I’m glad Kevin DeYoung is making this point:

It takes a certain courage to look at what the Bible teaches, not like it all that much, and still believe it. I am thankful for brothers and sisters who believe in hell or believe in complementarianism or believe in election and reprobation or believe homosexuality is a sin despite their internal protestations. It’s a good sign when we take our stand on the Bible even when we’d prefer to take our stand somewhere else.

But it’s a better sign when we take our stand on the Bible and learn to love where the Bible stands.

Kevin looks at hell as an example.

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16 thoughts on “Why We Shouldn’t Be Satisfied with “The Bible Says It, I Believe It””

  1. AStev says:

    Kevin is exactly right.

  2. John says:

    What disturbs me about hell detractors is that nearly every one I’ve ever spoken with believes some people deserve hell – the Hitlers, the Stalins, the Pol Pots, and others. This seems like playing God to me.

    1. Steve Martin says:

      That is disturbing.

      In fact, we ALL deserve hell.

      But by the grace of God we will not get what we deserve, but rather what He wants for us.

      I pray that no one would go to hell, for that is where I would go if not for our Lord Jesus.

  3. Ryan says:

    This is right on.

    I have heard noted scholars like Dr. Blomberg say that he believes the Bible teaches complementarianism but he desperately wishes it did not and if he could change it he would.

    I have always found this to be a weird posture as the Bible reveals to us what God wants and says is true. Therefore, we should repent, pray, and study in process for God to conform us more into his image so that we will love what he loves, and hate what he hates.

    I am not saying I am any where near this, but I do try to live an authentic life in which I bend my actions and affections to what Scripture says.

  4. henrybish says:

    JT,

    How does the title of your post relate to the content in it? Not sure I see the connection.

    1. Brad Griffith says:

      I had to think about it, too. But I think the connection is that it is not enough to mentally assent to Biblical truths. We should strive, as Thomas Merton said somewhere, to love the truth we know and act according to the measure of our love.

  5. We need to stand on God’s absolute love and the strength of His promises. Isaiah 25:6-8 is absolutely clear about the effectiveness of God’s love. And, Revelation 20 tells us that hell will be forever destroyed along with death and the kingdom of evil. It is there at the White Throne Judgment that everyone who did not participate in the return of Christ will go through the baptism of fire where all the deception, loss, death, and destruction present in their lives will be burned away (those who participate in the return of Christ will have already gone through the baptism of fire).

    God’s fire will purify the human race as He brings to each of us His truth–that truth that will set us free. Christ’s death on the cross was all about the power of God’s love, not about a wishy-washy effort to make sure that at least a few people would make it to heaven when they died. God’s love is vaster than any of us can imagine and He can make good in the place of horrific evil (that’s what He did when He created our world). God’s love will not fail!

    1. Ben says:

      Patricia, since you’ve referenced Isaiah 25:6-8 (which you’ve quoted on this blog before), would you care to keep reading and also quote verse 10 (Isaiah 25:10)?

      You also mentioned that Rev 20 says Hell & death will be destroyed. That is true. In fact, verse 14 says “Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.”

      What you failed to mention is that John CONTINUES his point in verse 15: “Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire”.

      So, the very thing that permanently destroys Hell is also the thing that permanently destroys unsaved human beings. You can’t have it both ways (e.g. Hell is destroyed but people are not). The whole point of the White Throne Judgment is to judge people. Those found guilty are not “purified”, but rather “thrown into the lake of fire”.

      1. Ben, have you ever searched the scriptures for what the book of life is? Many of us have assumed that the book of life is a list of all of those who have accepted Christ. However, there may be an alternative meaning–stick with me here. There are two kingdoms operating on our earth, the kingdom of God and the kingdom of evil. It is important to realize God went to the kingdom of evil (darkness) to create our world and that kingdom is still operating today. The “citizens” of the kingdom of evil do not have physical or spiritual life in any shape, form, or fashion. They are evil beings through and through. Since the Garden of Eden, the kingdom of evil has ensnared the human race in complex webs of deception which has led to the widespread loss, death, and destruction throughout our world.

        Before God created our world, He knew the kingdom of evil would try to utterly destroy His creation, so He planned for Christ to come to earth to redeem the deceived human race. However, the sacrifice of Christ would not redeem the kingdom of evil. I’m thinking that these evil beings are the ones in Revelation 17:8 whose names are not written in the book of life.

        Isaiah 25:6-8 is such a definitive statement of what God will do that we might want to start with that context and see if verses like Revelation 20:15 might have an alternative meaning–the book of life might be the listing of all beings who have had physical life and those beings who are of the kingdom of evil are the ones who are thrown in the lake of fire.

        And, as far as the White Throne Judgment goes, God’s judgments are truth. Christ said that when an individual knows truth, the truth will set him/her free. The White Throne Judgment brings truth to those who were kept away from truth by the working of the kingdom of evil, and I believe that truth will set those people free from the loss, death, and destruction that deception has brought to our world.

        Here are two verses to ponder:

        John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…

        Romans 8:38-39 “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers…shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

        The “us” in Romans 8:38-39 are those who are loved by God, and who might that be?

