This week I saw this article posted by John Shore where he emphatically declares there is no such place as a literal hell. Mr. Shore represents a new brand of Christians who know what the Bible really says. They kind of remind me of the Supreme Court that knew what the founders really meant to say, even though they didn’t say it, in regard to abortion. Here is a portion of what Shore says about hell:
The idea that the Bible declares hell a real and literal place is no more valid than the toxic lie that the Bible condemns homosexuality.
Yet the idea that hell is real persists. Why? Because over the centuries those in positions of power within the institutions of Christianity have methodically, relentlessly, and with great art used the doctrine of hell to exploit the innate fear of death that is harbored by one and all.
Show me a Christian terrified of hell, and I’ll show you a Christian ready to pay good money for the assurance that he is not going there. If you don’t think the “doctrine” of hell is about the accrual of money and power, then … then God bless your naiveté.
For the rest of us, it’s certainly worth asking what a Christianity without hell would look like. Well …
A Christianity without hell would be literally fearless…[i]
Mr. Shore gives no real argument for his position of no hell, although I’m sure he has them. However, several questions come to my mind after reading his article. Why does the Bible talk about hell so much? In fact, Jesus spoke of hell more than heaven. The idea of judgment is pervasive in Jesus’ teaching, but all this can be dismissed by an arbitrary statement that it doesn’t exist.
The article states that a real hell is no more valid than the lie that the Bible condemns homosexuality. We get two for one in this article. Mr. Shore and his like-thinking companions know more about what the Bible says than the writers of the Bible, the early church fathers, and thousands of years of traditional Christians who have believed in a literal interpretation of the text. Their intelligence seems to know no limits, and it is as vast as their arrogance.
Mr. Shore says that teaching the doctrine of a literal hell somehow equals revenue for the teachers. What is hard to believe about that is I don’t see very many people preaching about hell these days. The people making money on TV are preaching a Christianity that makes people feel good not bad.
Mr. Shore says a literal hell doesn’t fit with the spirit of Christianity. What he means is that it doesn’t fit with his version of Christianity, and I would certainly agree. However, it does belong in the original version, the one delivered to us by Jesus. I for one am not buying into Mr. Shore’s Christianity. I believe in a savior that saves people from sin—a sin that if not redeemed would send a person to hell. Yes, I believe sin separates us from God, but it doesn’t have to because Jesus died on the cross to save us and reconcile us to our Father.