So, with the recent furor over Love Wins, and with varying degrees of hand-wringing or gnashing of teeth over the certainty in hell’s manifestation, it probably makes some sense to outline what the Bible actually says about hell, some of the different views of hell, and why loosely holding your beliefs about pareschatology – the study of what happens between death and the final state of humanity – is probably the best course.

Hell in the Bible

First off, you won’t find any references to hell in the Old Testament.  The only thing you will find referenced after death is Sheol, which is translated as “the grave”.  All people die and go to Sheol, the righteous and unrighteous.  Their bodies remain there, but they are still viewed as individual souls.  In the Septuagint, this word is translated Hades – a word used a few times by Jesus – where Hades, in Hellenistic mythology was a state of limbo where all souls dwelt, awaiting the final judgment.

In the New Testament, Hades is mentioned five times – Matthew 16:18 (in this case referring to a literal place in Caesarea Philippi called the “Gates of Hades”), Revelation 1:18; 6:8; 20:13; 20:14. This is also translated as “death”, “the grave”, and “the pit”.

In one case, 2 Peter 2:4, the word “hell” is translated from the word “Tartarus” – a place in Hellenistic mythology, recorded by Plato in 400BC, there the judged dead are imprisoned:

For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to Tartarus, putting them in chains of darkness to be held for judgment.

This reference comes from The Book of Enoch, an ancient Jewish mythological work also quoted by Jude, and (as noted by Peter) it was a place for imprisoning fallen angels, not human souls.

The third and final word translated “hell” in English versions of the Bible is Gehenna.  This word comes from ge hinnom – The Valley of Hinnom.  The Hinnom Valley lies alongside the Old City of Jerusalem, and by the first century AD was a city dump.  Earlier, it had been the place of child sacrifice to the god Molech, and was thus considered cursed ground.  In order to prevent the spread of disease and stench, along with reducing the volume of garbage, Gehenna was constantly kept burning, while dogs roamed around the edges, fighting over scraps of maggoty meat, their teeth gnashing at one another.

Jesus refers to Gehenna 11 times, and his brother James, once:

“But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of genenna.” (Matthew 5:22)

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into genenna. And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into genenna.” (Matthew 5:28-30)

“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in genenna.” (Matthew 10:28)

“And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of genenna.”(Matthew 18:9)

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of genenna as you are.” (Matthew 23:15)

“You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to genenna?” (Matthew 23:33)

“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 genenna, 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 genenna. 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 genenna, where “‘the worms that eat them do not die, and the fire is not quenched.’” (Mark 9:22-28)

“I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into genenna. Yes, I tell you, fear him. Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Luke 12:4-7)

“The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by genenna.” (James 3:6)

These are all of the times “hell” is mentioned in the Bible.

Exploring Gehenna

So, since Sheol/Hades is “the grave” for all people, this is not what we would consider “hell” (as a place of punishment).  Since Tartarus is only mentioned once and is clearly a reference to a mythological place for the imprisonment of angels (not men), it is also not what we would traditionally consider “hell”.  Therefore, Gehenna is the word we would most associate with “hell”, as a place of punishment.

So, some observations we can make about Gehenna from these passages:

  1. All of Jesus’ references to gehenna are made to religious people, and are made in reference to sinful behavior. None of them are spoken to unbelievers or in reference specifically about unbelievers – and for that matter, none are made in reference to one’s lack of belief or orthodoxy.
  2. All of the references to gehenna can be reasonably viewed as references to the literal location – a burning garbage dump, where bodies are filled with maggots (worms that, to the ancients, appeared to have come from nowhere and do not die – transforming, instead, into flies) are consumed in the flames.
  3. If we look specifically at the passage from Mark, which is the one most often quoted by those supporting a view of gehenna as a place of eternal, conscious punishment, Jesus refers to it as “where ‘the worms that eat them do not die, and the fire is not quenched.’“  This is a direct quote from Isaiah 66, where the prophet describes the view of the fallen Assyrian army (in the Hinnom Valley) “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.“  It is a view of dead bodies on a funeral pyre, full of maggots, being burned to ash.

A problem we’re faced with, in trying to create a systematic or logistical description of hell – gehenna – from these passages is that there is scant information contained therein as to how gehenna operates.

Now, one reasonable question we can ask is “what did the people associate with the word gehenna?”  If Jesus’ audience considered gehenna to be a place for the eternal punishment of the souls of the wicked, we can reasonably assert that he never needed to explain what it was or how it worked.  So what do we know about contemporary views of gehenna?

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 are 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 (a very small number) 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, we can say that it was between 400 BC and 300 AD) is either as a temporal city dump OR as a form of Purgatory.

So – looking at the passages that simply refer to gehenna doesn’t give us a very clear or complete picture of hell.  Where else might we look?

The Rich Man and Lazarus

In Luke 16, we read the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus:

“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.

“The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’

“But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

“He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’

“Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’

“‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’

“He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

So does this give us logistical or systematic information about hell?

  1. First off, this is a parable in a series of teachings that are also parables, so it is highly unlikely that Jesus is conveying a real story about real people, so we cannot definitively say that this is a story meant to convey literal truth.
  2. This story does reference some beliefs from pseudepigraphic books – The Book of Enoch and The Apocalypse of Zephaniah, along with the Rabbinic work, Genesis Rabbah.  In these beliefs, Sheol/Hades has different places, separated by a chasm or a river, where the wicked dead and righteous dead are kept until a day of judgment.  So, the question becomes – did Jesus consider these works authoritative, or was he using them as common Jewish mythologies his audience would have been familiar with?
  3. We know nothing about the rich man or Lazarus’ temporal life, in terms of their orthodox belief, just that the rich man was rich, and that Lazarus was poor and afflicted with sores.  We do not know why the rich man was in Hades and Lazarus in the Bosom of Abraham.
  4. Ultimately, this is a story of ethics, not one trying to teach about the cartography of hell.  While we might make some guesses, we do not know if Jesus was teaching about a literal truth or a literary truth (a story familiar to his listeners).

Sheep and Goats

The next Scriptures often referenced in arguing for a conscious, eternal punishment view of hell comes from Matthew 25, in the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats:

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

So let’s examine this passage:

  1. Once again, we’re dealing with parables, as opposed to literal description, so we cannot assume that this is a literal description of the Judgment.  The purpose of this passage is not to describe the logistics of hell, but to make an ethical point.
  2. Even if it is a description of Judgment, the criteria for separating sheep from goats is the treatment of those in need – the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the unclothed, the sick and the imprisoned.  What separates the sheep from the goats is their works for the poor, not their orthodoxy of belief.  Arguing that this is a literal story, rather than a parable, opens an entire can of worms when trying to explain grace, faith, works, etc.
  3. “Eternal Punishment” – this could encompass annihilationism (being destroyed for eternity) as well as eternal, conscious punishment.  Additionally, the Greek for this phrase (kolasin aionion) translates to “an age of pruning/correction”.  This, too, could support annihilationism, and even the Rabbinic view of gehenna (similar to Purgatory), in addition to eternal, conscious punishment.

The Lake of Fire

One of the most vivid descriptions referenced in talking about hell is the Lake of Fire from Revelation.  In Revelation 20, we read:

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.

This passage has a lot of meaning that could be unpacked. Some of the high points, as they relate to our conversation on hell:

  1. This is from a genre of writing called “apocalyptic literature“, which is highly symbolic and sometimes hyperbolic.  Arguing for symbols in Revelation to be literal is quite difficult, and often inappropriate (leading to all sorts of wild interpretations).
  2. Just from this passage, we have a number of problems of making the “lake of fire” literal.  Not only are the wicked dead (whose names are not in the book of life) thrown into the lake of fire, but “death” and “Hades” are thrown into the lake of fire.  So we have to argue that “death” and “Hades” are figurative, but the “lake of fire” they are thrown into is literal.  Additionally, “death” and “Hades” are ended when their are thrown into the “lake of fire”.  But to argue that the “lake of fire” is eternal, conscious punishment, we must argue that the wicked dead thrown into it are not ended.  So, in essence, we must make a couple illogical steps to support a view of conscious, eternal punishment.
  3. The dead are judged “according to what they had done”, not according to their having the right orthodoxy.  Aside from this, there is no indication of what determines whether or not one’s name is written in the book of life (be it literal or figurative).
  4. The lake of fire is referred to as “the second death”.  This seems to argue more for annihilationism (or the Rabbinic view of gehenna) than for conscious, eternal punishment.
  5. This does indicate that there are those whose names are not found written in the book of life (be it literal or figurative), and that they are thrown into the lake of fire (be it literal or figurative).  This would seem to be a good argument against pluralism or Universal Reconciliation.

