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Everything posted by RevTom

  1. You are rather myopic in believing YOU HAVE THE CORRECT INTERPRETATION of the passages. The interpretations I offered are agreed upon by numerous studies and scholars.
  2. I see you did not read the verses. If you wish to not read the verses and gain understanding from their context there is no basis for discussion. People have the freedom and right to believe as they wish upon reading the verses and their context, but it is quite clear: There is no everlasting punishment of hellfire and damnation - the punishment is until one is consumed, then obliterated from existence.
  3. Greetings, my friends: The point I wish to make involves a rather lengthy discourse, taen from the Bible verses that refer to the fate of those who persist in wickedness. Yes, the NT does speak of Hell, and in fact, the OT speaks of a punishment for those who do not repent of wickedness, and continue their wicked ways. The questions arise from the punishment meted to those who do wrong and are bent on doing so: The context in Isaiah 66 refers to a time when, God says, “all flesh shall come to worship before Me” (Isaiah 66:23). It is a time when the wicked will be no more. What will have happened to them? In Isaiah 66:24 we read that people “will go out and look upon the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; their worm will not die, nor will their fire be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind” (NIV). Note that in 66:24, God says people will go out and look upon the dead bodies..." They are not living souls writhing in eternal flame, but their bodies have been consumed and the worms are eating their remains. What does Jesus mean in Mark 9:48 when He quotes Isaiah in saying, “the fire is not quenched”? Within the context we can understand. He means simply that the fire will burn until the bodies of the wicked are consumed. This expression, used several times in Scripture, refers to fire that consumes entirely (Ezekiel 20:47). An unquenched fire is one that has not been extinguished. Rather, it burns itself out when it consumes everything and has no more combustible material to keep it going. As we discussed earlier, the wicked will be destroyed. They will not live for eternity in another place or state of everlasting anguish. They will reap their destruction in the lake of fire at the end of the age. They will be consumed virtually instantaneously by the heat of the fire and will never live again. Those who willfully choose to reject His way of life, characterized by obedience to His law of love (Romans 13:10), will die, not suffer forever. They will be consumed by fire and forgotten. Revelation 20:9 "And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them." They will not be tortured for all eternity. Remember that eternal life is something that God must grant, and He will grant it to only those who repent and follow Him—not those who persist in rebellion against Him. They will be forgotten for all time: They will be forgotten eternally.
  4. It is curious that a Christian staple, the concept of hell, is never mentioned in the Bible until the New Testament. The names ascribed to mean hell do not necessarily mean hell in the common context. I for one, am a christian who does not believe in hell neither in theory nor physical location. The thought of everlasting fire and burning in hell comes from The Valley of Hinnom, later spoken of as Gehenna in Aramaic. This is the valley south of Jerusalem where the inhabitants would take their rubbish and burn it. The fires were ever burning, or at least smoldering. Another reference to what many think of as hell is Sheol, which was the Hebrew term for the abode of the dead, but not a place of eternal damnation and punishment. Nowhere in the Bible is there a place of eternal damnation and punishment until the New Testament. I for one, am a christian who does not believe in a place of eternal and fiery punishment. I do not believe that God would so subject a soul to eternal agony. It seems to me one of the biggest issues man has to come to terms with is the cessation of existence. i like the metaphor I bring to people in study classes from time to time: If I have painstakingly set up an aquarium and stocked it with all types of beautiful fish, I would (and have) do everything I can to keep it a healthy and vibrant aquarium community. If one of the fish turns out to be a bully, I do not put it where it will be in pain: I either remove it and put it in another aqurium where it won't bully the fish there, or i kill lingering death, no long term suffering. I just remove the disturber of peace. I cannot imagine God doing otherwise.
  5. Well, I put forth my reasoning for actions, and it is there. It has been a spirited debate, and has tested the waters of perceptions, which is good. We discuss and debate, and respectfully acknowledge differing opinions, and sometimes in light of the discussions, alter our own. Whether we retain our opinions and/or beliefs or change them, the purpose is served, and we are the better for it, IMO.
  6. That had to be an intense experience, my brother. I have never dealt with death in an official capacity. Having experienced death of close ones, I believe I can offer warmth and compassionate care to those grieving if called upon to do so. I think it would also help give me closure with the deaths of my siblings to help others going through that experience.
  7. For me, the courtesy stops when someone forcibly attempts to harm me or someone around me. Then there is no understanding. We will have to understand that neither of us will persuade the other differently on this.
