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Thursday, 30 June 2011

Rob Bell’s Denial of Hell: You will be fooled if you are ignorant of the bible versions controversy

Rob Bell’s Denial of Hell: You will be fooled if you are ignorant of the bible versions controversy


Un like during the days of the apostles, many evangelical Christians have now come out ‘ boldly’ to challenge the doctrine of hell. Many of these guys are arguing that God is so loving to condemn anybody to hell for eternal torment. Many foolish Christians have accepted the view that hell is a myth after interacting with the various evangelicals who have challenged the existence of hell.


Pastor Stirs Wrath With His Views on Old Questions


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/05/us/05bell.html


POPE JOHN PAUL II REJECTS REALITY OF A LITERAL HELL


http://www.ovrlnd.com/Cults/poprejectshell.html


What these foolish Christians do not seem to know is that the people denying the existence of hell are relying on bible versions that depend on questionable manuscripts. Such as the NIV, NASV, NKJV . All these counterfeit versions change the word hell to sheol, hades or grave(http://av1611.org/biblecom.html). See Ray Smith's so called ‘rebuttals’ of the doctrine of hell using various counterfeit bible versions.


Ray.L Smith denies the existence of hell


http://bible-truths.com/23-minutes-in-hell.html



Any Christian who is very ignorant of the bible version controversy will easily buy into the arguments of hell denying heretics not knowing that they basing their hisses on corrupted bible versions.For example:


The NKJV claims to make the "old" KJV "much clearer" by "updating obsolete words" (New King James Version, 1982e. p. 1235)

How about that "obsolete word" - "hell". The NKJV removes the word "hell" 23 times! And how do they make it "much clearer"? By replacing "hell" with "Hades" and "Sheol"! Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary defines Hades: "the underground abode of the dead in Greek MYTHOLOGY". By making it "much clearer" - they turn your Bible into MYTHOLOGY! Not only that, Hades is not always a place of torment or terror! The Assyrian Hades is an abode of blessedness with silver skies called "Happy Fields". In the satanic New Age Movement, Hades is an intermediate state of purification!

Who in their right mind would think "Hades" or "Sheol" is "up-to-date" and "much clearer" than "hell"?

Matthew 16:18
KJV: "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

NKJV: "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it."


Luke 16:23
KJV: "And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom."

NKJV: "And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom."

Hell is removed in 2 Sam. 22:6, Job 11:8, 26:6, Psalm 16:10, 18:5, 86:13, 116:3, Isaiah 5:14, 14:15, 28:15,18, 57:9, Jonah 2:2, Matt. 11:23, 16:18, Luke 10:15, 16:23, Acts 2:27, 31, Rev. 1:18, 6:8, 20:13,14.

Then the NKJV decides that maybe "Hades" should be "grave"! So the NKJV makes 1 Corinthians 15:55 "much clearer" by changing "grave" to "Hades"! ". . . O Hades, where is your victory?" Clear as mud. . .

Another one of those "obsolete words" is "repent". They take it out 44 times! And how does the NKJV make it "much clearer"? In Matthew 21:32 they use "relent". Matthew 27:3 it's "remorseful" Or Romans 11:29 they change "repentance" to "irrevocable".

The term "new testament" is NOT in the NKJV! (see Matt. 26:28, Mark 14:24, Luke 22:20, 1 Cor. 11:25, 2 Cor. 3:6, Heb. 9:15,) The NKJV replaces "new testament" with "new covenant" (ditto NIV, NRSV, RSV, NASV). An obvious assault at the written word!

The word "damned", "damnation" is NOT in the NKJV! They make it "much clearer" by replacing it with "condemn" (ditto NIV, RSV, NRSV, NASV). "Condemned" is NO WHERE NEAR AS SERIOUS as "damned"! Damned is eternal! One can be "condemned" and not "damned". Romans 14:22 says, ". . . Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth." Webster defines "condemned": to declare to be wrong, but the much more serious and eternal "damn": "to condemn to hell".(source: http://av1611.org/nkjv.html)



SEE: BRO. KATO MIVULE’S BIBLICAL DEFENCE OF HELL


What Did Jesus Christ Teach About Hell?

http://www.yesumulungi.com/index.php/discernment/462-what-did-jesus-christ-teach-about-hell.html
Kato Mivule | June 28, 2011

The subject of Hell is a very difficult one to discuss, even among professing Christians. Controversies over Hell made media headlines of recent with the publication of a book by a mega Church Pastor Rob Bell, “Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived”.

Of course the book has received warm reviews in secular media simply because Rob Bell questions the Doctrine of Hell and if a Loving God would ever send people to Hell, or even if Hell exists at all. The book tends to rhyme with Christian Universalism, a belief that since God is love, God will save everyone on earth. Yet, reading the teachings and sayings of Jesus Christ o the same subject show otherwise.

Rob Bell is not the first to make such remarks about the existence of Hell, the subject has been an on going debate among Christian Theologians for years but Rob Bell has pushed the issue into the pop culture, and thus added more of a pop culture appeal to Christianity.

Rather than go allover Rob Bell's book and what other Theologians contend about the Biblical Teachings of Hell, I would rather spend time going directly over what Jesus Christ in the first person spoke about Hell.

One of the first contentions by some Theologians who don't believe in Hell, is that the word “Hell” does not appear in the Greek New Testament, rather we have the word “Gehenna”; and they are right. The Greek word for Hell is “Gehenna”, however, this does not negate any fact that Jesus Christ taught or spoke in His description of Hell. What such Theologians engage in is simply a semantics warfare.

The other contention is that since God is Love, how can a loving God send people to “Gehenna”? The extension of this contention is that Hell is not a place of fire and excruciating suffering. Another extension of the semi-Hell denier theologians is that God will not punish sinners for ever but simply “destroy” and annihilate them, so they will cease to exist and not suffer eternal pain. Yet still the Teachings of Jesus Christ show otherwise, that they contradict with the contentions of semi-Hell denier theologians.

Yet the same Theologians don't ask why a Loving and Just God would be so loving to the extent that He would forgive the worst terrible murderer sinner, if that sinner repented and asked for forgiveness. Another contention is that “Gehenna” is a temporal place and only for a short time, after which then those souls are redeemed. This argument has been around for centuries, especially with derivatives in the Catholic Christian Church circles called the doctrine of Purgatory.

For now, lets take a look at what Jesus Christ taught concerning Hell or in Greek “Gehenna”...

Jesus Christ describes Gehenna as a Place of Fire...
Matthew 5:22 KJV But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

In his first mention on the subject of Hell, Jesus Christ warns those who are angry with their brother without cause that they are in danger of Hell fire. Of course this establishes that Jesus Christ acknowledged that indeed there is a Hell and Fire, and the two seem to belong to the same place. The Greek word used for Hell is...

G1067, geenna, gheh'-en-nah: Of Hebrew origin ([H1516] and [H2011]); valley of (the son of) Hinnom; gehenna (or Ge-Hinnom), a valley of Jerusalem, used (figuratively) as a name for the place (or state) of everlasting punishment: - hell.

Interestingly the Greek word for fire is “pur”, meaning lightning, or fiery fire...

G4442, pur, poor: A primary word; “fire” (literally or figuratively, specifically lightning): - fiery, fire.

Some speculate that this “fire” spoken of is just lightning and not burning fire. However, context is key here as we study through what Jesus Christ spoke about hell, we shall see that Hell is a place of eternal punishment and burning with fire. But again even if we speculate that this fire is mere lightning, we know that lightning burns, and therefore that argument is flawed.

Jesus Christ warns about sin and Hell...
Matthew 5:29 KJV And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

Matthew 5:30 KJV And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

Jesus Christ clearly warns about the eternal consequences of sin, that it would be better to pluck out your source of sin, that is the eye in this case, than be cast into Hell, to perish in Hell. The Greek word used for “Perish” here is “apollumi” that means to destroy.

G622, apollumi, ap-ol'-loo-mee: From G575 and the base of G3639; to destroy fully (reflexively to perish, or lose), literally or figuratively: - destroy, die, lose, mar, perish.

This is one of the verses that a group theological Hell deniers known as annihilists, claim that Jesus Christ will just “destroy” sinners, that they sinners shall simply cease to exist, disappear, vanish away, and thus suffer no eternal punishment for ever.

Yet as I mentioned earlier, context is everything, they annihilists have taken this verse out of context. On reading further on what Jesus Christ spoke about Hell, we see that Hell punishment is eternal, therefore Jesus Christ was not self contradicting but using the word “perish” as in people languishing in this eternal prison called Hell and the Lake of Fire forever.

Jesus Christ warns: fear Him who is able to destroy soul and body in Hell...
Matthew 10:28 KJV And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Once again the word of contention is “destroy”, Greek word being “apollumi”, that is taken out of context to mean that sinners would simply be annihilated, that they would simply disappear away from existence. This would mean that Jesus Christ would be in contradiction with Himself, yet this is not the case as we shall see later.

Jesus Christ warns unrepentant Cities of Hell...
Matthew 11:23 KJV And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.

Interestingly, in the Old Testament, God warns that ALL Nations who forget The Lord will end up in Hell...
Psalms 9:17 KJV The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.

Jesus Christ mentions that even Hell forces, that is the gates of Hell, the demons in hell, would not be able to prevail against His Church, meaning there are evil forces in Hell...
Matthew 16:18 KJV And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Once again Jesus Christ warns about sin and being cast into Hell. It is important to note that this is the second time that Jesus Christ warns about sin and calls for the 'plucking out of the eye' that causes one to sin than be cast into Hell. Once again Jesus Christ speaks of Hell Fire the second time, just as in Matthew 5:22...
Matthew 18:9 KJV And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.

