Autor: nic paton
Category: Compromiso con Las Escrituras
After a discussion around the use of the idea of Hell in preaching, theology and mission, a pastor friend of mine remarked, "If you take hell away, there goes my ministry."
How many of us find ourselves in this situation?
Does the Love which holds the cosmos intact at some point fail? Is punishment hidden away in the secret heart of God? How do we appeal to the demands of mercy and also of justice? Where does the doctrine of everlasting punitive separation come from? Do we have the energy to uncover its architecture? Is it a core, non-negotiable evangelical or Christian value? Can evil and hell be explained alternatively, for example psychologically? Will Satan or Hitler be saved in the end? What might a gospel expunged of the threat of everlasting punitive separation look like? Do we have the imagination to grasp how high, wide or deep that might be?
And why has hellfire preaching fallen out of fashion? Is it because it’s an embarrassment and damaging to the gospel of grace, or is it because we have stopped believing in it? Has it gone underground, and if so does this sublimation not do deep unseen damage to our collective faith?
Opening this Pandora’s Box might keep one occupied for years. But to be brief and direct, is a dogma of hell central to your faith?