After controversy, Baptists affirm belief in ‘eternal’ hell

By Adelle M. Banks

(RNS) Southern Baptists on Wednesday (June 14) called hell an “eternal, conscious punishment” for those who do not accept Jesus, rebutting a controversial book from Michigan pastor Rob Bell that questions traditional views of hell.

Citing Bell’s book “Love Wins,” the resolution urges Southern Baptists “to proclaim faithfully the depth and gravity of sin against a holy God, the reality of hell, and the salvation of sinners by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone, to the glory of God alone.”

Several leaders during the Baptists’ two-day meeting in Phoenix coupled warnings about hell with pleas for evangelism — especially in areas where there are no churches or missionaries.

“Is hell real? Is hell forever? Did God really say sinners would perish in eternal torment forever and ever?” asked pastor and author David Platt of Birmingham, Ala. “Oh, readers of Rob Bell and others like him, listen very carefully be very cautious, when anyone says, `Did God really say this?”‘

Bell’s book, released in March, criticizes the “misguided” view that “select Christians” will live forever in heaven while the rest of humanity will suffer eternal torment in a punishing hell.

Earlier this year, the Southern Baptist-affiliated Lifeway Christian Stores quietly removed warning labels from certain books — including Bell’s — that “could be considered inconsistent with historical evangelical theology.”

“At the center of the Christian tradition since the first church has been the insistence that … hell is not forever, and love, in the end, wins,” Bell wrote in “Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Has Ever Lived.”

Southern Baptist Convention President Bryant Wright prayed that Southern Baptists would take to heart the statement they passed on hell…


After controversy, Baptists affirm belief in ‘eternal’ hell – Beliefnet News

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