I always thought that there was an outside chance that in the afterlife I might be spending some time in a warmer climate down below. Well it may be that my fears were overblown.
There is a new book out by evangelical Pastor Rob Bell called Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived. Pastor Bell has shaken up the evangelical community by stating that he does not believe there is a Hell.
Traditional evangelical ministers are up in arms over Bell’s bold assertions about Heaven and Hell because it calls into question their theological doctrines of salvation and judgment. If the Bible claim of hell is not valid and everyone goes to heaven, then where is the sanction for those who don’t follow the Bible or become born again through the guidance of their evangelical ministers?
Even more dangerous to mainline evangelicals is the impact on key positions of the culture wars – if Bell is questioning the existence of Hell than what about all the other claims of the Bible such as those condemning homosexuality? The Bible then becomes just another relativistic document with no divine law-giving.
Although Bell is now persona non grata in the evangelical community, he may be leading a new generation of worshippers who accent heaven and salvation through Christ rather than the fire and brimstone of older generation ministers who have spent their lifetime warming their followers that hell awaits them if they don’t tow the line.
For Bell Christianity and salvation through Christ is about the power of love and doing good deeds, and most importantly those who follow Christ are part of a universal Church, not a congregation of mean-spirited and judgmental evangelicals.
For self-serving purposes I like Pastor Bell’s views on Heaven and Hell. He fits right into my vision of where I am headed when I take the eternal death nap. I feel much better now about the afterlife.