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Theological Critique: Four Views On Hell

2500 words - 10 pages

LIBERTY UNIVERSITY

THEOLOGICAL CRITIQUE:
FOUR VIEWS ON HELL

A THEOLOGICAL CRITIQUE SUBMITTED TO DR. ROBERT WETMORE
IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR
THE COURSE THEO 530

LIBERTY BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY

BY
PETER J. FILIPIAK

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2011

TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION...................................................................................................1
SUMMARY.............................................................................................................1
CRITICAL INTERACTION...................................................................................2
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Pinnock, McMaster Divinity College, author of Flame of Love and Tracking the Maze). The goal was to present a variety of positions from foremost scholars to help the reader form a more informed opinion on a difficult subject. Each writer advocates his position while attempting to refute conflicting tenets of the other views. After each such argument is presented, the other writers offer brief responses to point out strengths and weaknesses of the original piece, and oftentimes a general impression of how well they received it. The authors are especially concerned about what will happen to the doctrine of hell moving forward, as traditional doctrines are seldom preached nowadays. This is suspected to be due in large part to their disturbing implications upon modern morality.

Summary

John F. Walvoord's argument for a Literal View of hell must prove the material nature of such elements as fire and darkness against the Metaphorical view, as well as the concept of eternal conscious torment against the Conditional and, in some ways, Purgatorial views. Hence, he argues almost exclusively from Scriptures that use such depictions and appeals to the idea that a literal exegesis is the only proper interpretation.
William Crockett agrees in principle with Walvoord's views, but is not inclined to believe that unrepentant sinners with be burned with literal, material fire for eternity. He does, however, ascent to the idea of constant, conscious, eternal torment in a lake of fire - the nature of which is unspecified in Scripture though. He states that metaphorical language is often used in eschatological passages, as the realities behind such images are almost certainly incommunicable through our mortal and material limitations.
Zachary J. Hayes' contribution addresses a different issue than the other three authors: the Roman Catholic idea of purgatory, which adds a third consideration into an arena otherwise dominated by "heaven" and "hell". He hardly interacts with the other views, instead choosing to promote a historical understanding of how the idea of purgatory came about in Roman Catholic tradition. Throughout that explication, he also points out critical periods where orthodox Protestant thought progressed alongside of or digressed from Catholic doctrines.
The Conditional view of Clark H. Pinnock takes the debate furthest away from any majority opinion, Protestant or Catholic. He makes his strongest appeals to proper interpretation of Scripture, which he states must be separated from Greek philosophical elements that have tainted Christian doctrinal tradition since the second century, and makes a case for the moral, judicial, and rational superiority of his view.

Critical Interaction

The Literal View
John F. Walvoord presents a Literal view of hell, which is probably the opinion most disagreed with by the other authors, yet he insists that its foundation is the inerrancy of Scripture, and to assume another view is to deny such...

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