Arafat ‘found Jesus’ before death, claims friend

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YASSER Arafat, the former Palestinian leader, may have become a Christian before his death 10 years ago, it has been claimed.

RT Kendall, a prominent Christian writer and speaker, said he struck up an unlikely friendship with Mr Arafat and prayed with him several times.

In an interview with Premier Christianity magazine, published in the UK, Dr Kendall said Mr Arafat had wept while watching Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ, which depicts the crucifixion, and that they had spoken about how to become a Christian.

He said that while he could not be certain that Arafat was “saved”, he believes he may have become a Christian.

“It wouldn’t surprise me to see him in heaven,” he said.

’ll tell you why – I prayed with him five times, anointed him with oil, I gave him a [salvation] prayer.

“I’m not saying I know that he’s saved; I’m saying I wouldn’t be surprised.”

Dr Kendall said he had prayed for Mr Arafat for many years before finally being granted a meeting in 2002 during a visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories.

What was intended to be a brief 20-minute appointment lasted almost two hours and turned out to be only the first of five meetings, he said.

On one such visit he said that they watched The Passion of the Christ together, along with around 30 of Mr Arafat’s aides.

Dr Kendall, the former minister of Westminster Chapel in London, says that Mr Arafat wept during the viewing and allowed him to pray for him at the end.

“He took my hand and squeezed it,” he said.

“He was sending me a signal and I knew I was getting through.”

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23 thoughts on “Arafat ‘found Jesus’ before death, claims friend

  1. Bryan, Folks,
    I had to read and reread today’s account three or four times before I could take it in; and I need to just ask for some reassurance or clarification. Please understand, I am not taking the micky out of you Christians here.

    This minister who tells the story about Arafat, states that he may have become a Christian, and he doesnt know whether or not he was ‘saved’, as if, I suppose, they are truly two different propositions.

    This reminds me so much of my very devout retired Presbyterian minister friend and his equally devout wife. I mentioned the story a couple of years back, but it again seems relevant here. When in one of our debating/discussion sessions, I asked them if they were confident that they were ‘saved’, they replied in unison, ‘No’. If not their true belief, presumably, it was a bit of a standard rote response that displayed their Christian humility.

    Well, I think back to the Blog here, when Reincarnation was described by you Bryan, as a ‘doctrine of despair’. (That conclusion of course, is based on a complete misunderstanding of what Reincarnation is all about.) Heck, to the onlooker you surely have to allow, Christian Salvation appears like the most delicate and frighteningly fragile thing, that on one hand is believed in and clung to by believers of all denominations, and yet on the other hand, simply cannot be equally valid in them all, due to the huge variety of beliefs that they encompass. I think of the preponderance of Catholics for 2000 years who lived in fear of their demise, just in the worry that they might die in a state of Mortal Sin. Then the great numbers of Protestants who fearfully watched their every steps in life, in case they lost their much longed-for Salvation. Was their faith up to it or not?

    Again as I’ve so often pointed out, that despite the huge numbers of ‘Christians’ round the world, most denominations declare that just because you are a ‘believer’, you are not necessarily saved.
    The Gospel says unequivocally that the ‘Road’ is straight and narrow and it is only FEW who find or tread it. The necessary loss of such a huge overwhelming proportion of so-called Christians in the long run (on top of the great hoards of non-Christians), seems to me to represent a Doctrine of Despair, if anything does.

    So folks, what is the answer here? Are you brave enough to modify the principles that I’ve discussed here, or are you going to speak out and to admit this doctrine of despair, or what?
    Rian.

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    • Rian,

      Jesus said that not everyone who calls Him Lord would be saved, but whoever does God’s will. The problem is that within Christianity, the majority of people have their name written on church rolls, but when you query them about their religion, you find that they don’t take it seriously. How can such be saved. There are others that are zealous for religion, but often not according to the revealed Word of God (the Bible).

      He also made the comment that whosoever endures until the end shall be saved. It is possible to lose your salvation, if after starting being a Christian, you turn back to the things you did before your conversion. This is not God’s fault but your own.

      There is no doctrine of despair in the “straight and narrow path”. The reason why a large proportion of Christian don’t find it is because they want to have the name of Christian without the pre-requisites of being a Christian.

      The prophet Isaiah once prophesied:

      “In that day seven women will take hold of one man and say, “We will eat our own food and provide our own clothes; only let us be called by your name.”” Isa. 4:1

      A woman is often used by the Bible as a symbol for a church. Applying this meaning to the above verse, it is not hard to see that what we have here are a number of churches that want to be called Christian but do their own thing, in opposition to their husband (in this case Christ).

      Having said this, you can be certain that you are saved, provided you confess your sins and repent of them. Sure you might fall into sin. But you need to get up again.

      Like

      • I stick to my guns there, davinci. since out of all the enormous multitudes of people who this deity is supposed to have created, only a tiny tiny minority will be ‘saved’, that has to be the most wasteful system one could imagine. It seems to me to represent an extraordinary selfishness to grab for one’s own salvation, when all around you there are hoards that will be lost.

