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On Sunday I'll be preaching at King's Church, Eastbourne as part of their Big Objections series. They've been asking locals their big objections to Christian faith and then dealing with the top seven.

My title is "What sort of God would send good people of other faiths to hell?"

The actual questions that generated that title are below.  What would you say in a 30 minute sermon?

If I did not ask God to be created, why would he send me to hell for not beliving in him or for not folowing him.

What about the religions before Christianity that have very similar stories to Jesus and his life? e.g. Mithraism etc

Do Christians, Jews, and Moslems worship the same God?

Why would God send non-religious people, who lead 'good' lives, to Hell?

Christianity teaches us that eternal torment awaits those who question God's infinite love. This is so obviously paradoxical and hypocritical it's almost laughable. I would laugh but this pathetic nonsense is taught to innocent credulous children and poisons their mind. It's a form of child abuse, and it makes the world a worse place to live in.

What happens to people from all other religions if the only way to God is through Jesus? Eternal damnation? this does not seem to fit with the message of love and forgiveness that Jesus spoke of??

I have a strong feeling that there is one God and that all religions are ultimately worshipping different interpretations of that God. How can the only way to God be through JC and what happens to all those other Hindus/ Muslims/ Sikhs. . Eternal damnation?

Over 4000 religions exist and most believers are not Christian. If all these people won't find a Christian God does God effectively condemn them all to hell in the vain hope they are converted by a Christian minority? Why are the Christians special? Or, if non-Christian believers can go to heaven then why the determination that we all be Christian?

The belief that Jesus and Christianity are the only way to god and salvation. What makes us think we are so much better or more valid than other faiths? God is god. How you choose to get to god is up to you!

People can commit awful attrocities yet be forgiven & go t0 heaven. Non Christians can live exemplary lives yet still go to hell. This message actually promotes violence & wrongdoing of all kinds.

What makes your God different the God terrorist's follow?

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Christmas in Dark Places 2

Ok, quick help needed. We've just filmed a reflective spoken word for Christmas. It's about Christmas in dark places. At the beginning we're thinking of displaying a couple of statistics to show that Christmas can be tough. Which should we use:

This year 500 000 UK families lost someone.

On Christmas Day, 250,000 elderly Britons will be alone...

In the UK, 80 000 children will be homeless at Christmas.

Post-Christmas is the busiest time for divorce lawyers.

“Sandy Hook”

“Boxing Day Tsunami”

Any others?

We can only use 2, three at most.

And also, should it be called "Christmas in the dark" or "Christmas in dark places"?

Something else?

Your help will be gratefully received and stay tuned for the video. It'll be out very soon!

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UPDATE - New Red Figures At Bottom of the Page
What do you think?

It's been great to see 321 used all across the world. There are translations into 10 languages either completed or in process, with more to come.

One thing though... (and this becomes more and more obvious as it's shown around the world)... white figures turning grey (effectively black!) through sin has horrendous associations if you're at all thinking in racial categories. Hopefully I don't need to say that that was never the intention. The colour of the stick figures was never meant to communicate race in any way shape or form. But given that those connotations are in some people's minds, what to do about it?

Our current fix is to have Adam and his offspring grow grey horizontal lines (like a prison uniform) when they sin - speaking of the slavery of sin. So...

Screen shot 2013-10-04 at 15.15.15Screen shot 2013-10-09 at 11.28.23Screen shot 2013-10-09 at 11.28.37Screen shot 2013-10-09 at 11.28.05Screen shot 2013-10-09 at 11.27.50

In the original video I kept the sinners grey up until Christ's return. This was deliberate since, until Christ returns, we still have Adam's flesh even though we've received Christ's Spirit. But keeping the prison uniform as Christians is problematic (even though I want to maintain some sense of 'simultaneously saint and sinner')

Also the grey stripes might not be the most aesthetically pleasing image in the world...

Can you think of a better way of representing Adam and his way?

Maybe...

1) The grey stripes are the best way forwards, and we should press on with this option.

2) We should pick a solid colour for the sinners that suits the orange background.

3) Perhaps all the figures should be non-white colours.

4) Perhaps there's another way of representing sinners (apart from shading?)

 What do you think?

 Red Might Actually Work??

Screen shot 2013-10-10 at 14.41.21 Screen shot 2013-10-10 at 14.41.34 Screen shot 2013-10-10 at 14.35.59 Screen shot 2013-10-10 at 14.41.46Thoughts?

 

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Don’t-Be-a-Slave-to-Writer’s-BlockHello there. Sorry I haven't been writing very much here recently. I'm trying to write "321" the evangelistic book right now. Please pray for that project if you remember. And perhaps you can help me with something....

At one point in the book I talk about the four fundamental realities you can choose between in the beginning - nothing, chaos, power or love (see here for the seed of the idea). Was wondering if you had any good quotes for each of the options.

