Author Topic: "There may be a hell, but it's probably empty"  (Read 2287 times)

PastorKillick

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"There may be a hell, but it's probably empty"
« on: June 09, 2019, 07:04:14 PM »


“Do you think there’s a Hell?” Herguth also asked.

“There may be,” Eaton answered after pausing for a moment, adding, “but I think it’s empty.”
« Last Edit: June 12, 2019, 03:13:24 PM by Richard Johnson »

Terry W Culler

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Re: "There may be a hell, but it's probably empty"
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2019, 08:20:52 PM »
I believe that hell is indeed empty today.  Those who are destined for it are in Sheol.  With the winnowing of the sheep and goats on the last day, the great day, hell will indeed be filled to capacity, however that might be measured.
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J. Thomas Shelley

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Re: "There may be a hell, but it's probably empty"
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2019, 08:54:25 PM »
What purpose is served by rehashing a statement made by PBp Eaton some 21 months ago?
Greek Orthodox Deacon -Ecumenical Patriarchate
Ordained to the Holy Diaconate Mary of Egypt Sunday A.D. 2022

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Served as a Lutheran Pastor October 31, 1989 - October 31, 2014.
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Charles Austin

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Re: "There may be a hell, but it's probably empty"
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2019, 09:23:20 PM »
The poster joins today and immediately starts posting nasty ad hominem comments. May he learn some manners soon.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Parishes in Iowa, Nw York and New Jersey. LCA and LWF staff. Former journalist. Now retired, living in Minneapolis.

D. Engebretson

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Re: "There may be a hell, but it's probably empty"
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2019, 09:26:56 PM »
I believe there is a thread somewhere in the not-so-distant past where we discussed this and the subject of hell.  Perhaps someone remembers what it was and where to find it.  Instead of starting all over the poster can be directed to the old thread and continue the original discussion there.  Just my 2 cents....
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St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

Dave Benke

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Re: "There may be a hell, but it's probably empty"
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2019, 09:45:19 PM »
I've been pretty busy lately, haven't caught up, but I thought this thread might have to do with my good friend and colleague, Richard John Neuhaus (+), who opined many times that it was his hope (not doctrine) that hell be empty a la Origen and Hans Urs von Balthazar, among others.  But apparently it's a beat-down on Bp. Eaton. 

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peter_speckhard

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Re: "There may be a hell, but it's probably empty"
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2019, 10:03:13 PM »
I think RJN usually resounded to those who objected to his stated hope that he’ll was empty by asking, “Why, whom were you hoping is damned?”

Big difference between hoping and assuming/declaring, though. Whether or not anyone ends up there, the possibility of ending up there is pressingly relevant to everyone and inescapably Scriptural. So any definition of God’s grace that renders damnation impossible is perniciously false.

Dan Fienen

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Re: "There may be a hell, but it's probably empty"
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2019, 10:46:16 PM »
What purpose is served by rehashing a statement made by PBp Eaton some 21 months ago?

Perhaps someone confused this discussion forum for "Exposing the ELCA"?
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Charles Austin

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Re: "There may be a hell, but it's probably empty
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2019, 07:27:56 AM »
And it is doubly insulting to refer to ELCA leaders as “faux” bishops and it is insulting to refer to our Presiding Bishop as “this woman” and it is a lie to say she “never received a Lutheran theological education.”
That kind of language should stay over on that icky “*quest” site. It should not be in this forum.
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JohannesKelpius

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Re: "There may be a hell, but it's probably empty"
« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2019, 01:23:22 PM »
I believe that hell is indeed empty today.  Those who are destined for it are in Sheol. 

"Hell" and "Sheol" are synonyms.

In that respect, it is inane to say it is "empty" as long as people die.

But universal salvation is a legitimate Christian view that has significant ancient pedigree and the support of some of the great church fathers.

