Saturday, May 21, 2011

Humility and Hell

"When Francis Chan speaks of hell, the vapor of his tears smells like love." - John Piper

I absolutely love how God speaks through Francis Chan. Every good Christian pastor and teacher will properly delineate the chasm between an imperfect human sinner and a perfect and holy God. But it seems like when Francis does it, you just feel it deeper. When I hear him talk, I want to be more humble. I want to be more pragmatic and measured in my responses to believers and non-believers alike. I still have a tendency to want to jump into a conversation when I see God's truth being misstated or twisted or ignored. I would do better to allow the other person to speak more to better understand their heart, attitude and beliefs. I would do better if my responses were more steeped in love rather than motivated by being right.

You can speak God's truth out of pride and it will still be truth...but it won't be received nearly as well as if it was spoken out of love and humility. God is teaching me that through Francis.

Most importantly, I want to be more humble in my relationship with God. I want to be more yielded and submitted. I want to desire God's glory more than my own and in ever greater measure.

When I first saw this video, I immediately thought of a couple people I have witnessed to multiple times over the years only to find time and again that their intellect and reason proved to be the biggest obstacle in making God the treasure of their hearts and lives. However, I know I do this as well. Within those areas, I need God to humble me so that my life would better reflect His glory.

"Humility is beyond our reach. If it were a product of reaching, we would instinctively be proud of reaching it. It is a gift." - John Piper

"Erasing Hell" book review:

"Eternity is the never ending fulfillment of what you pursued in this life." - J.R. Vassar


"We will not be surprised that Christ has not returned according to any human's timetable. But we should not be relieved. Lord come quickly." - Albert Mohler

Today is the day that Harold Camping called for the rapture. As it is past 6 PM CST, I can officially say he was mistaken. However, I knew he was mistaken before that.

"But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. - Mark 13:32 (ESV)

As a Christian, it is tempting to just dismiss this entire episode and move on. Yet, there are lessons to be taken away. The gloating of skeptics, atheists and even other Christians, should result in even greater prayers for their salvation and for a deeper understanding of grace and love.

We should not stop at verse 32 but hear Christ's command in verse 33:

"Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come."

We should be taking this opportunity to again ask ourselves if we are truly ready...are we on guard against those forces around us that want to destroy our faith? We should be asking God to show us the stumbling blocks in our lives and hearts that threaten to extinguish our passion for our Lord. This is a time to be humble rather than prideful that we didn't fall for Camping's proclamation.

The idea of the rapture is taken from Matthew 24:38-42:

"For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. 42Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming."

I remain unsure whether this passage can be extrapolated into a literal rapture. I will let John Piper offer some definitions and counsel on this matter:

Finally, here is a very well written letter to those who followed Camping:

As of March 2012, Camping has admitted his sin and will stop making end of the world predictions: