For printing our articles
please copy the web page by highlighting the text first -
then click copy in the browser- paste the article into a word
program on your computer. When the text is transferred into word,
click to save or print.
The Tragedy of not
Understanding the Gospel
Rob Bell: “I’ve written this book for all those, everywhere, who
have heard some version of the Jesus story that caused their pulse rate to rise,
their stomach to churn, and their heart to utter those resolute words, ‘I would
never be a part of that.’
“You are not alone. There are millions of us. (Preface of book “Love Wins”)
Bell seems to reprimand the church, as a protector of
unbelievers, he represents the many who have been hurt by Christians that have
taught of hell in the historic biblical manner.
Mr. Bell, we are not alone either, there are far more millions of us, and our
stomach churns from people like yourself that mock the word of God by giving a
substitute story. Bell should not think he is doing any unbeliever a favor by
denying this doctrine.
His chapter “Does God Get What God Wants?” His premise is: “I point out these
parallel claims: that God is mighty, powerful, and “in control” and that
billions of people will spend forever apart from God, who is their creator, even
though it’s written in the Bible that “God wants all people to be saved and to
come to a knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim. 2). So does God get what God wants?
How great is God? Great enough to achieve what God sets out to do, or kind of
great, medium great, great most of the time, but in this, the fate of billions
of people, not totally great.” (97). Bell continues, “Will all people be saved,
or will God not get what God wants? Does this magnificent, mighty, marvelous God
fail in the end?” (p.98).
Bell is only interested in raising more questions and is not really in pursuit
of what it actually says in the bible but wants a new interpretation because he
is a liberal emergent church leader.
Rob Bell, [There will be] “endless opportunities in an endless amount of time
for people to say yes to God. At the heart of this perspective is the belief
that, given enough time, everybody will turn to God and find themselves in the
joy and peace of God’s presence. The love of God will melt every hard heart, and
even the most ‘depraved sinners’ will eventually give up their resistance and
turn to God.” (Love Wins, p. 107)
So Bell has made up his own Emergent purgatory so God can win all and lose none.
In essence Bell is questioning God’s judgment. These were answered with Job,
maybe Bell did not read this book.
Paul answers a similar question in Rom. 9:21-23: “Does not the potter have power
over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for
dishonor? What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known,
endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction,
and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy,
which He had prepared beforehand for glory,”
2 Thess. 3:1-2 “Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may
run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you, and that we may be
delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith.” Paul says
of those who do not have faith they are unreasonable and wicked. Bell seems to
think that it does not matter, they will be recipients of the reward for saints
without faith. Therefore we can only conclude that what Paul writes here applies
to Rob Bell’s negligence and abandonment of the message.
Rom. 1:16-18: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power
of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for
the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith;
as it is written, "The just shall live by faith." For the wrath of God is
revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who
suppress the truth in unrighteousness”
“At the heart of this perspective is the belief that, given enough time,
everybody will turn to God and find themselves in the joy and peace of God’s
presence. The love of God will melt every hard heart, and even the most
“depraved sinners” will eventually give up their resistance and turn to God” (p.
107 “Love Wins”). The Scripture verse to prove this would be ____?
“Jesus is the representative of the entire human family. His blood covers the
entire created door. Jesus is saving everyone and everything” (Rob Bell and Don
Golden, Jesus Wants to Save Christians, p.147)
And we are supposed to believe Bell does not hold Universalist beliefs! Rob
Bell’s thread of universalism can be seen clearly in his perspective of the
future. "A couple of observations about the prophets’ promises regarding life in
the age to come. First, they spoke about 'all the nations.' That’s everybody.
That’s all those different...customs, habits, patterns, clothing, traditions,
and ways of celebrating..." (Love Wins p.34)
God does not say nations, meaning all people are to be saved, but there are
people from every nation. The word is ethnos means people from the nation 2) a
multitude of individuals of the same nature or genus, the human race 3) a race,
a nation, a people, a group)
It appears Bell broadens the meaning of key words every chance he can.
Bell must be counting on people not checking him with the bible because it has a
very different story.
Rev 7:9-10 “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no
one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before
the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in
their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, "Salvation belongs to our
God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!"
This describes the saved among the unsaved Gentiles, taken from the earth. It
does not say all, but a great multitude from the nations. It actually reads OUT
OF every nation. Nations being the various components of tribes, peoples, and
tongues. It does not imply that they are given a chance after they have died.
