Archive for the ‘hell’ Category

Why good works will not bring us to heaven

September 18, 2011

Every sinner is insolvent; sinful man has run out the whole stock of nature, and is become a bankrupt, and has nothing to offer by way of composition; nor has he any righteousness to answer for him, nor any works of righteousness which deserve that name: and if he had, these are nothing in point of payment: for a debt of sin cannot be discharged by a debt of obedience; since God has a prior right to the latter; and in paying it, a man does but what is his duty. Sin being committed against an infinite God, contracts the nature of an infinite debt, which cannot be paid off by a finite creature. Christ only was able to pay this debt, and he has done it for his people; and without an interest in his blood, righteousness, and satisfaction, every debtor is liable to be cast, and will be cast into the prison of hell, there to lie till the uttermost farthing of the ten thousand talents is paid, which will be to all eternity.

John Gill on Matthew 18.25

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Universalism is not taught in Scripture

May 11, 2011

As even universalists have to admit:

It is best in fact to admit quite frankly that any view of the future destiny of [unbelievers] which is to be tolerable to us today must go beyond the explicit teaching of the New Testament….[This] does not really give us what we want, and it only leads to insincerity if we try to satisfy ourselves by artificial explanations of its language. And we are in the end on surer ground when as Christians we claim the right to go beyond the letter, since we do so under the irresistible leading of the moral principles of the New Testament and of Christ Himself.

C. W. Emmet’s, ‘The Bible and Hell’ (1917) quoted by Richard Bauckham

Of course, like modern universalists such as Rob Bell, Emmet had to impose a paradigm on the NT and ignore/downplay texts that did not ‘fit’. This reminds me of what Sherlock Holmes might say:

I have no data yet. It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.

source

The universalist twists the data to suit the universalist theory rather than adopt a theology that suits the facts of the NT texts.

Bell’s Hell

April 29, 2011

So why do I say Bell is a universalist if he believes in hell? Because he does not believe hell lasts forever. It is a temporary “period of pruning” and “an intense experience of correction” (91). Bell’s hell is like purgatory except his “period of pruning” is for anyone, not just for Christians who die in a state of grace as Catholicism teaches. For Bell, this life is about getting ourselves fitted for the good life to come. Some of us die ready to experience God’s love. Others need more time to sort things out. Luckily, in Bell’s scheme, there is always more time. “No one can resist God’s pursuit forever because God’s love will eventually melt even the hardest hearts” (108).

Kevin DeYoung, God Is Still Holy and What You Learned in Sunday School Is Still True: A Review of “Love Wins”

Rob Bell and humility where God has spoken

March 31, 2011
Will everybody be saved, or will some perish apart from God forever because of

their choices? Those are questions, or more accurately, those are tensions we are

free to leave fully intact. We don’t need to resolve them or answer them because

we can’t, and so we simply respect them, creating space for the freedom that love

requires.

Rob Bell, Love Wins, (115)

Here’s the problem: Scripture answers the question and the only humble thing to do is to believe what the omniscient God has revealed. Not to believe the omniscient God’s revelation (to say, we ‘can’t’ answer these questions) is astonishing hubris on the part of a finite and fallen creature.

 

If they could see the flames and smell the smoke and feel the heat and hear the cries of the damned, they would go out to preach what they had seen and heard

December 28, 2009

The leader of the Salvation Army wished he could suspend each one of his Salvation Army officers over hell for 24 hours.

He said, “If they could see the flames and smell the smoke and feel the heat and hear the cries of the damned, they would go out to preach what they had seen and heard. They would then preach like dying men to dying people.”

Go stand by the gates of hell, and hear the damned entreat you to go to their father’s house and bid their brothers and sisters, and servants and masters not to come there

December 28, 2009

‘Not called!’ did you say? ‘Not heard the call,’ I think you should say. Put your ear down to the Bible, and hear him bid you go and pull sinners out of the fire of sin. Put your ear down to the burdened, agonized heart of humanity, and listen to its pitiful wail for help. Go stand by the gates of hell, and hear the damned entreat you to go to their father’s house and bid their brothers and sisters, and servants and masters not to come there. And then look Christ in the face, whose mercy you have professed to obey, and tell him whether you will join heart and soul and body and circumstances in the march to publish his mercy to the world.

