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Growing up I remember hearing preachers say God doesn’t actually send anyone to ****—instead, people choose to go there. God simply gives them what they want. These preachers were echoing a claim that C. S. Lewis made popular:
It’s not a question of God “sending” us to ****. In each of us there is something growing up which will of itself be **** unless it is nipped in the bud.
Quote - **** - Punishment - God - Consequence
In this quote, **** is less of a judicial punishment meted out by God and more of a natural consequence, something less like being fined for stealing and more like getting lung cancer from smoking.
There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says . . . “Thy will be done.”
Claim - Doors - **** - Inside
This is sometimes coupled with the claim that the doors of **** are “locked from the inside.”
As a preacher, I can understand the appeal of this language. In talking about ****, we wish to show how it can be just, and we don’t want God to seem cruel in people’s eyes—because after all, he’s not. But **** is an awful place, and we’re conscious that our hearers might think God was cruel for sending people there.
Defending - God - Character - Blocks - Goals
Defending God’s character and removing stumbling blocks can be laudable goals. But as preachers and as Christians, we must be so careful to give the Bible functional authority over all our preaching and speaking, perhaps especially over those parts that are currently most offensive. We must be willing to say all that Scripture says and resist the urge to deny or soften things that Scripture explicitly affirms.
My concern is that statements like “God doesn’t send anyone to ****” or “The people in **** want to be there” are misleading when made the...
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