Friday, April 8, 2011

What is Said and What is Meant

A friend of mine recently posted the following clip of Rob Bell on Facebook:

It is a short clip of Rob Bell obviously responding to the criticisms he has received over his new book Love Wins. Since the clip in only 54 seconds long, I've typed out a transcript of what Bell says, below:

My name is Rob and I live in Grand Rapids, MI and I'm a Christian and I, uhh, I believe in Jesus and I believe Jesus is the way and I believe in heaven and I believe in hell and I believe the Bible is God's Word and I'm not a universalist because I believe God's love is so great, God let's you decide. I believe in the communion of the saints. I believe the church is the fullness. I believe in the new heaven and the new earth. I believe in healing. I believe in miracles. I believe in salvation. I believe in the power of prayer. I believe that God is alive and working. I believe there's been a resurrection and there's a whole new creation bursting forth right here in the midst of this one and I also believe it's best to only discuss books you've actually read.
Now, what I pointed out to my friend is that Rob Bell makes a lot of statements concerning what he believes, but he never tells us what he means. In other words, what does Bell mean when he says "I believe in hell"? Does he believe hell is an eternal place, in which those who hate God will be punished for all eternity (which is the classic, biblical definition of Hell)? Or does he believe that Hell is a place of *temporary* torment, in which people will still have a choice about accepting Christ or not, and that, eventually, everyone will choose Christ (because in the end Love Wins), even if it is after they have died and after they have been in Hell for a very, very long period of time?

Christians have to be careful for two things: what people say and what people mean. Bell says lots of things that sound good, but what does he mean when he says them? He does not mean the same thing as I do when I say "I believe in hell." And when we examine Scripture and what it says concerning hell, and then compare what Rob Bell is teaching concerning hell, we find Bell's teaching does not agree with Scripture, and is therefore wrong.

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