Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Only Cab on the Road

I was listening to a song on the radio called "Cab" by Train. The chorus of the song says, “Sometimes I think I'm the only cab on the road.” In the song, it appears that someone is trying to get over a broken relationship and they are faced with the problem of loneliness. I can identify with this song on a number of levels, as I am sure you can as well.

Most of us have felt lonely in our lives. We have all been in relationships that have ended, bringing us loneliness. Some of have been in romantic relationships that have ended, others have had loved ones pass away. Some people have had good friends move away or we have graduated and went off to college leaving friends behind. Anyone with children will (or you hope) experienced children leaving home. Anytime someone special leaves our lives, we can feel lonely.
I also think loneliness occurs without the ending of relationships. Some people are facing situations in their lives in which they feel like they are the only people involved and nobody can help them out.

Sadly, our world plays into our feelings of loneliness. With the age of technology we can even grocery shop without leaving our homes. Children no longer play out in the neighborhood, but they stay inside watching TV, playing video games, or they are on the computer. Sometimes we find that we do not even know our neighbors much less those across town. Our world is a lonely place to be.

As much as I love the church, I am not sure the church is helping with our problems. I am not sure how many times I have heard people say, “It is between you and God.” Where did the church go? No wonder people feel so lonely in our world.
In thinking about the loneliness of our world I am reminded of importance the Bible places on fellowship. In fact, I am convinced that the life the Bible wants us to live should never be lived in isolation. Fellowship with others is crucial to our faith. I think the cure for loneliness begins by recognizing that we are not in this alone. God has given us his Son, Jesus to redeem us and has established the church to help us live our lives to the fullest. Remember, you are not the only cab on the road. Let others journey with you in life.
What has Love Got To Do With It?

I have been reading a book called Debating Calvinism by James White and David Hunt. In this book White represents the Calvinist side of the debate while Hunt argues the Arminian perspective. I have been intrigued by the debate and I have to admit some things up front in posting this blog. (1) I am an Arminian. This means that I am going to be somewhat biased in my critique of this book. (2) I am also a Methodist. This means that although I agree with the position Hunt presents, I would have presented a slightly different approach. That being said, I will give my opinion about the book and the issues at hand. (Not that anyone cares what I think, but it is fun to talk about)

As I have been reading the book, I have to admit that James White is very consistent in his beliefs and seems to do a great job of articulating his position. I think it is quite obvious that he gets to the heart of the issues in the opening section in which he is the presenter. For example, in his opening chapter he clearly defines God’s sovereignty as God working all things in accordance with his will so that nothing comes about which God has not determined. This is clearly the Calvinist position.

He then goes on to explain how God can do this, that is determine all things to happen while people are still morally responsible for their actions. He explains this by defining “Compatiblism.” This is the view that says that on the one hand God determines all the events so that nothing could happen other than what does happen. On the other hand humanity is still responsible for their moral choices because they will to sin. They could not change their will to sin, but they still willfully sin.

It is important to note that this is different from another view of freedom called “libertarian freedom.” This is the view that there are some things that do not have sufficient causes so that a person could have chosen other than what they do. This also places moral responsibility upon the agent who performs the action because they freely chose to sin. This is the type of freedom held by Arminians.

The interesting thing about this book is that White acknowledges that his view of freedom is different from that of Hunt. However, it appears that Hunt never makes this distinction. Instead of recognizing the differences, he argues that throughout the Bible, people are given a free choice. This is a fact that White continually agrees with. Of coarse, his definition of “freewill” is very different from that of Hunt.

This is just one of the times that I felt Hunt dodged major issues in the book. Overall, I think White offers a far better explanation of the Calvinist perspective. That being said, I do think Hunt picked up on the key issue in this debate. The issue is God’s nature. The real issue is whether or not God loves his creation. If God, as the Calvinist says, can determine that a person accept salvation without affecting their freewill and that all who God desires to save will be saved, then the only thing preventing God from saving sinners is his own will. If this is true, you MUST conclude that God does not love everyone.

I will have to admit, again because White does such a great job addressing the vital issues, White gives two ideas in defense of Calvinism. He suggests like most Calvinist, that God does love everyone just in different ways. For some, he loves them with redemptive love and others he loves them through providing them life and material blessing during this life, even when they do not deserve it. First, he argues that God is justified in doing this because all people dissevered Hell anyway so people are getting their just reward. Secondly, he tells us that just like we are free in loving people at different levels, so is God. We love our family in different ways than we love strangers on the street. White claims that God is just as free (or more so) to love differently then we are.

