following questions are for those who believe (and those who
doubt) that Chan, Galli or Keller have wrestled with and answered
all valid questions regarding the nature and duration of Hell:
1. If God is holy and perfect would
it be reasonable to conclude that He would leave most of His
creation in an eternal state of unholiness and imperfection?
2. Was Jesus Christ The Savior of the World
or just The Potential Savior of the World?
3. Can we legitimately and honestly claim that,
"God conquered sin, death and hell" if most of mankind
are going to exist in a perpetual state of sin, death and
rebellion forever in hell? Does God really conquer death or
does He "sponsor death"?
4. How can God be "all in all" and
"everything to every one" if most are consigned
to an eternal hell "away from" the presence of the
5. If all living beings are "sustained
by His grace" and "held together" by the word
of His power how can anyone truly be separated from God in
a place called hell forever? Will God be there with them in
hell ...sustaining them during their eternal punishment?
6. Why are the words "away from" or
"separated from" added to II Thess 1:9 which significantly
changes its meaning from "an age of punishment from the
face of the Lord " to "away from the presence of
the Lord?" Are these not two very different meanings?
One is very serious indeed but not without hope given God's
promise to "make all thing new". The latter is entirely
7. How can justice be paid or satisfied with
a sentence that never ends? Does God inflict infinite punishment
upon those He says "are but dust" and of whom He
claims, "He knows our frame"? (Psa 103:14)
8. Why do we advocate social justice and for
"restorative justice" in our prisons if it is only
an earthly temporal reality with absolutely no reference to
God's ultimate justice? Is not restorative justice a reflection
of God's character? Does His character change?
9. How can God promise "justice for all
the oppressed" if most of the world's oppressed die before
ever receiving it? Are they resurrected to receive their justice
for the evil done to them only later to be thrown into hell
with their oppressors because they did not put their faith
in Jesus before death?
10. If the word justice is the same word for
righteousness, which literally means "right-useness",
would that mean that God's justice is in harmony
with His love which naturally seeks to restore His creation
to its original intention and design?
11. If God asks us to pray, "Our Father"
and every knee will bow "to the glory of God the Father"
and "we are all His offspring" (Acts 17:28) how
is it in the end His primary role will be as the Eternal Torturer
of most of His offspring?
12. Why is the concept of an eternal state in
a place called "hell" absent in the Old Testament?
And therefore why would God neglect for thousands of years
to warn people of the most horrific reality ever to face mankind?
13 How do you account for all the passages where
"the world", "all people", "all of
creation", and "every knee" is bowing in worship
to God in the future?
14. Is not the idea of death, rebellion, hatred
of God and sin cycling forever in "hell" more like
a form of dualism than the plan of a holy, loving, all-powerful
15. If you are defending an eternal hell on
the basis of preserving man's free-will to choose then how
is it that eventually every knee is said to bow which, in
your estimation, would be against their will?
16. If you claim that man has ultimate free-will
then does not this mean that God ultimately loses His? But
did he not say, "I am not willing that ANY should
perish but that ALL should come to repentance"?
17. When we consider all the references to God's
name (well over 600) why is there not found a single name
that depicts an image of an Eternal Torturer?
18. Are we to love our enemies while God does
not? Does God help us obey His command to love our
enemies while He does not?
19. Can we love our neighbor and love God at
the same time if He is planning on sending the majority of
our neighbors to hell forever? How do we truly keep both commands?
If we love our neighbor as ourself we will naturally wish
their good and not damnation (against God). If we love God
we will have to naturally support God's damnation of most
of our neighbors (against our neighbors).
20. What do you perceive we will be doing in
a million years? Will all of heaven hate those in hell while
all those in hell hate those in heaven? Or will those in heaven
love those in hell? Or will we have to trade our mindset of
"loving our neighbor as ourselves" to being callous
condemners of the majority of mankind? (...we are told we
will be "ruling and reigning with Him".)
21. Does hatred never fail or does "love
1. How is it that not one of the names
of God depict Him as an Eternal Torturer who will consign
most of His creation to a hopeless eternal hell?…
Savior of the World, Redeemer, Restorer, Deliverer,
A Righteous Judge, The Awesome God, The Rock, The Defender,
The Resurrection and the Life, Our Shield, Strong Tower,
Abba Father, The King of Kings, God of All Hope, Grace and
Comfort, The Judge of all the Earth, The Good Shepherd,
The Bread of Life, The Door, Our Provider, Our Healer, Our
Creator, Our Peace, The Alpha and Omega etc.,
2. Would you not expect the names of God to
represent the true nature of God revealing who He is and therefore
what He does? Please do a search in the Bible or online and
see the hundreds of names God is given and has given Himself.
Not one portrays a God who is limited in His mercy.
God's Name as Savior
1. If Jesus’ name is Savior of the World
does it make sense that most of the world will co-exist with
Him throughout eternity desperately in need of His salvation
without receiving it?
2. If Jesus’ name means savior and we are “being
conformed into His image”, wouldn’t that mean
that our sanctification will bring about more compassion,
love and mercy? Would we not reflect more and more the heart
of our Rescuer and Redeemer? What might He be preparing us
for? Why are we being made like Christ if there is nothing
to save or redeem in the next age?
3. As we become more merciful, gracious, and forgiving as
we mature in Christ what does that imply if we are told we
are going to “judge nations”? Are we growing in
mercy and forgiveness in order to help God condemn the rest
of the world to a merciless hell forever in the next age?
4. Why is being a “savior” not the Church's general
reputation in the world?