        To me that is indeed despair. Tell me, in your reading of Christianity, do unbaptised children go to heaven if they die young? and what age are they to be held personally to account on the matter of their salvation? Are all the non-Christians of the world lost automatically? Will the individuals that I love just fall by the wayside unless they have fulfilled that Christian requirement? Whether it is all their own fault, or the demand of the deity, it still carries a message of despair to the eyes of the onlooker, that certainly doesnt show up in my own Faith.

        Oh, and of course, you didnt address the situation for people who in their chosen Churches that dont believe all the necessary things, other than fulfilling that requirement to repent of their sins. What in your opinion are the absolute minimum beliefs that one MUST adhere to, on top of the repentance obligation, in order to be saved? Or dont the specific beliefs matter all that much in the long run?

        In that respect, – Born of a Virgin? Christ as God the Son? Was resurrected from the Dead? Adam and Eve really lived and a snake spoke? A Flood occurred? A great Tower was incomplete in Babylon due to the God’s interference? The new Jerusalem will literally descend down from heaven? Keeping of the 7th Sabbath day? Angels will eventually have a literal pitched dog-fight with the Devil and his angels? How important are all of these and loads of others? What if the person who sincerely repents, still accepts the theory of Evolution?

        Back to you. Cheers, Rian.

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      • How Do I Know I’m Saved?

        “In the 4,300 emails you have sent us, one of the most common questions we have received for the ‘Ask Pastor John’ podcast is about assurance: How can I know I’m saved?

        On Monday we released Pastor John’s response (episode 139). In part, he says,

        The unmistakable message all through the New Testament is this: we are saved by believing on Jesus. So rivet your attention on Christ in the gospels — John, Matthew, Mark, Luke — and the whole Bible. Rivet your attention on Christ and say what you see. Confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord (Romans 10:9). And say what you feel about this: “I receive him. I love him. He is my God. He is my Lord. He is my treasure.” Confess that. Let yourself hear yourself saying that. Say it to others. Say it to your wife. Say it to your kids. Say it to your friends. “Jesus is my Lord.” The Bible says no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:3). So if you say it and mean it, God is at work in your life, you have the Holy Spirit.”

        http://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/how-do-i-know-i-m-saved#full-audio

        By John Piper. ©2014 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org

        Like

      • Monica, Dom and davinci,
        Well, it has been interesting to get answers from you three who actually represent three different points of view on the vexed question of ‘Salvation’. Understand that IF I were at this moment endeavouring to determine just how to ‘get to Heaven’, I would be left in a bit of a quandary. And I must say that fronting such a group of sincere folk as you three with your disparate points of view, I can almost see myself (with all due respect) in the shoes of Paul in at Acts 23.6-9.

        Dom’s comment represents a very safe and I guess secure Islamic point of view. Davinci has not answered my query on the significance of belief in loads of complex doctrinal question; and for that matter neither did Monica. Now in regard to the writings cited by Monica, I have no doubt that there have been multitudes of non-Trinitarians over the centuries who would actually have had no difficulty in making the affirmations specified, many times a day, that Jesus is Lord etc, but without any accompanying beliefs in ‘God the Son’ etc. Among these folk there would have been Arians galore in the old days, and with Christadelphians and maybe Mormons and similar in modern days. So I wonder if the good Pastor’s thesis is as complete and foolproof as it seems. (Or is it the case, that sincere persons in just ANY Christian denomination can get to enjoy their salvation?)

        I recall I once found in my letterbox a tract from the spokesman of some unidentified Christian sect that argued that for Salvation, one simply MUST for one’s salvation, adhere to the clause in the Decalogue which commands one to keep the (Sabbath) Seventh Day holy. Now if this represents one of davinci’s principles (he being a 7th Day Baptist), then he parts company from Monica and Dom, of course.

        None of you of course even attempted to tell me just at from what age a baby/infant is to be held to account for his faith in Jesus in order to be saved. Oh yes, and since the Pastor quoted by Monica is just so absolutely certain of his principles, I take it that he investigated every single person who has lived during these last 2000 years, to make sure that not a single exception to his rule has ever existed? And, I take it too that he has checked out his heaven to guarantee that the people he stands for actually do ‘get there’?

        On these questions of course, I differ markedly, since I don’t maintain any belief in a specific ‘Heaven’. And what’s more, I cant feel any desire for such a final place/condition/destination in my heart. I would repeat as I stated before, that in view of the relatively minute number of person who we are assured will ‘get to’ this heaven, I find the Christian hope to be a doctrine of despair. In view of the very few who are supposed to achieve it, indicates that the creation of humanity by the deity, would have to have been nothing but a relative failure. Any earthly artisan who anticipated that only a tiny proportion of his created or assembled efforts would be good ‘uns, would not get much approval from anyone. And such earthly creations would not of course be living breathing human beings like all these men and women. All the more reason for humanity to have a greater and more universal future.

        Rian.

