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Well, Lent was certainly interesting and perhaps the most interesting part was the continued debate over Rob Bell’s book, Love Wins. While the press coverage is largely done, the debate among pastor people and religious blogs is continuing. During this season when we remembered Jesus suffering, death, and resurrection, one segment of the church focused in on an eternal hell of torment and torture for the majority of the human race to make sense of a God of love and the life of Jesus.

Now I spoke more about the book last podcast but as Easter arrives, it still points out how offensive the thought of of a God of unconditional love and grace is because it means that God will love and welcome those who are least deserving. It means God is not constrained by human limits, standards, and emotions. It means God is not limited by even death.

Which is the point of Easter and the resurrection. God has complete power over death, on this side of it and beyond.

But there is an entire stream of the church that is built on investing in hell, creating a system of salvation that makes huge amounts of money, terrorizes people “into heaven”, and perpetuates a story of divine brutality and abuse as love. And that is what Love Win threatens. But by its very nature, I would say that this form of Christianity is dying because it no longer connects with most people today and in the end, really is not descriptive of the God Jesus proclaimed. Its coming apart and few people under the age of 35 care that’s a good thing, because it has happened before and the Church came out better for it.

Download the podcast here.


Here is a great Robot Chicken clip about heaven that points out how our very human sense of justice and fairness is offended and confused by the possibility of unconditional love and grace. While its intended as a joke, it does point to what unconditional really means and how offensive that can be.

monkey town
Rachael Held Evans is one of my favorite bloggers and is also author of the book, Evolving In Monkeytown. Here is her post on Rob Bell and Christian pop stardom.

4 Responses to “Wired Jesus Podcast #59 – Investing In Hell”

  1. Lon Marshall says:

    Loved the episode! I have a review as well here:


    First things first. If you like Kindle on the Mac, you will love it on the iPad. Reading books at night in bed with no night light! Take all you books with you. What will you so with all the space? Apple’s iBooks is also good, as is all the other apps for ebooks you can get on the iPad! The only thing better is listening to Rob Bell read his own book in the audiobook format.

    You are spot on with the commentary about fear. I watched the Southern Baptist Seminary’s streamed forum regarding the book a couple of days after it’s release. At one point near the end they all agreed if you do away with hell there would be no one paying tithe, going to church etc. Pretty clear picture of what indulgences are in need of reform today.

  2. Tom Lyberg says:

    Wow. Has the forum been posted on youtube? But that is my take – indulgences are alive and well because it makes us think that we control salvation and God owes us. So much for grace.

  3. Lon Marshall says:

    I don’t know about YouTube, but you can watch it at the Seminary site:


  4. Russel Yoak says:

    Tom you hit the nail on the head with this one, there is a population of Christians out there more invested in hell than they are the Gospel.

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