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A central tenant of Christianity, especially Evangelical Christianity, is that if you do not accept Jesus Christ as your personal savior, you’re going to hell, and that’s that.
Think of all the likable people you would meet in hell; countless children from the world over that never had the chance to be baptized, thousands (maybe millions) of kind, compassionate people, and more pacifists than you could shake a stick at.
In essence, Christianity teaches that you need Jesus’ protection from his crazy and abusive father.
According to news reports that is exactly the point Rob Bell, author and pastor of the Grandville, Michigan mega church, Mars Hill Bible Church, is making in his newest book, Love Wins, A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived.
Some are not amused. According to the Tulsa World, the Southern Baptist Convention affiliated book store, LifeWay Christian Stores, in Tulsa, is refusing to carry the book, even though they offer Bell’s other books on their shelves. As of this date, the Christian book store has yet to explain itself.
Bell’s critics claim that he is really a universalist in evangelical’s clothing. Larry Hart, professor of theology at Oral Roberts University told the Tulsa World, “I’ve concluded that Bell is a universalist, but wont admit it.”
Albert Mohler Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary wrote, “The problem begins even with the book’s title. The message of the Gospel is not merely that love wins — it is that Jesus saves.” “Rob Bell uses his incredible power of literary skill and communication to unravel the Bible’s message and to cast doubt on its teachings.” And that’s a sin, apparently.
For those who have made Kierkegaard’s leap to believe that we are more than inanimate star dust, but do so without abandoning the capacity for critical thinking, Rob Bell is a breath of fresh air.
For others, rigid orthodoxy is the only true way, and Rob Bell might be the most friendly hell-bound heretic you ever met.
As of March 26, 2011, Love Wins was second on the New York Times best seller list, before its release.