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THE TRUTH ABOUT GOD

December 26
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December 26

TEN REASONS NOT TO BELIEVE THE TEACHING OF ETERNAL TORTURE

#5: THE MAJORITY OF THE EARLY CHURCH FATHERS DID NOT TEACH IT

( The following is an excerpt from: The Power Of Life And Death In A Greek Four Letter Word--Aion, Gary Amirault )

According to Gary Amirault:

-"Many orthodox Christian historians acknowledge that the majority of the early church did not teach eternal torment. A couple of examples: Geisler-"The belief in the inalienable capability of improvement of all rational beings, and the limited duration of future punishment was so general in the West, and among the opponents of Origen, that it seems entirely independent of his system." (Eccles. Hist., 1-212). (Origen has been accused of bringing into the church the heresy of the salvation of all. Geisler points out the belief was prevalent even apart from Origen's influence.) The German theologian and historian Johann Christoph Doerderlin writes: "In proportion as any man was eminent in learning in Christian antiquity, the more he cherished and defended the hope of the termination of future torments." Professor and historian Henry Oxenham informs us that the, "Doctrine of endless punishment was not believed at all by some of the holiest and wisest of the Fathers, and was not taught as an integral part of the Christian faith by any, even of those who believed it as an opinion." Historian Pfaff says: "The ultimate restoration of the lost was an opinion held by very many Jewish teachers, and some of the Fathers." Dietelmaier: "Universalism in the fourth century drove its roots down deeply, alike in the East and West, and had very many defenders." Reuss: "The doctrine of a general restoration of all rational creatures has been recommended by very many of the greatest thinkers of the ancient church, and of modern times." (Hist. De la Theol. Apost.). Prior to Augustine in the 5th century, the vast majority of Christians, including the leadership, believed in the Salvation Of All Mankind through Jesus Christ. St. Basil the Great (c. 329-379) in his De Asceticis wrote: "The mass of men (Christians) say that there is to be an end of punishment to those who are punished." St. Jerome (342-420): "I know that most understand the story of Nineveh and its King, the ultimate forgiveness of the devil and all rational creatures." The Christian leader most instrumental in bringing in the damnable heresy of eternal torment, Augustine, admits himself that "There are very many (imo quam plurimi, which can be translated majority) who though not denying the Holy Scriptures do not believe in endless torments." (Enchiria, ad Laurent. c.29) Imagine, the champion of the doctrine of eternal torment admitting out of his own mouth that as late as the 5th century many or the majority of believers did not believe in eternal torment and he said they did not deny the scriptures in believing so. Of the six theological schools known to the early church, 4 taught the Salvation Of All, one taught annihilation, and only one taught eternal torment. The Greek word aion was not used to mean eternal in the early church writings. The President of the Second Ecumenical Council of Constantinople in 381, St. Gregory of Nazianzus, was an outspoken Universalist, that is, he believed in the Salvation Of All Mankind Through Jesus Christ. Would the church designate a heretic as its head at such an important meeting? When Emperor Justinian finally declared the teaching of the Salvation Of All as heresy, he used the word "ateleutetos" to describe "eternal punishment," not aionion which is the Biblical term. If aionion meant "eternal" why didn't he use it? He didn't because it didn't mean eternal! Many writings are still preserved from the early Christian bishops which clearly show they did not teach eternal torment. To mention just a few: Clement Alexandrinus, Gregory Thaumaturgus, Ambrose, Titus of Bostra, Diodore of Tarsus, Isidore of Alexandria, Origen, Theodore of Mopsuestia, St. Gregory of Nazianzus, etc. When studying the lives of the early leaders, those embracing the Salvation Of All clearly showed much more love and fruit in their lives than those who taught eternal torment. Compare Origen and St. Gregory of Nyssa with Tertullian and Cyprian. If the doctrine of the Salvation Of All was heresy, why didn't the church declare it as such until the church entered the dark ages? Could it be that when the pagan doctrine of eternal torment entered the church, this very doctrine brought about the gross darkness which the church plunged into? It was not until the church left the Greek text and went to the Latin Vulgate Text that large numbers began to believe in eternal torment. That was because Jerome mistranslated those very words we have just been talking about. The Latin Vulgate perpetuated the error. As long as the church primarily used the Greek Text, it taught the Salvation Of All Mankind. As late as the 16th century lexicographers such as Phavorinus knew that aion was just a time word. But he also noted where the idea of changing the meaning came from. He writes, "Aion, time also life, also habit, or way of life. Aion is also the eternal and endless as it seems to the theologian." Here we see where the deception came from, the theologian!" ( Gary Amirault )

-So … If you believe in the Salvation Of All Mankind through Jesus Christ, …

-YOU ARE IN GOOD COMPANY!-

December 26

And now abides faith, hope, and love, these three; but the greatest of these is LOVE.