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The Threat of Judgment

Since I’ve been making these posts about my experience at Moody Bible Institute, I’ve been getting some reactions from former classmates there.  Some of these are in a public forum I’m on.  Others have been private communications.    A few of these have been kind and heartening.  Others … not.

Among the latter, some have told me that they pity me because of where I will end up on the day of judgment.   Others have suggested that I changed my theological beliefs because that would help me become famous.  Some have expressed both sadness and outrage that I have “led so many people astray.”

So, dealing with these kinds of comments one-by-one, in one post at a time.   First, the day of judgment.  Well, none of us knows what will happen on the day of judgment, but I think I’m glad none of my classmates has been appointed to be the judge!    That hasn’t stopped them from judging in the present, of course, and one would think they would be a bit wary of that, given what Jesus says about such things (Judge not lest you be judged).

My view, of course, is that there is not going to *be* a judgment day, any more than there is going to be a second coming and a rapture and a future millennial kingdom   But if there is a God and there is a judgment, I really don’t think that it’s going to involve a Final Exam on theology, with those who get a failing grade being cast into the eternal lake of fire.

Moreover, if there is a God, he….


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Writing to Become Famous?
Education at Moody



  1. Josephsluna
    Josephsluna  May 18, 2015

    Just want to say you are an amazing person Bart, with a great laugh 🙂 And no one can take the good things you have done for people. Judged on your footprints mentally and physically? Like foot prints in the sand. Remember that picture

    My life is going better then ever. This blog has helped me the hard times in my life everyday waking up to your new post and you have wished and sent good thoughts my way. Well I think it worked. My heart seems to be healing and becoming more mature by the day. Just want to say thank you for giving me hope, Bart. Thank you 🙂

    • Bart
      Bart  May 18, 2015

      You’re welcome! Good luck as you forge ahead!

      • Josephsluna
        Josephsluna  May 18, 2015

        Thanks bart
        That brought warmth to my heart
        You check out my Facebook yet to see what one of your fans look like 🙂

      • Josephsluna
        Josephsluna  May 26, 2015

        Again thank you for your support means
        A lot

        Seems as if when my faith is low it’s low and when it’s strong it’s strong
        Tough world out there
        And appoligize about my random post and my paragraph structure
        I blog using my iphone
        I do wish I can meet you one day
        So I can thank you in person
        And I am perfectly normal in regards of
        Emailing you so much when you first contacted me
        Just don’t know what over came me I guess
        I guess I just beleive a lot bart
        Which you do
        it sits naturally in your mind
        Don’t give up on faith please
        And. I won’t

  2. Avatar
    Lance  May 19, 2015

    Thank you so much Bart for this awesome blog and all the great things you do for charity and world hunger. I fully support you and hope one day to meet you (hopefully next time you come to LA). In regard to the close minded fundamentalist evangelicals Christians that say such mean, silly, sometimes very nasty (Kyle Butt, James White), and untrue claims that they boldly and ignorantly make up about you. Are you aware of many other professors/ scholars/ historians/ of biblical antiquity that are subject to such harsh acrimony like you do? Scholars such as Michael Coogan, John Collins, Christine Hayes, Jon Levenson, Dale Martin, Paula Fredriksen, etc. Do they sometimes get attacked by evangelicals too?

    • Bart
      Bart  May 19, 2015

      I don’t really know, but I very much doubt it. These are not people — except for Paula — that are widely known outside of the world of scholarship. So they are not seen as a “threat” to general readers. I’d be interested in seeing if Dom Crossan or Marcus Borg or Elaine Pagels are subject to attack and ridicule, but I suspect not as much, since they don’t write directly in opposition to what conservative Christians argue.

  3. Avatar
    dragonfly  May 20, 2015

    My question is why did you believe that everyone deserved to go hell when you were a teenager? Is it just because this is what you were told, or was there some internal need to believe fully in the scriptures, or a desire to be the most devoted christian you could be, or just fear of not beliving? No judgement, just curious. I used to believe it too.

    • Bart
      Bart  May 20, 2015

      Simple answer: people go to hell (I thought) because they sinned, and this was the punishment. Christ paid the penalty himself by dying. But one had to accept it by faith. Or else.

  4. Avatar
    webattorney  May 24, 2015

    I also thought almost exactly the same way you described (and still do). I also noticed that there are many other religions and followers who seemed to be good people who seemed to sincerely believe in their religions and try to live their lives as best as they could. And I came to the most logical conclusion that we better try to get over our differences and love and NOT judge each other on this earth and have broad hearts and minds. And then leave whatever we don’t know to whatever being we don’t know.

    Oh, how cruel is this God if he really made up all these religions and saves only those who found the “true” religion? Also, I don’t believe there is only one way to skin a cat; and in fact there are many ways to skin a cat. And life is as much a process rather than a goal; it’s how you live it rather than what you think you believe.

    Besides, I always have had so much trouble listening to someone who told me to believe in this and that. After all, what is fun of life when you do not examine it for yourself and reach your own conclusions and do it in your own style?

  5. Avatar
    Adam Beaven  August 15, 2015

    if jesus’ punishment appeases justice, then jesus DESERVED punishment

    thom stark wrote :
    Paul identifies the death of Jesus as a “hilasterion” (Rom 3:25), which is a propitiatory sacrifice meant to appease an angry deity. Moreover, in the Gospels Jesus himself regularly cites the Isaian Suffering Servant as predictive of his death, investing it with a sacrificial, propitiatory meaning

    if an angry diety is appeased only by the VIOLENT bloody execution of himself and thinks his violent punishment atones for sins, then logically, the romans who punished him CANNOT be guilty of sinful actions


    the fact or state of having committed an offense, crime, violation, or wrong, especially against moral or penal law; culpability:
    He admitted his guilt.

    are christians willing to admit that the crucifixion of thier god was a crime? are they willing to admit that something which appeases thier god and atones for sins = wrong? was god nailing himself using roman actions? if yes, then romans cannot be GUILTY of crime, right?

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