Rob Bell has written another book - Love Wins - and here is one of the statements he makes:
A staggering number of people have been taught that a select few Christians will spend forever in a peaceful, joyous place called heaven, while the rest of humanity spends forever in torment and punishment in hell with no chance for anything better…. This is misguided and toxic and ultimately subverts the contagious spread of Jesus’ message of love, peace, forgiveness, and joy that our world desperately needs to hear. (ibid)
I know. I know. It's hard to believe that this guy could be so blind - but he is. And his views on the subject of hell are misguided at best and heretical at worst.
Here's what Time Challies and Aaron Armstrong note (http://www.churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-articles/149569-tim-challies-love-wins-book-review.html utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Daily-Update):
"Throughout the book he engages in what can best be described as exegetical gymnastics, particularly in dealing with the Greek word aion, a small word that is crucial to his arguments.
While this word is commonly translated as “eternal” or “everlasting,” Bell argues that it can also mean “age” or “period of time,” or even “intensity of experience.” Using this approach, he briefly argues from the parable of the sheep and the goats (Matt. 25:31-46) that eternal punishment isn’t eternal, but rather an intense period of pruning.
Now here’s the thing: aion and aionos definitely can mean “age” or “period of time,” they also mean “eternal.” The word’s context helps us to determine its meaning. So if we assume that these words primarily mean “age” or “period of time,” what happens when we apply that definition to John 3:16 where aionosis used?
For God so loved the world that He sent His only Son so that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have life for a period of time.
Not as encouraging, is it? While Bell might argue here that “life abundant” might be a better fit (playing on the “intensity of experience” angle and tying it to John 10:10), at the end of the day, we’re left with an approach that gives more credence to living your best life now than it does to worshipping Jesus."
I believe Rob Bell is promoting Universalism and that is downright dangerous to the souls of those who need to know that God is, of course, a God of love. But He is also a God of justice who will deal with people's outright rebellion, unrepentant sin, and defiant rejection. One can play all the mental games they want with this subject - but it does not invalidate the teachings of Scripture.
Let the Reader of Bell Beware!
I like how TIm and Aaron end their article:
"Christians do not need more confusion. They need clarity. They need teachers who are willing to deal honestly with what the Bible says, no matter how hard that truth is. And let’s be honest—many truths are very, very hard to swallow.
Love does win, but not the kind of love that Bell talks about in this book. The love he describes is one that is founded solely on the idea that the primary object of God’s love is man; indeed, the whole story, he writes, can be summed up in these words: “For God so loved the world.” But this doesn’t hold a candle to the altogether amazing love of God as actually shown in the Bible. The God who “shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8), who acts on our behalf not so much because His love for us is great, but because He is great (Isaiah 48:9, Ezekiel 20:9,14,22,44, 36:22; John 17:1-5).
That’s the kind of love that wins. That’s the kind of love that motivates us to love our neighbors enough to compel them to flee from the wrath to come. And our love for people means nothing if we do not first and foremost love God enough to be honest about Him."