Best selling author Rob Bell insists that the answer to questions about the reality of eternal hell is essentially “no.” But orthodox theology has long recognized the doctrine of eternal punishment and soberly answered “yes” to the question of whether or not there is eternal punishment.
My approach to deciding what to post about on my blog is simple. I ask myself if it will be helpful to the people in our flock. If the answer is “yes,” and I have the time, then I post about it.
Focusing on our church family means that I rarely post on theological controversies that are of interest to me, but not of any immediate pertinence to our congregation.
Which is to say that during the initial rounds of a recent controversy surrounding Rob Bell and his new book, Love Wins, I did not post about the controversy. However, now that Bell is being interviewed on major news networks, and his book is selling like wildfire, it is likely that his position will be considered by a number in our congregation and it deserves some attention here.
Briefly, the controversy is that Bell (see a promo video here) is espousing some sort of a universalist position (Bell rejects the label) in which he insinuates that most if not all are eventually redeemed regardless of whether or not they have professed faith in Christ.
Bell is extremely creative and talented as a communicator and he has a large following. His favorite method of teaching is to ask provocative questions without providing answers. As many have pointed out, Bell’s questions make a statement.
My encouragement to our church family is to not be deceived by Bell’s approach. Rather, if you find yourself wondering about the areas where he is persuading so many, then take the time to read reviews such as the ones listed below.
Russell Moore – The Blood Drained Gospel of Rob Bell
Jeremy Grinnell on Mike Wittmer’s blog – Justice Wins
Tony Reinke’s Readers Digest version of the debate