Who Goes To Hell?

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206 Responses

  1. Michael says:

    These are my thoughts and what I believe…they are not believed to be straight from Sinai, nor do I speak them as such.
    My hope is to get us to think and reason together…not have a doctrinal war.
    Your irenic comments are welcomed.

  2. London says:

    Hitler. (Just thought if get that out of the way early in the thread) 😉

  3. Michael says:

    Thanks. 🙂

  4. Em says:

    this is a really good ponder, Michael…what a wonder that God for Whom sin is antithetical and abhorrent, besides, became flesh – to the death …
    i was going to comment some more, but it probably wouldn’t be irenic

  5. Michael says:


    The older I get, the worse I know I am and the more that grace means to me.
    The old saying about the ground being level at the foot of the cross won’t allow me to look down on anyone from it.

  6. Jean says:

    That “but…what if…” is a tough one. There are maybe a half dozen “judgment” passages in the Epistles, yet they don’t get satisfactory treatment in most theology books. What is judgment for the Christian?

  7. Babylon's Dread says:

    Clearly all I can do is thank God that I AM NOT LIKE ONE OF THESE… 😉

    Michael… you do love to tell us about grace but it inevitably ends with the kids fighting.

  8. Michael says:


    That’s why on most days I write and run…today I had to fill out some online applications so I’m still here.
    I’m on my way out the door before the food fight commences, however… 🙂

  9. Michael says:


    That really is an excellent question…most Protestants don’t like the passages that clearly state there will be a judgment according to works.
    I don’t believe that judgment is salvific…but it’s a judgment for sure.
    What that entails is beyond my pay grade.

  10. Em says:

    Michael, the older i get, the more God’s love means to me… i used to think that defining it as an eternal attribute made it sort of static… like a child who is loved feels about a parent’s love, perhaps? but what a wonder it is…

    i think – risking not being irenic – that hell has to be because there must be a place to send/confine the evil that obviously is outside of law and grace… irreconcilable

  11. OK, is this a trick question? The Bible clearly states who goes to hell.

    “…but the goats on the left… “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels…. And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

  12. Michael says:


    That’s simple.
    Now, the real question is how one becomes a sheep or a goat…

  13. Michael says:


    That # 10 was good stuff…

  14. Michael,
    If you note in Matt 25, God separates the sheep from the goats. They are already sheep or goats … they don’t become.

  15. Michael says:


    That still begs the question of what makes one a sheep and another a goat.
    If we only read Matt 25, it would be solely on the basis of works.

  16. Michael, I know you usually don’t like the way I ask rebuttal questions, but are you saying that a goat can turn himself into a sheep?

  17. Read closely, the sheep had no idea they were doing sheep stuff. So if they don’t know they are doing sheep stuff, how is a goat going to learn to do sheep stuff.

  18. Michael says:


    I didn’t say that.
    I’m a Calvinist. 🙂
    What I’m asking you to define is what makes one a sheep and another a goat.
    You referenced Matt 25 and were welcomed to Rome…because all it states in that chapter is works.

  19. Linda Pappas says:

    I wonder when Jesus descended into Abraham’s bosom to preach the good news, if those who were there fell on their knees and repented.

    God knew David’s heart. He also knew David repentance was that which was genuine.

    Other than this until Jesus gave up His life for us, who was born again. Therefore, who all would have been in Abraham’s bosom and who would not have been.

  20. Michael says:

    Time for me to pick up the boy…I’m out.
    Everyone play nice.

  21. Michael,
    “because all it states in that chapter is works.”
    I would invite you to Wittenburg by having you join me and ask “whose work?”

  22. richard says:

    I tend to think of the thief next to Jesus on the cross. “this day you will be with me in paradise” no good works just repentance of the heart

  23. This is quite simple for me,

    “The story was about a couple that had tortured their small child until he died from the abuse.”

    Any parent who tortures their small child, child, adult child, fatherless child, motherless child… THAT parent evil.

    Apply this all beings possessing will & volition.
    No equivocation.

  24. Linda Pappas says:

    For Starters:

    Matthew 25

    34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

    35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

    36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

    37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

    38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

    39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

    40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

    41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

    42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:

    43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

    44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

    45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

    46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

  25. Linda Pappas says:

    “37 Then shall the righteous answer him”

  26. Linda – interesting that you left off the verses that set up the context.

  27. Em says:

    #17 – to what extent are we to examine the attributes of these two animals when applying the principle?
    the only application i can make is that sheep will feed where you lead them and goats? can they even be led? dunno… oh! one other thing mebbe – goats will eat anything… 🙂

  28. Linda Pappas says:


    The guy on the cross did repent—and then died. But what if he had not been on the cross, how then was he to live his life. The guy on cross did what he could for the time that he had left. No time left—to do anything else, but to repent.

    Not many get this last chance to do so, or at least know it’s now or never.

  29. Jim says:

    I like BD’s #7. We’re all sons of Adam.

    If the Bible affirmed universalism, I’d rejoice, because in heaven we will be changed. No sin, no tears, no pain. Good news for those who sin a lot, and for those who think they “sin every once in a while”.

    As it stands, God only saves those who are His. If surprise is possible in heaven, we’re all in for some big ones.

  30. The guy on the cross DID do good works … he witnessed to the other guy on the cross.

  31. Q says:

    It seems ( according to Michael’s interpretation) all those who do not get the gift of faith.
    Which brings up some interesting questions, if so, how does one get the gift of faith?
    God’s sovereignty? Should I pray for the gift of faith? Is regeneration required so some time in the future I can receive the gift of faith?

  32. Faith comes by hearing God’s word

  33. Linda Pappas says:

    MLD—You set up the context by referencing Mat 25.

    If you look at my post again, note that I referenced it at well.

  34. but you did not begin at v31 and there is the context.

  35. Linda Pappas says:

    MLD—yes, he did–but not just to the other guy, and to at least one other person who heard and decided to write it down, so that we would also received his testimony of faith.

  36. Em says:

    the gift of faith? hmmm
    faith can be quantified, i.e., we can pray for our faith to increase (from a little wavering belief to a stronger confidence…)
    but it escapes me how anyone comes to the conclusion that we passively have it (faith) fall on us… even when we are confronted unexpectedly with the truth of God (whatever aspect of it), we must respond… it is grace bringing evidence of God that sparks something in us
    something ‘sparked’ in one of the thieves crucified alongside Christ – honesty? humility?

  37. Linda Pappas says:

    MLD—if that’s what you understand then just add that as what you think and would like to share, instead of getting into I didn’t do this or that.

    Now, why do you think the key verse that you mentioned is the key verse, when you referenced Mat 35 when speaking of the sheep and goats?

    Not here to contend with you—-would very much like to hear what you have to say on this.

  38. Kevin H says:

    The story referenced at the beginning of this article happened in the Philly area. I have seen it many times over the past few days. I too have not had the stomach to read the details. I have only wished that couple would burn in hell. I know that God has the power to save them. I don’t want Him to. I need an attitude adjustment.

  39. Linda Pappas says:


    I know, huh. Faith is like a muscle that grows stronger as you exercise it. If you believe in something, then just how much you believe is going to be depend on what you do or don’t do. if nothing, it becomes atrophied. But then again, you could be doing something that totally misses the boat entirely and still stays weak. So is that misplaced faith?

  40. JTK says:

    WHO cleans up their stories?!?!

  41. Linda, the context is important because God did not declare some sheep and some goats. They were sheep and goats and he divided them and passed judgment based on who they were.
    Without this context, you end up with people wondering, how do I become a sheep.

    I think Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation makes this clear.

  42. brian says:

    “Hitler” maybe but the bankers and war mongers are at the top of my list on both sides of the Atlantic.

  43. Mark says:

    Gods grace (his unmerited favor) pours forth from a pure heart capable of unconditional love. Our defiled hearts cannot comprehend such love until the Spirit in dwells us. Even then it is hard to practice such love without surrender, moment by moment to Christ within us. All sin no matter how heinous or trivial will separate us from the Father. But in His mercy He made a Way for us. It is mysterious. It is incomprehendable. It is beautiful. And I thank Him every morning for His deliverance

  44. Em says:

    the book says that faith comes by hearing (God’s word), but doesn’t that imply more than just simply hearing… a car drives by and i hear it and know that a car went by… so what?
    i think – dunno – that hearing implies building a frame of reference, an understanding and is more mental, as in “renewing of the mind” Romans 12:2,3 – perhaps, the more we grow in faith the better our walk will be? but in the end, grace and mercy from God the Father will get us sheep there, even with stubbed toes and sore feet from our detours along the way i think

  45. Jean says:


    You were the one who brought up and sheep and the goats (M. 25) and mentioned the importance of context. So, on that basis, and with due respect, I am going to correct you.

