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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Roundup of Posts on the Alleged Universalism of Rob Bell


"Non-emergent" Emergent Church leader/pastor Rob Bell has released a new video about his forthcoming book on Hell and it stirred up some controversy in the Reformed world, starting with Justin Taylor of Crossway Books.;
1. The post that seems to have started the hoopla from Justin Tayler (updated version) - Rob Bell: Universalist?
4. Rachel Held Evans - Heaven, Hell, and Rob Bell
5. Tim Challies - At the Speed of the Web
8. Denny Burk (Questions Rob asks, with Denny's answers from the Bible) - Rob Bell Outs Himself
11. Out of Ur - Rob Bell: Universalist?
14. Josh Harris (his site appears to be down and so I'm linking to Zach Nielson's repost of Harris' comments): Josh Harris: Rob Bell, Hell and Why I Hope I'm Wrong
Now that the roundup is out of the way...here are my thoughts. I've always been concerned about Rob Bell's theology ever since I first saw one of his Nooma videos at the Independent Baptist church we attended in Georgia back around 2002 or 2003. It was weird, new age, mumbo-jumbo that I don't remember what it was about, if that makes sense at all. Since then, I have seen occasional snippets from him and seem to glean that he leaned toward universalism. He seems to have no problems with homosexuality as a sin, allows an open bar in his church (not that there's anything wrong with drinking, but what about those prone to alcoholism), and has generally challenged orthodox Christianity (not that there's anything wrong with that). I am probably one of the few in my age group who has not read Velvet Elvis, and from what I hear of it, I'm glad. At any rate, I would not be surprised if the book does out Bell as a universalist, or even an annihialitionist. No one has brought up the latter yet, which could just as well be the case. At any rate, both Challies and Dyer bring up good points about the speed at which information spreads in this issue.  The detractors have accused the accusers of being judgmental and not loving while doing the same themselves. Let us examine this issue in love and pray that Rob Bell is looking at this issue Biblically, and not emotionally.