As I go deeper into reading, listening to and watching teachings by teaching pastor Bruxey Cavey and other teachers and elders who are in leadership at The Meeting House, I feel as if I am getting to know these folks better and better. I would love to sit down and get to know them as people. They seem very kind, funny, sincere. compassionate and totally committed to following Jesus. Oh, yes–and I love that they seem very intelligent and knowledgeable about the bible, but without the pride or pomp or arrogance that sometimes accompanies knowledge. Maybe humility would be a good description.
One thing t hat jumped out at me in this podcast was the fact that this is for elders and leadership.The Meeting House is organized is so effectively because the home churches which have elders and maybe even pastors are the main sources of relationship and discipleship. But they stay connected to a larger group so that they more helpful to each other, and be accountable as well.
I just love listening to two brothers talking about hell in a way that is truly biblical. I have never felt motivated to follow Jesus because fear of hell, and I don’t feel drawn to motivate others. There was a time when I had given my life to Christ about 11 years ago that because of peer pressure, I tried to drag up some concern about friends who had not given their lives to Jesus because of the fact that they might go to hell. But I just could not believe that it was in a loving God’s plan to just stick these wonderful people who for various reasons chose not to follow Jesus–into an eternal lake of fire where they would be tormented constantly. It didn’t seem very intelligent, either.
I came to the conclusion that hell was a place where people were separated from God, and they chose that for themselves. I believe that if people could see Jesus as he really is–and if they could experience followers of Jesus who were truly living out his teachings–they would give their lives to him.
It took me thirty plus years after I left my faith at age sixteen to meet Christians who I perceived were really exemplifying the fruits of the spirit that I would expect from Christians. They were passionate about their faith. They accepted my family and I, even after upon our initial meeting I told a group of ladies, “I’m not a
Christian, and I don’t want to be converted.”
These good folks did not tell me I was going to hell if I didn’t believe, but they focused on how much God loved me, and they expressed their love in very tangible ways. We were invited to various activities and really felt like were a part of a community even though we did not believe the same things. One sister shared books like MORE THAN A CARPENTER by Josh McDowell when I expressed doubts about the validity of scripture. Another brother shared the book, A CASE FOR CHRIST by Lee Strobel. This was a safe place to express my doubts. This was very different for me. AFter about five months of fellowship with this group, I ended up surrendering my life to Christ, and I feel so grateful to them.
But I still remember how one of the women said to me after I had made this commitment, “I am so glad you are going to heaven now. I was afraid I would not be with you there.” That just did not make sense to me then or now.
Most of the folks who had talked to me about Jesus were those who believed that they needed to threaten me with the fear of going to hell if I did not accept Jesus. What a sad, torturous path this must be for those who believe that if they don’t at least try, they might have some of the blood of this person on their hands. I was completely turned off by such evangelists, and each time I had such an interaction I would harden my heart more against Christianity.
I really want to be associated with Christians who don’t emphasize the fear of hell so much. I am so glad to hear these clear teachings. Yes, there is a hell. The question is–what is hell.