Thinking about Dark Thoughts

As a college student, and over in Belgium on a mission trip where I learned so much about the bigness of the Church, I was fortunate enough to be able to sit daily and listen to John R.W. Stott preach.

He said something that has never left me, and it pertains to what we are discussing in this series of blogs about Dark Thoughts.

Here it is — and I paraphrase: “Anyone who speaks about hell as the fate of any human being, the sorts we talk to and live with, and doesn’t do so with tears shouldn’t be talking about hell.”

I’ll never forget it. He said this more than 30 years ago.

Which brings to mind the famous words of CS Lewis in The Weight of Glory on how we should look at all those around us — as either potential beings of glory or beings of absolute horror. I believe Lewis is right here.

The reason we should “hope” is because of the sheer horror of what this all might mean. This isn’t so much about who’s got the text right as it is coming to terms with the gravity of human existence. Because of its gravity, we need to keep this conversation going so we can listen and learn to see what the Scriptures are teaching us.

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than forty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Scot,I think some of the other anon posts in your last blog (by Brandon and tooaugust) are very helpful on this whole area and I think show some helpful rigour. I think that the way you are using “hope” here in this 19 May blog re. hoping that those around will not end up as beings of horror is a different kind of hope than Kevin C has for universalism. I do not hope for universalism because Scripture does not teach it as true, but I hope/long/pray/yearn for those around me who are separated from Christ that they will not stay in this position but have their eyes opened to him and repent. In fact the very reason I hope for this is precisely because I do not believe in universalism and because the fate of the lost is too awful to bear.On a different note: pastorally, if we hope for universalism what would we say to someone who has just lost a non-Christian family member? Would we mention our ‘hope’ to them or keep quiet about it?


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