2011: The year we talked about hell

In 2011, the hottest controversy among theoblogians and readers of religion blogs in the USA, as well as a few other countries, was the subject of “HELL” which was connected to a book called Love Wins by Rob Bell and a tweet by John Piper that simply said “Farewell Rob Bell”

If you’re anything like me, you enjoyed the conversation but you never wanted to follow the unthinking masses into consumer hell by buying exactly what the publisher told them to buy.


So you didn’t purchase Love Wins. GREAT! Same as me. But you know all about the controversy from the blogs. And you also know that the theology that surrounds the subject goes much deeper than the Reformed vs. Emergent controversy and its related power struggles.

But alas! Despite all the heretic spanking, doctrinal restating and political positioning, we still haven’t got hell figured out.

How can someone say that hell contains literal fire that scorches your butt while heaven contains metaphorical wine that you cannot enjoy? That’s not consistent. Its also bad news for wine drinkers.

And how can all the words for “hell” in the Greek be interchangeble while the words for “love” are highly nuanced? Something is amiss.

When the raging conversation about the existence of hell hit the blogosphere earlier this year, I suggested reading Andrew Perriman who wrote some good blog posts on the subject. Andrew has just compiled those posts and created a book for Kindle, Heaven and Hell in Narrative Perspective. Perriman shows why he disagrees with Kevin DeYoung and Tim Keller but does so with respect. Highly recommended, unless you want to scour his blog and download all 25 posts to save a measly $3. Naaaaaahhhhhhhh.

My posts on the subject in 2011:

Before you read Love Wins

Rob Bell and the new Generation

Southern Baptists officially spank Rob Bell

Who has the skinny on hell?


Andrew Jones launched his first internet space in 1997 and has been teaching on related issues for the past 20 years. He travels all the time but lives between Wellington, San Francisco and a hobbit home in Prague.


  • Inchristus says:

    What? There’s no wine in heaven! Dang….that sucks. Need to rethink some things.

  • Matthew 25:41, the “everlasting fire”. The fire and brimstone destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, and turned them into ashes (Gen.19:24). Sodom and Gomorrah was an example of what would happen to the wicked (Luke 17:29-30, 2 Peter 2:6, Jude 1:7). Hell does really exist mentioned on the Holy Bible many times. We must repent and follow our Lord Jesus. God bless

  • I hope that 2012 is also the year we talk about hell. The conversation must continue. Conventional views on this are an embarrassment to Christians (and Jesus?) everywhere. My puny addition the conversation: http://videoaudiodisco.blogspot.com/2011/10/burs-in-hell.html

  • Jackson Baer says:

    It’s funny how so many Christians get upset at the fact that God will save all yet are fine with Him damning most. Love is the greatest commandment, to love God and love others. God’s love & mercy endures forever. If it only endures in this lifetime, what good does that really do? Jesus’ sacrifice was and is enough and will translate to the afterlife. God will take care of those who reject Him in this life but He will not write them off forever. His will is stronger than ours and the Scriptures teach that He wants all men to be saved.

  • Jason says:

    I ignored it for the most part, the whole debate, but I did but Chan’s new book on it and plan to read it soon.

  • Nigel says:

    It seems really weird that you would devote time to talking about the controversies around hell. But not have read the book that instigated it all. I get the consumerism/masses thing, but I would have thought you easily could have borrowed a copy. Is something going on that you want to comment on the whole issue but don’t want to read the source of the controversy? It just seems like you are dealing with second hand info only on a topic so massive in 2011.

  • Andrew says:

    Nigel, I read the book in Beijing, early in the year – a friends copy. But my blog posts about the controversy about hell go back a few years to when it was on our radar – Rob Bell’s book came along a little later but the masses seemed to jump onboard then.
    a greater topic should have been addressed and i will be blogging on this as soon as i get time. probably the next post.

  • Megan says:

    Hell is really just the absence of God. If people want nothing to do with God while on earth, there is nowhere else for them to go. Good things can only come from God! Apart from God there can only be darkness. Let us pray for those who do not yet follow Jesus before it is too late.
    Here is a link to my new blog The Rooftop Ravings: http://therooftopravings.blogspot.com/
    God bless!

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