Do We Belong to A Church or THE Church?

THEchurch

Today in church I jotted myself only one personal note about the content. This is unusual for me.

In a 30 minute sermon, I can often write 10-12 things down to research or that I thought about off-topic during the sermon. Today I heard something that caused me to pause.

I heard the word Hell used.

As a literal place.

Now many of you are confused or surprised by that statement.

If you were sitting here with me you’d probably be like, “Duh. You were in church. People talk about Hell in church.”

And I would agree with you, BUT.

But I’m tired of hearing people say the contemporary church doesn’t preach Hell or the blood of Jesus anymore.

We do talk about Hell and the blood of Jesus.

I heard about both of them in our sermon today. I partook in communion with the understanding that I was taking of His (Jesus’) body and His blood.

Of course I know it was products purchased at a store. Of course I know the analogy makes a lot of people very uncomfortable. Of course I know.

I know because the idea of Hell as a destination has frightened me.

I know because I was confused as a child how we could eat the body of our Savior and drink His blood. It’s gross. It’s wrong. We’d be cannibals.

I know because being a Christian isn’t about comfort and warm-fuzzy feelings:It’s about sacrifice.

So, yes.

I raise my hands in praise. I sing songs that might seem a bit like secular music. I read the Bible on my phone, tablet, laptop, and yes, my printed King James Version, too. I believe that mission work is more than important: It is necessary for life.

But I need to make it clear. Regardless of what type of church I attend, I need you to know that I believe in Hell as a literal place. With no Hell, there would be no Heaven. I believe it is worse than we evenimage_editor_share_1442198380069 imagine it to be. And I don’t wish Hell on anyone. I hope for salvation which leads to Heaven.

And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. Matthew 16:18

The message hasn’t changed.

As we witnessed many (13ish?) baptisms today, I can’t help but believe He truly does turn the old into NEW!

From Hell to Heaven.

From death to life.

From sinner to saint.

I am a member of the church.

Not a denomination, not a contemporary church, not a traditional church, not a specific building, not a specific saint, not even a specific congregation (although I do serve and gather with one), but I am a member of THE church that Christ refers to as “My church”.

It is my sincerest hope and prayer you can say the same thing. If you can’t, and you have questions, please ASK. Please question. Please don’t worry about how “dumb” a question might sound. There is no judgement here…only love.

photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/29372296@N00/19782534395">St Mary's Church in Hunstanton</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">(license)</a>

7 comments

  • So easy to forget that the human man-made church is not The Church that our Lord refers to. We have these communities in order to proclaim and provide means to spread the Gospel. That is a big job. The buildings and churches can or should provide us with the encouragement and maybe even the opportunity to do just that. It is good to be reminded that we are all part of Christ’s church – the body. The concepts of Hell and the devil are things we need to pay attention to. They are real and denying them can be dangerous and open a foothold for the evil one to infiltrate our little communities here on earth. Good thoughts Carrie.

    Blessings,
    laura

  • I’m so glad to learn about your strong beliefs. If only the whole human race could unite in the one God.

  • What do you define as hell?

    • Nick, in the context of this piece, a literal place where those who haven’t accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior go after death. However, I truly hope that you found HOPE here rather than hell.

  • Does forbidden-fruit-eating merit eternal punishment?

    Dear Christians, have you ever stopped to think about what the Christian story really says: Someone committed a crime. There is a severe penalty for committing that crime. And there is one means to avoid the penalty for that crime and to expunge the record of the perpetrator of that crime.

    Crime: Forbidden fruit eating.

    Penalty: A lifetime of hard labor, disease, war, rape, torture, starvation, agonizing physical death, and horrific eternal punishment/torture in the after life.

    Means of Restitution: A human sacrifice.

    Dear Christians: Isn’t it obvious? This is an ancient fable. No one living in the modern 21st century should believe this tall tale.

    • Gary,

      I am so glad you stopped by today. The Christian “story” as you call it is not about crime and punishment. It is about love.

      As a Lutheran blogger, you should be aware that Lutheran’s believe in Heaven and Hell. So, before I engage the conversation, what are your beliefs on Heaven and Hell? Even more so, the Bible? I look forward to hearing back from you.