My book, due out soon from Amazon, is a refutation of the new universalism presented by Rob Bell in his best-selling book, Love Wins: A Book about Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived (HarperOne, 2011).
Bell’s position is that death does not end all opportunities for salvation, that God will use as much of eternity to turn the screws tighter and tighter until all hearts are melted and all are brought into God’s family.
I said yesterday that three questions occur to me. We looked at the first question: Does that position not make “decisions” for Christ irrelevant in this life? In his response to interviewer Martin Breshir, it seemed that Bell HAD to say that faith in Christ in this life is absolutely essential, immensely important. But he did not explain why.
Our second question is this:
2. What is the biblical evidence that opportunities for believing the gospel will be given in the post-mortem (after death) state? Does Scripture not indicate that “Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. (Heb. 9:27-28)? A number of passages indicate that the WORSE thing a human being could possibly do is to die unprepared to meet God! Jesus indicates this in Luke 13:15 by essentially saying, “Life is dangerous. Be ready to meet God!” He also teaches the same by the story of the foolish farmer who is in his LazyBoy recliner pouring over John Deere tractors as he prepares to tear down his old barns to build bigger ones. He hears a voice, the very voice of God, which says, “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ (Luke 12:20).
As I’ve tried to show in my book The Other Side of the Good News, there is no biblical evidence that salvation will be available to any beyond the grave. Where’s Bell’s evidence of his position?
Discussion questions: The idea of post-mortem opportunities for conversion is necessary in the universalist’s theology. Why is this the case? If Bell is wrong — and I believe he is — what difference should this make in our sharing the Good News about Jesus with others?