Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Rob Bell on the the Doctrine of Hell

Greetings! After dropping my children off at school I came home and turned on the television for a few mins to catch up on the news before starting on school work today. On the ABC morning show, they had a segment with pastor Rob Bell talking about the doctrine of hell. This is his bio from the Church's website he serves if you do not know about him:

  • Rob Bell is the Founding Pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church. He graduated from Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois, and Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. He and his wife Kristen have three children and live in Grand Rapids, Michigan.[1]

In his new book, Love wins, in some part he talks about heaven and hell. This is a product description of it off of Amazon(Link footnoted at bottom to see whole description)

Millions of Christians have struggled with how to reconcile God's love and God's judgment: Has God created billions of people over thousands of years only to select a few to go to heaven and everyone else to suffer forever in hell? Is this acceptable to God? How is this "good news"? Troubling questions—so troubling that many have lost their faith because of them…What if the story of heaven and hell we have been taught is not, in fact, what the Bible teaches?…teacher Rob Bell presents a deeply biblical vision for rediscovering a richer, grander, truer, and more spiritually satisfying way of understanding heaven, hell, God, Jesus, salvation, and repentance. The result is the discovery that the "good news" is much, much better than we ever imagined.[2]

Some in the Christian community, according to the news report on ABC, are calling him a heretic, false prophet, and teaching false theology. I cannot comment to the first two, but it does seem it is the later(false theology). My biggest concern is that some may look at this issue to simply thus not getting to the roots of the problem. However, time is precious in our busy society and it hard to get deep into study on subjects such as heaven and hell even for students! So how can one be able to get a good pic on the multiple views on the doctrines of heaven and hell beyond sound bites without searching through 700 page commentaries? Two ways you can do this:

1. Make sure you have a good translation of the Bible. What they sell at Wal-mart or even Dollar General is usually good. New International, New Living Translation, New King James, English Standard Version, and King James are all ok (There are others, but these are the most readily available). If possible, it is great to have more than one to compare to the other!

2. Purchase a book that has multiple views of the issue in one volume. Zondervan has put out a book called “Four Views on Hell” that has well educated theologians writing and responding to the other within one volume. Point counterpoint. Most of it is understandable and the parts that are not can be understood at one’s own pace looking at other resources if needed (Bible dictionaries, asking ones pastor, etc). It cost 10.84 without tax and the kindle edition is 12.99 on Amazon.[3] It is 190 pages. Rob Bells book talked about above is 224 pages and about the same price but with only one view.[4] I think the Counterpoint book is a better buy so you can begin to make up your own mind with much prayer along the way.(If you are interested, use the Amazon tool to the left to look up both books with ratings/prices. It will link you to the one you want)

The combination of the two is a great start and may even be enough to make up one’s mind on the doctrine of hell. I urge you not to just look at one side, but all sides. I urge you not to just listen to sound bites from Rob Bell, Al Moheler, and others(whom I have respect for) but the priority be focused on reading about it at your own pace in the Bible with the multiple view book being a aide with prayer.

I hope this helps. Email me at exchangeanswer@gmail.com for comments or questions.


[1] http://marshill.org/rob-bell/

[2] http://www.amazon.com/Love-Wins-About-Heaven-Person/dp/006204964X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1300196170&sr=8-1

[3] http://www.amazon.com/Four-Views-Hell-William-Crockett/dp/0310212685/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1300197365&sr=1-1

[4] http://www.amazon.com/Love-Wins-About-Heaven-Person/dp/006204964X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1300196170&sr=8-1

Monday, March 14, 2011

Defense of Petrine authorship of 2 Peter.

This is a small section of a paper I wrote on the history of the Canon. In my paper, I cover the internal evidence within the Text(Bible) itself for the authenticity of the canonical books. Canon, meaning standard, topics such as authorship, how the canon came to be discovered, and who was involved will be called into question by Bart Erhman, professor of NT of Chapal Hill in NC, in his new book "Forged." He says that 20 of the 27 books are just outright forgeries. 2 Peter is one of them. So here is my sober apologetic, mainly within the footnotes, on Peter the apostle being the major contributor behind 2 Peter.

Internal Evidence for the validity of the Canon.

The internal evidence within the books is sparse, but there are some clues that even the NT writers themselves viewed not only the OT text as “Scripture,” but NT as well. In 2 Peter 3:16 we have Peter referring to Paul’s writings as “Scripture” or γρᾰφή (graphi) in the greek means “scripture in its entirety[i]or “representation by means of lines.[ii] So the letters by Paul that Peter was referring too were in his estimation very authoritative. The Greek word γραφή is also used in 2 Clement, 2,3(written between 120-140) [iii] meaning saying of the Lord .[iv] There is little doubt that what was written in 2 Peter 3:16 about Paul’s writings when referring to them as “Scripture” strongly asserts that at least Paul’s writings were not to be scraped maybe even divinely inspired.[v]

[i] William Arndt, Frederick W. Danker and Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 206.

[ii] Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, Henry Stuart Jones and Roderick McKenzie, A Greek-English Lexicon, Rev. and augm. throughout (Oxford; New York: Clarendon Press; Oxford University Press, 1996), 359.

[iii] Porter, Stanley E. and Craig A. Evans. Dictionary of New Testament Background : A Compendium of Contemporary Biblical Scholarship. electronic ed. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000.

[iv] , vol. 1, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, ed. Gerhard Kittel, Geoffrey W. Bromiley and Gerhard Friedrich, electronic ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1964-), 757.

[v] Some doubt that Peter wrote 2 Peter at all because of reasons like 1 Peter is to different from 2 Peter grammatically, the early church doubted its authenticity, the dating of the epistle is after Peters death, and how could have Peter known about Paul’s writings when they had not all been gathered together yet. There references are the doubters. J. N. D. Kelly, Black’s New Testament Commentary: The Epistles of Peter and of Jude (London: Continuum, 1969), 235 ; Ehrman, Bart D. and Michael W. Holmes. The Text of the New Testament in Contemporary Research : Essays on the Status Quaestionis. (Grand Rapids, MI.: Eerdmans, 1995), 229, Ehrman and Holmes mention that “Peshitta’s NT canon, which excluded 2 Peter, 2–3 John, Jude.” They themselves do not explicitly say they take the stance of Petrein authorship being impossible; Wood, D. R. W. and I. Howard Marshall. New Bible Dictionary. 3rd ed. Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill.: (InterVarsity Press, 1996)912, Wood and Marshall say, “There is nothing that forbids us to entertain the possibility of Petrine authorship, though many regard it as unlikely in view of the cumulative effect of the difficulties outlined above. However, no alternative solution is free from difficulty;”;

Others though say this evidence is far stretched and is not within the bounds of good sober historical investigation. The following references affirm Petrein authorship; Ted Cabal, Chad Owen Brand, E. Ray Clendenen et al., The Apologetics Study Bible: Real Questions, Straight Answers, Stronger Faith (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2007), 1847; Walvoord, John F., Roy B. Zuck and Dallas Theological Seminary. The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures.( Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1983-), Volume 2, Page 863; Henry, Matthew. Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible : Complete and Unabridged in One Volume. (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1996-)2 Peter Introduction. Craig S. Keener and InterVarsity Press, The IVP Bible Background Commentary : New Testament (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1993), 2 Pe 3:15.