Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Converted Bishop

Bishop Carlton Pearson is a charismatic Christian leader in the US with an interesting history, and perhaps a more interesting future.
As well as normal "bishop" duties, he's had over 30 years of national media exposure.
Below he tells of his discovery of universal reconciliation, which I thought was worth sharing with you.
" ..... in the midst of all my work and my unmitigated commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ and my life’s dedication to the ministry of His great Gospel, I have come to a most liberating and encouraging realization, both through Scripture and personal revelation.

"This revelation was put best in words, while I was hosting a live national Christian television program and my guest was the great Missionary Evangelist, T.L. Osborn.

"In the course of this interview with one of the greatest soul winners of the 20th century, he blurts out a statement that burned into my spirit in a way no other single statement has, in my over 45 years as a born-again Christian.

"The statement was: 'The world is already saved, they just don’t know it!'

"According to my subsequent studies of Scriptures to verify this statement as a true and a most powerful and inspiring revelation, I had to face the fact that, not only does the world not know it, but, most of the Evangelical church doesn’t believe it, and therein lies the greatest deception the enemy has ever convinced the world of, second only to his success at deceiving Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. "
Pearson has now been rejected by mainstream Christian leadership and declared a modern-day heretic for questioning the traditional church doctrine that promotes a loving God who sentences billions of people to an eternal hell for not becoming Christians.

God has obviously got a different role for Bishop Pearson in the future than what we saw in his previous years of conventional and entertainment-style ministry.

Blessings, Barry

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

How can people NOT see this?

Romans 5 : 18 - 19 [NIV]

        one trespass
            resulted in condemnation
                for all people
        one righteous act
            resulted in justification and life
                for all people

        through the disobedience of the one man
            the many
                were made sinners
        through the obedience of the one man
            the many
                will be made righteous

How could God state his plan to restore all people more clearly?
How can people NOT see this?
They just have to read what's in their Bibles.

Blessings, Barry

Friday, March 23, 2012

God's Throne

A throne is a place from which a monarch rules.
God's throne is described in many ways in Scripture - glorious, majestic and heavenly are words commonly used.
But the writer of Hebrews has another most interesting description, which we will consider here.
"Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."  [ Heb 4 : 16 ]

Firstly, it is a throne of grace that can be approached with confidence.
Most people would approach a throne with apprehension, even fear, as the one sitting on it would have great authority and wield enormous power.
If they were at odds with the monarch in any way or approach him without due respect for the proper protocol, they would expect judgement from the throne to be swift and severe.

But from this throne comes grace.  This ruler radiates grace from his throne.
Confident that grace is his character, this throne can be approached boldly, with confidence, without hesitation.

Secondly, anyone coming to this throne will obtain mercy and find grace to help them in their time of need.
I approach God's throne frequently, seeking help in my many times of need. 
I never stop to think should I, can I, have I been too often lately?
I am always welcome, I am always loved, accepted, understood and answered.
It couldn't be any other way since the throne's nature is grace.

Is this the picture of the throne of Almighty God that you have been given to understand?
Most of us were raised to think of God's throne as a throne of wrath and anger, severe judgement and everlasting punishment, not a throne of grace from which the God of perfect love rules?

With this understanding in view, why would anyone be apprehensive about an audience before God's throne?  Any time - in this age or the next?

Blessings, Barry

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Church Leaders Hostile to God's Plan

Hi Glenn
Thanks for your question.  It has given me a great day today.
I had never even thought about such a question before you asked it last night.

I have previously considered and made decisions about the lesser question - 
why can't people, especially church leaders, see what God is going to do for all mankind?
-  but I have never considered why they are so hostile to the plan.

Why is God's plan to save all so abhorrent to most Christians, and especially to church leaders?

So ...... I have spent much of the day waiting on God, in prayer and in His Word.  
I've had a wonderful day.
I won't go into any of the details of my journey through the day, but simply say that I believe "God's plan to restore all" challenges mankind's real god at the deepest level.

Most of mankind's real god is self, and their most prized possession is their free will.
This is true of most Christians as well.

Man prides himself on his right and ability to make his own decisions as a free agent, as do most Christians. 
Most Christians are proud of their decision to choose Christ, to be saved, to become a disciple, to join the church, or whatever.
I became a Christian when I .....
I was saved when I .......
I was appointed a church elder or board member when I ........
I led this person or that person to Christ when I .......
And on it goes.

