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This entry was posted on Friday, March 18th, 2011 at 12:01 am and is filed under It's Friday, Open Thread. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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239 Comments(+Add)

1   Nathanael    http://www.borrowedbreath.com/
March 18th, 2011 at 10:56 am

Jesus is “Good Enough.”
That’s a relief! :)

2   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 21st, 2011 at 5:03 pm

Question:

Isn’t closing the comment section a form of deleting comments? :cool:

3   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
March 21st, 2011 at 5:24 pm

The comments sections in all posts are closed automatically 10 days after they’re posted. That was started a while ago in an attempt to curb neverending debate threads.

4   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 21st, 2011 at 6:18 pm

Thanks. Ok.

5   Neil    
March 21st, 2011 at 8:08 pm

of course, by the time that happens there is usually another open thread if the conversation is pertinent enough to go on…

6   pastorboy    http://www.riveroflifealliance.com
March 21st, 2011 at 9:26 pm

One Line thought:

Rob Bell has now departed anything resembling orthodox Christianity with his new book ‘Love Wins’.

Discuss.

7   Neil    
March 21st, 2011 at 11:37 pm

http://prophets-priests-poets.info/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/no_troll.jpg

8   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
March 22nd, 2011 at 12:31 am

of course, by the time that happens there is usually another open thread if the conversation is pertinent enough to go on…

That’s why Open Threads come up every 7 days, to make sure there can be continuity, if need be…

9   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
March 22nd, 2011 at 12:34 am

The comments sections in all posts are closed automatically 10 days after they’re posted. That was started a while ago in an attempt to curb neverending debate threads.

I thought it was more about cutting down on the spam bots that target old threads, along w/ folks that try to wait a few weeks until articles are off the front page and then slip something in, unnoticed (among other uses/abuses of old threads)…

10   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 22nd, 2011 at 6:19 am

I understand completely and your explanation makes good sense.

On another front: Without insisting a “left behind” scenarion (nor denying it) the world is coming apart, even though we live in virtual DisneyWorld. Wars and violence and natural disasters are obvious, but there are also things like an enormous world wide pedephile network, human trafficking, sexual perversion, drugs, and all kinds of money sins. (hunger and disease as well)

Of course many of these things have occured before, but I suggest that the scale in which they exist today is telling. All of which are occuring while the western church enjoys a simulated reality that is significantly detached from the horrific reality that billions of unbelievers live within as well as many brothers and sisters in Christ.

The situation is desperate, but we are not.

11   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
March 22nd, 2011 at 7:47 am

I thought it was more about cutting down on the spam bots that target old threads, along w/ folks that try to wait a few weeks until articles are off the front page and then slip something in, unnoticed (among other uses/abuses of old threads)…

I’ll take your word on it… I just knew we decided a while ago to institute the 10-day thing. I had forgotten about all the discussion around it, though.

12   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
March 22nd, 2011 at 8:57 am

Of course many of these things have occured before, but I suggest that the scale in which they exist today is telling.

Well, of course the scale is bigger. The sheer number of people alive today is a lot more than ever before. Human population growth follows pretty closely an exponential curve, so even since like 1960 or something, the number of people on the planet has doubled. When you have more people on more parts of the globe, there will be more disasters hitting more people just because of probability, and there is bound to be more evil in an absolute sense.

13   Neil    
March 22nd, 2011 at 10:41 am

not only are there exponentially more people, – which certainly plays into the natural disaster question as phil pionted out.

we are also exponentially more efficient.

electronic media, ease of travel, and the like make the same ‘ol sins that much more prevalent.

people today are no more worse than before today than before… there are just more of us and we are more efficient at our sins.

14   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
March 22nd, 2011 at 10:50 am

How do comments #12 and #13 relate at all the Rick’s comment? Is he disqualifying the factors you bring up?

In prophecy, there’s no caveats or explanations put in place, only that there will be an increased sinfulness across the world. Ultimately, this leads to the unraveling of the world – nature, economics, wars, famines, etc…

15   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
March 22nd, 2011 at 10:58 am

Well, it’s just a common sense thing. If there’s exponentially more people, there will be more sin. Even if people remained at the same level of sinfulness, there would be more sin. Even if everyone became half of as sinful, there would be more sin on an absolute scale. I just think that the “increase in sinfulness” measure as prophetic sign is so vague that it could be applied to about any point in human history. Perhaps the era of black plague was the exception, since that was about the only time in recorded history in which there was a net decrease in population. Ah, yes, the Dark Ages – the good ol’ days… :-)

16   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 22nd, 2011 at 11:09 am

The scriptures clearly indicate sin will increase in the last days, mirroring and magnifying the days of Noah.

More people, yes.

Prophetic fulfillment, yes.

17   Neil    
March 22nd, 2011 at 11:27 am

How do comments #12 and #13 relate at all the Rick’s comment? Is he disqualifying the factors you bring up?

they relate as reasons for the increase. and no, to this point rick has not disqualified the comments.

18   Neil    
March 22nd, 2011 at 11:30 am

In prophecy, there’s no caveats or explanations put in place, only that there will be an increased sinfulness across the world. Ultimately, this leads to the unraveling of the world – nature, economics, wars, famines, etc…

i suppose this is one possible scenario. but it does not require that people, ontologically, become more evil.

it is always easiest to assume the present is the worst of times.

19   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 22nd, 2011 at 11:37 am

“it is always easiest to assume the present is the worst of times.”

That is why we need the prism of Scripture.

20   Neil    
March 22nd, 2011 at 11:40 am

That is why we need the prism of Scripture.

yes, of course.

unfortunately far too many, our favorite odm’s included, want to use western culture and the end of christendom as their prism.

21   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
March 22nd, 2011 at 11:43 am

If there’s exponentially more people, there will be more sin.

Not only is there exponentially more people, there is exponentially more sin. And, add to that the increase in technology and travel, it increases still more.

Prior to the 20th century, population decline was mostly observed due to disease, starvation and/or emigration. Now, war and natural disaster take the lead.

but it does not require that people, ontologically, become more evil.

That’s an interesting discussion… I would say that the evil of man’s heart has always been boundless. But, it has been limited by technology and access (ie: to kill 20 men by the sword takes more effort than killing 20,000 by pushing a button).

Speaking ontologically is not the discussion as it is a mute point – no one is arguing that.

What I would argue is that as we open up more possibilities for evil, man’s capability to pursue it becomes much easier and therefore, evil grows.

Add to this the increase in populations, and I think you can see a trend.

22   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
March 22nd, 2011 at 11:45 am

That is why we need the prism of Scripture.

I don’t get how this statement relates. Are you saying Scripture somehow proves we are living in the worst of times? In what way?

I’m sure there are people on earth now who could make a legitimate claim that they are in the worst of situations. The people in Japan dealing with the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami, for example. But there have been plenty of people throughout history who’ve had to deal with all sorts of hellish situations. I guess I see the point of prophecy to us now not so much looking at any specific event or series of events, but rather it reminds us that in the midst of suffering God is still there.

23   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 22nd, 2011 at 11:47 am

The technology aids in the spread of sin. The pedeophile club has increased because of communication and the internet. And drugs and pornography has increased because of accessibility. Man’s heart is not more evil, but his opportunity to fulfill his evil imaginations has been increased.

24   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 22nd, 2011 at 11:48 am

#22 – Never mind.

25   Neil    
March 22nd, 2011 at 11:49 am

Not only is there exponentially more people, there is exponentially more sin.

this was the point phil and i made. it only makes sense that more sinners, even if they are no worse than their predecessors, will increase the amount of sins.

26   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 22nd, 2011 at 11:49 am

Sometimes it seems we are reading different Scriptures.

27   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
March 22nd, 2011 at 11:50 am

Prior to the 20th century, population decline was mostly observed due to disease, starvation and/or emigration. Now, war and natural disaster take the lead.

This simply isn’t a true statement. I don’t even believe either of those things rank in the top 10 of causes of death in the world. Actually, traffic accidents rank above these things.

28   Neil    
March 22nd, 2011 at 11:51 am

re 21 – i agree.

what I was addressing may be a point not made – and that is the belief that things are somehow worse now than at any point in history. that people are worse. that sin is more rampant. that this is proof that the end is near.

29   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 22nd, 2011 at 11:51 am

“and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold”

Just one of many.

30   Neil    
March 22nd, 2011 at 11:53 am

re 26 – in what way. i thought phil’s question was a legitimate follow-up to your statement. it appears he is just asking for clarity of your thought.

31   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
March 22nd, 2011 at 11:57 am

re 26 – in what way. i thought phil’s question was a legitimate follow-up to your statement. it appears he is just asking for clarity of your thought.

Basically. I mean, if you read certain passages of scripture with a pre-conceived notion, in this case, the idea that the world is becoming more and more evil, it’s not hard to see scripture as supporting that notion. But my question is what evidence is there for that notion in the first place. The answer I’m hearing seems to be, “well, that what scripture says will happen”. That just seems to be circular reasoning to me.

32   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 22nd, 2011 at 11:57 am

#30 – The Scriptures clearly indicate an increase in iniquity.

The Black Death claimed 100 million in 400 years. Malaria, AIDS, starvation, and war claim approximately 5 million every year.

400 years X 5 million = 2 billion.

33   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 22nd, 2011 at 11:59 am

What does # 29 mean in Scripture. And if Scripture cannot be interpreted correctly because everyone everyone’s interpretation is preconceived and everyone’s reaqsoning is circular then of what good is Scripture?

34   Neil    
March 22nd, 2011 at 11:59 am

i think scripture indicated that both extremes will be come increasingly… well extreme.

as the kingdom expands and makes more and more of an impact, evil will push back… with equal force.

35   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
March 22nd, 2011 at 12:00 pm

It could just as easily be said that the run-up to 70 AD fit the bill for all of the age-ending prophecies (earthquakes, famine, gross public sin, etc.)…

36   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 22nd, 2011 at 12:02 pm

#35 – That is a valid perspective about which I disagree.

37   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
March 22nd, 2011 at 12:03 pm

The Black Death claimed 100 million in 400 years. Malaria, AIDS, starvation, and war claim approximately 5 million every year.

I don’t see how that’s a fair comparison. In terms of percentages, the black death far surpasses anything the world has seen. It basically wiped out a third of the population in many parts of the world. Everyone knew someone killed by it.

While AIDS is certainly a huge issue, it’s still not up to those sorts of percentages even in the areas where it is most prevalent.

38   Neil    
March 22nd, 2011 at 12:06 pm

What does # 29 mean in Scripture.

This section of matthew may, but does not have to be taken as, descriptive of one point in time.

the apostles spoke of being in the end times, and by this i think they meant the last age. and indicative of the last age are these things – false teachers, wars, rumors of war, etc…

but, these may just be the beginning of birth pains.

39   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 22nd, 2011 at 12:06 pm

#37 – What does #29 mean?

If you view the statistics in proportion you are correct. But viewed in sum it is much different.

40   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 22nd, 2011 at 12:08 pm

“This section of matthew may, but does not have to be taken as, descriptive of one point in time.”

I refer you to comment #26.

41   Neil    
March 22nd, 2011 at 12:09 pm

i don’t follow what either the plague or aids has to do with matthew 24.

42   Neil    
March 22nd, 2011 at 12:10 pm

we are reading the same scriptures, we are just seeing different options for their fulfillment.

fortunately, for the most part, it is an academic exercise.

for the most part – i was kicked off the rapture ready forum (www.rr-bb.com) when i said i was in favor of a two state solution in the ME… they said i was promoting false doctrine. that is an example of poor biblical exegesis on matthew 24 that really effect how people behave.

