Why Akathleptos?

Why Akathleptos? Because it means Uncontainable. God is infinite. Hence, the whole universe cannot contain Him. The term also refers to the incomprehensibility of God. No man can know everything about God. We can know Him personally but not exhaustively, not even in Heaven.

Why Patmos? Because the church is increasingly marginalized and exiled from the culture.

Why Pen-Names? So the focus is on the words and not who wrote them. We prefer to let what we say stand on its own merit. There is precedent in church history for this - i.e., the elusive identity of Ambrosiaster who wrote in the 4th century A.D.

“Truth is so obscured nowadays, and lies so well established, that unless we love the truth we shall never recognize it." Blaise Pascal

Saturday, September 12, 2015

How should we think of our own death and the death of others?

We should be joyous in the sense that our own death means the prospect of our going to be with Christ (2 Cor 5:8; Phil 1:21-23; Rev 14:13). We need not fear death - the final enemy - as even it is incapable of separating us from the love of Christ (Rom 8:38-39). Christ’s death delivers us from any fear of death (Heb 2:15).

There is a somewhat different attitude when we experience the death of a Christian friend or loved-one:  genuine sorrow, but mixed with joy that they have gone to be with the Lord. It is not wrong to express real sorrow at the temporary loss of fellowship for loved ones who have died, and also sometimes for the suffering and hardship they may have had to endure prior to their death. Deep mourning does not reflect a lack of faith (Acts 8:2 in contrast to Acts 7:56-60). There is no lack of faith on anyone’s part that Stephen was in Heaven experiencing great joy in the presence of the Lord; yet they showed genuine and deep grief at the loss. Even Jesus wept at the death of His friend Lazarus, and the sorrow of his friends and family (John 11:33-35) despite His knowledge of the fact He was going to shortly raise Lazarus from the tomb. The Ephesian elders wept in anticipation of not seeing Paul anymore in this life (Acts 20:37-38). In Philippians, the same letter where Paul expresses a desire to depart this life and be with Christ, he also talks about the sorrow that would have been his, had his friend died (Phil 2:25-27). David, the man after God’s own heart and who spoke so eloquently in the Psalms about living with God forever, had great sorrow at the death of Saul and Jonathan (2 Sam 1:11-12, 17-27)

Nevertheless, our sorrow should be mingled with joy and hope (1 Thess 4:13). Notice that Paul does not say there should not be grief - but that our grief should be different from the grief of an unbelieving world. Though we may grieve, we can also take great comfort (1 Cor 15:55-57). Worship can be especially important at this time in one’s life ... i.e., David and the death of his on (2 Sam 12:15-23); Job and the death of his children (Job 1:18-21).

Regarding the death of unbelievers, our sorrow and grief is not mingled with the joyful assurance they have gone to be with the Lord. This sorrow, especially regarding a close loved-one is very deep and real (Rom 9:1-3). Yet, we often do not have absolute certainty that an individual has persisted in refusal to repent all the way to the point of death. The knowledge of impending death often results in genuine heart-searching on the part of the dying one. At such times, sometimes the words of Scripture or testimony heard long ago are recalled and the person may experience genuine repentance and faith. Sometimes we do not know. Nevertheless, after a non-believer has died, it would be wrong to give any indication to others that we think that person has gone to Heaven. It is misleading and gives false assurance, and may diminish the urgency of the need for those still alive to repent. It is better to focus on the fact of the sorrow we may feel at the loss causes us to reflect on our own life and destiny. It often, is the best time to share the gospel, as the Lord presents opportunities. It is often helpful at such times to speak with genuine thankfulness for the good qualities and the good things the deceased has done. We can thank God for the common grace exhibited in the individual’s life. This requires honesty and mature judgment (the inevitable reaction to the death of someone widely known as evil and destructive [ie, Adolph Hitler]; Prov 11:10). David speaking of Saul despite the fact that Saul has tried several times to kill him (2 Sam 1-19-24)

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