Saturday, February 26, 2011

Rob Bell: Love Wins = universalism?

Rob Bell has a new book coming out and many are quick to speak that Rob has fallen off into the error of universalism, I'm not so sure.  If there is anything I know about Rob Bell it is this:  Rob likes to make vague statements that challenge traditional orthodoxy.  He likes to ask questions that make people think.  One example is in his book Velvet Elvis where he describes our orthodoxy or theology as a brick wall and like a brick wall a few bricks can be knocked out without tearing the wall down.  Thats cool, I can see that.  The cannons fired when he said one such brick was the virgin birth of Jesus.  Yikes!  That's a shocker!  Now surely if you "knock out" the virgin birth you knock out Christ altogether, I know that, you know that, and I think Rob knows that.  So why did he say it?  Because that is what he does...he makes you think about what it is you believe.  a kind of meditative catalyst to drive you to believe what you believe because you find it to be true and not just because everyone says it is true.

Now, why do I mention this today?  Because I have seen numerous people jump to conclusions about Rob and universalism over a video teaser that was released for the upcoming book Love Wins.  In the video Rob asks a lot of questions but he doesn't make many statements, typical Bell style.  See for yourself and draw your own conclusions.

LOVE WINS. from Rob Bell on Vimeo.

What do you think?  Has Rob gone off the deep end?  Or even more penetrating:  does questioning traditional belief make a person a heretic?  or unregenerate?

(Update:  follow-up post on the power of words)


  1. An Open Letter to Justin Taylor Regarding His Condemnation of Rob Bell

  2. Another book I'm going to have to read... sigh.

    thanks for the video. I will go watch it a bit later.

  3. I ask the same questions he asks in this video since I'm 7 years old... It doesn't enter in my head that the vast majority of evangelicals that I know are satisfied with the formula "all those who accepted Jesus in there heart will go to heaven, and all the other will go to hell".... It has been a major stumble block for me as a kid. I remember studying history at school, learning how the natives in america could never have known Jesus before the coming of the Europeans, and it was saddening me. And I would not be able to imagine that God would send them to hell because they didn't know Jesus, when in fact it was impossible that they would have know Him.

    Struggling with this through the years, I've come to the conclusion that:
    -God is just
    -God is love
    -hell is not my business

    I tend to believe in what Barth called "holy silence" or reverrent agnosticism. The following text is very good about that.


As in a biblical church gathering, my word is not complete or final. Participation is allowed, encouraged and expected. Please, don't leave without adding something.