So I got sucked in and went out a bought Rob Bell’s book. And I have to say, I’m pretty disappointed.
Not a good buy.
Luckily on Kindle it's only nine bucks so . . .
I suppose if I agreed with him I might feel differently - maybe, but in all honesty? It was pretty poorly written.
From a theological perspective is was down right pathetic.
I mean - come on! The guy is a Pastor. He should and could know better. Here’s what I’m talking about:
“If your God will punish people for all of eternity for sins committed in a few short years . . .”
That is NOT why people are spending eternity in hell. If you go to hell, it’s because you have rejected the only means of avoiding hell. If you go to hell, it is because you have not turned from your rebellion against your Creator. Rob Bell knows what the Bible teaches on the subject but chooses to ignore Its words. In my way of thinking, that is an egregious way for a christian Pastor to act.
“If there was an actual human dad who was that volatile, we would contract child protection services immediately. If God can switch gears like that, switch entire modes of being that quickly, that raises a thousand questions about whether a being like this could ever be trusted, let alone be good. Loving one moment, vicious the next. Kind and compassionate, only to become cruel and relentless in the blink of an eye.”
Again, Rob Bell knows that heaven, hell, justification, condemnation - all these things were put in place before the universe was ever brought into existence. While we humans do not comprehend “eternity” or “outside of time, even 14.5 billion years is hardly “switching gears.” No one reading Rob Bell’s book or even the Bible can hardly claim to be taken by surprise by God’s plan for redemption. It’s atheists who accuse God of acting in a capricious and arbitrary manner, not those who actually know Creator God.
For what it's worth, I don't think Rob Bell even touches the issue of justice in this book.
“What [Jesus] doesn’t say is how, or when, or in what manner the mechanism functions that gets people to God through him. He doesn’t even state that those coming to the Father through Him will even know that they are coming exclusively through Him.
Are you freakin kidding me?
Mark 16:16 - Jesus said, “Those who believe and are baptized will be saved but those who refuse to believe will be condemned.”
John 1:12,13 Jesus said, “Unless you are born again, you can never get into the kingdom of heaven.” There is no eternal doom awaiting those who trust Him to save them. But those who don’t trust Him have already been tried and condemned for not believing in the only Son of God.
John 5:24 - Jesus said, “I say emphatically that anyone who listens to My message and believes in God who sent me has eternal life and will NEVER be damned for his sins. He has crossed from death into life.”
John 8:24 - Jesus said, “For unless you believe that I am the Son of God, the Messiah, you will die in your sins.”
Romans 3:27,28 - Our acquittal is not based on our good deeds, it is based on what Christ has done and our faith in Him. So it is we are saved, by faith in Christ and not by the good things we do.
Romans 9:32 - Because they were trying to be saved by keeping the law and being good instead of by depending on faith, they have stumbled over that great stumbling stone, Jesus.
Galatians 2:19 - It was through reading the Scriptures that I came to realize that I could never find God’s favour by trying and failing to obey the law. I came to realize that acceptance with God comes by believing in Christ.
1st Thessalonians 1:8,9 - The Lord Jesus will bring judgement on those who do not wish to know God and those who reject His plan to save them through our Lord Jesus Christ. They will be punished in everlasting hell, forever separated from the Lord, never to see the glory of His power.
These verses literally scream for our attention. The basis for what they say is this. God is completely Holy. Nothing less than complete Holiness can come into His presence. Jesus taught that we are separated from His Holiness by our sinful nature, and neither religion, nor a moral life, nor some man-made concept of spirituality can fix that. In other words, we can never be ‘good enough’ to be good enough for heaven (Romans 3:22,23).
What kind of a Pastor would tell millions of people that we can’t know how to be saved, when the Bible so clearly says that we can know?
“Jesus responds to almost every question he’s asked with . . . a question. “What do you think? How do you read it?” He asks again and again and again.
Yes, Rob, just like you, Jesus asked questions. The big difference between Jesus and you is that Jesus left no room for ambiguity. Jesus did not come to create confusion. Jesus did nothing to cloud the issue or leave it to chance that those who were supposed to “get it” couldn’t or wouldn’t get it. Jesus, unlike Mr. Bell, did not try to sound clever by asking obscure questions.
When people answered His questions correctly, Jesus told them so.
When they answered wrong, He told them so.
“I have not lost any that You have given Me.”
“Many people find Jesus compelling, but don’t follow him, because of the parts about “hell and torment and all that.”
This I think is what I found so profoundly sad about this book. It's written by a man who so desperately wants people to like Jesus that he’ll even lie about Jesus to win people over. He’ll tell them anything, even something that isn’t true if only he can get them to want to be Jesus' friend.
Jesus didn’t care about people liking Him. He cared that they spent eternity in heaven. Jesus wasn’t trying to win Israeli Idol. He came here on a rescue mission.
So desperately does Mr. Bell want people to like Jesus, and like coming to his church to hear about his version of Jesus that Rob mocks the idea that “only a few get in.” In order to get people to like Jesus, Rob Bell ignores the very words of Jesus, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matthew 7:12-14.
Rob Bell wants people to accept Jesus, but if Jesus teaches that only a few will find the Way, and Rob Bell teaches people to just ignore Jesus' teaching if they don’t find it palatable, is he really helping people to follow Jesus? Is he really helping people to find salvation according to what Jesus taught?
In exactly the same fashion as thousands of enemies of the cross before him, Rob Bell asks the question, “Could God say to someone truly humbled, broken, and desperate for reconciliation, “Sorry, too late”? Many have refused to accept the scenario in which somebody is pounding on the door, apologizing, repenting, and asking God to be let in, only to hear God say through the keyhole: “Door’s locked. Sorry. If you had been here earlier, I could have done something. But now, it’s too late.”
Oh, so now salvation is a popularity contest. Many don’t like this scenario - I see. Well, to make sure that we clearly understand what it’s going to be like, Jesus told this parable. Again, a parable that Bell ignores.
“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
“At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ “‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. “Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
Matthew 25: 1-13
Now I ask, who is more foolish?
. The people in the parable who didn’t plan for the end?
. Mr. Bell for telling people to behave like the fools in the Jesus’ account?
. Or those who do what Mr. Bell says to do, and ignore Jesus’ warning?
“And then there are others who insist that there must be some kind of “second chance” for those who don’t believe in Jesus in this lifetime.”
Yes, there are some. Like Rob Bell. These are the same people who ignore the pointed statement,
“People are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.” Hebrews 9:27
Don’t get me wrong. The book does contain a few good points. Unfortunately none of those good points have anything to do with heaven, hell and the fate of every person who ever lived.