While I appreciate that White addresses the issues, I do think they fall short. For one thing, we are told in Scripture that it does not profit a person to gain the whole world, if the person looses his soul. If we take this seriously, God can give a person all kinds of material blessings, but in the end, it profits the person nothing if God does not give him saving grace, which is something that a Calvinist believes God can do if he wanted.

Secondly, love is love, even if the degrees of it vary. Hunt points this out in the book. Think about this illustration. If I am outside of a restaurant and I see a person who I have never met dying in front of me and I have the means in my hands to save him. If the only thing preventing me from saving his life is my willingness to give him the means and I choose to not save him, would I not be unloving? If I choose to give him the thing that will heal him, then am I not showing love. This does not mean that I love him the same way as I love my family. After all, is this not the story of the Good Samaritan? Jesus tells the people to love their neighbor and when he is asked who is my neighbor he responds by telling a story of a Jewish man in need being helped by a Gentile who was his enemy. This illustrates that anyone in need is your neighbor. Now, if Jesus tells us to love anyone in need, even your enemies, I think we can expect that God will love the same way. God even loves rebellous sinners and offers them redemption. It is not that I think God owes us this because we are such great people, but I think it is in his nature to love us because he is God.

In conclusion, I think this is an OK read. If you really want to understand the Calvinist tradition, then I encourage you to read it. If you want to know the Arminian position, read Why I am not a Calvinist by Joe Dongell and Jerry Walls

Monday, February 20, 2006

God’s Love Languages

A couple of weeks ago, I gave a sermon entitled Stripped of Dragonish Ways. In the sermon, I said that responding to Jesus out of faith is the only way God will redeem us. In the sermon, I concluded by saying that God wants us to stop trying to control our circumstances and give our situations to Him. After the service was over, a lady came up to me who was visiting the worship service for the first time. She asked me a very profound question: What do you do step by step to give something over to God? I have to admit, I stumbled through my answer with her.

I have spent the last week and a half thinking about this question. My thoughts have been somewhat scattered, but I have sort of come to an answer. I have to admit that my answer does not involve a three step program for giving things over to God. Instead, my thinking has led me to this conclusion: The more you keep your focus on God throughout your daily life, the easier it is to give your struggles to him. Let me explain. As I have been thinking thru my own experiences, I have noticed that when I have something in my life that I am struggling with the best way for me to give that to God is to not think about the thing itself. For me, when I am spending time reading the Bible and praying, the issue or issues that I am dealing with tend to become non issues.

This leads me to think that the best way to give up control of my own life and to give control over to God is to put things in my life that keep me focused on God. As a Methodist, we call these things “means of grace.” “Means of grace” are the disciplines in our lives that remind us or help us experience God’s grace in our lives. John Wesley believed that the primary means of grace where prayer, studying and meditation on the Bible, the Lord’s Supper, and worship. He also felt that acts of service where important. Richard Foster’s book Celebration of Discipline is also a great resource.

I am a huge fan of the book The Five Love Languages. I think every couple should read this book. The principle behind the book is that people have different ways they experience and give love. A successful relationship happens when each person understands the love language of their spouse and shows them love through their love language. I believe our relationship with God is very similar. God expresses his love and grace thru different means and when we place those means in our lives, we are constantly reminded of God’s love and grace.

The key to giving our lives over to God comes when we think as little about ourselves and our situation as possible and spend our time immersed in the “means of grace” which helps us experience God’s grace. Understand that I am not suggesting that the “means of grace” will give us salvation. They are what it says, the means to an end. The end being a relationship with God thru faith in Jesus. They help us give our lives over to God.

Friday, February 17, 2006

God’s Justice and Love

A good friend of mine sent me this quote in an e-mail and asked me what I thought about it. It says, "Most people's problem with the bible is how a LOVING God can send a sinner to hell, while the Bible's biggest problem is how a JUST God can get a sinner to heaven."

I think it is a good quote in some ways, but I think it dodges a very important issue that the Bible does deal with. I think we have to deal with both issues: God’s love and justice. One cannot outweigh the other.