        1. sam_ihs says:

          Its kind of like Star Wars…

  6. Chris says:

    I do not think a proper interpretation of Rom 9:1-3 results in Paul disliking hell. Paul clearly was upset and was expressing his desire for his countrymen to be saved from hell but he was not expressing negativity toward theological truth. Now, I understand that doubt is a real thing, I know that no one has all truth, only God does-theology is not knowallogy. However, if we have certain, clear truths expressed in God’s word should we not learn to love them, including the doctrine of a literal hell. We believe that God is totally sovereign, God planned and prepared hell for His purposes-what right do I have to complain and whine? Does the clay have anything over the potter?

  7. Pete says:

    I have a big concern about this whole topic, because when people say “The Bible says it”, they actually mean “I interpret the Bible this way”, or “This is my denomination’s position on what the Bible says”.

    For example, take the statement “Baptism is only for believers – the Bible says it”. Some people would agree wholeheartedly, and some would strongly disagree. TGC accepts that there is a difference of views amongst evangelicals on this subject and is deliberately vague about it so as to accomodate both Baptists and Presbyterians.

    All well and good. But there are also evangelicals who will disagree with TGC’s positions on predestination, women, hell, and even homosexuality. And they still hold to the authority of the Bible – they just interpret it differently. But TGC has no room for them.

    I’m sorry, but hypocrisy is the word that comes to mind to describe this.

    1. Ben says:

      Pete, why does the word ‘hypocrisy’ come to mind? For those that firmly believe the Bible is crystal clear on homosexuality, hell, etc, in what way are they being hypocritical? They are affirming a standard, and holding to that standard–which is the exact opposite of hypocrisy.

      You can’t accuse someone of hypocrisy for failing to live up to your standard. Hypocrites are those who fail to live up to their own standards.

      But would you be willing to apply the term ‘hypocrisy’ to yourself? Do you believe the Bible is the word of God? Do you believe Jesus is the Savior? Do you believe God is real? Are there any beliefs regarding the Bible that you believe are non-negotiable? (the Trinity? the fact that the Crucifixion actually happened? etc?). If so, what about those who have a different interpretation on those issues you feel are essential? You are willing to embrace different points of view on some issues, but are you willing to embrace them on all issues? For those that deny that God is real, would you still consider them Christian? If not, how do you escape the very accusation you throw at TGC?

      1. Pete says:

        Ben, let me expand my previous example.

        John Piper believes that the Bible is crystal clear on baptism. His view is that believer’s baptism is the only valid approach and infant baptism is wrong. It’s one of his central convictions as a Baptist. The same is true for Mark Dever and many more. But when it comes to TGC, that conviction is no longer central, because if it was, the Baptists would denounce Tim Keller, Ligon Duncan, and all the other Presbyterians as heretics and refuse to work with them. To me, that’s hypocrisy – believing one thing but doing another.

        The Presbyterians take the opposite approach and say that refusing to baptise babies is completely wrong. For them, infant baptism is a deeply-held conviction based on their understanding of the Bible. They consider the Baptist view to be a false teaching.

        So, if I was a Baptist, I could ask why aren’t the Presbyterians prepared to ignore their “internal protestations”, accept the Bible’s teaching on baptism and stop baptising babies? Wait a moment, perhaps I’m the one who’s got it wrong and us Baptists need to swallow our pride, do what the Bible says, and start baptising babies!

        Both Baptists and Prestbyterians are failing to live up to their own standards (by accepting and partnering with those who don’t share them) and are therefore hypocrites by your own definition.

        The two positions are obviously mutually-exclusive, but in TGC the parties are willing to compromise them for the sake of the gospel. Yet, within evangelicalism, there are different views on other subjects. On these, TGC takes a different line, refuses to acknowledge the validity of the other views, and proclaims “this is what the Bible says and you have to believe it”. Imagine how offended Tim Keller would be if he was told that he had to accept the Baptist view on baptism because “the Bible says it”. Yet this is the very approach you take with people who don’t share certain other aspects of belief where there are differences in approach amongst evangelicals.

        Hypocrisy maybe isn’t the right word for that, but it is inconsistent to acknowledge different viewpoints in one area (baptism) but refuse to accept them in others. It makes me conclude that TGC is not primarily an organisation devoted to the spread of the gospel, but a sectarian group that seeks to promote particular doctrinal positions that not all evangelical Christians subscribe to.

        On the subject of my own beliefs, the topics you list are central tenets of Christianity that are accepted by all, myself included. You can’t deny them without redefining Christianity. But the subjects I mentioned are not central tenets of Christianity and are not universally accepted by all Christians, including evangelicals. Christianity is not redefined if, as an example, you believe that the Bible teaches that all roles in the church, including that of pastor, are equally open to men and women.

      2. Pete says:

        Oh, and another reason why this concerns me… We’re all agreed that we have to study the Bible. But TGC says that the results of our study have to conform to a confessional statement that is bigger than anything I’ve ever seen, probably 100 times longer than the historic creeds of the church. That can’t be true study, if the results have to fit into a very small box or we are deemed to have departed from the gospel. This is also against our protestant philosophy, which began with someone who challenged the accepted wisdom, and which says that the church must be always reforming. Can you say with absolute certainty that the TGC confession is on the same level as scripture? I’d hope not.

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Justin Taylor


Justin Taylor is senior vice president and publisher for books at Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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