Andrew Perriman setzt sich aus gegebenem Anlass mit einem Artikel von Tim Keller (den er schätzt) auseinander, in dem der begründet, warum die Hölle unverzichtbar sein soll. Die vier Kritikpunkte Perrimans an Keller sind dabei:
- Jesus lehrt die „Hölle“ nicht, insofern damit ein Ort ewiger Qualen nach dem Tod gemeint ist
- Wir brauchen keine „biblische Lehre von der Hölle“ um zu erkennen, dass wir in allem auf Gott angewiesen sind
- Das Argument, man entscheide sich ja selbst für die Hölle, ist irreführend
- Es ist nicht die einige Möglichkeit, zu ermessen, wie sehr Jesus uns liebt und was er uns Gutes getan hat
Perriman begründet das jeweils ausführlich und überzeugend. Zuvor hatte er schon Kevin deYoungs Reaktion auf Rob Bells Buch „Love Wins“ kritisiert, der die in seinem theologischen Lage so populäre Rede vom Zorn Gottes für grundlegend und unverzichtbar hält. Wen’s interessiert – hier weiterlesen.
Zu Rob Bells umstrittenen Buch Love Wins, das die Diskussion in den letzten Wochen mächtig angeheizt hatte, hat sich nun auch die Evangelische Allianz in Großbritannien geäußert. Inhaltlich eher zurückhaltend, wichtig fand ich dabei aber diesen Gedanken von Steve Clifford:
Rob Bell is a valued brother in Christ and has felt it important to raise publicly some difficult areas of Christian theology that many people feel uncomfortable with. The issues he raises reflect genuine but complex questions that Christian theologians have wrestled with over centuries. We hope that Christians who disagree with Rob will nevertheless model how good debate should be conducted.
21 Antworten auf „Bell und die Briten“
Ich frag mich, wie jemand den Aufsatz von Perriman überzeugend finden kann.
1. Zwar stimmt es, dass Apg 24,25 auch so ausgelegt werden kann, dass mit dem kommenden Gericht die Zerstörung Jerusalem gemeint sein, aber in 1.Ts 1,9-19, wo Paulus indirekt (als Beschreibung der Reaktion darauf) seine Botschaft an die Heiden beschreibt, ist auczh davon die rede, dass jesus unsd vor dem kommenden Zorn Gottes rettet.
2. Damit ist die These hinfällig, dass (wie Perriman behauptet) sich auf ein historisches Ereignis bezieht, das ein Gericht (judgement) darstellt. Denn die Heiden in Thessalonich sind durch das gericht über jerusalem 70 n.Chr. nicht betroffen, und sollte paulzus ein anderes (damals noch künftiges) Ereignis angekündigt haben, so ist das nicht eingetroffen und Paulus wäre damit als falscher Prophet entlarvt.
3. Der dritte Punkt von Perriman beruht auf dem zweiten und ist somit hinfällig, was die Kritik an DeYoung angeht (z.T. stimmt Perriman ihm ja zu).
4. Wieso eine Lehre der ewigen Verdammnis „simply wrong“ sein soll, ist nicht nachzuvollziehen. Es sind schion ziemlich komlizierte gedankengänge nötig, um die aussagen über ewige Strafe (von Mk 9,48 bis Of 14,11 wegzuargumentieren. ich will nichtsagen, dass das unmöglich ist, aber „simply wrong“ ist *simply* Propaganda.
Die übrigen Punkte beruhren mehr oder weniger auf Punkt 1-4, und ich muss gestehen, dass ich die zitierten Thesen von DeYoung („We need hell …“) für bedenklich halte. Wir können die Größe von Gottes Gnade erkennen, wenn wir uns klarmachen, wovor uns Jesus gerettet hat, aber „brauchen“ wir das?
What is this movement that emerges out of the sea?
Warum muss das Thema so heiß gekocht werden? Schon John Stott, Michael Green, John Wenham oder F.F. Bruce konnten mit der populären Lehre von der Hölle wenig anfangen. Es ist daher nur richtig, dass man das Thema mal wieder angeht, ohne dass sich daran alle Geister scheiden müssen. Vielleicht arbeitest du es mit uns, (wie mit dem Buch „Allah“) schrittweise durch. Würde mich darauf freuen.
Peter, hast Du eigentlich mal den Evangelical Universalist gelesen?
@Helmut: Punkt 1 war auf Jesus beschränkt, und was Paulus mit „Zorn“ meint, erläutert er nicht näher. Hölle als Konzept in dem von Perriman beschriebenen Sinn fehlt bei ihm jedoch.
