Friday, March 18, 2011

3 Views of Hell

About 5 years ago I was studying and struggling through the issue of the fate of the wicked. I felt pretty lonely as I slowly became more and more convinced, from Scripture, that torment does not likely go on forever. Over the past 5 years I've become more concrete that this view (conditional immortality) is correct, though I am still open to change.

I don't feel as lonely now. The issue of hell has been raised afresh by Rob Bell's book which caused a fire-storm before it was even read. I don't know what Bell concludes (sounds like he's closer to the universal reconciliation view), but he's proven to be enough of a name to bring this issue front and center. A number of prominent scholars and church leaders have chimed in.

Ben Witherington, for instance, just said this on his blog...
"I am open to persuasion either to eternal torment or anihilationism, but I just think on the whole the latter view explains more of the Biblical evidence and is more consistent with the full character of God. But I freely admit, I could be wrong."

I am comforted to see another well-respected evangelical testify, at least, to the legitimacy of the debate and, in this case, actually be willing to place himself in the camp of the minority. This is sometimes necessary before a large scale doctrinal shift can take place.

If you're new to this issue and have some time for a short audio introduction to the 3 views, click HERE. I consider Steve Gregg not only a friend, but also my favorite Bible teacher.