Among kingdom exclusionists, Pastor Joey (J.D.) Faust is something of an authority, having published a book on the topic — more an outline — entitled, The Rod, Will God Spare It? On his church website, he expresses frustration that KE writings are often banned by religious organizations like GES.
In an on-line challenge, Faust writes:
Robert (Bob) Wilkin of Grace Evangelical Society has banned Govett, Pember, Panton, and “The Rod: Will God Spare It” from all book-tables at GES Conferences. Yet, Wilkin teaches that some true believers will end up in “outer darkness.” Wilkin believes that these various warnings (i.e. in Hebrews, Matthew 25, etc.) are only figurative in nature, and do not imply that some unfaithful believers will be excluded from the Millennium and/or suffer any physical punishments (i.e. stripes, etc.). It appears that Wilkin actually believes that outer darkness is ETERNAL for some believers!
As a casual observer, I note the following: If Wilkin believes the warnings in Hebrews and Matthew 25 are figurative, he cannot believe — as Faust implies — that the punishment is “ETERNAL.” What is understood figuratively cannot be understood, well, how should I say it? — what is understood figuratively cannot be understood literally. If the warnings are to be understood figuratively, the punishments must equally be figurative.
We’ll have to leave it to Wilkin to explain the nuances of his argument, but based on Faust’s presentation, Wilkin’s views are not outrageous.
On a final note, Faust complains that Wilkin has ingorned requests to debate the matter, and he implies that Wilkin’s silence suggests deficiency of argument. I note that I have challenged Faust (see Kingdom Exclusion: A theological challenge — and I notified him by e-mail), and he has not replied. Should I ask, “Why the silence?” No, I should not. Faust is welcome to reply or not, as is Wilkin.