What About Paul?

The Apostle Paul, the “Apostle to the Gentiles”, is silent on the issue of hell, and that his few references to the wicked in the world to come reference “destruction” or “death” rather than “punishment”. This would support an annihilationist view moreso than other views of hell. Additionally, one could argue, if hell was conscious, eternal punishment for all but cognizant, believing Christians, Paul would have spent much more time and space in urgently outlining it, explaining it and clarifying the right steps that have to be taken to make sure you avoid it. But that’s not the case.

What to Think

So what should we think?  Probably one of the best articles I’ve read on this subject is by pastor Glen Elliott (written a two or three months before Love Wins became a subject of debate), who posits (like Bell) that we not hold to a pareschatological doctrine as a test of faith or fellowship.  There is enough room for doubt as to the cartography and mechanism of hell, along with the criteria God uses for His righteous judgment, that we ought not demand a specific view from Christian believers, but that this should fall under the auspices of non-essentials.

From examining the Scriptures and the likely cultural understanding of their First Century audience, we can somewhat safely assert that multiple views are possible (with varying degrees of certainty): Annihilationism, eternal conscious punishment, and possibly the inclusion of a purgatory-like state from the Rabbinic view of gehenna.

Even so, pluralism or pure Universal Reconciliation (with the Rabbinic exception, noted above, which would allow for Revelation 20’s view of the book of life and the lake of fire – literal or figurative – to be true) are not supported in Scripture.

Regarding “who’s in and who’s out” – this is ultimately up to God, and we have no business judging whether or not someone who has died is in hell (be it Ghandi, Spurgeon, or Hitler).  The Scriptural support for a strict exclusivist paradigm (where only a small group of individuals who believe the “right” doctrine are “in” and all else are bound for hell) as the only viable model is quite thin.   Most Christians actually hold to some degree of “exclusive inclusivism” – where they believe that there are people (children, the mentally disabled, those who have not had the chance to accept or reject the Gospel) whom Jesus will save in the afterlife who were not fully cognizant Christians in life, but that the criteria for this are up to God.  They often point to Romans 1 for some evidence of this:

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

As Bell notes in Love Wins, the teaching Jesus and his disciples passed on to us is about how we should live, love and believe today, and that we should trust Him to take care of tomorrow.  How we live today determines how the Kingdom of God looks to others today – and thus it is urgent that we live righteous and upright lives, and that we make disciples of all nations.  Not as a form of fire insurance, but as a form of worship of our Creator and for our own salvation, today.  We trust God with our todays, and we can trust Him with our tomorrows, whether we are alive or dead.

Shalom

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This entry was posted on Sunday, March 27th, 2011 at 5:27 pm and is filed under Original Articles, Theology. 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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97 Comments(+Add)

1   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 27th, 2011 at 6:31 pm

I appreaciate the reference work, Chris. I still wonder why those who believe both ways lead very similar lives and behave in much the same way. Except for the variations in both “camps”, you could not identify either’s theology by their lifestyles.

2   eydie    http://www.shebrews.com
March 27th, 2011 at 8:26 pm

reminds me of G. H. Lang, and G. H. Pember studies on hell. both very good finds and Philip Maureo-God’s Pilgrims, all can be found at Schoettle Publishers, thanks for your work on Rob Bell

3   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
March 28th, 2011 at 2:14 pm

Good write.

“When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic.” – Dresden James

4   John Hughes    
March 30th, 2011 at 1:33 pm

All of Jesus’ references to gehenna are made to religious people,

Chris that is simply not true unless you are considering all Jews as “religious people”. For example, Matt.5:28 is from the sermon on the mount which was addressed to a general audience. And for that matter the vast majority of Jesus’ teachings were to the general Jewish population with the exception of the Samaritans and a few Greeks that came calling.

and are made in reference to sinful behavior.None of them are spoken to unbelievers or in reference specifically about unbelievers – and for that matter, none are made in reference to one’s lack of belief or orthodoxy.

Sorry, again, don’t agree. Matt: 10:28 was spoken to the 12 Disciples as was the Mark 9 passage. These are all warnings of the consequences of unbelief made to the men who would be sharing the Gospel after Christ was gone.

5   John Hughes    
March 30th, 2011 at 1:41 pm

All of the references to gehenna can be reasonably viewed as references to the literal location – a burning garbage dump, where bodies are filled with maggots (worms that, to the ancients, appeared to have come from nowhere and do not die – transforming, instead, into flies) are consumed in the flames.
If we look specifically at the passage from Mark, which is the one most often

Totally moot. In cases like this I like to apply “John’s Rule of Replacement” where you simply replace the word with the definition and see how it reads. For example:

Matt 10:28 – “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in genenna the dump outside Jerusalem.

That is nonsensical if taken to to mean the garbage dump.

Mark 10:28 – It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into genenna, the dump outside Jerusalem where “‘the worms that eat them do not die, and the fire is not quenched.’”.”

Again, nonsensical if taken literally. The comparison is between two post-death destinations. If Jesus is taking about going to Heaven vs going to Gehenna then the reference to the earthly Gehenna must be taken for what it is: i.e., a metaphor for the eternal state of being / place reserved outside of Heaven.

6   John Hughes    
March 30th, 2011 at 1:44 pm

“Eternal Punishment” – this could encompass annihilationism (being destroyed for eternity) as well as eternal, conscious punishment.

Agreed. Room for legitimate debate.

7   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
March 30th, 2011 at 1:54 pm

For example, Matt.5:28 is from the sermon on the mount which was addressed to a general audience.

…on a hillside above Capernaum, probably the most fervently religious part of Israel in the first century. These were not pagans, nor were they Herodians or even Sadduccees (who lived on the South short of Galilee and Jerusalem, respectively). When Jesus was teaching the Jewish people, except for when he was in Jerusalem, he was talking to extremely zealous believers. In rural Israel, you weren’t part of the community if you weren’t part of the synagogue there. In Jerusalem, it seems that his primary audience is Pharisee (who were zealously religious) and Sadducee (who were very religious, but also politically corrupt). Only in Jericho (a tax collection town) can you argue that his audience was primarily considered “goats” (because of their participation in Roman civil service), even though the archaeological evidence there suggests religious fervor. Aside from some random Greeks and Samaritans (who were also followers of Torah), Jesus’ audience is almost exclusively religious Jews.

Sorry, again, don’t agree. Matt: 10:28 was spoken to the 12 Disciples as was the Mark 9 passage. These are all warnings of the consequences of unbelief made to the men who would be sharing the Gospel after Christ was gone.

I agree that Matt 10 refers to the disciples not disowning Jesus. This is a far cry from assigning Gentiles/pagans to hell, or assigning anyone (including the disciples) over doctrinal orthodoxy…

And Mark 9 is about leading others to sin (which is to stumble), and sin is based on action/intent, not purity of doctrine (much of which has as much bearing on action as debating the number of angels dancing on the head of a pin).

In both cases, it is dealing with wrong actions (”sin”), not wrong beliefs.

8   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
March 30th, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Heaven generally wouldn’t have been considered a post-death “destination” to the Jewish audience. They generally didn’t imagine bodiless spirits residing somewhere in the ether. Though Jews didn’t deny the existence of spiritual beings such an angels, the goal of human existence wasn’t for us to enter that realm. Humans were made for the earth, so the goal was eternal residence on the earth in a resurrected body.

As far as cutting off hands and gouging out eyes, I don’t believe the whole point of Jesus’ saying has a whole lot to do with hell anyway. I do not expect to see a lot of eyeless and armless people at the resurrection. Jesus was actually poking fun at the Pharisees’ focus on externals at the neglect of the heart issue. He is essentially saying, “if you want to try to prevent yourself from sinning by focusing on these external things, why not go the whole way!” It’s kind of like Paul response to the Judaizers in Galatians regarding circumcision.

As far as the saying about “the one who can who can destroy both soul and body in hell” in Matthew 10, I’d say again, the concept of hell is really tangential to the meaning. Why be afraid of people when they actually have no real power over you? Instead fear God – the One who actually made you and has a legitimate claim on you. It’s kind of like when a parent says something to their kid like, “I brought you into this world, and I can take you out of it”.

