Heresy or progression?

Right now all forms of media are abuzz, Rob Bell has a new book coming out entitled “Love Wins”.  On Bell’s website the book is described as follows:

A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived.

Rob Bell addresses one of the most controversial issues of faith—the afterlife—arguing, would a loving God send people to eternal torment forever…? With searing insight, Bell puts hell on trial, and his message is decidedly hopeful—eternal life doesn’t start when we die; it starts right now. And ultimately, Love Wins.

The buzz revolves around accusations of Rob Bell being a Universalist, and that this book is his “coming out” as such.  These claims are mostly stemming from a promo video and the publishers promotional blurbs.   Remember, this book hasn’t been released yet.

I personally could not tell you if I think Rob Bell is a Universalist or not, especially based on this book because I haven’t read this book and neither have a majority, if not all of the people who are accusing heresy based on this book.  I have to say that this alone is a very slim context to base such a strong claim as heresy.   In this world of blogs, twitter, etc. it is so easy for anyone to get their opinion out there, no matter how credible, and gain a large following quickly.  One of the bloggers who sparked this instance says this about his personal exposure to Rob Bell (read the blog post here)

“I have not read all of Bell’s book, though I have read some chapters that were sent to me. When the book is published there will be detailed reviews, and I will link to them.”

I will admit that I have done this myself.  I feel like I have an strong opinion on something that I know little about.  So to build my case I look to the internet and find people who think the same and take bits and pieces from here and there that support my opinion and use them.  Now I have no idea what the context is of these, but they sure sound good in making my point.  I’ve done this, and I feel awful about it. posted an article talking about this and I really respect the editors note in the beginning.  Here is there stance right now (check out the full article)

While our editors have indeed read Bell’s book, we’ve chosen not to comment on the actual content of Love Wins until other people have had a chance to read it as well and can thoughtfully agree or disagree with our assessments. To jump into the fray with a quickly constructed 1,000-word knee-jerk reaction or quasi-book report, only because the topic is being debated this week, would be a grave disservice to our readers and to the book itself. Instead, we’ve chosen to do an in-depth piece on the topic in the May/June issue of RELEVANT, including a substantive interview with Bell himself.

Again, I take no side on this issue right now, I haven’t read this book, and I haven’t fully read any of Rob Bell’s other books.  What do you think?  Is this a rightful defense of Christianity?  Is this jumping the gun and dragging an author through the mud?  Are we afraid of people asking hard questions?

Also I think we need to remember that there are many people who we now hold up as great people in the history of Christianity that were originally accused of being heretics.  Many were killed because of it.


2 thoughts on “Heresy or progression?

  1. I’m looking forward to getting Rev Bell’s book. It’s my hope that he will lay out the forceful arguments against the doctrine of Hell which, apparently, a number of prominent Evangelical leaders are fearful he will do.

    The fact is Jesus most certainly did NOT believe in Hell, and the only way to place and keep Hell on his lips is to take everything he actually did tell us about God’s real nature and reject it. Interestingly, one needs only to read the gospels objectively (without any Doctrine Goggles as I like to call them) to see there is no way he could have believed in Hell.

    For example, in Luke 9:51-56, is the story about his great disappointment with his disciples when they actually suggested imploring God to rain FIRE on a village just because they had rejected him. His response: “You don’t know what spirit is inspiring this kind of talk!” Presumably, it was NOT the Holy Spirit. He went on, trying to explain how he had come to save, heal and relieve suffering, not be the CAUSE of it.

    So it only stands to reason that this same Jesus, who was appalled at the very idea of burning a few people, for a few horrific minutes until they were dead, could never, ever burn billions of people for an eternity!

    Rick Lannoye, author
    Hell? No! Why You Can Be Certain There Is No Such Place As Hell

  2. Pingback: A response to Rob Bell’s “Love Wins” | oakhillscollege

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