A Theological Hermeneutic on Hell, Rooted In the Biblical Story
We’ve come a long way on hell. That a Christian universalist is included in the newly-revised Four Views on Hell is proof.
In it Robin A. Parry (a.k.a. Gregory MacDonald) champions recent developments in evangelical thought that envision all of creation being ultimately reconciled to its Creator through Christ. This isn’t a universalism built on popular pluralism. Rather it is rooted in the biblical narrative and aided by a gospel-centered theological hermeneutic.
As general editor Preston Sprinkle explains, “No longer can evangelicals scoff at this view as the by product of too many hours of Oprah…Parry argues extensively from Scripture that the Bible itself teaches that the future judgment will be followed by reconciliation.” (10, 14)
Below we’ve outlined part of his view: hell in the context of the biblical…
Flash Sale: Select eBook Counterpoints are just $3.99!
Doubter. Skeptic. Questioner.
Do these words describe you when it comes to issues like: The existence of Hell? The historical Adam? Whether or not Jesus is the only way to God?
The Counterpoints series was written with your questions in mind!
Dig into your doubt with these titles and more:
Four Views on Hell | With contributions John F. Walvoord, Zachary J. Hayes and Clark H. Pinnock and edited by William Crockett.
The authors meet this subject head-on with different views on what the Scriptures say. The interactive Counterpoints forum allows the reader to see the four views on hell—literal, metaphorical, conditional, and…
Scot McKnight on Heaven and Hell
"I believe in heaven. I believe in heaven because Jesus did and I hope to believe in heaven as Jesus did. I believe in heaven because I believe in justice, in peace, and in love. I believe in heaven, in part, because of the apostles and the saints and the Reformers and Harriet Beecher Stowe and C.S. Lewis and Dorothy Sayers and Mother Teresa and the children in Rwanda.
I don’t, however, believe “heaven” is forever and ever. I believe that what is forever and ever is called the New Heavens and the New Earth, the time and place where heaven comes down to earth. The New Heavens and New Earth will be the fullness of flourishing.
But belief in the New…
Hell Under Fire: Part 2 of our Interview with Christopher Morgan
As the discussion around the doctine of hell continues, Chris Morgan was kind enough to take time out of his schedule to do an interview about the current controversy and the book Hell Under Fire.
This is Part 2 of our interview with Chris, you can read Part 1 here.
Q: What questions are behind the questions? Is there something deeper driving this discussion?
Great question! Yes, the foundational doctrines that shape one’s theology of hell especially include the love of God, the justice of God, the nature of God’s victory, and sin (guilt and corruption in Adam).
For those who reject the historic doctrine of hell, certain core questions/objections are often raised, especially: Would a loving God really send good people to hell? And wouldn’t the existence of hell throughout eternity mar God’s ultimate victory?
While those questions are sincere and understandable, the more I study the Bible, the more I am finding them to be the wrong questions. I am finding that they are frequently rooted in inadequate assumptions.
Take, for example, “would a loving God really send good people to hell?” The question is loaded. It defines God only in terms of love, does not give significant attention to the radical guilt of the sinner, and makes it sound as if God is thrilled to have people reject him and go to hell. A better question, and a question central for Paul in Romans, is “how can the biblical God (who is just, loving, holy, and so forth) forgive the guilty and allow them into his presence?”
"Perhaps the fundamental obstacle in embracing the biblical understanding of what happens beyond death, in particular what is traditionally called “hell,” is the rhetorical powers of misguided Christians who have exploited hell to persuade people to escape it."
So begins the new series Beyond the Abyss by Scot McKnight (author of The Blue Parakeet) which uses the book Razing Hell as a springboard for discussing the Biblical and historical understanding of one of the Scripture's most distressing doctrines.
It seems that over the past few years the discussion over Hell, which at one point seemed a rather non-debatable issue outside of a few details, has gained significant steam with many now challenging the traditional understanding.
Because of the nature of the question, tempers tend to run high on both sides. However it is, for a variety of reasons, an important question especially to many of the younger people in our churches.
It simply will not do to brush it aside casually.