9   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
March 30th, 2011 at 2:08 pm

Matt 10:28 – “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in genenna the dump outside Jerusalem.

That is nonsensical if taken to to mean the garbage dump.

Except that desecration of the dead (burning and scattering the corpse) is considered to be a picture of removal from the world to come (which is why the prophets/kings who were righteous crushed and scattered the bones of false prophets to desecrate altars. It is also why bodies were put in a tomb, for the flesh to rot away, and then the bones carefully put into a family ossuary. If your body is thrown into the dump and burned, you are symbolically being removed from the world to come.

Mark 10:28 – It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into genenna, the dump outside Jerusalem where “‘the worms that eat them do not die, and the fire is not quenched.’”.”

Again, nonsensical if taken literally.

Here, this is a “kingdom” teaching, so you have to consider that the kingdom is both here and now, and later. If your body is cast into the dump, you cannot be part of the kingdom. Also, considering that Isaiah was referring to the valley of Hinnom, and the dead bodies of the Assyrian army in the verse Jesus cites about worms and fire, even more credence is given to it being a geographic location (where the dead of the army opposing God was burned and scattered).

If Jesus is taking about going to Heaven vs going to Gehenna then the reference to the earthly Gehenna must be taken for what it is: i.e., a metaphor for the eternal state of being / place reserved outside of Heaven.

1) He’s talking about the Kingdom of God/Heaven, which is not “going to heaven”. The kingdom of heaven is not referred to as an “eternal state of being”, it is something at hand right now. Something real and touchable.
2) Please cite a contemporary work to Jesus which uses Gehenna as a metaphor for an “eternal state of being apart from God”.

10   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 30th, 2011 at 4:14 pm

In Christ = eternal good place

Outside Christ = eternal bad place

The particulars will be known later.

11   John Hughes    
March 30th, 2011 at 6:36 pm

As far as the saying about “the one who can who can destroy both soul and body in hell” in Matthew 10, I’d say again, the concept of hell is really tangential to the meaning. Why be afraid of people when they actually have no real power over you? Instead fear God – the One who actually made you and has a legitimate claim on you.

Interesting take Phil. To my reading the potentiality of Hell is central to the point of why we should fear (have reventeral awe) of God.

Using a slightly modified “John’s Rule of Replacement” for example:

Don’t fear your co-worker who can make your life miserable, instead fear your boss who can fire your butt.

Don’t fear your big brother who can take away your toys, instead fear your mom who can take away your cell phone.

In all three cases the lessor is being juxtaposed against the greater and the ability of God to send both body and soul to hell is very germain to the warning.

the One who actually made you and has a legitimate claim on you

I think that is totally esegesing the passage. God is terrible in splendor, no mortal can look upon Him and live, He is a consuming fire, He is holy and I see a mindset / worldview which creates a love charicature of Him which totally ignores all His other attributes.

Lions appear cuddly, but they are lions. Jesus returns as a lion, not a lamb. The call for reverential awe (fear) is there for a reason.

Jesus is our friend and not our buddy. John whom Jesus loved, who laid on His bosom, fell down in a dead faint when He saw His ascended glory. There is a lesson to be learned here.

12   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 30th, 2011 at 6:50 pm

The lesson is help old ladies across the street and God will receive you. :cool:

13   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
March 30th, 2011 at 7:13 pm

I think that is totally esegesing the passage. God is terrible in splendor, no mortal can look upon Him and live, He is a consuming fire, He is holy and I see a mindset / worldview which creates a love charicature of Him which totally ignores all His other attributes.

First of all, I think you’re misunderstanding what I’m saying. I actually am saying that having some sort of healthy respect and awe is what this passage is saying, but I don’t see how it makes sense to see Jesus making a vague statement about the nature of hell when in the context of this passage. He’s talking to the disciples about how they should live after He’s gone. He’s telling them to be fearless and remember whom they are serving. So while they may be threatened, even unto death, they shouldn’t fear those that can simply kill their mortal bodies, they should have more respect and awe for God since He has the final say about whether they live or die in the age to come.

As far as a caricature, I actually believe you are engaging that a bit here. Love is not simply an attribute of God, it is His essence. The Holy Trinity exists eternally as the ultimate expression and embodiment of love. So every other attribute and characteristic of God flows out from this.

This is not to say, of course, that everything about God is “cuddly”, as you say. This why the Fathers talked about the love of God as a fire. It consumes that which is not lovable. So for people who would rather hold onto their sin, they will experience the love of God as wrath. Trying to get near to God while clinging to my sin is like trying to stand next to a bonfire while holding a can of gasoline – I wouldn’t last very long.

14   John Hughes    
March 30th, 2011 at 7:38 pm

they should have more respect and awe for God since He has the final say about whether they live or die in the age to come.

Thanks for the clarification but that is not what you originally said or at least what I got out of it. :-)

This why the Fathers talked about the love of God as a fire. It consumes that which is not lovable

Again, Phil, I understand and accept that their are differing world views on this issue. That appears to be a purgatorial world view (which I personally reject), but I understand it is accepted by millions. Or it could also be subsumed into the christian universalist world view where all un-God like expressions in an individual are burned away in God’s love leaving the cleansed individual to enter Heaven — to which I also disagree.

So every other attribute and characteristic of God flows out from this [God is love].

I’ll have to think on this one, but right off the top of my head God is also light which is His essence. So there are at least two essences — Love / Light — which do not necessarily flow from each other.

Is holiness an attribute of essence and does it necessarily flow out of love. I would argue not as it is conceivable for a creature to be holy and yet unloving or loving and yet unholy. So I don’t think you can absolutely argue that all of God’s non-essence attributes flow from out of His love.

15   john Hughes    
March 30th, 2011 at 9:04 pm

Except that desecration of the dead (burning and scattering the corpse) is considered to be a picture of removal from the world to come

Exactly – a metaphor.

If your body is thrown into the dump and burned, you are symbolically being removed from the world to come.

And just how many bodies did God throw in that dump outside Jerusalem which would have to be the case for the metaphor to remain true to its own internal consistency?

16   john Hughes    
March 30th, 2011 at 9:13 pm

Here, this is a “kingdom” teaching, so you have to consider that the kingdom is both here and now, and later. If your body is cast into the dump, you cannot be part of the kingdom. Also, considering that Isaiah was referring to the valley of Hinnom, and the dead bodies of the Assyrian army in the verse Jesus cites about worms and fire, even more credence is given to it being a geographic location (where the dead of the army opposing God was burned and scattered).

Chris, metaphors have to have an internal consistency, else they fail to make a meaningful comparison. Here you are suggesting the metaphor on the first part refers to eternity and in the 2nd to a temporal location. That is internally inconsistant. The difference between either an earthly dump site or the grandest earthly palace is infintesimal when compared to Heaven. But I contend this metaphor is internally consistant and is juxtaposing two differening eternal estates. The physical dump is a metaphor for an extra-wordly hell.

17   john Hughes    
March 30th, 2011 at 9:27 pm

The kingdom of heaven is not referred to as an “eternal state of being”, it is something at hand right now.

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. (Luke 11)

The Kingdom of heaven on earth has been inaugerated, but is not yet fully manifested.

1 Cor 15:25 – For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.

Rev 11:15 – Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ” The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.”

18   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
March 30th, 2011 at 10:09 pm

And just how many bodies did God throw in that dump outside Jerusalem which would have to be the case for the metaphor to remain true to its own internal consistency?

It was all of Sennacharib’s army (so a few hundred thousand, if the Assyrian records are accurate) that were killed by God in Hinnom Valley, and referenced in Isaiah 66. So, a LOT of bodies before it even became a dump.

This why the Fathers talked about the love of God as a fire. It consumes that which is not lovable

Actually, this is the Eastern Orthodox view, as well, and it’s been their view for 1500+ years.

Chris, metaphors have to have an internal consistency, else they fail to make a meaningful comparison. Here you are suggesting the metaphor on the first part refers to eternity and in the 2nd to a temporal location.

What are you talking about? I’m saying they are both referring to temporal things. The first part of the metaphor is referring to the Kingdom of God/Heaven (which, in Jesus teaching exists here, today, not something that happens someday after you die), and the second part of the metaphor is temporal (cutting off your hand and tossing it in the dump vs. your whole body there). Totally internally consistent.