William Booth

If God were not angry at injustice and deception and did not make a final end to violence—that God would not be worthy of worship

December 14, 2009

If God were not angry at injustice and deception and did not make a final end to violence—that God would not be worthy of worship…. The only means of prohibiting all recourse to violence by ourselves is to insist that violence is legitimate only it comes from God… My thesis that the practice of non-violence requires a belief in divine vengeance will be unpopular with many… in the West…. [But] it takes the quiet of a suburban home for the birth of the thesis that human non-violence [results from the belief in] God’s refusal to judge. In a sun-scorched land, soaked in the blood of the innocent, it will invariably die… [with] other pleasant captivities of the liberal mind.

Miroslav Volf, Exclusion and Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation (Abingdon, 1996), pp. 303-04.

love and wrath are only the obverse and reverse of the same thing

November 17, 2009

It is hard for us to imagine wrath which is entirely free from the personal elements of malice
and vindictiveness, and therefore we misconstrue the wrath of God. But if we express it in other
words, His wrath is no more than the clear shining of His light, which must go forth implacably
to the destruction of all darkness. The best way to understand the doctrine of the wrath of God is
to consider the alternatives. The alternative is not love; since rightly conceived, love and wrath
are only the obverse and reverse of the same thing. The alternative to wrath is neutrality –
neutrality in the conflict of the world. To live in such a world would be a nightmare. It is only
the doctrine of the wrath of God, of His irreconcilable hostility to all evil, which makes life
tolerable in such a world as ours.’

Bishop Stephen Neill

A few of the victims of Nazi death camps were extremely wealthy. One man had come into the camp with hat, gloves and well-cut overcoat. A few days later he was working at the crematorium refuse heap

November 17, 2009

A few of the victims of Nazi death camps were extremely wealthy. One man had come into the camp with hat, gloves and well-cut overcoat. A few days later he was working at the crematorium refuse heap. He, ‘who had looked like a diplomat, had become a dirty, lice-infested, human wreck, his spirits broken.

I saw him go over to one of the camp foremen and whisper (something). The prisoner…brought out a small leather pouch (and) shook the contents into his palm. Like a million little suns the diamonds shone and sparkled. The foreman nodded and held out three miserable uncooked potatoes, and the elderly man, shaking with impatience, tore them out of his hand and put them to his mouth.

Here, in this Stock Exchange of Hell, the value of a bag of diamonds was three uncooked potatoes. And this value was the real one. Three potatoes…prolonged life, gave strength to work and to withstand beatings. For a while, a short while, it might delight the eyes of a ruthless murderer, but when the day of reckoning came it would not save his life.

Martin Gilbert, Holocaust, p.729

What is the true value of our possessions? What is the use of acquiring the world’s goods when a man may lose his soul?

People will never set their faces decidedly towards heaven and live like pilgrims until they really feel that they are in danger of hell

October 21, 2009

Now I believe the likeliest way to cure and mend…defective… religion is to bring forward more prominently the old scriptural truth about the sinfulness of sin. People will never set their faces decidedly towards heaven and live like pilgrims until they really feel that they are in danger of hell. Let us all try to revive the old teaching about sin in nurseries, in schools, in training colleges, in universities. Let us not forget that “the law is good if we use it lawfully” and that “by the law is the knowledge of sin” (1 Tim. 1:8; Rom. 3:20; 7:7). Let us bring the law to the front and press it on men’s attention. Let us expound and beat out the Ten Commandments and show the length and breadth and depth and height of their requirements. This is the way of our Lord in the sermon on the mount. We cannot do better than follow His plan. We may depend upon it, men will never come to Jesus and stay with Jesus and live for Jesus unless they really know why they are to come and what is their need. Those whom the Spirit draws to Jesus are those whom the Spirit has convinced of sin. Without thorough conviction of sin, men may seem to come to Jesus and follow Him for a season; but they will soon fall away and return to the world.

J.C.Ryle, Holiness, ch.1, ‘Sin’