The Old Testament speaks of the nation - Isa 2:3-4 Many people shall come and
say, "Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD…4He shall judge between
the nations, and rebuke many people.” It never says all are saved but those from
the nations, even when Christ rules on earth.
How can one take the position that it is everyone from all nations when it also
says in Ps. 2:1”Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing?” as
in Rev.11:18 “The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, and the time of
the dead, that they should be judged, and that You should reward Your servants
the prophets and the saints, and those who fear Your name, small and great, and
should destroy those who destroy the earth." Can Bell reconcile this with his
Rev 19:15 “Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should
strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself
treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.”
So the people from the various nation are angry at God for his judgments and God
continues to judge them.
Rev. 15:4 Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone
are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, for Your judgments
have been manifested."
Bell actually says, “At the center of the Christian tradition since the first
church have been a number who insist that history is not tragic, hell is not
forever, and love, in the end, wins and all will be reconciled to God.” (p. 109)
If that is not universalism than I don’t think it exists. Is not sin throughout
mankind’s history tragic? Sin brought death, this is what Jesus wept over and
If all will be reconciled then the Jehovah Witness that denies Jesus’ gospel to
save them, that denies a heaven for himself (only 144,000 go there) and a hell
(there is no existence when we die), and the atheist are all going to be alive
and well whether they want to or not. Seems that goes against God’s nature, of
excusing evil and sin.
What Christian theologian or scholar ever interpreted or taught that when Jesus
spoke of hell it meant a quality of life now. Surely Bell must have a list he
discovered to side with these men. Or did Bell find just a few people throughout
the churches history for solace.
Bell is implying there is no heaven or hell issue before the world. We have no
decision to make on Jesus. If what Bell says is true then the gospel is not
needed. Yet we know Jesus gave it as the way to the Father.
Any reference to faith as the sinners response to the Good News of the Gospel is
inconsequential. There is no genuine Gospel here. This is regurgitated liberal
theology, words without the weight of meaning…just words.
Rob Bell, “I don’t know why as a Christian you would have to make such
declarative statements. [Why would you] want there to be a literal hell? I am a
bit skeptical of somebody who argues that passionately for a literal hell, why
would you be on that side? (“Ooze Interview” 2007)
We need to give Bell credit for being consistent, but where’s the Holy Spirit in
his interpretation? Like politician’s sound bites, Bell says statements without
any facts to back it up from the bible. He appeals to mans fallen nature of not
wanting to be judged by God. He makes this perfect, eternal, omniscient being
into being vindictive, unfeeling, not compassionate for sending people to hell.
Bell does not give any explanation for people to gain understanding of sin in
contradistinction to the holiness of God, the shed blood and death of Christ;
the reason He died on the cross. His substitutionary atonement; perfect man for
sinful men. Nor is God’s promise to be just punish the wicked, sinners for their
rebellion and disobedience involved in his imaginary story of God’s love. After
all there’s no need to address these matters when all will be okay in the end
except for maybe a few).
What does the gospel save us from? Sin and its penalty, death. To live eternally
with the one who saved us. Hell is the consequence of sin and death; it is to
live without the one who gave us life for eternity. No regeneration, no
relationship. No living with God after we die. It’s that simple.
Fausett Dictionary states “To the bad Hades was depicted as a place of
punishment, where God's wrath reached to the depths (Deu_32:22; Amo_9:2;
Psa_9:17; Psa_49:14; Isaiah 14). Thus, the unseen state even in Old Testament
was regarded as having a distinction between the godly and the ungodly;
Pro_14:32, “the wicked is driven away in his wickedness, but the righteous hath
hope in his death”; so Psalm 1.
In Matt. 18:8-9 Jesus warns of how to avoid being cast into hell fire. Why warn
about a place that is non existent with a non existent punishment.
Jesus introduced the parables by stating they are a parable, or another
parable—in Luke 16:19-20 Jesus specifically describes a situation and names a
man. Even if ones takes the position of Lk.16 being a parable, the stories all
had to teach truth and were describing what can happen, they were not
imagination. In Lk.16 the rich man who DIED is described by Jesus as still
having concern for his family and felt pain for himself; he asked for only a
drop of water to quench his insatiable thirst. He knew why he was there.
