(AP) Pastor's book on Hell sparks eternal debate

When Chad Holtz lost his old belief in hell, he also lost his job.

The pastor of a rural United Methodist church in North Carolina wrote a note on his Facebook page supporting a new book by Rob Bell, a prominent young evangelical pastor and critic of the traditional view of hell as a place of eternal torment for billions of damned souls.

Two days later, Holtz was told complaints from church members prompted his dismissal from Marrow’s Chapel in Henderson.

Read it all.


Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Eschatology, Evangelicals, Methodist, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology

11 comments on “(AP) Pastor's book on Hell sparks eternal debate

  1. Karen B. says:

    Kendall, I’m remembering as I read this article that your dissertation topic was on Hell.

    Perhaps when Bell’s book comes out you can read it and comment? I think many of us would really welcome your perspective on this question which has so heated up the evangelical blogosphere that even here in the middle of West Africa we’ve been hearing about it!

    Certainly from what I’m reading of the advance reviews, Bell’s doctrine appears very troubling!

  2. Jeff Thimsen says:

    Kendall, I second the request.

  3. MichaelA says:

    A methodist pastor loses his job for espousing a different doctrine to his church… who’d have thought it?

    Wouldn’t happen if he was in the nice progressive episcopalian church!

  4. AAJD says:

    Neither Bell’s questions nor his answers are as new as many seem to think. They have preoccupied many minds for centuries, as noted here: http://easternchristianbooks.blogspot.com/2011/03/is-rob-bell-right.html

  5. Lutheran-MS says:

    It is about time that pastors/priests are fired when they teach heterodox doctrine.

  6. Ross says:

    FYI, Bell’s book is already out. Amazon has it, as well as the usual places.

    It’s not a long book; I’m a little over halfway through it. So far as I can tell, it’s nothing particularly new; he argues that since God wishes everyone to be saved, then God’s love will eventually soften even the hardest heart and so “love wins” and everyone will be saved.

  7. Alta Californian says:

    He should come to California. None of the Methodists I know believe in Hell.

  8. priestwalter says:

    Neither do ANY of the Episcopalians i know.

  9. William P. Sulik says:

    There are a lot of holes in this story, as Brad A. Greenberg explains here:


  10. Larry Morse says:

    First, I see again what I have so often seen in Schori, a refusal to worry about what happens after death because they believe the emphasis should be on THIS life. These are a new breed – well, a recurrence of an old breed – who are at heart Utopians. If one wonders or worries about life after death, then the focus on the here and now, the focus on Millennium goals, the focus on turning THIS earth into a heaven, these get lost.
    Second, I see again the usual confusion between God’s love and Hollywood’s version. God’s love is not a divine cotton candy and nothing the gospel tells us suggests anything else but TOUGH. On the other hand, those who maintain that all but a select few Christians are going to roast in hell is silly. God has not told us WHAT his plans are for all of mankind which is not Christian Elect. Why should he? What then? A demand for divine transparency which will trigger a civil rights lawsuit by the ACLU?
    The truth is, we know virtually nothing about hell, if we hope to find information in the gospels. Shall we discount tremulous fears? I don’t know about you, but when I face the Master of the Universe from whom nothing is hidden, I’d as soon not take that kind of arrogance into the court room. Larry

  11. NewTrollObserver says:

    By the way, Bell does not deny Hell in his book.