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    June 11th, 2012 @ 9:01 am by Kevin

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  1. I’m glad N.T. Wright rejects the “monstrous ogre-God” who wants to fry people in hell but he opened up a whole lot more to consider. I responded to some of the points he brought up in the video if anyone is interested:


    • Thanks. I think the problem with Wright (and C. S. Lewis) is that in their thinking, God’s grace is denied to those who apparently need it the most. Jesus repeatedly stepped outside the sanctified circle drawn by the religious authorities of his day to demonstrate that virtually all of our self-righteous intuitions about such matters are wrong. The same goes for the parable of the sheep and the goats that you mentioned. Both the sheep and the goats are surprised. No one gets what they expected. And the fate of the poor who are either helped or not helped by the sheep and the goats also is not mentioned. I think that’s because this parable isn’t really about final fates at all. It’s a story meant to upset the status quo, to shock the religious leaders out of their legalistic thinking, to help them see that God desires mercy, not sacrifice. To my way of thinking, God does not define us by our mistakes. That’s what humans do.

  2. Excellent points Kevin.

    I also think it is interesting to note the very unbiblical solutions Wright gives in Surprised by Hope to make the lie of ECT more workable within the compassionate human heart It appears that believing one lie deserves another…and another. As Lewis hints at this as well, Wright surmises those in hell will devolve into subhuman entities. I guess making them less than human makes it easier to tolerate their torture. Maybe we will even eventually approve, if they are not really human anymore. I hope we can all see the implications of this.

    • Phillip. Very good point about the implications. The implications of ECT always have a dark side…. no matter how it’s sliced. For instance the Bible says that God has given Jesus the task of saving humanity. If Jesus doesn’t eventually save everyone then he’s failed God. Also if Jesus (being one of the trinity) fails in his task then what does that say about the triune God? It gives us an “omnipotent” being that’s actually a failure in a very crucial area.

      • Christopher, that depends on who you ask. “Saving all of humanity” may be defined different than “saving each individual of humanity”. In other words, if one person was saved, then humanity is saved in that person. An ECT subscriber might aak that if one is saved and one is lost, then how do you define “saving all humanity”? Does one cancel the other out? Is it a yes and no type of answer?

        I can’t view the video at this time, but I agree that people becoming subhuman hardly makes torture of an eternal sort (not correctional) to be nothing but violent. If it’s correctional, then it’s a violence I can reason with.

        • If Christ is commissioned to save humanity then that means everybody. I would see any other view as being a way to try to describe that concept and scriptures through a pre-held ECT view. The same as when Christians try to come to a philosophical/theological understand of the scripture in 1’st Timothy that says that “Jesus is the saviour of the world, ESPECIALLY those who believe.” The same word and sentence structure is used in two other places in the 1’st Timothy epistle…. and in both cases it clearly means something akin to “a special regards to”. This word and sentence structure also has this meaning everywhere its used in the New Testament. It means what it says it means. God is the saviour of the world ESPECIALLY (in special regards to) those that believe. Another problem with Wright’s understanding of any people in Hell becoming sub-human and then the torture being kind of acceptable…… is that it’s implying that torture of animals (specifically, maybe a “subhuman” like a chimpanzee) is acceptable to God and people. Which is of course very problematic.

  3. pity in my opinion that Wright’s not a universalist, everything else he’s written is fantastic in my own opinion

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