The Kingdom of heaven on earth has been inaugerated, but is not yet fully manifested.

The kingdom came to earth when Jesus arrived. It already exists, imperfectly, and will be here in perfection when Jesus returns.

19   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 31st, 2011 at 2:08 am

“It already exists, imperfectly”

Because it exists in the Person of the Holy Spirit Who is imperfectly manifested through believers, and the word “imperfectly” is profoundly understated.

20   Louis Eugene Carabini    http://monex.to/wiki/Louis_Carabini
March 31st, 2011 at 4:33 am

The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books..The sea gave up the dead that were in it and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them and each person was.judged according to what he had done. If anyones name was not found written in the book of life he was thrown into the lake of fire.. .. Then he will say to those on his left Depart from me you who are cursed into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels…..Then they will go away to eternal punishment but the righteous to eternal life. . …Hell is a place of eternal conscious suffering that serves as punishment for sinners..Everyone deserves to go to hell for their sins the only way we can be saved from it is.by accepting Gods forgiveness as provided through Christs sacrificial death.

21   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 31st, 2011 at 6:22 am

Unless we can have someone come back from “hell” and give us an eyewitness account we must defer to the only parabolic account spoken by Jesus. In that narrative the man is in torture and begs someone to warn his brothers so they might avoid his plight.

To say that is based upon an earthly hell/situation is disingenuous and severly manipulates the point of the story. Without all the guess work as to what the 1st century Jews thought, it is clear that Jesus warned us about an eternal place separated from God and significantly uncomfortable.

To say otherwise reveals a level of doctrinal partisanship. Give a newly saved man without any Biblical knowledge or theological persuasion (like I was) and put him on an island with a Bible and he will come to the conclusion that Jesus taught about an eternal place of torment.

I read the Bible for almost two years after I was saved without outside influence and it was clear to me. It still is.

22   John Hughes    
March 31st, 2011 at 8:43 am

Chris,

So, a LOT of bodies before it even became a dump.

What are you talking about? I’m saying they are both referring to temporal things.

But how does that relate to the people alive when He spoke? How does it relate to us now? It speaks as a metaphor for places (i.e., Heaven and Hell) on a different plane of existence.

You (and I think Phil) have obviously bought into this particular World View of the Kingdom of God as noted above. We all, of course, filter Scripture through a particular world view.

I just find it shocking that your particular Kingdom world view allows you to interpret that passage as refering to temporal conditiions.

Of course God is King and of course He has a Kingdom, but it has not yet been fully realized on earth AND IT WILL NOT BE UNTIL CHRIST RETURNS IN PERSON. Else Paul erred when he states that human behavior will go from bad to worse as history progresses until the Lord’s return. (2 Tim 3:13, Mat 24:12, etc.).

Further Paul states our citizenship is in heaven from which we eagerly await our Savior, and the writer of Hebrews states:

Heb 11:13-16 – All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.

We are aliens and strangers in –this– world

1 Peter 2:11 – Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.

In balance there is no admonition to become “bunker christians” but just the opposite — to be ambassadors for Christ. But this earth and its kingdoms are temporal, soon to pass away. The Kingdom of God is present on earth, but its subjects are aliens in enemy territority. God’s Kingdom will not be complete on earth until the Lord returns physically and His will, will finally be done on earth as it is in Heaven.

23   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 31st, 2011 at 8:47 am

It is wrong to dismiss or downplay earthly manifestations of believers because eternity looms.

It is wrong to dismiss or downplay eternity because earthly manifestations have become paramount.

There are extremes on both sides, and both sides see the other as extreme.

24   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
March 31st, 2011 at 9:30 am

I read the Bible for almost two years after I was saved without outside influence and it was clear to me. It still is.

Wow. What a wacky standard of proof. When the Bible supports different interpretations, appeal to personal experience.

You cannot claim to have been w/o outside influence, because society in general understands the basic American church’s Protestant interpretation of hell – you already had that programmed into you before you even cracked a Bible open.

Unless we can have someone come back from “hell” and give us an eyewitness account we must defer to the only parabolic account spoken by Jesus.

Actually, that’s not even about hell – it is about Hades/Sheol (the grave), which is pre-judgment. So, no, we must still treat it as parabolic, rather than insist it fit our preconceived model. This is particularly so, since it is consistent with their existing mythology about Hades, a segregated part of the grave where the wicked awaited final judgment. You step onto a slippery slope if you want to insist that their intertestemental mythology is the “true” model, because there are a lot of other parts of that mythology you will want to reject (apart from that as Hades and the Bosom of Abraham as subsets of Sheol).

We cannot infer anything about the post-judgment state from this.

But how does that relate to the people alive when He spoke? How does it relate to us now? It speaks as a metaphor for places (i.e., Heaven and Hell) on a different plane of existence.

First off, you are mistaking “Kingdom of Heaven” to be a place or a plane of existence. This was never so. “Kingdom of Heaven” and “Kingdom of God” are synonymous. Matthew, as the gospel to Jewish Christians in Israel, primarily uses “Kingdom of Heaven”, because the orthodox Jews substituted “Heaven” for “God” out of reverence and obedience of the third commandment to not take His name in vain. You can see this by comparing it to the other synoptics. Mark and Luke almost exclusively use “Kingdom of God”. (See Matthew 19:23-24 for an example of where Jesus uses these interchangeably).

The Kingdom of God/Heaven exists here and today wherever/whenever God’s people are living in harmony with His will. No, it is not perfect (and no, Rick, it is not limited to the Person of the Holy Spirit). And it would be better for your to be a part of the kingdom, today, by having your hand cut off (if it causes you to sin), than to have your whole body cut off from the kingdom.

but it has not yet been fully realized on earth

True, but we are to desire for it to be here, today, as much as possible.

your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

The kingdom is not some place we go to someday when we die. It is something we are to be a part of today, and to expand today, through the bride of Christ, the church. No, it is not perfect, by any means, but it is to be a light in the darkness and a taste of what the fullness of the kingdom will be like. Where the last are made first, where talents are not squandered, where forgiveness is openly practiced, etc. Jesus describes for us what it should be like, today, and what it will be like in perfection.

We are aliens and strangers in –this– world

In the end, heaven comes down to this world and they become one. That is the picture in Revelation. We are not evacuated to another place or plane of existence. This world is renewed, as it was before the fall.

In some ways, I think we’re saying the same thing about the kingdom, but I think your misperception comes to play when you assume that Jesus is only addressing an eternal/ethereal kingdom when he contrasts living without your hand/eye/foot vs. living completely consumed in sin.

25   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 31st, 2011 at 9:31 am

Be careful, Chris. My comment was ek cathedra. :cool:

26   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
March 31st, 2011 at 9:47 am

You (and I think Phil) have obviously bought into this particular World View of the Kingdom of God as noted above. We all, of course, filter Scripture through a particular world view.

It’s not really a question of what our particular worldview is, John. You are almost making sound like you’re saying “well that’s OK if you see these Scriptures this way – that fits into your perspective.” I see that as a form of relativism. I actually believe that the authors of Scripture intended a meaning that through the correct exegesis we can interpret. Now I’m not educated in the original languages, so I’m beholden to a big extent to those that are, so when in my studies when I find the same people saying similar things about the same passages, I start to believe them.

The “worldview” that matters most when interpreting these passages is that of the original audience. Based on what we know about Jewish culture at that time, it’s a stretch to think that the Jewish Christians imagined that they were going to some sort of heaven outside the realms of space and time. All of the OT prophecies plant show their fulfillment in a very “earthy” way. The Jews weren’t dualists who thought that their redemption awaited them in some spiritual realm after they died. The Jewish hope, and indeed the Christian hope was a restored creation, and a renewed earth which we would partake in as renewed and restored physical people. That is why Paul speaks of Jesus’ resurrection as the “firstfruits”. The resurrection that Jesus underwent is a model for what will happen to us.

When Paul says our citizenship is in heaven, he is not saying that is where our final dwelling place wil be. Philippi was home of many retired Roman soldiers who had been given tracts of land as sort of pensions. So it wasn’t that they really they were really supposed to be living in Rome and just hanging out in Philippi temporarily. They were de facto representatives of the power and reach of the Roman empire. So as citizens of heaven who are on earth, we are representing the ideals of the Kingdom, not the ideals of the worldly system around us. We should, in fact, be acting as signposts of what is going to happen in the earth. When the world see the Church of Christ, it should be looking at an example of the renewed Creation. We are pointing to the redemption and restoration that the earth is crying out for.

