12 reasons why a sentimental Hell appeals


I have never written about hell and once this series is done I may never write about it again. Fact is, unless you are a smug, self-righteous, look-at-me-God-I’m-impressive kind of law-loving wing-nut, you don’t need to know anything about it. What you do need to know is the good news.

Problem is, many of us have been given a mixed up version of the good news. We’ve been told that we have to perform, jump through hoops, and generally earn God’s favor. And if you believe that it will totally mess up your view of wrath, judgment and hell.

Let me state plainly that no one goes to hell for their sin. Your sin – or Adam’s sin, if you like to think historically – has not been the issue since Jesus judged all sin on the cross (Heb 9:26). Hell is not for sinners; grace is for sinners (Mk 2:17).

So how does the bad news of hell figure into the good news of grace. Short answer: it doesn’t. But that doesn’t mean hell isn’t real. There are no lies in the truth but that doesn’t mean there are no lies. And there is no darkness in the light but that doesn’t mean there is no darkness.

Personally, I think it’s a waste of time debating hell but since so much time has already been wasted, permit me to fling the cold waters of scripture onto the flames of groundless debate. Here is what we have covered so far:

–    The flames of debate – see Part 2 for what some think hell is like
–    The cold water of scripture – see Part 1 for what Jesus et al. actually say about hell

As I said at the beginning, I am open to being wrong about hell. It’s not essential we get this right to win favor from God. However, being wrong about hell may affect our witness. For two-thousand years the church has preached hell. To tell people now, “We were wrong the whole time – there is no hell,” surely affects our credibility.

Every first-century preacher, from Jesus to John, spoke about eternal condemnation. If 20 centuries later we come along and say “hell ain’t real,” or “hell is temporary,” then the message has changed. We are no longer on the same page.

And the message most definitely has changed. As we have seen, there is a growing acceptance of what I call the sentimental view of hell, which looks like this:

“Hell doesn’t exist. If it does exist it’s not that bad – it’s actually a blessed place located somewhere inside Jesus.”

This sentimental view of hell is a fiction, but for some it is a compelling fiction. Why do people choose to believe it? There are at least 12 reasons why a sentimental hell appeals. For my money, all of them are debatable. Here they are:

1. The traditional view of a fiery hell makes God out to be unchristian and unloving

God paid a huge price to make hell totally unnecessary. He came and died for us and there is no greater love (John 15:13). Within the constraints of love and freedom, God has done everything he can to stop us following the devil to hell. What more can he possibly do?

2. The traditional view suggests God does worse things to his kids than we do

It may be convenient to blame God for every bad thing that happens but it is naive. On Judgment Day we will all give an account for what we have done (Rom 14:10-12), not for the things that have been done to us. Adam wasn’t a victim when he chose to go his own way and neither are we. God doesn’t do bad things to his kids but we are more than capable of doing bad things to ourselves – in spite of all the good God has done for us.

3. The English word “hell” is not in the Bible

Actually, there are no English words are in the Bible. The Bible wasn’t written in English.

4. Jesus didn’t really mean “hell”, he meant rubbish dump

And that’s good because…? Jesus used Gehenna as a picture of eternal condemnation because hell was largely alien to the Jewish mind. They were worried about physical death and sheol. Jesus explained that there were worse things than dying, like having both your body and soul destroyed (Matt 10:28).

5. Why would a good and loving God feel good about sending people to hell?

Who says God sends anyone to hell? Who says he feels good about it? This is a leading question and a ridiculous thing to ask.

Jesus wept over the imminent fall of Jerusalem saying, “How often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing” (Mt 23:37). Can you see Jesus weeping, bawling his eyes out on account of their hard-hearted unwillingness?

If Jesus wept over Jerusalem he will surely weep over hell and those he longed to gather but “were not willing” to be gathered. God doesn’t send people to hell; they send themselves. The woes that Jesus pronounced over Jerusalem were woes brought on their own heads. Writing in The Great Divorce, C. S. Lewis nailed it when he said:

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.” All that are in hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no hell.

6. Love wins in the end

Except when it doesn’t. Love that forces itself on the unwilling is not love. If God didn’t stop Adam from condemning himself he won’t stop us from condemning ourselves (John 3:18). Indeed, he cannot without acting contrary to his essential character.

7. The ungodly have a distorted view of God. When they see him as he truly is, they will love him

This is wishful thinking. Unfallen Adam had a clear and undistorted view of God yet he still chose to distrust him. Prior to the cross Adam knew God better than anyone. Yet through his actions he declared God to be an untrustworthy liar. With the benefit of hindsight this strikes us as an incomprehensible error of judgment but it happened nonetheless.

The distorted lens problem is solved by Jesus. Jesus is God explaining himself to the human race. If you have seen Jesus, you have seen God. Reject Jesus and you reject God.

8. God is sovereign – in the end he gets what he wants

By that logic God must also be the author of evil, but he isn’t. God is not sovereign in the sense that word is typically used. It was not God’s will for Adam to eat from the forbidden tree yet Adam ate. It is not God’s will for anyone to reject his love, yet some do.

God certainly wants no one to go to hell, but he doesn’t always get what he wants. Here’s a quote from Wommack that caused a stir on E2R’s FB page recently:

God doesn’t allow people to go to hell. In one sense, you could say that he allows it because of his high regard for our free will. But it’s not his desire, wish or plan. God puts roadblocks in our way inviting us to repent and be born again, but ultimately he gives us the choice. God doesn’t control us like pawns in a chess game. Anyone who goes to hell has to climb over mountains of obstacles the Lord placed in their path. ~God Wants You Well, p.73

9. Last Adam trumps first Adam

Indeed he does! But it does not follow that all are saved. This is not the “how much more” that Paul spoke of in Romans 5. More here.

10. Jesus said he would draw “all men” to himself (John 12:31-32)

And indeed he does. But it does not follow that all are drawn. Light has come into the world but some prefer the darkness (John 3:19).

11. Every knee shall bow, every tongue will confess, therefore everyone will be saved

Every knee bows because Jesus is the king of kings. Some bow in adoration, others in willful defiance.

12. Jesus is the shepherd of the goats too

And look what he says to them: “Depart from me.” The goats don’t come in but are permanently “shut out” from the presence of the Lord (2 Th 1:8-9). The Good Shepherd surely loves the goats but in the end he declares the goats are “cursed” (Mt 25:41). Jesus didn’t curse them; they cursed themselves by rejecting life and grace.

As we have seen, the sentimental view of hell is not supported by scripture, history, or logic. It simply makes no sense. We might as well say that up is down and the moon is the sun. We might as well take a knife to all those New Testament scriptures that speak of eternal condemnation.

But I do agree with the sentimentalists on one point and it is this: Hell has really messed up our evangelism.

“If hell were true,” they say, “Then why aren’t we knocking down doors and warning people?” I think the answer to that is, “We’ve tried that and it doesn’t work.” Sure, it’s easy to sell salvation insurance to those who are fearful of hell. But it never sticks. The threat of hell is a lousy way to reconcile the lost to their loving Father.

But the solution is not to rewrite the Bible and pretend hell isn’t real or that the goats don’t choose to go there. That’s tantamount to calling Jesus a liar. The solution is to preach the gospel.

And the gospel is not “turn or burn” or “come to Jesus and escape hell.” Jesus didn’t die merely to save us from hell. Avoiding hell is not the point.

The fact is, hell was never meant to be part of our story. Hell is the ending we choose for ourselves when we reject the infinitely better ending God wants for all of us. And this is what we must proclaim in our witness – not the bad news of hell-in-the-future but the good news of heaven-on-earth-here-and-now. This is the gospel of the kingdom.


