Join Tim Kimberley, Michael Patton, Sam Storms and J.J Seid as they discuss the doctrine of hell.

    12 replies to "Theology Unplugged: The Doctrine of Hell"

    • Brother Stumblefoot

      Of course you wouldn’t expect Bro Stumblefoot to be ecstatic about your conclusions on this subject. But you are gracious to those of us who might disagree with you on some things, so i will try to take advantage of your graciousness.

      First, an update in regard to your agreement among yourselves that Universalists do not believe in Hell. Many do, in fact, the point of difference being the duration of Hell, (i.e., is it eternal) not the existence of it.

      For myself, I certainly believe in a judgment after death for the unbeliever
      (and a fearful one at that), though I think there needs to be some clarification of terms about the subject.

      Which Hell are we talking about, is it Geheena, Hades, or the Lake of fire? It would seem that the latter of these best fits the most common concept of what we’re talking about,
      but there are problems with that, inasmuch as no one appears to go there until sometime in the yet future. Geheena is identified with that particular valley outside Jerusalem where terrible things have happened in ages past, and in which it appears that terrible things will happen again in
      the latter days. Geheena is apparently biblically portrayed for us in Isaiah 66:24, but these are human carcasses being burned, not the souls of men. And I cannot imagine that in the time of the new heavens and new earth, that this eyesore will remain adjacent to Jerusalem, to spoil the “all new” creation of God.

      This leaves us with Hades, and i think that is where the unbeliever goes at death. (Not a happy place to be in) But even this is not a final and eternal destination, as Rev. 20:14 states that death and Hades will be cast into the Lake of fire. Michael, i cannot at this point in time, believe our God would leave any of mankind there eternally, and in fact, Scripture does not say they are left there eternally.

      i had intended to address Sam’s argument that God’s holiness demands eternal punishment, but that will have to wait until another time.
      Thanks for listening,
      Brother Stumblefoot

    • Brother Stumblefoof

      I don’t know where the proposition began, that the Holiness and righteousness of God demands eternal punishment in Hell. It sounds to me a bit like Jonathan Edwards, but it may go back as far as Augustine; someone please help me out here on where this line of reasoning originated.

      But allow me now to give my thought as to how and why it began. As with everything else I come up with, there is always the possibility that I could be wrong on this, but I suspect I am at least close to the facts.

      Some nice guy years ago was thinking (not a bad idea), Why would God ordain an eternal Hell?
      Well, he thinks, i don’t know why, but the church teaches it and I believe the Bible teaches it, so it must be true. But he goes on in his reasoning and says to himself, there has to be a reason, otherwise there wouldn’t be such a thing. Finally it is concluded that since we “know” God punishes eternally, then the only reasons we can imagine for Him to do so, are His holiness and righteousness and also His wrath against sin, which I failed to mention above. The idea caught on and now Christians use this “theory” all the time; What other reason could there be? All that is lacking is a chapter and verse (maybe in the book of Hezekiah somewhere).

      No one can argue against the holiness and righteous,and in fact the wrath of God; it’s a pretty safe argument to use in any Christian group.

      But we don’t have the above mentioned chapter and verse that tells us God’s holiness and righteousness demands eternal punishment, in fact we have chapters and verses that tell us something else; Genesis 2:17, “…in the day…thou shalt die.”, Romans 1:22 “…they which commit such things are worthy of death,” and Romans 6:23, “the wages of sin is death.”

      The question now that needs answering: How did we get from a sentence of death to an eternal Hell? This Evangelical Universalist believes that evidently God is “satisfied” with a punishment of death for sin, (howbeit it may be a terrible death) yet in His grace He has even eclipsed this death through the cross, and will ultimately draw all men to Himself ( John 12:32) and in fact ultimately justify and reconcile all men as stated in Ro. 5:18, 19, 1st Cor.15:22, Col. 1:20.

      This must be by faith, and reconciliation requires a willingness on the part of the sinner to be reconciled, and it evidently will take an experience in Hades and the Lake of Fire to convince the sinner who has not received Christ. But God has the power to eventually convince all men to receive the atonement, no matter how long it takes. We don’t have a chapter and verse that states no one can be saved beyond the grave either, (see above) unless it is somewhere in that ever expanding book of Hezekiah.