27   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
March 31st, 2011 at 11:14 am

Hell is a place of eternal conscious suffering that serves as punishment for sinners.

Louis – that is what we’re discussing here, but your assertion needs to be backed up with contextually quoted Scripture – not mashups of Scripture… The ones you’ve quoted were discussed in the original article, above, but you’ve not suggested how they would not also support annihilationism.

28   John Hughes    
March 31st, 2011 at 1:24 pm

Chris we are saying a lot of the same things about the Kingdom of God and I fully agree that Christians are members of that Kingdom here and now, else we would not be aliens and strangers to those around us, nor could we be ambassadors to a country we don’t belong. However, I cannot minimize the understanding that we are to be seeking the heavenly city as this earth and the things in it will pass away.

I clarify that my believe is not an ethereal existence. I think that Heaven is, however, on a different plane of existence than our own, though a real “Place” governed by whatever physics God has designed for it to operate within. I do know our own bodies will be transformed into something of which we at present have no ability to conceive (like a child viewing an acorn unaware it becomes a towering oak tree).

We will be spending eternity in the New Jerusalem as part of both a new heaven and a new earth, both of which are destined to pass away, and as you say become one.

Kingdom’s are by definition bound by geography or sphere of dominion. King of the Earth, King of the Sea, King of Comedy, King of the Gypsies. One can also be a king without a kingdom. So I think geography (whoever one defines it) is relevant.

For the Kingdom of God there is both a present

Matt 10:7 – “And as you go, preach, saying, ‘ The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’

Matthew 12:28 – But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you.

and future sense:

Matthew 8:11 – “I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven;

Matthew 25:34 “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

Matthew 26:29 “But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”

John 18:36 Jesus answered, ” My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”

2 Timothy 4:18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

With a preponderance on the future revelation. Again, in the whole counsel of Scripture the emphasis seems to be that we are but “passing through” on our way.

29   John Hughes    
March 31st, 2011 at 1:28 pm

The kingdom is not some place we go to someday when we die. It is something we are to be a part of today, and to expand today, through the bride of Christ, the church.

So I would say it is both. Here and now we are under the sphere of Christ’s rule, i.e., citizens of Heaven although now exiles. Someday we will be taken home to the place that Christ is preparing for us, which is to my understanding the New Jersualem in the new heaven and new earth.

And to your point, I agree there is much to do on the Way as ambassadors for Christ to advance God’s kingdom.

30   John Hughes    
March 31st, 2011 at 1:34 pm

Also, to clarify I do not think ones view of escatology is germain to the status of one’s salvation and have in nowise been defending that position.

31   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
March 31st, 2011 at 1:55 pm

So I would say it is both.

I agree with this.

New Jersualem

The New Jerusalem, as referenced in Rev 21, is the bride of Christ. It is not a literal city.

One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.

Notice… it’s coming downout of heaven. Christ will reign on this earth.

They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the LORD
as the waters cover the sea.

32   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
March 31st, 2011 at 2:26 pm

Someday we will be taken home to the place that Christ is preparing for us, which is to my understanding the New Jersualem in the new heaven and new earth.

We won’t be taken home in that sense. When Christ comes, the earth will be restored and renewed back to its original intent. Humans have always been made for the earth and vice versa.

The “prepare a place for you” language refers to the Jewish marriage customs where a groom would literally go prepare a place where the marriage could be consummated. The place that was prepared wasn’t a permanent house, but a place that facilitated the wedding itself. Perhaps the place that Jesus was actually talking about was the cross itself. When Jesus died, the veil was torn, and heaven started invading earth.

As far as the “New Jerusalem” language, I don’t think the point is that there will actually be a city called “New Jerusalem” with gold streets and so forth. Jerusalem was where the temple was – it was where the Jews would go to meet God. Now the temple is obsolete, and when the Kingdom is fully present, the glory of the Lord will fill the whole earth. The whole world will essentially be like Jerusalem because the presence of God will permeate everything.

33   Louis Carabini    http://monex.to/wiki/Louis_Carabini
April 1st, 2011 at 1:24 am

Harrell……If..a believer was a Scottish man that wears a kilt and that kilt was..considered as womans clothing by others regardless whether the..accusation concern was truly the case or not that man should cease..from wearing the kilt. See 1 Corinthians 8 9 13 ……Do..things in such a way that everyone can..see you are honorable…Do your part to live in peace with everyone as much as..possible.

34   Rick Frueh    
April 1st, 2011 at 7:01 am

I do not subscribe to literal gold or silver or Oysetr spittle (pearls). I do hold to disembodied spirits that now have a spiritual body that perhaps is significantly dissimilar in appearance from our earth suits, which are without gender, age, and everything we associate with these fleshly temples.

All the references and descriptions about the coming eternity are given in language we can understand but in reality we cannot understand. We can embrace the limited metaphors but the wonder of the coming reality is infinitely beyond us.

I consider the metaphorical descriptions and doctrinal nomenclature designed to “wet or appetite” but cannot and should not be used in a Mormon kind of “heaven”. The term “new earth” may mean a new dwelling place rather than a new and improved earth. If the term “New Jerusalem” should not be taken literally, then why must the term “earth” be literal?

I find it all surreal and etheral and beyond comprehension in this present state. But we can and should “wet our beak” in the prospect of the infinite wonders that are laid up for us.

35   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
April 1st, 2011 at 8:52 am

If the term “New Jerusalem” should not be taken literally, then why must the term “earth” be literal?

It appears that Christ will one day rule from this earth, from Jerusalem itself. Jesus says, “It is the city of the Great King” referring to Himself (Matt 5).

He will inherit and rule the throne of His father David for all eternity. Of course, the scope is well beyond what we imagine.

But the New Jerusalem in Rev 21 is clearly defined for us to be the “bride”. There’s not a lot of guesswork.

The curse will be lifted off of this earth. Not some other realm. The creation is waiting for the revealing (appearing) of the sons of God (resurrection).

36   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
April 1st, 2011 at 9:32 am

I consider the metaphorical descriptions and doctrinal nomenclature designed to “wet or appetite” but cannot and should not be used in a Mormon kind of “heaven”. The term “new earth” may mean a new dwelling place rather than a new and improved earth. If the term “New Jerusalem” should not be taken literally, then why must the term “earth” be literal?

You’re making it sound as if the Book of Revelation just exists apart from any other literature describing the Jewish belief surrounding the end of the age. When you compare what is written in Revelation to other apocolyptic writings, there are similarities. The idea that heaven and earth will be renewed is something that flows throughout both the Old and New Testaments. So what John is writing about in Revelation isn’t something entirely new.

All I’m saying regarding the term “New Jerusalem” is that there will no longer be any need for a “holy city” in the New Creation, since all of creation will effectively be holy. The presence of God will fill the entire earth.

I don’t really view the renewal of creation as a bonus or tangential doctrine to the Christian faith. It’s historically been something that has always been part of the faith. The reason the phrase “I believe in the resurrection of the body” is in the Apostle’s Creed is to make clear that we are being resurrected into a phyical world, not simply a spiritual one.

37   Neil    
April 1st, 2011 at 9:47 am

All the references and descriptions about the coming eternity are given in language we can understand but in reality we cannot understand. We can embrace the limited metaphors but the wonder of the coming reality is infinitely beyond us.

n. t. wright would add to this that we also have the resurrected christ as a “model.”

38   Neil    
April 1st, 2011 at 9:50 am

I don’t really view the renewal of creation as a bonus or tangential doctrine to the Christian faith.

the renewal and role of creation in the future is as significant as it was in the past. and in the beginning god created… so i would say it’s pretty darned significant.

39   Neil    
April 1st, 2011 at 9:51 am

He will inherit and rule the throne of His father David for all eternity.

“will” or “has”?

40   Rick Frueh    
April 1st, 2011 at 10:02 am

“describing the Jewish belief”

Irrelevant. The Jews believed a whole host of things that were untrue, including denying the Messiah. They also did not have the Holy Spirit so even my own interpretation is more divinely guided thatn that of those who know not Christ.

The Bride is predominatly Gentile, but it is the Spirit which give illumination.