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130 Comments on 12 reasons why a sentimental Hell appeals

  1. I’m afraid we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one Paul. Your logic, as far as I can tell, is completely flawed at every level on this subject, and you have been completely guided by traditional religious thought, not by thorough research.
    Every piece of logic that you use to discredit the 12 points is completely lame and not thought through at all. I’m rather puzzled by this because you usually have the most thorough analysis of issues and aren’t swayed by tradition.
    At the risk of sounding patronising, maybe you are a little too left brained to really understand this subject. Its all to do with God’s heart and character – something we can never truly understand from scripture.
    Anyway, still love you heaps and really enjoy your posts and writing. ❤

    • Wow, you’re giving us Jim M’s a bad name. 🙂 You discredited everything Paul said and even took a shot at his intelligence. It at least would have been nice to hear a couple specific reasons (maybe address one or two of his points) for your strong remarks.

    • Luis Rod // May 2, 2013 at 4:22 pm // Reply

      I do agree with what you say that Paul’s logic is mainly supported by religious traditions about hell, however, you DID NOT mention or gave any specific reason of what you disagreed, not even mentioning one of the points and supporting it with the Bible per se. Above all, the article is very interesting and addresses some thoughts and points about hell that Christians have to think about and take into consideration.

    • Dear sir, may I point you to the fact that your comment does not give any counter argument. All you are saying is that you don’t agree and that Paul’s reasoning/logic is flawed but you have not given one counter argument to any of the 12 points. I apologize you did mention one thing in passing – God’s heart and character – maybe you should explain to us your view of God’s heart and character…

  2. thank you paul…
    although i am still having a hard time understanding why some people cant see that a trash dump is where unusable, un-recycleable, un-repairable, worthless, decaying, dead things go to be burned up because they no longer have any purpose whatsoever…

  3. janet cadieux // May 2, 2013 at 1:42 am // Reply

    Hi Paul,
    I have been dealing with # 6 this week. 6. Love wins in the end. Those who have not yet come to fully understand the all emcompassing “love” of God, speak this, without full knowledge, in mho. In other words it is my opinion, although sincere, they misapply what the full love of God really entails, but we have His witness in the word of God in 1 Cor. 5:13….does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,

    So, although it would be God’s will that all be saved, as His word also states, He simply and plainly does not force His will upon anyone. The bible must be understood in context. It would be against the very Love of God, to enforce His own way on His creation, as this text states.

    I find you have such a balanced view, and other views are so unbalanced, and when you come to think of it, if God was going to ultimately save all, without our input at all, there would be no need for the gospel, no need for truth, or seeking it, or God, and that to me is just plain new age dogma.

    Thank you so much for your ministry!

  4. Colleen G. // May 2, 2013 at 1:45 am // Reply

    I love point #3!!!
    Excellent article, actually the whole series is great. I just wish folks wouldn’t think I was pushing some kind of “hell doesn’t exist” when I share this stuff.

  5. good post,I have probably ask this before,how do we account for ignorance,I believe a true born again believer will be enlightened eventually,I think I just answered my own question. if i did,then those who are born again,but choose denial are secure but remain ignorant ,they don’t grow.

  6. If someone rejects all that God offers and does not want to be with Him, where can He put them? It seems the only option is they cease to exist.

    If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
    Psalms 139:8 (NKJV)

    • So if you don’t like me or agree with me, pow, I’ll kill you and you cease to exist? Easy, hey? A murderous God?

      • You had to put a few words in my mouth to make your point, but I guess when we’re sharing God’s love, we just have to step on a few people.

        My point was this. Some people don’t want anything to do with God and never will. They would rather cease to exist than admit they need God. The most merciful thing God can do for them, while honoring their free will, is to make it as though they never existed.

  7. Nice post though. Just wondering what kind of account believers would be giving according to Romans 14:12. I heard two well known Pastors said “All will be judged” and another said “he doesn’t want to be held ACCOUNTABLE for the death of sinners on the last day “. He quoted it somewhere from Ezekiel

    • All will be judged but according to different standards, as Paul explains earlier in Rom 2:6-8. It’s the sheep and goats again. Incidentally, I have a number of posts on judgment coming down the line, so stay tuned.

  8. Your logic is not my logic.

    According to your logic, God is going to end up being a huge failure.
    He created the entire universe, and He created man so that everything would be beautiful and perfect. But from the moment Adam and Eve took a bite of the fruit, God completely lost control. And of course God had no idea that they were going to eat the fruit, God was taken completely with surprised. (Really)
    Later, God even sent his own son to save the world, but in the end, that also turned out to be a failure. Two thousand years later, only about 5% of all people have accepted the gospel and Jesus as their savior.
    This means that eventually the Devil is going to bring 95% of all people to hell, and God is left with only a few percent.

    God would like to save all, but human will and the Devil’s will was much, much stronger, and unfortunately – there was nothing God could do about it.

    Is this your God?

    • Exactly Wiggo!
      That’s the line of thought that I simply cannot get past, and have yet to hear a valid response to.
      Why would God create billions of wonderful unique people, in the complete foreknowledge that nearly all of them would be condemned to hell (either by him or themselves) or annihilated.
      This makes no sense on any level. The only response I’ve ever got is “God’s ways are bigger than ours”. What a cop out!
      No, God told us very clearly what love is in 1 Cor 13, If that’s his standard for us, then I think his must be at least the same. Unless of course his love runs out because it just gets all too hard for him.
      We simply cannot keep trying to unravel scripture on this – 1700 years and still no closer. This is where the rubber hits the road in living in unity with Holy Spirit. We don’t live in unity with a book. We are created in his image and our hearts are one with him. If the book doesn’t make sense, I can totally trust love himself in me. And love says this whole hell idea, as its been taught, twisted and used for power and political manipulation for centuries, is a complete crock.
      Not my God thanks!

      • janet cadieux // May 2, 2013 at 10:51 am //

        Did you read the part in the verse you quoted where it says that love does not seek His own ways? God is Just, and He wants us to choose, brother. Without that choice, we could not have a relationship with Him.

      • Well said, Jim. I’ve been reading “Hope beyond Hell,” and it’s backed up by plenty of scripture and very logical. When the letter of the law is clung to to the point of disregarding the character of God, something is wrong. Isn’t that what Jesus complained at the Pharisees for doing? I’m sorry, I can’t help talking about this topic because I feel like God’s character is maligned. How can leaving your children to go their own way to be totally annihilated or suffer for eternity be the act of a loving Father God? Free will to the fullest extent is actually irresponsible parenting and neglect. And yes, there are lots of evil people in the world who have done terrible things which have caused us pain, but did Jesus not die for their sins too? Or were their sins too great to forgive?

      • janet cadieux // May 4, 2013 at 8:54 am //

        Hi Kathleenbee,

        How do you equate a loving God allowing us to love Him back, by choice as something evil? That is the problem I am having with those who do not agree with freewill. People who do not accept the free gift, do so willingly, in full knowledge before they would be told by Jesus, ‘your words condemn you’. He does not do this lightly, for He does not reap before He has sown. His word states that no man now has an excuse, for God has already provided everything that man needs to fulfill a relationship with God. It was never in God’s plan to force His love on anyone, and that appears to be where those who do not agree in freewill seem to go astray. Even when He created Adam, and Eve, HE allowed them freewill to decide whether or not they would partake of the tree of life or not. Of course when they didn’t, God removed it from the garden, because the result of that sin would effect all mankind, until the Seed would come to restore things where individually, we all get to choose to partake of it or not. That is what it means in revelation 2:7 ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.’

        We overcome by our believing in Him.

        He overcame the law to give us all that right.

        He did that part without the aid of any human hands, as it states in Hebrews.

        He who does not ‘believe’, for believing is the work of God that He requires for us to have what Jesus did for all, completed. We must say “I do” to be married to the Lamb.

        God loved the world so much that He died on a tree. That love is perfected when we believe. That is when perfect love casts out fear. God bless you in your studies.


      • kathleenbee, God is not respector of persons that is why his word said, for God so love the world that he gave his only begotton son that whomsoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. Thats the entire world and salvations is for all, even Hitlers and sex trafficers and suicide bombers of today.

        The thing is, it can only be our choice,; hence the word (whomsoever).

