One of the links from Al Mohler’s The Briefing is titled, What Christianity Would Look Like Without Hell.
The author is John Shore author of a book titled Unfair: Christians and the LGBT Question.
The essence of Shore’s argument is that God is love and nothing but love. Shore concludes that hell is inconsistent with his interpretation of what God is and what God is not. Shore equates the doctrine of hell “with the toxic lie that the Bible condemns homosexuality.”
Shore insists that Bible believing Christians who believe such things are naïve.
Shore then argues for a Christianity without the doctrine of hell and what it would look like. Here are some examples of Shore’s conclusions:
” A Christianity without hell would have nothing to recommend it but the constant and unending love of God. It would allow Christians to point upward to God’s love—but never downward to His/Her wrath.”
My comment: This statement sets the tone for all of his other statements. It is based on Shore’s presupposition that God is love and nothing but love and Shore gets to define what that love looks like by assuming that God is a God without wrath. It could mean to Shore that there is no such thing as sin and therefore no need for Christ to die on the Cross, taking the wrath of God upon himself in the atonement. On the other hand judging by this statement and Shore’s other statements Shore is actually a universalist meaning that all people are saved regardless of what they believe. Whatever the case Shore is well on his way to inventing his own religion.
Shore goes on: “A Christianity without hell would be largely unevangelical, since there would be nothing to save anyone from.”
My comment: I wonder what Shore means by “largely evangelical” unless he means converting people to his point of view. I’m guessing that is what he means since he concludes with this statement: “I want that Christianity. I insist upon that Christianity.”
My Comment: Shore is insisting even demanding a Christianity void of absolutes and void of all doctrine except for the doctrines he finds acceptable and redefines to make them acceptable. Shore’s source of authority is Shore. Shore’s concluding statement above smacks of the intolerance of the LGBT movement that demands conformity to their beliefs.
Shore continues: “A Christianity without hell would trust that God’s loving benevolence towards all people (emphasis on all) extends beyond this life and into the next.”
My comment: I can only surmise that Shore has no use for the Jesus of Scripture since Jesus speaks more of hell than he does of God’s love.
Shore: “Bringing peace about the afterlife, a Christianity without hell would free Christians to fully embrace this life, to heed Christ’s commandment to in this life love our neighbors as we love ourselves.”
My comment: This statement is interesting since Shore is making an attempt to quote the Bible. He paraphrases the second great commandment (Matt. 22:37-39). The commandment is in the context of the Pharisee’s testing Jesus in regards to the law (Ten Commandments). Shore paraphrases the second summation of the commandments while ignoring the first; the command to love your God with your whole heart, mind and soul. Shore is cherry picking a verse out of its context and then defining for us what he thinks Christ meant by loving our neighbors. Presumably, loving our neighbors would not mean telling them about hell. Shore clearly does not believe there is a hell while Jesus certainly did. My question to Shore would be that if Jesus is right and Shore is wrong and there is such a place as hell would it be loving to not tell people about it? Again, what we see here is Shore setting himself up as his own authority, his own interpreter of Scripture as it suits him. Shore practices the age old error of getting the Bible to say what you want it say to say rather than what it actually says.
Then there is this from Shore:
“In short, a Christianity without hell would be a fearless, trusting, loving, divinely inspired source of good in the world. And this Christianity would be more biblical—would be truer to not just the words but the very spirit of Christianity—than any Christianity that posits the reality of hell.”
My comment: The arrogance contained in these statements is breath-taking. Shore’s entire argument is based on Shore being his own authority and driven by his agenda for a Christianity that has no need for a Savior. Yet, he has the audacity to say that his version of Christianity is more biblical and more in keeping with the spirit of Christianity. Wow!
The piece originally appeared on the Patheos website under the label “Progressive Christianity.” Patheos is a mish-mash of eclectic religious thought including atheism. Shore’s article was reproduced by the online version of Time Magazine under “opinion.”
Personally, I wonder why Shore and those that agree with him bother with the label of “Christian” at all. Shore’s gospel is the gospel of anything goes and that is no gospel at all.