Jesus Christ warns, Hypocrites will end up in Hell...
Matthew 23:15 KJV Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.

Matthew 23:33 KJV Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?

Interesting, Jesus Christ uses the word “damnation” which means to be judged, or condemned...

G2920, krisis, kree'-sis: (Subjectively or objectively, for or against); by extension a tribunal; by implication justice (specifically divine law): - accusation, condemnation, damnation, judgment.

Therefore Hell has to do with being judged, condemnation, damnation, and justice before God. Those who are sent or cast to Hell have been judged, so it is a place of eternal judgment. Therefore, even as God is loving, kind and merciful, God is also God of Justice, and those who reject His forgiveness, kindness, and mercy, will be Judged and cast into Hell.

To deny that Hell exists, is to deny that God is God of Justice and inevitably deny that God is Loving and Merciful. Why would God forgive if at all no one has done anything deserving of punishment?

To question Hell and deny or reject the teachings of Jesus Christ on Hell is to reject why Jesus Christ went to the Cross. God's Justice is central and foundational to the Christian Faith and you cannot speak about God's Justice without speaking about eternal punishment and Hell.

Jesus Christ warns that Hell Fire shall never be quenched...
Mark 9:43-44 KJV And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

Mark 9:45-46 KJV And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

Mark 9:47-48 KJV And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

We see from the verses above from Mark's record, Jesus Christ warning that Hell's Fire is never quenched. This is one of the verses that Hell deniers try to explain away. However, the meaning is simple, the Hell fire burns and burns continuously for ever. Secondly, Jesus Christ confirms a fact here that He mentioned in Matthew 5:22, about Hell Fire, that is, there is Fire in Hell as per the account of Jesus Christ. Also established in the verses above is that the Fire in Hell is never quenched.

So, this is serious spiritual material to simply distort as Hell deniers do, and misrepresent the Teachings of Jesus Christ on this subject. If God is God of Justice, then you will be held accountable for telling distorting the Teachings of Jesus Christ, and telling lies that Hell exists not or for that matter exists for a short “Purgatory” time.

The Greek word for “unquenchable” is “asbestos”, meaning, not extinguished, perpetual, unquenchable...

G762, asbestos, as'-bes-tos, From G1 (as a negative particle) and a derivative of G4570; not extinguished, that is, (by implication) perpetual: - not to be quenched, unquenchable.

Therefore, we establish from the Teachings of Jesus Christ that Hell is real, it burns with a perpetual fire that cannot be extinguished, and finally there are worms in Hell that do not die. Yes, if it sounds like a science fiction movie, it drives the point home, Hell is far worse than what we humans can describe.
The Greek word for “worm” is “skolex”, meaning a grub, maggot, or earth worm, while the Greet word for “die” used in the 'worm dieth not' is teleutao, meaning decease, expire, finish life...

G4663, skōlēx, sko'-lakes: Of uncertain derivative; a grub, maggot or earth worm: - worm.
G5053, teleutaō, tel-yoo-tah'-o: From a presumed derivative of G5055; to finish life (by implication of G979), that is, expire (demise): - be dead, decease, die.

The implications here are that life does not end when one physically dies, but there is a spiritual life to live either in Heaven with God or Hell in eternal judgment, a place of unquenchable fire, were maggots move around in that fire and don't die. However, the important point is that Hell is not a place for annihilation, since maggots don't die there, it is a place of eternal suffering, a place where God desires that all men should not go but that they should believe in His Son Jesus Christ and receive forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ.
What we have is a description of Hell by Jesus Christ, and from the teachings of Jesus Christ, Hell is a pretty damned and cursed place. It is for this reason that we preach the Gospel, warning every man about this place of eternal judgment called Hell and that God out of His love and mercy desires that all men don't go to this place of eternal punishment but receive forgiveness through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ once again warns unrepentant Cities of the dangers of Hell...
Luke 10:15 KJV And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell.

Jesus Christ warns people to fear God who has power to cast into Hell...
Luke 12:5 KJV But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.

The story of Poor Lazarus and the Rich Man...
Luke 16:19-31 KJV There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: (20) And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, (21) And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. (22) And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; (23) And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. (24) And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. (25) But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. (26) And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. (27) Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: (28) For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. (29) Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. (30) And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. (31) And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

As if to sum up His teachings on the subject of Hell, Jesus Christ gives a very vivid verbal description of Hell yet as not before, in Luke 16. In this story, Jesus Christ gives a clear picture of what Hell is like. In the story, both Lazarus and the rich man die and the rich man ends up in Hell while poor Lazarus ends up in Abraham's bosom, a place of comfort.

While in hell, the rich man lifted up his eyes and could see Lazarus, he remembered Lazarus and asked Abraham for water to quench his thirst. The rich man tells Abraham that he is being tormented in Hell. From the story, we learn that the dead rich man had all his senses in Hell, he felt tormented, he was thirsty, he could see, he had memory of his loved ones on earth, he cried out to Abraham that at least messengers be sent to warn his loved ones on earth to repent and not to go to Hell.

So, we learn from this story of Jesus Christ, that Hell is not a good place, it is a place where sinner who refuse to repent, and reject God's forgiveness end up. The fire burns perpetually in Hell, the maggots(worms) don't die, there is torment, there is unquenchable thirst just as the fire is unquenchable.

We see that there is no contradiction in the teachings of Jesus Christ concerning Hell, they all line up and confirm each other. Brothers and Sisters, Hell is real just as Jesus Christ clearly taught in His teachings. Those who deny that Hell exists are denying the redemption work of Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ holds the keys of Hell and Death...
Revelation 1:18 KJV I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

Last but not least, Jesus Christ holds the keys of Hell and Death. He has all authority of Hell and death. This means that those who receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, those who accept His forgiveness are not bound to Hell but Heaven, for where The Lord is, so shall they be. All all welcome, to accept and receive forgiveness in Jesus Christ.

The Lord God is God of Justice and desires that no one will perish but that all will be saved. However, and sad as it is, some have decided to reject all the goodness of God, and reject forgiveness of sin through Jesus Christ, for every man and woman is given a choice, and our prayer is that you choose Eternal Life in Jesus Christ, that you choose forgiveness in Jesus Christ and after passing through this life, you will enjoy life eternal in Christ Jesus. For Hell and spiritual death have no power over those who are redeemed in Jesus Christ.

Final destination of Hell is the Lake of Fire...
Revelation 20:14-15 KJV (14) And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. (15) And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Finally, some theologians and some Hell deniers argue that Hell is not forever, and yes, to a point they right. At the end of time, The Lord will cast Hell and Death into the Lake of Fire. However, all those who rejected Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, whose names are not found written in the Book of life, will be cast into the Lake of Fire too.

The Greek word for “Lake” is “limne”, meaning a large pond or lake. The Greek for fire here is still “pur” as we saw earlier...

G3041, limnē, lim'-nay:Probably from G3040 (through the idea of the nearness of shore); a pond (large or small): - lake.

The lake of fire will be the final destination for Hell, Death, and all those who reject Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

The Lake of Fire Burns with Fire and Sulfur...
Revelation 21:5-8 KJV And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. (6) And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. (7) He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. (8) But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

We see once again in this description of the Lake of Fire, as described by Jesus Christ to John, a place of burning fire and brimstone or sulfur. The Greek word for “burneth” is “kaio” meaning to set on fire, to kindle, to consume. At the same time the Greek word for “brimstone” is “theion”, meaning sulfur...

G2545, kaiō, kah'-yo: Apparently a primary verb; to set on fire, that is, kindle or (by implication) consume: - burn, light.
G2303, theion, thi'-on: Probably neuter of G2304 (in its original sense of flashing); sulphur: - brimstone.

Therefore the lake of fire is a place of burning fire and sulfur, not a pretty good place to go have a party as some none believers joke about. The Lord wishes that no one goes there. It is why we preach the Gospel, that you may receive eternal life and not eternal damnation. Those who deny the teachings of Christ concerning Hell, reject the work of redemption of Jesus Christ at the Cross.

Is the Lake of Fire forever or just a few days?

Revelation 20:10 KJV And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

One of the most contentions that semi-Hell denier Theologians hold, is that The Lake of Fire will not be forever but for a season. They claim that the Greek word for “forever” means a set period of time. They then go ahead to concoct their Hell doctrine that The Lake of fire will be for a short time after which God will grant forgiveness for all mankind. This is baloney and spiritual speculation with no substantive scriptures to back their claims.

When we check the word “forever” in Greek, we get “aion” which means, properly an age, perpetuity, eternal, forevermore, world without end...

G165, aiōn, ahee-ohn': From the same as G104; properly an age; by extension perpetuity (also past); by implication the world; specifically (Jewish) a Messianic period (present or future): - age, course, eternal, (for) ever (-more), [n-]ever, (beginning of the, while the) world (began, without end).

Yet what these semi-Hell denier Theologians do is to go to the Greek text and pick out “age”, then turn around and sell that to none discerning Christians to mean , 'a set period of time', all in the guise of purposefully misleading souls away from Truth in Jesus Christ, simply because they know a majority of people will not read their Bibles.

However, 'forever', means for ever and not a contradiction with the Mission of Jesus Christ to grant ETERNAL life for all who accept and believe in Him. If the Lake of fire and Hell punishments are for a limited period of time, so is eternal life for those who accept and believe in Jesus Christ. You cannot have it one way.