If you believe in the beginning there was nothing - life is absurd, meaningless, hopeless.

If you believe in the beginning there was chaos - life is endless struggle and power plays.

If you believe in the beginning there was power - life is a slavery to almighty god or law or fate.

If you believe in the beginning there was love - life is about finding your place in God's family of love.

Do you have any quotes from nihilists, ultra-Darwinians, determinists, theologians or others that would put flesh on those bones?

 

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In the autumn a friend of mine is teaching a course on questions Christians are too afraid to ask.  Help him out.  What should he cover?

To get you started, here were the first four off the top of my head:

Hell. Really? Seriously? Eternal torment? For Granny? And I'll spend forever happy about that?
Can heaven and hell really pivot on my intellectual assent to this system of truth?
Where's the joy, freedom, life, hope and change?  Why are Christians (am I) so miserable?
Is this really the best news God could come up with?  Maybe it's true, but it doesn't sound good news to me.

.

Over to you...

 

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Go on and fill out  this survey to improve Christian websites.  It only takes a minute.

And, just so you know, the answer to question 9 is: "Rants against Christ-less theism, legalism and burdensome theologies of glory."

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We're holding our Ask Eastbourne events next week.  Do you know of good videos (under 5 mins) on any of the following questions:

27th March: What are you really like?

Do you exist?
How do you fit with science?

.

28th March: What happens when we die?

Why should I believe?
What’s the meaning of life?

.

29th March: Why is the world full of suffering?

Can you make things better?
Where do I stand with you?

.

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I've got four sermons at the start of February answering the following questions:

How can a loving God not accept everyone?

Does God even exist?

If there is a God, why does he allow suffering?

Aren't all religions basically the same?

What should my passages be?

What should I say?

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If you're up for it, let's assemble at St Paul's Tube Station at 2pm.  (The Eastbourne crowd might be slightly late but we'll be there soon after).

Ideas running through my head:

  • I've got loads of Romans to hand out under the banner of... "St Paul's released a statement!  Free copy of St Paul's official position paper.  Come and hear/read about St Paul's comment on the current situation, etc, etc."
  • I'm thinking of making Mike Milmine dress as Jesus with a massive "Not in my name" placard.  (Mainly to embarass Mike you understand).
  • I'm sick of Jesus being used as a political mascot.  I'm also sick of Him being spoken about (even, and especially by clergy) as some long dead teacher whose teaching should be honoured.
  • Jesus is not left or right but seated at the right hand - "from there He shall come to judge the living and the dead" and the capitalist and the communist and all points in between.
  • Jesus remains above us all as Judge (Law), but there's good news - He has come down to us as a gift for the world - the bankers, the protestors and even the religious! (Gospel).
  • "Let me ask you a question... I'm going to read something from St Paul and as I read, ask yourself, "What side is Jesus on?"" - then read Philippians 2:5-11
  • "What would Jesus do?" is folk Christianity.  Historic Christianity is what did Jesus do?
  • Let me tell you about two of the 12 disciples.  One was called "Simon the Zealot".  He was an anti-establishment protestor.  He'd have been on Rome's list of potential terrorists.  A freedom fighter and a rebel.  The other was called "Matthew."  He was a tax-collector, getting rich through unfair practices.  A fat cat.  A white collar criminal.  Both of them were loved by Jesus - both of them found a place in His kingdom and in His ministry.
  • When Jesus returns, let's give communism a really good go.  Let's try it for a thousand years.  Maybe we can be Bolshevik's for 500 years and Menshevik's for 500 years, but let's give it a proper try.  Before then, our number one need is to be in on Christ's kingdom...
  • The LOVE of money is the root of all evil.  All the regulation in the world can't get at the heart.  The Law is like that.  but there's one thing that can bring lasting change - the gospel of Jesus - that can change the heart.
  • St Paul's statement on the use of wealth - read out 1 Timothy 5-6
Again, more ideas gratefully received.  And please do pray.

 

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Anyone up for some open air evangelism?  To the protestors, to the Cathedral staff, to passers-by... Does 2pm sound a stupid time?

And what do you think should be our angle?  How do we make it clear that Jesus aint on either side?  (Who wants to dress up as Jesus by the way - we could make a "Not in my name" placard!)

It seems to me that tax collectors and sinners (white collar criminals and flagrant law-breakers) both flocked to Jesus.  There was actually an alliance of the greedy and the groovy around Jesus.  Meanwhile the religious in their long flowing robes grumbled.  How do we model and proclaim that?

Lines that are running through my mind...

"What St Paul really said"

"The City that really counts"

"Those aren't the money-changers, and this aint the temple"

"Money is not the root of all evil - love of it is. It's a heart problem and it starts with me."

Your thoughts...?

 

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