Recently there was a lively discussion going on over at Scot McKnight’s blog, Jesus Creed, about Brian McLaren’s new book, A New Kind Of Christianity, and the soul-sort narrative. Comment #107 by Lindsey, asked the question: “Whose soul will be condemned to torment?” Here’s part of what Lindsey had to say:
I attended a funeral of a man that I worked with. He was in his mid-forties and died of a rare form of cancer. He and his family were devoutly Jewish. The service was moving, spiritual, and had the raw feeling of the God of Abraham in Holy Spirit in the room. This man, Brooke, was an ophthalmologist, and had left his successful and lucrative practice to teach high school science to inner city kids. I taught with him. The kids were heartbreaking, helpless, and hopeless, and he built them up in every way. As he went through painful treatment, he refused to quit teaching, and taught up until a week before he died. The synagogue at his funeral was filled with his students: poor kids, minority kids, kids that had never set foot in a house of worship before. Through Brooke, these kids, and all who worked with him, saw God. Brooke, though he didn’t know it, was a true servant of Christ. Meanwhile, my very Christian neighbors across the street sport a confederate flag bumper sticker right next to their cross. Through this simple gesture, they have turned away many people in my neighborhood from even being willing to hear the name of Jesus. These people, have condemned countless people to eternity without Christ through their ignorance and selfishness.
So tell me, whose soul will be condemned to torment?
In many ways this question is not relavant for me these days as I no longer embrace theology that revolves around “who is going to heaven? who is going to hell?” but I believe the story that Lindsey surrounds the question with is important as it demonstrates the problem with the theology that I grew up with.
What do you think?
My name is Liz and I am a follower of Jesus Christ who lives in Texas (Dallas/Fort Worth area). I am married and have two sons. I enjoy reading, blogging, listening to music, going to movies, the emergent conversation, traveling and hanging out with friends and family. I blog at Grace Rules (http://gracerules.wordpress.com/ ). I named my blog Grace Rules because although I have a history of letting things like rules, regulations, law, convictions, and stuff like that rule my life, I am determined to become a woman who is ruled by grace and love.