Category Archives: eternal conscious punishment

“ABANDON ALL HOPE!” (Chapter 11)

~Chapter 11~

“Yo!  Bubba!”, old Mrs. McGillicutty called out as she rolled down her driver’s window.  “I need a fill-up and my windows done,” Sweetie.  “And don’t forget to check my oil!”
When no one answered her at Bubba’s Best Gas and Convenience Store, Mrs. McGillicutty slowly got out of her 1982 Cadillac Seville, groaning as her every joint reminded her that she was herself a classic of eighty-two years.
“Bubba!  Where are you, boy?”  She began walking over to the open garage bay.  “These kids nowadays.  He’s probably got one of those IPot thingies in his ears!  No wonder he can’t hear me!”
Despite her ignorance of modern technology, Mrs. G.(as her students called her) was not at all reluctant to find Bubba and give him a piece of her mind for not being more attentive to his customers.
As she entered the bay, she saw that there was a car on the lift, but the lift was down, not up.  “I can’t believe it.  He’s not even here!”, Mrs. G. said in exasperation to herself.
Just as she began walking back to her car, she saw a man’s leg sticking out from under the back of the lift.  “Oh, dear Lord!”, she exclaimed.  She quickly pushed the emergency red button on her “Senior Cell” phone and waited for the ambulance to arrive.
When the EMT’s came, they discovered that the lift had actually fallen on Bubba, but he was still breathing.  Only his excellent physical condition had saved his life.  If Mrs. G. had not come along when she did, he would have suffocated under that car.
Admitted to County Hospital, Bubba’s injuries were severe, but he would survive.  The broken ribs were extremely painful, and his first night in the hospital was spent heavily medicated.
No one really paid attention to the doctor who dropped by to check on Bubba around midnight.  The graveyard shift nurse, Mary Franklin, had only been at County for a couple of weeks, so she did not know all the attending physicians.
“Hello, Bubba,” said the visitor through his mask.  “You’re tougher than I thought!  I guess we’ll just have to be a bit more direct.”
When Mary Franklin made her 1 AM rounds, she checked Bubba’s IV, then began to take his pulse.  There was none.  He had died on her watch!  How awful.  Had she done something wrong?
But nurse Franklin had not been lax in her duties.  The medical examiner said that the only injury apparent on Bubba (apart from having had a car land on him) was several purple bruises around his mouth and nose.  Using a special black light, the ME concluded that the bruises were actually caused by a hand pressed firmly over Bubba’s face.  A right hand. (to be continued)


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“ABANDON ALL HOPE!” (Chapter 10)

~Chapter 10~

“Janet, would you mind coming over for a minute?”, Robert Baker asked as he opened his office door.
“Certainly, sir,” Janet responded, locking her cash drawer as she walked over to his office.
“How are you doing, Janet?  I mean since Mr. Pinnock’s death.  I know he spent a bit of time with you showing you the ropes.”
Janet swallowed hard, but kept her emotions in check.  “I’m doing okay, Mr. Baker.  It’s just so sad to have someone so, uh, kind, gone.  I hope my work hasn’t declined since his death, has it, sir?”
“No, Janet.  I’m not calling you in to criticize you.  I just know that grieving another’s death is not something that’s over in a week or two.  If there’s anything I or Mrs. Baker can do for you during this time, please let us know.”
“I will, sir.  And thank you for your concern.”  Janet went back to her station wondering if Mr. Baker knew of her relationship with Pinnock outside the office, but his compassion seemed so genuine.
Rick Santori watched the conversation between Mr. Baker and Janet.  “I wonder if she’s going to try to seduce him next,” he thought to himself.  An evil smile crossed his face as he went back into his office. (to be continued)


“ABANDON ALL HOPE” (Chapter 9)

