Rob Bell’s new book “Love Wins” is the next evolution in a pastor’s slide to scratch the itching ears of his gen-X/Millennial post-modern post-christian congregation made up of young people who grew up in evangelical church but upon rejecting it, flocked to this hip and charismatic leader who would go to the greatest length to keep everyone from feeling uncomfortable.
Too much? Perhaps I’m upset because I like Bell’s earlier “NOOMA” videos (even though his transliteration is incorrect), but that doesn’t change the fact that he has a few misunderstandings about “heaven and hell” and I might add “people” as well.
There are plenty of reviews out there, some are good and thoughtful, and some… not so much.
Here are the key thoughts that I had, once I had them, I was ready to move on from Bell.
he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.
See, when Bell tells us that he believes “given enough time” everyone will choose love (i.e. “God”) he is not reflecting a biblical picture of the world. There is not “enough time” for everyone, we do not simply die and go into a perpetual unending state in a kind of eternal platonic simi-existance at one with the universe. There is “a day” in which people will be raised from the dead, time will be up, and judgment will be given.
Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.
A quick survey of Jude will show you that judgment is an everlasting state. Just as Sodom does not have the opportunity to change its state of judgment, so too, once we are judged, that’s it. This “eternal fire” is not compatible with “given enough time.”
Now I’m perfectly willing to debate what “hell” actually is. There are enough metaphors and symbols used to describe it to leave room in the details, but one thing is clear in scripture, it’s eternal. Hell is just as long as heaven.
Life is life, and death is death. Death is not the domain of decision.
There is much more to be said, and I’m sure others will, but bottom line, Bell misunderstands what people are and the nature of the life to come.