Episode 54: The [True] Truth About Hell; A Response to John MacArthur, with Joey Dear and Chris Date (Part 1)

Rethinking Hell contributors Joey Dear and Chris Date respond to Pastor John MacArthur’s 2011 sermon, “The Truth About Hell.” This episode contains part one of their discussion; stay tuned for an upcoming episode containing part two.


MacArthur’s Sermon, “The Truth About Hell”

Rethinking Hell Book and Conference Links

Rethinking Hell Book Ordering Information
Rethinking Hell Conference Announcement
Conference Website, with Details, Call for Papers, and Registration
Criticisms Podcast
Bookmark the permalink.
  • Travis Matthew Finley

    I couldn’t finish listening passed 15 mins of this installment: it was too painful. I grew up listening to JM and the ignorance Joey displayed when CD asked to describe GTY was like reading an unsigned letter of criticism. I have a high level of respect for JM as a pastor while I strongly disagree with his commitment to many traditional positions.

    • Peter Grice

      Can anyone be faulted for not having grown up in the same era or location as those who would know GTY like you do? I would have thought it to his credit to freely offer that! One can easily take it as a caveat to his criticism too, if that’s helpful, except that it’s hardly relevant to dissecting what JM said in the audio, where who said it doesn’t really impact upon the statements/arguments made. Just a thought…

  • Travis Matthew Finley

    I would rather there not have been any questions regarding evaluating JM and his ministry if ignorance was king. Doing so, in my opinion, only lessened the credibility of the podcast. That might have been the bane here, going outside the evaluation of the sermon itself.

    • Peter Grice

      Travis, I took the time to review this again. From what you’ve said, I thought perhaps I’d missed something. I listened to the first 15 mins, but really only the first 5 minutes could be relevant, and more precisely only the couple of minutes which lightly skirted over a couple of negative concerns. I’m sorry to hear you lost interest, by the way, and thought that the analysis of the sermon lost credibility because of the preamble.

      But I heard nothing at all that resembled disrespect for J-Mac or his ministry. Perhaps your expectation was that the format was the interview of an expert, where the host mainly facilitates? Yet this was a two-way conversation between friends, and the introductory chat served to draw out personal opinions/impressions, which should really be automatically valid as such. After each emphasized the good, Chris expressed a concern about the Lordship Salvation thing. Joey hadn’t looked into that (why should he have, in this context?), so he said as much. His concern was that the Strange Fire event might have over-generalized, but nothing much was made of this. There was simply no pretense to expertise here, so the charge of “ignorance was king” seems (to me at least) grossly unfair, and I couldn’t relate to the whole thing segment being “painful.”

      But I suppose this too must be chalked up to subjective impression. No doubt each person who listens will have their own take.

      • Travis Matthew Finley

        Do you enjoy correcting people? I do not need to defend my opinion to you and I have high regard for Chris and his ministry. I am merely stating my disappointment with the way the interview went.

        • wtanksleyjr

          Thank you for taking the time to post your criticisms and impressions; I hope you’re willing to help us improve. We’re trying to understand and respect your criticism, especially in regards to how we can improve in the future.

          What did we as a team fail to do here? How can we do better in the future? Please understand that this question comes from a place of total perplexity — I do not understand what you’re saying we did wrong, or how we can apply your criticism to future reviews for other speakers.

          Is that even the right question to ask?

          • Travis Matthew Finley

            Wow. Thank you for this reply. Kudos for PR!
            I would not say you failed. Chris is a more than apt interviewer and his questions are always thought out and given to his guest ahead of time. What this means is that Joey had these questions and should have been able to answer them adequately. He did not. By any stretch. Imagine I scheduled an interview with a traditionalist to critique RH/Date/Peoples and my guest presented himself irresponsibly by not prepping for questions. Such as, “Tell me some good things and bad things about such-and-such…” and my guest merely hmmmmed and hawed. I would think you would think, “Uh, and you want me to listen to your critique?” Just listen to min 1.50-2.44: atrocious. Chris lobs him some softballs and Joey strikes out. So I would repeat myself, I don’t think Chris dropped the ball regarding those questions.
            However, I do believe the well was poisoned when Chris brought up the Lordship issue. What does that have to do with hell? RH used a theological hot topic (20+ years ago [of which I am fully versed having grown up in its hey-day]) to discount JM as a trustworthy sort. It should not have been mentioned.
            I will continue to listen to RH and as a reformed-traditionalist who is seriously on the fence, I would some day hope to be a part of the discussion.

        • Peter Grice

          Travis, as one who gives oversight to the ministry, and who founded it, I took your criticism seriously and conscientiously. I acknowledged your perspective and said I was sorry that this occurred. I gave you my own perspective that I don’t see what you see, and I concluded that this must come down to subjective impressions, so that nobody is really right or wrong on this point. So I’m not sure why you felt the need to go after my character. The answer is no, of course. What sort of Christian would enjoy correct others? The wrong sort. And I wasn’t even correcting you.

  • According to MacArthur’s reasoning:

    Luke 16 says there’s torment in Hades.
    - Torment takes place in hell.
    - Therefore, “Hades” doesn’t really mean “Hades”, it means “hell.”
    - Therefore, since Hades = hell, those in Hades will remain there forever in torment.

    I haven’t yet listened to the other podcasts in this series, but I think it’s a safe bet JM will eventually make his way to Revelation 20:10-15 as proof of ECT..the same passage that says those in Hades will NOT stay there forever, and that Hades ITSELF will be destroyed..in hell!

    Even holding to ECT does not require one to believe Hades and hell are the same, and they are clearly not the same according to the Bible.

    ECT or not, I honestly believed JM was a more thorough Bible scholar than this.

Featured audio: Dr. Al Mohler & Chris Date debate
"Should Christians rethink Hell?" on Unbelievable?