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      • Hi Mon,
        Many apologies, but on looking back at the Pastor’s dissertation, I notice that he did quote as an essential factor about Jesus as being God. So my comments on that definitely dont apply. but all the same, he made no mention as essential of all sorts of other beliefs and doctrines that are usually held to be true within Christianity.

        Love, Rian.

        Like

      • Rian,

        You are a traitor to Christianity so no matter what the Bible says, you are going to find an excuse not to believe.

        The Bible says that to whom much is given, much is expected (Luke 12:48). This and other verses indicate that the degree of punishment or reward is proportional to the amount of spiritual enlightenment that was available to the person, and what that person did with the light that was available.

        When you were a Christian what did you do with the spiritual enlightenment that was available to you? Did you scorn it as being insignificant? Or did you take it and seek how it might be applied in your life to serve and obey God?

        Your problem in the day of judgment will not be the destiny of Joe Citizen because he might not have had the amount of spiritual enlightenment you had, but what you did with the enlightenment that God had bestowed on you.

        I leave you with this passage:

        “Peter seeing [John] saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.” (John 21:21-22)

        Like

      • Ah davinci,
        Well that is a new title I’ve got now, – a Traitor to Christianity. Tell me, when an Islamic converts to Christianity, do you describe him as a Traitor to Islam? Or when an atheist converts, is he a ‘Traitor to atheism’?

        Wow, old mate, you certainly seem to be ignoring the message of the very verse out of the Gospel of John that you quoted to me. (“What is that to thee?”) In answer to your penetrating question, – well…

        I guess that certain of the principles (you title as the spiritual enlightenment) that I got from my time within Christianity did stay with me as infinitely valuable, and others certainly departed from me as not being relevant. You would, I take it, prefer that in those years when and after I rethought over my Christian ‘beliefs’, that I simply became dishonest and claimed to believe when I didnt?

        The catch of course is actually that I never during my early Christian years ever experienced any sense of feedback from the Divine (in a Christian sense) or any sense of presence or relationship with the Christ. I remained throughout, merely a ‘Believer’, and as a good Bible student you will well know that that is simply not adequate. “The devils themselves believe, and tremble”. Actually though, I never did any trembling. Luckily I was brought up in a Methodist home wherein there was never any hammering of hellfire and damnation, or of the wrath of God.

        Cheers, Rian.

        Like

    • Rian, I remember being asked by a dear clergyman if I believed I would go to heaven. Being used to answers of yes or no, he was somewhat perplexed at my answer that I’d leave that matter to God, that whatever he decided would be right.

      The same man, a Presbyterian minister, explained to the congregation that Heaven was a very large place, with its own kingdom. Few might enter the Kingdom, but the rest of heaven was available to so many others. Speaking as an analogy, he said where you could settle there, whether in a mansion on a hill or in a simple cottage at the foot of such a hill, was also a factor.
      :-))

      Like

      • What an interesting viewpoint from that Presbyterian clergyman., Strewth. Sounds quite enlightened. But it still seems to make heaven a specific place and for all time, of course.

        Rian

        Like

      • Paradise is huge. People property in Paradise will be measured in light years.

        The story of the last person to get into paradise.

        The last person to enter paradise will be a man who will walk once, stumble once and be burned by the Fire once. Once he gets past it, he will turn around and face it saying, ‘Blessed be the One Who has saved me from you. God has given me something that He has not given to the first and the last.’

        Then a tree will be raised up for him, and he will say, ‘O my Lord, bring me closer to this tree so that I may shelter in its shade and drink of its water.‘ God, may He be glorified and exalted, will say, ‘O son of Adam perhaps if I grant you this, you will ask Me for something else?’ He will say, ‘No, O Lord’, and he will promise that he will not ask Him for anything else, and his Lord will excuse him because he has seen something that he has no patience to resist. So he will be brought near to it and he will shelter in its shade and drink of its water.

        Then another tree will be raised up for him that is more beautiful than the first, and he will say, ‘O my Lord, bring me closer to this tree so that I may drink of its water and shelter in its shade, and I will not ask you for anything else.‘ He will say, ‘O son of Adam did you not promise Me that you would not ask me for anything else?’ He will say, ‘Perhaps if I bring you near to it, you will ask Me for something else.‘ He will promise that he will not ask Him for anything else, and his Lord will excuse him because he has seen something that he has no patience to resist. So he will be brought near to it and he will shelter in its shade and drink of its water.

        Then another tree will be raised up for him at the gate of Paradise that is more beautiful than the first two, and he will say, ‘O My Lord, bring me closer to this tree so that I may shelter in its shade and drink of its water, and I will not ask You for anything else.’ He will say, ‘O son of Adam, did you not promise Me that you would not ask Me for anything else?’ He will say, ‘Yes, O Lord, I will not ask you for anything else.’ His Lord will excuse him because he has seen something which he has no patience to resist. He will be brought close to it, and when he draws close to it, he will hear the voices of the people of Paradise and will say, ‘O Lord, admit me therein.’ He will say: ‘O son of Adam, what will make you stop asking? Will it please you if I give you the world and as much again?’ He will say, ‘O Lord, are You making fun of me when You are the Lord of the Worlds?’