    In Jesus’ gospel, His mission, in context, is to the lost children of Israel (i.e., those considered outcasts and sinners by the religious authorities), and the people who go to hell are the religious authorities and leaders who did not help the poor. Here is a sample that makes this clear

    “For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

    “He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and treated others with contempt….” [The Pharisee and the Tax Collector]

    “And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table….” [The Rich Man and Lazarus]

    “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practices.”

    When we get to M. 25, it is the people who took care (in various ways) of the least of “these my brothers” who are vindicated.

    Jesus’ gospel is not an indictment against the Law or those who practice the law; it is a straight up indictment against those who do not practice the law (of love) in their treatment of the poor.

  46. Linda Pappas says:

    Em, #45

    In terms of what you shared, it brings to mind Matthew 13:3-23.

  47. Linda Pappas says:


    That’s an interesting perspective on that passage, but I disagree. Good to know what the Lutheran take is on it though.

    For me, the passage tells me that like James has told us Works with out faith is dead and so is faith without works. Those that think for a minute that they can ignore others in need focusing upon the law and traditions are seriously in trouble.

    And when He comes to Judge, He will separate those who are outwardly in Him, but inwardly their heart was never changed to truly do the work of the Spirit, but rather the work of the flesh (goats), from those who did have their hearts changed by their new nature did gladly do that which was set for them to “get” to do (sheep).

  48. Linda Pappas says:


    In reading the material from the link you posted, the terms used: mortal and venial, reminded me of the catechism I used to take part in. Seems to me the author could have been much plainer in his (or her, yeah I know 🙂 ) presentation.

    I just don’t think God meant for His Word to be ripped apart and partition off in the many directions men have taken it.

    If we have the Holy Spirit, then whatever good that we do, do is totally wrought by Him in our hearts and in the choices that we make.

    I believe that Jesus was also comparing the people with the leaders, but not saying one group was all good and the others were all bad. Although He did take the latter to task for being so off base with the law and the deeper meanings of the law ever being given to them in the first place. I think Jesus also meant to show all people that there was a way to walk in Him and there was way not to walk in Him. For Jesus told the people to do what they were teaching them, but not to do as they did: living a life of hypocrisy, pride, and arrogance, while misusing any authority they had been given.

  49. Linda Pappas says:

    Correction (last paragraph @ 49)

    “and NOT APPLYNG the deeper meanings of the law ever being given to them in the first place ”

    I agree with Jean’s statement @ 46: “Jesus’ gospel is not an indictment against the Law or those who practice the law; it is a straight up indictment against those who do not practice the law (of love) in their treatment of the poor.”

    For the law without love is tyranny and a horrible millstone around one’s neck. And love without the law is not love at all, for God is a just God, as much as He is a God of mercy and grace.

  50. The Protestant Reformation is on the hook along with Evangelicalism of the last century for reframing the Gospel in terms of going to heaven or hell. Nowhere in the Biblical corpus is that the basis of the Gospel. NO WHERE. The apostolic preaching does not bear it out. The preaching of Jesus concerned Israel’s impending doom which of course would settle the covenant exclusion of many people of his day. But the Gospel was always in terms of the King and his Kingdom.

    I have said this before and will again. NO WHERE does the Bible say anyone goes “to heaven when they die” that phrase is not in the Bible … nor is “go to heaven” even there.

    A generation responded to that preaching but we are running out of stuff to fear.
    Catholics made people fear purgatory to collect indulgences
    Protestants made people fear hell to get them to pray the Jesus prayer
    Evangelicals made people fear being LEFT behind..,
    The shelf life on fear mongering the goods is waning.
    Our Gospel remains to be preached… but we need to discover it

  51. Q says:

    The title question was “Who Goes To Hell”?

    It is pretty unanimously agreed that those who have faith (in Jesus dying for the their sins) will not go to hell, Michael said faith is a gift (reformed theology), probably referencing Eph 2:8.

    How does one receive this gift of faith? Is it God’s sovereignty? Or what must a person do to get the ‘gift of faith’?

    Or is the gift not faith but rather salvation? By grace through faith.

  52. Jean,
    You answered something I never addressed. My point in the context of the sheep and goats was;
    (1) Jesus stated who goes to hell – which was the topic question – I never identified who were the sheep nor who were the goats
    2.) The context being that sheep are sheep and goats are goats. A goat, whoever that may be, absolutely cannot clean up their life and become something else.
    3.) It’s who God says you are.

  53. Linda,
    That link was not about Matt 25 – but if you understand what Luther is saying, you won’t have those problems in trying to figure out the works a person must perform.

  54. The phrase “go to hell” has ONE reference … cited in Matthew and Mark and refers to the Valley of Hinnon or Gehenna … Matt 5:30 Mk 9:43 the famous cut your hand off text

    Universalizing an imagery for effect ultimately diminishes the great thing we are preaching.

    The old claim “the Bible says when you die you will either go to heaven or to hell” just ain’t so it is a derived notion.

    Heaven is used 286 in the NT and 734 TOTAL… you would think we would use the word more approximately the way the scriptures use it…

    Now I know this sends people scurrying .. but one thing I am tired of is the people who claim to be Sola Scriptura so badly mangling the text.

    Just study the doctrine of the Holy Spirit in Calvin and Luther and study the Bible text and you will not be able to believe they speak of the same realities. The Reformers are so devoted to the mess they are in with regard to justifying infant baptism that all the talk goes to regeneration and the Holy Spirit becomes a step in the ordo salutis and regular people who actually read the Bible cannot find their place as relates to the sacramentalism

    I have become so much a part of radical reformation that I understand why some people refuse to be called protestants.

    Rant over…

  55. Here is one big difference we have in looking at the Christian faith and it is huge. Say that I am wrong if you want but you cannot deny the difference we have. In reading the comments and questions presented by Em, Linda, Jean and Q it is apparent that you think the Bible is about the Christian and you continually search for what the Christian must do. How fast do I need to turn up the treadmill to keep pace with what God wants from me?

    I look at the scriptures as being about Jesus and what he has done … and what he has done is a finished issue. Why people struggle over this … well, I don’t get it. The fruit in my life comes 100% from and through Jesus – I don’t do it. He is the vine and I am the branch. The branch does nothing but allow the fruit to grow. A Christian cannot do a thing to make the fruit better, bigger or more productive.

    You guys remind me of the farmer that yells at his tree to grow faster, grow more. Be at peace, just let God work through you.

    As to faith coming to us through the word – yes it does. God promises to give faith through his word. God’s word does exactly what it says it will do. We don’t have our own faith and we don’t build our own faith.

    viva la difference

  56. Jean says:

    No MLD, you’re taking it out of context. Sheeps and goats is a simile. They will be judged and separated like sheeps and goats based on what they did during their lives. It doesn’t say some were born goats.

  57. Babs,
    “I have become so much a part of radical reformation that I understand why some people refuse to be called protestants.”

    I refuse to be called a protestant. So are we radical brothers. 🙂

  58. As for MLD

    That last post was GOLDEN… we agree

    And he just took the Gospel from the question of heaven and hell and put it on the greatness of Jesus and his accomplishment.

    We can go far together on that one.

  59. Linda Pappas says:


    Is it “grace” that is a gift from God or is it “faith” that is a gift from God?

    Is “grace” and attribute of God who bestowed it upon us providing a way to be reconciled to Him?

    If Faith is a choice, then that would certainly fall in line with many scripture in terms of humans being held responsible for their decision, indecision, or denial of Him. But if faith is something that is given to humans through no choice of their own, then what would that say about anyone being sent to hell? Also, are there two different types of faith. Is there a faith that a person chooses due to hearing the Word of Truth. Is there a faith given to those to be able to walk in the Way and in obedience to His Word.

    Ephes ch. 2:8 (KJV)

    8For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

    Jesus talked about eternal damnation many times.

  60. Jean says:

    No, MLD, my post was not what I think, it was what Jesus said said His mission was and how he said people would be judged. If you think I got Jesus wrong, that’s a discussion topic, but don’t tell me what I think.

    Furthermore, BD is correct. The gospel is about what God did and is doing in the world: King and kingdom.

  61. Jean,
    First i never said anyone was born anything.
    Second, you are not reading the passage correctly. Look, he separates FIRST because he knows who is who – then he rewards & judges.

    But look at v.35 – “…inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” These sheep were living out the life laid out for them… because of who they are. They are people who just naturally take care of others – without even knowing they were doing it.

    The goat people live their life like they are doing good … but as you would see in Luther’s link above even the good works are ‘mortal sin’ because of motive.

  62. Q says:


    I do not believe what Michael does, my question is if Michael’s interpretation is correct, it brings up some interesting questions.

    If a person is saved by grace through faith, and faith is a ‘gift’, do only some get this gift by God’s sovereignty e.g., reformed theology, and some don’t? or how?