If we are to take this line of thought and deal with both questions we would need to deal with both God’s justice and God’s love. The word “justice.” means this: “The quality of being just; fairness.” So, I think the quote raises a good point. How does a God whose character is being fair or just, get sinners into heaven? God could do one of two things it seems. God could leave everyone in their sinful state and choose to send them to hell. This would be fair or just or he could make some kind of means available to redeem fallen humanity. I believe the latter is exactly what God has done. He sent Jesus into the world so that we might be redeemed. Jesus is the means for which we have salvation.

I think this makes good sense of God’s love as well. It is in God’s character to love His creation. After all, God created us and we believe God works providentially to sustain His creation. God has provided what we need to have life in Jesus Christ. I do think God desires the salvation of every person and has made Jesus, the means of salvation available to everyone. I also believe there are some people who will reject God forever. Notice that I do not think God rejects the fallen human race, but some people reject God.

As Lewis notes in the Problem of Pain, “In the long run the answer to all those who object to the doctrines of hell, is itself a question: ‘What are you asking God to do?’ To wipe our their past sins and, at all costs, to give them a fresh start, smoothing ever difficulty and offering miraculous help? But He has done so, on Calvary. To forgive them? They will not be forgiven. To leave them alone? Alas, I am afraid that is what He does.”

I appreciate my friend sending me this quote. I think it deals with a lot of issues we face today. I will conclude by saying that I believe the Bible gives us the greatest possible hope and that it is the revelation of God working in the world for our redemption through Jesus Christ.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

What is an Arminian?
Several people have asked me the question, "What is an Arminian?" The question arises, I think, due to the dramatic resurgence of Calvinism in the past several years. Some of the claims that are made about Arminians are as follows: (1) Arminians do not believe in original sin, meaning they do not take the consequences of sin seriously. (2) Arminians are relativist, meaning they do not believe in absolute truth. (3) Arminians are universalists, meaning they believe everyone will be saved. (4) Arminians believe in “works righteousness,” meaning that people save themselves rather than relying on the grace of God.

Just as John Wesley helped his fellow Calvinist brothers and sisters in understanding Arminians, I hope by reproducing John Wesley’s essay on “What is an Arminian,” we will better understand Arminians. Have fun reading from, I believe, a true man of God.
"What Is an Arminian?"
by John Wesley

