Brooks on Hell: Oh, bless Christ! Oh, kiss Christ!

Thomas Brooks is one of the greatest theologians of hell in Christian history. He remarks in “The Golden Key to Open Hidden Treasures,” that contemplating hell results in a greater love and appreciation for Christ:

If there be a hell, then, Christians, spend your days in admiring and in being greatly affected with the transcendent love of Christ, in undergoing hellish punishments in our steads. Oh pray, pray hard that you ‘may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height of that love of Christ which passeth knowledge,’ Eph. 3:18, 19,—of that love of Christ that put him upon these corporeal and spiritual sufferings which were so exceeding great, acute, extreme, universal and continual, and all to save us from wrath to come, 1 Thes. 1:10. Christ’s outward and inward miseries, sorrows, and sufferings are not to be paralleled, and therefore Christians have the more cause to lose themselves in the contemplation of his matchless love. Oh, bless Christ! oh, kiss Christ! oh, embrace Christ! oh, welcome Christ! oh, cleave to Christ! oh, follow Christ! oh, walk with Christ! oh, long for Christ! who for your sakes hath undergone insupportable wrath and most hellish torments,Continue reading

Free Ch. 6 Download: Woe to Those Who Harm

Chapter 6, “Woe to Those Who Harm,” is now available as a free download. The chapter argues that given evil, a full defence of the image of God in man, especially of the vulnerable, requires an eternal hell.

The chapter begins,

The strongest saints and the strongest sceptics alike took positive evil as the starting-point of their argument. If it be true (as it certainly is) that a man can feel exquisite happiness in skinning a cat, then the religious philosopher can only draw one of two deductions. He must either deny the existence of God, as all atheists do; or he must deny the present union between God and man, as all Christians do. The new theologians seem to think it a highly rationalistic solution to deny the cat.G. K. Chesterton
Continue reading

Making Sense of Hell, Robert Golding

An excellent Reformed investigation into some philosophical challenges universalists make about hell. Recommended in particular for its explanation of the loss of the goodness/image of God in the reprobate. Weakened a little by speculation about a infinite regression away from God of those in hell, which is not necessary to explain the justice of hell nor does it match the best biblical data.

No posts found.

Excerpts

Intro
D. A. Carson showed that hell is one of eight possible motivations for accepting the Gospel.5 Tim Keller whittled it down to one of six. Both place it first on the list. Historically, it has played a large role in convincing people of their need for Christ. Today, we are losing our doctrine of hell, and Carson and Keller intimate that we are losing conversions with it. If we care about the lost, we must take care to articulate not just what we are inviting them to in Christ, but what we are inviting them away from. Hell is real, eternal, and it makes sense, despite what some philosophers say.
1.2
N. T. Wright suggests that those in hell “exist in an ex-human state … [and] become at last, by their own effective choice, beings that once were human but now are not, creatures that have ceased to bear the divine image at all.” While I avoid the question of the imago Dei in the reprobate and I take pause with the moniker “ex-human,” I do suggest that those in hell are in some sort of (mysterious as it may be) less-than-human state.
1.4
To answer this question, we can imagine a psychopathic child abuser. Though he has a body, we are more apt to call him “monster” than “man.” However, on earth this man might still have qualities that his mother finds lovable.45 Though he abuses all other people, he still buys his mother flowers on Mother’s Day. Even if this is the one good thing he ever does in his life, there is still something to point to and say, “human.” At this point we must remember that a description of humanness is that which properly participates in God’s created order. We are human insofar as we relate to God in the way that we should. In this case, the human activity of the man (that is, buying his mother flowers) is human because it fulfills (though woefully in part) the fifth commandment. Furthermore, this human activity is only possible by God’s common grace that simultaneously restrains the man’s evil impulses to do something different on Mother’s Day (which would have precluded his buying flowers) and also enables him to do something that is (again, only at an infinitesimal level) in accord with the Scriptures, since he is honoring his mother.
1.5
In all that has been said, it seems that there is reason to conclude that there is enough of a radical distinction between the beings of the saints in heaven and the reprobate in hell (though they are both corporeal humans) that the word “human” does not sufficiently capture the range between them.49 As we turn to make some defenses against universalism, this distinction will go a long way in rebutting some intuitive attacks against the traditional view of hell. This is because we are not talking about the same human undergoing torment in hell that is enjoying God’s blessedness in heaven. J. I. Packer put it this way: “One not only becomes desperately miserable; one is steadily being dehumanized. Richard Baxter was right to formulate the alternatives as ‘A Saint—or a Brute.’”
Conclusion
It is my hope and prayer that this article will strengthen the resolve of gospel preachers, whoever they may be, to preach the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27) which includes eternal damnation for those who reject it. First, I have attempted to present a picture of the reprobate in hell that comports with a just dispensation of God’s wrath as depicted in Scripture. I have sought to show that the reprobate are so hellish that any fond feelings for them (as the universalists seek to evoke) are misplaced. The second part of this paper used that conception to negate intuitive arguments against eternal hell as a place that would mar the saints’ felicity due to their loved ones being there, as well as the notion that eternal hell does not fit finite sins. The hellish nature of the reprobate would not detract from the saints’ felicity because the goodness of their loved ones would not be in hell; since only the evil remains, eternal destruction is fitting. The final part of this paper aimed to present a logical possibility for the necessity of eternal hell, building on the conception of those who inhabit it. If it provided a possible explanation that is in accordance with Scripture, the universalist claim that eternal hell is necessarily illogical would be refuted.

