Categories
Life Theology

A Few More Verses on Hell

These verses (from the Gospel of Matthew alone) show, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Jesus preached an eternal, conscious, fiery torment awaits those who do not receive and believe in Jesus as the only way to God.

Throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matt. 13:42)

Throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matt. 13:50)

Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ (Matt. 22:13)

[The master] will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matt. 24:51)

And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ (Matt. 25:30)

The words “outer darkness,” “fiery furnace,” and “weeping and gnashing of teeth” are all descriptions Jesus uses to tell us what hell is like.

You can deny that Jesus is Lord and believe hell does not exist. But you cannot deny that Jesus and the Bible are silent about hell. That option is not on the table.

 

Categories
Life Theology

Lunchtime Thoughts on Sunday

“It isn’t pollution that’s harming the environment. It’s the impurities in our air and water that are doing it.” (Al Gore)

  • I love this note from Desiring God about not making Piper a substitute for your own church: “While we encourage you to join us for the sermon, we encourage you even more to give primary attention to the preaching in your local church. In other words, we do not intend for John Piper’s sermon to replace the preaching of the Word from your pastor in your local church.”
  • I listened to the Rob Bell sermon I mentioned a couple days ago entitled “Love Wins.”  It has nothing to do with universalism or hell. Honestly, it’s a poor sermon on the effects and implications of the cross.
  • Greg Boyd blogs on Bell’s book Love Wins and says it’s not a defense of Universalism.  I don’t trust Boyd with a lot of theology (he’s an open theist), but that’s besides the point. In this post, he writes, “Rob is first and foremost a poet/artist/dramatist who has a fantastic gift for communicating in ways that inspire creativity and provoke thought. Rob is far more comfortable (and far better at) questioning established beliefs and creatively hinting atpossible answers than he is at constructing a logically rigorous case defending a definitive conclusion.” I have one thing to say to that: if this is the case, he shouldn’t be shepherding any kind of congregation that represents the name of Jesus Christ.
  • It’s good to hear that Boyd says the book doesn’t espouse Universalism.  But the problem guys like Taylor, Piper, and DeYoung (and I) have is not what Bell’s book is going to say, it’s what is promo material has already said.  I will read Bell’s book, but consider again this quip from the publisher:  “Now, in Love Wins: Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived, Bell addresses one of the most controversial issues of faith—the afterlife—arguing that a loving God would never sentence human souls to eternal suffering. With searing insight, Bell puts hell on trial, and his message is decidedly optimistic—eternal life doesn’t start when we die; it starts right now.” Whatever Bell says cannot undo this statement.
  • College basketball’s conference tournaments start on Thursday, concluding with the Big Dance selection show on Sunday. If I were a betting man, my four #1 seeds would be: Duke, Ohio State, Kansas, and Pittsburgh.  Kansas will be #1 overall. My Huskers will probably go one-and-done in Kansas City. How do I know? There is nothing new under the sun.
  • Charlie Sheen has been on Twitter for about a week.  He has almost two million followers. I am not one of them. Each day, Sheen is quickly becoming more like his character Ricky Vaughn in Major League.
Categories
Theology

The Rob Bell Saga

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 Bell blew up the Internet, specifically, Twitter, with the release of some promo material, including a video, for his new book Love Wins which will go on sale this month.  In the promos, Bell appears to align himself with universalism — the belief that everyone goes to heaven.  He was mentioned so much on Twitter that he was “trending,” which means that even tweeters in Egypt were hearing about Rob Bell.  Who had the biggest beef with Bell? It was the Reformed theologians and bloggers, of course. They were (in my opinion) being discerning, honest, biblical, and faithful to the gospel.

Here’s a timeline of some things that went down:

  • HarperCollins (Bell’s publisher) releases a blurb about his new book and a video promo featuring Bell.  (You can watch the video below.)
  • Justin Taylor blogs his thoughts about the promo material and Bell.
  • John Piper tweets, “Farewell Rob Bell. http://dsr.gd/fZqmd8.”
  • Josh Harris tweets, “There’s nothing loving about preaching a false gospel. This breaks my heart. Praying for Rob Bell. http://bit.ly/gsE4Gl.”
  • Harris follows up his tweet with a blog about why he hopes he’s wrong, including thoughts from Denny Burke, dean of Southern Seminary.
  • Kevin DeYoung presents eight reasons why believing in God’s wrath and hell is important.
  • Tony Jones writes that the Reformed bloggers have been waiting to pounce on Bell.
  • Kevin DeYoung shares two more thoughts on the brouhaha.
  • Beliefnet blogger, Jason Boyett, questions the tweetings of Piper and Taylor
  • Albert Mohler weighs in on Rob Bell’s suggestive theology.
  • CNN writes an article about all of this, interviewing Taylor.

Stay tuned. I’ll do my very best to continue to link to helpful posts and tweets. And when the time is right, I will share some of my own thoughts, though I can’t possibly top DeYoung’s and Burke’s.

Bell’s promo video: