For those who want to know what is a hot topic, just check out Time Magazine. Baptist Minister Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary — the flagship school of the Southern Baptist Convention, comments at length on the Time Magazine Rob Bell cover story, "Is Hell Dead" by Jon Meacham. The Time article starts with a quote from the Bell book about whether Gandhi is in Hell because he was not a Christian. Meacham opines,
...So begins Bell's controversial new best seller, Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived. Works by Evangelical Christian pastors tend to be pious or at least on theological message. The standard Christian view of salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth is summed up in the Gospel of John, which promises "eternal life" to "whosoever believeth in Him." Traditionally, the key is the acknowledgment that Jesus is the Son of God, who, in the words of the ancient creed, "for us and for our salvation came down from heaven ... and was made man." In the Evangelical ethos, one either accepts this and goes to heaven or refuses and goes to hell....Mohler summarizes the article here, without injecting much of his own critical reaction.
Here is our brief Talmudic analysis.
We see from a distant vantage that this is a struggle among the religious archetypes of the church, the distinct personalities of Christian faith. We've identified our own six categories of synagogue worshipers. And we would put those who exclude non-Jews from salvation squarely in the category of what we call the "celebrity monotheist" that is the triumphalist type Jew. And we do have those voices in our camp. The Jewish scenario is not a heaven-hell drama, but one of the notions of messianic end times, when all nations will convert to Judaism and be saved.
The scribal, mystical and meditative personalities that we have identified of Judaism are not interested that much in such an exclusive end-time drama.
To preach that celebrity vision drama out of Judaism would be difficult. It is woven tightly into our worship. So we watch Bell to see how much he can achieve in unraveling his theology and orienting it to support the sort of worship that aligns with archetypes of his church who are not governed by the heaven-hell drama of the combative Christian celebrity personality. That vision is articulated so clearly in the Gospel of John at the core of their scripture. It's not just a liberal v. conservative argument. This will be a major battle among the avatars of the ideal personalities who speak for Christianity.
Indeed as Meacham says it, "And yet there is a contrary scriptural trend that suggests..." There is more than one contrary trend. In Christianity they do have strong mystical, meditative, scribal and mystery archetypes, all of whom tend to disregard more or less the messages of their "celebrity" type.
Time got it right, this is big religion news.