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Concerning the Unfortunate Gentiles
Quote:I don't know, it just makes me think. What are your views? Automatical hell? Will they be spared? What say ye? This bothers me SO MUCH on a daily basis and I would feel better if I "dumped" this issue on others to see what they think.

I know the feeling, bro., I really do. In fact, I???d even venture to say that there???s probably no one here more so than myself who can relate. I have plenty of people from my past who can testify to how my questions nearly destroyed me, and almost destroyed the faith of them. ???I ask questions that could haunt a ghost??? is what I used to say. Like eyes made of the fire of a laser, I???d read straight through every single author who thought he had the answers, and come up with so many questions, that I had to start tape-recording my thinking-out-loud, because paper was just not plentiful enough, nor my hand fast enough to write it all. My mind was like swiss cheese from all the ping-ponging of tormenting questions bouncing around up there. I could talk for 6 hours solid, without nearly a breath of air caught hardly, and have just finally found my starting-place for a ???real??? discussion. It sucks. But after much time, I began to wonder. I came across a book one time, with the title ???Questions Are the Answer???. Can???t say that that???s really true, but it does mean something ??? they most certainly can be a telltale sign that you???re in the midst of a righteous battle, fighting your way to God, in a pure desire to understand HIM, Himself. Not ABOUT Him, but understanding HIM. It sounds to me like you???re on the warpath.

Quote:The only reason I found the truth is by lucking out through extensive reading from the internet (modern technology that many foreigners do not have nor can afford) and an already Christian background.

My testimony is similar, but without ANY knowledge leading up to what ultimately saved me. It still haunts me, in some ways. All I can say now, is that with me, YHWH quite literally SOVEREIGNLY decided to save me, and it creeps me out each time I reminisce on it. But as some ???theological pieces??? have fit together better over time, it has taught me much about the nature of God, as well. The Scriptures are true: He is willing that none should perish. That statement means different things to different people, and so this whole issue itself I guess is really a ???theological??? issue ??? one that is not really favored for discussion at this Forum, but one I certainly cannot ignore in your case. I believe I can get away with at least some general pointers or recommendations.

Quote:Andrew wrote:

But what if folks live in neolithic conditions or are truly cut off from the rest of the world? It is a fair question. My answer is to reach these folks of course, but if we can't, then we have to hope for YHWH's grace and that is no faint hope. We have to rely on YHWH to know people's hearts and look fairly if they live, as Rav Shaul said, "as a Torah unto themselves". Does that mean that they know Y'shua directly, who he was, why he came, what he did??? NO. But I read the Scripture as saying "he who HEARS the Word" and obeys or disobeys. If they don't HEAR it, I think that is somehow taken into account, even though the rules command immersion, faith knowledge in the basics of John 3:16, etc. YHWH may also defer judgment UNTIL they get the Word; we cannot know otherwise for certain. But I do think if we as believers and teachers don't try to reach them, then it is more on us for not telling them. YHWH may delay penalty but he never takes the rules off the table.

Amen. And a lot to think about!

And throw into the bag of tricks those victims and survivors of satanic ritual abuse, carrying the load in life of splintered souls, and often times barriers between the different parts of them. Or, a zillion other variable conditions and circumstances, such as, oh where was it, Switzerland or something, where this man had for decades been impregnating his own daughter in a dungeon below his house, unbeknownst to his own wife, and those children were yes, born and reared down there, never having seen the light of day once, and all products of rape, incest, fear, and terror. I can???t imagine. But YHWH can. He is far more merciful than me, and all those kids would be first in line if I were sitting in the seat of judgment. They???d be first in line, so that they could pass through, and stand next to my side when their ???father??? approached for his turn. But that???s just me; everything we can know about the Nature of God, is to be found between the pages of our Bible. And millions of books exist trying to answer these questions, because thousands of people have understood Scripture differently. That???s why they call it a ???theological issue???.

But for starters, Albion gave a great recommendation. Stephen made a good point concerning a spiritual residue and therefore longing in each of us. It brings up both reconciliatory AND protracted phenomena. So, I have my own personal approach to this issue, and being that I am more than aware that others do as well, I???ll try and be fair in titling different titles.

