Here's the second post on hell I wanted to share with you-I'll quote my favorite section (you can read the rest for yourself here).
I am all for the historic orthodox understanding of eternal punishment. Richard Bauckham's essay shows that this position is eroding but needs to be upheld. It is the position of the historic orthodox church.
We must defend the Scriptures from distortion. I cannot reduce orthodoxy to my practice. It is true and objective and outside of whatever functional beliefs I have.
But if it does not function it my life, it is not enough to defend it and walk away commending myself for defendings its truth. You believe in eternal punishment -- the demons do too.
I return to the question, are we functionally universalists? Is our personal lack of evangelistic engagement anything but functional universalism? Are we more concerned with orthodoxy than with orthopraxy? Are we grieved with a lack of engagement with people outside of Christ with the Good News of Christ?
Isn't it remarkable that followers of the One who came to seek and to save those who are lost, could think they are following him, and simultaneously live with no serious and thoughtful evangelistic purpose?
He came to make fishers of men, not keepers of the acquairium.
He became flesh, entered a world of us -- remained holy but was a friend of sinners. He wept over Jerusalem for her stubbornness of heart.
He obeyed unto death, even though the death he would know was dreaded unto sweating blood. It was a death for us and for our sins, to rescue us from judgment.
Are you and I functional universalists? Jesus certainly was not. I can rest in his perfect obedience for me, that his life is my life and my death becake his death. But I can also begin today to look around me at people whose choices will matter before God forever and seek ways to call them to the only One who protects them from the wrath to come.
(HT: Mark Lauterbach)