5. Is Jesus Christ the potential
Savior of the World or the actual
Savior of the World?
6. Did God lose the vast majority of the human race?
7. Was the first Adam more powerful than the last Adam?
8. Did Adam’s fall bring down more people than the cross
of Jesus Christ could save?
The Love of God
1. If love is defined by God in 1 Corinthians 13 as never-failing
and in 1 John as laying down one's life, why
is this not the foundation for how we are to perceive God's
love? Are we not commanded to love in the same manner
that He loves? “By this shall all men know that you
are my disciples, if you have love one to another.”
2. If God's nature is love how can it be separated from any
other aspect of His being? If His nature is one of a loving
Father then would not everything that came from Him be as
a Father? Would not his wrath and judgment be as “fatherly”
as His nurture and sustenance?
3. Do you think that it sounds possible or reasonable that
anyone could resist and defeat the love of God, indefinitely?
4. Is love really as powerful as we say it is? Do we actually
believe, “God is love”, “love never fails”,
“the greatest is love”, “love is the fulfillment
of the law”, or as the song, “the love of God
is greater far than any tongue or pen can tell”? Can
we really make these claims with no qualifications? Are you
truly convinced that LOVE NEVER FAILS?
5. What is agape love? How different is it to human
love? Could there be any power greater to melt the hearts
and lives of people causing them to turn from their destructive
ways? What is the alternative? Fear of punishment? Hope
6. How can I obey the two greatest commandments of loving
God and neighbor as myself in light of the following:
“If I approve of a God who fails to love [most] of
my neighbors and I am grateful for this fact, then I do
not truly love or will the good for all my neighbors: and
if I DO love them, then in the very act of willing the good
for them I demonstrate my disapproval of any God who does
not likewise will the good for them.” Talbott
7 . If the summation of the law is “love your neighbor
as yourself” does God love us as Himself? In other words
does He lay His life down for all of us His “neighbors”?
Or does He answer, “Ah, but the question is, ‘who
really is My neighbor? To Me it is actually just
a few elect.’ “
8. Why does the Westminster Shorter Catechism’s definition
of God not include love?
“God is a spirit; infinite, eternal and unchangeable
in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness
1. Why is 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 in the past tense?
"All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself
through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:
that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ,
not counting people’s sins against them. And he has
committed to us the message of reconciliation."
2. What/who are the all things mentioned
in this passage?
“For by him all things were created, in heaven and
on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions
or rulers or authorities—all things were created through
him and for him…For in him all the fullness of God
was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself
all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace
by the blood of his cross.” Colossians 1:16-20
3. How could this passage mean that God is going to reconcile
all His physical creation of rocks,
trees and weather etc., but not the crown of His creation,
man? Do not “all things”
here literally mean all things including mankind?
4. Is not this passage saying that we need to be
reconciled to God since He has already been reconciled
to us through the cross? Did He not say that, “while
we were still His enemies Christ died for us”?
5. Is the sinner redeemed and reconciled because he repents
or is he called upon to repent because he has been redeemed
and reconciled? Is an unbeliever someone who has not yet been
redeemed or someone who is not yet awakened to what
has been already done for him?
6. If we have been given “the message of reconciliation”
which is "be reconciled to God!" does it not appear
that we are announcing something that is already true to the
world which they simply do not know has happened to them?
Is it more of an announcement of news rather than
a conditional premise based upon the response of the recipient?
(What remains is for folks to become what
they have been declared to be, where God brings our condition
up to the level of our position-- this is by
grace through faith).
7. When is God going to fulfill the following words?
Habakkuk 2:14, “For the earth will be filled
with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters
cover the sea.”
Psalm 22:27, “All the ends of the earth will
remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the
nations will bow down before him.”
Jeremiah 31:34, “No longer will a man teach
his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,'
because they will all know me, from the least of them to
the greatest," declares the LORD. "For I will
forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no
Zephaniah 3:9, “For at that time I will change
the speech of the peoples to a pure speech, that all of
them may call upon the name of the LORD and serve him with
the Concept of an Eternal Hell in the Old Testament
1. Why does the Old Testament have no concept of an eternal
hell, a subject of unimaginable implications? How could a
merciful God be silent about this if it was THE most catastrophic
danger ever to face mankind?
2. Is it true that the Jews did not have a developed concept
of the afterlife and the words "hell" in the OT
should be translated "Sheol" and "Hades"
which mean simply "hidden place" or "place
of the dead"? Did not the Jews' use of the word "olam"
depict an age rather than something eternal? Did
not the Jews use a negative in front of a word to denote that
something was endless as in, "His mercies never
come to an end?" Lam 3
3. How can the concept of an eternal fiery torture chamber
be God's intention if when dealing with Israel's sin of burning
their own children to the god of Molech Jeremiah said, "He
did not command Israel to do this nor did it enter into
His mind that they should do this abomination"?
Regarding the Word
1. How is it that when the word "hell" is translated
properly it disappears from our translations?
2. How is it that Paul who wrote nearly 3/4 of the New Testament
did not mention "hell" once? Judgment yes, but "hell",
3. Why did most of the translators add the word "exclusion",
"away", or "separated" to 2 Thess 1:9,
the one verse used to defend a Pauline concept of an eternal
hell, when it is not found in the Greek? The ESV leaves it
out in their footnote, why is this? Is not a judgment that
comes from the face of the Lord extremely different
than one that is separated and away from
the presence of the Lord? Was this interpretation the result
of an assumption, or a bias?
