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I do remember I've read somewhere that modern Christians are no longer required to believe in Hell. Like, it's optional. I've now googled but no such info appeared again. Therefore asking knowlegeable people here - which Church document says the Hell is optional if it is really so.

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closed as too broad by Flimzy, David Stratton, fredsbend, Mawia, Affable Geek Oct 28 '13 at 13:43

There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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You're really going to have to be more specific. Many Christian groups have no structure by which anyone could mandate a particular belief such as the existence of Hell. Do you have in mind a particular group? –  jackweinbender Sep 17 '12 at 19:51
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I wonder if you're thinking of "Love Wins" by Rob Bell. Also, just as a side point, the only person qualified to speak for all Christians (i.e. Jesus Christ) has a terribly annoying habit of not always clearly answering the same way to everyone who asks... –  Affable Geek Sep 17 '12 at 20:16
    
Jehovah witnesses don't believe in Hell as a place of torture –  tunmise fashipe Sep 17 '12 at 22:24
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Hell is actually a Zoroastrian belief. The Jewish belief was that death is a place of darkness, a pit, etc. A place of no afterlife. Christianity borrowed the idea and changed it slightly. That's why hell as you know it is not in the old testament. –  user1054 Sep 20 '12 at 16:09
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If one believes (1) the book of Revelation and (2) what Jesus said about Hell, it's kind of hard to deny the existence of Hell. –  unregistered-matthew7.7 Sep 21 '12 at 1:05

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If you consider the words of Christ as authoritative for describing Christianity, I'd say "Ya." (See Matt. 5:22, 29, 30, 10:28, 18:9, 23:15, 33, etc.)

But of course, you can call yourself a Christian and believe whatever you want. There don't seem to be any "Christianity police" regulating what people associate with the faith.


Of course, it is also possible to be a Christian and be ignorant of the doctrine of hell, which doesn't necessarily preclude you from being a Christian. (That actually seems to be the norm.)

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Any student of the Bible should undertake very seriously to understand the passages in Jas' answer. Do those passages represent the truth? Yes. Is passing a test on those passages a condition of salvation? No.

There's a big difference between what is the necessary condition for salvation, and the body of doctrine a teacher should teach. There are several places in the Bible which offer very simplistic formulas for salvation. For example:

Romans 10:9

if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved

If we take this passage to be literally true, it is hope to the person who just grasped some doctrine, but probably cannot recite and defend doctrine at the level of, say, the Athanasian Creed. This passage also does not say, "Teachers, be satisfied that you're done when these two conditions are met."

As I said above, there is a big difference between teaching something false and not understanding all of doctrine.

1) Biblical evidence:

James 3:1

Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.

2) Church history evidence:

Martin Luther's 95 Theses expresses all kinds of anathemas to the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church at the time. But very few make any negative reference to the rank-and-file Catholic pew sitters at the time. The worst accusation is that they might trust in the Pope's prescribed works and "lose the fear of God through them."

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As one of the comments mentioned your probably thinking of "Love Wins". In the book, he does not deny the existence of hell as a real place , rather what he is questioning the nature of hell.

So in the same way, to answer your question, I do not believe there is a major branch of Christianity where the existence of Hell is optional, only the nature of what hell is, is being debated (i.e. who goes there, nature of the punishment, does it last forever or just a time, are the damned forgiven at some point or are they completely destroyed, etc).

Also check out "Sense and Nonsense about Heaven and Hell" by Ken Boa on this topic, its a short and great read on the subject.

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I almost became Ken Boa's research assistant a few years back :) –  Affable Geek Sep 20 '12 at 16:43

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