Rob Bell on Ghandi and Hell… eventually!

Rob Bell… seems you either love him or hate him!

I knew that his upcoming book Love Wins : A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived, was going to create some controversy (as all his works do) but I assumed that people would begin to throw their stones AFTER they read the book! The rumors have been floating around that Rob Bell will finally come out as a Universalist in this book! I was shocked to read that prominent pastors and evangelicals were blogging and tweeting about the demise of Rob Bell and almost enjoying it without reading the book they were commenting on! But they did read a blog of another guy who didn’t read the book either. John Piper simply said, “Farewell Rob Bell” with a link to the blog that started much of the fuss, The Gospel Coalition’s Justin Taylor. I realize these men think Rob Bell and most who disagree with them on issues of election, God’s sovereignty, and predestination are a cancer to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but I figured they could hold their tongues until they actually had proof in written form that he indeed is espousing the view that EVERYONE will be in heaven, and hell doesn’t exists. I was also saddened but not surprised by John Piper’s flippant attitude and disingenuous “farewell”. I could see the snarling smirk through the twitterverse as I read his simple but revealing tweet! They think they have the ONLY true brand of Christianity and the rest of us are lacking the whole truth, so help us God! But we can rant about that later : )

I will not respond to the claims that Rob Bell is a Universalist until I read the book, but I will say that if he flat out says that EVERYONE will go to heaven regardless of their life of faith and trusting Jesus, I will respond with a blog that differs in opinion than Rob Bell and Love Wins… but I don’t think that is going to happen.

A number of people I respect have ACTUALLY read the book and responded by saying that Rob is asking the right questions and yet not off the Christian Orthodox path, namely Eugene Peterson (author/translator of The Message Bible). I mean is it even possible, to ask questions and still be an orthodox Christian!! Here is what Peterson said of Love Wins AFTER he read the book…

“In the current religious climate in America, it isn’t easy to develop an imagination, a thoroughly biblical imagination, that takes in the comprehensive and eternal work of Christ in all people and all circumstances in love and for salvation. Rob Bell goes a long way in helping us acquire just such an imagination. Love Wins accomplishes this without a trace of soft sentimentality and without compromising an inch of evangelical conviction in its proclamation of the good news that is most truly for all.”

– Eugene H. Peterson, Professor Emeritus of Spiritual Theology, Regent College, and author of The Message and The Pastor

I think this book will be no different than other works that strive to ask tough questions about how Christianity is playing out in our American culture and churches. And like his other works, I expect to be challenged and stretched without agreeing 100% with everything he says! But that is what makes his work so brilliant. You come away engaged with the scriptures and the living God, and those two encounters will change EVERYONE 100% of the time, regardless of why the encounter took place and what percentage of Bell’s perspectives you buy into!

Here is the video released by Rob Bell that stirred the pot and has people throwing out words like heretic, false teacher, universalist. Watch, you be the judge… and may we all learn to hold our ultimate judgments of the man based on his words in the book… when it actually hits the shelves at the end of the month!! For the record, I have searched a good bit to find the blogger/writer who read the book and confirms ALL of the rumors!

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12 thoughts on “Rob Bell on Ghandi and Hell… eventually!

  1. Since I don’t have time to read the book, lets make a deal. You read it and then blog again about where Bell sides in the arguments he addresses. Based on what I know of Bell, I would be shocked if he jumped all the way to universalism.

    1. See, that’s why I like you Lenerz… you actually use your brain when dealing with people you don’t always agree with unlike others I know : )

      But no deal… I think you should read it too and we can compare notes!

  2. I posted my last comment without watching the video – then I watched it. Now I am a bit more concerned. It will be very interesting to see if the video is simply meant to stir the pot or accurately depicts where he goes with the book.

  3. I find the more I watch the video the less concerned I become about it. If you are familiar with Bell you will know he is not a fan of the condemnation preaching and more a fan of preaching love. I think what’s got his goat is the fact that someone would be happy to make that judgement about Ghandi rather than the content. But his book may yet prove me wrong!

    1. I tend to agree with you Nick… I think the video is more of an indictment on those that claim they know where every man and woman will spend eternity based on their Christian Church assessments… some say you MUST be baptized, others say you need to recite a special prayer, others say its a combination of certain things (sacraments, traditions, etc), and some say you don’t/can’t do anything anyway!

      They all think they are right, and they all think the others are wrong in a big way… this is eternity we are talking about and all of these camps seem so sure they have the right formula… I believe this book will question those formulas without pointing to one way as the only right way without saying “don’t like Jesus, think religion is a shame, and there is no god… no worries everyones going to be in heaven anyway!”

  4. Once again, the Bible needs to be the only source of information – Rob Bell has it all wrong. God is portrayed throughout scripture as a perfect and holy God who is both love and justice. His justice demands that sin be punished – and His love provided a way through Jesus Christ’s atonement on the cross, but ONLY for those who repent and trust only in Him for forgiveness. Baptism doesn’t save – church-going doesn’t save – good works of any kind do not save – but these things should mark the life of a Christian as a RESULT, not a CAUSE of their salvation. Only someone who has never humbled himself before God, never seen himself as a wretch needing God’s forgiveness, could say the silly things Mr. Bell does. This is NOT Christianity – it is a watered-down message that has the potential to do great harm. If the Bible says (as it does) that those who are not born again by faith in Christ are headed for eternal damnation, what kind of person would gloss over that fact and persuade the lost person of his “righteousness?” This is very much akin to watching a person ride peacefully down a stream headed for a deadly waterfall, and encouraging him to “enjoy the trip,” without warning him about the danger ahead.

    1. Cindy,

      I would agree with some of what you say, but I can tell by your tone that you and I are not on the same plain theologically. I would ask, how do you know of “Mr. Bell’s” lack of humility and need for God’s forgiveness? And where do you see someone saying people without God are “righteous”?

      Peace

  5. I’ve seen some of Rob Bell’s videos, not all I’m sure, but I don’t see how you could possibly make any statements about him or his faith based on the above video. It’s obviously a video promoting his new book. He appears to be playing devil’s advocate to raise questions, legitimate questions that I’m sure Christians and non-Christians have probably asked many times before. He didn’t answer any of his questions, he just raised them for you to ponder. He only made one statement the entire video. “Love Wins”. We already knew that from John 3:16. I think before I make any definite statements about Rob or his theology, I’m gonna wait for Tony and Ryan to read the book. 😉

  6. Cindy,

    I like your commitment to what you think is true. However, I respectfully challenge your statement that the Bible says, “that those who are not born again by faith in Christ are headed for eternal damnation”. That exact statement was not made by Jesus. Focus on him and the things the scriptures actually say and keep standing up for what you believe is truth.

    Scott

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