They believe their wise and/or clever choices have given them "rightly deserved" advantages over those who haven't been so wise or clever, and they should get the credit for that.

When the idea that it is God who chooses who and how many will be saved, and when and how that will happen, most Christians, and particularly church leaders, are threatened to the core.
Things aren't under their control as they thought and they can no longer take credit for the good things they have done.
Their choice to invite Christ into their hearts or to enter the ministry or to accept the appointment or position they now have is no longer considered to be their doing.

Self, their god, has been brutally challenged and dethroned - and they want none of it.
Don't talk about it. Don't even think about it. It's heresy. It's dangerous. It will get you into trouble.  Don't associate with people who talk like that.

They will happily preach on the sovereignty of God, as long as you don't take it to extremes or suggest it applies to everything and everyone.
For them, God is a lesser sovereign than self.
For them, God's plan for salvation only works when we agree to it.
And if you suggest that we might not have the final word on this, look out.

The second chapter of my book is on the sovereignty of God.
That should guarantee it will never be recommended to those in mainstream churches.

Blessings, Barry

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Atheists Understandably Confused

Found this poster on an atheist website today.  The URL for the poster was:

The text of the poster says,

    “Why Satan is more powerful than God.

    Because of original sin you will go to hell.

    However God desires that all men be saved.

    In effort to save many from death and hell God spent several thousand years developing a plan.

    This plan involved a miraculous birth, 33 year life, and horrific death of His Son.

    But this plan of salvation only provides salvation for a lucky fraction of all mankind who hear and believe.

    All of this in an attempt to undo what Satan accomplished with a single conversation…and it isn’t working.

    Christians actually believe this !!

    They believe that Satan is either much more powerful or much more intelligent than God.”

Atheists can see how stupid the mainstream Christian view is, even though mainstream Christians can't.  Fancy calling that Good News and being able to keep a straight face !!


Who's Un-Biblical ?

I recently had a conversation with a local church leader about "my un-biblical views" that God is the Saviour of the world and that all will eventually be reconciled to him.
It was suggested that I should not be expressing these ideas around the church as they were unsettling other members, causing division and undermining the leadership.

In my devotions this morning, I began reading John's letters and soon bumped into one of my favourite verses.
Speaking about "Jesus Christ, the Righteous One", the Apostle John says that .....
"He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world" [1 John 2 : 2  NIV]
The Message puts John's statement this way .....
When he served as a sacrifice for our sins, he solved the sin problem for good - not only ours, but the whole world's. [1 John 2 : 2  MSG]

How clear is that?
Yet, most of mainstream Christianity, and particularly its leadership, proclaim that the perfect and supreme sacrifice of Jesus will leave the great majority of his creation totally unaffected as it rushes headlong toward eternal torment and destruction.
And, by the way, while being carefully supervised by the God of love.

All this just reinforces what I decided some time ago - my views are more un-churchical than un-biblical.
It's getting more and more difficult to keep attending church and keep smiling.
If only those pastor/shepherds would care enough for me to show me the errors of my ways and put me on the right path, instead of just telling me to be quiet.

..... still looking for a good church .....

Blessings, Barry

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sharing the Gospel with a Dying Unbeliever

As a believer in the eventual restoration of all, I am occasionally asked what I would say to an unbeliever on his death bed. 
Maybe, over a period of time, it might be something like this ... 
(A more concise version for a one-off death bed conversation follows at the bottom.)

When your time comes to leave this planet, your first conscious appointment will be with God.
This will be a huge event, because God is awesome - the Creator and Saviour of the world.
But let me tell you that ...

God loves you very much and holds absolutely nothing against you, no matter what you've done.
Indeed he is waiting for you as any loving and concerned father waits for his lost son to return home.
Jesus explained this in his story of the Prodigal Son.
Read or relate this parable and follow with a summary like ...
The father offers no judgement, no paying off the debt, no penalty, only full acceptance, wild celebration and reinstatement into the family.

God does this for you too, because of what Jesus has done for all of us.
Explain Jesus' Birth, Death and Resurrection.
Everyone's sins have been dealt with and everyone will live, eventually.
Isn't that just good news?

