Amen! I enjoy reading your thoughts, @cer7, as well as the thoughts of everyone in this thread!! Truly.
Thanks for the follow-up question, man. To the question of
whether your original question purposes doctrinal considerations
…in short, YES. Ideally, yes, a biblical foundation and “doctrinal consideration” would be the preferred approach. But I also don’t assume that in a forum this big - with varying theological traditions, interpretations and levels of understanding – that everyone will believe uniformly. However, that can be one of the beautiful things about the Body of Christ: one brings their understanding and another, theirs and so on and so on. With Scripture as our base and the Holy Spirit as our guide, we humbly and graciously correct each other, sharpen, affirm, etc. Ideally.
But if I understand your other question, correctly, regarding the existence of hell and whether or not it is necessary to acknowledge its existence (actual or figurative) my answer would be ‘NO’. I don’t reckon belief in hell - actual or figurative - as essential for salvation. Per my understanding of Scripture, I don’t see anything in Scripture that would lend itself to either the belief in hell or even a correct understanding of hell to be a prerequisite for salvation. For if "by grace you have been saved through faith […] as the gift of God" (Eph.2:8,9) then I have to conclude that that gift; that grace leaves room for reconciling our incorrect or incomplete understandings about hell.
While I DO understand final judgement and the eternal separation from God to be a very real place in time and reality, I couldn’t give anyone a confident, doctrinally airtight, full description of what that looks like or consists of. I could speculate…but that’s only if I were being pressed to. As is the case with heaven, I may not know or be able to confidently describe every aspect of it…but I know enough about heaven to know “I want that!” (in the words of my baby nephew). Similarly, with regard to hell or eternal separation from God, I know enough about it to confidently assert that “I don’t want that!”
Now, I do believe that there are theological and doctrinal consequences (AND consequences of orthopraxy - Christian practice) that come with either believing that hell exists or doesn’t exist. I think there are inconsistencies that must be reconciled. As was stated “if you’re running to Jesus, you must be running from something”. While someone in response to that reasoning could say that they are running from “annihilation” and not hell, I just don’t personally understand that to be true.
I hope I answered what you were asking, man. Please let me know if I haven’t. Again, thanks for the follow up question and the marvelous way everyone’s been giving such thoughtful responses. God’s peace and blessings!