43   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
March 22nd, 2011 at 12:14 pm

What does # 29 mean in Scripture. And if Scripture cannot be interpreted correctly because everyone everyone’s interpretation is preconceived and everyone’s reaqsoning is circular then of what good is Scripture?

Well, I believe that the Reformers were right when they said Scripture speaks primarily in the literal sense. By “literal”, they didn’t mean that all metaphorical language should be taken literally or anything like that, but they meant that the sense in which should Scripture should be read is in the sense of taking into account the primary audience who it was written to, and who wrote it.

I guess I have an easier time believing that when the disciples asked Jesus a pertty straigtforward question about the destruction of the temple while walking past the temple, He gave them a relatively straightforward answer. And what He told them would happen in their lifetimes actually did happen in their lifetimes.

I do think scripture can be interpreted correctly. I just think that a lot of people, especially when it comes to prophecy, see a lot of what they want to see in the Bible because they are approaching it with a lot assumptions that aren’t necessarily correct.

44   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 22nd, 2011 at 12:15 pm

#41 – It doesn’t. It is in the context of my first comment. I agree, though, that it is of little consequence, however when we discuss the exclusivity of Christ, the necessity of personal faith, and some eternal second chance – that is of supreme importance.

45   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 22nd, 2011 at 12:23 pm

Two state solution? I have no opinion. Let the dead bury the dead.

46   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
March 22nd, 2011 at 12:29 pm

I guess I have an easier time believing that when the disciples asked Jesus a pertty straigtforward question about the destruction of the temple while walking past the temple

You’re forgetting the second and third parts of their question Phil…

“and the sign of your coming AND of the end of the world (age)”

47   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 22nd, 2011 at 12:33 pm

#46 – Exactly.

48   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
March 22nd, 2011 at 12:38 pm

You’re forgetting the second and third parts of their question Phil…

“and the sign of your coming AND of the end of the world (age)”

Well, what did the term “End of the Age” mean to the disciples? It didn’t mean the end of the world. It meant the end of the present age, and the beginning of the Age to Come that was prophesied in the OT. So the destruction of the temple certainly would have indicated the end of the Jewish age to Jews alive at the time.

As far as the phrase, “the sign of Your coming”, that could indicate a few things. Were the disciples asking when Jesus was going to literally return? Possibly. They could have also been asking when He was going to return to initiate His kingdom. This was before the crucifixion, so they were probably still under some notion that Jesus was going to return to free Israel from oppression in some sort of battle.

I don’t deny that there’s some future element to that passage yet to be fulfilled, but I think most of it is refers to things that were fulfilled in 70 AD. The destruction of the temple was a decisive event that signified the end of one era and the beginning of a new.

49   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 22nd, 2011 at 1:14 pm

When we cannot agree that personal faith in Christ before death is the only way, truth, and life then what common ground is there in interpreting Scripture? Especially when a CS Lewis fairy tale weighs in as evidence.

50   Nathanael    http://www.borrowedbreath.com/
March 22nd, 2011 at 1:40 pm

Especially when a CS Lewis fairy tale weighs in as evidence.

Really? That’s what you got out of that? You made a broad statement that anyone given a chance to change their mind postmortem would do so. And I commented that Lewis made a good argument for how, even if that chance were offered, our life choices and sin decisions would shape our personality after death. And some still would choose death over life.

No one is using “The Great Divorce” as evidence over the Bible.

51   Neil    
March 22nd, 2011 at 1:47 pm

When we cannot agree that personal faith in Christ before death is the only way, truth, and life then what common ground is there in interpreting Scripture?

i think we, as in those of us here, would be in agreement.

of course, when paul c. speaks of it being clear and obvious that god is not trinitarian in nature and their is now, and never will be, a hell… your point is well taken.

52   Neil    
March 22nd, 2011 at 1:51 pm

i find it curious that the disciples would even ask jesus about the time of his coming.

it makes sense that they wanted details about the destruction of the temple – since he just proohesied that… and it makes sense that they would view this as the end of the age; since the destruction of the temple would be soooo devastating it would mean the end of everything as they knew it…

but why did they ask about his coming when he was with them?

53   Nathanael    http://www.borrowedbreath.com/
March 22nd, 2011 at 2:05 pm

That’s a great point, Neil. At the end of chapter 23 (and we all know that Jesus spoke in chapters and verses :) ) Jesus does make this statement: “For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord’” (Matthew 23:39 ESV). So perhaps their question was in response to that statement.

54   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
March 22nd, 2011 at 2:08 pm

Neil/Phil,

There are several verses in Matt 24 that eliminate your possibility of Jesus referring to the decimation of the temple as the end:

And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

Did that occur? Even up til now?

And before you try to do more wordsmithing (as Phil did in #48), consider Matt 28 – the great commission.

Were the disciples asking when Jesus was going to literally return?

More smoke and mirrors. Jesus spoke in parables, the disciples didn’t.

of course, when paul c. speaks of it being clear and obvious that god is not trinitarian in nature and their is now, and never will be, a hell…

The “tribe” mentality of this blog so easily emerges as evidenced by this comment.

If you can show me evidence that the apostles preached hell then I’ll believe it. If hell is real, either they misunderstood Jesus or they misrepresented the gospel. Just traditional religion. Jesus’ 11 references (only 11?) mainly pointed to Gehenna or the grave. And no concept of hell in the OT? Interesting.

55   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
March 22nd, 2011 at 2:19 pm

There are several verses in Matt 24 that eliminate your possibility of Jesus referring to the decimation of the temple as the end:

And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

I would say that the book of Acts pretty clearly shows the disciples preaching the Gospel to what they believed was the entire world. Acts 1:8 tells of Jesus prophesying to the disciples that they would be His witnesses in “Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth”, and the rest of the book pretty much shows the fulfillment of this. The fact that Philip interacts with the Ethiopian is a very big deal because of this very reason. To the original reader, the Ethiopian would have certainly represented the “ends of the earth”.

56   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
March 22nd, 2011 at 2:20 pm

our life choices and sin decisions would shape our personality after death.

“I’d really like to live forever, but I don’t know… when I weigh it out… What am I thinking? No. Give me the lake of fire, where I’ll burn and scream for all eternity.”

The fact that we are even considering post-grave conversion, completely ignoring John 3, is astounding.

If this were the case, we should call every missionary back from the field. Why give people a chance to reject Christ now and risk damnation, when they can enjoy later as they are?

57   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
March 22nd, 2011 at 2:25 pm

If this were the case, we should call every missionary back from the field. Why give people a chance to reject Christ now and risk damnation, when they can enjoy later as they are?

So, basically, in your opinion, missionaries are little more than insurance salesman. If the only thing they have to offer to people is hell avoidance (or in your case, death avoidance), I’d be for calling them back as well. Fortunately, the Kingdom of God is bigger than this.

58   Neil    
March 22nd, 2011 at 2:31 pm

The “tribe” mentality of this blog so easily emerges as evidenced by this comment.

i speak of what has been a foundational doctrine of the church for nearly two millennia – the trinitarian nature of god – and you call us tribal.

i ask legitimate questions of the group regarding what the disciples may have meant and you call it “smoke and mirrors.”

i have bristled at your condescension in the past… and you respond that that is not what you intent.

then you repeat the process.

paul c., i see no point in responding to you when you cop this attitude toward those whom see things differently than you.

59   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
March 22nd, 2011 at 2:32 pm

#57: Phil, you’re an NT Wright fan, no? What do you think of his Huntley Street youtube video that discusses the unlikelihood of hell, which I’m sure you’ve seen?

I’m not even a fan (never read what he’s written). What say you?

But regarding your #57, the task of the missionary or minister is to preach the gospel and disciple so that souls may be saved (reconciled with God through Christ). The end result of that is eternal life from the grave.

Nice attempt to try to draw the conversation sideways though with your “insurance salesman” comment.

60   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
March 22nd, 2011 at 2:37 pm

i speak of what has been a foundational doctrine of the church for nearly two millennia – the trinitarian nature of god – and you call us tribal.

Neil, I wasn’t referring to the trinity. I was referring to the fact that you would leave the door a little open for a false teacher like Rob Bell, a man who believes in a the possibility of post-grave conversion, yet slam it shut when something that has much more scriptural evidence (ie: that ‘hell’ is simply the grave, nothing more) is presented.

You will side with your chums or simply avoid confrontation with them for the most part, yet hammer others.

“smoke and mirrors.”

Read my comment again. It was referencing Phil’s comment, not yours.

paul c., i see no point in responding to you when you cop this attitude toward those whom see things differently than you.

Neil – I don’t have an attitude at all. Regarding the tribe comment, I doubt I’d be the only one to recognize it.

61   Neil    
March 22nd, 2011 at 2:45 pm

I would say that the book of Acts pretty clearly shows the disciples preaching the Gospel to what they believed was the entire world…

phil, at the risk of being non-tribal, i don’t think this fulfills what jesus said… i think the tenor of the passage starts with the immediate destruction of the temple and the end of the age as they knew it… but creeps into greater fulfillment.

62   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
March 22nd, 2011 at 2:49 pm

Actually, Paul, I’ve been sympathetic to the annihilationist view (which is similar to yours), though not necessarily “soul sleep”.

And, insofar as Bell is concerned, my copy of the book is supposed to arrive today, so I’ll be able to comment more concretely tomorrow. However, my understanding is that he doesn’t espouse any particular version of hell in the book, but he lays out multiple (and contradictory) views, giving the most coverage to those with the least amount of common understanding. (And as to his personal view, I’d take his sermon on Matthew 25 (from last November, well after the written manuscript for his book would have been due to the publisher) as an indicator that he doesn’t believe that hell will be emptied by folks getting a time-out with lots of second chances to reconsider.)

Personally, I don’t see that *any* specific view of hell is required to share the Gospel. The Apostle Paul’s version of the Gospel certainly doesn’t.

So as for a “tribe mentality”, I don’t know that the other writers agree (or disagree) with my stance, which is similar to yours (in terms of its view of hell) but different (in terms of eschatology).

63   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
March 22nd, 2011 at 2:50 pm

64   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
March 22nd, 2011 at 2:55 pm

And I would say that most of Matt 24 was fulfilled by 70 AD (including the preaching of the Gospel to all nations, which was easily fulfilled on the day of Pentecost – see Acts 2:5 )

65   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 22nd, 2011 at 2:56 pm

I do not believe the Trinity or hell are doctrines that are necessarily salvific. But the eclusivity of Jesus for redemption, and the necessity of personal faith while a living sinner, are deal breakers.

66   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
March 22nd, 2011 at 3:03 pm

#57: Phil, you’re an NT Wright fan, no? What do you think of his Huntley Street youtube video that discusses the unlikelihood of hell, which I’m sure you’ve seen?

If it’s the video I’m thinking about, than yes I saw it. He definitely speaks out against the caricature that hell has become, but he affirms some version of it. Wright also advocates an intermediate concious state between death and the final resurrection. Wright isn’t the person you want to cite as some sort of source for support of soul sleep.

67   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
March 22nd, 2011 at 3:05 pm

I don’t think that even Chad (who is far to the left of Bell on this) would disagree with the exclusivity of Jesus.

And perhaps you could point to the “necessity of a personal faith while a living sinner” bit out in Paul’s writing. And by “necessity”, I mean in the meaning you give to it (as in “necessity” = “a ticket for good seats in the afterlife”).

[Just to be clear, I believe that our decisions and beliefs in this life matter, and I do believe that they have an impact on the afterlife, but I do not believe that whatever shape and form the afterlife may have should be the impetus for how we live this one. If hell were empty, I would not be disappointed. If hell were nonexistent, I would not be disappointed. If annihilationism were true, I would not be disappointed.]

