Cornerstone Presbyterian Church
Newsletter - November 4, 2016

  A congregation of the Presbyterian Church in America, Founded 2013

Dear Friends, 

Cornerstone women have been diligently studying the book of 1 Peter during the Women's Bible Study this semester. During the study, a question arose that I would like to address as I believe it is important to the church as a whole. The question is from the Apostles Creed: What does it mean that Jesus "descended into hell?"  This has been a troubling phrase for Protestant believers for many years.  There are many churches that simply remove this phrase from their liturgy. In short, I think this is a great mistake. Let's try to understand a little of the history of this phrase.

The Roman Catholic view of the phrase, "He descended into hell”, was associated with the doctrine of the "harrowing of hell." In this doctrine, Christ literally when into Sheol, the underworld in Hebrew, to preach to patriarchs of the Old Testament and lead them to heaven. This doctrine is not warranted in Scripture. 1 Peter 3 and Ephesians 4 do not support this Roman Catholic doctrine despite their best efforts to make it do so. 

Historically, the emphasis of these biblical texts is the importance that Christ did die and the saints of old now see in full what they only knew in part about the Messiah - that Jesus is the Messiah!  The language of "He descended into hell" was borrowed from the Old Testament to simply say that Jesus died or passed into the grave just as any other person who died did. The very early Latin translations of the creed seem to indicate that Jesus descended into the place of the dead and not a literal place, hell. 

Too often, we confuse the biblical doctrine of hell with fantasy literature or even classical works like Dante's Inferno. In these works of fiction, hell is often described as a place were Satan reigns and he has control over people of the under-world. This is simply not the Bible's teaching on hell. In the Bible, hell is the place of eternal torment and fire - it is the place where those who have rejected Christ go to spend eternity. Ultimately, hell or the lake of fire is Satan's destination but not until Jesus returns to establish the new heavens and the new earth. Biblically, we affirm that the lake of fire or hell, is under the control and sovereignty of God, not Satan. Jesus did not descend into the lake of fire. Jesus died and human death. 

John Calvin stated that the clause, "He descended into hell," is vital to the fulfillment of our salvation and that it cannot by any means be omitted. Therefore we must keep it in our confession and not be ashamed to use it. Calvin goes on to explain, to which I fully agree, that it is best to understand that Christ descended into hell as a way of saying that He "experienced hell" on the cross - that is, He was afflicted for our iniquities (Isaiah 53:5), He suffered the death which God's wrath lays upon evildoers, He experienced separation from God (Matt. 27:46), He bore the burden of God's vengeance, He endured all the signs of wrath that God displays toward sins and sinners in His righteous anger. Christ took on the hell of God's wrath by His death. 

Gavin Ortlund states, "In my judgment 'He descended to the dead' recognizes an important biblical teaching, namely that in His death, and specifically in his prolonged state of death, Jesus gains victory and frees those united with him from death’s grip." 

There are some resources linked below that I hope will help you better understand this important confession. 

I look forward to seeing you next Lord's Day.

by His grace and to His praise,  

       Preparation for Worship-November 6th
  • This Sunday's sermon: Gospel-Centered Marriage: The Mystery of Marriage, Ephesians 5:31-33.
  • In preparation for the sermon: Tim Keller says “that the Gospel of Jesus and marriage explain one another. That when God invented marriage, He already had the saving work of Jesus in mind.”
  • Click here for this week's bulletin. 
  • We are podcasting! Catch up on sermons on iTunes.
  • We are LIVE STREAMING! Click here. 
      Wilson's Weekly

       Here are some articles to help with this question:

A n n o u n c e m e n t s

Youth Events -  (Check out hiking photos below!)

    High School Youth Group - Sunday night at 6pm.

    Middle and High School Youth - Shakalaka Thursday, Nov. 10th @ 7:00pm.  Contact Chris       Joiner for more information.

Women’s Fellowship Dinner - Sunday night at 5:30pm at the home of Kelly Davenport.  Please join us for a soup/salad dinner as we “Prepare Our Hearts for the Holidays”.  It's not too late to sign up.  Please click here to let us know what you will be bringing.

Save the Date - Cornerstone Women’s Retreat Feb. 10-11, 2017, in Mentone, AL.

FOUNDATIONS - Wednesday, Nov. 9th.   If you are  joining us for dinner, please complete the reservation card located in the chair pockets in the sanctuary and place it in the offering plate.  Cost for dinner is $5 person; $15 max/family.  Dinner is served beginning at 5pm; Adult, Youth and Children’s classes begin at 6pm.

InFocus Ministry - InFocus is looking for volunteers who are willing to open their home for Thanksgiving to international students.  Two students would be assigned to each home.  If you are interested in serving in this way, please contact John Chisum at  Registration deadline is November 18th.

Church Directory - Many of you have asked about a church directory.  In an effort to do this most efficiently, we are asking each member to log in to your CCB account and review it for current information.  (If you do not remember your log-in information, you may request a new one through CCB that will come directly to the church office.)  Once you are logged in, please upload an individual photo or a family photo.  If you need assistance with this or are unable to upload a photo, please send one to the church office and we will do it for you.  Once we have all the information, all members will be given full access for use and a directory will be printed.

New Cornerstone App! - There is now a new way to connect with Cornerstone. Please visit the app store and search for “cpc Huntsville”.  The custom app includes directions to our location, online giving, links to audio and video sermons, prayer requests, an online Bible and CCB.

Prayer Requests

Healing - Please pray for the health of the following individuals:  Bill & Betty Baldwin, Tim Kauffman, Ann Keown, Janice Martin, Katie Park and Jo Ann Sneed.

Cadence Verity Poppe - Praise the Lord for this covenant child born to Paul and Ashley Poppe on Thursday, Nov. 3rd.

Pray for church members caring for family:  Carol Cox, Wendy Dillon, Bryan Gassaway, Debbie Jones, Mark Hundscheid, Lori Nelson, Alan Patterson, Randy and Dee Petcher, Earl and Jean Wells and Sean Williamson.

Pray that the Lord would provide a new Youth Ministry Coordinator.

Ministries:  Al Baker - Presbyterian Evangelical Fellowship, Decatur Presbyterian Church, Facility Committee

Pray for our expectant mothers: Esther Cook, Rebecca Gassaway and Melissa Trotter

Please contact the church office by Thursday for changes or additions to the prayer requests.

Young Business Leaders Luncheon

Wednesday, Nov. 9th at 11:30am at AEgis Technologies

            (410 Jan Davis Dr. NW, Huntsville, 35806)

Presenter:    Austin W. Boyd

Topic:  Make A Difference—Be “Jesus With Skin on!”

Cost:  $5/person (BBQ Plate Lunch from Little Paul’s BBQ)

Registration:  You must register by Friday, Nov. 4th—by calling the YBL office at 256-882-6003 or through email at:    Pay at the door (with cash or check).

Click here for more information.

Opportunities to Serve

Employment Needs:  We have an opportunity to assist one of our regular church and Sunday School attenders in need of a job. This is a need for temporary employment through the end of the year before entering the US Army.  Please contact Bill Sneed by phone at (256) 881-1958 or by e-mail at if you need for additional details and information or if you might be aware of any potential job opportunities.

Youth Hike Photos

The Cornerstone Newsletter is a weekly publication emailed each Friday. 
To notify the church office of church members in the hospital or of births and deaths, or if you have a change of address or name, please contact Cynthia Keen at or 256-489-4625.
Copyright © 2016 Cornerstone Presbyterian Church, All rights reserved.

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