I've taken a sabbatical from the worship team at church. After 23 years, I thought I'd like a break for a variety of reasons. One change this has caused is that I don't have to leave for church as early in the morning. So yesterday, I flipped on the tv while drinking my morning smoothie to see who was preaching what.
I found a minister that I respect and started to listen. Now he and I differ in theology a bit. He is a Calvinist, I am Armenian in my view of salvation which means he is a once saved, always saved believer and I am a whosoever will may come and leave type of believer. I think the Bible offers support for both views. I guess everyone will figure out that Amernians were right when the dust settles. Giggle, giggle!
During his sermon he mentioned that a person can sin but of course in his way of thinking, this will not cause them to lose their salvation. I believe this too as long as there is confession and repentance unless the sin a a lifestyle of sin. I don't believe scripture tells us anywhere that we can continue in a lifestyle of sin and enter heaven. After all, Jesus turned the rich young ruler away from the Kingdom gates for a way of thinking-one that many Americans are guilty of if we're really honest.
Because of our theological differences, there are other areas of scripture that we don't agree on. One of these is healing. In his sermon he mentioned several sins that cause sickness or alluded that God may put sickness on a person because of sin. I don't agree with that either. Why would God afflict a believer with something His Son took a beating to reverse? He bore (he carried away) our sickness on the cross according to Isaiah. Anyway, that wasn't what really got me. What got me was his statement that if you sin and God makes you sick and you die, well your punishment is that you go to heaven a little sooner.
While I think a long life glorifies God, and while I know that Christians die everyday from sickness, I don't see heaven, at any age, as a punishment. Heaven is our reward, not a punishment. I don't believe for one minute that he meant heaven is a punishment, but that's what he said. I believe that people perish due to lack of knowledge. I believe Christians may have knowledge but their faith is not developed to the point that it can work for them sometimes too. That doesn't mean they aren't saved. It just means that they lack faith in that area. But that is fodder for another blog on another day.
Just let me say it again....HEAVEN IS NOT A PUNISHMENT! No matter when we get there or how we get there, it is NEVER a punishment! If you compare heaven wtih earth, heaven could never be a punishment. When we get there we won't be lamenting that we didn't get a few more years on earth!
Although this may not be a deal breaker as far as heaven is concerned, I just wish that preachers would not make false statements because they refuse to re-examine their theology to make sure it lines up with scripture.
Needless to say, the tv will remain off before church next week! I will drink my smoothis in the quietness (a relative term in our house) of my living room.