Listening to Jesus
You may have heard this story in the news, TV, or the cover story of TIME last week – a popular evangelical preacher has a book out questioning the existence of Hell. Rob Bell has this book out (I expect will be on the front shelf at Barnes and Nobles and Amazon): Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived.
The author says two main things: (1) There may not really be a place called hell, and (2) people who are not really believers in Christ may be saved in heaven anyway.
Why has this been covered on national news? Why has Time Magazine devoted their cover to this story? It is not just the controversy Bell has stirred up. He is saying what many people want to believe.
After all, if there is no eternal punishment and if everybody will be saved eventually (universalism), there is comfort in this for many. For the people who have not taken the time to read the Bible, who don’t want to “go to church,” and who seek to live their lives according to whatever desires and ambitions they love (however contrary to the will of their Creator), this book says what is celebrated. It offers relief to unbelievers everywhere, and comfort to nominal believers (who’ve never really been committed anyway).
There is really only one problem with Bell’s belief: It is his belief, not the teaching of Jesus Christ!
Christians are concerned about one question: What does Jesus say? Particularly in Matthew, there is repeated documentation telling us what Jesus believed and said on this important subject (Matt. 3:10,12; 5:30; 7:19; 8:12; 10:28; 13:40,50; 18:8,9; 22:13; 23:33; 24:51; 25:30,41,46). Make no mistake about it, Jesus said – about those who do not respond to Him: “these will go away into everlasting punishment,” (Matt. 25:46). - web
By Warren E. Berkley
The Front Page
From Expository Files 18.5; May 2011