Episode 30: Christ Minimized? with Jon Zens

Dr. Jon H. Zens joins Rethinking Hell contributor Chris Date to discuss universalism and his book, Christ Minimized? A Response to Rob Bell’s Love Wins.

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  • Elijah William Eby

    One of the most interesting questions Chris asked was, “do you think there there’s a moral philosophical or theological problem to begin with when it comes to the prospect of those going to hell to be punished for their sins when they never had the opportunity to hear or believe in the gospel?”

    Consider Romans 1:20-21

    “For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world, by the things made being understood, are plainly seen, both His eternal power and Godhead — to their being inexcusable; because, having known God they did not glorify [Him] as God, nor gave thanks, but were made vain in their reasonings, and their intelligent heart was darkened.”

    There is no problem with redemptive revelation (scripture, Jesus) being special because the rejection of salvation through Jesus is not the sin we’re we’re responsible for. Chris answers this question very well. But this distinction gets muddled when he or Steve Jeffrey appeal special revelation which is meant to redeem, as the foundation of moral law or metaphysical analysis, which must be clear from general revelation so as to leave men without an excuse. It must be clear from reason. This philosophical approach to metaphysics and ethics is too often pushed over for scriptural analysis and the implications thereof. Steve Jeffrey, I recall, called it “doing theology in a vacuum.” Reason and philosophy is not a vacuum. We are made so that we can know God and glorify him, apart from the bible, and that we haven’t is inexcusable.

    This mistake is made very explicit by people like Sye Ten Bruggencate and his appeal to Cornelius Van Til’s presuppositional apologetics. Scripture cannot be the foundation of a Christian’s worldview. It contradicts itself in Romans, and it contradicts reason in asserting that some are responsible for what they could not change because scripture is not available to some.

    I get that any kind of demotion of scripture is a hard sell to evangelicals, but I don’t see any way around it. Philosophy informs our moral beliefs, that doesn’t need to be a contradiction with what the bible says about morality, but it does mean that we ought to derive our beliefs about God and about what is good from natural theology rather than beginning with scripture as though its purpose is to teach metaphysical truths or moral law.

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Clarity-Gods-Existence-Enlightenment/dp/1556356951/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1374948775&sr=8-1&keywords=the+clarity+of+Gods+existence

Featured audio: Dr. Al Mohler & Chris Date debate
"Should Christians rethink Hell?" on Unbelievable?