Discussing Hell

<%image(20050509-flames.jpg|105|70|flames)%> In light of his latest book, The Last Word and The Word After That, Brian McLaren has been posting on some blogs today. There are some great conversations about the Gospel and in particular how it relates to hell (the topic of Brian’s book). Andrew Jones has some good thoughts and a long discussion that’s worth checking out. Here is

Brian’s opening question:
“For you personally, is the gospel primarily information on how to avoid hell, largely but not exclusively for hell avoidance, partially but not mostly for it, peripherally for it, or not at all for it?”
“And if the primary purpose for the good news of Jesus is not to get individual souls out of hell after this life, what is its primary purpose?”

This strikes me as a worthwhile topic to consider . . .

I find that it is worth noting that Jesus talks about hell sometimes, but he rarely talks about it in quite the same way that we do in our Gospel presentations. Paul never even mentions it. Take a peek at these scripture verses:

Verses on Hell:

Matt 5:22 (NIV) But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother {[22] Some manuscripts brother without cause}will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, `Raca,{[22] An Aramaic term of contempt}’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, `You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.

Matt 5:29 If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.

30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.

Matt 10:28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

Matt 18:9 And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.

Matt 23:15 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.

Matt 23:33 “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?

Mark 9:43 If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out.

Mark 9:45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell.

Mark 9:47 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell,

Luke 12:5 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.

Luke 16:23 In hell, {[23] Greek Hades}where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.

James 3:6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

2Pet 2:4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, {[4] Greek Tartarus}putting them into gloomy dungeons {[4] Some manuscripts into chains of darkness}to be held for judgment;

Jesus seems to use hell the most in reference to the Pharisees and less in telling everyone that they are in danger of going to hell unless they believe in him. In addition, the Kingdom of God seems to be something that must be received but is also advancing. I’m not sure how all of that connects. I will have to add more to this later.