Ones that specifically target your exact question, by title:

No Other Name: An Investigation into the Destiny of the Unevangelized by John Sanders

A Wideness in God's Mercy: The Finality Of Jesus Christ In A World Of Religions by Clark H. Pinnock

Faith Comes by Hearing: A Response to Inclusivism edited by Christopher W. Morgan and Robert A. Peterson

The first two are Open Theistic in view, and the latter one is Classical, being more of a defense against God???s accepting sincere people of a differing religious view than Him. If taken rightly, I think it offers needed critique, because once we open up the can of worms of God accepting some outside of deliberate saving-knowledge of Him, then where is the line drawn? This is why I believe the true underlying issue is really the Nature of God, and if not a part of theodicy itself, is a direct intersection with it. So, this involves the timeless tale of differing theological templates. Calvinism, Arminianism, Molinism, Process Theism, Open Theism, and strains of these and others fraying in all directions. Philosophical theology, in other words. And this is not what Paul Younan wants on this Forum, I know.

A fair hearing of authors for differing perspectives on Scripture:

Calvinism: see if you can swallow passionate John Piper, strict J. I. Packer and R. C. Sproul, Bruce Ware and James White (I can???t stand them), famous Millard Erickson and Wayne Grudem, and less strict Norman Geisler, et al

Arminianism: Dave Hunt, Jerry Walls, I. Howard Marshall, et al

Molinism: William Lane Craig, et al

Process Theism: Charles Hartshorne, et al

Universalism: Thomas Talbott, William Law, et al

Open Theism: (the ???newest kid on the block??? ??? or is it?): Gregory Boyd, John Sanders, David Basinger, et al

Best place for starters, truly (thank you, IVP and Zondervan!), has to be their Point-Counterpoint series of books;
3-Views, 4-Views, 5-Views, etc. Specifically I have in mind:

Four Views on Salvation in a Pluralistic World
-pluralism, inclusivism / exclusivism
Perspectives on Election: Five Views
-does God ???elect??? the unsaved / unheard?
The Nature of the Atonement: Four Views
-did Messiah die for me, AND for them; and if so or if not, why and how?
Divine Foreknowledge: Four Views
-did God KNOW ??????.
God & Time: Four Views
-even more in-depth than the above

This is a very personal topic for me, and not that I have all the answers, but I???m trying to be as objective and fair as I can. I guess if anyone would like more information about my personal ???template???, then feel free to PM me. But I???m not shy about which side I???ve chosen, I???ll forewarn you. And it???s an integration with the Covenant precept-ual approach as dictated through Torah. I honestly am not aware of anyone else who has taken this approach, nor has written on it. Certainly, if they exist, I???d like to know them!

One book that every single believer should have on their bookshelves ??? and read ??? is:

Stumbling Toward Faith: My Longing to Heal From the Evil that God Allowed by Ren??e Altson

She somehow found the honesty and courage and boldness that too few believers possess, and even dared to write it out! It???s not a book of answers; it???s one of brokenness, provocation, and learning to be honest about the issues we have to deal with in this life, and learn to ask the questions rather than ignore them, or worse yet suppress them. You wouldn???t believe how many people are genuinely hurt by the hypocrisy of genuine believers!

Personally, Rungold, if you want my honest-to-God upfront first recommendation, find a copy of a book called ???The Openness of God: A Biblical Challenge to the Traditional Understanding of God???, and turn to chapter 5, p.171 for ???Social Responsibility???, which preludes p.173???s ???Evangelistic Responsibility???. I love and suggest this book in particular, of all the many reasons, essentially because it truly does present the gamut of all aforementioned topics and issues above, without butchering the respective adherents??? personally-stated positions. This is all too rare a commodity in our world, even sadly enough in the believing community-at-large. I???ll leave it at that. No one book has ALL the answers, and frankly, whichever side one chooses to take, they should never forget the late Samuel Terrien???s most fearful and exhilarating statement:
  • Scripture may not be comprehended theologically
    unless it is first understood grammatically.

That???s why I hang around this place, to learn to let Scripture speak for Itself. Or for that matter, to learn what is and is not Scripture. Hope I???ve been more helpful than not.

~Brother Ryan

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Re: Concerning the Unfortunate Gentiles - by Amatsyah - 09-13-2008, 04:11 AM

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