4. The apostle Paul did not mention the word "hell"
once. But the one instance he used the word "Hades"
is, "O death, where is your sting? O grave (Hades) where
is your victory?" Since this is the same word used in
the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (and other places)
then why was it not translated "hell" here? Is it
because it would then say, "O hell where is
your victory?" Is this yet another example of selective
and biased translating? I Cor 15
Why does the book of Acts not mention an eternal hell?
In Regard to God's
Does it seem coherent that a holy God would allow man to continue
sinning, rebelling, and hating Him while in a state of death
forever? Or as D A Carson sees it, hell is a continuous cycle
of sin, guilt and punishment. This sounds more like a version
of the dualistic Manichaeism of Augustine's past than of a
just and holy God.
2. If an eternal hell does not rid God's universe of sin and
death but instead keeps it perpetually cycling forever, does
this sound like the plan of a holy God who said He hates sin?
3. If to be holy as God is holy from Leviticus
19 is defined as the keeping of the law and summarized at
the end as "Love your neighbor as yourself" then
is not love the evidence and fruit of holiness? Since
love is the summation of the law of God then are we not condemned
by the fact that we have not "loved our neighbor as ourselves"?
Therefore is this not the very thing, lack of love for God
and neighbor, which has made us unholy? And yet is
it not the fulfilling of God's holy law by Jesus (loving us,
His neighbor) the thing that actually saves us? So then does
His holiness both condemn and save us? Does not Romans say
He is both "Just and the Justifier"
4. If you believe God, who is holy, plans to eradicate sin
from a certain number of His creatures why would it make Him
less holy if we claim He plans to destroy evil and sin among
ALL mankind instead of perpetuating it within billions in
Salvation and Forgiveness
1. If we are “saved by grace, through faith” does
this not mean that grace has already saved us and that faith
is nothing more than the proof that God has awakened us to
that grace? And if we claim what we are really experiencing
in the Church is “grace” then how is it there
is so much pride? “It is not
of yourselves; it is the gift of God, so that no one would
boast”. (Eph 2:8-9)
2. “Father, forgive them for they know not what they
are doing.” If Jesus is the exact representation of
God then is this not the cry of the Father’s heart as
3. If He is “faithful and just to forgive us our sin”
is this not an indication that forgiveness is part of being
just? (1342 Dikaios)
4. If God is going to condemn to an eternal hell most of mankind
in the age to come why is He shaping us to be more and more
gracious, forgiving and loving? Will there be no future context
in which to practice this compassion, love and mercy?
To live your life on this earth and not learn the divine
principle of forgiveness is to miss everything that Christ
taught and lived.
5. Is not the primary evidence of being a child of God that
of being a forgiver-- one who offers mercy? Does
not love imply forgiveness, grace and mercy? What
are the implications of this if God says we are going to rule
and reign with Him and we will judge nations? If we are told
that, “if you do not forgive your brother from your
heart neither will I forgive you”, then what kind of
judges, rulers, kings and priests must He be preparing for
that time? Would He be calling out and preparing merciful
judges if He Himself will not in fact
show mercy in the age to come?
6. Why are the Christian Universalists being accused of making
God out to be more loving and merciful than Scripture warrants
when Jonah (the archetypal human heart) actually whines to
God about this?:
“That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish.
I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow
to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending
calamity.” Jonah 3:1-2
7. Why does God give us the exhortation for
forgiveness to be offered 70x7 times, signifying indefinitely,
if this does not reflect the nature and scope of His own forgiveness?
1. Would you not consider Sodom’s prophecy to be restored
(Ez 16), Egypt and Assyria to be honored above Israel (Isa
19), Jonah's Ninevah, the prodigal son's acceptance, and the
Gentiles being engrafted into God's Story a few examples of
God's mercy trumping our expectations (or even our desires)?
2. Has it not been the trajectory of God to progressively
reveal His truth and plan for the ages? Would it not be arrogant
to assume we have all the pieces of God's plan already figured
out and refuse to explore controversial areas or admit we
may have gotten some things wrong regarding His sovereign
1. If sin against an infinite God will incur an infinite punishment
would that not be a form of dualism since it would mean that
sin, death and evil would parallel God forever?
2. Is it not an illogical assertion that justice can be paid
through a sentence that never ends which implies it is never
3. Does not an eternal hell make "the most corrupt, foul
and loathsome in man to be as enduring as God Himself? Does
it not confer the dignity of an immortal life on what is morally
abominable? Does it not teach perpetual anarchy and chaos?
Does it not enthrone pandemonium as an eternal fact side by
side with Paradise? Is this the promise of making 'all things
new' and of the reality of God becoming all in all?"
4. What do you think of the comparison of an eternal hell
as like unto "an open festering wound of perpetual death
and disease in the universe never intended to be healed?"
(from J. Bonda, The One Purpose of God)
5. What about the verses that speak of everything returning
to God, the Source of all things? "For from Him and through
Him and to Him are all things". What about all the words
that convey the concept of returning back to God and His ways
in the Scriptures such as: REstoration, REdemption, REconciliation,
REsurrection, REvive, and REpent?
6. Since God is the One who holds literally everything and
everyone together, what is referred to as sustaining grace
(Col 1:17) then He must be sustaining by His grace every person
in an eternal hell in order for them to continue to exist
…in order for them to be punished forever. This sounds
even worse than dualism as it attributes God with
actually sustaining sin and death forever!
