Engaging the Culture

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Posted 6/24/11 at 2:22 PM | George Sarris

Hell, Bell and Heresy – A Caution

You may not have thought about it before, but no matter who you are or what you believe, you are a heretic!

Or, at least you would have been considered one by some group or another at a certain point in the history of the Christian Church, and been subject to beatings, imprisonment, torture and possibly death. That fact alone should caution us to be careful when we call someone a "heretic" or accuse a Christian brother or sister of teaching "heresy" when they hold views we disagree with.

Heresy is a very serious charge. And, it has resulted in very serious consequences – not the least of which is the fact that excesses by some who have sought to stamp out heresy have led to God's Name being blasphemed among non-believers!

The Eastern and Western Churches each considered the other "heretical" after the Great Schism in AD 1054. The leaders of the Protestant Reformation – Martin Luther, John Calvin, Ulrich Zwingli, and others – were deemed "heretics" by the Roman Catholic Church. Members of the Roman Catholic hierarchy were considered "heretics" by the Reformers. And, both groups persecuted as "heretics" the Anabaptists who didn't believe in infant baptism. FULL POST

Posted 6/22/11 at 11:04 AM | George Sarris

Evangelicals: Larger in Size, Smaller in Influence . . . Why?

By George W. Sarris

During the last 50 years, the evangelical church grew in size at a tremendous rate to the point where we have mega-churches and mega-ministries.  Unprecedented numbers of people have attended seminars, crusades, concerts and large arena events.  We’ve built publishing companies and broadcast organizations to get our messages out to an ever increasing public.  In 1960, there were less than 100 churches in this country that had over 1,000 members.  Today, more than 10,000 churches have congregations of that size and much, much larger.

However, during that same half century, the values of our society have moved rapidly away from Biblical standards.  There is rampant immorality.  Cases of abuse have proliferated, even in the church.  And, we see a headlong quest for wealth, power, and sensual pleasure all around us.  What is most disturbing is the fact that Biblical values and ideas have been relegated to the arena of private discussion.  They have become the values of a “fringe element.” FULL POST

Posted 6/2/11 at 3:18 PM | George Sarris

Can An Evangelical Be a Universalist?

The wagons are circling around what seems to have become the defining issue for evangelicalism today – the belief that Hell is eternal, conscious punishment.

According to Christian Post reporter, Audrey Barrick, Rick Warren “held back a few tears” in his interview with John Piper as he expressed his deep sadness about the 74 million people who will die this year alone and spend an eternity in Hell.  “I can't live with that," he said. "My love compels us to care about that.” 

Publishers Weekly noted that four books from evangelical publishing companies will be coming out this summer supporting the traditional view.  David C. Cook will be publishing a book by well known pastor Francis Chan in July and another by Brian Jones in August.  Tyndale has set a July release for a book on the subject by Mark Galli, Senior Managing Editor of Christianity Today, and Zondervan will likewise be coming out with a short compilation of essays on the subject from contributors including Timothy Keller, R. Albert Mohler Jr., and other prominent evangelicals, also in July.

All of which brings us back to the question that has suddenly become a major focus of attention in recent weeks – are evangelicals required to believe that Hell lasts forever? FULL POST

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