The Psychology of Salvation with Mary Ann Yaconis

March 29, 2009

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Mary Ann Yaconis has a Bachelor’s in education from Indiana University of PA, a Master of Science degree from the University of Maryland in Family Counseling, a Master of Arts degree from Regent University in Counseling, and she is currently a Ph.D candidate in Pastoral Counseling at Loyola College in Maryland. She was a high school teacher for many years in Fairfax County, Virginia, and now volunteers at Living Hope Community Church as a licensed mental health counselor.

Mary Ann tells her story of how different beliefs about salvation affected her relationship with God throughout her life. She started out with a fairly typical “churchianity” background where she and her husband participated in the church a lot but didn’t really experience God in a profound way. Then, she joined another group in which she was taught the doctrine of permanent unconditional salvation. During this time she grew a lot regarding faith and walking with God, but her conscience kept pestering her about her sin. Even though the leadership kept telling her that she was saved no matter what, and that all she had to do was ask for forgiveness, she couldn’t help feeling distant from God. Then, by God’s grace, she learned about repentance–that sin was not to be forgiven alone but that corresponding life-change was necessary. As time went on she found herself moving steadily closer to God as she partnered with him to overcome sins one at a time. Since then, Mary Ann has been very active in counseling ministry and she shares some deep insights into the barriers we erect between ourselves and God.

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The Grace Trap with Vince Finnegan

March 22, 2009

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Rev. Vince Finnegan is not only the founding minister of Living Hope Community Church, but he is also my father. We had an engaging Bible conversation on the subject of salvation. Out of all the programs on this show, I think this one is the most densely packed with Scripture. Text after text was discussed in order to debunk the myth of unconditional salvation and instead share the biblical idea of salvation by grace through faith that expresses itself in obedience. Furthermore, the theme of perseverance featured in our dialog. Listen in as we discuss “The Grace Trap” in this ongoing series on salvation.


Conditional Salvation with Bob Mathieson

March 15, 2009

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Rev. Bob Mathieson has been serving as the pastor of a congregation in Newark, Delaware for the last twenty years. When he was in his twenties he first accepted the gospel of Jesus Christ and learned theology from an ultra-dispensationalist perspective. As a result, for the first thirty years of his Christian experience, Bob believed and held firmly to the doctrine called, “once saved, always saved.” However, in the last four years or so, Bob has been researching the topic of dispensationalism and salvation and has come to a better understanding.

Throughout this conversation, Bob not only shows the errors of dispensational theology, but he also lays in its place the foundation for a holistic view of Scripture. In our discussion on the possibility of someone losing his or her salvation, Bob remarked:

Many people are concerned about this, and I understand their concern initially, because they have made themselves feel good about the fact they could never lose it–it scares them. Someone says, “Are you telling me I can lose my salvation?” My response to that is, “That’s the wrong way to put it. You lose your car keys; you don’t lose your salvation. You forfeit your salvation; you walk away from your salvation. You don’t lose it. It not something where you are going to be surprised. This is a deliberate saying, ‘I’m going to do what I want to do with my life, I’m not going to continue to make Jesus Lord, and I’m going to continue on in some kind of sinful way.’ The only thing left then, is a fiery judgment that God will judge.”

Listen in to hear a masterful and balanced presentation of a subject that in the hands of less skilled exegetes has crumbled into either “easy believism” or “works salvation.” Is their a third option? Tune in to find out.


Easy Believism with Jason Benedict

March 8, 2009

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Jason Benedict grew up in the church but went through a period of rebellion all too common among those in college. Then after he observed a massive life-change in his brother, which included some convicting preaching as well, Jason chose to repent and accept the forgiveness available through Jesus Christ. But, his story doesn’t end there, from that time he embarked on an extremely zealous quest to earn God’s love which eventually led to burnout and despair. Even so, God did not leave him there, but sent a messenger, Jason’s cousin, to share truths about Jesus which opened Jason’s eyes and brought his relationship with God to the next level–where he could accept God’s love without feeling a need to work for it.

Through his story Jason Benedict talks about how his perception of salvation shifted from one side to the other and what the biblical balance is between grace and responsibility. Listen in to this lively conversation as we embark on a series of shows to address the critical subject of salvation.

Jason pastored a home church for a number of years and now contributes at Living Hope Community Church as one of the teachers for our Biblical Education Classes.


The History of Hell with John Roller

February 22, 2009

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Dr. John Roller has served as an interdenominational youth evangelist, as a pastor of churches in Illinois, Florida, and West Virginia. He has a Ph.D. from Bethany Theological Seminary in Dothan, Alabama, where he specialized in tracing the early christian history on the afterlife and the doctrine of hell. Dr. Roller has written an e-book, The Doctrine of Immortality in the Early Church, which is available for free upon request by emailing him (johnroller@faithbiblechristian.com). More information about John Roller can be found at www.JohnRoller.com.

In this show John articulates with lucidity the shift from the biblical notion of annihilation to the pagan mythology of eternal torment. From the earliest days Christians believed that at death one was asleep until the resurrection when Jesus returned to establish his kingdom. Only then would hell exist as a means by which God would destroy the wicked and rebellious. However, through the late second century influence of Athenagoras of Athens, Clement of Alexandria, and Tertullian of Carthage, the hell doctrine combined withe the Greek philosophic idea that souls are immortal into the grotesque abomination that is so popular today. Join us as we delve into the history of hell to document the remarkable shift that occurred in the second century.


The Truth about Hell with John Cortright

February 15, 2009

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Rev. John Cortright brings thirty years of biblical teaching experience to bear on the critical subject of hell. Most Christians believe that hell is the place that one goes to immediately at death if he or she is unsaved. In hell a person is supposedly tormented without relief, not for ten, twenty, or thirty years, nor even for a million years, but for all of eternity. This grotesque mythology has grown out of exaggerations by people like Dante whose imaginations, no doubt, got the better of their exegetical powers.

John demonstrates from the Scriptures that the dead are in Sheol (also called Hades) where they are unconscious (“asleep”) until Jesus comes to resurrect. Even so, after the millennial rule, a great white throne will be set up and the final judgment will occur. At this time everyone whose name is not found written in the book of life will be thrown into the lake of fire (gehenna) to be burned to death.

John shows that the idea of gehenna (the word translated hell in the New Testament) came from an actual place–the Valley of Hinnom (see picture at right). What’s more, John has actually been there–to the Valley of Hinnom–in modern day Israel and he describes it with chilling detail. Furthermore, John shares what took place there historically so that it became the prototypical way of talking about God’s fiery judgment to be delivered in the last day. If you have ever questioned the typical view of hell, and have been at a loss to reconcile the belief that God will torture people forever with the notion that “God is love,” then this show would be well worth your time.


The Truth about Heaven with Steve Taylor

February 8, 2009

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Pastor Steve Taylor has extensive ministry experience, having served as the pastor of churches in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, and Georgia prior to moving to Arizona. Over the past thirty years of his ministerial career he has had a lot of time to research Bible topics including Heaven.

Steve shares with us a truth that many are coming to realize: that at death Christians are unconscious until the resurrection when Jesus returns to establish God’s kingdom on the earth. Steve draws not only from decades of Bible study, but also from his vast experience in ministry as he has counseled with those who have lost loved ones. Listen in to hear what the Bible really says about the afterlife.