There has been a lot of controversy as of late concerning a particular pastor/writer and his view of hell and the fate of humanity. He has been vilified, and dismissed by many from the “big league” Evangelicals to the “wanna be” blogger types hoping their condemnations of Rob Bell will catapult them to the big time. Many of them had not even read the book.
Neither have I, so my comments here are not going to focus on “Love Wins” but on the questions and concerns raised by it.
I was given an ultimatum the other day via a Facebook conversation that I was having. It went something like this…
“Mark, do you believe in a literal hell where unbelievers are tormented forever and ever? If you don’t you deny Scripture.” (my paraphrase). I think that this Facebook “friend” was trying to trap me and thus solidifying his preconceived judgement of me that I am just a heretic. And if you take his comment about denying Scripture to its logical conclusion, he would assume that I am denying Christ as well.
You know, I am disturbed by all this hell talk. It appears to me that too many believers are almost giddy with excitement when it comes to someone burning alive forever in a lake of sulfur, just like they are excited about the Tim Lahaye’s Rapture leaving all the low life sinners here to suffer the wrath of God while believers lounge around on clouds partying it up.
Suppose for a moment, I didn’t believe in hell? Am I still a Christian? Suppose I said that I really don’t know what God truly has in store for the unbeliever at the end of their time or for eternity? Am I still a Christian? Is escaping from hell a good reason the “accept Jesus” as Savior? What if there is so much more that we do not understand or even have knowledge of concerning this Creator we call God?
If we are honest as Christians we would have to say that we do not know much about the workings of God since “God’s ways are not man’s ways.” So maybe we missed something in the doctrine of hell?
I have so many questions about this but no answers….
What about people who are mentally challenged and do not have the cognitive wherewithal to understand and believe in Jesus, do they go to hell?
What about the person living in another culture who has never, ever heard the name of Jesus, do they go to hell?
What about babies and little children born to unbelieving parents? If they die in infancy or childhood do they go to Hell?(By the way, there is not “age of accountability” in the Scripture. It is made up of loosely interpreted texts…like the rapture!)
Why would a God who is Love condemn individuals for all eternity, to a place of horrors and pain for only 60-70 years of life?
What if Jesus did die for the whole world?
What if like Adam, who brought condemnation to the whole world, Jesus the second “Adam” brought salvation and life to the whole world for all time past, present, and future?
Finally…Why are Christians so afraid to ask questions and why are we afraid that we might be wrong and God’s love really does win?
My prayer is that we are wrong on hell…and that God plan far exceeds any expectation we can conjure up.