirit prison until the end of the Millennium, when they will be freed from hell and punishment and be resurrected to a telestial glory.”

     It goes on to say, “Second, the word hell is used to refer to outer darkness.”  Outer darkness consists of permanent punishment but only a few people will go there, namely, the sons of perdition.  Although Joseph Smith said that many of those who apostate from the LDS church qualify as sons of perdition, I have had many Mormons say that very few people will qualify. 

     Be that as it may.  The point I want to make is that Mormonism, by redefining hell and making it temporary for almost everybody, takes much of the sting out of hell.  Many find this much more attractive than the thought of people suffering eternally in hell.  I understand that.

     But there is one big problem with that.  It’s wrong.  The Bible clearly talks about those who do not rely solely on Jesus’ work as suffering eternally.  (Mormonism gets around that by defining eternal punishment as punishment coming from an eternal God – not as punishment that lasts for all eternity.)  Even though the thought of people suffering eternally sends shivers down my spine, I can’t reject it.  That is what the Bible teaches.  Nothing emphasizes the seriousness and repulsiveness of sin more than the fact that it merits eternal punishment.  Neither does anything impress upon me more the urgency to tell others about perfection in Jesus mre than this. 

    On the other hand, any dismissal of an eternal hell plays right into the devil’s hand.  The last thing the devil wants us to have is a clear picture of the agonies of hell.  That, in a very real way, would scare the hell out of us. 

      Again I don’t like to think about or talk about hell.  Neither do pro-life people like to talk about the details of abortion.  But sometimes they have to especially when talking to sometimes who is ignorant of its hideous nature.  So also we.  We need to talk about the hideous nature of hell.  But we also need to talk about the only way to escape it – being covered with the perfection of Christ.




October 2017
M T W T F S S
« Apr    
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031  

Blog Stats

  • 182,280 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 998 other followers