There is eternal life, everlasting life, for those who accept forgiveness in Jesus Christ and believe in Him and eternal damnation for those who reject forgiveness of sins in Jesus Christ.

John 3:14-16 KJV And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: (15) That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. (16) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

We see that the Greek word for “eternal” and “everlasting” are the same, “aionios”, meaning, perpetual, eternal, forever, everlasting, world began without end; and perpetual meaning, ageless, aeonian, eonian, unending, unceasing, eternal...

G166, aiōnios, ahee-o'-nee-os: From G165; perpetual (also used of past time, or past and future as well): - eternal, for ever, everlasting, world (began).
G166, aiōnios, ahee-o'-nee-os:From G165; perpetual (also used of past time, or past and future as well): - eternal, for ever, everlasting, world (began).

Conclusion...
Therefore the word “forever” in the context of Hell and the Lake of Fire is perpetual, ageless, and unceasing punishment, a place that The Lord desires that NO ONE GOES TO. The Lord has given you the choice to make, He will not force His will on you, though He could. However, The Lord God of Justice desires that you receive His forgiveness of sins, mercy, love and grace through His Son who died for our sins on the Cross and rose again from the dead, Jesus Christ.

Hell exists and is real, Jesus Christ clearly taught about Hell and the need for humans to repent and not go there. Denying this important teaching about Hell, or trying to water it down is to deny the teaching of Jesus Christ and The Gospel of Jesus Christ.

To the best of my ability, by The Lord's Grace, Mercy, Love, and leading of The Holy Spirit, I believe I have presented the sayings of Jesus Christ concerning this topic of Hell. It is another thing to struggle with this subject but yet it is another issue to try and dilute the teachings of Jesus Christ so as to appeal to the present pop culture.

There are consequences for our actions, in our present legal systems, we pursue Justice, even it is flawed context, yet we love to assume that The Lord God of Heaven will not pursue Justice. Our justice system, is void of perfect mercy, grace, and love. Yet God's Justice is perfect in love, forgiveness, and mercy; that mercy and forgiveness is now available to ALL to receive freely in Jesus Christ.

It is not God's will that you should choose Hell and eternal fire but that you choose eternal life in Jesus Christ.

God Bless You All
Kato Mivule

ALSO SEE


POPE JOHN PAUL II REJECTS REALITY OF A LITERAL HELL


http://www.ovrlnd.com/Cults/poprejectshell.html

During his weekly address to the general audience of 8,500 people at the Vatican on July 28, 1999, Pope John Paul II rejected the reality of a physical, literal hell as a place of eternal fire and torment. Rather, the pope said hell is separation, even in this life, from the joyful communion with God. According to an official Vatican transcript of the pope's speech, Pope John Paul II noted that the Scriptural references to hell and the images portrayed by Scripture are only symbolic and figurative of "the complete frustration and emptiness of life without God. " He added, "Rather than a physical place, hell is the state of those who freely and definitively separate themselves from God, the source of all life and joy." He said hell is "a condition resulting from attitudes and actions which people adopt in this life." Concerning the concept of eternal damnation, the pope said, "Damnation consists precisely in definitive separation from God, freely chosen by the human person, and confirmed with death that seals his choice for ever." The pope also added, "The thought of hell and even less the improper use of biblical images must not create anxiety or despair." Rather, he stated, it is a reminder of the freedom found in Christ.

The Religion News Service reported that a Vatican-approved editorial published several weeks ago in the Jesuit journal Civilta Cattolica agrees with the pope's latest pronouncement. The editorial explicitly pronounced, "Hell exists, not as a place but as a state, a way of being of the person who suffers the pain of the deprivation of God" (Los Angeles Times, 7-31-99). The pope said eternal damnation is "not God's work but is actually our own doing." Only a week earlier the pope stated that heaven is neither "an abstraction nor a place in the clouds, but a living, personal relationship of union with the Holy Trinity. "

Such a statement on hell is strikingly similar to that made by Billy Graham several years ago in which he was quoted,
The only thing I could say for sure is that hell means separation from God. We are separated from his light, from his fellowship. That is going to be hell. When it comes to a literal fire, I don't preach it because I'm not sure about it. When the Scripture uses fire concerning hell, that is possibly an illustration of how terrible it's going to be-not fire but something worse, a thirst for God that cannot be quenched. (Time magazine, 1 1-1 5-93)

Both Graham and now the pope completely reject the clear teaching of Scripture regarding the reality of a literal lake of fire that burns throughout all eternity. The author of Hebrews taught that the reality of hell is a vital Bible doctrine (Heb. 6:1, 2). Jude taught that believers are to contend for the faith (doctrine) once delivered unto the saints and that hell is a real, literal place of fire and torment Jude 3, 7). The apostle Paul taught that those who knew not Christ would suffer the vengeance of God which entailed everlasting damnation (2 Thess. 1:8, 9). The apostle John saw that hell was a real place (Rev. 14: 1 0; 20:10-15; 21:8). And, Jesus Christ Himself taught that hell literally exists, that it lasts forever and that those who reject His perfect salvation would spend eternity therein (Matt. 13:41, 42; 18:8, 9; 25:41-46; Luke 16:19-31). Rejection of the Biblical doctrine of hell by the pope and Graham does not nullify the fact that a literal hell truly exists. "Let God be true, but every man a liar" (Rom. 3:3, 4).

Pastor Stirs Wrath With His Views on Old Questions


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/05/us/05bell.html

By ERIK ECKHOLM

Published: March 4, 2011

A new book by one of the country’s most influential evangelical pastors, challenging traditional Christian views of heaven, hell and eternal damnation, has created an uproar among evangelical leaders, with the most ancient of questions being argued in a biblical hailstorm of Twitter messages and blog posts.


In a book to be published this month, the pastor, Rob Bell, known for his provocative views and appeal among the young, describes as “misguided and toxic” the dogma that “a select few Christians will spend forever in a peaceful, joyous place called heaven, while the rest of humanity spends forever in torment and punishment in hell with no chance for anything better.”

Such statements are hardly radical among more liberal theologians, who for centuries have wrestled with the seeming contradiction between an all-loving God and the consignment of the billions of non-Christians to eternal suffering. But to traditionalists they border on heresy, and they have come just at a time when conservative evangelicals fear that a younger generation is straying from unbendable biblical truths.

Mr. Bell, 40, whose Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Mich., has 10,000 members, is a Christian celebrity and something of a hipster in the pulpit, with engaging videos that sell by the hundreds of thousands and appearances to rapt, youthful crowds in rock-music arenas.

His book comes as the evangelical community has embraced the Internet and social media to a remarkable degree, so that a debate that once might have built over months in magazines and pulpits has instead erupted at electronic speed.

The furor was touched off last Saturday by a widely read Christian blogger, Justin Taylor, based on promotional summaries of the book and a video produced by Mr. Bell. In his blog, Between Two Worlds, Mr. Taylor said that the pastor “is moving farther and farther away from anything resembling biblical Christianity.”

“It is unspeakably sad when those called to be ministers of the Word distort the gospel and deceive the people of God with false doctrine,” wrote Mr. Taylor, who is vice president of Crossway, a Christian publisher in Wheaton, Ill.

By that same evening, “Rob Bell” was one of the top 10 trending topics on Twitter. Within 48 hours, Mr. Taylor’s original blog had been viewed 250,000 times. Dozens of other Christian leaders and bloggers jumped into the fray and thousands of their readers posted comments on both sides of the debate, though few had yet seen the entire book.

One leading evangelical, John Piper of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, wrote, “Farewell Rob Bell.” R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said in a blog post that by suggesting that people who do not embrace Jesus may still be saved, Mr. Bell was at best toying with heresy. He called the promotional video, in which Mr. Bell pointedly asks whether it can be true that Gandhi, a non-Christian, is burning in hell, “the sad equivalent of a theological striptease.”

Others such as Scot McKnight, a professor of theology at North Park University in Chicago, said they welcomed the renewed discussion of one of the hardest issues in Christianity — can a loving God really be so wrathful toward people who faltered, or never were exposed to Jesus? In an interview and on his blog, he said that the thunder emanating from the right this week was not representative of American Christians, even evangelicals. According to surveys and his experience with students, Mr. McKnight said, a large majority of evangelical Christians “more or less believe that people of other faiths will go to heaven,” whatever their churches and theologians may argue.

“Rob Bell is tapping into a younger generation that really wants to open up these questions,” he said. “He is also tapping into the fear of the traditionalists — that these differing views of heaven and hell will compromise the Christian message.”
Mr. Bell, who through his publisher declined to comment on the book or the debate, has resisted labels, but he is often described as part of the so-called emerging church movement, which caters to younger believers and has challenged theological boundaries as well as pastoral involvement in conservative politics.

As the controversy exploded last week, HarperOne moved up to March 15 the publication date of Mr. Bell’s book, “Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived.”

Judging from an advance copy, the 200-page book is unlikely to assuage Mr. Bell’s critics. In an elliptical style, he throws out probing questions about traditional biblical interpretations, mixing real-life stories with scripture.

Much of the book is a sometimes obscure discussion of the meaning of heaven and hell that tears away at the standard ideas. In his version, heaven is something that begins here on earth, in a life of goodness, and hell seems more a condition than an eternal fate — “the very real consequences we experience when we reject all the good and true and beautiful life that God has for us.”

While sliding close to what critics consider the heresy of “universalism” — that all humans will eventually be saved — he never uses the term.

Mark Galli, senior managing editor of Christianity Today, called in an article on the magazine's Web site for all sides to temper their rhetoric and welcome more debate.

“We won’t be able to discern where the Spirit is leading if we don’t listen and respond respectfully to one another,” he wrote.
“God once used a donkey to make his will known,” he added, “so surely he is able to speak through both traditionalists and gadflies.”


Mark Driscoll Responds to Rob Bell Controversy on Hell


By Jennifer Riley | Christian Post Reporter


http://www.christianpost.com/news/mark-driscoll-responds-to-rob-bell-controversy-on-hell-49406/


Pastor Mark Driscoll says he doesn’t intend on “attacking any individual” with his blog post Monday on hell. But a section in the blog addressing why a loving God would send people to hell inevitably draws him into the emotionally-charged debate surrounding preacher Rob Bell’s new book, which happens to be released tomorrow.

Driscoll, known to be a theological buff, responds to the argument “a loving God would not send billions of people to a horrible hell” in his blog on The Resurgence, a missional theology resource site that he helped found.

In the post, Driscoll, who is founding pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, states that it is important to understand that God doesn’t send just anyone to hell, but only those who reject His revelation and choose to suppress the truth that He plainly reveals to them.

“Hell is only for those who persistently reject the real God in favor of false gods,” writes the Seattle pastor. “To paraphrase C.S. Lewis, either people will say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ or God will say to them, ‘Thy will be done.’”

Driscoll also responds to the argument that a loving God would be more tolerant by posing a counterargument that if God was tolerant of everyone then he should also tolerate rapists, pimps, pedophiles, and those who sin against the very people criticizing God as intolerant.

“The idea is completely absurd and unjust,” argues Driscoll. “A loving God protects His children from sin and evil by separating them. In this way, God is a father who is tolerant of all who obey Him and are safe for His children. But He is intolerant of those who sin against Him and do evil to His children.”

In our society, Driscoll points out, there is also cultural intolerance for those who drink and drive, steal, rape and murder and we separate those people from society.

“To call such actions on God’s part intolerant is shameful, because tolerance would denote both approval and support of evil.”

Recently, there is an explosion of interest about hell due to the soon-to-released book by Rob Bell, pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church (no relations to Driscoll’s church) in Grandville, Mich., called Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived. The book has drawn much fire from prominent evangelical leaders, with some accusing Bell of heresy.

“Will only a few select people make it to heaven? ... And will billions and billions of people burn forever in hell?" Bell poses in a promotional video for the book.
"Millions and millions of people were taught that the primary message, the center of the gospel of Jesus, is that God is going to send you to hell unless you believe in Jesus. So what gets subtly sort of caught and taught is that Jesus rescues you from God. How could that God ever be good? ... And how could that ever be good news?"
In the video, he states that the good news is that “love wins.”

Justin Taylor, vice president of editorial at Crossway, criticizes Bell as appearing to be promoting universalism.
While Pastor Joshua Harris of Gaithersburg, Md., tweeted that Bell was preaching a false gospel.

Respected evangelical pastor John Piper tweeted on Feb. 26, “Farewell Rob Bell.”
Driscoll tried to stay away from the fray by not naming names, but he makes a strong case against Bell’s alleged universalistic view and the argument that God cannot be loving and send people to hell at the same time.

The Seattle pastor calls on people to look at what Jesus did on the cross and how he suffered for the ungodly sinners and his enemies.

“Or, to say it another way, Jesus suffered and died for mean people. A God who will suffer and die for mean people is not mean,” asserts Driscoll. “In fact, such a God alone is altogether loving; to be condemned by a God of perfect love shows how damnable our sin truly is.”

In his post, Driscoll also answers the argument that eternal torment in hell is unjust punishment for people who sin only for a few decades. He responds by referring to Daniel 12:2 as well as what Jesus says in the Bible in making the case that hell is unending.

“Today, though, it is becoming popular to hope that sinners will eventually repent and everyone will end up in heaven,” writes Driscoll. “This is universal reconciliation, the ancient view of Origen. However, there is not a shred of evidence for post-mortem repentance.”

Bell’s Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived will be released on March 15.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Uganda and Burundi to get US drones to fight Islamists

FIRST READ:


AFRICOM : Seizing The Helm Of Africa


http://www.antipasministries.com/other/article026.htm


AFRICOM and the Recolonization of Africa


http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=18660



Africom - Latest U.S. Bid to Recolonise the Continent


http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=16869



Predator Drones To “Stop Genocide”?


http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=24590


US offers Shs120b to Amisom


http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/-/688334/1190428/-/byq93oz/-/index.html

Kampala

Posted Tuesday, June 28 2011 at 00:00

The US is offering spy drones among a huge military consignment to AMISOM to help bolster its capability to decimate the al- Shabaab, foreign media reported yesterday.
The package includes four shoulder-launched Raven drones, other surveillance systems, body armour, night-vision gadgets, generators as well as communications and heavy construction equipment, according to the New York Times. This aid package will cost Washington nearly $45 million (Shs111b).


Secret documents Associated Press news agency obtained from Pentagon show Uganda will separately receive unspecified military communication and engineering gadgets worth $4.4 million (Shs10.9b). “I am not aware. The consideration may still be at policy level. We have not yet received anything,” Uganda’s Defence and Military Spokesman, Lt. Col. Felix Kulayigye, said yesterday when contacted.


News of the military aid comes six weeks after Gen. Carter Ham, the new commander of US Africa Command (AFRICOM), visited Uganda and held talks with President Museveni at his home in Rwakitura, Kiruhura District, on May 10 about Somalia’s hazardous situation.

Mr John Dunne, the deputy public affairs officer at the US Mission in Kampala, said last evening that they have increased their military spending on AMISOM in line with US commitments made during the July 2010 AU summit in Kampala as “the situation in Mogadishu remains difficult”.

Difficult situation


“It is important that these attacks are defeated and that AMISOM and the Transitional Federal Government together restore stability in Mogadishu so that political development and humanitarian operations can continue,” he wrote in an email reply.

Uganda and Burundi, the only countries contributing some 9,000 soldiers on behalf of the African Union to fight al-Shabaab, a designated terrorist group, claim to now control 70 per cent of Mogadishu following gains in past weeks.

The US, however, maintains that the situation there “remains difficult” and outgoing Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director and Defence Secretary-designate, Leone Panetta, recently warned that al-Shabaab was getting stronger and linking with Yemen-based al-Qaeda elements in the Arabian Peninsula.

In yesterday’s email, Mr Dunne wrote: “We have and will continue to provide equipment, training, and some logistical support to Ugandan and Burundian soldiers.” To date, Washington has directly committed $185 million to support AMISOM operations in Mogadishu beside its other assessed contributions to the United Nations that provides logistical assistance to the continental force.

The latest Pentagon aid is part of a $145.4 million package that its officials approved and sent to Capitol Hill last week as part of a notification process before the equipment can be delivered. The plan aims to build the counter-terrorism capabilities of Uganda and Burundi.

AMISOM Spokesman Paddy Ankunda, promoted yesterday to Lt. Col, said from Mogadishu that the equipment, when it arrives, will be “force multiplier”. He said al-Shabaab has lost the enthusiasm to fight but still maintain some capability to harm civilians through suicide bombings.


Uganda and Burundi to get US drones to fight Islamists


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-13946702


28 June 2011 Last updated at 15:31 GMT

The US is supplying drone aircrafts to Uganda and Burundi to help them fight Islamist militants in Somalia, its defence officials have told the BBC.
The four drones will be part of a $45m (£28m) military aid package aid to the two countries.

Uganda and Burundi contribute the 9,000 peacekeepers to African peace force in Somalia battling Islamists that control much of the country.
The US sees Somalia as an al-Qaeda haven in East Africa.

Air strikes

The US military command for Africa (Africom) confirmed to the BBC that the Pentagon plan was to strengthen Uganda's and Burundi's counter-terrorism capabilities.
The military aid is to include body armour, night-vision gear, communications and surveillance systems.

The al-Shabab Islamist group, which has links to al-Qaeda, control large swathes of southern and central Somalia, including parts of the capital, Mogadishu.

Analysts say Somalia's weak interim government relies heavily on the African Union peacekeepers to stave off the threat posed by al-Shabab.

There have been US air strikes on al-Shabab in the past, and a US special operations team killed Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, one of the most senior leaders of al-Qaeda's East Africa cell, inside Somalia in 2009.

The US has a military base in neighbouring Djibouti where some 3,000 US troops, as well as armour, aircraft and drones are based.

Somalia has been without an effective central government since the fall of Siad Bare in 1991.

Evangelicals see secularism as greater threat to Christianity than Islam

Evangelicals see secularism as greater threat to Christianity than Islam


http://www.christiantoday.com/article/evangelicals.see.secularism.as.greater.threat.to.christianity.than.islam/28208.htm

by Karen Peake Posted: Thursday, June 23, 2011, 11:08 (BST)


The greatest threat to evangelical Christianity is not Islam, but rather secularism, consumerism and pop culture, a new study has found.

In a survey of nearly 2,200 evangelical leaders from 166 countries, 71% identified the influence of secularism as a “major threat” to evangelical Christianity.

This was followed by consumerism (67%), and sex and violence in pop culture (59%).

Only 47% of evangelicals identified the influence of Islam as a major threat.

The survey, by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life, also found that evangelicals in the Global South are more optimistic about the future of evangelicalism than their brothers and sisters in the Global North.

