Dr. Jerry Johnston Interviews Dr. Jerry Walls20 May 2019
Dr. Jerry Walls is a scholar-in-residence and professor of Philosophy in the School of Humanities of HBU. His primary teaching focus is philosophy of religion, ethics and Christian apologetics. His many publications include a trilogy on the afterlife: “Hell: The Logic of Damnation,” “Heaven: The Logic of Eternal Joy” and “Purgatory: The Logic of Total Transformation.”
Dr. Jerry Walls discussed what he calls “the most interesting issues about the stuff that matters most” at Houston Baptist University with Dr. Jerry Johnston, HBU VP of Innovation and Strategic Marketing. Walls is a scholar-in-residence and professor of Philosophy in the School of Humanities of HBU. His books reflect the depth of his study and his adroit handling of complex theological matters.
“A lot of contemporary philosophy has become very technical and narrow, with lots of detailed arguments about very small issues. A lot of times big issues get lost in the debate – what’s the meaning of life, does God exist, what is the nature of evil, faith, reason? This is the kind of stuff that was on the plate of all the major Western philosophers,” Walls says. “All these people dealt with arguments for God’s existence. Philosophy of religion focuses on the big questions that have animated philosophy from its very inception. We are made in the image of God. Genuine love, trust, worship, and obedience has to be freely given.”
Walls and Johnston talk about matters outlined in his plainly titled book, “Why I Am Not a Calvinist,” co-authored with Joseph R. Dongell.
Johnston notes, “I came to Christ because a girl stuck out her hand and said, ‘Sit with me’ in a meeting. But I heard the Gospel. One of the byproducts of Calvinism is that it kills evangelistic fervor. Why is it becoming popular?”
Walls reminds listeners of the “TULIP” espoused by Calvinism: total depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace, and perseverance of the saints.
“It’s really the three in the middle that are at the heart of Calvinism,” Walls says. “Calvinists have done a brilliant job of selling the idea that they’re the ones who take the Bible seriously – who believe in a sovereign God. They have done a great job. I believe in biblical authority, too. The question is about the character of God – does God truly love all people?”
God’s love is for everyone, and His gift of free will to humanity is the result of His love, Walls says. “It’s precisely because God is love that hell makes sense,” he says.