        The Lord of the Worlds will smile when he says, ‘I am not making fun of you, but I am Able to do whatever I will.’

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      • Hi Folks,
        Now having studied some of the postings here about the process of ‘getting to heaven’, I am more confused than ever about authentic Christian teaching. I must make it plain that I am not in the least bit confused about my own personal faith, so I’m not looking for my own ‘salvation’, thankyou!

        Again I look at the answers I’ve read here. Dom and Kathleen say that it is all up to God in the long run, as He will do what is ‘right’. Monica’s Pastor gives a guarantee based on a very simple formula of Affirmations when pronounced in sincerity and whole-heartedness. Davinci takes on the repentance from Sin approach. My devout Presbyterian friends state emphatically that they simply don’t know if they are saved at all. Traditional Catholic teaching states that it is all dependent on whether one is in a state of ‘mortal sin’ at the time of death, and only Confession and Absolution give the saving guarantee.

        Now, one of the many things that intrigues me is the question of just what exactly do you folk tell to individuals when they are in the process of seeking conversion. Do you explain and admit to them that none of you really know if and when you are saved? (or if and when any other person is actually saved). So much for the much touted ‘hope’ of heaven! This inherent uncertainty is just another of the many reasons why I find the Christian message to be potentially a doctrine of despair.

        Again I ask about the baby or infant. Does baptism of such actually make a difference to their immediate hope of heaven if they die? And if so then St Augustine was right in his dismal conviction. But if by any chance every child up to some uncertain age is automatically ‘saved’, then it would seem that this just may be the ONLY circumstance in which salvation can be guaranteed. Just what age actually applies here, anyway? Or does it actually depend on the faith of the parents? However it is hardly the baby’s fault if the parents he is born to are not Christians, – AND of the right kind and understanding (Catholic? Or Islamic? Or 7th Day Baptist, or Calvinist, or Mormon, etc?). Theoretically, a truly loving and self-sacrificing parent who has little or no concern of his own personal salvation, could seem to guarantee his baby’s eternal life by murdering it.

        Is it actually your belief that the only and essential reason for our (one and only) life in earthly flesh is in order to gain eternal heavenly life due exclusively to the right relationship freely chosen with the deity? If so, then still-born and early dying babies and children (exerting NO free choice), are upsetting the whole story, and then there are obviously more ways than one to be ‘saved’. Actually it can be shown from the Christian Testament that a number of ways are open for gaining Salvation.

        Finally here, if we are directed towards heaven or hell purely on the ‘will’ of the God, then it makes the deity sound like a very partisan commander in chief who cant be relied on for anything. His arbitrary decisions appear to bear no relation at all to any concept we might have as to what is actually good or bad. And this is exactly the way every earthly tyrant or despot has delivered his will. And the only rule then for the follower is to just adopt whatever rules appear to be the will of the ‘boss’ and tremble in the process. Unfortunately there too, we have quite a range of differing rules to be demanded and enforced under the various deities. So one has to make a risky choice.
        Rian.

        Like

      • Rian,

        If my going to Heaven is based on whether I am a good and righteous person, then I can emphatically state that I am NOT going to Heaven! But thank God, Jesus stepped in and took my punishment upon Himself. By His shed blood Jesus paid my sin debt in full. He is my Lord and Saviour—and they are not just words—I have made Him Lord of my life. As far as I am concerned, I belong to Him!

        I love Him like no other and by FAITH I trust and believe His Word which states:

        John 8:29, “And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.”

        John 6:39, “This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.”

        “From these two verses we can learn several things. First, those who are Christians have been given to the Son by the Father. We know this is the case because Jesus said in John 6:37, “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and the one who comes to me I will certainly not cast out.”

        Second, in John 8:29 Jesus told us that he always does the will of the Father because he says that he always does the things that are pleasing to Him. So, Jesus can never fail to do the will of the Father. If he did, then he would have sinned.

        Third, we see in John 6:39 Jesus said that it is the will of the Father that of all who have been given to Jesus that he would “lose nothing but raise it up on the last day.” From this we can conclude that Jesus cannot lose anyone and that those who are given to him by the Father will also be resurrected. These are believers because Jesus says in John 6:37, “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.”

        Therefore, the context means that those who are raised are believers and is speaking of the resurrection to glory — which occurs on “the last day,” (John 6:44; 11:24). So, it is the will of the Father that of those whom are given to Jesus . . . Jesus will lose none
        Jesus will resurrect them on the last day.”
        ……..CARM Ministries

        As for your questions about whether babies and children go to Heaven without having first had the opportunity to make Jesus their Lord and Saviour, well doh! what kind of a God do you think we LOVE and serve? Honestly Rian, if you can’t see that God is LOVE, then that’s your problem. You’re the one with blinkers on. Of course our babies and little ones are in Heaven with our Abba Daddy!

        A co-worker of my husband’s 14 year old daughter shot herself in the head; committed suicide. She was found by her Dad in the back shed. Can you imagine the shock and devastation her act of desperation caused? I cried for weeks….couldn’t believe it! They were avowed atheists, yet I prayed and pleaded with God to have mercy on their child for she was never given the opportunity to hear the Good News. Even though it goes against ‘doctrine’ I begged God to gather her up in His loving arms and teach her everything she needed to know about Him and what Jesus Christ did for mankind. And I truly believe, with all my heart, that I will see her again in Heaven…..not because of my prayers, but because I feel God allowed me to glimpse His heart for the lost.

        No Rian, the God we Christians love and adore is so worth our adoration and obedience. Once you’ve truly met Jesus Christ, no-one and nothing else will do.

        “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

        Yep, by comparison, reincarnation truly is a “doctrine of despair”!

        Cheers,

        Mon

        Like

      • Thanks Mon for another passionate commentary. But I do have to correct the assumptions that you think lie in my postings. (And of course I am perfectly familiar with the Christian doctrine that ‘good works’ don’t actually ‘get one into Heaven’. You dont need to protest that.)

        I am not in any way casting aspersions on the Deity who is really there. My faith in the Love of the Divine is no different ultimately from yours. What I am querying, as always, are the doctrines beliefs and viewpoints that are and have been held by Christians. You have described there your emphatic belief and faith about not only our departed children, but also even a person who committed suicide.

        Now I’m not disputing the truth or falsehood of any of these matters; but rather how do you manage to fit these instances into your theology. From the point of view of an onlooker, who should I accept the word of? Yourself or Dom, davinci, or Fred Bloggs over there or St Augustine or Martin Luther? Do you feel that you can state with complete assurance that your concept of Salvation is uniquely the ultimately correct one, and that St Augustine was wrong, not to mention many or most Christians over the last 2000 years?

        If sufficient prayers raised by the faithful can move the heart of God to save the departed soul of a suicide by his love as you describe, then does that mean that the God does not actually have enough love to do it anyway? If as you say, our babies are automatically ‘in Heaven’ with God, then again how do I determine what is the age roughly when they become fully responsible in themselves to make their own eternal decision and then are in risk of hell?

        Again I state that according to my own Gnostic/Pantheistic faith, I have complete confidence that our children are spiritually safe, and those of all ages and climes who have not found a path of Salvation in this life will certainly have the chance in future times. A future in hell is not an inevitable in my book for that vast majority of people as predicted by Christianity. Nope. No doctrine of despair here.

        You still did not tackle the issue of that Few who are the only ones to take the Straight and Narrow, – an issue and a doctrine that definitely appals me. Such an incredible waste of humans that the divine has created! So how does Reincarnation represent a doctrine of despair? It does away with all that waste, and allows that all are safe in the hands of God. I’m all in favour of ‘prayers’ for a departed suicide, but in no way would I be taking it that the individual concerned otherwise would be automatically lost.

        No Mon, I’m not disparaging your God. I am merely querying and investigating what you and other Christians think and believe about your God. You already have to be well aware of the fact that certain of the things you believe about God are different and hopefully a huge improvement on what many other Christians have believed. Not all hold to that powerful loving God, you know.

        Love Rian.

        Like

      • Hi Rian,

        It’s not up to us to decide who goes to Heaven and who misses out. That’s God’s domain. But by faith in the Word of God and the leading of the Holy Spirit who dwells in our innermost being, we either have a witness of affirmation in our spirit concerning what we pray for, or we do not. With all these questions you ask, you continually discount the very real presence of the Holy Spirit’s guidance in a born again believer’s life, Who promises to lead us into all truth if we diligently and sincerely seek after it. Be that as it may though, no-one can guarantee that what they believe to be true is the truth, so help me God, because we do not hear the booming voice of God (well I certainly don’t!) directing and guiding us but rather, it is gentle or a ‘knowing’ in our spirit that God is speaking. So revelation cannot be proven until it comes to pass. Until it does though, I stand in faith that what I sense in the spirit is not just wishful thinking, but God truly directing my path.

        He has made certain promises to me that involve prayer and my spiritual life, and they have come to pass. Yes, we are called to minister to the heart of God in prayer and worship, and true devotion and love can certainly change His mind on a matter. As far as I was concerned, that 14 year old was still a child, and that’s all that mattered to me. My 56 year old mate who recently committed suicide was still a child emotionally and mentally, because of brain damage at birth. Yep, as far as I am concerned, he’s in Heaven too! So I refuse to answer your question about what age a child is considered a child in the eyes of God—no one can answer that question.

        So who are you meant to believe? Not me, not Dom, davinci, or Fred Bloggs over there or St Augustine or Martin Luther. There are so many ‘voices’ vying for our attention. I’d say believe in Jesus Christ. Do what He tells you to do in Holy Scripture, “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”…..meaning that it is a difficult and lonely path to take, a path designed to bring us to the end of ourselves; crucified with Christ by faith in Him.