In Relation to
the Law of God
1. If the Israelites were given as "examples" for
us (1 Cor 10) pointing to even greater realities beyond them
then what of the practice of Jubilee (which many scholars
doubt was ever actually achieved)? What does it point to in
relation to the plan of God? What does it symbolize? How has
it been fulfilled by Christ who "came to fulfill all
2. If God is holy because He never sins and “sin
is any transgression of the law” then what is the
law? Is not the law a reflection of God’s perfect character
contained in the Ten Commandments summarized by “love
God and your neighbor as yourself”? Is not therefore
God’s holiness reflected through perfect love?
1. What did God mean when He said, “Come let us reason
together” and when Jesus told the Pharisees to "make
good judgments". Does not reason play a significant part
regarding our knowledge of Him and therefore this issue?
2. In light of Jesus' statement, "I will also ask you
one question, and answer Me..." does it not appear that
God's goal is to engage us into the process of thinking and
meditating on Him? Also God says through Isaiah, "No
one stops to think. No one has enough knowledge or understanding..."
(Isa. 44). Are we not given the impression that we are expected
to think and reason about the nature of God, without fear?
3. Is not I Thessalonians 5:21 giving us permission to test
the doctrine of an eternal hell since it says, "Examine
all things; hold fast to that which is good." If we are
feeling uneasy about it, sense that it is not good, and wish
it were not true why should we be afraid to examine it and
put it to the test?
4. What about the test of, "Does it glorify God"?
Can we honestly say that to consign most of His crown of creation
to an eternal existence cycling sin and punishment while in
a state of death is glorifying to Him? Would this glorify
an earthly king to have 90% of his subjects never submit their
wills to him? How would a parallel state of eternal sin
and death be glorifying to a holy God?
5. Have you ever considered what the verses that speak of
the restoration of all creation would sound like if you put
all the qualifiers on them that you say you believe are there?
“And he is the head of the body, the Church; he is
the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so
that in [a few hearts] he might have the supremacy. For
God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and
through him to reconcile to himself [a few things], whether
things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through
his blood, shed on the cross." Col 1:18-20
"For from Him and through Him are all things and [a
few will make it] back to Him." Rom 11
"As in Adam ALL die so in Christ [very few] will be
made alive". 1 Cor 15:22
"For God so loved 5-10% of the world that He gave His
only begotten Son..." (Calvinists) Jn 3:16
"God was in Christ reconciling [a tiny portion of]
the world to Himself." 2 Cor 5:19
"Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin [of
a few people] of the world." John1:29
“He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and not
for ours only but for the sins of a few from every people
group in the world!” I Jn 2:2
"The last enemy to be destroyed is death [for a minority
of My human creation]."
"Behold, I am making [a few] things new!” Rev
6. Why do Christians who believe in an eternal hell use the
verse from Isaiah 55, “For My ways are not your ways
neither your thoughts My thoughts…” to defend
the incoherent nature of their eternal hell when this entire
chapter is about the MERCY of God and not judgment?
Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
…Let the wicked forsake his way
and the evil man his thoughts.
Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him,
and to our God, for he will freely pardon.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.
God-given Desires and Hopes
1. David said that if we delight ourselves in the Lord He
will give us the desires of our hearts. Why do most Christians
admit they desire the salvation of all?
2. If God says “love hopes all things” and that
“hope deferred makes the heart sick” then why
do we assume this hope that God will indeed redeem all and
truly reconcile everything to Himself is unfounded? Why do
we often use language more hopeful than we are allowed to
3. Why do our hearts soar when we read or hear passages like
these? Do you HOPE they mean what they appear to mean? Do
you wish they were true?
“On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare
a feast of rich food for all peoples,
a banquet of aged wine—
the best of meats and the finest of wines.
On this mountain he will destroy
the shroud that enfolds all peoples,
the sheet that covers all nations;
he will swallow up death forever.
The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears
from all faces;
he will remove the disgrace of his people
from all the earth.
The LORD has spoken. Isaiah 25:6-8
the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory
of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” Hab 2:14
Why do we recite the end of epic stories like, “…everything
sad is going to come untrue” and do not feel compelled
to correct or qualify but let the hope remain to tantalize
our hearts? (LOTR)
5. If God says that He is going to do “exceedingly abundantly
above all we could ask or imagine” then how come with
the traditional teaching in place we secretly wish and imagine
When God tells us to "give an answer for the hope that
is within you" is He referring to just our own personal
hope for our own souls? Also where Paul says "we are
not of those who have no hope" is he saying our hope
does not extend beyond who we know for certain will be saved
from an eternal hell? Does this not seem self-centered and
an unlikely understanding of what is being referred to here
as "hope"? Is He not called the "God of Hope"
and the "Hope of the Nations"?
1. If God says that He will do “immeasurably beyond
all we ask or imagine” Eph 2 :20 then how could we ever
out-dream or out-imagine God with our earthly stories?
2. How can His Story reflect anything less than the most stunning
stories He has allowed us to create? How could the Grand Story
we find ourselves in be smaller than the epic movies and books
we read... The storied reality that frames our lives? Why
are we told that this Greater Hope view is simply “wishful
thinking”, “a fairytale”, or something that
is “too good to be true”? Isn’t that actually
an inking Eph from the law written on our hearts?
God As Father
1. If the first attribute that comes to your mind when you
think of God, is love and that He is a Father do you think
the Father of all fathers could leave most of the members
of His family in agony forever?
What does the story of the Prodigal Son teach us about the
nature of the Father? Does He not forgive both
the son of riotous living and the son of self-righteousness?
3. Is not the “Father of all” wise enough,
compassionate enough, and powerful enough to cause us all
to come to ourselves and bring us back home?
