Rob Bell's New Book 'Love Wins' Downplays Hell In Search For Second Chance At Salvation

By: Curtis Ophoven 0 Comments   8/30/2011

I recently had a discussion with a few friends on Facebook about Rob Bell’s new controversial book ‘Love Wins’.

The discussion gave me the opportunity to research what the controversy is all about.

In full discloser, I have not read the complete book, but I have read Rob’s lecture notes online in which Rob defends his idea of final restoration.

The primary concern with my Facebook discussion was that it was suggested that the Christian community should not be so critical with someone like Rob Bell, who believes in the core doctrine of the Christian faith.  Having a different view of afterlife should not warrant calling someone a false teacher after all there are several other different views of scripture within Christianity.

At first glance, that statement sounded good. But as the discussion progressed, it began to fall apart.

The Truth Cannot Be Proven False

My first concern is that Christianity is unique in that it is open to criticism, as the disciples and Jesus stated.  The truth cannot be proven false and questioning it only works to strengthen its conviction in the one’s that try to discredit it.  

Lee Strobel, author of ‘The Case for Christ’ is a perfect example. He was a famous atheist that set out to discredit Christianity and ended up proving to himself that Christ was indeed just who He said He is, because the evidence was overwhelming.

The history of the criticism of Christianity is a testimony to its truth. No other religion could withstand the ongoing scrutiny by millions of scholars around the world for centuries that Christianity has endured.

Unlike all other major religions that are protected by theocratic rulers from questioning, Christianity is unique in that it invites critical thinking. Christ said, “Taste and see that the Lord is good” – (Psalm 34:8) He dares us to look at the evidence.

Christ also told us many times to be on guard so that we are not deceived, “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name … and will deceive many. ” – Matthew 24:4-5

Jesus warned us because evil uses lies and deceit to slip into the church "secretly slipped in among you" - Jude 1:4, which is why we must constantly police ourselves.

Critical thinking is good for the church, because it purifies it and brings the truth to the top. It is a lack of critical thinking that keeps false teachers in leadership positions. LOVE is not looking the other way when someone is contradicting scripture. LOVE is exposing the truth before people get hurt from the destruction that always results from following a path of our own wisdom.

My second concern with ignoring Rob Bell’s teachings is that it is very dangerous.

According to Rob's lecture notes, page 184-185, "If repentance and faith be prerequisites to holiness, then those who leave this world in unbelief and impenitence, are unholy and unprepared for heaven. Yet the felicity of heaven, to be perfect, must be universal, and hence those that are not prepared in this life, must be qualified for it in another and future, i.e. an intermediate state. And for this purpose, the means of grace and repentance must as necessarily extend through the intermediate state, and the age of judgment, as does the kingdom of Christ, who “is Lord” and Ruler “of the dead and living,”to whom all that die in unbelief must bow, according as we have shown in a previous lecture".

This is clearly a brand of universalism, as Rob Bell teaches that we will eventually come to believe in Christ and hell is just an "intermediate" place to be until we believe. This is not what scripture teaches.

John 3:16 says "whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life". Without believing in Christ, we will perish.

Hebrews 9:27 says, “Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.”

Eternal life is only given to those that have believed before death.   If "Love Wins" and we will all come to believe eventually in hell which is not forever, then Rob Bell has come up with a new truth that is not found in scripture.

Rob’s view of the afterlife is not something that can be dismissed, because it is in direct conflict with the reason that Christ came to earth and died for our sins. The reason that the kingdom of God stands forever against all other kingdoms that have failed is because He is just, unlike any other. We don't need to make up another way for God to be just.

It was for justice that God sent Christ to earth to die (Romans 3:25-26) because the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23) and someone must die for justice to be served. God is just and man has no excuse for rejecting his Son. The reason hell is a real and permanent place is because God is just and the reason man rejects Christ is because we love our sin.

"This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil." (John 3:19)

Christ is the Judge

Christ is the one that judges the world. It is not the Christians that are judging when they repeat the words of Christ. And if we are afraid to repeat the words of Christ, then we are ashamed of the gospel and therefore ashamed of Christ.  It is not possible to serve both Christ and man, choice this day who you will serve. 

In God’s court he sits on the judgment seat and decides who is justified and who is condemned. Scripture tells us that because we know this, we should do everything we can to turn people from their evil ways.

