For further reading i’ve linked to two small essays that speak about some of the issues brought up in this last Sunday's message at
Jacob's Well, regarding Eternal Judgement:
General Rules for Mental Improvement
An essay that helps us develop the mind of a student and how to logically and reasonably look at issues of controversy.
A short paper that looks at the word Jesus used in his teaching on “Hell”.
Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.
This week we taught on the Eternal Judgment (crf: Hebrews 6:12) based on these passages in Jude:
-1:4: "this condemnation"
-1:5: "subsequently destroyed"
-1:6: "kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the Judgement day"
-1:7: "undergoing the punishment of eternal fire"
-1:13: "black darkness has been reserved forever"
-1:15: "to execute judgment upon all"
-1:23; "save other, snatching them out of the fire"
As a church, we teach from the Bible (primarily expository); and discipline ourselves to work at building our understanding of biblical truth from the whole counsel of God’s word. That means we stick to the passage and try not to bring arguments or controversies from outside the passage into the passage. We want the scripture to speak for itself.
The issue of Hell is a very important subject. Whenever you are dealing with the subject of people’s eternal destinations; you better handle it with fear and trembling. In this spirit I have chosen to maintain the solid ground on the issue that has been historically professed in the creeds, primarily the Apostle’s Creed and the Nicene Creed.
These documents, though not inspired, do historically represent the Christian churches agreement on what is considered of first importance regarding doctrine. In affirming the creeds, we stand on solid scriptural ground and yet, allow room for differences on secondary matters.
We aim at interpreting the unclear passages of scripture by the clear passages in matters of speculation.
These creeds affirm a “Resurrection, a Day of Judgement and Immortality or Eternal Life” and we feel this is a good middle ground to maintain. To go too far beyond these words leads one to eschatological speculation and the possibility of mishandling the character and purposes of God.
This theological navigational process has been succinctly summed up by two famous Christian theologians:
"In Essentials, unity.
In non-essentials, liberty.
In all things, love"
-Augustine (354-430 AD)
“The faith preached by the Apostles, attested by the Martyrs,
embodied in the Creeds,
expounded by the Fathers.”
The Apostles creed: Appears to have been the general creed of the Christian Church, in a form very similar to that which it now bears, from the close of the second century. At that time and afterwards it served not only as a test of Christian doctrine, but was also used by catechists in training and instructing candidates for admission to the Church. The original germ of it is to be sought for in the baptismal confession made by converts in the reception of that rite. The primitive confession may have contained no more than “I believe that Jesus is the Son of God,” but we have evidence within the New Testament itself that it soon became enlarged. Paul speaks of the “form of teaching” delivered to converts (Romans 6:17), and reminds Timothy of “the good (beautiful) confession” he had made in sight of many witnesses (1 Timothy 6:12).
The Apostles Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
the Maker of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:
Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried;
He descended into hell.
The third day He arose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven,
and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost;
the holy catholic church;
the communion of saints;
the forgiveness of sins;
the resurrection of the body;
and the life everlasting.