    • Wiggo, your habit of setting up and knocking down straw-men never ceases to amaze. Read your Bible – God didn’t lose control. He freely gave it away to the pinnacle of creation and the apple of his eye – us (Gen 2). Did God know what would happen? Did God know what we would do with the gift he gave us? He’s God, so of course he did. Yet he did it regardless and knowing that he would have to come and die on the cross to put things right. This is the towering testimony of history – that God would rather die than live without us. This is agape love.

      I appreciate that you (and Jim) are both big on the love of God. Believe it or not, so am I. However, I see no need to choose between my loving Father and the words of His Son. This is why I don’t go around saying silly things like only 5% are saved or that the devil is stronger. Give God a little credit. Within the constraints of freedom and love – constraints that he himself imposed on the universe he made – he’s actually amazingly God-like. Time is on his side.

      What you are upset with is a traditional view of hell that no one here is preaching: A traditional view that says sinners go to hell (I don’t say that) and are tormented for eternity (I don’t say that). The traditional view also says babies and children go to hell (I don’t say that) and unless people say “yes” at an altar call, they’ll burn forever (I don’t say that). Again, give God a little credit and while you’re at it give me some too. I encourage you to dial back on the rhetoric and enter the conversation the rest of us are having.

      • Point taken Paul 🙂

        So can you say with any certainty that in the end, no matter how long, and no matter what the process looks like, God will never give up until the very last of his creation is one with him?

        I think thats my biggest point, because if that isn’t the case, no amount of theology can convince me he hasn’t failed.

      • Brandon // May 2, 2013 at 11:19 am //

        Jim, you aren’t making any sense and you’re ignoring sense. God is not human. He doesn’t suffer from a conflict over His desires versus what He is able to make happen. I “desire” to eat ice cream every day, but I choose not to because I know there would be repercussions I would not like. God desires that all should be saved, but if He imposed that desire on us, He would be setting aside His ultimate goal to be freely chosen and pursued by us to have relationship. God’s desire for our free will choice to choose Him outweighs His desire that “all” should be saved. He has a purpose and desire that is higher than His desire for all to know Him. He’d rather have a “few” who willingly choose Him than “all” to be forced into His design. He sets the rules, therefore He doesn’t “lose” or “fail”. Just because He desires for all to be saved doesn’t mean He imposes His desire. God isn’t greedy or selfish. Just like Jesus laid down His life for us, God lays down certain wishes in favor of respecting our free will. That is true love.

      • janet cadieux // May 3, 2013 at 1:22 am //

        Well said, Brandon. In order for God to force His will on His creation, He would be a dictator, not a God who first loved us, so that we could have the oppertunity to love Him back.

      • Woop Woop!🙌🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾

    • chrisvanrooyen // May 2, 2013 at 1:04 pm // Reply

      How much did you love the lie you existed in before life,do you still live it and love it, or have you found truth and life that has the victory of life in death. Has your life died and have you found life this is the question you need to ask.
      If you are still dead there is nothing to save you, you need to be given life.
      God never created billions of people we did, God created Adam and Eve, everyone reborn in Christ.And everyone born by his spirit.With the Lords help.
      Life was, still is, and will always be our choice.
      Everyone born of mans will is a shadow of what they were meant to be.

      • muller // May 2, 2013 at 9:38 pm //

        Dear Jim Marjoram, please clarify, are you suggesting that satan and his demons will also be ‘one’ with God in the end? As far as I know satan is a fallen angle and did God not create the angels? So if God has to be one with all of His creation then that must include the little guy as well?

      • I get what you guys are saying, in response to my comment. But no one has answered the question – only side stepped it by just re-phrasing the same old “Gods ways are bigger” response.
        I won’t go into endless debate over it. If you are prepared to think that God isn’t quite as good as he claims to be because of some theological glitch in the way he had to create us, well, go for it. I used to do all the mental gymnastics to get around the glaring holes as well.
        I have expressed my views only in an effort to expand the way we think and grow, and hopefully inspire us all to break free of dogma.
        Sorry if that all sounds patronising, just saying how I see it.
        All I can really say is, since reconciling my beliefs in judgement, hell, etc, I’ve never been at greater peace, felt more joy, and experienced such intimacy and love for God.

        ~ Will Satan and his demons be saved? Depends on your interpretation of who/what Satan is in the first place 😉

      • Jim, I haven’t been following whatever discussion you’re having with others on this thread (I was out all day yesterday) but it seems to me that what you dismiss as “dogma” is nothing less than the words of Jesus (eg: Mt 10:28, 25:41-46). When I quote Jesus word for word and people say “Paul, you’re wrong,” I can’t help but scratch my head.

        You know I care little for those traditions of men that nullify faith in Christ, but neither do I have any desire to “break free” of the words of Jesus or the apostles who echoed him. These glaring holes you allude to – I don’t see them. I see no inconsistency with the message of grace and the life and testimony of Jesus. Evidently, you do, which is your prerogative. But how is this not the top of a slippery slope that leads to dismissing the Bible?

        Yes, God is bigger than his book and we should interpret scripture in light of his unchanging character, rather than the other way around. But there’s a huge difference between interpreting scripture (as I have tried to do in these posts) and dismissing it outright or putting it in the too hard basket. I’m not trying to provoke. I just think that labelling those who don’t see things as you do as traditionalists or dogmatic is unhelpful and unwarranted.

      • janet cadieux // May 3, 2013 at 12:44 pm //

        I am in such agreement with this. I am finding more and more a move away from the ‘bible’ to embrace man’s own thoughts, and for the most part they claim their thoughts are the result of the Holy Spirit, but when it contradicts Jesus and His words, I cannot agree. Then, they try to claim that Jesus taught the law, when the law was only taught until John, as the bible states. The law was taught and given through Moses, grace and truth, came through Jesus. They try to claim that Jesus being born under the law, made Him subject to the law, etc, etc.

      • Of course the demons and satan won’t be saved Jim Marjoram, cuz they have already been judged, John 16:11 condemned. Not saying ur saying it dear, but HELL NO!

        I found it odd that you would say “since reconciling my beliefs in judgement, hell, etc, I’ve never been at greater peace, felt more joy, and experienced such intimacy and love for God.” I never heard no one ever say that before. Surley, the fact that our salvation is secure and Christ is not schizophrenic/split personality that he can’t make up his mind about weather we are truly saved or not, therefore, we can all rest in the blessed assurance that what he did, once and for all, is a done deal; and there is no shadow of turning with him. I would think, that would be the reason for great peace, when our mind is stayed on him; if we believe. Not about getting our facts right about hell. Hope I don’t offend you, but, just saying.

        God bless

    • Pat Hing // May 9, 2013 at 3:41 am // Reply

      Just like the thief on the cross, more people are saved than we reckon! No way hell can claim more soul than heaven; I know my loving, mighty heavenly Father will never ever allow that to happen! Revelation 5 speaks of a populated heaven but no such description of hell!

  9. I usually like what Paul puts out there for us. I think this time he really missed the mark and did not do his homework…still love to read what he writes but this one left me wondering.

    • Can’t imagine where you think he missed the mark, especially because you don’t explain your doubts. I think he nailed it pretty good.

  10. Lol Paul, ur first paragragh made me laugh, Amen to the fourth, well written as usual. Hell has become an interesting topic, (can’t believe I’ve said that); but its in the bible and once again, “let God be true and everyone a liar.” If Christ talks about a certain place or world, then it exist. Hell is not for us to dwell on, cuz its bad news, but it’s not a bad thing to understand at least the basics of hell.

  11. The English word “hell” is not in the Bible

    Actually, there are no English words are in the Bible. The Bible wasn’t written in English.

    +10,000 AP (awesome points).

