The Hell Controversy
Time Magazine had a cover story at Easter, of all times, that focused on the topic of hell, asking the question “What if there is no hell?”
In this cover story, they interview Rob Bell, who wrote a book that has received a lot of attention titled Love Wins.
In Love Wins, Bell writes:
“A staggering number of people have been taught that a select few Christians will spend forever in a peaceful, joyous place called heaven, while the rest of humanity spends forever in torment and punishment in hell with no chance for anything better. It’s been clearly communicated to many that this belief is a central truth of the Christian faith and to reject it is, in essence, to reject Jesus. This is misguided and toxic and ultimately subverts the contagious spread of Jesus’ message of love, peace, forgiveness, and joy that our world desperately needs to hear.”
Al Mohler’s Blog
Al Mohler wrote an excellent blog on this. Mohler points out that Bell’s belief is that the story of an eternal hell is not a good story. He suggests that a “better story” would involve sinners coming to Christ after death.
The problem with Bell’s idea is that it completely contradicts what the Bible teaches. The fact is, Jesus spoke more about hell than all the other preachers in the Bible combined. That is because Jesus knows of both its reality and its terrors.
“Only a select few Christians?”
As far as “a select few Christians” making it in, here is what Jesus Himself said, in Matthew 7:13–14: “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life,and there are few who find it.”
Heaven is not for good people, it is for forgiven people. Any person can go to heaven if they take hold of God’s provision for them, which is turning from their sins and placing their belief in Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for their sin.
Hell is eternal, as heaven is.
Scripture teaches that not only is heaven eternal, but so is hell. As J.I. Packer said, “An endless hell can no more be removed from the New Testament than an endless heaven can.” The fact is, we all believe there should be a “court of final arbitration” for the worst sinners—a place of judgment for the Hitlers, Stalins, and Osama Bin Ladens of the world.
There are people that live wicked lives and do horrific things. They may escape the long arm of the law but they will never escape the long arm of the Lord.
The last thing God wants is for anyone to go to hell. If a person ends up there, it is really a result of their own choice. Here is the Bible’s description of the Great White Throne Judgment:
The Great White Throne Judgement
“The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the Second Death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:13–15).
C.S. Lewis on Hell
C.S. Lewis wrote, “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’” All who are in hell have chosen it.
Timothy Keller said, “People only get in the afterlife what they have most wanted—either to have God as Savior and Master, or to be their own Saviors and Masters.” Hell is simply one’s freely chosen path, going on forever. Many want to get away from God, and God, in His infinite justice, sends them where they want to go.”
We cannot edit God’s Story.
It is not for us to edit what the Scripture clearly teaches. As Al Mohler said, “We have no right to determine which “story” of the gospel we prefer or think is most compelling. We must deal with the gospel that we received from Christ and the apostles, the faith once for all delivered to the church.”