  8. Here is a powerful message about perspective and perceptions. I hope you enjoy it.
  9. Greetings and Good Tidings; Isn't it fascinating that in our daily walk through life, we meet many people who we just have brushing acquaintances with...the lady in the supermarket you exchanged hellos with, the man walking his dog you nodded Hi to at the red light, the person from years ago you met on the street and struck up a conversation with. In each of these instances, we leave an impression of some sort. That person also leaves an impression of some kind upon us. It is up to us what kind of impression that will be. We can work together to help make each other's journey pleasant, or be a hindrance to that journey. In so doing, we affect our own path by the same measure.
  10. What a wonderful metaphor about an approach to cooperation and helping one another.
  11. Well, you are correct in that I do not believe a mugger's life has the same value as a doctor. It may sound harsh, but people make choices. If the choices they make are to cause others harm and they are bent on their path of destruction, then yes, I will meet that affront with all the force necessary to subdue it.
  12. Greetings and good tidings; 1st, it is good to hear from you again. Thank you for the info. I will see if they are in my area. There seem to be very few options here. Even the cell phone range is at its maximum distance here where I live. I will check them out Thank you so very much.
  13. Greetings and good tidings; I found the site on Facebook. It was hard to find until Brother Calli pointed me toward it. I found there to be quite a bit of robust discussion there, and will frequent it as well as here to observe and participate in the discussions. I also found several Twitter pages, but am not sure if the ones I found re legit. Can someone help me with this?, Are either of these legit?
  14. Greetings and good tidings; I understand that sometime in my ministry I will most likely be called upon to preside at funerals. I do not relish this, to be candid. I have seen much death among close family and friends (sister died when we were children - she died when she was 15 years old, one year younger than i). My youngest brother died 2 years later when he was 3 years old. there is only one member living of my close family other than me, and that is my son, who is 29 years old. I witnessed a family being burned to death in a car accident. These events left me scarred, and I do not like attending funerals. I have written the funeral passages for other ministers who were not up to the task, but I think presiding over one would be a much different matter. I do like he passages and will keep them in my files. Thank you for sharing them. In many ways, the past relationship with UMC was very rewarding and soul quenching. It is at a church where the spirit is alive that my soul finds peace. I especially like to go to a spirit filled church after hours of worship to think and reflect.
  15. Alas!!! I can only watch videos late night (after 2am) because I have satellite internet, and the download allowance is limited. I book mark videos that are important or interesting so I can watch them one of the nights I am up late. A bit off the topic, but if anyone is faced with a decision of living where internet is by satellite or WIFI, R U N !!! Pay the extra $1500 per month rent, but R U N !!! The satellite internet and WIFI companies will suck you dry mercilessly!!!
  16. ...if you were a reincarnationist, how about Boomerangism? Your soul gets tossed around a lot but keeps coming back.
  17. The only things we will ever have as "proofs" or indications are what we read from the scriptures, and how we interpret life's events and the events of history. The evidences will never be empirical with those who see God in a different context than do christians, yet these very evidences will be empirical to those who are christian.
  18. Greetings, and good tidings: This is indeed an interesting topic and as you will delve through a discourse in apologetics referring to the meaning of "...and create evil" there can be several interpretations, but there seem to be a consensus among bible scholars. I am christian, but find several topics interesting in their various interpretations. My understanding is that in this sense, God created times of good and prosperity, and also times of despair and stress. (the New Living Translation phrases it as “I am the one who creates the light and makes the darkness. I am the one who sends good times and bad times", and the New JPS Translation According to the Traditional Hebrew Text concurs with this understanding ; “I form light and create darkness, I make weal and create woe—I the Lord do all these things.”). Thus, God creates the times of prosperity and times of troubles, but does not create evil or thngs that are by nature evil in the sense of moral depravity.
  19. Greetings and Blessings to all: I have been a bit slack this week in that I did not prepare a sermon or topic of discussion for the blogs I normally post. I am thankful for the positive things that have happened this week. I am in an arts and crafts show for labor day weekend, discovered my ordination is in fact from here at ULC, and also discovered my ordination date is much earlier than I had remembered. I duly updated the info here. It is so very easy to get caught up in the day to day hustle and bustle of life, forgetting the events that have brought one to their present condition and I am of course no exception. I resolve to be more diligent and to spend time on those things that are of value to me: My faith, the sharing of observations that can help people, and most importantly, being of service in whatever ways I can.
  20. The allowable upload size is ridiculously small. If you want to see my work in actual size go to or
  21. Another drawing. I hope you enjoy.
  22. I believe that in too many ways we are becoming hardened through the interglobal connection offered by the world wide web, and by our acceptance of mainstream media as the arbiter of what is factual and newsworthy. In a global community, it is easy to become overwhelmed and desensitized to world events. While in one sense I believe it is good to be a part of the greater global community, I also believe that in a very real way we have lost a sense of community within our own neighborhoods, states and nations.