This post will take a break in Geisler’s series (this post only). I wanted to take time and examine Geisler’s work.
Over the last few posts, I’ve showed the reader how Geisler uses proof texts and gets his interpretations all wrong. He does the same thing again with the verse Matthew 10:33—
“It should also be observed that these individuals are ‘in heaven’ (Matt. 10:33); they are only being denied special recognition by the Father, not a place in his family. They will receive no ‘Well done, good and faithful servant’ (25:23) approbation from their Father, BUT THEY WILL BE IN HIS HEAVEN” (Norman Geisler, “Four Views on Eternal Security,” by J. Matthew Pinson, General Editor. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002, page 95).
First off, those mentioned in Matthew 10:33 are not “in heaven.” Notice that the text says that the Father is “in heaven,” not the people. In the context of Matthew 10, Jesus gives us a statement that contradicts Geisler:
“Don’t fear those who kill the body but are not able to kill the soul; rather, fear Him who is able to destroy both body and soul in hell” (Matt. 10:28, Holman Christian Standard Bible).
Starting in verse 16, the Lord Jesus begins to talk about persecutions that believers would experience because of their connection to Jesus. Perseverance is in order, for Jesus tells His disciples, “You will be hated by everyone because of My name. BUT THE ONE WHO ENDURES TO THE END WILL BE DELIVERED” (Matt. 10:22).
The denial of Christ that He despises here is a denial that involves a rejection of who He is on account of persecution, as the context of the chapter attests.
Geisler’s words about the Matthew 25 text trouble me immensely:
“They will receive no ‘Well done, good and faithful servant’ (25:23) approbation from their Father, BUT THEY WILL BE IN HIS HEAVEN.”
Let’s look at Matthew 25 to see the context that Geisler misses:
We find that in the Parable of the Talents, there are three servants left with a certain amount of money (“talents”) while the Master is gone to a faraway country. He doesn’t stay gone forever, and He returns. When He does, each servant is made to give an account of what they’ve done with their money. Let’s see the response of the first servant:
19 "After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received five talents approached, presented five more talents, and said, 'Master, you gave me five talents. Look, I've earned five more talents.'
21 "His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful slave! You were faithful over a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Share your master's joy! (Matthew 25:19-21, HCSB)
The first servant took his five talents and made five more. He was rewarded: “share your master’s joy!”
And then the second servant did the same:
22 "Then the man with two talents also approached. He said, 'Master, you gave me two talents. Look, I've earned two more talents.'
23 "His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful slave! You were faithful over a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Share your master's joy!' (Matt. 25:22-23)
But what about the third servant?
24 "Then the man who had received one talent also approached and said, 'Master, I know you. You're a difficult man, reaping where you haven't sown and gathering where you haven't scattered seed. (G) 25 So I was afraid and went off and hid your talent in the ground. Look, you have what is yours.'
26 "But his master replied to him, 'You evil, lazy slave! (H) If you knew that I reap where I haven't sown and gather where I haven't scattered, 27 then [d] you should have deposited my money with the bankers. And when I returned I would have received my money [e] back with interest.
28 " 'So take the talent from him and give it to the one who has 10 talents. 29 For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have more than enough. But from the one who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. (I) 30 And throw this good-for-nothing slave into the outer darkness. (J) In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' (Matt. 25:24-30)
As we can see from the context, there is only ONE servant that is chastised—and that is the servant with one talent who hid his in the ground (v. 25). Notice what happens to the lazy servant? He does not get patted on the head and told, “well, at least you learned your lesson.” No—instead, he first LOSES his talent: “take the talent from him and give it to the one who has 10 talents.” Secondly, he is cast into hell—“And throw this good-for-nothing slave into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Where is this place that contains “weeping and gnashing of teeth”? Matthew 13:42 tells us,
"They will throw them into the blazing furnace where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
The place of “weeping and gnashing of teeth” is called “the blazing furnace” here in Matthew 13:42. Revelation refers to hell with a similar label:
"The Devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet are, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever." (Revelation 20:10).
The “blazing furnace” of Matthew 13 is the “lake of fire” of Revelation 20.
In addition, Luke 13:28 tells us that this place will be “outside of the kingdom”:
"There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth in that place, when you see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but yourselves thrown out."
Here we see that “that place” contains “weeping and gnashing of teeth” as the Pharisees themselves are “thrown out” of the “kingdom of God” where Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the prophets are.
We see from the context of Matthew 25, then, that the servant who had his talent taken from him ALSO lost his eternal life—as he was cast into hell. Geisler likes to argue the “loss-of-rewards” position, but, according to Scripture, rewards only come for those who remain faithful. As for the unfaithful, they lose EVERYTHING—including eternal life.