The Gospel of Heaven or Hell?

In the 2nd Century Tertullian begins teaching “Hell” as an eternal punishment by fire for the immortal soul. Throughout the 3rd century and in the beginning of the 4th Century Original Sin Theory (that everyone is born wicked and evil) gets solidated by St. Augustine of Hippo.By 430 A.D. The Catholic Church begins to widely accept Eternal Concious Torment (Burning Punishment in Hell Forever) and Original Sin (everyone is born wicked) as a Church Doctrine.

Thus, The Gospel (Good News) of the 1st century Church declaring The Kingdom of Heaven and Heaven’s King Jesus ushering in God The Father’s forgiveness, grace, love and Spirit and help for anyone, Jew or Gentile who believes on The Lord and his teaching, sadly gets turned into “You are all born wicked and evil, so evil that you are all deserving of eternal hell fire and anguish forever and ever.”

Throw in Anselm of Canterbury in the 11th century (Satisfaction Theory) and the now more well known (Penal Substitution Theory) of Protestant reformists like John Calvin in the 16th century and we have a wonderful recipe for what is the foundational teachings in many Christian Churches these days. It goes something like this; “You are born wicked and evil deserving to be punished in eternal hell fire by God with unceasing pain, gnashing of teeth and anquish forever and ever without end… unless you accept Jesus who died in your place taking all of that wrath and anger from God that you rightfully deserve… Now Love God with all your heart and accept his sacrificing of His own son on your wicked behalf or burn forever with everyone else who refuses His Love.”

This strange and confusing message has been what the Original Good News Message of Jesus has sadly, over time been twisted and unfortunately turned into and really nothing could be much further from The 1st Century Gospel Truth.

The Love, Wisdom and Truth that was being taught and demonstrated by Jesus and The Apostles in the 1st Century Church looked and sounded nothing like the above mess it has all so often become and is way too often taught.

One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, One True Church of Christ, One Holy Spirit, One Kingdom of God, One Father, One Love, One Power, and The Same Message as it was in the beginning with Jesus and The Apostles before others got a hold of it, misinterpreted it and began teaching it all wrong.

Let’s get back to Jesus (The Rock of All Ages) and what The Gospel Message of The Kingdom was in the 1st century because that message is still The Very Good News of The Kingdom that is still advancing and changing lives with Love unto this very day.

~ Stay in Love, Pastor Scott Boggs

thepotterschurch.com

Love Not Faith

    Personally having been wounded as a young child in the wake of my parents fighting and nasty divorce (I was 7 years old) and consequently suffering many years of internal conflict, confusion and fears over all of this. Huge fears of rejection, abandonment and commitment took their unlawful place in my childhoods shattered reflections. As a young man riddled with these fears I was very introverted and scared. Scared to step out and be a part of anything in fear of doing it wrong or not being liked or risking getting emotionally attached to someone who would end up hurting me or leaving me.

    I like many have carried these wounds and lies about myself and others from my past up into many years of my own adulthood and still even to this day can find myself wrestling self defeating thoughts and these ugly fears that have over and over again attacked and hindered my Faith and Love. Thus the somewhat thought provoking title of this blog.

   You see, for years I have heard so much about Faith. I grew up in an area in Chicago that was the birthing ground for some of our earliest mega churches. Mega Churches who were all about Faith and Power! Two major forces that I have no problem with! As a matter of fact I have a lot of Faith in The Power of God! What was missing though for me as a young man in my teens and early adult years was The Message of God’s Faithful Love for me.

   I was such a wounded child dealing with issues of fear and abandonment who would have probably preferred a hug over 1,000,000 dollars. An assurance that God would never leave me or hurt me was what I needed more than anything. I needed to know that God would love me and never forsake me. That he was going to be with me always and never hurt me. Thus the antidote to all of my fears.

   Unfortunately, whether by some twisted interpretation or skewed lens I was viewing and receiving things through I sort of got an opposite message conveyed. As a young man in my early teen’s I was sort of under the impression that God was kind and loving and was a great and amazing God but if I sinned or messed up or had impure thought’s or liked certain kinds of music or lusted girls or laughed at dirty jokes and so on well then I was bad and God’s love and faithfulness toward me might be forfeited and withdrawn. This only went to reinforce the very fears I was already living with.  Throw the threat of “Hell”on top of all of this and I was right back where I had started. Fearing a God who may leave me and hurt me like I had perceived everyone else had.

    There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” ~1st John 4:18

   Unlike what I was taught either intentionally and wrongly by others or perhaps through my own misunderstanding as a child. I was led to believe that Faith was the answer to all my fears. Let me tell you, believing this I have pursed Faith. I pursued my understanding and desire to know Faith greatly simply because I was and have been such a long time sufferer of fear. The problem though I have come to find is that “Faith” is not the answer or antidote to “Fear.”    Love is the answer to all of our fears. The opposite of Faith may rightfully be doubt or unbelief (that can be another blog at another time) but the point in my cross heirs here is that Faith is not the antidote to our fears. God’s perfect, unfailing and faithful Love toward us as his kids is…

     Drink each one of these  healing truths deep with me because I believe that if you like me have been trying to heal your deep fears with faith. Unfortunately, this is a lot like taking an Aspirin when you have needed  a strong antibiotic.

1.  There is no fear in love

2. Perfect love drives out fear

3.  Fear has to do with punishment

 4.  The one who fears is not made perfect in love

    Simply put, if you are still fearing God as someone who may leave you or forsake you like you feel others have or if you see him as one who may hurt or abuse you like others may have. If you Fear opening you heart to him in fear of being hurt, forsaken or abandoned again. I understand and let me assure you it’s not “Your faith” that isn’t working. It’s simply not first having this solid foundation of Love. Beloved, we are loved!

   You may have somewhere along the way been given the wrong impression of how our “Our Father” disciplines those he loves (as any good parent does.) He’s a Good, Good Father. We need to know this and we no longer need to be slaves to fear.

If you have been like myself a long time sufferer of fear. I encourage and even implore you to watch the following and to receive a long overdue dose of love.

Faith conquers our doubts and unbelief.

God’s Faithful Love for  is our antidote to fear.

No longer slaves