"A staggering number of people have been taught that a select few Christians will spend forever in a peaceful, joyous place called heaven, while the rest of humanity spends forever in torment and punishment in hell with no chance for anything better…. This is misguided and toxic and ultimately subverts the contagious spread of Jesus’ message of love, peace, forgiveness, and joy that our world desperately needs to hear." (ibid)
And, since I got this quote from Tim Challie's blog, thanks to Dakota, and he read the book, I will leave it to him to reveal what the book actually says. Tim writes this about the above Bell quote, "You may want to read that again. It really says that. And it really means what you think it means. Though it takes time for that to become clear in the book." So, we now know Bell is playing with fire. He is messing around with the Gospel. And, when he or anyone for that matter messes around with the Gospel, I begin to fire up.
Really, for all intents and purposes, I am not as concerned about Bell's belief in universalism as I am about Bell's belief on the Gospel. Even though, the teaching of universalism is total heresy. Don't get me wrong! What Bell says about their not being a hell is absurdly wrong, but the Gospel is at stake in this matter. Tell me. What has happened to God's holiness and justice these days? Do people understand it? Or, am I the only person informed about these attributes that seem to fall by the wayside when God's love and mercy storm onto the scene? I know I am not the only one, but it feels like it sometimes when these crazy preachers stand up and only preach about God's love. God's love is a definite part of it. No doubt. But, you cannot preach God's love unless you preach about His justice. The two go hand in hand, since God cannot love and be merciful to you as one of His children without justice being served on your behalf as a sinner. Either you will bear the blame for all of your sin in hell for eternity or Christ bore all the blame for you. That is the good news of the Gospel brothers and sisters. Christ bore all your condemnation, shame, blame, suffering, and sin, so that you might become one of His children. And, you want to know what. You did nothing to deserve it, except contribute the vileness of your sin to the cause. How amazing is that? Praise the Lord an infinite times over!!!! Me, once a hell bound sinner, now saved by the precious grace and mercy of my Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you Jesus!
That is the good news my friends. Rob Bell is still trying to figure out the question: How can a loving God send people to hell? We try and create a God in our own minds that fits our fancy. This is Rob Bell's god. He is loving, kind, caring, considerate, generous, etc., but never wrathful, just, or holy. He is a soft lamb that is warm and cuddly. Rob Bell has only created one side of God. Of course, God is all of those things. He is the Lamb of God, but He is not just a lamb. HE IS ALSO THE LION OF THE TRIBE OF JUDAH. HE IS THE WARRIOR ON THE WHITE HORSE AT THE END OF TIME, WHO WILL ULTIMATELY DEFEAT HIS ENEMIES (Rev. 5:5 and Rev. 19). That is my Jesus and my God. He contains both sides of Him, and He is just as one of them as He is the other. That is the God of the Bible, not the God that Rob Bell speaks of.
Now, before I close, I want to mention two things. One, I have written four posts on the topic of the Depth of God's love, which is found in 1 John 4. I am going to repost those posts, because it clearly relates with the opposite view that argues against Rob Bell's position on the Gospel. I go in depth to relate how God's justice combines with His love at the cross. But, before you can show that combination, you desperately need a firm understanding on God's justice. I have provided that for you in those four posts. So hopefully, it sheds light on the beauty of God's love in relation to His justice. Second, we need to pray for Rob Bell and for the uncertain people, who read this book. Why? I was looking through the Amazon reviews about the book, and there was one review I found from a person who was desperate. This is what I was afraid of. She will go nameless in order that I may maintain her privacy. Here it is:
"I am not a student of the Bible, or a person with a deep understanding of theology. I've never heard of this book until it was mentioned in a column in USA Today. Like millions of others, I'm a lapsed Catholic struggling with all of the questions that Rob Bell puts forth in the beginning of this book. While I search for answers that make sense, and look for a faith where I can belong and be strong, and not be lost and afraid, almost every page of this book spoke to me. I found it a compelling read, eye-opening and heart-opening. Yes, a little "over written" in the dramatic, one-sentence paragraph style. But it worked. When I finished this book, for the first time in decades, I wanted to pray. For the first time in years, I wanted to open a Bible and give it a chance. For the first time in a long time, I went to church because I felt there might be a good reason to go. So the debate can rage among the hard-cores, but I suspect this book can touch millions of hearts like it touched mine. For that reason, I will be recommending it to many friends who struggle with the same question."
Really, we do not need anyone recommending this book to their friends. This book is filled with complete heresy about universalism, and Bell is leading many people down to eternal damnation. The word about this book needs to get out. Call your friends, talk to other people, tweet about the book, facebook about the book, blog about the book. But, more than that, pray that God opens up the eyes of these people especially Rob Bell. He desperately needs Christ like we all once did and still do actually. Bell is one other sinner in need of a Savior. Pray without ceasing for these people and for Bell.
Sola Deo Gloria!!!!!