        “We need to understand that Jesus is the Door through which all must enter eternal life. There is no other way because He alone is “the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6). The way to eternal life is restricted to just one avenue—Christ. In this sense, the way is narrow because it is the only way, and relatively few people will go through the narrow gate. Many more will attempt to find an alternative route to God. They will try to get there through man-made rules and regulations, through false religion, or through self-effort. These who are “many” will follow the broad road that leads to eternal destruction, while the sheep hear the voice of the Good Shepherd and follow Him along the narrow way to eternal life (John 10:7-11).

        While there will be relatively few who go through the narrow gate, compared to the many on the broad road, there will still be multitudes who will follow the Good Shepherd. The apostle John saw this multitude in his vision in the book of Revelation: “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!'” (Revelation 7:9-10).

        The exhortation to strive to enter is a command to repent and enter the gate and not to just stand and look at it, think about it, complain that it’s too small or too difficult or unjustly narrow. We are not to ask why others are not entering; we are not to make excuses or delay. We are not to be concerned with the number who will or will not enter. We are to plow ahead and enter! Then we are to exhort others to strive to enter before it’s too late.”

        Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/narrow-gate.html#ixzz3J9bFVDFI

        Love, Mon

        Like

      • Re-incarnation – A Blessing or a Curse?

        “It is hard to look into the dark hopelessness of people trapped in reincarnate cycles of despair.

        The truth is Reincarnation offers no hope, provides no answers, ignores the clear evidence, and contradicts our God-given conscience. It is a demonically inspired philosophy intended to keep its adherents slaves to sin and death.

        But some relish the thought of re-incarnation, the salve that helps to calm the ‘I’, the ego, the personality, the me. The all encompassing sense of self, that in its arrogance can’t accept the thought of its own annihilation.

        For ego centered folk, re-incarnation is a faith and a blessing. Yet, re-incarnation is also a curse, a prison that blocks us from transcendence and keeps us bound by karma debt to this contrived reality.”…….Re-incarnation: A Blessing or a Curse?

        “The reincarnation that is the talk of Hollywood coctail parties, is vastly different from the transmigration of Hindu religious philosophy. For Hinduism in general and Shankara in particular, to be reincarnated is to be caught in a cycle of despair, in life after life of misery and suffering. After you toil under back breaking conditions for your allotted seventy years, your reward is to face another seventy pain-filled years and another seventy, and another, and on and on. Reincarnation is the evil above which every Hindu believer hopes to rise.”…..Apologetics in the New Age: A Christian Critique of Pantheism

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      • Hi Mon,
        When you speak of rejecting the authority of Augustine, Luther, and the others, I’m reminded of a parallel email debate that I was engaged in with an Evangelical guy some years back. Like you he disdained to listen to such old/ancient authorities, and dismissed the Church ‘Fathers’ who originally designed the structure and the doctrinal base of Christianity. What was so noticeable was that in answering my queries, he constantly referred me back to modern writers like Lee Strobel and Lane Craig. In other words he had no compunction about referring me on to MODERN Church Fathers. You of course are similarly quoting authorities like Got Questions and others that are popular with Evangelicals.

        Now I am not out to defend the early Fathers and the Church Councils, but I would just remind you that the essential reason that you hold many of the Christian concepts and doctrines in the way that you do today, is because they were put forward, debated out and eventually enforced upon the Church at large. As the most distinctive example, if it hadn’t been for Augustine, you would most likely not be holding to the current teaching of Original Sin. It took him years to come to the conclusions that are the basis of today’s understanding of the ‘Fall of our first parents’ against great opposition. If he hadn’t, then Christianity’s approach to the question of Sin would most likely be based on the alternative and kinder approach of Pelagius. It was simply with the display and demonstration of force by a power hungry church that that latter gentleman was defeated and duly disappeared.

        Then we think of dear old Martin Luther. One cant dismiss him all that easily. If it hadn’t been for him and a handful of courageous re-thinkers who defied the all powerful Catholic hierarchy, we would most likely still be living a Christianity under the yoke of Rome; and it may well be that you still would not be reading the Bible in your own tongue. Just recall how the Catholic Church did just everything it could to ignore and then to destroy Luther and the Reformers, with war after war, and all sorts of destructive actions and Inquisitions. It was with the Reformers Protestant movement that the Western world advanced into the system of democratic freedom that we have today, and one largely only possible because of the modern secular trends.

        As far as the so-called prophecies of the ‘John’ who is supposed to have compiled the Apocalypse are concerned, I cant see that they are at all reliable. Spectacular for sure but very muddled in their details and messages. But there is a great deal I could say about that particular Biblical Writing. I shall be commenting on your earlier post about Salvation and Reincarnation a little later.

        Finally from what you say there, I sort of get the impression that the message is that some degree of Salvation is extended out to a far greater mass of folk than just the ones who have had a major Conversion experience. Interesting. (pause as I check) – Ah, but I’ve now just read certain of the references in Got Questions, and I am assured once more that the vast majority will finish up in hell. Charming and to me still a doctrine of despair. Its weakness is clearly based on the limiting concept of but one brief inadequate earthly lifetime, to be followed up immediately by an eternal destiny in a heaven or a hell.
        Love as ever, Rian.

