Monday, January 11, 2016

Francis Chan on Hell: He can't be sure about eternal torment; not feeding the poor could send you to hell

Francis Chan has stated (on his article about Hell):

Jesus evidently hates it when we tear into our brothers or sisters with demeaning words, words that fail to honor the people around us as the beautiful image-bearing creatures that they are.

Then he goes on to say:

Yet many hellfire preachers are overfed and overpaid, living in luxury while doing nothing for the majority of Christians who live on less than two dollars a day. 

Oh the irony there.

Chan goes on to distort Matthew 5:

Jesus threatens hell to those who curse their brother (Matt. 5:22). He’s not warning drinkers or smokers or murderers. Jesus preaches hellfire against those who have the audacity to attack a fellow human being with harsh words. It’s ironic—frightening, actually—that some people have written books, preached sermons, or written blog posts about hell and missed this point completely. In fact, some people have slammed their Christian brothers and sisters in the process, simply because they have a different view of hell, missing the purpose of Matthew 5: Whoever calls his brother a fool may find himself guilty of hell.

Pitting Jesus against Paul who stated:

1Ti 1:10  the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine,

1Co 6:9  Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 1Co 6:10  nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.

Moreover both Paul and Jesus condemned sodomy as a damnable act.

Mat 11:23  And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.

Luk 17:29  but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all—30  so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed.

Does  Chan ever define "poor" or any of his other claims and terms when he states, "pastors who are overfed and overpaid, living in luxury,  while doing nothing for the majority of Christians who live on less than two dollars a day" ? Who exactly is doing nothing? How much is enough?

He goes on to say:
And what about the poor? Jesus is crystal clear about the necessity of reaching the poor. Yet many hellfire preachers are overfed and overpaid, living in luxury while doing nothing for the majority of Christians who live on less than two dollars a day. [2] Contrast that with Jesus, who in His longest sermon about judgment made helping the poor a vital criterion.

Put simply, failing to help the poor could damn you to hell.

I know, I know, everyone wants to qualify this. We want to add all sorts of footnotes to fix Jesus’ shaky theology in Matthew 25—justification is by faith, not by works; you don’t really have to help literal poor people, etc.... [3]

Let’s keep the teeth of both truths. There’s a literal hell, and helping the poor is essential. Not only did Jesus teach both of these truths, He saw them as necessary and interrelated.

However, the poor Jesus was referring to in Matthew 5, "the poor in spirit" that are blessed, is just that---those who recognize their spiritual poverty and look to Him for salvation. This has nothing to do with material goods at all. For a Master's Seminary grad, he should know better.

Jesus had shaky theology? What? And who says we don't have to help the literal poor people? Who exactly has ever stated that? Names, please, because I haven't met anyone who has ever said that and I grew up and have been in various churches all my life. That is nothing but a disingenuous straw man argument. And he's knowingly marrying works (feed the poor) to the Gospel, because Chan defends against "justification by faith and not works" AS "shaky theology" of Jesus. That's blasphemous. It is also a gospel of works. It is a social justice "gospel" which is damnable according to  Eph. 2:8-9, Gal. 1:7-9 and 1Cor. 15:1-2 for example.

Moreover James 2 states:

Jas 2:5  Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? 

God decides what state to place each person. Social justice is really an entirely different gospel. Indeed, Christians are to help with the poor as God gives opportunity and means, but we are not a welfare system nor are we to be about trying to eradicate poverty from the world. Jesus said we'd always have the poor with us. God also tells us in Scripture to be especially helpful with those within the household of God (Christians). But to say we'll go to hell if we don't, isn't biblical. It's phariseeism. After all, can the poor help the poor? Of course not. So are they a special class of Christians? If it's a command, it's a command to all, is it not? You can see the conundrum Chan gets himself into.

In an interview in 2011 on his book about Hell:
In your book you seem agnostic as to whether hell is a conscious eternal torment or annihilation.
That was one of the things I was a little surprised by: the language. I would definitely have to say that if I leaned a certain direction I would lean toward the conscious torment that's eternal. But I couldn't say I'm sure of that, because there are some passages that really seem to emphasize a destruction. And then I look in history and find that's not really a strange view. There are some good, godly men—and maybe even the majority—that seem to take the annihilation view. I was surprised because all I was brought up with was conscious torment. And I see that. I see that in Scripture and I would lean more that way but, I'm not ready to say okay I know it's this one. So say here "Here are a couple of views." I don't even remember if I wrote that I lean towards that, but maybe it comes across.
I'm still open. And I hope that's because of my study and not because I'd rather have the annihilation view. I don't know what was harder, researching or keeping a check on my heart and making sure there are no weird, ungodly motives in everything I wrote.
End quote.
Scripture in both the Old Testament as well as the New is dogmatic on this:
Isa 66:24  "And they shall go out and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me. For their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh."

Mar 3:29  but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an
eternal sin"--

Mat 25:46  And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

Destruction is eternal. Just like the bush that burned in front of Abraham without being obliterated, so too will the soul who never repents of his sin.


Paul Ahnert said...

Great post. I have been speaking out on Chan and Warren and others of their ilk who have traded the truth of the Gospel of Christ for a social gospel with no power to save. Blessings

Denise said...

Thank you Paul for stopping by. Those are dangerous men for sure.