Monday, March 10, 2014

Sin and Hell: thoughts on The Bible on Hell

The Seedbed Blog recently featured a three-part series concerning sin, hell, and the relationship of "sinners" and "going to hell". Timothy Christian, the author, is a pastor from Versailles, Kentucky and graduate of Asbury Theological Seminary.

Parts one and two do a fair job of reviewing the definitions and uses of the New Testament references to "hell". These represent a great start for anyone looking to do their own research. I feel that he did a very good job of keeping the information engaging without becoming too academic so to lose some readers.

Christian takes the uses of the references to "hell" in it's different Greek forms and weighs them on a scale of judgment toward sinners. Specifically he is providing the basis for an argument of whether or not the Bible (or more pointedly, the New Testament) claims that sinners are condemned to Hell. He takes each body of New Testament literary genre separately. In each category of Scripture, Christian determines that, in general, the New Testament is silent on the subject of condemnation to Hell for "sinners".

The third part of the series is Christian's synthesis of data in the previous two parts. I think he makes some good points to ponder for the American Church.

I stand completely with Christian regarding his opinion on evangelism. Using Hell as a threat to motivate people (although it doesn't work like it used to) is not a "good news" evangelism. Attacking a person's lifestyle choices is not a helpful tactic, either. Condemnation and being judgmental will not win hearts and minds to a loving God.

I don't agree completely with Christian's final addendum. My beliefs on eschatology and eternal living take me in a slightly different direction. But overall I believe these are a place for healthy, Christian dialogue to begin.