Eileen Smith

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Re: "There may be a hell, but it's probably empty"
« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2019, 01:34:35 PM »
Be it deja vu or simply my muddled mind, but I feel we've had this discussion.  That said, I'll add to the comments. Salvation is found in Christ.  We do not have insight into how that will be shared with all of those whom God created.  May He be merciful. Sharing one of my favorite prayers:

           I pray, O Master, 
that the flames of hell 
may not touch me 
or any of those whom I love, 
and even that they may never touch anyone. 
And I know, my God, 
that you will forgive this bold prayer. 
 Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J.


Mark Brown

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Re: "There may be a hell, but it's probably empty"
« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2019, 02:09:04 PM »

"Hell" and "Sheol" are synonyms.

Not exactly. At least not in how we use those terms.  Hell is a place of punishment or judgement.  Akin to Jesus' term "gehenna".  Sheol could have that aspect, but sheol is also just "the pit" or "the abode of the dead" or even "with my fathers".  Psalm 9:17 captures the difference in that "The wicked shall return to Sheol, all the nations that forget God."  Holy Saturday, the creedal descended into hell, and the harrowing of hell following article 9 of the Formula all speak to the difference.  Sheol/Hell is closed for believers.  Today they are with Christ in paradise.


But universal salvation is a legitimate Christian view that has significant ancient pedigree and the support of some of the great church fathers.

Apokatastasis is what you are referring to (and what RJN would have been referring to).  The thinking is very Neo-Platonic in that all of the many must eventually return to the one.  God which is the alpha/source, must also be the omega/end of all things.

The biggest problem as someone pointed out to me recently is Augsburg Confession 17.  That of course did not bind RJN after a certain point (although the Catholic Catechism says much the same thing, and the Confutation accepted AC17 whole.) .  But if you are a Lutheran, hard to get around this.

Quote
Also they teach that at the Consummation of the World Christ will appear for judgment, and will raise up all the dead; He will give to the godly and elect eternal life and everlasting joys, but ungodly men and the devils He will condemn to be tormented without end.

They condemn the Anabaptists, who think that there will be an end to the punishments of condemned men and devils.

They condemn also others who are now spreading certain Jewish opinions, that before the resurrection of the dead the godly shall take possession of the kingdom of the world, the ungodly being everywhere suppressed.

Dave Benke

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Re: "There may be a hell, but it's probably empty"
« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2019, 02:15:51 PM »

"Hell" and "Sheol" are synonyms.

Not exactly. At least not in how we use those terms.  Hell is a place of punishment or judgement.  Akin to Jesus' term "gehenna".  Sheol could have that aspect, but sheol is also just "the pit" or "the abode of the dead" or even "with my fathers".  Psalm 9:17 captures the difference in that "The wicked shall return to Sheol, all the nations that forget God."  Holy Saturday, the creedal descended into hell, and the harrowing of hell following article 9 of the Formula all speak to the difference.  Sheol/Hell is closed for believers.  Today they are with Christ in paradise.


But universal salvation is a legitimate Christian view that has significant ancient pedigree and the support of some of the great church fathers.

Apokatastasis is what you are referring to (and what RJN would have been referring to).  The thinking is very Neo-Platonic in that all of the many must eventually return to the one.  God which is the alpha/source, must also be the omega/end of all things.

The biggest problem as someone pointed out to me recently is Augsburg Confession 17.  That of course did not bind RJN after a certain point (although the Catholic Catechism says much the same thing, and the Confutation accepted AC17 whole.) .  But if you are a Lutheran, hard to get around this.

Quote
Also they teach that at the Consummation of the World Christ will appear for judgment, and will raise up all the dead; He will give to the godly and elect eternal life and everlasting joys, but ungodly men and the devils He will condemn to be tormented without end.

They condemn the Anabaptists, who think that there will be an end to the punishments of condemned men and devils.

They condemn also others who are now spreading certain Jewish opinions, that before the resurrection of the dead the godly shall take possession of the kingdom of the world, the ungodly being everywhere suppressed.

