Sunday, October 30, 2011

315. A Discussion of Hell

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Recently the subject of hell has caused quite a bit of discussion and even controversy amongst believers because of new books on the market. Of course this subject is nothing new and it has provided many different points of view for as long as man can remember.

So this week we try to provide some perspective. It is not our intention on this podcast to declare our opinions about hell but rather to address how we as believers should approach topics that may be controversial or may have a wide variety of opinions.

Well meaning believers sometimes can't find common ground even on subjects as substantial as hell. The truth is there are quite a few things in scripture that we just don't fully understand and may not be able to come to a definitive conclusion. We just aren't going to know for sure what all the answers are regarding certain things. That doesn't mean we can't formulate opinions or beliefs based on what we see in scripture, but how should we react to one another when we have a different point of view or belief?

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  1. I don't understand the point of this podcast...

    One cannot believe that Christ made all righteous and still believe in a literal eternal hell at the same time.

    I would rather you take a stand on it one way or the other:

    1) Either there is an literal "hell" and grace is NOT grace (ie - sin can abound over grace) and there is something a man can DO or NOT DO to be eternally separated from God...


    2) Grace really IS grace (ie - grace does much more abound over sin) and God made ALL righteous because of what Christ did, and there is nothing a man can DO or NOT DO to be fully accepted into the Kingdom of God.

    There are no inbetweens here.

  2. The purpose of this particular podcast, as we stated in the podcast itself, was to point out that there are myriads of thoughts on what hell is, who goes there (or not), etc, and since neither "hell exists" nor "hell doesn't exist" isn't "the" gospel, then we can discuss issues such as this without getting so hot and bothered with each other.

    We could give our own particular views on such a hot button topic as this, and have 20 different people telling us we're wrong - all the while disagreeing with each other as well (which we have seen plenty of) - and so on this particular issue, our intention was not to make a black or white case, but rather to encourage either healthy and friendly discussions between people with different thoughts, or for people to drop it and instead focus on the good news that we in the grace community essentially agree upon.

    Even the two points that you brought up are far from the only views that people have on this issue. Again, there are myriads of views on this. And so we simply are wanting to encourage brothers and sisters in Christ to not get so down on one another.

  3. Thanks for the reply, Joel :)

    What is your view on hell? Do you believe that all ARE or eventually WILL BE saved and enter into God's Kingdom? Or, do you believe that some or even most will "never make it"?


  4. The most I will say on that subject is that I'm not a universalist, and that's enough said for me. :) The purpose of our podcast and this blog is not about debating issues such as this. That's why we mentioned that this particular podcast is essentially off topic for us, and even in doing so we made it clear that our intentions were not to "solve the issue," but rather to discuss how people might interact with one another as they debate hot topic issues such as this - elsewhere.

    There's nothing wrong if people want to debate the various views, but that's not our purpose here. As soon as one of us states an opinion, it's inevitable that all sorts of unwanted debate begins. That's exactly what we're trying to avoid. :)

  5. So basically, in your view some people will be eternally separated from God based on something they did or did not do or say (e.g. - breaking a certain law perhaps?), apart from the work of Christ on the cross. Thanks for sharing your position...

    However, I'm not sure I understand how you come to this conclusion, based on the things I have been reading and listening to on your site. At any rate, thanks for the response, Joel.

  6. Of course you don't understand how I've come to my conclusions, because I've not discussed them with you. :) Again, I've intentionally not done that because this is not a forum for that.

  7. LOL....Anonymous just doesn't give up. I thought your podcast was excellent Joel. Our focus is not to get into heated topics that take us away from the person of Christ and bring divisions in the Body. Well done, brother.

  8. Hey, no problem :)

    Could you send me a few passages of scripture that caused you come to the conclusion that not all are or will be saved? Perhaps you could even send me some articles you've written that specifically addresses this question?

    Also, according to your view, what causes a person to be eternally separated from God? In other words, what does a person have to do (or not do) to receive this punishment?

    You can privately email your response to jerreye AT yahoo DOT com :)


  9. @Anonymous - these are some things that I know about hell:
    - The temperature is elevated all year around
    - It is somewhat below sea level
    - Some guy that Lazarus knew, whose name was Richard (Rich) Man is there (if every word in a parable is literal)
    - also get used to magma
    Based on a 20th century philosopher’s writing:
    - It’s a season ticket for a one way ride
    - It’s got no stop signs or speed limits and nobody's gonna slow you down
    - all my friends are gonna be there too
    So “Hey momma look at me, I'm on my way to the Promised Land - I'm on the highway to hell!”

    I recommend “Her Gates Will Never Be Shut, Hope, Hell and the New Jerusalem” by Bradley Jersak (2009); ISBN 13: 978-1-60608-822-1. (It has an endorsement from Eugene Peterson.) Its a bit of a complex read and although Brad offers no dogmatic conclusions (due to the lack of detailed biblical descriptions on hell) he offers food for thought that greatly differs from the common Christian view. In any case, you might be interested in reading this one just for the hell of it.