Episode 88: Honoring the Martyrs, with Preston Sprinkle

Dr. Preston Sprinkle joins Rethinking Hell contributor Chris Date to discuss his ongoing journey when it comes to his understanding of hell, and the importance of standing up for what one thinks the Bible teaches, even when doing so may be costly.

Links

Four Views on Hell @ Zondervan
http://zondervanacademic.com/products/four-views-on-hell-1
Four Views on Hell @ Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B010R9L4BC/
First Edition of Four Views on Hell
http://www.amazon.com/Four-Views-Hell-William-Crockett/dp/0310212685/
Erasing Hell @ Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/Erasing-Hell-about-eternity-things/dp/0781407257/
Preston Sprinkle’s Website
http://www.prestonsprinkle.com/
Eternity Bible College’s Boise Extension, of which Preston is Vice President
http://eternitybiblecollege.com/boise/
A Consuming Passion: Essays on Hell and Immortality in Honor of Edward Fudge
http://rethinkinghellbooks.com/resources/aconsumingpassion
Rethinking Hell Books
http://rethinkinghellbooks.com/
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  • LP Dion

    It is good to hear of Sprinkle’s commitment to Scripture and the trajectory it is continuing to take him on. I’ve preordered the new ‘four views’ weeks ago. I’m just a third pew left fellow and much brighter minds will have much more illuminating things to say about Rev 14 :11 — (And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image,) — but my simple question is this; where is this scene happening? The smoke is not said to be rising on account of they’re being punished in hell, but because they are busy worshipping the beast. Isn’t this an earthly activity?

    • disquswithme

      It is a bit of a side-issue, but I also don’t see why Rev 14:9-11 must be about hell. These observations argue against the idea that these verses are about hell, imo:

      1) The presence of the Lamb and His angels/messengers,
      2) the direct application to a specific group of people doing – present tense – specific acts,
      3) the fact that neither the Lake of Fire nor second death are named,
      4) the use of language (smoke rising forever, pitch/fire/brimstone) from Isaiah 34, which is about an earthly punishment,
      5) the reference to “day and night”,
      6) the statements about the saints in vs 12-13, and
      7) the description of the wrath, blood, sores, plagues, pain, etc. that immediately follow Rev 14 and would seem to be their most likely fulfillment.

      Some of those could be more easily explained, but they do need to be reasonably explained before I would agree that this passage might be about hell. And there should be arguments that Rev 14 is about hell. The only one I can think of is that the phrase “fire and brimstone” is also used to describe the lake of fire in Rev 20:10 and 21:8 and should thus be regarded as the same punishment.

      But since the phrase (or similar wording) is also used in other places in Scripture in reference to general, earthly punishment (e.g., Luke 17:29), and since earlier in Rev 9, fire and smoke and brimstone are seen coming out of the mouths of horses to torment people on earth, it is not definitive.

      Thanks for the podcast, RH. It is a useful discussion.

  • Mark

    Be Wise as Serpents

    ESV Matthew 10:16 “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”

    I was blessed by your discussion on this podcast. I especially am encouraged by your main
    point: we should faithfully follow the evidence found in the text. Like you, I believe that evidence leads to annihilationism. Also, like you, the weakness of the “best” arguments I could find for eternal conscious punishment helped to cement my belief in annihilationism.

    However, I felt a little uneasy with Preston’s attitude towards pastors and others who have seen the evidence for annihilationism in the Bible, but are hesitant to openly promote it.

    I had the privilege of being called by God to share His love and truth among an unreached people group in a Muslim majority nation for fourteen years. In that setting, the stakes for all involved were even much higher than it is for us here. Yet, when I returned to the US, I also faced persecution. At the first church where I served I faced intense opposition for wanting to take active steps to bring blacks into our all white church. Many members supported this, but some who did not waged a very ugly battle against me which ended with me leaving the church. Do I think I did the right thing even though I suffered for it? Yes.

    And what about this particular issue of annihilationism? I am serving in a denomination where annihilationism is not popular (although, thankfully, it is not explicitly addressed in our statement of faith). With great care and caution, at what I felt was the right time, I did teach on annihilation at my current church. Beforehand, I prayed and prayed that we would not lose a single member, and thank God, we did not.

    So, what made me uneasy about Preston’s attitude? Just this. I feel we need to be compassionate towards those who are in a hostile setting. I also think each pastor/leader
    needs to weigh carefully the potential cost of conflict and loss of unity before addressing this issue.

    Being quiet about a secondary issue is not the same thing as denying Christ or the gospel. Sometimes it is not wrong to hide. True prophets hid in caves during Elijah’s time.
    Christians around the world in hostile nations sometimes hide. And a type of “hiding” which avoids directly and explicitly addressing secondary topics which might lead to conflict in a
    church and a pastor losing his job is not always wrong.

    Do we need more people to speak up in more popular settings? Yes. Do I believe God will call some pastors to do so even though it results in them suffering? Yes. Should we judge or look down on those who feel it is best for a time to be quiet on this particular issue? No. God’s truth does not change from person to person, but His timing and strategy for dealing with particular issues might.

    Jesus calls us to be “innocent as doves”. He also told us to be “wise as serpents”. Sometimes that might mean not charging openly and directly into machine gun fire.

    Grace and Peace,
    Mark (with Hope and Joy!)

  • JJO

    In regards to Rev 14:11, Rev. 14:6 informs us that this event is taking place on earth not in hell. Rev 14:11 states, “And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.” I don’t think the phrase, “…and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image,…” has anything whatsoever to do with ECT in hell. Chapters 15 and 16 continue with 7 plagues that are poured out on the wicked on the earth…not in hell. People are being destroyed during this time and the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever just like in Isa. 34:10 where the smoke goes up forever. Of course, those that are being destroyed or are yet to be destroyed, aren’t getting any rest day or night. I would also add that there is only day and night on earth. Jude states that unbelievers will be destroyed and for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever. Doesn’t seem like much sunshine is in the forecast according to Jude.

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