Monday, March 21, 2011

God Wins (Part 1)

Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever LivedA lot of people are calling out Rob Bell for his new book Love Wins: Heaven, Hell and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived.  Many of them are calling him a universalist and a heretic.  Plenty of other people are calling out the people calling out Rob Bell, calling them pharisees and slanderers.  It's a calling out fest that has turned into a calling out calling out fest.  Let's hope it doesn't go any further.   It will be like when they came out with radar detector detector detectors (no joke).

Very few of them have read the new book.
I have.

 Now that I've read it and have an educated response, I'm in a difficult position.  The climate is hostile.  There are pre-concieved notions.

If I so much as compliment the cover art, there is a whole camp of theological snipers waiting to label me an emergent heretic.  "Ge the matches and the lighter fluid!"  On the other hand, if I so much as hint that I have concerns about Bell's theological method, there is another camp waiting to label me intolerant and narrow-minded fundamentalist.  "Bring your latest Brian McLaren book.  It's time for a Generous Beat Down!"

What has happened to the theological climate of the Church when we are known by out alignment or disagreement with a popular Christian author?  Half of us have created a climate that lashes out at the most insignificant theological miss-step.  The other half labels as unloving all legitimate attempts at biblical correction.

We have lost our way.  We have no more True North, no more standard.  We don't know Christ's palm Sunday transportation from a hole in the ground.

What if we approached this topic from a whole new (or very old) direction?

What if we actually formulated our opinion on a theological matter based on God's redemptive self-revelation in Scripture?  What if we actually started there?

I'm issuing a challenge on the comments board.
Answer this question: Will people suffer eternal punishment in Hell?

Here are the rules:
  • You can't call a friend to ask their opinion.
  • You can't reading a popular author on the topic. (no Rob Bell, no John MacArthur, no Ronald H. Nash--scholarly lexicons and translation tools are acceptable)
  • No statement can be made without a reference to an contextually applicable biblical reference.  
  • Make a genuine effort to put aside your pre-conceived notions about the topic. 

So, will people suffer eternal punishment in hell?  Tell us what the Word says.


  1. “There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man's table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried, and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’

    —Luke 16:19-26

    I think that pretty much sums it up lol

    -Jake S

  2. So What exactly is eternal punishment? Forget Fire and darkness, (although that is true) in my opinion eternal punishment is simply never again being in the presence of God. Forever being separated from Him would be the ultimate torture.
    so there will come a time when the King will gather everyone together and he will divide us. Some to His left, some to His right. 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. Now for me the most horrible part of this statement is the first three words. "depart from me" Matthew 25:31-46

  3. My response can be seen at

  4. Here is a direct link

  5. My opinion is that yes Hell is an eternal place that will never go away. "For God did not spare even the angels who sinned. He threw them into Hell, in gloomy pits of darkness, where they are being held until the day of judgment" - 2 Peter 2:4
    This passage says that they will be in hell until the day of judgment.
    The day of judgment is cleared up in Isaiah 2:11-22 where it says "Human pride will be brought down, and human arrogance will be humbled. Only the Lord will be exalted on that day of judgment. 12 For the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has a day of reckoning. He will punish the proud and mighty and bring down everything that is exalted. 13 He will cut down the tall cedars of Lebanon and all the mighty oaks of Bashan. 14 He will level all the high mountains and all the lofty hills. 15 He will break down every high tower and every fortified wall. 16 He will destroy all the great trading ships[a] and every magnificent vessel 17 Human pride will be humbled, and human arrogance will be brought down. Only the Lord will be exalted on that day of judgment. 18 Idols will completely disappear. 19 When the Lord rises to shake the earth, his enemies will crawl into holes in the ground. They will hide in caves in the rocks from the terror of the Lord and the glory of his majesty. 20 On that day of judgment they will abandon the gold and silver idols they made for themselves to worship. They will leave their gods to the rodents and bats, 21 while they crawl away into caverns and hide among the jagged rocks in the cliffs. They will try to escape the terror of the Lord and the glory of his majesty as he rises to shake the earth. 22 Don’t put your trust in mere humans. They are as frail as breath. What good are they?"

    After the day of judgment God separates everyone into two groups. As said in Matthew 25:31-36, 40-43, 45-46 When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates his sheep from the goats, and He will set the sheep on His right hand but the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those on His right hand, “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you took Me in, I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.” ... “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My Brethren, you did it to me. ”Then He will also say to those on the left hand, “Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave Me no food, I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.” ... “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.” And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.

    I think the last sentence of this passage sums it up “And these will go away into everlasting punishment”