41   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
April 1st, 2011 at 10:13 am

Irrelevant. The Jews believed a whole host of things that were untrue, including denying the Messiah. They also did not have the Holy Spirit so even my own interpretation is more divinely guided thatn that of those who know not Christ.

It’s hardly irrelevant given the fact that the entire New Testament was written by Jews and Jesus was Jewish.

Jesus certainly corrected the Jews where they had things wrong, but He didn’t tell them to abandon their entire worldview. In fact He affirmed many things about it.

42   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
April 1st, 2011 at 10:16 am

Rick, what in particular are you holding in dispute? Is it that the earth will be renewed as opposed to us going off to some place (heaven)? Or is it regarding the New Jerusalem concept?

43   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
April 1st, 2011 at 10:18 am

“will” or “has”?

He will return to reign physically. That’s what I mean. He will physically rule eternally from Jerusalem as per Matt 5.

44   Rick Frueh    
April 1st, 2011 at 10:33 am

#42 – Both. Jesus never affirmed the Jews views on many things, and in fact he chided them regularly for their tradition laden perspectives. Without the Spirit no one can understand the New Testament, and the interpretations of the early non-believing Jews are certainly no guidelines for us.

Even the disciples were perplexed by the words of jesus and His divine mission until after Penecost, and then disciples like James and Peter were still held prisoner by some traditions.

45   Rick Frueh    
April 1st, 2011 at 10:39 am

““So that means if I’m a Christian, I have to consign all Buddhists to hell?…..Is God like that? Is that the kind of God Jesus talked about? That view has a lot of answering to do. It has a lot of answering to do.”

Rob Bell (interview)

Now some will dance around those words and say that the whole thing is God’s business, and yes it is. But the overt implication is clear. Buddhists can go to heaven. Only someone who is a facts blind apologist for Bell, or who has his own interpretation of the English language, would suggest otherwise.

46   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
April 1st, 2011 at 10:42 am

Without the Spirit no one can understand the New Testament, and the interpretations of the early non-believing Jews are certainly no guidelines for us.

The Holy Spirit has never taught me to read Greek, or He has never taught me much about history for that matter. If the Holy Spirit can reveal truth over and above written Scripture, than why even say Scripture is authoritative? It’s almost as you’re saying the Holy Spirit is revealing meaning in the text disregarding what the original authors may have intended. I would even grant that the Holy Spirit can reveal truth beyond the author’s comprehension, but I won’t go as far to say that original meaning is unattainable.

47   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
April 1st, 2011 at 10:45 am

Now some will dance around those words and say that the whole thing is God’s business, and yes it is. But the overt implication is clear.

No, the only implication is that God’s business is God’s business, and it should end at that. Anything else on our part is speculation. You are the one making an inference here.

48   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
April 1st, 2011 at 10:55 am

#44: Rick, I would agree that things like the Talmud hold very, very little weight indeed. But the OT is not invalid.

The funny thing is that Christ actually affirms the OT numerous times. Paul talks about its validity in Romans 15. He tells Timothy to study.

So, while I throw out the mythical and fable aspects (what Paul warns Timothy and Titus about), we are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ as the chief cornerstone. There’s consistency.

The common theme of the OT and NT is that the curse will be lifted with the coming of the Lord Jesus again. He will physically reign from Jerusalem.

49   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
April 1st, 2011 at 11:00 am

#45: I agree. Clearly a false teacher.

I wonder if he’s still using Gandhi, the “Great Soul”, after this new book was released: The Gandhi Nobody Knows

He probably should have done his own research first.

50   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
April 1st, 2011 at 11:18 am

The whole Ghandi thing really has very little to actually do with Bell’s book. The ancedote he tells really is about the mindset of the person who put the sticky note on the painting more than Ghandi himself. He actually doesn’t even mention anything about Ghandi other than his name.

The fact is that none of us knows definitively what happened or what will happen to Ghandi or anyone for that matter. It’s not our call to make. Why does that seem to bother us so much?

51   Rick Frueh    
April 1st, 2011 at 11:19 am

I just provide the evidence with every confidence that not only will no one’s mind be changed, but there will be creative linguistic choreographies designed to manipulate the obvious meanings. This is what happens when you are imprisoned by an unalterable defense for any man.

52   Rick Frueh    
April 1st, 2011 at 11:20 am

“The ancedote he tells really is about the mindset of the person who put the sticky note on the painting more than Ghandi himself. He actually doesn’t even mention anything about Ghandi other than his name.”

Voila.

53   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
April 1st, 2011 at 11:21 am

By the way, like I mentioned earlier, if this is the criteria by which you’re judging Bell a false teacher, to be consistent, you’re judging a boatload of other Christian pastors to be false teachers. Even my grandpa who is an old-time Pentecostal pastor who believes in a very hot hell says that he is no position to judge where anyone is after death.

54   Rick Frueh    
April 1st, 2011 at 11:26 am

” Even my grandpa who is an old-time Pentecostal pastor who believes in a very hot hell says that he is no position to judge where anyone is after death.”

Point missed again. Bell is openly implying that Buddhists (see quote) may go to heaven. He isn’t just saying that only God knows. Even when questioned in the abstract, without a specific person in mind, can an unbeliever dies in his sins and be with Christ for eternity.

No dancing allowed. :cool:

55   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
April 1st, 2011 at 11:27 am

Bell is openly implying that Buddhists (see quote) may go to heaven.

Uh, no he’s not… you’re inferring that. There is a difference.

56   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
April 1st, 2011 at 11:28 am

Phil, it is extremely common for Gandhi to be held up as the “Great Soul”, especially in the West, as almost beyond critique. Martin Luther King loved his approach and mimicked his strategy. He’s like Mother Theresa… hands off.

Bell didn’t just pick Gandhi abritrarily. He chose him because it causes all of us to pause. “Gandhi? I don’t want to go there… No problem with Hitler, but Gandhi?”

Bell ran a PR commercial that has ended up backfiring in many, many ways… despite his dancing around.

We should also ask: did Bell just create a strawman? Some fool posts a sticky note and he runs with it, using it as a platform to re-invent the gospel to a degree (not the hell part, but universalism).

57   Rick Frueh    
April 1st, 2011 at 11:32 am

#55 – See. Bell could not possibly mean that because, well, just because. Really? Really?

58   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
April 1st, 2011 at 11:37 am

Bell didn’t just pick Gandhi abritrarily. He chose him because it causes all of us to pause. “Gandhi? I don’t want to go there… No problem with Hitler, but Gandhi?”

Yeah, and why does it cause us to pause? That’s the whole point isn’t it? He just pointing out some wholes in our systematic theologies. Apparently, that ticks a lot of people off.

We should also ask: did Bell just create a strawman? Some fool posts a sticky note and he runs with it, using it as a platform to re-invent the gospel to a degree (not the hell part, but universalism).

How is it a strawman. A strawman is making a caricature of your opponents position. I have seen the type of behavior from Christians that Bell describes my whole life. When I was in Campus Crusade I remember Mother Theresa regularly being used as an example of someone who lived a good life but was likely hellbound.

59   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
April 1st, 2011 at 11:39 am

#55 – See. Bell could not possibly mean that because, well, just because. Really? Really?

Really. It’s reading comprehension.

Bell is making a statement of whether or not Christians must consign Buddhists to Hell. He isn’t offering any opinion on whether he thinks they’re there or not. You are inferring that. At least be honest about it.

60   Rick Frueh    
April 1st, 2011 at 11:40 am

Mother Theresa was a good example especially if you admit that only God knows. But when a person subscibes to a gospel of good works and letting Hindus without Christ die without the gospel, well then you can draw some conclusions that may or may not be correct.

61   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
April 1st, 2011 at 11:44 am

Here is the entirety of the mention of Ghandi in the book:

“Several years ago we had an art show at our church. I had been giving a series of teachings on peacemaking, and we invite artists to display their paintings, poems, and sculptures that reflected their understanding of what it means to be a peacemaker. One woman included in her work a quote from Mahatma Ghandi, which a number of people found quite compelling.

But not everyone.

Someone attached a piece of paper to it.
On the piece of paper was written: “Reality check: He’s in hell.”

Really?
Ghandi’s in hell?
He is?
We have confirmation of this?
Somebody knows this?
Without a doubt?
And somebody decided to take on the responsibility of letting the rest of us know?” (p.1 – 2)

That’s it. No claim that Ghandi is in heaven. No claim that Ghandi is in hell. Basically saying that it is up to God and we should not speculate, because the afterlife is all God’s to decide. And yes, it was all about the note-writer and not about Ghandi, at all.

