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“FAREWELL, ROB BELL”: A Biblical Response to Love Wins (available soon)

04 Jun

Friends:  I’ve been working hard the last few weeks to complete my response to Rob

me at hard labor

Bell’s Love Wins:   A Book about Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived (HarperOne, 2011).   The book is finished and is being published through Amazon’s Create Space (print on demand).  Not a particularly long book (70 pages or so), “Farewell, Rob Bell:  A Biblical Response to Love Wins” deals with the primary questions Bell raises in his presentation of what I’ve been calling neo-universalism.

I’m extremely pleased with the original cover art by cartoonist Ron Wheeler.  Below is the cover (which probably needs no explanation):

Didn’t he do a great job? I’m trying to keep the price down, so I’m charging only $10 (which includes shipping to the USA and Canada).  Send a check or money order made out to me (Larry Dixon) + your address and I will ship your copy as soon as they come off the press!  My address:  117 Norse Way, Columbia, SC  29229

Sorry for the commercial, but I believe I’ve put together a solid response to Bell which will be of help, especially to those who have not or do not intend to read Love Wins.

 

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15 responses to ““FAREWELL, ROB BELL”: A Biblical Response to Love Wins (available soon)

  1. Brian Aggett

    June 4, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    Larry, I was at your seminar last week about this topic at the Iron Sharpens Iron Conference at Emmaus Bible College. Great job, good work, you had our attention!!

     
  2. Ken Silva

    June 21, 2011 at 5:00 am

    I look forward to reading this. I’ve been led of the Lord to closely monitor the slide of Rob Bell for some 6 years now.

    Also, I’ve seen how far his Love Wins mythology has already spread throughout the younger sectors of mainstream evangelicalism.

    Your book is a needed, and welcome, addition in combatting the postmodern progressive neo-liberalism now advanced by Rob Bell.

     
  3. Rick Frueh

    June 21, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    The insatiable need to be current and relevant as well as new and inovative has led to a rushing stream of heresies. And when they are communicated through gifted men and women they even more potent and insidious. Men like Rob Bell are being used to disseminate such errors.

    However, let us never allow ourselves to be distracted from the Spirit’s correction in the “orthodox” camp which is sorely needed. It is possible, like Abram, to be so preoccupied with the fowls that we fail to realize we have left the (His) sacrifice. (Gen.15) Still, books like yours are must reads for all believers who are even mildly interested in truth. That group continues to shrink.

     
    • larrydixon

      June 22, 2011 at 1:45 am

      Rick: Thank you for your thoughts. The seduction of neo-philia (the love of the new) is very dangerous. May the Lord encourage each of us to be faithful to Him and His Word, regardless of our culture’s opinions. Thanks again for your comment. Larry Dixon

       
  4. pastorboy

    June 21, 2011 at 11:02 pm

    I am so glad that this response is coming out very soon. The bloggosphere is rife with many comments and opinions about this, it will be good to see a biblical response in the form of a book. I pray for success and widespread distribution so that the heresy of universalism is mortally wounded in this post-Christian generation

     
    • larrydixon

      June 22, 2011 at 1:41 am

      Thank you for your kind words, pastorboy. There seem to be many who advocate universalism without any concern about what the Scriptures teach. If you get a chance to read my book, I would be grateful to hear your thoughts. Blessings. Larry Dixon

       
  5. Nathan T

    June 22, 2011 at 3:09 am

    Larry, are you just as critical of Lewis’s viewpoint?
    As I’ve pointed out previously, Rob’s basic idea (post-mortem salvation) is not new at all! I strongly suggest reading C.S. Lewis’s “The Great Divorce” in light of Bell’s book. Are the ideas presented really so different? Bell’s views are nothing new.
    I’m very thankful for Galli’s editorial in Christianity Today. While I was initially critical of Bell’s views, I’ve been searching scripture over the past few months about this issue – and I’ve actually become convinced that this is not a “black and white” issue that you make it out to be. (ie, Bell’s book is NOT a “litmus test”) While individual verses are very direct – the “whole” of the New Testament is quite nuanced about who is “saved” and who isn’t. From my reading of Scripture, Rob has taken things a step too far. However, his basic premise (as previously outlined by Lewis) is very scriptural from my reading.

    Evangelical Christianity doesn’t have the equivalent of a “Pope” that decides the final interpretation of scripture. Ever since Luther, it has been understood that individual Christians have been responsible for their own interpretation of Scripture. (Hopefully with some expert guidance from pastors/teachers) I’ve read scripture as faithfully as I know how and come to a different conclusion than you. From this point, I take heart in Romans 14:1-12. As Christians we should strive towards unity in spite of theological differences. (I agree Bell is making no such efforts – but that makes no difference in what we are called to do by Christ)

     
  6. Ken Silva

    June 22, 2011 at 5:40 am

    Nathan,

    “Rob’s basic idea (post-mortem salvation) is not new at all!” I don’t think anyone credible is saying it is.

    The heresy of Christian Universalism is as old as Origen. It flies in the face of e.g. Luke 16:19-31 and Hebrews 9:27

     
  7. Nathan T

    June 22, 2011 at 6:20 am

    Ken, I was refering to Larry’s comment about “neo-philia (the love of the new)”. I’m just not sure what is really new about this.

