Book Brings Firestorm to Faith Community

May 11th, 2011, by

Rob Bell took the evangelical world by surprise when he released his latest book Love Wins.” Unfortunately for them, it wasn’t a pleasant one.

The author, a minister of a 8,000+ congregation in Michigan, set out to explore the idea of reconciliation and God’s love towards mankind, but then makes room for the argument that essentially everyone will be saved; a key belief in universalism, which unfortunately has a lot of holes in it. And, if folks like Bell are not careful, they could be sending a lot of people in a seriously wrong direction. Here’s why.

In the Bible, it is certainly written in John 3:16 that, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” This passage however, which some might argue speaks to the universalism belief, does not fully express the sentiment that universalism understanding lends itself to.

A closer examination of the Bible shows in Matthew 7:21, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”

This passage alone should cause universalism believers to seriously pause. I mean think about it. If there are individuals that scripture says won’t be able to be heard from by God, how can someone like Bell, or those who agree in universalism, think that everyone will in fact be heard by God and enter heaven?

As well intentioned as he may be, Bell’s understanding of universalism is flawed; it is not scripturally accurate. While universalism sounds great, it misses one key point. Each man and woman has the responsibility to make decisions for him/herself as to how they choose to live their lives. The idea that everyone will eventually be accepted by God despite the life they choose to live is simply inaccurate.

Believers in the Bible should be wary of people sharing different religious ideas and those who would cherry pick particular scriptures to justify their beliefs. While I don’t necessarily believe Mr. Bell meant to be controversial in his writings for “Love Wins,” he certainly left a door wide open to speculation where there shouldn’t be any.

Remember, “small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” This means that while there are many different philosophies and ideas about heaven and religion, one must be careful of presentations like Mr. Bell’s of a universalism belief that is not biblically sound.

Feel good beliefs and understandings in religion are just that. Beliefs that make you feel good. But don’t mistake what feels good for what’s right. My fear is that Mr. Bell’s presentation of universalism does just that in his book — and that, from a theological perspective is a very dangerous thing.

Speak out: Do you agree with Rob Bell’s philosophy or are his views misguided?

Last modified: May 19, 2011 at 12:17 am