62   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
April 1st, 2011 at 11:47 am

Bell is openly implying that Buddhists (see quote) may go to heaven.

No, he’s not. He’s saying that it’s all up to God, not us, and that we’ve got no business speculating who’s “in” and who’s “out”.

And as for all the “Great Soul” crap, I’ve got no clue for what you’re talking about. And he chose Ghandi, because it was the Ghandi quote in the artwork that received the post-it note…

63   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
April 1st, 2011 at 11:51 am

But when a person subscibes to a gospel of good works and letting Hindus without Christ die without the gospel, well then you can draw some conclusions that may or may not be correct.

1) I didn’t realize she “subscibes (sic) to a gospel of good works”
2) I didn’t realize she was just “letting Hindus without Christ die without the gospel”. As I observed, she was living out the gospel, as we all should do, giving the good news flesh and blood.
3) “well then you can draw some conclusions that may or may not be correct.” No need to draw any conclusions at all. That’s up to God.

64   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
April 1st, 2011 at 12:01 pm

FYI – I edited the posts after #33 to correct post-number references, as #33 was in the spam folder. Yes it is a somewhat incoherent comment, but it was not actually spam…

65   Rick Frueh    
April 1st, 2011 at 12:56 pm

So then faith cometh by good hearing good works, and hearing by the word of God good works. The lengths that you will go to defend some people is breathtaking. Simply breathtaking.

66   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
April 1st, 2011 at 1:51 pm

Wow… talk about out-of-context application!

Actual quotation, dealing with the acceptance of the Gospel by the Jewish people…

“But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. But I ask: Did they not hear? Of course they did: “Their voice has gone out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.”

Now, since your beef with Mother Teresa seems to be that she wasn’t an evangelist:

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of languages. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in different languages? Do all interpret?

Evangelism was not Mother Teresa’s calling – healing and service were her calling. Bitching that she didn’t do what God may not have created her to do does far more disservice to you than anyone else. Perhaps it’s best to worry about your own calling, rather than grousing that another Christian didn’t “do it right” in your reckoning.

67   Rick Frueh    
April 1st, 2011 at 3:34 pm

“grousing that another Christian didn’t “do it right” in your reckoning.”

Everyone is “called” to share Jesus Christ as well as service. Not only did she not do that, she forbid her workers to. Why? Because she feels good Hindus go to heaven. If that is your theology so be it. We know it now. A lot of that seems to be going around.

If you feel not all believers should share Jesus with lost people then step up and say so. At least then your view would be known.

68   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
April 1st, 2011 at 3:45 pm

What is surprising to me is the lenghts some will go (like Phil) to defend someone’s philosophy even when it is toilet-paper thin.

Rob Bell could say the most ridiculous thing and some of us would be apologetically pleading, “No he didn’t say that outright. He just asked the question – he never took a position. You’re not getting the full understanding of what he’s saying. Read the book!!”

Sad.

69   Rick Frueh    
April 1st, 2011 at 3:49 pm

““If in coming face to face with God we accept Him in our lives, then we … become a better Hindu, a better Muslim, a better Catholic, a better whatever we are … What God is in your mind you must accept.”

Mother Teresa

Chris L. defends Mother Teresa just because I said something. He, like others,have no impartiality and refuse to agree even if it means embracing a false theology.

or

He agrees with Mother Teresa. I am sure we will not know for sure.

70   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
April 1st, 2011 at 4:07 pm

Well, Paul, what I find sad and surprising is the lengths that some people will go to to put words into Bell’s (and other author’s mouths, for that matter) mouths simply to convict of them of something. Why the vendetta against people? If it were someone you were close to I’d expect that you would ask them a question rather than assuming their guilt. Being that none of here really have the ability to directly ask Bell as question, it requires a bit more charity and grace on our parts.

If you want to call Bell a false teacher on paper thin or no evidence, that’s fine. I for one consider him a brother in Christ and am glad for his ministry.

71   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
April 1st, 2011 at 4:16 pm

Chris L. defends Mother Teresa just because I said something. He, like others,have no impartiality and refuse to agree even if it means embracing a false theology.

or

He agrees with Mother Teresa. I am sure we will not know for sure.

Whether or not Chris agrees with every theology Mother Theresa held isn’t the question. He’s not Catholic, so I assume he would have disagreed with her on a number of points.

What Chris was talking about was the judgment of whether or not she was a Christian or not. You are the one jumping on this particular issue. And Chris is right, we are not called to judge someone else’s servant.

But it’s so freakin’ fun!

72   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
April 1st, 2011 at 4:27 pm

Phil. It does no good, while Bell is being bashed, to over-compensate (under the guise of charity). Remember, you have a clear bias here, just as his detractors seem to have. Acknowledge this and be done with it.

I for one consider him a brother in Christ and am glad for his ministry.

No surprises there. You’re a fan.

73   Rick Frueh    
April 1st, 2011 at 4:28 pm

I never said she was not a Christian, and in fact I said only God knows. But like all of us we draw some conclusions that may or may not be correct. Those are my words.

But Chris seemed to claim that only evangelists should share jesus. Anyone else can just do good works. BTW – Judgment is a two way street. I suggest MT’s expression of the gospel was wanting (judgment) while Chris suggests it was not. (judgment)

Not fun for me, maybe for you.

74   Rick Frueh    
April 1st, 2011 at 4:30 pm

” He’s not Catholic, so I assume he would have disagreed with her on a number of points.” Talk about your understatement, unless there are just a “number of points” with which Chris disagrees with concerning the RCC. You guys are so predictable.

75   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
April 1st, 2011 at 4:32 pm

Chris L. defends Mother Teresa just because I said something. He, like others,have no impartiality and refuse to agree even if it means embracing a false theology.

or

He agrees with Mother Teresa. I am sure we will not know for sure.

OR

Mother Teresa was a known Christian, working with the poor. Her actions spoke to who she believed in. That she was not an evangelist (which did give her access to work with people she would not have otherwise had access to) is not troubling to me, because I don’t think she was called to be one – and there are many on that continent (including relatives and friends of mind) who *are* evangelists, and follow that calling.

Does this mean that I agree with MT’s theology (Catholicism), or every belief she held? Not by any means. Even so, I will pay her enough respect, due to her reputation for serving the poor, that I won’t take every occasion her name is brought up to bitch that she didn’t evangelize and that she was Catholic (and, therefore supposedly believes in a doctrine of good works.) I would say that in this case, at least, I am trying to choose a more charitable view.

Rob Bell could say the most ridiculous thing and some of us would be apologetically pleading, “No he didn’t say that outright. He just asked the question – he never took a position. You’re not getting the full understanding of what he’s saying. Read the book!!”

I’ve disagreed with him many times in the past, in context. The problem is that far too many Christians mistake “being a Berean” with “being an Bidet” (or, more often, the object served by it).

As with Mother Teresa, I’m willing to give most folks a charitable view on first read/understanding.

Part of Bell’s problem is that his personality is not of a modernist rhetorician (the most common model of 20th century preacher), but a pre-modern artist. The church has a history of excommunicating and/or executing its intellectuals and artists, because they choose not to “toe the line”, they ask pesky questions, they don’t settle for pat answers, and the communicate truth in more concrete and less abstract ways. Thus, it will always be easier to attack them, because they don’t regurgitate the party line (which makes it easy to take them out of context), they say things in unfamiliar ways (which makes it easy to charge them with heresy), they point out glaring flaws in the common thinking that misunderstands interpretation for truth (just ask Galileo), and they don’t follow most preaching which “tickles the ears” of its parishioners by telling them the things they already know and allowing them to have comfort that they believe all the right things and have little responsibility to live radically differently.

So, in the case of Bell, Francis Chan, Shane Claiborne, Peter Rollins, Erwin McManus, Louie Giglio and some other intellectual/artistic thinkers, I’m willing to give them wider latitude in the way they present truth, because it is their method which opens them to accusation, and the (often needed) challenge in their message that drives their critics nuts. And in the case of Love Wins, it is the profit motive of the modern church (being able to drum up business as fire insurance salesmen who scare the hell out of their customers (literally)) that is most threatened by holding epistemic humility in one’s pareschatology. Could have he been more clear? Probably. Would it have made his point as effectively? Probably not.

