You recently took issue with John Shore’s piece in Time magazine in which he proposed “a Christianity without hell.” I took issue with him, too. Therefore, you and I agree that John has interpreted the Bible in such as way as to render it practically meaningless, and thus proposed a Christianity which has nothing to do with Christ or the Bible.
Where you and I part company is that you cling to the traditional teaching that hell is a place of eternal conscious torment which those who have not accepted Christ in this life will enter and never be able to leave. By contrast, I believe what Jesus described as hell is actually the judgment of God in this life on this earth, and that by walking with Him we can find salvation in the midst of these judgments. I believe that everyone is going to heaven, but that does not at all mean that righteousness and sin don’t matter. On the contrary, we’re all going to have to give an account up there of everything we’ve done down here. I believe the Bible is clear about this and have written a book-length explanation of my position, accessible at the link above.
As for your interpretation of the Bible, however, I don’t even think you really believe what you say you believe, because if you did, you would talk about heaven and hell a lot more than you do. A whole lot more.
Think about it. If you as a Christian really believed that anyone dying without Christ was proceeding to a pit of never-ending physical and emotional torment you would do everything you could to spare them. People are dying all the time, and I would think that you would want to spare as many of them from hell as possible. I did a quick internet search and found from three different sources that about 150,000 people are dying every day. That’s over 6,000 per hour, over a hundred per minute, and more than one per second. If every day, some of those 150,000 people might be going to your version of hell, why in the world are you talking to people about any other subject on The Briefing than that? What else could be more pressing?
On your October 30th podcast, right after you spoke about your conviction on the reality of hell you then segued to “Population control anti-natalism of cultural elite closely tied to eugenics.” Talk about a non sequitur! If some people are on their way to hell as you understand it, how does what the cultural elite are thinking compare to that in importance? And then, continuing your descent from the supremely important to things which are not, you spoke about “Geographic clustering of worldview in America evidence of changing landscape of nation.” Huh? Who cares about “geographic clustering” if people are going to hell by the truckload?
Since October 30th when you made clear your conviction and concern about “Christ-less” people going to hell when they die, here are the subjects you have spoken about on your podcast (and there’s not going to be a word about hell in any of them):
- Apple CEO proclaims his homosexuality a divine gift, revealing extent of cultural shift on issue
- Taiwan gay pride march displays importance of theological beliefs to culture’s morality
- Colorado governor warns rapid legalization of marijuana as too costly
- Cultural influences creating and influencing celebration of Halloween crucial to consider
- Tragedy of Brittany Maynard ending her life reminder humans are not self-defining beings
- UN Climate report raises question of nature of scientific authority
- Election day is an exercise of political and Christian responsibility
- Election Day looms large on America’s political, cultural and moral horizons
- Partisan divide in America points to a demographic divide
- Obama comments about stay-at-home moms reveals priority of professional over family life
- Population control solution to climate change horrifying example of anti-natalism
Where is your concern about hell? Did Brittany Maynard know Jesus? Isn’t the answer to that question more important that the circumstances surrounding her death? According to your stated belief, if she knew Jesus, she is with Him now and forever and if she did not, then she will suffer a fate infinitely worse than the disease she feared. And what does the “UN Climate report” have to do with the eternal destiny of the human souls of your listeners and those with whom they’ll have interactions today? Your belief should be driving you to urge them to warn everyone. And “Election Day” looms large? According to your doctrine, hell looms far larger than that! What are the results of the U.S. mid-term elections in comparison to an eternity of ghastly punishment?
Thus the problem you have with your doctrine of hell is not me, but rather your own behavior. You are saying that people are going to hell unless they accept Jesus but you are giving the majority of your time to issues other than facilitating those all important decisions for Jesus.
I am not suggesting that the disconnect between your stated belief and your behavior is unique to you. On the contrary, you are a representative sample of Evangelical Christians. You claim to believe that eternal destiny matters far more than anything else, yet you want to use most of your airtime to talk about anything but that.
As for me, I believe that everyone is going to heaven, and because of that, everything we think, say, and do on earth matters. I care about many of the same public policy issues you do, but the difference is that I can focus on them secure in the biblical assurance that everyone’s eternal destiny is heaven. What I can’t understand is why you insist that everyone’s eternal destiny is not secure, but you can feel comfortable spending most of your time talking about issues other than helping people avoid that worst-of-all-possible outcomes.