Top 3: Exodus Resources

This top three has little to do with hell--at least specifically. I am preaching through the book of Exodus, and its been wonderful growing in my knowledge of the degree to which Exodus, its language, and its themes, impact the rest of the scriptures. It's truly remarkable. So I present a top three resources on the book of Exodus with a particular view to seeing some themes and connections you may not have seen before.

Continue reading

Reformation21 Review of “Crux, Mors, Inferi” by Renihan

Reformation21 has published my review of Samuel Renihan’s “Crux, Mors, Inferi”. It begins

Samuel Renihan has recently published an excellent book on the doctrine of the descent of Christ into hell. His thesis—that Christ descended to hell on the Sabbath, as stated in the ancient creeds—is one with which I was in agreement prior to reading it. What surprised me was how helpful it was devotionally.

Please check out the review: https://www.reformation21.org/blog/crux-mors-inferi and consider purchasing the book.

Amazon.ca Best-Seller

It’s a wonderful blessing to see Is There Anything Good About Hell? selling so well in Canada. Recently it hit #1 in its category (Systematic Theology) on Amazon in Canada, and #4 in Christian theology overall with the release of the Kindle E-book. Thanks everyone.

Sermon: The Joy of Judgment

It was a joy preaching at Westlynne Baptist in North Vancouver, where my good friends Sam and Esther Chua minister. The text was Isaiah 30:27-33 and the title was “The Joy of Judgment.”

Article at The Light Magazine

Thanks you to The Light Magazine for publishing an introduction I wrote to Is There Anything Good About Hell? The article begins, “I wish there was no such thing as hell.” It was a statement written by one of my favorite bloggers, a theologically-oriented brother with whom I usually agree. The rest of the article was helpful, but this one sentence didn’t sit right in my soul. Could we simply do away with the doctrine of hell? Is the only reason we hold to the eternal punishment of the wicked – of those who fully and finally reject God in their sin – the fact that it is there in the Bible? What would we lose if we lost the doctrine of hell? See more below

Is there anything good about Hell?

Hell and Revival: A Presentation at Westwood

It was a great privilege and blessing to present the thesis of my book to Westwood Community Church where my dear friend and fellow soldier Pastor Giulio Gabelli is the Pastor. I had the opportunity in 30 minutes to present the thesis of my book with a brief overview of each of the chapters on the “good” aspects of hell, and then also to make a particular application to revival and evangelism. There are strong reasons to think that when revival comes it will be by the means of Christians speaking the truth boldly of the fruits of evil in eternal punishment. Click below to see the Facebook post and video.

With permission from and thanks to Westwood!