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Want Some Fantastic Good News?
 

What do you say to people when they have questions about your faith? Is your good news really good? Do you know how to share it? Te better equip you for healing and discipleship, we must explore such questions. Last week gave me an opportunity to do just that with some new friends who have serious questions about God, Jesus and truth.

 First they asked me if Jews will they go to hell because they haven't accepted Jesus. I explained that, unlike most fundamentalists, Jesus never used hell to convince people to follow Him, and for good reason. There are only 54 verses in the entire Bible that refer to hell and most are intentional mistranslations from the fourth century. Only one passage uses the word Tartarus (II Peter 2), which describes a place that burns with eternal fiery punishment. Tartarus is reserved for Satan, the angels that fell with him and people who also insist on following him.

 The Jews had no word for hell; Tartarus comes from Egyptian and Babylonian beliefs. Forty-one other verses translated as hell come from Hades and Sheol. They mean "the grave, the pit, and the abode of the dead." Gehenna is translated hell in 12 other verses. It refers to a garbage dump outside Jerusalem where children were sacrificed to Moloch. Other metaphors for hell like the lake of fire in Revelations and Jesus’ parables on judgment are metaphorical and should not be taken literally.

If Jesus didn't use hell to motivate people to follow Him why should we? Evangelism means sharing good news, not just the absence of bad news. Jesus' was obsessed with sharing the fabulous good news of God's kingdom, not heaven. It begins with pie on the plate in this life not just pie-in-the- sky when we die. 

Secondly, I told them that the Jews and many other religious groups pay all the dues and get none of the benefits. They keep the law but without the easy access to the love, joy, peace and other blessings that are ours through the Holy Spirit.  

My friends then asked me about other religions and why I believed Christianity to be superior. I assured them that many good people populate all religions, and that some of those people may live more Christ-like lives than many Christians, including me. But to explain why I believe Christianity is the best belief system to follow, I told them when I took a class on comparative religions I feared that some other religion would appeal to me more and undermine my faith in Christ.  I then asked if they knew the story of the five blind men who each examined and elephant and because each touched a different part of the elephant, they each ‘saw’ it differently. To one it resembled a tree trunk, to another a large leather ceiling, to another a tassel and another sharp smooth rounded sword. They said yes, they knew the story and loved it. I then told them that as I studied other religions, I found that each had a piece of the elephant, however, none but Christianity saw the whole thing. Buddhists believe in detachment to attain transcendent tranquility, while Jesus, our Prince of Peace, gives us freely of its fruit. Muslims embrace submission, while Jesus goes even further and promises more, inviting us to die to self so we can receive resurrection joy. Hindus comprehend karma while Christ teaches us we reap what we sow and promises that if we plant righteousness we shall have an instant and eternal reward.

Sadly, my friends never heard such things in Church. But as they took them in, I believe they are not far from His kingdom. How would you have answered them?

 



Ken Unger is President of OnlyGodsFinest.com and founder of TransformationIncorporated.com, where you can learn more about him and his transformative ministry. click here ,
 "Ken's new book, The Ultimate Breakthrough, goes beyond self help to self healing. You can preview it at The Ultimate Breakthrough "
 
 
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