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  2. Can we get out of the dangerous habit of stating who is in heaven and who is not. God decides. There are going to be a lot of people who think heaven is a done deal for them that will get a rude shock. Best to be in hope of God’s grace and mercy.

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    • I agree with you Dom. I don’t even bother thinking about it. How would I know? That’s God’s decision, He is right in all things.

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      • Now, second instalment on Reincarnation issue.

        The major lessons that should be obvious from my earlier instalment are first that priesthoods and ruling classes frequently make use of immoderate doctrinal teachings in order to subdue the lower classes. They find ways that can virtually enslave those poor people with sticks and all too few carrots. Sadly one of the primary ways in which the forebears of the rulers in India have caught the poor, is of course the perpetuation of the insidious Caste system; and between that and their corrupt Rebirth viewpoints, those rulers and priests taught the poor to know and remain in their place. Happily there have been major attempts in recent years to reform this; but there is still a long way to go.

        The fault is not one that can be laid at the door of the teaching of Transmigration. But it is with the aim of offering a far different idea of Rebirth than we in the West have chosen to use the more favourable term of Reincarnation. This latter is used with the intention to describe the enfleshment happening exclusively in human form, while Transmigration traditionally suggests a random wandering of the ‘soul’ from just about any creature’s life to any other, thus becoming crabs, dogs, lions and whatever in a chaotic fashion.

        Sadly when the much acclaimed Mother Teresa was alive to run her humanitarian missions in India, she was known to do little to change the natural conditions of the poor. She taught them that it was both noble and good to be poor and to suffer. If you just do a little search on the Internet you will find a lot of material on this.
        This sort of idea has been well established within Christianity in past times. I well remember a hymn in our old Methodist book, that told how the ‘rich man in his castle and the poor man in his tent’ are just fulfilling the destinies that God had arranged for them, and they should humbly accept it all. We well recall too, the wealthy life of power and privilege that the ‘Princes’ of the Church used to enjoy, as they lived off the fat of the land, to manipulate the poorer classes, and have them abide by rules and regulations. How many poor Catholic families were forced to live in destitution and misery, because the Church demanded that they refrain from using Contraception methods.

        The second point I make here is that this debased Shankara (?) type of rebirth, mentioned in the quote from Monica, is exclusively Hindu; and not only does not represent the concept and doctrine in all Hindu or Buddhist sectors, but is not by any means the only form of it that can be seen in many other cultures of the world. The many Mystery Schools of the early world about the Mediterranean, as well as the Gnostic teachers, all presented a noble and fine image of the teaching of Rebirth to their Initiates. And the very best persons of Greece and Rome in particular carried the doctrine in their hearts. To them it was never in the slightest to be considered as a doctrine of despair. And I would point out too that the Mystery Initiations were open equally to the highborn, the slaves and to women.

        It is certainly true that the ‘Reincarnation’ touted round at Hollywood parties and suchlike is very different, and is perhaps an indulgent plaything of the wealthy and the decadent. It involves of course for those folk a fun bit of speculation and claims about just who they were in past lives. I recall in the early days of Scientology, when it was mainly described as Dianetics, I was assured with pride by one aficionado of the cult that if for example, you have always wanted to be a Pirate, then Presto, in your next lifetime you can arrange to achieve that high and profound goal. Heaven help us!

        Hopefully I will complete this in a third episode. Rian.

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    • Monica,

      Ah yes, I can quite agree that the outlook is terribly bleak when you consider the view of Transmigration held by many Hindus. The picture of a repeating 70 odd years of toil and heartbreak over many lifetimes is indeed ‘orrible. And yet, – and yet, – funny though, it sorta reminds me of a Christian teaching that was held as standard for many hundreds of year by Catholics. Indeed there are still facets of it that have not, to my knowledge, been completely repealed by the powers that be.

      It was held and enforced on the minds of the Catholic faithful, that other than for a very minute few of the most saintly individuals, a rather huge and seemingly infinite number of ‘years’ of suffering in Purgatory are decreed immediately following death, to be served prior to one’s entry to Heaven. And a couple of delightful and logical ways were offered to the lay persons of mitigating the suffering in Purgatory, and shortening its duration.

      Dear old Martin Luther in particular, got unimaginably upset when around the Catholic world of Europe in the early 1500s, a very holy and pious gentleman named Johan Tetzel was selling documents supporting the person’s escape from Purgatory or a considerable shortening of the time to be suffered therein. He advertised his wares with a jingle that translates something like: “As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, The soul from Purgatory springs”. We are told that the Holy Monk became singularly adept at pretending to mimic the voices of those departed souls whose relatives happened to be present, and would cry: “Have pity on us” he would whine, “for we are in most grievous pains and torments from which you may redeem us with a little alms.”

