George Stephanopoulos interviewed Rob Bell today on “Good Morning America.” The segment was titled “Pastor Claims Hell Does Not Exist.” The lead-in report includes remarks from Justin Taylor, and I agree with him entirely.
“Rob Bellâ€¦ is obscuring God’s word. He’s teaching false doctrine. And he’s unorthodox in his beliefs.”
A clip from Albert Mohler’s interview a couple of weeks ago also appears in the segment. Watch the rest of it above.
Bell makes some excellent points, yet never answers how “God executes His judgement”. This answer can be found in his treatment to his elect who have clothed themselves in Messiah Jesus,and the reprobate who hated God’s laws. The elect are adopted as Sons in Christ Jesus and share in the reign of Christ as kings and priest forever in the Kingdom. And the reprobate are judged according to their trespasses and share the fate of God’s eternal presence in the lake of fire.
I think Bell meant “impelled by” rather than “compelled with” [Jesus]. Of course, Bell never answers the charges in this interview. Big surprise.
Rob Bell is so crafty.
George S. lets Bell get off without answering his tough questions. He never answered the question of the Japanese who practice a different religion. He didn’t answer the question of hell for those who practice genocide or rape.
How can Bell use Jesus’ model prayer as exegetical warrant for heaven being here and now? The plain meaning of the text is that we are to pray that God’s will would be done here JUST AS it is done perfectly in heaven? I.e. – THIS is not heaven. Talk about confusing, misleading . . . I shake my head and ask, “Does he/can he really believe that?”
He is a rock star. He is easy to watch and great to listen to. So was the enemy when he whispered into Eve’s ear. That, to me, is what’s most concerning. The Scripture warns that the enemy doesn’t come with a pointy tail and sulfurous breath. He comes disguised as an angel of light. “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” Paul warned Timothy, and us, of Rob Bell. I am deeply grieved by the number of people who will believe this and will ultimately endure the reality of hell. As Grudem says, the Bible does not speak lightly of reprobation, and neither should we, but Jesus is not good news if their is no bad. Sadly, for Bell, the cross has lost its meaning.
Denny, thanks for posting and for aggressively pursuing this in a public forum like your blog. I look forward to the forum (and its webcast) on Thursday, and hope that many will watch.
That was much easier to watch than the interview yesterday.
Rob Bell’s ability to say so much while saying so little is uncanny. I don’t think he gave one straight answer to any question that Stephanopoulos asked him. And it looks like ole George got kinda frustrated with him a couple of times. It also looks like Rob Bell is enjoying all the attention he is getting. He was beaming from ear to ear during that whole interview.
I am also looking forward to the forum on Thursday, but I have to ask Denny – “Did Mohler choose the day and time?” After all, it seems only a non-sports fan would pick the middle of the first day of the first round of March Madness for a theological forum. Couldn’t you guys have at least waited until the game break during dinner? HAHA.
It’s stunning how much free publicity evangelicals are giving to a book that they disagree with so much.
I am thankful for Rob Bell.
I am thankful that he has written this book.
Now, because of their reactions to his book, it is very easy to tell where someone stands on Christian doctrine. Christians disagree with Bell and recognize that he preaches a false, soul damning gospel. People who praise and defend Bell and his teaching identify themselves by doing so as not being Christians. They might not have been bold enough to come out and admit what they believe if Bell had not written his book. Therefore, Christians everywhere should be thankful for him and his false doctrine since it helps separate the sheet from the goats.
First off – hey Denny, we crossed paths a long long time ago. Thanks for letting me comment here. I hope that’s all right even though I am not going to share the same views.
@Barry – Rob didn’t answer the tough questions, because maybe he doesn’t know. Actually I would have liked to hear him say that because that’s the most honest answer one can give for one’s faith claims.
Rob Bell is “the devil”? Really?? That certainly says more about you than it does Bell.
“Jesus is not good news if their (sp) is no bad”…. Why can’t there be good news and more good news?
I know it’s fear that drives comments like these, which is truly sad.
I’m no Rob Bell defender so don’t think that’s my angle here. Personally, I just think it’s interesting to read comments that claim to know what can’t be known in certainty. Have all the faith you want, but certainty in these areas is impossible to claim.
As I would have suspected, this interview only furthered the incredible mess Rob Bell has made through promoting and writing this book. Other people already responded how he didn’t answer any of the difficult questions George asked, but even more upsetting to me is his smiling, joking, and laughing regarding the eternal fate of humanity. His making light of the afterlife further’s Satan’s work of deceit on the earth to keep people from coming to a saving knowledge of Christ. My prayer is that for everyone who feels inclined to take Bell’s message to heart, a Bible-believing Christian is put in their path to speak the truth.
I know itâ€™s fear that drives comments like these, which is truly sad.
Have all the faith you want, but certainty in these areas is impossible to claim.