  63. Dinner time. Wow 7:45 … we eat too late.

  64. Jean says:

    “How fast do I need to turn up the treadmill to keep up with what God wants from me?”

    MLD, That’s a false choice. God wants 100% of you. That’s what it means to profess Jesus Christ as Lord. Let me know if you need the relevant Scriptures.

  65. Q says:


    Everything we have e.g., life, breath, etc. is a gift from God.

    I also believe choice is a gift from God.

    Salvation is what is being spoken about in Eph 2:8 and it is the gift being spoken about, not faith. I also believe there is the spiritual gift of faith, that is different.

  66. Jean says:


    That’s where Luther and you get the parable wrong. There is no motive attributed to the goats. They simply didn’t care for the least… So, there were no works.

  67. Q says:


    I believe when Michael told you faith was a gift, that is an incorrect understanding. If he is correct it brings up some interesting questions.

  68. Linda Pappas says:

    MLD — yes, I know I reference the wrong chapter, but really, don’t think the reader would know what I meant to reference.

    Yes, I understand what the writer was saying about works. At the same time, I don’t believe scripture agrees with this as Paul has told us there are works of the flesh and works of the spirit and so does Peter and James. And when we are on the mark, God does count it towards our righteousness, just as He did with Rahab, Abraham, Sarah, Job, and that great clouds of witness that surrounds us saints, here on earth, who walks in obedience doing His will that has been wrought in us by the Holy Spirit.

  69. Q says:

    Matthew 25 is not about the church, it involves those who are here during the Lords return.

    MLD is getting his ideas from those who were attempting to reform the Roman Catholic church.

  70. Jean says:

    What MLD did, in trying to be cute in answering Michael’s title question, was he botched the interpretation of that simile in Matt 25. It actually says the very opposite of what Lutherans believe.

  71. Q says:

    The reason I bring up “faith is a gift teaching” is if true, not having this gift would send people hell.

    Does everyone get this gift and some don’t exercise it correctly? Or is it a different kind of faith that some get? Or do only some get this gift and if so why?

  72. Em says:

    “. ..In reading the comments and questions presented by Em, Linda, Jean and Q it is apparent that you think the Bible is about the Christian and you continually search for what the Christian must do. How fast do I need to turn up the treadmill to keep pace with what God wants from me?”


    “the Bible is about what the Christian must do”… “continually searching” for what to do?

    say what?

    i believe with – good reason – in the new (spiritual) birth and i am 100% about the renewing of the mind – the result of the ‘brainwashing’ (which is mostly found in the Bible) is a life in Christ and, as you so cleverly point out with your tree example – rooted and grounded, life in Christ grows and produces – like your tree
    if one can passively turn up for confession and holy communion and grow, well … more power to you

    as to heaven and hell and mankind’s expected location after passing from this earth? isn’t “heaven” really used as a shorthand for present with our Lord? as to hell? well, there’s the rich man and the beggar (which i am sure BD has taken into account?) … where exactly was that rich man after dying? not in Abraham’s bosom awaiting the resurrection… and it was hot and real unpleasant, wherever he was…

    anybody else here expecting the temp to go about 10 degrees below freezing tonight? maybe hell gives one freezer burn or something… all i know is my hope is in Christ, not in my coping skills

  73. Jean says:

    Q, those are valid questions. However, you need to ask one more question: faith in what? We can’t assume the questions we are asking are always being answered in a particular text.

  74. Jean says:

    For those interested in context, the narrative of the sheep and goats comes directly after the parable of the talents. There’s some context for ya MLD 🙂

  75. Linda Pappas says:


    I know this, but wanted to know what you or anyone else might say. 🙂

    God gave humans free will and a mind to reason these things through. Sure glad He also spoke to people along the way, whereas, we have the Word and the Spirit to rely upon to keep everything right side up.

    Which brings me to thinking about Paul in Roman 1, when he tells us that no one is without excuse.

  76. Linda Pappas says:

    On earth, by the way, goats can become genuine sheep. If they repent walk in faith.

  77. Jean,
    “For those interested in context, the narrative of the sheep and goats comes directly after the parable of the talents. There’s some context for ya MLD ”

    I won’t deny your interpretation. As I said, there is a huge divide in what we think. You are strictly locked on works orientation. I understand that your position is not unto salvation, but you cannot tell the difference. Also, the only way you have assurance of salvation is to look inward to your own works to evaluate your own Christian transformation.Those who did good go to heaven for having done good continually and those who do bad go to hell for doing bad consistently..

    My view is those who are kingdom people do good in Jesus Christ, not of their own doing and not of their own striving – this is why we are surprised when our good is pointed out.- those who are outside of Christ have their works judged as unworthy because they are not in Christ.

  78. Jean,
    You can say that my view of Matt 25 is a Lutheran view, but then I don’t know why a non Lutheran would want to deny Jesus’ very words when he says “And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

    Do you really deny my view that the goats, whoever they are, go to eternal punishment?

  79. Jim says:

    So, who is the founder and perfecter (or author and finisher) of my faith? Me?

  80. Em says:

    Jim, that is the key question, eh? … it is God working in us, is it not? … we are vessels, but are we participants?

    time to call it a day

    God keep

  81. Anne says:

    Good question, JIm. Which leads us to the conundrum that if God so loved the world ie. everyone, so much that he sacrificed his only begotten son, why would some be allowed to be born in God’s foreknowledge that he would neither grant nor perfect the required faith within them? Predestined from the beginning of time as fuel for the eternal fires of hell?

  82. Anne, why would you think in that category? The Bible makes no mention of that scenario at all. The Bible does seem to say that all who go to heaven do so because of God’s grace and that those who go to hell do so because of their own sin,rebellion and refusal of the grace.

    God does provide the required faith to all – some just toss it in the trash.

  83. Ixtlan says:

    I hate injustice, oppression and cruelty and these things make me glad there is a hell. However, with God, His judgments are holy, righteous, and good. For me, I cannot escape my own depravity as I wrestle with the dualistic notions of wanting to see the world get saved while wanting to see some in hell. Rarely can I reconcile my unjust heart that desires cruelty extended toward the oppressors. I wish annihilationism was a realistic option.

  84. Anne says:

    Why would I think such things? Trying to wrap my head around something that is constantly in tension and endlessly debated – namely the role of freewill v. predestination as underlying the idea of who goes to hell.

  85. Steve Wright says:

    I’m not sure I follow (or agree) with Babs. The focus on specific words seems to miss the larger point..sort of like discussing whether Trinity is found in the Bible.
    If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

    Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?

    Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

    (and there are plenty of others…)

  86. brian says:


    I know people online and a few off that think this guy is a liberal and has a very very high view of man. Put your thoughts on a screen, you know the more I listen to this the more I realize it is utter nonsense. When does a thought become a sin, how many seconds does it take before a fleeting passing notion becomes a sin against God. Evil from a babe. I have also worked with several dozen people who had the strength of several 18 year olds and the cognitive level of an 18 month old, to a one none of them were not violent. Hitler restrained by the common grace of God, nope Hitler was defeated by millions of soldiers and citizens dying. Of course children are self centered this is really ridiculous.

  87. Steve Wright says:

    Ixtlan, I taught very much along the lines you just shared @84 in Bible College tonight. I hope the balance got through to them…

  88. Man does not have free will – man’s will is bound. But the Bible does not talk at all about people being predestined to hell.
    But what does the Bible say about living in God’s kingdom, today, in the now. It’s all there for all.

  89. Steve Wright says:

    Hitler was defeated by millions of soldiers and citizens dying.
    Yep. And all the years of planning Operation Overlord would succeed or fail based on one primary thing….the weather.

    Bad weather led to Rommel leaving to go to his wife’s birthday and the overall (false) confidence that the invasion would not happen when it did.

    And while that bad weather made those opening hours brutal, both the airborne drop and the initial landings, it also cleared enough early enough to give the Allies (who owned the air by that point) opportunity to provide the support needed for the invasion to succeed.

    And the war to be won.

    And “somehow” the Allies predicted the weather accurately, and the Nazis otherwise.

    Such things are what are meant in connection to “the providence of God”

  90. brian, I am not a Paul Washer fan, but the Law side of his message was right on. The video cut out just at the beginning of the gospel portion, so i hope he was just as enthusiastic.

    But he is just another semi Pelagian who believes there are 2 ways to God.

  91. brian says:

    MLD I was getting to that when I had to go get the cat some food at the store because hell hath no furrry than a hungry cat. I get your point. I have listened to the entire message. It still well does not connect to reality from how I understand it. But that is just me

  92. Andrew says:


    What is the Lutheran understanding of being born again? Coming from my reformed background I always understood this be when God regenerates us by simultaneously giving us faith to believe and hence becoming saved. But if you are saying that “God does provide the required faith to all – some just toss it in the trash.” I am confused when a Lutheran would understand when one becomes born again. If its a baptism than not all receive that and hence my confusion.

