Pastor Sets Off Firestorm Questioning Existence of Hell
Rob Bell book, Love Wins, challenges traditional notions
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 24, 2011 5:51 PM CDT

(Newser) – Evangelical blogs are in a tizzy over a pastor's new book questioning the existence of hell. Just how controversial is Love Wins, by Rob Bell? When a North Carolina pastor posted his support of the book on Facebook, he was out of a job two days later because of it, reports AP. Author Bell runs a 10,000-member church in Michigan and has been gaining renown as a hip young pastor—this 2007 summary sees him as a combination of David Letterman and Ira Glass—for a few years now.

In both a widely seen promotional video (see it in the gallery) and in the book itself, Bell challenges the notion that some people spend eternity suffering for their sins in hell. "This is misguided and toxic and ultimately subverts the contagious spread of Jesus' message of love, peace, forgiveness and joy that our world desperately needs to hear," he writes. His theological critics see him as a universalist, espousing the belief that all will be saved, regardless of religious belief. Bell says he isn't a universalist and calls the debate over labels way off point.