Good pickup of AC XVII.  As to RJN and those many who are thereby included in AC XVII as Anabaptists (possibly why RJN formed Evangelicals and Catholics together, so he could latch on to something other than the RC Catechism?), I would think they might still hope in the mercy of God when time ceases to be, because in the end it will be up to God Who when we are faithless remains faithful, and is defined as "love."  We'll be there on observer status.

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Re: "There may be a hell, but it's probably empty"
« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2019, 02:18:08 PM »
I believe that hell is indeed empty today.  Those who are destined for it are in Sheol. 

"Hell" and "Sheol" are synonyms.


Not quite. The Hebrew Sheol (שְׁאוֹל) is translated by the Greek Hades (ᾅδης) In Greek mythology it was originally the name of the god of the underworld, Hades. Then, like Sheol, it referred to the underworld: the place of the dead.


In some older English translations, "hell," was used for Hades. Not so much in newer ones.


An entirely different Greek word, γέεννα, is the one usually translated, "hell." It is a transliteration of the Hebrew גֵי(א) הִנֹּם: "Valley of Hinnom". In in the OT it is also called "Valley of the son(s) of Hinnom." It can be found on maps outside of Jerusalem. Some of the kings of Judah engaged in forbidden religious practices, including human sacrifice by fire (2 Chron. 28:3; 33:6; Jer. 7:31; 32:35). Because of this, Jeremiah spoke of its impending judgment and destruction (Jer. 7:32; 19:6).


During the intertestamental period, the word was used metaphorically as a place of judgment and punishment. That's how it's used in the NT.


Sheol/Hades were not places of punishment. Gehenna is different from those places.         

Quote
But universal salvation is a legitimate Christian view that has significant ancient pedigree and the support of some of the great church fathers.


Seldom do those who criticize Presiding Bishop Eaton's words go on where she explains the biblical passage she uses to back up her statement. John 12:32: And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”



     
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JohannesKelpius

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Re: "There may be a hell, but it's probably empty"
« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2019, 02:33:03 PM »

"Hell" and "Sheol" are synonyms.

Not exactly. At least not in how we use those terms.  Hell is a place of punishment or judgement.  Akin to Jesus' term "gehenna".  Sheol could have that aspect, but sheol is also just "the pit" or "the abode of the dead" or even "with my fathers".  Psalm 9:17 captures the difference in that "The wicked shall return to Sheol, all the nations that forget God."  Holy Saturday, the creedal descended into hell, and the harrowing of hell following article 9 of the Formula all speak to the difference.  Sheol/Hell is closed for believers.  Today they are with Christ in paradise.

If Hell is strictly the place of punishment, then why would the Old Testament righteous have been there when Christ descended to it? The "descended into hell" of the creed is referring simply to the realm of the dead, like sheol or the Greek Hades. And the origin of the word "hell" in Germanic paganism supports this reading.  Hence the KJV repeatedly renders both sheol and Hades as "hell". Hellenistic Judaism had a view of the realm of the dead somewhat similar to the Greek idea, dividing it into various parts- Gehenna for the wicked, the bosom or vale of Abraham for the righteous.

Quote
Apokatastasis is what you are referring to (and what RJN would have been referring to).  The thinking is very Neo-Platonic in that all of the many must eventually return to the one.  God which is the alpha/source, must also be the omega/end of all things.

The neo-Platonic idea, ascribed (possibly falsely) to Origen is one view, but the idea that all individual souls would dissolve into the One was not the apokatastasis held by, say, St. Gregory of Nyssa. And for many, universal reconciliation was simply a natural way of interpreting texts like, "all died in Adam, and all are made alive in Christ." A short but very worthwhile overview of the early church's varying conceptions is Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev's book Christ the Conqueror of Hell, which quotes a wide array of early church texts- patristic, apocryphal, hymnographic- relating to the harrowing of hell and how it relates to wider eschatological themes, and showing that there was a wide range of views among orthodox Christians, including a significant contingent assuming universalism.