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Editor's note: Our earlier coverage of Rob Bell's Love Wins book included a look at the early responses and the historical context of his views on unbelievers' eternal destiny. Monday, the day Bell unveils the book in New York City, we will post our review of the book. In the meantime, in this guest column John Dyer revisits a topic Christianity Today examined a decade ago: how the internet is shaping theological debate.

* * *
Do you think it is wrong for Rob Bell to question traditional views of heaven and hell?
Answer: I don't care.
Do you think it is wrong for traditionalist writers to label Rob Bell a universalist?
Answer: I don't care.
Do you think it is wrong for every Christian with an iPhone to tweet their answers to the above questions from restaurant bathrooms and then go home and blog about it?
Answer: Now there's an interesting question.

Of course, I certainly do care about the doctrines of heaven and hell because, as Bell reminds us, what we think about them informs what we believe about God and how we understand major Christian themes like love, justice, and holiness.

So why do I say, "I don't care"? First, because this particular debate is a very old one going back to the earliest days of the church. But second, and more importantly, because theological debate in general is nothing new.

While it may appear as though theological debate today is more polarized than ever, in fact it is perhaps as civil as it's ever been. There are still charges of heresy here and there, but at least we're no longer burning each other at the stake. There is occasional name-calling, but as Luther famously pointed out even Jesus and Paul were fond of coming up with clever names for false teachers.

I'm not attempting to defend mean-spirited, ...

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