Too Much to Lose
Kirk Cameron uses Matt Slick’s article to back up his use of the diabolical doctrine of eternal hell to scare people into the Kingdom. Of course, people enter the Kingdom through faith and patience in tribulation, and not through intimidation and scare tactics.
Paul wrote to Kirk Cameron’s organization, sharing with him his letter to Ray Comfort.
I read your letter. Interesting, but I’m not a believer in your doctrines due to what I believe the Scriptures clearly teach. I’ve discussed your letter specifically with some.
Here’s an article from Matt Slick from www.carm.org. Makes sense to me. I’d love to be wrong about an eternal hell, but I can find no biblical reason to deny it (even after reading your letter and viewing your site).
Thanks for writing.
He then pasted in the writing linked here: www.carm.org/uni/eternal_hell.htm
Kirk, do you really mean that? Would you love to be wrong? I hear glibness. Be honest. You have a lot at stake – an empire that will crumble if your doctrine fails.
The arguments in Matt’s article are easily refuted, and if you carefully read what is on our site, it is possible you would see that. I say “possible,” not because his doctrine isn’t amply disproven by our writings and letter, but because no one can see or receive the truth unless the Lord opens his or her eyes.
The real issue here is: Why are your eyes not open? What withholds you from hearing and seeing the truth? I believe I have already touched on the answer, in part, and that is that you have made a substantial investment in your doctrine that you are not willing to lose. Your life is on the line. You would be losing the engine that drives your works. The Lord Jesus Christ is not the centerpiece of your ministry. The doctrine of eternal separation from God and torment in hell is.
You lose this doctrine, and you wave bye-bye to your works. If this happens you lose your identity. It would be death, which the flesh will do anything to avoid. That includes becoming and remaining very religious and doing all kinds of good works.
I will specifically answer a few points in the writing you sent me, to which I would ask that you reply, rather than someone else. Can Matt answer for you before the Lord (he can speak for himself; I will carbon copy him this letter)? Are we not speaking before God? Each must draw water from his or her own well, and if there is no water, then get some. We have that living water, and real food, but only the thirsty and hungry are interested:
“Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat. Yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price” (Isaiah 55:1 MKJV).
“…those who develop their theologies based upon the ‘gentle’ side of God do so with an incomplete picture.”
First, we are not “developing theology.” That is placing the cart in front of the horse. That is what men do, those who study what other men hypothesize about God, and then add their own hypothesizing. We are speaking what we know and hear from the Lord Jesus Christ, as do all those He sends to speak the Word of Life.
Second, the reconciliation of all things through Christ is not a matter of God’s “gentle” side vs. His “wrathful” one. God is not schizophrenic. It is not His wrathful side that wins out, with the majority cast into hell, nor His gentle side that reconciles everyone. You obviously do not know what “scourging every son whom He receives” means.
God exercises both goodness and severity as reflections of His single mind and will. That will is that none perish but that all come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). His anger and mercy serve His will, not the other way around, as with men. Read The Wrath of God.
God knows what He is doing and is in full control. In full control. Think about that, deeply.
Third, we are not of those who think or preach that since everyone will be saved there is nothing to do or to be concerned about. Those who do are dead wrong because dead in their sins. Read our section that exposes and refutes the falsity of men’s Universalism. You need to get out of the doctrinal rut mode you are in and hear what we have to say about many things by the Word of God. Also read The True Marks of a Cult and Is Your Profession of Faith Vain, Christian? Indeed, narrow is the way to life, which you must travel if you will have life. A man does reap as he sows.
“The Bible teaches that there is a fiery hell, a place that Jesus warned people about. ‘And if your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the eternal fire,’ (Matt. 18:8).”
Are you suggesting, or have you literally cut off your hand or foot? Have you actually plucked out an eye? Do you counsel others to hack themselves up in such manner? Now, if you are not taking this part of the Scripture literally, how is it you take the other part literally?
On top of that, Matt is not correct in his definitions, as is pointed out in the definition of “everlasting,” cited in the letter to Ray Comfort. I have included here again so you may explain to me, point by point, how it is wrong and how you explain the Bible’s (not Strong’s) definitions of “everlasting,” or “forever”: The True, Scriptural Meanings of “Forever” and “Hell”
The word for “everlasting,” or “eternal,” means “age-enduring.” Practically applied, it simply means, “until it is finished.” There is an end to everything except God. He alone is eternal, without beginning or end. Don’t you agree?