    I agree about the two passages you mentioned. But have a look at a variety of other passages (below) and I believe that it is fair to say that the New Testament is rather neuanced in its teachings about salvation.

    1st Timothy 4:10: “That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.”

    Philipians 2:9-11: Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
    (this implies that post-mortem people will be making a “decision” to confess Jesus as Lord!)

    John 5:21: “For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. (can God save only those who ask for it in this life? This verse seems to say that he can save anyone that he so-chooses!)

    John 5:24-26: “I tell you the truth whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. I tell you the ruth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.”

    John 10:39,41: “For judgement I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind….If you were blind you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.” (are those that die outside of the knowledge of Christ “blind”?)

    John 10:14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me – just as the Father known me and I know the Father – and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.”
    (who are these “other sheep”? His sheep are usually used as an analogy for those that follow Christ.)

    John 16:22-24: “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for thei sin. He who hates me hates my Father as well. If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin.” (Who is really guilty of sin? He seems to imply that only those who have heard are guilty)
    Romans 9:15-16 “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy and will have compassion on whom I have compassion. It does no, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.” (suggesting that God can save whoever he wants – regardless of personal acceptance)

    Romans 11:32 “For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.”

    Romans 14:9 “For this very reason Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living… ‘As surely as I live, says the Lord, every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.’”

    Romans 5:18 “just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men.”

    Romans 4:15 “because law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression.”

    Romans 5:13 “for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law.”

    Obviously I’m being selective in my quotes. There are many passages that clearly say that Christ’s gift must be accepted in this life. My point here is that I agree with Bell that there is a “tension” in scripture about this issue. It isn’t cut-and-dry. To me this seems similar to the tension between predestination and free-will. Both are taught in scripture. Does that mean that one is right and one is wrong? Not necessarily. It just means that we can’t fully understand the issue on this side of death. I believe that the same is true in regards to salvation.
    Christ clearly wants us to accept him in this lifetime. But is that the end of the story? I think not based on the above passages.

     
  8. Ken Silva

    June 22, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    “Christ clearly wants us to accept him in this lifetime. But is that the end of the story?”

    With all due respect, yes. Dr. Al Mohler is correct when he says, “the problem with this position is that Scripture teaches no such post-mortem opportunity. It is a figment of a theologian’s imagination, and must be rejected.”

    If you haven’t, I recommend readinf Kevi DeYoung’s excellent in-depth review of Rob Bell’s Love Wins mythology: http://tiny.cc/5zcdl

     
  9. Nathan T

    June 22, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    Ken, that’s a great review. I enjoyed reading it.

    Have a look at this editorial. It’s a short comparison of the views about hell that have been articulated by Rob Bell, Tim Keller, and C.S. Lewis. Very interesting.
    http://www.thesimplepastor.co.uk/2011/03/do-rob-bell-tim-keller-and-cs-lewis-agree-on-hell/

     
  10. Ken Silva

    June 22, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    Nathan,

    Please understand that regardless of what Bell, Keller, and especially C.S. Lewis speculate, it doesn’t change e.g. Luke 16:19-31.

    Each man dies and goes to either paradise awaiting heaven or hades awauting hell and they cannot leave.

    Best we stuck to what Scripture clearly teaches than to hold out a false hope/

     
  11. Nathan T

    June 22, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    Ken (or anyone else who would like to respond),
    Where, then, does this leave young children, the unborn, and the mentally infirm? The vast majority of evangelicals appear to believe in the so-called “age of accountability”. From my reading of scripture, this is a completely mythical theology. There is absolutely no evidence of it.

    Therefore, I have to choose between:
    1) A God who is eternally tormenting the souls of countless unborn babies, young children, and mentally retarded.
    or
    2) Trust Jesus’s statement in John 5:21 “For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. ” and in Paul’s statement in Romans 9:15 “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy and will have compassion on whom I have compassion. It does no, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.”

    Can God save those who don’t ask in this lifetime? Maybe not. But between C.S. Lewis, Tim Keller, and the widespread belief in an “age of accountability”, this is a idea that is NOT a “fringe” idea what-so-ever. This is a belief that is right out in the middle of the mainstream evangelical community.
    (of course, that doesn’t make it true!)

     
  12. turtletruth

    June 24, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    I by no means am able to really enter into the depth of this discussion but have a question as regarding Phil 2: 9-11…How does this imply that people who die a physical death can be given chance to confess Christ after death? I dont get that reading it or maybe Im not seeing this right? Also, I was of the opinion that when Christ died and rose again and while he was in hell for 3 days, he was getting the people from Abrahams bosom and giving them a chance. I dont see in NT (although I have not thoroughly searched it) where that happens again after Jesus did it once. Once Christ died, I have taught to believe that you get one chance on earth…otherwise why not just chance it and wait until you die…

     
  13. Nathan T

    June 25, 2011 at 2:11 am

    Turtletruth,
    Phil 2:9-11 says that “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord”. I’m certainly no greek scholar, but I assume that the phrase “in heaven and on earth and under the earth” implies everyone – past, present, and future. All souls from all time will confess that Jesus is Lord. Disagree?

    Then we read in Romans 10:9 that “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

    Let me be clear: I’m not a universalist. But I think that there is more to this salvation question than meets the eye from the scriptures that have been brought forward by Larry.

     

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