One of the arguments made by universalism is that we are to trust God as just
and holy; yet the idea of eternal conscious torment by this just and holy God
does not belong to His nature. Bell writes, “Has God created millions of people
over tens of thousands of years who are going to spend eternity in anguish? Can
God do this, or even allow this, and still claim to be a loving God?”
So Bell has invented a theology that fits with his wrong premise. Bell: “Heaven
is full of forgiven people. Hell is full of forgiven people. Heaven is full of
people God loves, whom Jesus died for. Hell is full of forgiven people God
loves, whom Jesus died for. The difference is how we choose to live, which story
we choose to live in, which version of reality we trust. Ours or God's” (Bell,
“Velvet Elvis”, p.146).
I concur with his summation of, which version of reality we trust- Ours or
God's. If I trust God’s then Bell is certainly wrong. If I trust Bell’s then is
God wrong? Why? Because Bell is saying one goes to hell even if they are
forgiven, that hell is filled with forgiven people. How he can switch back and
forth to different positions; heaven and hell are on earth and then to a place
filled with people is not logical. Bell seems to misunderstand what is necessary
to be forgiven. Its not just Jesus died for us, we are to respond to what He did
or we are not pronounced forgiven. You receive NOTHING without faith, yet Bell
says we receive everything without faith. So then how are forgiven people in
Hell? Even Bell cannot explain the contradictions in his own made up theology.
If one denies the existence of hell and the doctrine of eternal punishment, they
are actually denying the teachings of Jesus and denying Jesus as their master
The Eternality of God
Another problem is the descriptions of eternal (olam and aion) which is most
often used of God. Bell says eternal means a quality of life; how does this work
when it is applied to God?
I AM in Greek is Ego emi; it is in the present indicative active form of the
verb “to be.” Meaning, what is true of His being before is true of Him today, Is
God referring to a quality of life when he describes himself to Moses. God is
the I am, the self- existing, self- sufficient one, He is the cause of all
That He has no change from eternity past to eternity future (Mal.3:6). God never
changes, The Father says to the Son: “Your throne, O’ God is forever and ever”
(Heb.1:8). All His attributes are eternal, always with Him and stay the same.
You must have an eternal being to remove the sin of people of all time past,
present and future. How can Jesus be an eternal priest “according to the order
of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 5:5-10; 6:19-20), and be the author of eternal
salvation to all who obey Him (to all generations). Heb.6:20: “He is our high
priest forever,” is this possible if eternal does not exactly that.
This proves Bell’s concept of eternity is flawed. Bell may be able to explain
his position, the problem is that he cannot draw it from Scripture, it does not
match the Bibles. So what really is Bell’s intent? It is the emergent churches
modus operandi to question Bible doctrines, not just Hell but all of them. So
when we listen to Bell say:
“And then there is the question behind the questions, the real question: What is
God like? Because millions and millions of people were taught that the primary
message—the center of the Gospel of Jesus—is that God is going to send you to
hell, unless you believe in Jesus. And so, what gets, subtly, sort of caught and
taught is that Jesus rescues you from God. But what kind of God is that; that we
would need to be rescued from this God? How could that God ever be good; how
could that God ever be trusted? And how could that ever be good news.”
(Promotional Video of Love Wins)
Anyone is free to believe what they want, Bell has the freedom to his views but
when others who are fart more qualified that are scholars in the language and
Bible expositors say he is wrong, he should consider their counsel for his own
sake and others.
One of the main rules to interpret the words of the Bible correctly is to take
them literally unless one has a very good reason not to (such as a beast with 10
heads). Yet Liberals (non literalists) cannot accept numerous doctrines,
especially the doctrine of hell. To them it is like walking through a mine field
on a sunny day. A final judgment that included conscious eternal punishment and
the pouring out of God's wrath upon sin is repugnant to them more than sin
This denial of hell is a teaching of demons who don’t want this to be true.
Jesus spoke more about hell than all the writers of Scripture. 13% of the New
Testament is on Judgment and hell.
The Bibles definition of Hell
The Bible describes Hell as down, underneath. (The angels that sinned in Noah’s
day were cast down 2 Pt.2:4. Psalm 55:15, Proverbs 15:24, Isaiah 14:9, speak of
it being beneath.)
Jesus speaks of “eternal fire and punishment” as the place of the angels and
human beings who have rejected God (Matthew 25:41,46). He warns that those who
live in sin will be in danger of the “fire of hell” (Matthew 5:22; 18:8-9.)
