This weekend, Twitter and the blogosphere were a flutter over the idea that a Christian pastor might lean towards universalism. GASP!
All these folks getting their debate on — over a book that hasn’t even been released yet — and one in which the vast majority of commentators haven’t even read.
A promotional video for the book:
Whatever conclusion Bell comes to in his upcoming book, Love Wins, (which I’ve already pre-ordered) the idea of universalism and Christians who deny the existence of hell is nothing new in Christian theology.
Origen of Alexandria, whom many consider one of Christianity’s first great theologians, and who had a major influence on our current Biblical canon, was cast as a heretic for his denial of hell.
…for Origen believed that God’s love is so powerful as to soften even the hardest heart, and that the human intellect – being the image of God – will never freely choose oblivion over proximity to God, the font of Wisdom Himself.
In fact, even those who would hold fast to their belief in hell, may differ on their interpretation of hell.
Some may see it as a place of eternal torment. Others may believe in annihilationism (all sinners are destroyed rather than eternally tormented). And others believe hell is more of a punishment or prison, where we “work off” the bad things we’ve done, until we can be accepted into heaven.
And as I think through some of these issues, I wonder if any one of these beliefs would actually prohibit someone from being a “Christian.”
Does agreement with universal reconciliation mean someone is automatically condemned to the hell they don’t believe in?
Does a belief (or disbelief) in annihilationism mean someone will most certainly face that punishment?
In high school, I remember countless people warning us to never compromise our faith. But what is really required of “our faith?”
I have a feeling Bell’s going to address a lot of these issues in his book (or at least his understanding of them), but in the mean time I’d love to get your input.
What are the NO COMPROMISE requirements of your faith?
Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, or any others… what are the key elements of your faith that you refuse to compromise?
P.S. I’m not looking for debate here, just conversation. What are the key elements of your faith?