Trying to peer through the fog of tradition.
Scott McKnight is reviewing Rob Bells Love Wins chapter by chapter. Scott is balanced and fair and gentle, and is doing a fine job of critiqing Bell's desires to change the way we think about Heaven and Hell.
Being raised in the fundamentalist and baptistic south I often noticed how the ticket to heaven through the sawdust trail walk seems to outweight a persons present walk and to create an us vs. them mentality that failed to engage the lost, serve the hurting, and create a truly blessed life now.
Those who wrestle with this tend to see our calling is to life as "an eternal kind of life now", an "age enduring life". The debate as McKnight correctly saw it, is an old tension between the word eon, and the word aionian. An age is a period of time, and the other word is a state of timelessness, ie. a place called heaven where God dwells and where we hope to go with our sawdust trail ticket.
Others have done significant work in showing that the translation of aionian has been affected by false presuppositions and theological bias. Bell's point is that if you see the restoration of heaven...and earth!!!! which begins now and has obviously a not yet reality because of our mortality, as something other than a decision, then you can embrace the world that is with all its brokeness with a Kingdom presence that does not offend, but attracts, and transforms the world we live in now. It is a world where the one who is not against is with us. It sees God in Christ at work in all nations, cultures, and believe systems.