      But now I must stop rather abruptly, lest I run beyond the word limit. I invite comments.

    • gary

      Imagine what would happen if the authorities found out that cult leaders and parents in a particular cult were telling their children that if the children did not obey the rules of the cult, they would be tossed into a boiling pot of liquid fire.

      The leaders of the cult and the parents would most likely be put in jail.

      So if conservative Christian clergy and parents threaten their little children with claims that an invisible ghost god is going to burn them alive if they do not obey the church’s rules, should these clergy and parents be subjected to the same punishment as the leaders and parents of the cult?

      Should the teaching of Hellfire and damnation to children be a crime?

    • Carrie Hunter

      Would if be right for people to be imprisoned for teaching their children their is no God if in fact there is?

      Of course not.

      But then perhaps you are advocating for a society governed by The Thought Police that go around making sure everyone is thinking exactly as their governing authorities have determined they should.

      I reckon this is “Free Thinking” as the atheists have determined it to be. “You can think freely provided it is identical to how we think. Otherwise because what you teach your children is *mean* and *cruel* the GULAG will get cha!”

      This is of course antithetical to even the most basic rights of humans. We have the right to think what we wish (even if it is wrong) and we have the right to pass that system of thought on to our children (or not; it’s entirely up to the individual).

      Sorry, at least for now, in the United States, that is still protected by law.

    • Gary

      Hi Carrie,

      I believe in freedom of thought, speech, and religion. However, one person’s constitutionally protected rights cannot infringe on another person’s constitutionally protected rights. For instance, we do not allow parents to withhold life saving medication and treatment for their minor children, even if providing that treatment violates the parents’ religious beliefs. I believe that threatening children with being burned falls into the same category.

      Adults are certainly free to believe whatever they choose, but terrifying little children with threats of being burned alive for not obeying Mommy and Daddy’s invisible ghost god is child abuse.

    • Carrie Hunter

      AH so it’s the pragmatic route?

      Then parents who teach their children there is no God and there is no Hell, should be imprisoned.

      Because withholding lifesaving information from them is abusive.

    • Gary

      So, Carrie, you believe that threatening children with being burned alive is ok?

    • Carrie Hunter

      So, Gary, you think that it is OK to allow that to happen to your children?

    • Carrie Hunter

      Look I think that is bad theology to suggest to your child that they will be burned alive for disobeying. I think it is bad theology to tell any grown person the same. Because I would never wish to explain Hell in such asinine terms.

      I think it is bad theology for me to tell my children something is bad without explaining the eternal principle behind it. Telling my children they will go to hell and be burned alive because they fail to do what I tell them is just stupid, never mind it being bad theology. Explaining to my children what God actually is; what is necessary for Him to be God etc is crucial. As the the take away from that is that one of the necessary attributes is His being infinitely Holy. This is helpful when eventually explaining the necessity of Hell.

      I think it equally bad theology to not explain to your children how absurd it is to think that a system of philosophical naturalism with no transcendent objectives is sufficient for arriving at an objective standard … of anything (let alone right and wrong, truth and falsehood.)

      I think it equally bad theology to not explain to your children what they are going to be facing in the world of Atheism is not the Atheism of old, but rather the Village Atheism that is running rampant. That these people are blindly believing their leaders (Dawkins, Harris et al) without critically examining the claims they are propagating.

      I think it equally bad theology to not explain to your children that a lot of these people who have converted from Christianity to Village Atheism haven’t changed their actual pattern of thinking but merely what it is they think about.

      I think there is a lot of bad theology out there and I think as a Christian parent is my duty to inform my children of it to the best of my ability.

      I also think it bad theology to suggest that someone be thrown in the clink for failing to teach their children soundly.

      But then I’m not an advocate of Restricted Thinking.

    • Gary

      Children should never be threatened with being burned alive. Period.

      • Carrie Hunter

        Eh, as Watson would say “there’s a lack of excrement to be seen here Sherlock”.

    • Ronnie

      “Because I would never wish to explain Hell in such asinine terms.”

      To clarify: are you saying that being burned alive is an asinine characterization of the Christian doctrine of hell?

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