Understanding evangelion (Greek word for good news) is critical for understanding Christ and the Kingdom of God. I think it’s time that we admit and separate the idea of gospel/good news from our beliefs of judgment and hell.
The good news is many things. Jesus talks about the good news a bit in Luke 4.
The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
Reading through every single use of the word evangelion will give you confidence that nowhere, can it even be suggested that the good news of Jesus Christ somehow includes the idea that someone is going to hell. I can say confidently that the gospel, the good news of Jesus, does not include hell. In fact, it would be quite common for the good news to be a response to those that were living some form of hell.
The other thing that is not included in the exegesis of good news is any mention of bad news. The good news, is that there is no bad news. I’m not finding anywhere when ‘good news’ is mentioned (evangelion) that it comes coupled with some sort of threat or alternative for those that don’t accept it.
As Christians, I think we can confidently proclaim the good news in and of itself and all our theology of judgment, salvation, warnings of destruction should be separated as a different topic all together. I don’t think we shouldn’t talk about it. Let’s just not mix it up with the good news. What we can’t do is try and define what good news is through a filter of our retributive theology. Good news should not be defined by our need to have bad news. If good news is freedom for prisoners and sight for the blind and to set the oppressed free, how is it that it also can have anything to do with hell for all those that don’t believe it?
The good news is still good news if you don’t believe it. The good news is not defined even remotely by what happens to you if you don’t believe in it. The good news is good and our job is to tell people what it is. There is no disclaimers or caveats or fine print. It’s just good.