In part 1, we looked at those doctrines that are essential to salvation: those that cannot be denied by a person whom Christ has saved…. But how do we know that our faith in God is genuine? After all, Jesus refers to people who were confident in their salvation, who professed Christ as Lord, and even performed miracles in His name; yet, they will not enter heaven. Just imagine living your life, thinking you are a Christian, being confident in your faith in Christ, and then having Him say to you on Judgment Day, “I never knew you. Depart from Me.”
What doctrines are absolutely essential to Christianity? As the Word of God, all Scripture is equally and absolutely authoritative. But not all Scripture is equally clear, nor equally central to salvation. Christians disagree on certain nuanced details, yet are united by our common salvation by God’s grace through faith in Christ. On the other hand, there are people who profess to be Christians, but who deny central, core doctrines of the faith. Where is the line that divides genuine faith from a false faith? At what point does theological error become heresy?
One of the most fundamental Christian doctrines is that of the Trinity. It separates genuine Christianity from the cults and from other religions and is essential to understanding the Gospel. We recently received a message challenging an article I had written responding to a critic who denies the third Person of the Trinity: The Holy Spirit.
We have been examining the claims of critics who deny the biblical teaching of eternal hell. Often, those who deny central Christian doctrines will deny that the major English versions of Scripture are well-translated. They must argue this way because all the conservative English translations show that the duration of punishment and torment in hell for unbelievers is the same as the duration of heaven for believers – namely eternal. So, in this segment, we will look at Tracy’s claims that the original languages deny eternal hell.
We have been examining critics who deny what the Bible teaches about the eternality of hell. Since the Bible explicitly states that those in the Lake of Fire “will be tormented day and night forever and ever,” those who deny this teaching cannot rationally defend their position. In all cases, their arguments commit one or more logical or hermeneutical fallacies. A study of these can help us avoid error and remain faithful to what the Bible teaches.
In a previous article, I examined the biblical teaching of hell. Though it is unpleasant (as is necessarily the nature of punishment), it demonstrates the perfect justice of God. We all have a tendency to minimize how heinous our sin really is, and how holy God is. We cannot fully appreciate salvation in Christ until we recognize just how severe a punishment we really deserve. Many people reject the idea of unbelievers spending eternity in the Lake of Fire, but such rejection is always due to emotional preferences, not biblical exegesis. Consequently, a few people posted on Facebook their disagreements with my article. Here are two of them along with my response.