With all the attention of Rob Bell’s new book “Love Wins” and the label by some that he is a universalist, many evangelicals have come out to condemn the book (even before it was published) and call him a heretic and even bid him “farewell” on Twitter. I, personally, found how this was/is being handled deeply troubling on many levels (theologically, historically, biblically and practically). Although I will tackle why I think we, as the Evangelical church, responded the way we did in my next post (coming soon), I want to tackle the more practical side of the universalist debate.
You may argue and say that I am abusing hyperbole and that our actions don’t matter as much as our belief but I would argue back and ask where in Scripture are we allowed to separate the two? Jesus was pretty clear on this. Jesus teaches in Matthew 25 about Hell and eternal destiny. Jesus teaches here that he will separate the metaphoric sheep from the goats and teaches that the questions asked/criteria used will be action orientated rather than belief orientated. (“I was hungry and you didn’t feed me…”) Don’t get me wrong, I believe that faith in Christ (and not works) is the only way to eternal relationship with God (John 14:6) but it MUST be worked out with action! This is the point James makes in his epistle – Faith without works (actions) is dead!!! (James 2:17)
Therefore, is it not disingenuous for Evangelicals who demonstrate through their action, the unwillingness to share the Good News with others in spite of their belief and passion in their view of Hell, to speak negatively about others who are asking questions (good questions) about their belief of it?
I hope my heart comes through in the post! My hope is that we would see the plank in our own eye before we try and help Rob Bell with the sawdust in his!