In this four-part series, I explore various contemporary understandings of hell. Last episode looked at a couple of conservative evangelical approaches. This episode looks at a more moderate approach.
Those whom mainliners consider to be “moderates” (I prefer the term “traditionalists”) are often very similar to evangelicals who consider themselves to be “progressive”. Moderate traditionalists and progressive evangelicals struggle to maintain what they perceive as historical authoritative doctrine, while at the same time recognizing a certain disconnect from today’s scientific worldview.
What we see is a desire to retain the traditional language, but they do so with a twist. The traditionalist approach is about “reinterpretation.”This reinterpretation allows traditionalists to maintain a sense of continuity with the past, presumably to preserve their sense of historical authenticity, while seeking to be more relevant. As a result, the primary shift from a conservative to a moderate understanding of hell seems to be a focus more on the here and now than the afterlife.
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