    • What people mean is the traditional concept of hell isn’t in the bible

    • You know Stephen Shores, I been reading a number of comments on here concerning how the language of the bible have changed. I remember Feeling perplexed about the knowledge that the English is different and that even the tenses have been changed. After watching Joseph Prince on Sky digital, I went straight to the Lord myself and wanted to know why God allowed it to happen. I thought there was a conspiracy to guard some of the truth from the masses of worshippers. The OT Hebrew and the NT Greek, which is more expressive in language did not hit it the same way in English. Normally, when I go to the Holy Ghost, God takes a while to answer some questions but he answered promto cuz he knew I doubting his words more than I was for that day. For some reason, I cannot even articulate what he said but it was so simple. It all made sense but the biggest deal was that they translated it to English in such a way as to shorten the book and to make us really understand what God was saying. The English language is big on future tense. Jamaica is big on past and present tense; when Jamaicans came to the UK, they found it hard speaking future tense. There was a lot more to it so the Holy Spirit is here right now to help us understand what we want to understand.

  12. I have a question what about those that have been raised from the dead recently and not have known God or Jesus or the bible at all yet descried a place of total darkness and torment and have seen these things.I think it’s cool that God is so merciful that these people have had there spirit returned there bodies.However it’s interesting at what they say and there have had no formal teaching on scripture.

    • Craig, there are actually FAR more who describe a place of absolute love, who equally have had no bible knowledge. I’m not sure what that all means, but if we give it some credence, then the sheer numbers that have experienced complete acceptance and love at death, says something!

    • You have a very nice twist, trying to tell us that God is not going to send anyone to hell.
      Nice try, but that is not what you really belive

      You belive that the lake of fire in Rev.20 talkes about hell.
      What does is say there?
      Does it say …. and they all jumped into the lake of fire?
      No….its says…and they were all CAST into the lake of fire.

      Who is doing the casting?

      • Pat Hing // May 9, 2013 at 12:11 pm //

        Nobody is going to jump into hell voluntary; so somebody has to do the ‘dirty’ job of casting. According to our pagan Chinese belief; the devil come to get those belong to him when they die! 😦

  13. Phil Daniel // May 3, 2013 at 12:24 am // Reply

    Wow Your arguments are truly awesome and awe inspiring. I’m not a very smart man but I do know this, God loves us so much that He sent His ONLY Son Jesus to Die for me and He spent 3 days in Hell so I don’t have to, even though me and my dirty rags desperately deserve to go there.Jesus defeated death at the cross. He died for Us not our denominations or our interpretations.Childlike Faith is what My Lord requires from me, I’ll leave all the hard stuff like running the Universe ,saving Souls reconciling His creation to Him. Much love to You all.

  14. Corey Lewis // May 3, 2013 at 3:42 am // Reply

    What is interesting is that Matthew 10: 28, which is sited above, was not spoken to the multitudes where “lost” people would have heard it… Jesus was speaking directly to His own disciples alone who ALREADY believed in Him… read it for yourselves. In fact many of the parables that are thought to prove the existence of hell, do not deal with “outsiders”, but with people who are already inside., believers…. (i.e. servants of the Master) So it is easy to believe in this literal Hell when it is only “other” people, not you, that are in danger of ending up there. If you are going to quote these texts, at least do an honest exegesis and handle the context properly.

  15. Fantastic series, couldn’t agree more! I find that if at first I don’t understand or agree with something I’ve read, I will go back and re-read it as many times as necessary until I do understand. Anyone who has read Paul’s posts for any time should have a rudimentary understanding of where he is coming from. Instead of getting upset and throwing stones, take the time to channel that energy into a thorough and systematic study of the article using your bible, concordance and Greek/Hebrew dictionary. Then bring your concise and hopefully informed points to the table for discussion. Do all things in love.
    Appreciate Christ’s love that we see in how you handle the tough critics. It’s one thing when the world throws stones at us but quite another when our own does! My prayers are with you.

    • Thanks TB. It’s been a weird week. I’ve learned a lot (about people).

      • We may not agree in everything, but we do care for one another and we consider everything everyone says as valid and take it to heart. Thanks for your grace posts, Paul, they have helped me so much in my Christian walk.

  16. all right everyone back to there corners,its obvious to me hell raises a lot of he–,well never mind.humor break.I used to be a Frisbee-terian, when you died your soul went to someones roof, ha ha………I find it interesting that this creates, this tension,for lack of a better word,is the enemy taking a opportunity to stir up fear? or doubt, about our salvation,he always plays both ends against the middle. i am really just curious, give me some feedback…..years ago I read [The screw tape letters ] CS LEWIS, to me it was a I opener about the psychology of evil.Why do we have to be so right about Hell…..divide and conquer ya know.

    • Interesting, do the Frisbee-terians have a web site? 😉 Seriously though, I hope I can respond without upsetting anyone, because that’s not my intention. I have been uneasy about the comment threads concerning this topic. I’m having a hard time trying to grasp why it would be so important to have everyone believe that you end up in heaven no matter what. I’m not seeing what would be the benefit of teaching that. Especially since, I think we all agree, no Scripture explicitly says that. I could see someone who’s on the fence about Jesus saying, I’m not going to bother with this because in the end, it doesn’t matter. One lady made a good point saying, why did the Apostles risk their lives on a daily basis if everyone ends up saved anyway? I’m wondering what would the point be in spreading the gospel to all the world? So beyond my personal belief, that we do have to believe to receive, I’m failing to see any benefits of believing otherwise or teaching otherwise.

      • The issue that’s really at stake is God’s character – who he is, why he created us, our purpose etc. The other issue is how we regard the bible in relation to our union with Holy Spirit.
        As christians we tend to keep locking ourselves up in this tiny box of bibliolatry and traditional teaching. We all THINK we know what the bible is all about, and spend lifetimes trying to come up with doctrines that make it all work together and, well, just make sense. But like I keep saying, do we need another 1700 years of trying to figure it out?

        Jesus apparently said he had to go so that Holy Spirit would come – to be the source of truth. He didn’t mention anything about writing a new set of scriptures that we had to abide by.

        I know I’ll get completely slammed for saying this and declared a heretic, lol, The bunch of documents and letters that were compiled 350 years after the fact were just that – documents and letters that are useful as references on how the early church worked, thought, stuffed up, struggled, rejoiced, related to God, played and prayed. There is so much in there that is good to know, and a great reference. But there is a reason Jesus didn’t dictate a new book of unambiguous instructions for us – He sent Holy Spirit – HE is now living in complete union in/with us. A written code sure didn’t work for the Jews so what makes us think it will work for us. Again, 1700 years later we are still trying to do exactly what the Jews did – live by a book instead of GOD IN US.

        Here it is folks – like it or lump it: God is love – live loved! If what you are reading doesn’t fit into that, then no matter how you try to juggle it and twist it into that little book we worship, then its a waste of time. Let’s see the bible for what it really is, and start living our intimate union with God, now!

        Thanks Paul, for letting me rant 😉
        I’ll leave it at that now 🙂

      • muller // May 3, 2013 at 7:49 pm //

        Dear Jim Marjoram, just a quick note – the ‘little book’ we worship has a name and it is JESUS – He is the WORD that became flesh! I would appreciate if you don’t belittle my Lord and Savior in such manner – if you were not talking about the Bible then I apologize.
        Regarding God’s character – He is also Righteousness, and as I said previously God cannot and will not move against His own set off rules, if there is one thing He cannot do it is taking ‘short cuts’ not even in the Name of Love! I call on the Bible believing Christians to please correct me if I am wrong on this statement as I would love to know the Truth and if it is shown from the Bible to be diffirent from my view I WILL accept it. Amen

      • Jim m… I have to agree with you,if everyone is saved,the gospel is a waste of time, who needs it ,no one would have to believe anything,to much evidence to state otherwise, I keep coming back to, there is a order to the universe, and if God ventured from this order,we would be toast,since he can not lie,he is saying, I AM WHAT I AM,THIS IS THE WAY IT MUST BE DONE,does anyone understand what im am trying to say,I dont understand it all,before I was saved,I used to ponder the question” were did God come from?” if you thing about that to long it will drive you nuts,he is and he always was,Ill have to be happy with that for now.

        ps: George Carlin used to say,He was going to start a religion,that said that when you died your soul went to a garage in Baltimore.

