Rob Bell’s book, Love Wins: A Book about Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived, raises many questions about God’s justice, love, and greatness. He quite obviously believes “the old, old story” about Jesus and the need to believe in Him in this life is not the biblical story and is, in fact, toxic. My book, “FAREWELL, ROB BELL”: A BIBLICAL RESPONSE TO LOVE WINS, challenges Bell’s theology.
I’ve called Bell a representative of the “new universalists.” Universalism says that allwithout exception will be saved, even if it takes eons for God to “persuade” them to believe. No one will be eternally lost.
I am amazed that someone as respected as Eugene Peterson would say that “Rob Bell goes a long way in helping us acquire just such an imagination [about heaven] — without a trace of the soft sentimentality and without compromising an inch of evangelical conviction.” Peterson, the author of The Message, believes that Evangelicals need to reconsider their doctrine of eternal punishment and that Bell is a voice worth listening to.
I suggested that three questions occur to me in light of Bell’s advocating post-mortem (after death) opportunities to believe the gospel. The first question was: Does Bell’s position not make “decisions” for Christ irrelevant in this life? The second question was: What is the biblical evidence that opportunities for believing the gospel will be given in the post-mortem state?
The third question that occurs to me is: How does Bell explain the imperative of missions and evangelism as commanded by Jesus and practiced by the Early Church? Matthew 28:18-20 records Jesus as giving marching orders to His disciples:
18Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
It sure sounds to me that Jesus is serious about getting the gospel out now, to the whole world, and promises His presence to the very end of the age.
Discussion Questions: If there will be innumerable opportunities in the after-death state to believe the gospel, does this not rob missions and evangelism of their imperative? How might this perspective be a variation of the devil’s original “You shall not surely die!” of Gen. 3?