@Gerri: Wenn ich mal viel Zeit habe, gern. Die Geister werden sich dann trotzdem scheiden und bei manchen extremen und dogmatisch starren Positionen ist das vermutlich auch nicht zu vermeiden. Das Thema ist in bei konservativen Evangelikalen so populär wie Rainer Brüderle in der Südwest-CDU…
@Tobias: Nein, und leider zu viel auf dem Schreibtisch, um demnächst dazu zu kommen
Mit Punkt eins meinte ich:
> “First, we need God’s wrath to keep us honest about evangelism.”
> When Paul reasoned with the Roman governor Felix “about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment” (Acts 24:25), …
Also was da auf Jesus beschränkt ist, kann ich nicht erkennen. Ich bin in dem, was ich sagte, auf den Aufsatz von Perriman eingegangen.
Helmut, I may not have understood your first point in your first comment correctly, but my argument in The Coming of the Son of Man and elsewhere is that we effectively have three eschatological horizons in the New Testament.
The third is that of a final judgment and final renewal of creation, but this is really quite peripheral. It is the first two horizons that dominate the New Testament outlook.
The first horizon, from the perspective of Jesus and the early Jewish-Christian community (reflected also in Acts 24:25), was the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple as judgment on unrighteous Israel. When Jesus connects the climax of the war with the „fulfilment“ of Daniel’s vision, he means that both he and his followers will be vindicated through these events, particularly against the current corrupt régime in Jerusalem.
The second horizon is that of Paul and of the church as it moved into the pagan world. It is much less concretely conceived, but it has to do with the deliverance of the persecuted saints from their enemies (cf. 1 Thess. 1:9-10), their public vindication, the overthrow of the pagan imperial aggressor („Babylon the great“), and the acknowledgment that Israel’s God has made Jesus King of kings and Lord of lords. This complex of predictions is encapsulated in Paul’s apocalyptic parousia motif.
In other words, there will be wrath against the Jew and wrath against the Greek (Rom. 2:6-10). A central part of Paul’s argument in Romans, I think (see The Future of the People of God), is i) that YHWH is no longer willing to overlook the centuries of ignorance but has demonstrated his intention to judge the pagan world by raising Jesus from the dead (implicit in Romans 1:1-4; and cf. Acts 17:30-31); but ii) that in order to judge the pagan world with integrity, he must first judge his own people, who should have provided a benchmark of righteousness (Rom. 3:6, 19).
In my view, most of the passages that are usually taken as evidence for a doctrine of „hell“ as post mortem punishment have to be interpreted in relation to these first two horizons.
@Andrew Perriman: Thank you for responding to our little discussion here. I am sure there will be a lot more once „Love Wins“ will be out in German. I really enjoy reading your blog and hope to find time for one of your books soon!
@Andrew Perriman: Whow, a comment from the book author itself! Thank you for your words. I hope my English is sufficient enough to make myself understood.
As to your „three eschatological horizons“, there are several possibilities to sort the eschatalogical predictiions in the New Testament into a coherent picture. These horizons are not facts, but a matter of interpretation.
More to my point: You describe Paul’s in rather immanent terms, as an event that has not taken place. I wonder how one can draw such a picture and escape the consequence that Paul was a false prophet who predicted an overthrow of the Roman Emporer that never happened?
I’m convinced that your „third“ horizon (the final judgement and new creation) is the same in essence as the „second“ horizon.
Whether this final judgement leads to eternal damnation on some men (i.e. „hell“): you are right in that Paul doesn’t say much of it (and nothing directly), hell is mainly taught in the first and the last book of the NT, in the sayings of Jesus and the Revelation (apocalypsis) of Jesus Christ.
Lest you get a wrong notion: I strongly believe that the love of God is far more important than the teachings about hell. But I can’t neglect what I find in the Bible.
@Helmut: Why should Paul be a false prophet – the Roman Empire did fall eventually (410) and certainly Jesus and his followers were vindicated under Constantine?
Helmut, yes, there are no doubt other ways to organize the eschatological material in the New Testament. But it seems to me that both theologically and historically the destruction of Jerusalem and the conversion of the pagan empire are so significant that it should come as no surprise if the apocalyptic language naturally appears to coalesce around these events.
As Peter suggests, it seems to me that the list of occurrences that I associated with the parousia did take place. I didn’t actually include the overthrow of the Roman emperor. It is pagan imperialism insofar as it is violently and blasphemously opposed to YHWH and to his Christ that is overthrown.
So it seems to me entirely plausible to differentiate between this highly significant historical event, given the natural perspective of the New Testament, and the hope of a final cosmic renewal, which is our eschatological horizon.
How can one say that Jesus saves from the coming wrath of God when this wrath is an event more than 300 years later? This would be a message irrelevant for the pagans of Paul’s time. The fall of the Roman empire is no fulfillment of what Paul says, unless you coalescence it with something relevant to the pagans of Paul’s time.