        I see now that grace,is the only way to go.[GRACE IS POWER UNDER CONTROL]
        if he has the whole world in his hand grace is keeping him from making a fist [get it}

      • Mr. Marjoram, Thank you for taking the time to spell it all out for me. I agree that the Bible has been misused and wrongly taught by many. I was even a victim of that myself, but we shouldn’t take it out on the Bible. In defense of some of the traditional teaching, the only reason we’re getting a better understanding of Scripture is because of the work Jesus is doing in these last days. I agree with making our focus the Person of the Bible above the principles and we can’t have a relationship with a book or rules. However, Jesus uses the Bible as the main way He reveals Himself. We should go to the Bible looking for Jesus and He’s in there from Genesis to Revelation. As you said, “God in us” will reveal Himself as we read. The Scriptures help us to discern, was that thought from the Holy Spirit or was that just me (Heb 4:12). You could not have even come to the belief of being in union with God without the Bible. It’s not our object of worship, but it is a helpful guide to knowing the One we worship. Of course He’s bigger than a book, He’s also bigger than our capacity to fully understand. Since no man has ever fully tapped in to all of what’s in the Bible, there is plenty enough of Him in there for us to handle in this lifetime.

  17. Corey comments that Mat 10:28 indicates that hell is also for believers. I can’t see that from the context. Jesus tells his believers not to fear persecution because the worst thing that can happen is that they will be killed. And he says people should only fear that both their body and soul could be destroyed. Then he goes on in 10:29-32 to tell them how valuable his believers are and that he will acknowledge them before the Father. I am not a bible guru but for me the context is clear, hell is not a concept for believers but for people who are separated from God and reject Christ.
    Then even Peter in his weakness denied Jesus before men three times, still Jesus clearly showed his love for him when he appeared to him after the cross. Weakness, mistakes or sin can not make a believer a candidate for hell.
    Paul, thanks for good writing as always, but please keep up with the eternal security series, eagerly waiting for more on that.

    • The eternal security series will continue with the next post Harry. It’s going to be good!

    • janet cadieux // May 4, 2013 at 1:00 am // Reply

      Hi Jim,

      I wholly agree that God is love. I wholly agree that much of the bible is history, and dictates the going forth of the lives of those who lived in that day, but I do not agree with you that the words of Jesus or any writer of the bible has ONE thing to do with the law of moses that is clearly shown in His word to do one thing. CONDEMN. Even that is truth.

      If people and by ‘people’, begin to think like some of you, and begin to see the bible as a dead book, there would be no source of understanding, at all. While it is true that the Holy Spirit does lead us and into all truth, the fact is, that truth will NEVER contradict what we have as a written prooftext. What we would have would be a bunch of people running around, and most of them without the Holy Spirit, dictating their OWN lives as they see fit. Even that is written, for that is the very nature of man.

      So, as I see it, I find your words very slanderous, and very heretical, YES. Take it with a grain of salt, however. I am not your Judge…and, I do not worry about anyone who is truly seeking truth, for they could never come to your conclusion…not with them searching what the will of God is with their whole heart, and to put it bluntly, that is what is required of us all.
      I do worry moreso for those who are not doing that, for surely, they WILL be led astray.

  18. A question to ALL you clever folk out there…

    If God in His almighty power and knowledge allowed His creation to be ‘ruined’ by His creation (man) don’t you think it might just be possible that He will allow His creation (man) to also ‘save’ His creation – through the Blood of the Lamb and the Word of their testimony?? I am implying that just as God did not interfere with the ‘fall of creation’ He will not interfere with its salvation – apart from giving His Son, but the choice remains with man (creation), now in THIS LIFE!!!

  19. The only problem I have with that, Jim Marjoram, is that the Bible tells us that God is love. How would we know that if we didn’t read our Bibles and base our lives on it?

    • chrisvanrooyen // May 4, 2013 at 8:57 am // Reply

      Well said Kathleen, the bible if it is Gods testimony to the truth his Son, and we now carry this testimony, I am sure that he would protect his testimony. I find nothing in the bible that contradicts or is in any way in conflict with who and what God says he is. All of Gods actions in the bible bear witness to his essence and character.
      The problem is that we believe that we are the authors and creators of life. And we love this life we have created. This life is the lie that Adam and Eve left the garden with.
      Our minds are offended by anything that would attack this life, even God who by grace and mercy sustains it to allow us to find real life.
      We regard ourselves as individuals independent, no as individuals interdependent part of a family in essence one. we sacrifice for the wrong one.

  20. something that came to mind,in genesis 11:5-6, when God confused the language at the towel of babel in the hebrew the word [ zamam] means basically there is no end to the trouble they can get in to,it sounds like a father saying we better break them up,cause what one doesn’t think of the other will, to me that’s the discipline of a father exercising a type of mercy,all though they didn’t see it, A wommack makes the observation of the same type. adam and eve at of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and everything went down hill,imagine if they would have also eaten of the tree of life and lived forever in a fallen condition,disease sickness etc and not being able to die, if you believe that it was actually a act of mercy to make them leave the garden. just a thought i don’t think a good father would purposely want to hurt his children, Its seems time and time again he is looking out for us even if we don’t see it,so he sends us a LOVE LETTER and his son [aka] our big brother to make a way back for us.

    • Just to add,it seems God loves a challenge,most of the best representative were the worst people EXAMPLE , PAUL, killed christians, get my drift,so look out all of you who cause a lot of grief,hes got your address,hes probably saying, I LIKE HIM HES GOT A LOT OF SPUNK, THEN HE SENDS OUT THE WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE,AND THE NEXT THING YOUR SAVED.

      • chrisvanrooyen // May 12, 2013 at 10:31 pm //

        Hi Earl
        It seems from the text that even after what he had done Cain was still under grace in reading the text he seems to amend what God says, he says that God has hidden him from Gods presence. God never said this. Then even after been given protection he chooses to leave Gods presence, he is not driven away. For me the incident with Cain is another example of Gods grace and mercy, and mans rejection of this grace and mercy. This may be the start of the curse that Jesus turned around 70 times 7. We cursed ourselves.

      • I find it sooooo comforting when you read scripture from a grace, mercy,love,etc,[point of view] a friend of mine always comes at it with a { working for your salvation} instead of working from your salvation, some of stuff you are showing me I have not taken the time to look at, I found the new testament such a eye opener looking at it in a new light.Now i am beginning to see all the goodies in the old testament.

    • chrisvanrooyen // May 4, 2013 at 11:07 am // Reply

      Here is another curve ball where was Cain afraid to go to and why did he think he would not be killed where he was after what he had done. You may find some revelation here.
      God confused mans language but man never stopped building the tower, I find a few bricks among many of the comments here.
      there is only one stone to get to God and he does all the building this should be good news.

      • ok, you may have me here,I see the babel connection with the corner stone,and as i read about cain,I dont know if i understand,what your asking,I can see some symbolism with the fact he was in the line of Jesus, maybe im missing it ,or i cant see the forest for the trees.

  21. *sigh*, I don’t know why I bother…

    • Jim Marjoram,
      Why Bother? You really don’t know how many people are reading this and relate to you,
      but think it would be pointless to comment. So I guess you’re speaking for some of us that won’t bother. If you’re getting frustrated, just bow out. Peace & Blessings

    • I’m sorry I didn’t agree with everything you said. I thought I owed it to you and any other readers to try and explain why I didn’t agree. I also tried to do that in a respectful way. If I didn’t, I’m sorry for that as well. I truly did appreciate your explanation, even though I disagree. I believe if we’re doing this just to be right, we’re at the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Hopefully we can keep Jesus as our focus and enjoy the benefits of the tree of life. Blessings!

      • No probs Jim M. I think its awesome we can discuss stuff openly.
        I always get concerned when people comment without really taking the time to understand others perspectives and paradigms.
        With this subject in particular, I see so many making reactionary remarks without realising that some of us have taken a lifetime of careful and prayerful consideration and study to come to these conclusions. Jesus has been the centre of my life for 42 years (not that that guarantees much I guess, lol), so even though I state my case strongly at times, I have the utmost respect for each of our individual journeys.

