“Why should anyone be shattered by the thought of hell? It is not compulsory for anyone to go there. Those who do, do so by their own choice, and against the will of God, and they can only get into hell by defying and resisting all the work of Providence and grace.” — Thomas Merton, The Seven Storey Mountain
“A part of our problem with understanding hell comes from the way we think about ehaven. We think about heaven as some kind of comfortable resort, but the greatest thing about heaven is going to be the presence of God. He has allowed us to avoid him here on earth in some measure if we want to, but if you go to heaven, God’s the biggest thing on the horizon. You’re no longer going to be able to avoid him. And that would be the supreme torture if you haven’t gotten over thinking of yourself as God. That’s why I sometimes say that the fires of heaven burn hotter than the fires of hell.” (The Allure of Gentleness, p. 67)
The only time I feel comfortable writing those words without feeling like I’m cursing is when it has to do with a title. This one does.
It’s a new documentary coming out to limited screens, including one in my metro area. There will also be a follow up time with the filmmaker and local pastor Greg Boyd, who is in the documentary.
Mark Galli isn’t impressed with the film. For some reason he thinks the filmmaker leaves too many questions out there. For some reason Galli thinks the film isn’t decided about the issue. It IS decisive on the issue. All you have to do is watch clips of Mark Driscoll foaming at the mouth with his “classical” Reformed view of hell, then switch to a very calm, very sedated universalist who quietly explains his or her position and why it’s worth considering and you know exactly what the filmmaker thinks on this issue.
That said, it may be something worth watching and then discussing. The film opens Friday in a local Twin Cities theater, along with other limited showings across the country.
I am not opposed to the conversations Rob Bell has generated by his book Love Wins. We need to have these discussions, though I don’t think they are going particularly well. We just have our problems with the concept of hell and wanting to wish it away. (A notion I’m not opposed to myself. But, alas, it is simply a notion on my part.)
First Rob Bell, who hit number 2 on the New York Times list. Now, Francis Chan.