A Phil-for-an-ill Blog

January 14, 2010

Some questions regarding Mary K. Baxter’s “A Divine Revelation of Hell”

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From divinerevelations.info we read:

Mary Katherine Baxter was chosen by God to let the world know of the REALITY of Hell. Jesus Christ appeared to Mary Baxter on 40 consecutive nights and took Mary on a tour of Hell and Heaven. She walked, with Jesus, through the horrors of Hell and talked with many people. Jesus showed her what happens to souls when they die and what happens to the unbelievers and Servants of God who do not obey their calling. divinerevelations.info

I’ve read “A Divine Revelation of Hell” but I was unhappy with three minor passages. They are raised in the following letter, sent to Mrs. Baxter in December of 2009.

N.B. The questions raised in this letter should in no way be construed as being part of my possible personal conviction that hell does not exist. The purpose of this letter was to confront Mrs. Baxter with what I consider to be inconsistencies with the 1 John 4:8 description of God as well as 1 John 4:18. Again, these inconsistencies should not be understood as a denial on my part of the existence of hell.

Letter starts:

Dear Mrs. Baxter,

With fascination I’ve read your book “A Divine Revelation of Hell.” Although I am not doubting the things that have happened, as captured by the book, there are nonetheless a few problems for which I’d like to have your extra clarification.

On page 116, you wrote:

Jesus said, “There are many demons in the air and on the earth. I have allowed you to see some of these demons, but others cannot. That is why the truth of the gospel must be preached to everyone. The truth will set men free, and I will protect them from evil. In My name there is deliverance and freedom. I have all power in heaven and earth. Do not fear Satan, but fear God.”

If we are to fear God then this implies that God could be regarded as being a source of fear for us, correct? Now, when I open the Bible I read:

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:8

And a bit further down I read:

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18

So from these two Bible passages I get the impression that God cannot be a source of fear because of 1 John 4:8, and furthermore that it is not good practice for us to fear, as per 1 John 4:18. In addition, if we were to fear then we would not know God, as one cannot fear and love at the same time, as per 1 John 4:18.

Fear is the prime or parental aversive or antipathic emotion whereas love is the prime or parental compassionate or sympathetic emotion. The former alienates and divides us while the latter unites and bonds us. In short, fear and love are each-other’s antagonists. With respect to  love being divine, fear is demonic.

Therefore if we are to fear God then this, per 1 John 4:18, implies that we are to expect punishment from God. If God were to punish us then this would be because we deviate from his will and punishment would be the result. So, is God a punisher? If he would be so then this would seem counter to 1 John 4:8 but also counter to Deuteronomy 30:19 which states:

This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live. Deuteronomy 30:19

and thus implies that God wants us to choose life, i.e. his preferred way, rather than coerce us into following his way. In other words, the meaning of 1 John 4:8 and Deuteronomy 30:19 seems to conflict with the idea that God is out to punish us if we deviate from his will.

Do you acknowledge the discrepancy between your writing and scripture? If so, could you clarify how it came about and how it can be resolved? I ask you therefore explicitly: what you’ve written down on page 116, is that a verbatim capture of Jesus’ literal words to you? Or is it possible that you’ve slightly misunderstood or misrepresented his original words?

On page 124 you write:

“Repent,” He said, “for I am a jealous God. Nothing can be placed before your worship of Me – not sons or daughters or wives or husbands. For God is a spirit, and He must be worshiped in Spirit and truth.”

Jealousy is an aversive emotion that quite directly is based on fear. It is the emotion that belongs to someone not wanting other people to have that what they do not or cannot have. Jealousy is an emotive expression of intolerance. It is also a feeling that belongs to wanting to steal or usurp rather than ask and acquire on the basis of personal merit and achievement (i.e. a basis of deserving). The feelings of intolerance and wanting to steal or usurp are based on fear, not (compassionate) love. Jealousy is also the fear that belongs to the awareness of having to deal with (threatening) competition. So, no matter how you look at it, jealousy is a product of fear.

Now while I know that it is indeed stated in the Bible that God is “a jealous God,” I do not believe that this is an accurate representation of God since if it would then there would be an internal conflict with 1 John 4:8: God is love. And when it is stated that God is jealous then that implies that God is not purely a god of love but that he also is (partially or wholly) a god of fear, and this in turn, conflicts directly with 1 John 4:18.  So again, there is a contradiction here. Please clarify.

On page 191 you write:

Then I heard Jesus say, “My people should love one another and help one another. They must hate sin and love the sinner. By this love shall all men know that you are My disciples.”

First off, the statement, through using the word must, implies the necessity for coercion. Again there arises a conflict with Deuteronomy 30:19, which, although they are encouraged to choose life, it is left to the believer, not to God, to either choose life or death. Deuteronomy 30:19 implies the granting of free will to the believer. Your statement implies coercion. Both conflict with one and other in meaning.

Secondly, the believer is coerced to hate (…sin). Hate is an aversive emotion that is grounded in fear (fear of being hurt again), the antagonist of love. Of and by itself there already seems to be a conflict with 1 John 4:8 and 1 John 4:18. The effect of hate is the formation of a sort of aversive emotional shielding around the object or subject of hate. Hate does not encourage investigation into the nature of the object or subject of hate, in fact the hater is encouraged to precisely do the opposite: to stay as far away as far possible from trying to understand the source or subject of hate. Indeed hate encourages the hater to destroy, rather than understand, the source of hate, if given half a chance. A consequence of this blunt and myopic ego-based strategy is that the hater keeps on remaining ignorant of the nature of the source of hate.

At least in this specific case, where sin is to be hated, this is unfortunate because if the hater would know why he perpetrated the sin he could arm and prepare himself to be able to prevent recurrence of the sin next time because he would know how to circumvent the necessary conditions and circumstances that led him to sin. By remaining ignorant (through hate), no such possibility will exist for the sinner.

The imperative to hate, i.e. by having to stay ignorant, also seems counter to different words of Jesus:

Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. Matthew 10:16

So on the one hand Jesus allegedly, according to your words, wants us to remain ignorant (of the nature of our sins), but, as per Matthew 16:16,  he does wants us to be wise as serpents, a state of mind that’s the very opposite of being ignorant. The latter seems to encourage us to pursue understanding while the former coerces us to do the opposite. So which one is it going to be? Please help resolve this apparent contradiction.

I’d appreciate it very much if you could respond to the three problems raised.

Sincerely in Christ,

Letter ends.

A month has passed now and have not received any response back from her yet.

Bummer….


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