~Chapter 9~

“How’s that report comin’, Deputy?”, Sheriff Thornton of the Kendall Police Department asked.
“Just finishing it up, Sir,” answered Deputy John Butler.  “A close examination of the vehicle, Mr. Pinnock’s Lexus, shows no apparent defects.  Of course, it became a tangled mess when it plunged off the side of highway 75.”
“Yeah, I know, son.  It just seems pretty odd is all.  Mr. Pinnock had some alcohol in his bloodstream to be sure, but he knew that highway.  Hard to believe he would just plow through the guardrail.  And it’s really strange that there were no skid marks on the highway.”   Sheriff Thornton tapped his pencil on his desk.
“Perhaps he fell asleep at the wheel, Sheriff.  His friends said he left Marty’s Bar at around 3 AM.”
“That’s probably what happened, John.  Did you have the car inspected by the best mechanic you could find?”
“Yessir.  I asked around and the fellow that fixes our cruisers, Terry Scott, recommended a good old boy back in Mr. Pinnock’s town of New Bern.  Bubba is the mechanic’s first name.  Last name, uh, Jones.  Supposedly he’s the best brake man in the county.”
“Good work, John.  Make sure you pay Jones for his time.  He said the car appeared to be in good mechanical condition before the accident?”
“Roger that.  What should I do with the vehicle?”
“Mrs. Pinnock says she doesn’t even want to see it.  The insurance is going to buy her a new one.  I guess you can just get it towed to that metal junkyard and collection center outside town by the quarry.  They’ll crush it down into a four-by-four feet square to be recycled.  What a sad fate for a beautiful Lexus!”, Sheriff Thornton said.
“I couldn’t agree with you more, sir.  I’ll get right on it.”
That Monday morning the Pinnock Lexus was delivered to Joe’s Salvage Yard and by lunch it was crushed into a cube weighing 3583 pounds. (to be continued)


An Approach to Doing Theology (Part 2)

There are PLENTY of examples of poor theological method, many professing to be “Evangelical”!  How ought we to “do” theology?  What should be the STEPS we use in researching theological topics?

One of my favorite courses to teach this semester is entitled “Theological Methods and Issues.”  This upper-level seminary course has thirteen students who are presenting two papers each on topics they have chosen.  [Several of our previous blogs referred to one student’s study of “A Theology of Risk”].

We have already looked at STEP #1 entitled STATING THE TOPIC. We are to clearly identify the underlying issue, then state the topic which we are addressing.

STEP #2 really involves FRAMING THE QUESTION which leads to a process of inquiry.   If one wanted to study the issue of God’s glory, for example, he or she might state the question as follows:  “What Is Meant by the Term ‘the Glory of God’ in the Pentateuch?”  [One of the toughest challenges in theological research is narrowing the topic down to a manageable size!].

I am greatly helped here by the theology of Calvin . . . and Hobbes.  Here the two of them are discussing a profound theological question:


1.  For those of you have read Rob Bell’s Love Wins, how does Bell misuse questions in his dismissal of the doctrine of eternal lostness?

2.  Why don’t more preachers and teachers use Calvin and Hobbes’ cartoons in their preaching and teaching?


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A Review of Three Books on Eternal Lostness


I’ve recently reviewed three books on eternal lostness for the Emmaus Journal.  The review is found below.  The book that really concerns me is Sharon Baker’s book Razing Hell.  Please feel free to post your comments below.

Click on the following link for my review:

review of three books on hell – pdf


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Thanks to all who have supported me in this publishing project, “Farewell, Rob Bell”:  A Biblical Response to Love Wins.  I especially appreciate the support of Ken Silva of Apprising Ministries.  This book is now available through  There is also a Kindle version.  Allow me to repeat the flyer below which shows the cover (masterfully done by Christian cartoonist Ron Wheeler):

God’s given me courage to send a copy to Bell’s elders at Mars Hill Bible Church.  Please pray that some of them will read it and respond properly.

I’ve also sent a copy to Mark Galli of Christianity Today who says that Rob Bell and Love Wins are no litmus test of orthodoxy!  He’s publishing a book entitled God Wins.

