Tuesday, March 03, 2009

The Problem of Hell

The other night a college age friend of mine called me to discuss some questions. He is attending a theologically liberal Christian college (liberal Christian, an oxymoron if I ever heard one), so you can imagine the struggles he has been having not only with supposed Christians around him but his professors as well.

One of the questions he asked about was the issue of hell. If God is love, how could he send people to hell? It is interesting that he should have asked such a question. As I am preparing for the Garden City outreach reading The Reason For God by Timothy Keller, last night I finished reading chapter 5, "How Can a Loving God Send People To Hell". He refers to Rick Warren's interaction with Journalists in which one journalist said,
Maybe you can hold in your mind the contradiction, which is that Wendy [a non-Christian reporter present] is a full American citizen deserving of every protection that the most senior member of your church deserves. But when she dies, she's going to go to hell because she is not saved. The question is, do you think your followers--or the people who come to church, the people who read your books, the people you are talking to all over the world--are sophisticated enough to hold this contradiction in their minds?...
Now Keller goes on to deal with this and several other objections. Some of his answers are excellent as he brings out some presuppositional problems of his objectors. He also offers some illustrations that are most helpful. Some of his answers, though, are a little too much on the psychological side.

Over the next couple of posts I'd like to add some thoughts to the discussion he has in this chapter.

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