4. Is not the “Father of all” strong
enough to break the power of sin and death over us, His children?
"For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was
lost, and is found." (Luke 15:22-24)
5. Does it not say, “every knee will bow and every tongue
will confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the FATHER?”
Why does it not say Judge as many assume it must mean? What
would bring you glory as an earthly father: a son that “confessed”
openly that you were right all along while despising you in
his heart or a son who had “come to
his senses” about your true love for him and wanted
to share it with all who would listen?
"elect", and "priests"
What does God mean when He labels His elect, the "firstfruits"?
Does not the allusion, "FIRSTfruits"
imply there is more to come?
2. Who is told to "come out of Babylon" in the book
of Revelation? Is it not the Church? Why is God throughout
all Scripture calling out a chosen, an elect, a "kingdom
of priests"? Who is He most often calling out of exile
and for what purpose? Is it not to show the rest of the world
what God is like?
3. What is the purpose and nature of a priest? Is it not to
be a mediator between God and man? If the chosen are all priests,
then who are they priests for? Just other would-be
priests, or for the world?
4. Was not Jesus' high priestly prayer for the Church ...for
the world? "...may they be one even as we are one
that the world may believe that You have sent me".
5. If we are the elect, what are we elected for?
Is it different than Abraham's call to be a blessing on account
of his being blessed? Is it only to glory in our chosen-ness
or election? Would that make sense of a chosen office in this
life? Are not individuals elected unto some purpose?
What are we, “the elect”, chosen for?
6. Are we not chosen to be the firstfruits of creation to
be “set free” in order to set the rest of
creation free in the midst of the plan of the ages mentioned
in the Bible?
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth
comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For
the creation waits in eager expectation for the children
of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to
frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the
one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will
be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into
the freedom and glory of the children of God.” (Rom
Judgments and Wrath of God
Do all of God's judgments have a righteous purpose? If you
believe 90%+ of all humankind is going to be sentenced to
an eternal separation from God, by the standards of His own
holy law (which is summarized as “love your neighbor
as yourself”) would you consider this to be righteous?
(“Righteousness” is justice or right-useness)
2. Isaiah 26:9 says, "When God's judgments are in the
earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness".
Are only some of God's judgments remedial while the rest (most)
3. Why do so many Christians quote the verse that says, "For
it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living
God" to defend an eternal judgment when this passage
is talking about God's own people? Why do they not include
the first part of the verse that says, "The Lord will
judge HIS PEOPLE. It is a fearful thing to fall into
the hands of the living God.” (Heb. 10:30)?
4. Is God’s salvation a salvation from a location
or from a condition? Did Jesus rescue us from the
condition of sin and death in which we were already involved
or from a place in the future? Many say they believe
they are saved from sin as well as an eternal hell but most
Christians demonstrate more fear of hell than of sin. What
does the record show of Christians; do they appear more afraid
of sin …or of hell? Or perhaps neither?
“We can either humble ourselves and fall on the rock
(Christ), receiving this beautiful revelation now, or we
can have the rock fall on us in correction in the ages to
come. But make no mistake about it, all will eventually
come to the saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ!”
Why have we assumed the word “wrath” is equivalent
to our human meaning when God says “the wrath of man
does not accomplish the righteousness of God”? (James
1:20) Does it not imply that the wrath of God will
accomplish the righteousness of God? Is not righteousness
a returning to “right-useness” or justice?
If the Bible says, “the wages of sin is death”
why does most of Christianity teach that it is eternal torture?
2. What does it mean to, “hand this man over to Satan,
so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit
saved on the day of the Lord.”? (1 Cor 5:5)
3. What does it mean, “It will be revealed with fire,
and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work.
If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward.
If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be
saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.”?
(1 Cor 3:15)
4. Are we sure we understand the meaning of the “lake
of fire” and “brimstone”? Why is the word
used for the lake of fire the same used for the Holy
Spirit fire? Why is the word “brimstone”
the word for sulfur, a cleansing/healing agent?
4442 pýr or “pur”= fire.
In Scripture, fire is often used figuratively –
like with the "fire of God" which transforms
all it touches into light and likeness with
Do we see in the Story of God that death and destruction have
the last word, or life, restoration
and resurrection? (See the prophecy of the restoration
of Sodom in Ez 16 once destroyed by fire).
6. When God has “utterly destroyed” something
or someone, has that ever been a problem for the God of resurrection
and life? “I kill and I make alive says the Lord.”
(Deut 32:39) “I am the resurrection and the life; though
he were dead yet will he live.” (Jn 11:25).
Do God's laws of restitution that are being promoted in prisons
by Colson and others have no reference to God's ultimate judgment
and dealings with mankind? Does this restorative justice
have reference to this life only and no connection with God's
final judgment? Is restorative justice in no way connected
to or reflective of God's eternal character?
2. If the word justice means righteousness or "right-useness"
would not bringing someone to justice mean bringing them to
right-useness or restoration? Is God's final justice less
than the temporal human stories of restorative justice where
there is repentance, forgiveness, restitution, and in the
most astounding stories, even victims and perpetrators reconciled?
Could these temporal earthly stories outdo God’s overall
3. There is now a clearer teaching in our churches that “justice”
is not getting justice but rather doing justice.
We are being taught that the goal of true justice is restoration
of the perpetrator, not just getting even. We know from the
Spirit of God that this is right and good. Would God do anything
less in His cosmic scheme of justice?