  22. Donavon Freeman // May 5, 2013 at 12:24 pm // Reply

    You bother Jim because you care.Besides I know exactly what you and wiggo are talking about.So I will attempt to answer one of the common questions I’ve heard in this thread and many others.If everyone is going to heaven,why preach the gospel?Logical question,right?
    It is said of old that I have a mansion in glory,yes?Now just because i have a mansion there doesn’t mean I don’t mind living in the projects here.No,I want the best possible life down here for me and my children down here.You agree?Of course you do.Now just because everyone is going to heaven doesn’t mean I can’t tell that crack addict that he doesn’t have to live that for the rest of his life.The gospel of love tells the drunk..you dont have to beat up on ur wife and molest your kids…it tells that selfish rich man to cut out buying 13 cars and take that money and gospel to the poor.Love is the hammer that breaks hardened hearts if you dont believe that ask paul…and if he’s too old ask me…

    • Thats awesome Donavon, You’ve cheered me up no end 🙂
      Of course – love is the reason, When we feel fathers heart for everyone here and now, thats all the reason we need to bring the good news to people. Its not about pie in the sky ever-after – its bringing the kingdom to everyone now!

  23. Well, why don’t we approach and ask the Creator Himself about this whole commotion of “hell”?

    Now I understand that some may take the Lord’s name in vain and say, “The Lord told me this,” or “The Lord told me that” – when in fact the Lord has not spoken at all. How we hear God’s voice is another matter altogether . . .

  24. 1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.

    Those who willfully reject God’s love still live in the kingdom of darkness under the dominance of the devil. In short the devil has a claim over their body, soul & spirit since Adam’s fall. Judicially God has no choice but to give them up to the devil. Sadly when the devil is cast into hell he is going to take with him all who belongs to him. But I strongly believe that more people are saved than most us reckon.

  25. It is written in Joh16v8 And when He (Holy Spirit) comes, He will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s RIGHTEOUSNESS, and of the coming JUDGEMENT.

    Not sure why all the arguing when it is very basic and clear in God’s Word – I don’t even need to study it for years – just open and read it black on white! Now if I don’t fully regard The Word (Genesis through to Revelations) for what it really is then I need a lot of clever arguments to make it fit what the world wants to hear. But luckily for some of us the Gospel is very simple – even a child can understand!

  26. donavon freeman // May 17, 2013 at 1:51 am // Reply

    hi Pat,You’ve stated”Once Jesus is rejected,God has no choice but to give him over to Satan.”
    OK if this is true,Didn’t Peter and the other disciples reject jesus on several occasions yet if
    God had no choice but to hand them over to Satan then why did Jesus go after them?Didn’t he find them fishing and cook breakfast for them and bless them with a load of fish and also a boatload
    of forgiveness fresh out the oven?
    What about that sheep that strayed from the 100?Didn’t Jesus go after that sheep?And if I recall
    the sheep was put on his shoulders not asked did he want to return.
    Doesn’t sound like they were handed over to Satan.But you added the word Judicially meaning that our Father who is dealing now through love becomes Judge and deals with us according to law,well my friend if this is true than we all are in trouble,because you and I both know that if he deals with us according to law it’s over for believers as well.

    • I think we do so much out of ignorance,again ill say, being called sheep is not complimentary,when Satan fell, the way i understand it He was well aware of what he was doing,and those that followed him, so in MY opinion maybe we have to be totally conscious of what were doing,that is some what of a shady area for me i don’t know where the line is eventually drawn in Romans it says, God finally gave them over to a reprobate mind.Comparing that to 1 Corinthians 5,were the church member was given over to Satan for destruction of the flesh, for salvation of the spirit,again where does ignorance change into {well aware}? Then you could say the comparisons are different,which they are,one group were non believers,the other was a believer.

    • Some people reject first but later come to accept. Examples include Peter (John 18-21), the prodigal son, and Paul (Acts 9).

      Some people reject first and continue to reject. Their heart is locked against Jesus.

      Although God lets people go their own way (Romans 1), he still constantly seeks us and wants us to turn to him. This is one of the main themes in the Bible. Jesus demonstrated this with his death/resurrection and mentioned the theme in many parables (Lost Sheep, Prodigal Son). However, because of free choice, some people can just simply reject Christ for good. In this case, they end up separating themselves from God.

  27. paula mc alpin // May 24, 2013 at 2:20 pm // Reply

    If it is God’s will that all men be saved, do you really believe that what we think or believe will change His mind…

    • You are asking me if I believe God is sovereign and always gets what he wants. The answer is no, for reasons I explain here.

    • chrisvanrooyen // May 24, 2013 at 5:29 pm // Reply

      It is God,s will that all men be saved Jesus died for all sinners the problem is , is it man,s will that all men be saved. the predicament being this , How would there be peace in heaven if you are there with someone you don.t want to be there with .

  28. Lee Whitcomb // August 16, 2014 at 1:08 am // Reply

    Paul, in this post I found the following statements: “ALL THAT ARE IN HELL CHOOSE IT. WITHOUT THAT SELF-CHOICE THERE COULD BE NO HELL”. “BUT ULTIMATELY HE (GOD) GIVES US THE CHOICE; GOD DOESN’T CONTROL US LIKE PAWNS IN A CHESS GAME”. “HELL IS THE ENDING WE CHOOSE FOR OURSELVES WHEN WE REJECT THE INFINITELY BETTER ENDING GOD WANTS FOR ALL OF US”. Paul (or anyone else) help me to understand your (this) position on CHOICE when the Bible seems clear that the “natural man” has no ability to choose God—God chooses the man. 1Co 2:14 “… a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God….” Ep 1:4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world….” IF God made His choice, “before the foundation of the world …, THEN where does our choice come in? Some say regeneration comes first then you can choose. That position is laughable. You would be saying, Thank you Father for what you have done in your Son, but I would just as soon GO TO HELL…. Our free will isn’t FREE. Our will is based on ability, and it can be influenced by personal or social forces. That would bring us to the subject of God’s irresistible grace….

    • The first words of God to mankind: “You are free.” Our freedom to choose is one of God’s greatest gifts to us for without it we cannot love or even be human. It’s true that natural man cannot reach up to God, which is why he reaches down to us. Creation testifies of his goodness which is why, Paul said, men are without excuse. I know there are some who will use their free will to tell you that you have no free will; I’m using mine to tell you that you do! If we didn’t have the freedom to choose or respond to grace, why would Jesus commission us to go and preach the gospel?

  29. Lee Whitcomb // August 17, 2014 at 10:34 pm // Reply

    Paul, your answer (the answer) is in your second sentence: “It’s true that natural man cannot reach up to God, which is why he reaches down to us”. Jesus commissioned us to go and preach the Gospel because, “faith comes by HEARING….” and faith is a gift…. We are not going to agree on this subject of free will, but I still like your work—thanks!.

    • Hi Lee, in your original comment you said you wanted to understand Paul’s position. Then in your response to his answer you switched to giving him an answer to a question he didn’t ask. What happened?

  30. Lee the reason Jesus came in the flesh and we must accept this is how God saves the natural man, when we accept this revealed by God because he knows your choice before you make it, the spiritual is revealed. God choose you before time began because he saw the good choice you would make in accepting his Son. Time its self and the whole universe was created to create a Son with free will to choose. You !! Yes you are the center of the universe, you and every other Son.

  31. Lee Whitcomb // August 19, 2014 at 12:31 am // Reply

    LJP, nothing happened. I merely said that when Paul said the natural man (1Co 2:14) cannot reach up to God and that God reaches down to man is a sovereign action like the report on Lydia in Acts 16:14, “…the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul (the Apostle Paul). I believe that God initiates and we respond. IF in such a case we are making a choice, THEN it is because God has acted to OPEN A HEART. IF man is making a choice on his will alone (his free will), THEN man has the last say in His salvation no matter how God may feel about the matter. The best example of God’s sovereign action can be found in Rom 9:11-13. In the case of Jacob and Esau IT WAS GOD’S
    CHOICE…. If I am to make a mistake concerning the word of God, then I would rather be accountable to God for giving way to HIS CHOICE instead of my free will. LJP, thanks for your response!

