Let that sink in for a moment.
The debate concerning our eternal destination never really subsides but this article on MSN published today adds some new fuel and has, perhaps, rekindled the fire. Pastor Chad Holtz has lost his job. According to the article, he was dismissed in part because he posted on Facebook expressing his support for a new book by Rob Bell that basically says Hell doesn't exist - or at least that no one will spend an eternity in torment there. I haven't read Mr. Bell's book yet but he presents a compelling case in this trailer:
In addition to making the case for us to buy and read his book, Mr. Bell is also casting verbal stones at the core belief of Christianity: that Jesus died on the cross for our sins - and the sins of all people, everywhere. In effect, Mr. Bell is saying - at least without having read the book yet it sounds like he is saying - that Jesus died for nothing.
I have to ask the question: if everyone can get to heaven without the need to confess Jesus Christ as their savior and experience a real heart-change - then why did Jesus have to die at all?
It's all well and good to say God is love and the true good news of the Gospel is that God loves us unreservedly - which He does - but the word gospel means good news and if the Gospel of Jesus Christ includes his death, resurrection and ascension into heaven as payment for our sins, it's a bit presumptuous to try and change the meaning of His death to suit a personal, theological view.
I understand completely the comment about Ghandi; one of the hardest things to get our heads around as Christians, or anyone else for that matter, is how we can believe that good people of different faiths - or no faith - will end up in eternal torment.
I don't have the answer to that question. All I have is what the Bible says and despite what a lot of folks think, the Bible is clear and unambiguous about how to get to heaven.
I'm not trying to stir the pot or put anyone's beliefs down. I'm just speaking out for what I believe, and what the Bible says. At the end of the day, I don't have any issues with atheists, muslims, hindus, budhists or anyone of any different faith. More than with any of those good people, my real concern here is for Mr. Bell - a Christian - who has taken it upon himself to dilute the truth of the Gospel. I'm sorry, but we can't just change God's plan because we don't agree with it.
Coincidentally, I posted a verse from Deuteronomy this morning on Facebook - before I even read this story - that I think applies in this instance:
I will personally deal with anyone who will not listen to the messages the prophet proclaims on my behalf.
Mr. Bell, are you listening?