Two days after Holtz posted his note, he was dismissed from his position because of complaints from church members.
The question being asked now is: Was he rightfully fired?
On his blog, Chad explains a little bit about how he arrived at his current belief (see this post // update: his site is no longer available). It's at least worth a read before any of us jump to defend or criticize him. And it's fascinating to me how the simple act of matching a name with a face, a family, and a story can (usually) tame the comments of the harshest critics.
That said, whether or not his firing was "rightful" should be judged by his doctrinal/confessional requirements within his church and denomination. On heaven/hell, the United Methodist position is listed as: "We believe all persons stand under the righteous judgment of Jesus Christ, both now and in the last day. We believe in the resurrection of the dead; the righteous to life eternal and the wicked to endless condemnation" (Article XII, The Confession of Faith, The Book of Discipline).
I'm not a United Methodist, so I don't know the leeway that is granted from this statement. As it stands the statement can cover a fairly broad range of views. But I think Holtz also knew that his position was on the edge of acceptability - at least in Henderson, North Carolina. That's why he candidly wrote, "I hold no ill will towards those who feel it is best I shake the dust and move on" (see his blog post: "What I Lost Losing Hell" // update: this post is no longer available).
Of course he feels no ill will! He knows that he holds a belief, which he is free to do as a Christian (and which I think is within the bounds of Christian possibility), but - too bad for him - that belief seems to contradict an interpretation of one of the beliefs he is appointed as a United Methodist pastor to believe and teach.
All of that to say, I think that Holtz knows his firing is rightful.
Difficult to swallow, yes. But rightful nonetheless.
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