The grace and sovereignty of God, free will, heaven, hell, church, etc.,


Dear Korean Dude 2
100,000 religious lunatic peasants trump Scripture!

My Dear Mr. Zender,

You persist in believing that your interpretation of Scripture is the one that is correct. Supposedly, you interpret it correctly, but all the giants of Christian history, save perhaps Origen (denounced as a heretic by the Church anyway) get it wrong? Dubious, very dubious.

Second, you have not dealt with the essence of my claim, which is that a direct revelation from God trumps any individual’s interpretation. You claim one thing, the orthodox interpreters say another—but guess what!? The direct revelations from God all support your opponents. Of course, the most impressive direct revelation from God in all human history took place on October 13th, 1917, at Fatima, Portugal, wherein between 70,000 to 100,000 people saw the miracle that validated the nature of the apparitions of Mary, who consistently stated that the punishments of hell are eternal. Of course, you avoided making any statement about this subject, which I had broached in an earlier message to which you did not (or were unable to) reply.

Third, your site does not possess the intellectual depth required for such a profound issue. A far more intellectual site is The main apologist on that site, James Patrick Holding, consistently argues that it is not logically possible to create a world in which all will be saved (see Frankly, it appears that he knows far more than you do, on so many issues relating to the interpretation of the Bible. Why should one believe you, when he seems to have far more knowledge and evidence on his side?

Fourth, since you have funky mainstream media quotations on your site, isn’t that almost a dead giveaway that you are wrong? The world loves to clutch at straws, hoping that the unpleasant reality of hell will go away, and so of course your arguments are reassuring to them. However, James Patrick Holding, who is subject to constant abuse and vitriol from God-hating critics, seems therefore to me to be a far more prophetic voice. Again, if I have to believe him or you, there doesn’t seem any reason to prefer your arguments. If one may make an analogy: when discussing advanced cosmology, would one trust the opinions of Joe Mechanic, or the published research of, say, Stephen Hawking or Alan Guth? The answer is pretty obvious.

Finally, though you cast doubt on what I stated in the earlier letter, rest assured that I do still wish you were correct. I do not relish the thought of people enduring hell forever, but how can a foolish mortal argue with the divine decree? It would make it much easier to like God if he hadn’t made life such a horrid obstacle course, with utter disaster lurking at every turn, but that’s just the way it is. God set up the universe the way it is, with hell the eternal and irrevocable consequence of disobedience, so we have to deal with it. No use hiding from the truth or burying one’s head in the sand, as it were. Thus, you would be doing everyone a far better service if you came to your senses, told everyone the truth about the eternal nature of hell, and then exhorted them to live faithfully so as to avoid the horrible fate.    

To be honest, I’m not sure why I keep writing to you. Your writing style is entertaining, and I enjoy reading what you write, but I still know in my heart that, as much as I would feel better if I could believe you, you are WRONG, and that the lurking threat of eternal hellfire is very real. You are (to give you the benefit of the doubt) an unwitting participant in the demonic campaign to steal more souls away to eternal torment, and for that you are NOT to be thanked....

Feel free to reply or not, as you wish, but I will not bother you again. Enjoy the rest of your life without my harassment. 

I will certainly enjoy the rest of my life, and the lack of your harassment shall be a cornerstone of it.

Origen, a giant of Christian history, got it right. He was denounced as a heretic, of course, as was our Lord. Your worldview of fear and doom and impending torment is based on the premise that the majority is always right. Unfortunately (or should I say fortunately) for your worldview, the majority is always wrong. This is the scriptural precedent, not that you’re familiar with either scripture or precedent. The day you realize that the majority are always wrong—and familiarize yourself with scripture—your worldview will change from fear and doom and impending torment to joy and optimism and impending salvation. Not that that would be an easy pill for you to swallow.

The essence of your claim is that 100,000 religious lunatic peasants said they saw an apparition of Mary, who somehow told them (via loudspeaker? pamphlets?) "Hello. I’m Mary. The punishments of hell are eternal. This is the main thing I wanted to tell you. Good-bye for now. Oh, and don’t forget to live in peace. And remember that my Son died for all your sins—ha! Just kidding! You’re all in danger of hell, which is eternal. Or did I already mention that? Sorry. I can’t remember. I’m only an apparition and I’m confused because I feel all wispy." This is fine, and we can all laugh privately at the preposterousness of it, that is until your next paragraph, where you question my intellectual depth. At that point we have no choice but to laugh out loud—at you.

