Well known author and preacher Rob Bell, from Grandville, Michigan, has recently released (just in time for Easter) a new book titled, "Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and The Fate Of Every Person Who Ever Lived."
Bell questions the idea that a loving God would send people to an eternal hell. In his mind it wouldn't be "fair" that people who only sin for a few decades would really deserve eternal torment in hell, because that would be unjust punishment.
Bell says in his promotional video that circulated prior to the book's release last week, "Millions and millions of people were taught that the primary message, the center of the gospel of Jesus, is that God is going to send you to hell unless you believe in Jesus. So what gets subtly sort of caught and taught is that Jesus rescues you from God. How could that goal be good...and how could that ever be good news?"
He says the good news is that "Love Wins".
Many evangelical leaders and pastors are saying he's wrong, calling him on it and saying he is teaching "universalism," not the biblical gospel.
Perhaps none more forcefully than Pastor Mark Driscoll at Seattle's Mars Hill Church.
Driscoll wrote on his website earlier this month that it's important to understand that God doesn't send just anyone to hell, but only those who reject his revelation and choose to suppress the Truth that is plainly revealed to them.
He said, "Hell is only for those who persistently reject the real God in favor of false gods."
Last weekend, from his pulpit, he told the thousands who attend, "Let me say it clearly...plainly...loudly: You are in danger. Without Jesus, you go to hell."
He told the congregation, "It greatly disturbs me when well-known pastors, preachers and authors get invited onto television...when the world is listening to them, the interviewer inquires of them, 'If you don't believe in Jesus, are you going to hell?' and they squirm or change the subject or appeal to the emotions or tell a story, they do anything but say 'Yes, if you don't know Jesus you go to hell'."
He continued: "Friends, this is the most serious of matters. I'm not the judge, but there are pastors who are going to hell. So be careful who you trust."
He said roughly 13% of Jesus' teachings and half His parables are in reference to hell, judgement or punishment.
Quoting Jesus Driscoll said, "No one comes to the Father but by me."
"No one. No one," he said. "There is no salvation apart from Him" (Jesus)
Driscoll also told the people there is no second chance. "Your eternal destiny is sealed upon your death."
"Hell," he said, "was made for the devil and his angels who rebelled against God. And just as prison was made to protect the rest of the public, hell was made to 'protect us' ."
"You need not go there," he said.
He pleaded with the congregation not to try to judge God.
"We have three-pound fallen brains---sinful dispositions---we have only been around a few short years. We're not all-knowing," he told the people.
"For us to sit on a throne even if it is an academic throne propped up by footnotes, asking the Creator of heaven and earth to pass before us that we might render a verdict regarding His holiness and justice is how all this got started in the first place," he said.
Driscoll urged his listeners to make a decision---eternal life or eternal death.
"Your still alive," he said, "so I'm pleading with you---make your decision while your still alive."
Be Sure. Be Discerning. Be Prayerful. Be Blessed.
Faith and Freedom
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