Episode 31: Quenching Zeal? with Craig Blomberg

Dr. Craig Blomberg joins Rethinking Hell contributor Chris Date to discuss his criticisms of conditional immortality, and how evangelicals who disagree on the topic of hell should engage in the conversation.

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  • givemhell

    I wanted to point out a few things that I still remember from listening to this episode which I very much enjoyed.

    1. Craig Blomberg raised an argument that the bible teaches that some of the wicked would receive a few lashes and that others would receive many lashes and therefore it seems that the bible teaches eternal torment.

    I simply want to point out that in the eternal torment view both Ghandi and Hitler will receive an infinite amount of “lashes” and therefore is more supportive of conditionalism than it is of eternal conscious torment.

    2. Craig Blomberg made a few comments about how we should be giving more attention to heaven than to hell.

    I want to point out that different Christians are given different strengths so as to minister in different ways. I would argue that different Christians within the apologetics community are called to different areas of apologetics. Some people are called to work against mormon doctrine, others are called to work against Islamic doctrine, others are called to teach against errors within the Christian church such as antinomianism, or excess emphasis and false doctrine concerning “the gifts” or the calvinism/arminianism debate and many other such issues.

    We are not to say to the man who deals with Mormon theology that he should not concentrate on Mormonism but should instead concentrate on Islam since it is a greater threat. By the same token, we should not call the apologist who works against Islamic doctrine that he should abandon his post so that he can become a missionary in Africa. No, each man is called to their own task. In fact, for most of us, our job is just to be good parents, to make a living and try to live out his calling in a mundane way.

    1 Thessalonians 4:11 “and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you,”

    Moreover, If there were already a lot of ministries out there dealing with this issue so that all or almost all Christians had been informed of the biblical understanding of hell and the immortality of the soul in the sense that they had heard and understood our positive case and our negative case then I would be more open to his view.

    However, the truth is that the vast, vast majority of Christians, including what seems to be the majority of Christian scholars have very, very little insight into this topic and have not been exposed to our position for more time than it takes for one to plug ones ears and close ones eyes and hum yankee doodle dandee.

    Moreover, it seems to me that this issue touches on some very important issues including how we present our faith the unbeliever as well as the atonement of Christ itself and is not to be dismissed as if it were more or less irrelevant.

    • Dan

      It would seem that from the gospels, more attention is paid warning of hell (though David Powys points out that most of the mentions of hell in the gospel are incidental at most) than teaching of heaven.

      • Glenn Peoples

        Not true actually. Heaven or eternal life is referenced more frequently by Jesus than hell or eternal punishment.

  • Roy

    Fantastic interview Chris! It was really good to see someone from the traditional perspective really work with the scriptures. It was frustrating too because it was to short to have deeper dialogue. Thought it may have been a missed opportunity too to get Blombergs perspective on Lazarus and the tax collector.

    Hopefully you’ll be able to do another interview with him soon.

    • Roy

      I found it a bi disappointing too that someone who wrote a book on exegesis went on to talk about heaven rather than the resurrection – unless I’m missing something.

  • Givemhell

    I just remembered something else that I would take issue with from Craig Blomberg’s case. He talked about near death experiences as if they were trustworthy accounts of what happens in the “afterlife”. Most anyone who has done the slightest bit of research into the topic knows that near death experiences vary from culture to culture so that many people have experiences that are contrary to the Christian understanding of the afterlife. Even some of the “Christian-like” near death experiences are sometimes dangerous. For example, a person may walk away from their experience thinking that they can earn salvation through good deeds.

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