1. To say, "This man is an Arminian," has the same effect on many hearers, as to say, "This is a mad dog." It puts them into a fright at once: They run away from him with all speed and diligence; and will hardly stop, unless it be to throw a stone at the dreadful and mischievous animal.
2. The more unintelligible the word is, the better it answers the purpose. Those on whom it is fixed know not what to do: Not understanding what it means, they cannot tell what defence to make, or how to clear themselves from the charge. And it is not easy to remove the prejudice which others have imbibed, who know no more of it, than that it is "something very bad," if not "all that is bad!"
3. To clear the meaning, therefore, of this ambiguous term, may be of use to many: To those who so freely pin this name upon others, that they may not say what they do not understand; to those that hear them, that they may be no longer abused by men saying they know not what; and to those upon whom the name is fixed, that they may know how to answer for themselves.
4. It may be necessary to observe, First, that many confound Arminians with Arians. But this is entirely a different thing; the one has no resemblance to the other. An Arian is one who denies the Godhead of Christ; we scarce need say, the supreme, eternal Godhead; because there can be no God but the supreme, eternal God, unless we will make two Gods, a great God and a little one. Now, none have ever more firmly believed, or more strongly asserted, the Godhead of Christ, than many of the (so called) Arminians have done; yea, and do at this day. Arminianism therefore (whatever it be) is totally different from Arianism.
5. The rise of the word was this: JAMES HARMENS, in Latin, Jacobes Arminius, was first one of the Ministers of Amsterdam, and afterwards Professor of Divinity at Leyden. He was educated at Geneva; but in the year 1591 began to doubt of the principles which he had till then received. And being more and more convinced that they were wrong, when he was vested with the Professorship, he publicly taught what he believed the truth, till, in the year 1609, he died in peace. But a few years after his death, some zealous men with the Prince of Orange at their head, furiously assaulted all that held what were called his opinions; and having procured them to be solemnly condemned, in the famous Synod of Dort, (not so numerous or learned, but full as impartial, as the Council or Synod of Trent,) some were put to death, some banished, some imprisoned for life, all turned out of their employments, and made incapable of holding any office, either in Church or State.
6. The errors charged upon these (usually termed Arminians) by their opponents, are five: (1.) That they deny original sin; (2.) That they deny justification by faith; (3.) That they deny absolute predestination; (4.) That they deny the grace of God to be irresistible; and, (5.) That they affirm, a believer may fall from grace.
With regard to the two first of these charges, they plead, Not Guilty. They are entirely false. No man that ever lived, not John Calvin himself, ever asserted either original sin, or justification by faith, in more strong, more clear and express terms, than Arminius has done. These two points, therefore, are to be set out of the question: In these both parties agree. In this respect, there is not a hair's breadth difference between Mr. Wesley and Mr. Whitefield.
7. But there is an undeniable difference between the Calvinists and Arminians, with regard to the three other questions. Here they divide; the former believe absolute, the latter only conditional, predestination. The Calvinists hold, (1.) God has absolutely decreed, from all eternity, to save such and such persons, and no others; and that Christ died for these, and none else. The Arminians hold, God has decreed, from all eternity, touching all that have the written word, "He that believeth shall be saved: He that believeth not, shall be condemned:" And in order to this, "Christ died for all, all that were dead in trespasses and sins;" that is, for every child of Adam, since "in Adam all died."
8. The Calvinists hold, Secondly, that the saving grace of God is absolutely irresistible; that no man is any more able to resist it, than to resist the stroke of lightning. The Arminians hold, that although there may be some moments wherein the grace of God acts irresistibly, yet, in general, any man may resist, and that to his eternal ruin, the grace whereby it was the will of God he should have been eternally saved.
9. The Calvinists hold, Thirdly, that a true believer in Christ cannot possibly fall from grace. The Arminians hold, that a true believer may "make shipwreck of faith and a good conscience;" that he may fall, not only foully, but finally, so as to perish for ever.
10. Indeed, the two latter points, irresistible grace and infallible perseverance, are the natural consequence of the former, of the unconditional decree. For if God has eternally and absolutely decreed to save such and such persons, it follows, both that they cannot resist his saving grace, (else they might miss of salvation,) and that they cannot finally fall from that grace which they cannot resist. So that, in effect, the three questions come into one, "Is predestination absolute or conditional?" The Arminians believe, it is conditional; the Calvinists, that it is absolute.
11. Away, then, with all ambiguity! Away with all expressions which only puzzle the cause! Let honest men speak out, and not play with hard words which they do not understand. And how can any man know what Arminius held, who has never read one page of his writings? Let no man bawl against Arminians, till he knows what the term means; and then he will know that Arminians and Calvinists are just upon a level. And Arminians have as much right to be angry at Calvinists, as Calvinists have to be angry at Arminians. John Calvin was a pious, learned, sensible man; and so was James Harmens. Many Calvinists are pious, learned, sensible men; and so are many Arminians. Only the former hold absolute predestination; the latter, conditional.
12. One word more: Is it not the duty of every Arminian Preacher, First, never, in public or in private, to use the word Calvinist as a term of reproach; seeing it is neither better nor worse than calling names? -- a practice no more consistent with good sense or good manners, than it is with Christianity. Secondly. To do all that in him lies to prevent his hearers from doing it, by showing them the sin and folly of it? And is it not equally the duty of every Calvinist Preacher, First, never in public or in private, in preaching or in conversation, to use the word Arminian as a term of reproach? Secondly. To do all that in him lies to prevent his hearers from doing it, by showing them the sin and folly thereof; and that the more earnestly and diligently, if they have been accustomed so to do? perhaps encouraged therein by his own example!
From the Thomas Jackson edition of The Works of John Wesley, 1872.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The “Mere” of Morality

In CS Lewis’ book Mere Christianity, Lewis sets out to define “Mere Christianity." This means, he wants to tell us what has basically been believed regarding the Christian religion. In his third book in Mere Christianity, called “Christian Morality” Lewis defines for us the basics of how a Christian should live.

