Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sun. Apr. 14, 2013 (Kevin Miller)

Kevin Miller spoke on the theme of one of his recent movies, Hellbound? Brad Jersak's book, Her Gates will never be Shut: Hope, Hell and the New Jerusalem fascinated Kevin because of the profound questions it raised about atonement and the very nature of God. The various branches of Christianity offer a cornucopia of views about hell [hell and the concept of eternal damnation do not appear in the Old Testament until the later rabbinical writings, which are then accepted by certain writers in the New Testament (though fire has often been viewed as something which refines). All of our modern questions about the afterlife ultimately take us to the question, "Who is God?" Voltaire quipped that if God has made us in his image, we have returned the favour, and therein lies our problem. Believers claim to hope that if we abandon ourselves to God, everything will be fine. However, we also deeply wish to control our own fate if at all possible and not just rely on our chances with God, so complicated systems are created which too often are effectively fear-based control systems. Jewish religious leaders certainly did this with their myriad of regulations which had to be followed--or else, and some of this type of thinking has also crept into various expressions of Christianity over the centuries. As contemporary believers contemplate the mysteries of the afterlife, we of course examine our scriptures. Unfortunately, we do this only in ways (through cultural glasses) which let us understand some things and cause us to overlook others. Kevin asked what kind of images of God do our selective assumptions about God create within us? Do we actually believe that God the Judge will do what is right, or do we want to offer advice? Kevin reminded us that if we think about it seriously, we will realize that we have no choice in this matter. He encouraged us to remember that "God is not the enemy, God is love, so take a second look at God". [JEK]

Listen to the sermon audio MP3 recording from Sunday, April 14th, 2013 using your browser's preferred media player.



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