Today, we continue with Dr. Don Keathley’s series on ‘Hell’s Illusion’. (The first part is here, in case you missed it; I heartily recommend listening to these talks in sequence, as each one builds on the knowledge we gain from the previous talks).
Personally, I have always wondered why, given two contradictory Bible verses, or indeed two contradictory doctrines that are both based on Bible verses, why so many mainline Evangelical Christians will default to the Bad News side of things, rather than the Good News. After all, the word ‘Gospel’ actually means ‘good news’! I’ve expressed this concern before in my blog.
Of course, the main example that springs to mind is that of the doctrine of Hell. Rather than believe the Good News that so many are realising in these days, that there IS no eternal conscious torment after death, these people still would rather believe the Bad News, and hold on tight to that awful doctrine, rather than let go and float free of it.
And I think that the reason why they default to the bad news is because that’s all they have ever known. Think about it. They simply know of no other system. If you take away the bad news that they have believed all this time, then their worry will be this: what else in their secure, all-worked-out system have they got wrong too?
As we saw in the last talk in this series, just about all the denominations in Western Evangelical Christianity are essentially based on one or the other of the two belief streams known as Calvinism or Arminianism; most Evangelical belief systems are therefore based on one of these two streams (not both; they are mutually exclusive). Despite their major differences, however, both of these streams rely on the doctrine of Hell to work properly. Therefore, to disbelieve in Hell is to take away one of the central pillars of the belief systems of Evangelical Christianity, and in fact if this pillar is taken away, the whole lot collapses for want of a better doctrine to hold the whole thing up. It’s all they have ever known, and the entire edifice depends on it.
And actually that’s not a bad thing, because it helps us realise that if a doctrine depends for its survival on something other than Christ, then it needs to go.
So, here’s the second in the series of talks by Dr. Don Keathley, in which he examines the four words from the Hebrew and the Greek Scriptures which have been erroneously translated into the single ‘English’ word ‘Hell’ (although actually the word is Norse in origin):