Monday, December 31, 2012

My recent online tussle with a street preacher over 'pain in heaven'

I don't know if you have ever encountered a street preacher before, so I will help you out quickly before I digress into the subject at hand.

You take 4 parts ignorance, 5 parts self-absorption, 5 parts abject hypocrisy and a pinch of bad theology and *poof*, you have a street preacher, a very special kind of hypocrite that even most evangelicals are embarrassed about.

In their warped, self-absorbed myopia, street preachers actually think they are doing the Lord's work by standing on the street corners screaming at people like the crazed berzerkers they are. In fact, this type of behavior is clearly and forcefully condemned in Scripture.

Matthew 6
5: "And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.
6: But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret;  and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 
God is not at all impressed by street preachers and neither am I. Their theology is the worst kind of canned spam and they simply cannot waver from their talking points enough to answer even the most basic questions. Nothing infuriates a street preacher more than being bested by an informed Catholic and, since that is what happens each time they encounter one, they spend all their time in a state of perpetual prideful rage.

Yesterday, was a perfect example. When trying some of his very best bumper sticker theology and ill-formed logic on me, this street preacher was quickly found hoisted by his own petard.

His argument was as follows;

Since Catholics esteem Mary as our Mother and we pray to her as such. Would there not be some pain, sorrow and even tears at our plight, as we would expect from any loving mother?

When I answered 'of course', he quickly sprung Revelation 21:4 which he claimed proves that there is now, no pain of any kind in heaven.

4 and he shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more; neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more: the first things are passed away.
Scarcely had he begun what he though was a victory dance, when his ship was torpedoed and sunk by my counter- a counter he did not even attempt to answer.

Revelation 21:4 does not at all say what he is claiming and the context proves it.

1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth are passed away; and the sea is no more.
2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven of God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.
3 And I heard a great voice out of the throne saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he shall dwell with them,
 and they shall be his peoples, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God:
4 and he shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more; neither shall  there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more: the first things are passed away. 

Now, it is true that the New Jerusalem (The Catholic Church) has come down and Jesus does indeed dwell in the Eucharistic Tabernacles therein and His is Our God and we are His people.

However, heaven and earth have not yet passed away, nor has death nor pain. These events, from near the very end of the Bible, are from the future! Today, there is indeed, no pain of punishment in heaven but we can surely know that God has sorrow over our disobedience and our plight.

I provided three specific arguments and it must be known that this coward absolutely ran from all three.
The first is Romans 8:26

26 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness ; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words

As any dictionary will tell you, a groan is a cry of pain or sorrow.

The second proof-text was from Matthew's gospel, Chapter 2;

Rachel is in heaven! This verse is telling us that heaven cried out in anguish at this atrocity. Rachel's spiritual children.

Here is the third, from Revelation Chapter 12;

1 And a great sign was seen in heaven: a woman arrayed with the sun, and the moon under her feet,
 and upon her head a crown of twelve stars;  
2 and she was with child; and she crieth out, travailing in birth, and in pain to be delivered. 

The context of these verses are clearly prophetic. The Woman, the Queen Mother of the King (Jesus), who brought Him forth in physical birth, now agonizes over a lost world she tries to bring back to her son.

As long as there is love in heaven, and souls that can be saved, there will be anxious and anguished moments, seeking their salvation. This is totally different from the thorns and thistles of earth, or the eternal pain of hell that are pains of punishment. Any parent that does not hurt for a suffering child, doesn't love that child.

I invite everyone to contact Street Preacher and inquire as to why he was unwilling to answer these objections. I tried for nearly 40 minutes, he refused to respond. Is he unable? Or is he just a simple coward?

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