It is not helpful to be theologically lazy. It does not contribute to the conversation to dilute truth and make it palatable for everyone. It doesn’t help when everyone conforms their ideas to make a soupy stew of tasteless substitutes.
What I mean by this prayer from the cell is that I just can’t simply say, “You’re evil. You’re going to Hell!” Or “You didn’t accept Jesus Christ as your own personal Lord and Savior. You’re going to Hell!” Neither am I willing to say, “God is good. There can’t be a Hell. Whew! We’re all safe.”
This is not to say that I’m saying there is a Hell. Neither am I saying that there is not. It can’t be affirmed. It can’t be dismissed. What I am saying is that we must acknowledge that, in the midst of a theology of grace, love and mercy it holds a strange place. What does it mean?
Theologian Karl Barth wrote:
Christ has defeated hell, that Christ suffered hell in our place, and that it has allowed for us to live with Christ and so to have hell behind us…
He also wrote:
Peculiar Christendom, whose most pressing problem seems to consist in this, that God’s grace in this direction should be too free, that hell, instead of being amply populated, might one day perhaps be found empty.
Now, that’s something to think about.