What Happens to Unbaptized Infants Who Die?

January 5, 2023 // 35 Comments

If the doctrine of original sin is true, and everyone is born with a sinful nature and a rebel towards God, what happens to babies who die? Do babies go to hell? Do they go to heaven? Do they go someplace in between? Augustine of Hippo said babies go to hell for eternal punishment, but added that they get a mild [...]

The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31)

July 9, 2015 // 38 Comments

In Luke 15 and 16, Jesus tells five parables in a row. The first three are about lost things; a sheep, a coin, and a son. The last two are about lost lives; a shrewd manager loses his livelihood and a rich man loses his life. 1. Story of the lost sheep (Luke 15:4-7) 2. Story of the lost son (Luke 15:8-10) 3. [...]

Conversations about Hell

August 1, 2014 // 129 Comments

[The following are extracts from conversations I’ve had in the past month.] Paul, you’re opposed to inclusionism and you’re skeptical about universalism. Why do you want to condemn people to hell? Me: Huh? I’ve come to embrace inclusionism (or universalism) because I cannot conceive of a good God [...]

What is the “Coming Wrath”?

January 22, 2014 // 47 Comments

You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? (Luke 3:7) When John the Baptist said this to the Pharisees and Sadducees, what did he mean? What is the coming wrath? And is this something we should be concerned about? Some say John was referring to the destruction of Jerusalem. The venerable [...]

Jay Pritchett on Hell

July 24, 2013 // 18 Comments

Whenever I talk to certain people about hell I am reminded of something Jay Pritchett said on the TV show Modern Family. Whether you are a universalist, inclusionist, traditionalist, or none of the above, I hope the following piece of dialogue will make you smile. As Jay shows, whenever we make bold claims about [...]

Alternatives to Hell

July 15, 2013 // 95 Comments

You may have been raised with a picture of judgment that says sinners go to hell where they are tormented for eternity. Unless you say the magic words of a formulaic prayer, you will burn forever along with all the babies and children who never got a chance to put their faith in Jesus. Unsurprisingly, this [...]

Fear God Who Can Throw Us Into Hell?

July 9, 2013 // 68 Comments

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in Hell. (Matthew 10:28) This a puzzle because of what Jesus says next: Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of [...]

12 reasons why a sentimental Hell appeals

May 2, 2013 // 130 Comments

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 [...]

The sentimental view of Hell

April 29, 2013 // 108 Comments

Here’s an interesting fact: Jesus preached about hell a lot while Paul never mentioned it by name. Have you ever wondered why? The reason has to do with their different audiences. Since Jesus mostly preached the law to those under law, it was necessary for him to be a hellfire preacher. Hence his references to [...]

What about Hell? 10 things to know

April 23, 2013 // 191 Comments

A few people have asked for my views on hell. I have never written on hell before. Like the weather on Uranus, hell is not a subject I think much about. I’m unlikely to come up to you at a party and say, “Hey, what about hell?” Hell is just not on my radar. But I appreciate that hell has become something of [...]