William Lane Craig vs. Chris Date (Sort Of): WLC Botches the Atonement in a Question of the Week

Here at Rethinking Hell, we’ve been interacting with relevant comments by Christian philosopher William Lane Craig, and trying to enter into dialogue with him, since nearly the beginning of the ministry. In our very first episode of Rethinking Hell Live in 2019, I critique statements made by Craig in several clips. One of our oldest videos on YouTube is Glenn Peoples’s 2013 review of a clip I filmed at an Apologetics Canada conference, in which Craig mangles 2 Thessalonians 1:9. Joey Dear, in a 2020 blog article, debunks the way Craig often leverages the distinction between the Greek words bios and zōē (as I do below). As we’re both prolific debaters, I dream of debating Craig on the nature and duration of hell. I’ve personally reached out to him on several occasions—a half dozen times or so in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019—inviting him to be interviewed, speak at conferences, and engage with us in other ways. Sadly, Craig declined each such invitation and has thus far chosen not to interact with any of our work, let alone me, specifically.

Until now.

Well, sort of. Continue reading “William Lane Craig vs. Chris Date (Sort Of): WLC Botches the Atonement in a Question of the Week”

Death or Eternal Suffering—Which One Reveals How Much Jesus Loves You? (A Response to Timothy Keller)

Timothy Keller is a widely respected Christian pastor and much-needed public voice. But even our best and brightest are prone to saying questionable things due to the implications of their doctrine of hell. A case in point is Pastor Keller’s recent tweet: “Unless you believe in Hell, you will never know how much Jesus loves you.” This statement proved to be quite controversial, leading Keller in subsequent tweets and comments to seek to clarify what he had meant.

Now, to those like myself who believed for decades that the Bible taught a hell of eternal torment, Keller’s statement doesn’t seem controversial at all. It hits all the right notes for conservative evangelicals, and just feels appropriately pious and true. It’s one of those statements you whip out when you want to defend hell from its liberal or postmodern detractors. There are many variations on the theme—to do with God’s love, glory, holiness, or even His willingness to defer to the sinner’s own desires—but in each case the basic formula is the notion that the worse hell looks, the better God looks by contrast.

For example, if you think that the idea of a loving Creator tormenting people should cause us to raise at least one eyebrow, simply realize that people in hell are tormenting themselves, and you’ll soon feel much better about the whole thing. In time, you will see that God is really being magnanimous for giving them a separate place to do so. You know, forever.

Continue reading “Death or Eternal Suffering—Which One Reveals How Much Jesus Loves You? (A Response to Timothy Keller)”