  93. brian says:

    Steve were you inside my car on the way to get the cat food? That is exactly what I was saying in the car when the guy next to me strange as I was having a theological discussion with myself. 🙂

  94. Jean says:

    “Man does not have free will – man’s will is bound.”

    Again, MLD, the systematic theology you argue proof texts its arguments by plucking verses out of Scripture here and there, as though Scripture is primarily to be sifted for abstract principles. Unfortunately, that’s what other people also do who argue for a different theology. When you and they do that, truth becomes what the most brilliant theologian says it is.

    The Bible has a strong free will component in it. Here is a sample:

    “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”

    “Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.”

    “If you love me, keep my commands.”

    I don’t deny that the Bible also says things that talk against free will, but the Bible we have dis-comforts and much as it comforts.

    Getting back to Jesus, yes, he was interested in what is in a person’s heart. But when he judged the hearts of the religious leaders, over and over again he did so by calling attention to what they did or didn’t do regarding the poor, sinners and outcasts. And, that’s exactly what his brother, James, talked about in his letter. Gee, I wonder why?

  95. Jean,
    My 83 & 89 were standalone comments to Anne aside from anything else in the thread. But I am surprised that you didn’t comment that I denied both the Aminian (free will) position and the Calvinist (predestnation to hell) position. There was no systematic position on my part and I quoted no scripture… so, ‘Whatcha talkin bout Willis?’

    Now I do suggest you will need to brush up a bit on the bound will.
    1.) it deals with the things above only. You are still free to choose this morning between Captain Crunch or Frosted Flakes, between boxers or tighty whities
    2.) Can man just wake up one day with no interaction or intervention from God and just choose to be saved? I say it is impossible — you say?

    So, if man’s will is free in the things of God, then the only thing man lacks is information. Give him enough information, a little persuasion then he can make an informed decision for Jesus … Right? Chevy or Ford? God or no God? Jesus or Buddha?

    Now to your quotations – they are all made to believers. They may be disobedient or rebellious but they have already had the interaction with God and are now being told to make proper decisions. It is like Joshua when he challenges the people to choose as he has to follow the Lord. These were already circumcised people of the covenant.

  96. Andrew,
    “What is the Lutheran understanding of being born again?”
    We really don’t think in terms those terms. Born again may be the end result of conversion.

    If you are asking do we believe as I have seen several times a message preached on something like David numbering his troops and getting in trouble and at the end of the message the pastor asking “now would you like to know this Jesus? (what Jesus? he wasn’t even mentioned in the message) – raise your hand, come up front, repeat this prayer after me, if you were sincere when you said that prayer you are now saved – welcome to the family.” the answer would be no.

    Do we believe in a one and done? No

    The Bible says that faith comes by hearing God’s word. Saving faith is available to all and God has chosen to deliver it through his word. So 2 guys sitting next to each other for several weeks at church – one gets saved and the other not – do we say guy A received faith and guy B did not? No, both received the faith (because it was delivered in the word), one accepted it and the other rejected it – but the delivery of faith was completed.

    Baptism is another story and I don’t have the time right now.

  97. Bob says:

    I always am amazed about how people and organizations can have a clean-cut view and opinions on such things. It just smells of an attitude of, “it’s not my problem!”

    Where’s the passion to bring the words of God to people? Where’s the love for God that is so great that one can’t not want to spread His words to others? Where’s the love for one’s neighbor that is so great he will pick him up, feed him, clothe him and make sure his needs are met so that he can hear the words of God?

    NO it’s a Mark Driscoll world we live in.

  98. Lutherans teach baptismal regeneration Andrew… that’s what they mean by born again.

  99. If we are going to talk about hell we should ask what happens there… I know we have been over this before but hey… what have we not gone over before.

    MLD is teaching the Reformed view of free will… Has he pointed to Luther’s work on this? Surely he has pointed the masses to The Bondage of the Will

    But if we are going to have a proper view of Hell and if we are going to dissect who goes there we ought to ask what happens “where the worm does not die and the fire is not quenched”

    Hell is where old creation is eliminated finally forever.

    Since MLD is making havoc of evangelical stereotypes … here is another…. I tried earlier but no one bit… I’ll take another route … “Everyone lives forever it is just a matter of where”
    Yes that is another statement that isn’t in the Bible and isn’t in evidence. Here is what is in evidence… Life after death, resurrection, judgement … what is not in evidence is immortality apart from Christ… That is a very hard doctrine to prove… you can prove that everyone survives death for judgment you cannot prove that everyone survives judgement and lives forever …. somewhere

  100. Michael says:


    There’s little that annoys me more than comments like your #98.
    You assume that people having a discussion about theology aren’t concerned about the things you mention.
    That’s not necessarily true and it’s rude as hell.

  101. Michael says:

    I also have a “Reformed” view of free will.
    Reading through this thread it’s as if the Reformation never happened…

  102. Michael says:


    I don’t have a very developed theology of hell…I don’t think there’s enough information to be dogmatic.
    I do know there has to be something wherein God balances the books and justice is done.

  103. Jean says:

    “Reading through this thread it’s as if the Reformation never happened…”

    Or, maybe it’s as if the Reformation is in need of further reformation, now that we are seeing its fruit.

  104. Michael says:


    Rather than respond to your insult, I’ll go about my business for the day.

  105. Jean says:

    How is my 104 an insult? Are you the author of the Reformation? What was your second sentence of 102? Come now.

  106. Babylon's Dread says:

    The problem is complexity… The Reformation was very academic and it is not easily transferrable… The Reformers worked out all kinds of details in subtle fashion … the use of language in theological discussion always gets complex

    Reformed theology had a context… centuries of Catholicism and a great deal of language that escapes us as to popular usage… The masses of those days received the benefits of the freedom from Rome … today no one should get too upset about not ‘getting’ the subtleties of compatibalist discussions of free will and divine sovereignty…the reason for the TULIP construction is the massive difficulties understanding seemingly contradictory positions as a coherent whole.

    In fact the Reformation happened… past tense and John Smith has moved on… sacramental wars do not compute to a world that has no public mind for it… The sacraments were woven into the fabric of daily life in the 16th century … they are private rituals now.

  107. Michael says:

    Just for the record…Calvin and the Reformers never heard of the TULIP…and Calvin would retch at it.

  108. Babylon's Dread says:

    And Michael knows that I know that about TULIP

    But in my opinion TULIP has created more Calvinists than Calvin.

    Everyone remembers their first TULIP inquiry and for many that is how they got hooked on searching those things out. It ALMOOOOOST got me…

    Alas.. Dread

  109. Michael says:

    The “fruit” of the Reformation was (among other things) the doctrine of justification by grace through faith alone.
    I see a lot of justification by faith…and works… in this thread.

  110. filbertz says:

    I have come to the conclusion that most of the squabbles over doctrine are rife with inconsistencies, double standards, straw men, disengenuous representations, exaggeration, fear, pride, and generous doses of ignorance. Further, doctrinal differences are celebrated as ‘brand recognition’ instead of assaults on unity and humility. The ground struggled to gain is square inches of wasteland while the fertile soils of lost humanity goes untouched by the gospel. If, indeed, there is a partnership between God and his followers, perhaps we should be in sync with His grand scheme instead of sold out for our own. Many are more concerned about being right or ‘winning’ the debate than being humbly transformed by the power of the Spirit and serving others out of love and grace. I don’t intend to point a finger at anyone but myself, but I’m crushed by the fact that I’ve pointed people to a dysfunctional model of religion most of my life instead of to the cross, the empty tomb, and resurrected Christ.

  111. Jean says:


    “But in my opinion TULIP has created more Calvinists than Calvin.”

    That is part of my thought line throughout this thread, which I hope to get back to in reply to MLD after I get some work done. The TULIP is the ultimate in systemization of a faith. It not only proof texts select Scripture in abstract doctrines, but it simplifies even those doctrines into preachable and evangelistic messages that can be absorbed by the masses. And of course make the faith attractive and not too intrusive on one’s daily life.

    Then I remember where Jesus said the gate is small and the road is narrow.

  112. Anne says:

    “Hell is a necessity if there is true justice in the universe.” And heaven the necessity of those who can not imagine death as the final outcome of life for our loved ones and ourselves.

    What is true justice? If God were truly in control, where was his love for “all the little children of the world” who are tormented by those who should care for them? This strikes such a hard chord in my heart. The horror stories I have witnessed working in the great state of NM….. Working with perps as well as vics. Folks don’t wake up one day and decide “wow its a great day to see how much I can hurt my kid”. The back stories of what creates these devastating scenarios are soul shattering.

