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    July 24th, 2012 @ 5:23 pm by Kevin

    What a day it’s been. First our new trailer goes up on iTunes, and now this–my first piece for the Huffington Post, which is a response to Jerry Newcombe’s callous remarks in the wake of the Aurora theater shooting. I’ll tease you with the opening paragraph:

    What a surprise: An evangelical leader takes advantage of a tragic situation to utter foolish and insensitive remarks designed not to comfort the afflicted but rather to remind us why he and his people are right, and the rest of the world is wrong. Not just wrong though. Dead wrong. And not just dead wrong. “On their way to hell if they disagree” wrong.

    Warning: This piece may push a few buttons. But then again, so will Hellbound?

    P.S. (Added July 25): Holmes was raised in a Lutheran church, which means he was probably raised with a belief in hell–that is, if his church held to orthodox Lutheran belief. And yet that did nothing to stop him from committing mass murder. Sure, you could argue that he was taught about hell but that he rejected those beliefs. But that still renders Jerry’s argument DOA, because whether Holmes accepted what he was taught about hell or not, the teaching did absolutely nothing to curb his behavior.

leave a comment on this post (6 Comments)

  1. Great article Kevin. Another thing that Mr. Newcombe doesn’t seem to have considered is the fact that he was basically saying that the people who died in the tragedy (that weren’t Christians at least) were going to hell. That is extremely insensitive. Yet one of the things I appreciated about your article is how fair and kind you were to the man himself. It also gives us a possibly interesting insight into many of the Christian leaders that say some of these things.

    As well. Near the end of his article he said that “Jesus went to hell so that we wouldn’t have to”. That is a common understanding in the current evangelical church, even though it’s really nowhere to be found in the Bible.

    As well. If, in this understanding, Jesus went to hell to take the full wrath due our sins….. and our sins deserve eternal wrath (according to some)….. then wouldn’t Jesus have had to go to hell eternally, in order to fully pay the price and take the full wrath due our sins?

    The pieces don’t fit.

    • Excellent insights, Christopher. Especially your last point re: Jesus needing to stay in hell eternally. It also makes me think that if Jesus has paid the price (according to Jerry’s view), then what is left to be done but announce the good news? Why would any of us have to pay it again?

  2. Well that naturally has to lead to a limited atonement view, doesn’t it? 🙂

    I mean what you’ve said makes complete sense, and many know it. But they also “know” that eternal tortures must be real, right? So then the only conclussion for them must be that Christ only died for the elect.

    Another response that I’ve heard to the dilmemna that I’ve touched on above is the idea that Christ’s punishment in hell wasn’t quantitative but rather qualitative. In other words …. Christ took an eternal worth suffering in three days. But when one thinks it through, thats a hell of a lot of suffering (excuse the pun) for one man to take….. and during this suffering still be able to go and preach to the “spirits in prison”.

    But regardless you have an excellent point. Why on earth would God go to the trouble of becoming human, dying one of the worst deaths a human can suffer through which ALL of humanities sins were forgiven (and Isaiah is clear God did forgive ALL of humanity on the cross), only to eventually eternally torture the vast majority of the humanity that he died for (and forgave) on said cross. Especially when Christ’s incarnation and death came from an overflowing of God’s love for people who, in a certain context, would have been God’s enemies. Note-even if they were God’s enemies it doesn’t mean that God was their enemy.

  3. Another thing that might be worth mentioning. Is Mr. Newcombe’s comment “I know in my natural state I am worthy of Hell before a holy God”.

    So then again, here’s where my head goes when I think this comment through. Basically he’s saying that in his natural state, being unholy, he is worthy of Hell unless he accepts Christ because of the wrath/ punishment that a Holy God placed upon his only son in order to forgive sins. God did this “penal substitution” because that is the only way that he can forgive mankinds unholy acts.

    Yet…. isn’t this saying that it is Holy to torture your only son in order to forgive sins…. and these sins that must need forgiven are an unholy act before God.

    So basically this way of thinking is saying that a Holy God tortures his only son in hell in order to forgive people who are not Holy. So then…. according to this thought…. wouldn’t the people who are not Holy be the people who wouldn’t torture their only sons in order to forgive sins, because after all that’s what a Holy God does?

    Yet If Iacted like “their Holy God” does (torture my only son in order to forgive my enemies) I would, surely by their own admission, be worthy of going to hell because I had offended the holiness of this God.

    But thankfully (according to them) God punished Jesus in hell…. therefore people who in this particular case might have behaved like how some say God behaves (torture their only son in order to forgive their enemies) can be forgiven for this sin (even when it’s basically acting like God).

    That logic devolves into nonsense.

  4. Hi Kevin. I was reading through your responses to peoples comments. Actually in some of the better Bible translations Jesus doesn’t say to “be perfect as I am perfect” but rather this is better translated as “be compassionate as I am compassionate”…… which fits quite nicely with what you were saying.

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