4. What about the place of social justice that is a major
theme in Scripture? If most of the world’s poor are
from non-Christian nations then is social justice just a temporal
fix for 90% of these people who are (destined either by statistics
or by predestination) going to an eternal hell?
5. And when God speaks of “justice for all the oppressed”
is He speaking for just the believing oppressed?
If not then when do the world’s poor receive the justice
they are promised when most die without ever seeing it? Do
they receive justice for their unjust suffering after they
die and then later are they consigned to hell forever for
6. Explain how millions of “unbelieving” children
who have been victims of the sex trade receive their justice
from God if they are without faith in Christ when they die
after the “age of accountability”?
7. How will God give justice to two evil nations who have
committed injustices to each other when they will both end
up in hell?
8. How can there be justice meted out fairly if all unbelievers
are consigned to the same sentence of “separation from
God”? How do you have degrees of absolute and utter
darkness? How do you have degrees of separation from God,
the sole Source of light, life and love? How do you have degrees
within the absence of evertything that is good?
“It's a pity the law doesn't allow me to be merciful.”
Javert, Les Miserables
Many people react to the teaching to the Restoration of All
by saying, “then what is the purpose of the cross?”
Let us ask you, what’s the point of a hospital that
has discovered the cure for all diseases? Just because Calvary
will prove to be 100% successful does not render Christ’s
sacrifice unnecessary. What undermines the atonement is the
teaching that either Christ died an ineffectual death or that
He died for only a few, thereby a limited atonement.
2. If the view of eternal hell is supported by the Penal Substitutionary
Atonement what about the fact that the ransom theory was held
until Anselm and the PSA was not fully introduced until the
Reformation? How is eternal hell defended in light of these
models if neither were the model for the first thousand years
of the Church? If the early Church held to a ransom/Christus
Victor model then were they weaker or inferior believers since
they did not have an understanding of the PSA in place?
Are there not many models of the atonement and is it not true
that the Atonement defies our understanding leaving much to
mystery leading to an understanding that encompasses many
models and not just one? (See Scot McKnight's book, A
Community Called Atonement).
“We should not expect that our theories will ever
explain it fully. Even when we put them all together, we
will no more than begin to comprehend a little of the vastness
of God's saving deed.”..............
...... Leon Morris
If the fall of mankind was universal through Adam, and Christ
is named the “second Adam” then why was His redemption
not universal? Was the fall of man more powerful than the
cross and the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ?
“Consequently, just as the result of one trespass
was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one
act of righteousness was justification that brings life
for all men. For just as through the disobedience of the
one man the many were made sinners, so also through the
obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.”
How would this passage sound if we were to read it with qualifications?
“…Just as the result of one man was condemnation
for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness
was justification [for a few].”
present condition of the Church
Do you really believe an eternal hell has kept people morally
in line? Has it actually been an effective restraint for sin
in the Church? Aren’t we told that we love because He
first loved us and that it’s “the GRACE of God
that teaches us to say ‘no’ to ungodliness”?
2. If to know the truth sets us free and, "if the Son
sets you free you will be free indeed", could we honestly
describe ourselves as "free"?
3. Would the world describe us, the Church as a whole, as
free? Are we known for our freedom? Do we feel free?
Do we act free? Does the following verse describe you?
“…but those who hope
in the LORD will renew their strength. ?They will soar on
wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they
will walk and not be faint.” (Isa 40:31)
If we worship a God who is weak because He cannot
save all, or limited because He cannot override man's
will, or unmerciful because we believe He simply
has chosen to save only a few, do we not begin to reflect
what we worship?
5. Would the world describe us (and might we honestly describe
ourselves) as weak? or as limited in our impact in
this world? or as unmerciful? Are we not viewed as
unmerciful in the way we judge others and condemn them for
things we don't do while harboring other toxic sins like greed,
covetousness and gossip?
6. Why is it the Church is known for its pride and arrogance?
If it is based on grace “so that no one can boast”
(especially among those adhering to the “doctrines of
grace” or Calvinism) why is there so much pride?
7. If Christianity is a faith based on forgiveness why do
we as a whole generally have such a difficult time forgiving?
Could we be reflecting the God we believe will refuse to forgive
most of mankind?
8. Why are most Christians actually "functional universalists"
meaning they do not live, speak, or spend their time and money
as if they believed in an eternal hell? How is it that many
who do live as if it is true are considered strange,
unbalanced, or morbid?
9. Why are we all of a sudden fighting feverishly to defend
a doctrine we seldom talk or preach about? And why are we
teaching a more sanitized watered down version when we do?
Why the vague, indecisive and commonly evasive approach? If
it is indeed true why not unleash it in the manner of Jonathan
Edwards? Is it utterly and terrifyingly horrific or is it
10. What do you think about Keller’s assessment of the
Church in relation to who we are attracting...?
"Jesus’s teaching consistently attracted the
irreligious while offending the Bible-believing, religious
people of his day. However, in the main, our churches today
do not have this effect. The kind of outsiders Jesus attracted
are not attracted to contemporary churches, even our most
avant-garde ones. We tend to draw conservative, buttoned-down,
moralistic people. The licentious and liberated or the broken
and marginal avoid church. That can only mean one thing.
If the preaching of our ministers and the practice of our
parishioners do not have the same effect on people that
Jesus had, then we must not be declaring the same message
that Jesus did."
1. Do you not think it troubling that with all the debate
over what the word “aionios” means within this
parable the actual point of the parable, caring for “the
least of these”, has been neglected by
the Church? With this doctrine in place we have done a miserable
job of being Jesus to the least of these so maybe
this word and its “proof” of an eternal hell is
actually not the point. Have we stumbled over a word
and failed to see the Living Word of God before us in Jesus
here in this parable?
