On the subject of hell

Is there a hell? Are those who don’t accept Jesus going there? If so, could this really include those devoted to other faiths, nonbelievers, and those who do great good but may have never even had the opportunity to know of Christianity?

Age-old questions like those have been finding their way into new debate. One reason is Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived. It’s not too much to say that this recently published book by Rob Bell, an evangelical minister from Michigan, has rocked a large segment of the Christian world, suggesting as it does that “every person who ever lived” may partake of Jesus’ redemption—and share a place in heaven. 

Many people are put off by the idea that a bedrock tenet of Christian history may be crumbling. For some, even the questioning of such a doctrinal linchpin as hell’s necessity, as the ultimate check on human sinning, has produced crises of confidence, even a virtual chain collision on the highway of faith. If there’s no hell, then what’s the incentive for doing good and resisting evil? If everyone’s going to heaven, then what was the point of Jesus’ mission? Without judgment, where are the boundary lines between right and wrong? Why would we even need church at all?

Enjoy 1 free Sentinel article or audio program each month, including content from 1898 to today.

This is the end of the issue. Ready to explore further?
June 27, 2011

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.