68   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
March 22nd, 2011 at 3:06 pm

But the eclusivity of Jesus for redemption, and the necessity of personal faith while a living sinner, are deal breakers.

Well, that’s nice and all, but even that is up for interpretation. What constitutes “personal faith”? Throughout a large portion of church history, people believed that baptism was the correct expression of personal faith. Now some people say it’s exhibited by saying a prayer.

It’s one thing to say you believe something in theory, but it’s often hard to apply those beliefs in an even-handed way in practice. I’m OK with saying that I don’t know what will happen to everyone in the end, but I do believe that following Jesus now is the decision we are all faced with at the moment.

69   Neil    
March 22nd, 2011 at 3:09 pm

chris l., i wish you would take a stand already so the rest of the tribe could line up in total agreement… i for one am getting tired of thinking for myself!

70   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
March 22nd, 2011 at 3:18 pm

chris l., i wish you would take a stand already so the rest of the tribe could line up in total agreement… i for one am getting tired of thinking for myself!

Well, when it comes to pareschatology, I’m pretty much apathetic because I believe the Bible is systematically agnostic on the subject.

71   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
March 22nd, 2011 at 3:18 pm

phil, at the risk of being non-tribal, i don’t think this fulfills what jesus said… i think the tenor of the passage starts with the immediate destruction of the temple and the end of the age as they knew it… but creeps into greater fulfillment.

I understand what you’re saying. Certainly I don’t want to take the position that the Gospels or Scriptures in general have nothing to say to us because everything is completely fulfilled. I believe much like the Kingdom itself there’s a big “now but not yet” element to a lot of these prophesies. What I am cautious about, though, is using certain passages to point to specific events as tick marks on the prophetic clock. I think prophecies main point is to encourage us.

As far as the “Gospel being preached to the whole earth” thing, I’ve heard this used almost as a blackmail technique when churches try to raise money for missions. Like, “your lack of giving is preventing Jesus from coming back” sort of thing.

72   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
March 22nd, 2011 at 3:19 pm

#66: the reason I brought it up (Wright) is because it demonstrates an intelligent individual challenging the status quo on something like hell. I’m not looking for him for agreement, but just to outline that hell does not have the consensus that some here believe it does.

Again, it’s mentioned 11 times in the gospels (including the multiple references in different gospels). Of those 11 times, Christ is speaking of Gehenna or the grave.

Personally, I don’t see that *any* specific view of hell is required to share the Gospel. The Apostle Paul’s version of the Gospel certainly doesn’t.

Nor do I. But, without a shadow of a doubt, if hell actually did exist it would have shown up multiple times in Acts (especially in the Hellenistic culture), as well as the epistles. Just once? Maybe just be inference? Nothing.

Instead, we see Paul – on multiple occasions – comparing the two ultimate ends of man as life or death, consistent with Christ and the OT.

What is certain, especially with this latest firestorm (no pun intended) around hell, is that it has somehow been elevated to one of the ‘cardinal doctrines’ of Christianity. Even though it’s not scriptural.

73   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 22nd, 2011 at 3:22 pm

#67 – I am not one to advocate getting fire insurance and then living the flesh life. But as I read your comment, I think you believe that now is the day of salvation and there is no post mortem second chance.

#68 – Man looks on the outward appearance but God knows the heart. Salvation is an act of the heart which is only know to You Know Who. :)

74   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 22nd, 2011 at 3:26 pm

Can a person legitimately come to redemption based upon his fear of a non-existant eternal punishment?

75   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
March 22nd, 2011 at 3:45 pm

Can a person legitimately come to redemption based upon his fear of a non-existant eternal punishment?

Why must one fear something in order to be redeemed?

Instead, we see Paul – on multiple occasions – comparing the two ultimate ends of man as life or death, consistent with Christ and the OT.

I agree, though I would note Peter’s mention of Tartarus, which some use as an indicator of precedent for post-mortem conversion (though I believe it to be mistaken). But even so, I see basing one’s acceptance or rejection of the Gospel as requiring a certain pereschatology to be silly, at best, much to the chagrin of fans of Jonathan Edwards’ hands of an angry god.

76   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
March 22nd, 2011 at 3:49 pm

#75: I completely agree.

#74: redemption comes through repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

77   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 22nd, 2011 at 3:55 pm

#75 – Some save with fear. My question was “can” not that it is the best way. I was saved without fear.

Many people, including missionaries and notable conversions, were the result in part or in most part due to the fear of eternal punishment.

78   Neil    
March 22nd, 2011 at 4:00 pm

eternal consequences, whether couched negatively or positively can play a role.

79   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
March 22nd, 2011 at 4:03 pm

Since this is the Open Thread, I thought this little bit on the psychological effect of Free Will vs. Determinism was interesting. (No wonder the Calvinists have little problem ignoring some personal sins in exposing those of others who were predestined to commit them anyway…)

80   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
March 22nd, 2011 at 4:05 pm

eternal consequences, whether couched negatively or positively can play a role.

While they could play a role (positively or negatively) – should they be used for such a purpose? That is the question.

81   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
March 22nd, 2011 at 4:09 pm

It’s not that I don’t think there are who aren’t afraid of hell, or think about it. One time I was at Starbucks and out of the blue a Muslim guy came up to me and asked me to pray for him because he was worried that he was going to hell. He was completely serious.

What I don’t like is people preying on those sorts of fears. For one thing those sorts of feelings can be very temporary, and it’s easy for a person to look back and just write the experience off as manipulation.

I guess it’s the engineer in me. I prefer the better or best method of doing something, not just the method that gets the job done.

82   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
March 22nd, 2011 at 4:46 pm

Phil, did you hear this interview of Martin Bashir explaining the interview with Bell?

http://www.godandculture.com/blog/msnbcs-martin-bashir-on-the-paul-edwards-program

83   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 22nd, 2011 at 4:59 pm

“While they could play a role (positively or negatively) – should they be used for such a purpose? That is the question, whether tis’ nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows…”

Never mind. :)

84   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 22nd, 2011 at 5:04 pm

“Be merciful to those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.”

85   Christian P    http://www.churchvoices.com
March 22nd, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Listening to Bashir interview Bell (again) reminded me of the news reporter from Parks and Recreation.

86   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
March 22nd, 2011 at 5:14 pm

Listening to Bashir interview Bell (again) reminded me of the news reporter from Parks and Recreation.

Yeah – it’s fairly pointless to even go into an interview where you’re not going to be allowed to answer the questions (or where the questions, themselves, are false dichotomies).

87   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 22nd, 2011 at 5:35 pm

The Bell thing has become boring. I am officially out of any conversation about him unless he gives me evidence of a change. Until then – case clsoed. :cool:

88   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
March 22nd, 2011 at 5:44 pm

Ah yes, back to the whole “guilty until proven innocent” routine. Joe already gave you the sermons, so I don’t know what your deal is…

89   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 22nd, 2011 at 5:51 pm

One sermon years and years ago. But so what. It is what it is.

I realize that we will not come to any common ground, at least as it concerns Bell and others. My convincing skills are severly lacking. :cool:

90   Joe    http://christianresearchnetwork.com/index.php?s=john+chisham
March 22nd, 2011 at 6:09 pm

No, I could send you more but it doesn’t seem to matter so I stopped.

91   pastorboy    http://www.riveroflifealliance.com
March 22nd, 2011 at 6:37 pm

#86 it is entirely appropriate to interview a person who uses false dichotomies with false dichotomies. Bell asks open ended questions and does not answer them with scripture. Martin Bashir is just using Rob Bell’s method in his interview.

Rob Bell is not a Christian. He is a Universal Reconciliationist and a denier of Jesus Christ. Anyone who remains in MHBC is like one who remains in the ELCA- they agree with a false theology and as guilty of denying Jesus Christ.

92   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
March 22nd, 2011 at 6:45 pm

Then they are just as damned as you and every other Christian on earth.

And FYI, you’ve apparently got no clue what a false dichotomy is, nor what neutral journalistic inetrview techniques are. To categorize you as a slanderous imbicile would be charitable.

93   pastorboy    http://www.riveroflifealliance.com
March 22nd, 2011 at 6:57 pm

I deserve damnation, to be sure. It is the grace of God alone in the propitiation of Jesus Christ bringing myself into peace with God that saves me and anyone who trusts in Christ. Rob Bell is wrong. You Rob Bell syncophants like Joe and Phil are guilty of believing in the anti-Christ and Bell-worship. Rob Bell worships and preaches a false God.

94   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
March 22nd, 2011 at 7:39 pm

You Rob Bell syncophants like Joe and Phil are guilty of believing in the anti-Christ and Bell-worship. Rob Bell worships and preaches a false God.

You are guilty of slander. None of us believes in the anti-Christ, and each of us has disagreements (of different stripes and intensities) with Bell on items. He no more preaches a false God than any other Christian minister.

You are simply a product of hate, and your accusations and slanderous insinuations have nothing to do with the God of the Bible.

95   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 22nd, 2011 at 7:51 pm

After listening to one of Bell’s former sermons I must conclude, although without any certainty, that Bell was once significantly more orthodox than he now is. Although I reject his teachings, from what I can ascertain, but I will not make any judgments about his personal salvation.

I have more than I can say grace over watching myself.

96   Jerry    http://www.jerryhillyer.com
March 22nd, 2011 at 9:42 pm

Wow. I am speechless.

97   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 22nd, 2011 at 9:49 pm

#96 – I doubt that. :)

98   Neil    
March 22nd, 2011 at 11:09 pm

Rob Bell is not a Christian. He is a Universal Reconciliationist and a denier of Jesus Christ. Anyone who remains in MHBC is like one who remains in the ELCA- they agree with a false theology and as guilty of denying Jesus Christ….You Rob Bell syncophants like Joe and Phil are guilty of believing in the anti-Christ and Bell-worship. Rob Bell worships and preaches a false God. – pboy


Troll:
One who purposely and deliberately (that purpose usually being self-amusement) starts an argument in a manner which attacks others on a forum without in any way listening to the arguments proposed by his or her peers. He will spark of such an argument via the use of ad hominem attacks (e.g. ‘you’re nothing but a fanboy’ is a popular phrase) with no substance or relevance to back them up as well as straw man arguments, which he uses to simply avoid addressing the essence of the issue. – Urban Dictionary


let’s see:

pastorboy routinely…
* does not listen to others – check
* employs ad hominem attacks – check
* lacks substance or relevance – check and check
* employs straw man arguments – check
* avoids addressing the essence of the issue – and check.


WOW
- the only one you miss is the motive – which they say is for your own amusement… i say it is for you own aggrandizement.

pastorboy – henceforth you will no longer be called pboy (short for pastorboy). in the occasional times i bother to interact with your disingenuous excretions you will be referred to by the more accurate descriptive “trollboy.”

99   pastorboy    http://www.riveroflifealliance.com
March 23rd, 2011 at 7:36 am

Thanks for the judgment, Neil. The fact of the matter is that Rob Bell is a tacit denier of Jesus Christ by denying what Jesus calls true.

Jesus (Son of God) states there is a Hell, which is eternal and conscious

Rob Bell says that Hell is a metaphor, that it is self-created and in the present for those who deny the way of Jesus

Rob Bell is calling Jesus a liar, in essence, saying Jesus was wrong about Hell.

If I am a troll, so be it. You are a blind guides, blinded by your love of Bell.

