Al Mohler has suggested that we can use a church or individual’s theology of hell as a measure of their theological liberalism. He also mentions that there is a characteristic ‘slide’ from the orthodox (read ‘biblical’) view of hell to the liberal view that abhors the idea as cruel and unjust (odium theologium). Here you go.
- Orthodox Belief: You believe in and preach the doctrine of Hell
- Silence: You stop mentioning it because you find it offensive
- Reduction to Consequentialism: A doctrine is revised and retained in reduced form – something like consequentialism, as opposed to retributionism (God is actively punishing evil)
- Positivism: Essentially, don’t worry about it, we’re not even sure if hell is real or what it means. Just be as positive as possible – focus on being a good person and hell will take care of itself.
- Liberalization of the Doctrine: Changing the doctrine from eternal to denying that hell is everlasting, arguing for a form of annihilationism, or conditional immortality.
- Denial of Biblical Accuracy: Basically, yes the Bible teaches eternal Hell, but the Bible is wrong.