While seven in ten evangelical Protestant leaders (71%) living in the Global South expected the state of evangelicalism in their countries to be better in five years than it is today, in the Global North evangelical Protestant leaders expected the situation to either be the same (21%) or get worse (33%).

Global South leaders also tended to be more positive about their influence, with 58% saying that the influence of evangelical Christians on life in their countries was increasing.

In the Global North, however, 66% of leaders said evangelicals were losing influence.

Evangelical leaders in the US were the most pessimistic about the prospects for evangelical Christianity in their society, with 82% saying they were losing influence in the US today.

The findings are based on the responses of evangelical leaders who attended the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelisation in Cape Town last October.

The survey also questioned the leaders on their beliefs and found near unanimous agreement on areas like the uniqueness of Christ and issues like abortion.

Ninety-six per cent agreed that Christianity is the one, true faith leading to eternal life, while 98% agreed that the Bible is the Word of God.

Ninety-six per cent agreed that abortion is usually or always wrong, while 84% agreed that society should discourage homosexuality.

They were almost evenly split when it came to literal interpretations of the Bible, morality, and drinking alcohol.

Exactly half of the evangelical leaders surveyed believed the Bible should be read literally, word for word. Forty-nine per cent believed it was not necessary to believe in God to be a moral person.

Just over half (52%) said that drinking alcohol was not compatible with being a good evangelical, compared to 42% who felt that it was.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

New York Allows Same-Sex Marriage, Becoming Largest State to Pass Law

New York Allows Same-Sex Marriage, Becoming Largest State to Pass Law


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/25/nyregion/gay-marriage-approved-by-new-york-senate.html?_r=1&hp


By NICHOLAS CONFESSORE and MICHAEL BARBARO

Published: June 24, 2011

ALBANY — Lawmakers voted late Friday to legalize same-sex marriage, making New York the largest state where gay and lesbian couples will be able to wed and giving the national gay-rights movement new momentum from the state where it was born.

Nathaniel Brooks for The New York Times
Senator Stephen M. Saland explained his vote to support legalizing same sex marriage on the floor of the New York State Senate on Friday night.

The marriage bill, whose fate was uncertain until moments before the vote, was approved 33 to 29 in a packed but hushed Senate chamber. Four members of the Republican majority joined all but one Democrat in the Senate in supporting the measure after an intense and emotional campaign aimed at the handful of lawmakers wrestling with a decision that divided their friends, their constituents and sometimes their own homes.

With his position still undeclared, Senator Mark J. Grisanti, a Republican from Buffalo who had sought office promising to oppose same-sex marriage, told his colleagues he had agonized for months before concluding he had been wrong.

“I apologize for those who feel offended,” Mr. Grisanti said, adding, “I cannot deny a person, a human being, a taxpayer, a worker, the people of my district and across this state, the State of New York, and those people who make this the great state that it is the same rights that I have with my wife.”

Senate approval was the final hurdle for the same-sex marriage legislation, which was approved last week by the Assembly. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed the measure at 11:55 p.m., and the law will go into effect in 30 days, meaning that same-sex couples could begin marrying in New York by late July.

Passage of same-sex marriage here followed a daunting run of defeats in other states where voters barred same-sex marriage by legislative action, constitutional amendment or referendum. Just five states currently permit same-sex marriage: Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont, as well as the District of Columbia.

At around 10:30 p.m., moments after the vote was announced, Mr. Cuomo strode onto the Senate floor to wave at cheering supporters who had crowded into the galleries to watch. Trailed by two of his daughters, the governor greeted lawmakers, and paused to single out those Republicans who had defied the majority of their party to support the marriage bill.

“How do you feel?” he asked Senator James S. Alesi, a suburban Rochester Republican who voted against the measure in 2009 and was the first to break party ranks this year. “Feels good, doesn’t it?”

The approval of same-sex marriage represented a reversal of fortune for gay-rights advocates, who just two years ago suffered a humiliating defeat when a same-sex marriage bill was easily rejected by the Senate, which was then controlled by Democrats. This year, with the Senate controlled by Republicans, the odds against passage of same-sex marriage appeared long.

But the unexpected victory had a clear champion: Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat who pledged last year to support same-sex marriage but whose early months in office were dominated by intense battles with lawmakers and some labor unions over spending cuts.

Mr. Cuomo made same-sex marriage one of his top priorities for the year and deployed his top aide to coordinate the efforts of a half-dozen local gay-rights organizations whose feuding and disorganization had in part been blamed for the defeat two years ago.
The new coalition of same-sex marriage supporters brought in one of Mr. Cuomo’s trusted campaign operatives to supervise a $3 million television and radio campaign aimed at persuading several Republican and Democratic senators to drop their opposition.

For Senate Republicans, even bringing the measure to the floor was a freighted decision. Most of the Republicans firmly oppose same-sex marriage on moral grounds, and many of them also had political concerns, fearing that allowing same-sex marriage to pass on their watch would embitter conservative voters and cost the Republicans their one-seat majority in the Senate.

Leaders of the state’s Conservative Party, whose support many Republican lawmakers depend on to win election, warned that they would oppose in legislative elections next year any Republican senator who voted for same-sex marriage.

But after days of contentious discussion capped by a marathon nine-hour closed-door debate on Friday, Republicans came to a fateful decision: The full Senate would be allowed to vote on the bill, the majority leader, Dean G. Skelos, said Friday afternoon, and each member would be left to vote according to his or her conscience.

US cannot continue funding treatment and care yet more and more Ugandans are getting infected: Oh! really

FIRST READ:


Testing biological weapons on Ugandan Guinea pigs: Deadly Ebola virus breaks out in Luweero(Uganda)


http://watchmanafrica.blogspot.com/2011/05/testing-biological-weapons-on-ugandan.html


MUST WATCH:


Emerging Viruses: Aids & Ebola - Nature, Accident or Intentional?


www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-VhkR9FGvA




THE DRUG EPIDEMIC, VIRUSES, EBOLA, AND AIDS[IT'S NOT WHAT YOU THINK


http://www.antipasministries.com/html/file0000081.htm


CHRISTIANS IN AFRICA: AWAKE!
America and the American Church Are Not Your Friends



http://www.antipasministries.com/html/file0000234.htm


US faults Uganda as HIV/Aids increases


http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/-/688334/1188492/-/c0789lz/-/index.html


Posted Saturday, June 25 2011 at 00:00
Kampala
The United States government has raised serious concerns over Uganda’s failure to restrain the spread of HIV/Aids in the country and warned that US cannot continue funding treatment and care yet more and more Ugandans are getting infected.

Addressing Press Corps members at her farewell news conference on Thursday, Ms Joann Lockard, the public affairs officer of the US Embassy in Kampala, said Uganda has lost a bit of its energy in the fight against HIV/Aids epidemic.

“Uganda has made tremendous progress in combating HIV/Aids in the last two decades. But we are concerned. Uganda has lost a bit of its energy in the area of prevention,” Ms Lockard said. She added: “We cannot continue funding 85 per cent of ARVs when more Ugandans continue to get infected. The government must find ways to invigorate the fight against HIV/Aids beyond condom use and abstinence approaches.”

Uganda once held up as a model for Africa in the fight against HIV/Aids appears to be losing the battle against the pandemic due to increased infections and failure to stir efforts toward prevention programmes.

Strong government leadership, broad-based partnerships and effective public education campaigns all contributed to a decline in the number of people living with HIV/Aids in the 1990s.

However, Ms Lockard said the situation is changing.

Ms Lockard said the US government injects about $600 million in Uganda each year and that half of this money goes to health sector- focusing HIV/Aids treatment under the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

US remain Uganda’s chief donor towards HIV/Aids treatment and care, contributing about 85 per cent of the budget for provision of ARVs to people living with HIV/Aids. Available figures indicate that there are an estimated 1.2 million Ugandans living with HIV in Uganda, which includes more than 150,000 children. An estimated 64,000 people died from AIDS in 2009 and 1.2 million children have been orphaned by Uganda’s devastating epidemic.

A slot opens when a patient dies, highlighting an emerging crisis.
Uganda is one of the African countries where clinics and hospitals sometimes turn patients away due to lack of drugs. There are currently about 500,000 patients, who need treatment, but only 200,000 are getting it, but each year, an additional 110,000 are infected.

While the Aids body chief, Dr Kihumuro Apuuli, was reported out of the country, other officials, including the Uganda Aids Commission spokesperson James Kigozi, who said he was on leave, were unwilling to comment on the government’s failure to contain the spread of HIV/Aids in the country.

The US concerns over the increased spread of HIV/Aids in the country came after Saturday Monitor last week revealed that the government was sitting on at least Shs50.4 billion in unused donor funds for people living with HIV/Aids even as more than 300,000 people who require treatment continue to lack access to the life-saving antiretroviral drugs.

Auditor General’s report

This disclosure is contained in the Global Fund May 11 audit report, in which the Auditor General, Mr John Muwanga, faulted Ministry of Health officials for failure to utilise more than 85 per cent of the funds yet there are patients who need drugs but unable to access them.

In the face of the government’s failure to deal with the spread of the pandemic, Ms Lockard said the US will continue funding ARVs and asked the government to play its part in areas of prevention.

She said the government should promote circumcision as one of the approaches of complimenting condom use and abstinence.

