This debate continue to rumble around and it continues to make me think. I’ve realised I’m not as clear as I should or could be on what the Bible teaches about hell that there are differences between what I think, what I would like, what I’m comfortable with and uncomfortable with and some of that needs resolving. Some tension is good but part of the reason I continue to blog about this is so I can reach a clearer position and respond better to some of the challenges that have come about on both sides.
I think Rob Bell poses some good questions and there have been some good responses. There have been a fair number of bad responses too and again part of the reason to continue to think these things through is so that I don’t end up making a bad response in a bad way. Which is why love has lost in much of what has been said and meanness has won.
I’m currently reading Love Wins and as ever because Rob Bell is a good writer it is a good read and there’s much to commend it. Really. Part of what frustrates me about the whole debate as seen so far is an inability to simply disagree but a compulsion to move from that point to denunciation. I’m not sure that’s strictly necessary.
Take this from John MacArthur:
“Has Bell shown any more commitment to gospel truth, or any more devotion to the principle of biblical authority than Hitchens or Chopra?”
Which is frankly a ridiculous question.
And the point of his radio series as one of the commenters on his blog says, “Hence the reason for this series; to show how the god Bell believes in, the christ Bell believes in, is NOT the God of the Bible nor the Christ of the Bible…And that God and Christ cannot save.”
So anyone who listens to Bell and trusts in the Christ that Bell preaches is preaching a false gospel. Doug Wilson calls him a false teacher. We just don’t need to go that far (do we?) and it’s those sort of reactions that put a Christian debate on the cover of Time magazine.
More helpful would be reasonable engagement. I’d love to see Keller debate with Bell, I think they disagree but I think Keller would engage with the ideas. I’d buy that DVD.
Interestingly Adrian Warnock (who has come up with a spectrum of belief on this – missing a few options I think) is debating with Rob Bell on the Unbelievable radio programme. That should be well worth listening to.
Anyway there’ll be more on Bell and Hell as I continue to read the book and think through this issue.