There has been a lot of talk lately in the news about the reality of Hell. This is because of a new book by Rob Bell and his subsequent appearances on several media outlets. In his new book he calls into question the Biblical doctrine of Hell. Watch the promo trailer for “Love Wins” below.
His interview appearances have done nothing to dispel the idea put forth in his book that we’ve gotten it wrong on Hell all these years.
To be honest, I have been amazed at Rob Bell’s gifts of writing and speaking for some time now. He is an amazing communicator!
However, he’s dead wrong about hell.
For whatever reason, over time he has moved increasingly toward a position of uncertainty on several areas of doctrine. To quote an article in Christianity Today in 2004 on Rob and Kristen Bell,
In fact, as the Bells describe it, after launching Mars Hill in 1999, they found themselves increasingly uncomfortable with church. “Life in the church had become so small,” Kristen says. “It had worked for me for a long time. Then it stopped working.” The Bells started questioning their assumptions about the Bible itself—”discovering the Bible as a human product,” as Rob puts it, rather than the product of divine fiat. “The Bible is still in the center for us,” Rob says, “but it’s a different kind of center. We want to embrace mystery, rather than conquer it.”
“I grew up thinking that we’ve figured out the Bible,” Kristen says, “that we knew what it means. Now I have no idea what most of it means. And yet I feel like life is big again—like life used to be black and white, and now it’s in color.”
I’ll be the first to admit that the Bible is full of mystery and hard to understand at times. But much of the Bible is crystal clear. And Hell is one of those places.
Bell’s new book muddies the water on the subject of Hell. According to some theologians, in his book he stops just short of being a Universalist (someone who believes everyone will ultimately go to heaven and no one will go to Hell), while others say he now has embraced Universalism.
And that is the point – he dangerously sounds a note of uncertainty on a very clear teaching in scripture. Again, if there is one thing the Bible doesn’t mince words on, it is the subject of Hell. Jesus Himself talks about it in very specific terms.
No doubt it is a difficult doctrine. I’d rather we not have to talk about it. But we have no choice because God makes it so plain in His Word.
And in the end, God has the final say.