The juxtaposition of these two statements is alarming. On the one hand you claim to “know” that statements like the one made in your comment about the need for bad news in order to have good news is driven by fear, yet on the other you seem to chastise those certain of the Bible’s claims about Hell for being too certain about them.
Honestly, I don’t think you can have your cake and eat it too here. Either no one is able to know anything about anything, or we can know some things to be true. In my estimation, I think it’s a safer bet to put my faith in Christ and His Word to us (and the 2000 years of Church History which have been unified behind the truth of exclusivism) than it is to base our views on the subjective conjecture of those who speak from the hip with no real knowledge of the individuals about whom they are speaking.
Additionally, I find it interesting that you would not at least hold out some possibility that statements defending a literal Hell aren’t made in order to defend the very words of Jesus and the Church’s 2000 year interpretive history of those words.
In the end, Steve, it seems as though our certainty (based on the Word of God) in your mind is just simply not as valid to you as your own certainty (based on your own fallible wisdom). And that to me is much sadder.
Hey, DR, I think I might have found Steve’s picture 🙂
DR – If you can speak from the hip with no real knowledge of the individual than I guess I can.
You are right, I shouldn’t have said “I know it’s fear…” because I don’t. However what I claim to know about someone’s fears or not (which I’ve recanted) is quite different than someone claiming to have certainty regarding Hell based on the Bible. Of course I’m fallible as you point out, so I’m sure you will correct me.
I’m not certain I would want to embrace the 2000 year history of the Church’s stance on exclusivism – when that same stance led those who have believed it during those 2000 years to justify violence against those that opposed them. But I guess that’s how one gets away with equating Rob Bell with the devil.
@Joe – Hahaha… and I’m not Emergent. Just ask Tony Jones… he’ll tell you!!
“Rob Bell is so crafty.”
I agree completely. One has to be very deliberate to say so little.
Steve Chastain said “that same stance led those who have believed it during those 2000 years to justify violence against those that opposed them.”
Steve, that wasn’t the Church – that was people who said they were Christians, but weren’t. Kind of like some people today, who claim to be Christians, but are mere wolves in sheep’s clothing. The existence of wolves who deliberately try to blend in with the sheep makes it critical for us to discern the real stripes of a person who claims to be a true follower of Christ.
Having just looked at your website, I would encourage sheep to use an extra measure of discernment when listening to you, in particular.
@Scott who wrote, “Itâ€™s stunning how much free publicity evangelicals are giving to a book that they disagree with so much.”
Really? When someone teaches something very wrong on a matter of heaven and hell (literally and how people get there), the evangelical’s options are to speak up and sell their books or to be quiet and let their heresy go unchallenged?
Wow… reading these comments is giving me flashbacks… “that wasnâ€™t the Church â€“ that was people who said they were Christians, but werenâ€™t. ” Heard so many versions of that before… the Christians who say they are Christians aren’t Christians because… I said so….
Doing a quick jig of joy having left that life behind…
Maybe Bell’s problem is that he has a completely over-realized eschatology? I’ve not read the book, but based on this interview he seems to believe that all experiences of Hell (however one defines it) AND Heaven is here and now. Statements like “we see people creating hell now” and “life in the kingdom of Heaven is available now” predominate in this interview.
I agree with D.R. above who noted Bell’s ability to say so much while saying so little simultaneously. But it does seem that his understanding of heaven and hell are completely realized- that is, they are both present realities with little or no future aspect. Again, he is intentionally ambiguous on what he thinks heaven or hell is, or who ends up where, but everything he said made me think his eschatological framework is all about the here-and-now.
In listening to his interview it didn’t sound like Bell was dodging the questions, but trying to build a context in which to answer George’s questions. We have a world with such a misconception of heaven and hell that it is hard to give simple answers to what appear to be simple questions.
It’s like when you are asked by a kid why the ocean is blue. The simple answer to a four year old is, “God made it that way.” The deeper answer, which needs context, is that the ocean isn’t blue, it’s actually clear – like all water – but it appears blue because of the reflection of the sky and the refraction of light and the sky is blue because of the dust particles bouncing off the yada, yada, yada.
We have given basic answers to a really deep question for far too long. And while I agree that Bell raises more questions than he answers… what’s wrong with that? Some people just need to have the chutzpa to ask the questions all our non-churched friends are asking anyway.
And again, I agree that Bell comes to some conclusions that are a step too far and don’t seem to include the need for penal substitutionary atonement. But we also need a pendulum swing back towards Christus Victor in the evangelical world.
The bottom line that Bell seems to be driving at is that this is not a theological problem that we have, and it is not PRIMARILY a legal problem we have. It is a RELATIONAL problem that we have with our Creator. We have been separated from Him and need to be reconnected. This seems to be where Bell is going.
And as such it is our responsibility as Christians to join God in His heaven to earth movement that he began in Christ over 2000 years ago. If we do – we are of heaven. And if we don’t – we are of hell. And both are working towards those ends as we speak – there is no middle.