The second element of the question put to me was as regards the eternal state of those who have never heard the gospel, and consequently have never had the opportunity to accept or reject Christ. This is a problematic concept when we try and break it down logically, and I readily admit this. However the uncomfortable reality is that Scripture is nearly silent on the … Continue reading Eternal destiny, part 4: What about those who’ve never heard?
An implicit point in many discussions of the state of a human being after death, revolve around the theory that we were created with immortal souls, which live on after corporeal death. The belief is that we will all live forever, either in bliss or torment. I did not find any conclusive evidence of this in the New Testament. In fact, the majority of the … Continue reading Eternal destiny, part 3: Eternal what?
The clearest finding I come to from this study was something I had already suspected, but I was still surprised by the preponderance of evidence that came through. This is that the concept of hell and condemnation is used in the New Testament primarily as a warning to those who claim to believe, or who claim God’s privilege. It is not used as a warning … Continue reading Eternal destiny, part 2: Begging the Question
Note: The source New Testament study on which this series is based is now available here I’ve already posted about my aversion to statements of faith in general, and to specific points in the commonly-accepted evangelical doctrinal statements. In the next several posts I want to take on one specific point in Evangelical doctrine that I believe is seriously misguided–the subject of eternal condemnation/hell. As … Continue reading Eternal destiny, part 1
There are two historical arguments that I find intriguing for the way in which they have been used for and against Christian apologetics: the first is Occam’s (or Ockham’s) Razor, and the second is Pascal’s Wager. I address these, not because I find either particularly compelling (in fact I don’t), but rather because I’ve seen them come up in apologetics debates with sufficient frequency that I … Continue reading Why Do I Believe? Part 15 — Occam’s Razor and Pascal’s Wager
Lots of folks, when they discuss the truth (or not) of faith, or when they try to sell Christianity to outsiders, spend a great deal of energy on issues surrounding the afterlife. The crassest version, but one many of us have encountered, is encapsulated in the question “do you know where you’d be if you die tonight?” The core message, of course, is that we’re … Continue reading Why do I believe? Part 13 — Not for Heaven’s Sake
Not all my reasons for belief are evidence based. I say this without shame and without apology. I am at least in part a product of my own upbringing, both from the standpoint of what I was taught, and the societies in which I have passed much of my life. So, I would suggest, are we all, and no less so if we reject our … Continue reading Why do I believe? Part 6 – My heritage
It dawned on me recently that a great deal of my frustration with conservative Christianity is the role that fear plays in the narrative of the faith. In their theology, their evangelism, and their politics, it seems to me, conservative Christians rely on and promote fear as part and parcel of the Gospel. This perspective is deeply antithetical to the God whose most frequent command … Continue reading Jesus, Christians, and Fear
The news that Wheaton professor Dr. Larycia Hawkins may be fired over perceived conflicts between her public statements, and the college’s statement of faith, has been hailed and slammed across the internet. At issue, nearly as I can determine, is that Dr. Hawkins refuses to recant her statement that Muslims and Christians worship the same God (full disclosure … I’ve said as much myself), and … Continue reading “Worshiping the Same God” … Thoughts on the Controversy
Well, it seems the firestorm ignited by Rob Bell’s Love Wins just won’t let up. Now the Southern Baptist Convention has passed a resolution On The Reality of Hell (June, 2011), in which they reaffirm their belief in eternal conscious punishment for all “the unregenerate.” My thanks to Rachel Held Evans for her highlighting of this resolution (of which I had not heard), and to … Continue reading The SBC: Pro-Hell, Anti-Bell — Still Wrong!