Paul had a message for his time. If he predicted an immanent salvation, we have to look for an fulfilment within the life span of his listeners. Apart from the fall of Jerusalem, I can’t see an event that could be linked to God’s wrath Paul spoke about. So either Paul predicted something that didn’t happen (and it is off topic that something similar happened to happen some centuries later), or the wrath of God has to be interpreted „transcedental“, e.g. as a final judgement in the third stage of resurrection hinted at in 1.Cor 15:24.
In the article linked at top of this page you claim that wrath is always
>> some historical event or process by which a people or a nation or a civilization is “judged”
Now if you don’t include the overthrow of the Roman emporer into „the list of occurrences that I associated with the parousia“, what other historical event is (in your view) the wrath of God predicted in 1.Ts 1:10? In this verse, it is crystal clear that the target of this wrath includes the pagans, and the same can safely assumed for other verses as Ro 1:18.
@Helmut: It depends on your perspective. If you assume that God was adressing just individual persons, you may be right. But if God judges an empire (not the first time in scripture), that empire was still there and still acting the same way when jugdement came. Imperial cult suggested that the empire was divine and eternal. So even if it took a couple of centuries to overcome, the pagan myth was destroyed. So it was truly a message for Paul’s time and age.
Helmut, I think we need to keep in mind, first, that apocalyptic or prophetic language is forward-looking. Paul did not have the benefit of our hindsight. So there is the question of how much factual precision we should expect from this type of language.
Having said that, the „overthrow of the pagan imperial aggressor“ is an important aspect of the wrath or judgment of God against the Greek-Roman oikoumenē. Whether Paul was thinking of a generic emperor, a particular emperor, or the whole system of divinized imperial power, or some other construct, is difficult to say. But I would certainly conclude from 2 Thessalonians 1-2 (if the Letter is Pauline) that he foresaw a decisive antagonism between Christ and a blasphemous pagan ruler.
It seems to me best to speak in quite general terms of a whole belief system being swept away, effectively because of the witness of the churches to Christ. The extent to which matters beneath that general conception need to be understood in terms of affliction, suffering, punishment, torment, etc., I’m not sure. Perhaps Paul envisaged greater social disorder than was actually the case, but if his language is symbolic, it is very difficult to know what exactly he had in mind.
Clearly, though, for the churches the coming time of wrath would mean intense suffering—“wrath“, as the concrete outworking in history of divine judgment, is directed against the unrighteous, but we see from Habakkuk 2:4 and Daniel 7 that the righteous may suffer collateral damage in the process.
The level of prediction I expect from paul is demanded by scripzure: Itv is written that a person is a false prophet if he 8or she) makes an prediction that does not come true (Deut 18:21-22).
So when I read that Paul predicts a wrath the readers of his letters will be saved from, an event like the fall of the Roman empire or the ovterthrow of Diocletian by Constantine is no such event, because it is meaningless to say the readetrs of 1.Ts were saved from it by their beleif in Jesus. Therefore, it cannot be claimed as an fulfillment of the predicton in 1.Ts 1:10.
If you can point to an event that can legitimately called the fulfillment of 1.Ts 1:10, we may talk about the possibility to lump it together with other events (like the “overthrow of the pagan imperial aggressor”) to a broader eschatological picture, but if you cannot tell such an event, talking about these other events is just a maneuver to escape the conclusion that this sort of eschatological interpretation turns Paul into a false prophet.
@Helmut: Weder Deine Paulus- noch deine Deuteronomium-Interpretation finde ich sehr überzeugend. Aber eigentlich läuft es ja darauf hinaus, dass Du sagst, wenn man Paulus anders läse als Du dann würde man ihn zum falschen Propheten machen, der er nicht ist, daher muss man ihn so verstehen wie Du. Ein problematisches Argument: War Jesaja (oder beide Jesajas…) ein falscher Prophet, weil der verheißene Messias ein paar Jahrhunderte später geboren wurde, und war seine Botschaft deswegen irrelevant für seine Hörer…?
Also Jesaja hat ja ziemlich viel vorhergesagt, was eingetreten ist, z.B. die Rettung Jerusalems vor Sanherib, das Gericht über Jerusalem 586 v.Chr., oder die Befreiung der Juden durch Cyrus (mit Namensnennung!). Weshalb ich keinen Grund sehe, ihn als falschen Prophet zu bezeichnen.
Der zeitliche Abstand ist an sich kein Problem, er wird es nur durch die Überlegung: inwiefern wurden die Leser von 1.Ts durch ihren Glauben vor dem (bzw. im) Untergang des römischen Reichs bewahrt? Darauf müsste es eine sinnvolle Antwort geben, wenn in 1.Ts 1,10 der Untergang des römischen Reichs gemeint ist. Und wie gesagt: ich würd auch nicht protestieren, wenn gesagt wird, dass er mitgemeint ist. Nur eben mit-gemeint – mit einem Ereignis, das tatsächlich als Erfüllung von 1.Ts 1,10 verstanden werden kann.