It’s too bad Piper, Frueh, Taylor, DeYoung and Carrington can’t just heed the advice of Gamaliel, instead of sharpening their (rhetorical) knives and wearing out their faithless knuckles with all of their hand-wringing.

76   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
April 1st, 2011 at 4:32 pm

Remember, you have a clear bias here, just as his detractors seem to have. Acknowledge this and be done with it.

My bias doesn’t prevent me from understanding English or comprehending someone is saying or isn’t saying. If someone actually posted something saying what they say Bell is saying, that would be one thing, but you’re simply hearing what you want to hear. We are the ones who have read the book. You are the ones making charges with little or no evidence.

So, sorry, if being truthful is “bias”, I guess I’m biased.

77   Rick Frueh    
April 1st, 2011 at 4:35 pm

” instead of sharpening their (rhetorical) knives and wearing out their faithless knuckles with all of their hand-wringing.”

I do like that phraseology! But to be clear, no hand wringing, just an opinion that might sting others. :)

78   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
April 1st, 2011 at 4:37 pm

But to be clear, no hand wringing, just an opinion that might sting others.

Well at least your being honest that you’re only dealing in opinion, and not fact…

79   Rick Frueh    
April 1st, 2011 at 4:40 pm

Rick’s Theology

You can feed all the hungry children of the world, heal all the sick people in the world, and live your life in extreme poverty and sacrifice, but that does not gain you one atomic particle of favor with God as redemption is concerned. Only the blood, my brothers, only the blood.

In fact, if you trust in works than grace has priftted you NOTHING. (my idol Paul’s words! :) )

80   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
April 1st, 2011 at 4:40 pm

” He’s not Catholic, so I assume he would have disagreed with her on a number of points.” Talk about your understatement, unless there are just a “number of points” with which Chris disagrees with concerning the RCC. You guys are so predictable.

Not sure how to read this… I can come up with a long list of disagreements with RCC teaching and practice. Even so, I wouldn’t suggest they are not Christians. And I would say the same thing for the Eastern Orthodox church (which is such a minority in the US that most Protestants couldn’t tell you a thing about them, but would probably be crapping bricks if they could.)

81   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
April 1st, 2011 at 4:40 pm

I have no problem with people interacting with a book in a critical way based on the facts of the book. Ben Witherington III gave Love Wins a somewhat more critical review, but he also did a thorough review of each chapter on his blog. He was very careful to interact with what Bell said, and not simply attack him for what he didn’t say. That, to me, is an example of how to be critical of something. You don’t just simply say, “this sounds like heresy” and then start looking for vague statements to back up your charge.

82   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
April 1st, 2011 at 4:44 pm

You can feed all the hungry children of the world, heal all the sick people in the world, and live your life in extreme poverty and sacrifice, but that does not gain you one atomic particle of favor with God as redemption is concerned. Only the blood, my brothers, only the blood.

I didn’t realize Mother Teresa believed her good works were a ticket to heaven and that she had no faith in God…

If only Luther had been successful at removing James from the canon, arguing for an orthodoxy of mental assent would be so much easier.

83   Rick Frueh    
April 1st, 2011 at 4:45 pm

You guys should get over the criticism of Bell. Wow. Who cares, are you going to change anyone’s minds? I like CG Finney but there are many sites that say he isn’t even saved and is the cause for Warren and Osteen, etc..

I cannot put into words how little I care because it is doctrinal string theory to me. So little it is only theoretical!

84   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
April 1st, 2011 at 4:49 pm

I cannot put into words how little I care because it is doctrinal string theory to me. So little it is only theoretical!

Would you sit by idly if someone was attacking your actual family? Why should we just sit back and say it’s OK when people speak falsehoods about a brother or sister in Christ?

Of course we can’t answer every accusation against everyone, and I don’t try to. Honest to goodness criticism doesn’t bother me. Saying things that are patently untrue does, though.

85   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
April 1st, 2011 at 4:49 pm

I have no problem with people interacting with a book in a critical way based on the facts of the book. Ben Witherington III gave Love Wins a somewhat more critical review, but he also did a thorough review of each chapter on his blog.

Witherington makes a number of good points in his criticisms, and if Bell reads any criticisms, I would probably choose BWIII’s. I think Bell could have presented the various views more tightly, including more expansive and/or balanced criticism of each, and avoided *some* of the criticisms (at least the ones that weren’t predetermined).

Even so, per his thesis, if his overall purpose was to force a reexamination of much of the Evangelical church’s epestimic closure for eternal conscious punishment, I think Love Wins will probably succeed in that regard.

86   Rick Frueh    
April 1st, 2011 at 4:54 pm

“Saying things that are patently untrue does, though.”

Perhaps, but you guys never let any opportunity for defense pass by. Let someone disagree with Bell and it is a sure bet that cavalry will come a runnin. Bell seems to be the in house person who spawns such strong protectionism.

Oh well, to each his own said the lady as she kissed the cow!

87   Rick Frueh    
April 1st, 2011 at 4:55 pm

And let it be known that the changed title for this blog has an interesting connection to said pastor Bell. :)

88   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
April 1st, 2011 at 5:09 pm

Perhaps, but you guys never let any opportunity for defense pass by.

If we never let an opportunity for defense pass by, we’d be publishing dozens of articles on that subject, alone, each day. And that would just take care of the articles on CRN and apprising.

And let it be known that the changed title for this blog has an interesting connection to said pastor Bell.

I was in on the discussion of a name change, and Bell (or his conference) never came up…

89   Nathanael    http://www.borrowedbreath.com/
April 2nd, 2011 at 3:45 pm

You guys should get over the criticism of Bell.

:)

90   neil    
April 4th, 2011 at 10:57 am

And let it be known that the changed title for this blog has an interesting connection to said pastor Bell.

any similarities in title were simple coincidence.

91   Rick Frueh    
April 4th, 2011 at 11:01 am

Then from where did the exact phraseology emanate? It seems very similar identical to Bell’s conference, and the change occured at a similar time frame to the conference.

I don’t doubt you were looking to change the name, but where did the name come from?

92   Christian P    http://www.churchvoices.com
April 4th, 2011 at 11:41 am

Rick, we addressed this a long time ago. And I’m more than a little offended at you continuing to bring it up because in effect, you are saying that you think the guys who said it had nothing to do with that are lying.

Jesus was/is Prophet, Priest, and King. That phraseology is not even close to new. I don’t remember for sure, but I believe I suggested the name Prophets, Priests, Poets (the other guys can correct me if I’m remembering it wrong) and I didn’t even know about the Bell thing. Why poets? Because Jesus is King, we’re not and at the time, a number of the guys were writing posts on songs. All of this was explained in a post when the name change occurred.

93   Neil    
April 4th, 2011 at 11:59 am

rick,
i was the one who originally brought up the idea of changing the name of this blog to reflect our broader scope.

i have told you any similarity between this blogs title and rob bell’s conference tour was coincidence.

chris l. (who was obviously the final call on the name change) has also stated that bell’s conference never came up in discussion – either positively or negatively.

rick, at this point you have two options – believe us or not.

94   Rick Frueh    
April 4th, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Case closed.

95   Rick Frueh    
April 4th, 2011 at 1:25 pm

I did not mean to offend, really. You can see why I assumed the connection. I apologize for any inference.

Sorry.

96   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
April 4th, 2011 at 5:41 pm

Jesus was/is Prophet, Priest, and King. That phraseology is not even close to new. I don’t remember for sure, but I believe I suggested the name Prophets, Priests, Poets (the other guys can correct me if I’m remembering it wrong) and I didn’t even know about the Bell thing. Why poets? Because Jesus is King, we’re not and at the time, a number of the guys were writing posts on songs. All of this was explained in a post when the name change occurred.

I don’t remember if it was Christian or Phil or who, but I do remember that “prophet, priest and king” was the phrase that first came out, and that we had no desire whatsoever to take on the role not given to us by Jesus (king), but that prophet and priest could fit, and that poetry was also in line with what some of us were doing. There was no connection at all to the MHBC event…

97   Jerry    http://www.dongoldfish.wordpress.com
April 5th, 2011 at 10:04 am

Although, Paul does seem to indicate in 1 Corinthians that at least some of us have been given noble status in Jesus. 1 Cor 1:26.

:-)