If you follow blogs and Twitter (and you probably do since you are on this blog), then you are probably not unaware of what is going on with Rob Bell. If you are unaware, then you either 1) fasted Twitter the past week or 2) are in denial of what your tweeting eyes see. Full disclosure: I used to like Rob Bell’s teaching. Then I read Velvet Elvis. I made no secret here what I thought about Bell after reading that book. He has been particularly ambiguous over the past few years with key biblical doctrines. This past Saturday, Rob … Continue reading The Rob Bell Saga
When I was younger and heard or read, “God is a strong tower,” my mind immediately went to an image like the one above. What you are looking at is your run-of-the-mill state park viewing tower. It’s actually not very strong. It’s not very powerful. It can’t actually protect you. And it’s not very threatening, unless you fall on the steps and get cut by those nasty steel holes. Psalm 61:3 says, “For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy.” When Scripture says that God is a “strong tower” it means that he is more like a … Continue reading God is a Strong Tower
At the end of January, I posted some of my thoughts on hell. There I argued that hell is not the separation from the presence of God. I wrote that hell is the “separation of people from the majestic, glorious presence of the Lord.” To help flesh this out, I think Wayne Grudem’s thoughts from his book Sytematic Theology might help. The idea of God’s omnipresence has sometimes troubled people who wonder how God can be present, for example, in hell. In fact, isn’t hell the opposite of God’s presence, or the absence of God? This difficulty can be resolved by … Continue reading Wayne Grudem on God’s Presence in Hell
In the previous post, I posted on a sermon from my church. As I’m blogging through my church’s sermons, I should make a note that I don’t necessarily agree with everything that the speaker says. In this week’s sermon, there were a few things that I took issue with. I have no doubt that preacher was sincere and loving in his intentions and I am in no way questioning his study or integrity. He said nothing heretical by any means, and of course, you can only say so much in a 35-minute sermon. I hope to be gracious to him, … Continue reading Some of My Thoughts About Hell
How Should I Be Thinking About Hell? Series: Debated: Answering Hard Questions About Christianity Pastor Jeff Dart What does the Bible say about hell? Matthew 5:22 is a key text. Jesus talks about Gehenna. Gehenna (Gk.) was a valley (“Valley of Hinnom” in English) that was used by pagan kings and Hebrew kings to make sacrifices. The most popular sacrifices were child sacrifices to Molech. King Josiah eventually tore down the pagan altars and turned this valley into a large, burning garbage dump (see 2 Kings 23:10; Jer. 7:31-32; 19:2-6; 11-14; 32:35). Heaven and hell are about relationship. People go … Continue reading Sermon 5: How should I be thinking about hell?
Some Christians believe in annihilationism, that is, that those who do not receive Jesus will not suffer in hell, but will actually cease to exist. But Matthew 25:46, plain as day, says that people will be punished forever if they are not saved. It would be hard to reconcile annihilationism with these words of Jesus. In his Systematic Theology, Wayne Grudem wrote, “The Bible only needs to say something once for it to be true.” Eternal punishment in hell is a terrible doctrine, indeed. But if the Bible teaches it, then we must believe it, and hard as this seems, … Continue reading If the Bible Says it Once, It’s True