So yes, the context, as Matt says on his site, does determine how the word “forever” or “everlasting” is applied. If it is speaking of God, His attributes, kingdom and reign, of those things there is no end:
“He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Highest. And the Lord God shall give Him the throne of His father David. And He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His Kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke 1:32-33 MKJV).
Applied to the flesh and its corruption, “everlasting” speaks of continuing on until the end of those things. As God says of His work of judgment:
“For I will not contend forever, nor will I be always angry; for the spirit should fail before Me, and the souls I have made” (Isaiah 57:16 MKJV).
“And I will visit evil on the world, and their iniquity on the wicked. And I will cause the arrogance of the proud to cease, and will lay low the pride of tyrants” (Isaiah 13:11 MKJV).
I will give you another example of what “eternal” means when applied to what is corrupt. Matt uses the following Scripture as proof of a perpetual, never-ending experience of hell (hell is perpetual, but only until its purpose is fulfilled, and then it, too, is cast into the lake of fire):
“As Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to fornication and having gone after other flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire” (Jude 1:7 EMTV).
Yet God promised that heathen Sodom and her sisters would be turned and restored, as would His wayward people, which is the work that His fire, the ultimate cleansing agent, accomplishes:
“When I shall return their captivity, the captivity of Sodom and her daughters, and the captivity of Samaria and her daughters, then also the captivity of your captivity in their midst; so that you may bear your shame and be disgraced from all that you have done, since you are a comfort to them. When your sisters, Sodom and her daughters, shall return to their former state, and Samaria and her daughters shall return to their former state, then you and your daughters shall return to your former state” (Ezekiel 16:53-55 LITV).
We know that Sodom was no longer a place when the prophet Ezekiel spoke this promise of God. Was he speaking of an earthly restoration, or was this a promise of the hereafter? Sodom has never reappeared, but Jesus had these words of comfort for her:
“And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to the heaven, shall be brought down to hell. For if the mighty works which have been done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say to you, it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you” (Matthew 11:23-24 MKJV).
The Lord echoed what Ezekiel prophesied by His Spirit: Sodom and her daughters would be restored before the renegades of His people. “Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill shall be brought low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth” (Luke 3:5).
Added emphasis on the word “forever” does not change God’s work of restituting all things – it confirms it. Saying “for ever and ever” regarding the judgment of God on sin and sinners only emphasizes that the work will be thorough and complete. It is often found in Scripture that a phrase or word is repeated for emphasis, certifying that the matter is determined in Heaven.
One such example is this:
“Now go, write it before them in a tablet, and note it in a book, so that it may be for the time to come forever and ever” (Isaiah 30:8 MKJV).
We all know that books are perishable and will not last forever. The Good News Bible, in this case, captures the meaning well:
“God told me to write down in a book what the people are like, so that there would be a permanent record of how evil they are” (Isaiah 30:8 GNB).
There are other examples of repetition, such as Psalm 136, where every sentence ends with, “For His mercy endures forever.” God’s mercy is woven into and throughout every act and particle of matter in the universe, from the beginning to the end. Now, you explain to me just how it is that His mercy endures forever if He is consuming His enemies (whom He created) in fire, time without end? Of what use is His mercy, if such is the case? What exactly do mercy and grace mean to you?
Are you thinking that His mercy is limited to a small portion of His creation, those who will enjoy fellowship with Him, and He with them, while they watch the continual smoke of those under His wrath ascending without ceasing unto infinity?
A man like Saddam Hussein, who tortures others, is rightly considered by our “Christian” western culture to be a monster. Yet here you are, a westerner professing Christ, who, like so many others, the blaspheming pope first and foremost among them (which is where you got this doctrine), teaches that God will torture people forever. God will not cease no matter what they confess or do, even as most men who torture would cease. Such a monster makes Stalin, Hussein, and Hitler look like amateur softies.
The monster, however, is not God, but you, the pope, and all those who create God in man’s image, attributing such atrocities to Him.