@Helmut. I think you are interpreting „wrath“ too narrowly. In Habbakuk, for example, as I suggested above, judgment on unrighteous Israel is followed by judgment on the even more unrighteous Chaldeans, through whom God judged his people. In the midst of this turmoil the prophet asks how the righteous will survive. The answer is that they will live by faith or faithfulness (Hab. 2:4). The reason why he asks is that he knows that the Babylonians will not discriminate between the righteous and the unrighteous in Israel. When wrath comes on Israel and on the enemies of Israel, the righteous need to be delivered.
Or to take a slightly different angle, in Romans 1:18 Paul says that „the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men“. The way the argument is worked out in Romans 1-2 suggests to me that he is thinking of a two-part „judgment“—directly analogous to the situation that Habakkuk describes—first on the Jew, then on the Greek, that will come at some point in the foreseeable future. I presume that this is the same „wrath“ of which he speaks of in 1 Thess. 1:9-10. The Thessalonians have abandoned the worship of idols because they are convinced that the wrath of God is coming on the pagan world. That is, they are delivered from the wrath to come on the Greek by the same means that Paul has been delivered from the wrath to come on the Jew—by their faith in Jesus.
So there are, arguably, two ways in which we may make sense of 1 Thess. 1:9-10. Paul may mean that they will be delivered from the suffering that the righteous will inevitably face in the course of the coming upheaval—that is, they will be saved from persecution. Or he may mean that they are saved from an obsolescent civilization in the same way that Paul has been saved from an obsolescent second temple Judaism. The Thessalonian Christians will not be swept away in the coming wrath; they will not become collateral damage; they will survive to be part of the life of the age to come. Perhaps both are relevant.
Obviously, what this means in practice for individuals and what it means for the community are not exactly the same. There is a good deal of eschatological detail in Paul that is intended to account for this difference. But it seems to me entirely coherent, both eschatologically and historically, to say that the wrath from which these believers were saved was the wrath that was coming on the pagan world at this time of massive eschatological transition, when the God of Israel was laying concrete claim to the civilization that for so long had opposed his people.
I meant to point out also that 1 Thess. 1:9-10 is part of an argument about persecution. The Thessalonians became imitators both of Paul and of Jesus in that they received the word in much affliction. Their „faithfulness“ under these circumstances, which is the „faithfulness“ by which, according to Habakkuk, the righteous will survive the day of wrath, has been proclaimed in Macedonia and Achaia, along with the word of the Lord. So it is for this reason that Paul characterizes their response to the gospel in terms of waiting to be delivered from the wrath to come.
Andrew, I can follow your arguments, but I think that you are not going far enough.
You mention Ro 1.18, but this is not the only verse where this wrath is mentioned in Romans. In Ro 2:5ff the wrath is mentioned again, with some more „details“, and the paragraph endes with God, who „judges everyone’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.“ (Ro 2:16).
You cannot reduce the wrath of God mentioned in Roman to an immanent event, it is connected to the time when our universe is vanished and the coming aeon will bring a new world, to the time when everyone will appear before the throne of Christ, or (to return to 1.Ts 1; 2.Ts 2) when the son of man will come down from heaven to judge the world.
We should not reduce the coming of the new world to anything within this world, as those did who claimed that our resurrection has already happened (2.Tm 2:17-18).
Helmut, Romans 2:16 sounds like a universal or final judgment, but the background to the motif in Jewish literature suggests otherwise (Jer. 17:9-10; Wis. 1:6; 3:10-12; Pss. Sol. 9:1-5; 14:6-10; 17:21-25). It is used with reference to the judgment of Israel or of the nations in the course of history.
Also, I think that the coming of the Son of Man motif describes a historical event—the public vindication of those who suffer for and in Christ.
Obviously, when Paul wrote 2 Timothy, this „resurrection“ and vindication had not yet happened.
This is not to say that the NT does not envisage a final judgment. It’s just that I think the NT also has important things to say, through apocalyptic language, about critical foreseen historical events.
„Helmut, Romans 2:16 sounds like a universal or final judgment, but the background to the motif in Jewish literature suggests otherwise“
In other words: you don’t want to take Ro 2:16 as it stands, but want to reinterpretate it because it shares a „motif“ with texts that say otherwise. But the same motif does necessarely not mean that Paul wants to express the same ideas! Your sort of argumentation is a non sequitur.
What I see in the Bible is a „mixing“ of future historical events and apocalyptic events. Take the speech of Jesus about the fall of Jerusalem and the end of the ages (Mk 13p).
When Paul speeks about *a day* when God will judge what is hidden in *the* men, this is clearly an apocalyptic event. We may ask whether Paul mixes this up with other, historical events (or more to the point of our discussion: whether he does so in 1.Ts 1), but to deny the apocalyptic meaning altogether is no sound exegesis, it looks like eisegesis.
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