This great home-coming celebration depended only on the lost son ...
    his change of heart towards his father
    his readiness to admit his mistakes and selfish attitude
    his desire to return home and be reconciled to his father.
The father had already forgiven the son and was reconciled to him, even before the son had started heading for home.
But the father couldn't show him his love until the son had decided to return.
It was all up to the son.

So it's up to you how you meet God.
As someone with a bad attitude to God and fearful of meeting up with him.
As someone confident and appreciative of God's love, forgiveness and full acceptance?

Yes, you can turn for home like the Prodigal did, and be reconciled to your Father.
And live happily and in harmony with him forever.

We will all get to that point eventually, one way or the other.
But the sooner we do, the easier it is; and the sooner that life can begin.
In fact, if we become reconciled to God before we leave this planet, we can start that life straight away.

That's what God calls the good news.
Jesus has done everything that needs to be done for you and me to live in harmony with God forever.

God is already on your side.
We just need to get on his side to get the full benefit of what Jesus has done for us.
What would you like to do now that you know all this?

Here's a simpler, more concise version I might use when time is short. 

Most people think that God is angry with them because of their sins.
Actually it's the other way around.  God is in love with them and they are angry with God.

The message of the Bible is that God is waiting for us to be at peace with him.

God loves us and is on our side.
He has done everything to make sure there is nothing between us and him, from his side, through Jesus Christ.

God asks us to believe him in this, to admit our mistakes and selfish attitude, and to genuinely desire reconciliation.
Which means to drop whatever we hold between us and him, to be at peace with him, and to thank him for his generous invitation to live in harmony with him.

Hopefully this simpler version will be enough to get their attention so that they ask the questions necessary to fill out the story and be given the faith to believe it. [ Romans 10: 17 ]

Please share your thoughts with me on this.
I am visiting an unbeliever on his death bed right at the moment, and asking God for the opportunity to share the gospel, and would love to have your feedback on the above.
Blessings, Barry

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

What's The Difference?

If everyone is to be saved, then what's the difference between Christians and non-Christians?
The difference is clearly not salvation as such.
The difference is this ........
Christians are those who have been appointed by God with a special charter or mission in this age.
We have been given the task of letting others know about their salvation,
We have been given the privilege of partnering the Holy Spirit as He transforms us into the likeness of Christ, thus preparing us for our role in the coming kingdom age.

So .... we chosen or appointed ones ......... we are special, privileged people with a special, privileged assignment.
Let's not be distracted in any way, but give ourselves wholly to God's calling.
2 Timothy 2 : 4

Blessings, Barry

Thursday, March 1, 2012

A Recent Conversation

A Recent Conversation with Woodsy.
Woodsy is a local father with three sons who can't understand why I believe that God is going to eventually save everyone.
Barry:  If you had to choose one of your children to hopelessly suffer forever and not be able to receive any help or relief from you, who would it be?
Woodsy:  I would never do something as ridiculous as that.  I love them all, and wouldn't choose any of them to suffer forever. 
B:  Great, you're not a Calvinist. You must believe God loves all his children equally and chooses none of them to be eternally lost.
W:  Certainly.  God must love his children at least as much as I love mine.
B:  If one of your boys foolishly puts himself in danger, and you have the chance to save him from the consequences of that choice, would you do it?
W:  Of course I would.
B:  Even when he didn't want you to interfere?
W:  Of course.  I wouldn't want him to be hurt.  I might leave him there for a while to help him see the error of his ways, but I wouldn't let him be permanently damaged or risk his life.
B:  So, you would over-ride his freewill, if it's for his ultimate good?
W:  Certainly.
B:  Do you think God would do the same for his kids who have made foolish decisions?
W:  I suppose so ....... I would certainly hope so.
B:  Great, you're not an Arminian.  You must believe God is sovereign and uses his position and power to keep his kids safe from long-term harm.
W:  Hmmmm .....  But doesn't he allow us a free choice ...... to go to heaven or hell?
B:  Would you with your boys?
W:  No, but ......
B:  So you care for your boys more than God cares for his children?
Woodsy didn't finish the conversation.
I would have enjoyed telling him that God loves his kids even more than we love ours, and that he would never let his kids totally destroy themselves no matter what choices they made or how loudly they protested about his interference.
And I would also have enjoyed showing him the verses in Scripture that convince me of that.
Blessings, Barry