I’m sorry if I cannot scale to the cerebral heights of superstitious Catholic peasants who see g-g-g-ghosts. I’m just dumb enough to believe scripture, which says that the dead know nothing (Eccl. 9:5) and that the resurrection of the saints of Israel is yet future (Dan. 12:1-2). All except Catholic cult members—forgive the redundancy—realize that Mary died. The Assumption (of Mary into heaven) is a Catholic fable, unknown to scripture. Surely with all your intellectual depth you must be aware that the doctrine of the Assumption of Mary is brought to us by the same people who gave us bone worship, baby baptism, papal infallacy, and the power of legal tender to propel disembodied souls to heaven. Those peasants at Fatima saw something, I’m sure, but it wasn’t Mary. Since the resurrection of Christ, Satan and his minions have been going about the earth deceiving people, transfiguring themselves into messengers of light (2 Cor. 11:14). Hm. Fatima/Satanic messengers transfiguring themselves into messengers of light. Are you sure you still want to make Fatima the bedrock of your argument? Okey-dokey then. I’ll stick to scripture, thanks.

One more note concerning this: The men I quoted in the three verses above, namely, Solomon, Daniel and the apostle Paul—in addition to the lunatic Catholic cult peasants at Fatima, of course—received direct revelations. You seem to believe that I disparage the direct revelation, but I do not. It’s just that in this case and in the many other cases where modern "direct revelations" contradict scriptural direct revelations, I would simply tend to believe the scriptural ones. So when it’s the lunatic Catholic cult peasants at Fatima versus Solomon, Daniel and Paul, I have to go with Solomon, Daniel and Paul. Sorry. But what would you expect from a guy who uses mainstream media quotations?

Thank you for quoting James Patrick Holding, who has a really intellectually-sounding website called "" My knees began shaking when I saw the name of that website, and now I am doubting my very salvation. You’ve got me wishing that I had named my website something smart-sounding. Anything but I wish that I had named it, or Why didn’t my parents give me a better name to start with? I could have been Martinus Zenderius. Everyone would believe Martinus Zenderius, no matter what he said. Drats. But for my lack of worldly polish, I could be the sage of the eon. Ma and Pa Zender could at least have given me three names, as the parents of James Patrick Holding did for him. But no. I don’t even have the advantage of being Martin Guggenheim Zender, or Martin Theopholis Zender, or even Martin Patrick Zender. People always believe you when you have three names. If I had three names, then I could say really stupid things like James Patrick Holding—and be believed!

If you are any indication, James Patrick Holding is to be believed no matter what idiotic thing he says. For nothing could be more idiotic than the following quote you offered me from the great James Patrick Holding: "It is not logically possible to create a world in which all will be saved." If James Patrick Holding simply doesn’t believe God, that’s his business. But why put the word "logically" between "not" and "possible"? Saving a needy world is the most logical thing imaginable. We humans can create families in which all members are loved, and we can create businesses in which all employees are paid—it’s all logical, yes?—and yet the God of the universe can’t create an inhabited world in which all the inhabitants are eventually delivered from sin and death—without being illogical? Even if saving a sinful world was not possible, why would it not be logical? I guess one can only grasp this argument with an advanced philosophy degree—and a case of beer.

"Since you have funky mainstream media quotations on your site, isn’t that almost a dead giveaway that you are wrong?" Okay, sir, excuse me, please, but now I’m confused. In your first two paragraphs you dismissed me because I’m not mainstream ("You claim one thing, the orthodox interpreters say another…"), and now I’m wrong because I quote mainstream media sources? I have a feeling that I can’t win with you. And then you discredit the media sources themselves because they’re—funky? I’m wondering which media sources on my website—that have either quoted me or reviewed my work—are the funky ones. Is it The Fort Worth Star-Telegram? The Michigan State News? Readers Preference Reviews? The Washington Times? The Arizona Republic? The Midwest Book Review? The Cleveland Plain Dealer? The Kalamazoo Gazettee? It must be The Kalamazoo Gazette! Kalamazoo is as funky-sounding a name as could be. Mystery solved, then. My work is discredited because the Kalamazoo Gazette reviewed it. Forgive me for never seeing this. I hereby repent of all past associations with funky-sounding media sources, especially those in Michigan.

