What’s your opinion on Rob Bell, or more specifically, his opinions/ideaologies? Do you see him veering on the lines of Universalist or do you think he’s got some unique yet very real arguments full of substance? I’m dying to hear your entire opinion.
To be fair, I haven’t read his book. I read several reviews and also Francis Chan’s Erasing Hell, all of which painted more or less fair criticisms of Rob Bell’s views.
I do think there’s been a lot of unfairness towards Pastor Rob about Love Wins. It seems his book was more about critical thinking on a major issue of the Bible instead of an entirely Universalist approach. Bell himself has admitted he believes in hell. If anything, we could criticize him for some of his weirder teaching on the Trinity, resurrection, Scripture, or his strange use of illustrations like a real goat (which pooped on stage). A lot of the critics were just grabbing a quick nod for fame with sensational news tactics. No surprise.
I’d also say that Rob Bell knew exactly what he was doing. He marketed the book very well. He’s a businessman, no doubt. He was strategic about interviews in secular media. His book sold tons.
Personally I would say that Rob Bell, despite some doctrinal differences, is still a fellow Christian brother. I’m not quick to label him a false teacher. Even if he doesn’t preach the Gospel as clearly as the neo-Calvinist, he’s still preaching the Gospel. I’m not to judge whether he believes it himself.
I wouldn’t use his materials and I’d be a little hesitant in endorsing his books — a lot of discernment needed — but at the very least he’s a wildly creative pastor with a keen grasp of the culture’s pulse. He brought more vivid, real discussion about hell than any theologian in the last century. That’s something.