    I wonder if the theologies we are drawn to aren’t just a reflection of what narratives are easiest for us to imagine, dependent on our life history and/or part of our cultural conditioning. Who were our “fathers of faith”? What narratives were we indoctrinated with? Who have we read that resonated with the way we process information? We cherish those fathers of our faith with a fierce loyalty. And when our spiritual fathers are discovered to have feet of clay, fall off their pedestals, hurt rather than nurture……

    After leaving my “spiritual birth family” , discovering that much of what I was taught was not gospel, nor written in eternal stone, and being disowned on many levels for questioning /doubting the narratives that are distinctive to that body of believers, I have spent many years looking for a new “forever family” ( a term used in adoption circles). Pretty much given up that search so I don’t get fooled again and consider my human family, neighbors and community in much broader terms. My life has become much richer although much poorer materialistically.

  113. filbertz says:

    Jean, your characterization of the use of TULIP defines the methodology of evangelicalism in the past 75 years.

  114. Michael says:

    “And of course make the faith attractive and not too intrusive on one’s daily life.”

    Wow…just wow…trash a whole group of people with one dismissive sentence.

    If only we could all be as holy as Jean…

  115. Michael says:


    The Bible doesn’t lie about the reality of injustice and senseless suffering.
    It is clear that there will be much of both…and that there is evil in the world.
    The Bible also says that this life is a vapor…and that in the age to come all will be made right.
    While we wait for that age we are to be engaged in the activities that speak of it…being there for the poor and oppressed while we wait together for God to make all things right…forever.

  116. Michael says:


    Good word at 111…

  117. Em says:

    MLD: “all who go to heaven do so because of God’s grace and that those who go to hell do so because of their own sin,rebellion and refusal of the grace.”
    reject or accept (what God in His grace reveals?) – seems reasonable … and simple

  118. filbertz says:

    Well said. That sense of isolation & alienation should be counter to the experience of the Christian, but instead, it is increasingly familiar. Our acceptance in ‘community’ is based on regular attendance, agreement, and not making waves. It has little to do with being another ‘child of God.’ There are many scapegoats, outcasts, wanderers, misfits, and aliens on the outskirts of the Kingdom.

  119. Anne says:

    While the bible may be clear about the existence of injustice and suffering, it appears as this thread demonstrates, the bible is much less clear regarding accessing and applying the remedy 😉 just think of all the books that would not have to have been written trying to explain what the bible really means if the bible itself was a bit more self explanatory.

  120. Jean says:

    “The “fruit” of the Reformation was (among other things) the doctrine of justification by grace through faith alone.
    I see a lot of justification by faith…and works… in this thread.”

    See, there was no insult. You were thinking about the doctrine as fruit. I was thinking about the fruit of that doctrine (as many today now conceive it) in the lives of all too many people who call themselves Christians in America. Two difference things.

    It may not be easy or even practical to discuss these topics in this type of forum, but the church needs to make sure that *all* Scripture is taken into account in the doctrines of justification, works, free will and judgment. Perhaps some of it didn’t translate well from the time of the Reformers until today, or perhaps the Reformers emphasized certain aspects of Scripture at the expense of others due to the prevailing issues they faced.

    But today’s church is entering into a new era (i.e., post-Christendom) (totally different from the era of the Reformers), and the church will need a faith and doctrines to support it, which can endure coming persecution and/or apathy. So, I don’t believe it is merely academic to examine these issues.

  121. Michael says:


    As someone who is a proponent of Reformed theology, it’s very insulting for you to assume that myself and the tradition I come from don’t take into account all the Scriptures when making doctrinal statements.
    If you’d like to have a discussion of the nearly apostate United Methodist denomination I will welcome that after you’re done with my tribe.
    You’re throwing down with the wrong Calvinist, buddy…I’ve tried to make space for everyone, but if you want to get down I can go there …

  122. filbertz says:

    I am inclined to return to basics rather than reinvent the faith to fit current conditions. Modernist thought gave us evangelicalism. What monster will post-Modernism bring?

  123. Michael says:


    What are the basics?

  124. Jean says:

    “Wow…just wow…trash a whole group of people with one dismissive sentence.”


    Who were you trashing when you wrote:

    “Calvin and the Reformers never heard of the TULIP…and Calvin would retch at it.”

    Wasn’t I retching at the same thing Calvin would (and presumably you)?

  125. Michael says:

    “Wasn’t I retching at the same thing Calvin would (and presumably you)?”

    Doubtful, I don’t think you’d know Calvin if he bit you on the ass.

    What my friend John and I would both object to is taking a nuanced and biblical theology that took three volumes to simply overview and boiling it down to five points.

    Now, I’ve lost temper and my little humility and need to walk away from this.

  126. Jean says:


    I would rather throw down with MLD on Lutheranism, because MLD’s more fun to pick on.

    However, I have actually studied more of the reformed theology than Lutheran, primarily guys like Schreiner and Keller. I’ve tried to like it, really I have. But at the end of the day, reformed theology is not for me because it presents a God I don’t find in the Bible and it paints a picture of God that leaves something to be desired IMO.

    With that being said, I will not remark on Calvin or tulips anymore. 🙂

  127. Anne says:

    That is would take 3 volumes to explain God’s nature and plan is exactly what boggles my mind. Trying to sort through the bible, let alone decipher through all the writings and multitude of faith doctrines used to explain it to get to the basics is totally mind blowing to me. All I seem to come up with at all to hang my hat on is loving my neighbor who I can see, because getting a decent glimpse and understanding of the God I cannot see has become too herculean task for me.

  128. papiaslogia says:

    Fil @ 119. I concur.

    I find that my place in my local body is to be who I am, even if that means(and it does), that I am on the outside of others “body life” experiences.

    We speak of looking for a another church where we can learn grace and be ourselves and serve others without having a history, but that’s an elusive ekklesia. So we stay where our kids have a good curriculum and know that they are taken care of, while we help where we can, and fade into the scenery most of the time.

  129. Michael says:


    I will put Schreiner up against anyone as a biblical scholar.
    You can comment all you want…but I’m not going to allow the misrepresentations and insults anymore.
    I’m not going to have brawls that cause me and others to sin, but I will ban without thinking twice anymore.

  130. Jean says:


    Let me try one more time to get through to you. Here is my entire statement:

    “The TULIP is the ultimate in systemization of a faith. It not only proof texts select Scripture in abstract doctrines, but it simplifies even those doctrines into preachable and evangelistic messages that can be absorbed by the masses. And of course make the faith attractive and not too intrusive on one’s daily life.”

    What I criticized was the TULIP formulation. I didn’t criticize Reformed Theology, Calvin, you or any adherent to Reformed Theology. You yourself stated that Calvin never heard of TULIP and wouldn’t like it.

    I honestly don’t know where you and I went sideways, but I sense that you are very sensitive to some of the comments I’ve made here lately. The last thing I want to do is cause you any discomfort.

  131. Em says:

    just why do we mortals think that we can put God in a box – a box of leather-bound tomes – or any other kind of box?
    Our minds (brains) are wonderful processors, but even if One were to come down from “heaven” and spend a few years explaining us to us, we wouldn’t be able to fully contain it…
    One of the really wonderful things that a redeemed soul can do is develop – spend whatever number years on earth he’s assigned – developing the mind of Christ – discovering more and more of the nature of God and us, reveling in truth, but knowing there’s always more.
    Yes, i know that everyone can quickly get their minds around the basics, the necessaries to be reconciled to our Creator, but can’t we enjoy being learners as we go on from there?

  132. Babs,
    “Lutherans teach baptismal regeneration Andrew… that’s what they mean by born again.”

    That’s only part – there is a whole theology of conversion – but you can only speak about being born again if you believe that God is the “born againer” and that people do not participate in this born any more than they participated in their biological born.

    “MLD is teaching the Reformed view of free will…” Lutherans are not Reformed, therefore I would not be teaching the Reformed view of anything. 🙂

  133. Michael says:


    It’s real simple.
    You are disrespectful.
    I am not an Anabaptist, a Lutheran, or a Methodist.
    I’m not any of the above because I believe that Reformed theology as a whole is the best, most biblically grounded theology.
    What I would not say is that any of the above traditions I’m not a part of are “unbiblical” or without value.
    I don’t ever feel at odds with other traditions…I’m not one those “angry” Calvinists.
    I don’t agree with N.T. Wright on justification…but I have read much of his other work with great profit.
    He claims the same tradition as myself, yet I can rejoice in his work despite our differences.
    That’s how I feel about the spectrum of Christianity…and I loathe being put in a place where I feel I have to defend my own tradition from spurious claims.
    We all have something to offer, but when these discussions turn into a war I’m either going to walk away or go scorched earth.
    My conscience says to walk away…which is not my nature.

  134. Dread said:
    ” you can prove that everyone survives death for judgment you cannot prove that everyone survives judgement and lives forever …. somewhere.”