2. Also if Matthew 25 is a parable then we need to interpret
it as a parable. What is Jesus’ point? Is it that hell
is eternal? Or is it about the Kingdom of God and how that
plays out through a truly converted life?
3. Was not Jesus often praying for the Church for the
world, rebuking the Church for the world, and
calling them out of exile for the world? Is not Jesus
calling the Church to soberly consider their neglect
of the “least of these”? All the while we argue
over a word.
4. Or, is Matthew 25 about how we are saved by the works
of caring for the poor, sick, imprisoned? If so, how much
is enough to get “in”? Or is it about how to prove
by “grace through faith” that you have evidence
of “saving faith”? But how much is enough evidence?
And does it teach that the disenfranchised etc., are inherently
Christ’s brothers and therefore already in God’s
kingdom somehow apart from faith? What do you think was
Jesus’ main point in this parable?
5. If the word “aionios” means eternal then why
did another greek word that meant “never-ending”
have to be placed before it when condemning the doctrine of
universal salvation by Justinian in order to be understood
to mean “eternal”?
It is conceded that the half-heathen emperor held to the
idea of endless misery, for he proceeds not only to defend,
but to define the doctrine.2 He does not merely say, "We
believe in aionion kolasin," for that was
just what Origen himself taught. Nor does he say "the
word aionion has been misunderstood; it denotes
endless duration," as he would have said, had there
been such a disagreement. But, writing in Greek, with all
the words of that abundant language from which to choose,
he says: "The holy church of Christ teaches an endless
aeonian (ateleutetos aionios) life to the righteous,
and endless (ateleutetos) punishment to the wicked."
If he supposed aionios denoted endless duration,
he would not have added the stronger word to it. The fact
that he qualified it by ateleutetos, demonstrated
that as late as the sixth century the former word did not
signify endless duration. (complete book found in “study
1. Are not the two camps of Arminianism and Calvinism irreconcilable
due to the fact that they hold to opposite views of the very
character of God?
2. Since the Calvinists and Arminians have opposing views
of the very nature of the God they both claim to follow is
it not true that they cannot closely relate together in the
same church body unless they substantially compromise their
3. Would the Calvinists honestly be able to say that they
could love and worship the weak God of the Arminians?
Would the Arminians honestly be able to say they could love
and worship the predestining/limited atonement God of
the Calvinists? NO? Then what does this mean for the Church?
Of its hope for unity?
4. Whether you are a Calvinist, an Arminian or an Evangelical
Universalist you must all deal with “problem texts”
and therefore must each argue from
your view of God’s character: absolute sovereignty/limited
love, freewill/unlimited love, or unlimited and inescapable
love and power. Why is there no tolerance for the Christian
Universalist who harmonizes the tension between the two opposing
5. Why are Evangelical Universalists labeled as “heretics”
while the distance between the Calvinists and Arminians is
fundamentally greater than each of their distance is to the
Evan. universalist? In other words the Evan. universalists
have more in common with each view than the Arminians
and Calvinists do with each other. Ironically both have been
heard accusing the other of being “dangerously close
6. Do you realize that these two diametrically opposed views
of God are irreconcilable and that they have created an impasse
to any true unity within the Church?
7. But have you considered that they might not actually be
diametrically opposed but rather simply two parts of a whole?
Could it be that the God who loves all and has provided redemption
for all is the same God who is powerful
and sovereign enough to bring it to pass?
8. Would you believe that the Evangelical Universalist has
removed this tension and loves the ONE God who desires all
to be redeemed and is sovereign enough, powerful enough, and
loving enough to bring it all to pass?! Did you know that
the Evangelical Universalist can worship within both
theological camps because they together represent one whole?!
Is God absolutely sovereign or is He not? If He is not He
is therefore limited in some way. Does that not make Him more
like us? Is He currently fighting against the devil and darkness,
trying to do “the best He can”?
2. How do you present a God to the world that is simply trying
the best He can but will ultimately lose the vast majority
of His creation?
3. If Jesus paid for all the sins of the world did He get
what He paid for?
4. Did God lose the vast majority of the human race?
5. Was the first Adam more powerful than the last Adam?
6. Did Adam’s fall bring down more people than the cross
of Jesus Christ could save?
7. Has Jesus been defeated by Adam, sin, death, hell and Satan?
8. Is the devil more powerful than Jesus?
9. How can you defend the concept of man's free-will over
God's will when there is no disputing that He will
have every knee bowing and every tongue confessing that "He
is Lord"? Is this against their will or is it at this
point voluntary? If it is voluntary are they then thrown into
an eternal hell anyway? What is the nature of this bowing
if it is said to be "for the glory of the Father",
and not Judge?
10. If you believe God preserves man's free will how do you
explain how in order to preserve mans’ free-will He
must violate His own?
11. What exactly is the age of accountability? And what line
of reasoning might it lead one to? How would you respond to
the cases where people took this doctrine seriously and ended
the lives of their innocent children in order to guarantee
their safety from a 90%+ possibility of being eternally tortured?
12. Is free-will really the test of true love? Perhaps it
appears so from our human understanding. But if God is the
freest Being in the universe then none of us are truly free
until we are in alignment with Him, the only Source of true
freedom. To be gathered up into God's perfect freedom after
we have "come to our senses" by God's sovereign
means will not be spurned as "forcing our will".