The argument Matt uses for the word “unquenchable” linked to hell being a proof of his definition of “forever,” as in “He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire,” actually proves what we are saying. The fact that the fire cannot be put out means it will do a complete work. It is not the person that is unquenchable but the fire. Our God is a consuming fire. The fire will burn all the wood, stubble, and hay, all the evil works along with every evil thing, until there is nothing left, except the creature:
“If anyone’s work is burned up, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, but so as through fire” (1 Corinthians 3:15 EMTV).
What do you do with that, and with all the other Scriptures cited in our writings? Tell us, specifically. Do not just tell us that the Scriptures clearly teach otherwise. Show us. I have answered Matt’s arguments. What are yours, Kirk, which have not already been answered in our writings?
Matt makes this statement:
“There will be a Day of Judgment when all people will face God.”
For you, the Day of Judgment is now, because the Lord is here and speaks to you by us. Listen and believe and the judgment will be in your favor. Do not believe and you are judged by the Word of God that we have spoken. Just as Noah judged the world by water, so we are here in this last day to judge it by fire. There is nothing anyone can do to forestall it. No one can withstand or deny the Truth, appearances to the contrary notwithstanding. Darkness cannot dispel Light. Jesus Christ, the living Word of God, Who comes in us, His Body, is the consuming fire Who cannot be denied or stopped by any power in Heaven or on earth.
Kirk’s reply #1:
Your tone is disrespectful and comes off quite arrogant. You judge my motives and that sets you in a camp most won’t listen to. I understand shock value and your desire to be heard. Please consider your tone in the future.
Your writings are quite long. You’re articulate, but because of your perceived arrogance and demeaning tone, many won’t read. Can you give me the bullet points?
Are you saying, God’s wrath and punishment upon the unrepentant will ultimately last for only a time, which will result in turning the wayward to Him in repentance and faith for His glory and ultimate fellowship with Him forever (ie. the punishment in the lake of fire will cease because God has accomplished His purpose through it)?
If that’s it, is the point of evangelism to turn people to Christ so they don’t have to go through that process to end up in fellowship with God in the end?
Is that your point?
If your next email is as snarky and crabby as your last one (and I hope it’s not), I will unfortunately not read it.
Kirk’s reply #2:
Been researching and reading lots on your site and others…thanks for the challenging ideas. Very important.
While I’d love to answer personally, these are quite compelling and I will defer to them to state what is a very good explanation. Particularly the articles on the monergism’s site.
John Piper offers this:
I too, in my sinful, finite, and warped human intellect would like an eternal hell to not exist, but I cannot stand in judgment over an all-wise God (even when I cannot fully wrap my mind around the concept of an infinate god, sin’s infinite offense, and God’s infinite punishment for transgression) and what appears to me, at least for now, to be a clear biblical doctrine. I hope you can at least appreciate the earnestness of my position.
I believe you have a presupposition and you’re trying to make it fit the Scriptures. Of course you accuse me of doing the same. There is a side of me that hopes you’re right and I’m wrong, but I don’t think so. God help us.
Until then, I will continue to exalt the cross and the Savior and point men and women to the glory of His glorious grace in christ.
Thanks for the dialogue.
Paul shared with Kirk our correspondence regarding John Piper, and also replied to Kirk:
“Are you saying, God’s wrath and punishment upon the unrepentant will ultimately last for only a time, which will result in turning the wayward to Him in repentance and faith for His glory and ultimate fellowship with Him forever (ie. the punishment in the lake of fire will cease because God has accomplished His purpose through it?)”
Yes, but it is not so much what I am saying as it is what God proclaims throughout the Scriptures, as we have duly noted.
You follow up:
“If that’s it, is the point of evangelism to turn people to Christ so they don’t have to go through that process to end up in fellowship with God in the end?
Is that your point?”
No, your reasoning is on the wrong track altogether. Every person must be processed by fire, with judgment beginning at the house of God. Jesus Christ said:
“For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt” (Mark 9:49 MKJV).
John the Immerser said:
“I indeed immerse you with water, but He comes Who is mightier than I, the latchet of Whose sandals I am not worthy to loosen. He will immerse you in the Holy Spirit and fire” (Luke 3:16 HNV).
