Wrath Wins: Using Emergent Hermeneutic Principles

The Emergent hermeneutic is to read everything in scripture through the lens of only one of God’s attributes and that attribute is His love.  Great attribute, and I love the reality of God’s love.  However if you are unbalanced in your approach to scripture, you end up unbalanced in doctrine and you end up thinking eventually everybody is going to heaven because of how you interpret God (My conclusion here is based Rob Bell’s book).  What if we chose another attribute of God and used it the same way the Emergent/Emergent Village folks do with God’s love.  Below are a couple links you should go read first and then come back; it helps put what I have said into some kind of context.  Remember this is satirical for the purpose of making the point.

Okay you need to go here and read this: http://apprising.org/2011/02/28/transcript-of-love-wins-video-of-rob-bell/ and go here an read this: http://www.emergentvillage.com/weblog/the-runaways-and-their-loving-mom


{I am now putting on my hip glasses, sweater, and skinny jeans.}

I was listening to a sermon the other day and the speaker quoted Spurgeon about something and then mentioned that Spurgeon was one of the people in heaven that they wanted to meet.  Spurgeon is in heaven? Really? And they knew this for sure and thought that everyone needed to know?   What about hell? He did smoke cigars. Will everyone else go there while a select few miss it?  What does one have to do to go to hell?  Do they have to get on Youtube and blaspheme the Holy Spirit?  Do they have to vote Democrat?  Or do they just have to reject Christ as their Savior to go?  How does one end up with the multitude that will suffer for eternity?

And this only leads me to more questions, the real question: What is God really like?  Millions and Millions of sinners have been told that God has expressed his love for them through the sending of His Son, and they have been commanded to repent and trust in Him for the forgiveness of sins so they can go to heaven.  What is subtly being taught is that God is not willing that any should perish and that He is willing to save you from your sin if you will repent and trust in Him.  What kind of God is that; that He would forgive sinners based on the work Christ did on the cross?  How could that God ever be wrathful; how could that God ever be feared?  And how is that God holy?

That is why lots of people want to be Christians.  They see it as an easy fire escape and a way to enjoy heaven for eternity; and they say: “This is the best thing that has ever happened to me.”  See, what we believe about heaven and hell is incredibly important because it exposes what we believe about Who God is and What God is like.  What you will discover in the Bible will cause you to react like a VanTillian apologist just slapped you in the face with presuppositionalism.  You will find out that reality is worse than that, it is far more worse than what you could have imagined.

While the Evangelicals and such are filling your head with stories of God propitiating for your sins and how forgiveness through the shed blood of Christ can be found, the Bible is telling us a more serious story.

You have heard some say God is love, but what kind of love?  I mean there are 3 or 4 different Greek words for love, and who knows what the writers actually mean when they use it.  From what I understand the Greek word agape that is usually translated love, actually has in it some of the Greek letters used to spell the word for wrath.  With that in mind, how could one go about and preach God’s love for sinners?  God’s wrath is made apparent to us in Genesis 6 when He destroys the earth with a flood.  God’s willingness to pour out His indignation on sinners is revealed when He rains fire down from heaven and destroys Sodom.  His wrath appears when He wipes out the first born in Egypt.  He sends serpents in to destroy the children of Israel, and time after time He punishes Israel with captivity and pestilence.  God takes the life of David’s baby for his sin with Bathsheba.  God had Agag hacked into pieces.  Herod was eaten with worms.  Yes, the God of the universe has it out for lawbreakers, and in His wrath He will not stop until He has destroyed them all in the Lake of Fire (Revelation).

But what about those that have repented and trusted in Christ?  Will they suffer the wrath of God too?  Will the fact that they have died in Christ mean that they will be resurrected unto life and they no longer will be subject to the penalty for sin?  Calvin thought it could be a different story when he wrote, “those of the elect……will……eventually……be taken and cast into the lake of fire…..and their heavenly home….will forever be…..lost…..”.

I will illustrate the absurd notion of eternal life in heaven with this story I just made up to fit my point of view.

There was a mother of four children that really, really loved her kids.  Her children however, hated her.  They despised everything about her and were unthankful for everything she did.  Day after day she supplied food for them, clothing, and tried to give them hugs.  They however, consistently pushed her away and called her names and at times acted like she wasn’t even there.  One day the four got together and finally had enough.  They took baseball bats and hammers and started to beat their mother.  They broke her arms, and her legs.  They bruised her face and cracker her ribs.  The whole time they laughed, yelled vulgarities and even spit on her.  Did she call the authorities and have them punished? No, she forgave them for what they did.  The next day, she still provided food, clothing and shelter, and continued to love them.

Do you see how silly this kind of woman would be?  So wouldn’t the real God be that silly, if He were to forgive sinners that have rebelled against Him.  No my friend, this God could not be, it flies in the face of what we know about God, He is wrathful toward those that break His law.

So what about those that have repented and trusted in Christ for the forgiveness of sins?  Don’t they deserve hell like everyone else?  What kind of God would let them get away with it?  You see, eventually, they will break God’s law.  Eventually God will have to punish them also, no matter how long it takes God will get them.  In the end, Wrath Wins.

{Getting back into my manly type clothes}


I hope you can see my point.  We don’t get to choose our favorite aspect and attribute of God and then define everything by it.  God is Holy, and because of His holiness He must and does punish sinners.  The good news is that God loved the world in this way, He sent His son to die, so that sinners that believe in Him would not perish, but have everlasting life.  This IS GOOD NEWS!  This is a GOD OF LOVE.  This is a Wrathful God that poured out His wrath on Christ in our place (Isaiah 53).  Jesus propitiated our sin. Praise be to His name.

What I want you to walk away from this post with is this:

If you focus only on His Love, the cross will have no purpose.

If you focus on just His Wrath, the cross will have no power.

In either case you have blasphemed the name of God.


About prchrbill

Bill Conover has written 9 post in this blog.

I am married and am the father of six children. I have spent the majority of my life in the Independent Fundamental Baptist movement, preaching in their pulpits and earning a 'degree' in Pastoral Theology from one of their schools. I no longer consider myself as IFB. I am recovering. I would hold to the 1742 Philadelphia Confession of Faith and to the Doctrines of Grace.

2 Responses to Wrath Wins: Using Emergent Hermeneutic Principles

  1. Justin says:

    Emergent style hermeneutic does not interpret the Bible through the lens of God’s love–it interprets it through a distorted version of his love. It’s precisely because of God’s love that he sends people to hell. Anyone that loves must hate what that love adores.

  2. Caleb Neff says:

    Hi Justin, can I ask what you mean exactly when you say, “Anyone that loves must hate what that love adores” ?

    Now for my comment: suppose we used God’s omnipotence to define and study the Bible? Define `omnipotence` as `the ability to do anything that is metaphysically possible`. As such, God is Pure Principle.

    1 Omnipotence decided to play a hilarious joke. 2 I Will Send A Sage To Die. 3 He Will Not Be Mankind’s Savior, 4 But They Will Think That He Is.
    I think we can see the problem here; if God is to be defined using a single attribute, the Cross becomes irrelevant. Under the single lens of omnipotence, the message of love is mute, and maybe God simply decided to lie? The Emergent Church is one of Satan’s biggest lies, and hopefully his last.

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