    • You are free to give way as you please, but you seem to be on a mission to give away my free choice as well. 😉 According to your beliefs, what is the purpose of sharing Jesus with the unbeliever? If man has no free will, why is our loving Father allowing man to do so much harm to himself and others? Thanks 🙂

  32. I’m no scholar here but I read Lee’s scripture in 1Cor.2:14 that clearly says “the natural(sinner)man does not receive the things of Gods Spirit because they are foolishness to him…Foolishness(absurd,lacking sense,trivial,unreasonable)so it sounds to me that Lee has a good point that’s being ignored.
    Chris in so many words you’re saying that you made sense out of the foolishness?And what was absurd to Lee and I in our sinful(natural) state was quite reasonable to you?What I’m asking is when it was presented to you that one man died for your sins 2 thousand years ago not only yours but the whole world’s not only now but that has ever existed will ever exist past,present and future you said well yeah I can believe that without any assistance from the Holy Spirit?Uh ok….And btw where is your scripture on freewill because Proverbs 21:1 says the heart of the king is in the Lords hand and he will make it do as he sees fit…This is interesting…

    • I dislike quoting scripture as it takes Gods word out of context, but if I were to quote just one it would have to be Deuteronomy 30:19.I was presented with the Gospel as you see it ,but then I was confronted by the one man you speak of. Your Gospel did not have much influence in my life.

  33. I remember reading where Joseph became 2nd in command only to Pharoah himself he was free to do as he pleased.If he wanted to keep inviting his brother’s to dine he did it.If he wanted to bring his Dad to eat he did it.if he wanted to move all his brothers their wives and their children totaling 70 altogether(Gen.46:27) well he was free to do as he pleased.
    Oh but once nice pharaoh died ole’ meany rose up and made these once “frèe to choose”slaves they no longer possessed free will.The same with Adam.Before sin free to choose after sin he became a slave to sin therefore no longer free to choose.

    • Donaven you need to do a study on a bond servant or slave , and read the illusions to this. There is a servant who is not forced but chooses to serve he becomes one of the family, but he even though having served his time and free to go, must choose to stay.

  34. Lee Whitcomb // August 19, 2014 at 10:19 am // Reply

    Thanks Donavon! With your comments I no longer feel like the red-headed step son. Battling the “FREE WILL” group is a up hill fight because being free to choose—being free—is extremely important. We … have gone to war over freedom. Free will advocates, in many cases are quick to say that if we don’t have a choice then we are mere puppets or robots. I don’t believe that! I don’t think God changes the essence of who we are along with our personality and natural gifts. When he opens our heart and mind to what he accomplished in His son (2 Co 5:18-19), along with his sanctifying process we (as individuals) function according to His will and purpose. If, however, God wants a robot I’ll volunteer. After 73 years, my choices have not amounted to any eternal value. When I allow the world to see the Christ Life instead of my self life then I see gold, silver, and precious stone….

    • Lee there is no fight, and yes the only freedom to be found is in God. And I believe it is free it does not come at my sacrifice, me giving up my free will.

  35. I’m kinda still waiting for the free will scriptures Lee that they have.Ok,then I’ll go first:Jer.18:6,The Lord said Can I do with Israel as the potter does with this clay?As the clay is in the hands of the potter so is Israel in my hands.Romans9:21,Hath not the potter POWER OVER the clay to do as he pleases?
    FREE-adj.not under the control of or under the power of another,able to act or do as one wishes If this is the free you’re using I just gave you 2 scriptures for the first half of the def. now a scripture for the second half.I believe that Abimelech was held back from sinning by God.But why would God stop him and not David?/hmmm..
    Maybe you’re not using that def. of free maybe you’re using this one,FREE-liberated from slavery….sorry friends you are free from sin yes but slaves of righteousness didn’t Paul himself when explaining his relationship to Christ a bondservant(slave)?
    I like what you said Lee”If God wants a robot I’ll volunteer”well said..

    • Here’s my honest take on it, Donavon. Even though I believe Inclusionism is untrue, causes division, and produces no good fruit, I’ve never visited an Inclusionism website to talk down to the webmaster or those commenting. That’s probably because I’ve never been to an Inclusionism website. 🙂 Whenever I have witnessed an Inclusionist evangelizing, it has been directed toward believers. To me, it really seems more like marketing than evangelizing. So you’re selling a doctrine called Inclusionism and I have a couple of questions about what’s under the hood.

      According to your beliefs, what is the purpose of sharing Jesus with the unbeliever?

      If man has no free will, why is our loving Father allowing man to do so much harm to himself and others? 

      Thanks 🙂

      • Donavon freeman // August 20, 2014 at 1:07 pm //

        Well LJP I’m no mechanic but let’s pop the hood and see what we have here…Yes sir just as I suspected( wipin my greasy hands on muh rag)its that free will that’s cloggin the engine.But seriously
        Question 2 first- Remember I said man has a will no one argues that point the question is but is it free?If he wants pizza for dinner he has the choice to choose.If she wants to cut herself shes free to choose.If you want today’s paper you’re free to choose.But concerning salvation and things that pertain to righteousness you as a sinner have no such choice.
        NOONE comes to the Son NOONE unless the Father draws him I’m afraid that includes you too sir.That is unless you’ve discovered a secret path around this verse.Can a leopard change his spots or an Ethiopian his skin color?Neither can he that is accustomed to doing evil just wake up and choose to do good.Jer.13:23
        Quest.2..why share Jesus with the unbeliever if everyone is saved or will be?Let me ask you this just because you have a mansion in heaven does that mean you don’t mind living in a trail or or be homeless down here on earth?Of course not.You would like to live comfortable down here too.So it is with the soul that dies just because he goes on to be with Jesus does he have to be a crack head down here? Or a drunk?Or even Bill Gates who has a ton of money Jesus can open his heart to give to the poor.The drunk can know there’s one who can fill Hus life with love not drugs..Jesus is the best option…hope that helped…

      • Haha…My mechanic said that’s not true. 😉 I do have a path that differs with your interpretation of that verse, but it’s no secret. The Father draws all, but not all respond. Gentleness is a fruit of the Spirit and the Father forces Himself on no one. The forceful penetration of the heart you describe sounds like… well you can imagine, but it’s not love.

        I’m not looking have a debate about this or repeating a bunch of things that have already been said, but I appreciate your response. Grace to you, Donavon.

      • donavon freeman // August 21, 2014 at 2:08 am //

        It was fun my friend I think our paths will cross again let’s toast to grace.Cheers.

  36. If Christ is called “Saviour”then he’s Saviour.But we’re saying”well he’s not Saviour until I make him that by doing my part unassisted by his help.Well wouldn’t that make you a co-savior?Doesn’t the fireman get all the credit for saving the person?The woman doesn’t stand in the background while the fireman is being interviewed by the newsman saying “uh why is he getting all the credit If I didn’t jump in his arms and hold on tight he couldn’t have saved me hello!No!She gives him all the credit as hero and savior,she doesn’t boast about her part.Jesus has done all the work my friends including helping you to believe his unbelievable act of love.Just as the woman knows it’s foolishness to take any credit in her being saved so should we give all the credit to Christ.Thanx….I still love this site though

  37. We are free to choose life or death, there are some who know their destiny that would die for this choice.

    • Donavon freeman // August 20, 2014 at 10:31 am // Reply

      The ole deut.30:19 scripture huh?I put before you life and death meaning we have free will right?Now I never said you didn’t have a will to choose but you said its free.This life and death that was put before them in the context of Deut.30 is about obedience to the law correct?If you obey his law you’ll be blessed and if you don’t you’re cursed.I also noticed in that same chapter vs.15 that he also puts death and evil before you now Chris since this is your scripture do you believe that under grace Jesus puts evil before you? No of course not.Jesus said I came to give life and life abundantly.What evil does he set before you my friend? He sets before you life and abundant living.There’s your choice he sets….choose life!!!!
      Oh yeah about your servant and slave comparison you told me to study.It sounds like you’re saying you’re more of a servant than slave am I correct?Here’s what I’ve gathered its not comprehensive but you’ll get the gist.A servant is what you said but you left out one part,HES LOOKING FOR PAY A SLAVE ISN’T. So sir are you in this to be paid because if a servant isn’t being paid he is free to leave as you said.Well isn’t that like saying that if God doesn’t bless me I’m out.Paul doesn’t mind being a slave with no pay he said the love of the Lord constrains us.and guess what Chris constrains means to force!!!!

