In Part 1 of this review, we looked over the first two sections of Dr. Timothy Keller’s article, “The Importance of Hell.” Here in Part 2, we will pick up where we left off, starting with the third section of Keller’s article. After through the rest of the article in some detail, I will give my own concluding thoughts on the importance of hell.
Timothy Keller is a wildly popular Christian pastor and author, and understandably so. I myself highly recommend several of his books (such as Generous Justice and The Prodigal God).
His Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan has done all sorts of good in bringing God to the people, even bearing unexpected fruit like the bringing of liberal political commentator Kirsten Powers to Christ.1 There is no end of good things to say about Tim Keller.
Now, as many Christian leaders have done since the release of Rob Bell’s Love Wins in 2011, Keller has taken a stab at not only defending the traditional view, but also explaining its importance. He did so in piece that was very appropriately titled “The Importance of Hell.” Dr. Keller was also something of a theological hipster and wrote this article defending the traditional view it in 2009, before it was cool. Although this isn’t a very recent article, it is nonetheless a fairly well-read piece by a hugely popular name that is therefore worthy of examination. Ultimately, however, as we have seen time and time again when believers try to save the sinking ship that is traditionalism, Keller’s arguments for the doctrine are unsuccessful.
Continue reading “Review of "The Importance of Hell" By Timothy Keller – Part 1”
- Powers, Kirsten, “Fox News’ Highly Reluctant Jesus Follower,” (2013), reproduced at Christianity Today, n.d., http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2013/november/fox-news-highly-reluctant-jesus-follower-kirsten-powers.html (accessed on November 25, 2014
In Parts 1 and 2, we looked at arguments that were made specifically for the traditional view and saw why they fail when they are taken to their logical conclusions. In this installment of the series, we will be looking at things from a different angle. Here, we will be looking at a claim that some traditionalists make on an unrelated topic, and how, if the logical implications are considered, it would lend a substantial amount of weight towards annihilationism.
The topic at hand is .1 Continue reading “Hell and the Logical Implications of One's Arguments (Part 3) – Ezekiel 28 and the Devil”
- Unless otherwise noted, all scripture is quoted from the New American Standard Bible (NASB).Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
11 Moreover, the word of the Lord came to me: 12 “Son of man, raise a lamentation over the king of Tyre, and say to him, Thus says the Lord God:
“You were the signet of perfection,
full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
13 You were in Eden, the garden of God;
every precious stone was your covering,
sardius, topaz, and diamond,
beryl, onyx, and jasper,
sapphire, emerald, and carbuncle;
and crafted in gold were your settings
and your engravings.
On the day that you were created
they were prepared.
14 You were an anointed guardian cherub.
I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God;
in the midst of the stones of fire you walked.
15 You were blameless in your ways
from the day you were created,
till unrighteousness was found in you.
16 In the abundance of your trade
you were filled with violence in your midst, and you sinned;
so I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God,
and I destroyed you, O guardian cherub,
from the midst of the stones of fire.
17 Your heart was proud because of your beauty;
you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor.
I cast you to the ground;
I exposed you before kings,
to feast their eyes on you.
18 By the multitude of your iniquities,
in the unrighteousness of your trade
you profaned your sanctuaries;
so I brought fire out from your midst;
it consumed you,
and I turned you to ashes on the earth
in the sight of all who saw you.
19 All who know you among the peoples
are appalled at you;
you have come to a dreadful end
and shall be no more forever.”
A fairly common claim against evangelical conditionalism is that the Second Council of Constantinople of 553 A.D. condemned annihilationism as heresy.
This is meant to score big points in the church history argument against conditionalism (a method that is itself wrought with problems). In this case, the conditionalist has a much easier task than having to explain the shortcomings of the church history argument as a whole. When you actually read the text of the council, you find that this claim about our view being condemned in it isn’t even true in the first place.
Rethinking Hell contributor Joey Dear continues to discuss the meaning of death, what the Bible means when it speaks of living people as if dead, and what it all means for conditionalism, in part two of his series.
Continue reading “Episode 59: Death, Adam and Eve, and Ephesians 2:1, with Joey Dear (Part 2)”
The Red Herring
A simple, classic example of a logical fallacy is the red herring. As traditionalist Matt Slick (of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry) defines it, it is “introducing a topic not related to the subject at hand.”1 This fallacy is closely related to the non-sequitur, as discussed in Part 1. What distinguishes the red herring from the non-sequitur is that the red herring has an element of distraction. Rather than simply not addressing the issue, a red herring gives an answer that distracts from the actual issue at hand but poses as a legitimate response.
Continue reading “Logical Fallacies – Part 3: The Red Herring”
- Matt Slick, “Logical Fallacies or Fallacies in Argumentation,” Christian Apolegetics and Research Ministry, n.d., http://carm.org/logical-fallacies-or-fallacies-argumentation (Accessed on April 21, 2014).
Rethinking Hell contributor Joey Dear discusses the meaning of death, what the Bible means when it speaks of living people as if dead, and what it all means for conditionalism. Stay tuned for part two in an upcoming episode!
Continue reading “Episode 57: Death, Adam and Eve, and Ephesians 2:1, with Joey Dear (Part 1)”
Equivocation is a form of logical fallacy where an argument is made that uses different meanings of a word as though they were the same. An example would be something like this:
1. Sharp things cause balloons to pop.
2. John is a really sharp dresser.
3. Therefore, John causes balloons to pop.
Two different meanings of the word “sharp” are being confused, which causes us to come to a false conclusion. The fact that John dresses handsomely (making him a “sharp” dresser) doesn’t mean he pops balloons. Here, the metaphorical, idiomatic definition of sharp (“sharp dresser”) is confused with literal sharpness.
Continue reading “Logical Fallacies – Part 2: Equivocation”
Previously, when we looked at the importance of considering the logical implications of one’s arguments, we looked at a failed attempt to use physical laws to prove that all men live forever (in the way everyone means “live” except when talking about hell).1 Here, we will be looking at two more examples of arguments that fail when the logical implications are considered.
Immortality Through Creation In The Image of God
The fact that men are made in the image of God comes up in discussions on the nature of hell. This involves a number of ideas, but in no case does it succeed in demonstrating the eternal conscious existence of all people.
Continue reading “Hell and the Logical Implications of One's Arguments (Part 2)”
- See Part 1.
The Importance of Logically Valid Arguments
In all sorts of debates, well beyond just those on the nature of hell, having good logic, having sound reasoning, is essential to being correct. Sometimes logic is panned as being too “Greek” or too “Western” to apply to the Bible. But we aren’t talking about specific forms of arguing or classical rhetorical methods or standards that do indeed vary from culture to culture and era to era. We are talking about simple objective truth. Whether we think in a linear or non linear manner, or whether we use three-part syllogisms or multiple, unlabeled ideas spread throughout a paragraph, there is a point where something is either true or it isn’t. God either exists or he doesn’t. Either A equals B or it doesn’t.
No matter how much or how little we formalize it, and no matter how many or how few technical terms we use, we use logic every day. The same was true of the Hebrews in the Old Testament, and of the apostles, and even of Jesus. Any time you make any type of persuasive argument, you employ logic.
And where there is logic, there can be bad logic.