Archives For Hell

There are lots of parts in the Bible I don’t like.  And I’m not talking about sins I’d like to commit that the Bible tells me not to, that’s a different conversation.  I’m talking parts of the Bible that make me cringe.  Parts that don’t make sense to my 21st century American mind.  Parts that feel like they don’t fit with my idea of who God is supposed to be.

Most of us, if we’re honest, feel the same way about various parts of the Bible.  Here’s the number one thing we cannot do:  We cannot dismiss or alter parts of the Bible we don’t like simply because we don’t like them.

We can’t do this because the Bible is where we find out who Jesus is and how to be saved.  If we start selecting the parts we like and don’t like, where is the credibility of any of it?

Before jumping into my personal most-cringe-worthy Bible texts, two very important things to remember: Continue Reading…

What does the Bible say about hell?

Hell, God’s Sovereignty, Suffering & My Depravity

The doctrine of hell is one that was overemphasized in my faith upbringing.  It’s one I subsequently tried to disprove and deny using the Bible.  In this attempt, I ended up coming to terms with the truth of the biblical doctrine of hell, and in recent years it has helped me incredibly in my personal faith.  You can read more about that here.

In a recent article I wrote for the Covenant Eyes blog, I mentioned how hell has helped me in my marriage and sexual purity, to which an anonymous commenter (rudely) did not take kindly to!  You can read his comment to me in the comments of the Covenant Eyes article.  My reply to him was filled with enough content that I’m going to copy and paste it here as a new blog article about hell and some related topics:

Hi there, I appreciate your passion for this. For a good chunk of my time as a pastor and as a serious Bible reader, I wanted to prove that hell wasn’t real. Continue Reading…

I grew up in a church tradition that really emphasized hell as a motivation for accepting Christ’s forgiveness of our sins.  In fact, my own salvation decision as a young child was highly motivated by this.  I no longer see overemphasis on hell (often an exclusive emphasis) as biblical or effective in bringing true heart change in people.  I think it typically brings a self-centered mental transaction rather than a love-centered relationship with Jesus.  But that’s not what this blog post is about.hell fire brimstone preaching

I also wrestled for quite some time a few years ago with the idea of if hell existed at all.  It seemed contrary to God’s nature to have a hell where people were tortured forever.  Many like Rob Bell have gotten a lot of press for publicly coming out with an idea similar to this, showing “biblical” claims that an eternal hell does not in fact exist, or at least (in Bell’s case) that nobody is really going to go there.  I really wanted to believe this and I dug into Scripture to prove this point.  I did find some helpful new information from Scripture about hell and saw that there was more ambiguity to what hell is like than I had been taught in my faith upbringing.  But one thing I could not do is show biblically that an eternal hell does not exist, nor could I show that people simply cease to exist when they go to hell (a view called annihilationism, which is quite compelling and indeed has more Scripture than you’d think that points to this).  There were two passages in specific that I could not get around:  Revelation 14:10-13 & Luke 16:19-31.  An eternal hell exists and people are going there.  But that is not what this blog post is about either.

Nor is the blog post about how you should witness to your friends more because they are going to hell without Jesus, though they are and you should.

What this post is about is Continue Reading…

If you’ve ever prayed, “God, give me what I deserve,” take time today to thank him for not answering that prayer!

Often our times of prayer, and our lives in general, are fixated on what we want from God and specifically, on the things we feel we have earned or deserve.

These are often legitimate and painful prayers.  Health.  Healing.  A job.   Continue Reading…

This is Part 2 of my response to a recent interview with Rob Bell + front page article from the Grand Rapids Press on Rob’s views of gay marriage.  Please (click here to) read Part 1 prior to reading this post, as it will give you the much needed context, as well as context for the newspaper article and podcast of the original interview.  Now, Part 2:

First off, some things Rob does not say in Love Wins.  He does not say there is no hell.  He does not say all will be saved (therefore he is not a universalist).  I get annoyed when I read that he says these things in the book, because he doesn’t.

The issue I have with the Love Wins book is Continue Reading…