Steve argues, this week, that the notion of eternal torment has left our culture deaf to the real message of the gospel, one which is so desperately needed: love.
And with this episode of Chalke Talk, he explores, as he has in previous episodes and throughout his most recent best-selling book, The Lost Message of Paul, how we’ve got it wrong and what we need to do to get it right.
Steve responds to the accusation of overturning thousands of years of church teaching, that the common conception of Hell is exclusive to the western church. As Steve puts it, “the idea of eternal damnation belongs almost exclusively in the Church in the west, whereas, for the Orthodox Church – the Eastern half of the Church, the focus was NEVER on hell and its gruesome details of endless agony somehow inflicted by a loving God.”
“The Eastern Church,” he argues, “teaches that, following his death, Christ has CLOSED hell. He stands on its fallen gates and brings those trapped within it into salvation.”
The big picture to all of this is this is not some dry theological debate. But instead, bad theology affects people’s lives in so many ways. This, we’ll look at more closely in the weeks to come. But, for this week, to finish with, two questions:
First, why would a God who is defined as love choose to condemn anyone to everlasting torture and punishment?
And, if that were the case, would it make this God morally superior to, or LESS than, us?
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