The Hell-Raiser

Rob Bell’s article in The New Yorker raises some interesting questions

BellIn a recent article in The New Yorker, former pastor Rob Bell is profiled. Not only does the article reveal that Rob was far more liberal, far longer than anyone realized. It also chronicles his search for “a more forgiving faith.” I have a lot of trouble with this idea, I ask you, what is a more forgiving faith that Biblical Christianity? What is a more forgiving faith than a free gift?

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rom. 6:23

The admissions and statements Bell makes in this article just goes to show that, like so many others, Rob Bell doesn’t understand the gospel at all.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  Eph. 2:8-9

A free gift that we don’t have to work for and that we don’t earn and don’t keep by our works. What is more forgiving than that? Nothing…in fact every time you try to take this aspect of the gospel away you’re left with nothing but works. No other world religion offers this free gift…and yet by the thousands people reject it, including Bell. The extreme “Christian” liberalism that Bell promotes is the same side of the coin as extreme Christian legalism, because it’s all on you to earn your salvation, as the Bible says is impossible.

Yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. Gal. 2:16

Most surprisingly though the article prompts me to feel sorry for Bell, sorry because he is trying to do the impossible…find a more forgiving faith than Christianity. I feel sorry for Bell because he is leading himself and others down the broad road that leads to hell.

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6 thoughts on “The Hell-Raiser

  1. As one who has walked in Rob Bell’s shoes before him I have a hard time accepting your statements that there is not a more forgiving religion than the conservative Christianity you are describing. If forgiveness is a free gift from God then why isn’t everyone forgiven? Because, as conservative Christianity says, we must have faith. So it isn’t really free, forgiveness is the result of our faith, not God’s grace. So the most forgiving faith that you talk about – the one that is sending the vast majority of humanity to an eternal hell – is only for those who do and say the right things (confess and believe). Sounds like a gospel of works to me. So I am not sure Rob Bell (and I) are the ones you should be feeling sorry for.

    • I appreciate your comments, however, you are overlooking the simple fact that faith itself is part of the gift of salvation. The faith you have is not your own it’s a gift of God. You make faith into a work simply by being something we muster up from some place within us and we, frankly, don’t have that ability. The ability to reason is a gift from God, the ability to hear and understand the gospel is part of the gift of God. Jesus declares “no one can come to Me unless it is granted him by the Father.” (John 6:65) In the same passage Jesus declares: ” all that the Father gives to Me will come to Me.” (John 6:37) In both verses the phrase “come to Me” simply means “believe in Me” and so taken together Jesus is stating that no one can believe in Him unless God grants it, and all to whom God grants it will believe”. According to this passage, then, God grants faith, a faith that will infallibly arise in the heart of those He has given His Son…

  2. Have any of you read any of his works, or are you merely bloviating? It would seem that Bell is actually trying to explain that the purpose of the church is to love rather then condem.

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  4. I think what Bell is really searching for (or probably more accurately said trying to create) is not a Christianity that is more forgiving but one that eliminates the need for forgiveness at all. If there is no sin, no judgment, and no hell……then there is no need for anyone to be forgiven of anything.

    I feel sorry for him as well. He has abandoned the one true God for an idol of his own creation and is indeed leading others to do the same.

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