Just about a year ago, I posted this about hell and the realities of it.
Now, because of one video, by Mr. Bell, there is the questioning of a literal hell. Why would that be a surprise, especially since, as Scot McKnight claims, "...somewhere near 75% of my students, many if not most of them nurtured in the church, are more or less (soft) universalists." Now, I appreciate what he is doing in the context, he is trying to say that there is a vacuum when it comes to this discussion but I think what it is centered around is a person instead of the Person of Christ.
Brian MacLaren goes to the other side and says, "let's defend Rob and heap praise upon him for being so BOLD!" Really? So "BOLD" is now questioning biblical thought and the reality of Jesus' teaching from the scripture? I mean no less than 14 references to it directly and at least 3 in the Sermon on the Mount alone. Jesus wasn't afraid of the realities of it or to have a discussion of it, in fact he was fiercely determined that there was a hell and real people were going there.
Also, there is a misnomer that because there is no real discussion of hell in the OT that the realities of it weren't present among the people of Israel. God's judgment of them was no less clear as Jesus teaching on hell than when the earth opened up and swallowed 250 sons of Korah (Num. 16:31-35), are they in heaven? And what were they judged for? They questioned Moses' leadership, not a real "evil" thing to do in our day would you say? But God saw it as a rejection of His leadership over them and he judged them severely. Sheol is a place mentioned frequently in the OT, just look up "Sheol" and see at least 60 references to it.
When Mr. McKnight starts with the false premise of people's thoughts, we become fascinated with guys like Rob Bell and what they question rather than what they believe. So he relates to the kids of today, so what, really, so what. I think that todays generation is so idealistic that it drives me crazy and makes me want to cover my kids ears. They're so focused on their wants and needs that if we don't pay attention to them then we are somehow doing a disservice to the community. Can they be quiet and listen to older and wiser voices, even older than Rob Bell is at 40? And not just voices that question everything but voices that say wise things, biblical things, and take stands that involve the Bible and not their own thoughts.
So be ready for the discussion, if you do have it, that hell is real and they must be prepared. Like Tyrun who I spoke to at the park on Sunday, it should provoke the reality of that to run to our neighbors and share the good news.
Your boasting friend,