At the center of the debate, Bell's questions about sin, salvation and eternal punishment. As believers, we can't deny the importance of the issues in question. Regardless of where Bell lands on the issues, he isn't talking about worship styles or the use of certain gifts. These are not fringe issues. Bell is addressing the central doctrines of the Christian faith. Have a look at the teaser, which by the way is very creative:
Since the book isn't available until the end of March, I don't know what Bell is going to say about heaven and hell. It certainly seems that by questioning the love of a God that condemns people to hell, he is implying that (because God is loving) He will not ultimately send everyone to hell. Bell is known for implications. Is he teaching universalism (everyone will go to heaven) or inclusivism (everyone who believes in something will go to heaven) or just sparking controversy to sell books? Until I read his book (and knowing Bell probably even then) I can't speak with certainty about his belief on the subject.
However, in the teaser video Bell models a prominent theological method that I'd like to bring into question today.
- We define Him according to our own understanding.
- We know Him as He reveals Himself to us.
- Will only a few select people make it into heaven? Yes. (Matthew 7:13-14,
- Will billions burn in hell forever? Yes. (Matthew 25:41, Revelation 20:15, Luke 16:22-28)
- How do you become one of the few? Surrender to Christ. (John 14:6, Romans 10:9-10, Acts 4:12)
- What is God like? Loving, wrathful, grace-filled, just, merciful, forgiving, powerful, wise, etc. (See Genesis 1:1-Revelation 22:21)