Discussion Questions:  Why should we get in such a flap about a book on God’s love?  What makes neo-universalism so dangerous?


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“Will Only a Few Be Saved?” (Part 3)

This three-part discussion of Luke 13 in which a person asks Jesus, “Lord, are only a few people going to be

Is GOD a tightwad?

saved?” provides a foundation for us to discuss neo-universalism and its charge that Evangelicalism is stingy and holds that God is not generous in salvation.

Rob Bell (and to some extent Brian McLaren) advocate endless opportunities in the after-death state for God to “melt every heart” and win everyone over to salvation.

The Bible indicates that God owes no one salvation.  His greatness (contra Bell) does not depend on His saving many, a few, or none. Let’s look at our Luke 13 one more time:

22 Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. 23 Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?”

He said to them, 24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. 25 Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’

“But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’

26 “Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’

27 “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’

28 “There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. 29 People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. 30 Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.”

To review:  Jesus does not directly answer this question about “only a few” being saved.  Instead, he launches into an analogy involving a narrow door, a house, and a homeowner.  Jesus begins the story by encouraging His listeners to “make every effort” (the Greek word implies agony) to enter through the narrow door.

It appears that many will try to crash the house (“many will try to enter and will not be able to”) and will be turned away.  The homeowner will at some point get up and close the door, prohibiting any more from entering his house.

But those on the outside do not simply give up and walk away.  They began providing arguments why the door should be re-opened and they be allowed entrance.  They claim to have eaten and drunk with the Lord and to have heard Him teach in their streets.

The homeowner responds to their arguments by saying, “I don’t know you or where you are from.”  The clear implication is that entrance to the house is based on a relationship with the homeowner.  And they had none.

We are then told that He brings the conversation to a screeching halt by saying, “Away from me, all you evildoers!”  This hardly seems consistent with Hebraic hospitality.  But the issue isn’t hospitality, but salvation (remember the original question).

Jesus then describes the outside of that house as a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth.  We pick up the text at this point.

28 “There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. 29 People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. 30 Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.”

Let’s summarize and add a few questions for reflection.

Jesus uses the analogy of a house —

1.  there is a narrow door;

2.  effort is required to enter through the narrow door;

3.  there will be many (competition?) who will try to enter & won’t be able to (why not?);

4.  the house’s owner will get up and close the door (which, of course, is his prerogative — he’s the owner!);

5.  YOU will stand outside knocking & pleading, “Sir, open the door for us.” (v. 25)

6.  His response?  “I don’t know you or where you come from.” (v. 25) (= “you are a stranger to me — why should I trust you?”);

7.  YOU seek to identify yourselves:  “We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.” (v. 26).

8.  His reply:  “I don’t know you or where you come from.  Away from me, all you evildoers!” (v. 27)

9.  CONCLUSION:  “There will be weeping there . . .”

What do we know from Scripture THAT WE LIKE?

1.  He is not willing that any should perish, but that all come to repentance!

2.  Jesus did not come primarily to condemn, but to save.  He came on a RESCUE mission!  Judgment is God’s “strange work.”

3.  The Lord’s arm is not short that it cannot save.  There is no INABILITY in the Lord that prevents most or ALL being saved!

4.  He wants His house FILLED!

5.  He does not delight in the death of the wicked!

6.  He has declared that people from every tribe, people, tongue and nation will be at the throne worshipping!

What do we know WE MAY NOT LIKE from Scripture?

1.  God is thrice-holy and is allergic to sin!

2.  He WILL judge!

3.  Hell is a real place!

4.  Not all will believe!

5.  Satan has blinded the minds of unbelievers.

6.  Death ENDS all opportunities to be saved.

7.  We have an OBLIGATION to get the gospel OUT!

Discussion Questions:  Which of the above considerations need more attention by Evangelicals in light of the challenge of neo-universalism?  How might solid exegetical preaching help in providing answers to some of these questions?


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