“But if they had stood in my council, they would have proclaimed my words to my people and would have turned them from their evil ways and from their evil deeds.” -Jeremiah 23:22

One day in Christ’s court room would convince all of us that he is not playing games, hell is real and He is just.

License To Sin

Rob Bell’s teaching is dangerous because he uses grace as a license to sin (which by the way is predicted to become popular in the last days), which leads people away from Christ and into hell, because they have no need to turn from their evil ways because hell is not permanent.

This is not the truth and therefore it is not LOVE. Rob Bell does not believe in Christ as described in the scriptures nor does Rob believe in love. He has redefined love to allow men to continue sinning.

God so loved the world that he sent his son to die for us, because without his Son’s death we had no chance of life, because we are born condemned to eternal death. Christ is our only way to escape the righteous justice of God. This is why love covers many sins, because we were sinners of many sins before we were granted righteousness by believing in Christ.

“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” - John 3:36

Rob’s definition of love is not the same definition found in the scriptures. Real love demands justice and justice demands obedience to righteousness, in which the wages of sin is death. If love demanded the life of God’s Son, why would it not demand ours?

Scripture tells us that those that use grace as a license to sin are actually denying Christ as the Sovereign Lord - "who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. " - Jude 1:4

In Conclusion

Our mission is not to soften the gospel in order to try to attract more people to Christianity, which is not even possible.

Our mission is to boldly tell the world that Christ is the answer, regardless of their rejection of him. Softened the gospel does not attract more people to Christ or make our job any easier. Softening the gospel causes the gospel to lose its value all together, just as if salt loses its saltiness it becomes worthless, because if sin does not matter then neither does Christ.

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.” – Matthew 5:13

Softening the gospel does not gain us friends in the world; it only weakens our faith and strengthens our enemies.

If we wonder why the outside world looks at Christianity and does not want to join us, it is not because we are pointing out false teachers among us or because hell is a real place. It is because they have rejected Christ.

There is no second chance at salvation, just as there is no other name under heaven for which we can be saved. - Acts 4:12

Current Catalog

Reader Comments

Be the first to leave a comment!
Write a Comment

Please keep comments civil and on-topic. Abusive or inappropriate comments will be removed without warning.

 Name (required)   
 Email Address (required)   
 Website URL 
Evidence for God: 50 Arguments for Faith from the Bible, History, Philosophy, and Science

In Evidence for God, leading Christian scholars and apologists provide compelling arguments that address the latest and most pressing questions about God, science, Jesus, the Bible, and more, including: -Did Jesus really exist? -Is Jesus really the only way to God? -What about those who have never heard the gospel? -Is today's Bible what was originally written? -What about recently publicized gospels that aren't in the Bible? -Is intelligent design really a credible explanation of the origins of our world? This book shows that is it more intelligent to believe in God then not to.

How Christianity Made the Modern World

The books shows how through century after century, Bible-believing Christians put their faith into action to help those who were unable to help themselves. In an age where Christians are often marginalized and where secular reporters with their warped anti-Christ agenda decry much of what our forefather did or even deny the West's Christian heritage, then this book is refreshing, life-giving and invigorating rain from heaven, soaked in facts, history, testimony and personal observation in country after country and place after place. Christianity is truly responsible for the success of the modern world.

The Rage Against God

Peter Hitchens, brother of prominent atheist Christopher Hitchens, chronicles his personal journey through disbelief into a committed Christian faith. This is intellectual look at why atheistism is an intellectual failure. In his new book Peter tells his personal story of how he has been a witness to the ideas of atheism in the Soviet Union, which has resulted in untold death and destruction. Now he sees the same death grip coming to Great Britain, his home land, as the nation continues to turn from God. Peter’s experience that led him to faith is a testimony to what the scriptures tell us. “The fear of the LORD adds length to life, but the years of the wicked are cut short. “ - Proverbs 10:27

One God, One Truth: The Clear and Simple Evidence

It gives definitive and accurate data on why the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is the one true God of the Universe. Not only does it give evidence on the accuracy of the Bible but it gives proof of the errors in other religions in a sensitive and loving manner. It is not a book focused on putting down people of other faiths but rather a loving approach to help others recognize the one true God. I highly recommend this book to every Christian who has people in their life that they want to impact with the truth.