I watched the live- webcast of the Rob Bell interview about his new book “Love Wins” and blogged a couple of thoughts on it at  an Everyday Theology. It got a good response so I thought I would post it here.
In case you had not seen the webcast, you can watch the video of the event here

Here are  my two quick thoughts on it:

  1. We are not having this conversation in a vacuum
  2. Rob Bell is up to something

We are not in a vacuum and the context of this conversation is post-enlightenment / post-christendom. That means a couple of things:
a) everyone has their own bible
b) most people can read it
c) evangelicals do not have Popes or councils to make decisions on this kind of stuff
d) for Reformed folks (Piper, Driscol, Keller, etc) the bible just doesn’t say what they need it to say for this thing to be air tight.

SO – we have a couple of issues!
The biggest issue is that we take passages like Matthew 7 (which one of the white women in Rob’s audience asked about) where Jesus says “wide is the road that leads to destruction” and we THINK that it is about Hell. It is not. We have been taught to read the Bible wrong. We trade one word for another all the time.  I wrote about that here.

Then – some one like Rob comes along and calls that into question (he is up to something) and people FREAK out.

Matthew 7 isn’t about hell. But we got so comfortable thinking that it was … now we are uncomfortable with how comfortable we were.

I’ll give you another example: Paul never mentions hell. In any of sermons (Acts) or letters. It is not there.  I wrote about its absence here.

Here is another one: Revelation – which is not to be read literally – teaches (even to those who DO think it is literal) that hell is not eternal. Even in that scenario hell is temporary and is emptied into the lake of fire. They are not the same place or for the same purpose.  read Revelation 20:14-15.

But since many don’t know that… we end up asking “wait! if there is no hell … then why are we even doing evangelism or missions“. The answer is that we were doing them for the wrong reason. Some of it was colonial … some of it was worse.

We should do evangelism and we should do mission – but not because of this understanding of hell.

So – I am not saying that Rob Bell is right. I am not saying that everyone will be saved. But the reality is that many have not taken these passage seriously.  Passages such as:

Colossians 1:20 “and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”

Romans 5:10 “For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!”

2 Corinthians 5:18 “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation”

That’s my 2 cents.  What did you think?