Timothy Keller


I heard a message on Hell by this guy the other day. Anyone ever heard of him. I wished that he had covered some things that he didn’t like meanings of certain words but basically he agreed with Lewis on hell being a choice and being locked from the inside. The problem was that he went on to talk about judgment. I would like to know if he thinks judgment would be a choice as well.

To me if hell is a choice then I am choosing to be judged. Doesn’t make any sense. Any thoughts?


Hi nimblewill,

I’m actually in a Bible study that is currently going through one of his books (The Prodigal God). I know Keller is “Reformed,” which means he probably believes that, either before God created the world or right after Adam sinned, God unconditionally selected some from the human race to go to heaven (and sent Jesus to “pay the penalty” for their sins alone) while passing over everyone else and “allowing” them to go to hell (though, according to his theology, they really couldn’t choose otherwise). So by saying that “the doors of hell are locked on the inside,” I doubt he means the damned can or will ever leave. Keller actually has an article on hell on his website:
redeemer.com/news_and_events … _hell.html

Hope that helps.


Quote from Kellar:

In my opinion he really twists this up. Knees and tongues don’t KNOW, people do. I agree that none can come to the Lord unless the Spirit draws them, but Jesus said He would do exactly that. (John12:32) This guy says the opposite.

What he said about Paul saying that Hell is being out of the presence of God doesn’t gee-haw either. I see that scripture as saying the one not knowing God will be destroyed beause of the presence of God not for the lack of it. Revelation bears this out too, when it mentions the ones to be tormented…in the preswence of the Lamb and holy angels.

If I was a Hell believer, I would probably use this. But that would be because I would not know about John 12:32. :slight_smile:

just ramblng…Debbie


I agree! LOL! This guy has reduced himself to the fallacy Argumentum Ad Absurdum or Hypostatization.



John 12:32 taken in context is teaching Jesus taking the Judgment due to the world upon himself and paying it’s price by crucifixion…Not automatically drawing every man that has ever lived to himself like you and other UR’s would like to think.


Why not? He took away everyone’s sins - delivered everyone held captive by death (which is everyone.) Why shouldn’t He draw everyone He redeemed from the grave, which is everyone?

You’re the one who doesn’t believe that all men are in Christ as they were in Adam. If you want to send people to hell for the ‘sin of unbelief,’ start with yourself. So to take it to your level: You’re the one with the demonic spirits who cause you to rewrite scripture to fit their demonic plan. They have blinded you to scriptures that most others see quite clearly. You’re an unbeliever and the demons plan on keeping you that way. How’s that?

You’re the one saying that people should burn forever for not believing that He will redeem them from the grave - because YOU don’t believe they are redeemed.



You must believe to receive or doubt and do without.


Aaron37 sounds more and more like a 5 pointer. So he doesn’t draw every sinlge person and under calvinist theology because he doesn’t love them.

So subscribing to libertarian free will, do you believe he wants EACH and EVERY (ALL) men to come to repentance and if he does will he doing ANY drawing at all?



I never have denied the principle of the cross drawing people, but not all who are drawn will come to faith. God would like for everyone to accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, but God knew not all would do this. ( Jn 3:19;Matthew 7:13-14) Libertarian free-will? No, I just know the balance of Grace and Faith.

Btw, the context of John 12:32 is Jesus drawing all of God’s judgment toward the entire human race to Himself.

Here is how the John 12:32 should be interpreted: “When I am lifted up upon the cross, I will draw all of God’s judgment toward the entire human race to Myself”.


The problem I have with the idea that hell is locked from the Inside is that it portrays and gives people the Idea that God does not sendt people to hell. It’s a constant theme and attempt by non Universalists to try to provide why LFW and Determinsts can say God is loving.

I can at least appreciate the hyper calvinists who stick to their guns and follow their logic through. I can at least appreciate the open theists who follow their logic through. I have little apprecaition for the Calminian, non-hyper calvinists or arminians who try to soften up their Hitler like god or Gambling god by stating things like…
(calvinists who contradict) The person chose what they most wanted - Nevermind God made them do it.
(arminians who contradict) God doesn’t send the person to hell, men send themselves - Nevermind God could have performed miracles that would have saved them.
(Calminians) do nothing but contradict - Yes God causes us to be saved and we freely chose.

Nonsense as far as I can see. A Calvinist who at least proclaims that God does not love all and believes in ECT at least makes sense and can have a descent discussion. But a Calvinist who tries to put the burden on men makes no sense to me.



Aaron, I had put up a “don’t hijack the thread” comment and remembered that I too was tempted to follow that same route. We’ll discuss your idea on the proper topic. Lets leave this one to the Timothy Keller view.




First, I’m no Calvinist, friend. Nor am I a Arminian. I’m a disciple of Jesus Christ who knows the balance of Grace and Faith.

Is everyone saved? No. Why? Because God has made the payment, but you must receive it. Each individual must appropriate by faith what God has already provided by grace in order for it to take effect in their life. If you don’t understand this balance of Grace and Faith…I pray someday you will Auggy.


What’s your thoughts on this point Aaron37?



I was responding to Debbie’s comment: “If I was a Hell believer, I would probably use this. But that would be because I would not know about John 12:32. :)”

I was refuting her interpretation of John 12:32.


Not a prob, just try not drive the thread too far away from the OP. We all do it. Heak I’m terrible for hijacking. I am trying to keep to the OP, it’s respect for the original poster, in this case Nimblewell.




It would not be fair to God.



Thanks Auggy for trying to get back to topic. I realize how easy it is to get away from the OP. I was just curious as to what people would say about choosing a life apart from God would say that it would be a life of continuous torment for judgment’s sake.


Great response, Debbie…you nailed it. I couldn’t help but say “Amen!” when I read that! :slight_smile:


Care to elaborate?

In what sense would it not be fair to God?



Sure :slight_smile: I don’t feel that many people going/staying to/in Hell would be fair to God because, we are his handiwork. Revelation says we were made for His pleasure. God saw fit to give Jesus Christ a “name above all names” because He “bought back” this creation when it strayed away. The wages of sin being death, Jesus reversed the curse when He died and rose again…with the promise of all men doing the same.

  1. God would have to do without most of His creation created for His pleasure
  2. Jesus would come out looking pretty feeble if He didn’t pull off what He came to do, which was taste death (the problem) for every man.

Just my thoughts :slight_smile: