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Those Stubborn Bible Passages About Hell

Some things just won’t go away. For Pastor Rob Bell, author of Love Wins, the scriptures that mention “hell” and God’s judgment and punishment are a thorn in his side.

Slickness is Bell’s middle name when it comes to slithering out of having to sign a doctrinal statement that adheres to the Christian orthodox belief in hell –  a doctrine he rejects.

To water down the heated controversy over “hell,” Bell claims Jesus didn’t use the threat of hell to warn people of the serious consequences of not accepting His message of salvation.

Only Hypocritical Religious People Are Sent To Hell

Bell argues Jesus was mostly speaking to very devout, religious Jews who saw themselves as God’s elect people and thought they didn’t need to accept Christ.  In fact, when Jesus spoke about hell, He addressed individuals who “considered themselves ‘in,’ warning them that their hard hearts were putting their ‘in-ness’ at risk . . . ”  In other words, the religious people.

The people who would qualify as people who hardened their hearts during Jesus’ time were the Jewish religious leaders – the Pharisees, the scribes and teachers of the law. In Bell’s vernacular Jesus was not like most Christians today who use hell to warn people they’re going to eternal damnation because they aren’t Christians (pg. 82). Instead, Jesus used “hell” to speak to people who considered themselves spiritual and saved. In today’s world that would be “Christians.”

A few problems exist in Bell’s attempt to excuse himself from speaking about hell to non-Christians. (more…)

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