What the Hades?! (Part 4)

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Thus far, in my series on “hell,” I have posted 3 articles: 1) discussing the nature of the words sheol and hades, 2) looking at the oft-discussed passage of Luke 16:19-31, and 3) considering the word gehenna, which is the word usually translated as “hell”.

My contention is that most popular discussion around the topic of hell is not greatly centered in the ancient Jewish understanding embedded in Scripture. This leads to some problematic interpretations of the various terms and concepts. And I believe it ultimately steers us toward an unhealthy view of God.

In this article in particular, I want to consider specific descriptors such as eternal and everlasting, especially as they are used in phrases like, “eternal punishment” and “everlasting destruction.” Continue reading

What the Hades?! (Part 3)

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I’m in the midst of a short series on “hell.” My contention is that the modern concept of “hell” for many is a far stretch from what the ancient Jewish text of Scripture teaches. Thus far, I have posted 2 articles: one discussing the nature of the words sheol and hades and then a second looking at the oft-discussed passage of Luke 16:19-31. It’s amazing what we find out when we get down into the nitty-gritty of the details.

I have a couple more articles I’d like to post, but this current one will consider the term gehenna (what usually gets translated as “hell”). Continue reading

What the Hades?! (Part 2)

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I recently began a series on the topic of “hell”. My main premise is that, for some, there is a bit of an off-base teaching concerning this topic. And I believe this is due to a few reasons: not knowing the terminology used throughout Scripture, conflating different biblical terms, and being driven by a post-biblical, abstract theology that is inconsistent with the Jewish narrative of Scripture. Continue reading

What the Hades?! (Part 1)

Michelangelo BuonarrotiHell.

For varying reasons, it’s a topic oft-approached by some and all-together avoided by others. Some see it as part and parcel to the gospel and, thus, must be preached; others struggle with the notion of everlasting torment for all unbelievers.

What are we to make of hell?

For starters, I’ve become convinced that much of our ideas concerning hell are centered in post-biblical, medieval theology, rather than the actual scriptural narrative of the Hebrew-Jewish people.

I’d be so bold as to say our typical pop-idea of hell itself is unbiblical. This is because “hell” is another whole concept quite different from the actual terms used in Scripture.

So perhaps we need to take a step back and talk about the biblical terminology. Continue reading

The Gates of Hades Shall Not Prevail…And Church Growth?

This morning, I picked up a copy of a book on one of the shelves at Cornerstone. The book is on church planting and is entitled Planting Growing Churches for the 21st Century (second edition). Yes, I know, crazy that I’m reading a paper copy of a book these days. It does happen…a little.

Even crazier just might be the fact that I’m reading an American author on church planting. Planting churches is something deeply embedded within me, but in the past, I would have been quite closed to engaging with American thoughts around church planting and growth. It’s mainly because I have not been pleased with the normative approach in such discussions – a more capitalistic focus. But, in what I hope is an effort in growth in humility, I have begun to let down my guard to being so anti-American on things to do with the church. It’s somewhat hip to find yourself in such a camp today (even if you are a part of the American church). And while I don’t think I will find all the answers to church planting and growth in this book, I am convinced I can, and will, learn something from this book. Continue reading