Monday, February 28, 2011

Heads Up, Christian Parents: Rob Bell Is Teaching "Universal Reconciliation" to Youth Group Kids

LOVE WINS. from Rob Bell on Vimeo.

Time magazine has designated Rob Bell a "rock star in the church world." The Church Report Magazine (, ranked Bell #10 on their list of "The 50 Most Influential Christians in America." Bell's books and NOOMA videos sell by the thousands. The Chicago Sun Times wrote an article comparing Bell's influence to that of Billy Graham ("The Next Billy Graham?").

Heads up, Christian parents: even if you have never heard of Rob Bell before, just ask your kids. Because I can almost guarantee you that even if they haven't read his books or watched his NOOMA videos, their friends have. And why is this frightening? Because Rob Bell is a big, big, BIG leader in a new movement sweeping through our young people today called "Christian Universalism." Yes, you read that right, and yes, "Christian Universalism" is an oxymoron (like "jumbo shrimp" or "virtual reality").  But nonetheless, with leaders like Rob Bell leading the way, many of today's church-going youth have slowly been seduced into believing this false teaching, usually using Colossians 1:19-20 (out of context, of course) as their "proof-text." To complicate matters further, the particular "flavor" of Universalism that Rob Bell is dishing up is called "Universal Reconciliation." Universal Reconciliation is an odd twist on straight up Universalism ("All paths lead to God"), in that it is a belief which is "opposed to ideas such as everlasting torment in Hell, but may also include a period of finite punishment similar to a state of purgatory."

Here is a transcript of Rob Bell's speaking in his promotional video for his new book:
"Several years ago we had an art show at our church and people brought in all kinds of sculptures and paintings and we put them on display. And there was this one piece that had a quote from Gandhi in it and lots of people found this piece compelling. They would stop and sort of stare at it and take it in and reflect on it. But not everybody found it that compelling. Somewhere in the course of the art show, somebody attached a handwritten note to the piece. And on the note they had written "Reality check, he's in Hell."
Gandhi's in Hell? He is? And someone knows this for sure? And felt the need to let the rest of us know? Will only a few select people make it to Heaven? And will billions and billions of people burn forever in Hell? And if that's the case how do you become one of the few? Is it what you believe or what you say or what you do or who you know? Or something that happens in your heart or do you need to be initiated or baptized or take a class or converted or being born again? How does one become one of these few? And then there is the question behind the questions. The real question; what is God like? Because millions and millions were taught that the primary message, the center of the Gospel of Jesus is that God is going to send you to Hell unless you believe in Jesus. And so what gets subtly sort of caught and taught is that Jesus rescues you from God. But what kind of God is that that we would need to be rescued from this God? How could that God ever be good? How could that God ever be trusted? And how could that ever be "Good News?"
This is why lots of people want nothing to do with the Christian faith. They see it has an endless list of absurdities and inconsistencies and they say why would I ever want to be a part of that? You see what we believe about Heaven and Hell is incredibly important because it exposes what we believe about who God is and what God is like. What you discover in the Bible is so surprising and unexpected and beautiful that whatever we've been told or taught, the Good News is actually better than that, better than we could ever imagine. The Good News is that Love Wins."
The release date for Bell's book is March 29, 2011. I guess this will all be more clear in about a month, right?  As for me, I'm glad the emergents are coming clean that their beliefs are so completely and utterly heretical.  But then again, it's a bit weird for them to cut the caginess, and be so straightforward.  Makes me think they have come to the realization that today's churchgoers are so biblically illiterate that they can be served any old heresy and won't know the difference. This particular lie, you see, is one that goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden:
"The serpent said to the woman, 'You surely will not die!'" (Genesis 3:4)

 Additional Resources 

"Love Wins?" A Critique of Rob Bell's New Book

Rob Bell Answers His Critics....But Don't Be Fooled

Two Thoughts on the Rob Bell Brouhaha

What Is A Christian Universalist (Besides An Oxymoron)?

What Is the "Wider Mercy" Doctrine?

Rob Bell Praises New Age Author Huston Smith

Rob Bell and Shane Hipps: Blood on Their Hands

Quantum Science Proves 'Everything Is Spiritual?' Not So Fast, Says Quantum Physicist Dr. Frank Stootman