But alas, you offer further evidence that my teaching is wrong: my arguments are reassuring to people! I must confess to having forgotten this axiom of Christian teaching, namely, that a proper presentation of the gospel must include dreadful, unscriptural, fear-inspiring threats of eternal torture. Since comforted people are a sure sign of wrong teaching, the corollary must also be true, that where right teaching is present, discomfort and fear will abound. This, however, leaves me with no clue as to why the people in Antioch rejoiced at the teaching of Paul (Acts 14:48). I can only conclude that Paul taught wrong things. No wonder people at the meetings where I speak become glad and optimistic; I tell them that Jesus Christ died for their sins, that He was a successful Savior, and that, as the Good Shepherd, He will not rest until every last sheep is in the fold. In short, I tell them, "God is the Savior of all mankind" (1 Tim. 4:10). The people at these meetings try to cry and be miserable, but they simply can’t work these things up. And now I know it’s all my fault.

"If one may make an analogy: when discussing advanced cosmology, would one trust the opinions of Joe Mechanic, or the published research of, say, Stephen Hawking or Alan Guth? The answer is pretty obvious."

What seems obvious to you is in fact completely wrong. Your confidence is in man rather than in the living God.

Jesus said in Matthew 11:25, "At that season, answering, Jesus said, ‘I am acclaiming Thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for Thou hidest these things from the wise and intelligent and Thou dost reveal them to minors."

God hides His truth from the wise and intelligent and reveals them to minors. This is why the scribes and Pharisees tripped over Jesus and His disciples, and it’s the same reason you trip over me and my dumbly-named website. You only trust those with an outward indication of wisdom and intelligence. If someone uses big words, or has a degree, or has 100,000 people agreeing with them, you’re impressed. Yet it is these very people from whom God has hidden truth. Therefore, you are seeking truth from those God has kept it from, and you reject it from one to whom God has granted it.

You would have despised Peter, James and John. The book of Acts calls these disciples of Christ "unlettered and plain," and thus you would have treated them the same way you treat me. In fact, you would have treated Jesus the Nazarene the same way. Your reliance on human reputation, on human strength, and on human approval, would make you a perfect candidate for a first-century Christ-hater. Possessed of your currently debility, you’d have considered the Pharisees—with their gorgeous diplomas, their huge temple, their brilliant websites—the epitome of spirituality, at the same time considering poor old Jesus—the commonly named, unschooled, ugly carpenter from Nazareth—the epitome of stupidity and spiritual error. In fact, you would have said to Him the same things you are saying to me. Here are your own words, not to me, but to Christ:

"You do not possess the intellectual depth required for profound issues. The people like to clutch at straws, which is why your teaching is popular. If I had to believe either the trained, intellectual scribes and Pharisees or you, there doesn’t seem any reason to prefer your arguments. Thus, you would be doing everyone a far better service if you came to your senses, told everyone the truth about the eternal nature of hell, and then exhorted them to live faithfully so as to avoid the horrible fate."

Though you have no idea which "hell" you refer to (Gehenna? Hades? Tartarus?)—or even that there are three different Greek words translated "hell"—and though you have no idea that the word "forever" is a provably mistranslated rendering of the Greek word aionion, you nevertheless claim, "I do not relish the thought of people enduring hell forever." Assuming that anyone could or would be sent by God to an eternal state of punishment outside His presence, it is clear to me that not only do you relish such a thing, you consciously and determinedly stiff-arm any arguments—however scriptural—that cast doubt upon it.

Your deep-seated issues are not with me, but with God; you are only taking out your frustrations on me, which is why your slights don’t bother me much. For you yourself write: "It would make it much easier to like God if He hadn’t made life such a horrid obstacle course, with utter disaster lurking at every turn, but that’s just the way it is."

That may be the way this era seems to you, but it is not the way it is in truth. Paul writes to the Corinthians, "Lo! Now is a most acceptable era! Lo! Now is a day of salvation!"

I pray that you see the salvation of God in this era. I know you will see it at the consummation of the eons, for people will be saved by sight then, not faith. Only now are they blessed to be believing without seeing. Yet only God can give faith.

I close with this apt quote from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. It’s a direct revelation, so take heed:

For the word of the cross is stupidity, indeed, to those who are perishing, yet to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I shall be destroying the wisdom of the wise, and the understanding of the intelligent shall I be repudiating. Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the discusser of this eon? Does not God make stupid the wisdom of this world? For since, in fact, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom knew not God, God delights, through the stupidity of the heralding, to save those who are believing" (1 Cor. 1:18-21).