Jesus described hell consistently as “fire” and “outer darkness” (Matt 25:30;
Jesus, who is God’s presentation of love to mankind spoke about hell more often,
and in a more vivid, future reality than any other biblical teacher. In Matthew
10:28 Jesus says, “Do not fear those who can kill the body but cannot kill the
soul. Rather be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”
He is speaking to followers, some of whom will eventually be tortured, stoned,
or burned alive. Yet, he says hell is far worse. Hell is a place of spiritual
misery. The judgment is of hell not a finality, there is suffering throughout
its sentence. When Jesus spoke of being 'destroyed' in hell, the Greek word is
apollumi, does not mean to be annihilated out of existence but to be brought to
ruin, to be useless for its intended purpose. In other words man who was created
in God’s image is not destroyed but left in its sinful state after death.
Jesus tells us it's a place of agony and suffering in the
spirit, the agony they will have will be justified because of their decision to
reject Christ. Hell was made for the devil and his angels, it was not intended
for man. But men who reject the solution follow the rebellion of the Devil will
also find themselves in the same place.
We should not confuse torment with torture. Torment is to be separated from
God's love and goodness for an eternity after one has experienced a certain
amount of grace in their life. We are all born separated from God in
relationship because of sin, but not from his goodness in life which he gives to
all whom are undeserving because of his grace (Mt.5:45; Acts 14:17). In the Old
Testament if one steals from you, the justice of Gods law demanded an equal pay
back. The Bible says if one sheds man's blood (murder) justice demands that that
person pay with his own life under God's law, yet, there is God's grace and
mercy. Jesus said in the New Testament if one rejects the eternal God's just
payment for our sins which is love with His grace and mercy, they themselves
will pay that eternal price for that sin, and sin is not paid back in this life,
Hell is not the Final Judgment
To Jesus, hell was a real place, however, he said that after the final judgment
day people would experience the sentence it in their bodies not just their soul.
In Rev. 14:10-11 it describes, “He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in
the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. “And the smoke
of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night,
who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”
This describes the final location of the devil and those who followed him
willingly or by being deceived in the Tribulation.
What Bell does not understand is that what we call Hell (gehenna) is a temporary
holding place, that people will be put back in their body of sin and stand
before the judgment seat for the evil and sinful works they did to have met out
their punishment. So hell is not the worst place, the lake of fire is.
Rev. 20:11-15: “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from
whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for
them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were
opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead
were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the
books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up
the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his
works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second
death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake
Here we have the resurrection of those who have died throughout the ages that
were not part of the first resurrection Rev. 20:4-6
Bell says, “…it is our responsibility to be extremely careful about making
negative, decisive, lasting judgments about people’s destinies. As Jesus says,
he ‘did not come to judge the world, but to save the world’ (John 12).”
Really is that what He “only” said?
John 12:47-48 ““And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not
judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. "He who
rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him-- the word
that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.”
There are so many scriptures pertaining to this that I only need to refer to a
Acts 10:42: “And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it
is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead.”
Acts 17:31: "because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in
righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. (that is Jesus) He has given
assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead."
Rom 2:16: “in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ,
according to my gospel.”
Bell is wrong again. In fact it’s hard to find anywhere where Bell is right,
because he makes it all metaphorical, he changes colors into shapes and shapes
The Bible speaks of two types of resurrection. John 5:28-30: “Do not marvel at
this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His
voice “and come forth-- those who have done good, to the resurrection of life,
and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.” I can of
Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I
do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.”
This is a reference to Dan. 12:2: “And many of those who sleep in the dust of
the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting
contempt.” (abhorrent, repulsive)
The book of life is is entered by having a spiritual birth, where one has
eternal life from a decision on the gospel while on earth.
Rev. 20:4-6: “Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their
witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his
image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And
they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the
dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the
first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first
resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests
of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.”
Rom 8:10-11:“And if Christ is in you, the body is dead
because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the
Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ
from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit
who dwells in you.”
Is it Christ that dwells in you? That is how we
receive a NEW SPIRITUAL BIRTH; these are the ones that will have eternal life
Why would Jesus instruct people to enter the narrow way and
then warn “the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and
those who enter by it are many.” Many, just like Bell is saying. And the wider
Bell and others make it the more will enter the road to destruction.
pt.3 Rob Bell's missing component of faith