Just as Paul did not object to being "coerced" into
following Christ but rather became someone who was filled
with "inexpressible joy".
Freedom by definition means not being controlled by another.
But the relationship of God’s will to us, is not one
of making us do something against our will, but by bringing
our will into union with His. This is not coercion but causation
by the force of love which ultimately worked by God leaving
us to ourselves to do what we would do left to ourselves;
which was to crucify His Son, and then to love such enemies
back to Himself by the power of forgiving love.
13. How do you defend your view of the free-will of man in
light of Pharaoh, Esau, Jonah, and the apostle Paul to name
14. When you consider heredity, family upbringing, social
and economic status, and the time and location you are born
can you really believe that humans have free-will?
15. Man obviously has been given a certain amount of free-will,
within bounds, where temporal harm can occur but do you really
believe God gives man the ability to do irreparable
and irreversible harm? Do you believe there can be
any irreducible tragedies in God’s Story? (Talbott)
16. What did Jesus mean when He said, “When I be lifted
up I will draw (literally drag) everyone to Myself”?
17. Don’t you think that the only one in the universe
who is truly capable of “free will” is
1. Isn’t it incoherent to say that “God IS love”
and how we are commanded to love as He loves and yet say He
does not love the majority of mankind?
2. If God is selective with His love and redemption how are
we supposed to love our enemies when He does not?
3. If God is only saving a minute number called the elect
why did God say that He “so loved the world” and
that He is the “Savior of the world”? Why did
He not say, “For God so loved the elect of the world?”
4. If someone is considered elected or chosen are they not
elected for some purpose, ie., other people? For
whom are we chosen and for what purpose?
5. Was not Abraham chosen to be blessed in order
to bless all nations?
6. If the summation of the law is “love your neighbor
as yourself” does God love us as Himself? In other words
does He lay His life down for all of us His “neighbors”?
Or does He answer, “Ah, but the question is, ‘who
is really My neighbor? To Me it is actually just
a few elect.’ “
7. Is not Calvinism a form of determinism that predestines
certain people to a “caste” relegated to God’s
bin of “throwaways”. To say that most people are
born into a condition without hope is not in line with the
overall Story of God and the trajectory of love, hope, grace
and restoration. How do you reconcile this?
8. If a God who predestines only a few to eternal life doesn’t
sound like “good news” then how can it
be “The Good News of the
Gospel” for the world?
9. Why does Calvin contradict himself in his commentary on
I John regarding “God is love”? How can he get
away with saying that this verse “does not speak of
the essence of God, but only shows what He is found to be
by us [ie., the elect]” immediately after he had just
introduced the passage by stating that I John “takes
for granted a general principle or truth, that God is love,
that is, it is God’s nature
to love men”? [emphasis mine] Commentaries on the
Catholic Epistles, pg 239
10. Why does the Westminster Shorter Catechism’s definition
of God not include love?:
“God is a spirit; infinite, eternal and unchangeable
in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness
11. Why do the adherents of the “doctrines of grace”
have a general reputation for being proud, arrogant and unteachable
especially the leaders of the neo-Calvinist movement? If this
doctrine is so pure and protects God’s holiness then
why are many of it’s leaders not so holy, struggling
with pride and often failing to love?
Heaven and the
Kingdom of God
1. Is heaven/the Kingdom of God just a future hope or is it
a present reality? Has the Church been hindered by a belief
that heaven is a future location rather than a spiritual position
or (condition) of being "in Christ" and
as the "eternal life" Jesus equated with
knowing Him... in the present tense?
2. When we pray, “Thy Kingdom come
Thy will be done” why do some of us then look for God
to “rapture” us out of here? Is the Kingdom of
God now or is it in the future? Yes, it’s both!
3. Why did Jesus say He would "open His mouth in parables"
and that He had "hidden these things from the wise and
learned"? Do you think it is possible we the Church have
missed something in relation to the nature of God's Kingdom?
Do you think it is possible that we the Church deserve
to have things hidden from us in the same way the Jews did?
4. Hasn’t the revelation of the Kingdom of God been
ever increasingly growing larger? Hasn’t the perennial
religious temptation of mankind been to be exclusive with
their “tribal god”? Does not the Story of God
consistently contain rebukes for those unwilling to admit
that God is merciful to one’s enemies? (The Jonahs,
Jews, the elder brothers etc.,)
Questions regarding Church
1. Why was Origen not condemned for his universalism until
200 years after his death? (and
that on account of a pagan despot, the emperor Justinian who
did it not as a devotion to the truth but as a political move).
2. Why did the Emperor Justinian in declaring his edict against
universalism have to place a different Greek word
in front of the word "aionios" in order to be understood
that he meant never-ending? (See info under "study
tools" on Justinian).
A word from Gerry Beauchemin:
I do not have all the answers. God does! Hopefully some of
them were helpful to you. The essential thing is beyond facts
themselves. It is the simple willingness to accept truth no
matter what it might be. Craig Nolin writes in quoting Dr.
When people draw conclusions about particular events, they
are not just weighing the facts. “Without knowing it,
they are also weighing what they would feel if they came to
one conclusion or another, and they often come to the conclusion
that would make them feel better, no matter what the facts
are.” Dr. Weston found that knowing an individual’s
predisposition proved to be a perfect predictor of their ultimate
decision 84% of the time, which suggests that no amount of
facts would change their original position… regardless
of whether we are talking about diets, exercise, politics,
religion, or business… This characteristic is the inspiration
of the old line, “Don’t confuse me with the facts.
My mind is made up!