Lewis begins the third book by defining morality. He concludes that moral rules are the “directions for running the human machine. Every moral rule is there to prevent a breakdown, or a strain, or a friction, in the running of the human machine.” He also concludes that there are three pieces to morality: (1) fair play and harmony between people (2) Harmony with things inside a person (3) the general purpose of human life as a whole. He illustrates these three points by illustrating how a ship steers so to avoid collisions. In order for a ship to make it to its destination, it must stay clear of other ships. However, if the ship is malfunctioning on the inside, it may be impossible to steer out of the way of other ships. Finally, even if a ship is in perfect working condition and stays clear of other ships, what would the point be in sailing without having a destination? In the same way, laws for social morality make little sense if we are selfish on the inside. Likewise, the things we believe regarding the world greatly affect our morality.

Lewis then turns to the seven virtues which give us directions for running the human machine. The first four are commonly referred to as the “cardinal virtues.” The word cardinal means “the hinge of the door” and refers to the virtues that all civilized people recognize. They are the basic virtues that all the others hinge upon.

(1) The first is “Prudence”, meaning practical common sense. Some people would call this wisdom. There is a common misunderstanding about Christianity that people should believe in Jesus out of stupidity. However, as Lewis points out, Christ calls us to be as wise as serpents. Being faithful involves the intellect as well.
(2) The second virtue is “Temperance.” Lewis suggests that this has been come to mean abstinence, but it really mean going the right length with all things. This is not just about alcohol, but involves food, drink, sex, etc.
(3) The third virtue is “Justice” The Greek philosophers felt this was the chief of all the cardinal virtues. Lewis defines this as “everything that involves fairness.” It means honesty, compromise, give and take, truthfulness, and keeping promises.
(4) The fourth virtue and the final cardinal virtue is “fortitude.” Some have called this “courage” Lewis says it involves two things, (a) courage in danger and (b) courage in pain. Lewis suggests that this is the one that transcends all the other virtues.

One thing of particular importance is that actions of virtue are not ends in themselves, but are means to an end. Lewis notes, “[A] man who perseveres in doing just actions gets in the end a certain quality of character. Now it is the quality rather than the particular actions which we mean when we talk of a ‘virtue’.” He points out those actions done for the wrong reasons do not help build character and God is more interested in a person of a particular sort. This is important because our actions done in this life produce people of a particular character for the next life.

In the last four chapters, Lewis addresses the three Theological virtues which complete the seven virtues.

(5) The fifth virtue is “Charity”. This does not only mean giving money to the poor, but means love. This is not just an emotion that you feel towards people; it is something you actively do. The feeling you have for someone is whether you “like” them or not. Liking someone is not a virtue, but loving someone even when you do not like them is. A simple rule for doing this is to not bother with whether or not you feel like you love others, act as if you do and then you will find that you love them more.
(6) The sixth virtue is “Hope”. Lewis defines this as looking forward to heaven, not to escape this life, but to give this life its proper meaning. He suggests that things in this world bring temporary happiness, but nothing in this world satisfies us completely. He concludes that this means we were created for another world. When we understand that, we realize that the joys in this world are here to arouse our desires for the next world. Lewis says, “Aim at Heaven and you will get earth ‘thrown in’: aim at earth and you will get neither.”
(7) The seventh virtue is “Faith”. Lewis distinguishes two usages of faith. (a) In one sense faith is holding on to the things your reason has led you to believe in spite of your changing moods. (b) The second sense of the faith is when we leave it to God and put all our trust in Christ. It is trusting that Christ will make us more like him. This does not mean that we stop trying, but that we try in a new way.

If you have read Mere Christianity, you may have notice that I left out several chapters in the middle of the third book. These chapters deal with what Lewis calls “Christian morality.” These are (1) chastity, (2) forgiveness, and (3) humility. I think these virtues all arise out of the other seven virtues. Chastity involves temperance and charity. Sex is a good thing and Christianity celebrates it, however, it can be destructive if used in a way that it was not intended. Forgiveness involves charity and loving your neighbor. Finally, humility counters what Lewis considers to be the greatest evil, pride. He believed pride was the central issue that destroys the human machine and it is the primary cause of sin. It is the greatest challenge to morality.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Question 5: Will Everyone Go To Heaven Cont.

In my last post, I definded some different views about salvation. In the next several posts, I want to specifically answer the question, "Will Everyone Go To Heaven?" I agree with CS Lewis when he wrote, "There is no doctrine which I would more willingly remove from Christianity than this, (hell) if it lay in my power. But is has full support of Scripture and, specially, of Our Lord's own words."

