ell was a prominent theme in Jesus' preaching, but the same is not true in contemporary Christianity. The Revised Common Lectionary, used in many mainline churches, has trimmed articles dealing with hell, condemnation, and wrath from its cycle of readings. The universalism that has come to characterize the popular piety of our nation was implicitly assumed in the "Prayer for America" interfaith service presided over by Oprah Winfrey in Yankee Stadium shortly after the tragedy of September 11. Incredibly, a district president from the conservative Lutheran Church- Missouri Synod took his place alongside religionists who deny Christ and who boldly proclaim that there is strength in such a union, as though the power of human love could remedy sin and death. Any mention of hell, beyond a purely metaphorical reference to the September 11 tragedy, would have been seen as a breach of ecumenical sensitivity. So Christian clergy, by their participation and their silence, assented to the universalism of civil religion there presented.
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Issue: "Hell: Putting the Fire Out?" May/June 2002 Vol. 11 No. 3 Page number(s): 36-37/cont51
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