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by Bubba Jennings
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Wed Mar 05, 2014
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The History of Hell
Here's a great resource on hell recommended by Pastor Mark.
Found via Christian History Magazine
Desiderius Erasmus (c. 1466–1536)
Erasmus was a pioneer of biblical, patristic, and classical scholarship at the turn of the 16th century. He referred to the core of the Christian faith as the philosophia Christiana (Christian philosophy) and believed that this Christian philosophy had much in common with the ethical teachings of the great pagan philosophers. In his colloquy “The Religious Banquet,” the character Eusebius praises the deathbed sayings of ancient pagans as signs that they had lived virtuously and were prepared for death, in contrast to many Christians who relied on superstitious ceremonies. “I sometimes find some things said or written by the ancients,” says Eusebius, “nay, even by the heathens . . . so divinely, that I cannot persuade myself but that when they wrote them they were divinely inspired, and that the spirit of Christ diffuses itself further than we imagine: and that there are more saints than we have in our catalogue.” Citing specifically the humility of Socrates’s speech shortly before his death, recorded in Plato’s dialogue Crito, Eusebius remarks: “I can scarce forbear when I read such things of such men, but cry out: ‘Holy Socrates, pray for us!’
Huldrych Zwingli (1484 – 1531)
Zwingli followed Erasmus in his hope for the salvation of virtuous heathens. He based his inclusivist position on the doctrine of predestination. Faith was the inevitable response of the elect to the proclamation of the gospel, but infants and those who had never heard the gospel could be saved without faith, simply because they were chosen by God. If they grew up, they would live virtuously, and if they heard the gospel, they would believe it, but salvation depended on nothing but God’s sovereign choice.
Martin Luther (1483 - 1546)
Luther understood hell primarily in terms of alienation from God resulting from the futile human effort to be justified by our own works. In his early writings, such as the lectures on Romans, Luther suggested that purgatory is in fact indistinguishable from hell, and that a person who is truly in the grace of God will accept this apparent damnation as the just punishment for their sins. At this point purgatory will have done its work and the repentant sinner will experience the presence of God. The effort to escape damnation (understood as horrific torment after death) or even purgatory (often understood in Luther’s time as an equally horrific but temporary state of torment) is spiritually harmful and will in fact result in damnation. Only by throwing themselves on the mercy of God and abandoning efforts at selfjustification may human beings escape the divine judgment. In the Romanslectures, Luther also seems to support the view of Erasmus that virtuous heathenmight be saved. Later, Luther rejected purgatory outright and insisted on the importance of actually hearing the Word proclaimed (in contrast to Erasmus, Zwingli, or Denck). However, he continued to stress damnation as alienation from God resulting from self-righteousness rather than as a state of hideous torment.