    I don’t see where anyone answered that, but there seem to be several Biblical ways of going about that. For instance, at the end of the aforementioned Matt 25:

    matt. 25:46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

  135. Jean,
    You are unfair in one respect, whether in arguing against Lutherans or the Reformed – you never state your position on any topic. You ask questions, pick at our position and try to maneuver the conversation, but not once have you clearly made a position statement.

    Tell us what you think — who goes to hell?

  136. Em, God has put himself into that box with his word.

    Are you open to God leaving and forsaking us? The box says no.

  137. Babylon's Dread says:


    Punishment need not be conscious to be without end… irremediable extinction fulfills justice and the letter of every Biblical claim.

    I have done this before but can easily touch it again.

    Hell as it is taught in most circle is eternal torment… eternal suffering and pain
    1. That requires immortality which appears to be the gift of the Holy Spirit not natural birth
    2. It requires clear language of scripture and every text save one (and it isn’t hard) can be explained by cessation of existence after judgment without endless torture…

  138. Babylon's Dread says:

    I remember when it was popular sport on talk tv and radio to ask Christians if Jews were going to hell. I always wished to be the one asked that question. My answer would be clear and without ambiguity…

    “In the Biblical faith heaven is where Jesus Christ sits at he right hand on the throne of God, any Jew who wants to go there is welcome. Ask them.”

  139. Monster Energy Drink makers are on the list to go to hell.

    LOL, I doubt this lady is a Lutheran … anyone want to guess?

  140. I guess I don’t understand the argument. So “eternal punishment” may, in fact, be punishment carried out on something that has ceased to exist?

    And let’s say you are correct, that Hell is not eternal…does that make it any better? Are common liars only tormented for 4,000 years, adulterers for 8,000 years, and murderers for 1 million years? Because all of those are drops in the bucket compared to eternity.

    I’ll just be the simpleton that says, “The bible says eternal. That must mean eternal.”

  141. “LOL, I doubt this lady is a Lutheran … anyone want to guess?”

    Don’t know, unless Lutherans have found the cure for insanity.

  142. Michael says:

    I’m laughing so hard right now…Trey just left with his Monster hat and Monster jacket on… to get his Monster skateboard out of the truck.
    I’ll have to tell him he’s headed straight for hell today…

  143. Michael says:

    Just for the record…those who go to hell are those who don’t believe God and therefore His righteousness is not credited to them.
    It’s on the basis of faith, not behavior.

  144. Babylon's Dread says:


    You should indeed do your Greek studies and see what “eternal” means that would be step one. Step two is to look into the actual theological foundations of the doctrine of hell and not into the mythological and traditional church claims…

    There is plenty of good teaching on this…

    The scriptural theological and moral challenges about hell as taught by tradition are immense

  145. Michael says:


    I don’t worry about modern day sensitivities to unpleasant biblical truths…but there are large scriptural and theological challenges in regard to hell.

  146. Ah, I have missed the condescension of this place so much.
    II THes. 1:9 ? Eternal Destruction?

    Ahh, nevermind. Only the greek scholars can possibly understand this stuff.

    (“aionios” – perpetual, everlasting)

    I’m out.

  147. Bob says:


    “That’s not necessarily true and it’s rude as hell.”

    Making you mad brought a slight grin to me, because it meant I got to you.

    Sometimes I find it a bit ironic that you write and post a lot of controversial things to get people to respond and often I read stuff here (which really boils my blood) and yet you got pissed at my comment. I find you’re concerned about the lost, struggling with the difficulties of your chosen school of biblical thought, what others say about the same subjects, and you don’t just see you also hear the injustices in this life. Those are good and blessed things; indicating to me the working of the Holy Spirit in the lives of you and those who express such thoughts.

    So bless you for being pissed at me, it shows you care!

    Now MLD, that’s another subject. Too clean, no discussion, no room for error or those who don’t agree with his baptism. But that’s my personal opinion and it’s not even worth a Starbucks beverage.

  148. As for judgment… the Bible repeatedly says people are judged based on works and repeatedly says people are saved based on grace. We should never say that the Bible doesn’t speak of judgment rooted in what we DO and how we live. It is obvious to everyone who reads and equally obvious that he will save us by grace through faith.

    Old battles… but as usual when we base it one where we go when we die … we skew the teaching … gotta REFORM.

  149. Michael says:


    You have drank deeply and profitably from the well of Wright. 🙂
    However you err as he does…groups are still made of individuals and the eunuchs cry was “what must I do to be saved?”
    Both individual and corporate salvation are in view in the Scriptures…and both must be addressed without sacrificing the other.
    Semper reformata…

  150. Babylon's Dread says:

    when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels 8 in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, 10 when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.

    The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), 2 Th 1:7–10.

    Punishment of eternal destruction away from the presence of the LORD

    They are destroyed… consumed in fire… mercifully terminated forever…

    But I might be wrong…

  151. Bob,
    “Now MLD, that’s another subject. Too clean, no discussion, ” I don’t understand you – I probably create the most discussion here.

    But the question of the day for you – how many strangers have you fed today? Did you buy any homeless person a new winter coat today? If the answer in none, then what are you talking about? I gave a homeless lady 5 bucks this morning while I was out jogging – the best I could do as I ran by, but I can still be here jacking my jaws also.

  152. Babylon's Dread says:



  153. Q says:

    “Who Goes To Hell ?”

    This verse is pretty clear, length of time is also clear –

    Revelation 20:10

    and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

  154. Michael says:

    I was leaning hard toward annihilationism…but Dr. Packer spoke up. 🙂

  155. filbertz says:

    by basics, I mean foundational faith–early church fathers, historial statements of the faith, the creeds, the ground floor. Superstructure is prone to frequent remodeling. 😉

  156. Jean says:


    I haven’t said what I think, because until now no one asked me. Plus, perhaps no one cares what I think. I do put up Scripture and try to interact with what you or others are putting up, so that perhaps by getting away from personalities, we can focus on the Bible. I would not engage in these discussions unless I hope to learn something from others.

    Let me say two things about hell:

    (1) I’m not convinced hell is a place of eternal conscious torment. I did not say that earlier because it was not the explicit question, but if you ask me, I have to start there. In other words, the Scripture may be leaning towards hell being a place where the judged are annihilated. I’m not 100%, but that’s my understand currently based on the relevant texts.

    (2) As far as who goes to hell, I’m loath to judge people’s eternal destination. At this point, I am comfortable saying that those outside of Christ who are evil, and those who once being in Christ later make a shipwreck of their faith by falling away, are two types of people going to hell.

    In practical terms, what I’m saying is that I might meet Gandi in “heaven” (see R. 2 :14-16). I don’t expect to meet Hitler there. For self-professed Christians, I believe the Bible is clear that what we do during this life matters at the judgment. Yes I said what “we do.” We can talk about who is behind the “doing” (was it my will or the Spirit that willed it in me?), but that’s a hindsight question. I’m happy to say that anything good I do is the Spirit’s urging. But at the same time there are a lot of non-Christians that do a lot of good things too.

    What I would be concerned about, is any belief system in which I can claim God’s forgiveness through the blood of Christ and not profess Christ as my Lord and judge. That has to be more than lip service, because if it is only lip service, then it’s a lie. This I believe is behind Jesus’ warning that He won’t know many people who previously called him Lord.

    Jesus and the Apostles give us all we need to know regarding what it means and how we live under the lordship of Christ. It’s not a race, it’s not a bar set up here or down there, it’s not a treadmill. It’s a devotion to a Lord and Savior who paid the ultimate price to reconcile creation to Himself and ultimately rid the world of evil and all pain and suffering.

  157. Linda Pappas says:

    Fibertz @ 111

    Amen!! Changed our hearts and set us free to serve Him with all of our heart, mind, body, and soul, using our hands and feet in community with one another and to those in needs and in waiting to hear the good news that we ourselves once denied.

  158. Xenia says:

    Somehow we have to keep “Everyone who calls upon the Lord will be saved” in tension with “He who endures to the end will be saved.”

  159. Jean says:



  160. Linda Pappas says:

    Jean # 157 2 on down, agree.

  161. papiaslogia says:

    Matt 25:46 – Same word for Eternal life or eternal punishment = aionios

    So if punishment ISN’T eternal, neither is life.

    Is anyone arguing that we don’t have eternal life? – Didn’t think so….

  162. Bob says:


    “but I can still be here jacking my jaws also.”

    Yep that’s what you do, but it seems you don’t give any room for the dirt and dust on any of the subjects. Good for you feeding and clothing Jesus and those who do so really don’t need to yack about it. But you yack about how right your doctrines are while are host doesn’t.

    Yes he gets steamed a bit, and that’s good, but to say he has it all figured out? Never!

    Got to go, I’m getting kicked out, but how’s that new iPad coming along?

