And neither will you. At least that is the conclusion I came to several years ago, back when I first started blogging. Between February and March of 2008 I wrote several posts about the concept of hell. You can find them here, here, here, and here. In 2009, 2010, and 2011, I wrote other posts that encourage a loving God point of view and further argue against a literal interpretation of an eternal place of torment. You can find some of those here, here, and here. My most recent post to reference hell was in June of 2013 and can be found here. The point is, I’ve written a lot about hell.
As I’ve wrestled through this issue and been confronted by my fellow Christians about my heresy (see right there I differ from many who still hold to a hell doctrine because I refer to them as fellow Christians and they to me as a heretic) I have come to understand it as one of the in or out biggies. In other words, it’s divisive. Hell separates the Church like some other current day issues–same-sex marriage, hymns vs choruses, open vs closed communion, the ordination of women, etc. And in my opinion, the separation is more grievous to God than holding any side of any issue, including the wrong side.
Through out the Gospels Jesus examples an inclusive attitude toward others. He brings fishermen and tax collectors together as disciples. He allows women to sit at His feet. He tells stories that uplift Samaritans. He heals the Centurion’s servant. Over and over Jesus disregards difference, pushes back the overcast clouds of hell and brings the light of heaven to earth. Then He tells his followers to do the same thing. He tells us plainly we are to show we are His by our love. We are to love God. We are to love our neighbors. We are to love our enemies. These are not mutually exclusive commandments. One does not negate or make impossible the importance of obeying the others. Love looks the same whether it is directed at God or directed at those huddling in the margins.
When the Bible commands we are not to judge lest we be judged it implies we shouldn’t even set up a criteria for judgment. At the end of the day we have it in our power to bring heaven or hell to the people we engage. Our treatment of, attitude toward, and efforts for others determines whether or not they see the face of Christ or are mad sick by the smell of sulfur. And when they ask us “what makes you so hateful?” or “how is it you can love so selflessly?” we will know whether we are followers of Christ or ambassadors from hell.
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Other Syncrobloggers on the topic:
Jeremy Myers – Does Jesus Talk About Hell More Than Heaven?
Wesley Rostoll – Hell, thoughts on annihilationism
K. W. Leslie – Dark Christians
Angie Benjamin – Hell Is For Real
Paul Meier – Hell Is For Real – I’ve Been There and Came Back
Glenn Hager – Abusing Hell
The Virtual Abbess – What The Hell?
Kimbery Klein – Hell, if I know.
Michael Donahoe – Hell Yes…or No?
Liz Dyer – Hell? No!
Loveday Anyim – Why the hell do you believe in hell?
Linda – If you died today, where would you go?
Edwin Aldrich – What the Hell do we really know.
Mallory Pickering – The Time I Blogged About Hell