100   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
March 23rd, 2011 at 8:05 am

Jesus (Son of God) states there is a Hell, which is eternal and conscious

Chapters and verses, please, of both Jesus’ and Paul’s teaching which outline what hell is, that it is an eternal place, and that all but a small select few will experience conscious torment there. Additionally, please include reasons why your interpretation must be the correct one and why it might differ from at least 1000 years of interpretation in church history and why any interpretation but that one requires that Jesus be a liar and not simply a difference of theological opinion on a secondary matter.

(Hint: Bell is no more calling Jesus a liar than the majority of Christianity has called him a liar since 33 AD.)

Rob Bell says that Hell is a metaphor, that it is self-created and in the present for those who deny the way of Jesus.

Sermon and/or reference, please, along with proof that this isn’t simply explaining other views on hell. (Please note that Bell stating that hell is a present reality with future implications doesn’t cut it, because that isn’t analogous to what you’ve stated. And since that’s what Bell has stated about hell on multiple occasions, and since Bell has made statements which contradict your assertion in sermons over the past few years, along with recent interviews (like the one w/ CNN), you’ve pretty much got no leg to stand on).

You are a poster child for trolling and for blind hatred, troll-boy. You speak as much truth as the serpent in the garden. Nothing more.

101   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
March 23rd, 2011 at 8:27 am

PB, while I believe Rob Bell is definitely teaching falsely, you are way off with this comment:

Jesus (Son of God) states there is a Hell, which is eternal and conscious

If so, please supply a single verse in Acts or in any of Paul’s epistles demonstrating that the early church believed as you do.

What you see, constantly (both in the NT and OT), are the two opposite ends of man juxtaposed: life and death.

You are preaching and believing in a myth when you preach hell. There are only 11 verses in the gospels that refer to hell (an English word, remember, rendered from either Gehenna, the dump outside Jerusalem, or Hades, translated Sheol in the OT).

So while Bell’s false teachings of universalism are dangerous, why do you insist on teaching something never taught by the early church?

102   Neil    
March 23rd, 2011 at 9:00 am

re 99:

tboy,

thank you for confirming my observation regarding your trollness.

in the very next comment you employed no less than three of the five characteristics of a troll… even admitting that you judgments are based on your inferences not on open statements by bell.

as for “You are a blind guides, blinded by your love of Bell” – i would challenge you to show anywhere i have defended bell’s views of hell – but i know you would not, b/c you are not interested in accuracy, and i know you cannot, because i have never done so.

you are a false accuser of the brethren. in most cases you accuse others, but in this case you have born false witness against me.

103   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
March 23rd, 2011 at 9:20 am

So while Bell’s false teachings of universalism are dangerous, why do you insist on teaching something never taught by the early church?

Paul,

Perhaps you could demonstrate where Bell is teaching universalism, since he has directly refuted that in the past week:

Bell said he was surprised by the controversy around his book. Critics said he was preaching universalism, a theology that suggests everyone goes to heaven and hell is empty.

“I’m not a universalist. So that’s just not true.” He reiterated that again in the event that evening where he expounded on that idea and said that he didn’t believe God reaches down and sweeps everyone to heaven.

104   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
March 23rd, 2011 at 9:23 am

PB, while I believe Rob Bell is definitely teaching falsely…

So why do you keep on saying this? Do you simply not believe our reviews of the book? I’ve read the book, and I found nothing that could be called universalism in it. I actually re-read the chapter where he talks about this the other night just to make sure, and it confirmed what my first reading was. Bell isn’t a universalist. I just want you to know that if you keep on calling him one simply because others are doing so, it is spreading something that simply isn’t true.

105   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
March 23rd, 2011 at 9:31 am

Do you simply not believe our reviews of the book? I’ve read the book, and I found nothing that could be called universalism in it.

Phil, with respect, I’ve read quite a few reviews thus far with some telling quotes taken from the book.

I know you’ve read the book, but I also know you’re a sympathizer of Bell already. So you’re not exactly unbiased either (as I’m sure you’ll refute; I’m not saying the other reviewers are completely unbiased).

I just want you to know that if you keep on calling him one simply because others are doing so, it is spreading something that simply isn’t true.

My desire is not to slander him personally. But his round-about-rabbit-hole approach is extremely difficult to follow, perhaps intentionally so. The word of God should be proclaimed clearly, especially in our day-in-age. Asking questions endlessly, without any answers, is something Paul warned Timothy and others about on several occasions.

Challies has a good article here you should read: http://www.challies.com/articles/the-new-evangelical-virtues

106   Jerry    http://www.jerryhillyer.com
March 23rd, 2011 at 9:38 am

There are only 11 verses in the gospels that refer to hell

Interestingly enough, Jesus never used the word ‘grace’ either. So I guess by Paul’s logic, there must not be any such thing as grace. I found only four of them in the Gospels, but not one of them is uttered by Jesus.

107   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
March 23rd, 2011 at 9:41 am

I read Challies review of the book, and he is simply wrong. I don’t know how else to put it. He’s not being truthful. If someone reads the book for himself and is honest, I believe they’ll come to the same conclusion.

I admit that I like Bell, but I also believe that written words don’t lie. If Bell, or any author for that matter, says something in a book, I feel that the honest thing is to take the words at face value. Not read something into them. It’s like Bell’s other books. People are left complaining more about what he doesn’t than what he actually does.

108   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
March 23rd, 2011 at 9:47 am

#106: Jerry. You didn’t capture the rest of my sentence in brackets…

The references to hell are, almost exclusively, references to dump outside the city. Parabolic. Worms, fire, etc. Very vivid to his listeners, no?

It’s an unrecoverable state of destruction.

BTW, Jesus was the embodiment of grace. Maybe try another word?

109   Neil    
March 23rd, 2011 at 9:47 am

Phil,

if you notice, tboy said that bell “is a tacit denier of Jesus Christ by denying what Jesus calls true.”

by definition something is “tacit” when it is not opening stated but implied.

of course in this case it is not so much implied as inferred. so bell does not need to actually “say” anything false – if he just fails to say things in the approved modernist manner – he is a postmodernist denier.

as we have seen in the past – what people ACTUALLY say is not important to tboy. what is important what is tboyian reality is what he says they actually meant.

110   Jerry    http://www.jerryhillyer.com
March 23rd, 2011 at 9:52 am

No Paul. You have consistently said that there is only 11 references to ‘hell’ or ‘gehenna’ in the Gospels. All I did was point out that there are only 4 references to grace.

I don’t need to try another word because I’m only doing the same thing you are doing: word games, word counting. I caught all the words you wrote. I’m playing the same game you are playing. (The same one you play with the word ‘trinity.’) My point is that we have even LESS to go on when it comes to ‘grace’ in the gospels. I’m not arguing there is no grace or that Jesus didn’t talk about it either explicitly or metaphorically. I’m simply saying there are less references to it than there are to ‘hell’.

Have to go to work now. Later.

111   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
March 23rd, 2011 at 9:53 am

#107: Phil, I’ll refrain from any references to Bell. To be honest, when I look at the state of the black church, the situation is much, much more dire than anything happening around the Bell maelstrom. Sickening and sad.

That said, a man who is in the business of just asking questions without providing clear answers can be very dangerous. That’s just my opinion.

112   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
March 23rd, 2011 at 9:56 am

word games, word counting.

Jerry – try looking up the definition of ‘hell’ as Jesus referred to it and you get your answers. Gehenna or Sheol. That’s it.

Not sure what you mean by word-counting. I’m simply saying that you are building a doctrine something that doesn’t exist and wasn’t ever intended.

If it was, don’t you think the apostles and early church would have preached about hell? Just once?

113   Nathanael    http://www.borrowedbreath.com/
March 23rd, 2011 at 10:09 am

…asking questions without providing clear answers…

As has been said before, he does provide clear answers. But he refuses to use the same modernist, neo-Reformed pat-answer verbiage that his critics and accusers demand he use. Obviously, people are hearing his answers or he would be alone on a park bench asking questions to the pigeons.

114   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
March 23rd, 2011 at 11:04 am

I am none of those labels you mention. No, he’s just plain confusing (and perhaps confused himself as he alludes to in his interview with Bashir).

Obviously, people are hearing his answers or he would be alone on a park bench asking questions to the pigeons.

Unfortunately, the number of people listening to you is a poor litmus test of validity.

Exhibit A: Braco and his gaze of light: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljpJfdIKpBk

115   Nathanael    http://www.borrowedbreath.com/
March 23rd, 2011 at 11:11 am

…and perhaps confused himself as he alludes to in his interview with Bashir…

From my recollection, he did not say he was “confused,” but that he didn’t have all the answers. Big difference.

116   Nathanael    http://www.borrowedbreath.com/
March 23rd, 2011 at 11:14 am

I never said that the number of people listening validates one’s position.
My point was that, though you and others feel he is confusing, clearly others understand what he’s saying.

117   Eugene    http://eugeneroberts.wordpress.com
March 23rd, 2011 at 12:49 pm

Rob Bell’s communication method is one of setting up a context before getting to a point. This is different from the theological writing of the modern era which makes a point by building an argument. Because of this his writing is more open to misinterpretation.

118   Eugene    http://eugeneroberts.wordpress.com
March 23rd, 2011 at 12:52 pm

I should rather have said misrepresentation.

119   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
March 23rd, 2011 at 12:54 pm

Rob Bell’s communication method is one of setting up a context before getting to a point. This is different from the theological writing of the modern era which makes a point by building an argument. Because of this his writing is more open to misinterpretation.

Yes! This is it exactly! This is what I’ve been trying to say. You just said better than I could.

It’s like the TV show Lost. They writers consistently interjected these flashbacks throughout the series to tell the audience about the characters rather reveal who the characters were through something like monologues or a more straightforward method. It drove some people nuts because the show took forever to actually reveal who the people really were. I think that’s what Bell does. He’s definitely more into exploring the thought processes behind ideas rather than attacking and presenting ideas head on.

120   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 23rd, 2011 at 1:05 pm

If there is no hell then speading that truth is not actually important since it does not motivate anyone nor does it matter to anyone but those who are interested in doctrinal points.

However, if there is a hell and you spread the news that there is not, well, that is extremely counter productive and soothes many consciences.

121   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
March 23rd, 2011 at 1:12 pm

It’s like the TV show Lost.

This is classic !!!! :) Awesome. I literally chuckled out loud.

A pastor’s preaching style being compared to a show called ‘Lost’. Never seen it myself, but I remember people at work commenting that, even after the show ended, they still didn’t know what the heck happened.

He’s definitely more into exploring the thought processes behind ideas rather than attacking and presenting ideas head on.

Phil, if you are a fan of Bell, you do him no favors. Please refrain from a written review unless you want to give his opponents still more ammunition.

122   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
March 23rd, 2011 at 1:19 pm

If there is no hell then speading that truth is not actually important since it does not motivate anyone nor does it matter to anyone but those who are interested in doctrinal points.

Rick, would you make the same argument about purgatory?

The point is that we should not just rest on the laurels of traditional religion.

However, if there is a hell and you spread the news that there is not, well, that is extremely counter productive and soothes many consciences.

If you believe in Universalism, perhaps. But remember, the motivation is not fear. I witness to people quite often and can’t remember speaking to an unbeliever about annihilationism. But that doesn’t mean it’s not true or important.

However, if hell exists, rest assured Paul, Peter, John and others would have mentioned it – just once. They don’t. That’s a deafening silence.

What I would say is that hell speaks something on the nature of God. He’s created a netherworld where we are poked and prodded in a place of unbearable heat throughout eternity… Really? A capricious little Roman/Greek god.

Where is this in the OT? Where, outside of the 3 gospels? Where over 30 years of ministry to pagans in Acts?

123   Eugene    http://eugeneroberts.wordpress.com
March 23rd, 2011 at 2:02 pm

#122 The 3 Gospels?

