On the post I just finished, I mentioned briefly the late great Walter Martin and linked a clip on youtube. Here I present a clip from The John Ankerberg Show, where Walter Martin is again Ankerberg’s guest where they discusses their problems with certain interpretations of scripture that would suggest annhilation of the wicked. Since 2004, I have sided with Ankerberg and Martin about the spirit in man is conscious after death. Before that (approximately 1999-2004) , I was with Edward Fudge, who is an orthodox Christian but supports annhilationism in books like The Fire That Consumes and Two Views of Hell (I got that one). Well in my studies Hebrews 12:22-24 showed me something a little different (and very positive) for the believer. For the unbeliever, the person who has rejected God at every turn in his or her life, will be conscious after their material body is shed on earth but will face an eternal disfellowshipment from the love of God. While Ankerberg and Martin leaned to the Western Church, Augustinian-Calvinist based thinking of hell, I lean to an Eastern Orthodox view of hell where it is more The Phantom Zone (think Superman) than an eternal torture chamber. I had an Facebook discussion with a staunch liberal Universalist who mocked the idea that Eastern Orthodox view of hell is more humane than the Western view. What is the old saying, “You can’t win ’em all!”
These were my words in Gary Scott’s former blog XCG in May of 2007,
[I] Still consider myself a post evangelical who is interested in some of what Eastern Orthodoxy has to say on original sin, their Christus Victor view on the Atonement (as opposed to the western view of penal subsititution), their view of heaven and hell among other things.
Here is what a guy Derek Flood from his blog, The Rebel God said in his post March 21st of this year:
Pretty much all of my theology is very much in line with the Eastern Orthodox church. For example I have an understanding of sin as bondage and sickness rather than as transgression. As a result, I have an Orthodox ‘transformative’ understanding of salvation rather than a Western ‘judicial’ one, meaning that the real object of salvation is God effecting an inner change in us. Again, the model of atonement I have is an Orthodox one of recapitulation, rather than appeasement. In other words, the need for the atonement was not to satisfy a need God had for punishment, but rather to recreate in us the image of God that we had lost, and to free us from the bondage of sin. I also share with the Orthodox church the focus on theosis – our participation in the divine life which changes us into the likeness of Christ. In that sense I see salvation not as a one time act, but as a growing relationship with God. I also think the Orthodox church is right in their understanding of original sin, not as inherited guilt, but as our inheriting the consequences of living in a sinful world.
So if I agree with the Orthodox church on original sin, recapitulation, theosis, and the relational transformative focus of salvation, why am I not Eastern Orthodox?…
Why not check Derek’s blog for his answer and his other topic he holds dear to his heart, the Christus Victor view of atonement on the sacrifice on Jesus Christ. Oh yes, Holy Week season is upon us. I need to write a special commentary appropriate for that time soon. By the way, Derek’s blog is now on my blog list and you can read the rest of the article here.
I am still on the topic about hell and here I give you a link of Frederica Matthewes-Green’s article on her explanation of the Eastern Orthodox Church’s position on hell on Beliefnet.com.