A small and clumsy answer to Dennis and his friend Mark
(The full work of which being scheduled to appear in small weekly segments for publication in Tale Told.)
You may suppose this “preamble” is a small work coming before the main body of the work to explain something about the main body of the work. If such is the case, you are in grave error. In fact, this preamble is a short work coming before that preamble (to the main body of the work) to explain that preamble (to the main body of the work). Let’s see if I can give some light as to what I mean:
Basically, I can’t remember the last time someone was incautious enough to hand me a microphone. Herein, I am creating a microphone to hand myself, and there’s literally nothing you can do to stop me. Okay, do we understand each other? Great. In that case, let the preambling begin.
My friend Dennis handed me a small argument or monograph that Mark, a friend of his, had written, staking out a position for the cessation of human consciousness between death and the future bodily resurrection—an event all three of us anticipate. Before receiving the parcel I had some rough idea of what the topic was to be, but warned Dennis that I have put things I truly want to read on hold for years due simply to trying to keep my head above Life’s water level. Yet Dennis pestered me often over the next year or two, “Have you read it?”
When I finally scheduled a 3-day vacation to the beach, I took the un-perused work along, supposing I could at least peek into it. The work impressed me as fairly well thought out, with some of the (scripturally based) arguments being, in my opinion, more persuasive than others. I got about half way through, stenciling some rough notes and scripture reminders to myself to use if I did get around to answering the assertion. For that is where I came in: Dennis, knowing my position to be other than cessation of consciousness post-death, wanted me to write a rebuttal to his friend’s work.
If I do have a bachelor’s degree in Bible from a reputable Bible institute—mind you, I’m not saying I do, but if I do—I did not embark on such a goal with this topic in mind. (To me, this is not must know theology.) However, I found that I was interested enough to both finish reading the 18-page volley within a week or two of returning home, and to feed paper into my typewriter with a view to making some small reply in defense of a different stance. The document that emerged was too rambling to classify as a monograph—I was only intending to introduce a few new scriptures into the topical arena. Well, I may also perhaps have thought to dispute a point of logic here or there, or to express an opinion—in the least offensive terms—that I considered certain arguments within the text an abuse of cited Scripture in either application, genre or flow cropping. (In one case, an inclusion of the very next verse in Ecclesiastes would have turned the spirit of thought in the contrary direction.)
Perhaps I will refer to Mark’s work as the provoking document, in that it motivated me to want to write a rebuttal. My “rebuttal,” therefore, I may refer to as the response. Mark, as I understand, subscribes to Seventh Day Adventist doctrine, so I suppose his positions are likely mainstream 7DA theology. I am a mainly straight down the center charismatic Protestant, with only a few gaping heresies that I can think of at the moment, which I will try to come clean on herein:
- If John Calvin and I met in a dark alley, one of us wouldn’t emerge alive., , 
- I emphatically believe in the (eventual) salvation of mankind.
- I do not deny other major disagreements may exist between mainstream Protestantism and me, but these are the ones that come to mind, and perhaps bear on the topic.
Anyway, before I knew it, I had written a 15-page response to the 18 pages worth entrusted to me, largely, as I say, bringing new Scripture to bear on the topic, but occasionally refuting Mark’s scriptural evidences related to the standpoint he propounded.
Until the next installment—Martin D. Carlson
How well do you know your mind. Me? I don’t even have a clue if my conscious mind attempted a pun here.
A euphemism for my attempt to keep up with the meager to-do list I assign myself, taking an occasional swat at the wolf at the door, hoping to get in a surprise blow or two as he nods off.
A mere figure of speech for preparing to answer, I assure you. How anybody got any serious writing done before the age of the word processor, I can’t imagine.
I apparently said perhaps for a good reason. Looking back, I think I did this a total of one time.
Here, I am using a literary device called hyperbole: The Holy Spirit has made clear to me that the means by which we must “silence” bad men who propagate bad doctrine (Titus 1: 10-11) necessarily excludes murder. Vigilante style curtailing of an odious person—no matter how odious—from spouting odious theology—no matter how odious—by means of strangulation still constitutes murder in the eyes of both God and the state. All my point “A)” really means is that I vehemently oppose (hate) that false portrayal of God called Calvinism.
Perhaps I should also admit here that Mr. Calvin has already . . . decomposed—and (as a test case) is either conscious or not that Mark and I are having this debate—so presumably, concerning whatever might take place in a dark alley, I could be tried in man’s courts for nothing beyond corpse abuse. Assuming, of course, that I was the one to emerge victorious.
Really, folks! Speculating on the chances of me coming across John Calvin’s remains in a dark alley, are neither productive nor focal to our topic. Let it go!
To be absolutely straightforward, Mark, Dennis and I all disbelieve in unending punishment as an ultimate reality for any human being, but we see this generalized position from at least two extremely distinct perspectives.