124   Eugene    http://eugeneroberts.wordpress.com
March 23rd, 2011 at 2:10 pm

There is a generation* of people who learns by exploring and not by just being told what has already been explored. I think Rob Bell is communicating to these people and that is why he explores the thought processes behind an argument rather than the argument itself. If not used to this type of communication I can understand that his style might frustrate or even confuse. But that doesn’t mean his style or the points he makes through it is not valid.

* – I don’t like using the word generation because it is not necessarily linked to age. Any suggestions?

125   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
March 23rd, 2011 at 2:15 pm

Phil, if you are a fan of Bell, you do him no favors. Please refrain from a written review unless you want to give his opponents still more ammunition.

I don’t really care if people feel they are getting “amunition” from what I say. I’m not in a war with them as far as I know. They will be judged for their words of slander and attack on a brother in Christ, and, frankly, the fact that there are groups of people looking for “ammunition” to use againt people they deem heretical speaks to the sadness of the situation.

126   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
March 23rd, 2011 at 2:36 pm

#122 The 3 Gospels?

Sorry Eugene. I should have clarified. I mention 3 in this case because John’s Gospel has zero references to hell at all.

He simply juxtaposes eternal life and death.

So, we’re left with Matthew, Mark & Luke.

127   Eugene    http://eugeneroberts.wordpress.com
March 23rd, 2011 at 2:37 pm

#126 I can see clearly now… Thanks

128   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
March 23rd, 2011 at 2:38 pm

the fact that there are groups of people looking for “ammunition” to use againt people they deem heretical speaks to the sadness of the situation.

I would agree with you in this. It is true. However, there are those that are interested in the truth and protecting their flocks from false teachers (not specific to Bell, just in general).

129   Eugene    http://eugeneroberts.wordpress.com
March 23rd, 2011 at 2:46 pm

#128 – I don’t see the link between “exploring the thought processes behind ideas rather than attacking and presenting ideas head on” and “there are those that are interested in the truth and protecting their flocks from false teachers”.

How does helping people to think for themselves by understanding the thought processes behind arguments lead to false teaching?

130   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
March 23rd, 2011 at 2:56 pm

God forbid the sheep start thinking for themselves… Who knows what would happen then.

I actually think very little of pastoring has to do with ensuring “the flock” all has the correct doctrine. I suppose it’s important to some degree, but it’s also probably an impossible task for a pastor to really monitor the doctrine of everyone in the church. I think the sheep metaphor has to do more with the attitude of the pastor towards the people in church. A pastor should be someone who is willing to go out of his way to care for and tend to the needs of the people in the church. The modern version of the pastor, though, is more like a CEO, and of course one of the most important thing a CEO can do is keep the company’s message consistent, and keep brand recognition up. That’s why I think a lot of pastor get all up in arms about purely information issues. In reality, the people in their congregation probably care nearly as much about doctrine as they’d like to believe.

131   Neil    
March 23rd, 2011 at 2:56 pm

How does helping people to think for themselves by understanding the thought processes behind arguments lead to false teaching?

b/c in modernity you tell people what it true… you have answers… you are enlightened to the rational possess of the mind which creates systems. you teach these systems as whole truth.

and any who does not teach the same system… anyone who does not make definitive truth statements… anyone who employs a different method is not a christian… is a false teacher…

…oh – and it’s ok to slaughter the unelect for political gain.

132   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
March 23rd, 2011 at 3:01 pm

I guess what I’m saying is that I read a lot of these comments about pastors caring for their flocks, and I get the idea that people must think that all pastors are pastoring churches largely full of uneducated country bumpkins. There may be some churches like that, but I don’t think it’s the norm in the US. There’s a very good chance that many people in a lot of congregations are more educated than the pastor. So trying to keep the pastor in the role of theological expert is simply a losing battle, I believe. And I don’t really think that’s a bad thing. Certainly pastors should have good theological training, but I think what a pastor’s role is more as someone walking with the congregation through life, through sorrow, and through trials.

133   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
March 23rd, 2011 at 3:38 pm

b/c in modernity …

Which has been at the forefront less than a couple of centuries. Whatever did the church do, and how on earth did it survive those first 1800+ years without modernism?

134   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 23rd, 2011 at 4:21 pm

” Whatever did the church do, and how on earth did it survive those first 1800+ years without modernism?”

They lived in much darkness and were susceptible to the dictates and teachings of the ecclesiastical bourgeoisie. Today is not much different, and the exhortation to “think” to the proletariat is usually a subtle suggestion to think like me.

135   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
March 23rd, 2011 at 4:41 pm

#134: I was going to say that for the vast amount of that time, as the RCC ruled the roost, there was very little light and any hint of it was usually vanquished pretty fast. Until it couldn’t be held back much more.

To paint a rosy picture of dark ages catholicism/Christianity is difficult to do. It’s like a Thanksgiving postcard showing the Indians enjoying the favor of the Europeans. Distorted.

Not that there weren’t faithful people, but the vast hordes were intentionally left in darkness so the power structure could be maintained.

136   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 23rd, 2011 at 5:22 pm

I would have been an anabaptist!

137   neil    
March 23rd, 2011 at 5:28 pm

I would have been an anabaptist!

in many respect – i am one now.

138   pastorboy    http://www.riveroflifealliance.com
March 23rd, 2011 at 6:05 pm

A staggering number of people have been taught that a select few Christians will spend forever in a peaceful, joyous place called heaven, while the rest of humanity spends forever in torment and punishment in hell with no chance for anything better…. This is misguided and toxic and ultimately subverts the contagious spread of Jesus’ message of love, peace, forgiveness, and joy that our world desperately needs to hear.

The only thing that is toxic is Rob Bell’s view of the Gospel.

139   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 23rd, 2011 at 6:15 pm

“This is misguided and toxic and ultimately subverts the contagious spread of Jesus’ message of love, peace, forgiveness, and joy that our world desperately needs to hear.”

Unless it is true. Narrow is the gate and few there be that find it and all that stuff.

140   Jerry    http://www.jerryhillyer.com
March 23rd, 2011 at 7:05 pm

Jerry – try looking up the definition of ‘hell’ as Jesus referred to it and you get your answers. Gehenna or Sheol. That’s it.

Not sure what you mean by word-counting. I’m simply saying that you are building a doctrine something that doesn’t exist and wasn’t ever intended.

If it was, don’t you think the apostles and early church would have preached about hell? Just once?

Paul, I am not even arguing that there is or is not a hell that looks like what the modernists have taught us. That is not my point.

My point is that you are basing your entire theory of a lack of a doctrine by how many times this word or that word appears in a book. I’m saying that is a poor way to construct a theological doctrine.

And based upon your theory, strictly speaking, Jesus never talks about grace. And only John mentions it a couple of times, but you have already pointed out that John is a different sort of Gospel than is MLM.

I’m neither arguing for or against the modernist conception of hell. I’m simply making the point that your method of arriving at your conclusion is based on a bad exegetical idea and that you are not applying the criteria fairly across the entire spectrum of the Scripture.

To be fair, you should apply your methodology fairly. And, to be sure, Jesus does not talk about grace or justification by faith. (I seem to recall having this conversation on another thread where we distinguished between Paul’s emphasis on grace and justification by faith and Jesus’ emphasis on justice.)

So please don’t misunderstand my point. (Except for John’s Gospel, Jesus didn’t talk too much about the Holy Spirit either.)

I’m just asking that you apply your methodology fairly and with respect to all the words in the Scripture.

jerry

141   pastorboy    http://www.riveroflifealliance.com
March 23rd, 2011 at 7:13 pm

Hell is not even the final destination. Hell is the grave where the righteous and unrighteous await the final trumpet. The righteous trust in the propitiation of Christ, and will spend eternity with Christ. The unrighteous are sent to a place called the lake of fire where there will be conscious torment forever.

142   pastorboy    http://www.riveroflifealliance.com
March 23rd, 2011 at 7:14 pm

P.S. There is not second chance.

143   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 23rd, 2011 at 7:20 pm

SECOND CHANCE SCENARIO

Angel: Sir, you have died without CHrist. You have a choice, now, would you like to spend eternity with the Gracious Redeemer in a place better than paradise? Or do wyou wish to go to a place of unimaginable, shall we say, uncomfortableness?

Sinner: Can you give me a minute?

:lol:

144   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 23rd, 2011 at 7:24 pm

Reminds me of a far side cartoon where the devil offers a “no fire” hell but reveals he was kidding.

145   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 23rd, 2011 at 7:33 pm

I do not believe in literal pearls in heaven’s gates. I do not believe in literal gold in the streets. Etc. The “experience” of the place called “heaven” cannot be adequately communicated to finite beings.

I do not believe in literal fire and sulfur. I believe these are objects that communicate what we cannot understand. The place called whatever you want to call it is eternal torture, but cannot be adequately compared to any earthly torture.

In the end, there are only two places in eternity for human souls/spirits. One very good and one very bad.

146   Neil    
March 23rd, 2011 at 9:04 pm

tboy, what you quote in 138 – which i believe are bell’s words – is not a definition of the gospel… yet you use this to say his gospel is toxic.

interesting use of non-gospel theology to judge “his” gospel. on what do you base that a correct view of hell is needed to be saved?

is rick’s gospel also false b/c he does not believe the lake of fire is literal?

147   Neil    
March 23rd, 2011 at 9:11 pm

tboy, what is even more amazing is that you say bell is not a christian, which i assume means he is not saved, which means he is going to the hell you describe.

yet, commenting in this very thread is someone who not only denies that there is a hell… but denies that there is a trinity.

you seem to give him a pass, or you do not care that he will be joining bell in hell.

148   Joe    http://christianresearchnetwork.com/index.php?s=john+chisham
March 23rd, 2011 at 9:17 pm

it is entirely appropriate to interview a person who uses false dichotomies with false dichotomies. Bell asks open ended questions and does not answer them with scripture. Martin Bashir is just using Rob Bell’s method in his interview.

Rob Bell is not a Christian. He is a Universal Reconciliationist and a denier of Jesus Christ. Anyone who remains in MHBC is like one who remains in the ELCA- they agree with a false theology and as guilty of denying Jesus Christ.

Haha. I’m sure you felt better after typing that. You crack me up, John.

149   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
March 23rd, 2011 at 9:22 pm

Seriously, guys, you might as well not waste your breath, or bandwidth, I should say, responding to John. No amount of reasoning will overcome willful ignorance.

150   pastorboy    http://www.riveroflifealliance.com
March 23rd, 2011 at 9:57 pm

You guys cannot have a serious conversation about facts without attacking those who may disagree. You all are hypocrites.

Rob Bell has made some very telling statements in his book that are outside of orthodox Christianity. Bring the Word of God, quit attacking those who stand for BIBLICAL TRUTH.

Rob Bell is not only questioning hell, he is questioning the very nature of God amd the very nature of Salvation.

151   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
March 23rd, 2011 at 10:08 pm

I find it really interesting that tboy even purposely edits the one Bell quote he provided to give it a different meaning than the unedited quote. He wrote:

A staggering number of people have been taught that a select few Christians will spend forever in a peaceful, joyous place called heaven, while the rest of humanity spends forever in torment and punishment in hell with no chance for anything better…. This is misguided and toxic and ultimately subverts the contagious spread of Jesus’ message of love, peace, forgiveness, and joy that our world desperately needs to hear.

However, the actual quote is (with the section slander-boy removed in italics):

A staggering number of people have been taught that a select few Christians will spend forever in a peaceful, joyous place called heaven, while the rest of humanity spends forever in torment and punishment in hell with no chance for anything better. It’s been clearly communicated to many that this belief is a central truth of the Christian faith and that to reject it is, in essence, to reject Jesus. This is misguided and toxic and ultimately subverts the contagious spread of Jesus’ message of love, peace, forgiveness, and joy that our world desperately needs to hear.

