Cripplegate: RIP?

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Jim's picture

I don't think we should pronounce the eternal destiny of people we don't know. That being said there are but:

  • Two destinies
  • Hell and heaven. And per the Lord ... the path is wide that leadeth to destruction. Sounds like hell is the majority destination.

Some must be pretty clear ... examples:

  • While I'm sure that it is theoretically possible that the day before his death OBL picked up a New Testament ... read the Gospel and John and was saved. But really that is unlikely
  • Or the suicide bombers who attacked my son's base back in January. Pretty clear these guys are NOT experiencing the joy of the Lord

Others we should just say we don't know: Robin Williams / Steve Jobs / etc

Sean Fericks's picture

Theoretically, Robin Williams could have converted from rebellion to Christ. But that is wishful thinking. If we want to embrace the doctrines of heaven/hell, we must not wish or hope away the consequences for real people that we knew and loved. We must accept the consequences and allow them to transform our lives. To say that we don’t know where Robin Williams will spend eternity is to politely refuse (or disguise) the consequences of our doctrine (we wouldn’t want to be viewed as judgmental or hateful).

I am functionally certain that Robin Williams died an unbeliever. And what of the 12-year-old Iraqi child that has never heard of Christ, that has lived a life of poverty and misery, and that was killed in the recent sectarian violence? According to fundamentalist soteriology and eschatology, that child will burn forever in hell. Robin Williams, who made light of religion, will burn forever in hell. Most of mankind will burn forever in hell.

I have been a fundamentalist believer since I can remember. Some of my first memories include praying for salvation in my parents’ room. The doctrine of eternal burning fire for all who don’t accept Christ has always been an absolute in the churches I attended. It haunted my dreams as a child and fueled an evangelical zeal into adulthood. But I must admit that I notice a disconnect between the doctrine of hell, and our view of unsaved loved ones who pass into eternity. Do we really believe what we say we believe? I’m not so sure.

As the Cripplegate article demonstrates, we might pound the pulpit and preach hell-fire at the revival meeting. But when the rubber meets the road, we are emotionally and intellectually unwilling to state the obvious. According to fundamentalist Christian theology, Steve Jobs, Robin Williams, some of our close family members, and most of mankind will spend eternity in hell. The horror is enough to drive a person insane.

As for me, it has caused me to re-think my soteriology and eschatology. I think I am moving toward some form of conditionalism (that not all humans continue forever in the afterlife). I am still studying and trying to work my way towards truth. For those of us who hold to the traditional view, please do the world a favor and stop disguising the full horror of hell. Stop pretending that Steve Jobs, Robin Williams, Mother Theresa, and your unsaved Catholic Grandmother might be in heaven.

If hell is real, the world deserves a full-throated warning cry.