Although there is a lot to learn from Uganda’s comprehensive and timely campaign against the AIDS epidemic, the opposition members in Parliament have since warned that emphasising Uganda’s success story must not detract from the huge consequences that AIDS continues to have across the country.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Sometimes Conspiracy Theories Are True

A "conspiracy theory" no longer means an event explained by a conspiracy. Instead, it now means any explanation, or even a fact, that is out of step with the government's explanation and that of its media pimps. Antipas Ministries



Sometimes Conspiracy Theories Are True


http://www.antipasministries.com/other/article161.htm#app1

by Alexander Cockburn


Unlike the French or the Italians, for whom conspiracies are an integral part of government activity, acknowledged by all, Americans have been temperamentally prone to discount them. Reflecting its audience, the press follows suit. Editors and reporters like to offer themselves as hardened cynics, following the old maxim "Never believe anything till it is officially denied," but in truth, they are touchingly credulous, ever inclined to trust the official version, at least until irrefutable evidence - say, the failure to discover a single WMD in Iraq - compels them finally to a darker view.

Once or twice a decade some official deception simply cannot be sedately circumnavigated. Even in the 1950s, when the lid of government secrecy was more firmly bolted down, the grim health consequences of atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons in the South Pacific, Utah, and Nevada finally surfaced. In the late 1960s, it was the turn of the CIA, some of its activities first exposed in relatively marginal publications like The Nation and Ramparts, then finally given wider circulation.

Even then the mainstream press exhibited extreme trepidation in running any story presuming to discredit the moral credentials of the U.S. government. Take assassination as an instrument of national policy. In these post-9/11 days, when Dennis Blair, the director of national intelligence, publicly declares, as he did before the House Intelligence Committee, that the government has the right to kill Americans abroad, it is easy to forget that nothing used to more rapidly elicit furious denials from the CIA than allegations about its efforts, stretching back to the late 1940s, to kill inconvenient foreign leaders. . . .

Maybe now the decline in power of the established corporate press, the greater availability of dissenting versions of politics and history, and the exposure of the methods used to coerce public support for the attack on Iraq have engendered a greater sense of realism on the part of Americans about what their government can do. Perhaps the press will be more receptive to discomfiting stories about what Washington is capable of in the pursuit of what it deems to be the national interest. Hopefully, in this more fertile soil, Syd Schanberg's pertinacity will be vindicated at last, and those still active in politics who connived at this abandonment will be forced to give an account.

The following are accounts of truth
of which one should avail himself


•Alexander Cockburn co-edits CounterPunch. He is a regular columnist for The Nation and also writes a weekly syndicated column. Among his books are Whiteout: The CIA, Drugs, and the Press, End Times: The Death of the Fourth Estate (both co-authored with Jeffrey St. Clair) and Washington Babylon, co-authored with Ken Silverstein.

•Enver Masud, "The Achilles' Heel of the Official 9/11 Conspiracy Theory," The Wisdom Fund, October 17, 2007.


•David Ray Griffin, "Osama bin Laden as Responsible for the 9/11 Attacks: Is This Belief Based on Evidence?," veteranstoday.com, October 30, 2010

•The New York Times this morning has a particularly lush installment of one of the American media's most favored, reliable, and self-affirming rituals -- it's time to mock and pity Those Crazy, Primitive, Irrational, Propagandized Muslims and their Wild Conspiracy Theories, which their reckless media and extremists maliciously disseminate in order to generate unfair and unfounded hostility toward the U.S.--Glenn Greenwald, "Those irrational, misled, conspiratorial Muslims," salon.com, May 26, 2010.

•When I let it be known that I was going to tell Dad, who was director of a U.S. Senate sub-committee at the time, about the fatal tortures that the South Koreans were carrying out in our torture chambers, I was told that if I ever breathed a word about this to anybody I would never get home alive. Nowadays, such information does get out, but I doubt that anybody in the know about 9/11 would ever divulge what really happened and certainly not who was involved in it, because they would have a life expectancy measured in hours. I have some tales I could tell about that, but this would not be healthy for me. After everybody involved in 9/11 is dead, however, I think it is highly probable if not certain that the full truth will come out. There are good reasons why State Department documents remain classified for fifty years. -- Robert D Crane, EMail, May 27, 2010. David Ray Griffin, "Did 9/11 Justify the War in Afghanistan?," foreignpolicyjournal-.com, June 25, 2010.

•John McCain, who has risen to political prominence on his image as a Vietnam POW war hero, has, inexplicably, worked very hard to hide from the public stunning information about American prisoners in Vietnam who, unlike him, didn't return home. Throughout his Senate career, McCain has quietly sponsored and pushed into federal law a set of prohibitions that keep the most revealing information about these men buried as classified documents. Thus the war hero who people would logically imagine as a determined crusader for the interests of POWs and their families became instead the strange champion of hiding the evidence and closing the books. Almost as striking is the manner in which the mainstream press has shied from reporting the POW story and McCain's role in it-- Sydney Schanberg, "McCain and the POW Cover-Up: The "war hero" candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam," American Conservative, July 1, 2010.

•The purest example of how Americans are shielded from truth is the media's (including many Internet sites') response to the large number of professionals who find the official explanation of September 11, 2001, inconsistent with everything they, as experts, know about physics, chemistry, structural engineering, architecture, fires, structural damage, the piloting of airplanes, the security procedures of the United States, NORAD's capabilities, air traffic control, airport security, and other matters. These experts, numbering in the thousands, have been shouted down by know-nothings in the media who brand the experts as "conspiracy theorists."--Paul Craig Roberts, "Conspiracy Theory," foreignpolicyjournal.com, June 20 2011]

"Chrislam"!!! Give me a break

Michigan televangelist storms off network


http://www.detnews.com/article/20110622/ENT10/106220333/1457/ENT10/Mich.-televangelist-storms-off-network


Oralandar Brand-Williams/ The Detroit News


Last Updated: June 22. 2011 10:22AM

Detroit — Michigan televangelist Jack Van Impe has preached the End Times for decades. Last week, his time ended at the Trinity Broadcast Network because of a dustup over two fellow televangelists.

The Rochester Hills-based host of "Jack Van Impe Presents" left the network because it yanked a show that was supposed to air June 6 that featured criticism of nationally known pastors Rick Warren and Robert H. Schuller.

Van Impe accused the two of trying to combine Christian and Muslim beliefs into a new movement called "Chrislam."

"Wherever Chrislam or its equivalent are promoted, Christians should run for their spiritual lives," Van Impe said in a copy of the show on YouTube.

Van Impe has hosted several daily programs on TBN for 23 years. Its president, Paul Crouch, said network policy prohibits its airwaves from being used as a "bully pulpit for endless debate and/or criticism on/of various doctrinal issues among denominations."

Van Impe decided last week to end the network affiliation, saying "I will not be silenced. I will not allow anyone to tell me what I can and cannot preach."
Van Impe spokesman Ken Vancil said "we would not be able to minister effectively if we had to look over our shoulder."

"Jack Van Impe Presents" is broadcast on other stations besides TBN.
Warren is pastor of Saddleback Church in California, the eighth-largest church in the United States, and author of several best sellers. A spokesperson declined comment.

Schuller is also a California pastor who hosted the "Hour of Power" show. His staff couldn't be reached for comment.

bwilliams@detnews.com

America’s amazing hypocrisy : Uganda’s February 2011 elections were flawed – US

February elections were flawed – US


http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/-/688334/1188038/-/c07bjkz/-/index.html


Posted Friday, June 24 2011 at 00:00


The February general elections in which President Museveni emerged the victor were flawed, a senior United States official in Kampala, said yesterday. According to the US official, the flaws resurrected opposition calls to disband the Dr Badru Kiggundu-led Election Commission, making it a matter of urgency.

Addressing her last press conference in Kampala yesterday, Ms Joann Lockard, the public affairs officer of the US Embassy in Kampala, said the 2011 general elections were flawed due to lack of an independent electoral commission.

“While the 2011 elections were better than that of 2006, there were flaws and the playing field was not levelled. There are issues the 9th Parliament and ministers must address to demonstrate that Uganda is committed to democratic governance,” Ms Lockard said.

“Government should seize the opportunity to make changes in the electoral process. President Museveni is now the President of Uganda, as US government we will work with him but we need an independent electoral commission before 2016,” she added.
In February, Dr Kiggudu declared Mr Museveni the winner with 68.38 per cent followed by Inter-Party Cooperation flag bearer, Dr Kizza Besigye with 26 per cent. However, the opposition has since described the elections as a sham.

On governance challenges facing the country, Ms Lockard said although the government has made significant strides toward the democratisation process, there are still issues that need improvement.

“You can’t have democracy without media freedom, without respect to human rights and rule of law. As US government we will be watching these issues closely including the fight against corruption.”

Ms Lockard is expected to be replaced by Ms Renuka Naj as the acting public affairs officer.


US speaks out on 2011 Uganda Presidential elections


http://www.monitor.co.ug/SpecialReports/Elections/-/859108/1113094/-/k31s6n/-/index.html

By Benon Herbert Oluka

Wednesday, February 23 2011


The United States government has spoken out on Uganda’s general elections, saying it is disappointed by the diversion of government resources for partisan campaigns, the heavy deployment of security on Election Day and other electoral irregularities.
However, according to the statement by the US Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, Philip J. Crowley, the US considers the general election held on February 18 and the campaign period that preceded it to have been generally peaceful.


“The elections and campaign period were generally peaceful, but we note with concern the diversion of government resources for partisan campaigning and the heavy deployment of security forces on Election Day,” says the statement. “We are also disappointed by the disorganisation at polling stations and the absence of many registered voters’ names from the voter rolls, irregularities that could have been avoided by appointing an independent and more representative Electoral Commission.”
The US has however urged all participants in the electoral process to abide by the official results, refrain from violence, and channel grievances through the country’s independent judiciary.