  163. “but how’s that new iPad coming along?”
    I can’t afford an iPad and Apple products are more of Satan than Monster Energy Drinks. 😉

  164. Papiaslogia,

    Your reduction of the matter fails… on two counts
    1. Punishment does not have to be eternally conscious to be eternally a punishment. Those who lose his glories have been punished irremediably
    2. Eternal life is contrasted with Perishing in John …

    Now … I am not making an argument that punishment is temporary … rather torment might be …

  165. Steve Wright says:

    Why in the hell are there two hells spoken of in Scripture (since we are bringing in Greek now). Jesus already told us the first one was torment enough…why do we need the one for the devil and the demons after judgement…or is the devil annihilated also and only Gabriel and the gang continue on?

    Humans are spirit beings. Spirits live forever. Either in the presence of God, Who is Spirit, or in the place where the fallen spirit beings have been decreed to reside one day.

    I’m still reeling from the suggested idea that the Bible does not speak of “going to heaven” – Paul wrote he had a desire to depart and be with Christ which was far better…now that is exactly what I, or anyone else means, when they speak of the Christian “going to heaven”…being with Jesus face to face..by sight, not only faith.

    I am ready to go there now. But like Paul, to abide here longer is necessary for certain people in my life (and likely some people I have not yet even met). So God keeps me breathing, and I in turn seek to serve Him and do His will.

    When He is ready to take me though, it means he is done with me…and I’m ready to go. Believe me.

    Jesus said to spend our lives here laying up treasures in heaven..contrasted to earth…Heaven seems a pretty big motivator in the New Testament.

    The Unity School of Christianity, a cult which I had some exposure way back in the day before I was saved, wrote about how we don’t have to wait for heaven. Heaven is here and now. They also deny a hell to come. Their teachings have had influence on the word-faith, healing and prosperity groups..and on the surface sound quite Christian today…until of course, like all cults, they invent their own Jesus who is not God Incarnate

  166. Jean says:


    In Rev 22, John warns everyone who might take away from the words of prophecy in that book that God will “take away his share in the tree of life….” It seems as though, from this passage at least, that the opposite of eternal life is death for eternity.

  167. papiaslogia says:

    BD – Thanks for the acknowledgement.

    So eternal punishment may not equal eternal torment? Different logic.

    You mentioned John – I posit 5:29:

    “And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”

    The concept of the second resurrection should make us think – “God is going to resurrect people in order to punish them?” I pause in awe with that thought…..

    Do you have another verse in John in relation to Eternal Life and Perishing?

  168. Michael says:

    I’m only interested in heaven as a stop over… Oregon is my home and I’ll be back here when all things are made new again.

  169. Bob says:

    “I’m only interested in heaven as a stop over… Oregon is my home and I’ll be back here when all things are made new again.”

    Found a new hole I can sit in, and read this. Actually I’m a bit in agreement about Oregon.

    “Shoeless Joe Jackson: Is this heaven?
    Ray Kinsella: No, it’s Iowa.”

    “Ray Kinsella: I did it all. I listened to the voices, I did what they told me, and not once did I ask what’s in it for me.
    Shoeless Joe Jackson: What are you saying, Ray?
    Ray Kinsella: I’m saying? what’s in it for me?”

    I think often I’m more like the second set of quotes!

    MLD, I’m praying for that iPad!


  170. Em says:

    “Em, God has put himself into that box with his word.” forgive me, MLD, but that’s silly
    it’s been a busy morning and my logic is fried, but that is … ?
    if you mean that He has revealed to us all that we need to know of Him to work out our salvation, I’ll agree…

    He is bound by His absolute righteousness, yes… hmmm, could you call that a box? dunno

    however, there isn’t a box big enough to contain God… if there was, could you lift it? 🙂

  171. Babylon's Dread says:


    I do not deny that the dead without Christ rise to face judgment … I simply posit that said judgment does not have the nature of unending CONSCIOUS torment. It possibly, and I am able to hold this tentatively, is unending unconscious destruction.

    and Em,

    I do not deny death for eternity …

    It seems hard for people to grasp that all I am positing that is unusual is that the torment is eternal … I do not deny that the punishment is eternal or that damnation is eternal or that it is reversible, or that it is fearful… I am simply arguing that even the second death has mercy in that it is a cessation of being. The position is not easy to defeat scripturally … because we posit that life and death are real life and real death. The dead ultimately are NO MORE.

    Now you might think that this would induce some people to die… that argument does nothing to move me because plenty of people are unconvinced of danger already. This will not give you more.

  172. Babylon's Dread says:

    My wording erred… The punishment for sinners never ends, is fearful, is damnation, but I do not think it is conscious torment forever. The conscious torment ends when the sinner is destroyed after judgment.

    My words tangled whilst I sought clarity…

  173. Jean says:


    I am responding on the issue of “free will.” Here are some concerns generated by a denial of free will:

    1) Can I repent if I don’t have the free will to repent? Who’s repentance is it if it’s not of my free will? That doesn’t sound like repentance.

    2) Can I love God if that love does not come from a free will? What kind of love is that?

    3) If it’s not free will and not all people are sufficiently drawn to Him by His grace, then is God just? In other words, does God create an uneven playing field (so to speak) with humanity?

    Wesleyans deal with these concerns through the doctrine of “prevenient grace.” Before Wesley, St. Augustine wrote:

    “Thou awakest us to delight in Thy praise; for Thou madest us for Thyself, and our heart is restless, until it repose in Thee. Grant me, Lord, to know and understand which is first, to call on Thee or to praise Thee? and, again, to know Thee or to call on Thee? For who can call on Thee, not knowing Thee?”

    Wesleyans agree with the Reformed that salvation is impossible without a free and prior act of God on behalf of the sinner. But, Wesley taught that what God required of a person he granted the means to perform. That’s key. Prevenient grace is the bridge between human depravity and the free exercise of human will. It lifts the human race out of its depravity and grants us the capacity to respond further to God’s grace.

    In Romans 1, Paul writes that even Gentiles, who are not subject to the Law, are accountable to God “since what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them…. So people are without excuse.”

    Then in Ch. 2, Paul writes that “God’s kindness leads you to repentance”.

    I could give you additional Scriptural support if you’re interested.

  174. Michael says:


    I don’t believe in libertarian free will and can do the Baptist sword drill as well as you can.

    It amazes me that people would assume that some one like MLD or myself who belong to certain traditions aren’t aware of the Scriptures that have been used to challenge those positions for 500 flipping years.

    Like we are ignorant…like we both didn’t come from traditions that embrace free will like a blanket on a cold night…give me a break.

  175. Jean says:

    What’s a Baptist sword drill?

    My only knowledge of your former traditions is CC. Like everyone knows, I don’t know any thing about CC theology, except with respect to rapture.

    Excuse my ignorance. Credit it to living in a small town in the middle of know where.

    Please remove the chip from your shoulder.

  176. Jean,
    “Wesleyans agree with the Reformed that salvation is impossible without a free and prior act of God on behalf of the sinner.”

    Although I don’t believe in prevenient grace, you still agree with me that man’s will is bound in the things of God (man cannot choose God) until God has first done a work. So why do you bust my chops when in the end you come around to say what I said all along?

    Paul quoted Isaiah in Romans 3 saying that no man seeks after God. So, that is the same as me saying man does not have free will. Man can choose to continue to run from God but cannot choose to run towards God.

    As to the question of repentance why would you not think that (1) it was God who first repented when he decided to offer up his own son? (2) Is it hard for a Wesleyan to receive that it is God who repents us? Jeremiah 31 says “turn you me, and I shall be turned; for you are the LORD my God.”

  177. Michael says:

    I was raised in the Wesleyan/ Holiness/ Pentecostal traditions before I ever got to CC.
    My blood father was a Nazarene pastor, my grandmother a pillar of the local Nazarene church.
    I know Wesleyan doctrine…which is why I’m a Calvinist.

  178. Jean,
    “2) Can I love God if that love does not come from a free will? What kind of love is that?” Are you saying that an unbeliever will love God? Love of God comes after conversion.

    “3.) 3) If it’s not free will and not all people are sufficiently drawn to Him by His grace, then is God just? In other words, does God create an uneven playing field (so to speak) with humanity?”
    I don’t know about the drawing, but as I have continually said, all are given faith through the word. Outside of his preached and / or written word, what else would draw a person to Christ?

  179. Jean says:


    Are your chops okay? ((((hug)))

    But seriously, can you give me a translation and/or verse on the Jeremiah 31 quote? I can’t find it.

  180. Em says:

    is there any agreement here on hell?
    perhaps God intended that we not have a clear picture of what awaits those who’ve either had no time for Him in this life or worse yet – like Judas Iscariot – have tried to use Him (& us) for their own profit?
    the lake of fire prepared for the devil? just contemplating the sun and thinking that my God is responsible for that ball of hell-fire is enough to make me tremble… i want to be friends with the one controlling the heavens – i want to know as much of His will, His mind, His intention for mankind as i can… i think – dunno – that He groans when we try to paint a clearer picture of hell

  181. Michael says:


    A Baptist sword drill is where the contestants quote their proof texts as fast and furiously as possible in an attempt to “prove” they have the biblical high ground.
    It’s a waste of time for the most part…most people never change their minds once they get comfortable.