      • How can you tell me to choose life , you have to decide where you stand, according to what you say I all ready have it and I do not need anything from you God, and you also have nothing to offer.And yes God created the light and the darkness , then he created the sun.You really need to study what a slave and a bondservant is. A bondservant is one who has made a free will choice with no threat other than being excluded from the family.Yes Paul reffered to himself as a bond servant.For the Jew a Son, not a slave or a servant.

      • Donavon freeman // August 21, 2014 at 8:42 am //

        I’m not quite ready to close my case quite yet Lee maybe I should come another way.Let’s try this Chris and don’t get mad at me If man has free will to choose How can demons enter him and control him? I’m pretty sure you know the scriptures where the demons threw the boy in the fire to burn him and the water to drown him? did he choose to have demons violate his free will clause that’s clearly written in the this life is about me handbook?What about the man who had so many demons they called himLegion..So here’s the kicker the demons that controlled the man Jesus came and removed them with no problem yet the man himself couldn’t do it…
        So let’s sum this up.The demonic spirits entered these people against their free will to be free as they choose TOOK CONTROL OVER THEIR LIVES not allowing them to do anything on their own.Jesus comes along blinks but an eyelash they come out and when that same Jesus puts his Spirit in you he has no power over you to do as he pleases?The devil has POWER over your uh free will but not God?Satan can overpower you for evil to make you cut yourself drown yourself and burn yourself but God can’not for his good pleasure and his will?Yikes

      • If you believe Debut 30 is about the law , I can only assume you have not read it, it is about Jesus.It is about other things written in the law not the law, the greater commandment.

      • Just so there is no misunderstanding when I say you and Hod have nothing to offer by your belief , it is referring to nothing to offer to give meaning to the purpose of this life.

      • Another subject you seem to have done no reading on, I can assure you if it was possible for demons to enter a man without the man creating the door we would be all demon possessed, you have obviously never encountered someone demon possessed and confronted the demon.you argument in light of understanding demonology is self defeating.I suggest you investigate further. It is impossible for you to offend me , even with your best efforts.

  38. Lee Whitcomb // August 21, 2014 at 5:36 am // Reply

    What we have here is what the Lawyers call a mix of issues: Free Will and a Will are two different things. It has already been said … that there is no argument about us humans having the ability to choose. We can choose Ford or Chevy, we can choose Hardes or McDonalds, or we can choose this or that. Unfortunately or fortunately (however you view it) we, in the natural, cannot choose God. There is a truck load of Scripture to support that fact. God chooses us: We hear (and faith will come) if God give the gift of faith. If it is granted (Phil 1:29) we believe. From that point it is God’s process of sanctification that God uses to mold us into what HE WANTS—and, THAT’S THAT! Thanks everyone it has been a good discussion….

  39. Donavan you express very well what inclusionism is all about.

    • Donavon freeman // August 22, 2014 at 7:43 am // Reply

      Hey Chris you said demonology is another subject I’ve done no research on well that’s true you have me there.So here’s what I’ll do since you’ve obviously done your research then let me use what you know I can’t go wrong that way.
      You said you can ASSURE (to inform positively therefore removing all doubt)me( emphasis mine)that unless a man opens the door for a demon to enter he cannotenter the man,now thats what you said correct?I’m afraid ju have son plainin to do( bad Ricky Ricardo I know.
      Can you explain then the story of the demon possessed boy that had a demon in mark 9:21 and Jesus said how long has he been possessed? The man said since he was a little child.
      So Chris how can a little child open the door for demons?And BTW why do you never challenge my scriptures? You just say You don’t know what you’re talking about.Teach me sir but with eyes open please….

      • Donavan when do you think a Jew becomes a man , most make the assumption that it is at 13, at Bar Mitzvah , this is incorrect, he has many of the rights and responsibilities of an adult but is not considered an adult.He can only marry at 18 and the age to earn a living is at 20. You need to make some Jewish friends. You also may want to visit the original text and look for the word little.

      • Your savior is Jewish and you should learn more about his culture.

      • You ask why I don’t challenge your scriptures, the reason is they are not yours they Gods, and I do not challenge them God does, he does this by revealing his Son, when we see the scriptures through his Son we see truth, it is like Deut 30 you see law I see Jesus. On the road to Emmaus Jesus gave a bible lesson, showing that the volume of the old testament was written about him, when you see him in all the old testament you will see the purpose to this life and truth. Start in Genesis he was the light before the sun, the firmanent that divides the waters, the tree of life, the way to the tree, the seed of the woman , the faith of Able, the blood line to Noah, and on and on and on, in every verse.

      • Ok sir we disagree on a few topics but we both agree that we are one in Christ which makes you my brother here’s to grace.Cheers.

  40. Dear Jim M, Who are you, the pottery to define the potter as a failure by numbers? To you, numbers may mean pass or fail, good or bad, however, remember only God is good. What if more is not better? A numbers mindset of success or failure would be a worldly indoctrination and condition of the heart. Do the numbers matter for your opinion of God to be tarnished. That is a fickle opinion. Unbelief and doubt has many faces. You may think the pottery is ugly or pretty, however, god does not define his pottery by your opinion: they are his masterpieces worth dying for because the artist says they are! Who gave you life again? Who gave you eternal life? Do you tell him what to do?

  41. Wow! this really stirred up one ‘hell’ of a hornets nest

    Great post by the way,…. though I guess I could just be “too left brained” as well 😉

  42. Did you have a change of mind between your last post and this. I go to a church that preaches pure law but also the gospel of the kingdom. But no mention of hell. We are part of the sermon. How do we preach this if we aren’t here to condemn anybody.

  43. Calvinism is a horrible thing

  44. Katelyn Knapp // February 25, 2019 at 6:30 am // Reply

    Why did God create hell?
    Why would He keep people alive forever just so they can be tortured?
    And if there really is a place people get tortured eternally why wouldnt we go kill all the babies before they get a chance to possibly reject Him?

    • Hi Katelyn,
      I suspect your questions may be rhetorical, but on the off-chance that they are not, here are my responses (which I hold loosely):
      1. Why does God do anything? A: Because he loves us. Hell, whatever it may be, is part of his good plan and serves his good purposes.
      2. My reading of scripture suggests he doesn’t.
      3. See point 2 above and also this.

  45. C. S. Lewis said he believed in purgatory, and that the gates of hell were locked on the inside, which reads like he believed we would get another chance after death. Author James L. Walls used an example where two people were involved in an auto accident; one survived and became a great evangelist,and the other died. However, God in His foreknowledge knew the other guy would have accepted Christ, so he was given another chance after death.Nearly every famous Christian (N.T. Wright, Francis Chan, Max Lucado) have expressed the possibility of being surprised about hell. Why would God force the rebels to their knees to confess Jesus is Lord? Hope someone comments on the strange scripture about death and hell being thrown in the lake of fire.

  46. Wow, I’m reading this seven years later and I can’t believe the issues I’m seeing here. People had issues! Thanks for writing the article Paul, it was an eye opener. God bless you!

  47. I’m reading this again and I just love no.7.
    I have had a lot of wishful thinking when it comes to how God deals with the unsaved. I always put the responsibility of salvation on him without realizing that he respects humanity’s choice to be saved or not, and that he can’t MAKE someone come to salvation. He won’t force it, they have to choose. Man, this has so totally set me free, I can’t believe how much baggage I was carrying. Whooo! This is good. Thanks Paul! 👍🏾

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