I don’t specifically try to hide things anymore. Most of the time I’m just bad at communicating, at least in person. So, here’s a list of how I see certain things. Many of these I may have hinted at or directly stated before. I don’t list these things to tell others how to relate to God. I list these to lay all of my cards on the table as I don’t want to misrepresent to anyone what I personally believe. Feel free to skip around and just read the bold portions if you want to know the summary of my views.
I like Rob Bell. I’ve only looked into some of his work in the past few months and had come to many of the same conclusions previously, but I think he’s closer to the truth of love than a vast majority of our religious leaders today.
I think Satan has a strong foothold in what we call “churches” today. Many have become complacent in their weekly routine and the sermons I’ve heard have just become about pleasing “itchy ears.” The extravagant love relationship with Jesus isn’t displayed. I don’t think this is just a recent occurrence. It’s been fairly consistent for about 1700 years with small respites of reform that only capitulated back to skewed rules, political agenda, financial gain, guilt, manipulations, elitism, and burdensome forms of religion—nothing resembling the Jesus of the Bible I’ve come to know.
I believe Jesus’ Church far exceeds the the man-made structures we’ve tried to contain it in.
I believe the concepts of “hell” and “everlasting punishment” have been blown way out of proportion. I’ve linked my views on these as to not become repetitive. In summary, it seems these have long been a focal point in threatening others into loving God. Think about this statement for a moment. How does that actually make any sense?
I don’t know if homosexuality is a sin. This isn’t a cop-out. I really don’t know. The Bible says a lot of stuff, but more and more I feel called to just love others. Period. If God wants them to change, he will help them with that. Often we presuppose changing a person then they will be our definition of a good Christian. Jesus flipped this upside down. He freed people from condemnation first by entering into their life, then showed them how to be free from that life since they were not condemned. He showed them the love of the Father and that’s what changed their hearts. Aside from this, Jesus never mentions homosexuality that I can find. Maybe he didn’t find focusing on that, as a platform to push religion, was as important as love.
The Bible doesn’t always clearly state what we tend to say it does. Often we will say the Bible clearly states something, but what we are really saying is: I believe, based on my interpretation, this is what the Bible says. For example, we may say that Sodom was destroyed because of homosexuality. Genesis 19 doesn’t mention homosexuality but rather iniquity. Additionally, Ezekiel 16:49-50 states their sins more implicitly. What seems to be the point is—rape is rape whether it is heterosexual or not.
Justice doesn’t mean punishing others. When Jesus mentioned justice, he tied it in to mercy (Matt 23:23). Justice seems to be twisted today to mean we have a right to judge and execute punishment, often displaying very little mercy. Jesus talks about this type of judgment-mercy relationship also (Matt 7:2) as well as James (James 2:13). My view of justice applies more to standing up justly for those who have been alienated and ignored (Deut 10:18, Isaiah 1:17).
The Bible isn’t “perfect.” God let his children tell his story as they understood him at the time. Throughout the Old Testament, God was understood like all the other gods—a warrior that would lead in destroying anyone not following him. Likewise, Israel seems to have assumed that when the Messiah came, he would destroy all the outsiders. We still have similar views in both cases today.
I lean more towards a preterist view of prophecy.
I also lean more towards the view of universal reconciliation. I believe Paul states it fairly well in Ephesian 1:10. In addition, the Bible uses a lot of “all” terminology—(John 12:32, 1 John 2:2, Titus 2:11, Colossians 1:15-17 & 18-20, 1 Timothy 2:4—just to list a few). I believe that every knee will (willingly) bow and every tongue will confess (by the Holy Spirit) that Jesus Christ is Lord! Is that too much to put my hope in?
The Bible is a story revealing Father’s love to us through Jesus and the gift of the Holy Spirit. God has always wanted us to be his children. Dare I say, that’s the whole point of life—to experience what being separate from God is like so we truly embrace what being with him is. That is, love is a choice. Without that choice, it is no longer love. God lets us choose in our time but has already hinted (as mentioned above) that all will choose love in the end. I know this may be quite a complicated thing to comprehend, but I truly believe that God is love and he wins the hearts of all of his children in the end.
So, those are several of my views as of now. These aren’t ideals that I’m explicitly defending but only describing my viewpoint on as to how I’ve come to view the love of God. Please note that I’m not just cherry picking verses so I can establish my view as legitimate. I’m trying to convey the overall story of the Bible—that is, God’s grand plan of the redemption of all of his beloved children…all of creation. My goal is to help people see God’s love so they can come to a greater freedom to live fully in the Kingdom now. I didn’t come to any of these conclusions lightly or because someone else told me to, but rather through much Biblical study and prayer. Throw it all out if you feel you must. Label me heretic, blasphemer, evil, etc…To me, it doesn’t matter anymore as this beautiful relationship and hope that I’ve been given in Jesus surpasses anything that could be said or done to me.