Thanks to Terry for pointing out Tim Challies recent review of Rob Bell’s new book. I have a lot of respect for Tim Challies but even if I didn’t, he quotes Bell’s book in numerous places in his review and Bell says some very troubling things. Tim is not one to take things out of context but is one who is usually very careful to be fair with people so his review troubles me all the more about Bell’s new book. To sum it all up, it seems Bell is saying that based on his own carefully constructed definition of things there is basically no place called hell and universalism is the way things go. Sounds like he jumps through lots of hoops to make it sound like that is not what he saying but probably is what he is saying.
Here is how Tim ends his post,
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.