Coloring Death With Hope: Jesus & His Kingdom, IV

In this installment, we’re going to briefly cover three chapters, because 4 and 5 are mostly background information Mike wants readers to absorb so they can be aware of biblical context. If you’re interested, you should read or at least gloss them over them yourself, instead of relying on my interpretation of what Mike wants to say. Chapter 6 is titled, Coloring Death With Hope.

Mike begins chapter 4 by noting the importance of oral tradition in history, a point often overlooked or underplayed by those fond of the “but all we have are a bunch of stories” when it comes to evaluating the integrity of historic documents. It’s an off-the-cuff type statement, but he makes a humorous point related to hyper-skeptics and their demands:

If I want to know who brought the first airplane into existence, I am satisfied when I hear the names Wilbur and Orville Wright. I do not need to know the kinds of wrenches they used or where they bought the raw material before I can accept the answer. Even if I was interested in such detailed information and could discover it, this still would not change the answer to my original question – no matter how much detail I did or didn’t uncover.

Read More →

Where Is Sheol? Jesus & His Kingdom, III

This is the third installment of my review on Mike Gantt’s Jesus and His Kingdom: The Biblical Case for Everyone Going to Heaven.

I’d like to note that thus far, I haven’t actually responded to universalism in this series, at all. Like any worthwhile writer, Mike has simply been laying the groundwork for his case–laying more bricks for our wall of understanding, as he eloquently put it–and I think he’s doing an excellent job. So, please don’t be let down if some or all of today’s post is hardly related to universalism. I assure you we’ll get there. I have faith that Mike will explain the “who-what-when-where-why” of his beliefs as the chapters proceed.

Read More →

A Place Called Sheol: Jesus & His Kingdom, II

This is the third installment of my review on Mike Gantt’s Jesus and His Kingdom: The Biblical Case for Everyone Going to Heaven.

Chapter 2 is on the Hebrew concept of Sheol found primarily in the Old Testament. The chapter essentially serves as an extended introduction to the concept, exploring its various uses throughout the Old Testament and cross-referencing them with one another. My review itself is rather short, but I suggest you read it anyways, especially the addendum.

Read More →

The Problem Of Death: Jesus & His Kingdom, I

This series is an ongoing review of Jesus and His Kingdom: The Biblical Case For Everyone Going To Heaven, by Mike Gantt.

For the most part, Chapter One is basically a really well-written and thought-provoking summary on death: what it means, why we react to it the way we do, the apparent fact of its universality, etc. As might be expected from the first chapter in any book, the author merely lays the groundwork for the discussion that is to come.

I like Mike’s writing, so far. I like that he asks questions, and appears more to be having a critical thinking session with himself than preaching down his nose at all of us in the congregation.

Read More →

Jesus & His Kingdom: Introduction

When I asked readers to suggest writing topics for 2011, Matt and Garren both suggested sticking with book reviews. Matt also alluded to my previously stated interest in developing content that explores what the Bible actually says about various topics.

A few weeks ago at CSA, I began to notice several intelligent and well-reasoned comments from a believer named Mike Gantt, who caught my attention with the following :

…the heaven-or-hell theory of afterlife promulgated today largely by evangelical Christianity… is not biblical. The Bible actually teaches that everyone is going to heaven and everyone is judged for their sins. Therefore, whether you believe in this or not, you will go to heaven when you die. However, the degree of enjoyment you have with that life there will be based in large part on morality with which you lived your life on earth (including the kindness you showed others who were less fortunate). [Mike Gantt]

As is the case whenever anybody makes a claim I’m skeptical of, my initial reaction was to ask Mike for the evidence that he felt justified his position. He replied with links to a book he’s written on the subject, titled Jesus and His Kingdom: The Biblical Case for Everyone Going to Heaven. I gave his links a perfunctory read, decided I couldn’t agree based on what I’d seen, then figured that would be the end of it. A week later, Mike left a comment here that contained the same claim: everybody goes to heaven. For some reason, this time, I felt the need to reply.

So, perhaps you can see where all of this is going: Responding To Universalism will be one of TWIM’s new book review series’ for 2011.

Read More →