I'm surprised the Doubtcasters didn't bring up the story of Lazarus and Dives in the discussion about Rob Bell. I think that besides the book of Revelation, the story of Lazarus and Dives is the main passage in the NT that evangelical Christians use to "prove" that hell is real. One response I've heard from liberal Christian is that the story of Lazarus and Dives is a parable and not meant to be taken as a literal account about what the afterlife will be like but evangelicals respond by saying that a parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning whereas Lazarus and Dives is an account about the afterlife and they say there's nothing in the passage to indicate it's a parable. Do you guys know if early Christians saw Lazarus and Dives as a parable or is this a modern interpretation of the account? And if Lazarus and Dives is a parable, what exactly is the parabolic meaning of the text?
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