Quench not the Spirit

Rachel Held Evans responds to the recent Southern Baptist Convention resolution affirming belief in “conscious, eternal suffering” for all non-Christians, i.e., Hell. She quotes from Rustin J. Umstattd, a theology professor at Midwestern Baptist seminary, who criticizes author Rob Bell for not realizing that we Christians, apparently, are not supposed to listen when our conscience [Read More...]

They're spreading blankets on the beach

The Economist: “America’s transport infrastructure: Life in the slow lane” America’s dependence on its cars is reinforced by a shortage of alternative forms of transport. Europe’s large economies and Japan routinely spend more than America on rail investments, in absolute not just relative terms, despite much smaller populations and land areas. America spends more building [Read More...]

Love and Holiness

I don’t want to just leave this to a footnote in a Left Behind post, because it’s much, much more than just a footnote in the Gospels, in Paul and in the prophets of the Hebrew scriptures: There is no such thing as holiness apart from love. This is a frequent, vehement, anvilicious theme in [Read More...]

The parable of the erratically forgiving master

The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. When he began the reckoning, one who owed him 10,000 talents was brought to him; and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his [Read More...]

The Missiological Case for Hell

One of the common, but strange, responses to Rob Bell’s infamous lack of enthusiasm for eternal torture has been what we might call the Missiological Case for Hell. This case was articulated recently by Russell Moore, dean of the school of theology at Southern Seminary, during a Team Hell Strategy Session at Al Mohler’s Southern [Read More...]

That chair doesn't belong in this play

Playwright David Mamet, from the essay “Realism” in Writing in Restaurants: In general, each facet of every production must be weighed and understood solely on the basis of its interrelationship to the other elements; on its service or lack of service to the meaning, the action of the play. A chair is not per se [Read More...]

The paradox of pitchforks, a devilish problem

I want to turn here away from the doctrine of Hell in itself to explore briefly a bit of the folklore that has attached itself to it. Specifically I want to look at the odd notion that Hell exists as a physical location that is also the workplace of hordes of devils and demons. That [Read More...]

Rob Bell vs. Team Hell (cont'd.)

Rob Bell’s book Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell and the Fate of Every Person Who Has Ever Lived went on sale yesterday and the backlash and criticism hasn’t yet peaked. The more I read of this criticism, the more I’m struck by the way everything Team Hell is upset with Bell about, or [Read More...]