Last week Time ran an article by John Shore entitled, “What Christianity without Hell Looks Like.” The first line reads, “The idea that the Bible declares hell a real and literal place is no more valid than the toxic lie that the Bible condemns homosexuality.”
Hell is clearly revealed to be an eternal place of punishment in Scripture. Jesus refers to it no less than twelve times, and it features in many of his parables as a place of “outer darkness” where there is “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 25:30). Giving up on hell as an actual place amounts to giving up on heaven too. Jesus mentions “eternal punishment” in the same breath as “eternal life” (Matt. 25:46).
The practice of homosexuality is condemned throughout Scripture. The old law held that it was an “abomination” (Lev. 18:22), while Paul called it “shameless” (Rom. 1:27) and put it in a list of other sins which, if not “washed” by the blood of Christ, keep you from inheriting the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9-11). It is common to hear someone argue that while Paul prohibited homosexual relationships, Jesus did not, since he never spoke about the issue. That, however, is not true. Every time he used the word translated “fornication” (KJV) or “sexual immorality” (ESV), he used an all-inclusive term that covers several sexual sins, including homosexuality.
Why then does Shore seem to think that the Bible does not teach that hell is a real place or that homosexuality is wrong? Albert Mohler commented on Shore’s article, saying, “The way we approach Scripture shows up not just in one question but in all questions.” The key to understanding Shore’s positions lies in his view of Scripture. Obviously he does not believe the Bible is inspired. To him, it is a great book, but one that can be placed alongside other great books from history, full of human ideas we are free to accept or reject.
But the Bible doesn’t leave us with the option to categorize it as a product of humanity. Second Timothy 3:16-17 reads, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” Also, 2 Peter 1:21 says, “For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” Either the Bible is lying, or those who argue that it is merely a good book are.
Giving up on the Bible’s teaching in one area compromises its stance on a whole range of issues. People have long been challenging the Bible’s clear teaching on one issue or another. It’s no wonder that this disrespect for God’s authority is creeping into many other areas.