Periodically I issue this post for any who stumble upon one of my blogs for the first time and wonder what it’s all about. The full picture is set out in The Little Book of Providence and I’m currently explaining the 95 theses that summarize the main points. I am not a scholar but someone who has received a prophetic insight concerning how the bible should be interpreted. The results are as follows:
THE MUNIFICENCE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE
1.1 God’s benign providence and the global benefits of Christ’s saving work are vastly broader than traditionally understood
1.2 In terms of a theodicy, the evil and sufferings in this world are in fact the necessary preparation for those God had created from dust for them to fulfil a destiny superior to that of the angels – such a reordering arising from the incarnation of the Word of God as a Man – cf. Heb1:4; Heb2:7-11; Rom8:20)
THE MYSTERY OF EVIL
2.1 Satan and his people (1Jn3:12) paradoxically have fulfilled a role in helping to bring this about through the suffering, adversity and challenges they have caused to mankind – such suffering being the grist for glory (cf. Heb2:10).
AUGUSTINIAN THEOLOGY REVISITED
3.1 Augustinian-derived narrow dualisms are deconstructed and replaced by a coherent synopsis of the bible, the outworking of which accords with God’s self-described compassionate nature and munificent providence
3.2 Augustine (not exclusively but above all others) shown to have led churches into error, especially in the West. Revered by many for he also taught much that was good, yet his distinctive teachings on human nature, original sin and the economy of grace barbarize God’s nature and disfigure His providence. He taught that it is Christ’s intention (Jn5:22) that the bulk of people who have ever lived should endure pain and misery through eternity: “Many more are to be left under punishment than are delivered from it, in order that it may thus be shown what had been due to all” (“City of God” Book XXI chap. 12). This is in stark contrast to the Christmas angels’ message of “Good News of great joy that shall be to all people” (Lk2:10)
4.1 As was the case throughout the first millennium of the Christian era, there should be one united, catholic, apostolic Church in which the sacrificial, re-presentational and sanctifying role of the Eucharist offered up by the Church as priesthood for the world is affirmed and participated in by all true followers of Christ.
4.2 Only then can the world receive a coherent account of God’s Good News of the Kingdom at the point Christ returns. He Himself has affirmed it, such a gospel shall be preached “as a testimony to all nations, then the end shall come” (Mt24:14). That can only occur if the churches are re-formed or (more realistically) affiliated.
4.3 Paradoxical as it may seem, the ideal precondition for a reunion to occur is if all traditions can be shown to have been substantially in error (cf. Rom11:32).
IDENTIFYING THE SOURCE OF SINFULNESS WITHIN MAN
5.1 The key error has been to misunderstand what the bible means by “salvation” – what it is FROM and what it is FOR. Regarding the former, that it is the procreated intellectual vessel rather than the God-given soul or spirit that is the source of human sinfulness (cf. Rom7:21-24). In terms of what gospel salvation is FOR, it is not directly related to whether the soul goes to heaven; rather, it is to partake of the divine nature whilst still in mortal flesh (proto-theosis) so that those God has chosen for the role can be fitted to participate in Christ’s governmental plans for the age to come (note #1). The related key error being that religious faith or the lack of it does not determine the destination of the soul immediately after death. That pertains to –
NATURAL LAW AND LOVE
6.1 To recognize that natural law is effectual and normative – not for what the bible means by salvation (above) but for humane living and final acceptance with God. In particular, those who genuinely care for the needy are regarded and rewarded as having served Christ Himself (Mt25:40). In so doing they demonstrate that they are “of God” (1Jn4:7 cf. 3:12) and fulfil the ultimate purpose of God’s Law which is defined by Paul in one word: LOVE (Rom13:9; Gal5:14). Hence the joyful news that many more souls are to be reunited with those they have loved and lost in life and finally be received into God’s eternal Kingdom.
HELL – A DIVINELY ORDERED ESTABLISHMENT
7. I commented on this in a recent post from which I quote:
7.2 “It is insightful to refer to Jesus’ teaching in Mt5:22, carefully noting the gradations. “I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be answerable to the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be answerable to the Sanhedrin, whilst whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to experience hell fire”. This shows the absurdity of traditional Western teaching on hell: It could never be “all or nothing”. Nevertheless, for those whose misuse of their bodily members and senses has compromised the integrity of their soul (Mt5:29-30), Jesus affirms directly in the context of hell’s punishments that such must “be salted with fire, salt being good. However, if the salt becomes unsaltable, “how will you make it salty again? Better to have salt in yourselves and be at peace with one another” (Mk9:49-50).
