Thursday, June 9, 2011

Review of Rob Bell's 'Love Wins' Part 4

Chapter 4  Hell
This subject is so important because it is one of the most powerful witnesses that communicates something about the holiness of God.  God did not crucify and mutilate His one and only blessed Son,  and He did not create the Lake of Fire in order to convey the insignificance of His great glory.
Hell is meant for those (like you and me) who from birth have rebelled against the one true infinitely loving God.  Hell is meant for those (like you and me) who despise His righteousness.  Hell is meant for those (like you and me) who HATE God.
That is all of us from birth.  If you think I'm exaggerating, then let Paul speak from Romans 1:28-30
"And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God..." etc.
What does that prove you ask?  That is just applied to those other people, not to me.  Paul quickly follows up in Romans 2:1
"Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things."
We who judge practice the same things.  What things?  Everything that proceeds this verse.  We are all haters and despisers of the most glorious God from birth.   He sends those people to hell.  People like you and me.  The fact that he saves anybody from that future says something great about Himself.  The fact that He created it for those who He would not save says something great about Himself, namely, that He is a righteous judge and He will demonstrate His justice to those He is showing mercy to (cf. Romans 9:23).
So how does this relate to Rob Bell's chapter on hell?
If hell is undermined and shown to be fallacious, not only must you throw out the inerrancy of Scripture, but one of the witnesses that demonstrates God's holiness is destroyed.  Bell in this chapter erodes all urgency for anybody to repent of their treason against King Jesus and put their trust in Him alone for salvation.
He paints a caricature of belief in the right things:
"Many people in our world have only ever heard hell talked about as the place reserved for those who are "out," who don't believe, who haven't 'joined the church.'  Christians talking about people who aren't Christians going to hell when they die because they aren't...Christians.  People who don't believe the right things" pg. 82
That is a straw man.  People go to hell because they hate God and His son Jesus Christ.  John 15:24 says
"If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well."
People do not go to hell because they do not believe the right things.  Believing the right things will not prevent you from going to Hell (cf. James 2:19), only being born again will (cf. John 3:3)

Furthermore Bell tortures Luke 16, which tells us the story of the rich man and Lazarus by interpreting the chasm to be the rich man's heart-pg. 75
He re-introduces an old already defeated view on hell as the town trash heap outside of Jerusalem.
Still worse he tells us that we are the gospel:
"Jesus teaches us again and again that the gospel is about a death that leads to life.  It's a pattern, a truth, a reality that comes from losing your life and then finding it." pg. 76
That statement needs to be read a couple times.  The a pattern...that comes from you.
You are the gospel according to Rob Bell.
Not Jesus living a perfect life, to give you the righteousness you need to please the Father.
Not Jesus paying the penalty for wicked God-hating sinners.
Not Jesus rising from the dead defeating death for His bride.
You are the gospel.
You are the gospel if you believe Bell's version of it.
Friends, if you and I are the gospel, then the gospel is not good news.  It's the worst news possible.  Why did Christ need to suffer if the chasm from heaven to hell is our own heart?  The truth is that the chasm is and could only have been bridged by an infinite being.
The Lord Jesus Christ.
Not us.
This is what Bell is seeking to undermine.  Consciously or not, it matters little.  This theology that he is propagating is hostile and antithetical to the Scriptures and it's hostile and despising of the person and finished work of Jesus Christ.

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