The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Category Archives: False Beliefs About Divine Judgment

Debunking the Impact of Adam: Unlearning Lies About How God Judges You

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If my father hadn’t been an alcoholic, I wouldn’t be so messed up today.
If the coach had let me play, I would have won a scholarship.
If that stupid doctor hadn’t misdiagnosed me, I wouldn’t be dying right now.

Ever hear people talk like this?  Have you ever talked like this?  Blaming our current problems and miseries on the choices of other people can feel like a satisfying way to illicit sympathy while shirking all responsibility for our own choices.  After all, some jerk raped you, and that means you now have a free pass to wallow in a victim mentality for the rest of your life.  Or maybe you feel you can trace back your current health problems to the fact that your mother tried to have you aborted when you were still in her womb.  Now you can blame her for everything while you play the part of the eternal martyr.  See how it works?  It’s fun to blame other people.  It’s satisfying to point the blame in any direction but towards ourselves and make up all kinds of fantasies about how perfect our lives would have been if other humans hadn’t sabotaged us with their rotten choices or malicious actions.  But here’s the problem with playing the blame game: if God doesn’t agree to play as well, then we’re going to end up in a heap of trouble.  You see, we don’t get to judge ourselves. God is the One who judges us, and that means that we need to get an accurate understanding of how His judgment system works.  Read more of this post

Why You Shouldn’t Gloat When Your Enemies Go Down

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You consider yourself to be a committed Christian.  You’re the good guy.  You’re on the right side.  So when that jerk who has been hassling you suddenly gets hit with some brutal trial which causes him to get off your back, you find yourself wanting to do a victory dance.  After all, isn’t God exalting you by smacking your enemy down?  Clearly when the bad news is being poured out on the heads of the people who oppose you while your path is being covered in blessings, then that means God is for you and against them, doesn’t it?  Not necessarily. In real life, things are a lot more complicated than this, and in this post we’re going to discuss what some of those complications are. Read more of this post

False Formulas for Salvation – 1 John 1:9

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“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

The same John who wrote the Gospel of John and Revelation also wrote the three epistles known as 1 John, 2 John, and 3 John.  While 2 and 3 John don’t get out much, 1 John has several famous one liners in it, including this frequently quoted statement about salvation being obtained through the confession of sin.  But is this really accurate?  Is merely listing off our sins enough to grant us salvation and cause use to be blameless in the sight of God?  No, it’s really not.  In fact, salvation doesn’t have anything to do with God considering us to be “blameless.”  We just think it does because, like the New Testament apostles, we’re focusing on the wrong things (see Jesus vs. the NT Jews: What it Means to Please God). Read more of this post

Are all sexual perverts going to Hell?

Are all sexual perverts going to Hell?

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There is something about the mention of sexual sins in the New Testament that triggers a selective memory response in Christians. We know there are certain verses which specifically say that all sexual perverts will go to Hell and we like to refer to them whenever the topic comes up. We don’t recite the actual verses, we just say something general like “God says all perverts will go to Hell.” We do this because we have forgotten what the verses really say. If we remembered them accurately, we’d stop quoting them so often because when they’re isolated from the rest of Scripture, these verses actually say that we are all going to Hell. Read more of this post

Relating to God: Recognizing the Trap of Symbolic Pain

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Humans are big on symbolism.  This means that much of what you do and say in life is an attempt to communicate messages that are quite unrelated to the things you’re actually doing and saying.  For example, when Holly hears her boyfriend Todd say he loves blondes, Holly goes out and bleaches her brown hair blonde.  She does this not because she wants to change her hair, but because she wants to keep a secure hold on Todd’s affection.  When she then asks him “Do you like my hair?” what’s she’s really asking is, “Have I gained more of your approval by adjusting myself to be a better match to your preferences?”  For Holly, dyeing her hair was a symbolic act that was meant to communicate to Todd how much his approval means to her and how much she wants him in her life.  Read more of this post

