1. The brouhaha over Rob Bell’s latest book perhaps shows that the existence of hell is necessary for the (theological) existence of the Evangelicals. And I don’t think it is healthy if your theological framework depends on the existence of hell (and fear that entails from it).
2. I know it’s lame, but, anyway: All hell broke loose when Rob Bell robs hell!
3. Last time I check (15/03/11, 5pm GMT+8), his latest book shines brightly on the fifth (!!) position in Amazon.com. HarperOne is making lots of money out of hell. The only way out of hell is going up! They are robbing hell, one more time. (OK, I’ll stop.)
(And here’s me riding off the heat to acquire a meager additional page views. Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table!)
4. Classic question for exclusivists: Are you sure Gandhi (or, in Indonesian context, Gus Dur) is in hell now? Classic counter-question for universalists: Are you sure Hitler will be saved?
5. I believe in Jesus Christ, who “will come again to judge the living and the dead. . . the resurrection of the body, and the life of the world to come.” The Apostle and the Nicene creed, IMHO, show what are the essentials regarding the eschaton: final judgment, resurrection of the dead, and the age to come. The fathers got it right.
6. On the details? I can make peace with C. S. Lewis on his The Last Battle. I won’t be upset if Gus Dur is saved. No, seriously.
7. To note: the concept of afterlife existence (if any) evolved within the testimony of Scriptures. For example, for Joseph, it is important that his bones should be returned back to Canaan, as only by then he could have his final rest. It is not only the living ones, but the deceased, too, resided in the land. To put it negatively, the damned kings of Israel (e.g., Ahab) died extraordinarily and sometimes they were not buried properly. The circumstances of their death and what happened afterwards with their bodies corresponded with what kind of postmortem existence they were in now (as perceived by the people). Heaven and hell, as are commonly understood today, do not exist for these people. Suggestion for the way forward? Working out the details in the Scriptures again through the axiomatic event of Jesus’ death and resurrection.