      Naturally he was swamped with buyers. But some of the Nobles around the traps were somewhat miffed with Tetzel’s activities because the money going into his coin box, should by rights have been paid over to them, as entry fees to view the many (often thousands of them) holy Relics that were held in their castles and establishments. And of course the actual time of release from Purgatory thereby varied according to the degree of holiness of the particular Relics exposed (and the money charged). Strangely enough, Martin Luther unaccountably took exception to the sales, and started something called the Reformation as a result.

      I shall continue in a further instalment on Reincarnation.
      Cheers, Rian

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      • Just a couple more considerations on Reincarnation. We are told by Josephus that the Essenes and the Pharisees accepted Reincarnation. The famous Manasseh ben Israel in the 17th century told that Reincarnation was universally held among the Jews of his day. The Hassidim and the Kabbalists wrote enthusiastically about the doctrine. My scholarly Jewish friend back in the 80s made it very plain to me that there was absolutely no bar to Jews of today believing in the teaching, as there is nothing in their Theology that contradicts it. The verses in the Book of Job at 33.28-30 was quoted by the Rabbis as a reference to Reincarnation. Absolutely no sign of a doctrine of despair in the way Jewish persons viewed the doctrine.

        Christians might be interested in the possibility that the more profound of their number, and maybe certain of the Saints may have had a number of Incarnations as Christian scholars and devotees, or may perhaps have associated some 2000 years back with Jesus and the Disciples. The people that one is most readily attracted to in this life may be persons who share all sorts of experiences with you in past times. And indeed the persons with whom you share most antipathy or who are doing you harm, may well be those that you injured in the past. You each may ‘owe’ service or reparation to that other, and can help far better than revenge to clean the slate. Love and Hate would have to be the major factors that draw you back in contact with persons you have known before.

        Strictly speaking it is of no importance whatsoever that one investigate or attempt to learn about one’s previous lives. It may well be detrimental. Each life is a brand new opportunity to do good and to become more pure more virtuous and more devoted to The God. Many influences from Religion, Philosophers, Parents, Teachers and literature and practices of prayer and meditation can help one to improve and to keep the slate clean as it were. Clearly to make the very best use of each lifetime is of prime importance.

        Rian.

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      • Apologies, I just discovered that one of my missives regarding Reincarnation and answering a few of the classic objections that Monica raised, was not sent. So here it is.

        Hopefully this will be the final instalment on the Reincarnation question.
        ‘The truth is Reincarnation offers no hope, provides no answers, ignores the clear evidence, and contradicts our God-given conscience. It is a demonically inspired philosophy intended to keep its adherents slaves to sin and death.’

        Only a person who knows nothing about the real meaning of Reincarnation could make such an extraordinary statement. ‘No hope’? Every possible hope actually. In view of the fact that only very few find the way along the Straight and Narrow to reach to the hypothetical heaven, as well as the multitudes that Catholicism claims are enduring suffering in Purgatory, that all persons have the clear opportunity to reach higher on the spiritual path, and in the process with no likelihood of a Hell dangled over their heads.

        “Provides no answers?” Wow, the concept of Reincarnation can explain why we find people at all sorts of stages on a big spiritual journey. It can explain why the Biblical quote about ‘reaping that which we sow’ is just so universally true. It suggests just how every single person can experience life while entrenched in the shoes of all others, as for example, being in the body of a male in one lifetime, and then in another, experiencing the life in that of a woman. Doubtless over time, all religious ideas and groups will be made familiar to the person. Over a series of lifetimes, there can develop ideas and aims that can help humanity, or the extraordinary instinct for some specific skill and contribution for the world. One learns just why the good might suffer, and why the evil may seemingly prosper for the brief time being. Also the opportunities and qualifications develop for skills and understanding to help humanity.

        ‘Ignores the evidence?” Fascinating! No more or less evidence than there is for Christian concepts of the soul, Salvation or a destination in a Heaven.
        ‘Contradicts our God-given conscience?’ Hello??? What what what what??? With a concept of Reincarnation, we all have the chance to learn and relearn the following of our ‘God-given conscience’. That same conscience actually has the chance to grow and become more and more perceptive and more in akin with what The God may desire or intend over a series of lives.

        ‘Demonically inspired?’ Ah well that is always the easy and cheap way of dismissing the views of alternative or opposition philosophies or religions; and for that matter of promoting further ways of controlling the adherents through fear and dogmatism.

        ‘Keep the adherents slaves to sin and death’. Rubbish. One actually learns the very very best way about ‘sin’ and ‘goodness’ by being reincarnated. One can most likely learn over many lifetimes and by having committed many types of sins, more about the negativity of such behaviour than just hearing about them from priests and police. Also, one of course can in the long run see very clearly that the much feared and despised Death is neither the end or an evil.

        I would point out finally that there is simply no earthly reason why Grace in a very Christian form should not fit well into a scheme of Reincarnation. If Karma affects every person in balancing the ‘scales’ from life to life, then an experience of the Christ, and a turning to The God for forgiveness can well clear much of the past burden and the guilt, but not necessarily to remove all requirements for making recompense.

        Cheers, Rian.

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