Romans 5: Paul Leads Us Astray on Sin & the Character of Yahweh

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In the Bible, we read accounts of Yahweh and Jesus doing and saying various things. Then we find a lot of filler material in which human authors give their theological interpretations of the things that Yahweh and Jesus did and said. The problem is that many of the conclusions those humans draw are straight up wrong. For example, the Gospel writer Matthew interprets many of Jesus’ actions as intentional fulfillments of Old Testament prophecies. The problem is that several of the passages that Matthew links to Christ have nothing to do with Christ (see Messianic Passages According to Matthew). In other words, Matthew is just making stuff up. Read more of this post

Jesus vs. the NT Jews: What it Means to Please God

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When Jesus showed up on earth in the form of a human being, He showed up in Israel. He came in the form of an ethnic Jew. In His 33 year long charade as a human, He lived in a Jewish society which claimed to uphold the Laws of the Torah. Judaism was the national religion of the Jews, and true Judaism is supposed to be an adherence to Yahweh’s Old Covenant. Of course Jews who promoted Judaism in the New Testament were like Christians who promote Christianity today: the religion being promoted was a far cry from what that religion is really supposed to be about. Read more of this post

Debunking The Fall: The Many Lies Christians Tell About Genesis 3

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Christians confuse themselves with the concept of a Fall.  This term suggests that there was a time that humans were radically different than they are now, then something terrible happened and their nature became drastically altered.  Well, no, this really isn’t what happened.

From the very beginning, humans have had the option to choose obedience or rebellion. From the very beginning, God has made rebellion seem like a tantalizing option. Take a closer look at that Genesis account in which Adam and Eve ate the fruit. Notice the lures that the serpent used to tempt Eve. Read more of this post

Understanding Divine Election: Jacob I Loved, Esau I Hated (Malachi 1 & Romans 9)

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MALACHI 1

The prophetic book of Malachi begins with this disturbing passage in which Yahweh is speaking to Jews living in the land of Judah:

“I have always loved you,” says Yahweh.

But you retort, “Really? How have You loved us?”

And Yahweh replies, “This is how I showed My love for you: I loved your ancestor Jacob, but I rejected his brother, Esau, and devastated his hill country. I turned Esau’s inheritance into a desert for jackals.”

Esau’s descendants in Edom may say, “We have been shattered, but we will rebuild the ruins.”

But the Sovereign Yahweh replies, “They may try to rebuild, but I will demolish them again. Their country will be known as ‘The Land of Wickedness,’ and their people will be called ‘The People with Whom Yahweh Is Forever Angry.’ When you see the destruction for yourselves, you will say, ‘Truly, Yahweh’s greatness reaches far beyond Israel’s borders!’” (Mal. 1:2-5)

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Hellfire Legalism & Prosperity Theology: Two Different Applications of the Same Lie

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When we talk about hellfire preaching, we mean the kind of preaching that makes you feel like you’re on your way to Hell because you’re failing to please God. This is a style of preaching that emphasizes the wrath of God to the point that the love and grace of God become lost concepts. A steady diet of hellfire preaching will cause you to think that God is a scary, brooding volcano who is angrily glaring down at you 24/7. You’ll end up afraid to pray and afraid to sin. Once you finally do some super big no-no sin that your pastor is always exalting as being in the unforgivable camp, you’ll end up so despaired of ever getting right with God again that you’ll toss up your hands and decide that you might as well wallow in the lusts of your flesh from then on. After all, if God is so impossible to please, why keep trying?

Now hellfire preaching and legalism go hand in hand. Just as prosperity theology is built on the deception that we can somehow manipulate God into giving us the perfect life on earth by impressing Him with our good behaviors, legalism is also a deceiving package of theology which focuses on behaviors instead of soul attitudes. While prosperity theology often includes the belief that sinless living is possible, legalism teaches that sinless living is required. Read more of this post