Saturday, October 8, 2011

Literal and Innerrant Are Not the Same Thing - Part II

Hello everyone. In a previous post titled "Literal and Inerrant Are Not the Same Thing," I pointed out how absurd the Bible becomes if we take every word absolutely literally (which is okay, because...inerrant and literal are not the same thing). There, I focused largely on the Old Testament, so here, I'll focus on the New Testament.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Neither Conditionalists Nor Traditionalists (Nor Universalists) Can Claim That They Rely on the "Plain Meaning" of Scripture

(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).

I am an annihilationist. I believe that the Bible teaches that the unsaved will be destroyed at the end of time, not subject to eternal torment as Christians have traditionally believed (though I do have some of the early church on my side).

One thing that comes up way too often is the claim that annihilationists have to twist clear passages of scripture, and have to rely on way to complex interpretations while traditionalists can take what the scripture says at face value, and therefore they are right.

I should note that annihilationists also make the claim that they are the ones who rely on the simple and apparent meanings of scripture (though they tend to emphasize it a lot less). Edward Fudge, in his otherwise very apt and helpful review of Robert Morey's Death and the Afterlife, does this. Ultimately, however...

Saturday, August 20, 2011

If Death Means Separation Between Body and Spirit, Then That Wouldn't Hurt Annihilationism At All

A common claim by annihilationists is that since the punishment of the unsaved is sometimes referred to as death, it helps annihilationism (since we know what dead bodies are like). Many (though not all) annihilationists are physicalists, or are dualists who believe in soul sleep, so to them, there is no conscious existence of any sort after death (until the resurrection when the body is made to be alive again). Since "death" describes the fate of the lost, you could see how this would be seen as supporting annihilationism. If they were clearly right about what death is, then we could leave it at that.

However, that is not a given. Also, since most traditionalists are dualists, it is worthy to note that, even if the immaterial soul does keep living on after death, the fact that the lost suffer "death"  still fits annihilationism better than it does the traditional view. This follow is an excerpt from "The Bible Teaches Annihilationism," from a section titled "The True Relationship Between Separation And Death":

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Calvinists And (Most) Arminians Agree On More Than We Think - Part II

Previously, we looked at how both Arminians and Calvinists believe in a sovereign God, despite the argument made by Calvinists to the contrary. Now, I want to look at it from the other side. Many Arminians claim that Calvinism falls apart when you take into account the passages that speak of God's desire to save all men. The reasoning goes that free will explains it perfectly, Calvinism cannot explain how God can desire the salvation of all when so many are not saved. However, there need not be any real disconnect. Both sides can hold to their view on election and still give reasonable and ultimately quite similar explanations for how God can desire the salvation of all without all being saved.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

My (Surprising) Review of Erasing Hell By Francis Chan & Preston Sprinkle

DISCLAIMER: If for some reason you don't want to know what conclusion they shouldn't be reading a review of the book!

Anyway, you can't be a 22 year-old evangelical Christian who has a Facebook without having heard the buzz about Francis Chan's new book, Erasing Hell (written with Preston Sprinkle). How many of my Facebook friends posted this youtube video in May and June? I don't know, but I know the answer is along the lines of several.

Now, I read the book (it ended up getting released last month instead of July 5th). As should surprise absolutely nobody, they conclude that Hell is...a place of eternal torment! Yes. But despite the fact that I disagree with their position, I actually think the book is a worthy read for other reasons.

Literal and Innerrant Are Not the Same Thing

DISCLAIMER: This blog post will refer to passages of the Bible that use ungodly sexual language that is innappropriate to ever talk about.

(I'm being sarcastic of course, making a point of how context matters and speaking of certain subjects, even in mixed company, is not always innappropriate or ungodly, since God Himself uses such language...)

Now, it has been said by some believers (much more so today than throughout time) that the Bible must be completely literal. After all, it is God's infalliable word to mankind, so it must mean exactly what it says. Also, since it is for all people, God mustn't use figurative language or metaphors that would not be readily understood by everyone. If we don't read it literally, how can we ever know what it really means? How can we really know if something is figurative vs. literal? And what would keep someone from just saying anything they don't like is just figurative (like most unbelievers do when they talk about Jesus as a great guy who didn't really die and rise from the grave)?

Monday, June 6, 2011

"If The Bible Wanted To Teach Annihilationism, It Would Have Said It Clearly!"

It is often claimed that the Bible never explicitly says anyone will cease to exist (since the ubiqitous references to the lost being destroyed use words that technically don't have to always mean absolute annihilation 100% of the time). Because it does not explicitly say that all men do not exist forever, it is argued then that it must teach eternal existence of all people.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Bad Philosophy Has No Place In Good Theology - Part 1: The Unevangelized, God's Love, and Free Will

Hello all. Today, I thought we'd take a look at how bad philosophy can interfere with good theology.

I will probably make a something of a series of this, because I have no end of material to draw off of.

Today, I'm going to look at a particular view on God's love, free will, and how it relates to the especially thorny issue of the unevangelized. Regarding the first two points, it is not an uncommon position that people have some degree of a free choice in choosing to follow Jesus or not, and that some people are not saved because they choose against God. This position is almost always accompanied by the claim that God loves everybody. God desires that everyone be saved, but real love means letting them choose. Although God easily could make everyone love and follow Him, He instead chooses to let people have a choice, because He loves them.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

The List of Top Phrases (that are not actually) From the Bible

Here are some fairly common sayings in Christian circles, some of which are actually mistaken by some to be in the bible, and some of which are merely treated as much.

"Children should be seen, not heard."

"God helps those who help themselves."

"(Anything to do with) your immortal soul."

"There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, 'Thy will be done,' and those to whom God says, in the end, 'Thy will be done.'"

"God is a gentleman."

"Only three things last forever: God, God's word, and the souls of people."

More to come...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Word About Universalism

I am a conditionalist, as you all know by now. Now, because it is the most popular view in Christian circles (and historically has been so), and because so much has been written about it, I tend to focus my efforts towards refuting the traditional view of Hell as a place of eternal torment or suffering of some sort. However, I also can't ignore the other immortalist view, that being universalism. If it is true that the wicked are all destroyed, then just as they can't be around for eternity to suffer, it also cannot be the case that they all end up being saved and given eternal life.

The following is another small portion from "The Bible Teaches Annihilationism." The full scriptural argument against universalism is long and not really appropriate for a blog. However, here are a few points to consider.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


Here is another excerpt from "The Bible Teaches Annihilationism," available for free on my website

It is not uncommon when reading a defense of the traditional doctrine for an argument to be made not from scripture, not even from philosophy, but simply from the possible negative effects of preaching annihilation. The two most common, which are fairly similar, are that annihilationism hampers missionary zeal, and that if you preach annihilationism, people will be less likely to repent.

Monday, February 14, 2011

An Easy Form Of "Bible Contradiction" To Explain - Acts 9:7 and 22:9 As An Example

There are all kinds of supposed bible difficulties that we have to deal with in defending the reliability of the bible. Some seeming contradictions can be a challenge to resolve, and perhaps require some speculation. Other difficulties can be pretty smoothly resolved with some work and study. And some are just really simple, and here is one variety that is easy to deal with.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Why The Metaphorical View Of Hell Falls Short

Here's another piece of "The Bible Teaches Annihilationism." Since so many believers today believe that while Hell is a place of eternal torment it is not a place of literal fire, I figured I should deal with this view. Unlike the overall doctrine of eternal torment, this one is relatively quick and easy to address.