So the “this” that is misguided is the phrase that slander-boy purposely chose to edit out, making it seem to say that Bell is calling the Reformed view of hell as “misguided and toxic”, rather than the demanded primacy of this doctrine “misguided and toxic”.

Pastorboy even lies when he (selectively) quotes those he hates.

152   neil    
March 23rd, 2011 at 10:10 pm

tboy, if we (as in any of us with you) had discussed any of the content of bell’s book – might have a point.

but true to trolling you speak in vague generalities… and accuse us of not having a serious conversation…

then after saying bell is not a christian – you say WE attack those whom we disagree with.

153   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
March 23rd, 2011 at 10:10 pm

The unrighteous are sent to a place called the lake of fire where there will be conscious torment forever.

Interesting.

So if the “lake of fire” is literal, how are figurative entities (”death” and “hades”) thrown into it? And what is the chapter and verse which states that the “lake of fire” is equivalent to eternal, conscious torment?

154   neil    
March 23rd, 2011 at 10:11 pm

phil, you are correct, i was just hoping he might explain why bell was destined to hell but paul c. was not.

155   neil    
March 23rd, 2011 at 10:17 pm

BUSTED!

156   neil    
March 23rd, 2011 at 10:20 pm

it would be interesting to discuss just how “correct” one’s belief must be to be saved?

or, to put it another way, how wrong can ya be and still be saved?

157   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 23rd, 2011 at 10:40 pm

“how wrong can ya be and still be saved?”

Peter’s open denial of ever knowing Jesus seems to stretch that parameter. It is entirely possible that a saved person can fall into sin, grevious doctrinal error, and even join a cult. Unless grace has caveats.

158   Jerry    http://www.jerryhillyer.com
March 23rd, 2011 at 11:34 pm

Grace is the caveat.

159   Joe    http://christianresearchnetwork.com/index.php?s=john+chisham
March 23rd, 2011 at 11:39 pm

#151
Come on, what do you expect?

160   Eugene    http://eugeneroberts.wordpress.com
March 23rd, 2011 at 11:59 pm

#151 – I suspect that John just copied that edited quote from some review. I seriously doubt that he read the book.

161   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 24th, 2011 at 4:28 am

#158 – I like that. :)

162   Tim    
March 24th, 2011 at 7:01 am

#157 – Does it? Because, Peter’s preemptive denial of death and resurrection in Matthew 16 seems much closer as Christ responds with calling him Satan.

That also fits well with 1 Corinthians 15:1ff which connects belief in the resurrection with salvation.

163   pastorboy    http://www.riveroflifealliance.com
March 24th, 2011 at 7:39 am

#160 You are correct, Sir.

However, the italics do not change the quote much. I was never taught that, where is the evidence that millions were taught that?

I would argue that it is more likely that millions were taught ask Jesus into your heart and you will go to heaven and life will be peachy- which is equally false.

Hell is not the central teaching; however it is a teaching of Jesus Christ and denial of such is to call into question the very teachings of Jesus Christ.

164   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
March 24th, 2011 at 8:03 am

Pboy – are you *really* this stupid? Really?

sigh

You say (in #163):

I was never taught that, where is the evidence that millions were taught that?

Seemingly, you forgot that you wrote (just yesterday at about this time in #99):

The fact of the matter is that Rob Bell is a tacit denier of Jesus Christ by denying what Jesus calls true.

Jesus (Son of God) states there is a Hell, which is eternal and conscious [...]

Rob Bell is calling Jesus a liar, in essence, saying Jesus was wrong about Hell.

So – you say “I was never taught that [it’s been clearly communicated to many that this belief is a central truth of the Christian faith and that to reject it is, in essence, to reject Jesus.]” twenty-four hours after saying exactly that!!!

You are not even making it hard to prove that you’ve no interest in the truth, and that you simply have a desire to deride and slander Bell, no matter what evidence to the contrary is provided to the (obvious) lies you put forth.

And as for questioning whether millions were taught that if you reject eternal, conscious punishment you are rejecting Christ, you’ve apparently not been paying attention to Piper, MacArthur, and about 95% of the capital-R Reformed church (let alone a good chunk of non-Reformed churches, and streams within the Catholic church).

165   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
March 24th, 2011 at 8:07 am

Oh – and:

However, the italics do not change the quote much.

Then you, sir, have no skill whatsoever in reading comprehension. The edit (whoever you copied it from) is completely dishonest, because the edited version implies that Bell believes the doctrine is “misguided and toxic”, whereas what he actually wrote was that making the doctrine a test of faith is “misguided and toxic”.

Two completely different things. The edit COMPLETELY changes the meaning of the quote.

Where did you copy this from?

166   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
March 24th, 2011 at 8:10 am

Oh (one last time):

I would argue that it is more likely that millions were taught ask Jesus into your heart and you will go to heaven and life will be peachy- which is equally false.

Guess what? Bell doesn’t give this teaching a pass, either, but instead asks a number of questions about it which show that it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense either. In Chapter 1.

But you wouldn’t know that because you’re criticizing what you haven’t read.

167   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
March 24th, 2011 at 8:18 am

The truncated quote the tboy posted above was from the Challies review. That, among other things, is why I called his review dishonest. Frankly, I had expected better from Tim Challies, but it seems the capital-R Reformed crowd is shaking in their boots over this one and feels that they must resort to doing anything to win.

168   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
March 24th, 2011 at 9:29 am

Jerry: My point is that you are basing your entire theory of a lack of a doctrine by how many times this word or that word appears in a book. I’m saying that is a poor way to construct a theological doctrine.

Jerry, I’m not basing a theory on this at all. I am simply throwing out something that has got a lot of people reconsidering what they believe as it pertains to hell. The actual basis/foundation goes much, much deeper, going back to the entire OT, definitions of words (ie: sheol, Gehenna, Hades, etc.). As we’re on a blog, I can’t very well lay that all out can I?

PB: Hell is the grave where the righteous and unrighteous await the final trumpet.

See, here’s yet another option (which I agree with). While some say we’re whisked away to heaven (if we’re Christian) or sent to hell (if we’re not) until the judgment THEN possibly thrown into a real hell (lake of fire), PB has this part right. We die. We await the judgment. At this time the separation occurs.

PB: The unrighteous are sent to a place called the lake of fire where there will be conscious torment forever.

Unfortunately he gets this part wrong. John actually tells us what the lake of fire is: the second death.

In #145, Rick is right. “Lake of Fire” is figurative language, as is the city coming down from heaven (New Jerusalem, gold streets, etc).

Chris L: So if the “lake of fire” is literal, how are figurative entities (”death” and “hades”) thrown into it?

Exactly. This scripture alone leaves a person who believes in Hell scratching their head as it makes no sense to them. But add John’s clarification (the lake of fire is the second death) and things become clearer.

169   Neil    
March 24th, 2011 at 10:57 am

#160 You are correct, Sir. – tboy

i for one, take tboy at his word on this. quotes like this get thrown around easily and when someone changes the quote, subsequent postings are not always accurate. this is why original source quotes are best.

However, the italics do not change the quote much. – tboy

this is absurd – the edited quote looks as if bell is saying that the doctrine of hell is toxic, when the full quote shows that the antecedent is not the doctrine but how it is taught.

I was never taught that, where is the evidence that millions were taught that? – tboy

yet you teach this yourself. you told us that bell denying hell means he denies jesus. and if you are telling us this i can only imagine what you are telling your church.

Hell is not the central teaching; however it is a teaching of Jesus Christ and denial of such is to call into question the very teachings of Jesus Christ. tboy

first bell’s position was proof he teaches a false gospel… now it only calls his loyalty into question. what does this do to your comment that he is not a christian, that his gospel is toxic, that he is going to hell? and what of paul c.? why are you not warning him of his fate?

…denial of such is to call into question the very teachings of Jesus Christ. – tboy

so if i disagree with what you and the majority of church history say about jesus – i am denying jesus? is this really what you mean to say?

170   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 24th, 2011 at 11:53 am

Chad Holtz was fired because he does not believe in hell!

HERE.

171   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
March 24th, 2011 at 12:04 pm

Or they were looking for an excuse to fire him because of his attitude and demeanor, and this finally gave them a good excuse.

172   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 24th, 2011 at 12:07 pm

#171 – Wow. Did you actually think grace before you typed or did you kick a man when he is down and about to supplant his family regardless of his previous transgressions?

I have had my run ins with Chad but I pray for him now and his family which included adopted african orphans.

173   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
March 24th, 2011 at 12:22 pm

Did you actually think grace before you typed or did you kick a man when he is down and about to supplant his family regardless of his previous transgressions?

I saw this article before it was posted here, and chose specifically NOT to post it here (and would never have done so).

However, I did think about my opinion on it, and Chad’s opinion on hell has been available for the world to see/hear on his own blog and here for a year or two now. So unless his congregation is blind, deaf and dumb, this should not have been a surprise. Therefore, in absence of surprise, the furor around Love Wins, coupled with Chad’s attitude, gave them the excuse they needed and Chad the ability to appeal his victimhood to the Fourth Estate.

Yes, it is terrible what his family is going through because of it. Loss of employment is always that way. The cause of that loss, though, is far more likely Chad and far less likely his stance on hell…

174   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 24th, 2011 at 12:27 pm

I just feel blessed that my congregations put up with me. I would suggest that Chad’s anti-nationalism played a very large part as well.

BTW – No one really believe in hell as we understand it or else our lives would be significantly different. It is easy for men like me to defend its exitence, it is quite another to give my entire life as a living sacrifice so that at all costs sinners might be saved.

175   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 24th, 2011 at 12:30 pm

“Loss of employment is always that way.”

It goes much deeper than loss of employment, ask Jerry. There is deep rejection, battling bitterness, ministering to your wife and children, and the attacks of the evil one who gets you to question everything about you as a believer and a minister.

176   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
March 24th, 2011 at 12:31 pm

Additionally, we don’t have any response from the church (nor will we) on exactly what happened. From an HR perspective, quite often firings occur at the end of a long string of events under the control of the fired individual. In the end, whether the complaints were legitimate or not, the firing is not a surprise. I have seen far too many cases of individuals saying “I was fired for XYZ!!! Isn’t that unfair?” and taking their previous employers to court or to the court of public opinion, when the actual story was “He was fired for ABDCEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVW, and XYZ was simply one more event in the series, and would not have warranted firing if it were the only issue at hand.”

177   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
March 24th, 2011 at 12:34 pm

Rick – if Chad argued with folks who disagreed with him the way he disagreed with us (both here, on FB and in private email exchanges), it is a wonder he was employed as long as he was. Certainly the opinion, itself, may have mattered (anti-Americanism, hell, etc.), but the way in which he responded was always more of the issue than the response, itself.

178   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 24th, 2011 at 12:35 pm

I do not care why he was fired, I am focusing upon his present circumstances. I am sure his firing was cumlative, but as a person, father, husband, and brother I feel some level of compassion for him.

This goes beyond doctrinal and discussion squabbles.

179   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
March 24th, 2011 at 12:36 pm

To my point, FTA:

Gray Southern, United Methodist district superintendent for the part of North Carolina that includes Henderson, declined to discuss Holtz’s departure in detail, but said there was more to it than the online post about Rob Bell’s book.

“That’s between the church and him,” Southern said.

Church members had also been unhappy with Internet posts about subjects like gay marriage and the mix of religion and patriotism, Holtz said, and the hell post was probably the last straw. Holtz and his family plan to move back to Tennessee, where he’ll start a job and maybe plant a church.

