Farewell Rob Bell

27 Feb

Farewell Rob Bell.

Those were the words of John Piper, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, MN, on his facebook page referring to Rob Bell‘s recent book, Love Wins: Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived.

Those words rang loudly, and saddened me, as I was reading two posts from Justin Taylor titled Rob Bell: Universalist? and Kevin DeYoung titled “To Hell With Hell“.

Head over to these two readings to gain more insight. Here are some of the highlights:

Justin Taylor writes in his posting:

It is unspeakably sad when those called to be ministers of the Word distort the gospel and deceive the people of God with false doctrine.

But it is better for those teaching false doctrine to put their cards on the table (a la Brian McLaren) rather than remaining studiously ambiguous in terminology.

Kevin DeYoung writes about the importance of understanding the wrath of God (please read his entire posting for a full unwrapping of each point). Excerpted from Why We’re Not Emergent:

First, we need God’s wrath to keep us honest about evangelism.

Second, we need God’s wrath in order to forgive our enemies.

Third, we need God’s wrath in order to risk our lives for Jesus’ sake.

Fourth, we need God’s wrath in order to live holy lives.

Fifth, we need God’s wrath in order to understand what mercy means.

Sixth, we need God’s wrath in order to grasp how wonderful heaven will be.

Seventh, we need the wrath of God in order to be motivated to care for our impoverished brothers and sisters.

Eighth, we need God’s wrath in order to be ready for the Lord’s return.

— Follow me on Twitter @Armando923


Posted by on February 27, 2011 in Articles


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2 responses to “Farewell Rob Bell

  1. Justin Mayfield

    March 2, 2011 at 11:00 am

    I hear ya, man. This is hard stuff. What saddens me is flippancy on Piper’s part, though. Who knows what Rob’s book will conclude with? I came up in evangelical and Presbyterian circles, but, sadly, these could never answer very simple questions about the Bible. Like reconciling Matt 25, Romans 2 and passages from OT prophets (that suggest all the poor are in and the rich are out) with a Reformed view of Romans 1, 3-9. Or why the Reformed view is mostly, it seems, held by rich, white Westerners (globally speaking).

    Not trying to stir trouble here. I for one could use my Reformed brothers’ help in wrestling with the theological complexities of the Bible. It’d just be nice to do it without resorting to quoting Calvin or other reformers or just making systematic or doctrinal statements. Which makes me think that my Reformed brethren need to humble themselves and grow in patience in order to see outside their cloister and understand how cliche and meaningless doctrinal quotes sound to nearly everybody else. I say that understanding how meaningful they may be within Reformed-dom. In the end, it probably wouldn’t result in much of a compromise, if any, on meaning, but would make huge gains in communication and understanding.

    On the other side, I resonate with the weird feeling of questioning something as foundational as Heaven and Hell. But questioning is what makes people like C.S. Lewis able to dive deeply into expounding their essence and people like Tim Keller to quote him. It would be unfair for someone like Keller to both bash a questioner (with very timely and legit questions) and quote the fruit of their questioning.

    Quite simply, the idea of eternal damnation and eternal restoration are totally biblical. But the idea of a human saying who’s in and who’s out is totally not (Matt 13 for starters). Only God is judge. The rest of us are to remain humble before Him and trust in His goodness, whether that means 2 people are saved or 20 billion.

    I took the time to say all this because we need our Reformed Brethren in the fight against Hell (literally, not against the doctrine) united with us and vice versa. In my understanding, the biggest way to fight Hell is to love one another and be a city on a hill. To do that we need to understand our theology and own it fully. To do that, we need the help of our brilliant Reformers. To do that, we, Reformers included, need to put aside our blessed securities in pat doctrinal statements (which easily become idols making us feel secure without having to trust God, regardless) and turn to God in humility so that we can hash this stuff out with each other’s help.

    This isn’t meant to be diplomatic. This is true for each of us sinners–me at the forefront.

  2. mandoman2

    March 3, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    Thanks for the response, Justin. You said a ton in your response, which I appreciate, so I wanted to talk about your first question, “Who knows what Rob’s book will conclude with?”

    One thing that I’ve seen throughout my following of Rob Bell’s teachings, probably about seven years now, is that he loves to ask questions, which is a great thing. However, what I’ve seen, repeatedly throughout his books and videos, is an attempt to teach us something through his questions.

    This video teaches us a lot about his view of hell. And we are left without a critique of his new book because all he has done is asked questions. Questions can be a teaching tool, and – in my opinion – Rob Bell has nearly perfected this.

    Kevin DeYoung has an article continuing his concerns regarding Rob Bell’s new book. You can find it here (hopefully the link works). I think that he made some good points throughout. There are a ton of Scripture references, but I will warn that there is a honorable mention of Augustine, Luther, & Calvin.

    I would like to take the time to answer your other concerns about the reformed folks when I have time to sit down a length. It seems like you’ve been hurt by them in some way, or I may be assuming that – my apologies if I am.

    Blessings to you brother. Thanks again for your response.



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