Rob Bell, Hell and Why I’m Not a Universalist

Lately, there’s been a ton of controversy over Rob Bell and his new book Love Wins. I’ve read several book reviews of the book and as I stated on Twitter and Facebook, it gives me great cause for concern. Let me first say that I love Rob Bell, respect him and think he’s a great communicator. I’ll talk more about that in a future blog post. What I disagree with him is in the area of theology, our view of Hell and what seems to be a universalist view (even though I know he doesn’t like that label).

I’d like to point to two great blog posts by people much smarter than I that express what I’ve been feeling for weeks and haven’t put into words, yet. It’s only after much thought and debate that I even write this blog post because I don’t want to be labeled as a hater or critic. Again, let me state: I love and respect Rob Bell. I just hold high the teaching of sound doctrine and feel I need to speak up if someone with a large following leads people astray.

First, on Rob Bell – I’d like to suggest that you read THIS blog post and book review that was posted on I thought it was very well done and expressed my concern and a warning about what he writes in his book. I’ll let you read the review yourself and come to your own conclusion.

Second, on Hell – I believe there is an actual Hell and believe the Bible supports that belief. Pastor Mark Driscoll wrote an excellent blog post on Hell and he sums up the Scripture’s teaching on Hell much better than I could. I really respect when a pastor is clear, definite and straightforward. It’s the vagueness of Bell that concerns me. Read Driscoll’s thoughts on Hell HERE and see what you think.

Third, on why I’m not a Universalist – let me share with you three Scriptures that mean the world to me and that I simply can not shake or ignore.

For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus… – 1 Timothy 2:5

Jesus is “‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’ Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” – Acts 4:11-12

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16

Watch the intro of this interview with Rob Bell on MSNBC and listen carefully to how the reporter explains Bell’s book. He says that all people will go to Heaven and that people can change their mind post-mortem. From the questions that the reporter asks, he is clearly puzzled by Bell’s mixed message of  “No, I’m not a Universalist”, but “In the end God wins and everyone goes to Heaven.” This is dangerous stuff in my humble opinion. Watch and see for yourself.

This is my humble attempt at not bashing on anyone, but explaining my position and belief on this recent controversy and the issues of Rob Bell’s new book, teachings on Hell and Universalism. My only encouragement to you, my friends, is to search the Scriptures and teach sound doctrine.

“Jesus is not one of many ways to approach God, nor is He the best of several ways; He is the only way.” ~ A. W. Tozer

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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7 thoughts on “Rob Bell, Hell and Why I’m Not a Universalist

  1. I'm down with Bell's points and love the book so far…if that makes me a universalist, that's just a man-made label and doesn't bother me. I think it's a much bigger problem that so many "Christians" are arrogant enough to believe their interpretations are THE right interpretations of Scripture and feel the need to tell everyone with a different "Christian" view they are wrong. Rob says it best when he notes the irony that those who believe only a small group make it to heaven always are in that group themselves.

    • "he notes the irony that those who believe only a small group make it to heaven always are in that group themselves"

      Not ironic at all, actually. If you really think "the way is narrow and few there be that find it" (there's your small group), as Jesus said, wouldn't you want to choose that way — and then encourage others to do the same?

  2. Mike, Jesus was black and white in his interpretations of Scripture and spoke with conviction and authority. The NT writers were very straightforward stating that Jesus is THE way, THE truth, and THE life. James is probably the most tactless book of the Bible. Why should we live our lives any differently?

    In this postmodern age where truth is defined as relative, I stand firm and place my trust in God and His Word. It is timeless and applicable and I have a hard time understanding how people can beat around the bush when it comes to whether or not people are saved.

    Bell is preaching heresy and anti-Biblical statements. And, because he is a teacher and leader, he will be held to a higher standard (James 3:1). I will pray for him and the people who believe his muddied and disturbing lies.

    • Jay…could not disagree more. If you have read the book, then you see logical questions asked of what Scripture says and what God represents. Why is your preferred interpretation or preferred view of Scripture more "truth" than his? How do you, as a man, know DEFINITIVELY what an all-knowing God whose wisdom far surpasses ours can do, will do and intends to do? Bell is not claiming he has the definitive answer. He is merely asking very good questions and leaving open the possibility that maybe, just maybe, MAN does not fully understand all that God might do AND that MAN cannot put God in a box. The critics of this book are far more scary than Bell for posing legitimate questions and legitimate discussion points. It's so funny how the "narrow is the road" interpretations by people always seem to make sure they are included.