180   Neil    
March 24th, 2011 at 12:39 pm

Or they were looking for an excuse to fire him because of his attitude and demeanor, and this finally gave them a good excuse.

yeah, i gotta say this is highly speculative. i don’t think we should be discussing the possible reasons he may have been dismissed.

181   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 24th, 2011 at 12:41 pm

So he was fired for his views? Church is such a game of Stratego with many spies and many mines. I could not sit under him as a pastor and Chad knows this, but that does not in any way enter into my feelings for him as a person and a believer.

Here is a prime example of what I have always said, that a person can still be saved even if he has significantly aberrant doctrinal views. I do find it curious that those who strongly suggest charity and grace for Rob Bell are ver quick to pounce upon the misfortunes of someone with whom THEY disagree.

A double standard of grace.

182   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
March 24th, 2011 at 12:47 pm

My apologies for being uncharitable.

In reality, Rick’s original comment “Chad Holtz was fired because he does not believe in hell” is just as speculative as mine, and doesn’t jibe with the official comment given by the church: “there was more to it than the online post about Rob Bell’s book.”

We should sincerely pray for Chad’s family, and their provision during this time of uncertainty. We should wish him success in finding a job back in Tennessee, and in finding a church to attend which will appropriately minister to him.

183   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 24th, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Much better! We must not shoot our wounded even if they are goofballs, and I do not mean Chad.

In fact, I mean me! When I die I hope Jerry and Joe will miss me!!

184   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 24th, 2011 at 12:53 pm

Pray for Chad because the current post on his blog has more than a whiff of bitterness. That will be a significant challenge for him in the future.

185   Joe    http://christianresearchnetwork.com/index.php?s=john+chisham
March 24th, 2011 at 1:28 pm

I think this is an interesting article. http://rachelheldevans.com/future-of-evangelicalism

186   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 24th, 2011 at 1:30 pm

A man opens his door and invites his friend into his home. The man asks his friend if he would like something to eat, and the friend says that he would. The man makes his friend a sandwich. About halfway through his sandwich the friend says to the man,

“By the way, as I approached your house I noticed that your back bedroom is engulfed with flames.”

The man looks at his friend and laughs. He thinks it is a joke since nothing in his friends demeanor suggests the validity of such a crisis. The friend sees the man laughing and asks,

“You don’t believe your bedroom is on fire?”

“No,” replies the man.

“In that case”, says the friend, “I must leave this house because I cannot be a friend to someone who does not believe his house is on fire!”

The friend walks out of the front door and across the street to his own home and takes a nap.

Someone tell me a truth that should more deeply and remarkably and radically alter a person’s lifestyle than the concept of hell. And yet believers by the millions will battle to defend the existence while they do not walk across the street to attempt to warn those who they energetically suggest are headed there. Now I ask you, who are the hypocrites, those who do not believe in hell or those like me who do?

If we really believed in hell and not just believed in it doctrinally would we not come home after work, change our clothes, and go into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in? But as we watch television and eat ice cream our consciences can be soothed with the knowledge that our systematic theology includes hell! My theology infinitely outdistances my living representations.

187   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 24th, 2011 at 1:39 pm

#185 – “Farewell, Rob Bell”, says Piper.

(Me) Farewell, Rob Bell, you are leaving the hotbed of evangelicals whose lives so authentically and powerfully reflect the Lord Jesus that we see the colossal impact we are having on the culture and darkness around us.

Dr. Piper, let me introduce you to a mirror. It may be time for all of us to gaze into it and realize the exstent of our own unkemptness.

188   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
March 24th, 2011 at 1:47 pm

If we really believed in hell and not just believed in it doctrinally would we not come home after work, change our clothes, and go into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in?

If the Apostle Paul really believed in the doctrine of eternal, conscious punishment, don’t you think he would have devoted a good deal of space to it. Or at least, you know, mentioned the word hell? Or, at the very least, mentioned it in his basic summation of the Gospel (see I Cor 15)? If he believed that escaping this earth and avoiding hell was the purpose of the Gospel, might he have not made it the centerpiece of his message?

189   John Hughes    
March 24th, 2011 at 2:02 pm

You know, It might be a good idea that active Pastors not ingage in online theological discussions what-so-ever. Just have their own blog and be done with it. Don’t they understand whatever they say – good or ill — will be read by their parishners? Some things (and beliefs) are better left unpublished, especially in this day and age.

190   John Hughes    
March 24th, 2011 at 2:04 pm

#188 – Said absence, upon consideration, does at least beg the question.

191   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
March 24th, 2011 at 2:12 pm

If he believed that escaping this earth and avoiding hell was the purpose of the Gospel, might he have not made it the centerpiece of his message?

One thing that has always slightly bothered me about presentations based on the whole concept of avoiding hell is that they are inherently based on self-interest and self-preservation. Rather than calling people to actually follow Christ in an act of self-sacrifice, we’re telling to make an investment in their future. Whether people admit it or not, it is the same type of logic that insurance salesmen use to sell their wares.

192   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
March 24th, 2011 at 2:15 pm

If the Apostle Paul really believed in the doctrine of eternal, conscious punishment, don’t you think he would have devoted a good deal of space to it. Or at least, you know, mentioned the word hell?

And this is my argument to Jerry (which I think he missed). Just a little smidgen of a mention… somewhere… once. Silence.

The problem, I think, is when we come first with our position and then seek to build around that – even if we’re using cardboard and metal sheeting.

That said, Paul was urgent in his preaching.

Dr. Piper, let me introduce you to a mirror.

Rick, I do think this is overly harsh. The man is tireless. Bell’s methodology (not to even speak of his teaching) is extremely shady, and in my opinion, very dangerous.

193   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
March 24th, 2011 at 2:40 pm

I guess I don’t see that annihilationism and some type of concious suffering are as far apart as it seems (notice I said suffering, not torment). In 1 Corinthians 3:11-15, there’s this interesting passage.

For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.

Now this has been used to support the concept of purgatory in the past, but I think the issue gets more to the heart of the matter. Only those things that are of the Kingdom will survive when the Kingdom is fully present. There’s a concept in Eastern Orthodoxy that each of us are tending to a flame given to us by God. We can either invest in the Kingdom and cause that flame to burn brighter, or we wan squelch that flame, possible until it burns out forever. So I think that there aer some people who will have chased after their own hells with their lives, that in the end, there simply won’t be much to save. Perhaps something of them will be left, but it will be so insubstantial, that it will be almost like there’s nothing there.

194   Neil    
March 24th, 2011 at 3:44 pm

phil, what happens to that “almost nothing there” when the new heaven and new earth are recreated?

195   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
March 24th, 2011 at 4:13 pm
Dr. Piper, let me introduce you to a mirror.

Rick, I do think this is overly harsh.

Rick, I do not think this is harsh enough…

196   John Hughes    
March 24th, 2011 at 4:13 pm

Phil,

The self-defined subject of that passage is “rewards”, not heaven or hell. I will keep going back to the definition of salvation: i.e., the rebirth and regeneration by the Holy Spirit. The life is in the Son. He who has the Son has the life. He who does not have the Son does not have the life. (1 John). To be in the presence of God is to be in Heaven where ever that is located. Heaven is secondary – to be born again and indwelled by Christ is the primary consideration. To be without Christ after the Judgement Day will be to live in hell whether literal or symbolic.

Although I believe in a literal hell to be followed by the Lake of Fire (but not necessarily in literal flames) I think it is interesting to note hell is not mentioned in any Epistle.

I have no problem that Hell (Sheol) is thrown into the Lake of Fire. To me that just means the inhabitants of the temporary holding place known as Hell/Sheol will be thrown into the Lake of Fire. I don’t quite have a grasp on “Death” being thrown into the Lake of Fire unless that is just a euphemism/synonym for “Hell” used for emphasis.

197   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
March 24th, 2011 at 4:25 pm

#195: why do you say so Chris L?

John H: Although I believe in a literal hell to be followed by the Lake of Fire (but not necessarily in literal flames)

John, why do you not necessarily believe in the flames, but the lake? Trying to make sense of your rationale here and the reason for a distinction.

I think it is interesting to note hell is not mentioned in any Epistle.

Don’t forget the entirety of the OT. No concept of hell whatsoever (just Sheol).

Regarding “death and hell”, my understanding is that these are synonymous terms, just like Paul writes about the “God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ”. There are one and the same.

198   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 24th, 2011 at 4:27 pm

The absence of a clear and definitive Pauline treatise of hell is ponderous. The only answer I can give is that his writings were to the church and not evangelistic, however there remains a question.

But contrary to popular belief, I do hold the gospels and the other NT books as inspired. Weeping and gnashing of teeth and fire and outer darkness go way further than earthly struggles. There is obviously some after life application.

199   pastorboy    http://www.riveroflifealliance.com
March 24th, 2011 at 4:27 pm

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/03/24/whos-hell-michigan-pastors-book-sparks-debate-eternal-torment/

It seems our old Buddy Chad Holtz has made Fox News- No really….

200   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
March 24th, 2011 at 4:33 pm

The only answer I can give is that his writings were to the church and not evangelistic, however there remains a question.

How would you explain the absence in Acts?

Or, what about the fact that Paul spends tons of time outlining the very basics of the faith, our hope and the consequences of disobedience – without a mention?

It’s because Paul believed in either life or death as the two ultimate ends of man.

Also, your challenge becomes compounded when you take the entirety of the OT into view. Not a single mention there either.

So, we’re left with parabolic references to a stinking dump outside the city that would clearly convey an unrecoverable state (worm dieth not).

201   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 24th, 2011 at 4:38 pm

Paul, you make some good points without rancor. :)

202   John Hughes    
March 24th, 2011 at 4:44 pm

Chad H. – Am I really going to be saved just because I believe something, when all these good people in the world aren’t?”

What a bizarre quote from an evangelical.

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shallt be saved.” Or whatever I guess.

Side Note: Bell was mis-quoted here also with the same excerpt that PB used.

203   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
March 24th, 2011 at 4:46 pm

#195: why do you say so Chris L?

Piper is just a softer version of MacArthur, for whom “not Calvinist” and “heretic” are somewhat synonymous, and his treatment of natural disasters as the outpouring of God’s wrath is pretty twisted (just to pick one of many items).

204   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 24th, 2011 at 4:51 pm

Unlike McArthur Piper likes to have it both ways. He pulls up a chair to the approved reformed table and offers the chair beside him to Mark Driscoll who Mcarthur et. al cannot stand.

I am not sure but I believe Piper’s son leans emergent? I also am appalled by his “I know when God punishes through natural disasters” attitude.

205   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 24th, 2011 at 4:54 pm

#202 – There are none good. And yes, we can go to heaven simply by faith because all the work was done by Him.

206   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
March 24th, 2011 at 4:58 pm

#202: see, this is the issue. A false gospel.

“Faith is not enough. Faith cannot be the dividing line. What about all the ‘good’ people outside the bounds of our faith narrative?”

Straight from the devil: “Did God say..?”

The entire Bible (OT & NT) is gutted of truth for a feel-good form of faith that ‘wins friends and influences people’.

This is why the apostles warred against false teaching so much. As Paul said, it undermines faith.

207   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 24th, 2011 at 5:22 pm

A works gospel is not good news.

208   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
March 24th, 2011 at 5:29 pm

So, we’re left with parabolic references to a stinking dump outside the city that would clearly convey an unrecoverable state (worm dieth not).

To be clear, here is the passage from Mark (the one synoptic that includes the bit about the worms not dying)

“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into Gehenna, where the fire never goes out. And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into Gehenna. And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into Gehenna, where

“‘the worms that eat them do not die,
and the fire is not quenched.’”