We, the children of God, have been baptized in His Spirit and with fire, wherein we have been purged to worship and serve Him in truth and righteousness:
“But who can endure the day of His coming? And who will stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire, and like launderer’s soap; and He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi, and refine them as gold and silver; and they shall offer to the LORD offerings in righteousness” (Malachi 3:2-3 HNV).
Unless we are purified by fire, enduring to the end, there is no salvation or companying with the Lord:
“Peter said to Him, ‘You shall never wash my feet!’ Jesus answered him, ‘Unless I wash you, you have no part with Me’” (John 13:8 EMTV).
You are one of those who has no part with Him. You have not been judged and gone through the fires, as you candidly, though unconsciously, confess. You have not known these things exist. That is why you are now hearing them.
“For with fire and sword will the Lord come, judging all the earth, and His sword will be on all flesh: and great numbers will be put to death by Him” (Isaiah 66:16 BBE).
All must die. For those walking in the faith of Christ, they have the power of life in Him, His resurrection power, which raises them from the dead. For those walking in the flesh, in carnal religion and doctrines, as you do, there is only death in continuance, even the second death that hurts. This too, is of God:
“How horrible it will be for the one who builds a city by slaughter and founds a town by crime. Isn’t it from the LORD of Armies that people grow tired only to feed the flames and nations exhaust themselves for nothing?” (Habakkuk 2:12-13 GW)
Does this mean that fire, darkness, and pain are the end of all things? Nothing could be further from the Truth:
“But the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the LORD’S glory like the water covers the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14 GW).
“I too, in my sinful, finite, and warped human intellect would like an eternal hell to not exist….”
Speak for yourself. We are not walking in sinful flesh or speaking by carnal intellect. As for whether it is warped to hope that such a thing as never-ending torment does not exist, we have submitted to you that it is warped to believe that it does, and we have backed up our assertion with Scripture and sane reasoning. You are, unwittingly, calling God’s thinking and ways warped and sinful. That is blasphemy. Here is some more of what He says, contrary to your condemnation of Him:
“Put away all your evil-doing in which you have done sin; and make for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit: why are you desiring death, O children of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of him on whom death comes, says the Lord: be turned back then, and have life” (Ezekiel 18:31-32 BBE).
Is God forced to live with His displeasure, or does His will prevail?
“Keep this in mind and be shamed; let it come back to your memory, you sinners. Let the things which are past come to your memory: for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me; making clear from the first what is to come, and from past times the things which have not so far come about; saying, My purpose is fixed, and I will do all My pleasure” (Isaiah 46:8-10 BBE).
You do not glorify God at all, Kirk. You belittle and shame Him.
You also contradict yourself, God, and Scripture, even in the same sentence, and haven’t a clue what you are doing. You write:
“…I cannot stand in judgment over an all-wise God (even when I cannot fully wrap my mind around the concept of an infinate god, sin’s infinite offense, and God’s infinite punishment for transgression) and what appears to me, at least for now, to be a clear biblical doctrine.”
If you do not know what God is saying or doing, and cannot judge these matters, why are you defending something that only “appears” to be “clear biblical doctrine”? Can one depend on his limited carnal mind to determine what is spiritual revelation from the mind of God? Yet that is what you are doing. That is sin. You presume to teach others based on that which you clearly do not know. That is what false prophets and teachers do.
You cannot even articulate what you believe in your own words, and depend on others to speak for you, yet you argue with us as if you know what you are talking about. You complain about my attitude because I take you to task for your error and ways. You should be very thankful that God has sent someone to tell you the truth. I solemnly tell you that the Lord is holding you to account for your reaction and stance.
Neither He nor I am impressed by “the earnestness” of your “position.” Many are those who are genuinely zealous and earnest in their positions, and they are the deadly enemies of God. The pope is one such example. Jesus said that there would be those who killed His followers, thinking they did God service (John 16:2). How much more earnest can one get?
Kirk, you are not exalting the cross of Christ. You do not even know what that is. You are preaching a false Christ and gospel (see Diabolical Doctrine: “Accepting” Jesus Christ as Your Personal Savior). You have not seen or heard the Lord, till now:
“Who has believed our message? To whom has the LORD’S power been revealed?” (Isaiah 53:1 GW)