Along with Lewis, I believe the Gospels teach eternal seperation.

The Gospel of Matthew alone records at least 15 occasions where eternal separation is taught. (Mat. 5:22,29-30,7:13,21,8:12, 10:12, 28,13:30,18:8-9, 12, 34-35, 40-42, 21:41, 22:13, 23:15,33, 24:51, 25:46) Thomas Johnson divides these up into six categories of teaching regarding eternal separation. These categories are destruction, not entering the kingdom of heaven, outer darkness, being burned with fire, perishing, and being tortured. Of course when reading much of this material, we have to consider Jesus’ use of allegory. These symbols may not be literal in that eternal separation is not literal burning, but they do symbolize the reality of eternal separation. I want to turn our attention to two parables specifically in the gospels.

The first parable is found in Matthew 25:31-46. In this parable, Jesus says there will be a time when all people will be gathered before the Son of Man and he will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then, the Son of Man will turn to the sheep and say, “Come, you are blessed.” He then tells them that they fed him, gave him something to drink, invited him in, and visited him. They then ask when they did those things and he tells then they did them when they cared for the least.

The Son of Man then turns to those on the left and tells then to depart from him. They ask why and he tells them they did not provide him food or drink, invite him in or visit him because they did not do that for the least of these. He then says these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life. As is the case with most parables, there is generally one main point behind the story. Normally, its meaning was not too complex for its original hearers. Sometimes we have to work hard at it because we are reading the story with a different world view.

I think the main point of the story is that there are consequences for good and bad chooses. I do think we can draw the conclusion that some people will be eternally separated from God out of this passage. It seems that this passage is quite clear about the ramifications of poor moral choices. The parable does say the righteous go into eternal life while the unrighteousness go to eternal punishment. Thomas Talbott argues that the world we translate “eternal” does not always mean “forever.”[1] In this context though, “eternal” is used twice, once for eternal life and once for eternal punishment. We can either say that eternal life and eternal death are only for a period of time or that they both mean forever. Since Talbott believes in eternal life, I will choose the latter. Further, if we use the book of Matthew to help us in interpreting this passage, we can conclude this parable teaches the same basic truth taught throughout Matthew, that some people will remain separated from God forever.

The second parable we want to bring to your attention is Luke 16:19-31. Recently there has been a great deal of debate about its meaning, but I think it does have implications to our study regardless of whether or not it is to be taken literally. Jesus tells the story of a rich man and a poor man named Lazarus. Lazarus would sit at the rich man’s gate longing to eat the crumbs from his table, but was never fed. Both of them died, the poor man going to Abraham’s bosom, the rich man to Hades. The rich man in Hades was in torment and seeing Lazarus cried out to Abraham, “Have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip his finger in water and cool off my tongue.” Abraham then reminds him of how he did not comfort Lazarus when they were on earth. Then Lazarus asks if Abraham will send someone back from beyond the grave to warn his family.

There is a great deal of debate about whether or not this depiction of Heaven and Hell are accurate. Some say it is a story reflecting actual events and some say it is a parable. Whatever you do with this story, one cannot help but to get the point. After Lazarus asks Abraham to send someone back to warn his family, Abraham says, “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.” The point is that some people, no matter what God does, will resist God forever.

It is safe to conclude that the Bible does teach “eternal salvation” and “eternal separation.” As a matter of fact the word gehenna itself, which is the word Jesus uses for hell the most, gives this connotation. This word is derived from the Hebrew word ge-hinnom meaning “valley of Hinnom.” In the period of the kings, this became a place where a high place called “Topheth” was erected and people offered human sacrifices. Josiah ended this when he had it destroyed. Since that time and into the time of Jesus, this place became a place for burning trash. Thus, it was symbolic of “a place where the fire never went out.” William Crocket notes that in the intertestamental times gehenna was used to connote a place of eternal damnation.
Gehenna was a place outside the holy city of Jerusalem where the temple was and where they believed God dwelt. To be cast into gehenna was to be thrown outside the presence of God and to be separated from God. It was also “a place where the fire never went out.” Thus, the connotation is a place that last forever. Thus, in the word gehenna, eternal separation is implied.

[1] The Inescapable Love of God, 83-86.
[1] William Crocket Four Views on Hell, “The Metephorical View” ed. William Crocket ( Zondervan: Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1996) 58.