Four things (with the most interesting for last):

1) So, in this passage (as in the other synoptic versions), Jesus’ message is that it is better to have your body part cut off and tossed into the city dump and to live without it, rather than to die and have your entire body tossed there. This doesn’t require that Gehenna be a literal or metaphysical “other place” for eternity, nor does it imply that it is conscious eternal punishment.

2) Gehenna, the Hinnom Valley, was constantly being burned, to destroy the refuse (both garbage and trash), and was full of maggots (worms that don’t die – that seem to come from nothing on dead bodies), along with dogs fighting over the scraps (with the primary sounds being of their cries and gnashing teeth). This valley was also cursed because it was the place associated with child sacrifice and Molech worship. It is also likely to be “Topeth”, the place where the Assyrian army was destroyed, as prophesied by the prophet Isaiah. Which brings us to…

3) Jesus is quoting from Isaiah 66, referencing the destruction of the Assyrian army:

“And they will go out and look on the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; the worms that eat them will not die, the fire that burns them will not be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind.”

This is not a reference of some eternal hell, but a picture of dead bodies being eaten by maggots and consumed by fire. It is not a picture of something eternal or conscious.

4) Gehenna does not show up in any of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Josephus, Philo, Apocrypha, or the Pseudepigrapha. The only ancient literature that Gehenna shows up in as an eternal place of suffering is in the Rabbinic writings of the Mishna and the Talmud. But in these cases, Gehenna is a place similar to Purgatory, where the souls of most sinners go to be purified for up to one year of suffering – with Sabbaths off. At the end of the time of purification/suffering, the souls of all but the most wicked enter the world to come, while the most wicked are then permanently destroyed. (see Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin (7) Ch. 11 “Chelek”; and also here). So, the only context under which the people would have understood Gehenna (depending on the accurate dating of the Talmud, which is believed to have been orally transmitted during the Babylonian captivity, hundreds of years BC, but was not written down until the third century AD) is either as a temporal city dump OR as a form of Purgatory.

209   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 24th, 2011 at 5:39 pm

The supposition, as well as the imagery, that hell is a place of eternal torment – ETERNAL I said – is a truth that bothers almost no one except when a discussion about doctrine surfaces.

And if that is true, is it not the most fearful and being shaking fact anyone could imagine?

210   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 24th, 2011 at 5:49 pm

If hell exists as generally defined, then why are the lives of those who believe in it and those who do not so similar? It’s like saying two people are playing in a house that is on fire, but one believes it’s on fire and one does not. But both continue playing in the same house.

Hmm…

211   pastorboy    http://www.riveroflifealliance.com
March 24th, 2011 at 6:02 pm

The difference is Rick, some of us are warning people that are inside that burning house because we love them.

Others are in denial that the house is burning and encourages the occupants by not warning them about the burning house.

212   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 24th, 2011 at 6:06 pm

I do admire your commitment to evangelism, John. I really do and I pray that sinners will hear His voice and not yours.

213   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
March 24th, 2011 at 6:34 pm

#208: some excellent points. I especially like the clarity of the Mark passage.

If the hell there is a literal, eternal place then so too must be the cutting off of one’s hand. Obviously both are metaphorical.

#211: PB, where do you see, in the NT, the apostles warning the hellenistic and jewish cultures about this hell?

214   Neil    
March 24th, 2011 at 7:10 pm

tboy, please discuss the issues you created or the questions we asked you.

215   pastorboy    http://www.riveroflifealliance.com
March 24th, 2011 at 7:36 pm

#211

2 Peter 2:3-5 (King James Version)

3And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.4For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; 5And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;

Revelation 20:12-14 (King James Version)

12And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
13And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

14And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

15And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Despite Chris L’s ramblings about Gehenna etc. Jesus was using a very real picture of what Hell would be like, indeed, what the Lake of Fire would be like. The metaphors of Gehenna and tartarus were illustrations that the people could understand, but it did not communicate the true nature of Hell, only a picture:
It smells like sulpher
It burns with brimstone
It is hot
There is weeping and gnashing of teeth (I do not know unconscious people who weep and gnash teeth)
There is no getting out
There is no change of position or location
It is better for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment

And so on. I will also remind you that Christ inspired the OT and NT descriptions of Hell, and spent a lot of time describing HEll as the place of the unrighteous dead.

I deserve to spend eternity there as the focus of God’s wrath. Because of Jesus’ propitiation for me, He became the focus of that wrath.

People in a very real lake of fire after the day of judgment will have that wrath deservedly focused on them for eternity.

216   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
March 24th, 2011 at 7:52 pm

phil, what happens to that “almost nothing there” when the new heaven and new earth are recreated?

I don’t know. The same thing that happens to my missing socks…

There is still the issue that at the end of Revelation the New Jerusalem, isn’t all there is. If there is a river flowing out of it for the healing of the nations, what exactly ,or who, is it healing?

217   Neil    
March 24th, 2011 at 8:08 pm

215 – that is a good argument for Hell… but it seems an equally good argument for annihilationism.

218   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
March 24th, 2011 at 8:14 pm

People in a very real lake of fire after the day of judgment will have that wrath deservedly focused on them for eternity.

So while God is embracing some of His creation in love for all eternity, He will be focusing wrath on other parts of it? Simply ridiculous. If my only two options were this type of view and universalism, I’d be a universalist.

219   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
March 24th, 2011 at 8:47 pm

Jesus was using a very real picture of what Hell would be like, indeed, what the Lake of Fire would be like. The metaphors of Gehenna and tartarus were illustrations that the people could understand, but it did not communicate the true nature of Hell, only a picture

Please prove this. At least I used Scripture and the contextual cultural knowledge. You just seem to be willy-nilly mixing speculation with alogical choices of when to be literal and when to be figurative.

How do you know Jesus was being figurative when he referred to Gehenna, but literal (seconds later) when quoting Isaiah’s description of the dead bodies of the Assyrian army? And gnashing is not a sound of despair, but one of fighting and attacking (a sound used in describing the sound of dogs fighting each other for scraps in the Jerusalem city dump.

What is it that makes your interpretation 100% certain in its correctness and any other interpretation heretical? Where is the legend/key which tags specific things (Gehenna) as figurative, yet others (the worm that does not die) as literal?

There are no OT descriptions of hell, and the ones in the NT are full of figurative language.

And Paul – the Apostle to the Gentiles – never mentions Gehenna, Sheol or Tartarus. Never. If hell is such an important doctrine, why does he never include it in his presentations of the Gospel? Why does he contrast it as life vs. death, if “death” is eternal, conscious suffering.

Why can’t you support your view of hell with Scriptures that don’t have a legitimate multiplicity of interpretations?

220   neil    
March 24th, 2011 at 8:55 pm

218 – so what do you believe?

221   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
March 24th, 2011 at 8:58 pm

PB, perhaps you didn’t see it. I’ll repeat my question from #213:

211: PB, where do you see, in the NT, the apostles warning the hellenistic and jewish cultures about this hell?

I hope you weren’t using the verse from 2 Peter as proof of this.

And going back to Chris L’s quote from Mark, if the hell you claim is real, did Jesus – in the same verse, require his followers to literally cut off their hand (or foot or pluck out their eye)?

Or was this parabolic?

Also, your quoting of Rev 20 provides one of the strongest arguments for annihilationism.

The lake of fire is the second death. It’s right there. We all die the first, as you already believe. But those not found in the book of life face the second death.

222   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
March 24th, 2011 at 9:04 pm

218 – so what do you believe?

I’m not Phil, but just to be clear of my belief, I would say that I’m in the camp of 33% eternal consciousness, 33% annihilationism, 34% something that nobody has accurately described.

So, if I add these up, I’m 100% of the belief that no presentation of hell is required for belief in the Gospel.

223   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
March 24th, 2011 at 9:04 pm

218 – so what do you believe?

Well, regarding the whole issue of hell, I see annihilation is probably a good option, but the only thing holding me back is that I do think that for those not resurrected, there may be some sort of metaphysical reality left of them.

But the main thing I don’t believe is that God is holding back any wrath towards sinners. I don’t believe He’s capricious toward anyone. But we’ve talked about all this before. If there is some sort of eternal suffering associated with hell, it’s not because of anything God is doing to anyone.

224   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 24th, 2011 at 9:14 pm

“so what do you believe?”

I believe Purdue choked in the tournament.

Uh-oh. So did Notre Dame.

225   John Hughes    
March 25th, 2011 at 8:26 am

It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into Gehenna, where “‘the worms that eat them do not die, and the fire is not quenched.’”

Chris, before you get swept away by Paul C I would dare argue that Jesus is juxtaposing two eternal conditions here, i.e., heaven or hell for I doubt you are arguing the Kingdom of God is temporary. So if Jesus is positing an either or position why is one eternal and the other not? At worst I would say this is an argument for Heaven or annihilation.

226   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
March 25th, 2011 at 8:51 am

#225: I wouldn’t dare to flatter myself in thinking Chris L is in any way “swept away” by anything I’ve said, John. In fact, his above comment included things I’ve not heard before.

In the scripture you reference, Jesus is speaking of 2 eternal states:

1. “kingdom of God” – this is finally established upon the earth at the return of the Lord (see Rev 21, Is 11, etc)

2. “Gehenna” – an unrecoverable state of death, or, as Rev 20 tells us, “the second death”

John, all throughout scripture you will see the two final ends of man juxtaposed: life and death (ie: Rom 6:23), not heaven and hell.

227   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
March 25th, 2011 at 9:10 am

#225. John, first off, I don’t buy the “soul sleep” thing, but I’d also toss that into the bin of all pareschatology, in that this is all a realm of speculation.

Of anything I’ve ready, I’m probably most sympathetic to this guy, who’s from my own non-denominational denomination :) .

228   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
March 25th, 2011 at 9:12 am

So if Jesus is positing an either or position why is one eternal and the other not?

What is it about annihilation that is not eternal? Or, if the Rabbinic view of Gehenna is correct, what about it is not eternal?

230   Jerry    http://www.dongoldfish.wordpress.com
March 25th, 2011 at 11:23 am

Wow, there’s a whole chapter in the book on hell and its existence?

Wow.

231   Tim    
March 25th, 2011 at 4:04 pm

THe more I find out about this book, the more I think a whole lot of people owe apologies, repentance, and probably should spend some time away from opining publicly.

232   Joe    http://christianresearchnetwork.com/index.php?s=john+chisham
March 25th, 2011 at 4:55 pm

Yeah, people need to actually read it. Then repent for slander.

233   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
March 25th, 2011 at 5:05 pm

Yeah, people need to actually read it. Then repent for slander.

That’s what should happen, but I think I’d sooner expect to see monkeys fly out of my butt than to actually see that.

234   John Hughes    
March 25th, 2011 at 11:54 pm

#233 – Is that metaphorical or literal?

235   Neil    
March 26th, 2011 at 12:02 am

yeah – just like we saw all the recanting, and repenting and apologizing from those who prophesied that warren would not pray in jesus’ name at the inauguration.

236   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 26th, 2011 at 3:35 am

He could have prayed in Popeye’s name fopr all God cared. God wasn’t listening to that meaningless ceremonialism.

237   Tim    
March 26th, 2011 at 6:37 am

Neil,
If monkeys do fly out of your butt please video tape it as I’ve never seen that before. Same goes for the repenting of slander.

238   Neil    
March 26th, 2011 at 10:48 am

wow, rick… just, huh… wow.

239   Neil    
March 26th, 2011 at 10:49 am

tim, it was phil who anticipated that phenomenon, not me.