“Democracy requires commitment at all levels of government and society to the rule of law, freedom of speech and assembly, independent media, and active civil society,” says the statement. “We urge the Ugandan government to undertake the electoral and administrative reforms that will substantially improve future elections and will strengthen the country's commitment to multiparty democracy and human rights for the next generation of Ugandan citizens.”

THE FULL STATEMENT


Statement by Philip Crowley, US assistance secretary of state for Public Affairs, on Uganda’s February 18 presidential and parliamentary elections:
The United States applauds the people of Uganda for their participation in the February 18 presidential and parliamentary elections and congratulates President Yoweri Museveni on his reelection.

The elections and campaign period were generally peaceful, but we note with concern the diversion of government resources for partisan campaigning and the heavy deployment of security forces on Election Day.

We are also disappointed by the disorganization at polling stations and the absence of many registered voters’ names from the voter rolls, irregularities that could have been avoided by appointing an independent and more representative Electoral Commission.

Nevertheless, we urge all participants to abide by the official results, refrain from violence, and channel grievances through Uganda’s independent judiciary.
Democracy requires commitment at all levels of government and society to the rule of law, freedom of speech and assembly, independent media, and active civil society.

We urge the Ugandan government to undertake the electoral and administrative reforms that will substantially improve future elections and will strengthen the country's commitment to multiparty democracy and human rights for the next generation of Ugandan citizens.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Southern Baptists Reject Updated NIV Bible

A MUST READ :


TNIV: TRANSLATION TREASON


http://www.av1611.org/kjv/tniv_intro.html
http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/Bible/TNIV/tniv-translation_treason.htm


TNIV & THE LORD JESUS


http://www.av1611.org/kjv/tniv_jesus.html


TNIV & WITH CHILD

http://www.av1611.org/kjv/tniv_child.html


TNIV & MASCULINE PRONOUNS


http://www.av1611.org/kjv/tniv_he.html


TNIV & MAN


http://www.av1611.org/kjv/tniv_man.html



TNIV & HOMOSEXUALITY


http://www.av1611.org/kjv/tniv_homo.html


TNIV & THE MISSING FATHERS


http://www.av1611.org/kjv/tniv_fathers.html

TNIV & SISTERS


http://www.av1611.org/kjv/tniv_sister.html


TNIV & MORE BLUNDERS


http://www.av1611.org/kjv/tniv_oth.html


Southern Baptists Reject Updated NIV Bible


http://www.christianpost.com/news/southern-baptists-reject-updated-niv-bible-51288/

By Eryn Sun | Christian Post Reporter

Southern Baptists recently announced their rejection of the new NIV Bible at their annual convention in Phoenix, Ariz., saying they could not commend the translation and its use of gender-neutral language.


The resolution introduced by author Tim Overton of Muncie, Ind., passed by at least a 2-to-1 margin, and only received a handful of opposing votes, Baptist Press reported.

“Southern Baptists repeatedly have affirmed our commitment to the full inspiration and authority of Scripture,” the resolution states. “This translation alters the meaning of hundreds of verses, most significantly by erasing gender-specific details which appear in the original language.”


Expressing “profound disappointment” with Biblica and Zondervan Publishing House, who printed 1.9 million copies of the updated Bible in the first run, the SBC “respectfully [requested]” that Lifeway Bookstores not sell the new version in their stores and encouraged pastors to let their congregations know of the translation errors.

“We cannot commend the 2011 NIV to Southern Baptists or to the larger Christian community,” the resolution concluded.

Criticism over the update has been high ever since its inception, with opponents like the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood – which support a complementarian view of manhood and womanhood – finding over 3,600 gender-related problems in the new version.

Although the CBMW did find some significant improvements in the update and praised the openness and transparency of the translation process, major errors were still evident and it could not commend the 2011 NIV as a sufficiently reliable English translation.

Problems also arose because the updated NIV Bible would completely replace the current NIV translation, without offering the 1984 edition alongside it.

“This is as big as it gets,” said Overton, according to the Associated Baptist Press. “This is the word of God. The best-selling Bible translation in the United States is now gender neutral.”

“As Southern Baptists, I don’t think we have the luxury of not speaking to this important issue. People are buying this translation unaware of what’s happening. We are the anchor of the evangelical world.”

The 2011 revision is the first change to take place in 25 years, having previously failed to update the translation in 1997 because of the use of gender-neutral language.

An updated English translation called Today’s New International Version (TNIV) was released in full in 2005 and later discontinued by Zondervan for gender inclusivism, culling controversy and harsh criticism from the CBMW and conservatives alike.

The SBC penned that 75 percent of the inaccurate gender language found in the TNIV was retained in the 2011 NIV as well.

“Our gender decisions were made on the basis of very careful and significant research,” Douglas Moo, chairman of the Committee on Bible Translation, which translated the 2011 NIV, told the Baptist Press.

The committee meets yearly to consider changes in the NIV Bible and was approached in 2009 by Zondervan and Biblica about a new translation.

“The decisions we’ve made about gender have no motivation of not offending people. The motivation, rather, is to communicate clearly to people what we think arguably is contemporary English.”

Mlive also reported Moo saying, “About 95 percent of the words are the same. On the one hand, we tried to keep the continuity because the translation was so good the first time. But there were a lot of changes in the English language that needed to be reflected as well.”

Randy Stinson, CBMW president, noted to BP, “Our main concern is that in hundreds of places, meaning in the Bible is eroded because of the translators’ decisions to remove words like he, him, his, father, brother, son, and man. God’s Word is the product of his infinite wisdom and all the details of meaning are there for a purpose.”

“Our ultimate concern is about the authority of Scripture and not some specific way we think everything ought to be translated.”

Moo encouraged Christians to take a look for themselves at the new text instead of solely relying on a review or criticism.

“Whatever decisions we make, some evangelical Christians will be unhappy,” Moo expressed to Dash House. “What we hope is that, even if people disagree with the decisions we make, they would recognize that we have made these decisions with integrity, trying our best to put God’s unchanging Word into the language that people are speaking today.”

Church of England set to allow celibate gay bishops

Church of England set to allow celibate gay bishops


http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jun/19/church-england-allow-gay-bishops

Riazat Butt, religious affairs correspondent


guardian.co.uk, Sunday 19 June 2011 18.30 BST

Legal advice says gay candidates should be considered as long as they have not been sexually active while in the priesthood

The Church of England is set to approve the appointment of openly gay bishops, providing that they are celibate.

In an attempt to clarify its policy following years of controversy and debate, the church is to publish its legal advice on the issue on Monday.

The document, Choosing Bishops – The Equality Act 2010, summarises points which those involved in the nomination process "need to keep in mind" when considering candidates in order to avoid breaking the law. It reiterates there is no bar to the promotion of gay clergy to a bishopric as long as they are not sexually active and never have been during their time in the priesthood.

However, the document says a selection committee could veto a gay candidate if "the appointment of the candidate would cause division and disunity within the diocese in question".

The document reads: "A person's sexual orientation is in itself irrelevant to their suitability for episcopal office or indeed ordained ministry" but the Equality Act "allows churches and religious organisations to impose a requirement that someone should not be in a civil partnership or impose a requirement related to sexual orientation ... to avoid conflicting with the strongly held religious convictions of a significant number of the religion's followers".

"It is clearly the case that a significant number of Anglicans... believe that a Christian leader should not enter into a civil partnership, even if celibate, because it involves forming an exclusive, lifelong bond with someone of the same sex, creates family ties and is generally viewed in wider society as akin to same-sex marriage.

"It is equally clear that many other Anglicans believe that it is appropriate that clergy who are gay by orientation enter into civil partnerships, even though the discipline of the church requires them to remain sexually abstinent."

The guidance, to be presented to the General Synod in York in July, comes after damaging revelations about the Church of England hierarchy refusing to accept the reality of gay clergy.

Documents obtained by the Guardian showed the House of Bishops unable to agree on whether gay clergy should ever be appointed to the episcopate and that meetings about candidates descended into shouting matches, leaving some of those present in tears.

Much of the debate has centred on Jeffrey John, a celibate priest who is in a longstanding civil partnership with another cleric. He was forced by the archbishop of Canterbury to stand down after being appointed suffragan bishop of Reading eight years ago after conservative evangelicals objected. Last year, the archbishops of Canterbury and York prevented John from becoming the bishop of Southwark, to the dismay of his supporters.

The guidance says the criteria when considering a gay cleric for the bishopric are "whether the candidate had always complied with the church's teachings on same-sex sexual activity; whether he was in a civil partnership; whether he was in a continuing civil partnership with a person with whom he had had an earlier same-sex sexual relationship; whether he had expressed repentance for any previous same-sex sexual activity; and whether (and to what extent) the appointment of the candidate would cause division and disunity within the diocese in question, the Church of England and the wider Anglican Communion."

The guidelines have angered those campaigning for greater inclusion in the Church of England.

General Synod member Christina Rees said: "Nobody other than Jeffrey John has been honest about their sexuality. It is distasteful that gay clerics are asked about their sex lives. There is no parity between them and straight clerics."

Rees warned that the guidance was "too open" for people to exploit as they could argue that the appointment of a gay bishop could prove divisive at home or overseas.

