TOPIC: An Epiphany
An Epiphany 2 years ago #3863
Since I became one about six years ago, I've called myself an Annihilationist. I then came to this site and noticed the use of the phrase "Conditional Immortality" (CI). I was seeing the two as different ways of saying the same thing. Then I was reading some of this site: www.jewishnotgreek.com/
Suddenly it hit me: Acceptance of CI is the CAUSE and Annihilationist is the effect. Why is this an epiphany? Because it completely changes the vernacular when discussing the fate of the lost with those that believe in ECT. When presenting annihilationism with an ECT adherent, it becomes a three phase process:
Phase one: Discuss the concept of what the Bible says about the mortality of man (without ever mentioning the fate of the lost). And with all the scripture discussing it (see samples brought up at the link above), most will be easily convinced that, yep, we are not immortal. It starts with why God prevented Adam and Eve eating from the tree of life and goes on from there, including the Jewish vs greek teaching on it. It is ridiculously clear. Most open minded believers will accept that mankind is not truly immortal. And they will not feel they are "changing their minds to believe something controversial."
Then Phase Two: What is the reward for the person who accepts Christ? The question is not what they are trying to avoid (what is the fate of the lost?). Rather, what is the reward, gift, etc. of those that accept Christ? The answer is simple: Eternal life. It can be expanded on, e.g. eternal life in the presence of your Creator. And it is at this point that the seeds have been planted. The evidence that man is not eternal is literally all over the bible, as is the fate of the saved. Most Christians would be in complete agreement with what you have presented without fear of believing something that might get them shunned from their church.
So the foundation is set. The person has been brought on board (hopefully) to accept:
1. Man is not immortal, and the bible clearly teaches that.
2. The "reward" of grace is eternal life.
3. They have not accepted some crazy JW teaching or anything else that is going to get them excommunicated.
At this point, the person has become an adherent of CI, without thinking about the implications of such a belief regarding the fate of the lost. The only Christians that I believe will fight it at this point are those ECT adherents that have already thought ahead about the implications regarding the lost and do NOT want to go there.
Now comes phase three. And it is only here that we are talking about Annihilationism
Phase three: Review - What was the fate of mankind without the blood of Christ? It can even be expanded: What did the old testament say would happen to everyone if Christ had never been sacrufuced? And what did the Jews believe would happen once their messiah arrived? And what does the new testament say about it? They have been offered a whole new context within which to interpret John 3:16, Romans 6:23, and all the symbolic references in Revelation. What was God's punishment for every person and nation that disobeyed him in the Old Testament - and even those in the new testament.
After phase three, it will be very difficult for the ECT person to not at least question what they thought they always knew. The thoughtful person would want to, at the very least, do more study.
The epiphany is this: Once a person accepts what the bible clearly teaches about CI, there is no need to brow beat them about annihilationism. It will fall into place once the subject is brought up. And the gospel is simply this: Those that accept the atoning blood of Christ are saved. What are they saved from? They are saved from what God promised would be the fate of Adam and Eve if they disobeyed Him: They would surely die. And what do they receive? Eternal life. i.e. Jesus died on the cross that anyone who believes in Him will not die. Rather, that person will receive immortality. Gosh. That kinda reminds me of a famous scripture from John.
It seems to me the very first step is to show how biblical CI really is. At that point, Annihilationism falls into place. Of the three popular viewpoints on the fate of the lost - it is the one that is the most easy to believe based on the scripture on the subject.
And yes, I know people can be more "stiff necked" than that, but many are not. And once they can be brought on board with the less controversial teaching of CI, the rest is pretty easy. It simply falls into place.
And as more of the "thoughtful" people are brought on board, the less excuse the "stiff necked" have to refuse to listen.
Last Edit: 2 years ago by Kentucky Reign.
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