7.3 Neither is hell administered by demons with pitchforks as depicted in some medieval paintings, but by God, His saints and angels (cf. Lk16:25 – that is strictly Hades and note the overseer – Abraham). For, Jesus had insisted, everyone is to be salted, if not in this life, then in the next (cf. Lk6:24-25). My book explains why this must be (ch.7). The churches have largely failed to grasp this mystery, which pertains to para 1.2 above.
7.4 Hell incorporates an element of punishment (for sure) and is best avoided by having salt in yourself. But for most attendees it is primarily a place of learning (the hard way), self-enlightenment, moral correction, purification and preparation for eventual participation within God’s heavenly Kingdom. For there is no distinction between the fires of hell and “purgatory” either in the bible or the writings of those who had received the Faith directly from the apostle. And whilst we have a pardoning God, pardon per se is not sufficient for souls that have been poisoned or corrupted. Pardon is one thing, fittedness for divine service is another. Purging or “salting” will be necessary for some; neither will it necessarily be devoid of suffering – sensual or mental. Yet even that shall not avail for all.
7.5 For in the worst cases, in view of what some individuals have become in life (lawless, hateful and irredeemably corrupted), they could never exist within “new heavens and a new earth where righteousness dwells” that Peter sought after. In Jesus’ words it were better they had never been born – and better both for themselves and everyone else that after due punishment they cease to exist. For they are unsaltable, good for nothing, to be cast out and trodden under foot (cf. Mt5:13). These are those who may have gained much in the world but lose their soul in the process (Mt16:26).
7.6 God’s hatred of evil, proportional punishment and redistributive/compensatory justice are the OUTWORKING OF HIS LOVE, as all who possess the mind of Christ should discern. In the starkest contrast to Augustine, such was third century Origen’s perspective on God’s justice: “God confers benefits justly and punishes with kindness; since neither goodness without justice nor justice without goodness can display the real dignity of the divine nature” (Origen de Principiis Book II chap5 para 3).
GOD’S SECRET PLAN [Eph3:9-11)
8.1 “To turn the hearts of fathers back to their children, and the disobedient to the good sense of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord”. Such had been foretold of John the Baptist’s mission. He did not fulfil it – he was beheaded, whilst the One he heralded was also rejected by those expected to be “the children of the Kingdom” (Mt8:12). This pertains to the most remarkable and eluded mystery of all, even though Paul refers to it in Ephesians 3 and Romans 11. Namely, in terms of Old Testament Scripture, the current age is effectively an inserted epoch . Many OT prophesies have been deferred to the age to come (e.g. Is11:4-9 which like most can only relate to earth not heaven). It reaffirms the reality of a further terrestrial age (note #1)
THE SYNERGISTIC NATURE OF SALVATION
9.1 As well as turning the heart of the fathers back to their children, John’s other task, that in view of para 8 will have been deferred to the conclusion of the current age, was “to turn the disobedient to the good sense of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord”. That is, to inculcate a right understanding of what is required on the believer’s part in the process of sanctification – required of those who, as Paul affirms, are to be re-formed into Christ’s likeness whilst still in mortal flesh (Rom8:29). So shall the children of promise who are alive at Christ’s return be suitably prepared for their role in the age to come.
THE NATURE OF THIS DISCLOSURE
10.1 That these disclosures are perceived for what they are – not entirely new revelation, which they could never be, but new insights as to how the bible should be interpreted.
10.2 A recognition that such a disclosure as this was foretold in Scripture, to be set out in writing and made universally and freely available, and that it simply could not have happened until now. For God foreknew that the preparation, free and universal propagation and verification of such writing would require the research resources and digital printing facilities of the internet.
10.3 I have come to understand that such a process as this was symbolically alluded to in Revelation chapter ten and more explicitly referred to in the Book of Enoch (93:10 & 104:11-14 Charles Version).
NOTE #1 – As Wikipedia affirms under the heading “Premillennialism”, such was the prevailing understanding of the early Church. The first recorded opposition was from Marcion, a heretic who rejected the incarnation of Christ and the canonicity of the Old Testament. More significantly, third century Origen came openly to oppose the doctrine, having an over-spiritualized perspective on events relating to the second coming of Christ. Still more influential was Augustine’s change of mind on the subject. That typically ensured the doctrine was dropped by the Church thereafter. For as a leading Anglican scholar in the wiki article rightly observed, all medieval theology is essentially Augustinian – and the Protestant Reformers built on it. [If Augustine got it wrong, we are all in trouble, so here we all are]. Apart from the witness of those early premillennialists who had most immediately received the Faith from the apostles, my point concerning God’s secret plan (the inserted epoch) reinforces the rationale for a terrestrial age to follow the current one.
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