  182. Em says:

    i think this thread has probably run its course, eh? but it has sure given me a lot of ponders…
    like, is there a difference between denying Christ and not knowing him? must be… and i do think that it is presumptuous of us mortals in the here and now to try to answer for God what He hasn’t made crystal clear in His word regarding where every soul that ever lived will find themselves in eternity… it’s enough to say they’re “lost,” isn’t it? get saved so you won’t be lost

  183. “A Baptist sword drill…”

    Ha! I was part of the worship team at a church that once did that on a Sunday morning. Apparently there’s a “Charismatic sword drill” as well.


  184. Jean says:

    I agree with Em. When I read #182, I closed my Romans commentary and put it back on the shelf. Why waste my time. But then, why ask the question: “Who goes to hell?”

  185. Steve Wright says:

    I try to err on the side of grace with people….but with the doctrine of hell, I’m going to err on whatever side makes it as horrible as possible (and still of course not do it justice)

    I can’t imagine standing before Jesus, if I was wrong in minimizing it in any way. (shudder)

  186. Michael says:

    I wrote the article because it was on my mind…and it was an opportunity to talk about the grace of God .
    Few interacted with what I actually said…but that’s par for the PhxP course.

  187. Babylon's Dread says:

    The thread lacked a proper universalist to my knowledge … one showed up but he left his sword sheathed.

    I think we all agree on this..at least all in this discussion…. no one wants to face life after death without the one that death could not conquer.

    I say we all rejoice together in Jesus and say with the witness of scripture “He does all things well.” And then lets tell everyone that we can the glorious hope of the one who died and lives that we might also live.

    But I warned Michael

    Food Fight Dread

  188. Jean says:


  189. Babylon's Dread says:

    Oh and,

    People do change their mind… JRW Stott got me to look at the case for conditional immortality and changed my mind. I won’t say the case is irrefutable but it convinced me that the case for traditional eternal conscious torment was bad.

    Some universalists worked very hard to convince me but I found that evidence lacking.

    Michael obviously got convinced of Calvinism somewhere along the line and of Pre wrath rapture…

    G-man got convinced that none of it is true ‘cept some of the red stuff…

    MLD was a Calvary Chapel guys wasn’t he?

    Xenia used to have a regular name and then converted…

    So people do change their minds…

    Usually it takes more care than we give it though MLD and Steve will work you over…

    Yes lots of minds change… I have a friend who has converted hundreds of people from pertrib machinations to preterist … line on line.

    And my friend Malcolm Smith convinced me that covenant theology was not Calvinism and Wright backed up and knocked it way out of the park for me…

    Michael makes me love Calvin though the ism still gives me hives.

    People change…they definitely change…

  190. Michael says:

    BD was kind enough not to mention that I had consigned Brother Wright to the pit…and Dreads endless harping made me read him for myself…and I now have all of his books I can afford.

    I’m glad he didn’t bring that up…. 🙂

  191. great thought provoking article. from the cheap seats, I’m leaning towards what Edward Fudge teaches on the subject.

  192. Steve Wright says:

    Dread…add me to that list. I changed my mind on eternal security and the baptism of the Holy Spirit from my early CC years…and the two changes are connected.

  193. Michael says:

    That was Brother Tom Wright I’d assigned to the hole…not Steve. 🙂

  194. Babylon's Dread says:

    Yes there is Wright… Steve … who is one of the best minds here … don’t even try to argue with him…

    And there is Wright as in aways … Tom … and I respect Michael on that one and many others

    And Steve I hope you changed your mind properly… Believers are always secure and unbelievers never… the only question is can one who believes … nah let’s not

    As for the Baptism of/in the Holy Ghost/Spirit.. I remain evangelical with pentecostal experience … I baptism many fillings… like my teeth…

  195. Jean says:

    It’s probably too early for me to talk about changing, since you have to actually have held a position on something to then change that position to something else.

    The thing to understand about Methodists is that they claim to reside in the “radical middle”. That’s not something to brag about, but it just means that they claim to not hold extreme positions on either side of a conservative/liberal divide theologically. Maybe that sounds like the church of Laodicea who were lukewarm, neither hot nor cold. If it does, I don’t blame you. It’s not necessarily anything to be proud of.

    I currently self-identify as a Wesleyan. I’m very unhappy with the leadership (at the Bishop level) of the UMC. I do identify with the legacy of John and Charles Wesley, although I don’t think they were infallible anymore than anyone else. I hope the movement out of Asbury bears fruit. That’s where my pastor earned his doctorate, and that’s where one of my favorite authors, Ben Witherington III teaches.

    Through this blog, I have begun the study of the Lutheran Confessions, joined a closed (and that’s a good thing) Confessional Lutheran Fellowship FB group as well as Traditional Orthodoxy FB group. I feel like I’ve grown through exchanges with many folks here, so there’s a lot to be thankful for.

    The more I learn about tradition, the more I appreciate it because, as Steve Wright once said (perhaps picking that up somewhere), there is nothing new under the sun. I hate recreating the wheel. So I say, lets reclaim our heritage.

    As for my habit for citing scripture, I have a confession. I am an attorney who has been practicing law for a long (too long) time. In my field, whenever you argue a position, you must back it up with case law. No one is interested in my personal opinion. That seems to me to be the modus operandi for the NT writers as well (only with Scripture), so I feel quite at home, only the NT writers take the freedom to midrash, which we don’t have. Jesus is the exception: He taught with “authority”. Also, lawyers love to argue, which I apologize can be off putting.

    So, there you have it.

  196. victorious says:

    Jean. Were you raised in the Wesleyan tradition?
    I find that Prevenient Grace represents for the most part what I have read and pondered on in the Scriptures for decades.

    My study of it confirms that it is often misrepresented as libertarian free will. However, it is grounded in an anthropology that agrees with the Reformed traditions in the depravity of man apart from Christ. It affirms and expounds the same grace of God as Calvin through the person and work of Christ although it differs in how this grace enables a sinner to repent, believe and therefore be justified by faith in Christ alone .

    Rather than focus on the irresistibility of such grace , it proclaims the universal offer of grace and projects a God who continually woos and persuades and enables sinners in His love to the end; even though they may ultimately resist such grace and therefore seal their fate through the unbelief that divine love allows to have it’s way if a person aggressively insists on it.

    Do you see areas of agreement or other ideas in your understanding of Prevenient Grace?

  197. xenia says:

    uh oh….. you joined the Traditional Orthodoxy (canonical) group?

    Oh dear….

    Well, them’s my peeps.

  198. xenia says:

    Now Jean will know all the dirty laundry of Eastern Orthodoxy in America.

  199. Jean says:

    197, you said it perfectly! You know news is good when reading it makes you smile 🙂

  200. Jean says:

    Xenia, I saw a beautiful icon of the transfiguration yesterday that transfixed me. Wow.

  201. victorious says:

    Jean. Glad to contribute towards another smile. 🙂

  202. Babylon's Dread says:

    Jean just raised the ante…

  203. Ps40 says:

    Filbertz is on fire tonight. @Fil Why aren’t you writing on the regular friend???
    @ Michael…
    N. T. Wright.
    Collecting his works as well:) Glad to hear you have gleaned from his lifetime commitment to Biblical Studies. I’m terribly jealous of his mind.

  204. filbertz says:

    I spent years here posting like a madman, then realized I was one. I’ve determined to be more deliberate, less frequent, more thoughtful, less silly, more reading and considering what others are saying, less (mis)characterizing others words, and attempt to model what I believe and hope for. Speaking of a famine in commenting, where’ve you been?

  205. Mark says:

    Michael at #187:
    “I wrote the article because it was on my mind…and it was an opportunity to talk about the grace of God .Few interacted with what I actually said…but that’s par for the PhxP course.”

    Actually I may have lost the right in the eyes of some here to be taken seriously, but I posted the following way back at #44:

    Gods grace (his unmerited favor) pours forth from a pure heart capable of unconditional love. Our defiled hearts cannot comprehend such love until the Spirit in dwells us. Even then it is hard to practice such love without surrender, moment by moment to Christ within us. All sin no matter how heinous or trivial will separate us from the Father. But in His mercy He made a Way for us. It is mysterious. It is incomprehendable. It is beautiful. And I thank Him every morning for His deliverance.

    I believe that at the moment of justification our spirt aligns with the Holy Spirit through a mystery that allows both our free will and God’s soverignty to interact. So we have a part in saving faith but God has a part in saving faith also. My scriptual basis for this is MT 16:15-17.

    I do not try to complicate it by forcing a logical explanation. I accept this mystery by faith alone.

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