March 1, 2011 28 Comments
I’m late to the game on this one. I blame my work schedule and Call of Duty Black Ops.
More seriously, though, Rob Bell is once again stirring the waters, driving out the money changers, and <insert your bible analogy pun here> of the American Fundagelical Church™ by releasing a very short video that makes only one simple claim: “Love Wins.”
The doctrine of hell, when you think about it, is a horrible teaching in the literal sense of that word. It’s shocking, extremely unpleasant, and dreadful to consider that the majority of the human race will suffer eternally without even a moment of temporary respite. It’s almost unimaginable. If it doesn’t make your stomach churn (or worse), it should.
Enter Rob Bell, who seems to be suggesting that maybe Christians have gotten it wrong (he’s not the first to say this, of course, if he is in fact saying this). Enter several Evangelical heavyweights, including John Piper and Josh Harris, who seem to be willing to count Bell among Hell’s population before the book even comes out. Shocking in a very sarcastic, not literal way.
But let’s not get too sidetracked. This post isn’t about supporting or refuting Christ-centered universalism (which Rob may or may not support himself), and it’s not about casting stones at Piper and Harris. Lots of people are making cases for and against what Rob may or may not be saying. E.g., for. E.g., against. Or, an excellent book on the topic that I’ve read through multiple times.
Instead, I want to ask a much more basic, simple question that in my view permeates, informs, and steers the entire conversation, often without people even realizing it ought to be asked.
Why would any Christ follow want the doctrine of hell to be true?