The Anglican communion remains at odds over the issue of gay bishops, even though the Episcopal Church in the US has made two such appointments in the last decade.

Nigeria's pastors 'as rich as oil barons'

Nigeria's pastors 'as rich as oil barons'


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-13763339

15 June 2011 Last updated at 07:55 GMT

Nigeria's pastors run multi-million dollar businesses which rival that of oil tycoons, a Nigerian blogger who has researched the issue has told the BBC.

Mfonobong Nsehe, who blogs for Forbes business magazine, says pastors own businesses from hotels to fast-food chains.

"Preaching is big business. It's almost as profitable as the oil business," he said.
The joint wealth of five pastors was at least $200m (£121m), he said.

Evangelical churches have grown in Nigeria in recent years, with tens of thousands of people flocking to their services.

Mr Nsehe said the richest pastor, Bishop David Oyedepo of the Living Faith World Outreach Ministry, was worth about $150m.

Bishop Oyedepo owned a publishing company, university, an elite private school, four jets and homes in London and the United States, according to Mr Nsehe.

'Private jets'
The Nigerian blogger said Bishop Oyedepo was followed on the rich list by Pastor Chris Oyakhilome of the Believers' Loveworld Ministries. He was worth between $30 and $50m.
“Start Quote
These pastors are flamboyant. You see them with private jets and expensive cars”
End Quote Mfonobong Nshe Nigerian blogger

"Oyakhilome's diversified interests include newspapers, magazines, a local television station, a record label, satellite TV, hotels and extensive real estate," Mr Nsehe said.

He said three of the other richest pastors were:

• Temitope Joshua Matthew of the Synagogue Church Of All Nations (worth between $10m and $15m);
• Matthew Ashimolowo of Kingsway International Christian Centre (worth between $6 million and $10 million) and
• Chris Okotie of the Household of God Church (worth between $3 million and $10 million).

Mr Nsehe said representatives of all the clergymen, except Pastor Ashimolowo, confirmed ownership of the assets he had listed on his blog.

"These pastors are flamboyant. You see them with private jets and expensive cars. This extravagance sends out the wrong message to their followers," he told the BBC's Network Africa programme.

He said the pastors acquired their wealth from various sources, including their congregations.

"We have Nigerians who are desperate, looking for solutions to their problems. They go to church for salvation, redemption and healing and pastors sometimes take advantage of them," Mr Nsehe said.

Harold Camping's Stroke Punishment From God? A Biblical Response

FIRST READ:

THE STRATEGY TO DISCREDIT BIBLE PROPHECY

http://lorendavis.com/news_articles_StrategyToDiscredit.html


Harold Camping's Stroke Punishment From God? A Biblical Response

http://www.christianpost.com/news/harold-campings-stroke-punishment-from-god-a-biblical-response-51162/


Harold Camping, 89, suffered a mild stroke last week that affected his speech. Could this incident be a sign or punishment from God for his false rapture predictions?


By Katherine T. Phan | Christian Post Reporter


For over 50 years, Harold Camping has used the Family Radio pulpit to teach what he believed to be God’s word in the Bible.

In his trademark gravelly voice, Camping could be heard over radio airwaves and in small classes speaking about the Bible passage by passage. But as years passed, those teachings began morphing into predictions, as Camping claimed he had unlocked the dates of Judgment Day and the rapture by using numerology found in the Bible and a calculated formula.

Camping’s latest prediction was that the rapture and Judgment would take place May 21, the date that would signal the beginning of the End of the World. To this day, it is not certain how many people sold their homes, quit their jobs or gave away their life savings in anticipation of his doomsday prophecy. But from the few that did share their stories publicly, one thing was for certain – they believed his predictions were the real deal.

But as the world knows by now, May 21 came and went. And although Camping issued a statement saying he was only wrong in the sense that the judgment came in a “spiritual sense” instead of a physical one, the damage to whatever remained of his public integrity was done. To the observers in the U.S. and around the world, it was official: Harold Camping was and is a false prophet.

Then last Thursday, nearly three weeks after his predicted May 21 Judgment date, the 89-year-old Camping suffered a mild stroke and was admitted to a local hospital near his home in Alameda, Calif. The stroke has reportedly only affected his speech, which has become slurred as a result.

For many observers, the stroke – while tragic – seemed like a divine act to punish the radio preacher for his false predictions or at the very least warn him not to do it again. It was too coincidental, many observers said on Twitter and Facebook, that it was Camping’s speech that was affected.

Was Harold Camping's stroke punishment from God? Does a loving God even punish people if they disobey Him?

"God, certainly in the Bible, judges and punishes. Punishment is deserved for human rebellion," said Erik Thoennes, associate professor of Biblical and Theological Studies at Biola University, to The Christian Post.

Thoennes pointed to several examples of God's punishment throughout the Bible: Adam and Eve being cast out of the Garden of Eden, the world being judged in Noah's flood, and King Herod being struck down. God takes "disciplinary action" not just on individuals but on people groups as well, including the Israelites, Canaanites and Egyptians, he said.

"When we read the Bible, it is clear that God is active in creation. He takes sin seriously, he judges sin, he punishes individuals and people groups and nations and churches," said Thoennes. "All the time you have God revealing himself and working out His redemptive purposes for creation."

But for Harold Camping's case, it's hard to say, according to the Talbot School of Theology professor.

"To speculate with some sort of certainty that we know what’s going on when someone has a stroke is not something we’re able to do because the Bible doesn’t give us the interpretation for it," continued Thoennes.

"That’s not to say it can’t be helpful for us to ask: Lord, are you up to something here? Lord, are you trying to teach me something? That may be the case but it’s very hard to know with certainty ... Sometimes we rush to connect the dots but sometimes we can’t know why they (calamities) happened."

Thoennes said too often people focus only on the particulars of God's judgment rather than understanding that universal reality of God’s judgment on a rebellious humanity. People forget that they, too, are under God's judgment.

"We're all under God's curse equally because of the fallen condition of all human beings," he explained. "So Harold Camping's stroke in that sense is an act of judgment in the same way my deteriorating body is an act of judgment."

People who have accepted the sacrifice of Jesus, who took that punishment and wrath upon himself, no longer have to bear that judgment while people who have yet to accept Christ will one day need to answer to that wrath, according to Thoennes.
"Thankfully, Jesus takes on our punishment if we are benefiting from that by faith," he said.

So, what is a biblical response to someone like Harold Camping?
Thoennes said our first response should be humility upon the realization that we all deserve judgment and death because of our sin.

"Rather than being self-righteous toward someone who is going through a difficult thing, it should be a sobering, humbling repentance we feel."

Secondly, it's always good to pray for the person. In Camping's case, pray that "he would come to physical health and come to understanding of the truth," said the Biola professor.

A pastor of Grace Evangelical Free Church in La Mirada, Calif., Thoennes said if Camping belonged to a church, he could seek wisdom from the community of believers as to what God is trying to reveal to him. However, since the Family Radio broadcaster believes the church age is over, it will be near impossible to glean those types of lessons without being part of a functioning church, he noted.
Thoennes commented that he feels it is entirely appropriate for the public, including Christians, to respond to and confront Camping's unbiblical teachings, as long as they do it with humility. Despite the May 21 rapture dud, Camping still maintains that October 21 will mark the End of the World.

What Christians should avoid, however, is joining the mocking bandwagon along with everyone else and turning the church's teachings on the final Judgment and the Second Coming into a laughable idea.

"Harold Camping is only wrong of the date setting," said Thoennes. "He’s not wrong about the magnitude and seriousness of this."

Harold Camping Suffers Mild Stroke; Released From Hospital


http://www.christianpost.com/news/harold-camping-suffers-mild-stroke-released-from-hospital-51127/


By Katherine T. Phan | Christian Post Reporter

Family Radio Network preacher Harold Camping, known for his failed rapture prediction, will be released from an Oakland, Calif.-area hospital where he was treated for a mild stroke, Family Radio employees said Monday.

Craig Hulsebos, radio host for several programs on Family Radio, announced during a broadcast Monday that Camping is expected to be released from the hospital today.
Rosa, a phone operator at Family Radio, also confirmed news of Camping's hospital discharge to The Christian Post.

"We will be airing pre-recorded programs of Open Forum until further notice," she told CP Monday.

Camping, 89, suffered from a mild stroke on Thursday evening, Family Radio said in a statement sent to The Christian Post on Monday.
"He is presently recuperating in a local hospital and the doctors are pleased with his progress. Mr. Camping's family appreciates your thoughts and prayers," the statement says.
A woman identifying herself as Camping's wife, Shirley, told CP on Sunday that her husband was "doing very well" and that his stroke was "not serious at all."
According to The Oakland Tribune, a neighbor of Camping had reported that the stroke affected the radio preacher's speech, causing it to slur.

Employees at Family Radio Network stations say they have not received word their president and general manager would be well enough to continue the Open Forum program, where he takes questions live from radio listeners each weeknight.
"He needs to rest," Suong Tran, public affairs director of KFRN, a Family Radio Network station in Long Beach, Calif., commented to CP.

"He's very passionate about the Bible and sharing and teaching, so if the doctor told him to stay home on bedrest, he would do it from home."

Harold Camping made headlines last month for predicting that the rapture and Judgment Day would occur on May 21. He later adjusted his prediction, saying judgment came in a “spiritual” sense that day rather than in a physical one marked by earthquakes.

In Family Radio broadcasts following his failed Rapture prediction, Camping has maintained that his prediction of the End of the World remains accurate and is still scheduled for October 21, 2011.